Wednesday, June 1, 2016

April Wrap-Up/May Wrap-Up

April

Books I Read

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

5/5

Finally, the male protagonist I've been craving!! (Coincidentally, one of the best male protagonists I've read since another Simon, the one from Carry On.) He has hobbies, a personality, romantic interest in a person without it having to revolve around the possibility of sex, etc. He seemed like a real person I could run into at a Harry Potter release party. I loved that I was able to read through the whole book in a couple days and not get bored once. It was light, fluffy, made me giggle a few times, and just pure fun. It makes me super happy to see that LGBT+ books are stretching into different genres and styles of stories. I 100% recognize that the books about figuring out your identity and trying to fit in and that sort of thing are super important, but I think it's great that these kinds of LGBT+ beach reads exist, too.

Captain Marvel (Marvel NOW!) #1

3.5/5


This was a fun graphic novel! I'd never read any Captain Marvel stories before, but I really liked seeing her interact with the Guardians of the Galaxy. As far as her character and the actual story go, I do think I prefer Ms. Marvel.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

4/5

I'd read this book a long time ago, but didn't remember much, so it was like reading it for the first time all over again. Jo was my favorite character hands down, just because of how much I could relate to her. Really all of the characters were great in different ways, especially because they were so ahead of their time for when the story was written. The story was simple, but enjoyable. It didn't feel outdated like some books from that long ago did. I really like the Jo and Laurie friendship, Beth and Mr. Laurence's relationship, and all of the girls constantly trying to stay sane when dealing with their crotchety old Aunt March. The only thing that bugged me was how obvious some of the chapter endings were with the, "What was the moral of the story here, girls?" kind of attitude. I was fine with the overall message, but it could've been woven into the plot better.

A Totally Awkward Love Story by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

3/5

I'd love to be able to go into as much detail about this book as I have with other ARCs I've read, but it's one of those books where there's just not much to say about it. It's not a bad read or one I'm going to scream from the rooftops. The entire thing was pure fluff, the plot and most of the characters didn't have any real substance to them. But it was easy to get through and, true to its name, made me cringe at some parts. I finished it on vacation, as it was a good book to read a few pages of when you're waiting for your stop on the train. (And I'm giving it bonus points because a book being set in England can only help its case.)

Movies I Watched

"A League of Their Own"

3.5/5

Pretty much any movie that Tom Hanks is in is bound to be good. I'm not a huge sports person in general, but I really liked all of the quirky side characters, the humor, and the time period of the story.

"The Dark Knight Rises"

4/5

This one was probably my favorite of this particular Batman series. They crammed a ton into one movie, with plenty of nail-biting action, new characters, and plot twists I hadn't seen coming.

"Allegiant"

4/5

There had been a lot of complaints about this adaptation, so going into it I was a little skeptical. I actually liked it! Yeah, it strayed a lot from the book, but the Allegiant book was just okay and frankly really boring most of the time. The fact that the movie was able to spice it up a little, even if it meant changing plot points, is a good thing.

"Little Women" 

4/5

This was a great adaptation! All of the actors fit their characters perfectly (especially Christian Bale as Laurie) and it really stuck to the book.

Quotes I Wrote

Mr. Hudson burst into the flat moments later when he heard me yelling at the cat—it had decided walking all over my sketches was an acceptable pasttime—and pulled me into a hug that I was sure bruised my ribs. He then proceeded to babble about how impulsive I was and how he was worried sick and calling everyone he knew and would I like a cup of tea of course I would here sit down did I take anything did Natalie know I was all right Ms. Watson fetch the kettle please thank you oh my goodness I need to tell Marshall you’re home he was out looking you know.
-Ms. Holmes

Dawn wasted no time in demanding answers. I’d barely sat down in the carriage before she said, “So explain to me what exactly is going on.”
“Faye Moriarty is a pain in my arse is what’s going on,” I grumbled distractedly, watching buildings pass us by. Even if we were going as fast as we possibly could, we wouldn’t be going fast enough.
“That doesn’t clear up anything!”
-Ms. Holmes

“Let’s see if I’ve got this straight. We’re knowingly setting up a meeting with a serial killer, her girlfriend-slash-sniper-assassin, and whatever magic powers she seems to suddenly have gained? And we’re doing this all without any shred of a plan?”
“They’re not magic powers, Dawn, be sensible.”
Dawn let out a loud laugh, almost a bark from how strong and devoid of humor it was. “So now you’re the sensible one?”
-Ms. Holmes

There was something about Lila. There was something about the way she walked with her chin up, but you never felt looked down on. There was something about the way she showed all her teeth when she smiled. There was something about the single freckle on her nose that almost looked like she’d put it there deliberately. There was something about her artist’s hands and musician’s lips and poet’s words, but most of all, there was something about her. That impossible, unexplainable, kismet connection one can have with a person. Melody felt that with her.
-'Til the Last Star Dies

More than anything, Joel would’ve loved to leave it all behind: the diner, the town, the apartment he’d vacated, the watch he’d taken a hammer to after the Soulmate Watch announcement. But he couldn’t. Because no matter where he turned, he was plagued by tainted memories, a backwards Wizard of Oz kind of universe, color turned to gray. Dust settled back the way he came. No matter how hard he tried, it would never be the same again.
-Dust Settles

Obsessions I Acquired

Ambient-Mixer - This is great for when I'm doing math homework or reading or doing anything requires a little more concentration. Sometimes I want background noise, but music may not necessarily work because of the distraction. This website allows you to create your own mix of ambient noises, or use someone else's. So far my favorites are the Gryffindor and Ravenclaw common rooms, any of the "Supernatural" Impala mixes, and the inside of the TARDIS.

The music from "Hamilton" - You may have already seen me raving about this musical in previous posts and/or on social media, but just in case you haven't, let me introduce you to the wonder that is "Hamilton." Go find the music on YouTube or Spotify, watch the performance from the Grammys, read about Lin-Manuel Miranda, basically get your hands on EVERYTHING you can, because it's just that good. Once you listen to it you'll understand how awesome it is.

Picture of the Month

My "Supernatural" roleplay friends came out to visit for my birthday this year! It was so much fun. I don't think I've laughed as hard as I did that trip ever. I'm seeing some of them again later this year and I can't wait.



Playing "Curses," a game I highly recommend for big groups of people willing to laugh at themselves.

I had a steampunk-themed murder mystery party, so obviously we all had to dress up.

 

How was your April?

May

Books I Read

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

3/5

If it weren't for the fact that Richard lacked personality and parts of the book were way longer than they should've been, it had all the makings of a 4 or even 5-star read. I love urban fantasy, and the world Neil Gaiman created a great world that reminded me a lot of the one from the Gregor the Overlander series.


Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

4/5

Marissa Meyer, you've done it again! Anthologies are kind of tricky to rate because all of the stories vary, but overall I really enjoyed all of them. Only a few seemed kind of slow or unnecessary. (I'm not a huge fan of chapters being retold from another character's perspective, because most of the time we can already figure out how they saw the same scene being played out.) My favorites by far were Glitches, Carswell's Guide to Being Lucky, The Princess and the Guard, and Something Old, Something New. My only complaint: Scarlet/Wolf and Cress/Thorne didn't have stories JUST about them and their arorableness. (Also I may or may not have cried at the end because NOW THE SERIES IS REALLY OVER.)

The Dead Boy and the Paper Cut by Cait Drews

5/5

Okay, so this isn't a book I can link to on Goodreads, but you CAN find it on Wattpad! The author's name may sound familiar to you, and if it does it's because this fantabulous book was written by your future Supreme World Leader, none other than Cait from "Paper Fury." THIS BOOK IS PERFECTION. If it were a bound, physical copy that I could hug and use as a visual aid to get people to read it and love it as much as I do, I would gesture with it frantically in people's faces. It made me laugh and cry like a lunatic and I'm so sad it's over, but I absolutely adore the ambiguous ending. And the beautiful writing and imagery!! And fandom/literary/geek references!! And the name Moxie!! All the things!! Go read it immediately!!

So, Anyway... by John Cleese

3/5

I was a little disappointed by this one. It was funny sometimes, dragged out in others, and other parts I wished had more time spent on it. It felt disjointed. I liked a lot of the anecdotes, but by about 200 pages into it, I found myself skimming. It could've been organized a lot better. And there were about five pages total spent talking about Monty Python, which definitely didn't seem like enough for a book that had "the making of a Python" written on the back of it. Not bad overall, though.

Movies I Watched

"Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade"

4/5

My favorite of the bunch! It had the perfect mix of humor and action, and the father-son dynamic made the movie shine. I really enjoyed it.

"A Beautiful Planet"

5/5

We saw this documentary in an IMAX theater, which was definitely the way to go. The images were gorgeous, and every bit of it was fascinating. I loved it. 

"Pretty in Pink"

3/5

A fun eighties movie with interesting characters, but I didn't care for Andie too much. She seemed like a copy of every other part Molly Ringwald had done. I did like Duckie a lot. The casting for his character was perfect.

"The Man with the Golden Gun"

3/5

This was especially fun to watch with "The Incredibles" in mind. You could really tell how old it was based on the fight scenes alone, though. It was almost comical. xD

"My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2" 

4/5

Great sequel! I enjoyed it just as much as the first one, especially since I could relate to some of it with my own extended Portuguese family. It got more than a few laughs when we watched it in the theater.

"Newsies"

3.5/5

This was a really fun musical. Right off the bat, it was full of upbeat songs and constant movement, just like New York is. Jack Kelly was played by Christian Bale, who is the perfect kind of actor for his role, a sort of wannabe cowboy/revolutionary. The overall feel and theme of the movie reminded me of a "Mary Poppins" meets "Les Misérables." Les, probably the youngest of all of them, was even like Gavroche. The music was great, too; catchy, but not in a borderline annoying way like songs from "Music Man" might get stuck in your head.

"Some Kind of Wonderful" 

4/5

I liked this one much better than "Pretty in Pink." The characters were more interesting, the plot was simple but still engaging, and the way it ended was perfect. It was also fun to see a love triangle with a boy caught between two girls. Most of the time it seems like it's the other way around.

"What If" (a rewatch)

5/5

This is by far one of my favorite Indie movies. It has a great soundtrack, characters who seem real, the perfect cast, and a simple plot line. Everything but the last five minutes is perfect, and I say that only because when they redid the movie to release in the US, they added a more Hollywood ending. My mom and I actually stopped at the point where it was originally supposed to end when rewatching it because it was perfect the way it was!

"Fiddler on the Roof"

3.5/5

This wasn't like any other musical I've seen before, but I really enjoyed it. If you took "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and turned it into a musical, it would strongly resemble "Fiddler on the Roof." I wasn't expecting it to be as funny as it was either, but Max and I laughed out loud several times when watching it. Yente was one of my favorite characters, as well as Motel and Perchik. I liked the first half a lot more than I did the second half, because I thought the first hour and a half or so was funnier and moved more quickly than the second did. After a while the story repeated itself and dragged out where it didn't need to. The ending wasn't what I expected either, but I won't say much on that in case you haven't seen it.

"Captain America: Civil War"

5/5

I. Loved. It. Even though it was a Captain America movie, it watched like "The Avengers" or "Age of Ultron" because of how many people they had in it. I'd been skeptical about how they seemed to be handling Black Widow's character based on the trailers, but after watching, they totally nailed it. The Spider-Man and Ant-Man cameos were unexpected, but actually fit well. And Black Panther is a great addition. I can't wait for the next movie.

Quotes I Wrote

“Ah, Astrid, there you are.” Natalie, still packing a pistol and holster, strode toward me. “I wasn’t sure how I’d find you, so I just followed the shouting.”
-Ms. Holmes

“How many places did you check before looking for me here [the hospital]?”
Natalie smirked. “You might be more closed off than our confidential files, but I still know you well enough to think to look here first. What happened?”
-Ms. Holmes

"For the record," she said to Lila now. "I did try to stop him when he told me before he had 'the perfect plan to end all plans.' Because he's had at least seven of those since I've known him, and they all go down like the Hindenburg."
"Hey," Jordan protested.
Lila ignored him. "Good, I feel better knowing he has someone to tell him when he's being an idiot when I'm not around."
"You mean always?" Julie said with a mischievous smile teasing her lips.
-'Til the Last Star Dies

Lila was utterly transfixed. Melody didn't have the sort of persona poets were usually associated with, but the imperfection of the poem was perfection itself. It was flawed and entrancing and completely her. It breathed as if it were life itself, and her voice as she became lost in the words lived up to her name.
-'Til the Last Star Dies

Picture of the Month


On the way back home from vacation, I was able to stop in at the coffee shop where Taylor from "Paper Daydreams" works to meet her!

Max and I couldn't resist. "Slowly and clearly aim your gun towards the sky!"

Max and I were recently part of a homeschool theater camp and we put on "Peter Pan." I was Bill Jukes, one of the pirates, and the makeup artist was amazing with the design.

All of the pirates together.

Max and I with Captain Hook, and a photobombing Smee.


 

How was your May?

5 People Made Me Happy By Commenting! :D:

Boquinha said...

You know I love these! I'm not even sure what to say because I've watched a lot of these movies with you and I've read some of these books with you, so we've already done a lot of talking about it all (which I love!). The one question I did have while reading ("Do you hear British speak in your head when you're writing Ms. Holmes?"), I went ahead and asked you. So this is basically a comment to comment generally. Love these!

The Magic Violinist said...

@Boquinha

They're some of my favorites to write! I always hear British accents when I'm writing it, but they're always specific to their characters. So sometimes I hear somebody from Manchester, other times it's a thick Cockney, and Mr. Hudson always has a proper London accent. The problem is switching to a different book and struggling to get my characters to be American again. xD

Boquinha said...

That's hilarious!

Dr. Mark said...

End of June? Sure, I'll comment on things that happened like a year ago! :P

Great recap as always. I enjoyed sharing several of these things with you. We should watch an old Bond movie every once in a while so you can see more of those epic fight sequences!

The Magic Violinist said...

@Dr. Mark

Pfft, you're only a couple months behind. ;)

Ha, yes, we should! If only to make Mystery Science Theater comments at the dated fight scenes.