The summer is going by dangerously fast. Here’s how I spent the month of July!
Django Unchained (2012) Hooooooooooo that was good! I somehow missed this during its theatre release but it was as violent, uncomfortable, and satisfying as I could’ve hoped.
Home Alone (1990) Nothing like an out-of-season movie to break up the onslaught of summer blockbusters!
Jurassic World (2015) Ooooof. So this fell squarely into the “meh” category. To be fair, it could’ve been a loooooooot worse, but that doesn’t excuse it from the potentiality of what could have been! The ending is a perfect example of this: it was weirdly satisfying and yet I was taken out of the moment by the realization that I was watching a bunch of CGI monsters duke it out…no humanity. OH! And the most heart-wrenching moments ALL came from dinosaur deaths so what does that even say about the movie/me/Hollywood???
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) Now this is how you use the charming wiles of Christopher Pratt. In watching this with my sister and brother-in-law (who have no background knowledge of these characters) I saw through their eyes how many random characters the film throws at you in the first half hour. But by the time the prison-break was over, everyone was on board. So good.
Me and Earl and The Dying Girl (2015) Hmmmm. The story was strong and the acting was great, but I couldn’t get past the feeling that the main character had it so good and couldn’t grasp his privilege even though Earl and “They Dying Girl” have it way worse. It was like we were spending all of our time with the least interesting of the three.
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (Episodes 1.01 to 1.03)
I’m only three episodes deep but this is picking up nicely! There’s a good sense of legitimate stakes at play here and the magic really feels like a rare gift in this world.
Attack on Titan (Episodes 1.16 to 1.25) Whoa am I glad I came back to this after that lull. I’m pretty sure episodes 23 and 24 were reversed cause I was all like “whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?” but it sorta played out like a Memento-styled reverse thing so it’s alright. Definitely worth it if you can stomach the violence and now to wait a year for season 2.
Steven Universe (Episodes 2.08 to 2.18) Another one with which I’m glad I stayed! The latest batch of episodes are as sentimental as they are poignant and maaaaaaaan do they hit home. These are rich characters and I’m genuinely stoked to see what comes next!
Gravity Falls (Episode 2.12) It felt like this one episode was the culmination of two seasons and it 100% delivered! It’s a good time to be a fan of serialized animation.
Homeland by R. A. Salvatore (Complete) In an attempt to get deeper into the world of D&D (and after a strong recommendation) I’ve started this series and so far it’s a lot of fun! Drizzt is like a vegetarian amongst carnivores only he’s a wicked master swordsman and has a sweet panther for a bestie.
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (Complete) I’ve read a good number of mysteries and this one still had me stumped up until the end. If you’re a fan of the Song of Ice and Fire-style of multiple narratives and points-of-view then definitely try it out.
Dororo by Osamu Tezuka (Complete) A warlord sells his son’s humanity (to 48 demons) for victory on the battlefield and now the son grows up to fight those same demons? Money in the bank! It’s the adventure of an Astro Boy story but with a little more face-melting and limb-slicing. Hiiiiiiiiiiighly recommend but be warned that the ending left a little to be desired.
Kill My Mother: A Graphic Novel by Jules Feiffer (Complete) There are so many plots running at the same time that I found myself mixing up some of the characters (and while the artwork is beautiful, the loose style and similar designs for each character doesn’t help with this). With that said, the story is thoroughly fulfilling and rewards multiple reads. I’d say pick it up if you’re into 40s noir crime dramas with a lot going on.
My Brother, My Brother, And Me (Podcast) The biweekly release of The Adventure Zone just wasn’t enough McElroy for me so this advice podcast is filling that void. Super fun and it’s always nice to listen to (what sounds like) a healthy sibling relationship.
I Get Wet by Andrew W.K.(2002) So a friend posted “Party Party Party”onto Facebook for my birthday and I thought “Hey. I’ve never actually listened to this album and I should give it a listen” and hoooooooo boy did it not disappoint! It’s everything I wanted it to be but I think Pitchfork’s dual ratings of 0.6 and 8.6 perfectly captures my sentiments.
Famaze (Oryx Design Lab) This is a fun (and free!) rogue-like game that can take as long or as little as you’d like. I just played through the “story” and after those 2ish hours I was satisfied with the experience.
Portal (Valve) I had big plans to replay this, then get into Portal 2, and THEN play that sweet mod that was going around a while back. But then I got distracted by other stuff and thus only got as far as the game I’ve already played womp womp.
As always, any recommendations based on stuff you see here (or just in general) is thoroughly appreciated so don’t be a stranger!
Wanda Maximoff was the daughter of the mutant called Magnus and a gypsy woman named Magda. Just prior to her birth, her mother fled from her father, terrified of the bizarre powers he suddenly manifested and his intentions of world domination. Seeking refuge in the scientific citadel of Wundagore in the Balkan mountains of the tiny nation of Transia, Magda was taken in by Bova, a woman evolved from a cow by the master of genetic acceleration, the High Evolutionary. he High Evolutionary did find such parents for them in the persons of Django and Marya Maximoff, a gypsy couple camped nearby who had lost their own two children, Ana and Mateo, during World War II. The Maximoffs accepted the strange gifts from the High Evolutionary and were told their names were Wanda and Pietro. When Django began to steal food to feed his starving family, enraged villagers attacked the gypsy camp and Wanda’s magic protected the gypsy community and became a well respected Gypsy Witch!
There’s still plenty of time to explore a fantasy world before school starts up again. Whether you’re looking for a series or a stand-alone, a talking animal adventure or a battle-hungry saga, we have an option for every fantasy reader.
Go back to the beginning with the first Ranger’s Apprentice book. Will has always feared the Rangers, and never expected to be chosen as an apprentice for the shadowy organization at the age of 15. As he begins his training, Will learns that the mysterious Rangers are actually the protectors of the kingdom, and that a deadly battle is brewing in the realm. Start with book one, The Ruins of Gorlan, then read all 12 books in his New York Times bestselling series.
Whether you’re already a Ranger’s Apprentice fan or completely new to John Flanagan’s novels, you won’t want to miss the epic nautical battles and edge-of-your-seat thrills of the Brotherband series. Start with the first book, The Outcasts, and binge-read straight through to book five, Scorpion Mountain.
Joey was just your average seventh grader until ragic (that’s rat magic) transforms him into a rat. But when he pulls the spork from the stone, everyone suddenly thinks Joey is the hero they’ve been waiting for. Armed with his trusty spork, Ratscalibur, Joey embarks on a heroic quest to find the wizard Squirrelin and save his furry friends—and, if he’s lucky, become human again.
Enter a world unbound by time, where each continent has been flung into a different era. Mapmakers are equal parts explorers, scientists, and magicians. Join 13-year-old Sofia, her best friend Theo, and her Uncle Shadrack (a famous cartographer) in this smart, action-packed adventure series. You’ll race though The Glass Sentence and The Golden Specific (available now), but you’ll have to wait for the third and final installment in the Mapmakers trilogy to come out in 2016.
Ursula Vernon, the author/illustrator of the award-winning Dragonbreath series, is back with another richly illustrated adventure for kids between the ages of 8 and 12. Castle Hangnail needs a wicked witch or else the Board of Magic will decommission the castle and kick out the minions living there. Molly, a 12-year-old witch, steps in to save the castle. There’s only one problem: Molly doesn’t seem to be, well, wicked at all.
Alice has an incredible gift: She’s a Reader, meaning she can read her way inside of certain books. When a fellow Reader is murdered, Alice must track down the apprentice rumored to be responsible for the crime. Filled with magic, danger, and unpredictable twists and turns, this dark and thrilling sequel to The Forbidden Library is not to be missed.