The one aspect of the Lois Lowry's story I didn't like (and I love Lois Lowry) was her character of Jane. I got it, an old-fashion family and story calls for old fashion ways. Jane presented as an old-fashion girl: meek, mild and someone who believed she couldn't amount to anything. I was a bit worried how that would translate to a movie. Thankfully, it did not.
Jane is adventurous, rebellious and outspoken. As much as Tim tries to be the leader, the true leader is Jane. A smart contrast from the book.
While staying true to some dark elements of the book (child neglect, evil parents, etc.), the adaptation is colorful, lively and full of fun.
So thing that set the first book apart falls a little short in this sequel: the photographs. While the first book felt purposeful (Riggs founds the photos and built the story around it) this one felt forced. As if the photos where an afterthought to the story. That's not necessarily a bad thing as this time around the story expanded beyond Jacob and gave us look into the other particulars and their personality and experiences.
As as story, Hollow City is a solid sequel, not as good as the first, but successfully moves the story forward and introduces new twists and turns. As a concept, though, the photographs didn't work as much for me this time around.
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One of the things I loved about the book was the quirkiness of Stargirl and how she didn't care. Sure she had a moment f doubt when people started bullying her, but in the end she decided to stay true to herself. Some of this was lost in the movie.
Yes, it was still lighthearted, nostalgic and fun. But Stargirl wasn't as "over-the-top" as I had always pictured her. She still sang the ukulele (although, not to sing happy birthday to everyone, just to Leo). She still had her rat (though you only saw it twice in the movie) and she still brought team spirit to the school. But certain quirks were missing, like her happy wagon.
And the "bully/conform to norm" plot was rushed. The "bullying" was one scene at the Hot Seat show. The "conform to norm" was one outside park bench scene and a speech half scene. In less than 15 minutes, she was back to wanting to be herself. If I was a teen who saw only the movie, I wouldn't sympathize with her. "She only gave it two days," I would think. "What was so bad about those two days." And in the end, she was the one who broke up with Leo and not the other way around. This makes Stargirl the bad one who didn't give normal a chance, instead of Leo not giving weird a chance (as was the case in the book).
All in all, I think Disney could have done a little better. It's not a bad adaptation, but I felt that if they only took the time to really think about who Stargirl was in the book, the movie may have been just that much better,
To see a comparison of book vs. move, check out Elite Daily's review.
So I have to start by admitting that the Winona Ryder version of this adaptation has always been my favorite. It has this feeling of nostalgia like I'm watching the story unfold as someone is recounting a memory. It's lively and energetic, but not as if it was happening today. This version feels different.
Greta Gerwig's little women feel more in the moment. While it takes place in the past, it's shot in a way that makes it feel relevant to today. It's got hints of women rights issues, from Amy's admitting that they only way a woman can have value is by marrying the right man or Jo opening her school so girls can get a better education (even though both boys and girls can attend). We even get a publishing scene, when Jo watches on as her book "Little Women" is published (having haggled with her editor in a previous scene).
I may just have a new favorite.
To see a comparison of book vs. move, check out CinemaBlend's review.
What I loved about this series are the illustrations. The illustrations are colorful, fun and effectively enhanced the text on the page. I found myself searching for hidden gems among them.
The other thing I liked was the concept. It's not about the adults interacting with the kids, but the kids interacting with the adults. This allows kids to not feel like their babies who need to be taken care of, but big kids who can help out.
Add in the fun and quirky activity ideas and you have a series kids will want to engage with.
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Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. And once you pass through Coldtown's gates, you can never leave.
One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself. - Blurb from Amazon
Aside from Twilight, I haven't read many vampire fiction stories. I think a part of me had enough of reading blurb after blurb about some kind of vampire story, so I never bothered. When I picked this book up, I was a bit hesitant. I like Holly Black and so her name alone was what made me want to read it. And I will say, I liked it.
I liked that it wasn't a vampire origin story, so to speak. Tana didn't want to become a vampire and even when she was bitten, she still fought the urge as much as she could. She saw the damage vampirism had first hand on her family and it wasn't something she wanted to bring back to them.
I liked that this was mostly a survivor story with vampires simply being the backdrop of it. Tana wanted more for her life than that and even through the allure of it, with Gavriel around, she stayed true to herself and I admire that.
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It’s summer vacation, the weather’s great, and all the kids are having fun outside. So where’s Greg Heffley? Inside his house, playing video games with the shades drawn.
Greg, a self-confessed “indoor person,” is living out his ultimate summer fantasy: no responsibilities and no rules. But Greg’s mom has a different vision for an ideal summer . . . one packed with outdoor activities and “family togetherness.”
Whose vision will win out? Or will a new addition to the Heffley family change everything? - Blurb from Amazon
By this point, I have read five of these stories in the series and I have to say, Greg annoyed me in this book. I understand that, at this point, Greg is nearing the end of middle school and is therefore in his early teens. And yes, there were time where I realized he was behaving as a teenager would, but then there were times where I thought he was behaving like a spoiled little brat.
The entire scene with cutting Mrs. Canfield's yard made me feel like Greg needed a big lesson in "putting in the work to make the money".
This book was about the dog days of summer and spanned three months: June, July and August. At times I felt like the story jumped from one story line to the next without any clear transitions. I get it's a diary format and diaries don't always have a clear chronological flow but I found it hard to keep up sometimes. At one point, I had to flip back to see where July started.
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I will say, I liked the movie better than the book which is usually NEVER the case. But I think it has to do with the fact the Greg is more likable in the movie. As stated above, I felt he was annoying in the book, but the movie had him down a notch in his selfishness and it worked. He was more careless than selfish, making mistakes that he was too scared to admit to. And that I could relate to more than the other version of him.
As this is an adaptation review, here is my list of changes.
1) Holly Hills. She had a much bigger role in the movie than the mere mention of her in the books. I get it though. There needed to be a bit of young romance in this movie.
2) Heather Hills. Now this is one change I don't like. The took her from being a simple lifeguard Greg tries to impress to a spoiled brat that Roderick wan't to impress. I hated Heather and so no point to her except to show that Holly and Greg have one thing in common: older siblings that treat them like crap.
3) Nagging Parent. In the book, it's the mother that nags at Greg for not being active enough. In the movie, it's the father. I get it. Since part of the plot line was centered around father/son bonding, it was easier to make the father the nagger. But then this meant that Rachael Harris was reduced to cameo shots here and there just to remind us that there was a mother in the story.
4) No making money schemes. Since the whole mowing lawn story line drove me crazy in the book, I was glad they took this out in the movie. Instead, the smoothie bill comes at the end and Greg's father ends up reluctantly paying the over 200 dollar bill (P.S. it was 83 dollars in the book).
5) Greg and Rowley don't have a falling out. In the story, the two boys get into a fight and are mad at each other for part of the story. I kind of liked this plot line. It showed that you can fight with someone and still be friends afterwards. It's the test of a good friendship, is it not?
In the end, though, the movie stayed true to the core theme of the book: family, friends and summer fun.
There are two sets of books in this enchanting series: the picture books and the chapter books. In November I reviewed the picture books. For this month's review, I will talk about the chapter books and the movie that was adapted from them.
Of course you know the Guardians. You’ve known them since before you can remember and you’ll know them till your memories are like twilight: Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and the others. But where did they come from? How did they become beloved and worthy of holidays? And what nefarious evildoer prompts them to band together and protect the children of the world? - Blurb from Amazon
We are familiar with the tales of the guardians, stories that we grew up with and loved: Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, Mother Goose. What I love about this series (both of them, in fact) is that Joyce takes these figures we already know and weaves a tale that, I for one, loved every minute of.
I devoured this chapter book series, one book right after the other, in a span of 6 weeks. I loved seeing the lives of these characters, the origin stories that made then who they are in our minds and hearts. I also loved the sketches mixed throughout, visually show us what our heroes look like and are up to. So far, there are 4 books in the series with a 5th one coming out at some point. I can't wait to devour the 5th book as I have the others.
Click here to purchase the box set (first three books).
Ten years later, the story continues
On the cusp of turning thirty, Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget are now living separate lives, out on their own. Yet despite having jobs and men that they love, each knows that something is missing: the closeness that once sustained them. - Blurb from Amazon
I knew the second I heard about this book, I wanted to read it, but time always got in the way. The ABC Family (now Freeform) started playing the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movies back to back one Easter weekend. ABC Family is good for that. Something told me I needed to finally pick up the book and I am glad I did.
I instantly started remembering the first time read this story, comparing the four girls with my high school friends and I. Who was Tibby, Lena, and Bee. I, of course, was Carmen, the Puerto Rican writer with daddy issues. I am after all a September, born of the first of the month.
It was nice visiting with the sisterhood again, even if that one tragic moment made me cry.
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Welcome to the archived section "For Readers". Here you will find a collection of all previous posts written. So, if you're afraid you missed something, no worries. It's listed here for you anytime.