Book Review – ‘Dispel Illusion’ (#3 Impossible Times) by Mark Lawrence

Awesome conclusion for this trilogy of novellas.

Dispel Illusion (#3 Impossible Times) Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction

No. of pages: 234

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Sometimes being wrong is the right answer.

Nick Hayes’s genius is in wringing out the universe’s secrets. It’s a talent that’s allowed him to carve paths through time. But the worst part is that he knows how his story will end. He’s seen it with his own eyes. And every year that passes, every breakthrough he makes, brings him a step closer. Mia’s accident is waiting for them both in 2011. If it happens then he’s out of choices.

Then a chance 1992 discovery reveals that this seeker of truth has been lying to himself. But why? It’s a question that haunts him for years. A straw he clings to as his long-awaited fate draws near.

Time travel turns out not to be the biggest problem Nick has to work on. He needs to find out how he can stay on his path but change the destination. Failure has never been an option, and neither has survival. But Nick’s hoping to roll the dice one more time. And this new truth begins with a lie.

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Another fun instalment for this franchise, upping the ante and revisiting the concepts introduced from the start… with a twist. ‘Dispel Illusion’ wraps up this trilogy with style.

I had predicted this novel from the start – given the title and the discovery in the cave – the conclusion was inevitable. Additionally, with heavier elements of the science fiction of time travel, setting things up, and resolving all the plot points for this collection of novellas, I found myself putting the book down frequently. Mainly because I like character driven stories, and there was a lighter dose of character development and connection between the cast because this is a plot driven story. It is very clever, but I did not get the emotional connection I was expecting to help keep the tension and pace (especially in the first half.)

Dispel Illusion (#3 Impossible Times) Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

There is definitely some masterful weaving from Mark Lawrence. The way he unfolds the plot was exceptional. I wish there was more time spent on staying with the main set of characters to develop conflict, emotional tension, and angst. This aspect of the story fell a bit flat for me. Maybe it’s just his writing style? But I found myself caring more for the characters in the first two novels… there is also the possibility that I had sleuthed out the plot very early on in ‘Dispel Illusion’ so without any additional surprises or some heavy raw emotion to hook me in, my reading experience suffered.

The concept of marrying fantasy and science fiction (especially with heavy symbolism) was a treat to read. This trilogy has certainly got me keeping an eye on Mark Lawrence and his publications. Definitely recommend this to fantasy and sci-fi lovers alike. They are quick intriguing reads with a solid foundation in both writing and concept.

Bravo Mr Lawrence!

Overall feeling: Timey-wimey goodness!

Dispel Illusion (#3 Impossible Times) Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Dispel Illusion (#3 Impossible Times) 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 – ‘Limited Wish’ (#2 Impossible Times) by Mark Lawrence

Poke your finger through the fabric of time and its likely to get snapped off.

Limited Wish (#3 Impossible Times) Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction

No. of pages: 224

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One choice. Two possible timelines. And a world hanging in the balance.

It’s the summer of 1986 and reluctant prodigy Nick Hayes is a student at Cambridge University, working with world-renowned mathematician Professor Halligan. He just wants to be a regular student, but regular isn’t really an option for a boy-genius cancer survivor who’s already dabbled in time travel.

When he crosses paths with a mysterious yet curiously familiar girl, Nick discovers that creases have appeared in the fabric of time, and that he is at the centre of the disruption. Only Nick can resolve this time paradox before the damage becomes catastrophic for both him and the future of the world. Time is running out—literally.

Wrapped up with him in this potentially apocalyptic scenario are his ex-girlfriend, Mia, and fellow student Helen. Facing the world-ending chaos of a split in time, Nick must act fast and make the choice of a lifetime—or lifetimes.

Game on.

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There is a beautiful symmetry to ‘Limited Wish’ in relation to the debut of the series ‘One Word Kill.’ It’s kitsch in a good way. Once again we get disturbances in the timeline and reactions to things being where they don’t belong… tampering with time has consequences. There is definitely no middle book syndrome with ‘Limited Wish.’ This was a great read and a top notch follow-up to ‘One Word Kill,’ and had me even more excited to get on with reading the next sequel ‘Dispel Illusion.’

We pick up a while after the events from the ending of the previous novella, again following protagonist Nick as he grapples with the events that have changed his life forever and now entering college. We get the introduction of a few new characters and Demus once again pops into the story – but is it the same Demus, or one from another timeline?

I didn’t feel the action like we got in ‘One Word Kill,’ however there is more science fiction theory at play in ‘Limited Wish.’ It may give you a headache trying to figure out the physics of time travel, alternate timelines, and time-wimey-ness. Though ‘Limited Wish’ compounds on the original storyline, adds complexity; the stakes did not feel as personally high for Nick. (I wasn’t feeling the antagonist in this novella – the justification is tenuous at best) It was just a sense I got at reaching the end. Though this could be down to how the story is not quite finished – just merely this episode – and the feeling of conclusion (and that ah-hah moment) will come in the third instalment. Nonetheless ‘Limited Wish’ is cleverly written. I loved the era of 1986, the backdrop of Cambridge University, and the choices Nick is faced with. And Mark Lawrence ties all this into symbolism played out in Nick’s Dungeons and Dragon games. It’s executed so brilliantly.

Limited Wish (#3 Impossible Times) Book Review Pic 02a by Casey Carlisle

I think I missed a bit of action: chase scenes, things blowing up, and a heavy dose of teen angst. It’s only my personal preference. But I think that would have added to the epic-ness I wanted in my minds’ eye. But again, this is only the middle book of a trilogy, so all that bang-crash-sock’em may be yet to come for the finale.

Nick has matured as a protagonist, his decisions take on the experiences he’s lived through, and you get a definitive feel of how this character is growing.

The story moves along at a clipped pace; something you could read in one sitting easily. And I couldn’t have predicted much about this story if I tried. Mark Lawrence is one author that has been able to deliver one surprise after another for me and has earned a spot in my list of favourite authors without breaking a sweat.

Limited Wish’ may not be for everyone. It marries hard science fiction with YA. So readers not into the whole theoretical physics of sci-fi will feel a little lost. But if you love ‘Doctor Who’ – this is one series you must pick up.

Overall feeling: You beauty!

Limited Wish (#3 Impossible Times) Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Limited Wish (#3 Impossible Times) 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 – ‘One Word Kill’ (#1 Impossible Times) by Mark Lawrence

Dungeons and Dragons, time travel, ‘80’s Britian.. just like a Doctor Who episode but with more gore.

One Word Kill (#1 Impossible Times) Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction

No. of pages: 201

From Goodreads:

In January 1986, fifteen-year-old boy-genius Nick Hayes discovers he’s dying. And it isn’t even the strangest thing to happen to him that week.

Nick and his Dungeons & Dragons-playing friends are used to living in their imaginations. But when a new girl, Mia, joins the group and reality becomes weirder than the fantasy world they visit in their weekly games, none of them are prepared for what comes next. A strange—yet curiously familiar—man is following Nick, with abilities that just shouldn’t exist. And this man bears a cryptic message: Mia’s in grave danger, though she doesn’t know it yet. She needs Nick’s help—now.

He finds himself in a race against time to unravel an impossible mystery and save the girl. And all that stands in his way is a probably terminal disease, a knife-wielding maniac and the laws of physics.

Challenge accepted.

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One Word Kill’ is such a great concept and told in a way that felt realistic and grounded – if not intertwined with Dungeons and Dragons symbolism.

It is set in the ‘80’s London, and we get a heavy dose of that in the narrative which I adored. But I was a little thrown with the drug dealing arc, and how homosexuality was dealt with. The former was quite violent and confronting for me, and the latter had more of a current-day attitude. Being gay in the ‘80’s was a more turbulent topic, and I would have liked this developed more and ring true to the era.

I guessed the plot very early on, especially after the introduction of the ‘bald stalker.’ I jumped into ‘One Word Kill’ with no prior knowledge other than a few firm recommendations from fellow bloggers and intrigued by the premise. But I really enjoyed Mark Lawrence’s writing style, it has a raw flourish to it that feel unique and lends to the atmosphere of the novel.

SARAH JANE ADVENTURES (hi res)Told in first person from our protagonist, Mark’s point of view; the opening scene of him dealing with a cancer diagnosis. A great way to grab my attention. ‘One Word Kill’ was a joy to read. Lawrence does not waste words, each scene moves the story forward at a cracking pace.

I think I struggled with the content most of all which is why I have given it the rating I have. It felt slightly scattered and confronting at the same time. Having a small gang added to the ‘80’s nostalgia like a lot of the films from that era a’la ‘The Goonies,’ ‘Stand By Me,’ but given the books length don’t get to fully establish and explore the relationships.

A sidebar for some readers: there is graphic content, which shocked me a little given the YA demographic of ‘One Word Kill.’

Although this novel can be read as a standalone, and the major plots points are resolved, I felt like it wasn’t resounding enough for me know the story is finished, and thus am keen to get my hands on the sequel ‘Limited Wish.’ Which is another reason for the rating – maybe the story was too short to fully explore the characters, themes and take the protagonist on a journey that changes him. We get that but in a micro-dose. This was my first novel from Lawrence and colour me impressed. It reminds me of the way Seanan McGuire writes: colourful, novella-lengthed stories within a single universe.

Overall feeling: Great little discovery 🙂 

One Word Kill (#1 Impossible Times) Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

One Word Kill (#1 Impossible Times) 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.

Film vs Novel – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Film vs Novel Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpg

There was a lot of hype around the release of both the film and the novel – but did it live up to expectations? Was the extrapolation onto the big screen true to the narrative of the book? I have some mixed feelings, but both mediums were highly entertaining.

I found ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ a bit slow at the start of the novel. With two false starts, I ended up persevering over a Sunday before I got hooked. The setting was described brilliantly, I really felt like I was there. A back drop of WWII almost felt like an homage to the battle within Jacob’s conscious, as well as the challenges the “Peculiars” faced. The twist on the origins of the gifted, or those with abilities – known as peculiars, in addition to the introduction of time manipulation was brilliant. Completely sucked me in. The melancholy strong in the narrative of the novel was replaced with eerie sense in the film. The movie also instantly throws us into the action, little time was spent setting up Jacob’s circumstances and frame of mind.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Film vs Novel Pic 08 by Casey Carlisle.jpgTying in old photographs into the narrative brought a fresh aspect to the reading experience adding authenticity to the story. It’s great to find novels starting to break the mould when it comes to formatting and finding more interesting ways to present a story. They were equally represented in the film, though lost that air of creepy. I did like the colour grading of the movie though, a soft muting of colour and shift in hue gave the movie an old-time feel.

The writing style is mature for YA – there were a few words that I needed to look up in a dictionary – which I liked. I love learning new ways to express myself succinctly in print. The composition of Riggs sentences was almost lyrical at times, like an old fable. The dialogue of the Peculiar Children and Miss Peregrine matched the era they were living in, which added a layer of authenticity and fascination for me. Seeing this play out on the screen however, was sometimes a bit cheesy. Whether it was bad accents on the actors behalf, or their delivery of the lines, I found myself giving the side-eye at a few moments.

Thankfully, after a stumble through the beginning, the second half of the novel was incrementally more gripping. The movie, however, true to adaptations, was well paced and moved the story along quickly. I will say it took license to grandiose some of the scenes that had me wondering what the hell was going on – that wasn’t in the book!

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Film vs Novel Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle.jpgOur protagonist Jacob is an intelligent young man grappling with his own demons, wondering if he is mentally ill. I love how he grows throughout the novel, in small graded steps – it felt very realistic that he goes through small changes instead of one giant leap. You get a real sense of wonder and fascination through his eyes as he slowly starts to prove or disprove the stories his Grandfather has been telling him all his life. In the film, played by Asa Butterfield, I felt captured the hopelessness and depression of Jake’s life brilliantly. Out of all the casting – Asa matched how I pictured Jake the most. The slow and gradual development of his character transformed into a bit of a rush on the screen. His relationship with Emma was tweaked a little and brushed dangerously close to instalove.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Film vs Novel Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle.jpgAs for the Peculiar Children, and Miss Peregrine… while I came to sort-of like them. There is still a lot of unknowns, and I’m sure we’ll get to know them more intimately in the following two books of the trilogy. Something about their behaviour was ‘off’ Even though they are likeable, until I hear some more backstory, or an origin story, I don’t think I’ll feel entirely comfortable with them. Miss Peregrine, played by Eva Green in the film did a commendable job. I’ve seen her in other works and have to say the acting, make-up, and wardrobe really let her shine.

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I also have to mention how sufficiently creeped out by the white eyed wight in the novel. *shiver* Though the film gave them (and the hollowgast) a more comical tone and I wasn’t frightened at all… and can I mention the CGI – umm, yeah not spooky or matching the tone of the novel at all. Leading up to their reveal I was anxious, but as soon as their wriggly form appeared, I just wanted to shrug. Though to be fair, it they had been made too scary, it would have pushed the rating into ‘MA’ territory and completely missed the demographic.

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Pretty much all the characters were all interesting (even if they weren’t peculiar) for the novel, because they all had mysterious motivations. I’m dying to find out more. This was a great first book for a series in setting the scene and intrigue. With the movie, it destroyed a lot of the mystique for me. Sometimes it was stereotypical, sometimes over the top. Some of the characters cast with actors I felt too old for the part and didn’t look as though they were born in the era they were supposed to (see the photographs in the novel). Though their performances were good, the production lost authenticity for me – much in the way the Twilight franchise had with over-made-up actors.

I noted how the special abilities the characters possessed hailed more from the day of travelling Side-Shows rather than psychic powers or X-men type abilities, which I felt add to the ambiance of the novel, tying into the old photographs and the WWII setting. These abilities were tweaked in the movie to either be more present in the storyline, or add cinematic special effects. So much so that at the end of the movie I’m concerned that I’ve been spoiled for books two and three in the trilogy. Yes – the ending of the movie is different to the novel. I’m uncertain if it is because the movie is a solo endeavour, or because of poetic license, but things went down that I definitely did not read about, (about the wights, the hollowgast and their motives, not to mention Emma’s ability) and hope it hasn’t ruined the rest of the novels in the series for me. So maybe it’s better if you read the entire trilogy before viewing the film… I’ll let you know after I read ‘Hollow City.’

I got many surprises from the plot. There was an obvious aspect around Jacobs fate, which is needed for this series to work, but the rest of the arcs had me guessing. Which I loved. There are still a lot of surprises in the film too – its divergence from the plot of the novel, the special effects, the costuming, some added scenes. It’s all very entertaining, but the overall plot, like the book, is predictable.

A highly entertaining novel and film, and something I’d easily recommend to all my friends, family, strangers on the street… Really excited to see where this series goes. But the book slides in just above the movie for my rating. The entertainment value and ability to set the tone for characters and keep the scare factor of the darker elements of the story are far superior in written word.

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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.

Wrap up – Hourglass Series by Myra McEntire

Started off with a pow… and ended in a fizzle.

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I picked up ‘Hourglass’ from a recommendation through a YouTuber I subscribe to – don’t ask me which one, because it’s been over two years since I started this series. Why so long to complete a trilogy? It took me a while to track down the rest of the books in Australia without paying a ridiculous amount for them.

Anyway, the debut was riveting. I loved the time travel/science fiction and the witty dialogue. Emmerson was a great protagonist – beautifully damaged with something to prove, desperately trying to navigate this strange new world without tipping her hand to her family and being locked up in a psychiatric ward again. I really couldn’t get enough!

So when I had finally tracked down the remaining books, I jumped into them with high hopes… which were a little dashed. Now I did enjoy the rest of the series, but all the elements I’d come to love in ‘Hourglass’ appeared less and less in the remaining two installments. And to make matters worse, Emmerson was no longer the protagonist – each book takes the P.O.V. of a different character.

With each novel we moved from science fiction to romance, and it was difficult to discern each of the characters if you weren’t told who was speaking because they were all so alike.

I think there was a great potential in this series, the action scenes are great in all three books – but the expert storytelling goes downhill from the start.

I’d recommend it to anyone who loves YA paranormal romances with a science fiction twist and doesn’t mind ‘head-hopping.’

Hourglass Series Wrap up 02 by Casey Carlisle

For individual reviews:

Hourglass: https://strokingfire.wordpress.com/2015/01/07/book-review-hourglass/

Timepiece: https://strokingfire.wordpress.com/2016/04/18/book-review-timepiece-by-myra-mcentire/

Infinityglass: https://strokingfire.wordpress.com/2016/05/11/book-review-infinityglass-by-myra-mcentire/

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 – ‘Infinityglass’ by Myra McEntire

Expertly woven tale of time travel and abilities, but a little after-school special.

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

No. of pages: 293

From Goodreads:

No time like the present.
No time in the present.
No time left.

From the moment the Hourglass group violated the rules of the space time continuum to rescue a murdered loved one, time has been in flux. People from other centuries slide into our time, intruding into our space, threatening our world.

Frantically seeking a way to turn back this tide, the Hourglass begins a search for the legendary Infinityglass, tracking it to the city of New Orleans, a place where the past rests easily with the present.

Quiet, reliable Dune, the group’s favourite geek, is selected to travel to the Crescent City and somehow retrieve the renowned object.

But there’s a problem.

Because the Infinityglass is not an object, it’s a person.

A beautiful, headstrong dancer named Hallie, a girl so enticing Dune can’t take his eyes off her.

And time is not on her side.

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I was really excited to jump in this conclusion to the Hourglass trilogy, though, I couldn’t rate this one as high as the others – for one thing, the science fiction element was less prominent, as was the action.

It was great to get re-united with the cast from the first two books, even thought it was from a different dual perspective: Hallie and Dune.

In reflection it was a little difficult to separate the voices of Emmerson, Lily and Hallie; as it was with Michael, Kaleb and Dune – they all sounded similar and had that snarky banter. I would have preferred stronger language and cadence in the narration separating them rather than just physical appearance.

Additionally, I was a little over the after-school-special thing that was going on. In the first book it was romantic, in the second it was okay, but by the third, did we really need to have yet more people coupling up? I was a little too sickly sweet for my tastes. Where was the grit and tension that we got in ‘Hourglass?’

But, the characters are adorable. I could eat Hallie up with a spoon. And Dune – it was nice to read about a character from a different culture – though – and I say this from experience, Polynesians have a stronger sense of family and belonging to their culture that Dune seemed to be missing. But it was still such a pleasant surprise.

Infinityglass Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

The science fiction of it all (what was there) is still pretty fantastic. I like how abilities are rooted in the mythology of time – and to be frank, I don’t think I could have ever dreamed up anything similar in a million years. McEntire is a genius when it comes to this. I missed the time travel and the complex mathematics and situations required to do so… those elements really added to the tension and pacing, and this story fell flat for me because of their absence.

The ending was cheesy and predictable. I would have loved an explosive conclusion – this fizzled somewhat. But still, I loved the start, and elements of the storyline, so the weight of the first two books carried this conclusion across the line.

Witty and funny dialogue, some action but heavy on the romance. A light read but not the best of the series. Love the timey-wimey of it all. A luke-warm ending to a cool series.

Overall reaction: Fun, but wanted more.

Infinityglass Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Infinityglass 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 – ‘Timepiece’ by Myra McEntire

When time itself goes ka-blewy!

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

No. of pages: 325

From Goodreads:

A threat from the past could destroy the future. And the clock is ticking…

Kaleb Ballard was never supposed to be able to see ripples – cracks in time. Are his powers expanding, or is something very wrong? Before he can find out, Jonathan landers, the man who tried to murder is father, reappears. Why is he back, and what, or whom, does he want?

In the wake of Landers’ return, the Hourglass organization is given an ultimatum. Either they find Jack and the research he’s stolen on the people who might carry the time gene, or time will be altered – with devastating results for the people Kaleb loves most.

Now Kaleb, Emerson, Michael, and the other Hourglass recruits have no choice but to use their unusual powers to find Landers. But where do they even start? And when? And even if they succeed, it may not be enough…

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At first I felt duped – this wasn’t the continued story from Emmeron’s POV. I’d fallen in love with her in ‘Hourglass,’ and was really looking forward to more. Instead what I got was the story being picked up right where the last book ended, but with Kaleb’s narrative.

It is an easy read though. I was able to fly through this, and thank goodness, because it took the first half of the novel to get over my disappointment and get into Kaleb’s head. We still get the goodness of Em and Michael, but from a different perspective.

Timepiece Book Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleI have grown to like Kaleb, and was rooting for him by the end of the novel. A tattooed and pierced bad boy with a marshmallow heart.

Lily was a breath of fresh air as far as a love interest and heroines go. She wasn’t the reactionary teen we see a lot of in YA. She was level headed and sarcastic in a dark way, not in the exaggerated obvious pun sort of way. She really stole my heart and I was cheering for her and Kaleb from early on.

It’s not oversaturated on the love and heavy petting either. McEntire really builds her relationships and characters in a realistic and organic way; which is impressive given the landscape being warped from rips and alternate versions of time and space which kept changing. Em and Michael, Lily and Kaleb were fixed points amongst the chaos.

I’ve deducted a few marks for the slow pacing at the beginning, and the lack of story. There could have been more action or conflict packed into ‘Timepiece’ – it was easy and pleasant to read, but did not live up to the likes of ‘Hourglass.’

Although the writing isn’t fancy, it does allow you to speed through the book; but the way McEntire weaves a story is masterful. So many threads to keep track of… brilliant imagination come to life on the written page. Really makes me want to grab everything she’s ever written to add it to my library.

A thoroughly entertaining read, not as dark as ‘Hourglass,’ more of the timey-wimey things and a couple of plot twists I did not see coming, but leading us towards what should be a very interesting conclusion in ‘Infinityglass.’ (Which I must read asap!)

Overall reaction: Do it again. Do it again!

Timepiece Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Timepiece 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.

It’s just a jump to the left…

It's Just a Jump to the Left by Casey Carlisle

I thought I’d do a little time travelling today – would my self of yesteryear even recognise me today?

5 years ago by Casey CarlisleI was a much different person back then. In the grand scheme of the universe five years isn’t such a big stretch, but I was amazed at just how much things have changed… I still had all my family members, was working in an office full time and just coming out of a seven year long battle against cancer (thankfully triumphant). But notably, I don’t think I had embraced being a writer yet.

So where was I five years ago?

Casey Carlisle red 01I had recently joined Facebook for the first time… my maiden venture into all things social media and online possibilities. I was a late bloomer. So I guess this my fifth birthday of sorts.

One of my first profile pics…

Visiting my Mum in Townsville to help her with her business, and catching up with some old friends I hadnt seen in years – not to mention meeting a couple of cute guys – I had little stress and begun to branch out and enjoy what life had to offer. My weekends were spent socialising and going out (not writing). Gone were days spent resting from Chemo, or simply feeling too weak and tired (or motivated) to do anything. It was a time of possibilities.

Realising I was also at the arse-end of fighting off cancer with two major final surgeries sheduled in the following months. That thought was terrifying!

It’s weird – that was such a turning point in my life. I beat cancer. Got my life back and decided I wanted to write (with the encouragement of many friends and family). But at the time all I could think about was I hope my eyebrows grow back.

Although I took another three temporary office jobs before I taking the plunge and devoting all my time to my passion, I guess fate had been steering me in that direction. Only because I was actually quite happy in those admin roles; one company went bust, another was sold and my position made redundant, and the thrid was a short temporary contract. I loved my work collegues and the daily tasks, so I think if I hadn’t been forced out of the roles, I’d still be there today, dreams of writing on the back burner. Gee girl – can’t you take a hint?

The key thing you need in realisling your aspirations is that you need to set yourself a due date… otherwise you will keep on procrastinating.

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It was also the year I got back into contact with old high school frineds I hadn’t seen in nearly twenty years, one of which lived 20mins away! It was like a mini reunion. And I have to say I’m so glad we reconnected – they are all so near and dear to my heart, and their mere presence gave me strength through the major operations, and losing my mother, aunt, and grandmother in close succesion. It really felt like I was some cosmic joke at the time – see how many times you can kick Casey in the teeth before she snaps.

Don’t give into the darkness. You are special. You are worth more than all the precious stones in the world to someone.

And when you come out the other side, stronger, you can go on to acomplish amazing things.

This all takes me back even further – to high school; and envisiging what I thought my life was going to be like. Dreams of woking with whales or puppy dogs, editing a national magazine or writing my own books. I also wanted to run my own accounting firm or have a role within my parents company… (ahh, to be young and clueless again)…I pretty much attempted all those things and more. But am happy for settling into a life of writing novels. And if I could give my teen self any advice – don’t get your hair cut short, you’ll regret it and it will take three years to grow it back. Oh, and oversized  t-shirts with shoulder pads, hightop sneakers and legwarmers don’t look great together… on anyone… especially in neon green!

So, my hair is lighter, my backside wider and I don’t wear as much make up. While it has been a difficult couple of years I’m still smiling. Greatful for all the people I have met, those same people who gave me the courage to keep going, to reach for passionate endeavours. These few battle scars have made me a more interesting person… and I hope a provocative writer… there is still more of my story to come!

Casey's Childhood Banner 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 – Hourglass

Hourglass Book Review by Casey CarlisleFrom Goodreads:

One hour to rewrite the past…
For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants to be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.

So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organisation called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may also change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her to help prevent a death that never should’ve happened?

Page border by Casey Carlisle

I was fascinated with Hourglass from the get-go. Unfortunately I didn’t get decent chunks of time to read this in a couple of sittings like I wanted to – moving across country had me consuming sometimes single pages at a time before having to abandon it for more serious real life issues.

 

The premise is great, and with a common thread of things being revealed as not as they first seem, I was surprised and delighted many times throughout this novel. The only predictable aspect to this book was the love story – everything else came at me from left-field.

 

The narration is bang-on, not too old or young in relation to the main character, with just the right amount of naivety and swagger. Emmerson brings a delicate strength as the protagonist amongst a plethora of sporty, balls-to-the-wall types littering YA of recent times.

 

One aspect of Hourglass that did annoy me somewhat, was the typical brooding and angsty love interest of Michael – not that I don’t like these types of male leads (because I love them) – it was the motivation behind his behaviour felt a little weak (upon the reveal… but don’t worry, no spoilers here).

 

Pacing was great. At first I was concerned that there would be many long descriptions of Emmerson’s visions from the first two encounters, but thankfully, they remained brief as the story just kept getting better and better.

 

A sucker for science fiction novels grounded in real theoretical science and physics, Hourglass played with concepts in a way that didn’t feel tired or overdone. But it’s not heavy on the sci-fi part, it’s more like a love story / mystery with science fiction elements.

 

Although not really comparable to titles like The of Unbecoming Mara Dyer by Michele Hodkin and The Host by Stephenie Meyer, the storytelling elements are similar, so if you enjoyed those, I recommend picking up Hourglass.

 

The first in a series, I’m definitely aching to begin the sequel Timepiece!

Hourglass Book Review Pic 1 by Casey Carlisle
Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2014. 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.