Book Review – ‘Across the Green Grass Fields’ (#6 Wayward Children) by Seanan McGuire

A horsey frolic through fantasy.

Genre: YA, Fantasy, LGBTQIA+

No. of pages: 174

“Welcome to the Hooflands. We’re happy to have you, even if you being here means something’s coming.”

Regan loves, and is loved, though her school-friend situation has become complicated, of late.

When she suddenly finds herself thrust through a doorway that asks her to “Be Sure” before swallowing her whole, Regan must learn to live in a world filled with centaurs, kelpies, and other magical equines―a world that expects its human visitors to step up and be heroes.

But after embracing her time with the herd, Regan discovers that not all forms of heroism are equal, and not all quests are as they seem…

I really enjoyed this addition to the Wayward Children series. I grew up with horses, and loved the imagination of the differing incarnations of equine in the creatures that inhabited the Hooflands. Intersex representation was also a plus for me – it’s not something I’ve come across before and McGuire handled it brilliantly. We get a slice of life in the real world and the discrimination and bullying our protagonist Regan faces, but once entering the Hooflands, any social weight of her natural biological condition was gone. She was simply a person – just like every other being in Hoofland.

Not so predictable, but the story kind of tells us where it is going to go. The ending, though satisfying, is bittersweet (with a twist) and abrupt. I found myself wanting more. Wanting to find out how Regan deals with her situation.

McGuire’s writing style is melodic in a fancy way that really sets an atmosphere and was such a joy to read. The short adventures each book in this series takes are endearing and have placed this franchise as one of my favourite fantasy reads to date.

The pacing is steady throughout. I wouldn’t say it was packed with action or anything, it meanders beautifully like a walk in the forest – steady and full of things to catch your eye.

If anything I would say the characters are a little flatter than I’ve come to expect with McGuire’s writing. Most everyone was nice. There was little conflict and not a lot of situations where personalities clashed. Hence the tension wasn’t so high and the stakes not overly great. It was certainly interesting, but in a franchise known for its diverse and complex characters ‘Across the Green Grass Fields’ was certainly lacking on this front in comparison to other titles.

I’m interested to see where Regan will fit in the future of the series, if she will get to interact with other established characters.

Looking forward to the next release ‘Where the Drowned Girls Go.’ A solid recommendation from me.

Overall feeling: fantastically beautiful

© 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.

Favourite YouTuber’s that help me write

I try not to watch a lot of YouTube – you can get caught up and suddenly the day had whizzed by and all you have been doing is laughing your guts out from hilarious dog or cat videos.

I like to get my movie trailers, book talks and reviews, some nonsensical comedy stuff, and lots of k-pop music videos when indulging in some downtime off YouTube. But there are a few channels that help my journey along while writing a novel – either with providing useful information, or sharing a similar story to my own, or just entertaining me without taking up too much of my time (so I can get back to writing.)

My favourite, hands down is Jenna Moreci. She’s witty, informative, and not afraid to tell it how it is. Cyborgs rule!

Favorite YouTubers that help me Write Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpg

polandbananasBOOKS sometimes has something worth watching, but I generally find Christine over-animated and shrill. But on days when you are down and low on energy, her effervescence can pick you up.


ProblemsofaBookNerd – CeCe is pleasant and insightful, and focuses a lot on diverse reads. And while she doesn’t talk about writing per se, her critical eye on the novels she reviews gives valuable insight on aspects to look out for in my own writing. The same can be said for PeruseProject; Regan likes to read a lot of fantasy and historical fiction, and has some great insight into character development and story structure in her book reviews.



Epic Reads do some fun skits that keep me entertained and positive – nothing like a good bookish joke to keep you in the mood for writing. Plus, you get to see news about new releases and authors.


Little Book Owl, Catronia does book reviews, but also posts about marketing and publishing as she goes through her University studies. She has been publishing less of late, but is one of the more intelligent booktubers out there.


Both Australian Writers’ Centre and Author Learning Center upload new content sparingly, sometimes interesting and informative, but with a more serious tone from a career writers point of view. We also get other authors giving talks and factoids about their writing journey.



There is probably a lot more out there, but I tend not to spend too much time searching and watching videos. My resources are more through print and personal connection (and ultimately less distracting – no click bait!)

Do you have any great Channels to share that have helped you in your writing journey… I’d love to hear from you. Let me know in the comments section 🙂


© 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 – Luna by Julie Anne Peters

She dances to the beat of her own drum in the moonlight

Luna Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, GLBT

No. of pages: 248

From Goodreads:

Regan’s brother Liam can’t stand the person he is during the day. Like the moon from whom Liam has chosen his female namesake, his true self, Luna, only reveals herself at night. In the secrecy of his basement bedroom Liam transforms himself into the beautiful girl he longs to be, with help from his sister’s clothes and makeup. Now, everything is about to change-Luna is preparing to emerge from her cocoon. But are Liam’s family and friends ready to welcome Luna into their lives? Compelling and provocative, this is an unforgettable novel about a transgender teen’s struggle for self-identity and acceptance. 

Page border by Casey Carlisle

I loved the soul of ‘Luna’ and its message. There is valuable information in here. Attitudes to realise and live by.

On the whole this is such a cool story – shedding light on a family coping/not coping with Liam/Luna and the realisation she was born in the wrong body. The fact that it was in the setting of a family unit, even a dysfunctional one, shows that gender dysphoria, and relating to people starts at birth and it can be a long, awkward, and sometimes painful journey.

The cast of characters is what brought the rating down for me – they felt too much of a caricature. Additionally, flashbacks happened too often (a pet hate of mine). I know they were imparting vital knowledge to drive the plot forward, but towards the end of the novel I was getting tired of them. The content of these reminiscing’s also made me cringe – like events had been lifted out of a University study of typical gender dysphoric traits… it lost a personal edge, like it wasn’t connected to the characters at all.

With the story told completely from Regan’s POV, it helps shed light on the impact of a transgendered individual on family, and makes no apologies. I really enjoyed this aspect. At times Regan felt a little too politically correct, and others really hit the nail on the head. It is a difficult subject to wrap your feelings around.

Luna Book Review Pic 03 by Casey CarlisleLiam / Luna was the worst character in this book. She was written in a way to speak to a cause and left me not really connecting to her as a person. I love her message, but found myself rolling my eyes at her pretty much the entire time. In the famous words from ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way” – and that’s what I feel about Liam/Luna; she had the potential to be epic, but what I got was a cheesy afterschool special.

Chris felt like the most realistic of the cast, I would have loved to see him more involved in the main plot, I feel he could have balanced out all of the PC factoids and added a dash more authenticity.

With all of the issues I had with the characters, Luna illustrates a unique and important issue surrounding acceptance, how we treat others, love and gender identity.

I felt this was more a story of how far you can push someone before they snap, and that event causes a switch in perception allowing you to lose that baggage and become a better version of yourself. Like a cathartic cleansing of your personality.

Luna is ground-breaking, helps shed light on important causes and provides a story for anyone out there who identifies, or has someone in their life identifying as transgender. And I can’t praise this novel enough for tackling such a sensitive topic with aplomb (even if the characters fell short of the mark).

A fast-reading, light narrative easy enough to read in one sitting on over a weekend.

A quaint book with a universal message : don’t judge and be who you are.

Overall feeling: Amazing story

 Luna Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Luna Book Review Pic 04 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.