My Last Two Weeks in Books, Movies and TV 7/11/19

Since I was on vacation and driving last Friday, there was no week in review last week. So, I will try to remember two weeks for one post. That’s not likely.

Movies – We finally watched Captain Marvel the weekend before we left for Kentucky. I really liked it and I’m looking forward to more Captain Marvel adventures. I went to see Spiderman this morning. I think the new Spiderman movies are some of the best of the Marvels. This one was really good. I like Tom Holland as Peter and Zendaya as MJ.  The end credit scenes were interesting. Since I forgot to give it to someone to return for me, I watched my very overdue copy of Us this afternoon. I will admit that I was a bit distracted by stuff while it was on, so I didn’t get the full effect. I need to watch it again when it is nice an dark and I’m not distracted.

TV – We finished the latest seasons of Legends of Tomorrow and Madam Secretary before we went to Kentucky. They are still two of my favorite shows. We watched the first episode of What Just Happened With Fred Savage. It is a parody of the after shows like Talking Dead where Savage plays himself as a superfan of a fake show and hosts an aftershow about it. They actually film real scenes for the face show and the cast of the show appears as themselves. Rob Lowe appeared on the first episode as himself. It’s weird and I’m not sure if I will get tired of it, but I liked the first episode. While we were at my brother’s house he turned on Impractical Jokers. I always thought it looked really dumb, and it is, but it is a good dumb and we are hooked. It’s just four friends challenging each other to really dumb things. It’s fun.

Books: I finished three books over the past two weeks:

Exile From Eden by Andrew Smith – the sequel to Grasshopper Jungle, one of my favorite books. It takes place 16 years after the first and focuses on the kids of the characters from the first book. It is what you would expect from Smith. It has romance, coming of age and a lot of weird. I liked it.

Planet Funny by Ken Jennings – This was for book club. It is a study of the growth of humor over the years. Some interesting stories included, but overall, not a great book. I would recommend skipping or skimming.

Full Throttle by Joe Hill – A short story collection. Two are co-written with his dad, Stephen King. I liked every story. I think my favorite was the one about the bookmobile librarian who picks up customers from the past and gives them one last book to read before they die. It comes out in October. I highly recommend it.

On Deck – I’m reading The Fifth Season by NK Jemison. I don’t know what movies I might get when I get back to work this weekend. When my daughter gets home from Kentucky I’m sure we will watch the latest season of Scream. We also still need to watch season 2 of On My Block. I’m finally watching season 2 of Stranger Things. I’m a bit behind.

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My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 6/28/19

I was back and forth to DC through Tuesday and usually very tired when I got home. I went to a baseball game on Saturday night and a concert on Tuesday night. I didn’t read as much on the train as I expected and was not home on the weekend to watch movies. It was a light week in screen and page.

Movies – I did not watch a movie this week. I’m 99% sure I didn’t even watch a piece of a movie on TV while doing other things. My movie viewing has gone down significantly recently. That might be the case for the entire summer. Maybe I will start going to the movies on my Fridays off again in the fall.

TV –  Another week of catching up on shows on the DVR. We are still working our way through Legends of Tomorrow. I’m still occasionally watching Dead to Me on Netflix. It’s a good show and I would watch faster if I had more time home alone these days. We’ve watched a couple of episodes of Mr. Iglesias on Netflix. When talking to someone at work about it we determined that it was AP Bio if AP Bio was a Disney show. I would likely not watch it if it was on regular TV and I had to record it, but since it is readily available and sometimes we need a short show we don’t need to think about we will probably watch more of it.

Books – I thought I would have more to report here. I thought all of the train and Metro rides would lead to more reading. It didn’t. I read less this week. I finished one book and started another. I think I worry too much about missing my stop on Metro to get too involved in a book.

Security by Gina Wohlsdorf – I will use the description the person who recommended it used – a slasher movie in book form. Someone is killing off all of the employees at a soon to open luxury hotel. It’s a nice, short book full of action. The author is able to make you care about the fate of the main characters without spending a lot of time on character backstory. There is a reveal partway through the book that surprised me. I would recommend it.

On Deck – We have Captain Marvel and Isn’t it Romantic on DVD. There is nothing new and exciting on TV. We will probably finish Legends of Tomorrow and season 2 of On My Block this week. I’m reading Exile From Eden by Andrew Smith. It is the sequel to Grasshopper Jungle, one of my favorite YA books. I got the ARC at the conference this week. After that I should probably read my book club book, Planet Funny by Ken Jennings, before I leave for Kentucky since book club is two days after I return, I still have managed to finish every book club book since we started and I don’t want to break my streak now.

My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 6/21/19

This week was more of a normal one for me. I think I had a good balance of screen time and reading time. I chose to read in the morning before work more than I have lately. I will have more reading time the next few days as I will be on a train to DC and back several times. Maybe I can get back on track.

Movies – We watched one movie this week – Cold Pursuit starring Liam Neeson. It was not what I was expecting. I thought it would be just another standard action movie, but it was not. It had a Fargo vibe to it. Neeson plays a snowplow driver who goes after the drug dealers who killed his son. He works is way up the chain to find the person ultimately responsible. It was a little odd, somewhat funny and much better than the standard Neeson action movie.

TV – We finished the most recent season of Fresh Off the Boat. I watched a couple more episodes of Good Omens. I watched the first episode of the new season of Big Little Lies. I watched the first episode of Euphoria(I don’t think I’m the target audience). We watched the new episodes of The Detour and Yellowstone that aired this week. I will forego talking about any of that and use the rest of the space to say how fun DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is. We watch most of the DC shows and like them, but I think Legends is now the best of them. It has a great cast and fun characters. It’s funny and doesn’t take itself seriously at all. What other show on the air would give you a sequence of changes in the timeline that eventually results in all of the characters turning into puppets? The first season is not great, but they wrote out the boring characters and started adding more fun to the show after that and now it is the best of the DC shows.

Books – I finished three books this week

Sadie by Courtney Summers – It alternates between a podcast telling Sadie’s story and the story from Sadie’s perspective. The audio is very good. Sadie is hunting the man she knows killed her little sister. The podcast is following her story and trying to find her. It was a very good story, but don’t believe it if someone tells you it is scary.

Dead Man’s Mistress by David Housewright – The latest in the McKenzie series. McKenzie is a former cop who left the force in order to collect the reward for catching an embezzler. He is now wealthy and acts as an unlicensed PI for friends of friends. I really like the series and the character is fun. I like that he is in a serious relationship and is not the normal PI character that sleeps with another woman every case. In this one, he is hired to find stolen art that might be previously unknown work from a famous artist and soon stumbles on to a related murder.

Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix – A night in a haunted Ikea-like store that is on land that once held a prison. It is a quick read. I liked it a lot. It gets closer to being the scary book I was looking for, but I think I’m just past finding a book scary now. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good horror book. It is well written and creepy.

On Deck – I don’t have any movies on deck. I hope to get Captain Marvel from the library soon. I don’t think there is anything new starting on TV this week so we will keep working through shows on the DVR. The finale of Amazing Race is Wednesday night. I still love that show. I’m reading Security by Gina Wohlsdorf. It was recommended by the same person who recommended Horrorstor so I suspect I will like it. I will probably pick up a lot of ARCs at the conference today so I hope to get some exciting new stuff to read.

My Week in Books, TV, and Movies 6/14/19

I was back to my normal schedule at work this week and getting used to rarely being home alone. My reading and watching habits are evening out. I’m hoping this means an increase in how much I’m reading over the summer. I should really spend more time reading on the deck before it gets too hot.

Movies – I watched three movies this week. One alone and two with my daughter. I watched Happy Death Day 2 You alone since I’m the only one who has watched the first. I liked the first one better, but this one was also very good. It was a good mix of humor, sci-fi and slasher film. I would recommend both. I watched Fighting With My Family and Always Be My Maybe with my daughter. I really liked both of them. Fighting With My Family is based on a true story about a young woman from a wrestling family in England who is chosen to go to America to try out for WWE. You don’t have to be a wrestling fan to like it. I agree with everyone else that Always Be My Maybe is very good. I’m already a fan of Randall Park and Ali Wong so I was predisposed to like it anyway.  Netflix continues to do a good job with satisfying rom-coms.

TV – I finally watched the first two episodes of Good Omens. I’m watching alone, so it’s harder for me to find time to watch it these days. I really liked the episodes. The cast is great. I’m looking forward to having time to watch more. We’ve been catching up on shows I watch with my daughter. We finished the most recent seasons of Superstore and Speechless this week. Two of our favorite comedies. This was the end of the run for Speechless and it ended well. It was a very satisfying finale. If you haven’t watched Speechless and you like family sitcoms you should try it. It is very good.

Books – I finished two books this week.

Uneducated by Tara Westover – I really liked the book. It is a fascinating look at her life in a survivalist family in Idaho and her journey toward going to college after never going to school as a child. She writes a lot about the abuse she faced at home and their refusal to send the kids to school or to see a doctor, even when there are serious injuries. The family disputes her claims. I spent some time looking them up on Facebook and found some comment threads on her mom’s Facebook where several people dispute the claims in the book. I wrote a little about memoirs here.

The Opposite of Always by Justin Reynolds – It was an interesting plot. A boy meets the girl of his dreams. They fall in love. She dies. He lives that time period over and over again trying to save her without messing up the rest of his life. It fails somewhat in execution. It’s much longer than it needs to be. It never gives a good reason for why the time loop happened and also fails in giving a good reason why the last one worked. It was OK, but I wanted more.

On Deck – We will likely watch Cold Pursuit because that’s the one movie I have that I know my wife will watch. I am going to make my daughter watch When Harry Met Sally at some point. Two shows I like start back this week. The Detour on TBS and Yellowstone on Paramount. I hope to watch more Good Omens and my daughter and I will probably finish the past season of Fresh Off The Boat. I should finish listening to Sadie today and I am also reading Dead Man’s Mistress by Davi Housewright.

 

My Week in Books, TV, and Movies 6/7/19

My first full week back home, but still an off week. My schedule has been odd. It’s just me and my daughter at home. We both fall asleep a lot earlier than normal. Not exactly a week conducive to movie watching. Plus, she is not exactly thrilled with the movie choices I have from the library. So, there was a lot of catching up on TV this week.

Movies – I feel like we watched a piece of an old movie on TV this week, but I can’t recall what that might have been.  Otherwise, for the reasons stated above, we did not watch a movie this week. I thought we would at least watch Always be my Maybe on Netflix, but I think she is waiting to watch that with one of her friends.

TV – This was a week of catching up on TV.  I’ve recorded and saved several shows for my daughter while she was at college. We have been catching up on those this week. This is when you find out which shows you really care about and which ones you will watch when they are the only options left. She finished the season of Survivor and caught up to me on Amazing Race(I’m still 4 episodes behind) and then we watched all of the Superstores we had recorded. Superstore is still one of the best comedies on TV and this season ended in a rather dramatic way. I can’t wait to see what happens next season. We also watched Beat Shazam(while I played along on the app) and America’s Got Talent(I missed both golden buzzers because I was asleep by the end of the show).

Books – I finished two books this week:

Dry by Neal Shusterman – After a long drought California is completely out of water. The story revolves around kids who go looking for their parents who disappeared while going to where the government was supposed to be handing out water. I really liked this one, as did my daughter. She audibly gasped at some parts of the book.

Gmorning, Gnight: Little Pep Talks for Me & You by Lin Manuel Miranda – Probably not meant to be read through in one sitting like I did it. Probably good to own and pick up when you need a pep talk. It was a really quick read.

On Deck – I don’t know if we will watch a movie this week. My wife comes home on Sunday, so that will increase the chance that someone will want to watch one of the movies I have, but only slightly. I do have Happy Death Day 2 You to watch alone. I keep forgetting about that. I hope to watch the first episode of NOS4A2 soon and the second season of Big Little Lies starts on Sunday. I made the mistake of showing my wife the trailer for Good Omens thinking it would lead to her saying it looked too weird and we should watch it without her. It did not work out that way and now we have to wait for her to be ready to watch it. I’m currently reading Educated by Tara Westover and listening to Sadie by Courtney Summers.

My Recent Movies, Books and TV 5/31/19

Over 20 hours on a plane over the last week or so means I had a lot of time to watch random movies and read a book. It also means less time watching non-movie TV. The only thing we found on TV in English while away that was not a movie was The Tonight Show. Usually, our trips overseas mean we watch random TV shows at night because they are what we can find in English, Not so this time.

Movies – I watched one movie on the trip over and then slept off and on. I watched one movie on the second leg. I watched three movies on the way home.

The Upside – I watched this one on the way over and dozed a lot during it. What I saw was decent. Kevin Hart plays Kevin Hart again. If you like him you will like the movie

On the Basis of Sex – Really well done and well acted. If you enjoy movies based on historical events you will enjoy this one.

Mary Poppins Returns – I don’t really remember the original, so I can’t compare this one to it, It was pleasant and fun. I liked the music and I’m a fan of Lin Manuel Miranda, so I enjoyed it. I don’t know if I would have watched it away from a plane environment.

The Kid Who Would Be King – This one was a lot better than I expected. I should have expected it to be good since it was written and directed by Joe Cornish. It is a fun, modern, kid version of the King Arthur story. I especially liked the kid who played Young Merlin. Patrick Stewart is adult Merlin.

A Simple Favor – Another one I liked a lot more than I expected. I like Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick, so I was predisposed to like this one anyway, but it was really good. I didn’t really expect the story to go the direction it did. That’s always a good thing.

TV – Nothing new to report on TV-wise, so I will use this space to complain about the cancellation of AP Bio. AP Bio is a really good, really funny show that got much better in the second season as it became more of an ensemble comedy. It was such a talented cast. Instead of giving it a chance with a more regular, non-midseason schedule NBC decided to cut it and try again with some new show that they will screw up by holding until mid-season and then having random weeks when it’s not on at all.

Books – I read two books over the past two weeks. One was a 700+ page fantasy book and the other was a YA novel about a family threatened by the cartels in Juarez.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch – It took me a long time to get into this one, but that might have been because I was reading it while tired from traveling. Once I did get into it I really liked it. I liked it enough that I spent an entire three hour flight from Baku to Istanbul reading it and never even looked at my screen to see what movies were available. Lynch is like George RR Martin in that he is not afraid to kill off characters the reader might expect to be a larger part of the story. If you like epic fantasy, I would recommend this one. It also finishes the main story in the first book so you don’t necessarily need to keep reading past book one to finish the story.

Disappeared by Francisco Stork – A YA novel about siblings in Juarez, Mexico. Sara is a reporter who is investigating the disappearance of young girls, including her best friend. Her investigation makes her a target of the criminal network in the city. Her brother is dating a wealthy girl and is being lured into the criminal world by her family and their connections. I meant to just skim this one real quick to prepare to talk about it at a school on Monday, but I got sucked in fast and really read it.

On Deck – We have four movies on DVD because somehow every time I go away all of the movies I have requested from the library come all at once.  We have Fighting With My Family, The Mule, Vice and On the Basis of Sex. I have two more books I need to at least skim for my presentation on Monday. I hope to watch Good Omens on Amazon as soon as possible, but I have a lot of stuff I need to do this weekend.

My Week in Books, TV, and Movies 5/17/19

I’ve reached the point where I’m going to have to resign myself to this being one of my lowest number of books read in a year. I don’t know if it is the books I’m choosing or my state of mind, but it is taking me forever to finish a book these days. I should be reading a lot more. I have no kids at home. I have at least an hour every night home alone. I have days like today when I’m off work and my wife is actually at the office. What will I do with today? Watch the Grey’s season finale(already done), do a load of laundry, clean toilets, mow the lawn, vacuum if I still have time and then maybe read for a couple of minutes after it is all done. What do I do with my time alone every other day? Walk the dog and watch TV. I’m not making time to read and when I do read  I fall asleep or get distracted. Maybe my upcoming travels will increase my reading, but I doubt it. Now, on to the week.

Movies – I only watched one movie this week. We watched Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse while the kids were home for Mother’s Day. Well, three of us watched it. My daughter had seen it already and slept instead. I liked it a lot. My son liked it a lot. That is not a surprise. The surprise was that my wife actually liked it a lot. I did not think it was a movie she would enjoy and I was surprised when she said we could watch it and actually liked it. Thumbs up from the entire family.

TV – Nothing new on TV. This was a week of watching season finales of the shows I watch and reading about which shows are coming back and what new shows are coming. I think most of the finales I’ve watched have been satisfying. I thought about watching the series finale of Big Bang even though I don’t watch the show but opted against it.  I liked it at first but gave up on it pretty early. I know a lot of people loved it. I just didn’t have an interest in it.

Books – I finished Word by Word: The Secret Life f Dictionaries by Kory Stamper,  Stamper is a lexicographer for Merriam Webster and writes about the work of writing a dictionary.  There were some interesting chapters and interesting facts(pumpernickel means fart goblin), I was surprised that people actually write to the dictionary. It would never occur to me to do that. It was not a bad book, but not what I would typically read.

On Deck – I will watch whatever movie is available on the plane and whatever we can find on TV in Baku. I’m desperately trying to finish Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen before we leave and have some teen books downloaded to read on the trip. They are books I need to read for work before I get back. Maybe all of the time on planes and in airports will help increase my reading. I doubt it.

My Last Couple of Weeks in Books, TV, and Movies 5/9/19

I did not do my normal weekly last week. I was away at a conference Friday morning and lazy Saturday morning. The sad thing is, I don’t have a lot to report even covering two weeks. I’m starting to think my entire reading year will be slow.

Movies – The only movie I’ve watched over the last two weeks is Avengers Endgame. I went to the movies the morning I was heading to the conference and then drove directly from the theater to the hotel. It’s hard to talk about the movie without spoilers. I did think it was a good wrap up of the original Avengers phase of the movies. I’m curious to see what the next big team-up movie will be.

TV – Still mainly dealing with an almost full DVR. I am still watching the latest season of Shameless on DVD and watching every new episode of Game of Thrones live. I have been watching the 1969 documentary series on ABC. The first episode bored me a little as it was about the moon landing and I feel like I’ve heard everything I need to hear about that. Episode two was about Manson and I’ve always been fascinated by that story and they had both Squeaky Fromme and the member of the family who testified against them giving their perspective. It was a good episode. This week’s was on Ted Kennedy and Chappaquiddick. I didn’t really know a lot of detail on the story, so that was an interesting one to watch. I will ignore the fact that a retrospective series on the year I was born means I’m old.

Books – I finished two books over the past two weeks. Rayne and Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner and Last of the Stanfields by Marc Levy. Rayne and Delilah is a YA book about two girls who host a public access TV show where they screen horror movies. They are at the end of their senior year in high school and dealing with what that means for the show and their friendship. It was good, but I hate the books that make it seem normal and right for an 18-year-old to make major life decisions around the plans of their high school relationship. Last of the Stanfields is about two people who get letters alluding to secrets in the past of their moms. It alternates between the present and 1980 when the moms are best friends living in Baltimore. It was a good story with a few flaws in some of the characterizations and dialogue My book club thought maybe some of that could be a translation issue(it was originally written in French). I did enjoy it,

On Deck – I need to watch Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse this weekend, but I’m sure my wife has no interest in watching it so I’m not sure when that will happen. A lot of season finales on TV this week and the network upfronts are next week so I will be writing about the new fall schedules. I am reading Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper because I traded book clubs with a coworker this month because I’m out of town for mine.

My Week in Books, TV, and Movies 4/26/19

I’m way behind on my reading for the year. Too much screen time, books for work that even when they are good feel like homework, mediocre books, etc have all contributed to that. Now that the weather is nice, I need to sit and read on the desk without my phone so I’m not distracted by any type of screen. My TV and movies are average for the week.

Movies – We watched the second Fantastic Beasts movie while the kids were home for Easter. It was OK I enjoyed seeing the past versions of Harry Potter characters, but I didn’t think the story was a strong as the first. I will still watch the next movie. My wife went to Redbox Monday while I was at work and rented Bumblebee. She loves the Transformers movies. Bumblebee was much better than most of those movies. It helps that they had some decent actors that I like as the humans in the movie. I’m still not a big fan of the movies.

TV – I watched the first three episodes of the latest season of Shameless. I still really like the show and I’m still pulling for at least one Gallagher to have a happy ending. I finished the final season of One Day at a Time. I liked it, but I’m not clamoring for another season. Sweeps started last night so we can look forward to TV episodes full of major events. TVline.com says that there are 27 confirmed deaths of characters on the broadcast networks shows during this sweeps. Game of Thrones will get close to that tomorrow.  Surprising renewal news yesterday – All American was renewed by the CW. I really like the show and was sure it would be canceled.

Books – I only finished one book this week – A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller. I liked the book and would recommend it, but it took me a while to read. I think it was because it as for work so it felt like reading for school and not for fun. If you like sci-fi you should read it. It is weird that it was the second book I’ve done for book club that was a sci-fi that revolved around the Catholic church.

On Deck – I’m reading Rayne and Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner and need to also finish The Last of the Stansfields by Marc Levy by next Friday for my personal book club(more homework). I don’t think there is anything new for TV this week. I will be mourning deaths on Game of Thrones Sunday night. We have some movie options for the weekend but we might opt to just catch up on TV shows instead. I leave for a conference on Wednesday, so that will limit my viewing for the week. I hope to get more reading time while alone in a hotel room, but I’m afraid I will just stare at some sort of screen instead.

My Week in Books, TV, and Movies 4/19/19

It was a big movie week for me and I still had time to watch TV shows and finish a book. I’m sure there is some cleaning around the house I should be doing instead, but all of that was more fun.

Movies – My big week in movies was mainly due to them being due back to the library. I take a lot of movies back unwatched, but I wanted to make sure I watched these, so we made time for them. Here’s the list:

Girl in the Spider’s Web – It was good, but I did doe through a lot of it. That was more a me thing than a movie thing. I do think it’s weird that they made the first movie and then recast and skipped to the 4th book in the series.

Vemon – I really liked this one. It was fun and Tom Hardy was good in the lead role I hope they make more.

Instant Family – This was a lot better than I was expecting. I think Mark Wahlberg should do more comedy and less dumb action moves. Rose Byrne is always really good. It made me miss working with teens.

Green Book – Very good movie. One of the few Oscar movies that my wife actually liked. Great acting from both Mortenson and Ali. Highly recommend.

TV – The big TV event was the premiere of the final season of Game of Thrones. I watched live so I didn’t have to worry about spoilers. It was fun to see so many characters together in the same place. I was disappointed it was only 55 minutes. It was also the premiere week for the new season of Amazing Race. It’s the one reality show my wife will watch with me. It’s also the one I think I could actually compete on and not embarrass myself too much. This season has former Race, Survivor and Big Brother contestants competing. The only downside of this is it brings Rupert back on my TV. I don’t know why people like him so much. He’s very annoying.

Books – I read two books this week. Both a little disappointing.

Rule of Law by John Lescroart – The latest in the Dismas Hardy series. I’ve always loved this series, but the last couple have not been great. It might be time for Lescroart to end the series or at least focus on some of the more interesting side characters instead of Hardy.

The Size of the Truth by Andrew Smith – I love Smith’s work. This one was not a bad book. It was his first book written for middle-grade readers and I was reminded that I generally don’t enjoy books written for that age group. I’m sure younger readers will love it. I think it would have been better if it would have been just the middle school story and did not have alternating chapters of when the main character fell down a well when he was four.

On Deck – I’m reading A Canticle for Leibowitz for my book club at work. I have the second Fantastic Beasts movie on DVD from the library alone with Kin and A Silent Voice. I should have the latest season of Shameless on DVD this week.