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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

705
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 227 reviews
  • 441 ratings
  • 830 titles in library
  • 11 purchased in 2015
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FOLLOWERS
88

  • Blood of the Prodigal: An Amish-Country Mystery, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By P. L. Gaus
    • Narrated By George Newbern
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (168)
    Performance
    (140)
    Story
    (141)

    In the wooded Amish hill country, a professor at a small college, a local pastor, and the county sheriff are the only ones among the mainstream, or "English", who possess the instincts and skills to work the cases that impact all county residents, no matter their code of conduct or religious creed. When an Amish boy is kidnapped, a bishop, fearful for the safety of his followers, plunges three outsiders into the traditionally closed society of the "Plain Ones".

    Greg says: "A Solid 4 for kids"
    "Satisfied me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed this mystery and found the subject matter new and refreshing. It never got preachy or religious, but showed an understanding and respect of the Amish people. It was an easy, light listen that kept my interest, and I finished it in two days.
    I am thinking a 3 1/2 star rating, close to a 4.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl on the Train: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Paula Hawkins
    • Narrated By Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, India Fisher
    Overall
    (2226)
    Performance
    (1886)
    Story
    (1889)

    Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. "Jess and Jason," she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good? Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

    Paula says: "Mind Boggling Thrilling Mystery! Don't Miss It!"
    "A very difficult review for me to write!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I follow many reviewers (it's fun!), and the reviews kept coming in on this book, every one positive. So, of course, I chose to listen to it, too.

    This is a difficult review to write because I don't want to give ANYTHING away. You will be missing something from the listening experience if you know anything about what to expect. It is best to let the story unfold, ever so slowly, have your surprises and make your own opinions. So, what is there to say about The Girl on the Train? As you can see from my star ratings, I have mixed feelings.

    The first thing you should know, as I didn't and had to rewind the first hour, is that there are three different narrators for the three main characters. So, pay attention until you start to recognize the voices.

    On the positive side, the book held my attention all the way through, and the narrators were excellent in "becoming" the individual women. I was kept guessing who-done-it until the last hour or so of the book. It's always nice to have a surprise you never saw coming at the end.

    So, besides the above-mentioned good aspects, there were some things that bothered me enough to lower my ratings. Again, trying not to give anything away, there were some real inconsistencies in the plot--people acting out of character along with conflicting behaviors and information. More disconcerting was the weakness and passivity of the three women. It made me grimace and want to shake them. The likeability factor of the characters--just about all of them--was pretty low, too. As a result, I felt little tension and anxiety when danger appeared.

    I wouldn't encourage anyone to read or not read this book. You just may love it, as did many reviewers. It is your choice to make!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Moving Day

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Jonathan Stone
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (304)
    Performance
    (272)
    Story
    (268)

    Forty years’ accumulation of art, antiques, and family photographs are more than just objects for Stanley Peke - they are proof of a life fully lived. A life he could have easily lost long ago. When a con man steals his houseful of possessions in a sophisticated moving-day scam, Peke wanders helplessly through his empty New England home, inevitably reminded of another helpless time: decades in Peke’s past, a cold and threadbare Stanislaw Shmuel Pecoskowitz eked out a desperate existence in the war-torn Polish countryside, subsisting on scraps, dodging Nazi soldiers.

    Joe Crescenzi says: "What a fantastic story... a real treat!"
    "What an unusual and fascinating story!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thought the plot sounded interesting, but I didn't have a clue where this book would lead me. I enjoyed this book immensely and just know I will listen to it again. There is a certain enjoyment that comes with knowing a book's ending. You can sit back without tension and just enjoy the second trip. Which is not to say that I didn't enjoy the first trip. There was just a bit of anxiety plaguing me, a bit of worry.

    You can better learn the plot from the publisher's description. Per my short summary, you have a 72 year-old affluent, somewhat snobbish, very intelligent Jew who is wronged by a con artist who steals the old man's and his wife's lifetime of belongings before a retirement move to southern California. Stanley Peke, as victim, started out as not such a likeable character and at some points, even reminded me of the con artist, Nick--some similarities in personality, the wish to get even, egocentric, and both very much in their own heads. That is what is so unusual about this book. Most of it was written as if it was coming from the two men's own thoughts and feelings. Some felt this method was too slow moving, not so interesting. I got used to it fairly fast. I realized what the author was doing and was able to go with the flow. I was not in a hurry. I am not an action junkie.

    As the book progressed, I learned a great deal more about Stanley Peke, who he was and why he was that man. While he did not become significantly more loveable, I could surely understand him. As time progressed, I became a staunch supporter and rooter for old Stan. The book took me places I never imagined, and every bit of it was compelling and fascinating, becoming more so as the book charged on toward the ending.

    (And I have not even said anything about Nazis! You are in for a treat.)

    Narration was done perfectly by Christopher Lane. He nailed both main characters as well as anyone could.

    A most unusual story. I am looking forward to more from this author.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Chiefs

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Stuart Woods
    • Narrated By Mark Hammer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1755)
    Performance
    (1141)
    Story
    (1139)

    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.

    2 of 2 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
    (429)
    Performance
    (358)
    Story
    (351)

    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
    (482)
    Performance
    (417)
    Story
    (414)

    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
    (280)
    Performance
    (245)
    Story
    (245)

    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
    (281)
    Performance
    (259)
    Story
    (261)

    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
    (134)
    Performance
    (117)
    Story
    (116)

    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
    (2223)
    Performance
    (2076)
    Story
    (2077)

    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
    (546)
    Performance
    (503)
    Story
    (507)

    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

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