Monday, January 06, 2014

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment, by James Patterson

Maximum Ride, by James PattersonI picked up this audio book on the cheap when a book store was going out of business and figured it would be a light and easy read.  That, it most certainly was.

I had never read a Young Adult novel before and shortly after the start of this book I realized that this might have been one of those.  I was right, and I now know why there’s a special category for that genre.

The story isn’t bad, it’s just very simplistic if you will.  And the way the characters speak is clearly tailored to a youngish audience, made up of people who would actually talk like that to each other in real life.

The only real gripe I have with the book is that it doesn’t fully stand on its own as it gives you no closure.  It is part of a series and it definitely expects the reader to invest in the whole rather than any of its parts.

Grade: 5

A Home at the End of the World, by Michael Cunningham

A Home at the End of the WorldA very interesting book about the lives of two young boys who meet and strike a friendship that will last into adulthood.  Through the years, we see them enter and exit relationships and face events that will affect each other.

The book was adapted into a movie and the actors from the movie read their respective roles in the audio book.  I’m mentioning this because I had a very, very hard time understanding Colin Farrell, a decent actor who tends to speak with a husky voice, in short bursts, and oftentimes eats his own words.

This is quite unfortunate, as I like the guy (hell, it’s Colin fraking Farrell!!) but it really gave me pause.  All the other actors, regardless of how they acted in the movie, which I haven’t seen, speak loud and clear, with pauses and breaks, clearly following the text as written.  Farrell almost gives the impression that he’s got to fake his way through his part, speaking quickly and in hushed tones to give his words more impact or to hide his shortcomings.

Alas, in an audio book, likely listened to while driving, clarity of voice is always best.  It doesn’t detract from the overall impact of the book, it’s just that I was dreading the parts where he was doing the reading…

Grade: 8

Thursday, January 02, 2014


HomelandSeason 3 of Homeland was definitely the weakest to date.  Not that it didn’t have its share of edge-of-your-seat moments, chases, and confrontations, but it felt less solid and more frantic than the previous two.

Don’t get me wrong, Homeland is still a great show and I’m looking forward to the next season, especially since several of the major players have been eliminated one way or another and it will be interesting to see what the show runners concoct for us next.

Grade: 7

Web Therapy

Web TherapyI was certain this wonderful comedy wouldn’t come back because of it’s narrowly tailored appeal, even though it’s one of the funniest comedies I’ve ever seen on TV.

Lisa Kudrow is a fantastic actress and her comedic timing is unmatched.  She’s back here as Fiona Wallice and once again has to deal with the curveballs life giddily throws at her.

Trust me, if you’ve never watched this show, you have to start doing it now.  I started when it was still only a web based series of shorts and can’t wait for it to come back next year.

Grade: 9


DallasSeason 2 of the famous 80s’ show reboot matches season 1 and keeps the action going, but it pretty much is dedicated to saying goodbye to Larry Hagman, aka J.R. Ewing, who passed away shortly after filming had already gotten under way.

Considering the tall order or saying goodbye to a character larger than life and really one of the best known TV characters of all time, I would say they did a fantastic job.

Overall, the show kept up with its staple of intrigue, backstabbing, and twists and turns that made me go back for a second helping.  If you liked the original or saw the first season of the reboot and liked it, you won’t be disappointed.

Grade - Season 2: 8