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Jen

ravenna, OH, United States | Member Since 2007

401
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 128 reviews
  • 172 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 84 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
86

  • Sutton

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By J. R. Moehringer
    • Narrated By Dylan Baker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (175)
    Performance
    (154)
    Story
    (155)

    Born in the slums of Brooklyn, in the first year of the 20th century, Willie Sutton came of age at a time when banks were out of control. If they weren’t taking brazen risks, they were shamelessly seeking bailouts. Trapped in a cycle of bank panics, depressions and soaring unemployment, Sutton saw only one way out. So began the career of America’s most successful bank robber. Sutton became so good at breaking into banks, and such a master at breaking out of prisons, police called him one of the most dangerous men.

    Jen says: "wow WOW wow W0W w0w!!!!"
    "wow WOW wow W0W w0w!!!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Sutton again? Why?

    Not only am I listening to it again, I am going to listen to it while dirving on a long trip next week because my husband will love it is as much, if not more than I did.

    It reads like the best fiction and it's based on a very interesting true story.

    Sutton intertwines the most unique little unknown facts about the oddest thingsinto the most facinating stories ...presidents, gangsters, the moon, baseball, the bible...as he relives his life. I couldn't believe some of them were true...THEY WERE. I had to hold off and not google each person mentioned because I didn't want to read too much and ruin the ending. I spent an hour on google his life and people mentioned in the book, afterwards - WOW for a guy who spent so much time in prison he had a lot of wonderful moments.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Sutton?

    This book is very much like WATER FOR ELEPHANTS in pace and movement. A life long love story that has you rooting for the bad guy...that's not so bad....lovable actually.


    What about Dylan Baker’s performance did you like?

    It's not surprising that after looking up what other books Dyland Baker has narrated just now, I found that he narrated my TWO FAVORITE BOOKS of this year - Sutton and Jobs.

    His is fabulous - He does different women, men...hippies..yiddish..... the voice from the newsreels.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    This book defines an era. Sutton's memories of the depression brought it much closer to home for me and helps one to better understand their heritage. Opinion is one revolving theme in this book that spoke to me - public opinion and how it can be swayed easily and so harsly - What causes family opinion to change -


    Any additional comments?

    In the top two of the books I have read this year....Top 10 of the last five years. It's worth the investment. I will be thinking about this book for a long time.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Forty Acres

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Dwayne Alexander Smith
    • Narrated By Andre Blake
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Martin Grey, a smart, talented black lawyer working out of a storefront in Queens, becomes friendly with a group of some of the most powerful, wealthy, and esteemed black men in America. He's dazzled by what they've accomplished, and they seem to think he has the potential to be as successful as they are. They invite him for a weekend away from it all - no wives, no cell phones, no talk of business. But far from home and cut off from everyone he loves, he discovers a disturbing secret that challenges some of his deepest convictions.

    Jen says: "Exciting Social Conscience Twister"
    "Exciting Social Conscience Twister"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Forty Acres is an enjoyable political thriller that quickly peaks your interest, builds in intensity and has you up late into the night in suspense. You will be asked to delve into your own thoughts on social injustice and civil rights. Not as a history lesson but, as modern day choices in the midst of peer pressure.


    Martin Grey is a young attorney that you are instantly drawn to and look for good things coming his way. When he finds himself the attraction of powerful patricians during a high profile court case, you can easily see how he is drawn into stepping out of his norm when invited. It feels to him as a step forward after a job well done. Imagine the surprise when in actuality it leads into the past.


    Forty Acres takes you to uncomfortable places that you won't see coming. I want you not to see it coming as well - so I won't be telling you more of the plot. The best part of this book is that the author does an exceptional job in blindly leading the protagonist and readers into a modern day American expedition. When Martin comes to the realization that he is at a loss to his current physical location, amongst other things, I was right there with him grabbing for the worthless smart phone.

    This is Dwayne Alexander Smith's first novel coming from a career as a screen play writer. The first part of this book, for me, was superior. It's fresh, face paced and exciting. There comes a point in the plot where it jumped the shark, for me, I am sad to say. Did it ruin the book for me? OH NO - exactly the opposite. It just had me spending a few additional days pondering how I wish it had gone differently and at what point did it revert to a screen play. It's a fine book and well worth the credit. It's very thought provoking.


    Andre Blake's narration is flawlessly transparent. He accentuates the text with his exceptional performance.


    I look forward to each and every future work by both.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hidden

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Catherine McKenzie
    • Narrated By Jeff Cummings, Angela Dawe, Amy McFadden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (37)
    Performance
    (36)
    Story
    (35)

    While walking home from work one evening, Jeff Manning is struck by a car and killed. Two women fall to pieces at the news: His wife, Claire, and his co-worker Tish. Reeling from her loss, Claire must comfort her grieving son as well as contend with funeral arrangements, well-meaning family members, and the arrival of Jeff's estranged brother, who was her ex-boyfriend. Tish volunteers to attend the funeral on her company's behalf, but only she knows the true risk of inserting herself into the wreckage of Jeff's life.

    E. says: "The Voice of Claire"
    "Peculiar"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a quirky little book. There was too much detail about things you didn’t really want or need to know and not enough information to allow the reader to feel complete after the book was finished. I am now left to wonder if I missed some finer details while attempting to determine why the audio was horrible.

    After much contemplation, I have determined that Claire’s voice was not done at the same time or studio as the other two voices. It comes off like a ten hour conversation on walkie talkies – one louder than the others. Naturally, the louder one has a voice like a cement mixer. That added with that fact that she screams AT you, rather than tells the story. It’s not a good audio book. Was there no editor?


    Note to self – Dealing with death in your own life is hard and depressing enough. Don’t waste energy and money on depressing books about this time in fictional people’s lives.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Glass Kitchen

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Linda Francis Lee
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    Portia Cuthcart never intended to leave Texas. Her dream was to run the Glass Kitchen restaurant her grandmother built decades ago. But after a string of betrayals and the loss of her legacy, Portia is determined to start a new life with her sisters in Manhattan... and never cook again. But when she moves into a dilapidated brownstone on the Upper West Side, she meets 12-year-old Ariel and her widowed father Gabriel, a man with his hands full trying to raise two daughters on his own.

    Tara says: "Disappointing Mess from a previously good author."
    "Hot Mess from Otherwise Good Author and Narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is speechlessly bad. Both the author and the narrator have credentials that are worthy of a preorder double digit dollar book that they completely tarnished with this work. I can’t believe how two great talents fell so badly.

    I enjoyed Lee’s previous book that had a bit of whimsy, leading me to look forward to this seemingly fanciful fun read. The author had a potentially decent story idea that she swirled to absolutely nowhere. The protagonist and her man have richly quirky families that were given no banter, no role, and no back story and assume the role of cardboard dummies. Dialog, drama or interaction with them could have created the character depth that this was sorely lacking. The author did give one character, the little girl, what was needed. Her plight kept me to the end. If only she had given the others equal attention. Portia had a little spunk on her in the beginning then fell flat. Her sass ended up being a handful of sassy come backs. She certainly wasn’t given any interesting conversations, for she has NONE with her love interest. These two don’t have conversations, just sex. Not that good sex you have WITH someone, these two have odd nonverbal sex AT each other in the middle of the night. The little dialog attributed to Gabriel is ‘eye roll back in your head’ awful.

    The entire body is over flowingly abundant with adjectives and adverbs. Metaphors and similes are laughable they are so silly. Some … like the phrase that he was as hot and creamy as her hot chocolate made me laugh out loud. If Lee is going to write like this – she needs to put Fabio on the cover of her books.

    After checking out the shocking amount of favorable reviews on Good Reads and Amazon I am wondering if the terrible male voices used by Julia Whelan during this audio rendition added to what I consider a horrible train wreck. I have no clue to what she was thinking when she chose this poor voice as that of ALL the males in this book but, I am betting she was trying to give Gabriel her best impersonation of Battoe’s rendition of Christian Grey. I have listened to a number of Whelan’s other narrations which I enjoyed immensely. She has done some very believable male voices in previous books – The Witness, Gone Girl to name two. This ebbs on unlistenable.

    I won't mention the multiple unrealisting events that happen, the major infractions and life changing events that happen then are completely forgotten on following pages, for to do so could give too much away.

    Thankfully, the recipes are saved to the back matter and not read within the text. Does someone seriously listen to eleven minutes of someone reading recipes? What am I saying, I kept reading for 10+ hours longer than I should have.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Silkworm

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Robert Galbraith
    • Narrated By Robert Glenister
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (715)
    Performance
    (665)
    Story
    (663)

    When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home. But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows.

    linda says: "Cormoran Strike in London's Literary World"
    "Absolutely Killer!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's not an easy listen. Because of the detail and the vast amount of secondary characters there was quite a bit of rewinding and even some rereading of chapters for me. At one point I even used a crib sheet. It was well worth the extra effort. A smooth clever plot that I was glued to till the bitter end. I sincerely was clueless to the outcome till it was revealed. For me, this book was 17 and a half hours well spent.

    Cormoran Strike is my kind of hero. The compassionate private investigator without a quirk or an ex-wife that uses every day technology to his advantage. Thankfully his supporting staff is an educated woman with normal issues. I enjoyed their chemistry in both books but, it's as if the author was much more comfortable with her principals this time around. I would love to visit and grow with this entourage for years to come.

    To not rave over Robert Glenister's brilliant narration would be sinful. Pure perfection how he melted into the background yet enhanced the author's work. Each character was spot on but, his handling of Elizabeth Tassel elevated this from a read to a performance.


    Keep bringing this dynamic duo!

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • One Pink Line

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Dina Silver
    • Narrated By Amy McFadden, Cristina Panfilio
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (178)
    Performance
    (157)
    Story
    (158)

    Can the love of a lifetime be forever changed by one pink line? With heart, humor, and compassion, Dina Silver’s debut novel of love, loss, and family is certain to stir anyone who relishes a good laugh, can stand a good cry, and, above all, believes in the redemptive power of love. This unique, modern story gives listeners a dual perspective. Sydney, a sweet-tempered, strong-natured college senior, is young, in love with an exceptional man, and unexpectedly pregnant. Faced with a child she never planned for, she is forced to relay this news to her neurotic mother, relinquish her youth, and risk losing the love of her life. Then there’s Grace, her daughter, who believes she is a product of this great love, but grows to realize her existence is not what she assumed and is left with profound and puzzling questions about who she really is.

    Jessica says: "Sweet Surprise...Love this book"
    "Won't Find This on LaLeche League's Top 10 List"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book served it's purpose. A quick cheap read to get me through to a pre-order. You won't have to invest much thought or consideration, for the author didn't go to there either. It's depthless writing revolving a superficial woman that move from one drama to the next. I have a hard time believing this is based on an actual story.

    It's not a bad book - The author just didnt invest in the effort to make it great. The characters were all a very beige vanilla. The great love - Ethan for Sidney was never given justice. Every single mother in this book would NOT have acted in the manner written.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Those Who Wish Me Dead

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Michael Koryta
    • Narrated By Robert Petkoff
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (76)
    Performance
    (72)
    Story
    (72)

    When 13-year-old Jace Wilson witnesses a brutal murder, he's plunged into a new life, issued a false identity and hidden in a wilderness skills program for troubled teens. The plan is to get Jace off the grid while police find the two killers. The result is the start of a nightmare. The killers, known as the Blackwell Brothers, are slaughtering anyone who gets in their way in a methodical quest to reach him.

    Janice says: "Fire on the Mountain"
    "Best Bad Guys EVER!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story


    As consistent as he has always been for me, I think Michael Koryta has just outdone himself this time. This book is superior.

    Michael Koryta novels always contain s a well thought out scenario that feel like they have been well researched, including antidotes, details and descriptions that leave you feeling like he is writing about his life’s work in his back yard. The characters are creatively crafted. His writing is flawlessly paced. It just never lets up. The last hours of this I was looking for the button that makes the narrator talk faster; I was so invested into the character and their plight.

    The bad guys in this book are so unique and their evil personas are so well constructed that the hair stands straight up on the back of your neck each and every time they come into a scene. When you don’t see them coming, you literally GASP out loud and stop what you’re doing. It just doesn't get better than this.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Save the Date

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Mary Kay Andrews
    • Narrated By Kathleen McInerney
    Overall
    (97)
    Performance
    (84)
    Story
    (87)

    A savannah florist is about to score the wedding of a lifetime - one that will solidify her career as the go-to-girl for society nuptials. Ironically, Cara Kryzik doesn't believe in love, even though she creates beautiful flower arrangements to celebrate them. But when the bride goes missing and the wedding is in jeopardy, Cara must find the bride and figure out what she believes in. Maybe love really does exist outside of fairy tales after all. Told with Mary Kay Andrews' trademark wit and keen eye for detail, mark your calendars for Save the Date!

    alexa says: "Best ever!"
    "Delightful!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was one of those books where once started, not much got accomplished that couldn’t be done while listening. I just couldn’t put it down. Needless to say – the laundry is caught up since this is a blissful thirteen hours of listening pleasure.

    Mary Kay Andrews just never disappoints. She always gives her readers the ability to quickly become fully immersed into a story. In order to do that, she has to draw a vague picture of where she is going pretty early on. I like that. Others call it being predictable, I call it cutting to the chase. Save the Date is certainly no different. Cara, a florist in Savannah, Georgia has a new business, a new dog and a great deal on her plate Who just doesn't love weddings and the miles of drama that they bring. It’s interesting that the main love interests in this adventure are the least colorful of the character but, with so much colorful southern “charm”, someone needs to be just a little neutral. I don’t see how I could have enjoyed it any more than I did. Great way to start off the summer!!

    I greatly enjoyed the cameo appearances!!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Perfect on Paper: The (Mis)Adventures of Waverly Bryson

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Maria Murnane
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (210)
    Performance
    (193)
    Story
    (192)

    Waverly Bryson is a successful businesswoman in her late 20s who almost has it all: a dream job in sports PR, two best friends, and a bar where everybody knows her name. What she doesn’t have is a ring on her finger. And after being ditched at the altar, she’s in no hurry to get one. Besides, plenty of other issues keep her busy, including her wayward father, a new rival at work, and an ever-nagging fear that her life is not turning out as she thought it would...or should.

    Missy says: "Just ok..."
    "Valley Girl Meets Don Sterling"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book almost lost me when it started off with words like "Totally" and at many places along the way. I hung in there because the main character is appealing. At times, it was enjoyable and entertaining

    Would I recommend this book to anyone I know - Oh heck no..

    The repeated social awkwardness of this book is enough to make one cringe. The bit where the overweight person had the nerve to attempt to pick the protagonist up - EWWWWWW. That was pretty brutal and made me quickly change that appeal I was feeling for her.

    The worst infraction being the rolling in the aisle bit (rolled eyes) about Waverly's proclivity to kiss men when she is drunk, which she terms as suffering from AIKS (alcohol induced kissing). That is just ignorant to make a play on the name of a socially transmitted disease that people actually die from. Where is the humor in that? And she repeats it over and over. Unbelievable.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The One & Only: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Emily Giffin
    • Narrated By Sofia Willingham
    Overall
    (177)
    Performance
    (164)
    Story
    (164)

    Thirty-three-year-old Shea Rigsby has spent her entire life in Walker, Texas - a small college town that lives and dies by football, a passion she unabashedly shares. Raised alongside her best friend, Lucy, the daughter of Walker’s legendary head coach, Clive Carr, Shea was too devoted to her hometown team to leave. Instead she stayed in Walker for college, even taking a job in the university athletic department after graduation, where she has remained for more than a decade.

    K G says: "The narrator mispronounced "Giffin""
    "What a Christmas Tree and a Man Have In Common..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am so glad I took a chance on this book because I greatly enjoyed it, especially the storyline. For me, Emily Griffin's books always have interesting scenarios that start out really good. Then she can't stop herself from herself. Her chic-lit bushwah cup just flows over at times, to the point that I start skipping over the endless monotonous conversations, repetitive banter and that tiresome pondering that chic-lit protagonists routinely do. This time the author was able to rein that in, much better. There is one point, though, in this book where Shea and the love of her life are stealing themselves away. As they are moving to another room, offhandedly he mentions that he needs to tell her something later. Now in real life, that would be the end of it till later. Shea, on the other hand, spends FOREVER wondering what he might say... an INSANE GREAT LENGTH........ I think a whole chapter was devoted to her pointless wondering... It felt like she got out a yellow legal pad to number the possibilities. I was screaming out loud at Ms Griffin once again for her wasting my time. Thankfully, she pulled it together and before long had me laughing out loud, guessing at the direction she was going, and physically crying. It's rare anymore that I physically cry over a book, like I did this time.

    I like where she ended this novel. I thought the author pointed the direction HER characters were going nicely, then allowed me the opportunity to wonder a scenarios of my own. I don't need to see May/November go to ugly in January.

    The lives of the characters in this book revolve around football, thus this book is about football. If you do not have a general knowledge of collegiate football and the game in general, you may not enjoy this book. The other thing that will make or break this book for you is to ask yourself if you can enjoy a story about an unconventional nontraditional relationship.

    I rarely am critical of the narrator, but I would be lax if I did not mention Sofia Willingham's performance. It's distractingly irksome to the point of making the listener weary. I listened to her previous work, after finishing this book, this was not her normal speech. She must think Texans speak incredibly slow and sleepily while half whispering.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Painter: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Peter Heller
    • Narrated By Mark Deakins
    Overall
    (91)
    Performance
    (87)
    Story
    (88)

    Jim Stegner has seen his share of violence and loss. Years ago he shot a man in a bar. His marriage disintegrated. He grieved the one thing he loved. In the wake of tragedy, Jim, a well-known expressionist painter, abandoned the art scene of Santa Fe to start fresh in the valleys of rural Colorado. Now he spends his days painting and fly-fishing, trying to find a way to live with the dark impulses that sometimes overtake him. He works with a lovely model. His paintings fetch excellent prices. But one afternoon, on a dirt road, Jim comes across a man beating a small horse, and a brutal encounter rips his quiet life wide open.

    Jen says: "I Wanted to Like This"
    "I Wanted to Like This"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I didn’t loath this book. ..I tolerated it. Though the characters had no redeeming qualities and were most unlikeable, I did need to finish to find out how this book ended. Enjoyable was Heller’s beautiful lyrical prose – despised the narrator’s self-absorption. There were too many sentences where the first word was ‘I’.

    Jim Stegner is an artist in the American southwest who has quite a following in the art community. His passion for fly fishing could have led to one romantic story. While Jim is painting and fishing he recounts his egomaniac thoughts. Seriously, the guy paints and fishes for a living – cry me a river. He just about got my interest when, in his self-centered ramblings, stumbles on his recently murdered teenage child. I was beginning to think that maybe there is a reason to Jim Stegner's self-pity. But, within pages, Jim rashly and recklessly murders a complete stranger after an earlier minor skirmish. This isn't his first time either. I cannot care anymore about him. I apparently am the only one at this point, for the murdered victim’s relatives, the authorities and his artistic devotees follow him wherever he goes.

    Speaking of following wherever he goes…. The victim’s relatives hunt Jim down to the most remote of locations..... repeatedly. Wouldn’t most people soon wonder how they are able to do that? Wouldn’t most people change their vehicles or their cell phones after realizing that there has to be a signaling device that is enabling this to happen? That clearly was not thought out.

    Mark Deakin's did a fine job and was an enjoyable listen.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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