Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February Wrap-Up

Books I Read

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt


This was such a well-written middle grade book. It has everything from Shakespeare references to living through the Vietnam War to normal pre-teen shenanigans. It could be a little slow in parts, but overall, it was a simple and compelling story.

Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson


(Psst, I wrote a review for this and you should definitely read it . . .)

Tartuffe by Molière


This was another play I had to read for my theater class and I really enjoyed it. The style of rhyme it uses distracted me more than anything because the word choice would be weird in spots, so I didn't care for that. The story, however, is super clever. It reminded me of one of those episodes in a sitcom where seven different things are going on, but only two people know about this one thing, and the other three think the other two are doing something totally different, and two of them might talk to each other but neither of them really know what the other is talking about, and the whole thing is humorous and confusing. You know what I'm talking about. I also liked Dorine, the maid. She wasn't afraid to sass anyone (my favorite lines from the play were in a scene where Tartuffe tells her to cover up. He says, "unclean thoughts are difficult to control/such sights as that can undermine the soul" and she basically tells him his soul must have crappy defenses then, because she could catch him stark naked and she wouldn't be turned on in the slightest.).

Wires and Nerve #1 by Marissa Meyer and Douglas Holgate


Ikoooooo, my precious android warrior, I MISSED YOU. I'm also super happy about how much of Cress and Thorne we got to see, too, because there can never be too much Cress and Thorne. #OTP I was worried the illustrations would look weird because I had very vivid ideas of how each character looked, but Holgate did a nice job! (Wolf did look kinda weird to me, only because I imagined him more human than wolf, but you can't have everything.) I'm really glad there are more books in the Lunar Chronicles world for me to look forward to.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah


THIS WAS SO GOOD. It's funny (like a "crack-a-rib-from-laughing" sort of hysterical), emotional, fascinating, and totally worth the read. If you're going to check it out, go for the audiobook. Trevor is an excellent narrator. And all of the different voices and accents he does and languages he speaks makes the story come to life.

Movies I Watched

"Groundhog Day"


I especially liked this because of how much I love the episode "Mystery Spot" from "Supernatural." Right down to the camera angles, the song on the radio each morning, and the street the main characters walk down, there were tons of similarities that were fun to spot. Reliving the same day over and over was almost as immensely frustrating to watch as it must have been to experience. It's nice, goofy fun.

"St. Vincent"


Such a quirky movie. I loved it. It's a dark comedy with an extremely flawed character, but the little boy in the story makes for a nice balance to the curmudgeonly old man. It reminded me of "Little Miss Sunshine," to give you an idea of the overall mood.

"La La Land"


I went into this with pretty low expectations after hearing more than a few grumbles about it, but I actually loved it! It was entrancing, whimsical, and artsy. The special effects and choreography (especially in the beginning) were amazing. The music isn't typical Broadway, so don't be fooled by the advertising of the movie as a musical. There is a lot of music and singing in it, but they don't all advance the plot, making it much different from other movie musicals. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone have imperfect singing voices, but it sort of fits the theme, so I didn't mind it. For a film about Hollywood life, it didn't have a Hollywood ending at all. It's bittersweet, which I love



Another fantastic Oscar nominated film! I had no idea how long the first part of the movie was where it's set in India with the young Saroo, but it was excellent. You don't hear any English spoken for a long time, which totally immerses you in the culture. It had great acting from everyone (and little Saroo was absolutely adorable). Get ready to bawl your eyes out, though.

"The Lego Batman Movie"


Super clever. I loved the meta humor all throughout, which is exactly what I expected from another Lego movie. The cameos from Voldemort and some Daleks were awesome. Part of me wasn't sure whether I'd be able to stomach an entire movie with an emo Lego Batman as the protagonist, but Robin (and Alfred, of course) were good additions to tone down the angst.



So there was a lot about this I loved, especially from the more subtle effects, like the camera angles, lighting, sound, and the score. I'm also really pleased with how much representation was in this film. It's not every day you get a movie about black LGBT issues. The first part of the movie was easily my favorite, but the second half draaagged for me. I usually like simple movies, but I felt like the plot of this one wasn't totally compelling enough to keep me interested the whole time. When the movie ended, I felt like I must have been missing something. Overall, it just didn't feel satisfying. I can't even put my finger on what exactly I didn't like, it was just sort of slow.



Even without knowing this had been adapted from a play, it still would have felt very much like a play, to me. Almost the entire story takes place right around and inside Troy and Rose's house. It's simplistic in that sense, and also has a small, but strong cast. Viola Davis is great in everything she does and her Oscar was much deserved. The beginning simultaneously felt a little slow (when it came to setup) and fast (because of how quickly the characters talked and their dialect, especially Denzel Washington's character). But it only took me about fifteen or twenty minutes to totally get used to the style and become immersed in the story.

Quotes I Wrote

Toni bit her lip. The song was slow, way slower than anything she was comfortable with. And his smile was charming, way too smooth. Kindness from the others was risky, but kindness from someone who looked like he could bring an entire town to its knees if he grinned wide enough? That was flat out flirting with danger.
-More Than Words

I didn't get a lot of writing done this month between school and editing, but I did add yet another project to my endless list of things to finish up. A writing prompt on Pinterest caught my eye and two hours later, I'd semi-planned a YA fantasy novel called Captain Zahira and Her Wayward Crew involving pirates and cursed treasure and mermaids. You can check out the board here.

Obsessions I Acquired

"We Rate Dogs" Twitter account - This is the sort of cute, quality content I need on social media. Adorable dog pictures tweeted with funny captions every day? Yes, please. Sign me up.

"Intertwined" by Dodie - Dodie is my new favorite find when it comes to musical artists. How had I not heard of her before now?! I have "Sick of Losing Soulmates" on repeat on Spotify, but "Intertwined" is my absolute favorite from her. It gives me chills every time I hear it because it so perfectly fits my soundtrack for More Than Words.

EpicReads book recommendation bot - So if you're looking for yet another addition to your TBR list, check out EpicReads' Facebook page and message them. They have a super cool system that allows you to tell their recommendation bot your favorite books and authors or what kind of mood you're in, and they'll send you a book they think you'll like in a message. It's really fun. You even get gifs of Margot Wood along with their recommendation sometimes.

Picture of the Month 

I went to the "Fire and Ice Festival" in Lititz with my family and my friend Dana. It was super fun to just walk around the town, drink cocoa, and see the ice sculptures.

How was your February?


Dr. Mark said...

Another fun post. I'm happy to have shared a lot of your experiences this past month. It was fun to see so many good movies before the Oscars. It really was a year filled with good films. It's tiring to read your posts sometimes because I realize how busy you and all of us are. At least we're having a good time!

I'm glad you enjoyed Trevor Noah's book. I was pretty sure we'd all like it. And I pretty much agree with all of your film ratings. I think I'd rate "Moonlight" a bit higher than you did, but some of that may be directly related to my exposure to other works that deal with the underlying subject matter of the film as well as the dialect of the drug world.

I'm curious to see what March brings!

Boquinha said...

Love your review of "Lion" and holy moly, did I bawl with that film.

Your quote from More than Words - I pictured Justin Trudeau. But I don't know if your character is a good guy or a bad guy. :P

That picture in your collage - upper right? Is that your earring catching the light just right or is that an ice sculpture behind you somewhere? I love our little Stars Hollow. Awesome collage of pictures.

Fun post!

The Magic Violinist said...

@Dr. Mark

We really did do a lot of these together. It was really fun to watch all the Oscar movies so we could decide for ourselves whether or we not we thought an award was deserving. :)

I'm so glad we listened to it. For as much content as there was, it felt short since it moved so fast. I might like "Moonlight" better the more time I get after finishing it, but for now anyways, that's where my rating sits.


Lol, of course you did. ;) And he is a good guy. Maybe morally gray in a couple areas, but overall not a bad guy.

I think it's an ice sculpture! The rotary club did one of a wheel. Pretty sure that's what it was. I had a lot of fun.

Dale Volker said...

At first when I read the word Allegedly on your blog, I read it as Allegiant. Two totally different books. I'd say Allegiant was a better book, but as I haven't read Allegedly, I've only heard about it, I couldn't say. None of the movies I've seen recently you probably wouldn't of seen unless you're a horror movie fanatic like I am. With the exception of the most recent Star Wars movie that is. In your colleage of pictures, is that a Gryffindor scarf? Or just one that looks like one?


The Magic Violinist said...

@Dale Volker

Oh, absolutely. I'd even say I liked Allegedly better, just because it felt smoother overall, but I preferred Allegiant's ending. "Rogue One" was excellent. :) I watch a creepy movie now and then (like "The Sixth Sense"), but I'm not really into horror movies. Yes, it is a Gryffindor scarf! Each person in my family got one for the final "Harry Potter" movie release.

Jimmy said...

Been trying to find time to chime in here. Haven't really found it, so this might feel rushed, but...

Groundhog Day--Just the idea of watching the same day played over and over again sounds incredibly dull to me, so I've never seen it. Is that a huge mistake? And Bill Murray isn't that funny to me.

I thought La La Land was really good. Like you, I appreciated that it didn't have the perfect ending I thought it was leading up to. So yeah, bittersweet, but I loved it. And the artistry. It was a surprise for me how much I liked it.

Moonlight. I was glad it did well because of the issues it tackled, but it was partly too unbelievable for me and too realistic for me to say I really liked it.

The unrealistic part--The idea of a good guy drug dealer and his good woman being mentors to this boy--I just couldn't buy into it. NM is consistently ranked as one of the poorest states as well as a major throughway for drug trafficking from Mexico and I've had exposure to drug dealing, and at least in NM none of the drug dealers I'm aware of live in nice homes and have sensible wives and reach out in a kind and good way to other children. It's a lot uglier than that and I think Hollywood does a disservice to portray it like it was in this movie.

The too realistic part--The boy's mom. She was such a mess and had no business raising a child in the environment she was raising him in. It was just too hard to watch and even though at the end the movie wants you to have sympathy for her, I never got there. Using and abusing your children so you can fulfill your drug habit--that's just a line that once it's crossed, I can't find sympathy. I guess if anything it speaks to the acting abilities of the person who portrayed her.

I will see Lion!

The Magic Violinist said...


Some of the days could get really repetitive, especially since I predicted a lot of what would happen, but it's still a pretty fun movie. :)

Same here! I probably liked it even more because I had lower expectations.

I don't have enough experience with that sort of rough culture (thankfully), so it was hard for me to relate to a lot of it, but also hard for me to judge it, because I didn't have anything else to compare it to. Maybe if I had seen more movies or read more books on those topics I could have enjoyed it more. It was all too new for me to get thrown into with so little explanation. But I don't think they set out to explain the situation to anyone. I wasn't the intended audience. I can see how those things could be problematic to enjoy watching it, though.

You should! It's so good!

Dale Volker said...

I don't know if you watch a show called Doctor Who, actually I'm sure you do since you've posted pictures of people from it. But in any event, one of the Doctors wore a scarf, and I actually got it for Christmas a couple years back. If you're interested, I post about some of the movies I see on my blog. I actually have two, one for horror movies, and one for other movies, though sometimes one of them goes a while without posting when I feel like no good movies are coming out.

Cait @ Paper Fury said...

I just started following the We Rate Dogs page too.😂 They're HILARIOUS and photos of dogs upon one's twitter feed makes everything 5000% better. It definitely does. *nods*


And I want to watch Lion and Moonlight! Mostly because they did so well at the Oscars, right?? I never watch movies though so it's kind of stupid me even wanting to...haha. I mean, I haven't even seen Civil War yet and I'm supposedly a huge Marvel fan. *goes to bury self*

Also I'm so glad Nerve and Wires is good! I have asked my library to buy it, but weirdly I'm not like seeing it everywhere?! I thought it'd be way more hyped, being all Iko and Marissa Meyer!! Eeep.

The Magic Violinist said...


Aren't they?!?! I actually changed my settings so I'd get notified whenever they post because it just instantly brightens my day. Dogs are the best.

ME TOO. It was definitely worth the hype. I'm so excited for the rest of the 2017 YA releases.

"Moonlight" did very well, especially, but "Lion" did get a lot of nominations. You should totally watch both! *gasps dramatically* CAIT HOW COULD YOU. GO FIX THIS IMMEDIATELY.

So am I! I was worried it'd just be a ploy for more money or something, but it was just as well-crafted as the other stories and I love Iko so much.

Skyril A.K.A the Vociferous Chatterer, Loyal Forever and Always, The Ever-Present, the Pluviophile said...

Awesome post :]
Your February sounds like it was fun. Hard to imagine ice sculptures down south, though, lol. My February was mostly warm.
I didn't get as much writing in as I would have liked, but I did win a little short story writing competition on goodreads so whoo-hoo!

And now [as if I didn't before] I really need to get my hands on Wires and Nerve!! Love my Cress and Thorne <3

SharM said...

OMG I want to read wires and Nerve, and also Allegedly. *waves*
*goes to do homework because UGH SCHOOL.
Shar @ Virtually Read

The Magic Violinist said...


Thank you! :) LOL, that would be hard. It was crazy, too, because they didn't have anything keeping the sculptures cold. They just had to trust it'd be cold enough to stay frozen.

Congratulations!! What was the story about?

OMG, yes, you do. They are the best. <3


You have to, they're sooo good. I'm curious to hear what you think about them!

Hehe, good luck. ;)