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Jennifer Reynolds

  • 10
  • reviews
  • 4
  • helpful votes
  • 137
  • ratings
  • The Gift

  • By: Rhonda Hopkins
  • Narrated by: Chris Koprowski
  • Length: 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 3

When workaholic Robert Chalmer's wife leaves to take care of her sick mother for two weeks, he is left with all the responsibility...including his seven-year-old daughter. With Christmas quickly approaching, Robert must find a way to reconnect with what is most important in his life or risk losing it forever.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Heart warming.

  • By Jennifer Reynolds on 10-09-18

Heart warming.

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

Reviewed: 10-09-18

Loved this short, sweet Christmas story. I was surprised by what the gift actually was. I don't surprise easily. Definitely a Hallmarkish story, and I'm a sucker for those stories. 😀😀😀

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Calm Before the Storm: Evan's Sins

  • Ruthless Storm Trilogy, Book 2
  • By: Elle Klass
  • Narrated by: Robert P. Jellison
  • Length: 6 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 11

Evan O'Conner isn't a normal child. His father's alcoholism and mother's abuse drives him to concoct a plan to rid his life of them permanently. The night is fraught with a horrendous storm, thunder and lightning as the beast inside him is born. Even in her death his mother won't leave. She haunts his subconscious as he attempts over and over to kill her. Evan meets his match when Officer Burkhlader enters the picture.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The calm before the storm

  • By MANI on 06-25-16

An amazing, emotionally disturbing, sad story.

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

Reviewed: 06-22-16

Any additional comments?

I loved this sequel or is it prequel to this series. The novel takes off running and is nearly non-stop action until the end. I enjoyed seeing the events that took place before book one through the eyes of the villain, as it gave me insight into his motivations. Not once do I see Evan as likeable character that I could sympathies with, but I like knowing what created such a monster. Seeing the world through his eyes was hard, but I think you need to know what happened to him to understand his behavior.

I'm not going to say too much more about the story because if I do, I'll start spoiling the story. Know this, you have to have a strong stomach to read this novel, but it is worth reading.

I did find the pacing of the story moved too fast in a number of places for me. I listened to this on audio, so if I was distracted for a second, I would have to rewind a bit to see when we shifted scenes in the story. I also found that in some chapters the narrator read too quickly adding to the rushed pace. He may have done so to follow the fast, action-packed flow of the story, but I did have to turn the speed down twice on my Audible app because I wasn't taking in the story as well as I should because of how quickly he spoke.

Overall it is an amazing, emotionally disturbing, sad story that you should definitely read if you've read the first book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • As Snow Falls

  • By: Elle Klass
  • Narrated by: Lee Ann Freshour
  • Length: 5 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 7

It is the 20th century in California and the main character, a woman, has lived her life to the fullest. Nestled in her favorite spot during a snow storm she recalls the events of her life from her earliest memories of resisting birth and losing that futile battle to finding her true love and their beautiful family. There are monkey wrenches thrown in at every turn as she struggles to find her place; demonic teachers, cliquish students, her nightmare job, a love lost, and an earthquake that threatens her family.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • As Snow Falls

  • By April H. on 08-07-16

Lovely look into one woman's life.

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

Reviewed: 04-21-16

What did you like best about this story?

My favorite parts of the story are when the woman is honest about herself. She’s angry, depressed, at times crazy and irrational. She knows her personality flaws and learns to accept them and work through them, which is something so few people on this planet learn to do. Despite the idealistic life she appears to have, not everything is perfect in her world, but she learns to make the best of what she has, another life lesson we should all learn.

Any additional comments?

As Snow Falls is a brief look at one woman’s life. The way the author portrays the woman, she could be any one of us. She suffers, loves, and struggles even up to her last day on Earth to figure out who she is.
The novella moves through the woman’s life from birth to death. It quickly gives its readers an interesting look at the world through an infant and toddlers’ eyes, explores the angst ridden emotions of a young child and teenager, shares the confusing thoughts and actions of a young adult trying to finding their place in world after suffering an unexpected and traumatic loss, and relates the trials, tribulations, and happiness that makes up an adult life. Every person who reads the story can find something to relate to in it. I lost my father at seventeen, and even though I didn’t escape my world and distance myself from my family through traveling as the narrator does, I did it through alcohol and partying. Just as the narrator are her husband do, my husband and I went through a lot before finally coming together and marrying, and even though our relationship will never be perfect because we are both human and separate people, we’ve learned how love each other, work with each other, live with each other, and be happy with our life.
My favorite parts of the story are when the woman is honest about herself. She’s angry, depressed, at times crazy and irrational. She knows her personality flaws and learns to accept them and work through them, which is something so few people on this planet learn to do. Despite the idealistic life she appears to have, not everything is perfect in her world, but she learns to make the best of what she has, another life lesson we should all learn.
This novella reminded me of James Joyce’s Ulysses (which oddly enough, I didn’t enjoy) as it feels a little like a stream of consciousness novella. Whereas Joyce’s novel focuses on the day in the life of a man (if I remember the story correctly), which I found tedious, boring, and drawn out, As Snow Falls tells the story of woman’s entire life in one day. We get the sense from the beginning of the story that the woman is dying, and this is her life flashing before her eyes. Something that I hope happens to me, despite all the horrors I’ve suffered through in my life.
My least favorite part was how quickly we moved through the story. As with any good story, I found myself wanting to spend more time in the lives of the characters, in the world the author has built. As a novella, it moves through her world quicker than a full-length novel would; therefore, there are a number of places I wish the story had slowed down just a little bit so that I could have spent more time in that particular part of the narrator’s life. That being said, I think if it had been a full-length novel, it would have started to drag as Joyce’s novel did. I think the point of the story is that it is of a woman recapping her life before she dies, and the novella just that.
I should also note that I listened to this story on audio, so the pace might not have seemed so fast if I had read it. The narrator doesn’t pause in a few places where I think she should have to indicate that we are moving from one story to the next. For example, early on in the novella, the story of the narrator learning to use the toilet moves right into the story of the family going to church. There were also times, like when the narrator is telling the story of her son, his friend, and the girl that he would eventually marry when I got the time line confused because of how the narrator told this part of the story.
Overall, I enjoyed the story very much. I laughed, cried, grew embarrassed for her and angry and confused with her. Being able to relate to a character in such a way always means the author has a compelling story. I recommend this novel to anyone looking for a quick, relatable read that shows that no matter what happens to you in your life, you can find yourself, your purpose in this world and that things won’t always be dark and bleak all of the time. I’m finding, just as the narrator does, that my life is perfect the way it is and all I need to do is spend every day figuring out ways to make it better, even if that means I have to change the way I see, feel, and react to others and situations.—Wow, writing that told me that I came away from this story with a lot more than I thought I did. :)
Side note: I received an audio copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Eye of the Storm: Eilida's Tragedy

  • Ruthless Storm Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Elle Klass
  • Narrated by: Belle Burkhart
  • Length: 5 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 17

A disturbance at her neighbor's house piques Eilida's curiosity. What she discovers is so shocking it sends her running through the mountainous woods during a thunderstorm. She slips on the wet ground, plummets down Mount Wilde, and slams into a large boulder beside River Freedom. Eilida is transported to Lyden, where Sunshine, a receptionist at the local paper becomes engrossed in her story. The further Sunshine delves into Eilida's life, the more entangled their lives become.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Awesome!!!

  • By Todd (Toad) Vogel on 02-22-16

Eye of the Storm is a brilliant, intense, and shoc

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

Reviewed: 01-27-16

What did you love best about Eye of the Storm: Eilida's Tragedy?

Sunshine is the epitome of her name. Her life is perfect—from her job at the local newspaper despite a few annoying co-workers to her wealthy boyfriend who is days from proposing—and full of sunshine until a “Jane Doe” shows up at the local hospital and sends her life into a tailspin. Not only does the woman’s appearance become the main focus of the newspaper, but she become Sunshine’s. Feeling attached to the woman somehow, Sunshine sets out to find out who she is and what happened to her.

In her pursuit to find out all she can about this woman, Sunshine begins to suffer memory loss, hallucinations, and dreams of a life she didn’t live. Her connection to Eilida, the woman in the hospital, becomes apparent, but the how they are related remains a mystery to Sunshine.

Things happen in the novel that seemingly don’t make sense, like how can Eilida’s boyfriend not know she is in the hospital when Eilida’s roommate, parents, and school all know, and they frustrated me at first because I honestly thought they were holes in the plot. I was wrong, boy was I wrong. Okay, so if I say much more, I’ll be giving too much away, and you have to read this for yourself to find out the big twist ending.

One more thing, the epilogue will definitely, leave you wanting the next book in the trilogy. Speaking of…

Oh, I forgot to mention that I listened to the audio version of this novella (a complimentary copy from the author in exchange for an honest review), and the narrator made a perfect Sunshine. At first I thought she sounded too young, but once I got to know Sunshine and just how sweet and innocent she is, I knew the narrator was perfect for her.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Goin' Postal/The Creek

  • True Stories of a U.S. Postal Worker/Where Stories of the Past Come Alive (2 in 1)
  • By: Rhoda D'Ettore
  • Narrated by: Sarah Van Sweden
  • Length: 6 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5

Goin' Postal tells the story of a real U.S. postal worker dealing with crazy situations that the public never sees. From human heads in the mail to alligators on the loose in the building, this book is sure to make you laugh. The second book in this combo, The Creek, tells stories set in the same location, but each story is set in a different time period. The last story depicts how the people and stories of the past are still alive today.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful Collection

  • By Jennifer Reynolds on 04-17-15

Wonderful Collection

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

Reviewed: 04-17-15

Any additional comments?

Going Postal is an interesting collection of creative-nonfiction short stories about the author’s life working for the United States Postal Service. The stories are hilarious, serious, scary, heartbreaking, and do a great job of depicting what life is like working anywhere with a tight knit group of people. I’ve only worked in four places in my life, and all of those places felt like this. We had our in-house squabbles, our deaths, our births, our disasters, our nights away from the job, and everything in-between. We both loved and hated each other, as most families do.

This collection does a great job at giving its reader a look into the day-to-day life inside the post office and an even greater look how human and flawed management and upper-management are even when they won’t admit it. For anyone who has worked a job where your boss has come to you with the most ludicrous request and all you can do is look at him or her with a “you can’t be serious” expression on your face, this collection is for you.

The Creek is another collection of creative-nonfiction novellas that is about the lives of the people who settled the land on the creek on which Ms. D’Ettore grew up. She has a beautiful imagination, and carves out a wonderful of tale of love, murder, betrayal, heartache, death, and determination that surround a number of families that lived on the land over time. Her female characters are always strong and self-sufficient, which always draws me to her work. Her take on the lives of these families, from a young woman and her father who farmed the land, to a widowed mother of five who lost everything and had to move to the creek to raise her children alone, to the soldier’s family who suffered much in their grief over his loss, are realistic and not glorified. We are a people ruled by our hearts and our emotions, and her characters always depict this, making them relatable and true.

  • Newborn Nazi

  • By: Rhoda D'Ettore
  • Narrated by: Elaine Baden
  • Length: 9 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5

Germany, 1934 - SS officers entered the house of Hedwig Schultz and ripped her 14-year-old brother, Edmund, from her arms. He has been selected for an elite division of the Hitler Youth that will train him for indoctrination into the feared SS. Horrified, Hedwig enlists the help of her brother in America to thwart Nazi plans regarding the Final Solution of the Jewish people. It becomes a cat and mouse game as the family enters a world of Nazi spies, double agents, and the Underground movement.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Well done, Rhoda!

  • By Natalie Niezgoda on 07-22-15

Wonderfully emotional.

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

Reviewed: 04-10-15

Any additional comments?

Newborn Nazi is another wonderfully written novel by Rhoda D’Ettore. The novel is about a German family who suffers much during Hitler’s rule. There are many stories out there both true and fictional about the lives of the Jewish people during that time, and those stories, more than any other, should be told, but I think seeing the world from a German point of view is also helpful because we don’t live in a black and white world were everything we are told or even see is true. The only other novel I’ve read like this is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. In Newborn Nazi, we see the German world through Hedwig, a young German woman, and her brothers: one who is forced into a Nazi Youth camp and all but brainwashed into believing Hitler’s propaganda, one who is blackmailed into complying with a corrupt government , and a third who refuses to acknowledge what is happening in his home world, as he escaped to America before Hitler cemented his control. We see how easily people are coerced into lying to their family, spying on their family and friends, committing murder, and even turning on their country when those they love are threated. We see how this coercion, these lies and secrets can crumble lives and bring an entire race of people to their knees. As with all of D’Ettore’s novels, this one is full of twists and turns you never see coming. It is full of laughs, tears, love, and war. And most of all it has a strong female lead that teaches the reader that not everyone in Germany fell for Hitler’s lies, not everyone woman submits to the men in their lives who see them as nothing more than property, and more importantly, she shows how one person can truly make a positive difference in so many people’s lives. If it weren’t for her and people like her, her world could have been so much worse, which is hard to imagine since things were so horrific. She gives us courage, strength, and the desire to stand up for what we believe in and take care of one another. She says it all in one simple phrase, “All life is precious.” Hedwig losses everything in this novel, but she gains herself. She may not have gotten the life I wanted for her, but she lived a life worth living. I can’t wait to get my hands on more of this author’s work.--Author Jennifer Reynolds.

  • Tower of Tears

  • The McClusky Series, Book 1
  • By: Rhoda D'Ettore
  • Narrated by: Elaine Baden
  • Length: 8 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 6

In 1820, a young woman embarks on a journey for a better life in America. She brings with her a three year old son, and plans to live with relatives she has never met in Philadelphia. Her loving husband remains in Ireland, taking in boarders and working the farm to save money for his departure. Along the way, Jane realizes she is pregnant, then soon is told she is expected to pay rent, and work in a factory.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyed the stroy of a family from Ireland

  • By Susan on 05-20-15

I love this novel.

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

Reviewed: 03-22-15

Any additional comments?

I love this novel. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves seeing the world and our history how it truly is/was and not as the Hollywood version we pretend it is/was.

Tower of Tears takes you on an emotional roller coaster as it explores the lives of an Irish family who has migrated to America. The novel focuses mainly on Jane, a timid, wonderful, loving woman who travels to America with her young son at the behest of her husband and to fulfill her mother’s final wish that she go to America to find a better life. Jane’s husband and brother follow nearly two years later, but unfortunately, by then, life in the new world and life without his wife have irrevocably changed the once happy couple.

This the story holds nothing back. Ms D’Ettore explores the racial and religious prejudices of the 1800s, prejudices that are still prominent today. It also explores gender roles and doesn’t hold back when it comes to the realities of the suffering many women endured in a time when they were seen as mere property and little more. This novel is raw and real. You will laugh, you will cringe in horror, and you will cry, but you will also grow to love this family and their undying devotion to each other.

I can’t wait to read more of Ms D’Ettore’s work and the next books in this series.

--Author Jennifer Reynolds

  • A Quick Trip to BuyMart

  • A Comedy in Four Parts
  • By: Dan Alatorre
  • Narrated by: Chaz Allen
  • Length: 1 hr and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1

Another hilarious look at the challenges of parenting, as the father of a young girl is suddenly tasked with getting her a leotard before her first gymnastics class. What happens next is an endearing journey of comedy that we've all been through: the challenge of shopping quickly combined with the fun and magic of childhood. The result is a fun romp that will have any parent laughing out loud.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I love these stories.

  • By Jennifer Reynolds on 02-12-15

I love these stories.

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

Reviewed: 02-12-15

What did you like best about this story?

I really needed this story after the week I've had. You can always count on Dan to make the simplest things hilarious. I'm not your typical female. I hate to shop; therefore, I felt Dan's pain in having to go into a place like BuyMart. You may plan to go in for one thing, but you always come out with more.

I loved seeing how Dan maneuvered his child through the store, getting things she needed, and testing the waters on things she might need or want for her upcoming birthday.

I also think the play between him and his wife is hilarious. Dan does a great job of showing how normal he and his family are. You see the love in the family, but you know their lives aren't perfect, and they make mistakes. When my god-daughter was growing up, we didn't have the mesh barriers for trampolines. I was always terrified that she bounce herself right off the thing, as they experienced.

As always, these stories are a must read for anyone who needs to bring a smile into their day, as I did today, and anyone who just needs to feel normal in a society where the media constantly makes most of us feel abnormal if our lives aren't perfect or isn't full of drama.

  • The Terrible Two's: Funny Things I Learned from My Toddler Daughter

  • Savvy Stories, Book 2
  • By: Dan Alatorre
  • Narrated by: Tim J. Gracey
  • Length: 8 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2

Savvy Stories 2: The Terrible Two's picks up right where Savvy Stories left off. Enjoy more of our favorite little girl as she learns to feed the cat (almost), decides to give herself a haircut, decorates the cabinets using Sharpie Markers, and more. Hilarious and heartwarming stories about the lost, magical moments of childhood, viewed through the heart of a father.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Fun experience.

  • By Olive_Jane on 03-15-15

Loved this novel.

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

Reviewed: 01-28-15

What made the experience of listening to The Terrible Two's: Funny Things I Learned from My Toddler Daughter the most enjoyable?

I loved part two of this series just as much as I loved part one. Savvy is getting more adorable the older she gets. The stories continue to be hilarious, emotional, and inspirational.

I love that this family is normal. Dan doesn't try to make himself out to be father of the year or his daughter to be a prodigy. They buy used toys off craigslist and buy their birthday cakes from Publix just like the rest of us. Savvy throws tantrums and mom and dad lose their patients.

I was dubious in the beginning because the first two stories didn't seem to really be about Savvy. They weren't bad, but they didn't feel relevant to what the book is supposed to be about, but the sunglass story that followed them made up for things.

I don't have children, but since I have eleven nieces and nephews, and most of my friends have children, I could relate to most of the stories. The Winnie the... well, I won't say what Savvy says, brings to mine one about my best friend's son. He loves toy cars. He loved to bang them against things. When he did he said a word that should have been bam but wasn't. The word sounds just like bam, but with a d. We couldn't get him to stop saying it because he didn't hear the difference in the words. My best friend lived in mortification for about three months.

On a side note, I have to stop listening to these books in public. I nearly wrecked my car in the 'that is a pee pee right there story.' I burst into laughter while trying to make a turn in five o'clock traffic, not a good thing.

There are few times when things get to be a bit repetitive. He tells us a number of times in the same story that his mom made pound cake from them when they were little. There are a few times where the narrator of the audio book skips words or letter. In one place it sounds as if he says I stead when he meant instead. These instances were few and far between and were probably only noticeable because the version of the novel I have is an audio one.

Overall this is a wonderful series that I highly recommend and will continue to follow.

  • Savvy Stories: Funny Things I Learned from My Daughter

  • By: Dan Alatorre
  • Narrated by: Tim J. Gracey
  • Length: 9 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1

A funny look at childhood's lost, magical moments, viewed through the heart of a father. Crawling, walking, play dates, hopscotch, hibiscuses, potty training, princess dresses, gymnastics classes - and Baby Dolphins - the whole wide world of her questions and his answers.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Funny, enchanting, and heart-wrenching.

  • By Jennifer Reynolds on 01-18-15

Funny, enchanting, and heart-wrenching.

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

Reviewed: 01-18-15

If you could sum up Savvy Stories: Funny Things I Learned from My Daughter in three words, what would they be?

In Savvy Stories, Dan tells stories about life as a middle-aged man raising his first child, and a girl no less. We go through the parent's struggle in conceiving, carrying, and having a child, then follow the father through all the ups and downs of raising said child.

What did you like best about this story?

The stories are funny, informational, heart-wrenching, and relatable, even for someone like me who doesn't have any children. My husband and I are nearing forty...wow, that was hard to write. Anyway, we don't plan to have children, but if we did, I could see this as our life. The uniqueness of this story is that this couple isn't in their twenties. They are raising their first child in a point in their life when most of their siblings and friends are preparing for grandchildren.