Tuesday, 26 May 2015

My Definitive List of Disney Classics

It irritates me that so many of the Disney Classics are undervalued by people. Of course there's no arguing that The Lion King is a masterpiece, Snow White's pretty dated and there are a whole host no one's ever heard of. But I'm here to educate you on what Disney films you might have missed but must buy and see.

So as far as I'm aware, here are the 53 Disney Classics that have been released as of May 2015 (UPDATE May 2017) when I write this:

1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
2. Pinocchio 
4. Dumbo
5. Bambi
6. Saludos Amigos
7. The Three Caballeros
8. Make Mine Music
9. Fun and Fancy Free
10. Melody Time
11. Ichabod and Mr Toad
12. Cinderella
13. Alice in Wonderland
14. Peter Pan
15. Lady and the Tramp
16. Sleeping Beauty
17. 101 Dalmatians
18. The Sword in the Stone
19. The Jungle Book
20. The Aristocats
21. Robin Hood
22. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
23. The Rescuers
24. The Fox and the Hound
25. The Black Cauldron 
26. Basil the Great Mouse Detective
27. Oliver and Company
28. The Little Mermaid
29. The Rescuers Down Under
30. Beauty and the Beast
31. Aladdin
32. The Lion King
33. Pocahontas
34. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
35. Hercules
36. Mulan
37. Tarzan
38. Fantasia 2000
39. The Emperor's New Groove
40. Atlantis
41. Lilo and Stich
42. Treasure Planet
43. Brother Bear
44. Home on the Range
45. Chicken Little
46. The Wild
47. Meet the Robinsons
48. Bolt
49. The Princess and the Frog
50. Tangled
51. Wreck-it Ralph
52. Frozen
53. Big Hero 6
54. Zootropolis/Zootopia
55. Moana

Now I can't claim to have seen all 55, but I have seen my fair share (80%) to know that Disney doesn't always get it right. But more astoundingly, us, the audience, don't always get it right either.

Let me help you. Here are, in my opinion, ten Disney films that are under appreciated:

1. Oliver and Company
2. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
3. Hercules
4. The Emperor's New Groove
5. Lilo and Stich
6. Treasure Planet
7. Brother Bear
8. Meet the Robinsons
9. Bolt
10. Wreck-it Ralph

I know Lilo and Stich is pretty popular, but ask yourselves this; would it be as popular if Stich wasn't so merchandised? Thinking about it, that might be where these films made mistakes. They're not as easy to merchandise. Princess films create princess dresses every little girl (and sometimes boy and there's nothing wrong with that) - and adult - wants to wear. Growing up, I wanted an Ariel dress but alas, my wish didn't come true. I didn't include The Princess and the Frog here because there's some good merchandise for it. You might not have seen it but you know who Tiana is right? I bet you don't know who Lewis is. No, not the crocodile in The Princess and the Frog, that's Louis. Any other guesses? No? I didn't think so.

Cute side-kicks turned into cuddly toys are a goldmine for Disney. Think of Olaf - he didn't add much to Frozen if you ask me. He's my least favourite character in the whole film, but they kept him in for a reason. That reason? Merchandising!

All ten of those films I love and could watch again and again but if I had to pick one to force you to watch it would be The Emperor's New Groove. That film gets funnier with every watch. It's aimed just as much at adults as it is for kids. I'm astounded people don't rate this in their top funniest films ever.

So now you might be wondering what in my opinion are ten Disney films that have been hyped to death:

1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
2. Bambi
3. Peter Pan
4. The Jungle Book
5. The Little Mermaid
6. Beauty and the Beast
7. Aladdin
8. The Lion King
9. Tangled
10. Frozen

Now before you go screaming at me, I'm not saying these are bad films. These films will always be known by everyone and that's just the way it is. They're over hyped for a reason. These are Disney's true successes. Tell me you haven't seen more of this list than the previous one?

I rest my case.

All I'm trying to say is that instead of watching Aladdin for the 30th time, why not go for Treasure Planet? It's masterpiece, I assure you. Instead of singing Let it Go for the 185,389th time, why not listen to the songs from The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Again, outstanding). 

Disney is more magical if you broaden your horizons. Plus if you haven't seen Hercules we can't be friends.

P.S. Big Hero 6 is incredible.

P.P.S. In case you were wondering, I'm one of those 'Pixar can do no wrong' type of people. (Except Cars 2) #sorrynotsorry

Molly Looby
Disney Obsessed / Author / Blogger

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Books Nobody's Reading That Everyone Should Be Reading for #IreadYA

It's #IreadYA week over at This is Teen and what a perfect opportunity to promote some of my favourite books!

They need some serious love!

Being popular and incredible is something rare to me. There are so many popular books that don't deserve even a portion of the fame they have achieved. But incredible books that are underrated - now that's my thing. Here's a list of some of my favourite books. All of these are worth your time. And also worth way more hype than they got.

Before you bite my head off, I know some of these are best sellers but that doesn't mean I've ever heard people talk about them. Like I said, these books are worth way more hype then they got.

This time I tried to be ruthless and put them in order of how much I think these books need to be read but they all need to be read. So read them!

The Dustlands Trilogy - Moira Young
(Blood Red Road, Rebel Heart, Raging Star)

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Trilogy - Carrie Ryan 
(The Forest of Hands & Teeth, The Dead-Tossed Waves, The Dark & Hollow Places)

The Rephiam Series - Paula Weston 
(Shadows, Haze, Shimmer - plus more to come)

Anna Dressed in Blood - Kendare Blake

The Reapers are the Angels - Alden Bell

The Unearthly Trilogy - Cynthia Hand 
(Unearthly, Hallowed, Boundless)

The Other Life - Susanne Winnacker 

The Lorien Legacies - Pittacus Lore 
(I am Number Four, The Power of Six - am yet to read the rest)

Maybe One Day - Melissa Kantor

Starters - Lissa Price

So pick one of these fantastic books up, grab a glass or mug of something and settle into a wonderful summer of book discoveries.

Molly Looby
Author, Reader, YA lover


Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Bluff Your Way In Publishing - Dorothy Stewart

A Spoiler Free Bit About The Book

The title speaks for itself.

My Review

First, of course, this book is dated and I can't believe the publishing industry conducts itself in the exact same way it did back when this was written. Not to mention the popularity of the eBook has changed a lot for publishers and they've had to adapt, even if it is in a small way. So a lot of it I found out-of-date and irrelevant.

I'm going to be brutally honest. I did not like this book. Is that because I have an idealised vision of what publishing's like? I don't know. But what was written in this book must have been, at least some of it, an exaggeration. 

Being told that if you have a certain name you are more likely to get into publishing made me sceptical of the seriousness of this book from the off and I spent all 60 pages of it wondering how serious I was supposed to take it. I was glad it was so short because with each page I became more miserable Everyone in publishing seems to hate everybody else in publishing according to Stewart. Plus, do publishers really not give a damn about authors? What about J.K. Rowling? I bet publishers give a damn about her. I just can't believe that authors mean nothing in the publishing industry. I worked in an editing department for two weeks, the people there cared more than the book suggested.

It's safe to say I was left with an even more depressing view of the publishing industry than I already had. Stewart painted a view of a stuffy, half asleep industry you wouldn't touch with a bargepole. Again, I just can't believe this to be true


Overall 5/10

Would I recommend it? No. Unless you're a publisher with this specific brand of humour I suppose.

Would I look up the author? No. I'm not sure what I was supposed to take from this book.

Bluff Your Way In Publishing was depressing and out-of-date. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to have learnt from its pages.

Molly Looby
Author / Ghostwriter / Editor / Blogger / Reviewer / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready

Monday, 11 May 2015

Half Lives - Sara Grant


Icie is a typical teenager, until disaster strikes and she must escape to a top-secret military bunker - her only hope of survival.

Hundreds of years later, Beckett leads a community that worships the Great I AM. But Beckett and his beliefs are under attack.

Icie and Beckett must fight to survive - separated by time; connected by a dangerous secret both must protect.

My Review

The first things that struck me when reading Half Lives was the excellent first person narrative voice. Of course I'm a character girl so this was a big win for me. If I like your protagonist's narration, chances are I'll like the book whatever's going on. Icie, in my opinion, was believable and extremely readable. She was funny and sometimes down-right terrified and I think that was a great decision. Not enough of these protagonists thrown into a life-threatening situation react in a perfectly normal way. Icie does.

Unfortunately, Grant made the decision to write Beckett's half in the third person present tense whilst writing Icie in the first person past tense. I know why she's done this. Beckett's story is hundreds of years later so his narrative can be happening right now and if his narrative is happening right now, Icie's can't be. But couldn't she have written them both in the first person?


That's because Beckett's half flips from this person to that person every alternative chapter. I thought this was a shame because I loved Beckett's 'voice' even if it was written in an entirely different style to Icie. However, I didn't like all the other characters that got to narrate. At times I even got bored of them and felt like crying out, "Give me Beckett instead!". I think this also comes down to how much I enjoyed Icie's narration. Most of the other points of view were tiring in comparison to the big and amusing 'voice' of Icie. Because of this, I found I was less likely to pick up the book if I was in Beckett's future. If on Icie though, I couldn't put the book down. It was like some sort of balancing act.

The plot though, I can't fault. I thought it was excellent how their two lives connected and how everything was revealed little bit by little bit. It was very clever and well thought out. I imagine all sorts of planning went into the reveals and time lines of Half Lives

What I most loved, other than the narration, was how bizarre I found this story. It was different from most other things I've read but that's why I've given it a high rating. Even though I found some of the narration dragging, I still think it's worth the read if you can put up with Beckett's chapters.


Overall 8/10

Would I recommend it? Yes. It kept me reading and asking questions.

Would I look up the author? Yes. But I don't much fancy her other YA book so I'll just sit and wait patiently to see if she writes something else I'll be interested in.

Half Lives was bizarre, but in a highly entertaining way.

Molly Looby
Author / Ghostwriter / Editor / Blogger / Reviewer / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready