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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 2007

1024
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 191 reviews
  • 1169 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 175 purchased in 2014
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126

  • Kept in the Dark

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Anthony Trollope
    • Narrated By Jill Masters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (47)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (15)

    Kept in the Dark is a probing psychological portrait of the near destruction of a marriage - a novel that combines keen insights with vigorous emotional strength. Jealousy, guilt, excessive pride, and compulsion all sweep across its surface.

    Virginia says: "Fascinating Story"
    "PERFECT STORM FOR A HORRIBLE LISTEN"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Everything about an audiobook which makes it not worth buying has gathered here for a perfect storm. First, WHY is this even an interesting subject matter? Anthony Trollope obviously has issues with women or why write such a nonsensical story? I've read and enjoyed other books by this author. But this one is a waste of time! No self-respecting female author would have wasted her time writing this mess. Why? Because it is science fiction!! Seven and a half hours about a neurotic woman ruminating about a jilted romance. Trollope wants us to believe that a town has come to a full stop while speculating, gossiping, lying, back-stabbing, and being outraged just because a woman decides not to marry a cold, cruel-hearted older man? Are we to believe also that this woman is now "ruined" as if she slept with every man in Europe when the most scandalous thing she shared with a man is a chaste kiss on the cheek. That no other man would have her due to this "indiscretion"? That, by not taking out a front-page advertisement about her broken engagement, she is now guilty of "premeditated fraud"? What a small-minded bunch of people, with nothing else to do except pass stories and, even worse, pass judgment against a young woman who made the step to control her own life. No wonder the British got nothing done back then! REEE-DICK-A-LUSS!!!!

    To compound this stupid tale is probably the worst narrator in Audible history - i should know, since I own over 425 audiobooks. Did anyone LISTEN to this book after the recording session. Jill Masters never changes the inflection in her voice for 7 hours. She just drones on and on and on! After 4 hours I felt like I was in the middle of a long hard labor with a stillborn baby!!! Painful for the mere fact of being in pain. Then to make all of the above worse, the audio quality is very poor, as if the book was recorded in an all porcelain bathroom. That "reverb" effect is great when one is singing in the shower but is extremely irritating in an audiobook.

    I've listened to many books where the story is too simple or too dark or too inconsequential, yet a good narrator using innovative voice effects makes the ride worthwhile. Not so here. This narrator totally ruined a ruined a book which is hanging on a very thin literary thread. Jill Masters sounds as if she is bored to death and, in turn, she bores the listener. Try as I might, I couldn't finish this one. Anthony Trollope, Jill Masters, Jimcin Recordings and Audible.com are co-conspirators in an coup d'??tat of aural pain!

    9 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Stephen Puleo
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (23)

    Around noon on January 15, 1919, a group of firefighters were playing cards in Boston's North End when they heard a tremendous crash. It was like, "a roaring surf," one of them said later. Like, "a runaway two-horse team smashing through a fence," said another. A third firefighter jumped up from his chair to look out a window - "Oh my God!" he shouted to the other men, "Run!" A 50-foot-tall steel tank filled with 2.3 million gallons of molasses had just collapsed on Boston's waterfront, disgorging its contents as a 15-foot-high wave of molasses that at its outset traveled at 35 miles an hour.

    Linda Lou says: "INTERESTING STORY - ABOUT 2x TOO LONG"
    "INTERESTING STORY - ABOUT 2x TOO LONG"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a compelling little known event in American history. Who knew that molasses had killed people and destroyed property? The author does a great job but the listener/reader has to wade through over 4 hours of minutiae before the account of the flood begins. That's about 1/2 of the whole book! I listened as far as the part of Chapter 3, then skipped several hours and picked up at Chapter 9 - the early morning hours before the molasses tank exploded. After that, the story flowed well with a good description of the disaster and it's aftermath. The length made it impossible for me to give the BOOK a 5-star rating - which I would have if I hadn't paid for a 9+ hour work with only 4 hours worth of listening.

    What's worse is that Stephen Puleo writes an epilogue and then an epilogue to the epilogue! The latter consists of letters from the ancestors of the victims who knew little or nothing about the tragedy until reading this book. They provide a personal insight into their relatives. Then Puleo takes time to analyze this added information. However, with the in depth research done by Puleo, these observations would be better served in a revised edition to this book, rounding out the true characters in this tragedy.

    Once again, a book better served ABRIDGED!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kitty Genovese: A True Account of a Public Murder and its Private Consequences

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Catherine Pelonero
    • Narrated By Dina Pearlman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (46)
    Performance
    (42)
    Story
    (45)

    Written in a flowing narrative style, Kitty Genovese: A True Account of a Public Murder and its Private Consequences presents the story of the horrific and infamous murder of Kitty Genovese, a young woman stalked and stabbed on the street where she lived in Queens, New York in 1964. The case sparked national outrage when the New York Times revealed that dozens of witnesses had seen or heard the attacks on Kitty Genovese and her struggle to reach safety but had failed to come to her aid or even call police until after the killer had fled.

    Wanda says: "Wow, read this only if details does not annoy you."
    "EXCEPTIONAL TRUE CRIME BOOK"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As a "woman of a certain age", I remember when this crime was committed. All the media talked about was the apathy of Kitty Genovese's neighbors during the 1/2 hour it took for her to be savagely murdered. Author Catherine Pelonero gives a complete and unbiased account of this heinous crime. Instead of focusing on the more sensational headliner-grabbing fact of a white woman being killed by a black man, Pelonero tells the good and bad about everyone, including the 30+ witnesses who didn't help Kitty that night.

    For the first time, I learned that Kitty was a lesbian - considered "deviate" for that era - and had a criminal record and worked in a bar. Not that her lifestyle made her at risk for this savage crime. However, the media of the time made no mention of any of this. Her killer, Winston Moseley, heretofore shown only in a booking photo, was a middle-class professional husband and father with no criminal record. He owned his own home and two cars. His wife was a registered nurse. Again, I don't remember these facts being told by the press. That said, Pelonero gives each of these two very disparate persons equal weight, choosing to focus on FACTS of the crime.

    What no one knew was Moseley was a serial killer and rapist. He'd previously terrorized women of his own race so not much investigation was put into those crimes. In fact, Anna Mae Johnson, a black woman, had been murdered on her porch then dragged into her living room where Moseley raped her post-mortem, with her husband asleep upstairs. The medical examiner stated that the woman had been stabbed. It wasn't until Moseley confessed to that murder and saying he'd SHOT the victim, did an exhumation reveal bullets in the dead body. (While much has been written about Kitty Genovese, I've yet to find any books written about the life and death of Mrs. Johnson.)

    Moseley, a prolific but undetected criminal has gotten less attention in history than Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahlmer, John Wayne Gacy and other white serial killers. It is this very racial oversight which led FBI profilers into mistakenly predicting that the DC Sniper had to be a white male. They should had done the research that this author put into her book.

    This is one of the best true crime books that I've read in years. Pelonero does get a bit weighty in some places, giving a blow-by-blow account of some court testimony. But her attention to detail in other areas is well done. This story is not just about 3 dozen people who failed to act by merely not calling the police - although not much has changed in many decades since then, as evidenced by the recent murder in a yoga wear store while 2 Apple Store employees next door listened with their ears to the common wall. This is a story about a horrific crime, an innocent victim, a mentally ill killer and the question of the public's MORAL duty to assist a fellow human being fighting for his or her life.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • South Pacific Cauldron: World War II's Great Forgotten Battlegrounds

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Alan Rems
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Unlike most other World War II accounts, this work covers the South Pacific operations in detail. The audiobook includes many now-forgotten operations that deserve to be well remembered. Significantly, the official Australian history of World War II correctly observed that Australia's part in the Pacific war is barely mentioned in American histories. This volume finally brings the major Australian contribution to the fore.

    Linda Lou says: "PONDEROUS BUT OVERALL COMPLETE"
    "PONDEROUS BUT OVERALL COMPLETE"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I initially purchased this because the synopsis led me to believe it had a good account of the Australians' contribution to the victory in the Pacific theater. Not so. The usual American stories are covered much more than any of the Allies, particularly Australia. I am so sick of hearing about General Douglas MacArthur's legendary narcissism.

    This overall account is a bit heavy, causing me zone out several times. And, many times, it was difficult to tell whether it was the Allies or the Japanese fighting, dying, escaping and/or strategizing. There's a lot of statistics in this book which would make it more interesting in print rather than audio. very little on the Australians

    One point that I found to be of great interest is the way author Alan Rems described the problems incurred by the African-Americans in World War II as a whole. In the kazillion books that I've read on the subject, black soliers are rarely even mentioned. In the few books that contain our contribution, the gamut runs to either our men being totally useless and untrainable or - closer to the truth - they served with incomparable bravery and sacrifice. Here, we learn the real obstacles that made it difficult for black Americans: being expected to put their hearts into fighting for a country that treated them like second-class citizens. Yet even Hems fails to name the first African-American soldier to be killed in the line of duty in the Pacific in his description of the deed.

    Overall, this is a good book for real devotées of military history.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Sins of the Father: Clifton Chronicles, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Jeffrey Archer
    • Narrated By Alex Jennings, Emilia Fox
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (865)
    Performance
    (710)
    Story
    (705)

    Only days before Britain declares war on Germany, Harry Clifton, hoping to escape the consequences of long-buried family secrets, and forced to accept that his desire to marry Emma Barrington will never be fulfilled, has joined the Merchant Navy. But his ship is sunk in the Atlantic by a German Uboat, drowning almost the entire crew. An American cruise liner, the SS Kansas Star, rescues a handful of sailors, among them Harry and the third officer, an American named Tom Bradshaw.

    Margaret Campbell says: "Can';t Wait for the Next One!!!"
    "DISAPPOINTING FOLLOW-UP TO BOOK 1"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The first book in this series, "Only Time Will Tell", was well-written with great characters, interesting plot lines, and the perfect narration using both a female AND male narrator to seamlessly blend the two main characters accounts. (Well-matched narrators with quality recording production is the often overlooked cornerstone in well-produced audiobooks.)

    So it was with great anticipation that I began the second installment of "The Clifton Chronicles". I'd already added all of the series to my Audible "Wish List" thinking that it would be another masterpiece in sweeping generational sagas, second only to John Galsworthy's series, "The Forsyte Saga". However, this book should have titled "NOTHING OF SUBSTANCE"! It is nothing more than 10 wasted hours, culminating in a lame kitschy cliff-hanger not worthy of a writer like Jeffrey Archer. This book is a long, disjointed, meandering tease written to get readers to buy Book 3. I wish I'd read the Audible synopsis of the third book which overtly and unabashedly reveals the secret and major conflict that took Archer 10 hours NOT to resolve in Book 2. I ended up skipping more than half of chapters, eventually going right to the last one, which turned out to be disappointing. If you've read Book 1 with its engaging cliff-hanger at the end, just skip this one and spend your credit or money on Book 3. As for me, stick a fork in me - I'm DONE with "The Clifton Chronicles"!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • An Unwilling Accomplice: Bess Crawford, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Charles Todd
    • Narrated By Rosalyn Landor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (31)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (28)

    Arriving in London on leave, Bess Crawford receives an unusual summons from the War Office. She's been requested to accompany a wounded soldier to Buckingham Palace, where he's to be decorated for gallantry. Though she is certain she's never met or nursed Sergeant Jason Wilkins, she cannot refuse the honor. Heavily bandaged and confined to a wheelchair, the soldier will be in her care for barely a day. But on the morning after the ceremony when Bess goes to collect her charge for his return journey, she finds the room empty.

    Linda Lou says: "JUST OK"
    "JUST OK"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love all of Charles Todd's books, having read 5 of this series. However, this story was just too incredulous for words! It's hard to believe that a nursing sister and a military officer would go tearing around the English countryside looking for a missing injured soldier whom the Army and Scotland Yard is chasing. This, in the middle of a war, as if both of these people couldn't be better utilized elsewhere. I get that Bess wants to save her reputation since the soldier went AWOL on her watch but to waste resources like gasoline trying to outdo the criminal investigators already on the case is a bit much.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Defiant Courage: A WWII Epic of Escape and Endurance

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Astrid Karlson Scott, Tore Haug
    • Narrated By Peter Altschuler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    In late March of 1943, four commandos arrive in northern Norway with a mission of establishing a base for sabotage operations. Before they can unload their cutter, they are betrayed, as a German Schnell boat arrives and turns the quiet fjord into a battle zone. Only one man, Jan Baalsrud, surrvives the attack. This is the story of his perilous journey to freedom. Wounded, the dauntless soldier swims icy fjord waters, climbs snow-laden granite peaks, endures violent snowstorms and is hurled off a mountain by an avalanche.

    Linda Lou says: "GOOD STORY THAT'S JUST TOO LONG"
    "GOOD STORY THAT'S JUST TOO LONG"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I would shorten it. The story is a compelling and interesting one. However, there's too much unnecessary information which adds nothing. Also the dialogue is contrived and written as if this is a fiction novel rather than a true account.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The heroic survivor Jans Baalsrud. His courage and faith was incredible.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Peter Altschuler?

    Maybe. However, I didn't like him in this work because his tone is too cavalier, almost as if he's reading a fairy tale like "Hansel and Gretel" to a group of transfixed school children.


    Any additional comments?

    Overall, this was a great inspiring story of courage under the worst conditions ever. An abridged version would keep the listener engaged. In the hard copy, at least one can scan through and/or skip irrelevant pages.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Fortune's Spear: A Forgotten Story of Genius, Fraud, and Finance in the Roaring Twenties

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Martin Vander Weyer
    • Narrated By James Conlan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Gerard Lee Bevan was the black sheep of one of London's most respectable banking families. A high-living womanizer and upper-class shyster of almost pantomime proportions, he exploited a glittering range of social connections. After a long run of success in City dealings he perpetrated a massive fraud which ruined both the City Equitable Fire Insurance Company and his stockbroking firm, Ellis & Co. He fled the country and was eventually arrested, tried, and jailed.

    Linda Lou says: "REALLY AWFUL"
    "REALLY AWFUL"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    If the subject matter was even remotely interesting. Gerard Bevan was a boring one-dimensional person. No wonder it is "a forgotten story..."!


    What was most disappointing about Martin Vander Weyer’s story?

    It's way too long and contains too much boring minutiae.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by James Conlan?

    If the book itself was worth listening to.


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

    Not really.


    Any additional comments?

    I spent several hours trying to figure out why this book was even written. Finally I had to put myself out of my misery and just stop listening to it. To go on was like plunging a rusty fork in my eye! I see now why no one had rated or reviewed it on either Audible or Amazon. The only redeeming thing is if you suffer from insomnia. It WILL definitely put you to sleep!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Cold-Blooded Business: Adultery, Murder, and a Killer's Path from the Bible Belt to the Boardroom

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Marek Fuchs
    • Narrated By Kevin T. Collins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (6)

    In 1959, Olathe, Kansas was made famous by the murder of the Clutter family and Truman Capote's ground-breaking book on the crime, In Cold Blood. But fewer know that Olathe achieved notoriety again in 1982, when a member of Olathe's growing Evangelical Christian population, a gentle man named David Harmon, was bludgeoned to death while sleeping - the force of the blows crushing his face beyond recognition.

    Linda Lou says: "GOOD TRUE CRIME STORY"
    "GOOD TRUE CRIME STORY"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a surprising well-researched account of the not-so-exciting but gory cold-blooded murder of a husband perpetrated by his Bible-thumping wife and her "chaste" religious lover. (Apparently, kissing, necking, heavy petting, and even oral sex isn't REALLY cheating on one's spouse among the white upper echelon!) Wifey was more ashamed of flirting and inappropriate touching than she was of the prolonged, bloody beating of her husband (suspected weapon: a CROWBAR, purchased by her "Boo" right before the crime!

    The interesting thing is that these two squares almost got away with the "perfect crime", but were finally brought down after more than 20 years, thanks to a new Cold Cse Squad! Of course, Wifey initially blamed the crime on the "usual two black men in masks" who just happened to show up in her bedroom in the middle of the night to kill her hubby for no apparent reason. The author does a great job giving an indepth and upbeat account of a really senseless crime. The reader can tell that even the author ain't buying it! Especially since the two "lovers" never spoke again after the crime, each going on with "life after murder" like white people do: Harvard MBA, marrying well, excelling spectacularly in business, making COO, multi-million dollar homes, trips around the world, and every day suburban tasks like taking the kiddies to soccer and piano practice. But being such religious people, each should have known that "God don't like ugly" and their indiscretion was just around the corner, waiting to pounce upon them when the time was right!

    Ever since my days of "Nancy Drew", I've always been a big devotée of true crime. However, recently the books in the genre have been weak. Are we readers becoming jaded all of a sudden? This book is a rare find! Totally enjoyable with righteous retribution in the end! This, in spite of all-white juriy and an outrageously expensive legal "dream team", including the flamboyant Kennedy family lawyer Mickey Sherman! Unfortunately, the cards are stacked against the lily white defendants. Nobody will walk but, with a bit of luck and a heap of divine intervine, JUSTICE does often prevail and these cold-blooded killers could have hope of seeing their kids! A hope forever denied the victim, a father of 3 - particularly since one of his eyeballs flew across the bedroom during the savage predatory, lying-in-wait, blitz attack- an unprevoked attack premeditated for weeks! Good stuff!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Young Al Capone: The Untold Story of Scarface in New York, 1899-1925

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By John Balsamo, William Balsamo
    • Narrated By Daniel May
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    Many people are familiar with the story of Al Capone, the legendary Chicago gangster best known for orchestrating the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. But few are aware that Capone’s remarkable story began in the Navy Yard section of Brooklyn, New York. Tutored by the likes of infamous mobsters Johnny Torrio and Frankie Yale, young Capone’s disquieting demeanor, combined with the “technical advice” he learned from these shady teachers, contributed to the molding of a brutal criminal....

    Linda Lou says: "A BAD HISTORICAL FICTION EFFORT!"
    "A BAD HISTORICAL FICTION EFFORT!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I get what authors were trying to to here - create a "prequel" to what is widely known about gangster Al Capone, by making up a fictional account of the first 25 years of Capone's life by setting up reasons for Capone's sociopathic behavior later when he took over the Chicago mob. The problem is that the Balsamo's don't have the least sense of what "literary license" means. They just made up things which belie credibility. How are we to believe that a seasoned Mafia leader like Johnny Torrio quaked in the presence of a 15 year-old Capone who was just an errand boy at the time? The episodes of Capone's crude sexual behaviors are more of what is expected of an adolescent - not the lead-in to the St. Valentine's Day Massacre! That's like writing a story about Ted Bundy as a 10 year old killing animals, masterbating, setting fires, and wetting the bed! Who cares? It's just a back-story to the really gory stuff! This could have been a good effort if more time had been spent in research so that the Balsamo's would not found the need to make up things that just don't make sense. Not worth the price of admission! 👎

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Humbugs of the World

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By P. T. Barnum
    • Narrated By Rick Adamson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (6)

    Here is P. T. Barnum's insightful review of humbugs, scams, deceits (and self-deceits) in culture, economics, entertainment, religion, medicine, and more.

    Linda Lou says: "WHY IS THIS EVEN A BOOK?!?"
    "WHY IS THIS EVEN A BOOK?!?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Anyone who pays for this audiobook probably believes the biggest P.T. Barnum "humbug" of all times - that he is the man who said "There's a sucker born every minute"! The quote is by David Hannum ABOUT Barnum! But whomever published this mess is at the head of the "sucker" line!

    This is just a jumble of antiquated nonsense that not only failed to stand the test of time, but likely wasn't that interesting when Barnum originally wrote it down. Or maybe it was interesting to him. Barnum, play your position and stick with what you know - clowns, elephants, and peanuts is your thing! Leave the literary efforts to......well, the literate! Bah, Humbug! 😝👎

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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