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Roberta Westwood

  • 56
  • reviews
  • 29
  • helpful votes
  • 57
  • ratings
  • Aliens of Extraordinary Ability

  • Written by: Maeve Higgins, Shaina Feinberg, Cristela Alonzo, and others
  • Length: 4 hrs and 52 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2

Funny, sad and brilliantly human, this timely original series follows five friends – lovable but sometimes infuriating - as they make a life for themselves in New York City. The tie that binds them? They are all immigrants, struggling to find their place in an increasingly hostile America.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • awesome

  • By Mary Gakii Mbaka on 2019-08-12

Transported me

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

Reviewed: 2019-08-04

What a lovely little audio drama. It felt like a docu drama. At first, it was simply entertaining, then I became aware of how the lives of these 'illegal immigrants' parallel the lives of people today. The ups and downs, the joys and the fears. Always the fears. Although set in New York City, and our treatment of immigrants is different in Canada, it gave me new compassion for those establishing new lives here. And empathy for refugees and immigrants everywhere. Listen and let Aliens of Extraordinary Abilities transport you...

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The President Is Missing

  • Written by: Bill Clinton, James Patterson
  • Narrated by: Dennis Quaid, January LaVoy, Peter Ganim, and others
  • Length: 12 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 181
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 169
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 166

The White House is the home of the president of the United States, the most guarded, monitored, closely watched person in the world. So how could a US president vanish without a trace? And why would he choose to do so? An unprecedented collaboration between President Bill Clinton and the world's best-selling novelist, James Patterson, The President Is Missing is a breathtaking story from the pinnacle of power.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Narration Dismal

  • By jansly on 2018-06-23

A bubble escape story

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

Reviewed: 2019-07-07

I wanted to read this book simply because I thought it was so interesting that a former President of the United States had written a mystery with one of the best authors of the day. Who else would know about that secret passage, or could describe the details of a famed room in so much detail? So the book was fascinating in that regard. The story was pretty good, but what I came away with most was a sense of what it must be like to live in the POTUS bubble, and the freedom of driving away from the White House, all alone, in a disguise, and entering a cafe or ball park and not being recognized. The current occupant aside, I imagine its a fantasy of any President, so it was intriguing to hear how he must have imagined such an escape unfolding. Lots of drama follows, but it was less entertaining to me than the disappearance itself.

  • The Secret Cyclist

  • Real Life as a Rider in the Professional Peloton
  • Written by: The Secret Cyclist
  • Narrated by: Ben Eagle
  • Length: 6 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1

He's ridden for World Tour teams for 10 years. He's achieved top 10 finishes in Grand Tours. He likes coffee. These are just a few details about the professional rider who wants you to know what the view looks like from the centre of the peloton. What do the riders really make of Team Sky? How does the pay structure work? Why should you never trust a kit endorsement from a professional? Is doping still an issue? The Secret Cyclist tackles the big questions head-on, revealing a side to cycling that fans have never seen before.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Secrets without a lot of drama

  • By Roberta Westwood on 2019-07-07

Secrets without a lot of drama

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

Reviewed: 2019-07-07

A great listen, and easy to digest over a day or two of the TDF. Lots of recent relevant observations, including happenings in the 2018 Tour de France. Having read several books about professional cycling, and having followed the ups and downs of doping and scandals, not much would surprise me, and nothing here did. Instead, I got a refreshingly positive inside look at the life of a professional cyclist, one who has stayed grounded and clean over the years. But it's not bland. Our secret cyclist has strong opinions and shares them with conviction. Insights on other riders relate mainly to the stories behind and around crashes and controversies, but are respectful of others privacy. It's not a tell-all, it's a tell-some. Good choice of narrator, it sounded like it was the rider himself.

  • Prisoner

  • My 544 Days in an Iranian Prison - Solitary Confinement, a Sham Trial, High-Stakes Diplomacy, and the Extraordinary Efforts It Took to Get Me Out
  • Written by: Jason Rezaian
  • Narrated by: Jason Rezaian
  • Length: 9 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4

The dramatic memoir of the journalist who was held hostage in a high-security prison in Tehran for 18 months and whose release - which almost didn’t happen - became a part of the Iran nuclear deal. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An incredible tale

  • By Roberta Westwood on 2019-05-04
  • Prisoner
  • My 544 Days in an Iranian Prison - Solitary Confinement, a Sham Trial, High-Stakes Diplomacy, and the Extraordinary Efforts It Took to Get Me Out
  • Written by: Jason Rezaian
  • Narrated by: Jason Rezaian

An incredible tale

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

Reviewed: 2019-05-04

Jason Rezaian had a story to tell, but it's not the one he expected. The man was, and is, a journalist, and he was held without cause in an Iranian prison. At first his wife, also a journalist, was also held, but she was released after a relatively short period of time. Telling his story in his own voice, Jason shares the long stretches of solitude he experienced, the surprising (to me) stretches held in a prison house of sorts with another prisoner, the hope, the dashed hopes, and all the false starts before he was eventually released. It's a compelling story.

  • I'm Feeling Lucky

  • The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59
  • Written by: Douglas Edwards
  • Narrated by: Douglas Edwards
  • Length: 16 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19

Comparing Google to an ordinary business is like comparing a rocket to an Edsel. No academic analysis or bystanders account can capture it. Now Doug Edwards, Employee Number 59, offers the first inside view of Google, giving readers a chance to fully experience the bizarre mix of camaraderie and competition at this phenomenal company. I'm Feeling Lucky captures for the first time the unique, self-invented, yet profoundly important culture of the world's most transformative corporation.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Word wizard

  • By Amazon Customer on 2018-07-18

The early days of Google, from an insider

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

Reviewed: 2019-05-04

I enjoyed this account of the early days of Google, from one of the earliest hired employees. It was a stage of the company's history that could only be told by someone who worked there at the time. Douglas Edwards was well suited to the task, as he is both a writer and a non-engineer, enabling him to give the rest of us non-engineer types a sense of the happenings. As one of those set up for life from IPO, I appreciated the time he took to tell the story. I have a feeling the history post his departure won't be quite as fascinating.

  • Room 23: Surviving a Brain Hemorrhage

  • Written by: Kavita Basi
  • Narrated by: Kavita Basi
  • Length: 5 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1

Kavita Basi had a wonderful life - a job she enjoyed, a wonderful family, and seemingly perfect health. Then an unexpected event took place and turned her entire world upside down. In Room 23, Kavita chronicles her time suffering from a subarachnoid hemorrhage - bleeding in the area of the skull surrounding the brain. With this diagnosis, Kavita went from being healthy and happy to battling a condition with a 50 percent mortality rate.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A brave account

  • By Roberta Westwood on 2019-05-04

A brave account

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

Reviewed: 2019-05-04

Until now I had not thought about what indicators someone might have of a brain hemorrhage, as the person experiencing it. Kavita Basi took me there, inside her head, as she underwent an assault of excruciating headaches, and her world fell apart. This is an amazing story of recovery, and lessons on the fragility of life.

  • The Mueller Report

  • Written by: The Washington Post
  • Narrated by: Matt Zapotosky, Rosalind S. Helderman, Marc Fisher, and others
  • Length: 19 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10

Listen to the findings of the Special Counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, complete with accompanying analysis by the Post reporters who’ve covered the story from the beginning. One of the most urgent and important investigations ever conducted, the Mueller inquiry focuses on Donald Trump, his presidential campaign, and Russian interference in the 2016 election, and draws on the testimony of dozens of witnesses and the work of some of the country’s most seasoned prosecutors.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Dry at times, but fascinating

  • By Roberta Westwood on 2019-05-04

Dry at times, but fascinating

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

Reviewed: 2019-05-04

Of course I listened to The Mueller Report, why wouldn't I? It's a looong listen, but very complete. In addition to a verbatim reading of the report itself (complete with many 'redacted, conflict with ongoing matter' hiccups), The Washington Post provides context and a timeline. They also provide some analysis, but this is clearly separated. Some interesting background on Mueller vs Trump towards the end too. The multiple voices was interesting, presumably used in order to get the darn thing read and produced in a timely manner.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Quintland Sisters

  • A Novel
  • Written by: Shelley Wood
  • Narrated by: Tavia Gilbert
  • Length: 11 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 28
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27

Reluctant midwife Emma Trimpany is just 17 when she assists at the harrowing birth of the Dionne quintuplets: five tiny miracles born to French farmers in hardscrabble Northern Ontario in 1934. Emma cares for them through their perilous first days, and when the government decides to remove the babies from their francophone parents, making them wards of the British king, Emma signs on as their nurse. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautiful

  • By Anonymous User on 2019-03-21

A brilliant approach to this story

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

Reviewed: 2019-04-23

As a Canadian, I have long known about the Dionne quintuplets, and have thought it a sad and disturbing story. In recent years I have heard bit of news about the surviving sisters and their difficulties later in life. So, I wanted to read an account, to understand more. I was initially hesitant about a fictional account but Shelley Wood has done the story justice ~ and it really works. The history of what actually happened has been woven into the fictional story of a young nurse who was with the girls from birth to girlhood. It's rather clever, and a great listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Escape From Jonestown

  • Written by: Laurence Bouvard
  • Length: 2 hrs and 20 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 65
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 59
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 60

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.