Did that just happen?

How I inadvertently binge watched ‘Stranger Things’

Stranger Things Binge Watching Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleI came across this show from a trailer posted on YouTube, and downloaded the entire series from Netfix a few days after its release. I was interested in the story, it looked like a spooky mystery with a bunch of kids, where one goes missing. Plus it’s got Winona Ryder attached to it, so I was sold.

With intentions of watching the first episode, and spreading out the series over the following weeks, I sat down with a cuppa and jumped in… and was completely hooked. Fat chance on waiting another day to find out what happens. I needed the next episode now! And the next one! So I ended up binge watching the entire series in a day.

It has that 90’s horror movie nostalgia, complete with opening title sequence and mood music soundtrack. I thought it might be spoony or camp, but it adds a little something to the production.

It was fantastic.

Elements of Stephen King and Dean Koontz have a strong influence, so if you enjoy their novels, this tv show is for you.

I’ve since read some other articles around this production online, showing the intension of the Creators: shots mirroring films such as ‘E.T. the Extraterrestrial,’ ‘Stand by Me’, and ‘Goonies’ and other cult favourites. There is a boatload of subliminal aspects to this series which bring up sense memories to the 80’s and 90’s, that, having grown up in that era, there was nothing I could do but love ‘Stranger Things.’

Apart from Winona Rider giving her usual stellar performance, Millie Bobby Brown is jaw-droppingly amazing. I remember seeing her creepy performance in ‘Intruders’ and thinking she possessed a maturity beyond her years; and in this show her range blew my mind. I’m expecting big things from her career.

The characters are colourful and have their own backstories and motivations, the plot gave me plenty of surprises and I love where this story took me. I am hopefully optimistic that we will get to see more from this franchise, and I can get to spend another day on the couch with jumbo sized popcorn and get lost in a great show and nostalgia.

It was produced in the format more-or less like a (long) movie, and if the series is renewed, Creators Matt and Ross Duffer have said that it would be like watching a sequel. Which is why I think this show is so addictive. It doesn’t drag things out to fill in 22 episodes. It’s tells a compact and engaging story that wraps up nicely giving the viewer the pay-off they are craving. So if you haven’t seen it yet – get your hands on a copy, its well worth it.

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.

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Wrap up – Rebel Belle Trilogy by Rachel Hawkins

Average adventures with plenty of promise.

Rebel Belle Series Wrap Up Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpg

This was a cute little trilogy – reminiscent of Buffy and the Scooby Gang. Prez brings the popular girl turned guardian (Paladin) battling magical foes with witty one-liners and awesome fighting scenes to the forefront.

The premise is certainly compelling and I had high hopes for this series, though it under delivered on my expectations, but is still very entertaining. The mythology of Paladins and Oracles is something I haven’t read a lot about and added a unique twist to the story.

Though this series is very predictable and better suited to the younger end of the YA market – it lacked the punch I was hoping for and doesn’t possess great complexity. It is a fun after-school special type of story.

The middle book was flat, failing to up the anty, and could have been edited down to half its length and paced as a much better book – in fact I’d love to see the series heavily edited, a curve ball or two thrown in and bound into one book. It would go from pretty good to mind-blowingly awesome.

We get a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy, though the last book is a darker tone than its predecessors. I’d still recommend it to my friends, they are short, fast reads so you don’t need to invest a lot of time, and the Rebel Belle trilogy is really a pleasant way to spend a lazy afternoon.

You get character growth, a cool mystical system, teen banter and some southern charm. With some of the failings I felt this collections suffered it also has a lot going for it.

Rebel Belle Series Wrap Up Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

For individual reviews click on the links below:

Rebel Belle’ – https://strokingfire.wordpress.com/2015/03/05/book-review-rebel-belle/

Miss Mayhem’ – https://strokingfire.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/book-review-miss-mayhem-by-rachel-hawkins/

Lady Renegades’https://strokingfire.wordpress.com/2016/05/24/book-review-lady-renegades-by-rachel-hawkins/

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.

 

#bookporn

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This has been popping up all over the blogosphere and I’m keen to check it out and see if it lives up to the hype. Love a good YA sci-fi dystopian read. Plus the cover art and dust jacket alone are enough for me to be adding this to my collection.

Book Review – ‘Zeroes’ by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti

Whirlwind action from multiple perspectives!

Zeroes Book Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpgGenre: Y/A, Paranormal

No. of pages: 546

From Goodreads:

Don’t call them heroes.

But these six Californian teens have powers that set them apart. They can do stuff ordinary people can’t.

Take Ethan, a.k.a. Scam. He’s got a voice inside him that’ll say whatever you want to hear, whether it’s true or not. Which is handy, except when it isn’t—like when the voice starts gabbing in the middle of a bank robbery. The only people who can help are the other Zeroes, who aren’t exactly best friends these days.

Enter Nate, a.k.a. Bellwether, the group’s “glorious leader.” After Scam’s SOS, he pulls the scattered Zeroes back together. But when the rescue blows up in their faces, the Zeroes find themselves propelled into whirlwind encounters with ever more dangerous criminals. And at the heart of the chaos they find Kelsie, who can take a crowd in the palm of her hand and tame it or let it loose as she pleases. 

Page border by Casey Carlisle

Zeroes’ is such an amazing book! I loved it.

I was a little put off by the constant head-jumping. We’re treated to perspectives of all of the team members of the Zeroes team (and Mob); and while that usually annoys the heck out of me, the pacing and writing style of these three authors maintained my interest. It is the first example that I have read in a really long time of multiple POV’s that actually works.

Zeroes Book Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleColourful, realistic and diverse characters. It was refreshing to explore the personalities and backstories (as well as personal relationships) of the cast as they slowly unfolded throughout the book. There was always something happening, and every event drove the plot forward. It was such an intricately and expertly woven plot I was never bored, though in some areas it did feel a little long.

I loved the mythology behind the power system of the teens abilities – how it boiled down to connection of some sort (or lack thereof). A brilliant take on superpowers. And how there is a downside to their abilities as well – every element of this book is fully developed and realised.

I was never quite sure where the story was going – the way it was written left you wandering if you were going to get thrown a curve ball or not. Great praise to the narrative to deliver such a tone of delicious uncertainty. Pacing is excellent – I was always eager to see what happened next – the alternate perspectives added to that tension, especially with many of the chapters ending on cliff-hangers.

The only reason I’m deducting a point from a perfect rating is because of the confusion I had about which character I was reading about – each with their own name and a superhero name – I had to keep reminding myself who was who. That, and the book was a little long, the extended internal monologues spaced some events too far apart. Although interesting, if boiled down more, the pacing in ‘Zeroes’ would have been supersonic.

Cute ending. Highly recommended. And can’t wait for the next in the series ‘Swarm’ due out next month.

Overall feeling: Tell all your friends – read this book!

Zeroes Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Zeroes 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.