Category «Movie Adaptions»

Movie Mondays: The Girl on the Train

Movie Mondays: On the occasional Monday, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this edition’s offering:

Book: The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins (2015) | Movie: The Girl on The Train (2016)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

Author: Paula Hawkins
Genre: Adult, Thriller, Mystery
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: First Person, Multiple
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

I read this book right in the middle of its hype and I did thoroughly enjoy it despite knowing how it would end early on.

I liked how this story moved. I’m a fan of multiple POVs in my stories because I find it keeps the story’s pace up. It also provides me the opportunity to latch onto another character if I’m not really a fan of someone else. But here, the multiple POVs did a great job of building the narrative and the mystery. This book was really steady and that made it easy to read.

As for the mystery: I did know whodunit pretty early on. But, I was second guessing my initial hypothesis as I was reading which is always a great thing.

overall

For the most part, this lived up to the hype. It was a solid and entertaining novel that I truly enjoyed.

Rating: 3.5/5
Full Review: Full series review here!
similarreads

  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Ok, can I just say that I am fascinated by the fact that the movie rights were sold for this book before it was even on the shelves. It’s like they knew it would be a bestseller and that people would want it as a movie…marketing at its finest.

Were My Expectations Met?

It’s hard to watch a thriller when you know how everything happens. I can remember watching Gone Girl for the first time when the big twists were revealed and gasping in shock. I knew watching The Girl on the Train as a movie wouldn’t have me gasping aloud but I was curious to see how they were going to bring this book to life.

I did find myself getting a little bored as the movie progressed. I’m sure part of the issue was that I knew what happened so I just wanted to get to the good stuff. But I do think some parts were longer than they needed to be. The movie kinda just went through the motions and a lot of the twists really weren’t until the end so you don’t really have those twists spurring you on as the movie progressed.

So like the book, it could have lost a couple of minutes of film time to keep me totally intrigued.

How Close is it to the Book?

It’s been so long so I don’t really remember everything. But it seemed pretty close. As I was watching it was jogging my memory (my mom and I both read the book but couldn’t remember how everything goes down besides whodunit) so that leads me to believe it was very similar, if not the same.

Did I Like the Cast?

I thought Emily Blunt was fantastic as Rachel. I really don’t know who else could have played that role. She just made it seem so natural. And the rest of the girls did a great job as well. It was a really well cast movie when all is said and done.

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I found myself a little bored with the movie. Maybe it was because I already knew how it was going to end so it lacked the suspense but it felt a little too long for me. But it is a well done movie and the cast is great so it is worth a watch if you want to see how they handle it!

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for The Girl on the Train (from Goodreads):
A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

A compulsively readable, emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller that draws comparisons to Gone Girl, The Silent Wife, or Before I Go to Sleep, this is an electrifying debut embraced by readers across markets and categories.

Trailer:

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Movie Monday: Allegiant

Movie Mondays: On the occasional Monday, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this week’s offering:

Book: Allegiant by Veronica Roth (2013) | Movie: The Divergent Series: Allegiant (2016)

Which did I read/see first? Book

Book Cover | Movie Poster

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Dystopian Series
Series: Divergent Trilogy
Author: Veronica Roth
# of Books: 3 (Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant)

There are a bunch of short stories told from Tobias’ perspective. See the list here.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Romance, Action
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single; Alternating (Allegiant)
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

thoughts

I honestly don’t remember much about this book other than that I was disappointing in it (but I did give it 5 stars so who knows what I was thinking all those years ago) and I was shocked by the ending.

I remember that this book was a lot of talking and I didn’t totally expect that. Given how action packed the first two books were, I should have. But it went the way of The Mockingjay in the sense that this is the book of explanations; where you finally learn what has been plaguing this world.

Unlike some people in the world, I did enjoy having Four’s POV as alternating chapters. After Insurgent, I think this is just as much Four’s story as it is Tris’. It was refreshing to me and I really don’t think you could have told the story of Allegiant without it. They are one of my favourite literary couples and I welcomed the insight into both of their characters through the alternating POVs.

overall

This is one of those books I think you appreciate more after you’ve had a chance to digest everything that has happened. It was slower but really built up for a climax completely worthy of this series.

Rating: 5/5
Series Review: Full series review here!
similarreads


Were My Expectations Met?

After the way Insurgent ended, I really didn’t know what to expect in this movie. I don’t remember this book being too action packed so I was expecting it to be on the duller side. I also wasn’t sure what plot lines they would keep and elaborate on.

As a whole, this movie was more exciting than I thought. Not as fun as Divergent but it still kept moving. I think Theo James as Four is responsible for that. His story was definitely more exciting than the one Tris has but I think it was that way in the book too. It was good but nothing mind-blowing either.

How Close is it to the Book?

I immediately Wiki’d the book for the full synopsis to see how close it was. They changed a lot but I think some of the changes were for the best. In the movie, the world outside the wall is really unknown whereas in the book they have inklings of what is maybe out there. I like the spin they have on the experiment, though I still think the way the original Insurgent novel ended has more impact than the what they did in this movie when it comes to Tris’ mom (In the book, it is Tris’ mom who reveals the truth about their Chicago, not a generic person).

I thought the idea of the Fringe was interesting and I like the more Science Fiction vibe the story has in the movie. It felt simpler to me albeit predictable.

It’s been so long since I read the book so I don’t remember how I felt about the characters. I’ve always liked Tris but she seemed a little lacklustre in this movie and I didn’t like that. She wasn’t the strong heroine I always remembered her to be but I might have felt that way reading the books…I should really reread this series.

Did I Like the Cast?

I still love the cast! They are all so great! Ansel Elgort makes it so hard to hate Caleb and Miles Teller as Peter is phenomenal. I loved every moment that he was on screen as Peter (and I never thought I would say those words).

Theo James really stole the show for me in this one. It didn’t hurt that he had a more action-packed story line but Four is such a badass that it was so much fun to watch him.

I mean, it isn’t that hard…<3

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I always thought it was a super stupid idea to split this book up into two parts–and after watching it I have to say that I still stand by that stance. I honestly don’t know if they are going to keep the original ending of the books given the events they kept and modified in this one. I really hope they do but I get the feeling they won’t and that is really upsetting.

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After the movie, I would have said it won but it seems a little forgettable now that I write this. It’s also been so long since I read the book! When I think about it now, I remember it being bored yet I gave it a 5/5 right after reading it so what do I know?!

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for Allegiant (from Goodreads):

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered – fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningliess. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend to complexities of human nature – and of herself – while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Trailer:

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Movie Mondays: Room

Movie Mondays: On the occasional Monday, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this week’s offering:

Book: Room by Emma Donoghue (2010) | Movie: Room (2015)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

Author: Emma Donoghue
Genre: Adult, Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Crime, Contemporary
Point of View: First Person, Single
Source & Format: Borrowed–Paperback

thoughts

Room was everywhere when it first came out. I saw it every time I passed a book store or browsed online. At the time, I didn’t understand the premise. I honestly thought it was some abstract book about a boy and his mom who live within a single room. I blame the simple back-cover description for giving me that impression because when I read the synopsis now, it makes a LOT more sense.

I’m a huge Criminal Minds fan so I was intrigued by this premise when a friend mentioned this book to me again around the time its movie was premiering at TIFF.

This book took me a long time to read. Mostly because I’m a busy student and had lots of library books I had to read and return; but also because it is a very tough book to get through.

Jack, the 5 year old boy, is your primary narrator and it’s hard to get used to his narration style. He is the very definition of an unreliable narrator but I don’t know how else you would tell this story. It offers a unique view of the situation Ma and Jack find themselves in. I think most people would assume that it would be Ma who tells the story but I liked the fresh perspective Jack offers instead. His curious innocence gives this story a more positive vibe than if we were stuck in the darker, fully aware place of Ma’s mind. Still, it doesn’t make it any easier to understand what is happening at times.

The other reason this book is hard to get through is the subject matter. Though Jack isn’t aware of the situation, you as the reader totally are and that makes it hard to read. This book tugs on your heartstrings in every way possible. It will also make you frustrated and cause you to cringe. But just a few pages later, you will get a big grin on your face because it is so hard not to like Jack and his attitude towards life.

overall

When a book evokes every emotion in you, it’s hard not to give it 5 stars. This book is simply well done. Jack’s narration is brilliant and I think the book is super realistic, even if the topic is one we don’t want to think about often.

Rating: 5/5

similarreads

  • Stolen by Lucy Christopher
  • Still Alice by Alice Genova

Were My Expectations Met?

Yes and they were even surpassed if I am going to be honest. My friend who saw the premiere at TIFF (where it won the People’s Choice Award) said everyone was in tears at the end. And while I didn’t come close to crying in the the book, the movie definitely evoked some high emotions in me and I will admit that I nearly cried.

How Close is it to the Book?

It’s pretty close actually and the main things from the book are present in the movie. I was also really worried from the trailers that they would cast Ma in a more “self-sacrificing” light than the slightly “selfish” tone she gives in the book. But I feel like the movie captured her character perfectly. You were still sympathetic to her situation and her, but it kept the very realistic tone of a bratty 5-year old Jack and an isolated mom who has her patience tested that is present throughout the book.

Did I Like the Cast?

Brie Larson was fantastic in the movie and definitely deserves all the award nominations and praise she has been getting for this role. She was flawless and made even more so by her young co-star.

Jacob Tremblay (Jack) really stole the show for me. It still feels very much like Jack’s story despite the fact that you aren’t seeing into his mind specifically like you are in the book because Jacob is so real and a natural actor. He really makes you feel everything and it was a joy to watch him in this role. I really think he has a great career ahead of him–even though he was totally snubbed of a Oscar nomination in my humble opinion!

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I feel like both compliment each other so well. Bringing a book like Room to life takes a lot of skill and class and this movie has it in buckets. I think the book provides readers with a unique experience but the movie just wraps everything up together in a way that is so approachable and real.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for Room (from Goodreads):

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.

Trailer:

Movie Mondays: Hunger Games – Mockingjay Part 2

Movie Mondays: On the occasional Monday, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this week’s offering:

Book: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins | Movie: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (2015)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

Warning: For those who have not read the final book of the Hunger Games Trilogy, Mockingjay, while I tried my best, there may unintentionally be spoilers!

Series: The Hunger Games Trilogy
Author: Suzanne Collins
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Competition, Romance, Action
Point of View: First Person, Single

thoughts

It’s a toss-up between Catching Fire and Mockingjay for my 2nd favourite novel in the series. I honestly only really remember the start and end to Mockingjay–it’s all one big blur. But I do really remember liking it and how it shifted more to the politics of everything. There were also some great plot twists that kept me on the edge of my toes.

overall

It was a solid way to end the series and ties up all the lose ends that you possibly want tied.

Rating: 5/5
Series Review: Full series review here!

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Were My Expectations Met?

Considering I was against the idea of splitting up Mockingjay into two parts, I suppose yes, my expectations were met. The first movie is such a dud to me and this one was definitely more thrilling. We get all the action I wanted to happen in the first one even if I did feel like some parts went on too long in this one.

How Close is it to the Book?

It’s been 5 years since I read Mockingjay but given the Wikipedia synopsis, I would say pretty close. I actually get the impression that most of the important stuff actually happens in this movie and not the previous one in terms of plot points. Not entirely shocking…

There is one scene in particular that really seemed subdued compared to the novel and I was a little disappointed in that. The movie didn’t have as much as an impact as I would have wanted.

Did I Like the Cast?

Yes! Like I said in all my other reviews of the movie, the casting for this series is phenomenal!

Donald Sutherland as President Snow was by-far the highlight for me in this movie. He is a fantastic villain from start to end. Of course, Haymitch and Effie stole the show for me whenever they were on screen. I also thought Josh Hutcherson did a fantastic job with Peeta.

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I think I still like the book the best. It was really hard for me to move away from seeing this movie as nothing more than a cash grab for fans. However, I think this was a much better movie than Part 1 and I wish this was the only Mockingjay movie we had for the Trilogy.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for Mockingjay (from Goodreads):

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games.  She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive.  Katniss should be relieved, happy even.  After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend, Gale.  Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be.  Gale holds her at an icy distance.  Peeta has turned his back on her completely.  And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol – a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she’s afraid she cannot stop.  And what scares her even more is that she’s not entirely convinced she should try.  As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever.  If they can’t prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

Trailer:

Movie Mondays: Love, Rosie

Movie Mondays: On the occasional Monday, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this week’s offering:

Book: Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern | Movie: Love, Rosie (2014)

Which did I read/see first? the MOVIE

Book Cover | Movie Poster

Author: Cecelia Ahern
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Point of View: First Person, Multiple (Told via letters, texts, insta-messaging)

thoughts

This is one of those rare cases where I decided to watch the movie before I read the book. Mainly because I wanted to be surprised when I watched the movie–and truth be told I wanted to watch the movie more than I wanted to read the book. Sometimes with certain movies/books it’s better to watch the movie first so that you don’t know what is going to happen in a movie and that’s what I wanted when I watched Love, Rosie. (I know that you are probably going: “It’s a rom-com, of course you know how it is going to end” but if you watch the trailer you can probably see why I felt this need to be surprised).

My good friend read this book before I did and lent me her copy. She told me that it was a quick cute read but that Rosie really started to get on her nerves as the story progressed so I felt like I had fair warning.

And thank goodness that I did or else I would have quit reading!

I’m sympathetic to Rosie’s situation, don’t get me wrong. So I can understand where her selfish tendencies might arise. However, at the same time, I would expect a situation like hers to accelerate her maturity; and for a while it did. But then it (her immaturity) comes back and it just rubbed me the wrong way. There is no other way to phrase it other than that she is a quite selfish person and that makes her hard to like at times.

As for the plot: it is the ultimate second chance love story. As my new book BFF Ruby puts it:

“You know, you two have the worst timing ever…when will you ever learn to catch up with each other?”

And that is how the entire book goes. It is simply a collection of letters, instant messages and emails contributing to the final question: will these two ever get together? Which is cute but gets a little tedious over time especially when you have to deal with an annoying Rosie (and Alex for that matter too). I often found myself wanting to smack some sense into these two but thankfully there are a few characters who were willing to do that for me as I read.

overall

The ultimate lesson I learned from this book: just go for it! This book is all about taking a chance when you should have; never assuming anything and making the best of whatever life throws at you. However, I found it to be very tedious and long. If it was hundred pages shorter, I would have found it a lot more enjoyable.

Rating: 3/5
similarreads


 

Were My Expectations Met?

I’ve wanted to see Love, Rosie since the summer of 2014–only bummer part was that it wasn’t coming to Canada until February 2015 so I “patiently” waited until it arrived.

I really liked the movie! I thought it was charming and sweet and I laughed quite a bit throughout it. It’s everything you like in a rom-com. Sure, it was a little cliche at times but I mean really: the story is about two best friends who have always loved each other! The entire premise is a cliche! Still, I really wasn’t sure how everything was going to wrap up in the movie so that was exciting. Plus, I just loved watching everything happen and a part of that major reason is the acting.

How Close is it to the Book?

I actually read the book months after I saw the movie but they are vastly different. Many of the situations are similar but the order is different or the people involved have been changed.

I actually prefer the pacing of the movie mainly because it is faster but the events were also much more dramatic. I would say the book is perhaps more realistic while the movie is more “Hollywood” drama but I found the movie to be more entertaining in that respect.

What I also like about the movie is that it actually shows Rosie and Alex interacting. The problem with the letters/etc. is that most things are being described after the fact whereas with the movie you see everything happen in front of you. You see their relationship from start to finish, see how the events actually unfold and it just forges a better connection with the characters.

Did I Like the Cast?

Perhaps I’m biased because I love Lily Collins as an actress. I’m not sure why I like her so much, but I’ve always enjoyed her movies. She reminds me a lot of Jennifer Lawrence for some reason; probably because she can do awkward funny really well. Sam Claflin was also great as Alex! If you didn’t already have a crush on him, you will probably walk out with one after this movie. He does adorkable-sexy so well 😉 I thought they had great chemistry on screen as well which made it such fun to watch. The rest of the cast was awesome as well.

The characters are also much more likeable. I think that is a result of how the plot progresses and how they make the characters react to that. I actually rooted for these two when I watched the movie whereas when I read the novel, it was more of a “are they finally together yet?” and I just wanted them to be together to resolve everything.

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The movie is the definitely winner for me! I just thought the execution was much better; the characters were more likeable and I prefer the format. Reading everything as letters are great but I like watching events unfold before me, not hearing about them afterward.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for Love, Rosie (from Goodreads):
Rosie and Alex are destined for one another, and everyone seems to know it but them. Best friends since childhood, their relationship gets closer by the day, until Alex gets the news that his family is leaving Dublin and moving to Boston. At 17, Rosie and Alex have just started to see each other in a more romantic light. Devastated, the two make plans for Rosie to apply to colleges in the U.S.

She gets into Boston University, Alex gets into Harvard, and everything is falling into place, when on the eve of her departure, Rosie gets news that will change their lives forever: She’s pregnant by a boy she’d gone out with while on the rebound from Alex.

Her dreams for college, Alex, and a glamorous career dashed, Rosie stays in Dublin to become a single mother, while Alex pursues a medical career and a new love in Boston. But destiny is a funny thing, and in this novel, structured as a series of clever e-mails, letters, notes, and a trail of missed opportunities, Alex and Rosie find out that fate isn’t done with them yet.

Trailer:

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Movie Monday: The Scorch Trials

Movie Mondays: On the occasional Monday, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this week’s offering:

Book: The Scorch Trials by James Dashner (2010) | Movie: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Biggest Disappointments 2014
Series: The Maze Runner Trilogy
Author: James Dashner
# of Books: 3 (The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Suspense, Apocalyptic, Mystery
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: Third Person

thoughts

I nearly didn’t pick up The Scorch Trials after the extremely-dry-it-was-nearly-brittle story that was The Maze Runner (TMR). TMR was one of those stories that had a great concept but ultimately failed to execute in the way I wanted it to. It was a super long book and I really didn’t want to read an equally long novel for a series I found to be pretty lacklustre. However, that all changed when I read the last 2 chapters of TMR.

The revelations at the end of TMR got me excited to read The Scorch Trials (TST). I knew it was going to be a book exploding with plot twists and secrets–and it was!

TST was hard to put down. It picked up the slack that TMR never got around to. It was faster paced; laced with action and adventure and had great plot twists. Throw in some character development and you’ve got a fantastic story.

Reading TST made me see why people like TMR Trilogy–because up and to that point I was seriously not getting the hype!

overall

The Scorch Trials restored my faith in this series and almost made the task of reading The Maze Runner worth it!

Rating: 4/5
Series Review: Full series review here!

similarreads

Were My Expectations Met?

Seeing as TST was my favourite book of the series AND I adored the first movie, I was SUPER EXCITED to finally watch it!

I wanted a movie with lots of action, lots of Dylan O’Brien screen time (and the other boys too of course) and suspense. I also couldn’t wait to see The Scorch brought to life! TMR Trilogy is so descriptive that I have a very good idea of what everything looks like, but I couldn’t wait to see it on the big screen!

So were my expectations met?

YES!

I was fully entertained during this movie! I was glued to the screen because I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next.

How Close is it to the Book?

I honestly can’t remember what exactly happened in the book. BUT, I do know there were major changes–starting with how they get into the Scorch in the first place.

In theory, I think I like the book’s version more of how they enter the Scorch. It was very interesting to me and it kept me guessing. But in practice, I think I liked the root the movie took in the long run. While it seems to be following a similar Hollywood-esque dystopian movie style, I feel like it works for this story.

I definitely found the movie to be easier to follow. There were just so many elements at play in the book that I like the “less is more” attitude of the movie.

Did I Like the Cast?

What a silly question! YES I LOVED the cast! They are probably one of my favourite casting picks for a book adaption ever.

I loved all the characters I loved in the book (maybe even more) and I loved to hate the characters I hated in the book.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Words cannot express how excited and pleased I am that there is not going to be a split 3rd movie! It didn’t work for The Hunger Games nor Twilight and there really is no need for Divergent to be split into two movies either (I’m skeptical). I cannot wait to see how everything wraps up and I hope that I get more closure in the movie that I ever did in the books.

Only bummer part is waiting until 2017 🙁

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I think I had this decided before I even saw the movie! While I enjoyed the book, I loved this movie! It made me jump in my seat, want to slap some characters for their nonsense and had me holding my breath. It was just so entertaining and I can’t wait to see it all wrap up!

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for The Scorch Trials (from Goodreads):

Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end.

Thomas was sure that escape from the Maze would mean freedom for him and the Gladers. But WICKED isn’t done yet. Phase Two has just begun. The Scorch.

There are no rules. There is no help. You either make it or you die.

The Gladers have two weeks to cross through the Scorch—the most burned-out section of the world. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.

Friendships will be tested. Loyalties will be broken. All bets are off.

There are others now. Their survival depends on the Gladers’ destruction—and they’re determined to survive.

Trailer:

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Movie Mondays: The Book Thief

Movie Mondays: On the occasional Monday, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this week’s offering + my Everything YA April Mini-Challenge Pick:

Book: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2006) | Movie: The Book Thief (2013)

Which did I read/see first? The BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

AuthorMarkus Zusak
Genre: Young Adult, Historic, War, WWII
Point of View: First & Third Person, Single (It is told by a narrator)

thoughts

What I was expecting/Why I picked it up:

The Book Thief has been on my TBR for a very long time thanks to numerous friends recommending it to me. But it moved up on my list after the movie was released and I saw it listed on Netflix. Then I needed a book-to-movie-adaptation for my April Everything YA Challenge plus a WWII book for my Bookish Bingo: Ready for Spring 2015 Card and this book fit the match perfectly!

I’ll be honest: I really didn’t know what to expect from this book other than it was going to make me sad. The only YA WWII book I’ve read is Violins of Autumn where the lead becomes a spy, so this was a completely different side of the war I hadn’t read about before so I was looking forward to it.

What I liked:

I really liked how this book was written. I love how it was set up almost like a play where you get little spinets for each part and then get each scene. It kept things interesting and despite its long length, it moved at is surprisingly faster pace–at least for the first half.

I also loved Death’s narration and takes on things! He was surprisingly humorous in some cases–albeit darker humour–but I laughed a few times reading this which surprised me.

What I didn’t like:

I won’t lie: sometimes I had a hard time understanding what was happening because of the narration style. Sometimes I found it to be very vague and because I was only reading parts at a time, I found it hard to keep track of characters and what was actually happening. It also jumps around a bit with foreshadowing and scenes from the past.

I also thought this book was too long. I like more actions to my novels–and I feel awful saying this because it takes place during a war which is not a happy setting–it was a little too monotonous for me. While I appreciate how it captures the daily life of families in Germany during WWII, I felt like to took the plot a long time to move forward. It became a little tedious to read. It could have been half the length it was and I still would have been satisfied with the book–probably even more so! It reminded me a lot of To Kill a Mockingbird in that sense–but instead of the second half being about Tom Robinson’s trial, The Book Thief is like the first half of the book where you read about Scout’s everyday life as a kid.

overall

I can appreciate that this book is extremely well done and does a fantastic job capturing what it was like for German youth during WWII–it just isn’t my particular cup of tea so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped. It’s slower in it’s pace and was far to long for me to fully enjoy.

Rating: 4/5
similarreads

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Violins of Autumn by Amy McAuley

Were My Expectations Met?

I was really looking forward to this movie when I was only a few pages into the book. I think I knew as soon as I started reading that I was going to enjoy the movie a lot more than I did the book.

I enjoyed the major plotlines of the book but I could have done without the repetitiveness of everyday life and some events. So I knew/expected the movie to focus on the big stuff and not so much on the small stuff which is what I wanted.

And it really did! I was much more emotional watching the movie than when I was reading book. I think it was because I could actually see the events unfolding before my eyes. Reading about the events of WWII is one thing but actually witnessing the horrors is another; even if it is just a reenactment. I also think some scenes were so bittersweet because I knew what was going to happen to some of these characters.

How Close is it to the Book?

I would say it is very close to the book. The major events of the story are almost identical in the movie. There are a few little changes and some minor scenes have been added, but they stay true to the idea/theme of the book so I really didn’t mind.

Did I Like the Cast?

Am I the only one who sees Geoffrey Rush as Captain Barbarossa in everything that he does now? Even without the eyeliner and the large hat, he is still the Captain to me. However, I thought he did a great job as Papa.

The rest of the cast was exceptional! While they subdued the role of Death, Roger Allam had the perfect tone when he was speaking. Sophie Nélisse did a great job as Liesel and Nico Liersch as Rudy was simply adorable.

thewinneris winmovie

While both are exceptional pieces of works in their own rights, I much preferred the condensed version of the movie. I thought it captured the essence of the book but was a lot easier to follow and more captivating.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for The Book Thief (from Goodreads):
HERE IS A SMALL FACT – YOU ARE GOING TO DIE

1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.

Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.

SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION – THIS NOVEL IS NARRATED BY DEATH

It’s a small story, about:

a girl

an accordionist

some fanatical Germans

a Jewish fist fighter

and quite a lot of thievery.

ANOTHER THING YOU SHOULD KNOW – DEATH WILL VISIT THE BOOK THIEF THREE TIMES

Trailer:

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Movie Mondays: Insurgent

Movie Mondays: On Mondays, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this week’s offering:

Book: Insurgent by Veronica Roth (2012) | Movie: The Divergent Series: Insurgent (2015)

Which did I read/see first? The BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

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The Book:

Series: Divergent Trilogy (#2)
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Action, Romance
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

Trying to follow-up from the awesomeness that is Divergent is a huge task and one I felt Insurgent didn’t meet. You know, I hardly remember anything about this book except how it ends because that ending shocked me completely and made me excited to read Allegiant.

It’s weird because things definitely happened throughout Insurgent. We are never in the same place for very long and there are various twists along the way that set-up great things in the future. So maybe that is where this book fails: building up for future events and not paying enough attention to its own plot. It’s the curse of the middle book in a trilogy and it’s a shame that Insurgent had to fall prey to it.

As I said in my series review of the trilogy, Insurgent lacks a lot of action; especially when compared to Divergent. So I think in that respect that was why I found it to be a little slower.

Conclusion:

Looking back at my GoodReads ranking of Insurgent, I see that I gave it a 5. And I definitely know why I did: because it set things up perfectly for the last book with that ending. So the ending is definitely a 5/5 but I’d give the book a 4/5. (Also, I read this like 3 years ago so I guess it’s normal to forget what happened)

Rating: 4/5
Series Review: Full series review here!

Similar Reads: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games Trilogy #1); Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky Trilogy #1); Matched by Ally Condie (Matched Trilogy #1) and Delirium by Lauren Oliver (Delirium Trilogy #1)

The Movie:

Were my Expectations Met?

So I was expecting this movie to be a lot faster paced than I remembered the book to be and it definitely was! I found Insurgent never really had a dull moment and it kept my full attention. Seeing all the simulation aspects come to life was really cool and I thought it was well done. There were some cheesy moments and two weird camera shots but all in all, I thought it captured the essence of the series well.

How Close is it to the Book?

After my quick Wikipedia look at the what happened in the book, I realized they changed a lot. Some things were minor (like Tori’s brother) and I think that change was for the best. Like I said, I felt like the book had too much going on and the movie simplified it to some extent.

However, they changed the ending and that really pissed me off. OK, to be fair, it’s just one little detail but it was truly the best part of the ending to me when I read the book. So I left the movie pretty upset that they changed it.

I also like that the relationship between Tris and Four isn’t so wishy-washy. They really present a united front more-so in the movie than they do in the book–which was great because they are one of my favourite literary couples to read/watch.

Did I Like the Cast?

HELL YES! Man, the casting in this movie is fantastic! I know some people don’t like Shailene Woodley but I thought she did a great job as Tris, just like she did in the first movie. I really don’t need to say how great Theo James is as Four–and I’m not talking about his looks…much. No, in all seriousness, he is exactly how I wanted Four to be in all aspects of the character.

Like most people, I developed a huge crush on Ansel Elgort after he starred in The Fault in Our Stars. But even he couldn’t save me from hating Caleb–so job well done Ansel 😉 And Miles Teller–where have you been all my life! If you had asked me if I would have liked Peter EVER, I would have flat out said “no”. But Miles really presented a Peter that was charming and fun and he was one of the best parts of the movie to me.

What Am I Expecting Next?

While I think splitting up Allegiant into two movies is a very, very stupid idea (it was by-far the dullest of all the books) and only see it as a money grab: I am slightly excited to see where they take it. A lot of the plot changes they made really leave the world beyond the wall a huge mystery and I’m honestly not sure what direction they are going to take it.

I fear that it is going to be another Mocking Jay Part 1 scenario where we get a whole lot of talking and not so much doing. *sigh*

So, which is better: the book or the movie?

In this case, the winner is the MOVIE? You know, I really don’t know what to pick! In some ways, I like the faster pace of the movie a lot more than the book but to be fair to the book, it’s been sooooo long since I read it. For now, I’m going to say the movie and if I ever reread the series, I’ll reevaluate this 😉

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for Insurgent (from Goodreads):

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so

Trailer:

Movie Mondays: The DUFF

Movie Mondays: On Mondays, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this week’s offering:

Book: The DUFF by Kody Keplinger | Movie: The Duff (2015)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

The Book:

Author: Kody Keplinger
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama, Realistic Fiction
Heat Rating: really warm *spicy YA*
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

I will admit that I only heard of this book because of the movie being released; but as soon as I read the synopsis, I wanted to read it regardless of the movie.

I thought this book was very cute and funny but touching at the same time and I had a hard time putting it down (and I would have felt that way even if I wasn’t reading it during a road trip). I think a lot of teens can relate to some of the scenarios that happen in this book even if the circumstances aren’t the same as in the book. The situations never seemed petty or overly dramatic and I really appreciated that. I could see these things happening in high school and I loved that realism in this story. I’m sure it didn’t hurt that the author was 17 when she wrote it so she could draw from personal experience but I didn’t know that author was so young until I read the biography after I finished the book because it was so well written.

I could see why some people might not enjoy this book because Bianca is quite cynical. I can be quite cynical so I didn’t mind but I could easily see how she would rub people the wrong way. I thought she was a lot of fun to read about and I loved the interactions between her and Wesley. They made me laugh and melted my heart because I could see their relationship developing even when they didn’t. I’m a sucker for the reformed playboy and the independent heroine relationship (Ten Things I Hate About You anyone?) and it was done very well in this book. Wesley was the right blend of charming and caring and even I got a bit of a crush on him.

This book more than anything focuses on Bianca trying to navigate her troubled family and school life. Her relationship with Wesley, while a main plot-line of the novel, isn’t the main focus of the book but everything was in the right balance which made the book so addicting to read.

Conclusion:

I really enjoyed this book! It straddled the line perfectly between being fun and serious and I easily powered through it. Fans of YA will love this one!

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads: She’s So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott (He’s So/She’s So Trilogy #1)

The Movie:

I knew before reading the book and before seeing the movie that both were going to be extremely different. Where the book focuses on Bianca navigating her messy family life, the movie focuses more on what it means to label someone and the consequences it can have. The book didn’t really worry about changing how people labelled other people in high school but it did focus on Bianca becoming confident in herself and that is also the underlying theme of the movie.

This movie was like Mean Girls meets a 90’s rom-com. While I didn’t find it as memorable funny as Mean Girls (my friends and I still use lines from Mean Girls today) I definitely laughed because some of the lines were so witty and fun. (It could have been because I saw it in a nearly empty theatre during a school day afternoon so I felt like I was the only one laughing) But, I felt like the movie did what Mean Girls did and showed the realistic side of high school and how teens can be just plain awful to each other–and it especially showed how social media plays a role today in belittling other people. I thought it was really well written and I think a lot of teens can relate to it. I really hope that teens watch this and realize how their actions/words can impact other people–even if it is as something simple as a nickname said behind someone’s back.

In the book, Bianca didn’t really focus on what it means to be the Duff as much as she did in the movie. So in the movie, instead of sleeping with Wesley to escape from her everyday life, she asks Wesley to make her over so she isn’t the Duff anymore–this is where it reminded me of the good ole’ 90s rom-com (She’s All That anyone?). But what stayed the same as the book was the great chemistry between Bianca and Wesley.

First, I think casting contributed whole-heartedly to this. I’ve only seen Mae Whitman (Bianca) the occasional time I would find my roommates watching Parenthood so I’m not too familiar with her or her acting. However, I thought she played Bianca perfectly! She had the cynical humour down pat and she was everything I expected Bianca to be. Now I might be biased about Robbie Amell because he is related to my TV crush Steven Amell’s (The Arrow) AND a Canadian hottie but I thought he did a great job as Wesley! He nailed the charming but slightly douchey jock role of Wesley. If you didn’t have a crush on him before this movie, you will after!

But their chemistry together really blew me away! I know that they had a lot of freedom with the script so they ad-libbed a few lines and when you see the character’s reaction, you know that it is the actor’s genuine reaction to that scene. Nothing beats a true smile or laugh in my books when it comes to movies. You can tell that they had a lot of fun making this movie and as a viewer it makes it all that more enjoyable to watch.

Long story short: I would definitely watch this movie again! It might not be the most accurate book-to-movie adaption ever but the message of the book is clearly reflected in the movie. It was a lot of fun and I’m sure if I watched it again there would be lines I missed the first time that would have me laughing out loud.

So, which is better: the book or the movie?

In this case, the winner is a TIE! Because the book and movie focus on different things it’s really hard to compare them to each other. I love the book because of the family issues Bianca has to deal with since they were very realistic to me. But I also love the message of the movie regarding school life and labels because they too are very realistic. Both are very well done and I think YA fans and teens will love both!

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for The DUFF (from Goodreads):
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

Trailer:

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Movie Mondays: Fifty Shades of Grey

Movie Mondays: On Mondays, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this week’s offering:

Book: Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James | Movie: Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK(s)

Book Cover | Movie Poster

The Book:

Series: Fifty Shades Trilogy
Author: E.L. James
Genre: Erotica, BDSM, Romance, Adult, Contemporary
Heat Rating: Smokin’ (BDSM: High)
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

As I said in my series review, I did enjoy the series of Fifty Shades of Grey because I can recognize that it is fiction and it is supposed to be a fantasy.

Does that mean I agree with the message? No.

Do I think they are the greatest books ever written? Of course not.

But I can say I was thoroughly entertained when I read them and I found them to be highly addicting (I read them all in a weekend–not that they are very complex books in the first place).

Part of that reason is the pursuit of Ana by Christian. To me, it does border on the obsessive (which is something I really struggle with when reading BDSM novels; they sometimes straddle that line between abusive and consensual and I have a hard time digesting that), but it was entertaining and I loved the sexual tension. I’m sure I’m not the only girl in the world who wouldn’t mind if a handsome (minus the BDSM fetish) billionaire pursuing regular old me–and the book sales alone prove that this is the case because that is what this series provides: a fantasy.

Christian isn’t really my type of guy but I really loved him with Ana in the later books (once we move away from the sex-only chapters). And I really liked Ana. Sure, some of her narration is a little silly and she is naive early on, but I didn’t find her annoying. I liked that she challenged him and I thought she complimented Christian well and to me that is the most important thing in a romance novel.

Once we move away from the sex scenes (ie mainly book 1) and actually get some plot, that’s when I started to enjoy the novels. I loved the family drama and trying to figure out Christian’s dark past–which I think that helped to initiate my love for New Adult novels where those plot-lines are present in spades.

Conclusion:

At the end of the day, what matters to me is that I read a book that entertained me and kept my attention; and Fifty Shades did that for me. The writing isn’t that great–it is often repetitive–and I could have done without the piles and piles of sex but I enjoyed reading these books. They are definitely not for everyone: but if you want to try a BDSM novel and enjoy over the top drama, this is a good series for you to pick up!

Rating: 4/5
Series Review: Full series review here!

Similar Reads:


The Movie:

I will admit: I am one of those people who followed any movie news about this movie (not that it was a particularly hard thing to do because it was everywhere) so it isn’t a huge surprise I went to see Fifty Shades opening weekend.

I’ll start with the casting, because I think that is the most important thing about this movie. When Charlie Hunnam was originally cast as Christian, I wasn’t all that excited. I don’t watch Sons of Anarchy but I could see why they would cast him in the role. But when he dropped out, I was eagerly awaiting to see who would be cast. So when Jamie Dornan was cast, that’s when I got excited for the movie. I loved Jamie when he was on Once Upon a Time so I was happy with the pick. (Though for the record, Ian Somerhalder was my pick for Christian as soon as I read the books.) As for Ana, I wasn’t sure who I wanted in that role–but there were some names tossed out that I knew I didn’t want. Dakota Johnson was an unknown to me but once I saw the promo pics she had the look of Ana so I was fine with that.

When it came to the first trailer, I was actually really disappointed with Jamie and impressed with Dakota. Jamie seemed awkward and not as confident as what I pictured Christian to be; but Dakota acted exactly like I thought Ana would. So when it came to the actual movie, I had no idea what to expect. And I kept it that way by avoiding reviews (which is hard with trending social media) before I went to go see it.

And in the end, I thought both of the actors did very well considering the source material’s awful dialogue. Dakota acted exactly like Ana did in the novels and she did a great job. Jamie took me a while to get used to, but I really warmed up to him as Christian as the movie progressed. I really think his role was hindered because of the dialogue because his mannerisms were perfect. He didn’t have as much intensity as I was expecting (which was the impression I got from the trailer) but I think that was a good thing because it might have come across as creepy. When it comes to their chemistry, I could see why some people might not think it’s there; but to be honest, I never really saw that much chemistry between the two of them at the start of the book either (especially their initial meeting). I thought it got better as the movie progressed–but again, I think the dialogue is what really hurts the chemistry that could be there.

As for the adaptation itself: I think it was pretty true to the books. I’m not sure, it’s been 3 years since I read them but from what I can remember plot-wise it follows pretty close (I often get the first two books mixed up so feel free to correct me). The sex scenes definitely had more nudity than your regular old movie but they weren’t tacky and didn’t show much other than the occasional butt and chest shots.

But I still wouldn’t go see this with your mother 😉

Also, the soundtrack is amazing! The songs were probably the best part of this movie!

(Just a last little tidbit: This movie is only the FIRST book of the series. I thought it was going to be all three so I’m waiting to see if there will be sequels. I know that the director and actors are contracted to do a sequel but I’m not sure if it will happen–it looks possible considering domestic and international box office numbers–and rumours have been swirling that the sequel could be out by next year!)

So, which is better: the book or the movie?

In this case, the winner is the MOVIE. I like how the movie focused more on Christian and Ana trying to establish a relationship than it did on all their sex scenes (ie. it felt more plot focused than sex). It also lacked Ana’s awkward inner monologue. I think book fans will be happy to see the book come to life in this adaptation–and I really didn’t think it was as bad as people were saying. Cheesy at times, yes, but I think that just reflects the cheesiness as the book. But I don’t think it hurt that I went into this movie with low expectations…

Do you agree? Did you go out and see it; or are you going to avoid it at all costs? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for Fifty Shades of Grey (from Goodreads): When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms. Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Trailer: