Top Ten Tuesday (May 1): Books I’d Like to See Made Into a Movie

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the folks over at The Broke and the Bookish, so that we can all make and read lists to our hearts’ content.

Ahhh, lists. Why are you so much fun?

This week’s top 10 is a topic near and dear to my heart, because I spend way more time than is (probably) healthy thinking about this very subject. And the topic is:

Top Ten Books You’d Like To See Made Into A Movie

[Disclaimer: I know several of these have already been optioned for movies. However, until I see that casting is occurring and a production schedule is out and a release date is set, I don't see any of them as sure things. Hollywood is a fickle mistress.]


Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. This would either have to be a heavily edited version to fit into a movie, or a show on cable. I’d prefer a show on cable (as long as it’s a channel I get!), so we could really explore the developing relationship between Claire and Jamie, as well as all the incredibly intricate plot surrounding the clans and the war.

 

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb. Actually, the entire Farseer series, followed by the Tawny Man series (throwing Liveships in the middle would probably just be too confusing). But this one would have to be a cable series. It is way, way too complex for a movie. Even with a Peter Jackson 3.5 hour Lord of the Rings treatment. It would be an amazing series, though.

 


Hourglass by Myra McEntire. This one would be a really fun movie, appealing to both the teen crowd (because of the teenage protagonists and the love story) and the sci-fi crowd (because of the time travel and powers). It’s got a good amount of action, but also really interesting story. I picture some pretty nifty special effects too.

 

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. If they could somehow get around the difficulties in casting, especially for Tally and Shay, this would be a really exciting movie. Lots of running and flying and explosions and craziness. Plus, it would surely draw big crowds, what with all the pretty (or Pretty) people in it. And, as a bonus, it has sequels and even a spin-off ready to go.

 

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. I know this would be tricky, watching Sam relive the same day seven times, but I really enjoyed Groundhog Day, so I think it can be done. Plus, I just saw this one as a movie in my head while I was reading. I want to see Sam transform. I want to fall in love with Kent. I want my heart to break for Juliet. This is one that I know has been optioned for film, and I really, really hope it happens.

 

Delirium by Lauren Oliver. (Yes, I do love me some Lauren Oliver books. Why do you ask?) I am fascinated by this world where love is a disease. I want to see how it works, how these families function. And of course I want to see Alex, and watch him break through Lena’s defenses. Movies about a sweet love story with some action and sci-fi thrown in are my cup of tea.

 

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu. This one takes inspiration from all sorts of things that did well at the box office — X-Men, Hunger Games, Twilight — as well as several books that I imagine would do well at the box office, like Delirium and Divergent. It is heavy on the sci-fi and action for the guys, and of also has the teen love triangle to draw in the girls (although, I’m a girl and I’d be drawn in by the sci-fi action).

 

Divergent by Veronica Roth. Talk about a book that was written to be turned into a movie! Everything about this book seemed cinematic to me, from the trains to the Dauntless compound, to the initiation challenges and the fear landscapes, to the behemoth finale. I’m pretty sure this one has also already been optioned, and I am really excited to see if it happens. It will be a pretty awesome action movie.

 

Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card. I know that Ender’s Game is already well on its way to the big screen, but I hope they keep going and make this one too. Yeah, it will be even more challenging casting Bean on the streets of Rotterdam than Ender in Battle School, but Bean’s backstory is fascinating. Also, I think the rest of the Shadow series would translate better to film than the Ender sequels.

 

The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis. I know that theoretically, this one is going to be the next Narnia movie, but I’m more than a bit skeptical that it will actually get made (the IMDB page is woefully blank right now). However, considering this is my favorite of the Narnia books, and also completely different from all the others, I really hope I’m wrong. I want to see the creation of Narnia and all the different worlds that can be accessed through the magic pools!

 

Of course, if I had my druthers, I’d probably see a movie made from every book I ever enjoyed, since I love movies and books so much. And then I’d probably complain that most of them didn’t do the book justice. Such is the nature of the beast.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (4/30)

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by BookJourney. It’s a great way to plan your reading week and see what others are reading!

On my plate for this week:

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. I know, this was on my list last week. I know, I still haven’t finished. I know, I’m still in essentially the same part of the book. I need to just plow through to the end. I’ll probably be glad I did.

Timepiece by Myra McEntire. Really excited about this one, as I loved the first book in the series, Hourglass. You can read my Hourglass review here, or you could probably just scroll down. I mean, it was my most recent post. So far I am really enjoying experiencing this world through Kaleb’s eyes.

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen. I received this one in my goody box from Scholastic, and I’m super-stoked about it. I’ve heard nothing but good things.

And, last but not least….

Insurgent by Veronica Roth. The wait is finally over! This will arrive at my doorstep sometime on Tuesday (probably around dinnertime, as we are notoriously late on our UPS guy’s route). Super-psyched to find out what Tris and Four have planned after the über-craziness that was the end of Divergent. If I’m being realistic with myself, I probably won’t sleep much on Tuesday night.

There’s another couple I’d like to squeeze in if I have time, but really, four (well, 3.5-ish since I’m already nearly finished with one of them and partway through the next) books is probably plenty for me to be tackling this week.

That’s it for me this week, unless I am way more on top of my game than usual. Happy reading!

Review: Hourglass by Myra McEntire (@MyraMcEntire @EgmontUSA)

I found out this weekend that in about two weeks, a trio of authors will be doing a book signing in Nashville (I live right outside of Nashville), and that a bunch of book bloggers will be attending. I’m really excited to attend. Not only will this be my first signing and therefore my first opportunity to meet some of my fellow bloggers in person (which, I have to admit, kind of terrifies me. I’m only extroverted on the Internet. In real life, I tend to want to hide behind things and be socially awkward), but I actually really enjoy the authors.

The three authors are Amy Plum, Myra McEntire, and C.J. Redwine. So leading up to the event, I will be posting reviews for Hourglass, Timepiece, Die for Me, and (hopefully) Defiance and Until I Die. Still working on getting my hands on those last two, although I have high hopes for Defiance. I’ve been in communication with The C.J. Redwine herself, and awesomeness is in the works. Stay tuned.

I will also post other things in the coming two weeks. No fears. I may also post a review of The Wise Man’s Fear or a really old book that I just feel like reviewing. Maybe a Farseer book, since I keep referencing them as The Awesomest Ever. Maybe The Princess Bride, because it is mortifying to me that so many people don’t realize it’s a book. Maybe something else. I don’t know. I’m flighty. We’ll see. But there will be other stuff.

Anyway. Ahem. For today:

The Story

Hourglass is the story of Emerson Cole, just a typical 17-year-old girl, with the pesky exception that she sees dead people.

 No, not like that.

[Side note: Is the character's name, Emerson Cole, after Haley Joel Osment's character of Cole in The Sixth Sense? Questions for Ms. McEntire when I see her!]

Ever since her parents died in a tragic accident, Emerson has been going through life, minding her own business, when all of a sudden someone from the past will show up. A Scarlett O’Hara look-alike. A poodle-skirt-clad group of teenagers from the 1950s. An century-old baseball team. Only Emerson can see them, and if she tries to touch them, they pop like bubbles.

Under the care of her brother Thomas, Emerson has been to every form of therapist, ranging from Freudian men with glasses to bone-shaking witch doctors. No one has been able to help her.

Until one day, Thomas hires Michael, a mysterious young man representing a company called the Hourglass. Michael is certain he can help Emerson; but even more intriguingly, he believes she can help him.

Soon Emerson is introduced to a world she never knew existed. A world where normal people can have extraordinary powers. A world where time travel is possible. And a world where she is more powerful than she ever dreamed.

My Thoughts

I love me a good time travel story, and this had all the trappings of a great one. I liked Emerson. In spite of her 17-year-old-girl-ness (a plague among YA heroines, considering they are inevitably 17-year-old girls), she was likable. She was obviously attractive yet a bit insecure, but not one of those narrators who’s constantly lamenting her ugliness while every guy around her proceeds to walk into telephone poles as they are stunned by her beauty. She had a quick wit and dry sense of humor that I enjoyed. She actually used her brain a good chunk of the time (not all the time, but I dare you to name a main protagonist who always makes well-informed and fully considered decisions).

I also liked the sci-fi elements of the story. I liked the premise and the structure. I liked that a “scientific” explanation was given for how all their crazy abilities worked individually, and how they worked in tandem. And of course, a major sticking point for me is always if the “rules” of the world made sense. In this case, I think they did.

We drifted a bit into X-Men territory for a little while, but I forgive Ms. McEntire for those small similarities. I kind of think X-Men has such a large scope that it’s kind of hard not to call it to mind when writing anything about people with powers. Also, like with almost any time-travel book, there were scenes reminiscent of other time-travel stories (the one that came instantly to my mind was Back to the Future II). But again, it’s hard to have a time-travel story without talk of paradoxes and the space-time continuum. There was no mention of flux capacitors, so I’m good.

The love story between Emerson and Michael was a bit heavy-handed at parts. It was obvious that was where the story was headed from the first moment they laid eyes on each other. But I honestly mean it was only a bit heavy-handed, and only in parts. She talked about his superhuman gorgeousness a little too often for my liking (although it was probably toned down for what an actual teenage girl would have been thinking). Her descriptions of her reactions around him were occasionally a tad over the top. But overall, I enjoyed their chemistry and their interaction.

I will also give Emerson credit for not turning into a complete pile of mush, a la Bella Swan, every time he was around. He may be super-pretty and she may have a tummy full of butterflies, but at least she still spoke her mind and stuck to her guns. She even got annoyed with him on occasion. That was refreshing.

Buffy is hard-wired into my brain. It’s a sickness.

The secondary characters were mostly well-developed. I loved Thomas and his wife Dru, although throughout the entire book, I kept picturing Dru like this:

Emerson’s quintessential gorgeous BFF Lily was also fun. She wasn’t ridiculous and annoying like gorgeous BFFs so often are in YA lit. She was actually loyal and funny and I could understand why she and Emerson were friends. Plus, her character had some intriguing twists that I hope and expect to see developed in the sequel(s).

Michael also had a likable best friend, which is something I find a little rare in these types of books. Normally the male love interest either has no friends or his best friend is a jerk. But I really enjoyed Kaleb. He was charming and interesting, and the more I found out about him, the more intrigued I became.

I guess that’s a good thing, since Timepiece is all about Kaleb.

Another bonus: for once, there was a twist at the end that took me completely by surprise. I am very rarely taken by surprise in a YA book, and when I am, I even more rarely feel that the book really earned the ending. Sometimes I feel like a twist ending is dropped in simply for the sake of a twist, with nothing else in the book backing it up. It feels forced and awkward. This one I totally didn’t see coming, but it also didn’t feel random just for the sake of having a twist.

Anyway, this review has gone on long enough. Bottom line: I really enjoyed this book. It was a fun, exciting read that put its own spin on the special powers/time travel theme.

Content Guide: Contains descriptions of past violence, and teens being amorous.

Feature & Follow #94: Character that Disappointed Me

Feature & Follow is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee’s View and Alison Can Read. Time to discover some new blogs and (hopefully) gain some new followers! Yay!

I would love for you to follow via whatever method you’d like: email, RSS, Linky Followers or Networked Blogs. Be sure to leave me a comment letting me know you’re following so I can return the favor!

Also, my husband just designed me a snazzy new button (Isn’t it snazzy? I find it quite snazzy) which you can grab in the sidebar if you’d like. Let me know if you stuck my button on your blog, and I’ll grab yours to put on mine. That’s obviously not a requirement of the Feature&Follow; just a bonus if you are so inclined. Thanks!

This week’s question:

Q: Have you ever had a character that disappointed you? One that you fell in love with and then “broke-up” with later on in either the series or stand-alone book? Tell us about him or her.

Hmmmm, this is a hard one. Typically, a character either annoys me right off the bat, or I love them forever. It’s pretty rare that I would start out a book enjoying a character and end up hating him or her.

Okay. If we are sticking just to books, I’m going to kind of have to be a little loose in my answer to this question, because I honestly can’t think of a character that I fell in love with and then “broke up” with. So let’s just stick to disappointed.

I’m going to go with Elphaba from Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. I went into reading the book knowing the basics of the plot. I knew she was going to become the Wicked Witch, and that eventually Dorothy was going to throw a bucket of water on her and she was going to melt and die and all of Oz would rejoice. And somewhere along the way, she was going to sing “Defying Gravity.”

Okay, maybe not that last part.

But I was expecting for her to still be a sympathetic character. I was looking forward to the book putting a new spin on her story and making me really understand her, maybe even feel sorry for her. I wasn’t really expecting it to be a tragedy (this is a story about Oz, after all), so I didn’t think I’d be too broken up when she died, but I was expecting her to have a slow fall from grace. [Spoiler warning ahead]

But no, she was pretty much unlikable throughout the entire book. I understand she had a rough childhood and adolescence, but even so, she pushed away, ran away from, or downright rejected anyone who attempted to be kind to her. I couldn’t figure out what Fiyero  ever saw in her to make him want to have a romantic relationship with her. And then once he’s out of the picture, she’s even more withdrawn.

The part where I knew I could never, ever feel sympathetic towards this character was when some horrible children play a prank on her young son — who she is never even slightly affectionate towards — and he spends two days clinging to a bucket at the bottom of a well, and nearly dies. And she doesn’t notice, and once they find him, she doesn’t care.

What. The. Heck.

So yeah. Sorry Elphaba. I’m kind of glad Dorothy threw that water on you. You were a pretty horrible person. I was looking forward to seeing another side of you, but every side of you kind of sucked.

And just because I can’t seem to let it go…..

As an honorable mention, and ranging outside of the world of books, I would like to give a shout-out to Chief Galen Tyrol from Battlestar Galactica. His character was awesome during the first couple seasons of the show, started a slow descent in Season 3, and was utterly decimated in Season 4. Congratulations, Ronald D. Moore, for completely ruining a sympathetic and interesting character.

Battlestar Galactica kind of had that effect on a few characters. Tyrol was just, in my opinion, the worst.

Happy Friday everyone!

Review: World of the Hunger Games by Kate Egan, Plus a GIVEAWAY!

As I’m sure most of you are well aware, I’m a fan of The Hunger GamesI loved both the book and its film adaptation. Here are my reviews for both:

Book to Film: The Hunger Games

Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

So imagine my excitement when I opened my box from Scholastic yesterday and discovered this:

The World of the Hunger Games is a companion to both the book and film version

s of The Hunger Games. Here’s what you’ll find inside (please pardon the glare – a photographer, I am not):

 

The book is divided into sections focusing on different aspects of The Hunger Games. Many subjects are highlighted, including “Life in the Districts,” “Katniss Everdeen,” “Reaping Day,” and obviously, “The People of the Capitol.” Each section uses quotes from the book, the movie, and Suzanne Collins to bring attention to its subject matter.

The book organizes some of the more confusing aspects to the plot and politics of Panem into concise and easy-to-follow summaries.

There are also a ton of stills taken from the movie. Some are those we have seen before, and others, such as the ones above, are new images that focus on things we didn’t get a good look at in the film.

This book is not for people who want to avoid spoilers. Its intended audience has either seen the film, read the book, or both.

There’s also a handy glossary in the back, in case you needed to brush up on your Hunger Games terminology.

My Thoughts

The World of the Hunger Games is meant to be a companion to the book and movie (the movie in particular). It does not provide any great new insight into the story. You will not learn what happened between Peeta and the girl in the woods, you will not become an expert in the history of the war between the Capitol and the Districts, and you will not discover why people in the Capitol decided it’s cool to look so garish. This is not The Silmarillion, and it’s not supposed to be.

What it does do, and does well, is explain the elements of the story simply and understandably. I think it would be especially helpful for people who saw the film but have not read the books. It explains the origins of The Hunger Games, the basics of the political system, the roles of the Districts, and gives a brief profile of all the major players.

I read a lot of comments from people who saw the movie and still couldn’t figure out why the people in the Districts wanted to watch the Games, and why they didn’t fight back. This book helps people who didn’t fully understand all the elements of the story figure out what was going on.

Even if you are a veritable font of information on all things Hunger Games, this is still a fun book to have. I feel I have a pretty solid grasp on the inner workings of Panem, but I still liked reading the summaries. It’s nice to have everything in one place, since all the background information in The Hunger Games is delivered by Katniss in bits and pieces scattered throughout the story.

Plus, the pictures are awesome. My photography doesn’t do them justice. All the main characters are featured in at least a couple of photos: Katniss, Peeta, Gale, Haymitch, President Snow, Seneca Crane, Cinna, Cato, Rue. I love looking at movie stills, and these are not the same ones that have been plastered all over the Internet for months. They’re printed full-page and glossy and gorgeous.

So for what some wish it was — an in-depth guide to the Games and Panem loaded with new information — it falls short.

For what it is — a fun companion book breaking down the intricacies of Panem and The Hunger Games into an easy-to-follow, beautifully illustrated guide — it’s perfect.

And now…

It’s GIVEAWAY TIME!

As promised, to celebrate my first month in the blogosphere, I’ve decided to host my first-ever giveaway today! Hooray!

So, as much as I loved paging through The World of the Hunger Games, I know myself. I will look through it once, put it proudly on my shelf next to my boxed set of The Hunger Games, and probably never look at it again. And since I’ve already read it cover-to-cover, I’m going to give it to one lucky follower!

But wait! There’s more!

The winner will also receive this:

I’m throwing in the Paperback Movie Tie-in Edition of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins! There is the same novel we all know and love, but with new cover art that matches the movie poster.

Since I’ve already reviewed The Hunger Games and you can see the cover art right there, I won’t write a separate review for this edition of the book. But I will point out that if you’re like me and have The Hunger Games in hardcover, this edition is smaller and lighter. Great for road trips or sticking in your purse for “emergencies.”

Add them to your Hunger Games collection, or give them to a friend who has yet to experience the Games! I think it would make an especially great prize/gift to someone who has seen the film and not read the books.

Here’s the details:

  • Books were provided by Scholastic for the purposes of review. I am giving them away after writing this post because, much as I love them, a girl only needs so many copies of the same book!
  • Giveaway will run from 12:01 a.m. on April 26 until 12:01 a.m. on May 4.
  • Winner will be notified by email within 48 hours of the end of the contest. Once notified, winner will have 48 hours to respond with their address before a new winner is chosen.
  • You must be a follower to enter, and can enter every day.
  • You must be at least 13 to enter.
  • U.S. entries only, please.
To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for making my first month a great one, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

(Sorry, sorry, but it’s a Hunger Games giveaway. You know I had to say it.)