October 31, 2017

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

Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway’sGhost is the second book in the Kitty Hawk Detective Agency Series created by Iain Reading.

Kitty is so excited. Her dream to fly around the world is about to come true, thanks to the generosity of her sponsor, Charlie Lewis whom she met with his brothers during her expedition in Alaska.

After a short vacation with her parents, Kitty finally begins the first leg of her journey in her trusty and newly-modified De Havilland Beaver seaplane and lands at Key West, Florida. Just like ordinary tourists, Kitty has a look-around and even joins the tour at Ernest Hemingway’s house.

After befriending the Johnny Depp look-alike tour guide at Hemingway’s house, Kitty visits Fort Jefferson at the Dry Tortugas National Park and accidentally comes across a suspicious activity that involves mysterious glowing lights, ancient shipwrecks and sighting of the great Ernest Hemingway himself and his boat the Pilar.

Just like the first book in the series, Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold, this is an exciting, suspenseful and very informative Young Adult Fiction novel. But I find the pacing of this book faster and the scenes more suspenseful. I also notice that Kitty got more matured and, if possible, more daring and more stubborn. I think she also got less self-conscious and more comfortable in her own skin and more confident in what she can do.        
I simply love the lessons on ancient Spanish treasures especially the meaning of the symbols and markings on the silver bars. Apparently, this is another well-written, well researched and well referenced book by the author.

Congratulations to Iain Reading (@IainReading) on another amazing book! For more books in this series, click HERE.      

October 28, 2017

We Won't Forget You Mr. McGillicuddy by Ira L. White

We Won’t ForgetYou Mr. McGillicuddy is a touching and relatable book about love and family written by Ira L. White.

Gilbert McGillicuddy is an eighty-nine year old World War II veteran suffering from dementia. He lives in Ancient Adult Singles Apartments a few blocks from where his son, Robert, lives. Robert, a widower just like his father, is a radical and passionate blogger who writes about politics, racism and poverty among other topics.

When Robert’s daughter Ruby gets pregnant and the baby’s father turns violent, Robert urges his daughter and his twelve-year old granddaughter Sapphire, to live with him. Together, they await the baby’s arrival, take care of Gil and try to make both ends meet.

Meanwhile, a vindictive former FBI informant, whose plans Robert foiled forty years ago, discovers Robert and his family’s whereabouts. Consumed by four decades of hate, the man schemes to exact revenge on Robert’s unsuspecting family.

Told in the third person perspective, this is a touching book that describes the struggle of an ordinary family to stay together and make do with what they have. It also portrays the dreadful mental illness, dementia, and how it affects not just the patient but the entire family. Moreover, the book paints a vivid picture of a family trying to get along despite the generation gap wedging them apart. Though I initially find the side stories irrelevant, I eventually begin to appreciate their inclusion and their significance to Robert.        

The author successfully creates well-developed and relatable characters. Gil, the gregarious and charming war veteran who is gradually losing his memory; Robert, the radical blogger who fights for what he believes in; Ruby, the mother who wants what is best for her children; and Sapphire, the teenager who needs a father figure but finds her traditional grandfather too strict.

The best part of the book is the realistic depiction of an ordinary family trying to get by with how little they have and still manage to stay together and for each other in every challenging situation.  

However, though the ending leaves a hopeful and optimistic feeling, I prefer a more definitive conclusion to the book.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed this book and I recommend it to readers who like stories about family and familial love.

Congratulations to Ira L. White (@irawhite11) on such a great book!

We Won’t Forget You Mr. McGillicuddy was an OnlineBookClub.org Book of the Day on October 24th. You may check it out at Online Book Club.    

October 25, 2017

Hunting Nora Stone by Colin Weldon

Hunting Nora Stone is a suspenseful techno-thriller novel written by Colin Weldon.

Nora Stone is a drifter taken from the streets by the black ops division of the CIA. After a series of ultra-expensive biological modifications, she is turned into an advanced and sophisticated bioengineered and unstoppable lethal weapon. However, a sliver of her lost memory finds its way to Nora’s consciousness and the once docile weapon of war turns against her creators to get back what they took from her.  

A contingent led by former Navy Seal Eddie Conrad is sent to hunt down Nora Stone. But it seems like she doesn’t need to be hunted, nor does she need any form of persuasion. She is actually going back for all of those who turned her into what she is now.

This is an action filled and suspenseful techno-thriller that will keep the readers hooked as the author dangles a giant question mark at the beginning chapters. The readers have no choice but to read on as Colin Weldon very gradually unravels the secrets of Nora Stone and her creators.  

While the subject of the story is primarily about protocols, command and subordination, the themes include revenge, loyalty, ambitions and, ultimately, love. The author creates intriguing main characters and endearing minor characters, my favorites being Former MI6 Head Gordon and US President Royo.

However, I noticed several obvious errors within the entire book including misspelled words, incorrect usage and missing words. Apparently, this book will benefit from another round of editing.

Congratulations to Colin Weldon (@colinweldon) on such an enjoyable read. For more books by the author, click HERE.  

October 19, 2017

Refugees by R.A. Denny

Refugees is Book 1 in the Mud, Rocks and Trees Book Series by R. A. Denny.

Emperor Zoltov, the ruler of the Tzoladian Empire, secretly meets with Bladar, the leader of the Sparaggi Horsemen, for a long-sought prophecy which speaks of three seals, an heir, and the end of the emperor’s reign.

The seals in the prophecy are entrusted to three individuals from different parts of the empire: a Webby, a Glider and an Armored. With the birth of the new star, these three young individuals leave, albeit in various unexpected fashion, the lives they have always known to follow their destiny.     

This is an intriguing and exciting first installment of a fantasy book series. I find the premise unique and genuinely interesting. The author successfully creates a completely different world and populates it with fascinating characters. Each of the three main characters has distinct personality complete with special abilities and admirable qualities.

The plot, including solid backstories, is unraveled in gradual manner alternately between the points of view of the main characters. Suspense and excitement are, at all times, at high level making the book difficult to put down.

As typical and even expected in book series, the book has cliffhanger ending. Since I prefer standalone books, whether single work or part of a series, for me, the ending feels a little incomplete. Still, I enjoyed the book a lot and I recommend it to fans of the fantasy genre.   

Congratulations to R. A. Denny on such a great read! For more books by the author, click HERE

October 17, 2017

Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts by David Ahern

Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts is Book 2 of the Madam Tulip Book Series created by David Ahern.

When part of Dublin’s Palace Theatre collapses, out-of-luck American actress Derry O-Donnell finds herself unemployed again. To help with the fundraising to hasten the repairs on the Palace Theatre, Derry teams up with her mother to organize a celebrity art exhibition. The auction reunites Derry with supermodel Marlene O’Mara and gets herself booked in an engagement party in an English stately home as Madam Tulip, fortune teller to the rich and famous.

Derry, together with her friend Bruce, travels all the way to England and meets with the Dowager Countess of Berkshire, a former chorus girl at the Palace Theatre. They also meet with the Earl of Berkshire, his two daughters Lady Charlotte and Lady Bryony, Lady Charlotte’s fiancé Torquil and the family’s curator, Sebastian.

However, just when Derry and Bruce are starting to get settled, they find themselves caught in the middle of a gruesome and threatening situation. Derry’s gift, as subtle as it is, offers very little help and it’s up to Derry and Bruce to go around the situation they find themselves in.

Just like the first book, Madam Tulip: An Irish Cozy Mystery, this is just as exciting and just as enjoyable. The author’s description of the affluence of the English aristocracy arouses envy in a common reader like myself. Unlike the first book, however, I find this to have a slower pacing while not all newly introduced characters are well-developed. The ending, though, is quite a blast and I like it a lot. Finally, I’m expecting for Madam Tulip’s ‘gift’ to be more developed by now but it seems like I have to wait for the next book in the series to find out.

Despite my issues, I enjoyed this book immensely.

Congratulations to David Ahern (@DaveAhernWriter) on another great read! For more books by the author, click HERE.      

October 8, 2017

Have Amber - Will Travel by Keith Vlasak

Have Amber – Will Travel is a fantasy adventure novel written by Keith Vlasak.

Standing five feet eleven inches tall, Paige Dylan is simply not a typical college student with her beauty queen looks and Medieval Longsword Champion title. That’s probably because she’s not typical at all, nor is any of her two brothers and two sisters.

Unlike other ordinary children of ordinary families, the Dylans secretly go on exciting quests they call ‘adventures’ as they are magically transported in another place and time. Unlike their previous quests, however, this time, they are not transported to Camelot but in ancient Egypt. What more, they bring along with them Paige’s classmate Steve Webber and her Introductory Writing 101 teacher, Professor Dettman.

More than exciting, this is a very informative book about the gods and goddesses of Egypt as well as ancient Egyptian religious beliefs. Moreover, the book realistically depicts the relationship between siblings especially the behavior of each child. How the oldest always feels responsible for the younger ones and how the younger ones lash at the older ones trying to find out how far they can go. The fighting scenes are superbly described and the setting is magnificently reproduced in words. The characters are well developed and at some points relatable, especially Paige.  

However, though I enjoyed the book a lot, history lessons and all, I think the entire book is heavy, in fact too heavy, on details, considering that the target audience is young adult. I also find the pacing too slow. Moreover, the plot raises too many questions that are left unanswered and for a standalone novel, it gives the reader an incomplete and, somehow, unsatisfied feeling at the end of the book. Despite those and a few noticeable errors (like it’s eyes and I can count you instead of I can count on you), this is a very enjoyable book.

Congratulations to Keith Vlasak (@keithvlasak) on such a great book. For more books by the author, click HERE. 

October 2, 2017

Forged in Fire by Fraser Scott

Forged in Fire is Book 1 of The Godewyne Chronicles created by Fraser Scott.

Rollie, the grandson of the elusive Ranulf, the only blacksmith in the village of Wickenshire, is hiding something in his pocket. A mysterious stranger commissions him to forge a Druid token out of a mysterious metal. Believing it to be a nice break from his usual job of forging nails, he accepts the commission and now keeps it a secret from his grandfather. But Rollie is not the only one with a secret. His grandfather, Ranulf, himself is not being completely truthful.

Meanwhile, the court jester is serving time in the dungeons and while he is contemplating on his precarious situation, Lord Aderland Maculinus is rounding up the nobles against King Godebert.

This is a fast-paced, intriguing and exciting first installment of a promising fantasy book series. The language used, though informal for its medieval setting, makes for easy reading. Narration and descriptions of scenes are vividly done with a touch of both wit and sarcasm and dialogues are fitting for each character. The author successfully builds up intrigue and mystery to keep the readers hooked.

However, for readers like myself who prefer standalone books whether part of a series or not, the ending of this book might be taken as less satisfying than it should be. Without resolution to any of the conflict presented or answer to any of the questions, it gives an incomplete feeling. Moreover, I find it difficult to connect with any of the characters, probably brought about by reservation because of the secrecy and mystery surrounding the characters.

Still, I enjoyed this book a lot and I believe other readers will enjoy it as well.

Congratulations to Fraser Scott on such a great book!