Book Review: Bird After Bird by Leslea Tash

Bird After BirdBird After Bird by Leslea Tash


Dear Birdy, Princess Birdzilla von MuffinStuff, Keeper of Dreams, Lover of our Fine Feathered Friends, queen of my life and light of my world, I hope this letter finds you well. If you are reading this then I am gone, and sweetheart, I am so sorry.

Chi-town professional Wren Riley is 25 and a rising star in the business world. She can eat a man alive and laugh about it to her girlfriends in seconds flat–and she does, on the regular. Behind the power suits and the flashing, flirty eyes, however, Wren has a secret, vulnerable side. Following a devastating loss and the discovery of a bird journal she and her father made together years before, Wren sets out to seek peace, closure, and something she just can’t name. Is that something tied to the little paper cranes she keeps finding along the way? 

Laurence Byrd grew up a lanky Hoosier kid with the good/bad fortune of having the same name as the state’s perennial basketball legend. With a better affinity for dogs than sports or school, he ends up in the Army instead of the Chicago art school of his dreams. Still, his service to our country is something he can be proud of–until an argument with the girl who means the world to him results in a series of events that blows his life apart. With no one left to understand him, black sheep Laurie pours out his heart into letters and drawings he never intends to send–then he folds them into paper cranes that he leaves behind like messages in little winged bottles. He never dreams someone might be finding them.

God damn it, Sylvia, for a few moments I tricked myself into feeling really alive. I cut it off before anyone got hurt, but just for a moment or two, I really thought I might feel something again–something like trust. Something like love. Not the kind of love we had, but something new. Something like hope.

Spoiler alert: Wren and Laurie are going to meet. And when they do, their lives are never going to be the same.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 Stars

The first time I read the blurb, I thought it sounded different from all the current New Adult books I’ve been reading. It also reminded me a little bit of Message in a Bottle because of the letters, so I got really excited about it. Of course, when the author, Leslea Tash, emailed me afterwards about doing an ARC review, I got way pumped up about it even more.

Bird After Bird is one of those sweet reads that can warm your heart. It is about a 25-year-old career woman, Wren Riley, who comes home from Chicago to small town Birdseye after her father’s death. There she finds a bird journal she and her father made together years before which leads her to rediscover her love for birds and her vulnerable side. She then meets hometown boy Laurence “Laurie” Byrd, who at only 22, has had one too many heartbreaking deaths in his life.

The two quickly move from friends to lovers, but living in different worlds get them both questioning themselves about what they want in life and who they are meant to be. Will their obvious connection be enough to see them through?

This Byrd wants a Wren.

So, here’s the thing, I really liked the first chapter of the book because it was a good, solid start, and it was quite heartwarming. However, to be honest, it took me a bit longer to get totally into the story as there were some issues that prevented me to do so.

Laurie seemed to be the kind of guy who can make anyone swoon. An Army vet, an artist, and a mechanic, and he’s also the sensitive type. But maybe because I’ve become spoiled and too used to reading about Alpha males, he’s not one I would personally consider an ideal book boyfriend. Also, there were times when, in my head, he sounded like a girl. I know he’s supposed to be more in tuned with his emotions than most, but it unfortunately made it a little bit obvious to me that the book was written by a female author.

I have to say though that I loved his letters, and I couldn’t help but be reminded of Garret Blake from Message in a Bottle (yes, I’m obviously a fan).

Wren, on the other hand, I wasn’t totally convinced that she’s supposed to be a man-eater. People around her kept describing her as a big bad bitch at work and with men, but I couldn’t really see it. I wish there would have been more showing than just telling, you know? I think I needed more proof of that part of her character for it to be a hundred percent believable to me.

I did like how mature she was, and I was really impressed by how the author portrayed her in that aspect. I mean, Wren could have easily acted immature and younger than Laurie, like with many other books. Also, I was able to feel how lost she was. In a way, I could relate to her as it’s basically like going through a quarter-life crisis of some sort. I’m not defending her stupid way of dealing with her relationship with someone she supposedly loves, but I can see how she would have reacted the way she did.

Both Wren and Laurie’s past histories, personal beliefs, and their shortcomings all came into play, so I was able to accept the circumstances, and not be frustrated or annoyed by it. [Of course, the resolution between them in the end was so sweet and worth the wait.]

For a moment, I felt like myself again. Not the new me, not the old me, just the real me. 

Now, on to my other issue, the story didn’t flow as smoothly as it should have. The transition from some scenes to the next made me a little confused and hanging at times. Perhaps it was because the pacing was sometimes too fast and then sometimes got a bit slow. Also, I felt like some of the subplots that were thrown in seemed too random. Suddenly there was a nun, then Laurie was singing, and then filming a talent show. I just think that if maybe the plot development and transitions were much better, this would have easily been a 5-star read.

The book definitely had its moments, and my favorite part was the entire Chapter 36. The exchange between Laurie and Wren simply tugged at my heartstrings. It was intense and beautiful. I honestly think it was perfectly done. Period.

If he would see me again, I would die happy. In the meantime, I was merely dying. 

Overall, I liked how the story felt refreshing. I may not have thought much about birds in general but this book certainly provided me with interesting tidbits. If you’re looking for a cute, sweet, and touching read, you may want to check out Leslea Tash‘s debut novel.


*ARC provided by the author



He had pretty eyes. Almost too pretty, with long lashes that curled at the end. If the set of his jaw hadn’t been so square and covered with five o’clock shadow, if his grown-out high and tight haircut hadn’t screamed “Army Reservist,” I would have sworn those eyes were mascaraed and lined.

“You talking to me?” I dabbed at my face with the wet paper towels. My skin was blotchy beneath my makeup, but I’d managed to wipe up most of the mascara from my cheeks. Even with false eyelashes I couldn’t duplicate the kind of eyes the man in the doorway had. Now that my makeup was wrecked, they were like short spindly spider legs. Ugh.

“Yeah, you,” he said. He had short brown hair and a friendly face, and he extended his hand to me like he was ready to fish me out of the water instead of a restroom. “No use herding Billy outta here. He hit up the men’s room first and it was locked—I was supposed to stand guard and keep anyone from going in after him, but you moved so fast I couldn’t stop ya.”

The man in the stall contributed more sound effects to the situation. I will spare you the details.

“C’mon and bail,” the nice guy said.

I took his arm. There was something soothing about him. The thought briefly flickered through my mind that he could be a dog whisperer or a horse trainer—something to that effect. He had a gentle vibe about him, despite his height and the reservist look.

“Thanks,” I said. “I, uh, guess I better find some other place to freshen up.”




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About the Author:

Leslea Tash is a journalist-turned-novelist, an avid bird nerd and the happily married mom of four. She has been a professional writer for many years. This is her first romance novel.

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