Excerpt from ‘Plain & Ordinary’ by Casey Carlisle

Plain and Ordinary title bannerUnable to focus on role call, I missed hearing my name. Also, neglecting to notice the teacher walking to where I sat, desperately trying to think of some way that Mum being diagnosed with M.S. was no big deal. As much as Mum played it down, tried to convince me it would be many years, if any, before any symptoms began to impact on our lives. It was cosmically unfair. Why her? Surely there was someone out there, someone who shot people in the back, kicked puppies and dumped toxic waste in waterways, someone who deserved such a debilitating sentence.

“Carl Grainger?” my riviere was broken by the teachers’ all-too-near voice.

The classroom sniggered.


“Are you alright?”

“Sorry. I didn’t get much sleep last night. Next door’s cat is on heat. It was yowling non-stop.”

“If you’re too tired for school, maybe you should get you parents to come and get you…”

“I’ll be okay.”

Someone behind the teacher meowed causing strangled laughter to wave through the room.

“Settle down everyone.” Mrs Berryman turned and walked back to her desk staring down certain students along the way. “There are just a few announcements this morning…”

I tuned her words back out, my gaze skipping across the floor until they settled on a pair of familiar sneakers. Following up to the face of their owner, Tom was glaring at someone across the classroom, no doubt the same person who had elicited the feline mewl at my behest. I was puzzled why he would do something like that. There was no need to rock the boat, it wasn’t like I was offended, or hurt. In fact I had to hide a smile when I first heard it. Plus, it was the first lie I could come up with under pressure. Blurting out that I’d stayed awake all night worrying that my Mum was slowly dying wouldn’t have bode well. I could just imagine the unwanted attention and phone calls home after uttering that sentence in class.

The muscle in the corner of his jaw rippled and flexed as Tom ground his teeth, and the hand on the top of the desk was scrunched into a fist. I admired how the tendons under his skin moved. He looked impressive, ready to strike a knockout blow at any given moment. If I commanded attention like that, I doubt my Father would treat me like such a disappointment. A warm flush spread across my skin just as Tom’s eyes suddenly turned to lock onto mine. I’d been staring for quite some time with goodness knows what moronic expression. Great, now he’s going to think I’m retarded as well.

Instead he winked.

I dropped my gaze instantly to my hands, face burning hot and itchy. What the hell was wrong with me? It’s not like he can read my mind. There’s no way he could know I wish I was more like him; if only to put my Dad in his place. And just maybe be more capable in finding some way to save Mum. Anything to be more than I was – plain and ordinary.

Book Review – ‘Fade’ by Lisa McMann

Falling asleep was the least of my worries…

Spring 09, Final

Genre: Y/A, Paranormal, Mystery, Romance

No. of pages: 248

From Goodreads:


For Janie and Cabel, real life is getting tougher than the dreams. They’re just trying to carve out a little (secret) time together, but no such luck.

Disturbing things are happening at Fieldridge High, yet nobody’s talking. When Janie taps into a classmate’s violent nightmares, the case finally breaks open — but nothing goes as planned. Not even close. Janie’s in way over her head, and Cabe’s shocking behavior has grave consequences for them both.

Worse yet, Janie learns the truth about herself and her ability — and it’s bleak. Seriously, brutally bleak. Not only is her fate as a dream catcher sealed, but what’s to come is way darker than she’d feared….

Page border by Casey Carlisle

Fade surpassed Wake in bucket loads for me – more action, more mythology about Janie’s ability, and more Cabel yumminess!

The pretence of walking through other people’s dreams fascinated me, and the fact that Janie could use it in a way to read people’s minds was even better. Uncovering more about her ability and folklore behind it equally grabbed my attention, and was glad we got to explore Janie’s special talents further than in Wake.

Janie has really embraced her power in this sequel – both physically and supernaturally – combining to match her already established mental strength from Wake. It was excellent to see a character in a book give a big dose of proactive behaviour.

We see her embrace her situation –claim her power. Not only her gift, but train her body to its peak performance… even when faced with inevitable disability. It’s this kind of fighting spirit that kept me reading.

Cabel really is the James Dean of McMann’s world. He had undeniable swagger and maturity that leaps off the page. The way he is there foe Janie is amazing. Despite the failings (for me) with the language and writing style, the romance of these two characters outshines any of that to bring this book home.

Fade Book Review Pic 05 by Casey Carlisle

We deal with some more controversial topics in this instalment, like its predecessor, and at its heart Fade is like a detective novel.

Extremely fast read, colourful language (as in the first instalment) and each arc in the storyline is explored thoroughly. I may have rated Fade higher if it weren’t for Lisa McMann’s writing style – for personal preference, short abrupt sentences and throwing in slang and superlatives may give it a ‘young’ and edgy feel, but it kept dragging me from the story.

Overall reaction: Well, that was unexpected…

Fade Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

    Fade Book Review Pic 06 by Casey Carlisle

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2015. 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.

Film vs Novel – Divergent

Sometimes you get to chose who you are – and sometimes you just ARE.

Film vs Novel Divergent by Casey Carlisle

After viewing the film, I decided it was about time to jump on board with just about every one of my friends, and everyone I knew – and dig into the Divergent series. Book to film adaptations have seriously lacked in translation in the past, but I felt this time, Divergent stood up to the test.

The biggest difference I got from the book to the movie was perspective… The novel explained more about the world and Tris’s actions, where in the movie I didn’t quite fully understand everything that happened. There was a distinct sense of humour coming through as well, and I would have loved to see Tris explore that more in the narrative – it could have increased the impact when leading into some of the more dramatic scenes. We  love wicked banter and irony…

While the film was superior with its pacing and kept the story moving forward, the novel tended to jump around a bit in location. Also the screen version left some scenes without explanation: such as the dream sequences – you get a full understanding of them in the novel, but did not translate as well to the screen.

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I remember when I first viewed the film in the cinema, I was like… what tha? Are they going to explain all that? *mentally shaking my fist at the screen*

Film vs Novel Divergent by Casey Carlisle pic 01The real hero of the movie is Four – the film adaptation let’s a lot of his character seep through, and he seems so much more accessible on screen (and drool-worthy), where we only get Tris’ perspective and assumptions with the book. I can’t say the same about Tris – the film failed to do her justice. Maybe because too much exposition was left out. Shailene Woodly does a superb job in the role, but because much of Divergent is cerebral (in Tris’ thoughts), I found myself wanting more from our heroine. That, and I wanted then to kick her up a notch of bad-ass-ness… only because I love rampant, temperamental, kung-fu chicks. That said, I’m sure we’ll get to see more of that in the following movies.

Additionally, where many of the main ensemble were somewhat stereotyped in the novel (with some exceptions) the film allowed us to view them in a more subjective and well-rounded perspective, which I felt lent more colour and depth – particularly with the antagonists. If I could mash the better elements of both film and novel into one ‘thing’ my brain would have melted from its awesomeness.

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You get a real sense of carnage and (graphic) death with the novel, where the film, bending to the rules of viewing classification sanitised these scenes (or brushed over them entirely). Where was the gag-worthy insanity we glimpsed in the novel… I want them too please!

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If I had to choose which was the better experience – I’d have to go with the novel, simply because it made more sense. Yes, I loved the special effects and cinemaphotography of the film, but it’s story-telling lacked in comparison… So the book for the win.

Let’s see how Insurgent stacks up.

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2015. 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.