TTT: Books With Movie Rep

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Big reputation, big reputation, you and me got big reputations ohhhh…

(I COULDN’T HELP IT)

There are just some books out there that definitely gained some good rep because of the movies that came out. I, for one, have been enjoying a few movies more than the books themselves lately, and it got me thinking of all the other movie adaptations that I really liked but where the book was kind of underwhelming for me.

And I realized, yeah, there are books like that, where the case is the movie is just so much better.

Here’s my top ten, in no particular order accompanied by lovely gifs!

(Note: I did try to go for movies I really enjoyed and the accompanying books that were a bit underwhelming. What I didn’t add were books that I thought were just as fantastic as movies, like A Monster Calls or The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, etc.)

Top Ten Movies That Gave Books Their Good Reputation

“Willowdean Dickson. I think you’re beautiful.”

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy – Maybe it’s because the book was super drawn out and had several subplots, but I thought the movie was much better in this instance. I didn’t care for Beau in the book, but I thought he was really lovely in the movie. There was also no love triangle to deal with, so it’s clear who the romantic interest would be!

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – The movie seriously threw me for a loop, but for good reason! Psycho characters are awesome when in movies, but reading in their perspective takes getting used to. It really didn’t help that the main characters were obnoxiously pretentious, so I couldn’t even finish the book. But I loved the movie.

A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell – I’m still wrapping my head around the fact that this did become a movie, but the movie was SO GOOD and I cannot explain WHY. Maybe it’s a combination of it being treated as a dark comedy and the actors, but I absolutely did love this movie. When I read the book, though, the characters went in the way of Gone Girl. Obnoxious and, in one case, obnoxiously incestuous.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – Okay, fine, I loved the book, too, I thought it was adorable, but it’s not usually my cup of tea. In any case, the movie was great for two reasons: Lana Condor and Noah Centineo, and their chemistry (okay, so three reasons, but who’s counting?). Also, Peter Kavinsky is more adorable in the movie. He’s kind of a jerk in the book. Kind of. Still cute, though!

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – This book was opulent, and also another one I actually enjoyed. But there’s really nothing like watching the opulence on screen, especially the 1920s partying scene. This movie honestly didn’t do so well in the cinema circuit, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, and not just because of Leo’s role in all of this.

I liked IT but not enough to put a CLOWN GIF on this post…

IT by Stephen King – I will be one of the very few people who’ll probably say that I’m not a big fan of Stephen King. I have some of his work, and the movies I’ve seen adapted from his books were done very well, so I’m guessing his books are also written very well. I just…the content in them I’m not a big fan of. The same thing can be said about IT, though honestly, the movie was fantastic enough that I even overlooked my fear of clowns just to watch it.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote – I loved the book, don’t get me wrong, but there was something about the ending that I wasn’t such a big fan of. I mean, the movie itself had a lot of issues, and some of the things in the movie (with Audrey Hepburn) doesn’t lend well to modern sensitivities now. That being said, I’m kind of a fan of the Hollywood ending in this case, and the movie is the reason why I read the book.

Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella – Again, this is probably an unpopular opinion, because the movie is kind of a mess, but I’m biased towards most movies with Hugh Dancy in it. That being said, as messy as this movie was, I thought it was adorable, and again, it made me read the book! (Which I was kind of not a fan of at the end of it, but still…)

Life of Pi by Yann Martel – This movie was absolutely gorgeous, and it really held well to the idea of the book. The book was great, too, but it did drag on a bit, and for something that’s a small novel, it really shouldn’t have done so. That being said, I would definitely recommend this, especially because of how beautiful the setting is and how well the cinematography was done.

The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger – I couldn’t get through this book, mostly because the main character’s friends were absolutely annoying. In both book and movie, the MC does leave the highly coveted job for personal reasons, but I thought the movie had a better way of telling it. Also, fashion is always better when you can look at it. And Emily Blunt is the absolute best. Along with Magic Meryl.

Do you have any book-turned-movies that knocked it out of the ballpark?

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A Dolly Parton Extravaganza || Dumplin’ Review

Initial Thoughts 

I don’t know what it is I’m doing wrong lately, but I’ve been feeling like the movie adaptations to the past books I’ve picked up got their messages across a but better. It’s no different for Dumplin’.


DUMPLIN’

by Julie Murphy
Balzer + Bray, September 2015
YA romance, contemporary

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have read this book if not for the movie, which was actually adorable in its delivery. I also probably wouldn’t have watched the movie until I saw the trailer, which promised me a healthy dosage of drag queens and Dolly Parton.

Between the novel and the movie? The movie delivered on my expectations. The novel itself probably delivered on the young adult romance expectation, which was everything I’ve been trying to avoid.

I think one of the biggest differences between the book and the movie was how the issue of body image played out in the story. The novel itself follows Willowdean and the drama happening in her life. This includes problems with her best friend since forever, Ellen, to her love life, to the pageant she eventually enters as a “middle finger to the world.” The problems continue to escalate, too, but the driving message by the end of it was the mentality to accept and love the person you are, regardless of your shape or size.

It’s a really nice message, and I applaud Murphy for it.

Also, I’m not a big Jennifer Aniston fan, but I loved her in this role, and she killed it XD.

So I’m a little taken aback by how secondary the Bluebonnet pageant was in the book. I mean, it’s the main reason for a lot of how the characters interact and where they develop, but at the end of the day, a lot of Willowdean’s development did not owe itself to her immersion in the pageant.

“Kind of like a protest in heels?”

“Exactly. Like a protest in heels.”

The movie, on the other hand, streamlines all the drama and focuses on one major plot point, putting everything else as secondary. In this case, the pageant is the thing.

And I loved how it played out, and the message is loud and clear.

That said, the book was good in its own way. I will admit a lot of the things I disliked about the book had to do with the love triangle (which doesn’t show up at all in the movie, thank goodness!). Willowdean also spends a whole lot of time in the novel whingeing about the fact that Ellen hates her. Which, frankly, was mostly Willowdean’s fault for not even trying to understand Ellen’s point of view. It mostly got on my nerves that Ellen didn’t even try to keep her frenemies like Callie from fat-shaming Willowdean–yes, your friendship was a bit rocky, but that’s YEARS of friendship, and it had to count for something, like, oh, having your friend BACK OFF.

The novel also has a love triangle, which, on a normal basis, drives me absolutely bonkers. A lot of the love triangle wouldn’t have been a triangle if Willowdean didn’t STRING poor Mitch along! The guy was great, but she went about and kept him hanging while she pined for Bo, who she broke up with because for SOME reason, she didn’t think she was the type of girl he’d like (but, I mean, WHY are you dictating who Bo wants to date when it’s clearly he genuinely LIKED you?! GET IT TOGETHER WILLOWDEAN).

Not to say I hated everything in the book. Again, I thought the secondary characters–especially Hannah—were fleshed out. I really loved the conversation between the girls during the sleepover scene, and I did like the relationship the mom had with Willowdean. It wasn’t as tear-worthy good as the one in the movie, but it was still fabulous.

Hannah was also a hoot in the movie.

Still…not enough drag queens singing to Dolly Parton in the book.

3 out of 5 cookies! It was a good book, I just…liked the movie better?


Have you read this book? What did you think?

Mini Reviews: A Simple Favor, The Motion of Puppets

Mari really needs to find a new system in writing her blog posts, because trying to get everything done in a weekend clearly does not work. Maybe once she stops bingeing all the seasons of Game of Thrones she might finally find a bit of normalcy…

Then again, maybe not. But at least she’s trying and that’s what counts, right?

Right?

Sigh.

Anyway, I slipped on my March reading a bit, but I did get a few things in before I started my nightly TV binges. I might as well tear off the bandaid now and get the books I didn’t like over with.

Honestly, I picked up A Simple Favor solely because I adore Anna Kendrick and I so wanted to see the movie the book was based on. Between Kendrick and Henry Golding and Blake mothaheffing Lively, this movie was totally going to be something I’d watch. Unfortunately, the book itself tanked for me. By the end of it, I was really wishing the whole mystery behind Emily’s disappearance was that she was formerly a hitwoman whose past finally caught up to her, and her businessman-husband knew none the wiser because he’s the perfect “I’m always busy and traveling” type of husband. Ugh. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN SO MUCH MORE INTERESTING IF THIS WAS THE CASE. (Note: Fanfiction anyone?! I’m totally welcoming this.)

That being said, I highly recommend the movie for its dark and comedic nature. Like, seriously, I didn’t think I’d be entertained by a mom vlog until Anna Kendrick’s Stephanie made it fun. Though honestly my main takeaway from the movie–and the entire story itself–was how to make a perfect gin martini.

The next book was something my friend and I discussed as an option to read for our podcast, Fableulous Retellings (which, I know, I know, one of the things I need to get back to updating at some point, along with my life), and at the time I was really committed to reading something that was an Orpheus and Eurydice tie-in. I mean, honestly, you don’t get too many of those retellings, right?

Lord almighty, help my soul. I swear I’m not trying to hate on magical realism, but it’s really hard to find a good one that doesn’t make me cringe like most of magical realism books. I mean, come on, I do enjoy Gaiman at least. He’s magical realism, right? As is Patrick Ness for the most part, right?

Have you read either of these books? What did you think?

Beautiful, Dirty, Rich || Crazy Rich Asians Review

Initial Thoughts: 

Alright, guys. GUYS. I was going to rate this a full mega five star but then I watched the movie and I absolutely loved the direction they went with it, along with the curtailing of subplots. But still. STILL. This book was fab. And I mean, timing, am I right?

Because beautiful, dirty, dirty, rich, rich, dirty, dirty, beautiful, dirty, rich.


CRAZY RICH ASIANS

by Kevin Kwan
Anchor Books, May 2014
Romance, adult contemporary fiction, humor
Rated: 4.5 / 5 cookies

When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.

On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers.

If I could quote the entire beginning of the book, I so would, because if the prologue was any indication of how the book would go, it certainly opened up with a bang. As is, I really enjoyed the story, as dramatic and rife with frustrating characters as it was, it was a helluva summer read, and I honestly want to visit Singapore now (not that I didn’t before…now it’s just a more immediate desire).

“They may not know the first thing about him, but they are all vying to become Mrs. Nicholas Young.”

Rachel took it all in quietly. It felt like Sophie was talking about some character of fiction, someone who bore no resemblance to the man she knew and had fallen in love with. It was as if she were Sleeping Beauty–only, she never asked to be awakened by a prince.

But honestly, I couldn’t have found a better timing to read this book. Eleanor Young was a firm believer that timing was everything for many reasons, and I think I agree. If I wasn’t in such a mood to read a rom-com book like Crazy Rich Asians I probably would not have had as much fun with it as I did. As is, when I finally did get cracking at the book, I realized this book was just for me, solely for the fact that every few pages there was food involved.

I got so food-hungry reading Dirty Rich Asians that I ended up making scones, clotted cream, and scoured the grocery stores for some lychee to make myself a lychee cocktail. Word. Food and fandom up this biznatch!

Nick stood at one end of the desserts, wondering what to have first: the goreng pisang with ice cream, the blancmange with mango sauce, or the chocolate chiffon cake.

Seriously, I was in Singapore food heaven. And it didn’t help that I was recognizing a lot of the goodies as SEA staples. (I mean, they talked about frying bananas in batter and I immediately went and fried myself a pack of turon to have for snacks…)

The street food alone… *drools*

Not only that, but the culture itself was a lot more relatable as far as the family values went. As someone whose family network is predominantly in Southeast Asia, a lot of the gossip and judgmental drama that occurred in the book mimicked what it is like growing up in a heavily SEA-oriented lifestyle. Of course, I could only imagine the stakes in the drama of the dirty rich, but again, similar focus.

The book is also heavy with commentary of lifestyle in the SEA community. There are problems with how the rich view the world, and yes, there’s a shitton of racism and social injustice even in the East. And if you take a deeper dive into the book to see how the society in Singapore work, you’d find that a lot of the SEA folk actually represented turn out to be live-in servants, nannies, and generally that of the working class.

“Did you hear me? Mainland China!

Philip was baffled. “Doesn’t everybody’s family ultimately originate from Mainland China? Where would you rather she be from? Iceland?”

“Don’t be funny with me! Her family comes from some ulu ulu village in China that nobody has ever heard of. The investigator thinks that they were most likely working class. In other words, they are PEASANTS!”

That being said, the book is first and foremost a romantic comedy. It is an Asian Pride and Prejudice. And let me tell you, I’ve been having my fair share of P&P binges this week. Too much Mr. Darcy is never too much, and I can now also say this about Nicholas Young. Yummy.

Hubba hubba indeed. Hello, TDH of the month.

(On a related note, I’ve also gone to see the movie this weekend, and I will have to agree with many others who’ve clamored and sang the movie’s praises: it was tremendously done, hilarious to a fault, and I cannot tell you how ecstatic I am to see a great rom-com back on the silver screens. Also, the curtailed plotlines with Astrid and Peik Lin were SO MUCH BETTER DONE in the film, not gonna lie. So. Yeah. WATCH IT!)

4.5 out of 5 cookies! Honestly, it should just be a 5 out of 5 if you combine the ending of the movie to the book itself. All the same, I’d totally still read the sequels.


Have you read this book or watched the movie? What did you think?

Bookademy Awards

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Whoo Academy Awards! If there’s anything else I love other than books and video games (and baking and reading…), it’s definitely watching movies. So imagine my excitement every year when I turn to my friend and start watching as many of the award-nominated movies as possible in order to cast in our own predictions of which movie will rake in the gold.

Well, considering tonight IS Academy Award night, I figure I could do a list of “Bookademy” Awards to commemorate it. Because, heck, this blog is largely book-related, right? I suppose I *could* throw in my movie predictions as well, but I can throw that in at the end. Um. Maybe.

So yes. Books. For the sake of saving time and not having to go back to all of my favorite reads, I’m going to be basing this year’s Bookademy Awards to what I’ve personally read in 2016.

2017 Bookademy Awards

Best Male Protagonist

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I talk of Kell in the second book because he’s become much more multi-faceted after his showdown with Holland. Plus, he pretty much went into an entire spectrum of emotions in this book, considering the situations he’s had to deal with.

HONORARY NOMINEES:
Kaladin Stormblessed (The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson)
James Fraser (Outlander by Diana Gabaldon)
Parzival (Ready Player One by Ernest Cline)
Khalid Ibn al-Rashid (The Rose & and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh)

Best Female Protagonist

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It’s always difficult to just pick one female protag amidst the plethora of female main characters I’ve been reading about in books. They’re all so friggin’ awesome in their roles! Yelena, though, remains my favorite of 2016, because she has undergone so much throughout the Study books, and at the prime of her power, she still remains adamant in her quest to continue learning. Plus, while she’s probably one of the few fantasy females I know who is shown to balance both her work and love life well.

HONORARY NOMINEES:
Cress (Cress by Marissa Meyer)
Maika Halfwolf (Monstress by Marjorie Liu)
Lada (And I Darken by Kiersten White)
Shahrzad Al-Khayzuran (The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh),

Best Secondary Male

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Four books of sass-mouthing and motivational speeches. I don’t even need to say anything else.

HONORARY NOMINEES:
Scorpius Malfoy (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany)
Murtagh (Outlander by Diana Gabaldon)
Warren (Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs)
Alucard Emery (A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab)

Best Secondary Female

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Limelight Ladies galore! Reagan takes the cake because of her dialogue. She’s pretty much that character that prods and goads the protagonist into action for the most part, and honestly, she made me laugh way too much throughout Fangirl.

HONORARY NOMINEES:
Iko (Cress by Marissa Meyer)
Ivy Tamwood (Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison)
Minny (The Help by Kathryn Stockett)
Ilsa Flynn (This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab)

Best Villainous Villains

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I’ve mushed together male and female villains, because honestly only one of them took the cake. Astrid friggin’ Dane. I would have also put her brother here, but honestly, I remember Astrid much more because she’d been crueler, subtler, and more conniving with her actions. Athos was pretty straightforward cruel. Astrid, on the other hand, was straight-up psychotic.

HONORARY NOMINEES:
Naughty John (The Diviners by Libba Bray)
Eli Ever (Vicious by V.E. Schwab)
Queen Levana (Winter by Marissa Meyer)
Pernicia (Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley)

Best Graphic Novel/Manga

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The first volume of this female-centric graphic novel packed such a punch that everything else paled in comparison.

HONORARY NOMINEES:
Saga, Vol. 5 by Brian K. Vaughan
Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 3 by Jinsei Kataoka
The Way of Shadows: The Graphic Novel by Brent Weeks
The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel by Diana Gabaldon

Best Adaptation of a Book

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I still love watching The Help movie whenever I can. It was done so well.

HONORARY NOMINEES:
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Best Retelling

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It was a tight race between Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn and Cress, but Cress won out because the tale stayed true to the fairy tale amidst a science fiction world.

HONORARY NOMINEES:
Winter by Marissa Meyer
The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley
William Shakespeare’s The Jedi Doth Return by Ian Doescher

Best in Magical Systems

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Was there any question? Sanderson has always been stellar at telling the story and creating in-depth magical systems. And heck, he doesn’t just make one. Oh, no. Sometimes books will have multiple magical systems.

HONORARY NOMINEES:
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder

Best in Worldbuilding

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Same vein as the above category. His worlds are superbly vivid, and his descriptions have often made it so easy to get transported into the middle of the scene.

HONORARY NOMINEES:
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
Monstress, Vol. 1 by Marjorie Liu
The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Best “Must Buy” Author

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Seriously, Schwab. Just stahp.

HONORARY NOMINEES:
Renee Ahdieh
Patricia Briggs
Marissa Meyer
Brandon Sanderson

Best Books of a Humorous Nature

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I believe Whil Wheaton’s narration had a lot to do with me finding the story geeky and adorable, but yes, I did laugh a lot with this book.

HONORARY NOMINEES:
William Shakespeare’s The Jedi Doth Return by Ian Doescher
Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris
Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Best Books of an OMG Nature

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Alright, so there are just going to be those books that have the flair for the dramatics. Fire Touched was pretty much a turning point for Mercy and her family, and for that, the book takes the cake on dramatic events.

HONORARY NOMINEES:
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Fair Game by Patricia Briggs
Vicious by V.E. Schwab
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Best Squee-Worthy Book

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I still sigh and squee over this duology. The first book had some of the best lines, though let it be said that I also squeed lots over its sequel.

HONORARY NOMINEES:
A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
Winter by Marissa Meyer
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder

And as a bonus, my Academy Award movie predictions.

Best PictureLa La Land

Best Actor (Leading Role) – Denzel Washington, Fences

Best Actor (Supporting Role) – Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Best Actress (Leading Role) – Emma Stone, La La Land

Best Actress (Supporting Role) – Viola Davis, Fences

Best Animated Feature – Zootopia

Best Cinematography – Linus Sandgren, La La Land

Best Costume Design – Madeline Fontaine, Jackie

Best Directing – Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Best Documentary FeatureO.J.: Made in America

Best Documentary ShortJoe’s Violin

Best Film EditingHacksaw Ridge

Best Foreign Language FilmThe Salesman

Best Makeup and Hairstyling – Star Trek Beyond

Best Original Score – La La Land

Best Original Song – “City of Stars,” La La Land

Best Production Design – La La Land

Best Live Action ShortEnnemis Interieurs

Best Animated Short – Piper

Best Sound Editing – Hacksaw Ridge

Best Sound Mixing – Hacksaw Ridge

Best Visual Effects – Kubo and the Two Strings

Best Adapted Screenplay – Fences

Best Original Screenplay – La La Land

Do you have anyone you would have awarded Bookademy Awards to? And how about movies? Do you have an Academy Award prediction?