Book Review – More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Total Recall meets Will Grayson, Will Grayson

More Happy Than Not Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, GLBT

No. of pages: 293

From Goodreads:

In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.

Why does happiness have to be so hard?
Page border by Casey Carlisle

The story itself was great, and the way the plot unfolded – expert! However the narration felt cumbersome. Sometimes the material was a little in your face, but if fits with the setting of More Happy Than Not: future Brooklyn is rough and still has a deep-seated old timey sense of morality, making it detrimental to your wellbeing if you stray from the norm. That clashed a little with the youngsters casual attitude towards sex, but not sexuality… for a technological developed society all of these aspects did not gel together well for me.

Aaron Soto is wonderfully cute, altruistic and naïve. He has this purity of spirit whereby he navigated the world with a moral compass, somehow always guiding him to ‘true north.’ Like any journey, there are obstacles to overcome, and even those are unique in this story. I did get plenty of small surprises, but guessed the plot well in advance.

Thomas was adorable, and surprisingly non-pressuring for his age. It was refreshing to have a cast painted so realistically where you could find aspects to like and dislike for all. It really enhances the reading experience.

More Happy Than Not makes a quaint point in the face of self-acceptance. It reminds me of the day of reprogramming camps for gay and lesbians, except approached with a sci-fi angle. Such a wonderfully unique storytelling device.

More Happy Than Not Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Pacing felt a little slow, scattered with seeming inconsequential facts and side notes. In hindsight, a re-read would illuminate their presence, but from my initial experience, the writing style felt clunky and frequently meandering.

I’d recommend this to glbt and sci-fi fans alike. It’s an interesting novel apart from your typical futuristic or dystopian type of novel.

Overall feeling: so-so. Cool, but no swagger.

More Happy Than Not Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

More Happy Than Not Book Review Pic 05 by Casey CarlisleCritique 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.

Book Review – Yes Please

Yes Please Book Review by Casey CarlisleFrom Goodreads:

In Amy Poehler’s highly anticipated first book, Yes Please, she offers up a big juicy stew of personal stories, funny bits on sex and love and friendship and parenthood and real life advice (some useful, some not so much), like when to be funny and when to be serious. Powered by Amy’s charming and hilarious, biting yet wise voice, Yes Please is a book is full of words to live by,

Page border by Casey Carlisle

There are some truly raucous moments in this book, I mean I was laughing so hard tears came to my eyes and I was doing that choking gagging noise… and then others where I was nodding off to sleep and skipped ahead. I guess this book falls under the same condition that all comedians suffer – we expect them to be funny all the time.

Being autobiographical, this book is great for its genre. Granted I have not read widely to compare it with much of what’s on the market, but you get a real and personal sense of Amy’s life and struggles. The narrative was distinct and clear – the fact that I could hear her voice in my head, the intonation of her words and how she does that bark-yell thing when she’s angry/surprised/excited adds kudos to the writing style of this book.

If you cast a feminist eye over Amy’s novel, it is much more poignant – dealing with a male dominated industry and the tools she used to sail the choppy waters of late nights, bar-hops and business meetings in greenrooms all the while juggling being a woman, a mother, and lest I say – a blonde.

You get glimpses into her relationship with Tina Fey and productions on various movies, S.N.L and Parks and Recreation.

Book Review Yes Please Baby Mama pic by Casey Carlisle

The only bad thing I can say about Yes Please, is that it tended to waffle on in parts. Mainly because it reads like she talks (in fact parts of the book are verbatim from a recording) and you know how we all waffle… but it does not make particularly good reading.

I felt if it had gone through a better editing process – tightened up the story and pacing it would have been outstanding. It instead was a collection of instances and stories, littered with Amy’s distinctive comedic attitude and some of her colleagues. I compare it to Hyperbole and a Half  by Allie Brosh where both hilarious and serious topics were tackled in consecutive chapters.

I’d recommend it to her fans and to those who love reading celebrity Autobiographies, otherwise you may find, as I did, the change in tone as this book swaps from subject to subject a little jarring.

Pleasant reading.

Yes Please Book Review Pic 01 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.

Insomnia, snoring and bad smells… by Casey Carlisle



Having relatives visit is a delight… until after twilight when the real monsters emerge.

                My writing habits this last week have morphed into that of a nocturnal scavenger. With some relatives visiting for a fortnight, my home is a flurry of laughs and activity. Household chores have been taken off me by Aunties not content to sit and relax, needing to satisfy their idle hands, and hey? Who am I to object – it frees up more time for me to be doing work right? Uncles are pottering in the back yard, the lawn has never looked so good; and all those little repair jobs that have been piling up for the last two years suddenly get done. So what fault could I find in this holiday miracle? Hanging with fun, pleasant family members and long interesting conversations: check! Meals get cooked much quicker with more hands in the kitchen (not to mention new yummy recipes to share): check! A lighter load of daily tasks to run the household: check! Well you get the point.

With bodies occupying every room, the first night we needed to shuffle the sleeping arrangements somewhat, and I ended up with my best mate kipping in a spare bed in my room. More fun – late night gossiping and pillow fights to eschew… well, that kind of behaviour stopped between us over ten years ago. We behave more like a bickering elderly couple these days. So come bed time my new room mate crashes and is out like a light, while I’m reading and writing under a book light. So very rarely do I simply drift off of an evening. I need to tire the mental muscle before it is fatigued enough to stop it’s flow of thoughts and words.

Now all I can say is – thank the heavens for the man or woman who invented earphones! With four puppy dogs (we are dog sitting an additional French Bulldog) and a heavy sleeping individual taking up every available space of my floor. The breathing, snoring, grunting and farting was like a chorus of brass instruments. Not to mention eyes watering and a gag reflex at some obnoxious odours escaping from someone’s rear. So I crack a window and slip on some chill out tunes, pop in some ear buds to block out the bowel trembling orchestra. It works for the most part, but when I’m finally tired and decide to turn in, at that point you’re just about to doze off … TOOT! And I’m wide awake again.

So after a week of this, each night I’ve stayed awake later and later, doing more and more writing accompanied by the canine wind section. But now I feel like I’ve become a creature of the night, tapping away at the keyboard until just before the sun comes up and sleeping part of the morning away. Making a trip to the letterbox in the afternoon to get a dose of Vitamin D and back to socialise and entertain my guests it’s actually a pretty sweet routine – the uninterrupted hours of work I accomplish  in the darkness, minions running about to complete my chores. It’s like having elves tidy your house while you’re sleeping. Of course the cost for these wonderful events is a lack of privacy and a sulphurous scent accompanied by the occasional grumble, mumble, snort and toot. No biggie – I can live with that in order to keep meeting my daily writing goals.

Nonetheless, it will be back to our regularly scheduled programming in another week – I just have to re-set the biological clock. Here’s to pottering Uncles and Aunties everywhere: I thank you for all you do. As for the dogs and friends who share your room… hmmm, maybe one of those snore strips and a change of diet. Or maybe I’ll use some earplugs- for my ears and my nostrils!


© 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.

Things that go bump in the night… by Casey Carlisle

Have you ever been woken in the shroud of night, instantly alert, but couldn’t recall what had stirred you from the depths of slumber? 


This happened to me a few nights in a row, until one evening when I was just about to doze off there was an eerie scratching coming from somewhere in my bedroom. Instant scenarios of wicked little troll-demons hiding in shadows and under the bed worried at my grey matter until I realised I was, in fact, and adult, and such things did not exist.

Upon careful and tentative investigation I discovered the clawing came from inside the roof.

The next night I managed to catch a glimpse of the culprit clambering across the power line to the other side of the street at dusk… a possum – more than likely out for its nocturnal scavenge for food. Good, I thought, problem solved!

Not likely…


Later, in the early hours of that morning I was again roused from tap dancing, scratching, and wild shrieking. Standing on the bed I pummeled the roof in a declaration of war – now it’s on!

Recruiting my best mate to chase the little critter out, find and patch it’s entry point, I was assured that a good night’s sleep was imminent… and then two weeks went by. Every night accompanied with the frolicking and hissing of possum–play above my head. The problem was we had to wait until the possum went out before we could climb up and fix the roof.

I was at my wits end, about to check into a hotel just to get some peace when I spied my fury nemesis, now with baby clinging to its back, scuttling along the power line once more.

Immediately phoning my ‘go-to’ guy to race over, humming delightfully to myself with satisfaction. I couldn’t wait to get a full nights undisturbed rest.

After the work was completed and a congratulatory dinner, I retired for the night. Before an hour had passed, just as slumber was about to take me, the faint drag and scrape of marsupial claws alluded to the fact that we had sealed the delinquent rodent in, instead of locking it out! The hissing, chittering and banging against the roof was even louder as my housemate attempted miserably to breakout.

The next day we removed a few roof tiles to let it escape, and I took up surveillance at the window as soon as I got home from work. The day had turned dark, cold and churning clouds rumbling with thunder threatened to not only flood rain water into the open hole, but deter the mangy critter from sneaking outside for another nights foraging. Just as I was busting for a toilet break, I spotted my rambunctious neighbor scuttling across the power line once more. Now in the full blackness of night, rain sheeting down heavily, I couldn’t see to know if, or when the possum would return. Anxious that I wouldn’t get another shot at boarding out the stubborn squatter, I prayed that my ‘fix-it’ man would arrive soon and be able to help in my battle.

Minutes later a familiar blue car pulled into the driveway, and geared up with ropes, harnesses and wet weather gear, my knight in shining armor was clambering along a slippery roof. I should have felt guilty for sending my friend up to the second story rooftop, risking life and limb on slimy roof tiles, braving gale force wind and rain, lightning crackling across the sky filling the air with ozone… but I didn’t. I wanted – no, needed – that possum gone at all costs. My sanity was at stake!


Half an hour later, completely saturated and task complete, no crispy fried humans welded to the roof tiles from a stray lightning bolt, we tentatively celebrated again. No possum, no rain damage, and no broken bones!

You think that I’d get the good night’s sleep I so desperately craved for now, right? Not quite – every morning for the following week I was startled awake by desperate attempts between 5 and 7am as the possum endeavored to breach the roof. I actually heard it crack a tanty – hissing and jumping and stomping along the roof in a frustrated rage. Thankfully now, though, I’m sleeping soundly, my noisy little friend evicted and probably dancing away on someone else’s roof. And the only noise going bump in the night  is the sound of my rummaging through the refrigerator for a midnight snack.

© 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.