LISTENER

Jeanne B.

  • 25
  • reviews
  • 47
  • helpful votes
  • 40
  • ratings
  • In the Kingdom of Ice

  • The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette
  • By: Hampton Sides
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morey
  • Length: 17 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,448
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,238
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,238

In the late nineteenth century, people were obsessed by one of the last unmapped areas of the globe: The North Pole. No one knew what existed beyond the fortress of ice rimming the northern oceans. On July 8, 1879, the USS Jeannette set sail from San Francisco to cheering crowds in the grip of "Arctic Fever." The ship sailed into uncharted seas, but soon was trapped in pack ice. Two years into the harrowing voyage, the hull was breached. Amid the rush of water and the shrieks of breaking wooden boards, the crew abandoned the ship.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Took a long time to develop

  • By Brandon on 02-20-15

Wear Something WARM While Listening to This!

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

Reviewed: 11-14-18

(Four and a half stars. I only give five stars for exceptional books, like To Kill a Mockingbird.)

Others have described the plot quite well, so I won't waste one's time and don't want to relay any spoilers. Okay. Just one. John Muir is mentioned -- before he founded the Sierra Club.

Yes, the book is long and is somewhat tedious at times. For the most part, it holds one's interest. After all, the story takes place over a period of about three years, most of it in the Arctic. The beginning is a bit muddled, as it seems the story is mainly about the publisher of the New York Herald newspaper. It isn't.

The author is very descriptive. One will get COLD reading about the Arctic in the late 19th century -- before anyone had reached the North Pole. Useless maps and a lot of crackpot theories that the warm gulf stream water flows into the Arctic, making the Northern Sea easily navigable in the Summer when the weather is balmy! So the experts of the day said, until . . .

If you like adventure tales, listen to this one. You won't be disappointed.


  • Have a Nice Day

  • By: Billy Crystal, Quinton Peeples
  • Narrated by: Justin Bartha, Annette Bening, Dick Cavett, and others
  • Length: 1 hr and 46 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,180
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 17,812
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,715

Tony and Emmy Award-winner Billy Crystal leads an all-star cast including Oscar winner Kevin Kline (President David Murray) and four-time Oscar nominee Annette Bening (First Lady Katherine Murray) in a performance of this hilarious and poignant story about a man desperately scrambling to put his affairs in order: to save his presidency, his marriage, his relationship with his daughter – and possibly his life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great Experience

  • By Stephen R. Grant on 11-05-18

Perfect Audiobook for New Listeners

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

Reviewed: 11-10-18

Great performances, good production, good script and story. Billy Crystal said it started out as a movie script. It would need a lot more substance to be a movie. This is the perfect format for this story.

I won't give any details as it would spoil the story. Just that it is amusing and highly recommended.

Audible would be wise to produce more of the same, with the "hook" of at least one well-known celebrity attached. There must be hundreds of scripts out there which will never be movies but which will be good audio titles.

This title reminded me of listening to radio broadcasts of old radio programs like The Shadow and Inner Sanctom. Also, it is every bit as good, if not better, as Stan Freberg's album, Pay Radio. That album was a variety format and excellent. This is an actual complete story.

Once a new audio listener hears a short title like this, that person will likely want more. So this is a good title to recommend to newbies. From Audible's standpoint, this type of audio title will bring in an entirely new demographic of listeners.



2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Escape

  • By: David Baldacci
  • Narrated by: Ron McLarty, Orlagh Cassidy
  • Length: 14 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,620
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,601
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,581

John Puller's older brother, Robert, was convicted of treason and national security crimes. His inexplicable escape from prison makes him the most wanted criminal in the country. Some in the government believe that John Puller represents their best chance at capturing Robert alive, and so Puller takes on the burden of bringing his brother in to face justice. But Puller quickly discovers that there are others pursuing his brother, who only see Robert as a traitor and are unconcerned if he survives.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Agonizing

  • By Bobby on 01-15-15

Narrators both good but unintentionally funny. Good Book.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-16-18

One of the reasons I like David Baldacci's books is because he makes the improbable sound possib!e.

This is another mystery/thriller which moves along just fine. I'm not sure I like the sound effects, but it shows Hachette is trying new things.

The author leaves some mysteries unsolved and unexplained. Fortunately, nothing that pertains to the main plot.

One thing made me laugh and at the same time was somewhat distracting. The plot makes reference to a particularly valuable painting several times. Both narrators pronounced the first name of the artist as JO-ANN. Mr. Joan Miro is quite famous. I wonder how many people see his paintings and think he is a woman!

  • The Fallen

  • By: David Baldacci
  • Narrated by: Kyf Brewer, Orlagh Cassidy
  • Length: 11 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,512
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,387
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,327

Something sinister is going on in Baronville. The rust belt town has seen four bizarre murders in the space of two weeks. Cryptic clues left at the scenes - obscure Bible verses, odd symbols - have the police stumped. Amos Decker and his FBI colleague Alex Jamison are in Baronville visiting Alex's sister and her family. It's a bleak place: a former mill and mining town with a crumbling economy and rampant opioid addiction. Decker has been there only a few hours when he stumbles on a horrific double murder scene.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This was supposed to be a VACATION!!!!

  • By shelley on 04-17-18

Unfortunate Narration Interferes With Enjoyment

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-08-18

This review only speaks to the narration. Others have thoroughly covered the content.

Generally, I think David Baldacci's writing is very good and we'll worth the time, to read or to listen.

Maybe it's just me, but the stilted narration grabbed my attention away from the story, ruining any posdible enjoyment. Also, the male "voices" we're very flat -- almost monotone. The female voices were a little better, but not enough to overcome the overall impression of an amateur recording.

If one wants smooth narration, this isn't it. One is better off reading this particular book.

I think I know why this narration is so choppy. Most modern multi-voice recordings are done by recording each narrator separately, then merging it all together -- the way voice recording is done in animated films. If this isn't the reason it's so bad, then however this audio was produced, it is the wrong way -- I hope this technique doesn't continue.

Thanks for reading.



  • Fear

  • Trump in the White House
  • By: Bob Woodward
  • Narrated by: Robert Petkoff
  • Length: 12 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,107
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,990
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,873

With authoritative reporting honed through eight presidencies from Nixon to Obama, author Bob Woodward reveals in unprecedented detail the harrowing life inside President Donald Trump’s White House and precisely how he makes decisions on major foreign and domestic policies. Woodward draws from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, personal diaries, files, and documents. The focus is on the explosive debates and the decision-making in the Oval Office, the Situation Room, Air Force One, and the White House residence.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Actually Humanized Trump for Me

  • By BigNutz on 12-15-18

Fvie Stars Are For Oustanding Works of All Time

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

Reviewed: 09-15-18

This review was written for publication on Amazon.com. When I tried to submit it, this error message appeared:

"This product currently has limitations on submitting reviews. There can be a number of reasons for this, including unusual reviewing activity." I don't know exactly what they mean by "unusual reviewing activity" except perhaps the volume of reviews being submitted.

The only thing I would add here about the audio edition is that the narration by Robert Petkoff is excellent.

Anyway, here it is:

I only give five stars to all-time outstanding books such as Gone with the Wind. Excellent books get four stars.
This book earns five stars -- no question.

I have the hardcover -- purchased from a local bookstore -- and the Audible edition.

I won't spend time outlining the content. Others here have done a great job doing so.

I do want to comment on reviews which question how Mr. Woodward was able to use exact quotations, since certainly most of what is quoted was not "recorded."

Of course, journalists do not often have recordings of what people say. They rely on recollections, notations, and writings of witnesses and participants to make a "record" of what was said. Good journalists and good writers follow these rules assiduously.

Mr. Woodward is a Pulitzer Prize winner and one of the best biographers of our time. He has written 18 other books, many about American presidents. All of his books have received the highest acclaim.

I hope reviewers won't trash this book because of their political views. It does everyone a disservice to do so.

If this book does one thing it exposes the behavior of this president -- which is even more egregious than the way he behaves and the things he says in public. Nixon thought he was above the law. This book makes it clear that this president thinks he IS the law.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Radium Girls

  • The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women
  • By: Kate Moore
  • Narrated by: Angela Brazil
  • Length: 15 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,636
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,507
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,504

The year was 1917. As a war raged across the world, young American women flocked to work, painting watches, clocks, and military dials with a special luminous substance made from radium. It was a fun job, lucrative and glamorous - the girls themselves shone brightly in the dark, covered head to toe in the dust from the paint. They were the radium girls. As the years passed, the women began to suffer from mysterious and crippling illnesses.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A simple way to improve the robotic narration

  • By B. C. French on 06-07-17

Make America Sick Again

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-09-18

This book focuses on a particular set of Americans who were exposed to radium at the beginning of the 20th century. They were young women who used luminous radium-infused paint to paint watch faces.

Their stories would still be tragic -- but at least their suffering and deaths would have been caused by ignorance -- rather than the evil men who put profit above humanity.

What strikes me most, as I write this in the middle of 2018, is that America is going backwards – not to where America was "great," but rather, to a time when workers had practically no rights to decent working conditions, decent wages, commonsense laws and regulations to protect them from greedy business owners.

America continues now to roll back many of the gains it made in the past century to protect its citizens from a poisoned environment, a hostile workplace, a fair financial system, and a host of other reasonable rules adopted by America to protect its citizenry.

The parallel between then and now is frightening. It is the main reason I finished this book.

Unfortunately this particular book is too long, as it tends to expand and repeat some of the same themes throughout. I also found it hard to follow the stories of the individual women, because their stories are told more or less in chronological order, rather than the author focusing on a particular woman, telling her story and then moving to another. I have had to go back and relisten to many chapters of the book. If I have been reading this book I am sure I would have had to flip the pages back and forth quite a lot.

After the discovery of radium by Marie Curie it was thought that radium was a miracle substance, and it was used to treat and cure a myriad of diseases and conditions. At first, this was done from ignorance. It seems that no one knew how dangerous a substance radium was and is.

The women chronicled here were continuously exposed to dangerous radium, told it was perfectly safe, and lied to not just by the businessmen who employed them, but by one of their own doctors. All the while, the male employees of the same companies had protection afforded to them while working with radium. Another prescient example of women treated as second-class citizens.

The lesson gained from this book is that everyone must be constantly vigilant so that the same types of evil-doers cannot oppress and subjugate ordinary people in their daily lives. Most people are inherently good. Unfortunately, there are those – with money and power at their disposal – who care not for anyone but themselves. This is why laws, regulations, and rules are so necessary.

Despite that this book is not the best written narrative on this subject, it is still recommended for its content.

  • The President Is Missing

  • By: Bill Clinton, James Patterson
  • Narrated by: Dennis Quaid, January LaVoy, Peter Ganim, and others
  • Length: 12 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 13,969
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 12,806
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 12,761

The White House is the home of the president of the United States, the most guarded, monitored, closely watched person in the world. So how could a US president vanish without a trace? And why would he choose to do so? An unprecedented collaboration between President Bill Clinton and the world's best-selling novelist, James Patterson, The President Is Missing is a breathtaking story from the pinnacle of power.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Wanted it to be so much better

  • By K. Moeller on 06-18-18

Disappointed -- Wanted to Like It

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

Reviewed: 06-24-18

I wanted to like this book. The word that comes to mind about the story is "silly."
No spoilers -- I'll keep it general.

Probably not a surprise the protagonist of this book is the president. I fully expected the president to jump into a phone booth and come out wearing a superhero cape. Maybe he is President 45s good twin -- just like him but trying to be good instead of evil? Egomaniac, knows all, does all, smartest, best words -- sound familiar?

Unlike good suspense/mystery stories which give clues along the way as to Who Done It, the ending here comes out of nowhere.

Mostly, I was disappointed that there was no insight into what it's like to be president on a day-to-day basis, with one short exception. There was some general information about what it's like to ride in the Marine One helicopter. Otherwise, I wonder if Bill Clinton had anything to do with this book at all.

As for Dennis Quaid's narration, he should keep his day job. Very annoying voices.

  • The Billion Dollar Spy

  • A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal
  • By: David E. Hoffman
  • Narrated by: Dan Woren
  • Length: 11 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,523
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,281
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,275

While getting into his car on the evening of February 16, 1978, the chief of the CIA's Moscow station was handed an envelope by an unknown Russian. Its contents stunned the Americans: details of top-secret Soviet research and development in military technology that was totally unknown to the United States.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Compelling as historical thriller, character study

  • By Mr. Pointy on 08-25-15

There is no COW in Moscow

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

Reviewed: 04-17-18

An interesting book, very detailed, with good insight into what it was like working for the CIA in Russia during the Cold War. The author is very specific about what the KGB and the GRU did in terms of surveillance and how very suspicious the Russian leadership was of their own citizens during that time.

Imagine you are a high-ranking Russian in a technical occupation, and you want to make contact with the CIA for the purpose of passing along classified information to the United States. Then imagine you are a CIA operative in Russia. How do you make contact? Where do you meet? Can you trust each other?

The author not only gives factual details, but insight into the state of mind of the parties involved.

However, I do have one gripe. I found it distracting to listen to the narrator mispronounce the word Moscow. It's a common mistake. It drove me nuts! I make lots of mistakes myself. But in a book about Russia . . .

It's pronounced Moscow, as in "LOW."

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • A River in the Sky

  • The Amelia Peabody Series, Book 19
  • By: Elizabeth Peters
  • Narrated by: Barbara Rosenblat
  • Length: 11 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 984
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 703
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 698

Elizabeth Peters brings back beloved Egyptologist and amateur sleuth Amelia Peabody in an exciting tale set amid the ancient temples and simmering religious tensions of Palestine on the eve of World War I. Once again the Peabody-Emerson clan must use all their skills and wiles to find the truth, prevent a bloody holy war, and save their son from the clutches of a nefarious enemy in this wonderfully engaging tale chock-full of thrills, mystery, and daring from the inimitable Elizabeth Peters.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • As Comfy As Slippers

  • By Eva Gannon on 04-26-10

Fabulous Narration - Excellent Writing

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

Reviewed: 02-28-18

Elizabeth Peters (Barbara Mertz) was an excellent writer who brought her love of ancient Egypt to life in her books.

Barbara Rosenblat's narration is one of the best I've ever heard. All of the characters in the book have very distinct voices which are easily discernible.

Ms. Peters (one of the pen names she used -- this one derived from the names of her daughter and son) was able to immerse the reader in not only the lives of her characters but in ancient Egypt.

She was able to add amusing insights into the personality of her characters without going overboard. A subtle example would be: (paraphrased for brevity):

Amelia: Would you like to have tea in the
salon or have it brought up here to our room?

Emerson: I don't want any tea.

Amelia said, We had tea on the terrace of our room.

Listening to these books is like being on an archaeological dig.

I listen to a lot of audio books. I listen every day. The books in this series are so good I am listening to them again in order. It brings joy to listen to this series of books. Getting a free lesson in archaeology is a definite bonus.

  • Nimitz Class

  • By: Patrick Robinson
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 15 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 457
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 436
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 428

It's as big as the Empire State Building, a massive floating fortress at the throbbing heart of a US Navy carrier battle group. Its supersonic aircraft can level entire cities at a stroke. Its surveillance gear can track every target within thousands of square miles - in the air, on the surface, and under the sea. Its crew of 6,000 works night and day to keep this awesome military machine at peak performance. It's a Nimitz-class nuclear carrier, the most powerful weapons system on the planet. Nothing can touch it.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loved It and I'm Not a Military Book Fan, Usually!

  • By Paula on 10-30-16

Silly story. Book editor needed.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-03-18

Good, but some dialogue and story elements are either unintentionally humorous, improbable , or nonsensical.

A good editor would have worked with the author to provide better structure, point out inconsistencies and suggested a tighter and more credible storyline.

Otherwise, it's an okay listen for driving time or doing chores.

**Spoilers at bottom of review. (Not really spoilers, as book synopsis gives genderal outline.)

**Example of improbable scenario: President's address to nation contains him outlining his personal loss and praises individual military officers. Speech also makes reference to service members knowing they might die while serving -- not in those words, but . . . really? Speech ends with President taking no questions and the nation "in awe" -- should be more like shock and outrage.

**Nonsensical story element: After contact is lost with ship, other ships in fleet don't even look for debris (from aircraft carrier the length of height of Empire State Building!) Nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants on ships don't just explode for no reason. Yes, large destruction, creation of rogue waves, and radiation spread, but while ground zero -- or water zero -- would be vaporized, there would be shock waves and other damaged areas with debris.

USA announces an "accident" within a couple hours of the event, before any investigation. No way that is reasonable.

**Humorous element: The dialogue is stilted. "The table went completely silent," for 20 seconds.

Highly regarded officer having an affair with wife of US senator at the Watergate and no one notices.

Flowery description: "He looked like a younger, thinner Robert Mitchum, with the kind of piercing blue eyes you often find in deep water yachtsmen or plainsmen."

". . . to punch a high weight far beyond his rank."

Dialogue is just too overdone, which is what makes it funny. Piercing blue eyes is enough. The rest of the comparison to boaters and farmers distracts the reader -- or listener -- and diminishes the character.