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Publisher's Summary

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 21st 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 21, 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.

©2020 E. J. Russell (P)2020 Riptide Publishing

What listeners say about Howling on Hold

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Daisycat68
  • 2020-05-24

DNF about a third of the way through.

The good: Greg Boudreaux. He has considerable skill in voicing a multitude of different characters with distinction, including various ethnicities and genders. His pacing and acting out the scenes could not be classified as mere narration. Definitely check out his extensive work (he also goes by Greg Tremblay).

The bad: this story is a hot mess. MILD SPOILERS below.

Firstly, this book might be classified as a stand alone, but it relies on an extensive range of characters and world building that was established in like six previous books. They aren't just random cameos like "we saw ... at a cafe" but these people have major roles in the story that had already been established. There is also quite a bit of their society and various supernatural beings and customs that we are presumed to already know about and understand. If like me, you picked this up (it's the author's first audio recording even though the book has MANY earlier books in the same universe), you will be lost. Full stop. There are simply too many different people and situations that already occurred.

As an aside, I thought that perhaps I would pause the audio and go back and read the previous books, but they don't get the greatest reviews. Also, a major character, Mal, has quite a lot of non-con/rape in his story, so I am not going to read that. FYI.

Next, I can't stand one of the mains and several of the supporting cast. Chase (the RA and presumptive alpha) is SO whiny! He doesn't give off leadership vibes at all. He self flagelates about everything: it's my fault Jordan went into the fight room, it's my fault Gage drank alcohol as a minor, it's my fault Tanner ran off after the kiss, it's my fault he's missing even though the council removed me from the residence immediately, on and on. Ugh. And the council's (whatever they're called) reaction is so over the top, yet they replace Chase with an RA who DOESN'T NOTICE that one of his charges is MISSING for THREE MONTHS! How is that guy better than Chase? Also, aren't the other guys friends with Tanner? Why is it that NOT ONE OF THEM noticed that Tanner just disappeared for months, used his room for all their clandestine stuff, and then when Chase questioned why they didn't notice he was missing, claimed "Tanner isn't our responsibility." Wow. Seriously nice friends.

Then Chase goes on this quest to find Tanner, and we get this involved lesson into the way things work, and I was just irritated and bored at that point. I have no idea what happens next, nor do I care.

This novel reads like an amateur attempt, which I generally have more empathy for, except the author has a bunch of previous books published, so I guess her writing is just not that good. I won't be reading this or anything else from her. I love this genre but this book fell far short.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • RACHEL REED
  • 2020-12-08

A sweet coming of age shifter romance!

This was a sweet coming of age shifter romance.
The characters were likeable, engaging and well fleshed out and I liked the overall setting of the story.
Chase and Tannet were so adorable together and I loved the chemistry between them.

Greg Boudreaux's narration and impeccable audio delivery really brought the characters to life.

Overall a fun and enjoyable listen.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mari Cardenas
  • 2020-04-30

Good start to the series!

4.25 Stars!

So, first thing first, while Howling on Hold is book 1 in the series, it can't be read as a standalone. There are a lot of recurring characters from E.J. Russell's Fae out of Water and Supernatural Selection series and you'll be lost and/or confused over who is who if you haven't read those before. I've read all the books in both series and even I found it difficult to keep up a couple of times, and frankly, they're so good, that you don't want to miss out on them.

I really liked Tanner and even if I wasn't sure about Chase at first, he grew on me as the book progressed. They were sweet and had tons of chemistry.

However, the romance portion of the story fell a bit to the background with everything that was happening with Tanner's cousin and uncle and his reticence to become his pack's Alpha and all the problems Chase had as their Doghouse pack's RA. Still, there's action, some angst, a few twists and turns I frankly didn't see coming —especially one regarding Tanner— and it gave me the chance to catch up with some of my favorite E.J. Russell characters and meet a few new ones. I adored the juniors, especially Jordan, who was too adorbs for words, and I'm looking forward to getting to know them better in the next book(s).

Regarding the narration, you simply can't go wrong with Greg Boudreaux, he's amazing and his performance is top-notch as always, especially considering there are a lot of characters in the story, so it's easy to get confused. However, Greg gave them all a distinctive voice and brought them to life for me. Definitely recommendable!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Staci D Black
  • 2022-02-15

Modern era community growth.

It's inspiring to read about others challenging closed mindedness. Breaking outdated social constructs is important for moving forward as any species. Very sweet love story unfolding along the way.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2021-10-05

omg

there can't be people in the world that are this stupid can there? so many times I had to pause the book exasperated as to how the main characters could be do naive.

it's a good book don't get me wrong, but darn it the signs were all there.

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  • L.D.
  • 2021-08-29

Howls of Fun

Howling on Hold is the first book in the Mythmatched series, but in the Mythmatched World, it’s the seventh book. However, it can easily be read as a standalone, even though I highly suggest reading all the previous books in this series because they are so good. Tanner is a young werewolf who’s dreading his transition into adulthood. He’s grown up with the expectation that he will one day become the alpha for his pack – a job he is not excited about. He’d much rather spend his time with Chase, the older, handsome RA who Tanner has been crushing on. Much to his surprise, his affections for Chase are not so onesided as he once believed. Mix in some danger and mystery as well as the wonderful worldbuilding of the Mythmatched universe, and this is a fantastic book. I really enjoyed it and had a blast reading it.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Erryn Barratt
  • 2021-08-09

What happens in the dog house doesn’t stay there

Chase’s job as an RA at the dog house is to oversee the teenagers into their maturation during their howling. Simple enough, right? And he’s good at his job. He takes it seriously. He monitors Hector’s pizza intake. He scolds Jordan’s propensity for destroying frisbees. And he’s watched Tanner mature into a bright and beautiful young man who is fascinated with werewolf lore. Who wants to be more than just a manual laborer back in his family’s compound. Tanner yearns to study, yet his familial obligation weighs heavy.

The night of his 21st, things come to a head. Tanner and Chase are separated, and it looks pretty grim for the romance that never got started. Have no fear, they do reunite and fight against malevolent forces – with the help of many of the characters from the author’s Fae out of Water series – including Mal, Alan, and Hamish the kangaroo shifter. Throw in a vampire, a bear shifter and…well, you get the picture. An epic battle. And, of course, the other members of the dog house are along for the ride of chaos and mayhem.

I truly enjoyed this book. As much as I rooted for Tanner and Chase, Jordan stole the show. I’m waiting for him to get his own book. I can’t wait to see who can tame and at the same time nurture that enthusiasm.

Kudos to Greg Boudreaux who did a lovely job narrating the book. Can’t wait for the next one.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Bennett
  • 2021-02-20

Recommend!

I love both this writer and narrator, but there’s something about this book that keeps me from 100% joy. I think it’s because of the insecurity and self-doubt both MCs have with each other. It’s understandable in the plot circumstances, and well written, just kind of personally annoying to me. I think perhaps the combination of text and narration kind of keeps that (mild) irritation at the forefront of my listening experience.

Having said that, it’s a great story and I’ve read AND listened to it more than once, so take my complaint for what it’s worth. Ms. Russell writes a wonderful and complex paranormal tale, which both stands alone AND fits into an existing universe, and Mr. Boudreaux is one of the most talented narrators I’ve listened to, so definitely recommend!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Julie
  • 2020-09-23

great performance, fun story

one of my favorite authors and narrators together! the story was fun and exciting though I would suggest reading EJ Russell's books in publication order to better understand the characters as many of them are reoccurring. Greg Boudreaux did a phenomenal job with many different characters and accents easily distinguishable.

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  • Natalie Nicole
  • 2020-09-05

A pure delight especially for fun-loving people!

I just wanted to dive from my audio system right into this world. E. J. Russell added a very special spin to the shifter genre with this wonderful story. We have so many wonderful elements going on that worked together synergistically. We have a tradition of wolf shifters sending young adult wolves off from their 18th to 21st birthdays to gain experience and learn control in mostly human society. We have inherited positions within a pack and expectations that are being tested on all sides and in many ways. And, most importantly, other shifters types as well as other supernatural beings vampires, witches, demons) that exist in the writer's universe making it beautifully complex and richly imaginative.
In the story, we encounter Tanner Araya who's three-year Howling stint is coming to a close as his 21st birthday approaches. He doesn't look forward to ascending to the position of leader to a dying pack composed of eight adult males and no females! He is hoping he could have a more intimate relationship with Chase Denney, the resident assistant at "The Doghouse", but a botched kiss leaves him embarrassed and wanting to hide. Making his way back to the residence to dread both Chase and the imminent return to his pack, he is nearly run down by a car occupied by his cousin who has mistreated him for years. Certain his life is in jeopardy and determined to leave his old pack behind, Tanner goes wolf and runs off. When Chase discovers he's been missing since his birthday, he launches a search for him all the while realizing he feels so much more than a mere sensual desire for Tanner.
There was so very much to love about this story especially the characters sharing the "Doghouse" residence with Tanner and Chase. My absolute favorite is Jordan who's the youngest and still delighted by frisbees, hole-digging, butt-sniffing, and urine marking! The bad guy in the book is sufficiently disturbing and thoroughly plausible for the narrative. Incredible world-building, believable characters of a fantasy universe, and a sufficiently sophisticated story arc make this book one of the most enjoyable. And with an audiobook version splendidly narrated by awesome Greg Boudreaux--one of the best readers of M/M romance in the business, this novel is a complete winner! Well done, EJ Russell! Very well done!