J-Dub’s Review of “The Andromeda Strain”

Welp, no spoilers because the book has been out for ages.   Michael Crichton’s 1969  “The Andromeda Strain” was cutting edge.  In fact, I read in the Wiki that he started the genre of techno-thriller with this book.  For me this is take two or three.  Still as good as ever.

A quick easy beach read.  Yeah, I said beach read.  Not that the subject is all rom-com chick-lit but the pace was quick and easy.  I could picture myself lounging on the beach.  In my favorite chair, under an umbrella with drink in one hand (plastic only or course) and Kindle reader in the other.  Well I can sort of picture myself lounging and reading on the Texas Riviera.  Ya see the beaches here are closing up again.  Dang mo-fo’s couldn’t wait to be back out there again and this happens.  Failed re-open attempt. But I digress …

Or do I digress?  Ya see in this story written 50 some odds years ago, space crud hits the fictional town of Piedmont AZ.  Everyone but two die.  The old Sterno drinker and a baby boy.  A response team of scientists/doctors set up years before for this type of emergency is called in to save the day.  Lots of stuff happens and eventually they do just that … save the day.  The ending is heart racing, we are on the edge of our seats wondering can he stop the detonation in time?  The space crud which caused a town’s demise mutates to a harmless blob and floats up, up, and away.  If we switch space crud with Rona then Bingo! no longer fictional and we are in 2020 instead of 1969. Woo to the hoo.  Ha!

I was going to quote a line but since my book was a loaner from the online library on my Kindle which has since been returned, I will have to paraphrase.  This single utterance struck me since this was written all those years ago.  Somehow like Kreskin, Michael Crichton is a soothsayer.

“The president doesn’t like scientists” so-and-so said.  He simply doesn’t trust them.

Well, well, well what have we here?!?!?

Solid 4 of 5 star 💫 rating.

As always, more to come.

On this day ~ From FB 6/19/15 to 6/19/20

I fancy myself the movie critic … I know, I know, don’t quit my day job. Despite me likely being in the minority for my opinion, I’ll still give an assessment of “Jurassic World” … WITHOUT any spoilers

In my opinion, the movie was just very good but not great, certainly not record breaking over $500M in the opening weekend kind of great. The ending obviously left the door open for another sequel for more moola eventually.

My verdict is out on Opie’s daughter as the lead. I’m not sure she was strong enough to carry it. Perfect hair and heels in the jungles of Costa Rica… puhleese. D’Onofrio, BD Wong, and Chris Pratt played their parts well. I guess I’m just spoiled by Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park and the first big screen adaptation. Laura Dern, Sam Neill, Richard Attenborough, and Jeff Goldblum, I mean come on!! How can you top that talent ?!?!??

I read Mr. Crichton’s book first like I usually do and while the movie deviated a bit from the novel, the 1993 Jurassic Park is classic. I think I’ll dust off my copy and re-read it and after that I’ll re-read the Andromeda Strain. Summer is almost here after all. I’m going to pretend I’m a kid trying to meet my quota for the summer reading program at the McCreless branch library. I want my T-shirt and book bag 

Surprise Find & Book Review in Place of Twofer Tuesday

I am still listening to “Bad Monkey” by Carl Hiaasen.  I have to say I LOVE this book.  Perfect plot for an audio version.  Arte Johnson is superb.  He’s doing voices same as I did when I read to my kids.  LOL.

Bedtime stories for adults during the daily commute.  I am not commuting this week but I am mobile so as I go out and about frolicking in the Spring Break fun amid the Covid-19 plague, I hear snippets.  The whole section on the bad money’s aka Driggs origin and family lineage scene has me in stitches.  Too cute that he was related to the monkey from Friends and a few other monkey descendants that were part of Ace Ventura Pet Detective.  Driggs himself has a stint as the monkey from the Pirates of the Caribbean.

On more than one occasion I have laughed out loud despite the sometimes mature theme.  I won’t spoil the surprise but Chapters 22 and 23 … wow.  I did not see that coming.  I am mid way through CD 7 of 9 meaning light at the end of the tunnel.  Not that I want the light to come on.  In fact, this is Mister Toad’s wild ride and I have enjoyed every single minute.

Therefore I am using this post as my pseudo review.  I am purposefully vague in my reviews any way after the “We Need to Talk About Kevin” debacle.  I will never ever again ruin a book for someone.  I surprised myself being able to follow along and actually think I got more out of listening.  I am at times guilty of speed reading always getting more out of a book when I read it more than once.  As far as ratings, I give this book two thumbs up or 5 stars.  A typical detective caper at its’ heart made ever more entertaining thanks to the late great Arte Johnson and his narration.   Go on read it or listen to it.  You’ll be glad you did.

Oh and the surprise find is completely unrelated to the book.  I have two shoe racks in my closet and usually recycle the shoe boxes.  I hung onto two for Operation Shoebox 2020.  As I was putting up clothes today, the what I thought were empty shoe boxes came tumbling down.  Out pops a brand new pair of navy blue Sketchers with gray bottoms … my new thing that I do because OCD does not allow me to have white bottomed shoes anymore.  They get too dirty; same as non-white soles but at least the dirt doesn’t show.   The receipt was still in the box.  Deeply discounted and use of rewards made the total a whopping $17.98.  Date on the receipt was October 16, 2016!  Sacribleu.  And I’m walking again which means I was about to buy new shoes.  Now I don’t have to.  Yay for me!!

As always, more to come.


Decisions Decisions of the Book Club Variety

The pace of my reading is dramatically reduced in 2020 but I knew that going in.  My goal for this year’s Goodreads challenge is only 12, one per month.   I am behind schedule thus far despite book club suggestions (one of which I did not finish ).  Life’s too short to waste on bad books she said as a former must read to last page or I will die type reader.

Each month I get the Prime freebie.  I’ve quite a collection to break into since each month I download a pick but I haven’t read any of them in a while.  For March, my choice was “The Club King: My Rise, Reign, and Fall in New York Nightlife” by Peter Gatien. I’ll report back sometime later.  The offerings were stellar this month, adding the following to my TBR queue:

  • “Rain Will Come” by Thomas Holgate
  • “The Last Bathing Beauty” by Amy Sue Nathan
  • “The Other Family: A Novel” by Loretta Nyhan

Too cheap to pay but maybe the library will have these gems eventually or perhaps a Goodreads giveaway.  I keep going for those.  Filling up the Want to Reads.  Ah, now that’s the sweet stuff.

As always, more to come.

#SAS Twofer Tuesday 3/3/20 ~ On Hiatus

No more Jack until June 2, 2020.  I will being using my free Sirius XM until then.  I bet you’re wondering why then doesn’t she post the last two songs of the commute from Sirius?  What difference does the station make?  Well I’ll tell ya.  Since Sunday, I have been listening to an audio book.  A first for me!

Arte Johnson (yes that Arte!  The guy from Laugh-In fame) is reading Bad Monkey by Carl Hiassen to me.  Sadly Arte passed away in July of 2019 at the ripe ole age of 90.  Yet his voice and life’s work lives on.  How cool is that?!?!?

I’ll report back on the audio book once we’re done.

As always, more to come.

Easily Amused

I got a new book Saturday. I mentioned to B that I expect him to be around while I’m reading because the book is very scary. So much so that it’s says to read it with the lights on. In typical B fashion he asks me “well how else are you supposed to read it? In the dark?” Cracked me right up. Yep I’ll be reading in the dark. Duh 🙄

Proof this is part of the liner …

I’m not scared … yet.

As always more to come.

J-Dub’s Review of “Before and After” by Judy Christie & Lisa Wingate

I finished in one day! That’s how good is this book. My new word “un-put-downable”. These are real-life stories of children used as commodities of a corrupt system. Georgia Tann was a monster in my opinion. Yet despite what happened, we see the human connection. These stories told from the adoptees POV are riveting. I’m glad the authors took that route by giving them a voice after years of being somehow less than. The psychology of it all is fascinating. I’m convinced now more than ever that people do the best they can with what they’ve been given. Flawed humans aren’t we all. Still triumph of the human spirit endures. Tears 😭 both happy and sad. My rating 5 out of 5 stars ✨!!

As always more to come.

J-Dubs Review of “Hope: A Tragedy A Novel” by Shalom Auslander

In place of tunes we have book club. Yay to multi-media. Time to get started.

I almost didn’t review this book calling it un-PC but in actuality the story is satire. Or my layperson’s definition of satire. Kind of cool that the kidlet recommended even though he couldn’t finish the book. He said he’ll pick it up again once his own personal demons pass. He’s very astute and realized what would happen before it happened. The theme in a way mirrored his life last year. Or perhaps just too close for comfort.

I’ll try not to spoil the story for anyone though this book has been out some time. Solomon Kugel is the proverbial sad sack or schmuck. Sort of “Death of a Salesman” Willy Lowman like. Sol trudges through a job he hates to afford the American dream he really doesn’t want while caring for his aging mother and trying to make everyone happy.

He carries around a small pocket sized notebook and pen so he can write down his possible last words as things strike his fancy. He borders on obsessed really. He knows the famous last words of several celebrity types. Some of his entries are so wrong they’re right. Funny too.

He has a warped relationship with his mother. Well don’t we all? She’s right off her rocker. Well yes I am. 😂 There’s a long suffering spouse and plucky only child. He has a sister who’s missing in action leaving their mother’s care mainly to him.

I think some fantasy was woven in with Professor Jove his psychiatrist who I believe never existed and the realtor Eve. She seems to have made a deal with the devil selling houses with a special surprise in the attic. The tale starts and finishes with fire as a theme of arson is carried on throughout. Though dark and twisted, there were parts which were literally laugh out loud.

I sometimes joke Hope is a fickle bitch. Sol Kugel would likely agree. I didn’t get a lot of quotes for my commonplace book. Instead I got one rather long passage that expresses to me that the past can be difficult with which to come to terms. I’m not the only one who might wish for a do-over occasionally.

If only there was a Miracle Away for the past. A Forever Gone for brutalities, atrocities, indignities great and small. A lemon-scented life, that was what he wanted; for Jonah, for Bree, for Mother, for Anne. A pine scented, clean, polished, revitalized life. Leaves no residue. Resists finger prints. Sixty-four ounces of new, price on Amazon – who cares? Click to add to cart. Rush delivery.

May not be for everyone but I’d read it again. I’d probably pick up some new gems. Sol is a tragic character who you laugh with … to keep from crying maybe. My rating 4.25 of 5 stars.

#SoCS for 11/30/19 ~ “shade” part two

Songs go in a perpetual loop in my brain.  And weird things spark different tunes.  I just finished reading Dangerous When Wet: A Memoir of Booze, Sex, and My Mother by Jaime Brickhouse.  I wrote a little review on Goodreads.  Very short and sweet:

Unconditional love of a mother for her child. We should all be so lucky to have a “Mama Jean” in our lives.

Though in hindsight, maybe not.  The expectations of perfection may have driven him to drink but those same expectations may have also saved him.  If I have learned anything in my short life, one cannot save someone who does not want help.  Recovery is a tough nut to crack.

When is the shade coming up Jilly?

Well, as I read this memoir I thought of the fictional Less Than Zero by Bret Ellis Easton.  Debauchery.  Not saying Jamie (IRL) is Julian (fictional) though there could be some similarities.  What got me to shade was the soundtrack for the movie based on the book.  Bangles covered the song “Hazy Shade of Winter” most excellently. Haunting and fitting for the theme.  The original was a Simon and Garfunkel gem.  I now share both, beginning with the homage.  Hope you enjoy!

rules and ping back


Habits and Happy Thanksgiving

Now here is how to start off Thanksgiving.  See my feature image.  M’m veeeerry good.  I am drinking a Houston blend in an Austin PD “No Thanks I’m Driving” cup.  This cup is over 35 years old and it is still my favorite.  I’ve cut back significantly on my coffee consumption but the mug works for hot tea or hot chocolate too.

My brother and brother in law were policemen for the city of Austin Texas.  That’s how I got the cup.  The one that I had to have!  My dad had been gifted one years before and I used it exclusively when I visited.  Then one day, I was surprised with my own.  I’m still not sure how my brother got me the discontinued cup.  But he did.  How sweet it is!!

Since they worked holidays, we’d have Thanksgiving dinner at one of their houses.  We’d eat at a non-traditional hour.  That way they could stop by during their shift to eat with us then skedaddle back to protect and serve.  Later in their careers when they got the day off, we moved the party to San Antonio.

The Friday after was not a shopping day for us, instead we’d head for the place aka deer lease.  A tradition that carried over after I got married, just a different place – B’s grandpa’s “El Soldado” ranch.  El soldado means the solider for that is what Grandpa John was first and foremost.  Or maybe good Catholic, father, then solider.  Still makes me sick to my stomach that his legacy was sold.  Even the mom from The Glass Castle a Memoir by Jeanette Walls kept her inherited land despite extreme poverty in her own home.  Some say crazy … crazy like a fox.  LAND what a precious commodity.

No use bellyaching about sold inheritance.  Especially on this fine day.  Where all is right with my small microcosm of the world. I am extremely “pinch me I must be dreaming” blessed.  I am thankful! Every. Single. Day!

As always, more to come.