Tag «movie adaption»

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 🙁

thewinneris winmovie

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:

recapbutton

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

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:

readingchallenges

book

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

warning2

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:

Meme-ful Musings: Books into Movies

Introducing a new original SERIESous Review monthly feature…

memefulthoughts1

Meme-ful Musings: At the end of the month I’ll post a book-related meme that I think brings up an interesting discussion about books. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or simply link back to this post!


book

(Meme from: http://diylol.com/meme-generator/hipster-belle–2/memes/i-read-that-book-before-it-was-a-movie–2)

Personally, I fall somewhere in between (a) and (b).

Case and point: The DUFF. I had never even heard of the book before I saw the title on a list of 2015 movie adaptations. After reading the synopsis, I decided I wanted to read the book and immediately put the book on hold–before everyone and their mother decides to read this book after watching the movie–and so I read it before I went to go watch the movie. I did the same with I Am Number Four and Beastly.

I read A LOT of books but I tend to pick the ones that don’t become movies–or if they do get picked for movies, they happen years later. For example, The Mortal Instruments, Vampire Academy or Beautiful Creatures. And they always seem to be the series that not everyone flocks to the theatre to see, so sequels are unfortunately never made. Which I think is a major bummer–but after watching them, I sometimes can understand why they weren’t huge successes or think they are the victims of bad marketing. But some books, like The Hunger Games and Twilight (unfortunately) are the exceptions to this conundrum.

I can only think of three adaptions that fall under (c): Eragon; Love, Rosie; and the Hobbit. Oh and of course The Princess Bride. The Princess Bride really wasn’t by choice considering the movie was made before I was ever born; same with Interview with a Vampire. But in most of these cases it was simply because I didn’t have enough time to read the book before the movie’s release.

Harry Potter is the only book/movie series that I have never read the books but have seen all the movies for. I could never get into the books despite trying to read the first 3–magic is just not my cup of tea and I could never get passed the long, descriptive first chapters–sorry Potter fans!

So, what movie adaptation group do you fall into? Leave a comment below!

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:

book

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: