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Piki Goes Flying by Joan M Hellquist (Book Review)

Piki Goes Flying is a beautifully illustrated, entertaining, educational and fun story for children about Piki’s first flights on an airplane. It is the second in a series of three adventure books about Piki (rhymes with sneaky), a Service Dog. Our mischievous and independent friend, Piki, again tells her own story and just because she is a well-trained Service Dog and is flying with her person, Joan, doesn’t mean she isn’t full of questions and opinions about all of the rules they must follow. Children will love Piki’s quirky antics before, during the flight and getting off the plane. She is very proud to be the only one on the plane to receive a gift from a special person, but Piki adds that she was the only one on the plane who didn’t get one of those tiny bags of treats!

In Piki’s first book, Piki Goes to College, the story of her training to be a Service Dog, there was information about Service Dogs making it educational for both adults and children. In Piki Goes Flying, Joan includes up to date information including rules and regulations from the U. S. Department of Transportation and airlines about traveling on a plane with a Service Dog.

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery.  I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.


Piki Goes Flying is the second in a series of three adventure books about Piki (rhymes with sneaky), a Service Dog, by author and illustrator Joan M Hellquist. In this under-50-page tale, we follow Piki as she takes her first airplane flight. We see the adventure through the eyes of the canine. 

Service dogs are vital to many individuals’ mental and physical well-being. They come in different sizes and breeds, requiring exceptional training to complement their owner’s wants and needs. They are introduced to various scenarios and locations, acclimating themselves to whatever situations might arise. 

Piki was preparing for their first flight, which entailed Joan (trainer and owner) prepping them before stepping onto a plane. The process was enlightening. Joan set up rows of chairs, simulating aisles on an aircraft. After Piki grew comfortable navigating the rows and listening to commands on the flight simulator, they headed inside a local airport. There, I learned how escalators are hazardous to a dog’s nails. I never saw them as a threat to animals; I do now. 

Airports are busy, loud, and crowded, and animals must be prepared for the hustle and bustle they will encounter. Being a service dog means they must be hyper-vigilant to an owner’s every need. I found it cute how Joan and Piki conversed with each other, as we all do with our furbabies. We watched as Piki went through a metal detection screening and received wings from the Captain. Joan M Hellquist did a lovely job explaining to Piki and readers at home the role of a captain, what TSA means, and what the three-letter code on our baggage ticket means. 

Piki was quiet as a church mouse throughout the entire flight. They became a bit vocal when they touched down, but that only made them more endearing. 

After the charming story, the author included questions and answers to help young readers gain insight into a few areas featured in the story. For example, Tiki explains why participating in the “Lawn Chair Squeeze” was essential to elevating fears of flight. You really do not want an animal panicking thousands of feet in the air. 

Piki Goes Flying serves dual purposesIt entertains and educates listeners. Joan includes up-to-date information about traveling on a plane with a Service Dog, including rules and regulations from the U. S. Department of Transportation and airlines (found in the book’s final pages). 

I loved the story and the cute pictures of all the furry animals: Teddy, Piki, and their doggie cousins (Boomer and Ender). It’s perfect for ages four and older. 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤

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Meet the Author

Joan grew up in Summit, NJ and has lived in New Mexico since 1988. She is retired from healthcare, but continues to pursue her artwork and writing. Joan’s loves include children, animals, the wilderness, traditional music, travel and singing loudly while listening to music while alone in her car.

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Finding Ruby Draker by Marianne Scott (Book Review)

Kathleen Jones has lived a protected and typical suburban life, nothing unexpected in her carefully controlled and planned existence. She’s about to complete her college degree and is ready to start a successful career but after completing her last exam she comes home to find her world has been turned upside down. Her home has been torched and her parents and little brother killed.

If that’s not bad enough, she is kidnapped and drugged unconscious by strangers posing as a police officers. When she awakes she discovers that everything has changed – her face, her name, and everything she believed to be true.

But things get worse. Hardly recovered from surgery, she is whisked away under the cover of darkness as more men storm the clinic with guns. It seems that the men who abducted her are not her greatest threat. Now on a private charter on its way to Nice, France, her abductors are calling her Ruby – Ruby Draker!

Finding Ruby Draker is a novel about knowing yourself, accepting change, embracing danger, and taking risks. You never know what life is going to throw at you.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
Kathleen Jones lived a typical twenty-two-year-old’s life. Her major stressor was passing her college exams, which she did. She was on her way home from her final college exam before graduation when her life exploded. A house fire took everything from her – parents and sibling. Things went from bad to worse when she was kidnapped and woke up with a new face. 

You’d think the kidnappers would be the villains in this tale. They were not. People she was conspiring to run away from were, in time, the same people she found herself running towards. 

Finding Ruby Draker by Marianne Scott had had numerous people dying—on both sides of the battle. I was saddened to see some of the heroes fall. I wish I could name names, but I don’t want to ruin it for other readers. 

Finding Ruby Draker took a weird love triangle towards the end, which I still can’t wrap my head around. I don’t want to say who was involved, but I didn’t see the point in the weird shift in the two characters’ dynamic. It read strange, and even the other characters in the story were shaking their heads at the behavior of that certain female. Yes, I am being vague on purpose to avoid spoilers. 

I know no book is perfect, and editing mistakes will slip by, but I wanted to mention two that stood out regarding names. Cold Force was spelled one time with uppercase “C” and lowercase “f” but with uppercase every other time. Also, “Ruby” was referred to as “Rudy” on page 82 (print copy). I’m not sure if this will be corrected by the time my review goes up, but I wanted to note it in case it isn’t.

Those two mistakes DO NOT minimize the level of skill it took to construct the plot, characters, and surprise revelations. It kept me on the edge of my seat. 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Friesen Press Bookstore


Meet the Author
Author Marianne Scott
Marianne Scott is the Canadian author of four mystery thrillers and is currently finishing an edit on her fourth novel, a murder mystery. She has a BA and a Diploma in Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, CA. She studied creative writing through Conestoga College and Humber College. She enjoys writing workshops such as those offered by Brian Henry, publisher of the blog, Quick Brown Fox, and One Lit Place, a writers’ hub by creator/editor Jenna Kalinsky. She has an author’s website and blog is the president of The Cambridge Writers’ Collective and is a member of the Guelph Genre Writers. In September of 2018, she completed a fourth-year course in Writing Fiction at the University of Guelph under the expert teaching of Lawrence Hill. Her novels, Finding Ruby Draker and Shadows in the Aftermath are self-published. She is actively seeking representation to break into the traditional publishing world with her third and fourth novels.  
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