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Roberta Westwood

  • 48
  • reviews
  • 22
  • helpful votes
  • 48
  • ratings
  • Escape From Jonestown

  • Written by: Laurence Bouvard
  • Length: 2 hrs and 20 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 39
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 37
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 37

Forty years ago, on Nov. 18, 1978, 914 members of a ‘utopian’ society deep in the Guyana jungle, known as Jonestown, drank a lethal elixir of Flavor-Aid and cyanide. Tim Carter was in the inner circle of its charismatic leader, Jim Jones. He escaped into the jungle. This is his story.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Damn good

  • By Jeff on 2019-02-06

Great telling of a tragic story

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

Reviewed: 2019-04-15

This was a very well done series, although I listened to it all one go. I particularly liked the approach taken to tell the story: through the story (eyes/heart/words) of one of the (very few) survivors, supplemented with words from the others. These perspectives were balanced with those of a woman who lost two sisters in the tragedy. There is much that is so very disturbing in this story, but it is told in a way that was listenable, calmly and without hysterics. If you don't know the Jonestown story, it's worth a listen.

  • Together

  • A Memoir of a Marriage and a Medical Mishap
  • Written by: Judy Goldman
  • Narrated by: Kathe Mazur
  • Length: 6 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1

A routine procedure left novelist, memoirist, and poet Judy Goldman's husband paralyzed. Together is her unforgettable account of the struggle to regain their "normal" life and a nuanced portrait of a marriage tested. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Adapting when things go wrong

  • By Roberta Westwood on 2019-04-14

Adapting when things go wrong

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

Reviewed: 2019-04-14

This wasn't my normal type of book, as it was really about marriage. But the calamity that was at the heart of the story ~ a 'quack' medical procedure gone wrong ~ was interesting to me: how they got into doing the procedure in the first place, what did (and didn't) happen, and the aftermath ~ was what drew me. That part of the story was well told. The rest of the book was still interesting enough to keep me listening.

  • Unheard: The Story of Anna Winslow

  • Written by: Anthony Del Col, Cassandra Bond, JP Conway, and others
  • Length: 4 hrs
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 42
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 40
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 40

University student Anna Winslow has gone missing and the circumstances of her disappearance are far from ordinary. Motivated by an unexplained and disturbing voicemail message from Anna on the night of her disappearance, Melissa's curiosity quickly turns into a deeper investigation, an obsession even, which she chronicles as a regular podcast. Melissa quickly discovers that Anna was a loner with hearing difficulties.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fun and exciting Book!

  • By Stephanie Folk on 2018-05-08

Meh

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

Reviewed: 2019-04-14

I was aware that this was fiction, but thought I'd give it a try, but it just didn't grip me. Perhaps it was the set up ~ like a multi-episode podcast investigating a crime ~ was just too contrived for me. On the other hand, I did admire the creativity, and applaud pushing the boundaries of what is expected.

  • Ayiti

  • Written by: Roxane Gay
  • Narrated by: Roxane Gay
  • Length: 2 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 23
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 20
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 20

From New York Times best-selling powerhouse Roxane Gay, Ayiti is a powerful collection exploring the Haitian diaspora experience. A married couple seeking boat passage to America prepares to leave their homeland. A young woman procures a voodoo love potion to ensnare a childhood classmate. A mother takes a foreign soldier into her home as a boarder, and into her bed. And a woman conceives a daughter on the bank of a river while fleeing a horrific massacre, a daughter who later moves to America for a new life but is perpetually haunted by the mysterious scent of blood.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A loosely linked collection of stories

  • By Roberta Westwood on 2019-04-11

A loosely linked collection of stories

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

Reviewed: 2019-04-11

Is there a name for this type of literature? It is a collection of short stories that at first seem unrelated, but they are all from one woman's life. Her life is set in Haiti and the USA. Over time, questions from one story are answered in another, filling in the blanks and curiosities. It has opened me to more short story collections in the future.

  • In Plain Sight

  • The Startling Truth Behind the Elizabeth Smart Investigation
  • Written by: Tom Smart, Lee Benson
  • Narrated by: Stefan Rudnicki
  • Length: 14 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1

This riveting inside story of the intense search for the Salt Lake City teenager who was kidnapped from her bed reveals never-before-told details of the largest investigation in Utah state history. Paced like a thriller, this true account moves between the parallel stories of the searchers and the abductor. Going beyond a mere eyewitness account, the book includes information culled from interviews with more than 150 people involved in the search and investigation, notes from family meetings, and memos from law enforcement officials.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The other side of the story

  • By Roberta Westwood on 2019-04-07

The other side of the story

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

Reviewed: 2019-04-07

After listening to Elizabeth Smart's own story of her abduction, captivity and rescue (My Story, by Elizabeth Smart), I was curious about the investigation into her disappearance. In Plain Sight was written by Elizabeth's uncle, the sometimes family spokesperson who played an active role in the efforts to find his niece. Aside of a little TMI on his own issues, it is quite an interesting story. The efforts to find Elizabeth were remarkable and, it seems, were instrumental in her discovery and rescue. If not for this, she could well have continued to remain hidden in plain sight, if she had survived. Thankfully that is not the case. I might prefer a telling of what happened from someone less involved, but this was a good listen nonetheless. It should definitely be read by anyone else seeking a missing loved one.

  • My Story

  • Written by: Elizabeth Smart, Chris Stewart
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth Smart
  • Length: 9 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 14

On June 5, 2002, 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart, the daughter of a close-knit Mormon family, was taken from her home in the middle of the night by religious fanatic, Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee. She was kept chained, dressed in disguise, repeatedly raped, and told she and her family would be killed if she tried to escape. After her rescue on March 12, 2003, she rejoined her family and worked to pick up the pieces of her life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Simply inspiring

  • By Roberta Westwood on 2019-04-07

Simply inspiring

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

Reviewed: 2019-04-07

I remember Elizabeth Smart's abduction when it happened, as well as the startling revelations when she was rescued, that she had spent time on the streets in her home town, behind a veil, controlled by her captors. Elizabeth tells the story of her kidnapping, her captivity and rescue with courage and unapologetic honesty. Its a compelling story, made especially meaningful by the telling in her own voice. How one moves on after such incredible trauma is fascinating to me. I am endlessly curious about why some crumble and stay in the grips of their trauma, while others ultimately emerge strong, resolute and determined to embrace their second chance at life. The latter certainly describes Elizabeth, and she tells it well.

  • The Power of Habit

  • Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
  • Written by: Charles Duhigg
  • Narrated by: Mike Chamberlain
  • Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,112
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 935
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 930

In The Power of Habit, award-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. Distilling vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives that take us from the boardrooms of Procter & Gamble to the sidelines of the NFL to the front lines of the civil rights movement, Duhigg presents a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • A bit disappointing to be honest (until Ch.11)

  • By Natasha on 2017-11-09

Cracking the code behind what triggers habits

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

Reviewed: 2019-04-07

This book surprised me in that it wasn't what I was seeking, but the sample audio clip was so compelling that I had to know the rest of the story. That need was satisfied, but then the book got into research and case studies about habits. It was starting to feel a little bit too textbooky for me (especially the corporate examples), but I'm glad I hung in there, as it got better again. The components of a habit ~ the trigger, the habitual action and the reward ~ were well explained. Don't skip the epilogue, as it has the best example of how to change a habit (very detailed and practical, based on the author cracking the code behind his afternoon cookie habit). I like the suggestion to study the habits you want to change as an observer, not expecting to overcome them right away. I will probably listen to this book again.

  • Duped

  • Double Lives, False Identities, and the Con Man I Almost Married
  • Written by: Abby Ellin
  • Narrated by: Therese Plummer
  • Length: 8 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 2

From Abby Ellin's first date with the commander, she was caught up in a whirlwind. Within six months, he'd proposed and they'd moved in together. But soon, his exotic stories of international espionage began to unravel. Finally, it all became clear: He was lying about who he was. After leaving him and sharing her story, she was floored to find out that her experience was far from unique. People everywhere, many of them otherwise sharp-witted and self-aware, are being deceived by their loved ones every day.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • How can a woman be duped?

  • By Roberta Westwood on 2019-04-06

How can a woman be duped?

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

Reviewed: 2019-04-06

I've always wondered how a woman could be duped by a man living a double life with another spouse/finance/family/life. Could I be duped? Of course, I think I couldn't, but that's what the duped women say too. So, this book satisfied some of that curiosity. Not completely, as the things that swept her off her feet probably wouldn't appeal to me, but that's not the point. The slimebucket figured her out and lied his way into her mind and her heart. I was more interested in her reflections later, when she got out of the relationship, and reflected on the warning signs she ignored. Fascinating stuff.

  • Looking for Madeleine

  • Written by: Anthony Summers, Robbyn Swan
  • Narrated by: Samantha Dakin
  • Length: 9 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2

Looking for Madeleine is the not-to-be-missed account that the online haters tried to silence. Its award-winning authors, Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan, feature in the Netflix series The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Twelve years on, as Scotland Yard and Portuguese investigators continue their work, the Yard is reportedly focusing on a specific suspect. A senior officer told the authors: 'The case is solvable'.   

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A tragic story, still a mystery

  • By Roberta Westwood on 2019-04-06

A tragic story, still a mystery

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

Reviewed: 2019-04-06

What happened to little Madeleine McCann remains a mystery after all these years. Snatched from bed in the Portugal resort bedroom she shared with her siblings (who slept through the whole thing) while her parents were out for dinner nearby (checking on the children at intervals), Madeleine's disappearance captured the world's attention. I was always curious about aspects of the case, especially after the many bizarre suspicions, sightings and suspects in the news. Without knowing what is or isn't true, I felt this telling of the story was balanced and largely neutral, and put things into perspective. Having said that, there are many more questions than answers, leaving me to wonder if the truth will ever be known.

  • Pictures at an Exhibition

  • Written by: Sara Houghteling
  • Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
  • Length: 8 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1

Set in a Paris darkened by World War II, Sara Houghteling's sweeping and sensuous debut novel tells the story of a son's quest to recover his family's lost masterpieces, looted by the Nazis during the occupation. Born to an art dealer and his pianist wife, Max Berenzon is forbidden from entering the family business for reasons he cannot understand. He reluctantly attends medical school, reserving his true passion for his father's beautiful and brilliant gallery assistant, Rose Clement.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The art world post WWII

  • By Roberta Westwood on 2019-04-06

The art world post WWII

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

Reviewed: 2019-04-06

I really enjoyed this book, and my only complaint was that it wasn't longer. Set in Paris on the heels of World War II, the story provides unique insights on what the city was like at the time when concentration camp horrors were just coming to light, and those who had gone underground for years were reemerging. Who had survived and who hadn't was still unknown. Owners were returning to the homes they fled only to find them occupied, abandoned after serving as Nazi facilities, or destroyed. I haven't encountered many books that captured this time so well. It is against this setting that the story is set. The son of an art dealer scours the city, looking for works that had belonged to his family, unearthing forgeries and family secrets as he goes. And, yes, re-finding his lost love and slowly learning of the lengths she went to save great works of art, disguised as an obedient clerk in the Louvre. A great listen for art and history fans.