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E. Stein

Bedford, NY | Member Since 2004

ratings
25
REVIEWS
10
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
2
HELPFUL VOTES
51

  • Rest You Merry

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Charlotte MacLeod
    • Narrated By John McLain
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (70)
    Performance
    (63)
    Story
    (63)

    For years, Professor Peter Shandy has been badgered by Jemima Ames, Assistant Librarian and Annual Chairperson, to decorate his campus home for the Grand Illumination which is Balaclava Agricultural College's main fund-raising event. Now he can hold out no longer. Goaded to madness, he buries his small brick house under an avalanche of plastic reindeer, flashing lights, and fake Santa Clauses. Hooks up an amplifier blaring "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth," locks the switches at "on," and escapes to sea on a tramp steamer....

    connie says: "not just for Christmas - but it helps!"
    "The epitome of cozy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a frothy, enjoyable cozy, in accordance with my own rules for cozies: the murder(s) take place off camera, the victim is unattractive, the murderers more so, and the whole thing is intended more as entertainment than mental puzzle. Those who take exception to MacLeod's writing and dialogue for being unrealistic are entirely missing the point, and if you don't like a little goofiness in your reading matter, you won't like this. But if you have a taste for the absurd and you like wittiness rather than grittiness, you'll like this.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A History of England from the Tudors to the Stuarts

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Bucholz
    Overall
    (86)
    Performance
    (76)
    Story
    (76)

    During the 229-year period from 1485 to 1714, England transformed itself from a minor feudal state into what has been called "the first modern society" and emerged as the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world.Those years hold a huge and captivating story. The English survived repeated epidemics and famines, one failed invasion and two successful ones, two civil wars, a series of violent religious reformations and counter-reformations, and confrontations with two of the most powerful monarchs on earth.

    E. Stein says: "Old-fashioned and inaccurate"
    "Old-fashioned and inaccurate"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Bucholz has written some respected texts, but in this series he has relied on outdated research. His lectures on Henry VII and Henry VIII are sound enough, but by the time he got to Edward VI it was clear he had read no recent historical writing; he repeated the myth that Edward was weakly from birth, that Northumberland had conspired to put his son and daughter in law on the throne, and a number of other inaccuracies. Finally I had to stop listening. There are better books out there: David Loades' books on each of the Tudor monarchs are excellent, readable, and well-researched, Diarmuid MacCulloch wrote a good one on Edward, Dale Hoak's Age of Henry VIII is both interesting and easy to listen to.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Story of Medieval England: From King Arthur to the Tudor Conquest

    • ORIGINAL (19 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Jennifer Paxton
    Overall
    (145)
    Performance
    (136)
    Story
    (134)

    These 36 lectures tell the remarkable story of a tumultuous thousand-year period in the history of England. Dominated by war, conquest, and the struggle to balance the stability brought by royal power with the rights of the governed, it was a period that put into place the foundation of much of the world we know today. As you journey through this largely chronological narrative you'll see key themes emerge, including the assimilation of successive waves of invaders, the tense relationship between kings and the nobility, and the constant battles over money and taxation.

    Jake says: "I was happily surprised!"
    "Excellent!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Professor Paxton is both engaging and learned; her lectures were entertaining but she treats her subject with depth and perspective. Highly recommended.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Benevent Treasure: A Miss Silver Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Patricia Wentworth
    • Narrated By Diana Bishop
    Overall
    (69)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (36)

    Somewhere among the dust and cobwebs of the sinister Benevent Mansion lies the legendary Benevent treasure. But a terrible death has been prophesied for anyone who uncovers it.

    When Candida Sayle is invited to visit her elderly maiden aunts, she dismisses such gloomy thoughts. But, as Candida begins to discover the family's dark secrets, she puts herself in grave danger. Thankfully, Miss Silver is at hand with investigative skills of her own.

    Constance says: "Clever British Classic"
    "Enjoyably old-fashioned"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is one of the more Gothic entrants in the Wentworth series, a shamelessly romantic (in both senses of the word) thriller with a marvelous set of characters. You will have to set aside your disbelief and just enjoy the story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Pint of Murder: Madoc & Janet Rhys, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Charlotte MacLeod
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (56)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
    (48)

    Old Agatha Treadway baked her own bread, canned her own vegetables - and died of botulism in her very own kitchen. Accident, says Dr. Druffitt. Murder, says neighbor Janet Wadman. And says it again when she finds the doctor dead, too. Detective Inspector Madoc Rhys, of the royal Canadian Mounted Police, agrees. But who's the killer...? The town miser, who wants the one thing only Mrs. Treadway could have given him? The miser's son who's panting for the doctor's daughter? Widow Druffitt, who's holding secret meetings with unlikely people? The hired girl who listens at keyholes? The hired man who hides in haylofts?

    connie says: "cute Canadian cozy"
    "comfort food"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have read this book before, so I knew what to expect: a good story, a cozy atmosphere, reasonably gore-free murders, good characters. It's not remotely suspenseful, it's essentially good macaroni and cheese for those days when you yearn for just that. Charlotte MacLeod is always gently funny; this series is set in Canada, in a small community that seems real but not realistic. Other series are different. Her "Grub and Stakers" series is practically slapstick, sometimes silly; her Sarah Kelling series starts darker and gets progressively lighter; the Balaclava series is kind of a mixture of all. This series, with Janet and Madoc, is like those Balaclava ones.

    The reader is okay; I would have preferred a woman's voice, given a female protagonist, but he's pretty good, and his pronunciation is fine.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Princess Elizabeth's Spy: A Maggie Hope Mystery, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Susan Elia MacNeal
    • Narrated By Susan Duerden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (330)
    Performance
    (297)
    Story
    (293)

    Susan Elia MacNeal introduced the remarkable Maggie Hope in her acclaimed debut, Mr. Churchill's Secretary. Now Maggie returns to protect Britain's beloved royals against an international plot - one that could change the course of history. As World War II sweeps the continent and England steels itself against German attack, Maggie Hope, former secretary to Prime Minister Winston Churchill, completes her training to become a spy for MI-5.

    A. Dyer says: "Bring back Wanda McCaddon as narrator"
    "Not as good as the first"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Plot is pretty silly, characterization worse. The first book was a better mesh of story and research; in this, the research is too prominent and less skillfully introduced. Overall, it seems as if the writer rushed to produce a second in the series. It doesn't help that the reader has a quite annoying intonation, with a rhythm in her speech that is both artificial and continuous, although she does a good job with characters and accents.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Winter King: The Dawn of Tudor England

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Thomas Penn
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (168)
    Performance
    (140)
    Story
    (141)

    A fresh look at the endlessly fascinating Tudors - the dramatic and overlooked story of Henry VII and his founding of the Tudor Dynasty - filled with spies, plots, counter-plots, and an uneasy royal succession to Henry VIII. Near the turn of the sixteenth century, England had been ravaged for decades by conspiracy and civil war. Henry Tudor clambered to the top of the heap, a fugitive with a flimsy claim to England’s crown who managed to win the throne and stay on it for 24 years.

    E. Stein says: "Excellent portrayal of a man and his time"
    "Excellent portrayal of a man and his time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the first modern biography of Henry VII, and it is long overdue. Penn does an excellent job of pulling together the complicated story of Henry's reign, its improbable and contested beginning, and its tragedies and betrayals. Henry is a difficult man to sympathize with, which perhaps explains the dearth of biographers, but the strains and disappointments of his reign explain a good deal about the subsequent Tudor preoccupations with legitimacy, continental standing, and continuity. This should satisfy both serious history students and those wishing for a general introduction to Tudor England. The narrator is quite good, as well.

    18 of 18 people found this review helpful
  • Frederica

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Georgette Heyer
    • Narrated By Clifford Norgate
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (711)
    Performance
    (412)
    Story
    (414)

    Rich and handsome, the hope of ambitious mothers and despair of his sisters, the Marquis of Alverstoke sees no reason to put himself out for anyone. But when a distant connection applies to him for help, he finds himself far from bored.

    connie says: "not run-of-the mill chick lit"
    "Classic delight"
    Overall

    Georgette Heyer's novels are well-written, witty, and fun to read. They do not zoom along; the enjoyment is in hearing the dialog, relishing the period details, the language and the descriptions. Some of them are more formulaic than others, but Frederica is one of her more interesting female characters, and her relationship with Alverstoke is believable and fun to observe. There is a dog, as usual, and some precocious children. Mostly, though, it's a good book, a classic in the genre of escape fiction, in the sense of writing that gives you an alternate place to be when you need one.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Elizabeth and Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Jane Dunn
    • Narrated By Donada Peters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (260)
    Performance
    (68)
    Story
    (69)

    In a rich and riveting narrative, Jane Dunn reveals the extraordinary rivalry between the regal cousins. It is the story of two queens ruling on one island, each with a claim to the throne of England, each embodying dramatically opposing qualities of character, ideals of womanliness (and views of sexuality), and divinely ordained kingship.

    Catharina says: "Fantastic book"
    "Good general intro"
    Overall

    It's an interesting premise, comparing the two queens, and it is both useful and thought-provoking. There was a fair amount of repetition of ideas, though, of the kind of summary one expects from the introduction or the ending of a work, not continually reiterated within it. The reader's voice is fine, not annoying at all.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Reformation [Modern Library Chronicles]

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Patrick Collinson
    • Narrated By John McDonough
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    Renowned scholar Patrick Collinson is Regius Professor of Modern History, Emeritus, Cambridge. He states, "The Reformation (and Counter Reformation) was the blast furnace in which the modern state was forged." This engaging work offers a concise overview of the ecumenical revolution of the late medieval and Renaissance periods. Narrator John McDonough's presentation of the spiritual and the secular elements that led to religious reform will captivate listeners.

    E. Stein says: "Not for beginners"
    "Not for beginners"
    Overall

    This is not a book for someone who knows nothing about the Reformation to begin with--the theological distinctions between Luther and Calvin, let alone Zwingli and Melanchthon, are hard for a non-Protestant to understand, and the relative brevity of the work doesn't give him time to really hash it out (to be fair, the issues that separated these guys are sometimes hard to appreciate, even when they're understood). However, it is very well-written, and since the author is one of the best-known scholars on the subject it is certainly reliable. It is an excellent overview of a complicated subject. In addition, the narrator is excellent.

    17 of 17 people found this review helpful

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