#bookquotes

I think with some of the comments about this book from my friends, my expectations were lowered – but it turned out to be way funnier than anticipated. What book has surprised you with humor lately?

Book Review – ‘Wayward Son’ (#2 Simon Snow) by Rainbow Rowell

Entertaining re-visit to some fan-girly characters, but felt a little light on plot.

Genre: Y/A, Fantasy, LGBT

No. of pages: 356

The story is supposed to be over.

Simon Snow did everything he was supposed to do. He beat the villain. He won the war. He even fell in love. Now comes the good part, right? Now comes the happily ever after…

So why can’t Simon Snow get off the couch?

What he needs, according to his best friend, is a change of scenery. He just needs to see himself in a new light…

That’s how Simon and Penny and Baz end up in a vintage convertible, tearing across the American West.

They find trouble, of course. (Dragons, vampires, skunk-headed things with shotguns.) And they get lost. They get so lost, they start to wonder whether they ever knew where they were headed in the first place…

I was really looking forward to jumping back into the Simon Snow universe.

Wayward Son’ did not have the same tone as ‘Carry On.’ There was less of that Potteresque magic and silliness. The angst between Simon and Baz is still there and fabulously kept my attention (if at times, a little juvenile.) Though, it was as if we rolled back Simon and Baz’s relationship for the sake of angst. I’m not mad at it, though I do feel a little cheated.

This felt more like a tale or anecdote rather than a novel. A road tip.

Where ‘Carry On’ felt rich in atmosphere and world building, ‘Wayward Son,’ was a little sparse in comparison. I’m guessing this novel is suffering a lot of that middle book syndrome, where it is about introducing new characters, and setting up a lot of things for the next instalment ‘Where the Wind Blows.’

There is something about Rainbow Rowell’s writing style in this franchise that feels so breezy and innocent. I’m not a massive fantasy reader anymore, but this series definitely gives me all the feels and I was very content to kick back and fall into the world of Simon and Baz with a cuppa on the balcony.

I wasn’t too sure about the plot of ‘Wayward Son,’ there is a lot of time spent with the characters ambling and re-orientating themselves. Trying to find their purpose. I think that is what lost me a bit too. Yes, I love the characters, and the angst, and the magical world they live in… but that meandering purpose dragged a little too long into the novel.

A cute twist at the end involving the new character to the gang was a pleasant surprise and definitely has me intrigued with release of the final book in this trilogy.

In terms of story, ‘Wayward Son’ is interesting, but not one that had me chomping at the bit to read the sequel. It’s more about the characters for me, and I’m hoping that Rowell ups the ante in the third book in the franchise. While I enjoyed ‘Wayward Son,’ it was more of a so-so read. Another novel I’ll hang back on recommending until I read the next in the series: it will make or break my love of the franchise.

Overall feeling: a bit of a wobble…

© 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 – ‘One of Us is Lying’ (#1 One of Us is Lying) by Karen McManus

A murder in the middle of The Breakfast Club.

One of Us is Lying (#1 One of Us is Lying) Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, Mystery, LGBT

No. of pages: 361

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Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

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This feels difficult for me to rate and review. It has been hyped so much, and many friends, and bloggers I follow have raved about ‘One of Us is Lying.’ On the whole, this was well written and the plot unfolded masterfully. We get interesting fleshed-out characters and tension is maintained from beginning to end. We follow four protagonists, the narrative jumps to each of their perspectives frequently, so at the start I was all over the place and even had to jot down some notes to get the characters straight in my head – because not only do we get the four protagonists, but their friends and families as well. I struggled to fall into the world of ‘One of Us is Lying.’ It felt like it took half the novel for things to really get going. I put this novel down and read 3 others before picking it up again. But after the halfway point I was totally gripped.

I think because it took so long to develop so many characters, and set the scene, the first half suffered pacing issues with my reading experience. I was also frustrated with some of the things which happened in the novel – like the police or press contacting the kids directly; and even the kids fraternizing with each other after the fact. In real life, police can have their case thrown out the window, or even get suspended for questioning a minor without a parent or guardian present. News reporters risk jail for questioning an unaccompanied minor. And parents should be locking these kids up and keeping them away from each other – I mean we’re dealing with murder here. Hello? Is anybody in there? *knocking on your skull*

One of Us is Lying (#1 One of Us is Lying) Book Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleI understand what Karen M. McManus was doing, and I appreciate how she crafts a story. But having a background as a high school teacher and a person of authority, some aspects triggered me and pulled me from the narrative. I wish I could have just enjoyed it like fiction instead of poking holes in the plot.

With each cast member having a secret was a great tool for developing each character, and by default, giving them a nuance and point of interest. It is the kind of writing tool that attracted me to the novel in the first place.

I won’t say I easily predicted the story, but I will say I had some very strong hunches about some characters that proved to be true. I say this because I can’t pinpoint any facts that foretold the way the plot was going to unfold… it was just little things, character reactions which tingled my spidey senses that got me thinking. I have to hand it to McManus in structuring a marvellous mystery.

Her writing style is top notch and easy to read, but I would have liked some more separation between the character voices. If not for the name of each character in the title heading I may not have known who we were following. She could have used particular words and sentence structure unique to each character to differentiate and aid in identify differing points of view.

I think the other thing that contributed to this rating is that I did not connect/relate to any of the protagonists. I mean I cared about them, but there was no deep emotional bond with any of the cast. I felt like an observer rather than getting to experience the predicament through their eyes, this level of separation kept me from really getting into ‘One of Us if Lying.’

I’m going to be picking up the sequel ‘One of Us is Next,’ and now that I am familiar with the characters and the scene is set, having understood their history, I’ll should be able to forge a stronger connection, and ultimately, enjoy the read more.

I’m really looking forward to the television series adaptation currently in development, the visual format is better suited for following so many main cast and with a longer format of a full season of television allowing the story to unfold slowly, yet keeping up the pace… it opens the possibility that I may like the tv show better.

A fun read and one I’m happy to recommend.

Overall feeling: Had me raising an eyebrow…

One of Us is Lying (#1 One of Us is Lying) Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

One of Us is Lying (#1 One of Us is Lying) 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 – ‘What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

The type of diverse novel I’ve been longing to read. No hate. Just meetcute.

What If It's Us Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, GLBT

No. of pages: 437

From Goodreads:

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is?

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This was such an adorable story. Arthur and Ben are deliciously, awkwardly cute. A realistic things-don’t-always-go-right sort of thing.

What if it’s us’ is everything I expected it to be. Well written characters, a meet cute oozing innocence, awkwardness and angst. I may have rated it higher, but in comparison to ‘Simon vs the Homo Sapien Agenda’ this didn’t hit me as hard… or have as much comedy. So it just missed out on a perfect score. But that is not to say that is any less of a captivating read.

Four hundred pages and still ‘What if it’s us’ flew by. I was always eager to see where the next chapter would take me. The alternating perspectives between Arthur and Ben lead off on two different storylines that happened to intertwine more and more as the novel progressed without rehashing information as we head-jumped into each narrative. I will say that the writing style did not differ too greatly between each perspective – if it weren’t for chapter titles and references I would have difficulty discerning whose voice was whose. I’d love to have seen some idiosyncrasies, habits, common word usage and tone separate the two perspectives a little more.

What If It's Us Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Arthur, the shorter college-bound nerd discovering his first love made me smile with his uncertainty in everything but love. His values in family and friendship. I think this is the first story where there is no bitchiness or bullying, so a surprisingly fun rom-com.

It felt like Ben had the biggest journey in this contemporary; discovering things about himself through introspection, friends, and of course, Arthur. He felt more like the stoic introvert that finally comes out of his shell.

It’s all about coming of age…

All of the secondary characters had their own stuff going on too: getting together, breaking up, fighting, and supporting each other. I really loved this aspect of ‘What if it’s us’ and really fleshed out the narrative.

It ends on the same note of the title as a question – like a true contemporary. One of hope that left me satisfied and hopeful myself.

The pacing is fairly steady. It’s not a fast read, but definitely does not feel like its dragging. The perfect timing for this type of genre.

Definitely recommend for lovers of stories of diversity, light romances, and New York City.

Overall feeling: A deliciously snuggy story

What If It's Us Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

What If It's Us 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 – ‘The Countdown’ by Kimberly Derting

Alien abduction, hybrids, and government conspiracies… wrapped up in a teen romance.

the-countdown-book-review-pic-01-by-casey-carlisleGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction

No. of pages: 368

From Goodreads:

She may no longer be human…but she’s their only hope.

In the concluding book in the otherworldly Taking trilogy, Kyra struggles to understand who she is as she races to save the world from complete destruction.

Ever since Kyra was abducted by aliens and then returned to earth, she has known there was something different about her. Now she knows the truth: she is an alien too. Her alien captors replaced all her human DNA with their own—gifting her with supernatural powers like incredible healing, enhanced eyesight, and telekinesis. But when she’s captured by an unexpected enemy, Kyra begins to wonder if her abilities are also a curse. And is she, as her enemies believe, meant to play some key role in helping an impending alien invasion? Is it programmed into her, something inescapable? Or can she fight that destiny?

No matter what the truth is, Kyra is sure of one thing: She just rescued the love of her life, Tyler, and she is not going to stand by and let anyone hurt him or her friends. Whatever it takes, Kyra will do everything in her power to save the world…even if it means making the ultimate sacrifice. 

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clipart-music-notes-zxtg75xiaIt’s the Final Countdoooowwn! clipart-music-notes-zxtg75xia – sorry couldn’t resist. With this final instalment in The Taking trilogy, I was looking forward to a mammoth dramatic end to what has been a fun sci-fi read. But there was a lot going on. A lot of characters and points of view in the narrative. It was confusing and made me dizzy. It took me half the novel to catch up and work out what was going on.

I’ve said it so many times before: I’m not a fan of multiple perspectives.

However, after a disappointing and slow first half, the storyline began to pick up. I could barely put the novel down as I neared the finish line. We got some great pacing and tension. For the last book in a trilogy it should be this way throughout – there are so many ends to tie up, questions to answer. It should be explosive.

the-countdown-book-review-pic-04-by-casey-carlisleThere’s still a tone of immaturity about Kyra and her friends, though I can see how she has grown as a character, I didn’t get all that invested in her or the story. Which is disappointing. The attention the first book of the series really captured my imagination, but things went awry here.

Tyler, our love interest and cute in the-boy-next-door way, only had that going for him. I kept wanting to get more substance. For him to pony up. I hate to say it, but Tyler was a little… forgettable.

Simon, another of the returned and member of their ‘Scooby Gang’ started to grow on me. He was showing some moxy and putting a spanner in the works. This boy had back bone, and then at the end of the novel, I was like – where did all that go. Feelings like that aren’t resolved in an instant…. The resolution felt like little bit of a cop out.

Adam (the alien), the only other character of note didn’t give me that desperation to survive and be reunited with his race I was hoping for. There wasn’t even thankfulness at Kyra and Tyler’s sacrifice to help him escape… It really felt like all the nuance of characters we got earlier on wasn’t carried through right to the end of the trilogy. Characters are the lifeblood of your story, and you need to pay them a lot of attention.

As far as plot goes, it was still light on the explanations; though we get all the relevant answers. Something about the explanation still doesn’t sit right with me. I liked the ending, and considering the romanticism of it all, was surprised there wasn’t an alternate conclusion – I think it would have been a much more impactful ending if it opened up this trilogy to a new world of possibilities. We love to dream about the what-if’s in sci-fi!

Maybe it was the attitudes of the scientists – oversimplified and some forced to fit into the role of a villain… or not. It had me wondering where the complexity was…

As much as I enjoyed the experience reading this, the characters were pretty interchangeable and bland. Their personalities could have shined in obtuse, quirky ways to add a larger dynamic to the narrative. All in all, it was “just nice.”

Great escapism for YA readers. I’d only recommend it to those who have been engrossed by the series, but don’t get your hopes up. A light, easy to read narrative, even though a little scattered. I wanted much more from this final book, but it was still a satisfying conclusion.

Overall feeling: well that didn’t go as planned…

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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.

 

Wrap up – Rebel Belle Trilogy by Rachel Hawkins

Average adventures with plenty of promise.

Rebel Belle Series Wrap Up Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpg

This was a cute little trilogy – reminiscent of Buffy and the Scooby Gang. Prez brings the popular girl turned guardian (Paladin) battling magical foes with witty one-liners and awesome fighting scenes to the forefront.

The premise is certainly compelling and I had high hopes for this series, though it under delivered on my expectations, but is still very entertaining. The mythology of Paladins and Oracles is something I haven’t read a lot about and added a unique twist to the story.

Though this series is very predictable and better suited to the younger end of the YA market – it lacked the punch I was hoping for and doesn’t possess great complexity. It is a fun after-school special type of story.

The middle book was flat, failing to up the anty, and could have been edited down to half its length and paced as a much better book – in fact I’d love to see the series heavily edited, a curve ball or two thrown in and bound into one book. It would go from pretty good to mind-blowingly awesome.

We get a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy, though the last book is a darker tone than its predecessors. I’d still recommend it to my friends, they are short, fast reads so you don’t need to invest a lot of time, and the Rebel Belle trilogy is really a pleasant way to spend a lazy afternoon.

You get character growth, a cool mystical system, teen banter and some southern charm. With some of the failings I felt this collections suffered it also has a lot going for it.

Rebel Belle Series Wrap Up Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

For individual reviews click on the links below:

Rebel Belle’ – https://strokingfire.wordpress.com/2015/03/05/book-review-rebel-belle/

Miss Mayhem’ – https://strokingfire.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/book-review-miss-mayhem-by-rachel-hawkins/

Lady Renegades’https://strokingfire.wordpress.com/2016/05/24/book-review-lady-renegades-by-rachel-hawkins/

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 – Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

A whole new world inspired by ‘Fangirl’ that is magical and swoon-worthy.

Carry On Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Fantasy, GLBT

No. of pages: 522

From Goodreads:

Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up. 

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I’ve read ‘Fangirl,’ but I have to say, I enjoyed ‘Carry On’ better.

The first thing to note – this is not Cath from ‘Fangirls’ fanfiction, nor is it the original written by Gemma T Leslie from that universe; this is a completely new take on our two male leads, Simon and Baz pipelined straight form Rainbow Rowell’s brain to you. So don’t expect to see any of the text from ‘Fangirl’ in this book – it is its own creature. Additionally, I’ve not read any of the Harry Potter books (better get on to that) from which the world of Simon and Baz is loosely based, and that did not detract from any enjoyment of this book. So you don’t need to have read either ‘Fangirl’ or any of the Harry Potter novels to understand ‘Carry On,’ it’s a marvellous little stand alone.

I deducted half a mark solely for the pacing – especially in the first half. It felt like it was dragging and I put the book down several times, tempted to read something else for a break. Also, even though the ending was great, magical and fantastic, it wasn’t epic. Other fantasy or glbt books have had a more dramatic ending suiting to an angsty protagonist. ‘Carry On’ fell a little flat for me.

But on the whole, I loved it!

Carry On Book Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleSimon is a bit of a whiney character, but grounded and all of these points, surprisingly, make him endearing.

Baz is completely misunderstood, and it was valuable to get his POV to gain some insight into the developing plot.

There is a lot of head jumping in ‘Carry On,’ Penelope, Lucy, Simon, Agatha, Baz, The Mage, Ebb, Nicodemus, which I found a little distracting, but it also broke up the narrative into delicious bite sized bits and provided a welcome break to what would have been a very long and boring explanation had it remained as Simon’s POV. It added to the pace and really drove story forward, especially in the last half of the book.

The love/hate relationship between Simon and Baz has its twist and turns, and while I fangirled over the pairing, a key turning point did not have the weight and reaction from Simon as I would have liked – but that is me – I love to revel in the angst. And while there is plenty of that in ‘Carry On,’ I always have an appetite for more.

Some of the more comical moments are presented expertly and got a chuckle out of me frequently – as did some of the characters names – it was very Potteresque.

There is a certain amount of predictability as with most fantasy, but there are many fun surprises as well. This is a big departure from the usual contemporary for Rainbow Rowell, and I have to say, she should write more fantasy – this was thoroughly enjoyable! Highly recommending this one to all my friends and family.

Overall reaction: Gave me all the feels.

Carry On Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Carry On Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

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© 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 – The Replaced by Kimberly Derting

Peril at every turn… alien awesomeness lives here!

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

No. of pages: 368

From Goodreads:

Kyra hasn’t been the same since she returned from her mysterious five-year disappearance. Now, on the run from the NSA, Kyra is forced to hide out with others who, like her, have been Returned. Yet she is determined to find Tyler, the boy she loves who was also abducted—all because of her. When her group intercepts a message that Tyler might still be alive but is in the hands of a shadowy government organization that experiments on the Returned, Kyra knows it’s a risk to go after him. What if it’s a trap? And worse, what if the returned Tyler isn’t the same boy she lost?

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After enjoying ‘The Taking’ so much I just had to get my hands on ‘The Replaced’ to see what was install for Kyra after the events in the debut of this series. Another stunning cover for a great follow up – and a third novel in this series was recently announced, ‘The Countdown’ due for release next year. Loving the story so far and will be pre-ordering the next instalment post haste.

Kyra has grown up a bit more in ‘The Replaced,’ she is more confident over her choices and tackles obstacles head on. Mainly because she is on her own. I did miss the tension Kyra had with just about everyone after she was returned having missed so much time and some people wondering if she was in fact, the real Kyra, and not an imposter – I’d loved to have seen that explored more to give a darker tone to the simplistic, light and fluffy style of the book.

The story line is less generic, but not altogether original, and I didn’t get any surprises. Additionally there was something that happened to Tyler that had me rolling my eyes (no spoilers). With sufficient going on to grab my interest, this title falls under my guilty pleasure handle. It’s not particularly challenging, but nonetheless entertaining.

A pleasant quick read, and something I’d recommend to friends for a lazy afternoon snuggled up by the fire.

I was tossing up between a rating of 3.5 or 4 for ‘The Replaced,’ but settled on 4 because it managed to up the ante as a sequel and still captured my interest even if it didn’t really challenge me. Plus plenty of feels and sci-fi goodness.

Overall feeling: Pretty cool.

The Replaced Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

The Replaced 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 – Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Getting lost in the High School Conversation – or just being lost in High School.

Simon vs the Homo Sapien Agenda Book Review Pic 1 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, GLBT

No. of pages: 303

From Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

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Blackmail, best friends, bullying, and a boy called Blue…

Simon vs the Homo Sapien Agenda Book Review Pic 2 by Casey CarlisleSuch a cute read!! (Yes it deserved two exclamation points.) With a mix of emails, text messages and playlists this is an easy to read narrative told from Simon Spiers point of view, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda had me glued to page after page. It’s funny, gripping and ultimately huggable.

Full of misunderstandings and character growth, this book conjures up an image of a baby duck in the pond… Simon being the baby duck, fluffy and cute, following the rest of the clutch across the surface, meanwhile underneath his feet are scrambling tremendously to keep up. It is a light coming of age story with witty and sometimes ironic dialogue, and holds a few surprises to grab your attention.

If I could deduct any points it would be for the repetition of ‘I mean,’ ‘seriously’ & ‘I can’t even’ – it made me feel like I was watching and re-watching an outtake reel of Lindsay Lohan bloopers.

There is plenty of teen angst without being over dramatic. I like the way Simon was able to explore his emotions and feel safe confident about it. It was nice to read, instead of the ‘whole world is going to end if they find out I’m gay’ vibe that some books have.

Simon, in addition to his love of Oreo cookie type deserts and coffee, is trying to sleuth out the identity of Blue – the only boy who he’s had a real connection with (even if it only exists online). I appreciate the fact that Becky Albertalli did not make this Simon’s only relationship, and allowed him to explore the world on a larger scale, even though his understated manner. The cast of characters are each driven by their own motives, mostly unknown to Simon, which I think adds another level of sophistication to the narrative.

Modern, loveable and a little bit kitsch, a definite recommend in my opinion.

Overall feeling: A big warm hug – fangirling!  *squee*

Simon vs the Homo Sapien Agenda Book Review Pic 4 by Casey Carlisle

Simon vs the Homo Sapien Agenda Book Review Pic 3 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 – The Mortal Instruments City of Bones… a review by Casey Carlisle

Action and adventure… with just about any supernatural being you can think of thrown in the mix!

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Excuse me while I have a fangirl moment, but the absolute first thing I must make you aware of is that I looove the Shadowhunter universe Cassandra Clare has created, and am thankful there are so many volumes in which to indulge. Having said that, comparing the film adaptation to the book is always going to be a futile exercise. Only because you can explore so much more in a novel than in the time limit acceptable for a film. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the big screen version just as much.

City of Bones,‘ the novel, set up the characters really well and the reveals throughout the plot were well timed. I felt the movie left a lot of this out. And consequently I did not feel the love for the characters of Clary and Jace as I did in  the book. I’m not sure if it was casting, script, or the omission of so much build up that the two leads felt a little wishy-washy. Lily Colins did a commendable job, but her representation lacked that righteousness that was the core motivation for Clary in the novel. She was always standing up for the downtrodden, fighting for justice – and she did so vehemently. And sorry, I just didn’t get that from the Lily. The same with Jace – in the book he was extremely handsome, muscular like an athlete, and possessed a lazy gracefulness which juxtaposed his overconfidence and cockiness bordering on insult. With Jamie Campbell in the role, Jace felt practically emo and brooding, losing all appeal for me. In fact, I cringed every time he appeared on the screen. Summing up their chemistry together, as you can guess, was like drinking lukewarm tea and failed to deliver on my expectations. The romance in the film failed to build to that intense attraction it had in the books and felt rushed. I really think if I had not read the book I would have barely rated the movie on it’s own merits for their relationship.

The first evidence Clary sees of the Shadowhunter world, with the slaying of a demon in a nightclub in the book was intense and messy. Clary screaming and calling a scene to shut the place down. It is how Clary conducts herself in the whole series. Rushing in headfirst. That did not happen in the movie. It was more like a cookie-cutter B-grade horror movie scene. Cue actress standing in the wings staring and screaming in horror while everyone else looked on in confusion.

My favourite character from the books is Simon, and even though all the appearances he made in the movie version (played expertly by Robert Sheehan) are relevant to the plot, he felt almost invisible. At the films end I struggled to remember him as prominently as I had upon finishing the novel. With such an excellent actor interpreting Simon’s journey, I suspect that we are only going to get more and more throughout this franchise.

The overall plot of the book(s) gave me a sense of deja vu for some reason – like I had read it all before, and I still can’t put my finger on as to why. But no matter the reason, I loved the book by completing the last page. The plot in the film adaptation worked really well (if a little rushed). Given that it was not solely Clary’s POV, scope and pace held my attention throughout the whole movie, much like a rollercoaster ride. You definitely won’t get bored.

All of the special effects in the movie were incredible, and I have to applaud the post production team for some truly boggling work. I can’t wait to see what tricks they pull out of the hat for the next installments.

Overall, I’d recommend to go see the movie, if you are a fan of the books or not. It’s an adventurous fantasy world to lose yourself in. I’m hoping like’ The Hunger Games’ franchise, where the second film was much better than the first, ‘City of Ashes’ (the second installment of The Mortal Instruments series) turns out to be much more satisfying.

Adore the book – The film: immensely enjoyable, but not amazing!

 

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