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Flatbroke

Member Since 2001

ratings
31
REVIEWS
22
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
5
HELPFUL VOTES
43

  • God Said,'Ha!'

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 48 mins)
    • By Julia Sweeney
    • Narrated By Julia Sweeney
    Overall
    (266)
    Performance
    (108)
    Story
    (106)

    In one year Julia Sweeney got a divorce (amicable), bought a small bungalow in Hollywood, and looked forward to a life that said, "Here dwells a happily single young woman!" But then the axe fell. Her younger brother, Mike, was diagnosed with terminal cancer and moved in with her. Her parents came to be with Mike and moved in with her, too. Julia was now on seriously intimate terms with the people she had spent half a lifetime growing up away from.

    Haley says: "Resonated Big Time"
    "A terribly funny, brutally honest punch in the gut"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's hard to describe the events in Julia's book without wanting to close the shades and crawl under the covers into the fetal position. Julia finds humor and grace in even the most dire situation. She puts all her frustration and grief forward in such a way that makes you want to simultaneously laugh and cry. All the foibles of her family members pale compared to their strength in dealing with the illness and death of her beloved brother Mike. Her own stress reaction is her itching desire to get out of the house away from her relatives, smoke, and buy the Pope's new book. Even this little task goes awry in the most hilarious of ways. Her own health becomes an issue when she is diagnosed with a rare form of cervical cancer- so rare that even getting her slides away from the research lab is a chore. An enjoyable chore, when she meets the scientist working on her form of cancer. This is a great audiobook for anyone dealing with a difficult situation, but this is also full of enough heartwarming laughs for anyone at all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The English Girl: Gabriel Allon, Book 13

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Daniel Silva
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1093)
    Performance
    (946)
    Story
    (946)

    Daniel Silva delivers another spectacular thriller starring Gabriel Allon, The English Girl. When a beautiful young British woman vanishes on the island of Corsica, a prime minister’s career is threatened with destruction. Allon, the wayward son of Israeli intelligence, is thrust into a game of shadows where nothing is what it seems...and where the only thing more dangerous than his enemies might be the truth.…

    Janels says: "Gabriel's story takes huge strides"
    "An Exceptional Spy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I stumbled upon the Gabriel Allon series, and it quickly became one of my favorite series in a long while. The English Girl is one of the best in the series. It combines international intrigue with politics and scandal, steering clear of predictable outcomes. Without giving away plot points, it deals with the very believable difficulties in investigating a time sensitive crime with serious political implications and high level officials helping or hindering the investigation. How did these criminals find out about the political scandal when no one else knew? Nothing is as it seems. While each of Daniel Silva's books are self-contained enough to be read by anyone looking for a good book, there is a great advantage of reading them in order. Silva rarely discards ingenious or unique characters he introduces into his books. They become part of the Gabriel Allon universe and pop up in future books in unexpected ways (the Pope and a Corsican fortuneteller are some of the more notable reoccurring characters). Silva doesn't give away too much of the action of earlier books, but there are Allon related life events (good and bad) that are referenced that are big plot spoilers if you plan on reading the earlier books in the future. From his striking green eyes to his incredible memory to his insight on espionage and terrorism, Israeli intelligence operative Gabriel Allon is extraordinary in all ways almost to a fault. He is a reluctant assassin with the heart and skills of a painter, haunted by personal tragedy. His talent shines so bright in the series that almost all other reoccurring characters pale in comparison. Unfortunately, Silva nearly cut and pastes his descriptions of some of the characters from book to book, they are so similar. Having been so enamored with the series, I read the majority of them back to back. Some of the characters seem to have so much potential for expansion (notably analyst Dina Sarid) that a stock description is a disappointment. Silva writes that Gabriel's love Chiara has "riotous hair", a remarkable description that catches attention when you first read it, but Silva uses it in multiple books. I'd like to hear more about her. It's hard to balance character development and keep a good pace in a thriller. Therefore, most of the character focus goes deservedly to Gabriel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Allegiant: Divergent Trilogy, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Veronica Roth
    • Narrated By Emma Galvin, Aaron Stanford
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7816)
    Performance
    (7171)
    Story
    (7244)

    What if your whole world was a lie? What if a single revelation - like a single choice - changed everything? What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected? The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth's #1 New York Times best-selling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of listeners in Divergent and Insurgent.

    Teddy says: "I hate it when this happens"
    "Horrible ending- No spoilers"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The world of Divergent was fresh and exciting in the first two books. Tris hesitantly stepped into a new life and developed into a strong, confident member of Dauntless. So it was an utter surprise when the story went awry in the third book. I liked the short Divergent story "The Transfer", introducing Four's point of view. The third book moves between Tris's and Four's point of view. The two narrators both do an excellent job. The third book starts off fairly well, expanding on the surprises of the second book. Now that we have moved into a new situation, it puts you off balance. What do you believe is real? Who do you trust? The relationship between Tris and Four evolves. From meeting each other, developing feelings towards each other, and aligning together towards a common purpose, they start to disagree on the best way to achieve that goal. The concepts brought forward for the third book are very good. But they definitely went off the rails in the execution. In an effort to avoid a predictable ending, the author has created an unsatisfying ending.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A Magnificent Obsession: Victoria, Albert, and the Death That Changed the British Monarchy

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Helen Rappaport
    • Narrated By Wanda McCaddon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (17)

    After the untimely death of Prince Albert, the Queen and her nation were plunged into a state of grief so profound that this one event would dramatically alter the shape of the British monarchy. For Britain had not just lost a prince: during his 20-year marriage to Queen Victoria, Prince Albert had increasingly performed the function of King in all but name. The outpouring of grief after Albert's death was so extreme that its like would not be seen again until the death of Princess Diana 136 years later.

    Flatbroke says: "All consuming grief"
    "All consuming grief"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is an excellent detailed book on the relationship between Queen Victoria and Prince Consort Albert and the long aftermath of his death. Victoria was rapturously in love with her beloved Albert throughout their marriage. She was devastated when he passed away and stayed in mourning the rest of her life. Instead of finding comfort in her children, she made their lives more difficult. She blamed her son Bertie's behavior for giving Albert stress which led to his death. Princess Alice's wedding seemed more like a funeral. While she shirked her own responsibilities as monarch, she refused to let the heir Bertie take over or help at all. Her grief had economic implications as well. Suddenly, there was a giant boom for mourning clothes and jewelry made of jet, as all of England joined their queen in mourning.

    But while England felt the queen's loss, eventually they grew tired of her seclusion. She went out in public rarely, and usually only to dedications of monuments to Albert. She preferred Scotland to being at Winsor, where Albert passed. She was didn't host social occasions (leaving it to other family members) or entertain official dignitaries. The queen didn't seem to be performing her duties while new spouses of the royal children had to be added to the budget taken from taxpayer money.

    This book illuminates the far reaching implications of Queen Victoria's mourning. It also shines a light on the steadfast Princess Alice. She was the nurse to her father during his final days, she disobeyed her mother and informed Bertie of the seriousness of Albert's condition, and she was with her mother during the hardest days afterwards. The last part of the book is a discussion of Prince Albert's medical condition and some speculation as to the cause of his death

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Cobra

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Frederick Forsyth
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (466)
    Performance
    (129)
    Story
    (130)

    What if you had carte blanche to fight evil? Nothing held back, nothing off the table. What would you do? For decades, the world has been fighting the drug cartels, and losing, their billions of dollars making them the most powerful and destructive organizations on earth. Until one man is asked to take charge. Paul Devereaux used to run Special Operations for the CIA before they retired him for being too ruthless. Now he can have anything he requires, do anything he thinks necessary. No boundaries, no rules, no questions asked.

    Tim says: "Another Good Read by Forsyth"
    "Don't Read Before Forsyth's Avenger"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book gives away part of the plot twists of one of Forsyth's other books "The Avenger". I bought both and just by chance read the other first. Then when I started to read this book a few days later, I was a little shocked at how much was given away for no other reason than introducing the relationship between two characters. I think the characters themselves are both very interesting so I understand why Forsyth wanted to put them together in another book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Bertie: A Life of Edward VII

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Jane Ridley
    • Narrated By Carole Boyd
    Overall
    (65)
    Performance
    (60)
    Story
    (58)

    Entertaining and different, this is an enjoyable study of a flawed yet characterful Prince of Wales seen through the eyes of the women in his life. Edward Vll, who gave his name to the Edwardian Age and died in 1911, was King of England for the final 10 years of his life. He was 59 when at last he came to the throne. Known as Bertie, the eldest son of Victoria and Albert, he was bullied by both his parents.

    Flatbroke says: "A charming pleasure-seeker who did the job his way"
    "A charming pleasure-seeker who did the job his way"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The reign of King Edward VII ("Bertie" to his family) was expected to be a disappointment by most. But he would have not have been shocked by this verdict, it was one he had been hearing for most of his life. A gambler and a philanderer, his bad behavior was not only whispered among the upper class, but also ended up as fodder for the unwashed masses when he ended up in court a few times. His most horrible crime was that he was not the carbon copy of his late father Prince Consort Albert, an offense that Queen Victoria could not forgive.

    This is an excellent, thorough book on the life of future King Edward VII. It is also very even-handed on the good and bad aspects of the man himself.

    In some ways, it's extraordinary that he did as well as he did. Prince Albert had high expectations for his children, especially Bertie, the heir. He devised a rigorous education for them. His oldest child, the Princess Royal Victoria, excelled while Bertie did not. Of course, this must have been the fault of poor strange Bertie, not the teachers and certainly not Prince Albert's program. In response to this failure, his education became more difficult, not less. and leaving him little free time, not that he would have been allowed to socialize with boys his own age if he did have free time.

    As a young man away from home, his male friends introduced him to a "loose woman" who became his mistress. An aghast Prince Albert hurried to confront his son about his behavior. Prince Albert's health declined soon afterwards, leading to his death.

    The fractious attitude of widowed Queen Victoria towards Bertie became a constant problem. Heartbroken by the loss of her beloved husband, Queen Victoria always blamed Bertie's dissolute behavior for Albert's death. Her punishment of him was of the most unproductive kind. For years, she forbade him any involvement in governmental affairs even after he expressed an interest, essentially making sure her heir was unprepared for his eventual responsibilities. It also gave him lots of free time to engage in the type of profligate lifestyle that his father had been determined to curtail. Bertie knew his mother was disappointed in his present behavior, but also knew that no penance he could do would have earned her forgiveness and healed the relationship. Queen Victoria even had Bertie and his new wife, beautiful, sweet Alexandra of Denmark spied on by the staff, to try to make sure both followed her directions. Not a perfect husband to Alexandra, he nonetheless backed her over the Queen during the war between her home country of Denmark and Germany (favored by the Queen) and the diplomatic problems that it caused.

    Though not officially allowed in governmental affairs, Bertie stepped into the royal role that his reclusive mother refused to fill after Albert's death: the social role. Always impeccably dressed Bertie and Alexandra performed almost all of the public functions as representatives of the royal family. They were a glamorous pair, probably a big contrast to the stiff and stolid Victoria and Albert. Infidelity in an upper class man was still acceptable as long as there was discretion and a devoted wife at the side. Bertie's letters to mistresses are surprisingly mundane - no husband would read these lines and grab a pisol. His unwelcome court appearances were the result of getting dragged into the limelight by the indiscreet misdeeds of others in his circle. He was open-minded for his time: he welcomed successful Jewish financiers into his social circle and he did not discriminate among race (though he opposed women's rights).

    His accession to the throne happened late in life. By then, he was aware of his own strengths and weaknesses. His interest in foreign relations, convivial manner and good relationships with the royalty of other contries (many of them relatives) were put to the good use on behalf of England. Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm's forceful, intrusive manner was annoying to the quiet Russian Tzar Nicholas II. King Edward VII told the Tzar that he had no wish to offer unsolicited advice like Wilhem. He had been a help to the young Tzar years earlier at the death of Tzar Alexander II (Alexandra's sister was the Tzarina). He and Alexandra comforted the grieving family, and performed all of the traditional Russian mourning rituals as members of the late Tzar's family (even kissing the lips of the rapidly decaying body), gaining the respect of the Russian public. King Edward VII's personality, his ability to put people at ease, and his shrewdness of the public impact of social behavior were his biggest assets and he made use of them in his reign.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • A World Undone: The Story of the Great War, 1914 to 1918

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By G. J. Meyer
    • Narrated By Robin Sachs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (583)
    Performance
    (522)
    Story
    (517)

    The First World War is one of history’s greatest tragedies. In this remarkable and intimate account, author G. J. Meyer draws on exhaustive research to bring to life the story of how the Great War reduced Europe’s mightiest empires to rubble, killed 20 million people, and cracked the foundations of the world we live in today. World War I is unique in the number of questions about it that remain unsettled. After more than 90 years, scholars remain divided on these questions, and it seems likely that they always will.

    Andrew Pilecki says: "Excellent Overview of the "Overshadowed" War"
    "Important WWI book not to miss"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The strength of this book is that it provides all the background facts that you didn't know you needed to know to get a better understanding of WWI. There is so much to cover in WWI that much of these items that don't directly contribute to the action are left out of other books. It's a great loss because these are the same facts that humanize the people and make some of their decisions understandable.

    The book starts out with the trigger event- the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. But it humanizes the Archduke by talking about the class difference between him and his wife-to-be Sophie and how his marriage choice affected his relationship with his uncle Emperor Franz Joseph. It brings up the Archduke's different attitude (compared to the Emperor) on the Serbian people- they ended up killing someone who was more sympathetic to their ideas.

    Background details are provided on the history of the Balkan states, the dual nature of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and how it affected decision making, the Serbian government and its involvement (or noninvolvement) in the assassination. It goes into detail on the horrific conditions in trench warfare.

    WWI was a tremendous tragedy that seems to have dropped out of the minds of the rest of the world. There are no easy answers about why a regional war turned in to a multiyear ordeal costing lives and causing governments to fall. The book won't give all the answers, but it will provide a better framework about topics that would be unknown to all but the historians.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Killing Floor

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Lee Child
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    Overall
    (6587)
    Performance
    (4562)
    Story
    (4540)

    All is not well in Margrave, Georgia. The sleepy, forgotten town hasn't seen a crime in decades, but within the span of three days it witnesses events that leave everyone stunned. An unidentified man is found beaten and shot to death on a lonely country road.

    Ed says: "Comic book tough guy"
    "Gut punch in the middle of the story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Only a few hours after arriving into a small Georgia town, Jack Reacher is arrested for a murder that took place the night before. Suddenly, more strange events start happening. Reacher tries to demonstrate that he has no connection to the crime, so that he can head back out on the road, away from this idyllic town. Unfortunately, he does have a connection to the crime and now he's the one who wants answers.

    I've read a few other Reacher novels before so I was looking forward to find out how Reacher was introduced in book 1. The book opens with the arrest, so it grabs you right from the beginning. Most of the book was good, although I felt one of the cliffhangers was more obvious than usual. Initially, I was a little disappointed with this characterization of Reacher. He came across as burned out ex-military, anxious to get out of town and away from this puzzling murder that messed up his weekend. He's an former investigator with experience in dealing with murder and violent crime. The local police department has only one detective, an experienced Boston transplant, but it was not equipped to handle the investigation. I'd think that even just to relieve a little boredom, Reacher would be a little curious about the crime. My frustration with the Reacher prototype dissipated when a plot shocker drew me back into the story.

    Overall, I did like the story and while it had some rough spots, it also lacked an issue I found in other Reacher books ("Reacher said nothing" phrase repeated over and over).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Tom Reiss
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    Overall
    (359)
    Performance
    (317)
    Story
    (321)

    Father of the novelist Alexandre Dumas, Alex Dumas has become, through his son's books, the model for a captivating modern protagonist: The wronged man in search of justice. Born to a black slave mother and a fugitive white French nobleman in Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti), Alex Dumas was briefly sold into bondage but then made his way to Paris where he was schooled as a sword-fighting member of the French aristocracy. He was only 32 when he was given command of 53,000 men, the reward for series of triumphs that many regarded as impossible, and then topped his previous feats by leading a raid up a frozen cliff face....

    Jean says: "Truth more unbelivable than fiction"
    "A Necessary Companion to Dumas' Writings"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Alex Dumas was a larger than life man, immortalized in Tom Reiss' brilliant book. It's not hard to see why he was both an asset and a threat to Napoleon. I am a fan of Alexandre Dumas' novels and this book gives me great insight on what drove him to write his stories, especially the Count of Monte Cristo. It's seems so hard to believe that even with the success of the son, the life of his impressive father remained in obscurity.

    The lasting effect of his imprisonment is so difficult to take in. He was a vital, imposing man wasted down to a shell due to horrific treatment, all of his heroic actions on the battlefield forgotten and his family forced into poverty.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Modern Scholar: The Anglo-Saxon World

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Michael D. C. Drout
    Overall
    (465)
    Performance
    (235)
    Story
    (224)

    Had the Angles and Saxons not purposefully migrated to the isles of the Britons and brought with them their already-well-developed use of language, Angelina Jolie may never have appeared in the movie Beowulf. Professor Michael D.C. Drout is at his best when lecturing on the fascinating history, language, and societal adaptations of the Anglo-Saxons.

    Matthew says: "Amazingly good"
    "Enthusiasm is contagious"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was curious about the Anglo-Saxons so I decided to give these lectures a try. When it opened with, Dr Drout reciting a passage in Old English, I was a little startled and afraid I made a horrible mistake. Quite the opposite. The professor transcends the label of "Modern Scholar" into the realm of "Favorite teachers." He clearly loves the Anglo-Saxon writings and the period and all of his excitement about the subject is infectious. This is one of my favorite audiobooks (I never imagined it would be) and I've gotten more of his lectures as well. He doesn't approach the subject as a traditional historian, he is a literature professor. He doesn't skimp on the history, he just places most of his focus on the writings of the time. As a veteran teacher, he has his own bag of tricks to help clarify topics and improve memorization of important time periods.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Boys from Brazil

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Ira Levin
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (86)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (43)

    Ninety-four men have to die on or near certain dates in the next two-and-a-half years. Their deaths are the final step in an operation to which the leaders of the Organization have devoted many years. The hope and the destiny of the Aryan race lie in the balance. Why have these harmless aging men been marked for murder? What is the hidden link that binds them? What interest can they possibly hold for their killers: 6 former SS men dispatched from South America by the most wanted Nazi still alive, the notorious "Angel of Death"? One man alone must answer these questions and stop the killings - Nazi-hunter Yakov Liebermann.

    William says: "Good Book—Bad Sound"
    "A Classic Thriller"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An incomprehensible series of murders, engineered by Angel of Death Dr. Josef Mengele, are underway. Nothing about the victims would make them targets of the Nazis. Renowned Nazi hunter Yakov Liebermann- who is underfunded, understaffed, and possibly facing eviction from his office quarters due to the sheer weight of his files affecting the floor- doesn't believe this crazy story...at first. Then as the deaths start occurring, he struggles with not only putting the pieces together but with trying to get anyone else to believe.

    I loved this book when I first read it years ago that I had to get it when I saw it was on Audible. Simon Vance is my favorite narrator, he always does a phenomenal job.

    The only reason why I gave it four stars has nothing at all to do with the quality of the story. It's an excellent thriller. This book was written in the 1970s and some of the things in the story would be mindblowing to people reading it at that time. I don't think today's reading audience will have that type of visceral reaction.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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