Author: Bru Baker
Book: Camp H.O.W.L.
HOUSE LINE: Dreamspun Beyond, #7
Page/Word Count: 238 pages, 60K words
Categories: Gay Romance, Shifter Romance
Release Date: November 1, 2017
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson
3.5✨s – When I read the premise of a camp to help young shifters learn to control their shifts, I had visions of Xavier’s school for X-Men and that was enough of a sell for me. Camp H.O.W.L is sorta kinda like that, tucked in the middle of nowhere, hefty price tag, and a staff dedicated to helping new shifters acclimate. It never expected one of those shifters to be a grown male, but then Adrian had long given up on ever having his Turn. Something he should have done at 19. When it happens, he’s walking down a busy city street and it threatens all the secrecy shifters have been dedicated to forever. Enter Tate, a counselor at Camp H.O.W.L., he’s called upon to retrieve Adrian from the local hospital before anyone finds out he doesn’t have the flu, agrees to become his Turnmate, helping him through his first real shift, and the bonds are formed.
As setups go, it started out wonderfully, then hit a plateau. Once Adrian and Tate are rooming together in Tate’s little cabin on the grounds of the Camp, I wanted to see some romance evolve. But Tate’s fighting the bond with everything he has and their personal growth together is overshadowed by that. If the growing moonmates issue isn’t enough, Adrian is still a first-time shifter learning along with all the other residents of the camp and much of that is glossed over. Add in the issue of an angsty teenager and there were three story arcs that could have melded so well together. The epilogue did accomplish that, but it was so abrupt, and without seeing that evolution, I didn’t feel the emotional connection I was hoping for.
That said, I hope this author revisits the Camp. There’s a world here that could become quite the series given the time to flesh it out. Overall, a good read with a new take on fated mates and one shifter fans will enjoy.
About Bru Baker:
Bru Baker has been writing for Dreamspinner Press since December 2012. She believes in Happily Ever Afters, but she almost always makes her characters work to get there. She and her husband live in the Midwest with their two young children, whose antics make finding time to write difficult but never let life get boring.
Where to find Bru Baker: