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John L. Moncrief

NYC | Member Since 2008

5
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 10 reviews
  • 14 ratings
  • 301 titles in library
  • 12 purchased in 2014
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  • Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Michael Lewis
    • Narrated By Dylan Baker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1858)
    Performance
    (1533)
    Story
    (1547)

    The tsunami of cheap credit that rolled across the planet between 2002 and 2008 was more than a simple financial phenomenon: it was temptation, offering entire societies the chance to reveal aspects of their characters they could not normally afford to indulge. The Greeks wanted to turn their country into a pinata stuffed with cash and allow as many citizens as possible to take a whack at it. The Germans wanted to be even more German; the Irish wanted to stop being Irish.

    Andy says: "we may not be the most stupid kids on the planet"
    "He makes it look easy."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is must reading in my opinion because its account of the almost automatic abuses that seem happen when it's too easy to get money...as in Iceland and Ireland and Greece. In Iceland, fishermen became bankers and ruined the country is record time. In Ireland, easy drove up real estate prices so high that they bore no relationship to true value as measured by rentals. In Greece, its seems everyone from top to bottom was spending money they didn't have. The unaffordable pensions, the universal tax evasion, the false budgets and false statements of tax collections in Greece are unbelievable. In the US, he explores the finanicial condition of municipalities. In Ireland, the Irish government pays off bonds issued by privates banks to private individuals and viritually bankrupts itself. In California, he visits bandrupt towns where the police and fire fighters salaries and pensions that are imposed by a ridiculous system are impossible to pay. What is amazing is how easy the author makes it look to gather this incredible incredible information. He goes almost as a tourist and conducts some interviews. But I dont't think he could not have done this without a lot of preparation.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Goldfinch

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8883)
    Performance
    (8143)
    Story
    (8149)

    The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity. It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

    B.J. says: "A stunning achievement - for author and narrator"
    "I bought into a preposterous story line"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A 13 year old survives a terrorist museum bombing,stuffs a priceless painting in his backpack and carries it around for years. He had no intention of profiting from it or hanging it in his bedroom yet does not return it . Not logical. And there are a number of preposterous turns in this novel. Yet I bought into his world and enjoyed the saga very much. The reader actually deserves five stars for his overall accomplishment.. many characters, many accents...done full out as an actor and not just as a reader. I gave him four stars because some of his female voices I found quite irritating. Not really fair of me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Red Sparrow: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Jason Matthews
    • Narrated By Jeremy Bobb
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1167)
    Performance
    (1046)
    Story
    (1050)

    Drafted against her will to become a "Sparrow" - a trained seductress in the service, Russian intelligence officer Dominika Egorova is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a first-tour CIA officer who handles the CIA's most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence. The two young intelligence officers, trained in their respective spy schools, collide in a charged atmosphere of tradecraft, deception, and inevitably, a forbidden spiral of carnal attraction that threatens their careers and the security of America's valuable mole in Moscow.

    Melinda says: "Sexy Saucy Spies"
    "Fun Listen but Kind of Formulaic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I got this book because of its reader rating. Although I got hooked early, I found it kind of formulaic. Strikingly beautiful Russian spy who excels in everything... American spies who are so top drawer... like the James Clancy military men.. So different from the flawed or troubled LeCarre spies. Lots of fun but not up to its rating in my opinion.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 1812: The Navy's War

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By George C. Daughan
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (275)
    Performance
    (237)
    Story
    (239)

    At the outbreak of the War of 1812, America's prospects looked dismal. It was clear that the primary battlefield would be the open ocean but America's war fleet, only 20 ships strong, faced a practiced British navy of more than a thousand men-of-war. Still, through a combination of nautical deftness and sheer bravado, the American navy managed to take the fight to the British and turn the tide of the war.

    K. Winters says: "Fantastic, if complicated, account of the war"
    "The Facts, Nothing But the Facts"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you are into all of the details of naval and land battles during the War of 1812, this is your book. Every sailing maneuver during battles between the heroic (but crazy) frigates along with compositions of crews, number killed and wounded, damage reports, sails and riggings carried away... all preparations taken for land battles, compositions of armies (regulars, militiamen, Indians, liberated slaves), fortifications, armaments, tactics, blunders, killed and wounded, intentional torching of towns and cities... Honestly, this really is of interest to me. In addition, there is a very detailed account of the disputes between England and the US, of the political maneuvering between the Federalists and the Republicans, of the attitudes in England exhibited by the Parliament, the ministers and the press... The War of 1812 ended in a kind a stalemate... the status quo from the beginning of the war was put back in place... but it had great significance for relations between the US and England... We got respect and England became our friend.for centuries . For Madison it was a titanic struggle.. many blunders, many bad appointments but to his credit he stuck it out and changed our government for the better...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Alas, Babylon

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Pat Frank
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4204)
    Performance
    (3158)
    Story
    (3164)

    This true modern masterpiece is built around the two fateful words that make up the title and herald the end - “Alas, Babylon.” When a nuclear holocaust ravages the United States, a thousand years of civilization are stripped away overnight, and tens of millions of people are killed instantly. But for one small town in Florida, miraculously spared, the struggle is just beginning, as men and women of all backgrounds join together to confront the darkness....

    Evelyn says: "Excellent listen"
    "Much Enjoyable Cold War/Post-Bomb Yarn"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    At first I thought I could not get through the awful stereotypes from 1950s fiction.. the men's men (who had served or were serving in the military with distinction), the pompous small town aristocrat throwing his weight around who turns out to be a coward, the noble black man (in a Florida town) with a minstrel's name and minstrel's speech who reads the Washington Post and NY Times thrown out by the white guys.. and worst of all the women who are to varying degrees kind of ditzy ... But this post-nuclear attack survival story was lots of fun to listen to and Will Patton was the perfect narrator... Do not know how realistic the post-bomb scenario was but it gave me plenty to think about...

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Likeness

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Tana French
    • Narrated By Heather O'Neill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2841)
    Performance
    (1745)
    Story
    (1753)

    Tana French's debut, In the Woods, hit the New York Times best-seller list and drew rave reviews from the Times (London) and Booklist. Picking up six months later, this riveting sequel finds Detective Cassie Maddox still scarred by her last case. When her boyfriend calls her to a chilling murder scene, Cassie is forced to face her inner demons. A young woman has been found stabbed to death outside Dublin, and the victim looks just like Cassie.

    Michael says: "Really on a Different Level"
    "More a Very Good Novel than a Detective Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The narrator really got into my head. She delves into each character in every Irish accent I never knew existed. Many twist and turns but the character development of the heroine and other players is what makes this book for me. One bothersome thing about Dublin Murder Squad books is that the men all seem damaged from childhood.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Winter of the World: The Century Trilogy, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4938)
    Performance
    (4170)
    Story
    (4183)

    Winter of the World picks up right where the first book left off, as its five interrelated families - American, German, Russian, English, Welsh - enter a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and the great dramas of World War II, up to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic bombs. As always with Ken Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion.

    Tim says: "Brilliant Sequel"
    "Met Some of the Characters Before"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Good yarn. Loved the accounts of WWII historical events in the Soviet Union, the USA, England and Germany, all of which I assume have been rigorously researched. For me the book was worth 35 hours of listening for that alone. I do feel some of these characters are retreads from Pillars of the Earth and World Without End.. kind of two dimensional. Also that the characters are repeatedly coincidentally running into one another and being placed at every major historical event is kind of ridiculous but, I suppose, necessary to provide first person reports. If you do not have an encyclopedic knowledge of the events leading up to and during WWII and you would like a better knowledge of them and like a good yarn, this is the book for you. Also, it was fun to follow the characters from the Fall of Giants.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Blood of Flowers

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Anita Amirrezvani
    • Narrated By Shohreh Aghdashloo
    Overall
    (1228)
    Performance
    (672)
    Story
    (673)

    In 17th-century Persia, a 14-year-old woman believes she will be married within the year. When her beloved father dies, she and her mother find themselves alone and without a dowry. With nowhere else to go, they are forced to sell the brilliant turquoise rug the young woman has woven to pay for their journey to Isfahan, where they will work as servants for her uncle, a rich rug designer in the court of the legendary Shah Abbas the Great.

    Shaddi says: "I loved this book!"
    "Familiar Theme But Really Well Done"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is another book where a spunky girl/young woman who lost everything uses her grit and talent (in this case rug maker/designer) to survive. But it is so well written, so full of historic Persian detail (which I am sure is accurate but that didn't matter... the author brought me into that world), that I became hooked early on. Really well written and an excellent narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bel Canto

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Ann Patchett
    • Narrated By Anna Fields
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1708)
    Performance
    (878)
    Story
    (884)

    Somewhere in South America at the home of the country's vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of Mr. Hosokawa, a powerful Japanese businessman. Roxanne Coss, opera's most revered soprano, has mesmerized the guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening, until a band of terrorists breaks in, taking the entire party hostage.

    Brian says: "Surprisingly engrossing"
    "The Narration is So Good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I think it is a five star novel overall and a five star story but maybe it is not and it is the narration that has clouded my critical faculties. The narrator, Anna Fields, is just the right combination of matter of fact delivery, excellent and not over-the-top accents (Spanish, French and Russian) and excellent portrayal of the characters without acting up a storm. This is how I like to hear a book.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Company: A Novel of the CIA

    • UNABRIDGED (41 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Robert Littell
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (5049)
    Performance
    (2154)
    Story
    (2147)

    "If Robert Littell didn't invent the American spy novel," says Tom Clancy, "he should have." In this spectacular Cold-War-as-Alice-in-Wonderland epic, Littell, "the American le Carre," takes us down the rabbit hole and into the labyrinthine world of espionage that has been the CIA for the last half-century. "Ostensibly a single novel, The Company can also be listened to as an anthology of cracking good spy stories," says (Publishers Weekly).

    Cynthia says: "Hang on to your Hat"
    "More Clancy than Le Carre"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is good yarn and I do not regret spending 40 hours listening to it. But it is wrong to put Littell in the same company as Le Carre. The main characters of this book are Clancy-like men's men, belonging to a mutual admiration society. They are top drawer in their craft, totally fearless, devoted to their top drawer wives. They are always ready with a come-back that silences their adversaries. For men's
    men, they are quite an emotional bunch and Littell wrings out every emotion he can. They are also an amorous group but the sex scenes are contrived and embarrassing to listen to. A key Israeli intelligence operative and one his agents are so infallible, so successful and so dripping with wisdom, they make our boys look like amateurs. And the narrator, although a very talented guy, is over the top in the emotional scenes. Also, his English accent is pretty bad. So, again, great yarn, fun to listen to but not great art.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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