The Orchid Caper – Book Review

orchid.jpg

(image via http://www.pexels.com)

Title: The Orchid Caper
Author: Connie B. Dowell
eBook: 13 Chapters
Published: May 11th 2017 by Book Echoes Media
My Rating: 3/5 stars

Summary (From Goodreads): A down-on-her luck burglar, a trust fund college kid with something to prove. Will they outfox a master thief?

All eighteen-year-old Darlene wants is to rob the joint. College guy Ian comes home too soon. And some ill-timed flatulence brings them together. Darlene thinks she’s toast. Instead Ian gives her a job offer, leading a heist team to steal a rare species of vanilla orchid. Only catch, she’s swiping from one of the best thieves in the biz.

With her dad’s store on its last legs, Darlene needs the cash she’ll get when the job is done. Ian’s in it to win a bet. Can their rag-tag team pinch the flower right under their mark’s nose? And can they remember not to eat beans for breakfast?

The Orchid Caper is the first in a humorous YA action/adventure series. If you love action with a sense of humour, this is the book for you.

I received a free copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review.

Here goes:

This book was…interesting. The plot was, for me, too simplistic for a YA heist novel; I feel that it could have worked better as a children’s novel. It was made up of coincidence after coincidence and just didn’t ring quite true for me.

“An expert had plopped ready-made into our laps”

 

It also felt rushed – I finished it overnight, in about 4-5 hours. For a YA novel, I would expect the subplots to be fleshed out a little bit more. There were too few scenes between Darlene and Annabelle for me to really feel the antagonism between them. However, I could readily believe Ian and Aidan, and their wager felt (ridiculous as it seems) more realistic.

My other issue was Darlene and Ian, the main characters; I didn’t like them. I couldn’t relate to either of them. Darlene felt too ditzy for me and Ian was just…irritating. Despite this, they both had distinct narrative voices, with Ian being well-spoken (to the point that I felt he’d swallowed a thesaurus) and Darlene using more common terms.

That being said, the rest of the cast was BRILLIANT.
Clyde was actually my favourite by the end because I can relate to him personally – I do ballet. I know how few men do ballet in day to day life and how it can actually enhance your stamina. As someone who has done it for years, I loved him as a character. (Also, kudos for the actual ballet terminology being used; that was a nice touch).

Chad was possibly the only character that managed to make me crack a smile. A favourite scene of mine is where he is holding a conversation with a lady and simultaneously trying to figure out if she could be his great-grandma. He reminded me a lot of Leo from the Heroes of Olympus series, to get an idea of his character.

Rita reminded me strongly of “Gangster Granny” – she fills that stereotype very well. I think I cracked a couple of smiles when reading her and her no-nonsense attitude.

Another person that didn’t get fleshed out enough was Judy – I feel that she could have been one of my favourite characters, had she been given a bit more screen time.

The beginning of the book felt flat for me; however, when I got past about the 40% mark, the pace picked up and I found that I could enjoy what I was reading without picking it apart. The heist itself was enjoyable to read, and I do love reading books with a team of characters, all with different skills to bring to the table.

Little bits of it made me smile – I especially liked the moment where Darlene is recounting the missions that Rita sent them on and apparently they had to switch over the cartridges of black and blue pens as a joke.

In all, I’m giving this book a solid 3/5 – I enjoyed it, but there were a few issues (for me) that I couldn’t overlook.

Anyone else read a book similar?

Holly xx

Ranking the Retellings – Peter Pan

PeterPan.jpg.jpg

As you may know, Peter Pan is my all-time favourite story.

Off the back of my Hook review, I realised that I have actually read more retellings of the tale than I care to admit – some were good, some bad, and some just plain weird.

I’m sure there must be more than just me out here who love the story, so I figured that I would rank the retellings that I have read in order for you!

This will go from my personal worst to best.

8) Wendy by Karen Wallace
I don’t remember much of this one; just that it didn’t take place in Neverland and that I gave it 2 stars when I read it. The author tries to bring themes of mental illness in as an explanation for not growing up, but I feel like the book lacked the magic that made me want to turn the pages. It’s disappointing to say the least.

7) Hook’s Daughter by Heidi Schulz
This one I remember a bit more of – it’s based on Jocelyn Hook and her adventures to Neverland, to avenge her father. It’s definitely more on the children’s fiction rather than YA, which could account for why I didn’t enjoy it as much as I’ve enjoyed others. The story is simplistic and Peter is an annoying brat, rather than the deeply twisted character that I’ve come to know.

6) Peter Pan in Scarlet by Geraldine McCaughrean
This is actually the official sequel to Peter Pan, and all proceeds from it went to Great Ormond Street Hospital, whom J.M. Barrie left the copyrights to. It marks an interesting character journey for Peter – but he is, as always, still a child. Most of the cast from the original book return, and it’s all round an adventure that captivated me when I read it; it’s just not my absolute favourite.

5) Capt. Hook (The Adventures of a Notorious Youth) by J.V. Hart
I enjoyed this one when I read it the first time, and it can be interchanged easily with number 4 on this list. My main problem is that it doesn’t take us all the way up to the events of Peter Pan; instead, it focuses on a slower pace, giving us all of the adventures of Hook. Whilst this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it got on my nerves. (Also, there was a love interest who just…didn’t make sense. It was unrealistic, and kinda pointless in my honest opinion.)

4) The Child Thief by Brom
This is the weird one. It’s such a dark retelling and *spoiler alert* pretty much everyone dies. It’s definitely high fantasy and contains plenty of weird and wonderful creatures and characters. Also, the only character from the original is Peter. No Wendy, a girl who is strikingly similar to Tiger Lily, and as far as I can remember, no Tink.

DSC_0445.JPG

The illustrations for this book are both beautiful and terrifying

 

3) Hook by K.R. Thompson
There’s a whole review on why I like this one; check it out here. It has a backstory of why Hook is Hook and it just…makes so much sense? It fills the hole that has been gaping for years for me.

2) Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
My favourite book of all time. Seriously, I loved it when I read it at age 13, and I love it now. Tiger Lily is one of the only books that I have ever felt the need to re-read, and I don’t think I can bear to part with the story. It covers so many topics that most people ignore or gloss over, which leads people to plaster a ’16+’ label on it, but really, any reader above the age of 12-13 who is mature can read and enjoy this book.

1) Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Much as I love Tiger Lily, the original book will always come on top. It makes me giggle in places every time I read it, and it never fails to blow me away. The character of Peter is so fascinating to me and I discover new passages that I may have glossed over every time. My copy is also very small and pretty which helps!

So, I hope you enjoyed that – anyone agree or disagree??
If you have a Peter Pan retelling that you think I’d enjoy, please leave it in the comments below!

Also, I’m going to link a Tumblr post here that I made a while back – it contains as many adaptations and me and a friend could think of, both book and film. Feel free to add to it!

Holly xx