Category «Movie Adaptions»

Movie Mondays: The Darkest Minds

Movie Mondays: The Darkest Minds

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: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken (2012) | Movie: The Darkest Minds (2018)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Series: The Darkest Minds Trilogy
Author: Alexandra Bracken
# of Books: 4 (Full Reading Order)

There are 3 novellas. See their reading order here.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Post Apocalyptic, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: December 2012 – July 2018
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

thoughts

I was very excited to read The Darkest Minds because its one of those series that bloggers rave about and it seemed like my kind of story based on the synopsis. I love dystopian fiction and the premise for this story seemed like something I would no doubt enjoy.

However, it took me a very long time to get into this story. My attention would wane thanks to the somewhat overly descriptive writing and the extended exposition. The romance didn’t wow me but it didn’t annoy me either. And Ruby as a lead didn’t overly impress me though I appreciated her character evolution throughout the novel. I was drawn more to some of the side characters.

The last 100 pages or so is when things got exciting and I finished The Darkest Minds on a high note, eagerly anticipating the sequel.

overall

While it wasn’t as exciting as other first novels in some other YA dystopian novels, it laid down an intriguing foundation that I hoped would be carried out throughout the rest of the series.

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

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Were My Expectations Met?

The Darkest Minds was one of those novels where I thought “this would be a great movie” as I read it. I found the novel to be a little dragged out and I figured the condensing that comes with a movie would create a more exciting plotline.

And that happens in a so-so kind of way. We moved from A to B quickly but along the way, I think we lost some of the charm the novel had. The romance felt rushed and superficial. And I think the side characters weren’t as strong as they were in the book.

How Close is it to the Book?

I had to look up a detailed synopsis to see if the events happened like they did since it has been so long since I read the novels. From what I can see, it’s pretty spot on…though feel free to correct me!

Did I Like the Cast?

I think Amandla Stenberg has been in every major YA adaption in the last few years…and that isn’t a bad thing. She’s a great actress! She didn’t wow me here though but I can’ tell if that is a result of a bad script or the fact that Ruby didn’t impress me in the novels either.

I think the rest of the cast looked like what I pictured. Nobody really impressed me though–perhaps that is the script’s fault?

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Given the box office numbers, I doubt we will get a sequel. That’s a little disappointing because I think there is more visually captivating stuff to come in the sequels. But given the fact that I was bored throughout most of the movie, it probably isn’t a bad thing.

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I really thought the movie would pull out the win before I watched it but here I am corrected! I think the movie suffered from a stiff, condensed script and that didn’t bring out the best in the characters.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!


Synopsis for The Darkest Minds (from Goodreads):
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.

Trailer:

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Movie Mondays: The Hate U Give

Movie Mondays: The Hate U Give

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: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (2017) | Movie: The Hate U Give (2018)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Author: Angie Thomas
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: February 28, 2017
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

You couldn’t escape this book in 2017…and for good reason. It’s a strong story in so many ways that you can’t help but praise it.

The characters are great; the message is strong and the emotions are high.

My only criticism is that the pacing was a little off for me. I thought some things were drawn out longer than they needed to be, while others weren’t.

The audiobook is also fabulous! I highly recommend!

overall

This book definitely deserves all the praise it gets! It’s a well crafted story that is so relevant to society right now. My only criticism is the pacing of the plot at times.

Rating: 4/5
Full Review: Full standalone review here!

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Were My Expectations Met?

For sure! They did a great job capturing the essence of the novel and bringing Starr’s story to life.

How Close is it to the Book?

It’s been a while since I read the book so I don’t remember the finer details but I think the major moments are there.

One thing I will say is that I thought the movie focused more on the social justice of the situation than on Starr’s life. And that’s not a bad thing–I think this movie is powerful and much needed with that message. I just think that novel does a good job of highlighting the everyday life of a young black girl in America today while these things are happening and not just as a vehicle for social change as these events happen. (I hope that makes sense).

Did I Like the Cast?

Definitely! They were great! Amandla Stenberg is great in all the book adaption movies she does and her portrayal as Starr is no exception. But everyone was great so props to the casting department!

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I think both versions have their own strengths and weaknesses. I really like the movie because the pacing is much stronger and the message delivery is one that appeals to a wider audience range. However, I like how the novel delves deeper into the everyday life of Starr and not just her struggle to find justice for Khalil.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!


Synopsis for The Hate U Give (from Goodreads):

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Trailer:

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Movie Mondays: Crazy Rich Asians

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: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (2013) | Movie: Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

Which did I read/see first? the MOVIE

Series: Crazy Rich Asians
Author: Kevin Kwan
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Drama, Chick Lit
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

I remember seeing this book everywhere when it first came out but I staunchly avoided it. The hype around it was definitely daunting but after reading the synopsis, it didn’t sound like something I would enjoy at the time. But thanks to the movie, I was curious to know more about the source material and so I put my name on the very long audiobook waitlist.

After finishing this book, I can confidently say that my initial assessment was right. While I enjoyed this book for what it was, I wasn’t overly impressed by it either.

Perhaps part of my lacklustre sentiments come from the audiobook version itself. When you listen to audiobooks, you don’t have the convenience of skimming over overly descriptive paragraphs. Well, you can, but you worry that you’ll skip something important. So I did get a little lost in the descriptions of the finer things in life at times.

I also don’t think that it helps that there really isn’t a plot. I mean, things are going on but it’s a very character driven story. You are basically following various characters around as they lead these extravagant lives given current events (ie Colin’s Wedding). And sure, this is one eccentric cast of characters so they are wholly entertaining; but I also found some of them weren’t overly likeable either.

overall

This book is literally reading a soap opera brought to life. It’s entertaining for sure, even if parts dragged at times.

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


Were My Expectations Met?

For the month of August, it seemed like you couldn’t escape this movie…and I totally got why when I watched it later in September.

This movie was just a really great romantic comedy–but with more layers than your traditional rom-com. I really liked how this movie touched on class and race but also on family and honesty. I think everyone can relate to these characters in one way or another. I felt every range of emotions and had such a blast watching it that I immediately wanted more when we left the theatre. (Which was good because my audiobook hold literally came in just before I watched the movie!)

How Close is it to the Book?

I found the two to be very different. The movie–obviously–condenses a lot of the key scenes in the book together so you still get those memorable moments.

But the movie also shifts the focus of the story as well. I feel like the movie is Rachel’s story about fitting in with Nick’s family whereas the book never felt like that to me, probably because we focus on other characters equally throughout. That’s not the case in the movie where certain characters have been removed entirely and their stories from the book have been condensed or altogether ignored. Perhaps it is because of this adaptation that I found the characters to be much more grounded and likeable in the movie.

The movie seemed to have a larger focus on what the Asian (specifically the Chinese) identity is whereas the book focused more on the extravagant lives of the rich and elite (more “class” based).

Did I Like the Cast?

I thought the cast was perfect! I couldn’t picture anyone else but Ronny Chieng playing Eddie. Awkwafina stole the show for me (her scenes with Ken Jeong were priceless!) as Peik Lin. I just thought everyone did a fabulous job bringing this entertaining characters to life!

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m DYING for a sequel! I can’t wait to see what is in store next for this group of characters!

thewinneris winmovie

I thought the movie did a great job bringing the title of the book to life. You’ve got eccentrically entertaining characters and a stronger linear plot to follow so it is more engaging than the novel counterpart.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!


Synopsis for Crazy Rich Asians (from Goodreads):

When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn’t know is that Nick’s family home happens to look like a palace, that she’ll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back. Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick’s formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should–and should not–marry. Uproarious, addictive, and filled with jaw-dropping opulence, Crazy Rich Asians is an insider’s look at the Asian JetSet; a perfect depiction of the clash between old money and new money; between Overseas Chinese and Mainland Chinese; and a fabulous novel about what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazily rich.

 

Trailer:

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Movie Mondays: The Death Cure

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 Death Cure by James Dashner (2011) | Movie: Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018)

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, Single

thoughts

I adored the second book, The Scorch Trials, in the trilogy. The first book was so meh to me but the second one amped it up and had me eager for the finale.

And what a blah finale it was! I felt like this book lost direction, dragging out the finale answers only to leave you dry and waiting. We focus too much on Thomas inner monologue and worries and ignore the larger scheme of what is happening in the world. It just felt like I read a lot of filler and not much else.

overall

I went in with high hopes only to be bitterly disappointed by the finale. I left with more questions than answers and this book just left a bad taste in my mouth about the series as a whole.

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

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Were My Expectations Met?

The movies in the series just kept getting better and better and that is definitely the case here! I had high expectations given how much I enjoyed The Scorch Trials and the ending. I never thought fondly of this book (it’s my least favourite in the series) but I knew that this would be a solid movie from start to end given its predecessors.

How Close is it to the Book?

Thanks to the major changes that took place in the movie version of The Scorch Trials, the plot here greatly differs from the book. And I was totally OK with that! Seeing as I hated how things went down in the last book, this was a much better ending I think. In many ways it stays true to the spirit of the novel but the execution here is much stronger.

Did I Like the Cast?

I’ve adored the casting in this series since the first movie. They are fabulous!

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While it might have taken a little longer for the final movie to grace our screens, the wait was worth it! This adaption takes the strongest parts of the novel and flaunts them perfectly to deliver a movie that is entertaining yet often heartfelt.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for The Death Cure(from Goodreads):

It’s the end of the line.

WICKED has taken everything from Thomas: his life, his memories, and now his only friends—the Gladers. But it’s finally over. The trials are complete, after one final test.

Will anyone survive?

What WICKED doesn’t know is that Thomas remembers far more than they think. And it’s enough to prove that he can’t believe a word of what they say.

The truth will be terrifying.

Thomas beat the Maze. He survived the Scorch. He’ll risk anything to save his friends. But the truth might be what ends it all.

The time for lies is over.

Trailer:

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!
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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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