August Wrap-Up, Part 1

Alright, y’all, we’re shaking things up a bit. I’ve been wanting to kind of rearrange my biweekly wrap-ups so that they contain more than just books, so continue at your own risk because who the heck knows what’s about to happen.

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BOOKS!

Don’t worry, of course most of this is still about books. I’ve changed the layout of this around just a tiny bit, as well, so here’s hoping it works out.

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What: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling
When: 8/1-8/5
Rating: ★★★★★
Review: In honor of both Harry’s birthday and the new semester at Hogwarts starting, I decided to finally start a HP reread in which I was also going to write cohesive, unbiased reviews of the books. (Unbiased? I tried, I really did.) You can find the review for this one here! But if you’re not into the idea of reading 5000+ words on why this book works so damn well as a first in a series, it all boils down to this: this is still my favorite Harry Potter book.

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What: The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg
When: 8/1-8/4
Rating: DNF @ 100 pages
Review: Holy Satan, this was bad. It was sitting on top of my get rid of pile outside my room recently, and my friend picked it up to say that the cover was cute, so why was it out here? I said, “The language is like if a much older man tried to understand today’s teenagers, but published in 2019 even though the lingo is from 2010.” She said that was a very specific form of Nope, and I agree.

The lingo. Someone says chillaxin’ and actually intended to say that seriously. I could be just shoving this into my memories, but I think someone might’ve said cool story bro at one point, too. And the constant yups and nothing else from whatshisface? Oh, whatshisface. Let me tell you, I had no idea, at any point, who Max & Jordan were. They were so interchangeable and indistinct from one another that I was so completely lost, and that was around 100 pages in! I literally could not keep them straight because there is nothing whatsoever to either of their characters. And even beyond the godawful outdated language, the actual writing is just atrocious. It’s choppy. It’s awkward. It’s “my eyes and toes were erect,” and that’s about when I threw the book bodily across the room.

This is about a food truck romance, and it’s not worth your time.

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What: Legends of the Dark Crystal, Vol 1: The Garthim Wars by Jim Henson
When: 8/4-8/6
Rating: ★★★
Review: This was honestly not as good as I wanted it to be. My expectations were pretty high because the graphic novels in this universe so far have been excellent. I’ve continued to say that the plot in the graphic novels does not repeat the plot of the movie, but rather adds twists and brings in new elements, but this manga definitely regurgitated the plot of the original movie 100%, thus making it pretty lackluster. The art was also weird for me, and I couldn’t connect with any of the characters. I’d recommend only reading this if you’re deep in the Dark Crystal universe like I am currently. (Save me?)

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What: The Disasters by M.K. England
When: 8/4-8/6
Rating: ★★★★★
Review: Wow, hi, I loved this book. Is anyone surprised? I WAS. I’ve said lately that I’ve been burned by a few space operas, so I was overwhelmingly grateful that this book turned out to be a phenomenal read. I absolutely gobbled it up because I was so curious about both what was going to happen and if there was actually going to be any romance. I guess small warning that there is a love triangle in this, but it’s so not your typical kind because it’s not obnoxious and it doesn’t dominate the story and it’s not full of drama at all. Plus, it doesn’t turn into queer-baiting, which made me even happier.

This is about a ragtag team of space nerds who only manage to escape a mass murder because they’ve been kicked out of their space academy. They’re then promptly dumped into a conspiracy and hunted down by people who think that they shouldn’t colonize other planets and are going to commit genocide to prove a point. Obviously, our heroes don’t believe in that special brand of insanity, so they highjack a spaceship and soar off into the stars to save the day.

Is this ridiculous? Oh, heck yeah. Is it totally freaking awesome at the same time? You betcha. This is like if you took the opera bit out of space opera that made Once & Future so nuts, slowed down the plot a bit, and kept it super gay.

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What: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
When: 8/9-8/14
Rating: ★★★★★
Review: This book is an absolute delight, and the movie is equally as lovely. There were a few points about the movie that I wished were handled differently, but as this is a review about the book, I won’t get into those. This follows the story of Juliet Ashton, who receives a letter from Dawsey Adams, a pig farmer on Guernsey Island, which was occupied by the Germans during WWII. He’s found a book of hers, and writes to thank her for selling it so that it might end up in his possession eventually. They start a correspondence, and soon, she’s writing to many of the islanders about their literary society until she finally decides she just has to see it all for herself.

I flew through this. I really loved the format of letters. It made me want to binge because though there are some natural stopping points, there are no chapters and it makes you just want to continue drifting through it. I loved that each character had a sort of distinct voice. I could tell right away without looking at certain ones who was writing–mostly Juliet, Dawsey, Isola, and Mark. Juliet quickly became a favorite for me, and I know I’ll always hold her close to my heart after this. She was hilarious, a joy to fall in love with, and so much fun. The only thing that left me cross was the fact that Juliet and Dawsey never kiss! I’ll leave out the actual ending, except to say that wow yes thank you to the movie for leaving in their exact words even if I’m sad I didn’t get to witness Dawsey spraining his ankle in his haste to climb down off a ladder. Still, just a single damn kiss was all I wanted. Other than that, this was a fantastic read!

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What: Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu
When: 8/15-8/16
Rating: ★★★
Review: This was fine. Really. It wasn’t anything special, but I’m not mad at it either. It was not Wonder Woman, which I loved a heck ton and linked my review for. I’m still going to continue on with the series, particularly because they’re all by different authors. I tried to read The Young Elites by Marie Lu last year, and it just not the right time for it, but it was also not well written, so this has definitely not convinced me to give her another go. I mean, this was fine. The characters were a little flat, and Bruce didn’t feel like Batman at all. But I didn’t hate it. I was invested enough to find out how it ended. I was excited at the prospect of Gordon showing up at the end. I loved Alfred. I think a lot of the reason I did continue through it is because I have such fond memories with a lot of these characters, but Lu really didn’t let them live up to their potential. She just leaned on the fact that she knew we would like them instinctually.

This was your typical, run-of-the-mill origin story for a superhero. I liked how Gotham was constantly set in a dark, gloomy aesthetic. I’ve never seen so many thunderstorms in one book. It was very Batman Begins, but with a heck lot less angst and violence and more teenagers. In fact, it kind of made me want to rewatch the trilogy.


Favorite Posts

I loveloveLOVE when people highlight other blogs, so I figured it’s about time I did the same. Here are some of my favorite posts from the first half of August:


Writing Updates?

I made a Decision recently. I’ve got five months left of the year, and in order to fulfill as much of my writing goals as possible for 2019, I am going to:

  • Finish editing THE WOLF KING into a final draft.
  • Write the first draft of Saints at sea 2.
  • Write the first draft of sister witches 2.

At the time of posting this, I have done none of these, LOL. But keep an eye out because September is scheduled to be a busy writing month!


LIFE!

I feel like all I talk about is books and never actually about myself at all? So hi!

I was on vacation briefly at the beginning of August, and it was amazing. The wind was pretty ridiculous our entire weekend (obviously), but that meant the long days at the beach were a breeze oh my god. Erin (on the right) and I spent most of our time in the ocean, though there was a brief intermission where I looked down and discovered there were tiny silver fish swimming all around me and I hightailed it out of the ocean. After a solid hour-long hype session to work myself back up to being able to swim among fish, we went back in. It turned out to be an excellent, relaxing weekend, which I definitely needed.


I definitely didn’t read as much as I’d hoped to in the beginning of the month. I took five (FIVE!) books with me on vacation, knowing that I’d have two full beach days while I was there, and I only ended up reading 70 pages of one book. I’m not too stressed, though, since I’m approaching the halfway mark on my third NEWTs book, and I’ve still got a full two weeks to finish up. I also did some major pre-writing for posts, so that took away some of the usual quick! think of something to post about! panic that occurs every Monday.

How is your August going so far?

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Mary RYT 200 Tibetan Buddhism Gryffindor Part-time witch, full-time novelist. Lover of words, planets, dragons, and mountains.

5 thoughts on “August Wrap-Up, Part 1

  1. ooh good time of the year for a HP reread! Love the first one too. Shame the music of what happens was so bad- that lingo does sound awful! The disasters sounds fun! So glad you liked Guernsey- I love the book version (I think I was too in love with it to enjoy the film tbh, especially cos of all the changes, as you mentioned). I flew through it too and agree about how well done all the distinct voices were as well. I do hear you about the kiss, but cos it was so beautiful in the book, I didn’t mind as much as I would’ve normally (aka in a not as good book 😉 )
    Thank you so much for sharing my post! ❤ And glad you had a good holiday 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There were SO MANY CHANGES! Like I get exchanging letters is a bit tricky to keep doing in film, but when Juliet ambushed them on the island and everything was like the effff who is this??? I was so mad! She’s practically family before she arrives!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I really agree!! I actually thought that it would’ve been really interesting cinematically to include the letters (I’d just watched Amelie and thought something like the style of that movie would’ve worked better- but instead they went the (in my opinion) uninspiring typical rom com route- which, not to knock rom coms, didn’t work for this movie at all!! It’s just not that kind of story!) I really agree!!!

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      2. It totally didn’t work! The whole point of the book is that everyone is so hopelessly in love with books, and it would have been so wonderful to watch that play out. I would have totally watched a full hour of Juliet and everyone on Guernsey just sitting at tables writing to each other. Or slice of life while the letters are being read on top.

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