(Diablo Lake #1)

by Lauren Dane

I came to this book through a romance review website (SBTB) I one hundred percent trust, so I was a bit surprised by the troubles I had with this book. I also seem to remember reading Lauren Dane stuff before that felt more polished.

It started in the first paragraph: “Or the hotel near the hospital, several hour’s drive away, where her father was recovering from a stroke several hour’s drive away from Diablo Lake.”

I reread that sentence twice in disbelief at the clumsiness of it, so easily corrected by an editor. Unfortunately, clumsiness at this level popped up every couple pages or so and messed with my reading experience (this is a personal taste thing. It might not bother a different reader)

And that’s a shame. Because Diablo Lake is home to a cozy, fun, community of feisty witches, stupid young werewolf males, and a small town life centered around the mercantile, a soda counter, and restaurant.

Katie Faith is called home by her father having a heart attack and she has to take over the soda counter, as well as face the werewolf who left her at the altar years ago. Luckily. Jace Dooley, a rival werewolf, offers her an apartment close to his pretty quickly and steamy fireworks ensue.

This is one of those paranormal romances where the couple gets together quickly and most of the tension is provided by stupid pack rival people getting up in Katie Faith’s face. There’s quite a lot of Katie Faith and her witch friend Aimee talking smack, caring for each other, stopping by the parents’ house to check in about events and bring groceries, and some snarky comments about wolves who leave the door open when they go to the bathroom.

So it was fun. Not thriller, dangerous fun, but cozy fun. Even some of the events that Katie Faith labels “upsetting” and “out of control” consisted mostly of a rival werewolf coming in and calling her a skank (no jumping her in a dark alley, no property destruction, no blood drawn, quite…tame actually). There’s also very little of our hero Jace Dooley in wolf form. (or anyone in wolf form for that matter. And there’s also some talk about shifter cats but they don’t play any role that I can see in this book other than just window dressing).

But I wanted more. I wanted an edge of danger, more integration of the actual werewolf into the story, more emotional tension between Jace/Katie Faith where they seem to be instantly okay with each other’s personalities and constantly being attracted to each other no matter what the other person is doing, and more editing on clunky sentences.

On the basis of SBTB’s recommendation I went ahead and bought the second book in the series because it was on sale. I’m hoping the second book ends up being a bit more polished than this first one, because it definitely put me off at a sentence level.