Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Hexed by Heather Graham

The Hexed (Krewe of Hunters #13) by Heather Graham
Published: July 29, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Pages: 400
Received: for honest review as part of a book tour
Find it online: Amazon | Goodreads 

A place of history, secrets...and witchcraft.

Devin Lyle has recently returned to the Salem area, but her timing couldn't be worse. Soon after she moved into the eighteenth-century cabin she inherited from her great-aunt Mina—her "crazy" great-aunt, who spoke to the dead—a woman was murdered nearby.

Craig Rockwell—known as Rocky—is a new member of the Krewe of Hunters, the FBI's team of paranormal investigators. He never got over finding a friend dead in the woods. Now another body's been found in those same woods, not far from the home of Devin Lyle. And Devin's been led to a third body—by...a ghost?

Her discovery draws them both deeper into the case and Salem's rich and disturbing history. Even as the danger mounts, Devin and Rocky begin to fall for each other, something the ghosts of Mina and past witches seem to approve of. But the two of them need every skill they possess to learn the truth—or Devin's might be the next body in the woods...

This is my first Heather Graham novel and I think I need to go back and start at the beginning of this series. This book can be read as a standalone, so don't let that deter you from picking it up and giving it a go. 

I think my favourite part of the book was that it was set in the surrounding area of Salem, Massachusetts. I've always loved reading about the witch trials and this has a dash of the history in it. Also, the fact that this was book 13 combined with the paranormal and witch trials history was a major win for me.

Devin's character is very likable and I think that she suits Rocky well. She's a children's book author coming back home to her roots with the ability to see ghosts (even though she doesn't really know that at first). I was constantly worried that something would happen to Devin given that she has been brought into this murder mystery and ghostly world, so it kept me on the edge of my seat. 

Rocky was a good FBI agent and I felt that his yearning for an answer to the murders gave him the drive to keep at it until he found an answer. I felt that he was drawn to all of this from the very beginning when his friend was murdered 13 years ago and that it made sense for him to be the one to work on the case.

Together they make a great team and their touch of romance was perfect. It wasn't too much of a quick fling or unnatural. It just seemed to work. 

And lastly, the mystery to the novel was good. I thought it was heading somewhere else, but to my surprise the killer was not who I had guessed it would be. I love when a book does that - has you guessing and you are sure you are right and BAM, you are blindsided by something you didn't really consider.

I'm looking forward to reading more of this series and learning more about the Krewe members.

About the Author: 
New York Times and USA TODAY  bestselling author Heather Graham has written more than a hundred novels and has been published in more than 20 languages. An avid scuba diver, ballroom dancer and the mother of five, she enjoys her south Florida home, but loves to travel as well, from locations such as Cairo, Egypt, to her own backyard, the Florida Keys. Reading is still the pastime she still loves best, and she is a member of many writing groups. She’s a winner of the Romance Writers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Thriller Writers’ Silver Bullet. She is an active member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America, and also the founder of The Slush Pile Players, an author band and theatrical group.

Heather annually hosts the Writers for New Orleans conference to benefit both the city, which is near and dear to her heart, and various other causes, and she hosts a ball each year at the RT Booklovers Convention to benefit pediatric AIDS foundations.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Camp Utopia and the Forgiveness Diet by Jenny Ruden

Camp Utopia and the Forgiveness Diet by Jenny Ruden
Published: July 1, 2014
Publisher: Koehler Books
Pages: 300
Received: review copy from author for blog tour
Find it online: Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads 

Sixteen-year-old Baltimore teen Bethany Stern knows the only way out of spending her summer at Camp Utopia, a fat camp in Northern California, is weight-loss. Desperate, she tries The Forgiveness Diet, the latest fad whose infomercial promises that all she has to do is forgive her deadbeat dad, her scandalous sister, and the teenage magician next door and (unrequited) love of her life. But when the diet fails and her camp nemesis delivers the ultimate blow, Bee bids sayonara to Camp-not-Utopian-at-all to begin what she believes will be her “real” summer adventure, only to learn that running away isn’t as easy—or as healing—as it seems. 

Her wry and honest voice bring humor and poignancy for anyone, fat or thin, tired of hearing “you’d be so pretty if…[insert unwelcome judgment about your appearance from loved one or perfect stranger].”

Oh how I loved Bethany's (aka Beth Ain't Thiny) story. Her struggles with weight, with life and with love remind me of how there are many people out there needing a story like this to help them make change. This book is inspirational, but not in a follow-what-I-tell-you-and-all-your-troubles-will-go-away kind of book. It shows us a teenage girl who is going through some of the most important years of her life and dealing with issues of self image and self worth. She's not happy and blames everyone else. She eats to medicate and make herself feel better. 

Going to FAT CAMP isn't her idea of a fun summer, but off she goes to please her mother and to get away from her life. I found Bethany's sassy quips to be spot on. Make others laugh so they don't see the real you - the one who doesn't like her weight, but doesn't know what to do about it. She has anger issues and uses her sarcastic humour to push people away. 

Little does she realize that going to Camp Utopia might just be the best thing for her. Not just to help her lose weight and get her eating under control, but to form lasting friendships, to forgive people who have wronged her and to forgive herself. She learns about real love and realizes that in the past she mistook a friendship for love and was hurt when the guy didn't reciprocate her feelings. Bee learns what it's like to free herself from all of the secrets and to start new.

There are some absolutely hilarious parts in the book that will have you laughing out loud and some parts that will make you look back and see if you ever felt the way and of the campers did at one time or another. 

Bee was an interesting heroine in this book  - she grows up a lot in the last quarter of the book, changes her outlook on many things including love, and transforms into a new person. Perhaps the person peaking through is the true Bethany that was masked by all of the weight she put on in order to hide from everyone. 

And let's not forget THE FORGIVENESS DIET - where you write down all of the people you forgive and what you forgive them for, place the pieces of paper in a jar and let them go. This leads you to losing weight as you free yourself from the burdens placed upon you by others. Bee is hilarious in her emails to the Forgiveness Diet makers. Pretty much calling them out for promoting a diet that she thinks doesn't really wok. I have a feeling that this diet isn't just for people to lose weight, but you'll have to read the book to see what I mean.

Oh and one last detail - Gabe. What a sweetheart he is. I think he might have been one of the last pieces of the puzzle for Bee. Everything started falling into place when Gabe and Bee finally get to know one another. It's a sweet relationship - exactly what she needed to fill her sweet tooth.

About the Author:
Jenny Ruden has published short stories and essays in Nerve, Salon, Eclectica Magazine, Literary Mama and High Desert Journal. She won an Orlando award for creative nonfiction, was named a finalist in Glimmertrain’s short fiction contest, and has been nominated for the Pushcart prize two years in a row. She has an MFA in Fiction from the University of Oregon and has worked with teenagers for many years as a teacher of Reading, Writing, and GED. She lives with her husband, two daughters, two basset hounds and cat in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

She does a near-flawless impersonation of a normal person. Don’t be fooled. She’s a writer.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Reading Break

I've honestly not been reading much and haven't really been posting much on the blog either. I guess I need to get my butt in gear because I have a few reviews due for tours this week and the next few. I just haven't been feeling it. So in lieu of reading and writing posts, I've been watching tons of Criminal Minds episodes (not in any order - just the random ones on TV), playing Hay Day (my newest addiction) and just relaxing. I've been working a few Saturdays and my hubby and I also went camping with friends for the last long weekend. And we just started the next decorating project in the house - my office/guest room. First coat of paint is done, but it needs another. I'm looking forward to it being done so that I can decorate it to my liking. It's been fun, but I realize I need to get back to reading. 

So here goes nothing... I'm finishing up my "just for fun" book tonight and then I'll be diving into my review book that is due in a few days. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Book Budget: July 2014

It was originally thought up by Felicia at Geeky Blogger's Book Blog.
1) I can buy 2 books a month or spend a MAX of $20, whichever comes first.
2) Only accept/ask for 2 review books per month. Including NetGalley.

At the end of each month I will post a recap and we will see if I stayed within my limits.
*Prices are subject to change as I do not control sales and some of the books listed below are from online specials.


won via The Midnight Garden



TOTAL: $ 0.00
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