#bookporn

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Had to do a mini-book haul a few weeks back – I’ve read the first novel in many new series and needed to purchase the rest of the collection… This duology was outstanding! If you loved ‘Illuminae’ this is right up your alley. Go Sci-fi!!

#bookquotes

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One of my favorite quotes from ‘Deadfall’ – the final book in the Blackbird duology (posted the review last week.) It totally sums up the tone of the novel. Dark, mysterious lots of fun and action.

#bookporn

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I still haven’t gotten around to reading this duology! Love the covers and desperately need to carve out some more reading time.

If you’ve read these, let me know what you think in the comments – it may just give me the motivation I need to peek under the covers 🙂

Wrap up – Slide Duology by Jill Hathaway

A paranormal teen murder mystery with promise.

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I must say there was a lot of potential in this series, but it didn’t quite explore the themes enough for me to sing its praises. These books felt like a watered-down version of the Wake trilogy by Lisa McMann. ‘Slide’ and ‘Impostor’ failed to explore the mythology behind dream-walking/psychic abilities, instead resorting to a detective murder-mystery with little substance. The stories are a cursory glance at both the genres it purports to be: a mystery and a paranormal tale. If you’ve read any detective novels, or some good paranormal titles you’d see that the Slide duology is indeed the poorer cousin of either.

There is a marked improvement in Jill Hathaway’s writing from the debut to its follow up; however, I had many issues with the construction and delivery of the plot that I risked falling into an unflattering rant during my reviews. It’s not a poorly written series, or a terribly bad collection – it falls into the ‘average’ area. Quick and easy to read.

These books have a great premise, and all the elements to make for an interesting read, but don’t quite get there. I recommend them for younger audiences who enjoy a book with great pacing and a little bit of danger (and a paranormal twist.) But in all honesty, I’d probably recommend the Wake trilogy before this duology. This series felt a bit… vanilla.

The author works as a psychic for the authorities and it easy to see how she has used these books to (maybe) justify her field of work and draw from her experiences, or fantasize of the possibilities of using her gifts… and I’m not trying to put her down personally, it’s just as the books stand on their own, much of the set-up, character development, and mythology was not delivered in a clear concise manner for the reader to get engrossed in the protagonist, Sylvia, and how she uses her gift to hunt down killers.

I still think it’s a brilliant idea for a series of books, it just needs an overhaul for the writing side of things to create more conflict, interest, and depth.

I’ve looked at some of the other novels Hathaway has in her catalogue, and to be frank, none of them are piquing my interest at this point, so I most likely will not be reviewing any of her material again.

Can you recommend any great YA paranormal murder mysteries? I love to hear all about them.

Wrap Up Slide Duology Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle

For individual reviews click on the links below:

Slide’https://strokingfire.wordpress.com/2017/01/03/book-review-slide-by-jill-hathaway/

Impsotor’ – https://strokingfire.wordpress.com/2017/01/14/book-review-impostor-by-jill-hathaway/

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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.

Book Review – ‘The Revolution of Ivy’ by Amy Engel

A dystopian that packs a punch…

the-reveloution-of-ivy-book-review-pic-01-by-casey-carlisleGenre: Y/A, Dystopian, Science Fiction

No. of pages: 290

From Goodreads:

Ivy Westfall is beyond the fence and she is alone. Abandoned by her family and separated from Bishop Lattimer, Ivy must find a way to survive on her own in a land filled with countless dangers, both human and natural. She has traded a more civilized type of cruelty–forced marriages and murder plots–for the bare-knuckled brutality required to survive outside Westfall’s borders.


But there is hope beyond the fence, as well. And when Bishop reappears in Ivy’s life, she must decide if returning to Westfall to take a final stand for what she believes is right is worth losing everything she’s fought for.

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An amazing follow up to ‘The Book of Ivy.’

Amy Engel is not afraid to go where she needs to go – to face an ugly reality and do what must be done – that is what wraps this duology up in a nut shell. It is beautiful and terrifying in all its hues, just like life.

Amy has a way of telling a story and developing a character that is ferociously organic. I revelled in our protagonist, Ivy’s growth as a person, her experiences, her feelings… all of it had motive and direction. There is little I can fault in this novel.

Bishop too has his own journey – and he really shines here as a character – there was not a lot of change in the first novel, but in this finale he had no option, but to either put up or shut up. The dystopian world is almost colonial, reminding me of the wild west without the cowboy hats and spurs.

Amy throws ethical dilemmas at the couple, both on a small and large scale. I really love the way her brain works, how Ivy and Bishop learn to adapt to survive in this new world. To help it grow with them and leave behind trappings and prejudices of old.

The Reveloution of Ivy Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle.jpgThe introduction of Caleb and Ash give this novel a much needed softer side – that of family, loyalty and security. Even though they have that hard edge essential to survive in this hostile landscape, the couple are everything that is needed to nurture stability and sanity. Forming their own family… it reminded me of something from a GLBT novel (and even RuPaul has been quoted as saying) where they get to choose their family. I really liked that aspect to this novel. How nomads flock together to form communities to benefit the whole. To survive.

The love story aspect of ‘The Revolution of Ivy’ develops further, and I have all the praise in the world to how it is handled. Responsibly, practically, realistically. It’s one of the best romantic story lines I’ve read in a long while.

All of my expectations were met. With that statement, I’d have to say it was fairly predictable, but it was one hell of a journey! So it won’t take a genius to guess the ending.

The pacing is pretty fast, though I think the debut was a little quicker, but there is always something happening, the plot is driven forward with every paragraph. I spread it out over two days. I’ve read many dystopian novels, many of the popular ones in this genre, and I have to say, the Ivy duology has knocked them off their pedestal, it has cemented itself in my top five favourites for this genre.

Highly recommend you give these books a go – it’s a fantastic adventure that really makes you think!

Overall feeling: Took me by surprise!

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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.

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

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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?

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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.

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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.

In for the long haul?

Writing a stand-alone or beginning a series… what do you picture at the starting point?

In for the long haul by Casey Carlisle

With NaNoWriMo in full swing, I wondered how many of us writers sit down and have full intention of composing a series, or is it merely a case of the story growing larger that we first intended, leading us to subsequent volumes?

It is a bit of a mix with me (as art and the creative process always is). I remember starting my Smoulder series with every intention of it being a trilogy. I had the story of my Firestarter mapped out. But upon reviewing, I completely changed the direction of the plot and added in a whole lot more, afraid it was being too generic… and a four book story line emerged. You could put all of that down to a little self-doubt and exposure to countless reading hours of YA. I think my reading habits (market research) helped me identify major plot problems before I got too deep into the writing process.

The For keeps duology was initially one book, but fears that it would end up being a mammoth book and not lucrative for a budding author, I split it in to two volumes. It was fairly easy – There is definitely a break in the middle of the story where things change in context and was perfect tone for a GLBT contemporary novel to end (and pick up with a second instalment). As it was my first attempt at a completed novel (there had been MANY different books written beforehand but abandoned after 30 or so pages in), it needed the most work. It’s been re-written and edited to death! I’ve found that leaving it for 6 months and coming back with fresh eyes for a final edit to be the saving grace.

A science fiction series (LONERS) I started early last year popped into my head fully formed as a four-book series. It is structured a little differently to a traditional series, where either of the first three books can be read as stand-alone, companions, or out of order. That’s the beauty of sci-fi – you can mix things up a little. This experience has really flipped my attitude towards writing and made me realise that finishing a novel can be a quick, easy and rewarding experience. Or maybe that’s be buying into my own insanity :p

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And finally, the re-boot trilogy started from a few scenes in my head, and evolved into three books… and I’ve yet to decide between one of two different directions this series could take.

And so… I had books that have grown into a series, and those I plotted that way from the outset. Additionally I have some titles which could quite easily become a series, but none of the characters have raised their voices with a desire to continue their adventure as yet.

I’m always amazed at creativity and how it just shows up.

Most of the time I simply just sit and write, no planning, just me and a blank page where I’ll scribe away for hours. Then, if it feels like something, I’ll go back, tidy it up, add to it, and eventually plot out a novel, or series. So, out of 23 concepted works in progress, only two were forecasted as a more than one book franchise.

I’m really great at organising things, and could quite easily plot out everything I write before a letter appears on the page, but find I lose my characters voice that way – and consequently, my passion for writing. Plus I like to keep the work malleable, open to change or exploring other arcs. The debut in the For keeps duology deviated into a major arc that added so much to the story (and how it came about to be a duology) that I’m greatful I let the story stray from my initial imagining.

Who knows if what I’m writing is any good or makes any sense – but the point is: I have to write. I write for me. To be entertained, to escape, to laugh, to vent (and the list goes on…)

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And I’ve committed to the decision to give this writing thing a professional go.

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I guess everyone’s process is different, but I simply wanted to share mine and am interested to learn of other author’s process. How do you write a series? Do you need some major brainstorming before beginning, or does it just happen?

Smoulder series by Casey Carlisle

re-boot trilogy by Casey Carlisle

LONERS series by Casey Carlisle

For keeps duology by Casey Carlisle

Stand alone titles by Casey Carlisle

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© 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.