Reading, Living and Reviewing

Movie & TV Show Remakes

Friday, February 28, 2014
          Movie and TV Show remakes have always had a bad reputation and hell breaks loose every time news of a remake emerges to the surface. There is no need for the movie to actually appear for people to think that it will suck. Most think that the remake will suck and the original is always better. I am not agreeing with this because adaptations may vary and even a remake can sometimes surprise.

          I am all for remakes, but it wasn’t always like this. When a couple of years ago I found out about a possible Buffy, The Vampire Slayer reboot I was not happy. This is my favorite TV Show and for me Sarah Michelle Gellar will always be Buffy Summers and I cannot think of another version of the TV Show. So yeah, I get those who are angry when they find out about certain remakes.
But I changed my mind and so should others. And here is why.

1. No matter how bad the remake may turn out, a younger generation will have the chance to hear about characters you grew up with. Buffy was an icon of an entire generation. It was not just about a vampire slayer, it was about courage and friendship. It taught a lot and it would be awesome to see her again, even in a remake as long as the essence of the show stays the same.
 

2. Sometimes remakes can be just as good as the original. I saw Carrie, the original movie from 1976 and not too long ago I decided to see the 2013 one, mostly because of Chloë Grace Moretz and it did not disappoint.  I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed the first one. The one from 2002 on the other hand I did not like that much, but as I said, not every remake can be a success. 
 

3. There are those times when the rebook can be better than the original. The one example I can think of is Teen Wolf. Yes, the original was a movie and it was more of a comedy while the remake is a TV Show. In a TV Show the story can evolve, new characters are introduced and the story, in this case, moved towards darker paths.

4. Some are too old to see. The original The Tomorrow People was an eight seasons TV Show from 1973 and it’s pretty hard to see a show that ended 35 years ago. If it wasn’t for the remake, I wouldn’t have had the chance to see it, even if it’s not the original one.

Do you have a favorite remake? Mine is definitely Teen Wolf and maybe The Tomorrow People.

Review: Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
“We’re constantly changing facts, rewriting history to make things easier, to make them fit in with our preferred version of events. We do it automatically. We invent memories. Without thinking. If we tell ourselves something happened often enough we start to believe it, and then we can actually remember it.” 


          Before I Go to Sleep is a psychological thriller about a woman with a rare form of combined amnesia. She doesn’t have any recent memories and every time she goes to sleep she forgets everything she experienced during the day.  Every time she wakes up she is sure that she is in her mid twenties and she has her full life ahead of her. Christine wakes up every morning and needs to hear the story of her life from her husband, Ben. But soon discovers that not everything told from his point of view is true.

          The story is written as a personal journal and the reader must discover along with the character details of her past and present life. It’s not a unique technique, but the style of the author brings out very well the confusion and contradictory feelings Christine experiences every time she reads or writes in her journal. This is what makes her look and sound real.

          If Christine wouldn’t be sick, she would most definitely be a strong and independent woman. Her curiosity still drives her towards her independent self, but she still needs to rely on her husband on a daily basis. She evolves as a character every time she reads her journal, but once she losses it, she starts over. The only time the book confused me, was when she managed in just one day to read so many pages from her journal, meet with the doctor, then with Claire, be home in time and still have time to write more in the journal.

          Christine is one of those likable characters whose flaws are perfectly acceptable because she can’t help it, but that doesn’t mean that other characters cannot be judged. Besides Christine, Claire is another character that can easily pass as likable. She is her best friend and, honestly, the most loyal person towards Christine. Fun, jaunty and always there for her friends, Claire is presented as an anchor for Christine. She is the only one she remembers and trusts and she doesn’t seem to have changed much since college.

The ending
          Maybe for others the ending was a surprise, but I found it predictable. In the middle of the story it was already obvious that that was the only way it could end. Yet, despite the fact that I already suspected the ending, the story captured my attention until the last pages. Before I Go to Sleep is not a mystery whose ending you expect to find out, but a story that you cannot wait to unfold and find all the details.

Spoilers
          There was this one thing that got on my nerves when I got to the last pages. I suppose that the book had a happy ending, but I could not see it. Christine ended back to her family, to her husband and son that knew nothing about her for the past few months. Her husband moved to Italy and asked Claire to visit her, while the son moved in another city with the girlfriend. Because it was so difficult to visit his own mother at least once a month.

          So no, this was not a happy ending. She lived with a psychopath for the past few months because her family thought that she would be happier in a mental institute without even a call to see if she is ok.

Where to buy: Bookdepository

Excerpt: Between the Cracks by Carmela Cattuti

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
About the book:
 Join Angela Lanza as she experiences the tumultuous world of early 20th century Sicily and New York. Orphaned by the earthquake and powerful eruption of Mt. Etna in 1908, Angela is raised in the strict confines of an Italian convent. Through various twists of fate, she is married to a young Italian man whom she barely knows, then together with her spouse, immigrates to the U.S. This novel is an invitation to accompany the young Angela as she confronts the ephemeral nature of life on this planet and navigates the wide cultural gaps between pre-World War II Italy and the booming prosperity of dynamic young America. Author, artist, and teacher Carmela Cattuti created Between the Cracks as an homage to her great-aunt, who survived the earthquake and eruption of Mt. Etna and bravely left Sicily to start a new life in America.
Where to buy: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Bookdepository

Excerpt:
Angela ran down the hot cobblestone street and fell, scrambled to her feet and ran, then fell again. She threw herself on the street and screamed a long scream that echoed off the ruins of the ancient churches. A timeless scream that would always and forever be heard.

Her city, Messina, was a massive graveyard. She searched for her family—her mother, sister and brother. She yelled their names into the air, into demolished houses. She screamed at bodies crushed or run through by fallen beams. Other bodies were caught between the open earth and the street. They were the souls in hell that she had seen in paintings, forever in agony, never at peace.

“Felicita, Felicita!” she shouted, pointing her face toward the sky so that her voice would ascend to heaven and God would hear her plea and have mercy. She lay still, her ear to the broiling ground. She thought she had heard the earth growl again, about to open and swallow her. It was a human moan. Looking up she saw a man impaled by a beam near one of the destroyed houses. He let out another moan. She slowly got up and walked over to him. Blood trickled from his mouth down his chin, his eyes were open and fixed.

“Signore, have you seen a small girl?” asked Angela in between gasps and tears. “She is only eight years old with dark hair and eyes?”

The man stared, unable to answer her question. He blinked and then his head fell to one side as if it were a brick that had been thrown. She felt hot liquid flow down her legs. It warmed her legs from the frigid air.
The earth began to tremble. The cobblestone street in front of the dead man separated and bodies once buried and lost began to ascend to heaven. She saw her mother rise to the heavens in a long, white dress, the dress in which she had been married many years ago.

“Mama, don’t leave me! Mama! I’m scared!”

Angela heard her words echo distantly off the ruins. She opened her mouth again to call after her mother but no sound came. She could still hear her voice echoing off the ruins of the buildings. Every time she tried to yell, no sound came out but the echoing voice became louder and louder.

She heard herself scream and woke up. Her legs were damp and stuck together with urine. She sat up in bed and squinted, trying to see the other beds in the large dormitory. Angela heard the rustling of nightclothes. A few of the girls stirred and rolled over.

She took a deep breath and dropped back in her bed. It had been three years since the eruption of Mt. Etna and the earthquake, yet she still had this nightmare. The same man was always hanging from a beam, her mother always ascending to heaven, and every time, she was asking for her sister.
 
Author Bio

Carmela Cattuti started her writing career as a journalist for the Somerville News in Boston, MA. After she finished her graduate work in English Literature from Boston College she began to write creatively and taught a journal writing course at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education As fate would have it, she felt compelled to write her great aunt's story. "Between the Cracks" has gone through several incarnations and will now become a trilogy. This is the first installment.

Winners: Hate at First Sight Blog Tour

Thursday, February 20, 2014
          The Hate at First Sight Blog Tour officially ended two days ago and this morning I choose the winners. Both Diana and Jennifer already received your e-mails and were already contacted.

Winners for the e-copies of Hate at First Sight by Diana Nixon are:
Kendall M.
SiStar T.
Jaime A.
Amanda L.
Fran S.

Winners for the Hate at First Sight Swag designed by Jennifer are:
Carine F.
Shannan W.
Brenda F.
Doris O.
Fran S.
Congrats and happy reading.
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Don’t forget that The Wolf at His Door Giveaway is still open for two more days.

Tv Show Review: Star-Crossed S01E01

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
          I must confess that I almost forgot about Star-Crossed, mostly because I was not impressed after I saw the trailer. Thanks to all the hype before the official release of the Pilot, I decided to give it a try and I cannot say that it disappointed me. I wouldn’t add it to the best TV Shows list just yet, but it did not annoy me and that is always a good sign.

          The first thought when the Pilot started was that it looked a lot like Vampire Diaries. The interaction between the teenagers, the start of the love story and a little bit the actress that played the main character, Emery (Aimee Teegarden), all these reminded me of Vampire Diaries with aliens.


          Star-Crossed is not exactly the cheesy love story the trailer showed. It is the central point of the story, but not the only thing that happens. The show is about a community of aliens that landed in a small town in America 10 years ago. The atrians (aliens) were considered a thread and were attacked, but in present times they live in a gated community, guarded by armed soldiers and strictly controlled. Some of the humans are now trying to integrate the atrians in their world by enrolling the teenage aliens in human high schools. But not everyone is willing to accept changes and the small group of teenagers has a hard time getting through high school.

          The concept of the TV Show is not a new one, but it’s entertaining enough to keep your interested through the story. The conflicts rise of course between humans and atrians, but the focus, at least in the first episode, was on the kids from school.

          Then there is the love story, which in my opinion moved way too fast. It’s actually similar to Romeo and Juliette: a human girl and an alien boy in a society that barely stands the outer space visitors. They saw each other, yes, when they were 6 years once, but after 10 years they instantly feel connected.  I know that this kind of love story is preferable by most of the viewers, but I like it when things go slow and characters have time to evolve.
Also, like in most of the movies and TV Shows, let's expect a love triangle.


PS: I just realized their first meeting after 10 years. He was entering through the school gates and saw her at the next level just sitting there like on a balcony. So Romeo and Juliette.

Star-Crossed Official Trailer:

          I would say that this TV Show is worth seeing, especially if you are a fan of Vampire Diaries or Beauty and the Beast. If I had to rate it I would give it 3/5. It’s good and I think it will improve with time.

Did you all have the chance to see it? What do you think?

Excerpt and Giveaway: The Wolf at his Door by Adrian W. Lilly

Monday, February 17, 2014

About the book:
Twenty-one-year-old Alec Rune is annoyed when his older sister, Lucy, ambushes him with a blind date with her friend, Jared. But Alec is immediately attracted to the intriguing, intelligent young man.
But the past has claws...
Ilene Rune nearly collapses when she meets her son’s new boyfriend. His black hair and startling green eyes are the same as a man she knew years ago—an evil, violent man with strange powers.
The present has teeth...
Investigating a string of missing persons cases leads Detective Carmen Salazar into the dark world of fairy tales and fantasy—and shakes her belief in what is possible or imagined.
And the future is filled with blood...
Alec awakes from a coma with no recollection of the night his twin brother was torn to pieces. As a madman closes in on him and his family, can Alec learn the werewolves’ plan before his entire family is destroyed?
Where to buy:
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Wolf-His-Door-Runes-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00DR4H7QG
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-wolf-at-his-door-adrian-lilly/1116068410?ean=2940044631199

Excerpt:

Alec walked through the front door of Lucy and Rene’s third-floor apartment. Alec loved the open feel of their apartment—the ceilings opened to the roof peak, and skylights offered sunlight down into the room even on cloudy days. Rough-hewn wooden beams crossed the ceiling from wall to wall, where the wall met the roofline, affording the apartment an industrial chic look.
Celeste and Lucy sat on the couch. Alec felt a certain apprehension as he entered the room and Celeste and Lucy looked up (and it almost seemed planned to Alec) smiling in a too friendly manner. “Where’s Adam?” Celeste said.
“On his way,” Alec said and squatted on the floor next to Sam and Rene. “‘Sup?”
They both nodded. “Just chilling right now,” Rene said, and they bumped fists.
“Sandman,” Sam added. “Lucy was just telling us about her master’s thesis on semiotics.” Sam flashed him a “save us” look.
Alec stifled a smirk. “My sister loves anthropology.”
“And languages,” Lucy corrected.
“Hey, I hope you don’t mind, but I invited my friend to join us,” Celeste said.
Alec felt the muscles in his back go rigid. “Look, guys, we talked about this. I don’t—”
Sam cut in, “Jared’s cool.”
A quizzical look crossed Rene’s face as he watched the exchange, then he shrugged as his eyes met Alec’s.
Alec heard footsteps on the stairs outside. “That’s Adam coming. I’ll give him a hand.”
“I didn’t hear anything,” Rene said.
“He’s got fucking bat ears, man,” Sam said.
Alec crossed the long living room to the front door. “Need a hand, Adam?” He asked as he yanked the door open. A young man, about his own age, (maybe a little older, Alec thought) stood at the door with his hand raised, about to knock. A plain white V-neck tee shirt hugged his torso, and Alec could see sprouts of chest hair in the V. Black rimmed glasses framed his eyes and his glossy dark hair was parted on the side and slicked back. His scruffy beard added an air of carelessness to an otherwise polished look.
His eyes met Alec’s and his face brightened with a warm smile that made his green eyes sparkle. “Knock, knock,” he said.
Alec leaned out the door, “I was expecting my brother.”
“Jared,” the young man said, extending his hand.
Alec shook it. “Nice to meet you.” Alec turned his head, quickly shooting a narrow-eyed glance at Lucy and Celeste. They both blinked innocently. He turned back to Jared. “Celeste said you were coming.”
“Ah, she warned you.”
“Did I need warning?”
Jared gave another easy smile. “Perhaps.”

Author Bio:

     Adrian W. Lilly is the author of the novels The Devil You Know, Red Haze, and The Wolf at His Door: Book One of The Runes Trilogy, and Book Two: The Wolf in His Arms. He is a fan of Gothic suspense movies and novels, which greatly influence his writing. Adrian's writing focuses on strong character development and the nuances of fear that build toward horror. The mansion in his first novel, The Devil You Know, was inspired by the grand mansions in the Victorian neighborhood where he lives.

     Adrian writes novels, short stories, and poetry and has spent many years as a copywriter in the advertising industry. In addition, Adrian has directed two short films and co-directed a feature-length sci-fi comedy.


Giveaway:
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Waiting for: The Maze Runner – Photos and Release Dates

Wednesday, February 12, 2014
          One of the highly anticipated movies of this year is The Maze Runner, based on the already known trilogy by James Dashner. We don’t have a trailer yet, which is such a shame, because I was eager to see Dylan O’Brien in this role, but we have a bunch of promotional images and international release dates.
          The good news is that almost all the countries have the official release date on September 19th, the bad news is that is set in … well, September so we will have to wait 7 more months.

The Maze Runner
Genre: Sci-Fi
To be released: September 19th 2014
Cast:
Dylan O'Brien, Will Poulter, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Ki Hong Lee 

Storyline:
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he's not alone. When the lift's doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade-a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls. 
Just like Thomas, the Gladers don't know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they've closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.
Promotional Photos:







Release dates:


At least I will have time to start and finish the book series. Has any of you read the books? 
Until then Happy waiting!

Movie Review: The Mortal Instruments - City of Bones

Tuesday, February 11, 2014
          I finally had the chance to watch City of Bones and I was nervous about it because all the negative feedback around it. I myself am a little confused about how I feel right now. I’ve seen it two times and I couldn’t see anything wrong with it the first time, but I couldn’t finish the movie when I tried to watch it the second time.

          I don’t consider myself as being a huge fan of the books, but I read the first three in the series and I could see that some things were changed and most of them not for the best. They just tried to add in the movie as much as they could from the book and the story seemed rushed.

The Cast

          I don’t usually comment about the cast. Seriously, I don’t really care who plays whom. It’s obvious that no matter what, our dream cast will never become reality...that’s a fact. I liked most of the actors from the movie except two of them: Jamie Campbell Bower (Jace) and Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Valentine). It’s not that I don’t like the actors, but I think that the characters were poorly portrait. I just couldn’t watch Jamie Campbell Bower and see Jace. The entire movie I felt that was something wrong with him, it’s like Jace’s personality was forced. As for Valentine, that was more of a shock. I don’t know if I read the book in the wrong way or I have a crappy memory, but I thought that Valentine was elegant with blonde/gray-ish hair. What I got to see: a pirate.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Valentine)


Changes brought in the adaptation

          There was one thing that changed and I loved. In the books Clary’s mom is presented in a constant sleeping state, but in the movie she gets her own fighting scene and she kicks ass, then she slips into a coma.

          Even though Magnus Bane is among the most popular characters in the books, he only had the chance to appear twice in the movie. It’s such a shame because I remember him being fun and sarcastic and I couldn’t wait to read about him.

          The final battle took place in the institute, but I remember clearly that it was not the case in the books and Hodge’s importance was minimized until the point I actually thought that he was only a poor old man forced by circumstanced to do what he did.

The love story
          I think I have an allergy to love at first sight and love triangles. Don’t worry, City of Bones doesn’t have love triangles, at least not yet, but it has love at first sight. Every private meeting with each other is cheesy and predictable and sometimes hard to watch. And then again those were the parts that I hated in the books as well so I quickly learned how to just ignore them.

Jace and Clary
Fight Scenes

          I loved the fight scenes, special effects and the uses of the runes, although I imagined something less noticeable like scars, not tattoos. The Institute reminded me in small parts of Harry Potter, but I guess it was inevitable.

          All in all I liked the movie, it wasn’t as horrible as people made it out to be, but I don’t think it stood up to the books reputations.

Did you have the chance to watch Mortal Instruments? What do you think?

Interview and Giveaway: Diana Nixon, author of Hate at First Sight

Monday, February 10, 2014

This week it's Hate at First Sight week with lots of posts and lots of prizes so don't dare to miss it. You will have a chance to win e-copies of Hate at First Sight by Diana Nixon and awesome swags from J.M Rising Horse Creations. Not to mention all the awesome posts you will get to read. Just so you get an idea and know who to stalk, here is the full schedule of the tour.

Feb 14th (Interview) - www.nicsnominations.blogspot.co.uk 
Feb 16th (Review) - www.readingreneereviews.com 
Feb 16th (Guest Post) - www.twilightbookjunkie.blogspot.com

Interview with Diana Nixon

I want to thank Diana for allowing me to interrogate her again and putting me in charge with the Hate at First Sight Blog tour.

AB: Hate at First Sight was your first Romance book, no supernatural elements. Was it hard for you to create a story with more or less ordinary people in it?
DN: No, it wasn’t hard to create the story itself. But it wasn’t easy to make the idea look good on paper:) There are no supernatural elements in the book, which means that even ordinary people should have powers to attract readers’ attention:) I really enjoyed writing Hate at First Sight. First, because it was a new book to work on; second, because I could try myself in a new genre, with a different writing style and a new approach to building the storyline. The most important thing for me is to like my characters and the way they are telling the story. Since I hate writing plans, I always let them tell me what to write in the next chapter. In Aiden’s and Megan’s case it was as simple as anything. Every time I came up with another sharp comment for Aiden, I immediately knew what Megan will say in response:)

AB: Do you have a writing ritual? What is the coziest spot you use for writing?
DN: My writing ritual is very simple: coffee, chapter, one more cup of coffee, one more chapter:) I like writing in silence, so usually I have breakfast, and after the rest of my family leaves the kitchen, I stay there to think about a new couple of paragraphs:)

AB: Did any of your characters started as being in one way, but slowly changed on its own? Without your planning?
DN: Hahaha, it happens all the time actually. The story never goes the way it was originally supposed to go. I always come up with something new, and make more and more changes. And yes, sometimes my characters are simply impossible to control, lol. They do what they want, so complying with their wishes is the only choice I have:)

AB: If you had the chance to choose two known actors to play Megan and Aiden, who would they be? Who do you think it would do justice in appearance and not only?
DN: Jordana Brewster as Megan Brawley and Channing Tatum as Aiden Murphy.


AB: If you had a chance, would you change anything in any of your books?
DN: I would never stop making changes, lol. This is one of the negative things about being a writer. Besides, I’m a perfectionist; I want my books to be perfect, though of course I do realize that perfection is a very relative term, and I can’t make every line look perfect. But still, every time I read my book before publishing it, I keep finding places that I would like to change. Maybe that’s why I never read it after it’s released, lol. If we are talking about the storylines in general, I don’t think I would change anything, I love my plots:)

Author Bio:

Diana Nixon is a poet and the author of fantasy and contemporary romances.
She was born in Minsk, Belarus, where she currently lives. In 2008 she graduated from Belorussian state University. She has a Master of Law degree and speaks several foreign languages, including English, Polish and Spanish.
Official page: http://www.diananixon.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Diana-Nixon/203165316483322?ref=hl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DianaNixon9
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5814368.Diana_Nixon

About the book:
Every day of Megan’s life was carefully planned. Freedom and independence had been her best friends for years. Until one day she met Aiden, whose priorities were so much like hers….
What happens when attraction wins?
What happens when poles apart become equal?
What happens when the flames of passion burn everything in their way?
Is there still a chance to resist the power of magnetism?
The walls of inaccessibility will come crashing down. Everything she thought was unacceptable he will turn into pure pleasure….
Dive into the world of Hate at First Sight to see if hate can become something completely different….
Watch book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7spmgqf0Js&feature=youtu.be
Read Chapter 1: http://www.aminablack.com/2013/08/hate-at-first-sight-by-diana-nixon.html?spref=fb
Buying book: http://diananixon.blogspot.com/p/buying-books.html

Giveaway 
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