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Jean

Santa Cruz, CA, United States
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  • Disappointment River

  • Finding and Losing the Northwest Passage
  • By: Brian Castner
  • Narrated by: Brian Castner
  • Length: 12 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16

Disappointment River is a dual historical narrative and travel memoir that at once transports listeners back to the heroic age of North American exploration and places them in a still rugged but increasingly fragile Arctic wilderness in the process of profound alteration by the dual forces of energy extraction and climate change.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent

  • By Jean on 05-06-18

Excellent

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-06-18

I remember sitting in a high school class years ago in Canada learning about Alexander Mackenzie’s discovery of the Mackenzie River. At 1,100 miles, it is North Americas second largest river. Then as per usual in those days I would start to day dream about traversing the river with Mackenzie in his hunt for the northwest passage. Alexander Mackenzie made the trip in Jun 1789 with a crew of thirteen, made up of voyageurs and native people. In June 2016 Brian Castren made the same trip in a fiberglass canoe with all modern equipment and camping food. Setting off from the Great Slave Lake at the same spot as Mackenzie he followed his route to the Beaufort Sea. The major change in the two hundred plus year is the retreating of the ice.

The book is well written and researched. Oh, how I would have loved to do that trip myself. But with the book I can mentally travel it. I know the area of the North West Territories fairly well. I have kayaked parts of the Mackenzie River as well as the Lake Hattah area back in the 1950s. The book is in part the history of the Mackenzie trip of discovery and a travel log by Castren as he made the trip in Mackenzie’s footsteps. If you like history of discovery and a travel adventure this book is for you.

I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is just over twelve hours. The author narrated the book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • To Die but Once

  • A Maisie Dobbs Novel
  • By: Jacqueline Winspear
  • Narrated by: Orlagh Cassidy
  • Length: 10 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 551
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 513
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 509

Spring 1940. With Britons facing what has become known as "the Bore War" - nothing much seems to have happened yet - Maisie Dobbs is asked to investigate the disappearance of a local lad, a young apprentice craftsman working on a "hush-hush" government contract. As Maisie's inquiry reveals a possible link to the London underworld, another mother is worried about a missing son - but this time the boy in question is one beloved by Maisie.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Great Story

  • By Jean on 05-06-18

A Great Story

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-06-18

I have thoroughly enjoyed this series. This is book fourteen in the Maisie Dobbs series. Maisie was a nurse in World War One; then trained to be a psychologist/investigator after the war. The story opens in May 1940. Great Britain is again at war with Germany. Maisie has been hired to investigate the disappearance of a fifteen-year-old boy, Joseph Combes. He is an apprentice painter working for a company that has a government contract to go about the countryside to paint a special fire-retardant chemical on strategic government and military buildings.

The book is well written and researched. The author has the story set with a background of Dunkirk and the battle of Britain. This is a great historical novel. The plot twist and turns around family drama. I have read that Winspear bases a lot of the plot on her own family’s experiences. If you enjoy historical novels this book would provide you great enjoyment.

I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is ten and a half hours. Orlagh Cassidy does a superb job narrating the book. Cassidy is one of my favorite narrators. Cassidy is an actress, voice over artist and award-winning audiobook narrator.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Duel to the Death

  • By: J. A. Jance
  • Narrated by: Karen Ziemba
  • Length: 11 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 158
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 148
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 148

After taking down the man responsible for his best friend's death, Stuart Ramey thinks the case is finally closed. That is, until Stu finds himself left with a multimillion-dollar fortune in Bitcoin in a desperate bid by Frigg, a rogue AI program created by the killer, to keep itself from being fully deactivated. To sort out his situation and take Frigg down for good, Stu enlists the help of Ali Reynolds and the rest of his cyber-security colleagues at High Noon Enterprises. But they are not the only ones who know about Frigg's existence.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Engaging

  • By Jean on 05-06-18

Engaging

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-06-18

J. A. Jance is one of my favorite mystery authors. This is book number thirteen in the Ali Reynolds series. Usually you can start a Jance series at any point but this book is written as a continuation of the prior book “Man Overboard” so it is best to read book twelve first. Jance delves into some hot and timely topics in this book such as cyber security and bitcoins. Also, a carryover from the prior novel is the artificial Intelligence “Frigg”.

The book is well written and the plot is intriguing. As usual Jance has multiple subplots intertwining. The characters are fascinating and become the reader’s friend after a few books. Jance makes the reader part of the family. It is great to watch how the character Stuart Ramey has developed over the series. Jance is a master story teller. If you enjoy a good mystery story this is a must-read series.

I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is almost eleven and a half hours. Karen Ziemba has done an excellent job narrating the series. Ziemba won the Tony Award in 2000 for the Best Featured Actress in a Musical. Ziemba is an actress and audiobook narrator.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Broad Band

  • The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet
  • By: Claire L. Evans
  • Narrated by: Claire L. Evans
  • Length: 9 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32

Women are not ancillary to the history of technology; they turn up at the very beginning of every important wave. But they've often been hidden in plain sight, their inventions and contributions touching our lives in ways we don't even realize. VICE reporter and YACHT lead singer Claire L. Evans finally gives these unsung female heroes their due with her insightful social history of the Broad Band, the women who made the Internet what it is today. Evans shows us how these women built and colored the technologies we can't imagine life without.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Inspiring

  • By Jean on 03-29-18

Inspiring

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-29-18

This is an interesting book about the history of women coders, engineers, mathematicians, entrepreneurs as well as visionaries who helped create and shape the internet. Evans even discusses Ada Lovelace, the mathematician daughter of Lord Byron.

The book is well written and researched. Evans is a journalist so the writing style is that of a journalist. Evans reviews the stories of women scientists such as the famous Grace Hopper, who worked on Harvard Mark One, to more recent women such as Stanford University scientist Elizabeth Feinler. She also includes programmer Brenda Laurel, a gamer entrepreneur. I found the story about Radia Perlman most interesting. Perlman invented a protocol for moving information to the way computers are networked. I had no idea so many women have achieved so much with so little recognition. I highly recommend this book.

The book is nine hours. The author narrated the book.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • The Trial of Callista Blake

  • By: Edgar Pangborn
  • Narrated by: Jack Brown
  • Length: 12 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 1

As mostly science fiction writer Edgar Pangborn switches to the detective genre; we get this successful and suspenseful novel of a murder case against our female protagonist Callista Blake... Meticulously detailed, the story flashes back and forth in time, framed in the classical style of the "courtroom drama" we have come to know so well by now.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Engaging

  • By Jean on 03-28-18

Engaging

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-28-18

I was familiar with Edgar Pangborn (1909-1976) as a writer of science fiction. I was curious to see how he did when he changed genre. This is the story of 19-year-old Callista Blake who is on trial for murder.

The book is well written. The story is told via four people: the judge, the defense attorney, a character witness and from Callista. Some of the issues discussed in the book are capital punishment and how society relates to those people who skirt the edge of its norms. This book was originally published in 1961. I found it interesting, but it really did not grab me.

The book is almost thirteen hours. Jack Brown does a good job narrating the book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt

  • By: Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Narrated by: Tavia Gilbert
  • Length: 18 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 163
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 144
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 143

The daughter of one of New York's most influential families, niece of Theodore Roosevelt, and wife of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt witnessed some of the most remarkable decades in modern history, as America transitioned from the Gilded Age, the Progressive Era, and the Depression to World War II and the Cold War. A champion of the downtrodden, Eleanor drew on her experience and used her role as First Lady to help those in need.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • What a woman!

  • By Margaret M. Bell on 11-05-14

Fascinating

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-26-18

This book was originally published in 1946. I first read it in 1960 just after I attended a lecture by Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962). Over the years I have read everything I could get my hands on about Eleanor. I was reviewing some notes the other day and decided it was about time I reread “Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt” by Eleanor Roosevelt.

The book is well written but it must be taken in the age it was written, by a woman of the 19th century. The book is written in the reserve style of that era. Eleanor reviews her early life in the large Roosevelt family. She goes into details about her life as first lady and at the end of her life her hopes for the United Nations. (Last section was added to new edition issued just before her death) I could see how Eleanor rose to the challenge of first lady and the need for her to be the eyes and ears for her invalid husband, the president. Many former first ladies were overwhelmed with the role but it brought out the best in Eleanor. Mrs. Roosevelt was a complex woman and to begin to understand her it is necessary to read a wide range books about her from all points of view. For anyone wanting to learn about Eleanor Roosevelt or about first ladies, this is a must-read book.

The book is eighteen and a half hours. Tavia Gilbert does an excellent job narrating the book. Gilbert is an actress, voice-over artist and audiobook narrator. Gilbert won the Audie Award for the Best Female Narrator for 2017.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Dick Francis's Damage

  • By: Felix Francis
  • Narrated by: Michael Neilson
  • Length: 10 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 146
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 128
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 130

Undercover investigator Jeff Hinkley is assigned by the British Horseracing Authority to look into the activities of a suspicious racehorse trainer, but as he’s tailing his quarry through the Cheltenham Racing Festival, the last thing he expects to witness is a gruesome murder. Could it have something to do with the reason the trainer was banned in the first place - the administration of illegal drugs to his horses?

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • I was on Tenderhooks

  • By Jean on 03-25-18

I was on Tenderhooks

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-25-18

I believe this is Felix Francis’s first book of a series about Jefferson Roosevelt Hinkley. Hinkley is an investigator for the British Horse Racing Authority. He is investigating a banned horse trainer, Mathew Unwin.

The book is well written. The plot twists and turns. The characters are interesting. The book was hard to put down. The suspense kept me reading even when I should have gone to bed. I was a big fan of Dick Francis and enjoyed Felix’s return to the horse racing story line. I shall be looking for more Felix Francis books to read.

The book is almost ten and a half hours. Michael Neilson does a good job narrating the book. Neilson is an actor, singer, voice-over artist and audiobook narrator.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Weapon Wizards

  • How Israel Became a High-Tech Military Superpower
  • By: Yaakov Katz, Amir Bohbot
  • Narrated by: Paul Boehmer
  • Length: 9 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28

From drones to satellites, missile defense systems to cyber warfare, Israel is leading the world when it comes to new technology being deployed on the modern battlefield. The Weapon Wizards shows how this tiny nation of 8,000,000 learned to adapt to the changes in warfare and in the defense industry and become the new prototype of a 21st century superpower, not in size, but rather in innovation and efficiency - and as a result of its long war experience.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good Overview, May Overstate Level of Innovation

  • By JBF on 06-15-17

Riveting

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-23-18

This book has been sitting on my “to read pile” for some time. I am glad I read this book after I read the biography “The Lioness: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel” by Francine Klagsbrun. After reading about Golda’s struggles to obtain weapons, it paints the background for this book. This book discusses the evolution of Israel’s military weapons. It tells how the military had to create and manufacture its own weapons and also how they had to modify purchased weapons for their particular type of warfare and desert conditions. The author tells about testing the French Mirages to building drones, handguns and machine guns to cyber warfare.

The book is well written and researched. The authors not only tell the history of weapons but also the current state of research and development. It tells of the mindset of the people who are under constant pressure from surrounding countries that want to annihilate them. I found the section about drones fascinating. This book is not for everyone; but, for those interested in the research and development of military weapons, it is a fascinating book.

The book is about nine and a half hours. Paul Boehmer does a good job narrating the book. Boehmer is an actor, voice-over artist and audiobook narrator.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Third Victim

  • A Novel
  • By: Phillip Margolin
  • Narrated by: Therese Plummer
  • Length: 8 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 287
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 266
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 265

A woman stumbles onto a dark road in rural Oregon - tortured, battered, and bound. She tells a horrific story about being kidnapped, then tortured, until she finally managed to escape. She was the lucky one - two other women, with similar burns and bruises, were found dead. The surviving victim identifies the house where she was held captive, and the owner, Alex Mason - a prominent local attorney - is arrested.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent legal thriller!

  • By Wayne on 03-07-18

Absorbing

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-22-18

I have read a number of Margolin’s books over the years. Most of them take place in Oregon as does this book. Margolin frequently has the hero as a female defense attorney as is the case in this book. Our protagonist is Robin Lockwood. She has obtained her dream job working for Regina Barrister, Oregon’s most famous defense attorney. Regina is defending a fellow local attorney, Alex Mason, who is charged with kidnapping, torture and battery. Robin Lockwood is second chair to Barrister in this case.

The book is mostly well written with a multiple twisting plot. This book is not for everyone because of the descriptions of torture and abuse. Margolin provides not only detective work but courtroom drama. I do not believe this book is up to the usual standards of Margolin, as in my opinion, it is jerky in the flow of the multiple plot lines. But over all I did enjoy the book. I enjoyed the interview with the author at the end of the book.

The book is eight and a half hours. Therese Plummer does a good job narrating the story. Plummer is an actress, voice-over artist and an award-winning audiobook narrator.


9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Wondrous Beauty

  • The Life and Adventures of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte
  • By: Carol Berkin
  • Narrated by: Tara Hugo
  • Length: 7 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 9

From the award-winning historian: the remarkable life of "the most beautiful woman of 19th-century Baltimore", whose marriage in 1803 to Jérôme Bonaparte, the youngest brother of Napoleon, became inextricably bound to the diplomatic and political 19th-century histories of the United States, France, and England.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Impressive

  • By Jean on 03-21-18

Impressive

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-21-18

This is an interesting biography of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte (1785-1879). It has been sitting on my “to read pile” for some time.

Elizabeth married the younger brother of Napoleon. His name was Jerome and they had a son together. Napoleon ordered Jerome back to France and annulled the marriage. After Elizabeth was successful in making money by her own investments, she divorced Jerome in Baltimore. Berkin points out that if she stayed married to Jerome the monies would be his; but as a single woman she could control her own money. She never remarried.

The book was well written and meticulously researched. Berkin quoted frequently from letters received by Elizabeth as she had a habit of writing comments in the margins of the letters. Apparently, Elizabeth kept most of the correspondence she received. This habit must make historians happy. Berkin does a good job of painting a picture of life in Baltimore as well as in England and France in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The author also covers the legal rights of women in those years. I enjoyed learning about an American connection to the Bonaparte family. Carol Berkin is the Presidential Professor of History at Baruch College.

The book is almost nine and a half hours. Tara Hugo does an excellent job narrating the book. Hugo is an actress, singer and audiobook narrator.


5 of 5 people found this review helpful