August was 100% recuperation and mental health self-care. I watched TV, played video games, hung out at a lake, and turned my brain off for a while. So no new art this month, but plenty of things that I enjoyed.
MOVIES + TV
The biggest TV surprise for me this month was how much I loved Schitt’s Creek. I kept hearing about the show from my sister, but I have a hard time actually sitting down and watching TV so it took me way too long to get around to it. The main thrust of the story is that a very wealthy family gets in trouble for not paying taxes and loses everything except for a small rural town, Schitt’s Creek, which they bought as a joke many years back. With no other options, the parents (played by Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara) and their two adult children (Dan Levy and Annie Murphy) end up living in the town’s roadside motel and facing different humorous dilemmas each week. Typical sitcom fare for sure, which is greatly elevated by a stellar cast and smart writing. The quality of the performances and the writing means that even though these characters are often unlikeable, you fall in love with them all anyway.
One additional element that I really enjoyed is that the son David is pansexual and gets to have an amazing love story. It is so joyous to see a gay romance like this on screen; one where the characters are allowed to be happy and in love and don’t face a ton of tragedy. Plus, I am a hopeless romantic and have rewatched their big romance scenes (like this one, caution: spoilers) way too many times. So come for the entertaining sitcom, stay for the incredibly sweet love story. (Seasons 1-4 are streaming on Netflix., 5 & 6 are on Hulu “Live TV” so I haven’t been able to watch those yet).
What We Do In The Shadows
I’m a big fan of the original What We Do In The Shadows movie but was a little unsure how well it would translate to TV. There was no need to worry though - the show is great. The show moves from New Zealand to Staten Island and features a new cast of characters but keeps the same style and humor and approaches a lot of the same story beats in different ways. Plus there are some great guest stars that I won’t spoil here. (Season 1 is streaming on Hulu)
A lovely adaptation of the book, carried strongly by David Tennant’s Crowly and Michael Sheen’s Aziraphale. Their friendship and chemistry are the heart of the show and I now understand why it spawned so much fanfic/shipping. The production and costume design (especially the dukes of hell with lizards on their heads) also stood out. I really liked it. (Streaming on Amazon)
Wolfenstein: Young Blood
I had a lot of fun with this one (with a few caveats). The levels felt a bit samey, the final boss was disproportionally difficult, and I had hoped the game would lean more into an 80s aesthetic, but all that being said I loved the co-op option, the gameplay was well crafted, and the two main characters were great. So not my GOTY but still worth checking out, especially if you like the other recent Wolfenstein games (which I totally do).
Brazen and the Beast (Sarah MacLean)
I like many of Sarah MacLean’s books but I think Brazen takes the crown as my favorite. I loved the two main characters and the romance built on equality and mutual respect. The hero, Whit, is a big tough (gorgeous) crime-lord-with-a-heart-of-gold who doesn’t talk much and has a ton of emotional baggage. The heroine, Hattie, is the very competent, chatty daughter of a shipping magnate who is determined to take charge of her life and the family business. Their first extended interaction involves Hattie, on her way to visit a brothel, throwing Whit out of a moving carriage. 💕
Spellbound (Allie Therin)
The first thing that endeared this book to me was the setting: New York, 1925. For some reason this isn’t a time and place that comes up much in the books I read (probably just not reading the right books) and I really enjoyed what it added to the story: Coney Island, illegal speakeasies, mobsters, etc. Both a romance and a paranormal adventure, Spellbound follows Rory, a young man who has the power to touch an object and see its history. When Arthur, the rich, handsome son of a senator, enlists Rory’s help scrying the origin of a dangerously powerful ring, Rory is begrudgingly introduced to the larger world of magic in New York and an evil plot that could very well end with the destruction of Manhattan. The book takes a little while to get going but overall I enjoyed it and am looking forward to more of Rory and Arthur’s story.
Pumpkinheads (Rainbow Rowell & Faith Erin Hicks)
A short but sweet graphic novel about two high-school seniors on their last night working at a local pumpkin patch. The art and story complimented each other wonderfully.
I also reread the first two installment’s of Alexis Hall’s Arden St. Ives series in preparation for book three (which came out September 3). If you like modern queer romances this series is one of my absolute favorites. The main character, Arden, is a joy to spend time with and these books make me intensely happy. I’ll talk about book 3 (which I couldn’t put down and finished in less than a day) in my September round-up.
I’ve been listening to Taylor Swift’s new album for the past two weeks. 🤷🏻♀️ I can’t help it, it’s catchy AF.