Jack Reacher – Night School

night schoolNight School (Jack Reacher #21) 
Lee Child (Goodreads Author),

Dick Hill (Narrator)

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Edmond Gagnon‘s review

Jan 30, 2019

 

I zipped through this one in four sittings, I think. It’s the first Reacher novel I’ve read where the story takes place while he’s still in the army. In this one he’s on a mission to save the world, instead of some anonymous person along the back roads of America.
There’s the usual action and fight scenes and even a couple sex scenes. I like the way Lee Child describes the smutty stuff, almost with military precision, and not like fifty shades of pornography.
The book is well-paced and it steadily picks up speed as the action and story unfold. One of my editors explained a writing trick in which the author uses short or brief sentences to speed things along. I completely understand it, having been caught up to the point where I didn’t want to put the book down. It works.

First Man

first manThere have been many movies made about space exploration, but First Man is unique in that it lets you see and experience the thrills and spills of travelling to outer space through the eyes of those who have done it. None of us mere mortals can even imagine how it feels to do the crazy and courageous stunts that the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo astronauts have done for mankind.

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A Casual Traveler – 2nd Edition

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          * NEW RELEASE *

SECOND EDITION – Re-edited, with More Stories

A Casual Traveler is a collection of short stories and poems that chronicle my adventures and misadventures around the world.

Let me take you to exotic countries in Southeast Asia, and Central or South America, to explore great cities like Buenos Aires or Seattle, and ancient sites like Angkor Wat or Machu Picchu.

I’ll introduce you to interesting people from around the globe, and share my culinary experiences with strange and gourmet food.

Sail with me on a wooden Junk boat in Ha Long Bay. Take an exhilarating motorcycle ride across the country or to the top of Pike’s Peak in the Rocky Mountains.

Get off the beaten path, I dare you. Follow me to places that you have only dreamed of. Take a trip with A Casual Traveler.

Rogue One

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The critics’ reviews are all over the map on Rogue One, the latest Star Wars movie, and honestly, so are mine. Although it’s a prequel, meant to explain the sequels, at one point I felt like I took a NyQuil.

There’s solid acting by one veteran actor, and lots of newcomers and unknowns. The story had me confused from the start, but I clued in as the plot moved along, remembering tidbits from past episodes.

There was lots of action, which I normally like, but found boring at one point. Maybe I tired of the story. Darth Vader only made a brief appearance, which I felt left the ending anti-climatic. Having said that, Cathryn shed a tear at the end when one of the original cast makes a cameo appearance to utter one word, “Hope.”

Rogue one was entertaining, with a bit of humor thrown in with the drama. Half of our audience clapped at the end, and you don’t see that happen often. Cathryn rates the movie an 8, but in being generous, I’m giving it a 7 out of 10.

The Hero of Hacksaw Ridge

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Heartbreak, Sorrow, Fear, Awe, Amazement. Those are five emotions that come to mind as I watched the first battle scene on Hacksaw Ridge, on the island of Okinawa. I actually caught myself wincing a few times – watching explosions, bullets ripping into flesh, and the resulting carnage. This is not a movie for the faint of heart. It’s a war movie that makes Saving Private Ryan seem tame.

With war movies such as Braveheart, The Patriot, and We Were Soldiers to his credit, Mel Gibson took it up another notch with Hacksaw. It was not based on a true story, it IS a true story of man whose religious beliefs would not let him take the life of another. He joins the military to become a medic and save lives, not take them. The ignorance of others leads to him being labelled a coward and they try to force him out of the army.

If Webster’s dictionary is looking for a picture of someone to post under their definition of a Hero, Desmond Doss’ likeness should be it. The man went above and way beyond what many others could even conceive. Doss was the first non-combatant to receive the medal of honor for his efforts. He alone, saved 75 soldiers on Hacksaw Ridge and was severely wounded himself.

I don’t think Cathryn could have handled this movie, so I saw it solo. It’s easily the best movie I’ve seen in a long time. 10 out of 10.

Inferno is Hot

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Inferno twists and turns like the tentacles of flames in search of oxygen. Having read and loved Dan Brown‘s book of the same name, I was pleased the script followed suit. I’d forgotten about the biggest surprise in the story that blew me away again, seeing it on screen.

I read one review that said Ron Howard didn’t put his best effort into this installment of the adventures of Professor Robert Langdon. Nonsense! The action starts ten minutes into the film and doesn’t let up until the end.

Once again Langdon’s search for clues and his efforts to solve a complex puzzle (to save humanity this time), take him to the ancient cities of Europe, such as Florence, Venice, and Budapest.

Tom Hanks is strong in the role of Professor Langdon, as usual. The historic sites and cinematography made this film a treat to see on the big screen.

Cathryn and I both love the movie and each gave it 10 out of 10.

 

 

Going Back – Reacher 2

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So I’m one of those Jack Reacher fans who always comments on how Tom Cruise doesn’t fit the main character in Lee Childs books of the same name. Having said that, I must admit that Cruise’s acting fills the void in his character’s size.

In Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, our hero adds two female sidekicks. That is very unusual for Reacher, who, at one point states, “I usually work alone.” His two female partners in crime fighting soften the story somewhat, adding both humor and sexual tension.

The depth of Cruise’s acting is shown in his subtle facial expressions, when he learns that his companions can actually help him catch the bad guys. Some critics say the movie lacked superhero action, but that’s the whole idea behind Jack Reacher-he’s not a superhero. He’s only one man.

The movie wasn’t really a sequel to the first, just Reacher’s continuing adventures while he travels around the country. Cathryn and I thought it did well on it’s own and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We both gave the movie a 9 out of 10.

 

 

1100 Miles to the Hill & Back

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For this year’s annual bike trip the S.O.B.’s did a run up to Parliament Hill in Ottawa, and then back. Our total damage was just over 1100 miles in four days.

We had an extra biker this year, Karl, who joined Tim, Devin, Chris, and myself (Papa Bear). The destination is different every year, this trip was planned by Chris and Tim. Our departure on Thursday morning was delayed by the late arrival of the boys from Michigan, but they made a pickup at the duty free shop in the way of an apology.

IMG_2926[1]It was almost lunch time when we met Karl for breakfast at the Country Diner on Manning near County Road 42. With our bellies full, and a big blue sky looking down on us, we slipped into the middle lane on the 401. Our first stop was at Earl’s, in London, where the beer was cold and waitresses hot.

The ride along the 401, 407, and 400 were boring, but light traffic and perfect weather helped the world become a better place. Chris had his heart set on dinner at Weber’s, near Wonderland, but the rest of us would have preferred a sit-down restaurant with the option of another beer.

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