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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

529
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 203 reviews
  • 417 ratings
  • 748 titles in library
  • 74 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
44
FOLLOWERS
75

  • Heft

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Liz Moore
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne, Keith Szarabajka
    Overall
    (1534)
    Performance
    (1385)
    Story
    (1388)

    Forrmer academic Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds and hasn’t left his rambling Brooklyn home in a decade. Twenty miles away in Yonkers, seventeen-year-old Kel Keller navigates life as the poor kid in a rich school and pins his hopes on what seems like a promising baseball career - if he can untangle himself from his family drama.

    Deborah says: "Mesmerizing Performance"
    "I couldn't stop listening"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    For some reason, this is a difficult review to write partly because I don't want to include spoilers and because it is an unusual book. I finished it very quickly, as I was intrigued by both story lines, and I couldn't wait to see how the main characters' lives intersected. It was in a most unexpected way but it really worked for me. This was not an uplifting, happy read for the most part, but it did offer hope for a better future for both characters. It is a fascinating character study.
    Both narrators did an excellent job of bringing their characters to life and both immensely added to the telling of a story that for me is unforgettable.
    I highly recommend this book.

    42 of 42 people found this review helpful
  • Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Mary Roach
    • Narrated By Emily Woo Zeller
    Overall
    (1327)
    Performance
    (1169)
    Story
    (1178)

    Best-selling author Mary Roach returns with a new adventure to the invisible realm we carry around inside. Roach takes us down the hatch on an unforgettable tour. The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: The questions explored in Gulp are as taboo, in their way, as the cadavers in Stiff and every bit as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars. Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find words for flavors and smells? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts?

    Kirstin says: "Mary Roach Does Not Disappoint!"
    "Entrances, exits, and just how did Elvis die?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    All in all, this was an easy read and certainly enlightening. Everything you ever may have wondered and all that you never really wondered about your gut, from top to bottom.

    Most of it was amusing stuff you'd never want to discuss with anyone, but some of it was especially interesting. I am speaking of the preferred way of smuggling items into jail in California penal facilities--who ever thought? I am almost sorry I now have to think of this!

    And perhaps most interesting of all is the Elvis story. You need to wait for the last part of the book for this zinger, but it is surely worth waiting for. You will realize Elvis didn't die from drugs and obesity, it was something much more sad and chilling. Changes my whole feeling for my former childhood idol. It redeems him in my eyes. Poor Elvis.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A Walk in the Dark: Guido Guerrieri Series, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Gianrico Carofiglio
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (166)
    Performance
    (143)
    Story
    (146)

    When Martina accuses her ex-boyfriend - the son of a powerful local judge - of assault and battery, no witnesses can be persuaded to testify on her behalf. Guido Guerrieri knows the case could bring his legal career to a premature and messy end, but he cannot resist the appeal of a hopeless cause. Nor can he deny his attraction to Sister Claudia, the young woman in charge of the shelter where Martina is living, who shares his love of martial arts and his virulent hatred of injustice.

    Sherri says: "Heartfelt tale with an Italian Rebus as hero."
    "Carofiglio read by Barrett--another winner for me!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I listened to the first book in this series, Involuntary Witness, and enjoyed it a great deal. I was undecided on whether to get this second book because it seemed much too short.

    It was short, but I still enjoyed it a lot. I really like the main character, Italian lawyer, Guido Guerrieri. The nuances of his personality are so aptly captured by narrator, Sean Barrett. The story had unexpected twists and turns and it was good all the way to its end.

    No wasted words, no flowery descriptions, just a compelling story. I will certainly get Book 3 in the near future.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Extreme Medicine: How Exploration Transformed Medicine in the Twentieth Century

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Kevin Fong
    • Narrated By Jonathan Cowley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (42)
    Story
    (44)

    Little more than 100 years ago, maps of the world still boasted white space: places where no human had ever trod. Within a few short decades the most hostile of the world's environments had all been conquered. Likewise, in the 20th century, medicine transformed human life. Doctors took what was routinely fatal and made it survivable. As modernity brought us ever more into different kinds of extremes, doctors pushed the bounds of medical advances and human endurance. Extreme exploration challenged the body in ways that only the vanguard of science could answer.

    CHESTER says: "EXTREME MEDICINE"
    "Face transplants and interstellar travel?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This audiobook was everything the description promised and more. It is about the boundaries we humans are always pushing, and the medicine and treatments that have necessarily arisen as a result.

    It doesn't sound very interesting to you? It certainly is! It covers, among others topics, what happens to us when we push the boundaries of travel to the far reaches of the Arctic, attempt deep sea diving, and even how our bodies might respond physically to interstellar travel. I especially enjoyed where the author described his days working for NASA.

    Equally fascinating were the discussions of the advent of heart surgery, effective burn treatment, and the first face transplant in the U.S. I could go on but if this seems interesting, get this book! It is a fast and very easy listen with a good narrator.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Wonder

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By R. J. Palacio
    • Narrated By Diana Steele, Nick Podehl, Kate Rudd
    Overall
    (1065)
    Performance
    (968)
    Story
    (964)

    August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school - until now. He’s about to enter fifth grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid, then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?R. J. Palacio has crafted an uplifting novel full of wonderfully realistic family interactions, lively school scenes, and writing that shines with spare emotional power.

    Jay says: "A Beautiful Story"
    "A wonderful story for all ages!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Firstly, I'd like to address the narration. It seems a few readers were very put off by the female rendition of Augie s voice. At first, it seemed to me like an odd choice. However, as the book progressed, I got accustomed to it. I took into account that Augie had multiple facial deformities, including a cleft palate that was not yet completely repaired. He was also very small for his age. Under any circumstances, his speech/voice would have been somewhat odd and not entirely normal. I came to look forward to his chapters and listening to him narrate. So, for me, it was a positive, and I really enjoyed the narrator's interpretation of his voice.

    As for the story, I loved everything about it. I really miss it now that I am done and keep wishing there was more. I actually miss Augie! This is a book that can be enjoyed by all ages; it is not just for middle school kids. I really liked hearing the viewpoints of the different characters and felt the author was successful in giving them each their own chapters. This book has so many good messages and it should go a long way in fostering understanding and tolerance of differences. It would be wonderful if it was required reading for preteen students. It brought smiles to my face and tears to my eyes and it had a very feel-good ending that I think was realistic and believable.

    A highly recommended informative and fun listen!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shatter

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Michael Robotham
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    Overall
    (376)
    Performance
    (232)
    Story
    (232)

    Psychologist Joe O'Laughlin fails to stop a confused woman from jumping off a bridge to her death. Joe knows she had been talking on a cellphone. Now he needs to find out who - or what - was on the other end of the line.

    Old Hippy says: "First rate suspense story, great narration!"
    "Robotham and Barrett--an unbeatable combination!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I tried two other audiobooks and I just couldn't generate any interest in them, both highly rated books. I resignedly knew I needed to listen to another of Robotham's, Joe O'Loughlin series. So I picked "Shatter" and dived into it. (It is not absolutely necessary to listen to these books in sequence.) I felt like I had been ruined for anything else after my first Robotham/Barrett listen last week. That has not happened before!

    Aah, that fantastic narration with all those different English accents and voices. And a story that grabbed me and wouldn't let go. If I had the time and enough collateral things to do, I would have listened straight through. But this book is much too long for that and as usual, life got in the way. Besides, I didn't want the book to be over THAT fast. It was much too much fun.

    Look at the story description. If you like crime mysteries and really look for the best in narrators, give this one a try. I don't see anything that could be disappointing here. This combo, author and narrator, makes "Shatter" simply an awesome "listening experience."

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Watching You

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Michael Robotham
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    Overall
    (393)
    Performance
    (354)
    Story
    (354)

    Marnie Logan often feels like she's being watched: A warm breath on the back of her neck, or a shadow in the corner of her eye that vanishes when she turns her head. She has reason to be frightened. Her husband Daniel has inexplicably vanished, and the police have no leads in the case. Without proof of death or evidence of foul play, she can't access his bank accounts or his life insurance. Depressed and increasingly desperate, she seeks the help of clinical psychologist Joe O'Loughlin.

    bernadette says: "Wow!"
    "Take Care and Don't Mess With Marnie!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It didn't take long for me to become totally immersed in this mystery. And what a mystery it is! About half way into the book, a light bulb went on and I thought I had it figured out. How wrong I was, as there are twists and turns that are totally unexpected. This is a really good story that keeps you holding your breath til the end.

    Sean Barrett's narration was amazing. It was truly a performance that I will long remember and it added greatly to the enjoyability of the story. Barrett did all the characters so well and had such a variety of voices and accents. His interpretation of one particular character certainly added immensely to the creepiness factor which made the experience such fun for me.

    Collateral characters,while not as well described and developed, were also believable and interesting. This is a series and I think Watching You is the last one that was released. While it was a stand alone story, I imagine you might feel more at home with having previous experience with Joe O'Loughlin, the criminal psychologist. Still, despite entering the series in this later book, I found it thoroughly enjoyable and I highly recommend it.

    (I have not described the story as Audible gives a good summary, certainly enough for you to decide if the plot interests you.)

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Age of Innocence

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Edith Wharton
    • Narrated By David Horovitch
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (275)
    Performance
    (219)
    Story
    (221)

    Countess Olenska, separated from her European husband, returns to old New York society. She bears with her an independence and anawareness of life which stirs the educated sensitivity of Newland Archer, engaged to be married to May Welland.

    Ilana says: "Narrated to Perfection"
    "An Unexpected and Very Pleasant Surprise!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Age of Innocence was a daily deal and really not something that would interest me, but the reviews were all so enthusiastic that I had to give it a try.

    Horovitch narrated it so wonderfully, I wasn't the least bit bothered by his English accent for New York characters. I will admit I did laugh out loud at another reviewer's comment about Countess Oleska sounding like she was from Transylvania. Despite that little blip, it was a perfect narration.

    I particularly enjoyed the setting, 1870's New York City. The upper class families with their restrictive societal-driven behaviors fascinated me. I loved the description by Wharton of May and Ellen's grandmother, Mrs. Manson Mingott. It had me chuckling to myself as she described in detail Mingott's utterly fleshy state!

    I had hopes for different decisions on Newland Archer's part, but it seems he was greatly limited by societal restraints of the day and of his class as mentioned above. It was a very unusual threesome, something that would never play out in this day and age of immediate gratification. And yet, I loved every minute of this book. It was an enjoyable and amusing listen for me.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Dead Wrong: Joanna Brady Series, Book 12

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By J. A. Jance
    • Narrated By Stephanie Brush
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (77)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (47)

    Juggling a family and a career is never easy, and it's becoming a real challenge for Sheriff Joanna Brady. Coping with the impending delivery of her second child as well as a staff shortage, the last thing Joanna needs are two serious crimes.

    Lori says: "A Great Listen"
    "Dead Wrong and Dead Awful!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There are so many things wrong with this book, I'm not sure where to begin. The thing that stands out the most for me is the skills of the narrator, which are seriously lacking. Stephanie Brush has a lovely pleasant voice and she does Joanna Brady nicely. However, she cannot do anyone else in a decent, convincing voice. When she does males, she uses a throaty, shrill voice that makes them instantly annoying and unlikeable. At first, I felt her husband had aphasia or a mental deficiency, the halting way he spoke. She was equally awful at doing crying children or crying women--ferociously awful! She needs to go to Narrator School, for sure! No, I would NOT listen to another of her narrations, even if it was for a favorite author.

    Then, on to the story which was sorely lacking in credibility. We are to believe that a 9 months pregnant Joanna, only a week away from her due date, is working full-time, late into the evening, AND weekends in dangerous situations with no worries, no aching tiredness, or fears of doing damage to her unborn son? We are to believe her husband is perfectly okay with this, too? We are to believe she can fly down onto the ground, lie on her 9-months pregnant stomach, and shoot a bad guy from under her car? And the old tired cliche that parents must be inconsiderate, obnoxious idiots--both Joanna's AND also her husband's?

    The story was not very believable, either, and much too easily wrapped up in the end. Oh yes, Joanna was perky and fine right after the delivery and continued to work from her hospital bed! It leads us to speculate that the baby will enter daycare immediately and perhaps never see his mother again.

    I thought I really enjoyed Jance's books. I am thinking she is either resting on her laurels, relying on formula stories, or not using editors anymore. Too bad. I really like her settings and have even spent time in the Huachuca Mountains . . . .

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Just One Damned Thing After Another: The Chronicles of St Mary's, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Jodi Taylor
    • Narrated By Zara Ramm
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (269)
    Performance
    (242)
    Story
    (241)

    Behind the seemingly innocuous façade of St Mary's, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don't do 'time-travel' - they 'investigate major historical events in contemporary time'. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power - especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet. Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary's Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History.

    Carolyn says: "Book Lovers Nirvana"
    "Adventures in Time Travel!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I know there are folks who buy a book because of its cover. I got this one because of its title--I just couldn't resist it! Besides, time travel is 'in' right now and often can be very entertaining.

    Over all, I found the story enjoyable and a fun read. The heroine is surprisingly able and competent to handle herself in difficult situations and to save the day for her colleagues. I found this a bit incongruous with the narrator's particular British accent, in that I just could not imagine someone who talked like that punching someone in the face or being rough and tough enough to carry the story. Yet, Max was just that kind of heroine. I guess you just can't judge a book by its accent!

    In contrast to a previous reviewer, I enjoyed this book much more than Connie Willis' two World War II time travel books, which I found very unsatisfying and frustrating. Jodi Tayor's character, Max, has actual relationships with other characters and all these characters are more developed. I found Max's adventures in time travel into the past much more engaging. The Willis books, while expertly researched, were pure drudgery for me.

    If you love time travel books and are happy with a very British sounding heroine, this book will be a fun read for you. Go for it!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Atul Gawande
    • Narrated By John Bedford Lloyd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (383)
    Performance
    (117)
    Story
    (122)

    Atul Gawande explores how doctors strive for best performance in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. His stories of diligence and ingenuity take us to battlefield surgical tents in Iraq, to labor and delivery rooms in Boston, to a polio outbreak in India, and to malpractice courtrooms around the country. He discusses the ethical dilemmas of doctors' participation in lethal injections, examines the influence of money on medicine, and recounts the astoundingly contentious history of hand washing.

    Bonneville says: "Unfocused & Rambling"
    "A MUST read . . ."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    for anyone interested in the current state of health care and the medical field, for professionals, and those like me who aspire to be a doctor in my next life.

    Seriously, this is an excellent book that covers very interesting and surprising issues related to improving medical care and outcomes. A few of the things Dr. Gawande touches on are cleanliness, battle injuries, eradicating polio, doctors' salaries, hospital excellence (or lack of), and practice of medicine in impoverished areas of India. Each topic had surprising information and was compellingly interesting to me. The author's intelligence, clear-thinking, and caring came through as the book progressed. He has a great deal to offer medical professionals and also the non-medical, average person, too.

    John Bedford Lloyd did a fabulous narration. I never felt that he was reading someone elses book. He read it like it was his own. His voice is simply wonderful, too.

    Highly recommended if the topic is of interest to you.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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