Book Review – Scorched by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

A romp with a hottie while your life’s in wreckage…

 Scorched Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Contemporary, Romance

No. of pages: 238

From Goodreads:

Sometimes life leaves a mark…

Most days, Andrea doesn’t know whether she wants to kiss Tanner or punch him in the gut. He is seriously hot, with legit bedroom eyes and that firefighter body of his, but he’s a major player, and they can’t get along for more than a handful of minutes. Until now.

Tanner knows he and Andrea have had an epic love/hate relationship for as long as he can remember, but he wants more love than hate from her. He wants her. Now. Tomorrow. But the more he gets to know her, the more it becomes obvious that Andrea has a problem. She’s teetering on the edge and every time he tries to catch her, she slips through his fingers.

Andrea’s life is spiraling out of control, and it doesn’t matter that Tanner wants to save her, because when everything falls apart and she’s speeding toward rock bottom, only she can save herself.

Sometimes life makes you work for that happily ever after… 

Page border by Casey Carlisle

This is the first novel outside of the Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout that I have read – and an adult title at that! I had high hopes because I love her snarky dialogue and ability to really pace the storyline along with action and angst. ‘Scorched’ only half hit the mark…

I wasn’t impressed by this book at all until after halfway. It was all Andrea and Tanner for over a hundred pages until we really got something more in-depth other than flirting and heavy petting.

Scorched Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

With alternating perspectives from these characters I was hoping the novel would really launch into something juicy; but what I got was saucy. Very saucy. I should have expected it given the lengthy kissing scenes from the Lux series, and here delivering to an adult audience, it was too raunchy for me. Graphic to the point I felt uncomfortable and started skipping forward. I didn’t see the point where over half the novel was taken up with romps – it did not have a lot to do with the plot. The point could have been made more concisely. Dangnabit – when did I turn into such a prude? Am I shrivelled up and dead inside?

Apart from copious philandering, there was also a bit too much swearing going on. (Now I KNOW I’m a stick in the mud) But hey, some of us feel swearing is to make a point – not a conjoining descriptive to be used in every sentence… It kept leaping out at me from the page and made it difficult for me to get into the conversation.

Scorched Book Review Pic 03 by Casey CarlisleBesides those content rating issues, this book tackled some great issues. Granted, although realised a little too late in the story because of numerous kissing, groping and rolling about in the sheets – and because of this, when we really got the good stuff, the book ended. Not that there was an abrupt ending, just that it felt unbalanced. But the second half of ‘Scorched’ is really compelling – and while I did not relate to the characters at all, was engrossed in their plight.

There is some corniness around this story, but I have to praise it for the realism around Andrea’s dilemma without over dramatizing.

If you are an addict of steamy writing, you’ll probably love this, but for me, too sexy-sweet. A fun and sultry read that shocked me with a few plot twists. I’d recommend for an afternoons guilty pleasure (or should I say afternoon delight).

Overall feeling: How you doin? *raises eyebrows suggestively*

Scorched Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

Scorched Book Review Pic 05 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.

It’s just a jump to the left…

It's Just a Jump to the Left by Casey Carlisle

I thought I’d do a little time travelling today – would my self of yesteryear even recognise me today?

5 years ago by Casey CarlisleI was a much different person back then. In the grand scheme of the universe five years isn’t such a big stretch, but I was amazed at just how much things have changed… I still had all my family members, was working in an office full time and just coming out of a seven year long battle against cancer (thankfully triumphant). But notably, I don’t think I had embraced being a writer yet.

So where was I five years ago?

Casey Carlisle red 01I had recently joined Facebook for the first time… my maiden venture into all things social media and online possibilities. I was a late bloomer. So I guess this my fifth birthday of sorts.

One of my first profile pics…

Visiting my Mum in Townsville to help her with her business, and catching up with some old friends I hadnt seen in years – not to mention meeting a couple of cute guys – I had little stress and begun to branch out and enjoy what life had to offer. My weekends were spent socialising and going out (not writing). Gone were days spent resting from Chemo, or simply feeling too weak and tired (or motivated) to do anything. It was a time of possibilities.

Realising I was also at the arse-end of fighting off cancer with two major final surgeries sheduled in the following months. That thought was terrifying!

It’s weird – that was such a turning point in my life. I beat cancer. Got my life back and decided I wanted to write (with the encouragement of many friends and family). But at the time all I could think about was I hope my eyebrows grow back.

Although I took another three temporary office jobs before I taking the plunge and devoting all my time to my passion, I guess fate had been steering me in that direction. Only because I was actually quite happy in those admin roles; one company went bust, another was sold and my position made redundant, and the thrid was a short temporary contract. I loved my work collegues and the daily tasks, so I think if I hadn’t been forced out of the roles, I’d still be there today, dreams of writing on the back burner. Gee girl – can’t you take a hint?

The key thing you need in realisling your aspirations is that you need to set yourself a due date… otherwise you will keep on procrastinating.

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It was also the year I got back into contact with old high school frineds I hadn’t seen in nearly twenty years, one of which lived 20mins away! It was like a mini reunion. And I have to say I’m so glad we reconnected – they are all so near and dear to my heart, and their mere presence gave me strength through the major operations, and losing my mother, aunt, and grandmother in close succesion. It really felt like I was some cosmic joke at the time – see how many times you can kick Casey in the teeth before she snaps.

Don’t give into the darkness. You are special. You are worth more than all the precious stones in the world to someone.

And when you come out the other side, stronger, you can go on to acomplish amazing things.

This all takes me back even further – to high school; and envisiging what I thought my life was going to be like. Dreams of woking with whales or puppy dogs, editing a national magazine or writing my own books. I also wanted to run my own accounting firm or have a role within my parents company… (ahh, to be young and clueless again)…I pretty much attempted all those things and more. But am happy for settling into a life of writing novels. And if I could give my teen self any advice – don’t get your hair cut short, you’ll regret it and it will take three years to grow it back. Oh, and oversized  t-shirts with shoulder pads, hightop sneakers and legwarmers don’t look great together… on anyone… especially in neon green!

So, my hair is lighter, my backside wider and I don’t wear as much make up. While it has been a difficult couple of years I’m still smiling. Greatful for all the people I have met, those same people who gave me the courage to keep going, to reach for passionate endeavours. These few battle scars have made me a more interesting person… and I hope a provocative writer… there is still more of my story to come!

Casey's Childhood 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 – The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

I can almost smell the ocean and the suntan oil….

 The Summer I Turned Pretty Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, Romance

No. of pages: 276

From Goodreads:

Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer–they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along. 

Page border by Casey Carlisle

I picked up this trilogy straight after reading the ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’ duology, hoping for more Jenny Han goodness. I’m not sure if I liked it or if it was just okay… I think only because I wanted more to happen in this book.

On the one hand, Susannah’s journey is truly touching (and I can relate to it personally) and really drags out the feels.

Belly herself is such a little girl – in the sense that she is young, and totally naive. A little girl crush on the Conrad boys… is that enough of a hook for a novel? It didn’t quite grab me. However, it was a relief to see Belly struggle and forced to grow up a bit. The time to start putting away childish things… and by the end I liked Belly a little better.

Cam was annoying, Jeramiah, slightly less. There was that big brother thing going on that boys do – the teasing, the fighting, the ignoring. So true to character and left me feeling annoyed and insulted. I wanted awareness to come early in the novel – it felt like the story took too long to build to something between these characters.

Plenty of passive aggressive behaviour, teen angst, and presumptions to keep me satisfied. Spot on for the YA market.

You get a real sense of summer holidays, the beach, the relaxing warm breeze, sun baking, swimming in the pool, carefree days. I could practically feel the sun on my skin.

The narrative was a little scattered – mainly because Belly gets a little scattered; but that aside, Han’s writing style is effortless, just like the setting of the Summer House. A beautifully engaging story of love, life and growing up.

Overall feeling: kittens and lollypops!

The Summer I Turned Pretty Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

The Summer I Turned Pretty Book Review Pic 04 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 – The Catalyst by Helena Coggan

Two souls, one body… zero excitement.

 The Catalyst Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Paranormal, Science Fiction

No. of pages: 448

From Goodreads:

Rose Elmsworth has a secret. For eighteen years, the world has been divided into the magically Gifted and the non-magical Ashkind, but Rose’s identity is far more dangerous. At fifteen, she has earned herself a place alongside her father in the Department, a brutal law-enforcement organisation run by the Gifted to control the Ashkind. But now an old enemy is threatening to start a catastrophic war, and Rose faces a challenging test of her loyalties. How much does she really know about her father’s past? How far is the Department willing to go to keep the peace? And, if the time comes, will Rose choose to protect her secret, or the people she loves? 

Page border by Casey Carlisle

I was in cover envy when I first glimpsed this cover in a book haul from Benjaminoftomes, and after he rated it highly, I felt like it was a must have!  But it did not live up to the hype for me. The introduction into the new world of ‘The Catalyst’ was abrupt. I do like how there no lengthy explanation, but it left me wanting a bit more on the mythology of this world.

The concept of twin souls is a fantastic one, but its execution left me fuddled. Maybe there should be some awareness and tension between two beings in one body? (Besides the glaringly obvious plight of Rose herself)

Rose was definitely an interesting character and a shining light in this dark novel. The duality of her condition had me eager to read on page after page. Again, if the mythology had been explored further, I may have enjoyed it even more. I also felt her relationships were too convenient for the story, I’d rather see her discover new people and judge whether to trust them on the facts they presented. Walking in on so many established relationships, which are later tested was somewhat contrived. Also, Roses behaviour, her secrecy – I’m not sure if I completely get the motivation for some of this. It seemed flimsy and immature.

The style of the narrative didn’t sit particularly well for me either – the tone felt a little impersonal and stopped me from truly connecting with the characters. I did like some of the word choices, but on the whole was somewhat clunky.

I guess my review is also tainted by my dislike for the angel/demon genre – as ‘The Catalyst’ sets us up to believe that fallen angels souls have taken up dwelling in human bodies. I wanted to glimpse more of the human soul, more of the previous world clashing with this new one….

On a side note – everyone is mentioning Helena’s age as an excuse for some inconsistencies in the novel (and rating it higher because of it). While I agree it is an amazing feat to be published so young, I won’t take her age into account… if this wasn’t ready for publication and public scrutiny it wouldn’t have been printed.

Even with all of the negatives mentioned above, it is a great story and Helena shows great promise. I may be convinced to pick up the next novel in the series to find out what happens to Rose, and see if the mythology of this world is explored further… and if Miss Coggan’s writing style gets better with practice.

Overall feeling: So much promise, so little return

The Catalyst Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

The Catalyst 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.

Book Review – Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman

Pobody’s nerfect

Alex as Well Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, GLBT

No. of pages: 224

From Goodreads:

Alex is ready for things to change, in a big way. Everyone seems to think she’s a boy, but for Alex the whole boy/girl thing isn’t as simple as either/or, and when she decides girl is closer to the truth, no one knows how to react, least of all her parents. Undeterred, Alex begins to create a new identity for herself: ditching one school, enrolling in another, and throwing out most of her clothes. But the other Alex—the boy Alex—has a lot to say about that. Heartbreaking and droll in equal measures, Alex As Well is a brilliantly told story of exploring gender and sexuality, navigating friendships, and finding a place to belong. 

Page border by Casey Carlisle

It’s been a very long while since a book elicited feelings of distaste, outright hatred and deplorability – and ‘Alex as Well’ did just that – for all the right reasons.

Alex was a little hard to relate to – but I grew to like her. Some of her behaviour, on the surface, is weird and distances the reader from the story… but if you ask why she’s acting in a certain way – and pick up on other clues – it all makes sense. Though at first glance I was like ‘what tha?’ The great thing in not giving you all the answers – this is just one girl’s story. If you read intelligently, because Alex herself does not possess the knowledge behind her behaviour, the reasons for every small action are there. This is really a very clever book.

There was a little overkill, or extreme measures in some areas of the plot – but I felt it worked in the context: to highlight Alex’s plight in dramatic manner. Any other method would have diminished the prejudice Alex needs to face.

The alternate POV just about killed me – such a distinct voice apart from Alex that slowly sheds light on a different kind of naivety. How the uneducated really should learn to keep their mouths shut until they get the facts. So many people form opinions on their ungrounded assumptions. It is annoyingly obvious in ‘Alex as Well.’ I really wanted to scream at the book to wake up to some of the idiotic comments on the page.

The change in narrative works expertly, you get a different kind of stress, all adding to the pace of the story line.

The whole book really encapsulates the phrase “nobody’s perfect.” Some other issues were touched on but not fully developed, like bullying and certain friend/relationships… but the search for self, identity and empowerment is a great one.

A short novel I read in one sitting in one day – something I’d recommend to challenge your perception a little. A valuable addition to any GLBT+ catalogue in you library.

Overall feeling: Blew my mind (expanded my awareness)

Alex as Well Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Alex as Well 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.

SHOW . SPEAK . FOLLOW

Show Speak Love by Casey Carlisle

I had another gentle reminder from the Universe this week about not letting myself get complacent. My eldest furbaby had to go to the vet for an operation to remove cancer. I was terrified. It brought back memories of my own battle with cancer, of losing my mother. I wasn’t prepared to lose another member of my family. That was my ‘poor me’ moment.

Thankfully it didn’t last.

My puppy pulled through the procedure with flying colours and is happily tottering around my feet sporting stitches and a narly haircut. When the shave parts grow back it will hide the scars. But the fright of such a serious disease threatening my canine companion made me face what it is I’ve been doing with my life of late.

After my own brush with death I set about making a Bucket List and work every day to tick items off. When I lost my Mother I have made an effort to connect with those I love and let them know how special they are to me.

And today… well today was like a kick up the bum to check my progress. There is always room for improvement. I am thankful for everyday, but recently I noticed a trend to fall into a pattern. Losing that spark of adventure and excitement.

So I have to thank my little pooch for the love he has given me, and share more excitement together in our lives yet to come.

The picture above is from my cousin’s wedding – a fitting backdrop as the family comes together to celebrate love.

Show Your Love by Casey CarlisleDo something nice for someone else. Cook a meal, clean the house, give them a cuddle… actions prove so much and we should never waist a moment to let those who are important to us know how valuable they are.

Speak Your Mind by Casey CarlisleWords, as well as actions have a profound affect on those around us. Say thankyou, say I love you. We also want to stay true to ourselves – keep communicating your feelings, your desires. Be you. Lying or pretending to be someone you’re not doesn’t do anyone any favors. Especially you. Be kind. Be compassionate. Be truthful.

Follow Your Heart by Casey CarlisleDon’t let your dreams die! Go for those goals. Whether it’s to travel abroad, talk to your crush, grow a garden – what ever it is that is your hearts desire – got for it! Fill your life with great experiences – and let your smile shine from the inside.

Reading Writing Living 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 – P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

Boys, bullies and b!itches, and how be cool, calm and  fabulous amongst it all (sort of).

PS I Still Love You Book Review by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, Romance

No. of pages: 337

From Goodreads:

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

Page border by Casey Carlisle

Now this is how you write a sequel! It was better than the first novel in every area, and has cemented Jenny Han as one of my favourite authors.

There are still parts where I was rolling my eyes at the cheesiness (but it was expected after the precedent of ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’), but what surprised me was how much I laughed. Not only from Laura Jean’s wit, but also from moments of physical comedy… I was tickled pink.

There is all the high school drama we can expect from a contemporary and a plethora of eye-candy.

I felt it was a little smarmy how so many good looking boys fell at Lara Jeans’ feet after she was so unsure of herself (with boys) in the first novel. I would have liked a little more conflict or tension in those relationships – like with Peter. Because of that, the book had an overall feeling of it being just an everyday high school experience story, which knocked it down a mark for me.

The ensemble of characters really shone. Lara Jeans little sister (Kitty) was much more likeable and I felt their relationship more realistic. As with the first novel in this series, the family dynamic is stronger – and ever more present here. I appreciated Han’s description of sister relationships. The strong bond these girls have grown up with and how they support each other. You get a tangible sense that these girls are growing up – Jenny Han doesn’t let any of these characters back slide from the progress they’ve made in ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.’

PS I Still Love You Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

P.S. I Still Love You’ is a bit of a light and fluffy contemporary, a gentle afternoon read with a strong sense of self – and of family. With a pleasant, easy-flowing writing style and great pacing, it can be a fast read. Recommended for a lazy afternoon with a mug of hot chocolate.

Overall feeling: You go girl!

PS I Still Love You Book Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle

PS I Still Love You Book Review Pic 04 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.