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Blackbird in the Reeds

(The Rowan Harbor Cycle #1)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  980 ratings  ·  165 reviews
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
Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 188 pages
Published January 4th 2018
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Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  980 ratings  ·  165 reviews

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Start your review of Blackbird in the Reeds (The Rowan Harbor Cycle, #1)
4 Stars

Blackbird in the Reeds is the first novel in Sam Burns’ new urban fantasy series, The Rowan Harbor Cycle.

This initial story introduces its readers to the enigmatic small town of Rowan Harbor and all of its unusual inhabitants. The supernatural folk are in abundance here, but as not to spoil the fun I won’t name names, as I believe half the joy of reading this particular story was in piecing together the mystery of what was going on in the town and in working out what type of supernatural
* A Reader Obsessed *
3.5 Stars!!

What can I say? I have a soft spot when it comes to all things urban fantasy and this did not shirk on some great moments. Plus, throw in some romance and the notion of mates, and you have me at “hello”.

This starts out with Devon, who returns to Rowan Harbor at the urgent request of his grandmother. Unbeknownst to him, a huge amount of expectations are awaiting him - he just needs to figure some things out and take that next step towards his destiny. That would all be well and done,
Jun 20, 2018 rated it liked it
**2.75 stars**

It's a tough one to review. I kept encountering it on Amazon and every time I read the blurb something was off. I really like paranormal romance - any kind of shifter or magical being will do. This one felt like a hodgepodge. The dreams only made it more confusing. It's my first book by this author and I don't know if I will continue. The writing style is quite good but half the book really doesn't make much sense to me.

Another thing that ticked me off was the fact that Devon and
BWT (Belen)
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm a sucker for a good fantasy story and Blackbird in the Reeds delivers the world-building and character building that I crave without being so immersive it misses the plot.

Told from Devon Murphy's single, third-person point of view, it follows his adventures after rushing from Minnesota to the coast of Oregon because his grandmother needs him to return home to the eccentric town of Rowan Harbor.

Devon's more than happy to come to his Gran's call and to help her, but there's quite a bit of
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle-unlimited, m-m
This made me happy. It was fun and I love the idea of Rowan Harbor. This is just the kind of place I fantasized about growing up, well, sometimes I still fantasize about! I LOVE IT!

This is one of those stories where you have to use your imagination and fill in a lot of blanks. There is a lot that just does not happen on page and you really have to just keep up, and well, fill in the blanks. I think this type of storytelling could easily backfire but so far so good. There are also a lot of
Jan 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've never read Sam Burns before but this is her first venture into paranormal apparently anyway and all I can say is that she's done a damn fine job with it.

It's difficult to review this book without giving away too much but let's just say whimsical and quirky could have been made to describe it.

There's a gorgeous sense of the ethereal and an otherworldly air about everything which happens when Devon returns to his childhood home after his gran calls to say she needs him.

From giant wolves, a
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those who love paranormal LGBT with a bit of mystery
4.5 stars!

This, ladies and gents, this is how you write the first book in a new series. The world-building and character development in this book are absolutely fabulous. There is absolutely no info dump. Each piece of new information is revealed via the plot progression, and while I still had no idea what was actually going on at about 30% in, I couldn't wait to find out.

Devon Murphy, from whose 3rd person POV the story is told, rushes home to Rowan Harbor, Oregon, at the request of his
3.8 Stars

The world-building here was really, really good; the town and its people absolutely shine in this book. It did feel like it took too long to get to the heart of what Devon really was, we were being strung along a bit. BUT once all that came out I really started to enjoy the rest of the tale, including the romance.

On the whole a fun and engaging read, and I'm definitely interested in the next one.

EDITED TO ADD: Oops, forgot to mention that Chris Chambers did a great job
Chris, the Dalek King
Who knew that such a small town could hold such big secrets?

Devon Murphy has been away from Rowan Harbor for most of his adult life. Wandering, mostly, unable to find a place that he fits or people that he can trust to really care for him. When his grandmother calls asking–cryptically–for him to come back, he loads up his car and heads back west to Oregon. Where he almost hits a deer, crashes his car, breaks his wrist, and talks to what he can only presume is a hallucination of a very helpful
I used this to check whether perhaps I could stand audiobooks after all, but the answer seems to be no. Not sure if it's absolutely no, but definitely not this narrator or on this laptop. The narrator pronounced every word as if it were Highly Significant, which became irksome very quickly, and no matter how loud I turn the volume, it becomes difficult to make out as soon as I move away from the device. My main interest in audio would be so I could listen while cleaning or whatever, so this ...more
☙ percy ❧
really liked the overall concept, but it seemed too much like an extended prologue to the successive books than a book in its own right. also, the chemistry between devon and wade was, quite frankly, dismal.
BWT (Belen)

I'm a sucker for a good fantasy story and Blackbird in the Reeds delivers the world and character building that I crave.

Told from Devon Murphy's single, third-person point of view, Blackbird in the Reeds is a nice blend of contemporary fantasy and paranormal romance, and it sets up nicely for what's to come next without being cliffhanger-ish.

Chris Chambers enunciates every word very clearly and he uses a distinct character voice for each of the large cast. His pacing is very structured and he
Beth doesn't write  enough reviews
I want to live in Rowan Harbor. Seriously, I’d be very happy there with a slightly odd bunch of interesting characters.

I found the writing smooth and unhurried. While some might say it was slow in the beginning I really enjoyed the pacing as the author allowed us to meet and greet the citizens of Rowan Harbor with Devon. We know from the very beginning there is something different about the town and it’s inhabitants and I enjoyed the way everything was slowly revealed.

There is no real angst
Valerie ❈M/M Romance Junkie❈
I will admit it. I was a bit lost at the beginning. I was intrigued enough to keep reading (didn’t do anything that I was supposed to do. Like work ). I am really glad I kept reading. I’m going to enjoy getting to know the townspeople. Now on to the next one. ...more
Audiobook review

Blackbirds in the Reeds is the first book in the Rowan Harbor Cycle series. Set in a small town where everyone knows everything about everyone, and newcomers are looked upon with suspicion - even 10 years after moving to town.

This book is told from Devon Murphy, POV and starts off when he is returning back to his hometown, Rowan Harbor after being away for many years. He's never felt as home as he does in this strange and quirky town, never felt like an outsider. He doesn't
Jun 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: paranormal, ku, mm-romance
........3.5 Stars.......

I both read and listened to this paranormal read by this new-to-me author. Parts of this book I really liked.....the setting, a small town in Oregon, the diverse community, the outside POV of our MC Devon, the paranormal and normal aspects.

Parts of this book didn’t work for’s slow pacing, lack of UST, lack of description for Devon....I have no idea in my head what he looks like. I can imagine Wade Hunter, aka Deputy Downer, but not Devon. Some sentences had me
3.75 stars rounded up

Ah, Rowan Harbor ... a small town in Oregon where everyone seems to be related to everyone (we have The Lanes, the Hunters, The Cormiers, the McKenzie -- I tried to keep tracks *lol*) that is also harboring a secret! And this is where Devon Murphy returns to.

As a start for a series that will span NINE books (!) I think this was a pretty good one. I thought it had nice mystery to it as well, and I didn't figure out who the culprit was! Burns' writing flows nicely, with
Sep 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Meep by: Meags
Sorry Meags - you really made this sound magical, wish I could have seen that.

This book really didn't work for me, I spent more time highlighting niggles than reading! Quit at 81% which was the best choice for everyone. Even ignoring the:
Her mom sent her off to relatives in England.” Jesse shivered. “Those people freak me out. But Isla's a smart cookie, last I heard she wandered off to France

Maybe French readers will rate the book higher?

So many character intros, some confusing, I didn't get why
I listened to this in audio and enjoyed it quite a bit.
Devon the rolling stone returning to his roots and Wade the sexy deputy with a stick up his butt.

Devon is sweet and easy going. He's been moving from place to place because he has a secret nature that prevents him from getting too close to anyone else. His grandmother needs him though, so he's returning to the island he grew up on because she's the one person he loves.
Upon returning he learns that there is more to the island than a
~nikki the recovering book addict
Mysterious and intriguing

The only thing I knew coming into this book was that someone was a werewolf. I didn’t know anything else and it was genuinely fun unfurling the mystery of the town. It sure was a pleasant surprise to find out about the town and its residents! Mysterious unveiling done really well!

That that the mystery is unfurled, I don’t know if it’s enough to keep me invested in this series I might keep going but it’s lost a little of its shine for me also, I want to add
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Hey! This was a surprise. I really didn’t know what I was expecting when I started this book but it wasn’t what I got. This was so charming; Devon is my kind of character, he can’t help but speak aloud what he’s thinking especially when he’s under the influence. Seriously cute! My only complaint and it’s a small one is that I wish I had gotten to know Wade a bit more but I understand that 2 more books in the series will focus on this couple. Yay!
Lori S.
I like the characters and the town, but romance seemed to come from out of no where with no real build up. Devon and Wade barely exchange more than a few words the first half of the book and then, about half-way, they're kissing, and being all lovey-dovey, and they still don't know each other. I found that annoying, but I did like the rest of the story.

[Edited to add 11/22/18] The audio is pretty good. I enjoy listening to the plot build.
May 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lgbtq
Book Reaction:
Rating: 2.5 Stars - far from hate but not quite a like
Lisa The Novel Approach
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, paranormal
Sam Burns is quickly rising to be one of my must-read authors. I wasn’t sure what to expect with Blackbird in the Reeds since it was taking on a paranormal and fantasy plot, but I was so impressed with the author’s other books I took a chance. I shouldn’t have been worried; the story delivered a wonderful combination of world building and intriguing and unique characters, mystery in spades, and the foundation of a lovely little romance.

The story is told via Devon’s third-person POV, and I felt
Duncan Husky
What Sam Burns is doing here is incredibly ambitious: The Rowan Harbor Cycle is three trilogies, nine books in all. The books are being self-published, and she plans to release all nine books this year (2018), with the final book release planned by December. Now, if this was a series of short stories or even novellas I’d still be impressed, but these are ~200 page books. Judging from the first two books, the whole series is going to be great!

Rowan Harbor, a small town on the Oregon coast, has
I enjoyed the start of this story where a guy -Devon- was summoned back into his home town by his grandmother. It's a small town at the Oregon coast line surrounded by woods and as safe haven for a lot of secrets.

At the start the pace of the story is calm and gives you the necessary mysterious feeling where you know more than Devon but still not enough to stop wondering how everything fits together and who's who. It's not the dangerous kind of mysterious or something with gothic vibessary
This book was . . . particular. I liked parts of it, but it felt weirdly unfinished in some ways. I get that it's a series, but it didn't feel unfinished in a "the plot isn't done yet" kind of way, it felt unfinished in a "there are pieces missing" kind of way. Like, the relationship between the MCs didn't feel fleshed out to the degree that I wanted (why did they like each other?) and I feel like I'm missing so much background on both of them and the town (more forgivable, as hopefully this ...more
Joyfully Jay
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: elizabeth
A Joyfully Jay review.

4.5 stars

Devon Murphy grew up in the small town of Rowan Harbor, a town where everyone knows everyone else and has their nose firmly in everyone else’s business. While languishing in his latest temp job somewhere in Minnesota, Devon gets a call from his grandmother asking him to come home and asking for help. Because she asked — which she never does, and wouldn’t do without a good reason — Devon drops everything and starts driving to Oregon. As the long hours and endless
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.25 stars

New author, New series and totally different.

Imagine not knowing you are a Fae by birth and now live in a supernatural town with werewolves, vampire and witches. That is what happened to Devon. His Gran asks him to come back to Rowan Harbor for a visit and he is thrown back into this fantastic world that he used to call home.

This was a good introduction to the series. You find out who's who and what they are and what their ties they have in the Community. Nice introduction.
Feb 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Hmm, what to say. Well, I had a hard time putting this down because Burns' writing is fresh and droll and original. And then it Just Stops; not a cliffhanger, but making it clear it's just the first fraction of a long story. Eight sequels! Not sure what I'm getting into, but On to the Next.
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Other books in the series

The Rowan Harbor Cycle (9 books)
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  • Fox and Birch (The Rowan Harbor Cycle, #3)
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“People were always talking about wolves being smart, but he wasn’t sure they were smart enough to give a guy giant, sad puppy eyes to make him let his guard down. If they were, it was ingenious. It was totally working.” 0 likes
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