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Movie Mondays: Love, Simon

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

Book Cover | Movie Poster

 

Book: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (2015) | Movie: Love, Simon (2018)

Which did I read/see first? BOOK

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Fave YA Standalone 2017
Author: Becky Albertalli
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Coming of Age, GLBT, Humour
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

I was a little late to the Simon train when I listened to the audiobook last year but I quickly became a fan. Honestly, my full review is just me gushing about how I loved the characters and the story and the romance.

You can read my full review here but the gist is that I loved how real this story was. It’s got great messages about love, life and friendship. It made me laugh, I cried, I swooned. I felt everything and that’s what a good story should do.

overall

I found a new favourite! Absolute perfection.

Read if You Like: humour, coming of age, GLBT
Avoid if You: dislike YA contemporaries

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Were My Expectations Met?

My personal hype was insane for this and seeing everyone on Twitter praise it really amplified that.

So was I satisfied? Yes and no. There were certain things I really liked (like the cast) and how they kept the overall spirit of the book intact despite some major changes to the plot. But I didn’t like all of the changes and that kept me from loving the movie.

For me, the biggest thing was the romance between Blue and Simon. In the movie it didn’t seem to be a huge focus–and I get why. This movie is more about Simon coming out and the way it happens and how he deals with it all. That’s why I say this movie captured the spirit of the book because this is obviously the biggest aspect of the story. And having a story like this brought to the mainstream is so, so important and I think they did an amazing job bringing this story to life. 

And I don’t want to take away from that in any respect because this movie will has change lives.

They capture the love and acceptance and the normalcy of the entire situation. It’s a story we all need in our lives..

But the book fan in me felt like some of the romantic charm was lost due to the time constraints and the slight shift in plot focus. I think the easiest way to say it is that I had a hard time believing that Simon was in love with Blue as a person as opposed to what Blue represented (ie someone who understood his personal struggles). We don’t see a lot of the interaction between Simon and Blue like we do in the book–mainly just email highlights in the movie. I missed seeing that deeper interaction between them because that’s what I loved in the book. I’m one of those people who likes the romance spelled out for them and with detail. So I just needed a little more than the 10 emails they share. Maybe it was because I knew who Blue was all along so I knew what to expect and where to look? I’m not sure but there was a slight disconnect for me.

How Close is it to the Book?

I really only remember bits and pieces of the book since it has been over a year but my friend who saw it with me just finished the novel a few days before we saw the movie so I got her to remind me. Of course they have basic changes like Simon’s family structure and the like. But they also had some pretty big changes to the plot as well.

That’s why I say this movie keeps to the spirit of the book. The drama is slightly amplified for the big screen and I found that had its pros and cons. Pros because it helps reaffirm to the audience that your sexual preference doesn’t change who you are as a person. It’s your typical teen movie only it stars a lead you don’t often see in the role. And I love how they make it normal–because it is normal! As Simon says in the movie why are gay kids the only ones who “need to come out?”.  Teens of all orientations deserve to fall in love for the first time and not be judged or feel like they have to hide who they are.

>>Fun Fact: This is “the first film ever released by a major studio to focus on a gay teenage romance”.

So I get why things are done the way they are in the grand scheme and I applaud them because in that respect, this movie is amazing.

But the cons were the removal of things that I found charming about the book in the first place. Simon’s relationship with his friends was a big one and in particular, their actions when he is outed. I really disliked the approach that was done in the movie because I felt like it took away from the positivity of the story.

I get a little ranty in the spoilers below so I recommend only reading them if you’ve watched the movie:

My Little Spoiler Rant

1) While I like that Simon stood up for himself in the cafeteria (movie), I liked that in the book it was others standing up for him. It reminds the audience that you shouldn’t just sit by and watch awful things happen to another person.

2) It irked me to NO end how upset Simon’s friends were over his actions to get Martin and Abby together. Did they just forget that their friend was just blackmailed and outed against his will? Did they not think that maybe he needed his friends in this crucial time when he is struggling with his identity and needs support? I just thought their ostracizing of him (even if he was in the wrong with his actions) was plain mean. They have every right to be upset but be the bigger person and be there for your friend. (Though perhaps this was an effort to normalize the situation? To emphasize the fact that is wasn’t a big deal to them that Simon was gay and that he should have felt safe to talk to them before he took it too far. I’m not sure if that was the intention but it really bothered me that they distanced themselves because they never really state that. Well, except Leah but Simon tells her why he told Abby first.)

3) I hated how the uniting of Simon and Blue was this big spectacle for the entire school. I get it–it’s part of their “great love story” and reaffirms the fact that Simon is someone Blue feels is worth it to come out for; but I liked the reunion more in the book.

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Did I Like the Cast?

YES! When Nick Robinson was cast as Simon I was very, very happy. He was great in Everything, Everything so I knew he would make a great Simon. And he definitely did. He was so charming and funny that it was easy to love him.

The rest of the cast is fabulous. They did a great job bringing this story to life. Josh Dummel totally made me cry 😛

thewinneris winbook

While I understand how monumental this movie is in terms of mainstream media and LGBTQ representation, I enjoyed the book more. I preferred the slightly more grounded story and the slower development of the romance between Blue and Simon. As a viewer, I definitely enjoyed the movie and all that it means (seriously, the stories you read online about all the people who finally feel accepted after seeing this movie is AMAZING!) but as a fan of the book, I’m a little disappointed though still super happy to see these characters come to life.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!


Synopsis for Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (from Goodreads):

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Trailer:

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Movie Mondays: Fifty Shades Freed

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

Book: Fifty Shades Freed by E L James (2012) | Movie: Fifty Shades Freed (2018)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

 

Series: Fifty Shades
Author: E L James
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Suspense
Heat Rating: Smokin’ (BDSM: High)
Point of View: First Person, Single
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

I really only remember the highlights of this story. By far, this was the most suspenseful of the three reads. I felt like the sexy times were toned down a bit to emphasis the development of Ana and Christian’s relationship–which was a good thing. They have a lot of issues to work out and this was the book that really brought those to the forefront.

overall

Rating: 4/5
Series Review: Full series review here!
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Were My Expectations Met?

Compared to the first movie, the first sequel, Fifty Shades Darker, really found its own. Everything was more natural and the movie was much more enjoyable. Now that might have been because I’d been comfortable with the whole idea of this series as a movie.

So my expectations were pretty high for Fifty Shades Freed. As I said above, this novel really doesn’t focus on the sex as much and that is the case with the movie as well. Instead, we get to see Ana and Christian work on their marriage and prove why they work. Unfortunately, the chemistry between Dakota and Jamie isn’t that great so it made things seem awkward but there were definitely some cute moments.

I will say that I thought this was going to be a little more suspenseful given the plot but that didn’t really happen. Maybe because I already know how everything wraps up, it didn’t have the same thrill to me.

How Close is it to the Book?

I get a lot of the plot points between Darker and Freed mixed up because I read them so close together. But all the major plot points are there and all the key moments from the novel are shown.

For the sake of time, I felt like a lot of things were downplayed and that made things seem like they were unfinished to me. I think this article by EW sums them up nicely!

Did I Like the Cast?

For this entire trilogy, Dakota has been a highlight. I think she makes a fantastic Ana and her performance is always great.

As for Jamie, he seemed to revert to his first appearance as Christian. I was really impressed with his performance in the last movie and I felt a little let down by this one. Perhaps it was the dialogue but he just seemed so stiff to me. It might also be the fact that he has to do his American accent so it sounds forced.

 

thewinneris

I was really impressed with the second movie of this movie trilogy so I had high expectations. But I felt like the plot here was stifled a little and I left wanting a little more.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!


Synopsis for Fifty Shades Freed (from Goodreads):

When unworldly student Anastasia Steele first encountered the driven and dazzling young entrepreneur Christian Grey it sparked a sensual affair that changed both of their lives irrevocably. Shocked, intrigued, and, ultimately, repelled by Christian’s singular erotic tastes, Ana demands a deeper commitment. Determined to keep her, Christian agrees.

Now, Ana and Christian have it all—love, passion, intimacy, wealth, and a world of possibilities for their future. But Ana knows that loving her Fifty Shades will not be easy, and that being together will pose challenges that neither of them would anticipate. Ana must somehow learn to share Christian’s opulent lifestyle without sacrificing her own identity. And Christian must overcome his compulsion to control as he wrestles with the demons of a tormented past.

Just when it seems that their strength together will eclipse any obstacle, misfortune, malice, and fate conspire to make Ana’s deepest fears turn to reality.

Trailer:

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Movie Mondays: Everything, Everything

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

Book Cover | Movie Poster

Book: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (2015) | Movie: Everything, Everything (2017)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Author: Nicola Yoon
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Point of View: First Person, Single
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

I’ve seen this book on countless blogs over the years and so it inevitably made it onto my TBR. I really wasn’t sure what to expect; I’m not a big YA contemporary fan and this looked like it could be an angsty romance depending on the way it was spun. But, as a healthcare worker, I was super interested in the SCID aspect so I went in optimistically.

I almost read this as an audiobook but I either read somewhere that there were illustrations or I previewed the novel and saw them. Anyways, I’m really glad I read this as a novel but I’m sure this would be a great audiobook because Maddy is a great narrator.

Which is why I gave this book a 5/5 on Goodreads though I would give the overall plot a 4/5. I loved Maddy’s energy. She was so endearing as a narrator to me and I immediately got sucked into her story. I truly had a hard time putting it down and it’s one of the only books in recent memory where I read it in one sitting.

I would give the overall plot a lower score just because it does stretch the realism of the situation a bit. But as I always say, let fiction be fiction and I knew I wasn’t reading it for realism. The situations and circumstances work well for this story in terms of entertainment and conveying the message that only you can determine what it means to live your life.

overall

Don’t go into this expecting some super realistic book about a girl with an immune disorder nor expect a novel that delves deep into situations. This is really about a girl defining what it means to live her life and the joys of first love. It’s definitely a lighter, mostly romantic, YA contemporary.

Rating: 4.5/5
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Note: Do NOT watch the movie trailer if you plan on reading the book. As someone told me on Twitter, it kinda gives away the plot twist of the story (and it’s a really good twist that you likely won’t see coming otherwise). My review below does not contain any spoilers.

Were My Expectations Met?

Yes, I’d say they were. The movie captured the light, feel good vibe of the novel. I was smiling like an idiot (on the airplane no less) as I watched Olly and Maddy interact and fall in love. Gah, it was so adorable!

How Close is it to the Book?

Fairly close though the “main twist” had a different way of delivering itself in the movie. I think given the length of the movie that the approach worked well so I understand why the change was made. But the backbone of the novel is in the movie and it’s a very close adaptation when all is said and done.

Did I Like the Cast?

YES! I thought the movie was cast perfectly. Everyone was great in their roles, particularly Maddy and Olly. They just had fantastic chemistry and truly captured the charm of their characters on the big screen.

thewinneris winbook

The movie is great! Don’t get me wrong! But I just loved the book and how charming it was to me.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!


Synopsis for Everything, Everything (from Goodreads):

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Trailer:

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Movie Mondays: Before I Fall

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

Book: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (2010) | Movie: Before I Fall (2017)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

Author: Lauren Oliver
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Point of View: First Person, Single
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

thoughts

Before I Fall has been on my TBR list before I even knew what “TBR” meant. It graced every teen “must read list” in 2010 and I’ll admit, it grabbed my attention. But the holds list was super long and it slipped my mind. And then I read her Delirium Series–the inspiration for this blog–and really didn’t like it. So I was hesitant to pick up another Oliver title.

I went into this book with a fresh mind but it was hard.

Sam is everything I detest in a YA contemporary heroine. She’s self-absorbed, lost in her own world and just not that nice of a person. But that’s the whole point of this novel isn’t it? Sam is supposed to learn some life changing lesson and become a better person because of it.

And that happens to a certain extent. She definitely learns some valuable lessons but I’m not sure if I like the motivation for it. For me, Sam never escapes the persona of a selfish girl. Her desire to change comes across as someone who needs to fix things in order to redeem herself as a “nice person”. I guess it just didn’t come across as selfless to me.

As for the novel itself, it wasn’t as repetitive as I expected. Oliver does a good job of not rehashing every moment of every day. She also does a decent job of leading you on a bit of a mystery. Trying to figure out how everything links together kept me interest.

overall

I’ll be honest, I rushed through this book a lot because I had to return it so my experience wasn’t everything it could have been. In the end, I had a hard time liking Sam and that really did colour my impressions of this novel as a whole.

Rating: 3/5

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Were My Expectations Met?

Considering I wasn’t a huge fan of the novel, I wasn’t really sure how I would enjoy the movie. If I couldn’t stand Sam and her friends just by reading about them, how would I feel was I watched them be awful teenaged girls?

But the movie is really well done. Like the book, you aren’t rewatching scene after scene of the same day. I suppose that is the beauty of films and their ability to have montages 😉

And I will admit, watching Sam’s story here made me slightly more emotional (in a good way) as opposed to the novel where my feelings were more annoyed than empathetic.

How Close is it to the Book?

From what I remember of the book, this was pretty close. And what I think they left out (like the scene with Sam’s teacher, etc.) made the story stronger here. But the root of the story and its message are the same.

I will say, that Sam’s self-realization in the movie seemed a touch more natural to me. I don’t know if that is because you don’t have her internal monologue for the entire story and you only see what is on the surface/what is said. Or perhaps it is because you have a person you can visually see reacting to everything that helps you empathize. However, I still really struggle with the ending overall.

Did I Like the Cast?

The first role I saw Zoey Deutch (Sam) was the TV show The Ringer where she played a similar character to Sam. She’s a great actress who can play more than just a bitchy teenager (she was great as Rose in The Vampire Academy Movie) so I thought she was a great choice for Sam. Like I said above, I really didn’t like Sam in the book but Zoey brought a touch of humanity to Sam here.

The rest of the cast was great as well. I don’t know if I would change anything about the cast.

thewinneriswinmovie

I definitely enjoyed the movie a touch more than the novel. I think not getting Sam’s internal monologue for every scene really helped me focus on the story and the circumstances instead of her petty, selfish observations.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!


Synopsis for Before I Fall (from Goodreads):

For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—”Cupid Day”—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night.

However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.

Trailer:

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Movie Mondays: I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

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

Book: I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai (2013) | Movie: He Named Me Malala (2015)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

Author: Malala Yousafzai
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
Point of View: First Person, Single
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I didn’t know much about Malala other than what the title of her book says. But I was curious to learn more.

The Concept:

I thought this book would be more about her life after she was shot–but in hindsight I’m not sure why. I mean, you have to learn why she is shot in the first place, but I guess I just didn’t expect so much history. However, it is the best aspect of the story.

I learned a LOT about the history and political turmoil of Pakistan. I only know the gists from headlines back in Canada–but it always has a foreign spin to it and not the native context that this book provides.

So you learn about Malala’s life all the way up to the moment she is shot and the events that follow after. It’s quite detailed but well informed and doesn’t bombard you with information you can’t retain.

This might sound bad, but I was worried that Malala would be portrayed in a “perfect” light. What I mean is that, I worried she would only focus on her activism and trimuphs. But that isn’t the case at all. She has no qualms sharing her faults (like her quarrels with friends, etc) and I greatly appreciate that. It grounds her and provides a realism to this story that adds to its message.

The Writing/Narration:

You might think Malala narrates this entire audiobook but she doesn’t. She just narrates the prologue and another woman narrates the rest of the book. And honestly, it is just as heartbreaking and inspiring to read even when you know Malala isn’t the one speaking to you.

Did it Impact My Life?

This book broke my heart and made me feel extremely guilty for taking for granted the many privileges and rights I have everyday in my life.

Here I am, a girl complaining about being in her 6th year of post-secondary studies and here is this girl telling me girls in her country are denied the chance to attend any school in their lifetime.

Here in North America we are fighting for equal pay for the genders while there are some countries that don’t allow women to work at all.

This book really opened my eyes to the injustices of the world–especially those against females–and I will be forever grateful.

overall

Heartbreaking but inspiring, this is a fantastic read for anyone interested in how one girl draws attention to an issue faced my millions around the world.

Rating: 3.5/5


Were My Expectations Met?

I went into this movie/documentary hoping that this movie would focus more on Malala after the shooting and her work afterwards; only briefly touching on her life in Pakistan.

And that’s what we get.

At times, the movie feels like an extended epilogue to the memoir. You get to see how far she has come from her injuries and how that hasn’t slowed her down in any way. It’s inspiring in a whole other way.

How Close is it to the Book?

The movie definitely glosses over the finer details of the turmoil in Pakistan, just giving the viewer enough information to give context to Malala’s circumstances. Some scenes are right from the book though.

And like I said above, I feel like this movie is shows you more of what happens after her recovery and what her life is currently like. It also gives you the global perspective of the reception around the world.

But it still does a great job of showcasing Malala as an everyday girl who wants girls all over the world to be seen as equal to boys.

thewinneriswintie

I think the book and the movie should be paired up. That when you finish one, you read/watch the other. If you don’t want to read the book and get the details of the current situation in Pakistan, the movie is a great crash-course in understanding the basics. They are both interesting and inspiring works that girls (and boys!) should experience because we still have a long way to go when it comes to equality around the world.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban (from Goodreads):

I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday.

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.

Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.

I Am Malala will make you believe in the power of one person’s voice to inspire change in the world

Trailer:

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Movie Mondays: Fifty Shades Darker

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

Book: Fifty Shades Darker by E L James (2011) | Movie: Fifty Shades Darker (2017)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

 

Series: Fifty Shades
Author: E L James
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Suspense
Heat Rating: Smokin’ (BDSM: High)
Point of View: First Person, Single
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Man, it’s been a long time since I read this novel! But, it’s probably the one I enjoyed reading the most in the trilogy.

Unlike its predecessor, this one has a much stronger plot (aka not just sexy times). We learn more about Christian’s past, we get a suspenseful plot line and plenty of romantic moments.

It’s a solid sequel I think for a series of this nature.

overall

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


Were My Expectations Met?

I watched the original movie two hours before I saw this in theatres for a little refresher. It reminded me that the first movie had some awful dialogue and not a whole lot going on in terms of plot. So what I wanted from Darker was a more suspenseful plot (given the source material’s suspenseful moments) and for Jamie Dornan as Christian to be not as awkward in the role.

And my expectations were met! I thought this movie was much better than its predecessor. It just seemed a lot more natural in its delivery. There was a touch of (intentional) humour in some scenes which was much appreciated but it was also serious when it needed to be. And for being a two hour movie, it didn’t drag on excessively (and looking back, I’m not sure what you would cut out either).

How Close is it to the Book?

Pretty close actually from what I can remember. It hits all the major highlights of the novel.

I was a little disappointed in one thing which you can read about in the spoiler window below.

My Spoiler Rant

One thing I really appreciated about Fifty Shades Darker was Ana’s insistence that they speak to a therapist to work out Christian’s issues; particularly before she accepts his marriage proposal. I just thought it was a nice, realistic touch to the story and one that doesn’t perpetuate the idea that love can heal all on its own. Whereas the movie lacks this idea by never having a therapist scene and makes it seem as if Christian can change who he is by shear will alone.

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Did I Like the Cast?

I still think Dakota makes a fabulous Ana. She was so on point with this movie.

And Jamie seemed a lot more comfortable in the role of Christian. I think his dialogue improved because he didn’t seem as ridiculous saying his lines as he did in the first movie. Or maybe they just toned down the cheese in general? Regardless, I liked his acting a lot more in this one.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m excited to see how they are going to handle the last novel, Fifty Shades Freed. It’s got a lot of drama and I can’t wait to see it!

thewinneris winmovie

Not only was this book so much better than its predecessor, but it was so much easier to watch on the big screen. I liked the approach the movie took, working with the highlights and making things seem a little more natural and not as forced as the first movie seemed.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!


Synopsis for Fifty Shades Darker (from Goodreads):

Daunted by the singular sexual tastes and dark secrets of the beautiful, tormented young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele has broken off their relationship to start a new career with a Seattle publishing house. But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought, and when he proposes a new arrangement, Anastasia cannot resist. They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and Anastasia learns more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven, and demanding Fifty Shades. While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront her anger and envy of the women who came before her and make the most important decision of her life. Erotic, sparkling and suspenseful, Fifty Shades Darker is the irresistibly addictive second part of the Fifty Shades trilogy.

Trailer:

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Movie Mondays: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

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

Book: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith and Jane Austen (2009) | Movie: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

Series: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Author: Seth Grahame-Smith
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Horror, Action, Zombies, Retelling
Point of View: Third Person, Single
Source & Format: Own–Paperback

thoughts

I had just finished Pride and Prejudice (PP) when I picked up this zombified version. I’ll admit, I was more interested in this horror version than the classic simply because I had heard really good things about it. But I wanted to be familiar with the original story (not just what I watched in movies) and so it served as good motivation to pick up the classic novel.

The two books are very, very similar. The best way I can think to describe Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (PPZ) is PP with new scenes added to include the zombie aspect. Of course, certain things are reworked to account for the fact that all the Bennet girls are warriors but lots of scenes are word-for-word the Austen writings–which is why she is listed as an author on this novel.

As a girl who likes action in her stories, the zombie slaying battles were a lot of fun to read. It (ironically) adds a little life to the story and makes such a well known story fresh and exciting. Not that PP isn’t great on its own, it’s just cool to see a different spin on a story we know so well.

And dare I say, it actually made me really like the Elizabeth and Darcy pairing even more. Their love-hate relationship really works well for this zombie version. You could see why they liked each other so much and how great of a pair they were for each other.

overall

I think fans of the classic novel will enjoy this fun take if they don’t mind zombies. I also think it will appeal to people who want to read the classic but might find it on the drier side. It serves as a great introduction to the classics of Jane Austen and will hopefully ignite a love for her work.

Rating: 5/5

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First, it took me wayyyy too long to watch it! I wanted to see it opening weekend but it wasn’t playing in my local theatre on my Reading Week break and by the time I got back to a bigger city a week later, it was gone! So I had to wait forever to get my hands on a copy!

Were My Expectations Met?

I just wanted to have fun watching this movie and I definitely did! While I love the other PP movies, this one lacked the more sombre and seriousness of those presentations. This one exaggerated characters more (like Mr Collins) and had great action sequences so it moves at a fast and exciting pace.

All the Bennet girls kicked serious ass; especially Lizzie. She’s still that strong and stubborn heroine who doesn’t give up a fight–only in this case it is literally!

How Close is it to the Book?

I read the book ages ago so I’m not sure how close it truly was. While I know the PP classic story very well, I don’t really recall all the action and zombie scenes all that much. But everything seemed to be the same to me or if it was different, it was all in the same vein so I truly didn’t notice.

Did I Like the Cast?

I’m a huge Lily James fan. Don’t ask me why exactly; I think she just does a great job at playing strong heroines. I know that Natalie Portman was originally tapped to play Lizzie but I think Lily was the much better choice.

glitter zombies pride and prejudice and zombies jane austin

Sam Riley will never be Collin Firth’s Darcy in my eyes (the standard for all Mr Darcy’s past and future), but he really did a fantastic job. He’s got the whole stiff and proper vibe going on and it works.

mr darcy colin firth

But you know who really stole this one for me? Was Matt Smith as Mr Collins. He was just hilarious! His character adds a lot of humour to this story which can be pretty depressing at times (I mean, they are killing undead people they sometimes know). In other adaptations, I always feel sympathetic to Mr Collins and how he gets tossed aside as a husband; but here he is the Shakespearean fool and it makes it easy to see why he isn’t that much of a catch.

Image result for matt smith gif pride and prejudice

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I think we can all agree that the original novel by Austen is the real winner. I mean it’s a classic that is adored by generations and is one of the most well known romances in history.

But I think it depends on what you want when it comes to PPZ and its forms. The book rings more true to the classic novel simply because it shares a lot of the same passages. So if you want a retelling, perhaps the book is your pick. But if you want to be entertained with a loose adaptation, the movie is just a lot of fun. It has the action and it has the romance and it’s simply a joy to watch.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (from Goodreads):

So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield. Can Elizabeth vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to read.

Trailer:

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Movie Mondays: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

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

Book: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (2012) | Movie: Me Before You (2016)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

Series: Me Before You
Author: Jojo Moyes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Chick Lit, Romance
Point of View: First Person, Single
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

Truth be told, I really hummed and hawed over whether or not to read this book. I knew I was most definitely going to be watching the movie. Sam Claflin has a special place in my heart after watching Love, Rosie so I wasn’t going to miss my chance to see him on the screen again. But I really wasn’t sure if I wanted to read the book first or watch the movie first. I also read a bit of a spoiler on a blog and that diminished my enthusiasm to read it. In the end, I decided I would probably never read the book if I watched the movie first and it seems like one of those books that you just have to read at some point.

I almost didn’t finish the book though when I started to read it. It was really just a timing thing–I had a lot going on and I was in a bit of a reading slump–but then I got sucked into this book and I had a hard time putting it down.

Truth be told, it was Louisa’s character that sucked me in.

She was quirky in a way I found endearing and she had me laughing at times. Her situation tugged on my heartstrings a bit and it was so easy to want to root for her. And the same can be said for Will as well. It was amazing how attached to these characters I got.

After seeing the movie trailer, I figured this book was going to be a full blown romance and that really isn’t the case. Yes, romance does play a part in it but it isn’t the main theme of the book. The main theme is really about life and what it means to the people who live it. Its a good philosophy question that will never get answered because it really is a subjective topic.

And yes, I cried. I really didn’t think I would but I totally did.

overall

I really enjoyed this book! It was a great story about life, love and friendship. I laughed and I cried. However, I don’t plan on reading the sequel. I’m really happy with how things ended and I’m not really interested in what happens next.

Rating: 5/5

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Were My Expectations Met?

YES! This movie was so sweet and funny. I thought I might cry but I was able to keep back the tears. I think it helped that I pictured Sam and Emilia as the leads while I read this so I was prepared to see them in the movie.

How Close is it to the Book?

Very close actually. I was impressed by how much of the dialogue was word for word from the book. Of course, it helps when the author writes the screenplay.

All the major moments are shown so it was great to see those on the screen. A few things were omitted–like Lousia’s tension with her sister; or her research–but the heart of the novel is still there and it shows.

Did I Like the Cast?

Yes! Emilia was fantastic as Louisa! She had me laughing throughout just like in the novel. I don’t know who else you would get for that role.

Sam was also great as Will. His facial expressions to Louisa’s actions were exactly what I pictured when I read the novel. He was perfect.

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I connected a lot more with the characters in the book. I liked the focus the novel had on life and friendship more so than the movie. It just went that little bit deeper for me. But I thought the movie was great and a solid adaptation of the novel.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for Me Before You (from Goodreads):

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

Trailer:

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Movie Mondays: The Girl on the Train

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

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

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

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

thoughts

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

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

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

overall

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

Rating: 3.5/5
Full Review: Full series review here!
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  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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

Were My Expectations Met?

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

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

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

How Close is it to the Book?

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

Did I Like the Cast?

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

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

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

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

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

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

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

Trailer:

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Movie Monday: Allegiant

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

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

Which did I read/see first? Book

Book Cover | Movie Poster

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

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

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

thoughts

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

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

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

overall

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

Rating: 5/5
Series Review: Full series review here!
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Were My Expectations Met?

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

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

How Close is it to the Book?

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

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

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

Did I Like the Cast?

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

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

I mean, it isn’t that hard…<3

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

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

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

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for Allegiant (from Goodreads):

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

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

Trailer:

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