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Review – Moonstruck (Diablo Lake #1) by Lauren Dane

Reviewed by: E

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.
This blurb came from Goodreads

Mention Dane’s name and 99.9% of the time I will read it. Add in werewolves and witches and you can add in that last 0.1% because they happen to be favorites of mine and I know in Dane’s hands I will get a fascinating captivating world, strong heroines, heroes who support their strength and entertaining supporting characters. Moonstruck did not let me down.

Katie was a lot of fun. She pretty much coasted through life as a midlevel witch planning to marry her high school sweetheart until he jilted her and ran off with another woman. She left town to get away from both pity and the smearing of her character by his family. Three years later, Katie returned to Diablo Lake to help her family after her father had a medical emergency. I really enjoyed watching her rekindle her friendships, connection with the town, the earth and its magic, and her crush on Jace Dooley. The confidence and control she gained during her three-year absence quickly became evident and were needed as she ended up in the middle of town politics. It was a lot of fun seeing how people constantly underestimated her because they remembered the Katie who fled and weren’t ready for the Katie who was prepared to kick butt and take names.

Jace had a crush on Katie but due to werewolf politics and her involvement with the other Diablo Lake Pack he left her alone but when she returned he found her strength, confidence, and magic irresistible. The Pembrys had lost their chance to bring Katie and all that she could be into their Pack when the son of their Patron or Alpha decided to leave her at the church. This time Jace wanted to show Katie she was treasured and to see where their mutual attraction could go. Jace as the Prime, Alpha to be, of the Dooley Pack knew the tension between the two packs would grow if Katie appeared to ally herself with the Dooleys. I loved how Jace was strong and confident enough in himself to support Katie and to give her the space/time she needed to make an informed decision about who she could be within Diablo Lake. I also admired his ability to be ferocious and to control how his anger emerged instead of giving into his emotions.

Diablo Lake was really a powder keg of tension and emotion with two shifter species and humans just waiting for something to set it off. The two Packs had been rivals for a while with the Pembrys taking every opportunity to undermine the Dooleys while maneuvering to try to gain the most power by marriage from the Witches. What they both seemed to forget was that the Witches were a power unto themselves and were not willing to sit on the sidelines and let the werewolves take them for granted or destroy the town. While I really enjoyed the interaction between the witches and the werewolves, what I found missing was more then superficial mention of the cat shifters who also lived in Diablo Lake. I could understand them not wanting to get in the middle of the two Packs, but they also had a stake in the stability of the town so I am hoping they become involved either in the next book or if Dane continues to write in this series.

One additional thing I think Dane does extremely well is focus on how critical friendships and family ties – blood or otherwise, are to the maturity and completeness of her main protagonists. Family and friends of the protagonists are compelling characters on their own and they always make me hope Dane will write their stories. In Diablo Lake the bonds of friendship weren’t limited to Jace and Katie but also involved their elders and showed how tightly things were interwoven from one generation to the next.

Moonstruck is book one of what is currently a duology and it ends at a natural break point. I didn’t find it too cliffhangerish but I am glad I don’t have to wait until next year for the sequel. Protected, book two, is currently scheduled for an early August release date and looks to be enemies to lovers **looks gleeful**. Even though this particular conflict will probably be solved by the end of Protected, I am hoping Dane will write more in this world. I really enjoyed reading Moonstruck and seeing once again why Dane is on my autobuy/reread list.

I give Moonstruck a B

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By E_booklover

E is addicted to books. She discovered at an early age that not only were they her transport to far off worlds, adventures, and exotic cultures, but that she ran into far fewer objects if she walked while reading then if she wasn't reading. She reads across several genres, such as: romance, western,mystery, SF/F and its derivatives. She isn't too picky except for good characterization, settings she can imagine, and a story that flows logically... umm so ok -- she wants a good story. Have any to recommend?

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