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Jen

ravenna, OH, United States | Member Since 2007

ratings
180
REVIEWS
135
FOLLOWING
20
FOLLOWERS
93
HELPFUL VOTES
454

  • The Goldfinch

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8126)
    Performance
    (7445)
    Story
    (7452)

    The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity. It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

    B.J. says: "A stunning achievement - for author and narrator"
    "A Bildungsroman worth tackling."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Goldfinch is well worth the time investment that it takes to complete this book. It's truly entertaining and brilliantly written. I was instantly captivated while I ebbed and flowed right along with Tartt's work. I think the best way to describe this book would be a present day Oliver Twist or Great Expectations. Tartt writes the male perspective extremely well and seems to grow right along with the protagonist. One of my parents died when I was thirteen years old. This book brought similar thoughts and feelings that I had at that age that I had forgotten. The author, if not orphaned herself, is extremely intuitive.

    In the Goldfinch, Theo Rekker . the protagonist, narrowly escapes a terrorist attack at 13 years old that takes he lives of many, including his mother. Since she has been his guardian parent, he is now at the mercy of others. From seconds after the incident he meets extraordinary people that form his life over the next 14 years.

    Tartt brings in just the right amount of characters and gave each the perfect amount of weight. to the story. She also didn't dwell too much on any point, brought in new characters and events at just the right time, keeping a fascinating pace. Is The Goldfinch perfect..no. The last hour was like listening to Charlie Brown's teacher, for me. I can't understand why this book ended this way. It felt like the book lost its final chapter and moved right into the epilogue. In spite of that - it's still a wonderful book that I am glad I read.

    David Pittu's narration is breath taking. Xandra, a female character, speaks and instantly we know that she is a user whom smokes and works in as a cocktail waitress. Each and every voice is crafted in a similar manner. One does not need to wait till the author lays out the charactor like when someone was near death or drunk for Pittu created the picture through voice. I was completely blown away by his performance.

    37 of 42 people found this review helpful
  • Big Little Lies

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs)
    • By Liane Moriarty
    • Narrated By Caroline Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (348)
    Performance
    (320)
    Story
    (317)

    Pirriwee Public's annual school Trivia Night has ended in a shocking riot. One parent is dead. The school principal is horrified. As police investigate what appears to have been a tragic accident, signs begin to indicate that this devastating death might have been cold-blooded murder. In this thought-provoking novel, number-one New York Times best-selling author Liane Moriarty deftly explores the reality of parenting and playground politics, ex-husbands and ex-wives, and fractured families.

    Marci says: "Great story. Genius writing"
    "Could NOT have loved more"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's the whole deal. It's got intrigue. It's a deadpan humor. It's serious and scary. Then just when you think you have it figured out - you get a surprise from nowhere. As the book nears the end - you slow down so to savor it.

    If you have ever had school age children, you know there is a fine line between the parent/teacher's group and your own high school experience. This book nailed the elementary parent group phenomenon.

    The narration of this book is stellar. What a perfect combination.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Hampton Sides
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    In the late nineteenth century, people were obsessed by one of the last unmapped areas of the globe: The North Pole. No one knew what existed beyond the fortress of ice rimming the northern oceans. On July 8, 1879, the USS Jeannette set sail from San Francisco to cheering crowds in the grip of "Arctic Fever." The ship sailed into uncharted seas, but soon was trapped in pack ice. Two years into the harrowing voyage, the hull was breached. Amid the rush of water and the shrieks of breaking wooden boards, the crew abandoned the ship.

    Christopher says: "One of the Amazing Ones"
    "BEST Non-Fiction of the Year. Just Brilliant!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story



    Kingdom of Ice is a spellbinding novel written about the epic naval expedition to the North Pole taken by 33 men in the late 1800’s. It was believed that a rim of ice circled the top of the globe that, once broken, lead to an warmer “open polar sea.’” The North Pole would then be easy sailing. Their passion for adventure leads them to years and years of survival and endurance in the most extreme of conditions.

    Hampton Sides details this adventure in a thriller that had me sneak reading throughout the day and staying up late into the night. His heartfelt portraits of these heroic figures using memoirs, crew’s journals, naval records and private correspondence created unforgettable characters that I soon cared very deeply about.


    What an incredible, well told, tale.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Dollbaby: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Laura Lane McNeal
    • Narrated By January Lavoy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (65)
    Performance
    (58)
    Story
    (58)

    When Ibby Bell's father dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1964, her mother unceremoniously deposits Ibby with her eccentric grandmother Fannie and throws in her father's urn for good measure. Fannie's New Orleans house is like no place Ibby has ever been - and Fannie, who has a tendency to end up in the local asylum - is like no one she has ever met. Fortunately, Fannie's black cook, Queenie, and her smart-mouthed daughter, Dollbaby, take it upon themselves to initiate Ibby into the ways of the South both its grand traditions and its darkest secrets.

    Stacy says: "Great Story"
    "A Big-Hearted Coming-of-Age Novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Excellent southern coming of age story spanning the 40's through to the early 70's, though the majority of the story takes place in the 60's. A window to the history of civil rights in New Orleans. The story takes a hold of you from the beginning with rich colorful characters and holds you throughout the book. Besides numerous story lines, there are a number of little cultural awakenings and interesting tidbits of life in the past that add to this book. I most enjoyed reading about the meals of regional foods or foods that just are not made any more.

    For a first work, this is just such a pleasant read. It could have used additional editing to pull in the dangling plots to make it a more cohesive novel. I also wish there was a clear protagonist throughout. The theme of the entire household being a united front was refreshing. What a satisfying ending!

    January LaVoy narration was a perfect choice. She enhanced the work.

    I'll be watching for Laura Lane McNeal's future works.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Good Girl

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Mary Kubica
    • Narrated By Lindy Nettleton, Johnny Heller, Tom Taylorson, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (228)
    Performance
    (209)
    Story
    (211)

    Born to a prominent Chicago judge and his stifled socialite wife, Mia Dennett moves against the grain as a young inner-city art teacher. One night, Mia enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn't show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. With his smooth moves and modest wit, Colin Thatcher seems at first like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia's life.

    VanDelay says: "Cheap Trick"
    "Suspenseful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The ONLY comparison this book has to the book Gone Girl is the word 'girl' in the title of both. Such a shameful advertising trick will only distract from this book and should be a lesson to the publisher. Now that falsehood is taken care of, I can move ahead.

    This book has redeeming qualities. Good Girl is a suspenseful thriller in the way that an Alfred Hitchcock piece would be considered such. The bulk of the book takes place with two people alone in a remote cabin. Calling it a thriller does not mean, in this case, plenty of action. It's more akin to a Hitchcock thriller where each insecurity is cause for anxiety and the reader is suspended wondering how it will turn out. After days of wondering - the ending is still surprising.

    A good rich girl is missing. Because of her father's political clout, the police are called to investigate her disappearance. The chapters take turns weaving a tale recounting the recent, current and ancient history's of the hostage, her mother, the police detective in charge and the kidnapper.

    I was not happy with this book when I finished. There's Swiss cheese in the plot if you go looking for it. The detective is a likable stand up guy and does a great job finding leads using remote clues then totally misses a BIG one that creates the ending. I wish that would have tied up better.

    It's been days since I have completed this book and I am still thinking about it. I find myself considering each of the characters and their lot in life. The most interesting is the poor kidnapper. A lug that spends his entire life trying to keep afloat and at just the minute he allows himself a minute of personal satisfaction - that darned karma.

    A book that has you thinking about it long after it is complete is money twice spent and double the enjoyment.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Where the River Ends

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Charles Martin
    • Narrated By Mark Deakins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (57)
    Performance
    (36)
    Story
    (35)

    He was a fishing guide and struggling artist from a south George trailer park. She was the beautiful only child of South Carolina's most powerful senator. Yet once Doss Michaels and Abigail Grace Coleman met by accident, they each felt they'd found their true soul mate.

    Jen says: "Perfect Ending."
    "Perfect Ending."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Charles Martin writes so eloquently and descriptively, once bitten by one of his books, it’s easy to go back for more. Often set along rivers and under trees the stories create peacefulness when reading. Also, a great choice for those readers with descriptive sexual content issues for Charles Martin can write a hot love story without that. I will admit though in this novel it did drag a bit in the ½ to ¾’s area for me before finishing better than you could imagine.

    A love story told from the middle out in a man’s prospective, it is not overly thought provoking or sentimental. This is a story about a man trying to make the last days of his wife’s life exactly how she wants it to be. I think what makes this book so enjoyable and interesting was the depth that one can love when it’s not easy. It’s not easy to see the best in people when they are not at their best, but if there is true love - it's never a burden.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Declaring Spinsterhood

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Jamie Lynn Braziel
    • Narrated By Johanna Parker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (116)
    Performance
    (107)
    Story
    (108)

    Emma Bailey is fed up with the dating scene, and if she hears her mother nag one more time about getting married…well, she’s had it, and she wants everyone to know it. In a moment of clarity (or insanity?), she announces to the world that she will never marry. No husband and no kids; no worries about diapers, driving lessons, or divorce. Her friends are there for her, but they’re also involved in their own lives and loves, so off she goes into a world of casual dating. But what happens when the avowed spinster, the woman who has supposedly tucked her heart into a safe little space, suddenly realizes that her best friend Brian means more to her?

    Guiselle says: "Juvenile and poorly written"
    "BAD BAD BAD"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I see no reason why this book needs to be read by anyone. Spare yourself the agony now. Frankly I feel a bit duped by Audible for even offering such malarkey and/or forcing a one star review!!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • To Kill a Mockingbird

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Harper Lee
    • Narrated By Sissy Spacek
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (532)
    Performance
    (493)
    Story
    (494)

    Harper Lee’s Pulitzer prize-winning masterwork of honor and injustice in the deep south - and the heroism of one man in the face of blind and violent hatred, available now for the first time as a digital audiobook. One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than 40 languages, sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the 20th century by librarians across the country.

    Alan says: "Stunning"
    "What a Treasure!!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A Pulitzer prize masterpiece doesn't need a review by the likes of me. I thought I knew this story inside and out. To think that I nearly did not purchase this rendition read by Ms. Spacek saddens me because I have gotten so much enjoyment from this. In the past, I have found that a book is tainted for me if I have seen the movie first. Not in this case. Sissy Spacek narration is stellar. I enjoyed each and every second of listening ...more than once.

    This novel is just perfection. One of my favorites movies that I have seen a number of times. Though a great movie, it's not the book. The movie is a small segment of the book. I could have sworn I read this book in my teens. I know now, I didn't. No one was more surprised than I at what I nearly missed all these years.

    1 of 3 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
    (16)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (16)

    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.

    1 of 1 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
    (59)
    Performance
    (57)
    Story
    (58)

    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.

    1 of 1 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
    (19)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (18)

    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.

    Theresa says: "Summer reading"
    "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 1 people found this review helpful

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