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Jean

Santa Cruz, CA, United States
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  • The Lady Queen

  • The Notorious Reign of Joanna I, Queen of Naples, Jerusalem, and Sicily
  • By: Nancy Goldstone
  • Narrated by: Christine Lakin
  • Length: 15 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 2

The riveting history of a beautiful queen, a shocking murder, a papal trial - and a reign as triumphant as any in the Middle Ages. On March 15, 1348, 22-year-old Joanna I, queen of Naples, stood trial for the murder of her husband before the pope and his court in Avignon. Determined to defend herself, Joanna won her acquittal against overwhelming odds. Victorious, she returned to Naples and ruled over one of Europe's most prestigious courts for the next three decades - until she herself was killed.   

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Intriguing

  • By Jean on 11-13-18

Intriguing

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

Reviewed: 11-13-18

This topic is new to me. I have not read about Italian monarchs before.
Joanna I (1326-1382) ruled Southern Italy for over thirty years despite invaders, plague, four husbands, jealous-in-laws and the death of her children. She even stood trial before the Pope having been accused of murdering her husband Prince Andrew (1327-1345) of Hungary. Her life reads like a soap opera.

The book is well written and researched. The book is written in an academic style. In the audiobook version the footnotes were inserted in the appropriate place. After reading the book, I thought the use of the word notorious in the title was inappropriate. Goldstone wrote an unbiased biography of Joanna I. This was mostly new information to me. I found the scheming for power both by the royal families and by the Pope intriguing. It appears women’s lives in the middle ages were miserable. This book reveals that I need to expand my range of reading/learning. This is my first experience reading Nancy Goldstone’s work. She is an expert on medieval history.

The book is fifteen hours and 6 minutes. Christine Lakin does a good job narrating the book. Lakin is an actress and audiobook narrator. This is my first experience listening to her read.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Past Tense

  • A Jack Reacher Novel
  • By: Lee Child
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 12 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,121
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,035
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,033

Jack Reacher hits the pavement and sticks out his thumb. He plans to follow the sun on an epic trip across America, from Maine to California. He doesn't get far. On a country road deep in the New England woods, he sees a sign to a place he has never been: the town where his father was born. He thinks, What's one extra day? He takes the detour. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Solid Jack Reacher story

  • By CA_CPA on 11-09-18

Superb

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

Reviewed: 11-12-18

Reacher leaves Maine on his way to San Diego for the winter months. On his way he angers a Boston Mob boss who sends a hit team to take care of Reacher. While passing through Laconia, New Hampshire, Reacher decided to delve into some of his family’s history as his father was born in Laconia. Child had me wondering as he had what seemed to be an unrelated plot that he switched to every other chapter. But all tied together at the end.

The book is well written and moves at a fast pace. The plots twist and turn and, of course, there is lots of action. Child is a master storyteller. I could hardly put this book down. Now I can not wait for the next Reacher book.

The book is almost thirteen hours. Where is Dick Hill? Hill has narrated all the prior 22 Reacher books. To me Hill is Reacher. I like Scott Brick; he is one of my favorite narrators but he is not Dick Hill. I do hope that Hill returns in book number 24.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Dean Acheson

  • A Life in the Cold War
  • By: Robert L Beisner
  • Narrated by: Ben Bartolone
  • Length: 31 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 16
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 16

Dean Acheson was one of the most influential Secretaries of State in U.S. history, presiding over American foreign policy during a pivotal era - the decade after World War II when the American Century slipped into high gear. During his vastly influential career, Acheson spearheaded the greatest foreign policy achievements in modern times, ranging from the Marshall Plan to the establishment of NATO. In this acclaimed biography, Robert L. Beisner paints an indelible portrait of one of the key figures of the last half-century.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Good subject, too bad about the rest

  • By A. M. on 01-09-16

Fascinating

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

Reviewed: 11-11-18

Dean Acheson practiced international law and served both FDR and Truman. So far Acheson is considered to be the most outstanding Secretary of State in United States history. Acheson served as Secretary of State from 1949 to 1953. Acheson severed as General George Marshall’s Chief of Staff when he was Secretary of State. The State Department was in a state of chaos after many years of neglect by FDR. General Marshall reorganized the department and moved it out of a Navy building and into its new home. He told Acheson what he wanted and let Acheson do the job. Acheson became SOS when Marshall left the job.

Beisner does an excellent job of presenting an unbiased view of Acheson. The author points out the times when history has proven Acheson correct and when he was wrong. It is a surprise how often he was correct. The issues they had to deal with are just as important today. We could learn a lot about how to deal with the world from following their working guidelines. The book is well written and meticulously researched. I found this book fascinating particularly after reading the biography of Averell Herriman and Steil’s “The Marshall Plan”.

The book is thirty-one hours and thirty-seven minutes or 800 pages. The book was first published in 2006. The book has won many awards. Ben Bartolone did an excellent job narrating the book. Bartolone is an actor and audiobook narrator. This is my first experience listening to him.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Fatherland

  • By: Robert Harris
  • Narrated by: Michael Jayston
  • Length: 11 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 256
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 239
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 239

Berlin, 1964. The Greater German Reich stretches from the Rhine to the Urals and keeps an uneasy peace with its nuclear rival, the United States. As the Fatherland prepares for a grand celebration honoring Adolf Hitler's 75th birthday and anticipates a conciliatory visit from US president Joseph Kennedy and ambassador Charles Lindbergh, a detective of the Kriminalpolizei is called out to investigate the discovery of a dead body in a lake near Berlin's most prestigious suburb.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 1960's Nazi Germany comes alive

  • By Daniel Black on 10-19-17

Gripping

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

Reviewed: 11-09-18

Fatherland is a speculative fiction. Harris has the Nazis winning World War II. Our protagonist is Xavier March, a policeman. He is investigating the murder of an old man who was once an important Nazi bureaucrat. The timeline of the story is 1964.

The book is well written and researched. I believe that Harris had George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” in mind when writing this story. Considering what is happening in the world today, I found this book most interesting. I also found it intriguing that Harris made Joseph Kennedy the President of the United States. The book had several different plots intertwining which created a lot of suspense. This book is well worth the read.

The book is eleven hours twenty-five minutes. Michael Jayston does a great job narrating the book. Jayston is an English actor and a long-time well-known audiobook narrator.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Shell Game

  • V.I. Warshawski Series, Book 19
  • By: Sara Paretsky
  • Narrated by: Susan Ericksen
  • Length: 15 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 94
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 90
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 90

Legendary sleuth V.I. Warshawski returns to the Windy City to save an old friend’s nephew from a murder arrest. The case involves a stolen artifact that could implicate a shadowy network of international criminals. As V.I. investigates, the detective soon finds herself tangling with the Russian mob, ISIS backers, and a shady network of stock scams and stolen art. In Shell Game, nothing and no one are what they seem, except for the detective herself, who loses sleep, money, and blood, but remains indomitable in her quest for justice. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Engaging

  • By Jean on 11-08-18

Engaging

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

Reviewed: 11-08-18

I have been doing a fairly good job of reading the current Paretsky books. I keep telling myself to read some of the older ones but somehow a new book is out before I can do it.

I enjoy the tough smart mouthed V. I Warshawski, attorney turned private investigator. Paretsky usually provides a great sight seeing trip around Chicago also. Each book is an action-packed story with lots of humor and a social issue that leads to a suspenseful story. In this story Paretsky adds current affairs as V. I. deals with Middle East immigrates. V. I. has several cases going at the same time so the story weaves back and forth between the cases. I thoroughly enjoyed the nail-biting story.

The book is fifteen hours and 2 minutes. Susan Ericksen does an excellent job narrating the book. Ericksen is an actress and has won all the awards available for an audiobook narrator. Ericksen has narrated nine of the nineteen books in the series.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Wait Till Next Year

  • A Memoir
  • By: Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • Narrated by: Suzanne Toren
  • Length: 8 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 148
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 134
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 133

Wait Till Next Yearis the story of a young girl growing up in the suburbs of New York in the 1950s, when owning a single-family home on a tree-lined street meant the realization of dreams, when everyone knew everyone else on the block, and the children gathered in the streets to play from sunup to sundown. The neighborhood was equally divided among Dodger, Giant, and Yankee fans, and the corner stores were the scenes of fierce and affectionate rivalries.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • An Easy Too Read Memoir

  • By Jean on 11-07-18

An Easy Too Read Memoir

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

Reviewed: 11-07-18

Goodwin is one of my favorite historians. She is a superb writer and meticulous researcher. This book is her memoir about growing up in the 1950s and her love of baseball. I found her descriptions of growing up on Long Island idealistic. It was safe, simple and a comfortable life. It was the exact opposite of my life; therefore, I found it fascinating that someone actually grew up in such an ideal way. I found the memoir interesting and helpful in understanding her interest in history.

The book is eight hours. Susanne Toren does an excellent job narrating the book. Toren is an actress and long-time audiobook narrator. She has won many awards such as Earphone Awards and Audie nominations. She also was awarded The American Foundation for the Blind’s Scourby Award for Narrator of the Year in 1988. The Audiofile Magazine named her Best Voice in Nonfiction and Culture in 2009.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • One Person, No Vote

  • How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy
  • By: Carol Anderson
  • Narrated by: Janina Edwards
  • Length: 6 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 42
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 36
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 35

In her New York Times best seller White Rage, Carol Anderson laid bare an insidious history of policies that have systematically impeded black progress in America, from 1865 to our combustible present. With One Person, No Vote, she chronicles a related history: the rollbacks to African American participation in the vote since the 2013 Supreme Court decision that eviscerated the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Known as the Shelby ruling, this decision effectively allowed districts with a demonstrated history of racial discrimination to change voting requirements without approval from the Department of Justice. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Enlightening!

  • By Arturo Zendejas on 10-22-18

Exceptional

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

Reviewed: 11-03-18

This is a terrifying look at racially motivated systematic voter suppression. The author not only provided the latest information but also a history of voter suppression.

The book is meticulously researched and well written. Anderson writes in an academic style. The 2016 presidential election was the first election held without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act. In 2013 the Supreme Court revoked parts of the Voting Rights Act. Anderson proved step by step that the low turn out of black voters for Hillary was not due to apathy but to voter suppression. Since 2016 Anderson revealed that many states have made in harder for minorities to vote and are continuing to make it even harder.

The information in this book makes me very angry at the systemic methods of voter suppression. Next it will be educated women that will be blocked from voting just because we may not agree with whoever “they” are. Just think how much better this country could be today if all this work into voter suppression were put toward solving the country’s problems.

The book is six hours and 32 minutes. Janina Edwards does an excellent job narrating the book. Edwards is an actress and specializes in the accents of Africa and the West Indies.


2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Reckoning

  • A Novel
  • By: John Grisham
  • Narrated by: Michael Beck
  • Length: 17 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,744
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,518
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,511

Pete Banning was Clanton's favorite son, a returning war hero, the patriarch of a prominent family, a farmer, a father, a neighbor, and a faithful member of the Methodist church. Then one cool October morning in 1946, he rose early, drove into town, walked into the church, and calmly shot and killed the Reverend Dexter Bell. 

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Would make a 5 star four hour novella, ...

  • By Wayne on 11-03-18

Engrossing

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

Reviewed: 11-02-18

The book takes place in Ford County, Mississippi, the site of many of Grisham’s early books. The reader must remember the story takes place in 1946 and the relationship between black and whites in Mississippi was different than today. The book is divided into three section. The first is about the current time (1946) with the story of Pete Banning. The middle is about Pete’s time during WWII and the last part is back to the current time (1946) with the problems of Pete’s children.

Grisham grabbed me with the calm killing by Pete Banning of the Methodist Pastor, Dexter Bell. Our protagonist is Pete Banning. Grisham also spends some time telling about Banning’s time during WWII. The story is a bit different from the usual Grisham story, but it is interesting. Grisham always makes a great read; he is a master storyteller. Unfortunately, the story left me feeling sad.

The book is seventeen hours and thirty-six minutes. Michael Beck does a good job narrating the book. Beck is an actor and audiobook narrator.


4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Invisible

  • The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America's Most Powerful Mobster
  • By: Stephen L. Carter
  • Narrated by: Karen Chilton
  • Length: 12 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 10
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 10

Stephen L. Carter delves into his past and retrieves the inspiring story of his grandmother’s life. She was black and a woman and a prosecutor, a graduate of Smith College and the granddaughter of slaves, as dazzlingly unlikely a combination as one could imagine in New York of the 1930s - and without the strategy she devised, Lucky Luciano, the most powerful Mafia boss in history, would never have been convicted. When special prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey selected 20 lawyers to help him clean up the city’s underworld, she was the only member of his team who was not a white male. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Moving Biography

  • By Jean on 10-31-18

A Moving Biography

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

Reviewed: 10-31-18

Stephen L. Carter normally writes suspense novels about black lawyers. This book is his first into the realm of non-fiction. He is writing about his maternal grandmother.

I found this book about Eunice Roberta Hunton Carter (1899-1970) fascinating. Stephen tells what it was like to be an intelligent ambitious black female in the 1920s and 30s. The book opens with the story of the 1906 race riots in Atlanta, GA. Eunice and her family huddled in their house listening to the white mob coming closer and smelling the smoke from the fires as homes were burning. The family moved to New York after the riots. Eunice’s parents were highly educated and worked for the YMCA/YWCA and the NAACP.

I was amazed to learn that Eunice graduated from Smith University with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in just four years. She married a black dentist and had a son. She then went to Fordham Law School. Eunice was the first black woman lawyer in New York and also the first black woman federal prosecutor in the country. She worked with Thomas Dewey (1902-1971) on his Organized Crime Task Force. She was key in bringing down Lucky Luciano. I found what she accomplished and the obstacles she had to overcome almost overwhelming. This is a book everyone one should read.

The book is twelve and a half hours. Karen Chilton does a good job narrating the book. She has the perfect voice for Eunice. Chilton is an actress and audiobook narrator.




3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday

  • An Isabel Dalhousie Novel
  • By: Alexander McCall Smith
  • Narrated by: Davina Porter
  • Length: 7 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 288
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 164
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 167

The fifth novel in New York Times best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith's beloved Isabel Dalhousie series has the ethical problem solver from Edinburgh finding comforts in unlikely places.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday

  • By Joyce D. Delario on 09-23-09

Charming

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

Reviewed: 10-28-18

I discovered that I had missed reading this book which is the fifth book in the Isabel Dalhousie’s Philosophy Club Series. I love the meandering of Isabel Dalhousie’s mind. This book has the familiar activities of Isabel. She is helping Cat in the Deli for a week, while Cat is away on holiday. She is sticking her noise in people’s business, per usual. The one item that is different is Isabel is jealous.

The book, of course, is well written. It was published in 2008. Because I did not read it until 2018, one of her philosophical ponderings had more meaning to me now than if I had read the book in 2008. The topic is lying and the value of truth. Considering the current problems with lying today, I found this subject most interesting.

The book is seven hours and 41 minutes. Davina Porter does an excellent job narrating the book. Porter is one of my favorite narrators. She has a beautiful voice. She also has a delightful mild Scottish accent for this book. Porter has been narrating since the early 1980s and has won many awards for her narration. She won the Voice Arts Award for Best Voice-Over in Fiction as well as many Earphone awards.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful