Originally posted @BMBR on October 8, 2017
Mad Creek. How I love thee. After googling Mad Creek, California and finding out it’s just a stream, my plans for moving have been placed on hold until a real shifter town opens. *sigh* I love this series and have loved each and every book…until this one. We met Rav in book three and I was excited to find out that the broody, growly, tattooed dog shelter owner was going to get a starring role in this book.
In How to Save a Life, we are introduced to Sammy, a sweet chocolate lab. Sammy got the spark when his original owner passed away. He moved to a new home that was full of abuse and unfortunately shaped the way he interacted with men. He was terrified of them. Sammy ended up at the pound and met Rex, another quickened who told him about Mad Creek. When Rav rescued him from the pound, Sammy cowered and waited for his opportunity to get to Mad Creek. Using his advanced Quickened brain, he was able to escape from the shelter and start the journey to a town where dogs were like him.
Rav tracked Sammy with his GPS microchip to Mad Creek and immediately realized that either he was crazy or dog shifters were a real thing. Looking into the golden eyes of Sammy the person, he came to terms with shifters pretty quick and wanted to know more. So of course, Rav moves to Mad Creek.
This book follows the transformation of sweet, terrified, and skittish Sammy as he gets to know Rav in a different capacity. Rav gets to know Sammy and the two have quite the journey. Being newly quickened, Sammy is SO innocent.
That’s how I pictured him throughout much of the book. He hasn’t had any life experience and is still suffering from traumatic events and the abuse that followed. Rav does a great job of pulling him out of his head and showing him that not all men are like “Bad Man.”
“The more Sammy watched Rav with the dogs, the more new feelings stirred inside him. He wanted to play with Rav too. No, that wasn’t right. He wanted to be touched. He wanted to sit in Rav’s lap and feel his strength, feel safe. He wanted to be soothed by those hands. He craved it very much! He felt jealous of the dogs.”
Sammy and Rav stayed platonic for a lot of the book. Their touches and kisses didn’t hold heat, serving mostly as comfort. While their growth individually and together was realistic considering their past, this book had a much different feel than the previous ones. It was hard coming to terms with their relationship even being a possibility for a lot of the book due to Sammy’s childlike thoughts, actions, and emotions. An intimate “mate” relationship seemed icky… until it didn’t.
There was a turning point in the book which I am thankful for. Prior to this turning point, anything outside of their platonic comforting touches would have been creeper status to me. But, we were able to gradually see the transition from innocent, childlike Sammy to sweet, brave, I-want-to-have-butt-sex, Sammy. *whew* When they finally took the intimate steps in their relationship, I was no longer in the omg-wtf mind frame and was able to appreciate how far they had come.
“It was almost sad to see the shy, awkward Sammy ebb away. Or it would have been, if the new, more confident Sammy were not so damned appealing. Rav loved seeing Sammy happy.”
One other teeny tiny little nit picky thing that caused a few eye rolls was when broody, growly, and grown-ass-man Rav’s inner frat boy and part teenage girl came out. Nothing wrong with frat boys or growly tattooed men. I like them both. Separately and possibly even as part of a trio. What was annoying was the “bruh” and “bae” that kept on coming. It didn’t fit Rav’s personality and I was pulled out of the story each time.
This book was a decent addition to the series. Milo and his enthusiasm when welcoming Rav still makes me giggle. Definitely my least favorite out of the four but I would recommend it if you’re a fan of the series. There is just something about this quirky town that keeps me coming back.
“When a man is a hero, he deserves to be sexed in the ass.” ~Sammy
Copy provided for honest review.