How did I get it: Netgalley.
Why did I read it: I liked the summary, I liked the cover, and I figured I’d enjoy a book about gay werewolves.
How I would rate it: 2 out of 5 stars.
It’s nine o’clock the morning after his father’s funeral, and Ezra Jones already knows it’s going to be a bad day. He wakes up hungover, sore, and covered in blood. Then it gets worse: the handsome and compelling Callum Dawson shows up on his doorstep claiming Ezra’s been turned into a werewolf. Ezra wants to be skeptical, but the evidence is hard to ignore.
Ezra doesn’t have a lot of time to get used to the rules Alpha Callum imposes—or the way his body responds to Callum’s dominance—as he’s busily working for the CDC to help uncover the origins of a lycan epidemic. When the sexual tension finally breaks, Ezra barely has time to enjoy it, because a new danger threatens. Someone wants Ezra for their own unscrupulous purposes and will do anything to get him.
Review: Over all, the writing was pretty solid and I never felt like I was reading something by two authors, which is always cool. That said, I felt severely let down by the book as a whole, particularly in terms of character development, plot, pacing, and organization. I wanted to like what happened just as I wanted to enjoy Ezra becoming comfortable being a werewolf, but I didn’t like the sort of werewolf he was fated to be or that the plot was sort of all over the place and really didn’t come together all that well.
As werewolves/lycans/etc, none of the pack members were really well-developed and most of them were irritating due to being defined by one to two characteristics. I spent the whole book wishing all of them would go away so that there could have been some more Gay Romance in my Gay Romance. Sadly, the first 100 pages of the book offer very little. I had a very hard time caring about Callum and Ezra’s sudden yet inevitable relationship. I liked both characters individually as well as their situation and the humor in their point of views, but I felt like the book really went out of its way to say that what was going on between them initially had no genuine romantic vibe so much as werewolf pheromones that they both had little control over there pheromones due to lack of experience on Ezra’s part and an inability to want to reign himself in on Callum’s.
While I was waiting for them to make some progress, Ezra had awkward scenes with werewolf woman that nearly made me abandon the book. Then he went out and found someone else to sleep with, which really didn’t help matters. Then Callum explained to him what was going on and they just sort of decided to see what happens sometime after the Full Moon once Ezra has come to terms with what he is. But as soon as the Full Moon hit and after an awkward human to wolf transition, they go at it like crazed teenagers without any further adieu or really any sort of conversation.
The book got somewhat back on track somewhat once the werewolves were finally in a relationship although I didn’t really get why they’d developed one and by then I wasn’t sure what the actual plot was supposed to be either. Then another plotline showed up and while I didn’t mind the kidnapping angle? By the time it was added to the mix along with a villain named Darius Maulsby,* it couldn’t be more than a nice notion that couldn’t serve as interesting a purpose as I would have liked. Similarly, the ending struck a fairly sweet chord for me, but not nearly as much of one as it might have had I been invested in Callum or Ezra for the bulk of the book.
Maybe more die-hard fans of Werewolf Paranormal Romances will view Pheromones Made Them Do It as a pleasant break from the Insta-Soul-Mate angle that continues to be very popular? But somehow I doubt it because at least if Callum and Ezra had been mates there would have been some engaging aspects to the brief not-courtship they had. Learning to control scents combined with copious usage of the words Alphas, alphas, and betas** to explain the dynamics between Callum and Ezra was not an adequate substitute for emotional chemistry.
In conclusion, a quick and fun read with a clever title, but not a very successful Gay Romance. There such a real rushed and uneven quality to so much of what I actually liked that I really wouldn’t recommend Hair of the Dog to others.
* That’s right. Darius Maulsby. Granted, that was apparently not his real name… But honestly it just isn’t a name anyone should adopt as an alias, particularly not an evil werewolf who doesn’t want to get laughed at. For one thing, a name like that belongs in a Historical Gay Werewolf Romance. For another, it is a hard name to take seriously. It’s like naming an evil vampire Markus Von Plasmastein.
** I’m still not sure when one uses a Big A or a little a. Or what the actual difference would be.