Book Review – Alienated by Melissa Landers

The school exchange program never looked so good..

Alienated Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction

No. of pages: 344

From Goodreads:

Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet. 

Page border by Casey Carlisle

I’m not sure if I was sold on the premise of this novel – There seemed to be so much more world building and politics leading up to the point where an alien student exchange could take place. That fact annoyed me and kept me from really immersing myself into ‘Alienated.’ There were also a lot of similarities to the tv series (which is now cancelled) ‘Starcrossed,’ of which I had similar issues with. But ultimately I enjoyed both of these stories and the unique quandaries they offer.

I did appreciate the mythology and origin of the species introduced in ‘Alienated’ and noted the difference of how an alien race has evolved compared to our own. So much of the science behind their development supported the storyline.

The politics overtook the plot towards the end and subtracted from my enjoyment, it made it less personal. The developing relationship between our protagonist Cara and her love interest, Aelyx, was a nice slow burn, but not something I was totally invested in. But still a coupling I would ‘ship.

Alienated Book Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleCara, forever the overachiever and people-pleaser, is such a strong character, in that you can see the influences of her familial upbringing, giving her the confidence to stick to her morals and what is right. As much as I found it difficult to like Cara in the beginning, because she felt a little cold, I had warmed to her by the end of the book.

Aelyx is an interesting character, and yes, he’s the hunky aloof alien with an agenda very typical of the YA genre, but I liked him more than many others in this trope. Again, as with Cara, both of their descriptions felt a little stiff, and consequently, their burgeoning love felt unrealistic. However on the surface, Cara is the headstrong nerd with a conscious for the planet, and Aelyx the political stoic martian who comes to understand Cara and Earth, and through that journey finding a true connection and life mate.

There is plenty of secondary character arcs going on behind the scenes, and it has been one of the best plotted cast I‘ve read in a while. Melissa Landers weaves an expertly web of storylines that had me revelling in the world of ‘Alienated.’

Some aspects that pulled down the rating for me included the realism of the story line, as mentioned previously; the domination of politics; and at times some scenes felt written in just for the drama. I felt if more attention was given in setting up the landscape and development of the characters narrative if would have dragged me into the story more effectively.

This does end on a cliffhanger too – and am looking forward to jumping into book two: ‘Invaded’ soon to find out all of the characters fates…

A great solid fun read, I managed to complete in a day.

Overall feeling: okie dokie

Alienated Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Alienated Book Review Pic 04 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 – 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.