Saturday, November 17, 2018

Book Review - Fight and Flight, Magic 2.0 Book 4 by Scott Meyer



I've been reading this series since it debuted and have enjoyed every installment. Somehow the author has found a way to bring something new to the saga without changing the basic premise or any of the things that make the stories so much fun. When I reached the fourth book, I read a lot of negative reviews about this story, so I hesitated to pick it up. Would it be an epic fail like so many readers had reported?

Fight and Flight, Magic 2.0 Book 4 by Scott Meyer is a satirical, comedic, science fiction fantasyIt is available as an eBook, Audiobook, and those paper things your grandparents used to read.

The Good


Premise & Execution. The author has a really clever premise--there is a text file that dictates the makeup of the universe, and altering that file alters reality. People that find the file end up going back to Camelot and pretending to be wizards. The author has also done a masterful job of executing the premise. It's fun, it's clever, it's enjoyable. And four books later, the author hasn't spoiled the stories nor repeated himself.

Characters. The characters are so enjoyable and so likable. They are well developed and while they grow and learn things, they stay basically the same so the stories never drift from what we like.

Narration. The narrator does a brilliant job giving each character a unique voice and reading the stories in the appropriate tone of voice. He's as responsible for the success of the series as the author.

The Bad

Content. This story was as long as others, but very little happened. The story is about dragons. I think the author could have spent a little more time thinking up cool thinks to do with them.

What I Would Like to Have Seen


I wish more had happened.

Overall


Fight and Flight, Magic 2.0 Book 4 by Scott Meyer continues a fun, clever series with lots of pop culture references and video game like adventures. The author has managed to once again bring something new to the saga without changing the basic premise or any of the things that make the stories so much fun, something. The story does not feel like a remake or version of any of the previous stories while still retaining everything about them that made them so much fun. This one didn't have quite as much story or adventure as previous stories. I give this book 4 out of 5 eReaders.


   

Friday, November 9, 2018

Book Review - Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly

I love mysteries, but it's really hard to find a good mystery novel. Too often they are slow paced and so long that I've figured out who did it long before the end.

Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly is a mystery crime thrillerIt is available as an eBook, Audiobook, and those paper things your grandparents used to read.

The Good


Twist/Whodunit. This story had a twist at the end I hand't seen before. I really enjoyed the original idea.

Side Story. This novel actually contained two stories that really didn't have anything to do with each other than the main character. Normally that would annoy me being little more than filler, but the secondary story was actually more interesting than the main story, so I enjoyed it.

The Bad

Pace. The pace was a little slow.

Writing. The writing was proficient, but nothing special. I won't be rushing out to find more titles by this author.

What I Would Like to Have Seen


I wish the characters had been more interesting and the writing stronger.

Overall


Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly is a well written mystery with a twist I hadn't heard before. The side story, while having little to do with the main story, was actually more interesting that the main story. The characters weren't interesting enough for me to read a sequel, nor was the writing anything special. I give this book 4 out of 5 eReaders.


   

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Book Review - The Aviators: Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle, Charles Lindbergh, and the Epic Age of Flight by Winston Groom

I'm a big fan of history, especially from the gay 90s thru the roaring 20s and into the 30s and early 40s. I also love early aviation. So how could I not pick up this book.

The Aviators: Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle, Charles Lindbergh, and the Epic Age of Flight by Winston Groom is a satirical, comedic, science fiction legal thrillerIt is available as an eBook, Audiobook, and those paper things your grandparents used to read.

The Good


Stories. The stories the author chose were incredible, and while the men mentioned didn't really work together or have the same background, their stories parallelled in interesting ways.

Writing. The stories were so well told. The writing didn't get in the way of the narrative. The author was very objective presenting the stories as history and not trying to push a particular view or political position.

The Bad

Narration. The narration was good, but it wasn't great. It didn't take away from the story, but it certainly didn't add anything to it.

What I Would Like to Have Seen


I'd love for this to be adapted to film.

Overall


The Aviators: Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle, Charles Lindbergh, and the Epic Age of Flight by Winston Groom tells the story of three incredible pioneers of early aviation and their lifetimes of contributions even after their initial fame and history-making exploits. The three men didn't work together or even follow the same path, yet their stories have several parallels that I wasn't aware of. The writing was strong, the storytelling masterful. I couldn't put this down. I give this book 5 out of 5 eReaders.


    

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Marvel's Daredevil Season 3 (2018 Netflix Series)

The first two seasons of Daredevil have been about as good as TV can get. And Daredevil: Born Again is one of my favorite comic book stories. So I was so excited for seasons 3.

Marvel's Daredevil Season 3 is a 13-episode Netflix original series based on the comic book by Frank Miller and Dave Mazzucelli. It is rated TV-MA for language, violence, and blood and is appropriate for older teens and up.

The Good


Bullseye. I've never really liked Bullseye in the comic. He just seemed too silly and flat. But this show gave his such a great origin story and made him such an interesting character. The actor nailed the portrayal. The action scenes with him using ordinary objects as deadly weapons was so well done.

Story.
 Once the story got started with the fourth episode, I was hooked and by episdode eight I couldn't stop watching.

Action. The action scenes got better as the story progressed. The first half of the season was disappointing, but the second half delivered everything I was hoping for.

Sound Design. Sound was so effectively used in this show. The sound is used to illustrate Matt's abilities unlike the visual "fire" of Season 1. It was subtle but so effective. And the sound of buzzing to show Bullseye's madness illustrated that perfectly without going too far.


The Bad


Pacing. The first two episodes were sooooo slow I almost couldn't get thru them.

Depression. I understand why Matt was so down and depressed and doubting his faith, but it got old fast. That's not what's interesting about the character. That's not why I watch the show.

Visuals. The first two seasons had a really unique look. For some reason this season lost that and looked like every other show on TV. I really missed the unique look.


What I Would Like to Have Seen


I wish they had cut moping Matt to just the first episode and then get on with the story instead of waiting for episode 4. I also wish they had started out with an announcement that Kingpin had been released and then investigated to find out what happened instead of building to it.

Overall


Marvel's Daredevil Season 3 started out slow, boring, and weak, but got better with each episode until I couldn't stop watching. The new villain Bullseye was so well cast and done with a great origin story and brilliantly filmed powers. The action scenes in the first half were terrible, but by the second half were were as good as in the first two seasons. I got tired of mopey hopeless Matt, but I loved seeing the old team get back together at the end. I give this show 4.5 out of 5 remotes.

     

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

TV Show Review: Titans (2018) Episode 3 - Origins


So far, Titans has been an excellent series easily rivaling what Marvel has put out.

Titans is an 11-episode DC Universe series based on the characters appearing in DC Comics. It is rated TV-MA for language, violence, and blood and is appropriate for older teens and up.

The Good


Characters. Brenton Thwaites continues to nail the post-Batman Dick Greyson character. In this episode the others characters are finally starting to be fleshed out and become interesting.

Story.
 This episode presented the origin of Robin and more of Starfire and Raven's backstories. Their inclusions were very organic and added to the overall story.

Pacing. The pacing was very methodic. It was slow but didn't feel slow. Instead every element of the story was given an appropriate amount of time to breathe and develop.

The Bad


Politics. This episode paints the traditional family in a bad light, which is pure propaganda and socially irresponsible.

What I Would Like to Have Seen


Being able to binge watch all the episodes in one or two sittings.

Overall


Origins, the third episode of Titans (2018) continues to meet my expectations. The cast is perfect, the story had room to breath and develop, and the story continues to unfold at a great pace. I give this show 4.5 out of 5 remotes.

    

Friday, October 26, 2018

TV Show Review: Titans (2018) Episode 2 - Hawk and Dove


The first episode of Titans was solid, and the the second featured Hawk and Dove which both looked like cool versions of their comic book counterparts, so I was pretty excited for episode 2.

Titans is an 11-episode DC Universe series based on the characters appearing in DC Comics. It is rated TV-MA for language, violence, and blood and is appropriate for older teens and up.

The Good


Dick Greyson. Brenton Thwaites continues to nail the post-Batman Dick Greyson character both as Dick and as Robin. The romance is believable. He makes a convincing police detective. And the fight scene where Robin saves Hawk and Dove is classic!

Story.
 This episode presented a complete, stand-alone story that introduced several characters, their relationships, and a beginning, middle end. And it fit into the larger story.

Pacing. The pacing was very methodic. It was a little slow but didn't feel slow. It felt like every element of the story was given an appropriate amount of time to breathe and develop.

Hawk & Dove. The actor and actress cast fit the roles so well and had the appropriate chemistry with each other and with Robin. I can't wait to see their spinoff series.

The Bad


I had to wait a week for the next episode.

What I Would Like to Have Seen


Being able to binge watch all the episodes in one or two sittings.

Overall


Hawk and Dove, the second episode of Titans (2018) was as good as I was hoping the series would be. The cast is perfect, the story had room to breath and develop, there was a complete story in this episode, and the action at the end was great. I give this show 5 out of 5 remotes.

    

Friday, October 12, 2018

TV Show - Titans (2018 pilot)


I've never been a fan of the Teen Titans in the comics or cartoons, but I was curious how they would adapt them in live action knowing the producers planned a diametrically opposite approach.

Titans is an 11-episode DC Universe series based on the characters appearing in DC Comics. It is rated TV-MA for language, violence, and blood and is appropriate for older teens and up.

The Good


Dick Greyson. I really enjoyed the character of Dick. The actor they hired and the way he was presented was interesting and the best part of the episode. He feels like the character in the comics and like he has a lot of aspects of his character and life to explore.

Mystery.
 This episode presents an interesting mystery that made me want to watch more episodes.

Story. The story in the pilot is fairly solid and brings the characters together in a logical, organic way.

The Bad


Pacing. This episode moved a little slow.

Raven and Starfire. So far, neither of these characters is interesting or compelling, nor do either seem anything like their comic book versions.

Dark. This episode is very dark, and not in a grim way. It's visually dark and hard to see anything, even during the middle of the day.

What I Would Like to Have Seen


I wish there had been more action and more happen. The pacing felt deliberately slow like the film makers were trying too hard to make this feel dark and gritty and important with dramatic pauses instead of actual content.

Overall


Titans (2018 pilot) is off to a good start. It's not Marvel and Netflix's Daredevil good (which is what I think they were going for) but it is well casted, well acted, has a solid story so far, and in intriguing enough to make me want to watch the next episode. The Dick Greyson character was especially interesting and well done. I give this show 3.5 out of 5 remotes.

   

Friday, October 5, 2018

Movie Review - Venom

I'm a big comic book fan, but I'm not a Venom fan. But for some reason when I heard about this movie, something compelled me to see it, and I'm glad I did.

Venom is a 2018 horror drama superhero movie based on characters appearing in Marvel Comics. It is rated PG-13 for language, violence, and terror and is appropriate for teens and up.

The Good


Story. This film had a solid story. It was very clear, very linear, and made sense.

Action. The action was really exciting and fun to watch. It was unique to Venom and his powers.

Romance/Caring. This movie contained a romantic subplot that was different than the usual romantic subplot that made it more enjoyable than I was expecting.

Terror. This film was shot as an R-rated horror flick and then released as PG-13. It has the drama and intensity of an R-rated flick as well as several scenes of terror and horror minus the gore. It was quite thrilling to watch.

Humor. This movie is by no means a comedy, but once Venom combines with Eddie, there are some funny moments that are expected but very clever and unique--they could only happen in this movie.

The Bad


Beginning. The beginning was a little slow and prosaic.

What I Would Like to Have Seen


I wish the line between good guys and bad guys hadn't been so clear and obvious. The film would have benefitted from rounding out the villains a little more.

Overall


Venom was a surprisingly enjoyable movie. It had a solid story, action unique to the characters, and humor that would only work in this movie. The filmmakers crated a rather terrifying horror flick with superhero elements that wasn't filled with gore or other disgusting and unnecessary elements. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 boxes of popcorn.