Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Review: Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue by Iain Reading



Following in the footsteps of her hero Amelia Earhart, Kitty Hawk sets off on an epic flight around the world and arrives in Iceland's capital city of Reykjavik where she finds herself immersed in a beautiful alien world of volcanoes, Vikings, elves and trolls. Before she knows it Kitty is plunged head first into an amazing adventure that sweeps her across a rugged landscape where humans and nature exist side-by-side in an uneasy truce and magical realms seem to lie just out of sight beneath the surface.

Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue is the dazzling third installment of the Flying Detective Agency series featuring Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenaged seaplane pilot with boundless curiosity and a knack for getting herself into - and out of - all kinds of precarious situations.

This is a perfect book to fire the imaginations of readers of all ages - armchair explorers and amateur detectives alike. From dangerous criminals and corrupt government officials to mystical beings and clashes with the elemental forces of nature, this book has it all. Come and join Kitty Hawk as she experiences the strange and extraordinary world of the Icelanders, and unravels the Icelandic Intrigue.
My Rating
My Review
The Kitty Hawk series as a whole continues to be a wonderful set of books that remain purely fun for the reader. I'm normally a big fan of the dark stuff, but it's also nice to have a lighthearted break where reading can be nothing short of enjoyable. For me, that's Kitty Hawk.
Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue definitely earns it's name, as I found it to be incredibly intriguing. The first two books focused on areas within North America, so there was definitely a change in the setting. I'm not complaining, as I absolutely loved learning more about the culture in Iceland, and how Kitty's experience there differed from her experiences back west. It's like an entirely different world, which was very cool to read about.
In addition, some pretty great themes and topics are brought up in the novel. The majority of which revolve around the environment, but differences in belief and the possibility of something magical are also touched upon, which kept me reading.

Given that Kitty lands in a new place every time requires a lot of different characters to pop up in the series, but Reading continues to do an excellent job with them. Between an intelligent man who can make paper airplanes like nobody's business to an environmental extremist who is passionate borderline insane and everyone in between, there is no shortage of interesting people. (Even if Charlie is still my favorite.)
Although the first half of the novel was a little less exciting than usual, it really did build up to the second half which had a lot of excitement, action and adventure. I completely tore through that part in one sitting, not expecting some of the twists and turns that took place. The lack of thrill in the beginning was made up for by the heavy suspense and action at the end.
All in all, Reading did it again, giving another great adventure with our favorite teenage seaplane pilot. The reading experience was a lot of fun, and I can't wait to see where Kitty ends up next.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Review: The Days Lost by Shannon McCrimmin


On the heels of her high school graduation, Ellie Morales is spending her summer vacation in the mountains of Western North Carolina with her dad and brother, Jonah. Having lost their mother only months earlier, all of them are trying to cope with the loss in their own way.

Part routine, part escape, running is Ellie's way of dealing with her grief. Shortly after sunrise each morning, Ellie and her dog, Bosco, set out for a lengthy run on the path that passes by her house and leads deep into the woods of the Blue Ridge Mountains. One fateful morning, Ellie is lead off of the trail and discovers a secret that will change her life, as well as the lives of the family she meets, forever. One member of this mysterious family is Sam Gantry, who seems unlike any guy she's ever known.

This meeting sparks a series of events, causing Ellie to question everything she's ever known and believed. The more she learns about Sam and his family, the more she wants to help him find the missing puzzle pieces.

My Rating: 3.5

My Review:

When I first starting reading The Days Lost, I thought that the novel would be terribly cliche, but I was delightfully surprised. Soon enough, I found that the story was unique and intriguing, and I fully enjoyed it. This novel is perfect for curling up and reading during a slow day, as I did exactly that and could not stop until I finished.

Ellie definitely comes across a mystery when she ends up coming across Sam and his family. The entire story behind them is very interesting, especially to fans of historical fiction. Their actions and interactions were entertaining, while creating a mysterious suspense that leads up to an incredible reveal. However, I was a bit disappointed that their situation was never fully explained, even though I do understand that it could be simply a mysterious wonder of the world that can't be explained, that seems a bit easy. Still, it makes for an excellent plot, so I can't complain too much.

I am not too proud to admit that I fangirl over many characters. I am also not too proud to admit that another one has been added to the list, at a pretty high ranking. Ladies, I'd like to introduce you to Sam Gantry, fictional proof that chivalry ain't dead. I loved Ellie's dialogue, but certain parts of her character just didn't stick with me much. Sam's a different story. The Days Lost has some romance to it, and Sam is the swoon-worthy male that we're looking for. He manages to be polite and gentlemanly while still having some very manly survival skills and the good kind of fight in him. Not only does this ex-soldier have a wonderful singing voice, but he reads. (He had me at The Count of Monte Cristo.) Love interest at it's finest.

The Days Lost had some truly beautiful quotes and themes, and was a lot of fun to read. Despite the fact that I went on and on about the male lead, it is more than just romance. Between the mystery of Sam's family, the sarcastic humor of Jonah, and even quite the amount of action for a more contemporary work, The Days Lost has a wide range of appeals.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Review: The Recluse Storyteller by Mark W. Sasse


Red Hat hijacks a yoghurt truck and barrels into the Chester Walz Bank at full speed, desperate to open a safety deposit box.

The twins, beckoned by an ominous streak of light across the sky, climb Harper’s Hill to encounter an apparition of their missing father.

The reverend stands on a muddy ridge, the barrel of the rifle in his neck, looking down on a Vietnamese village, scarred by war and regret.

The stories come to Margaret at all times, but they are anything but random. A fractured view of Michael Cheevers’ red hat through a discreetly cracked door sends her off on adventure. A glimpse of the Johnson twins from apartment 2D takes her to the lonely hill on a Midwestern prairie in 1887. The regular letters from Reverend Davies, who has tried to look after Margaret since the death of her mother, brings her to the brink of exhaustion, staring intensely into the heart of war deep in the jungle of Vietnam.

Margaret is not insane, at least not in a clinical sense. She’s like a midnight raccoon, painfully aware of her surroundings, gleaming crumbs of information at every turn; eyes peering incessantly in the night, stealing glances of neighbors behind partially opened doors.

But the tales that she weaves were not meant to merely hold empty court to the receptive dead air of her apartment. Her stories were meant to embolden the lives of the inhabitants of that drab apartment block because her story is also their story—and everything would be different if they could only hear her stories.

The Recluse Storyteller weaves five stories into one as the loner Margaret not only searches for meaning from her reclusive life, but also gives meaning in the most unexpected ways to the troubled souls of her apartment complex. Part adventure, part tragedy, and part discovery, The Recluse Storyteller bridges genres, bringing hope, life, and redemption to the broken relationships of modern society.
My Rating: 5
My Review:
The Recluse Storyteller is definitely unlike anything I've read before, but I absolutely loved it. It's the kind of book that has you fall deeper and deeper into the story until you're in that world, the kind of book that has you finishing when you should be getting ready so you end up having ten minutes to make yourself somewhat decent. I could not get enough of it.
Each of the separate stories were interesting and engaging, leaving me desperate to know what would follow, and the way that they're interwoven together is absolutely brilliant. Shuffling between these different story lines not only kept the experience from having any slow moments, but also ensures that this novel will not be put down.
I really found myself connecting to Margaret through the stories, including her own reality. Don't we all struggle to cope with the real word and use stories - regardless of the medium - to escape? I know I definitely do. It's also easy to feel like you can only communicate with others through certain ways, though they will never really understand you. Margaret is like that part of us we only see when we are alone, as we don't entirely want to admit that it exists, but just leave it in the dark corners until the whispers become too loud. She was a very powerful character, and I enjoyed the chance to try and see things from her perspective.
Even the minor characters had strengths and wonderfully contrasting personalities that made them believable. Whether it be the neighbors in the apartment or the various names Margaret gave life to, all of them had redeemable qualities and were genuinely interesting.
I loved the writing of The Recluse Storyteller. There's great pacing and an attention to detail that will directly spin the gears of the reader's imagination. Between the strong emotion and the general excellent storytelling, The Recluse Storyteller is not one to miss. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Review: The Evelyn Project by Kfir Luzzatto (Book Tour)

"A Great Book! - Larry King" Evelyn’s father did everything that was in his power to save his dying daughter, black magic included. But when a century later his plea for help gets into the wrong hands, all hell breaks loose. Caught in the slippery battlefield between the Vatican and a cult that wants to change the past, a young Italian professor and a beautiful French aspiring actress are too busy running away from murder and conspiracy to let physical attraction develop into love. And it doesn’t help that Her Majesty's Secret Service decides to take an interest in what everybody else is doing and to pull some strings of its own. Quite the contrary, in fact…   Paperback(Amazon) | Kindle | Paperback (B&N) | Smashwords


Meet the Author:

Kfir was born and raised in Italy, and moved to Israel as a teenager. He acquired the love for the English language from his father, a former U.S. soldier and WWII veteran, a voracious reader and a prolific writer. With a PhD in chemical engineering and a long family history that he needs to live up to, Kfir work as a patent attorney and heads the patent law firm that was established by his great-grandfather in Milan, Italy, in 1869. Kfir lives in Omer, Israel, with his full-time partner, Esther, their four children, Michal, Lilach, Tamar and Yonatan, and the dog Elvis. Writing has always been Kfir's passion and for almost four years he wrote a weekly "Patents" column in Globes (Israel’s financial newspaper), which also yielded his only (if he can help it) non-fiction book, THE WORLD OF PATENTS, (a not-so-boring tale of what patents are about, in Hebrew), which was published in 2002 by Globes Press. Kfir loves writing short stories but has too many novels waiting to be written (and possibly not enough years ahead of him to write them all), so now he mostly writes full-length fiction. His other passion is working with other authors on stories he loves and that's how he wound up serving on the editorial board of The Harrow Press as Anthology Editor. You can read about Kfir's books here. He loves them all, but never had greater fun than when working on “HAVE BOOK WILL TRAVEL”, a YA fantasy that he wrote together with his son, Yonatan. Follow on Twitter: @KfirLuzzatto Find Kfir on Facebook: Kfir's Blog: Click HERE Kfir's page: HERE Kfir's Goodreads page: HERE Kfir's Smashwords page: HERE Kfir's Literary Addicts page: HERE

My Rating: 4

My Review:

The Evelyn Project will capture the attention of all readers from the beginning and not let it go. With a very intriguing and unique plot and a variety of excellent characters, it is a great read for those with a variety of tastes.  

The plot is absolutely exciting and there are not many slow portions at all. I found myself eager to read more nearly the entire time. The idea of black magic is definitely an attention-grabber, as the subject is brought up at the start. Despite this, The Evelyn Project has a very realistic feel that can almost have readers believing in it's possibility.

Not too many novels touch on dangerous cults, but this novel's inclusion of them was a definite success. The mood created from that, along with the magic and Evelyn's story create the kind of dark atmosphere that I just cannot get enough of.

Almost all of the characters in The Evelyn Project are very strong. Whether it be a father who would do just about anything for his daughter, a woman who struggles to avenge her sister in any small way she can, or a single professor thrown into danger, they all have excellent back stories and features.

I especially enjoyed the differences in time. This may just be personal preference, but I love reading about Europe in the 1800's and the chapters set it that time period were awesome. The Evelyn Project is definitely a story to check out.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Review: Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost by Iain Reading


Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost is the exciting second installment in a new series of adventure mystery stories that are one part travel, one part history and five parts adventure. This second book in the series continues the adventures of Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenage pilot who has decided to follow in the footsteps of her hero Amelia Earhart and make an epic flight around the entire world. After flying across North America Kitty's journey takes her down south to Florida where she plans to get a bit of rest and relaxation before continuing on with the rest of her long and grueling flight. As Kitty explores the strange and magical water world of the Florida Keys her knack for getting herself into precarious situations sweeps her headlong into the adventure of a lifetime involving mysterious lights, ancient shipwrecks, razor-toothed barracudas and even a sighting of the great Ernest Hemingway himself. This exhilarating story will have armchair explorers and amateur detectives alike anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept across the landscape and history of the Florida Keys all the way from Key West to the strange and remarkable world of Fort Jefferson and the Dry Tortugas.

Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost is a perfect book to fire the imaginations of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history this book will inspire anyone to learn about and experience as much of our amazing world as they can - just like Kitty Hawk herself.

My Rating
My Review

Some books were just not meant to be made into a series. Kitty Hawk is not one of those books. I can't get enough of these fun adventures, and Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost was just as enjoyable as the first.
Kitty has to be one of my favorite characters in fiction. There's definitely something real about her, as she seems more like a friend rather than someone I just happen to read about. She's clever, funny, and adventurous. Not to mention, she's an excellent pilot of a red and white seaplane.

Although she does seem to get involved with a lot of trouble. It's okay, Kitty, it just makes your story more interesting.

I adored the mystery and history in Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost, as Reading does an excellent job of blending the two. Although quite different from the gold on the Alaskan Frontier, this story had me giving up what little social life I have to completely devour the pages. Set in the Florida Keys, there's everything from a ghost of a brilliant and extremely quote-able writer to mysteries behind ships sunk decades ago.

Of course, I'm not going to ruin anything.

You should really check it out for yourself.

All in all, Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost is an excellent, lighthearted read with adventure at every turn. If I have any complaints, it's that I'd like to see more of Charlie (but that's personal preference). Upon starting this novel, you're in for a ride, but it's definitely a great one.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Review: Thimble Down by Pete Prown


Thimble Down, by Pete Prown, is a fantasy adventure novel, written to challenge and engage young adults ages 10 to 18.  The book is recommended for readers who enjoy The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, The Wind in the Willows, Redwall, Artemis Fowl, and other timeless tales set in landscapes and cultures that bring to mind England, Ireland, Scotland, and the British Isles. 

Thimble Down is a country village where death and malice lurk the quiet lanes. When the vile, drunken Bing Rumple acquires a gem-laden treasure, violence begins to follow him everywhere. Where did Bing find such a precious jewel, and worse, is someone willing to kill to possess it? In this fast-paced adventure, the village bookmaster, Mr. Dorro, and his young companions Wyll Underfoot and Cheeryup Tunbridge are in a desperate race to find the answer—before death comes to Thimble Down.

Thimble Down is the first book in the “Chronicles of Dorro” young adult mystery series, which follows Dorro, Wyll, and Cheeryup, on their exciting, but dangerous, mystery adventures. 


Thimble Down is an enchanting mystery with the likes of The Hobbit, sure to charm readers just as much as it keeps them guessing. I fully enjoyed reading the story, as not too many novels combine a murder mystery with high fantasy, although the genres were excellently mixed in this case.

Dorro is a wonderful character that readers cannot help but fully root for. Despite his occasional fussiness, he has an intelligent mind and a wonderful heart. Besides, who can dislike a bookmaster? I also loved Cheeryup. Despite her innocence and youth, she has a fire within her that is absolutely admirable. There simply aren't enough young female characters like her.

The world of Thimble Down was a wonderful setting for the story. The peaceful surroundings of the woods and the countryside just make the excitement even more exciting. An absolutely magical area, it was fun to learn about the elves and the halflings alike. I definitely would enjoy hanging around Thimble Down. I'd feel tall around the halflings (which is really saying something).

Readers of all ages can enjoy Mr. Dorro, Will and Cheeryup in Thimble Down. Between the mystery, the wit of the writing, and everything from fishing with elves to murder, Thimble Down is a bedtime story that will keep you up long past your bedtime. A delight to read.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Spotlight: External Forces by Deborah Rix

Treason, betrayal, and heartbreak.
A lot can happen to a girl between her first kiss and her first kill.
It’s 100 years since the Genetic Integrity Act was passed and America closed its borders to prevent genetic contamination. Now only the enemy, dysgenic Deviants, remain beyond the heavily guarded border. The Department of Evolution carefully guides the creation of each generation and deviations from the divine plan are not permitted.
When 16-year-old Jess begins to show signs of deviance she enlists in the Special Forces, with her best friend Jay, in a desperate bid to evade detection by the Devotees. Jess is good with data, not so good with a knife. So when the handsome and secretive Sergeant Matt Anderson selects her for his Black Ops squad, Jess is determined to figure out why.
As her deviance continues to change her, Jess is forced to decide who to trust with her deadly secret. Jess needs to know what’s really out there, in the Deviant wasteland over the border, if she has any hope of making it to her 17th birthday. Because if the enemy doesn’t kill her first, the Department of Evolution probably will.

Purchase your copy at AMAZON

Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE

About the Author:

Deborah Rix’s favourite position for reading a book is head almost hanging off the couch and feet up in the air with legs against the back of the couch. She’s been reading too much from Scientific American for research and ideas and needs to get back to some fiction. She has a long standing love of science fiction, some of her favourite authors include William Gibson, Philip K Dick, Kurt Vonnegut Jr, Douglas Adams, Iain M Banks. A bit old school.
Deborah enjoyed a successful career in entertainment publicity, live music promotion and event management. Which means she slogged through muddy fields for music festivals, was crammed into concert halls with too many sweaty teenage boys and got to go to Tuktoyaktuk (that’s in the Arctic Circle) for a Metallica concert. She lives with her family in Toronto, Canada, where she is the proprietor of The Lucky Penny, a neighborhood joint in Trinity-Bellwoods.
External Forces is her first novel.
Visit her website at
Connect & Socialize with Deborah!

GRAND PRIZE: Winner will have a minor character named after them in Acceleration, the second book in The Laws of Motion Trilogy by Deborah Rix. PLUS: 1 (One) WakaWaka Power – a solar powered charger and light, 1 (one) Limited Edition EXTERNAL FORCES Black Ops Beanie, and 1 (one) signed copy of External Forces.
The fine print: Grand Prize winner will have a minor character named after them in the forthcoming book, Acceleration. The winner can choose a name other their own as long as it is mutually agreeable with the Author, Deborah Rix. That means nothing obscene, stupid or ridiculous, as decided at the sole discretion of the author. Winner agrees that the gender, race, physical description, sexual orientation or any other characteristics of the character are at the sole discretion of the author. Winner agrees that the character may suffer some sort of gruesome downfall or may be a heroic figure in the story, it is at the sole discretion of the author what the role of the character will be and to what extent the character will be part of the story. The author assures the winner that it will be a real character in the story and part of a sub-plot or major plot.
Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive the Accelerate Your Power Grand Prize.
  • This giveaway begins November 4 and ends January 31.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on Monday, February 3, 2013.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Review: Big Numbers by Jack Getze (Tour Stop)

Laugh at divorced dad Austin Carr, a funny, oversexed scamp who'll do anything to get his kids back. Think Bugs Bunny with guns and a penis.
             Divorced dad Austin Carr wakes up every day in a beat-up camper, parked on someone else’s private property. Why? Because his alimony and child support payments were established by New Jersey’s family court system when his income was double, and for the last two years he has failed to earn the legally mandated monthly nut. He’s had his savings drained, his Maxima repossessed, his salary attached, and his visiting rights suspended. He bought the twelve-year-old Chevy pick-up with the rusty camper for $800 last month because another landlord tossed his butt in the street. Will stretching the rules, his own morals, and the boundaries of common sense raise the cash needed to get his kids back? Or will his big mouth and bad behavior set him up for a nasty double-cross? See if Austin can redeem himself and win back his children.
“Darkly comic, with an engaging protagonist.”
-- T.J. MacGregor, Edgar Winner, Author of The Tango Key Mysteries

“Big Numbers is a gritty, sexy, violent, and funny book.”
-- Liz Clifford at Reviewed by Liz

“Wonderful characters…well-written, entertaining…a good read.”
--Connie Anderson for Armchair Interviews

“Indiana Jones has his whip and Luke Skywalker has his light saber, but for Austin Carr, his full-boat grin is the weapon of choice.”
--Melissa for Lou Reads

“Jack Getze started his career as a newspaper reporter. As a result, BIG NUMBERS is lean and mean, with not a word wasted. A truly fun, genuinely funny read.”
--Lisa Guidarini for Bluestalking Reader

My Rating: 4

My Review:

I didn't know what to expect when first reading Big Numbers. It isn't my usual cup of tea, as I normally feel like I need a safety net whenever I consider branching out of the world of YA fiction. However, I really enjoyed reading Big Numbers. The quick chapters and fast pacing allow the reader to tear through the novel relatively quickly, which is a breath of fresh air when you have a to-do list as long as mine. Big Numbers has enough drama and bedroom action to be made into a Lifetime movie, while also having enough suspense and real action to keep everyone else invested.

Austin Carr is definitely not an average hero. In fact, he is hardly a likeable person. Of course, that just makes me like him even more. Anyone with a sarcastic or dark sense of humor is good in my book. Add that to his "full boat" smile and who cares what crappy decisions he made. If I wanted to read about obscenely perfect men, I'd read some cheesy romantic fan fiction. I'll take the a sarcastic son-of-a-bitch over a sensitive 'dreamboat' any day.

The plot of Big Numbers kept me at the edge of my seat. Not only do all of the issues and aspects involve real world problems, but there are continuous twists throughout the writing. Unlike a bad Lifetime movie, I could not easily foresee the end. Not to mention, the action scenes really kept the story going. Nothing gets a reader excited like near death experiences. (Or, once they lose enough favorite characters to reach a level of heartlessness, actual death experiences.) Fortunately, Big Numbers has both. 

Whether you are a fan of crime, mystery, suspense, or simply cocky guys (in all sense of the word) with a fast tongue and a nice smile, then you will definitely enjoy reading Austin Carr's story in Big Numbers. With excellent writing, witty dialogue, and plenty of action and suspense, I enjoyed every page.


Former Los Angeles Times reporter Jack Getze is Fiction Editor for Anthony-nominated Spinetingler Magazine, one of the internet's oldest websites for noir, crime, and horror short stories. His screwball Austin Carr mysteries, BIG NUMBERS and BIG MONEY, are being reissued in 2013 by Down and Out Books, with the new BIG MOJO set for 2014. His short stories have appeared online at A Twist of Noir, Beat to a Pulp, and next month The Big Adios. Getze is an Active Member of Mystery Writers of America. 
Visit Jack online at:

US Only, 13+

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Review: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is the thrilling first installment in a new series of adventure mystery stories that are one part travel, one part history and five parts adventure. This first book of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series introduces Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenage pilot with her own De Havilland Beaver seaplane and a nose for mystery and intrigue. A cross between Amelia Earhart, Nancy Drew and Pippi Longstocking, Kitty is a quirky young heroine with boundless curiosity and a knack for getting herself into all kinds of precarious situations.

After leaving her home in the western Canadian fishing village of Tofino to spend the summer in Alaska studying humpback whales Kitty finds herself caught up in an unforgettable adventure involving stolen gold, devious criminals, ghostly shipwrecks, and bone-chilling curses. Kitty's adventure begins with the lingering mystery of a sunken ship called the Clara Nevada and as the plot continues to unfold this spirited story will have armchair explorers and amateur detectives alike anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept along through the history of the Klondike Gold Rush to a suspenseful final climatic chase across the rugged terrain of Canada's Yukon, the harsh land made famous in the stories and poems of such writers as Jack London, Robert Service and Pierre Berton. It is a riveting tale that brings to glorious life the landscape and history of Alaska's inside passage and Canada's Yukon, as Kitty is caught up in an epic mystery set against the backdrop of the scenery of the Klondike Gold Rush.

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is a perfect book to fire the imagination of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history this book will inspire anyone to learn and experience more for themselves as Kitty prepares for her next adventure - flying around the world!

My Rating: 4

My Review:

Adventurers and adventurers-at-heart, grab your gear and get ready, because Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is a must-read. 
I admit, from the title alone, I was a little afraid that I'd end up reading a slighly-cheesy mystery. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that, instead, I had gotten my hands on a true YA adventure that soared right over any expectations. I've always thought of myself as having an adventurous spirit, and although I'm currently trapped in a suburban town and high school, this novel helped tame my thirst for adventure a tad bit. 

From the very first page, I was immersed in the story. Pilots are a weak spot for me, so I automatically fell in love with the story for having a fun protagonist who's born to fly. Kitty's voice is light, humorous and very easy to relate to. I immediately felt like I was part of the adventure (luckily, I have just the right bomber jacket...) and dove right in. Kitty is spirited and passionate about what she does, which are very positive traits in a character.

I was not suspected all the turns in Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold. While reading, I couldn't bother to try to make predictions about the next couple of chapters, I was so caught up in the present. There's just enough action to keep interest during every scene. Even in times without a possible elevated heart rate, I remained intrigued. The history buff in me absolutely loved the stories within the story. (I really don't hear enough campfire stories in reality.)

Whether Kitty was actually studying the humpback whales (as intended) or finding herself in the middle of a dark adventure involving betrayal and cursed gold, I was in for the ride. Regardless of how you'd feel about taking off on an adventure, Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold definitely deserves a chance. I can't wait to continue with the series (and hope to see more of Charlie in it).

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Review: The Dark Side of Truth by Gary Caruso

Soon after fifteen-year-old Will Reed and his friend Mason stumble over a corpse in the woods, Will’s ex-con father is arrested for the murder—and it’s Will’s fault. With the police about to close their investigation, Will must discover the identity of the ruthless killer before his father wrongfully goes back to prison.

In the spirit of City of Ember and The Goonies, it’s the discovery of a coded message that starts Will and Mason on an unexpected path of mystery and danger. Will hopes finding an ancient relic will guide him to the truth and prove his father’s innocence. Unfortunately, Will soon learns he isn't the only one searching for this valuable object. It’s a race to follow hidden clues until Will is confronted with a harsh reality. His determination to help his father has jeopardized the lives of the people he cares for. With a cold-blooded killer on his trail, Will must choose between the safety of his friends and family or freedom for his father.

My Rating:  5

My Review:
I was actually surprised at how much I loved The Dark Side of Truth. I had already fallen for Our Souls to Keep, but this is an entirely new ball park. Yet, I still couldn't get enough of it. I don't think I realized how desperately I was looking for a great YA mystery until I found it in The Dark Side of Truth. I read the entire novel in one sitting, and I'm not exaggerating when I say that, it's impossible to put down.
The plot of The Dark Side of Truth is excellent. There was no point in which you would feel okay with stopping, for the end of every page had me wanting more. There are all of the twists that a good mystery needs, some of which I didn't even see coming. I felt like I was solving the mystery with Will and Mason, instead of reading about it while already knowing how it plays out.

In addition, I knew that it was a mystery novel, but I didn't know how much The Dark Side of Truth would excite my inner history nerd and science geek. Coding and lore dating back to the civil war? Nitric acid and black fingertips at the crime scene? Where has this book been all my life?

The Dark Side of Truth definitely has enough action to go around. Sometimes, mysteries can get a bit dull, but this was definitely not the case. There was almost always something going on. Most of the research and discoveries made occurred in the field rather than hours upon hours spent in a library (which can be useful, but not so interesting to read about). Plus, there were some really awesome fight scenes.

The characters are all nothing short of stellar. This may be just because of my personal sense of humor, but I love sarcastic voices and - sarcasm aside - Will had a very strong voice. He's a good person, even though he had to deal with a lot and is willing to do 'bad' things for what he believes in, and that definitely earns my respect. Mason, although he doesn't initially seem like it, is strong, brave and loyal, and a really enjoyed the growing friendship being the two.

Of course, I found the real shining star to be Mr. Burke. I found myself growing more paranoid throughout reading, and now I have the strange urge to research some conspiracies and get into cryptology.

The Dark Side of Truth is an excellent YA novel for just about anyone. I was laughing out loud at parts, stunned at others, and occasionally wanting to yell that it's a trap! but I absolutely loved every minute of it. I highly suggest that you clear an afternoon or night to read The Dark Side of Truth. You probably won't be able to stop reading once you start, but I assure you, it's worth staying up a little past your usual bedtime.