Joint Review – Wolf Moon by Ethan Stone

11012249Title: Wolf Moon
Author: Ethan Stone
Length: 230 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: m/m paranormal (shifters)

Blurb: When college student Jack Coleman meets Derek Malone at a party, it’s mutual lust at first sight. Lies and secrets almost derail the relationship, but they face the problems head on, and it isn’t long before Jack and Derek decide to take their relationship to the next level. That’s when things get complicated.

It turns out Derek and several other people Jack thought he knew are werewolves… and so is Jack. In fact, his unusual birthmark brands him as a Chosen One, a werewolf of great power destined to be alpha. But Jack isn’t sure he’s cut out to be a leader. When a pack rival, Elias Fairchild, kidnaps Derek to force Jack’s hand, Jack has to make up his mind: Will he deny his newfound heritage or risk it all to save Derek’s life?

Review:

When Jenre of Well Read noted that she had this book in her TBR as well, we decided to read it together, then compare notes. So it’s a very different review, just us both giving our perceptions of different aspects of the book. (Jen is RED, I’m BLUE)

Overall Mythology:

It is pretty standard werewolf lore of romance, but I like that and that’s why I read shifter books. So I was okay with that and there were a couple of twists which were slightly different when he became alpha that made it a tad different.  I did feel a bit sorry for the alpha as well, he was a good leader, just not his turn, unlike most where the alpha is “evil”. 

I thought the mythology was pretty standard too, although the change was easy and the whole ‘chosen one’ thing was a bit different than usual. The whole Alpha thing was OK but I did feel sorry for the outgoing Alpha, especially in the way that it worked out in the end for him. I liked that being Alpha made Jack look differently about himself and forces a change from being coddled and very passive to more assertive.

Bad Guy:

I have to confess I waffled on who the bad guy was and while I thought it might be a different guy altogether, I wasn’t overly sure which guy it would be, so keeping me flipping back and forth worked for me. (And no, I didn’t read ahead, tempted thought I was.)

I didn’t guess the bad guy but that was because I kept getting the two suspicious guys mixed up in my head. The whole bit at the end was rather anti-climactic overall. Elias was way too over the top too. I don’t particularly like bad guys who are ‘insane’ in this way.

Sex:

It got a little sex heavy at times, then when the drama picked up at the end it seemed to calm down a bit and have more emphasis on the external plot than the “romance”. Depends what you’re in the mood for I guess. It was certainly plentiful if a little lacking in lube at times. Ouch.

Yes, lots and lots of sex. much of it quite samey. Like you, I liked that we had more fade to black scenes towards the end.

Conflict with the Friend Josh:

Eh. I thought Jack was over-reacting a bit. Mind you, it was a pretty major secret. (Jen makes a good point.)

Yes, total over-reaction about that. And yet, when Jack discovers the massive secret they’ve all been keeping from him he just goes ‘oh that’s a lot to take in….ok, I’m fine with it. No problem’ or the equivalent! I would have more pissed off about that than discovering that minor thing that Jack kicks off about with Josh and Derek. 

Secondary Characters:

Speaking of friends. There are a quite a few secondary characters in this one and sometimes I had a bit of trouble keeping them all straight in big groups, but I really liked Jack’s friend Salem. He was straight, he was human, but he was a great friend and ally. I also liked that Jack’s adopted family, while we don’t meet them on-page, were loving and cared for him a great deal. You didn’t get that “poor abused orphan boy” thing going on. They loved him, he loved them, he had a good childhood so that was nice. I get kind of tired of the emotionally damaged youth story-line sometimes.

Yes, I really liked Salem too. I also liked Josh. All the family dynamics are shown well, not just Jack’s adopted family but also the way that the wolf pack families are structured.

Major Annoyance:

My biggest issue was at the beginning it’s noted that Jack is starting his third year of university, and that he’s 24 years old. In the US (and Canada) you start university as a rule at 18 and a 4 year degree has you graduating at 22. So I didn’t understand why the age thing was so far off. Later it’s revealed that he had a 2 year affair with his boss at the local mine, then he broke it off and left for college, so he didn’t start college till he was 20 or 21. Suddenly it made sense but every time college age things came up, I kept thinking “why is he 24?” Also living in residence with 17 and 18 year olds you would think would make a 24 year old crazy, but then again, built-in alcohol purchases I suppose. I also thought that him calling Derek “Pup” before he even knew they were werewolves was a bit weird. Not a common nickname. 

There was a real WTF moment at the end of the book where Derek is in danger and yet Jack leaves it for 2 weeks without even attempting to find and look for Derek. He even goes to class and carries on with his social life. That made his feelings for Derek seem false. I also get annoyed at books where there’s a life threatening situation but they don’t contact the authorities.

Also the wolves kill each other and no-one who isn’t a wolf (or Salem) notices that they have gone. Don’t these people have lives and jobs apart from the pack? Surely there would be more of a fuss if someone had just disappeared?

Characters:

Jack: He was a nice guy. Derek: He was a nice guy, also from a loving family. They were two average nice guys, but Derek was some kind of motorcycle salesman god.

Both men are pretty well drawn and work well as a couple. I didn’t mind the pup thing as much as you did. Their relationship was a little ‘instalovish’ but stepped back from that by Jack not wanting to commit that soon and also because he was a cautious person overall. Derek provides a good support for Jack but he was a little wishy washy and at times I wondered what Jack saw in him, other than strong lust.

Overall:

I liked it. Some reviews mentioned the writing style and short sentences, but I didn’t seem to notice much off. Maybe I’d just read so many 2 star shifter stories lately that this was vastly superior by comparison. But I think people who love shifter stories will likely enjoy this. If the shifter mythology doesn’t cut it for you, not so much then. I’d give it 3.5-4 but I’m notorious for loving my shifter boys.

I thought it was OK, a three star read. I did notice the short sentences and found the writing style a little simplistic. There was a lot of repetition, especially in the sex and the way that Jack thinks about his feelings for Derek – also did we really need a run down of every class and exam Jack was going to in each day? However, considering that I’m not a huge fan of shifter stories, the themes of this worked for me. I didn’t find myself getting bored and the action sequences were pretty exciting. Definitely one that shifter fans should enjoy as long as they are looking for an undemanding read with lots of sex.

+++

So there you have it, pretty much reviewer mind-meld. LOL I’m not really surprised. That’s why we get along so well. I know I can trust her, although I am more partial to the wolf (and cat and dog and elephant and rabbit) boys than she is. Still, it was kind of fun to actually see what worked and didn’t for each of us.

8 thoughts on “Joint Review – Wolf Moon by Ethan Stone

  1. Cole says:

    Nice! I like your format, did it work well for both of you? I confess, I really didn’t like this book, but if I remember correctly it didn’t have anything to do with writing style, but I think it was something about the choices the characters made that bothered me. That’s rare for me since I usually give characters a lot of leeway, but I think a lot of things seemed contradictory to me. I can’t remember what though, I just remember really not enjoying it much. So I’m glad that you guys liked it :)

    I’m looking forward to reading Zero Hour!

    • Tam says:

      Sometimes things just don’t work when you read, even if it’s nothing huge that jumps out. (or sticks in your memory).

      The format was okay. We just read it, then I came up with some themes and sent my observations off to Jen who replied. It was a pretty simplistic way to do it.

      I’m looking forward to the next one too.

    • Jenre says:

      Yeah, Tam wrote down what she thought and I responded so it was really easy :).

      The main choice of the characters that bothered me was the thing I mentioned about Jack leaving Derek in peril for two weeks. If it had been someone I’d loved I would have been frantic and gone to the police, even if it was just to report Derek missing.

  2. Chris says:

    I don’t remember all the specifics of why I didn’t like this and I’m being too lazy to check GRs, but I know the repetitive style was one thing that bugged me.

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