Thursday, August 21, 2014

Bookish Thoughts: The Hexed by Heather Graham

"Help me, Rocky!" ~ Opening Sentence of The Hexed


The Hexed by Heather Graham
Harlequin MIRA, 2014
Crime Fiction (Paranormal, Romance); 400 pgs

My favorite kind of cozy mysteries are those with a paranormal element.  There is just something about adding a bit (okay, sometimes a lot) of supernatural to a story that appeals to me most.  Despite The Hexed being the thirteenth book in the Krewe Hunters series, it is my first.  Fortunately for me, The Hexed is very much a stand alone novel.  There is so little (nothing really) about characters that may have appeared in earlier books, that a reader jumping in now should not feel lost or feel like he or she missed out on a minor continuing story line.

In The Hexed, readers are introduced to Craig "Rocky" Rockwell, an FBI agent who asks to be assigned to the an elite division of the FBI called the Krewe Hunters.  The Krewe Hunters, once a private detection agency, was adopted by the FBI because of their special abilities in dealing with the supernatural, namely ghosts.  Rocky is haunted by the ritualistic murder of a friend when they were teenagers and when another body is found in the same area and in the same manner over a decade later, he requests to be involved in the investigation.

Devin Lyle, once reporter now children's book author, has only recently returned home to Salem, taking up residence in her deceased aunt's home.  One night she hears a cry for help and runs outside into the woods by her house only to find the body of a woman.

Devin is pulled into the investigation of the murders due to her ability to see and talk to ghosts, one of which Rocky and Devin are sure has the key who is behind the murders and why someone would want the women dead.  Add in an eccentric great-aunt who is a ghost, a black raven named Poe, and a budding love story, and you have an entertaining novel.

I really liked the character of Rocky.  He is such a sweetheart, maybe a little too perfect.  I found it interesting how the Krewe team gave him lead upon their arrival to town to help with the murder investigation, especially given how new he was to the unit.  It made sense in some ways, I suppose: this was the area he had grown up in, one of his childhood friend's was the local lead on the case, and he was the first on the scene.  It wasn't something that bothered me at all, just something I noticed.

Devin was no slouch, that's for sure.  She's smart as a whip, especially when it comes to the history of the area.  Sometimes when a civilian character gets involved with a police investigation it seems too unbelievable to buy into, but not so in Devin's case.  At least I did not think so.  In part, keeping her close was to protect her, but she was also the person the ghost from long ago wanted to talk to.

I enjoyed seeing the evolution of Devin and Rocky's relationship, but admit the moment they made their feelings known seemed forced somehow and so sudden.  It wasn't how I imagined either character acting except maybe in their heads.  Still, it was not a bad thing.  Given how stressful the situation was, how dangerous, I should not be completely surprised.

The Hexed was an enjoyable read.  I suspected just about everyone in the book at one point or another of being the killer, but it was not until closer to the end that I had it figured out.  Somewhat.  The investigation was slow going at times, but rightfully so given the amount of research and foot work the characters had to do.  There is a bit of a need to suspend one's disbelief (and I'm not referring to the ghosts) in how Rocky came to some of his conclusions, but it was easy to look past as much fun as I was having reading to see what would happen next.

Will I read more by this author?  Absolutely.  I'm curious to learn more about the other members of the Krewe Hunters team and see what mysteries they encounter.


Rating: * (Good +)

To learn more about Heather Graham, and her books, please visit the author's website.

I hope you will check out what others had to say about The Hexed on the TLC Book Tours route!




Many thanks to the TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to be a part of this book tour. E-Copy of the book provided by the publisher.


© 2014, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Chasing the Ducks





Hosted by Wordless Wednesday


 © 2014, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Where Is Your Bookmark? (08/16/2014)

If only an extra day could be added to each week just for reading (and maybe review writing).  If that was possible, I would have had time to join in The Maze Runner Book to Movie Read-Along hosted by Katie of Doing Dewey, which began yesterday, or I could sign up for The Sparrow Read-Along hosted by Trish of Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity next month (second time might be the charm, right?).

There is also A More Diverse Universe Event hosted by Aarti of Booklust, scheduled September 14-27th, in which readers are asked to read and review a book written by a person of color.  Just one book.  Or more if you want. The hope is to build awareness and encourage readers like you and me to read more diversely--not just in that two week period, but over the course of our lives.  If you are anything like me, it isn't something I pay much attention to.  I enjoy reading books about other cultures and countries, but I rarely pay attention to the author's background.  Reading diversely is important, however.  Learning about other cultures and taking in the world from different perspectives is a must in today's diverse society, especially given the hate and intolerance that exists even today.


My only hesitation in signing up for A More Diverse Universe is how soon the event is and how already crammed my reading schedule is right now through the middle of October.  My thoughts immediately went to a mystery series Kwei Quartey I enjoy, and want to continue.  Julia Alvarez's In the Time of the Butterflies has been calling my name for some time.  In fact, there are a number of books on my TBR shelves that would be perfect fits for this event.  A good thing!  Time wise though I am thinking my best bet, if I want to participate, will be a children's book, something perhaps from my daughter's shelf.  Because I really do want to participate . . .  Are you joining in?  I hope you will!

As for my current reading, well, I am in pretty much the same place I was last week, in the middle of Michaela Carter's Further Out Than You Thought and Joshilyn Jackson's Someone Else's Love Story. Life has been fairly busy and then this weekend, when I hoped to fit in some good reading time, I was (and still am) sick.  I wish I was one of those readers who could read while sick.  Instead I tend to sleep.

This coming weekend my mother will be in town for her birthday.  My daughter has her birthday all planned out.  I just hope no one else catches my cold before then!

What are you reading at the moment?  Is it something you would recommend?




Every Tuesday Diane from Bibliophile By the Sea hosts 
First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where  
participants share the first paragraph (or a few) of a 
book they are reading or thinking about reading soon.


Here is the opening paragraph of one of my current reads, Someone Else's Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson:
I fell in love with William Ashe at gunpoint, in a Circle K. It was on a Friday afternoon at the tail end of a Georgia summer so ungodly hot the air felt like it had all been boiled red. We were both staring down the barrel of an ancient, creaky .32 that could kill us just as dead as a really nice gun could.   
 Would you continue reading?


© 2014, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Bookish Thoughts: The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

One evening, my father asked me whether I would like to become a ghost bride. ~ Opening from The Ghost Bride



The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo
William Morrow, 2013
Fiction; 368 pgs
From the Publisher: 
A wondrous coming-of-age story infused with Chinese folklore, romantic intrigue, adventure, and fascinating, dreamlike twists. 
Malaya, 1893 Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt Chinese family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives a proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family’s only son, who died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, ghost marriages are often meant to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a comfortable home for the rest of her days, but at what cost? 
As she reluctantly considers the offer, Li Lan is unwillingly drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities and vengeful spirits. There Li Lan must uncover the Lim family’s darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family—before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.
I knew at first sight I had to read this book.  The cover is beautiful and the description of what lie between its pages promised an intriguing story.  True to expectation, I was smitten from the first page.   I fell in love with the writing and Li Lan and her Amah and Mr. Wong.  I was just as eager to see Er Lang's face as Li Lan was as she journeyed in the afterlife.

The author seamlessly takes the reader from the real world into the dream world and also into the afterlife. She spins a tale of love and revenge and family secrets.  All of this set in a colonial Malaya, wrapped in its history, superstitions and traditions.  I really got a feel for what life must have been like for Li Lan, and the dilemma she was in.  She could easily erase her father's debts by accepting the proposal, but to do so would be to give in to a life she does not want to live.  She is such a kind soul, well meaning and innocent.  I liked her right away and wanted only the best for her.

She is being haunted by Lim Tian Ching, the son of a wealthy business man, who wants to marry her, a man who invades her dreams.  She wants only to be rid of him, but is unsure how to go about it.  Lim Tian seems to have some sort of special privilege in the afterlife, making him even more of a threat to Li Lan and her family. Besides marrying Li Lan, he wants to avenge his death, believing his cousin, Tian Bai, murdered him. Maybe in solving that mystery, Li Lan will find peace.

The Lim family was made up of interesting characters, not all of which were likable.  They have their own secrets that they would dearly love to keep hidden.  So much was said in a look and in a stance.  I liked how subtle the author was at times in conveying what was going on behind the scenes without being overly obvious.

The afterlife the author created is multi-layered, based on religious and cultural belief as well as imagination.  The way Li Lan is drawn in, the journey she takes, the people she meets . . . I did not want to stop reading, not even for a minute.  I wanted to know more about the demons and just who Er Lang, her guide in the afterlife is.  Even when Li Lan had no reason to sympathize with those who would harm her, she still felt for them.  This was true in her present life too.  She puts her life in very real danger the longer and farther she goes away from her own body, and yet she persists.

The end.  Oh, the end!  I confess I could see Li Lan going in several directions at the end, but ultimately, I think she made the best decision for her. I would have chosen that path too.

There was so much I loved about this novel as I read, from the cultural aspects to the story and the characters.   This is a book I will be recommending to just about everyone, I think.


Rating: * (Very Good +)

To learn more about Yangsze Choo and her book, please visit the author's website

I hope you will check out what others had to say about The Ghost Bride on the TLC Book Tours route!


Many thanks to the TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to be a part of this book tour. The publisher provided a copy of the book for review, but I was impatient and bought and read an e-copy before the print copy arrived.



© 2014, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mouse's Corner: Wacky Wednesday by Dr. Seuss


Wacky Wednesday by Dr. Seuss writing as Theo LeSieg and illustrated by George Booth (Random House, 1974; 48 pgs) is basically about a young girl who wakes up one morning to find that things around her are not quite right.  A door has two knobs, there is a shoe on the wall, and a candy cane acts as a table leg, just to name a few of the crazy things she sees.  No one else around her seems to notice.

My daughter loves her books, and one of her favorite stories right now is Wacky Wednesday. It's one of my favorite books too.  The word repetition and rhymes are fun for a young child, not to mention the enjoyment my daughter gets from pointing out what is wrong in each picture.

Mouse has taken the book one step further and likes to create her own wacky scenes around the house. Mouse was quite proud of her work in the tub the other night:





To share your children's book related posts stop by Booking Mama’s feature,
Kid Konnection and leave a comment as well as a link to your posts!


© 2014, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.