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Kate Matthews

love to read, read a lot, mostly mysteries, historic fiction and a bit of sci-fi

Sonora, CA, United States | Member Since 2011

13
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 11 reviews
  • 13 ratings
  • 545 titles in library
  • 80 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
3
FOLLOWERS
1

  • Prep

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Curtis Sittenfeld
    • Narrated By Julie Dretzin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (214)
    Performance
    (167)
    Story
    (168)

    This New York Times best-seller is a funny and poignant coming-of-age story, a dead-on examination of adolescent angst, and a sharp criticism of America’s social structure. Fourteen-year-old Lee Fiora enrolls at the prestigious Ault School of Massachusetts and is surrounded by beautiful, wealthy students. She immediately feels like an outsider, but manages to carve out a niche for herself. Then everything falls apart when Lee’s private thoughts become public information.

    Lorraine says: "Easy & Enjoyable Listen"
    "Another self-absorbed coming of age book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Curtis Sittenfeld does a good job of catching the somewhat ridiculous prep school culture, and, like J.K. Rowling and virtually every other YA author on the shelves today, he does a decent job of characterizing the almost absolute self-absorption of the teen years. But, as with many of these titles (I've read several lately, mainly I think, because there is simply just such a plethora of them), after a while, I long for another voice and a different perspective.

    Julie Dretzin makes for a very credible narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shoot the Dog: A Virgil Cain Mystery, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Brad Smith
    • Narrated By Graham Winton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    In upstate New York, Virgil Cain's draft horses are pulling hay in the fields when two film scouts offer him $500 a day for their use in a film. He pockets the money, but the chaotic set of Frontier Woman turns out to be more trouble than it’s worth. Producer Sam Jonson clearly has her heart in the wrong place with her husband-cum-director Robb, who costs her a major financier, not to mention the Native American casino owner Ronnie Red Hawk, who has a vested interest in an alternate leading lady. After one - and then a second - young woman is found dead, Virgil discovers that more is at stake than the interests of a casino magnate….

    Kate Matthews says: "In the club with Spencer Quinn and Craig Johnson"
    "In the club with Spencer Quinn and Craig Johnson"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    OK, so Brad Smith isn't quite there yet, but his newest Virgil Cain mystery definitely steps it up a bit. His second Cain book wasn't my favorite, but I liked the first one a lot and his writing is growing on me. In fact, the whole Tough Guy as Doer genre is really growing on me. Peter Heller is another member of this "Guy" club, along with Spencer Quinn and the marvelous Craig Johnson (I'm so very glad that having a TV series hasn't ruined him as an author....)and I guess I'd also include Patrick O'Brien in the group. These books are written by men about men and they are unabashedly masculine. I love books where the characters actually do things and where the author can actually explain the what and why of the characters and the way they interact with the physical world. It makes the books feel real to me in a way that Sci Fi or even biography seldom does. It's the hands on aspect that I love. Keep 'em coming Brad, and let me tell you that as a female fan, it's important to me that you keep Claire in the picture,

    Graham Winton is an excellent narrator. I've tried to get interested in some of his other (non--Smith) works just because I like his narration here so much, but alas, none of the other titles grab me. I hope the audible author community picks him up in a big way

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Good House: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Ann Leary
    • Narrated By Mary Beth Hurt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1523)
    Performance
    (1373)
    Story
    (1368)

    The Good House tells the story of Hildy Good, who lives in a small town on Boston's North Shore. Hildy is a successful real-estate broker, good neighbor, mother, and grandmother. She's also a raging alcoholic. Hildy's family held an intervention for her about a year before this story takes place - "if they invite you over for dinner, and it’s not a major holiday," she advises "run for your life" - and now she feels lonely and unjustly persecuted. She has also fooled herself into thinking that moderation is the key.

    Rhonda Morrison says: "What a great book, Hildy is a great character!"
    "Wicked Funny!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved this book, the tale of Hildy Good, a New England Real Estate Agent and alcoholic who after a stint of reluctant rehab, gradually slips back into addiction while steadfastly, vehemently clinging to her denial. I know, I know, it doesn't sound funny, right? But I literally howled with laughter at Hildy's piercingly accurate observations of the people around her. Author Ann Leary adeptly captures Hildy's self-righteous denials, her grumpy demeanor when she needs a drink and her near magical transformation after she's had a glass or two (or 3 or 4). For anyone who's trodden down this road, Hildy's exploits (like slipping vodka into her drink during a practically unbearable Thanksgiving) are both familiar and painfully funny. Leary accurately charts Hildy's scary descent into late stage addiction while keep her sympathetic and if not always exactly likable, entertaining nevertheless. As Hildy's backstory was revealed, I grew fonder and fonder of her. I liked the closet hero (whom I shan't reveal) and the ending was terrific.

    And the narration was first rate! Some listeners have griped that Mary Beth Hurt's portrayal was a bit harsh to listen to, but to me it was pitch perfect.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Maria Semple
    • Narrated By Kathleen Wilhoite
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2679)
    Performance
    (2406)
    Story
    (2405)

    Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

    Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle - and people in general - has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands.

    S says: "One of my top 10 listens of the year!"
    "Not what I expected - much more fun!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Though this title kept popping up on lists from readers whose opinions I respect, I avoided listening to it for a long time because the cover looked so much like one of those silly "Shopaholic" books. The book turned out to be a lot less superficial than it looked, it was a fun story with enough depth to it to leave you with a little something to think about afterwards.

    Overall, Kathleen Wilhoite did an excellent job of portraying the various characters. I'm slightly puzzled by Bee's "East Coast Tough Kid" tone - she sounds like she's from Philly, but it's a pretty minor gripe about an otherwise terrific voicing of the tale.

    Definitely worth a listen!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Reason to Breathe: Breathing, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Rebecca Donovan
    • Narrated By Kate Rudd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (835)
    Performance
    (773)
    Story
    (771)

    In the affluent town of Weslyn, Connecticut, where most people worry about what to be seen in and who to be seen with, Emma Thomas would rather not be seen at all. She’s more concerned with feigning perfection - pulling down her sleeves to conceal the bruises, not wanting anyone to know how far from perfect her life truly is. Without expecting it, she finds love. It challenges her to recognize her own worth - at the risk of revealing the terrible secret she’s desperate to hide.

    Nancy Devault says: "Awesome"
    "A Good Candidate for an Oprah's Pick"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is more or less a your basic "Twilight" rip-off, with an ultra-perfect teen narrator whose angst is driven by the fact that she is the chosen victim of the psychopath in whose home she lives. Think of Harry Potter's dislikable relatives, wrap them in a few extra layers of cardboard and voila! you have the narrator's aunt and uncle. There are a lot of slow-moving teen love stories out there, some of which I liked much better, including "Twilight" and "Amongst Others". While I don't wish to trivialize the the type of abuse portrayed here, I also find that I don't especially want to read about it and I sure as heck don't want a lengthy, nasty, implausible scenario to be the final pay-off. It's a bit like watching a horror movie - you know darn well that there's not a teenager in the universe who would actually go into that basement after hearing that scary sound! In that case, the slapstick violence provides a vicarious thrill because you know it's just plain silly, but here, it's all just so painfully serious and endlessly dreary. Sorry, but for me, "endlessly awful" plots are simply not my favorite form of fiction.

    I got this title because I so loved Kate Rudd's narration of John Green's "The Fault in Our Stars" - She does a decent job here, but the dismal content and limited cast of characters doesn't give her much to work with. If you want a great listen, stick with Rudd and Green.

    I won't be listening to the rest of the trilogy.

    11 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Red Means Run

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Brad Smith
    • Narrated By Graham Winton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    Accolades for Brad Smith’s celebrated crime novels include a nomination for the coveted Dashiell Hammett Prize. In Smith’s novel Red Means Run, prominent attorney Mickey Dupree is found dead at Burr Oak Golf and Country Club. On record as hating Mickey, small-time rancher Virgil Cain quickly becomes the prime suspect. Virgil knows the fix is in—so he sets out to find the real killer.

    Kate Matthews says: "Starts slow, but worth getting your teeth into"
    "Starts slow, but worth getting your teeth into"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought this book based on a recommendation from Audible after listening to the newest Chet and Bernie book. At first, it wasn't quite was I was hoping for, the humor is pretty deadpan, as is the narrator, but as I continued to listen, the story and the characters started to grow on me. By the end, I was hooked and have now bought the second book in the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 14

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Peter Clines
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12116)
    Performance
    (11003)
    Story
    (11029)

    There are some odd things about Nate’s new apartment. Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job. He has no money in the bank. No girlfriend. No plans for the future. So while his new home isn’t perfect, it’s livable. The rent is low, the property managers are friendly, and the odd little mysteries don’t nag at him too much. At least, not until he meets Mandy, his neighbor across the hall, and notices something unusual about her apartment. And Xela’s apartment. And Tim’s. And Veek’s.

    Magpie says: "Super solid listen!!"
    "Fun! Fast-Paced with Great Dialogue"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoyed this tale and how it unfolded. The dialogue between the main characters was snappy and believable. Clines' narrative stays really tight most of the way, and if his logical underpinnings fall apart in places, I more or less forgive him because everything else was just so damn good. Can't help but think that this was written to be turned into film, the story has echoes of several other tales we know well: Bladerunner (the Movie) and The White City (The Book) come to mind. Ray Porter's narration was pretty great and he mostly succeeded in verbally distinguishing between the main minor characters. He could develop a bit more variation for his foreign accents, but his pacing, inflections and clarity of pronunciation were all top notch.

    Overall a very enjoyable experience and well worth the purchase price.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • One Good Dog

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Susan Wilson
    • Narrated By Fred Berman, Christina Delaine
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (745)
    Performance
    (369)
    Story
    (371)

    Adam March is a self-made “Master of the Universe.” He has it all: the beautiful wife, the high-powered job, the glittering circle of friends. But there is a price to be paid for all these trappings, and the pressure is mounting—until the day Adam makes a fatal mistake. His assistant leaves him a message with three words: your sister called.

    Shelby says: "A cynic and a cynical dog - PERFECT!!"
    "A Good Tail!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a story that could be saccharine in someone else's hands, but Susan Wilson's characterizations really bring the story to life. She has a sharp eye for detail and her main characters are quite believable. Narrator Fred Berman is impressive! I enjoyed the listen a lot and actually have purchased the written version of the book for family members who aren't yet audiophiles.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Ivy Chronicles

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Karen Quinn
    • Narrated By Julia Gibson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (575)
    Performance
    (198)
    Story
    (199)

    Fans of New York Times best seller The Nanny Diaries will rejoice in this wickedly hilarious novel, which acclaimed author Katharine Weber says is "much funnier and darker". Optioned for a major motion picture starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, The Ivy Chronicles skewers the twisted priorities of America's well-heeled elite.

    Vicki says: "Probably Better as an Audiobook then in Print"
    "Other Titles from this Genre are Better"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Young Woman surviving life in the Big City genre is pretty well established at this point. This isn't one of the better offerings (Try Brigit Jones Diary instead), but there is an occasional evil caricature that allows the reader to smirk in a morally superior sort of way.

    We all know that the rich are different and that the silly treadmill of prepping East Coast kids for the Ivy Leagues is a game largely restricted to the 1 per centers What's puzzling is why people like this would employ the central character at all, especially as she seems to spend most of the book trying to justify in her own mind why she's so much more likable than they are. (I found this proposition debatable).

    The narrator does a credible job.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Black Unicorn: Magic Kingdom of Landover, Book 2

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Terry Brooks
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    A year had passed since Ben Holiday bought the Magic Kingdom from the wizard Meeks, who had set a series of pitfalls against him. Ben survived, by the aid of three loyal friends: Questor Thews, an ill-trained wizard; Abernathy, a talking dog, the Court Scribe; and the lovely Willow, who sometimes had to be a tree. But Ben had been troubled by dreams of disaster to his former partner, Miles Bennett. Yet when he returned to Earth, Ben found Miles doing splendidly.

    Kate Matthews says: "Almost Really Good"
    "Almost Really Good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Even though his central character is surprisingly obtuse (especially for a lawyer, how did this guy make it through law school?), Terry Brooks has a novel approach to fantasy that almost hangs together. There's a strangely insular feel to the books, like they are taking place inside a terrarium, instead of an alternate reality, but if you can swallow the premise, the story is reasonably compelling. I'd like more of the secondary characters and less of the main ones, and have come to feel that I know Ben better than I want to.

    Dick Hill is a terrific narrator, though his female voices can be a bit fru-fru. He is fun to listen to and stays 'in voice" really well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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