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Renata F. Barcelos

“The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.” Tom Clancy

Member Since 2013

3
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 142 ratings
  • 259 titles in library
  • 63 purchased in 2014
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  • The Puppet Boy of Warsaw

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Eva Weaver
    • Narrated By Tim Bruce
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    I was 12 when the coat was made. Nathan, our tailor and dear friend, cut it for Grandfather in the first week of March 1938. It was the last week of freedom for Warsaw and for us...Even in the most difficult of lives, there is hope. And sometimes that hope comes in the form of a small boy, armed with a troupe of puppets - a prince, a girl, a fool, a crocodile with half-painted teeth....When Mika's grandfather dies in the Warsaw ghetto, he inherits not only his great coat, but its treasure trove of secrets.

    Renata F. Barcelos says: "Oh my, what a disappointment..."
    "Oh my, what a disappointment..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Oh my, what a disappointment... WWII is a subject I've been interested in for a while, so I've read and watched a lot of books, movies and documentaries about it. Every time a new book about the war is released, I'm looking forward to reading it, especially if it's about Poland. That book, unfortunately, was not well researched, and has lots of incongruities.

    WARNING: Some Spoilers ahead:
    For starts, it's never explained how the puppet boy and the soldiers communicate--in which language? German soldiers didn't usually--if at any point--spoke Polish then, and not many Polish people were German fluently. Those are very different languages, and this is a matter frequently treated in WWII literature (in The Storyteller, for example, the Jewish girl who is German fluent is a kind of a wonder exactly by that reason). If Mika spoke German, that should've been explained at some point.

    Besides, I can't bring myself to believe that puppets would enchant so many people, including SS soldiers. It seems like too much to ask as suspended disbelief is concerned... But even if I could, the idea of someone caring a small child inside a coat to a bar full of SS soldiers, and after finally being able to transfer her to other people, go back to give her a puppet as a souvenir is beyond my accepting abilities... If not for the safety of the moment, I would think it wasn't a good idea because if he was so famous for his puppets, in the chance the child and the caretaker were caught, the puppet would give him away, right?

    Plus, how would Jewish BOYS be mistaken for Arian ones? The circumcision is noticeable, and was done even during the war. So if it was just ONE boy that wasn't circumcised, okay, but Mika mentions several boys...

    I couldn't find any reason for his cousin to stay in the ghetto when he escapes, or for him not to stay with her if he loved her so much. (Let's try to forget the fact they're were first cousins ugh!)

    Even worse is the part after the end of the war, when the Soviets are painted as freedom heroes, instead of another bunch of invaders who made life in Poland still horrible for decades after the end of the war. As it seems by this book, Stalin soldiers made Poland free, comfort the population, gave them monuments as gifts and punished the Germans as they deserved. It really wasn't like that. The Russian years are remembered as a terrible time in Poland.

    And all Max's Odyssey, taking almost as many years as Ulysses to come back home after the war didn't convinced me and wasn't all that explained.

    I realize my review is not with the majority and I may seem harsh, but I expected more and I think this could have being a good book.

    The narration was very good, though, and made me finish the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Switchblade: An Original Story

    • UNABRIDGED (50 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Len Cariou
    Overall
    (332)
    Performance
    (295)
    Story
    (300)

    An anonymous tip puts Bosch on a case that has remained unsolved for decades, the vicious stabbing of a teenage boy whose body was found in an abandoned Old Hollywood restaurant. Cold cases are often the toughest: With no body, no murder scene, and no fingerprints, Bosch nevertheless gets lucky when DNA evidence from the murder weapon points to a known killer. But the DA insists that science alone is not enough - he needs the case to be bulletproof before he'll take it to court.

    L. O. Pardue says: "Good for a short Short Story by a Favorite Author"
    "Good story, terrible narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story was okay, and I really missed Harry Bosh, but it was a struggle listening to the audiobook. The narrator's voice was very difficult to understand and sounded like a sick old man...

    2 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Leisure Seeker: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Michael Zadoorian
    • Narrated By Judith West
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (27)

    In Michael Zadoorian's The Leisure Seeker the Robinas have shared a wonderful life for more than 60 years. Now in their 80s, Ella suffers from cancer and John has Alzheimer's. Yearning for one last adventure, the self-proclaimed "down-on-their-luck geezers" kidnap themselves from the adult children and doctors who seem to run their lives and steal away from their home in suburban Detroit on a forbidden vacation of rediscovery.

    Renata F. Barcelos says: "A perfect end!"
    "A perfect end!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What a fantastic ending! I'm still in shock, and a good, amazed one.

    I absolutely loved this story, so poignant, so sweet (okay, maybe bitter-sweet here and there) so inspiring. I'm so happy for reading this book, the end was just perfect.

    The audible edition is superb. I was sure Judith West was in fact an olde lady, the way she narrated it all the way like Ella herself, but when she said "This is Judith West, we hope you've enjoyed..." I was taken aback! Her voice is young! How she managed to read an entire book sounding like an 80 year old woman is beyond me. This is talent, I tell you that!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Split

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Swati Avasthi
    • Narrated By Joshua Swanson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    Sixteen-year-old Jace Witherspoon arrives at the doorstep of his estranged brother Christian with a re-landscaped face (courtesy of his father's fist), $3.84, and a secret. He tries to move on, going for new friends, a new school, and a new job, but all his changes can't make him forget what he left behind his mother, who is still trapped with his dad, and his ex-girlfriend, who is keeping his secret. At least so far.

    Renata F. Barcelos says: "5 stars are not even remotely enough!!"
    "5 stars are not even remotely enough!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    5 stars are not even remotely enough to this masterpiece. It deserved at least a thousand stars. It's real, it's well written, it's nasty, it's challenging, it's moving, it's beautiful, it's ugly. Just like real life.

    There's no attempt to sugarcoat the horrific reality of abuse, and, more important, it shows what happens to the abused. I know it because I've been there. It's just like that; you're never far enough. You have to decide, to learn, each day, how to not repeat the pattern, how not to become the abuser, how not try to justify your actions based on the abuse you suffered. And, most important of all, you will fail. Sometimes, at least, you will see yourself through other people's eyes, and you'll see you're scaring them. You'll just want to die a little realizing you're behaving just like your abuser. You'll be a bastard sometimes, or, if you're lucky and strong enough, maybe just once. But the doubt is a shadow always walking by your side.

    At some level, it's actually good, because it will make you so self aware, so wanting to be good, that you'll try harder. And eventually you'll learn, and find your own way to control the beast, to be calm, to be 'normal'. And, perhaps, to see that you are not him/her. You can be different, you can live a different life.

    At each minute of this incredible book, I was seeing myself, my past, the person I've become. It was like therapy, good, exhilarating therapy. And the audiobook is amazingly narrated. I absolutely LOVED this story. It's in my top 5 of all times, and certainly will be listened too again, at least parts of it, from time to time. I guess I'll need it.

    Thank you so much, Ms. Avasthi. I'll be looking forward to read your next book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Silver Linings Playbook

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Matthew Quick
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (23)

    Now a major film starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro.Pat Peoples knows that life doesn’t always go according to plan, but he’s determined to get his back on track. After a stint in a psychiatric hospital, Pat is staying with his parents and trying to live according to his new philosophy: get fit, be nice and always look for the silver lining. Most importantly, Pat is determined to be reconciled with his wife Nikki. Pat’s parents just want to protect him

    Barry says: "I'm a bloke and I loved this book"
    "Pat Peoples is my all time favorite character!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Oh my God, I never thought I could fall in love so much for a character and for a story. Pat Peoples is my all time favorite character in the whole world.

    He's such a good, incredibly nice guy. He's trying so hard to be nice, (instead of right), and to do all the things he believes are going to lead him to his happy ending, always trying to see the silver linings...

    Being mentally ill made him a lot better. One can wonder if all our concepts of being 'normal' and 'stable' are all that correct after reading The Silver Linings Playbook.

    Pat Peoples, I've learned so much from you... I'm sure going to miss you, my friend!

    The Audible edition is absolutely perfect. Ray Porter delivers it incredibly well, and even though I loved, absolutely loved the ending, I'm really sad it ended!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Brigid Pasulka
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    Overall
    (57)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (21)

    The novel opens on the eve of World War II. In the mountain village of Half-Village, a young man nicknamed the Pigeon, under the approving eyes of the entire village, courts the beautiful Anielica Hetmanska. But the war's arrival wreaks havoc in all their lives and delays their marriage for six long years.

    Julie says: "Excellent!"
    "Can I give it thousand stars?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Oh my, what a book! This story is so absurdly well written, well told, well constructed and well read that I cannot remember anything better.

    Really, I can't imagine how my commute will happen tomorrow without Baba Yaga's and Anielica's company. It's hurting me not to have them anymore in my ears all the time.

    I've said before--Cassandra Campbell is amazing, but she outdone herself here. This is a work of art! There were moments I wasn't sure if my eyes were welling up because of the story, because of Campbell's reading, or both. Poland has such a beautiful and sad story, I now want to know more about that country.

    Thank you, Brigid Pasulka for writing this masterpiece, and thank you, Cassandra Campbell for narrating it so perfectly!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Storyteller

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Jodi Picoult
    • Narrated By Mozhan Marno, Jennifer Ikeda, Edoardo Ballerini, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3198)
    Performance
    (2790)
    Story
    (2801)

    Jodi Picoult's poignant number one New York Times best-selling novels about family and love tackle hot-button issues head on. In The Storyteller, Sage Singer befriends Josef Weber, a beloved Little League coach and retired teacher. But then Josef asks Sage for a favor she never could have imagined - to kill him. After Josef reveals the heinous act he committed, Sage feels he may deserve that fate. But would his death be murder or justice?

    Sue says: "Interesting...different than I thought it would be"
    "Almost perfect"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A wonderful, beautifully written sad and compelling story, almost ruined, IMHO, by the end. It simply didn't add to the character, I think, and left a bitter taste in my mouth...

    Still, I loved the journey. The audio edition is excellent, with several narrators.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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