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Kathi

Have re-discovered "quality time." Evenings listening to good books have replaced mindless tv watching. What a difference!

Member Since 2010

568
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 172 reviews
  • 372 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 72 purchased in 2014
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190

  • Thirty-Three Teeth: The Dr. Siri Investigations, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Colin Cotterill
    • Narrated By Clive Chafer
    Overall
    (97)
    Performance
    (82)
    Story
    (80)

    Feisty Dr. Siri Paiboun is no respecter of persons or party; at his age he feels he can afford to be independent. In this, the second novel in the series, he travels to Luang Prabang, where he communes with the deposed king who is resigned to his fate: it was predicted long ago. And he attends a conference of shamans called by the Communist Party to deliver an ultimatum to the spirits: obey party orders or get out.

    Kathi says: "Parts of this book were very interesting--not all"
    "Parts of this book were very interesting--not all"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Thirty-Three Teeth?

    Hard to mix a detective story with the fantastical. Loved the local lore, spiritual side, but not when it went so far as to be totally unbelievable. Yes, I think one was meant to find a way to tolerate that discomfort (of resolving the believable with the unbelievable--even the premise of the book, perhaps). But I'd rather have one thing or the other. That's just my taste--and probably no commentary on the skill of the author/narrator.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    I very much liked the passages into the spiritual history of the people of Laos. I liked it all till it got to a point where it just pushed it too far for my taste. (Might greatly appeal to others). I appreciate history and spirituality--just somehow did not come together for me here.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Thirty-Three Teeth?

    One at the end--do not want to be a spoiler--but a scene where a critical incident throughout the book came to a climax was too much of a step beyond my personal comfort zone.


    Any additional comments?

    I don't think that my discomfort with this book should keep other people from reading it. I am speaking more about my own tastes in reading. The idea of the book is actually pretty neat--bringing old world and new together--and a world that most westerners don't really know much about in any fashion. That part was actually fascinating. But there is a point beyond which I'm not very interested in suspending belief--if it is meant to be a mystery. That's not my cup of tea--but could very well be someone else's. I would recommend people try this book--and decide for themselves. It is different--I certainly will say that.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Murder in the House of the Muse: The Jeremy Wadlington-Smythe Mysteries

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Leni Bogat
    • Narrated By Dennis Kleinman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (7)

    In this delicious murder mystery we are introduced to Jeremy Wadlington-Smythe, a newcomer to the wonderful world of the whodunnit. In this novel, the first of the series, Jeremy, an accomplished orchestral conductor with a unique view of his mission, accepts an engagement to lead a major American symphony orchestra only to find himself in the midst of murder and mayhem.

    Kathi says: "Highly underwhelming"
    "Highly underwhelming"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm sorry. This book just got on my nerves. Thought it would be very interesting; surely it had all the ingredients to have been. Though there had been no Audible reviews, the Amazon (paper book) reviews made it sound good. And it probably is in that format.

    Almost from the start I felt the whole thing was very off-putting. It began okay--a wealthy backer considering how to bring talent to the city's orchestra and help audiences enjoy the music more and obviously pay more for their annual subscriptions. So they invite British conductor Jeremy Wadlington-Smythe to come to America to lead the orchestra. He is a conductor with the ability to bring music to an audience in very creative ways. He views it as a challenging opportunity to bring music to life in new ways. That's where the book starts going downhill. Even before the mystery part begins.

    Although there is a lot of "insider" sort of exposure to the backstage workings of how the creative moment seen by the audience is actually much more down and dirty deals, which has interest, to me that was overpowered by what was either bad writing or bad narration (I'm not sure which). It was artificial, pompous, stilted, and I cringed at the conversations between people that used such perfect grammar it was simply unrealistic. Average people simply don't converse so formally.

    Found it ironic that a book about creating music, beautiful sounds, wound up being one where the sounds of listening to it read aloud were just pretty awful. I gave it more stars than I personally felt it warranted because the people who had commented on the written book seemed to like it so much that I suspect it might be better in that version.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Dutch Blue Error

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By William G. Tapply
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    To solve a murder, Brady must find a copy of the world’s rarest stamp. It is a small paper square with uneven edges, dark blue in color, and bearing a smudged portrait of a long-dead king. It doesn’t look like much to Brady Coyne, but the stamp known as the Dutch Blue Error is one of a kind - a philatelic freak worth at least one million dollars. It is the prize possession of Ollie Weston, a wheelchair-bound Boston banker, and it is valuable enough that for its sake, several good men will die.

    Kathi says: "Good second book in series"
    "Good second book in series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After reading and enjoying William Tapply's first book, "Death at Charity's Point," decided to try this next in the series. I was not disappointed--it was a solidly good listen. On the other hand, in "The Dutch Blue Error," I didn't see the improvements in style, character presentations, etc that I had thought might start happening after the first book (in fact, it was a little confusing, because Coyne's personal assistant, who had just been introduced in the first book, was already--if temporarily--replaced by a new assistant, Zerk.)

    This is a pretty good series--the action moves, the plot is interesting and the characters believable. I intend to continue listening to these, as they hold my attention and I find myself quite involved in the story. But there could be room for improvement (in my opinion). They lack a little pizzaz somehow.

    In this book, Coyne is approached by one of his clients to try to negotiate for a rare stamp (known as the Dutch Blue Error) which leads to great danger for himself and Zerk. It was interesting that Tapply brought in an element of racial prejudice, but while it validated some of the social status of 1985 when this book was first published, it doesn't seem to have a lot to do with the actual story.

    What I really like about the book(s) so far is that they are good mysteries, with promise for the same going forward. Brady Coyne is a likable, laid back fellow who seems to sort of get drafted into detecting, since he prefers his actual job--being a lawyer to the very wealthy who doesn't get involved in terribly taxing assignments. The narrator gets the laid-back quality very well in his reading. While I can't say this is a block-buster, I will definitely say it is very good--and I plan to read more in the series.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Help the Poor Struggler

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Martha Grimes
    • Narrated By Steve West
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (40)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (37)

    Around bleak Dartmoor, where the Hound of the Baskervilles once bayed, three children have been brutally murdered. Now Richard Jury of Scotland Yard joins forces with a hot-tempered local constable named Brian Macalvie to track down the killer. The trail begins at a desolate pub, Help the Poor Struggler. It leads straight to the estate of Lady Jessica, a 10-year-old orphaned heiress who lives with her mysterious uncle and ever-changing series of governesses.

    Kathi says: "Grimes sets a more serious tone--good listen"
    "Grimes sets a more serious tone--good listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The last book or two in the series have seemed transitional in some ways, from the earlier books which were richly populated by all the eccentric characters from Long Piddleton and provided some comic relief in places during the crime detection. This book is almost all about Richard Jury (from Scotland Yard), his sidekick Sgt Wiggins, and an Inspector from another jurisdiction, Brian Macalvie. Melrose Plant plays a minor role, and the Long Piddleton characters meet briefly in the Jack and Hammer pub, so that we don't forget about them, but this is really a more serious and intense book than the earlier ones. There is both interesting tension among the characters who have experienced three recent murders and the haunting memory of one twenty years before for which the wrong person might have been convicted. The recent murders occur when he is getting out of prison.

    As usual, Grimes has used a pub as the title of her book, "HelpThe Poor Struggler," and this name may be said to sort of speak to the general situation, but doesn't play a central role in the book, except that Jury, Wiggins and Macalvie meet there to discuss the case. Here are three seemingly unrelated child murders and they must hurry to solve the case before another child gets murdered, in this case, the precocious Lady Jessica Ashcroft.

    I felt this book was an improvement from her last, but still greatly miss the lighter-hearted early books, where there was still Richard Jury, Who did more with Melrose Plant and his team of quirky friends. There was nice tension-reducing in that. However, this looks like a transition into more serious crime solving. Her most recent books (notwithstanding that they were all written in the 1980's), but recent in terms of where in the series they are placed, seem to be her effort to have less involvement of the silly characters and more straightforward mystery solving. I rather miss the Long Piddleton group, but know this is her own maturation as a writer most likely. I enjoy hearing this old series, which I read in the 80's. They are each a treat. Recommend.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Death at Charity's Point

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By William G. Tapply
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    Brady Coyne never meant to become the private lawyer to New England’s upper crust, but after more than a decade working for Florence Gresham and her friends, he has developed a reputation for discretion that the rich cannot resist. He is fond of Mrs. Gresham - unflappable, uncouth, and never tardy with a check - and he has seen her through her husband’s suicide and her first son’s death in Vietnam. But he has never seen her crack until the day her second son, George, leaps into the sea at jagged Charity’s Point.

    Kathi says: "Pretty good first book in a mystery series"
    "Pretty good first book in a mystery series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had never heard of William Tapply and his Brady Coyne series before finding it on Audible. Thought I'd take a chance, and was not disappointed. Coyne is an attorney to wealthy people, leading a good life, with few requirements he can't comfortably handle. Until he is hired by Florence Gresham to check on the story behind her son's suicide--a jump off Charity's Point into the sea. This brings him to the private school where her son taught history to look into the situation, thinking it will only be a matter of reassuring his client. He is quite wrong. What he begins to uncover is shocking, at several levels, and he becomes a reluctant detective, in spite of his attempts to say he's only a lawyer and doesn't know how to conduct investigations.

    If this is Tapply's first book, and if it continues to progress and get more fleshed out from here, it looks like this will be a series I'll read more of. It isn't a shoot-em-up, sit on the edge of your seat sort of book (which suits me just fine). It meanders along at a comfortable pace, with good narration that seemed to perfectly match the story quite well. There is action throughout the book, moving toward the final solution and wrap up . I found it very satisfying.

    One small thing, if this matters to anybody. It is not the length advertised. It ends 20 or 30 minutes before expected, and the last part is a free reading of the next book (something I've seen done in paper books, never on Audible.) Recommend, especially thinking this is a good first book, and seems to have a lot of promise.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Just One Evil Act: A Lynley Novel, Book 18

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Elizabeth George
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    Overall
    (290)
    Performance
    (255)
    Story
    (253)

    Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers is at a loss: The daughter of her friend Taymullah Azhar has been taken by her mother, and Barbara can't really help - Azhar had never married Angelina, and his name isn't on Hadiyyah's, their daughter's, birth certificate. He has no legal claim. Azhar and Barbara hire a private detective, but the trail goes cold. Azhar is just beginning to accept his soul-crushing loss when Angelina reappears with shocking news: Hadiyyah is missing, kidnapped from an Italian marketplace.

    Ruth Nielsen says: "Not a Fan Anymore!"
    "Good, but not up to standards of previous books"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've been feeling increasingly disappointed by Elizabeth George's books. It seems as though there was no such thing as a bad Lynley novel "back in the day." But lately, I find myself wondering if someone else is ghost-writing them for her. It feels like whatever held them together in the beginning--some of the chemistry between the characters, and the coherence of the plots--has slipped a little.

    That being said--in fairness felt I should be honest--they are still Lynley and Havers--and I've grown to love them so much over the years that even with a little fading of the original charm, they are still good reads (listens). In this one, we get more of a look at Barbara Havers--unmarried and childless, but who has grown very fond of her little neighbor over the course of several books. She learns with genuine anguish first that the child has been kidnapped by her mother, then that she has simply been kidnapped for real. That's a good plot line--and had many possibilities. But gosh, is the book ever long! Was there an editor on the job here? And then, while I enjoy books that have occasional foreign language comments inserted here & there--in this one (for completely baffling reasons) the author has characters speak whole conversations in Italian (with no translation provided). Someone who speaks the language might have really liked that--I don't, and I didn't.

    Davina Porter is a wonderful narrator--yet she lacked something in reading this. I imagined that even she didn't know what to do with the book. And, just to be clear--I am saying some things that another reader might want to know about before deciding on purchasing this book. But I still enjoyed it--as it is a (weaker) but still excellent read, due to the fact that the whole series, with the development of characters up till now, carries this book in ways that a stand-alone novel could not have done on it's own.

    I hope that Eliz George will be reading the comments of her long & faithful fans, and maybe do some better editing of the next Lynley novel--which even though this one was not quite up to par--I still anticipate with pleasure.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Advocate: The Advocate, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Teresa Burrell
    • Narrated By Summer Rona
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    For Sabre Orin Brown, life is good; she has it all...or would have, if only she could solve the mysterious disappearance of her brother. The search for her brother and her career as a juvenile-court attorney collide when she defends a nine-year-old whose father will go to any length to obtain custody. Sabre finds herself immersed in a case with too many unanswered questions. Her quest for the truth takes her coast to coast and five years into the past.

    Kathi says: "Close--but not quite a page turner"
    "Close--but not quite a page turner"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    For a first book in (what appears to be a series) this is not too bad. There is a lot of action--as Sabre Brown, an attorney who is a child advocate, takes on a case that will lead to strings of investigations that even become personal. I basically liked the book, don't think the narrator did anything to help it (even hindered in spots--think she hasn't really hit her stride here yet), but the outline was good. Sabre and her friend Bob are on the track of finding out why a young girl shouldn't be sent back to her father, an apparently wonderful parent. This investigation takes her across the country to Georgia to find some of the missing pieces, and some of the action takes place there.

    I guess I'd give this book a "wavy hand"--nothing to write home about, yet I did like the author using the angle of Sabre being a child advocate. That's an interesting area of the law--and one that has great human appeal. The story moves, the characters are well fleshed out, and I would listen to the next one in the series. I suspect this author is going to improve with each book--she has good potential. (Wouldn't mind a different narrator though).

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • I Am the Only Running Footman

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Martha Grimes
    • Narrated By Steve West
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (29)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (26)

    In a rainy ditch in a Devon wood, a hitchhiker is found dead. Almost a year later, on another rainy night, another murder; this time, however, the victim is found just outside a pub called I Am the Only Running Footman, near Berkeley Square in London’s fashionable Mayfair District. Devon policeman Brian Macalvie is convinced that the two murders are connected. And thus, in his eighth case, Richard Jury is drawn into the so-called Porphyria killings.

    Kathi says: "Another solidly good mystery in the series"
    "Another solidly good mystery in the series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Martha Grimes again takes us into the world of Richard Jury, Scotland Yard inspector, and his friend, Melrose Plant (who gave up his titled position to become an ordinary citizen--much to the frustration of his social climbing Aunt Agatha). This time, the story concerns the murder of a woman strangled by her own scarf , committed near a pub in fashionable Mayfair--"I Am The Only Running Footman". Very quickly, Brian Macalvie, head of the Devon Constabulary, connects this murder with a previous similar one committed in Devon. Thus they begin working together to solve the murders, aided by Jury's adorably hypochondriacal Sgt Wiggins (who, in addition to bringing in a comic element, is also rather smart). Plant is an unofficial excellent crime solver, so he is always quietly in on the background of the investigations.

    These books are probably more fully interesting if the reader has read the series in order--to have a deeper sense of the connections among the people who are the regular friends and co-workers of Jury and Plant, and understand their longtime connections to each other. But each also stands alone rather well. The good parts about this book are that it moves forward in ways that make sense, as far as deciding upon suspects, and the reader knows pretty much what they know. And also, the chemistry among the usual cast of Long Piddleton/London folks is, as always, the part that keeps these from being just unremarkable little mysteries. Jury's friends in London are more featured this book and they entertain as always. However Plant is staying in another pub, "The Mortal Man," which also leads to some comic relief.

    The difficulty with this book is that the author has brought in the usual folks, and also a few other characters who are not regulars in her books, in ways that lead the reader to believe a few of the latter play an important role in the whole thing--only to have them left hanging at the end (no pun intended, since this is a mystery :-) But she really does not tie things up terribly well--and one wonders what the purpose of certain characters was--except to pad out the story and make it the requisite 220 pages? That observation is strengthened by a sudden and rather weak ending. Steve West's narration is good, but the part he reads best is the delightfully funny Sgt. Wiggins. In the end, it is hard to be upset, since as always, Grimes writes consistently good mysteries that are fun to read or listen to.



    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Vicar of Wakefield

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs)
    • By Oliver Goldsmith
    • Narrated By Nicholas Farrell
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    First published in 1766 and a perennial favorite since then, The Vicar of Wakefield is built around the naïve but loveable figure of Dr Primrose. He and his family live in rural bliss until disaster threatens to destroy their happiness: abduction, impoverishment and betrayal combine to lay them low, but a surprising figure brings hope when all seems lost.

    Kathi says: "Well narrated classic novel"
    "Well narrated classic novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Vicar of Wakefield is a delightful book (from the late 18th or early 19th century), by Oliver Goldsmith (here narrated by Nicolas Farrell) that has held up as an engaging melodrama over a couple of centuries. The story concerns the Rev. Doctor Primrose and his family as they go from fortune to ruin, from living well to living precariously--typical of many stories of that time. If it seems a little predictable to us now, I suspect it was cherished by those who were reading it for the first time.

    The story shows Rev. Primrose having to find ways to manage one crisis after another--whether losing his income, having his daughter fall into a bad situation, or people who are not what they seem. Throughout it all, he appears always to hold on to his optimism, indeed, others have likened him to (the Book of) Job in the Bible. Although less sophisticated than most of what we read these days, the story still is a good listen--and a reminder of what kind of stories used to excite an audience. (And by the way, there is much to take from it for our current times as well--certain human characteristics don't change that much). There is good tension among the characters, and certainly everything moves quickly--from one dilemma to the next. The Rev. Primrose and other characters are like the players in many novels of the time, in that they are, for the most part, rather two-dimensional.

    Nicolas Farrell has done a very good job of bringing a fresh reading to us--and that is easily one of the best parts of this recording. If you are just yearning to have a fun read from the classics, this is quite good.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Chiefs

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Stuart Woods
    • Narrated By Mark Hammer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1306)
    Performance
    (736)
    Story
    (734)

    In 1919, Delano, Georgia, appoints its first chief of police. Honest and hardworking, the new chief is puzzled when young men start to disappear. But his investigation is ended by the fatal blast from a shotgun. Delano's second chief-of-police is no hero, yet he is also disturbed by what he sees in the missing-persons bulletins. In 1969, when Delano's third chief takes over, the unsolved disappearances still haunt the police files.

    Old Hippy says: "Absolutely Terrific!"
    "This novel is so much more than just a mystery!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Originally bought this thinking it would just be another average mystery. Boy was I ever wrong! There is a mystery that winds through the entire book, but it seems to have the function of providing a framework for a stupendously good novel rather than something simply written for mystery/crime readers.

    This is a book that spans 1919-1963, in the small town of Delano, GA, and spotlights several generations of the people who lived there. Among them are three men who happened to sequentially be the chiefs of police, and all were looking at the same troubling situation. That would by itself have made a very good crime story. But this is so much more! Here is history, politics, issues of race relations, and an almost saga-like story of a family (the Lees).

    Stuart Woods captured the essence of human relations in this book in a manner that is uncommonly good. By the end, I felt I knew these people so well that they had become very real and alive to me. He has indeed managed to convey the depths of human emotions and intentions, spanning the best of human nature to the worst.

    As good as this book is, it would not have been as interesting to read (I think) as it was to listen to the late Mark Hammer narrate it. This was some of the most expressive and engaging narration I have ever listened to on Audible books. His sense of timing, his vocal inflections, accents, and range of voice styles was incredibly good! I might listen to this again, just to hear his amazing narration. This was one of those books that left me feeling the five star rating system is totally inadequate to express the excellence of this story. The best I can say is that I have listened to hundreds of books, and this probably ranks in the top 5 I've ever heard. Highly recommend!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Death at Victoria Dock: A Phryne Fisher Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Kerry Greenwood
    • Narrated By Stephanie Daniel
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (262)
    Performance
    (179)
    Story
    (181)

    The devastating Phryne Fisher is under fire again in her fourth mystery. A very young man with muddied hair, a pierced ear and a blue tattoo lies cradled in Phryne's arms. But sadly it's not another scene of glorious seduction – this time it's death. The Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher, beautifully dressed in loose trousers, a cream silk shirt and a red-fox fur has just had her windscreen shot out inches in front of her divine nose.

    Kathi says: "Phryne, Phabulous Phryne!"
    "Phryne, Phabulous Phryne!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Phryne is back--maybe better to say, Stephanie Daniel, the narrator who IS Phryne to those of us who listen to these delightful books--returns to her adoring listeners (of whom I count myself one for sure!)

    Here Phryne is working a double mystery. One comes about because she is present when a young man has been shot, she holds him in her arms as he dies, and thereafter intends to avenge his murder. (Partly because he was so "young and pretty.") And when Phryne intends something--she does it. This is really the main story in the book--the one with all the action, but there is a secondary mystery as well--this one involving a young girl who has gone missing. A quieter part of the story, but very touching, and a way to bring in the assistance of Phryne's two adopted girls.

    The thing about these narrated productions is the quality of them from beginning to end. They include wonderful 20's style music, some of the best narration of any series I know, and a general sense of fun and engagement, despite there is a serious story going on. Phryne can be serious--but she alternates all her work with a lifestye that is so glamorous and romantic, that it tends to help the whole story keep a light tone.

    One tiny remark--and this is my pet peeve about many series, where the author reveals things that have occurred in past books--it happened again here. Suggest you read these from the beginning--even though, if you really don't care about that, this will stand on it's own just fine. Wish there were more stars to give to Stephanie Daniel, who just "is" Phryne Fisher to me. Highly recommend for a great listen!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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