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Jen

ravenna, OH, United States | Member Since 2007

513
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 142 reviews
  • 196 ratings
  • 634 titles in library
  • 113 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
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FOLLOWERS
105

  • The Silkworm

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Robert Galbraith
    • Narrated By Robert Glenister
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3368)
    Performance
    (3123)
    Story
    (3118)

    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.

    H James Lucas says: "A well-worn genre enlivened with fresh characters"
    "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!

    14 of 18 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
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    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.

    1 of 1 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
    (15)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (14)

    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.

    1 of 1 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
    (315)
    Performance
    (282)
    Story
    (276)

    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
    (952)
    Performance
    (828)
    Story
    (832)

    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
    (4)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mean Streak

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Sandra Brown
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (465)
    Performance
    (410)
    Story
    (420)

    Dr. Emory Charbonneau, a pediatrician and marathon runner, disappears on a mountain road in North Carolina. By the time her husband Jeff, miffed over a recent argument, reports her missing, the trail has grown cold. Literally. Fog and ice encapsulate the mountainous wilderness and paralyze the search for her. While police suspect Jeff of "instant divorce," Emory, suffering from an unexplained head injury, regains consciousness and finds herself the captive of a man whose violent past is so dark that he won't even tell her his name.

    Amazon Customer says: "Ms. Brown's book far exceeds usual quality."
    "Oh Sandi, You've Done It Again"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    With an author as prolific as Sandra Brown, you can’t hit one out of the ballpark every time. With this one she did, for this novel is exceptional. I am not a fan of her romance genre. So, with her books, I rely on the synopsis and reader reviews before purchasing.


    Mean Streak is a unique survival thriller with one twist, or surprise, after another. Dr. Emory Charbonneau is training for a marathon. While running on a remote trail things take a turn for the worse and there is the beginning of a roller coaster of events that just snow balls and melts over and over till the very end. I though the characters were interesting and their plight plausible. The secondary characters were equally as engaging.


    Narration by Jonathan Davis was an added benefit. He’s so effortless and always just spot on.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Three Wishes

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Liane Moriarty
    • Narrated By Heather Wilds
    Overall
    (108)
    Performance
    (100)
    Story
    (100)

    In this wise, witty, hilarious new novel, we follow the Kettle sisters through their 33rd year, as they struggle to survive their divorced parents' dating each other, their technologically savvy grandmother, a cheating husband, champagne hangovers, and the fabulous, frustrating life of forever being part of a threesome.

    Jen says: "It's Still Moriarty!"
    "It's Still Moriarty!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story


    Liane Moriarty has a style that she has fine tuned to perfection. Australian character studies with wit and humor involving modern sincere people. Her characters are quirky, sharp and clever. Their problems are often a bit outlandish mixed in with those that are similar enough to our own so that we can relate.

    Fresh off her most recent novel, that I loved, I decided to purchase this re-release of her 2004 first novel. A tale of adult triplets that are closely bonded though each possessing a unique personality.

    The problem I had with this novel is that though this is a story with three heroines, none is particularity redeeming or likable. I found one to be flighty, one to be boring and the other to be sourly mean. Without the amount of humor and sharp wit that I have grown to love in Moriarty's more recent work, I soon lost interest. Towards the middle I was plodding through to the end rather than enjoying the trip along the way. Though this book has good elements, in comparison to her later work, it's dull and lacking. It left me wondering why this needed re-released.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Big Little Lies

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs)
    • By Liane Moriarty
    • Narrated By Caroline Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1731)
    Performance
    (1593)
    Story
    (1585)

    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.

    3 of 5 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
    (113)
    Performance
    (102)
    Story
    (103)

    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.

    Dennis Hinkamp says: "Great found story"
    "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.

    8 of 9 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
    (165)
    Performance
    (147)
    Story
    (146)

    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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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