Audiobook Review by Kristie: Once Upon a Wolf, by Rhys Ford (Narration by Derrick McClain)

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Once Upon a Wolf, by Rhys Ford
Narration by: Derrick McClain
Series: The Wayward Wolves, Book 1
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 16, 2018

Book Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Audio Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Gibson Keller’s days are fairly routine: wake up early, get some work done, drink lots of coffee, and take care of Ellis, his older brother, stuck in wolf form after coming home from the war. It’s a simple life made up of long runs on two legs – or four – and quiet evenings…until Ellis chases a handsome man off a cliff and into the frozen waters beside their cabin, changing Gibson’s life forever.

For Zach Thomas, buying an old B&B is a new start. Leaving behind his city life, he longs to find peace and quiet, and hiking the trails behind his property seems safe enough – right up to the moment an enormous black wolf chases him into a lake, nearly drowning him. Discovering werewolves are real astounds him, but not as much as the man who rescues him from the icy water, then walks into Zach’s heart as if he owns it.

Loving a werewolf – loving Gibson with all his secrets – has its challenges, but Zach believes their love is worth fighting for, especially since his heart knows the big, bad wolf is really a prince in disguise.


M/M Pairing
Gay Characters
Small Town

The more Rhys Ford I read, the stronger my love for her writing grows. Once Upon a Wolf was not a different experience. While I did have a few little issues, none of them were enough to take away how much, in the end, I enjoyed this book. And listening to it was even better.

For the book and story, I really liked both MCs. Gibson and Zach are both very interesting people with histories I wanted to know more about, especially in the case fo Gibson. Being a shifter just adds to the multi-layered dimensions that made Gibson who he is. Zach has an open and curious way about him that made me want to know more about him. I fell hard for the curious nature he has, and the way that it brought joy and wonder to the story made me so happy.

Where the story lags a little bit is in the romance, but for me, not so much that it made me unhappy. Gibson has a lot to deal with due to his brother Ellis staying in wolf form, not able to shift back. Ellis has PTSD from being in a war, and taking care of him, making sure he’s not found out, is all part of the book. During the time where Gibson and Zach should be connecting on a personal level, they’re taking care of Ellis. But, I think that even though the romance development isn’t a typical or what one may expect, it happens in a different, really unique way.  Zach is there for both brothers but in different ways, and this makes for great relationship building. Gibson is able to see just how committed Zach is to getting to know them, and in helping Ellis. I think that Ellis gains a good friend in Zach as well, helping to bring them all closer.

The way things are left in this book didn’t leave me feeling like any of them are on totally solid ground, but Zach and Gibson do have a great start. Where things go for Ellis, well, hopefully that will be in the next book. There are also other loose ends that I think need to be addressed throughout the series. All of this leaves me excited to see just where Ford takes them all.

For the narration, I think this is my favorite by Derrick McClain, so far. He’s been hit or miss for me, but finding narrators you REALLY LOVE is such a personal thing. I don’t dislike McClain’s narration, I just don’t often find his voice close to what I anticipated a character to sound like. This time though, he does a fantastic job, I think in particular with Zach. McClain’s varied voices for each of the characters ring true for me, and he really brought the story to life… he’s enhanced the book for me and I’m anxious for the next book and his continued, hopefully, narration of the series.

So, I think I really dig this book, I really dig the audiobook, and I’m excited for more!


Rhys Ford is an award-winning author with several long-running LGBT+ mystery, thriller, paranormal, and urban fantasy series and was a 2016 LAMBDA finalist with her novel, Murder and Mayhem. She is published by Dreamspinner Press and DSP Publications.

She’s also quite skeptical about bios without a dash of something personal and really, who doesn’t mention their cats, dog and cars in a bio? She shares the house with Yoshi, a grumpy tuxedo cat and Tam, a diabetic black pygmy panther, as well as a ginger cairn terrorist named Gus. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird and enjoys murdering make-believe people.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

You can purchase Once Upon a Wolf from:

Publisher | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Or add it to Goodreads

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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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