Review: If I Stay (Movie)

When one reads a book and loves it, imagining their own vision of all that is indicated in the novel, it can sometimes be hard to take in a movie adaptation of that book.

More often than not, movies fail to grasp the details of the book that make it loved by the fans, and thus become less than stellar in the box office.  It could be in the screenplay, or the fact that your favorite scene(s) is not included for whatever reason, or that it’s just not delivered correctly, or, heaven forbid, the actor portraying the character doesn’t have – o.m.g. (by the way, I hate when people actually say “Oh Em Gee”) – the right eye color!  Yes, fans are really that bad sometimes.  Anyway, these all factor into the success of a movie adapted from a book.

Well, for the first time in while, especially because this is adapted from a Young Adult novel, I watched If I Stay without having read the book first.

Crazy, I know.  But I had my reasons at the time, but I felt ready to watch it.  I basically already knew the gist of the plot, so I wasn’t going in completely blind, but I certainly didn’t go in with already envisioned the characters as I would have if I’d read the book.  And honestly, I completely understand it when people say they’d rather see the movie first before reading the book.  I also completely understand that the book is almost always better (unless the book actually isn’t that good).

Let’s get on with this review.

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Review: Golden Son (novel) by Pierce Brown

Golden Son
Golden Son by Pierce Brown

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hic sunt leones.

This is Act II of a 3-act play on the human condition. It is heartbreaking and gut-wrenching at its darkest. Melodic and light-hearted at it’s lightest.

But the dark time are where the story lies in most, and it’s a dramatic juggernaut comparable to the likes of Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead in its tragedy. However, I’d rather not say it’s like them, because this story that Pierce Brown has written definitely stands on its own merits.

For those of you who detest YA novels, this is barely YA. The previous book, also just skims what is considered teenage-ry. This is storytelling at its pinnacle – Pierce Brown is stunning in his debut series.

The details and the dialogue of the world and its inhabitants that Brown has created is mature, complex. The storytelling is engrossing, anticipatory in a way that’s pulls you in but doesn’t drag on. It is pieced together to tease you just long enough so that when the reveal comes, it’s as monumental as Brown would have you believe.

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Review: Red Rising (novel) by Pierce Brown

Red Rising
Red Rising by Pierce Brown

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m this close to giving it give stars, but then what if book two is better?

I just really have no idea what to say right now.

(hours later)

It might be easy for some to compare this to The Hunger Games, or Ender’s Game. I admit, if you simplify the story, it can seem that way, but there is something about this that makes it feel harsh and brutal in a different way. I can’t really describe the difference. Or maybe it doesn’t need to be so different to stand out. There are many similarities with books in the same genre, at least when put in simple terms.

The complexity of the characters, the emotions they stir up, both in them and in us, is what makes it stand out.

And there’s emotion there. Sometimes it’s anger, or frustration, or sadness, or horror, maybe a little bit of humor, and I mean a little. Because this world that author Pierce Brown has created is not funny. Especially for a Red.

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Review: The Retribution of Mara Dyer (novel) by Michelle Hodkin

The Retribution of Mara DyerThe Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It’s been over a week since I had read this book, so my review won’t be as thorough. However, I’ll point out some things I do remember that made me rate it as 3 stars instead of 4 or 5.

So, things are a little nutty in a metaphorical sense. So many things happen, and not all of them good, that it makes me question why the author wrote Mara the way she did.

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Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park is one of my favorite “adult” (as compared to “YA”) books. Naturally, I loved the Jurassic Park movie, which was directed by my favorite director. That definitely helped.

Three movies later, we now have Jurassic World. I’m just hoping it brings the excitement and thrilling pace that the first movie did. The second movie had its moments, but many found it lacking, and the third movie was better, but still not as good as the first.

I can hope this one at least does as well as the third, but hopefully better.  And as much as I loved Chris Pratt as Peter “Star-Lord” Quill in Guardians of the Galaxy, his character in here probably won’t be challenging the villain to a dance off.

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Peek Into JURASSIC WORLD With Official Trailer

Funko Appeases FIREFLY Fans with Pop! Vinyl Figures

It was only a matter of time before Funko realized the error of their ways and finally got around to making these wonderful Firefly additions to their already massive collectible vinyl figures.  I’m Veruca Salt and I want it all!

Despite the same black eyes on almost all their figures, what’s great about these Funko Pop! figures is how they add those little traits that we love about the characters.  We have Jayne’s most iconic accessory – his knitted cap, Kaylee with ratchet in hand and her green overalls, and Wash with his endearing plastic toy dinosaur.  It’s just too cute!

No doubt you’re noticing that there are a few figures missing.  I’m thinking Funko’s other job is to make people crazy with desire for what’s not here.  They best have Simon, River, Inara, and Preacher available soon, or there’ll be hell to pay!  Fear the Browncoats!

via GeekTyrant.

Review: THE REVENGE OF SEVEN (novel) by Pittacus Lore

The Revenge of SevenThe Revenge of Seven by Pittacus Lore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Are you freaking kidding me!?!? Gahhhh! Another year!!! (Review to come soon…ugh!)

One month later…

Well, it seems I’m behind on my reviews. And sorry to say that this book is no longer fresh in my mind for me to give a more deserving review, so I’ll do what I can.

After what happened in The Fall of Five, we find the group lost and divided. Each person has to deal with what happened and each group has to find a way to get back to the others.

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Review: The Blood of Olympus

The Blood of OlympusThe Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, it’s another end to another great journey. As with any awesome series, I’m feel somewhat sad to see the characters off. Especially this crew of “misfit” demigods.

As much as I loved this book, it definitely left me wanting. But maybe that’s what the author intended. The characters are, after all, demigods. Their story is hardly ever really over, sometimes not even after death, as has been the case with many gods and heroes before them. So, it would seem appropriate to have some of these characters come away from the aftermath of the final battle with questions yet to be answered.

However, I’m sure that doesn’t sit well with many readers. Even I wanted more of a clear cut happy ending at the end of a 6-book journey, but I’m not disappointed.

Rick didn’t falter in showing us the growth of each character through the previous five books. He made them more apparent of their changes, in physical appearance, personality, and self-esteem. Those middle school and high school years are torturous in terms of personal development, and it seems Rick understands that, which is why these books draw so many young (and young-at-heart) readers to them.

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Review: The Young Elites (Novel) by Marie Lu

The Young ElitesThe Young Elites by Marie Lu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(NOTE: This review is based on the ARC of the novel)

I figured since I’ve read Marie Lu’s Legend series, I could handle what was in store for me with her newest series, The Young Elites.

It goes to show how much I know!

Marie introduces us to a fantasy world that is dealing with the aftermath of a mass plague, in which a portion of the young people develop unique powers, varying from person to person. Not everyone has them, though, and of course, this causes fear and conflict within the country.

It’s not a wholly unique premise, as that pretty much describes the turmoil the mutants have to go through in X-Men, but the characters that Marie has created draw you into this world.

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Review: Opposition (novel) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

lux-opposition
Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Let me state first off, the majority of this book can be labeled as smexy romance. It’s not quite New Adult, but it’s definitely getting near the border between YA and NA, and good reason as there’s a hot teenage boy who can’t stop thinking about what normal teenage boys can’t stop thinking about. In this case, though, he does more than think about it. So yeah, let’s just put that out there, because really, Daemon is a bad boy in that sexy way.

Now, even though the majority of the book is a romance, yes, there’s still the sci-fi element of it, too. There’s definitely a lot of action and drama and turmoil. Many fights to be had between Luxen and humans, and Luxen and Luxen, and Luxen and Arum, so it’s all good tension. And what we thought we knew about Luxen, we didn’t know enough.

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