3.5 stars – A nice solid read about a very reclusive werewolf living in a cabin in the woods who has his quiet, wolfy life changed when a good-looking, impetuous young man from the city vacations each season in the cabin nearby.
What I liked: It’s a nice quiet story that focuses pretty much entirely on the growing relationship between the two MCs--Axton, our socially awkward werewolf who has been living like a lone wolf so long, he has to remind himself “What would a human do right now?”, and Leander, the muscly city boy who has come to the forest to get away and do work, and finds bothering the hermit next door as a fun pastime.
Axton is sweetly neurotic, and very much a wolf puppy in a man’s body, especially around Leander, who he can’t help but grow very attached to, and if he had a tail in his human form, would wag it at each time Leander said something nice to him. Leander is a mix of breezy and pushy, which works well for Axton, whose inner wolf is very attracted to Leander’s bossy directions.
I also really dug the seasonal structure of the story, as Axton’s solo routine is interrupted every few months by Leander’s entry, and how things change with the passing of each period. This is a nicely quiet read, and is very much not the same-old-same-old shifter story.
What was harder: I liked Axton, but he ruminated a lot, which slowed the already quiet story down for me, and was a drag on the pacing in places. I started skimming a little when I would hit a thinking pocket of what I would call “Emo Shifter time” as Axton worries about his feelings for Leander, about how liking straight Leander is fruitless, and about his wolf-life balance secret.
The story is self-published, which overall didn’t bother me at all, but I would recommend another editing pass to catch some errors and missing words. Also, there was some POV shifts mid-scene which was a little jarring sometimes.
For UST fans, this is a highly USTy story, since it takes our MCs a long while to get close, but I didn’t mind the slow progress. It matched the sweet nature of the story.
Recommended especially if you like shifter/paranormal romances, but are up for something sweetly different from the norm. The author did a really nice job of taking something that could come off as tired, but gave it a warm new light.
(I also think the cover is pretty awesome.)