Katiebird Reviews The Hawley Book of the Dead and Wraith

I’ve gone back to my love of paranormal lately and read two books that have been on my TBR list for a long time, like over a year if not more. These books are both great reads for different reasons, so I hope that you give them a try…

Hawley Book of the Dead

The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan

For fans of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and A Discovery of Witches comes a brilliantly imagined debut novel brimming with rich history, suspense, and magic.

Revelation “Reve” Dyer grew up with her grandmother’s family stories, stretching back centuries to Reve’s ancestors, who founded the town of Hawley Five Corners, Massachusetts. Their history is steeped in secrets, for few outsiders know that an ancient magic runs in the Dyer women’s blood, and that Reve is a magician whose powers are all too real.

Reve and her husband are world-famous Las Vegas illusionists. They have three lovely young daughters, a beautiful home, and what seems like a charmed life. But Reve’s world is shattered when an intruder alters her trick pistol and she accidentally shoots and kills her beloved husband onstage.

Fearing for her daughters’ lives, Reve flees with them to the place she has always felt safest—an antiquated farmhouse in the forest of Hawley Five Corners, where the magic of her ancestors reigns, and her oldest friend—and first love—is the town’s chief of police. Here, in the forest, with its undeniable air of enchantment, Reve hopes she and her girls will be protected.

Delving into the past for answers, Reve is drawn deeper into her family’s legends. What she discovers is The Hawley Book of the Dead, an ancient leather-bound journal holding mysterious mythic power. As she pieces together the truth behind the book, Reve will have to shield herself and her daughters against an uncertain, increasingly dangerous fate. For soon it becomes clear that the stranger who upended Reve’s life in Las Vegas has followed her to Hawley—and that she has something he desperately wants.

I actually featured this book a couple of weeks ago, when I posted the opening paragraph. I thought it was a great read for the summer, if you are looking for a “stand alone” mystery.

I loved the main character, Revelation, because she was strong and brave against a dark force that has been haunting her family throughout history. The storyline is not intensely romantic, but when she reconnects with her childhood boyfriend, the chemistry is there. If the author decides to continue this story, I would love to read more about them.

favorite quotes

Writing is a kind of magic. One person sits in a room alone and makes marks on a page that represent the images in her mind. Another person looks at those marks, weeks or months or a hundred years later, and similar images appear in that person’s mind. Magic. 

I felt the weight of of every act that had brought me to that moment, balanced on the verge of something large and mysterious and frightening. 

4 stars

I give this book 4 mysteriously magical stars, and put it on my “top shelf fantastic reads” shelf on Goodreads.

***I was given a copy of this book through Netgalley for an honest review. The excerpts are from that copy.***


Wraith book cover

Wraith by Angel Lawson

Freak. Weird. Crazy. These are the names tossed around seventeen-year old Jane Watts by her fellow classmates. But things aren’t always as they seem. Sometimes there’s a reason for talking to yourself in the hallway at school.

Adjusting to her new home and school after an abrupt move, Jane just wants to be like everyone else at school. Although she does manage to make one friend, Evan — sixteen, charming and protective. Evan is everything a girl could want in a best friend, with one minor caveat: He’s dead.

Caught somewhere between life and death, Evan is tied to Jane and the living world, unable to complete the journey to the other side. She thinks he’s here to be her friend, to take care of her, and that’s why no one else can see or hear him.

That is, until a new boy shows up at school after a rumored stretch in juvie. Connor can see Evan and is not convinced that the ghost is completely honest. Past experience taught him how ghosts tend to need something from the humans they connect to and Evan, despite his arguments, isn’t any different.

Jane is resentful of Connor’s intrusion but soon realizes that her ghostly friend has secrets about his past. And now Evan’s family, still reeling from his tragic death, is in danger. Jane must face her fears and battle Evan’s human demons to free both of them.

This is the first book from Angel Lawson that I have read since she started publishing her work. I have been a fan of hers for years though. I really wish I had read this book sooner. This is the first book in a series, but it doesn’t not end on a cliffhanger. If you like Ghost Whisperer then you will enjoy this book.

It is definitely Young Adult, but the chemistry between Jane and Connor feels real. What I enjoyed most about this book is Jane’s emotional growth. She is very down on herself in the beginning, without many friends to speak of. Because she has a “friend” that no one else sees, she disconnected from life. She is compelled to hide this aspect of her life from her family. Their relationship keeps her from really experiencing high school as she should. It’s not until she meets Connor that she realizes that maybe Evan needs something from her.

There is an underly message in this story about the effect of abuse, whether it is mental or physical, on children and how dangerous it is to stay in an abusive relationship. The highlight for me was when Jane got a better understanding of her “gift” after spending some time with her aunt.  Connor is another favorite, because despite his past, he is a positive influence on Jane. I will definitely keep reading this series.

4 stars

I also give this book 4 hauntingly cool stars, and put it on my “middle shelf interesting reads” shelf on Goodreads. 


If anyone is reading some great paranormal books out there, please share with me in the comments. I am always looking for great books to read for Halloween!!


About katiebird

I am a huge reader of young adult, new adult, and paranormal romances. I also have an acute fondness of Robert Thomas Pattinson. I love that I get to share with everyone my love of reading.

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