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Cathleen

Richmond, VA, United States | Member Since 2006

41
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 16 reviews
  • 181 ratings
  • 391 titles in library
  • 17 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
2

  • Spies of the Balkans

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Alan Furst
    • Narrated By Daniel Gerroll
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (426)
    Performance
    (104)
    Story
    (107)

    Greece, 1940. Not sunny vacation Greece: northern Greece, Macedonian Greece, Balkan Greece, the city of Salonika. In that ancient port, with its wharves and warehouses, dark lanes and Turkish mansions, brothels and tavernas, a tense political drama is being played out. On the northern border, the Greek army has blocked Mussolini's invasion, pushing his divisions back to Albania, the first defeat suffered by the Nazis, who have conquered most of Europe.

    writerly says: "historical insights, not much suspense/tension"
    "Furst's Worst - Spoiler Alert"
    Overall

    Sadly, this once terrific author has fallen into a formulaic rut. I have read or listened to all of his thrillers set in the WW2 era. The obligatory visit to Bistro Henninger was totally implausible and the major romance was worse than the most obvious chick lit. I mean really, he falls madly, permanently in love with the beautiful, blonde wife of the powerful rich man after only one glance. Plus, it turns out she has been in love with him since she was a school girl of 12. Give me a break. If I want more Alan Furst, I will go back to his earliest books. I gave it 2 stars because the political/thriller aspect of the plot was okay.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Grand Sophy

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Georgette Heyer
    • Narrated By Sarah Woodward
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (633)
    Performance
    (567)
    Story
    (570)

    Resourceful, adventurous and utterly indefatigable, Sophy is hardly the mild-mannered girl that the Rivenhalls expect when they agree to take her in. Kind-hearted Aunt Lizzy is shocked; stern Cousin Charles and his humorless fiancée Eugenia are disapproving.With her inimitable mixture of exuberance and grace Sophy soon sets about endearing herself to her family, but finds herself increasingly drawn to her cousin. Can she really be falling in love with him, and he with her? And what of his betrothal to Eugenia?

    Carol says: "The Full Sophy"
    "Georgette Heyer at her best!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The very highest quality mind candy. Smart, funny, subtle, a heroine with a mind of her own.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Alan Taylor
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (22)

    This searing story of slavery and freedom in the Chesapeake reveals the pivot in the nation’s path between the founding and civil war. Frederick Douglass recalled that slaves living along Chesapeake Bay longingly viewed sailing ships as "freedom’s swift-winged angels." In 1813 those angels appeared in the bay as British warships coming to punish the Americans for declaring war on the empire. Drawn from new sources, Alan Taylor's riveting narrative re-creates the events that inspired black Virginians, haunted slaveholders, and set the nation on a new and dangerous course.

    D. Littman says: "one of the best audiobooks I've read recently"
    "Vivid & Fascinating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Certainly worthy of its Pulitzer Prize, at least to someone who has lived in Richmond for the past 35+ years. The period of 1792 to 1832 reveals some of the Founders in a dreary light. The determination of enslaved people to escape Tidewater Virginia is inspiring and certainly not what I was taught about the War of 1812.
    I only gave Bronson Pinchot 4 stars, despite his beautiful reading voice, due to the number of incorrectly pronounced names and places. A few of the more frequent mispronunciations: ca-BELL instead of CAB-ull, HEN-ri-co instead of hen-RYE-co, Wythe should rhyme with Smith, and many others. But this is my constant gripe about many readers. Given all the time that goes into these readings, I do not understand why the editors do not do a bit of research on local pronunciations. Then again, if you have not spent time in Virginia, it probably won't bother you.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Oregon Hill

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Howard Owen
    • Narrated By Kevin Kenerly
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    Reporter Willie Black has squandered many things in his life, including a cushy job covering - and partying with - the politicians at the capitol. Now he’s back on the night cops beat, right where he started almost 30 years ago. But the thing Willie’s always had going for him is grit. When a coed at the local university is murdered, the alleged killer is arrested within days. Everyone seems to think the case is closed - except Willie. Embarking on a one-man crusade to get the story, he runs afoul of David Junior Shiflett.

    Cathleen says: "I lived in Oregon Hill for 8 years"
    "I lived in Oregon Hill for 8 years"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This entertaining mystery would have kept me listening even if I hadn't lived in Oregon Hill on Pine Street, and still do live in Richmond. (I have never met the author).

    However, the narrator sounds more like North Carolina crossed with Hollywood (California, not the cemetery) than anyone who grew up in Oregon Hill. He also mispronounced our adjacent county Henrico. He said En-ree-co rather than Hen-RYE-co. With all the talent right here in Richmond, why wasn't someone used who would know what he was saying?

    Clearly, what bothers me won't be a problem if you have not lived here, and even with my complaints, I have enjoyed this book, listening as close to straight through as possible - the true sign of an engaging story. The local details are perfect and I look forward to reading the next Willie Black book, Philadelphia Quarry.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A History of the World in 6 Glasses

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Tom Standage
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1505)
    Performance
    (1288)
    Story
    (1289)

    Throughout human history, certain drinks have done much more than just quench thirst. As Tom Standage relates with authority and charm, six of them have had a surprisingly pervasive influence on the course of history, becoming the defining drink during a pivotal historical period. A History of the World in 6 Glasses tells the story of humanity from the Stone Age to the 21st century through the lens of beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and cola.

    Stoker says: "Fun and Informative"
    "Coffee, tea & cola were the most interesting"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Perhaps because the origins had more actual source material, I found the final three beverages more interesting to hear about.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Likeness

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Tana French
    • Narrated By Heather O'Neill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3015)
    Performance
    (1906)
    Story
    (1914)

    Tana French's debut, In the Woods, hit the New York Times best-seller list and drew rave reviews from the Times (London) and Booklist. Picking up six months later, this riveting sequel finds Detective Cassie Maddox still scarred by her last case. When her boyfriend calls her to a chilling murder scene, Cassie is forced to face her inner demons. A young woman has been found stabbed to death outside Dublin, and the victim looks just like Cassie.

    Michael says: "Really on a Different Level"
    "Just too implausible - couldn't finish"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The narrator was spot on but the story was screamingly ridiculous. Kind of like the televsion shows with lots of scary music.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • My Stroke of Insight

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Jill Bolte Taylor
    • Narrated By Jill Bolte Taylor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (655)
    Performance
    (332)
    Story
    (337)

    In My Stroke of Insight, Taylor shares her unique perspective on the brain and its capacity for recovery, and the sense of omniscient understanding she gained from this unusual and inspiring voyage out of the abyss of a wounded brain. It would take eight years for Taylor to heal completely. Because of her knowledge of how the brain works, her respect for the cells composing her human form, and most of all an amazing mother, Taylor completely repaired her mind and recalibrated her understanding of the world.

    Lisa says: "very, very illuminating!"
    "Adds much to understanding workings of the brain"
    Overall

    Recommend everything about the book except the narration. This is a perfect example of a time when the author should not have read her own book. Otherwise, a painless (for the reader) way to learn a great deal about the workings of the brain. But, boy, what a way to research!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Mark Kurlansky
    • Narrated By Richard M. Davidson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (331)
    Performance
    (110)
    Story
    (114)

    Talk about a fish story! New York Times and Harper's columnist Mark Kurlansky offers "history filtered through the gills of the fish trade." David McCullough, the historian behind John Adams, says Kurlansky's "charming tale" of a "seemingly improbable idea" will change the way people think of the fish and the history.

    Karen says: "A great fish story"
    "Sad Story of a delicious fish"
    Overall

    Not just a fish story. An interesting history of a very old industry with a very bleak future. I remember when cod was plentiful and inexpensive. Now I know why it is no longer on the menu. (I did skip the recipes at the end.)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Greg Mortenson
    • Narrated By Atossa Leoni
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (444)
    Performance
    (132)
    Story
    (132)

    From the author of the number-one national best seller Three Cups of Tea, the continuing story of this determined humanitarian and the schools he has established. In this dramatic first-person narrative, Greg Mortenson recounts his relentless, ongoing efforts to establish schools for girls in Afghanistan; his extensive work in Azad Kashmir and Pakistan after a massive earthquake; and the unique ways he has built relationships with Islamic clerics, militia commanders, and tribal leaders.

    Cathleen says: "Better than Three Cups of Tea"
    "Better than Three Cups of Tea"
    Overall

    Takes up where Three Cups of Tea ends. The quality of writing and the excellence of the reader mean this book is far better. I had been worrying about how the conditions in Pakistan and Afghanistan were affecting the work of the CAI and the answers have given me hope. Highly recommend A++++++

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • The Reluctant Mr. Darwin: Charles Darwin and the Making of His Theory of Evolution

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By David Quammen
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (129)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (44)

    In September 1838, a young Englishman named Charles Darwin hit upon the idea that "natural selection" among competing individuals would lead to wondrous adaptations and species diversity. Twenty-one years passed between that epiphany and publication of On the Origin of Species. The human drama and scientific controversy of that time constitute a fascinating, tangled tale that illuminates this cautious naturalist who sparked an intellectual revolution.

    J B Tipton says: "Darwin portrait."
    "Oddly Anachronistic Writing"
    Overall

    A very interesting topic, perfect narrator, but the writing style was jarringly slangy and casual for a book about a brilliant 19th Century scientist. Still, my complaint is only severe enough to reduce my rating by one star.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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