Writing getaway


The beach, tropical sunsets… the perfect backdrop to dive into my latest writing project.

Except I didn’t.

I had every intention to scribble out some prose during this short holiday to N.S.W. But I’ve been catching up with relatives, checking out the sites, and stuffing my face with seafood. So the writing thing just ain’t going to happen. Neither will uploading the book reviews I had planned – the only internet access I have is via my phone. (So this post comes compliments of my Blackberry)

I have managed to get some reading done – as you do in tropical surrounds. I brought 3 novels with me and have since added another 2 from shopping (I’m such a lost cause and always indulge in book sales)

Final edits on my book ‘Smoulder’ have been going well though; I was hoping to have it finished by the end of Feb, but I think it’s going to be another month yet – and that’s if I don’t decide on any major re-writes.


So the seaside locale of Ballina has been wonderful food for the soul – plenty of time to read, the sea spray and sunset walks over soft sand. I can feel the cobwebs being blown out of the grey matter! The holiday is only half over, so plenty more time to explore, edit, read and write…

This trip started out as a planned catch-up with family, but turned into a muse for plenty of prose on my return home.

Keep an eye out for more book reviews in a weeks time when I’m back to the regularly scheduled posting.

And as always happy writing (and reading)

Complete Your Series!

This year I’m determined to finish off a lot of series that I have started in the past few years (and then neglected). So I’m challenging myself to complete those collections that I already own all the books for (not series that are still waiting publication of further instalments).

I was quite alarmed once I finished compiling this list –it’s quite an assortment… better get to a reading, like quick smart girl!

I’m determined to complete at least 3 series before I’m allowed to pick up any of the new unread series on my shelves.

2016 is the year of getting things done!

Flat Out Love series Banner by Casey Carlisle

Flat Out Love series by Casey Carlisle.jpg

I started reading this 2 years ago – I think I’ve been putting it off because Parks writing is emotionally intense, something I need to brace myself for.

The Lunar Chronicles Banner by Casey Carlisle

The Lunar Chronicles by Casey Carlisle

A bit of a cheat since ‘Stars Above’ is still on it’s way, but I’d only just recently started trying to catch up before ‘Winter’ was released. Now that it’s staring me in the face I’m dying to read it.

Divergent Trilogy by Casey Carlisle

Divergent series by Casey Carlisle

Glad to cross this one off, finished Allegiant just last week J

The Teen Romance series Banner by Casey Carlisle

The Teen Romance series by Casey Carlisle

An unexpected series that I really enjoyed, and I’m glad to have a GLBTQIA+ series in this list. After a turbulant story in the first book, I’m curious to see where these two boys end up next.

Vampire Academy Series Banner by Casey Carlisle

Vampire Academy Series by Casey Carlisle

Just one book to go! I’ve been loving Rose and Lissa and have hopes for Dimitri in the final book, I just don’t know what’s going to happen… *biting my nails*  Plus, when this is finished, there’s always the Bloodlines series to indulge in.

Earth Girl trilogy Banner by Casey Carlisle

Earth Girl trilogy by Casey Carlisle

No excuse for not finishing this series off earlier – just got distracted by so many other good books… Oi vey! Aliens, archaeology, portals to other planets…. No more putting this off!

Across the Universe trilogy Banner by Casey Carlisle

Across the Universe trilogy by Casey Carlisle

I have intentionally been shirking finishing this trilogy, I wasn’t particularly impressed with the first two books. But alas, the obsessive-compulsive in me says I need to put this lot to bed. Maybe planetfall will make it a more intersting read?

Shadowhunter Universe Banner by Casey Carlisle

The Mortal Istruments Series by Casey Carlisle

The Infernal Devices by Casey Carlisle

The Bane Chronicles by Casey Carlisle


It’s like when your at a candy store and there’s so many yummy choices that you end up catatonic. Must. Read. So. Good.  I really want to marathon the rest of this series, and I know there is still so much more to add to my collection, but I’m not letting myself buy any more Shadowhunter goodness until I read the rest of these.

Shatter Me trilogy Banner by Casey Carlisle

Shatter Me trilogy by Casey Carlisle

The first two novels were a push for me. I really did not enjoy them. It’s just Tahereh Mafi’s writing style, I mean the story is really intersting, but when I start reading the books I feel like head-butting the wall. But the OCD in me insists I must finish… I know heaps of people love these books, hopefully there will be some breakthrough in my brain and things will yet turn around.

The Darkest Minds Trilogy (and novellas) Banner by Casey Carlisle

The Darkest Minds Trilogy (and novellas) by Casey Carlisle

Again, another crowd favourite that failed to impress me. An average sort of read, though I’ve only read the first novel, there is plenty left in the series to blow my britches – fingers crossed!

IFICS Trilogy Banner by Casey Carlisle

IFICS Trilogy by Casey Carlisle

Another start that left me with a bad taste in my mouth – why did I have to buy all three together? We’ll see if book two can improve on things because I don’t want this to be the first trilogy I do not finish. I mean, it’s a cyborg super spy – where did it all get so pear shaped?

The Caster Chronicles Banner by Casey Carlisle

The Caster Chronicles by Casey Carlisle

I absolutely adored the debut novel, but held off after reading bad reviews for the subsequent installments, but I’m getting that itch again. Maybe I should stop looking novels up on Goodreads and just enjoy the experience as I turn the page – let the words cast their own spell on me… (see what I did there?)

The Mara Dyer trilogy Banner by Casey Carlisle

The Mara Dyer trilogy by Casey Carlisle

After loving the debut, and then feeling so-so for the follow up, I’m hesitant to read the last installment of Mara Dyer. Plus it’s dark and intense and you spend so much time wondering what the heck is going on without any pay off, Well, at least with one more left it should wrap everything up nicely, right? Please tell me it does.

Unwind Dystology Banner by Casey Carlisle

Unwind Dystology by Casey Carlisle

Teens for spare body parts – love it! We were just on the verge of rebellion in the first novel, so I really want to get back into this series. I don’t even remember why I stopped.

Lux Universe Banner by Casey Carlisle

Lux Universe by Casey Carlisle

Ahh, hot glowy aliens… need I say more? A guilty pleasure with angst, heavy petting, and high school. With two more books just added to my collection I need to get on to it!


Translucent Series Banner by Casey Carlisle

Translucent Series by Casey Carlisle

A new series I recently got into. Easy, fast sci-fi reads. Invisibility and dark matter. Not the best written series, but a great way to spend an afternoon. I can’t wait to see what Dan Rix will do with these girls.

Hourglass Trilogy Banner by Casey Carlisle

Hourglass Trilogy by Casey Carlisle

Started this spooky time-travel series years ago and only recently aquired the rest of the books to this trilogy. Can’t wait to see what happens to our heroine.

Deathworks Series Banner by Casey Carlisle

Deathworks Series by Casey Carlisle

A Grim Reaper. A multi-national company of Grim Reapers! And it’s set right here in Brisbane, Australia! Such a great seires by some local talent, took me ages to track down the rest of Trent Jamieson’s books, but now I have them in my hot little hands.. mwah ha ha! (that was my maniacal laugh btw.)

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Holy Hanna! That leaves a total of over 30 books needed to complete these series… doesn’t leave much room to read other books unless I start skipping sleep altogether… and don’t think I won’t try.

So lets’ see if I can get all of this list done before the end of the year – it is achievable. Let’s just hope I don’t get too distracted with new releases.


What series have you left by the wayside and need to complete? Are you easily distracted? Share your TBR series in the comment section below:

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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 – Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

This book will blow you apart, infect you and melt you into a pool of your own making… sci-fi wizardry!

 Illuminae Book Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpgGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction

No. of pages: 599

From Goodreads:

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

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I was excited to get this book. All the hype around its promotion and some great reviews from fellow bloggers had me all in a tizzy. But I held off until I had a decent chunk of time to really delve into ‘Illuminae’ and I’m so glad I planned it that way… and luckily I remained spoiler free, so the ride was even more delectable.

This book is a little bit different; and I’m not just talking about its formatting. With expert pacing and tension building to an explosive conclusion there is a lot to like. I was yanking up my feet as our protagonist, Kady climbed, Dodging in my chair as the love interest, Ezra fired on the enemy in his Cyclone fighter drone. I even felt comradery with my laptop at the heroic actions of the ships artificial intelligence AIDAN. It has been a while since I have enjoyed a book so thoroughly.

With a narrative consisting of a collection of documents – conversations, logs, IM’s, emails – it does not detract from the story at all. Some parts are thoroughly artistic in their expression as words placed unconventionally on the page. It was a refreshing and delightful reading experience.

Illuminae Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle.jpgKady had me sold from the first page. She’s capable and focused without that whole rude sassy thing. Her never-give-up hacker attitude added some of the best reading I’ve experienced in while as she faced some incredible odds. This chick rocks! I think the omnipotent POV allowed the action and pacing to excel without long winded inner dialogue from our heroine, just as it lent varying emotions in more intimate and lonely moments.

Ezra blew me away. He’s not the most capable of boys, but he’s got major kahoonies. He’s the kind of book boyfriend I love to read about. Even though he and Kady are separated for nearly all of the story, there is no sense of distance in their relationship even though he’s an ex – which is a feat in itself when you consider this story is told in snippets of reports, dialogue and documentation. Kaufman and Kristoff – we are not worthy! With moments where Ezra was so terrified he was going to soil his space suit, to sending out words of encouragement, we really see Ezra dig deep to survive in this all out hailing storm of excrement.

AIDAN : What a strange binary fellow. As a character he/she/it goes through the most significant change. I finished the book feeling both creeped out, and endeared about AIDAN. And I’m still not sure if he was simply misunderstood for playing the bigger game throughout the plot, or if evolution through computer error showed us his humanity (maybe it was both?) But I think I’m most looking forward to finding out about AIDAN in the upcoming sequel.

This was also my first introduction to the writings of both Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman (and proud that they are fellow Aussie authors) and am adding there back catalogue to my collection – and if anyone can tell me if there is a way to pause time so I can indulge in my reading addiction without wasting weeks on end, hit me up.

A true masterpiece and I highly recommend you get your hands on a copy right away! This sci-fi geek girl just about spontaneously combusted.

Overall feeling: It’s like my brain was on crack

Illuminae Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Illuminae 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.

Book Review – Being True by Jacob Z. Flores

When you hit rock bottom the only way is up… and it doesn’t help that he’s stacked!

 Being True Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, GLBT

No. of pages: 258

From Goodreads:

Truman L. Cobbler has not had an easy life. It’s bad enough people say he looks like Donkey from Shrek, but he’s also suffered the death of his policeman father and his mother’s remarriage to a professional swindler, who cost them everything. Now dirt poor, they live in the barrio of San Antonio, Texas. When Tru transfers to an inner-city high school halfway through his senior year, he meets Javi Castillo, a popular and hot high school jock. Javi takes an immediate liking to Tru, and the two become friends. The odd pairing, however, rocks the school and sets the cliquish social circles askew. No one knows how to act or what to think when Mr. Popular takes a stand for Mr. Donkey. Will the cliques rise up to maintain status quo and lead Tru and Javi to heartbreak and disaster or will being true to who they are rule the day? 

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Being True’ has been an amazing little find, even though it embraces many GLBT and contemporary tropes, it managed to steal my heart.

One particular aspect dominating the YA genre at present that makes me cringe – that being the popular jock falling for the outcast, though it managed to win me over in this book with its subtle variations and humour. I’m not that much of a prude, I do like reading about a hunky man with ripped abs, but I like finding a diamond in the rough even better. With a narrative that drags out all the feels, this book has become one of my guilty pleasures. But what is it that had me so hooked on ‘Being True?’

Let’s get the negatives out of the way first – the parts that annoyed me included where the narration delved into erotica (there wasn’t a great deal, but I don’t feel like it added that much to the story and the only reason it was included was for titillation. I like my naughty bits to be romantic and mean something, otherwise it just feels cheap and pulls me out of the narrative. There was some swearing, which felt unnecessary, it didn’t ring true to the characters or the style of the novel, and being YA, felt it could have been used in a way typical to youth culture or for impact of a certain event. (Gee, I’m sounding distinctly Nanna-ish) Lastly, as already hinted, the beginning felt stereotypical and cliché that had me rolling my eyes… but sometimes for good reasons.

The rest of the novel was pretty awesome. I laughed a lot, I cried a lot. It was a ride. It’s been a while since a book has done this to me. So much so I stayed up late to finish it in one sitting.

Times of Need

Tru and Javi are adorable. Most of what they live through is not. Their family and friends are amazing on the most part, and it was great to see a support structure and realistic relationships. I’m pretty colour blind when it comes to reading, I’m in a mixed race relationship myself, but it was a breath of fresh air to have a Hispanic character as one of the leads (the popular one to boot).

A very predictable contemporary, but uplifting and unrelenting with its theme of being true to oneself.

I need to recommend and commend this book solely on the amount it made me feel and how much I had invested in Tru and Javi. It has the soul of a romance, but a conscious of a hero.

Overall feeling: So adorable beware of exploding hearts!

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Being True Book Review Pic 04 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.

Book Review – Translucent by Dan Rix

An alien encounter of a different kind.

 Translucent Book Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpgGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction

No. of pages: 266

From Goodreads:

When a meteorite falls near her campsite in the San Rafael Wilderness, troubled teen Leona Hewitt ventures down into the crater looking for a souvenir. What she discovers changes her life.

Contained in the meteorite is a sticky, mucous-like fluid that bends light, cannot itself be seen, and seems to grow in the presence of living tissue. It’s drawn to her.

But when a government team arrives in hazmat suits and cordons off the meteorite impact site, Leona questions her decision to take it home with her. For one thing, there are rumors of an extraterrestrial threat.

For another, it has been speaking to her.

It wants to be worn . . . stretched on like a second skin. It’s seeking out her weaknesses, exploiting her deepest fear—that the only boy she’s ever loved will unearth the vile secret in her past and see her as a monster. Now it promises salvation.

It can make her invisible.  

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A great little science fiction read. It starts off cliché, and the protagonist, Leona, annoyed me many times. But the concept of the mythology is very interesting. ‘Translucent’ has been a great introduction into Dan Rix and his writing.

I must admit, the cover is what attracted me to this book – and don’t get confused – there is another novel by Lauren Bird Horowitz with a very similar cover. (Why do publishers do that?) But once I read the blurb, the addition of sci-fi and an alien substance that you can wear –ding- I’m sold and this title was instantly added to my cart for checkout.

Translucent Book Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleOur protagonist Leona. While I loved reading her story and the narrative style, I did not agree with many of her decisions. I understood her reasoning, but her actions had me shaking my head many times – but hey, it made good reading. We see some kind of arc and character development for her, (and then everything is left up in the air.) Leona, is tormented with guilt. With a fantastic back story which is unravelled throughout the course of the novel, you are able to see this history influencing many of her decisions. Even though she is not my favourite character, she is definitely well written.

Megan (the best friend) felt like my best mate. She embodied all the idiocy that we had in high school. And, while not the voice of reason, was genuinely looking out for both her and Leona. I was a little disappointed that her story line had dropped away towards the end. Without Megan ‘Translucent’ would have been considerably less entertaining.

Emory, Leona’s love interest, felt the least convincing character – I felt there was not a lot that justified his actions. Was he sad? Was he a bad boy? Why was he so predatory with Leona? I wanted more insight into his psyche in order to relate to him. Maybe we’ll get more in the following books, maybe we won’t. But I’m on the fence with Emory.

While there is resolution at the conclusion of ‘Translucent,’ I wanted more of a solid ending (though I do like a good cliff-hanger). There was a bit too much left hanging for me to feel totally satisfied – even if it is the first in a series– it’s the first in a four book series (at the time this review is being published.). It was as successful as many other debut novels. But I nonetheless was hooked, and really enjoyed the experience, devouring the novel in a day. I’m planning on reading ‘Of Starlight’ in the next few weeks and see if Dan Rix is going to hook me as another must have author.

It’s something I would recommend, but don’t expect amazing things; though the whole dark matter-invisibility thing is cool.

Overall feeling: Oooh, that was pretty good.

Translucent Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

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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.

Becoming a writer – Expanding your world.

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There’s more to becoming an author than just putting pen to paper, you need to make personal connections too.

I recently attended a seminar at a local library on writing and publishing, and it reminded me of an important aspect to the writer’s career that I haven’t yet touched on with this blog. Getting out there!

Writing is a solo activity. It’s isolating.

Yes, there is a plethora of information out there on the internet on learning how to publish and market your novel, but nothing beats firsthand knowledge and experience from your peers. You can always garner some titbit from attending events like these.

Becoming a Writer Expanding Your World Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleAnd another activity usually shunned by writers – networking. As a species, we’re usually most comfortable at the computer in a temperature controlled room with a steady supply of snack foods (*cough* breakfast cereal *cough*), we don’t have to worry about brushing our hair and can shuffle about in trackies and old t-shirts. Networking means, having to go through the grooming process (not so bad), venturing to some unfamiliar place where there is a lot of people (somewhat inconvenient) and taking to people, usually in front of everyone (*a cloud of dust as I sprint away*).

I can’t stress enough how valuable it has been for me to sit down and have a conversation with a fellow writer or aspiring author.

They help fan the flame of your enthusiasm for writing.

They provide you with information to help you along the way.

They can offer contacts to help your career.

Networking, or making friends in your industry, is a must do activity for all writers. Even if it’s only to email back and forth with updates and support, or catch up for an occasional coffee and swap stories, maybe you can critique each other’s work, or co-write a story.

It can be like finding a kindred spirit or a mentor. I know it can sound daunting, but it makes a massive difference to your career.

I know some seminars and workshops can be boring, or you fail to glean anything relevant for your situation, but if you see it as an opportunity to meet some likeminded bibliophiles, it’s a game changer. And yes, they are usually as introverted as you are, so it will take someone to break the ice. Walk up, introduce yourself, say what type of writing you do and ask them what they specialise in. Ask what they thought of the seminar, where they want their writing career to go… the words should start flowing. Swap emails, hand out your card. Even if you don’t find that writing buddy you dreamed of, you may make a fan, so really, it’s up to you what you want to get out of these events.

Becoming a Writer Expanding Your World Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Plus it’s really good practice for when you get to the stage of talking to other professionals about publication or formatting your work, maybe trying to sell you book on a radio segment or t.v. spot. Someone’s got to do it, and if you don’t believe in your writing enough to flog it to everyone and sundry, no-one will ever hear about it.

You may even meet someone who has a foray into the side of things you don’t have a lot of confidence in, or know little about… there’s a foot in the door right there!

Well, this is sounding like a bit of a rant. So in closing – hit up a seminar. Make friends. Be awesome.

And as always, happy writing.

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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 – Alienated by Melissa Landers

The school exchange program never looked so good..

Alienated Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction

No. of pages: 344

From Goodreads:

Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet. 

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I’m not sure if I was sold on the premise of this novel – There seemed to be so much more world building and politics leading up to the point where an alien student exchange could take place. That fact annoyed me and kept me from really immersing myself into ‘Alienated.’ There were also a lot of similarities to the tv series (which is now cancelled) ‘Starcrossed,’ of which I had similar issues with. But ultimately I enjoyed both of these stories and the unique quandaries they offer.

I did appreciate the mythology and origin of the species introduced in ‘Alienated’ and noted the difference of how an alien race has evolved compared to our own. So much of the science behind their development supported the storyline.

The politics overtook the plot towards the end and subtracted from my enjoyment, it made it less personal. The developing relationship between our protagonist Cara and her love interest, Aelyx, was a nice slow burn, but not something I was totally invested in. But still a coupling I would ‘ship.

Alienated Book Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleCara, forever the overachiever and people-pleaser, is such a strong character, in that you can see the influences of her familial upbringing, giving her the confidence to stick to her morals and what is right. As much as I found it difficult to like Cara in the beginning, because she felt a little cold, I had warmed to her by the end of the book.

Aelyx is an interesting character, and yes, he’s the hunky aloof alien with an agenda very typical of the YA genre, but I liked him more than many others in this trope. Again, as with Cara, both of their descriptions felt a little stiff, and consequently, their burgeoning love felt unrealistic. However on the surface, Cara is the headstrong nerd with a conscious for the planet, and Aelyx the political stoic martian who comes to understand Cara and Earth, and through that journey finding a true connection and life mate.

There is plenty of secondary character arcs going on behind the scenes, and it has been one of the best plotted cast I‘ve read in a while. Melissa Landers weaves an expertly web of storylines that had me revelling in the world of ‘Alienated.’

Some aspects that pulled down the rating for me included the realism of the story line, as mentioned previously; the domination of politics; and at times some scenes felt written in just for the drama. I felt if more attention was given in setting up the landscape and development of the characters narrative if would have dragged me into the story more effectively.

This does end on a cliffhanger too – and am looking forward to jumping into book two: ‘Invaded’ soon to find out all of the characters fates…

A great solid fun read, I managed to complete in a day.

Overall feeling: okie dokie

Alienated Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Alienated Book Review Pic 04 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 – Warm Bodies

A zombie tale with heart

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Warm Bodies’ was marketed as the ‘Twilight’ for zombies, and being such a lover of the paranormal, YA and film with supernatural themes, it was the movie that first got me hooked on this story.

Warm Bodies Film vs Novel Pic 04 by Casey CarlisleSuch a unique little love story. I liked how the symbolism eluded to (more strongly in the book) that they weren’t actually zombies (in the traditional sense). Merely a symptom of something bigger that was wrong with society. (We all know how zombies were meant to symbolize consumerism in the first place).

One big difference between the film adaptation and the novel that lost some of the interpretation in the film, was the quasi-civilization/ society of the zombies in the novel, and the Boneys weren’t so comical and less of a threat. The older generations in this book, (i.e. Julie’s Dad and the Boneys) stand for something about the old world… and alternatively our protagonist, R, and his love interest Julie stand for something new.

The people, much like the earth, is dead or in a state of decay (hence the zombies) – it is hope that changes things… as illustrated by Julie’s Mum, Peter, and Julie’s Dad to an extent.

I did think towards the end the characters jumped around all over the place a bit too much when reading the novel – it was difficult to picture the landscape because lengthy descriptions would’ve ruined the pace. In that respect the simplicity of the film was much easier to follow. Like the set of the stadium: where in the film it was the backdrop for the culminating battle and Julie’s secret place; and in the book it was the fortress that kept the humans alive containing all their shanty houses.

Dark irony and comedy was kept from book to film, which I’m greatful for Isaac Marion has a brilliant sense of humour. Also, I would normally be against superfluous profanity but in the novel Julie’s swearing added some humanity to the bleak monochromatic landscape. I was kinda glad her potty mouth didn’t make it to the screen, I doubt it would have made the same impact. Plus, you know, ratings and classifications…

I really appreciated the build in the relationship between R and Julie – some reviews (and the film to an extent) give the impression of instalove, but in actual fact, if you pay attention in the book, they grow from friendship, to trust, to fondness, to love and hope. Peter (Julie’s unfortunate ex’s) brain is merely a catalyst of what is already inside of R, and the dreams/flashbacks are the conduit for R to work it all out and come to terms with his actions and what is happening to him/the world.

Warm Bodies Film vs Novel Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleR, played by Nicholas Hoult in the film adaptation did a commendable job. The right amount of stoicism and humour. In the novel he gets married and adopts two zombie children, again there is important symbolism here, but this mini arc was completely omitted from the film.

I also noted that the film failed to show how R slipped up a number of times in his attempt to ween off eating brains.

R’s change was more gradual in the novel, like his growing affection for Julie. Comparatively the majority his transformation was in a single scene during the movie, a knock on R’s head somehow the catalyst. In the novel, R was also a bit more damaged, a stab wound to the forehead, but the film opted for a more cosmetic treatment – a bullet would in R’s shoulder is what bleeds after the “change.” (Pfft – there’s a change of life joke there somewhere)

Julie, (Teresa Palmer in the film) goes through some changes in the novel that did not make it to the big screen. Like when eyes change colour after a kiss, resulting in Julie getting infected, but fought it off (and I’m guessing was forever changed?) It certainly adds another layer to the novel.

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A notable performance in the film for me was M, played by Rob Corddry. He’s not an actor that I particularly like in some movies, but he was spot on in “Warm Bodies.”

One massive disappointment was that the Boneys came off as camp in the movie. Showing them as always malicious, where they were old zombies stuck in their ways in the book, leaders in the zombie community.

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A little gripe I had with the story as a whole, was the amount of daydreams and flashbacks – although they each dropped a small nugget of wisdom, they were getting a little tired in the plot. Surely there was another method to impart the need to know bits that still captured our interest?

The movie remained true to the tone of the novel and I enjoyed the comedic moments better. It also had better pacing, though losing some of the importance and layers of the book, coming off a bit cheesy – though that still worked for the tone of the film.

But I have to say I liked the novel better – it skims a fine line between philosophy, the soul, and the meaning of life.


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Now this is where the film and book hugely digress: the final battle! Zombies did not come to the aid of R and Julie as in the movie – it was R and Julie’s union that released some sort of energy wave that dispersed the Boneys… the zombies were all in hiding. Somewhat corny, but fit the theme of the book. I definitely loved the action scenes in the film though.

The novel also depicts Julie’s Dad being killed by a Boney, failing to have a change of heart – depicting the old way of things dying (as the Boneys themselves do).

In the movie it is love and human connection that heals, where in the book it feels more like the will to live and hope (love is by and by something to live for). Both saccharine sweet and like a nice warm hug. Both a satisfactory conclusion.

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.

Book Review – Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson

A paranormal cat and mouse with great potential.

Hunting Lila Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Paranormal, Romance

No. of pages: 318

From Goodreads:

17-year-old Lila has two secrets she’s prepared to take to the grave. The first is that she can move things just by looking at them. The second is that she’s been in love with her brother’s best friend, Alex, since forever.

After a mugging exposes her unique ability, Lila decides to run to the only people she can trust—her brother and Alex. They live in Southern California where they work for a secret organization called The Unit, and Lila discovers that the two of them are hunting down the men who murdered her mother five years before. And that they’ve found them.

In a world where nothing and no one is quite as they seem, Lila quickly realizes that she is not alone—there are others out there just like her—people with special powers—and her mother’s killer is one of them…  

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Hunting Lila’ is a fun adventure with a group of individuals possessing psy(chic) abilities pitted against a military group – and Lila is caught in-between. Certainly a great premise, and a very enjoyable novel, but it fell a little flat for me.

It’s hard to place why it felt unremarkable – quite possibly it was a little too busy – with so much going on in plot and sub-plot, where character development became secondary.

There was also an element of instalove between Lila and Alex – I found that kind of infuriating. But he was a nice piece of eye candy to read about.

The story had an air of the superficial as well – everyone was gorgeous, everyone was a hero – whether they had special abilities or military training and gadgets, a lot of the ordinary and the relatable just wasn’t there.

Plus, half of the cast intrinsic to the story line were introduced in the second act.

Now that the yucky stuff is done and dusted, let me share what I appreciated about ‘Hunting Lila:’

I loved the different types of psychic abilities – telepaths, astral projectors, a psychokenosist, telekinetics, sifters, all reminding me of the graphic novel (and subsequent film adaptation) ‘Push.’ This had a very strong X-Men Origins vibe.

Lila, our protagonist is very relatable in the beginning and I felt all of her choices during the actions scenes made complete sense. It was the decisions pertaining to her love interest that had my hackles up. Lila is cute, spunky, somewhat naive and has the potential to be a great character and force of nature. She does tend to flounder a bit and I’m excited to see where Sarah Alderson takes Lila in this trilogy.

Jack, Lila’s brother added a fun dynamic into the romance between her and Alex, as well to the bait-and-switch scenario.

But I think ultimately, the military aspect felt unrealistic, as did the change of heart Lila comes to – I hungered for more angst and tribulation for her predicament.

The twist at the end was a great surprise amongst a sea of predictability. This would fall more into my ‘guilty pleasure’ category, and something I’m on the fence about recommending to others. While I enjoyed ‘Hunting Lila,’ and there is certainly a lot to revel in, it didn’t have that spark.

I have a hunch what is going to happen in the second book for this series, and I will pick it up as I am still interested to see where this story will go. Let’s hope that it is even better than ‘Hunting Lila’ and redeems the author in my eyes. Bring on ‘Losing Lila!’

Overall feeling: A bit of a love/hate relationship for me.

 Hunting Lila Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Hunting Lila 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.

Book Review – Shadows by Jennifer L. Armentrout

A steamy beginning to a sultry saga.

Shadows Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction, Romance

No. of pages: 179

From Goodreads:

The last thing Dawson Black expected was Bethany Williams. As a Luxen, an alien life form on Earth, human girls are…well, fun. But since the Luxen have to keep their true identities a secret, falling for one would be insane.

Dangerous. Tempting. Undeniable.

Bethany can’t deny the immediate connection between her and Dawson. And even though boys aren’t a complication she wants, she can’t stay away from him. Still, whenever they lock eyes, she’s drawn in.

Captivated. Lured. Loved.

Dawson is keeping a secret that will change her existence…and put her life in jeopardy. But even he can’t stop risking everything for one human girl. Or from a fate that is as unavoidable as love itself. 

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This is the prequel (novella) to the Lux series, dealing mostly with Dawson and Bethany. I felt like it was the best written book I’ve read in the franchise to date.

Shadows Book Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleThere wasn’t a saturation of heavy petting, the pace and story line moved along at a great pace throughout.

Plus the bonus of learning about the story arc leading up to where ‘Obsidian‘ kicks off the series is a wonderful addition to the franchise. I’m always down for more Daemon goodness J

There are some ironic nods to what happens in the series to bring a smile to your lips, and I love Armentrout’s style with dialog of the youngsters, her turn of phrase is current and comical in places.

It also sets up Daemon’s attitude towards humans much more effectively than any other book in this series, and I can totally relate to his rude obstinate behaviour towards Kat starting in ‘Obsidian‘ now. So that was a plus to redeem him and his behaviour, because Daemon really fitted into the bad boy trope… at least this is deconstructed a little.

On a side note – Daemon and Dawson in the same room shirtless – it’s just too much!!

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‘Shadows’ brought all the feels, passion, love, fear, determination, frustration, and conflict… everything to make this a stand out tale – a must have for anyone who loves the Lux series. Highly recommended.

Overall feeling: Just brilliant!

Shadows Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

Shadows Book Review Pic 05 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.