Author Archives: agirlushouldknow

The Addictive Brain (book review)

The Addictive BrainThe Addictive Brain by Thad A. Polk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Type: Audible
Length: 6 hours 19 minutes

A simple but informative book.

This book is a decent, informative book on how the addiction process in your brain works.

The author covers all of the different addictions, not just drugs or alcohol. He delves into junk food, gambling, pornography and gives a small snippet on each. I found some of it very interesting, and the rest was informative.

It wasn’t the most exciting book of its type, but it is a good solid generalist book about the generic categories of addiction and how they effect your life. It wasn’t a bad read at all.

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Andrea Vernon and the Corporation for UltraHuman Protection (book review)

Andrea Vernon and the Corporation for UltraHuman ProtectionAndrea Vernon and the Corporation for UltraHuman Protection by Alexander C. Kane
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Book Type: Audible
Length: 8h 49m

I really did want to like this book.

First, I should disclaim that funny, non-serious books like this have never been my thing. The only series I liked close to this was the Xanth series in the 80s. I wanted to branch out though, as I get close to 50 I feel its only fair to try something again.

That being said, some people I knew really liked it. After all it is about superheroes, but not government funded or vigilantes, rather its about corporations who own them. It is funny, but it wasn’t funny to me. The author indicated it was supposed to be funny, I could logically see what they were doing, but nada, zilch, bupkis. Not funny at all.

It was a long slog for me, which is funny because I eat up 30+ hour audio books about history, or fantasy/urban fantasy. This just didn’t do it.

None of the characters were likable, the plot itself didn’t really do anything for me, and this might have even convinced me not to read superhero books overall.

That being said, I think the author themselves are not bad. However the whole genre, theme and characters really didn’t work for me. I suspect though if you like discworld, or other books like that, maybe this would work for you.

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History’s Great Military Blunders and the Lessons They Teach (book review)

History's Great Military Blunders and the Lessons They TeachHistory’s Great Military Blunders and the Lessons They Teach by Gregory S. Aldrete
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Type: Audible
Length: 12h 11m

Hubris, stupidity, or just bad luck. It doesn’t matter when you lose.

Another great class from the Great Courses. This time is an in depth look at 24 different blunders made by different militaries/leaders from ancient history to more recent times.

Whether its mistakes made by Roman commanders, or British Army officers in India it doesn’t matter. Bad leaders get moved up the ranks and cause the result you expect. Often times without permanent injury to their own career (barring people like Custer of course).

Each 30 minute lecture is an excellent overview of a specific event. The details of each blunder is precise, and Dr. Aldrete gives a lot of support and explanation of the surrounding circumstances. There were a few blunders I knew about, and a lot I didn’t.

He presents an intriguing class, with a well worded, well performed voice, without being too distracting. I enjoyed the whole thing. I definitely recommend this great course, and I also am pretty sure I recommend Dr. Gregory Aldrete, at least for historical courses.

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The Predator (2018) (movie review)

DETAILS:

Director: Shane Black
Stars: Boyd HolbrookTrevante RhodesJacob Tremblay, Olivia Munn
Runtime: 90 minutes
Categories: sci-fi, action, franchise
Runtime: 
1 hour 47 minutes

Release Date: September 14, 2018

OVERALL: A not horrible, not great sci-fi update of the Predator franchise. It wasn’t something I regret seeing in the theater, but unless you have a close personal relationship with the series, it can wait until netflix/redbox.

STORYLINE

From the outer reaches of space to the small-town streets of suburbia, the hunt comes home. The universe’s most lethal hunters are stronger, smarter and deadlier than ever before, having genetically upgraded themselves with DNA from other species. When a boy accidentally triggers their return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and an evolutionary biologist can prevent the end of the human race.

REVIEW

First and foremost, Shane Black really messed up by hiring on a convicted sex offender and having them work with the crew. Unacceptable and not at all forgivable. That being said, the movie itself is better than most reviews show, but doesn’t hold a candle to the original, or the 2010 Predators with Adrienne Brody and Walton Goggin.

The story suffers from trying to do too much. Too many storylines, too much detail of the universe, and honestly Shane Black (and the actors/actresses involved) wouldn’t be up to updating the franchise with so much in so little.

I wonder how much of the problems though were Shane Black and how much the studio. I have read that they reshot a ton of film, edited, etc after the studio saw the movie. Maybe the original version would have been worth it.

I do like that it isn’t a reboot, but a continuation. I think the franchise definitely has more life in it, but that is because I love that kind of sci-fi. Unfortunately I don’t think Shane Black should do the next movie.

It was worth the matinee price I paid, and yes I will go see the next Predator movie that comes out. Although that is partially because it is just something I do. I go see all the Aliens, Predators and Friday the 13ths that come out. Blame it on my horrible 80s childhood.

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Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan (tv show)

TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN

DETAILS:

Created By: Carlton CuseGraham Roland
Stars:  John KrasinskiWendell PierceJohn Hoogenakker, Ali Suliman
Based on: “Jack Ryan Universe”, by Tom Clancy
Original Network: Amazon
First episode date: August 31, 2018
Number of Episodes: 8
Number of Seasons: 1

OVERALL: A little rocky on some parts, but overall an enjoyable show.

STORYLINE

An up-and-coming CIA analyst, Jack Ryan, is thrust into a dangerous field assignment as he uncovers a pattern in terrorist communication that launches him into the center of a dangerous gambit.

BREAKDOWN BY SEASON

Currently we have only watched season 1. Additional seasons will be added as they come out.

SEASON 1

First let me get this out there, as I grow older the less patience I have with flag waving bravado that has no merit and doesn’t give at least a cursory exam on the other side. Not really interested in propaganda. I was pretty sure this was going to be exactly like that.

Now, that being said, Jack Ryan was a pretty even handed, although a bit rah rah in its outlook. They managed to give the “bad guy” a backstory that gives him some sympathy. They made him smart and three dimensional. I honestly think they did great with the character and his arc across the season.

I enjoyed that they seemed to wrap up that story completely by the end of the season. This gives me a hope that this is more of an anthology series, with different stories of different missions for Jack Ryan. I really like how a lot of series have started this (thank you American Horror Story for trailblazing). I especially like they limited to 8 episodes. I would rather have less episodes that are better story wise overall, then too much fluff in the middle.

I did enjoy the first half of the season exploring Jack Ryan (John Krasinski). He suprised me, as an actor from the show “The Office” I really didn’t expect him to do well with the role. In the end he did pretty well.

The character Jack Ryan did have some problematic issues for me. They couldn’t decide if he was a hardcore badass, who survived possible death and was a combat genius, yet was so shocked that his boss would make deals with “bad guys” to get information. The naïveté combined with the warrior theme really didn’t jive with me. I especially hated when he lost his temper while on a mission. It broke any “realism” cred that he had before that.

The fact that they made torture seemed like it was efficient and effective is a joke, and having Ryan stand up to interrupt anyone and speak to the president directly without getting fired (no matter what he said) really annoyed me (coming from someone who worked for the DoD in a civilian position for over four years, no way that happens).

The direction, story writing (other than what I talked about above) and acting by everyone was on point and definitely worth it. I didn’t really like the relationship between Greer and Ryan, I know they are trying to shoehorn that relationship to end up like the movies, but it isn’t working for me.

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The Goths and Vandals: The History and Legacy of the Barbarians Who Sacked Rome in the 5th (book review)

The Goths and Vandals: The History and Legacy of the Barbarians Who Sacked Rome in the 5th Century CEThe Goths and Vandals: The History and Legacy of the Barbarians Who Sacked Rome in the 5th Century CE by Charles River Editors

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Book Type: Audible
Length: 2h 18m

I should have known better!

Last review I did, about Isis was also by the Charles River Editors. I figured they couldn’t mess that up. After all its a historical book, how can they mess it up again. Oh but they did.

Let’s start that it is dry, monotonous and has no interesting information. The narrator is not my favorite, but I am not familiar with him so maybe he is different in other things.

Let’s continue on to the personalizing facts and just being out of order. It was put together in a way that is not useful to most people. It is a shame because I have to tell you the price was pretty darn good.

I think there will be no more Charles River Editor in my life. I wish them well, but just don’t work for me.

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Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (movie review)

DETAILS:

Director: Lamont Johnson
Stars: Peter Strauss, Molly RingwaldErnie Hudson, Michael Ironside
Runtime: 90 minutes
Categories: retro, sci-fi, post apocalyptic, space western, 3d
Release Date: May 20, 1983

OVERALL: A great retro sci-fi/apocalypse movie to watch! If you can put up with the bad special effects and bad writing.

STORYLINE

A crash-landed salvager (Peter Strauss) meets a waif (Molly Ringwald) and saves women from a cyborg (Michael Ironside) on Terra 11.

REVIEW

As the first review I want to do with movies from earlier in history, I have to say I wasn’t too disappointed.

I do believe I saw it about 30 years ago when I was a teenager, I don’t remember it too well (the hubby had to remind me which movie it was). However I do really think it weathered time pretty well.

Let’s get out of the way the bad acting/sets or especially the special effects. This is the 80s (early 80s even) and it was all about cheap special effects back then. I don’t remember them being this bad, but even back then they weren’t very good.

The actors do fairly well. There are some famous names such as Molly Ringwald as Nicki and Michael Ironside as the bad guy Over Dog. Of course Peter Strauss who is someone I also recognize plays Wolff is the main character, but he doesn’t click with me.

The story itself is a trope. Three ladies are kidnapped and need to be rescued. I was pleasantly surprised it wasn’t more rapey. Don’t get me wrong there are a couple of scenes that are bad, but for the 1980s schlock sci-fi it wasn’t as bad as I expected.

I also really liked the fact that Wolff didn’t fall in love romantically with Nicki, he became more of father figure. It is nice to see stories that don’t deal with romance at all, instead focus on other things… well as much as the bad writing allows.

Bad writing was the other aspect. I enjoyed it even with the writing because I expected it. I believe anyone hoping into this will be turned off if they don’t love horrible 80s movies.

I suspect I will see it again in a couple of years, we actually bought this copy on amazon an when I am sick, or nostalgic, it will be there.

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Isis: The History and Legacy of the Ancient Egyptian God of the Dead (book review)

Isis: The History and Legacy of the Ancient Egyptian God of the DeadIsis: The History and Legacy of the Ancient Egyptian God of the Dead by Charles River Editors
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Book Type: Audible
Length: 1h 50m

Sometimes shorter is not better.

I picked up this book because I wanted to learn more about Isis, the Egyptian Mother Goddess. I thought maybe it would be beneficial that the book was so short, they would cut to the details.

I was wrong…

The book spends more time comparing her to Greek and Roman culture/gods/goddesses that I felt we didn’t get any sort of real information. I felt like it was just reading the Wikipedia page, except Wikipedia has more detail on her than this book.

The narration of the audiobook was horrible as well. The droning monotony was very hard to sit through, fortunately it was less than two hours so it only took me about 3 hours to listen as I listened multiple times to portions after realizing had had daydreamed away from the book.

I suspect Charles River Editors are very basic in all their books. They seem to have a lot of short books based on multiple historical subjects. I might try one more to see if I should avoid them at all costs (I ended up picking up their book about the Vandals and Goths).

Either way though this book is bad. Not even entertaining bad. I recommend you save your money (fortunately I got mine for cheap) and just go read the wikipedia page. Less chance of falling asleep or being frustrated.

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