Tag Archive: Favorite


*I have a post that explains what some of the rules/guidelines will be for my lists of favorite movies. I have two other favorite movie lists also (Hayao Miyazaki and Pixar).

This post will discuss my top 10 favorite zombie movies, and I thought it was fitting for the month of October. I’m not a fan of horror or gory movies because I’m easily startled and can get quite queasy at the sight of blood. However, I’ve seen a few zombie movies. I’ve been slowly exposing myself to movies and shows that contain some scary elements or gore because I’m tired of skipping out on good movies because I’m afraid of blood. Although, I still have limits, so the Saw series is a big no no for me.

I found my admiration for zombie films in college when I took a zombie class. Yes, a zombie class. It was titled Sociology of the Living Dead. I took it to mainly challenge myself with what I could handle in movies. The class went very well, and I was able to watch all of the movies for the most part. A lot of the movies in this list are ones that we watched in class, and I really enjoyed them.

TL/DR: Not a fan of horror or gore, but I still have some favorite zombie movies.

 

*All descriptions taken from IMDb.

Night of the Living Dead
Rating: Unrated

A group of people hide from bloodthirsty zombies in a farmhouse.

Thoughts: What list of favorite zombie movies would be complete without George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead? Maybe a lot, but not this list. This is the first movie we watched in my zombie class, and I really enjoyed it. It was a good movie to start with. It’s in black and white, so viewers can’t really see any blood, but there are plenty of intense moments and scary elements for a 1968 movie. With today’s standers for horror and gore, the movie can be kind of unintentionally funny at times but that doesn’t take away from its enjoyment. It’s definitely worth watching, especially if you want to start watching zombie movies because this is a great movie to begin with.

 

Dawn of the Dead
Rating: Unrated

Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia SWAT team members, a traffic reporter, and his television-executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.

Thoughts: Dawn of the Dead is far more graphic than The Night of the Living Dead but still delivers a powerful message and a great story. I loved George Romero’s take on consumerism and how he represents it in this movie. It’s a clever way to show society’s need for material possessions by having zombies gather in and around a mall. I really enjoyed the ending of this one. While the ending of Night of the Living Dead is epic, I felt this ending fit well with Dawn of the Dead.

 

Dawn of the Dead
Rating: R

A nurse, a policeman, a young married couple, a salesman, and other survivors of a worldwide plague that is producing aggressive, flesh-eating zombies, take refuge in a mega Midwestern shopping mall.

Thoughts: The 2004 version of Dawn of the Dead is a remake of the original by George Romero. It’s directed by Zack Snyder, and he takes a different approach to zombies. While Romero’s zombies are slow and dangerous in large groups, Snyder’s zombies are fast and aggressive. I’m not sure which would be scarier to come in contact with, but I’d probably lean toward the fast zombies being more terrifying. At least you could have some strategy to get away from the slow ones and might have more time to think about a plan, but with the fast ones, you only have so much time to get away from them which leads to impulsive decisions and more fatalities. Zombies, in general, are pretty scary without any additional abilities. Adding breakneck speed to the list just seems unfair to humans. Even though I find Snyder’s zombies scarier, I like Romero’s zombies better.

 

Resident Evil
Rating: R

A special military unit fights a powerful, out-of-control supercomputer and hundreds of scientists who have mutated into flesh-eating creatures after a laboratory accident.

Thoughts: Resident Evil is not a fantastic movie and completely ventures away from the source material, but there’s something about it that’s entertaining. This is the first zombie movie I watched by myself when I was younger. Of course, it’s not as scary or gory as other movies, but it was a big accomplishment for me. I’m quite disappointed with the series though. I did like Resident Evil: Apocalypse, but I watched Resident Evil: Extinction and gave up on the following movies. It focuses more on how amazing Alice is instead of the threat of zombies. This is why I really enjoy Resident Evil. There’s a larger focus on zombies and the fear of not being able to escape them. This movie is a guilty pleasure of mine, and I love re-watching it.

 

Shaun of the Dead
Rating: R

A man decides to turn his moribund life around by winning back his ex-girlfriend, reconciling his relationship with his mother, and dealing with an entire community that has returned from the dead to eat the living.

Thoughts: Shaun of the Dead is a unique movie. It’s a zombie comedy that pays tribute to movies, video games, and television series. While it has some graphic scenes, it’s not as gory as other zombie movies. The movie is funny and clever with the way it presents the story and characters. It’s good to watch Dawn of the Dead before watching this movie because it’s fun to spot all of the references. After watching Romero’s zombie movies, I was able to fully enjoy the references that appear in Shaun of the Dead. Of course, you can watch Shaun of the Dead without seeing any of the others because it’s a great movie on it’s own.

 

Warm Bodies
Rating: PG-13

After a highly unusual zombie saves a still-living girl from an attack, the two form a relationship that sets in motion events that might transform the entire lifeless world.

Thoughts: This is definitely a different type of zombie movie than the previous ones mentioned. Warm Bodies is an interesting twist on zombies, and it’s entertaining to watch how these zombies differ from others. I love the commentary at the beginning when it pokes fun at humans being zombie-like because of technology. It’s interesting to see how this zombie romance story plays out. I never thought I would ever say that. While it’s not the best zombie movie, it’s a lot of fun to watch and see what happens to the characters.

 

28 Days Later
Rating: R

Four weeks after a mysterious, incurable virus spreads throughout the UK, a handful of survivors try to find sanctuary.

Thoughts: I know they’re considered infected and not zombies, but I feel like they have certain zombie aspects, so I’m including the movie on this list. 28 Days Later has an interesting filming style. It’s very dark and everything is quiet until zombies appear, which makes everything eerie. It makes the viewer feel like he/she is there with the characters while they try to survive. The opening scene is memorable, and it’s one of the few I still remember without watching it again. The characters are engaging, and it’s easy to root for them.

 

World War Z
Rating: PG-13

United Nations employee Gerry Lane traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments, and threatening to destroy humanity itself.

Thoughts: While this is not the best zombie movie and it goes far from the source material, it’s action-packed and just a fun summer blockbuster. The situations Gerry gets into are sort of ridiculous, and the fact that he somehow survives throughout the movie while others around him die is sort of humorous. However, if you can look past the silliness, it’s a lot of fun to watch. The ending is especially impressive and makes you want to be as awesome as Gerry seems to be. Plus, there’s no gore whatsoever in World War Z, so it’s a great way to introduce yourself to zombie movies.

 

I Am Legend
Rating: PG-13

Years after a plague kills most of humanity and transforms the rest into monsters, the sole survivor in New York City struggles valiantly to find a cure.

Thoughts: I know in the book, the infected are considered vampires, but I feel like in the movie they have elements of both vampires and zombies, so it’s in my list. I really enjoy Will Smith’s performance in this movie. He carries the entire movie, and I feel that takes some great acting skills and charisma. His character, Robert Neville, is portrayed well for a man surviving the zombie apocalypse by himself. Well he does have his dog, Sam, with him but still. The viewer can develop an emotional connection to the character and his dog. One scene in the movie might even make you tear up. I know I was extremely close to crying in the theater. I won’t say specifics because I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t seen it. Another movie without gore, but it’s still an intense movie experience. It’s definitely worth watching.

 

ParaNorman
Rating: PG

A misunderstood boy takes on ghosts, zombies and grown-ups to save his town from a centuries-old curse.

Thoughts: Of course this movie doesn’t have any gore, but that’s not surprising for a children’s movie. Even though it’s directed at children, it’s a great movie the whole family will enjoy. Lots of jokes for adults as well as kids. I was surprised by the social commentary, and I love how the town initially reacted to the zombie threat. It was amusing and made complete sense for the town who knew what zombies were and how to deal with them. This movie was a nice story on zombies and witches, and it was entertaining and refreshing to watch.

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A Monster Calls Cast!

The cast for A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness has been announced! I’ve been eager to see who will be in the movie ever since I found out it was being made. It’s directed by J. A. Bayona, and it’s scheduled to be released on October 14th, 2016. I can’t even explain how excited I am about this information.

Cast:

Liam Neeson

Felicity Jones – Mom

Toby Kebbell

Sigourney Weaver

Geraldine Chaplin

Lewis MacDougall – Conor

It hasn’t been stated but I’m pretty sure Liam Neeson will be the voice of the monster, which is just amazing, in my opinion. I’m happy with all of these choices, and I think, if done right, this will be a fantastic movie. Since this is one of my favorite books, I have high hopes for this movie, and I’m hoping they will do it justice.

Let me know what you think about this. Are you happy with the choices or did you have someone else in mind to play a certain part?

My Obsession

I’ve watched quite a few movies and even read a few books that have a main character with psychological problems, and they are some of my favorites. That sounds kind of morbid, but I will explain. I absolutely love psychological thrillers, especially ones where the main character is searching for the killer or trying to solve a mystery and finds out that the culprit is himself/herself. An example of this would be that the protagonist has dissociative identity disorder (multiple personalities) but doesn’t realize it until the very end. I love when there is a high re-watch value for a movie or I can reread a book and find all of the clues I missed the first time.

I’d rather not mention any of the books or movies with this twist because I don’t want to spoil any of them for anyone. It would ruin the fun of finding out.

Which brings us to my dilemma. While reading or watching a new thriller, I seem to be obsessed with the idea of the main character being the perpetrator. I will be reading or watching a thriller or some type of mystery, and my first thought will be that the main protagonist is the killer or the person everyone is looking for. I will then pick out clues as I go along and create this elaborate ending that goes with my guess. Of course, when it turns out to be someone else, I’m a bit disappointed. I guess in my mind, the protagonist should always be the murderer or offender.

I just wanted to share this to find out if I’m the only one with this strange obsession. What are some unusual movie/book obsessions that you have?

So far, I have loved every movie directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Of course I haven’t seen them all, but I’m hoping to change that. I just need more money to buy them. I have been slowly adding to my collection whenever I see a really good deal on one of the movies. Feel free to comment and let me know about any movies from Hayao Miyazaki or Studio Ghibli that I need to watch.

*All descriptions taken from IMDb.

Spirited Away
Rating: PG

In the middle of her family’s move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and monsters; where humans are changed into animals; and a bathhouse for these creatures.

Thoughts: This was the very first movie I saw by Miyazaki. I remember seeing the VHS in the store and asking my parents if I could get it. I didn’t know anything about the movie, but I knew I wanted it. I had seen anime before and enjoyed it. My parents let me get it along with Castle in the Sky, and as soon as I got home, I started watching them. I watched Castle in the Sky first, and I liked it, but it wasn’t one of my favorites. I immediately put in Spirited Away and instantly fell in love with the story. I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. I still own the VHS, and I love it. I’m surprised it isn’t broken with how many times I have watched it. I adore this movie.

Ponyo
Rating: G

An animated adventure about a five-year-old boy and his relationship with a goldfish princess who longs to become a human.

Thoughts: I know that Ponyo is not the best by Miyazaki, but there is just something so charming about it. It’s a cute movie that’s very entertaining. There are plenty of flaws in it, but I can’t help re-watching it. The details in the movie are just as good as any other Miyazaki film. I feel like the story is the only thing that is not up to par with the other fantastic movies. However, it’s still worth a watch.

Kiki’s Delivery Service
Rating: G

A young witch, on her mandatory year of independent life, finds fitting into a new community difficult while she supports herself by running an air courier service.

ThoughtsKiki’s Delivery Service is such a unique movie that brings up the struggle of a child growing into a young adult. Kiki must train away from home for a year to become a better witch. She brings along her cat named Jiji on her journey (Jiji is one of my favorite characters). Miyazaki has interesting ideas about what a young witch/girl would be going through during this important time of her life. In a sense, the movie reflects a young girl losing her childlike imagination as she grows older (the friendship between Kiki and Jiji). Near the end, there is a bittersweet moment as Kiki starts becoming a young adult and her relationship with Jiji changes.

Howl’s Moving Castle
Rating: PG

When an unconfident young woman is cursed with an old body by a spiteful witch, her only chance of breaking the spell lies with a self-indulgent yet insecure young wizard and his companions in his legged, walking home.

Thoughts: I love the message this movie sends to young women. When I watched this, I was an insecure teen. I related so much to what Sophie felt about herself, and the movie helped me see that even if you might feel like you’re not pretty enough, there is someone out there that will think you’re beautiful. Plus, it shows being pretty is not the only thing that matters. There is a lot of focus on the romance aspect of this film, but there is plenty of humor throughout. There are subtle scenes and dialogue that just make it a wonderful movie. It’s a nice romance story that I feel anyone could enjoy. 

My Neighbor Totoro
Rating: G

When two girls move to the country to be near their ailing mother, they have adventures with the wonderous forest spirits who live nearby.

ThoughtsMy Neighbor Totoro is the most recent Miyazaki movie I have seen, and let me tell you, this one is a tearjerker. I was not prepared for all the emotions this movie put me through. There is so much raw emotion that the sisters feel, and it is portrayed amazingly well. It was as if the audience was watching the lives and struggles of these real life girls. It’s a beautifully told story. I loved that there was no bickering or drama between the sisters. They didn’t fight over silly stuff, and they actually got along. The movie mainly deals with the girls’ adventures with the forest spirits.

The Secret World of Arrietty
Rating: G

The Clock family are four-inch-tall people who live anonymously in another family’s residence, borrowing simple items to make their home. Life changes for the Clocks when their daughter, Arrietty, is discovered.

ThoughtsThe Secret World of Arrietty deals with loneliness that the two main characters face. This one is a bit sad because of the subject matter, and it doesn’t end in the way that I thought it would. One thing I like is that not every movie ends with a happily ever after, but there is hope and the promise of happiness. Even though the movie’s main character is a tiny borrower, the characters are realistic with the characterization and character development that takes place. This movie is a nice step away from cliches, and it’s a very entertaining film.

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
Rating: PG

Warrior/pacifist Princess Nausicaä desperately struggles to prevent two warring nations from destroying themselves and their dying planet.

Thoughts: One thing I really love about Miyazaki’s movies is that there is a deeper message in each of them. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind focuses on saving the environment and how important it is to protect the planet and animals. It’s also nice that in each of these movies, there are strong female leads, taking charge of their lives and not letting life just pass them by when times get hard.

Princess Mononoke
Rating: PG-13

On a journey to find the cure for a Tatarigami’s curse, Ashitaka finds himself in the middle of a war between the forest gods and Tatara, a mining colony. In this quest he also meets San, the Mononoke Hime.

Thoughts: If you want your friend/boyfriend/fiance/husband to watch a Miyazaki film with you, this would be the one to show them first. I’ve made Chad watch all of these films, and he says this one is his favorite. It has a higher rating than most because there is a lot more violence. I believe this adds to the struggles brought up in the film. There was a real threat/real bloodshed that had to be dealt with.

Here is the first installment of my favorite movies. I decided that I would start off with Pixar, and I know that Pixar is a part of Disney, but since there are so many in this category, I figured I would make a separate post. Plus, it’s amazing, so it deserves its own post. So enough about my love for Pixar, let’s continue to the list and don’t forget to let me know your favorite Pixar movie(s).

*All descriptions taken from Disney Movie Guide

Toy Story
Rating: G

The first production from Walt Disney Pictures’ Pixar Studios is the ground-breaking computer-animated Toy Story. The film was the first feature film to fully utilize CGI (Computer Generated Imagery), and is nearly unanimously hailed as the benchmark film for animation.

Aside from being technically revolutionary, Toy Story features a virtual “Who’s Who” of contributors, from executive producer Steve Jobs, director John Lasseter, music by Randy Newman, and voicings by such iconic performers as Tom Hanks, Don Rickles, Tim Allen and Jim Varney. The film also introduces such unforgettable characters as Buzz Lightyear, Woody and Mr. Potato Head.

Thoughts: As a little kid, I remember wanting my toys to come to life so we could all play together. There’s something about toys coming to life that is exciting for a child (well except for Sid’s toys, that was just scary). I was an only child, so when my parents were busy, I didn’t really have anyone else to play with. I would just play with my toys by myself, so when I saw Toy Story for the first time, it was amazing to me. For a week afterwards, I would shut the door and wait for a few moments before I would burst in to catch my toys coming to life. Of course, it never happened, but it was still really fun. 

Toy Story 3
Rating: G

Toy Story 3 is the third installment of the popular series about a group of children’s toys that come to life and engage in all sorts of wild adventures. Toy Story 3 brings back all of the characters from the previous two movies, including Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and Woody (Tom Hanks). In this installment, Andy (The child who owns the toys) is all grown up and preparing to enroll in college. The toys are supposed to be put into the attic for storage but are thrown away by accident. The toys end up on a new adventure looking for a new place to call home. Toy Story 3 captures the magic of the previous movies while introducing some new twists. This is a wonderful family movie that everyone can enjoy.

Thoughts: When Pixar announced the release of Toy Story 3, I saw a quote from the internet that stated “Move out of my way children! I’ve been waiting 11 years to watch this movie!” This was basically my mindset because I really had been waiting for this movie. I was not disappointed, and I have to say that I felt many emotions while watching this. For those who have seen it, I’m sure you know what I mean. I also heard that there might be a fourth installment, so I’m excited to watch that one when and if it comes out.

A Bug’s Life
Rating: G

Flik is a big thinker with bad luck. After years of watching his colony of ants work hard to stockpile food for the winter and then have a greedy group of ferocious grasshoppers sweep in a steal it all, Flik decides it’s time for a change. Even though no one believes in him, Flik is determined to find some new fighters who will help him stop the evil grasshoppers and their ruthless leader Hopper.

Thoughts: This was such a unique idea and that will most likely be the theme of this favorites list because every movie is just so original. I enjoyed the idea of looking into the lives of bugs and seeing the world from a different perspective. I mean it doesn’t sound exciting but when mixed with funny, quirky characters and an entertaining plot, it provides a thrilling movie. Besides, it was great to see Kevin Spacey as an evil grasshopper.

Monsters, Inc.
Rating: G

Disney’s Monsters, Inc. will easily resonate with practically every parent (and child) that has experienced the unique sensation of “things that go bump-in-the-night.” This Pixar Studios animated comedy production takes viewers to Monstropolis, that shadowy and mysterious land that can only be accessed via closet doors in children’s bedrooms.

Two-year old Boo accidentally wanders into Monstropolis and sets off pandemonium in both the human and monster worlds. With the help of two Monsters, Inc. (Monstropolis’ power plant) employees who’ve become charmed by the tyke, a series of thrilling chases and calamities ensue as they attempt to hide Boo from the power plants’ security staff.

Thoughts: This was such an interesting take on the fear that monsters lived in the closet. I loved how the monsters were freaking out because of Boo and how the monster world went into panic mode over it. Plus, I always tend to sing “Put that thing back from where it came from or so help me” any time I see the quotes. I bet you sang it in Mike’s voice, didn’t you? It’s okay, you can admit it.

Monsters University
Rating: G

The prequel to the smash animated comedy hit, “Monsters, Inc.,” is “Monsters University,” which takes place roughly ten years prior to the original and relates the story of how the film’s two main characters first met.

We meet college-bound Mike Wazowski as he prepares to further his education at fabled “Monsters University” (MU). From childhood, Mike has dreamed of someday becoming a “Scarer,” (the epitome of monsterdom) which happens to be MU’s curriculum specialty. One of his first acquaintances at MU, Sulley, turns out to be not only a B.M.O.C,. but is also the absolute definition of a “Scarer.” Both are competitive to a fault, which leads to the pair being expelled from MU’s distinguished “Scare Program.” Chastened, but now forced to either “toe the line” or abandon their dreams, the duo are thrown together with several other misfit wanna-be “Scarers” as they attempt to regain their formerly elite status.

Thoughts: At first, I was really skeptical about this movie. I was not happy there was a prequel coming out when I clearly wanted a sequel so I could find out what happened to Boo. One day I just sucked it up and decided that I would watch this movie to see if it lived up to my “Pixar” expectations. I have to say that it exceeded my predictions. This was such a wonderful film that stayed away from predictable plot points and told an amazing story. I loved everything about this movie. I still want a sequel though.

The Incredibles
Rating: PG

Mr. and Mrs. Parr, also known as Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl, gave up their crime fighting careers as superheros to raise a family under the long arm of the government protection program. Life as an every day citizen was great for Mrs. Parr, but Mr. Parr longed for his glory days as a superhero. When temptation gets the best of Mr. Incredible, can Elastigirl and the rest of the Incredible clan save him?

Thoughts: Speaking of sequels… I want one for this movie so bad. As I grew up, I still enjoyed “children’s” movies, but I didn’t love the ones solely targeting children. I liked the ones that had jokes for kids and adults. The Incredibles entertains a wide range of audiences. Jokes that were making me laugh were also making my parents laugh. It was a modern family twist on the superhero genre.

Ratatouille
Rating: G

Fine food, fine dining, and fine restaurants are all fine for people, but not so fine for rats. Unfortunately, Remy Rat thinks he’s just as entitled to eat in a nice French Restaurant as anyone else. Maintaining his restaurant home and reaching his dream of being a chef both seem like long shots, but Remy is committed to making it happen.

Thoughts: Ratatouille is a movie that’s cute and will make you crave food. While watching it, my thoughts consisted of “Wow, I want an omelette,” “Remy is so cute. I would want to be his friend too,” “I really want to eat now.” While this movie made me hungry, I will say that thinking about rats preparing my food disturbs me. If real rats looked like the ones in the movie, then it would be a little better, but rats are not adorable (not as cute as mice). Besides rats cooking food, I enjoyed everything about this movie.

Up
Rating: PG

Some dreams never die, they just grow older. When an elderly man pushes to make his lifelong dream of being a real life Indiana Jones adventurer come true, he finds determination and perseverance may be all the tools he needs.

Thoughts: During the beginning of this movie, I almost cried. I looked over at my fiance with a look of “What on earth is going on? I’m not prepared for this.” It was a better love story then most I have seen, but wow, it was sad. After the initial “I think I might cry” moment was over, the story was amazing. It did have an Indiana Jones feel to it and a real sense of adventure. Up is such a beautifully crafted movie that I think everyone should watch.

Brave
Rating: PG

Set among Scotland’s legendary rugged Highlands, where epic battles between warring factions have taken on near-mythical proportion comes the Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation Studio’s production of Brave, a fantasy adventure film featuring 3-D animation. Co-written by Brenda Chapman and Irene Mecchi (who co-wrote The Lion King and Hercules), and jointly directed by Chapman and Mark Andrews, Brave relates the tale of an impetuous and headstrong princess, Merida, who, quite innocently, creates chaos and upheaval in the kingdom by offending the Lords of the Land with her audacity. Merida’s quest to atone for her actions form the foundation of the film.

Thoughts: I know there are mixed feelings about this movie. However, I kind of liked the focus on the mother/daughter relationship in the story. I also thought it was a great idea to have a headstrong princess be the main protagonist. It fits the generation of no damsels in distress, and if they are, they take care of it themselves. I’m loving the recent Disney princesses that are able to handle situations by themselves. It’s a refreshing change of pace.

Favorite Books

This will not be in any order because I have no clue which book is my number one favorite. It just seems unfair to my other favorites to pick sides. As I keep reading, I’m sure I will find more books to call my favorites, so when that happens I will make an updated version of this list. For now, here is my top 17 favorite books:

*All descriptions taken from Goodreads.

Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson
Genre – Young Adult

Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won’t talk to her, and people she doesn’t even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that’s not safe. Because there’s something she’s trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth. This extraordinary first novel has captured the imaginations of teenagers and adults across the country.

Thoughts: Speak is such a beautifully told story. The imagery that Anderson uses is throughout the novel and really captures the feelings and message being told. Melinda is a strong protagonist that has to deal with a terrible event that happened at a summer party. Once the reader finds out what happened during that night, the story really comes together to show why Melinda is acting a certain way. Overall, this is a story that I think many people should read, if they have not already.

Killing Britney – Sean Olin
Genre – Young Adult/Mystery

Britney is the girl everyone loves to hate. Ever since Britney transformed herself from freak-and-geek to the most popular girl at school, her life has been touched by tragedy. First it was her mom, who drowned on a family rafting trip. Then her hockey-star boyfriend, Ricky, was killed in a hit-and-run. When the deaths continue to pile up, everyone fears for Britney. Sure she’s popular, blond, and fabulous. But is that enough reason for someone to want to…kill her?

Thoughts: This is by no means a great book. If I were to read it now, it would be predictable and possibly silly. However, this book was the first I read that had a twisted ending, and it made me appreciate this type of novel. I remember reading this book when I was younger and being completely blown away by the ending of the story. I just sat there thinking that I wanted to write something similar to surprise readers. Even though Killing Britney may not be the best in its genre, it has a special place in my heart, and I will continue to keep it as one of my favorites. 

Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card
Genre – Young Adult/Science Fiction

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn’t make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training. Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender’s two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.

Thoughts: Ender’s Game is a captivating story that keeps the reader’s attention. There’s no excessive fluff that’s only there to fill space. Scenes are kept short and to the point without adding in unnecessary details. I enjoyed how well-developed the characters were and how each character was not completely good or bad. The world development is fantastic, and the plot focuses on morals and humanity. Ender’s Game has won both the Hugo award and Nebula award in science fiction, and it deserves all the positive recognition. Readers of all ages will be able to enjoy this book, and it’s possible that this will be regarded as one of science fictions best works for many generations to come.

The Wereling Trilogy (Wounded, Prey, and Resurrection) – Stephen Cole
Genre – Young Adult

(Wounded) Kate Folan comes from a family of werewolves. She’ll only become fully ‘wolf herself when she mates with a male werewolf. But she vows that will never happen. The last thing she wants is to give in to her evil heritage. Then she meets Tom Anderson. Tom is a wereling-a werewolf who retains his humanity even in his wolf form. He was “turned” by Kate’s mother, who chose wisely. Tom and Kate can’t help falling for each other. But if they give in to their feelings, Kate will become the thing she hates most. Unless they can find a cure. . . .

Thoughts: Wounded, Prey, and Resurrection are the books that made me start reading for fun. I remember going through the aisle’s of my local book fair and seeing Wounded on the shelf. After reading the synopsis, I decided to buy it. It was also one of the first bargain priced books I ever bought (with my parent’s money since I was still a kid). When I started reading, I fell in love with the story. It was interesting and kept my attention throughout (This was a big thing for me since I seem to have the attention span of a squirrel). Once I finished, I begged my mother to take me back so I could get the other two books. I really believe that this trilogy could get boys and girls into reading. It sure helped blossom my love for books.

Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut
Genre – Science Fiction/Classics

Told with deadpan humour and bitter irony, Kurt Vonnegut’s cult tale of global destruction preys on our deepest fears of witnessing Armageddon and, worse still, surviving it … Dr Felix Hoenikker, one of the founding ‘fathers’ of the atomic bomb, has left a deadly legacy to the world. For he is the inventor of ‘ice-nine’, a lethal chemical capable of freezing the entire planet. The search for its whereabouts leads to Hoenikker’s three ecentric children, to a crazed dictator in the Caribbean, to madness. Felix Hoenikker’s Death Wish comes true when his last, fatal gift to mankind brings about the end, that for all of us, is nigh …

Thoughts: Cat’s Cradle is a great example of Vonnegut’s irony and humor. He is able to take sensitive topics and discuss his viewpoints through his unique writing style. I read this book in my college class, and I fell in love with Vonnegut’s writing. When I first started, I didn’t expect to love it since it was for a class, but the blunt nature of his novel intrigued me. In this book, he has a way of poking fun at religion and science. In all honesty, I don’t think I can give Cat’s Cradle enough justice by trying to explain it. It’s a book that you should read at least once in your life.

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
Genre – Young Adult

Winning will make you famous.
Losing means certain death.

In a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed. When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister’s place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

Thoughts: The Hunger Games became a favorite to my surprise. My fiancé kept telling me that the book was really good and I should read it. After putting it off, I gave in and decided to get it over with. Of course, I ended up loving the story and had to know what happened to Katniss. I read The Hunger Games around the time the third book was coming out, so I read this book a while ago. I know it has been compared to Battle Royale by Koushun Takami (which I really want to read), but I still find it quite original. The character development is great, and as a reader, you become invested in the well-being of each character. Some scenes will pull on your heartstrings, while others will make you want to punch a fictional character in the face. Overall, this is a great read, and I would highly recommend it.

Lord of the Flies – William Golding
Genre – Young Adult/Classics

William Golding’s compelling story about a group of very ordinary small boys marooned on a coral island has become a modern classic. At first it seems as though it is all going to be great fun; but the fun before long becomes furious and life on the island turns into a nightmare of panic and death. As ordinary standards of behavior collapse, the whole world the boys know collapses with them—the world of cricket and homework and adventure stories—and another world is revealed beneath, primitive and terrible. Lord of the Flies remains as provocative today as when it was first published in 1954, igniting passionate debate with its startling, brutal portrait of human nature.

Thoughts: I first read Lord of the Flies when I was in high school. I seemed to be one of a few people that actually liked the novel. To me, it was the perfect blend of entertaining and heart-wrenching. Golding was able to create a story that focused on how humanity could be easily changed to primitive instincts if given the right circumstances. It was even more shocking that he would use young boys to show that it can even happen to children and that we are all beasts with basic survival instincts, even if that means betraying those around us. Lord of the Flies is a novel with brilliant twists and turns that will make readers want to keep reading.

A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness/Jim Kay (Illustrator)
Genre – Young Adult

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming… This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.

Thoughts: Honestly, I’m not sure I can describe how amazing this book is. Not only are the words beautifully written, but the illustrations just add so much to the novel. I’ve heard a lot of hype about this particular book and believe me when I say that it deserves every bit of praise. The reader delves into the mind of a thirteen-year-old boy named Conor. He is struggling with a lot in his life and nothing ever seems to make it better. This book demonstrates the psychological nature of an adolescent boy and his difficulties in understanding life and himself. I hope this is a book that people will read in their lifetime because it really makes a reader step back and appreciate everything in his/her own life.

Fahrenheir 451 – Ray Bradbury
Genre – Science Fiction/Classics

Guy Montag was a fireman whose job it was to start fires … The system was simple. Everyone understood it. Books were for burning … along with the houses in which they were hidden. Guy Montag enjoyed his job. He had been a fireman for ten years, and he had never questioned the pleasure of the midnight runs nor the joy of watching pages consumed by flames … never questioned anything until he met a seventeen-year-old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid. Then he met a professor who told him of a future in which people could think … and Guy Montag suddenly realized what he had to do!

Thoughts: This is another book that I read in high school. I have not read this novel in a while, but I still remember feeling mad that the people just gave in and let their books be burned. It really made me appreciate books and knowledge. This just showed how life might be if the government outlawed books and made humans fear learning new concepts. I tend to get some aspects of this story confused with 1984 by George Orwell (mainly the Big Brother concept and the scene with the rat). It seems I will have to reread Fahrenheir 451 and 1984 soon.

The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
Genre – Young Adult/Classics

Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with “cynical adolescent.” Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he’s been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation.

Thoughts: The Catcher in the Rye focuses on a distinct individual. I wouldn’t want to be Holden’s friend, but I find that’s what makes him unique and what makes him a believable character. Not every human is hopeful and charming, so it’s nice to see a different type of character that reflects an alternate human being. He is mopey and moody and has no optimism for the world. Not everyone will enjoy this story, but it does reflect how alienation might affect an individual.

1984 – George Orwell
Genre – Science Fiction/Classics

Written in 1948, 1984 was George Orwell’s chilling prophecy about the future. And while the year 1984 has come and gone, Orwell’s narrative is timelier than ever. 1984 presents a startling and haunting vision of the world, so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the power of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of multiple generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions. A legacy that seems only to grow with the passage of time.

Thoughts: I read 1984 around the same time I read Fahrenheir 451 in high school, so it’s understandable that I get the two confused with one another. 1984 was such an interesting book for me because I never really thought about how the government could rule over everything. I enjoyed the aspect of Big Brother is always watching and how Orwell incorporated communism as a main focus and possibly even capitalism with the book that Winston Smith reads. I’m sure I wouldn’t have picked up this book on my own, so I’m glad that we read it in class because I was able to appreciate the story as a whole.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
Genre – Young Adult

Charlie is a freshman. And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

ThoughtsCharlie is an awkward individual, trying to get through high school as best he can. It was easy to root for him to make friends and to deal with his problems. When I found out about Charlie’s past, it made the novel and Charlie make so much more sense. It showed what he was going through and why he was having such a hard time with everything. I believe The Perks of Being a Wallflower can educate readers about not judging others before knowing them. It’s hard to know what a person has been through, which is why we should treat others with respect no matter how strange or awkward they may act. Everyone is fighting their own battles, and it’s important to remember that when it would be easy to pass judgment. I think many people need to read this book, and I’m glad that I did.

Shizuko’s Daughter – Kyoko Mori
Genre – Young Adult

Yuki Okuda knows her mother would be proud of her grades and her achievements in sports if she were alive. But she committed suicide. And Yuki has to learn how to live with a father who doesn’t seem to love her and a stepmother who treats her badly. Most important, she has to learn how to live with herself: a twelve-year-old Japanese girl growing up alone, trying to make sense of a tragedy that makes no sense at all….

Thoughts: Shizuko’s Daughter is such a breath of fresh air for young adult books. Mori tells a fascinating story that can be quite sad and depressing because of the topic, but it’s an enjoyable read. I found myself hoping that everything would turn out fine for Yuki because she deals with so much with her mother’s suicide, her distant father, and her horrible stepmother. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting a deep and motivating story, but be prepared for the heart-wrenching and tragic moments.

Easy – Tammara Webber
Genre – New Adult

He watched her, but never knew her. Until thanks to a chance encounter, he became her savior… The attraction between them was undeniable. Yet the past he’d worked so hard to overcome, and the future she’d put so much faith in, threatened to tear them apart. Only together could they fight the pain and guilt, face the truth—and find the unexpected power of love. A groundbreaking novel in the New Adult genre, Easy faces one girl’s struggle to regain the trust she’s lost, find the inner strength to fight back against an attacker, and accept the peace she finds in the arms of a secretive boy.

Thoughts: Easy is my first new adult, contemporary novel. Obviously, new adult has more mature content than young adult. Mostly dealing with sex and the chance encounter described in the synopsis (I don’t want to give away any spoilers for the story). I enjoyed the cuteness of this story, and I really loved how the author avoided unnecessary drama. I’m not a fan of drama, but if it can be played out to work for the piece then I’m all for it. Overall, I found this to be quite entertaining, and I would recommend it to anyone wanting a nice, easy read.

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Genre – Historical Fiction/Classics

Tomboy Scout Finch comes of age in a small Alabama town during a crisis in 1935. She admires her father Atticus, how he deals with issues of racism, injustice, intolerance and bigotry, his courage and his love.

Thoughts: To Kill a Mockingbird was one of the first novels I read in high school that I actually remember. At first, I didn’t want to read it, but as the story progressed I found that the novel was intriguing, and I wanted to find out what happened next and see what the characters would do. I tend to enjoy classics. I won’t say I enjoy them all because there are a few that I wish I never read, but I love the messages that they send and what the books focus on. Classics are a way to look at the past without a history book. A reader can find out all kinds of things about a certain time period by just reading some novels written during that time. I love how To Kill a Mockingbird and other classics open a window into the past, and I will continue to read classics as should others.

Favorite Movies

I had originally decided to do my top 20 movies of all time, but as I was going through my movies, I realized that I had way too many favorites to pick out 20. I’m such a movie girl, and I’ve seen so many amazing movies that I would love to share with others. My plan now is to make a series with different categories for my favorites such as: My Favorite Disney Movies or My Favorite Hayao Miyazaki Films. That way I can share my love for movies without trying to limit myself to only a few.

Rules of the Movie Favorites:

First – Don’t talk about Fight Club.

My Movie Shelf

Just Kidding. On to the actual rules.

First – Each list will not be in any order because my brain would explode if I tried to arrange them (unless stated otherwise, of course). I have way too many favorite movies to try and pick my number one favorite. This is probably because I’m indecisive, but I’m sticking with the idea that it’s because I have a lot of favorites.

Second – I will only be picking from the movies that I own personally. Trying to remember every movie I have watched would be impossible, and I figure if it was my favorite, I would have bought it by now. Of course, this doesn’t include new releases that I will purchase later.

Third – Sadly, I haven’t seen every fantastic movie, so I might not have everyone’s favorite on my list. I am open to suggestions and would love for others to recommend films to me.