Length: 80,000 words
Cover Design: Reese Dante
Howl At The Moon Series
Rav Miller looked into the terrified, intelligent eyes of the chocolate Labrador on death row, and knew he’d do anything to save him. When the dog, Sammy, escapes and heads to Mad Creek, Rav follows. Mad Creek. The town had become legendary in Rav’s mind after he’d met that bizarre group last year. Rav dismissed his crazy suspicions back then, but when he arrives in Mad Creek, he knows it’s true. Dog shifters exist, and apparently they all live in the California mountains. It’s enough to blow a bad boy’s mind.
Sammy has something in common with Rav—neither one of them trusts people. After Sammy’s abuse as a dog, he particularly dislikes tough-looking men like Rav. But when Sammy gets a chance to work with rescued dogs at the new Mad Creek shelter, his deep compulsion to help others overcomes his fear. Rav and Sammy bond over saving strays. If they can each find the courage to let someone else in, they might find their way to love.
Sheriff Lance Beaufort doesn’t like humans moving into Mad Creek, especially not the tattooed and defiant Rav. When Rav starts a rescue shelter, the town thinks he’s wonderful! But Lance isn’t fooled. He doesn’t buy Rav’s innocent act for one second. How much does Rav know about the quickened? What is his game? And why did he have to show up now, when Lance and the other town leaders are overwhelmed by all the new quickened pouring in?
Rav knows how to save a life. But can he save an entire town? Can he rescue Mad Creek?
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How to Save a Life is the fourth book in the wonderful Howl at the Moon series and is, once again, a little gem. It is also the most recent title in this series, in fact, it was only released today. Unfortunately that meant that I couldn’t listen to it because the audio version isn’t available yet. Thankfully I listened to How to Wish Upon a Star so recently that the narrator’s voice was still clear in my head and I could hear the various voices even while reading the words with my own eyes.
I’m so very glad I took the time to listen to the third book before starting How to Save a Life. Rav was first introduced in that earlier title and his actions and thought processes in this story make sense because you know what he saw and experienced then. So I do strongly suggest you read these stories in order.
Rav is a typical case of first impressions being deceiving. He may look like a hard-arse biker, a tough man who might not be trustworthy; he is in fact a beautiful soul who has transformed his disappointment with humans into a deep and selfless love for dogs.
Sammy…sighs. Sammy at the start of the story broke my heart. In fact, the first chapter of the book was very, very hard to read. The only reason I could read on was that I already knew where Sammy would end up and that he would be okay. But he certainly doesn’t start of fine. Filled with guilt over events he couldn’t have prevented and the victim of cruelty, he is a bundle of fear and doubt, no longer able to trust humans. When he first sees Rav he’s scared witless, sure he will once again face hardship.
When Sammy applies for a job in Rav’s shelter he’s asked for his reasons. What he says gives voice not just to his, but also to Rav’s motivation:
“I came because… I know what it’s like to love someone and lose them, and end up in a bad place because… you were not good enough. I know what it’s like to be one of a whole bunch of dogs in a cage , to think that no one will ever come for you. To know something bad is going to happen and not be able to get free. To see others taken away to die and not be able to do anything to help them. I know what it’s like to want love, to want to give love, with all of your guts and your head and your teeth and everything, but to be afraid to try because it hurts.”
It’s Rav’s infinite patience and this need of Sammy’s to help other dogs that make it possible for Sammy to slowly get out of his shell. He needs to learn to trust Rav, the new community in Mad Creek he’s now part of and, most importantly, himself. His journey is beautiful and, after the first chapter, filled with hope and heartwarming.
This book is different from the first three in that the tension doesn’t come from the outside. This time it is Mad Creek’s success as a safe haven for Quickened that threatens its very existence and the ideas Rav comes up with to solve the problem are nothing short of brilliant.
In fact, that has to be my verdict on the series as a whole: nothing short of brilliant. I continue to be amazed and delighted at how well Eli Easton gives voice to the Quickened. The words they use are human but the way they use them and their honesty, enthusiasm and trust are so very doglike it left me with a huge smile on my face while reading.
At the end of How to Wish Upon a Star I thought I spotted a future threat to Mad Creek. While it is possible that I just imagined it, I like to think that the fact that the danger I thought I recognised didn’t materialise in this book means that there has to be at least one more Howl at the Moon book to come. I can’t begin to tell you how hard I hope that is indeed the case.
As an avid reader of such, she is tickled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness, and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, two bulldogs, several cows, and a cat. All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest fiction writing.
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