Archive | January, 2014

Best and Worst Films/Series of 2013

6 Jan

I feel like, all in all, I had a better year in 2013 when it came to movies/series vs. books. There weren’t that many that made my “worst” list so that’s definitely a good thing! I still have not seen Downton Abbey season 4 (waiting for the DVD release), in case you’re wondering why it’s not on any of the lists.

FAVORITES

1. Much Ado About Nothing- This was the 1993 version with Kenneth Branagh. I watched this shortly after reading the play for the first time to help my brother with an English paper. I really enjoyed the play so I decided to watch the film and loved it! The only low point was Keanu Reeves- I don’t know what they were thinking casting him.

2. Call the Midwife Season 2- Although the series really started to stray from the books (they had to, as they used up all the storylines), I’m always happy when a sequel is not a let-down. The one thing about this show that kind of bothers me (but not really), is that Jenny remains by far the least interesting character.

3. Berkeley Square- Purchased this series from Amazon after it kept popping up on the list of suggested items to check out. It’s about nannies in Edwardian London. It was a delightful soap opera slightly reminiscent of Downton Abbey. Very disappointed that it ended on somewhat of a cliffhanger but the series was cancelled due to poor ratings. Apparently it had scheduling conflicts when it aired so no one ever knew when it was on. Such a shame.

4. Lark Rise to Candleford- I watched the entire series and while it was all good, the first season was the best. Why is that the case with so many shows?

5. Catching Fire- Amazing adaptation. I may have liked it even more than the book.

6. Frozen- I could take or leave the 3D animation, but I was happy to see a Disney princess movie where romance is not the main focus (I haven’t seen Brave, but I’m told it’s similar in that regard).

7.  Saving Mr. Banks- I’m not a big Mary Poppins fan or anything but I loved this movie! Whether it was accurate or not I don’t know- but it all looked great and the performances were amazing!

8. The Call- I rented this really late in the year even though I had wanted to see it in theaters. Too bad that I waited! I really enjoyed seeing a thriller with women in the main roles.

9. Prisoners- It was a little too long but I was still glued to the screen.

10. The Paradise (seasons 1 and 2)- I had a few issues with this series (namely, the behavior of the lead characters at times) but I loved it all the same.

WORST

1. Man of Steel- I was really looking forward to this because it looked really good in all the trailers. But the movie was, sadly, pretty horrible. I didn’t have any problems with the acting, but I hated the storyline. And the fight scenes were awful- got pretty redundant once the 50th building was destroyed.

2. Olympus Has Fallen- I had no interest in this and only went to see it because my boyfriend wanted to. Unfortunately I have to let him pick the movies sometimes too. It was very stupid and cheesy, just like I expected. Did anyone else find it funny that the all-American hero was played by a Scottish man, and yet the North Korean terrorist was played by an American???

3. The Paperboy- Rented this because it seemed like an interesting story. It was not. I had no idea what was going on half the time and it was just….really bizarre.

4. Game of Thrones Season 3- What’s this? My favorite book in the series and the TV version of it is on my worst list? I did not hate this series, but it was, on the whole, a disappointment to me. As I said, it was my favorite book in the series so far. But I found the season to be on the boring and draggy side. It had a lot of good scenes in it, still, but I felt like the decision to split the book into two led to a lot of filler. Hopefully the second half (season 4) will be better.

5. Marvel’s Agents of Shield (first half of season 1)- I was really looking forward to this show because I love The Avengers and the related films. But the show has been a disappointment. I would actually like it a lot more if they got rid of the annoying and useless Skye because I like all the other characters.

That’s it for my least favorites. I didn’t hate the last two- they were just disappointments compared to what I was expecting.

Favorite/Least Favorite Books of 2013

3 Jan

First post in one million years! I don’t know if anyone even reads this blog anymore, haha. I don’t think I ever even made a favorites post for 2012……. Anywho, I set a really low reading goal for myself last year- only 50 books. That was mainly because for the first half of the year I was working 60+ hour weeks and had hardly any time for reading. I actually ended up reading 58, which was good, I guess.

To be honest, I don’t really remember any particularly standout books, either good or bad, offhand. I will have to go through my list and see…In no particular order…

FAVORITES

1. Shades of Earth by Beth Revis- Although the finale to the trilogy had a really ugly cover, the story did not disappoint. It was a highly satisfying ending! I just wish it could have had a pretty cover to match the first 2.

2. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer- While I didn’t like it nearly as much as Cinder, it was still very enjoyable.

3. A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin- This was by far my favorite so far in the Song of Ice and Fire series! Unfortunately, I’ve heard the next couple of books aren’t that great so I’m afraid it may have peaked here.

4. Because it is my Blood by Gabrielle Zevin- The sequel to All These Things I’ve Done. I think I liked it even more than the first.

5. The Book of Lost Things by John Connoly- Seemed at first like a children’s story, but it was actually anything but.

6. Curtain by Agatha Christie- Her last Poirot novel, it was written decades before it was published. I read all of Agatha Christie’s books in the order they were published, and towards the end they definitely declined in quality. That’s why reading this was such a relief!

7. Endless Night by Agatha Christie- This was her 70th book out of 80 that I read, and probably the last really good one.

8. Fire and Thorns series by Rae Carson- I liked this series much more than I thought I would when I began the first novel, The Girl of Fire and Thorns.

9. Call the Midwife series by Jennifer Worth- I began this series at the very end of 2012, shortly after getting into the Call the Midwife TV series. I really liked all of the books.

10. Tie between The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham and A Man Lay Dead by Ngaio Marsh- After finishing Agatha Christie, I was desperate for some more cozy mystery authors. These two both reminded me more of Georgette Heyer than Christie but I highly enjoyed both and can’t wait to read the rest of their books.

As you can see, I cheated on a lot of the above- listing series and a tie. Haha! Now on to the flip side of the coin:

LEAST FAVORITE- other than the first book, I didn’t actually hate any of these. They were just not very good or they didn’t live up to the hype.

1. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta- This book had been spoken really highly of in the YA booktubing community. The description sounded good, too. But I hated, hated, hated this book. Boring, poorly written, cheesy, etc. Reminded me of previous hated YA books like Graceling and The Naming.

2. Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff- A steampunk Japan fantasy! But it was really disappointing and misused a lot of random Japanese that was thrown in.

3. Boundless by Cynthia Hand- It wasn’t bad, but definitely a disappointment compared to the first two books.

4. Reached by Ally Condy- I wasn’t crazy even about the first book in this series, Matched. I’m not sure why I even continued with it.

5. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith- I think the hype killed it. It wasn’t bad, but I would rate it maybe a 7/10. I was so excited for this being such a huge Harry Potter and mystery fan- of course a detective novel by JK Rowling would have to be super amazing, right? Instead, it was just “pretty good.”

6. Stardust by Neil Gaiman- It sounded really cool, but for some reason, I just wasn’t that into it.

7. Black and White by Malorie Blackman- An alternate reality where the white people are the oppressed race and blacks are the privileged. Like many of the others on this list, it was a really cool concept, but I wasn’t blown away.

8. Outpost by Ann Aguirre- I wasn’t crazy about the first book, Horde, and I liked this one even less.

9. NOTHING! Surprise, I couldn’t think of anything else.

Overall, 2013 was a very underwhelming year in reading for me. That’s largely due to the fact that I only read about half or fewer books than I have in the past few years. Hopefully 2014 will be a little more exciting.