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jennifer

BROOKLYN, NY, United States | Member Since 2011

376
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 86 reviews
  • 213 ratings
  • 338 titles in library
  • 21 purchased in 2018
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
29

  • The Woman Upstairs

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Claire Messud
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (548)
    Performance
    (475)
    Story
    (486)

    Nora Eldridge, a 37-year-old elementary school teacher in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who long ago abandoned her ambition to be a successful artist, has become the "woman upstairs", a reliable friend and tidy neighbor always on the fringe of others' achievements. Then into her classroom walks Reza Shahid, a child who enchants as if from a fairy tale. He and his parents - dashing Skandar, a Lebanese scholar and professor at the École Normale Supérleure; and Sirena, an effortlessly glamorous Italian artist - have come to Boston for Skandar to take up a fellowship at Harvard.

    Beth Anne says: "Disturbing, Frustrating, Messed Up and AWESOME!"
    "A quiet, brave, cringey, fantastic listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm astonished by the negative reviews--- have people not been affected by the plight of this character? No, she's not a likeable or entirely sympathetic character, but the story is incredibly empathic. I was deeply moved by it.

    It does not have a fast-paced, ever twisting plot. It doesn't have lots of action. What this book offers is a gripping emotional tale of "friendship", delusion, hope and humiliation. It's one of those books you want to discuss after reading, to go back and read the beginning again. Thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Children: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Ann Leary
    • Narrated By Gretchen Mol
    Overall
    (342)
    Performance
    (309)
    Story
    (306)

    Charlotte Maynard rarely leaves her mother's home, the sprawling Connecticut lake house that belonged to her late stepfather, Whit Whitman, and the generations of Whitmans before him. While Charlotte and her sister, Sally, grew up at Lakeside, their stepbrothers, Spin and Perry, were welcomed as weekend guests. Now the grown boys own the estate, which Joan occupies by their grace - and a provision in the family trust.

    NMwritergal says: "Even better than The Good House!"
    "Brilliant family comedy/drama"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ann Leary knows what she's doing. Take a few interesting characters with amusing flaws/quirks, put them in a challenging situation, add an interloper, money, unanswered questions, resentment and humor, and then turn the whole thing upside-down. Witty at times, dark at others. Not only is this a great character study, it's got a riveting plot too.

    The level of depth takes this book from good to great. A lively story that kept me engaged, entertained and which moved me deeply.

    Thank you Gretchen Mol for your superb narration. Many audiobooks suffer from narration that does not serve the book as much as the performer's ego. Overacting is such a turnoff. Finally, a narrator who gives us a book rather than a self-indulgent performance. Five stars.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Sister

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs)
    • By Louise Jensen
    • Narrated By Natalie Blass
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3407)
    Performance
    (3115)
    Story
    (3113)

    Grace hasn't been the same since the death of her best friend, Charlie. She is haunted by Charlie's words the last time she saw her and, in a bid for answers, opens an old memory box of Charlie's. It soon becomes clear there was a lot she didn't know about her best friend. When Grace starts a campaign to find Charlie's father, Anna, a girl claiming to be Charlie's sister, steps forward. For Grace, finding Anna is like finding a new family, and soon Anna has made herself very comfortable in Grace and her boyfriend Dan's home. But something isn't right.

    green ice cream garden says: "Great suspense with unsual twists, turns and spill"
    "Great characters, riveting story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Enjoyable psychological thriller with escalating tension and mercifully devoid of a detective. The characters drew me in quickly, because characters with personality disorders often do.
    Satisfying listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Everybody Rise: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Stephanie Clifford
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (207)
    Performance
    (191)
    Story
    (192)

    Everyone yearns to belong, to be part of the "in crowd", but how far are you willing to go to be accepted? In the case of bright, funny, and socially ambitious Evelyn Beegan, the answer is much too far.... At 26, Evelyn is determined to carve her own path in life and free herself from the influence of her social-climbing mother, who propelled her through prep school and onto New York's glamorous Upper East Side. Evelyn has long felt like an outsider to her privileged peers, but when she gets a job at a social network aimed at the elite, she's forced to embrace them.

    Nerdy Girl says: "A cautionary tale"
    "Good story with mismatched narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Wannabe rich girl/social climber weasels her way into an elite group of friends. She makes some pretty stupid mistakes of course, which have their consequences. A fun, engaging story. But...

    The narration: This is a novel about twentysomethings in modern NYC. So why does the narrator choose to voice the characters like a parody of Edith Wharton society ladies in their twilight years? Perhaps the director made her do it. Anyway, it bothered me to the point of almost returning the book. Instead, I went to the narrator's Audible page and tried to "get to know her". It helped.

    (Katherine Kellgren, if you're reading this: I watched your audible studio visit video and found you incredibly likable and about two decades younger than I pictured. You're delightful. I wish you'd have been more true to the story and used a more modern, less exaggerated voice.)

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

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Stuart Nadler
    • Narrated By Caitlin Kelly, Lauren Fortgang, Suzanne Toren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (36)
    Story
    (36)

    In less than a year, Henrietta has lost her husband and nearly all of her money and is about to lose her hard-won anonymity. After a lifetime spent trying to outrun the humiliation her own book caused her, Henrietta has reluctantly agreed to a reissue of The Inseparables, the salaciously filthy and critically despised best seller she wrote decades earlier.

    jennifer says: "Boring"
    "Boring"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    You get one life. Why waste 11 hours of it on this mediocre experience? I've squandered four already and can't justify going any further. It sucks to pay for a book that's un-finishable. Definitely in the 'return' category.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Nix: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Nathan Hill
    • Narrated By Ari Fliakos
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8306)
    Performance
    (7761)
    Story
    (7739)

    It's 2011, and Samuel Andresen-Anderson - college professor, stalled writer - has a Nix of his own: his mother, Faye. He hasn't seen her in decades, not since she abandoned the family when he was a boy. Now she's reappeared, having committed an absurd crime that electrifies the nightly news, beguiles the Internet, and inflames a politically divided country. The media paints Faye as a radical hippie with a sordid past, but as far as Samuel knows, his mother was an ordinary girl who married her high school sweetheart.

    Bonny says: "Nathan Hill is an exceptional storyteller."
    "Engrossing, transporting, intelligent"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Novels which meander through the pasts and presents of multiple characters can be confusing in audiobook format. I find myself needing to rewind often and, in some cases, to draw diagrams of characters and timelines for reference. Not so with THE NIX.

    This is a captivating story, so five stars for entertainment value alone.
    Additional praise for the cultural relevance and brilliant but subtle social commentary on the author's part. It's a novel which stimulates the intellect as well as greatly entertains.

    Initially I was put off by the premise, which seemed sprawling and with too many 'ingredients' (60's counterculture! Online gaming! Political injustice! Norwegian folktales! A failed author!) But surprise: these seemingly excessive plot points wove together harmonically. I was pleasantly satisfied to find myself engrossed from the start. And never once needed to compile a cheat sheet of characters' names and contexts.

    Lastly, a round of applause for Ari Fliakos, a consistently excellent narrator who has become one of my absolute favorites. Narrators, like foods and wines, are subject to one's personal taste, so I can't guarantee that you will love him as much as I do. Suffice to say I appreciate his talent for conveying the subtleties of character with the appropriate tone. Never over-acts, never annoys me... and most importantly, never performs female voices in a fake, insulting falsetto like 95% of male narrators do.

    A solid and exceptional listening experience. A+

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • This Is Where I Leave You

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Jonathan Tropper
    • Narrated By Ramon De Ocampo
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2941)
    Performance
    (2392)
    Story
    (2407)

    The death of Judd Foxman's father marks the first time that the entire Foxman family - including Judd's mother, brothers, and sister - have been together in years. Conspicuously absent: Judd's wife, Jen, whose 14-month affair with Judd's radio-shock-jock boss has recently become painfully public. Judd joins the rest of the Foxmans as they reluctantly submit to their patriarch's dying request: to spend the seven days following the funeral together.

    Jamie says: "Greatly entertaining, not for all audiences."
    "Solid family drama"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is in the category of movies like "Dan In Real Life" and "The Family Stone".
    The Family Drama.

    I enjoy these family drama stories for their simple ability to entertain without challenging the intellect. A steady diet of them is humdrum, sure. But sometimes you just don't feel like doing mental acrobatics with an audiobook that requires note-taking and rewinding.
    Or being on an emotional rollercoaster. Or having your blood pressure rise because the action is nuts. Yes, sometimes you just want to passively enjoy a decent narrative.

    So here it is: a good story that won't bore you. If that's what you're looking for, go for it.



    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Painting of Sara de Vos: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Dominic Smith
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1260)
    Performance
    (1145)
    Story
    (1140)

    In 1631, Sara de Vos is admitted as a master painter to the Guild of St. Luke's in Holland, the first woman to be so recognized. Three hundred years later, only one work attributed to de Vos is known to remain - a haunting winter scene, At the Edge of a Wood, which hangs over the bed of a wealthy descendant of the original owner. An Australian grad student, Ellie Shipley, struggling to stay afloat in New York, agrees to paint a forgery of the landscape, a decision that will haunt her.

    KarKinz says: "This Story Definitely NOT a Forgery!"
    "Hard to get into."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    So why did I give it such a high rating?
    The novel is excellent.
    I didn't quite discover that until I actually read it though.

    Listening to this one is a bit of a slog. My mind wandered constantly and I missed many of the subtle points which make this story exceptional. I put it aside several times, actually, thinking I'd return it.

    This is a story with a lot of nuance that builds to a quiet explosion at the end. Quite poignant. But it took me several re-listens and ultimately a reading to get there. So I can't recommend the audio format.

    Edoardo Ballerini's narration doesn't really do it for me. I've listened to him countless times and appreciate his skill, but the quality of his voice just doesn't please me. I'm sorry Edoardo-- I'm sure you're a likable fellow!

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • The Storm Sister: The Seven Sisters, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Lucinda Riley
    • Narrated By Noreen Leighton, Rachel Lincoln
    Overall
    (692)
    Performance
    (638)
    Story
    (638)

    A talented sailor, Ally is about to compete in one of the world's most challenging yacht races when she hears the news of her adoptive father's sudden death. In the aftermath of the harrowing events that follow, Ally pursues the clues her father left her to the icy beauty of Norway. There, she begins to discover how her story is inextricably bound to that of a young unknown singer, Anna Landvik, who lived there over 100 years before.

    Agatha Istanbul says: "TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE NARRATION! IT RUINS THE STORY"
    "What was I thinking?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I cannot understand what made me think I would like this book.The moment a harlequin trope of a studly love interest entered the scene I knew I was doomed. I couldn't listen much beyond that point. I guess the performance was okay but also rather breathy and heavy-handed for my taste. I guess if you've got a love of sailing and enjoy romance novels this will be your thing. I'm not passionate about either.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Passenger, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Alexandra Bracken
    • Narrated By Saskia Maarleveld
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (494)
    Performance
    (454)
    Story
    (455)

    Violin prodigy Etta Spencer had big plans for her future, but a tragedy has put her once-bright career at risk. Closely tied to her musical skill, however, is a mysterious power she doesn't even know she has. When her two talents collide during a stressful performance, Etta is drawn back hundreds of years through time.

    Margaret says: "Mixed feelings"
    "Boring"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't think I can finish this slog of a book. I rated the story highly because it does sound clever and inventive. But the telling of the story is dull and slow. My mind could not stay focused enough to enjoy anything about this book. I couldn't feel anything for the characters, even when shocking things happened. Maybe this one is better read than listened to.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Heart Goes Last: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Margaret Atwood
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell, Mark Deakins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1486)
    Performance
    (1359)
    Story
    (1361)

    Stan and Charmaine are a married couple trying to stay afloat in the midst of an economic and social collapse. Job loss has forced them to live in their car, leaving them vulnerable to roving gangs. They desperately need to turn their situation around - and fast. The Positron Project in the town of Consilience seems to be the answer to their prayers. No one is unemployed, and everyone gets a comfortable, clean house to live in...for six months out of the year. On alternating months, residents of Consilience must leave their homes and function as inmates.

    Stephanie says: "Thoughtful and intriguing"
    "Dystopian farce"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Great premise compromised by unbearable characters and execution that falls short. She could have done so much more with the concept. But she decided instead to add a level of comedy that, while clever in itself, took away from the gravity of the dystopian setup. I'm not saying tongue-in-cheek humor has no place in dystopia; in this case it felt like two different novels at times. I'd have been more interested in the day-to-day of this exceptional lifestyle, and the psychological impact it has on the characters. But this element was missing from the novel. Instead we are treated to a few intriguing developments which held great promise yet were blunted by the comedic overtones. This could have been a very differently executed novel--- had she focused on the gravity of the situation and the impact it had on the characters I'd have enjoyed it more. But her choice to seemingly amuse herself with a parody was less to my liking. That said, this book is a solid choice for fans of Atwood's oddball side. It's got a lot of clever ideas and satisfying developments. My taste hoped for more of her serious side.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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