Book Review – ‘Bookish and the Beast’ (#3 Once Upon a Con) by Ashley Poston

Another hilarious addition to the CONtemprary twists of fairy tales.

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance, LGBT

No. of pages: 320

Rosie Thorne is feeling stuck—on her college application essays, in her small town, and on that mysterious General Sond cosplayer she met at ExcelsiCon. Most of all, she’s stuck in her grief over her mother’s death. Her only solace was her late mother’s library of rare Starfield novels, but even that disappeared when they sold it to pay off hospital bills.

On the other hand, Vance Reigns has been Hollywood royalty for as long as he can remember—with all the privilege and scrutiny that entails. When a tabloid scandal catches up to him, he’s forced to hide out somewhere the paparazzi would never expect to find him: Small Town USA. At least there’s a library in the house. Too bad he doesn’t read.

When Rosie and Vance’s paths collide and a rare book is accidentally destroyed, Rosie finds herself working to repay the debt. And while most Starfield superfans would jump at the chance to work in close proximity to the Vance Reigns, Rosie has discovered something about Vance: he’s a jerk, and she can’t stand him. The feeling is mutual.

But as Vance and Rosie begrudgingly get to know each other, their careful masks come off—and they may just find that there’s more risk in shutting each other out than in opening their hearts.

This was an adorably cute, saccharine sweet tale inspired by ‘Beauty and the Beast’ for the Once Upon a Con series. If you love to indulge in the fantasy, then this title will tickle you pink. Being based on a tale as old as time expect to read a lot of tropes, but tropes done in a fun campy sort of way. The narrative definitely lends to a quick read with chapters alternating in perspective between love interests/protagonists Rosie and Vance. I took a little longer to read ‘Bookish and the Beast’ to have a short break every now and then because of the cuteness overload. Especially if you’re not in that mindset…

Rosie is a small town geeky type dealing with grief after the loss of her mother. She and her mother shared a love of the Starfield extended universe – the films, the television show, and the novels released under the franchise, and finds comfort amongst the collection her mother had amassed… but then they hit financial hardship and had to sell off all the collectibles to keep their head above water. So Rosie is clambering, feeling the loss, trying to shape an uncertain future after she graduates high school. I love how Rose is unapologetically a book nerd, and sci-fi geek, and have friends and family equally invested in these things. I really feel a modern twist on the wallflower trope. I loved her growth in learning how to feel deserving of things, and go out and grab them.

Vance in our bad boy. Aggressive attitude, rude, media fodder, and exiled to a small town mansion to decompress and let the string of bad press cool so he doesn’t destroy his acting career. He’s been burned by so-called friends many times when they cash in on his fame; he’s like a punching bag for social media. He’s sarcastic, sullen, and is always putting up a front. I seriously had a lot of eye-rolling in his chapters, but hey, it fit with the character and wasn’t without its comedic moments. In fact I laughed a surprising amount throughout ‘Bookish and the Beast.’ Vance has a great character arc in learning to let people in, be confident in himself instead of a persona he fronts in the public eye… and to stop punishing himself for his mistakes.

I love dogs, so the German Shepard Sansa was a great inclusion in the narrative and had me clucking at the pages every time he appeared.

I also like the topic of consent and how boys sometimes don’t really listen to girls, instead doing what they think girls want, and how this was approached through the character of Garrett.

We get a lot of pop culture references in ‘Bookish and the Beast’ that readers and Con enthusiasts alike will identify with. Though, this book does not indulge in the Con events like its predecessors.

As we are following a very over-represented tale in the media, it was so very easy to predict the story, but it was an entertaining modern twist. I loved Ashely Poston’s writing style, some of the phrases she uses are delightful and really stood out to me. My enjoyment for this series has definitely increased with reading ‘Bookish and the Beast.’ Though I would have liked a bit more complexity in this book to really push it over the edge.

Again we see some great representation of the LGBTQIA+ spectrum in a positive light that is a part of the characters – not their defining trait.

A pleasant ride through an old classic for anyone who loves retellings, cutesy contemporaries, and anything to do with nerd culture around conventions and reading. I’d recommend this, but make sure you read the two sequels as each book deals with other characters from the same universe and you may lose some context.

Overall feeling: hilarious contemporary tale!

© Casey Carlisle 2021. 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 Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried’ by Shaun David Hutchinson

A brilliant juxtaposition of contemporary and fantasy.

The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, LGBT, Paranormal

No. of pages: 304

From Goodreads:

A good friend will bury your body, a best friend will dig you back up.

Dino doesn’t mind spending time with the dead. His parents own a funeral home, and death is literally the family business. He’s just not used to them talking back. Until Dino’s ex-best friend July dies suddenly—and then comes back to life. Except not exactly. Somehow July is not quite alive, and not quite dead.

As Dino and July attempt to figure out what’s happening, they must also confront why and how their friendship ended so badly, and what they have left to understand about themselves, each other, and all those grand mysteries of life.

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Saying goodbye to your departed frenemy… who just happens to be a zombie.

The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried’ is a hilarious and heart-warming tale told in alternating perspectives of best friends turned enemies Dino and July. But, July is now dead, well… undead. Death has been put on hold while these two teens make amends with each other and some other issues they have been struggling with.

Dino’s family run a morgue, and he is currently undecided on a lot of things. His career path, his friendships, his relationship. How he can confront people. He’s kind of emo and artsy. He also has a gorgeous transgender boyfriend, Rafi, that he feels like he doesn’t deserve.

July is loud and brash, the centre of attention, and very jealous of Rafi. He’s stolen all of Dino’s attention away from her and she’s left to float around other less important friends. So how does she deal with this abandonment? With passive aggressive comments and pranks on Dino.

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Now July is back from the dead – zombie style without the hunger for brains and human flesh, and with Dino as her only confidant. The both have to overcome their antagonism to figure out why people aren’t dying and what to do with July now that she’s a slowly decomposing, flatulent corpse. With witty banter, great pacing, and emotional reveals, I was hooked from the first page.

The overall plot is predictable and obvious, but the subsequent plot points in-between were not. But all that middle-story stuff lent to some great character arcs for our two leads. With themes of friendship, redemption, loss, grief, and finding your place in this world ‘The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried’ is a brilliant read.

I’m loving the more graphic art trend of the cover illustration – you can see something similar on another of Shaun David Hutchinson’s titles, ‘The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza’ which I’m keen to pick up.

Overall, a strong recommendation from me. Great characters, quirky storyline, and a well-paced read.

Overall feeling: Killed myself laughing.

The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2019. 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 – ‘Demon in Sight’ (#6 Translucent) by Dan Rix

 The saga of Leona and her discovery of dark matter and alien beings draws to an epic climax.

Demon in Sight (#6 Translucent) Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction

No. of pages: 337

From Goodreads:

It’s like somebody hit the pause button for the entire planet.

Earth’s streets are jammed with motionless cars, their still-warm occupants slumped over the steering wheels, bodies paused mid-breath. They have no pulse.

The sun has winked out, plunging the globe into permanent darkness. Fire no longer burns. Electronics sputter and die, inexplicably drained of charge. The whole world, and all seven billion inhabitants, are in suspended animation.

But three people are awake. 

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Demon in Sight’ was a well anticipated read. Having to wait over a year for it to be released in paperback after the e-book publication date, and having enjoyed the previous five novels in the series, there were a lot of expectations wrapped up in this finale. It stayed true to the tone and writing style we’ve come to expect from Dan Rix and the protagonist, Leona.

I had been hoping for a little more seriousness and maturity from Leona herself. But she still had her moments of idiocy and stubbornness. Personally it was a little infuriating, but she has been this way all along, so why did I expect some miraculous transformation I don’t know. Characters aside, the plot itself is pretty amazing Rix has a way of letting things go wrong for his protagonists and there is a very organic feel to how they react and find solutions to overcome roadblocks.

Demon in Sight’ is another quick engaging read. There is plenty of mind-bending action and science fiction theory to warp your mind. I love his concepts. I will say there was a something about the writing style of this finale that felt a little flat: maybe it was my feelings at Leona slipping back into her behavioural patterns from earlier in the series, that immaturity; or the sudden soppiness between her and love interest Emory. The angst was gone. Something just wasn’t grabbing me as much as before. It feels all very ‘teen drama.’

That aside, the action and adventure aspect to this series, and indeed this finale is cool beyond measure. I was enthralled by those climactic scenes and this is definitely the novels stand out feature. The tension and challenges Rix weaves into the narrative is what I will keep coming back for.

MOUNT ST HELENS

Leona definitely has a unique style of facing challenges – which I found to be an admirable trait, but that remaining thread of jealousy and reactionary impulses held me back from truly loving her. Emory morphed in this final book to become a true, if not, somewhat overly sappy romantic lead. I felt like he needed to be in more of the action, show more physical prowess, and challenge Leona for control a bit more. The best friend, Megan, took a back seat for most of this novel. I could usually count on her for some hilarious one liners, or leading Leona astray, but there was very little Megan for those moments to break the tension. Fellow cast mates, Sarah and Natasha instead have their time to shine. Providing maturity and level-headedness for the team they helped form in saving the world. I really appreciated having them so prominent in ‘Demon in Sight’ and found a small amount of disappointment at the series ending and not having to get to spend more time with them.

The Translucent series is definitely bang on the money for a YA science fiction read – skewed more for a younger market in tone, but definitely interspersed with some adult content. I’d either like to have seen more mature protagonists, or have the adult content removed to give this series a better chance at being marketed to the best demographic. Rix is certainly a fantastic writer, and I enjoy his novels, but there needs to be just one level up on the editing/publishing end of his process. I’ve found an occasional spelling or grammatical error and some issue with the formatting or presentation of the physical book. ‘Demon in Sight’ was superior in this aspect of the series. But I feel with this small attention to detail, it will give him an even more professional edge.

I’m certainly eyeing off another series to jump into next, and with Rix being such a prolific author there is definitely plenty to choose from.

Overall feeling: Bittersweet goodbye

Demon in Sight (#6 Translucent) Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Demon in Sight (#6 Translucent) Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2018. 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 – ‘Spark’ by Amy Kathleen Ryan

No spark for me… fizzled out.

Spark Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction, Dystopia

No. of pages: 309

From Goodreads:

Waverly and Kieran are finally reunited on the Empyrean. Kieran has led the boys safely up to this point, and now that the girls are back, their mission seems slightly less impossible: to chase down the New Horizon, and save their parents from the enemy ship. But nothing is truly as it seems…Kieran’s leadership methods have raised Seth’s hackles— and Waverly’s suspicions. Is this really her fiancé? The handsome, loving boy she was torn from just a short time before? More and more, she finds her thoughts aligned with Seth’s. But if Seth is Kieran’s Enemy No. 1, what does that make her? 

In one night, a strange explosion rocks the Empyrean—shooting them off course and delaying their pursuit of the New Horizon—and Seth is mysteriously released from the brig. Seth is the most obvious suspect for the explosion, and Waverly the most obvious suspect for releasing him. As the tension reaches a boiling point, will Seth be able to find the true culprit before Kieran locks them both away—or worse? Will Waverly follow her heart, even if it puts lives at risk? With the balance of power precarious and the clock ticking, every decision counts… every step brings them closer to a new beginning, or a sudden end…

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With much trepidation and determination, I am pushing through this trilogy after not really connecting with the first book in this series, ‘Glow.’ And while ‘Spark’ held more interest for me, I still had some of those same issues…

It was more a political intrigue drama than a science fiction novel with a maniacal religious fanatic manipulating for control and power. The cast lamented with a lot of self-congratulation and postulating that felt tedious, as too did the religious aspect. It all gave me a stress headache.

Seth’s character arc is fantastic. Kieran’s was annoying, and Waverly’s was engaging, though a little frustrating. Though, I liked that all the characters had flawed moments and were given opportunity for redemption – whether they took it or not is a different matter.

(L-R) HAILEE STEINFELD and ASA BUTTERFIELD star in ENDER'S GAME

I will say there was much less violence and death – that had me cringing and uncomfortable in ‘Glow.’ But the overall tone felt dry and slow paced.

I got past the point of predicting things, or investing too much in the novel, and skimmed through it to find out what happens. The narrative style is drawn out, characters going off in tangents and flashback accompanied with long self-assuring flagellation. ‘Spark’ did not feel engaging or entertaining. But having said that, the tension in the last third of the novel was well done. I think if the novel was half it’s length, and involved more technology and science fiction elements, I would have been much more interested.

Loved the cliff hanger ending – eager to read the final book just to find out what happens (I pray that that the narrative is way more engaging.) I’m in a much different place at the end of this book than I was at the end of ‘Glow.’ I was of the opinion I’d never finish reading anything from Amy Kathleen Ryan ever again, but ‘Spark’ has changed my opinion a little. Though, it’s still not a book I’d easily recommend, however interesting.

Looking forward to reading ‘Flame’ and putting this trilogy behind me. It feels like I’m reading about a pack of violent crazies…

Overall feeling: frazzled.

Spark Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Spark Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

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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 – ‘Black Sun’ by Dan Rix

A plot line that zigs and zags…

black-sun-book-review-pic-01-by-casey-carlisleGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction

No. of pages: 304

From Goodreads:

Orbiting three hundred miles above an alien planet, Space Shuttle Endeavour desperately searches for signs of life following the mass abduction of all humanity. Its crew: an Air Force colonel, an astronaut, and two teenagers.

To Leona, the mind-numbing hours of radio silence mean everyone who loves her is dead. Onboard, the one boy she might confide in hates her guts. It’s all she can do to not give up.

But when an explosion knocks the shuttle out of orbit, forcing them to crash land on the dead planet, it seems all hope is lost.

But no one expects the bizarre reality awaiting them on the surface.  

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The Translucent series has been a bit of a roller-coaster ride – so much going on, characters popping in and out of established traits – and ‘Black Sun’ sticks to this pattern. We go back to annoying and immature Leona at the start of this novel… why are you punishing me Dan Rix? I was just starting to like her and now it feels like nails on a chalk board.

Black Sun Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle.jpgLeona took this step backwards for much of the novel, but I was glad to see her redeemed before the end – though this is something that is going to have me deducting a point. After so much growth and development I don’t want to waist a large part of the book reading drivel. I also got annoyed at the repeated phrase of Leona biting her nails – surely you can use your writers brain and come up with a few more synonyms Mr Rix.

A tawdry sex scene later in ‘Black Sun’ did nothing for me. It was uncouth and animalistic (and sudden,) no build-up of emotion to the moment. I thought I was reading soft core erotica. It seems to be the trend in YA at the moment, many titles have rough and urgent copulation that doesn’t add a lot to the story or the characters’ motivations; and I can only guess it’s included for sensationalism and titillation. It’s not something you expect to read in YA science fiction if it is not driving the story forward in some aspect.

I was delighted again for the last quarter of ‘Black Sun’ when we got ballsy Leona again, thank goodness. I hope her strength and sassy nature remain throughout the final novel in this series.

Loving the twist with her love interest Emory! And I didn’t really have a clue what was going on. That kind of plot developments is what keeps me reading.

The sci-fi element is fan-bloody-tastic! Dark matter, portals, white space, black holes, evil entity/alien… I’m totally engrossed. Still trying to make sense of everything – and appreciate how it’s not all explained and the story keeps changing – Leona being an unreliable narrator – well, they all are, because no-one knows what the hell is going on. What started off as slow and annoying, ‘Black Sun’ changed its tune with pacing towards an end that was invigorating. All that craziness (and the conclusion in a hum-dinger of a cliff hanger) – now I’m hankering for the 6th and final book to come out near the years’ end.

Overall feeling: I had ups, I had downs

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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.

Book Review – ‘Slaying Shadows’ by Dan Rix

Each book in this series is better than the last – I’m totally hooked!

Slaying Shadows Book Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpgGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction

No. of pages: 263

From Goodreads:

The girl sobbing in 16-year-old Leona Hewitt’s bedroom has the same long dark hair as her, the same startled hazel eyes as her, the same stuck-up nose as her. She’s identical in every way . . . and she’s here to take Leona’s place.

By a twist of fate, Leona has until midnight on Halloween to outsmart her evil double and steal back her shattered life—and her soul—or forever become a ghost.

But all the clues point to a startling truth. To her horror, she’s learning the other Leona has more claim to her old life than she does—even to her boyfriend.

Could it be that after all this time, everything she knows about herself is a lie?  

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With a series that seems to be on an upward trend, I was eager to jump into ‘Slaying Shadows, but held off for a month, so I wouldn’t need to wait an incredibly long time until the next instalment is released. But thankfully, it’s not too far away, and with what went down in this novel, I was certainly lead on a thrilling ride.

Things are finally making sense. Consequences are finally being dealt with a heavier dose of reality than I’ve seen in the previous books giving it a darker tone. I loved it. The pacing is so much faster, so much more action takes place, and our protagonist Leona is really put through the ringer.

We see more character growth from Leona, not only from the challenges she has faced, but also in taking ownership for her actions – good and bad. I think that is the single most aspect of this series so far has really stood out.

I did have an issue with Leona popping in and out of dark matter – when had it become so plentiful and easy to come by? Previously it was such a scarce commodity, and now whenever she needed it, it was there.

There were many twist and turns I did not see coming – Megan, Emory, and with Leona herself. I am usually pretty clued on with my reading and can guess storylines and plot twists well in advance – but in ‘Slaying Shadows’ – either because I was so wrapped up in the action or drama; or because it’s just so out there, I had no idea what the eff was going on. Just brilliant.

Slaying Shadows Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

So we get a lot of answers in ‘Slaying Shadows,’ but we also get many more questions posed, and by the end I was chomping at the bit for ‘Black Sun…’ but I’m going to have to wait until the physical book is released.

I got so excited with all the new elements introduced in this novel. Though that was tarnished by the “happenstance” of the main cast being thrust together by the hand of fate – that part of the story felt a little Machiavellian from the author… the organic nature of the story dwindling. But that’s just me nit picking. ‘Slaying Shadows’ was still immensely entertaining and left me begging for more.

I must say the end scene was a stroke of genius – I loved how it was described and the build of tension… but argh – a cliff-hanger!! Dan Rix you ruin me!

4 books down, 2 to go. Bring it on Mr Rix.

Overall feeling: It just keeps getting better.

Slaying Shadows Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Slaying Shadows Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

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.

Book Review – ‘Ash and Darkness’ by Dan Rix

And she bounces back for the win!

Ash and Darkness Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction

No. of pages: 212

From Goodreads:

It’s called dark matter, a living substance secreted by a meteorite that can make people invisible. Sixteen-year-old Leona Hewitt has been wearing it for twelve hours. It should be every teen’s fantasy—unbeatable pranks, a front row seat in her crush’s bedroom, a place to lick her wounds all alone. And it is . . . it is. 

Until she can’t get it off.

In an instant, the fantasy becomes a nightmare. She’s stuck like this, invisible. Scratching at it, burning it off, cutting her skin off with a knife—nothing works. Dark matter is eating her, consuming her body like a bacteriophage and leaving behind a ghost.

But when she wakes up in her bedroom, seemingly back to normal—only to find the city outside abandoned and ghostly quiet, she realizes she’s been transported to an impossible parallel realm. Electronics barely function, food turns mealy and rotten, fire snuffs out in seconds . . . and the only signs of life are the clues to a strange riddle left behind by a dead girl.  

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After being disappointed in ‘Of Starlight’ I was hesitant to pick up ‘Ash and Darkness,’ but glad I finally caved. This was so much better than I was expecting!

We really delve into the science fiction aspect of the series, the implications of dark matter, what it is, all come to the forefront and had me begging for more.

Ash and Darkness Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle.jpgGone is whiny, immature, wise-cracking Leona. We get a triple dose of survivalist-never-giving-up Leona. And it was such a refreshing take for this franchise that my faith in Dan Rix is restored. I’d like to say, skip book two, but there is important information you need to understand what is going on in ‘Ash and Darkness’ all I can say is – persevere. It gets so much better! Character development shines abound. I really hope Rix continues in this fashion for the rest of the series, because if Leona turns back into a flake I’ll be holding me a book burning party.

Pacing in this installment is above par in comparison to its predecessor. You get a sense of time, urgency, isolation and desperation. Especially in a landscape of unknowns. I completed this book in a day because I was so eager to find out what happens. With such great pacing and an easy styled narrative, you can fly through this novel. Granted some of the sections dealing with the physics of dark matter had me re-reading, but that was a good thing. Not only was I learning something science-y, I was genuinely fascinated in the world Rix has created.

Word of warning – it does end on a cliff hanger, so have ‘Slaying Shadows’ ready and waiting if you aren’t the type of person who deals well with waiting. This book marks the halfway point in a series of six books to the franchise, and I am truly excited and intrigued to see where it will all go.

Overall feeling: Faith restored!

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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.

Book Review – Of Starlight by Dan Rix

A follow-up suffering from the possibility of fading into invisibility….

Of Starlight Book Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpgGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction

No. of pages: 255

From Goodreads:

It has been three months since Leona Hewitt dumped the body of her crush’s younger sister in the woods, praying he would never find out who did it. It has been three hours since she led him back to her rotting corpse.

And three minutes since she showed up in Leona’s bedroom, alive.

The culprit is a living substance secreted by a meteorite that can make people invisible . . . and apparently bring them back from the dead too. But something is terribly wrong with the girl claiming to be Ashley Lacroix. She doesn’t sleep. Sometimes, when she thinks no one is listening, she talks to someone who isn’t there. She says her soul has been eaten. She says Leona must die.

Now, evading an unseen enemy, Leona must dig up the startling truth behind Ashley’s death before an insidious creature claims its next victim. Only the truth may be more chilling than she ever could have imagined. And the next victim may be herself.  

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I still enjoyed all the elements in ‘Of Starlight’ that I had from the debut of the series, ‘Translucent,’ but there was a whole arena of problems that affected ‘Of Starlight’ which had me shaking my head. Still, a fun science fiction romp with lots of potential.

Of Starlight Book Review Pic 03 by Casey CarlisleSome aspects of story that were introduced did not make sense and did not flow. I felt like this instalment was missing the touch of a content editor. There were so many illogical happenings I was practically growling with frustration. Simple obvious solutions to many situations our protagonist and her best friend, Leona and Megan faced were overlooked.

Additionally, Leona and Megan felt immature. I wanted the experience to age them, they were after all, dealing with life and death situations, so some seriousness was called for. Though I did like the moments of comedy dispersed throughout – like their puns and a few slapstick moments – it broke the tension when it was needed. I would have loved to have like to gotten more of this, in context.

The relationship between Leona and Emory did not feel real, unlike the previous book, Leona’s behaviour fell into insta-love or stalkery territory. It was making me cringe a little.

Dan Rix did a great job in creating tension and his action scenes are fantastic to read, I just wish the story wasn’t so disjointed and the plot better thought-out. This read like a first draft. There were so many storytelling devices that could have been improved.

I’m also at a loss at what this book was supposed to achieve – it didn’t drive the plot forward too much and I got a sense we were treading water until some really good stuff is going to happen (we can only hope) in books 3 & 4.

The potential for this to be an outstanding book was there, it just fell so, so short of the mark. We need an intelligent read and challenging plot lines in science fiction, otherwise it reads like really bad fan fiction.

I’m hoping this trend doesn’t continue in the following books, ‘Ash and Darkness’ and ‘Slaying Shadows’ because Leona is a bold, sassy and intelligent heroine; and the set up of her and Emory’s relationship lends itself to some great tension and possibility of a redemption story.

Stay tuned to see whether I feel if this series delivers on all my hopes.

Overall feeling: What the hell happened?

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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.