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Jen

ravenna, OH, United States | Member Since 2007

824
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 161 reviews
  • 228 ratings
  • 704 titles in library
  • 12 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
22
FOLLOWERS
140

  • Someone Else's Love Story: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Joshilyn Jackson
    • Narrated By Joshilyn Jackson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (286)
    Performance
    (257)
    Story
    (258)

    Someone Else's Love Story is beloved and highly acclaimed New York Times best-selling author Joshilyn Jackson's funny, charming, and poignant novel about science and miracles, secrets and truths, faith and forgiveness; about falling in love, and learning that things aren't always what they seem - or what we hope they will be.

    ~Beloved~ says: "perfectly delightful"
    "A Can of Worms that shouldn't Have been Opened"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Sometimes I enjoy Jocelyn Jackson's writing and sometimes I just don't get it. Three fourth's of the way through this book the only one I liked or cared about was the kid. The book starts out with an interesting situation involving the protagonist Shandi and her child, then follows her with additional unusual situations for chic lit.... autism, date rape, genetics.

    What started out as interesting just never got there for me. All the irrational acts and irresponsibility of the characters became too many to keep my attention.

    I had issues with how the author painted the protagonist. Shandi finds one male character, a brainiac with asperger's, physically attractive. They have little in common but at first glance she is "madly in love" with him. Upon further time spent together she still has nothing in common with him and finds him oddly self absorbed (Imagine). She keeps plowing ahead, to win his affections by changing her clothes and keeping his house. I found it insulting to paint her as an educated single mother then have her act so shallow.

    I applaud the author for choosing some out of the box story lines but, geez, follow through with them. It's as if the author picked and chose the parts of her plot that fit into her story and ignored what wasn't easy. Along the same lines - she moves her child to a new home so that he could go to a school that will enhance his gift. Then schooling is never mentioned again. She continues to move him around with no concern for her child's education. It's hard to care about a characters when the author had so little respect for them. I would love to go on about the disturbing retaliation for a "rape", but I can't do it without giving up too much of the story.

    Not the best Jocelyn Jackson book, for me...

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Whipping Boy: The Forty-Year Search for My Twelve-Year-Old Bully

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Allen Kurzweil
    • Narrated By Allen Kurzweil
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (21)

    While tracking down his tormentor, the author encounters an improbable cast of characters that includes an elocution teacher with ill-fitting dentures, a gang of faux-royal swindlers, a crime investigator with "paper in his blood", and a monocled grand master of the Knights of Malta. Yet for all its global exoticism and comic exuberance, Kurzweil's riveting account is, at its core, a heartfelt and suspenseful narrative about the "parallel lives" of a victim and his abuser.

    Michael says: "Tedious"
    "Everyone Needs a Hobby...I guess"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story


    Whipping Boy was totally different than what I was anticipating. I foresaw more a story about 10 year old boys and how they matured, or didn't. I was not expecting a book that is largely in-depth legalese about a financial crime. It was as much, if not more, a book about a nameless international fraud as it was about the author’s personal revelation and retribution.

    Allen Kuzweil is a well-known author of children’s books. In midlife he decided to try to find a childhood nemesis, a boy he knew for about eight months. This search turned into more than night stalking on facebook and google. It became a hobby that led him to an extensive research of a crime over years and time zones. Kuzweil did “scurrilously research” for this project. He did fine job writing. He interjected humor and personal stories into a lot of tedious information. Mr Kuzweil’s examination should have been more inwardly directed.

    The fault of this book is that Mr Kuzweil never for a second takes into consideration that his 10 year old self’s recollection has to be somewhat flawed. Partly because his detached existence and the emotional turmoil he was under had to weigh in on the thoughts of the event. His memory is not the be-all and end-all truth. As a mother of adult children, I was there for many a childhood event that turns into many adult memories that were not anywhere close to reality. Considering that the main infraction against the author was not witness or proved, I think it is not fair to claim it to be fact.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • First Frost

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Sarah Addison Allen
    • Narrated By Susan Ericksen
    Overall
    (272)
    Performance
    (231)
    Story
    (231)

    Autumn has finally arrived in the small town of Bascom, North Carolina, heralded by a strange old man appearing with a beat-up suitcase. He has stories to tell, stories that could change the lives of the Waverley women forever. But the Waverleys have enough trouble on their hands. Quiet Claire Waverley has started a successful new venture, Waverley's Candies, but it's nothing like she thought it would be, and it's slowly taking over her life.

    Jen says: "Get Your Sarah Addison Allen Fix"
    "Get Your Sarah Addison Allen Fix"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story



    What a perfect book to warm the winter up!!

    First Frost revisits the Wavery sisters ten years after we left them in Garden Spells. Garden Spells is just so magically wonderful; I was so anticipating this revisit. I was delighted that Evanelle was included in this return and really enjoyed the new additions to the ensemble.

    Can First Frost standalone though? One could enjoy this book without reading Garden Spells first, though Garden Spells is so outstanding – why would you? Garden Spells ended so perfectly that I question the necessity for a revisit. I am still not completely convinced it was necessary. The author’s introduction to the back story in this book is not the smoothest I have read. The flipping between the teenage and adult narratives was awkward. It took the believably out of the family magic. Such as, I have a hard time getting my head around a fifteen year old's relationship with a boy she met in high school as her destiny. These are minor infractions.

    I will always be first in line on the day of release for a Sarah Addison Allen work.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl on the Train: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Paula Hawkins
    • Narrated By Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, India Fisher
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (25036)
    Performance
    (20806)
    Story
    (20793)

    Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. "Jess and Jason," she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good? Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

    L. O. Pardue says: ""Rear Window" Meets "Gone Girl""
    "Cheats, Thieves, and Liars"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story


    The Girl on the train is a psychological thriller/mystery novel written by a debut author that is well worth your attention. The first part of the book takes place in the mind of a woman that you are not really sure of her mental health. It sits you in the midst of her turmoil and does take a little time for you to feel grounded. I implore you to trudge ahead for its well worth the effort. Before the book is over you will be you rotate opinion on who is the crazy and who is the culprit many times over.

    The narration performance is just perfection.

    5 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Calling Me Home: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Julie Kibler
    • Narrated By Bahni Turpin, Lorna Raver
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (560)
    Performance
    (491)
    Story
    (493)

    Eighty-nine-year-old Isabelle McAllister has a big favor to ask her hairdresser, Dorrie. She wants the black single mother to drop everything and drive her from Texas to a funeral in Ohio - tomorrow. Dorrie, fleeing problems of her own and curious about Isabelle’s past, agrees, not knowing it will be a journey that changes both their lives. Isabelle confesses that, as a teen in 1930s Kentucky, she fell in love with Robert Prewitt, a would-be doctor and the black son of her family’s housekeeper - in a town where blacks weren’t allowed after dark. The tale of their forbidden relationship and its tragic consequences just might help Dorrie find her own way.

    Alexandria says: "I really wanted to like it"
    "Eh"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A story of racial tension set in the 1930’s, it started out well and I had such high hopes. My first problem was that the pace was quite slow. With Audible that is a quick fix with just boosting the speed. That worked till the content started to drag. A great deal of repetitive fretting and lamenting occurred.

    The male characters had not been developed enough to make the relationships remotely believable. Isabelle had an adolescent crush on Robert. How their relationship went beyond that was not likely, given the flat dialog between them. I also should mention that I found it hard to believe that they would not have considered their loved ones as well. Robert’s family suffered as a result to their relationship. I can’t imagine that would not have been considered before doing something so cavalier.

    It was worthy of ten hours of listening, if you are doing something that doesn’t require a lot of thought

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Descent

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Tim Johnston
    • Narrated By Xe Sands, R.C. Bray
    Overall
    (405)
    Performance
    (352)
    Story
    (350)

    From the day Caitlin vanishes the lives of her family members are irrevocably altered, each assuming blame for that day's tragic events. As the initial days of hope are replaced by weeks of anxiety and despair, they find themselves increasingly isolated, each wondering: Is she still alive? Will we ever know what happened?

    C. Strutz says: "Intense"
    "Even a Monkey Knows the Value of a Stick"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story


    A family’s Rocky Mountain family vacation turns tragic when their high school graduate daughter is kidnapped.

    Do yourself a favor and not allow yourself to read any reviews that want to give you a book report review giving any additional information that what I wrote above.

    This literary thriller is written by an extremely talented author. His writing style is on the edge of poetic, quite lyrical, and just so powerful. You will be blown away just hearing the descriptive justice given to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Next you become lost in this unique story. Not your average kidnapping story. No one that actually read the book will ever describe it as predictable. Only one word describes the last half of this book – CAPTIVATING.

    I was a bit put off by the narration at first but, it grew on me.

    What a GREAT read!

    10 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Everything I Never Told You: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Celeste Ng
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    Overall
    (1461)
    Performance
    (1260)
    Story
    (1263)

    Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet.… So begins the story in this exquisite debut novel about a Chinese American family living in a small town in 1970s Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother's bright blue eyes and her father's jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue When Lydia's body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos.

    colprubin says: "Character Novel"
    "Sad Somber Story about a Sad Mornful Family"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had high hopes for this book but, I found this book depressing and dismal.

    The author develops the characters well then, somewhere in there, just stop trying and killed all her work by being heavy handed with her agenda. It’s like those chanting monks, yeah their music is pretty and earthy but, after a few hours of what seemingly sounds like the same sad song over and over – you have had enough. I spent several days trying to get through the last twenty minutes of this book for I repeatedly kept falling asleep. Thankfully I wasn’t driving

    If you are in the midst of this book and asking yourself if you should continue because you just know there is a twist in there but, you just can’t stand the anguish working for it, the answer is skipping ahead to the last 30 minutes.

    You will thank me for it.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Hollow Ground

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Natalie S. Harnett
    • Narrated By Luci Christian
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (323)
    Performance
    (288)
    Story
    (291)

    The underground mine fires ravaging Pennsylvania coal country have forced 11-year-old Brigid Howley and her family to seek refuge with her estranged grandparents, the formidable Gram and the black lung-stricken Gramp. Tragedy is no stranger to the Howleys, a proud Irish-American clan who takes strange pleasure in the “curse” laid upon them generations earlier by a priest who ran afoul of the Molly Maguires.

    NHull says: "Disfunction makes a good read"
    "Living on Briquettes"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story


    An outstanding debut novel set in Pennsylvania in the 60’s that allows the reader an appreciation for nature, coal mining and the people of that area and time. This is a fiction based at a time of a true event in American history - when the land and the properties above them became compromised due to sink holes and underground coal fires. The fires in that area are still smolder today.

    This coming of age story told through the view of 11 year old Brigid Hawley is so heartfelt. Brigid’s family is falling apart as the ground gives way. Losing her haven and care-giving aunt to underground fire, her parents are forced to take the family to the home of her grandparents where they are not welcomed with opened arms.

    Each member of the family seems consumed by their numerous issues. Once forced to return to the origin of their dysfunctionality, their childhood homes, Brigid’s parents lose all semblance of being care givers. It’s an interesting pattern of the progression of parental dominoes.

    Brigid really pulled at my heartstrings throughout as she strives to just want to act her age. There were times in this book I held my breath for I was so worried for her. The scene where Brigid and her friend Marisol meet the boys at the abandoned house is just one tense moment after another…, So well written. The story consumed me. Not always a happy story but it authentic. The setting of the ground burning and all of the fallout from it just fascinated me.

    As for narration Luci Christian was just spot on with numerous of her performances. Speaking for a moxy 11 year old and a bitter mother and a cantankerous old grandmother has never been done better.

    Natalie Harnett – I’ll be watching you.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Dear Leader: Poet, Spy, Escapee - A Look inside North Korea

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Jang Jin-sung
    • Narrated By Daniel York
    Overall
    (383)
    Performance
    (353)
    Story
    (357)

    As North Korea's State Poet Laureate, Jang Jin-sung led a charmed life. With food provisions (even as the country suffered through its great famine), a travel pass, access to strictly censored information, and audiences with Kim Jong-il himself, his life in Pyongyang seemed safe and secure. But this privileged existence was about to be shattered. When a strictly forbidden magazine he lent to a friend goes missing, Jang Jin-sung must flee for his life.

    David says: "Stop browsing and get this Book"
    "Interesting and Aggravating at the Same Time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story


    This book was not what I was expecting. I happened to be reading this while North Korean was in the news quite a bit.

    The author, Jang Jin-Sung, was one of the admitted North Korean socially chosen because of his literary ability. During his time in North Korea he was granted numerous privileges. He had personal encounter with Kim Jong-il, which was interesting and quite telling. I was expecting a bit more information of his day to day life.

    Though his journey to South Korea was at times exciting, at other times I felt the author continued to feel privileged. He survived because of the kindness of others. When you consider that he didn't help anyone less privileged when he was in the elite group yet upon being in need, his survival was paramount to everything. The author never seemed too concerned about the danger he put those that aided him in. Once he found assistance – he held on to them till he brought them danger, with little regard or concern for them. He called the first family that helped him, to ask for additional information and assistance, more than repeatedly,fully aware of the danger he was putting them in. It was disturbing to me.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Euphoria: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Lily King
    • Narrated By Simon Vance, Xe Sands
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (634)
    Performance
    (551)
    Story
    (540)

    English anthropologist Andrew Bankson has been alone in the field for several years, studying the Kiona river tribe in the territory of New Guinea. Haunted by the memory of his brothers' deaths and increasingly frustrated and isolated by his research, Bankson is on the verge of suicide when a chance encounter with colleagues, the controversial Nell Stone and her wry and mercurial Australian husband, Fen, pulls him back from the brink. Nell and Fen have just fled the bloodthirsty Mumbanyo and, in spite of Nell's poor health, are hungry for a new discovery.

    David says: "Anthropologists in Love"
    "The story you think you know is never the real one"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is such a powerful book. A breathtaking tale of three Anthropologists studying tribes in New Guinea, in the 1930’s, it’s history when there were still discoveries made on this planet. Based loosely on the lives of Margaret Mead and her second and third husband, the love triangle develops into an intense character study that will have you feeling for each person at more than one point. The underlying tension that the author builds within the story is outstanding. I also liked how she was able to use small antidotes and scenes to paint whole pictures. The short sex scene in the first chapter just lays out every single thing you need to know about this couple’s marriage. What an extremely talented author.

    I thought the audiobook was just a perfect means to tell this story. I enjoyed both of the narrators personally.

    I can’t imagine a better, more surprising ending. I re-listened to the last several chapters several times because I was just so surprised by it.

    If you were on MY Christmas list - you would alllll be getting this book.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Gabrielle Zevin
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1660)
    Performance
    (1468)
    Story
    (1473)

    The irascible A. J. Fikry, owner of Island Books - the only bookstore on Alice Island - has already lost his wife. Now his most prized possession, a rare book, has been stolen from right under his nose in the most embarrassing of circumstances. The store itself, it seems, will be next to go. One night upon closing, he discovers a toddler in his children’s section with a note from her mother pinned to her Elmo doll: I want Maya to grow up in a place with books and among people who care about such kinds of things. I love her very much, but I can no longer take care of her.

    Trish says: "Loved, Loved, Loved It!!"
    "A Magical Tale In the Book Business"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What a wonderful soul searching book this turned out to be. For some reason the cover of this book instantly had me thinking it was a fantasy book, which doesn't appeal to me, so I never gave it a nod. Thankfully it was picked by so many for book of the year in fiction on one list. I have to agree this was one of the best books I have read this year. I am so happy I found it.

    Gabrielle Zevin does put the perfect word in the perfect place at the perfect time while laying a heartwarming story. Thankfully it leaves out details, as it spans through decades, and you realize later that you really didn’t need it. What it leaves in is the feeling of hope. There were several times Zevin’s words felt directed to me about issues I am struggling.

    I thought the book was about an independent bookstore on an island on the north east shore. Through the next several decades a host of people are brought together though chance. Each character is beautifully portrayed and we soon care deeply for each of them.

    The humor is smart and the wit is adorable. The ever loving irony of the ereader really made me chuckle.

    I personally found Scott Brick to be a seamless narrator.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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