Reading and purchasing that bargain

Reading and Purchasing that bargain Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle

No review copies here – just an honest bibliophile!

I post a lot of reviews, but all of the books I read, I’ve purchased myself with hard earned cash. I get no kick-backs from my reviews. So I value my dollar, buy books only that I am genuinely interested in reading. And hunt around for great prices.

There are some authors that are an automatic buy, and titles that I am excited about and will pre-order online. Most of the time there will be a better price after their release, but with my over-enthusiasm, I generally don’t care so much about the increased price point because I want it as soon as possible.

I find cheap books from local book stores having sales – I can get lost for hours perusing their sale racks in search of a book on my wishlist… and I never come away empty handed. Plus, I get the books cheaper than I would have been able to source online… great things mobile phones these days, check to see if there is a cheaper price elsewhere before you head to the register.. You can even go to the sales staff and show them the cheaper price, and most of the time they will match it.

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The majority of the time, I have my wishlist – a number of books that I want to purchase, and I’ll jump on my computer and pull up some of the major websites to do a price comparison. Amazon, Book Depository, Fishpond, Booktopia, and the major book retailers like Dymocks etc. It’s important to convert the prices to your native currency – as in Australia book buying is expensive! Check the shipping costs too. 8 out of 10 times I find the Book Depository the best value for money. Occasionally Amazon gives it a run for its money. Sometimes a book will only be available on a certain site, and not on the others. Australian authors are generally cheaper from Booktopia (an Australian-based site) but still check. I’ve gotten a bargain from other distributors occasionally.

Then sites will run a special – free shipping, half-price, or discounted books. So be vigilant, look around and you can always pick up a bargain.

Books online

I say this because I like to have fresh, new copies of novels that I like adorning my shelves. My sister likes to collect second-hand copies and rarely spends more than a dollar for a book. She is also a massive e-book reader. Admittedly I only read e-books if I can’t find it in a physical format, if I am travelling, or if the book is more than 500 pages. Only because my reader likes to reorient the screen on me when I move, or runs out of battery at the worst possible time… for me, nothing beats good old paper!

For authors and books that I’m not sure about, I’ll often buy in e-book first, generally because the titles are less than half the price of their printed counterparts. So mix it up, check what’s available in your area.

I’d join a library and borrow books from there, except I live in a rural area and the closest decent library is over an hour and a half drive away, so I’d waste a day just for a visit.

Another way I get to read great books on the cheap is book-swapping with my friends and family. I’m lucky enough to have a large group of readers, and we like to pass around our favourites. It has let me discover new genres and titles that I would have overlooked before.

Buying and reading literature has never been more accessible, and I’m just a kid in a candy store with eyes bigger than her belly!

Reading and Purchasing that bargain Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

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© 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.

Film vs Novel – The Body Snatchers

The alien threat that started a sci-fi movement…

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The Body Snatchers’ has stood the test of time, from being written in 1955, it still managed to draw me in with its creepiness. And as evident, has inspired many screen adaptations, tapping into the audiences paranoia and wonder at the unknown.

The Body Snatchers Film vs Novel Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle.jpgGiven the different era where the novel takes place, I found I was noticing how many of the characters smoke, and how our protagonist, Miles Bennell was the hero for the love interest Becky Driscoll. While Becky did have moments of her own heroism, she was still, at most times a silent companion and willingly followed Miles’ instructions. Much of that machismo is slowly deconstructed through its various incarnations, with a female lead in over half of the adaptations.

I loved the scientific explanations and long expository paragraphs of the state of affairs in the original manuscript – they reminded me of recordings of radio broadcasts of the 1950’s I listened to as a child in my grandparents lounge room. I could hear the accents and intonation where they sounded ‘proper’ and knowledgeable. It added an old-timey ambience to the story. A respectful gentleness that is absent from much of today’s new fiction. This esteem of knowing gets lost in many of the screen adaptations, apart from the earliest version. The later versions become more sensationalised and heavy on special effects, losing some of the core tension of the original story. Though the latest Nicole Kidman version does try to make a return. Labels as a bit of a box office flop, it was one of my favourite released of that year.

There is a strong sense of the paranoia of the time (in the 1950’s) of the novel, when the country was at war against communism, ‘The Body Snatches,’ taps into that fear to build a scenario where the people you know and love are not what they seem, where your home has suddenly found itself in the grips of an invasion. I’m greatful to say that this theme carries through all incarnations, whether it be sci-fi, horror, or suspense.

While this novel isn’t particularly scary, or alarming, it does possess an aura of the unsettling. An unassuming tension which resonates with the reader long after the book has been returned to the shelf. And I really wish that embodiment had translated to the screen – I think the closest it came was with the tv series ‘Invasion’ starring Eddie Cibrian. I’d discovered this series after it had been cancelled and loved their take on the franchise. Sad to have it canned after just one season.

I have seen all the movie and television adaptations, being the big sci-fi geek girl I am. ‘The Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ is one of my cult faves. I can’t believe it has taken me so long to read the original script that kicked off this movement. I guess I was scared I’d be underwhelmed. But thankfully not. I really enjoyed this origin that has spurned so many re-inventions. Though, I must say none of those actually mirrored the story completely, and all had different twists and endings. So, while you will already know the premise of the story, there is still an element of surprise with this debut.

For lovers of the classics, old fashioned values, cult followers, and anyone in between, I highly recommend you give the novel a go. Just to see what happens. It has stood the test of time for a reason. Some of the screen adaptations – well, let’s just say they tried. And for the time in which they were released, pretty good. But now I have to try and stop laughing in some, as the over acting and special effects just about do me in. But it’s all in good fun!

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 – ‘The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon’ by Stephen King

Woodsy creepiness at its best.

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Horror, Thriller

No. of pages: 264

From Goodreads:

Trisha McFarland is a plucky 9-year-old hiking with her brother and mom, who is grimly determined to give the kids a good time on their weekends together. Trisha’s mom is recently divorced, and her brother is feuding with her for moving from Boston to small-town Maine, where classmates razz him. Trisha steps off the trail for a pee and a respite from the bickering. And gets lost.

Trisha’s odyssey succeeds on several levels. King renders her consciousness of increasing peril beautifully, from the “first minnowy flutter of disquiet” in her guts to her into-the-wild tumbles to her descent into hallucinations, the nicest being her beloved Red Sox baseball pitcher Tom Gordon, whose exploits she listens to on her Walkman. The nature writing is accurate, tense, and sometimes lyrical, from the maddening whine of the no-see-um mosquito to the profound obbligato of the “Subaudible” (Trisha’s dad’s term for nature’s intimations of God). Our identification with Trisha deepens as we learn about her loved ones: Dad, a dreamboat whose beer habit could sink him; loving but stubborn Mom; Trisha’s best pal, Pepsi Robichaud, vividly evoked by her colorful sayings (“Don’t go all GIRLY on me, McFarland!”). The personal associations triggered by a full moon, the running monologue with which she stays sane–we who have been lost in woods will recognize these things.

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I’m getting back to my roots – back in Junior High I took interest in reading through Stephen King, Isaac Asimov and Dean Koontz. Since graduating I have read little of their titles since, so am currently attacking King’s back catalogue – maybe to recapture my youth, but definitely reliving the fun I had when reading. ‘The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon’ was a great addition to my collection and a welcome distraction to many of the YA titles I’ve been reading of late.

I really liked the play of perception and the POV of Trisha (Patricia) our protagonist, lending the interpretation of the story open to the reader to draw her or his own conclusions.

Trisha has an indomitable spirit.  I was really cheering for her and amazed at how she faced each challenge.

Tom Gordon, the form of Trisha’s guardian angel, or inner strength was a great symbol to focus on. Though some of the baseball jargon got a little tiresome for me because I loath baseball – it’s not really a big thing here in Australia – I appreciated it for what it was. A distraction and a coping mechanism to get Trisha from point A to point B.

Our antagonist could fall under many forms – nature, fear fuelled imagination, her family; and I loved how it morphed from one to the other, never leaving you certain of anything.

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

It took half the book to wind up and get interesting. I find every now and then Stephen Kings’s books do get a bit waffly in setting up the story and exploring the casts back stories. I know it is to get us to care about the characters and offer some perspective, but sometimes it feels a little long winded.

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon’ had the right amount of suspense and hair-raising creepiness. The second half of the novel was absolutely brilliant and I could not put it down.

I enjoyed this a lot more than many other of Kings titles, because it was based on character development and an inner struggle rather than gory monsters and demons (though this could be argued). It was a psychological thriller instead of horror, and appealed to my survival instincts. I have found myself lost in the bush many times, having to trek a day or so to safety. It was so vivid, and the descriptions of the landscape – mysterious and beautiful at the same time. Nature can be astoundingly picturesque and the face of death at the same time.

A great read that induces chills and makes you want to pull your feet up off the floor, with the hint of the disgusting and the unknown. Totally recommending this to all my friends who like a scare, but don’t want to feel like tossing up their dinner from gore.

Overall feeling: wickedly chilling

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon 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 – Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

Do you dare to step into the woods?

Through the Woods Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Fantasy, Graphic Novel

No. of pages: 208

From Goodreads:

‘It came from the woods. Most strange things do.’

Five mysterious, spine-tingling stories follow journeys into (and out of?) the eerie abyss.

These chilling tales spring from the macabre imagination of acclaimed and award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll.

Come take a walk in the woods and see what awaits you there… 

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I’m not normally one to pick up a graphic novel – even though this is a compilation of five graphic short stories – but it was a welcome change from a usual steady diet of books.

Each story is set in a different time and has its own twist. ‘Our Neighbor’s House’ is quietly spooky and has a Blair Witch feel; where ‘A Lady’s Hands are Cold’ is a morbid cautionary tale. ‘His Face All Red’ is like body snatchers from deep in the woods and shudder-worthy; while ‘My Friend Janna’ is a freaky tale of a haunted medium and definitely my favourite story, both the drawings and storyline up the creep factor. And finally ‘The Nesting Place’ is the longest of the stories and the ssshhhkkk ssssshhhhkkkk of teeth still echo through my head.

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The illustrations in ‘Through the Woods’ were scratchy and blotchy with only one or two colours – as equally ominous as the stories themselves. It was eerie and spooky and suitably gave me the shivers.

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While not terrifying, ‘Through the Woods’ is morbid and creepy. Reminding me of Ronald Dahl – that same way the stories ended, or even ‘The Raven’ by Edgar Allen Poe. Several moments had the hair standing up on the back of my neck.

It is a quick read, but I urge you to take your time and enjoy the artwork. There is so much atmosphere that projects off the page to suck you into the narrative.

For my first graphic novel – highly recommended!

Overall feeling: *shudder*

Through the Woods Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Through the Woods Book Review Pic 06 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.