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Best of 2012


Before I get into the "purpose" of this post, I'd just like to give a shout-out to all of you for your support and wonderful, encouraging comments throughout the year. I read and appreciate every single one. And thank you to those of you who have recently followed: Without blogs of your own, I am unable to return the favor and express appreciation, so thanks! Right now, I'm having way too much fun creating a new header - hopefully it'll be up in the next week.
Life passes us by at an alarming rate. It seems impossible to think we are ready to bid another year farewell and yet, here it is, already time for the clock to strike midnight. Whether or not we are ready is another matter entirely. Before we break out the sparkling cider and tune the TV to the Times Square ball drop, I decided to join the meme and share faves from 2012.  

Reflection is what most comes to mind at the end of every year. Remembering our sorrows and happiness, the friends we’ve made, important milestones with family, goals met and forgotten, joys, triumphs and tragedies but since we live that every single day, I’m taking a lighter approach to discuss favorite entertainment, and listing what made my “best of” titles from twenty-twelve but instead of writing something new about each title, I’ve included a quote from the review. Where everyone else was counting down to see The Hobbit, I was more easily appeased. (I know my list may be a bit... pathetic in comparison to everyone else's. What can I say?) Before the countdown, take a peek at what topped my list. Enjoy!

 
Books:
Glamorous Illusions by Lisa T. Bergren:
Everything is richly woven into a world in which the exquisite beauty of overseas travel is easily imagined. Cora’s fight against her own temptations is genuine – plus believable (who wouldn’t get comfortable in such a world?) and well-written; who among us wouldn’t be drawn into a world that was both decedent and materialistically satisfying?
The Selection by Kiera Cass: Cass’ writing is rich in romantics and a love triangle that shouldn’t be such a dilemma. Like HG, this one involves a boy from home vs. the wealthy prince who could give her everything… but cannot buy her love. This one doesn’t use a battle of the heart so much as develop an endearing friendship between America and Maxon. Her internal struggle is not new but it seemed genuine given the material. Here we have a teenager who feels pressured by her mother into accepting something she doesn’t want. She had a choice to make: To do right by her family and pursue her own dreams while still honoring her parents or put on hold everything she knows to give wings to her mother’s dream.
 
Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble:
Anyone looking for a romance novel may want to look elsewhere since the focus is on finding Nicole and though there is some romantic notions and hand-holding, the story has little time to expand on it. The hero, Alec Bourne (how appropriate!) is a Coast Guard Captain and is quite unforgettable. He is a true gentleman whose one desire becomes protecting Libby. He is all the more noble to readers because of his missions to rescue people – it sort of ups the likability of him and paints him as an all-American guy easy to root for.
 
When a Heart Stops by Lynette Eason:
 If you are a fan of any crime procedural like NCIS or Blue Bloods, or the talents of Dee Henderson, you will enjoy this pulse-pounding intrigue – it’s one prose not to be missed! Trust me.
 
The Trouble with Cowboys by Denise Hunter:
Throughout the novel, I was loyal to Annie’s assumption that Dylan was a rogue and as such, he wasn’t a man she should trust her heart with. I didn’t respect that he flirted his way through Saturday nights out on the town while at the local restaurant – cover for a broken heart or no, it made no difference to me. That being said, I don’t doubt for a second that he fell hard and head-over-heels for the no-nonsense Annie. Their relationship was sweet and there was something about it that is often lacking from counterpart Christian novels.
 
Right Where I Belong by Krista McGee:
 Getting right the 'art' of young adult fiction is no small task in today’s culture. Teens are accustomed to “hardcore” entertainment and are hard to please with anything less. That shouldn’t be the 'standard' but the exception and we should begin to look more closely at authors like Krista Mcgee for that change.
 
Submerged by Dani Pettrey:
 It has been eons since I read a suspense novel, whether it be Christian or mainstream. There are plenty sitting on my bookshelf awaiting their pages to be cracked but I’ve usually opted for lighter reading. Twenty-twelve has been a phenomenal year for debut authors and no surprise, Dani Pettrey’s is another example of that following what has become an inclination towards fresh new voices in the world of Christian fiction. 
 
The Director’s Cut by Janice Thompson:
So much about The Director’s Cut is perfectly adorable. I loved meeting DJ’s sister (from “Weddings by Bella”) who is not only a wonderful young lady with a heart of gold but also a fantastic character with an infectious personality that makes it impossible to dislike her. Her presence just makes you smile as a reader and though she may be a supporting character (hopefully, we will get to know her better someday) in the lives of Tia and Jason, she is unforgettable.
 
Queen of the Waves by Janice Thompson:
Goodness, gracious but I loved this novel. It was a typical Janice Thompson story – the sort of carefully, crafted signature writing we’ve come to expect from her, and yet every nuance was different, capturing an era that was refined. Gone were hilarious antics and crazy relatives and in its place was a well-crafted, beautiful story that invited us again into the gilded age of beautiful gowns, grand ballrooms and dizzying romances.
 
My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade:
The pacing is fabulous. I loved what Wade did within these pages – and by that, the characters. For once, I was delighted that an author took care with the budding romance. Although Kate is immediately attracted to Matt, there is no “love at first sight,” instead the characters grow individually and together as friends – nothing more. Their friendship was solid long before they saw themselves as romantic counterparts.  

 
Baroness by Susan May Warren:
 Despite its seeming sullenness and eventual depressing premise all-around, I fell completely, head-over-heels in love with Warren’s debut novel in this series, Heiress. It reminded me of the ITV series Downton Abbey in ways that I cannot explain but was also a dark, brooding sort of “fairy-tale” that, irrespective of its tragic circumstances was still (somehow) charming. 
 
...still wanting to read from 2012:
 
Film:
The Avengers: Would it be okay if I gush about this movie? Yes? Good because I am going to: This movie was awesome. And epic. And heroic… and awesome! Despite being the only one in my family who really likes superhero flicks, I had this one on my radar from the beginning because this seemed a must-see on the big-screen. Turns out, I was right.

Batteship: To say I was impressed by this stylish (albeit sometimes “silly”) sci-fi adventure would be an honest confession. Battleship is one of those movies you expect next to nothing but a good time from and walk away with a great deal more. The special effects were impressive as was the acting. Each time there was a grand battle sequence, I was constantly impressed by its “believability” and there was nary a trace of a green screen like so many in this genre often display. Everything is epic and comes across as a tribute to the men and women who put their lives on the line in the armed forces – one moment even gave me goosebumps due to its “powerful” representation of American pride.

Brave: I can still remember the first time I saw the trailer spot for this on the HD glory of the big-screen. It wasn’t all that informative of a promo spot but intrigued enough to plan on seeing the film once it was out to DVD. Impressions of animated movies usually don’t inspire me to nab them on DVD or to recommend them just because they are so far out of the genres I prefer nowadays but I cannot help but enjoy the vision filmmakers – and the creativity that came from that, had for this new Disney princess.
Mirror Mirror: Perhaps I have a mistaken view of fairy-tale life or maybe I am just easy to please but if I had pick out something to be my ideal, Mirror Mirror would define it. Everything about this movie really sparkles - provided the viewer knows what the context of the film is going to be. Lily is sweet as sugar, charming and lovely in the role.
October Baby: Unlike most Hollywood productions, this movie has meaning and purpose. The characters are likable though beautifully flawed and yet, not everything is tied up prettily at the end. Of course, the script does work through everything, never forgetting to address all the important things, and though it leaves you with a smile, it doesn’t mean that all of the sudden everyone’s problems are erased.
Taken 2: Writing a sequel to something that did well in theaters can be something that conforms to its “parent” title because most the time, writer’s fall into a trap of essentially writing a different scenario of the first film. Legitimately that can be said about this fast-paced follow-up. I cannot speak for how everyone will react to its plot but I know for me – and my cousin, this movie was equally as dynamic as the first, and I am even tempted to say, I may have liked it a smidgeon more than its predecessor. Maybe.

The Vow: How refreshing is it to come across a movie in which marriage is uplifted, and not degraded – at least from one spouse’s perspective. Some may argue that ultimately where the couple ends up proves that their vows meant nothing but I must respectfully disagree… but then, I am getting ahead of myself…

Television:
Christmas with Holly: Instead of rambling and boring you all with not-so-clever use of adjectives, I’ll simply get this out of the way: I loved this movie. Based off of Lisa Kleypas’ best-selling novel, Hallmark Hall of Fame did a superb job with this film.

…Have you ever seen a movie that enchanted you for unexplained reasons? That is the case with this charmer. It kept me in stitches the entire two hours and nearly brought me to tears in an instance. 
Elementary: If ever there was a show that created so much buzz in my small circle, it was Elementary. There was a lot of chatter about it on my Twitter timeline and most (critic) reviews actually gave it a decent rating. It wasn’t hard to see why. …perhaps not up to the same quality as its British counterpart, Sherlock, this was an entertaining procedural that does deserve observance. Elementary gives us a new Sherlock and yet, he is the same in so many ways. 
Nashville: If you suspected or expected this to be nothing but a music industry tug-of-war and rivalry between a fictional Martina McBride and Taylor Swift, you’d be very much mistaken. There is a lot going on in just episode one – from politics to horrible secrets – and yet, through it all, everything is set up nicely.

The Paradise: Opening, the series has promise. I was swept into Denise’s world (what a pretty, enchanting one it is!) and appreciated her sweet innocence, a rarity in entertainment today… but it isn’t until three installments in that things become, actually brilliant.

Titanic: Let me just get this out of the way right away: I actually loved this series. (My apologies to everyone who detested it – I know you are probably gasping with shock right now but… what can I say?) Although not surprised, it still made me sad to know that so many people didn’t find this worthy of its programming time. Perhaps I should preference this with the fact that I am looking at it strictly from a cinematic point-of-view, not historical. 
 
What topped your “best of” lists this year? Have a thought? Share below!
  
Wishing you a happy and healthy new year. Happy New Year 2013!
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Rissi
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36 comments:

  1. Happy New Year, Rissi!!

    I'm so glad to have you as a friend! I look forward to spending another year (and hopefully many more to come) gushing over our favorite shows, movies, and books. :-)

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    1. Same to you, Rosie! That feeling is mutual - I love our chats. (Missed you on Twitter lately. :D) Is there a better way to chat about books and/or movies? They must be gushed over. ;D Looking forward to 2013!

      Happy New Year - my night includes movies and some yummy finger food that my mother always makes. It's a tradition around here; what about you?

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  2. Great year in review Rissi! I haven't read any of the books on your list (though I have heard of The Selection in passing), they sound very interesting, will have to check out some of them ;)

    Happy New Year to you too Rissi! I've had a wonderful year chatting with you about books and movies and Femnista and I look forward to more of our chats in the coming year =) *hugs*

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    1. Thanks so much, Lianne!

      Ironically, I think we have different tastes in reading but that's okay - I've seen some really interesting ones on your blog and now need to make a list so I can remember to look them up! 'Selection' is breathtaking! Rachel (from Femnista) took away a lot of the story of Esther when reading it. I didn't get that at the time but that's a reasonable comparison.

      Looking forward to see what 2013 brings for the webzine - and more great conversation. :) *hugs*

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  3. Happy New Year, Rissi!!!! I haven't commented or posted in a while, I know, but I am working on a couple of New Year posts myself... Should be up soon... :)

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    1. Same to you, Tory - and you've been missed. Will look forward to those new posts. Happy 2013.

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  4. Rissi,

    I'm so honored to be included on your list. Thrilled you enjoyed Submerged so much, and thrilled to be listed among such talented authors! Thank you. I also LOVED My Stubborn Heart, The Avengers, Brave and Christmas with Holly (really, really loved this one--didn't realize it was a book. I'll definitely be picking up that one :) Happy New Year!

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    1. Thank you for writing such a wonderful novel, Dani. I loved the McKenna's and am excited to be a part of the book tour for 'Shattered.'

      'Stubborn Heart' was another favorite - so many debut authors were fabulous this year. Makes me excited for 2013.

      Loved Brave and 'Avengers,' and wasn't 'Holly' just priceless!? It was my most favorite Christmas flick from 2012. And, the book is sweet also - it's different in subtle ways but equally affecting. Enjoy if you read it!

      Thanks SO much for the follow. :)

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  5. Happy New Year! I love your blog and this post!! I have a Best of 2012 post on my blog if you would like to look at it:) The link is http://luv2sing-mypre-teenjourney.blogspot.com/! Thanks!God Bless and again I really enjoyed this post!

    Ashley

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    1. Why hello, Ashley - how nice to see you over here again. Thank you for reading this - and the link. I will most definitely check out your "best of." :)

      Happy New Year to you and your family!

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  6. Fun post! :) I really enjoyed Glamorous Illusions and The Trouble With Cowboys, too; I'm currently reading The Selection; and I'm excited to read Heiress sometime, which has been sitting on my TBR stack for a super long time now! And Mirror, Mirror is a cute movie. :)

    Happy New Year, Rissi, and many blessings!

    ~Amber

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    1. Thank you, Amber! Yours was grand also.

      'Illusions' had to be (hands down) one of my very faves this year whereas 'Cowboys' was a delightful piece of fluff. Girl, you must read 'Heiress' - I'll love to know what you think of that. (Cannot wait to get your verdict on 'Selection' either.) Oh, and Mirror Mirror? Loved it!

      Happy 2013 to you and your family, Amber!

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  7. I reallllllllllllly must try Elementary. Great list!

    I loved October Baby too.

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    1. Just watched the pilot ep., Juju but I loved Elementary and have read quite a bit about it since. It sounds like the pace is still being met. Yay! Cannot wait to watch more - let me know what you think of it. :)

      I rarely cry in books or movies but October Baby? It brought tears to my eyes. It's one special flick.

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  8. Rissi, your friendship has blessed me this year, and your reviews are so very insightful. Thanks to you, I will have to pick up "Glamorous Illusions" and "The Selection"! Love how you spotlighted a portion of your reviews for each book and movie. Praying 2013 is a great year and full of blessing for you!

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    1. Thank you, Gwendolyn! I've very much enjoyed reading your blog and getting a glimpse of your reading preferences (and that WIP :D). Thanks for being a faithful reader. Your comments have been very insightful and a great encouragement - you're always welcome around here.

      Putting this together was fun - usually, I write something new in the snippet portion but I thought, "why!?" So I didn't.

      Same to you - here's wishing a wonderful 2013 to you and your family. Looking forward to it!

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  9. Happy New Year! It was SO hard for me not to include Glamorous Illusions in my bookish top ten...oh well, having TOO many good books to choose from is a great problem, I guess. LOL! ;)

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    1. Happy New Year, Ruth! SO looking forward to it.

      LOL! There was NO way 'Illusions' wasn't making it on my list - it was ONE of my VERY faves. But I know just what you mean: Picking those is hard! Happy you stopped in. :)

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  10. What a beautifully and artfully crafted "Best Of" list, Rissi! The time you took with the post is more than evident.

    I'm delighted to see that you mentioned My Stubborn Heart as one of your favorite books of the year. Wow! Thank you so much.

    I'm a fan of Lisa Kleypas's novels and kept meaning to set my DVR to tape Christmas With Holly. I was so frantically busy before Christmas that I forgot. Shoot! Must hunt around to see if I can download it or catch it as a re-run.

    Warmly, Becky

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    1. Hello, Becky! Thank YOU so much for taking the time to stop in and read my "best of" list - I appreciate it.

      The follow-up novel you have releasing is also one of my most anticipated of 2013 - cannot wait to see what you did with this story because 'Stubborn Heart' ranks (by far) as one of my favorite rom-com novels. It's lovely.

      Really!? You like Lisa's writing? That's great to know since I've been thinking about reading more of her 'Harbor' novels. 'Holly' was such a precious movie, so I hope you can see it sometime. :)

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  11. Oh, the Selection. I read that but a few months ago and although I adored it, I had forgotten of its existence until this past week. I need to check for any updates regarding the sequel.

    Elementary. I have been informed that it is basically an American attempt at BBC's Sherlock. I don't want to watch it and my opinion is summed up in the Pinterest photo with the shows photo and the Title Not Sherlock with the actors listed as Not Martin Freeman and Not Benedict Cumberbatch.

    Mirror Mirror. I watched this the past month. I need something light and humorous and this fit the bill. It was so ridiculous, but cute and funny.

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    1. It's unusual that I re-read something just because I have so many books that are still "new" to be read but I think 'Selection' would be one I'd love to read again. It's a charming but unique fairy-tale - in a dark kind of way. The sequel releases this spring and the cover art is STUNNING if you've not see it yet, Livia.

      Ha-ha! You are NOT alone. So many viewers refuse to give 'Elementary' a chance because it's not Benedict or Martin or British. If it kept to the pace of the pilot, I'm going to LOVE it. It was unique enough to be a "fresh" spin and yet there was still "Sherlock" in it. :)

      Wasn't Mirror Mirror darling!? I really must watch it again. Soon. :)

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  12. This year was a good year for movies,books,music,etc..
    I hope you have a wonderufl New Year!

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    1. Yes, indeed it was, Ella! What were some of your faves?

      Hope you have a wonderful 2013! Happy New Year! :)

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  13. Fun! I love Mirror Mirror, and Elementary! :)

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    1. As did I, Micah. Hope Elementary is still keeping pace. Loved the pilot. :)

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  14. Submerged was so great! I plan on starting Baroness in the next week and I'm really excited. Everything by Susan May Warren makes me giddy. Great list! Thanks for sharing and Happy New Year :)

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    1. I absolutely LOVED 'Submerged,' Lydia. If you've visited here any, that was quite evident. :) So looking forward to book two. Isn't Susan fabulous!? Her work is still to this day some of my most anticipated. Cannot wait for 'Duchess' and her revival series set in Deep Haven. :)

      Thank you so much for dropping by, Lydia. Love the "book talk." :)

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  15. Happy New Year to you to Rissi! What a great list you've composed. I've enjoyed reading your reviews last year, they've given me many great ideas for watching and reading.

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    1. Happy 2013, Birdienl! Cannot believe 2012 is over and done with. Gosh! It always sneaks up on me. :D

      Thanks so much for reading this blog - your comments mean a lot. :)

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  16. For movies my favorites are The Hobbit,The Avengers,and War Horse.
    For Books defiently All of The Tales of GoldstoneWood.
    Have a great week!!!!

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    1. Loved 'Avengers,' Ella though I didn't get around to seeing the other two you mention. Not a big Tolkien fan nor am I too keen on seeing War Horse but my cousin LOVED the movie. So glad you did also. :)

      Hmm... I've not heard of the book series you mention, but it's always great to find new "classics."

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  17. you have such a beautiful blog! Happy 2013!

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    1. Why, thank you so much, B.J. :) I appreciate you reading and stopping in - visit again anytime. :)

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  18. I absolutely adored Mirror, Mirror it was such a cute movie! I love fairytale re-tellings.
    I am addicted to Elementary! <3

    Happy New Year. :D

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    1. As did I, Renu! Call it my fondness for basically anything in the fairy-tale genre.

      So happy to know you still like Elementary also! Looking forward to chatting about it once I see the entire season. :)

      Happy 2013 to you also - and so glad you dropped in. :)

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