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Linda Lou

Obsessive reader, 6-10 books a week, chosen from Member reviews. Fact & fiction, subjects from the Tudors to Tookie, Harlem to Hiroshima, Huey Long to Huey Newton.  In-depth fair reviews - from front to BLACK!!! 

Cave Creek, AZ USA | Member Since 2014

ratings
1401
REVIEWS
244
FOLLOWING
5
FOLLOWERS
197
HELPFUL VOTES
1714

  • The Old Maid

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Edith Wharton
    • Narrated By Eleanor Bron
    Overall
    (99)
    Performance
    (88)
    Story
    (89)

    The story follows the life of Tina, a young woman caught between the mother who adopted her - the beautiful, upstanding Delia - and her true mother, her plain, unmarried ‘aunt’ Charlotte, who gave Tina up to provide her with a socially acceptable life. The three women live quietly together until Tina’s wedding day, when Delia’s and Charlotte’s hidden jealousies rush to the surface.

    Anita says: "Touching story, well read"
    "JUST DIDN'T LIKEBIT"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I know! Edith Wharton is supposed to be a literary superstar. But so is Shakespeare but not all of his works were that great. This is my second disappointing foray into this author's body of work and for a second time I didn't like it. That is not to say that Wharton doesn't write good books - just not for NE! Too much female angst from a long past era. Her books just dint Arabs up to the test of time. This story may have been interesting when first published but almost a century later......NOT SO GOOD. If you were a win stuck with the mores and customs if the time, controlled by your father or husband, this would be an escape for you. But I found it to be unsubstantive, light and fluffy. The writing is good but the subject matter uninteresting. Wharton fans may love it. However, even though my Audible Library contains a plethora of varied genres, this book is not a good fit for me. Just because a work is old doesn't make it a good book by contemporary standards.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • NYPD Red 3

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By James Patterson, Marshall Karp
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    Overall
    (133)
    Performance
    (113)
    Story
    (112)

    NYPD Red is the elite, highly trained task force assigned to protect the rich, the famous, and the connected. And Detective Zach Jordan and his partner, Kylie MacDonald - the woman who broke his heart at the police academy - are the best of the best, brilliant, and tireless investigators who will stop at nothing to deliver justice.

    Linda Lou says: "AWFUL!"
    "AWFUL!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series. Lightweight crime story but entertaining. The second book wasn't quite as good yet bearable. However, this one is a hot mess! The plot line is all over the place, making no sense at all. Why would the city of NY expend resources for an elite squad to waste time and money on the ridiculous "crime" depicted here? Det. Zachary Jordan spends more time obsessing over wanting more sex with his police psychologist girlfriend and/or fantasizing about having ANY KIND of sex with his partner and unrequited love, Det. Kylie MacDonald. ENOUGH, ALREADY!

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • A Love Most Dangerous

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Martin Lake
    • Narrated By Heather Wilds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    As a Maid of Honor at the Court of King Henry VIII, beautiful Alice Petherton receives her share of admirers. But when the powerful, philandering Sir Richard Rich attempts to seduce her, she knows she cannot thwart his advances for long. She turns to the most powerful man in England for protection: the King himself. As beautiful as she is intelligent, Alice easily captures the King's interest. He takes her to bed on the day of his son Edward's birth.

    Linda Lou says: "HISTORICAL SMUT"
    "HISTORICAL SMUT"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love historical fiction, particularly books which take place in Tudor England. But this is probably one of the worse books I've ever read in this genre. The cover of the book and the synopsis leads the reader to believe that it is another like the ones written by Philippa Gregory or Alison Weir. NOT EVEN CLOSE! This is a book written by a man which caters to the sexual appetites of a male. Rape, sodomy, and abuse run rampant from start to finish. The main character, Alice Petherton. is portrayed as a slut who deserves the ill treatment of an old fat smelly Henry VIII, the sexual harassment and retaliation of Sir Richard Rich, and debasement by just about every male and pimp she comes into contact with. The way the book is written, one almost agrees.

    I am in no way a sexual prude but some things are unnecessary in telling a good story. Unless you are looking for perverse pornography. Trust me, that is not what I bought into when I purchased what I thought would be be just another story about the Tudor court. There is no respite from the depravity depicted here. Alice, a mere maid of honor (as opposed to the more noble lady-in-waiting) is the poster child for low self-esteem golddiggers who think that they are controlling the world with what's between their legs. She refers to her monarch's abuse of her body as "making love" and constantly makes excuses for every male who takes advantage of her. She justifies her own poor choices by convincing herself that she's the one in control when anyone with a smidge of sense knows that females of that era were hardly free to do anything since they had no rights other than those provided to them by their fathers or husbands - or, in this case, the King of England. Alice calls the King's 3rd wife, Jane Seymour, delusional and stupid and a whole bunch of other names but the rest of us call her "The Queen" - at least Jane had enough sense to get old Henry to put a ring on it!

    I am sure that there is a market for this kind of book but Audible needs to be a little bit more honest in its own presentation. This is NOT a "love story". This is NOT a tale of beautiful maid of honor who catches the eye of a King. This is NOT a book which would interest any self-respecting woman with an ounce of pride about herself. This is just Tudor Trash! If you like listening an indepth account of a woman being sodomized and raped several times a day, day after day, then have at at it! I'm requesting a refund!

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Alex Kotlowitz
    • Narrated By Dion Graham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (189)
    Performance
    (147)
    Story
    (148)

    This national best-seller chronicles the true story of two brothers coming of age in the Henry Horner public housing complex in Chicago. Lafeyette and Pharoah Rivers are 11 and nine years old when the story begins in the summer of 1987. Living with their mother and six siblings, they struggle against grinding poverty, gun violence, gang influences, overzealous police officers, and overburdened and neglectful bureaucracies. Immersed in their lives for two years, Kotlowitz brings us this classic rendering of growing up poor in America’s cities.

    SarahG says: "My life was changed by reading this book."
    "A DEPRESSING ACCOUNT OF REAL LIFE IN THE U.S."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Here is yet another really depressing story about black people in this country who are doomed from birth. Alex Kotlowitz tells a compelling tale of 2 young children, Lafayette and Pharoah Rivers, trying to survive with their parents, siblings and peers in one of the worse project in the country - Chicago's Henry Horner public housing.

    My parents also moved into the projects in Washington DC in the 1950s, the same time as the family of the mother of these boys. LaJoe Rivers and I are about the same age. However, I wasn't subjected to becoming the second generation of my family living in the projects after the country stopped caring about the inner city war zones created by the government. At the age of 8, my mother and father were able to move us into a single-family home in an upper middle class neighborhood, where I went to school with the children of DC's "black aristocracy" such as the late Dr. Earle Matory, high profile criminal defense attorney Theodore V. Wells, and Dr. Drew Tuckson. As a result, I went on to college and law school. But my parents were in a city where black people could find work - my mother as a civil servant in the federal government and my father in maintenance at Howard University. We weren't well off but we had food, clothing, and a clean home owned by my parents. My father's tenure at Howard enabled me to get a first class education, tuition free.

    However, the young children in this book didn't have a chance, growing up in a complex controlled by rival gangs and abandoned by the city. Children were subjected to seeing their young friends shot down during open air gun fights in the wretched playground or killed in cold blood by over-zealous police officers. By the age of 14, the children of the Henry Horner projects had been to more funerals than weddings. Narrator Dion Graham is his usual magnificent self, giving us a great sense of the hopelessness and helplessness felt by young Lafayette and Pharoah, both really bright young children.

    This book was made into a film in 1993 by Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios. While I appreciate Ms. Winfrey's short-term interest in the appalling living conditions in her home town of Chicago, I'm question her motivation since she took the role of LaJoe Rivers, the boys' extremely beautiful and tiny but overwhelmed mother. With Winfrey looking just like a stereotypical "Madea" welfare mother with 8 children, I didn't really get LaJoe's frustration in having to raise her kids in such an awful environment. With her looks, in another situation, she might have been able to break the cycle of poverty. Unfortunately, like the critically acclaimed HBO series "The Wire" (which depicted a drug infested project in Baltimore MD - just 45 minutes away from the nation's capital - in which young black children were just thrown away like garbage, neither this book nor the film got much exposure. They are just too real and too embarrassing. These stories make white people uncomfortable. Accordingly, they would rather watch fantasy Mafia shows like "The Sopranos" rather than accept that our children are being raised in war conditions similar Iraq or Afghanistan.

    Anyway, this book ends like all such stories of this kind. It is sad and disheartening to know that the most wealthy country in the world created, cultivated and perpetuated an environment where politicians made it impossible for these people to break free of a condition which is the same as slavery. Only now, black people are not making this country rich with the exportation of cotton, picked and baled on with the blood, sweat and tears of an enslaved, oppressed, raped, and murdered race. Even after freedom, blacks were denied the same rights as other citizens who came here more than 200 years after us. Now the United States has no use for us. Yet it refuses to accept the fact that it has bred a generation after generation of black men who either die before age 21 or who are incarcerated for life. This is a journey into the abyss for Lafayette and Pharoah.

    I'm confident that many people won't like my review. But I always tell it like it is - from front to BLACK. However, as negative as my review may sound to the readers with selective liberalism, with intentional blinders on their eyes, and who want to hide with from the truth with their heads in the sand when it comes to what American is REALLY about, the end result is that this book is a keeper. Read it and weep....... I know I did.......

    12 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • Death Comes to London

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Catherine Lloyd
    • Narrated By Susannah Tyrrell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (35)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (30)

    With the reluctant blessings of their father, the rector of Kurland St. Mary, Lucy Harrington and her sister Anna leave home for a social season in London. At the same time, Lucy's special friend Major Robert Kurland is summoned to the city to accept a baronetcy for his wartime heroism. Amidst the dizzying whirl of balls and formal dinners, the focus shifts from mixing and matchmaking to murder when the dowager Countess of Broughton, the mother of an old army friend of Robert, drops dead.

    Sara says: "A Delightful Story of Murder in London 1816"
    "WRONG NARRATOR!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a story about 2 young women in London for the season, looking for husbands. Then why does the narrator sound like Miss Marple?!?! I couldn't finish it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Lamentation

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By C.J. Sansom
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley
    Overall
    (103)
    Performance
    (93)
    Story
    (90)

    Summer, 1546. King Henry VIII is slowly, painfully dying. His Protestant and Catholic councilors are engaged in a final and decisive power struggle; whoever wins will control the government. As heretics are hunted across London, and radical Protestants are burned at the stake, the Catholic party focuses its attack on Henry's sixth wife - and Matthew Shardlake's old mentor - Queen Catherine Parr.

    Linda Lou says: "GREAT HISTORICAL FICTION SERIES"
    "GREAT HISTORICAL FICTION SERIES"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the 5th book in the series I've listened to. Well researched and masterfully narrated. I look forward to future books like this from CJ Sansome. A big thumbs up!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Accidental Empress

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Allison Pataki
    • Narrated By Madeleine Maby
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (27)

    The year is 1853, and the Habsburgs are Europe's most powerful ruling family. With his empire stretching from Austria to Russia, from Germany to Italy, Emperor Franz Joseph is young, rich, and ready to marry.

    Linda Lou says: "TOO LONG, TOO SILLY, BAD NARRATION"
    "TOO LONG, TOO SILLY, BAD NARRATION"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thought this would be a more serious account of Empress Elisabeth but it's like a way too long fairy tale. The narrator is really bad. There are so many characters and accents, male, female and children, that it becomes confusing. Really awful "chick lit".

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • A Drink Before the War

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Dennis Lehane
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (484)
    Performance
    (417)
    Story
    (420)

    With novels like Mystic River and Shutter Island, Dennis Lehane has dramatically altered the landscape of the crime thriller—while boldly overstepping the boundaries that have long separated mystery from literature. Now two of his sensational early novels have been combined in a single volume—two gritty and mesmerizing masterworks of suspense featuring the private eye duo of Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro.

    L. O. Pardue says: "Great beginning to thriller series"
    "UNREALISTIC"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I expected more from the author of "Shuuter Island" - although, in that case, the movie is the rare example of being much, much better than the book. But this book made no sense at all. It's about a private investigator who somehow gets himself in a war with local black gang members. This is Boston, not South Central, but I have never seen, known, read about or had any knowledge of any black gang - much less black people - who act like we are depicted in Lehane's book. It's as though he's never met a black person in his life, much less a gang member. The interaction, dialogue and speech patterns are so wrong. Is this Lehane's fantasy idea of our people?. Surprisingly, the only likeable (?) and well-developed character in the entire book is an overtly racist redneck guy named Bubba!

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • NYPD Red

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By James Patterson, Marshall Karp
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini, Jay Snyder
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1093)
    Performance
    (930)
    Story
    (936)

    It's the start of Hollywood on Hudson, and New York City is swept up in the glamour. Every night, the red carpet rolls out for movie stars arriving at premieres in limos; the most exclusive restaurants close for private parties for wealthy producers and preeminent directors; and thousands of fans gather with the paparazzi, hoping to catch a glimpse of the most famous and beautiful faces in the world. With this many celebrities in town, special task force NYPD Red is on high alert - and they can't afford to make a single mistake.

    Ann M. Lambert says: "one of the best, if not the best audio books ever"
    "MUCH BETTER THAN I EXPECTED"
    Overall
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    Although I've always been a voracious reader, Jame Patterson never did it for me. Maybe because I started with one of the books in the Alex Cross series, "Roses Are Red". It took place in Washington DC and the main character, Cross, is black. I am black - born and raised in DC - a graduate of Howard University. I have a child who is a career police officer. Maybe it was just me, over-thinking it, and having way too much intimate knowledge, combined with the constant hype about the author, which caused me to not really be blown away by my first foray into the Patterson repertoire. But I hung in there and next tried "Violets Are Blue". It was actually worse! So I was done with James Patterson years ago!

    However, I picked up this book in one of Audible's clever "Discover A New Series" promotions (which have cost me HUNDREDS of dollars in the past!). Here, we are presented with a male and female detective team, part of an "elite" task force, NYPD Red. I don't know how ELITE these cops are - they just seem to be doing their jobs, with the focus on the "1%ers" (and I'm not referring to motorcycle gangs). These cops waste much needed resources on the rich and famous in an era where police officers are over-worked and underpaid just trying to keep the peace among regular citizens. But, I digress....over-thinking again! For sheer LIGHT FLUFFY entertainment, this story was pretty good, although implausible in some places - kinda like a Marvel comic book. Nothing too intelligent, just a great ride. The plot line is thin but there are twists, turns, and surpises with well-crafted dialogue. There IS a co-author here, Marshall Karp. Ghostwriter? Protégé? Whatever - he does add a different, albeit subtle, component to the overall effort.

    The narration is good, considering the different races, ethnicities and accents involved. My only complaint is with the head of the team, a black female captain who always talks like she's delivering Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech. Just imagine Dr. King in line at Starbucks, ordering an expresso con panna, shouting "I'LL HAVE A CREAM!!!" Hey, Rev! We got you! 😄

    This is not a story as exciting as many other police thrillers but if you want a "light meal" with that espresso, this book will satisfy you.

    12 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • City of the Century: The Epic of Chicago and the Making of America

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Donald L. Miller
    • Narrated By Johnny Heller
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (5)

    Here, witness Chicago's growth from a desolate fur-trading post in the 1830s to one of the world's most explosively alive cities by 1900. Donald Miller's powerful narrative embraces it all: Chicago's wild beginnings, its reckless growth, its natural calamities (especially the Great Fire of 1871), its raucous politics, its empire-building businessmen, its world-transforming architecture, its rich mix of cultures, its community of young writers and journalists, and its staggering engineering projects.

    Linda Lou says: "A STORY THAT TRIES TOO HARD....AND FAILS"
    "A STORY THAT TRIES TOO HARD....AND FAILS"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The author doesn't give us an objective account of the city of Chicago. He spends 24 hours telling us over and over and over again how fantastic, innovative, brave, beautiful, compelling, unique, unsurpassable, incomparable, etc. Chicago's history is, to the point where I just got sick of it. It took him 17 hours and 18 chapters just to get to 1893!


    What could Donald L. Miller have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    I would have liked to hear a more indepth account of the REAL Chicago, i.e., the slums, the immigrant population, the corrupt politicians, the renowned "red light" district, etc. How can you tell the story of Chicago and not have at least 3 hours about the famous high-class brothel, the Everleigh Club and its owners? What about the contributions to the fabric of the from the Polish and African-American communities? This book is all about the money-grabbing white upper-class with no regard for the common people who actually kept that city running every day. Servants, boot-blacks, coachman, ladies maids, streetcar drivers, butchers in the meat-packing district, the black porters in George Pullman's railroad cars, clerks, shop girls - THEY were the true blood of that city, yet each group was mentioned in passing while Heller literally brown-nosed every rich person he could think of.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Johnny Heller?

    He was alright but only because the book is so disappointing. He has the perfect Midwestern twang for a story of a city grown out of the prairie.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Heller totally disrespected the Native Americans who were cheated, raped, murdered and oppressed by whites who also dessimated the buffalo, prairie flora, and other wildlife. However, he did give a small history to the Kaskaskian tribe, ancestors of my husband and our children (they are of black Créole descent - a French Canadian trapper married a Kaskaskian woman, then they eventually settled in New Iberia, Louisiana where their son married his mulatress slave). I learned more about them here than in 10 years of my own research. Even then, Heller only mentioned the great people because of their help to the pioneers and missionaries like Marquette and Joliet. He doesn't tell us how the Kaskaskia and other indigenous Illinois people were wiped out due to not only senseless slaughter but also the diseases carried by the filthy unhygienic white men from which the Natives had no immune system. Heller made the Native Americans look like drunken ignorant savages when it was the whites who introduced liquor and guns to a race who had survived for centuries on their own.


    Any additional comments?

    The real problem with this book is the lack of objectivity, combined with the preening and fawning way the story is written. Chicago IS a great city, yet Heller makes it sound like the the younger child of a second marriage. For example.....Chicago's father's first children are London, Paris, Berlin, Venice, and Florence. His wife dies after those kids are grown so he remarries a younger woman who give him a new family: New York City, Boston, and Washington DC. Right before the father dies, his new wife has one last "change of life" baby that neither expected - Chicago. Poor fatherless Chicago spends his whole life trying to prove that he is as great and successful and good looking as his older siblings. But everyone wants to ignore his bad habits (gambling, whoring, fighting, cheating, corruption, murder) by insisting to everyone around that "Chicago is really a good boy in his heart. Why, this morning he actually picked up the poop dropped in the front parlor by his pack of hunting hounds." REALLY, CHICAGO!?!? Try Erik Larson's "The Devil In The White City" or "Sin In The Second City" by Karen Abbott.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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