Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The YA Flick Chick: The Maze Runner Movie Review

As you likely know, I normally review books on this blog. But, after coming home from a screening of The Maze Runner, I thought, why not try my hand at reviewing films? Especially if they are YA adaptations. So, here goes.

Release Date: September 19th, 2014

My Rating


My Review

There have been plenty of films released this year that were based off of YA novels. And many of them received a lot of hype.

Well, The Maze Runner just blew all the rest of them out of the water. 

The film opens right in the heart of the conflict (or what will become the conflict, at least) in which Thomas (portrayed by Dylan O'Brien (if you heard a sound at the mention of his name, that was millions of girls all swooning at once) waking up, confused and with no memory, in a rising cage and being thrust into the Glade. From there on, the fast-pacing will keep viewers at the edge of their seats.

The visuals are incredible. Man, what a setting. The maze itself is a star, and the Grievers are sure to creep you the hell out. The audio paired brilliantly. I'm pretty sure I'll be dreaming of those maze sounds for the next couple of weeks.

I can't go on about this film forever, as such an action packed film shouldn't have a review that runs on for hours. But, to be honest, I don't have much to complain about. It had everything I could have asked for. All the characters were brilliant, and it's quite the entertainment ride.

I can tell you this: I laughed, I cried, and, frankly, I think it deserves MORE hype.

So, go see The Maze Runner in theaters on Friday, or you'll be a shank.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Review: The Professional Freelancer by Rory Scherer


After being laid off at my latest company that fell victim to insider fraud, and the job market at its lowest point in years, I decided to follow the advice of my self-made millionaire friend and become 'The Professional Freelancer'. Spiraling out of control, I found myself involved in several extremely dangerous situations that strangely all seem to be connected involving the mafia, a Korean street gang, a white-collar crime, and masterminding the annual euchre championships at a senior citizens retirement home.
The Professional Freelancer is a humorous ebook that was not written in a traditional format. It was written from the protagonist’s point-of-view. He is talking directly to you; the reader.

 My Rating


My Review

Sometimes, as a reader, you don't want a serious book that is going to have you crying yourself to sleep for the next couple of nights. Sometimes you don't want a lengthy epic that makes you feel like the running guy in Monty Python's The Holy Grail. Sometimes, you simply want a short read that is a ton of fun and thoroughly enjoyable. When you experience one of those times, The Professional Freelancer is a wonderful way to satisfy that craving.

The book reads as if the protagonist is sharing his story directly to us, which is a pretty cool spin on the first person perspective. It allowed to me to connect to him easily, as he begins in a realistic and fairly common situation - before it spirals a bit out of hand. Plus, the writing has such a fantastic and memorable voice, with some of the best analogies I've seen in my life. I definitely appreciated the sense of humor, which persisted throughout the entire novel. An impressive feat alone - only improved by the many references to movies and music (all of which I understood).

But nearly every character, even the ones that only appear for a few pages, were all very enjoyable and well-developed. Even some of the gang members, which normally feel a bit more cinematic, felt fairly authentic. They all had distinct personalities, which definitely made for a more interesting read.

The pacing of The Professional Freelancer is fast and exciting. Even before the action of the gangs really get moving, the strong characterization carries the novel easily. The pages keep turning, and had my chuckling to myself nearly the entire run. I enjoyed reading it, and recommend it to anyone looking for a quick read with a nice laugh.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Review: Exo by Steven Gould (Tour Stop)


Cent can teleport. So can her parents, but they are the only people in the world who can. This is not as great as you might think it would be — sure, you can go shopping in Japan and then have tea in London, but it’s hard to keep a secret like that. And there are people, dangerous people, who work for governments and have guns, who want to make you do just this one thing for them. And when you’re a teenage girl things get even more complicated. High school. Boys. Global climate change, refugees, and genocide. Orbital mechanics.

But Cent isn’t easily daunted, and neither are Davy and Millie, her parents. She’s going to make some changes in the world.


My Rating


My Review
Exo is the fourth book to Steven Gould's Jumper series, but it can also be read as a standalone novel. Which is how read it. But I loved Exo so much that I immediately want to go back and reread the first three so I can experience more of this story. For Exo is science fiction at it's best. The concept is not so completely elaborate that no one knows what to expect. In fact, it's a rather simple idea. But the explanations and treatment of the ability to teleport, or jump, is so believable that you might even forget your reading a work of fiction.
Exo may be over four hundred pages, but it's still incredibly hard to put down. It's the kind of novel that makes you want to call in sick, not get out of bed, and just continue to read until you get to that final page. The plot is exciting and intriguing from the very first page, and will hold on to the attention of the readers the entire way through. I can't think of a single scene that I didn't enjoy.

The characters of Exo are stunning achievements. Plenty of times, in novels, authors that make teenagers intelligent seem to forget that the characters are still, well, teenagers. This isn't the case with Cent. She may be brilliant, and know plenty, but she still reads as an authentic teenager. She has a wonderful voice and it's very easy to connect to her character. Still, I loved the point of views of Davy and Millie as well. There was a large enough difference in the voice to make the multiple perspectives work, and they offered a new insight into the work that was incredibly fun to read.
The best novels are the kinds that can suck you in, and this one definitely does just that. It has such a strong world, even though - thanks to the jumping - the setting changes quite often. Nonetheless, a place where this method of transportation is even possible is created, and it will have readers falling in love. If they haven't already.

Exo is very well-written, and will take readers on quite the jump themselves. It's a wonderful continuation to a series, and I couldn't get enough of it as a novel. A definite must-read.

STEVEN GOULD is the author of Jumper, Wildside, Helm, Blind Waves, Reflex, and Jumper: Griffin’s Story, as well as many short stories. He is the recipient of the Hal Clement Young Adult Award for Science Fiction and has been nominated for both the Hugo and the Nebula Awards. Gould lives in New Mexico with his wife, writer Laura J. Mixon, and their two daughters.

International. 13+