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.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hattie Big Sky

Hattie Big Sky

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dragon Soul

Dragon Soul (Dragons in the Mist, #1)
by B.J. Whittington

Published July 24, 2011

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

Dragon Soul begins in a small village of the Palmir people. A quiet, productive and peaceful clan with an almost forgotten violent history. The Plague from the North—an attack of powerful, evil creatures—virtually annihilated them generations ago. They defeated the Plague, with the help of mystics and dragons - but at great cost. Dragons no longer survive as separate entities; their Souls must reside in the flesh of human hosts. 

To be a Dragon Host is at once a tremendous honor, and a life sentence. A sentence of many lifetimes, as the Dragon Host’s life span becomes longer than normal humans; they usually outlive their human families by many years. Dragon Hosts have magnified senses and abilities. To Host a dragon is to the see the world in entirely different ways - forever. 

Hosting of Dragon Souls is not the only special calling of the Palmir people. Some are called to be Healers, a blending of practical and mystical powers. A rare few are Prophets. One Prophet has a vision that takes shape in a physical form and warns the Palmir people of an ominous event. Was it a just a reminder of the hellish past, or a harbinger of things to come?

What if the Plague returns? There are so few Dragon Souls. Could they defeat the monsters again? And what of real dragons? Will they ever again exist in their own form? 

From a peaceful and uncomplicated world, with only the little frustrations that human characters inflict on one another, events thrust the reader into epic battles between dragons and the creatures seeking to destroy human and dragon alike. Proceedings propel humans into the middle of dragon-sized events. The world of the people is so rich, yet simple and comfortable, it's heart-breaking to leave it for the battlefront. Nevertheless, the Palmir people, like the dragons, go willingly in defense of their families. And in these stories, the families of humans and dragons, are one.

* * *

Dragon Soul will be available FREE on Amazon Kindle from 10/26 (tomorrow) to 10/28!!

First, I should tell you that I cut the blurb down a bit because it was so long. If you'd like to read the rest of it, please see Amazon or GoodReads. GoodReads does have the old cover image (which I totally love!), so be aware of that when you're looking for it.

There were a lot of really good things about this book. There were some great characters, and the story was very well-developed. One of my favorite characters didn't play a large part in this story, but unless I'm mistaken, her part will get bigger as the series progresses.

I loved the idea of the dragon and person sharing one body, being able to transform between dragon and human. That does mean a lot of the communication happens either inside the dragon's head, or inside the Dragon Host's head.

That said, I have to say the dragons fell into the hole that is one of my pet peeves. When the dragons speak, they use thee, thou, thy, which in and of itself is fine. But they were sometimes used interchangeably, and none of the language around those words were changed to be appropriate. As an example: thou are instead of thou art. I admit, that's me being picky, but it drives me absolutely crazy, and pulled me out of the story whenever it happened. There were plenty of times where I had to put the book down and walk away because of it.

Overall, a good read. Anyone who enjoys dragon stories will appreciate it.

4/5 stars

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bad Apple

Bad AppleBad Apple
by Barbara Morgenroth

Published October 7, 2010

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

When 15 year old Neal Marchal finds her neighbor murdered, she knows who did it. The why is the secret the family has been keeping forever. While Paul took an interest in Neal’s musical education and taught her how to play the fiddle, he took her fatherless stepbrother, Joe, under his wing and all that implies. Joe’s rage has always been barely beneath the surface and years ago, he pushed Neal under a tractor as a warning. The reminder to never reveal the secret is her limp.

While Joe was gone for five years, Neal made music a private and central part of her life. Now she has an opportunity to sing and perform but the threat remains even if Joe is a thousand miles away. Neal finds refuge in the family of the young man who wants her to join his band. It’s like a dream to live with people who love each other. Neal blossoms. She has everything to live for—music, performing and a growing affection for the young man who pulled her to safety.

Then Joe comes home. Neal knows it’s just a matter of time because she told. Joe’s going to finish what he started 8 years ago. But this time Neal vows the outcome will be different.

* * *

This is a very realistic story, which in some ways will break your heart. In others, you'll love it.

I'm not counting this as a spoiler, because the blurb mentions it: Neal's stepbrother, Joe (evil boy if ever there was one), pushed her under a tractor. The step-family figured that since she could walk, there was no need to look into ways to help heal her leg. It's left Neal with a bad limp, and a huge dose of self-consciousness. Her life hasn't gotten any better since then.

There's a lot going on in this book, but I don't want to go into it. Too many spoilers. It reads quickly, and you'll want to push through to learn what happens.

4/5 stars

Monday, October 22, 2012


Broken by A.E. RoughtBroken
by A. E. Rought

416 pages
Published January 8, 2013

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

*** If you want surprises in this book, don't read the blurb! ***

Imagine a modern spin on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein where a young couple’s undying love and the grief of a father pushed beyond sanity could spell the destruction of them all.

A string of suspicious deaths near a small Michigan town ends with a fall that claims the life of Emma Gentry's boyfriend, Daniel. Emma is broken, a hollow shell mechanically moving through her days. She and Daniel had been made for each other, complete only when they were together. Now she restlessly wanders the town in the late Fall gloom, haunting the cemetery and its white-marbled tombs, feeling Daniel everywhere, his spectre in the moonlight and the fog.

When she encounters newcomer Alex Franks, only son of a renowned widowed surgeon, she's intrigued despite herself. He's an enigma, melting into shadows, preferring to keep to himself. But he is as drawn to her as she is to him. He is strangely... familiar. From the way he knows how to open her locker when it sticks, to the nickname she shared only with Daniel, even his hazel eyes with brown flecks are just like Daniel's.

The closer they become, though, the more something inside her screams there's something very wrong with Alex Franks. And when Emma stumbles across a grotesque and terrifying menagerie of mangled but living animals within the walls of the Franks' estate, creatures she surely knows must have died from their injuries, she knows.

* * *

I admit it, this book is predictable. That said, it really doesn't matter. Really.

While this is a YA book, and like so many YA books has insta-love (and that does drive me just a little crazy), this one actually has a reason for it. So I was easily able to over-look it.

The writing was great, with so many fantastic descriptions. The characters really did feel real. I loved that Emma hung out at the cemetery (ghoulish? Maybe just a tiny bit, but it works). Her parents were great. So many YA books have dumb parents -- it was a relief to see parents acting realistically. Alex was very complex, which he really needed to be to pull this off.

A great book, a little creepy, a few disturbing things to keep that creepy feeling.

4.5/5 stars

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Feature: The Witches

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 Witches


Monday, October 15, 2012

Interview with Author James Gough

We're so excited to feature an interview with James Gough, author of Cloak, a fantastic novel that we recently reviewed.  You can find our review here.  Here's what he shared with us.

The plot of Cloak is absolutely original.  What inspires you to write?

My biggest writing inspiration comes from observation. But not just your run-of-mill people watching. I love to look for the weird things that everyone might see, but that don’t seem to have an explanation. For example, I’ve always wondered why talking animals and animal people were such a huge theme in so many of our legends, myths and fables. Then I noticed there were a lot of people that looked like animals themselves. The concept behind Cloak was born by connecting the dots.

Your characters have such fun and distinctive personalities.  Is there one that's your favorite?

The characters are a lot like friends and family. I love them all, but there are some who I prefer to hang out with all day and some who are better in small doses. Will is probably the character I relate to the most, but sometime that means he can frustrate me. I really love Mars and Berko. Rizz has a great personality, but there’s a little sadness there. Kaya is awesome, but intimidating. I really respect Agent Manning, but I wouldn’t want to mess with her. Dr. Noctua is great, but he can also be tough to be around for too long just because he’s so smart and constantly teaching. I also have a real soft spot of Stripe—there is something so genuine about that little guy.

Are there more books on the way?

Absolutely. I’ve always intended Cloak to be a series and right now I’m coming down the homestretch on finishing of book two. I’m not sure how many books will play in the series, but I hope there will be a minimum of three.

Do you have a favorite author or book?

I like a lot of genres and authors—YA, middlegrade, mystery, fantasy, historical fiction. One of my favorites books is Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. But I also love the Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, Lord of The Rings, Hunger Games and Fablehaven—anything with a great story and rich characters.

What is one place in the world that you would really love to visit someday?

Traveling is one of by biggest passions, so that’s a tough question. I tend to like to go off the beaten path, so my first answer would probably be a small fishing village in Crete or a hidden town in the highlands of Scotland—anywhere I can see real life that doesn’t get caught up in tourism.

What would YOU like your readers to know about Cloak, your writing or you in general? 

When I read, I’m most impressed when an author can bring something to life in my head and make me start to believe the impossible. That’s what I say when I talk to readers—keep believing the impossible, seeing the invisible, and searching for the inexplicable.

Where can your readers stalk you?  (website, blog, goodreads author page, etc.)

I try to be all over the place. My website at, or on facebook at CLOAK ( I’m also on twitter

Thanks again to Mr. Gough for spending some time with us!  We can't wait to read more of your work!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Johnny Graphic and the Etheric Bomc

Johnny Graphic and the Etheric BombJohnny Graphic and the Etheric Bomb
by D. R. Martin

366 pages
Published June 30, 2012

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

An action-filled, 1930s ghost adventure for middle-grade readers. (And anyone else who enjoys a spirited yarn!)

All that Johnny Graphic ever wanted was to be a star news photographer. But the story that puts the twelve-year-old and his big sister on the front page could well come with a horrible headline: BOY LENSMAN MURDERED BY GHOSTS!

The year is 1935 and in Johnny’s world spooks are very, very real. Most wraiths are friendly to the living. Some of them even have jobs. But a few ancient ghost assassins are on the warpath, out to kill Johnny’s sister Melanie—for reasons the kids don’t even begin to understand.

The two siblings have to unravel a deadly ghost conspiracy that reaches around the globe and threatens the lives of millions. Or die trying!

* * *

This book is quite different from anything I've read recently.

In this book, one of every three people become ghosts. While there are "bad" ghosts, most of the ghosts are kind. They just want a way to do something worthwhile. A reason for being.

There are great character interactions here. It's wonderful to see a sibling relationship that is caring, where they would do anything to help and protect each other. It makes a nice change! That's not the only great family relationship, either, but I don't want to give spoilers!

Another big plus: the vocabulary is not "dumbed-down" for kids.

If you read this, be warned: There will obviously be at least one sequel!

4/5 stars

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


SolidSolid (Solid, #1)
by Shelly Workinger

221 pages
Published July 9, 2010

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

Clio Kaid may be 17 and just beginning the last summer before her senior year, but her life is anything but typical.

She's just discovered she was genetically altered before birth and is now headed to a top-secret Army campus to explore the surprising results of the experiment.

Follow Clio and the other teens as they develop fantastic super-abilities, forge new friendships, and find love as they search for answers.

* * *

I have to say, this book has an intriguing concept. Due to experimentation on pregnant women by a military doctor, a large group of kids have been changed. One of their genes was tweaked, and now these kids are developing abilities that are just, well, not normal.

Clio, like most of these kids, left home to attend the military summer camp where the kids can learn about what happened to them.

If I'm being completely honest, I wanted more from this book. It had the potential to be stand-out, and instead it was just a typical YA romance. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it was done well. I just wanted it to be more.

That said, I'm still curious as to what happens next!

3.5/5 stars

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Last Ride

The Last RideThe Last Ride
by James A. Thomas

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

Camelia is a recently orphaned teen who has to make it to her estranged grandparents' home in South Dakota or face foster care. But she's too young to travel alone, and she doesn't have enough money.

Bear is Camelia's neighbor, an aging biker with a terminal illness who is determined to make one last run to the big Harley riders' meet in Sturgis.

Camelia talks Bear into taking her along, since her grandparents live less than thirty miles from Sturgis.

Together with Bear's younger sister and a friend, they take off on Harleys, planning on going the long way and soaking up the scenery.

Things go well for a while, and it really is a dream vacation. Then people they meet start turning up dead. The group learns that a mass murderer known as the Northwest Killer is operating in the area. That's bad enough, but it soon becomes apparent that they are somehow psychically linked to the man.

For Camelia, it becomes less a matter of reaching her grandparents than of simply staying alive.

The Last Ride is a road novel, with death riding along. While it’s technically a young adult book because of Camelia's age (14), adults who don't require sex or four-letter words in their reading material should find it an interesting read.

* * *

I have to admit, I was a little concerned before I started this book. Why? Because the whole "going-on-a-road-trip-and-seeing-what-happens" thing has been done so very many times. Sometimes well, and others - well, not.

That said, I was happily surprised. Of course, the characters had their reasons for wanting to go on this trip, and they accomplished what they set out to do, even if things didn't always go just right.

Be aware that this isn't a fast-paced, grab-you-by-the-shirt kind of book. It moves more slowly, but it works well for the story itself. The friendship between Camelia and Bear was sweet, and the other characters on the ride with them are a lot of fun.

3.5/5 stars

Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday Feature: Memoirs of a Geisha

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!

Memoirs of a Geisha

HardcoverLarge Print434 pages
Published November 15th 2005 by Random House Large Print 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Just a Kiss Away

Just a Kiss Away
by Jill Barnett

Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1991)

Arriving on a lush Pacific island, Eulalie Grace LaRue was soon to be reunited with the father she hadn't seen since childhood. Yet before Lollie's dreamed-of meeting could take place, the lovely Southern belle was caught in the crossfire of a violent revolution -- and thrown into the rugged arms of Sam Forester.

On the run in the jungle, the battle-scarred soldier of fortune didn't know what to do with the pampered blonde placed in his care. Survival was his top priority, but he could not resist Lollie's seductive charm...or deny the growing attraction between them. Though Sam thrived on chance and risk, falling in love was the one chance he wasn't willing to take.

Powerless against the desire that consumed them both, Lollie surrendered to his passionate embrace. But when he dismissed her affections, she was determined to fight for prove that in the steamy heat of paradise, two hearts would find the love of a lifetime....
Overall, I would have to say this book is... long. The concept of it sounds fun but it's so redundant. Some of the situations change (although they're still similar) but the reactions of the characters are just the same thing over and over again. I found Lollie, the main female character, annoying at best. She was supposed annoy the soldier but in a way that he came to love her. As I reader I got really sick of her too- with no redemption. I also skipped ahead a few times when things started heating up- I don't enjoy explicit material. I know there are those out there who enjoy this sort of book, but I'm not one of them.
1/5 stars