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Kathy

Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy

Davis, CA, United States | Member Since 2008

699
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 225 reviews
  • 439 ratings
  • 825 titles in library
  • 8 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
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FOLLOWERS
88

  • Italian Shoes

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Henning Mankell
    • Narrated By Henry Strozier
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (133)
    Performance
    (79)
    Story
    (79)

    With more than 30 million copies of his works published, in 37 languages, award-winning author Henning Mankell may be Sweden's most accomplished novelist. Here he crafts the icy, atmospheric tale of Fredrik Welin, a disgraced surgeon living in exile on a small island. When Fredrik receives a surprise visit from a lover he abandoned decades earlier, he begins the difficult road to redemption.

    E. Golladay says: "Wonderful"
    "Beautiful in every way!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A quiet, beautiful, engrossing story of a man who finds redemption late in life. Sure, he is not perfect, he is flawed. This only makes him more human and it also makes the story more believable. Narration was wonderful and fit the character/story perfectly. Highly recommended unless you are an action junkie and need more stimulation in your reading. For me, I was sorry to see it end, and it stayed with me in the days after I finished the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Chiefs

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Stuart Woods
    • Narrated By Mark Hammer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1725)
    Performance
    (1112)
    Story
    (1109)

    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.

    karen says: "In my 'Top Ten' books of all time!"
    "One of the Best Ever!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you haven't listened to this book yet, you are really missing something wonderful and unforgettable. Yes, it has been around for a long while which means there are alot of reviews. So don't just take my word for it. Look at the reviews here. (My favorites are from Karen and Linda Lou.)

    But let me add a few words of my own. This is a story that engulfed me, one of those books I just couldn't remain on the surface of. The characters are so well-developed that I felt I knew them. I came to really have strong feelings about them--whether I liked them or hated them, there was so much emotion evoked. And when I really care about a character, I feel such fear when they are in danger. At one point--no, at a couple of places--I had to turn the book off, as I couldn't bear to know what happened next. Of course, I braced myself and I went back, as I had to know. I kept telling myself to trust the author and the other reviewers.

    Listening to this first book from well-known author Woods was a very rewarding experience. The narration was the best you can find, in my opinion. What is this nonsense about it being too slow? Ridiculous. Mark Hammer had it down perfectly. His cadence and speed matched perfectly what you would expect of the old south. I wouldn't have had it any other way. Perhaps that is why the story was so believable. He is a genius!

    Read the story description about the dead police chiefs. There is really SO much more than that here. Look at all the glowing reviews. And do yourself a favor and get this book. I am so glad I did.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • These Things Hidden

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Heather Gudenkauf
    • Narrated By Ali Ahn, Angela Lin, Angela Goethals
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (427)
    Performance
    (356)
    Story
    (349)

    Once the golden child of tiny Linden Falls, Iowa, Allison Glenn watches her reputation crumble as she is sent to prison for five years—convicted of a terrible crime. But what really happened that fateful night? Allison’s younger sister is the only other person who knows the truth. Now out of prison, Allison is more desperate than ever to set the record straight, but the revelation of the truth could have far-reaching consequences.

    C. Morris says: "Please save yourself the time"
    "Pure Drivel--Beware!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I can't believe I got through the entire book, but I did. So much drivel! The story line is so implausible and unbelievable. Coincidences abound and I kept shaking my head in disbelief. The writing is very simple and filled with minutiae. Action is sorely missing from this book until the very end and that action was so ridiculous I would have preferred to do without it.

    The characters were not well-developed, and their behaviors had almost no explanation or basis. Too many of them were unlikeable or downright unpleasant. And following the old trite pattern, the parents of the adult characters must be evil and hateful.

    As for the narration, it was passable but not exceptional.

    With all these complaints, I managed to stick with the book and finish it in a few days. My recent listen of another of this author's books left me with the feeling it was messed up by the narration. I cannot, however, blame a bad narration for my dislike of this book. I am thinking that Heather Gudenkauf is not my cup of tea. I won't be purchasing any more of her stories.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cold City: A Repairman Jack Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By F. Paul Wilson
    • Narrated By Alexander Cendese
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (438)
    Performance
    (375)
    Story
    (373)

    If you’ve never read a Repairman Jack novel, this is the place to begin. It’s 1990. A twenty-one-year-old named Jack has dropped out of college, leaving his old life behind to build a new one in New York City. Manhattan’s rough edges are jagged enough to shred any unwary newcomer, but perhaps not one who is determined to stay off the grid, at any cost, in the busiest metropolis on earth. And to do so, he’ll have to take jobs of a less than legal nature.

    Andrew Pollack says: "Fun, as long you don't think too much"
    "This Narrator is Quite a Character!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It was a daily deal and it sounded promising. It seemed a bunch of folks liked the Repairman Jack series and this book, a prequel, seemed a good place to start. So I decided to give it a try. What a fun story and what an amazing narrator. Cendese is a very talented guy and he certainly had his work cut out for him in this book. He switched flawlessly back and forth to SO many different accents--Italian, Germanic, Arabic, Jewish, etc, etc, doing a predominantly great job with each. It was actually mind-boggling--just listening to Cendese's performance was fascinating. I don't think I've ever experienced anything quite like this in an audiobook before.

    The story itself is pure fun. Not deep, not great literature, but it kept me listening and wanting to know what would happen next to young Jack. He is not a repairman in this book--he is just finding himself here. Struggling with his ethics, trying to support himself, establishing relationships . . . .

    There is more information on the plot in the description and in other reviews. This is a fun book, I enjoyed it, and I do recommend it.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Medical School for Everyone: Grand Rounds Cases

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Roy Benaroch
    Overall
    (266)
    Performance
    (234)
    Story
    (234)

    There's an art and science behind how doctors diagnose and treat medical patients. Where do doctors get these skills? The Grand Rounds experience, where they practice how to make accurate diagnoses by examining real patients. And with Dr. Benaroch's 24 unique lectures, you'll explore how a master physician solves medical problems just like a detective.

    Kindle Customer says: "Enthralled!"
    "Fascinating and so informative!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is another superb pick from The Great Courses. It is a wonderful introduction to the experience of Grand Rounds cases, designed for those considering a career in medicine and those who just want more information on health issues.

    Each case includes the presenting complaint by the patient, the patient interview, follow-up test results, and lots of in-depth explanation on the particular health condition and the ins and outs of how a doctor would go about finding the correct diagnosis. In addition, treatment issues were discussed.

    It appears to this layperson that Professor Benaroch really knows his stuff. He is a pediatrician but he covers patients of all ages in this lecture series. Additionally, I learned a great deal of helpful information about how to prepare for a doctor visit as the patient.

    All in all, this was a great listen!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Legendarium

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Kevin G. Summers, Michael Bunker
    • Narrated By Robert Rossmann
    Overall
    (269)
    Performance
    (249)
    Story
    (250)

    In every generation, certain writers are chosen to be protectors of The Legendarium, a metaphysical library that exists at the nexus of the multiverse. Inside this library are doorways that lead to every world ever created in literature. There are forces of evil constantly at work to destroy the library and send the world back into an age of darkness. Now, in a time of growing illiteracy, two heroes are chosen to defend The Legendarium.

    Elizabeth Hauris says: "If Butcher & Fforde had a child, this would be it."
    "Anyone Got Any Donuts?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Short, sweet, and fun with some laugh-aloud moments! I feel sorry for all the scrooges who didn't like this book. It should be quite funny and enjoyable to the well-read, to writers and would-be writers, to Kindle groupies, to lovers of the classics, and to light fantasy fans.

    It certainly isn't deep literature but there is a place for everything, and I found this a light-hearted, fun romp. It was a needed short break for me after an emotional and serious read right before it. It made me laugh and feel good and who doesn't want that? I will be looking for further adventures of Bombo.

    I might add that it was a perfectly fitting narration.

    Thanks, Summers and Bunker, and good luck to you in the future!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Take Me With You

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Catherine Ryan Hyde
    • Narrated By Jeff Cummings
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (127)
    Performance
    (111)
    Story
    (110)

    August Shroeder, a burned-out teacher, has been sober since his 19-year-old son died. Every year he’s spent the summer on the road, but making it to Yellowstone this year means everything. The plan had been to travel there with his son, but now August is making the trip with Philip’s ashes instead. An unexpected twist of fate lands August with two extra passengers for his journey, two half-orphans with nowhere else to go. What none of them could have known was how transformative both the trip - and the bonds that develop between them- would prove....

    Sara says: "What a Great Book!"
    "Perhaps My Biggest Surprise of 2014!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    You won't find any murder mystery here, no mutilated bodies; there's no sex, no sci-fi or fantasy, no romance, nor crime scene investigations. So let me try to say what was so good about this book for me. It may be difficult to explain that without giving away a bit of the story but I will go ahead anyway.

    This book is the second I have read by Ryan Hyde and I really loved both. It involves a road trip through many of the national parks of our great country. The protagonist is a science teacher on a summer vacation. He is dealing with some of life's rougher issues including the loss of his 19 year old son. He is on a pilgrimage of sorts, when his camper breaks down in a small town where he is forced to stay a few days while repairs are done.

    Along the way, he acquires two boys as traveling companions for the entire summer. This touching and heart-felt story is about relationships. It is also a coming of age story. The "scenery" is wonderful, our national parks, and the story just resonated with me, so much so that I just hated to part with these characters.

    This story took unexpected turns, some of which initially disturbed me. Life does that to you. It had a great narration by Jeff Cummings. I came away feeling happy and satisfied with just a touch of bittersweet. However, I am not ready to start my next audiobook (unusual for me.) I just have to steep in this one for a while more.

    Highly recommended.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Lock In (Narrated by Wil Wheaton)

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2144)
    Performance
    (2002)
    Story
    (2005)

    Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever, and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent - and nearly five million souls in the United States alone - the disease causes "Lock In": Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.

    Alexis says: "Fun! Things you might want to know:"
    "Finally, a Scalzi audiobook I loved!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I haven't been really fond of Scalzi's more humorous science fiction, but this book sounded REALLY interesting. I am so glad I got it!

    This is a more serious type of story. Scalzi has created a nightmarish future world where a new disease "locks in" a significant percentage of human beings to total paralysis, while their brains are still fully functional. The story is actually a crime mystery and a well-crafted one at that. People with the disease are called Haydens, named after the first lady who was afflicted early on with the disease. (She abhorred the disease being named after her but had no choice in the matter.) Aside from the mystery, there were issues of disabled rights, robotics, and corporate bullying, among others. Scalzi created a very plausible scenario, chilling in its believability.

    This is a somewhat short audiobook with a satisfying ending. Attached to the end of the book is what is being called a "novelette." It is what I think of as an in-depth "documentary" on Hayden's Disease consisting of commentary from many health professionals and politicos, etc, on remembrances of the origin of the disease and also many disease factoids. It is just as compelling as the original audiobook. In a way, I wish it came before the original story, as knowing about Hayden's would have helped at the start of the story when I had some confusion.

    Will Wheaton did a great job of narrating, as usual, and he is one of my favorite narrators. As someone else pointed out in their review, he doesn't do different voices. I hadn't even noticed until it was pointed out. Yet, it really works for him. I can't think of any other narrators who could get away with that.

    And now, I am wondering about the other narration of this book, and what it is like . . . and wishing I had pre-ordered and gotten both.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Not My Father's Son: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Alan Cumming
    • Narrated By Alan Cumming
    Overall
    (506)
    Performance
    (466)
    Story
    (471)

    With ribald humor, wit, and incredible insight, Alan seamlessly moves back and forth in time, integrating stories from his childhood in Scotland and his experiences today as the celebrated actor of film, television, and stage. At times suspenseful, at times deeply moving, but always incredibly brave and honest, Not My Father's Son is a powerful story of embracing the best aspects of the past and triumphantly pushing the darkness aside.

    Dina says: "A Phoenix Rises From the Ashes"
    "Media As Therapy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Over all, this is a compelling and often sad story of the actor's early family life at the hands of a hateful and brutal father along with the unfolding of his family's genealogical past only recently discovered. If you are a fan of Alan Cumming, as I am, you should enjoy this very different celebrity memoir.

    It is a fast and easy (although very emotional) listen; it is evident that the unfolding of the story and past events evoked a great deal of angst from the author. Alan is very forthcoming, brave, and honest about himself and his family. You can only imagine that many people in Alan's situation would want to keep this information hidden from the public, as much of it is not pretty at all. Yet, I got the feeling that for Alan, this was a largely therapeutic endeavor. He had his fill of family secrets and felt that bringing them out in the open was a very healthy option for him. I admire him for this and I hope that once and for all, he can let go of the weight of a very dysfunctional childhood/family life and continue soaring to greater and greater heights.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Little Mercies

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Heather Gudenkauf
    • Narrated By Kate Rudd, Tanya Eby
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (286)
    Performance
    (255)
    Story
    (255)

    Veteran social worker Ellen Moore has seen the worst side of humanity - the vilest acts one person can commit against another. She is a fiercely dedicated children's advocate and a devoted mother and wife. But one blistering summer day, a simple moment of distraction will have repercussions that Ellen could never have imagined.

    MissSusie66 says: "Powerful story"
    "Potentially Great Listen Ruined By Awful Narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a no-brainer for me. I spent 20 plus years in Child Protective Services, many as a social worker. And, one of my most trusted reviewers loved it. How could I not get this book?

    There were some things in this story that made me want to shout, "That just could not have happened!" Yet, I don't know how other locations run their children's services. Who knows, maybe it could have happened. It was in the realm of possibility, I acceded to myself.

    At first, I was put off by the second thread, the 10-year old runaway girl. As I continued to listen, that thread grabbed me. I realized that it broke the tension of the main story. I really came to like the little girl character and that of the main character's mother, who befriended the child.

    What really bothered me about this book was the terrible narration performed by Kate Rudd of the social worker, Ellen. I certainly do understand that the social worker/mother would have been near hysterical and unnerved by what happened to her own child at her own hands, but Rudd overplayed this to the point of distraction. Her hysterical voice was really unpleasant, and it seems she has no idea how to modulate her voice. The ugliness of the social worker's voice detracted from the story, for me. What was even worse--really worse--was her portrayal of male voices. They all sounded alike and did not fit the characters' personalities at all. I have heard other female narrators use those throaty, odd male voices before and I absolutely HATE it. The totally incompetent narration of male voices, actually by both narrators, took away from the seriousness of the content and made some of the men sound like buffoons. Over all, a very serious subject was made to sound almost silly at times. (Some women do male voices so well and others have a terrible time as here. I would be so disappointed if I were the author.)

    So, if you aren't as bothered by poor narrations as I am, I would recommend this book, particularly if the subject matter interests you. This is for me, one of those rare and infrequent times that I would have preferred to read a book on my Kindle.

    And wouldn't it be great if Audible provided a forum for us to discuss books like this?



    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Fluency

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Jennifer Foehner Wells
    • Narrated By Susanna Burney
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (288)
    Performance
    (263)
    Story
    (265)

    NASA discovered the alien ship lurking in the asteroid belt in the 1960's. They kept the Target under intense surveillance for decades, letting the public believe they were exploring the solar system, while they worked feverishly to refine the technology needed to reach it. Dr. Jane Holloway is content documenting nearly-extinct languages and had never contemplated becoming an astronaut. But when NASA recruits her to join a team of military scientists for an expedition to the Target, it's an adventure she can't refuse.

    Striker says: "Great Concept, Loved the Story... I Want More!"
    "Mysogynists, Beware!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Misogynists, beware! This is a sci-fi story written by a female with a female narrator and two major female characters. If you find that threatening, just skip the book and save yourself having to write a scathing review.

    That said, on to my review. I really enjoyed Foehner Wells' first book. I am always looking for a great first contact story, and so many seem to disappoint me for one reason or another. This one had an entirely different feel to it and it gave me much to think about in between listening sessions. The storyline has been well-summarized in the book description and in other reviews. I will forgo doing it again.

    While this story has some flaws, I feel that I can forgive these, as it is Wells' first book. With its current success, I feel she will read her critical reviews and acquire some more knowledgeable go-to folks for more detailed scientific and maybe even weapons info. I tend to give a fiction story a bit of leeway and don't get really picky, if I really enjoy the story line and come away satisfied. After all, it is FICTION.

    Some reviews have warned of an abrupt, unsatisfying ending but oddly enough, I really liked the ending and the twist that came with it. I am certainly open to a sequel! I also want to add that I did not find an exceptional amount of swearing, as some reviewers did. As for the sexual thoughts, at first I was a bit put off. But I began thinking of what a two-year space mission would be like. I just cannot imagine folks turning off their sexual feelings and needs for that period of time. So after some thought, I realized this was pretty realistic. For me, it did not add to or detract from the story. As for the other characters, I would have liked to see a tad more character development and am hoping it will come with the author's next book.

    The narrator did a good job and gave me no complaints. All in all, I found this an enjoyable, satisfying listen and I look forward to a lot more from this author.



    10 of 14 people found this review helpful

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