Film vs Novel – Younger

Younger Film vs Novel Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleI feel uncomfortable making this comparison – mostly because I got such extreme and opposing emotions from both. And that was completely unexpected.

Firstly the storyline in the TV series felt much more realistic. The situation. The motivation of Alice’s character, and the characters of the supporting cast. The show set up Alice as a determined mother trying to piece her life together and regain a foothold in the workforce… even if she had to get creative to do it. The tone set was serious with some light-hearted goodness through and through.

With the novel, I got the distinct impression that a bitter old lady was at the keyboard trying to make her point that getting old was not a bad thing… and it rubbed me the wrong way. The whole way Alice came about her decision to portray a younger version of herself felt unjustified and wishy-washy. It continued for a great length in the book.

You do get some of the funnier moments from the novel translated on to the small screen (well, all of the funnier moments), and I have to admit – the tv show is much, much funnier. I think that was another disappointment after reading the book – I expected so much more.

It’s not that it is a terrible read. In fact I enjoyed the book magnanimously – I did not put it down. The narrative is light and easy to relate to. I had issues with some of Alice’s decisions and behaviour at times, and at others, quietly whispering ‘YES!’

There was some stereotyping in the novel that annoyed the hell out of me – and the ending, although satisfying, it did little to challenge those preconceived personality types. Where in the tv series, you meet these characters, presumably fitting in the box, two-dimensional-types, and then are completely toss all judgements out the window by the end of an episode, because they have completely redeemed themselves and shown you so many more layers… and I think that is what the book lacked most of all.

The screen version of Alice, played by Sutton Foster, added more tension to the tv series than the character in the book – her reason to keep her secret is compelling in every episode, where in the book she was playing pretended and it did not feel like she had a s much to lose.

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The conclusion of the book picked up the pace and I loved the last five – six chapters. But I found the ending of season one of the tv show much more satisfying, even though it resolved a lot less of the storyline… The main reason is because of the growth of the characters and their chemistry between each other. The novel was a little trite, where the show makes them work for it…

So it’s definitely the tv show for the win! But I recommend both.

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.

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Book Review – Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

A great realistic tale, but a little flat.

Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List Book Review pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, Romance

No. of pages: 230

From Goodreads:

Naomi and Ely are best friends. Naomi loves and is in love with Ely, and Ely loves Naomi, but prefers to be in love with boys. So they create their “No Kiss List” of people neither of them is allowed to kiss. And this works fine…until Bruce.

Bruce is Naomi’s boyfriend, so there’s no reason to put him on the List. But when Ely kisses Bruce, the result is a rift of universal proportions. Can these best friends come back together again? Or will this be the end of Naomi and Ely: the institution?

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I managed to read this in a day. And while I got a kick out of it, I was still a little ‘meh’ by the end.

There are a lot of different POV’s in this book, so if that is a pet hate, steer clear! You’ve been warned. However, I felt it worked. It was great to take a break from some of the angst of the main narrator and see the situation from someone else’s eyes.

The material was witty and had a charm about it appealing to the coffeehouse crowd. And the style of narration flows with a simplistic young voice. I didn’t get any surprises out of the story – it is easily predictable… but it is also realistic. And that I liked.

I must admit I was expecting to get more feels from a contemporary like this; especially with David Levithan’s authorship, but felt more like a snapshot of your typical college drama. And that’s okay, this novel does not purport to be anything but.

Coming from the president of the Fag-hag club of everywhere – My best gay friend of twenty years and I are still fiercely close – this book depicts the very real perils of having a G.B.F. It’s pretty cool to see a book like this written, back when I started friendship with my bestie, you definitely would not see mainstream literature of this kind. It is great to find a relationship that is something other than girlfriends, or a romance which has the possibility to last a lifetime. In life, most of anything does not fit in to a stereotype or fix in a square box.

Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List Book Review pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

I’m really looking forward to viewing the film released this month starring Victoria Justice and Pierson Fode (maybe a little later in Australia), and see how they interpret the novel.

Overall feeling: Cute.

Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List

Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List Book Review pic 03 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.

Excerpt from ‘Smoulder’ (Book 1 in the Smoulder series) by Casey Carlisle

Smoulder Series Tiles for excerpt

Focused on my little investigation, I neglected to notice Teddy saunter into school, or his surveillance of my activities. I didn’t register Mr Ried’s words in our morning Homeroom announcements as I stewed on my predicament. Instead of heading to my first lesson, as soon as we were dismissed, I hurried to find Tom.

He must have known what was coming, because as soon as Tom noticed my approach, his skin drained white while he stood near the entrance to an empty classroom.

“Can we talk?”

“In here.” Tom led me into the vacant room, closing the door behind us. “I wish I could reverse what I did. You were right. I should have stood up to Teddy. This should never have happened.”

“It’s a bit late for that now. The damage has been done. They don’t remember anything that’s happened between us since I started, not exactly. Rebekah and Bernie didn’t even know who I was.”

“I didn’t think it was that bad.”

“You didn’t think. That’s the whole problem isn’t it?”

“Riley. I’ll do anything, anything to make this right.”

“I’m really trying not to hate you at the moment.” Upon spitting out those words a tear escaped, trailing down the side of Tom’s face.

I wished that I felt guilty, that I could stop, but the venom of my rage failed to waver.

“Riley please-“

“You violated their minds. An essential part of who they are. Doesn’t that occur to you? How serious this is?”

“Of course it does. I don’t do any of this lightly.” The pleading tone had left his voice, replaced with the harsh edge of irritation.

“Like you did with Mrs Noble? That was hardly the last possible choice of action. You could have made up a story, lied?”

Tom simply hung his head, searching for an answer.

“All of you have gotten so used to relying on your abilities, even though you want to appear normal, disconnected from the rest of us. Every time you go alakazam, you fly in the face of everything you’re trying to achieve.” I stepped close, so the seriousness of my face clouded his vision. “Either take ownership of what you can do, limit the damage, or don’t do it at all.”

“I hate this.” He whimpered back. “This is exactly what I didn’t want.”

“I don’t mean to attack you like this-“ I couldn’t finish my sentence as emotion ebbed like a tidal wave from my feet to the tip of my head.

My body sprung forth and I caught Tom in a tight hug, a loud sob escaping from somewhere deep in my throat.

“This feels so helpless.” He croaked as thick arms clutched me against a muscular chest.

Realisation struck at what I was doing, and I pushed him away – well, rather forced myself off his solid frame – my eyes freely trickling with tears as I stalked vehemently from the room.

Hurrying to my special place, I curled up on the bench and willed for the tears to stop. Why was I so upset? Did Tom just use some mind-mojo on me? I waited out the rest of the lesson, using the time to regain my composure.

All through my next lesson, Maths, I pushed every thought of Tom – and that involuntary embrace – into a box locked away deep into the overactive neurons of my cranium. Sneakily pulling out my mobile, I sent a text to Teddy, asking him to meet me at my car for morning break. He was the next victim on my hit list. It was time I made my feelings clear, and be done with him once and for all.

The interior of my bug was like an oven, baked under a boiling sun, I started the engine and cranked up the air conditioning and watched students milling about outside, on alert for Teddy’s approach. I switched on the radio after a minute… where was he?

Just before I ran out of patience and resorted to another text, Teddy appeared through the external doors and headed in a straight line towards where I sat. My heart skipped, it annoyed me how he still managed to boggle my senses, his smooth gait so effortlessly cool. I needed to stay angry to make my point, scowling as he reached the car, knocking at the window. I waved for him to climb in, watching the circumference of the building to see if we were being spied upon.

“This is a little intimate.” He smirked as soon as he pulled the door closed, the radio broadcasting a love song I could not identify.

I switched it off.

“I didn’t want anyone to overhear me screaming at you.” I replied and his smile instantly faded.

“Tom said you tore strips off him.” Of course he did!

“So you know just how angry I am. How indecent it is of you to ask me to be okay with everything that has gone down?”

“I understand. It won’t happen again.”

“And this thing between us-“

“There is still an us?”

“If, and I re-iterate, if, we continue to see each other, I am not going to choose you over my friends. You’re going to have to come up with some other way around keeping what you want secret. Scrubbing out peoples’ memories is no longer an option.”

Teddy replied with a nod and stared at his lap.

“You’re not going to say anything back?”

“I don’t know what to say. At this point let’s just agree to disagree.”

“I can’t be with anybody who condones involuntarily stripping away parts of peoples’ lives.”

“It’s not like that.”

“Then enlighten me. Help me understand; because I want to. I don’t want to feel this way about you.” My words seemed to hit home and Teddy squinted in pain.

“It might be easier for you to understand if you had been living with us for a while. But Roberts’ hunches, they’re never wrong. And he truly believed that there was no other option, a choice between two terrible things, we took the one that meant less death.”

“Less death? Someone is going to die?”

“We think so.”

Another shock, more information that he drip-fed me.

“Get out.”

“What?”

“Please, go. I need to be alone.” He climbed out of the car, pausing before gently closing the door.

“You can ask me anything. Anytime. Just call me and I’ll be there.”

I didn’t want to be sitting at school any longer, with 10 minutes of our break left, I decided to shirk the rule of not leaving the school grounds, and coasted out of the lot, heading towards the closest road out of Alice Springs.

Living in such a small burg, the buildings receded into the scrub very quickly, and within minutes I was surrounded with powder green shrubs and ore coloured rubble. It was the perfect place to gather my thoughts; a clear open sky, nature nestling in from every angle. Parking under the large shadow of a River Gum I waited for my mind to stop reeling.

At least I was taking charge of the situation, although, I did just run away again… Teddy promised no more hidden facts, and I had gotten exactly what I asked for. Was I really capable of handling this? It could be so easy to end all ties and stick my head back into the sand, live out the rest of High School blinkered from the Tavish clan. I could – if I didn’t lose control of my faculties whenever I was in a room with one of them. Resting my head on the steering wheel I prayed a solution would simply fall into my lap and life would be uncomplicated again.

Smoulder series blurb

© 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 – The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Quietly confronting

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Film vs Novel Pic 01 by Casey Carlilse

Comparing Chbosky’s novel to the cinema release is a bit like comparing apples and oranges… the book used the adjunct of a sole point of view from an unreliable narrator, where the movie delved more into the development of personal relationships.

Although, I have to admit I appreciated the viewing experience much more than I did reading the novel. It basically came down to two points: 1. Some of my favourite actors playing the lead roles (and it doesn’t hurt that they are complete eye-candy); and 2. The journal/letter writing tone of the book felt somewhat disconnected and distant from the story.

But that is me nit-picking, I definitely enjoyed both versions of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Both mediums managed to portray that there is something ‘off’ with our main protagonist/narrator Charlie (played outstandingly by Logan Lerman). He is anxious and told to be suffering from PTSD, but we never get the full story (that comes later).

The movie really let imperfect and damaged characters shine – I did not get that so easily in the novel. Chbosky makes you work to get to learn about the inner workings of the cast; whereas in the film they bask in their quirky individualism, and it’s only later that we learn why they behave that way.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Film vs Novel Pic 07 by Casey Carlilse

I pictured Sam very differently in the novel to how Emma Watson played her on the big screen, however Watson was an outstanding casting choice and certainly captured that elusive air which Sam existed in.

The symbolism in the novel really hit the nail on the head, and I felt it lost a little in translation to the big screen, but definitely visually dynamic. Especially the tunnel/bridge scenes in the back of the truck with the teens.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Film vs Novel Pic 06 by Casey Carlilse

I’d love to do more in-depth discussions over apparent differences, but given the story is all character driven, I’d just be listing spoilers… and I definitely don’t want to detract from anyone’s enjoyment of either.

There is a lot in both the novel and film, it’s quiet and unassuming. But that went to its detriment in my own experience, making it feel a little flat.

Where the film is poignant and idiosyncratic, the novel was deceptively insightful and layered, but both worthy of checking out.

But it’s definitely the film for the win!

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.

Writing slump = Reading blitz!

If it’s not one thing it’s the other…

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I have been absent from my blog over the past four weeks or so. I managed to get food poisoning, and from there it was just a downward spiral… when you are feeling crappy (and sorry for yourself) it’s hard to force those creative juices and sit at the keyboard all day. Let alone venture outside when you’d scare children away with a pallid complexion and unbrushed hair.

So I indulged in the other side of my literary love – reading. I don’t recall a time when I have ever read so many books in such a short space of time, demolishing my T.B.R pile considerably. I was entertained, I learnt a few things, and experienced many feels.

And I don’t feel guilty, because I accomplished something (other) in the time I should have been writing.

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My reading experience was purely intuitive. I wasn’t working through a list, just simply pulling books that I felt like reading at the time. A couple I put back after ten pages or so, and the results have been very satisfying… it should have been a read-a-thon!

So now I have a back log of book reviews to write up – plenty of blogging fuel. (so stay tuned)

Usually when I take a break from writing it’s for marketing material, but this marathon of reading was so much fun… what are your best productive escapes from writing?

UPPERCASE lowercase banner 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.

Book Review – Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins

Pres is on the warpath yet again…

missmayhem 01

Genre: Y/A, Paranormal, Comedy, Romance

No. of pages: 273

From Goodreads:

Life is almost back to normal for Harper Price. The Ephors have been silent after their deadly attack at Cotillion months ago, and her best friend, Bee, has returned after a mysterious disappearance. Now Harper can focus on the important things in life: school, canoodling with David (her nemesis-turned-ward-slash-boyfie), and even competing in the Miss Pine Grove pageant.

Unfortunately, supernatural chores are never done. The Ephors have decided they’d rather train David than kill him. The catch: Harper has to come along for the ride, but she can’t stay David’s Paladin unless she undergoes an ancient trial that will either kill her . . . or make her more powerful than ever.

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As fun a read as Miss Mayhem is, it did suffer ‘Sequel Syndrome’ and left me a little disappointed. It certainly did not “up the anty” with the storyline or characters. The witty banter and awkward action sequences we got in Rebel Belle weren’t as prominent in the second book of the series. Given the brevity of Miss Mayhem, I was expecting something action packed and punchy… but it still felt a little drawn out.

Harper and her boyfie were still adorable, and the tension between the two a great addition. Also with the rest of the cast, testing their friendships. But I felt it could have been more – you know really turn up the pressure some more to let them shine. There are brief moments, but all too fleeting.

Miss Mayhem was enjoyable and a quick, easy read; however it did not measure up to its predecessor. Granted it’s the middle book in a trilogy, so it can be a bit of a no-man’s land… but as an author, you should be able to make it great. Maybe Rebel Belle had gotten my expectations up? The story was great, I loved it. But it could have been condensed down to a shorter story that really shines. Maybe this trilogy should really be one book after some heavy editing?

Overall feeling: Is there any more?

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Miss Mayhem 03

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.