Monday, September 22, 2014

The Maze Runner --- Movie Review

The Maze Runner --- Movie Review

Here's the thing: The Maze Runner trilogy is okay. I liked it while reading it. It didn't make me feel that much, it didn't make me think at all, and the writing was annoying and confusing. BUT, the plot kept me reading because I wanted to understand what was happening. When I saw that this was going to be made into a movie, however, I was very excited. I thought the story would work better in a visual format. Then I found out that Dylan O'Brien was cast as Thomas, I was even more excited (seriously though, he's too attractive).

I WAS RIGHT, BY THE WAY. The movie was great. Absolutely wonderful. I loved everything they did with it. They simplified the plot in just the right way. They condensed it extremely well, leaving out the redundancy and keeping the tension. The casting was wonderful, and not just Dylan. Alby, Newt, Minho, Fry Pan, Gally, Chuck. They were all FANTASTIC!

The visual aspect was so compelling, as well. I loved how the maze looked, very much like how I pictured it. I loved the Greavers and the glade, even WICKED headquarters. The script was great, as well. It conveyed everything without loads and loads of exposition, even though that would have been easier for them to do.

Again, I'll say that Dylan O'Brien is, in all seriousness, the bae. His acting was brilliant in every way. He conveyed all of the emotions and the stubbornness that makes up Thomas.

I think they stuck to the plot of the book extremely well, keeping to all the things that needed to happen and all the things that needed to be set up.

I'm just very impressed and I can't wait until The Scorch Trials movie.

Monday, September 8, 2014

TTT: Underrated Books from Popular Authors

Top Ten Underrated Books from Popular Authors
Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they have a different Top Ten list topic that a bunch of bloggers take and make their own list of those things.

I've decided to switch up this topic a little, so I'm going to choose my top ten underrated books from popular authors. (This isn't me saying that the more popular books aren't as good or that these underrated books are better. This is just me saying that I haven't heard many people talk about these books and I think they're swell.)

1. The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
Everyone has read or wants to read or has heard of The Mistborn Trilogy, and Steelheart has gotten its fair share of attention, as well. But The Rithmatist is an intensely readable, smart, and excellently written story with an unique, even odd, premise. This book has a nice place in my heart, as it was my first Sanderson, I just want more people to read and talk about it.

2. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
It makes sense. Attachments came out before she was big, and it, again, has a somewhat odd premise. But this book is charming in its own right, and is a great self-discovery story.

3. I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
We've all heard of, read, discussed, and generally loved The Book Thief, but I Am the Messenger is just such a gem of a book. This story is important and entertaining and relevant to so many different people and I think everyone should read it.

4. Talking Pictures by Ransom Riggs
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is his fiction, a book where he integrates all these old pictures he's found into a chilling and adventurous story. Talking Pictures, however, is non-fiction, and is just him collecting, organizing, and then discussing other antique pictures that he's found. It's fascinating how similar people were about pictures back then, how much we have in common with them. This book is just fascinating, and I highly recommend it.

5. The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
I know a lot of people who read Princess Academy when they were in middle school (So did I, it was one of my favorites). But I've never heard anyone talking about The Goose Girl, which is a charming little story that I really enjoyed.

6. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
On the Jellicoe Road is really popular, and most likely rightly so. (I haven't read it yet, but I plan to really soon). I fell in love with Melina Marchetta's fantasy, though. Her world-building in genuine and strong and enveloping. This series is worth every bit of time and I think everyone should read it.

7. The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan
Percy Jackson is my homeboy. Both series with him in them are wonderful and fantastic reads full of loveable characters and crazy fun adventures. BUT I'm always surprised how little attention The Kane Chronicles gets. It's seriously so great, like everything that Rick Riordan writes. If you love Percy Jackson, I guarantee you'll love this series. And you get to meet Sadie Kane! Sadie Kane is the bomb dot com.

8. Tales of the Jazz Age by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby is hailed by many as the Great American Novel, and for good reason. It's easily one of the greatest novels ever written by an American. But that's not all F. Scott Fitzgerald can do, oh no, not by half. His short stories are brilliant, just utterly brilliant. They are vignettes into characters and lives and certain events in life. They are touching and haunting and relevant. Just... F. Scott Fitzgerald, guys. He's freaking great.

9. Fairest by Gail Carson Levine
If you've read any number of my Top Ten Tuesdays, you'll see that I was Gail Carson Levine's biggest fan growing up (and I still sort of am). Usually I always include one of her books on my lists, and this time is no exception. Fairest changed my life in 4th grade when I read it, and continues to change my life today. So yeah, this book. Read it.

10. Emma by Jane Austen
I love me some Pride and Prejudice. I really do, because that book is brilliant and touching and wonderful. But there's just something about Emma Woodhouse that I love. She's so unbelievably flawed, but she's still a great character who genuinely cares about things and people and tries to do what's best for everyone (even though she fails probably 95% of the time). Also, Knightley. I mean, KNIGHTLEY.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After

Isla and the Happily Ever After
By: Stephanie Perkins
Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3)
From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever. Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

I meant to review this book a long time ago. I read it as soon as it came out, but then I sort of lost my free time to moving into and adjusting to college life. So yeah, that review didn't exactly happen.
I have been waiting for this book for about three years now, after reading Anna and Lola back to back and I am so relieved. This book lived up to its predecessors and gave me the same love that I was hoping it would. I fell into the story of this book just as much as I did in the other two, because Stephanie Perkins is magnificent like that.

I really like Isla. I didn't feel the connection with her that I had with Anna, and I didn't find her as interesting as Lola, but I liked her for what she was. She's earnest and loyal and awkward. Her friendship with Kurt was a really nice side story and it made my heart super happy. I loved her and Josh, they were pretty adorable. I liked her journey, too. I know a lot of people saying she didn't have a clear journey, but I think she did. At the beginning, she didn't know what her journey was, she didn't know who she was. But by the end, she has a better view of herself through help from Josh and Kurt.

And Josh. Precious, darling, Josh. I really did love him and how thoughtful and kind he was, but at the same time, he was believably a boy. His actions made sense in terms of their relationship and their place in life. Also, the art side of their relationship was so beautiful and props to Stephanie Perkins for creating it. I now want to date an artist, because their souls are gorgeous and they see things that others can't.

The settings were gorgeous as well, as always with Stephanie Perkins' books. Paris felt like home, Barcelona like summer, and New York like an adventure. I loved every bit of this journey, and I love that the boundaries were always expanding and you were never in the same place very long.

Slight Spoiler Section:

I ADORED the reunion scene. I was squealing and crying and sighing. I want to see more of the six of them, hanging out, being friends, living life. But at the same time, I almost died in just the couple pages that we got. And ANNA AND ETIENNE. OH GOOD LORD. I CAN'T TALK ABOUT IT. I'LL DIE.

End of Spoiler Section:

So yeah, I really loved this book. It was different than the first two, and different than I expected, but still familiar in the way I was hoping. I can't wait to see what else Stephanie Perkins will write in the future.

Monday, September 1, 2014

TTT: Book Characters That Would Be Sitting At My Lunch Table

Books Characters That Would Be Sitting At My Lunch Table
Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they have a different Top Ten list topic that a bunch of bloggers take and make their own list of those things.
When I think of school lunch tables I think of laughing stupidly loud at ridiculous things, so I've decided to choose the characters that I find particularly ridiculous or entertaining or witty. These run the gradient of humor, some being clever with words, some being master pranksters, so I think we'd have a pretty well-rounded group.

Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2)

1. My Darling Nikolai
Obviously. Who is more ridiculous, more entertaining, more witty than Nikolai Lantsov? That's right. FREAKING NO ONE.

Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)
2. William Herondale
Speaking of my ridiculous darlings, William Herondale is too charming and witty for his own good. Seriously, I want him at my table every-freaking-day.

The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, #2)
3. Pippin
What a prankster? I imagine he'd get along really well with Fred and George. Just imagine that!

The Son of Neptune (The Heroes of Olympus, #2)
4. Percy Jackson
The love of my life. Percy is everything and I love him far too much for my sanity.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7)

5. Ron Weasley
The classic goofball sidekick who is simultaneously smart and courageous and mostly kind. Ronald Billius Weasley is a champ.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5)
6. Fred and George Weasley
And what would a table of pranksters be if I didn't include good old Fred and George? They are the masters of all things prank and they are sort of my heroes.

Lioness Rampant (Song of the Lioness, #4)

7. George and Alanna
Their back and forth is just perfect all the time, and they would be definite Prom King and Queen material.

8. Regan
The sass Queen here to take her crown. Remember the scenes of Cath and her at meals? Yeah, it'd be like that. I would be Cath in this scenario, of course.

The Serpent's Shadow (Kane Chronicles, #3)
9. Sadie Kane
The bae. Sadie, with her kicking boots and her unbelievable sass. I want to be her best friend and I want to share clothes with her.

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)

10. Anna Oliphant
I just love her, okay? I think we'd get along really well and we share the same kind of humor. It'd work out pretty well.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6)
11. Ginny Weasley
I have always loved and will always love Ginny for her sass and her fighting spirit and her kindness, and don't even get me started on her loyalty. I want her defending my friend group with her hexes.