#bookporn #coverlove

Who has been loving the ‘Shadow and Bone’ television series? I’ve yet to read this duology, and have to get to it before season three comes out… just in case there are spoilers. Plus, King Nikolai is my favourite character from the franchise.

Most Anticipated June 2023 Releases

I waded through over a whopping 200 new releases for June to find the top picks I’m interested in. This list is dominated by mystery/thrillers and romance. There’s definitely three titles I’m looking to add to my shopping list… the rest I’m still undecided about. I wonder what will tip my opinion either way?

The Only One Left – Riley Sager (Thriller/Mystery)

At seventeen, Lenora Hope
Hung her sister with a rope

Now reduced to a schoolyard chant, the Hope family murders shocked the Maine coast one bloody night in 1929. While most people assume seventeen-year-old Lenora was responsible, the police were never able to prove it. Other than her denial after the killings, she has never spoken publicly about that night, nor has she set foot outside Hope’s End, the cliffside mansion where the massacre occurred.

Stabbed her father with a knife
Took her mother’s happy life

It’s now 1983, and home-health aide Kit McDeere arrives at a decaying Hope’s End to care for Lenora after her previous nurse fled in the middle of the night. In her seventies and confined to a wheelchair, Lenora was rendered mute by a series of strokes and can only communicate with Kit by tapping out sentences on an old typewriter. One night, Lenora uses it to make a tantalizing offer—I want to tell you everything.

“It wasn’t me,” Lenora said
But she’s the only one not dead

As Kit helps Lenora write about the events leading to the Hope family massacre, it becomes clear there’s more to the tale than people know. But when new details about her predecessor’s departure come to light, Kit starts to suspect Lenora might not be telling the complete truth—and that the seemingly harmless woman in her care could be far more dangerous than she first thought.

The Silent Bride – Shalini Boland (Thriller)

It’s the wedding day of Alice’s dreams. Until it becomes a nightmare…

Alice and Seth are a perfect love story: the handsome doctor and his beautiful fiancée. They’re wealthy, well liked and made for each other—the envy of all their friends. Alice can’t wait for the day of their dream wedding. But when she arrives at the altar, she doesn’t recognise the man waiting to marry her.

When this stranger insists he’s Seth, her husband-to-be, the entire congregation seems to agree. Even her parents try to persuade Alice to go through with the wedding.

As panic sets in, Alice’s world comes apart. Where is the real Seth, and why have all traces of him disappeared from her life? Fearing she’s losing her mind, she sets out to uncover the truth and escape the nightmare she’s living in. But with everyone around her convinced by the fake Seth, how can she ever hope to find the man she loves?

Borrow My Heart – Kasie West (YA, Contemporary, Romance)

When a girl overhears a guy getting verbally destroyed by his friends for being catfished, she jumps in to save the day—and pretends to be his online crush. A young adult romance from the critically acclaimed author of Places We’ve Never Been.

Wren is used to being called a control freak. She doesn’t care; sticking to the list of rules she created for herself helps her navigate life. But when a cute guy named Asher walks through the door of her neighborhood coffee shop, the rulebook goes out the window.

Asher is cute, charming . . . and being catfished by his online crush. So Wren makes an uncharacteristically impulsive decision—she pretends to be the girl he’s waiting for to save him from embarrassment. Suddenly she’s fake-dating a boy she knows nothing about. And it’s . . . amazing.

It’s not long before Asher has her breaking even more of her own rules. But will he forgive her when he finds out she’s not who she says she is? Wren’s not so sure. . . . After all, rules exist for a reason.

…and the following 5 novels I’m still undecided about:

Always Isn’t Forever – J.C. Cervantes (YA, Paranormal, Romance)

From New York Times bestselling author J.C. Cervantes comes a sparkling, unforgettable YA romance, perfect for fans of You’ve Reached Sam.

Best friends and soul mates since they were kids, Hart Augusto and Ruby Armenta were poised to take on senior year together when Hart tragically drowns in a boating accident. Absolutely shattered, Ruby struggles to move on from the person she knows was her forever love.

Hart can’t let go of Ruby either…. Due to some divine intervention, he’s offered a second chance. Only it won’t be as simple as bringing him back to life–instead, Hart’s soul is transferred to the body of local bad boy.

When Hart returns to town as Jameson, he realizes that winning Ruby back will be more challenging than he’d imagined. For one, he’s forbidden from telling Ruby the truth. And with each day he spends as Jameson, memories of his life as Hart begin to fade away.

Though Ruby still mourns Hart, she can’t deny that something is drawing her to Jameson. As much as she doesn’t understand the sudden pull, it can’t be ignored. And why does he remind her so much of Hart? Desperate to see if the connection she feels is real, Ruby begins to open her heart to Jameson–but will their love be enough to bridge the distance between them?

The Seven Year Slip – Ashley Poston (Contemporary, Romance, Magical Realism)

An overworked book publicist with a perfectly planned future hits a snag when she falls in love with her temporary roommate…only to discover he lives seven years in the past, in this witty and wise new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Dead Romantics.

Sometimes, the worst day of your life happens, and you have to figure out how to live after it.

So Clementine forms a plan to keep her heart work hard, find someone decent to love, and try to remember to chase the moon. The last one is silly and obviously metaphorical, but her aunt always told her that you needed at least one big dream to keep going. And for the last year, that plan has gone off without a hitch. Mostly. The love part is hard because she doesn’t want to get too close to anyone—she isn’t sure her heart can take it.

And then she finds a strange man standing in the kitchen of her late aunt’s apartment. A man with kind eyes and a Southern drawl and a taste for lemon pies. The kind of man that, before it all, she would’ve fallen head-over-heels for. And she might again.

Except, he exists in the past. Seven years ago, to be exact. And she, quite literally, lives seven years in his future.

Her aunt always said the apartment was a pinch in time, a place where moments blended together like watercolors. And Clementine knows that if she lets her heart fall, she’ll be doomed.

After all, love is never a matter of time—but a matter of timing.

Zero Days – Ruth Ware (Mystery/Thriller)

The New York Times bestselling “new Agatha Christie” (Air Mail) Ruth Ware returns with this adrenaline-fueled thriller that combines Mr. and Mrs. Smith with The Fugitive about a woman in a race against time to clear her name and find her husband’s murderer.

Hired by companies to break into buildings and hack security systems, Jack and her husband, Gabe, are the best penetration specialists in the business. But after a routine assignment goes horribly wrong, Jack arrives home to find her husband dead. To add to her horror, the police are closing in on their suspect—her.

Suddenly on the run and quickly running out of options, Jack must decide who she can trust as she circles closer to the real killer in this unputdownable and heart-pounding mystery from an author whose “propulsive prose keeps readers on the hook and refuses to let anyone off until all has been revealed” (Shelf Awareness).

Have You Seen Her – Catherine McKenzie (Mystery/Thriller)

A thrilling and timely novel about three women with dark secrets whose lives intersect in the picturesque and perilous Yosemite National Park from the USA TODAY bestselling author of Please Join Us.

Equipped with a burner phone and a new job, Cassie Peters has left her hectic and secretive life in New York City for the refuge of her hometown of Mammoth Lakes, California. There, she begins working again with Yosemite Search and Rescue, where a case she worked a decade ago continues to haunt her.

She quickly falls into old patterns, joining a group of fellow seasonal workers and young adventurers who have made Yosemite their home during the summer. There, she meets Petal, a young woman living in a trailer with her much older wife, keeping a detailed diary of the goings on of the park, and Jada, a recent college graduate on a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend, documenting their journey on Instagram.

When these three women cross paths, Cassie’s past catches up with her, and the shocking consequences ripple out far beyond what any could have imagined in this unputdownable thriller.

We Could Be So Good – Cat Sebastian (Historical Fiction, Romance, Queer)

Colleen Hoover meets The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo in this mid-century romdram about a scrappy reporter and a newspaper mogul’s son–perfect for Newsies shippers.

Nick Russo has worked his way from a rough Brooklyn neighborhood to a reporting job at one of the city’s biggest newspapers. But the late 1950s are a hostile time for gay men, and Nick knows that he can’t let anyone into his life. He just never counted on meeting someone as impossible to say no to as Andy.

Andy Fleming’s newspaper-tycoon father wants him to take over the family business. Andy, though, has no intention of running the paper. He’s barely able to run his life–he’s never paid a bill on time, routinely gets lost on the way to work, and would rather gouge out his own eyes than deal with office politics. Andy agrees to work for a year in the newsroom, knowing he’ll make an ass of himself and hate every second of it.

Except, Nick Russo keeps rescuing Andy: showing him the ropes, tracking down his keys, freeing his tie when it gets stuck in the ancient filing cabinets. Their unlikely friendship soon sharpens into feelings they can’t deny. But what feels possible in secret–this fragile, tender thing between them–seems doomed in the light of day. Now Nick and Andy have to decide if, for the first time, they’re willing to fight.

There were some other titles that could have made this list, but I was trying to be brutal because the number of books that piqued my interest was enormous – and I’m trying to limit my book buying. Any titles that you think should be on this list let me know in the comments.

© Casey Carlisle 2023. 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.


My fist novel from Jennifer L. Armentrout under the J. Lynn moniker… I think it turned into a bit of a hate-read. The about quote just about sums up the tone and humour of the book.

There are six books in this franchise, so I’m hoping things will improve the further in the the series I get. Has anyone else read these books?

#bookporn #coverlove

I have been waiting for what feels like forever for the next instalment to find out what challenges Myfawny faces. And big ups for fellow Aussie author Daniel O’Malley for being able to mash paranormal mystery with a MI6 organisation together with a loveable protagonist.

Hitting my stride

An April 2023 wrap up

Where March was a start in establishing routines again, April left me feeling like I was starting to make some progress. I found myself also doing a lot of planning and scheduling and I would hit days where I was productive in one thing, then take a time to break to rest and get back at it. I’m still not back at the pace and productivity I was pre- cancer and COVID-19, but I’ve achieved more for April than any other month for the last few years. And it’s only going to get better as my health improves and my routines become more familiar.

Once you’re in the habit of writing regularly some great things happen! J

It Starts With Us (#2 It Ends With Us), Rebel (#4 Legend), The Glory of the Empress (#2 Admiral), Trust in Me (#1.5 Wait for You), The Taking of Jake Livingston, Finding Perfect (#2.6 Hopeless), Fault Tolerance (#3 Chilling Effect), Stolen (#0.5 Taken), Neon Zero (#0.5 Neon), In the Heart of the Fire (#1 Nameless), Feast of the Swamp Goblin

This month I managed to read 11 books and I was aiming for higher, but I hit a mini-slump while reading ‘Fault Tolerance’ (#3 Chilling Effect,) and getting sucked into my re-watch of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ from season 1. I think the number of books is artificially bolstered by 5 novellas.

I managed to finish off 4 (possibly 5, depending if the ‘Chilling Effect’ franchise is going to venture past a trilogy) book series this month. Most of my reads were new purchases to complete series I’d already started, so there were only 5 off my #BeatTheBacklist goals. I even read e-books – which is not common for me. I tend to favour physical copies.

My book buying ban is still in place with no new purchases in this month – all the new books are still from the Christmas presents I obtained with gift cards, or free from Amazon Prime when I signed up years ago and have never gotten around to reading. I’m trying to make an effort to get through some more e-books each month.

My TBR has come down to 296 from 303

I am giving myself a huge pat on the back – I completed the first draft of my Aussie outback romance novella. It turned out longer than I anticipated and was way more fun to write. All of this repressed knowledge from growing up in Alice Springs (around where the novella is set) and desert survival skills came into play. And I felt like my humour was popping up in all the right places. I’ll sit this aside for a few months before my next pass to give it some fresh eyes.

There was hope I would get to complete a contemporary novel that I was over half-way through before I started chemotherapy and had to stop, but because my word count on the novella was much higher than I was aiming – and the amount of time spent ran over, I had a less number of days to tackle this novel. But I managed to get a little done and will carry it over into May. I’m hoping the first draft will be completed next month.

I spent a chunk of April organising and scheduling my writing and blogging time – drafting out articles and daily wordcounts. As a result I have the entire rest of 2023 blogs planned and am aiming for at least another 5-6 first drafts of novels/novella for the year. After years of little or no productivity, my health and enthusiasm returned, I’m aiming for as many first drafts to be completed this year (so I can feel like I’m actually getting some work done) and then complete 2nd and final drafts and put them out for submission near the end of the year, or in the first half of 2024.

There have been some great new shows to indulge in for April, but after a huge viewing month in March, I wanted to pull back a little and make sure I’m keeping my time productive.

Grease : Rise of the Pink Ladies, Not Dead Yet, Schmigadoon (Season 2), Shadow and Bone (Season 2), Star Trek : Picard (Season 3), Star Wars : The Mandalorian (Season 3), Outer Banks (Season 3), and Gotham Knights.

Loved Season 2 of ‘Shadow and Bone’ – though I can see how they are trying to stretch out the ‘crows’ storyline for another season and connect those characters to Mal and Alina… it wasn’t as smooth as I’d like. But I’m really excited for the musical series ‘Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies’ tackling surprisingly current social political issues in something set in the 50’s. Plus the singing is absolutely fantastic with numerous powerhouse performances. Totally lives up to the legacy of the original film.

Re-watching Seasons of ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ I stopped watching this over ten years ago because of a housemate that hated the show, and I really miss it. So I’m starting from the beginning and plan to get up to date in the coming months. The drama! The blood and guts! I have to be careful not to lose a day indulging.

Movies: Murder Mystery 2, Shazam : Fury of the Gods, 65, Ant-man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Ghosted, and re-watched Edge of Tomorrow.

I have to say the stand out was ‘Ghosted’ – the cameos, the humour, I loved it! And still a fan of the Marvel movies and enjoyed how ‘Ant-man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ kicked off Phase 5 of the MCU. I really hope we get more Ant-man and the Wasp in the future, they are one of my favourites in the franchise.

This month the initiative to reconnect with friends is going great. It gives me warm fuzzies inside to catch up on our lives and share experiences again. There is so much going on in our lives and I’m thankful to still be able to share with them like we are sitting around the lounge with a cup of tea or glass of wine. There’s even preliminary talk of arranging a reunion towards the end of the year given we are all scattered across the continent.

I’m trying to build relationships with fellow bloggers, but they don’t tend to engage after a quick response to a comment or question. I might have to shift to a different medium if I want to be a part of, and build a community. Bloggers either seem to be time-poor or only interested in their statistics… maybe that’s a presumptuous blanket statement, but it’s been my experience so far.

Or if you want to recommend any great blogs that centre around reading and writing comment below!

© Casey Carlisle 2023. 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.


Glad I got to re-visit the universe of the initial Legend trilogy. This time we follow Day/Daniel and is little brother Eden. A great addition to the franchise.

This quote resounds with so much truth – I love anything that challenges toxic masculinity.