Sherborn, MA, United States | Member Since 2012
Byron Reese is a historian. In his latest work, Infinite Progress he sets a high bar for Internet and Technology. He spells out his optimism in his title “How the Internet and Technology will end ignorance, disease, poverty, hunger and war. Yikes! As a fellow Internet aficionado and technology practitioner, I just had to see what this was all about. In the first chapter I worked my way up the ladder of “optimism shock” – a kind of sugar shock, just without ingesting a ton of jelly beans.
The basis for Reese giving you his predictions are built on five principles: 1) futurists often get it wrong; 2) history can help us get it right; 3) internet technology + human ingenuity = infinite promise; 4) accelerating progress is inevitable; and, 5) the new renaissance has begun. Pretty heady stuff! Of these five principles there really is only one real premise three assertions and one dollop of hope. I really don’t think Reese made his argument in the end. But....
I have read other books in this genre, for example the "Next 100 Years" by George Friedman and this work has a place along side. I would have to say that spending 10 hours dwelling on things might go right instead of 10 hours of the things that have gone wrong was a refreshing change. Even if you don’t buy what Reese is selling, I give him credit for putting his message out there. If you have the time and want to hear some good, non-political, speculation give it a read.
Has it been almost four years since the last Dan Brown novel? Yes it has! In his latest work, Inferno, Brown pulls out the unflappable symbologist Dr. Robert Langdon of Di Vinci Code and Angels and Demons. Brown uses the same formula for his new novel, Inferno, substituting the Bible for Dante. It works. The problem with all Langdon novels is that they happen over such a short timeframe, you don’t get a chance for much character development and very little backstory.
Langdon awakes in a hospital with a head injury, in Italy and without a clue to how he got there; then the game is on. This time-lock story formula and lack of character depth places him at a significant disadvantage that he more than makes up for with interesting facts, plausible fibs and fast paced action. The novel is narrated by Paul Michael who did a good job but a touch monochromatic for my taste.
In my conversations with other readers, over the years regarding Browns’ work, I think either you love him or you don’t love him so much – no middle ground. He is a very polarizing writer because of his formula and style. For me, I just like to sit back and enjoy the ride. He isn’t the most eloquent of authors but I do like the ways he puts together all of the research and the brisk pace he moves you through conflicts.
I strongly recommend that you read his stand-alone works Digital Fortress and Deception Point which are excellent. They do not use the same formula as the Langdon novels. In some ways, they are much stronger works than the Langdon novels. As long as he doesn’t bring out this formula every year, I will remain a fan – this is a definite listen.
The is the first of a series. I made the mistake of reading the second one first (The Hit). I liked it a great deal. The second book has a number of references to book one. When I finished book two, I researched and found “The Innocent.” In this novel, we are introduced to Will Robie, Juile and Nikki Vance. Robie is a contract killer for the CIA, Vance a FBI special agent and Julie a 14 year-old tough girl. So the deal is, people get shot, Julie’s parents are killed as part of a plot for who knows what reason and then the hunt for the truth begins.
McLarity and Cassidy do a good job narrating this book – they also do the second as well. Baldacci add charters depth layer by layer. There are a few technical facts in the book that defy physics, such as bullets do not gain momentum after they are shot as he suggests; but I can’t fault Baldacci or his editors for not getting a passing grade in physics.
The story appeals to those who like thrillers with a little tech and government thrown in for seasoning. There are many unconnected bits throughout the story and Baldacci manages to connect most of them. It not just about the mystery, it is about how the characters grow and how they adapt that makes this listen interesting. You’ll get hooked quickly. I give the “The Innocent” and the next in the Robie series “The Hit” a big thumbs up.
The story opens with a flash forward by twenty days. It leaves you wondering, “what the …” Then one sister doesn’t get the ring the other is in the middle of a divorce. Kinsella uses each sister to get a perspective on the other’s life. It is really two stories for the price of one wrapped together thoughtfully. This approach gets you hooked quickly and you immediately start to speculate how is it all going to work out. One sister is more believable than the other, so you have suspend a little judgment – but you will like both characters.
The novel has three narrators and all with British accents. They do a good job but the narration does not make add anything to the novel – they are just readers – a bit impassive.
If you like this book, you might like “Wife By Wednesday” by ByBee this is another one of those romantic leaning novels with fun stitched in which I liked a bit more. If you are a hopeless romantic, then I’d give this a read – it worth it.
You don’t often get to listen to a teen coming of age novel that has tech in it. I was curious about this title so I listened to it on a lark. I have to admit it was very good, I like the way Sise puts the story together. She did a good job connecting you to the characters and each of the characters have decent depth. Another good story device is making you wait to pick up the backstory of the characters as the story progresses. Delisle narrates the story briskly and her voice is easy to listen to. This is a definite listen, a little sugar sweet, but thumbs up nonetheless.
The Hit, the new novel by David Baldacci takes no time to start the killing. The book opens with a double cross killing in the first five minutes of listening and then a second hit in the next five. Baldacci quickly establishes the street creds for the Will Robie (the pursuer) and Jessica Real (the pursuee). Both are hit men except that Real, the only female hit man has gone off the reservation -- or so with are led to believe.
And so, the chase starts, Robie chasing Real, and many twists and turns catch you by surprise in this novel. It is a good listen and it is classic Baldacci. If you liked his last novel (released only a month ago), and I did, you’ll find this one equally interesting. In this novel it more about suspense and intrigue than the love angle of the last.
I find Baldacci to be somewhat a touch too commercial, but I do like his story lines. He plays with emotions and suspense and does a good job with character development. The narration is performed by Ron McLarity and Orlagh Cassidy – I thought the narration was a touch too dramatic and could have been dialed back just a touch – but it was just okay.
This book will appeal to those who like thrillers with a government backdrop. If you looking for a big love story in this one, you won’t get it. It is definitely worth the time time -- give it a listen.
When we finished unraveling (book 1), the world was left a mess – actually destroyed, Janelle Taylor lost her father, her best friend and the boy she loved (Ben Michaels). The ending was less a cliff hanger than a major downer. The only thing to hope for is somehow Ben Michaels will keep his word and come back for her. This is the setting for the opening of Unbreakable: Unraveling, Book 2.
People are going missing, more being abducted, and assistant junior FBI assistance Jannell is feeling the heat to find out why. The story builds fast. Her style of short punchy chapters is back (which I like) and so is the countdown clock (which I don’t). You’ll have to read for yourself what it all means this time – again. But I think you will be pleased with the story. Katie Schorr narrates this teen novel. She did a great job in book one and she doesn’t miss a beat in book two.
This teen novel will appeal to everyone and it’s appropriate for the young teen as well. There are no grizzly accounts but enough suspense for everyone. I highly recommend the 11 hours of listening; it goes real fast.
You can’t help but immediately like the heroine in this story. This story is all about a bet. In most of the plots using this device, the bet is not exposed until the end and then there is the predictable blow-up. Not here, Min knows about the bet up front, well most of it anyway. Deanna Hurst does a good job narrating the story. One thing that I like about this novel is you connect with the characters pretty quickly and there are six different points of view – good job. This is a pleasant read and worth the time.
When I started listening, I have to admit I was skeptical of the title. There was something about the title that both annoyed me and intrigued me. As I started to listen, it became clear that the central argument of book struck a core principle: If you believe in what you sell and are passionate about what impact it makes on your customer, you will be a better sales person – bingo. I believe this is true. McLeod goes on to discuss what she means by a noble purpose: Focus on what impact you make on your customer; how you are different than your competition; and, on your best day what do you love about your job.
McLead has spent over 10,000 hours interviewing top sales people and provides insight in how they motivate themselves and their customers. She is quick to point out the methodology she is espousing is not a marking ploy or a tagline; it is a way of thinking. I like the way she articulates ideas in a simple, straightforward manner. For example, purpose is the difference you are trying to make; mission is how you do it; and vision is what the world looks like after you finish the job.
This book will appeal to senior sales executives as well as those who manage senior sales executives. Although mid and junior sales professionals will find the ideas interesting and motivating, direction and change must come from the top. I give this easy listen a big thumbs up.
You start off at the beach and the initial teen drama fools you into thinking that this is going to be a uninteresting thriller so superficial that you start to think about what else in your library; after all this is a 11 plus hour listen. Then bang, someone is dead, then alive and then another death. I won’t say more – this is not a spoiler since this all happens so rapidly that if you are not paying attention you’ll have to skip back in time.
One of the things I like about the way Norris’ structured the story is she opts for very short scenes. It makes the story move very fast and gives you many point to pause -- briefly because you want to get back to it. Pretty quickly you get sucked into the world of Janelle Tanner; before you know it, Norris has made you curious about the other characters, their relationships. Soon you are wondering when she is going to give you more backstory -- like Alex's mother for example.
Katie Schorr does an excellent job of narration in this first person point of view novel. Her voice is pleasant and melodic.
This is the first of a series. I recommend the first one enthusiastically. It will appeal to anyone who like a teen series. It does have a x-files feel at times, so if that is not your interest you may love it a little less. But I think it is well worth the read. A big thumbs up.
Wow! I have to give it to Knepper; she certainly has a vocabulary of swear words. I grew up in a trailer park so I have known my share of artists in vulgarity – an artist she is not. Knowing how to artistically turn a phrase with them -- nope -- big fail. If you took out the #$%$$#$ and the f-bombing, you are left with humorless pedestrian stories. I had so hoped for a little Sedaris-esq mix with a female twist. She did not deliver on any level.
There were a few moments that made me smile overall, but they were too far apart. I just can’t recommend a book whose sole impact and selling point is listening to a woman swear. Punch up the stories, get me rolling with laughter, connect me to my kids memories, throw in some potty mouth and now you’d have some success. Hard pass.
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