In Which I Recap My Month of June

Hello, friends! I hope that you’re all having a lovely final day of June and are ready to plunge into July! (I’m going to say the same thing I say at the end of every month: how is it going to be July already? Yikes.)

I always enjoy reading recap posts and hearing about what my blogging friends have been doing, so I thought I’d give you all a quick recap of my June, including the books I’ve read and the things I’ve watched.

…I’m standing on a narrow stone bridge with my staff facing the bane of every blogger’s existence. Intros. Everything I try sounds cheesy.

*pounds staff and shrieks at cheesy intro* “You shall not pass!”

I’ll keep practicing.

Let’s get straight into the recap.


~ Media ~

I read a total of 22 books this June (including a short story)! My reading goal for this summer was originally 25 books, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to be able to crush that goal in the next couple weeks.

Read (links are to my Goodreads reviews, and the numbers in the fancy brackets are my personal star ratings):

  • Simulated by Nova McBee {3/5} – I really enjoyed Calculated, the first book in this thriller series by new author Nova McBee, but the sequel unfortunately fell flat for me in several ways. I did still enjoy reading it; it just wasn’t stunning, in my opinion.
  • Dear Author by Laura A. Grace {3/5} – I loved the encouraging letters and the adorable art in this little book, but I did think that the encouragement for authors could have had a little more substance.
  • The Sixth Christmas {5/5} and “Arbrook Huxley and the Star-Crossed Lovers” by Mollie E. Reeder {4/5} – The Sixth Christmas was one of my favorite reads from the month: a beautiful Christmas novelette reminiscent of It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol. (Yes, I did read a Christmas story in June. Perfectly acceptable; it’s always time for Christmas cheer, yes?) “Arbrook Huxley and the Star-Crossed Lovers” was a hilarious short story from the world of the Celestial Isles, and it convinced me that I absolutely need to read Mollie’s book, The Electrical Menagerie! It’s pretty well-known in the bookish community (at least among the people with whom I’m acquainted), and I’m hoping to purchase my own copy of it soon!
  • Sand Castle Dreams {4/5}, Mele Kalikimaka {4/5}, and Barefoot Memories {4/5} by Taylor Bennett – I don’t read much contemporary, but Taylor Bennett’s Tradewinds series is a gem!
  • A Swiftly Tilting Planet {4/5} by Madeleine L’Engle – This third book in the Time Quintet series was definitely very strange, but this is a series where I love the weirdness. One main thing I admire about Madeleine L’Engle’s writing is that she has an acute sense of the beauty God wove into his world, and she helps her readers to grasp that sense, too.
  • The Reluctant Godfather {4/5}, A Royal Masquerade {4/5}, and Poppy’s Peril {3/5} by Allison Tebo – Oh, my goodness, this series of fairytale-retelling novellas is so cozy and hilarious and adorable! I adored the unique spin on the classic fairytales, and Burndee is a wonderful narrator.
  • 1,000 Character Reactions From Head to Toe by Valerie Howard {3/5} – Although this was a fairly well-rounded list of character reactions, it wasn’t terribly helpful for me.
  • Breakwater {4/5}, Crosscurrent {4/5}, Maelstrom {3/5}, Daughter of the Rivers {4/5}, and To Wander the Paths of the Sea {4/5} by Catherine Jones Payne – I greatly enjoyed this series of mermaids, murder, and intrigue! With a breathtaking underwater world and a plot that bleeds suspense, the Broken Tides series swept me along on an epic adventure. (The conclusion to the series wasn’t as epic as I was hoping, but it was still enjoyable.)
  • The Bad Beginning {3/5} and The Reptile Room {3/5} by Lemony Snicket – So many people I know love this series, and I enjoyed the first couple books. They don’t have much thematic substance so far, and the writing style/humor is…unique (read: morbidly amusing). But I think I’ll end up enjoying the series overall.
  • The Lightning Thief {2.75/5} by Rick Riordan – *hides from the fans* I wanted to like this book. I really did. Of course, going into it, I knew that this series was absolutely steeped in Greek mythology. I enjoyed reading abridged myths growing up, and I still don’t hate the mythology element of it exactly (the various monsters and creatures and places). But the themes deeply bother me. I absolutely hated The Iliad and The Aeneid when I read them for school earlier this year (*hides again*). I vaguely knew about the *things* permeating Greek stories, but I was horrified when I read the actual myths myself. Some authors weave mythology into their stories in a way that is perfectly fine with me (e.g. N.D. Wilson and Kyle Robert Shultz), but Greek mythology drips with humanism and sin, and The Lightning Thief is infused with a taste of those humanistic themes. Plus, the fact that the gods run around and get infatuated regularly and have kids all over the place makes me feel sick. (That’s another prevalent thing in the original myths, I know, but that does not make it okay.) Although The Lightning Thief was well-written, amusing, and in some ways fun, it just didn’t sit well with me. I may finish the series to discover the conclusion of the story, but…we’ll see.
  • Beast of the Night {4/5} and Dragons and Ravens {4/5} by E.E. Rawls – Although the author constantly writes vampire-like creatures into her stories (and, as you might know, I do not like vampires), I’m okay with it because they’re not exactly vampires and are not terribly disturbing or creepy. Beast of the Night was a cozy, gothic Beauty and the Beast retelling. “Cozy” and “gothic” are not two adjectives that often go together, but this novella blended those two aesthetics beautifully with a rich autumnal setting and an imaginative plot. I loved this book so much and might have hugged my phone (I was reading it on Kindle Unlimited) when I finished. Dragons and Ravens was a prequel novella to the author’s Draev Guardians series (which I’m planning to read next month, if I can), and I loved it, as well. Full of emotion and lovable characters with wonderful arcs, I’m so excited to meet them again in Strayborn (book 1 of the Draev Guardians series)!

Watched:

  • Gulliver’s Travels {2/5} – This had some funny moments, but…it was mostly incredibly stupid. My family found it on Disney+ and decided to watch it, and I immediately thought, “Ah, I know exactly what kind of movie this’ll be.” XD
  • The Kid Who Would Be King {4/5} – When this movie first came out a couple years ago, I thought it looked interesting. I found it on Disney+ a few weeks ago (actually, everything in this section except The Chosen is on Disney+) and mentioned that I wanted to watch it. It was actually a really enjoyable movie with many elements from Arthurian legend, which I love! And Merlin was hilarious. Although it had many “I’m going to suspend my disbelief” moments, the themes, English setting, and characters were wonderful.
  • Loki {3/5} – I’ve seen every episode so far (except for the one that released today), and I’m not exactly sure what I think about this show. Like I said in my last post, nothing that Marvel releases will top the Infinity Saga, and the shows so far have felt mostly like money-making gimmicks (I did not like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, although I did really like WandaVision overall). I have enjoyed Loki so far – the story is fascinating, and the philosophical questions the writers raise are important for Christians to ponder. However, Loki’s personality feels a little off to me, and the story seems to be heading in a very…odd direction. I love Loki’s character development in the movies, and I miss that Loki. So we’ll see what I think when the show wraps up.
  • The Emperor’s New Groove {3/5} – I’ll admit: when I first watched this as a kid, it terrified me. XD But this go around, I definitely enjoyed it more. It has a good, though simplistic, theme, and it’s classic, slapstick Disney fun.
  • The Chosen, Season 2 – I’m not going to rate this with a star rating because I’m not exactly sure how to summarize my feelings with a certain number of stars. The first season was excellent, but the second season hasn’t had the same impact/goodness. Mostly, in Season 2 it’s felt like a historical fiction loosely inspired by the Bible. The creators seem to actually want to reach people with the Gospel, but they’re making up so much story that isn’t in the Bible at all. As a Christian who believes in the word of God and the divinity of Jesus, I’ve felt uncomfortable with several of the liberties they’re taking with this show. So, I do recommend the first season, but I’d give caveats for the second season. And as with anything, use discernment and don’t give The Chosen or any other Christian fiction the same weight as the Word of God. 🙂
  • Star Wars: Rebels, Season 2 – I’m working through a long-overdue rewatch of this amazing show (which I talked about more in my last post), and I’m almost done with Season 2, currently on “Twilight of the Apprentice; Part 2.” The Season 2 finale introduces a more intense note to the Rebels storyline, and it never fails to slam me with feels.
(Source) Just look at the pre-Season-2-finale Space Fam. *sniffles*

Listened To:

  • I made a playlist of instrumental music for my WIP “Time’s Travel’s Done,” which contains songs from several timey-wimey movies and shows (Doctor Strange, Doctor Who, and Loki, to name a few). I also made a playlist of songs that remind me of one of my top OTPs: Nick Beasley and Cordelia Beaumont.
  • Of the books I listed above, three of them were audiobooks: A Swiftly Tilting Planet, The Lightning Thief, and The Reptile Room. Funnily enough, I discovered that the narrator for A Swiftly Tilting Planet was Jennifer Ehle (a.k.a. Elizabeth Bennett in the absolute best adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, the 1995 miniseries), who was not my favorite narrator but was okay. (It was odd to hear her American-accented voice in my ears when I’m used to hearing her Lizzie voice. XD) The narrator for The Lightning Thief was also okay, not great, but Tim Curry, narrator for The Reptile Room, was excellent.
  • I’m always listening to Andrew Peterson, CityAlight, and movie soundtracks, along with the lyrical songs from the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. Also, I’ve enjoyed some of The Gray Havens’s music (“Silver” and “Band of Gold” are some lovely songs of theirs).
  • The instrumental version of “Into the West” (from The Return of the King movie) by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra is absolutely gorgeous.
  • My dad heard the song “10 Years” by Icelandic musician Dadi Freyr (the “d” has some accent on it that I can’t type on this laptop) on a Tim Hawkins podcast, and he promptly played it for my family. I think I’m going to have it stuck in my head for the rest of my life. (It’s actually a song with fairly good lyrics amid today’s trashy songs.) If you’re curious, here’s the rather strange but highly amusing music video (which is perfectly appropriate):

~ Writing ~

I’ve written posts about writing in general, but I haven’t talked much about my actual writing projects here.

Well, in case you found yourself wondering what Amelie is currently working on, you’re going to hear some about my current projects.

  • I’m participating in the Go Teen Writers 100-for-100 challenge, and I’ve been keeping up with that since May 31! Although I haven’t had enormous word counts any of those days, I’ve been writing over 1,000 words a week and building a more consistent writing habit. I’m really pleased about that. 🙂 I participated in the 100-for-100 back in the summer of 2019, but I fell off the wagon a couple weeks before the cutoff. I’m hoping to press on all the way to the end this year! Since only words for one project count towards the challenge, I picked my superhero/sci-fi/dystopian novel WIP as my 100-for-100 project. And…I’ve never shared any synopses for my writing projects here before, but I’m going to put my very rough and subject to change synopsis for the novel down below. It’s only in the outlining stage, so like I said in the strikethrough text, it’s subject to certain changes. (The working title is Motus, which is Latin for “movement” or “rebellion.”)

“At the age of 18, everyone can register with the government to receive a superpower. There are some who manifest a gift early without any interference from humans, but those anomalies are deemed “mutants” and “rebels” by the government and are hunted and shunned. They don’t fit into the “perfect” system, so they must be done away with.
Zara Hanson pretends to be excited to receive her gift in another year. But no one knows that Zara has been hiding electricity manipulation abilities that manifested when she was five.
She flees her home after an incriminating incident and joins a band of rebels after they rescue her from a terrifying, unknown fate at the mercy of government labs.
Zara has heard of God. When she learns that He is the one gifting her and her found family with their powers, she must learn to trust him, fight for the truth, and uncover the insidious secrets and evil running deep in a local organization.”

-Synopsis for Motus by Amelie J
  • My secondary WIP is a novelette based of a Pinterest prompt and tentatively titled “Time’s Travel’s Done.” There’s time travel and a grumpy Italian immortal and a British time traveler and sass and shenanigans and European settings and banter and mystery. Yeah. I love it. It’s kind of interesting since my main characters are all adult men and I’m a teenage girl, but it’s so much fun. Here’s a collage I made for it:
  • I signed up for the July King’s Daughter’s Writing Camp!!! (I am so excited about this! I’ve only been on the Slack channels for a few days, and it’s already such a wonderful, uplifting environment. Shoutout to Jen for recruiting me!) KDWC is like NaNoWriMo in the way that you set a goal and strive to meet it, but KDWC is run by Christian women and is only for Christian females. I already feel blessed to be a part of it, and I’m excited to get a lot of words written this July during Camp!

~ Miscellaneous ~

  • CLT standardized test – …Yay. Standardized tests are not the most fun things in the world. While I did get an above-average score, I’m not super pleased with it and think I can do better. (Also, standardized test math must have been designed as a torture method. When I finished the math section on a practice test, I looked at my sister and declared, “This…is the story…of how I died.” Let me know if you understood that reference. *smirks*)
  • Sweet potato cinnamon rolls – My mom is notorious (in the best way!) for experimenting with recipes, and she recently tried one for these cinnamon rolls made with white sweet potatoes. And they were delicious. I love cinnamon rolls and hadn’t had them for so long.
  • Tim Hawkins – Whenever a good, hearty laugh is in order, Tim Hawkins is a go-to. A hilarious Christian comedian, he’s one of the only comedians who has actually succeeded in making me laugh long and hard. Look him up on YouTube. He’s great.
  • Romans – How I love Romans with its rich, vital theology and logical, intellectual writing. Every time I read it, I’m once again deeply impacted by the beauty of God’s sacrifice for us.

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

-Romans 5:1-2
  • Bike rides – There’s a beautiful trail by the river that my family and I love; it’s one of the best trails I’ve ever biked on. Yesterday, there was fluff falling from the cottonwood trees, and it was magical. (In appearance, anyway. Not when the fluff stuck to our faces and made us sneeze.)
  • Book haul – If you read my last post, you know that Kyle Robert Shultz is now one of my favorite authors. During the month of May, I devoured every one of his books and stories I could get, and I loved them so much that I bought all of his fiction books currently available in paperback. I’m a happy bookdragon. (Also, I’m doubly happy because my sister just finished reading all these books a couple days ago, and I can now squeal about them with her. I’ve made another Afterverse fangirl.)

I hope that you all had a wonderful June! Happy July, and I’ll hopefully have another post out next week! (I’ve actually managed to keep up with blogging for three straight weeks. Who am I and what have I done with Amelie?)


What were some highlights of your June? What are you reading? What are your thoughts on Greek mythology and/or Percy Jackson? Do you evaluate audiobook narrators? Have you seen any amusing music videos recently? What do you think of Marvel’s newest film endeavors? If you’re a writer, how are your projects going? Let’s chat in the comments!

4 thoughts on “In Which I Recap My Month of June

  1. I really want to see The Kid Who Would Be King! We saw the trailer before a movie…I can’t remember which movie, though…maybe Endgame? I dunno. But it looked like a lot of fun, so I’ll have to search for it at the library once I finish going through all the Harry Potter movies. I haven’t seen Loki yet, either, but I’m going to spend the weekend with my brother and baby niece in a few weeks, and he wants me to watch it with him. I have to say, despite all the controversy, I’m pretty excited about seeing Hiddles in action again 😉

    My June has been a bit of a whirlwind, haha–but I’ve managed to read (or start reading) two Wendell Berry novels! “Remembering” and “Hannah Coulter.” This is the third time I’ve read the latter title, and I’m pretty sure it’s one of my favorite books.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope you enjoy it if you watch it! Harry Potter, fun! I also hope you enjoy Loki when you watch it. Hiddles is definitely as splendid as always. 😀

      I should really read Wendell Berry! I’ve heard so much praise for his books, and they sound so lovely.

      Like

  2. I’m super curious about Loki! I haven’t had the time to watch any of Marvel’s TV shows lately. I haven’t particularly been trying to make the time, either, because I didn’t really like Infinity War and Endgame and am disillusioned with Marvel in general at the moment. *shrug* We’ll see if I get around to any of the shows. Which one should I start with?

    As for The Chosen… yay! Someone who agrees with me! I am so glad that you, too, feel that season 2 is leaving the Bible behind in many ways. I think it’s still *good*, but it feels like historical fiction. It makes me feel very uncomfortable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I personally loved both Infinity War and Endgame, but I’m also disillusioned with Marvel, mainly because they’re catering to all the progressive agendas nowadays. (Am I surprised? No, not really). I’d recommend starting with WandaVision, because it’s the first one that released and is also fairly good. I do not recommend The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Bucky’s character development is good, but that’s pretty much the only thing I liked about it XD). It’s…very obviously political. I have very many Thoughts about it. And yeah, like I said, Loki is kind of at that point where it could be good or could be meh, depending on the direction they take it. The first two episodes were pretty good; the third episode was meh; and the fourth episode was fantastic. So I’m not really sure what I think about it in general yet. I’ll probably still end up giving it a 3/5 rating, provided they don’t go in a weird/more progressive direction.

      I’m so glad to find someone else who agrees, too!!

      Liked by 1 person

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