Bonfires and Bad Boys – A Fallen Review

Fallen-by-Lauren-KateI read Fallen by Lauren Kate about two years ago when I found it on the discount table at my local Waterstone’s. I had just finished The Hunger Games and I was looking for another fun read in between all my course work. I read the back it seemed intriguing enough. A different twist on the typical Fantasy YA that seems to be all about Vampires and Werewolves, this was about Angels. I remembered the book being slightly amusing, but a bit of a slow read. It could have been that I was a bit busy at the time and so focusing on one book was a little hard. Either way, I decided to re-read it again recently.

I do love the beginning of this book. You start out in one of Lucinda and Daniel’s previous lives in 1800s England. The scene is dark, gothic and utterly dramatic with a kiss that ignites the night. Literally, it catches Luce on fire. With that tone set I was expecting it to continue that way. Nope. The next chapter you are catapulted 200 years into the present at a reform school in rural Georgia. Talk about a 180.

Luce is being dropped off by her parents because of an unfortunate and fiery accident at her old school that left a student dead and her without most of her long hair. Her surroundings are less than ideal, grey buildings that look vaguely like prisons, dying landscape and a civil war era cemetery that left the entire area smelling like rotting unmentionables in the humid Georgia weather. Her classmates range from complete delinquents to kids who just happened to find themselves there by chance. Her first meeting with Daniel in the book actually yields one of my favorite lines:

She realized they were still locking eyes when Daniel flashed her a smile. A jet of warmth shot through her and she had to grip the bench for support. She felt her lips pull up in a smile back at him, but then he raised his hand in the air.

And flipped her off. (Page 40)

I laughed out loud when I read that. It was too perfectly typical. Of course the love interest would treat her like hell right off. How else would she turn to the other love interest the badder boy, Cam. Even though she is attracted to Cam, she is still inexplicably drawn to Daniel. They seem to cross paths all the time. They come back to each other and eventually everything comes out as it should. But something is different. Remember that bit about Luce bursting into flames? She doesn’t do that this time. She learns the truth, that Daniel is an Angel, that many of her friends are Fallen Angels and she doesn’t go anywhere. Much to the shock and delight of Daniel, who finally has the opportunity to love her.

The theology aspect of this book is also really interesting. I know that it is fiction and the author could have made it up, but I would really be interested in reading some of the research she would have had to do to talk about the tiers of angels. I am not a religious person, but it appealed to me. It was about being lost and not knowing what the right thing to do is. That good and evil are not as black and white as people would like to think. Everything is in shades of grey.

This was by no means the best book I have ever read. There were places where the story line dragged and it was difficult to pick up again, but I was glad I finished it. I would recommend this to everyone who is looking for a simple, fun read.

We’ll be covering the book more in depth later in the year, so makes sure you are subscribed to the podcast!

The DUFF: What the Hell Happened?

It took my small town theater a week to get The DUFF, based on the book by Kody Keplinger, after its release date and the waiting built up my anticipation even more than normal. I got to the movie theater with my bestie, we got comfortable in the weird 60s chairs that don’t allow a person to sit up quite right and waited for the movie to begin. Finally the lights flickered out and I am SO excited to see the how they took a book I loved and portrayed it on film.

Of course, Hollywood totally screwed it up…

MV5BMTc3OTg3MDUwN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTAwMTkxNDE@._V1_SX640_SY720_By the end of the movie I had turned to my friend more than a dozen times saying, “This is not a thing!” or “That NEVER happened!” and my all-time favorite, “Why the hell did they decide to do that?!” Needless to say, I was more than a little disappointed to walk in and see that not only had they changed the significance of certain characters, they had completely made up story lines about others!

Let me start off with Bianca, the main character in this film who is played by Mae Whitman. I love Mae Whitman; she is a great actress no matter what the medium. Her portrayal of Bianca is probably very good for what the scriptwriters gave her. However, the actual character they wrote was so two dimensional I was missing all the actual character. Bianca was supposed to be independent, stubborn, unique, smart and mildly damaged. She had so much depth and feeling and you could really sense that from the book. The character in the movie, while entertaining at times, was superficial and mainstream.

Wesley, played by Robbie Amell, was actually pretty much what I expected; a cocky jock that can have any girl, but is still pretty charming with more layers than one might initially think. But his Yoda persona to Bianca was a complete and utter creative addition by the writers and directors. Why they thought they needed to build in that kind of relationship with Bianca to get girls to like him is beyond me. I much preferred the way that they fell for each other in the book. Slowly, by actually talking, sharing bits and pieces of themselves and being completely vulnerable. A funny montage of Bianca trying on horrible outfits did nothing for me as far as their relationship went.

Now, let’s talk about how Hollywood once again made Dad the bad guy. In the book, Bianca lives with her father while her mother is absent most of the time. They got her career right, just not how she came about it. She was simply unhappy after her parents died and her husband encouraged her to find an outlet. What she found was an outlet from her family. This left her husband broken and Bianca trying to pick up the pieces, her only comfort her growing pseudo-relationship with Wesley. I still don’t understand the reason for the switch. Maybe to make it more appealing to teenage girls who tend to relate better to their mothers? But I would have like to have seen how the world actually reacted to a woman leaving her family by choice.

Another character that was completely changed by the powers-that-be is Toby. They took him from an adorable geek to a cheesy musician with an awful voice. What was wrong with a geeky Toby? It was more in the theme of Bianca’s character that her crush would be an academic with little to no care as to what other people thought. It made Bianca feel more shallow by having her crush on a musician that she had never even spoken to. To top it all off, they made him an awful “DUFF” user. When in reality, they actually mildly hit it off in the book for a while.

Madison on the other hand was sort of a non-character in the book. She was mostly just a chick that Wesley had slept with a few times. Apparently every teenage girl has a beautiful girl that causes her hell in high school. I will admit that it was an interesting take on the mean girl though. Very modern and brought a massive controversial issue that has been making the headlines of late: Cyber bullying. In a technologically driven age the capacity for “anonymous” bullying online has run rampant. I was glad they brought that issue into the movie.

I could go on and on about the many things that were changed, but that would make for an extremely long post and I am getting way too long winded as it is. Despite all the above complaints, I did think that, overall, the movie was very good. I laughed my butt off along with the rest of the people in my theater. I wish that they had stayed closer to the book storyline, but they did keep at least one of the major messages.

Everyone has insecurities. Everyone struggles with liking who they are. We just have to learn to accept and love ourselves for the individual weirdoes that we all are.

“The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend)”: It could be any one of us

duff-200When I saw the movie preview for The DUFF I was most definitely intrigued. It looked beautifully hilarious as well as uplifting and hopeful for the everyday girl that doesn’t always feel like she is the beauty that she is. Of course the Mean Girls/My Fair Lady vibe was not unappealing as well.

Continue reading

Spine-tingling new trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey

Well then- is really all I could think to say after seeing the newest trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey. For those of you that don’t know, that is what I say when I really can’t express what I have just seen in words adequate enough for the situation. I really need to stop watching racy trailers at work. That aside, this trailer was a little more….well, MORE.

More charged. More erotic. More everything. I literally had that weird squishy-chill inducing feeling deep in my stomach. I have to applaud the people who cut this trailer together. They gave more of a story line to this installment then the last. You see Christian actively pursuing Anastasia and her, despite her better judgment, giving herself over to it.

It is intriguing and you can physically feel the anticipation building in your body as the trailer reaches its end. The choice of “Haunted” sung by Beyoncé was more than perfect as well.

What do you all think? Spine-tingling or were you left wanting? Leave your comments below!

Lost Boys and Giant Spider-Scorpions: A Recap of The Maze Runner from a Non-Reader’s Perspective

*** WARNING: This post contains spoilers for the whole of The Maze Runner film ***

The-Maze-Runner-13Another in a long line of young adult dystopian tales has hit the big screen. The Maze Runner based on the novel by James Dashner came out a few weeks ago and I finally got the chance to see the film. Though I have never read the books, I have heard good things from those that have.

I have to admit, I am rarely unprepared to compare a book and movie adaptation. I usually devour the books and then eagerly (or sometimes dreadingly) wait to see the story brought to life outside my head. It was interesting to go into this film not having any idea what to expect. In a way, I was just like the boys in the film. I was thrust into the world of the Glade just as every boy there was, with no knowledge of how it came to be, or why they were there.

The story begins to unfold as Thomas, played by Dylan O’Brien, is introduced to this new society; a few dozen ragged boys that have created this community in the middle of the maze. There is a certain and very important social and economic order to things in the Glade. Each person plays his part from Alby and Newt, the two-man leadership, to the boys who plant the food and repair the buildings. Though, the most respected of the group are the Runners. Runners enter the maze each day and map the entire thing, looking for a way out.

At night, the maze closes its walls and shifts, becoming home to the monsters that live within. The Grievers, a sort of freaky part spider, part scorpion, part alien, part robot thing that terrorizes anyone unlucky enough to be caught in the maze after the walls close. Thomas is warned away from the maze the moment he is informed about it. There are strict rules that he must obey. The only people allowed to enter the maze are Runners. No one survives a night in the maze.

Seemingly predictably, Thomas becomes the first to survive a night inside its walls; even killing a Griever.

Shortly after, the introduction of a girl, Theresa, into the Glade throws the order off balance and challenges everything the boys have built. One of the enforcers, Gally, who has been against Thomas the entire time, has more animosity than ever when the girl seems to recognize Thomas. This plot point could have caused much more trouble, however Theresa’s character gets demoted to sidekick status and you lose getting to know someone that could be a great character. She even brought a cure for the sickness that comes from being stung by a Griever. This cure also restores the takers memory. But, she was more of a mini side plot than anything major. Almost inconsequential.

The plot thickens when a piece of the Griever shows Thomas and the main runner Minho the way out of the maze. This causes a major consequence in the Glade. The people that have trapped the boys in the maze open the gates and let Grievers into their home where they decimate anything in their paths. Many boys are killed, including the leader, Alby. This leads Thomas to stab himself with Griever poison so he can take the cure and remember.

What he remembers is not exactly surprising. He worked for the people that put all the boys in the maze. So did Theresa. He leads a group of boys through the maze and, though they are attacked and almost killed, they make it out. Come to find completely blown apart lab with a message from the head of the program dead and a message waiting for them. The world is gone; they are the last hope for humanity. They are whisked away by armed militants who promise to keep them safe.

Though, they throw us a twist at the very end. The masterminds are not dead, and they have tricked the kids into thinking they are safe. Instead they are on their way to their next test to see if they can save everyone. Duh DUH DUH!

All in all, the movie was not bad. The characters were likeable enough. Though, I might be a bit on the bias side since I absolutely adore Dylan O’Brien. Any other Teen Wolf fans in the house? He plays passion, directness and curiosity perfectly. And he was absolutely brilliant in this movie. The dynamics between all the boys almost reminds me of Lord of the Flies, minus the whole killing the weak kid part.

The decision to leave this movie open ended was a bold move on the part of the director. It implies that he really does believe that all the books are going to be made into movies. I have no doubt that the next one will indeed grace the silver screen at some point in the near future. But, for the love of god, please leave the spider, scorpion, alien, robots out of it. Yikes!

Mockingjay, Part 1: The trailer so amazing, it needed its own trailer!

The OFFICIAL Mockingjay: Part 1 trailer is here! I am a little baffled by the fact that they advertised for this advertisement, but because I love this series, I will disregard this blatant capitalistic ploy for now.

We get our first real glimpses of District 13 and all I can say is: holy gray. I knew about the greyness of district thirteen, but seeing it is a whole different story. You can just feel the regimented nature leaping off the screen. It is definitely going to be interesting to see Katniss in that setting.

Also, I am really excited to see that they did not just drop Effie completely out of the movies like they did the books. Show of hands, who else always wondered what the heck happened to her? I always assumed they killed her off like Cinna, but that always made me really sad. Since they down played the prep team in the films, it makes sense that they would need Effie to make a semi-prep team for Katniss in 13.

This makes me wonder if they are going to waste any time on the period that Katniss completely falls apart after they arrive in 13. It definitely was not represented in the trailer which makes me think they might leave it out. I guess it makes sense though, in order to just move the story along. I am really looking forward to seeing the scenes of Katniss out with the people in District 8. I love when she shot down a ship with an arrow in the book; it looks just as awesome in the film!

So take a look at the trailer and let me know what you guys think. What are you most looking forward to seeing? Also, please feel free to comment on the fact that we needed an advertisement for an advertisement. I really want to know everyone’s thoughts on that.

For more fun and games on the Hunger Games, check out our podcasts on Catching Fire and The Hunger Games books and movies!

True Blood Finale Takes the Cliche Way Out

Well, my fellow Truebies, the end has finally come. The last episode of True Blood EVER aired Sunday night. If you have not had a chance to see it, I recommend that you go and watch it RIGHT NOW! This article is going to contain spoilers galore!

I don’t know about you, but I approached this ending with a bit of trepidation and also hoped that they would not end the series in a horrible cliché. Like most Truebies, I was horribly disappointed.

true-blood-tombstone-530x530Unfortunately, I have not read the books that go along with this series, but from what I’ve heard, they don’t really follow them that closely anyway. When I found this series shortly after it started airing in 2008, I was a freshman in college and I was hooked instantly. I remember Anna Paquin when she was a kid in the movie Fly Away Home, leading a bunch of geese south for the winter so to say this was a massive departure from the image I had of her is an understatement, though not an unwelcome one.

As the series progressed and it slowly introduced a world with supernatural creatures coming out of the woodwork, the characters became more like friends than just people on a screen. I was became really invested in their happiness and I cried like a baby when some great characters had to be sacrificed on the altar of ratings (I miss you Jesus!). However, I understood why it had to happen.

This season however, I was less than impressed with the way they tried to wrap up the series. First off, they killed Tara! If they really wanted to kill her, they should have just left her dead at the end of season 4 when she got a shotgun to the head. That death at least had some meaning, dying to save her best friend! After all, no one has given a crap about Lettie Mae since the end of season 2, so why did Tara need to die to reconcile with a mother that was barely a side character? I just don’t understand it.

Then, they went on to kill Alcide! Yes, I understand the why of it, but that doesn’t mean I like it! In order for Sookie to really work through her jumbled feelings about the men in her life (a.k.a. Bill), Alcide needed to be out of the picture. And what better way to go than trying to protect the woman he truly loved, right? It would have made us really hate Sookie if she broke that beautiful man’s heart, but it was still a shame he had to die.

After that, the series just seemed to spiral even more out of whack when Bill got sick and Jason cheated on the creepy vampire chick who went Dark Age’s psycho. It was basically trying to push all the characters toward a happy ending by getting rid of characters that were hindering that process. That just speaks to uncreative writing, if you ask me.

In that endeavor, Jess’s boyfriend screwed Lafayette (probably my favorite character!), Hoyt came back into town with a beautiful blonde in tow for Jason’s interest, and Jess ends up right back where she started when she first became a vampire. Come on! True Blood has always tried to be blatantly real. Well, as real as you can be when you’re a series about the super natural. It was never the cookie cutter, all smiles and sunshine, happy ending kind of show. It had real endings. It showed that life, or the afterlife, is never perfect. Things don’t always go the way you want and life/death does not always turn out the way you expected. And they completely flipped the switch on this last episode. RIDICULOUS!

Jess married Hoyt, Jason got Hoyt’s hot, child-loving girl-you-can-settle-down-with and a family, Lafayette got James, Sheriff Belfluer got Holly, Arlene ends up with a hot vampire, Erik and Pam get rich off of “New Blood” and Sookie ends up married, pregnant and hosting giant Thanksgivings.

To be fair to Sookie, she did have to kill the first man she ever loved, but even that was anti-climactic. That scene left me feeling, for lack of a better word, cold. Sookie couldn’t sacrifice her Fairy Light to kill Bill and Bill refused to live so that she could have the life he wanted for her. It was cliché and awful. The sad dying hero sacrifices himself for the beautiful heroine so she can live and be happy. I hate that this show wrapped everything up in a pretty little bow. I have been a loyal fan for years and this is so disappointing.

This might not be a normal response considering when a series doesn’t give you a nicely wrapped up ending people are furious. In this case though, I think a little ambiguity would have been nice. I would compare this ending to the epilogue in the final Harry Potter book. Sometimes it’s better to leave some things open-ended so fans are left with a new world ahead of them where just about anything could happen. Bill dying could have opened a whole new world of opportunity for Sookie and her friends. Instead, they made it so everything that Bill wanted, happened. I for one would have found in insanely interesting- since Bill was mostly human there at the end- if Sookie’s glow ball could have banished the sickness and the vampirism. I can’t be the only fan who was disappointed in the producers for this finale, right?

Though I do look upon the end of the series with more than a little disappointment, it in no way detracts from my love of True Blood as a whole. While we’re sad to see these characters go, we just have to remember we can always marathon the series again!

What about you other Truebies? Did you love the finale or were you disappointed like me?

Fifty Shades Trailer Might Set You Reading

fifty shades of greyBy Corey Brooks

The Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy by E.L. James seemed to pop up out of nowhere and become a cult phenomenon overnight. Within 2 years her books have topped the best sellers list, plunged millions of women into the erotic world of BDSM and gotten many a man lucky after a weekend reading binge.

Now, with the approaching release of the movie, we have received this exciting little trailer to titillate us beyond belief. The novel follows young Literature graduate student Anastasia Steele on her journey of sexual awakening after she goes to interview Christian Grey. Grey, the owner and CEO of a multinational company, has unique and specific tastes when it comes to the world of male and female interaction. His troubled past has left him with the need to control even the most intimate parts of his life with an iron grip.


The cast promises to be very interesting, if the trailer is any indication. Jamie Dornan, who will be playing Christian Grey, is probably best known for his role of Sheriff Graham from Season 1 of Once Upon a Time. Though lacking the scruffiness of the lovely sheriff he is still every bit as sexy in his clean cut, high class suits and atmosphere. Anastasia Steele will be played by Dakota Johnson, a model and actress who has been dabbled in both TV and the big screen, seems to play meek and innocent perfectly.

To be frank, I have never had the interest in reading these books. Most people I have talked to has said, while they enjoyed the book, the writing itself was less and quality writing. I don’t mean to be a literature snob, but poorly written works tend to make me physically cringe. It must be my English back ground, but I could never see myself reading these books. However, this trailer has made me decide I might pick up that first book.

What are your thoughts? I want to know what you think of the trailer.

Those of you that have read the books, does it look accurate? Feel free to convince me to read the books. I am always open to being persuaded!

The New Catching Fire Trailer Teaser is out!

The new Catching Fire trailer teaser came out finally at the MTV Movie awards to a rapt audience all over the world. Catching Fire, the second installment of The Hunger Games Series, will be premiering on November 22, 2013. Check out the trailer below: Continue reading

‘Mockingjay’ Officially Split in Two, Release Dates Announced

While all of us have been waiting with bated breath to see who would be cast in the newest installment of the Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Lionsgate have been hard at work making decisions about the future. Mockingjay, the third book in the trilogy and the epic conclusion to the story of Katniss Everdeen and Panem, will be coming out on November 21, 2014, but that’s not all.

Continue reading

Lawless: Franklin County Virginia, The Home of Moonshine and Nascar!

The roaring 20s they were called, a time for good music, good times and as much liquor as you could drink. That is, if you could find the booze. The 1920 Prohibition Act made it illegal to produce and transport alcohol in the United States for more than ten years. Not that many people abided by this rule; in fact many people took this law as a challenge. Not the least of these was the notorious bootleggers the Bondurant brothers of Franklin County Virginia.

Continue reading

Highlander Reboot: The Eighties Cheesiness, the Awful Acting, Is Ryan Reynolds Up to the Task?

I am not sure how many of you remember the movie Highlander, which premiered in 1986, starring Christopher Lambert as Connor MacLeod, an immortal Scottish highlander. Throughout the film Lambert is trying to stay alive while waiting for the Gathering, when all of these immortal men will gather in one place to fight to the death, until only one remains. Remember those last words; you hear them so much it hurts in the film. A whole bunch of stuff happens, bad acting, horrible battle scenes, awful effects…do you see where I am going with this? To top it all off this film had three sequels and spawned one of the cheesiest TV series that were so bad they were amazing! Christopher Lambert was just as sexy then, as a ruggedly good looking highland warrior, as he is today.

Continue reading

UPDATE: Axe Toting Tree from District 7, Who Will it Be? Catching Fire Casting Scoop #3

No sooner had we posted the last Catching Fire casting update than it was discovered that, not only was Mia Wasikowska never considering the role of Johanna, but she would not be able to due to previous commitments. Do not fret my little fans; this is not the only rumor that has surfaced in the last few hours.

Continue reading

Axe Toting Tree from District 7, Who Will it Be? Catching Fire Casting Scoop #2!

Here is another casting scoop for all you Hunger Games fans: Johanna Mason. You know her; she is the axe throwing, tree costume wearing, bad ass from district 7 who teams up with Katniss and Peeta in the 75th Hunger Games. So who will play her? Well that remains to be seen, though the director has been in talks with not only well known actresses, but some undiscovered talent as well. Who are these women, you ask?

Continue reading

Catching Fire Casting Scoop!

For those Hunger Games fans who are dying to know who is going to be playing who in the next installment, Catching Fire, well here is a little bit of a scoop for you. No, sorry, this is not a casting for Finnick Odair sadly, but Plutarch Heavensbee might just have a winner.

Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has been offered the role of the new Gamemaker. Hoffman, who recently has played in Moneyball and The Ides of March, has a very interesting pedigree. The movies that I have seen him in have been as varied in theme as I can think of. I am curious to see how he will bring this multi-layered character to life.

Continue reading