June Jams

Well – I said I was going to post this on Saturday – the actual last day of June, but then I was doing all the things over the weekend and just never sat down I finished this up. So here we are.

This month I did all the things. I suppose the summer reading list is a real thing because I devoured books this month…and the summer “blockbuster” is also a thing because I drastically picked up on my movie attendance too!

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Books I Couldn’t Put Down

The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan – Perfect timing on this book – it tells the (fictional) story of American Rebecca Porter, who moves to the UK to attend Oxford, where she meets and falls in love with Prince Nicholas Lyons (of the British royal family, of course). Hi-jinks, hilarity and heart break ensue and I’d imagine that while Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s love story would seem to be what inspired this, it was published long before Meghan and Harry ever met. I would classify this as a “beach” read – it’s enjoyable and entertaining, very easy to read and enjoy!

Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah – An excellent read! The story of sisters Meredith and Nina and their stagnant relationship with a mother that has always held them at arm’s length was; for me, a book that took a bit to pick up but then became all engrossing and I could not put it down! The story ties a fictional family with the real life events of war-ravaged Leningrad and spins a tale that is gripping, touching and fascinating. I loved this book!

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly – Another story that blends fiction and fact; this book tells the story of real life women Caroline Ferriday and Herta Oberhauser, and the fictional character of Kasia Kuzmerick – and how their lives intersect through the events of WWII. Caroline is an American socialite, Herta is a German doctor and Kasia is a polish school girl and when WWII comes to Poland and Kasia is sent to Ravensbruck, her life becomes entwined with that of Herta Oberhauser…and later, Caroline. Another book that took a little bit to get into but then became absolutely fascinating.

Patrick Melrose: The Complete Series by Edward St. Aubyn – The story of Patrick Melrose, told in five books that cover his life from age 5 to middle aged adult…is a story that I’m not actually that far into. I was inspired to read the books after watching the miniseries and the writing in the book is fabulous – I’m just only about 150 pages into a book that contains all five stories in one – so it’s rather thick.

Books on the Shelf

I am still in the process of reading Patrick Melrose but I have absolutely no clue what I’m going to read now…ha-ha! I honestly did not expect to race through all four of the books above but they were all such wonderful reads (for so many different reasons) and so I just consumed them one right after the other! Any recommendations?

Must See TV

Legion – Surprise! Surprise! After two seasons of the stories’ main protagonist David Haller walking a fine line between good guy and bad boy, the finale of the second season of Legion pointed our character into a very specific direction: an Omega level mutant who has decided to proceed headlong into villain territory. The comic book portrayal of the character of Legion is showcased at the start of the penultimate episode of season two – a godlike figure on a throne, surrounded by skeletal remains, a female in thrall at his feet and the world in his hands – a preview of what is to come, perhaps?

David Haller from Earth-616 in the Marvel Comics universe appeared on 'Legion'.

Legion is always a mind-bending, extremely unique and often times downright weird show – but I think that is why I like it. I like to watch shows that make me think, that sometimes even cause me to question what in the world is happening – and Legion is most assuredly that. The show was renewed for a third season, which I feel will likely be it’s last… I can’t wait to see where it all winds up.

Westworld – Oh man, I guess I just like to watch shows that completely confound me, ha-ha! The second season of Westworld was excellent but somehow managed to serve up even more twists and turns than the first season…and that’s saying something. As always, the acting on the show was incredible and carried some of the more frustrating plot twists.

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The eighth episode of the season; “Kiksuya”, was easily the best episode of the season – if not the series and I watched it twice within 24 hours, with rapt attention both times. I suppose part of the fun of watching Westworld is the discussion that arises after each episode and I do enjoy trying to challenge my mind. Confusing though it can be, Westworld is a stellar show and an enjoyable watch!

Patrick Melrose – The final two episodes of this five part miniseries aired in June and tied up the story nicely…or as nicely as could be expected. The final two episodes take place within mere years of one another and show Patrick’s less than stellar skills at dealing with his mother’s failing health, being disinherited and family strife.

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The miniseries is well worth watching – especially if you’re looking for a quick watch (only 5 hours to binge) with a compelling story line and a litany of excellent British actors bringing the show to life. Check this one out!

Movies of the Month

Ocean’s 8 – I actually ended up seeing this twice in June; once on the day it came out with friends and again with my parents on Father’s Day, because my Dad loves Sandra Bullock. I really enjoyed this movie and the fact that I saw it twice should speak to that – it was good enough that I didn’t mind seeing it more than once. It was funny, entertaining and well… maybe I get it honestly (ha-ha) but I do love Sandra Bullock!

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Deadpool – Hilarious…although not quite as funny as the first, but still really enjoyable. Deadpool is obviously not family friendly (although this movie has a joke to that point) but it’s smart and funny, Ryan Reynolds was born to play this part and the supporting cast was perfect.

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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – I really loved this movie…I really loved Jurassic World in 2015 and this follow up to the movie was well done and I thought the story was great too. Certainly there were aspects of the movie that require you to suspend plausibility a little bit…but then again, it is a movie about dinosaurs being alive today, ha-ha! This was a great two hour thrill ride and I absolutely loved it!

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Incredibles 2 – This was such an excellent sequel and was worth waiting 14 years for! The movie is filled with action, humor and heart-warming moments…everything the first movie had and then some! I will say that I thought Jack-Jack was the best part of the entire movie… then again, I honestly loved it all!

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I’ve come to the realization that all four movies I saw this month can be tied together by Marvel Cinematic Universe… because all four of them have at least one actor who has appeared in at least one of the 19 (so far) MCU movies. Crazy, huh?

Tasty Treats

June was a wee bit less gluttonous than May – but then again, I didn’t spend half of June on vacation like I did in May, ha-ha! We grilled delicious kabobs on the grill more than once this month and also tried grilling corn – it was delightful! I had some delicious drinks – the June Bug and Blue’s Earth Shaker (a milkshake).

I tried my hand at making Philly Cheese Steaks and I think it went pretty well – I need some practice on the transfer, but otherwise – all good! I made Oreo Fluff and Joanna Gaines’ banana pudding – both were delicious! I had macarons from Ma-Ka-Rohn, my favorite Cinnastacks pancakes from IHOP and my Dad whipped up a surprisingly tasty Tater Tot Casserole! I’m hungry now…

Music Playing

I have come to the conclusion that I’d rather listen to classical/instrumental music more than pretty much anything…

Westworld Season Two by Ramin Djawadi – Djawadi is the composer of another favorite show, Game of Thrones and I absolutely love his work. The songs are beautiful and stirring and I downloaded this CD to my phone the moment it was available and have added it into my rotation pretty much immediately!

John Williams Greatest Hits by John Williams – I think anyone would agree that John Williams is one of the greatest film scorers and composers of all time and this album contains so many songs that scored my youth: the theme(s) from Star Wars, Superman, E.T., Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park…just to name a few.

Deadpool 2 by Various Artists – This album is filled with amazing and almost comedic song choices, given the film they support… the album has songs from Celine Dion, Cher, Dolly Parton, Peter Gabriel, Pat Benetar… it’s great. I’ve had this one rotating in between all my instrumental tunes!

The instrumental music was interspersed with podcasts – this month I’ve been listening to Lore almost all the time!

What I’m Looking Forward To

The Fourth of July – I will definitely not be at a Disney park on the 4th, but we do have plans to cook out and shoot some fireworks with friends and I am very much looking forward to that! I’m also looking forward to getting off work on Tuesday the 3rd at 1:00 and not having to go back to work until Monday the 9th – hello long (very long) weekend!

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I definitely chose that picture just because who doesn’t love fireworks over Cinderella Castle? I think we all know that I am a huge fan… ha-ha!

Staycation – Speaking of days off… I’m doing a bit of a staycation and seeing some sights in and around Northern Virginia and I’m pretty excited! We are going to check out Natural Bridge and perhaps the caverns at Natural Bridge… and that should be fun! We also have plans to (finally) go to the National Zoo in DC and we have tickets to the Nationals game on Friday night – although right now the weather for Friday the 6th is not promising. Eek!

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Mamma Mia – Shenandoah University has an excellent theater department and I’m going with my ladies group from church to see their performance of Mamma Mia! I love the music from the show and I know it will be so much fun!

I’m sure there are plenty more wonderful things that will pop up in July – hopefully some more baseball and other adventures – only time will tell! I can’t believe we are on the back half of 2018, isn’t that crazy??

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