Saturday, October 18, 2014

Mainstream-mini ARC Review: A Little Something Different By Sandy Hall

A Little Something Different By Sandy Hall
August 26, 2014 By Swoon Reads 
An imprint of Macmillan Children's Publishing Group

"Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together..."

The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out. But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship.

If you guys have not heard of Swoon Reads yet, I highly suggest checking it out! It is such a neat program for readers and writers alike. Very interactive. Perfect for us book bloggers who not only love to read, but also love to share our opinions on what we read. Through commenting and rating, you can help to pick books for future publication! A Little Something Different was the first book chosen to be published by Swoon Reads. Since then they have selected five additional titles due to be released throughout 2015. You can visit Swoon Reads HERE.


** A copy was provided by the publisher (Swoon Reads an imprint of Macmillan Children's Publishing Group) in exchange for an honest review. **"Ahhh, so adorable!" is the first thing that comes to mind. I had trouble with this review, because it is easy for me to get overwhelmed by the cuteness of a romance and overlook the actual substance of a book. And man, I just love Gabe and Lea. Their relationship is exactly what I would hope for and unfolds so perfectly. Plus the amount of supporters their romance has, yea, everyone should be so lucky. Hmmm. Do I sound a bit jelly?
I was a bit concerned with the amount of POVs in this story. Multiple POVs is something that really works or really doesn't. In this case I would say it works really well. Experiencing Gabe and Lea from their peers and other outside perspectives makes it that much more real, since they truly have an objective view of the relationship. The only thing I was hoping for was getting to hear their thoughts directly at least once. Maybe slipped in at the end, to kind of tie things off? I suppose, I would have connected more to Gabe and Lea if I had the opportunity to hear what they had to say, from an inside perspective. But I suppose the squirrel made up for that, although somewhat unnecessary as he was.
I've had to think hard of the things that I had issues with. It's like deep down I knew they were squirming around, but over-all I adored so much about this book that I didn't really want to bother with them. It was such a fast and warming read. Easy to root for characters. But nevertheless, here they are. One of the more important POVs is that of Lea and Gabe's creative writing teacher. She is a lesbian, which gives her a liberal edge. However, despite her love for the same sex, she has a nasty opinion of one of her female students--who also happens to like Gabe. She spends a good deal of her POVs expanding on this hate and trying to drive this girl away from Gabe. Sweet as it would be to have a teacher who cared that much about my relationship succeeding, I did not like her automatic hate for this slut girl. 
I also was left with the feeling that I knew Lea much better than I did Gabe. And I really wanted the story to expand on Gabe's accident and his feelings afterwards. I know Lea's strengths and weaknesses, but apart from his social awkwardness, I do not feel like I could accurately describe Gabe.
Overall, this is a read that is quit worth it. Especially if you are in need of some pick-me-up cuteness. A Little Something Different is just what its title implies. It is different and enjoyable. Reminds me of what I would want to read while I am home alone on Valentine's Day.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Let's Talk Book to Movie with Guest Blogger Spencer Blohm

Books have always been inspirations for film. It’s no wonder, since novels have lots of plot and character depth, which means scriptwriters and filmmakers have plenty to work with when creating a movie. Below, you’ll find a recent movie adaptation, and the news surrounding it!

I haven't done a B2M talk in a while, so lets get to it! This year has certainly been full of movie adaptations. Many from the YA genre, some dystopian in theme, all from books I have read and really enjoyed. I'm sure you are all familiar with James Dashner by now. His Maze Runner trilogy has gained a lot of popularity since the first book's release back in 2009. He is also the author of the juvenile series, The 13th Reality and the YA series, The Mortality Doctrine. The Maze Runner (which happens to be the only series of his I read,) has been adapted to film and was released September of this year! Media blogger Spencer Blohm has returned to discuss the movie and how it compares to the book.

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.
Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.
Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.
Everything is going to change.
Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run.

Spencer Blohm on The Maze Runner

A boy named Thomas awakens in a metal box, with no memory of his life, as he is carried into an unfamiliar place called the Glade – that is where James Dashner's dystopian novel (as well as the 2014 film adaptation), The Maze Runner, begins. The Glade is home to a society of boys, all of whom came to be there in the same way that Thomas did, remembering their names, but nothing else of their past lives. Supplies arrive from an unknown source every week, but to survive, the boys must farm their own food as well.

Outside of the Glade is where the true action is, in an expansive maze with terrifying monsters called grievers roaming through it. Some of the boys, the “runners” of the group, are tasked with exploring the maze in hopes that they can find a way to escape the Glade. Things become even more complicated when Teresa, the only girl ever to be sent to the Glade, arrives with a cryptic message that everything is about to change. According to her, she will be the last child sent into the mysterious entrapment. Thomas and the other Gladers race to find a way out of their prison, but as they come to understand more about it, the task appears increasingly impossible.

In September, the film adaptation of The Maze Runner was released to theaters. Like nearly any story that has gone from the page to the screen, there are some minor and a few major differences between the book and the film. In the novel, the grievers are described as having slug-like qualities, while in the film they seem to be much more like spiders. The roles of some of the characters are slightly altered as well; for example, in the novel Ben, who is one of the "builders" in the Glade, is eventually banished into the maze, where it’s assumed he will die. In the film his story is roughly the same, but this time the character is a runner, which means his knowledge of the maze is vast, and his banishment is slightly less grim.

The most significant changes from the book to the film have to do with one of the main protagonists, Teresa. In the book, she slips into a coma almost immediately after arriving in the Glade and delivering her message, which forces her to create a telepathic link with Thomas in order to communicate. In the film, Teresa spends zero time in a coma, and there is no mention of telepathic abilities. These changes seem to have been made in order to keep the story in motion, and perhaps to simplify an already complicated story. Telepathy, after all, is not easily explainable.

The film version of The Maze Runner has done fairly well both critically and financially. As one of the latest in the dystopian craze, and following the success of major hit The Hunger Games, it has yet to imitate the success of the bestseller. Still, anticipation seems to be high for the series, since it currently has a 62% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a score of 56 on Metacritic, and it made 32.5 million dollars during its opening weekend. For those unsure if they’re willing to splurge to see the first in theaters, DTVs on demand, Amazon Instant Video, and others will have the film available in the next month. 

The Maze Runner is the first in a trilogy of books by James Dashner, and due to the success of the film, the second book in the series, The Scorch Trials, is now being adapted into a film as well – it is due to be released sometime in late 2015.

Big thanks to Spencer for making this B2M Talk happen! I have not seen the movie yet, but I am planning to soon. Honestly, my feelings were mixed after reading The Maze Runner. I enjoyed it, I really did. But it did not provide the "Wow," that so many readers speak of. Often when that is the case, I enjoy the movie more--GASP! Admittedly, October is my horror binge month, and I am doing 30 Nights of Horror. But, Maze Runner is top on my list for when I return to viewing normalcy. In fact, I just watched Horns starring Daniel Radcliffe, which was adapted from the book Horns by Joe Hill. So, stay tuned for another Let's Talk Book to Movie!