A Free Dreamer Review:Wolf & The Holly (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #2) by Sam Burns

Rating: 4 stars out of 5


Five years ago, Jesse dropped out of college and came home to Rowan Harbor to find safety with his pack. A broken man, he’s been living as though the world is ending—allergic to responsibility and spending most of his nights at the local bar.

But he can’t avoid growing up forever. On the night of his thirtieth birthday party, he finds his childhood friend Isla unconscious, attacked in the middle of their peaceful hometown. The wolf inside him wants to protect its people from the slick-haired, smooth-talking vampire who’s brought trouble to town, and Jesse can’t run from his instincts any longer.

Now that his inner wolf is out of its cage, it’s picked the most inconvenient moment to find its mate. Sean Anderson—recently back from college and much changed from the skinny preteen Jesse once knew—is just what he never knew he needed.

I’ll be honest: If I hadn’t already agreed to review “Wolf and the Holly”, I most likely would not have read it after “Blackbird in the Reeds”. Book one wasn’t bad at all, it just wasn’t for me, really. But now I’m glad I had to read this book because I enjoyed it far more than the first one.

First of all, I don’t think this book works as a stand-alone. “Wolf and the Holly” has new protagonists but so much happened in book one that’s important in book two as well, I’m fairly sure you’ll have trouble following the plot without knowing what happened in “Blackbird in the Reeds”.

I liked Jesse far more than Devon. Devon was just way too nice for me. He’s just too good to be true. It makes sense for the story, but that’s just not the kind of protagonist I like. Jesse is far more jaded and far from perfect. There was great character development over the course of the book and I found myself liking him even more.

The world building was great. There was only a short introduction in book one, but here we really get to know the citizens of Rowan Harbor and their supernatural abilities. I love the diversity in this town. So many different creatures living peacefully with each other. It’s a really cool idea and has so much potential.

The romance was barely there. Everything else just took precedence and we really only get to see the beginnings of the love story here. I actually quite liked that. I really don’t need all that much romance in my books, tbh. There was a bit of insta-love yet again, but I suppose that’s just gonna be a thing in this town. We learn next to nothing about Sean, but that was fine for me. They don’t really have a relationship yet, they’re just beginning to get to know each other.

The love story definitely doesn’t get resolved and I’m sure there’s more trouble waiting for the whole town. Jesse and Sean will get their own story in book five again and I’m sure they’ll show up in the books in between as well. As the author explained, this is going to be a trilogy of trilogies, so there’ll be nine books all in all. Every protagonist will get their own book. So while the first two books had more of a HFN ending, the HEA will come eventually.

Long story short, I liked “Wolf and the Holly” better than “Blackbird in the Reeds”. There was less romance and more world building and plot. While I probably wouldn’t have read the rest of the series after book one, I now find myself very interested in what’s going to happen next. I’m not sure if I’ll manage to read all nine books, as I’m very bad at finishing series, but I do definitely want to read book three at the very least. I’m just in love with Rowan Harbor and its citizens.

Cover Design: Melanie Harlow @ Clause & Effect: The cover is absolutely gorgeous. That giant black wolf is beautiful and the night sky is stunning. I love it.

Buy Links:  Amazon

Universal Buy Link: books2read.com/WolfAndTheHolly

Book details: Kindle Edition,199 pages

Published February 8th 2018

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