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Jeanette Finan

Little Rock, Arkansas | Member Since 2009

104
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 30 reviews
  • 183 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 42 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
4
FOLLOWERS
6

  • Garment of Shadows: A Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, Book 12

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Laurie R. King
    • Narrated By Jenny Sterlin, Robert Ian Mackenzie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (356)
    Performance
    (305)
    Story
    (309)

    In a strange room in Morocco, Mary Russell is trying to solve a pressing mystery: Who am I? She has awakened with shadows in her mind, blood on her hands, and soldiers pounding on the door. Out in the hivelike streets, she discovers herself strangely adept in the skills of the underworld, escaping through alleys and rooftops, picking pockets and locks. She is clothed like a man, and armed only with her wits and a scrap of paper containing a mysterious Arabic phrase. Overhead, warplanes pass ominously north.

    connie says: "for this series fan, a disappointment"
    "Be Careful What You Wish For"
    Overall
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    I complained last time when she wrote the Pirate book, can't even remember the name of it now, and wrote a rather snippy review and posted it on both amazon and audible about how I thought it was all fluff and no bite.

    Well folks, I guess the old adage "be careful what you wish for" is true because this one is certainly full of edges. There is certainly a lot more Holmes in this one but the readers who are hoping for a heating up of the relationship between Holmes and Russell are still going to be disappointed. Holmes does not wear his heart on his sleeve and neither does he allow readers to rummage through his private feelings to see if he has any. If he does they are definitely private. Actually I love this about him. It's so true to the Holmes Canon.

    Anyway, the book had so many edges, some of them convoluted that it took me until the end of the book to really figure out was really going on and then I wasn't exactly sure I approved of them. I got a real dose of midleastern politics during 1924 and that helped me get a handle on some of what was going on.

    I am going to give this book 4 1/2 stars in my journal not because I am downgrading the book it's self but because I'm not exactly sure that Holmes, Russell and the Hazar brothers should have been involved in this kind of "game". Just me probably.

    ps: What's with that "other dude" anyway? This is the 12 book in the series for heaven's sake. We don't need someone coming in and being a different voice for Holmes at this late date. Bad idea whoever it was that had it.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • The Care and Management of Lies: A Novel of the Great War

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Jacqueline Winspear
    • Narrated By Nicola Barber
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    By July 1914, the ties between Kezia Marchant and Thea Brissenden, friends since girlhood, have become strained - by Thea's passionate embrace of women's suffrage, and by the imminent marriage of Kezia to Thea's brother, Tom, who runs the family farm. When Kezia and Tom wed, just a month before war is declared between Britain and Germany, Thea's gift to Kezia is a book on household management - a veiled criticism of the bride's prosaic life to come.

    Jeanette Finan says: "Not up to this authors other books"
    "Not up to this authors other books"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book didn't work nearly as well for me as Winspeare's Masie Dobbs series does. It was OK I guess but sadly I found it very predictable. I would not recommend it unless you knew nothing about that era and wanted the history lesson. As always Winspeare does a great job with the atmosphere of that time but there is really nothing driving this book as far as story. I knew in the first chapter how it was going to end.

    What I did enjoy about the book was her portrait of life on a small Kentish farm. I also enjoyed the way Kezia, the wife who ran the farm and kept the home fires burning while her husband went off to war. She painted lovely word pictures in her letters to him of imaginary meals that she was cooking for them as if he was there with her. I thought that was a lovely way to convey a feeling of comfort and a connection to home. That was cleverly done by the author although the recipes did wander out into left field from time to time.

    I did not care for the ending. It ended too abruptly. I know that Happy Ever Afters were thin on the ground at the end of WW1 but I'm not a reader who needs stark reality all the time. A little fantasy can be a good thing sometimes.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Hong Kong

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Jan Morris
    • Narrated By Wanda McCaddon
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Hong Kong is the world’s most exciting city, at once fascinating and exasperating, a tangle of contradictions. It is a dazzling amalgam of conspicuous consumption and primitive poverty, the most architecturally incongruous yet undeniably beautiful urban panorama of all. Through firsthand reportage, world-renowned travel writer Jan Morris takes us through the crowded streets of this enigmatic city, offering the most insightful and comprehensive study of Hong Kong thus far. She reviews Hong Kong’s early days as a British opium port controlled by pirates, cutthroats, and scoundrel tycoons, and looks ahead to the city’s future.

    Jeanette Finan says: "An interesting but mild disappointment"
    "An interesting but mild disappointment"
    Overall
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    I am a big fan of travel books and if this were 1995 and if I was planning to travel to Hong Kong I would have found this book invaluable. It's an interesting and well written snap shot of Hong Kong during the 1980's with a brief mentions here and there of what happened in the past as background information for what is happening at the present. All from a British POV. But as reader looking for a comprehensive history of Hong Kong this book falls short.

    To be fair my negative opinions are very likely to be the result of my expectations. I recently finished Sarum by Edward Rutherford and have Russka on my TBR pile and I'm probably spoiled by books that practically take one back to the big bang.

    What this book does is give to give the reader a sense of what colonial Hong Kong was like for the British which is almost exactly what it was like for the British in India. They created their own self absorbed little bubble and life outside that bubble only existed as it related to them. Interesting but no surprises for the reader there.

    Where this book falls sadly short is examine the part the Chinese played. The Chinese made up 96% of the population, but are described repeatedly as a mysterious, superstitious mass. Energetic and hard working but whose motives and culture were unfathomable to the westerner.

    When I finished this book I had more questions than I had when I began and I'm off to find a real history of Hong Kong. One that includes the years after 1997 to now.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Maybe Someday

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Colleen Hoover
    • Narrated By Zachary Webber, Angela Goethals
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (270)
    Performance
    (257)
    Story
    (259)

    At 22 years old, Sydney has a great life: She’s in college; working a steady job; in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter; and rooming with her best friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers Hunter's cheating on her - and she is left trying to decide what to do next. Sydney becomes captivated by Ridge, her mysterious neighbor. She can’t take her eyes off him or stop listening to his playing his guitar every day out on his balcony. And there’s something about Sydney that Ridge can’t ignore, either.

    Naomi says: "Definitely my new favourite book!!"
    "Very Good Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There are a lot of 5 star reviews for this book both here and on amazon and I agree with almost of them. This book has a very good story line.

    Maybe Someday was almost entirelly written in the stream of conscienceless style and I have always found that style very hard going. Added to that is that there is so much angst in this story that I felt like I was running out of breath a couple of times. All that angst kept accumulating in my brain the way mud accumulates on your boots does when you walk across a muddy field after a wet spell.

    On the up side I really liked the characters in this story and thought it was beautifully read. Both narraters did a wonderful job of breathing life into them. But I didn't want to spend so much time in Ridge and Sydney's heads. I wanted the story to be more about what they were actually doing and less time about what was going their heads.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Then Came Heaven

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs)
    • By LaVyrle Spencer
    • Narrated By Amy Irving
    Overall
    (47)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (18)

    Eddie Olczak, devoted husband and father, a man of unshakable faith, derives intense pleasure from the life he's built with his wife, Krystyna, their 2 daughters, and the Catholic church where he both works and worships. So when a tragic accident takes Krystyna's life, Eddie is sure his heart is broken forever. Friends and family rally around the Olczaks in their time of grief, but with Sister Regina, things are different.

    Jane says: "Terrible sound production."
    "Great Story, Terrible Audio Quality, Poor Reader"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was happy to see this story here in unabridged format but I had to think hard before I bought it. I bought it in spite of it being so poorly done. I am surprised that audible offered it for sale. It certainly doesn't reflect well on them. But I can't complain too much because I bought it with my eyes open.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Stella Bain

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Anita Shreve
    • Narrated By Hope Davis
    Overall
    (62)
    Performance
    (53)
    Story
    (53)

    When an American woman, Stella Bain, is found suffering from severe shell shock in an exclusive garden in London, surgeon August Bridge and his wife selflessly agree to take her in. A gesture of goodwill turns into something more as Bridge quickly develops a clinical interest in his houseguest. Stella had been working as a nurse's aide near the front, but she can't remember anything prior to four months earlier when she was found wounded on a French battlefield.

    Jean says: "A captivating story"
    "No more Anita Shreve for me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Earlier this week I purchased "Stella Bain" (audiobook) I started listening to it and then finally gave up on it. I may try again later but I probably won't. For me it fell into the same category as The English Patient. Beautiful writing but absolutely no story.

    I can overlook a lot in a good story including bad writing. But I can't overlook no story even if it is good writing. If I'm going to plunk my money down on a book I insist on a story. In Stella Bain I felt that the author was enamored by her own prose and was indulging herself by trying to work her words into some sort of a story in order to show how clever she was. If she gets off on stroking her ego that's her business but it really ticks me off when an author does it on my dime. Anita Shreve has been a hit and miss author for me in the past but I am definitely over her now.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Daniel James Brown
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (920)
    Performance
    (841)
    Story
    (851)

    Daniel James Brown's robust book tells the story of the University of Washington's 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.

    Benoibe says: "Best book of the year!"
    "An Amazing Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is one of the two really outstanding non fiction books I read recently. The book tells the story of the University of Washington's 1936 eight-oar crew that won an Olympic Gold Medal in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

    But this is a book about more than just a story about overcoming hard times but about what we are made of and what we can accomplish if we really make up our minds to do it. It's a shame that the title True Grit has already been used for a story because it would really fit this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Where She Went

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Gayle Forman
    • Narrated By Dan Bittner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (226)
    Performance
    (172)
    Story
    (173)

    It's been three years since the devastating accident... three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever. Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock-star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other.

    Arwen says: "Groovy and the Geek"
    "Not quite as good as "If I Stay""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I purchased this audiobook the minute I saw it was out and available on audio. It is a sequel to "If I Stay" and I am sorry to have to say that I was a little disappointed with it. I loved "If I Stay" but this one just didn't have the charm and poignancy the first book had. It felt flat - especially when compared to it predecessor. Still I'm glad I bought it because even though I knew "Where she went" I really wanted to know what happened when she got there.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Shadow of the Titanic: The Extraordinary Stories of those Who Survived

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Andrew Wilson
    • Narrated By Bill Wallis
    Overall
    (149)
    Performance
    (133)
    Story
    (132)

    Although we think we know the story of the Titanic - the famously unsinkable ship that hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Britain to America in April 1912 - little has been written about what happened to the survivors after the tragedy. How did the loss of the ship shape the lives of the people who survived? How did those who were saved feel about those who perished? And how did they remember that terrible night?

    Tad Davis says: "Wonderful"
    "I'm sorry that I didn't like this book"
    Overall
    Performance
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    It was well written and the subject of the book was interesting to me. I just couldn't get past that author presumed to write about dying peoples last thoughts and actions in a way that he could not possibly have known about.

    The book is a non-fictional account of the lives of a selected group of the survivors. All of them very deeply effected by the experience, some of them so much that it changed the entire course of their lives. A few were unable to cope and committed suicide. Some of them did not leave notes. However the author described the dying thoughts and actions of several people as if he had been there and was privy to their last thoughts. This really bothered me. It bothered me a lot. I felt like the author was being disrespectful to the people he was writing about. These were real people! He didn't even write any kind of disclaimer that explained why he decided he had the right to co-opt their last minutes. And then as a result of that I had another issue. How much credence can you give to anything in the book once you feel the author did at least part of his research in thin air. Otherwise I would have rated it at least four stars.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Queen Mother

    • ABRIDGED (9 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By William Shawcross
    • Narrated By William Shawcross
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (17)

    The official and definitive biography of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother: consort of King George VI, mother of Queen Elizabeth II, grandmother of Prince Charles - and the most beloved British monarch of the 20th century.

    Jeanette Finan says: "The right woman at exactly the right time"
    "The right woman at exactly the right time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was actually looking for a biography of George VI on audible but couldn't find on so I got this one as it was the closest I could get. I'm beginning to think audible is prejudiced towards male monarchs.

    She wasn't really all that special but she brought humanity to the Royal family at a time when they desperately needed it. And she did it with grace and an abundance of charm. She was the right woman at exactly the right place and time.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • That Woman: The Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Anne Sebba
    • Narrated By Samantha Bond
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (117)
    Performance
    (95)
    Story
    (97)

    Here is the first full-scale biography of Wallis Simpson to be written by a woman, exploring the mind of one of the most glamorous and reviled figures of the 20th century, a character who figured prominently in the blockbuster film The King’s Speech. This is the story of the American divorcée notorious for allegedly seducing a British king off his throne.

    Gwynne says: "A fascinating read..."
    "Be Careful What You Wish For"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is a cautionary tale if there ever was one. Be Careful What you Wish For is the message that comes through loud and clear.

    Because I have never been particularly interested in gossipy enquirer type articles I had never looked very closely at either the Duke or the Dutchess of Windsor. But lately I have been doing quite a bit of reading lately about WW2 and several of the books I have read have mentioned that they were both suspected of having pro Nazi sympathies I decided to search out a biography of the Duke. I didn't find one on audible.com but did find this book. My goodness, what a to-do!

    The conclusion that I came up with is that neither the Duke or the Dutchess had pro Nazi sympathies. In fact I got the impression that both of them were so self absorbed that it was impossible for them to connect with or even understand any concept beyond their own personal desires at any given moment. That is not to say the wouldn't has assisted the Nazi cause- but only if they perceived that by doing so they would advance their own interests.

    I felt a little sorry for the Duke because if the facts of what happened were represented accurately then a real good argument could be made for him having a developmental disability of some sort. Perhaps autism. He really did seem to be unable to understand cause and effect throughout his life. In the end he got exactly what he pushed so hard for and gave up so much to get and then spent the rest of his life unhappy because he was never able to understand why when he shed all responsibilities all his perks went away as well. I thought he was honestly bewildered by that.

    As for the Dutchess, well I have less sympathy for her. I don't think she ever wanted Edward "for keeps" but thought she could carry on an affair where she could enjoy royal patronage, snub her nose at Brittain's society types, advance her husbands career and then when Edward inevitably tired of her like he did all the mistresses that came before her go back to her long suffering second husband that she truly loved and her life would go back to normal. Instead she found herself in way over her head and ended up losing the husband she loved and stuck with an obsessively clingy husband that she didn't love.

    The only ones who came out ahead in this mess were the British people who ended up with a much better king at a time when they had enough to deal with without having to put up with a King who displayed all the maturity of judgement of a six year old brat.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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