Book Review – Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins

Pres is on the warpath yet again…

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Genre: Y/A, Paranormal, Comedy, Romance

No. of pages: 273

From Goodreads:

Life is almost back to normal for Harper Price. The Ephors have been silent after their deadly attack at Cotillion months ago, and her best friend, Bee, has returned after a mysterious disappearance. Now Harper can focus on the important things in life: school, canoodling with David (her nemesis-turned-ward-slash-boyfie), and even competing in the Miss Pine Grove pageant.

Unfortunately, supernatural chores are never done. The Ephors have decided they’d rather train David than kill him. The catch: Harper has to come along for the ride, but she can’t stay David’s Paladin unless she undergoes an ancient trial that will either kill her . . . or make her more powerful than ever.

Page border by Casey Carlisle

As fun a read as Miss Mayhem is, it did suffer ‘Sequel Syndrome’ and left me a little disappointed. It certainly did not “up the anty” with the storyline or characters. The witty banter and awkward action sequences we got in Rebel Belle weren’t as prominent in the second book of the series. Given the brevity of Miss Mayhem, I was expecting something action packed and punchy… but it still felt a little drawn out.

Harper and her boyfie were still adorable, and the tension between the two a great addition. Also with the rest of the cast, testing their friendships. But I felt it could have been more – you know really turn up the pressure some more to let them shine. There are brief moments, but all too fleeting.

Miss Mayhem was enjoyable and a quick, easy read; however it did not measure up to its predecessor. Granted it’s the middle book in a trilogy, so it can be a bit of a no-man’s land… but as an author, you should be able to make it great. Maybe Rebel Belle had gotten my expectations up? The story was great, I loved it. But it could have been condensed down to a shorter story that really shines. Maybe this trilogy should really be one book after some heavy editing?

Overall feeling: Is there any more?

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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.

She ain’t as flexible as she used to be… by Casey Carlisle

 With some family visiting for a couple of weeks recently, they were doing the usual peek through the photo albums and frames on the bookshelf. It’s funny how as your interests change, file away past obsessions into that cobweb infested part of the mind. Every now and then you pull out pleasant memories and wipe off the dust, smiling at all the fun you used to have. I wish it was that easy with dancing – just a quick buff and you’re fit and limber once more.

A combination of Auntie marveling at the number of trophies adorning the shelves from my youth (as Aunties always do, doting and squishing your cheeks in familial admiration) and some holiday weight gain, resulting in fitness as something I’ve been trying to get back into form recently. So, up before the crack of dawn, decked out in my sweats and sporting a positive attitude I began to stretch. Well, a more accurate description would be bend; and more often than not, accompanied with a grunt, wheeze or groan (not to mention an unsavory clicking or grinding in my joints). When did I get so old?

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But I’m determined to get back some of that vitality! It is working, I’ve been eating clean,* working out, and “bending” a little further daily. I’m not aiming to get back to the days where I would be flying across the floorboards in a skimpy latin outfit with precision footwork blurring underneath an unwavering smile. Or even effortlessly gracing along in a massive ballgown, the long extended lines of my arms and legs defying gravity and exuding elegance and romance. I’d actually just like to be able to last a couple of song-lengths in my workout without feeling like I’m going to pass out, or puke, or pass out while puking.

ImageBack in my hey-day I’d competed in the Australasian Dancesport Championships, I was training most nights of the week and had a job hairdressing, so I was always active. Now I’m a slave to my laptop, always in a seated position (or lying down – okay, don’t judge). It’s not essential that every day I am coiffed to perfection and boasting impeccable make up. Maybe if I’d been wearing my pencil skirts more often I’d have felt the waist band constricting more and more before so many kilograms had snuck on my tummy and thighs. Curse being a writer! Maybe I should buy one of those treadmill workstations?

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Pfft! Who am I kidding. I’m happy with my body shape and as long as I’m strong enough to carry an armful of books and my laptop.

*eating clean refers to a diet of unprocessed (natural) ingredients. So fruits and vegetables, meat, chicken, fish, (no mince meat, sausages, etc) nuts, eggs, etc. Basically anything that comes pre-packaged is a big no-no. Don’t add any dressings or sauces to your food. Bread is not really included, but you can get away with an occasional whole grain brand. Substitute sugar with honey where you can. There are various descriptions and for this diet, but I’ve found these general rules work for me.

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© Casey Carlisle 2014. 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.

That woman sings like a goat! By Casey Carlisle

ImageImageTo be in show business you need to embrace an amount of humor and narcissism. Being able to embody the sexiness of a Las Vegas Showgirl when your three-foot high feather headdress is caught in the lighting rig is a talent in itself. Never mind needing to smile, kick-ball-change and stay in formation on top of that. But, even though the work was sporadic and intense, I do miss the comradery and the adrenaline rush from performing.

The best parts were the laughs and antics we would get up to on the final night of a production run. A cabaret that I had a hand in producing, on the last evening of it’s six week term, and showing to a packed house – we were well known for doing something special in the closing performance – and this time there was a little something that no-one expected, not even the cast members.

Previously, we’d added in new comedy sketches;  saucy dance routines; guest performances; randomly switched characters; swapped costumes, so the guys were in skimpy leotards, fishnets and wigs, and the girls in tails and mustaches;  or played with the speed of backing tracks, belting out tracks sounding like we were drunk. The crowd would roar with laughter louder than the music.

Struck with a Machiavellian streak, and deciding to get payback on one of our performers who was a massive (but adorable) prankster backstage… we rearranged her numbers through the show out of sequence. The result: she’d be racing on stage half in her costume, (modestly of course) to begin her number thinking it to be the extent of our goof for the night. Surprise! On cue, every time she was due to sing, we’d cut in a goat bleating, a fart noise, or a squeak! People were rolling in the aisles! A massive hook would then drag her off stage before the song could proceed. It was the running joke of the production. She never got to sing one note, and was cued randomly throughout the night. The expression on her face the first time she opened her mouth to hear a warbling blat was beyond priceless!

My hat off to her though – she is an incredibly great sport and was owning it by the time the red curtain dropped for the finale. Nobody escaped falling victim to the closing performance capers, not even me (but their stories for later blog). What a wonderful collection of talented and colourful people, able to pull through any situation with grace, poise and an incontrovertible sense of humor. Cheers to the woman with the voice of a goat!

© Casey Carlisle 2013. 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.