Sykesville, MD | Member Since 2011
Yes, I would listen to Battle Ready again. This memoir held particular interest for me because it dealt with a wartime medic. The book detailed how Mark Donald accomplished this specialty, in order to serve his comrades on the battlefield. Mark had begun his career by enlisting in the Marine Corp. He successfully completed basic training and was on his way to becoming a Marine. Mark found himself thinking, not about becoming a Marine but wanting to become a SEAL. Mark was steadfast and did not abandon his quest. He eventually transferred to begin his training toward becoming a medic in the SEALS. This book includes what it takes to become a SEAL. The men who begin training can start with a group of 220 men and women. But by the time their training is complete there may be 20 left who will graduate as a SEAL. There have been times where there were no graduates. Yes, that number was zero graduates. Surviving the excruciating ordeal of becoming a SEAL and having the honor of earning the most coveted Trident, that affirms their being a member of the SEALS, are few. When members of the military see the Trident affixed to the uniform, they step aside and many will even salute that person even though that SEAL is of lower rank.
The memoir is well written and the narration is excellent. I would enjoy listening again because Mark Donald's journey from a young boy of 18 to becoming a distinguished member of the elite community, known as the SEALS, the best of the best, was a great listen and needs another listen. I would like to encourage my friend's to read or listen to Mark Donald's memoir, explaining to them that the book was indeed worth a second listen for me and is definitely worth the first time.
My favorite character was Mark Donald. Mark struggled while growing up in a community where there were gangs, fights, guns and other disturbing attributes, that led many to being killed or living behind bars. Mark had worked very hard to avoid becoming a part of that world and realized that moving away from home and family would be the only chance that could help him to succeed. With the help of a Marine recruiter, who understood, after talking with Mark, that he was an excellent candidate for the Marine Corp. Listening to his memoir was an inspiration. I listened as Mark made a success of his life but not without determination, commitment and a lot of hard work. Listening to his journey was riveting. His courage on the battlefield was described so clearly that I felt as if I was a part of that world. His fears, accomplishments, defeats and tears made Mark evolve into the man that he is today.
Fred Berman's performance made the words come alive. The character's were well done, allowing me to distinguish one from the other. The emotions Berman was able to project were done with forethought. He made the book a very enjoyable listen.
There was a moment in the book that particularly moved me. SEAL Team Six were in the mountains of Afghanistan, I believe, in the Kandahar Kush, doing reconnaissance, when their men were ambushed. Mark had to pull one of his friend's off of the battlefield dead and another friend, Mark held in his arms and held his hand, and had to watch him die.
Mark became a medic for SEAL Team Six, which involves more education than other military services. However, he went on to become a Physician's Assistant, which required more education and responsibilities. Mark was the man who fixed the wounds of other soldiers, helped to save the lives of other men with life saving interventions and, yes, to be there for those who died. He was also trained to hoist his gun, aim it and shoot to kill the enemy, which he had to do. While serving in the SEALS, Mark began to have nightmares, relating to his actions in the war. He would wake up drenched in sweat, sit up and try hard to bring himself back to his surroundings. Mark began to have hallucinations, reliving the war. He would go into his own world, not hearing anything or anyone. Mark would stand by a window and stare down at the parking lot. But instead of a parking lot, Mark would see the battlefield and the altercation taking place, as if in real time. He understood that he was having problems but Mark was certain that in order to be a SEAL he had to remember that SEALS do not voice that there are issues that he needs help with. No, SEALS were taught that there was nothing that a SEAL couldn't do. Therefore, Mark continued to struggle, that was until his superior's, friend's and family began to notice the changes taking place. A superior officer took him aside and discussed his awareness that Mark was having serious problems with functioning normally. After this meeting, Mark did as superior officer had suggested and sought help. He had PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a disorder that many men and women of the military suffer from. Mark required a therapist to help him to learn how to deal with PTSD.
Mark served for 25 years as a SEAL. When he was honorably discharged from the SEALS, Mark wanted to help others who also suffered from the same disorder as he did. Mark reiterates that PTSD is not an illness but a disorder. Mark pulled together a nonprofit organization, with the help of friends and others, to assist other men and women who also had PTSD. His objective was to help those with PTSD to return to society and be able to function as normally as possible. There were those he would integrate into his organization to help them with their need for further help. There is no cure for PTSD, it is a disorder that men and women will have to learn how to survive with and not allow the disorder to overwhelm them. Hopefully, with help, they will once again begin to function in a way that may be different than before but not disable them so severely that the world that surrounds them, they cannot be a part of it because of PTSD. Mark is a caring, loving and supporting man who knows what it like to have PTSD. He struggles everyday, just like those he is helping. I don't profess to be an expert on PTSD. I only know that there is a man, Mark Donald, who wants to assist others.
This is the true story of Lafeyette and Pharoah Rivers, growing up in the Henry Horner public housing project in Chicago. Their mother and her family lived there when the apartments were new and well taken care of. However, she moved back at a later time, with her husband Paul to live and raise their family in what now was not a place to live and raise children but a war-zone. Paul would come and go as he pleased. There were no feelings left in Lajo for her husband but she always tolerated him during those short visits. Their were eight children, the last three were triplets, and Lafeyette had the responsibility of taking care of the four younger children. His two older brother's were in jail and his sister moved back home with her two children. She had stopped using drugs during the last four months of her pregnancy. However, she began to leave the house, saying that she would be back in five but she would be gone for the night. Lafeyette supposed that she had started to use drugs again. These children became Lafeyette's responsibility, too.
Lafeyette, 11and Pharoah 9, hung with each other at that time. However, as time went by, things began to change. Pharoah was seen out with Lafeyette or his cousin, Pork Chop, his nickname. Lafeyette had not joined a gang but he was hanging around with a boy who was an older friend of Pharoah's, Ricky. Lafeyette would wear a red baseball hat, pushed to the left side of his head and one earring, a cross, in his left ear, just like Ricky wore. They were not a gang but did distinguish themselves as being different. However, his mother made him take both the hat and earring off and was told to throw them away. She hoped that Lafeyette would stay clear of the gangs. Lafayette had been to court for breaking into a four wheel drive, parked near the stadium. The man was delivering food to the stadium and a boy asked if he would be interested in having him watch his car. The man told him, no. The boy told him of how his car could be vandalized but the man kept walking. He told his mother that he wasn't a part of the group and had ran because he didn't want to be blamed for something that he didn't do.
The Horner project's, as their project was called, was located in one of the poorest area's of Chicago. There were gangs, the apartments were in disrepair, with cockroaches running ramppet, overflowing garbage, scalding hot water dripping from the bathtub faucet that couldn't be turned off but only would give lukewarm water when taking a bath, there was no shower and there was no longer a washing machine for the tenants. The Rivers washed their clothes in the bathtub. What the basketball court became was a place to hang out, throw a basketball into the one bent and crooked hoop that was left and to throw glass bottles to break, adding to the other glass that lay everywhere.
Lajo despaired for her first three children but hoped that her last five children would become what she dreamed they would become. Lafeyette had a few scraps with the law but had never spent anytime away in the detention center for the children. Lafeyette was a day dreamer at times and had to be physically shook to come back to the real world. However, Lafeyette loved school and wanted to learn. He was terribly scared when he heard gun shots from outside and the guns were used frequently by the member's of various gang's. Whether inside or outside, they would scramble to find a safe place. Each "child," had their own fears to deal with, if they were to survive to live another day.
Lafeyette was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up? He replied that he wanted to bus driver if he grew up, not when. Pharoah wanted to become a politician and try to clean up the city and get rid of the crime.
The book gave no promises or conjectures of how the ills of the city were to be cured. The book was clear and concise what the projects were like and what he saw and tried to understand what it was like for Lafeyette and Pharoah to grow up in such poverty. The book was well written and the character's were well developed. I tried to understand what it would be like to have grown up in the projects and where I would be today if I had. There is no formula for the youth of poverty on how to circumvent their actions so that poverty will not overwhelm them and bring them down. The narrator did a great job with all of the voices and emotions. You will not make a mistake if you decide to purchase and listen to an author trying to explain what poverty was like for two young boy's.
No sooner had John left the mother, Madori, of his son, expressing his determination to stop being a mercenary, the man watching her home was seen by John walking toward him. The man walked up toward John on the sidewalk in front of Madori's home. John killed the man and although he had told Dox, his partner, that he wouldn't need help, Dox had lingered nearby. Together, the dead man was thrown into the dumpster, carefully. John needed to convey his message to the man in Korea who held such animosity toward John. The man's name was, Yamayoto, who dealt in the illegal drug trade.
Yamayoto had crossed paths many year's before, whereby John and his good friend Dox, had interfered with his drug trade. Many of his men were killed and he lost millions of dollars on the drugs that were emptied into the waves splashing against the boat.
The same type of interchange was to happen again. John's very good friend, Totus, wanted this man dead before he passed. John visited Totus in the hospital and the last request he made to John was to eliminate Yamayoto. Until that occurred, Totus would not be able to go in peace. Totus had assisted John throughout the previous year's with information and weapons through the FBI office in Tokyo. John would not refuse his friend.
The book Extremis, tells this most compelling story. The narrator, the author himself, Barry Eisler, does a great job. The John Rain series has held my interest since reading the first book. I came to know some of the character's in depth with each successive book that I've read. This is the second series of John Rain books that take place when he begins to get older. The first time that John Rain had killed was when he participated in the Vietnam War. He has never stopped. There is always someone who calls him when he has tried to discontinue his job as a mercenary. However, John has acknowledged to himself, that killing is what he is best at. There is action and suspense throughout the book. There are many scenes that keep you on the edge of your seat. The books continues at a fast pace. The end of this book and I've already purchased the next one. I've enjoyed each book, therefore, I'm sure I'll enjoy the next. The books are great listens and I'm sure that if this is your genre of book you definitely will not be disappointed.
I enjoyed getting to know the four member's of the Camel Club. They were certainly a strange group. The group would convene their meetings on Roosevelt Island, which was a tourist attraction during visiting hours and closed at night. The club had found an old rowing boat, which they used to reach the island. They were keeping their anonymity from searching eyes.
Oliver Stone, his alias, worked at, Black Methodist's Mount Zion Church - The Gateway to Freedom and was provided with free living quarters. He maintained the cemetery with care and received a small stipend. Stone's wife and daughter had been killed because of the work he did for the US Government, assassination's. He retreated from society to become an unknown. Milton Forbe, obsessive-compulsive, had been a Vietnam protester who had a photographic memory, along with a genius's mind. He had been encouraged by Oliver to go on Jeopardy, where he won enough money to begin his own computer business from home. Caleb Shaw worked for the government and was quite the eccentric man. They found him the perfect job, working in the Library of Congress. Reuben Roade was a man of about 60, who had been in the US Army and had served in Vietnam. He was usually dressed in dirty jeans and a flannel shirt. He had no real objective in life. PTSD was his enemy.
However, on one particular night, a very silent motor boat arrived on the island with a body to dispose of. The Camel Club member's hid but a snap was heard and everyone became aware that each had noticed one another. No one knew who was who but now the Camel Club had finally found a long awaited mission to discover, who the two murderer's were and the man who had been slid into the water. The murderer's perfect plan had been botched and had to correct their mistake.
There was a conspiracy afoot that had to be stopped. The Camel Club went on high alert and were determined to interfere and stop a catastrophic event that could endanger the United States.
Whilst the Camel Club kept investigating, the conspirator's had to prevent being infiltrated. Murder was not out of the question. Murdering was their specialty.
The book kept my interest right up to the end. There was action and suspense. There were many character's which I did become familiar with but were distracting at times. I would have to stop, think and place the character in his or her role. Therefore, I felt that the character's were not well developed. I found that I already have the second book in the series in my library and I'll listen to that book, too. I hope that it proves to be as good as the first.
Martin was a healthy and normal boy until he became sick at age 12. His body became his own enemy. When the illness was over, Martin's body never regained its before illness status. Martin was unable to walk, talk, feed himself and was unable to hold his body upright. He had to wear disposable underwear because of urinary and bowel incontinence.
Martin had no function left whereby he was able to let anyone know that his brain was alive and working well, except, maybe through his eyes. However, no one looked into Martin's eyes to see if there might be a need for more testing.
Throughout those approximately seven year's, before it was found that Martin could hear and understand language, he stayed at a daycare center for the severely mentally impaired. Martin's father refused to institutionalize him. Therefore, Martin's dad dropped him off before work and picked him up after work.
Martin's dad performed most of Martin's home care. He had two sibling's, a brother and a sister. Martin's mother had a very difficult time having him at home and his parent's would have arguments that would become heated. She contested that Martin's care interfered with the rhythm of their home life and his sibling's were not being given their needed share of being cared for.
Care givers at the, Center, where Martin stayed when his dad went on business trips or family vacations took place, was like hell on earth. He was physically, mentally and sexually abused for the duration of his stay. Staff treated him and other individuals as inhuman beings.
Martin lived in a body where he had no voice. He would disappear into his fantasy world of imagination. Martin strongly believed in God and would talk to Him. To Martin, God was real and around him. He would ask Him to protect him. Martin knew God existed and was comforted.
I experienced a mere 15 minute episode of hearing every word and noise around me but my body could not move and I could not speak. I had been given too much of a narcotic drug that induced this episode. I was given an antidote, Narcan, which brought me back. To live in that world for seven years is unthinkable.
The book about Martin was emotional. The book was very well written and the narrator, Simon Bubb, was excellent. The most important event in the book occurred when a massage therapist, Verna, who always gave Martin eye contact when she spoke to him, fought and won the battle to have Martin tested for the understanding of the spoken language. Many struggles laid ahead for Martin in order to try and assimilate with the world and those around him and continues until this day. The characters were well developed. The book was definitely a learning experience. The technology of today has given those with disabilities of all kinds the ability to challenge the world around them, to become a member of that world and to make others realize that they are people just like them. ALS is a disease where it is understood that after the body cannot do for itself, the brain does continue to function. How many other medical conditions are out there whereby this possibility occurs but we are unaware. That has been a fear of mine, even before reading this book.
A Thin Dark Line revealed to the listener just how difficult it can be to find enough evidence to convict a suspect. There were many character's who appeared to be the murderer of Pam Boussard.
The actions of so many made the listener quite sure that person was the killer. However, another character made the listener think, no, he's not the one. Therefore, maybe Marcus Raynard, the man who was believed by most of the people in the small town, including the police, actually did commit the murder. He had a trial but due to lack of evidence, Marcus was a free man again. His actions after he was released were ones that made me believe that maybe Marcus was the killer after all.
The mystery definitely kept me on the edge of my seat. There was action and suspense throughout the book. The narrator, Karen Peakes, did an excellent job with the many character's that were relevant to the story. She was able to express the many emotions that the characters felt, such as fear, anger, hate, compassion, etc. What I liked best about the story was the difficulty figuring out who did kill Pam. I've enjoyed reading Tami Hoag books and A Thin Dark Line was another purchase that was a good decision.
I had difficulty keeping track of the character's names. The author interchanged the first and last names of every character and there were many. I had to think hard about who was who while I listened. That is the reason I did not give the book five stars.
Barry Eisler has done it again. Redemption Games was an edge of my seat listen. The book was filled with continuous action and suspense. He did a great job narrating his own book. John Rain is one of my favorite character's. The characters in the book were well developed. I would have liked to finish the book all in one day but took two. I've told friends about the John Rain novel's. I realize that being a mercenary isn't that rare in today's world with wars, assassinations, etc.
John Rain had called Dox to come with him on the mission. Dox was more than happy to be a part of the operation. They were to kill, Manny because, having been a chemist, he had defected from Israel and now made bombs for anyone that was in the market. As the bombs were purchased, he would attribute learned information and try to improve on the next bomb made to increase the number of people killed.
Rain and Dox botched the job and were given another opportunity in Bangkok to not only take Manny out but two other men who were corrupt.
Delilah had recommended John Rain awhile back when they had done a job together. Therefore, when the mission was botched, she was to go back and put Rain in a compromised position whereby their assassin, Gil, would take him out.
I read the first series of John Rain when he was younger. This series is a continuation of the other series but when John has aged. He has found that having Dox as his partner proved invaluable. Start this new series from the first book if possible. However, the author, Barry Eisler, brings the reader up to date with what has happened in the past. I'm sure if you would start to read the series you would pleased. Redemption Games is worth the purchase. The book was a great listen. Enjoy!
Web London was someone who would never betray his country. The mission had been approved and seven men were sent out to bring down a drug operation. The undercover FBI agent, Randall Cove, had provided the information to Buck Winters. who was the head of HRT, Hostage Rescue Team. The mission turned out to be a glorified dope house raid, remote control ambush. A laser beam device, controlled by someone nearby, pressed a remote button, and the firing began. Six men died and one man survived, Web London. Web survived because he stood frozen and could not move. Therefore, Web did not attempt to enter the building. Web was eventually able to move and shot out every window with a machine gun firing. However, he was thought of as a traitor and until proven otherwise, the other member's of HRT refused to associate with him except Ramano, the head of Hotel Team and Percy Bates, Web's mentor.
The book, Last Man Standing, was a great listen. There was action, suspense and edge of your seat listen from start to finish. Yes, I wanted to listen to the book all in one sitting but it was too long. The character's were so well developed that it was as if I knew them. The narrator, Jason Culp, did and excellent job. I knew them by their voice. The intonations were appropriate. Jason Culp brought, Last Man Standing, alive. I've listened to many of David Baldacci's books and Last Man Standing, was as good or better than the others. I'll definitely continue to listen to his books. I hope that those who enjoy this genre of book, purchase this one. Your credit will not be wasted.
The bus would arrive at summer camp and lots of kid's would hop down the steps of the bus, eager to start their summer vacation. The camp was owned by Olivia's grandparents.
Olivia and Conner had sat next to each other on the bus. Therefore, as a team of two, they climbed up a hill, stopping now and again to look around and talk. Olivia was over weight, wore big glasses, her hair was braided into pig tails and thought that no one liked her. She would be having a tougher time this year because her cousin's were going on a road trip with their parent's to California. Olivia felt lost without them because now she wouldn't have anyone to hang around with. Olivia wasn't good with stranger's. She didn't know what to say and when she did speak, her words were unkind.
The camper's would reunite each summer and that was how Olivia and Conner made a connection. However, the last summer they spent at the camp there was a misunderstanding about their feelings towards each other. Each went their own way and found their themselves away from one another.
The camp had been closed for many years. Olivia's grandparent's had been married at the camp and wanted to renew their vows on the same spot as they had done fifty years before. However, there was a huge problem. The camp needed someone to orchestrate refurbishing it, due to its lack of use. Olivia was called by her grandmother and asked if she could spend her summer doing just that.
Olivia now owned her own business, Foundations. The purpose of Foundations was to refresh homes to look nicer than they actually were, for a quick sale. Olivia and her employees would buy furniture and such to inspire those who were looking to purchase a home. They may buy a painting, antique tables or rearrange things that were already in the home and the homes sold faster because Foundations had renewed the spirit of the home. Therefore, knowing this, was why Olivia's grandmother told her she'd be the perfect person to get the camp in shape for renewing their vows.
The language was fairly tame. The word f#### seems to appear in every book that I've been reading lately and the lead character, man/woman, has red hair. The book was a smooth and easy listen. The character's were not very developed. The story was calm and predictable, it was a gentle love story. This genre of book is enjoyed by many and they would not be disappointed if they purchased this book. The narration was very good and that always makes for a good read.
I have never read or listened to a Josh Lanyon novel. When I started to listen, In From the Cold, I thought, what is this book about? I didn't realize it was a book about two male partner's that would include the listener with the many explicit sexual scenes. However, I'll have to say, I listened to the book and what a learning experience.
The theme of the spy was indeed dealt with. Mark left for Afghanistan and participated in many ops before coming back to the US after two years. When Mark had left, he was supposed to not be gone for very long. He called his partner, Steven, and wanted to know if he could come "home?" Steven had already moved on. And the plot moved forward and continued until the book was finished.
The book was short and definitely gave this reader an awakening. The writer remained on target with the three short novella's within the novel. The narrator, Alexander J. Masters, did an excellent job.
There is a stalker on the streets of Minneapolis, who chooses the women he kidnaps. He tortures them alive. His first victim was placed in her car, already dead, when her car was torched. Her teeth were gone, making her identification a tedious task that needed and would be done.
There was a witness, Angie DeMarco, a 16 year old runaway. Kate Conlan, a victim/witness advocate for the Minneapolis Police Department, was called in to assist with the witness. Kate's first reaction was to back off because she has no experience with children, only adults. The reason for this, was that Kate lost her daughter from a rare form of influenza and finds that dealing with kid's brings back the guilt and sorrow experienced years ago, with the death of Emily. However, she had only two choices, do her job or be fired.
The stalker's methods of torture were heinous. He would make stab wounds near the heart and removed the nipple and surrounding tissue around the breast while the woman was alive and removed a chunk of flesh, deep, if necessary, thus removing the muscle where a tattoo was. This was also done while the woman lived. He thrived on hearing them scream. He would put a thumb drive into his computer to listen to, at a later time.
John Quinn, a specialist in profiling serial killers, was sent from the FBI. Kate and John knew one another. Kate had worked as an FBI agent in Quantico, Va. but had left a little over 5 years ago to make a fresh start.
Remember to listen closely, when the woman next door calls the police about a man who lives next door to her.
The book, Ashes to Ashes, is fiction but I have read and heard, that when boys, growing up, enjoy killing animals, could be a precursor to more violent crimes. The serial killer in this book did commit this atrocity, without remorse. There are very descriptive scenes throughout the book. However, I could envision a man without a conscience, who is hateful and cruel committing these crimes. The book kept me on the edge of my seat. There was suspense and action. The book also had many other character's, whose development was intense and these character's were a vital part of the story. The author, Tami Hoag, was able to keep the pace moving while at the same time remaining steady with the plot. I've listened to the narrator, David Colacci, before and he did a great job. The book was inexpensive and well worth the money. I didn't listen to this book in one sitting but in two. My need to know the ending kept me listening. The reviews were good and bad but having read Tami Hoag before, I figured, why not? I wasn't disappointed.
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