Book Review: The Lost Prince

Lost PrinceTitle: The Lost Prince

Author: Julie Kagawa

Rating: 2 of 5 Stars

Blurb: Don’t look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.

That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.

Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.

My Review: I’ll start by saying that I am a fan of Kagawa’s work and an even bigger fan of her Iron Fey series. When I heard she would be continuing the story through Ethan I was completely thrilled. So keep in mind I started this novel with high expectations and to be honest was very much disappointed.

Let me be honest, this book had the potential to be amazing. A lot of the characters that we came to know and love in The Iron Fey series make a reappearance in this novel: Puck, Grimalkin, Glitch, Ash and a few others. This was something I quite enjoyed. Also taking into account some great action scenes, romance- which you know I love, and Meghan this novel really had the potential to be amazing but let me explain what I didn’t like about it:

This book turned out to be very frustrating for me. I didn’t understand Ethan and I didn’t like his character. He has redeeming qualities like good intentions and the want to help others… But overall, I found him to be weak and a martyr. It’s like his only strength is his outer appearance- which is fierce and pretty badass. But inside he’s weak and always being bullied and manipulated. I found myself at a loss and completely not understanding his rationale and reasoning. I also hated his lack of strength and resolve.

I found Part 1 to be lacking. It was very slow to start up and I found myself with the hope that once the story really started the action would be unparalleled. Well, that wasn’t the case. I found the overall pacing to be slow and the story dragged for me. As much as I might enjoy parts of the story I had trouble connecting to the characters. And Ethan’s mom… Well, she drove me nuts. Seriously.

While I was struggling to connect to some characters, I was completely disliking another. Kenzie plays Ethan’s love interest and through some bad circumstances gets dragged along for a ride to fairyland. She really is different and I struggled to figure out her intentions. I didn’t at all trust her. I didn’t see one heroine bone in her fictional body. She was more of a pest for me. At some point, her story is revealed and it’s touching and the only point where she was a likeable character for me.

I can see that this is a great stand alone novel although it brings so much of the Iron King series into it. It’s great closure for those who read that series and enjoyed it. Seeing Meghan and Ash and where they are now… The novel for me was really hot and cold- I dislike it one minute then I feel it’s not so bad the next. I realized that the biggest negative were the characters- not only did I not connect to them but I disliked them. Furthermore, romance loving me was happy to see the sparks flying. The romance at first was very cheesy but it got better and that was definitely a plus. And also, the novel ended well.

As you can see in my rant, I didn’t particularly enjoy the book. However, I wouldn’t discourage anyone from reading it. That is unless you have high expectations for it, dislike weak characters and dislike badly paced books. This books is Kagawa’s and she brings some of her magic to The Lost Prince, it just wasn’t enough for me.

ARC was provided by Harlequin Teen via NetGalley.

Book Review + Interview: The Super Spud Trilogy by Michael Diack

Title: The Super Spud Trilogy

Author: Michael Diack

Rating: 2 of 5 Stars

Blurb: Genetic engineering has accomplished many things, one of which has been to create the Super Spud! The humble potato elevated to new heights, creating the most flavoursome crisps ever known to humankind! But that’s not all – A magical transformation occurs to all Super Spud crisps not eaten before their use-by date. They take on a life of their own. And so long as they remain undetected by humans, they enjoy life in their own Super Spud cities, take part in major Super Spud sporting events and even start the odd Super Spud war or two. Join Colin, Cougar, Hannibal Vector, Generals Rock, Jock and Strap and all the others in their rollicking adventures. You’ll never look at a packet of crisps in the same way again! Fun, quirky and totally original.

My Review: When I first came across this book I was immediately intrigued. It is unique and I loved that it’s a comedy. The blurb aptly describes the book: It is a book of The Super Spud adventures and its wide variety of characters and they are always dying off. Afterall, they are at the bottom of the food chain and are constantly dying because of humans, animals, their constant wars, for entertainment and because of accidents. Luckily there is always another Spud to replace the ones that die. I also enjoyed the different flavors and the characteristics that each flavor is known for.

I also loved all of the human references. Um… I’m not sure if that’s the right way to put it. Diack draws many parallels with the human culture as far as music, tv and history and I absolutely loved it. He found a way to put a potato chip twist on all of it and this is without a doubt one of the things I enjoyed most about The Super Spud Trilogy.

The Spuds were always on an adventure and the book definitely wasn’t boring. Yet, it could of been a lot better. It had the potential to be a great novel but I found myself not enjoying Diack’s narrative style. At times I felt the story was told and not showed. Also, I understand the there are just too many ways for spuds to die and that they do have short life spans yet I think I would have enjoyed the novel more had the characters been more consistent. (Although I understand why they aren’t. It does go against their nature to last as long as they did.)

The Super Spud Trilogy was definitely creative and unique. I particularly enjoyed the spuds that were based on human culture and history and the laughs I got in account of this book. I’m not sure what to say exactly. It gets a lot of credit from me for ingenuity but I didn’t love it all that much. I’m going to be objective and say that I think the ‘it’s me not you’ principle applies here. I’m sure a lot of people will love this novel. I on the other hand had a tough time connecting with the characters, found the Spud antics to be too repetitive and the humor lacking at times.

*I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review

Interview with the Author:
Let’s do a round of Quick Five to get to know you.
1. What would you name the autobiography of your life? In the field
2. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be? Play guitar
3. If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose? Legolas
4. What was your favorite snack as a child? A Twister ice cream bar.
5. What is your favorite Super Spud flavor? Steak and spinach flavour

Q: Have you always wanted to be an author and what motivated you to finally pick up a pen and write your first novel?
I can’t say I decided to become an author, I simply knew I had a story in my head which I wanted to write and finish. The primary goal of my writing was to make people laugh, relax and escape into this bizarre world of magical crisp packets. I told myself I’d be happy if I read a review and the reader said they laughed at least once. I love writing, it’s the ultimate form of escape for me: laptop on, music playing – I could write for hours. I don’t think I’d consider myself an author truly until I sold a heck of a lot more copies. For now I’m just another writer struggling to stand out from the crowd.

Q: Your Super Spud Trilogy is truly unique. Where did the idea for writing it come from?
When I was in primary school I was asked to write a short story. I wrote about Colin and Lucy the crisp packets, who came alive after their use-by date expired and, after becoming separated, met up again at the local rubbish tip and lived happily after. When I was 19, I remembered the story and went from there. The first chapter of the book is essentially my primary school story, just with a different ending. I wanted to write something that was funny, unique and a bit different, while also paying a tribute to the films and their characters which I grew up with and idolized – James Bond, Indiana Jones and Batman to name a few. It is a bit different to all other books out there and it hasn’t been to everyone’s taste, but I’d rather be remembered for that than writing something that’s been done a thousand times before.

Q: What was your favorite part of writing this novel?
To be honest it is always fun writing about the Super Spuds. I love drawing parallels between the human world and the Super Spud world, while creating new and wacky technologies and outlandish scenarios. I struggled with the first few chapters, it was hard to nail down the magical rules and to try and make walking, talking crisp packets seem remotely feasible to the reader. I think my favourite part is King Martin’s adventure, with the trip to the North Pole to save Santa and the team trials in the adventure playground of Mt Hiba. I also enjoyed the Italy chapter and paying tribute to Mulder and Scully.

Q: What songs would be included in your ideal soundtrack for The Super Spud Trilogy?
The Super Spuds love a good karaoke and I’m partial to a bit of cheesy pop, rock and power ballads, so there would have to be some Michael Jackson, Aerosmith, Meat Loaf, Chesney Hawkes and the Baywatch theme ‘I’ll be ready’. Living on the edge by Aerosmith would sum up the Super Spuds’ perilous lifestyle perfectly.

Q: What’s next for you? Can we expect to see any more of your work anytime soon?
Yes, I will be releasing the fourth book in the next few months. It focuses on four main characters: King Martin, G-Boa, Kate and General Nectarine and sees them travelling to China, sailing the Pacific, visiting Hollyspud, meeting the US President, flying on Air Spud One and encountering pirates, zombies and their most evil Super Spud to date. There are also a host of new flavours to add depth to the story and even a trip to the moon by Astrospuds Neil and Buzz. The story will be fast-paced and lots of fun, but more emphasis on character dialogue, plotline and developing the Super Spud world as a whole. The main criticism for the first book was the number of deaths, which is due to the extreme vulnerability of the Super Spuds, but in Book 4 there won’t be as many and hopefully readers will feel more engaged with the characters. It’s also much more conventional in the plot building, while the previous book each chapter was almost an individual adventure, in Book 4 it all builds up to the final, enormous confrontation between the good and evil Super Spuds. Another main difference with this book is a lot of the action takes place at sea, involving two flavours we didn’t see much of in the first three books – the sea salt flavours and Fisherman’s Friend flavours.

Book Review: My Vampire Summer

Title: My Vampire Summer

Author: Elle Casey

Rating: 2 of 5 Stars

Blurb: My Vampire Summer, a novella, the first novella in a series of four … Reserved bookworm Iona Candella and her best friend, wildchild Cheri Blake, are spending the summer before college in a small medieval town in France. Iona plans to spend the time reading 100 books on her Kindle and Cheri plans to spend it interfering in Iona’s book reading/hibernation plan and finding gorgeous French boyfriends to help them pass the time instead. Both of them get more than they bargained for or even imagined. Ancient curses, haunted castle ruins, crypts protected by supernatural serpents. My Vampire Summer is a veritable YA Fantasy banquet, all in a novella-sized package.

My Review: This is not a bad book. Casey is known for capturing the reader’s attention and easily does this in My Vampire Summer. However, I simply feel this book was not for me.

About the book: Iona is the main character, which by the way, I love her name. She goes to vacation in France with her mother the summer after her high school graduation. Her BFF Cheri also comes along and I’m not too sure how I feel about her. She has the best intentions but she is truly rough around the edges in my opinion. Her way of approaching things and her obnoxious attitude tended to grate on my nerves. But then she is such a persistently good friend that I couldn’t stay mad at her for too long. Ahem… I see I got side tracked- Back to my synopsis. Cheri goes to France with the idea of finding herself a summer romance and Iona goes in love with her Kindle and hopes to do nothing more than sit around and meet her goal of reading at least 50 books over the summer. However, it turns out that they get more than they bargained for when a series of events leads to Iona breaking down and entering an alternate reality from her padded cell in a mental institution. Haha… Just kidding. Sort of. Iona finds herself in a situation she’s only read about in novels and yep you guessed it: Vampires. She deals with it by convincing herself that she’s lost her marbles.

I have to say… This novella was not at all what I expected. I have come to find that Casey has a very unique voice and when she writes I instantly recognize her. With My Vampire Summer…. This was not at all the case. Overall this book is about friendship, innocence, love and romance. Not really a bad read. Just not for me. It reminded me a bit (or a lot) of Vampire Kisses. Like the School Library Journal said in its review of Vampire Kisses “All in all, a good read for those who want a vampire love story without the gore.” Well this statement also coincides with My Vampire Summer. I therefore definitely recommend this read to fans of Vampire Kisses, you will love this novella.

My issue with My Vampire Summer is that I found it a little too juvenile for me. It makes me think I may  need to recategorize my genre from YA to mature YA. I feel as if it was intended for a younger audience and I found myself not connecting with the characters. There was however lots of mystery and intrigue. I might read the sequel to give this series another shot and to uncover some of it’s mystery.

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

Book Review: The Goddess Test

Title: The Goddess Test (Goddess Test #1)

Author: Aimee Carter

Rating: 2 of 5 Stars

Synopsis: EVERY GIRL WHO HAS TAKEN THE TEST HAS DIED.

NOW IT’S KATE’S TURN.

It’s always been just Kate and her mom–and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate’s going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear that her mother won’t live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld–and if she accepts his bargain, he’ll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he’s crazy–until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she’ll become Henry’s future bride and a goddess.

IF SHE FAILS…

My Review: The book was pretty good. I enjoyed it and was hooked from the beginning. The romance was beautiful and a little different but I loved every minute if it. I also enjoyed Carter’s interpretation of Greek mythology. It was unique and very well told. I enjoyed Henry’s character. He is dark and mysterious but he’s surprisingly vulnerable and endearing. He was by far my favorite character.

Now, I can’t say the same for the other characters. With the exception of Kate who was a pretty likable character. She was very human. Does that make sense? She is realistic, someone I would expect to see on the street, someone I felt I could relate to. She had strengths and weaknesses that made her very believable. However, there was one thing I disliked about her. She seems to have the weight on the world on her shoulders and she constantly blames herself for everything. No matter how small a fault or insignificant a detail may be, she uses it to bring herself down. But back to what I was saying, I wasn’t a big fan of any of the other characters. In truth, I was often turned off to the book because of them.

For those of you who read the synopsis know that the book leads up to a test or moment that defines her status. Did she pass or fail the test and what will happen next? Immortality or death? I thought that when that when I finally came to that scene, it would be amazing. But there I was feeling disgusted. I can’t at all say I enjoyed this ending. There is a crazy, last plot twist that kind of ruined the entire book for me. The plot twist itself and Kate’s way of handling it- I found it unrealistic.

Would I recommend this book? I’ll leave it up to you. Do you like endings with crazy plot twist that leave you confused? Do you enjoying seeing characters uncharacteristically get over betrayal, lies and deceit? Are you not a sucker for happy endings? If yes to all of the above this is the book for you. For those of you who said no to these questions beware: You will read this book and enjoy it, it really is quite good, but the end will leave you unhappy and dissatisfied.