#bookquotes

#BQ The Way You Make Me Feel by Casey Carlisle

Enemies forced to work together in the confines of a food truck = total combustion! A great premise. I don’t think I would have survived if it were me 😉

Book Review – ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’ by Maurene Goo

Food truck fighting.

The Way You Make Me Feel Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, Romance

No. of pages: 336

From Goodreads:

Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn’t so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind?

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An adorable little contemporary. This book made me hungry with all its talk about food. At first I thought the characters were going to be annoying, but I ended up loving them with their individual charisma.

Yes, there are tropes and stereotypes in ‘The Way You Make Me Feel,’ but in a good way (well, for me.) The rebel, the nerd, the prissy one; but Maurene Goo does not shy away from quickly dismantling these stereotypes. This novel fell into my favourite wheelhouse of a light contemporary. Perfect for a lazy afternoon’s reading..

The humour was great in Goo’s writing style and had me laughing out loud, I even put the book down because I was laughing so hard, my eyes blurred up with tears. I can’t remember the last time a contemporary did that for me.

Great landscape and world building. I got a real feel for the LA climate and the food truck culture. Not to mention spattering of references to both Asian and Latino culture and language.

We get some great character arcs, and not your usual self-acceptance thing typical to this genre. We see a real transformation in our protagonist.

The Way You Make Me Feel Book Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleOur protagonist Clara is the big prankster – such a great hook – not the usual type of protagonist you get in this genre. I found her endearing from the get-go and loved reading her journey.

The frenemy/antagonist, Rose is the character I liked her the most. I know girls like this, heck, I was a girl like this. Striving to be perfect, scared of doing anything wrong or being perceived as colouring outside the lines. Stress, anxiety, all rolled up tightly and hidden away from all eyes as you prepare, study, and perform. It’s isolating and all-consuming. Leaving you constantly all-too-serious, uptight, and with a short fuse. A great place to start from and a fantastic character to counter Clara.

Hamlet, Clara’s love interest is a little straight-laced, and the most stereotypical of all the characters, but I had boy envy and was wishing for a Hamlet of my very own.

Have to say, I love the role of a present and involved parent. Adrain, Clara’a father is a tattooed hot D.I.L.F… ‘nuf said. But it was endearing how he cared for Clara, and juggled a small business with being an outstanding parent.

It is predictable, I pretty much guessed every plot point in advance – and even thought of one that never happened. But that is pretty much how it goes in most contemporaries I read. Its why I read them. The happy ending, the promise.

Definitely see what all the hype was all about and keen to check out a few more of Goo’s titles. A solid recommendation from me.

Overall feeling: Tickled my funny bone!

The Way You Make Me Feel Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

The Way You Make Me Feel 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 – ‘Spirit Bound’ (Vampire Academy Book 5) by Richelle Mead

I didn’t expect this kind of aftertaste from another bite out of the Vampire Academy series.

Spirit Bound Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Paranormal, Romance, Mystery

No. of pages: 489

From Goodreads:

Dimitri gave Rose the ultimate choice. But she chose wrong…

After a long and heartbreaking journey to Dimitri’s birthplace in Siberia, Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimir’s and to her best friend, Lissa. It is at long last graduation, and the girls can’t wait for their real lives beyond the Academy’s iron gates to begin. But Rose’s heart still aches for Dimitri, and she knows he’s out there, somewhere.

She failed to kill him when she had the chance. And now her worst fears are about to come true. Dimitri has tasted her blood, and now he is hunting her. And this time he won’t rest until Rose joins him . . . forever.

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I’ve really been enjoying my journey through the Vampire Academy series and was eager to complete the collection early this year, so I went into book five, ‘Spirit Bound’ with some high expectations.

For some reason I did not enjoy this as much as the others – maybe it was the lack of action? But there was still a lot going on in this novel… I was forced to put it down a number of times because of life commitments, but it is still has an easy flow and allowed me to pick up from where I left off with ease.

I think the biggest thing that stood out to me in this instalment was Roses indecisiveness, that and her continual flighty nature – it was getting old. We’ve seen so much development of her character throughout the series, ‘Spirit Bound’ felt like a big step backward.

Spirit Bound Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

I enjoyed the typical Rose/Lissa goodness in the first half, but it started to take a back seat by the end and had me asking what was going on – was everyone taking crazy pills? Richelle Mead what are you doing to me?

Besides that, I loved the intrigue and politics with the royals – you really have to keep an eye over your shoulder.

Spirit Bound Book Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleMy affection for Adrian, Rose’s new boyfriend, really grew in Spirit Bound – previously I felt he was more of an annoyance, but by the end of this novel my heart went out to him. He is really a lost puppy in a barfly’s clothing.

In true Mead form, there was another plot twist at the end which floored me – I was not expecting that at all. As was the tension between Rose and Dimitri – I’ve invested a lot in the Vampire Academy books and wanted more of a win at the conclusion of this novel – but given it’s the second to last, I’m sure we needed to up the stakes for a fantastic end to the saga.

The romance with the world of dhampir, strigoi and moroi is still resounding strong in my blood, but this story was a little weaker, but I am expecting ‘Last Sacrifice’ to slay me. Looking forward to completing the series and then maybe start to tackle the Bloodlines series.

Overall reaction: Why you gotta do me like that?

Spirit Bound Book Review Pic 05 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 – Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy Book 3) by Richelle Mead

Time for Rose to grow up – she has to with what she’s about to face…

Shadow Kiss Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Paranormal, Romance, Mystery

No. of pages: 443

From Goodreads:

WHAT IF FOLLOWING HER HEART MEANS ROSE COULD LOSE HER BEST FRIEND FOREVER?

Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires – the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a Dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.

Rose knows it is forbidden to love another guardian. Her best friend, Lissa – the last Dragomir princess – must always come first. Unfortunately, when it comes to gorgeous Dimitri Belikov, some rules are meant to be broken…

Then a strange darkness begins to grow in Rose’s mind, and ghostly shadows warn of a terrible evil drawing nearer to the Academy’s iron gates. The immortal undead are closing in, and they want vengeance for the lives Rose has stolen. In a heart-stopping battle to rival her worst nightmares, Rose will have to choose between life, love, and the two people who matter most… but will her choice mean that only one can survive?  

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This series is definitely getting better with each book!

Rose has to step up and is really put to the test in ‘Shadow Kiss’ – both physically and mentally. We already knew she was crazy-cool, but in this novel she gets a heavy dose of the crazies…

Shadow Kiss Book Review Pic 03 by Casey CarlisleI loved seeing Rose embrace her destiny as a dhamphir – though not in the traditional sense of what is expected of her by the Academy (duh, why would you – this is Rose we’re talking about). Lissa takes more of a back seat in the plot too – even though we see her getting stronger and stronger. There is a real sense of building the characters up and bringing the overarching plot towards something… and Rose can sense it too. So we see a more serious side to her. I miss a lot of Rose’s snarky banter – but with the pace rocketing along, with lots of fighting and mystery, it’s not something you particularly notice.

Luckily, there is lots of Rose-Dimitri steamy goodness to keep me squee-ing. I can’t believe that Richelle Mead has been stringing my along for three book already and I’m still eager for more.

As the action is just getting ramped up and up – we get plot twists galore. I was continually surprised. So much happened, yet you can tell there is still so much more to come – really setting up for some amazing things to happen later in this series. I am growing a new found respect for Richelle Mead and her writing abilities.

The ending had me gobsmacked – I wanted to immediately pick up the next book, but I’m savouring it a little longer. I can’t wait for what ‘Blood Promise’ has in store.

I am really not a huge fan of vampire novels, but The Vampire Academy series is surpassing any thoughts I had for the series in boatloads. I have no doubt that I’ll be purchasing the Bloodlines series on completion of this one.

Overall reaction: Makes me feel like I have awesome judo skills…

 Shadow Kiss Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Shadow Kiss 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.

Book Review – The Catalyst by Helena Coggan

Two souls, one body… zero excitement.

 The Catalyst Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Paranormal, Science Fiction

No. of pages: 448

From Goodreads:

Rose Elmsworth has a secret. For eighteen years, the world has been divided into the magically Gifted and the non-magical Ashkind, but Rose’s identity is far more dangerous. At fifteen, she has earned herself a place alongside her father in the Department, a brutal law-enforcement organisation run by the Gifted to control the Ashkind. But now an old enemy is threatening to start a catastrophic war, and Rose faces a challenging test of her loyalties. How much does she really know about her father’s past? How far is the Department willing to go to keep the peace? And, if the time comes, will Rose choose to protect her secret, or the people she loves? 

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I was in cover envy when I first glimpsed this cover in a book haul from Benjaminoftomes, and after he rated it highly, I felt like it was a must have!  But it did not live up to the hype for me. The introduction into the new world of ‘The Catalyst’ was abrupt. I do like how there no lengthy explanation, but it left me wanting a bit more on the mythology of this world.

The concept of twin souls is a fantastic one, but its execution left me fuddled. Maybe there should be some awareness and tension between two beings in one body? (Besides the glaringly obvious plight of Rose herself)

Rose was definitely an interesting character and a shining light in this dark novel. The duality of her condition had me eager to read on page after page. Again, if the mythology had been explored further, I may have enjoyed it even more. I also felt her relationships were too convenient for the story, I’d rather see her discover new people and judge whether to trust them on the facts they presented. Walking in on so many established relationships, which are later tested was somewhat contrived. Also, Roses behaviour, her secrecy – I’m not sure if I completely get the motivation for some of this. It seemed flimsy and immature.

The style of the narrative didn’t sit particularly well for me either – the tone felt a little impersonal and stopped me from truly connecting with the characters. I did like some of the word choices, but on the whole was somewhat clunky.

I guess my review is also tainted by my dislike for the angel/demon genre – as ‘The Catalyst’ sets us up to believe that fallen angels souls have taken up dwelling in human bodies. I wanted to glimpse more of the human soul, more of the previous world clashing with this new one….

On a side note – everyone is mentioning Helena’s age as an excuse for some inconsistencies in the novel (and rating it higher because of it). While I agree it is an amazing feat to be published so young, I won’t take her age into account… if this wasn’t ready for publication and public scrutiny it wouldn’t have been printed.

Even with all of the negatives mentioned above, it is a great story and Helena shows great promise. I may be convinced to pick up the next novel in the series to find out what happens to Rose, and see if the mythology of this world is explored further… and if Miss Coggan’s writing style gets better with practice.

Overall feeling: So much promise, so little return

The Catalyst Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

The Catalyst Book Review Pic 03 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.

Film vs Novel – Vampire Academy

A sassy romp through high school –Mean Girls with bite!

Vampire Academy Review by Casey Carlisle

Usually I have read the book before viewing the movie, but in this case it was the other way round; and I wonder if that spoiled some of the experience when reading, because I already knew what was going to happen. Now, don’t get me wrong – I still enjoyed the written version by Richelle Mead, but there were some parts where I felt the story dragged… and found myself thinking ‘get to the good stuff already!

Both the style of the movie and the book were funny and skipped along at a reasonable pace, although the film adaptation, in my opinion was that much more sassy – reminding me of the witty banter in ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’  From watching the movie, a lot of the history into the Strigoi (bad vampires), and Elemental Magic was rushed, and the viewer was lead to accept that that is how it was. Alternatively, in the novel you got to learn much more about these aspects to the story line, and they were slowly built on throughout the entire book to a big reveal and climactic finish. With that said, if I had read the book first, the ending would have packed much more of a punch.

Rose (Zoey Deutch), Lissa (Lucy Fry), and Natalie (Sarah Hyland) styling up the Formal Dance in Vampire Academy.

Rose (Zoey Deutch), Lissa (Lucy Fry), and Natalie (Sarah Hyland) styling up the Formal Dance in Vampire Academy.

The two main characters, Rose Hathaway (a Dhampir) and Lissa, (Moroi Vampire Princess) have great chemistry on and off screen. Even though the story is told from Rose’s perspective, we get glimpses for Lissa’s school experience through their shared psychic link.  I connected with Zoey Deutch’s portrayal of Rose in the film much more than I did the character in the book – only because she came across as a more everyday girl with attitude (knowing she was way over her head but doing the best she could); where in the book I got a more of a stuck up vibe under all that bravado, like she was certain she was good looking, and could do whatever she wanted; which didn’t work well with the loyalty she had for Lissa and being her bodyguard.

I’d have to say the opposite for the character of Lissa though, Lucy Fry did a commendable job, but didn’t quite sell the image I conjured up from the book. I want to say Lucy lacked the presence that Lissa exuded, but then again – that kind of thing is what you feel from first person contact and is hard to replicate on a screen.

The one casting decision I wasn’t happy with, was that of Dimitri, played by Danila. I wanted him to look a bit younger and hotter! But that’s just my girlie hormones kicking in for my ideal dream guy. Danila’s acting was perfect for the movie, but I didn’t get the sex appeal from him I did from Dimitri in the novel.

I can’t say that the movie was predictable, I didn’t guess what was going to happen, and delighted at every twist and turn. Roses’ one-liners have to be my favorite. I was hoping to read my favorite line from the movie, but unfortunately it wasn’t there – so I must commend the script writer there, you made my day!

Vampire Academy Film vs Novel by Casey Carlisle

I’d say the movie is well worth the viewing, if you love ‘Buffy’ type films, you’ll get a kick out of this one. As for the book, yes I liked it, but I wouldn’t rave about it. Being the first in a series, it’s quite possible that the best is yet to come. I’ll read the next in the collection and let you know how it measures up without a movie spoiler! With the movie doing poorly at the box office, and second installment, ‘Frostbite’ now turning to crowd funding, it may mean an end to the series on the big screen L

So in the end, the movie wins out, breaking the trend … and here’s hoping the fans do get behind the second movie because, although it wasn’t a classic, I still thought it was pretty awesome.

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.