THE BLACKBIRD SEASON by Kate Moretti


Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Rating: ★★★½


In a quiet Pennsylvania town, a thousand dead starlings fall onto a high school baseball field, unleashing a horrifying and unexpected chain of events that will rock the close-knit community.

Beloved baseball coach and teacher Nate Winters and his wife, Alecia, are well respected throughout town. That is, until one of the many reporters investigating the bizarre bird phenomenon catches Nate embracing a wayward student, Lucia Hamm, in front of a sleazy motel. Lucia soon buoys the scandal by claiming that she and Nate are engaged in an affair, throwing the town into an uproar…and leaving Alecia to wonder if her husband has a second life.

And when Lucia suddenly disappears, the police only to have one suspect: Nate.

Nate’s coworker and sole supporter, Bridget Harris, Lucia’s creative writing teacher, is determined to prove his innocence. She has Lucia’s class journal, and while some of the entries appear particularly damning to Nate’s case, others just don’t add up. Bridget knows the key to Nate’s exoneration and the truth of Lucia’s disappearance lie within the walls of the school and in the pages of that journal.

Told from the alternating points of view of Alecia, Nate, Lucia, and Bridget, The Blackbird Season is a haunting, psychologically nuanced suspense, filled with Kate Moretti’s signature “chillingly satisfying” (Publishers Weekly) twists and turns.


When hundreds of dead starlings fall out of the sky, curious reporters flock to the grim scene – a baseball field in a small, down-on-its-luck Pennsylvania town. The birds prove to be a bad omen for local high school teacher, Nate Winters. One of the reporters spots him with a student named Lucia at a seedy motel, and then Lucia disappears. His wife Alecia is already at her wits’ end, and the accusations against her husband are too much to bear. It seems the only person Nate has to defend him is fellow teacher and friend, Bridget Harris, who’s read Lucia’s troubling journal in class.

The mystery about what happened to Lucia was an intriguing one. The story is told by Nate, Alecia, Bridget, and Lucia in alternating chapters. Other than Bridget, none of them were particularly likable, thought their predicaments held my interest. Something that was a bit jarring was how the dates/time jumped around from chapter to chapter. I had to go back several times to remind myself when something previous had happened. I think with four POVs the time jumps got confusing.

The setting of this book really stood out to me. The author captured the perfect dark and gritty atmosphere of a dying town with an abandoned mill. It gave me a feeling of unease throughout. I only wish the starlings had played a bigger part in the book. THE BLACKBIRD SEASON is a character-driven mystery with plenty of drama. Not a lot of big surprises, but it did keep me guessing.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE by Leah Weiss


Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Release Date: August 22, 2017
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Rating: ★★★


He’s gonna be sorry he ever messed with me and Loretta Lynn.

Sadie Blue has been a wife for fifteen days. That’s long enough to know she should have never hitched herself to Roy Tupkin, even with the baby.

Sadie is desperate to make her own mark on the world, but in remote Appalachia, a ticket out of town is hard to come by, and hope often gets stomped out. When a stranger sweeps into Baines Creek and knocks things off kilter, Sadie finds herself with an unexpected lifeline…if she can just figure out how to use it.

This intimate insight into a fiercely proud, tenacious community unfolds through the voices of the forgotten folks of Baines Creek. With a colorful cast of characters that each contribute a new perspective, IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE is a debut novel bursting with heart, honesty, and homegrown grit.


A 1970s Appalachian mountain town is brought to life through the alternating first-person voices of Leah Weiss’ characters. Several different people speak about the happenings in Baines Creek, North Carolina, though the common thread throughout most of the book is Sadie Blue, a pregnant teenage bride in an abusive marriage.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I thought the writing was beautiful, and I especially enjoyed the folksy dialect of the characters. The lives of Baines Creek’s locals are hard and heartbreaking, and it was easy to empathize with them. What I didn’t like was the incomplete feeling I have after finishing. We’re introduced to several characters whose stories are left up in the air. Even with Sadie Blue’s story, there wasn’t a strong, cohesive plot linking everything together.

IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE is Leah Weiss’ debut novel, and she already has a talent for drawing readers in with her intriguing characterizations. Looking forward to seeing where she goes next.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

THE ADDRESS by Fiona Davis

The Address
THE ADDRESS by Fiona Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

THE ADDRESS is an engrossing mystery and family drama with a majestic New York City landmark as its backdrop. The Dakota apartment building on the Upper West Side provides a link between two women one hundred years apart. I enjoyed learning about the history of The Dakota, as well as trying to figure out the century-old murder mystery presented. I loved how the dual time periods were mid-1880s and mid-1980s, so really it’s historical fiction inside historical fiction. Sara and Bailey are both sympathetic and relatable characters. I enjoyed the author’s straight-forward writing style, and the twists revealed at the end were simply delicious. I missed reading Fiona Davis’ debut THE DOLLHOUSE last year, and now I definitely want to pick it up.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Penguin’s First to Read Program.