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Showing posts from October, 2013

Goodreads Book Review - The Art of Racing in the Rain

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The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Oh, Enzo. I never would have thought that a book written in the first-person with a dog as its narrator would be so damn entertaining, but this one surprised me. It's a wonderful oxymoron, deep and simple at the same time. The simple joys and complex musings of this particular example of man's best friend bring the reader to heights of elation and depths of sorrow. Seriously. Enzo had me alternating between laughing out loud, smiling broadly, and holding back tears as he narrates the struggles his family went through while he watched, most of the time feeling helpless while knowing and noticing more than anyone would ever expect. He really is the best puppy ever. The only detraction I could make is that there was a little too much racing jargon and history for my liking that felt to me like a chore to get through, but it's a necessary evil as it ties everything together at the end into one misty-eyed bow.



Vi…

New Shows Review: One Out of Four Ain't Bad...?

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I'm back with what is going to be my penultimate review of new shows for the 2013 Fall Season. I'm a bit late on a few of the shows included here because for one thing I didn't have enough to write about any of them to give them a blog of their own really and, for another thing, life has been pretty busy lately. Plus, out of these four shows, only one was any good, so there wasn't any motivation to devote a whole lot of time to them.

So yeah, this is going to be pretty short. And away we go!


We start with a spin-off of an actual good show that seems to be a spin-off in name only as nothing I saw in the pilot or set up has anything to do with its parent show, Once Upon a Time. In fact, this show sort of defies that show's entire set-up; OUaT is about fairy tale characters moving back and forth between our world and the world of fairy tale. But, Alice is a fairy tale character who moves in and out of the fairy tale world and the "real world" in the fairy ta…

3 Favorite Doctor Who Specials: Countdown to the 50th Anniversary 2...

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We're exactly one month away from the airing of the Doctor Who Fiftieth Anniversary Special, an episode we now know is titled "The Day of the Doctor," which makes today the perfect day to publish the third in my countdown series honoring this amazing show. In August, I counted down my five favorite stand-alone episodes and in September I counted down my five favorite two-part episodes. Tonight's new countdown is for the specials, a collection of episodes which consists of all the Christmas specials and the set of specials that rounded out David Tennant's run as the Tenth Doctor. Unlike the other countdowns this one will only have three entrees instead of five since there are only ten specials to choose from.

Oh, what the hell, let's throw in an honorable mention too.

Honorable Mention: Planet of the Dead (2009 Easter Special)


This special makes the list because it's a fun episode that gives the Doctor a great group of back-up characters and a great co-sta…

Goodreads Book Review - The Spectacular Now

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The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I picked this book up because the movie adaption is probably my favorite movie of the year so far so I figured the book must be fantastic, and I wasn't disappointed. I enjoyed the hell out of this book. It's remarkably well-written. The main character's voice is enthralling and endearing, something absolutely necessary for a book written entirely in the first-person; however, for all that Sutter is enthralling and endearing, you also can't help but feel bad for him and all his delusions. The only complaint I have about the entire book is the depressing-as-all-hell ending. I much preferred the movie ending, but I can't hold that against the book. It's just a matter of personal preference and takes absolutely nothing away from just how damn good this book is.



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Goodreads Book Review - The Godborn

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The Godborn by Paul S. Kemp

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


As a follow-up to The Companions, this novel is pretty week, but as a stand-alone, it's... well, it's okay. It's definitely not for the uninitiated; if, like me, you going into this without having read all the other Erevis Cale novels, you're going to feel like you're swimming in the Bermuda Triangle for awhile. That's one of the books big problems. The other is that it takes entirely too long to go anywhere. After a very riveting prologue, the book spends way too much time being about powerful people talking about their plans without really saying or doing anything. I mean, the titular character doesn't do anything for almost 120 pages! What gets it three stars though is that once it picks up, it really picks up. The action becomes riveting and the drama even more so as those plans they spent so much time talking about start reaching their conclusions. Add that to the enjoyable and mostly well-developed cha…

Goodreads Book Review - Winter's Bone

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Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This is a very visceral, powerful read. It's stark and depressing with characters that feel both real and a little larger-than-life all at the same time. This is all due to the way Woodrell commits to the writing style he chose to use. The rough mountain language used by the characters isn't limited to just dialogue; it's in every sentence he writes, and it leads to the reader feeling fully immersed in the story he's telling. And Ree Dolly is one of the easiest characters to root for I've ever come across, due to her "sand," as other characters say. She's tough and hardened but still full of love, and you just have to both feel for and root for her.



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Insidious Chapter 2

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I have a very trusted barometer I use for just how scary a horror movie is: how many sleepless nights it gives me. By that barometer, 2011's Insidious was easily one of the scariest movies I've seen in years, giving me three sleepless nights before I got over it. Following that, then, Insidious Chapter 2 wasn't nearly as scary as the first one, resulting in only one sleepless night for me, and that sleeplessness could also fairly be attributed to a night of drinking an abundance of cocktails made with a Red Bull substitute. But just because it wasn't as scary as it's predecessor in no way means it was a bad movie; quite the contrary, actually. And I'll tell you why, and stay almost entirely spoiler-free while I do so. You're welcome for that, by the way.

First though, why wasn't it scary? The answer is through no fault of its own but instead due to what I call The Law of Diminishing Returns of Horror Sequels. What scares us about horror movies... and I…

Goodreads Book Review - The Silver Linings Playbook

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The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This is one of those very rare times when I actually thought the movie was better than the book... but this review is about the book, so I'll stick to that. I enjoyed the plot and the characters, although as the story is told from Pat's perspective, all the characters except him and maybe his mother really get stuck with the short straw in terms of characterization. The other drawback to the first-person narration is that since it's Pat's and he's basically nuts, it's a very simple and very repetitive writing style that can get a little boring. The novel also has a very abrupt ending that is sort of anti-climactic after what comes before it, but overall it was still an enjoyable enough read... that was completely eclipsed by the movie.

Sorry. Couldn't resist.



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New Shows Review: ABC Wins, CBS Loses. Twice.

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I'm going to keep this one short and sweet today. I've seen three new fall premieres since last time, two on purpose and one because I had half an hour to kill last night and there was absolutely nothing else on. So let's get down to business.


I'm not really going to review S.H.I.E.L.D. because the point of a review is to possibly sway the opinion of people who aren't sure if they want to see something. Let's face it, there really aren't any such people when it comes to this show. Everyone who wants to watch it already is and have been waiting for it with bated breath since it was announced, and the people who aren't already watching it never will. So Instead I'll just say that while I loved it, there is still room for improvement, and I'm sure it'll get nothing but better as time goes on. ABC wins.


I wanted to like this. I really did. I've given everything Sarah Michelle Gellar has done since Buffy a chance, and this was no different. A…