My Top 10 Light & Fun Movies

EDIT: I accidentally scheduled this post for 6 AM CST on May 9 instead of May 10 as I meant it, and it was not completed. Note that this post was edited to completion in the evening of May 9 a little after 6 PM CST. Thanks and my apologies! 

The Top Ten Tuesday topic posed by The Broke and The Bookish was “Top Ten Books When You Need Something Light & Fun.” Well, apparently I don’t do light and fun much in books because when I tried to think of one book that fit into this category, my mind went blank. But when I started thinking about light and fun movies, it was a lot easier! I tend to spend less time reading something light than I do watching light-hearted movies. I love darker movies too (particularly of the Christopher Nolan variety), but here’s a list of 10 movies that are pick-me-ups for me, with very few serious undertones.

Note: I decided to leave out animated movies, because they would have dominated this list too much. I’ll do a Top 10 Animated Movies list sometime. Also, instead of ordering these, I am just clumping them into categories.

The Chick Flicks

chickflicksOK, so there are a few serious undertones in these movies, but they sure do make you feel light after you finish watching them. While You Were Sleeping and Emma are delightfully fun with quirky characters and friendships that turn into romance. Little Women explores the changes of life and growing up, showing both its trials and joys. And of course, Pride and Prejudice is the classic romance that makes many of us enjoy.

Just Fun and Silly

fun&sillyThese movies are not the best movies ever made, but they’re fun and I do enjoy them each in their own way. I remember when I went to the theater with a group of friends to see Napoleon Dynamite while I was in high school, and I had NO idea what I was getting myself into! Afterwards we all looked at each other and asked, “Was there a plot in there?” (According to a scriptwriting book I own, the answer is yes, it’s just cleverly disguised!) But it’s just funny. Daddy Day Care is just silliness, centered on three men who lose their jobs and decide to try to make ends meet by watching kids. Steve Zahn is particularly hilarious as a Trek enthusiast. And The Mighty Ducks… oh how I love these more than a lady in her mid-twenties should. The plots of the second and third are a little ridiculous when you think about them, but that’s OK. Because you love the Ducks, and you just can’t help but root for them.

A Little Magical

alittlemagical2I  love that these stories are set (mostly) in the real world but have just a touch of magic to make them more light and fun. Enchanted is a brilliant parody of every Disney animated princess movie ever, but still sticks close to its formula (complete with several songs) and make us all fall in love with Giselle and root for her and Robert. Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium is an underrated gem, which features a very uncertain early-twenty being given the task of taking over her boss’ magical toy store. You seriously need to see this one if you haven’t already. August Rush is a beautiful story featuring amazing music that follows a boy looking for parents and looking for music. There’s no real magic involved, but there are definitely some miracles.

What are some of your go-to light, fun movies?

The Top 10 Books That Surprised Me

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday topic (a meme by The Broke and the Bookish) is “Top Ten Books I Thought I’d Like MORE/LESS Than I Did.” I was originally going to pick 10 books in one camp or the other, but ultimately decided to do the Top 5 of each, ultimately comprising the top 10 books that surprised me most in regards to how I felt about them.

The Top 5 Books I Thought I’d Like Less Than I Did

#5. The Hunger Games Trilogy

hunger_games_trilogyThe Hunger Games sounded pretty rough (and it was), but I kept hearing such good things about it that I had to read it. I thought I might like it, but what I did not realize was how quickly I would devour not just the first book, but the entire trilogy, that basically launched me into obsession mode until the movie released (and maybe for a little while after).

#4. Cinder

Cinder

I JUST finished Cinder, and like The Hunger Games, it turned into a much quicker read than I anticipated. I had heard it was great, but I was still skeptical about a Cinderella retelling centered on a cyborg. But I trusted my new blogging friends enough to buy the Nook ebook for a great deal, and I’m SO glad I did! And now I’m looking forward to reading Scarlet!

#3: The Hobbit

the-hobbitWhen my 8th grade English teacher assigned for our class to read The Hobbit, I just KNEW I was going to hate it. Mostly because my classmate Chase loved it, and I just knew that I could not like something he did, because we had nothing in common, right? Well, I didn’t hate The Hobbit after all. I didn’t love it as much as Chase, and admittedly I have not read it since then (which is why I plan to reread it this year), but my younger self is so frustrated with my older self for admitting that Chase had pretty decent taste in literature after all. Sigh.

#2: The Picture of Dorian Gray

dorian grayI had a lot of bad experiences with required reading throughout high school. But The Picture of Dorian Gray was one of the few exceptions. I need to reread this one as well because unfortunately I have forgotten a lot of it, but I remember thinking Oscar Wilde was just brilliant. (Reading two of his plays after Dorian Gray confirmed this to be a fact.) If you haven’t read this classic, you should.

#1: Crime and Punishment

crime&punish

But the biggest shock to my system was how much I really, really liked Crime and Punishment when I had to read it for my AP English class senior year. A long, Russian novel about a guy commits murder, and somehow I managed to get wrapped up in his story, to the point that four years later I was voluntarily using it as the basis for my Honors College thesis project. But the human condition just rings so true throughout its pages. I could have done without the subplot involving his sister, however.

The Top 5 Books I Thought I’d Like More Than I Did

#5: Pride and Prejudice

pride&prejudice

Put away the pitchforks and hear me out! I LOVE the story of Pride and Prejudice. I love Elizabeth, Darcy, Jane, and Bingley. I have alluded to all this multiple times on this blog. What I did not love as much as I hoped was reading the actual book. You see, my first introduction to the story was the Kiera Knightley movie. I loved it so much I had to read the book. And it was hard. NOT because of the story! It was the same great story! But Austen’s writing style was just not at all what I was used to, it was even laborious for classic literature. I have read one other Austen novel since then, Northanger Abbey, which was a little easier for me, I think largely because I did not already know the story AND I knew what to expect in the writing style. I still gave P&P 4 stars on Goodreads and I still want to read more Austen. But the experience of reading it for the first time was not all that I hoped to be.

#4: And Then There Were None

and-then-there-were-none (1)I don’t know what prompted me to pick up this classic mystery, but I was expecting to really like it. But it fell a little flat for me. I did find it intriguing enough to keep moving through the story, but at the end I was very dissatisfied. Was it because I had no connection with the characters? Was it not as suspenseful as I had hoped? I’m not sure, but ultimately, it did not do much for me.

#3: The Maze Runner Series

mazerunnerI didn’t have super high hopes for The Maze Runner when my co-worker handed it to me to let me borrow it, but she liked it and thought I might, so I was up for trying it, and thought I might like it some. The first book bored me at first, but then it picked up and I started getting more interested in it, especially at the end of it, and especially with the bonus content of classified letters at the back of the book. The Scorch Trials started off interesting, and then just got strange. And The Death Cure was mostly interesting and good, but then I hated the very end. Then I held out one more hope for The Kill Order, but it was such a hard read, with just so much bad that kept going and going and that was seriously rivaling with Mockingjay on the depressing meter, and unfortunately had a less hopeful ending as a prequel. I gave most of the books decent ratings on Goodreads, but overall, The Maze Runner series disappointed the hopes and expectations that had grown towards the end of the first novel.

#2: Matched’s Sequels

matched-trilogyAs mentioned in my review of the trilogy, I really loved the first book. I was sucked right into the world and thought it was beautifully written. I should have known by the end of Matched that I was not going to be satisfied with the rest of the series, but I refused to believe that Cassia was so dumb. But I was wrong. After the love-sickness-infested-walk-through-the-desert-in-real-time Crossed and the starts-off-intriguing-but-then-gets-kinda-lame Reached, I was quite dissatisfied with the whole journey. A story that showed potential fell for the pitfalls of insta-love and contrived plot devices. Ugh.

#1: Delirium

delirumGuys, I wanted to love Delirium. I really did. It was interesting to me at first. Then I got a little bored but hung on. Then I got annoyed but hung on. But then I got bored again. And then, I just gave up. I got it as an e-book from the library and I returned it, only about half-read. Part of me almost wonders if I should give it another chance. But after reading so many negative reviews about the final book of the trilogy, I’m thinking I’m going to leave this one in the unfinished pile. It just doesn’t really seem worth it.

What books did you like more or less than you thought you would?

My Top 10 Favorite Book Covers

Today’s Broke and Bookish Top Ten Tuesday topic is TTT Rewind: Pick a topic you have missed in the past or want to revisit. Well, I’ve missed a lot, so I had several to choose from. And though there were many great topics, I ultimately went with my Top 10 Favorite Book Covers, which I found appropriate considering my recent post on bad book covers. In order to not have every book in the world be a contender, but to also not limit myself too greatly, the standard I decided to go by was favorite covers of books I have either read OR plan to read. I didn’t want to choose a cover for a book I had zero interest in. Also, I found out that I’m a book cover snob. (I can hear my husband laughing now… he says I’m a snob about everything! :-P) I did include some special edition covers because a lot of times they are made to be especially awesome! Anyhow, here’s my Top 10…

#10: Les Miserables

les-miserables-book

I know what you’re thinking… it’s a picture from the 2012 movie! I get it! But it’s so haunting and beautiful. It’s a lot better than cartoon Cosette in my opinion. I must confess though, I don’t know if the “movie cover” matches the tone of the book or not since I have not read it yet.

#9: For Darkness Shows the Stars

fordarknessshows

Another one I have not yet read so admittedly, I do not know how well the cover matches the tone of the book. But I know it’s pretty!

#8: Matched Trilogy

matched trilogy

Part of me doesn’t love the bubble, but the symbolism of each cover is great. The colors also play an important role in the stories, so you can tell how well-thought out these covers were, which I appreciate.

#7: Pride and Prejudice

pride&prejudice

I didn’t read/don’t own the version with this cover, but I just love the artwork. It’s both fun and classic.

#6: Cinder

Cinder

This is such a clever cover for a retelling of Cinderella that centers on a Cyborg. Even without knowing the plot, I think one can derive a hint from the cover what the book might be like.

#5: Little Women

littlewomen

As if the cover isn’t pretty enough on first glance, notice the “little women” integrated into the letters!  Love it!

#4: Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland

Cute and covered in teapots!

#3: To Kill A Mockingbird

Mockingbird2

Seriously, how whimsy is this? I also love that it features the characters. So cute!

#2: The Selection and The Elite

Selection and Elite

Sometimes I wonder if the cover of The Selection is what drew me to read it because seriously, I have no interest in the show The Bachelor, so why would I want to read a book with a similar premise? But  if you look at a big, clear picture of it, especially of The Selection, and see all those amazing details on the dress, and in the reflection… well, you can just see it’s just a gorgeous cover, reflecting all the splendor America experiences in the palace.

#1: Fahrenheit 451

fahrenheit451bookcover

This is probably seriously the most creative book cover EVER. Unfortunately, I have not read this classic yet but I have been wanting to for a while. And I’m kind of tempted to buy buy this version of it. Because it’s awesome.

What book covers are your favorite?

My Top 10 Books I (Would) Recommend The Most

It’s another Top Ten Tuesday topic sponsored by The Broke and The Bookish: the top ten books I recommend the most.

Except I don’t feel like I go around recommending books. If I am talking with someone about a topic that reminds me of a good book, I probably will mention it. But otherwise, it’s unlikely to come up. So if asked what my top recommendations for books were, knowing nothing about that person’s specific interests, here’s what I would suggest to them…

(I decided to separate them into two categories, fiction and non-fiction, and picked five in each category, but otherwise they are in no particular order.)

Non-Fiction

#1. Quitter by Jon Acuff

quitter

This book reminded me that deep down, what I’ve always wanted to do when I grew up is write. It reminded me that I had buried that dream for something more practical. This book taught me that I could chase my dream realistically. It taught me that I needed to stick with the day job first as I worked on my dream. But one day… one day… I can finally close that gap. I think this book set me on the correct path. And if that sounds dramatic, the idea of it can be… but really, this book is hilarious because of Jon Acuff’s writing voice.

#2: Start by Jon Acuff

start

Start doesn’t come out until next month, but as you may recall, I attended Jon Acuff’s Star Night, an event where he shared nuggets of wisdom from this upcoming book, and for attending I received a pre-release copy. Both my husband and I have read through it, and like Quitter, it’s practical, hopeful, and funny. It’s basically the continuation of Quitter. Pre-order this book, and while you wait for it, get and read Quitter. I feel like a Jon Acuff commercial but seriously, these books can change your life for the awesome.

#3: For Men/Women Only by Shaunti Feldham

formenwomenonly

When I read For Women Only, I felt like a light bulb came on, and suddenly some of the mysteries of men became clear. I discussed the book with my husband, and found it was accurate. Then he did the same with For Men Only, and it also seemed to be a pretty good picture of the mind of a woman. Both books are filled with surveys and research and provides good information that can definitely help you better understand your spouse or significant other.

#4: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

unbroken

I just finished reading this book (review coming soon) and wow… it is such an incredible story. It was difficult to relive everything that Louie, the focus on the story, went through as a POW in Japan during WWII. But it is an incredible journey through the war and after. I don’t want to say too much now, but seriously… read it! It’s amazing.

#5: Catch Me If You Can by Frank Abagnale

catchme

This book is very light compared to the story of Unbroken, but the story of Frank Abgagnale’s conning schemes is not exactly a laughing matter. It is fun at times, like the movie that is based on the book, but it also shows the not-so-elegant side of life as a criminal on the run. It’s an enjoyable and interesting read, and I would definitely recommend it to fans of the movie.

Fiction

#6: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

chroniclesofnarnia

I grew up enchanted by the tale of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but for some reason, it took me until near-adulthood to start on the other books in the series, and I only finished them all recently. The stories are truly magical, but they also reflect reality. I think every child needs to be read these stories by their parents, for the sake of both the child and the parent.

#7: The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

hunger_games_trilogy

I know The Hunger Games isn’t for everyone, but it does seem to be for a lot of people. I heard girls 10 years younger than me talking about it first, and then I had two friends my age recommend them to me, so I finally checked them out. I don’t know what it is about this trilogy that really grabbed me, especially considering how much I did not love 95% of Mockingjay… It seems Suzanne Collins just has a way with her storytelling. I also love so many of the characters, which is essential in my enjoyment of a story. If The Hunger Games has been sitting on your shelf, it’s time for you to finally grab it and open it.

#8: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

littlewomenbook2

As if you can’t guess from my blog’s namesake, this is, without a doubt, my favorite classic. I am not even sure what about it I love so much… again, it’s probably mostly the characters. And I do especially relate to Jo, who is dramatic and loves to write and gets tired of wearing skirts and wants to run away to Europe. But each March sister has a unique personality that adds to the story of their lives. And of course there is Laurie, who is also wonderful. You just need to read it if you haven’t!

#9: Finding Alice by Melody Carlson

finding-alice

This is a much lesser-known novel than the others on my list, written by Christian author Melody Carlson. However, it is far from preachy. The story is about a young woman who is diagnosed with schizophrenia, and her journey in battling this mental disorder. Without personally knowing anyone with schizophrenia but having studied it some, it seems that Carlson handles it with the best of care. It’s a story of high’s and low’s as Alice struggles through treatments, homelessness, embracing help, therapy, and accepting love. This is one of my absolute favorite stories, and I would definitely recommend it.

#10: The Giver by Lois Lowry

the-giver-by-lois-lowry

If only I had discovered this story sooner! It is an absolute gem with its simple but impactful tale of a dystpopian society that is completely fooled by their safe and vanilla lifestyle. If you’re not into the dystopia genre, you should definitely still read this one, because it transcends genre and relays an important message without resorting to violence.

So what are some of your top recommends?

My Top 10 Anticipations for Catching Fire

Today, I randomly started thinking about the upcoming Catching Fire movie, and started really anticipating it. I decided to jot down some of the scenes and moments I am looking forward to the most (assuming they all make it in the movie), and was a little surprised by how long the list grew. It made me pretty excited about it all; is it November yet?! (Actually, I don’t want it to be November yet. I need the warmth of spring and summer first).

WARNING: Do not read this if you have not read Catching Fire. Seriously, DON’T.

#10: Katniss and Plutarch Interact

plutarch

At a social event at the Capitol, Plutarch Heavensbee makes a point to show Katniss his custom-made watch. She doesn’t really seem to get it, but it will hit her later that he was, in fact, giving her a very important hint as to how he designed the arena. Once Katniss and the other tributes understanding the working of the arena, they are able to use this to their benefit to help them escape it. I think Phillip Seymour Hoffman is a great actor in that he always creeps me out, and I am hoping this time I will get the opposite vibe from him as he does his best to relay a message to Katniss that he is on her side.

“It starts at midnight.” – Plutarch

#9: Cinna

cinna

This is so low on my list mostly because it’s going to break my heart into a thousand pieces. Even when I saw the promotional picture for Cinna I immediately thought of his fate in this movie, and how much it is going to hurt. I love how much Cinna cares for Katniss and believes in her and in the revolution, and that he is willing to put his life on the line for it. I know watching him being taken away is going to be so haunting.

“I always channel my emotions into my work. That way I don’t hurt anyone but myself.” – Cinna

#8: Haymitch and Katniss

haymitch&katniss

I looking forward to a few moments between Haymitch and Katniss, but I am particularly anticipating when they get drunk together, and they promise one another that they will do everything they can to bring Peeta out of the games alive. I also look forward to seeing how their relationship continues to grow after the first movie.

“You know, you could live a thousand lives and not deserve him.” – Haymitch

#7: The Quarter Quell

So obviously this is very broad, but I wanted to encompass everything with The Quarter Quell from the announcement of what the rules for the Quarter Quell will be, to the Reaping, to the actual games where Katniss has to learn which tributes to trust. Of course the announcement is a pivotal part of the story because when Katniss learns she is going back in the arena, she immediately goes to run and hide, which we see is a pattern she will continue as the story progresses, especially in Mockingjay. She suffers from PTSD and no one can help her (except Peeta, she’ll come to realize). It will also be interesting to see the new arena and new tributes, of course.

I am going back to the arena. (Katniss)

#6: Katniss’ Mockingjay Dress in Action

katniss-wedding

The white wedding version of the mockinjay dress looks pretty good, I hope the effects for the black mockingjay dress prove to be better than the terrible CGI flames we got for the last movie.

#5: Katniss’ Confrontation with President Snow

Katniss-and-President-Snow

I expect the confrontation between President Snow, where he tells Katniss that he’s on to her, will be quite chilling. He starts the conversation by saying, “I think we’ll make this whole situation a lot simpler by agreeing not to lie to each other,” and ends with “By the way, I know about that kiss.” The whole time he has the stench of roses and Katniss wonders why… if only we could smell it with her. But still, I expect to feel a chill will go down my spine when Donald Sutherland utters…

“Convince me.” – President Snow

#4. Finnick and Katniss

catching-fire-finnick-katniss

What can be said about Finnick? It all begins when he seductively asks Katniss if she wants a sugar cube, and she has no idea how to respond. I definitely looking forward to this scene and their interaction in the arena.

Katniss: He offered me sugar and wanted to know all my secrets. / Peeta: Ugh. Not really. / Katniss: Really. I’ll tell you more when my skin stops crawling.  

#3: The Staged Moments Between Katniss and Peeta

victory tour

I had quite a list of Katniss/Peeta moments, some of which are completely staged as Katniss has to convince President Snow that she loves Peeta. Some of these moments include: their snow-tumbled kiss (I am sure this will change, especially since Peeta doesn’t have the bum leg in the movies), Peeta’s proposal (may or may not be shown since it was glossed over in the book as well, but I would love to see it!), and my favorite: Peeta announcing to everyone that he and Katniss are already married and that she is pregnant. I literally laughed out loud when I read this part of the book because I knew exactly what Peeta was up to. I really hope this part is kept in so I can see Caesar’s face. And though these moments seem fake to Katniss, she can’t deny there is a little something there…

“Maybe I’d think that too, Caesar, if it weren’t for the baby.” – Peeta

#2: The Sweet, Genuine Moments Between Katniss and Peeta

katnisspeeta2

This list includes: the rooftop scene, how Peeta helps Katniss through her nightmares, and of course the beach scene, where Peeta gives Katniss his locket and she kisses him for real. 

I wish that Peeta were here to hold me, until I remember I’m not supposed to wish that anymore. (Katniss)

#1: Gale tells Katniss About District 12

hunger-games-gale-katniss

I’m hoping the movie ends just like the book, in its very haunting way…

“Katniss, there is no District Twelve.” – Gale

The perfect cliffhanger.

And that’s only some of what I’m anticipating! What are you looking forward to in the Catching Fire movie?

Top 10 Books on My TBR List

So the official theme for The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday today is Top 10 Books on your 2013 Spring TBR (to be read) list. Well there’s no way I am going to get 10 books read this spring alone, plus it’s hard for me to plan that far ahead, seeing as I can always change my mind. So my first five choices are going to be the next five books I plan to read over the next three to four months, making it my spring list, and then the next five books will be possibilities for what I will read later in the year. This week’s list is no particular order.

The Spring-ish List

#1: Ender’s Game by Scott Orson Card

Enders_Game

I actually just ordered this on Amazon when I made an order for a couple of other things, and it should be here before I finish my current read. I also talked about this pick last week.

#2 & 3: Under the Never Sky and Through the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Under-the-Never-Sky-Through-the-Ever-Night

Again, also mentioned in last week Top 1o Tuesday post, and I received some further encouragement to read it. And once again, since they are available through my library e-book system, I feel good about the risk-free try. But of course, I’ll only read the second book if I like the first.

#4: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diane Peterfreund

fordarknessshows

When I first heard about the concept behind this one, I knew I had to read it…  Jane Austen’s Persuasion meets genetic engineering? Uh, hello! That just screams, “Read me, Amy!” I’m hoping it’ as awesome as it sounds.

#5: The Elite by Kiera Cass

the-elite

I really enjoyed The Selection, the book before this one. I’ve heard this one is pretty frustrating, which doesn’t surprise me because it involves a love triangle and America (the main character) can be so clueless, but I’m still going to have to read it, of course.

The After Spring List

#6: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

the-hobbit

This will actually be a reread for me. I read it in 8th grade, but wanted a refresher while the movies are coming out.

#7: 1984 by George Orwell

1984

This classic has been on my TBR list for a while, and I hope to finally get to it this year.

#8: Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis

tillwehavefaces

This one’s also been on my TBR list for a while, after one of my good friends from college gave it such a high recommendation.

#9: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

acrosstheuniverse (1)

This was also mentioned in last week’s post, and is the first book of a series, so more books could potentially follow in my reading list if I enjoy this one.

#10: Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diane Peterfreund

starsweptsea

This book is not supposed to be coming out until October, and is set in the same universe as For Darkness Shows the Stars. So again, I’ll only read this one if I enjoy the other. But I hope I will!

What’s on your TBR list?

My Top 10 Anticipated Films of 2013

I know March is a weird time to create this list, but I haven’t seen any 2013 films yet, so I figured the topic was still relevant for now. Here are the top 10 films I’m anticipating this year (plus a few honorable mentions at the end of the post) and why.

#10: Olympus Has Fallen

So when I first saw the trailer for this, I thought it looked like an interesting story. Now I have found out that a very similar-sounding movie is coming out later this year called White House Down. I kind of hate that that happened, but I would still prefer to see this one, since it is Channing-Tatum-free.

#9: Now You See Me

I just found out about this movie while I was looking through IMDB’s list of movies coming out this year. It sounded interesting so I watched the trailer, and it looks really interesting too. The cast seems like a strange mix of people, but I am hoping it will be good.

#8: Man of Steel

manofsteel

I’m not into Superman AT ALL, but it’s produced by Christopher Nolan (which is obviously not as good as being written/directed by him…) and it doesn’t look bad. And I want to see Amy Adams as Lois Lane. I’m hoping it will be a nice film that helps us all forget about Superman Returns.

#7: Monsters Univsersity

I was not happy when I heard about a second Monsters, Inc. movie. I love Monsters, Inc. and wanted it to remain “pure” in essence. What else could possibly be done with the story? But after seeing the trailer, I have to admit this prequel idea looks pretty cute.

#6: Thor: The Dark World

thor-loki-banner

Loki is an interesting villain, and I look forward to seeing the brothers square off again. Also, Darcy’s coming back, and she makes me laugh. 🙂

#5: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

hobbit

I enjoyed the first Hobbit movie and am looking forward to seeing the second installment of the series. I just hope that, as the middle movie, this doesn’t suffer from some severe drawing out of the plot (because the first one was a little bit of a stretch as it was).

#4: Iron Man 3

Tony’s got a good girl, he’s cheated death, and saved the world a few times, but people still want to mess with him. But with Rhodey’s help, he’s going to kick their butts. It ought to be fun!

#3: Star Trek: Into Darkness

startrek

I am giving J.J. Abrams the benefit of the doubt that this movie might be as good as this looks. As a Trekkie, I have to explain, that I really do enjoy Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek as a movie, but I really hate what it did to the canon of Star Trek. Yeah, it’s another timeline, but he blows up important planets! Into Darkness, though it’s still following this ridiculous timeline, does look really good, and I hope it is.

#2: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

katnisspeeta2

I’m excited that there is a new director the second installment of The Hunger Games. Gary Ross did a good job creating the world and I liked some of the creative choices he made, but I think he dropped the ball in a couple of areas, especially in his belief (which I saw him have interview after interview) that he created a perfect movie and left nothing important out and didn’t need to release any deleted scenes on the DVD/Blu Ray. Uh, really dude? I’m hoping Francis Lawrence moves forward with Gary’s vision but expands upon it and does an even better job of capturing the spirit of the story (and more Katniss and Peeta please? I know it’s the point but you know, come on, we need it before Mockingjay when all falls to heck).

#1: Oblivion

I’m really excited about Oblivion, because it looks really, really good, and I sure hope it delivers. The world evacuated of humans after war with aliens? Hidden secrets underneath the surface? Being lied to by your employer about what you’re doing on Earth? I’m intrigued.

There are some other 2013 movies that I have some interest in, but I might want to learn more about them before I rush to see them…

I’m sure Despicable Me 2 will probably be cute and fun, but like Monsters, Inc., did Despicable Me really need a sequel?

The Lone Ranger has caught my attention since I first heard about it. In one of my history classes in junior high, in class we did acted out a radio show of The Lone Ranger and I really enjoyed the experience, so I have fond memories of it. It looks sort of interesting, but I would like to hear what other people say about it before I see it.

The Great Gatsby looks intriguing, but I’m actually not that familiar with the story, so I’m not sure if I would like it or not. Again, we’ll see.

My husband will undoubtedly will want to see The Wolverine, so I’m hoping it will be good. I actually like the other Wolverine movie better than most people (though not as much as my husband liked it), but I honestly had not been too crazy about any of the X-Men movie until First Class came out.

Since I plan to read Ender’s Game soon, I’m hoping the movie will interest me after reading the book.

One last thing: in 2014 movie news, two members of the Left Behind cast (in addition to Nic Cage) have been announced. Remember how I was just talking about this? Well hold on to your hats, boys and girls, because Chad Michael Murray has been cast as Buck, and Ashley Tisdale has been cast as Chloe.

No, this is not a joke.

But I sure wish it was.

Thank you, Nicolas Cage, for making sure this movie gets zero credibility now.

So… what movies of 2013 are you anticipating?

My Top 10 Book Series I Would Like to Read But Haven’t Yet

This is another Top 10 list idea from the blog The Broke and the Bookish. I’m just going to say that the first four are ones that I recently decided I might want to read, whereas most of the others I have been considering reading for a while (#5 being the exception, and #1 is actually is kind of recent, but not as recent as the others). Anyhow, it’s hard to decide to delve into a series when you’re sort of particular about what stories you want to dedicate your time to. So if you have any experience with any of these series, please feel free to weigh in with your opinion of them!

#10: The Lunar Chronicles

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A retelling of Cinderella set in a dystopia world… and where Cinderella is a Cyborg. I can’t quite decide what to make of this, but it’s gotten a lot of buzz so if I have a chance to borrow it for free… we’ll see.

#9: Under The Never Sky series

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I have mixed feelings about how I feel about the sound of this particular dystopia world, but I noticed the first book is available as an e-book through my library (my fave way to try out books) and I’ve heard a lot of good things about it in the blog sphere, so I may give it  a try.

#8: Percy Jackson & the Olympians

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I know very little about this series; I haven’t even see the movie for the first book. But there is a lot of love for this series and I think for the characters as well. For me, the plot can be about almost anything as long as I love the characters, so who cares if I’m not really into Greek mythology? I still liked Thor.

#7: The Uglies series

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The first time I heard about this series, I was on the Wikipedia page for an episode of The Twilight Zone that I enjoy called “Number 12 Looks Just Like You.” It is set in a future where everyone in society, once they reach a certain age, must undergo a “transformation,” that will keep them looking young and beautiful for the rest of their life. Apparently, this series has a similar concept. I want to know more before I dive into it, but it sounds interesting.

#6: The Harry Potter series

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Yes, I know, I know. I haven’t read the Harry Potter series. Where have I been living, under a rock? I even grew up at the ideal time to really grow up with the books as they released. But I was never really all that interested. In fact, the plot still doesn’t interest me. I haven’t even seen the movies (except about 30 minutes of the first one.) But again, it seems like this is a series of books where people fall in love with the characters and get emotionally invested in them. So for that reason, I think I may finally have to check this series out sometime.

#5: Across the Universe series

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So the main character’s name is Amy, she was cryogenically frozen, and now she lives on a star ship. It’s like I’m a character on Star Trek! Hopefully… Anyhow, this is a series I just recently learned about, and I have to say my interest is piqued.

#4: The Left Behind series

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Well, I bet this pick threw you for a loop after all those young adult dystopia choices. I have read most of the series… I got through either Desecration of The Remnant the first time I believe. I started reading these books in sixth grade if memory serves, when only the first two books were out. I then read them as they came out. But at some point in high school, I got busy and pretty much stopped reading for fun, so I stopped short of finishing the series. I tried reading them again when I was unemployed, but it came to a halt when my husband didn’t have the next book, neither of our parents did (or at least not that they could find), nor the church library. In my laziness I never sought out another copy of it, and once again did not finish it. But one day, I want to make it all the way to the Glorious Appearing. In the books. Pretty sure I don’t want to go through that in real life (not as someone who lived through the Tribulation, I mean).

#3: The Lord of the Rings

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I want to read The Lord of the Rings, but I’m intimidated by the series. I’m afraid I’ll get all mixed up with the who’s and the where’s. And they don’t exactly seem to be quick reads. But one day, I really do want to read them.

#2: The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

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Every time I see the pretty cover Barnes and Noble version (not the one pictured), I think about buying it. And then my cheap side takes over. The movie is so wonderfully quirky in all the right ways, and from what I understand that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  I definitely intend to get around to reading these stories one day.

#1: The Ender’s Game series

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Even though I’m not sure if I’ll read just the first book or the entire series, I put Ender’s Game at number one because I do intend to read the first book this year. It sounds like an intriguing concept, plus it is a bit more classic in terms of YA dystopia and has stood the test of time, so I’m really curious to check it out.

What are some series you want to read but haven’t gotten around to yet? And while we’re on the topic of Left Behind, who should star in the Nic Cage version of the movie? (Let’s disregard that this is probably a terrible idea.) I think Justin Bartha, who played alongside Nic Cage in National Treasure as everyone’s favorite Riley Poole, would make an excellent Buck Williams.

My Top 10 Antagonists

Today I wanted to do my own top ten list, my top ten antagonists. And perhaps because of the subject matter, I agonized over this list. I actually came up with a lot more than I anticipated, including ones that weren’t human (and I don’t mean aliens, though they made it on the list as well…), but I may save those for another day. And though there are several great antagonists out there in the world of stories and I know I could easily think of more than these, here are the ones I chose to spotlight. (These are from movies, TV, and books.)

Antagonist: a person who is opposed to, struggles against, or competes with another; opponent; adversary. (from dictionary.com)

#10: Carl Hanratty (vs. Frank Abagnale Jr.), Catch Me If You Can

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Carl Hanratty is not who you would think of as a typical antagonist. After all, he’s really the good guy, chasing after the bad guy, Frank. But it’s Frank’s story, so he is the protagonist, which makes Carl his antagonist. I love a good cat and mouse hunt story, and this is just about the best in my opinion (the movie version more so than the more accurate book, since it’s been dramatized, though the book is a great read). I especially love how the two of them really have a respect for each other in a way, as well as how they secretly love talking to one another every Christmas because there is no else they can talk to. Carl may be the good guy, but he has own issues to wade through, and though they oppose each other for most of the movie, Frank helps him see that. Carl, in turn, helps Frank use his abilities more productively and cut his prison sentences short by helping the FBI better recognize fraud.

#9: Gollum (vs. Sam and Frodo), The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

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Gollum is not the most obvious of antagonists, as he is not really evil. He’s more like a victim of a terrible curse who has just gone completely mad, allowing the power of the ring, the power of Sauron, completely overtake his being.  But that being said, he is certainly an adversary of Sam and Frodo’s as Frodo bears the ring. Sam can see right through Gollum’s lies and tricks, but Frodo, under the weight of the ring, cannot. And we cannot forget of course that even before Gollum crossed paths with Sam and Frodo, he riddled with Frodo’s uncle Bilbo in a battle of wits. He may be sneaky, but Frodo and Sam prevail when the ring is thrown into Mt. Doom (and spoiler – Gollum along with it!).

#8: Javert (vs. Jean Valjean), Les Miserables

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Javert is also the good guy, much like Carl, but the guy he’s after, Jean Valjean, has truly become a changed man since he broke parole. Javert cannot accept the good that Valjean has done, however, because being graceful to him means justice has not been served, and justice is what Javert lives for. He is an antagonist with the best of intentions, but is so set in his ways that he would rather sacrifice himself than see Valjean live in grace.

#7: The White Witch (vs. Narnia and Aslan), The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

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The White Witch (or the Queen of Narnia as she has deemed herself) has managed to make it only winter in the land of Narnia, and that, in my book, definitely makes for an evil person. She turns Edmund and several of Narnia’s creatures against Aslan and his ways, and believes she will continue to rule over the land. But of course, Aslan defeats her in the end, with the help of the four Pevensie children and other loyal Narnians.

#6: President Snow (vs. Katniss)/ The Capitol (vs. the Districts), The Hunger Games

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The Capitol was evil long before President Snow came to power, forcing the children of the districts to compete in an annual fight to the death competition, The Hunger Games. However, throughout The Hunger Games trilogy, President Snow is the clear figure head of the Capitol who is quite determined to burn out the spark of rebellion Katniss started.

#5: “Father” (vs. John Preston), Equilibrium

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John Preston lives in a society where feelings are not allowed, which are controlled by mandatory medicine.  When Preston misses a dosage, however, he starts to see his world through new eyes. “Father” is the figurehead of the society’s government that everyone follows and listens to, and it is him that stands against everything John Preston has come to stand for, and he is the one Preston must take down in order for a revolution to begin.

#4: Bester (vs. Michael Garibaldi), Babylon 5

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Bester is a prominent member of Psi Corp who antagonizes all the senior staff members of the space station Babylon 5, but it is Michael Garibaldi who he particularly goes to war with. I don’t want to get into spoiler territory because it is so good and you really need to watch it unfold for yourself, so check out Babylon 5 if you haven’t already. It’s completely dated-looking, especially in the beginning, but hang on because the story’s so good and it all really peaks in season 3.

#3: The Borg (vs. everyone), Star Trek (particularly The Next Generation)

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When the Borg is first introduced in Star Trek: The Next Generation, they are just about the creepiest villain ever. “You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.” For you non-Trekkies, the Borg is a cyborg collective that assimilates humans (and other alien species) into the collective. So essentially, you remain alive, but you will be completely Borgified and not yourself. There are a lot of great Star Trek episodes about the Borg, and it’s far more than I can get into here. But talk about a scary antagonist.

#2, The Joker (vs. Batman), The Dark Knight

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I don’t think I can describe The Joker better than Alfred: ” Some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.” He is certainly a fascinating character of psychology. Though he was deeply disturbing, I sometimes wish I knew more. Sometimes I’m glad I don’t.

#1: The Dominion (particularly Dukat and Weyoun, vs. The Federation), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

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I don’t even know how to begin to explain The Dominion to someone who has not watched Deep Space Nine. They are a group of aliens from another quadrant, really three different species who work together as gods, middlemen, and warriors. They join up with a species in the Alpha Quadrant, the Cardassians, to oppose the Federation, and Deep Space Nine is the front line. Gul Dukat and and Weyoun are two faces of the Dominion that Deep Space Nine deal with and know far too well. There is just too much to say about  them, but while the two of them specifically have different methods when it comes to dealing with the enemy, they are both undoubtedly evil. And with all their schemes, they are amazing villains to watch.

 Who are some of your top antagonists? What do you think makes an antagonist particularly threatening to the protagonist?

My Top 10 Favorite Characters in the Classic Book Genre

For the first time (I mean, this is only my fourth post, after all), I am participating in The Broke and the Bookish‘s Top Ten Tuesday topic, and I hope I will be able to participate in this every week or so. This week the topic is the top ten favorite characters in the genre of our choosing. I gave this some thought, and was surprised that the easiest list to form was 10 characters for was classics, but I suppose this is because I had to read so many classic books for school. Unfortunately, for three novels I chose 2 characters, making up 6/10 of the list and not providing much variety. I thought about bending the rules and doing a Top 5 Classic Characters and Top 5 Dystopia Characters, and while the latter was quite easy to compile, it was hard to whittle my Top 10 to a Top 5 . (Perhaps we’ll see the Top 5 Dystopia characters in a future post…) So all that to say, sorry for all the repeat novels and my lack of variety. Some criteria: I had to have actually read the book, of course, and not just seen the movie (so this eliminated possibilities such as Emma and Lord of the Rings). I also have to remember liking the character distinctly from the book (I liked Bilbo Baggins fine in the book The Hobbit, but I enjoyed him more in the movie; of course I think Pride and Prejudice, since I saw the movie before I read the book, probably suffered from a prejudice while reading). And just so you don’t think I’ve only read 6 classic novels (though I admit there are many more I need to read), there are several classics I did not find one character that I particularly loved and the story was more about the message for me (like The Picture of Dorian Gray), or I just hated the book (that’s a long list). So with all that out of the way, on to my list…

1o. Catherine, Northanger Abbey

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I don’t think of Catherine as a particularly extraordinary character, but maybe that’s why I like her. She’s nice and normal, and you’re happy for her when she finds love. Sometimes, it’s best to keep it simple.

9. Narrator, Rebecca

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I read the book in tenth grade and then watched Alfred Hitchcock’s take on it and remember really enjoying both. It’s amazing to me how much a character can resonate with you, and how personal she can feel, when you don’t even know her name.

8. Sonya; 7. Raskolinkov (Crime and Punishment)

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I read this novel for AP English my senior year of high school, and it made such an impact on me that I revisited it for my creative thesis project for the Honors College four years later. Sonya is a great redemptive character who has been through so much herself, but helps Raskolinkov when he opens up to her about what he has done. And though you cannot help but wonder if Raskolinkov is off his rocker, what I love about his character is that he is so human. The crime he commits wracks him with guilt, and he cannot be made whole again until he suffers the punishment.

6. Sherlock Holmes, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

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Of course Robert Downey Jr. plays the role of Sherlock Holmes so brilliantly, but I remember reading the stories of Sherlock Holmes and just being struck by how smart he was. I loved that he could pick up on the details that no one else could. He is definitely a fascinating character.

5. Aslan, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

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I considered Peter and Lucy for this list as well, as I love them both dearly, but Aslan imparts such wisdom and I just love him throughout the whole series of books. He always says and does the right things at the right times (no surprise since he represents Jesus). He is definitely a good lion… but not a tame one.

4. Mr. Darcy; 3. Elizabeth (Pride and Prejudice)

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Sorry to put them in Top 10 lists right in a row, but I couldn’t help it. How can I not love this witty, intelligent, made-for-each other couple? Their individual personalities, the interactions between them… they’re just great characters! And by the way, if you love Pride and Prejudice as much as I do, stay tuned to the very end of the post!

2. Laurie; 1. Jo (Little Women)

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Well, number one should not be too shocking considering the title of this blog. But I also absolutely adore Laurie. I think my heart shattered into a thousand pieces when Jo rejected Laurie (it still hurts my heart every time I revisit the story), but I also had the thought, Well heck, I’ll take him! And of course, what makes Laurie even more awesome in the film is that he is played by Christian Bale. But seriously, I love how playful and loyal Laurie is, and Jo and I are practically the same person in some ways.

If you enjoyed my list, be sure to check out some of the others who participated!

Also, if you love Pride and Prejudice, you’ll probably love this web video series I found yesterday called The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. It’s a modern-day adaptation of the story all told through Lizze’s vlog. It’s a simple format but it has good production, the writing  is smart, the characters are spot-on, and the the way they adapt certain situations for modern times is well done. There is some mild language in some of the episodes, just as a warning. I may or may not have spent my day off yesterday watching every.single.episode. Yep. I found it that addicting. Watch the first episode (and the proceeding 88) right here:

So who are your favorite characters from classic literature?