The writer is simply trying to hard to be funny - it just doesn't work. Good writers focus on plot and characters, letting humor work its way in naturally. The reader is in the wrong line of work - I know that's harsh, but, man, she is baaad.
Don't waste your credit.
A CIA operative wakes handcuffed to a bed in a strange room. Groggy and disoriented, she does not know who she is or answers to the questions of her captors. She escapes, stumbling into a community gym where the owner has seen mentally ill patients on the run in the past and recognizes the same symptoms in the confused woman. He feels compelled to help her. As a chase by evil-doers for the woman ensues, she begins putting the pieces of her life’s puzzle together. My wording here is deliberately cliché to suit the premise and plot.
Even with an over-used storyline, I still give this book 2.5 stars for 3 reasons: the writer’s mechanics are solid, male-female role reversal, and adequate dialog. There are no interesting twists or deep characterizations, but the author has an effortless style. I like the uniquely strong female lead with the male lead in a secondary, but not simpering, role.
This book did not pull me in, but with only one mediocre rating in audible, I was expecting a near disaster. It is not. Even so, the plot is not strong enough to thrill, the suspense lacks intrigue, the protagonist’s relationship is not a romance, and the dialog is not entertaining enough to carry the story.
In short, this author shows potential, but needs to deepen her research and apply much more creativity across the board.
An assassin uses his professional knowledge to become a famous writer who travels around the world. He uses his writing career as a cover for his true passion, killing. At the beginning of this story, Nick the assassin targets a woman whose identity under witness protection is leaked. Nick decides to take advantage of her dilemma to deepen his cover with a ready-made family; so, instead of killing his target, he hooks up with her and her little girl. To further complicate the premise, Nick’s employer disagrees with his choice and targets him too. The new ‘family’ goes on the run.
All characters in this story are completely unlikable – even the little girl. (Well, her dog is ok.) They think little of violence and killing. As Nick survives one unlikely scenario after another, the mother squirms a little at the violence, but recovers quickly and doesn't second guess her relationship with a self-proclaimed psychopathic killer. With only occasional recognition that they make horrid role models, adults shrug and chuckle at a young girl’s blood thirsty attitude. Unbelievable coincidences and rescues are non-stop; so the story moves quickly, lessening the pain of this book’s many problems.
The reader’s robotic style is difficult to hear for long periods, but it fits the main character well, as the assassin feels as deeply as a machine.
Overall, don’t waste a credit.
Eisler writes “Memories” from John Rain’s view point, explaining his fall into assassination as a profession. After the Vietnam war, Rain stays in Asia, living in Tokyo without belonging or meaning; but, for a 20 year-old lacking education, he lives comfortably. Not having yet developed his calculated constraint seen in previous books, Rain reacts rashly to three punks and accidentally kills a relative of a powerful clan. Rain’s lack of experience and relative naiveté are challenges he needs to overcome to stay alive and turn the tables on a growing list of enemies, including the Japanese government and his own employer. While in hiding, Rain becomes romantically involved with a Korean woman, whom he unwittingly places in danger. As the publisher’s summary says, Rain learns, “lessons of love, war, and betrayal.”
As always, Eisler’s descriptions of Tokyo are vivid without unnecessary details or wordy descriptions. It brings together so many elements of good storytelling and good writing that I am grateful to another listener for highly recommending Barry Eisler’s books.
This series reminds me of Child’s Jack Reacher series. I like Child’s writing, but I do not understand the reason for the Reacher series’ success over that of the Rain series. Perhaps the Rain series’ isn’t appreciated as much because its premise is assassination; or, perhaps its fuzzy distinction between good and evil is unappealing; or, perhaps unlike Reacher, Rain’s remoteness is not a choice, rather a result of childhood experiences as a Japanese-American. All of which are pluses for me. Also, Eisler’s character development is deeper; the scenery is much richer and more exotic; its research is extensive; and, the plots are drawn from espionage and current events.
Eisler narrates this himself – and does so excellently.
Overall, I highly recommend this series.
An ex-ballet dancer is reduced to acting as an 'octagon girl,' walking the octagon shaped cage in skimpy clothing, holding round cards for MMA fights. Her continued employment in the high paying job is dependent upon her success in keeping a former marine turned MMA welterweight in the cage and winning. The dancer moves in with the fighter under the flimsy premise to help his tortured soul. The two try to resist each other, but predictably cannot.
The story is slow and foreseeable as interactions between the ballerina, lusty men, and the fighter are repeated several times with similar results, which are woven into an on-again-off-again relationship cycle of the two main characters. The author's use of the ballerina's ex-boyfriend and the fighter's playmate as antagonists is weakly executed. It's likely the author's goal was to explore sexual tension between two opposite characters, but their development is not deep enough to be intriguing.
The book reads as though the author jumped onto the MMA writing bandwagon for the sole purpose of selling books, rather than based on intimate experience or particular interest in the subject. Although the author's storytelling lacks creativity and depth, her writing technique shows glimmers of talent, earning a second star on a one star book.
Overall, don't waste a credit.
I listened to this a couple of weeks ago and put off rating it because for the first time, I do not know how I feel about a book. I do know that I found its premise unpleasant; its characters unusual; and its plot unconvincing. Even so, it kept my attention, the writer shows talent, and I thought about the main character long after I finished the book. I settled on 3 stars for these reasons and added a 4th star as a salute to a writer who threw out all the rules established by authors and publishers grappling for mass sales.
The unpleasant premise to which I refer involves Holly Bunn, a prostitute whose good looks, pleasant demeanor, and strange naivete generates a demand for her services that raise her rates to amazing heights. The story follows her through a handful of years when she falls for a virgin, who is also a twisted vigilante; connects with the wrong people; and eventually ends up in dire circumstances - and yet, she somehow remains simple and guileless.
The author's portrayal of Holly - a prostitute's lack of bitterness, her strange combination of kindness and selfish behavior toward those close to her, and her response to events in comparison to the responses of others - is the best aspect of this book. Perhaps his goal was to simply tell a story, but his main character is intriguing enough to carry an unlikely plot that takes place in the darkest parts of society.
Overall, try this book if you are extremely bored with your usual consumption or if you are a bit experimental with your reading.
A successful, self-absorbed investment banker spends his weekends jumping into bed with any passable female. When he meets a new co-worker, he begins to rethink his lifestyle.
This book isn't good because of its plot. It isn't good because readers cheer on the lead character. Its good because it is written in a first-person style that is different from most contemporary romances. It's good because the narration is humorous, unrestrained, and self-aware.
The writer's skill warrants 5 stars, but the main character is so extremely unlikable and chauvinistic towards women and relationships, that it is disturbing at times. The writer intended this, but there were a couple of times when I didn't find it so entertaining. She also uses some outdated terms that are strange, such as, "secretary" instead of "assistant" and computer "discs" (haven't seen those in 15 years).
The narrator is fabulous - perfect for this story.
Overall, well worth the credit.
A young woman, Tess, disappears from an online gaming world, which haunts her online flirt, Axle. After a year, Tess unexpectedly appears on Axle's doorstep to escape her abusive, drug dealing boyfriend. The two admit to each other that their longtime, online relationship was more than a friendship as they work through a number of misunderstandings and uncertainties; meanwhile, Tess's ex hunts her.
The plot works, but the writing's grammatical errors are cringe worthy. Neither the plot nor character are particularly original and some of the similes are awkward - even unintentionally funny. Even so, the author demonstrates originality in her writing voice and certainly has potential. She should continue to write, but needs to employ a competent copy editor.
The reader is talented, but the production is poor, i.e. awkward silences, echos, etc. Still, the problems are only mildly distracting.
Two good friends spend a night in bed and as a result lose their friendship. The couple cross paths months later when the special agent James investigates a bio-terrorist attack and Kelly is questioned.
The majority of the romance (and book) involves tragic pasts that result in mistrust and misunderstandings that keep the couple apart- nothing original. The investigation leads to some action but more would have been better. There are no big plot twists or surprises.
Overall, lacks depth - 2 1/2 stars so save your credit.
The publisher calls License to Thrill a romantic adventure, but there is very little action. This is a typical bad-guys-after-innocent-girl story, whom the good guy works to protect. It's shallow, with little intrigue but is okay because it is a book that doesn't take itself too seriously - typical Stephanie Bond.
The publisher also refers to the main male character as a "super-cool, super-sexy Agent 007!" but this doesn't come through without reading 'in between the lines' quite a bit. The female protagonist is the one aspect that is not typical - she isn't amazingly beautiful, thin, or rich. She even wears glasses. The two make the most unlikely couple, but somehow they fit.
Overall, don't have high expectations if you spend a credit on this one.
The mystery of this story involves an old crime - the murder/suicide of the parents of 3 sisters, Savannah, Samantha, and Sabrina. The girls, who were raised by their grandfather, leave their small Alabama town when they become adults. After their grandfather eventually dies, one sister returns to sell the old family home and discovers letters that raise questions she must pursue.
The romance of this story begins when the sister runs into her first love, a local bad boy, who left for the military and is now the new police chief. There is more to their history together than either of them is aware, which is slowly revealed throughout the book.
Neither the mystery nor the romance thread are particularly unique or interesting, but the two woven together kept me interested. The majority of character development takes place in the first section of the book with a short trip to the sister and her bad boy's past high school lives - it's the best written section. Overall, the author is of average talent and I have certainly listened to worse. The reader did a slightly better than average job - more of a 3 and a half star than a 4 star.
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