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Jean

I am an avid eclectic reader.

Santa Cruz, CA, United States | Member Since 2010

3754
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 694 reviews
  • 731 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 197 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
644

  • Taken in Death: In Death, Book 37.5

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By J. D. Robb
    • Narrated By Susan Ericksen
    Overall
    (1280)
    Performance
    (1142)
    Story
    (1152)

    Two young children disappear from their East Side home in New York City, their nanny killed in cold blood. As Lieutenant Eve Dallas begins to unravel the crime scene and search for Henry and Gala MacDermit, she's drawn into the twisted mind of a kidnapper who will stop at nothing to take revenge. Horrific threats concerning the brother and sister hit far too close to home for Eve, drawing her back into memories of her own tortured childhood.

    Patricia says: "Was she in a hurry?"
    "kidnapped children"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Each year Robb publishes a novel and a short novella. This is the 2013 novella. The story is fast paced with lots of action, suspense humor and the usual great interaction of the regular characters of the series. It is the cast of characters that make this such a great series. I started the series because I was curious at how Robb perceived what the world would be like in 2060 and what crime fighting advancements would be. Susan Ericksen is critical to the success of the series, she is a great narrator. This story has a twin female, who is insane, kidnap her identical twin sister's children and murder their nanny. Dallas and team are out to rescue them. The children are also identical twins which add another twist to the story. Robb weaves a couple of children's fairy tales into the story If you are a fan of the series you will enjoy this. If you are looking for a short easy to listen to story this is the book.

    2 of 2 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
    (36)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (31)

    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
    (28)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (28)

    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
    (58)
    Performance
    (49)
    Story
    (50)

    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
    (37)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (35)

    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
  • George Marshall: A Biography

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Debi Unger, Irwin Unger
    • Narrated By Johnny Heller
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    A major historical biography of George C. Marshall - the general who ran the U.S. campaign during the Second World War, the Secretary of State who oversaw the successful rebuilding of post-war Europe, and the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize - and the first to offer a complete picture of his life.

    Jean says: "Disappointing"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Winston Churchill called George Marshall the organizer of victory in World War II. President Harry Truman said George Marshall made the greatest contribution to the country over the preceding thirty years. Yet we rarely hear or read much about him. “George Marshall: A Biography” was begun some years ago by the historian Stanly Hirshson. After his death in 2003, Debi and Irwin Unger took up the project. The book is based mainly on previously published sources and says relatively little about Marshall’s personal life and the book breaks no new ground. Marshall presented a difficult problem for biographers. Marshall did not write his memories nor did he leave a trail of revealing letters or diaries.

    George Marshall was a descendant of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall. George Marshall was born in Pennsylvania in 1880. He graduated from the Virginia Military Institute. He was posted to the Philippines, and then when reassigned to the States he worked at the Infantry and Calvary School at Fort Leavenworth Kansas. In World War I Marshall served as an aid to General John Pershing, planning battles and trying with Pershing to make the case for universal military training. George Marshall was Army Chief of Staff during World War II, transforming a week military to the world’s strongest. The Unger’s reveal how he turned what was an Army of 200,000 ill-trained, ill equipped men in 1939 into one of 8.5 million six years later. It was a huge bureaucratic task and it was done while identifying and elevating men like Eisenhower, Patton, Clark and Bradley through the ranks, dealing with Congress and the British, and not least, strategizing about how to defeat the Japanese and Nazi simultaneously. The authors write that Marshall’s management process was to identify talented men in the War Department and empower them. In other words he was an excellent delegator. Marshall appointed Eisenhower to preside over the Allies and to command D-Day. Marshall was Secretary of State (1947-1949) and fought to sway the acceptance of the Marshall Plan and fought with Congress to enact it. Marshall promoted and encouraged the careers at State of George Kennan and Dean Acheson. Marshall acted brilliantly as Secretary of State and Ambassador to China. He was Secretary of Defense in 1950 and retired to private life in 1951. Marshall won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953 the same year Churchill won it for Literature.

    The book is not a balanced account. The unexceptional portrait that emerges from the pages of the book consistently under rates or misrepresent Marshall’s motives and the challenges he had to overcome. The Unger strike a revisionist view of Marshall. The Unger’s persistently seem to be looking for any negative flaw in Marshall and if they could not find one, they overlooked or misrepresented Marshal’s motivation and actions to undermine him. Marshall’s integrity outweighed even his military, strategic and diplomatic skill but the authors overlooked this. Forrest C. Pogue’s biography in 1963 and Ed Cray’s “General of the Army” 1990 remain the standard account of Marshall.

    What I look for in a biography is a balanced, unbiased reporting of the facts; I except the author to have done due diligence in researching for documentation and to gather verify information from more than one source before reporting it as a fact in the book. I cannot recommend this book unless one already has studied World War Two and the post war period and has a firm understanding of the history of the period and the role Marshall played. Johnny Heller narrated the book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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