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Sara

Syracuse, NY
  • 16
  • reviews
  • 65
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  • 47
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  • Gosnell

  • The Untold Story of America's Most Prolific Serial Killer
  • By: Ann McElhinney, Phelim McAleer
  • Narrated by: Ann McElhinney
  • Length: 11 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 655
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 600
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 600

Gosnell is the untold story of America's most prolific serial killer. In 2013, Dr. Kermit Gosnell was convicted of killing four people, including three babies, but is thought to have killed hundreds, perhaps thousands more in a 30-year killing spree. ABC News correspondent Terry Moran described Gosnell as "America's most prolific serial killer".

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Difficult But Important

  • By There Might Be Cupcakes Podcast on 10-23-17

Where is the critical thinking?

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-03-17

Oh this book! I wanted to really delve in but it's impossible. The author is the worst kind as McElhinney and McAleer have an agenda that they are selling. It is written so poorly it feels like listening to a lecture not a nonfiction account. Ugh, so frustrating as there is so little written on Gosnell. It's all emotional and sentimental not objective or intelligent! Worst!! Interestingly, they reference Helter Skelter but fail to be dynamic or cerebral. Instead it's like "mom" schooling you on the evils of something....zzzzzz. Too bad since it had big shoes to fill. And still, the Gosnell story goes really untold.

4 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Serial Killers 101: A Detailed Look into the Lives of the Most Prolific Serial Killers in History

  • By: Brian Lee Tucker
  • Narrated by: Mitchell Small
  • Length: 5 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 24
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 20

Within a maze of true crime books that tend to provide only minor portions of the whole story, Serial Killers 101 provides a much more detailed and comprehensive insight into the world of some of the most infamous serial killers in American history.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Disappointed

  • By C. on 08-30-16

Worst true crime text--ever!

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

Reviewed: 04-27-16

I enjoy reading true crime and am always on the lookout for something new. This book was especially appealing because it covers so many people and crimes.The organization of the book is interesting and the author has conducted a couple of person-to-person interviews with a few killers. However, where the author goes terrible wrong is in how he writes about the crimes. Mr. Tucker has no reverence for the dead. This is the most unethical reporting I've ever come across. He talks about how Ted Bundy "F*cks" his victims or the "tightness" of a certain child's "a**hole." This book should never have been published. Tucker is the measure of an insensitive reporter. The book's cover is cheesy/tacky and the writing style and language is elementary and sleazy. I wish I could give this book ZERO stars. Simply a waste of time.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Seductive Poison

  • A Jonestown Survivor's Story of Life and Death in the Peoples Temple
  • By: Deborah Layton
  • Narrated by: Kathe Mazur, Deborah Layton
  • Length: 15 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 301
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 276
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 275

Told by a former high-level member of the Peoples Temple and Jonestown survivor, Seductive Poison is the "truly unforgettable" (Kirkus Reviews) story of how one woman was seduced by one of the most notorious cults in recent memory and how she found her way back to sanity.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant, Haunting, Chilling

  • By Daryl on 04-16-15

A whole look at the Jonestown nightmare

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

Reviewed: 01-15-16

There aren't many first-hand accounts of what life was like in Jonestown so this book is much more than a a memoir but a portal that takes us to the everyday life of a people and way of life that faded away in just one afternoon. With that said, this book is haunting in its details. Even for those who frequently read "true crime" books or the like may struggle to finish this book, I know I did...
The author takes very hard looks at Jim Jones, cult madness and herself/ mother in an attempt to explain how something like this did happen. I do recommend but beware it's a gripping and heartbreaking story that will stay with you like it or not.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Life We Bury

  • By: Allen Eskens
  • Narrated by: Zach Villa
  • Length: 8 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 44,364
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40,584
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40,495

College student Joe Talbert has the modest goal of completing a writing assignment for an English class. His task is to interview a stranger and write a brief biography of the person. With deadlines looming, Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, and soon nothing in Joe's life is ever the same. Carl is a dying Vietnam veteran-and a convicted murderer. With only a few months to live, he has been medically paroled to a nursing home after spending thirty years in prison for the crimes of rape and murder.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good listen!

  • By Lori on 12-14-15

Interesting but...

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

Reviewed: 12-25-15

At times a little predictable. The characters where dynamic, flawed but still mostly good people. This is a book almost anyone could/would enjoy!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Once Upon A Time, A True Story of Memory, Murder and the Law

  • By: Harry N. MacLean
  • Narrated by: Wendy Almeida
  • Length: 24 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 117
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 109
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 108

In 1989, Eileen Franklin, a young California housewife, claimed to recover a repressed memory of her father killing her playmate 20 years earlier. In a landmark trial, the father was charged and convicted of first-degree murder, based solely on his daughter's testimony. This book chronicles the trial, explores the remarkably dysfunctional Franklin family and delves into the credibility of repressed memories as evidence....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Superb!

  • By Brittany on 08-15-15

Poor writing worse narration!

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

Reviewed: 12-21-15

You could rip out every other page of this book and still probably not miss anything of substance. MacLean's writing style was dizzying and told the story as a watery soup more full of contradicting opinions than facts. It isn't the worst true crime novel but it's not good either. The narration was truly awful! What were they thinking?! Almeida sounds grandmotherly and every time she said something obscene (which is frequently) I truly cringed! I'm sure she could pull off many books very well as a narrator and she did do a fantastic southern drawl for the killers voice, but she was honestly a very very poor choice for this book! I cannot recommend, nor will I ever re-read.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Witness Wore Red

  • The 19th Wife Who Brought Polygamous Cult Leaders to Justice
  • By: Rebecca Musser, M. Bridget Cook
  • Narrated by: Rebecca Musser
  • Length: 14 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 889
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 815
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 813

Always seeking to be an obedient Priesthood girl, in her teens Rebecca Musser became the nineteenth wife of her people's prophet: 85-year-old Rulon Jeffs. Finally sickened by the abuse she suffered and saw around her, she pulled off a daring escape and sought to build a new life and family.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Compelling and emotional read

  • By Briley on 10-08-13

Truth or Tale?

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

Reviewed: 04-01-15

Many people love this book and I agree that Musser is a very talented writer.

However, it lacked an element of humanity on Musser's end. As the story unfolds you get the feeling that this isn't the whole story. It seems very one-sided as she has practically nothing good to say about anyone in her community (other than her full-blooded siblings and mother).

So, I did a little digging and found that her brother, a main player in the story "Cole" has also written a book (available on kindle) recounting much of his sister's book. I haven't read it but it is clear by the description that he thinks his sister isn't being truthful in her portrayal of events. That along with the fact the Musser paints herself as Miss Perfect (having never even lied in her whole life) it smacks of "to-good-to-be-true." Again, the story is a good read...but again the reader has to decide how much of this is truth or tale.

Musser also lost MANY points with me when she shares her devastation when her daughter is born with a dark birthmark on her face. She goes on and on about it and for the most part her devastation has to do with vanity. Later, she reveals that it can become cancerous and even then the emotions she shares wasn't as profound as how she went on and on about the "look" of it. I was appalled as I too have a child with a large, dark facial birthmark. And the day he was born I wept with the beauty and miracle of his birth not because he had a facial birthmark. She on the other hand, wept over it and she even shares that her husband was upset with her reaction--I could't agree more. Additionally, I was disgusted even if she did feel that way she'd put that in print!!!! It matters that this is her character and this is her story. I felt for her, she has been through a lot but she has a level of immaturity that makes me have misgivings for her story as a whole.

2 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Thomas Cromwell

  • The Untold Story of Henry VIII's Most Faithful Servant
  • By: Tracy Borman
  • Narrated by: Julian Elfer
  • Length: 14 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 332
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 303
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 302

Thomas Cromwell has long been reviled as a Machiavellian schemer who stopped at nothing in his quest for power. As Henry VIII's right-hand man, Cromwell was the architect of the English Reformation, secured Henry's divorce from Catherine of Aragon and plotted the downfall of Anne Boleyn, and upon his arrest, was accused of trying to usurp the King himself. But here Tracy Borman reveals a different side of one of the most notorious figures in history.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • "Behind the Scenes" of Wolf Hall!

  • By JMP on 11-23-16

Meh

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

Reviewed: 01-10-15

I purchased this book on preorder so excited was I about its release. However, it is extremely dry. I don't mind that too much but I won't rave about it either. I much prefer someone who discussed the "what ifs" and "speculates" (just a little) about the endless possibilities based on documentation. This enriches the text and requires more than a "history lesson." Borman does neither. What you'll get here is is facts layed one atop the other until the end. If you read Wolf Hall and just want to fact check then this will give you that...but if your looking for something exciting like "The Creation of Anne Boleyn" then keep moving on.

16 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Isabella: Braveheart of France

  • By: Colin Falconer
  • Narrated by: Anne Johnstonbrown
  • Length: 7 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 133
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 119
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 117

12-year-old Isabella, a French princess marries the King of England - only to discover he has a terrible secret. Ten long years later she is in utter despair - does she submit to a lifetime of solitude and a spiritual death - or seize her destiny and take the throne of England for herself? Isabella is just twelve years old when she marries Edward II of England. For the young princess it is love at first sight - but Edward has a terrible secret that threatens to tear their marriage - and England apart.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A different take on the tale

  • By Arlene Rogers on 04-13-16

A Bizarre "Reader's Digest" Version of History...

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

Reviewed: 01-06-15

This book is written in a very distinctive style that limits the content and the enjoyment.

Falconer's writing style is rushed and goes from one event to another without any content in-between. We have all seen this before, and in many texts it helps move the story along. However, Falconer abuses this method and skips years with no pause to develop the players in the story. This makes the courtship with the characters stunted and you end up not caring what happens to them. Isabella had many children, but other than a line or two we know nothing other than their names and order of birth. Who writes about a queen without discussing their children?! This is extremely careless writing! I kept thinking at some point Falconer would stop racing through the years and give these people life but he never did. Instead, Falconer relies on the seedy nature of the king to carry the story. We get it, he was gay, woohoo. That alone, with no additional substance, is NOT enough to carry an entire novel...

If you are a huge history buff (as I am) then maybe you will want to read this book simply because there are few historical fictions from this period. But be warned--don't expect too much.

Happy Readings!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Unholy Messenger

  • The Life and Crimes of the BTK Serial Killer
  • By: Stephen Singular
  • Narrated by: Alan Sklar
  • Length: 10 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 269
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 171
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 170

To all appearances, Dennis Rader was a model citizen in the small town of Park City, Kansas, where he had lived with his family almost his entire life. He was a town compliance officer, a former Boy Scout leader, the president of his church congregation, and a seemingly ordinary father and husband. But Rader's average life belied the existence of his dark, sadistic other self: he was the BTK serial killer.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • It's a Christian Book!!

  • By Nick on 07-07-16

Good True Crime

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

Reviewed: 12-21-14

Many of the current reviews kept me from picking this book. This book is a great read with lots of detail. Several reviewers mention the parts about BTK's pastor as boring or distracting and I'd argue the opposite is the case. BTK was very devoted in his Christianity. The author, clearly intrigued by this, delves into how BTK was able to kill 10 people without remorse and still call himself a man of God.

I really enjoyed this book and I bet you will too!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Jane Boleyn

  • The True Story of the Infamous Lady Rochford
  • By: Julia Fox
  • Narrated by: Rosalyn Landor
  • Length: 12 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 93
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 43
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 44

In a life of extraordinary drama, Jane Boleyn was catapulted from relative obscurity to the inner circle of King Henry VIII. As powerful men and women around her became victims of Henry's ruthless and absolute power - including her own husband and sister-in-law Queen Anne Boleyn - Jane's allegiance to the volatile monarchy was sustained and rewarded. But the price for her loyalty would eventually be her undoing and the ruination of her name

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Well Worth Listening To

  • By Marie on 12-08-08

Where IS Jane Boleyn in her own Biography??!!

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

Reviewed: 12-09-14

As a huge Boleyn buff, I was excited when I found this book. In fact, I said "how smart" as soon as I saw it! The Lady Rochford had an incredible life and has been played in every character role imaginable from the victim to the vixen. So it was with great joy I purchased this book. The first 2/3s of the book really are focused on Anne. Rochford is background music at best!! But I hung on, granted, it wasn't anything I haven't read before about Anne but it wasn't bad enough to jump chapters.

So, finally, we go through Anne's death and then I notice the book is nearly over. I figured the end would be fast but sensational as we look at all the theories of the roles she played in aiding Katherine in her infamous affair with Thomas Cullpepper. Yet, Fox doesn't explore ANY of the possible "what ifs" or even go into great detail about the trial or execution of Rochford. It's rushed, unexplored and dreadfully boring. I couldn't believe it! I would guess Fox really wanted to write another book about Anne. Then, for whatever reason, she decided to change course and write about Jane. It's a GREAT idea!! Sadly, when Fox does talk about Jane it lacks passion and interest.

Perhaps, one could debate we don't have nearly as much documentation about Lady Rochford and while that is true, Fox does dig deep into dates, financial matters and events relevant to Jane's life. What she doesn't do is speculate on the different angles and open ends. She does for Anne but not for Jane. And, she completely ignores Katherine and her relationship with Jane.

All in all, this isn't the worst biography I've read. Yet, this is the first one that I have read where the main character is MIA! Unforgivable!!

I hope to one day see another bio about Jane that is actually about Jane...