ARC Review: Safe Harbour

Safe Harbour is one of the best YA books I’ve read this year. Do I always say that? I feel like I say it too much, and yet if there is a cap to favorite books, I’ve to exceed that number.
Harbour’s story was both believable and heartwrenching. Even though things did not turn out as bleak as I had imagined, I still cried at the end. Fourteen-year-old Harbour is in Toronto with her dog alone. Her Dad dropped her off there and left her with some strict instructions to follow until he got back. He tells her that the government is looking for them and so she has to be extra cautious and suspicious of everyone she meets.
As you can imagine, she meets both good and bad people while she is living on the streets. The good being a librarian who helps her get a card and a kind social worker at a shelter. The bad are realistically bad, a guy who seems nice, but who is probably a sexual predator and some mentally ill homeless dudes. The story doesn’t gloss over the real problems of the homeless. Harbour and her street friends eat out of dumpsters and spend some cold nights outdoors.
The ending has a Box Car Children type ending, which, although it isn’t an ending that most teens would encounter, made a great ending for this fictional tale. All the loose ends were tied up — all in all, a book that will tug on your heartstrings. And maybe make you grateful for what you have.

You can pre-order it now prior to it’s November 16 release date.

Book (ARC) Review: HighFire

This review is for all the now-adult Artemis Fowl fans out in the world. Mr. Eoin Colfer wrote this appropriate aged book just for you 20 something readers out there.
I’m passing my ARC into the hands of my now adult sons, and I’ll update with their impressions.

Vern is an ancient dragon hiding out in the Bayou. He’s moved with the times; he even had a social media account for a while. He had to shut it down eventually because some nosy humans got too close to him. (Even dragons worry about their digital footprints!)

The dragon has a long-time handler, Waxman, who needs a break and hires a human boy, Squib, to do all the things that Vern can’t do himself in the modern world. Vern is the definition of a cranky old creature; he’s rude and likes his things just so. I love that the boy is named Squib, and the bad guy is Constable Hooke. It’s so on the nose funny.
As far as the basic plot, it’s dragon vs. all humans, and then after the dragon has a change of heart, it’s corrupt constable vs. honest townspeople with a heroesque dragon.
I feel like this book is going to be very hit or miss. The writing is excellent (those action scenes are some of the best I’ve ever read!), and even though I found the plot predictable. I wanted to love it because I have loved the Artemis Fowl books that the author also wrote.

Some of the storyline that made it Adult vs. YA was a bit over the top in crassness, but hey, if that’s your thing, I get it.
What makes it adult vs. YA? All of it. I mean, you’ve got adult behavior, (drinking, drug use) swearing, gore, straight up violence and you’ll be laughing through the whole thing.

I almost feel like he wrote it for himself, which is cool. It may be a predictable plot, but the action is nonstop, and I have to admire the author for not trying to make the story fit in some predictably sellable genre. I think that’s the main reason I enjoyed it so much. I had an idea where it was going but no idea how he was going to drive the story there. Does that make sense?

It seems like it’s set up for a sequel, too, which is good news for fans of this new world.

Highfire is scheduled for publication January 28, 2020

ARC Review: The Dark Lord Clementine

You’ll have to wait until October 1, 2019 to get your hand on this one. Go ahead and feel free to pre-order it now.

I knew I’d enjoy this book for 9-13 year old kids from this line on page 2:

Clementine Morcerous knew that if the Dark Lord Elithor had three gifts in this world, they were:

The invention and implementation of magical Dastardly Deeds.

Math

Not Talking About Anything

I was hooked from that point on. It’s a little bit like a Neil Gaiman book mixed with well, a female dark lord written for middle grade readers and me. I loved the opposite theming where Clementine has to grapple with feeling that although she’s always told that she needs to be as evil as possible, that doesn’t seem like the right path for her.

I know lots of kids who will love Clementine! She is dark (of course, as an evil warlord) but also caring. She cares about keeping her Dad in the evil Lord business and does it her own way after learning to ask for help from her new friends.