Glitch – Pause – Loop

Glitch Pause Loop Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle

It’s like someone jammed my pause button the last few weeks – there I was, all ready for the new year with a plethora of blog posts and a writing schedule ready to fire away… and nothing happened.

It has just been one of those things, where businesses are closed, and building projects on the house slow to a crawl and you do your best to help them along yourself. Family and friends stop in for the annual catch-up. And well, I’ve been babysitting my sick puppies and tackling a bad case of Hayfever.

Oh – and I marathoned ‘Glimore Girls.’

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It was just a whole lot of little things that kept me away from writing…

I guess that was my version of a holiday, or break from work, but nonetheless it’s time to get back to my regularly scheduled programming.

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I fell behind last year in my editing goals – trying to get ‘Smoulder’ ready for beta readers has proven a little more challenging. I’m going through that awful process of disgust in my writing and undertaking numerous re-writes. It’s so much fun wondering what the hell drugs you were on when writing that first draft. Half the time I’m scowling at the screen WTF? But not to worry, it’s all part and parcel of the creative process and I’ll definitely have it finished along with at least another 3 novels this year.

I started this blog to hold myself accountable, connect to the outside literary world while I’m locked in my office like a forced slave to type a manuscript… and of course book reviews. Boasting how much of an intelligent and wide reader I am… yeah, they are all guilty pleasures and evidence of how little time I actually spend writing. But it is fun connecting with other bookworms and fangirling over different ‘ships and universes.

So don’t look here for any new year’s resolutions, I always have the same goals in mind and try to get a little closer to achieving them each day.

So without further ado – bring on the regularly scheduled posts…

Glitch Pause Loop Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2016. 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 Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

The other Other Guys..

 The Rest of Us Just Live Here Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, GLBT, Fantasy

No. of pages: 336

From Goodreads:

What if you aren’t the Chosen One? The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshiped by mountain lions. 

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I fell into the hype before reading this book, and unfortunately my expectations were set too high. And although came out of the novel thoroughly enjoying it, I was not wowed beyond belief.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here’ broaches varied topics all at once, treating race, (supernaturally) gifted, and sexual identity as an everyday thing. Which is comical and amazing into itself; it has a bit of that X-Men feel, or what you get after 5 or 6 seasons of ‘Buffy’ or ‘Charmed’ – the novelty has worn off and it seems nearly everyone has something special about them. This mix of issues woven into the world created by Patrick Ness added a dash of something extra.

Loving the melodrama – everyone is on the edge of something – and this novel is chock full of it. Even the stuff that goes down behind the scenes (brief descriptions in the chapter headings). But did everyone in the main cast have to have some sort of disability? It felt a little overdone. I know the ‘normals’ are meant to juxtapose against the special ones, the chosen ones; but really? I kinda wanted more grittiness to the main characters to balance out the fantastical elements of this story.

A big plus for me was the fact the parents are at the forefront of the story line. Not the typical single parent family where the caregivers are mostly absent. Maybe it’s because we are dealing with ‘everyone else’ and bucking the trend of a typical Y.A. stereotype and serving up a big plate of irony, but nonetheless, I enjoyed the involvement of the family unit as a whole.

We get to experience a truly unique antagonist in the form of the Immortals – though only really a subplot, and dealt with directly in the main story line – but their presence and influence affect the world of our cast. It was a refreshingly brilliant way to tell a story.

Light-hearted and a fast read – I completed it in a day. Though it took a while for the pace to pick up, as it was setting up each character. A great conclusion that gave me a lot of satisfaction – a salute to the fact that we can have great impact on other people’s lives without even being aware of it.

Would have rated it higher if it had more comedy/irony and dragged out some more intense feelings, overall it was simply enjoyable like an afternoon at the movies.

Overall feeling: Pleasing

The Rest of Us Just Live Here Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

The Rest of Us Just Live Here Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

 

© Casey Carlisle 2016. 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 – Total Recall

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You never decide to die – but you must decide to live!

I can’t believe I haven’t compared this trio yet… one of the first books I ever read back in high school when I was mad about all things Piers Anthony.

Now I didn’t picture the Mars landscape or Douglas Quaid quite like they are in the film adaptations, but nonetheless I geeked out over all three. The closest character I’ve come across in the literature to Douglas Quaid would have to be Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pitt – they both have that rugged, balls-to-the-wall leading man vibe (so if you enjoyed one, you may get a kick from the other.)

The book is certainly true to the classic sci-fi adventure, and is woven with plenty of mystery and intrigue, gadgets and an alien planet… and for the young pimply teen, I ate it up!

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The 1990 film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger remains pretty true to the novel, while the 2012 release with Farrell, Beckinsale and Biel is clearly a loose adaptation. Although I can’t fault the special effects and storytelling of the latest cinema release – I was definitely engrossed. But I did miss the traditional ending that brought in a whole other dynamic into the story… because it’s all about the twist!

Total Recall Film vs Novel Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

I can see how the Farrell version kept with the secret agent/ political intrigue trope and left Mars out of the equation completely to give it an edgier feel and concentrate on the action scenes. Although when picking up the book, the fact it took place on another planet was the big draw card. But still, this mammoth film was able to produce top quality entertainment with some of my favourite actors. I’m just sad I didn’t get to a new experience on many of the other elements this film left out.

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With Schwarzenegger’s adaptation, although cutting edge effects at the time, seems somewhat camp now – and even when I first watched it I laughed out loud… especially the suffocation scene. In the book I remember the desperation as they were losing consciousness – instead I was giggling away at the bulging eyes and comically horrified expressions. I’d could explain the scene more, but given it’s near the conclusion of this story I don’t want to spoil you… and those of you who’ve only seen Farrell’s version will have no clue what I’m writing about. So go read the book, or watch the earlier film adaptation, the original story line will blow your mind!

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Another notable mention – we also got Sharon Stone while still blazing the trail of her burgeoning career (Playing Quaid’s wife).

This franchise is also famous for the three breasted woman (which they keep in both films) although the context in how he appears is completely different in each, illustrates just how different each creation is. So this is by far the most difficult comparison I’ve done to date in picking a winner. Farrell’s film adaptation has the eye candy, SPFX and political intrigue going for it, Schwarzenegger’s remains true to the original story, but loses some of the seriousness of Quaid’s dilemma through the limitation of SPFX, but the performances are great from all actors – (not like now, when all that runs through my head every time I see Arnold is ‘I’ll be back,’ or ‘It’s not a tumour.’)

The novel captured my imagination about being a spy, walking in the shoes of a big action hero, and exploring life on Mars (if only we had a female lead).

Hmmm… I guess it will have to be the novel for the win by a very narrow margin, but really it’s like comparing apples, oranges and a banana! Because really, all of them are awesome!

Total Recall Film vs Novel Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2016. 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 – One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva

You can’t run away from life, your problems, or puberty….

 One Man Guy Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, GLBT

No. of pages: 255

From Goodreads:

A heartfelt, laugh-out-loud-funny story of romance, family, and self-discovery.

Alek Khederian should have guessed something was wrong when his parents took him to a restaurant. Everyone knows that Armenians never eat out. Between bouts of interrogating the waitress and criticizing the menu, Alek’s parents announce that he’ll be attending summer school in order to bring up his grades. Alek is sure this experience will be the perfect hellish end to his hellish freshman year of high school. He never could’ve predicted that he’d meet someone like Ethan.

Ethan is everything Alek wishes he were: confident, free-spirited, and irreverent. He can’t believe a guy this cool wants to be his friend. And before long, it seems like Ethan wants to be more than friends. Alek has never thought about having a boyfriend—he’s barely ever had a girlfriend—but maybe it’s time to think again. 

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I’ve been on a kick with GLBTQI+ titles recently, I think it’s that searching for identity and forbidden love thing… I hope that doesn’t say something about my state of mind at the present time… moving on. I was looking for a sweet contemporary in ‘One Man Guy’ and that’s exactly what I got.

I really enjoyed the cultural references from our protagonist Alek’s heritage – Armenian history and lifestyle; not to mention the food. I got hunger pains just reading the descriptions off the page.

There are some themes that really shone for me – standing up for yourself, fighting for what is right, acceptance when facing adversity… all about courage, mirroring what the Armenian culture itself has had to endure.

All of the characters are flawed and struggle with their own demons, and it was a wonderfully diverse and fully rounded cast that brought this story to life.

There is a strong sense of family and tradition. An expectation of carrying on a legacy. Coming from an Australian household, this experience was unique and not something I had in my upbringing.

Apart from these aspects, ‘One Man Guy’ fell a bit flat for me. I expected it to be funnier. There were a few laugh out loud moments, but for some reason I felt the narrative set up the premise that there would be more hilarity. But this is only a minor, personal misgiving.

Alek and Ethan are fun realistic characters and I loved how they approached life and family. You can really feel the different atmospheres of both of their homes. I particularly liked Nana – she an endearing character, reminding me of all the grandparents of my friends, sitting with them at the dinner table at sleepovers. That too was something which I experienced little and my Grandparents lived half a continent away… their presence, habits, little sayings and stories all add to the sense of family heritage. Nana especially embraces the old Armenian ways and language which I found to be the heart and soul of Alek’s home.

This is a fairly easy read – slow in the first half, with a better flow for the latter part. I ended up putting this book down a number of times due to disinterest. I wasn’t exactly bored, but it failed to capture me. All the characters were relatable, but the narrative could have been more upbeat and engaging – possibly due to my expectations of a more comedic read. But nonetheless a quaint modern contemporary.

Overall feeling: cool, calm and collected

 

One Man Guy Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

One Man Guy Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2016. 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.

The Year of the Furbaby!

Year of the Furbaby Pic 01  by Casey Carlisle

Wishing everyone the very best for 2016!

Normally over the Christmas – New Year break, I’d be visiting family, lapsing into food comas, tidying up on a sugar high, or cackling the night away over conversation and champagne. But things have been a little different this year: I’ve had three sick puppies to mind, and spent just over a week sitting in waiting rooms of Pet ER’s

This is also part of the reason I’ve been absent from my blog for a few weeks.

I posted a few months ago about Ben, and his big heart. Now in the later stages of failure. So it wasn’t a surprise that he needed professional attention a number of times, but still it’s heart-wrenching. He has been giving me big puppy dog eyes and cuddles every day for just over 11 years. Ben still has that slightly awkward puppy gait that makes him seem more bunny rabbit than canine. It’s only going to be days to weeks before we have to say goodbye.

The other visit to emergency that just about floored me was Baillie, the lively pooch I inherited from Mum when she passed away 2 years ago. He hurt his eye, and though it didn’t look serious I rushed him to Pet ER not liking to see him in pain, and it being the holidays – all the regular Vet Clinics are closed. By that night he’d lost an eye from a fast developing ulcer.

Devastated.

Please take warning – eye injuries with dogs degrade so quickly. If you notice a hint of something wrong, seek medical attention immediately. Even though that is what I did, it could have been much worse.

Picking up Baillie after surgery was alarming – they’d shaved half his head, and with an eye stitched closed, head lolling to one side and tongue hanging out – it’s a sight no owner is prepared for.

He’s much better now, barging into things with his medical collar, not letting the ocular loss impede him in any way. He’s still my little adorable munchkin, but now have some new nicknames for him like Pirate, Cyclops or Winky.

Nonetheless, it has been wonderful to spend Christmas and bring in the New Year with my entire furbaby family. They have been loyal and loved unconditionally. I’ve made sure they’ve felt it back in return and given them all the doggy things!

So in honor of my fluffy little family, I’m declaring 2016 the Year of the Furbaby!

 

P.S. all that time in waiting rooms was well spent reading, so I have a large list of book reviews waiting to be uploaded, so keep an eye out for more biblio-fun coming your way soon 🙂

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Resting up with their Christmas toys after hospital visits

 

 Muttly Mania by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2016. 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.