books

Heads You Win by Jeffrey Archer

From an early age it is clear that Alexander Karpenko is destined to lead his countrymen.

But when his father is assassinated by the KGB for defying the state, Alexander and his mother will have to escape Russia if they hope to survive. At the docks, they have an irreversible choice: board a container ship bound for America or one bound for Great Britain. Alexander leaves the choice to a toss of a coin…

GREAT plot device.

Even greater when the book alternates between the life stories of Sasha over 30 years in London and New York.

The ending is a shocker. I can’t say it was what I wanted to happen.

In any case — this book is as good as any Jeffrey Archer.

travel, Google, product endorsements

Google Maps – LIVE view

In the tangled web of European old city cobbled streets, I used LIVE view for the first time.

A preview of the augmented reality we’ll all be using soon.

NOW … Google Maps often screws up. LIVE view often doesn’t work. But when it does, it’s a game changer for those frequently lost. Like me. 😀

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I’ve also used Google Map LISTS for the first time. Very handy.

movies

Tom Hanks – Finch

I actually enjoyed this film.

Finch Weinberg (played by Tom Hanks), has survived the apocalypse — but just barely. He’s dying of radiation poisoning because of the depletion of the ozone. And though he tries to stay a step ahead of the worst of the resulting extreme weather events and starvation, he’s more than aware his days are numbered.

That bothers him. But more than that, he worries about what will happen to his beloved pet dog after he dies. To that end, he’s been converting his vast library into PDFs, feeding them into a computer brain that will serve as the main hard drive of a robot he’s built. …

Cult of Mac

It’s simple. Kind of charming. But no Academy Award winner. 😀

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

books

No One Goes Alone by Erik Larson

Larson’s 2021 book is entirely different than his historical novels based on real characters in history.

For some reason — he decided to write a ghost story.

And it’s only available as an audio book.

A group of researchers sets sail for the Isle of Dorn in the North Atlantic in 1905 to explore the cause of several mysterious disappearances, most notably a family of four who vanished without a trace after a week-long holiday on the island. Led by Professor James, a prominent member of the Society for Psychical Research, they begin to explore the island’s sole cottage and surrounding landscape in search of a logical explanation. 

The idyllic setting belies an undercurrent of danger and treachery, with raging storms and unnerving discoveries adding to the sense of menace. As increasingly unexplainable events unfold, the now-stranded investigators are unsure whether they can trust their own eyes, their instincts, one another—or even themselves. 

It’s quite good, actually. If you like Larson’s non-fiction, you’ll enjoy this too.

The author is one of the readers of the audio book.

books, TV

Foundation – Apple TV+

As a teen, I wasn’t a big fan of Foundation — the book series — though I loved everything else written by Asimov.

Too sprawling.

It must have been intimidating to try to produce a coherent TV show.

Foundation chronicles “…the thousand year saga of The Foundation, a band of exiles who discover that the only way to save the Galactic Empire from destruction is to defy it.” …

Goyer pitched the series in one sentence: “It’s a 1,000-year chess game between Hari Seldon and the Empire, and all the characters in between are the pawns, but some of the pawns over the course of this saga end up becoming kings and queens.” …

Casting is excellent. Lee Pace is particularly good as Brother Day.

It’s beautiful to look at. Skillfully done. Critics love the show but it’s only 70% on Rotten Tomatoes.

I’ll probably continue to season 2. But it’s not must-watch for me.

Click PLAY or watch a trailer on YouTube.

books, TV

Codename Villanelle by Luke Jennings

The excellent TV series Killing Eve was based on this book series. The TV show is better — though the book is well written. Well researched.

It would appear — at the start — to be yet another Russian female super assassin. Villanelle is not much different than the last 6 Russian sexy super killers I’ve encountered. Another La Femme Nikita.

The slightly new twist is exploring Villanelle’s weird personal connection of sex and death.

In any case, I’ll be reading the next 2 books in the series.

movies

On The Rocks – Bill Murray

On the Rocks tells the story of a daughter and father, played by Rashida Jones and Bill Murray respectively, as they explore New York together in an attempt to mend their fractured relationship.

Bill Murray can do no wrong for me. He’s different but still entertaining in this Sofia Coppola film

Rashida is convincing in the understated role of Bill’s daughter.

Still — it’s not as good as Lost In Translation.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

books, TV

The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian

The Flight Attendant is a novel by Chris Bohjalian, published on March 13, 2018.

It was quickly adapted for TV. AND a second season has already been lit. It’s had great reviews. Especially for Kaley Cuoco playing the hot mess alcoholic party … girl?

The TV show is better than the book. Quite entertaining. Of course the plot is silly silly.

Click PLAY or watch a trailer on YouTube.

The plot premise hooked me right away. Woman has a drunken one night stand — wakes up next morning to find the guy dead. His throat slashed.

BUT the rest of the book is average at best.