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, August 30, 2011

The Sweet, Terrible, Glorious Year I Truly, Completely Lost It

The Sweet, Terrible, Glorious Year I Truly, Completely Lost It

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Hunted (The Shadowing, #1)
by Adam Slater

208 pages
Published September 13, 2011

This is pre-release review. Thanks to Net Galley and the publisher, Egmont USA, for letting me read it early in exchange for an honest review.

What would you do if you found out that not only could you see ghosts, but a load of demons were about to cross over into our world, and you were the only person who could stop them? That’s exactly what teenager Callum Scott faces in my new horror series, The Shadowing. His only backup is ghost boy Jacob and his giant spectral dog, Doom. And those demons aren’t going down without a fight. Soon Callum’s being hunted, and by something you wouldn’t want to encounter in your worst nightmares… If you like skin-crawling horror fiction, you’ll love The Shadowing!


At the start of this book, I enjoyed it--with reservation. It took me a couple of chapters to become engaged in the story.

Callum is one of those characters you'd love to have as a friend. He's strong, down to Earth, and a just really good guy. And Melissa, the weird girl at school, is fantastic. And don't even get me started on the Grim and his friend, Jacob.

This story reminds me of some of the books I read growing up. It--dare I say it?--reminds me a little bit of The Dark is Rising. Yes, I liked it almost as much. (If you know me at all, you know how hard it is for me to say that!) Now I've totally set myself up to be disappointed by the rest of the series.

{{{Begs: Please, please don't disappoint me!!!}}}

5/5 stars

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fuzzy Nation

Fuzzy Nation
by John Scalzi

301 pages
Published May 10, 2011

Jack Holloway works alone, for reasons he doesn't care to talk about. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorp's headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporation's headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor, prospecting and surveying at his own pace. As for his past, that's not up for discussion.

Then, in the wake of an accidental cliff collapse, Jack discovers a seam of unimaginably valuable jewels, to which he manages to lay legal claim just as ZaraCorp is cancelling their contract with him for his part in causing the collapse. Briefly in the catbird seat, legally speaking, Jack pressures ZaraCorp into recognizing his claim, and cuts them in as partners to help extract the wealth.

But there's another wrinkle to ZaraCorp's relationship with the planet Zarathustra. Their entire legal right to exploit the verdant Earth-like planet, the basis of the wealth they derive from extracting its resources, is based on being able to certify to the authorities on Earth that Zarathustra is home to no sentient species.

Then a small furry biped--trusting, appealing, and ridiculously cute--shows up at Jack's outback home. Followed by its family. As it dawns on Jack that despite their stature, these are people, he begins to suspect that ZaraCorp's claim to a planet's worth of wealth is very flimsy indeed...and that ZaraCorp may stop at nothing to eliminate the "fuzzys" before their existence becomes more widely known.


This was a pleasant departure from my regular reading fare. I loved the characters. Hello, a dog who's trained to blow up explosives? Hooray!

I absolutely love the fuzzys. So cute! And, I'll admit it, I was very sad and angry when a certain thing happened--don't want to say more and ruin it for anyone.

5/5 stars

Friday, August 26, 2011

Blog Tour Coming

In case you haven't seen it on the sidebar, the "Seers" blog tour will be making a stop here at The Crooked Word! On September 2 we'll be hosting an interview with the author, Heather Frost. Don't miss it! Check out my review of this fantastic book here.

Friday Feature: Swimming to Antarctica

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!

Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer
by Lynne Cox

359 pages
First Published 2004

At age sixteen, legendary swimmer Lynne Cox reached her lifetime goal of setting a new world record for an English Channel swim. So she set her goals even higher: She became the first to swim the Strait of Magellan, narrowly escaped a shark attack off the Cape of Good Hope, and was cheered across the twenty-mile Cook Strait of New Zealand by dolphins. Her daring eventually led her to the thirty-eight degree waters of the Bering Strait, which she crossed in her usual outfit-just a swimsuit, cap, and goggles. She even swam a mile in the iceberg-choked seas of the Antarctic. With a poet's eye for detail, Cox shares the beauty of her time in the water in this new classic of sports memoir, now illustrated with photos and maps throughout.


My mom recommended I read this book and I was surprised to find that it captured my attention so quickly. I was also surprised to find a story about a swimmer so fascinating and fun to read. Lynne Cox has an amazing way of telling her stories that keep you on your toes and makes you wish you were right there cheering her on. There were so many things that I thought were interesting; how her body temperature would rise before a swim to help her in the colder waters, what she would drink while swimming, etc. She is an amazing women that shows you that you can really do anything if you set your mind to it and work for it.

4/5 stars

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Midnight Sun (The Twilight Saga #5)

Midnight Sun (The Twilight Saga #5)

by Stephenie Meyer

ebook, 216 pages
Published by Little Brown (first published August 28th 2008)

Midnight Sun is the much anticipated retelling of Twilight from Edward Cullen's perspective. An unedited partial draft was illegally leaked onto the internet in 2008; consequently, author Stephenie Meyer put the project on indefinite hold.
Shortly afterward, she posted a letter to her fans on her website including a link to the entire partial draft of the book so that those who wanted to read it could do so legally and with her consent; see URL for more information:


Dear Stephenie,

Please finish writing this book! I can't blame you for choosing to stop writing after being so betrayed, but for my own selfish sake I so wish you would finish it!

It was intriguing and fun to read Edward's perspective on things. I've read Twilight... well, more times than I'm going to admit so I didn't think I would be so disappointed when the story didn't continue- but I was! There's so much detail that fills in how Edward and his family interact behind the scenes and how Bella shakes up the mix. Not only did I enjoy seeing Edward's perspective but also hearing everyone else's thoughts through Edward. The only thing that could make it better would be for there to be MORE!

5/5 stars

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


by Cyndi Tefft

724 pages
Published April 5, 2011

It just figures that the love of Lindsey Water's life isn't alive at all, but the grim reaper, complete with a dimpled smile and Scottish accent.

After transporting souls to heaven for the last 300 years, Aiden MacRae has all but given up on finding the one whose love will redeem him and allow him entry through the pearly gates.

Torn between her growing attraction to Aiden and heaven's siren song, Lindsey must learn the hard way whether love really can transcend all boundaries.


The characters in this book are alive--well, they should be, even if they're actually dead. (And it never hurts to throw a Scottish accent in there. Just sayin'.)

How do I sum up this book? As fun as it was, the first part of it had me wondering if the entire book was going to be spent jumping from memories to recreations of worlds. Yes, I understand that we were getting background on the characters, and learning about what kind of people they are. And the author showed great research in her portrayal of the different eras and experiences. Still, I wished Lindsey and Aiden would settle into place a bit.

And then, they did. Once the characters settle into the cabin, I felt I could appreciate the story more. Once Lindsey and Aiden were separated, I felt the urgency of the book, trying to figure out how things would work out.

I admit, I've been waffling for a few days on how to rate this book. I've finally settled on

4/5 stars

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays (3)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here's mine:

"It's very hot to be sitting inside a closed skimmer," Landon said.
"So crack a window and give him a bowl of water," Holloway said. "If he puts a foot on my property, I'm parting his hair with a shotgun."

p 153, Fuzzy Nation, by John Scalzi

Leave a post with a link to your TT, or, if you don't have a blog, post your teaser right in the comments!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bye for Now

Bye for Now: A Wishers Story
by Kathleen Churchyard

272 pages
Published August 23, 2011

Thanks to Net Galley and the publisher, Egmont USA, for letting me read this before its release in exchange for an honest review.

The candles dripped onto the icing as Robin deliberated. What could she possibly wish? She wanted to wake up the next day and learn all her problems were gone. But since her problems weren’t going to disappear, she didn’t want to be Robin anymore.

“I wish I was somebody else,” Robin wished. And in that moment, she meant it. She blew out the candles.

After the worst eleventh birthday ever, Robin wakes up the next morning in the body of Fiona, an eleven-year-old girl from London with an amazing life. Fiona is gorgeous, with glamorous parents, and she’s the star of a major theatrical production. Why would Fiona have wished herself out of her own body? Slowly, Robin discovers a whole network of girls like her—girls who have gotten their wish and are living somebody else’s life. But what happens when Robin finally decides she wants to go home? Does anybody in the Wishers network know how to make this happen?

In this exciting first novel, Kathleen Churchyard asks: What if you wished for someone else’s life—and it came true?


This book comes out on Tuesday!

I think every girl, when she's about eleven, wonders what life would be like if she was part of a different family. Bye for Now takes that idea and twists it into a wonderful, fun, exciting adventure that girls of all ages will love.

Ms. Churchyard has created compelling, believable characters. She nailed the wonderful cultural depth and language differences. The vicarious trip to London that is this book is thrilling.

4/5 stars

Friday, August 19, 2011

Feature Friday: Little Women

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!

Little Women

Louisa May Alcott

Little Women is an American classic, adored for Louisa May Alcott's lively and vivid portraits of the endearing March sisters: talented tomboy Jo, pretty Meg, shy Beth, temperamental Amy. Millions have shared in their joys, hardships, and adventures as they grow up in Civil War New England, separated by the war from their father and beloved mother, "Marmee," blossoming from "little women" into adults. Jo searches for her writer's voice and finds unexpected love...Meg prepares for marriage and a family...Beth reaches out to the less fortunate, tragically...and Amy travels to Europe to become a painter. Based on Louisa May Alcott's own Yankee childhood, Little Women is a treasure -- a story whose enduring values of patience, loyalty, and love have kept this extraordinary family close to the hearts of generation after generation of delighted readers.


Little Women is one of those classics that everyone should read! It's one of my favorites! I love reading the adventures, challenges, and joys of the March sisters as they struggle and grow up in difficult circumstances. Their growing pains are similar to those faced by many today, while giving a glimpse at the challenges of the era. I love the interactions of the March family with their lively personalities and varied interests as they learn to get along and to cherish each other. There are those who believe this book is archaic and doesn't relate to our time but the morals of the story and the importance of family values are timeless. A definite must-read!

5/5 stars

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Hourglass Door

The Hourglass Door (Hourglass Door, #1)
by Lisa Mangum

400 pages
Published May 13, 2009

His past. Her future. Can love bring them together in time?Abby's senior year of high school is textbook perfect: She has a handsome and attentive boyfriend, good friends, good grades, and plans to attend college next year. But when she meets Dante Alexander, a foreign-exchange student from Italy, her life suddenly takes a different turn. He's mysterious, and interesting, and unlike anyone she's ever met before. Abby can't deny the growing attraction she feels for him. Nor can she deny the unusual things that seem to happen when Dante is around. Time behaves differently when they are together - traveling too fast or too slow or sometimes seeming to stop altogether. When the band Zero Hour performs at the local hangout, Abby realizes that there's something dangerous about the lead singer, Zo, and his band mates, Tony and V. Oddly, the three of them are also from Italy and have a strange relationship to Dante. They also hold a bizarre influence over their audience when performing. And Abby's best friend, Valerie, is caught in their snare. Dante tells Abby the truth of his past: he once worked for Leonardo Da Vinci, helping to design and build a time machine. When Dante was falsely implicated as a traitor to his country, he was sent through the machine more than five hundred years into the future as punishment. As the past and the present collide, Abby learns that she holds a special power over the flow of time itself. She and Dante must stop Zo from opening the time machine's door and endangering everyone's future. More than one life is at stake and Abby's choice could change everything.


How did I put reading this book off for so long? It's been on my TBR list since it first came out! Now I'm wishing I had time to run to the bookstore and grab the other two.

In a word: Amazing. Oh, you want a few more words than that? Okay, it's captivating, exciting, creative, thought-provoking.

Abby is a great character, as is Dante. Although I thought the most intriguing person was Leo.

Sorry. I think I'm a bit all over the place with this. I'll make it simple: This absolutely MUST be added to your TBR list. Like, last year.

5/5 stars

In Other Words (From Books Over Boys)

Okay, I'm just gonna start by saying: if you don't read Books Over Boys, you should!

This is the first part of their post from today (to read the whole thing, click here):

I've had this idea or curiosity brewing in my mind for a while now but I just never got to asking you so while I was in the shower, where all my genius ideas come from, it came to the front of my mind and I had to make a post.

I know that when someone asks you who your favorite YA guy's generally very hard to choose because you know, you can't just have one! Ha! Now, I've never read The Hunger Games series but I think *runs to Goodreads to retrieve the summary* OK, I'm back! So there's the annual Hunger Games where one boy and girl have to go in and...yeah. So, I was curious, say a battle like this occurred and if you have to call forth seven guys under the categories of 1.) Vampire, 2.) Angel, 3.) Werewolf, 4.) Faerie, 5.) Human, 6.) Gods (Greek mythology related) and 7.) Demon - who would you choose?!

In other words, who are your number one top favorites under each of those categories? Or in some other other words, who would you call forward to defend your honor?

Here are mine:

1.) Vampire - Laylen from the Fallen Star Series. Because, well, I just read it and I seriously want more of him. Besides, not only is he a vamp, but he's also a trained Keeper.

2.) Angel - Will from Angelfire. Um, do I even have to explain this?

3.) Werewolf - Jacob Black from Twilight series. Because I saw the movie. I was so not team Jacob from the books, but the movie? 'Nother story altogether.

4.) Faerie - I don't know on this one. I guess I just don't pay enough attention to the Fae. Shame on me!

5.) Regular human - Peeta from Hunger Games. Just because when he sets out to save someone, he holds nothing back.

6.) Gods - Umm. I'll get back to you on that.

7.) Demon - No idea. Guess I'd better look into it!

Okay, I know, I should have someone in all the categories. Let me think on it for a while!
Who would you choose, and why?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Underworld

The Underworld (Fallen Star, #2)
by Jessica Sorensen

Published July 31, 2011

The Underworld is the sequel to The Fallen Star (Fallen Star Series, Volume 1)
Gemma thought her mind was gone, but she was wrong. And now she is left trying to figure out the truth to what Stephan is planning to do with her and the star, before it’s too late.
But finding out the truth is hard, especially since Gemma doesn’t know who she can trust. There may be only one person who Gemma can turn to for answers, but that means having to go to the one place no one wants to go—The Underworld.


Quick note: there's a GoodReads giveaway going on for this book until Aug. 31

After reading the first book in this series, I decided to go ahead and read the next one. Surprise, surprise, I liked #2 better than #1--which, if you know me, you know that's surprising.

I didn't realize just how much I liked this until I got to the end and realized the next one isn't out yet. Yes, I got grumpy really fast.

The main character, Gemma, did kind of rub me wrong (but not as much as in the first book). However, even if you have a hard time with her, keep reading! It's so worth your time, even if it's just to get to know Laylen. Yes, I know I very frequently refuse to read books with vampires because I'm tired of them, but Laylen is a fantastic character. I'd love a book about him--could we arrange that, please? In a small way he reminds me of Lupin (the one in Harry Potter, of course). If I can't get a book about him, um, could Gemma please fall in love with him?

Until I found myself upset that I couldn't read the next book right away, I would have given this a 4. However, after realizing just how involved in the story I was:

5/5 stars

Teaser Tuesdays (2)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser is:
"Zo's cut had sliced through the fabric of Dante's shirt and deep into the skin beneath. Blood stains bloomed on his shoulder and encased his forearm in solid red."
~p 143. "The Hourglass Door" by Lisa Mangum

Monday, August 15, 2011

Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth

Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth
by Andy Hueller

248 pages
Published August 8, 2011

Thanks to Net Galley and the publisher, Cedar Fort, for letting me read this in exchange for an honest review.

Calvin Comet Cobble lives at Hidden Shores Orphanage. Location: the very center of the earth. Cal's life is full of the school bully and mean teachers, but when he meets Mr. E, who can skip a stone clear across Lake Arctic, everything about Cal's life changes. Told with wit and charm, Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth is guaranteed to excite and inspire readers of all ages.


I liked the idea of this middle-grade book. The Earth is hollow, and people live inside it. Fun, right?

The first half of the book was hard for me to get through, though. However, once I made it that far, things picked up and I really enjoyed the last half of the book. The ending was great. Mr Hueller doesn't force all the ends into tidy knots, which I really liked. Don't get me wrong, you aren't left hanging or anything, but without everything being perfectly slotted it leaves more of the future to the individual imagination.

4/5 stars.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Soloist

The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music

I loved seeing the role music played in the life of this man. He was in an awful place mentally, physically and personally but music brought him dignity, purpose and some measure of peace. Overall I enjoyed the writing style although there were a couple places that seemed a little slow. I found the book to be uplifting and definitely recommend it!

4/5 stars

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Feature: Terrier

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!

Terrier (Beka Cooper, #1)
by Tamora Pierce

529 pages
Published October 24, 2006

Tamora Pierce begins a new Tortall trilogy introducing Beka Cooper, an amazing young woman who lived 200 years before Pierce's popular Alanna character. For the first time, Pierce employs first-person narration in a novel, bringing readers even closer to a character that they will love for her unusual talents and tough personality.

Beka Cooper is a rookie with the law-enforcing Provost's Guard, and she's been assigned to the Lower City. It's a tough beat that's about to get tougher, as Beka's limited ability to communicate with the dead clues her in to an underworld conspiracy. Someone close to Beka is using dark magic to profit from the Lower City's criminal enterprises—and the result is a crime wave the likes of which the Provost's Guard has never seen before.


I don't know if 5 years counts as several years, but as this isn't a new release, I decided I could use it as a feature.

This book practically jumped off the shelf at me when I was browsing a little bookstore in Bermuda. I had to have it. I'd never read any of Ms. Pierce's books, despite having them recommended to me for years, and let me tell you: I was missing out.

Beka Cooper's story is written in journal form, which doesn't work for me very often. In fact, this is the only book I'd read where I didn't just toss the book aside. (I've since only read one other--the book that continues this story.) In this case, however, it's handled so expertly that I can't imagine the story being portrayed in any other way.

There world is so rich I can smell it, feel it, and believe I'm actually there. I have to admit, as much as I love Beka--she is a fantastic character--I also read this book for a Rosto fix.

If you enjoy mystery, intrigue, friendship, that thin gray line between black and white--I could go on and on, but I don't want to give anything away--this book is for you.

5/5 stars

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Forgotten Souls

Forgotten Souls (The Saving Angels #2)
by Tiffany King

220 pages
Published August 2011

Any chance Krista Miller had at a normal teenage life is now gone. Less than a year ago, she lived under the radar, avoiding any relationships that would send her emotional sensitivities out of control. Little did she know that her life was destined for something more. Something that will test her very soul.

After escaping certain death at the hands of the man responsible for their mysterious past, Krista and her friends learn the truth about their origins and the purpose for their newly discovered abilities. Now, they must band together to fullfil their inherited, sacred duty. As Guides and Protectors, they must save Mankind's Forgotten Souls before they are lost forever.


I'm honestly not sure what to say about this book. I read it over two days, and the story is great. Adventure, romance, what's not to like? I wish I could say it's perfect. I opened the book with high expectations, and while it was good there was something that kept me from being able to engross myself in it (see note below). Also, I really felt like I should have cried at the ending but I couldn't. Maybe that just means I'm heartless and uncaring. However, the fact that I couldn't bring myself to wallow over it lost the book a star (sorry!). Still, the characters are intriguing, the plot line is fun, there are great new "links" introduced, and a major blow. I'm looking forward to book 3!

Side note: I read this on my Nook. I don't know if it's Ms. King's formatting, or if it's my Nook trying to be smarter than it is, but there were PROBLEMS. Frequently (like, several pages in a row) there were times when a word would be randomly split between lines. Usually when this happens, my Nook hyphenates appropriately, but so many times I had to stop and figure out that the random letter or two were actually the beginning or ending of a word. It was really annoying and distracting. I tried changing the font, hoping that adjustment would correct the problem, but the formatting forces the font to remain the same. I was so frustrated that I almost gave up two chapters into the book. So, while buying it on your Nook gives the author a slightly higher royalty percentage, for your own sanity get it on Kindle if you've got one.

4/5 stars

Honestly, Red Riding Hood Was Rotten!

Honestly, Red Riding Hood Was Rotten!: The Story of Little Red Riding Hood as Told by the Wolf
by Trisha Speed Shaskan
(I couldn't find a website for Ms. Shaskan, sorry!)

24 pages
Published August 1

Thanks to Net Galley and the publisher, Coughlan Publishing, for letting me read this in exchange for an honest review.

OF COURSE you think I did a horrible thing by eating Little Red Riding Hood and her granny. You don't know the other side of the story. Well, let me tell you...


This is a cute retelling. The wolf claims to be a vegetarian (other than on rare occasions). Holding nothing back, I'm not sure kids would enjoy the humor as much as I did, but I can't see them not enjoying the pictures, they're fantastic!

4/5 stars

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays

This weekly meme is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading! Anyone can play, just:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My teaser is:

"My emotions swelled at his words as hope erased the last traces of anxiety from me. We would save the forgotten souls and we would do it the right way, with the help of our Archangel."

~ p. 84, "Forgotten Souls" by Tiffany King

Monday, August 8, 2011

Huber Hill and the Dead Man's Treasure

Huber Hill and the Dead Man's Treasure
by B. K. Bostick

256 pages
Published October 28, 2011

This is a pre-release review. Thanks to Net Galley and the publisher, Bonneville Books, for the chance to read it early in exchange for an honest review.

When his grandfather dies, Huber Hill is devastated---until he opens Grandpa Nick's mysterious box. An old gold coin and directions to a hidden Spanish treasure send him and his friends off on an mind-blowing adventure, but he's not the only one on the hunt. Filled with dangerous animals and cryptic puzzles, this book will have you on the edge of your seat until the last page.


This was a really fun book. Compelling characters, check. Treasure map, check. Fantastic bad guy, check. Mortal peril, check. Riddles to solve in order to follow map and reach treasure, check. Surprises throughout, check.

I loved this kind of book as a kid, and as a grown-up kid, I still love them. It's a great adventure full of twists and excitement. Who wouldn't want to find a treasure in the mountains near their home?

5/5 stars

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Feature: Bridge to Terabithia

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!

Bridge to Terabithia
by Katherine Patterson

143 pages
Published Oct. 21, 1977

Jess Aarons' greatest ambition is to be the fastest runner in his grade. He's been practicing all summer and can't wait to see his classmates' faces when he beats them all. But on the first day of school, a new girl boldly crosses over to the boys' side and outruns everyone.

That's not a very promising beginning for a friendship, but Jess and Leslie Burke become inseparable. Together they create Terabithia, a magical kingdom in the woods where the two of them reign as king and queen, and their imaginations set the only limits.


This is one of my all-time favorite books. I have no idea how many times I've read it. My copy is starting to fall apart--I'm waiting for them to publish a hardback that has the right cover.

I did see the movie when they made it (I don't always like to see movies of my favorite books) but only because the author's son, the person the book was written for, was involved.

I ball my eyes out ever time I pick this book up. If you need a good cry, this is a fantastic way to get it. It's a quick read, but in some ways that makes it even better. At least your eyes are only red for one day!

5+/5 stars

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1)

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1)

392 pages
Published August 1st 2009

the cold.
Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—watches back. He feels deeply familiar to her, but she doesn't know why.

the heat.
Sam has lived two lives. As a wolf, he keeps the silent company of the girl he loves. And then, for a short time each year, he is human, never daring to talk to Grace...until now.

the shiver.
For Grace and Sam, love has always been kept at a distance. But once it's spoken, it cannot be denied. Sam must fight to stay human—and Grace must fight to keep him—even if it means taking on the scars of the past, the fragility of the present, and the impossibility of the future.


This is a fun book! I grabbed it without reading the description (I really liked the cover) so when I got it home and realized it was a werewolf book I wasn't sure if I'd like it or not. (there have been so many vampire/werewolf knock-offs... some good but others not so much) I'm glad I still read it because the characters were great and there were some fun twists. The alternating points of view kept it fun. It was very Twilight-esque although it focused more on the romance side. Now I need the next one!

3.5/5 stars


by Ilsa J. Bick

480 pages
Published September 6, 2011

This is a pre-release review. Thanks to Net Galley and the publisher, EgmontUSA, for letting me read it early in exchange for an honest review.

It could happen tomorrow...

A cataclysmic event. An army of "The Changed."
Can one teen really survive on her own?

An electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the sky, destroying every electronic device and killing billions. For those spared, it's a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human...

Desperate to find out what happened and to avoid the Changed, Alex meets up with Tom---a young army veteran---and Ellie, a young girl whose grandfather was killed by the electromagnetic pulse.

This improvised family will have to use every ounce of courage they have just to survive.


This is one of the better books I've read lately. With the EMP attack and the nuclear reactions, the world, society, falls apart.

For the first half of the book, there aren't a lot of people to follow, really just the three main characters. They're fantastically realistic, flawed but strong. (***SPOILER: The only thing here to be careful of is that the Changed become cannibals, and there are some very graphic scenes dealing with that. You may not want to read that while eating. END SPOILER***)

Halfway through, things take a very different route. Alex makes it to a town, Rule, where people are trying to live "normal" lives. There are secrets hovering under the surface of this community, and the fact that she wants to leave but decides to bide her time, then becomes complacent is a bit of a disappointment (although totally understandable). Still, with the secrets biding their time, there are things to try to figure out.

There is, of course, the love triangle, too. Both guys are nice, but I have a clear favorite: Tom. I felt he didn't get his fair share of pages. He got very few "good times." Chris seems like a mostly good guy, but he knows things that make me unhappy with him for not fighting it all. I think he's trying to do the "right thing" but doesn't know how. However, at the end he's making definite effort.

The end was an unhappy surprise. As the pages dwindled, things were not wrapping up properly, and the end was a total cliffhanger. Fine, as long as you know ahead that this isn't a stand-alone book, but I didn't.

If you like Hunger Games and The Maze Runner, read this.

5/5 stars

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Wishing Pearl

The Wishing Pearl
by Nicole O'Dell

368 pages
Published October 1, 2011

This is a pre-release review. Thanks to Net Galley and the publisher, Barbour Books, for letting me read it early in exchange for an honest review.

Join conflicted sixteen-year-old Olivia Mansfield on her journey to hope and healing as she leaves her messed-up life behind and moves into Diamond Estates, a home for troubled teens. This brand-new novel for teen girls will not only entertain, but also promises to capture your heart and challenge your faith.


Olivia's father died in a car accident when she was young, and Olivia was the only one present. That would be hard enough for anyone. But after Olivia's mother remarries, her life goes downhill.

This book was definitely written with a Christian audience in mind. Diamond Estates is run by a Christian church, and the main goal for them is to get the girls to find God and rely on Him to help them heal.

I can see how this book could be viewed as dark and depressing (***SPOILER*** There's sexual abuse, as well as drug & alcohol abuse, death and even a hostage situation, although it's all handled well ***END SPOILER***) but it could also be seen as uplifting as Olivia and the friends she makes at Diamond Estates overcome their pasts and start over.

3.5/5 stars