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  • 11
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  • 29
  • helpful votes
  • 52
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  • Safekeeping

  • By: Jessamyn Hope
  • Narrated by: Kirsten Potter
  • Length: 13 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 65
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 60
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 60

It's 1994, and Adam, a drug addict from New York City, arrives at a kibbutz in Israel with a medieval sapphire brooch. To make up for a past crime, he needs to get the priceless heirloom to a woman his grandfather loved when he was a Holocaust refugee on the kibbutz 50 years earlier.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great book-narration needs a better producer

  • By Library on 01-26-16

Great book-narration needs a better producer

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

Reviewed: 01-26-16

I really enjoyed listening to this book and sorting out all the angst, desire, values and importance of all the characters, flawed as they may be. The history lesson about the times on an Israeli kibbutz were so interesting and the narration was good. But, about the narrator, who has done so many other books well--perhaps the people involved should actually TRY for five minutes to make a note of foreign words in Hebrew or Yiddish and ask someone to pronounce it for the poor woman. She so mangles the words that it takes you right out of the narrative and makes you laugh. I can't imagine who told her to pronounce the famous deli favorite "kasha varnishkes" the way she did repetitively (it was Zayde's favorite food), or what the heck she was saying when she had to say "the Jewish Agency" in Hebrew--the "Sochnut", which is admittedly unusual, but, really, there are so many ways to just ask somebody!

This book was well-written and engaging and I look forward to other books by this author.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A Reunion of Ghosts

  • A Novel
  • By: Judith Claire Mitchell
  • Narrated by: Kirsten Potter, William Charlton
  • Length: 11 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 82
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 71
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 73

Meet the Alter sisters - Lady, Vee, and Delph, three delightfully witty, complicated women who live together in their family's apartment on the Upper West Side. Though they love each other fiercely, being an Alter isn't easy. Bad luck is in their genes, passed down through the generations. But no matter what curves life throws at these siblings, they always have a wisecrack - and each other.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Clever writing and poignant story--well read!

  • By Library on 05-07-15

Clever writing and poignant story--well read!

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

Reviewed: 05-07-15

Three smart and sardonic sisters with a family tree full of unfortunate and/or unlikable ancestors decide the time has come to leave this world behind.This book is, in essence, their collective suicide note which explains their decision. As we root for the sisters we also realize that fate has certainly dealt them an unlucky hand. But we know other people have the capacity to triumph over adversity--why can't they? Each reader needs to come to his/her own conclusions on whether such an act is justified, but I surprised my own self at the end of this book with my empathy and understanding of these complex and likable characters.

The narrator puts on the droll smarmy voice to great effect--exactly as necessary-- and leaves it alone when it isn't needed. She does a great job.

The historical character of Lenz Alter, the great-grandfather, was so interesting that I looked him up to find out he was not real but he was completely based on the life story of Fritz Haber, who was friends with Einstein. I assume since the granddaughters were fictionalized, I guess the author needed to fictionalize Haber's name.

Pet peeve:There are three separate words (in Hebrew or Yiddish) that she was not coached to say correctly and I never understand why producers of these audiobooks just don't ask someone the correct pronunciation. When a listener familiar with these words hears them mangled, it really takes you out of the story and is irritating.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Absolutely Almost

  • By: Lisa Graff
  • Narrated by: Noah Galvin
  • Length: 5 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 273
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 244
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 243

Albie has never been the smartest kid in his class. He has never been the tallest. Or the best at gym. Or the greatest artist. Or the most musical. In fact, Albie has a long list of the things he's not very good at. And his parents keep reminding him of those things all the time...even when it's just by accident. But then Albie gets a new babysitter, Calista, who helps him figure out all of the things he is good at and how he can take pride in himself.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautifully performed, great book

  • By Library on 11-10-14

Beautifully performed, great book

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

Reviewed: 11-10-14

The narration was spot on--you really believed he was a 10 year old boy, plus he was able to keep the separate characters differentiated.
The book consists of little vignettes in the life of a 5th grader who is a little bit delayed in reading and school subjects, and it is clear that his parents are disappointed in him.The parents are portrayed as loving, but clueless in understanding their child. When a babysitter comes into his life who he can trust, he begins to learn more about how to navigate the tough world of school.
Kids will come away from this book realizing that a good character (kindness, responsibility) is the thing that counts, and not how fast you can do math. A good message all around, and a wonderfully written story of overcoming obstacles when young. Can be read or listened to by 3rd graders up to adult.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Bomb

  • The Race to Build - and Steal - the World's Most Dangerous Weapon
  • By: Steve Sheinkin
  • Narrated by: Roy Roy Samuelson
  • Length: 7 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 312
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 279
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 277

In December of 1938, a chemist in a German laboratory made a shocking discovery: When placed next to radioactive material, a Uranium atom split in two. That simple discovery launched a scientific race that spanned three continents. This is the story of the plotting, the risk-taking, the deceit, and genius that created the world's most formidable weapon. This is the story of the atomic bomb.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • So interesting and great performance!

  • By Library on 04-22-13

So interesting and great performance!

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

Reviewed: 04-22-13

What a well written book for young people! I am an adult and enjoyed it immensely even though I think it would be best for 5th - 9th graders. Especially those interested in science or engineering, but really anyone who just wants to know about history.

I knew very little about the subject of the Manhattan Project and I would not be interested in an entire adult book on this subject, so this was perfect. The author keeps the suspense going as if it is a spy novel, which is basically is, except it is all true!

After finishing this I went right to the Internet and looked up all these people and places for more information. The actual book gives great timelines and further resources and photos, but the audio is great just for the absorbing story.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Round House

  • A Novel
  • By: Louise Erdrich
  • Narrated by: Gary Farmer
  • Length: 12 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,118
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,844
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,849

One Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface as Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal what happened, either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and 13-year-old son, Joe. In one day, Joe's life is irrevocably transformed. He tries to heal his mother, but she will not leave her bed and slips into an abyss of solitude. Increasingly alone, Joe finds himself thrust prematurely into an adult world for which he is ill prepared.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • MADE THE LISTS OF BEST BOOKS!

  • By Tony on 01-14-13

Performance takes a bit of getting used to

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

Reviewed: 04-22-13

This was a wonderful book, so complex and heartfelt. The comparisons to "To Kill a Mockingbird" are apt in that a young boy learns about his life and his family through experiencing a crime. His father is a judge on a Native American reservation.

Well deserving of the National Book Award.

The reader is a Native American actor, I think, which is great, because he speaks with a cadence that is distinctly from that cultural background. The reason it takes getting used to is that this sort of cadence puts emphases on other parts of the sentence than we are used to hearing from other actors who read audiobooks. It was odd at first, but after getting used to the style, I really enjoyed his performance and I think it added a needed authenticity.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Middlesteins

  • A Novel
  • By: Jami Attenberg
  • Narrated by: Molly Ringwald
  • Length: 6 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 296
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 256
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 258

For more than 30 years, Edie and Richard Middlestein shared a solid family life together in the suburbs of Chicago. But now things are splintering apart, for one reason, it seems: Edie's enormous girth. She's obsessed with food - thinking about it, eating it - and if she doesn't stop, she won't have much longer to live. When Richard abandons his wife, it is up to the next generation to take control. With pitch-perfect prose, huge compassion, and sly humor, Jami Attenberg has given us an epic story of marriage, family, and obsession.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Ended too soon

  • By Marjee on 10-31-12

Just a little too short, but quite engrossing!

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

Reviewed: 04-22-13

Another dysfunctional family saga, but this one is very cleverly written and even though none of the characters are particularly likable, they are all quite human and the author shows great sympathy for their struggles.

The Middlesteins is aptly named: they are middle America, middle class, and suffering from every average American angst you can think of. The Jewish aspect is well-played and not overdone. The comedy parts are not done broadly--they are just funny. It would be a good movie, I think. It is a character based novel and the characters are complex and the author writes with pathos about them.

The reader is excellent. My only complaint is that I felt the book could have been longer. It is sort of like a short version of a book by Jonathan Franzen. We could have understood these people more if she had another hundred pages about them.

  • Son

  • By: Lois Lowry
  • Narrated by: Bernadette Dunne
  • Length: 8 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,081
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 946
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 949

When the young girl washed up on their shore, no one knew she had been a Vessel. That she had carried a Product. That it had been carved from her belly. Stolen. Claire had had a son. She was supposed to forget him, but that was impossible. When he was taken from their community, she knew she had to follow. And so her journey began. But here in this wind-battered village Claire is welcomed as one of their own. In the security of her new home, she is free and loved. She grows stronger.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A great "build up" to a "let down"!

  • By Amy on 01-28-13

a bit slow-going

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

Reviewed: 11-04-12

I can't place why this book seemed to be so draggy--I have read all the other three in the series and The Giver was so good, I was hoping for more from this. I think perhaps the author simply chose to write for a 4th grade audience and kept her vocabulary and situations at that level. There was a great deal of over-explanation and repetition that an adult reader would not appreciate, but certainly it would be good for children.
An example would be something like getting introduced to a character and a fact about him, and then in the next chapter, the same fact is repeated in an different way, like within the narrative, "She remembered that he had lost his mother as a child and therefore..." it just really seemed for younger children than her previous books so I was disappointed.

And there is a lot of suspension of disbelief --not because it takes place in an alternate society, but because certain things seem too unlikely even within that society.

The narrator has a sort of odd, cheery tone, particularly in the beginning, and it is clear she is trying to channel the freakishly happy dystopian society, so there is a reason for it, however, it was somewhat annoying to me.

I was also not satisfied with the ending as I think it was resolved very quickly and artifically. I believe Lowry is a good enough writer to be able to have made the ending more complex.



2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Hare with Amber Eyes

  • A Family's Century of Art and Loss
  • By: Edmund de Waal
  • Narrated by: Michael Maloney
  • Length: 10 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 779
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 670
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 668

The Ephrussis were a grand banking family, as rich and respected as the Rothschilds, who “burned like a comet” in 19th-century Paris and Vienna society. Yet by the end of World War II, almost the only thing remaining of their vast empire was a collection of 264 wood and ivory carvings, none of them larger than a matchbox. The renowned ceramicist Edmund de Waal became the fifth generation to inherit this small and exquisite collection of netsuke. Entranced by their beauty and mystery, he determined to trace the story of his family through the story of the collection.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A vagabond through history, clutching a tiny carvi

  • By SB Price on 01-19-12

What a fascinating and beautifully written story

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

Reviewed: 10-18-12

The narrator of this book had such a difficult job because there were so many various foreign words to overcome, but he did his job perfectly--as if he knows German, French and Japanese himself.
The lyrical writing is really beautiful and the meditation on the nature of family, history and art makes this book memorable. It builds up to the climax of what we all know will happen to Jews of Europe, but the set up is masterful and conjures up a bygone era so masterfully.
I recommend looking at the book too because there is a really useful family tree in the front of it that is quite helpful. There are also photos that the author included of his family and they help explain the story.
Kudos to Michael Maloney, who is a wonderful narrator.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Columbus Affair

  • A Novel
  • By: Steve Berry
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 16 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 617
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 526
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 531

Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Tom Sagan has written hard-hitting articles from hot spots around the world. But when a controversial report from a war-torn region is exposed as a fraud, his professional reputation crashes and burns. Now he lives in virtual exile - haunted by bad decisions and the shocking truth he can never prove: that his downfall was a deliberate act of sabotage by an unknown enemy. But before Sagan can end his torment with the squeeze of a trigger, fate intervenes....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A puzzling possibility

  • By Niles Jacobsen on 06-18-15

kind of Da Vinci code-ish

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

Reviewed: 07-25-12

A lot of historical research went into this book, and the author's note at the end is the most interesting part of the book. He imagines that Columbus, who was a very mysterious man in real life, was actually a committed Jew, and was responsible for hiding very important Jewish artifacts on the island of Jamaica during his lifetime. I was ok with the unlikely premise, but the plot holes were just too much for me to overlook. When stuff happens like, speeding away from bad guys in a car that seems to show up from nowhere, (that would have been an easy set up!) or being able to watch a video of a car chase a continent away (the camera seems to have been held by the driver?), it got a bit corny. The relationship between father and daughter is strained (she hates him, and is so mean and stupid, the listener wishes her kidnappers would just do her in already) and gets resolved in the end very neatly.

The narrator is good except he has to perform a few accents, and not all of them are successful. He does fine for the Jamaican, and perhaps the Spanish, but for some reason he thinks the Austrian girlfriend is from Russia, and I have no idea where the Israeli ambassador is supposed to be from, but...those accents are always hard for actors, I think. I do commend him on the proper pronunciation of the Hebrew and Jewish terms, because these things are usually horribly mangled, and I always fault publishers for not doing homework in that regard.

I think people who generally like thrillers will think this moves along well and they would enjoy it for the genre and the interesting historical facts, but, for me, I will stick with a different kind of fiction from now on.

  • Divergent

  • By: Veronica Roth
  • Narrated by: Emma Galvin
  • Length: 11 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31,345
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27,991
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28,191

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue - Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is - she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • It's not for me. Loved it anyway.

  • By Grant on 05-24-12

This should be popular with teen girls

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

Reviewed: 04-02-12

I didn't care for this book mostly because it was predictable in the story arc and did not engage me with the characters because they seem to be "types" rather than true people. The cleverness of the new idea for the future dystopic society will be what draws the reader to the book--especially after The Hunger Games, which is pretty close to the this one in many ways, but with better writing.

Beatrice, the main character, is constantly cheating death or maiming by a hair--and even, after a month or two of practice, beating many larger and better young men at fighting or boxing or jumping off cliffs, etc. It reads like a feminist heroine Angelina Jolie movie star, but she is supposed to be more like Katniss, I guess.

The teen girls will love it--it is about girl power and brooding, mysterious teenage boys--also with little character development.

Very long, rather unrelentingly violent. Get ready for the movie version. This is the first of a trilogy.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful