As an impatient summer baby, I’ve been looking for ways to keep myself busy until my favorite time of year finally arrives. I know you guys have been, too. Fortunately, I’ve discovered that the excruciating wait for those beautiful, uninhibited summer nights doesn’t have to be spent twiddling your thumbs. The season for designer sunglasses and sand between your toes might still be a couple of months away, but here’s my “hot list” to keep you guys entertained until then.
Listening To: Louder by Lea Michele
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am obsessed with the insanely talented Lea Michele. After the devastating loss of her boyfriend and Glee co-star, Cory Monteith, I found it hard to imagine her returning to the public eye. But she did, and it was with a bang—not to mention with strength and bravery that millions found inspiring, myself included. In her debut album, she exudes all of her pain and determination in that technically perfect sound that she is so famous for. The ballad entitled “If You Say So” is a stand-out track; Michele shares the very last words that she heard Monteith say, her grief tangible through the pretty lyrics. The album sounds like nothing else, despite it being classified into the pop genre. Her voice is built for classic theatre, but put over an emotional ballad or a fresh dance beat, Lea Michele soars to unexpected heights—even for her. I think this is only the beginning for this destined future diva.
While I’ve been not-so-patiently awaiting Lea Michele’s debut book, Brunette Ambition (May 20th, 2014), I picked up this popular and already well-received novel. With the film-version already set for release in the summer, I was very eager to see what all the hype was about. In short, I fell in love. Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters will absolutely charm you. Aside from the obvious love story, there are themes of inspiration, hope, and the fulfillment of wishes. Still, there is certainly the underlying sense of hopelessness that you have to expect when reading a book about teenagers battling various forms of cancer. You will cry (if you have a soul, at least). What’s pretty incredible about the book, however, is how much you will laugh between your tears. This is an absolute must-read.
Playing: Bravely Default for Nintendo 3DS
Thanks to a certain editor of mine, (cough, cough) Megan Portorreal (cough), I no longer have a social life. My days have been consumed by this game, with its captivating storyline and challenging boss battles. With unlimited character customizations, you’ll find yourself forgetting what your primary objective was in lieu of creating killer attack and magic combinations. If you’re looking to escape your world and jump into one of fantasy—pun intended, as the game is very reminiscent of Final Fantasy IV—then this is definitely the purchase for you. Just be warned, you probably won’t be doing much else once you pop this cartridge in.
I know what you’re thinking. Why revisit a movie that’s already ten-year-old news? Aside from it being one of my all-time favorites, I have two words for you: Natalie Portman. Even if you’re not a fan of this gifted beauty, you cannot deny her absolutely captivating role in this film. Pair it with the likes of Jude Law, Clive Owen, and Julia Roberts, and you have a recipe for brilliance. Two couples have their relationships tested when the man from one couple forms a romance with the woman from another. In a pivotal scene where the adultery is discovered, Larry (Owen) asks Anna (Roberts) all the hard-hitting questions that the victim of infidelity never really wants to know the answers to. It’s powerful, twisted, shocking, and heart-breaking. The writing is so intense that it can be mistaken for poetry: “Where is this love? I can’t see it, I can’t touch it. I can’t feel it. I can hear it. I can hear some words, but I can’t do anything with your easy words.” Add a hauntingly beautiful theme song like “I Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” by Damien Rice and you have a solid, albeit under-the-radar film that will seriously blow your mind.
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