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, September 28, 2012

Friday Feature: The Inheritance

Friday Feature is where we share books we love that have been out for several years. We don't want these treasures to get lost just because they aren't babies anymore!

The Inheritance

Generations of fans have longed to plumb that first romance, hinted at so captivatingly on the pages of Little Women, Alcott's autobiographical classic. Now after nearly one hundred fifty years spent among archived family documents, Louisa May Alcott's debut novel finally reaches its eager public.
Set in an English country manor, the story follows the turbulent fortunes of Edith Adelon, an impoverished Italian orphan whose loyalty and beauty win her the patronage of wealthy friends until a jealous rival contrives to rob her of her position. In the locket around her neck, she carries a deep secret about her natural birthright. But an even greater truth lies hidden in Edith's heart - her deep reverence for the kind and noble Lord Percy, the only friend who can save her from the deceitful, envious machinations of Lady Ida.
Reminiscent of Jane Austen in its charms, this chaste but stirringly passionate novel affirms the conquering power of both love and courtesy. For the generations who grew up alongside Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy, a rich literary inheritance is restored at last.


This is one of my favorite books!  It is Louisa May Alcott's first novel, written when she was 17 years old.  The story was unpublished when the handwritten manuscript was found in the the historical files at Harvard University in the '90's.  The story is wonderful!  It's reminiscent of Jane Austin yet clearly shows the beginning of Alcott's own writing style.  I  love how Edith stands by her adopted family and her values when it matters most.  I have read this book more times than I can count and listened to the book on tape quite a few times too.  I never get tired of this one!

5/5 stars

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Revenge of the Castle Cats

Revenge of the Castle Cats (The Grimm Chronicles, #3)
by Isabella Fontaine & Ken Brosky

This book was provided by the authors in exchange for an honest review.

After being rushed to the hospital, Alice Goodenough finds herself trapped in the worst dream imaginable: a horrible monster is stalking her in the darkness, making its way to the hospital. It will stop at nothing to kill her.

And that’s not the worst of it. All across the city, people are growing more addicted to Castle Cats, a smartphone game created by Grayle Incorporated. And it’s not just a game. The more you play, the more it controls you. Soon, Alice learns that the dwarfs who run Grayle Incorporated are watching her everywhere she goes, using human beings to spy on her.

There must be a confrontation. Sam Grayle and his brothers have to be stopped. And Alice is going to need help. 

* * *

This is the third installment of the episodic story of Alice Goodenough. She's a hero, chosen to fight the twisted fairytale characters brought to life by the Brothers Grimm.

All of these books have been fun -- a great mix of hilarity and action.

This particular part of Alice's story expands on a game that appeared in an earlier book: Castle Cats. The game is addicting, and there's a secret little something hidden within the game code.

I highly recommend this series. The stories are fast reads, and very entertaining!

4/5 stars

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Beatifully Broken

Beautifully Broken (Spellbound series, #1) YA Urban FantasyBeautifully Broken (Spellbound Series, #1)
by Sherry Soule

Published August 30, 2011

This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Thirteenth daughter. Heritage witch. Demon slayer.

They say every town has its secrets, but that doesn’t even begin to describe Whispering Pines. The townsfolk are a superstitious lot and the mystical disappearance of a local teen has everyone murmuring about a centuries old witch’s curse…

Sixteen-year-old Shiloh Ravenwolf is a heritage witch from the Broussard family, a family both destined and cursed. After she takes a summer job at Ravenhurst Manor, she discovers a ghost with an agenda. That’s where she meets the new town hottie, Trent Donovan. But Trent may be the next victim on the supernatural hit list, and Shiloh is the only person with the power to save him.

Complicated much?

After receiving cryptic messages from a creepy wraith, and then frightening threats from a demon, Shiloh finally begins to understand the mysterious significance of the strange mark branded on her wrist. Now Shiloh must decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice to protect the other teenagers in town.

Unfortunately, for Shiloh, not all ghosts want help crossing over. Some want vengeance.

* * *

This was an interesting, fast-paced story, complete with mystery, romance, and a haunted house. A little creepiness? From the first scene.

I love the cover. The house is perfect. I can't say the picture of Shiloh is my favorite part, but I can get past that.

One thing about the book bothered me. It shouldn't have, but it really did. Shiloh is so obsessed with Trent, and goes all moony over him. Yes, I get it, she's a teenager. Love is end-of-the-world, life-or-death stuff for teenagers. I just wish she could have been stronger for herself. I think she would have made a bigger impact.

On the whole, however, this book is well done. It has one of the best things I can say about a book: the ability to really stick with you.

4/5 stars


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Katya's World

Katya's World (Katya Kuriakova, #1)Katya's World (Katya Kuriakova, #1)
by Jonathan L. Howard

339 Pages
Published November 6, 2012

This is a pre-release review. Thanks to the publisher, Strange Chemistry, for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

The distant and unloved colony world of Russalka has no land, only the raging sea. No clear skies, only the endless storm clouds. Beneath the waves, the people live in pressurised environments and take what they need from the boundless ocean. It is a hard life, but it is theirs and they fought a war against Earth to protect it. But wars leave wounds that never quite heal, and secrets that never quite lie silent.

Katya Kuriakova doesn’t care much about ancient history like that, though. She is making her first submarine voyage as crew; the first nice, simple journey of what she expects to be a nice, simple career.

There is nothing nice and simple about the deep black waters of Russalka, however; soon she will encounter pirates and war criminals, see death and tragedy at first hand, and realise that her world’s future lies on the narrowest of knife edges. For in the crushing depths lies a sleeping monster, an abomination of unknown origin, and when it wakes, it will seek out and kill every single person on the planet.

* * *

Complete honesty: This is one of those books that I finished, put aside, picked back up, thumbed through again, and just could NOT stop thinking about. Oh, and I absolutely love the cover.

When I was reading it, I was completely engrossed, and cringed when I had to put the book down to do something "real". The story is very well-spun, and the characters are very real. I love the idea of this ocean world, and the war they fought with Earth to keep their freedom. Don't worry, all that was before the book starts, so it doesn't count as a spoiler! :)

There's a richness to this book, a depth to everything there. There's so much for the author to draw on in future installments.

As this is a YA book, I want to say one thing. The author was very brave to NOT have a romance. Most of the YA books I've come across have some sort of romance going on. This book is meaty with a number of different types of relationships, and they are all done extremely well.

I can't wait to see what happens in book 2.

5/5 stars

Monday, September 24, 2012


Poltergeeks by Sean CummingsPoltergeeks
by Sean Cummings

288 pages
Published October 2012

This is a pre-release review. Thanks to the publisher, Strange Chemistry, and NetGalley for giving me the chance to read this book early!

15-year-old Julie Richardson is about to learn that being the daughter of a witch isn't all it's cracked up to be. When she and her best friend, Marcus, witness an elderly lady jettisoned out the front door of her home, it's pretty obvious to Julie there's a supernatural connection.

In fact, there's a whisper of menace behind increasing levels of poltergeist activity all over town. After a large-scale paranormal assault on Julie's high school, her mother falls victim to the spell Endless Night. Now it's a race against time to find out who is responsible or Julie won't just lose her mother's soul, she'll lose her mother's life.

* * *

This is my first experience reading a book by Mr. Cummings, and I'm beyond thrilled by it.

A fantastic opening, I have to say. It drew me right in. (After all, a poltergeist kicking a person out of their home doesn't happen every day!) I absolutely had to find out what happened next. What happened was that I held onto the book a little tighter and refused to put it down. This book has a place on my small list of single-sitting reads.

I'm in love with the characters. Julie is phenomenal, and you seriously care what happens to her. And Marcus? Well, let me just say that it's clear from the start that he's interested in Julie, and that he'll be there for her even if she has no clue (or doesn't feel the same). Julie's mother, while a key element of the book, is a background character for much of the story, but that didn't stop Cummings from making her a great character.

The conflict could have been made melodramatic, but it was handled so well that I never got that "overdone" feeling.

An absolute MUST read! Mr. Cummings, once on your reader radar, should never be removed. I can't wait for the next installment.

5/5 stars

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Ruby (Ruby, #1)Ruby (Ruby, #1)
by Amanda Burke

174 pages
Published June 29, 2012

During the Salem witch hunts, an evil witch named Natasha Sullivan tricks a demon into confining himself inside an enchanted music box. She casts a spell that foretells that the demon will emerge in an unknown time in future after the birth of a child known as the Lumen Child. This child’s destiny is to bring light to the planet and Natasha knows that if he is killed then darkness will prevail. Natasha’s identical twin Sarah, discovers what her sister has done. Although she cannot break the spell she casts her own prophecy. It states that three witches known as the Triple Enchantresses will be born in the same time as the Lumen Child and they will be his supernatural protectors. The girls are not sisters, yet they will share a common destiny. Ruby is the story of the first witch and how she very nearly dies before discovering her true identity. Having grown up unaware of her powers, she is rescued by her loving grandmother who is also a white witch and taken back to the family estate where she learns everything she can about what her future holds. Ruby is the first in a four book series.

* * *

When the author approached me with her review request, I was instantly interested. Witches? Makes me smile. Salem? Absolutely.

The premise and plot of this book are good. There could be more character development, though. There were times when I really wanted to care, but the action seemed to be a little in the abstract. Honestly, that's okay, the story still worked. I just felt that it was easy to set the book down.

I do like the whole idea, and I'm interested to see where Ms. Burke takes this.

My one big complaint was the ending. So, if you don't want hints on that, skip this paragraph. The last scene felt unrealistic, and overly-contrived. Of course, everything in every book is contrived. But this felt obvious. The romance Ruby wants seems out of her grasp, and all of a sudden he says "I love you, baby." Um, hello? Maybe it was just a bit rushed, but it felt all melty-cheese to me. Then again, maybe that's what the author was going for.

However, I still want to know what happens next, so over-all, not a big problem.

3.5/5 stars

Monday, September 17, 2012

Dragon Castle

Dragon CastleDragon Castle
by Joseph Bruchac

352 pages
Published June 9, 2011

Young Prince Rashko is frustrated with his family - no one does any thinking but him! The kingdom and castle seem to be in the hands of fools. So when Rashko's parents mysteriously disappear and the evil Baron Temny parks his army outside the castle walls, it is up to the young prince to save the day. But there is more to this castle and its history than meets the eye, and Rashko will have to embrace his ancestry, harness a dragon, and use his sword-fighting skills to stop the baron and save the kingdom. Along the way, he realizes that his family is not quite as stupid as he always thought.

Master storyteller Joseph Bruchac, known for his smart, gripping Native American books, here combines his signature action and adventure with a large dose of humor, which just brings this story to a whole new level.

* * *

Just from the title, I had high expectations of this book. Some of them were met, others were not.

First, I have to say, I expected there to be more of the dragon than there was. I hoped to see lots of it, instead of just a little bit near the end. Also, the alternating story lines got to me just a bit. Yes, I enjoyed each of them, but for every single chapter to switch! I felt like I was just getting into one story when I was ripped out of it and flung into the other.

However, Rashko was a good character. I loved the way he thought his parents and brother were fools, when anyone apart from himself could tell they just handled things differently. I loved the little story of the way the king handled a merchant who was overcharging the people.

I loved the setting, and the idea of a castle growing right out of the rocks.

3/5 stars

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Demons Blog Tour, Interview & Giveaway

Demons (Seers, #2)Today we are pleased to be hosting the Demons Blog Tour. Demons is the second book in the Seers Trilogy by Heather Frost. This is a fantastic trilogy by a great author, and a must read.

I recently had the opportunity to ask Ms. Frost some questions. You can check out her answers, see my review of Demons, and enter to win an eBook below. Also, at the end of this post is a list of all the stops on the Blog Tour.

You can find Ms. Frost online. If you go to her website, you can read one of her short stories!

What was the hardest part about writing Demons, and what made it so tricky?

The hardest part was, silly as it sounds, the summary at the beginning. You know, all those sentences interspersed throughout the first chapter or so, all designed to help remind readers about why a character is important, or what notable thing happened to them in the first book. I had a hard time putting it in there at all--and when I started putting it in, I went way overboard, and had to really cut back when I started editing the manuscript.

Can you tell us a little bit about your favorite part of the book?

It's hard to pick a favorite part--I have way too many! One general sort of aspect I love about this story is the ongoing suspense. The intensity just builds and builds in this book, and I absolutely love it.

Writing a trilogy/series takes a long time, and your characters become real people to you. If you could spend a day with Kate and her friends, what would you do?

Well, we'd definitely have to watch a movie, Patrick-style. I'd also love to hear more about Lee's crazy outfits -- things she's done in the past, that sort of thing. I mean, I guess this sounds pretty anticlimactic, but I'd really enjoy just lazing about with them. Talking, snacking, teasing Lee about her latest phase, asking Patrick about his past experiences . . . That sounds like a pretty great day to me.

What do you feel your biggest influences are as a writer?

I'm very influenced by the books I've read, and continue to read. The ideas of other writer's inspire me, and my imagination will latch onto an idea, or element, and I run with that. Another great influencer is my own desire to tell a story. Even when I was very young--too young to write--I would tell stories. It's just a part of who I am. I love to entertain people through the written word. A book is a doorway to another world, and I tame my job seriously as a builder of those gateways.

What was your favorite book as a child, and which do you love most now?

 I loved the Madeline stories. My mom bought me a large book of them, and I still have that book today. As for which I love most now . . . I don't really have a favorite book. Favorites, yes. One favorite book of all ti,e? No. I basically love whatever I'm reading at the moment. And I'm the sort of reader that, when revisiting a previously read book, suddenly remembers how insanely cool it is--which also makes it hard to pick a favorite. But one of my favorite children's books, to this day, is Peter Pan. (Is that a long enough answer to a relatively easy question?)

If you could jump into any book, which would you choose? Why?

Harry Potter. I always say Harry Potter, simply because I think it would be the absolute best book to live in. Besides, it just feels so real, doesn't it? I love the characters, I love the idea of magic. . . . Sign me up!

If there was one thing you could tell aspiring authors, what would it be?

Believe in yourself and your story enough to stick with it. If you don't take yourself seriously as a writer, no one else will. You may not get a rejection letter if you never send out your finished manuscript, but you'll never get an acceptance, either.

My review:

Demons (Seers, #2)
by Heather Frost

432 pages
Published September 11, 2012

Kate’s life is far from normal. She can see auras, her boyfriend is immortal, and her powers make her a target. But now that the Demon Lord is hunting her, things are about to go from dangerous to truly deadly. Packed with action, mind-blowing plot twists, and characters you can’t get enough of, this is a fast-paced, heart-pounding read from cover to cover.

* * *

In Demons, Kate really starts to grow into herself. She begins to have a better idea of what it means to be a seer, and leaps into the role when Patrick is sidelined.

Of course, we see more of Tony, who seems to be everyone's favorite guy. Kate's best friend, Lee, is even more colorful than in Seers. (Yes, pun intended. Sorry, I couldn't help myself!)

Kate's relationship with her grandfather seems more developed, and I couldn't be happier about that! He's a great character who would do anything to protect Kate and the twins.

Glimpses into Patrick's human life, new characters, revealed secrets, a new skill Kate couldn't have imagined, and stunning twists make Demons impossible to put down. Be prepared for laughter and tears, because this book takes you on a fantastic emotional journey. It will leave you perched on the edge of your seat, anxious to learn what's still to come. Ms. Frost has outdone herself!

5/5 stars 


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Thrall (Daughters of Lilith, #1))

Thrall (Daughters Of Lilith, #1)Thrall (Daughters of Lilith, #1)
by Jennifer Quintenz

Published May, 2012

This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Braedyn is a normal girl just trying to survive high school with her two devoted friends, Royal and Cassie. Together they’re doing a pretty good job of shrugging off the slings and arrows cast their way by the popular crowd when a new boy, Lucas, moves into the house next door. Suddenly Braedyn finds herself falling in love for the first time.

But as her sixteenth birthday approaches, Braedyn discovers humankind is at war with the Lilitu, an ancient race of enticing demons that prey on human souls. Her father is a member of the Guard fighting against the Lilitu - and so are the new neighbors, including her crush, Lucas.

As her world starts to unravel at the seams, Braedyn learns the right answers aren’t always clear or easy. And as for “good” and “evil” – it all depends on how we choose to act.

Inspired by the ancient Mesopotamian myths of Lilith and her offspring, Thrall explores first love, strong friendships, and taking on adult responsibilities against the backdrop of powerful supernatural forces and life-and-death stakes.

* * *

Wow! I had an amazingly hard time putting this book down. Even after it ended. I wanted it to keep going, and I admit, I'm a little annoyed that I have to wait for the next book. :)  That's a good sign, right?

I knew the second I saw the cover that this book had to join my TBR pile. Yep, I judge books by their covers. We all do, even if we aren't willing to admit it.

Braedyn is a fascinating character. I love the way she wants to be the person she's always been, rather than immediately accepting that her life has been a lie and people are relying on her to tip the balance of a war.

All the characters are great. I particularly love Gretchen, as well as the relationship Braedyn has with her father.

5/5 stars

Monday, September 3, 2012


Fairest (An Unfortunate Fairy Tale, #2)Fairest (An Unfortunate Fairy Tale, #2)
by Chanda Hahn

Published June 1, 2012

Mirror, Mirror, on the wall,
Who is the Fairest of them all?

In the sequel to UnEnchanted, Mina Grime discovers that all is not fair when it comes to the Fae and their tales, especially when they don’t all play by the rules. Barely surviving the Story’s first fairy tale quest, Mina still has hundreds to go before she can end the curse on her family. But a new player arises to challenge Mina while new rules revamp the game she has just barely begun to understand.
All the while, people are mysteriously disappearing, including Jared, whom Mina must finally determine to be friend or foe. And with the loss of her greatest weapon, Mina must try to outwit a deadly hunter. Can Mina survive the most difficult quest yet while protecting those she loves from falling victim to one of the lethal tales of all? Or will she become a pawn when she strikes a bargain with the Queen of Fae?

* * *

This is really shaping into a good series.

Book 2 was not a disappointment, which I was worried about. There were still some editing problems, and I admit I got a little frustrated with the overly-jealous thing, but it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the story.

We get a few more answers in this book, which I loved. And, can I just say, I love Jared? Wake up, Mina!

While I enjoyed the whole book, the ending seriously made it for me. Read it. You'll see what I mean.

The biggest question I'm left with is: When can I read book 3?

4/5 stars

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Forsaken

The Forsaken (The Forsaken, #1)The Forsaken (The Forsaken, #1)
by Lisa M. Stasse

375 Pages
Published July 10, 2012

Thank you to the publisher, Simon & Schuster Books, for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.

A thought-provoking and exciting start to a riveting new dystopian trilogy.

As an obedient orphan of the U.N.A. (the super-country that was once Mexico, the U.S., and Canada), Alenna learned at an early age to blend in and be quiet—having your parents taken by the police will do that to a girl. But Alenna can’t help but stand out when she fails a test that all sixteen-year-olds have to take: The test says she has a high capacity for brutal violence, and so she is sent to The Wheel, an island where all would-be criminals end up.

The life expectancy of prisoners on The Wheel is just two years, but with dirty, violent, and chaotic conditions, the time seems a lot longer as Alenna is forced to deal with civil wars for land ownership and machines that snatch kids out of their makeshift homes. Desperate, she and the other prisoners concoct a potentially fatal plan to flee the island. Survival may seem impossible, but Alenna is determined to achieve it anyway.

* * *

Let me start off by saying that when I got to the end of The Forsaken, I was really put out that the next book isn't yet available.

Right from the start, I was intrigued. I have to admit, though, that it wasn't until Alenna found herself on The Wheel that I was really hooked. Hooked as in being unwilling to put the book down long enough to drink a glass of water.

There are so many ideas at work here. There's a fantastic friendship between Alenna and two of the girls who were on The Wheel when she arrived. There's a romance, but quite frankly, it's more of a side story; it's not the main event, which was nice. There was action galore, and lots of twists.

One of my favorite things about Alenna is that she's not super-human. She goes into all of this without any survival or fighting skills. She doesn't really even want them. However, after learning a single piece of information, she's determined to learn whatever skills are necessary to learn more.

If you've been following my reviews, you know that it's hard to surprise me. Well, Ms. Stasse did so many times. As soon as I thought I had something figured out, I was proven wrong. The writing is fantastic, and I look forward to reading everything Ms. Stasse writes.

5/5 stars