Wrap up – The Teen Romance Series by Mark Zubro

Middle of the road, but addressed realistic issues.

The Teen Romance wrap up 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpg

When I first saw these covers I dismissed this franchise – it looked like a cheap and badly written self-published affair. But I’m glad a small voice in the back of my head convinced me to take a second look. My main reason was hoping to expand the GLBT titles on my shelf. I really enjoy the aspects of identity, angst and the challenges usually faced in this genre – it makes for some compelling reading.

Unfortunately this genre is also glutted with steamy M/M erotica (or fortunately if that’s your thing), but I like a more contemporary title. ‘Safe’ and ‘Hope’ purported to be a YA mystery with a gay protagonist. Both these books are solid reads, entertaining and definitely tugged at my heart strings. My issues came from the a feeling that the story was too mature for the characters; and that many of the adult cast involved in the storylines had a bad case of verbal diarrhoea, blurting out facts and confiding in our protagonist. That left the plot feeling a little contrived and unrealistic.

That aside, the writing is pretty good and deals with many issues facing the gay community. It carried a message but managed it weave it into a pretty good detective style narrative.

This has been my first journey into this subgenre, and while I had some major issues with context, this series was thoroughly entertaining. I’d like to see it continued in a University setting, because I feel many of the problems I had with voice would be fixed in a more mature setting and lend the protagonist and his boyfriend (Roger and Steve) to really shine.

The heart of these books beats strong, (more soul, less angst) but not sure if I would give them a strong recommendation.

The Teen Romance wrap up 02 by Casey Carlisle

For individual reviews click on the links below:

Safe’ – https://strokingfire.wordpress.com/2016/01/29/book-review-safe-by-mark-richard-zubro/

Hope’ – https://strokingfire.wordpress.com/2016/05/10/book-review-hope-by-mark-richard-zubro/

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.

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Book Review – Gone by Lisa McMann

Bringing new meaning to sleeping your life away.

Gone Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Fantasy, Paranormal

No. of pages: 214

From Goodreads:

Things should be great for Janie—she has graduated from high school and is spending her summer with Cabel, the guy she’s totally in love with. But deep down she’s panicking about how she’s going to survive her future when getting sucked into other people’s dreams is really starting to take its toll.
Things get even more complicated when she meets her father for the very first time—and he’s in a coma. As Janie uncovers his secret past, she begins to realize that the choice thought she had has more dire consequences than she ever imagined. 

Page border by Casey Carlisle

It took me a while to pick up this final book in the Wake Trilogy… mainly because, even though I enjoyed the first two books, I wasn’t all that invested in the story. That, and I wasn’t sure if this conclusion would do the series any justice.

Well, ‘Gone’ totally blew my expectations away.

I enjoyed this much more than the other two – maybe because there was less forced lexicon to connect with the YA audience, maybe because it wasn’t so over the top, or maybe because a lot of questions got answered. It has been two years since I read the previous novel, ‘Fade,’ and I think the break did me some good.

There is always plenty of action and controversy in these novels. And yes, the writing style annoyed me, but ‘Gone’ was better in all accounts in comparison to the previous two instalments.

I enjoy the bitter-sweet of this series – how Janie’s ability comes at a cost, and she has to weigh her conscious over whether to use it for good, bad or try and supress it. It gives her an inner strength that I really respect. In the start of the series, Cabel was continually coming to her rescue, but by this book, they were in more of a symbiotic, equal relationship.

I have a love/hate affection with this series. The premise is great, but the writing style, juvenile; and some of the mechanics in the plot a little too convenient or fantastic. The mythology of Janie’s ability is organic, and I loved how it is spread throughout all three books, and some questions don’t really get answers, although we get some resolution in Janie’s acceptance of her fate.

The real crux that lifted this book above the rest for me was that there is more character development and spiritual dilemma, moving away from the action/conspiracy centred story lines in the start of the series.

While not an outstanding novel, it provides a satisfactory culmination to Janie’s predicament, and we really get to see her shine. A great fast paced read with a paranormal twist.

Overall feeling: Yes!

Gone Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Gone Book Review Pic 02 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.