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K

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Listener Since 2010

9
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 21 reviews
  • 23 ratings
  • 96 titles in library
  • 4 purchased in 2015
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  • 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
    (122)
    Performance
    (116)
    Story
    (113)

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Bryan Burrough
    • Narrated By James Jenner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (206)
    Performance
    (96)
    Story
    (94)

    Best-selling author Bryan Burrough reveals how four Texas oil tycoons transformed America. Rising from humble beginnings through hard work and shrewd dealings, they shifted the balance of power in American politics. While hobnobbing with movie stars and presidents, the Big Rich also created the legend of the swaggering Texas oilman with island hideaways and sprawling ranches.

    Andrew says: "Houston Oilman"
    "Nothing New"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    In comparison to the cost of this book, the material is lacking. I felt the book was hardly more than headlines to the underlying story.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Bryan Burrough? Why or why not?

    Maybe but I would never pay this much for another book by him. He is a dadgum long way from having my admiration but his style was worthy.


    What aspect of James Jenner’s performance would you have changed?

    He was okay; not impressionable, only mediocre.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Yes to hopefully watch the plot develop on a Paul Harvey standard, i.e., "the rest of the story."


    Any additional comments?

    I wouldn't recommend the book. There are some interesting facts which were previously unknown to me but overall, it was substantially boring.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • To Hatred Turned

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Ken Englade
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (8)

    The author of Murder in Boston recounts the true story of the murder of Rozanne Gailiunas, a crime unsolved for eight years, until a glamorous fugitive is caught after one of the most publicized investigations ever in Texas.

    K says: "Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah"
    "Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about To Hatred Turned?

    I read the criticisms by prior reviewers about the legal detail but discounted them because in part, I am attracted to that type information. However, those criticisms are accurate. The endless maize is dotted with mispronunciation, misunderstanding, and inaccuracies. I couldn't wait for the end of the book and the narrator to shut the ef up.


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

    Get a different author. Terminate (however you want to take that notion!) the narrator. Burn the book. The author, and I'm being generous using that word, does not have a handle on his subject matter. A riveting example of his legal ignorance about even the most basic trial concept is illustrated by his idea of an Order In Limine (which his wingman mispronounced). Contrary to the author's description, the In Limine Order merely requires counsel to get the Judge's permission (during trial, outside the Jury's presence) before disclosing specific information the Judge previously determined might or might not qualify as evidence. It's an easy, simple, ordinary step in any trial. Unlike the author's interpretation, the Order acts like is a gate which the Judge may swing open at any point during trial and permit the jury to learn about the previously safeguarded information. It is not an Order prohibiting information into evidence. Equally as bad as the author's futile grasp on the legal arena is his total inability to define the goal of his script before, during, or at the end of his writing. Throughout the reading I thought, "So, what IS your point?" I don't believe he understood his subject matter enough to even form a goal to his story. If my conclusion is correct, then the author should consider a different profession.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Stephen Hoye?

    I would rather listen to 14 hours of fingernails screeching against a chalkboard. OMG! He made me want to bang my head on the wall, pull my hair out by the roots, fall to my knees and beg, "Please, please stop!" If there is a worse narrator, I hope I never encounter him/her. So, to answer the question, this guy set the standard so low that casting a baby bawling non-stop would be a monumental improvement.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    In it's current form, it does not have redeeming qualities. The actual facts of the true event are fascinating. So, the potential for an outstanding book is excellent. Here though, the author's core level blindness about the necessary legal procedures that are imposed by the convoluted factual situation is not only misleading, it robs the reader of the value of them in the American Justice system. Big opportunity lost. That's a shame.


    Any additional comments?

    DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME, ENERGY, AND MONEY. This book is a lousy reading experience. Either search for a better book or donate the money you would spend on this book to your favorite charity.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Oil!

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Upton Sinclair
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (373)
    Performance
    (203)
    Story
    (213)

    As he did so masterfully in The Jungle, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Upton Sinclair interweaves social criticism with human tragedy to create an unforgettable portrait of Southern California's early oil industry. Enraged by the oil scandals of the Harding administration in the 1920s, Sinclair tells a gripping tale of avarice, corruption, and class warfare, featuring a cavalcade of characters, including senators, oil magnates, Hollywood film starlets, and a crusading evangelist.

    Gregory says: "an outstanding book"
    "Outstanding!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Oil! in three words, what would they be?

    A controversial jewel.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    James Arnold Ross aka Dad, who was a shrewd and determined self-made millionaire. The author set out so precisely Dad's tenderness in guiding his child, who was driven by humanitarian idea, through an unfriendly environment.


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

    Mr. Gardener brought all the characters to life-- everyone of them. He was fabulous.


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

    I am particularly drawn to this era of time. That period, and this book, illustrates with distinction the "have's" and "have not's." Here, when Dad learned a worker had lost his life on a rig, I initially was angered he did not provide a stipend for the widow. I mean, he was making money hand over fist so he wouldn't have missed it. It took just a few minutes to realize that even though Dad did not do that-- did not even consider it as a matter of fact, he had acted as a responsible employer by providing insurance that paid her $5,000. (Pennies compared to his millions but responsible according to economics of the period.)


    Any additional comments?

    I want to point out that the book and the movie aren't akin. I thought the movie was tacky and portrayed Dad in a horrible light. This book places Dad in a more realistic perspective, i.e. business man vs. family man. It's a good read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Devil in a Blue Dress: An Easy Rawlins Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Walter Mosley
    • Narrated By Michael Boatman
    Overall
    (513)
    Performance
    (322)
    Story
    (327)

    Los Angeles, 1948: Easy Rawlins is a black war veteran just fired from his job at a defense plant. Easy is drinking in a friend's bar, wondering how he'll meet his mortgage, when a white man in a linen suit walks in, offering good money if Easy will simply locate Miss Daphne Money, a blonde beauty known to frequent black jazz clubs.

    Jefferson says: "Beware of Mysterious Sexy Women with Big Suitcases"
    "Humdrum"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I would be hard pressed to recommend this book to anyone, especially a friend. While the story line holds promise in the beginning, it quickly loses it's pazazz.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Walter Mosley? Why or why not?

    Probably not. With a little bit of tweeking, this book would have been interesting. It just doesn't make the cut in its published form. Close but no cigar.


    What aspect of Michael Boatman’s performance would you have changed?

    Boatman performed fine. So, I don't have any suggestion for improvement.


    Do you think Devil in a Blue Dress needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    I'm not a lazy reader so this book held minimal value for me. By that I mean, there is no challenge to the story. It's supposed to be a mystery and it starts off well, then the writer wanders off course and never recaptures the reader. So, I couldn't stand to sit through anymore gibberish in a follow-up book.


    Any additional comments?

    Nope.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Get Capone: The Secret Plot That Captured America's Most Wanted Gangster

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Jonathan Eig
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (135)
    Performance
    (50)
    Story
    (51)

    Acclaimed journalist and bestselling author Jonathan Eig blows the lid off the Al Capone story. Based on never-before-seen government documents and newly discovered letters written by Al Capone himself, Get Capone presents America's greatest gangster as you’ve never seen him before.

    Jonathan says: "Get this book"
    "Not Up To Snuff"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Get Capone? What did you like least?

    The story line is the best part and the reason I purchased the book. It's not like a new read. There have been hundreds of publications and movies generated in whole or in part from Capone's life or legacy. I don't know what the addictive element is but I never tire of the Capone like and era stories. There was a little bit of additional information in this book but overall, it was another recycle of already recycled material.


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

    I didn't have a reaction to the ending because, after all, we all know how it ends before we begin Chapter 1.


    Did Dick Hill do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    I did not care for the narrator. All the characters had almost the same tone, sound, and it was almost monotone. At times, the narration made me feel as though I was dredging mud. I would just as soon have been, too. Actually, I think maybe I might have groaned out loud a couple of times because of how the narrator droned.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    There are better books and movies already published about Capone. I would not go see a movie based on this book and have a hard time imaging it as a blockbuster.


    Any additional comments?

    While the book was not a waste of time, it was not a good investment. I have only so much time set aside for pleasure reading so I want the books I choose to have value and impact. Capone fell way short of that expectation. I wouldn't buy it again if I could undo my purchase nor would I read it again if I could undo my reading of Capone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Puppetmaster: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Richard Hack
    • Narrated By Dan Cashman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (35)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (30)

    Richard Hack separates truth from fiction to reveal the most hidden secrets of Hoover's private life and expose his previously undisclosed conduct and actions which threatened to compromise the security of the entire nation. Based on freshly uncovered files and personal documents as well as over 100,000 pages of FBI memos and State Department papers, Hack rips the lid off the FBI Director's facade of propriety to detail a life replete with sexual indiscretions, criminal behavior and a long-standing alliance with the Mafia.

    Jean says: "Power corrupts"
    "Total Disappointment"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Richard Hack and/or Dan Cashman?

    Probably not. The information was boring. The author beat a dead horse about unimportant details but provided no substance. I learned more from newspaper articles. I have read quite a bit about J. Edgar who was fascinating to say the least. I was hoping to discover additional information when I purchased this book. Oh, boy. Surprise, surprise, surprise! The author totally missed the mark. Boring. The narration was also poorly performed.


    Has Puppetmaster turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Of course not. However, I will try to be more thorough with my vetting before I invest my hard earned coins again. One bad book doesn't poison the whole batch.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Dan Cashman?

    The narrator was terrible but to be fair, the material was pretty worthless. So, I don't know. Maybe Little Lulu would be a good candidate?


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Puppetmaster?

    Chapter 1 through the end.


    Any additional comments?

    Just don't waste your time or money. This book should not qualify to be called a book. Pretty dadgum bad.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Road Out of Hell: Sanford Clark and the True Story of the Wineville Murders

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Anthony Flacco, Jerry Clark
    • Narrated By Anthony Flacco
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (172)
    Performance
    (150)
    Story
    (150)

    From 1926 to 1928, Gordon Stewart Northcott committed at least 20 murders on a chicken ranch outside of Los Angeles. His nephew, Sanford Clark, was held captive there from the age of 13 to 15, and was the sole surviving victim of the killing spree. Here, acclaimed crime writer Anthony Flacco - using never-before-heard information from Sanford’s son Jerry Clark - tells the real story behind the case that riveted the nation.

    Jerrilynn says: "Heartbreaker"
    "On The Edge Of My Seat"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Road Out of Hell rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It certainly ranks in the top third. It is one of the most intensive books, audio or otherwise, that I've ever read. It is hard to put down but also tough to stay with it, almost dreading the next event.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Oh, this is a hard question. I liked, even admired, the unwavering strength of the main character, Sanford. I might add there was very little to like in this story and much more to dislike.


    Which character – as performed by Anthony Flacco – was your favorite?

    Flacco did superbly bringing home the personality of Uncle Gordon Stewart. There were times that I could almost see expressions and gestures based on Flacco's reading. He was good. Very good.


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

    Yes, I had an extreme reaction. Reactions. It never made me cry. My skin crawled. I had to take breaks from reading because it was so heavy. I sometimes felt outraged; other times, downright ill. There were a couple of light moments. Once or twice I laughed out loud.


    Any additional comments?

    This is an amazing story of the most basic survivorship by a young boy, who was nothing more than a throw-away kid except to his precious sister Jessie. When she was able to operate independently, she pulled Sanford from the sure jaws of prolonged death. Jessie was exceptionally brave, smart, and persistent. She changed the course of many lives; no one could possibly know how many people she saved from Uncle Steward and his cruel mother (Sanford's maternal grandmother) . It is awesome that the horror of Sanford's life is shared by his son Jerry. In spite of huge defects within Sanford's family tree, there are gems too. I could go on. There is much to say about this book. Overall, it is a book well worth the read and reinforces hope in humanity but does so by comparing life to extreme depravity. I mean, extreme. I mean depravity, too. Excellent writing; excellent voice performance. Buy it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Richest Woman in America: Hetty Green in the Gilded Age

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Janet Wallach
    • Narrated By Coleen Marlo
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (15)

    No woman in the Gilded Age made as much money as Hetty Green. At the time of her death in 1916, she was worth at least 100 million dollars, equal to more than 2 billion dollars today. A strong believer in women being financially independent, she offered valuable lessons for the present times. Abandoned at birth by her neurotic mother, scorned by her misogynist father, Hetty set out as a child to prove her value. Following the simple rules of her wealthy Quaker father, she successfully invested her money and along the way proved to herself that she was wealthy and therefore worthy.

    K says: "On The Edge Every Minute"
    "On The Edge Every Minute"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Richest Woman in America rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This book was spellbinding from beginning to end. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will re-read it. It's not the best book I've read but it ranks right there at the top. It was worth the investment of money and time.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I like the focused energy that Hetti illustrated. She was way ahead of her time.


    Which character – as performed by Coleen Marlo – was your favorite?

    Hetti, of course. She over shadowed every other character.


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

    By reading this book, I felt like I intimately came to know the real Hetti Green: a cool, detached, cutthroat, money grabber. At times, I was sickened by her stinginess and she never was able to redeem herself with me. There were glimpses of what may have been an underlying care for others but I was always a bit suspicious that Hetti's motivation was money driven, not altruistic. Still, I greatly admired her aggressiveness, creativity, and competitiveness.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Carolina Home: A Dare Island Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Virginia Kantra
    • Narrated By Sophie Eastlake
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (221)
    Performance
    (207)
    Story
    (206)

    Home to the Fletcher family for generations, Dare Island is a fishing village rocked by changing times - its traditions slipping away like sands of the North Carolina coast. Single dad and fishing boat captain Matt Fletcher deferred his own dreams to support his innkeeper parents and build a future for his sixteen-year-old son. Matt has learned to weather life's storms by steering a steady emotional course...and keeping a commitment-free approach to love.

    Kristen says: "Take a vacation on Dare Island"
    "Easy Reading 4"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Virginia Kantra and/or Sophie Eastlake?

    For the most part, I enjoyed Eastlake's narration. Kantra spins a good story but the outdated stereotyping is disturbing. I would like to see Kantra author something based on real life expectations. She's clearly talented but her works appear to be the product of a lazy writer.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Carolina Home?

    All of the memorable moments in this book series are pretty much the same. Man meets woman. Woman, who is way less worthy and smart than Man, needs saving. Man obliges. Happily ever after. Blah, blah, blah.


    What three words best describe Sophie Eastlake’s voice?

    Consistent. Warm. Easy.


    What would have made this romance irresistible?

    Some reality.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Carolina Blues: A Dare Island Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Virginia Kantra
    • Narrated By Sophie Eastlake
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (80)
    Performance
    (73)
    Story
    (73)

    Jack Rossi is Dare Island's new police chief. The laid-back North Carolina community is just what he needs to recover from a rocky marriage and a big-city police department. He's learned his lesson: no more high-profile women or high-pressure jobs. The last thing he wants is an unconventional alt girl rocking his world. Grad student Lauren Patterson made headlines when she kept a bank robbery from going bad. She's fled to Dare Island to clear her head and focus on writing her story.

    Ruffian says: "You Won't Be Blue with this one"
    "Easy Reading 3"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    This is the third book of a three-book series. By now, I had heard almost every line somewhere in the two prior books. The author's templates have worn me thin at this point. There is nothing in the story line unpredictable. It's pablum. How 'bout a good murder mystery instead of another wedding? Enough with the fantasy!


    What did you like best about this story?

    Not much. It was the same 'ole, same 'ole. Good guy cop (who all the women lust over) saves the damsel in distress. Yawn.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Sophie Eastlake?

    Yes.


    What would have made this romance irresistible?

    Some reality sprinkled into the fantasy would have given the story some teeth.


    Any additional comments?

    I read all of the books in the series. The series has a good story line but would have been very burdensome if I had been unable to fast forwarded through the downright silliness of "save me's" and juvenile mentality of sexual encounters (we're talking 7th grade, here). The "save me" component of every main female character conjured up cartoons of Snidely Whiplash tying women to railroad tracks, only to be saved by Dudley Do-Right. (And I thought perception of women had progressed in the last 50 years-- especially by other women.) I became frustrated with the template used throughout the book series about the (exceptionally wonderful, spectacular, amazing, sensational, miraculous!) smell of shampooed hair. Ugh. The narration was disappointing in that every male character sounds exactly the same (stereotypical tough, but good, guy), as does each female character (help me! help me!). By that I refer to both the phraseologies used, as well as voice tones and inflictions. I could only tolerate these type issues in exchange for an overall good story line and setting. Otherwise? I would have dumped the first book and certainly not have purchased the remaining books in the series.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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