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John S

Avid audible listener for over 10 years.

MA | Member Since 2005

360
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 125 reviews
  • 128 ratings
  • 745 titles in library
  • 94 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
3
FOLLOWERS
18

  • The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944

    • ABRIDGED (10 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Rick Atkinson
    • Narrated By Rick Atkinson
    Overall
    (138)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
    (54)

    The Italian campaign's outcome was never certain; in fact, Roosevelt, Churchill, and their military advisers engaged in heated debate about whether an invasion of the so-called soft underbelly of Europe was even a good idea. But once under way, the commitment to liberate Italy from the Nazis never wavered, despite the agonizingly high price.

    Alexis says: "Breathtaking"
    "Read if you plan to go to Italy."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book gives you some sense of history. The war in Italy is often overlooked, but it lasted for years. We always have the idea that Italy is a sunny place, but in the hills in the winter it is cold and snowy. Parts of the movie Patton is set in Sicily, so you get the idea that its hot and dry in all of Italy.

    The book does reinforce the idea that the Italians maybe make better lovers than fighters (although in Roman times that was not the case). The biggest problem when Allies land on the beaches in Sicily was what to do with all the Italian soldiers who would surrender as soon as they saw the Americans. Eventually the U.S. army just gives up and tells them to leave their guns and go home. After Sicily, the Allies are primarily fighting the Germans so things get much tougher. Places like Anzio were hard fought gains. Other interesting tidbits was that the allies could not bomb Rome because of the feared backlash of American Catholics if they were to damage the Vatican.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl with All the Gifts

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By M. R. Carey
    • Narrated By Finty Williams
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1105)
    Performance
    (1015)
    Story
    (1019)

    Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her "our little genius". Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

    Megan says: "Worth it, 10x over!"
    "A kinder gentler kind of Zombie"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Although I growing weary of Zombie/Apocalypse books, I did enjoy this book. You have the typical flesh eating zombies, although they are called hungries, survivalists, everyone else including the army, and a different kind of zombie. Half zombie. half child, this "half breed" speak like humans, have human emotions, but when let loose go into their flesh eating mode. The story begins at an outpost with the half-breeds attending school. Soon thereafter all hell break lose.

    You have the stereotypical zombies that shuffle along until they smell a non zombie then attack and eat their prey. This isn't new. The soldiers kill the zombies by you guess, shooting them in the head. As usual, 20 years after what they call the change, soldiers still have access to unlimited weapons. The story is different because of the children. One in particular, Madeline, must must make a journey though England as a few survivors run away from their outpost back to central base through a destroyed London. Here the story gets interesting. Sort of reminded me of Charles Dickens Oliver Twist but with zombie kids.

    The key difference in this book is the ending, which I won't give away. The narration is good and the pace of the story as well. So if you like zombie/apocalypse books you will enjoy this. If you don't , then probably not since it has very graphic description of violence. If you are like me and are tired of zombie books give this one a try.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Spider of Sarajevo

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Robert Wilton
    • Narrated By Daniel Philpott
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Summer 1914: Europe is on the brink. As Britain’s enemies grow stronger, the Comptroller- General must confront the man with whom he has struggled for a generation - a man he knows only as the Spider. In a desperate gamble, he sends four agents out across the continent, on a mission they do not understand ... The future of British intelligence - of the British Empire.

    John S says: "Impossible to follow as audible book"
    "Impossible to follow as audible book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book involves 4 different spies recruited by the British pre WWI. Although the writing is good, the settings interesting from Istanbul to Ireland, it is one of theose books that is a tough listen. The author changes characters several times per chapter. One minute your in Berlin and seconds later you are in Albania. This is a read versus a listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Dorothy Gilman
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat
    Overall
    (1099)
    Performance
    (955)
    Story
    (959)

    Mrs. Virgil (Emily) Pollifax of New Brunswick, New Jersey, was a widow with grown children. She was tired of attending her Garden Club meetings. She wanted to do something good for her country. This first in the series sends Emily on her first case after she successfully persuades a skeptical CIA recruitment officer that she is the best person for the job.

    Barbara says: "Barbara Rosenblatt: THE Voice!"
    "I wish my mother was in the CIA"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought this book because it was on sale. Typically I would not purchase a book like this because I am a 50 year old man, but I enjoyed it. Somewhat silly at times, but always fun. So many CIA/Spy thrillers have the 40 year kung fu master who can use any weapon know to man, jump in a helicopter and fly it, and can hack any computer known to man. Not Mrs Pollifax. She can barely walk 5 miles, but manages to get out of trouble because no one would ever see her as a threat. Hey, who would ever expect their mother or grandmother of being a CIA agent?Again, kind of silly but it works. Although I hate to characterize this a a "chick" book, I would see where any woman over 50 would enjoy this. I know it's probably not fair to stereotype this book, I do believe am elderly audience would identify with this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Medical School for Everyone: Grand Rounds Cases

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Roy Benaroch
    Overall
    (185)
    Performance
    (158)
    Story
    (158)

    There's an art and science behind how doctors diagnose and treat medical patients. Where do doctors get these skills? The Grand Rounds experience, where they practice how to make accurate diagnoses by examining real patients. And with Dr. Benaroch's 24 unique lectures, you'll explore how a master physician solves medical problems just like a detective.

    Kindle Customer says: "Enthralled!"
    "Could save your life some day"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The stories/cases are interesting but not great listen. However, what makes this book worthwhile is the description of how doctors make a diagnosis. After listening to this you will understand how the information you provide a doctor is critical in coming to the right conclusion. One of the key chapters was the woman who was sick, but neglected to tell her doctors she drank a bottle of gin every day, Eventually they figured out the truth and saved her life. Something you may not think of as relevant may be, and by telling your doctor it may save your life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • I Hear the Sirens in the Street: A Detective Sean Duffy Novel - The Troubles Trilogy, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Adrian McKinty
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (738)
    Performance
    (660)
    Story
    (655)

    A torso in a suitcase looks like an impossible case, but Sean Duffy isn’t easily deterred, especially when his floundering love life leaves him in need of a distraction. So with detective constables McCrabban and McBride, he goes to work identifying the victim. The torso turns out to be all that’s left of an American tourist who once served in the U.S. military. What was he doing in Northern Ireland in the midst of the 1982 Troubles?

    Dave says: "Utterly brilliant"
    "Average Thriller but Great Narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love these books because they give you a sense of history of Northern Ireland. Called the "troubles" it is a history of the uprising in Northern Ireland against Britain. Listening to these books and reading history you realize that there was no winners in this struggle, To this day Northern Ireland has not recovered.

    This book is interesting because one of the fictional characters is John DeLorean who started a car company in Northern Ireland to build DeLorean cars. As a fictional character, John DeLorean in this book is not much better than John DeLorean in real life,. He eventually got arrested in a drug sting in an attempt to save is car company.

    This is a well narrated story which a deep sense of Irish "melancholy" of the major character, Inspector Duffy. It is a decent crime thriller and I would recommend all of these Sean Duffy novels, They grow on you. I would suggest you listen to them in order though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Marine One

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By James W. Huston
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (601)
    Performance
    (380)
    Story
    (381)

    After the presidents' helicopter, Marine One, goes down in a brutal thunderstorm, the government blames the European manufacturer of the helicopter, accusing them of killing the president. Senate investigations and Justice Department accusations multiply as Mike Nolan, a Marine Corps reserve helicopter pilot and trial attorney in civilian life, is hired to defend the company from the criminal investigations and a wrongful-death lawsuit brought by the most notorious lawyer in America.

    Ron says: "Great courtroom thriller"
    "Just as good, or perhaps better than John Grisham"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is both an international spy thriller and a courtroom drama book. The author does a great job of combining the 2 genres into one compelling novel. If you like John Grisham or Tom Clancy you will like this book.

    After the crash of Marine One and the death of the president a witch hunt begins to assign blame for the crash. The likely target is the helicopter's builder and a French company World Copter. Was it a plot by the French to kill the president or just a bad design? (The story is partly based on reality because there was a big hoopla over who would build Marine One, and the contract was given partly to an Italian company. The trial in the novel also brings up the cost of the helicopter which in reality at $400M each costs as much as Airforce One, the president's 747).

    The lawyer called on to the defend the company, Mike Nolan, is a helicopter pilot himself, and quickly realizes that something is not quite right. As in any good courtroom drama, the truth comes out, and the culprit's are not the ones anyone suspects.

    The narration is quite good. If this book was from a better know author I am sure it would be on the top seller list since it is actually better than many of the ones there at this time.

    Fast pace and fun and well worth one credit for 12 hours of listening..

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Snowbound

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Blake Crouch
    • Narrated By Jeffrey Kafer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (131)
    Performance
    (121)
    Story
    (119)

    For Will Innis and his daughter, Devlin, the loss was catastrophic. Every day for the past five years, they wonder where she is, if she is - Will's wife, Devlin's mother - because Rachael Innis vanished one night during an electrical storm on a lonely desert highway, and suspected of her death, Will took his daughter and fled. Now, Will and Devlin live under different names in another town, having carved out a new life for themselves as they struggle to maintain some semblance of a family.

    Barb says: "Better Than A Good Movie!"
    "Great, but one too many plot twists"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book starts fairly slow but picks up the pace rapidly. Once you start its hard to put down ( or stop listening). Having lost his wife and not sure she is dead or alive, Will Innis must run away because he assumes he will be the most likely suspects in his wife disappearance. (Just like the husband in Gone Girl). He is put on the hunt for his wife by a rogue FBI agent and then the action never stops. The plot is highly believable and keeps you guessing.

    I would have given this one more star except for the ending. The author insists on one more plot twist (won't give away) that is unnecessary. If I had edited this book I would have cut last chapter. However, this is a great thriller and worth the credit. I would compare it to Gone Girl. Slightly more violent though. I can see this being a movie some day.

    The Narration was 5 stars. Narrator handles both men's and women's voices quite well.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Avogadro Corp: The Singularity Is Closer Than It Appears

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By William Hertling
    • Narrated By Rob Granniss
    Overall
    (311)
    Performance
    (273)
    Story
    (277)

    David Ryan is the designer of ELOPe, an email language optimization program, that if successful, will make his career. But when the project is suddenly in danger of being canceled, David embeds a hidden directive in the software accidentally creating a runaway artificial intelligence. David and his team are initially thrilled when the project is allocated extra servers and programmers.

    Matthew says: "Short but defintely sweet"
    "This must be Google"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Although there is a thriller plot to this book, you need to like computers to enjoy this. The Avogadro Corp basically runs most the on-line applications (webmail) and searches on the Internet. Basically, it really reminds me of Google. The CEO of the corporation is even a Russian wonderkid.

    The corporation has developed an on-line application for email that basically searches other peoples email so you can write winning proposals. Although sounding far fetched, its probably something Google could do today. Take a email addressed to a gmail account, search the recipients gmail and then make suggestions based on that search. Frightening but doable. The story goes a little SCI FI when the application starts to take over the entire internet and starts ordering people to do things like arm floating server farmers with automated missiles and machine guns. It gets even more far fetched by the end. It does give you an idea of the massive scale that firms like Google have to handle web traffic throughout the world.

    So in summary long on techno facts and thin on plot, but still enjoyable if you like books about computers taking over the world. Sort of surprise ending which I won't give away here.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Mark of the Assassin

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Daniel Silva
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (619)
    Performance
    (328)
    Story
    (330)

    When a commercial airliner is blown out of the sky off the East Coast, the CIA scrambles to find the perpetrators. A body is discovered near the crash site with three bullets to the face: the calling card of a shadowy international assassin.

    Dennis says: "Worth your time"
    "Moderate action unlikely plot"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Unless you have a semi believable plot, a thriller is not so thrilling. It is more like science fiction. This book starts with an airliner being blown out of the sky by what are thought to be arab terrorists. In reality, they are paid mercenaries who are hired by a secretive group bent of creating world chaos so they can financially benefit. The group consists of greedy American businessmen, Russian Mobsters, and even the Israeli secret service. THis plot has been many times and this novel does not improve on it. (James Bond aka Dr. No) If you want to make money by being extremely violent then there is always the drug traffic. So after a few chapters the author introduces this group and your reaction is "oh come on, this is silly." They even meet on a Caribbean island where they build a multimillion dollar retreat and then blow it up after one day's use as a meeting site. You ask, "why". There is no logical answer.

    The other half of the book seems to be about the "hero", Michael Osborne and his whining lawyer wife. She gives him a hard time when he is ordered by President to meet with the alleged terrorists. She has to miss an appointment at a fertility clinic because he is called into action. Most of the book she spends crying. And then there is Michael who has been sitting at a desk job in the CIA but of course has super ninja skills and can kill men with his bare hands. Why are there never any CIA agents who are overweight and who couldn't beat up an old lady let alone a deadly international assassin?

    Then there is the assassin who is trained from birth to kill. He goes to great lengths to hide is identity, but then kills people with the same three shots to head, thereby telling everyone, hey it's me killing all these people. At the end he can collect his millions for his hits and just go into hiding, but no, he has to track down Michael and his wife as a new vendetta. You can guess how it ends. Good guy shots bad guy and kills him. NOT. Even though the CIA agent makes the claim of being a great marksman he can't hit the guy with two whole magazines of bullets while he is less than 30 feet away. (Of course it's in the the typical blinding rainstorm on a dark and cloudy night) He escapes, and we are told the evil group of men who hired him have killed him to silence him. But no, he's not dead and reappears in the last chapter. Totally confusing so I guess so we can now have a just as stupid sequel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Bryce G. Hoffman
    • Narrated By Pete Larkin
    Overall
    (235)
    Performance
    (212)
    Story
    (210)

    At the end of 2008, Ford Motor Company was just months away from running out of cash. With the auto industry careening toward ruin, Congress offered all three Detroit automakers a bailout. General Motors and Chrysler grabbed the taxpayer lifeline, but Ford decided to save itself. Under the leadership of charismatic CEO Alan Mulally, Ford had already put together a bold plan to unify its divided global operations, transform its lackluster product lineup, and overcome a dys­functional culture of infighting, backstabbing, and excuses.

    Michael says: "The best business book I ever read"
    "Why I own a Ford, Actually 2 of them"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thought I wold listen to this book since business books is not my favorite genre. This book does a great job of explaining how Alan Mulally did a great job in saving Ford motor company. The basic lessons in the book are that

    -Eventually every big organization will be complacent

    -Board of directors are mostly in it for the money and prestige and are mostly clueless

    -An organization that does not tolerate failure will eventually fail

    -When you surround yourself with "yes men" you are disengaged from reality

    -Sometimes smaller is better, Being big for the sake of being big is foolish.

    The basic problem with Ford at the time of arrival of Mulally is that the company was out of touch with the market. Most of the top managers did not own or drive a classic "Ford" preferring the luxury brands of Jaguar and Range Rover which the Mulalay dumped as Ford divisions. He makes them drives Fords and even competing brands. When they do, they realize that at the time Fords kind of sucked. Ugly, poor quality, and no fun to drive. Most of America had come to that realization years earlier. No one was ever held accountable for failure at Ford because no one ever failed. He implements a management tracking system that makes it difficult to hide problems such as delays in car launches, quality issues, and cost problems. At one point he asks how many models of cars the company sells. Nobody knows so he goes to all the company web sites and prints out a picture of every model and shows it to the board. There were over 400 different models.

    Its a good listen if you like cars and business. It does get tedious at times but you can just skip forward

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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