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Greg

Midlothian, VA, United States | Member Since 2010

1
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 6 reviews
  • 8 ratings
  • 65 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2014
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  • The Hunger Games

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Suzanne Collins
    • Narrated By Carolyn McCormick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (35898)
    Performance
    (26902)
    Story
    (27286)

    Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning? In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by 12 outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

    Teddy says: "The Book Deserves The Hype"
    "Good story, kept me wanting more"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a classic story told well. My only complaint is that Collins sets us up with the rules of the universe only to change them near the end. Also, there is a taint of "deus ex machina" when the mentor sends gifts at appropriate times. I find this causes the book to tilt more towards fantasy than scifi.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • How I Write: Secrets of a Best-Selling Author

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Janet Evanovich, Ina Yalof
    • Narrated By Janet Evanovich, Ina Yalof, Alex Evanovich
    Overall
    (93)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (27)

    Written with nonfiction author and creative-writing teacher Ina Yalof, and with help from daughter Alex Evanovich, How I Write is the perfect guide for anyone looking to strengthen his or her writing - and for those who want to find out just what makes Janet Evanovich tick.

    Debra says: "GREAT MOTIVATION"
    "Good writing advice, but kind of Q&A style"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Evanovich shares her experience as a writer through a mechanism of answering write-in questions. There's not a lot of substance here. Most of this advice has been given by others. If you're an aspiring writer or Evanovich fan, you won't be disappointed.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Bossypants

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Tina Fey
    • Narrated By Tina Fey
    Overall
    (19000)
    Performance
    (14772)
    Story
    (14717)

    Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV. She has seen both these dreams come true. At last, Tina Fey's story can be told....

    Warren says: "Tina Fey broke my new SUV"
    "Funny and instructive"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a big fan of Tina Fey - ever since I saw her on a local Richmond magazine cover announcing "local girls does well" as she headed off to Saturday Night Live. I think of her as the love child that would be produced if "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" had a baby. I read this book because I wanted to know what it was like to be a funny lady in the Big Apple.

    And I was not disappointed. "Bossypants" covers the life of Fey from birth to present day with wit, charm, and some four-letter words thrown in there. If you're squeamish about foul language, you might want to get the abridged version.

    As a father of newly-adult daughters, I found Fey's comments about leadership as a woman very informative. I want my girls to read the book to benefit from Fey's experience. I have some background in comedy and I've seen the way women are treated in that space - it's like something out of the 1950's. I think these experiences hardened Fey for leadership roles that came later.

    I heartily recommend this book for anyone interested in comedy or leadership. It will be a funny and instructive read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • One Second After

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By William R. Forstchen
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5534)
    Performance
    (3503)
    Story
    (3535)

    Already cited on the floor of Congress and discussed in the corridors of the Pentagon as a book all Americans should read, One Second After is the story of a war scenario that could become all too terrifyingly real. Based upon a real weapon - the Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) - which may already be in the hands of our enemies, it is a truly realistic look at the awesome power of a weapon that can destroy the entire United States.

    Sara says: "A terrifying story"
    "Stops to make you think, but not a great novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    One Second After has one purpose - to make you think about the threat of Electro Magnetic Pulse (a bomb that will disable all electricity and electronic devices). And it succeeds brilliantly. The depiction of the year after such a bomb drops is detailed and laid out in a way that seems both real and haunting.

    The problem with this book is that it is not great storytelling. The lead character is interesting enough, but surrounding characters don't seem to get the depth that is necessary. The love interest, for example, is never really fleshed out and their ultimate joining seems haphazardly plotted out.

    In fact, most of what happens in this novel is fully expected. If you've ever read "On the Beach" or "Alas, Babylon" you know what to expect. People die who you expect will die. While this book is clearly written by and endorsed by those who lean to the right (preface by Newt Gingrich), there is little partisanship noticeable. It's a fairly straight line telling.

    I gave low ratings for the performance. The narrator (Joe Barrett) did a good job with the men's voices. Almost all of them were southerners, and Joe was able to make them all unique enough to differentiate. However, his female voices (especially those of young girls) were cartoonish and stereotypical. I found that a distraction.

    Regardless, I do recommend this book. It enlightens one to the potential terrors that await us if we do not prepare for the coming storm. As the general who wrote the afterward said, it isn't a matter of if we'll be attacked, but when.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Steve Jobs

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Walter Isaacson
    • Narrated By Dylan Baker
    Overall
    (11959)
    Performance
    (10358)
    Story
    (10335)

    Based on more than 40 interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.

    Jeanne says: "Interesting man"
    "Wild Ride"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Dear Mr. Isaacson,

    I have just enjoyed "Steve Jobs." I am 49 years old and a computer
    scientist. After 7 years of running writers groups, I am finally
    publishing my own novel and the novels of many of my writers. I also
    produced a documentary for my parent's 40th wedding anniversary in
    2001.

    I grew up in the era of the Apple ][. I idolized the two Steves and
    their work influenced me. I built my own computer from chips - just as
    Woz had and I programmed my own "monitor" program. I understand what
    those guys did at a fundamental and personal level.

    What I appreciated most about your biography was the way you told
    Jobs' story through the point of view of friends, relatives, and
    coworkers. It was a very honest depiction. It was also told in a
    simple way that is accessible to everyone - similar to an Apple
    product. Having written a book and told a biography through video, I
    feel I understand the amount of work and care that it took to create
    the volume.

    These days, I'm building a writing club that takes a writer from
    concept to full publication and beyond. Steve Jobs' idea of
    controlling his products from beginning to end makes perfect sense to
    me and is instructive. I may never have his combination of rapport,
    charisma, and focus. But in your book I have found elements of his
    leadership style that I can integrate into my own.

    Thank you for an excellent biography. (I actually listened to it on
    my iPad from the Audible.com download while working.) Steve made an
    excellent choice when he recruited you for the work.

    Sincerely,
    Greg Smith

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • iWoz: How I Invented the Personal Computer and Had Fun Along the Way

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Steve Wozniak, Gina Smith
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor
    Overall
    (2422)
    Performance
    (1411)
    Story
    (1435)

    Before cell phones that fit in the palm of your hand and slim laptops that fit snugly into briefcases, computers were like strange, alien vending machines. They had cryptic switches, punch cards, and pages of encoded output. But in 1975, a young engineering wizard named Steve Wozniak had an idea: What if you combined computer circuitry with a regular typewriter keyboard and a video screen?

    Anthony says: "Best of the Best"
    "iWoz wozn't what I wanted to read."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm one of those computer whiz kids from the seventies. I loved the bits where Woz get down and dirty about the details of his computer inventions. However, I really wanted to know what it was like to work with Steve Jobs and others at Apple in the early days. We got only slivers of glimpses of what it was like to invent an industry.

    Also, the language of the text and the narration make Woz sound childish and naive. Several concepts in the book were repeated over again in later chapters. There was a lot of time spent on Woz's childhood (which was enjoyable) with allusions to a good relationship with his father - then later indications that his father was an alcoholic. But no depth.

    Stories are about relationships. There was scant little of that here.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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