Camp Howl, by Bru Baker
Series: Dreamspun Beyond #7
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: November 1, 2017
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Moonmates exist, but getting together is going to be a beast….
When Adrian Rothschild skipped his “werewolf puberty,” he assumed he was, somehow, human. But he was wrong, and he’s about to go through his Turn with a country between him and his Pack—scared, alone, and eight years late.
Dr. Tate Lewis’s werewolf supremacist father made his Turn miserable, and now Tate works for Camp H.O.W.L. to ease the transition for young werewolves. He isn’t expecting to offer guidance to a grown man—or find his moonmate in Adrian. Tate doesn’t even believe in the legendary bond; after all, his polygamist father claimed five. But it’s clear Adrian needs him, and if Tate can let his guard down, he might discover he needs Adrian too.
A moonmate is a wolf’s missing piece, and Tate is missing a lot of pieces. But is Adrian up to the challenge?
The Dreamspun Beyond series is, from what I can tell, the paranormal equivalent to the Dreamspun Desires series (Harlequin romance). Baker takes the idea of soulmates and attaches it to werewolves (moonmates!). I’ve seen other books do this, but that was just called mates and it was mostly about sex, not overall compatibility. That’s fine too, but I personally enjoy the build-up before sex and in this case it wouldn’t have made sense for the two MCs to jump right into a physical relationship. They’re both in new territory, so it made sense for them to take things slow.
I really liked Tate. He was super smart and kind but incredibly skittish when it came to relationships. His old pack was more like a cult and taught him to fear being connected to other wolves. He’s unsure about this whole moonmates thing because he wants it to be a choice, not a forced type of thing (like it was in his old pack). I can relate to that. Who wants that choice taken away from them even if it is not unusual for werewolves to experience? However, I think the book focused too much on Tate’s reluctance to be Adrian’s moonmate and it made it kind of boring at times. I wanted to know more about werewolves, and we only found things out based on how rare Adrian’s experience was.
The focus on Tate’s reluctance to have a moonmate also meant that we learned less about Adrian than we should have. His whole storyline was tied into trying to have a romantic relationship with Tate because of their bond. We sort of got to know him, but because he was trying to learn to control his new werewolf powers and woo Tate he became kind of a two-dimensional character.
I like how Baker paralleled Adrian’s delayed turn (at 27 instead of 19) with that of a camper that was struggling with his transition as well. We got to see that every werewolf struggles with the turn and that Adrian is handling it better than he could be. However, this also showed us how isolated Adrian was from the other campers. We just see him interact with Tate and the Counselors. It would have been hilarious to see Adrian trying to take classes and fit in with a bunch of 19-year-olds at camp; it would have fit in with the tone of the book. I feel kind of gipped.
Also, I feel that Baker kind of swept the problem of pack dynamics away too easily. Adrian being away from his pack made sense at first, but I was surprised they didn’t come to visit him. He had a late turn, so you’d think his alpha would want to show up to help or make sure he’s ok. It was really weird to me and I think it would have been fun to have Adrian’s pack come to meddle with these moonmates.
Overall, I enjoyed this book, but I feel like there are a few things that make me feel reluctant to give it a higher star rating. Yeah, it was fun, had good writing, and I enjoyed it but it really fell flat in some key areas for me. However, if you like fluff-filled books that aren’t super complicated or smutty, you’d enjoy this.
Bru Baker got her first taste of life as a writer at the tender age of four when she started publishing a weekly newspaper for her family. What they called nosiness she called a nose for news, and no one was surprised when she ended up with degrees in journalism and political science and started a career in journalism.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.