Happy New Year!

Casey Carlisle New Years 2018.jpg


Book Review – ‘Into the Still Blue’ (#3 Under the Never Sky) by Veronica Rossi

The hair-raising conclusion to a lightning filled dystopian world that fizzled flat.

Into The Still Blue Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction, Dystopia

No. of pages: 389

From Goodreads:

The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do—and they are just as determined to stay together.

Within the confines of a cave they’re using as a makeshift refuge, they struggle to reconcile their people, Dwellers and Outsiders, who are united only in their hatred of their desperate situation. Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. Then Roar arrives in a grief-stricken fury, endangering all with his need for revenge.

Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble an unlikely team for an impossible rescue mission. Cinder isn’t just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival—he’s also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most. 


The battle is real – with this conclusion to the trilogy ‘Into the Still Blue’ brings about all the physical fight against the elements and each other in hope to find an Oasis from a decaying environment and factions struggling for power. On the surface the plot is outstanding, but the delivery felt a somewhat lukewarm.

I felt Aria finally got her sea-legs. In the previous novels I felt she bounced around between place, people and conviction. As much as I did not connect with her, I appreciated her story.

Perry just seemed to struggle. From the start – right to the end… and I think that is just who he is. So that left me kind of meh!

I think I was more excited about the dog Flea in this novel. The mention of him always brought a smile to my face.

Into The Still Blue Book Review Pic 03 by Casey CarlisleIt felt masterfully crafted, though I must admit I never really connected with Aria or Perry throughout this trilogy; and something about the writing style had me wandering away from the book quite a lot. It’s not that it was boring, I just never felt compelled to read on.

I feel like I want to say that the supporting characters had more depth than our two protagonists. Maybe because Aria and Perry were so single minded. So serious. That their narrative came across slightly monotone. There was no fluctuation in ambience and motive.

There wasn’t anything that struck me as particularly wrong with this concluding novel, just there was something missing. I think the dual perspective, again, gave too many answers and details for the story, eliminating a great opportunity to up the tension.

On the subject of loss and Death – I was a little on the fence with how this was dealt with. There were varying degrees of impact from the loss of certain characters. I felt more importance and compassion should have been considered. It would have also made for a much more poignant conclusion. I also did not like how murder and killing were handled either. Again, the facts were mostly glossed over to move the story along. When it would have been a great opportunity to up the emotion and paint a picture of devastation, brutality, and inevitability of the fight for survival against nature, and each other.

The plot unravelled very organically and I never felt the hand of the author guiding along the story. Though, the writing style did not paint a detailed enough picture of the world for me. I still have trouble picturing the main characters and the landscape they live in. Some aspects are crystal clear, but others felt washed out.

I liked the tone the novel ended on and how the storyline wrapped up. But I was still hoping for more mythology from this dystopian world to explore. Get some more technology in this sci-fi. Oh well…

It’s not a series I would recommend to friends – it’s okay. But there are much more entertaining collections out there.

Overall reaction: *rocking hand motion*

Into The Still Blue Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Into The Still Blue Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle


© Casey Carlisle 2017. 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.

Just Get On With It Already

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Mental anguish at the writing process… be gone!

Sometimes I feel like I am talking about my writing more than actually getting the activity done in reality. Everyone knows I’m a writer, and are always asking how things are going, what I’m working on. And lately I’ve found my answers are restricted to one or two sentences.

Just Get On With It Pic 03 by Casey CarlilseMainly because I’m getting frustrated at the repetition of answers, the time it takes to explain everything, and some frustration at my progress. Now I understand how actors feel when they are going the promotional interviews for their latest project. I need to channel some of their enthusiasm and inject some quirky charisma into the conversation… but I’m so socially awkward at times I’m worried I’ll start farting from butterflies in my tummy.

In my head I should be able to churn out amazing prose at an inexorbitant rate, novels shooting from the printer, little editing needed, before charging on to the next adventure.

What a lovely deluded little dream.

Hitting that creative stride comes in intervals. Content editing is exhausting having to track so many concepts at once. The beta reading and drafting process is gruelling and lengthy. Yet I love it all. The creative process of taking black viscous oily substance and adding the pressure of each step, increasingly until a diamond is formed at the other end. I still get amazed at what is produced. It has usually morphed into an entirely different creature.

I just wish the time it took was substantially less. And yes, I could push things along at a faster rate, but fear of an inferior novel getting published – and my name attached to it – resound loudly like a Chinese dinner gong. I’ve read too many self-published novels with spelling errors, ill-though-out concepts and an obvious skipped thorough editing process. They make me cringe, angry even. I would never want a reader to feel that way about my writing.

So I have my charts and spreadsheets to track my progress. It’s almost like I’m back in Grade School, placing a star in my column after each achievement. As juvenile as it is – it works for me.

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I have been reviewing 2017 as it is coming to a close. Feeling out if I am satisfied with the achievements. Am I impressed? The short answer is – sort of. I guess I will never really reach those lofty goals I set for myself: but that’s the point. I like to push myself. But these schedules never allow for a social life, a visit to the dentist, taking time to play with the dog, or that time you got so sick with the flu and weren’t even able to look at a computer because the digital glare was like stabbing knives into your eyes.

I shouldn’t feel disappointed in myself because life gets in the way. It’s those little adventures that make it interesting. That provide inspiration to continue with your craft.

Just Get On With It Pic 01 by Casey CarlilseSo I guess this post is all about giving myself a break. Feeling proud in the amount I have achieved. And a letter to anyone out there who goes through the same angst-ridden self-depreciation. It will take as long as it takes. Don’t cut corners and represent yourself in the best light. The work will speak for itself. Yes, these are all clichés – but they at common for a reason – they are time tested.

The next time you get stuck, or frustrated at the meagre number of words on your screen, remember you’ll get there in the end. Take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back for even getting this far. So many give up because there is no instant gratification. Why are you writing in the first place? Tap back into that feeling.

Stay Calm and Write On.


© Casey Carlisle 2017. 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 Gift’ (#1 The Butterfly Effect) by Margaret McHeyzer


The Gift (#1 The Butterfly Effect) Book Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpgGenre: Y/A, Paranormal

No. of pages: 179

From Goodreads:

I have something people want. I have something they cannot take or steal. I have something they’d kill for.

The something I have, isn’t a possession, it’s more.

Much, much more.

It’s a gift.

It’s part of me.


I picked this up because of a few rave reviews from fellow bloggers, and the synopsis had a great hook. Plus, when I went to add it to my wish list on Amazon.com I discovered it was free. Bargain! I’ve read many books in this genre and had a lot of fun… but ‘The Gift’ was anything but for me. I think I’d rather have my teeth drilled, strapped down in a dentist chair.

The writing style felt juvenile. As well as the main character, Alexa, fell through a sequence of events and felt very passive. The line ‘are you okay’ was repeated with such repetition I wanted to turn it into a drinking game but was in fear I’d kill my liver.

Her acceptance of her gift happens very quickly, and the plot all of a sudden becomes very intricate – but this development does not feel organic, maybe because of the writing style, and maybe because of the poorly written protagonist.

The novel takes a turn and I thought it would get better, but Alexa is just not reacting logically or realistically. I feel like its some poorly written, badly acted movie.

To add insult to injury, Alexa says asshole way too much. I really feel like slapping my forehead repeatedly. She also says and thinks ‘ugh’ a lot too. This book is exasperating. Wasn’t this even edited to get rid of so many repeated words and phrases?

And then there is the antagonist, who is almost a characture of a bond villain.

Their relationship makes me want to vomit.

Ended on a cliff-hanger which had me intrigued, but will not continue with this series. There was nothing resolved with the plot by the end of ‘The Gift.’ The writing style did not work for me. The main characters behaviour annoyed the heck out of me, she was always the victim… A whole lot of questions were posed, the mythology suggested, but never explored, the characters weren’t able to resolve any of the problems set up during the novel and then the book just ended. It felt like I was in the middle of a sentence and someone hit the pause button.

The dialogue for all the characters wasn’t all that great. Even the sassiness of Alexa came off as cheesy instead of humorous – which is what it seemed the author wanted it to be.

With ‘The Butterfly Effect’ in the series title, I was expecting something to do with time travel – but we got none of that. I felt mislead.

I could have DNF’d this book quite easily – but then I wouldn’t be able to comment on plot – which went nowhere, character development: nada, and believability was ruined by heavily stereotyped characters and cheesy dialogue.

But it has a lot of potential. I’m shocked given the award the Author has won. But I can’t see myself ever reading any more of her material after this dog’s breakfast. This has got to be the lowest rating I’ve given for 2017.

Overall feeling:   :|

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The Gift (#1 The Butterfly Effect) Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle


© Casey Carlisle 2017. 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.



#BQ The Boyfriend List by Casey Carlisle

Making my way through the Ruby Quartet – a middle grade collection by E. Lockhart that has a quirky sense of humor from an anxious teen.


Book Review – ‘Till Death’ by Jennifer L. Armentrout

This one blew my sock off!

Till Death Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, Romance

No. of pages: 400

From Goodreads:

It’s been ten years since Sasha Keaton left her West Virginia hometown . . . since she escaped the twisted serial killer known as the Groom. Returning to help run her family inn means being whole again, except for one missing piece. The piece that falls into place when Sasha’s threatened—and FBI agent Cole Landis vows to protect her the way he couldn’t a decade ago.

First one woman disappears; then another, and all the while, disturbing calling cards are left for the sole survivor of the Groom’s reign of terror. Cole’s never forgiven himself for not being there when Sasha was taken, but he intends to make up for it now . . . because under the quirky sexiness Cole first fell for is a steely strength that only makes him love Sasha more.

But someone is watching. Waiting. And Sasha’s first mistake could be her last.


I wasn’t expecting the book I read. Although I didn’t know anything going into the novel, I expected it to be about some sort of abusive relationship, given the cover art and title… but it was a completely different creature. A psychopathic serial killer stalking our protagonist has re-appeared from her past. I absolutely loved it. It was such a fast read. Compelling.

I think I’ve enjoyed this the most out of all the JLA novels I’ve read to date.

I had developed two theories about who the killer was, and how it was all connected early on in the novel, and don’t mind bragging that one of those theories was spot on. However, I was kept guessing right to the last couple of chapters. Armentrout wrote this so expertly that I had no definitive idea of who it was until the reveal.

Sasha was a cool protagonist to read – she reacted to situations like a human being. It felt realistic. Though there were some moments that I felt she wasn’t being careful or paranoid enough. I like how she was battling with anxiety and PTSD, but it didn’t impact her ability to function or take over the plot. And it wasn’t a story where she was the only one who could discover all the answers, leaving the law enforcement to look like bumbling idiots. It was very organic.

Till Death Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Cole, the love interest from both the past and in the present wasn’t really my cup of tea. Yes he was drop dead gorgeous, patient, and kind. But he was also just a bit pushy for my liking. And horror of all horrors, he kept calling Sasha ‘babe.’ Gag me! That is the one enormous turn off for me. Additionally, he kept calling her that even after she asked him to stop… grrr! The other thing, is that he was almost like a barnacle – latched to her side, never leaving her alone. Again, possessiveness anyone? So he has good and bad points as a character, and while he was perfect for Sasha, there were too many traits that gave me the willies.

I liked the inclusion of Sasha’s mum and friends in the story, and how they were present throughout, and not just superfluous characters so that Sasha didn’t look like some kind of shut-in lonesome nerd. They were equally sassy and caring and helped give Sasha a support system and courage to reclaim her life after running away from a difficult past.

The Bed and Breakfast was a great backdrop for the novel – it was large with sufficient spooky crooks and corners, old creaky floorboard and doors. It really added to the ambience of the book. I was a little keyed up from the suspense of it all.

And speaking of keyed up – there are a few sexy scenes. They are written pretty well, and are on the right side of graphic. Though I wasn’t quite comfortable with them. But that comes down to a matter of what I like personally, and the whole not entirely liking Cole thing.

A very easy read!! The pacing was excellent, I barely put the book down and consumed it in large chunks. I must say I like JLA’s writing here where it’s not overrun by teen angst or damaged adults having wild trysts. It was a solid story, great tension, and a mystery to solve.

Highly recommend this one!

Overall feeling: Bravo!

Till Death Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Till Death Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle


© Casey Carlisle 2017. 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 One of Us is Lying by Casey Carlisle.jpg

Finally got my copy of ‘One of Us is Lying…’ now to see if it lives up to all the hype.