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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
1415
REVIEWS
246
FOLLOWING
5
FOLLOWERS
207
HELPFUL VOTES
1792

  • A Secret Life: The Lies and Scandals of President Grover Cleveland

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Charles Lachman
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (28)

    The child was born on September 14, 1874, at the only hospital in Buffalo, New York, that offered maternity services for unwed mothers. It was a boy, and though he entered the world in a state of illegitimacy, a distinguished name was given to this newborn: Oscar Folsom Cleveland. The son of the future president of the United States - Grover Cleveland. The story of how the man who held the nation’s highest office eventually came to take responsibility for his son is a thrilling one that unfolds like a sordid romance novel....

    Jean says: "Are the charges true?"
    "AMERICAN PRESIDENT" OR "AMERICAN PIMP"?!"
    Overall
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    This is a well-researched, enlightening and entertaining account of the life of the 22nd (AND 24th) President. But it is horrible indictment on this country's political machinations and the unequal rights for women in the late 19th century. The fact that President Cleveland fathered a child out of wedlock is not nearly as shocking as his conduct after the fact. He tried to destroy the lives of a respected widow and the child of his body. His treatment and continued abuse he heaped on his "baby mama" was unconscionable even by our current and less stringent standards. It's sad to see that, at any time in the history of this nation, that a man guilty of rape, kidnapping, fraud, slander, liable, and lies could be elected to the highest office in the land. Here, Grover Cleveland is exposed as the sociopath that he was. Not only did he rape a woman before he won the White House, he married his 21 year-old ward when he was 48. The disturbing thing about the latter offense is that Cleveland had bounced the beautiful baby girl of his BFF on his sloppy fat knees and later lusted for her until she barely reached the age of consent. In the meantime, the politicians and this country's citizens brushed the rape under rug, labeling it "a consensual act perpetrated while a young man was sowing wild oats" (Grover was almost 40 years old at the time of the assault, a Sheriff, and respected lawyer - hardly a testosterone-fueled teenage). Nor did any find it inappropriate for a world leader to marry a young woman over whom he'd excercised a great deal of power and control since the day she wa born. His "courtship" began with extravagant gifts as soon as the girl was born and continued when he became her ward at age 11. (Ewww! Just thinking about it made me throw up in my mouth!!! 👎😧 He even held his wedding to his "PYT" (pretty young thing) in the White House!!! Fast forward 100 years or so when President William Clinton was damn near run out of that same venerable building over an admittedly consenting, albeit unattractive, female intern and a Havana cigar 😎. I don't get it. But YOU should get this book! It is highly informative and very entertaining considering the subject matter - The President if a the United States - is probably the most boring thing an author can choose. Unless it's a fictional character like Martin Sheen's role in "West Wing", most of our presidents are rather forgettable unless they got assassinated in office or were involved in a major sex scandal.

    NOTE: The only thing that prevented me from giving this book 5-stars is after listening to well written book for 10 hours, it suddenly goes awry with an overly long uninteresting court case which seems to be "gavel to gavel" in boring testimony).

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Glitter and the Gold: The American Duchess - In Her Own Words

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan
    • Narrated By Coleen Marlo
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (19)

    Consuelo Vanderbilt was young, beautiful and the heir to a vast family fortune. She was also deeply in love with an American suitor when her mother chose instead for her to fulfill her social ambitions and marry an English Duke. Leaving her life in America, she came to England as the Duchess of Marlborough in 1895 and took up residence in her new home: Blenheim Palace. The ninth Duchess gives unique first-hand insight into life at the very pinnacle of English society in the Edwardian era.

    Amazon Customer says: "Facinating Story- Terrible reading"
    "WHAT!?!?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I should have heeded the other reviews but I was thinking "No one can mess up a story which is basically a true-life Cinderella story gone awry." WRONG!!!!

    Yeah, we can Google or Wikipedia all we need to know about one the more famous Vanderbilts but it's really better to get it from the actual "horse's mouth". This account is rather lightweight and obviously fluffed up. And this is before Chapter One starts! There is something not quite credible in presenting this book as being written by Consuelo Vanderbilt. Or ANY Vanderbilt except journalist Anderson Cooper or his mother fashion designer/entrepreneur, Gloria Vanderbilt, What really sinks this book is the horrible narration. Coleen Marlo sounds as if she's underwater with bubbles rapidly escaping her mouth. Her pronunciation is deplorable!

    Consuelo (or whomever really wrote this book) doesn't have enough sense to see that there is nothing cute in bragging about owning slaves. She then tries to make us feel bad because her family lost their fortune after the Civil War, resulting in having to move to Paris. Really? Connie, let me enlighten you on how MY ancestors fared after that war. The closest we got to anything European was share-cropping in Paris, TENNESSEE or getting lynched in Rome, GEORGIA while YOUR folks romped at the Tuileries! Gimme a break, Girlfriend!

    Keep your money or credit!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Jon Krakauer
    • Narrated By Mozhan Marno, Scott Brick
    Overall
    (215)
    Performance
    (182)
    Story
    (181)

    From best-selling author Jon Krakauer, a stark, powerful, meticulously reported narrative about a series of sexual assaults at the University of Montana - stories that illuminate the human drama behind the national plague of campus rape.

    Keith says: "Tough info but good read"
    "BIASED AND UNBALANCED"
    Overall
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    Acquaintance and date rape have been prevalent on college campuses for decades. This book is about one school in Montana that, in its face, seems to have an overwhelming amount of sexual assaults. The subject matter is compelling and definitely needs as much exposure as possible. The problem I have with this account is the author's failure to remain fair and unbiased. The male students are repeatedly referred to as "rapists" and the sex acts are labeled "rape" without benefit of ant criminal adjudication. Yet the women are not held accountable for their lack of common sense and good judgment. We certainly wouldn't refer to them as "tramps" just because they got blind drunk, took an equally drunk male home, and invited him into her bed, where some place between cuddling and oral sex, she "withdraws consent"! The male is generally arrested or expelled from school. But the author keeps ranting that the men have done "it" before and will continue to rape, pillage and kill the cattle while presenting no evidence that the assault was anything more than a one time act between 2 inebriated young people, both totally devoid of good judgment.

    There is a good story to be told here but the author makes it preachy because he has predetermined the guilt and/or innocence of the young people involved. He missed a great opportunity to educate students, parents, and college officials on the danger of alcohol use on campus. NO ONE can exhibit good behavior when they are blowing 3 times the legal limit for alcohol. I get "No means NO" from a drunk female but one has to consider that the male can't reasonably process that directive if he is also bent from liquor.

    I started out liking this book because of the interesting account but, at about 90 minutes in, the author began to bore me with repetitive minutiae, hearsay, and unsubstantiated assertions. This is a serious matter on college campuses and it deserved much better research than the author has presented here. I learned more about this matter using Google.

    18 of 42 people found this review helpful
  • Andersonville

    • UNABRIDGED (37 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By MacKinlay Kantor
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    Overall
    (106)
    Performance
    (93)
    Story
    (92)

    Acclaimed as the greatest novel ever written about the War Between the States, this searing Pulitzer Prize-winning book captures all the glory and shame of America's most tragic conflict in the vivid, crowded world of Andersonville, and the people who lived outside its barricades. Based on the author's extensive research and nearly 25 years in the making, MacKinlay Kantor's best-selling masterwork tells the heartbreaking story of the notorious Georgia prison where 50,000 Northern soldiers suffered.

    Gillian says: "Worthy of the Pulitzer"
    "GREAT SUBJECT - JUST WAYYYYYY TO LONG!"
    Overall
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    I'm not going to write a long review on a book that's about 20 hours too long. Historically, it's interesting and compelling. I could even deal with the length if the writer hadn't chosen to use prose to tell it. Just imagine 37 hours of Shakespeare. There's just so much "Out, out, damned spot" or "My bounty is as boundless as the sea, My love as deep; the more I give to thee" that a listener can stand, especially in an historical account about a cruel, oppressive, racist prisoner-of-war camp. There is nothing poetic in statements like "Dem Yankees is as shiftless and lazy as de niggers"! This would have been better told in plain Civil War era English.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • NYPD Red 3

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By James Patterson, Marshall Karp
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (340)
    Performance
    (288)
    Story
    (288)

    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.

    Ted says: "45 Stars So Far For NYPD Red!!"
    "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!

    14 of 19 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
    (6)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    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.

    Amazon Customer says: "Good Historical Fiction"
    "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!

    7 of 10 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
    (272)
    Performance
    (222)
    Story
    (222)

    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.......

    16 of 24 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
    (47)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (41)

    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
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    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 4 people found this review helpful
  • Lamentation

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By C.J. Sansom
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley
    Overall
    (198)
    Performance
    (176)
    Story
    (172)

    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.

    Pita says: "Lawyer/Detective solves mystery in Tudor England"
    "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!

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Accidental Empress

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Allison Pataki
    • Narrated By Madeleine Maby
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (53)
    Story
    (52)

    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 11 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
    (538)
    Performance
    (464)
    Story
    (466)

    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 9 people found this review helpful

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