Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Maze Runner {Movie Review}

The Maze Runner

As A Movie: 7.3
If you go and see this movie without having read the book, it’s a pretty dang awesome movie. There is little character development, but the visuals and the set are amazing and the plot line itself is just cool. This movie never stops moving- there is always something exploding or people running away, or these creatures {The Grievers} coming to get everyone while things are exploding and people are running away. This a great action movie. If you are coming for a chic-flic STAY AWAY because this doesn’t even have hugging or hand holding. Got it? Sometimes Theresa’s British accent came out very obviously during certain scenes; she might need to work on her American-ness, but other than that I loved the character choices.

Like Dylan O’Brien, who acted EXACTLY like I thought Thomas would be like. He is prime, man. (Prime is how my best friend usually describes the visually attractive people.)

But can we talk about Newt because I just

From Book to Movie: 5


I had two main problems.

  1. They didn’t even do the MAP SCENE. Like, Thomas doesn’t even figure out the whole the-code-is-in-the-maps thing. I’m serious. They completely left that part out which just confuses me so much because I don’t get why you can leave that part out and I am so confused that I am writing run on sentences about it.

  1. They didn’t do the whole Thomas-and-Theresa-have-telepathy thing. Instead they did this weird thing with dreams.

ONE THING THAT WAS AMAZING THOUGH WAS THE VISUALS. SPOT ON. The Maze was EXACTLY how I pictured it, if not better. The Glade was great as well, although I don’t know where the stick houses came from…. I thought they had more civilized places to live. The Grievers were pretty dang awesome, even though I imagined them sort of differently… but everyone has different pictures in their head, I guess.

Oh well. Another thing (as forementioned) that was kind of weird is that at different points in the movie, Theresa suddenly had a British accent, and then it was back to an American one. If I caught it, you would think that the directors would catch it.

Overall, some minor problems, but overall I loved, loved, loved this movie. Awesome action scenes, gorgeous visuals (including the men) and mostly a great book to movie plot line. Go see it and have lots of fun!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

MINI REVIEW: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

15839984Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

This book was kind of a dark twist on Beauty and the Beast, but unlike other failed attempts at this kind of story, Cruel Beauty actually pulls it off.

Cruel Beauty is a mix between Greek Mythology and The Beauty and the Beast. Here is my suggestion: if you don’t know anything about Greek mythology, do some research (perhaps by reading Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan) before you start this book.

“If one of us had to die, it ought to be the one with poison in her heart.”

Our main character is named Nyx. She has been destined to marry the evil ruler of her kingdom ever since she was born- and forced with the task of saving her people by trapping him- and herself- in his house forever, never to escape.

Nyx has built up burning rage and hatred for everyone- her father, who forced her into this horrible deal, her aunt, who replaces her mother’s place in their home, her sister, who everyone loves and adores, and most of all, she hates herself for the poison in her heart.

When she turns seventeen, she goes to marry the horrible monster that she will be trapped with forever. She goes unwillingly, afraid, angry, determined and prepared for anything. Anything, that is, except what happens-

She falls in love with him.

He isn’t anything what she expected- protective, caring, and maybe even loving. He makes her feel something she has never felt before- the wickedness coming out of her heart. As she learns more about him, she realizes that the treachery and despicable acts he has done to her people may not be entirely her fault.

“They said that love was terrifying and tender, wild and sweet, and none of it made any sense.
But now I knew that every mad word was true.”

This book wasn’t anything I expected it to be. It was so different from the other retellings of Beauty and the Beast that I’ve read, and yet at the same time it was so intense, dark and thrilling that I couldn’t put it down.

Were there some character flaws that I disliked? Some holes in the plot? Some annoying, cheesy quotes? The answer is yes. You might be confused- but here is my verdict. Pick this up to be entertained- not to find a new favorite book. It’s good, memorable, fresh; but not what I would consider to be amazing.

Short and sweet because I am out of time! See you guys in a few days for another review!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

TOP TEN LIST: Classics

10. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
When orphaned Mary Lennox comes to live at her uncle's great house on the Yorkshire Moors, she finds it full of secrets. The mansion has nearly one hundred rooms, and her uncle keeps himself locked up. And at night, she hears the sound of crying down one of the long corridors.

The gardens surrounding the large property are Mary's only escape. Then, Mary discovers a secret garden, surrounded by walls and locked with a missing key. One day, with the help of two unexpected companions, she discovers a way in. Is everything in the garden dead, or can Mary bring it back to life?

9. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

37449The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior - to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. 

8. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

3685A horse is a horse of course unless of course the horse is Black Beauty. Animal-loving children have been devoted to Black Beauty throughout this century, and no doubt will continue through the next. 
Although Anna Sewell's classic paints a clear picture of turn-of-the-century London, its message is universal and timeless: animals will serve humans well if they are treated with consideration and kindness.
Black Beauty tells the story of the horse's own long and varied life, from a well-born colt in a pleasant meadow to an elegant carriage horse for a gentleman to a painfully overworked cab horse. 
Throughout, Sewell rails - in a gentle, 19th-century way - against animal maltreatment. Young readers will follow Black Beauty's fortunes, good and bad, with gentle masters as well as cruel. Children can easily make the leap from horse-human relationships to human-human relationships, and begin to understand how their own consideration of others may be a benefit to all.
7. Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

12297Hailed by Henry James as "the finest piece of imaginative writing yet put forth in the country," Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter reaches to our nation's historical and moral roots for the material of great tragedy. Set in an early New England colony, the novel shows the terrible impact a single, passionate act has on the lives of three members of the community: the defiant Hester Prynne; the fiery, tortured Reverend Dimmesdale; and the obsessed, vengeful Chillingworth.

With The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne became the first American novelist to forge from our Puritan heritage a universal classic, a masterful exploration of humanity's unending struggle with sin, guilt and pride. 

6. Emma by Jane Austen 
'I never have been in love; it is not my way, or my nature; and I do not think I ever shall.'

Beautiful, clever, rich - and single - Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protegee Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected. With its imperfect but charming heroine and its witty and subtle exploration of relationships, Emma is often seen as Jane Austen's most flawless work.

5. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
We owe The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902) to Arthur Conan Doyle's good friend Fletcher "Bobbles" Robinson, who took him to visit some scary English moors and prehistoric ruins, and told him marvelous local legends about escaped prisoners and a 17th-century aristocrat who fell afoul of the family dog. Doyle transmogrified the legend: generations ago, a hound of hell tore out the throat of devilish Hugo Baskerville on the moonlit moor. Poor, accursed Baskerville Hall now has another mysterious death: that of Sir Charles Baskerville. Could the culprit somehow be mixed up with secretive servant Barrymore, history-obsessed Dr. Frankland, butterfly-chasing Stapleton, or Selden, the Notting Hill murderer at large? Someone's been signaling with candles from the mansion's windows. Nor can supernatural forces be ruled out. Can Dr. Watson--left alone by Sherlock Holmes to sleuth in fear for much of the novel--save the next Baskerville, Sir Henry, from the hound's fangs?

Many Holmes fans prefer Doyle's complete short stories, but their clockwork logic doesn't match the author's boast about this novel: it's "a real Creeper!" What distinguishes this particular Hound is its fulfillment of Doyle's great debt to Edgar Allan Poe--it's full of ancient woe, low moans, a Grimpen Mire that sucks ponies to Dostoyevskian deaths, and locals digging up Neolithic skulls without next-of-kins' consent. "The longer one stays here the more does the spirit of the moor sink into one's soul," Watson realizes. "Rank reeds and lush, slimy water-plants sent an odour of decay ... while a false step plunged us more than once thigh-deep into the dark, quivering mire, which shook for yards in soft undulations around our feet ... it was as if some malignant hand was tugging us down into those obscene depths." Read on--but, reader, watch your step! --Tim Appelo

4. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
Introducing one of the most famous characters in literature, Jean Valjean - the noble peasant imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread - Les Misérables (1862) ranks among the greatest novels of all time. In it Victor Hugo takes readers deep into the Parisian underworld, immerses them in a battle between good and evil, and carries them onto the barricades during the uprising of 1832 with a breathtaking realism that is unsurpassed in modern prose. 

Within his dramatic story are themes that capture the intellect and the emotions: crime and punishment, the relentless persecution of Valjean by Inspector Javert, the desperation of the prostitute Fantine, the amorality of the rogue Thénardier and the universal desire to escape the prisons of our own minds. Les Misérables gave Victor Hugo a canvas upon which he portrayed his criticism of the French political and judicial systems, but the portrait which resulted is larger than life, epic in scope - an extravagant spectacle that dazzles the senses even as it touches the heart. 

This Signet Classic edition is a new version translated by Lee Fahnestock and Norman MacAfee, based on the classic nineteenth-century Charles E. Wilbour translation.

3. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury 

119787Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.

The classic dystopian novel of a post-literate future, Fahrenheit 451 stands alongside Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World as a prophetic account of Western civilization’s enslavement by the media, drugs and conformity.

Bradbury’s powerful and poetic prose combines with uncanny insight into the potential of technology to create a novel which, decades on from first publication, still has the power to dazzle and shock. 

2. Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

'On what slender threads do life and fortune hang'

Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantès is confined to the grim fortress of If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and he becomes determined not only to escape, but also to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration. Dumas' epic tale of suffering and retribution, inspired by a real-life case of wrongful imprisonment, was a huge popular success when it was first serialised in the 1840s.

47885051. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is the series of short stories that made the fortunes of the Strand magazine, in which they were first published, and won immense popularity for Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson. The detective is at the height of his powers and the volume is full of famous cases, including 'The Red-Headed League', 'The Blue Carbuncle', and 'The Speckled Band'. Although Holmes gained a reputation for infallibility, Conan Doyle showed his own realism and feminism by having the great detective defeated by Irene Adler - the woman - in the very first story, 'A Scandal in Bohemia'. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Cute, but the movie is better.

I picked up Austenland for the first time shortly before seeing the film. It was a cute, light romance story, perfect for fans of Pride and Prejudice.

Then the movie came out.

This movie is one of the most adorable movies I have ever seen in my entire life. It was funny at times, with those “aw so cute moments” and the soundtrack was just amazing. Like the book it was based off of, it centers around a girl named Jane. Jane is a girl in her thirties that is obsessed, and I mean obsessed with anything written by Jane Austen. Especially Pride and Prejudice. She is so wrapped up in the idea of being content with her own “Mr. Darcy” that she falls in love with any man who ever shows even a remote interest in her. {Side note: The book did a better job of telling about her past boyfriends than the movie did, but that was really the only part of the book I liked better.} Because of this, her heart gets broken repeatedly, because “apparently the only good men are fictional.”

Jane Hayes: Speaking the minds of all fangirls everywhere.

So- realizing that this obsession over boys and Mr. Darcy needs to stop, Jane decides she will have ONE last trip to fantasize that she is in love, and then she will give it all up. {In the book, her aunt provides the trip, and in the movie, she pays for it herself.} What would be a more perfect trip than going to Austenland?

Austenland is kind of like a Jane Austen theme park in England. {It is not a real place, I looked it up. I know, so sad.} When Jane goes there, she is whisked into a world of dresses, card games, and romance. Actors are paid to give her a romance that is only present in books- and she loves feeling adored, even if it’s fake. But when things keep happening, she wonders where the line is drawn between fiction and fantasy. Is she falling in love with a perfect stranger, and is he falling in love back? Even if he isn’t the one scripted for her?

So freaking cute.

If you have not read this book, I suggest you pick it up. Like now. I wasn’t huge into romance novels until I read this book. If you look up “adorable books” in the dictionary, there would be a picture of Austenland there. I’m serious. Pick it up and go check if you don’t believe me.

Because- two words:

Mr. Nobly.

Ah, he was everything boys should be. GENTLEMANLY. My number one pet peeve in life is when boys don’t open the doors for girls. If I see a girl opening a door for a boy and he doesn’t take it for her, it bugs me immensely. I could go off on a rant about this all day. But seriously, Mr. Nobly is a-do-r-a-b-le. And yes, I just made adorable a six syllable word. He’s one of those people who says things that make you feel like you’re the prettiest girl in the world (even though he is fictional and NOT talking to you.)

For example:

“I need to admit up front that I don't know how to have a fling. I'm not good at playing around and then saying good-bye. I'm throwing myself at your feet because I'm hoping for a shot at forever."

And just like all girls, Jane becomes super awkward in situations with cute guys.

“What are you doing?"
"Ya!" said Jane, whirling around, her hands held up menacingly.
It was Mr. Nobley with coat, hat, and cane, watching her with wide eyes. Jane took several quick (but oh so casual) steps away from Martin's window.
"Um, did I just say, 'Ya'?"
"You just said 'Ya,'" he confirmed. "If I am not mistaken, it was a battle cry, warning that you were about to attack me.
I, uh..." She stopped to laugh. "I wasn't aware until this precise and awkward moment that when startled in a startled in a strange place, my instincts would have me pretend to be a ninja.”

And so in closing, I would like to say: Read the book, and watch the movie right after. Or vice versa. Whatever suits you.

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