Thursday, April 14, 2016

Virtual Tour & #Giveaway for Blackbird Summer by Em Shotwell

Welcome to my stop on the Virtual Tour, presented by Tasty Book Tours, for Blackbird Summer by Em Shotwell.  Please leave a comment or question for Em to let her know you stopped by.  You may enter her tour wide giveaway, where one (1) randomly drawn commenter will be awarded a $15 Amazon/BN GC, by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  You may visit all of the stops on Em’s tour by clicking on the tour banner above, the more stops you visit, the better your odds of winning.  Good Luck! 

A Blackbird Summer Series Novel
Em Shotwell
Releasing April 5th, 2016
City Owl Press

When people fear the unknown, being Gifted is a curse.

In the cornerstone of the rural south, Brooklyn, Mississippi, no one dares make eye contact with the strange Caibre family. Until the rewards are worth the cost. The townsfolk come, cash in hand, always at night, to pay for services only a Gifted can provide.

No matter the Gifts prevalent in her family, at twenty-one, Tallulah is expected to follow the path laid out for her: marriage, babies, and helping her mama teach the family home school program. She’s resigned to live the quiet life and stay out of trouble…until she meets Logan.

An outsider and all around rebel, Logan doesn’t care about her family’s reputation. Yet after a tragic loss wreaks havoc on the crumbling relationship between the Caibres and the townsfolk, Tallulah must decide if love and freedom are worth risking everything.

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Em Shotwell is the author of Blackbird Summer with City Owl Press. She believes the most interesting characters are the ones who live on the sidelines, and that the smallest towns often hide the biggest secrets.

Em’s characters will bless your heart between sips of sweet tea- but be warned! There is often more to them than meets the eye. She loves to craft stories around outcasts and weirdos with a spark of magic and a penchant for finding trouble.

She lives in South Louisiana with a husband who spoils her and two mini-superheroes who call her mom. When she isn’t writing about misfits and oddballs, she enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, and debating Doctor Who facts with her obsessed ten year old.

Sign Up for a FREE Blackbird Summer Short Story

A fan of unique or “different” paranormal books, I was thrilled to get a chance to read and review Blackbird Summer by Em Shotwell.  A fun look at life, love and family in the Deep South, Blackbird Summer is both the first book in a new series, and the author’s debut release.  A strong, quirky and utterly charming leading character, colorful secondary characters, family drama and the different “gifts” held by the different characters kept me glued to the story from start to finish.  If you like paranormal books, books dealing with families or anything set in the South…..then this is the book for you!

Ms. Shotwell does a wonderful job developing her primary character, Tallulah “Tully” Caibre right from the start.  A young member of a “Gifted” family, Tully has spent her whole life being “different” and knowing her family’s unique talents have made them “outcasts” living on the edge of town.  Home schooled by her mother and working at the family market stand have kept Tully out of trouble but frustrated by her perspective future – she wants to be able to leave town, go to college and choose her own husband – something that she’s pretty sure her family will not allow.  After all, she’s spent all of her growing up years being told what’s expected from her and for her – an arranged marriage to someone from a “gifted” family, having her own kids and staying within her family’s community.  I really connected with Tully’ character and rooted for her to be able to live her own life but at the same time find a way to work within what both she and her family need because of their unique abilities. 

The secondary characters are all well developed and they all contributed something to the story.  I really liked Tully’s younger sister, Delia, who is a bit of a wild child and whose “gift” would make any salesman or stockbroker extremely happy.  I also liked her cousin Jack, who is almost as colorful as Delia (they have similar gifts) and absolutely fell in love with Logan, the love interest in the story.  I especially liked how Logan supported Tully from the first minute he met her and how he rooted for her family and saw the townspeople for the hypocrites they were.  While the townspeople aren’t necessarily evil, they are hypocritical in that they consider Tully’s family possibly “evil” or just different enough to keep them “separate” but are at the same time willing to buy their produce, ask for “help” with the weather, and what other gifts the family has.

I found Ms. Shotwell’s voice as a writer refreshing, engaging and easy to read.  The story’s pace is a little slow at the start, however, because the story is set in the South, I found it fitting for the location and story development.  As the story progresses, the pace does pick up and the story moves at a very good pace as it reaches the finale.  There’s plenty of angst, quirky drama and real family emotion, which definitely kept me turning the pages.  There’s also the added mystery that some of the characters turn out to have some hidden secrets and depth, which was unexpected but great for the story.

Will Tully take a chance on falling in love with Logan, even if her family won’t approve?  Will she tell her parents she wants to make her own choices about her future?  And will the people of Brooklyn, Mississippi learn to embrace Tully’s family and their differences?  You’ll have to read Blackbird Summer to find out.  I loved it and can’t wait to read the next book in this series.

My Rating:  5 Out of 5 Crowns and a Recommended Read


  1. I am so thrilled that you enjoyed Blackbird Summer! Thanks for hosting my book and for such a lovely review.

  2. Great review! Thank you for hosting BLACKBIRD SUMMER today!

    Crystal, Tasty Book Tours