The Diadem of Death by B. R. Myers

diadem of deathBook Two of the Nefertari Hughes Mystery Series

Blue Moon Publishers, 2017.

Nefertari Hughes is at it again. She’s recovered from her escapades, and her injuries, from the high jinks in The Asp of Ascention. In fact, she’s finally starting to feel at home in her new town of Devonshire. She’s got a boyfriend and two other good friends, and it’s the summer before senior year. Terry’s got big plans for the summer and the year ahead.

Unfortunately, those comfortable plans are not to be. Terry and her dad are called back to Egypt to the dig at the site of Cleopatra’s tomb—the dig where Terry was injured and her mother was killed only a year ago. Terry’s dad is convinced that Terry has the key to finding the Cleopatra, and she wants to finish her mother’s life’s work. But will she be strong enough to enter the tomb again? And how will she shake the strangers that want to keep her away from the search for Cleopatra?

The Diadem of Death is a strong sequel to The Asp of Ascension. It’s every bit as action-packed as the first book in the series, and the Egyptian setting can’t be beat.

These books will keep readers entertained and engaged. They are at a good reading and content level for upper middle grade or lower young adult readers.

I enjoyed reading The Diadem of Death immensely. I’ll definitely be looking for more books in this series by B. R. Myers.

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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!

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.