Hi everyone! Today I’m bringing you my monthly book and entertainment wrap up. It is a little early I think, as we still have a week to go but I normally do most of my reading and such done on weekends. I’m not anywhere near done with a book or anything so I’m going to go ahead and call it a month haha.
So this post used to be just a book wrap up but since I’ve been reading less it made more sense to combine it with general entertainment, such as musicals, movies, tv shows, or YouTube videos as well. I’ll always start with books and those are still rated on a 5 star system (from Goodreads, link to my page below if you want to be friends there!).
So let’s get started!
This month I did read two books, although I had rather hoped to read a bit more. Ah well, Goodreads is kind enough to remind me that I am still on track to reach my goal of 25 books this year.
Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas
This is the 6th book in Maas’ Throne of Glass series that I have greatly enjoyed so far. I put this off for a long time (I bought it last year when it released, I think early fall?) and I just didn’t feel like reading it. Mostly because the characters I most cared about aren’t in this one! In fact, I would say it revolves around my least favorite character. If you haven’t read the series or haven’t caught up I won’t spoil it, but basically only a few characters that we already know are featured in this story and the rest are brand new. Since I don’t have as much time to read as I used to I’m being more picky about the books I pick up, and so I didn’t feel like I wanted to meet a whole new set of characters just yet.
However I did end up enjoying the story overall. It was interesting enough and Mass cleverly told the story as she tends to do. It did bring back my excitement for the series as a whole too! Maas does tend to take her time writing and it’s prolonged by the fact that she usually alternates between her two series, so we really only get to progress in the story once every two years (also a good reason to put it off as I’d already barreled my way through the previous books). I gave Tower of Dawn a 4 out of 5 stars.
Obama: An Intimate Portrait: The Historic Presidency in Photographs by Pete Souza
I finally got my hands on this gorgeous book! If you’ve followed my book wrap ups for a while you’ll know that I’ve read Souza’s previous books featuring President Reagan, President Obama’s rise to the Presidency, and then his newer book on President Obama’s Presidency that was meant for kids. Souza has served as an Official White House Photographer for both of these Presidents so he has complied some of his photos into these books. This book displays the highs, the lows, the fun, the hard of the office and the beautiful, loving family at the center of it all.
While I was surprised how much overlap there was between this one and the kids version, in fact I would say there’s even less explanation of each photo in this one, the photos are still breathtaking and moving. I’ve seen many of these photos on Souza’s instagram account as well, but they’re displayed so beautifully in this book. I’m sad to turn it in so soon after getting it from the library but I know others must be waiting for this book as long as I have so far and I want them to experience this too. I need to see if there are any more books like this one that feature the official photographs taken during past administrations as well since it’s truly an intimate look into the role. I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars.
So I mentioned my mom and I were going to Chicago to see a musical this month. It was her early mother’s day gift! I am quite weird about saying the name of the musical because even though I’m not superstitious or anything, I just don’t like to tell people because then I’m worried something will happen that will cause me to miss the show. But now we saw it so I can tell you.
We saw Pretty Woman the Musical! Now, I’ve never seen the film (I KNOW, EVERYONE HAS THE SAME REACTION AS YOU) so my mom was saying she was worried I’d hate it. I think my mom and sister think I’m more conservative than I actually am since she thought I’d hate Rent a while back. But not to worry, I found it absolutely charming! Samantha Barks was Vivian, and you may know her as Eponine in the film adaptation of Les Mis. I was over the moon to hear that I would get to see her live as I love her voice. And she was amazing! The entire cast was phenomenal, as was the music.
I would say the music is what surprised me the most. There was a little bit of everything. Rock, ballads, pop, hip hop, even opera! If there’s one thing I can appreciate is a wide range of music and sounds. Oh, and the costumes were beautiful too.
Now, since I haven’t seen the movie I initially didn’t realize this wasn’t already a “musical” in the sense that the film is just a normal film? I’m so confused how the story works without these gorgeous songs and musical numbers! It’s just a perfect story with them! My mom and a coworker that I mentioned I was seeing the musical with both told me they were confused how the story was going to work with the musical aspect brought in so I guess it’s a strong story either way. I am planning to watch the film someday. But for now I am content to revisit my experience through the songs that are now filling my brain. I’m really glad my mom wanted to see it as it’s not a musical I would have chosen to otherwise.
This is a Pre-Broadway World Premier of this musical so I’m expecting some things will change, as shows do tend to do so before they open on Broadway, and I could see a few things that didn’t exactly seem to work with the audience in a way I think they were supposed to go. I wish I could recall some specifics now but honestly I did really enjoy the show and I would recommend it! I’ll be doing a full review on this next week, as well as going more into my day in Chicago so stay tuned for that!
I started watching Altered Carbon this month because of Martha Higareda, who is a Mexican actor that has become very popular in Mexico. I first saw her in one of my all time favorite movies Ninas Mal and since then I’ve loved her acting. Naturally, that was enough to draw me into this Netflix show! Honestly, if it wasn’t for the Netflix original shows like this one I’d have cancelled my subscription long ago. I haven’t gotten too far since my original sit down with the show, I think I’m only three or four episodes in, but I am enjoying it more now that I have more of an understanding of the world. I think the world building is hard to grasp as it isn’t as fluid as I’m used to so it is a show you have to actually watch and not just put on in the background.
I also started watching Jessica Jones. Well, sort of. I’ve watched pieces of the entire first season as my dad likes to do this thing where he watches shows and then leaves it on while we’re eating dinner or something and then I get all the spoilers ever. So I know everything that happens in the season, but I just haven’t really seen it all for myself. Now I’m going back and watching it on my own but I’m progressing very, very slowly with this one. I think I’m almost done with episode 2. Or maybe even 1. They’re quite long! Oh, also he watches it in Spanish so it’s so weird to listen to the voices in English.
I watched two movies last month that I think I forgot in my last wrap up so I’ll add them here real quick. The first was Coco, which I actually bought. I know, who does that anymore? But I really wanted to see it again and I wanted to own this one. I watched it in Spanish and I loved it even more. I normally don’t like dubbed versions but I didn’t mind with Coco. I think that it’s a great film in either language, but somehow it felt even more real in Spanish to me. The other was The Shape of Water and I did like it. I tend to like the stranger movies like that. The less realistic the better I suppose! I was very happy that the film took Best Picture and Best Director as it really was so creative and intriguing.
This month I think I only watched one film unless I forgot about something. I did watch Twinster on Netflix. This is a documentary featuring Samantha Futerman, an actor living in LA, and Anais Bordier, a French fashion student living in London. Anais starts receiving videos and photos of Sam from her friends, noticing that they look identical. She contacts Sam once she realizes that Sam’s story mirrors her own. Both women were born and adopted from the same city in South Korea and born on the same date. Eventually the two start a journey to learn if they are identical twins, or even related at all. I had been in a documentary sort of mood and came across this film that sounded interesting. I really enjoyed it as Sam and Anais described the journey in detail. Sam, being in the film industry, immediately started documenting everything and they both had great records of their messages back and forth. Anais described growing up very lonely, as she was an only child and was bullied for being adopted, which was a huge difference from what Sam experienced growing up. There were so many great moments, such as a DNA tester who cautioned Sam to prepare for disappointment if Anais was not her twin and that they would need to decide how to proceed with their relationship if they weren’t related, if they decided to proceed at all. There was also a beautiful moment where Anais went to greet Sam’s adopted family and immediately they knew she was Anais, not Sam. After two hours, I could tell them apart immediately, although I did need to rely on their speaking and then their clothes (Sam has an American accent, Anais a French one) as they do look extremely similar. I thought it was a sweet documentary and I’m glad Sam and Anais chose to share it with the world.
Oh wait! I did watch another film this month! I watched another documentary called Icarus, which was this year’s Oscar winner for Best Documentary. It became available on Netflix soon after the ceremony, which was very exciting to see it featured. The film follows Bryan Fogel, who is a cyclist and featured in the film. Fogel decides to contact Grigory Rodchenkov, the director of the top Russian anti-doping lab, to start a regimen that will allow him to cheat by doping undectected in his sport. As he does he and Rodchenkov form a close relationship and Fogel starts to learn about a huge international doping scandal. During the film Rodchenkov reveals how extensive doping is within Russia’s athletic programs, and how it’s sponsored by the state. The film also provides a front row view to the impact when this is revealed to the world. I did greatly enjoy this documentary once things got going. It took some time to get into the story as I’m not a fan of cheating in general and that was how the story got started, but as it evolved it became a much better investigative piece.
So I didn’t keep track of all the videos I watched this month (surprise, surprise) to select the top three. I’ll have to do a better job at that next month! Here’s three recently watched videos/channels that I’ve been enjoying though.
First up is Alyce Rocha, who is a gaming YouTuber from the UK (I believe, guessing from her accent). I’ve watched her play through Assassin’s Creed: Origins, What Remains of Edith Finch, and Life is Strange: Before the Storm. Well, I’m still making my way through that one as I had to stop to go through KatftWynn’s Life is Strange to avoid too many spoilers as she was making a lot of references to that game.
I also enjoyed the video by Jenna Marbles titled Giving My Hamster a Home Makeover. Her hamster, #Ad, got a complete home makeover that looked really impressive! It was a rainforest theme and Jenna put so much work into it. What made it an even better video was that she linked to her inspiration which was suddenly made Jenna’s display look like it barely had any theming whatsoever, which was so hilarious!
And lastly, I’m selecting Taylor Swifts new music video for “Delicate“. My bff Erin didn’t care much more it but I loved it since Taylor’s dancing is just sooooo bad and hilarious. I have to say I had to look away and cringed when she was jumping barefooted in the cobblestone street thinking “her poor shins!!!” but I did like her video. Normally I don’t like the whole “boo hoo I’m famous it’s so hard” thing because clearly that is something that should be expected but her video made it look so raw and real that I really appreciated it.
Phew! So that was a much longer post than I thought it would be. I hope you’ve enjoyed it and let me know what you’ve done lately entertainment-wise. I’d love to know!
Thanks for reading!
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