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on March 1, 2013
I'd like to say that this is the first time I've ever written (or even wanted to write) a review for a book. But I'm so mad that I just have to. I had a feeling when I was about halfway into the book that it was moving really slow and I should just stop reading it. But I kept on going cause I kinda knew where it was going and wanted to see if I was right. When I was about 80% into the book, I kept wondering why nothing was really happening. Then the book just ended. THAT'S IT. Ended right when it got to a climatic point. It was like the author decided to write one whole book, cut it in half, and made the first half this book. I'm so mad that I don't even want to get the 2nd book when it comes out. I felt like I just wasted a huge chunk of my time...

I understand that other people like it and whatever. But this is my personal opinion and I like my books with a beginning, middle, and end.
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on September 2, 2015
4.5/5 stars(RabidReads) A strange cult that lives in the mountains of Colorado, one that has nothing to do with the outside world. But is it really a cult?That’s the premise of this more than fascinating story. Jonathan Mcknight goes on a camping trip alone and ends up meeting a beautiful woman named River, who takes him to her home due to blizzard conditions. Little does he know that now that he knows about her, he can no longer ever go home. The conditions are pretty primitive, the clothes worn by the residents resemble something out of history books, and the rituals used to keep outside germs from entering the community rigorous. In order to keep Jonathan from being executed on the spot, she tells her guardian, Reuben, that Jonathan is her recruit. Jonathan humors her and agrees that he has given up on modern life, and that he will not leave. Of course he is plotting the whole time to escape-until he finds out that River will be executed if he leaves. The council in charge of the communities-one, the elite that live inside Sanctuary Mountain, and the other, topside dwellers, that barely make a living-are very quick to execute, whip, or cut off a hand or finger for even the smallest infraction. But there’s an even bigger secret that everyone is keeping from Jonathan, the reason that they live apart from society, and it’s a paranormal one. Werewolves.

This book. I literally read it non-stop and when I was done I immediately read the second one(River’s Remorse) non-stop. For two days I immersed myself in River and Jonathan’s world, and totally enjoyed the whole thing. Yes, it’s a paranormal romance at times, but it’s also a saga of sorts about a whole other secret world that exists apart from everyone else. I found the world building to be fascinating. Ms Abel has created a world that is ripe for rebellion and a prophecy that tells of an outsider that will change everything. There’s a lot of unfairness in this world, some women are turned into whores, others into servants-all against their wills. Men are allowed several wives and concubines, and women have nothing to say about it. That’s just a couple of examples, but the authors world building is rich with detail after detail about this world with nary an info dump in sight.

River and Jonathan are good characters. In the beginning when we meet Jonathan, I really didn’t like him that much. But after going away to war, he comes home a changed man, and his character as a man had grown greatly, as well. River is an innocent, but very feisty, and has grown up in a man’s world. A horrible world by anyone’s standards. When she meets Jonathan her life changes in ways she would never had imagined. Lots of good peripheral characters keep the story moving, and there’s an array of villains to be had here, as well. There’s also a lot of good people that want change. Will Jonathan be the one to bring it? And why him anyway? Or is there someone else that can do the job?

There’s plenty of action, violence, and intrigue in this book, but the heart of the story for me was River’s and Jonathan’s love story. The author knows how to write a good romantic story, and the romance itself was very sweet. Don’t expect explicit sexual details in this installment, but there is enough sexual situations talked about, and almost sexual situations happening, to keep this from being YA. Not to mention the violence described.

I highly recommend this book to adult paranormal romance fans, ones that like a complex story.
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on November 13, 2016
A very interesting take on a secretive shifter community mixed with both a society that is rather luddite, and a society that isn’t so much but has that wonderful quality of believing itself to be the be all end all of the community of a whole.
The world building was pretty amazing. The loads of rules and restrictions weren’t dumped on you. You learned them as Jonothan did. Its issues, both good and bad, were introduced and unfolded with nice timing so you didn’t get over whelmed.
I thought the author’s take on shifters was fascinating. How one becomes a shifter and the rules and traditions that govern them. I can’t recall if it was this book or the next book, but learning how the society used to be versus the perversion it has become now … it just screams *big potential for an awesome series* to me, lol.
One thing I also liked was the descriptions of the chores and way River had to live along with her family. I guess it would be classified as maybe pioneer times? Dunno!
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on February 11, 2018
3.5 Stars

It was slow. The build up was just so slow I started to lose interest so started another book, then another book, then finally came back to this one for a little bit, then back to another book, then finally decided to stick with this to the finish. I did enjoy the story after a while, but I hated how slow it was to get somewhere. And the ending just pissed me off. Really? That is how it ends? Ok, I already knew there was going to be issues with them splitting up, but did not expect where it went. I was so on Jonathan's side on how she lived, but also on hers that things needed to change, not them run away. I did struggle with his inability to accept what she told him, but also saw his point in that she wasn't 100% forthcoming either. He gets punished for being ignorant? Totally crazy world she lived in and I got his frustration with their "cult" views. Again, the story was engaging, just move things along a little quicker please. The two had so much to offer each other, but you get lost in how much background information is shared that things just felt a little boring.

I'll read the next book because I'm too damned upset that it was left the way it was.
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on February 15, 2016
I think this is a great first book for the series. I like how it was slower-paced as a way allowing the readers to absorb all of the elements of the many characters in the book. Gabriel and Reuben are my favorite secondary characters so far. I am already enjoying how much I dislike Eli and his mother. Jonathan's character is written so well; he could easily be someone you know. River's ignorance is so endearing, and I am looking forward to watching her character mature. Like the Channie series--which I highly recommend--Charlotte Abel's use of dialogue and character descriptions makes you wonder if these characters really exist. She knows how to describe interactions better than most of the other authors' books I have been reading (which has been a lot). The other reviewers are correct about the book ending; however, it gets you ready for the next in the series! Cliffhangers are always difficult, so I try to wait to read series until they are mostly done; but thankfully the second book is available and I cannot wait to spend as much of my free time reading it over the next few days!

I received a copy and volunteered to review it.
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on January 19, 2015
Jonathan McKnight lost everything in Afghanistan. He lost his left hand and his identical twin. He lost his self-respect and even his naive belief that good always triumphs over evil. Johnathan is burdened by grief and guilt, he goes in search for redemption, on a solo backpacking trip into the remote Sawatch Mountains of Colorado and discovers a secret tribe of shifters.

River, is the beautiful young shifter that rescues Jonathan and she has been promised to a man that she despises. A man that does not desire her and he only wants to use her to achieve his own political goals. Jonathan is more than a romantic rival. He’s a threat to those goals.

The only way to save Jonathan’s life is for River to take him as her recruit.

As Jonathan learns more about the horrors of River’s cult-like society, he becomes even more determined to escape it, until he learns that River is responsible for everything he does and will be executed if he succeeds.

Escape is NOT an option—unless Jonathan can persuade River to leave with him. And if she refuses? Well, then, he’ll just have to kidnap her. Oh my!!!!

The characters were well developed but my only complaint was that it was left with a cliffhanger. This is the first installment in the series and with how this book ends it leaves you with your mouth hanging open and your head spinning. You just have to hit that one-click to find out what happens next.
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Abel has created a complex and unusual world-within-a-world for her shapeshifters. River is a young woman facing a great transitional period for her kind, when she finally gains the ability to "find her wolf" and change forms. Her people live in isolation in a divided society -- the elite ruling class live underground while the others (including River and her guardian) live a rough, frontierlike existence aboveground. Despite the isolated nature of their lives, recruits from the outside world can sometimes be introduced, although they are usually regarded as second-class citizens, almost like indentured servants. River decides to sponsor Jonathan, a young US Army veteran mourning the loss of his twin brother, when she meets him after he gets lost on a camping trip.

The story, at times, reads as if it is a Mormon take on paranormal romance, although it is more sexually explicit than many LDS readers would probably be comfortable with. The characters are complex and highly individualized, although their reactions sometimes don't ring true to their character and seem more designed to advance the story past a temporary stopping point. The "prophecy" element of the book did feel too familiar and convenient for my taste, but the rest of the story is so interesting I'm willing to give it a chance and see where the author is going with it. After a lot of development, this book ends with a cliffhanger, so avoid if you aren't okay with it. I'm invested enough to purchase part two -- something I almost never do with free downloads (this book was free when I downloaded it).
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on July 29, 2016
So I read this book forever ago and am rereading it in order to remember what happens so that I can read the latest book in this series. I forgot how good this book is! It draws you in and doesn't let go. This book is an emotional roller-coaster that Charlotte Abel masterfully pulls you through. Jonathan is dealing with his grief and learning how to cope with his new disability. River is strong, passionate and independent. Their combination is as volatile as it is hot. The plotting and prophecy make for an excellent mystery that keeps you going until the end. And although it does end in a cliff-hanger, I highly recommend this series (and all of Charlotte Abel's books), especially if you like romance with a touch of alpha-males, shifters, and mystery. On to the next book :)
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on January 7, 2015
I was intrigued by the large number of low reviews given because of the cliffhanger ending, and was what brought me to read the book. I am not a fan of the "two subject" type of writing, where it looks like two separate books until they merge. Thankfully, it didn't take too long for them to merge. I confess I didn't even recognize the story as a werewolf novel until far into it, even though the whole mystical element was revealed far earlier. I normally don't read werewolf-type books, especially with a romance angle thrown in. However, this came at the subject from more of a Native American type of feel, and made the lycanthropy a choice, not a forced action.

I found character development to be good, and for more than just the main characters. I felt like I really got inside the society. You might not like the strictness of that society, but it *seems* to work for them. One down point to the plotline, though, was all the secrecy from Jonathan for so long, and so many "slip-ups" to that secrecy. It got a little tiring, and very drawn out for far too long. The other was the "near-sex"; far too much, too long. Those issues, for me, knock it down about a star.

As for the cliffhanger ending, it didn't bother me for a couple of reason. First, it's a series, so a cliffhanger is a common device to keep the reader reading. It's not my favorite method, but done well, I can put up with it. Second, it was barely a three-foot hillside, rather than a cliff for me. The big reveal was far earlier in the book for those who were paying attention. The ending was more an "about time!" for me, rather than a big shock. I also debate that this book is an "adult romance". To me, it is almost pure YA, except with a couple of semi-steamy almost-sex scenes.

In short: good read, original concept, and a worthwhile story. As to whether I finish the series, I am not sure yet. The descriptions of the other books almost sound like things get very drawn out rather than action-packed for change.
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on August 21, 2015
I purchased this book because it sounded interesting. I normally purchase all books of a series, but I have never heard of Charlotte Abel or her books. So I only purchased the first book in this series. I will definitely be purchasing the entire series. The book is well written and fast paced. The world building is very good and the character development is excellent. I enjoyed it greatly.
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