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CORPUS CHRISTI, TX, United States | Listener Since 2010

2
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 9 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 18 purchased in 2014
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  • Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Nelson Johnson
    • Narrated By Joe Mantegna, Terence Winter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (391)
    Performance
    (179)
    Story
    (182)

    From its inception, Atlantic City has always been a town dedicated to the fast buck, and this wide-reachinghistory offers a riveting account of its past 100 year, from the city's heyday as a Prohibition-era mecca of lawlessness to its rebirth as a legitimate casino resort in the modern era.

    Frances says: "I love stories steeped in History"
    "Era lover"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Boardwalk Empire again? Why?

    I absolutely will listen to Boardwalk Empire again. It is a sensational story about a time period that I love. I could nearly hear the jazz playing in the background. Every character is so well defined that it leaps from the recording. The plot is easy to follow, no bogging down in details but still detailed enough to make it real and interesting. I watched the HBO series (based on this book) before getting the audiobook. The book is better in a lot of ways but the series was fabulous and I was disappointed when both came to an end.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Of course, the main character but there were many colorful ones.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I learned about corruption of that era and geographical area in a way I had not known before reading the audiobook.


    Any additional comments?

    A delightful book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Bill Dedman, Paul Clark Newell
    • Narrated By Kimberly Farr
    Overall
    (259)
    Performance
    (219)
    Story
    (221)

    When Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bill Dedman noticed in 2009 a grand home for sale, unoccupied for nearly 60 years, he stumbled through a surprising portal into American history. Empty Mansions is a rich mystery of wealth and loss, connecting the Gilded Age opulence of the 19th century with a 21st-century battle over a $300 million inheritance. At its heart is a reclusive heiress named Huguette Clark, a woman so secretive that, at the time of her death at age 104, no new photograph of her had been seen in decades.

    Novotny says: "I still don't know much about Huguette Clark"
    "A Wowzer Book!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I have already recommended this book to two friends, and I purchased it as a gift for a third one (who is 99-1/2 years old and thrilled with it). The time period is like a history book with living characters.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Empty Mansions?

    It's hard to narrow and rate the good parts of the book and I don't think it was the kind of spellbinding book that has a big zinger. The entire plot was a money brain teaser. That is, I cannot imagine such opulence. (I do realize things were much different before the establishment of the IRS, but still, Mr. Clark's riches were breathtaking. For the audio book (which I guess, the hard copy will not have), the telephone recordings between Huguette and one of the co-authors was truly enticing. It allowed me to hear her reasoning and judge her mental alertness first hand. A rare privilege for book reading. It added a whole different dimension to the story.


    Which character – as performed by Kimberly Farr – was your favorite?

    Well, of course, Huguette was the centerpiece of the book as she had been for her Mom and Dad. When I finished the book, I felt that I had the opportunity to know her as well as anyone. For sure, she had her quirks (putting it lightly) but nevertheless was well defined. Maybe the next interesting character was Huguette's personal nurse who enjoyed Huguette's wealth to the tune of millions of dollars, multiple homes, and a Bentley. The nurse was an immigrant who had married a taxi driver.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    You couldn't possibly listen to the book in one sitting because it is detailed and chock full of so much good information that a bit of reflection to absorb it is really a must.


    Any additional comments?

    The book is well worth the investment. I love the gilded era and that's where this one begins. It ends nearly 104 years later. As I mentioned earlier, there is a lot of history, society changes, and a world of which most folks have never glimpsed. The reader did a very good job, as did the authors.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The End of Normal

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Stephanie Madoff Mack
    • Narrated By Stephanie Madoff Mack
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (111)
    Performance
    (100)
    Story
    (99)

    An explosive, heartbreaking memoir from the widow of Mark Madoff and daughter-in-law of Bernard Madoff, the first genuine inside story from a family member who has lived through - and survived - both the public crisis and her own deeply personal tragedy. In this candid insider account, she talks about her idyllic wedding to Mark, what it was really like to be a part of the Madoff family, the build-up to Bernard's confession, and the media frenzy that followed. It is about the loss of the fairytale life she knew and the tragic and final loss of her husband.

    Naturalbohemian says: "Everything is disturbing about this book..."
    "Haunting, At Best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I have recommended the book to a friend but with a huge caveat.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    The ending was already well known, so there were not any surprises. It was sad, of course. In most cases, loss of life is not a victory.


    What didn’t you like about Stephanie Madoff Mack’s performance?

    I believe that narrating her book was therapeutic for Stephanie. As for me, I didn't need the co-therapy and would have enjoyed a professional narrator.


    Do you think The End of Normal needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No. I personally would not purchase a follow up book. I'm through. Too much therapy for my liking.


    Any additional comments?

    Stephanie's attempt to portray herself as a penniless Cinderella is not believable and collides with her admission that an attorney was hired to protect her assets. If she didn't have any assets in the beginning of the marriage and her husband/father-in-law did not funnel dirty money to her during the marriage, what assets were in need of protection? She was quite angry toward Ruth as she did not immediately sever ties to her husband of 50+ years. According to Stephanie's perspective, Ruth was blinded by denial surrounding Bernie, the crook. However, Stephanie exhibits the same characteristics in her relationship with her husband, whom she claims was a mere innocent bystander, as well as victim, of the tragedy caused by his father. It was hard for me to conjure up sympathy for the poor rich kids who had become adults. There are too many unacknowledged questions which Stephanie chose to leave alone. I will add that I appreciate the review by another reader who said the story was troubling on many levels. It is and that is very accurate. I continue to be bothered by what I learned -- and did not learn -- through this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Big Rigs, Posh Digs, Fast Cars, Dark Bars! The Greed-Driven, Sex-Enhanced Ride That Cost Arrow Trucking Company $90 Million and Its Life!

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Charles H. H. Hood
    • Narrated By E. J. Nolan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (11)

    This is the true story of crime and "road rage" in the executive suite of one of America's leading trucking companies. The story begins when the highly regarded founder and owner of the Arrow Trucking Company is killed in a hunting accident. His widow then appoints their only son, Douglas, to be the new CEO. His only qualification is that he is known to be "the apple of his mother's eye". He had no experience in anything. He had only a high school education and had never worked a day in his life. He was best known as a young, wealthy, and very arrogant party boy.

    Paul Luthi says: "A good book, but some of it borders on gossip."
    "COULD Have Been Great, BUT . . . ."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    This plot could have been told in a fabulous way but this author and the reader completely missed the boat. I think every hater of the young company President and his Mom will be thrilled with every single word. For anyone else -- those folks, like me, who didn't have a personal stake in the bankrupted company, this writing hardly qualifies to be called a book.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    If the author had done even a tiny bit of investigation and/or consultation with legal minds, i.e., a lawyer), the story could have been riveting. As it is, the author was apparently oblivious to the points that would have cast light on critical information. Or, perhaps the author elected not to go down that route because it would have destroyed his tar and feather mission. Either way, omission of the legalities is damning.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of E. J. Nolan?

    Pretty much anyone else but Nolan, who mispronounced words; and drug on-and-on-and-on-and-on. It was all I could do to continue through his poor voice infliction when he bothered to have infliction. It was nearly monotone. If I ever see him as reader on a book in the future, I definitely will not buy it.


    What character would you cut from Big Rigs, Posh Digs, Fast Cars, Dark Bars! The Greed-Driven, Sex-Enhanced Ride That Cost Arrow Trucking Company $90 Million and Its Life!?

    The characters needed to be developed, particularly the targets. I don't know that I would have cut any characters. The book is written targeting a young man who by circumstances not designed by him became the head honcho of the family corporation. The author's intended vindictiveness quickly became apparent, then boring, and finally -- just plain annoying. The author's portrayal of the young company president and his Mom places them in a bad light without mentioning a single positive word about either of them. Really? That style casts doubt on the author's credibility, as well as the authenticity of his perception of facts. The character assassination went on from the beginning to the end. Additionally, there must have been a word count issue because getting through the maze of endless, ridiculous, and worthless detail was a challenge.


    Any additional comments?

    Terrible author; terrible reader. A total disappointment of what could have been an outstanding book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Jeff Guinn
    • Narrated By Jim Frangione
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (80)
    Performance
    (75)
    Story
    (73)

    Award-winning journalist Jeff Guinn's highly acclaimed Manson has won rave reviews and is a top-pick on must-read lists everywhere. This superb biography answers lingering questions about the Manson Family murders, while delivering stunning revelations about the life of America's most notorious psychopath.

    Ruby Dartz says: "Charles Manson: Even worse than you imagined"
    "Finally. What Really Happened -- And How It Happe"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Manson the most enjoyable?

    Years ago I read Helter Skelter. It was interesting but sketchy of believable information. Because it was authored by the Manson prosecutor, it seemed to have a narrow perspective with obvious exaggeration so as to boast about himself. I am a fan of Jeff Guinn. (I read "Going Down Together" Bonnie & Clyde which hooked me on Guinn.) His research is very thorough. This audiobook has a lot of Mason's background, unknown to me before reading it. Guinn puts the story in the right place for history and culture. Most of all, Guinn did not attempt to make Mason a god, devil, or magician. He stayed with the facts. Mason's history was plenty colorful without need for exaggeration. I will read it again.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It was factual, not sensationalized, and was supported by research.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The story is a human tragedy. Manson victimized many people. He also was a victim. While it is hard to balance the different victims and types of victimizations, I clearly saw Manson's manipulations and his sociopath.


    Any additional comments?

    I hate that Manson feels rewarded and glorified by continuing publicity. However, it is important this story be told.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Twelve Years a Slave

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Solomon Northup
    • Narrated By Louis Gossett, Jr.
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (926)
    Performance
    (829)
    Story
    (833)

    In this riveting landmark autobiography, which reads like a novel, Academy Award and Emmy winner Louis Gossett, Jr., masterfully transports us to 1840s New York; Washington, D.C.; and Louisiana to experience the kidnapping and 12 years of bondage of Solomon Northup, a free man of color. Twelve Years a Slave, published in 1853, was an immediate bombshell in the national debate over slavery leading up to the Civil War.

    Fran H. Willingham says: "I've waited for this a long time"
    "Heavy Reading"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, I would recommend this book -- but, depending on the person. It really is a very bothersome story and the severe cruelty is detailed throughout the book. The black cloud cast by it lingered for sometime after I finished. The same was true for the movie. I was glad I read the audiobook and watched the movie, but am not sure I could ever do either again. It brought a lot of history to light. Although I knew of the war, of course, it provided me additional layers of knowledge for which I have an appreciation. There were times that I held my breath; out loud said, "Oh, noooo!"; and shook my head. The story grabbed me. I was completely absorbed.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Solomon, but all of the characters were very well defined.


    Have you listened to any of Louis Gossett, Jr.’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I haven't listened to other Gosset's performances, but would not hesitate to do so. He is excellent.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    A film has already been made, released in December 2013.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs)
    • By Laura Hillenbrand
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10968)
    Performance
    (6983)
    Story
    (7015)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Seabiscuit was a runaway success, and Hillenbrand’s done it again with another true-life account about beating unbelievable odds. On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared.....

    Anastasia Burke says: "Hillenbrand could make even laundry fascinating!"
    "On The Edge Of My Seat"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Unbroken?

    The fact that the story is a true drama.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Unbroken?

    There are so many. One great moment was when the three men were on the raft and met the great white.


    What does Edward Herrmann bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Realness. Being in the moment-- every moment. (It's almost exhausting.)


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Again, the story is moving many times. The 1 mile speed buster was fabulous.


    Any additional comments?

    This really is one of the best books that I've read in a long time. When I purchased it, I did so just based on the fact that it was a true story, a time of history in which I'm interested, and the good reviews. It is very hard to put it down while reading it but a necessity to do so. It takes much energy to absorb the story and the reader is fully engaged emotionally. There is a sprinkling of wonderful humor throughout the story. Overall, the story is so very serious that there must be some comic relief or the reader couldn't endure it. The book took me mentally through every word, living the character. It is real life and feels like real life. I thought it was excellent writing, as well as the narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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