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Saturday, September 30, 2017

CAMPFIRE TALES! Kickstarter Launch: Corpse Cold: New American Folklore

LOVE some '80s and '90s horror?? Then take a look at this Kickstarter campaign to fund this amazing book of campfire stories to chill you to the bone.  Everything in red below is taken directly from Cemetery Gates Media's post re this campaign - please go check them out! Continue below to see photos of the cover and some illustrations along with a video!

Corpse Cold: New American Folklore, a new book inspired by horror from the 1980s and 1990s, is coming to Kickstarter on Sept 30.

Corpse Cold: New American Folklore features 17 chilling campfire-style legends, written in homage to classic horror series like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and Fear Street, intended for adult readers. The book is co-written by authors John Brhel and Joe Sullivan, and each story is accompanied by a macabre illustration by artist Chad Wehrle.

“We grew up watching Twilight Zone and Are You Afraid of the Dark? and reading books like Washington Irving’s The Sketch Book and various American horror anthologies,” said Brhel. “The unsettling stories and imagery found in books like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark made an impact on Joe, Chad, and myself, all the way back in elementary school. In fact, those books are one of the biggest reasons why we write today. With Corpse Cold, we hope to provide that same sort of reading experience for people like us — readers who are grown up, but still nostalgic for creepy art and new takes on well, and lesser known, urban legends and folktales.”

Brhel and Sullivan have co-written several books of paranormal and weird fiction, including Tales From Valleyview Cemetery (2015) and At The Cemetery Gates: Year One (2016). They are launching their Kickstarter campaign to cover production costs for the book, as well as artist fees.

A selection of stories to be included in Corpse Cold: New American Folklore:

“Moss Lake Island”
A carefree getaway in the Adirondacks takes a terrifying turn when two friends stumble upon an island inhabited by witches…

“Two Visions, 1984”
A journalist on his way to cover an event with President Ronald Reagan picks up a hitchhiker with a series of visions regarding his future…

“The Woman on the Campus Green”
A college student with a dark family history finds himself the subject of a strange secret admirer…

“Black Dog”
Two teenage brothers encounter the strange creature that their father had warned them about since childhood, while hunting in the woods near their home…

“Autoplay On”
A man falls asleep watching a playlist of internet videos and ends up playing a clip he was never supposed to see…

To view a preview of the Corpse Cold Kickstarter campaign, visit
For more information on Brhel and Sullivan, visit the following pages.

Look at this amazing cover and art work!!



REVIEW: The Future is Written by Jonas Saul @adaptivebooks @

The Future is Written
#20 in the Sarah Roberts Story
by Jonas Saul
Adaptive Books

πŸ”₯ Available NOW πŸ”₯

You all saw me post earlier about the contest that was being held regarding this book. If you haven't - then go HERE and get in!! Lots of amazing prizes! Doesn't end until October 10, 2017 so you have plenty of time!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

When Sarah Roberts blacks out, she wakes to find prophetic notes mysteriously written by her own hand. After receiving a message that someone is about to be kidnapped with instructions on how to stop it, Sarah’s convinced it won’t be hard to do. She is wrong.

The kidnappers take Sarah instead. She’s thwarted them in the past, and they want to know how she keeps showing up where she has no business being.

Sarah needs help from the police, but they’re hunting her for a different reason. They found her notebook riddled with prophetic messages, linking her to crimes and unsolved cases. Is she a vigilante keeping score? Or on a citywide crime spree?

Armed with a note that simply states, save yourself, Sarah struggles to stay alive using her wit and street smarts.

Several years ago, someone murdered Sarah’s sister, Vivian. Now, communicating with Sarah from the other side, they’ll hunt the man who did it and the people who would do it again―to Sarah.

My Review:

I can't believe this is book 20 in this series.  It reads amazingly well as a stand alone.  I never once felt lost throughout this entire read.  Told in 3 parts, we see Sarah Roberts grow, not only as a woman settling into herself, but as a hero in her own right.  Her visions from her dead sister help to prevent certain crimes from happening and have also saved her own life on several occasions.  However, almost the entire book holds on to her going after the man who killed the sister she didn't even know existed. 

For a book that's over 400 pages long, it's extremely fast paced and keeps your attention with the short chapters.   I did feel that some things were a bit repetitive.  Here she goes again, back in peril, getting out of it, showing her strength, yada yada.  However, it never took away from me wanting to see how she was going to get out of it- IF she did - and what would happen when and if she reached her end goal.  Just how much can one woman take?!  I will say one thing though - in movies and books alike it seems when the villain EVER gets a chance to kill the person who has been after them for years, they NEVER shoot them in the head!  And never check to see that they are actually dead. WHY?!  

I really found the concept of the autowriting and getting information from the dead extremely interesting.  Even more so after I read the afterword from the author.  Whenever I see an author take an experience from his own life and bring it into a book, I cannot help but like that book even more.  This paranormal touch to the otherwise action thriller was a nice addition. 


View all my reviews

About the Author:

Jonas Saul is the author of over thirty novels with over 2 million copies sold. On multiple occasions, he has outranked Stephen King and Dean Koontz on the Amazon top one-hundred Most Popular Authors list.
Two of his bestselling series have been optioned for Film/TV. Saul has traveled extensively throughout the world to scout settings for his thrillers. Currently, he’s writing in Canada.
He's available for speeches and presentations at conferences anywhere in the world.
Contact Jonas Saul directly for inquiries at,

Jonas is represented by Gandolfo Helin and Fountain Literary and Dramatic Rights Management.

Friday, September 29, 2017

BOOK MAIL: Hotel Scarface by Roben Farzad @berkleypub @robenfarzad

Hotel Scarface: 
Where Cocaine Cowboys Partied and Plotted to Control Miami
by Roben Farzad
Berkley Books

πŸŽ† Releasing 10/17/17 πŸŽ†

Huge thanks to Berkley Publishing for this copy! 

A short synopsis, but tells a whole story... WOAH!

About the Book:

The wild, true story of the Mutiny, the hotel and club that embodied the decadence of Miami's cocaine cowboys heyday--and an inspiration for the blockbuster film, Scarface...

BOOK MAIL: The Choice: Embrace the Possible by Edith Eva Eger @scribnerbooks

The Choice: Embrace the Possible
by Dr. Edith Eva Eger
Scriber Books


Huge thanks to Scribner Books for this copy! 

About the Book:

A powerful, moving memoir—and a practical guide to healing—written by Dr. Edith Eva Eger, an eminent psychologist whose own experiences as a Holocaust survivor help her treat patients and allow them to escape the prisons of their own minds.

Edith Eger was sixteen years old when the Nazis came to her hometown in Hungary and took her Jewish family to an interment center and then to Auschwitz. Her parents were sent to the gas chamber by Joseph Mengele soon after they arrived at the camp. Hours later Mengele demanded that Edie dance a waltz to “The Blue Danube” and rewarded her with a loaf of bread that she shared with her fellow prisoners. These women later helped save Edie’s life. Edie and her sister survived Auschwitz, were transferred to the Mauthausen and Gunskirchen camps in Austria, and managed to live until the American troops liberated the camps in 1945 and found Edie in a pile of dying bodies.

One of the few living Holocaust survivors to remember the horrors of the camps, Edie has chosen to forgive her captors and find joy in her life every day. Years after she was liberated from the concentration camps Edie went back to college to study psychology. She combines her clinical knowledge and her own experiences with trauma to help others who have experienced painful events large and small. Dr. Eger has counselled veterans suffering from PTSD, women who were abused, and many others who learned that they too, can choose to forgive, find resilience, and move forward. She lectures frequently on the power of love and healing.

The Choice weaves Eger’s personal story with case studies from her work as a psychologist. Her patients and their stories illustrate different phases of healing and show how people can choose to escape the prisons they construct in their minds and find freedom, regardless of circumstance. Eger’s story is an inspiration for everyone. And her message is powerful and important: “Your pain matters and is worth healing: you can choose to be joyful and free.” She is eighty-nine years old and still dancing.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

REVIEW: The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani @penguinbooks #leilaslimani

The Perfect Nanny
by Leila Slimani
Penguin Books

πŸ”₯ Releasing 1/9/18 πŸ”₯

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Winner of France's most prestigious literary prize, the Goncourt--the first book by a Moroccan woman to win

When Myriam, a mother and brilliant French-Moroccan lawyer, decides to return to work, she and her husband are forced to look for a caretaker for their two young children. They are thrilled to find Louise: the perfect nanny right from the start. Louise sings to the children, cleans the family's beautiful apartment in Paris's upscale tenth arrondissement, stays late whenever asked, and hosts enviable kiddie parties. But as the couple and the nanny become more dependent on each other, jealousy, resentment, and frustrations mount, shattering the idyllic tableau. Building tension with every page, The Perfect Nanny is a riveting exploration of power, class, race, domesticity, and motherhood--and the debut in America of an immensely talented writer.

My Review:

Myriam gave up her career when she had her two children with her husband, Paul.  Soon she found herself resenting her children and her husband and needed more from her life.  Given the opportunity to go back to law, she took it.  With this decision, came the choice to hire a nanny to take care of the children.  Enter Louise, who seems perfect!  The children love her and as time goes by, they want for nothing.  Meals are made, the living space is cleaned, the children are happy... but soon resentment, jealous and anger starts to build...

I am so torn with this novel.  The opening lines "The baby is dead. It only took a few seconds." really popped and made me think we were going into a novel where we find out how this tragedy occurred.  Instead we're taking on a character study.  A journey into the life of a nanny who is often overlooked, underappreciated and with little self esteem.  We find a woman whose sole purpose in life is to take care of others and makes that her entire world, often neglecting herself in the process.  We get inside her head, her past with her own family, her past nanny history, and a little bit of explaining of why she acts the way that she does.  Alongside that we get a little bit into Myriam's mind as well.  Her issues with trying to be a full time mother, her accomplishments as a lawyer, her growing unease with Louise in the house.  Then we are presented with various random chapters of other people that are involved in Louise's life.  The problem is, nothing is ever fully fleshed out.  

You realize early on that the book is heading in a direction to reveal why Louis took the actions that she did.  The opening pages tell you she killed the children.  Now we need to know why.  It just never got there.  The ending was disappointing.  Maybe the author meant for there to be no resolve, which is fine - sometimes I don't mind this.. but it didn't get enough meat and potatoes throughout for me to feel satisfied.

The writing is fantastic, however.  My favorite parts of this novel is the author's prose, with the only exception being that sometimes the chapters became choppy with whose point of view we were supposed to be in.  I'm not sure if that is lost in the translation of the novel or not.  Either way, you definitely cannot take away from her talent.  I can understand why she won the Goncourt award.

On a final note, putting a quote from The Telegraph as "Is The Perfect Nanny the next Gone Girl? ...." as the first line of the synopsis on Goodreads and Amazon gives you a false feel for what this book is going to be.  

★★ 1/2

View all my reviews

About the Author:

LeΓ―la Slimani (born 1981) is a French writer and journalist of Moroccan ancestry. In 2016 she was awarded the Prix Goncourt for her novel Chanson douce.

Slimani was born in Rabat, Morocco and studied later political science and media studies in Paris. After that she temporarily considered a career as an actress and began to work as a journalist for the magazine Jeune Afrique. In 2014 she published her first novel Dans le jardin de l’ogre, which two years later was followed by the psychological thriller Chanson douce. The latter quickly turned into a bestseller with over 450,000 copies printed within a year even before the book was awarded the Prix Goncourt.

Slimani holds a French and Moroccan citizenship.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Sleeping Beauties TOUR with Stephen King and Owen King @stephenking @owenkingwriter @scribnerbooks

Sleeping Beauties
by Stephen King and Owen King
Scribner Books

❈ Available NOW ❈

Ok everyone - I FINALLY, FINALLY attended my first King book event last night.  It was through Books Are Magic, located at St. Ann's Church in Brooklyn and was a first come, first seat type of event.  Which meant by the time I got there, I was bringing up the ass end of the line and had to sit ALL the way in the back!  But hey, I got there and THAT's the important part... right?  RIGHT!  Or, that's what I'm telling myself anyways.  

First, the venue is GORGEOUS!  Check out pics and even get some history on this church HERE. But, since it's the first week of fall and the weather decided to be summer, it was muggy and HOT and there was no air in the building so I was trying to sit as still as I could, allllll the way in the back.  Did I mention how FAR away I was from the Kings?  Oh, yes?  Anyhooooooo,  it was fairly miserable in there and most of the time I could feel myself shriveling up like a raisin as my body starting craving water, or any liquid of any kind, and a fan... a big ass fan that shot cold air at all of me!  But then, the event begins...

First of all, I didn't realize that Books Are Magic (an independent book store in Cobble Hill/Brooklyn) is owned by Emma Straub... Peter Straub's daughter!  And apparently he was also at the event but I couldn't see him because he was in the front row.. and well, you know where I was!  Apparently she's known the King family all her life so it was cool to see that this whole event was a bit family style. πŸ’

I won't go into the details of what they spoke about in case it's a somewhat repetitive thing throughout their tour and you'll be attending - no spoilers here, EVER (or at least I always try my very best not to)... BUT, I will say that their collaboration story is fantastic.  It was fantastic to listen to them feed off each other as they told their stories from King's experiences when he was younger, to their relationship when Owen was younger.  

On the way out, you turned in your wrist band for a copy of Sleeping Beauties and signed copies were riddled throughout the stack.  I was THRILLED to see my copy is signed!! SQUEEE!!  I'm truly excited for this story - I'll be honest, I auto bought this book because well, it's KING... but I had no clue what the story was about.  And quite frankly, I could use some time cocooned up - what say you? 

Let me leave you with this thought though - Bill Hader as a young Stephen King?  What do you think??  πŸ‘

Goodreads Synopsis:

In this spectacular father-son collaboration, Stephen King and Owen King tell the highest of high-stakes stories: what might happen if women disappeared from the world of men?

In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place. The men of our world are abandoned, left to their increasingly primal devices. One woman, however, the mysterious Evie, is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. Is Evie a medical anomaly to be studied, or is she a demon who must be slain? Set in a small Appalachian town whose primary employer is a women’s prison, Sleeping Beauties is wildly provocative and gloriously absorbing.

About the Authors:

Stephen King

Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, Maine, for good. Her parents, Guy and Nellie Pillsbury, had become incapacitated with old age, and Ruth King was persuaded by her sisters to take over the physical care of them. Other family members provided a small house in Durham and financial support. After Stephen's grandparents passed away, Mrs. King found work in the kitchens of Pineland, a nearby residential facility for the mentally challenged.

Stephen attended the grammar school in Durham and Lisbon Falls High School, graduating in 1966. From his sophomore year at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper, THE MAINE CAMPUS. He was also active in student politics, serving as a member of the Student Senate. He came to support the anti-war movement on the Orono campus, arriving at his stance from a conservative view that the war in Vietnam was unconstitutional. He graduated in 1970, with a B.A. in English and qualified to teach on the high school level. A draft board examination immediately post-graduation found him 4-F on grounds of high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet, and punctured eardrums.

He met Tabitha Spruce in the stacks of the Fogler Library at the University, where they both worked as students; they married in January of 1971. As Stephen was unable to find placement as a teacher immediately, the Kings lived on his earnings as a laborer at an industrial laundry, and her student loan and savings, with an occasional boost from a short story sale to men's magazines.

Stephen made his first professional short story sale ("The Glass Floor") to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967. Throughout the early years of his marriage, he continued to sell stories to men's magazines. Many were gathered into the Night Shift collection or appeared in other anthologies.

In the fall of 1971, Stephen began teaching English at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine. Writing in the evenings and on the weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on novels.

Owen King

I'm the author of the novel Double Feature and We're All In This Together: A Novella and Stories, co-editor (with John McNally) of the anthology Who Can Save Us Now, and co-author (with Mark Poirier) of the graphic novel Intro to Alien Invasion. My writing has appeared in publications such as GrantlandThe Los Angeles Review of BooksPrairie SchoonerSubtropicsLady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, and One Story. My next book, Sleeping Beauties, a novel co-authored with Stephen King, will be published by Scribner in 2017. 

My wife is the beautiful and mysterious Kelly Braffet. She has written three wonderful books, but my personal favorite is Save Yourself

Here are what a couple of my favorite authors were nice enough to say about Double Feature:

“What a kinetic, joyful, gonzo ride—Double Feature made me laugh so loudly on a plane that I had to describe the plot of Sam's Spruce Moose of a debut film (it stars a satyr) to my seatmate by way of explanation. Booth and Sam are an unforgettable Oedipal duo. A book that delivers walloping pleasures to its lucky readers.” - Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia! 

“Sharp, hilarious, and irreverent, Double Feature is not only a love-letter to cinema, but also a moving exploration of what it means to be an artist. This novel is brilliant, and Owen King is a magician.” - Lauren Groff, author of The Monsters of Templeton and Arcadia

BOOK MAIL: The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen @greerkh @sarahpekkanen @stmartinspress

The Wife Between us
by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
St. Martin's Press

πŸŽ† Releasing 1/9/18 πŸŽ†

Huge thanks to St. Martin's Press for this copy! 

About the Book:

A novel of suspense that explores the complexities of marriage and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love. 

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.
You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.
You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.
You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.
Assume nothing.

Discover the next blockbuster novel of suspense, and get ready for the read of your life.

About the Authors:

Greer Hendricks:

Greer Hendricks spent over two decades as an editor. Her writing has been published in The New York Times and Publishers Weekly. The Wife Between Us is her first novel.

Sarah Pekkanen:

"Fans of Jennifer Weiner and Emily Giffin will strongly appreciate this rising star in women's fiction." - Library Journal.
Internationally bestselling author Sarah Pekkanen's newest book is THE PERFECT NEIGHBORS. She is also the author of THINGS YOU WON'T SAY, CATCHING AIR, THE BEST OF US, THE OPPOSITE OF ME, SKIPPING A BEAT, and THESE GIRLS. Sarah's linked free short estories, published by Simon&Schuster exclusively for ereaders, are titled "All is Bright," and "Love, Accidentally." 

Sarah is the mother of three young boys, which explains why she writes part of her novels at Chuck E. Cheese. Sarah penned her first book, Miscellaneous Tales and Poems, at the age of 10. When publishers failed to jump upon this literary masterpiece (hey, all the poems rhymed!) Sarah followed up by sending them a sternly-worded letter on Raggedy Ann stationery. Sarah still has that letter, and carries it to New York every time she has meetings with her publisher, as a reminder that dreams do come true. 

Her website is and please find her on Facebook Instagram and Twitter @sarahpekkanen!

BOOK: The Cool Kids by Jason Pellegrini @jpellegrini1983

The Cool Kids
by Jason Pellegrini

❈ Available NOW ❈

You guys and gals may remember me talking about this author when I read and reviewed his book, Booth, earlier this year.  You can find my review for that one HERE.  I am now the proud owner of his newest work, the novella, The Cool Kids!  Scroll below for the synopsis, snippet about the author and all the links to his social media.  

Goodreads Synopsis:

Growing up, Kevin Ford was never considered one of the cool kids. He was the unathletic son of a father who had been the star of his college football team and the scrawny younger sibling of two brothers who loved to torment him. To his peers, he was far from being considered popular. 

Kevin had two best friends, though. One afternoon in the summer of 1994, they showed up unannounced at his front door with a secret mission. What Kevin figured was going to be an average summer day with his friends turned into an adventure like no other. The three of them entered the woods and sought out a forgotten ancient myth. 

Now, nearly a quarter century later, Kevin finds himself reminiscing about that August day. As he’s about to enter a new stage of his life, he looks to his past to help give him the strength to face what lies ahead.

About the Author:

Jason Pellegrini is an award winning author from Levittown, New York. His works include Booth, The Cool Kids and The Replacement.

Find him here:

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

REVIEW: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas @BalzerandBray @angiecthomas

The Hate U Give
by Angie Thomas
Balzer and Bray

πŸ”₯ Available NOW πŸ”₯

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

My Review:

I think at this point everyone knows what this book is about so I'll skip the short synopsis I usually do and go right into my thoughts on this book.

Racism is a horrible thing that has been around for ages and will not be going away any time soon.  As a halfbreed myself I've dealt with racism from both sides, the white side AND the Korean side so I definitely empathize to a lot of what is going on in this book.  Yes, I know it's different but I understood where Maya came from and I could at least get where Starr came from.  In any case, this is a socially relevant and beautifully written book.  The author does a fantastic job in building Starr's character and I like that the entire book was written from her point of view.

I felt the book was a bit long which made me put it down a few times as I thought some things were a bit repetitive.  While it is a beautifully written book in terms of the subject matter and what the author was bringing to readers, I felt some instances were a bit choppy.  I couldn't get into the flow in the first half but felt more into it towards the last parts.  The author brings in several different characters and they are certainly realistic.  I've definitely had my share of"minority alliances".  I do wish that some of the relationships had been more fleshed out.  Hailey, Maya and even Chris.  Starr's relationship with Chris felt a bit forced in my opinion so a little more interaction/background/something would've helped this for me. 

Worth the hype? Absolutely.  Maybe too hyped so I went into it expecting more?  Probably.  Completely relevant in this day and age.  Definitely a noteworthy book and I'm looking forward to the film version.!

★★★ 1/2

View all my reviews

About the Author:

Angie Thomas was born, raised, and still resides in Jackson, Mississippi as indicated by her accent. She is a former teen rapper whose greatest accomplishment was an article about her in Right-On Magazine with a picture included. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Belhaven University and an unofficial degree in Hip Hop. She can also still rap if needed. She is an inaugural winner of the Walter Dean Meyers Grant 2015, awarded by We Need Diverse Books. Her debut novel, The Hate U Give, was acquired by Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins in a 13-house auction and will be published in spring 2017. Film rights have been optioned by Fox 2000 with George Tillman attached to direct and Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg set to star.

#CJSReads REVIEW: The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti @atriabooks @katemoretti1

The Blackbird Season
by Kate Moretti
Atria Books

πŸ”₯ Available NOW πŸ”₯

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Known for novels featuring “great pacing and true surprises” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) and “nerve-shattering suspense” (Heather Gudenkauf, New York Time bestselling author), New York Times bestselling author Kate Moretti’s latest is the story of a scandal-torn Pennsylvania town and the aftermath of a troubled girl gone missing.

“Where did they come from? Why did they fall? The question would be asked a thousand times…

Until, of course, more important question arose, at which time everyone promptly forgot that a thousand birds fell on the town of Mount Oanoke at all.”

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, Alicia, 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 Alicia 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 Alicia, 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.

My Review:

In a Pennsylvania town where crime rarely happens, a thousand dead starlings fall out of the sky. Seemingly, this sets off a chain of events that will change the lives of many.  This book is unfolded through the POVs of four different characters.  We have Nate, baseball coach and adored teacher who probably pays a little too much attention to his students.  His wife, Alecia (it was spelled this way in my arc copy), who is home tending to their special needs son, Gabe, while thinking her husband avoids the house.  Her frustrations of having to hold herself together for her son's sake leads to instigating arguments with Nate.  Then there's Bridget, also a teacher at the same school, closest friend to Alecia and a widow who may be the only one fighting for the truth.  Lucia, an eccentric student, outcasted by her peers who call her a witch, accuses Nate of having an affair with her and then promptly disappears.  Nate was the last one to see her but all evidence proves to Nate's guilt. With only one person by his side, can he prove his innocence (if he truly is innocent), save his marriage and reputation?  And if he didn't have this alleged affair, then why is he being accused?

Under her twitter handle, Moretti says "best selling author of crap marriages & murder"... and she's absolutely right!  Holy crap marriages in The Blackbird Season!  Moretti is wonderful in the character building of this story.  Even with the multiple view points and the flip from from past to present throughout the novel, I never felt lost.  This isn't a book where you get one huge twist that makes you gasp and hold your chest.  It's rather a more suspensefully nuanced psychological thriller that keeps you turning the pages as she brings the story full circle.  This was the perfect read for what I needed at this time.  She doesn't try to surprise you or catch you off guard.  Instead, she slowly builds this world where none of the characters are likable, but you still want to sort of root for them. At least I did.  There's a slight supernatural undertone which I also liked a lot.  At the end of the day, this rule stands true - don't piss off a female... EVER.

For those who love that suspenseful thriller that might not keep you on the edge of your seat, but will definitely pull at your curiosity strings, this is something you need to pick up.  


Jessica's Thoughts:

This was my first time reading a book by Kate Moretti, and I was not disappointed! THE BLACKBIRD SEASON was definitely a suspense novel that kept me pulled in throughout the book. It was a fast and enjoyable read!Mount Oanoke, Pennsylvania is a small town where crime is rarity. One day a thousand starlings fall dead out of the sky. The town has their theories - was it man to blame (air pollution) or was it something supernatural (perhaps a sinister omen). Soon after, a series of disturbing events follows that will change the lives of many people in town. When baseball coach and teacher, Nate Winters, is accused of having an affair with a student, Lucia Hamm, things begin to spiral. Especially when Lucia disappears. Is Nate behind the disappearance? Does Lucia have something to do with the eerie events happening in their small town?We jump from different perspectives throughout the chapters. We see through the eyes of Nate Winters, his wife Alecia, fellow teacher and Alecia's friend Bridget, and then Lucia. Moretti creates very intricate and complex characters for the readers. Alecia, wife of Nate, is at home with her autistic son, Gabe, and is struggling to keep it together with the absence of her husband. Bridget is another teacher and seems to be the only one that is trying to get to the bottom of what really happened between Nate and Lucia. Then we have Lucia, a student that her peers have labeled a witch. Is she who is causing the starlings to fall from the sky? Where has she disappeared to?

I felt that Moretti did a great job weaving this story together. How all the characters and timelines mixed made for a great mystery. She also does a phenomenal job painting the scene for the readers - the old mill town and everything that comes with it (pollution, lack of jobs, and the issues that follow). 

Overall, if you want a slower building suspense with an intriguing mystery, then this is the book for you! There were complex characters that intertwined perfectly along with a good pacing throughout. I"ll be looking for more from Kate Moretti!

I give this 4/5 stars!

Sam's Thoughts:

Last year, I read (and loved!) The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti, so I was thrilled to find out that #cjsreads had obtained copies of her sophomore novel, The Blackbird Season as one of our September picks!    I had absolutely no expectations going into this book; truthfully, I loved The Vanishing Year so much that I didn’t even read the synopsis of this book.  I figured that if Moretti wrote it, I would be interested.  I was right!  Moretti was able to weave a pretty stellar, mysterious novel within these pages.  One that left me binge reading late into the night.

This story surrounds high school teacher, Nate Winters as he is accused of having an affair with a female student, Lucia Hamm.  As Nate’s life spirals and Lucia goes missing, Nate is the only suspect.  As his wife, Alecia begins to question his situation, his only ally comes in the form of co-worker and creative writing teacher, Bridget, who realizes the only way to save Nate’s reputation could be using Lucia’s journals. 

Though marketed as a psychological thriller, I didn’t find that this one fit that bill in the traditional sense.  When I think of psychological thriller, I think of a fast paced, on the edge of your seat, mind-bending plot filled with unreliable narration and lots of “WHOA” moments.  In this case, I felt Moretti created more of a slow burning mystery.  What happened to Lucia?  Who is telling the truth?  What is the deal with all these birds?  For me, this absolutely worked. 

Generally speaking, choppy and disjointed narration usually gets on my nerves, but, somehow, Moretti manages to make this style of narration easy to follow and completely addictive throughout the plot of this tale.  I was on the edge of my seat as I devoured each chapter (both and back and forth in time) and tried to figure out what the true happenings were and what motives the characters were acting with.   Each character gets a distinct POV and I loved hearing the story from each of their perspectives.  I found this to be incredibly interesting. 

One of my largest gripes to this story was the situation with the birds.  At the beginning of the story, we are told that thousands (hundreds?  millions?  Who knows) of blackbirds have fallen out of the sky and into the town.  People are horrified by this phenomenon and experts are called into the test the town’s water and air, looking for reasons and possible side effects of this occurrence.   I waited for the entirety of the book for this to be made clear.  And, alas, there was never really an explanation. The birds were more of a metaphor or a representation and I just wasn’t about that.  Personally, I felt like I needed an explanation. 

Overall, if you enjoy a tightly woven plot with multiple characters and a compelling mystery, I think you will enjoy this book.  It really reminded me of Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia.  They both had that small town mystery vibe.   

3.5/5 stars.

Big thank you to Atria Books for these copies in return for our honest opinions.