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Margaret

Santa Rosa, California, United States | Member Since 2015

0
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 8 reviews
  • 50 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 377 purchased in 2015
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  • The Selection: The Selection Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Kiera Cass
    • Narrated By Amy Rubinate
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2025)
    Performance
    (1807)
    Story
    (1824)

    For 35 girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime: the opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth... to be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels... to live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon. But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her, and leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want.

    Amazon Customer says: "You might want to wait... if you hate cliffhangers"
    "Preposterous yet dull"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was one of those who got sucked in by the premise and the cover. As I got into it a little I could see this was a giant FAIL but thought there might at least be some laughs to be had. Sadly, no.

    After I gave up and deleted this nonsense from my Kindle I decided to check the reviews, as I should have done in the first place. And, as always, THEY were a joy. I think I laughed enough to make my purchase of the book almost worth it. Almost.

    Check out the other 1-star reviews for plenty of reasons not to waste your time and money. If you like the idea, get PRINCESS ACADEMY by Shannon Hale. The cover isn't luscious, but there is that silver Newbery award medal to catch your eye. Don't be fooled though: the book is a prizewinner for sure, but it's not just for a young adult audience. Out of all its 5-star reviews (I don't think it scored even one lower) plenty of adults loved it too.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Carrier

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs)
    • By Sophie Hannah
    • Narrated By Elizabeth Sastre
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (5)

    When her plane is delayed overnight, Gaby Struthers finds herself forced to share a hotel room with a stranger: a terrified young woman named Lauren Cookson - but why is she scared of Gaby in particular? Lauren won't explain. Instead, she blurts out something about an innocent man going to prison for a murder he didn't commit, and Gaby soon suspects that Lauren's presence on her flight can't be a coincidence.

    Margaret says: "Sophie Hannah, always interesting"
    "Sophie Hannah, always interesting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The plot here was ridiculous, as Hannah's plots are getting to be. The Spilling police are becoming more of a joke than ever. Actually, this was almost a stand-alone book since the cops had so little to do with it. Liv and Briggs are still in their unlikely involvement, while Simon and Charlie's marriage is as inexplicable as ever. Yet I found this a thoroughly enjoyable book for some reason. Hannah just has that gift of creating interesting characters and putting them in situations where you are compelled to find out what happens. Maybe it is because it's all so absurd, but a Sophie Hannah "thriller" (hah) really is always worth reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid’s Memoir That Inspired 'Upstairs, Downstairs' and 'Downton Abbey'

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Margaret Powell
    • Narrated By Mary Wells
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (178)
    Performance
    (156)
    Story
    (163)

    Brilliantly evoking the long-vanished world of masters and servants portrayed in Downton Abbey and Upstairs, Downstairs, Margaret Powell’s classic memoir of her time in service, Below Stairs, is the remarkable true story of an indomitable woman who, though she served in the great houses of England, never stopped aiming high. Powell first arrived at the servants' entrance of one of those great houses in the 1920s. As a kitchen maid - the lowest of the low - she entered an entirely new world; one of stoves to be blacked, vegetables to be scrubbed, mistresses to be appeased, and bootlaces to be ironed.

    Jean says: "Cooking and cleaning before the modern stoves etc"
    "Still fresh look at "Downstairs""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had to laugh when this memoir was described as "for fans of Downton Abbey" and suchlike. Margaret Langley, who was born in 1907 and wrote this in 1968, was a bright girl who couldn't afford to take up her scholarship at higher school, had to go to work at 14 instead. Her only choice was domestic service and she didn't like it or her "Upstairs" employers. There was no socializing between classes and very little liking or respect, contrary to the books and TV shows. Margaret became a cook, the highest she could rise in service, and still was at the mercy of demanding skinflint employers. The book is full of anecdotes, some of which made me LOL. Margaret continued to read, to the surprise of even her nicest mistress (and she has sharp words for that too), and by the end of the book is close to her A levels, as the British gates to higher (university) education were called then, which she's proud of reaching in her 60s. And yet she managed to enjoy life, to achieve her aim of marriage and escape from service outside the home until the WW II. She maintained a proud, openly feminist attitude toward her place in the class system but had the realism to know it wasn't likely to change, although she expected things to go on improving. I wonder if she saw Margaret Thatcher bulldoze many of the advances that had occurred. This book is funny and smart, but don't expect the rosy sentiments of shows like "Downton Abbey" even though you may enjoy this even more. Good performance too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Captured: A True Story of Abduction by Indians on the Texas Frontier

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Scott Zesch
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (223)
    Performance
    (115)
    Story
    (117)

    On New Year's Day in 1870, 10-year-old Adolph Korn was kidnapped by an Apache raiding party. Traded to Comanches, he thrived in the rough, nomadic existence, quickly becoming one of the tribe's fiercest warriors. Forcibly returned to his parents after three years, Korn never adjusted to life in white society. He spent his last years living in a cave, all but forgotten by his family.

    Roy says: "Kidnapped - 10 Year Old Adolpy Korn"
    "Surprising"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I expected this to be another one-sided Indian captivity narrative, but instead it turns out to be a well-written, balanced account of several captivity narratives arranged around the theme of the author's search for his distant great ++ uncle, who was one of many "white Indians" who had various degrees of trouble fitting back into their own (in this case) German-Texan society after they were reunited. The author explores how and why children (adults were rarely adopted into plains Indian society) did have difficulty and how this theme is common in captivity narratives, through American history, even if the circumstances of their capture was quite horrific. The author doesn't leave out unpleasant details--on both sides of the conflict, yet it's still a balanced and even moving account that takes us through the facts of the captives' lives to death and beyond, right up to the present day (the actual settler-Indian conflict took place a decade or so before and after the Civil War, over 150 years ago). The present day comes into play because the author is dealing with a member of his own family. Once again I'm amazed at the brutality and beauty of American history, when it's written as it actually happened and not in the cliches and snippets we learned in school and from the movies. Definitely a 5- star book. Note: I listened to this as an audiobook and the narrator did an excellent job too, but I can't comment on the Kindle formatting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Prisoner of the Queen: Tales from the Tudor Court, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By E. Knight
    • Narrated By Corrie James
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Knowing she was seen as a threat to the queen she served, Lady Katherine Grey, legitimate heir to the throne, longs only for the comfort of a loving marriage and a quiet life far from the intrigue of the Tudor court. After seeing her sister become the pawn of their parents and others seeking royal power and then lose their lives for it, she is determined to avoid the vicious struggles over power and religion that dominate Queen Elizabeth's court. Until she finds love - then Kat is willing to risk it all, even life in prison.

    Margaret says: "Terrible"
    "Terrible"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the second book by E Knight I've tried to listen to and found so bad I was unable to finish (the other being My Lady Viper: Tales From the Tudor Court). Both are badly written, historically inaccurate and not even internally consistent--for instance, this book describes Queen Elizabeth I, as a 14-yr-old, first as having "light eyes" and then, a couple of sentences later, as having "dark eyes full of hatred". I don't mind sex scenes, but I do want them to be well written, and this book fails miserably even as soft porn. However, the chapters do start with nice period quotes--so I can legitimately give one star. Not enough to make it possible to finish the book, though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Last of the Mohicans

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By James Fenimore Cooper
    • Narrated By Larry McKeever
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (130)
    Performance
    (57)
    Story
    (61)

    The Last of the Mohicans has all the elements of a classic frontier adventure: massacres and raids, innocent settlers, hardened soldiers, renegade Indians, and a doomed love affair. It is a memorable portrait of fierce individualism and moral courage. But what draws readers again and again to this panoramic novel is its deep insight into the symbols of American consciousness.

    Sean says: "Not quite what I expected"
    "Poor sound"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Great book, but this is an old recording & has background hiss. Pick the $ 1.99 recording instead. Narrated by Larry Rudnicka (sp?)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Mimi Alford
    • Narrated By Susan Denaker
    Overall
    (122)
    Performance
    (104)
    Story
    (106)

    In the summer of 1962, 19-year-old Mimi Beardsley arrived by train in Washington, D.C., to begin an internship in the White House press office. The Kennedy Administration had reinvigorated the capital and the country - and Mimi was eager to contribute. For a young woman from a privileged but sheltered upbringing, the job was the chance of a lifetime. Mimi made an impression on Kennedy's inner circle and, after just three days at the White House, she was presented to the President himself....

    faye says: "Disturbing"
    "Flat"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    For a book which, I presume, is meant to take advantage of the so-called salacious and gratuitous interest in celebropolitical figures, this book was so dull I couldn't imagine how it had found a publisher. Nor could I imagine what attracted JFK to this dullard apart from the most basic and crudely obvious. Don't bother with this because there is no high-minded insight and no low-minded juicy gossip either. Not even the supposedly professional narrator can stay awake through this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Sight for Sore Eyes

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Ruth Rendell
    • Narrated By Jenny Sterlin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (39)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (33)

    Having published 45 books, Ruth Rendell is an internationally popular mystery writer. She has won four Gold Dagger and three Edgar awards. She has been presented with the Commander of the British Empire honor, and named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America. In A Sight For Sore Eyes, Ruth Rendell’s exceptional literary talent shines from each word. Teddy Brex is a handsome young man. Raised by parents who never loved him, he has grown to put his trust in objects.

    Connie says: "Full circle"
    "Rendell at her psychological best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    POSSIBLE SPOILERS


    "A Sight for Sore Eyes" catches the reader up in the lives of three main characters and even more minor ones, all drawn with Ruth Rendell's maximum skill. Teddy Brex is one of Rendell's villains whom you can't help pity and understand even as you are horrified while he is almost casually drawn into violence and murder. Even a minor character such as Teddy's grandmother is vivid and memorable. More important still, reading this book is a great help in understanding the backstory of her most recent "The Vault". Don't miss either one!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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