Station Fosaan by Dee Garretson

Station FosaanMonth9Books, 2017.

The scientists recruited to go to Fosaan were promised a tropical paradise for their families to live in, but the truth is the planet smells of sulfur, the ocean is incredibly salty, and the jungle is full of incredibly dangerous animals. Still, Quinn’s not too bothered by those things, since there are so many cool animals to study and document. He’s curious about the native Fosaanians, too, but he’s never really had contact with them, that is, until he finds one stealing food from his kitchen. She’s beautiful and there’s so much she could tell him about her culture and the planet. Quinn’s glad to help her out by giving her food if it will encourage her to stick around and talk to him.

Unfortunately, there’s no time for the teens to get to know one another before the planet’s thrown into crisis. The scientists are all in orbit in the labs, the kids are alone on the planet, and communications are down. Something is very wrong and it’s going to be up to Quinn and his new friend to lead the way to a solution.

In Station Fosaan, Dee Garretson has given reader an engrossing book with appealing characters. They’re typical teens in a very atypical setting. Station Fosaan has enough potential romance to appeal to the romantically inclined and enough danger and action to appeal to the most seasoned gamer. Plus, for readers that like to stick with their favorite characters for a while, this is the first book in the Torch World series, so we haven’t seen the last of Quinn and Mira. Stay tuned!

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Hit the Ground Running by Mark Burley

Hit the Ground RunningBlue Moon Publishers, 2017.

Eric hasn’t talked much with his family since his parents suddenly moved from San Francisco to British Columbia—he was just too mad about the changes they forced him to make. He hasn’t bothered to get to know the other students at his boarding school, either. That would seem too much like acquiescing, so he spends his free time outdoors avoiding the other students and practicing the parkour he loves. But when Eric gets a video message from his brother, he learns that their parents have been taken and his brother’s on the run, so Eric’s forced to come out of his isolation to find them.

Before long, Eric has cobbled-together an action team and they’re off to solve the kidnappings of Eric’s family, but before he’s even had a chance to become the hunter, Eric finds that he’s actually the hunted. He’ll need his extensive knowledge and contacts from traveling the world with his anthropologist parents, his skill at parkour, and a handful of talented friends to survive this little adventure.

I chose this book because I was intrigued by the idea of a YA parkour thriller, and it didn’t disappoint. Eric is a sympathetic and engaging character. As the title suggests, Hit the Ground Running is fast-paced, but unlike some thrillers, the plot is easy to follow. The characters may be moving constantly, but the story allows readers to get to know them, their flaws, and their motivations. There’s parkour, science, cool tech, and even a paranormal element. Two more books are in the works to complete the series, and I’m looking forward to reading them.

Happy Book Birthday to Hit the Ground Running!

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading

Kitty Hawk 12016

Kitty Hawk’s favorite place in the world is in her pontoon plane flying over the earth. She’s been flying with her dad since she was tiny, but the summer after high school Kitty makes a plan to leave her hometown of Tofino on Vancouver Island and head up to Alaska. There she’ll spend the summer using her plane and specially mounted cameras to observe humpback whales in their feeding grounds.

In Juneau Kitty learns a lot about the whales and their habits, and she also learns about Alaska’s gold rush history. Before long, Kitty’s caught up in a modern news story of a gold robbery–so caught up, in fact, that she just might be heading into trouble, but that trouble might just turn into the adventure of her life.

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold begins with not one but two prefaces. Each presents a different cliffhanger that will occur at some point in Kitty’s future. I found this confusing. Once through the prefaces, this action-packed adventure has a decidedly slow start which I fear is likely to discourage young readers. In addition Kitty Hawk’s practically perfectness can be annoying at times. That said, after about chapter nine I read more enthusiastically through to the book’s conclusion.

Billed as a young adult book, I’d recommend Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold for upper-middle-grade readers. It’s clean and young-feeling, and I think Kitty’s idealism will appeal more to tween readers than to those in high school. It’s a travelogue as well as an adventure story, so readers who are eager to learn about different places all over the world will likely embrace this and the other Kitty Hawk stories in the series.

 

The Falconer by Elizabeth May

FalconerChronicle Books, 2014

Kam is not your ordinary Victorian debutante. She was quite an eligible catch in Edinburgh society—that is until the grisly murder of her mother. Now Kam lives under dual shadows of pity and suspicion. But Kam cares little about how others see her—much less than she once would have—for with her mother’s murder she discovered another world, a world that changed her life. Now Kam spends her evenings battling and killing faeries, and her greatest challenge is how to hide her new badass self in the façade of the demure debutante she once was.

Ironically, the only ones who know Kam for her new faerie-slaying self are her partner and trainer, an uber-powerful faerie and the pixie who inhabits her closet, fixes her clothes, and drinks all the honey he can get his little hands on. Soon, Kam’s going to have to get beyond her one-faerie-a-night killing spree because the most powerful faeries, the ones that have been safely locked away for thousands of years, are about to get free, and if Kam doesn’t stop them, they’ll be coming for her and for everything she loves best.

I requested this book from NetGalley because the title led me to believe I’d be delving into a world of medieval bird wielders. Well, not so much, but I certainly was not disappointed. A strong heroine is exactly what appeals to me in a Victorian setting. I much prefer the young woman whose main concern is hiding her weapons in her ball gown than the one who’s agonizing about how to fill her dance card. The steam punk elements are great fun to contemplate, and the main characters’ histories and personalities are complicated enough to be mused over in the times one must stop reading to attend to real-world responsibilities.

I went from this book straight to The Vanishing Throne, the second book in the series which did not disappoint. The Fallen Kingdom, the third book in the series, is out in June. I’ve got the ARC waiting in my reader, and I’m eagerly awaiting the moment that it rises to the top of my to be read list!