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.

Tater Talks Game of Thrones

I have about ten minutes before I have to leave for work and no time to write after so I thought I would say something about the end of Game of Thrones.

Caution Spoilers Ahead

I started the story of Game of Thrones years ago with the books. I was invested enough to ask my wife to walk to the DC library from her office to get one of the books for me because they got it before I could get it from my library. I’ve been reading and watching for a long time and had my favorite characters and thoughts on how I would end the series. It did not end with the king I expected or wanted. I think it was an odd choice, but I’m not the writer, so I have no say in the end. I was happy about the fate of most of the characters left alive at the end.

Sansa declares the north an independent country and is Queen of the North.

Arya is off on adventures.

Jon is with the wildlings north of the wall and free from all of the politics he hated and was bad at.

Tyrion is Hand of the King and doing what he does best – drinking(I assume) and knowing things.

Bronn got his castle and control of the kingdom’s money.

Davos is in charge of the Navy.

Brienne is Commander of the King’s Guard.

Sam is Grand Maester.

Podrick is a knight.

The season felt rushed. It needed more episodes. I think Bran was an odd choice to end up on the throne, but overall, I was satisfied with the end for most of the characters.

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.

Tater’s TV Week Ends: The CW Fall Schedule

I’m surprised there are some new shows to talk about considering the CW renewed every show that was not already ending.  I actually watch a lot of CW because I really like the DC shows.

Monday – 8pm All American 9PM Black Lightning

I really like All American and I was happy to see t was renewed. Watch it on Netflix this summer and then watch season 2 in the fall. It’s good. We watched some Black Lightning, but when we got behind on it we realized we didn’t really care enough to go back to finish it.

Tuesday – 8pm The Flash 9pm Arrow

The two original DC shows together again as Arrow begins its final season. We stopped watching Arrow a while back. I feel like we need to catch up on Netflix over the summer so we can watch the final season. Flash is fun and even though I’m behind because I’m waiting for my daughter to watch with me, I still really like it.

Wednesday – 8pm Riverdale 9pm Nancy Drew

I really liked the first season of Riverdale, but couldn’t make it through more than a handful of episodes of season 2. I will probably give Nancy Drew a try to see what they do with it.

Thursday – 8pm Supernatural 9pm Legacies

I don’t watch either one. My daughter has been watching Legacies now that it is on Netflix, so I’m sure she will want me to record the next season for her.

Friday – 8pm Charmed 9pm Dynasty

Two remakes. I have no interest in either.

Sunday – 8pm Batwoman 9pm Supergirl

More DC shows. I still like Supergirl a lot and I will give Batwoman a try. I’m looking forward to the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover next season.

Midseason – Riverdale spinoff Katy Keene, Legends of Tomorrow, Roswell, In the Dark and The 100. I will only watch Legends. Legends is the most fun of the DC shows.

I might do a look at the entire schedule tonight, but now that we all watch on streaming and DVR does it really matter what is on against what?

Tater’s TV Week #4: The CBS Fall Schedule

I think CBS is my second most watched network. I know it is the one my wife watches the most. I record a lot of CBS staff for her that I don’t watch. They didn’t cancel anything I cared about so  I guess we will be watching a lot again.

Monday – 8pm – The Neighborhood 8:30pm Bob Hearts Abishola 9pm All Rise 10PM Bull

I gambled with the new sitcoms last season and chose the canceled Happy Together over The Neighborhood as the one with the most potential. I was obviously wrong. Bob Hearts Abishola is another new sitcom with a premise(man has heart attack, falls in love with his nurse) that seems thin. I doubt I will watch. All Rise sounds a lot like For the People that ABC canceled. Maybe my daughter will like this one as much as she liked For the People. I didn’t really like Bull when we tried it.

Tuesday – 8PM NCIS 9PM FBI 10PM NCIS New Orleans

My wife watches the NCIS shows. I think she likes New Orleans more than the original now. We both watch FBI. It’s your typical procedural, but I like the cast.

Wednesday – 8pm Survivor 9pm SEAL Team 10pm SWAT

I like all of these shows. I still watch Survivor as soon as I get home from work on Wednesday. It’s not quite the same now that I watch alone, but it’s fun to watch a second time with my daughter to see her reaction. SEAL Team and SWAT are much better than I expected them to be. Of the two I think I like SWAT the best.

Thursday – 8pm Young Sheldon 8:30pm The Unicorn 9pm Mom 9:30pm Carol’s Second Act 10pm Evil

I will try both of the new sitcoms because The Unicorn stars Walton Goggins and Carol’s Second Act stars Patricia Heaton. I really like both of them. Evil sounds interesting. A skeptical female forensic psychologist works with a priest in training and a carpenter to investigate supposed miracles, demonic possessions, and unexplained phenomena. It could be really good or really bad.

Friday – 8pm Hawaii 50 9pm Magnum PI 10pm Blue Bloods

Magnum joins the night with shows that feel like a good fit. Hawaii 50 and Magnum are both in Hawaii and Blue Bloods stars the original Magnum. It makes sense. My wife still watches 50, I watch Magnum with her, but wish it was better and I still really like Blue Bloods. I still want Blue Bloods and Magnum to crossover so Selleck can meet the new Magnum,

Saturday – Series encores(repeats) and 48 hours

Sunday – 7pm 60 Minutes 8pm God Friended Me 9pm NCIS LA 10pm Madam Secretary

I only watch Madam Secretary. LA is the one NCIS my wife doesn’t watch. This is the night CBS makes people mad by constantly having shows start late because of football. They should change the schedule to account for the fact that football is never over by 7.

Midseason – Amazing Race, Big Brother, Criminal Minds, Macgyver, Man With a Plan and Undercover Boss plus an FBI spinoff and a couple of generic new shows. My wife still likes the new Macgyver and I still really like Amazing Race. Nothing else interests me here.