Category Archives: Book Review

Our Top 10

It was a crazy year. There were times when each one of us thought we wouldn’t make the 50. There were times when we wanted to quit. But we all stuck it out and accomplished 50 books and 50 films each! Here are our top 10s:

Pete’s Top 10 Books:
1. Scott Pilgrim (Volumes 1-6) by Bryan Lee O’Malley
2. Cairo by Chris Womersley
3. Sin City series by Frank Miller
4. Extreme Brewing: An Enthusiast’s Guide to Brewing Craft Beer at Home by Sam Calagione
5. NOS-4R2 by Joe Hill
6. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
7. Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbott Abbott
8. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
9. Kick Ass series by Mark Millar & illustrated by John Romita, Jr.
10. Death And The Penguin by Andrey Kurkov

Pete’s Top 10 Films:
1. Only Lovers Left Alive
2. The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty
3. Oblivion
4. The World’s End
5. Jack Reacher
6. The Lego Movie
7. Wild Target
8. The Grand Budapest Hotel
9. Searching For Sugar Man
10. Moonrise Kingdom

Brigette’s Top 10 Books:
1. Girlfriend In A Coma by Douglas Coupland
2. The Age Of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
3. Sorta Like A Rock Star by Matthew Quick
4. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
5. The Longest Way Home: One Man’s Quest For The Courage To Settle Down by Andrew McCarthy
6. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
7. The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey
8. The Witch Of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
9. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
10. Your Voice In My Head by Emma Forrest

Brigette’s Top 10 Films:
1. Only Lovers Left Alive
2. The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty
3. Jack Reacher
4. Wild Target
5. The Lego Movie
6. Nancy Drew
7. Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy
8. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes
9. The Grand Budapest Hotel
10. Searching For Sugar Man

Morgan’s Top 10 Books:
1. The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall
2. The Listmaker by Robin Klein
3. Out Of The Woods by Lyn Gardner
4. The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright
5. The Prophet Of Yonwood by Jeanne DuPrau
6. Wednesdays In The Tower by Jessica Day George
7. Turtle In Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm
8. A Tangle Of Knots by Lisa Graff
9. Peter Nimble And His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier
10. The Railway Children by E. Nesbit

Morgan’s Top 10 Films:
1. The Lego Movie
2. The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty
3. Nancy Drew
4. Saving Mr. Banks
5. Maleficent
6. Ramona and Beezus
7. The Croods
8. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
9. The Addams Family
10. Muppets Most Wanted

Gable’s Top 10 Books:
1. The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop by Kate Saunders
2. Shouldn’t You Be In School? by Lemony Snicket
3. The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall
4. Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
5. The Slippery Slope by Lemony Snicket
6. Pippi In The South Seas by Astrid Lindgren
7. Spiderweb For Two: A Melendy Maze by Elizabeth Enright
8. The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket
9. Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography by Lemony Snicket
10. The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket

Gable’s Top 10 Films:
1. The Lego Movie
2. The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty
3. Back To The Future III
4. Night At The Museum 2: Battle Of The Smithsonian
5. Paris When It Sizzles
6. The Goonies
7. Elf
8. Ramona and Beezus
9. On A Clear Day You Can See Forever
10. Vertigo

This will be our last post. We have decided not to do another year of fiftyfifty.me. We’re all really glad we did it, but felt it left little time for other pursuits. We will, however, be keeping up our Facebook page where you can join in on our annual Oscar party and keep up with what we’re reading and watching.

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Morgan Reviews The Penderwicks

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

ThePenderwicks

This is a re-read for me but I still enjoyed it as much as I did the first time around. This book is a charming story of 4 modern-day sisters aged 4, 10, 11 and 12 who go to an estate called Arundel for the summer with their widowed father. There, they make friend’s with the owner’s son and have many an adventure. This book is a great summer read with plenty of action, humor, charm and wit. I now own this book and will probably wind-up re-reading it a thousand times over.

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Pete Reviews V For Vendetta

V for Vendetta by Alan Moore

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I’ve seen the Hollywood adaptation of this graphic novel. They are different versions of the same idea but the 24 years between the book and the film meant that the film was always going to that much more polished. I enjoyed the gritty nature of the book immensely and am now seeking out more of Alan Moore’s work. It raises many questions about freedom, identity, and politics. It is a must read for anyone who thinks that an individual has no influence on the government. I strongly suggest that you enjoy a Speakeasy Ales & Lagers’ Vendetta WCIPA whilst soaking in the culture of V. V’s shadow gallery is without a doubt the architectural highlight.

V-archi-SHADOW-GALLERY

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Morgan and Gable Review The Penultimate Peril

The Penultimate Peril by Lemony Snicket

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Morgan: This distressing penultimate book is probably the most confusing, upsetting, saddening and confusing book in the Series of Unfortunate Events. There is a most horrific, accidental death which I actually cried at, lots of action and mystery and an EXTREMELY disappointing ending in which you are unsure if the Baudelaire’s are noble volunteers or notorious villains. My favorite character would have to be either Dewey or Kit because they were both noble volunteers and kind human beings. This book is a great book for children or young adults who feel alone in the big, scary world or who have just entered it alone and confused. It was tough for me to read because I am almost a teenager and am a little scared of entering the world; alone or not. I would NOT suggest this book for a Christmas read as it the total opposite of merry and bright. In this case, I would take Mr. Snicket’s advice and skip reading this book. Instead, sit back and relax by your favorite pond with some quiche.

Gable: This book didn’t really answer all the questions I had about V.F.D. and the previous books in the series. It kept saying it would reveal all but it never did. It just answered questions I had never thought of asking and added more questions to the list of ones I wanted to find answers to. The book itself was the best of all the books mashed into one, which made it my favorite out of them all. It was tragic, funny, witty, exciting, scary, intense, and nostalgic, all in one. In other words, this book was horrible in some ways, but wonderful in others, just like the members of V.F.D.

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Gable Reviews Shouldn’t You Be In School?

Shouldn’t You Be In School? by Lemony Snicket

Shouldnt-You-Be-in-School-Lemony-Snicket

I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. It was a great way to finish up this year of reading. I will miss this challenge but I will also very much enjoy my big break. This book has something for everyone; it has romance, it has mystery, it has intensity, it has excitement, it has horror, it even has a bit of fantasy! It had me hooked from page one. It also has some really nice quotes and very poetic speeches. It’s a wonderful, meaningful, and exciting story for everyone to enjoy.

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Brigette Reviews Landline

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

landline

This was my #50 for fiftyfifty.me. I guess it was sort of appropriate because it takes place at Christmas. I was really looking forward to this book after really enjoying Rowell’s Attachments, but I have to say I was disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good book. I guess I got hung up (no pun intended) on not liking any of the characters. I also wanted more from the story. I wanted some big revelation that should have come from having a time traveling phone for goodness sakes! It just ended up being a sad look at a sad marriage between 2 sad people at Christmas. I think this is one of the rare occasions where a film adaptation might improve the story.

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Pete Reviews Kick Ass

Kick-Ass (The Complete Series: 3 volumes)
by Mark Millar & illustrated by John Romita, Jr.

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After watching the first two films I decided I was overdue to read the comic book series that it was based on. The series was not your typical comic book, despite being extreme in violence there was always an underlying humor or at least satire that made it entertaining as well as fascinating to read. I often found myself questioning myself and moral viewpoints long after putting the book down. That alone made it an extremely enjoyable read. The film, although slightly different, was honest enough to the book and I would recommend either to anyone who enjoys action and philosophy violently blended together.

Here are my recommended beer pairings for each volume.
Volume 1: Evans Ale’s Kick-Ass Brown
Volume 2: Beard Brewery’s Red Myst Irish Ale
Volume 3: Right Brain Brewery’s Naught Girl Mint Stout

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Gable Reviews Pippi In The South Seas

Pippi in The South Seas by Astrid Lindgren

pippi in the south seas

I am pretty sure this is the best book in the Pippi Longstocking trilogy. It had sad moments, happy moments, intense moments, and funny moments. It was the best of the first two books mashed together and a little bit better, in fact. I think everyone should be reading the Pippi Longstocking trilogy as soon as possible because they are just awesome books!

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Brigette Reviews The Witch Of Blackbird Pond

The Witch Of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

witch of blackbird pond

I never had the good fortune of being assigned this book in school, but I wonder if I would have liked it as much if I had. This is one of the best fictional history books I’ve read. I will admit that it is very light on the history part, but I think it is a great way to introduce children to the religions, politics and general history of the time period because it is wrapped in such a great story. But probably the thing I liked best about it was the message about acceptance of differences in people and their lifestyles. It is geared toward girls as the main character is a 16 year old girl. I think she is just as relatable to girls now days which makes it all the better. I was previewing this before letting the girls read it and now I’m sorry we didn’t read it together because I really want to talk to someone about it over some blueberry cornmeal cake!

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The Family Reviews Coraline

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

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Pete: Being written as a book for children I thought this was going to be enjoyable and easy to read. Unfortunately it was only the latter. I’m not sure why but I found the supernatural side of it not as intense as I normally would. It was rather predictable and could have been more interesting or terrifying than it was. I’m yet to see the film but would like to and I also plan to hunt down Gaiman’s “The Sandman” graphic novel. I’d suggest anything from Cellar Rats Brewery with this one.

Brigette: I found this book overly simplistic and reminiscent of many other classic novels such as Alice In Wonderland, The Wizard Of Oz and The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. I saw the film adaptation a few years ago and much preferred it to the book. The creepy factor is found mostly in the illustrations in some editions.

Morgan: At first, I thought this book was just going to take a while to get into but in the end, it was a bit of a disappointment. It was too simplistically written to the point where it was predictable. I will admit that it WAS a little creepy and weird at the end but I was still unsatisfied.

Gable: I was expecting this book to be super creepy because I watched the trailer for the film adaptation of it when I was younger and that was so scary I could not bring myself to watch the film itself. Surprisingly, the book was actually quite lame. I guess it would be super freaky for toddlers, but also an easy read. I think I was just far too old for it and it so all the fun and excitement it would have in store for younger readers was gone for me. The last few chapters were quite scary and intense but not as much as I was expecting from it. I would now really like to watch the film and see how scary it was compared to the book.

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