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Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Sisters of Blue Mountain by Karen Katchur - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Linnet and Myna haven’t seen each other in years. The sisters were really close when they were children, but something in their past changed their relationship and now they hardly speak. Linnet is still living in their hometown Mountain Springs, where she’s running a bed and breakfast. She's crazy about her husband and son and is looking after Pop, her increasingly forgetful father. Myna has left and never wants to live in the small town again. She hasn’t visited in years, but an incident makes her come back home for a short while. How will the sisters take seeing each other again?

The bed and breakfast is near a dam and each year the dam attracts large flocks of geese, which is a popular attraction that fills Linette’s rooms. Pop used to be an ornithology professor, but his failing mind forced him to stop working at the university he loved so much. When dead geese are being found by the dam,  Mountain Springs is hot news all of a sudden. Why did the birds die? A professor is there to research the case and a journalist shows more than just a regular interest in the sisters. A murder destroys the balance even more. Especially since Pop seems to be the only one who knows what happened. When the truth is coming to light Linnet and Myna need each other more than ever, will they be able to set their differences aside?

The Sisters of Blue Mountain is a gripping story about family, deceased birds, a terrible death and secrets of the past. I was immediately intrigued by everything that’s happening in and around Linnet’s bed and breakfast. I loved how Karen Katchur makes the past and present come together. There’s a lot going on in the lives of Linnet and Myna and spending time with each other for the first time in years, doesn’t make it easier for the sisters to overcome their problems. There’s a lot of pain and there are plenty of unresolved issues that they have to deal with, while also trying to find a way out of their present situation. The dead birds are bad for business, they gather a lot of unwanted media attention and the situation gets out of hand completely when the area close to the dam becomes a crime scene. I loved this amazing chaos, especially since Karen Katchur is in complete control all the time. She’s written a story that kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end.

Karen Katchur has a fabulous descriptive writing style that completely captivated me. She knows how to work with suspense and the result is a fantastic thrilling story with many surprising twists and turns. I enjoyed reading about Mountain Springs and the beauty nature has to offer. Unfortunately sometimes gorgeousness can turn into ugliness and that is an excellent basis for a story. The combination of a natural process that has somehow failed, together with a suspicious death and plenty of tension in one family makes the experience complete. I absolutely loved The Sisters of Blue Mountain, it’s a terrific compelling story.


If you love gripping stories that evolve around family you don't want to miss The Sisters of Blue Mountain.

About Karen Katchur

Karen Katchur is an award-winning suspense novelist with a bachelor of science in criminal justice and a master’s in education. She lives in eastern Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.


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1) Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

I grew up in a small town in Eastern Pennsylvania. I bounced around between different careers, but writing is the one that eventually stuck. My first two novels are standalones and are a blend of mystery and women’s fiction. My third novel (coming Nov. 1, 2018) is the first book in a series which is part suspense, crime thriller, and police procedural.

2) How did you get the idea to write about two sisters and their complex relationship?

The idea to write about sisters was a natural extension since much like Linnet and Myna, my sister is fifteen months older than me. I find the sister relationship is one of the most complex, frustrating, rewarding, amazing, infuriating, loving relationship in a woman’s life if you’re lucky enough to have a sister. In order for me to fully understand the sister relationship outside of my own experience, I interviewed sisters both together and separately. The answers were fascinating and helped to build the foundation for Linnet and Myna.

3) Can you describe Linnet and Myna in eight words each?

Linnet- typical first-born in that she’s responsible, independent, reliable, loyal, but a bit controlling

Myna- typical younger sister in that she looks to Linnet to make decisions for her, somewhat spoiled, free, easygoing, flight-risk, loving, loyal

4) How did you start writing suspense and do you use your background in science and criminal justice a lot for your stories?

Well, I don’t have a background in science at all. What usually happens is that I become curious about something I’ve read or heard about and it usually takes me down the road of research. In this case, it was ornithology. I was curious about the news reports of large numbers of birds falling from the sky. The most recent case happened in Idaho in April 2018 where 60-plus snow geese fell from the sky. A case of life imitating art I guess.

My background in criminal justice does help with plotting, but so much in the field has changed since I’ve gotten my degree. I defer to the experts to make sure I get things right. Researching topics in forensics or law or whatever it is, is a lot of fun for me. I think writing suspense/crime fiction is just a natural extension of this.

5) Can you tell a bit more about Mountain Springs and your inspiration behind this setting?

Mountains Springs is a fictional town based on the very real town of East Bangor, Pennsylvania. I decided to fictionalize the town in order to make it a tourist attraction where outsiders come to witness the snow geese migration. East Bangor is not a tourist town, but it does have a dam where geese visit every year. I spent summers fishing in the dam and winters, ice-skating. I know what the dam smells like on hot summer days and how cold and quiet it feels when you’re standing in the middle of the dam on a winter’s day. I like having this kind of intimate knowledge of the setting when I’m writing my stories. I need it in order to understand my characters and plot.

6) Which key ingredients should a good suspenseful novel have?

Oh gosh, I think any good novel no matter what genre should have all the ingredients, characters, plot, setting, theme etc…

7) You write about an intriguing family, what does family mean to you and why is it such an interesting subject to write about?

Good or bad, for better or worse, you’re stuck with the family you were born into. I find it interesting to explore how a character(s) navigates through the dark spaces of these relationships that they’re “stuck in,” especially when they’re younger and they don’t always understand why adults (parents) do the things they do.

8) What makes you scared and how do you use that for your books?

I write about crime and violence because it’s something I have no control over and that scares me. But in my novels, I can contain it, control it, including having justice being served at the end. It’s a way of managing my fears.

9) What's the most fascinating about a good secret and how do you come up with the ones you use for your books?

What fascinates me is the motive behind keeping the secret in the first place. Why does a character decide to act in a certain way, or not act in the case of the sisters? I get my ideas from something I’ve either experienced personally or read or heard about and from there I play the “what if” game and try to find the motive behind a specific action.

10) What are your plans for the future?

I’m excited about my new crime thriller series, Northampton County. The first book, RIVER BODIES, releases later this year (Nov. 2018). The series features Pennsylvania State Police homicide investigator, Parker Reed. He gains a partner, Geena Brassard, and together they investigate big crimes in small towns.


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a hardcover copy of The Sisters of Blue Mountain by Karen Katchur.

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The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. The Sisters of Blue Mountain sounds like an emotional, suspenseful story about the bond between sisters and family secrets.

  2. I can't imagine not being close with my sisters. This sounds like a very emotional read. Thank you for sharing it.

  3. I wonder what happened that made them loose touch with each other...interesting!

  4. I’ve never read anything by this author but would love to get the opportunity to. It looks like it would be very good!

  5. A great story line, love the suspense that no doubt keeps you turning page after page to discover what clues you can find as to the why of so many different things and what happened in years gone by

  6. Thank you for the chance at your book

  7. The Sisters of Blue Mountain sounds intriguing!

  8. Another great interview, I do like reading about the authors, their backgrounds and lives. A lot of people will no doubt be able to relate to the novel Sisters of Blue Mountain. I for one had a sister, which wasn't all sugar and honey either. This would be a very interesting book for me too.
    I think that a background in criminal justice will also aid in the new crime thriller series, Northampton County, which I'm very much looking forward to.

  9. I am curious as to why the sisters "fell out". Sounds wonderful.

  10. I'm curious about what happened to Linnet & Myna in their past.

  11. This book sounds so thrilling, thank you for the great blog post

  12. Sounds like a story of family in all of its shades and depths. Would love to read it.

  13. Sounds a great book, I must make more time to get back into reading, maybe early retirement (if only)

  14. Sounds great, thanks for the review!

  15. Sounds like a lovely book - thanks for the chance to win

  16. What an intriguing book! Great interview. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Will love to read it. Sounds great.

  18. Sounds like a lovely story - would like to read.

  19. This book looks great, I would love to give this a read

  20. Karen sounds like an author who really likes to get under the skin of her characters.

  21. Great looking book.Would like to read.Thank you for a review.x

  22. This sounds a great read. Full of suspense, sisterly love and family secrets.

  23. Thanks for the great prize and competition. Good luck everyone!

  24. With the author's background, it makes this so good, and I love reading books about sisters!

  25. Linnet and Myna? I'd never have thought of using the names of birds for children, but they're both very pretty (although I once had a neighbour with a Myna bird that used exceedingly bad language)!