An Alisa Audio Review : Under a Blue Moon (Camp H.O.W.L. #2) by Bru Baker by Bru Baker and Dorian Bane (Narrator)

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

Once in a blue moon, opposites find they’re a perfect match.

Nick Perry is tired of helping people with their marriages, so when a spot opens up to work with teens at Camp H.O.W.L., he jumps at it. He doesn’t expect to fall in lust with the dreamy new camp doctor, Drew Welch. But Drew is human, and Nick has seen secrets ruin too many relationships to think that a human/werewolf romance can go anywhere.

Happy-go-lucky Drew may not sprout claws, but he’s been part of the Were community all his life. He has no trouble fitting in at the camp—except for Nick’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge the growing attraction between them and his ridiculous stance on dating humans. Fate intervenes when one of his private practice patients threatens Drew’s life. Will the close call help Nick to see a connection like theirs isn’t something to let go of?

 

This was a nice continuation in the series, though there are a lot of assumptions going on which make it hard for these two to be together.  Nick and Drew are both starting new jobs and when they spend a night together have no idea that they will be working together.

 

Nick has seen so many horror stories about dating and marriages come to life that he fears getting seriously involved with a human, even one as in depth as Drew.  Drew wants someone to love him but isn’t willing to back down from what he wants to get it.

 

Both of these guys have issues from their past causing hurt but also have to learn to trust someone else.  I could see both of their pain and how much it hurt Nick when he thought his chances with Drew were gone and how Drew’s assumption that Nick didn’t want him hurt him too.  It just seemed to me as they finally are talking things out it all goes back to assumptions again which was like taking two steps back.

Dorian Bane did a great job narrating this story.  I was easily able to connect with the characters and feel their emotions in his reading.  His voice changes so much you really get to see the differences and personality of the characters.

Cover art by Aaron Anderson is great and works well for this story.

Sales Links: Audible | Amazon | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 6 hrs 40 min

Published: October 26, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

Edition Language: English

Series: Camp H.O.W.L. #2, Dreamspun Beyond

A MelanieM Advent Calendar Review: Holidays Are Where Your Heart Is by Bru Baker

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

A Story from the Warmest Wishes: Dreamspinner Press 2018 Advent Calendar

Jared’s been all over the world as a traveling manny with Holiday Helpers, and the itch to put down roots is starting to eclipse his wanderlust—especially since his current family is a handful.

After culinary school, Wes did some wandering of his own, exploring Central America before settling as a resort chef in his mother’s homeland of Costa Rica, a place he loves and where he plans to stay. If he’s learned one thing, it’s to be wary of flings with vacationers. Still, he can’t stand to watch two little Swiss kids lose their belief in Saint Nicholas, so he’ll lend a hand to the manny assisting the family. It won’t be easy to recreate a traditional European Christmas in a tropical paradise.

Between a snowball fight on a sunny beach and sledding down an active volcano, Jared and Wes discover some renewed holiday magic of their own. Can they make it last a lifetime?

Holidays Are Where Your Heart Is by Bru Baker is a layered contemporary romance that left me with very mixed feelings.  On one hand I thought the character of the manny, Jared, Wes, the instructor, and the children, well done and often heartbreaking in many respects.  I loved how Jared paid close attention to his charges, their feelings, and inventively came up with ways to make them feel safe, valued, and loved enough that Santa Claus or their version of it would find them, even at a resort in Costa Rica far away from their home (and the staff there that had the children’s interests at heart).

Bru Baker did a great job with Costa Rica…mostly.  She has the children safely behind large gates at the resort, because there’s a huge disparity in economics there.  Resorts versus the shacks with galvanized tin roofs, which are mentioned (and high crime which is not). I loved the section with the volcano sledding, including the safety measures and the dangers which were included. For the most part the kids stayed safely behind the security gates to be imaginatively entertained by Jared, Wes, and others there with warmth and affection.

Which brings me to the parents, blithely vacationing away on the other side of the island, who left me (and the staff) wanting to smack them upside the head most of the time. This was “reared by manny” at its most emotionally removed and Bru Baker  makes its impact clear on these very realistic children, the staff who care for them, and yes, the readers. That the children will continue to be raised by parents who care little whether they have a wonderful or meaningful Christmas makes this a bittersweet story for me.  It left it tarnished in a way because while the joy and beauty of what Jared and Wes managed to accomplish for these young children is heartwarming, their future remains unchanged in the hands of self centered parents.  A true sour note at the end as I came to love these kids even more than the main characters and my heart broke for them.

Not the happiest of holiday readings to be sure and probably not what the author intended.

I’m sure she wanted us to focus on the romance, which is quite sweet and lovely and undermined by the storythread of what Jared and Wes did for the kids and how it all turned out.  The snow and that entire scene was my favorite by far.  Perfection.

Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas.  Not a fan of this cover.  Could be about any story with two men and a family, not just this one.  Nothing says Costa Rica, or  Christmas or distinguishes it enough to raise it above a simple beach cover.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 1st edition, 42 pages
Published December 1st 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language English setting Costa Rica

Bru Baker on Characters, Writing, and Hiding in Plain Sight (the last in the Camp H.O.W.L. trilogy)

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Hiding In Plain Sight (Camp H.O.W.L. #3) by Bru Baker 

Dreamspun Beyond Title from Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art:  Aaron Anderson

Buy links:

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

iBooks

Google Play

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Bru Baker today on tour for her latest release, Hiding in Plain Sight. Welcome, Bru!

 

~  Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Bru Baker ~

 

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

I think those are two totally different animals. We make our characters richer by using our own experiences to help shape them. That’s a far cry from a Mary Sue character where we’re inserting ourselves into the story and living vicariously through a character. Readers connect with our characters when they have personalities that leap off the page, and the way we as authors accomplish that is by giving them strong feelings and experiences that can appeal to a variety of people. Some of our first impressions of Harris in the opening scene of Hiding in Plain Sight tells the reader he loves sleeping in on his rare days off and he has a low tolerance for cutesy couples and PDA. These are traits I share, and Harris’s sarcastic take on them is definitely influenced by me. But that doesn’t mean Harris has my personality or that I’m envisioning myself as Harris as I write. Instead, by choosing a few things that I feel passionately about to include in his character, I’m able to write him with real emotions and quirks that I can easily describe to build a scene for the readers.

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

I read everything that wasn’t nailed down. I still would, if I had unlimited time in the day! I think reading across a broad swathe of genres has made me more well-rounded as a writer. I also went through a period where I was obsessed with thrillers, and I’m having fun incorporating some suspenseful elements in the Camp H.O.W.L. series. That will continue into the spin-off series, since the first book features a shifter NYPD detective and a werewolf who ends up on the wrong end of a crime ring.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

Both! There are definitely times where I like that HEA wrapped up for me in a bow, both as a writer and a reader. But I also love shorter-form stories that end with that HFN and that delicious promise of an undefined but assumed amazing future for the couple. If I can end a book on a happy sigh, that’s a good ending–whether it’s an epilogue showing the couple married and established in their future or one that ends shortly after their first kiss and dangles the promise of that HEA down the road.

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

As a teenager I read all the romance of all genres I could get my hands on. Nora Roberts’ early books are still comfort reads for me, as well as Danielle Steel and of course, the Harlequin category romance books. The first book with romantic elements I read was Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying, stolen off my mother’s bookshelf when I was around nine. I feel like that explains a lot about my choice to write romance with erotic elements.

As an adult I still enjoy reading broadly across the romance genres. Paranormal, romantic suspense, gothic romance, category romance, historicals, contemporaries–basically as long as it has some great banter and a swoon-worthy love story, I’m in.

If you write contemporary romance, is there such a thing as making a main character too “real”?  Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest?

I think it all comes down to the author’s skill in showcasing all the facets of a flawed person’s character. One of my favorite romantic characters in fiction is Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights, and it’s hard to find a character more flawed than him. He’s by all accounts unlovable, but we understand why and we see how that haunts him, and we see him try, at least as best he can. For me, that’s what makes a character real and relatable. I don’t want to read (or write) someone who has a perfect life. I want characters who make mistakes and have fatal flaws but still manage to find love despite them.

What traits do you find the most interesting in someone? Do you write them into your characters?

I’m drawn to people who are comfortable with who they are as a person. Someone who has the confidence to be flawed or quirky and finds happiness in that despite what anyone else might think of them. Luna Lovegood is one of my favorite characters in the Harry Potter series because she’s unapologetically herself. I love being with people who have a passion for something–even if it’s something I don’t personally care about. If they have the ability to throw all of themselves into something it usually means they’ll do the same for a relationship. (It also often means they’ll forget to eat/pick up the kids/be human, which is probably why I have developed such a love taking care of people!)

I do tend to write characters who share the same passions and hobbies as the people I surround myself with . Most of the main characters I write have a deeply rooted sarcastic side or a quirky sense of humor, and that comes from my circle of friends and family, too.

Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work?  Then years/months/whatever later inspiration struck and you loved it?  Is there a title we would recognize if that happened?

I have multiple folders of unfinished WIPs on my hard drive, as I imagine most authors do. As readers have to put a book aside because it’s not the right fit for our mood, and the same thing happens to authors. Sometimes you have that lightning-strike moment where you feverishly plot out a book and you’re able to stay with that until it’s finished, and sometimes it’s a plod and you feel like you can’t do it justice at that moment. I wish I could say I’ve picked all those up and run with them later, but I probably have 20 or so unfinished WIPs, some pushing 50 to 60,000 words, in those WIP folders.

I did recently pull one out and finish it. Downward Facing Dreamboat is a novella that was part of a giveaway on Instafreebie a few weeks ago, and I hope to offer it in Kindle Unlimited soon.

What’s next for you as a writer?

I’m currently working on another Dreamspun Desires book that was inspired by an unexpected overnight layover in Dallas on my way home from the Romantic Times convention in Reno earlier this year. I’m also working on edits for the spin-off series for Camp H.O.W.L., which will follow the wolves to New York City as they integrate with the Connoll Pack. We’ll get to explore all the Supes we learned about in Hiding in Plain Sight and more, since the city is a hotbed for Supernaturals!

Blurb:

Hiding in Plain Sight: A Camp H.O.W.L. Novel


Happily ever after is right under their noses.

Harris has been keeping a big secret for years—his unrequited mate bond with his best friend, Jackson. He’s convinced himself that having Jackson in his life is enough. That, and his work at Camp H.O.W.L., keeps him going.

Things get complicated when Jackson applies for a high-ranking Tribunal job in New York City—far from Camp H.O.W.L. The position requires he relinquish all Pack bonds… and that’s when his wolf decides to choose a mate. Suddenly Jackson sees his best friend in a sizzling new light.

Their chemistry is through the roof, but they’re setting themselves up for broken hearts—and broken bonds—if Jackson can’t figure out a way to balance his career and the love that’s just been waiting for him to take notice.

About the Author

Bru Baker writes sophisticated gay romantic fiction with strong characters, real-world problems, and plenty of humor.

Bru spent fifteen years writing for newspapers before making the jump to fiction. She now balances her time between writing and working at a Midwestern library in the reference department. Whether it’s creating her own characters or getting caught up in someone else’s, there’s no denying that Bru is happiest when she’s engrossed in a story. She and her husband have two children, which means a lot of her books get written from the sidelines of various sports practices.

Visit Bru online at www.bru-baker.com or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Hiding in Plain Sight (Camp H.O.W.L. #3) by Bru Baker

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Happily ever after is right under their noses. 

Harris has been keeping a big secret for years—his unrequited mate bond with his best friend, Jackson. He’s convinced himself that having Jackson in his life is enough. That, and his work at Camp H.O.W.L., keeps him going.

Things get complicated when Jackson applies for a high-ranking Tribunal job in New York City—far from Camp H.O.W.L. The position requires he relinquish all Pack bonds… and that’s when his wolf decides to choose a mate. Suddenly Jackson sees his best friend in a sizzling new light.

Their chemistry is through the roof, but they’re setting themselves up for broken hearts—and broken bonds—if Jackson can’t figure out a way to balance his career and the love that’s just been waiting for him to take notice.

Hiding in Plain Sight by Bru Baker finishes out the Camp H.O.W.L. trilogy that I’ve loved reading and become so fond of.  A series built around a great premise, a high security, upscale camp for weres, mostly teens, going through their First transformation, it’s featured a succession of couples who have meet through jobs there, mated, and then moved forward.  Mostly to a pack in New York City. More on that later.

Along with their stories we got to see some stories of the younger campers, the dynamics of the camp, and  exactly why the isolation and intense training was required to let those enrolled survive not only their First transformation but become even a Pack member.  The rigors at times placed were incredible yet needed.  I enjoyed this series on so many levels, from the interaction between the teenagers in transition and adults guiding them to the couples finding their way to each  other. At each step, the stories had so much to offer.

But it wasn’t until I was perhaps halfway through Hiding in Plain Sight that I realized that the author was preparing us to say goodbye to Camp HOWL.  I won’t tell you the specifics but I could see she was getting ready to move her characters forward even when I wasn’t sure I was ready for that myself.  Baker even introduced several new elements here, different supernatural species that interact with the weres and the Council that I’m wondering what roles that will play in upcoming stories.  Yes, after this  a new series centering around the Connell Pack in NYC begins.  That’s where all the other couples went to begin their new lives as mates.

As to Hiding in Plain Sight?  It’s that friends to mate love story with a dash of intrigue and adventure thrown in.  I thought the characters were great, their chemistry off the charts, and the secondary cast strong as usual.  The author was laying a lot of ground work here for the next series to come.  There’s an afterword (yes, I read those as well) that explains the new series that’s arriving. I have high hopes that its as strong as Camp HOWL is.  I will miss all the campers however, food fights, forest hunts, and the high drama  of teenagers and even one adult going through the changes and all those couples finding love and their mates.

I can’t wait now for the new series to start.  If you haven’t read this trilogy and are lovers of the supernatural, weres in particular, than grab up all three stories and do a little binge reading  in advance of the new series release!  I definitely recommend them all.

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson.  I like the cover and that’s my idea of Harris too.  Lovely.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press  | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 256 pages
Expected publication: September 18th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640808669
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series Camp H.O.W.L. Trilogy:

Camp H.O.W..L

Under a Blue Moon

Hiding In Plain Sight

 

 

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Under a Blue Moon (Camp H.O.W.L. #2) by Bru Baker

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Once in a blue moon, opposites find they’re a perfect match.

Nick Perry is tired of helping people with their marriages, so when a spot opens up to work with teens at Camp H.O.W.L., he jumps at it. He doesn’t expect to fall in lust with the dreamy new camp doctor, Drew Welch. But Drew is human, and Nick has seen secrets ruin too many relationships to think that a human/werewolf romance can go anywhere.

Happy-go-lucky Drew may not sprout claws, but he’s been part of the Were community all his life. He has no trouble fitting in at the camp—except for Nick’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge the growing attraction between them and his ridiculous stance on dating humans. Fate intervenes when one of his private practice patients threatens Drew’s life. Will the close call help Nick to see a connection like theirs isn’t something to let go of?

Under a Blue Moon by Bru Baker is another strong novel in her Camp H.O.W.L. series. Camp H.O.W.L. is a highly expensive, secluded extended training ground for all were’s undergoing their first shifts.  Complete with psychologists, trainers, other doctors, and seasoned counselors who have been through it all, these teenagers are there to understand their new status and adjust that to the outside world…ie without letting the humans know that shifters exist.

It’s a remarkable theme to base a series on and it absolutely works as various staff have rotated out with each story.  Plus we have gotten to know the staff that remain as well as some endearing and not so endearing teens.

In Under a Blue Moon we have two new staff arriving at Camp H.O.W.L., one arriving as a result of the coupling from the first story (highly recommended).  It starts off hot, anonymous, and yes, meet cute.  Then things go downhill from there.

I really loved that beginning but unfortunately it sets up Nick Perry as a bit of a jerk for most of the rest of the story.   His stubbornness in failing to see Drew as anything other than a frail, unworthy human becomes especially irritating in the face of Drew having proved over and over that he’s anything but. I could see it at first but it carried on throughout the storyline far too long imo. Throw in the fact that Drew has been raised in a  pack environment for most of his life?  Well, after the upteenth time, you just get tired of reading about Nick period.  It wears you down.

What redeems the story is Drew.  He’s a terrific character as are all the secondary ones around him, many of whom you have met already in the first story.  The series basics as well as the book foundations are amazing.  They push you through the annoying elements until finally Nick overcomes his “human blindness” and sees the real Drew who is more than a match for him.

There was a lovely ending and of course, it makes me want the next story even more.

Want a great twist on a shifter romance and series?  Look no farther than the Camp H.O.W.L. series by Bru Baker.

Cover art:  Aaron Anderson.  Love the cover.  Works in every way.

Sales Links:

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

iBooks

Google Play

Book Details:

ebook, 228 pages
Expected publication: June 19th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640806962
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Camp H.O.W.L.

Camp H.O.W.L.

Under a Blue Moon

In Our New Release Spotlight: Under a Blue Moon (Camp H.O.W.L. #2) by Bru Baker (special excerpt and guest post)

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Under a Blue Moon (Camp H.O.W.L. #2) by Bru Baker

Dreamspinner Press

Cover Art: Bree Archer

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Bru Baker back talking about her latest release, Under a Blue Moon. the  second is her marvelous Camp H.O.W.L. series. Welcome, Bru.

♦︎

 

 

I’m here on Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words to kick off the tour for Under a Blue Moon, the second book in the Camp H.O.W.L. series. Thanks for joining me!

I had a lot of fun with Tate and Adrian in book one, but I really wanted to come back to Camp H.O.W.L. so readers could get more of an idea about what a luxury werewolf camp for teens going through the Turn (aka their wolfy puberty) would be like. So this time around, we get to see more of the activities and day-to-day life at Camp H.O.W.L.

Both Drew and Nick are new hires at Camp H.O.W.L., so readers will get to experience the camp through fresh eyes. It was a lot of fun to write the two of them sampling the classes–I think my favorite has to be Agility Training, which Drew calls Werewolf Parkour. Since he’s human, he doesn’t have a great time with that one.

Drew and Nick meet on the way down to Camp H.O.W.L. Nick is struggling to cope with all the smells and sounds on the plane when things take a turn for the worse and a socked foot comes through gap in the seat to sit on his armrest. Drew comes to his rescue and gets the foot to retreat–and before you say that’s unrealistic, it happened to me on a recent flight to Los Angeles. The hilarious thing is it happened well after I wrote about it. I guess I had bad karma for putting poor Nick and Drew through it.

If Nick and Drew knew they were going to be working together their first meeting probably would have gone differently. But they were just two strangers on a plane, and when a storm grounded the plane and they had to deal with an unexpected layover, they let their mutual attraction take its course.

All hell breaks loose when Nick realizes the attractive, funny human he’d slept with is the new doctor at Camp H.O.W.L. I wouldn’t call Nick specist, but he has some definite beliefs about whether or not a werewolf and a human can relate to each other enough to have a successful relationship. Luckily, Drew spends the book proving him wrong at every corner.

Excerpt:

Nick’s seat shook as the person behind him moved around, and a second later a socked foot emerged between the seats and propped itself on Nick’s armrest. Nick gritted his teeth and fought the urge to whirl around and bare shifted fangs at the person. At least the foot didn’t smell, but still. Common decency.

He was never flying with an airline that didn’t give you seat assignments again, no matter how outrageous the baggage fees were on other carriers. He normally boarded shortly before the flight attendants closed the doors, but on this airline he’d been assigned a boarding position, and if he hadn’t boarded early, he’d have been stuck in an even worse spot than he was in now. At least the seat next to him was empty.

He’d taken the window because it was the farthest he could get from the other passengers, and thankfully the person who’d sat in his aisle had left a seat between them. With any luck it would stay empty.

Nick leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes, but that only magnified his other senses. He could hear the baggage handlers tossing suitcases into the cargo hold underneath them and the low hum of the pilots running through their preflight checks. A kid a few rows back needed a diaper change, and someone else was watching one of those annoying BuzzFeed videos without headphones.

His flight from Denver to St. Louis had left so early that his fellow passengers had been blissfully quiet. Most had slept. He’d stuffed his earbuds in and listened to Morrissey wail about toxic relationships and the failings of the human condition to while away the two and a half hours.

This flight was barely an hour in the air, so with any luck he’d make it to Indianapolis before his migraine made his head explode.

“Sorry, just sliding by,” a voice said, and a moment later someone dropped into the seat next to him. He heard a hiss and a squeal from the row behind them, and when he cracked open an eye, he was gratified to see a laptop bag sitting on top of the armrest-stealing foot.

The bag lifted and the socked foot disappeared abruptly amid angry muttering from the girl it belonged to. Nick wondered if offering the man a high five would be considered rude.

“Sorry,” the man mouthed when Nick turned to him. “That was probably rude, but oh my God, who does that?”

The man gestured toward the armrest, and Nick half fell in love in that moment. He’d done it on purpose! And he was gorgeous, Nick realized as he took in the man’s strong jaw and broad shoulders. His cheeks were flushed like he’d had to run to catch the flight, and holy hell, between that and the bedhead, the effect went straight to Nick’s groin.

“Sociopaths,” Nick mouthed back. “Same people who bring Chipotle on the plane.”

Blurb:

Once in a blue moon, opposites find they’re a perfect match.

Nick Perry is tired of helping people with their marriages, so when a spot opens up to work with teens at Camp H.O.W.L., he jumps at it. He doesn’t expect to fall in lust with the dreamy new camp doctor, Drew Welch. But Drew is human, and Nick has seen secrets ruin too many relationships to think that a human/werewolf romance can go anywhere.

Happy-go-lucky Drew may not sprout claws, but he’s been part of the Were community all his life. He has no trouble fitting in at the camp—except for Nick’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge the growing attraction between them, and his ridiculous stance on dating humans. Fate intervenes when one of Drew’s private practice patients threatens his life. Will the close call help Nick to see a connection like theirs isn’t something to let go of?


Buy links:

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

iBooks

Google Play

About the Author

Bru Baker writes sophisticated gay romantic fiction with strong characters, real-world problems, and plenty of humor.

Bru spent fifteen years writing for newspapers before making the jump to fiction. She now balances her time between writing and working at a Midwestern library in the reference department. Whether it’s creating her own characters or getting caught up in someone else’s, there’s no denying that Bru is happiest when she’s engrossed in a story. She and her husband have two children, which means a lot of her books get written from the sidelines of various sports practices.

Visit Bru online at www.bru-baker.com or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

An Alisa Audiobook Review: Camp H.O.W.L. by Bru Baker and Dorian Bane (Narrator)

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

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?

This was a nice story.  Both of these characters had a lot of their own issues to get through for their relationship to work.  Adrian doesn’t connect the dots until it’s almost too late that he is going to go through his Turn.  Tate has made his life helping the young werewolves successfully complete their change and even if he’s hiding from himself.

Adrian has been living as a disappointment to his family ever since he didn’t go through his Turn like all those his age and I could feel his sadness and how detached he feels from his family because of this.  Tate has been running from the memory of his childhood for so long and helping others but you could see that even as he succeeds in helping most of the teens he doesn’t have a deep connection or friendship with many people.

I could see that they were both looking for somewhere to belong or someone to belong to but were afraid to voice that.  I still have to wonder at the end of story what about Adrian’s genetics caused him to go through the Turn late and it didn’t seem that anyone knew or seemed inclined to really find out.  I loved that they were both able to find somewhere to belong and be together with the support of Adrian’s family and their friends.

Dorian Bane did a great job narrating this story.  I was able to connect with the characters and feel their emotions in his reading as he used different voices for the characters.  His voice changes so much you really get to see the differences and personality of the characters.

Cover art by Aaron Anderson is very nice and works well for this story.

Sales Links: Audible | Amazon | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 6 hrs 55 min
Published: January 12, 2018 (ebook first published November 1, 2017) by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English

Series: Dreamspun Beyond

A MelanieM Advent Release Day Review: Homemade from the Heart by Bru Baker

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Craft store owner Grant has always been a sucker for a pretty face, and that goes double for a pretty face with an adorable sidekick. When seven-year-old Aubrey has her heart set on taking Grant’s already-full holiday craft series, he caves and gives up his one day off a week so she (and her hot guardian, Josh) can take private lessons. Their flirting ramps up week after week, and even though Josh isn’t with Aubrey’s mother, Grant can’t be sure the man isn’t straight. Maybe he’s just being friendly. And Josh, who most definitely is not straight, is afraid of being the creepy guy hitting on the teacher.

Frustrated by their stubbornness and cluelessness, Aubrey takes matters into her own hands. She decides the best gift to give Josh is something homemade and from the heart—a boyfriend they’ll both love.

Another absolutely adorable, full out Christmasy short story, Homemade from the Heart by Bru Baker is full of good cheer and romance.  How can it not be when one of the main characters owns and runs a craft store that’s making holiday crafts?  Hello Snowman and glitter by the buckets!  It made my inner kid want to reach for the glue and craft projects myself!

With a deft and loving touch, Baker’s characters come to life as Josh and Aubrey find their way to Grant’s store.  After finding Grant’s popular holiday craft series full, an improvised group of private lessons ensues and the road to romance is on.

I loved how natural, frazzled, and funny it all felt.  Nothing like a child, the oncoming date of Christmas and the need to make a series of presents can bring the pressure home and yet love of family too.  And both men are trying to make it special and find a path to each other as well.  The writing flowed, the storyline was fun and lovely, and the ending just right.

Homemade from the Heart by Bru Baker is one story I can not only recommend but wouldn’t mind checking back in on this couple later on in the year.  Aubrey too.

Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht.  That cover is perfect for the story. Loved it.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 55 pages
Published December 1st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640803107
Edition LanguageEnglish
setting Illinois (United States)

Bru Baker on Getting to know Tate, Werewolf camp counselor and her release Camp H.O.W.L. (author guest blog)

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Camp H.O.W.L. by Bru Baker

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson
Release date: Nov. 1, 2017

Buy links:

Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google Play

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Bru Baker here on her Camp H.O.W.L. tour.  Welcome, Bru.

 

Getting to know Tate, werewolf camp counselor by day, hermit by night

Hi, I’m Bru Baker, and I’m continuing my release tour for Camp H.O.W.L. here on Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words. Thanks for joining me, and thanks to Melanie, Stella, and the rest of the review crew here for having me here today.

I introduced everyone to brand  new werewolf (affectionately labeled fail!wolf in my  notes because he’s a late bloomer and in denial at first) Adrian yesterday on Love Bytes, so today I’m going to talk about Tate, the werewolf psychologist/camp counselor to troubled werewolf teens who Adrian ends up accidentally bonded to.

Tate went into psychology to help ensure that no wolfling had to deal with the same kinds of trauma and neglect he was raised in as part of a remote pack of werewolf supremacists who shunned human society and lived ruled by their baser instincts. It was no place for a reserved, thoughtful guy like Tate, and he escaped as soon as he was old enough to board a bus on his own and set out for college.

He’s been at Camp H.O.W.L. for years, and while he does have friends on the staff, Tate uses the camp as a crutch to help him avoid relationships. He spends his days surrounded by teenagers in the middle of the forest–it’s safe to say Tate isn’t known for putting himself out there with other adults. In the excerpt I’m sharing today, we see Tate trying to talk himself out of his attraction to Adrian, but his friend and mentor at the camp isn’t having any of it.

Blurb

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?

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: 238 pages
Tags: Gay; M/M; werewolves; Dreamspun Beyond

Excerpt

 

 

He’d expected living with Adrian to be difficult, but it wasn’t. And that upset him more than the thought of sharing space with someone who inconvenienced him. Adrian didn’t inconvenience him. Not in the least. Tate liked having him there. They’d been living in each other’s pockets for two weeks, and by all rights Tate should be climbing the walls—but he wasn’t. He looked forward to coming back to the cabin and having someone there to talk to. The way their scents had mingled in the shared spaces was maddening, but also comforting. For the first time he could remember, the cabin felt cozy and welcoming.

They were on the same page almost across the board—when they liked to eat, what they did in their free time, balancing quiet time with time spent hanging out. Adrian had slipped into Tate’s daily routine seamlessly. He was the ideal roommate, which should have been a good thing.

It wasn’t. Not by a long shot. Because along with the inside jokes and comfortable companionship came smoldering looks and flirty banter that made Tate’s inner wolf sing—and the rest of him shy away.

“Tell me again how it annoys you that he puts the cap back on the toothpaste,” Kenya drawled, and Tate scowled at her from his place on the floor.

“Don’t make it sound childish,” he snapped, aware he was being incredibly juvenile even as he said it.

“It sounds to me like you’re just looking for reasons the two of you aren’t a good match,” she said, and he threw the balled-up sock he had in one hand at her.

She caught it deftly, unfurled it, and examined it. “I was looking for that one!” she said triumphantly, matching it to one in her basket and folding them together.

“Remind me again why I agreed to help you fold your laundry?” Tate asked as he sought out more socks from the pile.

“Because you’re having an existential crisis, and I told you I couldn’t counsel you officially because the existential crisis is about one of my patients?”

Tate threw the unmatched socks back on the pile and lay back down, spreading out on her carpet. “It’s not an existential crisis.”

“It isn’t,” she agreed. “It’s not a crisis at all. It’s a good thing, and you don’t know how to deal with that. You, Tate Lewis, actually don’t know a good thing when it bites you in the ass, and that’s partly my fault. I should have made you go out and do more things before you installed yourself here as the camp hermit.”

He rolled up to his side and glared at her. “I am not the camp hermit.”

“You never leave the grounds. That makes this your hermitage.” She frowned. “Is that a word? Hermitude? No, that would be your hermit-y attitude. Hermitage, I’m sticking with that. We’ll get you a plaque made to put outside your cabin. Tate’s Hermitage.”

He groaned and rubbed his hands over his face. “And you can’t make me do anything, anyway. I’m my own man.”

“Sure you are, sugar,” she said sweetly. He didn’t doubt that if they’d been close enough, she would have patted his hand. “So be your own man on this and man up and make a move!”

Camp H.O.W.L. by Bru Baker

About the Author

Bru Baker spent fifteen years writing for newspapers before making the jump to fiction. She now balances her time between writing and working at a Midwestern library in the reference department. Most evenings you can find her curled up with a mug of tea, some fuzzy socks, and a book or her laptop. Whether it’s creating her own characters or getting caught up in someone else’s, there’s no denying that Bru is happiest when she’s engrossed in a story. She and her husband have two children, which means a lot of her books get written from the sidelines of various sports practices.

Visit Bru online at www.bru-baker.com or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Camp H.O.W.L. by Bru Baker

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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?

In Camp H.O.W.L. author Bru Baker gives us a story with so many wonderful new ideas that it kept me thinking of other story possibilities that extended past the ending of this heartwarming tale.  In a neat twist on wolf mates, Baker gives us “moonmates”, an instant bond that’s rare even in this universe.  We get the definition from those who ought to know, watch the progression of their bond, and then learn how the moonmate mythology has affected the couple in their pasts in markedly different ways.

Another terrific element?  That of a camp geared towards teaching werewolf youngsters how to handle the change in every way  possible.  I’m talking how not to use their Snapchat and expose  all of wolfdom to humans as well as werewolf hygiene.  It’s  rampant hormone time.  Brilliant!  Plus the breakdown in types and how that is handled at tables at the camp?  I really wanted to see more of that dynamic too.  Camp H.O.W.L. could absolutely be an endearing, connectible LGBT YA series, full of teens such as the ones  in here in need of support and guidance at the most important time of their lives.  Part of me wanted to see Tate and Adrian stay and continue on at the Camp doing just that.

However, the best part of  Camp H.O.W.L. is the romance between Tate and Adrian.  It’s sweet, mostly angst free, and downright heartwarming.  It will also make you howl for more because this is but the first stage in their lives and it ends just as another is getting started.  I know I wanted to know so much more about how Adrian’s family adjusted to Adrian’s new status and moonmate.  The “chemistry” the author got across between the characters more than made up for any small narrative gaps I felt I saw in the story.  But it  definitely doesn’t stop me from wanting to know what comes next.  And with Tate’s background, an entire book could be written on them and Tate’s new status as well.  See?  More possibilities!

Love werewolves and the mate bond?  Love a new romance with a twist?  Check out Camp H.O.W.L. by Bru Baker.  It’s one I definitely recommend.

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson did a terrific job with the cover.  Definitely caught my eye.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 238 pages
Expected publication: November 1st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635338003
Edition LanguageEnglish
settingIndiana (United States)