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Roberta L. Ruben

  • 33
  • reviews
  • 74
  • helpful votes
  • 195
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  • Stephen Fry’s Victorian Secrets

  • An Audible Original
  • By: John Woolf, Nick Baker
  • Narrated by: Stephen Fry
  • Length: 7 hrs and 33 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,549
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,930
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 6,900

On the surface, the Victorian age is one of propriety, industry, prudishness and piety. But scratch the surface and you’ll find scandal, sadism, sex, madness, malice and murder. Presented by Stephen Fry, this series delves deep into a period of time we think we know, to discover an altogether darker reality. The stories we’re told offer a different perspective on an era which underwent massive social change. As education, trade, technology and culture blossomed, why was there an undercurrent of the ‘forbidden’ festering beneath Victorian society? 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating content with noisy background sound

  • By Wayne on 11-12-18

Not what I expected!

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-01-18

I did not care about the topics being introduced in this history of Life in 19th Century Britain.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Angels Fall

  • By: Nora Roberts
  • Narrated by: Joyce Bean
  • Length: 14 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,079
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 901
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 907

Enjoying the view from the mountain she has just climbed, Reece Gilmore sees a woman being attacked. But when authorities comb the area, they find nothing - no signs of struggle. No freshly turned earth. Not even a tire track. No one in town seems to believe Reece, except Brody, a gruff loner.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great Nora Roberts book

  • By punkingee on 08-29-12

Twisted Plot

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-01-18

Who is the killer? Who has really been murdered? Why is someone driving the innocent victim crazy? A love story with a lot of twists and turns that kept me guessing throughout the novel.

  • The Darkest Child

  • By: Dolores Phillips
  • Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
  • Length: 15 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 848
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 763
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 761

In 1958 Georgia, the shade of a 13-year-old black girl's skin can make the difference in her fate. Tangy Mae is the smartest of her mother's 10 children, but she is also the darkest complected. The Quinns - all different skin shades, all with unknown fathers - live with their charismatic, beautiful, and tyrannical mother, Rozelle, in poverty on the fringes of a Georgia town where Jim Crow rules. Rozelle's children live in fear of her mood swings and her violence, but they are devoted to her. Rozelle pulls her children out of school when they are 12 years old so that they can help support her by going to work.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • My heart couldn't take it

  • By NIXX1993 on 03-01-18

Strong Female Characters

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-01-18

Murders, Prostitution, Ghosts, and Hatred for ones female children kept me glued to this Historical Novel of a Southern Black Families’ survival. A single mother and her 10 children, who never knew their fathers, tried to survive any way they can. This is not an adolescent novel but a commentary on life for African Americans in the south in the second half of the 20th century. Revenge and insanity keep you listening because you want to know who survives the poverty, racial hatred and injustices, childbirth and abortions. If you liked “Sing, Unburied, Sing”, you will love this novel.

Everything that could go wrong did until the heroine graduates high school and leave her insane mother who had already killed 3 of her child. Recommend for those who love being frightened.

  • Zero Day

  • By: David Baldacci
  • Narrated by: Ron McLarty, Orlagh Cassidy
  • Length: 13 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,790
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,605
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,594

From David Baldacci - the modern master of the thriller and number-one worldwide best-selling novelist - comes a new hero: a lone Army Special Agent taking on the toughest crimes facing the nation. John Puller is a combat veteran and the best military investigator in the U.S. Army's Criminal Investigative Division. His father was an Army fighting legend, and his brother is serving a life sentence for treason in a federal military prison. Puller has an indomitable spirit and an unstoppable drive to find the truth.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Big fan of David Baldacci, not a fan of Zero Day

  • By William R. on 11-22-11

Where are the Nukes?

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-14-18

Full of suspense and logically organized story that seems believable in this day and age. All characters are well developed. Author keeps you interested in finding the real source of the murders.

  • Kindred

  • By: Octavia E. Butler
  • Narrated by: Kim Staunton
  • Length: 10 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,954
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,321
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,305

Having just celebrated her 26th birthday in 1976 California, Dana, an African-American woman, is suddenly and inexplicably wrenched through time into antebellum Maryland. After saving a drowning white boy there, she finds herself staring into the barrel of a shotgun and is transported back to the present just in time to save her life. During numerous such time-defying episodes with the same young man, she realizes she's been given a challenge.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Simply written, but full of wisdom

  • By Amazon Customer on 02-14-17

Living History

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-04-18

Original Experiences for every listener. Time travelers and Historians will enjoy this unique story. I felt like I was experiencing the life in 1840’s south. I was seeing life through the eyes of the time traveler who was trying to understand why slaves didn’t kill their masters and their children but kept following orders.

  • Alias Grace

  • By: Margaret Atwood
  • Narrated by: Margaret Atwood, Sarah Gadon
  • Length: 15 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,940
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,786
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,777

It's 1843, and Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer and his housekeeper and mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Now serving a life sentence, Grace claims to have no memory of the murders. An up-and-coming expert in the burgeoning field of mental illness is engaged by a group of reformers and spiritualists who seek a pardon for Grace. He listens to her story while bringing her closer and closer to the day she cannot remember.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Read the book after watching the series.

  • By Sheri Martin on 12-30-17

Women Surviving the 19th Century Northern Wilderness

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-04-18

Reflections on the life of a woman accused of murder when she was 15 and living in the Canadian wilderness. Part 1 of the tale is told through the eyes of a child who immigrated from Ireland with a large family try to find a better life. Part 2 reflects life in prison, the trial and what the prisoner could remember of the murders she witnessed. Part 3: Her finally release from prison 30 years after being caught. Author development of the characters in the story fully. Description of historic events were convincing and wonderfully written. Excellent Reading of this historic novel.

  • Where the Jews Aren't

  • The Sad and Absurd Story of Birobidzhan, Russia's Jewish Autonomous Region
  • By: Masha Gessen
  • Narrated by: Christina Delaine
  • Length: 5 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 11

In 1929, the Soviet government set aside a sparsely populated area in the Soviet Far East for settlement by Jews. The place was called Birobidzhan. The idea of an autonomous Jewish region was championed by Jewish Communists, Yiddishists, and intellectuals, who envisioned a haven of post-oppression Jewish culture. By the mid-1930s tens of thousands of Soviet Jews, as well as about a thousand Jews from abroad, had moved there.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Jewish World of Our Ancestors

  • By Roberta L. Ruben on 06-16-18

The Jewish World of Our Ancestors

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-16-18

Very moving. It revealed what happened to the Russian Jews who were not killed at the turn of the 20th Century and lived through the Russian Revolution and the start of the USSR. Most important was the history of Yiddish and the culture of the Jews during WWII and throughout Eastern Europe during and after the war. I had never heard of The Dream of Birobidzhan the proposed homeland for the millions of Jews of Eastern Europe before Hitler.

Recommended for all interested in Israel, Jewish History and Live in Russia after the revolution and before Putin.

  • Fantasyland

  • How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History
  • By: Kurt Andersen
  • Narrated by: Kurt Andersen
  • Length: 19 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,678
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,502
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,493

A razor-sharp thinker offers a new understanding of our post-truth world and explains the American instinct to believe in make-believe, from the Pilgrims to P. T. Barnum to Disneyland to zealots of every stripe...to Donald Trump. In this sweeping, eloquent history of America, Kurt Andersen demonstrates that what's happening in our country today - this strange, post-factual, "fake news" moment we're all living through - is not something entirely new, but rather the ultimate expression of our national character and path.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great book, but...

  • By Synthpulse on 11-15-17

Enlightening

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-15-18

Many new ideas about the history of fundamentalist Christians and their influence on America and its politics. Provided me with greater insight into the results of the 2016 presidential election. Recommended for those running for office around the country and those who know little about the power of the Christian Religious Right.

  • Educated

  • A Memoir
  • By: Tara Westover
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 23,600
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 21,435
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 21,327

Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard. Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Other Side of Idaho's Mountains

  • By Darwin8u on 03-28-18

The Power of Education

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-03-18

Many raised in fundamentalist religious cultures, home schooled, or who have escaped a family with a mentally ill parent, can find comfort in reading of Julia Whelan’s successes. Knowing and learning your own strengths is the key message of this memoir. Recommended reading for adolescents and adults fighting to accept responsibility for their decisions.

Trying to understand the rational domestic violence in her family is a major goal of the author.

  • A Man Called Ove

  • By: Fredrik Backman
  • Narrated by: George Newbern
  • Length: 9 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 61,641
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 56,404
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 56,302

Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon - the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him "the bitter neighbor from hell". But behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I Laughed and I Cried

  • By Bill on 08-22-15

Angry Old Man Wins

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-01-18

What made the experience of listening to A Man Called Ove the most enjoyable?

Ove’s honesty and tenacity

Which scene was your favorite?

I enjoyed the story of the older couple who had social services after them to take them to a nursing home because husband had Dementia and wife MS, It was Ove’s love for his wife and his old friend that made him ask the computer nerds for help saving their future independence. I also enjoyed his trip to the computer store to purchase an Ipad computer and how he was treated by the staff at the store.

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

Ove’s changes in attitude towards other people who were nothing like his stereotype of what people should know and think.

Any additional comments?

If you have ever had a parent or loved one who stubbornly holds on to being correct even when they are totally wrong, this read is for you!