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Karen

I write my reviews under my wife Karen's account. Retired USN Russian linguist/analyst; actor; director; producer. Biography & History focus

Apex, NC, United States | Member Since 2001

ratings
124
REVIEWS
50
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
12
HELPFUL VOTES
581

  • Paranoia: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Joseph Finder
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (1563)
    Performance
    (406)
    Story
    (404)

    Adam Cassidy is twenty-six and a low level employee at a high-tech corporation who hates his job. When he manipulates the system to do something nice for a friend, he finds himself charged with a crime. Corporate Security gives him a choice: prison or become a spy in the headquarters of their chief competitor, Trion Systems.

    Karen says: "Clever and interesting."
    "Clever and interesting."
    Overall

    I enjoyed this title very much. It's a clever tale of high-tech intrigue, greed and corporate espionage that's well written, fast paced and has well drawn characters. We are not beaten over the head with the moral lessons too severely, yet they are a bit obviously drawn (hard to avoid it, actually). If you are looking for a truly thought provoking book try the new John le Carre novel. If you want a clever, bright and shiny literary romp then this title is the one for you. Recommended.

    54 of 55 people found this review helpful
  • Gone to Texas: A History of the Lone Star State

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Randolph B. Campbell
    • Narrated By Jacob Sommer
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (12)

    Gone to Texas engagingly tells the story of the Lone Star State, from the arrival of humans in the Panhandle more than 10,000 years ago to the opening of the 21st Century. Focusing on the state's successive waves of immigrants, the audiobook offers an inclusive view of the vast array of Texans who, often in conflict with each other and always in a struggle with the land, created a history and an idea of Texas.

    Jim In Texas! says: "Good history from year zero through about 1962"
    "Read Michener instead."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I adore Texas history! I've lived in Texas off and on for many years and the people and the state really speak to me. This book, however, does not. It's well researched and contains some interesting material but the writing just doesn't shine...and with this topic it needs to. James Michener's "Texas" which, albeit, is historical fiction, will really give you a much better idea of Texas and Texans. I recommend Michener over this.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • MI9: Escape and Evasion 1939-1945

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By M. R. D. Foot, J. M. Langley
    • Narrated By Michael Fenton Stevens
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Forged passports, secret maps, ingenious disguises, underground networks - in times of war, tales of escape and evasion can be even more spectacular and heroic than those of victory in battle. Many of the most famous escapes in history took place during World War II. These daring flights from Nazi-occupied Europe would never have been possible but for the assistance of a hitherto secret British service: MI9. This small, dedicated and endlessly inventive team gave hope to the men who had fallen into enemy hands and aid to resistance fighters in occupied territory.

    Karen says: "How could this topic be so BORING?"
    "How could this topic be so BORING?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Dull, tedious, ponderous. I honestly can't find any reason to recommend this title. Don't waste your time.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Run to Failure: BP and the Making of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Abrahm Lustgarten
    • Narrated By Mark Moseley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    Two decades ago, British Petroleum, a venerable and storied corporation, was running out of oil reserves. Along came a new CEO of vision and vast ambition, John Browne, who pulled off one of the greatest corporate turnarounds in history. BP bought one company after another and then relentlessly fired employees and cut costs. It skipped safety procedures, pumped toxic chemicals back into the ground, and let equipment languish, even while Browne claimed a new era of environmentally sustainable business as his own. For a while the strategy worked....

    Karen says: "What you DON'T know about BP"
    "What you DON'T know about BP"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I went into this book thinking that I had a good, basic knowledge of the BP oil company after following all the news reports and profiles during the time of the blow-out of the oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico a couple years ago. Turns out I didn't have a clue!

    To be honest, I got this book because there wasn't anything available that really captured my interest and I had a couple book credits left that I didn't want to expire and I like the narrator. No other reason! I'm glad I got it because this history of BP oil reads like a novel, is extremely well narrated (only 2 mispronunciations!!) and provides a clear look at a truly dangerous corporation that has no business being in the oil industry. This book alarmed me so much that I will never purchase a BP product again - and, I would suspect, if you purchase this title you will feel the same way...and be alarmed about the ecological future of the North Slope fields of Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico.

    This is truly worth a listen! Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shell Shocked: My Life with the Turtles, Flo and Eddie, and Frank Zappa, etc.

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Howard Kaylan, Jeff Tamarkin
    • Narrated By Howard Kaylan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (50)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (46)

    If Howard Kaylan had sung only one song, the Turtles' 1967 No. 1 smash hit "Happy Together," his place in rock-and-roll history would still be secure. But that recording, named in 1999 by BMI as one of the top 50 songs of the 20th century, with over five million radio plays, is only the tip of a rather eye-opening iceberg. For nearly five decades, Howard Kaylan has been a player in the rock-and-roll revolution.

    Karen says: "The Turtles DO Rock...Really!"
    "The Turtles DO Rock...Really!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I rarely give an unqualified 5 star rating...wait, I NEVER give a 5 star rating, but this audiobook rocks! Baby boomers know the Turtles as an iconic MOR pop band that ruled the pop charts in the late '60s (They knocked the Beatles out of the #1 position at one point) and then had a stereotypical breakup due to the usual: musical differences, drugs, changing public preferences, management, etc. It's all told here by Howard Kaylan (with a "Y"!) in an honest and very funny autobiography that grabs you from the first sentence and never lets up.

    With a refreshing lack of ego, Mr. Kaylan dishes the whole storyline of the Turtles to the Mothers of Invention to Flo & Eddie and beyond. Be forewarned: YOU WILL LAUGH OUT LOUD so pick your listening times carefully. I often listen in bed before going to sleep but I couldn't do that with this book - I kept waking up my slumbering spouse with my chuckles and laughter. I also had to avoid many concerned looks in the Doctor's office, on public transportation, in the grocery store...you get the idea.

    This production shines throughout. Mr. Kaylan provides a perfect wedding of writing and narration. Even my pet peeve about mispronunciation is absent here - a first in 13 years.

    If you have the slightest interest in The Turtles, the '60s and '70s or pop music in general you will love this book.

    You CAN'T MISS this one!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • In the Name of Love: And Other True Cases

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Ann Rule
    • Narrated By Laural Merlington
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (30)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (26)

    Jerry Harris was a self-made California millionaire who, at age forty-four, had it all: booming businesses, yachts, a mansion, a beautiful wife, and a voice to rival Elvis. No one who knew this well-liked, generous man could make sense of his sudden disappearance one autumn night. On a final phone call to his brother from his Mercedes, Jerry breathed a muffled oath - then the line went dead. For Jerry's wife, Susan, it was just the beginning of an unwavering, eight-year search for the truth behind her husband's vanishing.

    Laura says: "Don't Buy Twice!"
    "Not her best - but, nonetheless, she Rule's"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book length section of this title, "In The Name of Love", is an interesting case but Ms. Rule stretches it thin to make it a book length section of this collection. There are several chapters that could have been edited out...and should have been. This is the first time I've had this complaint about one of her collections, and I've read or listened to them all. Still, a sub par effort by this genre's acknowledged queen is still better than most other writers.

    The other cases in this collection are more interesting and the writing and editing much tighter.

    Laura Merlington does her usual excellent job of reading throughout...although I wish she would use a dictionary for correct pronunciation of words, although she only misses a few in this volume. Altogether, she is a good fit for Ms. Rule's prose.

    Is this Anne Rule's best collection? No. Is it worth the listen? Absolutely.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Dead Run: The Murder of a Lawman and the Greatest Manhunt of the Modern American West

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Dan Schultz
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (34)

    On a sunny May morning in 1998 in Cortez, Colorado, three desperados in a stolen truck opened fire on the town cop, shooting him 20 times; then they blasted their way past dozens of police cars and disappeared into 10,000 square miles of the harshest wilderness terrain on the North American continent. Self-trained survivalists, the outlaws eluded the most sophisticated law enforcement technology on the planet and a pursuit force that represented more than 75 local, state, and federal police agencies with dozens of SWAT teams, U.S. Army Special Forces....

    Karen says: "Sounds like fiction...but it's not! Great Listen!"
    "Sounds like fiction...but it's not! Great Listen!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you didn't know that this is an actual crime going in, you might think that this was a novel! It has everything: real bad guys, questionable lawmen, good guys in white hats, innocent bystanders, and more! I hesitate to give any details because it might taint your enjoyment. This is a very nice listen. It's compelling and fast paced with the characters fleshed out. This well written and performed audiobook draws you in from the start and doesn't let go. Do yourself a favor and schedule some serious listening time to this title - you won't regret it.

    The performance is very well done. Arthur Morey matches the narration to the scenes with excellent style. Well done!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Mummy at the Dining Room Table: Eminent Therapists Reveal Their Most Unusual Cases and What They Teach Us About Human Behavior

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Jeffrey Kottler, Jon Carlson
    • Narrated By Robert Feifar
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (11)

    A wife pretends to hang herself in the basement so she can time how long it will be before her husband comes to rescue her...a woman whose dead aunt was made into a mummy so the family could better grieve her passing and on occasion dine with her at family gatherings...a man wants his nose cut off to escape an annoying smell that haunts him...a teenage boy would only come to therapy if he could bring his pet snake. These and other fascinating and revealing stories are told by some of the most famous therapists in the world.

    Karen says: "Revealing, Sad, Funny...altogether Fascinating"
    "Revealing, Sad, Funny...altogether Fascinating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The personal accounts of patients' psychological challenges recounted here are truly unique and fascinating. What sets this apart from other POV accounts of psychology is that we see the illness from both patient and therapist perspectives. This allows the listener/reader to better understand the illness and treatment.

    The illnesses recounted and the patients' telling of how these came about and progressed is something not often presented in other works of this particular sub-genre with such clarity and grace.

    Well researched and written, this title is worth listening to. You'll find yourself drawn into the cases and finding an understanding and sympathy for these patients. There is a lot of humour to be found here, but it is never presented at the expense of the patient. Kudos to the authors for that!

    The performance leaves something to be desired...a bit to light, for my taste...but not enough to keep you from listening.

    This is not a title that may jump up and grab your attention, but it's certainly a nice surprise if you do!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Who's on Worst?: The Lousiest Players, Biggest Cheaters, Saddest Goats and Other Antiheroes in Baseball History

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs)
    • By Filip Bondy
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    Libraries and Internet sites are filled to groaning with debates about who the best ballplayers of all time were - but how many times can you argue about Mantle vs. Mays? Since baseball is a game of failure, it's much more fun to dive into the fray and explore baseball's worst: Who was the lousiest pitcher of all-time? The biggest goat? The most despicable owner? The greatest cheater? Filip Bondy wields formidable research, advanced sabermetrics and his considerable wit to provide this indispensable guide.

    Karen says: "Baseball losers that will make anyone chuckle!"
    "Baseball losers that will make anyone chuckle!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Scott Brick's reading makes this title shine! The best audiobook reader adds humor and pathos to these charming, sad and funny stories of baseball's biggest losers, unlucky players and cheats.

    This book is well researched and structured with a humorous take on players, coaches and owners who have had the misfortune, hubris or just plain bad luck to be considered the worst in baseball history.

    Scott Brick's reading adds another dimension to the title, as usual. I'll get a title just because he is the narrator - he's that good.

    If you like baseball...and even if you don't...this is a great, fun and easy listen. WELL WORTH THE CREDIT!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • LBJ: The Mastermind of the JFK Assassination

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Phillip F. Nelson
    • Narrated By Fred Sanders
    Overall
    (50)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (46)

    The case against Lyndon B. Johnson and his role in Kennedy's assassination has never been sounder. LBJ aims to prove that Vice President Johnson played an active role in the assassination of President Kennedy and that he began planning his takeover of the U.S. presidency even before being named the vice presidential nominee in 1960. Nelson's careful and meticulous research has led him to uncover secrets from one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in our country's history.

    Karen says: "LBJ plotted to kill JFK? Makes you think..."
    "LBJ plotted to kill JFK? Makes you think..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you're an assassination conspiracy fan you won't want to miss this audiobook by Phillip F. Nelson. The author has obviously put years into researching his premise and builds a very convincing structure of a conspiracy that puts LBJ at the forefront of the assassination of JFK. I've read every (and I mean every!) publication on this topic and this title ranks at the top of the pile when it comes to research and writing. It makes you truly consider LBJ as a primary conspirator. It could benefit from some editing - perhaps the abridged version is actually a better listen - because it is a long audiobook and there are some tedious expositional sections. Still, it is WELL WORTH THE LISTEN if you enjoy this topic. There are certainly many out there that don't reach this level of documentation and writing.

    The narration is average - no great contribution. Fred Sanders gives a journeyman performance with too many mispronunciations (my pet peeve) for comfort. But, it's not a bad listen...just average. The writing is good enough to carry the performance.

    If you like this subject go ahead and use the credit.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Damned Yankees: Chaos, Confusion, and Crazyness in the Steinbrenner Era

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Bill Madden, Moss Klein
    • Narrated By Kyle Munley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    New York Daily News reporter Madden and Klein, of the Newark Star-Ledger, who have covered the Yankees for years, here join forces on a history that may send fans to their handkerchiefs and opponents into laughter. The authors chiefly discuss the period 1977 to 1989, when principal team owner George Steinbrenner converted a stable, conservative, successful franchise into a club characterized by "chaos, confusion, and craziness'' to the point that some top players refuse to sign with the team.

    Karen says: "Entertaining look at the Steinbrenner Era"
    "Entertaining look at the Steinbrenner Era"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There are plenty of books out there that detail Steinbrenner's time with the New York Yankees and this audiobook falls in the TOP TEN. Most of the information in this book has been told elsewhere, but not usually this well. Madden & Klein have gathered all the stories into this book with some additional detail not found elsewhere. The writing is top-notch and while the narration isn't great, it's good enough that it doesn't distract. Well worth using a credit on this title or spending the dollars if you're out of credits. If you're a baseball fan, this is well worth a listen!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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