Books to Movies: The Giver

2 Sep

A few weeks ago one of my favorite books of all time, The Giver, was released in theaters. I had mixed reactions when I saw the trailer; this book has been a part of my life for so long. My first meeting with it happened in the fifth grade when my teacher would read us a chapter or two after recess. The story blew my mind; up until then I’d never known plot twists like those that were thrown into this book. It sparked my love of books that could surprise and shock me; it heightened my imagination.

I really didn’t want it destroyed by film, even if that would never change my love for the text. The trailer was terrible, really, and it confused me that they showed clips of things that happen at the very end of the book. Why would they want to give so much away? I decided to give the movie a try anyway, thinking it better to hope for the best than never know what the film is like.

It was . . . interesting. Certainly not as bad as I feared it would be but not one of my favorite adaptations and I have no idea how people who haven’t read the book will take this novel. Surprisingly, when I went to see the film the theater was filled mostly with older people so I wonder if their reaction to the movie was different than mine was.

There were some scenes in this I was absolutely excited to see, that I’ll cherish because I think they were captured so well. I loved whenever Jonas was with Gabriel because his changing reaction to the baby really showcased his altered personality and emotions. I also liked seeing him receiving the memories, particularly the sled ride and when he first experiences painful memories on his own.

From the trailers, I was afraid that they wouldn’t incorporate the literally colorless environment of the book, yet my fears were unfounded. I loved how they visually showed Jonas’ transition from a world void of color to one vibrant and alive.

What didn’t I like about this film? Two things immediately come to mind:

1. The fact that Taylor Swift was part of the cast. She had a minor role and if they make the other books into movies she’ll never appear again but she’s definitely a singer, not an actress. While I have nothing against her music, I’ll definitely start disliking her if she throws herself into other movies. I really think that getting some unknown actress would have been a better choice because she would have been able to deliver Rosemary’s few lines with much more feeling. As it was, I felt nothing for Rosemary’s tragic past, nothing for the Giver and his loss, because Taylor Swift’s bad acting was too distracting.

2. The end. Well, not the very end- I think they did very well in showing how the book finished. I’ll try to explain without spoiling anything. Basically, Jonas’ friend has to make a decision that was never there in the book and the whole scene wasn’t well put-together, anyway, so I wondered why they threw that in instead of what actually happened in the novel. It was so awkward, forced, and drew me out of their world because I was thinking about how that would have never happened.

Overall, I enjoyed my time watching this movie. I really recommend you watch it, yet perhaps it’s one better seen on demand than in the theater. I didn’t really end up minding how they aged up the characters as much as I thought I would. Jonas was still Jonas, which was the important thing, and I think he captured that most brilliantly in his scenes with the Giver. I don’t know why this movie isn’t getting more recognition because it isn’t great but it’s nowhere near terrible. Give it a try! If you’ve seen it already, let me know what you thought of it.

Book to Movie: If I Stay

31 Aug

If I Stay by Gayle Forman is a fantastic novel. While I haven’t had the chance to read it again for a few years, I’d highly recommend it for anyone looking for a quick, dramatic contemporary read. Recently the book was turned into a film and I had the chance to see it on opening night last week.

I’ve figured out that the longer it’s been since I’ve read a book, the better a chance there is that I’ll enjoy the movie adaptation. Contemporary novels also seem easier to translate to screen because we don’t need any time to be immersed in that world; it’s the one that we’re already living in. Knowing that I loved the book and not quite being able to remember the details had me going into the movie excited but with little expectation. I’ve also learned not to get my hopes up.

I’ll start with my impression of the material released before the movie was out. I really liked the animated posters made for If I Stay; in fact, I even like the book cover for the movie, which is the same as the poster pictured above. Capturing other aspects of Mia’s life, rather than simply having a cover of the actress who plays her, was a fantastic choice. I also think that they did a great job with the covers, being able to show the story to people who might never have heard of the book before. I did tear up at the trailer.

Now on to reviewing the actual movie. I was a little worried about the actors chosen for the film because I’d never seen Chloe Moretz in a film like this and knew nothing about the guy they chose for Adam except (like most of the time) he didn’t fit the image I had in my mind of what Adam might be like. And, well, I expected him to be more conventionally handsome. I feel like throughout the movie, Moretz did a better job of convincing me that she was truly her character, but I also came to accept Adam because I think he nailed his personality exactly.

One thing I didn’t like about the two? Well, it wasn’t the actors, but the fact that the director decided that they needed to have so many scenes making out. Okay, I get it. You love each other. That doesn’t mean that we need to spend five minutes every fifteen minutes staring at you while you ever so slowly kiss each other. I mean, it was touching at first, but after a while it kind of felt like they were those people who make out in public places, the ones you just kind of want to nudge out of your way and try to forget.

One of the most powerful scenes for me was when Mia’s grandfather came to speak to her in the hospital. Up until that point, I’d been teary, but with that performance I completely lost it. It makes you think of those you lost and how maybe they were in pain and just needed to let go, even if you didn’t want to lose them. It reminds you of how lucky you are, if you’re healthy and you’re loved ones are, too. It’s something that we don’t really appreciate it until we realize it’s gone and we have no way of immediately getting it back for ourselves. I have no idea what the actor’s name is, who plays her grandfather, but he was my favorite.

I wish that the film had focused a little more on the relationships Mia had with people such as her grandfather, her friends, and maybe a little more time with her family, too. Sure, I liked seeing all of the cute scenes with her and Adam, but he isn’t the only one who factors into her decision of whether or not she should stay in this world or decide to let go.

If you haven’t read If I Stay, I’d say you could decide whether or not you want to read it before the film. The ending might be more spectacular if you read it first; it was fun seeing how all of the people in the theater who hadn’t read the book reacted! But if you see the movie first, you’ll enjoy it and then be compelled to learn more about the characters. Maybe even picking up the companion novel, Where She Went, too.

I’d give this book to movie adaptation 4 out of 5 stars and will be recommending it to others.

The Queen of Tearling by Erika Johansen

29 Aug


The Queen of Tearling

The Queen of Tearling #1

author : erika johansen

pages : [hardcover] 448

memorable quote Even a book can be dangerous in the wrong hands, and when that happens, you blame the hands, but you also read the book.

favorite characters : kelsea & pen


Kelsea Glynn is the sole heir to the throne of Tearling but has been raised in secret by foster parents after her mother – Queen Elyssa, as vain as she was stupid – was murdered for ruining her kingdom. For 18 years, the Tearling has been ruled by Kelsea’s uncle in the role of Regent however he is but the debauched puppet of the Red Queen, the sorceress-tyrant of neighbouring realm of Mortmesme. On Kelsea’s 19th birthday, the tattered remnants of her mother’s guard – each pledged to defend the queen to the death – arrive to bring this most un-regal young woman out of hiding…

And so begins her journey back to her kingdom’s heart, to claim the throne, earn the loyalty of her people, overturn her mother’s legacy and redeem the Tearling from the forces of corruption and dark magic that are threatening to destroy it. But Kelsea’s story is not just about her learning the true nature of her inheritance – it’s about a heroine who must learn to acknowledge and live with the realities of coming of age in all its insecurities and attractions, alongside the ethical dilemmas of ruling justly and fairly while simply trying to stay alive…

review :

 I absolutely loved reading this book and can’t wait to see what Erika Johansen has in store for us in the sequel! Although this book is a little massive so that might be daunting to some readers, that only tempts you to slow down your reading pace so that you can spend more time in this complex, medieval yet somehow futuristic world that the author has constructed for us. Even with all of these pages I still have questions about how the New World came to be the way it is; I don’t really understand the Crossing, which seems to mean that people from America as well as other countries like England came to this new land to start over. A lot of important technology and most doctors were lost during the passage, leading to this medieval world. Oh, and there’s magic.

Don’t worry if you don’t understand it all from the summary; there’s a lot going on in this normal. There’s black magic, and a war brewing on the horizon; there’s a young girl learning to become a queen and a guy who seems more like a ninja with the skills he has than a queen’s guard. Even the tiniest little characters have you feeling something for them because the author takes time to make them human, focusing a certain scene on someone or showcasing an important portion of a character’s personality. I particularly liked the little jumps in point of view that would show the Queen of Mortmesme, giving a peek into what the enemy was doing, or views from other characters that I will not name lest I give anything away.

There were points when I wondered if all of that text to tell this information was necessary; after reading, I didn’t feel that way at all. Reflecting on it, I absorbed so much that I can still perfectly picture the world that was created. While this novel wasn’t packed with action, I didn’t come into it expected it to be that way. I feel like anyone will love this book if they’re a fan of great writing, characters, and ideas, as well as complex kingdom management, watching the development of characters, and little spurts of intense suspense sprinkled throughout the text.

Although the fantasy aspect of this book was not at the foreground, I’m hoping that more of it will come into play in book two. I’m also hoping for a glimpse into the rest of Mortmesme, maybe some more action on that front. I’m excited to see how things will play out; in the meantime, I’ll be recommending this book to anyone who’s looking for something else to read! If you haven’t had this on your radar yet, pick it up now!

5/5 stars

The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson

25 Aug


The Vanishing Season

author : jodi lynn anderson

pages : [hardcover] 256

memorable quote The living always think that monsters roar and gnash their teeth. But I’ve seen that real monsters can be friendly; they can smile, and they can say please and thank you like everyone else.

favorite character : maggie

summary :

Girls started vanishing in the fall, and now winter’s come to lay a white sheet over the horror. Door County, it seems, is swallowing the young, right into its very dirt. From beneath the house on Water Street, I’ve watched the danger swell.

The residents know me as the noises in the house at night, the creaking on the stairs. I’m the reflection behind them in the glass, the feeling of fear in the cellar. I’m tied—it seems—to this house, this street, this town.

I’m tied to Maggie and Pauline, though I don’t know why. I think it’s because death is coming for one of them, or both.

All I know is that the present and the past are piling up, and I am here to dig.I am looking for the things that are buried.

From bestselling author Jodi Lynn Anderson comes a friendship story bound in snow and starlight, a haunting mystery of love, betrayal, redemption, and the moments that we leave behind.

review :

I love Jodi Lynn Anderson. Love her writing. I’ve read her children’s books and also Tiger Lily and all of her work is written so well. The Vanishing Season is no different because it’s very gripping and enthralling. I couldn’t put this book down and liked that it was so short because I could read it all in one day, yet I also hated that because it meant I needed to leave that world sooner.

What I really looked for in this book was great characters. Maggie was amazing, flawed, and just really entertaining to follow. She felt like a real person who could have lived down the street from me, had I lived in such an isolated little town. I liked seeing her interactions with the others her age and how they dealt with the deaths that were happening so close to their home. It felt like real reactions: first indifference, then laughing speculation, then paranoia.

What I hadn’t expected to love so much about the novel were the little interludes in between some chapters where the ‘ghost’ of the book would speak. You spend much of the book trying to figure out who this presence was while they were alive, how long they’ve been dead and hanging around this house on Water Street. Eventually I thought that I had the answer, only to have another twist happen that proved me completely wrong. I’m not sure if others would be able to predict it but there are several other twists in the story, so you’ll always be guessing even if you think you’ve figured out what will happen next.

I’d recommend this book to anyone. I got it from the library and I’m going to buy myself a copy so that I can read it again. This book is well-written and has memorable characters. It’s purely a beautiful, touching story that needs to be shared with more people!

5/5 stars

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

24 Aug



author : rainbow rowell [also wrote eleanor & park]

pages : [hardcover] 310

memorable quote I love you more than I hate everything else.

favorite character : georgie

summary :

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems beside the point now.

Maybe that was always beside the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

review :

Reading one of Rainbow Rowell’s adult novels is a completely different experience from her young adult, though it’s a lovely read all the same. Her characters are just brilliant and while her plots are contemporary and may take a while to progress, the writing is interesting and constructed in such a way that I’m still interested even if not much is happening.

I’d like to start off talking about the characters. None of Rowell’s characters are perfect and I think that’s what makes them so realistic and relatable. They aren’t unreachable creatures; instead they’re human like we are and might easily be your next door neighbor or your best friend. Of course little quirks and things are exaggerated to keep things interesting throughout the novel; sometimes a character’s defining traits can be used to nudge the plot along.

While I enjoyed reading about Georgie, and saw her as a realistic character, I didn’t really relate to her life. I’m not an adult; I’ve never been married, had kids, or dealt with any of the decisions Georgie’s trying to make throughout the book. But I’ve often been afraid when I think of my own career ambitions as well as what I’m going to do if I want to have a family. Women have it hard and Georgie wants to have it all. Unfortunately it’s difficult to find the perfect balance between what she’s doing and what needs to be done. And then a magic telephone is thrown in.

That was undoubtedly the most interesting part of the book and I wish there was more centered around it. That’s the only unusual, unnatural aspect of the otherwise contemporary read. Is Georgie simply hallucinating the conversations? Maybe, but I like to think that her phone really is connecting to the past!

I’d recommend this book to other people but it’s not one of my favorite books. I really enjoyed it and think that others will love it yet I’m not sure if I’d reread it. You should give it a shot!

4/5 stars

Rise by Anna Carey

23 Aug



The Eve Trilogy #3
Book 1: Eve
Book 2: Once

author : anna carey

pages : [hardcover] 310

favorite characters : eve & clara

summary :

How far will you go when you have nothing left to lose?

When she lost her soul mate, Caleb, Eve felt like her world had ended. Trapped in the palace, forced to play the part of the happy, patriotic princess of The New America—and the blushing bride of her father’s top adviser—Eve’s whole life is a lie. The only thing that keeps her going is Caleb’s memory, and the revolution he started.

Now, Eve is taking over where Caleb left off. With the help of Moss, an undercover subversive in the King’s court, she plots to take down The New America, beginning with the capital, the City of Sand. Will Eve be able to bring about a new, free world when she’s called upon to perform the ultimate act of rebellion—killing her father?

In Rise, Eve must choose who to leave behind, who to save, and who to fight as Anna Carey’s epic tale of romance and sacrifice in the chilling dystopia of The New America comes to a stunning conclusion.

review :

 This is the last book in the Eve trilogy and I was really looking forward to seeing how the author was going to conclude these books. Rise starts just a few weeks after the conclusion of book two. While I feel like the plot of this book read just as quickly as the other two books, it also lacked the amount of detail and character connections that I’ve been searching for throughout the series and hoped would finally come through in this final novel.

I think that I’ve come to the conclusion that while Rise and the other Eve books are interesting and made me want to know what was going to happen next, they aren’t very memorable as a whole for the dystopian genre. I’m not going to rave about how I love the characters because there is no epic love connection or friendship; characters that I knew that I should care about, I felt like I barely knew. It saddened me because I feel so much potential in the ideas Carey focuses on. I can only hope that her writing will improve and I’ll definitely try more from her in the future.

While I didn’t dislike the way that this book ended, at first it infuriated me. I’d waited that long to have it end like that? Yet the more I sat on it-and it’s been a week since I read it, until I felt able to review the book-the more I liked that ending. It seemed fitting and worked well with the way the rest of the book was written. I can imagine what’s going to happen next and maybe what’s in my mind is even better because I can infuse it with feeling that might not have been there if more had been included in the original text.

Would I recommend this trilogy? Yes, definitely. But it would be more of a dystopian for the summer, a lighter trilogy that doesn’t take a huge attention span or time commitment. I might end up rereading these books in the future; I’ll definitely keep an eye out to see what Carey’s writing in the future. This isn’t the best trilogy, but it’s a good, satisfying one.

4/5 stars

Giveaway + Book Blast: Up the Tower by J.P. Lantern

22 Aug



Disaster brings everybody together. A cloned corporate assassin; a boy genius and his new robot; a tech-modified gangster with nothing to lose; a beautiful, damaged woman and her unbalanced stalker—these folks couldn’t be more different, but somehow they must work together to save their own skin. Stranded in the epicenter of a monumental earthquake in the dystopian slum, Junktown, there is only one way to survive. These unlikely teammates must go…UP THE TOWER.


J.P. Lantern lives in the Midwestern US, though his heart and probably some essential parts of his liver and pancreas and whatnot live metaphorically in Texas. He writes speculative science fiction short stories, novellas, and novels which he has deemed “rugged,” though he would also be fine with “roughhewn” because that is a terrific and wonderfully apt word.

Full of adventure and discovery, these stories examine complex people in situations fraught with conflict as they search for truth in increasingly violent and complicated worlds.


“Hey, Smellson!”

Samson ignored the jeer, focusing carefully on opening the box. He was twelve years old and he did not want to screw this up; being twelve was important, and people took the things you did seriously so long as you did them well.

“Smellson, hey!” The Crowboy banged his crowbar on the dusty ruins of the factory line where they had set up the six crates from their haul that morning. “Don’t blow us up, okay? I don’t want to die with your stench clogging me up, yeah?”

Again, Samson ignored the other boy, trying to concentrate as he eased his longtool through the gap in the crate before him. He very well could blow himself up; he could blow them all up. Inside the GuaranTech crate he tinkered with was a copbot.

Copbots blew up all the time. If their main processors or power source were damaged, they blew up. If they were being captured, they blew up. If they ran out of ammo and couldn’t refill within about ten minutes, they blew up. When they blew up, they incinerated everything in about a hundred foot radius. The warehouse was not big enough for the Crowboys to keep their distance and still work in the role of protection as they had been hired. So they were in the blast zone as well as Samson.

The copbots, deactivated, were precious and valuable. Strangely, they were valuable precisely because they were so hard to deactivate. A copbot was made almost entirely out of self-healing nanotech, and with enough time, it could repair from almost any wound to its metal shell. So, to keep this sort of power out of the hands of the gangster conglomerate that ran Junktown, the Five Faces, and any other sort of competitor, the copbots had a very liberal self-destruct mechanism.

This is what Samson worked against.


An ebook copy of the book will be awarded to a randomly drawn commenter! All you need to do to enter to win is comment below. Even better, for every tour stop you comment on, you’ll be entered into another drawing for an ebook!

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