Armchair BEA Wrap Up

So Armchair BEA is over (sad) but I have had a lot of fun doing it, and I’ve met a lot of new bloggers through the Twitter parties and gained some new followers on Twitter (and hopefully some new readers for my blog). I’ve entered a lot of great giveaways, and hopefully I’ll win something, although I’m not holding out much hope, I’ve never had much luck with giveaways. I’ve really enjoyed taking part in this event, especially chatting to all of you at the Twitter parties, about characters, blogging, books in general, movies, it’s been a lot of fun chatting to other bloggers and finding out everyone’s interests/dislikes when it comes to books and seeing what we share.

Here’s little recap of what I wrote this week:

1. On day one, I introduced myself to all of you, and shared a little bit about myself, which was nice as I feel like you guys don’t really get to hear that much about me as a person outside of my bookish interests, so I hope you all feel you know me a little better now.

2. On day two, I talked social media, how it brought about me starting my blog, and how I now use it to publicise my blog, so that I can reach more people & hopefully after this week, use it to connect with more fellow bloggers.

3. On day three, I talked characters, what I like in male characters, what I like in female characters and what I like in villians.

4. Day four was all about book to movie adaptations, my favourite topic of the week. I talked book to movie adaptations I thought were good, those I thought missed the mark and those I would hopefully like to see in the future. I also entered a ton of ABEA giveaways, so hopefully I win at least one of those! There’s nothing I like more than free books!

So that’s everything. Thanks to the ABEA runners who made this year’s event so much fun, and all of you who have taken part, looked at my posts and talked to me on Twitter. I hope everyone who has read my posts has enjoyed reading them just as much as I have enjoyed writing them, and rest assured, I will definitely be back doing this next year if I can.

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Armchair BEA: Book to movie adaptations

Ah guys, I’m sad this is our last day of Armchair BEA. I’ve head so much fun this year, and will definitely be joining in with next year’s event. I’ll also be in Twitter for our last Twitter party, which I’m so glad I’ve taken part in, because I’ve got to know so many of you wonderful fellow bloggers! Hope to see as many of you there as possible tonight! But anyway, onto today’s topic. This is probably my favourite topic of the week, book to movie adaptations. Like a lot of people, I have kind of a love/hate relationship with book to movie adaptations. When they get them right, they can be brilliant, and I’m so glad they made a movie out of one of my favourite books, because the movie is so good. However when they get it wrong, it can be a complete and total disaster and you wish that filmmakers had never touched your favourite book. I’m going to split today’s post into three, book to movie adaptations that I think have been done well, book to movie adaptations that I think have been a total train wreck, and future book to movie adaptations that I would like to see.

So first off we have the book to movie adaptations that I think have been done well. For me to like a movie that has been adapted from one of my favourite books, it doesn’t necessarily have to be completely faithful to the storyline. Yes of course, I want the movie I see to be as close to the book I read as humanly possible, but I understand that movies have to work within time constraints, and every single solitary detail that is included in the book cannot be included in the film. For me, I need the movie to capture the feel of the book, and that is the most important thing, I want the movie to capture as much as possible the essence of the book, and you know, it would be great if the movie I see is at least recognisable as the book I read. I mean I understand they need to cut some things, but I don’t want to see a film that is almost unrecognisable from the book it came from, like I said, the film needs to capture the essence of the book. These are some of my favourite book to movie adaptations but there are of course a lot more that I like than just these five!:

1. The Harry Potter Franchise Yes, there are a few problems with the Harry Potter movies, but overall, they are generally faithful to Rowling’s original novels, the feel of the films is generally the same as the feel of the books, and for the most part the casting is pretty spot on (I would like to mention Maggie Smith as Prfessor McGonagall, because casting her was a stroke of genius! She’d played McGonagall exactly how I pictured her, and Emma Watson as Hermione Granger as well, she was the perfect Hermione). So overall, whilst maybe some of the later films could be a little more faithful, I think on the whole the Harry Potter films are good adaptations of the books.

2. The Hunger Games Franchise Again there may be some problems with whitewashing the members of the Seam in District 12 who are described in the books as more olive coloured in the books, but I think The Hunger Games movies are pretty good adaptations of the books. All of the films are recognisable as being based on their respective book which is good. Plus, I love Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, I think she plays her really well, exactly how I pictured her being. Plot wise, they are relatively faithful, and the cast is pretty good, and they capture the feel of the books well, so overall, for me, they are pretty good adaptations.

3. Gone Girl This film is the best book to film adaptation I have ever seen, and I am not afraid to say that. The plot of the film is exactly the same as the plot of the book, even down to the ending which I really didn’t like and was hoping would be changed for the film but what can you do? Rosamund Pike is brilliant as Amy, she really captures her character so amazingly well on screen, and I can’t imagine anyone else in that part. Ben Affleck was also brilliant as Nick. In fact the cast in general was great, and the film was just as dark and twisted and brilliant as the book. You know how I said I like it when then I’m captures the essence of the book? This film did that. Gillian Flynn wrote the screenplay, and this goes back to what I’ve been saying for years, the film will work much better if the author is involved! Clearly it paid off this time.

4. The Maze Runner-The film was generally faithful to the plot of the book, and whilst there were few things from the book I wish had been included, overall I was satisfied. The Maze Runner is one of the books that when you read it feels like it would work really well on screen, and again I. Think the film did a good job at capturing the essence of the book. The casting on the whole was great (particularly Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Newt, Newt in the film is the best!) although I was a little disappointed in Minho, he wasn’t quite as sarky as in the book, but hopefully that will change in the next film, and on the whole The Maze Runner film was an enjoyable adaptation.

5. The Book Thief-I was really worried about how the book was going to come across on screen, as I didn’t think the filmmakers would be able to capture the beauty of the book, but I was wrong, the film really did capture the essence of the book, down to the fact that they used Death as the narrator, just like in the book which I was really pleased about. The cast was well chosen too, and the film was generally faithful to the book, so overall it was a very pleasing adaptation.

Bonus: I just want to add here one of my favourite TV adaptations, the Heartland series, adapted from the Heartland books. Whilst the TV series is a very loose adaptation, and basically stopped following the books a while ago, I love it, actually more than the books, because the problem horses are dealt with more realistically, the characters are more three-dimensional, and the series overall is a little bit more mature than the books, whilst retaining the great family feel. I think it’s better to look at the TV show and the books as two separate entities, different but both good in their own right.

Now onto the films that got it wrong, the films that in my eyes at least, were not very good adaptations of their source material. Either they didn’t capture the feel of the book well enough, or they changed too much, so that the film was barely recognisable from the book. Here are five of my least favourite book to film adaptations:

1. Percy Jackson and The Sea of Monsters-Surprisingly, I’m not including The Lightning Thief in this, because whilst it was totally different from the book, I actually enjoyed it. However The Sea of Monsters got it completely wrong, the only thing this film got right was the fact that Annabeth finally had blonde hair! The plot was completely off from the book, so much so that it was almost laughable, and it was basically unrecognisable from the book. The filmmakers were far too liberal with the plot, and whilst The Sea of Monsters was my least favourite Percy Jackson (I still liked it, just not as much as the others), I would have liked the film a hell of a lot more if it had actually resembled the book it was adapted from.

2. Insurgent-The second film in the Divergent movie franchise was enjoyable, don’t get me wrong, but it was completely off from the book it was adapted from, they changed the storyline completely, so that most of the film was made up of stuff that never happened in the book, and I felt like it had barely any material from the book in it, added to that it missed out a plot line that I felt was important to the book. It was a fun film, but not a very good adaptation.

3. My Sister’s Keeper-I’m sorry but the fact that the film changed the ending from the book is a cardinal sin in my opinion. The ending was so important to the book, and I was so angry that they changed it. The cast was pretty good, but there were far too many changes from the book and it felt like the filmmakers just kept the bare bones of the story. I actually did enjoy the film, but I don’t think it’s a very good adaptation of Jodi Picoult’s wonderful book.

4. One Day-For the sake of full disclosure, I actually wasn’t too keen on David Nicholls’ novel One Day, I found it kind of boring and never really connected to the story or the characters. However, the film version was a thousand times worse. Anne Hathaway was definitely not the right choice to play Emma, her English accent was all over the place, she was supposed to be from Yorkshire but her accent switched between Yorkshire, Scottish, American. Not good! Plus as with the book, I found the movie kind of montonous.

5. A Series of Unfortunate Events-This is what happens when you try to squish three books into one film, you end getting a completely mish-mash of a film, that is in no way as good as it’s source material. I loved the books when I was younger, but the movie, whilst okay, kind of enjoyable, is not a good adaptation at all. It crams too many books into one film, which leaves the film feeling kind of jerky and disjointed, and means that the film ultimately doesn’t really follow any of the books. I also found that the tone of the film was wrong, whilst the books have a very dark and mysterious tone, the film does not have the right tone, it seems almost lighthearted and comedic at certain points. I don’t think Jim Carrey was the right choice to play Olaf either, again he is far too comedic and whilst Olaf is eccentric, you should be scared of him, and Jim Carrey’s Olaf is not scary.

Right we’re now onto our last section of this long post! This is the books I would like to see turned into movies. Some of them have been picked up by production companies, so who knows, we may see some of these hitting our screens in a couple of years. I have again picked five of these but there are a lot more I’d like to see (I’ll save those for the upcoming Top Ten Tuesday topic on this though and stick to just five for now!):

1. Unwind-Those of you who have been following this blog for a while will know that I’m absolutely obsessed with this series and I think Unwind would make a brilliant movie, the creepy story would defintiely translate well on screen I think, but only if it is done by the right people. This is one o those where if it was done wrong, it could be really horrific, but if it was done right, could be a stunning movie. It has actually been picked up, so here’s hoping we get to see Unwind hit our screens soon.

2. Throne of Glass-I think this world would be perfect for cinema. I feel like Sarah J Maas writing has a kind of cinematic quality to it anyway, and I feel like the books would come across fantastically well on screen, plus who doesn’t love a good fantasy film? I’d love to see a film version of this, if one was ever released.

3. The Raven Boys-Again, I feel like Maggie Stiefvater’s writing has a kind of cinematic quality to it as well as, and I could just see this being an amazing film, with the right cast. It’s a lovely book, and I would love to see the characters and the world come to life on screen. The film has been picked up by a production company, so again hopefully we get to see this soon!

4. Skulduggery Pleasant-This would make such a great movie! I would love to see Skulduggery and that whole world come to life on screen, but the screenplay has to be written by Derek Landy, because no one else can get the humour right, and to be honest, I don’t think anyone else could get the right feel for the book. Derek Landy obviously feels the same way, as a Skulduggery movie adaptation was in the works a few years ago, but he didn’t like the script and won’t release a Skulduggery movie unless the script was written by him. Go Derek! Here’s hoping he writes one and the film gets released because I feel like the world needs a Skulduggery movie.

5. Dangerous Girls-If you haven’t already checked out this book by Abigail Haas, then you should, because it’s awesome. It’s kind of like a YA version of Gone Girl, and I feel like the story and the twisted characters, not to mention the crazy ass ending would translate very well on screen.

So there you have it, my favourite, least favourite and hope to be made book to movie adaptations. Do you agree with my favourite/least favourites? Why? Why not? What are some of your favourite/least favourite book to movie adaptations? Would you like to see any of the books that I listed turned into movies? What book to movie adaptations would you like to see? What do you think makes a good book to movie adaptation? What do you think makes a bad adaptation? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you. As it’s the last Armchair BEA post today (aside from the closing survey on Monday), I would just like to thank all of you for being so great over the last couple of days, for all your lovely comments on my posts and the great discussions we have had on Twitter. You guys are such a welcoming group, and you’ve made this relatively new blogger feel like part of the community, so thank you! I will be around for the Twitter party tonight, and I will also be posting another Sidekick Showcase Saturday post pretty soon, so look out for that!

Armchair BEA: Character Chatter

So here we are on day three of Armchair BEA. I hope everyone who got involved in the Twitter party last night had fun, I certainly did and am looking forward to joining in on today’s (not least because it’s actually at a decent hour in my time zone!). So today we’re talking characters! I have to say when it comes to books, I’m far more of a plot driven book girl than a character driven one, the characters have to be done really well for them to hold my interest in a character driven book. But I do love my characters, and like everyone (or at least I think everyone) I have certain types of character I like.

In male characters, I definitely have a particular type of personality that I gravitate towards, and if you read my blog on a regular basis, you will know exactly what that is. I like my male characters to have a snarky, sarcastic sense of humour. That isn’t to say I don’t like male characters without that particular brand of humour, but I definitely gravitate towards sarcastic guys more, because my own sense of humour is quite sarcastic, so I can relate. Take Percy Jackson for example, I connected with him instantly because his sense of humour is so similar to my own. Humour is also why I love Skulduggery Pleasant so much, because he has such a wonderfully unique sense of humour. I also like guys who have a penchant for getting into a whole lot of trouble (again Percy fits this brilliantly, in fact Percy Jackson is pretty much my ideal male character), are brave and loyal, maybe even have a little bit of a hero complex (not too much though, that can get annoying sometimes). They don’t always have to be smart, I mean we’ll take Percy as an example of this again, when it comes to certain things, like fighting, Percy can be smart, but when it comes to others things he can be extremely dense, which is part of his charm. There’s something to be said for the highly intelligent make character as well, for example Artemis Fowl is a child genius and whilst I wouldn’t say he fits all of the tropes I’m usually looking for in a male character, I love him. Skulduggery too is incredibly smart, so when it comes to intelligence levels, I guess I don’t really have a type in guys, which is strange because I love clever girls (and no it’s not a guys are hot so they don’t have to be attractive thing, it’s just that my favourite male characters tend to be based on their sense of humour rather than their intelligence).

For female characters, I find that the ones I like the most are strong females, they don’t necessarily have to be physically strong though, they could be mentally strong, or emotionally strong, I just like girls that know their own minds and aren’t afraid to stand up for what they believe in. It’s not that all female characters have to be amazing fighters, they don’t, but I like a girl who is independent, will fight for what she believes in and preferably doesn’t spend all her time fawning over a guy. Of course my favourite female character is Hermione Granger (as a general character trope, I love bookworms, as a reader, it’s great to see female characters in books reading), who basically embodies all the things I love in female characters, she’s smart, determined, sticks up for what she knows is right, doesn’t have to rely on guys to get things done (in fact Harry and Ron would have died without her), not to mention is a pretty damn awesome witch. I know the strong female trope may have been overdone in young adult fiction recently, but I don’t see anything wrong with that, I think these girls who are smart, strong, independent, brave, powerful women are an excellent example to girls that we can be whoever we want to be, and like I said, there are so many different types of strong women, you don’t just get the physically strong ones, you get the mentally strong and emotionally strong women too.

I also love a good villian. I think a good villian can make or break a story, because yes you’ve got to be able to connect with the main characters, but if you don’t find the villian scary, then you’re never going to be able to empathise with the main characters in the fear that they feel towards that villian or hate the villian as much as is usually required. A good villian isn’t always necessarily obviously evil though, take Dolores Umbridge for example, we all hate her, she very passive aggressively antagonistic, but not the most obvious villian (if just take on appearance). I like my villains to be fascinating and maybe even slightly strange, like Bellatrix Lestrange from Harry Potter (yes I know I’m using Harry Potter a lot in this and I don’t care). There’s something about a slightly weird villian that I automatically love/hate (because these are villains we’re talking about here). Count Olaf from A Series of Unfortunate events is another one of those slightly odd, eccentric villains, but this works very effectively for him as he manages to fool various adults with his disguises. There are then of course those villains that are simply scary, and quite obviously so, like Voldemort from Harry Potter, but the great thing about all these different types of villian is that a good writer can make you scared of any of them, even someone like Umbridge in Harry Potter, who seems so innocent to start off with.

I do love reformed villians as well, like Artemis Fowl who after attempting to steal gold from the fairies in the first book ends up using his skills for good and we end up rooting for him, even though he’s a criminal mastermind (or even because he’s a criminal mastermind). Or the HIVE books, where the kids and staff at HIVE are all criminal masterminds or criminal masterminds in training, but they’re actually kind of the good guys because there are even worse criminals out there. Aren’t villians the best?

So there’s my two cents for today, I know I’ve kind of talked more about character characteristics than favourite characters, but I’ve given you a couple of examples of some of my favourite characters that show the tropes I like. What tropes do you like in characters? Are there any types of characters that you are tired of seeing? Any that you want to see more of? Any characters that you particularly love or hate? Let me know!

I will see (well I say see, I won’t actually see, but you get the idea), all of you who are going to be at the Twitter party later. I think this one’s going to be even more fun than last night’s!

Armchair BEA: Social Media

So on this, day two of ABEA, we’re talking social media. Or at least I am anyway! I have had various forms of social media for a while, but I didn’t really use them for anything much than the usual thing, talking to friends on Facebook, following celebrites on Twitter and reblogging things I liked on Tumblr. I actually started posting my book reviews on Tumblr, and then one day decided that I wanted to try my hand about having a proper blog, so I found out that you could start one on wordpress, set up my blog and transferred all the posts I’d done on Tumblr over to here. So essentially this blog was kind of born out of social media, which is pretty cool.

Now that I’ve had my blog for a while, my blog is kind of my primary source of media, I guess, but I still use all the other stuff. I’ve found it incredibly helpful to publicise my blog through every social media outlet I have, which basically consists of Facebook, Twitter & Tumblr, because if I didn’t have them, there would be no way this blog would reach as many people as it had. I honestly wasn’t expecting many people to ever read my blog, I thought I would only get a couple of views if that, so to be in my second year and have had so many people look at my blog over the year and a bit I’ve been doing it feels incredible. I guess that’s the power of social media for you! I haven’t tried the whole vlogging thing on YouTube because being in front of a camera is not natural to me, and I really started my blog so I could write, not talk! I obviously follow a number of authors on Twitter and would like to follow more bloggers, in order to connect to this wonderful community more. I feel like Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr have really helped me get my blog out there and I’m very grateful for that.

If you want to follow me on my social media (I won’t give out my Facebook as I only friend people who I actually know in real life) then you can find me at:

Twitter: @iloveheartlandX

Tumblr: iloveheartlandx

I’m pretty simple, I’m IloveheartlandX or some variation of that everywhere! Leave your social media links in the comments and I’ll follow you!

Armchair BEA Introductions

As I live in the UK, I obviously can’t travel all the way to New York to go to BEA, so I have to admit, I’ve been kind of jealous of all those bloggers who are going, because I can’t. However I just discovered Armchair BEA where you can participate in BEA from the comfort of your own home, so I thought that I just had to join in! So without a further or do, here is my introductory post for ABEA!

1. How long have you been blogging?

I am relatively new blogger I guess, compared to some anyway. I posted my first post in February of last year, so I’ve been doing it for around 15 months now I guess.

2. Where are you from?

I am from the UK, I was born in London, but now live in Hardwick, a small village just outside of Cambridge.

3. What is your favourite genre and why?

I love dystopia. I know everyone seems to be getting bored of it, and they think it’s all the same, but I love the wide variety of concepts and characters, and the different worlds in all of the books, plus they’re usually gripping, action packed reads.

4. What book are you reading right now?

I am currently reading Teri Terry’s Slated. I am almost finished so stay tuned for a review soon!

5. What book are you most looking forward to reading this summer?

That would be Sarah J Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses. It’s been getting such a positive reception and sounds really good, so I hope I get to it this summer!

So that’s me! I’d love to hear from everyone else taking part in ABEA, so leave links to your posts below.