Seven Years by Dannika Dark

This is the first book in the series, and it tells the tale of Lexi Knight and Austin Cole, and how, seven years after Lexi’s brother died, Austin (his best friend) returns. The book summary is better than any that I could ever give, so here it is: “It’s been seven years since Lexi Knight lost her brother in a tragic accident. On the anniversary of his death, her brother’s best friend she’s up unexpectedly–a man she hasn’t seen since the funeral. He is no longer the boy Lexi once knew, but a dangerous-looking man with tattoos and dark secrets. He broke her trust and abandoned her family, yet what he reveals makes it impossible to stay angry. Lexi has been secretly infatuated with Austin since childhood, so finding out he’s a Shifter just makes him sexier. Dammit. Austin Cole has returned to the city where he grew up, and just in time. He’s lived a hard life these past seven years, and the shadows of his past are threatening to destroy Lexi’s family. It’s time that she learned the truth about her brother, but there is a shocking twist that Austin never saw coming. Now he must protect her family when her mother and sister wind up in mortal danger. Will Lexi learn to accept the truth about who he is, and can Austin salvage a relationship from the ruins of their past?” That’s the summary that the book gives, and it does a pretty good job of summarizing the book. Although it is a little deceitful, because it tells you absolutely nothing about the actual plot; it was, heavily based in romance; however, the entire story was not just some ploy for Austin to win her back. It was a lot more intricate than that. Sort of. Hopefully that statement will make sense as I go on.

One thing that I really liked about this book was that it was mostly playful; it never felt entirely serious (at all), and I felt like I was reading a romcom more than a paranormal romance. For starters, when Austin first announces that he is, in fact, a mythical being that can turn into a wolf, Lexi just shrugs it off, labels him crazy, and decides to indulge in his fantasies for a bit. I personally thought this was a completely realistic reaction. For a few pages, she insists that he’s yanking her chain. It’s only a bit after that, when she actually started to believe him, that I thought, Hold up. You believe this nonsense? (Keep in mind, that I would love it if Shifters exist; I’d probably be the first person to go hunting for Big Foot if proof ever came up that he exists, and I’m talking about solid evidence. But the fact that Austin cannot prove anything, and she just goes with it? I had a hard time dealing with that). But it did add to the lack of seriousness, which I greatly appreciated. At the time, I was just looking for a book to get me through the weekend. I wasn’t expecting heavy reading. This pretty much succeeded my expectations. It was neither a brilliantly written book, nor was it dull; it’s simply entertaining.

I also really liked the characters. Austin is absolutely adorable, and I found myself looking forward to his narrations. I also fell in love with his brother Denver, who is sweet, and funny, but at the same time flirtatious with a more serious side. And I definitely liked Lexi; she was fiercely independent and strong, but still gave in to tears now and then, which I appreciated (since strong does not necessarily mean emotionless, and it really bothers me when women are portrayed without emotions when their situation does not warrant it. Being strong is one thing. Being empty is completely different).

But one thing I could not get over was the writing. Like I said, it wasn’t brilliantly written. It wasn’t poetic, or inspiring. It was simply entertaining. Which I’m fine with. Really. But sometimes I like to read books that are entertaining, and well written. Not to mention the fact that I like books that are at least somewhat grounded in reality, even if other aspects of it are not. For example: supernatural creatures are not real. But at least have the characters reactions to these paranormal activities be realistic. Maybe not going and fetching a gun with silver bullets; but at least be a little more shocked than “Oh. You’re a werewolf? Cool. What’s for dinner?” Your world has just been turned upside down. At the very least, say “Prove it,” or be ready to defend yourself.

One thing I was not prepared for, and I should warn you should you decide to read it: I was not ready for how graphic the book was. It wasn’t Fifty Shades of Gray, but it also wasn’t Shiver (great book, by the way). The scenes were graphic enough that they couldn’t be considered innocent, which, having read the writing style on the first page, was what I was expecting. I had honestly thought that it would be an innocent romance, and maybe the author would hint at something happening, but would not give us graphic details. But no, I was very wrong.

I do not know that I would go out of my way to recommend this book. But I will say that I enjoyed reading it. It wasn’t what I was expressly looking for, but it got my curious enough to read the second book. It’s not that it’s bad…it’s just not great.