Monday, December 31, 2012

Favourite Movies of 2012

Guys. I have a confession.

Actually, it's not really a confession but just a sharing of my obsession... with movies. I watched about... 100 (yes, A HUNDRED) movies this year (including rewatching movies, that is), and I'm only mildly embarrassed to admit that. And of course, being the end of the year, I have to do a best-of list.

Just a reminder, these are movies watched in 2012, not movies released. And this is super-subjective because hell, I suck at determining the worth of movies. This is purely based on how much I personally liked it (and you will soon be able to tell that my tastes aren't exactly the most sophisticated..hehe).

THE GREAT

The Dark Knight Rises
-because holy shit was this movie amazing. I watched Batman Begins and The Dark Knight that week to prepare myself for the glorious-ness, and seeing everything come full circle was just more than satisfying. I loved Bane, loved Catwoman, loved Alfred, loved Lucius Fox, loved John Blake... everyone killed it.

The Avengers
-this one makes the list on pure enjoyability, because this movie just makes me happy. I am such a sucker for sarcastic quips and fun action, and adding in my favourite superheroes (Iron Man) in a fun, exciting, and funny movie was just the best. I watched this three times...

Good Will Hunting
-why haven't I seen this sooner? I loved the story, the performances, and how it was smart and had a lot of heart.

Brokeback Mountain
-another one I'm kicking myself for not watching sooner, I really loved this movie-- it was just beautiful.

Les Miserables
-I've never seen the musical, so this was pretty much my first exposure to this musical-turned-movie. And man, I just loved it. The acting was great, the singing was phenomenal, and the story wasn't as hard to follow as I feared (seeing I had no idea what to expect going in). I have the soundtrack on repeat... still. It's really really good, and I'd highly recommend it.

Django Unchained
-okay, it might be because this movie is still very fresh in my mind, but I thought it was fantastic. It was over the top, bloody, but badass and the actors really shined. I think my favourite part was actually just how funny it was, I was nearly crying at that scene with the masks. Not a movie for children, but yes, do watch if you get the chance.


THE GOOD

The Hobbit
-just being back in Middle Earth made me happy, it's like coming home :') The Lord of the Rings movies are my favourite movies of all time, and while The Hobbit wasn't perfect, but I still loved it. Martin Freeman and Richard Armitage were great, and the cinematography was so excellent as well.

Skyfall
-Javier Bardem, you dog. You fantastic actor, you. I loved the villain, and the movie was just shot beautifully-- the colours, the shadows, everything was just lovely to look at. And then the action was definitely up to par, and my favourite 007 impressed me again.

Atonement
-oh my gawd, was this movie just so amazing or what? It made me a permanent fan of Joe Wright/Kiera Knightly collaborations, I think. Impeccably acted, it was just a great execution of a tragic love story.

Argo
-based on a true story, I was slightly skeptical as to why it was getting such rave reviews... until I watched it. I mean, you know what's going to happen. You already know it but the movie manages to make me sooo nervous, sitting at the edge of my seat seeing if they actually pull it off. And that's what made me love it.

Looper
-creative, interesting, and thought-provoking, this was the perfect blend of storytelling and action. It ends on quite a twist, but a great one nevertheless.

The Hunger Games
-AWESOMEEEE



THE FUNNY

Pitch Perfect
-fun fun FUN. I love this movie!! Like I will watch it again and again and smile every time. Sure, the plot was lacking, but the music and performances were so freaking fun.

21 Jump Street
-unexpectedly hilarious. That is all. Go watch.

Wanderlust
-this makes the cut only for this scene which had me in tears. The rest of the movie sucked...


THE UGLY

The Bourne Legacy
-I hated it soooooo much. Ugh. I want my money back.

Prometheus
-Just not my thing. Eh.

Mirror Mirror
-this movie just sucked. blegh.



THE ENJOYABLE POINTLESS EXPLOSIONS

The Expendables 2
-don't go into this expecting anything more than bad acting, cheesy lines, and your favourite over-the-hill action stars. But if you lower your expectations and you're aware this is nothing more than a movie of explosions, you won't be disappointed. I loved how self aware it was, too.


THE CHARMING

Moonrise Kingdom
-like, I can't say charming enough. So lovely.


Midnight in Paris
-just a fantastic and unexpectedly charming movie that easily won me over.


THE BEST REWATCHES

Pride & Prejudice (2005)
-I watch this all the time, whenever I need a pick-me-up. I just adore it.

Casino Royale
-the first time I've seen it since it first came out, and I was actually kind of surprised by how much I liked it and how little I remembered it, haha.

The Dark Knight trilogy
-I watched this series like, 2-3 times this year...

Star Trek
-the sequel can't come soon enough is all I'm saying.

**

So yeah, this was quite a long list, but oh well! There's a lot of movies that almost made the cut but had I included, the list would be like, over 20.

And of course, I'd love to know what your favourite movie you watched this year was!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Favourites of 2012

It's here. The end. The end of 2012, and finally a wrap-up post from me because I was convinced the very best books I'd read would be the ones I didn't get the chance to til winter break. This post is a odd mix of my last year's wrap-up, hosted by the ever-lovely Nomes at Inkcrush, and the popular 2012 survey hosted by Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner.


BOOKS

1. favourite book read in 2012!!!

Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta.

I feel this might be partly because this is the most recent book I have read, but trust me when I say it's amazing. But having it fresh in my mind sure helps with the selection process... I gave this book a 9.5/10 so yeah..



2. book you were excited about but didn't live up to your expectations

Beautiful by Amy Reed (I pretty much hated this book.. yeah), Insurgent by Veronica Roth was a disappointing sequel as well :(


3. brilliantly funny

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
This book fits under "brilliantly funny" because of the brilliant way the humour is incorporated into a novel that deals with heavy subject matters. It is not heavy handed or forced, the laughs are thoughtful, surprising, and perfectly induced.






4. best ache-y, heart-breaking, tear-jerker read

ache-y:
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
there's something in Charlie's innocence and the way he writes with such vulnerability and honesty that got to me

heart-breaking:
Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta
because my heart hurts. It actually hurts.

tearjerker:
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
because not every character can escape heavy subject matters.



5. delicious, rainy day comfort read

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
this is the absolute perfect post-exam read, it stars a fantastic heroine, an engaging story, swoony romance, and a letter to melt your heart. I've never read Persuasion by Jane Austen but now I want to.




6. adrenalin-filled, unputdownable read

The second half of Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, because wow.








7. the beautiful prose award

Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta.
the words are heavenly.

Honourable Mention: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Maggie is undeniably a powerhouse in the field of beautiful prose, but she uses such graceful and gorgeous phrases, sentences, and paragraphs in her latest novel that I couldn't not notice. Funnily enough, I had this as the original recipient of this award... until I read Quintana a few days ago. Sorry, Ms Stiefvater.





8. most atmospheric and vivid setting

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
*sigh*
it really felt magical. 






9. best under-appreciated, hidden-gem book

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
okay, maybe this isn't as hidden-gem-y, but I still want to recommend this to everyone, even those who don't like zombie books. This book is soooo good. 





10. i-had-no-idea-i-would-love-this-so award

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Steph Su, I owe you big time for the rec. This book just blew me out of the water when I least expected.



11. outside my comfort zone but gosh how i loved it

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
An adult book! 




12. an unfinished series that i'm loving 

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer 
I just finished Cinder recently.. such a great read. 

Honourable Mention: The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Boys was excellent as well! Those boys. That writing. Love.) And of course, the Dustlands trilogy by Moira Young.






13. can't believe i waited so long to read this
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky


14. book that lived up to (or superseded) the hype

The Fault in Our Stars by John Gren
It's hard to comprehend the amount of hype surrounding this book, I think it owes to the fact that John Green has such a huge following due to the Vlogbrothers, but yeah. Plus the early reviews were so gushing, and the hype was basically insane.. and the book was wonderful. Yay!


15. want to re-read already

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
*le sigh* was this book amaze-balls or what



MOMENTS

1. best plot-twist (no spoilers!)

Rebel Heart by Moira Young
there are more than a few holy shit moments in this one.

Honourable Mention: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
let's just say everything after the halfway point of the novel was a twist. this book is brilliant.



2. best swoon-worthy moment

Kai's letter in For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
oh dear, what a piece of beauty.
I had a lot of trouble thinking of an answer for this category, so I'm sure there are so many other swoony moments out there that I didn't mention, sorry!


3. best cliffhanger

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
SRB WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME?!

Honourable mention: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.. what a twist :)


4. best ending for a stand-alone

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
like holy shit.


5. best ending for a series

Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta (The Lumatere Chronicles) because it was so utterly beautiful and perfect and just the best ending I could ever dream of.

Honourable Mention: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
because the book was quite the epic, wasn't it? This is another book that narrowly placed first, until I read Quintana...hehe


CHARACTERS

1. most memorable female character

Quintana - Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta
for the girl who was brave beyond measure and so, so beautifully written.


2. most memorable male character

Augustus Waters - The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
this was a tough one, I was debating whether to give it to Froi, but I'm going to go with Gus. For his views on heroism, his simultaneous young-ness and old-ness, for that cigarette he has in his mouth unlit. For using big words and not being afraid to love. It's odd, I never swooned for Augustus, but I sure loved him.


3. favourite friendship

Maddie and Verity - Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. 
oh my god. these two. sensational.


4. favourite relationship 

Elliot and Kai - For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
Okay okay, I just didn't want to put down Finn and Isaboe, or Froi and Quintana from Quintana of Charyn (oh sorry, am I getting predictable?). But yeah, Elliot and Kai are awesomesauce because I love characters who have a painful history, yet don't have like, instalove based on "history" (looking at you, Daughter of Smoke and Bone)


5. new literary crush

None! WHAT! I know. I mean, I don't remember seriously swooning this year, unless you count my reread of Where She Went by Gayle Forman (hellooooo Adam). And yes, I'm equally shocked at this revelation.


6. favourite sibling relationship

Arjuro and Gargarin - Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta
these two. I could cry for days.


7. best villain

Leck - Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
why are you so creepy?



OTHER

1. favourite cover (of a book i read)

There's something so striking about that picture. And the font is perfect.

Honourable mentions include Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake, The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern



2. book you're looking forward to the most in 2013

My current list: Just One Day by Gayle Forman, Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins, The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen, More Than This by Patrick Ness, The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness, The Howling Boy by Cath Crowley, Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter, and Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan.
Also, Markus Zusak, when does The Bridge of Clay come out?!?!!?!??!!?!?

**



And... there it is! The long, exhaustive, and slightly repetitive list of the best books in the funnest categories, if I do say so myself. I hope you liked reading it! Thanks to all of you who have stuck around the blog for this year, I really appreciate it. I hope you have read wonderful, wonderful books and explored fantasy lands and fell in love with characters like I did. I'd love to know what your favourite read was in the comments below :)

And Maggie Stiefvater, I'm sorry that you were the official bridesmaid for this year-end list... maybe next year ;)

Have a fabulous new year, love you all! xx

-Audrey

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Winter reading!

Heyo lovely people who've unfortunately accidentally clicked on some sort of link to my blog.

Quick facts:
source

I have 5 final exams, I'm studying really hard, my brain has more information to soak up than it has time for, I'm tired all the time, I haven't done any reading for fun in over a month, and I'm really really really really excited for Christmas break and a break from school. whew!

And in anticipation for that break, and of course, in a fit of procrastination (old habits die hard) I've made a list to get me ever more jazzed up for the break because hello... reading time!! And over the 4 months, I've seriously built up too many must-read books that I haven't gotten around to. If I even manage to knock 3 of these off my to-read list later this month, I'll be happy.

Books I want to get around to reading this winter break:

The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling
-I've been reading the mixed reviews and there's always people who've decided they're not worth reading... but this is the author who gifted the world with Harry Potter. I've gotta see what she's got in store for us.

Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta
-OHHHH my god I preordered this in October and it's been on my shelf since then. I've only read one book between getting it though, so it's not like I've just been prioritizing awfully. And I really do want to read through at least part of Froi before starting this baby. Oh baby.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
-Both Angie and Alexa totally raved about this book, and I'm still not over how much The Scorpio Races surprised me with its awesomeness.. and this book looks great. Period. I can't wait to read it.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
-So... this book has over 75,000 ratings on Goodreads and the average is like, 4.5. That's insane. I went to Patrick's reading/signing in Toronto on a whim and he was funny, super nice (he chatted and posed with everyone who showed up, and there were a lot of people), and just seemed like a great person. And it helps that people think his books are amazing :) It's quite a hefty book, it's definitely in a genre I'm not too familiar with (high fantasy) but I'm very excited to give it a try if I have the time.

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkein
-Eep! The movie! I'm so excited! The Lord of the Rings trilogy (movie that is... I haven't read the books) are my favourites of ALL TIME. So naturally, I'm super stoked for the Hobbit, and it seems like the book is a bit shorter and easier to read.. so I'll be hopefully doing that soon. And then again, I'm probably going to read it after I watch the movie so I'll be more surprised for the movie :)

Cinder by Melissa Meyer
-I know. It's been too long. It's shown up quite a bit on best-of lists as well, which makes me happy.

Going Bovine by Libba Bray
-So Libba came to do a signing in Toronto in November and I jumped at the chance to go. Her signing was probably one of the funniest, most entertaining ones I've been to. This book won the Printz a few years ago... I can't believe I haven't read it yet.



I love reading best-of-2012 lists but I dont' want to make one yet because I'm convinced the best book this year I haven't read yet *cough*allthosebooksinthispost*cough*

Hopefully I'll find a favourite.

Please, exams, just be over. I need my sanity back. I need my sleep.

Best,

Audrey