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Jen

ravenna, OH, United States | Member Since 2007

580
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 147 reviews
  • 209 ratings
  • 651 titles in library
  • 124 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
22
FOLLOWERS
113

  • The Cuckoo's Calling

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Robert Galbraith
    • Narrated By Robert Glenister
    Overall
    (7280)
    Performance
    (6621)
    Story
    (6633)

    After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: his sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

    Tracey says: "Unbelievable debut mystery set in London"
    "Masterful!!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A fascinating crime thriller with a lot of heart between the lines. I loved the characters in this novel. I enjoyed that the two main protagonist found their nitch in life, just as the author has seemingly once again found hers. After that last clunker that she penned, I couldn’t be happier for her success with this novel.

    I found this interesting story to believable, current and simplistically straight forward. The story hooked me from the beginning – and right up to the very end I was surprised at the ending. For me it was most refreshing that the author left it as simply. No one needed any big title or badge. It was two people with a good working relationship. No one needed to get hot and heavy or be best friends.

    Robert Glenister reading this is just like adding cream.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Runner: A Sam Dryden Novel, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Patrick Lee
    • Narrated By Raul Esparza
    Overall
    (173)
    Performance
    (151)
    Story
    (148)

    Sam Dryden, retired special forces, lives a quiet life in a small town on the coast of Southern California. While out on a run in the middle of the night, a young girl runs into him on the seaside boardwalk. Barefoot and terrified, she's running from a group of heavily armed men with one clear goal - to kill the fleeing child. After Dryden helps her evade her pursuers, he learns that the 11-year-old, for as long as she can remember, has been kept in a secret prison by forces within the government. But she doesn't know much beyond her own name, Rachel.

    TR Jensen says: "Wow!!! Great Story and Performance"
    "Title correction: SPRINTER"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This thriller takes off before the second paragraph and goes blistering speed all the way through . With two strong lead characters, one being a child, and a just smattering of secondary cast makes for an intense read with a deep emotional investment. Heavy with technology, with the basic story being about memory and mind control, this book isn't for everyone. If you allow yourself to think outside your box and certainly out of your comfort zone, you will be in for a wild ride.

    I will be checking out Patrick Lee, to see what else he has to offer. This is one fresh thriller – so glad to see that this is number one in a series. I certainly can get into numerous returns of Sam Dryden .

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • An Untamed State

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Roxane Gay
    • Narrated By Robin Miles
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (39)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (37)

    Mireille Duval Jameson is living a fairy tale. The strong-willed youngest daughter of one of Haiti’s richest sons, she has an adoring husband, a precocious infant son, by all appearances a perfect life. The fairy tale ends one day when Mireille is kidnapped in broad daylight by a gang of heavily armed men, in front of her father’s Port au Prince estate. Held captive by a man who calls himself The Commander, Mireille waits for her father to pay her ransom.

    Kat says: "Beautiful, But Disturbing."
    "Not for the Faint of Heart"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It’s extremely well written. It’s fluid, strong and its voice is loud and clear. What it spoke to me was the violence against women,violence’s lasting trauma while also addressing the difference of the sexes.

    Some will read this book and come away with it being a story about a lawyer vacationing with her husband in Haiti who is kidnapped and abused. Others will come away with the survival of a woman who was violently stripped of her self-worth. The core of this book is in the eye of reader.

    It’s a hard book to read for the violent incident is brutal and takes up better than one third of the book. Call me Pollyanna, if you must, but I read for entertainment. This book was not enjoyable - nor should it be. One does not have to look far to see unrestrained assaults happening on a variety of levels.Paying to listen to an extra eleven and an a half hours of turbulence, no matter how well written, was not the entertainment I was looking for. I don't feel that I am enlightened from reading it, nor will this story be in my thoughts for a long time.

    Now how does one rate a book like this?

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Pearl That Broke Its Shell

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Nadia Hashimi
    • Narrated By Gin Hammond
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (30)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (27)

    Nadia Hashimi's literary debut is a searing tale of powerlessness, fate, and the freedom to control one's own fate that combines the cultural flavor and emotional resonance of the works of Khaled Hosseini, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Lisa See. In Kabul, 2007, Rahima and her sisters can only sporadically attend school and can rarely leave the house. Their only hope lies in the ancient custom of bacha posh, which allows young Rahima to dress and be treated as a boy until she is of marriageable age.

    Laura Lea Evans says: "A Story you will never forget"
    "His Eye Is On The Sparrow"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story


    I found this gem in a list of suggestions for the best books of the year. I couldn't agree more, for this is one of the best books I have listened to in a very long time. Do not be intimidated with the faraway names of the cast. You will easily be able to follow the stories of these women and feel blessed for having heard them.

    The story begins with nine year old Rahima, the middle of five daughters in a family living in Kabul Afghanistan in 2009. To enable the family, her mother makes her a bache posh (to live and dress as a boy through adolescence). Rahima life is overnight vastly elevated. The freedom of being male permits her to perform chores outside the home. But imagine the inevitable reverse transformation. During visits their beloved disabled aunt shares tales of the life of their ancestor, Khala Shaima that also lived in Kabul, but in the early 1900’s. In alternating chapters we follow the women through twenty years of remarkable struggles of endurance and survival. The voice of the great, great grandmother’s gives hope and encouragement to push her granddaughter through her similar strife, a century later.

    Each woman’s story is the depth of emotional highs and lows. You will hold your breath and your heart will beat faster repeatedly for their lives are constantly in peril. Reading this work puts ones ‘personal stresses’ in perspective. It is amazing that in the one hundred years separating these women the oppression is relatively unchanged. Further interesting, to me, is regardless of the land or the century, the ruthless disregard for compassion that women have for one another.

    Nadia Hashimi is just masterful at weaving unimaginable tales in a clear manner while detailing an immense amount of tradition and rules. Hard to believe this is a debut novel. Gin Hammond’s narration is flawless in transparent execution.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Lake: The Lake Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By AnnaLisa Grant
    • Narrated By Em Eldridge
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    At 17, Layla Weston is already starting over. Having lost both her parents and grandparents, and with nowhere else to go, Layla is moving from Florida to a small town in North Carolina to live with the only family she has left: her estranged uncle and aunt. The last five years of Layla’s life were spent appeasing her lessthan-loving grandmother, followed by being her grandfather’s caretaker. Growing old before her time, Layla lost her identity. Now she must learn how to allow herself to be the one who is cared for and loved.

    Jen says: "It Is What It Is"
    "It Is What It Is"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I chose this book because of the high reviews on several other book review sites. I am going to give the audible review that would have made a difference in my purchase. Notice this is currently a trilogy that audible only has one segment of. This is not because it has not been written yet. Secondly, the book was actually released, in the written version, a year and a half prior to the audio version.

    If you are a fan of Nicholas Sparks - you will be a fan of this book.

    A love story trilogy that begins with Layla at 17 years old. The previous five years of her life have been an emotional roller coaster and she is off on a promising different life in a new town with a distant aunt and uncle,

    The plot is interesting and well thought out. What this book lacked, for me, was in the shallowness of the main characters and the female lead's repetitive thoughts. The teenage characters were way more mature and civil than I think are possible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Yes Please

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Amy Poehler
    • Narrated By Amy Poehler, Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, and others
    Overall
    (729)
    Performance
    (705)
    Story
    (705)

    Amy Poehler is hosting a dinner party and you're invited! Welcome to the audiobook edition of Amy Poehler's Yes Please. The guest list is star-studded with vocal appearances from Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, Michael Schur, Patrick Stewart, Kathleen Turner, and even Amy’s parents - Yes Please is the ultimate audiobook extravaganza.

    S.F. says: "Listen to this book for sure"
    "SorrySorrySorry"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I know better than to purchase a memoir of a person who was born in a year that I remember vividly. I wish I would have followed my rule this time. I didn’t hate, Yes Please, it just didn’t fulfill any need I had or give any additional insight. I was left disappointed.


    There is a treat with the audiobook edition. Not only does Amy read her own work, she brought friends. The cameo appearances were a nice little treat for me. The voice inflection when one recounts events with a beloved grandparent is the best reason to read/listen to such a personal work. Those few events were especially sweet. Amy also sings and finishes the final chapter reading in a stand up setting. I appreciate the extra effort of making the audio edition of her book a unique experience.

    I might be wrong but, I expect to laugh out loud (and often) when I am reading a book written by an iconic comedic talent. Not once in this entire book did I have that experience. It didn’t even crack a smile for me till the final chapter. When you watch SNL, there is a point in each skit where it forks into either a ‘spot on’ event or a ‘never got out the gate’ event. This book had more of those that never got out of the gate and some even went over the edge (namely the long list of names that Leslie Knope didn’t have). Amy’s writing is completely without structure. She rambles, repeats herself, starts to go someplace interesting or funny then never get to a point that, you think, she was trying to make. I appreciate that she stayed on the high road, told a few sweet stories about her family and childhood. The book felt rushed and not thought out.

    After the first dozen times that Amy uttered how much she hated writing this book, I started responding aloud, “Oh get over yourself,” every time she said it. I said it throughout the book. If you truly hated it THAT much, Amy, why didn’t you just give the ginormous check back and tell the publisher that writing books wasn’t for you? The second item that really rubbed me the wrong way was the ever-present sleep issues. The woman has a chronic health issue that has spanned over thirty years of her life and apparently causes her distress. Then we come to find that she shucks the prescribed treatment to the back of her closet because it just didn’t sit pretty on her bedside table, YET has the nerve to continue the "woe is me, I’m so tired" shtick. Cry me a river!

    35 of 45 people found this review helpful
  • Running on Empty: Main Street Mystery, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Sandra Balzo
    • Narrated By Amy DeLuca
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    Though a magnet to tourists looking for some Southern comfort, the small lake town of Sutherton - tucked so picturesquely into the mountains of North Carolina - has had its fair share inexplicable hazards. But when Daisy Griggs siphoned three pints of blood from poor Mrs. Bradenham at the resort's annual blood drive... well, that seemed to take the cake.

    Jen says: "Keep Running"
    "Keep Running"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story


    This is my first Sandra Balzo book. When I read in the synopsis that Running on Empty was the first book in a new series, my thought was that this was perfect timing since her previous works reviews were favorable.

    In Running on Empty, AnnaLise Grigg's leaves the life she made for herself after college to return to her childhood home to deal with her aging mother. Not long after her arrival, a string of murders are committed in this quirky North Carolina town and all the old secrets come out.

    There is no back story to develop a kinship with the main character. AnnaLise leaves it all behind before we find out who she was. The reader is quickly thrown into a stereotypical small southern town that she long left and rarely returns to. One cardboard stereotypical character after another is introduced with such flurry, that it makes your head spin. It's impossible to keep track of who's who. If you're not confused enough, AnnaLise's love interest when she last left town is now playing on "the other team", she calls her mother, Daisy and the woman that she does call Mama didn't raise her nor are they even related. As the book progresses, the parentage of several of the cast revolves again.

    I did stick with the book till the end. One of the dozen dangling story lines did interested me enough to continue. Unfortunately it was one of the ones left dangling with nor resolution at the end. There are a plethora of clever, well worked mysteries. I do not need to continue with this series.

    I hesitated sacrificing a credit for a six hour book. Imagine my joy to find that narrator Amy DeLuca read this book so slowly that I found it painful to listen to at normal speed. This is the first time I have ever been able to listened at 1.5x speed and found it the only tolerable level. I felt cheated Audible for, at 1.5x speed, it is now something like a four hour work.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A Sudden Light: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Garth Stein
    • Narrated By Seth Numrich
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (30)

    In the summer of 1990, fourteen-year-old Trevor Riddell gets his first glimpse of Riddell House. Built from the spoils of a massive timber fortune, the legendary family mansion is constructed of giant, whole trees, and is set on a huge estate overlooking Puget Sound. Trevor’s bankrupt parents have begun a trial separation, and his father, Jones Riddell, has brought Trevor to Riddell House with a goal: to join forces with his sister, Serena, dispatch Grandpa Samuel—who is flickering in and out of dementia...

    Melinda says: "A Ghost of a Story"
    "There's Always A Breeze When Ben's Around"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story



    Garth Stein is such a skilled writer. His use of words long forgotten will have you reaching for your dictionary while promising yourself to use them in a sentence the following week. I loved his previous work, The Art of Running. The research and planning that went into this book is evident. I was anticipating so much more for this book.

    Just like Steven King's The Shinning, this book is about your standard family unit that confronts the supernatural in a larger than life historic house. The ghosts in the family closet become more prevalent and dangerous than the floating kind, as the story progresses. What works for one book and not the other is mainly that the child protagonist in A Sudden Light doesn't come off as a child. He's too accepting of the apparitions and flaky relatives alike. I think Garth Stein wanted a smarter than average teenager - then he made him too worldly. Trevor knows too much and, at times, comes off as a distasteful little smart aleck. No one will ever connect with a 14 year old that is smarter than them. What teenage kid describes a color as azure? I had to Google it. It's sky-blye, Garth.

    Furthermore, the reader is never allowed to get comfortable within the story because the dialog is too planned out. It's all a little forced and doesn't flow naturally. The historic diaries, that are conveniently fill in the back story, have the same 'too smart' wording as the one reading them hundreds of years later. It's all a little off.

    Then what was the intended audience? Initially I was thinking this was written as a cross generational ghost story till the creepy hints of incest kept creeping in. I won't even mention the unlikelihood of the socialite ancestor's acceptance of his son's homeopathic relationship in the early 1900's.

    Seth Numrich is a great narrator - a perfect choice. Not being able to ever feel connected to the book enough to ever care what happened, made for Seth lulling me to sleep over and over, day after day. This was not an easy book to get through that left me unrewarded when it was finally over.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Remains of the Day

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Kazuo Ishiguro
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (348)
    Performance
    (313)
    Story
    (308)

    The Remains of the Day is a profoundly compelling portrait of the perfect English butler and of his fading, insular world in postwar England. At the end of his three decades of service at Darlington Hall, Stevens embarks on a country drive, during which he looks back over his career to reassure himself that he has served humanity by serving "a great gentleman". But lurking in his memory are doubts about the true nature of Lord Darlington's "greatness" and graver doubts about his own faith in the man he served.

    Dan Harlow says: "Duty, Honor, England"
    "Breathtaking"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Remains of the day is a work of art. The writing so effortless that initially the reader would believe it’s about servants in the United Kingdom prior to WWII. Each word is chosen; the sentences constructed in such a way that initially one wonders how they will get through such a tediously slow and methodic work. Once the reader clicks in that the pace is intentional and the still waters are deep – the beauty of this beautiful work overtakes you. At the end you feel blessed to have learned a lesson in the nick of time.

    The story takes place over as Mr. Steven’s, an English butler, motors to visit a former staff person. During his drive he reminisces about events in his life, when he felt he was on the edge of greatness and during times that he shared with his former employee, in a first person point of view. The reader sees the picture from a clearer perspective than the narrator as her motors farther and farther away from his typical surroundings.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Dorothy Gilman
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat
    Overall
    (1052)
    Performance
    (913)
    Story
    (917)

    Mrs. Virgil (Emily) Pollifax of New Brunswick, New Jersey, was a widow with grown children. She was tired of attending her Garden Club meetings. She wanted to do something good for her country. This first in the series sends Emily on her first case after she successfully persuades a skeptical CIA recruitment officer that she is the best person for the job.

    Barbara says: "Barbara Rosenblatt: THE Voice!"
    "Past It's Prime"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is a dated American Miss Marple series. We’ll never see espionage like this again. Some books are timeless and I don’t think this is one of them. Had I realized how dated this was, I would not have ordered this.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Moment of Everything

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Shelly King
    • Narrated By Kristen Sieh
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    Maggie Duprès, recently "involuntarily separated from payroll" at a Silicon Valley startup, is whiling away her days in The Dragonfly's Used Books, a Mountain View institution, waiting for the Next Big Thing to come along. When the opportunity arises for her to network at a Bay Area book club, she jumps at the chance-even if it means having to read Lady Chatterley's Lover, a book she hasn't encountered since college, in an evening.

    Jen says: "Full of Heart and Wit"
    "Full of Heart and Wit"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Moment of Everything is an adult coming of age story about everything and nothing. Shelly King's debut novel revolves around a group of friends and acquaintances that have the common bond of books. It's entertaining and witty, though at times I was unsure of the plot. Her characters are of the variety that you quickly identify with and grow to love. If you have a beloved old book store, you will immediately feel very much at home within the pages of this book. The author detailed description will have you smelling the old books and looking for the ever present cat.

    At one point I got a bit nervous for previous fictions I have read about bookstores soon become boring. There is just so far one can go when you write a book about books. The Moment of Everything worked through that well to tell a lovely tale of love and friendship.

    Protagonist, thirty four year old, Maggie Dupres is still trying to find her place in life. An unemployed techie with a library science degree, she follows her passion while finding a way to have a career working with friends.

    A nice light read.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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