Book Review – ‘Ashes to Ashes’ (#3 Burn for Burn) by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

First Wives Club meets Mean Girls meets The Craft.

Ashes to Ashes (#3 Burn for Burn) Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, Paranormal

No. of pages: 387

From Goodreads:

New Year’s Eve ended with a bang and Mary, Kat and Lillia may not be prepared for what is to come.

After Rennie’s death, Kat and Lillia try to put the pieces together of what happened to her. They both blame themselves. If Lillia hadn’t left with Reeve… If Kat had only stayed with Rennie… Things could have been different. Now they will never be the same.

Only Mary knows the truth about that night. About what she is. She also knows the truth about Lillia and Reeve falling in love, about Reeve being happy when all he deserves is misery, just like the misery he caused her. Now their childish attempts at revenge are a thing of the past and Mary is out for blood. Will she leave anything in her wake or will all that remain be ashes?


Sibohan and Han combine to give such a breezy writing style – it’s so easy to fly through the pages. The snarky banter is amusing and the jokes tickled me pink. I enjoyed this book, despite having a vehement dislike for the majority of the cast. The setting was such a beautiful backdrop. The pacing of the story is fantastic, if a little slow at the start. And the concept – that was the biggest drawcard in finishing this trilogy.

As for our three protagonists…

Ashes to Ashes (#3 Burn for Burn) Pic 03 by Casey CarlisleLillia maintained her more annoying personality traits. She was clingy and somewhat self-absorbed, not to mention times of indecisiveness and being completely clueless. I don’t even think she grew all that much as a person from the events – yes there was a note of wisdom there, but nothing ground breaking or poignant.

I actually got a little scared/nervous at some point due to Mary’s vengeance and paranormal-ness, which was a delightful surprise, it’s not something I expected in this genre! However, Mary was disappointing. It was ramping up to an epic climax and then I don’t know what happened. I get that she was able to get some resolution, but the way it was delivered felt flaccid.

Kat was probably the one who changed the most. She got to try on a number of personalities before the ending. I like to think she chose herself and never looked back.

Don’t get me started on the boys – they felt as vapid as Lillia.

I did not enjoy the amount of alcohol consumption – I felt like checking into re-hab just from reading the book. Additionally, there was no resolution to the rape storyline… and I understand many of these types of cases are never reported, but it was practically brushed under the carpet. Lillia had a few episodes of despair and was over it.

I got the feeling from the tone of the novel as though it was targeted to the younger end of the YA market with its protagonists acting like ‘look at me I’m a grown up’ when they really have no clue and are just stumbling about in the darkness of their lives. I guess in that respect it nails what it was to be a teen – though I was hoping for a more intelligent interpretation. This whole trilogy has been a bit of a ride, the debut felt like a contemporary, and then follow-up blurred the lines between contemporary and paranormal, and the finale – witchy central. There is a lot to love with the concept of this trilogy, but I wish the characters were a little more likeable, relatable. That the topics were handled with a little bit more social responsibility. Even though an entertaining read, it is not my favourite from either of these authors.

I feel like there was a part of the last chapter missing, or an epilogue got cut in the editing process because it culminated on such an abrupt tone. I’m a little thrown after finishing the book, it wasn’t completely satisfying. Lukewarm.

The cover art is very Miss Teen Magazine spread, with a bleached treatment to signify a paranormal, ghosty element I’m guessing. Attractive and representative of the connection of the three main protagonists, it definitely stands out from many others in this genre. It certainly had me flipping through the pages.

Fans of both authors will most likely love this trilogy, and I’d recommend it for readers who love YA and don’t mind the tone of the characters dominating the story. I appreciated it’s uniqueness.

Overall reaction: well… that just happened

Ashes to Ashes (#3 Burn for Burn) Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Ashes to Ashes (#3 Burn for Burn) Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle.jpg


© 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.

Book Review – ‘Fire With Fire’ (#2 Burn for Burn) by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Payback is a bitch… make that three bitches.

Fire With Fire Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, Paranormal

No. of pages: 517

From Goodreads:

Lillia, Kat, and Mary had the perfect plan. Work together in secret to take down the people who wronged them. But things didn’t exactly go the way they’d hoped at the Homecoming Dance.

Not even close.

For now, it looks like they got away with it. All they have to do is move on and pick up the pieces, forget there ever was a pact. But it’s not easy, not when Reeve is still a total jerk and Rennie’s meaner than she ever was before.

And then there’s sweet little Mary…she knows there’s something seriously wrong with her. If she can’t control her anger, she’s sure that someone will get hurt even worse than Reeve was. Mary understands now that it’s not just that Reeve bullied her—it’s that he made her love him.

Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, burn for a burn. A broken heart for a broken heart. The girls are up to the task. They’ll make Reeve fall in love with Lillia and then they will crush him. It’s the only way he’ll learn.

It seems once a fire is lit, the only thing you can do is let it burn…


After enjoying the first book in this trilogy ‘Burn for Burn’ despite its immature narrative tone, I was eager to see where all the elements that were introduced in the debut were going… and well, ‘Fire With Fire’ took an unexpected turn – and I loved it! I felt this book was much better than the first. Having established all the characters in the first book, there was no confusion over who was who. We also got many of the plot elements developed further or answered in ‘Fire With Fire.’

There are a few turn-abouts with the characters which are executed deliciously‎. It follows suit of the first novel with the main trio of characters unveiling a different point of view to reveal an alternate opinion on their group of friends (and frenimies). I was a little frustrated with how the facts (and the reasons Lillia, Kat, and Mary began their little pact) were forgotten, or became blurry, the more convoluted their situation became.

We don’t get the numerous flashbacks like in the first novel either, which was a welcome change.

The paranormal element gets heavily explored here too – and I loved it. It was hands down my favourite part of the book. I can confidently say ‘Fire with Fire’ does not suffer middle-book-syndrome. It felt more complete to me than the debut.

Fire With Fire Book Review Pic 03 by Casey CarlisleI’m getting really frustrated with Lillia, she got date raped in the past from drinking and hanging out with randy teenage boys – and then keeps repeating that behaviour. No-one deserves to be drugged and sexually assaulted, but it seems like she hasn’t learnt her lesson and intentionally putting herself in a position for it to happen again. Dumb.

Lillia is my uptight drama queen. And although she can annoy the crap out of me at times, her antics and personality really pad out the narrative.

Excited about the exploration of Mary’s character, but am still on the fence about her storyline – I wanted more face time with her – it was a little brief and left me feeling like I’d only scratched the surface.

Kat’s character still felt like she did in the first novel, even though she’s meant to be edgy, maybe a bit gothic, I found her a little vanilla.

The pacing was also much better – but in saying that, there were also a few spots that really dragged. The writing style felt like it had improved from the debut – it didn’t feel as flat. Though, we don’t get as much of the comedic elements as we did in ‘Burn for Burn.’ Neither did we see much of Nadia (Lillias little sister) and that familial dynamic Han writes so well.

It was nice to read towards the end how the main cast were acting a little more responsibly and having realistic reactions to things that had both happened, and we’re currently happening.

The cliff-hanger (and ending of the novel) threw me, and I did not see it coming in a million years! It has me gagging for the final book in the series ‘Ashes to Ashes‎.’ Packaged with beautiful cover art, a diverse cast, a contemporary story line with a paranormal edge, this series has spacious typesetting and large font aiding to its overall aesthetic and ease of completion.

Another quick read, despite its 517 pages. I spread it out over 2 sittings and 2 days, but could have easily completed it in one. I was dubious about this series at the start, but am coming to love it now. Let’s hope ‘Ashes for Ashes’ can bring it on home!

Overall reaction: had me clapping!

Fire With Fire Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Fire With Fire Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle


© 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.

Book Review – ‘Burn for Burn’ by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Like a murder club for teen girl revenge.

Burn for Burn Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, Paranormal

No. of pages: 377

From Goodreads:


Postcard-perfect Jar Island is home to charming tourist shops, pristine beaches, amazing oceanfront homes — and three girls secretly plotting revenge.

KAT is sick and tired of being bullied by her former best friend.

LILLIA has always looked out for her little sister, so when she discovers that one of her guy friends has been secretly hooking up with her, she’s going to put a stop to it.

MARY is perpetually haunted by a traumatic event from years past, and the boy who’s responsible has yet to get what’s coming to him.

None of the girls can act on their revenge fantasies alone without being suspected. But together…anything is possible.

With an unlikely alliance in place, there will be no more “I wish I’d said…” or “If I could go back and do things differently…” These girls will show Jar Island that revenge is a dish best enjoyed together.


Burn for Burn’ turned out to be a very quick read. Though, it took me one third of the book to really get into the story. There are a lot of characters and it was difficult to keep them straight in my head. I almost started scribbling notes. Almost. I got a strong juvenile tone from the narrative and found myself missing the sophistication from other Jenny Han novels.

There is a somewhat distinct voice between the alternations in points of view (between our three protagonists, Kat, Lillia and Mary) – but it did add to my confusion and it wasn’t until halfway through the book that I fell into the rhythm of the narrative. I’m not a big fan of multiple perspectives, and though the individual flashbacks and perspectives helped the plot along, it was a little disorientating – especially with such short chapters.

Burn for Burn Book Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleLillia had strong echoes of Laura Jean – the Asian heritage, the rich, prissy façade, and the bratty little sister. It was a little difficult not to compare these two characters.

Mary and Kat were not too discernible from each other, if it weren’t for their names as chapter titles, or constant reference to a slutty past, or life as a fat girl, I wouldn’t know who was talking… there is the hint of a paranormal element which I found intriguing – though the final scene felt cliché – like a nod to Stephen King’s ‘Carrie.’

There was a lot of teen drinking in this – way too much for me to be comfortable with. No way I, or any of my classmates, consumed this amount of alcohol in high school. Also, I’m picking up a date rape story line that was briefly mentioned and then forgotten about entirely. That had my jaw dropping open. Then angry. Then frustration at the stupidity of the young girls. And why was this event left by the wayside – it’s not like it’s not important or anything.

I will say the actual plot and story arcs of the tree main characters were very interesting. I was totally captivated with the little twists and turns – though the book ended abruptly as soon as things got interesting, and I was wondering where the pay-off was. I didn’t get any resolution, so if you’re going to read this make sure you have the sequel on hand.

It was a fun read, I laughed out loud in several parts, and there is an element of physical comedy that I found delightful. But the bitchy girl element feels very “primary school.” This series is like a mash up of ‘First Wives Club’ and ‘Mean Girls.’ Though I found the writing style a tad droll and immature, ‘Burn for Burn’ was still entertaining. It ended on a high (literally) and a cliff hanger, and I definitely want to check out the second book in the series ‘Fire with Fire.’

Now that I’m familiar with all the characters and many elements have been introduced into the storyline, ‘Fire with Fire’ has been set up for some juicy happenings – let’s hope these girls deliver. Pretty cool, I’d give it a thumbs up and happily recommend this to lovers of YA, skewing towards the younger end of the spectrum.

Overall reaction: felt like I was slowly waking up and then it ended when the day was about to start… like this sloth!

Burn for Burn Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Burn for Burn Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

bookporn Burn for Burn trilogy by Casey Carlisle.jpg


© 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.