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.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Rock Star's Daughter

The Rock Star's Daughter (Treadwell Academy #1)


At the age of 15, Taylor Beauforte has only met her father twice in person. After all, he is the lead singer of a world-famous rock band, constantly on the cover of music magazines and giving interviews on MTV. He pays for Taylor to attend the Treadwell Academy, a prestigious boarding school in Massachusetts, and provides her mother with monthly checks to cover her basic needs, but has never made much of an effort to play an active part in Taylor’s life. Taylor's mom Dawn is the only family she has ever really known, and because of Dawn's hard-partying Hollywood lifestyle, studious Taylor is happiest on the other side of the country in Massachusetts with her nose buried in a book.
When Taylor 's mom unexpectedly dies the summer before Taylor starts her junior year, she receives a crash course in fame. She has no choice but to join her father and his new family on their summer concert tour before she has even had a chance to mourn the loss of her mother. Life as the daughter of a rock star seems like it would be enviable, but Taylor can't figure her dad out. He seems like a supportive authority figure (even if he's kind of a fashion tragedy) , but she is collecting a growing pile of evidence that he's a liar and a cheat. Her stepmother, Jill, can’t seem to decide if she wants to treat Taylor like a girlfriend or a nuisance. Having had no time to grieve and say goodbye to her childhood before being thrust into the limelight, Taylor is suddenly finding herself in situations she could have never imagined before this summer.
With no one else to turn to, Taylor falls head over heels in love with Jake, the teenage son of one of the band's touring groupies. Taylor has growing concerns about Jake's background and the suspicious relationship between his mom and her own father, but is desperate for something real in her life onto which she can build a future. When Jake offers Taylor an opportunity to join him on a whirlwind adventure and leave her problems with her father far behind, Taylor has to decide – should she carve out her own way in the world, or try to repair the relationship she has with her only living parent?
Over the course of the summer with the band, Taylor learns the depths of her own strength, the difficulty of overcoming loss, and that the definition of family means much more than shared bloodlines.
I found this book to be a fun break from the norm.  It's a good teenage girl book.  The story is original, gives a great look at how change can impact lives and how a young girl makes her own spot in her new life.  The characters are complex and realistic.  There are a few typos but not enough to detract from the book overall.  It will be fun to see what happens in the next book!
3.5 stars

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Feature: A Countess Below Stairs

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!

A Countess Below StairsA Countess Below stairs
by Eva Ibbotson

383 pages
Published May 10, 2007 (first published May 10, 1981)

From the book's back cover:

After the Russian revolution turns her world topsy-turvy, Anna, a young Russian Countess, has no choice but to flee to England. Penniless, Anna hides her aristocratic background and takes a job as servant in the household of the esteemed Westerholme family, armed only with an outdated housekeeping manual and sheer determination.

Desperate to keep her past a secret, Anna is nearly overwhelmed by her new duties - not to mention her instant attraction to Rupert, the handsome Earl of Westerholme. To make matters worse, Rupert appears to be falling for her as well. As their attraction grows stronger, Anna finds it more and more difficult to keep her most dearly held secrets from unraveling. And then there's the small matter of Rupert's beautiful and nasty fiancée...

* * *

This book is very, very sweet. When Anna has to leave Russia, her family made plans. One of the servants took the family jewels and escaped. She was to meet up with Anna, her mother and brother, when they were out of the country. But she never does.

In England, Anna hides who she is. She takes a job as a servant, assuming that since she's always had servants - and read a book on what servants should do and how they behave - she won't have any problem.

Anna is one of the most devoted servants, but hiding the fact that she's somebody is harder than she thought. People recognize something in her that screams "aristocracy."

I read this before watching Downton Abbey, but if you enjoy the whole upstairs/downstairs-ness of DA, you should really try this book!

4/5 stars

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Everblossom: A Short Story and Poetry Anthology

Monday, July 23, 2012


by Kim Curran

Published September 4, 2012
416 pages

This book was provided by the publisher, Strange Chemistry, in exchange for an honest review.

When your average, 16-year old loser, Scott Tyler, meets the beautiful and mysterious Aubrey Jones, he learns he's not so average after all. He's a 'Shifter'. And that means he has the power to undo any decision he's ever made. At first, he thinks the power to shift is pretty cool. But as his world starts to unravel around him he realises that each time he uses his power, it has consequences; terrible unforeseen consequences. Shifting is going to get him killed. In a world where everything can change with a thought, Scott has to decide where he stands.

* * *

What a great book! Since most of the books I've read recently have been from a girl's point of view, this made a nice change. Scott is a wonderful character, and the plot is fun and fast-paced.

I do have to say that the blurb led me to expect something a little different than what I got. Which is fine, it doesn't really bother me, but I know some readers get annoyed by that.

There was one point where I didn't want to keep reading, but only one. And once I made it past a single page, that feeling went away.

ARES, a covert branch of the government, kind of made this book for me. It fed right into my spy-loving bones. And the SLF, a group trying to bring ARES down, was a great addition.

4/5 stars

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Into the Mist: Silver Hand

Into the Mist: Silver Hand

Kindle Edition400 pages
Published January 30th 2012

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Florence by Ciye ChoFlorence
by Ciye Cho

Published July 1, 2012

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

Seventeen-year-old Florence Waverley is out of her depth. Literally. Kidnapped and taken below the waves to the mer world of Niemela, she is the ultimate gift for merman Prince Kiren: a human familiar tied to his side. But nothing is what it seems amid the beauty and danger of a dark ocean.

Every Niemelan has a role to play, from the mermaids who weave towers out of kelp to the warriors who fight sea monsters. But in trying to survive, Florence will end up in the middle of a war between the mer and the Darkness. A conflict that will push her between two brothers: Kiren, the charmer inexplicably drawn to both her and the monsters; and Rolan, the loner who has been pushing her away since the day they met. But in order to take a stand--and find out where she belongs--Florence will have to risk it all: her life, her heart... and her very soul.

* * *

I'll admit, I'm not a huge mermaid/merman fan. However, I have read Mr. Cho's debut novel and was blown away by the imagination in portrayed. That in itself was enough to convince me to read "Florence." The fact that the cover is gorgeous didn't hurt, either! (FYI: Mr. Cho does his own artwork.)

Florence is the fish-out-of-water (IN the water) in this story. It's interesting how insistent she is that she wants to return home, where she's as out of place as she is in the underwater world.

Niemela is beautifully described, and the characters are so full of life. There's one who wears sea snakes! That should tell you something about her personality.

The princes, Kiren and Rolan, both have rich - but very different - personalities. Both are driven, and want what's best for the Niemelans, but they don't agree on what's best.

The writing in this book is very different from Mr. Cho's previous title, showing what a great author he is.

4.5/5 stars

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Thief of Nightshade

A Thief of NightshadeA Thief of Nightshade
by J. S. Chancellor

Published May 1, 2012
350 pages

Avalar isn't real—at least it wasn't supposed to be. Aubrey never expected to fall in love with and marry her graduate writing professor, Jullian. His life's work, a grim fantasy titled A Thief of Nightshade encompassed everything Aubrey hated about fairy tales and make-believe. After Jullian goes missing and is eventually presumed dead, Aubrey discovers just how make-believe the world of Nightshade is. Not only is Jullian alive and well in Avalar, he's at the mercy of the Dark Fae, condemned to a fate worse than death, with no memory of Aubrey or his time in her world. In order to save him, she'll have to confront more than just the demons in her past, but the very real ones that await her in a place she never thought could exist. All of them will do everything in their power to stop her.

* * *

I love the world of Avalar. It's very rich, imaginative, well-developed world.

While I usually don't go in for books that jump around with flashbacks, with the way this story is told, it doesn't bother me going back and forth between Aubrey's life pre-Avalar, and her current situation.

This book blends so many things together, and it's seamless. I think I'm going to have to read more of Ms. Chancellor's books!

4/5 stars

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Embers at Galdrilene (Dragon's Call)

Embers at Galdrilene (Dragon's Call)Embers at Galdrilene (Dragon's Call)
by A.D. Trosper

Published May 4, 2012

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

“A ray of light, a stain of shadow, shall endure to breathe life and death into the future”

As a Border Guard, it is Vaddoc’s duty to turn himself in and accept the death sentence with honor when he discovers he can use magic. But the ancient song of the dragons calls to him. Although pulled by duty and the honor of his family, the song proves irresistible. When he is offered sanctuary in Galdrilene, the old home of the dragons, he leaves duty and family behind to answer the call of the Song.

He is not alone in hearing the Dragon Song and he is joined on his journey by five others as the elements of magic are drawn together. It’s a journey that reveals everything they’ve been taught to believe about magic and dragons is wrong. With the last of the dragons and the world at stake, Vaddoc and his companions will do anything, even cross through the realm of the dead, to reach a future they never thought possible.

* * *

I love me a good fantasy. And dragons make things even better. :)  That said, let's get to the book.

Before reading this, I didn't realize it wasn't a stand-alone book. So now I have to wait to find out what happens. Arg. I'm not really a patient person. So be aware before you start reading: while many things are resolved at the end of this book, there's a great big problem that isn't.

The characters are well thought out, and the plot is great. I loved Galdrilene itself, and the idea of the dragon eggs singing to those who are meant to hatch them.

There are a lot of Point-Of-View characters in this one. Some of them have several chapters throughout the book, others have much less POV time. It could have flopped, but it didn't. It was done well, and it worked. My one complaint about the many POVs is that there are times you see the same thing from multiple POVs, which honestly got to be a bit much. I sometimes felt like the story was stalled while we saw so many views of the same thing. HOWEVER. I know myself. If we'd only seen from one person's POV, I'd have been unhappy that I didn't get to see how the other characters reacted to things. I know, you just can't win can you?

4.5/5 stars

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Feature: Legacies

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!

Legacies (Shadow Grail, #1)Legacies (Shadow Grail, #1)
by Mercedes Lackey, Rosemary Edghill

320 pages
Published July 6, 2010

Spirit White has survived from a deadly car crash that has killed her mother and father and her sister. She has been discovered by a school with special talents, called magic. A couple of months after staying, people begin to disappear, some vanish to be never seen again, so Spirit and her new friends begin the investigation. But will they find out the truth of what is going on? Or will Spirit and her friends suffer a terrible fate from which they don't know about yet?

* * *

I love this book! But then, I liked the whole "magic school" thing long before Harry Potter came around.

The school in this book, Oakhurst, is a school for orphans. All the orphans are able to do magic. Except Spirit.

Everyone knows Spirit is magical, or she wouldn't be in the school, but the testing doesn't show her leaning to one branch of magic or another. Her powers just don't seem to have manifested yet.

Strange things are happening at the school: students are disappearing, and they have been for a very long time.

I know there are a lot of people out there who are probably saying this is a Harry Potter wannabe. I can see how they might think that: an orphan, going to a magic school. However, I think those people aren't giving enough credit to the storyline. It's not Harry Potter, people, and it's not trying to be.

4/5 stars

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Insurgent (Divergent, #2)Insurgent (Divergent, #2)
by Veronica Roth

525 pages
Published May 1, 2012

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

* * *

After reading "Divergent" I had to immediately pick up this book. I HAD to find out what happened. And I wasn't disappointed.

Okay, so maybe I was disappointed, but only because the next book isn't out.

 While reading "Divergent," I didn't feel anything was missing. Sure, there were things we didn't know - or understand - but that's how I like it. Then, I read this. And I realized that everything, every SINGLE thing, built toward this book. There were things I thought were over and done, in "Divergent" that made appearances in "Insurgent" that I didn't expect, but which I can't imagine "Insurgent" not including. Some of those things I thought were in there for one reason, but I now know they were there for different reasons. So incredibly well done!

As with "Divergent," I can't bring myself to ruin "Insurgent" with any spoilers. It just needs to be read. By you. Today. I mean it, drop everything else you're doing and spend the day reading. It will make you happy!

5/5 stars

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Kindling

The Kindling The Kindling
by Braden Bell

304 pages
Published July 10, 2012

This book was provided by the publisher, Cedar Fort, in exchange for an honest review.

All thirteen-year-old Conner Dell wants to do is pass pre-algebra, play lacrosse, and possibly kiss Melanie Stephens. He didn’t mean to set anyone’s gym shorts on fire or make school lunches explode. But now that the strange powers inside him have been ignited, Conner’s normal teenage life is about to go up in flames!

This fast-paced novel is non-stop fun for kids and parents alike. With characters you can’t help but root for, a plot that keeps you guessing, and plenty of humor, it’s a guaranteed thrill ride from cover to cover!

* * *

This is one of the better middle grade books out there. Full of mystery, adventure, and (dare I say it?) magic, this book is full of excitement.

The characters are jump-off-the-page real, and they're great! I'd love to have them living next door. Well, maybe not . . . I don't really want the Darkhands to show up in my neighborhood.

Parents will like the way the story includes good morals (honoring decisions made by the parents, looking out for siblings/friends, not getting bogged down by self pity, teachers who aren't evil, etc.). Kids will enjoy the age-old fight of good vs. evil, and probably won't even notice on a conscious level those things the parents will appreciate.

This is great writing, and a wonderful story. Unfortunately, once you've read it, you'll have to wait for the next book. But don't worry, it's definitely worth it!

4.5/5 stars

Monday, July 9, 2012

Blog Tour and Author Interview with Sonja Herbert

We are super excited to host author Sonja Herbert on one of her many stops 

for her book Carnival Girl.

Fourteen-year-old Sonja has always known there is a God who loves her. But when you spend your life on the road with the carnival, traveling the country in a tiny caravan home, it’s hard to imagine a normal, churchgoing life.
Everything changes when Sonja meets two Mormon missionaries. Even though her parents don’t approve, her brothers and sisters taunt her, and her whole life is on the move, Sonja can’t help how she feels. Now she’ll have to choose between the carnival and her convictions, between her family and her faith.
Based on Sonja Herbert’s real childhood in postwar Germany, this incredible, true story is beautifully written and full of heart—A powerful reminder for readers everywhere how much God loves each one of us and how his strength can make dreams come true.

Ms. Herbert was gracious enough to answer some questions for us. 
I hope you enjoy learning a little bit about her.

1. You've led such a unique and eventful life.  What led you to share your story?

When I was just a child, I decided to one day write the story of how my mother came to live in a circus. Many years later, as I was interviewing Mutti and putting things together, I realized the story of her life would not be complete without the story of my life with her. I have seen so many miracles happen in my life, I felt as if my story would also help strengthen others. 

2.  I really enjoyed hearing about your life as a child, both your family life and the culture you grew up in.  Is there anything from your life in Germany that you would like to see integrated into the culture that now surrounds you? (traditions, values, etc.)

 Probably a little more of the gentle kind of socialism Germany has. It would be nice to have affordable medical coverage, etc. Otherwise, American values suit me just fine, especially American attitudes about religion!

3.  I'm guessing you've done a fair amount of reading, seeing as you've earned both a BA and an MA.  Do you have a favorite quote?

“Luke, I’m your father! Noooo!!”
But really, it’s a quote from To Kill a Mockingbird:” Before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself.  The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”

4.  Is there anywhere in the world you'd like to visit someday?

Japan. And the Sacred Grove.

5.  What would YOU like your readers to know about Carnival Girl or you in general?

No matter where we live, what we do, or how we feel about ourselves, we are all loved by God!  I look back at my life so far and see miracles.  I've been very blessed.

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to read this book so here's my review.
I thoroughly enjoyed Carnival Girl!  Sonja Herbert's beautiful writing style drew me in and kept me reading while her stories transported me to another time and place.  Her experiences and the struggles she faced in postwar Germany are fascinating to me.  Hers is a story of searching and faith, of finding and believing.   Reading Carnival Girl brought me hope!  The pictures included are fun and interesting.  I love how they show me the story!  Although I've never met Ms. Herbert, her writing makes me feel as though I've made a new friend just by reading her work.  I'm looking forward to reading more from her!

5/5 stars
We just want to thank Ms. Herbert for her time!  

I highly recommend this book for everyone who enjoys memoirs, historical works, religious books, or uplifting works!  

Sunday, July 8, 2012


by Lloyd Poast

Published May 17, 2012

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

A teenage boy wanders into a mystical forest ruled by a gypsy goddess named Amaisia Moon.

The forest changes with every blink or head turn and he discovers an ocean where dreams and nightmares literally come alive.

* * *

I'm a little torn on this one. The writing is good, and the story itself is very imaginative and descriptive. The idea is intriguing - every blink changes Lance's surroundings, bringing new characters as well. It's a little bit jolting, although it's supposed to be. I mean, not much can happen between blinks.

I did at one point wonder why he didn't close one eye at a time so he didn't really have to blink.  :)

"Blink" is a very quick read, and for the most part I enjoyed it. I have to admit, though, that it sports one of my biggest pet peeves: incorrect ellipses. Just me being picky, but an ellipses looks like this ( . . . ). Or, with ebooks, it's becoming popular to use ( ... ) -- which also kinda bugs me, because it's just not the right way. {{shrug}} I know, it's just me. Most people probably wouldn't even notice.

Some things I loved: The descriptions were very well done. It reminded me of one of the best episodes ever made of Doctor Who with the whole "don't blink" thing.

It's definitely worth the 20 minutes to read it!

3.5/5 stars

Friday, July 6, 2012

Friday Feature: Dune

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!

by Frank Herbert
pub. 1965
608 pages

Far in the future, two powerful families are locked in a bitter feud. The Duke of Atreides has been outmanoeuvered by his arch-enemy, Baron Harkonnen, and must move from his home to take up the administration of the planet Arrakis, sometimes known as Dune, a vast desert where every drop of water is worth a fortune. But Dune is also a planet of fabulous wealth, for it is the only source of a drug prized throughout the Galactic Empire.


Wow! no wonder this book is so famous! The intrigue and subterfuge and "plan within a plan...treachery within treachery" was so fascinating to me. Frank Herbert is a master storyteller in the fullest sense of the term. Some of the syntax was a little weird for me and you have to get used to completely different terminology sometimes, but the story is so compelling that it only took a few pages for me to adjust.

9.5/10 stars!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tess, Terrorists and the Tiara

Tess, Terrorists and the TiaraTess, Terrorists and the Tiara
by Terry Baldwin

212 pages
Published April 1, 2012

Thirteen-year old Tess has never been able to compete with her “perfect” older sister, but now she must—if she wants to inherit her grandmother’s priceless tiara. The two girls have been invited to their grandparent’s lake house for the summer to help take care of Grandma who’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The sister who earns the most “helpful points” wins the former beauty queen’s crown.

"It’s not easy for Tess, who seems to always get things wrong despite best intentions. And who is that mysterious stranger who’s just moved next door to their grandparents’ summer cottage?
Does he know that Tess’ grandmother was once the winner of a famous patriotic beauty contest? Or that she keeps her tiara where anyone can steal it? And why doesn’t he have a face?

* * *

Tess is my kind of girl. A little clumsy, a little forgetful, very well-meaning, full of heart. With all the good intentions in the world, things around her always fall apart.

Unfortunately for Tess, when she catches sight of someone at a neighboring cabin who keeps their face covered she's curious - and a little scared. Things get stranger when she asks her grandpa about the new neighbors: he tells her they want to be left alone, and she should stay away from them.

Who could these strangers be?

When she meets a man who has ideas of his own, she agrees to keep an eye on the strangers. Before long, they're both convinced the neighbors are terrorists who want to steal the tiara Tess's grandmother won at the "Miss Land of the Free" pageant.

This is a fun, quick read!

4/5 stars

You can see the book trailer here.