Camp H.O.W.L. (NeRdyWYRM’s Review)

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Title: Camp H.O.W.L. (Dreamspun Beyond, Book #7)
Author: Bru Baker
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: 11/1/2017
Genre(s): Paranormal Romance
Page Count: 238 pages
Reviewed by: NeRdyWYRM
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
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?

Refreshingly Original

I’ve read hundreds of shifter romances and none of them had quite the same twists as this one. The world was interesting, the biological details were similar but different enough to be original, and the fated mates thing—while it exists here too—wasn’t necessarily a done deal and happened slightly differently for these particular shifters than the usual.

I also enjoyed the fact that both MCs were outliers in their own communities, each for different reasons, but still. It was refreshing to have the comfort of the familiar with the intrigue of something new. I enjoyed this story as it was a bit of a slow burn between the MCs, moonmates or not. They each had some baggage lurking around and some obstacles to overcome to make things work together, but nothing so extreme as to take away from the character or relationship building.

I had no complaints about POV switches, word usage, vague or euphemistic sex scenes, a lack of meaningful intimacy or any of the myriad other things that sometimes characterize shifter romances. I should have a hard time justifying anything less than a 4-star rating, but to be honest, though unique, I didn’t necessarily connect with the story in an evocative way. It was good, but not fantastic, well-written but not a particular stand-out, and even though I liked both MCs, I didn’t really get an abundance of feelz out of the thing.

It wasn’t boring, but it wasn’t especially fantastic either. Camp H.O.W.L. was well-executed and a nice departure from the norm. I just won’t be spinning cartwheels over it anytime soon. I recommend this read for folks who enjoy paranormal romance, are partial to shifters, and who are tired of the same ol’, same ol’.

This review is cross-posted at Goodreads. Other reviews by NeRdyWYRM can be read here.

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of Camp H.O.W.L. provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.


I am a life-long reader and an avid learner. I remember reading books without pictures when I was about four, and raided every title on my parents’ full and intimidating book shelves—well, the ones they would let me read, anyway—from then on. Characters written by authors like Isaac Asimov, Carl Sagan, Robert Jordan, David Eddings, Terry Brooks, Anne Rice, Stephen King, Raymond E. Feist, Mercedes Lackey, Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman, and Anne McCaffrey were my childhood playmates.

Back then, I went nowhere unless I had a book in my hand. While the rest of my generation was shifting from cassettes to CDs and from Atari to Nintendo, Sega, and Playstation, I spent my allowance on Myth & Magic pewter figurines and on books at the Stars and Stripes bookstore. These days I don’t have a book in my hand anymore, at least not the printed variety. Instead, it’s any device with a Kindle app.

I stubbornly held on to the printed page until a military move weighed my book collection in at over a ton. Oops. Sorry-not-sorry, but I did have to exercise some pragmatism in that area, unfortunately. Now I only buy hardbacks from my favorite authors, the classics, or long-running series. Otherwise, I’ve surrendered to the times and our weight allowance and have gone all digital.

I stay strictly on the fiction side of the fence because non-fiction is generally too dry to hold my interest. I was always a scholar, and so have read enough textbook-like titles and required reading for school and college to last me a lifetime, thank you very much. So, non-fiction? No, thanks. However, barring non-fiction and biographies (ewww people), there’s not much out there I won’t read.

I have loved romance novels since I was prepubescent. Something about historicals and anything with horses, i.e., Native American inspired romances just did it for me. My grandmother was appalled that my parents let me read that ‘smut’ as she called it. I’d already justified my position on being allowed to read those controversial titles with a logical argument that there were a lot of historical facts in those books that couldn’t be learned in the classroom alone. And to this day, I maintain that stance. I have learned more from books, specifically romance and fantasy novels, than I ever did in a classroom.


My dad always said I was too smart for my own good. Looking back, he was probably right! I could logically talk my way into and out of just about anything. It’s served me well, but caused me no end of problems, too. That said, despite my love for the romance genre in general and the m/m romance genre in particular, there is little chance that a decent book of any kind will fail to catch my interest, and there’s nothing at all I’m unwilling to learn. So bring it on. I hope you enjoy my reviews.

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