Kitty Hawk And The Curse Of The Yukon Gold By Iain Reading [Book Review]

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Book Review | Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading |

I have received a free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


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.

My Review:

Book Cover |

I love this book cover. It perfectly sums up some major events of the book – the plane, Kitty climbing the mountain, the whale in the background – and the art style is just great. I love looking at it and it certainly enticed me in.

First Thoughts |

I was approached by the author’s publicist about this book. I love mysteries and was intrigued by the “historical fiction” part of this story. I’ll admit, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up on my own, but I decided to give it a try.

Plot |

Kitty Hawk goes on an adventure flying off in her plane to Alaska in order to watch whales, observe, and study them. Then she runs into a group of gold thieves. She overhears their plan and they catch her before she can run away. Her mission is no longer whales, it’s the gold.

I felt as though this book was slow to start. I didn’t really get interested in it until Kitty ran into the thieves and that was around 100 pages or so into the story. When that happened, I got really into it. I felt as though the plot was cleverly crafted into the story making the history important, but not bombarding me with a history lesson.

Characters |

I enjoyed Kitty’s character. She was a strong protagonist and certainly knew how to take care of herself. However, a good chunk of her dialogue, especially in the beginning, was her talking to her internal self. It got confusion since her thoughts were in normal quotations and I also didn’t think it made any sense. She was having actual conversations with herself. It became annoying and I didn’t think it was needed.

Once I met Charlie, Buck, Will, and Jay, I enjoyed their characters a lot more. The four brothers were certainly a great addition to the cast. Though, I wonder if all four were needed. Their personalities were certainly different from each other.

However, Jay was the silent type. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it was almost as though he wasn’t even there. He didn’t start really speaking until the main part of their journey was halfway over. I had completely forgotten about him to the point that when his name was stated I had no idea who he was.

Writing Style |

This story flowed well. As stated earlier, I felt as though the beginning was slow, but it did pick up when the adventure truly began. Once that happened it was smooth sailing. The history lessons were minimum but I learned a lot anyway.

I enjoyed all the description of their adventure, though a lot of the dialogue felt unrealistic to me. A lot of dialogue didn’t contain any contractions making the characters sound almost robotic. It just didn’t seem like something a person would say in real life.

Overall |

Overall, this was a great read. Once you get past the beginning it’s an enjoyable read. If you like a casual mystery and have a taste for adventure, give this one a try.

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“Apparently even in deadly serious situations boys simply can’t resist the urge to play like they are secret agents or something.” –Iain Reading, Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold

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About The Series

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is a perfect book to fire the imagination of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history this book will inspire anyone to learn and experience more for themselves.

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

“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 Kitty Hawk World

Check out the book trailer: YouTube

About the Author:

Iain Reading | Kitty Hawk and the Yukon Gold | Book Review | YA Mystery | Historical Fiction | RachelPoli.comIain 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 his Amazon page.

Readers can connect with Iain on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to chat!

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The Leaving by Tara Altebrando

The Leaving by Tara Altebrando | Book Review, Young Adult Mystery

Title: The Leaving
Author: Tara Altebrando
June 2016 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Genre: Young adult mystery
How I got the book: I bought it


Six were taken. Eleven years later, five come back–with no idea of where they’ve been.

Eleven years ago, six kindergarteners went missing without a trace. After all that time, the people left behind moved on, or tried to.

Until today. Today five of those kids return. They’re sixteen, and they are . . . fine. Scarlett comes home and finds a mom she barely recognizes, and doesn’t really recognize the person she’s supposed to be, either. But she thinks she remembers Lucas. Lucas remembers Scarlett, too, except they’re entirely unable to recall where they’ve been or what happened to them. Neither of them remember the sixth victim, Max. He doesn’t come back. Everyone wants answers. Most of all Max’s sister Avery, who needs to find her brother–dead or alive–and isn’t buying this whole memory-loss story.

My Review:


This was sort of an impulse buy. If you know me, I love a good suspense story. The cover was what originally caught my eye. I read the summary on the back and I thought I’d give it a try. Then I thumbed through the pages, saw the fancy writing style on the inside, and decided that I definitely had to give it a try.


Eleven years ago, six kindergarteners went missing. They went to school on the first day and the busy never took them home. The own searched high and low, but no traces of them were found. Eleven years later, five return home not remembering where they had been, what happened, or for how long they were gone. Still, they remember basic skills they learned throughout the years, such as driving a car. One even knowing how to load a gun. Everyone is shaken up by their return and when they ask about Max, the sixth child, the other five have no idea who they’re talking about. Now the question is, are they lying?

This novel is written in the third person limited, but we follow three POV characters. Lucas and Scarlett, two of the stolen children, and Avery, Max’s little sister. Between the three of them, they start piecing together what might have happened and where Max could be.

It was an interesting tale of amnesia and a race against the clock as they try to find Max. The ending was certainly something I didn’t see coming. I even had a prediction and was completely wrong. It was certainly a cool twist on the “missing persons” plotline. However, with all the twists and turns and with two out of the three main POV characters, there wasn’t much room to try to figure things out for myself.

The person who was behind “The Leaving” was an interesting twist. I never would have guessed that person. It made sense, but the way they figured it out was out of left field. For the sake of spoilers, I won’t say any more on it, but I felt as though them figuring it out was kind of a cop-out.


Six went missing: Lucas, Scarlett, Max, Kristen, Sarah, and Adam. Max never came home and we follow Lucas and Scarlett. They talk to Kristen, Sarah, and Adam every once in a while, but for the most part, we don’t really see them.

Lucas and Scarlett were great POV characters. They had a lot of depth even though they couldn’t remember eleven years of their lives. Still, they slowly pieced everything together and it was fun to go through the motions with them. Plus, I liked both characters.

Then there’s Avery. I’m not entirely sure her story was needed. As Max’s little sister, she wanted answers. Great concept, great plot, but as the story went on she seemed to be more focused on wanting a relationship with Lucas and being jealous of Scarlett. I also didn’t think her story was complete. She breaks up with her boyfriend and then the chapter ends. Then we never see Sam again and never talk about that he ever existed again. She didn’t even care, she just wanted Lucas.

Avery had a little depth because while she wanted to find Max, a part of her wanted to find him dead. She thought it would be weird if he came home, her whole life would change. It’s sad and I totally understand her feelings on that. Still, since they were so young, we didn’t know anything about Max. And, as stated, Avery was more focused on her love life so I couldn’t sympathize her confliction about finding Max.


This was a thick book being at 421 pages. Each chapter alternated between the three POVs and the book was broken up into parts labeling the days. The book takes place in just 15 days total. The chapters were short and quick reads, especially with the way it was written.

Avery’s chapters were written as a typical novel. Scarlett’s were written almost poetically, the words sometimes literally flying off the page or making shapes. Lucas’s chapters were written as a regular novel, but a lot of his thoughts and memories were highlighted in black and written in white ink.

Despite its length, it made it for a quick and easy read. It was interesting and fun. And, even though the chapters were labeled with the POV character, I really didn’t need that confirmation. I was able to tell each voice just by reading and that was great.


This was a great read. I definitely think it would have been better without Avery’s story, or maybe less of her story. I think I would have enjoyed it more if the third POV was from Kristen. As the story goes on, we learn she and Scarlett have a history, but, since I didn’t know anything about Kristen I didn’t really care about it. And I would have liked to.

If you’re looking for a quick, fancy-written mystery, consider checking out this book. I think I’ll pick up Altebrando’s next book.

The Leaving by Tara Altebrando gets…
4 stars book review4 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“People aren’t shaped by conscious memories so much as they are by their overall life experience and bonds.” –Tara Altebrando, The Leaving

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The Dark And Deadly Pool by Joan Lowery Nixon

The Dark and Deadly Pool by Joan Lowery Nixon | Book Review

Title: The Dark and Deadly Pool
Author: Joan Lowery Nixon
May 1989 by Laurel Leaf
Genre: Young adult mystery
How I got the book: I bought it


Liz enjoys her summer pool job at the glamorous Ridley Hotel.  Until the night, a dark and lonely night, a ghasty shadow surges up from the pool.  A face — eyes wide, mouth gaping — stares at Liz.  A hand clutches at her sneaker.  Then it, whatever it is, is gone.

But danger isn’t.  Strange things are happening at the hotel, and a shaken Liz wants to know why.  But whoever is behind the trouble will stop at nothing — even murder — to get what he wants…

My Review:


I used to love Joan Lowery Nixon’s books when I was younger. I’ve read this one before, but of course, I couldn’t remember anything about it. So I thought I’d give it another read.


Mary Elizabeth takes a summer job at a luxury hotel. She works in the pool area scrubbing tiles, collecting towels, and making sure the locker rooms are tidy. She’s also in charge of closing up the pool at the end of the night.

She’s afraid of the dark and being at a large empty resort alone in the dark scares her all the more. One night she stays a little later to calm her nerves and get over her fears. That’s when she sees a mysterious figure swimming in the pool. They scare each and he disappears. It’s later still that a body turns up in the pool. With the help of her co-workers, specifically Fran, Liz investigates and solves the various crimes and murders.

This mystery plot is like most where the non-detective protagonist attempts to solve crimes on her own. Whereas she didn’t have a suspect list, she was more interested in the why and the how. Of course, she wanted the criminal to be caught, but she was mostly curious as to how they were getting in and out of the hotel undetected.

The ending was unexpected as well as you try to figure it out along with Liz. The culprit is the least person you would suspect and, in the end, Liz didn’t really save the day. The law enforcement did.


I found all the characters to be enjoyable. I liked having Liz as the protagonist, even though her character development at the end was a bit out of the blue. She wanted a tall man for a boyfriend and Fran was much shorter than her. She was against being with him because of that, but at the end she randomly overlooked it.

Fran was a fun character as well. He was the comic relief, but he was also Liz’s rock throughout the whole endeavor. Tina, another employee, was like Liz’s best friend and she helped out a lot as well.

Then, of course, there were Liz’s bosses and the various guests at the hotel. It was a fun, well-rounded cast of characters.


Nixon did a wonderful job at portraying the mystery. Liz didn’t find or figure out any clues or evidence right away or too easily and each crime was spaced out just enough.

The words on the page flow well and are easy to read. This is another quick read being shy of 200 pages.


I enjoyed re-reading this story even though I didn’t remember much of it. I look forward to reading her other books, some I’ve already read before. I also look forward to re-reading this again in a few years. Nixon certainly has a way with words and all her books are great.

The Dark and Deadly Pool by Joan Lowery Nixon gets…
4 stars book review4 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“Take good care of yourself.”
“I will until you get home, Mom, and then I’ll give up and let you do it.” –Joan Lowery Nixon, The Dark And Deadly Pool

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The Other Side of Dark by Joan Lowery Nixon

The Other Side of Dark by Joan Lowery Nixon book review
Via Goodreads

Title: The Other Side of Dark
Author: Joan Lowery Nixon
Genre: Young adult mystery
How I got the book: I bought it

Summary (from Goodreads):

Stacy wakes up in a room that’s not hers, in a body she doesn’t recognize, to discover she’s been in a coma for four years. Her mother is dead–murdered–and Stacy, recovering from a gunshot wound, is the only eyewitness to her mother’s murder.She can recall only a shadowy face, so far. But the killer is not about to let her reveal his identity…

My Review:

I believe this was the first Joan Lowery Nixon book I ever read and instantly fell in love.

Stacy wakes up from a four-year coma and everything is different. She is now 17, not 13, her older sister got married and is now pregnant, her cat is gone, and her mother is passed away.

Stacy and her mother were shot by a man trying to rob their house. Her mother didn’t make it and Stacy is the only witness. However, it happened four years ago and her mind is pretty fuzzy.

The story is short at just under 200 pages, but we follow Stacy as she tries to regain her memory and figure out who killed her mother that dreadful day.

Stacy is a well-written character as her mind is still 13-years-old when she’s actually 17. She’s trying to catch up with the rest of the world as well as figure out what happened to her and her mother.

I loved the support from her sister and father throughout the novel, though I could have done without her friends. They were a bit annoying and seemed to try to get her back to reality way too fast. They cared about her, but they didn’t exactly give her time to wrap her head around things.

The plot was fun to follow as you tried to recount what happened with Stacy. You’re in her mind the whole time and you only know what she remembers, so it’s hard for the reader to figure out the mystery. In a way, that makes it a little more exciting. I read the book in two sittings, it was so good. It would have been one sitting if I didn’t have to go to work.

Overall, the book was quick and suspenseful with great characters.

The Other Side of Dark by Joan Lowery Nixon gets 5 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“At some time or another everyone gets hit by problems that seem almost impossible to handle. You can give up without a fight, or you can climb over those problems and move on, because there are lots of good things ahead for you to discover.” –Joan Lowery Nixon, The Other Side of Dark

Buy Links:


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When A Story Is That Good

When I lost the Internet in my house last week, I ended up spending my time away from the screens. No video games, no laptop for writing or blogging, I couldn’t even use my phone aside from texting.

I forgot how much I relied on the Internet, but I found other ways to entertain myself. There’s more to life than technology.

I spent a few hours reading an old book I got a long time ago. I remember reading it when I was younger, but I didn’t really remember anything about the actually story or plot.

It was a quick read, so I figured, why not?

A Deadly Game of Magic by Joan Lowery Nixon book review by Rachel PoliI read A Deadly Game of Magic by Joan Lowery Nixon. Nixon wrote mystery, suspense stories. They were quick reads, but they were the type of book that kept you constantly turning the pages. You know, you want to skip to the very end just to see what happens.

I got so into the book. I haven’t read such a thrilling suspense story in a long time. Kris sat beside me re-reading Harry Potter and she tried talking to me a couple of times, but I ignored her every time. I either didn’t hear her, or I decided to finish the paragraph before responding. But then after that paragraph, I would just continue to the next and the next and the next.

Once I got to page 76 in the book, I read a line of narration that said, “A sudden thud shook the back door.”

It’s such a simple sentence. It’s not very descriptive, but it’s described enough.

At this point, I was halfway through the story, so I was very much wrapped up in the characters and plot. So of course, I felt for the characters. What was the loud thud? They’re in a huge abandoned home in the middle of a storm, in the middle of nowhere. Of course, the door shaking is going to freak anyone out; especially if someone is trying to break in.

Needless to say, when I read that line, one of the doors in my house slammed shut.

I sat up abruptly on the couch and peered out into the kitchen. I didn’t see or hear anything. I looked at Kris and she was still reading her book as though the sudden slamming didn’t bother her one bit.

I tried to get her to get up and check it out, but she thought I was being nuts and told me there was nothing wrong.

I had assumed the door that slammed was the basement door. Kris said it was the wind, but I said there was no wind anywhere. The windows were closed in the kitchen and there wasn’t anything in the basement. We didn’t even have the fan on.

Then she asked me to get her cookies. I agreed. I was hungry and I the door slamming was nothing, right? Maybe the dog or cat ran into the door or something. They’re both very clumsy and walk into walls all the time.

But if I went into the kitchen, I would have to pass the basement door.

I was already freaked out from the events going on in the book. So even something as small as a door slamming was making me uptight and nervous, especially since that exact thing just happened in the book.

I was brave, though. I went into the kitchen. I peered down the basement stairs, but it was dark. I couldn’t see anything. Either way, I sighed in relief. I was being crazy.

I got the cookies and as soon as I put the step-stool back, I turned around to grab the cookies off the counter.

Then the door to my parents’ bedroom slammed shut.

Even though I had to pass by the basement door and my parents’ bedroom door, I darted back into the living room with a panic yelling at Kris.

There was nothing in the house, and I knew that, but there was definitely something in the house.

Kris laughed at me, but she decided to humor me and check out my parents’ bedroom.

Sure enough, they had a window wide open and the wind was slamming doors closed.

And that’s all she wrote.

Kris and I got back to reading like nothing happened. Except she now enjoys telling people that story because I freaked out.

At least it was a good book.

Have you ever gotten so into a story that you brought it into reality with you? Let me know in the comments!

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A Deadly Game of Magic by Joan Lowery Nixon

A Deadly Game of Magic by Joan Lowery Nixon book review by Rachel Poli
Via Goodreads
Title: A Deadly Game of Magic
Joan Lowery Nixon
Genre: Young adult mystery
How I got the book: I bought it

Summary (from Goodreads):

Caught in a violent storm, Lisa and her three friends take refuge in an old deserted house.  Inside are strewn odd tricks and gadgets-the props of a practiced magician.  Doors slam shut.  The phones go dead.  A ghostly hand creeps across the mantel.  But the group’s fascination at these effects quickly turns to horror.

Lisa has always dreamed of being a magician.  Now her life and the lives of her friends-depend on her skill.  Because one by one the tricks are becoming more sinister, luring the group closer and closer to the terrible secret at the end of the corridor…

My Review:

Joan Lowery Nixon was my favorite author when I was a kid and I haven’t read any of her books in a long time. So when I picked this one up from my shelf, nostalgia hit me as I smelled the book.

This book is written well through the first-person narration of Lisa. She gets caught in a storm with three of her “friends” and they all end up trapped in an old magician’s house. They believe they’re alone as they wait for a tow truck for their broken down car, but it turns out someone is in the house with this.

This is a classic ghost story, except the culprit isn’t a ghost. Supernatural things don’t happen, it only looks like it because they’re all magic tricks.

This is a quick read, but even if it wasn’t I still think I would read it in one sitting.

The characters were each likable and unique with their own voices. Their relationship with one another was a bit cliche as they all don’t know each other well, but by they end of this experience they’re all great friends and realize they have a lot in common.

My only problem about this novel was that I still have some questions. I won’t specifically say what due to spoilers, but there was something that didn’t get answered even though the mystery as a whole was wrapped up neatly.

And, this is a nit-pick of mine, while the ending was satisfying, I wish there was an epilogue of some sort to let us know what happened to the characters after they got out of the house.

A Deadly Game of Magic by Joan Lowery Nixon gets  out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“She laughed, but the tone was as dry as ancient dust.” –Joan Lowery Nixon, A Deadly Game of Magic

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