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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

808
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 226 reviews
  • 428 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 193 purchased in 2014
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201

  • Nothing Gold Can Stay: Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Ron Rash
    • Narrated By Alexander Cendese, Robert Petkoff, Prentice Onayemi, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (19)

    PEN/Faulkner Award finalist and New York Times best-selling author Ron Rash turns again to Appalachia to capture lives haunted by violence and tenderness, hope and fear, in unforgettable stories that span from the Civil War to the present day. In the title story, two drug-addicted friends return to the farm where they worked as boys to steal their former boss' gruesomely unusual war trophies. In "The Trusty", which first appeared in The New Yorker, a prisoner sent to fetch water for his chain gang tries to sweet-talk a farmer's young wife into helping him escape, only to find that she is as trapped as he is.

    FanB14 says: "24 Karat Collection"
    "Simply stunning!"
    Overall
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    Story
    Where does Nothing Gold Can Stay rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the finest!


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I've never listened to a book of short stories before, and with multiple narrators, it feels more like theatre (with imagination filling in the visual).

    I feel so humble in the face of this work--a truly amazing collection of words and human insights--to try to use mere words to praise it. Whatever I can say feels inadequate to express the excellence of this book of stories. It has been a remarkable experience to listen to it.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a collection of stories, taking place in Appalachia, drawing word pictures of the inner minds and souls of people facing challenges, often with life or death consequences before them. This is a work I wish I could process with a book club, because almost every word is poetic, metaphors for the desperate choices being faced. I wish I could sit with the author and hear his imaginings about this work. I would love to lace this review with some of my own thoughts and feelings about some of the passages that are so moving I want to listen again and again to get the full impact, but that seems a bit out of place in a review. I can say that the author has wonderful insights into human desires, the creation of meaning they make of situations in which they find themselves, and the ends they will go to to achieve their fantasized goals.

    For instance, In one story, a character wants to stand in "two states at one time," foreshadowing her transition from life to death, but also the transition of the diver from a more shallow life as a biology teacher (still theme of life) to someone who has glimpsed death in a new way which has deepened his own existence.

    I think this is an amazing work, read by narrators that bring the author's words to life in a manner that left me feeling just inside the minds of the characters. Highly recommend!

    0 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Unsolicited: A Booklover's Mystery, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Julie Kaewert
    • Narrated By William Neenan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    From best seller to death-dealer, London's Plumtree Press has a world-class best seller of a novel. And the sequel is earmarked to get this old family firm out of the red. But its anonymous author, known to Plumtree only as "Arthur", has apparently vanished, leaving the crucial last five chapters undelivered. Alex already knows they reveal the identity of the characters who smuggled British children to America during World War II. But, of course, this is fiction. So when a lead critic previews the book as a nonfiction exposé, Alex is shocked.

    Kathi says: "Pretty good, but gets tedious in places"
    "Pretty good, but gets tedious in places"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I took a chance on getting this (first book) in a series, after having previously read a later one out of order, and thinking maybe I found it kind of lackluster was because I didn't have the background the first books would have provided. So it turns out that that was sort of correct--I liked this one considerably better than the other one, but it still had a quality of seeming like an over-long listen.

    Alex Plumtree is desperate to keep his publishing house going, and is depending upon a mystery writer whom he knows as "Arthur" to provide him with the remainder of a best selling novel about kidnapped children. Except there is beginning to be suspicion that this might not be fictional, but true. Furthermore, where is Arthur? He, and the missing end of the manuscript have disappeared. So it is a really good setup for a book. Dangerous things begin to occur and Alex is beginning to wonder who is trustworthy?

    I think two things kept this book from being more interesting (to me). For one thing, it seemed longer than necessary, but more importantly, I didn't feel as if the characters (however well drawn they were) were that interesting (some more than others). The other concern was that Alex is portrayed as a rather young man, someone who is physically fit and has love interest, but my ears heard the narration making him sound more like an older man in the part, which left a disconnect in my listening experience somehow. But that is only my own opinion, others may not hear it that way. The premise of the book is interesting, and it has lots of places that are interesting, but it just seemed to be a little too stretched out somehow. Could have used a bit more editing. Better than I had expected, less engaging than I had hoped for. And I did like it better than the other one in the series I read previously.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Presumed Innocent

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Scott Turow
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1120)
    Performance
    (568)
    Story
    (574)

    Presumed Innocent brings to life our worst nightmare: that of an ordinary citizen facing conviction for the most terrible of crimes. Prosecutor Rusty Sabich is transformed from accuser to accused when he is handed an explosive case - that of the brutal murder of a woman who happens to be his former lover.

    Glen says: "Excellent Book, Gripping Entertainment!"
    "Great courtroom thriller; really great narration!"
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    This is Scott Turow's first book in what I understand will become a long line of good legal mysteries. Can't think what to say about this book that hasn't already been said by everyone else. It's old now (written in 1987) but I am just getting started on his books, which I had always heard were wonderful thrillers but somehow missed reading or seeing the films. This did not disappoint in any way, and didn't lack anything for being slightly ahead of cell phones and electronics, which have revolutionized mystery books forever. In fact, I rather prefer the books that are still pre-computerized and rely on old fashioned ingenuity.

    Rusty Sabich is a prosecutor in a mid-west state who is also working to try to get his boss re-elected. When that doesn't happen, and Nico Della Guardia wins the election, he realizes that things will change. But he had not banked on a colleague getting murdered, and himself getting charged with it. A great deal of the book takes place during the trial, and is quite interesting with lots of twists, turns and surprises. The story moves well, and even though I had assumed some things about the ending, I actually had not figured it out.

    This book has similarities to the exciting page-turner John Grishom style of writing, but I believe it preceded those, so this may be the trend-setter here for a lot more subsequently done in similar style. I must say a little about the narrator. I found his ability to do voices to be superb! He shifted back and forth between a lot of different people and it was always clear who was speaking. He did a particularly good job with the voice of Sandy Stern, very light, gentle, yet assertive in the courtroom. If you are like me, one of the dozen or so people on the planet who missed the book or movie of "Presumed Innocent," I can strongly recommend this book. I really enjoyed listening to it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Silent Woman

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Edward Marston
    • Narrated By David Thorpe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    When fire destroys their London theatre, Lord Westfield’s players must seek out humbler venues in the countryside. But company manager Nicholas Bracewell is distracted by a shocking tragedy: a mysterious messenger from his native Devon is murdered by poison. Though the messenger is silenced, Nicholas understands what he must do: Return to his birthplace and reconcile some unfinished business of the past.

    Kathi says: "Trickery, treachery, murder, thieves, plague..."
    "Trickery, treachery, murder, thieves, plague..."
    Overall
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    Villains galore in this historically interesting, though kind of light and fun reading, in Edward Marsten's book, "The Silent Woman." To my dismay, thinking I'd try something outside of his 19th century Railroad mystery series, I accidentally began with the 6th book in his series about Elizabethan actors. I say dismay, only because I prefer starting series from the beginning. I think it worked out okay, as the characters are well-drawn, and it didn't seem that the author assumed the reader knew who they all were.

    That said, this was a romp through the apparently perilous times of approximately 16th century England as a troupe of actors, displaced by fire in their regular theater, seek audiences elsewhere. Along the way, Nicholas Bracewell realizes that someone bringing him a message from his past in Devon has been killed. So he decides to go there to face some of his own history. As they travel together, the group meets everything short of a plague of locusts (though they do run into the Plague, the illness, in Oxford).

    One man does not want Bracewell to get to Devon, and so all the cloak and dagger exploits begin. In a run of almost unending mishaps, where each side tries to outsmart the other, every device the author can think of is employed to create what almost has the feel of melodrama, so predictable does the string of setbacks and dangerous escapades occur. I liked it, but I think it is written in a way that would also appeal to young people. The narrator uses a slightly exaggerated voice in places, suitable to the dramatic atmosphere being created.

    In theory, the episodes of Nicholas and the men moving toward Devon vs those trying to stop them could have continued forever. While fun, they felt a little as though they were meant to keep the story going longer and longer and occasionally just felt a bit silly. But this is a neat book to listen to if you want something that has historical interest, action every step of the way, intrigue and villainy throughout, and a well-written book. Just don't try to take it too seriously. Recommend.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Silver Locomotive Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Edward Marston
    • Narrated By Sam Dastor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    An exquisite silver coffee-pot in the shape of a locomotive is on its way to Cardiff in the care of silversmith, Hugh Kellow. When the coffee-pot is stolen and a murder is committed, Inspector Colbeck and Sergeant Leeming are called in to investigate.

    Kathi says: "Fun when you need a light read with good mystery"
    "Fun when you need a light read with good mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
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    Edward Marston has written several series of historical books. This series takes place in Victorian 1850's, with the early British Railway system as the background. If you are looking for a deep, intense read, look elsewhere. But I love listening to these as something like a fun palate cleanser after listening to heavier, more intense books. They are predictable, almost "melodrama-light," but always a pleasure to listen to! Especially the marvelous and unique narration of Sam Dastor.

    Inspector Colbeck and Sgt Leeming are called from England to Cardiff, Wales, to investigate the murder of a young silversmith's assistant, who has carried a strange, specially commissioned silver coffeepot in the shape of a locomotive to Wales. On the train, he meets people from a theatre who talk him into showing it to them. Will they be the culprits?

    There are also some entertaining local characters of some social standing who are less than likable. Should we suspect them of the murder? Clifford Tompkins and his greedy wife (who had ordered the silver pot) are amusing, even funny, in their total lack of sensitivity. It is in reading these two characters that Sam Dastor's Indian background peeks through, and I love it (even if it doesn't fully fit the characters). Oh, did I mention? Sam Dastor is one of my very favorite narrators! There is also the love interest for Inspector Colbeck--his beloved, Madeleine Andrews, and things get interesting there, also.

    If you want a crime novel with a lot of vivid violence and filled with language you need to cover you eyes/ears to read/hear--look elsewhere. But if you, like myself, occasionally need a change of pace to take a break from heavier stuff, then give this whole series a try. It is fun, meant to be taken lightly, and well-written with creative characters and information about the time and place, and good mysteries to figure out. Oh yes, and as I mentioned above, read by my *favorite*--Sam Dastor--with his wonderful and incomparable reading voice. :-)

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Someone Else's Skin: Detective Inspector Marnie Rome, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Sarah Hilary
    • Narrated By Justine Eyre
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    DI Marnie Rome knows this better than most. Five years ago, her family home was the scene of a shocking and bloody crime that left her parents dead and her foster brother in prison. Marnie doesn't talk much about her personal life - not even her partner, DS Noah Jake, knows much about Marnie's past. Now Marnie and Noah are tackling a case of domestic violence and a different brand of victim. Hope Proctor stabbed her husband in desperate self-defense. A crowd of witnesses in the domestic violence shelter where she's staying saw it happen, but none of them are telling quite the same story.

    Kathi says: "Well-written book about disturbing social crimes"
    "Well-written book about disturbing social crimes"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Sarah Hilary has written a book that deals with difficult to hear about topics of domestic abuse. Detective Marnie Rome & her partner Noah Jake have come to an abused shelter to interview a woman about an incident she was involved in--but upon their arrival, another crime is occurring there they must respond to. What starts out as an ordinary attempt to do an interview blows up into a story that leads into unexpected and dark places.

    This book is a challenge to read/hear, in one way, because the author has taken on issues of domestic abuse from a variety of perspectives, and made it clear that this is a social issue people should pay more attention to. There is no doubt that any of the events of the book could actually happen. Being involved in this investigation also leads Marnie to have to confront some horrible ghosts of her own past.

    The writing is very good, but the reason I only gave it 4 stars instead of 5, is that the various threads of the book seem to be unrelenting chases after the criminals, with almost no other, lighter story that might bring some relief to the reader/listener at times. Even when the story does shift to Marnie as she is developed as a character, it remains very intense. This entire book is a reminder of the depths of pain and abuse humans can inflict upon each other. Don't get this wrong--this book needed to be written; people need to be aware of what can take place behind closed doors anywhere. But I felt it was intense from beginning to end--with almost no let-up.

    I only gave 4 stars to Justine Eyre's narration because her voice is very soft. I listen on my tablet, and could scarcely hear it--I finally had to hook it up to an external speaker. So this might not be a problem for everybody, but it was for me. I'm not sure why the editing didn't correct for this before it was released. This is truly a very good book--I just wanted to explain why I didn't give it all 5 stars (which it probably deserves in many ways--the writing, itself, is excellent, but I found it hard to listen to constant, unending situations of violence).

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Prisoner's Base

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Rex Stout
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (99)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (46)

    When Priscilla Eads, heiress to the fortune of a cotton towel company, implores Nero Wolfe to sort through a case buried in dirty laundry, Wolfe says no. But hours later, Mrs. Eads and her maid get strangled, and the stories of the suspects don't quite wash. To the dismay of a greedy board of directors and Mrs. Eads' gold-digging ex-husband, the astute Wolfe decides to scrub away the stain of murder.

    Kathi says: "Classic Nero Wolfe--always a fun read!"
    "Classic Nero Wolfe--always a fun read!"
    Overall
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    There is no such thing as a "bad" Nero Wolfe, the originals, as written by Rex Stout. But given there is a very long list of books covering about 35 years, some are better than others. This kind of falls into the "Others" category. I still loved it, as I love them all, but this just isn't quite as great as some. It's still good, though :-)

    A young woman comes to the brownstone and asks to stay there for a week. Archie would, in fact, let her do that. But then after speaking with an attorney who explains to Wolfe why he wants her found, Wolfe decides it is not a good idea to give her asylum or get involved in any of it. After that, things go south, murder happens. Wolfe does not want to get mixed in it, but Archie feels some personal concern for all that happens. So he goes out on his own. Only his arrest finally brings Wolfe back into the case and things proceed as usual (with Wolfe solving the case in the traditional way of bringing everyone into his office together.)

    I like that it holds to Stout's formulaic process that is itself part of the Nero Wolfe mysteries, and leaves readers happily able to predict the way the thing will play itself out (though not the murderer). I thought the part about Wolfe's initial refusal to take the case was a bit odd, since it was the kind he would typically have taken (but it had to be that way, for subsequent events to take place). The thing that was the most disconcerting was the production itself. The narrator is okay, but the editing or sound quality is not up to the usual standards of most Audible books. There were places where it was obvious that there had been voice patching, because suddenly the narrator's voice would be lower, or deeper, or louder for a paragraph or two, then back to the flow again. And it was not always easy to discern one voice from another.

    In most series books, it can get wearisome for the author to hold to a tight pattern of the way things will play out. But there are several writers (Agatha Christie and Rex Stout come to mind) where the reader enjoys having the pattern be predictable, though not the killer! If you love Nero and Archie, you will enjoy this book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Ambassador's Wife: Inspector Samuel Tay, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Jake Needham
    • Narrated By Steve Marvel
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    When bodies of American women start turning up, Singapore CID calls in Inspector Tay. It's a high profile case, and he's the best they have. Then why is it, Tay soon begins to wonder, that nobody seems to want him to find the women's killer? Not the FBI, not the American ambassador, not even his bosses at CID. When international politics takes over a murder case, the truth is the next victim.

    Kathi says: "Not what I'd hoped for"
    "Not what I'd hoped for"
    Overall
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    This is (I think the first book) in a series I have not read before. I don't know--others might like it much better than I do. Reading the blurb about it--I was sure it was going to be really exciting. It has all the ingredients--intrigue, murder, exotic orient setting, Inspector Tay--who (as he is described and as he behaves in the book) is the best part of the book.

    Yet, I'm about 4 hours into the book, and have felt nothing but boredom. Not sure how that is--can't fault the narration, but even with all the pieces that should be making this a truly fascinating story, I'm not fascinated--I'm having trouble even keeping my attention on the book. I think the story is just so stretched out, that I keep waiting for something new and interesting to occur, but there is just so much filler that it's a long wait.

    Guess I'm going to just cut my losses on this one. I think it's kind of cheating to write a review without finishing a whole book. I understand that some books take this long to get set up. But this has not seemed like the establishment of the basics--it just drags. I'm sorry. Bought it during this great sale going on, and now I pretty much wish I hadn't. HOPEFULLY other people will love this book. But I don't.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Silver Spire: A Nero Wolfe Mystery, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Robert Goldsborough
    • Narrated By L J Ganser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    Staten Island would be forgettable were it not for the gleaming Tabernacle of the Silver Spire, where thousands of congregants come every Sunday to hear the sermons of Barnabas Bay. Millions more tune in on television, giving the good Reverend international fame, and a chance to spread the gospel from New York City’s harbor all the way to South Korea. But threatening notes have been appearing in the collection bag, suggesting that one of the faithful has decided it’s time this good shepherd get the hook.

    Kathi says: "Nero and Archie return! 4 & 1/2 stars--not quite 5"
    "Nero and Archie return! 4 & 1/2 stars--not quite 5"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Robert Goldsborough has done a pretty good job re-creating The Nero Wolfe mystery series. I've truly enjoyed reading them. Mainly, the only thing that gives a slight discomfort is that Goldsborough has brought them out of the 1940-1960 time frame they were originally in to a more modern time (not sure when, exactly, but they now use computers). This would make them both be retirement age, or beyond, but Archie is still his eternally young self, and Nero never changes anyway. Suppose he actually is timeless :-)

    In this book, Wolfe is originally approached by someone from a huge mega-church who is seeking help in finding someone who is anonymously putting warning notes into the collection bag that threaten the minister, Barnaby Bay. Because of Wolfe's general antipathy toward organized religion he simply refuses to take on the case. So Archie suggests that one of the men who does investigations for them, Fred Durkin, be employed for the job instead. Unfortunately, someone gets shot with Fred Durkin's gun after he dares to suggest that the notes are an inside job, and he is arrested. This, finally, gets Wolfe motivated to take the job because he won't let anything happen to those he cares about.

    I have enjoyed listening to this series. In general Goldsborough has done a surprisingly good job of pulling Wolfe and Goodwin onto fresh pages. He has kept the original cast of characters, and in general, the same formula for the books that worked so well for Rex Stout. And I've read all the originals several times, so I think I'm a good critic. Generally, I have also enjoyed LJ Ganser's performance of them. This book is not, in my opinion, quite as good in either writing or narration as the others I have listened to, though still good. Wish I could have given 4 & 1/2 stars to each.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Shadow of Doubt: A Kali O'Brien Legal Mystery, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Jonnie Jacobs
    • Narrated By Eleanor Walker-Jenkins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (3)

    Attorney Kali O'Brien returns to her hometown of Silver Creek, where her childhood friend Jannine is the prime suspect in the murder of her husband. Kali is convinced Jannine innocent until the evidence begins to mount. Secrets past and present confound Kali's investigation. This is the first in the Kali O'Brien series of legal mysteries.

    Kathi says: "Good enough story, but totally predictable"
    "Good enough story, but totally predictable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Kali O'Brien is an attorney who has come to her hometown, following her father's death. She remains there for a while, planning to deal with the house and estate and his dog. However, almost as quickly as she reunites with old friends, one of them gets murdered, and his wife, Kali's best friend growing up, is under suspicion for his death. So she gets involved in the case, in spite of her own reservations.

    The story is good, the characters pretty well drawn, but there were very few unexpected moments. I guess it might fit into the category of cozy, and it was an easy read (listen). I could listen to another in the series, but I wouldn't expect it to be overly exciting (at least, this one wasn't). That's not necessarily a bad thing, but if you're looking for an edge of your seat page-turner, this isn't it.

    The best part about it is probably the interpersonal parts--the relationships that get re-established and/or created were fun. And clearly Jonnie Jacobs is setting it all up for a longer series. The only thing I was not crazy about was the narration. Not bad, but the narrator read in a way that made these adults sound terribly young, and she read rather slowly.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Eyes on You: A Novel of Suspense

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Kate White
    • Narrated By Abby Craden
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    After losing her on-air job two years ago, television host Robin Trainer has fought her way back and now she's hotter than ever. With her new show climbing in the ratings and her first book a best seller, she's being dubbed a media double threat. But suddenly, things begin to go wrong. Small incidents at first: A nasty note left in her purse; her photo shredded. But the obnoxious quickly becomes threatening when the foundation the makeup artist uses burns Robin's face. It wasn't an accident - someone had deliberately doctored the product.

    Kathi says: "Good mystery with many suspects to choose from!"
    "Good mystery with many suspects to choose from!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a pretty good story. Robin is a tv personality who has also written a best seller book. Things seem to be going so well for her, until she starts receiving unsettling, even dangerous warnings from an anonymous person who clearly wants her out of the way.

    What's really great about this book, is that there are many suspects to choose from, lots of twists and turns. I kept changing my mind all through it about the "whodunit" part. I love that in a good mystery. What was harder for me was being able to relate to the protagonist. I viewed her as not very likable for some reason, and the entire setting of the tv industry, well-known and wealthy people with their lifestyle of fame and competitiveness is not part of my own worldview. So that's just me, and I still liked the book a great deal, especially as it moved more deeply into the story. I think the narration is also very good--works well for this book. Kept me guessing pretty much of the book!

    Recommend!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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