REVIEW: Howling On Hold by E.J. Russell

The Official Description: Sometimes it’s harder to teach a young dog new tricks.

That’s why werewolves embark on a Howling: a three-year rite of passage in which they’re sent to a group residence to wrestle with their wolfy instincts and assimilate into the Wider World. But Tanner Araya’s Howling is almost over, and he could be called back to his remote pack at any moment. His twenty-first birthday might be his last chance to act on his strongest instinct and finally kiss Chase Denney.

Chase is RA at the Howling residence affectionately dubbed “the Doghouse,” and he takes his job seriously. So seriously that when he realized he was developing feelings for a resident, he forced himself to keep Tanner at a distance. But now that Tanner’s twenty-one, he’s not Chase’s charge any longer. They could be friends or—if Chase is lucky—something more. At least until they both return to their home packs for good, as tradition demands.

It would take a miracle for them to get together—especially when the other Doghouse werewolves insist on “helping.”

Warning: Many Frisbees are harmed in this story, forgiveness is not always easier than permission, and the five-second rule does not apply.

Just the facts: M/M supernatural romance, bit of a mystery and lots of comic relief

A comical supporting cast makes this book a great read. It’s an original concept! – Kinzie Things

My thoughts bit: Tanner Araya is staying at a group residence as part of his “howling”. This is basically a training period for young werewolves so that they learn to control the various urges they must overcome to exist in the world. From day one Tanner found himself interested in Chase! But Chase is off limits because he’s a RA…that is until the night of Tanner’s twenty-first birthday. A series of misfortunate events that begins with a mistimed kiss… ends with Tanner’s disappearance and Chase’s removal from his position!

This is very much a coming-of-age novel, even if all the characters are supernatural in nature. The werewolf community is steeped in tradition, and that tradition doesn’t sit well with Tanner. The problem is that his parents died when he was young and his Uncle has always been very supportive. His Uncle is running the pack but, ultimately, it should fall to Tanner. Tanner knows his life is about to change… that’s why he kisses Chase the night of his birthday.

Chase has a lot on his mind when he’s suddenly on the receiving end of a kiss from Tanner. It’s not that he doesn’t have similar feelings, but chaos has broken out within the group. Jordan… a young were who is kind of like a puppy on three pots of coffee…  has gotten himself into a cage fight with some creatures that are probably going to kill him.

Chase takes off to get Jordan out of trouble and a dejected Tanner begins a long walk home. The problem is that Tanner doesn’t make it home.

I’m not going to give away the story because there’s a little bit of a mystery that comes into play. Things in Tanner’s pack are a bit more complex than the reader first realizes… and there’s also the fact that Tanner is feeling as though he wants to rebel. He doesn’t want to return to his pack and have to leave behind his pack of choice. His roommates and Chase have become family to him.

Tanner is a lovely character. He’s pretty representative of a lot of young people I would think. This book is presented as a Young Adult book and has explicit sexual content – but the dialogue and characterization had the feel of a YA book. (There’s nothing wrong with that, I happen to like a lot of YA!) He’s coming to terms with the life he’s been raised to lead and the one that he can feel is a better choice for him. I know the book is set in an entirely different world, but there are lots of expectations put on young people.

Ultimately, this book is enjoyable! The supporting cast provides some real amusing reading. I’d read an entire book of Chase trying to keep Jordan in line, and I mean that! A great read if you like the genre.

Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) Descriptions of bullying in past, shooting, people held against their will, description of undernourished human, betrayal.

Readalikes: Other stories that are similar or give the same feel.

Links: Goodreads // The Author // The Publisher

I received an ARC of Howling On Hold by E.J. Russell from Riptide Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

ratings legend

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