Aslan: the 16-year-old boy named after a lion. A boy with his entire life ahead of him.A boy running from a terrible secret. All it takes is one awful night to change everything. One secret, one smuggler, one boat, one storm. And he wakes in an entirely different existence. Staring into the ocean blue eyes of his 12-year-old rescuer.
Neridat: the 12-year-old girl named after a sea nymph. A girl with lofty dreams and absolute faith that she’ll achieve them. All it takes is a bright, sunny morning to change everything. One boy clinging to wreckage, one sea cradling him close, one chance at keeping him safe.
He’s illegal and unwanted. She’s stubborn and so sure. He’s lost absolutely everything. And she’s found the only thing she ever wanted.
They begin as rescued and rescuer, slowly growing from 12 and 16. He’s not allowed to touch her. She’s convinced he is the one. But as each day dawns on his illegal existence, Aslans’s secrets creep ever closer, the death he ran from hunts ever faster, and the darkness that he can’t get free of finally finds him. And it costs him everything.
A true coming-of-age story that spans a lifetime. This book deals with heavy subjects. Check the content warnings on the author’s website.
Lunamare is a tangled romance that fans of the Ribbon Duet will love. Combining the beautiful drama of Nicholas Sparks with the brutality of dark romance, Pepper Winters has created a tale of soulmates, secrets, cruelty, and heart-wrenching love.
Excellent story + duet narration!
Narrators: Fiona Clare + Tor Thom
Narration type: Duet
Standard length: 18:11
Listening speed: 1.5x
Tropes: childhood friends to lovers, forbidden, soulmates, coming of age
📖 I knew going in that this was going to be an epic story, but it was so much more than I expected it to be. Neri and Aslan absolutely etched themselves onto my soul. Their story was one filled with emotion, angst, and a forbidden but soul deep love. I didn’t know much about this one going in, and I do recommend going in blind aside from checking your trigger warnings as needed.
🎧 I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook! This was my first time listening to Fiona Clare, and she did an amazing job! She has a medium to high pitched female voice and a warm sound. She changed her tone depending on if she was voicing Neri as a young girl, or older, and of course depending on the scenario and mood. She did a great job showing emotion! Tor Thom has a medium pitch male voice with a smooth timbre. At times his vocal pattern of pauses to speaking can sound a bit rhythmic as opposed to natural to me, but he is still very nice to listen. He did a nice job varying his tone a bit for other speakers.
This book was long, but worth the read! This one is only about the five years between when the two characters met each other and when they had to separate, so it takes place in their teens and early 20s.
Nerida Taylor lives with her parents mostly on a boat, since they’re marine biologists. One night when she was 12, she saves a young man from drowning, who turns out to be 16 year old Aslan from Turkey. His parents and younger sister died in the ocean, so it’s just Aslan who’s trying to settle into this new existence without his family. He finds one in the Taylor, who gives him a home and a a purpose for living. Nerida realizes as the years go by that she’s destined to end up with Aslan, who had promised Neri’s father that he wouldn’t pursue her. These two definitely fight their feelings for each other, and there’s a lot of push and pull between the two as they come to terms with their intense emotions.
Aslan truly reveals his real self towards the end of the book, when something tragic happens to Nerida. There’s some darkness in him, and he really confides in Nerida. I think she asked him to do something pretty shocking, and he agrees to do it, so it really goes to show the depth of his feelings for her.
This book ends with a cliffhanger and their separation, so if you’re not a fan, you should wait until the second book comes out. But the writing is great, the characters are haunting but real, and I did enjoy character driven plot. I like that each chapter starts with a word in a different language for “moon” and “sea” so it’s a nice learning moment too. This is also very light on the paranormal, which I don’t think is needed but an interesting nod to Nerida’s personality. I can’t to read the second part!
I listened to the audio with Tor Thom and Fiona Clare and it was so good! The narrators did a great job of exploring the despair but also joy in the characters’ lives, and it will really enhance your reading experience with this audio.
Epic love story…duet narration!!!
Pepper Winters has written another epic story. Book one of this duet has me in pieces. The duet narration straight broke me. My heart literally skips a beat during that first moment when the second narrator speaks during a duet narrated book. When listening to this one though…my heart couldn’t handle the emotions. Tor Thom is one of my favorite male narrators on any given day but when listening to him bring Aslan to life, he shot straight to the top of the list for me. Fiona Clare was amazing also. I appreciated the differences she brought to Neri through the different stages of life. It was a beautiful experience listening to this on audio.
Aslan and Nerida are absolutely beautiful together. In the beginning, this had some similarities to the Ribbon duet, but it quickly became easy to separate the two stories. If you are a fan of Ren and Della, you will absolutely love this. Aslan and Nerida are polar opposites and completely magnetize to each other. Aslan is dark inside and out but is still so loving toward his found family and it is so easy to root for him. He fights his feelings for Nerida for years while she is growing up. Nerida, of course, knows instantly that Aslan is for her and her 12-year-old heart stakes her claim to her father right away. Unfortunately, there are so many obstacles that arise as they are growing up in the same household and while her teenage hormones run havoc, Aslan does his best to watch over her at her dad's request. Nerida, while an amazing and loving girl, does go through some typical teenage angst that is amplified by her platonic relationship with Aslan and her desire to have him love her like she loves him. She understandably doesn't grasp the issues that Aslan is dealing with and as a result, they take us on an emotional roller-coaster to rival the biggest and scariest rides out there.
This is not your typical coming of age story. The emotional turmoil that happens as you read / listen to this story is unmatched. Every time I thought I knew where we were heading...BOOM...more drama and we've added another hill to climb.
I try my hardest to write a spoiler free review but keep in mind that Pepper Winters does write dark romance so be weary of content warnings. My heart is still in shambles and probably will be until I read book two.