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  • Small Sacrifices

  • By: Ann Rule
  • Narrated by: Ann Rule
  • Length: 2 hrs and 59 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 273
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 223
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 222

Ann Rule's shocking and powerful account of the destructive forces that drove Diane Downs, a beautiful young mother, to shoot her three young children in cold blood.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • I accidentally purchased the abridged version

  • By Jessica on 02-20-13

Oh So Good But Far Too Short

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

Reviewed: 08-20-18

First a mini rant.... Small Sacrifices was first published in 1987, that is three decades plus ago so please Audible, start carrying the unabridged version as this book is in my humble opinion the second best book ever written by the late great Anne Rule. Only surpassed by 'A Stranger Beside Me'.

Although a short book in the abridged form, this one is COMPELLING. I could not stop listening. As with so many authors though some narrate their own work. In some cases that is a benefit however in other situations it is a really bad idea. Ann Rule’s narration falls into the latter category but does not detract from it's substance.

Small Sacrifices is the true story of Elizabeth Diane Frederickson Downs (Known as Diane), a convicted murderer diagnosed with narcissistic, histrionic and antisocial personality disorders. She was convicted of one count of murder and two counts each of attempted murder and criminal assault. Her victims being her own very young children. It also explains a lot about Diane's childhood. You will read about her childhood suffering at the hands of dispassionate parents. Although sad there was no reason for this attack on the children that she grew in her womb.

As the story develops and we are introduced to her lover Lew Lewiston who was the catalyst for this outrageous crime which is so surprising as I feel that Dianne was unable to love anyone but still managed to focus her lust on this very weak man. There is no doubt that Diane was way above average in intelligence however stunted emotionally.

Ann Rule takes us through the murder and attempted murder in vivid retrospect right through to conviction and beyond.

Well written and only leaves you wanting for more but does not lack in the essential details about the crime, court case and aftermath.

If this is your genre then you are in for a real treat.

  • The Demon in the Freezer

  • By: Richard Preston
  • Narrated by: Paul Boehmer
  • Length: 8 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 730
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 476
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 471

"This book will give you nightmares," cautions The New York Times. Richard Preston takes us inside the ongoing war against bioterrorism, investigating the anthrax attacks of October 2001 and the potential for a future bio-attack using smallpox or, worse yet, a new superpox virus resistant to all vaccines. "As exciting as the best thrillers, yet scarier by far, for Preston's pages deal with clear, present and very real dangers," says Publishers Weekly.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Pretty interesting listening in a horrific way

  • By S A on 09-19-03

This Is The Stuff Of Nightmares

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

Reviewed: 05-31-18

If you are squeamish or you are eating I suggest that you refrain from listening to this book. Goes into great detail regarding bio-terrorism. There are parts that made me realize we cannot destroy bio-organisms such as smallpox and anthrax. They are vicious killers. Silent, invisible and in many cases deadly. However if the USA destroys our stock be assured that our enemies will not. I suppose much the same as nuclear weapons.

Richard Preston does not spare any details. His research is thorough. Some might find it a hard slog to get through as it is perhaps a little over ladened with minutia but I gave this five stars all the way as I do enjoy knowing more.

Paul Boehmer's performance prevents boredom as he does a five star job!

  • Calypso

  • By: David Sedaris
  • Narrated by: David Sedaris
  • Length: 6 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,625
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 6,931
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,865

If you've ever laughed your way through David Sedaris's cheerfully misanthropic stories, you might think you know what you're getting with Calypso. You'd be wrong. When he buys a beach house on the Carolina coast, Sedaris envisions long, relaxing vacations spent playing board games and lounging in the sun with those he loves most. And it's as idyllic as he imagined, except for one tiny, vexing realization: it's impossible to take a vacation from yourself. With Calypso, Sedaris sets his formidable powers of observation - and dark humor - toward middle age and mortality.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Dark and funny

  • By dana k sherwood on 06-05-18

Faultless. Love, laughter, some regrets.

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

Reviewed: 05-31-18

I have no idea how he does it but David Sedaris gets better with every book. Calypso is so honest and I am thinking that he opened a vein in some of the chapters. One moment I was reaching for the Kleenex when he talks about his dreams where he sees his much loved Mom and his sister Tiffany who have died. I cried further when David shares his guilt regarding his sister's suicide. There are parts that are so honest and raw I have no doubt that David Sedaris is a very brave man facing the tragic pain of bereavement.

On the other hand there are few chapters where he shares a couple of live performances that made me laugh so hard that my sides literally hurt.

I have never doubted that he is a good author however Calypso has finally confirmed that David Sedaris is a genius.


8 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Harvey Milk

  • His Lives and Death
  • By: Lillian Faderman
  • Narrated by: Joel Froomkin
  • Length: 7 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 7

Harvey Milk - eloquent, charismatic, and a smart-aleck - was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977, but he had not even served a full year in office when he was shot by a homophobic fellow supervisor. Milk's assassination at the age of 48 made him the most famous gay man in modern history; 20 years later, Time magazine included him on its list of the hundred most influential individuals of the 20th century. 

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Nothing New Here. Rehashed information.

  • By Julia on 05-31-18

Nothing New Here. Rehashed information.

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

Reviewed: 05-31-18

This book would be more interesting to someone who has just become familiar with the most interesting Harvey Milk. I was really hoping that I would learn a couple of new facts about this most controversial man. We all have our 'quirks' but Lillian Faderman writes about the 'whiney side' of Harvey rather a little too much.

The only new fact that I learned about Harvey was that some of his cremates were put in a box that had been 'bedazzled' and that Kool Aid was pored into San Francisco Bay when they were scattered in order to honor those who died in Guyana under the insane orders of Jim Jones and The People's Temple.

II compared it, perhaps unfairly to The Life and Time of Harvey Milk. Personally I found it rather difficult to get though. Did not exactly 'flow'!

Joel Froomkin did a pretty good job with his narration but I did find that my eyelids were getting pretty heavy as his performance was soporific.

  • Mary Boleyn

  • By: Alison Weir
  • Narrated by: Maggie Mash
  • Length: 12 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 147
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 133
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 130

Mary Boleyn was the mistress of two kings, Francois I of France and Henry VIII of England, and sister to Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife. In this astonishing and riveting biography, Alison Weir’s extensive research gives a new and detailed portrayal, in which she recounts that, contrary to popular belief, Mary was entirely undeserving of her posthumous notoriety as a great whore.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Historiography not a bio

  • By Mary Elizabeth Reynolds on 06-03-12

Academic Study Filled With Intelligent Speculation

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

Reviewed: 05-31-18

I must admit that although I am a fan of Alison Weir and have enjoyed everything that has flowed from her pen, this book in my humble opinion was not her best. It is heavy with speculation that is definitely 'out of the box'. It delves into the period 1522 until around 1536. There is a lot of background information regarding Henry's ever evolving personality plus we read much about the Boleyn family dynamic. Alison Weir discusses the possibility that Anne may well have been the elder daughter which based on my studies was quite an eyebrow raiser!

Normally I cannot put down one of Alison Weir's books as to date I have found that they are real page turners. I may well give this a second listen in the future as it was interesting but not engrossing.

  • Jane Seymour

  • The Haunted Queen
  • By: Alison Weir
  • Narrated by: Rosalyn Landor
  • Length: 19 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 127
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 114
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 114

Twenty-five-year-old Jane Seymour wants nothing more than to become a nun. But her ambitious father has forced her to live at court as lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine of Aragon, a fellow Catholic whom she soon comes to love and admire. So Jane is appalled when King Henry shunts Katherine aside in his lustful pursuit of Anne Boleyn, but even more so when he takes Anne's life in his rush to wed - Jane herself!  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Jane Seymour so human, so beloved and now so real.

  • By Julia on 05-17-18

Jane Seymour so human, so beloved and now so real.

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

Reviewed: 05-17-18

I have read many books on the Tudor era and have always found that Jane Seymour has the smallest chapter. This is much dramatized novel however is it definitely spot on when it comes to historical fact.

It takes us from the reign of Katherine of Aragon through the tumultuous reign of Ann Boleyn. With each chapter Alison Weir introduces more facets of Jane's personality. I have, in the past, thought of Jane as a weak and spineless individual whom I am sure that if she had lived would have been put aside just like Henry's previous wives when he sees someone else who takes his fancy. After reading this I have had reason to change my mind. She may have been perceived as week but she was brave, loyal and persistent with a genuine love of people. It is little wonder that she was so accepted by the British people.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and of course having the great Rosalyn Landor as narrator made this totally engrossing from the first paragraph. A great listen and highly recommended.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • One Step Too Far

  • A Novel
  • By: Tina Seskis
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth Knowelden, Paul Fox
  • Length: 9 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,676
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,518
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,523

A happy marriage. A beautiful family. A lovely home. So what makes Emily Coleman get up one morning and walk right out of her life to start again as someone new? Now Emily has become Cat, working at a hip advertising agency in London and living on the edge with her inseparable new friend, Angel. Cat's buried any trace of her old self so well, no one knows how to find her. But she can't bury the past or her own memories.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great story

  • By Linda on 03-12-15

Frustratingly Gripping!

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

Reviewed: 05-04-18

A really slow start that I found irritating. Took over half the book to really get going however when it did, WOW! I was engrossed. Here we have a pair of twins who are deeply complicated. Their parents are also an enigma and made me want to slap some sense into them. It is a fine example of the fact that sometimes it is not possible to like a child although you still love that same child.

There are many retrospectives that can be a little confusing but I feel that it was an asset to this storyline. It does tend to be a little unrealistic but this is fiction.

Elizabeth Knowelden and Paul Fox give thoroughly brilliant performances that just give added value to this audio book.

A good listen.

  • Young and Damned and Fair

  • The Life of Catherine Howard, Fifth Wife of King Henry VIII
  • By: Mr. Gareth Russell
  • Narrated by: Jenny Funnell
  • Length: 15 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 110
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 102
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 100

Written with an exciting combination of narrative flair and historical authority, this interpretation of the tragic life of Catherine Howard, fifth wife of Henry VIII, breaks new ground in our understanding of the very young woman who became queen at a time of unprecedented social and political tension and whose terrible errors in judgment quickly led her to the executioner's block.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Magnifent scholarly work

  • By Linda Erlich on 08-08-17

Title Somewhat Misleading

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

Reviewed: 04-29-18

From the title I was looking forward to reading a book with a heavy emphasis on Catherine Howard, Henry VIII's fifth wife and the second to die by his order on the gallows. There is much information about Catherine however I would estimate that 70% of this volume is a detailed description of the politics and lifestyle of the latter part of the Tudor era.

That being said I am sure that many readers will learn new facts and be curious about the author’s theories regarding young Catherine. As I am not a fan of reviews that are filled with spoilers I do not intend to share too much about this relatively new information. I was intrigued as I listened further to several new revelations that Gareth Russell has unearthed. An example that really got me thinking was his argument regarding the question “Did Henry VIII suffer from congenital syphilis”? I, like many people theorize that this could have been the reason why Henry appeared to be losing his mind and making terrible judgments in the latter years of his life. Gareth Russell seems to dispel this myth.

The Gareth Russell version of Catherine Howard is quite a distant far cry from the hapless Queen Catherine that I have always read about.

There is no doubt that even after all of these years there is still more to be learned about the poor, yet simple minded fifth Queen to stand by Henry VIII’s side.

Jenny Funnel gives yet another excellent performance.

If you are curious about Catherine Howard I think that many readers will find this book compelling.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A Higher Loyalty

  • Truth, Lies, and Leadership
  • By: James Comey
  • Narrated by: James Comey
  • Length: 9 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 20,894
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 19,061
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 18,974

In his audiobook, A Higher Loyalty, former FBI director James Comey shares his never-before-told experiences from some of the highest stakes situations of his career in the past two decades of American government, exploring what good, ethical leadership looks like and how it drives sound decisions. His journey provides an unprecedented entry into the corridors of powe, and a remarkable lesson in what makes an effective leader.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • More Than Trump: All Comey's Life/Working Years--

  • By Gillian on 04-17-18

James Comey, Sinner or Saint?

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

Reviewed: 04-26-18

Well written and interesting account of a man who has attempted to keep his integrity in the face of life's adversity.

It may seem self serving however James Comey shares his weaknesses as well as his strengths. If you are looking for a book that. is filled with cover-to-cover 'Trump bashing' you will be disappointed. It is obvious that he has lived his career life staying true to the principles of a non-partisan FBI agent. It would be easy to become a 'fan' of this man however he does not spare us from his weaknesses and youthful transgressions.

Many books in this genre can be very monotonous as filled with self praise however I found that it was really interesting especially as so many of the experiences that JC recounts have been in the media. It is intriguing to hear 'the rest of the story'.

Left me wondering whether it would be possible to have a man in such an important role that could actually be so honorable. If he is then we really have experienced a far greater loss than we realize.

James Comey also narrates this bio and I feel that if he is looking for a new career reading audio books would, without a doubt be an excellent option as he does a superb job. So easy to listen to.

Really enjoyed this book.


0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Hidden Lives of Tudor Women

  • A Social History
  • By: Elizabeth Norton
  • Narrated by: Jennifer Dixon
  • Length: 12 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 201
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 185
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 186

The Tudor period conjures up images of queens and noblewomen in elaborate court dress, of palace intrigue and dramatic politics. But if you were a woman, it was also a time when death during childbirth was rife, when marriage was usually a legal contract, not a matter for love, and the education you could hope to receive was minimal at best. Yet the Tudor century was also dominated by powerful and dynamic women in a way that no era had been before.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I love this book!

  • By Kathi on 08-17-17

Appreciate the 'Now' Ladies. Tudor times SUCKED!

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

Reviewed: 04-05-18

This is the first Elizabeth Norton Book that I have read and I am oh so glad that I have found her. So much research embraced in every page. I am grateful that I am a woman of this age and not born in Tudor times. I can love my God the way I chose and I can express my views freely.

Yes, of course I realize how people were repressed especially the poor but the class structure is mapped out in great detail in this book. I studied history within the walls of one of England's greatest Schools of learning. Perhaps it was because I was so very young that I took my freedom for granted but having listened to 'The Hidden Lives Of Tudor Women" and some of the examples therein such as the heart rendering story of poor Anne Askew I am more cognizant of what our predecessors went through.

This book also gives us a really good idea of how woman lived their daily lives. Frankly it amazes me that women actually allowed a man to touch them as their chances of dying in childbirth were greater than surviving the whole horrendous ordeal.

These Tudor women were total amazing and we wonder why Queen Elizabeth II decided not to have children! Go figure!

I was not total impressed with Jenifer Dixon's performance. It was not dreadful but did not do this book credit. It was 'vanilla' at best. Would love to hear it rerecorded with another performer who is a little more animated and who could get her pronunciation of places correct such as Hever Castle which was incorrectly pronounced throughout. That is like nails on a chalkboard!

All things being said an enjoyable listen and this girl learn a lot.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful