Wolf Moon

Title: Wolf Moon
Author: Ethan Stone
Cover Artist: Justin James
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: Paranormal M/M
Length: Novel/226 PDF pages
Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Review Summary: Perhaps a little more plot and a lot less sex might have saved this book for me.

THE 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?

THE REVIEW

Jack had lost his parents in a car crash when he was 5 years old and he grew up with foster parents, but from all accounts he had a happy childhood with a family who loved him.  Jack was a junior in college when he met Derek at a party and his entire life changed in an instant. It was lust at first sight although Jack informed Derek that he had a rule: No sex on the first date because sex had become stale and boring to him.  However that strategy didn’t last long because for someone who was tired of sex Jack couldn’t be in the same room or even a balloon with Derek, without getting it on, which was part of my problem with Wolf Moon.

Jack had a strange reaction to Derek when they met and at first he thought it was his imagination playing tricks. He soon realized that it was something much bigger, a connection he had never felt for anyone else. But before their friendship developed any further he  had to fight off one of Derek’s previous lovers, Elias, a real nutcase but a very dangerous wolf who had many followers. Their animosity continued throughout the book as the ex thought that he and Derek were fated to be together forever and he made a nuisance of himself at every turn.  After disposing of Elias temporarily, lies almost wrecked the budding relationship between Derek and Jack.

The plot centred around Jack’s birthmark which indicated that he was a Chosen One and a lot is made of the birthmark in the book. Everyone wanted to see it and verify what they believed it signified, but it was way past the half way mark in the book before all was explained to Jack and he understood that his destiny was to be an alpha and a leader. However, before ascending to his new role he would have to knock off the current alpha, a huge step that would divide the pack.

There were a few paranormal elements in the story which made it interesting. For example, Jack could feel Derek in his head and visualize him even when he was miles away, a connection only mated pairs experience. There were other clues about Jack’s status as a were and his bond with Derek such as precognition when Derek was in danger, but he was ignorant regarding their significance until he changed. His biological parents’ history was introduced as a critical element of his ascension as alpha and of course there were secrecy and trust issues but ultimately the plot petered out, and except for the battle at the end, the book wasn’t a satisfactory read for me. There was also a sub plot involving Derek’s father which, while a convenient way to wrap up the story, didn’t work for me.

There were more cons for me about Wolf Moon than there were pros. While I can overlook most of the cons, if there is one thing I abhor it’s a lot of pet names, and from the beginning Jack called Derek “pup” ad nauseum which really grated on me. You may not mind pet names but in this case it continued throughout the book every time Jack and Derek were together. I didn’t find the dialogue to be smooth, which affected the flow of the story- it was almost disjointed in parts of the book which made reading it not as pleasurable as I would have liked. Perhaps the author was trying for a different “voice” for his protagonists than in his contemporary stories.

Both men had complicated backgrounds and while Derek could have lived off his rich parents he chose another path, that of working for a living, which helped his characterization but didn’t quite make me love him. As for Jack I found him distracted and distracting and didn’t feel I knew him.

I have read several other books by Ethan Stone which I loved but Wolf Moon, his first paranormal, just didn’t make the grade for me. There was so much missed potential here and the main plot didn’t kick in until late, except for intermittent skirmishes and attacks on Jack and Derek.  The story arc was obvious from the beginning so there were no surprises, which didn’t help to keep the tension high. It was also too easy to figure out who was behind all the attacks because it was telegraphed early in the book. This story is told in Jack’s first person POV and this might be one of the reasons why I had a difficult time with it because I couldn’t connect to him or even Derek, the other protagonist. They were likeable enough but other than being weres I didn’t find them special and I thought that the book was crammed with sex at the expense of the plot.  I also felt that many of the other characters were two dimensional at best, including Jack’s roommate and Derek’s best friend Josh who loved to walk around naked. 🙂  Last, the protagonists did not light any fires when they were together outside of the sex, and the romance didn’t jell.

Wolf Moon didn’t work for me but maybe it will for you. Some of the plot towards the end unfolded well and was exciting and I wish there was more of  it earlier in the story, but the writing was still repetitive. This time Ethan Stone needed to bring his A game and unfortunately it seemed he lost it on the way.

Author

I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports – especially baseball

16 comments

  • I have to say I don’t agree with you. I bought Wolf Moon as soon as it was released also and I loved it. I actually liked it better than his first two books because I am a paranormal/shifter lover. I want erotic sex and a great connection with a HEA. A little mystery is good but not when it is the soul focus of the book. Example, I can’t get interested in Josh Lanyon even though I think he is a really talented writer. I read Somebody killed his Editor and there was not enough sex and erotica in them it keep me interested. I finished it, but was really disappointed. I totally think of m/m as erotica or I would not read it. Ethan’s use of pup did not bother me either because my DH has nick names for everyone so maybe it just seems normal to me. All four kids, myself included has more than one pet name and we are never called by our actual names at home. I think the use of pup was endearing. I loved his short story, in my early m/m erotica days and this book was no exception for me.

    Reply
    • Hi Depper1
      I’m glad you enjoyed Wolf Moon.

      I think this is simply a matter of different tastes. I don’t read M/M for the sex I read it for the plots and excellent characterizations and Wolf Moon didn’t work for me. I read many M/M romances with lots of sex but usually the ones I love are those that are balanced.

      As for the use of pet names, again this is a personal preference, and when almost each page the protagonists are together is sprinkled with the word “pup”, like everything else that’s overdone (including sex) it becomes boring and stale, for me anyway.

      Thank you for commenting.

      Reply
  • I just finished Wolf Moon. Could. Not. Put. It. Down. Ethan’s writing is like my thinking. Sick minds think alike and all that. I see alot of potential for a series there. I would like to see Salem & Kaley, Josh & someone?? I love the use of pet names, I think it shows us that the characters are special to each other. The pet name “pup” was perfect because Jack started using it before he knew Derek was a wolf! I assume that all of us read Erotica for the sex, so to amount of sex was not a problem for me! Oh Ethan, if only you could write them as quickly as I read them. Thanks for another great read!

    Reply
    • Hi Tina
      Thanks for commenting and I’m happy you liked Wolf Moon.

      I assume that all of us read Erotica for the sex, so to amount of sex was not a problem for me!

      The thing is, I read M/M romances for the plots and characters and their journeys to their HEA or HFN or something in between. I don’t consider M/M to be erotica but many of the books are erotic romances. On the other hand there are also many M/M books that contain very little sex that resonate with me. I love sex when it doesn’t take over the book at the expense of the plot, and I did have difficulties with the plot of Wolf Moon which kicked in very late.

      I loved Ethan’s other books which contained a lot of sex but there was a clear and defined plot. In Wolf Moon I found that the plot took a back seat to the sex which was overwhelming, at least to me.

      As for pet names, just not my thing and I thought that in Wolf Moon “pup” was overused. 🙁

      However as I said at the beginning, I’m very happy you enjoyed this book.

      Reply
  • I actually enjoyed this book. The “pup” thing made me a little crazy but over all I liked it. I was warned about the amount of sex before I read it, so that wasn’t really an issue for me. Also, I don’t read a lot of paranormal, so I didn’t really have any expectations. Maybe that helped?

    Reply
    • Hi Marilyn

      I’m happy you enjoyed Wolf Moon. This is the first book of Ethan’s that I couldn’t say was a favourite.

      I know that Ethan’s stories have a lot of sex and I have no problem with the sex, but it was the fact that the amount of sex took over the plot that bothered me.

      I read a lot of paranormals – almost as much as contemporaries, and I have certain expectations that I didn’t feel were met in Wolf Moon.

      I enjoyed all of Ethan’s contemporary stories and the sex didn’t bother me because I thought it was appropriate for the plots and I know that Ethan’s fans will probably love this book. 🙂

      Reply
  • I read the extract for this one and decided against it even though the whole thing sounded so much my thing. Having seen your review I’m so smug now, for once I made the right decision and was not seduced by the werewolf and the pretty cover. Go me! Oh and you too Wave. :bravo:

    Reply
    • Hi Raine
      I liked the contemporary books by Ethan Stone so I was really looking forward to his first paranormal, which is why I was so disappointed. I’m hoping he’ll try again and develop the story more fully and not depend on the sex to sell it. 🙁

      Reply
  • Hey Wave thanks for the review. I think Christian got better with the relationship idea by the second book, right? I was on the fence with this one. I’ve just come off the high of reading Josh Lanyons This Rough Magic and Harper Foxs Last Line. Plus I’m rereading Ginns Lord of the White Hell books so I think I’m going to skip this one. I just think I would be let down by this one. I love paranormal but it needs to be good and with a new twist. This sounds just ok to me.

    Reply
    • Hi Lisa
      I didn’t enjoy the book but depending on your taste you might, although given what you’ve read lately maybe not. As for Cristian, Flesh and Blood showed a more mature side of his personality.

      I think the story was a missed opportunity, for me anyway.

      Reply
    • Hi Larissa
      I think that this book shows that not every writer can do both contemporary and paranormal. There are certain conventions in paranormal stories that are hard to grasp for someone new to the genre.

      Reply
  • I agree with your review. This was my first Ethan Stone book and I did not enjoy it. Can you rec other ones that are better?

    Reply
    • Hi Lasha
      This book was a disappointment but I liked In The Flesh Ethan’s first book and Flesh and Blood the sequel, both of which were reviewed by Buda on the site. I reviewed one of his “shorts” Being Taught which I also liked a lot. You might want to start with the short.

      I would suggest that you read Buda’s reviews before getting the books since you may not like Detective Cristian Flesh who doesn’t believe in relationships. 🙂

      Reply
  • Thanks for this insightful review. I got the e-book from Dreamspinner Press when it first came out and started it immediately, but could not finish it due to the same issues you raised. Jack and Derek just annoyed me!

    That “pup” thing was also grating. Kim Dare’s Mark of an Alpha is full of it, for example. Authors, just say no to the overuse of “pup” as an endearment, please. I would also add “kitten” to that for any feline shifter stories.

    Reply
    • Hi Jen
      I couldn’t connect to Derek and Jack as protagonists which was part of the reason I didn’t enjoy the book. I love paranormal stories and I thought this was a can’t miss – I had read many of Ethan Stone’s contemporary stories and liked them a lot, but Wolf Moon proved that every good author has a stumble or two.

      Calling Derek “pup” throughout the book drove me crazy and was the icing on a not very good cake.

      Reply

Please comment! We'd love to hear from you.

%d bloggers like this: