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Dina

LAKE ZURICH, IL, United States | Member Since 2009

ratings
113
REVIEWS
55
FOLLOWING
5
FOLLOWERS
25
HELPFUL VOTES
167

  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Susan Cain
    • Narrated By Kathe Mazur
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3919)
    Performance
    (3373)
    Story
    (3352)

    At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society--from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

    Teddy says: "Thought provoking and Uplifting.... A++++++++!!!!!"
    "Finally Feel Understood"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm so glad that Susan Cain wrote this book. I've always known I was an introvert, but living in an extroverted world has always been frustrating for me. What Cain offers is the opportunity to stop apologizing for who you are and permission to feel comfortable in your own skin. I now understand how my extroverted mother and ex-spouse had such difficulty understanding me. And, how tough it still is to live in a world that expects introverts to participate in our culture like extroverts.

    21 of 22 people found this review helpful
  • The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Gabrielle Zevin
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (467)
    Performance
    (418)
    Story
    (420)

    The irascible A. J. Fikry, owner of Island Books - the only bookstore on Alice Island - has already lost his wife. Now his most prized possession, a rare book, has been stolen from right under his nose in the most embarrassing of circumstances. The store itself, it seems, will be next to go. One night upon closing, he discovers a toddler in his children’s section with a note from her mother pinned to her Elmo doll: I want Maya to grow up in a place with books and among people who care about such kinds of things. I love her very much, but I can no longer take care of her.

    B. Sorensen says: "A Tale for Booksellers"
    "Just Missed the Mark"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The reviews of this book were so stellar, I thought I couldn't help but enjoy it. And, the beginning started out really strong with the premise of the widowed bookshop owner and the unexpected things that get him back to living. The book references just didn't save the plot as it started to unravel about halfway through the novel. From then on, there were hints dropped that just never went anywhere. I had this great idea about the ending, but the real ending was just downright depressing. A good first effort by Gabrielle Zevin, but needed a seasoned editor to tighten/add depth to the story.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Love Life

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Rob Lowe
    • Narrated By Rob Lowe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (494)
    Performance
    (461)
    Story
    (457)

    Love Life serves up another delicious selection of intimate stories and observations from Rob Lowe's life, told with humor, warmth, and brutal honesty. After writing his acclaimed debut effort, Lowe felt he had more stories to share and many more friends to introduce. The result is a touching memoir about the business and craft of acting, the pitfalls of success, family, love, and much more.

    LESLIE DOHENY-HANKS says: "Insightful, interesting and uplifting"
    "Another Winner"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't know how you could listen to both of Rob Lowe's memoirs and not admire him. Forget that he is a great story teller and narrator. What really makes his work shine is his honest self reflection. And, through his words, we get to know someone that, like all of us, is not perfect, but has striven for conscious awareness and self improvement. I will be interested to read the memoir he writes when he is 75.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Garden of Happy Endings: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Barbara O'Neal
    • Narrated By Tanya Eby
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    In Barbara O’Neal’s novel of hope and renewal, two very different sisters discover that life is like a garden: Tend to it daily, nourish it with patience and optimism, and then watch the beauty unfold. After tragedy shatters her small community in Seattle, the Reverend Elsa Montgomery has a crisis of faith. Returning to her hometown of Pueblo, Colorado, she seeks work in a local soup kitchen. Preparing nourishing meals for folks in need, she keeps her hands busy while her heart searches for understanding. Meanwhile, her sister, Tamsin, as colorful as Elsa is unadorned and steadfast, finds her perfect life shattered when she learns that her husband is a criminal.

    Dina says: "Spiritually Stunted"
    "Spiritually Stunted"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really loved the premise of this book and I thought that it could have been a serious exploration of losing faith. But it wasn't. The characters were there, the plot was set, and yet it stayed on the surface, never delving into the philosophy of a spiritual crisis. Barbara O'Neal's writing, especially her realistic dialogue, was very good and the narration by Tanya Eby was spot on. I just feel liked the author missed the opportunity to go deeper.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Luminaries

    • UNABRIDGED (29 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Eleanor Catton
    • Narrated By Mark Meadows
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (915)
    Performance
    (785)
    Story
    (801)

    It is 1866 and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of 12 local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.

    Melinda says: "Not So Luminous"
    "An Astrological Wonder"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have to say that this book was extraordinarily clever. You would probably have to read it more than once to really appreciate the extent of the acumen that was needed to write it. The ability to combine astrology with a unique place and time (1860's Gold Rush in New Zealand) signals a very talented writer. The swirling of characters as they mirror the night sky made for a great tale, and yet there was something lacking. The attention was placed so much on the "mechanics" of it all that it lacked emotion. And, real attachment to any one character was just not possible. In the end, all the players were just living descriptors of the signs and planets, seemingly lacking any soul...which is why any good astrologer knows that a chart is nothing without the influence of spirit.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Helene Wecker
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2570)
    Performance
    (2368)
    Story
    (2368)

    Helene Wecker's dazzling debut novel tells the story of two supernatural creatures who appear mysteriously in 1899 New York. Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York Harbor. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop.

    Tango says: "Enchanting Debut Novel - Delicious!"
    "A Mixed Up Fantasy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book reminded me of Jonathan Stroud's young adult fiction in its dark/fantasy storyline, but lacked Stroud's writing polish. The idea of joining a Golem and a Jinni in a relationship in turn of the century NY, however, was quite unique. The novel, unfortunately, had its flaws. There were times that I really had to remind myself that it was a fantasy because sometimes the "magical" characters inconsistently showed both human and non-human traits. And, as all current books, it was too long and poorly edited. The narration by George Guidall was outstanding.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Gravity of Birds: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Tracy Guzeman
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    Overall
    (36)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (31)

    Sisters Natalie and Alice Kessler were close, until adolescence wrenched them apart. Natalie is headstrong, manipulative - and beautiful; Alice is a dreamer who loves books and birds. During their family's summer holiday at the lake, Alice falls under the thrall of a struggling young painter, Thomas Bayber, in whom she finds a kindred spirit. Natalie, however, remains strangely unmoved, sitting for a family portrait with surprising indifference. But by the end of the summer, three lives are shattered.

    Jen says: "Haunting Long After You've Finished."
    "Beautiful Prose With Plot Problems"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Guzeman's writing was lyrical, Cassandra Campbell's narration was lovely, and the plot was interesting. But this novel was very depressing...a treatise on how one woman's evil destroyed the lives around her. There was great inconsistency and naivete in the actions of the characters which made the story seem less believable. I think a better editor could have taken this novel to the next level.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • W Is for Wasted: A Kinsey Millhone Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Sue Grafton
    • Narrated By Judy Kaye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1281)
    Performance
    (1125)
    Story
    (1121)

    Two dead bodies changed the course of my life that fall. One of them I knew and the other I'd never laid eyes on until I saw him in the morgue. The first was a local PI of suspect reputation. He'd been gunned down near the beach at Santa Teresa. It looked like a robbery gone bad. The other was on the beach six weeks later. He'd been sleeping rough. Probably homeless. No identification. A slip of paper with Millhone's name and number was in his pants pocket. The coroner asked her to come to the morgue to see if she could ID him.

    karen says: "Well worth waiting for...."
    "Never a Waste to Commiserate with Kinsey"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I probably wouldn't keep reading these books but for the fact I've been reading them for decades. And, I'm curious how the series will end. In W is for Wasted, Kinsey is much more emotional than in Grafton's other novels. Her relationship phobias are a bit more pronounced and you get the sense that she is becoming more lonely. The mystery part of the story was Ok, maybe a little predictable, but always entertaining. And, Judy Kaye's narration as always, was stellar. I would have given it a 3.5 if I could.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Signature of All Things: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Gilbert
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1063)
    Performance
    (975)
    Story
    (982)

    In The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction, inserting her inimitable voice into an enthralling story of love, adventure and discovery. Spanning much of the 18th and 19th centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker - a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia.

    Molly-o says: "Don't miss this one"
    "An Educational and Epic Oddity"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was so many things...epic, sad, funny, educational, weird, creepy, and gruesome. A strange description for the life of a wealthy, mostly spinster, botanist spanning the 19th century. Elizabeth Gilbert certainly has an incredible imagination and a beautiful way with words. And, the narrator for the audiobook, Juliet Stevenson, was spot on. The main character was an intriguing mix of brilliance and innocence with real human flaws. And, yet, I just didn't form a bond with her. In addition, I found the communication issues with all the various players, which lead to devastating life choices, frustrating. This is what kept this sweeping and unusual novel from being a 5 star book, for me.

    30 of 31 people found this review helpful
  • A Guide for the Perplexed: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Dara Horn
    • Narrated By Carrington MacDuffie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (37)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (32)

    Software prodigy Josie Ashkenazi has invented a program that records everything its users do. When an Egyptian library invites her to visit as a consultant, her jealous sister Judith persuades her to go. But in Egypt's post-revolutionary chaos, Josie is kidnapped - leaving Judith free to usurp her sister's life, including her husband and daughter, while Josie's talent for preserving memories becomes her only hope of escape. A century earlier, Solomon Schechter, a Cambridge professor, hunts for a medieval archive hidden in a Cairo synagogue.

    Dina says: "Left Me Feeling Perplexed"
    "Left Me Feeling Perplexed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have very much enjoyed Dara Horn's other books and even attended a writing conference where she spoke and so I was really looking forward to this novel. I plowed through it, hoping that my opinion would change, but it did not. I could not connect with any of the characters and did not feel that the Josie/Judy saga ended with the spiritual insight of the Joseph story. Instead, it seemed more like an outlandish soap opera. In addition, the three parallel plots did not meld well together and moving from one to the other felt jarring. I was really interested in Maimonides and the Guide for the Perplexed, but was disappointed that this was not explored with greater depth (ie: Josie toying with these philosophical concepts at greater length). I suspect a better editor would have helped to make this a more powerful piece of writing. I usually like Carrington MacDuffie, but I think she was miscast for this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • On the Noodle Road

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Jen Lin-Liu
    • Narrated By Coleen Marlo
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (12)

    Feasting her way through an Italian honeymoon, Jen Lin-Liu was struck by culinary echoes of the delicacies she ate and cooked back in China, where she’d lived for more than a decade. Who really invented the noodle? she wondered, like many before her. But also: How had food and culture moved along the Silk Road, the ancient trade route linking Asia to Europe - and what could still be felt of those long-ago migrations?

    Dina says: "Unique Journey On the Silk Road"
    "Unique Journey On the Silk Road"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If I could, I would give this book a 3.5. It was a unique premise - searching for the origin of the noodle along the silk road. And, I really got a sense of "place" as the author moved west in her travels. I did feel that the last two stops - Greece and Italy got less attention. And, the "personal journey" of the author could have been explored in a bit more depth. I enjoyed the travelogue more than the actual cooking experiences. AUDIBLE ALERT: The reader mispronounces the spice "cumin" throughout the book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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