Tag «teen»

Movie Mondays: Ella Enchanted

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: Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine | Movie: Ella Enchanted (2004)

Which did I read/see first? MOVIE

Book Cover | Movie Poster

The Book:

Series: Enchanted
Genre: Teen, Medieval, Romance, Magic

Thoughts:

I wanted to read this book ever since I watched the movie and so, two years after the movie was released I grabbed my local library’s copy and got cracking!

It took me awhile to get into this book. I believe this was caused by two things: 1)I was expecting it to be like the movie and 2) I was probably a little too old to be reading it.

I’ll tackle #1 first. As we all know, movie scripts often take liberties in order to condense a book into a 90 minute film and that is the case here. While the basics are the same in the movie, there is a drastically different plot in the book (it is more of a Cinderella retelling with a twist than in the movie) and that wasn’t what I was expecting.

Which leads me into #2, I was a little too old to read this. This book is definitely geared towards the younger teen crowd. The writing is great, but the plot and setting is definitely “middle school” in its approach and just didn’t appeal to me enough.

Conclusion:

I was disappointed in this book, but I know that if I read it before the movie came out, I would have loved it. Great story and message, just not my cup of tea when I read it.

Rating: 3/5
Similar Reads: Beastly by Alex Flinn (Kendra Chronicles, #1)

The Movie:

I can remember finishing this movie and wanting to watch it again. I just thought it was such a cute story and I loved every minute of it. And my feelings on this have nothing to do with my huge crush on Hugh Dancy 😉

There were quite a few things I enjoyed besides the casting. I liked the story and the characters–it was a fun, funny, fantasy adventure that I hadn’t seen a lot of lately in the teen romantic comedy movies of the time. I also liked the modern yet medieval approach to the world (like the escalator in the market or the paparazzi). I thought it was a neat twist. Mind you, I was also 12 when I watched this for the first time so I was the target audience but if it is on the TV, I can’t help but to watch it — this probably has everything to do with my crush on Hugh Dancy 😉

After reading the book, I think I would have been severely disappointed in the movie. They weren’t alike as I mentioned before, although I still think it kept true to the message of the book–girls have the strength to do whatever they set their mind to. I think the movie was geared to appeal to a larger age range and for that to happen that had to change the story to get it there.

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

In this case, the winner is MOVIE . This is definitely a personal opinion and one I think would be the reverse if I had read the novel before I watched the movie. Both are entertaining in their own way–it is just one of those cases where it depends on your age and what you see/read first.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for Ella Enchanted (from Goodreads):
At birth, Ella is inadvertently cursed by an imprudent young fairy named Lucinda, who bestows on her the “gift” of obedience. Anything anyone tells her to do, Ella must obey. Another girl might have been cowed by this affliction, but not feisty Ella: “Instead of making me docile, Lucinda’s curse made a rebel of me. Or perhaps I was that way naturally.” When her beloved mother dies, leaving her in the care of a mostly absent and avaricious father, and later, a loathsome stepmother and two treacherous stepsisters, Ella’s life and well-being seem to be in grave peril. But her intelligence and saucy nature keep her in good stead as she sets out on a quest for freedom and self-discovery as she tries to track down Lucinda to undo the curse, fending off ogres, befriending elves, and falling in love with a prince along the way. Yes, there is a pumpkin coach, a glass slipper, and a happily ever after, but this is the most remarkable, delightful, and profound version of Cinderella you’ll ever read.

Trailer:

Single Sundays: The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):
An action-packed tale of gowns, guys, guns –and the heroines who use them all

Set in turn of the century London, The Friday Society follows the stories of three very intelligent and talented young women, all of whom are assistants to powerful men: Cora, lab assistant; Michiko, Japanese fight assistant; and Nellie, magician’s assistant. The three young women’s lives become inexorably intertwined after a chance meeting at a ball that ends with the discovery of a murdered mystery man.

It’s up to these three, in their own charming but bold way, to solve the murder–and the crimes they believe may be connected to it–without calling too much attention to themselves.

Set in the past but with a modern irreverent flare, this Steampunk whodunit introduces three unforgettable and very ladylike–well, relatively ladylike–heroines poised for more dangerous adventures

Review:

I absolutely love Steampunk and I also love strong female characters so this book seemed like a no-brainer to me. After over a year, I finally got my hands on it!

I think it is fair to say that is book wasn’t what I was totally expecting–and that is OK. I still really liked it but not in the way I thought I would before I picked up it up.

I found this book to be really refreshing. The wit in it (all you really have to do is read some of the chapter titles and you will get what I am saying) is unlike any book I have read in recent memory. It was just a lot of fun and I did chuckle a few times at the characters and what they say/do. That being said, this type of humour and writing might not appeal to everyone so just be forewarned.

The characters were great. I think as a girl you can relate to some part of the three of the ladies in some way. I will say I was a little disappointed in Michiko’s character and I would have liked to have seen her character develop a bit more than what we get but I still liked her a lot. But overall, I really liked the strong ladies we get!

The book started a little slow and it didn’t help that I was thrown off by what I was actually reading. It isn’t very steampunk–and by that I mean that the steampunk element isn’t the driving force of the story like some other books. This book chooses to focus instead on how the girls live in a society that limits what girls in what they can do in polite society and the solving of a murder. But, the book really does pick up once you are a few chapters in and between the 3 girls, there is always something to grab your attention. The last 50 or so pages were really addicting.

Conclusion:

A very fun and witty read! I really hope that there is a sequel because I would love to see what else these girls get themselves into!

Rating: 3.5/5
Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Teen, Young Adult, Steampunk, Mystery, Action
Recommended for: 15+
Similar Reads: The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross (Steampunk Chronicles, #1)

Though it isn’t a book, I highly recommend that you watch the TV show, Avatar: Legend of Korra is you like this genre and type of story!

Series Review: The Wolves of Mercy Falls by Maggie Stiefvater

book

Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy; The Shiver Quartet
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
# of Books: 3 (Shiver, Linger Forever)

There is a companion novel that takes places after Forever called Sinner. It is Cole and Isabel’s story.

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Teen, Young Adult, Werewolves, Romance, Supernatural, Shapeshifters, Urban Fantasy
Heat Rating: lukewarm

Thoughts:

This was one of those series that seemed to be everywhere when it first came out and people seemed to be gobbling it up. I decided to pick it up and thought it was a good idea to try something that didn’t focus primarily on vampires for once.

Unfortunately, werewolves don’t do much for me. This series really helped me reach that conclusion once I finished it. I’m not sure why I don’t like them but I find series that only focus on werewolves are ones I tend to not enjoy. There are only a select few (and by that I mean like 2 series tops) that focus on werewolves and are books I actually liked. I don’t mind when there are werewolves in stories with other paranormal creatures, but on their own werewolves turn me off of a series.

Shiver didn’t do too much for me overall. It was a slower paced book and I instantly disliked Grace. She really irked me by the time I got to Linger. I just found she was a little bratty and a little too “angsty” for me to enjoy reading her POV. While I can sympathize with her situation at home and see why she may act they way she does, I just didn’t connect to her character enough to let me completely empathize with her.

So it was nice to get a break with having the POV alternate between her and Sam. Sam’s story I found a lot easier to sympathize with and overall, at least with Shiver, I liked him more than Grace. Of course that changed as the series progressed but for the most part I think Sam was the reason I stuck it out with Shiver.

To be honest, I probably wasn’t going to read Linger but based on the way Shiver ended and the promise of Isabel and Cole’s characters added to the mix, I was intrigued. I actually wish Isabel and Cole were the main characters because I enjoyed their stories a lot more than Sam and Grace’s (and my wish was granted with the release of Sinner). Linger was actually my favourite of the series because of Cole and Isabel’s presence (but seeing as how I didn’t enjoy the first or last book very much, it isn’t a surprise that book 2 was my fave).

It had been a long time since I had read the first two books so by the time I got to Forever I had kind of forgot most of the major plot. I basically skimmed the last book just to see how it ended. Unfortunately, the ending was really disappointing to me so I that soured the series for me.

I have to say that although I didn’t particularly care for werewolves, Stiefvater’s spin on lycanthropy was interesting and it made for some cool plot twists in an otherwise drab storyline. I also thought it was cool that the font colour of the published books match the overall colour of the cover–it was a nice touch.

UPDATED (Aug 4/14): Although I didn’t love the trilogy, I was actually really excited to read Sinner, the companion novel to the trilogy that is told solely from Cole and Isabel’s POV following the events of Forever. I found that there really wasn’t an overall plot to the novel like the rest of the trilogy had. Instead, it focused on character development which was good because Isabel and Cole are two of my favourite characters and I loved getting more inside their minds. However, their minds are rather dark and you kind of love to hate them because they aren’t the nicest people (and the best part is that they know it). I wish there was bit more of a plot though because it seemed like it was 50 pages too long and it dragged a bit. But I loved seeing more of Isabel and Cole so it was worth the read.

Conclusion:

This was a really disappointing series for me. I think those who want a clean, werewolf read might enjoy this series but be warned that the characters can be a little irritating and it is a lot of the typical teenage indecisiveness and angst throughout the series.

Fun fact though, apparently they are planning on making this into a movie :O I will probably pass but I am sure fans of the series will be excited.

Rating: 2.5/5

Similar Reads: The Dark Divine by Bree Despain (Dark Divine #1) and Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lyn Barnes (Raised by Wolves #1)

Synopsis for Shiver (from Goodreads):
For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without.

Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever

Single Sundays: The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekes

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):
Meet Rochelle Evans: pretty, popular–and never been kissed. Meet Noah Flynn: badass, volatile–and a total player. And also Elle’s best friend’s older brother…

When Elle decides to run a kissing booth for the school’s Spring Carnival, she locks lips with Noah and her life is turned upside down. Her head says to keep away, but her heart wants to draw closer–this romance seems far from fairy tale and headed for heartbreak.

But will Elle get her happily ever after?

Review:

I went into this book with unknown expectations. There wasn’t much of a plot description and the reviews on Goodreads were a little mixed but I decided to give it a shot anyways. I haven’t read a book lately where someone falls in love with a best friend’s sibling and truly enjoyed it so I though perhaps this one might be it.

Unfortunately, this book didn’t do too much for me.

I think it mostly has to do with Elle’s character. She was set up in such a way that I knew I was supposed to like her and in theory I should have. She was a tomboy, had mostly guy friends and wasn’t obsessive with the need to have a boyfriend like most girls her age. She actually reminded me a lot of Jordan from Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally (Hundred Oaks, #1)–and truthfully this whole book did a little bit though they have completely different plot lines–where I knew I was supposed to like her but there was just something about her that rubbed me the wrong way. As I read it more, I think it was the way she took the wrong things seriously and downplayed the serious things. I also didn’t get her logic at times either–she just seemed to go about things the round-about way and not directly.

There isn’t much (read: any) plot besides Elle dealing with her feelings for her BFF‘s brother and how her BFF reacts. However, the romance aspect is really cute and there is enough “drama” within this plot to keep it moving forward.

The only time I did like Elle was at the end where she got a little bit realistic. Although it seemed out of place, I appreciated the realism that was attempted. However, as much as I appreciate the realism, an epilogue would be nice 😉 According to her Wattpad Page, Miss Reekles is not planning a sequel for The Kissing Booth which I think is a good choice based on the way it ended (there isn’t too much you could do plot wise) but I also would have liked a bit more closure based on the way it ended.

There is a novella that I believe is an extended scene of the book available on Wattpad that you can read for free. I didn’t read it but I might one day.

Oh, I also thought the book might be more “British” in its delivery as the author is from the UK, but it actually takes place in America and it very American in its delivery so just be advised! It kind-of threw me at the start 😛

Conclusion:

It was a cute read, but nothing overly fabulous. I liked the way it poked fun at other books of the genre and I liked that it didn’t always take the “cliché” way with its plot. If you want a slower, cute, clean, and quick read about falling in love with your BFF’s older brother, then check it out–otherwise, pass!

Rating: 3/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Teen/Young Adult, Romance,
Recommended for: 16
Similar Reads: Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally (Hundred Oaks, #1) and Saved by Kelly Elliot (Wanted, #2)

Series Review: Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer

Series: Twilight Saga
Author: Stephanie Meyer
# of Books: 4 (Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn)

There are also two novellas, Midnight Sun (#1.5) & The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner (#3.5)

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Teen, Romance, Vampires, Paranormal, Love Triangles
Heat Rating: cool
Movie Review: Catch my thoughts on the movie here!

Thoughts:

I was in the middle of Grade 10 when I picked up Twilight. This was just before the Twilight Saga got really big and I was just beginning to hear about it. My friend had bought a copy so I decided to give it a shot.

I really enjoyed Twilight–I know, scary :O I actually reread it immediately after I finished it. I will admit that at this time, I wasn’t the reading junkie I am now, so I hadn’t read a “paranormal romance” book in a really long time. AND, I was in the target audience so of course it was going to appeal to me. I thought Edward was swoon-worthy, Bella was borderline irritating and the concept and plot was interesting. Sure, a glittery vampire is ridiculous but it is a fictional book and when it comes to paranormal fiction, I give a little more leeway to somewhat absurd concepts. The writing was nothing superb but it was easy to read and a quick read as well.

(FUN FACT: Many people “accuse” Vampire Diaries of being a rip-off of Twilight when in fact Vampire Diaries was published nearly 15 years earlier ;))

I have a theory about New Moon that I think most people who have read the series will agree with me on. Here it is: if you are Team Jacob, you love this book; if you are Team Edward, you can’t stand this book. Of course there are exceptions to this theory but for the most part, it remains valid. As an admitting Team Edward fan, I HATED New Moon. This is when Bella passes the border from irritating into the annoying-beyond. The simple way to sum up this book is as “depressing”. I don’t enjoy reading ~400 pages of mooning over a guy and that is all that we get. Oh, and let’s not forget the introduction of a love triangle–ugh.

I’m not sure if Eclipse if my favourite because it is significantly better than New Moon or because it has a plot and some action to it. Either way, this is probably my favourite of the saga (Twilight would be second). What I don’t like about this book is the character Edward becomes. The best way is to describe him is as a sissy–where did his backbone go?! I wish he would have fought a little harder for Bella instead of doing the “I love her so much that if it makes her happy to be with someone else, it makes me happy” routine he does here. It’s an ironic move on Edward’s part considering the effect this decision had on him in the previous, painful as the teeth-pulling work that is New Moon? Come’on Edward, we all suffered during that book and we know you are lying!

In my opinion, the series could have ended as a trilogy and I would have been satisfied. I get the distinct impression that Breaking Dawn is bonafide fan fiction. I seriously feel like every possible scenario fans discussed on a forum was thrown into this book and then published. It is basically just an extended (a very long extended) epilogue. It is also a whole lot of build-up to a massive action scene that doesn’t meet expectations. I think this was an attempt to have the series “grow” with its readers (like Harry Potter does I am told) but it just didn’t deliver. I was severely disappointed in this novel and it tarnishes my thoughts about the series as a whole.

As for the novellas, they are alright. Midnight Sun was originally going to be a full length novel from Edwards POV but it was leaked before it was finished. It’s cool to read it after you have just finished Twilight but it would be better as a full novel or just as key scenes. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner didn’t blow my mind but it provided an interesting perspective to the events of Eclipse. Neither of these novellas are needed to read the rest of the series.

Conclusion:

If you are a young teen girl (and perhaps some younger adults), you will enjoy this series but for the rest it’ll probably be a pass. There is nothing fabulous about this series BUT, I do credit Twilight for popularizing vampires again. I think without the attention it garnered, a few of my favourite book series (and TV shows!) wouldn’t be published or at least brought to my attention, so thanks!

Rating: 3/5

See what I though of the movie here

Similar Reads: Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Darkside by Beth Fantaskey (Jessica Series, #1) and My Love Lies Bleeding by Alyxandra Harvey (Drake Chronicles, #1)

Synopsis for Twilight (from Goodreads):
Isabella Swan’s move to Forks, a small, perpetually rainy town in Washington, could have been the most boring move she ever made. But once she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, Isabella’s life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. Up until now, Edward has managed to keep his vampire identity a secret in the small community he lives in, but now nobody is safe, especially Isabella, the person Edward holds most dear. The lovers find themselves balanced precariously on the point of a knife-between desire and danger. Deeply romantic and extraordinarily suspenseful, Twilight captures the struggle between defying our instincts and satisfying our desires. This is a love story with bite

Movie Mondays: Twilight

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: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer | Movie: Twilight (2008)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

The Book:

Series: Twilight Saga
Genre: Teen, Vampires, Romance

Thoughts:

I actually enjoyed Twilight. Mind you, I was about 15 when I read it (read: target audience) and I hadn’t read too many books at that point. This was also just before it got really big too so not so many annoying fangirls. I thought the story was cute and I enjoyed the “paranormal” aspect of it. I have since read extremely better books, but when I initially read it, I did like it.

As I wrote in my series review of the series, I liked Edward as a romantic read and tolerated Bella. I thought the plot was a good blend of suspense, romance and action and while the writing is nothing superb, it was easy to read.

Conclusion:

I enjoyed it though, definitely not for everyone. Teens will probably get the most out of it so that would be who I recommend it to.

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

Similar Reads: Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Darkside by Beth Fantaskey (Jessica Series, #1) and My Love Lies Bleeding by Alyxandra Harvey (Drake Chronicles, #1)

The Movie:

I was one of those book fans who didn’t like the casting choices for the movie. I thought the Cullen family was cast perfectly as well as the rest of the supporting cast. I liked Taylor Lautner as Jacob (it allowed me to understand visually why Bella was always torn between Edward and Jacob :P). However, I don’t like Robert Pattinson or Kristen Stewart.

I will keep this rant short but they weren’t who I pictured for the leads in my head when I read the book. Robert isn’t my vision of Edward. Actually, I wanted Steven Strait (The Covenant, 2006 & Magic City, 2012-) to be Edward (I understand that some people wanted him for Jacob, but I think he is a better Edward. I think what fueled this idea in my head was the role he plays in The Covenant was very similar to Edward’s. As for Kristen, she looked the part but I could never stand her acting. Did you ever watch the movie Catch that Kid(2004)? Well, Kristen was in it and I couldn’t stand her in that. My friends and I like to play a game when we watch the movies called “what expression is Kristen trying to do now?” Most of the time the answer is constipation.

But, to the actually movie. As far as book to movie adaptions, this nearly copies the book word for word. There are a few pieces of artistic licence but for the most part, it follows the book. I remember seeing it for the first time and thinking it was amazing and then going to rewatch it (yes, I saw it twice in theatres) and laughing hysterically throughout it. The acting isn’t great, the graphics are a little hokey but the budget wasn’t that fantastic for it so I can let it go.

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

In this case, the winner is the book . The book is a touch less cheesy than the movie. Though I give props to the movie for sticking to the book’s story.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for Twilight (from Goodreads):
Isabella Swan’s move to Forks, a small, perpetually rainy town in Washington, could have been the most boring move she ever made. But once she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, Isabella’s life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. Up until now, Edward has managed to keep his vampire identity a secret in the small community he lives in, but now nobody is safe, especially Isabella, the person Edward holds most dear. The lovers find themselves balanced precariously on the point of a knife-between desire and danger. Deeply romantic and extraordinarily suspenseful, Twilight captures the struggle between defying our instincts and satisfying our desires. This is a love story with bite

Trailer:

Single Sundays: Team Human by Justine Larbalestier & Sarah Rees Brennan

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):
Mel is horrified when Francis Duvarney, arrogant, gorgeous, and undead, starts at her high school. Mel’s best friend, Cathy, immediately falls for the vampire. Cathy is determined to be with him forever, even if having him turn her could inadvertently make her a zombie.

And Mel is equally determined to prove to her BFF that Francis is no good, braving the city’s vampire district and kissing a cute boy raised by vampires as she searches evidence in this touching and comic novel

Review:

I went into this book thinking it was going to be a fun read about a tough girl braving the world of vampires in a satire. I’m not sure why I was expecting this because as I reread the summaries from Goodreads and my local library’s collection, I really should have got the clue that this book wasn’t for me.

I didn’t find this book very funny. I don’t think this is a good sign because I laugh at everything–and I truly mean everything. To give it credit, I think I did chuckle at a few things but overall I was left disappointed in the humour aspect. I expect books written as satires to have a little ironic humour in them and I didn’t think this one did.

Also, Mel drove me crazy. She annoyed the crap out of me and I found it hard to continue reading. She’s rude and selfish and unnecessarily violent. Francis is weird and I wanted to give Cathy a good slap. The only character I enjoyed was Kit because I thought he was quirky and probably delivered on the “satire” part of the novel. (After I read this, I guess the satire part shines in the characters because they are everything I hate about angsty teen vampire romance novels–so bravo!).

The plot was ok and I guess I see the irony (*coughcough* Twilight) but there was nothing that really wowed me about it.

Conclusion:

This book was a miss for me. It fails to deliver as a satire and has unlikeable characters. Thankfully, it was a quick read.

Rating: 2.5/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Teen, Romance, Vampires, Satire
Recommended for: 15+
Similar Reads: Nightlight by The Harvard Lampoon