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Jean

I am an avid eclectic reader.

Santa Cruz, CA, United States | Member Since 2010

3771
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 695 reviews
  • 732 ratings
  • 1871 titles in library
  • 199 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
12
FOLLOWERS
643

  • Red Cell: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Mark Henshaw
    • Narrated By Rob Patterson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (140)
    Performance
    (123)
    Story
    (125)

    Red Cell follows Kyra Stryker and Jonathan Burke, two outcasts in the Agency who are brought together in the Red Cell, the agency’s out-of-the-box think tank. Stryker is a young and beautiful agent who’s struggling to recover from a job gone bad, while Burke is a straight-laced analyst who’s pissed off all his colleagues. When a raid on Chinese spies in Taiwan ends in a shootout, CIA Director Cooke turns to the Red Cell to figure out why China is ready to invade the island nation without any fear of reprisal.

    Jean says: "Good action story"
    "Good action story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is my first book by Mark Henshaw. This book starts out as a spy story in Venezuela when CIA agent Kyra Stryker escapes a trap but is wounded. On her return to Washington D.C. she is assigned to the Red Cell an out of the box analyst group headed by Jonathan Burke. They are busy with a problem in Taiwan and China trying to discover what secret weapon the Chinese have developed. They discover the Assassin's Mace and while trying to find out what it is they have to meet and bring out one of the CIA asset in China called Pioneer. The first half of the book is spies and suspense the second half of the book is naval ship and air action. Lots of excitment and a fast pace story. Rob Patterson does a great job with the narration. Henshaw does a great job in tying up the story at the end of the book, so many authors leave us readers hanging.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Farallon: Shipwreck and Survival on the Alaska Shore

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Steve K. Lloyd
    • Narrated By Frank Wright
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    On a snowy morning in January 1910, the Alaska Steamship Company's Farallon struck Black Reef in Cook Inlet. The vessel carried no wireless radio to broadcast an SOS. Thirty-eight men scrambled into lifeboats, to be cast up on the rugged shore where they huddled under make-shift tents constructed from the Farallon's sails. Exposed to a bitter northern winter with meager equipment and clothing, a disturbing awareness sank in-rescuers may arrive too late.

    Jean says: "Gripping Tale of Survival"
    "Gripping Tale of Survival"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When I was a kid I loved stories about survival and shipwrecks, I still do. This book is the story of the shipwreck of the S.S. Farallon, a wooden schooner steamship that was used to transport lumber. On a snowy morning January 5, 1910 the S. S. Farallon struck Black Reef in Cook Inlet Alaska. With no radio to call for help, the crew scrambled into lifeboats and headed for the shore.

    The book tells of how the crew survived being castaways in the barren wilderness in midwinter with temperature plunging to -40 degree Fahrenheit. The author provides background of the various mariners and ships that played a part in the events that unfolded while pacing the narrative in a compelling manner. The author’s research was extensive and the book is well document. One of the crew members was an amateur photographer; he grabbed his Kodak camera when he went into the lifeboat. He took one hundred photographs of their ordeal. The photograph collection is at the University of Washington.

    It is hard to believe that these men actually managed to survive their ordeal. The book tells of the courage and stamina that it takes to come through alive. The author states that pieces of the ship are still on the rocks of the uninhabited coastline, undisturbed a century later. The book was published in 2000 by the Washington State University press and contains some of the pictures of the ordeal. The audio book was released on November 11, 2014. Frank Wright narrated the book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Thirteen Soldiers: A Personal History of Americans at War

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By John McCain, Mark Salter
    • Narrated By John McCain
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    John McCain’s evocative history of Americans at war, told through the personal accounts of 13 remarkable soldiers who fought in major military conflicts, from the Revolutionary War of 1776 to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Jean says: "Stories of courage"
    "Stories of courage"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    John McCain, a Senator from Arizona and a former Navy aviator wrote this book about thirteen soldiers. The author identifies a single soldier, sailor, airman, or marine from each of American’s thirteen major wars to eulogize for courage under fire. The chapters follow the books basic format, setting the world stage, recalling the principal person’s prewar life and then describing the person’s performance of duty.

    For example, the Civil War the authors chose Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. For the 1898 Spanish American war Edward Baker, a Buffalo Soldier cavalryman and Medal of Honor recipient. Persian Gulf War Mary Rhoads a reservist and the Afghanistan War medic Monica Lin Brown. The war of 1812 a black seaman named Charles Black. From the Viet Nam war Leo Thorsness an F-105 wild Weasel pilot, prisoner of war and Medal of Honor recipient.

    The Wide variety of characters from different race and gender from each military service makes for many fascinating stories. The book as a whole offers insights into life during battle. The authors cover ordinary soldiers going through difficult experiences. The story I enjoyed the most was of Medic Monica Lin Brown. I was familiar with most of the other story told. John McCain narrates the book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Blood on the Water: William Monk, Book 20

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Anne Perry
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    Overall
    (37)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (32)

    In her twentieth William Monk mystery, she brings us to London's grand Mayfair mansions, where the arrogant masters of the Western world hold sway - and to the teeming Thames waterfront, where one summer afternoon, Monk witnesses the horrifying explosion of the pleasure boat Princess Mary, which takes nearly two hundred of the merrymakers on board to their deaths. The tragedy is no accident.

    Jean says: "Captivating"
    "Captivating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is number twenty in the Monk series. Monk, commander of London’s River Police, is on patrol with his deputy Orem, when suddenly a large explosion rips open the bow of “The Princess Mary” a large party boat. They set about assisting in the rescue of people but over 179 people die. The next day Monk dives in a hard hat diving suit to see if he can find the site of the explosion. Monk is taken off the case and it is turned over to the head of the Metropolitan police. The police quickly arrest an Egyptian man who is quickly tried and convicted. Monk, Hester and Scuff set out to find the real killer.

    The book is mainly a morality tale but scuff and his new friend Worm add a bit of lively detail to the story. Perry’s strength lies in her extensive knowledge of the Victorian era which enlivens and adds authentic color to the well-plotted narrative. Every detail of custom and dress, manners is carefully aligned with the 1860’s England, with teeming streets, polluted waterways and deeply rooted class structure and social mannerism. The author’s depiction of life along the waterfront is authentic and most interesting historically. Perry manages to integrate the construction of the Suez Canal into the 1860 story
    .
    The story moves on at a very fast pace until the surprising conclusion is reached almost on the last page. I have enjoyed this series and find that it is Hester that I have grown most interested in and enjoy. David Colacci narrated the story and has narrated the majority of books in this series. Colacci does an excellent job with the narration. If you enjoy historical novels set in Victorian England you will enjoy this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • On His Own Terms: A Life of Nelson Rockefeller

    • UNABRIDGED (40 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Richard Norton Smith
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    From acclaimed historian Richard Norton Smith comes the definitive life of an American icon: Nelson Rockefeller—one of the most complex and compelling figures of the twentieth century.

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

    Richard Norton Smith is a well known historian and biographer. He is known for his strenuously researched, fully contextualized, comprehensive biographies. True to his reputation he has created an outstanding, comprehensive biography of Nelson A. Rockefeller.

    Nelson Rockefeller was the grandson of John D. Rockefeller and was born on his grandfather’s birthday. His father was John D. Rockefeller Jr. The author states that because NR did not have to make a living he chose to dedicate his life to public service. Smith spends about a third of the book on NR early life.

    Smith describes NR’s first job in government in August 1940 when he was appointed Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs by President Franklin Roosevelt. He was charged with designing economic aid and cultural programs for Latin America. He spent fifteen years in Washington as a special adviser, undersecretary and cabinet member for three successive presidents two of them democrats. Smith states NR developed a reputation as a visionary connoisseur of innovative thinking. In 1957 he became the Governor of New York. While governor he expanded colleges, parks and state infrastructure. Smith states NR blazed trails in funding the arts, protecting the consumer, restoring the environment and advancing transportation, human rights, highway safety and so on. On the negative side Smith states that in his final years as governor he became a budgetary hawk, did a right ward shift on welfare, did a brutal suppression of the rebellion at Attica state prison in 1971 and created draconian drug laws in 1973.

    Smith does not wallow in salacious details nor does he close his eyes to Rockefeller’s flagrant adultery and its personal and political consequences. He pulls no punches in this biography. Smith reports that as Rockefeller aged he became even more confident in his superiority, more self indulgent and more oblivious to his marginalization within the Republican Party.

    Smith reveals NR had dyslexia; therefore he called in authors, experts to explain their ideas to him instead of reading the reports. Because of his wealth he was able to create a brain trust around himself to assist him and to inform him of the latest ideas, knowledge etc.

    Nelson Rockefeller has been the subject of at least ten previous biographies but this one may turn out to be the most definitive one. This book is 880 pages or 41 hours in the audio book format but I could hard put it down it kept my attention throughout. Smith spend 14 years doing meticulous research, this included not only the prior biographies but also interviews with early Rockefeller contemporaries and 60,000 pages of newly available oral histories and family archives as well as the newly released letters of NR’s first wife Mary Rockefeller. This biography is all that an unbiased biography should be. Paul Michael did a good job narrating the book.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Deserter: Kris Longknife, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Mike Shepherd
    • Narrated By Dina Pearlman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (586)
    Performance
    (399)
    Story
    (403)

    Kris Longknife had no choice about growing up rich and pampered. When she did have a choice, she joined the Marines. But now, a friend needs help halfway across the galaxy - and with a military heritage coursing through her blood, it's time for Kris Longknife to be a hero.

    Mariya says: "Planet Traps & Booby Traps"
    "Intriguing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is book two in the Kris Longknife series. The story flows more smoothly in this second installment. Shepherd appears skilled in writing conversations between intelligent witty people.

    Kris sets out to rescue her friend Tom. Kris has some determined enemies who’d like to kill her and tried to get to her via her friend Tom. She is the Prime Minister’s daughter, billionaire in her own right, member of an extremely wealthy and powerful multigenerational family, and a Navy lieutenant 2nd Class, and now a Princess in a new star nation/empire.

    The story is interesting and fun read. There was more action in the second half of the story. The suspense keeps one on the edge of their seats. The story is well written and intriguing because the Kris in installment two is a bit different from the one in Mutineer. This is a somewhat typical space opera that is all about characters along with some action, suspense and just a good read. Dina Pearlman narrated the book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • 41: A Portrait of My Father

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By George W. Bush
    • Narrated By George W. Bush
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (32)

    George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States, has authored a personal biography of his father, George H. W. Bush, the 41st president. Forty-three men have served as president of the United States. Countless books have been written about them. But never before has a president told the story of his father, another president, through his own eyes and in his own words. A unique and intimate biography, the book covers the entire scope of the elder President Bush’s life and career.

    Chase says: "Great Story of a Son's Adoration of his Father."
    "Engaging"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    George W. Bush writes what he calls a “love story” about his father. The book is folksy and a fun read. The book is obviously not unbiased but the author tried to paint a true picture of his father and family from his own viewpoint. George W. discusses his father’s influence on him throughout his own life.

    George W writes of his father’s early success. He writes his father gave him “unconditional love.” He discusses his father’s well-known generosity, his talent for friendship and his willingness to take risks. The most interesting parts of the book deals with the personal side of the George H. W. Bush. The author discusses his father’s service in the Pacific during WWII, his pioneering work in the Texas oil business and his political rise as a Congressman. He reviews his work as U.S. Representative to China and the United Nations, CIA director, Vice President and President.

    This is the only presidential biography of a father written by his son who was also a president. It is also the closest thing to an autobiography of Bush 41, since he has never written a memoir. George W. Bush narrated his own book. I fully enjoyed learning about the personal side of 41.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Flesh and Blood: A Scarpetta Novel, Book 22

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Patricia Cornwell
    • Narrated By Lorelei King
    Overall
    (62)
    Performance
    (52)
    Story
    (53)

    It's Dr. Kay Scarpetta's birthday, and she's about to head to Miami for a vacation with Benton Wesley, her FBI profiler husband, when she notices seven pennies on a wall behind their Cambridge house. Is this a kids' game? If so, why are all of the coins dated 1981 and so shiny they could be newly minted? Her cellphone rings, and Detective Pete Marino tells her there's been a homicide five minutes away. A high school music teacher has been shot with uncanny precision as he unloaded groceries from his car.

    Jean says: "Spine-tingling"
    "Spine-tingling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is book twenty-two in the Dr. Kay Scarpetta series. It is Kay’s birthday and FBI agent Benton Wesley, Kay’s husband are about to leave for a birthday trip to Florida. Det. Pete Marino calls Scarpetta to the scene of a fatal shooting in Cambridge. Questions arise—are these serial sniper attacks? Is it related to two shootings in New Jersey? The victim was erroneously classified a terrorist is this a factor? The hunt is on. Lucy, Scarpetta’s technology genius niece is being framed and Scarpetta is out to prove Lucy is the victim. We have the usual conflicts and infighting among the usual series characters.

    The book has lots of suspense. Cornwell’s writing has improved with this book. She is now back to her old elegant style. The book is back to the old style of having Scarpetta narrating the story. The book ends with an unusual ending for Cornwell—a cliffhanger.

    I keep wondering when Cornwell will close the Scarpetta series and start a new one featuring Lucy. This audio book also has a new narrator Lorelei King. Kate Burton (Richard Burton’s daughter) has probably narrated more of the series than any other narrator. I prefer a series always use the same narrator but unfortunately this series does not.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Martian Summer: My Ninety Days with Interplanetary Pioneers, Tempermental Robots, and NASA's Phoenix Mars Mission

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Andrew Kessler
    • Narrated By Adam Schneemann
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Get up close and personal with science as Andrew Kessler narrates his hilarious journey inside NASA’s Phoenix Mars mission - a historic enterprise manned by a motley crew of rocket scientists. The Phoenix Mars mission was the first man-made probe ever sent to the Martian arctic.

    Jean says: "Interesting"
    "Interesting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Kessler is the co-producer of a Discovery Channel feature on the quest for life on Mars. He was chosen to chronicle the 2008 Phoenix Lander’s ninety days around the red plant’s North Pole, with daily access to the earth-side scientist running the experiments. The mission was to search for evidence of water and organic chemistry, two pre-requisites for determining whether life exists on Mars. The Mission head Peter Smith thought a popular account of the discoveries and the scientist behind them would help inspire a new generation to enter space science.

    The author provides some fascinating glimpses of the real work of a space mission. Keeler covers the problems with the robot arm and the onboard analytical equipment and how it was solved and the discovery of liquid water on the surface of Mars. Unfortunately only someone who is already a space fan would find the book interesting. The less than stellar treatment of the story leaves much to be desired if the goal was to attract young people into a space career. I did not care for the flippant style the book was written in, I felt the topic much too serious for that attitude to be acceptable. For those who are space science fans this is an interesting story. Adam Schneemann did a good job narrating the book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Handsome Man's Deluxe Cafe

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Alexander McCall Smith
    • Narrated By Lisette Lecat
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (36)
    Story
    (36)

    In this delightful 15th installment, Mma Ramotswe has her hands full both at home and in the office. To add to her current challenges, her devoted partner, Grace Makutsi, has decided to branch out on her own and open The Handsome Man's Deluxe Cafe. But even “Miss 97 Per Cent” can't quite meet all the demands of running a business - not to mention those that a lightning strike makes on her building.

    Jean says: "Enchanting"
    "Enchanting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is book fifteen in the Number one ladies detective agency of Botswana. I am a big fan of Alexander McCall Smith’s books. He has captured the rhythm of Africa in the pace of the story. Our protagonist is the philosophizing Mma Precious Ramotswe, owner of the detective agency. The world wide recesses ion has hit Botswana and Precious and her husband J. L. B. Matekoni are attempting to economize.

    Mma Grace Matkutsi, Precious’s secretary and partner suddenly decides to open a café. Apparently knowing nothing about operating this type of business she plunges ahead. Precious obtains a new client an East Asian woman who has amnesia.

    The book is vintage Alexander McCall Smith, fluffy philosophy, gentle people, some suspense and humor. Lisette Lecat is delightful narrating the book. She is from South Africa and has all the pronunciation correct as well as the lilting pace of speech.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Until the Sea Shall Give Up Her Dead: Adventures of Charles Hayden, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By S. Thomas Russell
    • Narrated By Daniel Philpott
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (9)

    Master and Commander Charles Hayden has received fresh orders that take him and the HMS Themis to the Caribbean, with instructions to meddle with French shipping to the colonies. While en route, they rescue two Spanish castaways who beg for help fleeing from a vengeful family situation - Hayden agrees to do what he can, though it’s soon clear his two new guests aren’t exactly what they seem.

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

    This is book four in the Captain Charles Hayden series. It is a high sea adventure historical novel. The story is set toward the end of the 18th century at the beginning of the Napoleonic wars.

    The opening of the story has the Captain and Crew of HMS Themis stationed in Bridgetown Barbados. HMS Themis comes upon a pair of half dead shipwreck survivors, a young Spanish nobleman and his beautiful sister. They are fleeing to the New World for safe harbor. HMS Themis rescues a cripple slave ship and tows it to Barbados. The Themis is ordered out on patrol in a squadron of three other ships under command of Captain Jones. Two other ships in the fleet disappear leaving just the two ships. Then the fun begins.

    There is lots of tactics and age of sail strategizing, hand to hand combat, dangerous harbor raids, ship to ship battles, suspense, action and of course, superiors who are more interested in glory than survival. The book is easy to read, period accurate in every detail and well written. If you are a fan of the British Navy in the days of sail you will enjoy this series. Daniel Philpott does a good job narrating the book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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