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Jim In Texas!

I'm just a big kid.

Austin, TX, United States | Member Since 2009

  • 37 reviews
  • 73 ratings
  • 272 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2015

  • Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden - from 9-11 to Abbottabad

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Peter L. Bergen
    • Narrated By Mark Deakins

    From the author of the New York Times best-selling Holy War, Inc., this is the definitive account of the decade-long manhunt for the world’s most wanted man, Osama bin Laden. Al Qaeda expert and CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen paints a multidimensional picture of the hunt for bin Laden over the past decade, including the operation that killed him.

    Betty says: "DO NOT MISS THIS ONE!"
    "A good look at high level decision making"
    Where does Manhunt rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is an important book. Mr. Bergen had extensive access to very senior level people in writing 'Manhunt', including Presidents Clinton, Bush, and especially President Obama.

    Many senior cabinet officers and senior military and intelligence leaders are quoted. I believe this book to be about as authentic account of the hunt for OBL as any civilian could write.

    On the downside, I had one quibble and one serious problem with 'Manhunt':

    Quibble: The author, as one would expect of a NYT reporter, worships at the church of Obama. Everything Obama is portrayed in the most positive possible light. Long boring paragraphs are devoted to praising our President. Given the recent terrorism directed against our diplomats in the middle east, Bergen's glowing tributes to Obama's diplomatic skills seems very outdated.

    To be fair to Bergen, while his tone towards President Bush is fairly negative, Bergen does explain why so many senior officials (including Senators Clinton and Kerry) believed that Iraq had WMD's prior to the invasion of that country. This was important information that Bergen puts on the record.

    Substantial problem: There is way too much detailed information about classified intelligent sources and methods reveled in this book. I can't blame Mr. Bergen, he's reporting what creditable senior people told him, but I do blame glory seeking politicians for putting their short term political ambitions ahead of the long term good of the country.

    'Manhunt' is an excellent companion to 'No Easy Day' by Mark Owen. Mr. Bergen takes you into the high level decision making process that lead up to the raid.

    Mr. Owen's book is written from the point of view of the grunt on the ground.

    Together one gains an excellent appreciation of the skill required to pull off an operation like 'Neptune Spear'.

    Net/net 'Manhunt' should leave any reader impressed with how effective our governmental leadership can be when they really work together on a difficult problem.


    Have you listened to any of Mark Deakins’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Mr. Deakins does an excellent job with this narration. The production quality of this audio book is excellent.

    I had to give Mr. Deakins only four stars, because (like so many American narrators) he can't really 'do' foreign accents, he sounds silly when he tries.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Investment Biker: Around the World with Jim Rogers

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Jim Rogers
    • Narrated By John McLain
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Legendary investor Jim Rogers gives us his view of the world on a 22-month, 52-country motorcycle odyssey in his best-selling business/adventure book, Investment Biker, which has already sold more than 200,000 copies.

    Before you invest another dollar anywhere in the world (including the United States), read this book by the man Time magazine calls "the Indiana Jones of finance". Jim Rogers became a Wall Street legend when he co-founded the Quantum Fund. Investment Biker is the fascinating story of Rogers’s global motorcycle journey/investing trip.

    Nuno says: "Wish I had found this book 20 years ago"
    "Trigger warning: Jealous types should avoid!"

    Jim Rogers is in his 40s in 1990. He has a 22 year old beautiful blonde girlfriend who is perfect in every way. Jim is an avid long distance motorcycle rider.

    Jim is also richer than Midas. He thinks nothing of dropping by the local BMW dealer to pick up a new motorcycle on a whim, or buying a small country. He and his girlfriend decide to spend a couple of years traveling around the world on motorycycles.

    If the thought of someone like that bothers you, avoid this book!

    This book is about 70% travelogue, and a really good one, especially for motorcycle riders. Jims trip makes 'The Long Way Round' look like a run to the grocery store.

    Really, 1990 wasn't that long ago, but it was about two years before the World Wide Web existed beyond academia. Jim spends a lot of time just trying to discover information about conditions in the next country, or keeping track of his personal finances while on the road. All stuff that you can do on a Smart Phone from just about anywhere these days.

    This ride was a real accomplishment and required assets that money can't buy.

    The other 30% is discussion of national and global macroeconomics from a libertarian point of view. In each country Jim visits he discusses the local economic and political climate from the perspective of a potential large investor. He also makes a lot of predictions, many of which subsequently came true. For example, after traveling the full length of the USSR he correctly predicted the near term breakup of the Soviet Union.

    He also predicted that Bill Clinton would be the last Democratic Party President, which of course didn't happen. He predicted that the U.S. economy was nearing collaspe, which hasn't happened yet.

    I think Jim did not foresee the huge peace dividend that flowed in to the United States after the fall of the Berlin Wall, which powered a lot economic growth through the 90s.

    Few will agree with all of Jim's analysis, predictions, and observations of human nature. But everyone with an interest in travel (especially travel by motorcycle), economics, politics, human cultures or just good stories will probably enjoy this book.

    John McLain's narration and the overall production values of this audiobook were outstanding, it was a pleasure to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • My Father's Friend: One Summer in Hell

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By David W Walker
    • Narrated By Brad Wills
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In that unforgettable 1940 summer known as the Battle of Britain, the date September 15th stands out as the day the tide of war turned. Two massive waves of German bombers and their fighter support set upon the defences of London. They were met with the complete, unleashed commitment of Fighter Command....

    Jim In Texas! says: "A Great Story of War and Love"
    "A Great Story of War and Love"

    I really enjoyed this story of war and love in a Spitfire squadron in World War II. Very much in the spirit of Nevil Shute, the store is narrated in retrospect by an older man revealing the story of his past.

    There are fighters, dogfights, fist fights, spies, Nazis, love, and jealousy, all stirred into an intriguing story.

    The narration and production values are good. Brad Willis did a good job of bringing the characters to life. Almost everyone in this story is very young, as the fighter pilots of WWII were. For that reason I think the voicing of the 23 year old main character with a very deep voice was a little overdone, but at least it was done well.

    Recommended for anyone interested in military related fiction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Consider Phlebas

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Iain M. Banks
    • Narrated By Peter Kenny
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction, cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender. Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade. Deep within a fabled labyrinth on a barren world, a Planet of the Dead proscribed to mortals, lay a fugitive Mind. Both the Culture and the Idirans sought it....

    Hyacinth says: "The Culture is a magnificent and enticing vision."
    "It's an OK Space Opera"

    The reason I purchased this book is because Elon Musk decided to name his 'Autonomous spaceport drone ship' after one of the ships in this series: 'Just Follow The Instructions'.

    I figured Elon would not like a bad book.

    And indeed, the very original ships names Banks comes up with are very clever and entertaining.

    The story itself is pretty basic. There a McGuffin. Everyone wants the McGuffin. We really don't care about The McGuffin, but we care about the characters as they run around trying to find the McGuffin.

    At the start of the book the bad guys are 'The Culture', which is a galactic civilization that is run by 'minds', super intelligent machines that I'm sure Elon is working on building. They are at war with the the Idirans, a three legged warrior race who seem to be the good guys. Or not. It's hard to say.

    I will say that the Idirans are bad asses, and the Cluture's huge sentiant space ships are way cool!

    By the end of the book I wasn't sure who the good guys and the bad guys really were. Which is a plus in a lot of ways.

    As they run around there is a lot of classic SciFi wizzbangery, with some very Firefly-like / Hans Solo like characters.

    The Banks universe is more interesting than the story itself.

    It's a good three star space opera wrapped in a five star fictional universe.

    Peter Kenny does a terrific job of bringing the characters to life with his narration.

    The last five minutes of the audio book are an epilogue, which is clearly there because the McGuffin chasing just ran out of steam and Banks didn't have the heart to actually wrap up the story.

    Bottom Line: A workman like SciFi story set in a fascinating universe.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Confessions of a Failed Slut

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 9 mins)
    • By Kathy Shaidle
    • Narrated By Crystal Sershen

    Confessions of a Failed Slut blends personal reflections - "How the Love Boat Ruined My Life" - with contrarian takes on porn (online and off), dating (ditto), "slut shaming," sex toys, "robot hookers of the near future," dinosaur erotica, the multiplication of genders and orientations, and what she calls "the epidemic of beta male faggotry" plaguing the land.

    Jim In Texas! says: "A rant of epic proportions!"
    "A rant of epic proportions!"

    I'm not exactly how to classify this ...errr... 'document', but I sure enjoyed the heck out of it!

    Ms Shaidle starts with a discussion of the downsides of too much casual sex that's both funny and insightful. I'm thinking 'when granddaughter turns 13 I should give her a copy of this'.

    But then a little further I learn that there is a genre of adult fiction involving rough sex between young women and dinosaurs! I managed to make it to age 62 with knowing that, and frankly, I don't think I really needed that mental picture.....ever. But it's like a train wreck, you can't not look once the author points at it!

    Maybe I'll wait until granddaughter is a bit older than 13 to give this book.

    In general Ms Shaidle points out a lot of things that many fashionable and hip people do and say that are down crazy when you step back and look at them objectively. She makes you laugh, because otherwise you'd cry.

    Highly recommended!

    TRIGGER WARNING: If you are a 'social justice warrior' don't read this book unless you have a real sense of humor (unusual in SJW's, but I'm sure it's possible).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Trafalgar Gambit: Ark Royal, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Christopher G. Nuttall
    • Narrated By Ralph Lister
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Humanity is losing the war. The once-mighty space navies have been crippled, officers and crew have been stretched to the limit and Earth herself has come under heavy attack. The end cannot be long delayed. For Admiral Smith and the crew of HMS Ark Royal, the stakes have never been so high. The one hope is to make contact with alien factions that might oppose the war.

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "Satisfying conclusion to an enjoyable trilogy"
    "Best of the Three"

    This third novel of the trilogy is the best of the lot. Mr. Nuttall has tightened up his writing noticeably since the first novel.

    A few little details bother me, so I'll get those out of the way first:

    There are no more 'bloody noses'. The crew of the Ark Royal still whine about being tired after pulling a four hour shift, but not as often.

    Mr. Lister's narration has improved a bit, but his characters still bark and growl a lot more than I'd expect from RN Officers.

    In the future Royal Navy people salute indoors when they pass in the hall. That's weird.

    The rank structure of the future Royal Navy is a bit odd too. There do not seem be any Lieutenant Commanders, and an RN full Commander calls a Marine Major 'Sir'. The future RN does have 'Wing Commanders'.

    On some alien worlds all the women have to wear bikinis! Or just go naked. There's lots of naked women in our future.

    The good parts greatly outweighs these minor quibbles. Mr. Nuttall has woven a fascinating story, with several clever and unexpected plot twists.

    We finally get to learn something about the aliens, their motivations, their concerns, and why they are so upset with the mere humans in the first place.

    The characters became real to me, I found myself really caring about them. I really wanted to know how they would turn out.

    Mr. Nuttall does a good job of wrapping up the story lines of this trilogy into a satisfying conclusion.

    The Nuttall universe still exists, Earth isn't out of the woods. There's plenty of room for the sequels that I hope he writes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Abyss Beyond Dreams: Chronicle of the Fallers, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Peter F. Hamilton
    • Narrated By John Lee

    The year is 3326. Nigel Sheldon, one of the founders of the Commonwealth, receives a visit from the Raiel - self-appointed guardians of the Void, the enigmatic construct at the core of the galaxy that threatens the existence of all that lives. The Raiel convince Nigel to participate in a desperate scheme to infiltrate the Void. Once inside, Nigel discovers that humans are not the only life-forms to have been sucked into the Void. The humans trapped there are afflicted by an alien species of biological mimics.

    C. Hartmann says: "Intersection of the Void and Commonwealth - Super"
    "Revolt at the Renaissance Faire!"

    This novel follows Hamilton's 'Void Trilogy'.

    tl;dr : Not perfect, but if you liked the void Trilogy you pretty much have to listen to this book also.

    The first part of this novel is excellent. We're in the Commonwealth, some of our old friends are here. The narration by John Lee is perfect.

    What with Commonwealth people living pretty much infinitely long lifespans a lot of people are pretty bored, and so volunteer to boldly go where no one has gone before on huge colony ships. Destination: a new, less boring life.

    So far so good. Super Detective Paula is still chasing bad guys. Nigel is still smarter than everyone else (except maybe Ozzie).

    Nigel learns that The Void is even more of a threat or menace than we thought. Something Must Be Done.

    The Plan is put into action...

    Now we've left the Commonwealth to enter The Void to find another world, very similar to the Void world Makkathran of the earlier Void novels. Makkathran, as Hamilton readers will recall, is basically a magic powered Renaissance Faire world.

    This newly discovered Renaissance Faire world is threaten by a new bunch of Bad Guys called 'Fallers'.

    In this novel a junior soldier I'll call 'Edeard2' in this new Renaissance Faire world plus magic, starts to challenge the corruption and decay that have poisoned this new Renaissance Faire world.

    Edeard2 is determined that his fellow citizens should know hope again by defeating 'The Fallers', overthrowing the rich plutocrats, and instituting a Marxist dictatorship.

    The introduction of Edeard2 in his pre-revolution job as a soldier is actually fairly interesting.

    But not for that long.

    Sigh. We have to go a few hours as Edeard2 plots against the corrupt 'Captain' to give hope to his world and defeat the fallers. It's really very tedious to anyone who who read the void trilogy.

    Just when I was about to give up on this novel and ask for a refund someone from the Commonwealth shows up on Renaissance Faire2 and starts to introduce Science Fiction in the fairly boring internal politics of the Renaissance Faire2 world.

    From that point forward the book starts to be fun and interesting again. The ending had a surprise.

    And of course, a cliff hanger.

    I really didn't care for the original Edeard, this Edeard2 character in this novel or the whole concept of the Renaissance Faire worlds. I still liked this novel.

    If you liked Edeard and his world then you will for sure like The Abyss Beyond Dreams.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Hard Magic: Book I of the Grimnoir Chronicles

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Larry Correia
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot

    Jake Sullivan is a licensed private eye with a seriously hardboiled attitude. He also possesses raw magical talent and the ability to make objects in his vicinity light as a feather or as heavy as depleted uranium, all with a magical thought. It's no wonder the G-men turn to Jake when they need someoneto go after a suspected killer who has been knocking off banks in a magic-enhanced crime spree.

    Clinton says: "Not what I thought it was going to be."
    "Not bad for this genre"

    Full disclosure: I'm a hard science fiction fan, not at all into magic/fantasy type fiction. I did listen to Monster Hunter International, just because I like Larry Correia's blog. Essentially MHI was pretty close to a classic alien invasion story, just with magic creatures instead of aliens, so I felt like it was worth the audible credit.

    I bought 'Hard Magic' when Correia put it on sale for half price one day.

    Hard Magic is set in a magical steam puke alternate history, just after WWI. As a fan and student of history I enjoyed the slightly altered historical quotes and the historical characters that Correia weaves into the story. I can take or leave the steam punk stuff.

    I didn't like 'Hard Magic' as much as MHI, mostly because of what I came to think of as 'magic power escalation'.

    There is a McGuffin that both the Good Guys and the Bad Guys are running all over the place trying to find. If the Bad Guys get it they will do [Really Bad Thing].

    The basic story outline is:

    1) Character development, reveal a clue about what is Really Going On.

    2) Gun porn

    3) Good Guys and Bad Guys fight. Bad Guys kick the living daylights out of the good guys, but just when all hope is lost a Good Guy suddenly gets better magic or a new magic power that saves the Good Guys from the Bad Guys for the next battle.

    go to step 1 until Final Battle.

    4) Fight Final Battle, I won't spoil it by telling you which team wins.

    5) Reveal a clue about the next book in the series.

    I hear what you are saying: 'Well Jim, why did you give this book four stars overall'?

    That's a fair question. The answer is in Step 1 above, and in the excellent of the narrator and overall high quality of the audio production.

    Correia isn't Mr.Original when it comes to plotting, but he excels at creating interesting characters.

    The characters, both Good Guys and Bad Guys are fascinating. I really enjoyed how the Bad Guys had what for them were very rational reasons for doing what the reader perceives as Bad Things.

    Likewise the Good Guys really are motivated to do what the reader will perceive as good things, yet the Good Guys are far from perfect, having many weaknesses and frequent mixed motivations.

    The Bad Guys don't feel bad at all about collateral damage along the story. Collateral damage makes the Good Guys kind of sad. But really, the Good Guys don't lose a lot of sleep over that either.

    The complexity of the characters and the motivations for their actions kept me going to the end of the book, even though the fight scenes got a little tiresome as time went on.

    [Caution, this is a very bloody book, not suitable for small children.]

    The narration was excellent, Bronson Pinchot does a great job of voicing each of the many characters in the huge ensemble. The audio production overall was first rate, no bungled edits, no distracting breathing, no compression artifacts.

    If you like the idea of an alternate steam punk post WWI magical war with lots of magical fighting, then this book is for you!

    If, like me, you are fan of military or history related hard SciFi don't be afraid to give one of Correia's books a chance. You might, like me, enjoy it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Roadshow: Landscape with Drums: A Concert Tour by Motorcycle

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Neil Peart
    • Narrated By Brian Sutherland
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    For 30 years, drummer, author, and songwriter Neil Peart had wanted to write a book about "the biggest journey of all in my restless existence: the life of a touring musician." Finally, the right time, and the right tour. In the summer of 2004, after three decades, 20 gold albums, and thousands of performances spanning four continents, the band Rush embarked on a celebratory 30th Anniversary World Tour. The "R30" tour traveled to nine countries, where the band performed 57 shows in front of more than half a million fans. Uniquely, Peart chose to do his between-show traveling by motorcycle, riding 21,000 miles of back roads.

    Jim In Texas! says: "Enjoyable, even for a non-fan of Rush"
    "Enjoyable, even for a non-fan of Rush"

    I was aware of the band called Rush, but didn't care for the little bit of their music I had heard in the past.

    I had never heard the name 'Neil Peart' until a month ago when I listened to 'Ghost Rider'. I wouldn't call Ghost Rider an enjoyable book due to its central tragedy, but it was certainly well written and compelling.

    I used my next credit for 'Roadshow'. This is a much more enjoyable book. It was interesting to learn how a big traveling music show operates.

    I do have a little bit in common with Mr. Peart, we were both born in 1952 and we both like touring motorcycles. I've always been a shy person around strangers, but I can see I'm Mr Outgoing compared to this author.

    Mr Peart's relationship with his fans is interesting. He appreciates them, but he's also very frightened by them. So frightened that immediately after a show ends he usually runs to his bus and 'gets of dodge' as quickly as he can.

    The 'my fans scare me' theme runs throughout this book. Another theme is the authors love/hate relationship with the United States. I think love is winning out.

    And of course, as a long distance rider I found the motorcycle stuff fascinating, and there is a lot of motorcycle in this book. It certainly would be nice to not worry about the cost of frequent visits to BMW dealers to fix all the little problems that come with a shiny red GS.

    I have a Yamaha FJR sport touring bike, similar to the author's BMW, except faster. My Yamaha never breaks down, so I don't have to opportunity to become best friends with Yamaha dealers all over the country. ;)

    I wish Mr Peart was not so quick to bash people based on their outward appearance, accents, or religious beliefs. His elitist attitude can be bit off putting at times. Still, keep in mind that the author really bares his soul in his books, showing the bad alongside the good.

    We can appreciate his frankness in sharing some less than perfect sides of his personality.
    Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.

    The narration and production values of this audiobook are excellent. Brian Sutherland voice seems perfect for the job. I've watched some interviews with Mr Peart, and noticed that Mr Sutherland's voice is almost indistinguishable from that of Mr Peart.

    Since reading these two books I've tried to listen to some Rush music. It's just not for me, with the exception of Mr Peart's drum solos. I don't know if he's the best drummer in history, but he's certainly the best drummer I ever saw!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Neil Peart
    • Narrated By Brian Sutherland

    In less than a year, Neil Peart lost both his 19-year-old daughter, Selena, and his wife, Jackie. Faced with overwhelming sadness and isolated from the world in his home on the lake, Peart was left without direction. That lack of direction lead him on a 55,000 mile journey by motorcycle across much of North America, down through Mexico to Belize, and back again.

    Jim In Texas! says: "Not happy, but fascinating"
    "Not happy, but fascinating"

    I was vaguely aware of the existence of a band called 'Rush', but I couldn't recall hearing any of their music, my tastes in music go in a different direction.

    I was unaware of this Neil Peart person. I've since learned he is considered a Living God by many people, including members of my own family.

    The two things I do have in common with Mr Peart is that we were both born in 1952 and we both like to take a long motorcycle ride when we feel the need to clear our head. It was motorcycles, not music, that attracted me to this book.

    This isn't a particularly happy book, but it is a fascinating one. It's a good motorcycle travelogue. It's an interesting look behind the scenes of the life a famous musician. And it's a tragic story of a man dealing with what has to be about the worst loss one can imagine.

    Mr Peart doesn't always come across as particularly warm or tolerant. He does come across as brutally honest with himself and his readers.

    The narration and production values are excellent, the story is compelling.

    I can't say I 'enjoyed' this book, the central tragedy precludes that adjective.

    I am glad I read it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Rollback

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Robert J. Sawyer
    • Narrated By George Wilson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Thirty-eight years ago, Dr. Sarah Halifax earned worldwide fame by deciphering a radio transmission from an unknown intelligence reaching out from deep space. Now 87, Sarah receives news that, at long last, a new signal has been received, and her services are desperately needed once again.

    Crystal says: "He's Been Better- Characters Good"
    "Returned before finished"

    I have almost three hundred books in my Audible library. This is the second book that I have returned.

    This is the second book by Sawyer I've read, the first was that one about the spider creatures who come to earth looking for a paleontologist. That was pretty good, even though the ending was sad.

    This book was down right depressing to listen to, despite having an excellent narrator. The Alien message seems like nothing more than a excuse to put a married couple in a horrible situation.

    This was a decent short story crammed into a full length novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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