I liked this, though not as much as I thought I would. On the surface, it reminded me a lot of J.R. Rain's 'Moon Dance' (Vampire for Hire #1), which I really enjoyed, in that both feature a woman trying to balance parenthood with various supernatural goings-on, both are set in California, and both use frequent pop culture references. But that's where the similarities end.
This starts well, as the heroine, stay-at-home mom Kate, tries to juggle her two kids, her aspiring-politican-husband's impromptu dinner party, her best friend (Laura - who turns out to be pretty awesome!), and murderous demons who have reentered her life after a 14-yr absence. Her family and friends do not know about her past as a Demon Hunter. This whole opening section is a lot of fun. As the book goes on past that, it does drag a bit in the middle before picking up the pace again in the 2nd half.
My favorite things: that opening section, Laura the kick-ass best friend, Kate's relationship with her teenage daughter Allie, and of course the generally snappy writing.
The heroine, Kate... I'm a little ambivalent about. I can't quite put my finger on why. It could be something about the depiction of her being emotionally torn between her old life and her current one, but I think it has more to do with her parenting style and complete lack of feminist consciousness. It's not entirely fair of me to factor that into my review, but it is what it is. There were a few times when Kate would make or think some sort of weird, off-hand, non-plot-related gendered comment such as "My 2 yr old son will never ever wear makeup ever!", and it would kick me out of the story. And with all due respect to stay-at-home mothers everywhere (and political wives, too), Kate is really over-the-top in her unquestioned commitment to Donna-Reed-like appearances.
Also, because the demon-hunting world here is rooted so firmly in Roman Catholicism, there is a little too much religion for me. I'm not a religious person at all, but I'm usually willing to take it with a grain of salt when reading books that have demons and vampires and whatnot in them. However, in this book, because Kate's a former hunter and therefore a self-proclaimed Believer, she's involved in her community church and all that. And the demonic mythology isn't even all that well-developed, actually, so the author could have gone a different route.
Lastly, although this is set in California, that setting wasn't really a "character". That is, it felt like it could have taken place in Anytown, U.S.A. I'm hoping that the second book will fix that. I mean, it's even called 'California Demon'! I will definitely be reading it soon.
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)