Book Review – ‘There’s Someone Inside Your House’ by Stephanie Perkins

Teen Slasher Movie in Textual Form.

There's Someone Inside Your House Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: YA, Mystery, Horror

No. of pages: 289

From Goodreads:

 Love hurts…

Makani Young thought she’d left her dark past behind her in Hawaii, settling in with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska. She’s found new friends and has even started to fall for mysterious outsider Ollie Larsson. But her past isn’t far behind.

 Then, one by one, the students of Osborne Hugh begin to die in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasingly grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and her feelings for Ollie intensify, Makani is forced to confront her own dark secrets.

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This was a surprisingly quick read. The book took a while to find its legs, but when it did, it was a page turner.

I enjoyed this more than her contemporary romances.

There is gore, sex, swearing and drug references for those who need a heads-up about those elements. Though for a horror it was relatively tame. This was more a romance with a horror theme.

There's Someone Inside Your House Book Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleMakani was a fun protagonist, adding diversity (WOC) to the cast (along with Darcy, a transgendered teen) she was level headed, intelligent, and observant. While Makani was an interesting character, I didn’t feel there was anything exceptional about her, other than the fact she was a gusty survivor. But she was definitely someone I empathised with and invested in her story.

I think something that worked against this novel were some of the deaths: one in particular did not feel realistic at all. The physics for what happened was pretty much impossible. But in saying that – so many of the gory teen horror movies have scenarios much like those described in this book; so I’m taking it as intentional, a nod to the Hollywood styled slasher films. A bit of adrenaline pumping silliness.

The supporting cast were campy, witty, and full of sass. And I definitely enjoyed having their colourful personalities a part of this universe. Their individual stories also poked at the typical stereotypes expected in this genre. This had strong tones of the ‘Scream’ franchise.

Ollie, the love interest, although described as a bit punk, a bit gothic, felt very vanilla. I found myself wanting something unusual about him other than his physical appearance.

The reveal of Makani’s backstory was interesting, and not quite what I was expecting, so kudos to Perkins for that surprise, though it did feel a touch anticlimactic. As too did the reveal of the killer’s motivation. It was a little flimsy, but still within the realm of expected fodder within this genre. I think I was expecting something a bit more poignant and tied to Makani’s past, since it was heavily hinted so often. Again a wonderful surprise because it is not what I expected, but a lukewarm premise.

I did like the killer reveal though. That was my favourite part.

The gang get some kahoonies towards the end and set in motion a turn of events that range up there with stupid teen nonsense, putting themselves in danger, again typical of this genre, which verged on difficult to read, but campy and engaging.

The story is primarily told from Makani’s perspective, apart from scenes of murders, where they are told from the victim’s perspective. At first I did not know what was going on, and it took me out of the story. But as I became familiar with the format, it flowed more freely. I think if maybe they’d used a chapter heading or different font to indicate the change in perspective it would have been less of a jolt in the narrative.

I feel ‘There’s Someone Inside Your House’ was a fun acknowledgement to the slasher genre, full of all the elements that make us squeal. Some moderate surprises, but nothing that made me lose my shiz.

There's Someone Inside Your House Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

On the screen adaptation front, James Wan (Director of films ‘Aquaman,’ ‘The Nun‘) has been reported to be joining forces with Netflix for a movie. That should be interesting. Can’t see how it turns out with such big powerhouses behind the production team. Not release date has been released as the project is still in development.

Overall feeling: totally teen terror.

There's Someone Inside Your House Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

There's Someone Inside Your House Book Review Pic 05 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2018. 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 – Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Capturing misshapen love across International borders.

Isla and the Happily Ever After Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, Romance

No. of pages: 339

From Goodreads:

Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last? 

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart. 

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I was both dubious and eager to jump into ‘Isla and the Happily Ever After.’ I did enjoy the previous two novels in this series, but wasn’t really blown away like many of my friends, so I started reading with trepidation and low expectations. However I was keen to complete the series and see how it all wrapped up. I’d heard that the characters from the other books all made brief appearances in ‘Isla’ and wanted to see if my love for this series would grow.

For some reason, I related to Isla and Josh a lot more than I have with any other characters throughout this series. Stephanie writes some very interesting and quirky characters, but Isla and Josh were somewhat more vanilla, and something I liked. Not that they were boring, but it was easier to put myself in their shoes. These two also felt younger and more innocent than the likes of Anna, Lola, Etienne and Cricket, and had an adorable story.

Isla and the Happily Ever After Book Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleThe build of the relationship between Isla and Josh felt more realistic this time – like it mirrored my own high school first love – not that is happened anything like their story, but the emotions were identical. The desperation and need to be together and the devastation when you are forced apart… This is by far my favourite Stephanie Perkins novel to date. She managed to capture the tension of first meeting/ first love brilliantly on the page.

One failing was that it felt slower to get going that the other two – I ended putting it down for a break just under half way.

It was a delight to get snippets of Lola, and Anna (and their beaus) here also – like a glimpse through a crystal ball to find out what happens after the books had ended. Additionally, viewing them from another perspective helped round them out even further and proved to be a valuable inclusion to the narrative.

I lurved the ending and how it drew in elements from the entire trilogy to wrap it up nicely – very cute and melancholy. It left me feeling satisfied and like the journey through this trilogy was worth it.

A pleasant end to a series, though pacing somewhat dragging, I was delighted and would recommend this to anyone who loves a contemporary romance with a quietly embellished writing style.

Overall feeling: Just beautiful!

Isla and the Happily Ever After Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Isla and the Happily Ever After Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

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© 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 – Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

A tale that sparkles in more ways than one.

Lola and the Boy Next Door Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, Romance

No. of pages: 338

From Goodreads:

Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood. When Cricket, a gifted inventor, steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door. 

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I was really looking forward to jumping into this series by Stephanie Perkins after all the wonderful things said about it on Goodreads and from my friends and family. I do like a fun contemporary on occasion – and fun is exactly what ‘Lola and Boy Next Door’ is.

It is quirk to the max! Lola, Cal, all the things.

It took a while for me to get into as the first half felt slow. Although Perkins paints a colourful landscape of San Francisco that jumps from the page and is just as bright and blinding as Lola herself.

Lola possess a strength around not giving up her identity (or childish things – well things that could be viewed as childish) which really labels her as an outcast. She is the embodiment of a true artist – they see the world a little differently – and that difference is the thing that brings us joy and other scopes of emotion. And we get all these feels from Lola as she meanders through high school expressing herself through fashion and design.

Lola and the Boy Next Door Book Review Pic 04 by Casey CarlisleCal, one of the twins who has moved back next door, is quirky in his own way – and behest to say, did feel a bit of a weak character – but that’s Cal – introspective and intelligent. He has his own subtle way of expression, and you can see it is much like that of Lola’s (but less extreme) and we get a real connection and appreciation of their passions.

Honourable mention of Lola’s functional, wholesome family with gay parents. You really got a feeling of safety and security wrapped up in a big bubble of love.

As I mentioned earlier the pacing felt slow, but leant to Lola’s relationship growing at a slow burn… and completely adorable. I wasn’t as invested in these characters though. ‘Lola and the Boy Next Door’ is pleasant enough, but it didn’t grip me as much as other contemporaries. But this is a great summer read – light, happy and loveable.

Ending was hella-cute – it brought together a lot of what our cast offered into a heart-warming event and has to be the single thing I liked the most about ‘Lola and the Boy Next Door.’

I’d recommend this to my friends, it has plenty of charm, won’t have you bawling your eyes out, but leave you feeling like you’ve just had a really good hug. A great follow up to ‘Anna and the French Kiss.’

Overall feeling: Has an okay charm

Lola and the Boy Next Door Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Lola and the Boy Next Door Book Review Pic 02 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 – Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Traipsing through the City of Lights with tenderness…

Anna and the French Kiss Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary

No. of pages: 401

From Goodreads:

Can Anna find love in the City of Light?

Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her coworker at the movie theater, who is just starting to return her affection. So she’s less than thrilled when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year.

But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna meets some cool new people, including the handsome Étienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately, he’s taken —and Anna might be, too. Will a year of romantic near misses end with the French kiss she’s waiting for?

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France, the City of Love for a contemporary romance: there’s not much you could do to balls that up right? And well, Stephanie Perkins did not disappoint with Anna and the French Kiss. It’s not my favourite contemporary by far, but this novel was cute, and undeniably heart-warming – like a sigh on a warm summer breeze.

I liked how clueless Anna was when she first arrives in Paris: no idea about the language or what is going on with her new friends. Perkins captures that disorientation we all get when being introduced to a group of people who have been friends for a while – they have their own body language, inside jokes and patterns which are so foreign (being from another country or not). At times Anna annoyed me; she was broody or flighty that screamed immature… but then I had to remember this was a teenager and told myself to settle the heck down. But it was fun walking in Anna’s shoes for a while, especially meeting Etienne.

Anna and the French Kiss Book Review Pic 04 by Casey CarlisleEtienne was equal parts dweeby and aloof – that frustrating combination that most boys have at that age which seem to infuriate girls… it’s that whole Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus thing, right?

There is so much misinterpretation and assumption, which makes for good storytelling, and I loved it for the most part. Although that was one of the aspects of Anna that urked me – if only she were a bit more direct.

Stephanie’s writing style is breezy, introspective and lightly comedic. Even though it is around 400 pages, it is something you could read in a day. I can’t say there were too many surprises – with romance novels it’s usually pretty clear the coupling will end up together – and that’s why we read them. We all want a bit of swooning and wooing and happily ever afters.

This is a novel I’d happily recommend to my friends, especially while chilling next to the pool 🙂  A great introduction to Perkins and her writing – am looking forward to picking up Lola and the Boy Next Door and Isla and the Happily Ever After.

Overall feeling: magical and adorable

Anna and the French Kiss Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Anna and the French Kiss Book Review Pic 05 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.