Book Review – Gasp by Lisa McMann

I gasped – and not for good reasons…

 Gasp Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Fantasy

No. of pages: 256

From Goodreads:

After narrowly surviving two harrowing tragedies, Jules now fully understands the importance of the visions that she and people around her are experiencing. She’s convinced that if the visions passed from her to Sawyer after she saved him, then they must now have passed from Sawyer to one of the people he saved.

That means it’s up to Jules to figure out which of the school shooting survivors is now suffering from visions of another crisis. And once she realizes who it is, she has to convince that survivor that this isn’t all crazy—that the images are of something real. Something imminent.

As the danger escalates more than ever before in the conclusion to the Visions series, Jules wonders if she’ll finally find out why and how this is happening—before it’s too late to prevent disaster. 

Page border by Casey Carlisle

Although ‘Gasp,’ the third and final installment had all the same aspects I enjoyed from the first two novels, it fell flat for me. The whole story felt tired and contrived. I was so underwhelmed. Still, a cute story with a unique supernatural twist, and lucky enough to be a short brief read, managing to wrap up the oddball cast dealing with this ‘premonition virus.’

What had me feeling not so great about this after raving at the beginning of the series? Maybe it was because of Jules’ gun-ho attitude despite her morbid predicament, or the formation of a “Scooby Gang” to help solve the mystery. Mostly it was because the tension has somehow leaked out. Everyone got along too well, were too accepting. I was hoping this final book in the Vision series would really up the anty and go out with a bang (pun intended), but this fizzled out with little show…

It was great to see more diversity, adding a character of colour to the cast – and an adult into the secret circle… but little was done with that. There was so much potential for this finale…

Again, the social issues raised are commendable and dealt with sensitively.

The climax lost its realism – I wasn’t sold on the Scooby Gang pulling off what they did without taking into account realistic safety precautions and trained personnel present on the scene. It felt like the conclusion wasn’t thought out at all and written in a codine haze.

Fun. Not Lisa McMann’s best.

Overall feeling: Meh

Gasp Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Gasp 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.

Book Review – Bang by Lisa McMann

Getting more bang for your buck… not so much.

Bang Book Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle Genre: Y/A, Fantasy

No. of pages: 241

From Goodreads:

Jules should be happy. She saved a lot of people’s lives and she’s finally with Sawyer, pretty much the guy of her dreams. But the nightmare’s not over, because she somehow managed to pass the psycho vision stuff to Sawyer. Excellent.

Feeling responsible for what he’s going through and knowing that people’s lives are at stake, Jules is determined to help him figure it all out. But Sawyer’s vision is so awful he can barely describe it, much less make sense of it. All he can tell her is there’s a gun, and eleven ear-splitting shots. Bang.

Jules and Sawyer have to work out the details fast, because the visions are getting worse and that means only one thing: time is running out. But every clue they see takes them down the wrong path. If they can’t prevent the vision from happening, lives will be lost. And they may be among the casualties… 

Page border by Casey Carlisle

Having been entertained by the debut of this series, it wasn’t long before I picked up this novel. Though, not as good as ‘Crash,’ ‘Bang’ continues the viral visions being passed on to Jules’ boyfriend Sawyer and another mystery to be unravelled in order to save lives.

The first half floundered to get the easy flow narrative from the first novel back. Too many dot com jokes and slang thrown in… but once the story got legs, I began enjoying it again. There are comical moments, but I was left wondering if Lisa McMann was trying to inject some youthful slang or simply slogged a dead horse with the colloquialisms, a minor detail, but it was off-putting to me.

This time the risk was higher, the mystery of the vision harder to unravel… and more family drama. It was great to see some more character development of the cast, and each of the so-called perfect siblings jump down off their pedestal.

Again, the way the visions could be paused, rewound and zoomed in on annoyed me…. And also the fact they play like a movie trailer. It cheapens the mysticism around the visions. Also I would have liked to have some of the mythology explored – like the guys trying to find out where they came from, what they mean, and if in fact there was some sort of familial connection.

A more political tone was reached as well, and I appreciated how it was dealt with – even if the circumstances were shocking. With the risk of a shooting in a school, a hate crime against LGBTQI+ is a great topic to explore in that it is shedding light on an ongoing issue in society. Yes, the hatred is distasteful, but it’s out there. With that said, the issue was glossed over a bit, and just about completely discarded in the following novel ‘Gasp’ – I was sure there would be some repercussions or trauma associated with the incident.

Jules begins to come off a little righteous, as does Sawyer. I understand they need to solve the mystery in order to stave off crippling visions, but I wanted to see the darker side explored.

Still a quick easy read, many valid and entertaining happen, but somewhat lacklustre for me. Mostly predictable, but still some plot twists to keep you gripped to the page. I have high hopes for ‘Gasp’ as it wraps up this trilogy.

Overall feeling: is that all?

Bang Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Bang 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.

Book Review – Crash by Lisa McMann

Pizza, premonition and pining

Crash Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Fantasy, Paranormal

No. of pages: 233

From Goodreads:

Jules lives with her family above their restaurant, which means she smells like pizza most of the time and drives their double-meatball-shaped food truck to school. It’s not a recipe for popularity, but she can handle that.

What she can’t handle is the recurring vision that haunts her. Over and over, Jules sees a careening truck hit a building and explode…and nine body bags in the snow.

The vision is everywhere—on billboards, television screens, windows—and she’s the only one who sees it. And the more she sees it, the more she sees. The vision is giving her clues, and soon Jules knows what she has to do. Because now she can see the face in one of the body bags, and it’s someone she knows. Someone she has been in love with for as long as she can remember.

Page border by Casey Carlisle

After enjoying the Wake trilogy, I thought I’d give some other titles in Lisa McMann’s catalogue a try, and ‘Crash,’ the first in the Visions trilogy, surprised me.

Where some of the elements I did not like in ‘Fade,’ ‘Wake’ and ‘Gone’ were left behind, like the swearing and slang, ‘Crash’ was less grittier, the narrative had an ease that let me settle into Jules’ world, and I loved the premise of precognition and trying to stave off foretold events.

While this is far from an original storyline, I nonetheless enjoyed it immensely. I laughed and cried (so many surprise feels) with such a light-hearted narrative after the seriousness of Janie and Cabel in the Wake trilogy.

Crash Book Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleI drew issue around Jules’ visions though – it’s one thing to have them; another to be able to stop, rewind and pause them like a video tape. That part had me going hmmmm…

Even though this is a short novel, I did feel that the build up to the climax was a little slow – whether the tension dropped off in places, or there was too much contemplation, I haven’t quite decided upon, but I only mention it because I remember feeling ‘hurry up and get to the good stuff already’ once or twice. I’m so impatient :p

I liked the Romeo and Juliet-esque aspect to Jules and Sawyers relationship, and how her visions makes it even more complicated.

While there were no surprises in the overall plot, I got great delight from the wit and sub plot reveals, for some reason after reading the Wake trilogy it wasn’t something I expected – glad I was wrong.

Obviously targeted for the teen market, but a great simple, guilty pleasure read for the older demographic. I completed it in one sitting – a great way to unwind after a big morning completing household chores.

Overall feeling: Pretty cool.

Crash Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Crash 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.