My Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Age Category: Adult
Type of romance: MM
Sheriff Lance Beaufort is not going to let trouble into his town, no sir. Tucked away in the California mountains, Mad Creek has secrets to keep, like the fact that half the town consists of ‘quickened’—dogs who have gained the ability to become human. Descended on both sides from Border Collies, Lance is as alert a guardian as they come.
Tim Weston is looking for a safe haven. After learning that his boss patented all of Tim’s work on vegetable hybrids in his own name, Tim quit his old job. A client offers him use of her cabin in Mad Creek, and Tim sees a chance for a new start. But the shy gardener has a way of fumbling and sounding like a liar around strangers, particularly gorgeous alpha men like Sheriff Beaufort.
Lance’s hackles are definitely raised by the lanky young stranger. He’s concerned about marijuana growers moving into Mad Creek, and he’s not satisfied with the boy’s story. Lance decides a bit of undercover work is called for. When Tim hits a beautiful black collie with his car and adopts the dog, its love at first sight for both Tim and Lance’s inner dog. Pretending to be a pet is about to get Sheriff Beaufort in very hot water.
I was in the mood for a fun lighthearted read and this one had been on my wishlist for a while, so I decided to buy it and start reading. This was exactly the type of read I was in the mood for, it’s a fun romantic read. And it has dog shifters, I like reading about unusual shifter types and animals like normal dogs and cats seems so rare, so that was another win. I also liked how the dog shifters had some dog habits as well, although they’re actually human shifters, namely dogs who gained the ability to shift into humans. Which was a bit weird, but definitely unique.
How to Howl of the Moon is told mostly from dual point of views of Lance and Tim. Lance is the sheriff of a small town called Mad Creek. He is also a dog shifter or quickened as they are called here. When Tim arrives into town acting suspicious (the sheriff makes him nervous), the sheriff thinks Tim is hiding something and decides to do some undercover work as his dog. Tim takes the dog in and this gives Lance the chance to snoop around. They slowly grow closer both as dog and man. And in the end the truth comes out about everything.
This was a delightful fun romance book. I liked the whole set-up, although it did feel a bit wrong how Lance was pretending to be a dog, but it made for some funny situations. And Lance did realize what he was doing was wrong, especially when he really starts to care for Tim and he realizes he has to try harder to connect in his human form as well. I like how he then as a man tries to get to know Tim as well. The romance was sweet with a bit of heat as well. It did develop a bit fast, especially as a lot of the build up was with Lance as a dog which Tim didn’t realize. So it felt like the romance and feelings had more time to build on Lance’s side than on Tim’s side.
I liked how the romance was low on the drama. While the romance develops a bit quickly, it is clear these two make for a great couple. I liked the way things developed and even the conflict felt realistic. Lance had handled a few things not so well and I thought it was good to see Tim stand up for himself, but then it got resolved a bit weirdly/ suddenly with one reveal. In a few places the pace or tone could feel a bit off or rushed, like Tim’s past, how that suddenly got wrapped up at the end. And the whole conflict resolving scene, one second they were still arguing and then suddenly it was all fixed, I wanted to see more of that and what made Tim change his mind or maybe had him be more open to hearing Lance out in the first place. It just felt a bit sudden.
There are some side characters, but mostly it’s only glimpses you get from those or how they fit into Tim and Lance’s story. The focus really is on those two, but there are some bits and pieces about other characters, which made me think those might be some of the future main characters. There are a few scenes from other point of views like one from Lily and one from Roman’s point of view, which worked well enough here, although I think they could just as easily be skipped.
One thing I didn’t really care for was the drug danger plot line. It felt a bit forced to me. It was the reason Lance was more suspicious of Tim and then later on it added some escalation and tension. But to me the danger and almost suspense like feel of those scenes didn’t fit the lighthearted fun tone of the rest of the book. And those scenes were very few, so it just felt like a weird addition when one of those scenes came along. There also wasn’t enough information about it to make me feel invested or curious about the whole plot line.
I liked the world building. The whole idea of this town with a large population of dog shifters and how the act like dogs in some cases. The whole thing was well done. Although I would’ve liked to know a bit more about the whole shifting and how it worked and how the people handled it. I especially wondered about the newly quickened dogs and how it was for them, but I think we’ll see more of that and the world in future books.
To summarize: This was a fun lighthearted romance book with dog shifters. I liked the whole concept of humans who could shift into dogs and how that influenced their behavior and life. The romance had this fun set-up with Lance basically keeping an eye on Tim while pretending to be a dog, this led to some fun scenes, but I was glad to see Lance realize what he was doing was wrong. The romance was sweet with a bit of heat, the romance developed a bit quickly mostly as part of the book Lance is a dog while Tim doesn’t realize that’s Lance. They made for a great couple. I didn’t really care about the drug danger plot line and the tone of that felt a bit off and misplaced next to the light and fun tone of the rest of the book, there also wasn’t enough attention for it to really explore the topic. I liked the set-up of this small town with plenty of dog shifters and the bits we get of how it all works. This book was the type of book I was in the mood for and I had fun reading this one.