Best Books of 2017

2017 certainly wasn’t the best reading year for me. Life was busy as heck but I still managed to read a few gems. Also, these are in no particular order and just because I read them in 2017 doesn’t mean they were released during the year. 😊

tomieTomie by Junji Ito

A bizarrely beautiful manga. The lead antagonist, Tomie is both hate-able and fascinating.  I can see why this is considered one of the best horror mangas. However, the ending was a bit of a let down – but everything else is great especially all the weird and haunting pictures.

princessgoblinThe Princess and the Goblin by George Macdonald

This book is a hallmark of fantasy fiction. I gotta say while I thought it was a bit goofy, it’s still really charming and fun. This is a great book for kids and adults who like children’s fantasy.

panic Panic by Lauren Oliver

I did a pretty long review of this book. I enjoyed it quite a bit even though it does have flaws. The main characters are decent and it was nice to follow them. The book does a great job of showing how small towns can be mundane yet sinister underneath. And how bored teenagers can cause a lot of trouble. Another win for Lauren Oliver.

oceanThe Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman 

A big part of me is like, “what?” when it comes to this book. But it’s still very good in what it has to say about how great the childhood imagination can be. Gaiman proves himself to be a great  and creative author once again.

So those are my choices for the best books of 2017. Hopefully I’ll read many more great books in 2018. 😊

 

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Top 5 Worst Books of 2016

I didn’t read that many bad books in 2016. I try to only read books I have a good feeling I’m going to enjoy. Struggling through a bad book isn’t something I have the patience for these days. With that said the a few of the following books aren’t really “the worst” more like “disappointing” instead.

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
wide-sargasso-sea

Wide Sargasso Sea is probably the worst book I read in 2016. The more I think about it, the more I dislike it. At this point I’d probably downgrade it to one star. Really, it does very little with its premise and its source material (Jane Eyre). In the end, it’s overdramatic and unfulfilling. Someone else should tell the madwoman in the attic’s story. Full Review.

Jasmine by Bharati Mukherjee
jasmine

This is a novel that starts out good but then becomes very soap opera-like. I wouldn’t have a problem with that except it fails to be entertaining enough. Maybe if the story was written in a more coherent structure I might have liked it more but it isn’t it’s told in a fragmented way that just didn’t work for me.

The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancy
curse of the wendigo

A very disappointing book since the first novel was so amazing. Sure, it has its shocking moments but I don’t like the character development of the main characters. I don’t like the direction the relationship of the two mains went and hate that Dr. Warthrop had some lame love interest.

A Nightmare on Clown Street by R.L Stine
a nightmare on clown street

I read this out of nostalgia. I must face the fact the goosebumps books just don’t hold up because this book was dumb beyond belief. Almost incomprehensibly dumb.

Alice by Christina Henry
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This book is not bad or the “worst” , in many ways it is a very good read. But for me it could have done more. The pieces are there but in the end the book just doesn’t do anything great. Full Review.

Top 5 Favorite Books of 2016

I read quite a few great books this year. I decided to make a list of five instead of ten this time but it was a challenge to narrow them down. These are the books I felt stood out to me the most. In no particular order!

Flora and Ulysses  by Kate DiCamillo
flora and ulyssess

This is what a great children’s book should be like. I can’t praise it enough. It has a fun and silly premise but still carries a great message. I wrote a full post awhile back.

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
salems lot

I’ve read loads of King’s books but I didn’t read one of his most famous until 2016. Weird, I know. This is definitely one of his best. It moves at a slow pace but I was captured by the atmosphere of the book. This is one of the best vampire and horror novels out there.

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancy
monstrumologist

It’s great to see such a creative and original book in the YA category. This novel is shockingly gory and is reminiscent of the old fashioned gothic horror novel. There’s pretty much nonstop suspense and horror I loved it. Unfortunately, I thought the second book in the series was “meh” and not as good so I’m a little wary about moving on to the next books in the series.

The Search for Wondla by Tony DiTerlizzi
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“Wondla” is an amazing sci-fi adventure accompanied with some good illustrations, it’s surprising that this book isn’t more popular (I’ve never heard anyone talk about it!). I loved the main character and her robot mom along with the world in general. This is also one book that begs to be made into a movie. I hope to purchase and read the next books in the series soon.

The Child Thief by Brom
child-theif

 This is one of the best retellings I’ve ever read (maybe even the best) There’s so many layers and great characterization, another book that I think deserves more attention. I also did a full review.

So that’s my top 5, I hope everyone will read them and enjoy too 🙂 Up next will be a worst of 2016. 

My Top 15 Favorite Horror Movies

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I have pretty big passion for horror movies, and since Halloween is coming up I decided to make a little list. Some of these are common choices while others are not. I have plenty of other horror movies I like but these are undeniably the ones near the top. The list is in no particular order though. Enjoy.

House of 1000 Corpses (2003)house-of-1000-corpses-dvd-41921f

 

A lot of people seem to dislike this movie (although, it does have a following), but I love it more than words can describe. Sure it’s a mishmash of homages and doesn’t have perfect storytelling or anything. But it’s fun. I love the characters of Otis, Baby and Spaulding. Rob Zombie basically made a fun film that only seems to vibe with certain people and that’s ok. And the funny thing is, I wasn’t a Zombie fan before seeing this movie so there was no bias. In fact, I started listening to his music after seeing this awesome film.

The Devil’s Rejects (2005) devils-rejects

Despite technically being a sequel, The Devil’s Rejects stands on its own. This film is close to a masterpiece. It’s less cartoonish than House of 1000 corpses but with Otis, Capt. Spaulding and Baby it still keeps that fun element. But “Rejects” is also amazingly brutal. In the end, with this film Zombie showed just how great a filmmaker he can be.

Rosemary’s Baby (1968) large_zvjvnrks5eyxrvhppurovjnliml

 

It has two of my favorite subjects in horror (they occasionally go hand-in-hand)—witches and Satan! Rosemary’s Baby is a great slow-burning movie that builds up to one of the best conclusions in movie history.

Halloween (1978) halloween_1978_theatrical_poster

Halloween is a movie that fills me with intrigue. I mean, I just want to analyze the heck out of it. (and I already have a few times) Halloween is just one of the horror movies ever, undeniably so. Michael Myers masked face is forever engrained in my brain. It is a shame most of the sequels were terrible, though.

Martyrs (2008) martyrs_tp01

Martyrs is the kind of movie that chews you up then spits you out, it’s such a beautiful and compelling film. This movie knows pain and suffering, and it’s portrayed on the screen perfectly. Martyrs is almost perfect and simply unforgettable. This movie deserves way more recognition and respect than it gets.

Cannibal Holocaust (1980) cannibal_holocaust_movie

Cannibals are one of my favorite horror subjects…so how could I not like one of the greatest cannibal movies. This is a film that makes you think about humanity and it does it right (certainly better than say, Heart of Darkness.) “I wonder who the real cannibals are?”

Child’s Play (1988) childs-play

Basically, I just love Chucky. I wouldn’t say he’s scary, but he’s funny as hell. I collect dolls and I love the whole killer doll concept. I think it’s cool that Child’s Play took the theme to the next level by making a unique and awesome character like Chucky.

May (2002)  may_movie_poster

May functions as a great horror movie due to the shear weirdness of the title character. Watching her is enthralling. This is probably one of the best “character-driven” horror movies out there.  The ending is pretty controversial – in my opinion, I didn’t hate it but thought it was unnecessary.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) a_nightmare_on_elm_street_1984_theatrical_poster

Freddy is one of the greatest villains ever. He’s basically a manifestation of everything I like in a villain. Fun, charismatic, creative and sadistic. And Nancy sets the standard for what a scream queen should be like.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)texas-chainsaw

Now this movie means a lot to me. It has everything I love in a movie and more. I would plaster Leatherface’s image all over my house if I could. I’d say this is one of the movies that has inspired me the most.

The Human Centipede (2009) human-centipede

Many people give me funny looks for putting this on my list, but oh well. Despite its flaws I think The Human Centipede is pretty good movie. First of all, it does have a horrifically creative idea to work with. Second of all, Dr. Heiter is just plain awesome. The scene where the human centipede first awakens with Heiter standing over them is one of my favorite among other things. In the end, I feel Human Centipede just holds a special place in horror movie history.

Starry Eyes (2014)starry-eyes

This is one of my more recent favorite horror movies. Starry Eyes is a criminally underrated film. This is one of the best films I have seen in a long time. I guess it moves a little slow, but there’s plenty of tension built up to make up for that fact. It really is amazing how far some people will go to be famous…and Starry Eyes showcases that perfectly!

The Collector (2009) collector

A lot of people may think The Collector is typical torture porn, but I’d have to disagree. This movie is good torture porn as well as being one of the few great home invasion horror films (I hate most home invasion movies so this is saying a lot) The Collector knows how to hit the right buttons – the torture/gore scenes are great and I actually felt sorry for the protagonist (a rare thing in horror.)

The Exorcist (1973)the-exorcist-poster

Does The Exorcist really need explaining? I mean it’s one of the greatest horror films for a reason. Demonic possession is another of my favorite subjects in horror – I love seeing possessed people freaking out and going nuts…and this movie will forever be the one who did it best.

Carrie (1976) carrie-1976-movie-poster

Telekinetic powers aside…I think the scariest thing about Carrie is the savage bullying by her peers as well as the abuse by her mother. This shows just how terrible regular people can be. I think portraying that so well is why Carrie is such a great movie.

 

So that’s my list!

May 2016 Reading Wrap Up

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This reading month wasn’t all that great. As in I didn’t read as much as I wanted to because times have been busy. Let’s just say job searching has been a grueling and slightly depressing task. However, I did read some fun books.  My blog posts have been slow too, but I hope to fix that as well. Now without further ado, here’s what I read:

The Search for Wondla by Tony DiTerlizzi
wondla

“Wondla” is a thoroughly enjoyable book, and probably one of the best Sci-fi/Fantasy books I have ever read. Eva Nine, the main character, is impressively realistic. She’s not super powerful or majorly skilled but following her adventures was fun. The robot mom called “Muthr” is also probably one of the best mothers in fiction. A great read. 4.5/5

Rump: the True Story of Rumpelstiltskin
rump

 Rump is an impressive fairy tale retelling. It tells the story of a young Rumpelstiltskin and offers a far more sympathetic portrayal of the character. It’s a very good story, and one of the better done retellings. One issue I had: Rump’s friend Red (Yes, Red Riding Hood.) I didn’t like how she would hit him in anger. It almost bordered on abusive. But I suppose double standards haven’t quite been fixed just yet. 4/5

Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary
ramona

Re-Read. Ramona doesn’t really need an introduction. She’s a realistic and overall cute kid. Cleary’s books will always stand the test of time. 4/5

My Little Pony: Friends Forever Vol 1.
MLP

A collection of My Little Pony stories. The first one was kind of “meh.” but the others were very “d’awww.” A fun read. 4/5

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K Rowling
chamber of secrets

Re-Read. I’m re-reading my favorites in the Harry Potter series, and the first one I started with was “Chamber of Secrets” I’ve re-read it plenty of times, but not for awhile. It was just as fun this time around. 5/5

My Favorite Dean Koontz Books

dean koontz

Dean Koontz has always gotten a significant amount of hate. I never really understood why. I first read some of his books when I was younger and I loved them. I still do.

Koontz has come to my mind recently because I was talking to a friend who hates Koontz. He didn’t really give a substantial reason other than “he’s bad” and something about Christian imagery. So, I asked him exactly how many books he’s read and he said “one or two.” I shook my head, and suggested him some of my favorites to, possibly, change his opinion.

Keep my mind, I’m not saying that people who dislike Koontz have never read him. People have different taste, I know. The conversation with the friend, just got me thinking about Koontz and the hate he tends to receive!

Now, as for those favorites I mentioned, I’ll list them now.

The Voice of the Night

This book follows two boys, Colin and Roy, friends with very different personalities. Roy soon shows he has sociopathic tendencies and a fascination with death. Things get worse as Colin gets caught up in Roy’s twisted games. Voice of the Night is an engaging and disturbing read. I was thinking about this book months after reading it. Although the “moral” of the book might come on a little to blatantly, most of the novel is good from start to finish.

Intensity

A young woman named Chyna Shepard finds herself in the path of a murderous psychopath. That’s a pretty simplistic summary, I know. But the book is brilliant. The suspense and characterization are simply amazing. If I had to choose one Koontz book that had “literary” merit, or possible classic potential, then this would be my choice by far.

Life Expectancy

The main character, Jimmy, is predicted to have five terrible events happen in his life. When each happens his life gets closer and closer to a horrific fate. This book isn’t the best but it’s just fast-paced and fun. Not to mention all the twists and turns.  I honestly couldn’t stop reading shortly after I started. In other words, it may not be the best novel but it’s a fun and heart-racing read.

Velocity

A man keeps getting notes claiming that someone will be killed. And the murders begin to happen just as stated. This one has the same appeal of Life Expectancy. It’s fast-paced and has the good ol’ “can’t put down” affect. Like, Life Expectancy, it may not be the best book, but it’s an insanely good read.

The House of Thunder

Susan wakes up in the hospital with little memory of what happened to her. As it comes back to her, she begins to remember her fiancé’s murder. Hallucinations begin to consume her and soon the men responsible for her husband’s death are after her. Nostalgia has a lot to do with my liking of this book – it was the first Koontz book I ever read. Regardless, I still think it’s a good and thrilling novel.

…The above are my main favorites but I would also recommend: Midnight, Twilight Eyes, From the Corner of His Eye, Strange Highways.

 

April 2016 Reading Wrap Up

bumblebee0

 

April was a good reading month, I managed to read some really good books despite being super busy. I might have even found some new favorites!

The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey
curse of the wendigo
The second book in the Monstrumologist series. This wasn’t anywhere near as good as the first book. In fact, I was really disappointed. I guess Yancey was trying to develop the characters more, but to me it just seemed like the characters were whining and sulking around too much. There’s still some cool moments, though. 3/5

Macbeth by William Shakespeare
macbeth
A re-read for me. Still my favorite Shakespeare play! So much awesome craziness. 5/5

The Sound and The Fury by William Faulkner
sound and the fury

Liked some things about it, hated others. I did a review: https://mixedupsaydee.wordpress.com/2016/04/16/the-sound-and-the-fury-by-william-faulkner-book-review/   3/5

Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
dealing with dragons
A fun read overall.Although I think the “princess who hates being a princess and rejects everything associated with princess-ness” thing is getting a little old! 4/5

Possession by A.S Byatt

possession
A very masterfully crafted and complex book. I might do a full review later. The only flaw is the poetry (written by the author for her fictional poets) kind of sucked. 4.5/5

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

a streetcar named desire

I can see why everyone loves this play. It’s a very good read, one of the few plays you can read without needing it to be acted out. 5/5