Moonstruck by Lauren Dane (Diablo Lake #1)

 

Moonstruck by Lauren DaneAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Carina Press

My Copy: Publisher

Reviewer: Nikki L

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In Diablo Lake, Washington, a town populated by werewolves, witches, and more, magic woven deep into the earth protects the town’s secrets from outsiders.

Katie Grady left Diablo Lake to get over a humiliating breakup; but her family needs her help, so she’s back, in a sublet right across the hall from the guy she’s lusted after for years. Jace Dooley is hotter than ever, and their friendship picks up along with massive doses of grown-up chemistry.

The very scent of Katie sharpens Jace’s canines, makes the wolf within him stir. There’s nothing more alluring to a Pack Alpha than a sexy female who is so very in charge. She won’t be coddled, but if he plays his hand just right she might be convinced to become his.

Katie presents a challenge to Jace’s wolf nature, whose chief instinct is to protect. Especially now that she’s coming into the magic that is her birthright – and suddenly Jace isn’t the only one who’s interested in Katie, or the raw power she’s just learning to use.

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Overall, I enjoy Dane’s voice as a writer, but this start to a new series was a bit of a miss for me. The basic premise is strong- witches and shifters living in a small town is my kind of reading catnip- and I was hoping for an engaging read. I found myself setting this aside over and over again due to repetition, no resolution, and general weak world building.

Katie is an interesting heroine, but I didn’t feel strongly that she was a consistent character. At times her decision making was a bit all over the place. For example when seeking out an apartment she knows that if she chooses the one she’s considering it means she’s aligning herself with one particular wolf shifter family and that will cause problems. And when those problems arise she’s surprised?

The one thing that really worked for me was the relationship dynamic. There was no convoluted “will they or won’t they” with the hero and heroine. They get together realistically and are all in pretty much from the start. This worked for me because they are both adults and know what they want. This was a breath of fresh of air, I applaud Dane for letting these characters be adults.

There is plenty of external conflict with the world building to make it interesting, but not much of it is executed well. This is where the repetition really beat me down. There were many points that the story could have progressed much quicker and given us a chance to delve into the world-building a bit more. Instead we find ourselves rehashing all kinds of plot points and characters that needed to move forward in the storyline. The paranormal aspect was under developed and this could have easily been a straight contemporary romance with families at odds over money and prestige, which is a shame because the basic kernel of the idea of witches and shifters living together to increase their magic and strength was fascinating to me.

In the end Dane gives us a happily ever after, but the book still felt like it hadn’t really ended. Nothing, aside from the characters making it official, is resolved. NOTHING. I walked away from this book frustrated. Is the next book a continuation story for Jace and Katie- because it certainly felt like that’s what she intended? Or is it a new hero and heroine- possibly the BFF and a wolf from the other side of town? Why was nothing resolved? WHY? Dane has the start of an interesting new series that needs to be developed more, but I’m not sure I’ll be picking up book two when it arrives.

I give Moonstruck by Lauren Dane 3 stars

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