Everyone is up to their old tricks and charms. The descriptions are beautiful, the characters well-rounded and like-able or perfectly hate-able. I read each of these faithfully because of all of these things. The stories and writing are rich and full and make other stories seem lacking. This particular book had a couple of moments where Dave is "saved" just a little to easily and a little to coincidentally. A couple of moments almost had a "Scooby-Doo, whew, that was close" feel to them. I hope Burke doesn't continue in that direct and instead keeps the flawed, human, reluctantly heroic heroes in tact.
I hesitated before buying this book since it is Barry Lancet's first published. This is one of the best first books I've ever read/listened to.
I did a little research and Lancet is an expert on the Japanese culture and on traveling abroad and it really shows in this book. His expertise comes through in this story making it satisfyingly deep and complex and filled with super interesting facts and details that just drive this story. Swept-up is the word I would use. This story and action build up at a speed and level so that I was truly swept up in the story from beginning to end.
The main character, Brodie has great depth. He has characteristics that make you like him and invest in him right away and then more and more unfold as the story goes along. Brodie's background is also developed so that you really believe all the action as that builds as the story goes.
The action is awesome. It's well-paced, easy to follow and picture as it unfolds, and really keeps you on the edge of your seat.
I've never heard the narrator Newbern before, he gets five stars too. He did a really nice job keeping the voices separate and not screwing up the accents and women's voices.
I hope this book and Lancet get discovered.
I wanted to savor, cherish, and adore this book as it is the last we will receive by Tom Clancy. But I also want to be true in reviewing it.
Here are the great Clancy characteristics that Command Authority has:
Complexity with a great ending:
Clancy is the master in writing extremely complex political tales that come spinning into an ending that leaves you breathless.Command Authority has that.
Wild and totally believable tales:
Not a detail was left out. At one point, Ryan senior uses an umbrella in a scene, and in the scene before that, Clancy specifically writes about Ryan borrowing the umbrella from the door man. Too many "action" authors miss that kind of detail. But it's that genius writing that makes all the wild scenes purely enjoyable.
Facts and details:
I always finish a Clancy novel feeling like I learned a bunch. This story delivers on that.
An obvious love for the subject matter:
Once again, Clancy's knowledge of military life and international travel and characters come through, which makes him so credible and this story great.
The Clancy characteristics that are missing from Command Authority:
Total clarity and super smooth flow. This book gets confusing. With going back and forth in time between Sr. and Jr. and the way the chapters are labeled, I got lost more than once, especially right in the middle of the book. I was just starting to tire of the feeling of not knowing what was going on, and then in the last 25% it got back on track and was easy to follow.
A love for the original characters:
Some of the characteristics that made the world LOVE Jack Ryan, weren't played up and weren't revisited. I don't grow tired of hearing how suave he is, and how super human and yet perfectly down to earth he is. I wanted to fall in love all over again, and a little bit of that was missing.
I don't know how much of the book was written by Mark Greaney. I searched for some information on that, but none could be found. We can only guess why exactly this book felt a little different.
Phillips as the narrator only gets four stars because he has a lilt to the way he finishes each sentence that works in interpersonal/conversational scenes, but is weird and a little distracting during the action scenes. Most of the time though, he's great.
Clancy fans will read/listen to this book no matter what, I know I was going to. With that said, I really do recommend this book.
King and Maxwell are back and in classic style with great new twists. I don't know if there are better book characters out there. King & Maxwell are such a great pair. They are SO well developed as characters, I feel like I really know them as people. Baldacci has developed the perfect balance of making you feel like you know them, while throwing in surprises and twists and hooks that keep you off your guard. The other balancing act that Baldacci performs perfectly is the strengths and weaknesses of both King and Maxwell. He makes them fit in a perfect and yet not-contrived way. Their banter, their complimentary characteristics, their flaws, and their partnership are all totally believable.
This story is super fast driving and dense with action. You can't space off and miss a few minutes of this story or you will certainly miss an explosion, or a great save, or a new twist leading to who-done-it. It's awesome. The ending is complex, and fun, and action-packed, and worthy of the story you have invested in as a listener.
I gave only four stars for the performance because of McLarty's voice for the boy, Tyler. It was whiny and annoying and distracting. The rest of the pieces of the performances are great.
I loved every character in this book. The lead character, Sully, is super well developed, you get a great sense of him as you learn about his history. The other characters in this story are what really make it great. Amy the young reporter, all the characters in the funeral home, the son, all the people getting phone calls, and I especially loved the librarian. Albom writes about people really well. I wish I could meet some of these people, I would for sure want to be friends with Amy and the librarian.
In this book, Albom adds a fun, mysterious, story that brings all these super flawed characters together in a very believable and sweet way and makes you really care what happens to them. The story flowed really well, and there were some "whoa, I didn't see that coming" moments that made it a fun ride.
I was pleasantly surprised by the narration. If you are a "narrator-geek" like I am, he reminds me a little of the narrator Fisher Stevens. Albom does a nice job and it adds a personal touch to have him reading his own story.
Why not five stars? While the characters were perfect, the story didn't drive forward as well as it could have. Some of the wrap-ups in the end seemed a tiny bit contrived to me. If I could give it 4 1/2 stars I would. It's a light, fun, great read (listen) that makes you feel good about, well, everything.
Have you ever gotten your money back for a book you bought at Audible.com? They offer refunds. I have over 500 books in my library and I've asked for my money back once. This book, will be the second one. It was that bad.
Burning Paradise is a story about earth living in a cloud of silent aliens. The story, of course, is about the group of people who know about the aliens and are in covert battle with them.
The premise of this book was interesting and even the first half was ok. But it's like the author didn't know how to finish it, or got bored with his own characters, or was too enamored with the idea of this alien force so forgot to actually develop the characters of the humans--the ones who drove the story and the ones the reader (listener) is supposed to care about.
I didn't get to know or care anything about ANY of the human characters. The main heroine, Casey, was boring from the start and didn't do anything to become more interesting. The slightly "colorful" side characters didn't have any flair or interesting characteristics at all.
The ending, well, call it a spoiler alert if you like, but it just fizzles. I expected at least a big confrontation, something to make it worth my time that I stuck with it for 8 hours, but nothing happened. Oh my gosh it was bad.
Scott Brick, the narrator, I usually like, but Brick has a sardonic lilt to his voice that is perfect when the story has a smart-alecky lead character, or a little bit of humor. Also, Brick doesn't do women's voices at all, so he was a terrible fit for this book. This story took itself way to seriously for Brick to be reading it. I swear towards the end it sounded like Brick was bored stiff too.
If you want a semi-sci-fi or sci-fi-lite recommendation, listen to The Rook, or This Book is Full of Spiders, or Carrion Comfort. I don't recommend this book.
Dan Simmons writes long books. That's what he does, and he does it well. Carrion Comfort is the other I've listened to (around 30 hrs long) and that made me want to listen to others of his.
The Abominable is a story about an American, Jacob Perry who ends up on an expedition to Mt. Everest. The expedition has perils and secrets that a normal trip to Everest does not hold.
This story is great. There are a lot of details, scene development, and character development. I am very familiar with the terminology and technical details of mountianeering and rock climbing so I really enjoyed those sections of the book as they were factual and well researched.
The action of the story moved along nicely and the premise of the action and danger was believable. Simmons also did a nice job of setting the story up early so when situations happened later, they happened naturally and flowed well.
There were some flaws. I thought Carrion Comfort was pretty much perfect, so I was surprised that there were some distinct things about this book that I did not like.
The main character wasn't very likable. As the story went on he got more annoying and less likable. By the finale, I kinda wanted someone to punch him, or at least I just wanted him to stop talking. The narrator didn't help either. His tone didn't need to be quite as whiny and complaining as Jacob, which made him even less likable.
Also, I thought the extra side-story that could have brought some fun thrills into the story just fizzled and never developed.
With those criticisms, I still give it four stars because it was a great story that is worth the listen. The research and details are impressive and fit well within the story.
Set your expectations and settle in for a great, light, funny, endearing story. This is the third book in the Bridget Jones series, and, well, that's exactly what it is.
Bridget Jones is back, now in her early 50's, single, with two children. She's still struggling with her weight, her career, and how she perceives that the rest of the world clicks along smoothly while she struggles with staying organized, being a good mom, and navigating the modern dating scene.
This story is really funny, I laughed out loud dozens of times. The Jones character is endearing, I would want to be friends with her, she's very, very likable. I found myself really rooting for Jones and wanting to audibly "boooooo" characters that she met that weren't nice to her or didn't appreciate her quirkiness.
Are there flaws? Absolutely. A lot of the same tricks, themes, phrases, and cheap laughs from the first two books are back, so there isn't much originality. The climax of the book towards the end is badly written and entirely unbelievable. Also, the beginning of the book starts out in the middle of the story, then goes back in time a few months to catch you up and move forward--that transition was very clunky and I was confused for a few minutes before I figured it out. But this isn't the sequel to The Great Gatsby, it's Bridget Jones. If you loved the other Bridget Jones, and your expectations are that it's just as silly and flawed as those, then you'll love this one too.
The narrator was good, I really liked her voice for men, and her gasps and groans through Jones' follies added a lot to the story.
Doomed is the sequel to Damned, the continued story of Madison.
This book was SO disappointing. I have loved Chuck Palahnuik's past works. From Fight Climb to Haunted, Choke, and Invisible Monsters, I have really treasured his books.
Doomed has SOME of the things that I love about Chuck, like the "ticks" he puts in his stories, his great writing rhythm, and his very dark humor.
What this story was missing was, well, an actual story. As the story begins, I was super excited to see what kind of trouble Madison was going to get into to, and then, nothing happened. You are introduced to a couple of characters that seems to have the capacity to drive the story forward along with Madison and then nothing happened with them either. There was very little interaction with them. The entire story goes back into Madison's past and she whines and bitches about everything that happened to her and how misunderstood she was.
It was bad, really bad.
I enjoyed the narrator, she was fun to listen to.
Sadly, I do not recommend this book.
When you read the Amazon reviews, you'll see that DeMille fans are mad because this book was released from the 1970's with a few "updates." So do note that this is a story written decades ago, slightly updated, and released on Audible.
The idea of the story is fun. There is some good action and great and menacing bad guys. DeMille also paints a great picture of the surroundings and the scene so you really feel like you are there with the characters. Unfortunately, the three to four main characters are shallow, poorly developed, and not likable. The characters don't even like each other. There are suspenseful action scenes which are great, but whenever the characters interact with each other, they are at best neutral and uncaring and at worst, snarky and hostile.
The story was interesting for about the first 2/3's of the book, but then fell apart because I just didn't care about the characters. By the very end, I was rolling my eyes as it disintegrated into an empty shell.
Scott Brick is great, really great. I enjoyed the story longer because he was the narrator.
I enjoyed this book, and as expected, I laughed out loud multiple times. I can't imagine "reading" this book when you have the opportunity to listen to Billy Crystal read it to you. Having his voice truly made all the difference and brought the laughs.
The insights into the sports figures were especially interesting and getting a peek behind the scenes of movies like When Harry Met Sally and City Slickers was a treat.
Going back and forth between Crystal reading the book and reading it live in front of an audience was a really nice touch, I especially loved that.
Because Crystal is reading it to you, it feels intimate. So occasionally he drops facts, or lines, that are surprising, like how rich he is, or how much he dislikes someone, things that were really, very honest. I loved it. I love being surprised, and I love being surprised that I'm surprised.
I recommend this book.
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