Audiobook Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

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Title: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Narrator: Christian Coulson
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Stars: 4.5/5

Summary (from Goodreads): Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

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When I first heard about The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, I knew it was going to be amusing. It tells the story of a group on a tour of Europe and contains such likeable characters. I listened to the audio version of the book, and I can definitely say that it completes the epic experience of the story and does and amazing job transporting the listener to 18th century Europe. This book is so original, and I would consider it to be a must-read this year.

This book is absolutely hilarious! It follows Monty, Percy, and Felicity on their tour of Europe turned escape for survival after Monty steals a valuable item at a party. I loved learning about the characters’ journey across the continent and how they escape death along the way. I’m not normally a huge fan of historical fiction, but, for what may be the first time ever in a historical novel, I wasn’t bored at any point in the book. There is so much excitement with the pirates, the alchemy, and all of Monty’s shenanigans that it is hard to put down. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue really has it all, and I would recommend it to everyone, even hesitant historical readers like myself.

One of my favourite aspects of this book is the incredible cast of characters. First up, there’s Monty. He’s honestly a spoiled brat sometimes but does the most entertaining and reckless things. He also has such a complex backstory and is so developed. Monty’s experiences and the way he deals with them make the book so enjoyable, and I would love another book about his drama. Another main character in the book is Percy, Monty’s crush. I adored his character since he is so sweet, and I really sympathized with him because he experiences a lot of racism. I totally shipped him with Monty as well. There is also Felicity, Monty’s sister, who is so sassy and intelligent. She has some of the best lines and is honestly the reason why Monty and Percy aren’t dead.

Christian Coulson does a phenomenal job narrating the audio version of the book. He played young Tom Riddle in Harry Potter, so I knew it was going to be good. His voice is so calming to listen to, and it perfectly captures the emotions (and the sass) of the characters. I loved the various accents in the narration as well. If you are looking for audiobook recommendations, I would absolutely recommend The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, since it really completes the experience of the story.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is an entertaining story about the shenanigans of three friends on a tour of Europe. The characters are all so developed, and I loved the amount of sass each of them is capable of. The narration in the audiobook is also so incredible, making this book the perfect thing to buy with your extra Audible credits.

Audiobook Review: Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

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Title: Noteworthy
Author: Riley Redgate
Narrator: Bailey Carr
Publisher: Abrams
Publication Date: May 2, 2017
Stars: 4.5/5

Summary (from Goodreads): A cappella just got a makeover.

Jordan Sun is embarking on her junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts, hopeful that this will be her time: the year she finally gets cast in the school musical. But when her low Alto 2 voice gets her shut out for the third straight year—threatening her future at Kensington-Blaine and jeopardizing her college applications—she’s forced to consider nontraditional options.

In Jordan’s case, really nontraditional. A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshipped…revered…all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

Jordan finds herself enmeshed in a precarious juggling act: making friends, alienating friends, crushing on a guy, crushing on a girl, and navigating decades-old rivalries. With her secret growing heavier every day, Jordan pushes beyond gender norms to confront what it means to be a girl (and a guy) in a male-dominated society, and—most importantly—what it means to be herself.

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Just by reading the summary of Noteworthy, I could tell that I was going to love it. I was not disappointed at all with this book containing some of my favourite components in YA, such as music and a boarding school. The main character is so empowering, and the narrator, Bailey Carr, is the perfect person to bring Jordan to life. This book is everything that I could ask for, and I’m sure that everyone will be able to relate.

This book honestly has everything that I could ask for: a boarding school setting, a cappella groups, a musical rivalry, a realistic cast of characters, and so much humour. It tells the story of a girl named Jordan whose low voice prevents her from getting a role in the school musical. So, she disguises herself as a boy and gets into an elite all male a cappella group. This book is kind of like She’s the Man, but with singing, and I never knew how much I needed a story like this one. I really wish that I had time to read it sooner, but I can safely say that Noteworthy is among my favourite reads this summer.

Jordan is such a great main character. After getting rejected, she is so determined to prove herself and literally stops at nothing to do it. Jordan is so brave to assume an identity that is entirely different from her own, and her experiences always result in hilarity. She also really bashes gender roles while disguised, and I loved the message that she sends in the book. Her character is so realistic and her personality makes her so easy to root for.

I’m so glad to say that my experience with Noteworthy as an audiobook was an incredible one. When I first hit play on the book, I actually recognized the narrator from Morgan Matson’s The Unexpected Everything. Bailey Carr is such a perfect voice for Noteworthy since she is able to capture the sarcastic undertones of Jordan’s thoughts so well. She also does a surprisingly good job with the male voices, which couldn’t have been easy, considering there are 7 boys in the Sharpshooters. If you are looking for a good audiobook to listen to, I would definitely recommend this one for its perfect laugh-out-loud narration.

Noteworthy is the hilarious story of a girl who disguises herself as a boy to join a male a cappella group. I loved the boarding school setting and the main character’s relatability. The narration in the audiobook edition is perfectly sarcastic and adds even more enjoyment to the story. If you have yet to pick up this wonderful book, I strongly encourage you to do so as soon as possible!

Also, there is actually an OST for Noteworthy, which can be found here. It’s so cool to hear the songs mentioned in the book, so be sure to check it out!

Audiobook to Movie Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

 

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Don’t Judge a Book by its Movie is a feature on The Candid Cover spotlighting and reviewing book to movie adaptations. 

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I attended an advanced screening of this film on February 19, 2017 in Toronto, ON.

Author: Lauren Oliver
Narrator: Sarah Drew
Publisher: Harper Audio
Cast: Zoey Deutch, Liv Hewson, Jennifer Beals
Director: Ry Russo-Young
Screenplay: Maria Maggenti

Summary (From Goodreads): What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: the world’s most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death-and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

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If you have been following along with this feature for a while, you may have noticed a theme: most movie adaptations of books are usually not as good as the original text. I am thrilled to announce that the movie adaptation of Before I Fall does not fall into this trap. The audio version of Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver is an incredible and powerful story that delves deep into how our actions affect the lives of others. The film, Before I Fall is a brilliantly adapted movie that is diverse and contains wonderful acting.

This past summer, I devoted time to listening to the audiobook of Before I Fall and let me tell you it is quite a commitment to listen to a 12 1/2 hour story. The first thing that draws me into an audiobook is the narration and Sarah Drew narrates the book beautifully. The main character, Sam, is one that listeners will most likely not relate to at first due to her essentially “mean girl” attitude. However, as the book progresses and Sam relives the day over and over again, the real Sam begins to emerge and it is in her desperation to set things right that she redeems herself. This is a story that is gripping and haunting, while exposing the truth behind Sam’s death.

It is so exciting when you see a movie adaptation that is so well done. Honestly, I would sit through a 10 hour movie if it meant the screenplay would follow the book to a tee! However, there is not much of a chance for that to happen. Maria Maggenti has chosen many aspects of the original story to include in the film and has kept the “bones” of the novel that Lauren Oliver wove into Before I Fall. Interestingly, the film seems to be more diverse than I perceived the book to be and it makes the story that much more compelling. Also, the acting is fantastic and Zoey Deutch portrays Sam perfectly.

This is absolutely one movie that I can say is a fantastic adaptation. It is not necessary to read the book before seeing the film, but I highly suggest it. There are many details that have been omitted from the screenplay that add to the understanding of the story, but are not needed to enjoy this film. I am looking forward to seeing this one a second time. It is that good!

Audiobook to Movie Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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Don’t Judge a Book by its Movie is a feature on The Candid Cover spotlighting and reviewing book to movie adaptations. 

Authors: Patrick Ness, Siobhan Dowd (conception)
Narrator: Jason Isaacs
Publisher: Candlewick on Brilliance Audio
Cast: Lewis MacDougall, Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Liam Neeson
Director: J.A. Bayona
Screenplay: Patrick Ness

tumblr_ojdbsiuBq81unamvwo2_400Summary (From Goodreads): An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor.

At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting– he’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd– whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself– Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.

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A heart-wrenching and moving audiobook and film, A Monster Calls is a unique story that digs deep into the themes of death and the grieving process. The movie is perfectly cast and is only slightly different from the original story, making it one of the best book to movie adaptations that I have seen in a while.

This story is such an amazing work and it is impressive to think that the idea was conceived by one author and then written by another. The book is a combination of realistic fiction and fantasy, in that the main character Conor’s daily life is explored alongside the fantasy world of the Monster. The narrator, Jason Isaacs, performs all of the characters and really makes the Monster come to life. There are 3 stories that the Monster shares with Conor and it is through the Monster that Conor is able to begin understanding himself and his own truth.

It is always a relief when the screenplay for a book to movie adaptation is written by the author of the book. Somehow, there is less variation of the original story and the ideas conveyed in the book remain the same. This is definitely the case for the film version of A Monster Calls. There are some minor differences and the addition of art as a theme in the film, which actually adds to the impact it has on the audience. There are some big names in this film, such as Sigourney Weaver and Liam Neeson, who are are definitely brilliant in their roles and will draw people to see this film. Lewis MacDougall, who plays Conor, is flawless and especially wonderful to watch.

A Monster Calls is just as enjoyable on the screen as it is to listen to as an audiobook. While reading the book beforehand is not necessary, I do recommend reading or listening to this beautiful story. The movie is one that anyone will enjoy and learn from and it was well worth the long wait for its release.

Audiobook to Movie Review: Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

 

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Don’t Judge a Book by its Movie is a feature on The Candid Cover spotlighting and reviewing book to movie adaptations. 

Authors: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Narrators: Emily Janice Card and Kirby Heyborne
Publisher: Listening Library
Cast: Michael Cera,  Kat Dennings,  Aaron Yoo
Director: Peter Sollett
Screenplay: Lorene Scafaria

7628741Summary (from Goodreads): It all starts when Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes. He only needs five minutes to avoid his ex-girlfriend, who’s just walked in to his band’s show. With a new guy. And then, with one kiss, Nick and Norah are off on an adventure set against the backdrop of New York City – and smack in the middle of all the joy, anxiety, confusion, and excitement of a first date.

This he said/she said romance told by YA stars Rachel Cohn and David Levithan is a sexy, funny roller coaster of a story about one date over one very long night, with two teenagers, both recovering from broken hearts, who are just trying to figure out who they want to be – and where the next great band is playing.

Told in alternating chapters, teeming with music references, humor, angst, and endearing side characters, this is a love story you’ll wish were your very own. Working together for the first time, Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have combined forces to create a book that is sure to grab readers of all ages and never let them go.

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When you are in the mood to read (or listen) to a fun, upbeat and all round humorous book, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist will fit the bill. Written by co-authors Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, this book will have you wishing for a whirlwind of a night like Nick and Norah have. The film, however, will leave you wondering what you even watched.

First of all, I have read a few books written by both Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. I love how rich and full of excitement these stories are. Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist is a fast-paced book that takes place over a short period of time. The alternating perspectives in this particular book really add a wonderful flavour to the story and gives the listener quite a bit to digest as a new way of seeing the events unfolding is brought forth. I absolutely adored Norah’s character and her raw, edgy personality makes you laugh out loud as you are listening. Card and Heyborne both magically bring the characters to life with their narrations, making this one of my favourite audiobooks that I have listened to this year.

I was excited to find the film on my tv provider’s VOD site, so I naturally had to watch it. Sadly, the film adaptation of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist is one of the worst book to movie adaptations that I have ever seen. The story is altered so much that it made me angry as I watched it. Honestly, it was so loosely related to the original book that I was shaking my head throughout and wondering why I was still watching. The movie is reminiscent of a John Hughes film from the 80’s, however it lacks any of the real wit and intelligence some of those old favourites possess.

As you have already guessed, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist should not be judged by its movie. In fact, I suggest that you skip the movie entirely and enjoy this wonderfully humorous book on its own.