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, January 30, 2013


Libriomancer by Jim C. HinesLibriomancer (Magic Ex Libris, #1)
by Jim C. Hines

308 pages
Published August 7, 2012

Isaac Vainio is a Libriomancer, a member of the secret organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg.  Libriomancers are gifted with the ability to magically reach into books and draw forth objects. When Isaac is attacked by vampires that leaked from the pages of books into our world, he barely manages to escape. To his horror he discovers that vampires have been attacking other magic-users as well, and Gutenberg has been kidnapped.

With the help of a motorcycle-riding dryad who packs a pair of oak cudgels, Isaac finds himself hunting the unknown dark power that has been manipulating humans and vampires alike. And his search will uncover dangerous secrets about Libriomancy, Gutenberg, and the history of magic. . . .

* * *

This book had me laughing out loud, many times. I enjoyed it so much I finished it in a day.

What's to love, you ask? Here's just a sampling: Books you can reach into and pull things out of, Great writing, Doctor Who and Firefly references (you can't go wrong with those!), well-rounded characters, As many different types of vampires as have been written (including Sparklers . . . one guess where they came from!), Vehicles I'd love to drive, Really great "bad guy", and I could go on and on, but I won't, because I want you to go read it.

5/5 stars

Friday, January 25, 2013


Revival (The Variant Series, Book 1)Revival (The Variant Series, #1)
Jen Leigh

Published November 4, 2012

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

Possessing the uncanny ability to fry a television set from twenty paces can really wreck a girl’s social life.

If you’re looking for proof, just ask sixteen-year-old Alexandra Parker. After catching her boyfriend in the arms of the prettiest girl in school, she made the journey from social elite to social pariah in a haze of electricity and exploding electronics. But finding herself at the bottom of Bay View High’s social hierarchy was nothing compared to the shock of discovering who—and what—she really is.

After being zapped out of a burning bookstore by the mysterious Declan—a hero nearly as handsome as he is infuriating—Alex finds herself under the protection of the powerful Grayson family. It’s through them that she learns the truth: that the world she’s always known is nothing like it appears to be... and that she has far more in common with them than she might want to believe.

Now, on the run from a fire-wielding hit man and a secretive government organization, Alex must navigate a strange and treacherous new world filled with superhuman mutants known as Variants. As she begins to unravel the many secrets of her family’s past, she uncovers the real reason for her parents’ death twelve years earlier—and finds out that the threat to her family, and to everyone she cares about, is still dangerously real.

* * *

I'm a little torn on this book. There, I said it.

The characters were fun, funny, exasperating, ridiculously good-looking, downright crazy, take-everything-in-stride, mysterious, tortured . . . but let's not pretend I'm talking all about a single person here!

I have to say, a fair amount of the story was predictable. Did that bother me? Not really. Just don't say you weren't warned. :)

I'm interested to see where Ms. Leigh takes the story. There are many predictable places it could go, and many more unique, fascinating turns it could take. While some predictability is good, I do hope she catches us off-guard now and then.

4/5 stars

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


by Julianne Donaldson

264 pages
Published March 27, 2012

Marianne Daventry will do anything to escape the boredom of Bath and the amorous attentions of an unwanted suitor. So when an invitation arrives from her twin sister, Cecily, to join her at a sprawling country estate, she jumps at the chance. Thinking she’ll be able to relax and enjoy her beloved English countryside while her sister snags the handsome heir of Edenbrooke, Marianne finds that even the best laid plans can go awry.

From a terrifying run-in with a highwayman to a seemingly harmless flirtation, Marianne finds herself embroiled in an unexpected adventure filled with enough romance and intrigue to keep her mind racing. Will she be able to rein in her traitorous heart, or will a mysterious stranger sweep her off her feet? Fate had something other than a relaxing summer in mind when it sent Marianne to Edenbrooke.

* * *

Oh, I'm in love. This is one of those books where you get a silly grin on your face and just sigh. Over everything.

The cover announces that this is a proper romance, and there isn't a better way to describe it.

If you insist that your books be completely accurate to the period when it takes place, you might be a little disappointed. However, that disappointment will evaporate the minute you let yourself fall into the lives Ms. Donaldson has so expertly crafted.

I don't want to ruin this for anyone, just know that if you like anything "Pride-and-Prejudice-y" (that's the way this book was described to me before I got my hands on it), you will LOVE IT.

Every book Ms. Donaldson writes will automatically be added to my TBR list. I can't wait to read her next book, Blackmoore, which is due out this summer. And, if that's not enough, go to her website and download her Edenbrooke paper dolls. :)

5+/5 stars

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Elemental: The First

Elemental: The First (Primord, #1)Elemental: The First (Primord, #1)
by Alexandra May

280 pages
Published July 22, 2011

Just who is Halíka Dacomé?

To Rose Frost, moving house every six months is normal. Another new town here, another new school there, her ability to adapt is as easy as breathing. But everything changes when her parents go overseas and Rose moves in with her grandmother. She enjoys meeting new friends and catching up with old ones from her childhood holidays — except now she must hide a precious secret from everyone, a gift from birth that defies modern day science.

Her dreams become riddled with a warrior woman called Halíka Dacomé, but are they visions or messages from the future? She starts her own investigation but encounters more questions than answers. Living right on the edge of Warminster in Wiltshire doesn’t help with its folklore and myths about strange lights in the sky and ghost stories of the Salisbury Plain

Not only that, her troubles really take hold one night when the mysterious Aiden Deverill with his alluring smile, his gorgeous dark looks and hypnotising blue eyes, saves her from a freak fire. Or did he?

For Rose, her new life is beginning but she soon realises that despite assurances people are not always what they seem. What she always believed to be a happy family and a friendly town soon turns on its head when she discovers that her family secret, Aiden Deverill and the truth behind Halíka Dacomé is at the heart of the whole conspiracy.

* * *

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was interesting, with a great premise, fun characters (even if a few them were a bit erratic at times), and fantastic twists. I'll admit, I saw through a number of the twists, but there were a few that hit me out of nowhere. And really, when you read as much as I do, that isn't easy.

There were some minor things that bugged me. (Especially the dreams--PLEASE, stop with the dreams! I don't think I've ever read a book where the dreams are as necessary as they're built up to be! Also, I had some disappointments about the ending.) None of my little pet peeves were bad enough that I won't try the next book in the series.

4/5 stars

Friday, January 18, 2013


We've got some funky stuff going on with our link colors, and it's resisting change. Please bear with us as we try to fix it! (Hopefully that blue and purple won't burn your eyes too badly in the meantime!)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Circle of Tivedon Blog Tour

The Circle of TivedonWelcome to our stop on the Circle of Tivedon Blog Tour!
You can get your free Kindle download of this book on January 21!

For more information on the book, and on the author, check out the following links:

The Circle of Tivedon
by Ryan Shorten

254 pages
Published October 3, 2012

Attending Tivedon should have been the most exciting time in Jayl’s young life. Along with his sister Myah, they journey to Tivedon and are quickly caught up in the excitement and eccentricities of the school and its teaching elders known collectively as ‘The Circle of Tivedon’. Enemies and alliances are swiftly established between the other students that come from across the realm of Tiertyn. Yet, as they begin the next level of their scholastic study in the finer points of diplomacy and governance, grim tidings reach the castle walls.

An ancient evil is on the rise threatening to plunge the land into darkness once again. Tensions begin to rise within the walls of Tivedon as unexplainable, dreadful events occur forcing the ‘Circle of Tivedon’ to act. The situation worsens as accusations of a traitorous plot involving friends of Jayl and Myah’s from back home and a fellow student’s sovereign land arrive at Tivedon. This development ensnares Myah in a conspiratorial and secretive undertaking at the behest of ‘The Circle of Tivedon’. Jayl, who discovers a temperamental magical source within himself, becomes the unwitting focal point of Tivedon’s elders’ plans to defend Tiertyn against the army of the resurrected evil Lord Rimyaroth.

Unfortunately, before plans are complete, the suspicious death of one of Tivedon’s elders followed by the murder of the befriended Captain of the Guard lands an unjustly accused Jayl into Tivedon’s cells. It is here that Jayl learns of a long ago hidden talisman which will aid in their fight, which he must find and return. A hasty and harrowing escape from the school, which has fallen under the sway of the enemy, follows under the cover of darkness. With foes now swelling on all fronts, the elders must split the students into three groups to have any hope of stemming the tide that threatens them. Myah, along with one of the two remaining Tivedon elders, make their way to the city of Sieli. Their hope is to vindicate her captured and accused friends as well as turn the favour of an opportunistic King to their cause. The second group, led by the other Tivedon elder, races to join defenders that are hastily forming the first line of defence against the massing army of Lord Rimyaroth.

Lastly, and much to Jayl’s chagrin, he is paired with two menacing and determined school rivals on his quest to find the talisman. A perilous mission, it remains the last vestige of hope to battle against the dark magic of Lord Rimyaroth. With the unlikely heroes and heroines heading in separate directions, three diverse journeys begin.

* * *

If you feel the blurb is a bit long-winded, you're not alone. I have to admit, the length of it left me expecting the book to drag. While there were a few places where the book lagged a bit, for the most part it was fast-paced, and very interesting.

The characters were interesting (even if I could never tell how old they were based on their actions, things they said, etc. -- sometimes they seemed 12, other times they felt 20), the setting was imaginative, and the storyline was intriguing.

I was left with questions, which I hope will be answered in the next book.

3.5/4 stars

Guest Post from Author Graham J. Sharpe

Today we have author Graham J. Sharpe stopping by. His book, Purple, is a creative fantasy novel that you should definitely check out.  Here's a link to our review.

Finding a Creative Outlet

Getting things off our chest can sometimes be the most liberating feeling a human can have and it can be as simple as writing, painting, drawing, or dancing…whatever type of creative outlet is right for you.

Writing is a passion of mine and it took me years to allow myself to own that. After I stopped writing and producing with a touring theater group I began working as a flight attendant. Eventually, I realized that I really missed having a creative outlet. Now, I combine travel with writing and after completing my first novel Purple I finally feel like I’m following my passion.

When I started using my down time from flying to write, I simply began jotting down stories and memories from my life. I found it to be fun and therapeutic. The plot for Purple took time to grow and mature an in the beginning I had no idea how it would develop. After three years of writing I had the rough draft of a story that excited me. Four years later, I finished Purple.

Working for an airline can sometimes be distracting. The travelling and flying (not to mention the constant jetlag) also explain why it took me a few years to write Purple. There were periods of time when I left it alone, but I’d always come back to it. Some people manage to work to a deadline, but I think it’s important not to give yourself a set due date when you’re doing something creative.

Writing was, and still is, my creative outlet. I’m lucky enough to have turned it into a career even though I’ve doubted myself. I always thought to myself, “Who am I to write a book?” but the sad reality is that so many people with degrees are struggling to find jobs. If you’re like me and don’t have a university degree don’t let that stand in your way of doing what you love.

If you are ever in a rut or feel like a part of you is being taken away by society, I suggest taking a step back and reflecting on your life and your surroundings and learning from it. Allowing myself the time to indulge in something I feel passionate about has been great for my self-esteem and confidence. 
Creative outlets can help us tie up the loose ends in our life or, at the least, help us to clear our head. For me, the thing I love is writing. I love to sit and write and get lost in a world that I’ve created. Get lost in your own world – you’ll be thankful you did. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Graham J. Sharpe
Published September 7th 2011 by Sharpe Tale Publishing

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

After a purple storm sweeps around Planet Earth, stealing millions of people, four teenagers struggle to make it alone in London.
Drawn together by a series of bizarre coincidences, Ellie, Midge, Scott and Marty soon find themselves entangled with a bunch of interfering pensioners. Among the cast of players are flamboyant hairdresser Mr Rupert, Pearl the loud-mouthed tea lady, and June, a psychic, who travels the world on her motorbike.
As the tranquillizing effects of the Purple diminish, greed and the lust for power take hold. Penny Treasure, leader of the Decision Makers Council, dreams up an idea that could destroy the world forever.
In a desperate hunt to find the missing, clues are pieced together and some shocking secrets come tumbling out of the closet.


I love this book!  The story line takes unexpected paths and kept me hooked!  The characters felt like people I could know.  They were quirky and fun, very original and had real problems that didn't always have solutions.  Their unique journeys all come together to tell a story of awakening and reaching outside of ones-self.  I love how the characters are compelled to look past the expectations they have of others and discover what's really there.  The setting was so creative and impossible, but the writing made everything seem plausible.  It made me think differently about the world.  There are some really great quotes in Purple- some hilarious, others hopeful or wise.  The messages in the story are very pertinent to life today.  This is a book I'll read again and I recommend it to youth of all ages!

5/5 stars

Check back on Jan. 17th for a guest post from this fun author, Graham J. Sharpe!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Delta Project: Hide Blog Tour

We're excited today to be a part of the Delta Project: Hide Blog Tour.

Delta Project: Hide
D005 has been a part of a secret government program known as the Delta Project her entire life. She has been genetically modified to be stronger, faster, smarter and to heal faster. Trained in hand-to-hand combat, weaponry and battle tactics, she has been worked to physical and mental exhaustion every day of her life. Raised without love or care of any kind, she has no idea what it means to be happy – to be free. And now she has run away. But then she wakes up on the rocky shore of the Missouri River with no memory of how she got there, or why there are bullet wounds, scratches and bruises riddling her body. Her entire past has become a blank sheet except for a recurring nightmare of her running through the woods with dogs chasing her and voices shouting at her that she can never hide. As she struggles to understand the kind of life she has never had, emotions she has never felt before, and the mystery of her past, she is helped by Brianna Hartman and Reid Phelps – the two teenagers who discover her. When she goes to live with Brianna at the Hartman Ranch, she must also learn to deal with Bri’s brother, the gruff Cormac Hartman, who is running from his own past. He seems to hate her from the word go, but when she discovers his crude attitude is just his way of dealing with the hurt he is feeling, she decides to make it her mission to draw him back into life. Then a mysterious stranger comes to the ranch and her new world comes crashing down around her as her past comes back to haunt her.

Jessica Jaster lives in Iowa with her husband and her (currently) one year old and two year old. She has always had an over-active imagination and has been making stories up in her head for herself for as long as she can remember and finally decided to start writing them down (when she is not busy chasing the two little ones around anyway) and sharing them with anyone interested. Most ideas she has so far for her novels are for young adults, some fantasy, some science fiction and some normal contemporary story-lines.


This was a great, quick read. There was action, a bit of romance, and it's peppered with great characters. There were times when some of the characters felt a bit immature for their ages, but then again, I don't always act my age, either.

I'm very interested to see where Ms. Jaster takes this series.

4/5 stars

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Lady of Chains and Other Stories

The Lady of Chains and Other StoriesThe Lady of Chains and Other Stories
by V. Shaw

153 pages
Published Oct. 30, 2012

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

“Remember; you have seventy-two hours to do the deed and not a moment longer. Cut her throat and remove her heart. That, my girl, is the only way to destroy the wretched creature.”

Greylock. A city supported by a network of scaffolding, bleeding rust and wheezing steam. Patrolled by an army of ‘metal men’—creatures who’re designed for nothing more than to kill and destroy. Nothing grows. Nothing truly lives.

The tower stands like an ice-pick, pushing through a snarl of thorns, resting upon the outskirts of Greylock. Its shadow is cast across the city like an elongated clock-hand, chipping away the hours, the days. The years. It is home to the Lady of Chains, a woman incarcerated without a sentence. A woman who almost single-handedly destroyed the world . . .

Viola, a young orphan girl, has been thrust into this nightmarish world by the devious Mrs Casket, caretaker of the tower and maid to the mysterious lady. She’s been given a task which could either see her demise or be her salvation.

But who is the Lady of Chains? And why does she insist that she is connected to Viola? With the clock ticking and the metal men drawing near, Viola is about to learn that not everything is what it seems . . .

A spellbinding fantasy with elements of steampunk.


Hansel and Gretel
Rogan and the Gargoyle
The Silent World

* * *

In my opinion, the star of this book is The Lady of Chains. I could take or leave the rest of it.

The Lady of Chains is dark, and intriguing, and I really wouldn't have minded if it was longer. As in the whole book. There were so many things within the story that I would have liked more information on. For instance: HOW did this lady destroy the world? Why? Why have her memories been removed? I have many others, but will stop there, since I don't want to spoil the book for anyone.

With all the questions I was left with, I feel that I either missed some crucial part(s) of the story, or that perhaps there will someday be a full book covering more of the details.

4/5 stars

Monday, January 7, 2013




Paperback176 pages

Friday, January 4, 2013

Guest Post from Sara Fitzgerald

Today, we have author Sarah Fitzgerald stopping by the blog. She's been kind enough to agree to share with us an excerpt from her newest book, Saving Savanna!

Saving SavannaSaving Savanna
By Sara Fitzgerald
Devan can’t help but blame God for his wife’s death, so the last thing he wants to do this holiday season is celebrate.  But when his daughter, Savanna, makes a special Christmas wish, their little family will never be the same.  Filled with faith and tenderness, this heartwarming story is sure to remind you of the real power behind the magic of Christmas.

The wind whistled down the avenues
that cold December night as Devan Smith
trudged across the murky, slush-filled street
with his little girl, Savanna, by his side. The street’s curbs
were covered with dirty piles of snow from yesterday’s
storm. The blackened snow reminded him of how dark
his soul felt without Vivian.
“Look, Daddy,” Savanna said, tugging on his sleeve.
“Look at all those shining lights. Mommy would love to
see them. Do you think she can?”
Devan glanced down at her tiny face dominated by
big, innocent eyes that were the same shade of blue as
her mother’s. He paused for a moment, deciding what to
tell her. She looked at him with such divine trust, a trust
unlike any he had ever experienced, except the trust his
wife had in him. He had failed Vivian.
“Daddy? Can Mommy see the lights?”
He bit his lower lip and stooped by her. He fought
back the lump forming in his throat. He wished that she
would stop talking about Mommy. Each time, no matter
how much he thought he was prepared for the subject, the
pain threatened to destroy his soul.
He inhaled deeply and then slowly exhaled. Fog circled
around Savanna’s head; for a split second she looked
like an angel as the cold from his breath danced around
her brown curls.
She was waiting for him to tell her everything was
going to be all right, that Mommy was in heaven looking
down at them, but how could he? He no longer believed
in heaven and hell. No loving God would have allowed
what had happened to Vivian to take place. Devan
couldn’t let Savanna become disillusioned.
Savanna placed her arms around his neck. “Grandpa
says she’s in heaven watching out for us.”
He swallowed and then changed the subject. “We’d
better go shopping, or else we won’t be done before
Christmas. We only have three days left until Santa comes
down our chimney. What do you want him to bring
“There’s only one thing I want from him,” she whispered,
leaning toward him.
He forced a smile. “And what’s that?”
“I want Mommy back.”
Tears blurred his vision. He wanted her mommy back
too, more than anything in the world, but not even Santa
Claus could do that. Vivian was dead, buried in a cold
cemetery with only the snowfall as her blanket against the
storms of winter.

“A story of shattered faith touchingly restored by a little child and a reminder that, through the Atonement, love surpasses even the grave.  Sara Fitzgerald’s Saving Savanna will bring tender tears to your eyes.”  Joyce DiPastena, author of Dangerous Favor

[Bio+Picture.jpg]Sara Fitzgerald was named the 2006 Writer
of the Year for the League of Utah Writers. She
lives with her husband and daughter in Salt Lake
City. She loves the Christmas season.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Revenge of the Homecoming Queen

Revenge of the Homecoming Queen (Aspen Brooks #1)