Happy New Year-The Best of 2012!

One of my fellow contributors sent me a picture a couple weeks ago, buy when I asked my contributors to write a Best Of list for me before the end of the year…this is what he sent me:

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And to that I say…what TERRIBLE spelling (who doesn’t know how to spell coming?) and also, HA!

I mean, I’m known for some lists of greatness, how could I not do a best of 2012 list?

Here’s the difference between most other lists though. This list is my own personal opinion. This is MY best of the year. There are going to be a lot of awesome things from this year that aren’t on this list…because, again, its my personal list. You can all argue with it as much as you like. Look at the top of this page, what does it say up there?

It says WhataNerdGirlSays..and that’s me, which equals MY opinion.

There have some seriously awesome things that came out of 2012: movies, books, shows, and on and on. I feel like I should call 2012 the Year of the Geek…if only because thats what it was for me.

Before this year I was geeky and nerdy for sure, but since 2012 was basically the year I discovered the Los Angeles Dumbledore’s Army, I’ve gotten even better since then. I discovered TV shows like Doctor Who, The Vampire Diaries, Firefly. I’ve started reading comic books and other authors I hadn’t read before. And on and on and on. This year was definitely a nerd year for me.

So to count off some of my FAVORITE things about this year:

Best YA Book of 2012-The Diviners

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Now, most people probably are not goign to agree with this. They’re going to say that The Fault in our Stars as the best young adult book of the year. Well, hold your horses because it’s below. I personally believe that The Diviners by Libba Bray was one of the best young adult novels released this year. A lot of the books that were released this year in the realm of YA were second books, third books, fourth books, etc in series already out there. Cassandra Clare put out a book, and so on. And while I like Cassandra Clare, City of Lost Souls didn’t impress me as much as the first installment of Libba Bray’s new series. Her character is fresh and fun, the story captivating and it reminds us that there still are truly fantastic authors out there. Its been awhile since I could pick up a paranormal YA novel, and I actually enjoy it and feel that it is original and Libba Bray did just that with The Diviners.

Best Ending to a Book Series 2012- The Crimson Crown

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Cinda Williams Chima is a breath of fresh air in the world of young adult fantasy literature. I know that I picked up the first three installments of her Seven Realms series the week that the Crimson Crown, the final book, hit book stores but it definitely wins as the best ending to a book series, hands down. Chima writes real, pure, GOOD fantasy. There’s no love triangle or fluff to fill these novels. It’s all just plain good, the politics and the fantasy and the emotions and all of that. Queen Raisa is dealing with so many things: a corrupted military, several border countries biting at her ankles, poverty, and so on and she works her ass off to fix all of it, with a band of amazing and well developed characters. Han Alister is still trying to escape his thief king past, and come to terms with being a wizard, and try to prove his worthiness of marrying the queen. I’ll be pushing Chima for years; its been so long since I read a fantasy that swept me up and made me fall in love as hard as this book series did.

Best Movie of 2012-The Hobbit

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Despite lackluster reviews of one of the most anticipated movies of the year, it has become my favorite movie of the year. This movie was not made for the critics, that much is for sure, if anyone of you has read even one review of the movie. It’s too long, and it doesn’t make sense and all that sort of criticism. But this movie was definitely made for the fans, because it tells more of the story than just the story of Bilbo Baggins and for fans that know these stories, it was awesome. Peter Jackson pulled off an amazing display of cinematography and there was such an all star cast with some fantastic performances (I’m looking at you, Martin Freeman). The movie built up enough suspense to make me super excited to see The Desolation of Smaug next December. Definitely, definitely was made for the fans and it was very enjoyable for the fans.

Best Movie of 2012 Part Two-The Avengers

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I remember when I heard that Disney had bought out Marvel…I didn’t think this was going to go off so well. This was around the time that the seriously horrible Spiderman 3 had come out and I was already feeling kind of bummed out when it came to Marvel. Obviously it didn’t hurt too much. The Ironman movies have been great, and the Captain America and Thor movies have been fairly enjoyable. Then Marvel/Disney hit us with the whopper this year: The Avengers. First off, could they get a more attractive group of people to put in a movie? I mean, seriously between Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Cobie Smulders, Scarlett Johanssen. There are so many hot people in that movie. But it was more than that (I swear, it is!). With Joss Whedon at the helm, it had a nice blend of action and drama and humor, with that sarcastic wit that Joss is so damn good at. Even if you weren’t really a superhero fan before this movie, I guarantee that you are now.

Best Animated Movie of 2012: The Secret World of Arrietty

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I love Hayao Miyazaki. The guy rocks, and I don’t think he’s put out a movie that I don’t enjoy. Paired with the fact that the Borrowers was one of my favorite books when I was a child and I absolutely adored this movie. I mean, sure there was also the fact that Brave was okay, but not fantastic Pixar caliber and none of the other animated movies of the year really jumped out at me. The Secret World of Arrietty had all the charms of a Miyazaki movie and still held on to the beauty of the book. I only own three Miyazaki movies at home: Ponyo, Howl’s Moving Castle…and Arrietty. That shows my attachment to this movie; I LOVED it. The movie has that kind of wholesomeness to it, paired with humor that so many of kids movies lack. And the art of a Miyazaki always brings a smile to my face…because I can spot it from a mile away.

Best Adult Book of 2012-The Casual Vacancy

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How is it even remotely possible that after writing seven amazing, unforgettable novels and creating a world beyond any of us, J.K. Rowling could write another amazing novel. Set in a small town in Britain, and spinning a political web, the Casual Vacancy is not what some people would expect from our dear queen. But her writing, no matter what it is that she’s writing, is always fantastic. J.K. Rowling tells a story with such ease and grace. This book doesn’t grab you as fast as the Harry Potter books do and there’s about a thousand characters to keep track of, but when you’ve finally figured out who belongs to who and you start to get the gist of what is going on, you just can’t put it down. Its near impossible. In Harry Potter, you’re dying to know what happens next but in the Casual Vacancy, you’re just dying to figure out what the hell is going on.

Best Children’s Book of 2012-Wonder

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Have you read Wonder by R.J. Palacio yet? If you haven’t, you are severely missing out. Yes, it is meant for children, probably about the middle grade age group but when has that ever stopped us from reading children’s books? I still enjoy reading Percy Jackson and the Heroes of Olympus series and those are shelved in the children’s section. I love reading The Giver and all those sorts of books. Wonder is a book that should be counted amongst the best of the best in children’s novels. As a debut novel, I am amazed at Palacio’s ability to captivate her audience, whether its a child or an adult. The story of Auggie, a kid with severe face deformities, who goes to middle school for the first time after a life of home schooling is sweet, funny, sad and uplifting. If there is a child out there that hasn’t had the chance to pick up this book, then they definitely should…and I feel the same no matter what age you are. Its an amazing book, and its beautifully written and if it doesn’t win the Caldecott this year, then…well then the people who vote for the Caldecott obviously missed what a great book this is.

Best Video Game of 2012-LittleBigPlanet Karting

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Obviously I am not a gamer. I enjoy the occasional video game, and I have a great liking to watching my boyfriend play them (especially when he plays the Uncharted games…god they’re like a movie!) but I’m not very good at them. It’ll take me several times to beat a certain level and sometimes I have to play a video game on “easy” mode to even think about coming close to beating it. But that’s exactly why I LOVE the LittleBigPlanet games. They are super fun to play, they have enough difficulty to not be a stupid little kid’s game but they’re easy enough that I’m not struggling. They’re so much FUN and Sackboy is badass, though extremely hard to play in the Playstation All Stars battle game. But LittleBigPlanet karting…it’s not something new, not in the slightest. It is very reminiscent of the most popular racing games, Mario Kart, but it has the fantastic LittleBigPlanet twist to it. The weapons are more fun, and when they’re used, the reactions are more over the top and enjoyable. The tracks are silly…I mean, come on, who doesn’t want to dodge cupcakes while racing? All in all, it was the game I most enjoyed playing this year. 

Best Event of 2012: Harry Potter Skate Night

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Now, you guys have heard of LADA, the Los Angeles Dumbledore’s Army, the group that literally changed my life in the last year. They have given me so much more than I had before, and I’ve done a million fun things with them that I cannot begin to remember them all. But one of the highlights of my year with them was our first epic giant event, Harry Potter Skate Night. We had over 600 people show up and the place was packed. Everyone there was dressed in various Harry Potter wear, from shirts to school robes to full on costumes…there was even a little girl dressed as Dobby. There was a mix of contemporary music and Harry Potter music playing, there was butterbeer to drink, and different handmade Potter fare to buy. I cannot WAIT until we have our second one in April, to bring back the most epic event in Harry Potter nerd history. The first one was awesome in its own right, and we seriously rocked it and had a fantastic time. Just think how much more fun its going to be when we do it again this year.

Best New TV Show of 2012: Once Upon a Time

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I adore Once Upon a Time. Now technically this show began in 2011, but majority of the first season was in 2012, along with the season finale and the beginning of second season. The point is, I consider it a 2012 show and what an awesome, awesome show it is. It has become one of my favorite shows and I cannot bear to miss an episode. I’ve always liked Disney princesses and fairy tale stories, especially alternative ones. One of my favorite books is Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory McGuire. I love the idea of fairy tales being told differently…like Snow White and Cinderella both getting pregnant with their prince charmings…so risque! Or Snow White being able to wield a weapon pretty well and the Evil Queen has way more to her than you would think. What about Rumplestiltskin’s love for his son or Red Riding Hood’s struggle with being the wolf herself? Its awesome and the creators of Once Upon a Time get me to watch every single week. I am so glad that this show has lasted as long as it has and that it continues to last :)

Best Discovery of 2012: Doctor Who

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February. 2012. This girl finally sits down, boots up her Netflix and sits down to watch six seasons of Doctor Who. And she was never so glad in her entire life to do so. I watched all six seasons of Doctor Who in about a month, maybe less. This is also with school and Valentine’s Day, and my anniversary and my birthday going on. I’d like to say that’s pretty impressive. Now, ask anyone who knows me now what’s one of my favorite things and they will definitely say Doctor Who. I cannot understand how anyone could watch even one or two episodes of the show and not completely fall in love. All of the Docotrs-9, 10 and 11-are all awesome and have their own individual charm and all the companions-Rose, Martha, Donna, Amy, Rory and now, Clara-are all so kickass. I cannot believe it took me as long as it did to discover this amazing, amazing show. I’ve only been a fan for about a year but already I cannot imagine what my life would be without Doctor Who. And the best part? My boyfriend came along right besides me, and that doesn’t happen…and I loved it.

Best Boy of 2012: Mike Trout

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All right, I admit it, Mike Trout literally has nothing to do with being a nerd whatsoever. Like…he’s a baseball player and doesn’t fit in with my blog at all…except for one thing: I’m a fangirl and a fangirl means obsession. I’m obsessed with Harry Potter and Doctor Who and Star Wars and Lord of the RIngs and all that fun stuff….and I’m obsessed with my Los Angeles Angels. And along with that comes my obsession with Mike Trout. Now, if you have even the smallest bit of interest in baseball, I’m sure you’ve heard of Mike Trout. The guy was amazing this year. As a rookie, and being only 20/21 years old, the guy broke a ton of records, made the All Star Game, became the AL Rookie of the Year and caused some serious debate for the AL MVP. And come on, he’s hot. He’s super hot. Like…girls who didn’t even like baseball before are starting to watch baseball because he is so hot. But straight up, he rocked this year in baseball and reminded me again why I love the sport so much. I’m counting down the days until baseball returns.  

Best Girl of 2012: Karen Gillan

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Karen Gillan is my girl…she was my biggest girl crush of the year. She’s had the longest run on Doctor Who as a companion as Amy Pond and she’s one of my absolute favorites, besides Rose and Donna. (God I don’t like Martha…ugh). I loved Rose because she was the Doctor’s love and I liked Donna because she was the 10th Doctor’s best mate. But I love Amy because she’s the Doctor’s best friend but she has her own love story in the form of Rory Williams. She was sarcastic and fun and she was able to keep the Doctor in line and safe, but she never fell in love with the Doctor the way that Martha did. She had her own adventures, and while no one can compare with the Doctor, she kept up with him. I have a thing for redheads too. She’s so pretty and her Scottish accent is adorable and I love her in Doctor Who, and she parted ways with the show with grace and much, much fan girl tears. I will so definitely miss her as the companion, her and Rory.

Best of 2012 Period: The Fault in Our Stars

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I have read a lot of books this year. No I cannot tell you how many that I have read because I have never kept track…until now. I started a list on November 1st to see how many books I really do read in a year. (So far, I’m up to about 30…not bad for two months). But one of the books that I’ve read a few times this year, that I cannot forget no matter how many books I’ve read since then,  John Green’s latest masterpiece, The Fault in Our Stars. John Green has a way of penning the voice of an adolescent and making it feel so real, no matter what the situation is. I have always believed in the authencity of his characters, even when he’s writing as a teenage girl, Hazel, with cancer when he’s a healthy thirty-something year old man. He is able to tell a story in ways that you don’t see a lot of authors doing. He grabs the audience by being contemporary and funny, and using language that adolescents use already but he creates such a universal story that can be hilarious or uplifting or heartbreaking and sometimes you forget that you’re here and not in his book. This book is one of the best books, not just of this year, but of all time. Its not often that you pick up a book like that.

So the year is basically over, and for some of you (I’m looking at you Eastern Hemisphere), the new year has already come. The best part of it is this: 2012 was great, full of great books and movies and TV shows, great times with my friends and my boyfriend and my family. But now we have 2013 and there are so many more things to come. I’m going to San Francisco next week, I have Anime Expo, Gallifrey One, WonderCon and Comikaze to look forward to. Clockwork Princess is coming out, and the City of Bones and Sea of Monsters movies are coming. So much more to look forward to and so much in the past that was awesome. Its a good time to be a nerd.

Happy New Year everyone, be safe, be happy, be nerdy :)

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E3: My Favorites

Its that time of year guys. Summer. The time of the big cons, find the ones I always live for and love: E3 and San Diego Comic Con. This is when my full nerd comes out; when all the announcements for new games, books, movies, etc. come out and giving me nerdgasm after nerdgasm. With E3 basically wrapped up (and of course, I didn’t go. You have to be so-and-so’s second cousin twice removed to get into that guy haha), I’ve compiled a short list of what excited me the most, what I’m looking forward to the most.

Disclaimer: This is a list of things that I personally am excited for. This is in no way the best of the best of E3. You’ll notice that I’ve left out the new Halo stuff, the previews of Black Ops 3, and virtually nothing to do with Nintendo. I’m not a hardcore gamer, nor do I ever claim to be one. There are video games out there that I enjoy playing and I get excited for but I’m not an authority or an expert at all. So don’t judge me on the silly video games that I’m looking forward to.

All right, nerd rant over. Sorry. Whew.

Moving on to the seven things that caught my eye at this year’s E3.

7. Lego Lord of the Rings

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I know, I know, I know, another Lego game. Lego just seems to churn them out the way Danielle Steel churns out terrible cheesy romance novels. In the beginning, the Lego games were awesome, unique and fun. As they’ve released more and more (Indiana Jones, Batman, Harry Potter, etc), they haven’t been as fantastic as they were in the beginning. However, they are extremely fun…especially for kids and for those, like me, who aren’t the best at video games. (Hey, I love video games, but it takes me AGES to beat one and play one, I just suck haha). So the Lord of the Rings Lego game actually looks pretty awesome. The developers explain that they built the entire Middle Earth world to play the entire saga and instead of going from level to level, you actually walk the land. Sort of like a little kid RPG. And to make it even better, instead of having those ridiculous ‘voices’, they actually speak. Which means, yes, yes, indeed we will be able to see a Lego Gandalf say “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” Fantastic.

6. Wonderbook

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Now don’t get me wrong. I love to read. I love books and I love the SMELL of books. And for the most part, I’ve been pretty happy with the Kindle. As a person, who reads super fast, the Kindle works wonderfully for me. Now the new Sony Wonderbook isn’t exactly tickling my fancy but it is kind of intriguing. The idea is that this device is book-shaped “controller” that will be complemented with the Playstation Eye and Move controller to help make books more of a virtual reality. That sounds both interesting and weird at the same time. Bringing to life those familiar images of loved books is the reason we go to see the movies based on books. This could be similar. But I also like reading books because I have my own idea in my head of what this character looks like and what that place looks like, etc. So my interest in this device is only half there. However, the Wonderbook has one thing going for it. One of the first platform books available for this device is the Book of Spells, which is going to be linked with J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore, the interactive Harry Potter website that is hosted by Sony. This hands-on book is going to have new Harry Potter info and stories, including Aesop-like stories of wizards making mistakes, which ultimately leads to a teaching lesson. This alone, as a HUGE Potterhead, is almost enough for me to spend the money. This is also the only reason it got the number six spot. I’m just not interested enough in this for it to be any higher but it does have Harry Potter. That, is enough, to catch my interest.

5. Playstation All Stars Battle Royale

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Let’s be honest: this is exactly like Super Smash Brothers for Playstation. Its Sony’s answer for it. Now other games that are similar have been created before but this one has been getting way more attention, mostly because it is Playstation and because it includes notable characters like Kratos from God of War, Sly Cooper, Mael Radec from Killzone 2, Fat Princess, etc. Just announced Monday at E3, Nathan Drake from the epic Uncharted games (LOVE those games), and Big Daddy from the equally epic Bioshock games will be joining the teams. Now the preview and images already released from this game reveal a cool looking fighting platform and the levels look pretty creatively designed. I’m excited for this game because games like this involve my favorite style of gameplay: button mashing. I’m a damn good button masher.

4. Assassin’s Creed III

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I’ve never played any of the Assassin’s Creed games before. I know, insert shocked and angry gasps here. I know, I know. I’m sure it’s a great game. I’ve watched my sister and brother play the games and they look awesome. The reason that this game catches my interest is because of when this game takes place: The American Revolution and the continuation of American history after that. From what I’ve seen and read about, it includes a new protagonist named Connor and the gameplay, while different, is still familiar enough that fans of the series will feel comfortable. Those who have demoed it have said the gameplay is extremely impressive and that the new naval warfare aspect of the game is pretty awesome. I’m looking forward to finally experiencing an AC game, especially in this time period. As a history major, and a complete nerd for the American Revolution, it’s looking like a game that I definitely want to pick up on October 30th.

3. Star Wars 1313

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This game is in extreme early development, and there wasn’t a huge demo to preview at E3 but the concept of this has got me excited. Most Star Wars games have been pretty disappointing to me. I wasn’t a fan of the Force Unleashed games and I haven’t had a chance to play Old Republic. This game, though, has caught my attention. For one, it breaks away from the games centered around the Force, with the protagonist being a bounty hunter instead of a Jedi or Sith. The identity of the bounty hunter is yet unknown but the content is said to be more mature than any of the previous Star Wars games and the images already released are GORGEOUS. I’m definitely looking forward to the future and am hoping for more content to be released soon.

2. Resident Evil 6

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I’m sure this comes as shock that this is my number two, especially when you see my number one. Leave me alone. Moving on…literally, I’ve been waiting for this game forever. FOREVER. Resident Evil 5 came out about a billion years ago and I’ve been dying for some good ol awesome Resident Evil gameplay. So the Resident Evil gameplay at E3 got this girl super excited. Now in this story, they’re bringing back two of my favorite characters, Leon and Chris, (hubba hubba), and introducing a new character, Jake. Each of these characters are in a separate storyline: Leon is in the U.S. working with the president during an attack of bioware terrorism, Chris is in China, fighting a similar attack, and Jake is in a European country called Edonia, meeting up with an old character that fans will be excited to see. Eventually all these stories will meet up and interweave and you’ll be able to play as all the characters. Game Developers say that they’ve fine-tuned the co-op, making it possible to jump in and jump out of gameplay without having to wait for a cut scene. They also touch on being able to play as a foursome when the different characters meet up in the story. Watching the various gameplay looked really cool, the good ol’ fashioned fighting style is there but you can see that that are new attacks coming, especially in the melee category. I honestly haven’t seen anything to make me feel wary about this. There This game is going to be awesome, and I’m seriously counting down the days until it comes out on October 2nd.

1. LittleBigPlanet Karting

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Carting isn’t exactly new to the realm of gaming. One of the most iconic games in all of video game history is Mario Kart. And of course this game is probably going to be along the same lines. However, this is the most exciting to me for two reasons. One is that I’m a huge LBP fan. These are my favorite games. They are fun, silly and hard enough to be a challenge but not so hard that I get frustrated. And the second reason I’m looking forward to this game is because it has something that Mario Kart doesn’t have, something that is going set it apart from that game. It has the customization of the other two LBP games; you can customize maps, characters, karts and weapons. This is what makes me anxious for this game to come out. This is my most anticipated game of the year and the highlight of my E3.

Now I know that I missed a lot of things and I’m sure there are some of you out here, glaring and yelling at your computer screen. Well, let it out in the comments and tell me what has gotten you all excited at E3?

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