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Jean

I am an avid eclectic reader.

Santa Cruz, CA, United States | Member Since 2015

4476
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 782 reviews
  • 819 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 56 purchased in 2015
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  • The Kennedy Detail: JFK's Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Gerald Blaine, Lisa McCubbin
    • Narrated By Alan Sklar
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (460)
    Performance
    (294)
    Story
    (296)

    Even today, almost five decades after John F. Kennedy was slain, the public continues to be captivated by the "Kennedy Curse" and new theories about what really happened on that fateful day in 1963. For nearly 50 years former Secret Service agent Clint Hill has lived with the unimaginable guilt of losing a president on his watch and has obeyed an honor code of silence, refusing to contribute to any books about the assassination. Until now.

    Vidoloff says: "A must "read" in my opinion"
    "The Kennedy Detail"
    Overall

    This was an interesting story. I have lived through it all and remember the day like it was yesterday. It was nice to hear an insider view point. The narration could have been better. The author repeated several points over and over but at least he got the information across. The information on Jackie Kennedy was interesting and confirmed other stories about her. Like any book it has it good and bad part but it is well worth a listen. It was about time the secret service agents provided their view point of that horrible day in Dallas.

    19 of 21 people found this review helpful
  • A Dangerous Place: Maisie Dobbs Mysteries, Book 11

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Jacqueline Winspear
    • Narrated By Orlagh Cassidy
    Overall
    (82)
    Performance
    (74)
    Story
    (76)

    Spring 1937. In the four years since she left England, Maisie Dobbs has experienced love, contentment, stability - and the deepest tragedy a woman can endure. Now all she wants is the peace she believes she might find by returning to India. But her sojourn in the hills of Darjeeling is cut short when her stepmother summons her home to England; her aging father, Frankie Dobbs, is not getting any younger.

    Jean says: "Maisie at the crossroads"
    "Maisie at the crossroads"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In prior books Maisie survived injuries in WWI that killed the physician she was in love with. After the Great War Maisie worked as a psychologist/investigator along with her assistant Billy as she investigated problems related to the post war era. She marries James and becomes pregnant at the beginning of this book then James is killed in an airplane accident and Maisie lost the baby.

    In this book Maisie has spent the past four years in India. She received a cable from her step-mother asking Maisie to come home as her father is ill. Maisie heads for home but gets off the ship in Gibraltar as she is not ready to go home. The year is 1937 and the Spanish War is going on as well as the build up toward WWII. Maisie stumbles upon a dead man that has been murdered. She set off to find out why and who did the murder in-spite of the police and British Secret Service telling her to leave matters alone. Maisie’s mentor Dr. Maurice Blanche who left her his home and money when he died was an important man in the British intelligence agency. As I read this book I am wondering is Winspear changing the role of Maisie to one of espionage from that of a murder who done it as the time marches closer to WWII. I am not sure if I like the advancing of time in the story. I think I would prefer the time stay just post WWI and deal with all the issues the occurred during this time as Winspear did in the earlier books.

    Winspear is an excellent writer and she has created a complex character in Maisie Dobbs. In this book the regular characters of prior books are not present and I miss them. I am not happy with the direction I think the story is heading but I cannot wait for book 12 to come out. One of my favorite narrators Orlagh Cassidy narrated the book.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • A Triumph of Genius: Edwin Land, Polaroid, and the Kodak Patent War

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Ronald K. Fierstein
    • Narrated By Pete Larkin
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    This riveting biography from the American Bar Association visits the spectacular life of Edwin Land, breakthrough inventor. At the time of his death, he stood third on the list of our most prolific inventors, behind only Thomas Edison and one of Edison's colleagues. Land's most famous achievement was the creation of a revolutionary film-and-camera system that could produce a photographic print moments after the picture was taken.

    Jean says: "Fascinating"
    "Fascinating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ronald K. Fierstein has obviously done a great deal of research about Edwin Land and his company. The author tells the fascinating story of the reclusive genius who, as a teen, invented the plastic polarizer, which is still used almost a century later in countless popular applications including sunglasses and LCD screens.

    Edwin Land (1909-1991) also pioneered the revolutionary one-step system of photography. He also made critical contributions to top-secret U. S. military intelligence efforts during WWII and the cold war. He had 535 patents in his name.

    The author goes into detail about Land’s inventions in a step by step process that left me feeling as if I was watching over Land’s shoulder. The section about the trial goes into great detail even to the number of hotel rooms rented for the attorneys, legal secretaries and paralegals. I was amazed how long the case took; five years for doing depositions alone with each person taking 6 weeks or more.

    Land dropped out of Harvard University to start his company to produce his polarizer discovery. His father counseled him to protect his invention with a patent. He took his father’s advice to heart and earned the sobriquet “Champion of Patents.”

    This book goes into detail about The Polaroid v Kodak patent lawsuit, the unprecedented account of the most significant patent litigation of the twentieth century. Ronald K. Fierstein was a young lawyer working with Edwin Land on the team of litigators representing Polaroid in court. He later became a successful entertainment attorney.

    The book is well written and reads like a legal thriller. Peter Larkin narrated the book.




    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Outcast: The Empire's Corps, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Christopher G. Nuttall
    • Narrated By Jeffrey Kafer
    Overall
    (99)
    Performance
    (91)
    Story
    (91)

    A new novel set in the universe of The Empire's Corps! When Sameena's brother accidentally annoys a religious leader on her home world, her entire family is targeted for elimination. Forced to flee to save her life, Sameena stows away on a trader starship and is eventually welcomed into the crew, embracing their very different culture and making a new life for herself amongst the stars.

    Jean says: "The Trader Queen"
    "The Trader Queen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is book number five in the Empire series. In the prior four books we have watched the Empire collapse. We have been following a company of marines that were stationed on the planet Avalon on the rim of known space.

    This book could be a standalone book as it has deviated from the prior books in the series and goes into a side story. This book focuses on a space trader struggling to survive as interstellar trade slowly grinds to a halt, threatening to bring down civilization once and for all.

    Out protagonist Sameena was forced to flee her home planet because her brother accidentally annoyed a religious leader and her entire family was targeted for elimination. Women on this planet were not allowed an education, to be in public without a male escort and marriages were arranged. Technology was not allowed on the planet.

    Sameena stows away on a trader starship and eventually becomes part of the crew. Sameena and the trader ship are trying to survive as the universe collapses into chaos. Sameena had a natural instinct for trade and foresaw trade potential in the collapse of the Empire. Sameena married James Cook an Imperial Navy Commander after the Empire abandons the Navy in the sector. I found the story of Sameena most interesting and It was great that Nuttall brought Sameena and her trader group together with Avalon and its people.

    Nuttall’s writing has improved with each book. This book reminds me a bit of a series I read a few years ago by Elizabeth Moon called Vatta’s War series. Jeffrey Kafer narrated the book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Death of Caesar: The Story of History's Most Famous Assassination

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Barry Strauss
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    William Shakespeare's gripping play showed Caesar's assassination to be an amateur and idealistic affair. The real killing, however, was a carefully planned paramilitary operation, a generals' plot put together by Caesar's disaffected officers and designed with precision. Brutus and Cassius were indeed key players, but they had the help of a third man - Decimus. He was the mole in Caesar's entourage, one of Caesar's leading generals, and a lifelong friend.

    Jean says: "Absorbing"
    "Absorbing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    On March 15, 44 B.C., Julius Caesar fell to the knives of Brutus, Cassius and perhaps 21 other senators. Strauss’s book covers only a three year span of time. Starting the year before the ides of March to the battle of Philippi two years later, when Brutus, defeated by pro-Caesar forces, took his own life.

    The author of this historical study tries to capture the tension of an unfolding crisis but also runs into strong headwinds when it comes to questions of character and motive.
    The author points out that thanks to William Shakespeare, the death of Julius Caesar is the most famous assassination in history. Shakespeare shows Caesar’s assassination to be an amateur and idealistic affair. Strauss points out that the real killing was a carefully planned paramilitary operation; a general’s plot put together by Caesar’s disaffected officers and designed with precision.

    The author tells of a key person, Decimus. He was the mole in Caesar’s entourage, one of Caesar’s leading generals and a lifelong friend. According to Strauss it was he, not Brutus, who truly betrayed Caesar. Strauss sheds new light on this fascinating pivotal moment in Roman history.

    The book is superbly researched and well written. The author paints clear portraits of all the main characters such as Mark Antony, Decimus, Brutus, and Octavian. The book raises as many questions as it tries to answer. Robertson Dean narrated the book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Governor Ramage R.N.

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Dudley Pope
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (23)

    Lieutenant Lord Ramage, in command of the Triton brig, is escorting a convoy from Barbados to Jamaica, normally a routine and tedious chore. But this time Ramage has to be especially vigilant to guard the convoy's precious cargo - a family of important French refugees.

    Jean says: "Great description of a hurricane"
    "Great description of a hurricane"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the fourth book in the Lord Ramage series. Ramage is in command of the brig HMS Triton. They have been assigned to escort a trade convoy across the Caribbean from Barbados to Jamaica, along with several frigates and the Admiral’s flagship.

    Pope lets fly with the action and political intrigue. A French privateer cons his way into the convoy and attempts to capture a precious cargo. An unseasonable hurricane puts everyone in danger. The HMS Triton is dismasted and is at the mercy of winds and currents. They become shipwrecked on a hostile shore. Ramage and crew capture a Spanish garrison, find a Spanish treasure and capture a Spanish cargo ship to get them to Jamaica. Oh, after all that he is then court-martialed and Pope writes a great court scene.

    The book is lots of fun, sort of impossible adventures by Ramage and crew. The book is well written and moves at a fast pace with lots of sailing and Royal Navy lore. Steven Crossley narrated the book.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Jennifer Chiaverini
    • Narrated By Christina Moore
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (12)

    In 1844, Missouri belle Julia Dent met dazzling horseman Lieutenant Ulysses S Grant. Four years passed before their parents permitted them to wed, and the groom's abolitionist family refused to attend the ceremony. Since childhood, Julia owned as a slave another Julia, known as Jule. Jule guarded her mistress' closely held twin secrets: She had perilously poor vision but was gifted with prophetic sight. So it was that Jule became Julia's eyes to the world.

    Jean says: "Excellent"
    "Excellent"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was published March 3, 2015. The book follows the lives of two girls: Julia Dent and her slave Jule. As children they were best of friends and were always together. As they grew older the line between master and slave grew.

    Julia married Ulysses Grant and despite his loyalty to the Union their marriage succeeded. Ulysses quickly rose in the ranks and Julia traveled with him from post to post. While the Civil war raged, Jule was battling her loyalty to Julia and her desire to be free. Julia Grant found it difficult to write, read and sew because she was cross-eyed. Chiaverini demonstrated repeatedly in the story how much difficulty Julia had with her vision problems and myopia.

    The author paints a dramatic picture of the Civil War, from the assassination of Lincoln to Grant’s presidency as we follow the lives of Julia and Jule. Jule is able to read and is a gifted hairdresser. She is determined to make her own mark on society. I just finished read the book “First Lady of the Confederacy” by Joan E. Cashin about Varnia Howell Davis. Both books tell about the post Civil War friendship between Julia Grant and Varnia Davis and their work to bring the country together after the War. Julia Grant with the help of her son General Frederick Dent Grant arranged the military funeral in New York for Varnia Davis.

    This book provides an inside look at the wife of Ulysses Grant and reveals her life as First Lady. Julia Grant apparently enjoyed being first lady. This is a well written and fascinating book about the life of Julia Dent Grant. Christina Moore narrated the book.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Callander Square

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Anne Perry
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (324)
    Performance
    (213)
    Story
    (212)

    Callander Square is the second of Anne Perry's Charlotte and Thomas Pitt mysteries. Full of well-drawn and convincing characters, Callander Square offers a finely crafted recreation of Victorian England. The bodies of two newborn babies have been found in a park in the fashionable London neighborhood of Callander Square.

    Chuck says: "The Pitt Family at their best!"
    "Engaging"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    “Callander Square” is book two in Anne Perry’s Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series. The book was published in 1980. The book covers Victorian London’s neighborhood’s rich secrets. .
    Murders don’t take place in fashionable Callander Square, so Inspector Pitt’s wife Charlotte couldn’t resist finding out why one had. The plot revolves around the discovery of two infants bodies buried in the square of a high society neighborhood. The Pitts are on the case. The book is more about Victorian society, how they lived both the servants and the masters, than about solving the mystery.

    Perry covers a great deal about women in Victorian England. The author also tosses in some information about proper etiquette in the Victorian time, such as the social rules of calling and leaving cards. Perry also covers what was important to women but not to the men. It is as if there were two separate worlds, the women in the house and outside of the house.

    Perry is an excellent writer and she magically transports the reader to see what it was like living in Victorian London. One of my favorite narrators Davina Porter narrated the book.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Promising Forecast: A Miracle Rescue at Sea

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Daniel David Jones, Arthur J. Higbee
    • Narrated By John Redding
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Promising Forecast is the true story of five men who start out on a well-planned and exciting deep-sea fishing trip that quickly turns into a harrowing experience. Without any warning, their boat suddenly sinks 30 miles offshore. Shocked and disoriented, they find themselves stranded and helpless in the water for almost 19 hours with only lifejackets and a strong will to live. Each man reacts as the realities of danger and death confront them.

    Jean says: "Impressive story of survival"
    "Impressive story of survival"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A fishing trip accident in September 1986 left Daniel David Jones and Arthur Higbee and three other men drifting apart in the currant after their 32 feet fishing speedboat sank. That morning they had traveled about sixty miles out into the Atlantic Ocean from Ocean City, New Jersey to fish for Tuna.

    The story tells of their time in the water and then the miracle rescue by a freighter that almost ran them over. The book is well written and the authors were able to write about their emotions during the harrowing seventeen hour experience in a way that allows the reader to feel involved. The authors also tell a bit about their lives leading up to the trip and after they returned home.

    As equally interesting is the story of trying to get a book published. In 1986 they apparently tried to tell their story but were unsuccessful in finding a publisher. In 2004 TV’s Outdoor Life Network turned their story into a fifteen minute mini-documentary. They decided to self-publish; the book is available on Amazon and has met with some success. John Redding of Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, decided to help them by producing an audio book of the book and it is now available on Audible.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Cold Betrayal: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By J.A. Jance
    • Narrated By Karen Ziemba
    Overall
    (72)
    Performance
    (60)
    Story
    (62)

    Ali Reynolds's longtime friend and Taser-carrying nun, Sister Anselm, rushes to the bedside of a young pregnant woman hospitalized for severe injuries after she was hit by a car on a deserted Arizona highway. The girl had been running away from The Family, a polygamous cult with no patience for those who try to leave its ranks. Something about her strikes a chord in Sister Anselm, reminding her of a case she worked years before, when another young girl wasn't so lucky.

    Jean says: "Right out of the newpaper headlines"
    "Right out of the newpaper headlines"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ali and B are married, back home working as hard as ever. Bella, the long haired Dachshund, has settled in with Ali and B. Ali has two balls in the air in this story. Ali’s daughter-in-law Athena asks Ali for help to protect her grandmother Betsy Peterson who lives in Bemidji, Minnesota. Betsy lives alone on a farm with her long haired Dachshund named Princess. She is convinced someone is trying to kill her and is emptying her bank account. The local police think she is a forgetful old lady. B and his company set up a surveillance system and Ali is the detective trying to find the person who is trying to kill Betsy. If this is not enough to handle, Sister Anselm calls Ali for help. A pregnant teenage girl is hit by a car and Sister Anselm finds out she is a runaway from a polygamist commune called “The Family.” Teenage girls are force to marry and are forced to become broodmares. They are kept illiterate, live in servitude and shun the outside world. The young girls they decide not to keep are sold to the international human trafficking crime syndicate. As Ali and Anselm investigate the commune the more danger they are in.

    Jance balances the two plots lines and weaves them with great effect. The story is well written and well paced. The story seems to be right out of the headlines. It is good to learn what is going on with the regular characters in the series and maybe grandma Betsy will become a regular. Karen Ziemba does a good job narrating the story.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Unbroken: A Memoir of a Tennis Star Who Survived as a Japanese Prisoner of War

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Phillip Harman
    • Narrated By Glenn Langohr
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Phillip Harman wasn't born with a silver spoon in his mouth, he was born with a tennis racquet in his hand. As a young tennis player from California, he goes to Hong Kong for a fundraiser to help the Children of China. While there he falls in love, but Japan takes over Hong Kong and he is tortured and put in prison. Unwilling to die or be broken, he fights to survive and reunite with his new love.

    Jean says: ""Yankee Boy""
    ""Yankee Boy""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Philip Harman was a professional tennis player from Berkeley California in the late 1930s. He went to Hong Kong for a fundraiser to help the Children of China. In December 1941 Japan captured Hong Kong and he was taken as a prisoner of war.

    Harman gives a detailed account of the fall of Kowloon and Hong Kong. He starts off more excited about seeing history made than understanding the danger he was in. He points out that the Japanese were not interested in doing any fighting; they had only one interest and that was the gang and brutal rape of every female. They beat and raped every female from babies to old women leaving many of them dead. Then they started beating and interrogating white men staying in the major hotels. Harman was badly beaten several times and thought he was going to be killed. He said that the Japanese officers called him “Yankee boy,” He was starved and suffered from Beriberi and other starvation related diseases.

    The Swedish arraigned to give the prisoners safe conducted back to their countries of Britain, Netherlands and United States. The story ends with his boarding a Swedish ship.
    The book is written in the first person and is an interesting firsthand account of the fall of Hong Kong. Similar to other memoirs of the Japanese takeover of China it reveals the brutality of the Japanese soldiers particularly toward the females.

    The audio production is amateurish but the content was interesting enough to over look it. Glenn Langohr was the narrator.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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