Published by Independent Book Group (13th October 2020)
Book #1 Sam Quinn Series
My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Independent Publishers Group, and the author via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Sam is a book nerd extraordinaire and owner of the Slaughtered Lamb Bookstore and Bar…she’s also a werewolf. For the last seven years she’s been happily hiding in her hobbit hole, serving drinks and slinging books to the weird and wonderful otherworldy creatures who inhabit San Francisco. However, something has changed lately, all of a sudden Sam can’t keep out of trouble. She has threats on her life coming from all angles and is staring death in the face more often than not, and this just isn’t great for business. Along with the help of her Demon cook, her Wicche bartender and the sexy Master of the City vampire patron, Sam is out to find out who has a mark on her head. Can she find them before they take her down? And is this connected to her attack from seven years ago?
Oh wow. What an absolute BREATH OF FRESH AIR! I love urban fantasy, I really do, it’s the genre that got me back into reading when I was around eighteen after having been on a reading hiatus for around seven years. But as another reviewer of this book said, Urban Fantasy has a tendency to get very samey. Sometimes it feels like if you’ve read one, you’ve read them all, and that doesn’t make for fun reading times. Something about this book just made me HAVE to request it. I’m not sure if it was that kickarse simple yet effective cover, the blurb of a sassy lone wolf with a scarred past, or if it was just the title that drew me in, I honestly can’t tell you, mainly because I don’t remember, but hey, lets go with a mixture of all three, hey?
So! We have Sam who is a lone wolf living in San Francisco who for the past seven years has been trying to move past a horrific attack that has left her incredibly scarred (inside and out). She runs an awesomely named bar and bookstore, and I was just totally here for her character. She’s got sass, she has deep seated issues, which anyone could understand because of what has happened to her, and about now is where I’m going to insert the trigger warnings for remembering a rape and torture. I don’t feel like I’m spoiling anything as we learn super early on what happened to Sam that lead her to being where she is now. While she has a lot of trouble trying to work through the past, I feel like she really grew as a character simply in this first installment. We have a woman who has been beaten and broken down and was left on her own to survive or die, and she’s just trying her best. I feel like Kelly really handled the sensitivity of Sam’s situation extremely tastefully, well and with a lot of care. I really felt for Sam, and I honestly wish that she was real so I could go and visit her fine establishment and hang out. I feel like I could be friends with her and I love a beautifully flawed character who is trying to work through their issues who just seems so real. We are introduced to quite a few characters, seeing as the main setting is a bar, but the main ones that carried through the story who we got to see the most were all fantastically written in supporting roles with their own distinct voices and personalities. I absolutely ADORE her Cook. I didn’t feel too much for Mr. Master of the City – Clive – at first, but I started to come around to him by the end. I’m looking forward to seeing how things develop in future books.
The story line was incredibly well thought out and executed and just kept me glued to the page the whole time. This was one of those books where you were reading, and flying through the pages, but you didn’t feel like you had read much. The narrative just flowed so well and it really felt like I was living in the story each time I picked it up. A book that can make you forget you’re reading it deserves ALL the marks in my opinion.
The mystery was well thought out though I figured out one of the culprits rather early on, and I can’t honestly tell you how or why. Nothing gave it away as such, I just had this feeling that this person was responsible for some things that had happened, and it turned out that I was right. However, the revelation of the other culprit involved was hinted to through dialogue between a couple of characters, but you still didn’t quite know who was responsible or why. So in the end the mystery of the story was handled well and I quite enjoyed it. It kept me going, the need to know what the hell was going to happen to Sam next just had me staying up past my bedtime.
I feel that this is a very character driven novel and what will be a series, which works quite well for me because I’ve always found that I enjoy a character driven story so much more. Something about the way these stories are written just makes the characters seem even more real to me and never fails to have me sneaking in some reading time when I should be doing other things.
All in all, this was an incredibly promising start to what I believe is going to be a kick arse series. If you love a character driven story with well developed characters full of sass, then give this one a go, you won’t be disappointed!