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despinne

Member Since 2000

88
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 27 reviews
  • 60 ratings
  • 796 titles in library
  • 22 purchased in 2014
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  • The Snakehead: An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Patrick Radden Keefe
    • Narrated By Feodor Chin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (50)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (22)

    A mesmerizing narrative about the rise and fall of an unlikely international crime boss. Based on hundreds of interviews, Patrick Radden Keefe's sweeping narrative tells the story not only of Sister Ping, but of the gangland gunslingers who worked for her, the immigration and law enforcement officials who pursued her, and the generation of penniless immigrants who risked death and braved a 17,000 mile odyssey so that they could realize their own version of the American dream.

    Roy says: "But Is It a Crime?"
    "Little Old Ladies Are Criminals Too"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Snakehead to be better than the print version?

    I vaguely remember the news about the leading incident in the book, wherein a ship wrecks and discharges its payload of would-be immigrants on a riverbank in NYC, as close to its destination as possible. The story about the search for the ultimate head of the business, who turns out to be a Chinese grandmother businesswoman who sees herself as helping her neighbors (at $30,000 a pop) is enlightening, particularly now when most of the news stories are about immigrants smuggled over the US-Mexican border. Not only Mexicans are being smuggled via that route, and it's been said Kazakh nuclear weapons could be brought in. Just yesterday, in Russia, an Iranian was caught trying to smuggle nuclear material out of the country by airplane--he was released, but his material stayed in the country. For how long? The US government hires minimum wage flunkeys to


    What other book might you compare The Snakehead to and why?

    I've never seen any similar book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blood Oil

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By James Phelan
    • Narrated By Adrian Mulraney
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Now working as an investigative journalist, Lachlan Fox has been visiting some of the world's trouble spots. But a trip to Africa brings him face to face with a horror that could change him forever. Set in Nigeria, the US and UK, the book is about terrorism, oil supply and poverty.

    despinne says: "Ho Hum"
    "Ho Hum"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Blood Oil to be better than the print version?

    If I had read the print version, why would I be listening to the audio?


    Have you listened to any of Adrian Mulraney’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    It is always irritating to hear narrators mispronounce words: Kabul is Cobble, not Kah-bull; and others. Then you have to feel that the story is suspect.


    Any additional comments?

    Why is there music at the beginning? Aside from the distraction of poor music the narrator starts talking, defining two terms that you can't understand because of the music. This author is no Clive Cussler.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Napoleon

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs)
    • By H.A.L. Fisher
    • Narrated By Charlton Griffin
    Overall
    (97)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (40)

    Between 1796 and 1815, the continent of Europe was held in thrall by one of the most remarkable personalities of modern times, a man whose name was on the lips of every man, woman, and child: Napoleon Bonaparte. Certainly, one would have to go back to the time of Charlemagne to find his equal on the field of battle, in the halls of diplomacy, or in the courts of jurisprudence.

    Theresa says: "A very good short biography"
    "Can't Audible Find a GOOD book on Napoleon?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A lot less overacting. It's a book, not a documentary video. Another reader might have helped--maybe the guy who read the book Making Rounds with Oscar.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Charlton Griffin’s performances?

    ABSOLUTELY NOT! I expect I shall have nightmares for some time about this reader--decked in full British General's regalia--holding forth on the dangerous Bonaparte.


    What character would you cut from Napoleon?

    The story of Napoleon is not at fault. History IS--or was.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Plantagenets: People & Places

    • UNABRIDGED (8 mins)
    • By iMinds
    • Narrated By Ellouise Rothwell
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (6)

    The House of Plantagenet was a royal house of 15 monarchs who ruled England from 1154-1485. The Plantagenets originally came from France, where they ruled a county called Anjou. They were a strange and powerful family, complex and prone to insanity. Their founder, Count Fulk III (known as "The Black"), had his wife burned at the stake in her wedding dress when he discovered she was sleeping with a goatherd.

    despinne says: "Quick List of Kings"
    "Quick List of Kings"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Plantagenets rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is hardly designed to be a top listen. It's only 8 minutes. But if you need a quick list for an overview, it fills the bill, unlike straight history.


    Any additional comments?

    Recommended for students of history who wish to define the Plantagenets. I was pleased to learn something new--a little about the French origin of the family. I knew Anjou, but little more. Apparently little to know?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By David Dosa
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (132)
    Performance
    (59)
    Story
    (61)

    Oscar the cat has a very special skill. An otherwise ordinary cat—he'd sooner give you his back or a sideways glance than curl up on your lap—Oscar has the uncanny ability to predict when people are about to die. Adopted by staff members at Steere House nursing home when he was a kitten, the three year-old cat has presided over the deaths of more than twenty-five nursing home residents thus far.

    Chelsea says: "Very -touching"
    "Not what I expected"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Making Rounds with Oscar in three words, what would they be?

    Alzheimers victims dying.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    I was not really happy that the focus was not on Oscar, the cat everybody knows. The author briskly turned aside to focus on family misery about their loved ones and his own thinly disguised skepticism (after he saw Oscar in action). I firmly believe animals have certain powers, even if it's based on smell, as is intimated about Oscar. I have read animal stories much more animal-centric and still interesting. Maybe there is a need for a book about Alzheimers sufferers, of which I expect to become, but I was not ready to read about them now. Denial? Perhaps. But I wanted to read about a cat who allowed people a little time to meet their maker... evidently it was just a matter of a cat liking the "death odor" and snuggling up to those who provided it. Boo.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sackett's Land: The Sacketts, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Louis L'Amour
    • Narrated By John Curless
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (537)
    Performance
    (282)
    Story
    (288)

    Son of a feared fighting man, Barnabas Sackett inherited his father's fiery temper, sense of justice and warrior skills. Declared an outlaw in his native England, Barnabas set his daring sights on the opportunity of the New World. The ruthless piracy of the open seas and the unknown dangers of the savage American wilderness lay before him. And so did the thrill of discovery and the chance to establish a bold new future if he survived.

    Grace Barrett says: "Great Historical Adventure"
    "Poor "English""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Sackett's Land again? Why?

    I love this series of books and Louis L'Amour.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Louis L'Amour writes beautifully of heroes. Barnaby Sackett is not the only hero of the time. Unlike a lot of stories, Sackett does not have to be Superman. He draws in helpers whom he leads.


    What three words best describe John Curless’s voice?

    Like most readers, he thinks the English of that period spoke as they do today. WRONG. They spoke as MidAtlantic speakers do today. So it is annoying to hear "wep on" for weapon, "wah er" for water, and many more. Aside from that stutter... not bad.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Splendour Falls

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Susanna Kearsley
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (249)
    Performance
    (230)
    Story
    (235)

    Emily Braden has stopped believing in fairy tales and happy endings. When her fascinating but unreliable cousin Harry invites her on a holiday to explore the legendary town of Chinon, and promptly disappears - well, that's Harry for you. As Emily makes the acquaintance of Chinon and its people, she begins to uncover dark secrets beneath the charm.

    G-Ma says: "Disappointing"
    "Pretty Good Read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Splendour Falls rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Not at the top of the list. Rosenblatt is on top of things in the Amelia Peabody mysteries. Here, not so much. Oh, the voices are amazing--she manages to create a sound for each person that never gets mixed up, a good talent. But here, the heroine's thinking process diverges from the mousey, typical gothic schoolteacher her voice seems to show.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It starts slow. I did not get interested until midway through the book, when things began being tied together and people began to be killed off.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Emily realizes Paul was murdered. Then, unwittingly, she solicits help from the murderer.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Splendour Falls and why?

    The heroine was quite wooden, at least as played by Rosenblatt. The other personas came over as more like real people. Of course, the heroine had the most to say, unfortunately, being the narrator.


    Any additional comments?

    Maybe I missed something, but I really felt that the young 7-year-old girl was not the murderer's daughter, but someone else's. Luckily, he did not realize it. In addition, this book, while being one I might select, being of a genre I like to wallow in at times, was not what I thought it was going to be about: King John I's wife, Isabella of Angouleme.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Love Saves the Day

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Gwen Cooper
    • Narrated By Cris Dukehart
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (27)

    When five-week-old Prudence, a brown tabby, meets a woman named Sarah in a deserted construction site on Manhattan's Lower East Side, she knows she's found the human she was meant to adopt. For three years their lives are filled with laughter, tuna, catnaps, music, and the unchanging routines Prudence craves. Then one day Sarah doesn't come home. From Prudence's perch on the windowsill she sees Laura, the daughter who hardly ever comes to visit Sarah, arrive with her new husband. They're carrying boxes.

    Trish says: "Sweet Story!"
    "Kept me weeping"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Love Saves the Day?

    The cat's point of view was not complete, but maybe better that way. I was surprised that this was sufficient to tell the story and fill in the characters. I did not think the daughter even liked her mom, so I was surprised to find she did.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The English Girl: Gabriel Allon, Book 13

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Daniel Silva
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1151)
    Performance
    (997)
    Story
    (996)

    Daniel Silva delivers another spectacular thriller starring Gabriel Allon, The English Girl. When a beautiful young British woman vanishes on the island of Corsica, a prime minister’s career is threatened with destruction. Allon, the wayward son of Israeli intelligence, is thrust into a game of shadows where nothing is what it seems...and where the only thing more dangerous than his enemies might be the truth.…

    Janels says: "Gabriel's story takes huge strides"
    "Crummy performance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The English Girl rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Daniel Silva shines, as always. Unfortunately, the reading does not flow,as if George Guidall must insert a comma after every phrase... ruins the reading. Oh sure, if he reads another Silva book, I'll listen, but I will not enjoy it as much. OTOH, his characterizations of Russians and other nationals seem good, considering I've never heard Russians speak in a loud voice--they always seem to mumble--nor have I heard a Marseilles patois..


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • God Kings: The Descendants of Jesus

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 8 mins)
    • By Hugh Montgomery
    • Narrated By Hugh Montgomery
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Based on decades of research and the aid of scholars from around the world, God Kings brings a scholarly and educated look into the world of Royal bloodlines. The implications of this work are enormous as they involve a lineage traced back to Odin, once believed to be a Norse god, whose lineage then merged with the bloodline of Jesus Christ himself.

    Lance says: "This was the worst purchase I made at Audible.com"
    "Poor, Music Attempts to Save Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could Hugh Montgomery have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Dump the music.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Hugh Montgomery?

    Somebody with a clear speaking voice, as his accent is thick as porridge, exacerbated by music.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Irritation. Half of this hour seems to be music, which makes it difficult to understand Hugh.


    Any additional comments?

    Really, Holy Blood, Holy Grail gives a better story about this. Supposedly, this guy has proof supporting that book. Meantime, the real story is that all kings are Jewish. After all, Jesus was a Jew, so if they are descended from Jesus, ergo they are Jews. Whoopie.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Frontiersmen: A Narrative

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Allan W. Eckert
    • Narrated By Kevin Foley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (343)
    Performance
    (277)
    Story
    (281)

    The frontiersmen were a remarkable breed of men. They were often rough and illiterate, sometimes brutal and vicious, often seeking an escape in the wilderness of mid-America from crimes committed back east. In the beautiful but deadly country which would one day come to be known as West Virginia, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, more often than not they left their bones to bleach beside forest paths or on the banks of the Ohio River.

    Whitney says: "A Masterpiece for History Novel Enthusiasts!"
    "Professionalism"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Frontiersmen in three words, what would they be?

    I grew up near Cresaptown. The reader continually calls Capt. Cresap "Kree-sap" instead of "Krehssup"--grating to the ear. Apparently he went out of his way to practice the pronunciation of the various Shawnee words--why not check on how men pronounced their names?

    Davina Porter is another one with her "sweetcase" (suitcase!) and the like. It is sooooo distracting in a most unpleasant way. You might as well have someone burst into your house yelling FIRE!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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