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Linda Lou

Phoenix, AZ USA
  • 267
  • reviews
  • 3,105
  • helpful votes
  • 1,704
  • ratings
  • Anne and Charles

  • Passion and Politics in Late Medieval France: the Story of Anne of Brittany’s Marriage to Charles VIII
  • By: Rozsa Gaston
  • Narrated by: Anna Parker-Naples
  • Length: 9 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3

When Anne of Brittany's father dies in 1488, she becomes Duchess of Brittany, her country's ruler at age 11. For the next three years, the unmarried, orphaned duchess is pursued by suitors while Brittany is invaded by its larger, more powerful neighbor of France. With no other way out, at age 14 she agrees to marry Charles VIII, King of France, to save her country. Better to be a queen than a prisoner.... Unexpectedly, a passionate relationship ensues. Yet Charles cannot shake off bad habits he has brought into their marriage, and Anne cannot help him in his darkest area of struggle.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • ABSOLUTELY AWFUL!

  • By Linda Lou on 06-01-18

ABSOLUTELY AWFUL!

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

Reviewed: 06-01-18

I thought this was historical fiction in the style of Philippa Gregory. Instead it’s just a really bad Harlequin romance. I have read thousands of books about European royalty. Now I see why I’ve never even heard of these two. I only made it through the the first 12 chapters, skipping through most of them, because all it was is a 14 year-old child fantasizing about her wedding night! When she finally got there, one would think she was a pro at sex. In 1491? I don’t think so. I decided to just go to Wikipedia for the real story. This CHILD was pregnant with 16 babies in 20 years. Charles died early from getting smacked on the head walking through a low doorway. Anne remarried then died from all of them babies (only one girl baby survived). No wonder since Charles and Anne were sickly, too young, and damn near siblings. What happened to that “4 degrees of sanguinity” rule?

Anyway, it’s just not an interesting set of people. It’s poorly written and the narrator made my eyebrows hurt. Do not waste a credit on this mess. Wikipedia is more accurate. And a lot shorter! REFUND! 😡

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Dangerous Crossing

  • A Novel
  • By: Rachel Rhys
  • Narrated by: Katherine Manners
  • Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 24
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 23

It is 1939. Europe is on the brink of war when young Lily Shepherd boards an ocean liner in Essex, bound for Australia. She is ready to start anew, leaving behind the shadows in her past. The passage proves magical, complete with live music, cocktails, and fancy dress balls. The voyage shows Lily places she'd only ever dreamed of and enables her to make friends with those above her social station. She even allows herself to hope that a man she couldn't possibly have a future with might return her feelings. But Lily soon realizes that she's not the only one hiding secrets.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • DO NOT FALL FOR THIS SYNOPIS!

  • By Linda Lou on 01-13-18

DO NOT FALL FOR THIS SYNOPIS!

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

Reviewed: 01-13-18

I love Agatha Christie, so of course I’d be interested to listen a story “in the style” of Christie. NOT EVEN CLOSE! This is not Death On The Nile. More like Death Of Eleven Hours Of Your Life! There is no mystery in this story. The characters are vapid, shallow and under-developed. The main character, Lily, is as dumb as a box of hair. She inserts herself into every aspect of every character in the book. Murder, abortion, disappearance - she’s there, front row seat, and not in a good way. A friend goes missing ON A CRUISE SHIP so Lily just goes to sleep then tours the port city the next day. She is in love with one man but gets caught about to have sex with the husband of a companion under the tarpaulin IN ONE OF THE UNDEPLOYED RESCUE BOATS! No moral compass at all.

The author spends a lot of time with flashbacks of Lily’s life in England. But it’s unconnected snippets which are hard to follow. More importantly, I thought the book was about Europeans going to Australia to start anew. There’s too much focus on the impending World War II that makes no sense. So - enter Stage Left - a Jewish woman fleeing Nazi Austria.

As I endured a day-by-day account of weeks on this ship, I felt like I was in labor - waiting for a baby that never comes. There’s no plot here, no compelling story, no interesting characters. What’s worse is that Lily is supposed to be based on a real character in the 1930s who sailed from England to Australia. The failure of this story is stretching it to 11 hours of the most boring saga ever! Download at your own risk!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • The Big Book of Serial Killers

  • An Encyclopedia of Serial Killers - 150 Serial Killer Files of the World's Worst Murderers
  • By: Jack Rosewood, Rebecca Lo
  • Narrated by: Kevin Kollins
  • Length: 17 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 164
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 140
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 139

There is little more terrifying than those who hunt, stalk, and snatch their prey under the cloak of darkness. These hunters search not for animals, but for the touch, taste, and empowerment of human flesh. They are cannibals, vampires, and monsters, and they walk among us. These serial killers are not mythical beasts with horns and shaggy hair. They are people living among society, going about their day-to-day activities until nightfall. They are the Dennis Rader's, the fathers, husbands, church-going members of the community.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • GREAT FOR TRUE CRIME DEVOTÉES, BUT....

  • By Linda Lou on 10-31-17

GREAT FOR TRUE CRIME DEVOTÉES, BUT....

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

Reviewed: 10-31-17

........this is a 5-Star PRINTED book but just a 2-Star AUDIOBOOK. You get all the serial killing that you could hope for, with several spree killers thrown in. Narrator Kevin Kollins is absolutely perfect for this genre.

So what’s the problem? Well, it’s written in outline form, making it difficult fully appreciate in audio. The author presents each killer in a non-chronological database form, which references and cross-references their crimes, which is often redundant. Also, he lists “Murder Victims” (by name and age), “Offenses” (including murder), and a “Timeline of Murders”. This is alright, albeit redundant, if there are less than 5 victims. However, in the case of prolific serial killers like Ted Bundy, Gary Greenway, and John Wayne Gacy, you will zone out by victim 10. Lord help you if there are 30+ victims! Or, in the case of Chinese, Korean, or South American killers (don’t ask me their names!) who killed as many as 100 people in their native countries......well, I think you get where I’m going with this.

This book makes a better hard-copy version because the reader can skim or totally skip over the lists which add nothing to the accounts unless you’re a researcher. You get a pretty thorough synopsis in the narrative backstory included with exact killer.

I am going to return the audio version and just buy the print version. I suggest you do the same. This is a great READ but an almost impossible LISTEN.

45 of 48 people found this review helpful

  • The It Girls

  • A Novel
  • By: Karen Harper
  • Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld
  • Length: 9 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 21
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 21

From New York Times best-selling author Karen Harper comes a novel based on the lives of two amazing sisters. One sailed the Titanic and started a fashion empire. The other overtook Hollywood and scandalized the world. Together, they were unstoppable. They rose from genteel poverty, two beautiful sisters, ambitious, witty, seductive. Elinor and Lucy Sutherland are at once each other's fiercest supporters and most vicious critics.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • GREAT SUBJECT RUINED BY POOR WRITING

  • By Linda Lou on 10-28-17

GREAT SUBJECT RUINED BY POOR WRITING

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

Reviewed: 10-28-17

Unfortunately, I am the first person to review this book for Audible. I really wish some - ANYONE - had given me a heads up. This audiobook is in my TOP 5 WORST BOOKS OF ALL TIME. If it was just a bad story, I could understand. But the synopsis sets it up as being much more than it is. The main characters are one-dimensional. Best described as “Kardashianesque”. The two sisters, Lucille had Eleanor, are gold diggers who go after men whom, on first sight, are rich, gentle, and compassionate. Then, either during after or during the honeymoon, the guys turn out to be....ummm. Lamar Odom, Scott Disick, and/or Kanye - very flawed. One minute these women are married and suddenly “married in name only” but we aren’t privy as to what really happened. They keep referring themselves as “The Two Girls From Just Jersey”. No, not as the one next to The Big Apple. The Channel Islands Jersey. But WHY?!

The author never develops any story lines or explains how the plot got from here to there. She will suddenly write “Then two (or six, or 12) months later” and we are there - but very confused. It’s not even as well-written as a fluffy romance novel with Fabio on the corner. There’s something missing on every level. Lucille is supposed to a fashion designer while Eleanor is a writer or something. The Victorian historical aspects such as local color, fashion, food, customs, etc. are so lacking that Eleanor could just as well be an internet blogger. All they do is drop names like the Prince of Wales, Lillie Langtry, designer Norman Hartnell Duchess Of York, Duke This And Lady That”. Neither of them has any prior training or education or life experience to advance as far as the do. It’s kinda like “Kourtney and Kim Take Miami”. They get there but don’t really do anything of substance. In the next chapter, it’s suddenly “Kourtney and Kim Take New York”, “ Dash Dolls”. Try to keep in mind that this during Queen Victoria’s time when “gentlewomen” didn’t do anything except go to balls.

The narrator adds nothing. She reads way too fast. Just about every character sounds the same, especially Eleanor and Lucille. It becomes hard to stay engaged with her boring delivery. But she doesn’t have much to work with here.

This book is more like “The WHAT Girls”. As in “WHAT IS THIS ALL ABOUT”!

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Wideacre

  • Wideacre, Book 1
  • By: Philippa Gregory
  • Narrated by: Emma Powell
  • Length: 26 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 214
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 197
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 199

Philippa Gregory's first story in the best-selling Wideacre trilogy. A compelling tale of passion and intrigue set in the 18th century. From the author of The Other Boleyn Girl and The Virgin's Lover. Wideacre Hall, set in the heart of the English countryside, is the ancestral home that Beatrice Lacey loves. But as a woman of the 18th century, she has no right of inheritance. Corrupted by a world that mistreats women, she sets out to corrupt others.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Refreshing

  • By Ruth on 11-11-17

26 HOURS OF INCEST IS 25.75 HOURS TOO MUCH!

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

Reviewed: 09-19-17

I have always enjoyed Philippa Gregory's books of historically based fiction. A great way to learn about the Tudors, Plantagenets, Stuarts, etc. But this book is just too TOO!!! Too much murder, too much obsession, too much BDSM, too much psychopathy and way too much incest. The latter is overdone, uncomfortable, and adds nothing to the overall plot. It can't be called MAKING LOVE, if both parties are of legal age and KNOW their sexual behavior is unacceptable. Especially between an adult brother and sister, with no prior psychological or socio-economic reasons for their actions. The main character is only 18! Even if she was born a bad seed, with a severe personality disorder, it makes no sense that her sexual sociopathy would appear in her late teens, particularly in an era that many of the young women of her age, class and breeding are married with children. Her older brother, more worldly AND married, becoming suddenly sexually attracted to his sister defies common sense. The bondage/sadism aspect also has no historic background within the family makeup. Lord knows, Gregory had HOURS to give the reader a backstory first.

The other problem with this book is that the entire story line takes place in a two year period. TWENTY-SIX HOURS of "Fifty Shades of Grey" meets "Flowers In The Attic" is ridiculous! This same story - if it really needed to be told - could have been done in less than 10 hours. That's with every act of incest and other crimes included. There is so much mind-numbing minutiae in this book that screams "ABRIDGE ME NOW!" The narrator brings nothing to this already flawed work. The length of the book overwhelms her pleasant but uninspiring voice.

If this is the first of a series, I cannot see its successors being any better. In fact, the preview at the end suggests more of the same among the unsuspecting next generation of Wildacre cousins who are actually sister and brother and the result of incest. Enough, already! Most of us are appalled enough with Cersei and Jaime Lannister in "Game of Thrones". But this work is not even close to "GOT"! I sure hope it never becomes a mini-series! 😝

16 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Last Train to Memphis

  • The Rise of Elvis Presley
  • By: Peter Guralnick
  • Narrated by: Kevin Stillwell
  • Length: 22 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 258
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 230
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 228

Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley is the first biography to go past that myth and present an Elvis beyond the legend. Based on hundreds of interviews and nearly a decade of research, it traces the evolution not just of the man but of the music and of the culture he left utterly transformed, creating a completely fresh portrait of Elvis and his world. This volume tracks the first 24 years of Elvis' life, covering his childhood, the stunning first recordings at Sun Records, and the early RCA hits.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very Eye Opening

  • By Carson on 10-13-17

A WASTE OF TIME

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

Reviewed: 06-12-17

I lived right behind Graceland from 1975 to 1978. I remember being unable to get home on the afternoon of August 16, 1977 due to the tens of thousands of people who filled the streets around Graceland after Elvis Presley was pronounced dead earlier that afternoon from a "heart attack". Two days later, since my husband and I were still not able to get near our complex, so we chose instead to stand in the sweltering Memphis, TN heat with that great mass of people - both rabid fans from around the world and just the merely curious - on what is now Elvis Presley Blvd., as the hearse carrying the body of "The King", followed by a dozen or so white limos with his superstar mourners, made its mournful way to nearby Forest Hill Cemetery.

Many books have been written about Presley since that day, most of which I have read. Each account has a different view of this man's life - some factual, some more fiction than truth, some vindictive, some self-serving. But, combined, one can get a pretty good idea of Presley's life and music. In my opinion, the best of the lot is "Elvis" by Albert Goldman (1981). But I still wanted to know more. So I bought Peter Guralnick's book. I couldn't be more disappointed!

After 22 hours, I still no idea what this book is about. It claims to chronicle the early years of Elvis Presley, yet there is very little about the REAL man in this book. The author writes like an 8 year-old doing a book report on a book he didn't read. The story is all over the place, his thoughts unfocused, no sense of chronology or local flavor. He will start telling us about an event or person but then not finish his point. The story is told in some weird, sometimes first-person manner, but you never know who is talking at the time. The narrator doesn't help, sounding bored, with no change in his voice for each person. He has a non-regional, generic voice, attempting to narrate a book about people from the seriously southern Mississippi and Tennessee!

Save yourself some time and money. Guralnick's effort is lazy, amateurish and superficial. Buy the Goldman biography on Elvis Presley. Some critics called it controversial at the time, but at least it's INTERESTING! At the very least, you will get great insight into the King and his huge "posse" (second only to the Disciples).

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • 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 113
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 104
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 102

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

NOT WORTH THE TIME OR CREDIT

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

Reviewed: 05-15-17

This book is about everything EXCEPT Catherine Howard. Irish Parliament, Scottish royalty, every person ever mentioned in books about the Tudor Dynasty. Poor Catherine was Queen Consort for 16 months before being beheaded by the tyrannical old pervert Henry VIII. She added nothing to history and would not even be remembered if she's married a country squire. The author tells us very little about Catherine, instead he filled a book with English mores and customs of the era. You can learn these same facts in Alison Weir's "Henry VIII: King and Court".

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Born a Crime

  • Stories from a South African Childhood
  • By: Trevor Noah
  • Narrated by: Trevor Noah
  • Length: 8 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 95,570
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 88,522
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 88,105

One of the comedy world's fastest-rising stars tells his wild coming of age story during the twilight of apartheid in South Africa and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed. Noah provides something deeper than traditional memoirists: powerfully funny observations about how farcical political and social systems play out in our lives.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great book and perfect narration

  • By Marilyn Armstrong on 12-15-16

ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!

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

Reviewed: 05-14-17

I've read tens of thousands of books in my lifetime and only about 3 really stand out as superb in every way. This is one of them. I have always like Trevor Noah as a stand-up comedian and talk show host. Somehow, I instinctively knew that this kid had more depth to him that his comedic banter and sexy dimples. His take on being black was unique and, even as a black American with my own history, I didn't quite get him. He was funny but there is an underlying poignancy and hidden pain in each of his "jokes". Once I listened to this book - his life, his journey, his struggles, his resilience - it suddenly all made sense. His pain isn't the pain borne from U.S. slavery or the subsequent racism that black Americans still live under today. It's one thing to be owned by another person - not being recognized as a human being and your existence being a crime is a whole 'nother level of hate and oppression. I really THOUGHT I understood what apartheid was until I heard it described first person by a young man who has experienced apartheid and its dissolution. Anyone who has read one of my Audible reviews knows how much I hate authors narrating their own work. However, for this book no one could have delivered the story better than Trevor Noah. An unforgettable read!!!

19 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • The Rivals of Versailles: A Novel

  • Mistresses of Versailles, Book 2
  • By: Sally Christie
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth Wiley
  • Length: 15 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 91
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 77
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 76

The year is 1745, and King Louis XV's bed is once again empty. Enter Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, a beautiful girl from the middle classes. As a child, a fortune-teller had told young Jeanne's destiny: She would become the lover of a king and the most powerful woman in the land. Eventually connections, luck, and a little scheming pave her way to Versailles and into the king's arms.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • HOODWINKED! BAMBOOZLED! LED ASTRAY!!

  • By Linda Lou on 11-12-16

HOODWINKED! BAMBOOZLED! LED ASTRAY!!

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

Reviewed: 11-12-16

I was very disappointed. This book is a fictional account of Versailles "side chicks" and includes way more sexual events than historic ones. But the narrator sounded like she was reading "Alice In Wonderland" rather than a racy sexually explicit romance novel! Listening to sex acts being presented as if this was a children's story is just creepy. Plus this is a story that takes place in 18th century FRANCE! Why is it being read by an American with a whiny midwestern voice?

Enough about the narrator...... The author seemed to forget that this is a period piece. The story and dialogue includes terms and vernacular of the 20th and, even 21st, centuries. I was waiting for one of the mistresses to tell us how she just met Justin Timberlake at his VIDEO SHOOT!

Finally, at 15.5 hours, this book is way too long to contain so little actual history. "Baby Mama Drama" is no substitute for a reasonable inclusion of actual historical data about fashion, food, religion, art, music, customs, transportation, classes other than the nobility, and a sense of local color. None of the palace mistresses were given any character development, making them vapid and unlikeable. Even the magnificent "Madame de Pompadour" - Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour, chief mistress and longtime friend of Louis XV, comes off as a silly golddigging airhead, instead of the dynamic and brilliant patron of the arts that she was. I never got a real sense in this book of her considerable contribution to French history, other than her oral "skills" in the boudoir with Louis and just about every male in his court.

I bought this book based on the Ratings and Reviews of Audible.com members. However, I don't know WHAT they listened to but I felt "hoodwinked, bamboozled and led astray" by their assessments. Not worth "the price of admission". 😡

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Blood Defense

  • By: Marcia Clark
  • Narrated by: Tavia Gilbert
  • Length: 11 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,598
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,424
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,417

Samantha Brinkman, an ambitious, hard-charging Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, is struggling to make a name for herself and to drag her fledgling practice into the big leagues. Sam lands a high-profile double-murder case in which one of the victims is a beloved TV star - and the defendant is a decorated veteran LAPD detective. It promises to be exactly the kind of media sensation that would establish her as a heavy hitter in the world of criminal law.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Middling Legal Drama by Famous Prosecutor

  • By Dubi on 10-06-16

CHICK-LIT CRIME STORY WITH A REALLY BAD NARRATOR!

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

Reviewed: 11-09-16

Marcia Clark's writing is on par with her prior gig as a prosecutor: not bad but it won't get the job done. If you are a hard-core reader of crime novels with a female lead, Clark fails to deliver in any of the books that I've read in this series. However, that doesn't mean that there is no niche for her fluffy, incredulous books. I could have dealt with this new offering by Clark that I purchased two days before the 2016 Presidential election, Being familiar with Ms. Clark's work, I thought this would be the perfect diversion from the clown show that we call now call politics. I was not wrong - this book is light and ridiculous and great if you don't take it too seriously. The thing that made it difficult to listen to is the NARRATOR! She reads like this is "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe"!!! It's like eavesdropping on a "gaggle" of middle school girls talking about murder, mayhem and sex, to say nothing of the professional activities of a female detective and prosecutor. If this had a male narrator like John Lee or Dion Graham or Len Cariou, I could have overlooked the weak plot, under developed characters, and asinine dialogue. But Tavia Gilbert made my TEETH hurt!

Overall, Clark is not a bad writer but her books require much stronger and experienced narrators.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful