I don’t do impressions anymore.

I don't do impressions any more by Casey Carlisle

I was the class clown growing up.

Many of my friends can attest to how I was frequently flailing, pulling faces and mimicking actors or cartoon characters. So many tipsy nights with mates, rolling about on the couch after my Scooby-Doo impression or a re-enactment, (when you’re built like a stick figure any movement invariably looks awkward and funny). But now, a serious adult, I’ve had to stop childish ways to be a role model for teaching, and to be taken seriously for my writing.

Well… who am I kidding? I still laugh at fart jokes, am frequently in hysterics over my uncoordinated puppies, and have the occasional juvenile prankster moment.

I know my flatmate is relieved I don’t get up to my old tricks. I can still remember deciding it would be a fantastic idea to scare my Grandmother when I was twelve years old. She was sitting at the dining room table, quietly sipping on a cup of tea and playing Patience like any respectable English woman.

I’d tied my hair up in rubber bands so it spiked out from my scalp in many different angles, practiced my crazy face in the mirror, and was currently crawling along the floor, marveling at my plan. It has going to be hilarious. Grandma would get a fright and then proclaim I was the funniest child in all the land!

Just as I got behind the kitchen bench with my target enjoying her afternoon respite, ready to pounce forth and roar “Surprise” my plan fell to pieces.

I hadn’t accounted for the family cat.

Said feline sat upon the kitchen bench, watching my approach. Now I don’t know what I had done to offend poor pus, but just as I had reached my hiding spot she began to hiss and arch her back.

Grandma, seeing the feline’s distress, hopped up to calm its nerves… and found me hunched behind the counter, giggling silently to myself, with hair like a space alien.

“SURprriisseee….”  I stood up, the wind taken from my sails in response to a polite ‘Oh’ at my discovery.

Foiled again! Dastardly cat!

After that episode, jumping out to scare people didn’t feel quiet as much fun, and I transitioned to more sophisticated jokes, like whoopee cushions and prank phone calls.

Casey's Childhood Banner by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2014. 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.

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Book Review – The Evolution of Mara Dyer

the evolution of mara dyerFrom Goodreads:

Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.
She can’t.

She used to think her problems were all in her head.
They aren’t.

She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.
She’s wrong.

Page border by Casey Carlisle

After falling in love with the first in the series, ‘The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer’ I could not wait to jump into this novel. Michelle Hodkin has such a melodic turn of phrase, interwoven with sharp satire. Half the time I’m marveling at her writing, and the other half at the story.

I expected this sequel to surpass the debut novel, however, the first ten chapters dragged a little for me, until the pace began to quicken to stop me from frequent lapses in reading. This really surprised me – I found it a little longwinded in sections and was constantly finding my attention turn to the laundry, or washing the dishes. After the halfway mark though, I completed it in a day. I’m putting my distraction down to Mara’s drawn out experiences in the psychiatric facility, (don’t worry this is not a spoiler) there was too much internal monologue and not enough action.

There is still the mystery that continues throughout – some parts are solved, some aren’t. And I am still eager to read the third installment. The retribution of Mara Dyer.’

The Evolution of Mara Dyer Book Review Pic 1 by Casey CarlisleI could not predict the course of Mara’s journey, Michelle manages to keep enough out of sight that you don’t know what the hell is going on until it is upon you.

For me, Mara felt a bit too whiny in this edition, and Noah, a little too polished at times – I loved that quote about him being beautifully broken, and wanted my adorably damaged Noah back.

Where some of the characters from the first novel took a back seat and a plethora of new characters were introduced, I didn’t connect as easily with the new cast.

I also felt the protagonist was given too much power – and that’s all I’m going to say to avoid spoiler territory. Who knows, maybe things will be uncovered it the following novel to lend credible explanation.

Overall, this novel was still an enchanting read, filled with dark mystery. Departing from the realism present in ‘The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer’ added to the frustration with many questions by the end of the book…

The Evolution of Mara Dyer Book Review Pic 2  by Casey Carlisle

   Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2014. 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.

Getting your Finances in Order is just as Frustrating as Editing your Manuscript.

The dread and chagrin facing your Bank Manager for finance solutions can be as stilting as editing your work in progress.

The dread and chagrin facing your Bank Manager for finance solutions can be as stilting as editing your work in progress.    The past few weeks in combating a heavy dose of the flu, falling into a book coma, (hence the delay in the articles posted today) I also had to deal with my personal finances – such an exciting fortnight I could pee! [insert sarcastic eye-roll] Even though you go into a branch, you are led into an office where your consultant picks up the telephone receiver and you find you are on the phone for hours, transferred to different Departments… I recently spent 3 hours in a Branch Managers office, on hold, growing more and more frustrated at having to continually repeat my circumstances to yet another operator, only to get transferred to someone else. At the end of the day didn’t feel like I had accomplished anything other than a migraine and the intense need to punch something. You go home to think about everything, re-evaluate and try again. Reading through my chapters, scribbling down changes in red pen (or track changes on the word processor) checking facts, removing inconsequential sentences and making everything sound clear and concise: asking myself if it is still interesting and capturing the intended audiences attention feels so much like getting switched from Department to Department when I was in the Banks Branch. You need to wear different hats in each re-read in hopes of covering all your bases. And then comes the hesitation – is this version better, or merely different. Ensue headache. Luckily I’ve come to a place where neither the bank or my editing process rattle me as much, but there are times when consternation grows and I’m paralysed from making any decisions. Fellow authors that I chat with regularly chuckled when I told them my above anecdote citing that they get that same neck crunching disgruntlement in polishing their WIP. Just as telephone and internet banking were meant to make things easier, Word processors (Scrivener and the like) are meant to help the author – but I think they just bring along a different set of problems… especially if you are not too IT savvy. Don’t get me started on the whole marketing aspect through social media. I guess anything can become a monster is let to roam free, it’s up to us to keep it simple and on track and never let the man get you down!  Write on Brothers and Sisters!   © Casey Carlisle 2014. 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 by Casey Carlisle

The past few weeks in combating a heavy dose of the flu, falling into a book coma, (hence the delay in the articles posted today) I also had to deal with my personal finances – such an exciting fortnight I could pee! [insert sarcastic eye-roll]

Even though you go into a branch, you are led into an office where your consultant picks up the telephone receiver and you find you are on the phone for hours, transferred to different Departments… I recently spent 3 hours in a Branch Managers office, on hold, growing more and more frustrated at having to continually repeat my circumstances to yet another operator, only to get transferred to someone else. At the end of the day didn’t feel like I had accomplished anything other than a migraine and the intense need to punch something. You go home to think about everything, re-evaluate and try again.

Reading through my chapters, scribbling down changes in red pen (or track changes on the word processor) checking facts, removing inconsequential sentences and making everything sound clear and concise: asking myself if it is still interesting and capturing the intended audiences attention feels so much like getting switched from Department to Department when I was in the Banks Branch. You need to wear different hats in each re-read in hopes of covering all your bases.

And then comes the hesitation – is this version better, or merely different. Ensue headache.

Luckily I’ve come to a place where neither the bank or my editing process rattle me as much, but there are times when consternation grows and I’m paralysed from making any decisions. Fellow authors that I chat with regularly chuckled when I told them my above anecdote citing that they get that same neck crunching disgruntlement in polishing their WIP. Just as telephone and internet banking were meant to make things easier, Word processors (Scrivener and the like) are meant to help the author – but I think they just bring along a different set of problems… especially if you are not too IT savvy. Don’t get me started on the whole marketing aspect through social media.

I guess anything can become a monster is let to roam free, it’s up to us to keep it simple and on track and never let the man get you down!

Write on Brothers and Sisters!

UPPERCASE lowercase banner by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2014. 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.

Book Review – Death Most Definite

Death Most Definite Book Review by Casey CarlisleFrom Goodreads:

Steven de Selby has a hangover. Bright lights, loud noise, and lots of exercise are the last thing he wants. But that’s exactly what he gets when someone starts shooting at him.

Steven is no stranger to death-Mr. D’s his boss after all-but when a dead girl saves him from sharing her fate, he finds himself on the wrong end of the barrel. His job is to guide the restless dead to the underworld but now his clients are his own colleagues, friends, and family.

Mr. D’s gone missing and with no one in charge, the dead start to rise, the living are hunted, and the whole city teeters on the brink of a regional apocalypse-unless Steven can shake his hangover, not fall for the dead girl, and find out what happened to his boss- that is, Death himself.

Page border by Casey Carlisle

I happened across this book at the airport and bought it to while away the hours spent soaring across the Australian sky with no prior knowledge what this book was about and was happily surprised. ‘Death Most Definite’ is a gem! And the start of a the Death Works Trilogy!

An elegant twist on a Grimm Reaper, Trent Jamieson builds a supernatural world on top of Brisbane, Queensland with great artistry. It was also great to read an urban fantasy where the protagonist, (and most of the cast for that matter) are close to their family. Steven gives a satirical narration with a refreshing realistic take on events. He’s not afraid to cry at loss, feel love and express it, or get pissed off and kick something. Steven felt so real to me.

Trent Jamieson has an easy going writing style and I never found myself pulled out of the narrative. He expertly builds the story and pace, I barely put down the book and the ending delivers a fantastic pay off. I am so happy I have discovered this author! Such rich, well thought out characters that deliver quirks and failings in full technicolour. With a great sense of irony and comedic timing I embarrassed myself repeatedly in parts when I barked a laugh out loud while reading this on the plane, tram and in the park.

The flow of the novel is somewhat predictable in the sense of it fitting into the typical horror genre format; but the particulars are unique and entertaining.

If you loved ‘The Mortal Instruments,’ you may want to give this series a go.. it’s grittier but has all the elements I loved from Clary’s world and comes from a masculine point of view with a great dose of Australiana. Additionally any fans of the film ‘R.I.P.D’ staring Ryan Reynolds will enjoy this extravagant tale.

Highly recommend this to anyone with a fetish for the supernatural and/or afterlife. I’ve already added the second installment of this series ‘Managing Death’ (Death Works Trilogy) to my reading pile.

Death Most Definite Book Review pic 01 by Casey CarlisleCritique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2014. 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.

Cows go Moo, Dogs go Woof!

Those of you who follow my blog know I now have three dogs… the new addition of my Mothers puppy into the fold has encouraged some bizarre behavior in the pack.

My dogs weren’t the sanest pair to begin with, but now I just shake my head.

All of a sudden, now when we go for walks, it seems that they think its fine to bark, whine and make this high-pitched keen every time another pooch wanders past. It’s like I have a pack of wild animals on the leash. Not to mention, accompanied with the kafuffle there’s jumping, and wrapping of leads around my legs and I’m standing there like a demented Statue of Liberty with gnashing canines at her feet… So it’s back to “Learn to Walk on a Lead 101” again!

Cows go Moo 03 by Casey Carlisle

 

Apart from the weird excitable keening upon spotting another canine, other strange noises have started to become habitual.

For instance, when one wants some attention; be it for a pat, or food, a bovine moo should be uttered.

Cows go Moo by Casey Carlisle

When really excited, and playing tickles, one should pull a face and hiss like Predator! Alternatively you could also turn your head side to side and make a noise like a revving engine.

Cows go Moo 02 by Casey Carlisle

Also, if one should get your hair caught in your claw while scratching, or under a chair leg, one should squeal repeatedly as if you are being beaten to death with a blunt object.

The only time I actually hear them make species appropriate noises is when I’m entering or exiting the front door… and it sounds like I have 20 dogs inside barking instead of three.

And now, if they want a pat, they will either sit on your foot or hand… or drop their head and ram it into any crevice in your body they can reach (which is usually my armpit).

 

Cows go Moo Dogs of Woof by Casey Carlisle

And don’t get me started on their weird sleeping positions…

 

Muttly Mania by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2013. 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.

Book Review – Evermore

Evermore Book Review Cover by Casey CarlisleGoodreads:

After a horrible accident claims the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever Bloom can see people’s auras, hear their thoughts, and know someone’s entire life story by touching them. Going out of her way to avoid human contact to suppress her abilities, she has been branded a freak at her new high school — but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste.

Damen is gorgeous, exotic and wealthy. He’s the only one who can silence the noise and random energy in her head – wielding a magic so intense, it’s as though he can peer straight into her soul. As Ever is drawn deeper into his enticing world of secrets and mystery, she’s left with more questions than answers. And she has no idea just who he really is – or what he is. The only thing she knows to be true is that she’s falling deeply and helplessly in love with him.

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Beautiful mythology behind this book, and an incredibly fast read.

It wasn’t anything new, in fact, ‘Evermore’ was extremely derivative of most Young Adult books, and therefore felt entirely predictable, monotone and two-dimensional.

 

For all its downfalls, I did enjoy the romance (narcissism aside) and the concept of Summerland… but besides that I found the rest irritating. If this novel had turned out to be a clunky read, I would have tossed it unfinished; but, upon completion I got the satisfaction of having made it to the end, and it was, superficially, a pleasant story.
My enjoyment came from the same type of fun you get at watching a B-grade horror: the expectation of terrible acting and sub-par script… and in turn, roll out the sarcasm and laughs. That is what ‘Evermore’ was to me.
The protagonist, Ever Bloom, came across as despondent and whiny. It’s all about white girl problems. The book would have rated higher if she had gotten her bitch on and explored some flaws and darker feelings.
Damen, the love interest, was way too perfect and as much as I indulged in the fantasy, I was also making gagging noises while reading. I wanted to like him, but in the end just felt like I been served an overly large helping of cheese.

Wit and one-liners helped to redeem Alyson Noel’s book. But she has the subtly in metaphor as a brick to the side of the head. There is no intellectual symbolism here.

Source for original image: www.slowdive.com (image altered for post)

Source for original image: http://www.slowdive.com (image altered for post)

I’d like to recommend this book to younger readers, 10-13 years, as I can see some educational morals that re-enforce good values. But having said that, there are also bad ones which I think far worse… there is a message that girls can’t have a relationship without having sex, that boys are allowed to be possessive and narcissistic without apology, and its okay to think you are ugly and unimportant, let people walk all over you.

After reading this I was completely turned off attempting any other of the books in the series. While I liked Alyson’s writing style, the novel failed to measure up on all other accounts. I may give this author another try in a different series or stand alone novel later and see if she has improved the themes underlying her stories.
Evermore Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle
Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle
© Casey Carlisle 2014. 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.