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Jean

I am an avid eclectic reader.

Santa Cruz, CA, United States | Member Since 2015

4435
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 779 reviews
  • 816 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 55 purchased in 2015
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  • Coolidge

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Amity Shlaes
    • Narrated By Terence Aselford
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (255)
    Performance
    (220)
    Story
    (219)

    Calvin Coolidge, president from 1923 to 1929, never rated highly in polls, and history has remembered the decade in which he served as an extravagant period predating the Great Depression. Now Amity Shlaes provides a fresh look at the 1920s and its elusive president, showing that the mid-1920s was in fact a triumphant period that established our modern way of life: The nation electrified, Americans drove their first cars, and the federal deficit was replaced with a surplus.

    Jean says: "Silent Cal"
    "Silent Cal"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Amity Shlaes has produced a scholarly look at Calvin Coolidge. It is well documented but not a dry boring story that some scholars write. The book came along at a perfect time for me as I had Coolidge on my list of people to read about in 2013. The book covers Coolidge from birth to death. He was born on July 4 1972 in Plymouth Notch Vermont and died there on January 5 1933. The Coolidge family was one of the founding families of Vermont and had the frugal hard working values of New England. He went to Amherst College and met a group of men that he maintain a lifetime friendship and appointed some to government positions. For example I was surprise to learn that Dwight Morrow was an Amherst buddy of Coolidge and he appointed him to the study the role of aviation and then appointed him Ambassador to Mexico. Morrow was the father of Anne Morrow who married Charles Lindbergh. I have a book in my wish list on Anne Morrow so I was pleased with the connection. I love it when one book provides information to another I am to read. Coolidge chose to "Read the Law" rather than go to law school. Then opened up his own practice. He was active in politics and was elected to local, then state positions. He married Grace Anna Goodhue in 1905 and she was outgoing and he was shy so she was a great first lady. She was a teacher at a school for the deaf and a good friend of Elizabeth Reeve Cutter who married Dwight Morrow. When He was governor of Massachusetts he had to deal with the Boston police strike in 1919. When president he not only balanced the budget he had a surplus which he used to pay down the national debt. He had to battle Congress as they wanted to spend the money. But his basic philosophy was to leave business alone and unregulated and all would be fine. He thought aviation was the future but thought that commercial aviation should lead the way not the military. The press noted he was key to healing the country after the scandal of Harding's presidency. I will not give away any of the story you are going to enjoy reading how and why he handled all the above plus more. Terrence Aselford did an adequate job narrating the book.

    27 of 28 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.

    1 of 1 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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Jennifer Chiaverini
    • Narrated By Christina Moore
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    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.

    3 of 3 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
    (319)
    Performance
    (208)
    Story
    (207)

    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.

    3 of 3 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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Cold Betrayal: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By J.A. Jance
    • Narrated By Karen Ziemba
    Overall
    (63)
    Performance
    (51)
    Story
    (53)

    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.

    3 of 4 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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • An Ill Wind

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By David Donachie
    • Narrated By Peter Wickham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (25)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (13)

    It is 1793. John Pearce and his Pelicans are going home - to gain their freedom and put the treacherous Captain Ralph Barclay in the dock. Emily Barclay discovers Pearce has papers that would ruin her husband’s career and her future security. And then comes that dread thing, a fire aboard a wooden ship of war! Cast adrift, Pearce and his Pelicans find help from an unlikely source.

    Jean says: "A clever blend of fact and fiction"
    "A clever blend of fact and fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is book number seven in the John Pearce series. It is important to read this series in order as Donachie is going through the battle of Toulon step by step with each book in the series. This story is also set in 1793. The British navy is withdrawing from Toulon as the force led by Napoleon is overcoming the British defenses.

    Lt. Pearce is caught between the rivalries of two leading admirals and threatened by the machination of the villainous captain Ralph Barclay. There is a sharp divide between good and bad senior officers in this story. Pearce is beginning to question himself that he maybe obsessing over Captain Barclay.

    The author has done his research about the battle of Toulon and the British Navy. This historical novel does an excellent job of putting the reader right into the action at Toulon. Donachie does a good job in his depictions of a storm at sea and fire on board a wooden ship. Donachie writes a good Royal Navy historical novel but it is not in the class of Forester or O’Brien.

    I keep wondering if Pearce and his fellow Pelicans will ever be free of the Royal Navy. Peter Wickham narrated the story.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Rage for Fame: The Ascent of Clare Boothe Luce

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Sylvia Jukes Morris
    • Narrated By Elisabeth Rodgers
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    "Her technique was simple: aim for the top", an envious colleague wrote of Clare Boothe Luce. No American woman of the twentieth century aimed so accurately or rose so far as this legendary playwright, politician, and social seductress.

    Jean says: "Impressive biography"
    "Impressive biography"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Sylvia Jukes Morris’s biography published in 1997 of Clare Boothe Luce (1903-1987) is a fascinating account of the life of a beautiful, very talented writer as well as an ambitious woman. Clare was born in poverty and raised by a single mother, her mother pushed her to excel at all she did and that education was key to success.

    Clare Boothe Brokaw in 1929 started writing captions at Vogue to rise swiftly to the managing editor of Conde Nast’s literary jewel, Vanity Fair. In 1934 or 35 she published her first book entitled “Stuffed Shirts.” In the summer of 1932 she had a brief affair with Bernard Barack. In 1935 CBL married Henry Luce founder and editor in chief of Time, Fortune and Life. They were happily married until his death in 1967.

    In 1935 CBL wrote a play “Abide with Me” which was a flop. In 1936 her play “The Women” opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on Broadway as a great hit. She also wrote “Come to the Stable” which was also made into a movie. She also wrote the play “Margin for Error”. In 1940 she wrote a critically acclaimed book on the fall of France and became a war correspondent for Life magazine. On January 11, 1944 her only child Ann Clare Brokaw was killed in an automobile accident while she was a senior at Stanford University.
    In 1942 Luce won a Republican seat in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Connecticut. During her second term in the House she was instrumental in the creation of the Atomic energy Commission. In 1946 she was the co-author of the Luce-Celler Act of 1946 which increased the number of Indians and Filipinos permitted to immigrate to the U.S. and allowed them to become naturalized citizens. She became a formidable political orator in congress.

    In 1953 she was appointed Ambassador to Italy, the first American woman to hold a major diplomatic post. In 1959 she was nominated U.S. Ambassador to Brazil by President Eisenhower but she declined the job. She died in October 1987 as Grande dame of the Republican Party. Elizabeth Rodgers narrated the story.
    .

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Redoubtable: Kris Longknife, Book 8

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Mike Shepherd
    • Narrated By Dina Pearlman
    Overall
    (437)
    Performance
    (331)
    Story
    (331)

    Lieutenant Commander Kris Longknife has precise orders: seek out, engage, and destroy pirates, slavers, and drug lords operating beyond the rim of human space - without interfering in Peterwald family affairs. But when slavers kidnap a 12-year-old girl, Kris's mission becomes personal. And if destroying the pirate compound flattens some Peterwald interests - well, to hell with politics.

    Jean says: "Kris and Vicky work together"
    "Kris and Vicky work together"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is book eight in the Longknife series. Kris was promoted to Lieutenant Commander at the end of the last book and sent back to the Rim to patrol for pirates and watch the Greenfeld (Peterwald) territory. Kris is still healing from the wounds she received in the last book and Nelly is enjoying her new babies. Kris is disappointed because she wanted to go hunting for what is happening to the lost ships in book 7. She is now in command of a small fleet of pirate hunters.

    Kris arrives to help Kaskatos, a planet suffering from a famine but before she can help the inhabitants she must deal with renegade soldiers stealing what little food there is on the planet. To add further problems for Kris the planet is technically in Greenfeld territory and outside Kris’s jurisdiction. Now she must carry on political negotiation with the Peterwald, on top of helping the planet dealing with pirates and so on. There is less interaction between crew members in this story and more about the Kris and the Peterwald family. Kris and Vicky continue to work on a friendly relationship. Abby’s niece Kara is kidnapped Kris and Vicky join forces to search and rescue Kara.

    As with the prior books in the series this book has lots of action, suspense and witty dialogue. The pace is very fast and Shepherd is good with the battle scenes. Kris has my favorite character in the book her personal computer “Nelly” and now the addition of “Nelly’s babies.” The personal computers are designed by Nelly for Kris’s key crewmen. Dina Pearlman continues her excellent narration of the series.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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