Sticking with Joshua Swanson, who did a great job with all three previous books, or if impossible, Jesse Bernstein from the Percy Jackson books, or pretty much ANY other narrator.
By being in any sense a performance, this was flat and lifeless from the start and a very bad surprise as I preordered it without paying attention to whether they switched narrators...
It is with all likelihood the continuation of a very enjoyable series, in written form or with a different narator.
Please, this is a best-seller series, DON'T ruin it with bad narration.
I would gladly buy this book if they released it with a better narrator, but this way, I will have to return it right now and pick up the ebook version instead.
Where to start...?
I generally like werewolf and other shifters, so the general theme was not the problem, but many of those dialogues felt so flat, the sex scenes (with things like elephant cock thrown around like in a teenage fanfiction) seemed unintentionally comical, the parts where the "animal shift thougt process" was described really appeared silly and not like the author really knew too much about animals to start with...
The villain was a complete disappointment, I could not take him seriously and it seemed ridiculous someone like him could even pose a legitimate threat with his ineptitude.
...and many of the twists and turns of the romance felt forced...
Sorry, but it seemed like only extreme lust could kit that relationship at most parts and that is a bit dull for a romance plot.
Rework her conception of werewolves. Seriously, the animal part seemed utterly lacking.
Make Paris seem more likeable at some parts, add some better reasons for the romantic difficulties instead of him throwing temper tantrums.
Make Cole actually seem like he is a competent warrior / tactician instead of letting it float around as an informed attribute.
Make his insecurities come off as a bit more authentic.
Well, the narrator was okay, a bit, quirky maybe in a way, not necessarily a voice I am sure I would want to listen to much...
The book still manages some nice moments, some of the character interaction is okay, but unless you really must have more werewolf stuff and went through everything else that seems remotely enjoyable, I would not recommend this book.
There ARE worse shifter stories, but there are also quite a good amount of better ones.
I generally like stories with shifters, werebeasts and all other sorts of part human part animal characters, I also do like classical top/bottom or seme/uke relationships being a gay man who loves big strong masculine guys myself.
So How to Howl at the Moon really did not disappoint, it has nice parts with the animal sides of the characters (and not overdone in my opinion either despite going for certain dog breed stereotypes), Lance makes a nice top who manages to be both likeable and ending up making some mistakes and Tim is, well, just cute in a awkward, dorky way.
There are also a couple of likeable side characters in the mix who feel fleshed out enough to complement the leads. I especially liked Lance's mother with her meddling and antics and the fact that, well, in a way, she managed exactly that kind of being flawed but likeable that I do not see too often with mother characters, who tend to be more often either saintly or smothering.
The sex scenes also were okay, perhaps not steaming hot, but neither awkward, nor too drawn out and definitely nice to listen to.
I also found the bad guys to have a bit more depth than many m/m romances manage.
I could especially recognize the type of Marshall, the weak bully trying desperately to keep someone else down.
It is usually very easy to make a "monster", a mad man, someone utterly alien in hiss evil ways, but just some little words and observations can instead create a bad human being who seems much more real.
Also, I think the narrator did a very nice job and he has a pleasant voice to listen to, I hope to hear more of him in the future.
It is a cute and a bit silly m/m romance, but it is a very nice one at that for sure.
I would give both a try, Topher Samuels is in the middle ground of narrators, he does not excel but his voice does not grate on the ears like some readers alas do.
Rick R. Reed builds most of his ensemble iut of the typicsl gay party goer and bar scene, well, personally, I have more a thing for larger than life characters or plots and am not to much into bears...
Hmh, it was okay, though his Italian pronounciation seemed a bit off to me, unless he was deliberately trying for a Sicilian accent (I don't know how that would sound, but I dare to think it is mostly just the English/American trouble with foreign languages).
Hah, well, it might actually do okay as a movie, so, why not?
I thought the book mostly suffers from being a bit too ordinary, if you seek something big and epic with paranormal elements, this is not it.
The story most likely would have worked well without the werewolf plot, just replacing it with a normal serial killer.
I felt the whole thing suffered a bit under too little detail and attention being put into things, the characters don't really manage to create true sympathy for them...
It is not a bad story just, not a good one either, and its likely biggest asset, being a paranormal story that is gay and not m/m did not really catch me and I am gay myself...
All in all, I really prefer the quirkier, less realistic, dramatic and over the top m/m stories to this.
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