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Joe Bloggs

Simple Joe

WASHINGTON, IL, United States | Member Since 2010

15
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 44 reviews
  • 44 ratings
  • 103 titles in library
  • 9 purchased in 2014
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  • The Dharma Bums

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Jack Kerouac
    • Narrated By Tom Parker
    Overall
    (230)
    Performance
    (177)
    Story
    (180)

    Two ebullient young men are engaged in a passionate search for dharma, or truth. Their major adventure is the pursuit of the Zen way, which takes them climbing into the high Sierras to seek the lesson of solitude - a lesson that has a hard time surviving their forays into the pagan groves of San Francisco's bohemia, with its marathon wine-drinking bouts, poetry jam sessions, experiments in "yabyum", and other non-ascetic pastimes.

    HankieG says: "No Slouch This Dharma Bum"
    "Goes Nowhere and Does Nothing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about The Dharma Bums?

    I thought maybe there was something of substance to this book, but there was nothing of substance there.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Jack Kerouac again?

    I don't think so. The idea that he was some sort of guru or something is a sad notion that not even die hard aging hippies are likely to believe. He's just a guy who did some drugs and learned a little about an Eastern religion.


    What does Tom Parker bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I'm not sure really. I suppose he did a decent job, but nothing jumps off the table and says "This is something special"


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Just disappointment at wasting my time. It happens now and then, you pick a book off the "Must read before I die" list and find out it really actually sucks.


    Any additional comments?

    I can't imagine why this book shows up in certain "Must Read" lists. Obviously nobody who puts these lists together has actually suffered through this dull book.

    0 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Enemy of Mine

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Brad Taylor
    • Narrated By Rich Orlow, Henry Strozier
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (166)
    Performance
    (143)
    Story
    (141)

    In retired Delta Force officer Brad Taylor’s third Pike Logan thriller, a tentative peace between Israel and Palestine has been brokered by the United States. But the Taskforce - a clandestine team operating outside of US law to protect the country from terrorism - gets wind of an assassination attempt on the American envoy sent to solidify the treaty. The Taskforce must devote every resource to saving his life - and preventing another bloody outbreak of violence.

    Wendygoodwitch says: "Needs a better narrator"
    "Pike's Revenge"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Pike Logan of course.


    What does Rich Orlow and Henry Strozier bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    They work well as a team.


    Any additional comments?

    This is partially a story about revenge for both Pike and Jennifer. Jennifer gets a bit annoying with all of her thoughts about being a good person and being better than the people they are sent to kill. The plot twists and turns in unexpected directions which keep things interesting. The oversight council is still annoying, but it gives you a sense of how frustrated Pike must feel when terrorists are about to escape and politicians wring their hands.

    I like Pike the rage filled man who is on the ragged edge of going berserk and this book definitely has that. It also brings Pike back to a sane place and he shows some superhuman restraint. This book feels like Brad Taylor is hitting his stride in terms of writing and everything is getting more polished and presentable. There is plenty of action and the pace is fast. There is also a lot of thought provoking story going on.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • All Necessary Force

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Brad Taylor
    • Narrated By Henry Strozier, Rich Orlow
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (196)
    Performance
    (171)
    Story
    (168)

    Best-selling author Brad Taylor draws upon his own experiences as a Delta Force commander for his exciting series starring elite Taskforce operative Pike Logan. In All Necessary Force, Logan and his partner Jennifer Cahill are trailing two terrorist organizations from Asia to Egypt when a deadly threat arrives in the U.S.

    Don says: "Editing makes a difference"
    "Pike Logan Kicks Butt"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What other book might you compare All Necessary Force to and why?

    Any other Brad Taylor books featuring Pike Logan


    What about Henry Strozier and Rich Orlow ’s performance did you like?

    I'm still getting used to the two readers format. Having listened to many books done by a single reader it does take a little getting used to and there is a good and a bad to it. I think they did a great job.


    Any additional comments?

    Pike is back in action and using all the force necessary to get the job done. In short he's kicking ass and filling body bags. I like the fast paced action. What I don't like is all the talk about task force approval for this and omega authority for that. I get it that politicians wring their hands while terrorists take real actions, but the oversight council is even getting on my nerves.

    I don't have a lot of love for Jennifer either. She is sort of Pike's sidekick and while she makes the story interesting, I really don't see anyone with her unease for killing being on the front lines of a terrorism task force.

    The story is great and fast paced. I can't wait to read the next book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • One Rough Man: A Pike Logan Thriller

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Brad Taylor
    • Narrated By J. D. Jackson, Neil Kaplan
    Overall
    (396)
    Performance
    (330)
    Story
    (328)

    A former Delta Force commander, Brad Taylor proves with this breathtaking debut thriller that Vince Flynn and Brad Thor have company. A collection of top operatives, the Taskforce was commissioned by the highest levels of government, kept secret from the media and even Congress. The best of the Taskforce bunch, Pike Logan knows the greatest threat to American security is one or two idealogues. Unfortunately for them, they’ve just crossed Pike’s path.

    Teresa says: "terrible narration"
    "One Good Listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about One Rough Man?

    The character of Pike Logan and his attitude. Pike really comes alive when he talks about operations and his own life. I love the use of Pike in the first person also.


    What other book might you compare One Rough Man to and why?

    Many thrillers have a similar main hero character, but none are quite like Pike Logan. The Mitch Rap books by Vince Flynn are sort of similar, but very different in many ways. I would say the Ben Coes books are fairly similar.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Pike takes out a couple of drug cartel thugs on his boat with his bare hands. They watched him get his ass kicked earlier and didn't realize that Pike just didn't have it in him to stomp some college kid. He unleashes 9 months of pent up rage on the deserving thugs who were about to torture and kill Jennifer who becomes a main character in the book. It was awesome.


    Any additional comments?

    I couldn't stop listening and that's something I can't say about too many books. Thank God this series is already far along so I can enjoy many more hours of Pike Logan's adventures.

    When the ancient WMD was first discovered I groaned inwardly wondering what the hell kind of book I was reading, but as it turned out the scenario is actually not an impossibility as we later find out. I have to give the book an A for originality.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Lions of Lucerne

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Brad Thor
    • Narrated By Armand Schultz
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1333)
    Performance
    (1197)
    Story
    (1195)

    On the snow-covered slopes of Utah, the unthinkable has just become a nightmarish reality: thirty Secret Service agents have been viciously executed and the vacationing president of the United States kidnapped by one of the most lethal terrorist organizations in the Middle East - the Fatah Revolutionary Council. But surviving agent and ex-Navy SEAL Scot Harvath doesn't believe the Fatah Revolutionary Council is responsible for the attack.

    Carol says: "Great Scott Harvath"
    "A masterpiece"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read a book late in the Scott Harvath series and decided to go back to the beginning and listen to book one. The way things change in the world so quickly, you never really know how applicable some of the stuff will be for today, however I was not disappointed.

    The Lions of Lucerne is a masterpiece from beginning to end, and it's non-stop twists and turns from beginning to end. You really cannot figure this book out until the end, and there is no lack of action either. Another great thing about this book is that it sticks with the main character and doesn't get bogged down trying to explain everything from everyone else's perspective. So many books get caught up explaining everything and the hero sort of steps in every third chapter to do something, but this book sticks with Harvath almost exclusively.

    You can really tell when an author puts in the extra time, and this novel is a fitting first novel to kick off the series. Thor wasn't just throwing something at the wall and seeing if it would stick, he was taking aim and put the bullet right through the center of the target. In short, this book is everything a book of the genre should be. I cannot wait to start the next book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Full Black

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Brad Thor
    • Narrated By Armand Schultz
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1727)
    Performance
    (1394)
    Story
    (1405)

    Born in shadow and kept from heads of state, there are some missions so deadly, so sensitive, that they simply don't exist. so deadly, so sensitive, that they simply don't exist. When one such mission goes horribly wrong, a wave of dramatic terrorist attacks is set in motion. Their goal: the complete and total collapse of the United States. With the CIA's intelligence abilities hobbled, former Navy SEAL Team 6 member turned covert counterterrorism operative Scot Harvath launches an audacious plan to infiltrate the terrorists' network and prevent one of the biggest threats the U.S. has ever faced.

    Sean says: "More More"
    "When partial black just won't do"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Scott Harvath is back and kicking terrorist ass, but not until after the terrorists do some damage just to get the blood boiling. This novel is one of the best of the series, and doesn't disappoint.

    The thing about a book like this is, you know it's good when the plot seems absolutely plausible even though it's outrageous on the surface. The plot in this book is more or less completely plausible, some parts more than others but it's truly not much of a stretch. This book never strays into unbelievable land and keeps things interesting with individual plots that intersect and weave together.

    James Standing is the perfect villain and Thor does a wonderful job explaining what makes this man the way he is. I especially like the interview Standing has with a reporter and their verbal sparing over political ideas. The ideas are pretty much old hat for me, but I enjoyed the presentation anyway. It gets so heated that you wish you could jump in and make a point yourself.

    Bottom line: I loved the book and can't wait to start the next Brad Thor novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dead Eye: A Gray Man Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Mark Greaney
    • Narrated By Jay Snyder
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2379)
    Performance
    (2130)
    Story
    (2151)

    Ex-CIA master assassin Court Gentry has always prided himself on his ability to disappear at will, to fly below the radar and exist in the shadows - to survive as the near-mythical Gray Man. But when he takes revenge upon a former employer who betrayed him, he exposes himself to something he’s never had to face before. A killer who is just like him. Code-named Dead Eye, Russell Whitlock is a graduate of the same ultra-secret Autonomous Asset Program that trained and once controlled Gentry.

    Julius Butcher says: "Fits well into the series"
    "The Gray Man Meets his Match"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Mark Greaney brings the Gray Man back for another adventure and this time he's up against someone who thinks and acts precisely the same way he does. I love these books and can't say enough good things about them. The story twists and turns and surprises you, all the while keeping up the action and the suspense.

    One thing that bothers me about this book and the ones before it. The Gray Man never knows what he did or what happened to get the CIA on his butt and trying to kill him. It's been 4 books now! Please spill the beans and reveal the mystery! How long can this go on? We need the answers. Each book seems to bring us closer to the answers, but just when we think we are getting close the prize is pulled away.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Midnight House

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Alex Berenson
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (759)
    Performance
    (409)
    Story
    (411)

    Early one morning, a former CIA agent is shot to death in the street. That night, an army vet is gunned down in his doorway. The next day, John Wells gets a phone call. Come to Langley. Now.

    James says: "Another hit by Alex Berenson"
    "More mystery than action"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed the book, and I think this is one of the better John Wells books. It seemed like there wasn't a lot of action though, and that's why I gave it four stars and not five.

    One thing that drives me crazy is the concurrent stories that hopefully mesh together to tell the complete story. The concurrent story here was what was happening at the torture facility back a year before. It just wasn't all that relevant until the end of the story and then I was like, yeah that makes sense but why did the author take that approach? The concurrent story could have been cut down considerably.

    There is just something about the book that bugs me, but I cannot figure out what exactly it is. Maybe it's all the hard luck stories. Everyone from Wells to the killer to one of the people at the Midnight House is a hard luck story. Maybe it's just that I want the book to be better, but it isn't. It's good, but somehow it misses being great.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Faithful Spy

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Alex Berenson
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2306)
    Performance
    (933)
    Story
    (925)

    John Wells is the only American CIA agent ever to penetrate al Qaeda. Since before the attacks in 2001, Wells has been hiding in the mountains of Pakistan, biding his time, building his cover.

    Margaret says: "Faithful Spy"
    "John Wells infiltrates terrorists & saves NYC"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book is good but not the best of the genre. Let's start with what is right with the book, good action, good story, good realism, a lot of personal touches that make most of the characters come to life. One more point is that it doesn't go into mindless and useless detail like so many books can. The detail level stays manageable and it doesn't give you fifty different characters that are completely useless. The book avoids most of the problems that drag down so many other books.

    What didn't I like then? John Wells is difficult to relate to. He went Muslim while spending years living in the desert and sort of ignored the fact that he had a son. If it makes Wells real, then it also makes him an A-hole. One could understand not being around much, but completely missing for years? And he wasn't even under orders to be absent. There is a reason no other writer went there and that is because it's a bad idea, plain and simple.

    The way Well's went Muslim makes it seem not too bad. He's out there doing the stuff everyday and he just sort of starts believing it. Sadly, this scenario is actually closer to reality than not. I still don't like it though. It just seems stupid and unnecessary.

    But what if you get past the hangups? It's good but just not as compelling as some other books. I never felt like I couldn't stop listening. It's hard to say precisely what it is that makes it unremarkable, but that is what it is. It is a good book and I will listen to more John Well's.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Night Ranger: A John Wells Novel, Book 7

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Alex Berenson
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (419)
    Performance
    (381)
    Story
    (377)

    Four friends, recent college graduates, travel to Kenya to work at a giant refugee camp for Somalis. Two men, two women, each with their own reasons for being there. But after twelve weeks, they’re ready for a break and pile into a Land Cruiser for an adventure. They get more than they bargained for. Bandits hijack them. They wake up in a hut, hooded, bound, no food or water. Hostages. As a personal favor, John Wells is asked to try to find them, but he does so reluctantly. East Africa isn’t his usual playing field.

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "Wells is finally moving out of the desert"
    "Simple plot but it works"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm running out of books from my favorite authors and discovered this book which I was pleasantly surprised to read. The plot is fairly straightforward and John Wells is the hero who is half detective, and full on kick ass commando. Not too many meaningless and unnecessary threads like some books. I wasn't into the John Wells is a Muslim thing, it just doesn't work and frankly feels pointless and preachy.

    George Guidall is a pleasure to listen to. He could probably read a cook book and still keep it interesting, he's that good.

    Overall it's excellent, but I just couldn't give it a full 5 stars. I would give it 4.5 stars if possible. I'm sort of conflicted over the issue because it's not nearly the best of the genre in my opinion, yet 4 stars doesn't quite do it justice either.

    It would have been nice to hear about some reconciliation between Wells and his son after the mission. Then again I guess it doesn't really matter. Thankfully the whole hostage thing was handled nicely and the reader (me) didn't have to feel agonized and tortured like so many hostage situations in books and movies make you feel.

    Bottom line, it's a great book and I will be listening to more in the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Dan Ariely
    • Narrated By Simon Jones
    Overall
    (3708)
    Performance
    (1223)
    Story
    (1229)

    In a series of illuminating, often surprising experiments, MIT behavioral economist Dan Ariely refutes the common assumption that we behave in fundamentally rational ways. Blending everyday experience with groundbreaking research, Ariely explains how expectations, emotions, social norms, and other invisible, seemingly illogical forces skew our reasoning abilities.

    Stephen says: "Well researched, well written, & well read"
    "Fascinating book by a fascinating man"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My biggest problem with this book is the fact that Ariely keeps saying interesting things about people's irrationality and this somehow invalidates economics 101. I'm a student of economics and this just isn't true. I can almost hear a hesitancy in his voice to suggest that what he found has vast implications for economics, as if a part of him knows it isn't true.

    Aside from the economics, the book is pretty good. I really want to give it 1 star to be vain and vindictive in a small and meaningless way but I will rise above that and give it what I feel it deserves based on the material presented and ignore what Ariely says about economics.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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