Book Review – ‘Off the Page’ (#2 Between the Lines) by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer

A cute magical romance where the main character is a literary book boyfriend.

Off the Page (#2 Between the Lines) Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Fantasy

No. of pages: 368

goodreads banner by Casey Carlisle

Delilah and Oliver shouldn’t be together. But they are together. And just as they’re getting used to the possibility that happily ever after may really, truly be theirs, the universe sends them a message they can’t ignore: they won’t be allowed to rewrite their story.

Delilah and Oliver must decide how much they’re willing to risk for love and what it takes to have a happy ending in a world where the greatest adventures happen off the page.

Page border 2020 by Casey Carlisle

This was simply a lot of fun to read. It’s nice to indulge in some silliness in my reading on occasion, and ‘Off the Page’ is just what the doctor ordered.

Off the Page’ certainly elevates everything that happened in ‘Between the Lines.’ More magic and more characters involved with the fantastical world. We see a serious side slip in too; plus the crux of why we pick up this kind of novel in the first place – the romance. The pacing is pretty good, though towards the end the story keeps flopping about and adding a twist here and there and dragged the narrative out a little longer than necessary. But that’s my one big criticism… which wasn’t a huge thing in the overall experience of reading ‘Off the Page.’

We see the characters get arcs, grow and develop. We see the universe inside the fairy tale expand, and the world outside of the story book expand through the fantasy characters eyes. It was such a delight.

The plot was very predictable, but deliciously so. Though those few little twists got me right in the heart muscle.

Off the Page (#2 Between the Lines) Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Told in alternating perspectives between Delilah, Oliver, and Edgar, each chapter moves the story forward and lets the ensemble cast shine. Usually I’m not a fan of multiple perspectives, or of so many characters, but Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer made it work. Each character was individual and had a distinct voice. And despite it having been 3 years since having read the debut ‘Between the Lines’ it was easy to pick up the narrative and get sucked into the world without needing a refresher. It is testament to great story and character crafting.

The conclusion ends on a note that wraps up all of the major plot points – but there are still some ties left loose which could lead to another sequel; but given five years have passed since ‘Off the Page’ was published it doesn’t look that promising, but never say never.

I’d recommend this to those who want a light fun read, or maybe as a pallet cleanser between novels with heavier topics. Even though it is stated that it could be read as a standalone, I don’t think you would truly be able to appreciate the journey/relationship of Delilah and Oliver without reading the first novel ‘Between the Lines.’

Overall feeling: a solid effort.

Off the Page (#2 Between the Lines) Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Off the Page (#2 Between the Lines) Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

Critique Casey 2020 by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2020. 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 – ‘Between the Lines’ (#1 Between the Lines) by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer

Promising, cute with a great concept, but a little underwhelming.

Between the Lines Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: YA, Fantasy, Romance

No. of pages: 353

From Goodreads:

Delilah is a bit of a loner who prefers spending her time in the school library with her head in a book—one book in particular. Between the Lines may be a fairy tale, but it feels real. Prince Oliver is brave, adventurous, and loving. He really speaks to Delilah.

And then one day Oliver actually speaks to her. Turns out, Oliver is more than a one-dimensional storybook prince. He’s a restless teen who feels trapped by his literary existence and hates that his entire life is predetermined. He’s sure there’s more for him out there in the real world, and Delilah might just be his key to freedom.


Wondering if this was miscategorised and instead middle grade? It lacked the complexity and intensity I’ve come to expect in YA. ‘Between the Lines’ is a very easy read – kind of plain in actual fact.

The concept and story is attractive and engaging, but it lacked pace and depth. Figuring this to be my first Jodie Picoult novel, and a YA one at that – especially after all my friends keep telling me she is a must read author – that ‘Between the Lines’ would be a winning combination.

Instead, I found it repetitive in parts, though I liked that the journey wasn’t easy for the characters to get what they wanted. But I wasn’t totally satisfied with the ending.

It is a saccharine sweet tale on all fronts. Though, the original fairy tale excerpts had a very Harry Potter/Simon Snow tone with exaggerated, obscure events and a hint of sarcasm. I think I enjoyed those elements more than the main story. A dragon with braces, feminist mermaids, and a dog who was a boy in love with a princess – totally amazeballs.

I found Deliliah our protagonist not only a girl after my own heart being an outsider and booklover; but on the other hand she felt a little desperate and whiny. Though I have to admit, it falls in the realistic expectations of what you get from a fifteen year old girl, so I really can’t fault Picoult and Van Leer’s depiction of Deliliah.

Between the Lines Book Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleThe other POV was told from Oliver’s perspective. The fictional love interest. I liked his unique perspective on our world, and the mechanisms of his own. How letters and words make up the physical forms of the world and characters in the book. How Oliver marvelled at a cell phone, a computer, and even a hair dryer. He was so much more interesting to me than Deliliah.

A cute addition to this book were the illustrations dispersed throughout – whether silhouetted characters in the margins, of the full page colour depictions of Oliver and his world.

The pacing felt slow. This should be an easy novel to fly through, and I was able to consume large chunks of this book in a single sitting, however, I broke it up over a week because my interest began to wane at how the narrative dragged out the storyline. I think it needed more tension, or a story arc or two to add some complexity and drive the plot forward more forcefully.

Picoult and Van Leer’s writing style is pretty breezy, there was a distinct difference between the original fairy tale, Oliver and Deliliah which was impressive, though Deliliahh’s voice felt bland in comparison to the other two writing styles – I wonder if both authors had input on all perspectives, or only wrote a character each?

I don’t really feel like I’d recommend this to my friends. Though it’s fun, and a great concept, the dragging pace and a tone more fitting for a tween market left me with a so-so attitude towards this title. However I will read the sequel ‘Off The Page’ just to quench my curiosity about where these characters could go next. I just hope the writing is a bit tighter to keep my interest.

Overall reaction: *yawn* ooh, cool!

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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.

Still Slaying that Series…

In February of 2016 I started a quest to complete all of the series that I had begun (slay that series,) but had yet to finish. I knew I wouldn’t get it all read in that year, so let’s check in to see where I’m at now…
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Of the 18 series I listed last year, I completed 9 – so half way. Not bad. I probably would have read more, but kept getting distracted by new releases. Plus, I tend to not enjoy marathoning books so much, I like variety. Also if you read many series end to end, some details start to feel repetitive as the author usually has to re-introduce you to the world, or summarise the story so far with each instalment of the collection.

But my TBR for slaying that series has also grown. Books which I thought were standalones have turned into many more. And sometimes I could not resist picking up another novel which is a start of another collection… glutton for punishment anyone?

Now my new ‘slay that series’ tally stands at 19. How sad to feel I’ve made no progress staring at that number. But going back I have completed 11 series that weren’t included in this read-a-thon I’d set myself over the year.

So here’s where I’m at (in no particular order):

The Lunar Chronicles:

Slay that Series The Lunar Chronicles by Casey Carlisle.jpg

I kind of stalled with this series, I don’t mind fairytale re-tellings or science fiction, I think after a break away I’ll polish them off in quick succession.

Shadowhunter Universe:

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Slay that Series The Infernal Devices by Casey Carlisle

Slay that Series The Bane Chronicles by Casey Carlisle Slay that Series Tales From The Shadowhunter Academy by Casey Carlisle

Slay that Series The Dark Artifices by Casey Carlisle

It’s like when your at a candy store and there’s so many yummy choices that you end up catatonic. Must. Read. So. Good.  I really want to marathon the rest of this series, and I know there will be more to add to my collection, but I’m not letting myself buy any more Shadowhunter goodness until I read the rest of these.

Darkest Minds Trilogy (and Novellas):

Slay that Series Darkest Minds Trilogy by Casey Carlisle

Again, another crowd favourite that failed to impress me. An average sort of read, though I’ve only read the first novel, there is plenty left in the series to blow my britches – fingers crossed! Plus with a screen adaptation on it’s way I want to finish off this trilogy before viewing.

The Caster Chronicles:

Slay that Series The Caster Chronicles by Casey Carlisle

I absolutely adored the debut novel, but held off after reading bad reviews for the subsequent installments, but I’m getting that itch again. Maybe I should stop looking novels up on Goodreads and just enjoy the experience as I turn the page – let the words cast their own spell on me… (see what I did there?) Plus there hasn’t been a witchy read in by reading list for years.

Unwind Dystology:

Slay that Series Unwind Dystology by Casey Carlisle

Teens for spare body parts – love it! We were just on the verge of rebellion in the first novel, so I really want to get back into this series. I don’t even remember why I stopped.

Lux Universe:

Slay that Series Lux Universe by Casey Carlisle

Ahh, hot glowy aliens… need I say more? A guilty pleasure with angst, heavy petting, and high school. With two more books just added to my collection I need to get on to it! There are lots of other Jennifer L. Armentrout series waiting for me to sink my teeth into next.

Translucent series:

Slay that Series Translucent Series by Casey Carlisle

A new series I recently got into. Easy, fast sci-fi reads. Invisibility and dark matter. Not the best written series, but a great way to spend an afternoon. I can’t wait to see what Dan Rix will do with these girls… but the final book was published in e-book form over a year ago and I’m still waiting for it to be released in paperback form to complete my collection – so frustrating! Get a move on Mr Rix!!

Deathworks Series:

Slay that Series Deathworks series by Casey Carlisle

A Grim Reaper. A multi-national company of Grim Reapers! And it’s set right here in Brisbane, Australia! Such a great seires by some local talent, took me ages to track down the rest of Trent Jamieson’s books, but now I have them in my hot little hands.. mwah ha ha! (that was my maniacal laugh btw.)

Under The Never Sky Trilogy:

Slay that Series Under the Never Sky Trilogy by Casey Carlisle

While I haven’t been all that impressed with this trilogy, there is only one novel left – and it’s typically the best one. Looking forward to putting this series behind me.

Fetch Series:

Slay that Series Fetch Series by Casey Carlisle

The second of this series is yet to be released, but I had fun reading about this dystopian world. Not sure if it will remain a duology, or continue expanding, but its fun light reading. And dystopians always remind me of my highschool days for some reason :/

Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children Collection:

Slay that Series Miss Peregrines Peculiar Children by Casey Carlisle

Heard lots of great things. I was so-so on the first book, but love the mythology. Really keen to see where Ransom Riggs will take as.

The Lady Janies Trilogy:

Slay that Series My Lady Janies Trilogy by Casey Carlisle

Scarcasm and hilarity in this historical fiction fancy. Can’t wait to see what they do with other Jane’s from the past. Eagerly waiting for the relese dates to complete the trilogy.

Elemental Series:

Slay that Series Elements Series by Casey Carlisle

Picked up the first book on a whim and sped through it. Along the lines of Jennifer L. Armentroug’s Lux series. A guilty pleasure paranormal romance full of tropes and hot boys. Nice to break up the more heavier reading content.

Red Rising Trilogy:

Slay that Series Red Rising Trilogy by Casey Carlisle

Struggling with the writing style of this series, but with only one book to go am determined to finish. Then I’ll decide whether I want to attack Pierce Browns new Iron Gold trilogy in the Red Rising Universe set to start releasing in 2018.

Between the Lines Duology:

Slay that Series Between the Lines Duology by Casey Carlisle

An interesting contemporary, and am curious to see where the story does in the last part of the duology. Fictional characters coming to life – yes please!

Red Queen Collection:

Slay that Series Red Queen Collection by Casey Carlisle

I’m having a love/hate relationship with this series, sometimes I am raving about it, sometimes a bit meh! But just have to wait for one more release in 2018 and we can call it quits. Plus I’d like to see what Victoria Aveyard will write after this series.

A Court of Thorns and Roses Trilogy:

Slay that Series A Court of Thorns and Roses Trilogy by Casey Carlisle

Really enjoyed the first book, the second I struggled with a bit, but am expecting an explosive thrid installment in true Sarah J Mass Style. I thought it was only going to be a tirlogy, but in the end pages of A Court of Wings and Ruin we are teased with a new realease in 2018 – WTF!

No Ordinary Star Trilogy:

Slay that Series No Ordinary Star Trilogy by Casey Carlisle

Wonderful premise, but this is a trilogy that I’d rather poke my eyes out than read, but my OCD won’t let me just drop it – lucky they are short novellas… let’s hope M.C. Frank can turn my opinion around.

Zeroes Trilogy:

Slay that Series Zeroes Trilogy by Casey Carlisle

Such a fun gritty series and incredibly well written to boot. I have the second book ready to go and the third preordered to satisfy my Zeroes lust.

Sidekick Squad:

Slay that Series Sidekick Squad by Casey Carlisle

A new series that has captued my imagination – funny, witty and just enough sass! Not sure how many novels will be released in this seires, but eagerly waiting for ‘Not Your Villain’ out in October this year.

The Illuminae Files:

Slay that Series The Illuminae Files by Casey Carlisle

Hurry up May 2018! Have been having a blast reading this series and hope it continues with its masterful tragectory. Who hopes this is more than a trilogy too?

Children of Eden:

Slay that Series Children of Eden by Casey Carlisle

Children of Eden’ was a bit of a surpise for me, and I got toatally invested in the story. Let’s see if Joey Graceffa can keep it going with the next book due for release in October this year.

Warm Bodies:

Slay that Series Warm Bodies by Casey Carlisle

Two short stories and a trilogy from our all-around favourite zombie, R. Love Isaac Marion’s writing and eager to complete this collection and find out how the world recovers from a zombie apocalypse. Hopefully all the books will be released by the end of 2017.

Tales From Foster High:

Slay that Series Tales From Foster High by Casey Carlisle

Something about the topical writing with gay main characters struggling through high school (and much adversity) has wormed its way into my heart. I think I’m committed to see this series through to the end – another one of my guilty pleasures. It’s like finding out what happens after the fairy-tale ends…

The Girl With All The Gifts:

Slay that Series The Girl With All The Gifts by Casey Carlisle

Upon first reading ‘The Girl With All The Gifts’ I didn’t totally love this series – but it grew on me, and am excited to see what new discoveries about the zombie-like world can be made in the sequel…


That leaves 66 books left to read to finish off all the series listed here – so it’s definitely going to take me longer than a year to read them all – especially given I like to sprinkle in stand-alones, new releases, and am making my way through Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Clive Cussler’s back catalogue. Plus some of the titles above have not been released yet, or not confirmed as complete, so this list will continue to evolve and change… but hey, I’m not adverse to adding more books to my TBR. It keeps me excited.

What series are you determined to finish of this year? Got any opinions on any of the books listed above? Your works might just push a book to the top of the pile…

In the meantime – happy reading 🙂


© 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.