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Jean

I am an avid eclectic reader.

Santa Cruz, CA, United States | Member Since 2015

4661
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 808 reviews
  • 845 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 85 purchased in 2015
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  • Worm: The First Digital World War

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Mark Bowden
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (501)
    Performance
    (438)
    Story
    (440)

    Worm: The First Digital World War tells the story of the Conficker worm, a potentially devastating piece of malware that has baffled experts and infected more than twelve million computers worldwide. When Conficker was unleashed in November 2008, cybersecurity experts did not know what to make of it. Exploiting security flaws in Microsoft Windows, it grew at an astonishingly rapid rate, infecting millions of computers around the world within weeks.

    Kenneth says: "Important Insight into the Next 10 Years"
    "scary"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I just finished this book and I see in today's newspaper some of the people that are in the book have a grant from the government to build a new firewall. They are to start from the beginning to create a new way of protecting computers instead of patches. Mark Bowden's well written book allowed me to understand the problem and the importance to the new firewall. The conficker worm is the largest most frighting malware I have heard of. This book reads like a sci-fi book only it is all real. The conficker has created the largest bot-net ever seen and no one yet knows what this worm is going to do or when never mind how to stop it. Just imagine what would happen if some one shut down all the Internet traffic and crashed all the computers. This is a great book and Christopher Lane did a good job narrating the story.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Great Divide: The Conflict Between Washington and Jefferson That Defined a Nation

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Thomas Fleming
    • Narrated By David Rapkin
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (20)

    History tends to cast the early years of America in a glow of camaraderie when there were, in fact, many conflicts between the Founding Fathers - none more important than the one between George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Their disagreement centered on the highest, most original public office created by the Constitutional Convention: the presidency. It also involved the nation's foreign policy, the role of merchants and farmers in a republic, and the durability of the union.

    Jean says: "Very Readable"
    "Very Readable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Thomas Fleming is an author I have not read in the past five plus years. In the past I have read a number of his books both non-fiction and fiction. I have even had correspondence with him regarding one of his books in the past. I have always enjoyed Fleming’s passion for history.

    The basic debate between Washington and Jefferson is still an ongoing debate today on the role of government. Fleming states Washington beliefs came out of the problems he had as head of the Army, the problems of funding the Army and the country at the time. Therefore he preferred a strong federal government that could provide a strong military defense for the country and a strong financial foundation for the country. On the other hand, Jefferson preferred a confederation of states instead of a national government.

    Fleming paints Washington as the practical farmer and dynamic leader and Jefferson as the dreaming idealist who failed to lead and left the country at the end of his tenure as president, in debt, without income, without an army, and on the verge of war with Britain over a trade embargo.

    The book is well written, lightly documented but with the clean, snappy prose that Fleming is noted for. I enjoyed reading the book and dissecting Fleming’s views but I wonder if Jefferson was quite as scatter-brained as Fleming paints him. David Rapkin narrated the book.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Kris Longknife's Bloodhound: A Kris Longknife Novella

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Mike Shepherd
    • Narrated By Dina Pearlman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (107)
    Performance
    (99)
    Story
    (99)

    It's dangerous to get too close to one of those damn Longknife. So Senior Chief Agent in Charge Foile volunteers to get too damn close to the whole family of Longknifes. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Kris Longknife feared the survival of the entire human race might hang on what her Grampa Al did next – but she couldn’t figure out what he was up to. After a career in the Wardhaven Bureau of Investigations, Foile was good at finding out what others wanted to keep hidden.

    Jean says: "Background information"
    "Background information"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a companion novella #10.5 and is set at the same time as “Furious” #10. The brief story follows the efforts of Senior Agent in Charge Foile of the Wardhaven Bureau of Investigation. Agent Foile is assisting Kris in her efforts to stop her grandfather’s trade flotilla. In book #10 “Furious” agent Foile was the head agent trying to capture Kris. This story sort of provides the information as to why Wardhaven Navy helped fund Kris’s new ship. This story provides some background about Grandfather Al and filler information about the Flotilla.

    This trend in authors publishing novella inserted into their ongoing series is becoming very popular. Some of the novellas do provide some interesting background information but the information could have been added to the story if it is important. I have not made up my mind if reading these novellas maybe helpful to me as a reader in obtaining a broader view of the story or just a waste of time and money. Dina Pearlman narrated the story.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Thomas E. Ricks
    • Narrated By William Hughes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (290)
    Performance
    (250)
    Story
    (244)

    A widening gulf between performance and accountability has caused history to be kinder to the American generals of World War II than to those of later wars. In The Generals we meet leaders from World War II to the present who rose to the occasion - and those who failed.

    Jean says: "Provocative"
    "Provocative"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I found this book most interesting particularly the difference between Marine Corp leadership and the Army during the Korean War. Thomas Ricks compares the Army of WWII to the military of today, particularly looking at how General Marshall dealt with command officers compared to today.

    General George C. Marshall was Chief of Staff during WWII and was ruthless in relieving subordinates who didn’t measure up to his standards. Between September 1939 and Dec 8, 1941 he cashiered at least 600 officers. Sixteen Army division commanders were relieved for cause out of a total of 155 officers who commanded divisions in combat during WWII. At least five Corps commanders were also relieved for cause. Marshall replaced them with officers like Eisenhower, Patton, and Bradley and so on.

    The author says that today the military is not policing its self. The only time an officer is removed is when the politicians intervene. For example the Walter Reed Army Medical Center Scandal or the Veterans Affairs Scandal is some current scandals that politicians have intervened in.

    I found the comments by Ricks about the current Army’s upper command full of tactical planners and none trained as strategical planners. The author observation that the General staff is good at winning battles but unable to win the war is directly related to the lack of training in strategic thinking. I found a comment by Ricks about the military could easily apply to the business world, “training tends to prepare for the known problems, education prepares leaders to prepare for the unknown, the unpredictable, and the unexpected.”

    Ricks sets out in the book to show how the Army has changed so dramatically in seventy years. Ricks ends the book with some suggestions for reform. The book is well written, deeply researched and pulls no punches. The book is narrated by William Hughes and lasts about 16 hours.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • To the Shores: The Empire's Corps, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Christopher G. Nuttall
    • Narrated By Jeffrey Kafer
    Overall
    (77)
    Performance
    (71)
    Story
    (71)

    Four years after their abandonment by the now-fallen Empire, the Commonwealth of Avalon is expanding into interstellar space and making contact with other successor states. With suspicion high on both sides, the Commonwealth and the enigmatic Wolfbane agree to hold a diplomatic meeting on Lakshmibai, a neutral world. But Lakshmibai's government hates off-worlders and, with the fall of the Empire, sees its chance to be rid of the hated intruders once and for all.

    Jean says: "Gripping"
    "Gripping"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have enjoyed reading this series so far. Book six has us back with Stalker’s Stalker again. Nuttall is continuing to build most interesting characters. The bad guys are really bad like in the old B movies of the 1950s. Nuttall kept the story about the characters and doesn’t wander off into lots of techno babble but he does get hung up repeating his fall of the Empire causes.

    The story is fast paced with lots of action. I was surprised the author killed off one of the original favorite characters.

    Nuttall has the Commonwealth of Avalon expanding into interstellar space making contacts with other successor states. The leaders of Avalon and Col. Edward Stalker agree to a diplomatic meeting with a nearby world on Lakshmibai a neutral world. The Lakshmibai’s government hates off- worlders and saw a chance to rid itself of hated intruders. Jasmine Yamane must lead an untrained army on a race to the Capital City to save the diplomats from annihilation. There is lots of fighting in this book, I think maybe over three fourths the book is the rescue fighting.

    Jeffrey Kafer has done a good job narrating the series.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • NPR American Chronicles: First Ladies

    • ORIGINAL (3 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By National Public Radio
    • Narrated By Cokie Roberts
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    While the role of the first lady has changed dramatically over the course of the nation's history, one thing remains constant: Americans have always been fascinated by the wives of the President. This collection features in-depth profiles of many of our beloved, inspiring, and occasionally enigmatic first ladies, including Martha Washington, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jacqueline Kennedy, Lady Bird Johnson, Betty Ford, Laura Bush, and Michelle Obama.

    Jean says: "Engaging"
    "Engaging"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My reading project for 2015 is to read about the First Ladies of the United States, I saw this overview audio book put out by NPR from its American Chronicles series; thought it might provide a good overview.

    Cokie Roberts narrated the book for NPR with excerpts from interviews with First Lady Biographers and from the First Ladies themselves. Roberts was interviewed for her book of Women of the Revolutionary Period.

    Among the First Ladies included are Martha Washington, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jacqueline Kennedy, Lady Bird Johnson, Betty Ford, Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama.

    To hear the First Ladies themselves makes this a special audio book. This short audio book won the Audiofile Earphone Award for 2015.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Losing Faith

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Adam Mitzner
    • Narrated By Andy Caploe
    Overall
    (232)
    Performance
    (209)
    Story
    (203)

    Aaron Littmann, the chairman of one of the country's most prestigious law firms, has just been contacted by a high-profile defense attorney whose client is Nikolai Garkov, a Russian businessman arraigned on terrorism charges for pulling the financial strings behind recent treasonous acts. The attorney informs Aaron that Garkov is looking to switch representation and will pay $100,000 just to take the meeting.

    Chris says: "Narrator is awful"
    "Absorbing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a new author and narrator for me. The book has a twist I have not encountered in a legal whodunit before. Mitzner has the high powered defense attorney become the accused instead of the defender.

    The author has a criminal accused of aiding terrorist use blackmail to gain his release. Defense attorney Aaron Littman is in the middle of it all. He had an affair with a Judge while he tried a case before her, and the Judge is murdered. Littman’s affair has cost him his wife, family, his law license, his law firm, and now his freedom. Mitzner leads us down a winding path; through various ideas such as was this all a manipulation by the real killer. We wander through various suspects who seem to have cause.

    The book is well-written. It is a tight story with lots of suspense that keeps you looking for clues. The plot is complicated and the ending is a surprise. I enjoyed reading this book; it was a fast easy read that kept me trying to determine who did it. Needless to say, the person I thought was the killer was not. Andy Caploe narrates the book.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Tracks: One Woman's Journey Across 1,700 Miles of Australian Outback

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Robyn Davidson
    • Narrated By Angie Milliken
    Overall
    (123)
    Performance
    (106)
    Story
    (107)

    Robyn Davidson made the perilous journey across 1,700 miles of hostile Australian desert to the sea, with only four camels and a dog for company. Enduring sweltering heat, fending off poisonous snakes and lecherous men, chasing her camels when they get skittish and nursing them when they are injured, Davidson emerges as an extraordinarily courageous heroine driven by a love of Australia's landscape, an empathy for its indigenous people, and a willingness to cast away the trappings of her former identity.

    Momma Mia says: "A book for my top five list"
    "Delightfull"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In 1977 Davidson in her 20s took her dog Diggity, four camels and set off across the 1700 miles of the Australian outback. Davidson starts her story in Alice Springs learning about camels. She obtains four camels called Dookie, Zelly, Bub and Goliath.

    She wrote the story for the National Geographic Society that had helped subsidize the trip and paid for the photographer. Because the National Geographic provided the money she had to meet a photographer at various locations on her trip for photographs. The trip took seven months; she met interesting aboriginal people along the way.

    Davidson describes how enjoyable and watchable the camels are. She writes beautifully of the majesty of the land. There is a great description of scenery such as “At times, the sand rolls on and on like an endlessly unfurling, magically variegated carpet that shifts from blood red to burnt sienna, pale pink and dung brown. At other times, it violently rises off the desert flood, swirling and churning into dusty whirlpools.”

    The book is well written and is full of information and trivia such as the word whoosh means sit in Afghani. Davidson writes with an offbeat since of humor that makes the book a joy to read. Angie Milliken narrates the book.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Starship Blackbeard

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Michael Wallace
    • Narrated By Steve Barnes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (36)
    Story
    (36)

    In the aftermath of an interstellar war with an alien race, Captain James Drake is unjustly court martialed and sentenced to hard labor. Now Drake is on the run from Lord Admiral Malthorne, while another pursuer, Drake's old friend, believes the accusations are true, and promises to bring him to justice.

    Jean says: "Gripping"
    "Gripping"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a new author for me and a different type (sort of) sci-fi thriller, than my usual fare of sci-fi literature. Apparently this is the first book of a series and the book is short only 6.3 hours long.

    Our hero is Captain James Drake. He commanded the HMS Ajax during the war against the Hroom. Captain Drake was court marshaled and found guilty of shooting down an innocent merchant ship. His first mate and crew believe he is being framed and rescue him and steal the Ajax.

    Drake and crew seek help and safety within a plants cluster of pirates and smugglers. Drake and crew set out to find the evidence to prove him not guilty. Drake renames the Ajax to Starship Blackbeard. The crew of the Blackbeard set out to find out why the Lord Admiral Malthorne framed Drake. Drake learns that the Admiral who owns vast sugar plantation is inciting War with the Hroom Empire and attempts to keep the Hroom addicted to granulated sugar to keep them working as slaves.

    The book is well written, lots of fast paced action, with space battles and chases. The crew is bold, brave and daring with lots of interesting characters. The book is highly entertaining and is easy to read. Steve Barnes narrated the book.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Racing for the Bomb: The True Story of General Leslie R. Groves, the Man Behind the Birth of the Atomic Age

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Robert S. Norris
    • Narrated By Peter Johnson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    Revealed for the first time in Racing for the Bomb, Groves played a crucial and decisive role in the planning, timing, and targeting of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki missions. Norris offers new insights into the complex and controversial questions surrounding the decision to drop the bomb in Japan and Groves' actions during World War II, which had a lasting imprint on the nuclear age and the Cold War that followed.

    Jean says: "Fascinating"
    "Fascinating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Over the years I have read many books about the Manhattan Project and biographies mostly of and about the various scientists on the project. This book is about a man that was mentioned frequently in passing in the various books but nothing in-depth. This book is more of a biography of General Leslie R. Groves (1896-1970) than a history of the Manhattan Project.

    Norris cover Groves early life, his life at West Point, graduating 4th in his class and after graduation going into the Corp of Engineers, he also explains how Groves developed his exceptional organizational skills and administrative skills. The author covers Groves' time overseeing the building of the Pentagon.

    Norris states Groves was responsible for choosing the three key sites, Oak Ridge, Los Alamos, and Hanford and for the construction of the buildings at these sites. The author bogs down the book with too much information as how many miles of corridors there we’re and how many windows etc.

    At the end of the book Norris covers Groves’s role in the Cold War. Norris was meticulous with his research and had access to all the detailed information on daily activities, meetings, phone calls and so on kept by Gen. Groves’s secretary Jean O’Leary. The book is well written but does bog down at times. I found the book most fascinating.

    If you are interested in World War II history or the Manhattan Project this would be an interesting book for you to read. The audio book is long 23 hours, Peter Johnson narrated the book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Working Stiff: Mattie Winston Mysteries, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Annelise Ryan
    • Narrated By Jorjeana Marie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (255)
    Performance
    (235)
    Story
    (236)

    When Mattie Winston catches her husband Dr. David Winston receiving some very special loving care from R.N. Karen Owenby, she quits her job and moves out. Mattie's best friend Izzy offers her a place to stay and suggests she'd be a natural as deputy coroner. Now, instead of taking patients' pulses, Mattie's weighing their hearts and livers. But Mattie's first homicide call turns out to be for none other than Nurse Karen, and even though she saw her ex in a heated argument with the newly deceased the night before, she refuses to believe David could be a killer.

    Jean says: "An easy read"
    "An easy read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a new author and narrator for me. Ryan tells the story of Mattie Winston who has caught her husband David Winston, M.D., having an affair with Karen Owenby, R.N.

    Mattie moves out, quits her job, files for divorce and moves in with her gay friend Izzy, who is the Chief Medical Examiner. Izzy suggest Mattie apply for a job as a deputy coroner investigator. Mattie does and is hired and the first homicide call turns out to be the murder of Karen Owenby. Detective Steven Harley is assigned to the case. Mattie sets out to learn how to be a deputy coroner investigator by trial and error and some book learning and instructions, a sort of on the job training.

    The author writes in a humorous way considering the subject matter. The book is light and easy to read. This book makes a great get a-way from it all read. Jorjeana Marie narrated the story.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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