Monday, July 3, 2017

June Wrap-Up

Books I Read

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell


As usual, Rainbow Rowell's characters and dialogues kept me hooked pretty much the whole way through. It was a bit of a slow start and the ending was a little disappointing, but it's short and easy to read and the middle was great!

We Know It Was You by Maggie Thrash


I had higher hopes for this one since I LOVED Honor Girl, but the only thing this book had was plot. I didn't like any of the characters, and a lot of them were very two-dimensional. It's the first book in a series, but I don't think I'll be reading the rest. The mystery was compelling, but that's not enough to make me love a book.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff


WOW WOW WOW. So many of my blogger friends had raved about this book and the hype was worth it. If it weren't for the very slow start (I almost quit a hundred pages in, but then Lara urged me to keep going), I would have given this five stars. It was MIND-BENDING. So many plot twists! So many great characters! Who knew you could make a psychotic artificial intelligence computer thing a well-developed character? The format was super unique and made a gigantic book seem like a couple hundred pages. I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel.

Movies I Watched



Quirky as heck, but super fun. I felt very relaxed and optimistic after I watched it, if that made any sense. Simple story, character driven, just how I liked it. Be ready for strangeness when you watch it, though.

"Jeff, Who Lives at Home"


Funny and well-cast, but it had a sort of gray tone the entire time I watched it. You don't exactly feel uplifted at the end. It's dark and melancholy.

"Wonder Woman"


I LOVED THIS SO MUCH. I've seen it twice already, and I'll probably see it a third time this weekend. Gah, where to begin??? First of all, something that's bugged me recently with superhero movies is that the good guys who used to truly care about saving the civilians are too self-absorbed to notice that hey, maybe we shouldn't destroy these buildings and tear apart the city to fight each other. Even people like Captain America have strayed away from this more and more. But Diana really did care. She frequently stopped whatever she was doing to duck down and help a mother and her child, or anyone who needed help. She helped those who couldn't help themselves, just like she said she wanted to. And the movie was funny! Diana and Steve had fantastic chemistry, and I think Steve not only viewed her as his equal, but as his superior. Diana was in a man's world the moment she stepped into London, but she was surrounded by men who lifted her up (quite literally). The Amazons in general were warriors and never once were objectified in their own world. They wore armor instead of spandex for fighting because, duh, it's realistic. I was dreading the moment when Diana would inevitably flirt her way past a situation, but that moment never came! She used her cleverness, empathy, strength, and training to fight her battles. Steve did try to flirt his way out of a situation once, which was a welcome change and pretty humorous. The whole movie had great themes and messages and role models, and I'm so glad that little girls and boys get to grow up with Wonder Woman as a major superhero showing that girls have an equal place on the playing field.

"High Fidelity"


I really enjoyed the format this movie took. It was clever and unique and funny, but I couldn't get past the fact that I wasn't rooting for any of the characters. Rob had a lot of issues he barely started to recognize in himself and change by the end of the movie, which was too late for me to seriously care about him.

"Sunshine Cleaning"


This movie was gross, but it was supposed to be. Despite the major flaws the main characters had, I enjoyed them and ultimately wanted them to succeed. It was an interesting plot with a lot of strange twists you don't expect.

"Definitely, Maybe"


Technically I think this is a rom-com, but it had a lot of Indie movie aspects to it. The "sit down kid and let me tell you my whole life story" plot can seem forced sometimes, but it worked here. I really enjoyed it, even if I saw some of it coming.

"Cars 3"


Pixar never fails to please. The Cars franchise isn't my favorite, but they still do a lot of clever things with it. My only qualms with it is that they seemed to reuse a lot of the same old plot lines, and there definitely wasn't enough of Mater in it. But the new characters were welcome additions, and it was a fun surprise to see Nathan Fillion voice someone. (Am I the only one who is strangely reassured by his voice, no matter what kind of character he plays?)

"So I Married an Axe Murderer"


This is an oh-so-painfully-goofy sort of movie, but it doesn't pretend like it's not. It embraces the goofiness in a way that makes it sort of charming. I liked the strangeness enough to be entertained.

Quotes I Wrote

I wrote a flash-fiction story about the four horsewomen of the apocalypse arguing over how best to destroy humanity and had way too much fun writing it.

            “Ladies.” Death’s cool murmur silenced the others. The black hood and robe she wore hid all but her lips, her pale and spidery hands. “It will do us no good to bicker while the Doomsday clock ticks ever closer to midnight. We have minutes to decide. Let us use them wisely.”

            “You’ve been awfully quiet,” Famine said. “What do you suggest?”

            “My ideas are of no importance. However we choose to end the humans, I will still have to play a role. The apocalypse can happen without starvation, bloodbath, and disease, but death is inevitable. It is best if I remain impartial.”

            Pestilence snorted. Her noise of impatience disturbed a fruit fly, which now buzzed about her frizzy hair. “You think yourself noble to remove yourself from the equation, but really you are afraid to make your opinion heard. Silence is cowardice, sister. Cast your vote.”

            “We haven’t taken anything to a vote yet!” Famine shouted, slamming her fists on the table. But she was so frail and thin, she barely even rattled it. “There are still more details to discuss.”

            “Oh, for the love of Lucifer.” War rolled her blazing eyes, swung her legs up onto the table to cross them lackadaisically. Her attention could not be held for longer than a moment if the matter at hand did not involve swords clashing and blood spraying. “You and your details. Sisters, if we talk and do not act for much longer, I fear I will die of boredom before the humans have even been destroyed.”

I went to a writer's camp this month, and in one of the classes, we talked about how you can write a complete story in twenty-five words or less and give it a punchy twist at the end, using the title as an extra sort of misleading clue. I tried to write a few, and I think they came out all right.


"Bon appetite!" The family resumes their lighthearted conversation, rubbing their protesting stomachs as he plucks a knife from the table and begins to carve you.


"Nice to meet you," I say. My wife shakes her hand. The woman smiles at me, as if we're strangers. But we've already met.


I almost grab marshmallows, but decide against it. This kindling makes for bad s'mores. Too much gasoline. I set the house ablaze.


My friends whisper, giggle, trying not to wake me. When they get louder, I open my eyes to the empty room. The voices are back.

Obsessions I Acquired

The music from "Aladdin" - Specifically the Broadway soundtrack because I LOVE "These Palace Walls." "Friend Like Me" is also fantastic because they add a bunch of other Disney references that remind me of Shakespeare quoting his own work in "Will Power" from "Something Rotten."

(The references start around 4:30.)

All things "Wonder Woman" - Most of my electronic backgrounds are of Gal Gadot right now. I also got myself a pretty awesome Wonder Woman t-shirt and chokers soon after seeing the movie. She's definitely my new favorite superhero.

Picture of the Month 

Pictures with castmates from "Beauty and the Beast!"
I took a photography class with 4-H and liked this picture in particular.
For some reason, the theater my friend Sam and I went to to see "Wonder Woman" didn't have a poster up, so we took a selfie near a creepy shark cutout instead.
I took my dad to see "Wonder Woman" a few days later.
I went to a writer's camp and loved everyone I met there! The classes were great and the RAs were super funny and talented and involved.

How was your June?


Dr. Mark said...

My June? I feel like I was unconscious for a lot of it, but I do remember a lot of these movies and things.

Thank you for taking me to see "Wonder Woman." It was a really good movie. And I hadn't really thought about how she was so conscientious. I see it now, for sure, but it didn't occur to me at the time. Those are all excellent points about the movie.

I'm glad you and your mother could see so many fun movies, too. I'm on board with all of your ratings.

"Friend Like Me" also reminded me of "A Musical" from "Something Rotten." I'm sure there are lots of dance breaks and a bunch of things happening on stage at once.

Great pictures. I'm so happy you had so much fun this month.

Great wrap-up as always.

Boquinha said...

Love these. Nice reviews of a bunch of movies we got to see this month while Daddy recovered and watched with us (albeit half-asleep).

Fun dialogue between the 4 horsewomen - hilarious. I really like the "Sleepover" story, too.

And it's always fun to see pictures of you having a wonderful time with fun friends - theater, writers' camp, just generally hanging out . . . I'm so glad you're having such fun teenage years. Warms my heart.

And I LOVE that picture of you in a Wonder Woman shirt - gorgeous!

The Magic Violinist said...

@Dr. Mark

I'm pretty sure you did watch at least parts of all these movies, so that counts. ;)

It was so good! I think it's even more obvious the second time around when you're able to pay attention to the little details about her.

Ooh, they definitely have a lot of similarities. I can see that.

Thanks! :)


I knew we'd seen a lot, but it seemed like even more when I went to review them.

Thank you!

I'm also glad I'm taking more pictures whenever I go out to do something fun like that. It's been a great summer so far, and it's barely started!


abigail lennah said...

Illuminae is SO GOOD. I was in the same boat about DNFing it (it took me a month to feel motivated to read it), but once the plot unfolding about the biological weapon... IT JUST MAKES YOU HOOKED. Also ahhhh, Amelie! It's been on my watch list. I'm so sad that they removed the musical off Broadway. Aladdin's soundtrack is so good-- I'd love to see it! Sounds like June has been a good month for you! Happy July, and happy writing!

xoxo Abigail Lennah | ups & downs

Siths and Jedis said...

Looks like you've had a good month. I really enjoy "So I Married an Axe Murderer"," too! I also love the picture you took, really artistic!

Basil E. Bacorn said...

The Apocolypse Flash Fiction was really good!

Also, Aladdin is a awesome musical; my personal obsession right now is Dear Evan Hanson and the Disney "Freaky Friday" Musical (Oh, Biology is one of my favorites). Definitely recommend!

The Magic Violinist said...


At least it wasn't just me! There were so many science terms and detailed maps of the ship and I was sooo lost. But yeah, right after that little plot twist, I was hooked.

I was surprised it didn't last for much longer, what with Phillipa Soo being in it. But once you see the movie, it's kind of hard to imagine how they could translate that into a Broadway show. I haven't listened to the music too closely yet, but I want to.

You, too!

@Siths and Jedis

Ha, that did seem like your kind of movie, humor wise! Thank you! :)


Thanks! :) I'm planning on editing the rest soon so I can submit it to the Scholastic contest this year.

I LOVE "Dear Evan Hansen." I didn't even realize "Freaky Friday" was a musical, but with a song title like that, I'll have to check that one out.