Saturday, February 23, 2013

Beautiful Creatures Movie vs. Book

                So if you remember back when I reviewed Pitch Perfect I first saw the trailer for this movie and was super excited.  I have driven so many people crazy listening to me go on and on about it.  I even took the 14th off so I could see this and Die Hard of course, but then I found out while on lunch on the 13th my local theatre is having a 10pm showing of it and I don’t get off till 11pm.  Yep I left early, that much of a nerd but really it was only an hour and a half early so no biggie.  I even made it there in time to see the 'first look' formerly and forever to me known as 'the 20'.

                 I was so excited I was practically bouncing in my seat as I waited through all the amazing previews.  Then it started.  Now I should also mention that in preparation for the movie I re-read the book from start to finish and had just finished it while on lunch the same day so it was FRESH.  So within the first 10 minutes of the movie the book was thrown out the window.  Now I didn’t expect it to be exactly the same by any means but every other movie at least stayed closer to the book. 

                 I was shocked, hurt, and disappointed.  Here is the convoluted part though I liked the movie.  I'm a movie-aholic and a book worm.  I love the book and am horribly disappointed that the movie was not for me a very good adaptation but on the other hand if I think about it as simply a movie then I really enjoyed it.  So for me it was just looking at it without my adoration of the book.  It's a bit hard to do but as I've taken a week to process it I am feeling better about it.

                Real quick the reason it wasn't a good adaptation for me is that too much was different.  I don't just mean hair or eye colors were off.  I mean huge plot points that well frankly don't make any sense if you think about the series, there is no plot for the other books with this movie changes.  Now we didn't get to see as much of some people as we did in the book, which I expected to be cut down but they went so far as to even completely erase one character all together by combining Marian and Amma.  We did get to see more of Viola Davis with that and I like her and I think she did a great job but with the book now it doesn't make sense. 

                Now as a movie on its own as best as I can do I really enjoyed it.  The cast was wonderful.  I liked that they put relatively unknown people in the leading roles and much larger supporting cast with Jeremy Irons as reclusive Macon and as mentioned Viola Davis playing Amma, Emmy Rossum as the siren Riddley, and Emma Thompson as Mrs. Lincoln the crazy leader of the community with a few screws too tight.  Now the story does center around the unknowns but I didn't notice they weren't big names.  I really enjoyed them and not having seen them in anything else I also didn’t have any misconceptions of them they were completely Ethan and Lenna.  Also deserving quick mention is Ethan's best friend Link, who when I first found out about the movie didn’t know him but the week before I did see Hansel & Gretel:  Witch Hunters and he was in there also and worth mentioning as he didn’t get much screen time along with most of Lenna's family which was a shame as they were a huge part of the book but they each were memorable that’s for sure. 
                Everyone did a top notch job and the leads had good chemistry which for a romance story is, well I'd say rather important.  Now I've read a few reviews where people bash the southern accents being over the top and the depiction of the south and their beliefs.  Well living in a small south town with more churches than gas stations, places to eat, and red lights combined, though to be fair there were only 4 red lights in the county).  Where the first questions 85% of new people you meet ask are, "how long have you been here?", clearly they should have heard of you by now if you’ve stayed under the radar, "who are you related too?", they may know some family member by which they will then know if you are someone they like or dislike, and most importantly, "which church do you attend?" and that defines you.  At least until some other juicy tidbit comes along and they can add in there.  Not everyone is like that, I know I wasn’t and there were a lot of people who weren't but I'd feel confident 85% of the community was.  When I was let go of my old position and was interviewing for a new job with people I'd never met before they knew all about me and my experiences so of it so off the wall I fought hard not to laugh at them and this town was small but larger than Gatlin we did at least have a BK and a McD's.  So I myself found the depiction perfectly okay and even the accents, trust me I have heard so many, thankfully I didn’t pick it up (unless I'm talking to certain people then apparently my 'southern twang' can pick up).  Now I can't account for the reenactments I knew a few people who liked to dabble but it wasn't that much.  So just saying found all the 'unbelievable' comments a bit off.

                My by far favorite part of the whole movie were the visual effects.  The thing I did enjoy most about the book being brought to life was the house, the entrance that changed to suit their mood.  It was beautiful and I loved it.  The rest of the set designers were nice but the simplest things to the writing appearing and changing on different formats, lightning, spinning dining room, tornadoes  see through ceilings, everything was beautiful.  I wanted to be there.  It was a feast for the eyes.  I cannot begin to do it all justice so I will just say see it for yourself. 

                Even with my disappointment on the book worm side I really enjoyed this movie.  I give it 4 Caster Moons, because the book is a 5 and I know it had more potential.  I'm ready and willing to watch a sequel should they make one.  If you haven't read the books yet my reviews are here (thought I just realized I never reviewed the rest of the series...bad me), but I would suggest you watch the movie first and then read if you like the trailer or my thoughts.

                So tell me what you think?  Did you like the movie or the book?  Thoughts on the changes.  Thoughts on movies being made from books we love.  Share below I've been dying to talk to someone about this without having to keep explaining things.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Holders by Julianna Scott

Celtic lore, special abilities, good vs. evil, and the beautiful castle on the Emerald Isle.  Sounds great right?  Then buckle in for The Holders.  This book comes out March 5th this is a review of the ARC as always thanks to NetGalley and Strange Chemistry.

                We follow Becca to St. Brigid's where she can help Ry settle in and make sure she approves of it.  Then there is the attraction to the handsome, sweet, man who convinced her to give this place a shot.  She is drawn to him and she doesn't know why, okay minus the obvious, she thinks it a silly crush, but he is a good man to give her answers. 

                I really liked Becca.  I frequently forgot how old she was as she is very mature.  It was refreshing to see a character like her, who is only 17 but is very well put together in a way that seems real.  Now she does have her moments, most of which involve her father, Jocelyn, who skipped out on them when Ry was born. Understandable daddy issues, but the rest of the book she is very engaging and takes things in stride but she is also vulnerable. Real.

                The rest of the cast are great as well and really play well with one another.  I loved the bickering between Mr. Reid and Mr. Anderson, the girlish fun with Chloe, the grandmotherly affection of Min, the aloof and abrasive Jocelyn, and so many others.  Alex, and his compassion and good heart, he is a central player and I fell for him.  Each play their own parts but they are each memorable and rounded. 

                This story has a little of everything really.  You have your drama, your adventure, your supernatural elements, some action, and oh my favorite a beautiful and believable romance angle.  The characters bring the story to life, which I admit is slightly predictable for the most part but done in such a way its more about seeing how they get to that point than what that point is.  The story does center around discovering a new reality, that there is a thing called Holders and everything that their world entails.

                Along with the new world of Holders we also get to visit the Emerald Isle.  Always been a place I've wanted to see and this sparked more ticket pricing on my end.  Now we don't get too see much of the country itself but the pieces we get as well as the school itself are amazing.  Must take this chance to mention I also have a thing for castles oh the history, the stories, and dare I say it the possibility of secret passages.  Sorry school girl moment.

                I honestly cannot think of anything I dislike about this book.  A little more explanation on certain areas sure, but as this is a series I figure some things were left vague on purpose.  Becca and the reader can only take so much at a time.  I will say this surprised me.  I admit I've been shocked on more than one occasion but I was expecting one thing and got something else, which was way better than I was thinking.  More like hours not being able to sleep dreading it was more accurate.  So happy I was wrong, though in hindsight the way it worked out, so much better the way it was.  Plus you know if I get that worked up over something that MIGHT happen then clearly I'm invested in the characters.

                The Holders will hold you, pun intended, and not let you go until the last page and then you want more.  I did just think of a dislike, I hate to wait as usual.  So if you like mystical powers in faraway lands with good characters fitting a great story check out The Holders, by Julianna Scott, March 5th.
                Already read it?  Tell me your thoughts.  Questions, comments on the book, me, life, castles, super heroes, anything, leave them below.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Dualed by Elsie Chapman

                Hello again my readers!  I have for you as the title might have given away a review for Dualed by Elsie Chapman.  This book I got courtesy of NetGalley and Random House Children's Books.  Thank you.

                This book takes place in a city of Kersh, a safe haven of sorts.  It's a safe haven from the war but it comes at a high cost.  Everyone has a genetic Alternate, a twin raised by another family, and to live in this safe haven you have to kill your Alt before your twentieth birthday, 30 days after activation.  So to live a life and have a life or even a family of your own as an adult you must murder a form of yourself in a way, 'You or Your Alt, Only One Can Survive' is the tagline and it is compelling.

                We follow the story of 15 year old West who has trained as a fighter, in her school classes and on her own but she is by no means able to afford the high priced schooling offered.  She prepares but a tragic misstep shakes her confidence.  Stricken with grief and guilt, she is no longer certain that she's the best version of herself and worthy to be the one to survive.  If she has any chance she has to stop running from everything, her life, her Alt, and love, because it has the power to destroy her.

                West is a strong female character for this story, she has strength but she is also very vulnerable.  She has a lot to deal with and she has very human and very natural emotions.  She's strong and fierce until her confidence is shaken and she is left questioning everything in her life.  That is some pretty heave stuff for a teenager, even if you grow up in this world and learn how to kill in school, it's still a harsh reality. 

                I've read some of the reviews and am shocked that some people didn't get as into it or felt it was too bogged down.  I read this book and really enjoyed it.  My main issue, only dislike, was that the chapters are pretty long and that's nothing against them just that I tend to like the shorter chapters as I can sit down for a spare 10 mins at work or while doing other things and say just one chapter.  Or my more likely, just one more chapter…8 chapters later…just one more really.  It's easier to do that with short 10 page chapters, but these not as easy and I was left having to leave off in the middle of things which is very unnerving for me.  This by no means too away from the story.  Just a reading preference of mine.

                The story in itself was compelling.  How do you cope in a world where you are forced to kill before the age of 20 or die?  What is right or wrong?  Who says the better one lives?  I liked the ideas in the book and I was compelled to read through it as quickly as my schedule would allow.  I wanted to know what was happening with West, would she face her Alt?  Would she survive?  Then you have the Chord who I adore.  How can you look at someone the same when their face is not only the friend you've known for so many years but now also the one that took away something precious?  On the reverse, how do you make up for it?  What is done because of a promise, what is done for ones own will?

                I loved being inside her head.  She has a very rational train of thought, it gets clouded by everything else of course but it starts off rational.  I know I have these moments all the time. I start with a clear and defined plan that makes perfect sense but then…well the things you can't account for mess with your game plan.  I liked seeing that, I'm also using it as proof that I'm not crazy.  So we have a good story, so great action that is thought out and very impactful.  I could see each move in my head as it happened like a mini movie. 

                Anyone who was a fan of sci-fi action YA enjoy this book.  There is major violence, if the blub wasn't clear enough but I give it a solid 4.5 Knives.  Dualed comes out February 26th, check it out and let me know what you think.  If you had an Alt…would you survive?