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Ella

toronto,, Ontario, Canada
  • 105
  • reviews
  • 1,737
  • helpful votes
  • 348
  • ratings
  • Behold the Dreamers (Oprah's Book Club)

  • A Novel
  • By: Imbolo Mbue
  • Narrated by: Prentice Onayemi
  • Length: 12 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,782
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,560
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,545

Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself; his wife, Neni; and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty - and Jende is eager to please. Clark's wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses' summer home in the Hamptons.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Just okay...

  • By LuckyLindsi83 on 09-09-16

Completely satisfying

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

Reviewed: 03-17-18

It’s not often that I give a book five stars. This timely story puts a human face to immigration in America.
The narrator was among the best I’ve heard and added a depth to the story that the average reader will not experience. Highly recommended.

  • Me Before You

  • A Novel
  • By: Jojo Moyes
  • Narrated by: Susan Lyons, Anna Bentink, Steven Crossley, and others
  • Length: 14 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30,772
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27,372
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27,320

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life - steady boyfriend, close family - who has never been farther afield than her tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life - big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel - and now he's pretty sure he cannot live the way he is. Will is acerbic, moody, bossy - but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Journey Into the Unknown

  • By Pamela Harvey on 01-13-13

I didn't cry, but most do

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

Reviewed: 12-04-14

Good book, deals with emotional struggles of a young quadriplegic victim of an accident and his struggle with the meaning of life. Was his condition now considered a life he had envisioned for himself? Family and strangers must watch his struggle and attempt to show him that the chair which now imprisons him is not what defines him, but do they have that right?

A book about life, love, struggle and strength, Me Before You is an interesting and easy read. Not sure why it didn't move me to tears like it does 90% of the readers/listeners. But to be on the safe side, keep that tissue box handy.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Once We Were Brothers

  • By: Ronald H. Balson
  • Narrated by: Fred Berman
  • Length: 13 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,284
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,118
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,109

Elliot Rosenzweig, a respected civic leader and philanthropist, is attending a fundraiser when he is suddenly accosted and accused of being a former Nazi SS officer named Otto Piatek, the Butcher of Zamosc. Although the charges are denounced as preposterous, his accuser is convinced he is right and engages attorney Catherine Lockhart to bring Rosenzweig to justice.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5-Star Thriller with History and Heart

  • By Ella on 11-22-14

5-Star Thriller with History and Heart

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

Reviewed: 11-22-14

At a fundraiser, Ben Solomon a holocaust survivor, walks up to Elliot Rosenzweig, a well-know Chicago businessman and philanthropist, and clocks him right in the jaw, all the while accusing Rosenzweig of being an ex S.S. Nazi Officer by the name of Otto Piatek. A shocked Rosenzweig, concerned for this man's sanity and his own reputation, rolls up his sleeve to reveal the tattooed identification numbers of the Auschwitz Death Camp. And so the tale begins between these two men. A legal thriller, Ben sets out to prove his accusations, while Elliot needs to prove Ben's lying.

Much of the book is filled with Ben telling his story to Catherine Lockhart, a young busy lawyer. Ben wants to convince her to take his case of stolen property from all those years ago. Catherine, is skeptical that there is any tangible evidence after all this time, but after much persuasion she allows Ben to tell his story. Ben takes no short cuts, beginning with growing up in Zamosc, Poland explaining how his life entwines with Otto Piatek right through the war. But are Otto and Elliot one in the same?

Being the daughter of 2 Holocaust survivors, I have listened to my share of Holocaust novels, in fact I've even written one, but Once We Were Brothers has to be one of the best books I've come across.

Fred Berman did an incredible job narrating this book. His performance brought the characters to life. It's almost a week since I finished Once We Were Brothers and I can't stop thinking about it. It would be a shame to miss this one.

60 of 64 people found this review helpful

  • The English Girl

  • Gabriel Allon, Book 13
  • By: Daniel Silva
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 12 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,317
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,041
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,040

Daniel Silva delivers another spectacular thriller starring Gabriel Allon, The English Girl. When a beautiful young British woman vanishes on the island of Corsica, a prime minister’s career is threatened with destruction. Allon, the wayward son of Israeli intelligence, is thrust into a game of shadows where nothing is what it seems...and where the only thing more dangerous than his enemies might be the truth.…

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Best Gabriel Allon novel for me so far

  • By Chris on 08-02-13

13 not a lucky number for Silva

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

Reviewed: 11-07-13

I read almost every Silva book and this one was weak in plot, characters and suspense. George Guidall did a fine job with the narration as usual, but this one fizzled and died for me.

The plot revolves around a kidnapped woman and what happens to her and why. The "what" is predictable and the "why" is lame.

Not even a good filler book.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • And the Mountains Echoed

  • By: Khaled Hosseini
  • Narrated by: Khaled Hosseini, Navid Negahban, Shohreh Aghdashloo
  • Length: 14 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,252
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3,765
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,755

Khaled Hosseini, the number-one New York Times best-selling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Does the End Justify the Means

  • By FanB14 on 05-24-13

Ruined by narrators

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

Reviewed: 08-19-13

I was so looking forward to this book. I loved both Hosseini's previous books. He was his own narrator on the Kite Runner and did a really good job, but this book was totally ruined by the readers. It doesn't happen often, but once in a while I have to admit to preferring reading over listening and this is one of those times. Sorry folks, can't agree on the high ratings on this one.
I'm sure once I let a little time pass, purchase the actual book and read it, my review on Amazon will be much different.
Hosseini only narrates one of the chapters, the rest are read by a man who sounds like he has marbles in his mouth and an accent too strong to be narrating and a woman with a raspy monotone voice.

38 of 52 people found this review helpful

  • The Witness [Brilliance Audio Edition]

  • By: Nora Roberts
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 16 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21,108
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,856
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,814

Daughter of a cold, controlling mother and an anonymous donor, studious, obedient Elizabeth finally let loose one night, drinking too much at a nightclub and allowing a strange man’s seductive Russian accent to lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive. The events that followed changed her life forever. Twelve years later, the woman now known as Abigail Lowery lives alone on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she works at home designing sophisticated security systems.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • JUST SIMPLY FANTASTIC LISTENING ! !

  • By Gary on 04-24-12

Not your average romance novel

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

Reviewed: 04-05-13

The Witness came up on so many reading lists, I decided to give Nora Roberts a try. After the fact, I found out she writes romance novels, which is not really my thing, or so I thought. I really enjoyed The Witness. Actually, the romance part took a back seat to the surrounding drama unfolding.

Elizabeth, a young 16-year-old girl has grown up more like her mother’s science experiment, than a child. Elizabeth attempts to break out of her cocooned life for one night with her friend Julie. Sporting new clothes, hairstyles, and fake ID’s the two girls go to a nightclub owned by Russian mafia. Drunk and naive, the girls accompany these crime lords back to their place for some added enjoyment. Alcohol, guns and the mob don’t mix well, and Elizabeth witnesses a double homicide. In police protection her world is rocked again by crooked cops and Elizabeth is on the run – alone.

Fast forward 12 years and Abigail Lowery, AKA Elizabeth Fitch, is living a secluded life behind a cloak of security cameras, artillery and computers in a small town in the Ozarks. She spends her time using her brilliant mind to make money and stay one step ahead of the murders who have never given up looking for her.

Enter Brooks Gleason, the chief of police in her new town, who is intrigued by Abigail’s need to always be packing, her secluded lifestyle and her attack dog who takes orders in a number of foreign languages. He picks away at her hard facade until her finally breaks through her robotic-like existence. Slowly and patiently, he makes a little progress at showing Abigail she is capable of having real emotions and that not everything in her life has to come down to cause and effect. The duo team up to put an end to Abigail’s life on the run.

I really liked this book and definitely would not hesitate to read another Nora Roberts novel. Quirky protagonist, compelling story line and a little romance are all present in this entertaining novel.

Julia Whelan reads the part of Abigail perfectly and really brings this unusual protagonist to life.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Truth in Advertising

  • A Novel
  • By: John Kenney
  • Narrated by: Robert Petkoff
  • Length: 11 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 330
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 283
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 283

Finbar Dolan is lost and lonely. Except he doesn’t know it. Despite escaping his blue-collar Boston upbringing to carve out a mildly successful career at a Madison Avenue ad agency, he’s a bit of a mess and closing in on 40. He’s recently called off a wedding. Now, a few days before Christmas, he’s forced to cancel a long-postponed vacation in order to write, produce, and edit a Superbowl commercial for his diaper account in record time. Fortunately, it gets worse....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great Stuff

  • By phil b on 01-31-13

Product of your upbringing

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

Reviewed: 03-05-13

This novel seems to have two distinct threads. The first is about Fin Dolan, 39, an advertising copywriter working in a New York advertising agency. He has recently broken off his engagement and is working on a bio-degradable diaper commercial scheduled to air during the superbowl. While there are plenty of stories in the first half of the novel about different brands, scenes and experiences of working at an agency, Geery is great at spinning these scenarios though humour and sarcasm.

As we enter the second half of the novel we get more into the family dynamics and what makes Fin the person he is. For me this is the meat and potatoes of the book. We meet his siblings and his parents. His estranged abusive father is dying and he struggles with the guilt of doing the right thing.

He also struggles with information he’s suppressed about his mother and old memories are rekindled. I’m really glad I stuck it out, because while the first half was rather shallow and cute, the second half gave me what I was looking for – a connection to Fin. One of my favorite people in the book is Keita, a wealthy Japanese client who has issues with his own father and takes a liking to Fin. The two of them commiserate to make sense of who they are.

The book is funny, but it really hits home that you are a product of your upbringing. People are who they are for a reason. Robert Petkoff did a great job. Had it not been for his engaging narration, I'm pretty sure I would not have finished this book.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Fallen Angel: Gabriel Allon, Book 12

  • By: Daniel Silva
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 10 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,413
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,089
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,083

After narrowly surviving his last operation, Gabriel Allon, the wayward son of Israeli intelligence, has taken refuge behind the walls of the Vatican, where he is restoring one of Caravaggio's greatest masterpieces. But early one morning he is summoned to St. Peter's Basilica by Monsignor Luigi Donati, the all-powerful private secretary to his Holiness Pope Paul VII. The body of a beautiful woman lies broken beneath Michelangelo's magnificent dome.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fact or Fiction

  • By Ella on 01-29-13

Fact or Fiction

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

Reviewed: 01-29-13

I felt like I was watching an entire season of “Homeland.” Daniel Silva is a master storyteller and his protagonist, the retired Israeli spy turned art restorer, Gabriel Alon, is constantly being jolted out of retirement to foil yet another murder and solve another mystery. Gabriel jumps from book to book from plot to plot, the quintessential good guy with plenty of guts, charisma and brains.

In this book Gabriel is busy restoring a Caravaggio in the Vatican when he is called to solve the murder of Dr. Claudia Andreatti who is found on the marble floor of St. Peter’s Basilica. Her death, masked as a suicide, looks suspicious. Pope Paul VII put Monsignor Donati, his secretary and right hand man on the case. Enter, Gabriel Alon who carefully examines the body, surroundings and circumstance and springs into action.

Familiar characters from Silva’s previous novels come into play, Ari Sharom, Uzi Navot and Eli Lavon and of course Gabriel’s second wife Chiara.

Alon’s search for the murderer takes him from Rome to Paris, Denmark, Vienna, Berlin and of course Israel. His investigation leads him to foil terrorist attacks carefully planned by Hezbollah. There was even a torture scene, which brought to mind the movie Zero Dark Thirty.

This book is steeped in the conflict of the Middle East, and it brings forward the reality of the region and the very real problems Israel is up against from neighbouring terrorists. To be honest I felt quite unnerved at the end of Fallen Angel. Although Silva’s book is fiction, it hits a little too close to home, and confirms the reality of what is happening to our world. Through the eyes and actions of his characters, Silva verifies that the Middle East war is very real. That part is not fiction.

I finished this book on January 27, which is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Being a daughter of two holocaust survivors, Fallen Angel unnerved me. Although we repeat the phrase “Never Again” over and over, that may not be a realistic statement anymore.

As usual George Guidall does a stellar job of his narration and brings the book to life.

9 of 9 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

A Slice of Life

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

Reviewed: 01-17-13

Having struggled with weight and also being Jewish, allowed me to really identify with the book. I too remember the Weight Watcher "tips" like removing the center piece of bread from a Big Mac to save calories. I too have been to many Bar/Bar Mitzvah's where the elaborate affair overshadowed what the Bar Mitzvah ceremony was all about. I too know of many dysfunctional families, as a matter of fact, I don't know too many who aren't. With all this identifying, I still couldn't really make a connection to the characters in Attenberg's book. The closest I came was to the protagonist Edie, the one who was eating herself to death. But Edie is an extreme case. Even being diabetic, having to go through surgery after surgery, having her husband Richard leave her, having her children and grandchildren look at her with pity and repulsion, did not deter Edie from even one dish of Chinese food. Edie had an addiction and she just couldn't stop. At times I felt a little nauseous "watching" her eat. There was a moral to the story though, you can't help someone who doesn't want to to be helped. Even though the book hit a nerve, I didn't love the black comedy, I barely liked it.
Molly Ringwald did an average narration, maybe if I had read this one instead of listening I would have liked it better.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Mosaic

  • A Chronicle of Five Generations
  • By: Diane Armstrong
  • Narrated by: Deidre Rubenstein
  • Length: 19 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 192
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 155
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 159

>i>Mosaic is compelling storytelling at its best - from the fascinating details of Polish-Jewish culture and the rivalries and dramas of family life, to its moving account of lives torn apart by war and persecution, this an extraordinary true story of a family, and of one woman's journey to reclaim her heritage.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Spectacular story

  • By Margaret on 08-18-09

Part of History

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

Reviewed: 12-31-12

It took me a long time to get through Mosaic. I have to admit to almost giving up a few times especially in Part 1. It's more of a memoir, albeit an important one, since it follows a family through generations before WW1 to present. Much of it revolves around the Holocaust and how it affected the lives of the central family, the Baldinger's & their 11 children, cousins, aunts uncles. Lots of Polish names, which made it hard to keep the characters straight. Armstrong must be commended on her research of each of these family members from birth to adulthood and the challenges they lived through. She did a good job, but there was no real pace to the book to keep me going. It was like reading a diary – factual and chronological. Armstrong does a good job at showing the effects of the Holocaust on individual lives long after the war is over. I'm glad I finished it. Although it wasn't one of the more interesting books I've read on this topic, it is very still very important.
Deidre Rubenstein did an okay job of narrating. At the start I found her long pauses after every sentence annoying and it almost caused me to stop listening. But I eventually got used to it and she stopped exaggerating each pause as the story progressed.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful