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Ronald

ROCHESTER, NY, United States | Member Since 2003

49
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 29 reviews
  • 45 ratings
  • 604 titles in library
  • 30 purchased in 2014
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  • Earth Afire

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card, Aaron Johnston
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye, Arthur Morey, Stefan Rudnicki, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1523)
    Performance
    (1394)
    Story
    (1399)

    One hundred years before Ender's Game, the aliens arrived on Earth with fire and death. Earth Afire by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston is the story of the First Formic War. Victor Delgado beat the alien ship to Earth, but just barely. Not soon enough to convince skeptical governments that there was a threat. They didn’t believe that until space stations and ships and colonies went up in sudden flame. And when that happened, only Mazer Rackham and the Mobile Operations Police could move fast enough to meet the threat.

    DocJim says: "This is a GREAT adventure Sci-Fi Book. Masterful!"
    "Engaging"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Get this book, but only if you have listened to Earth Unaware. Earth Afire could stand on its own, but it is better when you already know some of the characters. There are several plot lines and many characters in this book. Some characters like Victor and Mazer were introduced in the previous book. A major new character is Bingwen, a 10-year old Chinese boy who is wise beyond his years. I don't know how precocious Orson Scott Card was as a child, but it is clear he likes to write about extraordinary children. One plot line involving Rena and the other survivors of the El Cavador has no intersection with the other elements in this book. I prefer books where the story is resolved at the end, but this is the second part of a trilogy so the cliffhanger end is not a surprise.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Edge of Eternity: The Century Trilogy, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1662)
    Performance
    (1496)
    Story
    (1501)

    Throughout these books, Follett has followed the fortunes of five intertwined families - American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh - as they make their way through the twentieth century. Now they come to one of the most tumultuous eras of all: the enormous social, political, and economic turmoil of the 1960s through the 1980s, from civil rights, assassinations, mass political movements and Vietnam to the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, presidential impeachment, revolution - and rock and roll.

    Elisa says: "Some good, some bad"
    "Good, but not Great"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you've listened to the first two books in this trilogy, you will want to listen to this one to find out what happens to the Peshkovs, Dewars, Williams, and other families. If not, then skip this book. The cast of characters has grown so much that some of the character development depends on the first two books. Parts of this book were very powerful. As one who is old enough to remember the Cuban Missile crisis, the assassination of Kennedy, King, and Kennedy, and the fall of the Berlin wall, I found reliving these events in this book to be very poignant. In between these world events, there was a lot of living, loving, and dying. Some of the stories are touching, but some of the love affairs seemed perfunctory. I was disappointed by the lack of any mention of the space program. For an historical novel that covers the 60s, 70s, and 80s, I would have expected the moon landings would be worth mentioning. If Pillars of the Earth rates a 5.0, this book gets a 3.6.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Stoner

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By John Williams
    • Narrated By Robin Field
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (510)
    Performance
    (414)
    Story
    (421)

    William Stoner is born at the end of the 19th century into a dirt-poor Missouri farming family. Sent to the state university to study agronomy, he instead falls in love with English literature and embraces a scholar's life, far different from the hardscrabble existence he has known. And yet as the years pass, Stoner encounters a succession of disappointments.

    Anton says: "A story of sadness and serenity"
    "Life is tough, then you die"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't mean to suggest the book is without merit. Like Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood", this story is well crafted. While "In Cold Blood" leaves one chilled, Stoner left me lukewarm.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Eden in Winter: The Blaine Trilogy, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Richard North Patterson
    • Narrated By Dennis Boutsikaris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (19)

    Two months after the suspicious and much-publicized death of his father on the island of Martha's Vineyard, it is taking all of Adam Blaine's will to suture the deep wounds the tragedy has inflicted upon his family and himself. As the court inquest into Benjamin Blaine's death casts suspicions on those closest to him, Adam struggles to protect them from those who still suspect that his father was murdered by one of his kin.

    Ronald says: "Another Good Story from Richard North Patterson"
    "Another Good Story from Richard North Patterson"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    With Patterson you know you will get some legal issues and a love interest. The legal drama is mostly outside the courtroom this time. With this book you also get a tabloid reporter stirred into the mix. Adam Blaine comes back from Afghanistan twice to save his dysfunctional family from complete disintegration. Adam is a modern hero who, when he is not rescuing his family, needs to be rescued by them. We get to know Carla the "home wrecker" who, like Adam, is a determined character with a troubled past. I know this is book three of a trilogy, but I won't be surprised if the Blain family appears in another book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Gone Girl: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Gillian Flynn
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (20811)
    Performance
    (18657)
    Story
    (18724)

    It is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media - as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents - the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter - but is he really a killer?

    Teddy says: "Demented, twisted, sick and I loved it!"
    "Demented, twisted, sick and a waste of time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm disappointed in Audible listeners. This is the first time I've listened to a book with an average rating above 4.0 that I didn't like. One of the main characters is pathetic. The other is diabolical. The lesser characters are one dimensional. The ending was unsatisfying. I finished the book, but wish I hadn't wasted the time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Matthew Quick
    • Narrated By Noah Galvin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (333)
    Performance
    (300)
    Story
    (298)

    Today is Leonard Peacock's birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather's P-38 pistol. But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart - obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school's class on the Holocaust.

    L. Gutman says: "Required reading for humans"
    "An honest 5 stars"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a simple story of a troubled youth who is different and considering drastic measures. The plot has some parallels with "Ordinary People", but is far more riveting. All of the characters are extreme, yet they all remind us of people we know. The narration is among the best I've heard. If you are not moved by this story, you have no heart.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Eye of God: A Sigma Force Novel, Book 9

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By James Rollins
    • Narrated By Christian Baskous
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (459)
    Performance
    (415)
    Story
    (420)

    In the wilds of Mongolia, a research satellite has crashed, triggering an explosive search for its valuable cargo: a code-black physics project connected to the study of dark energy...and a shocking image of the eastern seaboard of the United States in utter ruin. At the Vatican, a package arrives containing two strange artifacts: a skull scrawled with ancient Aramaic and a tome bound in human skin. DNA evidence reveals that both came from the same body: the long-dead Mongol king Genghis Khan.

    Patricia says: "Newest Sigma Force is a little off"
    "Good story, poor character development"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It is a tall order to weave the lost treasures of Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan, the approach of Comet Icon (ISON?), dark energy, a wrinkle in the space-time continuum, and the end of the world into one coherent story. Rollins almost manages this feat. My biggest problem was that while the characters were engaged in mortal combat, I didn't care about them. Maybe this is because I'm new to the series. Rollins seemed to assume that I knew and loved them already. Would a bit more character development be too much for the veterans of the series?

    As other reviews have noted, the narration was not good. Not only did all of the Asian voices sounded the same, they all sounded like a bad kung fu movie.

    The book also suffers by trying to be both a suspense novel and a science fiction novel. It falls a little short on both counts. Good science fiction (IMHO) only breaks one law of physics. This story invents quite a bit of "physics" surrounding dark energy.

    I did finish the book. I wasn't wild about the magic in the last chapter either.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Inferno: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Dan Brown
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10629)
    Performance
    (9614)
    Story
    (9699)

    In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology, Robert Langdon, is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces: Dante’s Inferno. Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust...before the world is irrevocably altered.

    Livia says: "Formulaic and Hard to Finish...."
    "A Good Summer Listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you are looking for one breathless chase after another, this is not your book. Brown spends more time describing renaissance works of art than action sequences. There was still intrigue and mystery enough to hold my interest. As with all books by Dan Brown, one has to wonder which characters are not what they seem. The art descriptions were also interesting. Florence, Venice, and Istanbul will probably have "Inferno" tours. I might be tempted to join them if I were in one of these cities. A slightly annoying habit continued from other books--Brown attempts to create suspense by telling you that something happend and then waiting a chapter or more to tell you what happened. Overall I found the book enjoyable and looked for opportunities to continue listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail - but Some Don't

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Nate Silver
    • Narrated By Mike Chamberlain
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1312)
    Performance
    (1100)
    Story
    (1101)

    Nate Silver built an innovative system for predicting baseball performance, predicted the 2008 election within a hair’s breadth, and became a national sensation as a blogger - all by the time he was 30. The New York Times now publishes FiveThirtyEight.com, where Silver is one of the nation’s most influential political forecasters. Drawing on his own groundbreaking work, Silver examines the world of prediction, investigating how we can distinguish a true signal from a universe of noisy data.

    Scott Fabel says: "Learn About Statistics Without All The Math"
    "Numbers junkie explains addiction in plain English"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I enjoyed this book, but I'm a bit of a numbers junkie myself. Silver does a great job of explaining complicated subjects in plain English--good enough to make best-seller lists. He explains predictions for politics, weather, baseball, poker, economics including the stock market, earthquakes, global climate change, and terrorism. He ties this together with Bayesian statistics. He describes this in terms that anyone can apply. Along the way he explains over fitting and under fitting of models. He describes the advantages of models based on physical principles. I enjoyed the way he used betting terms (hedgehog and fox) to describe political pundits. I would make this book required reading for a statistics class. It won't thrill everyone, but anyone who is curious about predictions will enjoy it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jack of Diamonds

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Bryce Courtenay
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    Overall
    (715)
    Performance
    (616)
    Story
    (612)

    Born and raised in a poor, working-class family in Toronto, Jack Spayd is the son of an unhappy marriage. After being taken under the wing of "Miss Frostbite", the owner of a local jazz club, Jack becomes a gifted musician, playing piano and harmonica. Fame and the allure of gambling takes him to Vegas, and prospects of fortune take him to the Belgian Congo, where he's heard it's possible to earn big money working in the most dangerous parts of the local copper mines.

    Brodie says: "On the Day we lost Bryce"
    "An astonishing farewell from Bryce Courtenay"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This is another excellent story form Bryce Courtenay. Fans of his books will recognize familiar themes from previous books. The characters are engaging and the narration by Humphrey Bower is excellent (although many of the female voice characterizations sound similar). The real impact comes in the epilog where the author, "facing his own use-by date", outlines the plot for the remainder of the never-to-be-completed trilogy. Few people leave this earth with as much grace and completeness as Bryce Courtenay.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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