I am Pilgrim, by Terry Hayes

A spy thriller, in the same vein of a James Bond adventure, but make him an anti hero. Instead of a young, dashing, irresistible British heart throb, you get a middle aged, retired American ex-spy. But, you do get the same high stakes game, a very nasty villain, a race against time, and an intriguing puzzle.

It’s set up with a puzzling murder, where the killer has left absolutely no clues, and has removed all the normal identifying characteristics of a dead body. Via an acid bath. So–no motive, no clues, and no ID. But the investigator notices that this has the earmarks of how to commit a perfect murder–from a book that he wrote earlier in his career.

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The Magic of Math, by Arthur Benjamin

This is one of those rare books that makes a technical subject interesting, but not only for the nontechnical average Joe, but also for those who are very comfortable with math. So, why would someone like me, who majored in math, find another math book interesting? Because it ties together the different branches of math and brings them together in a fun way. Like tying probability to an ice cream shop. By showing how adding numbers together (Fibonacci sequence) can lead to the number e. In other words, what your high school textbook should have done.

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Teeth, movie review

Incidental discovery on Netflix. Black comedy + revenge flick. Very well done. Too many horror flicks are doomed by poor acting, which is where this one really shines. You just can’t believe that such a lovely young, good looking woman can have such a gross problem.

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Would You Rather, movie review

Another winner from Netflix BUT only if you like unexpected and violent bursts of extreme violence. But hey, it’s only a game. A young woman is invited to a dinner party. Even though she’s nursing her cancer stricken younger brother 24×7, she’s enticed by the fact that the dinner sponsor promises to help her brother.

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Millipede on your PC

I cannot believe how good this game is. You youngsters won’t be able to identify, but you should try it. Even with a mouse, it’s addictive. I used to spend money to play this game, and now it’s free on my PC. Life can’t possibly get any better. http://my.ign.com/atari/millipede.

Ready Player One, By Ernest Cline

I never thought someone could write a good book about one video game, but Cline has done it. Never mind the many references to adventure and action games from my era–they definitely added a touch of nostalgia, but the storytelling is good enough where I lost track of what was real and what was taking place in The Oasis (the video game).

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Return to Sender, movie review

Not quite a horror movie, but bordering on it. It’s a slow developer, but you’ll get a good reward at the end. A woman is raped (not to be seen if you’re squeamish), but ends up befriending the attacker after he’s sent to prison. Simple story, but the character development and story are very well done. It’s also a freebie, available on Netflix.

The Lazarus Effect, movie review

Another accidental (and freebie) discovery on Netflix. It reminded me of Flatliners, an older film that was also pretty scary. A medical team has developed a serum that can bring dead animals back to life. During one of these experiments, an electrical accident kills one of the workers. They can’t resuscitate her, but her husband, one of the developers, has the brilliant idea to use the experimental Lazarus serum. And that’s when the fun begins.

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Red Rising, by Pierce Brown

An adult version of Hunger Games, with more advanced syfy mixed in. By adult, I mean a lot more brutality, but also more intense drama. By syfy, one example would be that the story takes place on Mars. And surgeons can completely modify your body, adding muscle and changing bone structure.

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The Martian, by Andy Weir

The movie is getting ready to come out, so be sure you read the book first. It’s not syfy, in the sense of outer space exploration or fighting aliens, but more along the lines of a slow motion Gravity. But, it’s pretty clever in how the guy survives.

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