Book Review: Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue by Iain Reading

Title: Kitty Hawk and the Iceandic Intrigue
Series: Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency #3
Author: Iain Reading
Genre: YA Mystery / Adventure
Published: April 19th 2013
Page count: 306 pages
Format: Paperback
Source: From the author in exchange of an honest opinion


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

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

This is a perfect book to fire the imaginations of readers of all ages - armchair explorers and amateur detectives alike. From dangerous criminals and corrupt government officials to mystical beings and clashes with the elemental forces of nature, this book has it all. Come and join Kitty Hawk as she experiences the strange and extraordinary world of the Icelanders, and unravels the Icelandic Intrigue.

*The Chef's Review*
    Actual rating: 5/5 stars

Loved it! This book was so much fun to read. I think this is my favorite Kitty Hawk book so far (that I've read) and that is saying something since I have enjoyed this series from the very beginning. This book takes place in the beautiful country of Iceland which I came to love while I was reading this book.

What I liked:

The characters found in this book were so interesting to read. Most of the new characters found in the Kitty Hawk series come and go throughout the story so they change constantly. However, I think this exactly why I find them so charming. We are constantly meeting new people and we get to engage them in conversations (through Kitty of course). For example, there is Konrad and his family who are pleasant people that Kitty gets to live while exploring Iceland and through them we really get the experience how it truly feels like to live in the country.

The facts! This book is so full of them. Iceland sounds like a magical place that I would love to visit some time in the future. They have volcanoes, underground geothermal sources, an interesting way to register their names, the food, their culture, the importance of literature, their magical believes, the place overall. It's wonderful.

The plot was engaging as well. It talks about the conservation of mother nature in Iceland and the mishaps that happen in order to accomplish them. This is of course a fictional book, but it was still fascinating to learn both sides of the good and evil on a subject that is so real. There was this character in particular that was passionate and devoted in protecting Iceland's natural territory which was admiring and slightly alarming because he used extreme methods to do so. All the same, I still believe that it was informative and so interesting to read.

There were a lot more aspects of this story that I enjoyed reading. Kitty's adventures get wilder and more compelling in each passing book. The little details are what make her travels great and this story is full of them; try learning about elves, trolls, vikings, among other things! However, there is one fact that stayed with me. There is this place called Hekla, that is known for its volcanic eruptions and that people call it "The Gateway to Hell" for being so active, hence where the expression "What the Heck" comes from. Cool, huh?!

What didn't do it for me:
I have no negative comments for this book!

Final Verdict:
Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue is such an amusing and enjoyable read. Kitty is an amazing main character and it is always fun to read and experience all of her travels through her eyes.



Happy reading! -- The Chef

The Week's Entrée #135

Hi everyone! Welcome to another edition of The Week's Entrée!

Tonight a few of my favorite blogger friends and I  will be hosting a Twitter Chat! Join the #EmojiGang chat at 8pm EST to talk about books and emojis plus win amazing prizes like candles from Novel HeartBeat Creations, HP magnetic bookmarks + more!  Will I see you there? ;)


.......
Latest review on YABC:


I reviewed Beheld by Stephanie Scott at YA Books Central

Guys, if you are a fan of retellings then you have to check this one out! It features four well-known fairy tales set in different time periods, up until modern day, and each retelling is awesome and could very much well stand on their own. And I love that these were all within Kendra's (a witch) own story! So good, definitely recommend. Oh, and despite that it's part of a series (book 4) in can be read as a standalone. ;)

Here's the book's summary:
#1 New York Times bestselling YA author Alex Flinn is back with magical twists on four fairy-tale favorites, each featuring a little help from Kendra, the witch from Beastly, as she searches through cities and centuries for her lost love.

Being a powerful witch, Kendra has survived it all. Since she first beheld James over three hundred years ago, Kendra has tangled with witch hunters and wolves, helped a miller’s daughter spin straw into gold, cowered in London as German bombs fell, and lived through who knows how many shipwrecks. But her powers have limits, and immortality can be lonely. Kendra isn’t ready to stop searching for the warlock she had met centuries ago.

With the help of her magic mirror, Kendra will travel the world to reconnect with her lost love—and, of course, she can’t help but play a hand in a few more stories along the way.

Featuring retellings of favorite fairy tales such as Little Red Riding Hood, Rumpelstiltskin, East of the Sun and West of the Moon, and The Ugly Duckling, Alex Flinn’s latest young adult novel, Beheld, is fresh fairy-tale fun from beginning to end. 
Add to Goodreads!
.......

New book!
{Purchased}


I purchased a kindle copy of The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West since I have not read it yet and I definitely should!!! Lov Kasie West's books.  ♥
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To Read This Week:



I will be buddy reading two amazing books this week! First, The Color Project by Sierra Abrams with my bff Becky from Book Nerd Addict AND Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo with the wonderful Danielle L. Jensen (author of Stolen Songbird!). I'm so excited about reading CK with Danielle since I have never buddy read with an author before. Eeep! ♥
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And that's it for The Week's Entrée!  What are you all reading? :)

ARC Review: Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill

Title: Ever the Hunted
Series: Clash of Kingdoms #1
Author: Erin Summerill
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Published:  December 27th, 2016
Page Count: 392 pages
Format: eARC
Source: From publisher via Edelweiss


Summary:
Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.

However, it’s not so simple.

The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.
*The Reader's Review*
My rating: 2/5 stars

When I heard about Ever the Hunted months before release date, I was extremely excited to read it because it sounded like my kind of read. More than that, I was seeing so many of my friends and other book bloggers raving non-stop about it so I was sure that I would end up enjoying. 

I didn't. Unfortunately, Ever the Hunted didn't live up to my high expectations and I'm quite bummed about it. I wanted to love it, but I just couldn't get past how it badly uses all the typical tropes found in YA literature. And by all, I truly mean ALL.

First off, we get a main character who is quite strong and capable, yet when the time comes, she falls into the "damsel in distress" category. Britta starts off great and I thought she would become a favorite YA heroine, but she disappointed me once she starts to rely heavily in her love interest when she has all the skills (and more) to save the day. But most of all, I hated how when she's supposed to mourn the death of her father and be set on finding who's the killer, all she can think about is if Cohen (her love interest and who was framed for killing her father) has feelings for her or not. Constantly. ALL THE TIME. Every single page. 

I love romance in my books, I literally live for them in Fantasy, but I didn't like how it remained too focused on it instead of everything that the author had set up. It's been over a month since I read this book and I cannot remember all the details about the magical system, but it sounded awesome. Wish the author would have focused more on expanding her world for everything is just lightly explained and then left forgotten. I know the author will be expanding more her world building later on, but I think it was more necessary in this first book.

And since this book focuses a lot in the romantic department, I must tell you how much I disliked the love interest. I couldn't care less about him, despite how much Britta cares for him and vice versa. But the worst part is that at some point in the book, we learn that Britta will be involved in a love triangle. NOOOOO. I actually like the second love interest more because he sounds more interesting and it's my favorite type of book boyfriend (hint hint) but I suffered throughout most of the book with Cohen, so what's the point? I don't like it this way. :(

So all in all, Ever the Hunted was a huge disappointment FOR ME. I just didn't click with it, especially that the main character that has a "Chosen one" status when she clearly isn't at all special. Maybe she'll get better in the next installment and things will pick up, but sadly, I don't think I will be following the series.

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



Title: Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost
Series: Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency
Author: Iain Reading
Genre: Young Adult / Mystery/ Adventure
Published: September 10th 2013
Page count: 339 pages
Format: Paperback
Source: From the author in exchange of an honest opinion


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

*The Chef's Review*
    Actual rating: 4/5 stars
I think that I have written the same comment in every of my reviews after reading Iain Reading's books, however I will say it again: I love the way that these stories always finds the way to mix history, educational facts, food, culture, travel, entertainment, all in one book. In the second book of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series, we travel to Florida where we visit Fort Jefferson and the Dry Tortugas. This was amazing! It always struck me how little do I know of worldwide knowledge and I find it so interesting whenever I get the chance to learn about it. This book is filled with so many facts and trivia about the place and it evens talks about the people who live there. It's fantastic!

What I liked:
I like the constant change of scenery inside the book. Although Kitty Hawk spends most of her time narrating in Fort Jefferson, I find it refreshing that she has the facility to move around the islands without trouble. There was a point where I felt a little trapped on the island and suddenly Kitty decides to fly off for some groceries in Key West. I find that refreshing.

The new characters. In every one of her stories, Kitty adds new characters to the plot and each of them adds spice to the story. Since the main character doesn't stay in the same place, she always meets new friends, some of them locals, that contribute uniqueness to the story. My new favorite character in this book was Jack. He is a retired cop that Kitty meets almost as soon as she arrives the campground. He and his wife are the closest friends that Kitty meets in there and I find him to be an interesting character full of knowledge about the place and a key person that helps Kitty solve the mystery of Fort Jefferson's waters.

I love the little maps throughout the pages of the book. It is so easy to imagine the places where Kitty visits. They serve as a perfect guide and prevent you from getting lost. Thumbs up for that!

Also, I speak as the chef of this blog, I adore that the book gives me hints of what the people of this place eat. The food that stands out the most for me was the Sloppy Joe, the conch and the Key Lime Pie.

What didn't do it for me:
There were some parts of the story that felt a little bit slow for me, but other than that, I thought it was great.

Final Verdict:
I really like the book. I find it very entertaining and fun to read. It is the kind of book that when I finished reading it left me with the feeling that I wish that I could go and visit all those places that it mentions. They are all true! Although I would hope to have a more normal risk free vacation than Kitty.



Happy reading! -- The Chef

The Week's Entrée #134

Hi everyone! Welcome to another edition of The Week's Entrée!

Remember last week when I told you I was starting to watch A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix and I was all excited? Well... now I'm a bit disappointed. More than that, I am BORED. Stuck in the fourth episode when my sister & I should have finished it ages ago. However, we have seen a lot of peeps liking it so maybe it gets better? Really hope so!

Have you seen it? Are you a fan of the books as well? ♥
.......

New books!
{Purchased}


I got myself a kindle copy of The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova! Loved the start to this new series so of course I had to support the author ♥ I had originally preordered a HB but Amazon notified me that it was unavailable and would inform me when it would be back in stock. Uh huh, no thanks. So I got the next best thing! ♥


I also got this amazing kindle book thanks to my special Amazon Prime price-- FREE! Can't wait to recreate all the recipes mentioned in it :D
.......

To Read This Week:



SO EXCITED TO FINALLY READ THIS BOOK. I have been holding off because I'm scared to read and be done with it, but since the pub date is fast approaching, I think it is time I fell in love with another Kasie West book again. ♥
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And that's it for The Week's Entrée!  What are you all reading? :)

Book Review: Alterations by Stephanie Scott

Title: Alterations
Author: Stephanie Scott
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Bloomsbury Spark
Published:  December 6th, 2016
Page Count: 237 pages
Format: eARC
Source: From publisher via Edelweiss


Summary:
If anyone saw the prom boards Amelia Blanco makes on her favorite fashion app, they'd think Ethan Laurenti was her boyfriend. They wouldn't know that all the plans she's made for them are just dreams, and that she's the girl who watches him from the kitchen while her parents cook for his famous family. 

When Amelia's abuelita enrolls her in a month-long fashion internship in NYC, Amelia can't imagine leaving Miami--and Ethan--for that long. As soon as she gets to New York, however, she finds a bigger world and new possibilities. She meets people her own age who can actually carry on a conversation about stitching and design. Her pin boards become less about prom with Ethan and more about creating her own style. By the time she returns to Miami, Amelia feels like she can accomplish anything, and surprises herself by agreeing to help Ethan's awkward, Steve-Jobs-wannabe brother, Liam, create his own fashion app. 

As Liam and Amelia get closer, Ethan realizes that this newly confident, stylish girl may be the one for him after all . . . even though he has a reality TV star girlfriend he conveniently keeps forgetting about. The "new and improved" Amelia soon finds herself in between two brothers, a whole lot of drama, and choice she never dreamed she'd have to make.
*The Reader's Review*
My rating: 4/5 stars

.This review can also be found on YA Books Central.

I cannot stand the cuteness! Alterations by Stephanie Scott is the YA contemporary read that everyone needs in their life. It's a quick, feel-good read about a girl who loves fashion, Pinterest, and is crushing hard for one of the boys next door.

What I liked:

First of all, I loved how the main character is Latina. It felt nice to be able to relate to her since I am also Hispanic and her life was one I could understand to a certain level of familiarity. The terms of endearment, love for soap operas or telenovelas, and the close-knit relationship between the main character and her grandmother made me smile throughout the novel. It's been a long time since I read a book without the general and cliché representation we always get in literature, so it was comforting to read a book where it was handled well.

Besides the Latina main character, I also found Alterations to be extremely relatable since Amelia has a passion for Pinterest and Instagram, something that any book lover will definitely see themselves in if they use these social media platforms. A year ago I might have not understood the call of Instagram and interacting with your followers, but now I do and I enjoyed the references in this book.

It wasn't until after I finished Alterations that I learned that this book is a retelling of Audrey Hepburn's movie Sabrina, so curious to learn more about the inspiration behind this book, I immediately went to see it and ended up finding a new classic to love! What's more, I found myself loving the characters from Alterations even more since I couldn't help myself from imagining them when I watched the movie. This truly made my reading experience even better and would recommend anyone to do this too when they read Alterations!

And I cannot not mention the cute romance in this book. Amelia is torn between two dashing Laurenti boys who couldn't be more opposites from each other. Ethan is the striking popular guy who Amelia has had a crush for ages, and then there's Liam, the nerdy cute guy who loves tech. I always knew who I was vying for from the start, but I still enjoyed reading about this sweet love triangle.

What didn't do it for me:

While Amelia and her Abuelita have a great relationship, I was a bit let down with the relationship she has with her mother (and her mother's personality). Amelia loves her mother and respects her, but I don't think her mother deserves a daughter like Amelia. She's supposed to be a good role model for Amelia, but she lies about a few things that didn't sit well with me. She also has some feeble excuses for not pursuing her dreams and it's a bit hard to believe that Amelia's Abuelita would have let her get sidetracked for that long. It kind of goes against their values, and to be honest, I wanted a good mother for the main character for once. It's starting to be something unheard of in YA literature.

I was also expecting more from the first half of the story, when Amelia goes to her internship to New York. She spends her time working hard with her project (which I admired!) but not much happens besides her spinning an impressive web of lies. This is where I wanted to feel the beginning of many butterflies in my stomach, but I didn't until much later.

Final Verdict:

Alterations is a great contemporary read where you will not only get a hard-driven Latina main character with a love for fashion, but also a great spin to Audrey Hepburn's movie, Sabrina. Highly recommend!

Cover Reveal: The Broken Ones by Danielle L. Jensen


Hey everyone! Today I'm beyond excited to reveal the cover of The Broken Ones, the prequel novel to The Malediction Trilogy by Danielle L. Jensen! 

First of all, I cannot believe that I am once again revealing the cover of a book in my favorite series. I thought that when Warrior Witch's cover had been revealed, that it would be the last time. Luckily, Danielle L. Jensen wrote this prequel novel and allowed us readers to go back to Trollus one more time. Isn't that amazing?! I already had the chance to beta read this novel and I can tell you that it's absolutely fantastic and a great addition to the storyline of The Malediction Trilogy. Definitely won't disappoint! And it's about Marc and Penélope (yay!!!).

Before checking out the cover (if you haven't skipped this part already ;)) here are the lovely covers of the Malediction Trilogy: Stolen Songbird, Hidden Huntress & Warrior Witch. ♥


Aren't they GORGEOUS?! ♥ I'll leave the buy links in case you want to grab a copy!

Stolen Songbird: Amazon . B&N . Book Depository . iBooks

Hidden Huntress: Amazon . B&N . Book Depository . iBooks

Warrior Witch: Amazon . B&N . Book Depository . iBooks



So without further ado...





I give you...






THE COVER:


*FANGIRLS*

I LOVE THIS COVER SO MUCH. AND IT HAS MARC AND PENELOPE ON THE COVER! ♥♥♥ I also love that it's purple, it will look so pretty alongside my copies of this trilogy. Huge thanks to the publisher Angry Robot Books and Steve Stone (Artist Partners Profile), the artist of The Broken Ones cover (and the covers for the rest of the series), for creating such wonderful covers for my favorite series. I will always proudly display on my shelves. ♥


And in case you haven't read it yet, here's the official blurb:

The Broken Ones by Danielle L. Jensen
The Malediction Trilogy #0.5
Jun 6th, 207 from Angry Robot Books
A prequel to the USA Today bestseller and Goodreads Choice finalist Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy).

Below Forsaken Mountain, a revolution stirs with the aim to overthrow the tyrant king of Trollus, and Marc is the right hand of its leader. It’s a secret more than one troll would kill to possess, which is why he must keep it from everyone, even the girl he loves.

Since a tragic accident revealed her affliction and ruined her sister’s chance at the throne, Pénélope is an anathema to her father, the Duke d’Angoulême. Deeming her life worthless, he gives her one chance to survive: find proof that the boy she loves is a leader in the sympathizer revolution.

Marc and Pénélope must navigate the complex politics of Trollus, where powers on all sides are intent on using them as pawns, forcing them to risk everything for a chance at a life together.

Except being together might be the greatest risk of all.
Add to Goodreads

Preorder : Amazon . B&N . Book Depository . iBooks

Cannot wait for June 6th! If you haven't read The Malediction Trilogy, then I highly suggest you pick up this wonderful series and devour them before The Broken Ones comes out. It is a prequel novel but there might be a few spoilers of the trilogy. However, if you don't mind, then you can surely pick up The Broken Ones first and learn about the city of Trollus and all my beloved characters. You will even meet my favorite book boyfriend, Prince Tristan de Montigny!!! ♥

GIVEAWAY


Angry Robot is giving away four sets of paperbacks (to be sent when the finished copies of The Broken Ones are available), plus signed swag (bookmarks & bookplates) in celebration of The Broken One's cover reveal! This giveaway is open INTERNATIONAL. Good luck, guys!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Danielle L. Jensen

Danielle L. Jensen was born and raised in Calgary, Canada. At the insistence of the left side of her brain, she graduated from the University of Calgary with a bachelor’s degree in finance. But the right side of her brain has ever been mutinous, and it sent her back to school to complete an entirely impractical English literature degree at Mount Royal University. Much to her satisfaction, the right side shows no sign of relinquishing its domination.
Danielle L. Jensen is the USA Today bestselling author of The Malediction Trilogy: Stolen Songbird, Hidden Huntress, and Warrior Witch

Book Review: The Tormented Witch by J.C. Beckham

Title: The Tormented Witch
Series: Crowded Souls
Author: J.C. Beckham
Genre: YA Fantasy/Contemporary
Publisher: The Solopreneur
Published: June 16th 2016
Page count: 212 pages
Format: Paperback
Source: From publisher in exchange of an honest opinion


Book Summary:
Apart from the fact that Leila Albergo was born in England, she was just like any other seventeen-year-old U.S. high schooler. That was until, by a dark twist of fate, she develops supernatural powers. 

Leila is convinced that her feelings for school heartthrob Luca Jareau will remain unnoticed until he turns out to be her greatest ally. With his help, she must learn to control her magic and conceal the truth from everyone else, in order to protect the people she loves. 

Leila also realises that some friends are not always who they seem to be and that staying alive at any cost, can sometimes be too high a price to pay.’
*The Chef's Review*
    Actual rating: 5/5 stars
This book was absolutely incredible! I enjoyed reading it more than I thought I would, which it is saying something. I just loved reading about magic and how it could still exist in our contemporary times!

What I liked:

I love the fact that this book revolved around magic. Being a Harry Potter fan myself since an early age, I always like to find books that talk about magical worlds. Even though I found few similarities in this book to the world of HP, I really enjoyed discovering its own spins. The Tormented Witch took me back to my traditional beliefs as to how witches and wizards managed to coexist with normal human beings. Sort of like Sabrina The Teenage Witch but without the amazing Salem, the drama and without the lightness to the story.

The plot of this book is so engaging. Just imagine that without having lived a life without superpowers of any kind, you suddenly get to be a witch. Yikes! That's exactly what happens to Leila, the main character of this story. Sadly, those powers come with a prize and she must be very careful with them if she doesn't want them to turn up against her. Luckily, she gains new friends along the way who are interested to help and guide her through her new life and she slowly learns the magical ropes in such a fun way.

I also liked that The Tormented Witch had a nice pace--it wasn't too slow or too fast--and It allowed me to appreciate Leila's growth throughout the story. The transition of her character from the beginning of the book to the cliffhanger at the end of the story was interesting to read about and now I seriously want to know what happens next!

What didn't do it for me:

I guess I will just skip this part of my review ;) 

Final Verdict:

Amazing read. I want to keep following this series until it reaches its end. I think that the characters inside this story have a lot of potential, particularly the wicked witch (yes...there is a wicked witch! ) who I suspect has a lot of background history. Honestly, writing this review has made me wish to have the second book to continue Leila's story. Sadly, I must wait until I can get my hands on it. Hopefully soon! :)



Happy reading, darlings :) -- The Chef