Title: Call of the Raven (The Union Series Book #1)
Author: Shawn Reilly
Genre: Paranormal Drama
Publication Date: January 22, 2013
Synopsis: Love is something everyone longs for at the deepest level – but for some, love is a curse. This is most certainly true for Asher Lake, the Keeper of an unknown group of people called ani-shifts. Ani-shifts, those with the ability to shift into animal forms, compose a secretive body of individuals known simply as the Union.
A wolf in shifter form, Asher lives with a curse placed upon him and his predecessors by the elusive Raven – a dark entity whose identity remains a mystery. According to the ancient archives, the Raven’s curse is conditional and set in motion by one fatal decision: if a Keeper ever allows himself to fall in love he will die.
Choosing to live in isolation within the walls of Lake Manor, a private estate concealed by the dense woods of Brokenridge, Asher has vowed never to love or fall in love with anyone believing it to be the only way to survive. However, after ten years of neglecting his people and the proteges left in his care, along with the impending threats of an uprising, Asher learns the only way to break the Raven’s curse on future Keepers, thereby preventing them from suffering the same fate, is to accept his.
This becomes his strongest challenge of all when he encounters Elle Ison, the woman of his dreams. Does Elle hold the key? Can she help him change his fate?
First, I’ll comment on the plot. I am so impressed at how Shawn weaved this amazing plot together. There are constant twists and turns that you just don’t know are coming, and it all blends so nicely together. There was only once that I got confused, but then I believe I was meant to be, and the whole thing was explained clearly later. There were several “I didn’t see that coming!” moments, and a few times I found myself holding my breath. One moment I would be laughing out loud, and the next tensed up scared! I have to warn ya – it ends with a cliffhanger. AHHH!!! I wanted to scream! I immediately got online to check out when the next book was being released & was thrilled that it was about to come out! It is now available, so you don’t have to wait. Shawn’s plan is to not have a long waiting period between books. That’s music to my ears! I really hope we get the whole story with a happily ever after for Asher, Ari, Nixon, Elle & Kennedy.
So, the plot is great, but Shawn backs it up with some AMAZING characters! The characterization is definitely what impressed me the most. Each character is so well defined, and you never find them all of a sudden changing personalities to fit the plot, which is so often done. I absolutely fell in love with Asher – funny huh, since he’s the one that has sworn off love. I love that when Elle comes along, he doesn’t all of a sudden become someone else. He’s still the guy that’s completely awkward with women, and that makes all of his softer moments that much more meaningful. There’s one part where he’s healing Elle and…well, you’ll just have to read it for yourself. I love Elle, too, and how strong she is, while yet showing a vulnerable side, despite her horrid circumstances (I’d really like to see Julio get what’s coming to him).
For those that follow my reviews, you know that I don’t usually like to give my rating right off. I like to let a book settle for a bit, and then see how I feel about it. I’m currently leaning towards a 4 star rating, but I’m really going to have to see how the rest of the series goes – being that this isn’t a stand alone. If the rest of the story is as good as this first one, it’ll definitely rank up there. I can’t wait for the rest of the series. Give this first book a try, and let me know what you think!
[I’m adding this bit in here – in response to Nancy’s comment below. I always put a content warning up for those that my be offended by such content listed, especially for those who have experienced something bad in their pasts. I know reading about a similar experience can be a trigger for some. That being said, to clarify, I’ll say that the abuse that takes place in the book isn’t graphic, and doesn’t take up any significant portion of the book. I just always want to be respectful to those of you that may find offense in any way. Also, as Nancy did, please don’t ever hesitate to ask me to clarify anything in any of my posts!!]
About the Author: When it seemed like I was only an F away from flunking out of the sixth grade, a retired school teacher took me under her wing. After some tutoring and testing, she informed my parents that the reason I was having trouble in school wasn’t because I was dumb but instead dyslexic.
When my stepfather heard this, he decided to take me to a used bookstore with the belief that the best way to improve my reading skills was to read. Some of the books were hard to get through at first, but with his encouragement I refused to give up. We made many trips to that bookstore, and I especially loved the science fiction and fantasy sections.
Then one day, after complaining about the ending of a particular book, he told me that if I didn’t like the books that I had been reading, then to write one myself—so I did. My first attempt resulted in a horribly written western when I was fourteen, staring a cocky gun slinging cowboy by the name Curt Calhoun. Curt along with his seven brothers, who all shared C names in common, may never have seen the pages of a book, but that was the day I started writing, and never stopped.
I have over fifty books on my computer which I’ve written in various genres, all of which are waiting to come to life. Even though my ability to write has improved over the years, I am humble enough to admit that I cannot venture on this journey alone
Sincerely yours, Shawn Reilly
Shawn Reilly lives in Mt. Comfort Indiana with her husband, and three daughters. Call of the Raven is her debut novel. She is currently working on the second novel in the Union series. She writes in various genres, which include paranormal romance/urban legend, science fiction, dystopian, fantasy, suspense, and dramedy.
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Special thanks to Literati Literature Lovers for organizing this event!
Literati Literature Lovers
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Thanks for joining me on my first book tour! So exciting!!