Category «Movie Adaptions»

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:

Movie Mondays: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

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: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins | Movie: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (2014)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

warning

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!

The Book:

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

Thoughts:

As I said in my previous review of Catching Fire, it’s a tossup between Mockingjay and Catching Fire for my second favourite book of the trilogy. It is hard to ultimately decide because they differ so much from the inaugral Hunger Games book.

Mockingjay is definitely slower because we don’t have the Games to keep us entertained. But, things come to the forefront regarding the dystopian universe the books are set in and that managed to capture my attention. There were also a lot of twists that kept things interesting.

Conclusion:

There isn’t much to say that I haven’t said about the previous two books. They are all well written and I liked how everything wrapped up in this one. It has also been 3 years since I read it and I can’t remember the particulars of my reaction to the book after finishing it but I really liked the book when all was said and done.

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

Similar Reads: Divergent by Veronica Roth (Divergent Trilogy, #1) and Delirium by Lauren Oliver (Delirium Trilogy, #1)

The Movie:

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I thought splitting up Mockingjay into two parts was a stupid idea. All it is to me is a way to make extra money because they know people will see it. But when it comes to the story, I have no idea how you split up such a small book that really doesn’t have a whole lot going on into two 2-hour movies.

And I think it showed when I watched the movie: because it was on the duller side.

Did I need to watch some guy I don’t remember reading about, and still don’t know the name of, walk away from a plane for 5 minutes? Nope.

Did I need to revisit the same site of destruction 2+ times to get the idea that things weren’t good in PanAm? Nope.

Did I need another shot of a distraught Katniss to get the idea that she was distraught? Hell no!

Don’t get me wrong, I thought Jennifer Lawrence did a great job with what she was given and I think she is a great actress. She was dramatic but not annoyingly so in terms of her acting. It was the plot that I struggled with.

Honestly, it was dull and I felt like nothing really happened until the last 30 minutes of the movie. There was just so much redundancy that I think it really killed the movie and left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Frankly, there was no reason to drag this book out into two movies and it makes me really worried for Divergent’s third movie, Allegiant because there is no need to extend that book into two parts when NOTHING HAPPENS action wise. It’s a shame the focus is on money and not providing the best experience for the viewer.

So while I didn’t love the movie, I still liked watching all my favourite characters brought to life. Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks were fantastic and I loved watching them on screen. The casting for this series has been amazing and it was great seeing the chemistry between all the characters.

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

In this case, the winner is the BOOK. Honestly, there is no need for two movies and I preferred the concise scenes of the book to the redundant scenes of the movie.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for The Hunger Games (from Goodreads):

Sparks are igniting.
Flames are spreading.
And the Capitol wants revenge.

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: The Fault in Our Stars

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 Fault in Ours Stars by John Green | Movie: The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK 

Book Cover | Movie Poster

The Book:

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Illness
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts:

I won’t lie: the only reason I read this book was because the movie was coming out. See, I initially had no desire to read this book until I kept seeing the movie trailer everywhere I looked and it grew on me so I decided to read it.

And I’m so glad I did!

I loved this book! I haven’t read a book like this since The Perks of Being a Wallflower (PBW). A “book like this” is a book filled with witty characters and funny moments but still has heartwarming moments that make you cry.

I had the same thoughts going through my head when I finished this as I did with PBW: an appreciation for my life and all who are in it. This book has great messages about life, love and death which is refreshing compared to the usual Young Adult genre books that I normally read.

Conclusion:

There really isn’t too much to say without giving away the plot or the awesomeness, but this book was beautifully crafted and I will definitely be reading more from John Green in the future! If you want a break from melodramatic romances, this is a read for you!

Rating: 5/5

Similar Reads: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

The Movie:

I had every intention of seeing this movie when it was out in theatres, but the summer just flew by for me and I never got a chance. It’s probably for the best because I would have looked like quite the mess if I had walked out of the theatre after this movie.

This is one of those great book to film adaptions. It captured the story beautifully and I laughed and cried just like I did when reading.

The cast was FANTASTIC! I can’t stress enough how great they were. Ansel as Augustus was perfect–everything I wanted Gus to be an more really. He had all the charisma and charm and every time he was on screen it brought a smile to my face. If you read my review of the Divergent film you know that I was a little bit hesitant of Shailene Woodley taking on the role based on my experience with The Secret Life of the American Teenager. But after seeing her in Divergent, I knew she could pull this role off and she did. She played Hazel to a T and it made for some great chemistry on the screen between her and Ansel. I also have to shout out Nat Wolff as Isaac. I developed a bit of a crush on Nat when watching the movie Stuck in Love so I was really excited to see him in this role. Isaac was one of my favourite parts of the book so it was awesome to see him come to life.

I was worried about the movie before I saw it because part of the charm of the book is Hazel’s inner thoughts. I wasn’t sure how they were going to convey these in the movie in a way that is true to the book but I think overall they did a great job by having Hazel narrate certain parts.

Final tissue count: 5

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

In this case, the winner is TIE, but a slight edge to the book. This one was super tough. I really loved the movie because it was so true to the book. But I give the edge to the book just a tiny little bit because I loved Hazel’s commentary about life and the banter between her and Augustus and that has more presence in the book than in the movie. Nevertheless, both are worth your time!

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for The Fault in Our Stars (from Goodreads):
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Trailer:

Movie Mondays: I am Number Four

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: I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore | Movie: I am Number Four (2011)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

The Book:

Series: Lorien Legacies or I am Number Four Series
Author: Pittacus Lore (Fun Fact: This is actually the name of a character in the book!)
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Action, Aliens, Romance
Point of View: First Person (this book is just one character’s POV, the rest of the series has multiple)

Thoughts:

When I am Number Four was about to hit theatres, I decided to read the book before I went to see it (I don’t like having my books spoiled). But I wasn’t able to finish the book before my library loan was due and thus, I never got to see it in theatres. However, I did eventually finish the book.

My feelings on I am Number Four are mixed. Since reading the other books in the series, this one is a definite oddball in terms of its delivery and plot line. As I said in my review of the series, I am Number Four follows the typical Young Adult Science Fiction plot line formula: main hero is in hiding, discovers his special powers, falls in love with a human girl and has to save the world. It wasn’t anything overly new to me and that made it a tad boring to read. John/Four isn’t my favourite character in the series and because this first book focuses solely on him, it gets a little tiring putting up with his teenaged angst all the time.

So I could understand why people would drop the whole series based on their experience reading this book. It’s really a shame the rest of the series truly blows this book out of the water in terms of everything. It has better characters, more plots, great twists and reveals as well as a lot more action and suspense.

But the fact of the matter is, you have to read this book to get on with the rest of the series so if you want to read this series, you have to just tough it out a bit.

Conclusion:

Don’t judge the series by I am Number Four. I like to think of I am Number Four as one big prequel novella for the rest of the series. Those who love science fiction and stories with lots of kickass action, you will enjoy the rest of the faster paced books in the series! So while it is important to read I am Number Four, don’t let it dissuade you from reading The Power of Six. But if you don’t enjoy The Power of Six, then you won’t like the rest of the series because that is what the rest of the series is like.

Rating: 3/5 for I am Number Four, but 4.5/5 for the series as a whole
Series Review: Full series review here!

Similar Reads: Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Lux Series #1)

The Movie:

I finally managed to watch this movie a little more than 3 years after its theatrical release when I was traveling home from school this fall.

While it has been 3 years since I read the book, I knew that they had made dramatic changes to the plot despite not remembering every little detail of the book. I’m not one of those book fans who can’t fathom why book-to-movie adaptions make plot changes–because I completely understand why–so it didn’t necessarily bother me that they changed the main events of the book a bit. With the exception of one MAJOR plot aspect, what they did in the movie got across what the book was trying to achieve.

However, what I don’t appreciate is the little details they forgot to mention. Like the importance of the “kill order” and all the fine print associated with it. Or what John’s powers actually do. I just felt like the key aspects of the book, which make the series so much fun to read and add so much depth to it, weren’t utilized as much as they should be. It just felt like the writers went “meh” that shit isn’t important–WHEN IT IS!

Though I think it is important to note that the second novel in the series, The Power of Six, hadn’t been published when the movie was released. Maybe not completely know what happens in the sequel attributed to some of the dismal plot changes but at the same time, I’m sure they must have consulted with the author so really, I don’t see any legitimate excuse for why things were done as they were.

In terms of casting, I think it was very well done. I have a little bit of a crush on Alex Pettyfer so I have a little bit of a biased when it comes to him. However, he played John very well–I disliked watching that character as much as I disliked reading about him so I consider that a win 😛 All joking aside, he does angsty well (which is why he was my ideal pick for Jace Wayland in the City of Bones movie adaption even though he turned the role down) but he can also pull off the action scenes well so I think he was cast very well. I loved Teresa Palmer as Six and I loved Callan McAuliffe as Sam (both Six and Sam are two of my favourite characters in the series) as well as Timothy Olyphant as Henry, though I wish that role was expanded upon more.

Overall, the movie was ok. Nothing really wowed me about it but I enjoyed watching these characters come to life on the big (well, my tablet) screen. While plans for the sequel were shelved after the disappointing box office reception of this movie, there may be hope yet for a sequel. Apparently, the director of the movie still gets asked if a sequel will be arriving and I think the fact that the books continue to sell well gives the impression that a sequel might not be a complete waste of money. I personally think this would be an option worth exploring because the rest of the series is on a whole other level than the inaugural book and would be much more appealing to audiences.

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

In this case, the winner is the BOOK. While it isn’t my favourite book in the series, I did enjoy the more complex plot we get in the novel. The movie took out too much of what makes this whole series so interesting to read and it missed the mark with me.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for I am Number Four (from Goodreads):
In the beginning they were a group of nine. Nine aliens who left their home planet of Lorien when it fell under attack by the evil Mogadorian. Nine aliens who scattered on Earth. Nine aliens who look like ordinary teenagers living ordinary lives, but who have extraordinary, paranormal skills. Nine aliens who might be sitting next to you now. The Nine had to separate and go into hiding.

The Mogadorian caught Number One in Malaysia, Number Two in England, and Number Three in Kenya. All of them were killed. John Smith, of Paradise, Ohio, is Number Four. He knows that he is next.

I AM NUMBER FOUR is the thrilling launch of a series about an exceptional group of teens as they struggle to outrun their past, discover their future—and live a normal life on Earth.

Trailer:

Movie Mondays: The Maze Runner

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 Maze Runner by James Dashner | Movie: The Maze Runner (2014)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

The Book:

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Biggest Disappointments 2014
Series: The Maze Runner Trilogy
Author: James Dashner
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Suspense, Apocalyptic, Mystery
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: Third Person

Thoughts:

I didn’t totally love The Maze Runner when I read it. I think I made the mistake of watching the movie trailer before I read the novel and let the trailer create my expectations for the novel.

I was expecting a fast-paced adventure novel with lots of twists and turns (and I don’t just mean turns of maze itself) and high doses of suspense. Instead, I got a dry, overly descriptive novel that took a very long time to get exciting.

Part of the problem is the third person narration–it’s just so impersonal for a story that is supposed to be suspenseful. I wasn’t able to connect with the characters like I wanted and that made it hard to read it.

There also wasn’t a lot of action either until the very end of the novel–and that’s when the plot gets a lot more interesting as well.

Conclusion:

This is one of those “cool concept–poor execution” novels. Read it if you enjoy longer Young Adult reads that slowly build up to the climax.

Rating: 3/5
Series Review: Full series review here!

The Movie:

Despite not having an overly good experience reading the novels—I was SUPER excited to watch the movie! Part of the reason is my massive crush on Dylan O’Brien (who plays the lead Thomas) but part of the reason is that when I was reading the book, I could definitely see it as a movie. James Dashner is very descriptive so I had a very clear picture of the setting in my mind when I was reading and if you got rid of the overly descriptive parts and just took out the highlights, it would have everything that a good movie needs.

I have to say, this was a great adaption–my crushes on the respective actors aside. I really loved the direction they took this movie in terms of what they cut and kept.

First, the cast was great! And I’m not saying that in a biased way 😉 They really did a fantastic job bringing the characters to life and I definitely connected more with these characters in film than novel form. O’Brien was exactly what I pictured Thomas to act like–fantastic job!

The set was also really, really well done. Not hard when the movie is adapted from a book as descriptive as The Maze Runner but still important nonetheless.

As for the story–this was exactly what I expected The Maze Runner to be: fast-paced and suspenseful! Even knowing what was going to happen, I still had goosebumps anytime a griever appeared on screen or they entered the maze. The main plot points are pretty much the same from what I remember but only a few minor changes are made. I think it’s a good thing that they changed what they did. There is just one thing that they reveal that seems a little premature to me but I think for the sake of the general audience (who has probably never read the book) it needed to be done.

I’m SO happy that this adaptation was successful at the box office–because a sequel deserves to be made. The Scorch Trials was my favourite book of the trilogy and I can’t wait to see it brought to life. I also won’t lie: I want more of Dylan O’Brien in my life 🙂

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

In this case, the winner is the MOVIE…hands down. It was everything I wanted the novel to be and was very well done. Fans I think will be happy with the result. I encourage those who didn’t like the book to actually watch the movie at some point because I have a feeling you too will also really enjoy it!

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for The Maze Runner (from Goodreads):
“If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.”

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers–boys whose memories are also gone.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out–and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Trailer:

Movie Mondays: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

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: Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants Series by Ann Brashares | Movie: Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants and Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2 (2005 & 2008)

Which did I read/see first? Books

Book Cover | Movie Poster

The Book:

Series: Sisterhood or Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Drama, Coming of Age, Chick Lit, Contemporary
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating (though each book starts with a First Person prologue)

Thoughts:

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants series is one of the first Young Adult series I ever read and I credit it with my reading addiction. While they are definite chick lit books, they really do have good messages about friendship and family.

The books have a lot going on because you are essentially reading 4 different girls stories that are linked by them being all friends. Nowadays you would probably get a single book for each girl but I like how they are all combined together. I always found that there was some plotline that was my favourite in each story that made me keep reading even if I wasn’t a fan of one girl’s plotline.

Conclusion:

These books are a lot of fun but also have some more serious moments to them. Young adult chick-lit fans will love these books without a doubt!

Rating: 4.5/5
Series Review: Full series review here!

Similar Reads: Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #1)

The Movies:

I decided to combine book movies into one review instead of making them separate. The first movie, The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, is only based on the first book of the series; however the sequel movie combines books 2-4 together with the main focus being on book 4, Forever in Blue.

So, I’ll start with the first movie. I thought it was really well done and I really enjoyed it. The casting was spot on, though I’m not the biggest Alexis Bledel fan so I didn’t overly like her as Lena. But other than that, the rest of the cast was great and even if I don’t like Alexis, she is exactly what I pictured Lena to look like. It captured the heart of the book very well and it was cool to see a favourite book series come to life on the big screen.

I was really surprised when the second movie was announced because my understanding was that the first one didn’t do crazy well at the box office. Regardless, I was super excited to watch it. Again, the cast was great and I had no problems there. Knowing that they were combining the next 3 books into one movie, I think they did a good job. It’s hard to do and I know that things had to get cut but I think they blending everything well. I totally thought that they changed the ending but based on what I read on Wikipedia, I am wrong there 😛

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

In this case, the winner is the BOOKS. While the movies do a good job at capturing the feel of the books, I like the full plotlines we get in the books though I don’t think fans of the books will be disappointed in the movies.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (from Goodreads):
Carmen got the jeans at a thrift shop. They didn’t look all that great: they were worn, dirty, and speckled with bleach. On the night before she and her friends part for the summer, Carmen decides to toss them. But Tibby says they’re great. She’d love to have them. Lena and Bridget also think they’re fabulous. Lena decides that they should all try them on. Whoever they fit best will get them. Nobody knows why, but the pants fit everyone perfectly. Even Carmen (who never thinks she looks good in anything) thinks she looks good in the pants. Over a few bags of cheese puffs, they decide to form a sisterhood and take the vow of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants . . . the next morning, they say good-bye. And then the journey of the pants — and the most memorable summer of their lives — begins.

Trailer for Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants:

Movie Mondays: The Secret Life of Bees

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 Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kid | Movie: The Secret Life of Bees (2008)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

The Book:

Genre: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Thoughts:

This is perhaps one of the few books that I read in high school that I can genuinely say I enjoyed reading. While it started slow, it really picked up and turned out to be a pretty interesting read.

I think why I really liked it was because I actually did study it and see why things were written as they were. Perhaps that is the English student in me that finds it enjoyable. There are a lot of subtle meanings behind the text and they tend to link up as you progress through the book.

It is a hard book to read for two reasons: 1) is the racism and treatment of a majority of the characters present and 2) it’s definitely a chick book. My poor brother had to read this in high school too and absolutely detested it! But as a girl, I liked it though I found the subject matter to be pretty heavy at times. It’s a book that makes you appreciate how far society has come in the last few decades.

Conclusion:

While I didn’t find this book spectacular, I did enjoy reading it. As I said before, it makes you appreciate the world that we live in now and reminds us that we still have some distance to go.

Rating: 3/5

Similar Reads: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Movie:

It’s been a super long time since I watched the movie so bear with me!

The movie had a pretty stellar cast: Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Dakota Fanning and Alicia Keys. Overall, I thought they did a good job in their roles; I’m not a huge Alicia Keys or Dakota Fanning fan but I felt like they fit the roles well and I’m not sure who else you could have gotten to do the roles and get the big name appeal.

I know that they changed the age of the Bee sisters and a few other things in the movie but I think they stayed true to the message of the novel.

It wasn’t anything overly fantastic, but it was well done to say the least.

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

In this case, the winner is the BOOK. I just found it that touch more grittier than the movie and more impactful.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for The Secret Life of Bees (from Goodreads):
Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily’s fierce-hearted black “stand-in mother,” Rosaleen, insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily decides to spring them both free. They escape to Tiburon, South Carolina–a town that holds the secret to her mother’s past. Taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters, Lily is introduced to their mesmerizing world of bees and honey, and the Black Madonna. This is a remarkable novel about divine female power, a story women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.

Trailer:

Movie Mondays: Avalon High

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: Avalon High by Meg Cabot | Movie: Avalon High (2010)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

The Book:

Series: Not a part of a series but it does have a graphic novel set. See full list here .
Genre: Young Adult, Arthurian, Romance, Action, Mystery
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts:

Back in the day, I read everything by Meg Cabot and I continue to read most of adult books now that I am older. But even if I wasn’t familiar with her work, I would have grabbed this book anyways because the cover and synopsis really interested me.

This book is a lot of fun! I loved Ellie’s character: she was strong, smart and independent. Will was also a great character and an excellent match for Ellie. The rest of the cast is intriguing as well and all contribute to the story in a positive way.

While this story does feature a lot of the typical “high school drama” there is a lot more to it. I love Arthurian stories and this book has a great interpretation of the Arthurian legends. It’s a cool spin and quite the mystery which makes it a joy to read.

I only read the first graphic novel which takes place after the events of Avalon High but I never bothered with the rest. They just weren’t as exciting as the other story once everything is revealed but I was also quite a bit older by the time they came out.

Conclusion:

This is probably my favourite Young Adult novel by Meg Cabot. It’s a lot of fun, has a great plot and a strong female lead. A winner!

Rating: 4.5/5

Similar Reads: Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs (Oh. My. Gods #1)

The Movie:

I was really excited to final watch this as a movie when it was announced because I loved the book. It’s got a great plot and I could easily see how they would make this novel into a movie.

It is important to keep in mind that this is a made for TV movie so the acting and special effects aren’t fantastic–but I can simply appreciate the fact that this was made into a movie and I’d take it anyway I can.

I’m not a huge Britt Robertson fan so I was a little disappointed that she was cast. She wasn’t what I pictured Ellie (or Allie as she is called in the movie) and I don’t particularly love her acting (she overacts or something–I’m not sure but I’ve never enjoyed her previous roles). In the end, she did an alright job but I don’t blame her for the slight flop this movie turned out to be.

I think the fault lies in the adaption. I know that things get cut and changed when movies are made–and I can respect that–but sometimes the cuts really take away from what makes the book so great in the first place. The movie just lacked the excitement of the novel and the lack of chemistry between Allie and Will in the movie hurt that aspect of the story as well.

This is definitely one of those movies that you watch before you read the book so you can appreciate how awesome the book is 😉

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

In this case, the winner is the BOOK. The movie was just flat and not as exciting as the book. The book is a must read for YA fans; the movie is a guilty watch on a rainy weekend day.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for Avalon High (from Goodreads):
To newcomer Ellie, Avalon High seems like a typical American high school, complete with jocks, nerds, cheerleaders, and even the obligatory senior class president, quarterback, and all-around good guy. But it doesn’t take Ellie long to suspect that something weird is going on beneath the glossy surface of this tranquil hall of learning. As she pieces together the meaning of this unfolding drama, she begins to recognize some haunting Arthurian echoes, causing her to worry that she has become just a pawn in mythic history.

Trailer:

Movie Mondays: Divergent

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: Divergent by Veronica Roth | Movie: Divergent (2014)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

The Book:

Series: Divergent
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Romance, Action
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts:

I read Divergent right as it was becoming big. I had read the Hunger Games and was enjoying the dystopian trend that seemed to follow after it so this seemed like an obvious choice to read.

I think a lot of people expect this book to be a rip-off of the Hunger Games but it’s important to know that it isn’t. Sure, there are some similarities but you find similarities in all Dystopian fiction–it’s what defines the genre. They both share corrupt governments (what dystopian book doesn’t?) and have strong female leads who don’t mind kicking some ass when push comes to shove. But I think that is where the similarities end and each book has a completely different feel to it as each book has a different message.

As a first book, I really enjoyed Divergent. While it started slow and I wasn’t totally in love with Tris initially, this book really picks up fast and Tris really grew on me. I would consider her one of my favourite heroines in dystopian young adult fiction.

I also loved the sexual tension between Tris and Four. I especially like that their relationship doesn’t take the main focus–so it makes those little moments between them that much more awesome.

Conclusion:

Overall, it’s a great start to a great series. It has a lot going on so once it gets going, it never really stops. Dystopian fans will really enjoy this one!

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

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) and Delirium by Lauren Oliver (Delirium Trilogy #1)

The Movie:

I’ve been anticipating this movie for a really long time so I had to go and see it opening weekend. And I have to say, the wait was worth it!

I will be the first to admit that I don’t remember all the little details of Divergent (though I am currently reading Allegiant so I had a pretty good refresher prior *no pun on Tris name intended*) but I do remember the main points of the novel. My friend, who recently read the book and saw it with me, said that they didn’t change things all that much and it was pretty true to the story. There was just one scene that I definitely know wasn’t in the books but knowing what I know about the story in the next two books, I think it was a smart decision on the screenwriters parts.

Casting is always a big deal for me (and I’m sure most other book fans) and I really liked the casting in this movie–though not always. I remember watching Shailene Woodley in The Secret Life of the American Teenager and anyone who has watched the show know that it is the ultimate guilty pleasure TV show with mediocre acting–but to be fair to the actors on the show, I think it is the writing. So I was a little worried when she was cast but since then she has done a lot of other acting projects since and I don’t mind her acting. After watching the movie, I think she was a great choice–as was the rest of the cast. I felt like they captured the characters extremely well so I really felt like the book was coming to life in front of me.

The movie really reflected the slower pace of the book but once it got going, it never really stopped. It went by super fast and I really enjoyed it overall and I think other fans of the book will too.

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

In this case, the winner is TIE. I really enjoyed the movie but I really do love the novel. I think the movie does a great job of capturing the book and fans will enjoy it so I can’t knock it down!

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for Divergent (from Goodreads):
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Trailer:

Movie Mondays: Beautiful Creatures

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: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl | Movie: Beautiful Creatures (2013)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

The Book:

Series: Beautiful Creatures or the Caster Chronicles
SERIESous’ Top Book Series: #3
Genre: Young Adult, Magic, Paranormal, Romance, Drama, Gothic, Southern
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts:

Beautiful Creatures is the start to one of my favourite book series of all time though it isn’t my favourite of the series. However, it is a great start to the series and really sets the stage for the subsequent novels.

It’s a bit of a shock to me that a “witch” book is in my Top 3 favourite series. I usually can’t stand witch/magic novels because I find them a bit boring and the logical, scientific part of my brain struggles with the concept of magic. But this series managed to capture my attention, my heart and my time.

The plot continually builds throughout Beautiful Creatures and finally reaches an awesome climax that sets up the rest of the series. Add to it the great, swoon-worthy romance of Lena and Ethan, their maturity and independence as well as the great cast of characters that surrounds them and this book is a winner.

This book is a lot slower than most books out there so it will take a while to get into. That’s partly because parts of the plot are revealed along the way after we get a feel for the town and partly because it is set in the south and things tend to be slower there.

Conclusion:

A great start to an awesome series. It’s truly unlike anything I have ever read before. Well written, great characters and a mysterious, ever-changing plot that sucks you into the world of casters.

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

Similar Reads: Nevermore by Kelly Creagh (Nevermore Trilogy, #1) and Spellcaster by Claudia Gray (Spellcaster Trilogy #1)

The Movie:

I can’t remember where I was in the series when they announced the movie, but I do remember being excited. It always seems like my favourite series aren’t known by the general population and there are always rumours of movie options but never any movie. So when they started announcing the cast, I was getting super excited and trying to find every piece of info that I could get about the film.

So first, I’ll talk about the cast. Alice Englert as Lena was EXACTLY what I pictured when reading the book in every way and watching the movie reaffirmed that fact. But Alden Ehrenreich wasn’t what I pictured for Ethan. He just seemed too old for the role and the movie trailers didn’t really sell me on him. He made me skeptical to watch this movie because we read the book from Ethan’s POV so he is essentially the story and on a personal side, Ethan is probably my favourite character of the series next to Link. However, I have to say that by the end of the movie, Ehrenreich won me over and I thought he did a great job as Ethan. As for the rest of the cast, they were all what I imagined them to be and did a great job.

Now, I understand that movie adaptations are always going to be different from the actual books (they are called “adaptations” for a reason) but I like them to be as close as possible or at the very least have them make changes that I understand and can eventually come to respect. And it’s a bit of a mixed case for this movie.

I can understand the changes they made to Amma and I should have known that there were going to be changes considering Viola Davis was coming off an Oscar nomination at the time she was cast. Nevertheless, I also feel like they shot themselves in the foot if they were ever planning on making a sequel because the changes they made have serious consequences on future plotlines. But it became apparent to me by the end of the movie that they were going in a different direction from the book based on the unfolding of certain events if a sequel was ever in the works.

I was watching this on the airplane on my way back from my trip and my brother was looking over my shoulder. He asked me what I was watching and told me that it looked a little cheesy. And I would have to agree with him, it was cheesy at times but I think that is the fault of the graphics. While the book isn’t particularly dark, it isn’t the lightest book out there and I felt like they shied away from that a bit with the aspects of the book they choose to exclude.

One thing I have to give this movie credit for is capturing the feeling of the book. Despite the many changes, they really left the romance between Ethan and Lena the way it was in the book and it was awesome to see some of the key scenes from the book on the screen between the two of them. Also, I always had the hardest time picturing Macon’s house so seeing it in the movie was an added treat for me!

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

In this case, the winner is the BOOK. The plot is just so much more intricate in the novel and exciting that there really isn’t a contest. Fans of the book will probably be upset with the plot changes in the movie and rightfully so as it doesn’t do the book justice. However, I give the movie props for visually creating this wonderful world so well.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for Beautiful Creatures (from Goodreads):
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

Trailer: