Olfactory onslaught

The dangers of crappy first jobs…

Olfactory Onslaught Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

My very first job was at the age of 13 going on 14. I wanted a stereo and my parents said they would pay for half if I saved up the rest. Thinking I would start a paper route, or yard work on the weekends, the parents  figured it would be some time before I had the cash for the sound system of a generation (don’t forget, this was in the ‘80s, so big stereos were in – CD’d hadn’t been invented and massive collections of records and cassette tapes were all the rage.)

But my loving parents had momentarily forgotten how determined I can be. I still don’t know how I pulled it off, but I managed to land a job working at a shoe store, despite my youthful age and mouth full of metal and unruly red mop of hair (and the fact that I honestly looked like I was 10 years old).

It took me three weeks to collect the funds for my musical purchase and the ‘rents had to cough up.

That was when I discovered I could buy more things – big ticket items – in the same manner. Like a computer, or a car!

But there is a rub… I don’t think you understand how much of a challenge this was for me. Especially if your reading about it… Picture a small town in a desert climate with soaring temperatures, and remember this is a shoe store…

Got it yet? Sometimes it is a very stinky job!

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Some of those Thursday nights and Saturday mornings were a constant procession of foot odours that had me using all my will power not to retch. It was enough to singe your nose hairs right off. Even though Hi-top sneakers were the bomb, plastic glitter gel sandals were quite popular… talk about petri dishes for sweat and toe jam strapped to your feet! And there I was crouched down on the floor amongst women insisting they were a size smaller than they were, and old men with ingrown or blackened toenails politely smiling.

I managed six months before quitting.  I think I’ll leave the stinky shoes to the enjoyment of my dog…

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I did find another job shortly after, because those big ticket items were still surely set in my sights… but that’s another story.

Tales of a Temp 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 – Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Getting lost in the High School Conversation – or just being lost in High School.

Simon vs the Homo Sapien Agenda Book Review Pic 1 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, GLBT

No. of pages: 303

From Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

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Blackmail, best friends, bullying, and a boy called Blue…

Simon vs the Homo Sapien Agenda Book Review Pic 2 by Casey CarlisleSuch a cute read!! (Yes it deserved two exclamation points.) With a mix of emails, text messages and playlists this is an easy to read narrative told from Simon Spiers point of view, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda had me glued to page after page. It’s funny, gripping and ultimately huggable.

Full of misunderstandings and character growth, this book conjures up an image of a baby duck in the pond… Simon being the baby duck, fluffy and cute, following the rest of the clutch across the surface, meanwhile underneath his feet are scrambling tremendously to keep up. It is a light coming of age story with witty and sometimes ironic dialogue, and holds a few surprises to grab your attention.

If I could deduct any points it would be for the repetition of ‘I mean,’ ‘seriously’ & ‘I can’t even’ – it made me feel like I was watching and re-watching an outtake reel of Lindsay Lohan bloopers.

There is plenty of teen angst without being over dramatic. I like the way Simon was able to explore his emotions and feel safe confident about it. It was nice to read, instead of the ‘whole world is going to end if they find out I’m gay’ vibe that some books have.

Simon, in addition to his love of Oreo cookie type deserts and coffee, is trying to sleuth out the identity of Blue – the only boy who he’s had a real connection with (even if it only exists online). I appreciate the fact that Becky Albertalli did not make this Simon’s only relationship, and allowed him to explore the world on a larger scale, even though his understated manner. The cast of characters are each driven by their own motives, mostly unknown to Simon, which I think adds another level of sophistication to the narrative.

Modern, loveable and a little bit kitsch, a definite recommend in my opinion.

Overall feeling: A big warm hug – fangirling!  *squee*

Simon vs the Homo Sapien Agenda Book Review Pic 4 by Casey Carlisle

Simon vs the Homo Sapien Agenda Book Review Pic 3 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.

Book Review – Anything Could Happen by Wil Walton

Authentic as hell.

Anything Could Happen Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, GLBT

No. of pages: 288

From Goodreads:

When you’re in love with the wrong person for the right reasons, anything could happen.

Tretch lives in a very small town where everybody’s in everybody else’s business. Which makes it hard for him to be in love with his straight best friend. For his part, Matt is completely oblivious to the way Tretch feels – and Tretch can’t tell whether that makes it better or worse.

The problem with living a lie is that the lie can slowly become your life. For Tretch, the problem isn’t just with Matt. His family has no idea who he really is and what he’s really thinking. The girl at the local bookstore has no clue how off-base her crush on him is. And the guy at school who’s a thorn in Tretch’s side doesn’t realize how close to the truth he’s hitting.

Tretch has spent a lot of time dancing alone in his room, but now he’s got to step outside his comfort zone and into the wider world. Because like love, a true self can rarely be contained. 

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An awkward tale that is so sweet. It rings true to how we can all feel a little out of step as we battle through high school and adolescence. Even though this is a contemporary romance, I felt it had more to do with finding a happy place with who you are – accepting yourself – rather than finally getting the girl or guy; or a coming out story. Even though it’s all of those things, the undercurrent with Anything Could Happen is like a resounding boom. I loved it. It’s upbeat, quirky, and written to a familiar soundtrack. Halcyon (by Ellie Goulding) is featured prominently, and you can hear the lyrics singing up at you from the pages.

Anything Could Happen Pic 04 by Casey CarlisleWith an easy to read narrative, this is one of my favourite GLBT books at the moment. I’ve read half a dozen in this genre in the past month to experience a protagonist apart from young heroines – and it’s been fun. Walton’s book is a positive story, much like a warm hug, but oozing realism. A totally authentic account of Tretch’s journey. I particularly loved how he danced without abandon in his room… so cute!

The cast (notably Tretch’s family) are beautiful and very prominent in the story line and not in the periphery like in much of YA. And while there were some surprises around their story, the plot is a little predictable. But in a good way.

I’d definitely recommend this book for an afternoons reading in the sun – something to leave a smile on your face.

Overall feeling: I’m happy to be me!

Anything Could Happen Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Anything Could Happen 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.

Formidable girls

Formidable Girls by Casey CarlisleFinding great female role models in life and literature.

There came a tap-tap-tapping and a screeching of wooden fingers along the roof during a windy night. It was disconcerting when strange noises echoed from outside in the darkness, and while I didn’t strap on my black leather and wave a trusty crossbow – no sensible girl would venture into the pitch black bushland alone –  I was resolved to rectify those ominous sounds come daylight. Some tree was going to get a severe haircut!

I love reading novels with strong female leads. I also lose myself in writing, about independent self-minded young women as protagonists. But does that translate into real life? Do readers feel empowered, or is it all simply living out a fantasy, stepping into someone else’s shoes for a fleeting moment?

I’d like to think it’s that and more!

I’m not taking down demons or an egalitarian government, but lopping off a few limbs of a tree. Courage and determination came from within. Constructed from images of my mother, my girlfriends, movies and, yes, my reading. It’s not about obnoxious ultra-feminist girl power, but the strength to look after and be proud of myself.

And that translates to looking for a partner, or friends (both male and female, or in-between) that embrace this power also. I don’t want to be treated like a princess, I don’t want someone making decisions for me. I want to carve my own path and share that experience with others who are doing the same.

My man friend/slave loathes it when I do things traditionally reserved for the masculine – you know, like heavy lifting, gardening, lawn moving, fixing a leak, moving furniture… you get the picture. Needless to say, that is what most of our disagreements are over – me emasculating him. It doesn’t help that he is old school and he feels it’s disrespectful to let a lady do manual labour.

But today, with no man friend to help out, I had to complete tasks on my own (as I did before he started to help out; and every other time he goes home or to work). Pulling out a chainsaw and pruning the suspect tree which had become annoying – I thought – heck, I’m as bad-ass as Buffy or Katniss.

Yes this train of thought is all a little too altruistic; but don’t you think it’s worth it. All of us being equal. Blind to gender, sexual orientation, race, social status…

And all of that from a plethora of wonderful women in my life and in my literature.

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 – Fairest by Marissa Meyer

The B!tch is Back!

fairest 01Genre: Y/A, Science Fiction, Adventure

No. of pages: 220

From Goodreads:

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now. 

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The origin story of Queen Levana – you may end up feeling a little compassionate for her… but not for long

I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way” a quote from Who Framed Roger Rabbit springs to mind when I think of Queen Levana, knowing that nobody starts out bad, they usually are shaped through events. In other cases, some are born with a little evil and embrace the darkness within until consumes them. You’ll have to make up your own mind which category Levana falls into.

Fairest 02Marissa managed to write a great story with the same magical tone of Cinder. New surprises are uncovered, the world/moon is explored a little more, everything moving to enrich the Lunar Chronicles Universe. Ultimately building an antagonist more terrifying than any Disney baddie.

The prose is easy to read and fierce on pace, it’s definitely a book you can blaze through in one sitting. It doesn’t double dip either. I could see how some topics could have been a big trap, like the virus, or the genetic hybrids – but seeing how they were major plot points in other novels, they were merely mentioned in passing… which is fantastic because my interest would had wavered if suffering repeat information.

There is not much else to say – it was a fun read, and definitely fuelled my intense dislike for the Lunar Queen – in a good way. So I highly recommend you add this title to your collection if you are a Cinder fan!

Overall feeling: I wanna punch that witch in the face – so strong feels!

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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.