#bookquotes

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I’ve been discovering the companion novels to Khoury’s Corpus trilogy and loving them more than the first novel in the series I read ‘Origin.’ Loving the underground scientific corporation pushing boundaries – very ‘Orphan Black.’ I just wish there was more written in this universe…

Book Review – ‘The Best Friend’ by Shalini Boland

An annoying main character with a wonderful mystery – a total sucker punch.

The Best Friend Book Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpgGenre: Mystery, Thriller

No. of pages: 332

From Goodreads:

They say to keep your friends close and your enemies closer … Wrong.

Louisa’s new best friend has it all – the house, the status, the money. But she’s also hiding a dark secret. And as Louisa is drawn deeper into her friend’s life, events take a chilling turn . . .

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I’ve had a wonderful experience with Shalini Boland’s titles in the past and ‘The Best Friend’ was no different – her pretence intrigued me from the outset. Interest and mystery were established quickly, along with a sense of too-good-to-be-true and waiting-for-the-other-she-to-drop. Which is something you want in a thriller. And the pace does not let up.

The stalker mentioned in the first chapter had me reeling, trying to guess which character it could be: the younger brother, or a private detective hired to find our protagonist, Louisa. I love the opportunity to start guessing the plot very early on in a novel.

All my senses started screaming at Louisa when she felt things were starting to go her way – it’s like she hadn’t learnt her lesson. Though this story is gripping and suspenseful, I dislike the flakiness and lack of thought that Louisa is exhibiting – I was starting to feel that she is deserving of whatever bad luck comes her way due to lack of insight. That the only person she could rely on was herself, as the past has proven, and there she was, letting a stranger take the lead (again.)

I did get a sense of ‘where is this all going?‘ and wanting the plot to start grinding it’s gears by pg78, so I feel like the start of this novel could have been compacted, or another plot device introduced earlier.

I also get a sense that the new found best friend – the seemingly perfect Darcy, is attempting to steal Louisa’s identity – maybe to hide from great debt and scary debt collectors? Alarm bells were going off that Darcy is a con … and the flashbacks are to her childhood. But as there really isn’t a lot of context to these scenes, it could be anyone, but the narrative certainly leads you down this delicious path.

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I did need to have a break at pg265, Louisa’s stupidity was getting me frustrated to the point of violence. *pegs the novel across the room* Why is she not talking to her lawyer sister and sharing all the facts with her? It would put everything in perspective and above board immediately. It is glaringly obvious common sense. Especially with some conniving woman out to get her… if that is what is really going on. As you can see I had quite a strong reaction to Louisa and her actions – whether I like her or not, I was definitely engaged in the story… but I’m still waiting for that Boland twist.

There is a little bit of ‘telling’ rather than ‘showing’ – especially in setting up a scene. It kept the pace up, but lost a little of that mystery-styled writing. A little unrealistic plot-wise, but a highly enthralling story. Really got me emoting. My tummy kept getting twisted into nervous knots.

Boland is a supreme writer for pacing and setting up a great reveal/climax. Even though I had guessed the ending halfway through, I was still gripped right to the end. There is a strong tone of mistrust and paranoia which is essential for a success in this genre.

I don’t think I actually liked Louisa at all, right to the end. She was flaky and stupid – but very human, and made for great reading. I did like the ending though – not so cut and dry, but extremely satisfying. And it was great to see Louisa and her husband grow from the experience. Highly recommended.

Overall feeling: makes me raise an eyebrow…

The Best Friend Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

The Best Friend Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

What you doin’ there Buster?

I’ve been distracted from social media fun, posting, and writing in the last couple of weeks due to this face….

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Buster. The newest addition to my little family. And being a puppy, I have to keep my eyes on him 24/7 and develop octopus arms. Pull him away from chewing power cords, eating strange insects, going to the toilet in the wrong place. Having the fun of the first few nights at home where he wakes you up crying, scared of an unfamiliar place away from his litter. Waking you up at 3 am because he wants to play.

He’s the over-energetic silly-pants all puppies are. With super sharp teeth wanting to chew everything, running and pouncing with unco-ordination. Using my plait as a vine as he plays Tarzan swinging from my hair… or clothes… or anything else he can reach. At 10 weeks old, everything is a new exciting adventure.

Buster 11 Aug 2017.jpgWhen he is asleep he is adorable. And he loves his cuddles once he stops trying to masticate your fingers. A number of times I’ve found him asleep, curled up next to my sneakers or slippers, head buried in the open top like he’s trying to find a missing bone deep within my footwear. But he’s fast asleep, high on the fumes of toe jam.

Buster’s big sparkly eyes stare at you with fascination, and he’s just so little and fragile. I’ve been wanting to add a new canine family member to our troop since last year. We lost our two Maltese X dogs early last year to old age, leaving Baillie (the lovable pooch I inherited from my Mother when she passed away) alone and bored. He’s used to having playmates and was becoming anxious and destructive, especially at times when I had to leave him home alone. Hence the Cavoodle cutie Buster coming into our midst.

He’s definitely playful. Adorable. And just the right fit for our mountain-top family.

Now that Buster has settled in and I’ve puppy-proofed the house, I’ll be able to dedicate my time back to writing without having to search for him every few minutes to find out what trouble he may be getting into next… and I’m sure there will be many a funny tales he creates that I can share to any dog lovers out there on occasion.

These little furbabies enrich my life so much, love unconditionally, and fill an empty house with colour and excitement that makes it feel like a home.

Now if Buster can sit still long enough for me to get a decent photo, he’ll become an Instagram star for sure 😉

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Muttly Mania by Casey Carlisle

 

© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

#bookquotes

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A fun YA paranormal romance series reminiscent of the Lux collection by Jennifer L. Armentrout. This series, The Elementals by Brigid Kemmerer is another addition to my guilty pleasures. Especially when we have a cute, intelligent four-legged friend in the mix. As a proud furbaby mumma I can’t get enough of canine companions as characters in my novels.

Book Review – ‘Flawed’ by Cecelia Ahern

A world of emotional crime and punishment just as flawed as a political one, and a girl branded a rebel leader…

Flawed Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Dystopian

No. of pages: 336

From Goodreads:

You will be punished…

Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.

But then Celestine encounters a situation where she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found flawed.

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I don’t mind a bit of a dystopian novel every now and then, it takes me back to my younger days of reading filled with nostalgia, wonder and excitement. ‘Flawed’ managed to bring a fun and tense adventure worthy of this genre.

There is something righteous (not to mention vindictive and satisfying) about wrong-doers being labelled Flawed as punishment. Adulterers. I can certainly see the appeal. A part of me likes the justification of inflicting a label on the perpetrator after being emotionally scarred in the world of ‘Flawed.’ So too can I see the reasons in preventing people with these flawed tendencies from getting into positions of authority and power. But as soon as that premise is set up, we begin to see the cracks of corruption. That no system is infallible. And our teen protagonist Celestine is trapped in the political rip tide, and has to decide in which moral direction she wants to swim.

I like Celestine’s thought processes how they began to question small things all leading up to an incident she thought unfair ultimately landing in hot water. She comes from a place of naivety and innocence but with a resounding heart of compassion. This is where we begin to see the formation of her core values, something that drives her through this story. After Celestine is arrested and placed in a holding cell, I did not get her need to please, or comradery with her cell mate Carrick. There seemed to be no motivation or logical reason for her to feel this way other than the author playing God and steering the storyline. This was aspect was the biggest let-down for me – the attraction and concern between Celestine and Carrick initially felt contrived and full of unjustified tension.

Flawed Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

The sister relationship between Celestine and Juniper annoyed me – I would have liked to have seen a better connection between these two, so that the tension they had for each other was justified an more realistic – it felt a little juvenile. They both had conflicting moral compasses and indignation towards each other that didn’t translate effectively. After reading the likes of ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before’ by Jenny Han and the sisterly bonds described there – both loving and full of conflict, I look for these complex relationships in sisterhood.

A shining light was how much I loved Celestine’s parents, especially her mother, even though they weren’t too prominent in the storyline. You get a real sense of unconditional love and the lengths they would go to to protect their children. With a common trope of the single parent or absent parents that dominate this genre, ‘Flawed’ really stepped up with this parental representation.

Following on from the aforementioned instant attraction above, when it came to Celestine and her thoughts on possible love interest Carrick, all this exposition about her cell-mate – I don’t buy it. How can Celestine know what he is thinking all the time? Where is this strong connection coming from? It aggravated me. It wasn’t insta-love, but something equally akin to it, and started off on flimsy footing. Things did get better after this initial stumble… The love interest(s) dropped out priority in the plot and Celestine seemed to get her footing. I actually started to really enjoy ‘Flawed’ then.

The pacing got so much better and I no longer felt tripped up on the writing style or plot details.

Flawed’ was pretty much Celestine navigating her way through the treacherous world of political power plays, while remaining true to her instincts – these aspects of her character really grabbed me. The plot did feel a little contrived – demonising the ‘bad guy’ but it didn’t bother me so much. I like a good villain. The environment of mistrust – and everyone having their own agenda… that aspect felt refreshing.

Predictable – yes, fun – absolutely!  Loved how the conclusion was open-ended. I’m actually excited to get my hands on the sequel ‘Perfect.’

Overall feeling: You got me Cecelia Ahern!

Flawed Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Flawed Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

#bookporn

#bookporn The Raven Cycle by Casey Carlisle.jpg

This series is still haunting me… all the great reviews posted on the blog-o-sphere just make it all the more difficult to resist. But I’m holding strong to finish off some series before jumping into anything new.

So I’ll just ruminate in how beautiful these covers are instead.