A Free Dreamer Review: Stag and The Ash (Rowan Harbor Cycle #5) by Sam Burns


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Jesse Hunter is finally trying to be an adult, but still feels like an act. His place on the town council is a sham. He’s rarely called on to do anything. His boyfriend is grieving the loss of his mother, and while everyone seems to think he’s doing a great job caring for Sean, Jesse feels like he’s more of a distraction than a real help.

March is shaping up to be a bad month. First, random chance leads him to the realization that the town’s recent trouble is his fault. Then new werewolves come into town, and it turns out they’re also Jesse’s responsibility. He feels like he may be at his breaking point, and he doesn’t want to drag his friends and loved ones down with him. But how will he handle it alone?

In “Stag and Ash” we’re back to my favourite couple of the series: Sean and Jesse. Once again, this book is not a stand alone. You have to read the previous books to understand enjoy this book.

I really like both Jesse and Sean and their relationship dynamic. They’re so wonderful together. Neither of them is perfect and Sean is definitely going through a rough time after his mother’s death.

Jesse has to face his own demons and he grows while doing so. I think I actually like him even more now than I did after their first book.

We also get some more world building and learn some interesting details. I really enjoyed those parts.

Overall, this book is a quick, fun read. I finished it in less than 24 hours and found myself well entertained.

But just like the rest of the series, “Stag and Ash” is a bit short and was over too soon. It kind of feels like the books always finish before things can get really going. But it’s better than part four, which was my least favourite so far. I really hope the next books will be longer again.

The cover by Melanie Farlow fits the overall look of the entire series. It’s not my favourite but it’s okay.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book details:

Kindle Edition, 158 pages
Published June 28th 2018
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series The Rowan Harbor Cycle :

Book #1 – Blackbird in the Reeds – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Wolf and the Holly – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Fox and Birch – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Hawk In The Rowan – Amazon US | Amazon UK

A Free Dreamer Review: Fox and Birch (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #3) by Sam Burns


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Fletcher Lane wants to protect people. It was why he became a deputy. A month ago, it was why he killed a vampire who kidnapped one of his friends. Now, that death has started a cascade effect that’s tearing his life apart, leaving him possessed by magic that whispers to him in ancient Gothic.

While he’s already fighting for control of his own mind, he has to hold it together when strangers come into town looking for the dead vampire. They say they’re bounty hunters, but Fletcher knows that’s a lie. They’re the same kind of murderers who killed Fletcher’s mother. When one of them puts up a kind front, Fletcher knows that people who hunt the supernatural can’t be trusted. However nice Conner Mason seems, the worst thing Fletcher could do is fall for his act.

First of all, “Fox and Birch” is not a standalone story. While we meet the third (and final) couple in this book, the events in the previous books are too important for the overall story arc to just skip over and still understand what’s going on in book three.

I liked Fletcher. He’s very different from our other MCs, much more vulnerable but also so very strong. We don’t learn much about Conner, his love interest. But that’s okay, it’s their first book and I’m sure we’ll find out more about him as the story continues.

However, since we really don’t know much of anything about one of our MCs, the romantic feelings were a little hard to follow. They barely know each other and Fletcher has every reason to distrust and even hate Conner. Conner coming across as a genuinely nice guy just wasn’t enough for me to understand Fletcher’s feelings. Even though there’s no magic zap like the werewolves of Rowan Harbor get when they meet their fated mates, this smacked awfully of insta-love, something I can’t stand.

Aside from the love story, I quite enjoyed this book. Fletcher’s abilities are really interesting and so very different from what we’ve seen so far. I’ve never read about a fox shifter before and I can’t wait to find out even more about him and his unusual talents.

This was my second favourite book in the series so far. I liked book two a little more because there was more focus on the world building. And I think Fletcher might actually be my favourite character of them all. So I’m eager for the next book about him.

The cover by Melanie Harlow is nice to look at. Maybe a little too nice, because the overall tone of the book definitely felt more sinister to me.

Sales Links:  Universal Buy Link

Book details:

Kindle Edition, 166 pages
Published March 8th 2018
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesThe Rowan Harbor Cycle #3

A Free Dreamer Review: Blackbird in the Reeds (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #1) by Sam Burns


Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Devon Murphy has never believed that there were fairies at the bottom of the garden, but when he’s in an accident on his way to his grandmother’s house and comes face to face with the biggest, baddest wolf he’s ever seen, he’s forced to reconsider.

When his grandmother asks him to look into a string of suspicious accidents, he finds a much bigger mystery to unravel. From his childhood best friend to the too-attractive Deputy Wade Hunter, everyone in Rowan Harbor seems to have something to hide. Devon has to get to the bottom of it all before the accidents turn deadly.

This novel is intended for adult audiences, and contains swearing and sex scenes.

I love it when there’s several different fantasy creatures in one book and I’ve always had a thing for fairies. So when I read the blurb of “Blackbird in the Reeds”, I knew I had to have this book.

I’ve read a ton of fantasy books, with varying degrees of romance, but I’ve never read a book with a romance between a fairy and a werewolf. So Sam Burns definitely came up with something very unusual, if not unique. I’m always thrilled to discover new ideas in the genre, so I’m extremely pleased to have found this book, even if it didn’t quite live up to my (admittedly pretty high) expectations.

Devon is a modern day nomad, never staying in one place for very long. The only place that’s ever felt like home is Rowan Harbour, the small town where his grandmother lives. It was really interesting to discover the secrets of the town along with Devon, who knows nothing about its supernatural residents. This way, the secrets could unravel without info dump. Though I did feel like Devon took it all a little too easily. There was hardly any doubt or fear, ever. He just accepted everything without ever really questioning it.

The romance fell a little flat. Devon doesn’t particularly like Wade when they first meet. I never got how this dislike turned into love, the author just lost me somewhere in between. Devon went from “I don’t like Deputy Downer” to “I love Wade” in the span of a few days, without the two of them really getting to know each other. I’ve never been a fan of enemies to lovers, though, so I guess part of my disappointment is due to that. It just smacked of insta-love to me, another thing I can’t stand.

The story is told from Devon’s pov. While we get to know him fairly well, we don’t get much of an insight into Wade’s personality. I get that he’s a bit of a lone wolf and doesn’t talk much, but I’d still have liked to know more about him. There are many minor characters, we basically meet a whole town’s worth of them. I especially liked Devon’s grandmother and Oak.

The world building was sadly lacking. Part of it is due to Devon only just discovering his supernatural heritage, but I would have loved to find out more. But since this is only part one in the series, there’s still hope for more world building in future books.

All in all, “Blackbird in the Reeds” was a bit too fluffy for me. There wasn’t all that much tension and everything was resolved fairly easily. I have no patience for happy-fluffy stories. It wasn’t very memorable and left me feeling a little “meh”.

But that’s just me. If you’re in the mood for a sweet romance with a dash of fantasy, then I’m pretty sure you’ll like this book.

Cover Design: Melanie Harlow @ Clause & Effect: I quite like the cover. It really fits the story and is definitely nice to look at.

Universal Buy Link:   books2read.com/BlackbirdInTheReeds


Book details: Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 188 pages

Published January 4th 2018