Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Book 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 young adult series of adventure mystery stories by Iain Reading. 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. As the plot continues to unfold, this spirited story will have readers 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.

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. 

There are currently five books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold (book 1), Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost (book 2), Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue (book 3), and Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic (book 4), and Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces (book 5). Each book can be read as a standalone. 

“In the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series the heroine finds herself in a new geographic location in each book. The series will eventually have a total of 13 books in it (maybe more) and her flight around the world will be completed in the end,” says Iain. “The books are sequential but one could definitely read any of the later ones before reading the earlier ones.”

For more information, go to
Iain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations. 

Iain is the author of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series, The Wizards of Waterfire Series, and the dragon of the month club. To learn more, go to 

Connect with Iain on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Kitty Hawk and The Curse of the Yukon Gold is a fun and adventurous start to what promises to be an entertaining series about a teenaged pilot who seems to be a magnet for mischief and mystery.

While it took me a few chapters to really get into the book, once I did I became caught up in Kitty Hawk’s story and felt as if she were telling it to me herself as we sat together on her little seaplane. Her excitement, inquisitiveness, fear, heartache, and more were contagious and I eagerly looked forward to seeing how things would play out for her on her adventure in the Yukon.  And things definitely turned out to be interesting and quite unexpected as what started as a simple expedition to Alaska to study whales soon turned into an arduous journey and mystery involving stolen gold when Kitty managed to capture more than just photographs of whales on her research cameras.

For weeks, Kitty studies the whales from the air and is amazed by the creatures she observes and captures on camera. But her dedication soon leads to trouble when she manages to capture some suspicious activity of a human nature on camera. For some reason, one Kitty is not entirely sure of herself, she decides to put on her amateur detective hat and finds herself in the middle of an incredibly risky adventure involving dangerous criminals who remind her of Wolverine, gold that is probably stolen, and an eventful trek by foot across the Yukon.  

Kitty’s momentary lack of judgment may have led to a life-threatening not to mention life-changing journey for her, but it was definitely nothing but entertainment for me. I was completely fascinated and couldn't wait to see how she would handle the precarious situation she found herself in or what would happen next with her companions.  Never would I have expected the story to take quite so many twists and turns as it reached its final conclusion. Nor would I have guessed exactly what those developments would turn out to be and the impact they'd have on our main character. But while they were all unexpected, they were definitely not disappointing and I truly enjoyed Kitty Hawk’s adventure…or misadventure depending on how you look at it once you read it for yourself.  Plus, I managed to learn a bit about a place I've never been as the author worked in aspects of the history and other details of the setting. 

With the character of Kitty Hawk, Iain Reading has created a spirited, independent female character with a thirst for knowledge and a great sense of adventure. There’s a realness about her, her reactions, and her complicated (and at times comical) thought process that I could definitely relate to even if I don't necessarily share her bravado and determination.  She's not afraid to admit when she is wrong or to show her fear, which makes her even more relatable and realistic.

And while Kitty is definitely reminiscent of some of my favorite fictional female characters such as Nancy Drew, she has her own unique traits that allow her to stand on her own and that make her memorable in her own right.  For example, I love how enterprising and courageous Kitty is piloting her very own seaplane.  This not only added to her character, but also added to the story and the series, opening the door to so many story ideas and possibilities.

With this first entry in the series, Iain Reading has written a very detailed and entertaining story set in the Yukon with an intrepid and relatable young heroine. I can't wait to see what Kitty gets up to next and look forward to reading more entertaining adventures in the Kitty Hawk series.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Book Spotlight and Guest Blogger...Behind the Song edited by K.M. Dalton plus giveaway!

Today I have a fun anthology to share with you...Behind the Song.

Title: Behind the Song
Author: Various; K.M. Walton, editor
Pub Date: September 1, 2017
ISBN: 9781492638810

Music takes a moment and makes it a memory. It’s a universal language that can capture love, heartbreak, loss, soul-searching, and wings spreading—all in the span of a few notes. In Behind the Song, fourteen acclaimed young adult authors and musicians share short stories and personal essays inspired by the songs, the albums, and the musicians who move them.

So turn up the volume and cue up the playlist. This is an anthology you’ll want to experience on repeat.

Buy Links:


Here’s more from the editor of this music-themed anthology, K.M. Walton…
How music inspires my writing
I need absolute quiet while writing. It’s the only way I can write my first draft. Luckily, it’s just me and our cat Danny all day. However, music is a part of my process, it just happens after my first draft is complete. Spending so much time with my characters over the weeks and months of first-drafting allows me to deeply connect with them. Once I hit that point, I listen to songs differently, searching for connections to my characters, and I create playlists. My brain hyper-focuses on making those connections and I end up having tons of scribbled on post-its with song titles, artists, and which character the song is for. 
I’ve listed out a playlist for each of my books on my website, complete with which character the song is for and links to the songs’ music videos. I don’t know about you, but watching a music video for a song I love is quite a powerful experience, one that embeds the music into my cells.
In BEHIND THE SONG each contributor chose one of their favorite songs and used it as inspiration to write a short story or personal essay. Ideally, I recommend reading a piece in the anthology and then either listening to the accompanying song or watching the music video (the book’s website has playlists and music videos). That’s the process I followed while editing every contribution in BEHIND THE SONG. The genius and honesty in this book will blow your mind, and then add in the layer of music for an experience like no other. 
Link to BEHIND THE SONG’s website: 
About K.M. Walton…
K.M. Walton is the author of Cracked, Empty, and Ultimatum. She’s editing and contributing to her music-focused YA anthology, Behind the Song. K.M. co-authored Teaching Numeracy: 9 Critical Habits to Ignite Mathematical Thinking for mathematics teachers K - 8. She graduated from West Chester University with a degree in elementary education and spent most her teaching career in middle school teaching language arts. Mean people baffle her – she’s so passionate about acceptance that she gives school presentations—middle school through university level—titled: "The Power of Human Kindness.” K.M. lives in PA with Team Walton, which includes her husband, two sons, and cat. 
1 winner will receive a print copy of Behind the Song (US/CAN only)

Monday, September 25, 2017

Entangled Historical Romance Release Day Blast!

We are excited to celebrate the release of four brand new, scintillating historical romances from Entangled Publishing! Read on for all of the details and a little sneak peek teaser from titles by Liana De la Rosa, Tamara Gill, Robyn DeHart, and Lily Maxton!


Driven into exile years earlier, due to family scandal, Declan Sinclair is called home, devastated to discover his brother has been murdered and he’s the new Duke of Darington. When clues point to the man he blames for both his exile and his brother’s death, Declan resolves to ruin the culprit. If only the daughter of the man’s business partner, lovely Lady Alethea Swinton, didn’t tempt his resolve. Lady Alethea Swinton has cultivated her pristine reputation in the hopes of winning her father’s praise. When her childhood friend returns, Alethea finds she’s willing to court scandal and defy her father to help the handsome Declan uncover the truth behind his brother’s death. Until she realizes Declan’s redemption will mean her family’s ruin.  

Goodreads | Purchase



Time-traveling isn’t what Abigail Cross had in mind for her Scottish vacation, nor was a potential marriage to the Laird Aedan Macleod. The fact that the obnoxious, yet hot, and definitely sexy Highlander sees the world very differently than she does, is beside the point. Aedan Macleod knows what he wants in a wife, and Abigail certainly doesn’t meet his Highland standard, even though he must rein in his desire, because beautiful, opinionated Abigail would never suit as a laird’s wife. Tempers flare yet passion is undeniable, as Abby navigates her way in seventeenth century Scotland—without toilet paper. When two rival clans threaten the maddening twenty-first century minx who’s captured Laird Aedan’s heart, the mighty Highlander is willing to sacrifice everything to keep Abigail safe.

Goodreads | Purchase



Iris Bennington is furious when she discovers her younger brother is following the instructions found in the acclaimed advice columns on How to be a Gentleman. The so-called “advice” is more likely to turn her brother into a scoundrel than a true gentleman. Iris decides to locate the author of the columns and confront him. Merritt Steel, the Earl of Ashby, cannot help but be amused by the slip of a woman who comes calling. Unwilling to let such a delightful potential conquest go, he proposes a wager: bring him anyone off the street and he can pass them off as a gentleman. It’s a bargain she readily accepts—but with a twist. Their bargain proves to be a greater challenge than either anticipated. Merritt finds it near impossible to keep his hands off Iris, and she begins to see the undeniable appeal of ungentlemanly behavior…

Goodreads | Purchase



Wallflower Eleanor Townsend is not like most women. She has no interest in marriage, the ton, or fashion. Instead, her heart lies with science. And when the opportunity to present a paper arises, she takes it, even though it means dressing as a man. But her disguise doesn’t quite work. Someone notices—and the brute intends to blackmail her! Former prizefighter James MacGregor wants to be a gentleman, like the men he trains in his boxing saloon. His first step is gaining a beautiful, wealthy wife. Eleanor Townsend is not that woman, but a chance encounter gives him the leverage he needs. She’ll gain him entry to high society and help him with his atrocious manners, and in return, he won’t reveal her secret. It’s the perfect arrangement. At least until the sparks between them become more than just their personalities clashing. But there’s too much at stake for James to give in to his growing attraction.

Goodreads | Purchase


Friday, September 22, 2017

Blog Tour: Hunting Prince Dracula by Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco...Spotlight, Giveaway, & more...

So excited to be a part of the Tour for Hunting Prince Dracula!  I have been anticipating its release for what seems like forever and it's finally here!
Keep reading to learn more about Kerri Maniscalso's fabulous follow-up to her previous book, Stalking Jack the Ripper...and don't forget to enter the giveaway and spread the word!
Hunting Prince Dracula
(Stalking Jack the Ripper #2)
by Kerri Maniscalso
Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg

In this hotly anticipated sequel to the haunting #1 bestseller Stalking Jack the Ripper, bizarre murders are discovered in the castle of Prince Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Dracula. Could it be a copycat killer...or has the depraved prince been brought back to life?

Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper's true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe's best schools of forensic medicine...and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.

But her life's dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school's forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.

Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats.

Her first novel in this series, Stalking Jack the Ripper, debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. It incorporates her love of forensic science and unsolved history.

Here's a little bitty snippet from Hunting Prince Dracula courtesy of the publisher...

Intrigued yet?
You'll have to read the book to discover just exactly what is going on aboard this mysterious train and how the hunt for Prince Dracula goes for our intrepid young heroine...

And you'll probably want to pick up the first book in the series as well, Stalking Jack the Ripper...

To check out the other stops on the FFBC Hunting Prince Dracula Blog Tour, just click the link below!

    2 copies of Stalking Jack the Ripper and Hunting Prince Dracula
    US & Canada Only
    No Giveaway accounts

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Blog Tour: The Clue in the Tree by Margi Preus...Review & Giveaway!

Have an interesting and quirky mystery to share with you all today...keep reading to learn more and to enter the giveaway!
The Clue in the Trees
(Northwoods #2)
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery


Francie’s brother Theo has secrets—secrets Francie thinks she wants to know. But what if one of those secrets is that Theo is a murderer? To avoid considering that possibility, Francie plunges into her senior year at a small-town high school near Enchantment Lake in northern Minnesota. It’s a radical change from her private school in New York, but she hopes to keep an eye on her great aunts and maybe finally learn more about the mother she never knew. A small silver box seems to hold the answers, and she is determined to get her hands on it.

But when her long-lost brother turns up, so does a dead body, and once again Francie is drawn into a mystery. A long list of suspects, with Theo at the top, keeps her head spinning. When Francie herself becomes a suspect she starts to feel like she is walking on thin ice, but it isn’t until she is literally walking on thin ice that the pieces start to come together—and by then it may be too late.

In her previous adventure Enchantment Lake, Francie was thrown into northern Minnesota lake living: fishing, berry picking, lost kayaks and scary boat rides, poisoned hotdishes, exploding bulldozers, a forest fire . . . and murder. But if she thinks things have settled down, she’s in for a surprise. A new school with new friends (and a few enemies), a lead role in a play, an encounter with a giant muskie, archaeological twists, secret tunnels, thin ice, and a strangely sticky murder are all coming her way in The Clue in the Trees.
Margi Preus is a New York Times bestselling author of several books for young readers, including the Newbery Honor book, Heart of a Samurai, the Minnesota Book Award winning West of the Moon, and Shadow on the Mountain, a Notable Book for a Global Society. New in 2015 is Enchantment Lake, a northwoods mystery, and The Bamboo Sword, which Bookpage says is “historical fiction at its best.”

“Margi Preus has a remarkable ability to create fascinating, page-turning stories that transport readers to faraway times and places. Whether she’s evoking Norway during World War II or 19th century Japan, Preus combines impeccable research with strong characterization and plot—the very elements that draw readers into history and spark the curiosity to learn more.” Bookpage, Sept. 2015

The publisher kindly sent me a copy of the first book featuring Francie Frye so I wanted to spotlight it here a bit as well write a brief review.  So before I tell you my thoughts on The Clue in the Trees, here's a little about Enchantment Lake…but remember both books can be read as standalones.

From the back cover…
On the shores of Enchantment Lake in the woods of northern Minnesota, something ominous is afoot, and as Francie begins to investigate, the mysteries multiply: a poisoned hotdish, a puzzling confession, eerie noises in the bog, and a legendary treasure said to be under enchantment—or is that under Enchantment, as in under the lake? At the center of everything is a suddenly booming business in cabin sales and a road not everyone wants built. 

My thoughts:
In this fun mystery, former child actor Francie Frye heads to mysterious Enchantment Lake when she becomes concerned about her great aunts. Once there the seventeen-year-old uncovers some strange happenings and gets more than she bargained for when her aunts ask her to investigate the mysterious deaths of a few of their fellow residents. Reluctant, but curious this amateur sleuth does her best to figure out what is going on at Enchantment Lake and uncovers a few secrets along the way.

This is such a fun, quirky story with a likable and colorful cast of characters and some unexpected twists and turns.  I enjoyed Francie's suspense-filled adventures from moonlight fishing excursions with possible suspects to blindfolded boat rides with suspicious treasure hunters.  Francie is such a fun character, if a bit too analytical and overeager at times, and I couldn't wait to see where her investigations and curiosity would take her. In addition to Francie, I also absolutely adored her eccentric aunts and the other memorable residents of Enchantment Lake.  This is a charming and entertaining mystery with plenty of humor, but the ending was a bit rushed and there are a few unanswered questions that I hope get resolved in future books.  But overall, Enchantment Lake is a delightful book I'd recommend to mystery fans of any age.

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
After reading and enjoying the antics of teen-detective Francie in Enchantment Lake, I couldn't wait to read more of her adventures and the peculiar residents of Enchantment Lake in The Clue in the Trees and I was not disappointed! 

In The Clue in the Trees, former child actress and reluctant amateur detective Francie Frye is starting her senior year of high school near the quirky Enchantment Lake rather than in New York. Now she can keep an eye on her great aunts as well as possibly search for answers about the mother she never knew.  As Francie prepares to settle in, her estranged brother unexpectedly returns to her life and brings with him more questions than answers. 

It’s not long before Francie finds herself caught up in another murder mystery on Enchantment Lake.  However, Francie is not sure she wants this one solved when it looks like her brother could have something to do with it.  To distract herself from the case and the mystery that surrounds her brother, Francie returns to acting as the star in the school’s production of Antigone.  But much to Francie’s surprise, many around her seem to want her to put her investigative skills back to work despite her reluctance to get involved.

The Clue in the Trees was just as delightful as the first Francie Frye mystery. And because I know you may be wondering if you haven't yet had the chance to read Francie’s first mystery, Enchantment Lake, you could read this one first, but I'd recommend reading them in order as we get a few answers to some discoveries made in the first book as well as references to people, places, and events from Enchantment Lake.

We also get to revisit some of the same quirky and fun characters from Enchantment Lake, such as the eccentric aunts, as well as meet a few more memorable characters, such as Francie's brother Theo and classmate Raven.  For me, the characters are truly what make this read so entertaining. You never know what they are going to say or do next.  It was especially nice to meet a few more closer in age to Francie and to see her interact with her peers.  But I kind of missed the quirks and oddness of the older folks that called Enchantment Lake home.  This one just didn't feel quite the same for some reason.

And Francie, an accidental Nancy Drew I guess you could say, is such a fun and relatable main character.  I enjoyed reading the story from her POV.  Her observations and conversations are sometimes a bit random and she can be easily distracted. I have to admit that I completely relate to this and found some of them to be hilarious and sometimes even distracting myself (Google is my friend).  

As Francie slowly learns to adjust to a new school and to make new friends, she finds herself starring in the high school’s production of Antigone. All of this while she worries about her brother and does her best NOT to get involved in the murder investigation (even though almost EVERYONE wants her to get involved…which is so weird).  That's a lot for an adult to handle yet alone a teenager. Francie actually reminds me a bit of some of my favorite female detectives such as Jessica Fletcher (Murder, She Wrote TV series) and Nancy Drew (but don't tell Francie I said that) as trouble and dead bodies seem to find them wherever they go.

As for the mystery of the story, it was not predictable or too formulaic and the suspense was there as were the plot twists you’d expect in a murder mystery.  However, the pacing was a bit slow and at times I had to stop myself from reading ahead just to see how it ended.  But I am so glad that I didn't as it turned out to be quite different than I was expecting.

Laced with humor and a few laugh-out-loud moments The Clue in the Trees is an entertaining mystery.  I hope more books are to come as I look forward to more of Francie Frye’s mysterious adventures.

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
1 copy of THE CLUE IN THE TREES by Margi Preus
It can be read as a standalone
US Only

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