tHe crooKed WorD

As of April 30, 2014 we will no longer be posting reviews on tHe crooKed WorD. Reading is like breathing for us - and discovering new books and authors has been a wonderful adventure - but the time has come for us to move on. Thank you for your support, for allowing us into your lives, and for letting us influence in some small way the contents of your bookshelves.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Cinder and Ella


Cinder and Ella
by Melissa Lemon

208 pages
Published November 8, 2011

This is a pre-release review! Thanks to Net Galley and the publisher, Cedar Fort, for letting me read it early.

After their father’s disappearance, Cinder leaves home for a servant job at the castle. But it isn’t long before her sister Ella is brought to the castle herself—the most dangerous place in all the kingdom for both her and Cinder. Cinder and Ella is a Cinderella story like no other and one you'll never forget.

***

This was a fun book, but then, I'm a sucker for a good fairytale.

The twists on the original Cinderella were imaginative. And, in true fairytale style, the ending is bittersweet, not outright happy.

Cinder is way more selfless than most people; I've only known a couple of people with such developed unconditional love. Ella is very believable, finding the strength she needs even while believing she's not as good as her sister (who she believes to honestly be one of the best of humanity).

I love Tanner, he's the ideal knight. However, my favorite thing about the story is trees. Each character has a tree, and the life of that tree and the person are intertwined. While one flourishes, the other will, too. The tree can save the person, or the person can save the tree. If one is killed, the other will also die.

While I wouldn't list this as one of my favorite books, I did enjoy it. If you like fairytales, give this one a try. I bet you'll like it!

3.5/5 stars

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Shimmerspell


Shimmerspell: A Faerie Tale Girl Novella, #1
by Kimberly Spencer

e-book
Published April 8, 2011

When sixteen-year-old Jensen Meadows finds herself caught in the middle of an ancient faerie war, she soon learns that faeries aren't made of sparkly goodness. They're vicious. And worse, they're after her. With the help of Liam Casey, she delves into their world to find her missing sister and begins to suspect that her whole life has been nothing more than a faerie tale.

But maybe some truths should never be revealed...

***

This book did not grab my attention immediately. Parts of it felt slow, while I wish more time had been spent on other sections. That said, it was a fun story, and a quick read (since it's a novella). The main character, Jensen, left me wishing for something, and I can't decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I loved Liam and Fiona and wished there was more of them in the story!

Bonus: This book is currently free on Amazon!

3/5 stars

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Seers


Seers
by Heather Frost

304 pages
Published October 8, 2011

This is a pre-release review! Thanks to Net Galley and the publisher, Cedar Fort, for letting me read it early.

For Kate Bennet, surviving the car wreck that killed her parents means big changes and even bigger problems. As she begins to see auras and invisible people, Kate must learn to trust Patrick O'Donnell, a handsome Guardian, or risk her life being overrun with Demons. She soon realizes that both she and her heart are in big-time trouble.

***

The author has created vivid characters you actually like. Even while wanting Kate to admit she's in love with her Guardian, you feel horrible for the boyfriend who's tried to be there for her through her parents' death. (Yes, he's a bit insensitive, but he's a teenage boy, what do you expect?)

Seers had me laughing out loud, ready to cry, and unwilling to put it down. I'd have read it in one sitting if I could! Clearly set up for sequels, and I'm looking forward to them.

5/5 stars

Monday, July 25, 2011

Annexed


Annexed (The Refuge Trilogy, book 1)
by Rebecca McKinnon

296 pages
Published June 28, 2011

Friends or family?
Desire or responsibility?
She thought she'd made her choice.

Now, finding herself trapped in a world splintered from her own, Narissa is determined to return home. Learning that the means of crossing between realities has been lost, she vows to find the elusive gateway.

Narissa doesn't plan to make friends. She certainly doesn't intend to fall in love.

Faced with the decision, will she choose the life she wants, or return to the world where she belongs?

***

I had planned to read this book little by little but I got so involved in the story and so attached to the characters that I stayed up almost all night to finish it- and then started over again! The characters have fun personalities and are full of life. The culture found within the Refuge is creative as it supports and defines the characters. The story is engaging and kept me eagerly involved to the end. The struggle Narissa faces when choosing between helping her sister or living the life she so desperately wants seems like a reflection of choices made by so many in real life. I loved watching Daman creep out of his shell and start to find his own life again.

I love this book and I need to know what happens next!

5/5 stars

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Darke


Darke (Septimus Heap, #6)
by Angie Sage

641 pages
Published June 7, 2011

Angie Sage's Magykal series continues in frantic, high-spirited fashion in this latest number. To save the Castle and the Wizard Tower from certain destruction, Septimus Heap wades into the Darke to battle evil; but he isn't alone: Jenna, Marcellus Pye, Alther Mella, Marcia Overstrand, and even Septimus' problematic brother Simon assist in the fray. A nice mix of action and wit.

***

I've loved all the Septimus Heap books, but this might be my favorite. I'm afraid if say anything else I'll give away the whole story, and I'm not into spoilers. SO. Go read it!

5/5 stars

"Wise Man's Fear"


Wise Man's Fear (Kingkiller Chronicles, book #2) by Patrick Rothfuss
994 pages
Published March 1, 2011


For nearly four years, fantasy and science fiction enthusiasts have been eagerly awaiting this second volume to Patrick Rothfuss' Kingkiller Chronicles. The first volume, The Name of the Wind, won the prestigious Quill Award and was recently voted as the third-best SFF novel of the decade on Tor.com. In this linchpin book of the trilogy, Kvothe continues his perilous search for answers about the Chandrian even as he grapples with more pressing dangers.

__________________________________________________

I devoured a just-under-1,000-page novel in 6 days, which I think says something in and of itself. Though, maybe I just mention that hoping it impresses you. Did it work? :) I know some people have complained about the length, but I was never bored (except for Felurian, more on that later). This is true homage to Tolkein, there's no elves or dwarves, or magic rings - this is Rothfuss' world and he has created a truly diverse and rich milieu, full of culture and history. There are many storytelling scenes and lyrics and poems (like LOTR), but, surprisingly, I enjoyed them and didn't feel the need for them to end. I love both the University and when he's out on his adventures! Any scene with Elodin makes me laugh, Denna is contradictory, but I understand her, Kvothe is courageous, clever, yet stupid in so many ways, and has some rather annoying personality issues, but, then again, I like that - characters should have flaws. I absolutely love the Adem - I found them fascinating! I was worried when the jacket blurb mentioned politics being involved, but it turned out to be courtly intrigue, so thankfully no commentary on current political stuff - at least not overtly.



*SPOILER ALERT*



Okay, the only part I really had a problem with - Felurian. Did we have to spend that many pages on the quintessential nerd/geek fantasy? Really? A petite, yet properly volumptious fae (fairy, really) who has dark, long hair down to her waist and runs around stark naked and drives men insane because they can't have her after she's grown tired of them, or even better! Actually kills them in the process of coitus due to the "strain." I'm pretty sure if I had to read about her breasts ONE more time, I think I would have thrown the book across the room. Of course, if there is a guy reading this I'm sure I've just convinced you to read it, even if this kind of book isn't usually your cup of tea, so to speak.



*END OF SPOILERS*



Other than that, I found my high expectations more than met and impatiently wait the next installment. You see, THIS! is why I usually wait for the whole series to come out before I read any of them. :)
4.75/5 stars (what? I can rate stuff in quarter points!) :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

In the Hall of the Dragon King


In the Hall of the Dragon King (The Dragon King #1)
by Stephen R. Lawhead

384 pages
Published August 1, 2003

A kingdom hangs in the balance...and a young boy answers the call.

Carrying a sealed message from the war-hero Dragon King to the queen, Quentin and his outlaw companion, Theido, plunge headlong into a fantastic odyssey and mystic quest. Danger lurks everywhere in the brutal terrain, and particularly in the threats from merciless creatures, both human and not-so-human.

While at the castle, the wicked Prince Jaspin schemes to secure the crown for himself, and an evil sorcerer concocts his own monstrous plan. A plan that Quentin and Theido could never imagine.

In the youth's valiant efforts to save the kingdom and fulfill his unique destiny, he will cross strange and wondrous lands; encounter brave knights, beautiful maidens, and a mysterious hermit; and battle a giant, deadly serpent.

In this first book of the Dragon King Trilogy, Stephen R. Lawhead has deftly woven a timeless epic of war, adventure, fantasy, and political intrigue.

***

I wanted to like this one, I really did. I thought the blurb was great. It made me want to read the book. However, once I was reading the story really just couldn't get my attention. I gave up almost half-way through.

I may try it again later, but for now, 1/5 stars.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bumped

Bumped (Bumped, #1)
by Meagan McCafferty

323 pages
Published April 26, 2011

When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

***

For the most part, I enjoyed the book. The premise was interesting, and I think the story was told really well. I could see this sort of society actually happen under the right circumstances.

I did care (most of the time) about the characters and what happened to them. My favorite character? Zen. Could we please get a bit more of him? He has such potential, I just wanted to see him get his fair share of the spotlight.

I've read some reviews by people who, for one reason or another, didn't like the ending. From where I'm sitting it was a great way to bow out until the next book.

Now, just to be up-front, I wouldn't let my teenage daughter near the book (although, with the right teen, it could be a GREAT topic of conversation). BUT this isn't a "Teen" book, it's a "YA" book and YES, there is a difference, even if most bookstores and libraries don't break it down.


4/5 stars

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sleight


Sleight (AVRA-K, book 1)
by Jennifer Sommersby

328 pages
Published March 23, 2011

(Found this on GoodReads)

Her mom is dead.
Ghosts follow her around.
Her best friend is an elephant.
And she’s about to meet the biggest game changer of all: a boy. With a secret.

When circus-dwelling Gemma Flannery learns she will be attending public school for the first time in her seventeen years, little does she know that fitting in with her 12th-grade classmates will be the least of her concerns. A pro at hiding her knack for seeing the dead (“shades”), Gemma is grieving the recent suicide of her mentally ill mother, a process eased by the introduction of her first real love interest, the charming and painfully handsome Henry Dmitri, who is harboring his own collection of dangerous secrets. Together, they will be presented with a frightening challenge: to assume their roles as heirs to a 3000-year-old magical text, the AVRAKEDAVRA, a book the ├╝ber-rich, sleight-of-being master Lucian Dmitri would do anything to get his hands on. As each terrifying layer in her new reality melts away, Gemma unearths truths that her quiet, nomadic life with the Cinzio Traveling Players is not at all what she’d always cherished. Gemma and Henry must rely on each other to stop Lucian’s diabolical plotting that will bring the world to its tired, scab-riddled knees, and are sent on the flight of their young lives, to save themselves, their families, and the world from the darkest kind of destruction.

Let the chase begin.

***

I fell in love with the cover of this book, which made me have to read the book. The story was fun and imaginative. I had a hard time putting it down, which means it was great! I was a little leery of the whole circus thing, but it was handled well. I'm looking forward to book 2!

5/5 stars

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Meant to Be


Meant to Be (The Saving Angels, #1)
by Tiffany King

296 pages
Published March 18, 2011

Krista Miller feels like she has lived her entire life in a glass box with her every emotion on display. She can’t help feeling like a defect as her sensitivities have made her socially inept and without any real friends; the one exception being the boy that visits her each night in her dreams.

Krista’s emotions are put to the test when a move to California triggers a devastating change to her fantasy world. The nightly comfort that the boy provides has now become a recurring nightmare as he is taken from her by an unseen force.

Struggling to appear normal, Krista enrolls in a new school and finds it to be nothing like she thought. Her new life is sent spiraling out of control from a strange connection with a boy, Mark, who claims to know all her secrets.

As Krista begins to explore the emotions that Mark evokes in her, secrets about their mysterious past and their predestined purpose threatens to separate them just when they have found each other.

***

This was a fun book, with some great twists. I liked the characters, and it was fun to see how four different people whose dreams feature each other interacted in person. Should make for an interesting series.

4/5 stars.