Friday, 24 October 2014

Minders - Michele Jaffe

Title: Minders
Author: Michele Jaffe
Publication Date:January, 30th 2014
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Sadie's a straight A student, with a wealthy family. She strives to achieve her best, and being the best means entering the Mind Corps Fellowship Program. The Program is designed for interns to enter troubled teen's minds and Sadie is assigned Subject 9 - Ford Winter. Right from the start he fascinates her, and slowly she falls in love.

Sadie finds herself questioning whether she has to protect Ford, even if it means ignoring the fact he's committed a murder.


Review 


Minders started off by being straight to the point, which I loved. Jaffe introduced the characters and the world, whilst also outlining the central focus in the initial chapters. It meant that I wasn't given useless chunks of information that distracted from what I was suppose to concentrate on. It didn't mean though, that there was sparse development with the characters or the world. In fact, I found a lot of depth in the world building and everything I learnt was fascinating. The characters weren't all fully developed but at least there were some interesting aspects to them. 

I loved learning about Ford, and his mind. This was the strongest point of the novel - having Sadie in Ford's mind. Her observations were both intriguing and actually very realistic. I really liked that Jaffe aligned every emotion with a certain taste, and drew out an image of the mind creating dots of images for Sadie to see. She could also move around and enter different levels of his mind. It meant that I got to know a lot more about Ford in a first hand encounter, without it being really told through his perspective. However, that meant that I didn't get enough from Sadie. Instead, I felt like she was the typical perfect student/daughter but underneath had more of a wild side and playing by the rules wasn't always right. It felt like she was just a vehicle to drive the novel and I don't think I really cared about her. The other characters were stayed on the edges and whilst they had their roles, didn't really impact on my reading experience. 

The let down was that both the ending and the romance just came across really rushed. I couldn't believe the love Sadie started to feel for Rush, or at least the intensity that came from it. I mean it's possible that she liked him, but this was so much more. I didn't understand why Jaffe had to add a boyfriend to the story either. I mean he did nothing for the plot and Sadie didn't even think about him for most of the first half. He just made an appearance here and there without really explaining anything. The ending was crammed with so much information that was suppose to answer the major questions, but when I read the final page I immediately thought "is that it?" I was so confused. The conflict was so major and yet, the ending felt so lacklustre in comparison. The epilogue didn't do much good either. I think it's cause I waited so long for something to happen between Sadie and Rush but it felt like nothing did. Neither did I get a final answer for the other characters. 

This really frustrated me in the end, and that's why I couldn't bring myself to give it a higher rating. It was definitely a very enjoyable and fascinating read, but whilst it had so much potential, it wasn't exactly delivered quite right. I do think Jaffe has great writing skills though. She's written a number of novels in different genres and seems to have pulled them off. Minders is no exception with solid writing and fast paced plot - it just lacked a little here and there.





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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Most Anticipated: Book to Movie Adaptations

Last year I wrote a post on the upcoming book to movie adaptations I was most looking forward to, so I thought it was high time I'd do another one. I know this year has delivered some amazing blockbusters - think The Fault in Our Stars, If I Stay, The Giver etc - so I'm hoping 2015 won't disappoint either.

2014

Before the end of the year though, there are a couple that I'm looking forward to!

Date: AUS - 20/11; USA - 21/11
Author: Suzanne Collins

The long awaited finale to The Hunger Game franchise is about to land - in less than a month actually! It's time to see how far the rebellion will go, and I'm so glad that the same director for Catching Fire is doing this one. He really rescued the movie series after I found The Hunger Game to be lacklustre. 

So excited to see Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) kick ass. 


Date: AUS - 26/12; USA - 17/12
Author: J R. R Tolkein 

I only just got around to reading The Hobbit but this epic fantasy has full praise from fans for the past two movies. This is the third and last film for the series and with the success of the last two, I'm sure this will not disappoint. The release date is a little further away, which gives me some time to catch up on the already released movies.


2015

Moving on and to the new year - which comes into 2 month, WHAT?? - and these are the confirmed movies to be released.


Date: AUS -12/02; USA 13/02
Author: E.L James

Well isn't this a surprise. For a person who absolutely hated the novel, I'm actually shocked that I've given any attention to the movie. It's set to hit the screens during Valentines in order to um, set the mood for couples I guess? I'm not sure how successful that'll be but I do have to say the trailer has pleasantly surprised me. 
I probably won't watch it in the theatres but I do think it'll be something I want to check out.



4. The Duff
Date: USA - 19/02
Author: Kody Keplinger 

This has been on my TBR list since forever, and now that the movie is about to come out I think it works as great motivation for me to hunt it down and read it. I don't think I love the cast, in fact some of them are unfamiliar to me, but the premise is interesting enough. Fingers crossed it works out!



Date: AUS - 19/03; USA - 20/03
Author: Veronica Roth

Despite the other popular YA series Vampire Academy flopping out this year, the Divergent series has garnered enough popularity to go ahead with the rest of the adaptations. I haven't read the series or watched the first movie (yet), but I know many fans out there are super excited for this. 





Date: AUS - 26/03; USA - 13/03 
Author: Brothers Grimm (?) 

The amount of adaptations that have been made for Cinderella is incredible. Except none of them had Helena Bonham Carter as the grandmother (can I get a hell yeah), Cate Blanchett as the Stepmother and Kenneth Branagh as the director. I've seen a couple of movies Kenneth Branagh's directed, both with Helena Bonham Carter as the female protagonist, and I found them to be quite eccentric. Actually it was more weird and kind of disturbing so it'll be interesting to see how he'll go about re-creating this classic fairytale.


Date: USA - 19/06
Author: John Green

I always wondered why John Green's novels never made it to the big screens, but here we are now with Paper Towns in production and The Fault In Our Stars being a massive box hit. Didn't I also see news on Looking for Alaska being considered as an adaptation as well? Anyways, whilst Paper Towns isn't my favourite of his novels I do want to see how it'll come to real life. It's also nice to know John Green has some say over the movies, showing how much care he has for his work.


8. Pan
Date: USA - 17/07
Author: J.M Barrie

Technically this isn't a straight up adaptation of the classic Peter Pan but it is a modern day retelling of the origins of Peter Pan himself, and I for one and ecstatic about this. I love Peter Pan, it's my favourite classic and it'll be fascinating to see the interpretation of his birth story and how he ended up in Neverland. The cast is also made up of A-listers - Hugh Jackman, Amanda Seyfried etc - so I know I can expect a lot out of this. 



Date: USA - 02/10
Author: Mary Shelley 

Something I have read and watched adaptations for is Frankenstein. I am super excited for this even though it is being pitched as a horror film and I cannot stomach films in that genre. It stands out from other adaptations through changing the perspective of the story teller. Usually the story is told by Victor Frankenstein, but instead Victor Frankenstein brings in Igor the assistance as the main narrator. It also helps that Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy are both starring in this, really increasing the quality of the film.


Date: TBA
Author: Lauren Kate

The cast has been announced and apparently it's in post-production now, but there's been no release date for this YA adaptation. I'm sorry to say but I fell off this series after the third novel because it just wasn't that good. I'm surprised it was even taken on to be produced as a movie but this could salvage the series for me, being a better movie than the book. 




Which Movies Are You Excited For?



(Photo Sources: Mockingjay - NY Daily News; The Hobbit - The Lions Roar; Cinderella - Disney Wiki; Fifty Shades of Grey - US Magazine
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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Every Day - David Levithan

Source: Goodreads
Title: Every Day
Author: David Levithan
Series: Every Day
Publication Date: August, 28th 2012
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A is unidentifiable. Ever since he could remember, he has been waking up in a different body every day. He makes sure to not make attachments, interfere or draw attention from the people around him. Then he wakes up in Justin's body and things change. Rhiannon is Justin's girlfriend and she draws out emotions in A that make him go back on all his rules.

A strays along a dangerous line just to follow the one person he wants to spend together, every day.


Review


The concept of Every Day is every bit intriguing and thought-provoking, but whilst it produced some really good content, it also left me wanting more. This really frustrated me because I prefer to read and have answers delivered than waiting and waiting, without any knowledge in the end. Still, there were some positives that I picked up along the way. 

I found that the overall message of the story was what made the read worthwhile in the end. It is a love story but the emphasis was on how love can overcome obstacles and unite people in ways unimaginable. Clearly in Every Day the situation is basically impossible, but because the emotions between A and Rhiannon was so strong it broke down the barriers that contained them. I don't entirely believe A's intense feeling for Rhiannon, only because it happened very quickly but for the story to progress and deliver its message I just went along with it. I took it as relaying hope and think it portrayed that well.

However, A's body transitions were something I was interested in a lot more than the story between A and Rhiannon. I found it fascinating to hear about every person's live, how much A could know and the influence he held over their body. I don't agree to his recklessness with people's lives after meeting Rhiannon, it's not ethically right, but it made for an interesting read. It also reflects how deeply one person can influence someone, whether it be personal encounters or, in A's case, a literal take over. I think my interpretation to him - and yes I'm gendering A despite not carrying a gender in the novel - moving from body to body is almost like a calling. It could just be coincidental but he did manage to help some people when it really came down to it.

The ending was bittersweet and a little lacklustre for me. I had so many questions built up, questions that A tried to answer for Rhiannon but it didn't satisfy my curiosity. I guess it really conveys how puzzled A is about the whole situation as well, but I just wanted to know. This is just my personal feelings though and I don't fault Levithan for being vague. It actually makes the story realistic and the possibilities that came up for A at the end built on the hope that surrounded the plot.

I do think it was an enjoyable read, I finished it a short amount of time. It was sweet at times but I just don't think it was right for me. I know there's a companion novel coming out in Rhiannon's perspective, but I don't think I'll be reading it. I can just see myself getting bored reading the same story again. Check it out though, it might be the book for you.





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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I Want To Start

Top Ten Recent Series I Want To Start
(Past 2-3 years)

Everything on this list is basically the latest YA releases that I'm pretty sure everyone has read and loved, whilst  I'm still slow to get with the trends. Most of these are also pretty hyped up, but that hasn't put me off (just yet). 




1. Burn for Burn by Jenny Han (2012)
2. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (2011)
3. For Darkness Shows The Stars by Diana Peterfreund (2012)
4. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (2011)
5. Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger (2013)




6. Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes (2012)
7. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (2012)
8. The Archived by Victoria Schwab (2013)
9. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (2012) 
10. The Program by Suzanne Young (2013)

What Series Do You Want To Start?




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Saturday, 18 October 2014

You - Caroline Kepnes

Title: You
Author: Caroline Kepnes
Publication Date: September, 30th 2014
Disclaimer: I was sent this as a recommendation by Simon&Schuster.
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Joe is instantly drawn to Guinevere Beck after she steps into his bookstore. He can't stop thinking about her and wanting to see her, and it seems Beck is falling her his charms. Yet, she doesn't realise the extent to which Joe will go to have her and Beck isn't exactly what he thinks she's like. 

Their relationship becomes a dangerous game, and the consequences are deadly.

Review


I wasn't exactly sure what I was in for when I started You, but what I got I can't say I loved. In fact, even thinking about it now makes me feel disturbed and uncomfortable. 

You is a thriller at its best, but whether its the right thriller for me is the question. Of course being a story about a stalker means that it'll have elements of creepiness and socially unacceptable behaviours. However, whilst the story progressed I really had to think about whether this was a thriller with highly explicit content or eroticism hiding underneath the genre thriller. That's the part I did not like, and which put me off the entire novel. Maybe I'm just a prude, but I felt like the sexual aspect was so crude and drastic. 

Still, Kepnes' writing really conveyed Joe's obsessive nature in a really interesting way. Readers are placed in his situation, and that's why it seems so much more logical, even though we know what he's doing is wrong. It can be easy to sympathise with him for feeling anxious, happy and anger only because we know how it feels to like someone. However, at the end I still didn't excuse his actions only because his infatuation led to dangerous and disturbing things. I would've liked to know why he grew up to be like he was, because he didn't seem to be lacking in any area. He could attract a girl just by looking at her, was funny, smart and well-read, so it's not like he would find it difficult to get a girlfriend. I hated every other character, including Beck, only because they were all so flawed yet, acted like they owned the world. This is such a realistic interpretation of people though, and Joe's observations of Beck's personality really came across as issues that nearly everyone actually has to deal with - although not to that extreme extent. 

At some point I started to feel like the novel was just dragging out. I mean I got it - Joe's a stalker, and Beck's not perfect, and maybe they just deserve each other. I couldn't reach the ending fast enough, and whilst there were some surprising moments, I just really wanted the entire thing to end. I wouldn't say I never expected the ending, only because it is a thriller so hello. I felt like the ending was realistic enough so I'll take it as it is, but yeah. 

I've seen some really positive reviews for You, so maybe whilst I'm a fan of crime, thriller just isn't for me. Or maybe You is on a whole other level of thriller. Either way I just couldn't tell myself I really liked this. I do think it's definitely for mature readers, especially with the explicit content and language. Check it out and see what you think! 





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Friday, 17 October 2014

Talking Personal

Boy has this month been hectic, and we've only reached halfway. Now, if you know me well then you'd know my immune system is barely existent, which means I'm constantly sick. I swear I'm ill for three quarters of the year - trust me, it's not fun. So basically I was in bed for most of my mid term break, which was great.

Enough whinging though. I actually only have one week of uni left, and it really scares me because I remember writing my first "Talking Personal" post and I was telling you guys how I was only three weeks into the semester. Where has time gone?! The end of semester just means exam, and yep, I am going to be way over my head with exam prep. Hopefully I don't pull a disappearing act again and I'm actually well prepared for my exams this time. Chances of that are very slim, but I'm still going to try.

I had a great night out with the girls for one of their birthdays, and we ate at a pretty decent Korean BBQ restaurant. I love Korean food and I found that Yeonga to have great service, plenty of choices and just a nice environment. I definitely enjoyed that pork belly I had amongst the other foods we ordered. No photos this time since I was too busy digging in. However, we did manage to finally try Hardware Societe - a very well known brunch place tucked in a lane way in the CBD. We actually had breakfast, but I'm not complaining because it was so amazing. Whilst the girls all ordered their infamous baked egg dish, I went for the Banana Loaf with Poached Pears, Walnuts and Berries. Heaven. Take a look at the photos if you don't believe me.


The Hardware Societe
118-120 Hardware St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Yeonga
1 Cobden St, North Melbourne VIC 3051

I've also just opened up a new Instagram account just to post about books because I felt like I was flooding my personal account a little too much, and it just didn't look nice. Just search up "printedwordsand" if you want to take a look!

Other than that, there's been nothing interesting that's really happened. At least not until I hear back from some things I hope goes well next year, so until then guys! 

What Have You Been Up To?




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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Belzhar - Meg Wolitzer

Title: Belzhar
Author: Meg Wolitzer
Publication Date: October 1st, 2014
Add to Goodreads | Buy from The BookDepository 

Jam Gallahue is sent to a therapeutic boarding school after suffering from a traumatic event during high school. She's closed off and feeling empty, but slowly opens up when placed in the Special Topics in English class with another 5 students. 

They're assigned journals to write in every week, but what they discover from this mundane exercise pushes life right back into them. 

Review


On the surface, I don't think Belzhar was an amazing read. It didn't strike me as impactful or memorable compared to The Bell Jar, which was something I was worried about when I picked this up. I know it's not a modern adaptation or promising to be something like Sylvia Plath's amazing work, but by including elements of it in the novel, it's pretty hard not to compare. I'm not going to lie, I had really high expectations. I wasn't disappointed, but it wasn't spectacular. 

What I liked most about Belzhar was more the emotional aspect of it, and how it delivered it's point. At first I was confused because of how dry the narrative sounded, but as the story progressed I could see more of a point being formed. I like that it pushes the idea of how everyone has issues to deal with, and that they're all important in their own way. It explores the topic of addressing your problems and finding the best way to deal with it. I know a lot of people have issues in how the characters are transported to the "other" world as a way of facing their problems, but if you look at it in a different perspective, I think - for the protagonist, at least - the way to let go of the past, and all the grief and anger that was contained in it.

Speaking of the characters, I wasn't particularly fond with any one of them. Their stories were touching and sad, but I don't think they had much depth. This applies to Jam as well, who I pretended was older than her actual age, because I couldn't really believe her situation as being realistic. I could relate with their feelings of being stuck in a moment and not being able to move past it, but I don't really remember every one of their situations. I liked that as a group they gradually developed a positive bond, and found the help they needed, but the romantic relationships just sprung out of nowhere and was very predictable. I knew from the moment the two characters looked at each other it was going to happen, even if there was no progression to it. Sigh.

The ending was a little rushed, packing everything together and trying to wrap it up neatly. It was neat, but just a bit overwhelming. I overlooked that though because of the plot twist that did add a spark to the plot whilst reading and I did find myself surprised.

I think if you're looking for something that is a little less heavy than The Bell Jar, but with that similar concept of exploring the emotions of depression and loneliness than definitely read it. I took the overall message as something I really liked and so that's why I enjoyed that bit more. I'm just not sure I articulated that part very well.





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