Monday, December 13, 2010

Book Review: Once in a Full Moon (Full Moon #1) by Ellen Schreiber (ARC)

Title: Once in a Full Moon (Full Moon #1)
Author: Ellen Schreiber
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publishing Date: December 28th 2010
Length: 304 pages 
E-ARC:  Courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers
Genre: YA, fantasy, paranormal romance

2/5 ** Once in a Full Moon- A dubious prophecy, shallow characters and hollow dialogues! I can’t howl at that moon!

~ The Author ~

Ellen Schreiber was an actress and a stand-up comedienne before becoming a writer and moving to her own Dullsville. She is the author of Teenage Mermaid, Comedy Girl, and all of the books in the Vampire Kisses series. Vampire Kisses is an ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, and an IRA/CBC Young Adults' Choice.

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~ The Novel ~

Once in a Full Moon is released on December 28th 2010 by Katherine Tegen Books and is announced to be the first novel in the Full Moon series.

~ The Story ~

Beware of a kiss under the full moon. It will change your life forever.
Celeste Parker is used to hearing scary stories about werewolves—Legend's Run is famous for them. She's used to everything in the small town until Brandon Maddox moves to Legend's Run and Celeste finds herself immediately drawn to the handsome new student. But when, after an unnerving visit with a psychic, she encounters a pack of wolves and gorgeous, enigmatic Brandon, she must discover whether his transformation is more than legend or just a trick of the shadows in the moonlight.
Her best friends may never forgive her if she gives up her perfect boyfriend, Nash, for Brandon, who's from the wrong side of town. But she can't deny her attraction or the strong pull he has on her. Brandon may be Celeste's hero, or he may be the most dangerous creature she could encounter in the woods of Legend's Run.
Summary by Goodreads

Read the first chapter here!

~ The Review ~

Once in a Full Moon begins with a well-known scene: a group of teenagers sits around a campfire, tells scary stories about a werewolf legend, then they coincidentally hear the howl of a wolf and get scared.

Being fascinated by its cover and summary I couldn’t wait to start reading Once in a Full Moon. Finally having started reading and being halfway through it, I couldn’t wait to quit reading it again. I hoped to read about new fantasy elements of the werewolf world but only encountered a ton of stereotypes like a mindless football player, shallow and material shopping friends and a quack doctor.

I am always open to make new friends with protagonists, but I couldn’t stand our female protagonist Celeste (whose name represents another misplaced element when talking about a werewolf and celestial influences). Although she is a very thoughtful character, she doesn’t come to appropriate solutions. She keeps her true feelings a secret and always acts in response to her best friend’s opinions which I find disappointing. Celeste is a weak character with no own opinion, controlled more by hormones and less by rationality when she and the situation need it the most. Where other novels take the chance by equalling their main character’s flaws or weakness with extraordinary and protruding secondary characters, Once in a Full Moon continues building up an ensemble of ridiculously ignorant characters that are unlikeable and unauthentic.

Ellen Schreiber applies the classic werewolf elements of changes in dependence of moon phases and the bite of a wolf as trigger.
Our male protagonist, Brandon changes into a classic werewolf with human and animal-like features. But what Celeste describes as an appealing and hot werewolf look, I find even unsexy. His wolf form makes me wishing him to change back into human form fast.  

What I like about Schreiber’s werewolf presentation is that Celeste and Brandon experience his new identity together where other novels put the changing character in a lonely position of self-awareness.
New about the classic werewolf-moon dependence is that a kiss has an influence on Brandon’s change.

The story itself has no flow and consists of short chapters which show unsmooth and inconsistent transitions. It is constructed very obviously so there weren’t many surprises to me. And although there are only short distances and sometimes minor or even unimportant problems to bridge, our heroine seems to spot a drama behind every corner.

Once in a Full Moon is dominated by shallow emotions, clichéd characters and predictable events. Schreiber applies so many clichés that her novel, by adding more charm and wit, would have perfectly worked as a (good) satire.

~ We love this book because… ~

1) brownies can’t heal a wound, but at least delight your heart
2) of a sweet Mr. Worthington and his story
3) a kiss under the full moon can be more than just romantic
4) we want to ice skate on our own backyard pond
5) you can show your loyalty by wearing fingerless gloves

~ The Verdict ~

Disappointing stereotypes, a foreseeable storyline and an average writing style form another novel in the huge pool of fantasy novels, but absolutely no remarkable.
You should read this novel if you are a fan of Ellen Schreiber or don’t want to miss a single novel in the werewolf spectrum.

Thanks to netgalley for their fantastic service and HarperCollins Publishers for allowing me access to the net galley of Once in a Full Moon.


  1. Thanks for the review...think I'll skip this series.

  2. Well, I totally agree with you on every point.. I was so so disappointed in this book and it took me forever to finish it. It was not worth my time!
    Great Review :)

  3. Thanks for an honest and well written review. It certainly doesnt sound like theres anything unique about this book although sometimes i like to read the bad ones anyway as it makes me appreciate the good ones even more.

  4. I've been seeing a lot of stereotypical fantasy books lately. It was starting to get me down, if it weren't for a bit of uniqueness around the edges. I'll give this book a try just cause I'm curious. Great Review!

  5. Shame you didn't enjoy it like you thought you would. l find characters tend to annoy me when they do silly things and keep silly secrets which would easily sort the main situation out in the book.
    I have this to read, won't be the top of my list after reading your opinions on it.

  6. Great and honest review :) Just to bad you didn´t like it. This one was on my to read list. But after reading this, I think it just fell a few places.. But I will check it out one day. Hopefully we all don´t have the same opinion :P

    But guess there will be a couple of others books I want to read first :P

  7. Ouch! I think I'll skip this one too. I appreciate your honest review! At least you can say you did finish it!

  8. Great honest review. This is one series that I am skipping.

  9. Schon die 2. eher negative Rezension, die ich dazu lese. Ich werde definitiv die Finger davon lassen, der Inhalt klingt ja generell nicht so beeindruckend.
    Mmh, aber Amen zu den Brownies :D

  10. Wow! I was looking forward to this book! I mean, I might still pick it up to read - but now I'm debating whether I should or not, LOL! Great review!

  11. I read Schreiber's Vampire Kisses series when I was in middle school and early high school and I was delighted in them. However, I've been going through my cluttered shelves lately and trying to decide which books to sell/donate. After flipping through a couple of chapters, I tossed them all in my "get rid of pile". I'm grateful to the books because they provided entertainment while I was reading them... but I know I will never be able to revisit them with the same level of enjoyment. I still love young adult literature, but Schreiber's writing often made me feel as though she was talking down to her intended age group of readers, which really bugs me. Thanks for the honest review; I was considering reading this book when it came out to see if her style had changed, but now I'm thinking I'll steer clear of it.

  12. I can't seem to be able to stand this author. I read a couple of the Vampire Kisses books and after that put her down forever. I'm sorry that this was a disappointing book for you. Great and thoughtful review though!

  13. this was a great book, i dont care what all you other people think because your lost... i love this book!

  14. It was a pretty goodd book but it was also predictable!!