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Jean

Reston, Virginia | Member Since 2008

196
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 47 reviews
  • 183 ratings
  • 611 titles in library
  • 64 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
10
FOLLOWERS
42

  • Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

    • UNABRIDGED (41 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Doris Kearns Goodwin
    • Narrated By Suzanne Toren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1680)
    Performance
    (1415)
    Story
    (1454)

    On May 18, 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited in their hometowns for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago. When Lincoln emerged as the victor, his rivals were dismayed and angry. Throughout the turbulent 1850s, each had energetically sought the presidency as the conflict over slavery was leading inexorably to secession and civil war.

    Amazon Customer says: "Beautiful, Heartbreaking, and Informative"
    "Beautifully written, narration inadequate"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a great book, beautifully researched and written. I wish, however, that I had bought the hard copy. The narrator's style was cold and uninvolving, although at the beginning I was hoping to get used to it. After 40 hours, unfortunately, I did not; she lacked all passion for her subject. Doris Kearns Goodwin would have been a much better choice as reader. It didn't matter to me that Toren was a woman, and she has a beautiful speaking voice. This brilliant book deserved better.

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • The Secret Place: Dublin Murder Squad, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Tana French
    • Narrated By Stephen Hogan, Lara Hutchinson
    Overall
    (987)
    Performance
    (886)
    Story
    (879)

    "The Secret Place", a board where the girls at St Kilda's School can pin up their secrets anonymously, is normally a mishmash of gossip and covert cruelty, but today someone has used it to reignite the stalled investigation into the murder of handsome, popular Chris Harper. Stephen joins forces with the abrasive Detective Antoinette Conway to find out who and why.

    Jim says: "CAN NOT UNDERSTAND HALF THE BOOK (AUDIO)"
    "Give up on audiobook - get the book!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There's nothing I can add to everyone else's comments about the bad narration and truly awful teen-speak. I'm a little over halfway through, and I'm going to the library on the off-off chance that it is available in hardcover. I am interested in this story. Really, this horrible performance is inexcusable.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Watership Down

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Richard Adams
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3032)
    Performance
    (2320)
    Story
    (2334)

    Fiver could sense danger. Something terrible was going to happen to the warren; he felt sure of it. They had to leave immediately. So begins a long and perilous journey of survival for a small band of rabbits. As the rabbits skirt danger at every turn, we become acquainted with the band, its humorous characters, and its compelling culture, complete with its own folk history and mythos.

    B. Cable says: "Still one of the best!"
    "Does Ralph Cosham have a fan club?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Like everyone else, I loved this book when I read it to my children years ago. It is one of the most brilliant books I've ever read.

    It was even better to listen to under Ralph Cosham's steady, comforting, brilliant narration. He subtly renders each rabbit's voice and personality perfectly. And his accents for non-lapine characters, especially Kehaar the Norwegian seagull, were hilarious yet somehow moving.

    I confess I was already a huge fan of his because of his flawless inhabiting of the character of Inspector Gamache in the Louise Penny mysteries. I may be a grandmother, but I still have a crush on Ralph Cosham!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • You Should Have Known

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Jean Hanff Korelitz
    • Narrated By Christina Delaine
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (321)
    Performance
    (282)
    Story
    (282)

    Grace Reinhart Sachs is living the only life she ever wanted for herself. Devoted to her husband, a pediatric oncologist at a major cancer hospital, their young son Henry, and the patients she sees in her therapy practice, her days are full of familiar things: She lives in the very New York apartment in which she was raised, and sends Henry to the school she herself once attended. Dismayed by the ways in which women delude themselves, Grace is also the author of a book You Should Have Known, in which she cautions women to really hear what men are trying to tell them.

    Laurie says: "Maybe I should have known better"
    "A real page turner, but..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed this story. It kept me on the edge of my seat. The reader was excellent. My only problem was how clueless the main character seemed throughout the first half of the book. She never seemed to ask herself why the police were questioning her, why strange things were happening, why she couldn't reach her husband. It's as though on some subconscious level she knew but didn't want to know, which is a hard premise to swallow when she is a therapist who wrote a book called "You Should Have Known." This made the book less than great in my mind, even though it was a fun read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Town Like Alice

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Nevil Shute
    • Narrated By Robin Bailey
    Overall
    (1722)
    Performance
    (1152)
    Story
    (1161)

    Jean Paget is just twenty years old and working in Malaya when the Japanese invasion begins. When she is captured she joins a group of other European women and children whom the Japanese force to march for miles through the jungle. While on the march, the group run into some Australian prisoners, one of whom, Joe Harman, helps them steal some food, and is horrifically punished by the Japanese as a result.

    Amazon Customer says: "Better still in Audio form"
    "Missed opportunities for drama"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a strange book. The first half was engrossing as it recounted the harrowing journey of a group of English women and children taken prisoner by the Japanese during WW I I. Jean Paget, the protagonist, rose to the occasion heroically, leading the group through the ordeal. But it was recounted by her lawyer/guardian, who told the tale with a total lack of passion.

    This became a real problem in the second half, when we followed Jean to Australia, where she looked for an Aussie man who had been tortured for helping her group back in the war. The author wrests any suspense from this meeting, because both people involved were told that they were looking for each other.

    Her efforts to set up a prosperous town were recounted with little emotion. First she did this... Then she did this. Then this... Through it all she was perfection itself. Then she and Joe got married... Then they had two sons... All of this from the point of view of the elderly lawyer back in England, who received letters from her through the years. You were never to wonder what happens next, and there was nothing to keep the reader at all interested in the story. Save yourself a credit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Providence Rag: A Liam Mulligan Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Bruce DeSilva
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (120)
    Performance
    (109)
    Story
    (109)

    Edgar Award-winner Bruce DeSilva returns with Liam Mulligan, an old-school investigative reporter for a dying newspaper in Providence, Rhode Island. Mulligan knows every street and alley, every priest and prostitute, every cop and street thug. He knows the mobsters and politicians - who are pretty much one and the same. Inspired by a true story, Providence Rag finds Mulligan, his pal Mason, and the newspaper they both work for at an ethical crossroad.

    Paula says: "Third Book in a Terrific Series - Love Them All"
    "Another winner from Da Silva"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love this series. All of the recurring characters are extremely likeable and fleshed out. The story is complex, and the dilemma between journalistic ethics and the cold, hard reality of a serial killer is explored well. Despite the grim story, Bruce always provides some funny moments and quirky characters, of which Larry Bird, the bird, is an example. He continues to grow his characters, as the rich boy son of the publisher, "Thanks Dad" Mason, goes against type as an increasingly mature reporter and the ethical soul of the tale. I could quibble with a few unsuccessful (for me) short cuts and off notes, but this book is so likeable and gripping, I give it a pass.

    And then I must call out the reader, Jeff Woodman. He is so perfect that I feel sorry for people who just read the book and miss out on his perfect delivery, wonderful accents and timing genius. He elevates this book to well beyond what is written on the pages. DaSilva and Woodman are a match made in heaven!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • What's So Funny?: My Hilarious Life

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Tim Conway, Jane Scovell, Carol Burnett
    • Narrated By Tim Conway, Carol Burnett, Dick Hill, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (685)
    Performance
    (622)
    Story
    (619)

    Six-time Emmy Award-winning funnyman Tim Conway, best known for his characters on The Carol Burnett Show, offers a straight-shooting and hilarious memoir about his life on stage and off as an actor and comedian. In television history, few entertainers have captured as many hearts and made as many people laugh as Tim Conway. There's nothing in the world that Tim Conway would rather do than entertain - and in his first-ever memoir, What's So Funny?, that's exactly what he does.

    Richard says: "Very Enjoyable"
    "Narration KILLED this book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Tim Conway is one of the funniest people alive. Just watch a few YouTube clips from the Carol Burnett show. Tim should have read this book himself. Or someone with comedic timing and dry wit. Scott Brick is a good narrator, but terribly miscast in this role. He apples a heavy hand to relating the comedic experiences, leeching all the humor out; I kept trying to imagine Tim's voice, but it became too frustrating. Don't think I can finish. A real disappointment!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and His Son

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Pat Conroy
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (192)
    Performance
    (174)
    Story
    (165)

    Pat Conroy's father, Donald Patrick Conroy, was a towering figure in his son's life. The Marine Corps fighter pilot was often brutal, cruel, and violent; as Pat says, "I hated my father long before I knew there was an English word for 'hate.'" As the oldest of seven children who were dragged from military base to military base across the South, Pat bore witness to the toll his father's behavior took on his siblings, and especially on his mother, Peg. She was Pat's lifeline to a better world - that of books and culture.

    Sandra says: "Santini should have stayed dead"
    "Bad book, VERY bad narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was possibly the poorest narration job I've experienced in many years of listening to books. It was overwrought, melodramatic, and made Conroy sound like a whining, self-absorbed humorless scold. I kept trying to imagine how a line of narrative would read in book form, without the narrator getting in the way. Reading this book would have been better. But not by much. Horrible childhood, I get it. It's an ugly tale of self-aggrandizement and score settling and trashing family members and others for a variety of sins against Pat Conroy. It sort of damages my opinion of him and his books. I wish I could get my credit back.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Graves Are Walking: The Great Famine and the Saga of the Irish People

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By John Kelly
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (233)
    Performance
    (209)
    Story
    (209)

    It started in 1845 and lasted six years. Before it was over, more than one million men, women, and children starved to death and another million fled the country. Measured in terms of mortality, the Great Irish Potato Famine was one of the worst disasters in the 19th century-it claimed twice as many lives as the American Civil War. A perfect storm of bacterial infection, political greed, and religious intolerance sparked this catastrophe.

    C. Telfair says: "Unforgettable, Haunting, and a Compelling Warning"
    "Every Irish American should read this book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As one who dislikes throwing around superlatives, I must call this book an astounding revelation. As an Irish American on my mother's side whose great-grandparents emigrated to New Orleans during the Great Famine, I now realize how profoundly uninformed I was about this tragic period in Irish history. If I thought about it at all, I just assumed it was caused by crop failures for a few years. Now I understand that it was greed, indifference, political expediency, British prejudice against the Irish for their perceived "laziness" and "unwillingness to help themselves" that caused a serious problem to become a catastrophe.

    My sweet and gentle Irish grandmother, who was born in New Orleans in 1876, could not be riled by much, but we learned to dare not mention the English to her. I always thought that was quaint and amusing. I'd give anything if she were here today so that I could learn what she knew.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Barbara Kingsolver
    • Narrated By Barbara Kingsolver, Steven L. Hopp, Camille Kingsolver
    Overall
    (1109)
    Performance
    (402)
    Story
    (408)

    When Barbara Kingsolver and her family move from suburban Arizona to rural Appalachia, they take on a new challenge: to spend a year on a locally-produced diet, paying close attention to the provenance of all they consume. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle follows the family through the first year of their experiment.

    Sydney says: "Eye opening"
    "Transformative"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had just finished reading "Cooked" by Michael Pollan, so I downloaded this book which had been on my wish list for a while. I also recently listened to "Flight Bahavior" and really liked Barbara Kingsolver as the narrator. I was immediately pulled in to the narrative of their year of eating deliberately. I felt really inspired, and realized I was ready for this book.

    Some people found its tone a bit preachy, but it appealed to me because it just made so much sense, as did "Cooked." I started buying nearly all my meat, dairy and produce from our Saturday morning farmers market, and whole wheat bread from a local bakery, as Pollan suggested. I just finally got that Big Agribusiness doesn't much care how healthy and environmentally responsible the products they produce are.

    A supermarket tomato sold in February is inedible and buying it is just dumb. I'm trying not to bore my friends and family; my daughter gives me the eye-roll. I've started to really enjoy meal planning and cooking, and for those of you who are ready for this message, read this book!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Relic: Pendergast, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4349)
    Performance
    (2772)
    Story
    (2802)

    Just days before a massive exhibition opens at the popular New York Museum of Natural History, visitors are being savagely murdered in the museum's dark hallways and secret rooms. Autopsies indicate that the killer cannot be human. But the museum's directors plan to go ahead with a big bash to celebrate the new exhibition, in spite of the murders. Museum researcher Margo Green must find out who - or what - is doing the killing.

    Snoodely says: "Non-Perishable"
    "Just awful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    So much is wrong with this book; where to start? With the cardboard, cartoon characters, I guess. The museum honchos - prissy, silly, clueless. Seriously, they're more concerned about the bad publicity of having to postpone the exhibition opening than the fact that three grisly murders have occurred there the day before, and the unknown person/thing who did the killing is STILL THERE? The hot shot, pompous head of the FBI in NY who snidely dismisses southern FBI agent Pendergast, he of the honey-dripping accent that everyone thinks makes him dim-witted? We immediately know that these folks are in for serious humilation when the sainted Pendergast shows them for fools.

    Then there's the narration. The reader is adequate when speaking in a normal voice, but his accents (an Austrian and a Scot sound like Col. Klink and the Gorton Fisherman, respectively) are laughable.

    But maybe the worst part is the loud and annoying special effects - tunnel, walkie-talkie, etc. - that had me grabbing the volume control button repeatedly to avoid ear damage.

    There was never the slightest sense of tension or threat as the plot progressed. I did get this book on sale, but it was still a waste of time and money.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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