Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue

Kitty Hawk3Author: Iain Reading

Series: Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency #3

Publisher: Create Space

Release Date: April 19, 2013

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Kitty Hawk is back on her next adventure that takes her to the rugged landscape of Iceland and her strangest case yet.

Continuing her flight around the world, Kitty Hawk arrives in Reykjavik Iceland. Her friend Charlie has found her a nice place to stay with friends of his to help her get the real, authentic Icelandic experience.  As she finds herself in the land of Vikings, volcanoes, and even trolls and elves, she discovers the true beauty of the land and what some of the locals are willing to do to keep it from being changed too much.  As she explores and makes new friends, Kitty finds herself in more danger and surrounded by more mystery and intrigue than ever before.

As the third installment in the Kitty Hawk series takes us to Iceland, I found myself having trouble warming up to this one. The story itself is good and fast paced, but for me it didn’t take me as deep into the story as I would have liked.  I just didn’t feel a real connection with the characters as I did in the first two.  Kitty herself is still on top of finding herself in the middle of a whole mess of trouble.  It seems that she has a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time in order to help solve the mystery, but isn’t that the case with most mysteries?  This series is still a great read for young adults looking for adventure and to learn a little about different areas around the world.  The setting was set up very well and maybe that was part of my problem, this is not an area I have a desire to go so it didn’t interest me as much.  I will recommend this to young readers ready for an adventure and even older readers looking to familiarize themselves with the landscape before going.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway’s Ghost

Kitty HawkAuthor: Iain Reading

Series: Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency #2

Publisher: Create Space

Release Date: September 11, 2013

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A fun adventure for kids that is just as intriguing and better written than the first in the series.

Kitty Hawk is back on another crazy adventure. She still wants to follow in the footsteps of her hero Amelia Earhart and make her own epic flight around the world.  This time her travels take her to Florida where she plans to relax before continuing.  The Florida Keys is a magical place for many and Kitty gets caught up in the magic of shipwrecks, treasure and ghost stories of Ernest Hemingway she wonders if she is in over her head.

The second installment in the Kitty Hawk series is even better than the first. Reading seems to have found his grove in writing the young adventures.  There was a little more down time in this book that had Kitty just relaxing and not going strong, which made me yearn to get back to the action.  I enjoyed that compared to the previous book, this one did not have near the amount of harsh language, especially since these are geared towards young readers.  The setting was very beautifully done, it made me want to go explore the area.  There was a great history about the story and I loved the Hemingway aspect of it and how it tied in with the missing treasure.  The short chapters are a plus for young readers so they don’t get bored with long chapters.  My only concern with this book is with the format.  The chapters are short, which is great, but the print is so small it makes reading one page seem like reading three and that is a problem for the younger readers.  I will still recommend this to young readers that are looking for a fun adventure book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

I Found You

I found youAuthor: Lisa Jewell

Publisher: Atria Books

Release Date: April 25, 2017

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

I almost gave up on this, but found it a worthwhile read by the end.

A back and forth story between time and characters that weaves their stories together. Set in a British seaside town, single mom Alice finds a man sitting on the beach with no memory of who he is or how he got there.  Against her better judgement, she invites him inside and ties to help him.  In London, Lily Monrose is trying to find her husband of three weeks who has disappeared.  The police are saying his passport is fake making her think she never really knew him.  The scenes set in the past explore Gray and Kirsty who are on vacation with their parents.  They meet a young man who quickly becomes infatuated with Kirsty, which makes Gray uneasy.

At about a third to halfway through this book, I almost gave up but decided to keep going. Even though it wasn’t the best overall, the last third of the book was really well done with the suspense brought to an even higher level.  The back and forth between timelines and characters got a little confusing, especially with one having lost his memory.  It can be difficult to juggle multiple narratives but Jewell did a pretty good job.  At first it can seem a little out of sorts and confusing but it all ties up in the end nicely.  I was a little worried at first that it wouldn’t tie together, but Jewell was able to tie up all loose ends without causing me to eye roll (which has happened on more than one occasion with more than one author).  If I hadn’t finished I would have only given this a two star but having stuck with it to the end I will give it four.  I recommend this to readers that enjoy a good mystery that will make you think.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Local Poet

Local PoetAuthor: Paul Trembling

Publisher: Lion Fiction

Release Date: October 21, 2016

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

He killed her, but who was she?

One day Rob Seaton is minding his own business driving his delivery van around London, when suddenly a young lady steps out in front of his van and he has no choice but to run into her, which kills her. It turns out her name is Laney Grey and she is a local poet known and loved by many.  It is ruled an accident, but it just won’t leave Rob’s head.  The way she looked at him before she died haunts him.  He decides that he needs to learn more about who she is and starts reading her poetry.  At first it makes no sense, but after a stop by the library, a friend of Laney’s helps him begin to understand.  The more he reads, the more he realizes that her writing was a direct reflection of her life.  And hidden in her last poem is her suicide note with a warning as to what caused her to take her life.

This was a phenomenal book to pick up and read. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was quickly drawn into the story and couldn’t put it down until I found out what was going to happen.  Just the story of Laney was intriguing enough, but add the police corruption and family drug connection and I just kept going deeper.  The writing flows great and there is no language or sex throughout the whole story.  Overall it is a really short story, but it left me wanting more, which fortunately it is going to continue.

If you want a good mystery that will keep you entertained and possibly emotional, grab a copy of this book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Firstborn

firstbornAuthor: Tosca Lee

Series: Descendants of the House of Bathory #2

Publisher: Howard Books

Release Date: May 2, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The sequel to The Progeny, my top pick for last year, had big shoes to fill, luckily it did not disappoint. 

After Audra Ellison went to extreme measures to erase her past from her memory, she has now come face-to-face with what she tried so hard to forget. These secrets she was willing to die to protect are now what make her more vulnerable than ever to both the Historian and traitors within their midst.  All her efforts to protect those she cares about seem to be falling short.  The man she loves, Luka, has fallen into the hands of the Historian and she is in a race to meet the demands to save his life.  Her powers are growing but also take a toll on her physically and emotionally.  With the help of her friends and unexpected allies, Audra risks everything in order to save them all and stop a four-hundred-year-old war between progeny and scion.  Just when things look their worst, Audra feels she is in over her head and isn’t sure if she can be the answer they are all looking for.

Fans of Tosca Lee’s The Progeny have been anxiously awaiting the sequel, Firstborn.  I have now read The Progeny three times; I had to reread it before starting Firstborn to make sure I remembered everything correctly and it was just as good as the first time.  With a book that good, it is hard for a sequel to live up to the hype.  Luckily Firstborn does not disappoint.  There is just as much suspense and tension as the first book and the ending was even more than I expected.  Audra goes through so much in a very short period of time when all things are considered.  She doesn’t know if she has the strength to be what everyone needs her to be and if she is strong enough  or what will she be like when it is all said and done.  One of the ways I determine a book is outstanding is if when I am reading it I see it playing out in my mind as a movie.  That can happen with a lot of books but the movie in my head isn’t always the best. Firstborn would be a blockbuster that doesn’t let up.  In a way, I wish this wouldn’t be the last book for the series, it’s so good that two installments just don’t feel like enough.  But on the other hand, if it were to be spread out over a few more novels, it would have made the story less enjoyable by having fluff and too much unneeded story.  Tosca Lee is the kind of author that everyone needs to read, either these books or one of her other works.  There is something for everyone out there. Firstborn is a book I will be recommending to everyone that enjoys a heart-pounding suspense ride that will take you to another world away from any troubles you might be having.  I know it is still early in the year, (at least for me reading this in February), but I am going to go ahead and name this my top pick of the year.  It will be hard for anything to top this.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

A Welcome Murder

A Welcome MurderAuthor: Robin Yocum

Publisher: Seventh Street Books

Release Date: April 4, 2017

Rating: 3 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Several viewpoints makes an intriguing tale, but this won’t be at the top of my list of best reads

Johnny Earl was at the height of his life. He had everything going for him, until it all fell apart.  He had a promising baseball career that ended with an injury, which led to him selling cocaine.  It didn’t take long for him to end up in prison for seven years.  Prison is just another obstacle for him to overcome.  Once out, his only goal is to retrieve the drug money he stashed before being arrested and leave town.  Before he is even able to start getting his things together, he is picked up for questioning in the murder of the FBI informant who sent him away.  To top matters off, his former cellmate shows up in town wanting Johnny’s money to use to fund an Aryan nation group.  Johnny is stuck between a rock and a hard place and it might just be a jam he can get out of.

Let me break this one down into the good and the bad. The good would have to be the storyline.  The murder mystery was interesting and with the dialogue between the viewpoints it made it even more interesting to see who was involved and how.  The bad is that about does it for the good.  Even though the story was interesting, I couldn’t get into it as much as I would have liked because of all the harsh language and sex.  That might not bother some people but for me it was far too much.  The book is short and I did get through it quickly but I still can’t say it is one I enjoyed much or can recommend.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

The Horse’s Arse

Horses arseAuthor: Laura Gascoigne

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing

Release Date: April 4, 2017

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

An intriguing tale of lost art and thief’s afoot with disastrous plans.

Patrick Phelan lives in North London and has always hoped to make it big as an artist. Instead he has settled for running art classes for amateurs in a shed behind his home.  He has spent his life working on a series of canvases of The Seven Seals.  Marty, his son, has always been up to no good.  So when he comes to Phelan with an offer to make copies of paintings of modern masters, he is hesitant but reluctantly agrees for the money.  The deal quickly turns into more than they could have planned for with fraud, kidnapping, murder and even the mafia involved.

I wanted to like this one, I really did. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work for me.  When you first pick up the book, it looks to be a very quick read with just barely over two hundred pages.  It quickly became apparent that it wasn’t going to be quick, I slogged through the pages but nothing got me interested.  Part of the problem for me was the lack of dialogue that kept the story from flowing.  There was a little bit here and there but not enough to keep the pages turning.  The narrative was overwhelming with not having enough to satisfy readers.  The premise is one that I think will interest art history enthusiast, but others will have a hard time getting into the story and sticking with it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.