Thursday, June 30, 2016

June Wrap-Up

Books I Read

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs


I was underwhelmed. The story started out really strong, then started lagging, then just went in directions I wasn't expecting towards the end. I didn't find Jacob to have much personality (I kept forgetting his name throughout the book, that's how bland he was) and the romance was forced. The plot itself would've been great if I hadn't been misled into thinking that it was going to be creepy. It was strange in a good way and I liked the photographs they included throughout the book, but overall? Meh.

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo


Beautiful! I had seen the musical before reading it, but I enjoyed it all the same. The writing was fantastic all the way through, even in the abridged version that I read. The story was more concentrated than I've heard the full-length version is, but I didn't find it to be lacking at any point. The middle of the story was my favorite, around the time Cosette is getting older and we're introduced to Marius and Eponine. Having only experience Marius in the musical before reading it, I was surprised at how different his character was here! I have to say, he disappointed me a little. His love for Cosette caused him to be a very one-track mind kind of person, which made him insensitive, I think, to Jean Valjean and Eponine. He had way more empathy in the movie.

Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter


Lin-Manuel Miranda can't possibly be any more of a genius than he is now. How does he do it all?! Getting to read about the birth of Hamilton and the time, energy, and hardwork that went into the entire process was addicting. I read the whole thing in about two days. I loved seeing photographs from the show and reading a little bit more about everyone involved in the production. The annotations from LMM in the lyrics were my favorite part, though. It's a very inspiring book.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard


This was a very fun and interesting fantasy/dystopian read. Had I not seen so many raving reviews for it, I think I would've enjoyed it even more, but I did have high expectations going into it. The plot twists involved in the story were very well executed, though, and I liked that there were so many opportunities for tension. The romance, however? Color me disappointed. What I thought was going to be a love triangle at first (which I was already groaning at) turned out to be some kind of love square. I swear, everyone was in love with this girl. EVERYONE. And the chemistry was lacking with every single interest. Grr.

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey


Having gone to the Boston Commons recently as a family, we thought it'd be fun to read this. It's super cute and has great illustrations. You really can't go wrong with a picture book about ducklings.

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger


There was nothing really wrong with this book as far as I'd read except for my own personal preferences, I didn't like it. The setting was really depressing, and starting out a book with several detailed scenes about hunting and plucking and cleaning geese isn't the way to get me into a story.

Movies I Watched

"Finding Dory"


Super cute, funny, great Pixar movie, as usual. I liked getting to see more of Dory than we did in "Finding Nemo," but I think overall I liked "Finding Nemo" better.

"The Way, Way Back" (a rewatch)


Fantastic, as usual. This is the third time around I've watched this movie, but it's still as good every time. It has a lazy summer feel to it that makes it utterly enjoyable to experience, but still has complex characters and a good storyline.

"Moonrise Kingdom"


Oh my gosh, this was so weird. It's definitely the strangest movie I've ever seen, but I liked it a lot. Everything was very deadpan, but the characters were cute and the story was fun. Parts of it were almost comical in the way a silent movie would be, if that makes sense.

Quotes I Wrote

At the writer's camp I went to a couple weeks ago, one of our prompts for the poetry class was to write an ode to something unusual, something other than a person. This was the result for me:

To Beautiful Disasters
Kate I. Foley

Loose lips, quick quips, sunk ships,
Boys and girls who
Meddle with matches.
Some just want to watch the world burn.

Your face splits into
Slippery smiles,
Glittering "what ifs?"

Smoke consumes,
Breathes new deaths into once lush spaces.
Flames rise,
Slash across canvases once thought to be perfect.

You crack, crumble, destroy, devastate,
Clutch at the wisps of innocence and teach it something new,
Cramming its head with news headlines and calluses and voices that never whisper.
You put shattered people back together with borrowed shards.
There can be no repairs without brokenness,
No band-aids without scrapes.

And you,
My beautiful disaster,
My golden jewel of rubberneckers and masochists and twisted minds,
You are the fodder to my creativity,
My blank page.
You swallow sparrows and bluebirds whole and spit out the bones,
Leaving me to wonder
What remains.

Obsessions I Acquired

Pfft, I'm too obsessed with Hamilton right now to be obsessed with anything else! I've now read lots of the Ron Chernow biography, memorized most of the soundtrack, and devoured the Hamiltome. Oh, and I've watched tons of the Ham4Ham videos and gotten my hands on every interview with Lin-Manuel Miranda that I can.

Picture of the Month

Our family got NOH8 pictures taken a few days ago. The photographer was AMAZING. Seeing so many people in line going to support the same cause and take these beautiful pictures was really cool. I can't wait to get our photos.

Dragon Loyalty Award Answers

Earlier this month I was tagged for the "Dragon Loyalty Award" blog tag, so I posted seven facts about myself, except three of these "facts" were actually lies. A bunch of you had some great guesses! Now I'll reveal which of those facts weren't true:

2. The "I" in Kate I. Foley (which is the name I use for most of my writing) stands for "Iris," because my parents are mythology nerds.

Nope! The "I" in Kate I. Foley (which is my author name) actually stands for "Isabel." Technically it's not my middle name (yet), but when I was about four or five I got really upset that my brother, Max, had a middle name and I didn't. So my parents came up with Isabel and it stuck.

5. The first completed story that I can remember writing (at about five or six-years-old) was about a girl whose stuffed animals came to life when she was sleeping.

My first completed story was written when I was around that age, but it was about a ball and a Frisbee who wanted to play together, but couldn't figure out which game to play. They couldn't play catch because they didn't have hands, and they couldn't play Frisbee because, again, they didn't have hands. So they ended up racing each other down the yard (the ball bounced and the Frisbee rolled on its side) until it got dark.

7. In my determination to try writing screenplays, I started writing a Pilot episode of a show about a girl named Grey who would turn people she knew into characters for her stories. Then she found out she could actually turn the people into those characters in real life.

I have been determined to write a completed screenplay, but "Grey Area," as this fictional show was called, never existed. My Pilot episode was a simple contemporary story about a girl trying to break into the television business in a TV show called "Starryedge," named after the town she lived in. That screenplay didn't go anywhere, but it did involve a hectic scene at the Renaissance Faire where Emma (the main character) worked, based on my own work experiences at the Ren Faire.

Great guesses, everybody!  

How was your June?


Rain said...

I've heard mixed things about Miss Peregrine's. People either seem to love it or find it really boring. I haven't read it yet.

...I was completely wrong on your Dragon Loyalty Award facts... ;)

The Magic Violinist said...


I'd heard about people mostly loving it when I picked it up. Once I finished, that's when I found all the reviewers who said "meh." Who knows, maybe you'll end up liking it!

Hehehe, mission success!

Dr. Mark said...

I always appreciate your candor in rating books and movies. I'd have to agree on the ones we've both read and watched. Nice recap. It may be a while until you are able to make room for a new obsession. Hamilton keeps giving you new reasons to expand your obsession. We have a couple more related books on our shelves if you need more Hamilton-ish things to dive into. :P

Boquinha said...

I *knew* 2 and 5 were lies, but I wasn't sure if 6 or 7 was the 3rd lie. Excellent job!

I know I keep saying this, but I really think you need to make that (#5) a children's book.

What is the (great, by the way) poem about? The Internet? Love this line: "My golden jewel of rubberneckers and masochists and twisted minds,"

I remember talking about this post with Daddy and him expressing surprise at you saying that MK is the weirdest movie you've ever seen, but I'm trying to remember which one he thought was weirder. Mark?

The Magic Violinist said...

@Dr. Mark I used to rate everything pretty high, so I'm not sure if I've gotten pickier or just more honest! :P There definitely isn't any lack in fuel for the Hamilton obsession.

@Boquinha Thank you! :) I'm glad I was able to somewhat trick you.

Ha ha, I'm working on it.

Actually, it's pretty much exactly what the title says it is. It's about dangerous or maybe sort of twisted things that can be beautiful or capture our attention in some way. It's open to interpretation whatever those kinds of things may be.

Boquinha said...

Oooooh. Ambiguity and open interpretation. I love it!