Showing posts from December, 2016

Snapshots - #37: It, Breathe, Mark Felt – The Man Who Brought Down the White House

It (2017), (♦♦♦♦): Four inseparable friends in middle school bond with other three newcomers. They all have in common that they are bullied by the same people. Over the course of one summer they'll fend off bullies and face a centuries-old demon in the form of a clown, named Pennywise, whom has been disappearing kids and terrorizing the town of Derry, Maine, every twenty-seven years since the town was founded.
Based on Stephen King's novel of the same title, It is a movie with a smart script and a sympathetic ensemble of nerds that deliver light humor, and deep thrills. It doesn't hurt that each and every character has his or her own arc, thus one gets to know their motivations and fears before Pennywise enters head on into the picture.
In a nod to 1980s movie classics such as The Goonies, and the Brat Pack ensemble, the newest adaptation of It takes place at the end of that decade, when it seems, at least from the Hollywood perspective, that every kid harbored a genius insi…

Snapshots - #13

TV shows...
Outlander (♦♦♦♦): in Season 1, volume 2, just as Claire is about to return to 1945, she realizes she loves Jamie and stays put. Both flee to Lallybroch, home to the Fraser clan, of which Jamie is laird. As bad luck would have it, Jamie and Jack Randall, the captain of the British troops, cross paths again, and, as always, Jamie will be in the lose end.
Season 1, volume 2 feels like a transitional set of episodes that bring volume 1 episodes to their head. In volume 2, Claire realizes that she loves Jamie Fraser and shares the secret of her provenance with him. A chain of events test their commitment to each other and their vows, mostly in the last two episodes, which get overwhelmingly brutal on account of torture.
The great acting, the wry humor, the incandescent chemistry between Jamie and Claire, as well as the spectacular Scottish landscape are still signature elements of the series in volume 2 of Season 1, all marvelous reasons to keep watching this series.
The movies...

My Reading Year 2016 in Retrospect

I only finished 12 books this year, though I started several more which I abandoned—even at the 300 pages mark—to read at a later time. However, I can’t complain about the quality of the books I finished, I rated the majority of them four stars or higher.
Books read:             Fiction: 11                 Non-Fiction: 1                      Re-reads:  1
Genres: (some of these may overlap)
Historical Fiction: 3                           Popular Science: 1
Mystery/Suspense: 2
Contemporary Literature: 4            Thrillers/Espionage: 4
Jessica @ Bookworm Chronicles adapted some of these questions that I borrowed because I found them fun and revealing; I added other categories as I saw fit.
Best book of the year (I couldn’t possibly pick just one): Best Books I Read in 2016
Favorite cover: A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley
Favorite new authors (to me): Thomas Hager; Melanie Benjamin
Most thrilling (unputdownable): The Fist of God by Frederick Forsyth
The juiciest: The Swans of Fifth Avenue b…

The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer (♦♦♦)

Milo Weaver has a complex personal history that he has hidden from everyone—his immediate family and his employer, the CIA. Milo is the American son of a former KGB colonel and of an anarchist mother with serious terrorist tendencies. His loyalty could be challenged if the CIA were to know that, you see?
Despite his complicated upbringing Milo is a good tourist, famed even. When a friend’s loyalty is questioned—a former tourist who has risen in the Paris’ desk—Milo intercedes and gets hints of a case he has followed for years, but his friend is killed and Milo is under suspicion…Strong suspicion…
On the run and with no one to trust, Milo travels to Europe to follow his late friend’s findings, but he soon realizes he is not closer to the answers he seeks. Apparently someone on the inside is feeding him false intelligence, but with what purpose?
The Tourist, the first installment in a trilogy detailing the adventures and misfortunes of spy Milo Weaver, is the second novel I have read by Ol…

Best Books I Read in 2016

I hadn’t realized until I was compiling this list that out of the unimpressive 12 books I managed to finish this year, only two I rated below four stars. That says a great deal about the quality of the books I finished. The following is a compilation of the books I liked best in 2016.

The Fist of God by Frederick Forsyth (♦♦♦♦): is not a crash course, but a full immersion in the 1st Gulf War complete with army acronyms, rogue hero pilots, and top notch espionage. Taut, dense, and brimming with useful (and likely) insider's information, it took me ages to absorb it all, and what a ride that was.
The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin (♦♦♦♦): reads like those appetizing stories in contemporary celebrity magazines like Star and Us Weekly that few people confess to reading, or liking. I read them and like them, so I enjoyed The Swans... a great deal.
Named of the Dragon by Susanna Kearsley (♦♦♦♦): I had a great time reading this book. In it, Susanna Kearsley weaves Celtic legends …