Book review: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold (Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency #1) by Iain Reading

  • Title and author:  Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold (Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency #1) by Iain Reading
  • Publisher:  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Date published:  December 3, 2012
  • Pages:  270
  • Genre:  mystery / thriller / women sleuths

Book description:

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!

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).

“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 http://www.kittyhawkworld.com/

Buy the book:   Amazon    Barnes & Noble

About the author:

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 http://www.amazon.com/Iain-Reading/e/B00B0NGI6Q/

Connect with the author:    Website    Facebook    Twitter    Kitty Hawk Website

REVIEW:

The cover of Kitty climbing a mountain with a seaplane in the background immediately caught my eye.  Kitty is a girl from Vancouver Island (where I presently live) and lives in Tofino, about three hours away by car.  I’ve also lived in northern BC and have always wanted to go to Alaska so this novel had had me hooked from the start.

At first I wasn’t sure that a young girl would be capable of the things Kitty was able to do, but growing up in a small community with parents who were very pro-active with Kitty’s education certainly moulded her into an independent young person.

The author has written not only an exciting and interesting story, but has deftly added in bits containing history, geography and literature.  I was a fervent reader as a teenager and would have LOVED to  have read this book!  As an adult reader, I can say that it would captivate anyone who loves travel and adventure.  The book was coherent, well edited and had enough plot twists and suspense to make you keep reading until way past your bedtime.  I was constantly doing research about the places Kitty was travelling to and the maps and illustrations in the book were helpful visual aids to help me place exactly where she was in the story.

I’m ready for the next four books!

(PS:  I love the new cover art!)

Book spotlight: Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall by Aaron Safronoff

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Book Details:

Book Title:  Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall by Aaron Safronoff
Category:  YA fiction,  385 pages
Genre:  Fantasy Adventure
Publisher:  Neoglyphic Entertainment
Release date:  May 2016
Available for review in:  Print or ebook (gifted Kindle copy, ePub, PDF or mobi file)
Will send print books:  USA
Tour dates:  July 4 to 29, 2016
Content Rating:  PG (No sexual content, drugs or bad language. Some mild violence, and there is a death in the book.)

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Book Description:

“Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall is the best vivid fantasy YA book of the year.” –Entrada Publishing

On a distant world of forests floating on an ocean around a star,
a blight threatens to plunge all life into darkness.
But three friends seek the light.
Together, they will Fall and be lost.
And at the very Root of darkness, they will find themselves.
But will it be enough to help them find their way home?

The world of Cerulean

Light and water flow from the ocean into the roots of the Great Trees, up through the boughs, and out over the lush canopy. But the once vibrant treescape has grown dim over generations of arboreal life, and the creatures of the forest have forgotten the light.

Barra, a young, willful Listlespur, finds her late father’s hidden journal, and reads about the old world and the mysterious plague her father believed destroyed it. He wrote that he warned the Elders. He urged them to take action. Those were his last words.

Together with her two best friends, Barra will explore every bark, wood, and leaf of the Great Forest to relight her world and complete her father’s story, even if she has to travel beneath the Fall.

Buy the book:   Amazon ~ Author Website

Watch the book trailer:

Aaron Safronoff

Meet the Author:

Aaron Safronoff is author of the Discovery Award winning science fiction novel, Spire. Since his debut, he’s published a sequel, Fallen Spire, and a novella of literary fiction, Evening Breezes.

Safronoff’s diverse background includes the formal study of computer science, bio-chemistry, and culinary arts. However, most of his career has been in the videogame industry in quality, production, and design.

Today, Safronoff is the co-founder and Chief Storyteller of Neoglyphic Entertainment, and is busy writing his fifth novel, the second installment of the Sunborn Rising series.

Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

TOUR SCHEDULE:

July 4 –   Library of Clean Reads – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
July 4 –   A Bookworm’s Musing – review
July 4 –   Svetlana’s Reads and Views – review
July 5 –   Heidi’s Wanderings – review / giveaway
July 5 –   Rockin’ Book Reviews – review / guest post / giveaway
July 6 –   The Autistic Gamer – review
July 6 –   Discovering/Writing Life – review / author interview / giveaway
July 7 –   misty103 @ HubPages – review / author interview
July 7 –   Reading Authors – review / giveaway
July 8 –   #redhead.with.book – book spotlight / giveaway
July 8 –   Science & Fiction – review / author interview
July 11 – Working Mommy Journal – review / giveaway
July 11 – Room With Books – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
July 12 – Bookworm for Kids – review
July 12 – Book Reviews Nature Photos of Everything in Between – review
July 13 – A Mama’s Corner of the World – review / giveaway
July 13 – Blooming with Books – review / giveaway
July 14 – fuonlyknew – review / giveaway
July 15 – BOOKSOMEREADS – review
July 15 – The Travelogue of a Book Addict – The Book Drealms – review / giveaway
July 18 – Library of Clean Reads – review / giveaway
July 18 – Puddletown Reviews – review / giveaway
July 19 – 100 Pages A Day – review / giveaway
July 20 – JBronder Book Reviews – review / giveaway
July 21 – Readers Muse – review / guest post
July 22 – 3 Partners in Shopping Nana, Mommy , + Sissy, Too! – review / giveaway
July 25 – Tales of the Marvelous – review / author interview
July 26 – Brooke Blogs – review / guest post / giveaway
July 27 – Cheryl’s Book Nook – review / giveaway
July 28 – Life as Leels – review
July 29 – Pause for Tales – review
July 29 – New Horizon Reviews – review

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!

Prizes:

1. Five winners will each receive a signed hardback copy of Sunborn Rising AND a free signed CD of the original musical soundtrack (open to USA only)

2. One winner will also win a 16’x20’ high quality (giclée) printed piece of the original art on canvas, signed by author Aaron Safronoff as well as Christopher Chamberlain the Art Director (valued at $100) – open to USA only

3. Ten winners will each get a gifted Kindle copy of Sunborn Rising with a $10 Amazon gift card AND a free digital download of the original musical soundtrack (open international)

Giveaway ends Aug 6, 2016.

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Book review: Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses by K.N. Smith

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Book Details:

Book Title:  The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses by K.N. Smith
Category:  YA fiction, 292 pages
Genre:  Action Adventure/ Paranormal
Publisher:  Two Petals Publishing
Release date:  September 2015
Available for review in:  mobi file (for Kindle), ePub, PDF
Tour Dates:  Feb 29 – March 31, 2016
Content Rating:  PG (Action/ fight scenes, some violence)

Book Description: 

The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses is an action-adventure story about five teen boys who are mysteriously exposed to a foreign energy source that gives them extremely heightened senses. Sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell become hypersensitive gifts that forever change the world!

The story chronicles their effortless interrelations and later exposes the testing of their deep bonds, and introduces the reader to an array of supporting characters who alter the boys’ lives forever. The Urban Boys offers young and mature readers central themes of loyalty, responsibility, honesty, fear, and triumph, which become artfully integrated with cinematic-level action and high drama.

We wonder, will they pass the test of fate, and will each of us pass the test of our very own lives? Intriguing, intelligent, and full of action, The Urban Boys offers a memorable, emotion-packed, thrilling ride for traditional and digital readers of all ages! (first in a series)

Buy the book:  Amazon   Barnes & Noble

Praise for The Urban Boys:

“An energetic YA adventure debut with stellar action sequences. Smith’s writing is intelligent and often lyrical. Her exuberant prose never fails to dazzle.”- Kirkus Media

“Author K.N. Smith uses her mastery of the written word to weave an entrancing, yet powerful tale of adventure that keeps you turning pages in an unquenchable desire to find out what happens next. The author’s matchless prose details cinematic fight sequences and fully developed characterizations especially in a final, stupendous scene that will take your breath away and leave you limp with spent emotions. Five stars for this imaginative and inspiring story, sure to be as appealing to general audiences as it will be to the YA crowd!” 5-stars – Publishers Daily Reviews

“I LOVE to read, but live a hugely busy life. It gets more complicated upon that rare occasion when a book is so captivating, so enthralling, that it is impossible to walk away. With only definitive hours in a day, something has to give. For me, that was sleep! And it was worth every sacrificed minute. “The Urban Boys” was the grand slam home run and exceeded my wildest expectations and I would bet, maybe yours, as well. Totally new concepts and a rich crew of characters – good, bad and ugly… and suspenseful twists that keep you guessing, and such beautiful, strong writing! A must read for fans of YA action/adventure/fantasy!!” 5-stars – Indie Book Reviewers

See more reviews: www.knsmith.com/reviews

Book Trailer:


K.N. Smith author pic

Meet the author:

K.N. Smith is an American author and passionate advocate of childhood and family literacy programs throughout the world. She continues to inspire students of all ages to reach their highest potential in their literary and educational pursuits. Her creative, lyrical flair sweeps across pages that twist, turn, and grind through elements of paranormal and action-adventure in diverse, exciting, edge-of-your-seat narratives. She lives with her family in California.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter   Facebook

REVIEW:

The premise of five young boys endowed with five different superpowers is an interesting one.  The overall theme of the book is “good against evil”.  The story’s setting takes place in Danville, a small utopian-themed town where everyone is kind and helpful and family relationships are tightly knit. Unbeknownst to the boys and citizens of Danville, however, the neighbouring town of Sandry Lake is experiencing decay and oppression inflicted by a dark overlord.

As much as I enjoy reading YA fiction, I felt bombarded by all the characters that were introduced early on in the plot.  I was completely lost and it took me until at least half way through the book to figure who was who.  There were a lot of unnecessary details in the plot that didn’t add to the storyline.  I was confused as I kept trying to ascertain the importance of these details to the overall plot.  I’m not sure if the author purposely had the book narrated like a storyteller recounting a fairytale but I kept hearing Vincent Price’s voice in my head as I kept on reading.

I feel that this story would make an excellent graphic novel.

Enter the Giveaway!

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Book spotlight: The Question: If You Could Have the Answer to Only One Question What Would You Ask? by R. Breuer Stearns

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Book Details:

Book Title:  The Question:  If You Could Have the Answer to Only One Question What Would You Ask? by R. Breuer Stearns
Category:  Adult fiction, 270 pages
Genre:  Fantasy / adventure / thriller
Publisher:  CreateSpace
Release date:  May 15, 2015
Available for review in:  Print, ebook (PDF)
Will send books:  USA & Canada
Tour dates: Dec 1 to 31, 2015
Content Rating: PG-13 (The story contains some graphic violence and occasional sexual allusions.)

Book Description:

THE QUESTION invites readers to consider this premise:

If you could have the answer to one question, and only one question, what would you ask… and who would try to stop you from asking it? 
 
To what extremes would they go?
 
THE QUESTION is a thriller that explores a new way of thinking, a method powerful enough to answer very complex questions . . . perhaps powerful enough to solve the universe’s most fundamental mysteries . . . perhaps powerful enough to resolve religions’ most beguiling unknowns.

THE QUESTION is an adventure story . . . fiction that you may wish, may believe, may know, is true. The narrative occurs in the present, with scenes in California, Washington, D.C., Paris, Shanghai, New York, and Afghanistan.

The story is aimed at high-school and older readers and contains some graphic violence and occasional sexual allusions. The plot is action-oriented with an element of scientific fantasy, similar to Jack Finney’s “Time and Again.” The prose is crisply written, professionally edited, and organized into movie-scene chapters.

THE QUESTION is ideal reading for anyone who is curious . . . for those who gaze into the cosmos at night and wonder . . . for those who look into the mirror and imagine . . . for those whose hearts beat faster when confronting the unknown . . . for readers who enjoy a fast paced, contemporary thriller that inspires them to think.

Buy the book:   Amazon  ~  Book Depository

R. Breuer Stearns author pic

Meet the author:  

R. Breuer Stearns is an investor and author.

Mr. Stearns graduated from Phillips Academy, Andover (1970), Harvard University (AB, 1974), University of Chicago (MBA, 1977), and DePaul University College of Law (JD, 1979). He rapidly ascended on Wall Street in the 1980’s, serving as Managing Director, Mergers & Acquisitions at Lehman Brothers and Head of Investment Banking (North America) at UBS Securities.  While living in New York, he founded “Terrific Teachers, Inc.,” a foundation dedicated to identifying and rewarding the best of the best of the city’s public high school teachers.

Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Mr. Stearns launched a private investment bank in the former Soviet Union.  He spent the early 1990’s seeking to marry emerging science, primarily emanating from Russia’s Defense sector, with Western capital.  During this period, Mr. Stearns made a small fortune, albeit from a larger one.  The venture provided a remarkable lesson in hubris, a tremendous reservoir of internal strength, and first-hand source material for Mr. Stearns’ first book, Winning Smart After Losing Big (Encounter Books, Beijing University Press).

Subsequently, Mr. Stearns served as Chief Financial Officer of The Dial Corporation, Chief Financial Officer of Columbia/HCA Corporation, Chief Financial Officer of PacifiCare, Inc., President and Chief Operating Officer of Vascular Genetics, Inc., and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Quepasa Corporation (QPSA:Amex).

Mr. Stearns is a Founder of VestaPoint Capital LLC, a family of investment funds focused on real estate development.  He lives in Arizona with his wife, two dogs, two cats, and a horse.  He travels extensively and is intensely curious.

Connect with the author:   Website
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Book reviews: The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse – in Canada & Queensland by Gwyneth Jane Page and Illustrated by Megan Elizabeth

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Book Details for Book One:

Book Title The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse – in Canada by Gwyneth Jane Page and Illustrated by Megan Elizabeth
Category:  Children’s fiction, 72 pages
Genre:  Adventure / travel
Publisher:  Self-published
Release date:  Feb 13, 2014
Available for review in:  Print, ebook (PDF)
Will send print books:  Internationally
Tour dates:  Nov 30 – Dec 18, 2015
Content Rating:  G

Book Description:

PJ Mouse, an adorable little stuffed animal, was lost and alone until young Emily heard his cries for help. Now, along with his new family, PJ gets to travel the world-discovering exciting new places and people along the way!

Come join PJ on his first adventure across Canada as he hikes on a glacier in the Rockies, finds a salt lake in the prairies, and walks on the ocean floor in Nova Scotia.

Buy the book:
Amazon   Barnes & Noble

Book Details for Book Two:

Book Title The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse – in Queensland by Gwyneth Jane Page and Illustrated by Megan Elizabeth
Category:  Children’s fiction, 60 pages
Genre:  Adventure / travel
Publisher:  Self-published
Release date:  June 27, 2015
Available for review in:  Print, ebook — mobi (for Kindle), ePub, PDF
Will send print books:  Internationally
Tour dates:  Nov 30 – Dec 18, 2015
Content Rating:  G

Book Description:  

PJ Mouse, an adorable little stuffed animal, was lost and alone until young Emily heard his cries for help. Now, along with his new family, PJ gets to travel the world – discovering exciting new places, people, and animals along the way!

​Come join PJ on this, his second adventure, along the coast of Queensland, as he snorkels at the Great Barrier Reef, chats with a Loggerhead turtle in the midst of a great undertaking, and explores the tropical rainforest- until he has to be rescued by one of the local friendly wildlife.

Buy the book:
Amazon   Barnes & Noble

Brand Products: PJ Mouse Stuffed Toy, Customized Stickers, Passport

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Meet the author and illustrator:  

Gwyneth Jane Page (Jane), who holds an MBA from Simon Fraser University, has called many countries home. She grew up in such places as England, Peru, the USA, and the Caribbean, and has also lived in Australia and Canada. She now resides in Victoria, BC with her husband and four children. The PJ Mouse books are based on Jane’s family trips with the real stuffed animal, PJ, who was found by Emily, Jane’s youngest daughter.

Megan Elizabeth, Jane’s second oldest daughter, has lived in Canada and Australia and travelled extensively with her family-and PJ. Having been artistic since she was a little girl, illustrating the PJ Mouse books has enabled her to combine her love of travel with her love of art. Megan completed her studies at VanArts and is now building her career as a professional photographer as well as an illustrator. She currently resides in Victoria, BC with her family.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter   Facebook

REVIEWS:
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PJ Mouse in Canada:  PJ Mouse’s adventure continues in a trip with Emily across Canada.  The family travels in a 5th wheel (and if you don’t know what that is, there is a picture of it to show you).  I’ve travelled extensively throughout Canada but PJ has done stuff that I haven’t even done – like climb a glacier!  He gets to visit Niagara Falls and learn French in Quebec.  What a smart little mouse!   There is a map of Canada in the back for you to follow along.
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I’ve learned things about Canada that I never knew before.  The hand drawings are cute and fit the story perfectly.
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PJ Mouse in Queensland:  PJ is off “down under” – that is Australia!  Along with his very own teeny suitcase and passport PJ is ready for more adventures.  Fortunately, his stuffing doesn’t get lumpy on the plane ride and he and Emily are off to Dreamworld for some rides and fun. They visit two important parts of Australia – the Great Barrier Reef and the rainforest where PJ meets a Lorikeet (I’ve seen Lorikeets in Australia – they’re sooo pretty!)
Read on to see more of PJ’s adventures with the loggerhead turtle.
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These little books together with their companion PJ Mouse stuffed animal and little passport book with stickers make a wonderful gift.
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ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!
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Book review: Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

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  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (July 28, 2015)

BOOK SYNOPSIS:

Paula McLain, author of the phenomenal bestseller The Paris Wife, now returns with her keenly anticipated new novel, transporting readers to colonial Kenya in the 1920s. Circling the Sun brings to life a fearless and captivating woman—Beryl Markham, a record-setting aviator caught up in a passionate love triangle with safari hunter Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen, who as Isak Dinesen wrote the classic memoir Out of Africa.

Brought to Kenya from England as a child and then abandoned by her mother, Beryl is raised by both her father and the native Kipsigis tribe who share his estate. Her unconventional upbringing transforms Beryl into a bold young woman with a fierce love of all things wild and an inherent understanding of nature’s delicate balance. But even the wild child must grow up, and when everything Beryl knows and trusts dissolves, she is catapulted into a string of disastrous relationships.

Beryl forges her own path as a horse trainer, and her uncommon style attracts the eye of the Happy Valley set, a decadent, bohemian community of European expats who also live and love by their own set of rules. But it’s the ruggedly charismatic Denys Finch Hatton who ultimately helps Beryl navigate the uncharted territory of her own heart. The intensity of their love reveals Beryl’s truest self and her fate: to fly.

Set against the majestic landscape of early-twentieth-century Africa, McLain’s powerful tale reveals the extraordinary adventures of a woman before her time, the exhilaration of freedom and its cost, and the tenacity of the human spirit.

BUY THE BOOK HERE:    Amazon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

author_photoPaula McLain was born in Fresno, California in 1965. After being abandoned by both parents, she and her two sisters became wards of the California Court System, moving in and out of various foster homes for the next fourteen years. When she aged out of the system, she supported herself by working as a nurses aid in a convalescent hospital, a pizza delivery girl, an auto-plant worker, a cocktail waitress–before discovering she could (and very much wanted to) write. She received her MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan in 1996.

She is the author of The Paris Wife, a New York Times and international bestseller, which has been published in thirty-four languages. The recipient of fellowships from Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony, the Cleveland Arts Prize, the Ohio Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, she is also the author of two collections of poetry; a memoir,Like Family, Growing up in Other People’s Houses; and a first novel, A Ticket to Ride. She lives with her family in Cleveland.

REVIEW:

I almost felt like I needed to brush the dust off my clothes as I put down this book. The beautiful descriptions of Kenya and life in the bush and the spunkiness of a young girl raised on a horse ranch in the African countryside drew me into the storyline. The story piqued my curiosity about the true life story of Beryl Markham. I intend to read more about this incredible woman whose fierce independence and determination won her the title of first woman horse trainer and first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1936.

The characters were well-developed and although the storyline flew along through several decades, I was never confused.

A good read for those who love both history, romance and adventure.

Drawn by Chris Ledbetter

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Book Details:

Book Title: Drawn by Chris Ledbetter
Category: YA Fiction, 239 pages
Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, Adventure
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer
Published: June 2015
Available in:  eBook (mobi, ePub and PDF)
Will send books: Internationally
Tour dates:  June 1 to 19, 2015
Content Rating: PG-13 (Limited profanity, mild violence, not graphic or gory)

Book Description:

Caught between the sweltering fall landscape of Wilmington, NC beaches and southern illusions and expectations, all sixteen year-old Cameron Shade thinks about is art. That, and for Farrah Spangled to view him as more than just a friend. Cameron longs to win her heart through art.

After several warm interactions with Farrah, including painting together at the beach, Cameron discovers just how complex Farrah’s life is with her boyfriend and her family. Following a tense run-in with Farrah’s father, she forbids Cameron to ever speak to her again, but Cameron’s convinced there’s more behind the request.

To impress Farrah with a last-ditch effort, Cameron sketches her portrait. But the sketchbook he uses hides a dark secret. Farrah’s now in grave danger because the sketch he drew of her siphons her real-life’s soul into the sketchbook. Cameron now has twenty days to extract Farrah. To save her, he must draw himself into the book.

If he fails… they both die.

Buy the Book:

Amazon
Amazon Italy

Chris Ledbetter

Meet the Author:   Represented by Ella Kennen, Corvisiero Literary Agency.Chris Ledbetter grew up in Durham, NC before moving to Charlottesville, VA in 11th grade. After high school, he attended Hampton University where he promptly “walked-on” to the best drum line in the CIAA. And, without any prior percussion experience. He carried the bass drum for four years, something his back is not very happy about now.After a change of heart and major, he enrolled in Old Dominion University and earned his degree in Business Administration. He’s worked in various managerial and marketing capacities throughout his life. While teaching high school for six years in Culpeper, VA, he taught business management, business law, marketing, and sports marketing, and also coached football.He has walked the streets of Los Angeles and New York City, waded in the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and climbed Diamond Head crater on Hawaii and rang in the New Year in Tokyo, Japan. But he dreams of one day visiting Greece and Italy.He’s a proud member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and a strong supporter of the Need for Diverse Books. As a self-described, young reluctant reader, he writes young adult stories specifically to reach other reluctant readers. As a participant in the prestigious Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program, he was blessed to be mentored by Suzanne Morgan Williams, 2012 SCBWI member of the year.He now lives in Wilmington, NC with his family, including three cats.
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Connect with Chris:  Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook
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REVIEW:

Did you ever wonder what it would be like to be a character in a book? Literally?

Cameron, your typical geekish teenage boy, is an aspiring artist.  His mentor, 80 year old Mr. Cassisi, encourages Cameron to pursue his dream of not only becoming an artist but to pursue the girl he loves.  Upon Cassisi’s death, Cameron receives a leather bound sketch book with strict instructions to “draw things” and not “people”.

Cameron is feeling dejected because  Farrah, a girl he has a crush on in his journalism class doesn’t want him as a boyfriend.   He feels that, if he can’t be with her, then the next best thing would be to draw her in his new sketchbook.  What he doesn’t expect to see is “Farrah’s” image start to move and come to life on the very pages he just sketched.  The story becomes more complicated when another girl, who Cameron hasn’t sketched also turns up next to “Farrah” or “Echo” as Cameron calls her and tells him that Echo is in danger unless he joins them in the book.

The plot is fairly action packed with unexpected plots and twists.  The storyline does drag a bit every now and then but the action does pick up with the addition of new, unexpected characters. The characters were believable and the ending is quite exciting!

This book would be great for both teen boys and girls as Cameron’s love of gaming is featured throughout.  A fun read!

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Book review: Vostok by Steve Alten

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Book Description:

East Antarctica: The coldest, most desolate location on Earth. Two-and-a-half miles below the ice cap is Vostok, a six thousand square mile liquid lake, over a thousand feet deep, left untouched for more than 15 million years. Now, marine biologist Zachary Wallace and two other scientists aboard a submersible tethered to a laser will journey 13,000 feet beneath the ice into this unexplored realm to discover Mesozoic life forms long believed extinct – and an object of immense power responsible for the evolution of modern man.

In this sequel to The Loch and prequel to the upcoming MEG 5: Nightstalkers, New York Times best-selling author Steve Alten offers readers a crossover novel that combines characters from two of his most popular series.

About the author:​   Steve Alten is the New York Times and International bestselling author of fourteen novels, including the MEG series about Carcharodon Megalodon, the 70-foot, 100,000 pound prehistoric cousin of the Great White shark and Domain trilogy, a series about the Mayan Calendar’s 2012 doomsday prophecy. His work has been published in over 30 countries and is being used in thousands of middle and high school curriculum as part of Adopt-An-Author, a free teen reading program, which he founded with teachers back in 1999.

Connect with Steve:   Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter

Review:

This is Steve Alten’s second book that I’ve read within a couple of weeks.  His previous book, The Loch, is a precursor to this novel.  In Vostok, we find marine biologist Zachary Wallace coerced into an expedition to a massive underwater lake called Vostok in Antarctica. He is torn between not accepting the assignment in order to care for his family and his curiosity as a marine biologist for any new life forms that may be encountered at the extreme depths in the lake.

If this was ever made into a movie, I would be hiding behind the couch.  There are so many intense moments that I had to put the book down (I’m a wuss, I admit it freely). What I found interesting though, was the lingo used by those who work in Antarctica as well as the terms and expressions used to describe the different snow and weather conditions.

I found the development of the character’s personalities to be more vivid in The Loch and a little more one-dimensional in Vostok. Toward the middle of the book the story jumps and a new theme is introduced into the story line.  I was a bit confused but because the beginning of the book was so good I kept on reading on to discover the link between the two stories.  The suspense picks up and (again, don’t read this at night)  everything falls into place.  A great action book!

 Buy his book here:

Amazon     Barnes & Noble    Chapters

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Book Review: Guy Erma & the Son of Empire by Sally Ann Melia

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Book Description:

The story starts with a boy:
“I don’t want to go, mum.”
“You must…”
How long can a mother regret the last words to her son?

This story is a space opera adventure and a kidnap thriller… A young prince is kidnapped, a galactic Empire in peril for the Prince has fallen into the hands of the ruthless yet charismatic Chart Segat, a populist politician, he is also head of the crack space warriors: the Dome Elite.

Teodor’s mother, Regent Sayginn of Freyne 2 will use every resource at her disposal: military might, security surveillance, battle cyborgs and insider intelligence to find her son. She will call on the Valvanchi, the telepathic shape shifting aliens to free him … The only question is can they get to the Prince in time?
Meanwhile in the shadow of the Dome, living a life of desperate poverty is another boy: 13-year-old Guy Erma. His only dream is to join the Dome Elite, and the only way he can do that is by ‘doing whatever Chart Segat says. ’ Whatever he says!’

A tightly plotted thriller, Guy Erma and the Son of Empire is a complex space opera with a cracking science fiction storyline, told with verve and pace.

The book will delight those who love • Science Fiction • Space Operas • Star Wars style Adventures • Galactic Empire stories • Young Adult Science Fiction • Young Adult Space Opera • Young Adult Thrillers • Young Adult Action Adventure

And is inspired by the works of • George Lucas • JJ Abrams • Steven Spielberg • J R R Tolkien • Frank Herbert • Iain M Banks • Peter F Hamilton

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Meet the Author:  The author was born in Wallasey, England, in 1964, and moved to the South of France when she was eleven. She spent her teenage years living in the cosmopolitan city state of Monaco and became immersed in its many languages and cultures. An English girl in a French school, for three hours each week she would sit at the back of the class as her colleagues learnt English. To pass the time, she wrote stories. This led to a lifetime of writing novels, scripts, stories and articles.In her working life, Sally writes marketing communications and manages large international websites.In 2010, Sally joined the Hogs Back Writers, a club located on the outskirts of Guildford, and she set about turning an old manuscript into this novel: Guy Erma and the Son of Empire. Sally currently lives in Farnham, and she is married with two children.

Connect with Sally:  Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Pinterest

Buy the book:  Amazon   Barns & Noble

Review:

I’m new to the sci-fi genre and didn’t know what to expect when I began to read this story. The storyline immediately pulled me in but I became temporarily confused when two other story lines began to develop. I hung in there because I could see that the characters were being developed.

The three stories begin to blend together and we have an intriguing and exciting adventure. There is Guy, an orphan but very talented student whose desire is to join the Dome Elite. There is also Karl Valvanchi, a Zaracan warrior and shape-shifter from Sas Daron and finally Prince Regent Theodor from Freyne 2, whose empire is under threat. The manner in which these three characters are brought together shows depth and, although there were a lot of details, with time they added to the richness of the plot.

I enjoyed the book because it was exciting, fast paced and an intelligent read. It was written for young adults but any mature person would certainly enjoy it. I look forward to the next installment!

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Book Review: Aoleon The Martian Girl: A Science Fiction and Fantasy Saga – Part 4: Illegal Aliens, written and illustrated by Brent LeVasseur

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Book Description:

Aoleon and Gilbert have become the Luminon’s top priority in stopping the Martian resistance movement, and after being chased by the Royal Paladin Guard, they are forced to flee the Martian Megalopolis. Aoléon, Gilbert and Zoot escape with the help of Bizwat and his newly found friend, Helios, a first generation soldierbot.

After their saucer is destroyed, they crash land somewhere in the deep Martian desert, and they set out to locate Kyrios and the secret base where Aoleon’s parents are being held captive.

After battling the forces of nature, starvation, a Klyklon dust storm, (and not to mention a giant slor that almost swallows them alive), they finally make it to their destination. However, after Kyrios gives Gilbert some basic training to develop his budding psionic power, they learn that their journey is far from over.

Will Aoléon, Glbert, Bizwat, Helios, and Zoot be able to rescue Aoleon’s parents and stop the Martian invasion of Earth in time?

Brent LeVasseurAbout Brent:  Mr. LeVasseur enjoys crafting good stories based on lovable characters designed to translate well to multiple media formats such as books, games, movies, and toys. He lives in New York when he is not commuting between Southern California and Olympus Mons, Mars. His hobbies include writing, 3D animation, musical composition, and intergalactic space travel. He also enjoys various sports such as skiing, running, and exospheric skydiving.

Connect with Brent:    website    twitter    facebook   themartiangirl.com
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You can buy  Aoléon The Martian Girl – Part 3 here:   Amazon

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Book Trailer

Review:

Aoleon and Gilbert are on a dangerous mission to rescue her parents, a seemingly impossible task.  Even Bizwat is discouraged by the difficulty of their undertaking.  Their spaceship is blown up and well, you gotta read the rest yourself!

Part four of Aoleon’s adventure is by far the goofiest!    Here are some of my favourite quotes:  “Go ahead. Make my millennium”, “we stand an excellent chance of catching the Martians with their cheeks in the wind” and “this guy is not firing on all nanoprocessors.”

There is still loads of adventure and excitement (by the way DON’T pick the flowers in the desert) as well as a fair bit of cheekiness pointed at the, ahem, “powers that be” (it’s all in good fun though!). The picture of the White House Situation Room was really cool!  There weren’t as many pictures in this segment, and some parts of the story were a little hard to grasp because of the technical explanations.  But there’s a lot to tickle your funny bone!

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