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.

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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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Film vs Novel – Haven / The Colorado Kid

Moving to a town to solve a mystery or moving to a mysterious town?

Haven vs The Colorado Kid Review  by Casey Carlisle

A vastly different adaptation with the television series ‘Haven’ in comparison to the Novel ‘The Colorado Kid’ penned by Stephen King; The premise of the protagonist investigating a murder remains the same, as do a number of other elements – like the setting of small Maine town called Haven, and the owners of the local newspaper – but the finished product sways deep into the surreal and paranormal in ‘Haven’ than anything in the book.

The Colorado Kid Film vs Novel pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

As a lover of Stephen King’s writing, and after discovering one of my favourite television shows, ‘Haven’ was based on his novel which I had not read yet – I raced out to purchase it immediately without looking into what kind of book it was… I wanted to be surprised.

Expecting the supernatural goings-on like its small screen counterpart, I was disappointed. ‘The Colorado Kid’ is far more poignant. For starters the main character is a intern newspaper reporter, Stephanie McCann looking into an unusual death for the local The Weekly Islander; and while researching the back story of the event uncovers facts which are left open to interpretation (due to narration which may, or may not be reliable). I actually enjoyed that I wasn’t spoon-fed an opinion, but merely presented the situation to which I could draw my own conclusion. It’s a crime mystery novel beyond anything else.

Dave and Vince, the two founders of the newspaper feature in the novel and are equally mystifying and cheeky. I was glad to see their same spirit captured in the screen adaptation.
The Colorado Kid Film vs Novel pic 01 by Casey CarlisleThe television series brought to you by Syfy, due to commence its fifth season tonight (11th of September) where the lead, Audrey Parker (played by Emily Rose) is an F.B.I. Agent who comes to Haven to investigate a murder… and find that the Town is rampant with residents infected by ‘the troubles’ to which she is somehow connected. It still has that element of mystery about it, and Audrey does solve crimes, but it is more of an Urban Fantasy than a crime mystery like the book. There are plenty of twists and turns and over arcing story lines in the show, as well as the crime or mystery to solve in each episode – not to mention some delicious male co-stars – and I’d recommend anyone to view if you love shows with a supernatural spice.

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Given that I’m not a big fan of crime novels, I wasn’t particularly taken with Stephen King’s original version, but loved the subjective nature of the narration. The television show has a Mulder and Scully vibe (X-Files) and even though formulaic, manages to keep my interest with each instalment. So the screen version is a winner in this round… and tune in tonight for the beginning of the latest season.

Let me know what you think of either ‘The Colorado Kid’ or ‘Haven’ in the comments section below….

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© 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.