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.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Blog Tour: Cantrip

Today we're happy to be part of the Cantrip Blog Tour. You can read Jillinda's review of Cantrip here.

If you haven't had the chance to read the first installment of The Refuge Trilogy, Annexed, the ebook is available free until the end of December! (Smashwords)

This book is set up a little differently from Annexed. We do get to continue following Narissa's story, but interspersed between the chapters, we get mini-chapters that show Kauri's story.

We get to share with you the first mini-chapter, which starts the book. So, without further ado, here it is:

auri stood in the dark, surrounded by trees; the warmth pouring from the cabin windows taunted her. Finally, knowing she couldn’t put if off any longer, she made her way past a cluster of shrubs and through the yard. Up the steps. Across the front deck. Facing the door, she took a deep breath. She knocked.
As she waited for the door to open, Kauri wanted to turn away. Instead, she placed her feet more solidly. She had a promise to fulfill.
“Kauri, come in,” Leah said, a smile brightening her face. “Narissa isn’t home yet but you’re welcome to join us.”
“Actually, I came to see you,” Kauri said, concerned she might not be welcomed once her news was shared. “It’s about Narissa.”
Leah’s smile disappeared. “Is something wrong?”
“Aye. No.” She took a steadying breath. “It’s somewhat complicated.”
“You’d best sit, then,” Leah said, leading the way into the living room. The rest of the family sat on the floor playing a worn board game. “Kids, we need some privacy.”
“Oh, no,” Kauri objected. “They should hear this, too.”
Curiosity showed on the faces that turned to her. She couldn’t help wondering if it might have been best to speak to Leah privately after all.
“Mac, get Kauri something to drink,” Leah ordered.
An awkward silence permeated the room as they waited for Mac to return from the kitchen. When he entered the room he carried a tray with enough drinks for everyone. After passing them around, he sat on the couch next to his mother.
Kauri sipped her water, trying to choose the best way to say what she’d come to explain. Finally, she came to a decision. “Narissa won’t be home tonight.”
“Why ever not?” Leah asked.
“She—she’s left,” Kauri fumbled. She silently cursed herself. She should have planned this better. Planned what to say. It would have made things go more smoothly, but she hadn’t had the easiest day. It just hadn’t occurred to her to plan ahead.
“What do you mean?” Greg asked.
Only Mac didn’t look confused. “She did it, then. She went through the gateway.”
Kauri nodded, grateful she hadn’t had to say those words. It would make the rest easier.
The room filled with an explosion of sound.
“Please, let me finish,” Kauri begged. When the noise had quieted, she continued. “Narissa discovered where the gateway was, but the only way to learn if it still worked was to try it. She asked me to thank you for sharing your lives with her, and to let you know she loves you all.”
Beth lifted her tear-streaked face. “Why didn’t she say goodbye?”
Kauri fought back a sob, remembering the pain that had consumed her friend. “Her decision was last-minute.”
Greg and Leah sat wide-eyed. Kauri had seen the depth of grief they displayed before, but only at the hospital when she’d been involved with informing a parent their child’s life had ended.
“I’m sorry,” Kauri said, knowing it wouldn’t help. “There is still a chance you’ll see her again.”
“How?” Leah choked on the word.
“I believe she’ll look for a way to return.”
“Why would she?” Beth asked. “She wanted to leave all summer.”
“She loves us, Beth,” Mac insisted, his voice fierce. “Maybe she’ll come to realize how much. She only wanted to go back for her sister. If she finds a way back here, she could bring her sister with her.”
Beth scrubbed the tears from her cheeks.
Mac turned back to Kauri. “How will she get back in? She’s stuck there without help. Do you really believe she’ll be able to figure it out on her own?”
Kauri just stared. Then she realized what she’d left out. “She isn’t alone.”

What other blogs are participating in the Cantrip Blog Tour? Find out here.

About the Author:
Rebecca McKinnon has spent her life in a world filled with books, which she devours at an alarming rate. Her best friends include Bekka Cooper, Lady Katsa, Will Stanton and Ron Weasley. The biggest compliment she can give a book is that it was impossible to put down. She currently lives near Salt Lake City with her husband, three kids and a cat. To learn more about Rebecca, visit

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Start-Up

The Start-Up
by Sadie Hayes

90 pages
Published October 17, 2011

Thanks to the publisher, Backlit Fiction, for providing this book to us!

When a college freshman's breakthrough software program catapults her into the limelight, she and her twin brother must navigate a treacherous world of money, power, and envy: Silicon Valley.

In a world of tweets, apps, and mobile games, The Start-Up is a fast-paced and exciting serial story with a new episode released each month.

* * *

This novella is a quick, interesting read. I loved how Amelia created the program just for herself, with no intention of making money off it. I admit I was a little disappointed when she sold out, but at the same time, I liked that she only did it to allow her brother to have the opportunity to finish Stanford.

While this doesn't land a spot on my all-time favorites list, the cliffhanger at the end makes me want to read the next one!

3.5/5 stars

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Noah Zarc

Noah Zarc
by D Robert Pease

315 pages

Noah lives for piloting spaceships through time, dodging killer robots and saving Earth’s animals from extinction. Life couldn’t be better. However, the twelve-year-old time traveler soon learns it could be a whole lot worse. His mom is abducted and taken to thirty-first century Mars; his dad becomes stranded in the Ice Age; and Noah is attacked at every turn by a foe bent on destroying a newly habitable, post-apocalyptic Earth.
Traveling through time in the family’s immense spaceship, Noah, a paraplegic from birth, must somehow care for the thousands of animals on board, while finding a way to rescue his parents. Along the way, he discovers his mother and father aren’t who he thought they were, and there is strength inside him he didn’t know he had


 If you have newphews or grandsons or know any boy late elementary age or jr high, this would make a great present!
This book is tightly written with a very strong voice. By that I mean that the narrator Noah is completely fleshed out. Within the first page you can hear a twelve-year old boy telling you about his adventures. This is not an easy feat and Pease seems to do so effortlessly. Noah is clever and daring and though he's smart, he still doesn't understand the technicality (I just made that word up) of a lot of things that enable the life he leads. Noah truly goes on a journey in this book. It's fun. There's danger, surprise, friendship, lies, and best of all - Noah changes and grows through the book. I love that!
This book is 315 pages, but the font is pretty big and almost double spaced, so I wouldn't worry about a kid not finishing it. (Plus, we live in the age after Harry Potter, kids are used to book way bigger than this). It's target audience is very clear, but I still found it enjoyable and think you might, too.
Look, the other great thing about this book is you don't have to be worried at all about giving this to a little kid. I've read Ender's Game, and though I have no problems with the small amount of language in that book or believing that kids use such language, it is very refreshing that there is no offensive language! That can sometimes be a hallmark of a really cheesy, fluffy story (which I almost never care for), but this didn't feel that way at all! A boy would not be embarrassed in the least to read this book.
Can you tell I loved this book. This is totally in time for Christmas. Go to and there is a list of where you can buy/download this.

I am going to rate this book within its own genre and age group. . . in which case it get 5/5 stars!
And thank-you so much to Mr. Pease for actually mailing me a hard copy of his wonderful book as I am still in the Ice Ages when it comes to electronic books. :)

The Alloy of Law

The Alloy of Law (Mistborn, #4)
by Brandon Sanderson

320 pages
Published November 8, 2011

Fresh from the success of The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson, best known for completing Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time®, takes a break to return to the world of the bestselling Mistborn series.

Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.

Kelsier, Vin, Elend, Sazed, Spook, and the rest are now part of history—or religion. Yet even as science and technology are reaching new heights, the old magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to play a role in this reborn world. Out in the frontier lands known as the Roughs, they are crucial tools for the brave men and women attempting to establish order and justice.

One such is Waxillium Ladrian, a rare Twinborn, who can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will.  After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax has been forced by family tragedy to return to the metropolis of Elendel. Now he must reluctantly put away his guns and assume the duties and dignity incumbent upon the head of a noble house. Or so he thinks, until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the dusty plains of the Roughs.

* * *

First of all, if you haven't read the other Mistborn books, I don't know if I can keep being your friend!

In this book, the Mistborn world has evolved from where we last saw it. After all, 300 years have gone by. There's no way I'd say this isn't as good as the other three, but it is different. Just don't expect a continuation of the other story. It's a detective story with a bit of magic thrown in; the mystery and characters drive the story.

5/5 stars

Monday, November 21, 2011


Fury (The Fury Trilogy, #1)
by Elizabeth Miles

352 pages
Published August 30, 2011

Sometimes sorry isn't enough....

It’s winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. But not all is as it seems...

Between cozy traditions and parties with her friends, Emily loves the holidays. And this year’s even better--the guy she’s been into for months is finally noticing her. But Em knows if she starts things with him, there’s no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Em’s best friend.

On the other side of town, Chase is having problems of his own. The stress of his home life is starting to take its toll, and his social life is unraveling. But that’s nothing compared to what’s really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel...something the perfect guy he pretends to be would never do. And it’s only a matter of time before he’s exposed.

In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. And three girls—three beautiful, mysterious girls—are here to choose who will pay.

Em and Chase have been chosen.

* * *

I'm not finishing this book, after reading the first half. I hate to do that, and I almost never do---instead, I usually force myself to finish a book, even if I don't like it or can't connect to it, just in case it gets better. Sometimes I don't like anything until the last page, which is sad to me.

Why am I not doing that with this book? It isn't at all what I'd hoped for. I'd heard so many great things about this book, but I have to admit, I was disappointed.

The first half of this book--the part I've read--is full of teenagers partying, drinking, and trying to get each others clothes off. At first I thought it was just setting it up for this fury to come in and start the revenge. Maybe it is, but after 190 pages, it's still going on.

I loved the cover, which is the main reason I wanted to read it. In fact, even now, looking at the cover, I think it looks like an amazing story, and I want to read it. Too bad I know better.

Since I couldn't make myself finish, I will refrain from rating this book.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Feature: Born on Snowshoes

Born on Snowshoes

This book is the auto-biography of a woman who grew up and lived many years in the remote Arctic wilderness. She has amazing and entertaining stories to share and she has done a fantastic job telling her story.

Evelyn and her sisters worked endlessly to survive in many different and harsh conditions. They worked and laughed together and shared their growing up years in ways few sisters have. They dealt with freezing temperatures, traveling by river and dog sleds, hunting and trapping for food, building cabins, caching stores for winter, sewing clothes and fish nets, making snowshoes, dealing with bears, moose, caribou, wolves and other animals, floods, fires, and way more. She started her own family while maintaining her rigorous life.

I am so impressed with Evelyn Shore. She has such a courageous spirit. She doesn't criticize those who hurt her or complain of the endless work. Born in 1917, with the great divide between man's work and woman's work, she maintained the attitude "it's all work and it all has to be done." So she did it. Her book is so well written, I didn't want to put it down!

5/5 stars

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Moon Coin

The Moon Coin (The Moon Realm Series, #1)
by Richard Due

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

For Lily and Jasper Winter, the Moon Realm began with a single secret bedtime tale. As the children grew older, Uncle Ebb enthralled them with thrilling tales of the Dragondain riding horse-sized, catlike Rinn; mysterious tales of peerin-wielding lunamancers manipulating the magic that lies just beneath the surface of reality; exciting tales of flying dragons, swimming merfolk, stomping giants, and troublesome faeries. But as the magic of their childhood faded, so too did the tales. Eventually, they were just . . . good stories.

Or were they?

Now, nine years after it all began, Uncle Ebb is missing.

Lily and Jasper search for clues, but their uncle's mansion is full of distractions. A Tesla generator thrums in the basement. Prismatic electrimals flit around walls resembling underwater reefs. Then a most unexpected friend comes to their aid, leading them to a hidden room where they find a mysterious coin—the moon coin. Before the night is out, Lily is transported to the real Moon Realm. But the moons are in trouble. The Rinn of Barreth are under siege, and the lunamancers of Dain are beset by the very dragons they once loved. Most horrifying of all, the moon Darwyth has fallen to a villain named Wrengfoul, whose creeping evil now threatens to overshadow all the Realm.

Are Lily and Jasper too late to save the Moon Realm, or will they have enough time to write an ending of their own?

Featuring twenty-two stunning full-color illustrations by Carolyn Arcabascio. Volume One of the young adult fantasy adventure series The Moon Realm. 

* * *

Let me just say - wow.

This book is beautifully written. It's entertaining. It sucks you in until you almost believe you're a part of it. The moons we visit in this book are richly imaginative.

Lily and Jasper have heard tales from the moon realm for years. In this book, Lily finds herself, quite unexpectedly, on a moon she believed only existed in the tales her uncle shared with her and her brother.

I was laughing within minutes of picking up the book, and would have read it in one sitting if I'd had the chance.

This book leaves me with two concerns:
1. There is more description than in a lot of books for this age group right now, making me wonder if some kids will miss out on the great story because they aren't used to it. (And they WOULD be missing out!)
2. I have no idea when the next book comes out, and I want it NOW.

4.5/5 stars

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Girl Steals Guy

Girl Steals Guy (The Shadow, #2)
by Kelly Green

Published October 21, 2011

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

Smart and sassy Abby Grace is a seventeen-year-old with a talent for getting out of trouble. Sent to repair the lives and loves of teenagers on the edge of disaster, Abby is the perfect girl for the job. She has everything going for her… except one thing: a body.

This fun and exciting episode is the second installment in an ongoing mystery series with a supernatural twist.

Episode 2: Girl Steals Guy

As Abby has learned, she is now a Shadow, sent to inhabit the lives of strangers in trouble. Dropped into the life of a gorgeous senior with a heartbroken best friend, Abby is instructed to “reunite the lovers” by her cute but maddening Guardian, a 19th century ghostly teenager named Will. Now Abby must navigate high school keg parties, football games and power couples, only to discover that love and revenge are sometimes the same thing

* * *

I have to admit, this second episode didn't grab me as much as the first one did. Still, it was a fun read, and it goes very quickly.

As with the first book, I'm left wanting to know more about Will (or Wilhelm). Who is he? How did he get this job of his? Is he assigned solely to Abby, or are there other shadows he helps?

That leads me to questions about the whole set-up. Who's in charge of the shadows? How many are there? Who decides which people need their help? We learn little bits in this book, but I want more. I'm guessing the answers to these questions will slowly be revealed through the episodes.

The idea of doing a series of short episodes is intriguing. I love that each episode is a different person Abby becomes, and that my many questions are only answered little by little. It doesn't get boring this way.

3.5/5 stars

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays (13)

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:

"Why did I think we could do this?"

"Because we did do it. We just don't know how yet."

Once a Witch, by Carolyn MacCullough

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

Monday, November 14, 2011


Shattered (Dream Realm Trilogy, #1)
by Sophia Sharp

Published June 18, 2011

Laura Cubus was perfectly content with her life. A junior in high school, she felt perfectly normal. She had good friends, a great family, and did well in school. Nothing particularly exciting ever happened where she lived, and everything was stable.

But that all drastically changes when a new student arrives at Laura's school. Wild rumours swirl about his past, and Laura becomes determined to find out the truth.

As she gets to know the mysterious student, he shares with her an ancient secret... one that may yet put both of them in grave danger.

And for the first time in her life, Laura is exposed to a completely unfamiliar world. She is swept away on an exhilarating journey that takes to a place where romance and great destiny may yet await... and where supernatural powers run rampant. 

* * *

I started reading a sample of this on my Kindle, and I was enjoying it. Then the sample ended. I decided it was worth the small price of the book to be able to finish it, so I bought it. Before long (and to my annoyance) I discovered: vampires.

Now, don't get me wrong. I still enjoyed the book, I just wasn't looking for another book about vamps. That said, I was sucked in and I found myself wrapped up in the story.

Will I read the rest of the trilogy? Yes.

3.5/5 stars

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Feature: Elantris

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 Brandon Sanderson

622 pages
Published May 30, 2006

Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.

Arelon's new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping -- based on their correspondence -- to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.

But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.

A rare epic fantasy that doesn't recycle the classics and that is a complete and satisfying story in one volume, Elantris is fleet and fun, full of surprises and characters to care about. It's also the wonderful debut of a welcome new star in the constellation of fantasy.

* * *

My husband and I found this book shortly after it first came out, when the author was doing a book signing at our local bookstore. We didn't actually pick it up that day, but after a week we were both still interested by the idea of the book, and we had to go back and get it.

That was one of the best decisions.

Sanderson is one of the most fantastic authors I've ever had the privilege to read. This book, in particular, really stuck with me.

If you haven't read this - or any of Sanderson's other books - you are truly missing out.

5/5 stars

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Borrowing Abby Grace

Borrowing Abby Grace (The Shadow, #1)
by Kelly Green

47 pages
Published Oct. 17, 2011

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

Smart and sassy Abby Grace is a seventeen-year-old with a talent for getting out of trouble. Sent to repair the lives and loves of teenagers on the edge of disaster, Abby is the perfect girl for the job. She has everything going for her… except one thing: a body.

This fast-paced and exciting episode is the first installment in an ongoing mystery series with a supernatural twist.

Episode 1

When Abby Grace wakes up in the back of a van, she has no idea who she is, how she got there, or why anyone would want to kidnap her. After escaping her masked captors, she hurries home, only to discover that she unknowingly left her younger brother behind in the van. Unable to answer the police’s questions with her memories gone, she retreats to the safety of her bedroom where she tries to reconstruct her life. Just as she is settling into the belief that things will one day return to normal, she looks in the mirror—and sees a stranger’s face.
As Abby learns next, she has become a Shadow, sent to inhabit the lives of strangers in trouble. With nothing to go on except the vague hints of her cute but maddening Guardian, a 19th century ghostly teenager named Will, Abby sets out to rescue the missing brother. But she will need all of her intelligence, fearlessness, and wit, because if she fails to find him in time, she will remain trapped in this unfamiliar body forever.

* * *

This is a fun, super-fast read. The idea with these books is that they're episodes, so they're short and sweet.

Right off, we meet Abby Grace. Abby is a shadow who gets "borrowed" by people who have problems that Abby can fix for them. The biggest problem is that she doesn't know anything about the person she's supposed to be---not to mention the person she is.

We also meet Will. At this point, Will is a blank page, but there is potential there. I hope that in future episodes we get to know more about him.

I'm looking forward to learning where this series is headed!

4/5 stars

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Flanagan, Underage Detective

Flanagan Underage Detective
by Andreu Martin / Jaume Ribera

Published October 5, 2011

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

His name is Juan Anguera. He's a fourteen year old student, living in the turbulent environment of suburban Barcelona. But everybody calls him Flanagan, and he's an amateur detective. Big cases? Well, not really. He can find your lost pet, or maybe find out who's sending you those anonymous love poems. Until one of his simple cases turns out to be much more serious and dangerous. Flanagan finds himself doing the work of a real detective, all the while leaving behind his own childhood. And to make everything all the more complicated, he has to deal with his first experiences of heartache. His only weapons in the face of danger are his iron-clad sense of humor, his fast legs, and his clever mind.Published to great acclaim in Spain, and winner of the country's most important Award, the “Premio Nacional de Literatura Juvenil”, this is the book that created a new mystery genre: the teen noir.


This book was really well written and the translator did a great job. This being said there were still a few instances that I was a bit confused and I felt that things got a little lost in translation (please forgive the movie reference). The book flowed really well and was fast paced. It was entertaining to read about some of Flanagan's detective work at the start of the story, and what kids in middle school are willing to pay to know. I can tell that the authors are very talented and the reason that I'm not giving this a higher rating is based on some of the content in this book. It is in the teen genre and while I know I am conservative I'm not certain that I'd allow my child to read this book.

(Spoiler: the content included alcohol, drugs and mention of pedophiles)

2.5/5 stars

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Meet Molly Root, geek heroine on the most dangerous of missions.

Her best friend has been murdered, revealing his secret life as a notorious hacker, and suspicion falls on a corporation with shady secrets to hide. Teenage computer expert Molly must recruit a highly-skilled team to help her solve the mystery – before it’s too late…

Do you have the brilliant brain and code-solving cunning to help them? If so, join us in our first ever adventure in live interactive fiction.

From 24 October we will publish a new chapter of Root every day for six weeks. But along the way you can influence the story by solving mysteries, foiling plans and eavesdropping into conversations. Find out more at and join other readers on our Teen Books Facebook page to discuss the story so far and what you think should happen next.

* * *

I love the idea of this series! It's fun, interactive, and yes - it's free.

You don't get a lot of the story at once, but that just means it isn't a big time commitment. It's definitely worth checking out!

Teaser Tuesdays (12)

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:

"Cruel, isn't it? How the thing that heals him the most is the one thing he must hide from."

The Moon Coin, by Richard Due

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

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Death Cure

The Death Cure (Maze Runner, #3)
by James Dashner

384 pages
Published October 11, 2011

Thomas knows that Wicked can't be trusted, but they say the time for lies is over, that they've collected all they can from the Trials and now must rely on the Gladers, with full memories restored, to help them with their ultimate mission. It's up to the Gladers to complete the blueprint for the cure to the Flare with a final voluntary test.

What Wicked doesn't know is that something's happened that no Trial or Variable could have foreseen. Thomas has remembered far more than they think. And he knows that he can't believe a word of what Wicked says.

The time for lies is over. But the truth is more dangerous than Thomas could ever imagine.
Will anyone survive the Death Cure?

* * *

I have a problem.

When I like a series, I look forward to the next book. I build it up in my mind, imagining how fantastic it will be. It's not nice of me to set my expectations so high, especially when all too often those expectations aren't met.

I absolutely loved the first book in this trilogy. The second was almost as good. This one didn't quite cut it for me.

Yes, the writing was great. I just didn't connect with the characters as well in this one.

That doesn't mean I think it was a flop. The story is still good, I enjoyed learning what happened, I'm sad there won't be another one. I just wish it was as slap-me-upside-the-head amazing as the first one.

4/5 stars

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Mastiff (Beka Cooper, #3)
by Tamora Pierce

560 pages

Published October 25, 2011

The Legend of Beka Cooper gives Tamora Pierce's fans exactly what they want—a smart and savvy heroine making a name for herself on the mean streets of Tortall's Lower City—while offering plenty of appeal for new readers as well.

Beka and her friends will face their greatest and most important challenge ever when the young heir to the kingdom vanishes. They will be sent out of Corus on a trail that appears and disappears, following a twisting road throughout Tortall. It will be her greatest Hunt—if she can survive the very powerful people who do not want her to succeed in her goal.

* * *

I have been waiting - impatiently - for this book since I picked up the first in the series.

Beka is a fantastic character, and I really wish this was more than just a trilogy. I could read about her forever.

Mastiff was everything I hoped it would be. (Well, almost. I would have liked to have more of Rosto.) I was sad that Goodwin wasn't there more, but since she was big in the second book, it was Tunstall's turn.

Can I just say, I love Tunstall? He's always been one of my favorites. And now, even just thinking about Tunstall and this book, I want to cry. Is it bad that I get so attached to characters, that they become my best friends?

Right off, I loved Farmer Cape. He cracked me up, trying to irritate people, pretending to be all back-woods ignorant.

If you haven't read the Beka Cooper books, you've really missed out. They're some of the best books I've ever read!

5+/5 stars

Friday Feature - "These Is My Words"

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!

These Is My Words
By Nancy Turner
384 pages


Inspired by the author's original family memoirs, this absorbing story introduces us to the questing, indomitable Sarah Prine, one of the most memorable women ever to survive and prevail in the Arizona Territory of the late 1800s. As a child, a fiery young woman, and finally a caring mother, Sarah forges a life as full and fascinating as our deepest needs, our most secret hopes, and our grandest dreams. She rides Indian-style and shoots with deadly aim, greedily devours a treasure trove of leatherbound books, dreams of scarlet velvet and pearls, falls uneasily in love, and faces down fire, flood, Comanche raids, and other mortal perils with the unique courage that forged the character of the American West. This action-packed novel is also the story of a powerful, enduring love between Sarah and the dashing cavalry officer Captain Jack Elliot. Neither the vast distances traveled nor the harsh and killing terrains could quench the passion between them, and the loss and loneliness both suffer only strengthen their need for each other. While their love grows, the heartbreak and wonder of the frontier experience unfold in scene after scene: a wagon-train Sunday spent roasting quail on spits as Indians close in to attack; Sarah's silent encounter with an Indian brave, in which he shows her his way of respect; a dreadful discovery by a stream that changes Sarah forever; the hazards of a visit to Phoenix, a town as hot as the devil's frying pan; Sarah's joy in building a real home, sketching out rooms and wraparound porches. Sarah's story leads us into a vanished world that comes vividly to life again, while her struggles with work and home, love and responsibility resonate with those every woman faces today.


Whew, what a summary, right? Obviously too wordy to have been written by the author who has an obvious talent for getting across subtle nuance and characterization with an impressive efficiency of words. One of the most impressive (among many) things about this novel is the entire thing is written as Sarah's journal. What could easily be gimmicky and contrived, is instead engaging and transparant.
But, even more than a talented writer, you're in for a moving and powerful story. Seriously, everyone I know LOVES this book! Be forewarned, the first few chapters are emotionally draining, but then it levels out a bit.  This is one of my all-time favorites!

5/5 stars! (Can I give it 10/5 stars?) :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Deep Blue Secret

Deep Blue Secret (The Water Keepers, #1)
by Christie Anderson

351 pages
Published July 29, 2011

California teen, Sadie James, thinks her life couldn't get any better. She has great friends, an energetic mother she adores, and the beach practically in her own backyard. But her carefree life is turned upside down when she's rescued by a mysterious and strangely familiar boy who won't even tell her his name.

Each time the boy appears, Sadie's unexplainable attraction to him deepens along with her need to unravel his secrets. The boy is there to protect her. But as wonderful and exciting as it might be to have an irresistible boy with crystal green eyes protecting her every move, every minute of the day...why does Sadie need one?

As Sadie finds answers, she realizes her life isn't as perfect as she thought. Not only is she caught in a world of dangerous secret agents she never knew existed, but it turns out her true identity may be the greatest secret of all.

* * *

This was a fun, quick read, that kept my attention and filled me with questions right from the start. Many of them were answered throughout the book, but not all of them. Gives me more incentive to read the next one! (Which I didn't really need. I'm very excited for it!)

I hate to give spoilers, so I won't. I will say that I really enjoyed the whole idea of and around this book. It really got my imagination going. Oh, and I loved Rayne!

If the blurb gives you any desire to read this, I highly encourage you!

4/5 stars

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Guest Post: From Sketch to Chapter Art, an Illustrator at Work

We're excited to welcome Richard Due today. Mr. Due is the author of The Moon Coin: A Moon Realm Novel. We'll be posting our review  of The Moon Coin soon!

From Sketch to Chapter Art, an Illustrator at Work
For me, getting to work with Carolyn Arcabascio was a dream come true. On The Moon Coin, we worked from a master list of scene options, with Carolyn picking out scenes she liked and making sketches. For the prologue, Carolyn drafted three options. All three were great, but two in particular were spectacular. I first went with option 3 (one of my scene suggestions). I think we spent more time on this sketch and subsequent color drawing than on any other piece. But it never seemed right. At the eleventh hour, I asked Carolyn how hard she’d hit me if I suggested scrapping the thing and instead going with the pinky promise scene you see below (one of her scene suggestions).  Carolyn responded: "There would be no hitting involved!" and told me it wouldn't be a problem. You sure can't ask for better than that.

From the Prologue: Bedtime Tales.
Click on image to enlarge.
Richard: Did you make all these sketches in the same location, Carolyn?
Carolyn: Yes, I do all of my work at a drafting table that's situated in a little nook of my apartment in Acton, Massachusetts. There's a bookshelf to my right and a wall of "inspiration" to my left, where I hang prints of other artists' and illustrators' work. On either side of my drafting table are drawers of supplies, and stacks of sketchbooks and old paintings. The drafting table faces a window overlooking a quiet street and the woods beyond it.

From Chapter Two: A Coin of the Realm.
Click on image to enlarge.
Richard: Do you use models when you're sketching?
Carolyn: I use a combination of models and photo references. If I need to work out the nuances of a character's posture and really understand the perspective of it, I'll ask whatever friend or family member is handy to pose for a sketch. Often, I'll get into the position myself or mimic the facial expression I want to portray in order to get the feel of it. And sometimes, if there's a character being portrayed multiple times across scenes, I'll make a rough model of their head out of clay so I'll have it to refer to.

From Chapter Four: To Barreth.
Click on image to enlarge.
Richard: When drawing fantastical creatures, do you use bits and pieces of real animals for inspiration, or have you actually seen a wirtle and you're just not telling us? ;)
Carolyn: No wirtles native to Massachusetts, fortunately! When figuring out the look of fantastical creatures, I use photo references of different animals to understand the way the anatomy might work, and then combine features as I see fit and as the story calls for. To understand the wirtle's legs and paws, for example, I referred to a series of photographs of show dogs leaping over hurdles. The severely arched, scruffy back was influenced by photos of hyenas on the prowl. The bone-structure of the face ended up being something of a cross between a cow and a warthog, and I wanted the snout to be bare—kind of gross and raw-looking. Add it all up and, voila! We have a wirtle.
The Moon Coin, by Richard Due, is available at AmazonBarnes & Noble, and the iBookstore for $2.99.

Copyright © 2011 by Richard Due. All rights reserved.

Gibbering Gnome Press, A Division of Ingenious Inventions Run Amok, Ink™
The Moon Realm™

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Teaster Tuesdays (11)

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 about time, Pounce said. I almost asked you if you wanted us to bury you with him.
Rosto looked down. "I know you're a cat, but you don't have to be cruel," he said.

Mastiff, Beka Cooper book 3 by Tamora Pierce, p. 6 

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