Book Review: The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

I took my son to the library to exchange his books (or renewal and get more books).  Whilst he was struggling with the dilemma of  choosing his new books and returning books he loves, my husband pointed this book out to me.  I have always wanted to write a novel about faeries so this was to be a fun read and research into how someone else has done it.

The MC is a boy called Ethan Chase.  I don’t read many books with a male protagonist so this was a refreshing change and it was done well.   Skip to my final thoughts it you don’t want any spoilers.


 Ethan is aware fae exist and has a troubled past with them.   In the opening chapters he shares how they are dangerous and the result of their interference in his life has lead to him being expelled from schools and blamed for a fire he didn’t cause. 

Ethan is starting another new school. On his first day, he stands up for a boy being bullied, Todd. Nobody else can see that Todd has long furry ears but it is because he is a half-fae.  Ethan doesn’t want to be friends with Todd as he distances himself from all fae.  He also doesn’t like Todd’s wee fairy companion.

Ethan also attracts the attention of Mackenzie, who wants to interview him for the school paper.  He tries to push Mackenzie away as anybody that gets close to him always gets hurt but she is persistent.  


A  deadly new type of fairy are consuming fae and half-fae.  Todd asks for Ethan’s help.  At first Ethan doesn’t want to get involved but he takes pity and agrees.  Unfortunately, Todd is taken and now the creatures are coming after Ethan.  Ethan is at a martial arts tournament where Mackenzie is trying to get his story but during the tournament the deadly fae come for him.  Nobody else can see them.  Ethan runs.  Mackenzie follows.  

Ethan needs to keep Mackenzie safe. He makes a choice to use a special object his sister gave him to transport into the fae world.  They are greeted by a cat, Grimalkin, who knows the way to the Iron Kingdom where his sister, Meghan, is queen.   The journey is dangerous but when they arrive his sister wants to keep him safe.  They are sent to a room to ‘rest’ but feels more like prison.  When Ethan and Mackenzie get the opportunity to escape with the help of Keirran. 

On their mission to rescue Todd, there are a lot of truths uncovered which I won’t go into.  Their are fights.  There were some very interesting characters along the way.  I liked Kierran’s love interest and the exiled queen and the cheeky little gremlin.  

They travel to the earth and are attacked again. They manage to escape to the in-between and learn how serious the problem is.  They visit Hyde Park to follow a lead but things get worse for the gang when the nephew is taken prisoner.

Something I really enjoyed was the slow burning romance between the Ethan and Mackenzie. There is plenty of conflict between them and good reasons why they hold back. I couldn’t wait for them to get together.  

The Ending

The build up to a battle where Ethan has to save his friends (and nephew) was worth it.  There were also some reveals that I hadn’t seen coming and I liked that the supporting characters were well developed too. 

Finally Thoughts…

There were a few times Ethan annoyed me.  He blames himself for Todd being kidnapped but I didn’t really see why it was his fault, after all, Todd was a fairy and hung around with the fae.  Ethan made it clear that doing that meant trouble was inevitable.  I got that he felt responsible for what happened to Mackenzie but she wouldn’t leave him alone.  She did bring it on herself too.  

What I loved was how all the characters were well developed.  You could easily tell who was speaking and they all had rich backstories.  There were plenty of magical creatures and I loved the world building especially the ‘in-between’ world.  

I hadn’t realised the book was part of a series (it’s book 5 in the Iron Fey series).  I was really pleased when I discovered that as I wanted to read more.  I wonder if some of the things that didn’t click with me is because I need to read the other books.  For example, I want to know more about Meghan and why she is the Iron Queen and why Ethan holds so much resentment for the Iron Fey.  

If you like this post, you will enjoy:

Why I love YALC

Book Review: Deepest Blue by Sarah Beth Durst

Book Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Book Review:  Blind Tiger by Rachel Vincent

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Why I love YALC

If you are a fan of YA Literature then you need to check out this book festival. It runs annually in London during the last weekend of July and the book deals are so good you’ll travel home like a pack donkey.

The book deals!

It’s easy to get carried away so here are some tips to help you curb your inner book dragon:

Here is what I bought:

The deal was three for £10 and a free Epic Reads tote. Because I chose a two hardbacks it bumped up to £12 which is still incredible value and I got the last tote!

The book nerd in me is looking forward to my showing off my new bag at my next library visit. I’m going to look epic!

These books from Bloomsbury were three for £10. They’ve been on my wish list for ages as I’ve seen people recommend them on IG. I’ve been warned they are steamy!

It was a total accident that all the books are by authors named Sarah. Did you notice? Do you like any books by a Sarah?

Author Panels

There is something amazing about meeting the mind behind a novel. Lots of the stalls are hosted by authors themselves and are happy to sign a copy of their book if you own a copy. In addition, the festival has panels and talks where the authors talk about their novels.

In addition, there are scheduled events where groups of authors chat to a live audience. Their is often someone asking questions and the talk is on a set subject.

Workshops by Industry experts

Experts from the industry deliver workshops during the festival. These are often run by authors, Literary Agents, Editors or publishers but the list is endless.

I attended a workshop in the Agent Arena by Zoe Plant talking about editing. Editing is one of the aspects that I find incredibly difficult with writing a novel as it is a massive task and I am not confident in my abilities. She had great advice on what to expect but not only was the talk really informative, it was also an opportunity to get to know Zoe too. I had not seen her before and she is truly lovely.

I also attended the Author & Agent talk between Literary Agent Chloe Seager and her non-fiction author Laura Coryton. Laura is a campaigner against Tampon Tax. I had heard about this before and think I signed the petition ages ago. It turns out that Chloe also signed the petition and decided that this would be a great subject for a non-fiction book to empower young adults. Chloe approached Laura to propose the idea and Speak Up! was born. It was fascinating to see how the non-fiction industry works in comparison to fiction novels. It was also extremely valuable to hear about Chloe as an agent as she has been a favourite of mine for a long time now.

Pitch to agents

If you are an author with a completed novel, looking for representation, then this is an awesome event to attend. Here, you get an opportunity to spend five minutes with a potential Literary Agent to sell them your novel. It’s an opportunity to be seen above the slush pile.

It’s not guaranteed that they will be interested. I pitched two years ago and wasn’t confident in myself. We ended up chatting about identifying my books place in the market but I did gain a little bit of experience in pitching, mainly what not to do.

This time, I felt more prepared (although still incredibly nervous) and I pitched to two agents who both asked me to send it to them. I also had a writer friend encouraging me to do it which really helped.

Fellow readers and writers

That leads me on to my next point. The festival is full of fellow readers as you would expect but a lot of readers are also writers. This year, I got to meet one of my online writer friends at YALC. She was so lovely we spent the day together.

Win competitions

The festival is full of competitions eager to get you to sign up and raise awareness. @hellomeitsyou tweeted to say I was their Sunday winner. I had already left so sent them my address so I can receive my prize. When I receive it, I’ll post a pic to IG.

If you like this, then you will enjoy:

Felixstowe Book Festival – The Publishing Industry

#PitMad June 2019 Summary

How I edited my novel – 12 tips for self editing


I am getting so excited about my upcoming date with YALC! I can’t wait to be surrounded by all those wonderful books, authors and influential people in the industry.

But London is expensive and a long day out for me so I’ve thought about what to take and wear.

What I’ll wear

I want to be comfortable so I will be wearing flat shoes. Not only will this trip involve a lot of travelling for me but also book festivals involve a lot of walking around visiting the stands. I couldn’t believe me luck when I discovered this cute T-Shirt in a sale at NewLook with the slogan “Don’t judge a book by its cover!”

I’ll also want my makeup to last all day so I’ll be wearing Pacifica waterproof mascara and Ere Perez lip stain in Joy. I’ll take my rose facial spritz in case it is sticky hot and sun lotion in case I am out in the sun.

What I’ll pack

I haven’t decided what bag to take yet but I plan to pack a notepad, and a reusable shopping bag for all the books I buy.

I will also pack my water bottle, snacks and, if I’m organised enough, a pack lunch.

And finally…

My last bit of prep will be to check my travel details and time with my friend. We’ll likely drive part of the way and the train/underground the rest. I’ll also double check I’ve got my tickets.

Also, someone I connected with on Instagram is going too. We are hoping to meet up. I’m super excited as I’ve never met an online friend before.

I don’t travel to London very often. What tips do you have for me to ensure my trip is a success? Are you going to YALC?

If you enjoyed this, you may like:

Felixstowe Book Festival – Containment

Summer Literary Festivals

Uk Literary Festival tour dates

I went to YALC – did you? (2017) 

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Ally plus text

Sample chapter from Drift


This is my YA Fantasy Romance on Wattpad.  I am currently querying agents to try and get it published the traditional route.  Today, I thought I would share with you a chapter that I really enjoyed writing and inspired my NaPoWriMo poem for Day 8.


Drift - cover

Would you kiss your rival, if they promised to help you get the guy you fancy? Mariah is crushing on her BFF, Jace. She’s heartbroken when he starts dating Kiara but with an unusual offer from Murray she has the chance to ruin the blossoming romance. The price? Just a kiss.

Little does she know that this kiss will awaken her storm summoning powers and with no idea she’s a mermaid, strange things begin to happen. Can she gain control of her powers before someone gets hurt or worse?

In this ‘fishy tail’, Mariah’s complicated love life is just the ‘spark’ of her problems!

Dear reader, the song is “All of me” by John Legend.  Thanks, Ally


26.  Don’t Tell

As if waiting for me, the moment I hit the concrete slabs, the sky opened up and rain poured from the sky. It was hard and cold, possibly even sleet. It was heavy and I knew the field would be soaked before my feet even touched the muddy grass. No longer caring for my own well being, I belted across the slippery field leaving a trail of deep wet pools in my wake. I could feel the mud sucking around my feet and oozing between my toes but I ran away from the hall as fast as I could. Who would care if I slipped and fell? I certainly didn’t! Getting as far away as possible was the only thing I could think of.

I arrived at the pool house. The door was locked but there was a sensor light in the porch that came on. Turning the doorway into my little lit sanctuary, I sunk down. The silky dress stuck to my body like a second skin, soaked to my bitter bones. The shoes were ruined, caked in wet mud.

From cold and fear, I shivered, knowing I needed to inspect my hands. I lifted them up in front of me and slowly unfolded my fists, palms up. As I stared down, I instantly saw the tell tale blue tinge and quickly snapped my hands shut.

That was close!

Despair turned to relief. Any longer and who knew what might have happened. The rain fell like a curtain at the edge of the porch, thumping an urgent drum overhead, but my hiding place was reassuringly safe and dry as I clutched my knees to me. The storm could rage around me but here I couldn’t be touched. I shivered in the little wet flimsy dress as calm gently claimed me.

“Goldie!” I heard. In the darkness, I knew it was Murray. I couldn’t see him but under the light he could see me. I got to my feet and considered running.

Murray came into view, flustered and mad. He stood looking wild and… rather sexy in front of me. There was something captivating about him I had never noticed before. Perhaps the rain was good for him. He ripped his shirt open showing the toned body I had become familiar with at the swimming club and moved closer, coming under my shelter. I backed up, confused and frightened by his strange behaviour. Then I saw it. There above each peck were four dark round circles.

I squinted, “Did you get a tattoo?”

“You did this!” He said angrily. “What did you do to me?”

Shaking I leaned in to inspect the marks. They were fresh, his skin was red as if his flesh had been scolded, “You’re burnt!” I couldn’t understand how this could have happened. Only minutes ago we had been dancing. I looked accusingly at my hands and backed up even more. “Stay away! I’m dangerous!”

I felt sick as the realisation that I had harmed Murray, scared his body, became a reality.

Murray made an angry growl of a noise and I stepped back further. As his hand thrust forward a strange thing happened. It was as if time froze, making the rain pause, suspended in mid flow. But time was moving, it was moving very quickly but so much was happening my mind was stretching it out deliberately allowing me to take in as much detail as possible causing the longest seconds of my life. Murray’s hand reached forward for me and I dodged out of his way. As he pushed past the rain drops, they froze frost white and collected in his hands, clinking like marbles in the unnatural slowness. Then as his arm stretched forward, the hail stones flew from his palm. They shot forward like icy bullets, smashing into the door to the pool house and shattering its glass panel.

He was as shocked as me. He glanced down at his right hand to see hoarfrost was building, covering his fingers in delicate little white needles. He crunched his fingers to his palm and watched the ice break and fall away. Unlike the shards of glass by the door, these icy fragments melted and joined the puddles caused by the rain. He opened his hands and the frost began to build again. The ice cast a strange blue glow across his features that made him look dark and twisted, as if he was possessed.

“Stop it Murray!” I begged. “If anyone sees you…” I didn’t know what would happen but I imagined that it wouldn’t be good.

We’d become lab rats for scientists to make sense of the phenomen. My unknown family would be in danger as they hunted more of us. I could be forced to harm more people or locked up to get everyone safe.

I knew what had happened to Murray was my fault. Somehow, I had transferred my storm summoning into him. Had I cured myself of the retched ability; passed on the curse?

Murray clenched hisjaw, fear caught in his eye. He didn’t understand what was happening and neither did I. I had to take care of him, “Come on.”

I reached through the smashed glass to unlock the door. We hurried into the reception. My plan was that once inside no-one could see what was going on and I’d have some time to calm Murray down.

The Reception felt wide and open and I realised we couldn’t stay there; anyone walking past would see us. Out of sight was where we needed to be, but the next room was the changing rooms. Despite breaking and entering there was something wrong about having a guy in the girls changing room and I didn’t feel I was allowed in the men’s. So, I ended up leading him all the way through to the pool side. I sat him down on one of the brick islands.

His fingers were blue and he now tossed an icy cloud between his hands. It was similar to juggling, except the ball was made of vapour and moved slowly. He was still shaking as he watched his hands; his expression a mixture of fear and fascination. The room was dark but I had no intention of looking for the main light switch. The lamps under the water that lit up the pool were providing enough light for us both. It reflected and danced across the top of the pool invitingly.

“You need to get calm.” I told him.

He jumped to his feet. He was restless and wouldn’t stay still. “What’s happening to me?”

“Calm…” I repeated seriously. I pressed down on the air around me with my palms for emphasis.

“I can’t!” He paced the side of the pool. The mist snaked between his fingers, leaving trails of smoke that ran over the floor and pool.

I got up and gripped hold of his forearms.

“Please Murray. You need to calm down.” I begged.

His body shook with fear. His eyes looked wildly around the room desperately seeking an escape from this madness. He was all over the place. He felt icy cold but I could see beads of sweat on his forehead. He clearly wasn’t going to calm down anytime soon.

“Hello? Is anyone in here?” An unfamiliar voice called from Reception.

Someone had found the smashed door. I worried who it might be; the police. They were probably looking for the person responsible for the broken door. If were caught, I’d no idea how to explain it. They would never believe the truth. We’d have to lie… I couldn’t think of any lie that could explain what Murray was doing.

My heart was a ticking clock, not long and they’d find us. The panic flashed on Murray’s face. The  intruder wasn’t helping things at all. I had to get Murray calm. Fast!

27.  Revelations

I had to calm Murray. Fast! I bit my lip.  In my panic only one solution came to mind.  I grabbed his face and pressed my lips against his. His skin was ice cold against mine as I transferred my warmth into his body.

My solution took him by surprise. He was startled, took a step back and with his weight we toppled into the pool together. The water wasn’t heated and the cool wrapped us in a chilly embrace. His hand slid up my back, holding me against him. I felt a tingle of electricity ripple between our bodies, reaching from our kiss down to my toes; an amazing sensation. My legs wrapped around his to pull him closer. We became a tangled octopus of lust.

I felt his body warm against mine, the cold dispersed. I didn’t want to stop kissing him but I could feel the intensity of his feelings as if they were my own. We were connected in a way I had never felt before, two heartbeats pumping in unison.

Even with my eyes shut, I sensed the light to the pool room being switched on. The glow shone through my eyelids, invading our privacy and caused me to break away. I had forgotten about the voice and realised that someone was checking the room.

I put a finger to my lips. Murray nodded and copied me to show he understood. We gripped hold of the vent in the pool to keep us under the water. At least we were both good at holding our breath. We just had to stay still so not to cause any more ripples.

I hoped Murray had enough air;  neither of us had expected to be in the water so we hadn’t taken a lungful. I grinned as I recalled the big kiss instead.

There was a cut on Murray’s neck, just below his jaw. My hand reached forward to inspect it and I realised it wasn’t a cut but… it was impossible, it was a gill, an actual gill! My hand reached for my own neck and as my hair floated back I felt a strange flap of skin in the same place. Murray saw and his head jutted forward to inspect. He slowly went through the same motions as I had. It was as if we were communicating underwater without words. Was this physical abnormality a part of being a merallo? If it was, did that mean Murray was one too? Did that make Kiara one too?

Our eyes met; our look deep and intense speaking a language that has no words. Then I saw his eyes had changed. The pupils were stretched into long thin slits like frog eyes – like how Annie had described my eyes the day Mr Griffen had offered me a place on the team. Now I knew, this was why mum insisted on me wearing goggles. Under the water his silver eyes shone and I could only dream that my eyes could look as beautiful as his. Bright and glowing like two large full moons.

The light went off and we were alone again. The lamps from the pool lit up our underwater world. It felt magical and a million miles from the drama of my life. Murray took off his shirt and the light cotton material floated away. My heart raced as I saw the glistening marks upon his chest. Under the water they didn’t look like burns, they were silver. The tips of my fingers rested upon the indents, a perfect match like a key to a lock.

His hands slipped around my waist and I felt myself being pulled close for another kiss. My body succumbed to his will. It was futile to resist but somehow with all my strength I pushed away and kicked out at the water. He clung to me as we rose to the top. We broke the surface and I saw his face was flushed with colour and his eyes sparkled with anticipation of another around.

“We have to get out of here!” I told him.

He shook his head but I ignored him and gripped hold of the side. I lifted myself up out of the water and was about to climb out onto the side when I felt him grip hold of my legs pulling me back. My knee slammed down hard and scraped against the hard concrete as he pulled me back towards the water. I twisted round so I could see what he was doing, my butt now resting on the edge.

I had no idea what he was playing at but I was terrified. I snapped my legs back from his grip and with two quick cycle kicks I hit one foot into his chest and the other into his jaw. I used the momentum to project myself away from him and the pool and safely onto the side. Quickly, I wriggled to my feet and backed away from the water’s edge.

Murray gripped his jaw and sucked his lip. It seemed my kick had caused him to bite down and now blood ran from his mouth and down his chin. I didn’t feel guilty. He had to get his emotions under control otherwise who knew what could happen? Besides my knees hurt from where he’d made me fall.  Plus, I couldn’t have him getting the wrong idea about us either! We were just friends after all and that kiss was just a survival tactic.

“What are you thinking?” I yelled. My arms flew out animated around me. Whenever I am mad, my hands start talking. “They could come back here any minute and remember you smashed the door!”

“Sorry!” Murray swam towards the steps. He fished out his shirt along the way. I felt a twang of guilt but knew I had to keep my own feelings under control. This was his fault anyway. Mum told me never to kiss him and he had forced himself on me in the stairwell. Now look where we were! This was surely a consequence from that!

“We have no time for stories! We have to get out of here… like now!” I hurried towards the fire exit doors at the back of the room. I pushed down on the bar and we were back outside in the cool breeze. The rain had stopped.

I looked down at my dress. I was soaked. I couldn’t go back to the school disco and drip all over the dance floor.

Looking back at Murray, he was trying to put his shirt back on. It was ruined, with eight black holes scorched through the front of the material, thanks to my carelessness. Without his shirt you could see where I had scorched his flesh and scarred his body. I wondered how permanent those marks would be. Instinctively my fingers reached out and ran across them. “Sorry,” I shuddered. As much as I tried to find reasons for why this was Murray’s fault, I knew this incident was my own doing. “Does it hurt?”

“Not anymore.” He said gently, his finger caught my chin and lifted my face up. My eyes met his. “What happened back there?”

I understood then how mum must have felt when I asked her to explain the unexplainable. I didn’t have the answers but I knew he had nowhere else to go. “…I don’t know.” I confessed.

“Our kiss?” He drew nearer. “You can’t deny you felt it.”

I shook him off. “I only did it to calm you down.”

He laughed. “That was supposed to calm me down? ” He moved closer. I stepped back and I found myself, once again, pressed against a wall. My heart beat dangerously fast as I recalled how things went last time I was in this position. “You got me all fired up!” His tongue licked across his bruised lip.

His lustful intent was drawn on his face and I wasn’t going to allow myself to be pictured again by his phone. I ducked down and under his arm, free from his grasp. “Murray, if you want to talk, don’t hit on me, alright?”

“I’ll try.” He said with a smirk.

I had never seen anyone behave like this before. Part of me liked it and that part of me was drawn to the danger he proposed. The other part of me, the sensible part, knew I couldn’t let him that close to me again; it frightened me. He made me feel vulnerable with no control over what he was doing. “You can’t tell anyone what happened today. Please pretend it never happened.”

“That’s going to be hard.” He grinned.

“We’re just friends!” I reminded him.

“I wish I had more friends like you.” He joked. His laugh sounded strangled and I knew he wasn’t trying to be funny but trying to shake off the pain of my words. He laughed to repress those unwelcome thoughts. I understood that feeling too well but I couldn’t comfort him; I knew how easily affections could be misread. I cringed at the number of times, Jace’s gentle unintentional touch or look had caused my heart to race.

“I don’t know what caused this, Murray, but I do know it’s dangerous. You have to stay calm, no matter what.”

Murray nodded as if he understood. We began to move away from the pool house and returned to the party. The storm seemed to have cleared, as if blown away with my mood and the silence was chilling. The hairs on my arm stood to attention. I felt I needed to say something, anything.

“How are we going to explain this?” I asked holding out the corners of my wet dress as if I was about to curtsy.

“I think you’ve never looked better.” He grinned.

“Seriously, Murray!” I blushed. I knew where his eyes had settled. I shivered. The flimsy fabric clung to every part of me, revealing it all. I tried to conceal myself by wrapping my arms across my chest.

“The rain?” Murray said effortlessly.

“That will work for me. What about you?”

I eyed his torn shirt. It flapped loosely around him. He had only the lower three buttons left and four burnt holes in the fabric on either side of his exposed chest. As my gaze lifted I noticed he was watching me. “Hope my parents don’t notice.” He grinned. “If they do I will just have to explain you ripped it in a moment of lust and I had to fight you off.”

I punched his arm, “You wish!”

The music in the distance had come to an end and we could hear a chorus of people flooding out into the car park. Our time to construct a cover-up plan had passed. I would have to hope that Murray’s parents were as oblivious as he thought.

“Mariah, I can pretend this never happened if that’s really what you want…” Murray said seriously. “But, you will need to explain this, all of it.  Otherwise I’m going to have to start talking to find answers.”

“Are you threatening me?” I swallowed a lump in my throat.

“I’d never threaten you.” He laughed at the idea. “But this is the craziest night of my life.   What happened did happen, no matter what we pretend.  And you’re a bad actress.”

“What do you mean?”

“You’re too calm for someone who knows nothing?”

“I swear this is all new to me too. All I know is that I am a merallo and I think you are too.”

“What’s a merallo?”

Wasn’t that my first question? I sighed knowing how ridiculous this sounded but hoping in light of the evenings events that he would understand. “We have storm summoning powers and the ability to shift into a mermaid type creature.”

“You’ve turned into a mermaid?”

“N… No….” I stuttered. “I… I… just had an accident with some lightening and… Look, I know none of this makes sense… I can’t explain ’cause I honestly don’t know myself ” As I held my hands in front of me I saw lightning ripple between my fingers.

“Cool.” Murray said impressed.

“No,” I pleaded desperately, “It’s not cool. If we don’t stay calm, we are very dangerous. We could kill someone. You’re lucky to be alive. Until we figure this out you can’t get worked up over anything. You’ve got to stay calm. Do you understand?”

“Sorry.” Murray said solemnly and nodded in agreement.

“As soon as I know more, I’ll find you.  I’ll tell you.”

Murray smiled.  “I like the idea of you hunting me out.”

I rolled my eyes and we made our way towards the masses in silence.  I caught sight of Jace, with his arm around Kiara as they waited for their lift, our lift. I halted, ready to turn and bolt; I couldn’t face this.

Intuitively, Murray sensed my movements and his hand quickly clasped my upper arm. He drew me near, his hand tickled down my arm like a current, finally locking with my fingers. He leaned close and whispered in my ear knowingly, “Calm.”