I’ve been looking for ways to enrich my site content, so I’m lucky to be surrounded by some very inspiring people, like fellow writer Amanda Linehan, author of North. Each month on her blog, Amanda shares with her followers what she’s reading, watching and listening to, and I couldn’t help but think, “What a brilliant idea!”  Music, books and film are a source of artistic expression and interest as well as a fount of influence and inspiration, much like a circle of life: art feeds art. As a creator, it makes sense to share the artistic creations that fuel your imagination.

Now here I am, jotting down my own media interests for the past month in the hopes you will find it somewhat enlightening, or at least, entertaining. So join me the last Monday of each month as I recap the shows, movies, books and music I’ve consumed; my Monthly Mental Munchies! And, if you have any suggestions based on what I’m watching, reading, or listening to, please be my “because of your interest in . . . ” algorithm and let me know in the comments!

15798638Books: I just wrapped up Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. I didn’t think I’d like it because I generally don’t read historical fiction, but it was expertly written. The style of narrative is unique and the voices of the two main characters are clear and compelling. Looking ahead, I may move to A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney (it’s BVS meets Wonderland—how awesome is that?) or Legend by Marie Lu. I absolutely loved Lu’s Warcross, but I somehow missed her debut series. If I can get to the library, I may also check out BZRK by Michael Grant. An agent recommended it to me as an example of adult antagonist POV used in YA fiction, which is one of the challenges I’m facing in revising my YA epic fantasy saga (remove it or leave it?)

mortal_engines_teaser_posterMovies: I started out the month with Mortal Engines (based on a book by Philip Reeve), and it was . . . not so bad. The actors spit out lots of cliched dialogue that I found immensely irritating, but the film crew created a visually rich world filled with breathtaking action sequences. It was basically perfect dystopian YA.  Mid-month, we finally hauled our butts to the theater to see Into the Spiderverse. With dynamic animation, heart and humor, Spiderverse deserves its Oscar. I was also happy to see Miles Morales and SpiderGwen finally get their big screen debuts. On the small screen, I’m soaking up Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj and One Strange Rock, a riveting documentary by Darren Aronofsky and hosted by Will Smith. I received some disappointing querying news on the 20th, so I remedied that with Amy Schumer: Growing and some brownies. It worked—she’s hilarious.

Audio: I started the beginning of the month listening to Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir on CD, but I had to return it to the library before I could finish it (I’d already renewed it twice . . .) I work from home most days, so I no longer have the long commutes (thank goodness!) that facilitated listening to audiobooks, but I’m planning a potential road trip, so I’ll probably check it out again to finish it up. When it comes to background music for working, writing or relaxing, I generally listen to my Thumbprint Station on Pandora. It plays mostly video game and fantasy movie soundtracks, film scores and instrumentals, but I found myself needing a boost of energy mid-March as the last of the chilly weather clung to Maryland, so I pulled up my 80s New Wave station. Who can resist toe-tapping (or even dancing!) along to some Duran Duran, Depeche Mode or Tears for Fears? I’m finishing up the month in a more mellow mood enhanced by Loreena McKennitt’s “The Book of Secrets.” I went through a heavy “mystic” period in my mid-30s, and this was one of my go-to albums.

See you next month!