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Kathleen

Brookline, MA, United States | Member Since 2009

175
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 34 reviews
  • 65 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 4 purchased in 2014
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17

  • Silent Mercy

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Linda Fairstein
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (221)
    Performance
    (141)
    Story
    (139)

    It's the middle of the night. Prosecutor Alexandra Cooper is called to Harlem's Mount Neboh Baptist Church, a beautiful house of worship originally built as a synagogue. But the crowd gathered there isn't interested in architecture, or even prayer. They've come for the same reason Alex has: to find out why the body of a young woman has been decapitated, set on fire, and left burning on the church steps.

    Beverly says: "Not up to Fairstein's Usual Flair"
    "Churches and lepers and murders, oh, my!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The only thing that elevated my overall rating to 3 stars was Barbara Rosenblatt's excellent narration. She is a versatile and convincing vocal actress and her performance was what kept me listening.

    Although I have always been happy enough to find an Alex Cooper paperback in the fairly grim airport newsstands where I have purchased them, I found this listen to be a drag, as I couldn't skip over the excess folderol as I can when reading.

    And I think the cases are getting more outré. I won't spoil the plot, but it is bloated to say the least, stuffed full of silliness, so that it is much longer than warranted. I am getting tired of Chapman's Jeopardy shtick, Alex's suave and cliched French lover and her constant nattering about her wealth and privilege and wardrobe, and the history lessons which erupt ever more frequently. The history lessons are always interesting but they totally interrupt the narrative drive, and sound like high school essays, not normal, adult, colloquial human speech.

    Yes, yes, this is fantasy detective fiction, but these people are human yo-yo's--one minute facing almost certain death (after three sleepless days) and the next minute sucking down champagne, tra-la-la.

    If you like this sort of thing, you will like this sort of thing, but I'm finished.

    3 of 3 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
    (1236)
    Performance
    (1120)
    Story
    (1112)

    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!"
    "Small Town, Small-Town Drunk, Small-Town Townies"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Mary Beth Hurt's narration elevated this material and was the only thing that kept me listening, even though I was good and sick of Hildy Good by the halfway point.

    Ann Leary knows her small New England towns, and their inhabitants, and I enjoyed those elements of the novel. Kudos, too, for depicting a character of about 60 as a real person with a life, not just a grandmotherly appendage to younger more important characters. However, the first person narrator is depicted as an alcoholic in deep denial, in a convincing and at times harrowing, at times humorous way, so I found the ending a bit pious and forced.

    This is one of those books that I think I may have enjoyed more in printed form, as the character's voice was quite clear, and I could have flipped over the tedious and annoying parts more easily.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Spotlight

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Patricia Wentworth
    • Narrated By Diana Bishop
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (42)
    Story
    (44)

    Gregory Porlock’s party was a very successful one - from Gregory’s point of view. He was in the highest of spirits, and the fact that his guests were obviously not in a party mood only added to his enjoyment. He knew they all had good reason to fear and dislike him, and it amused him to play the part of the genial host, and to watch each of his visitors trying to act the part of a gay and carefree guest for the benefit of all the others. Gregory never knew that one of his visitors played two roles that evening, that someone doubled the part of guest and murderer, for in that drama Gregory Porlock was cast for a different role.

    Constance says: "Fantastic, smart classic British mystery!"
    "Miss Silver Is Better Than Xanax"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After just having listened to a couple of adrenaline provoking titles, I really wanted to hyper down. So I turned to the ever delightful and calming Miss Silver, as read by the delightful and calming Diana Bishop.

    Decades come and go, but Miss Silver does not change. She is the ultimate "stealth sleuth"--a highly observant, intelligent, and commanding detective she appears to be only what she, in fact, is--a retired governess.

    In this case, a blackmailing rotter convenes a house party of victims, and guess who ends up murdered? Miss Silver, working with Scotland Yard, figures it all out. Yes, these books are comedic in that they usually end with the engagement of the ingenue to the young male lead, but they are not silly or farcical. And the steady, thoughtful presence of Miss Silver in the background is very, very reassuring.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Furies of Calderon: Codex Alera, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3655)
    Performance
    (2353)
    Story
    (2388)

    In the realm of Alera, where people bond with the furies - elementals of earth, air, fire, water, and metal - 15-year-old Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. But when his homeland erupts in chaos - when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies - Tavi's simple courage will turn the tides of war.

    Eric says: "great fantasy series"
    "I'm Hooked"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Many recommendations for this series from friends. Very enjoyable, if you enjoy something that gets your adrenaline flowing. I liked the world of elemental magic created by the author and Kate Reading, the narrator, is a real pro, handling the shifting points of view and the wide range of voices with ease.

    I'll definitely try the next in the series, and see how well the storytelling is sustained.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Suspect

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Robert Crais
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3653)
    Performance
    (3262)
    Story
    (3261)

    LAPD cop Scott James is not doing so well, not since a shocking nighttime assault by unidentified men killed his partner, Stephanie, nearly killed him, and left him enraged, ashamed, and ready to explode. He is unfit for duty - until he meets his new partner. Maggie is not doing so well, either. The German shepherd survived three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan sniffing explosives before she lost her handler to an IED and sniper attack, and her PTSD is as bad as Scott’s. They are each other’s last chance.

    Jacqueline says: "Gripping Page Turner!!"
    "Gr-r-r-eat K9 Police Procedural"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I usually detest books in which animals are characters, so I'm not sure why I chose this, but I really liked it. Decent police procedural, well-read (especially the male characters and the dog chapters), but what elevates it is the growth of the relationship between the police officer and his dog. Both are scarred veterans (he from the LAPD and she from the Marines) and I found the chapters written from the dog's point of view fascinating.

    Violence was not gratuitous and there was no torture or serial killers for which I give it high marks. Good potential for what I assume will be a series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sweet Tooth

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Ian McEwan
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (575)
    Performance
    (486)
    Story
    (486)

    Winner of such prestigious honors as the Booker Prize and Whitbread Award, Ian McEwan is justifiably regarded as a modern master. Set in 1972, Sweet Tooth follows Cambridge student Serena Frome, whose intelligence and beauty land her a job with England's intelligence agency, MI5. In an attempt to monitor writers' politics, MI5 tasks Serena with infiltrating the literary circle of author Tom Healy. But soon matters of trust and identity subvert the operation.

    Susianna says: "Perfect Book for your Literary Sweet Tooth"
    "FIne narration, ho-hum story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Juliet Stevenson is a real pro, and I always enjoy her narration. In this case she elevates a rather pedestrian story to the point where it was a tolerable listen.

    Maybe there comes a point when one has read one too many modern British novels, but I often feel that I have heard the same story one too many times. (Oxbridge graduate smartens up and faces the real world, the real world consisting of spies and bureaucrats.) Yes, this one had a couple of twists and turns, but don't they all?

    The stated protagonist of the novel is a woman, and it is nice to encounter one who is as selfish, misguided, and dull as any modern male:) As for the main male literary character, I found him just plain unconvincing, and the denouement of the story reeked of chick-lit (post modern version, of course.)

    For me, the most enjoyable parts of the novel were the very witty takes on post-WWII literary figures, most of them named by name.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Black Box: Harry Bosch, Book 18

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Michael McConnohie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1803)
    Performance
    (1528)
    Story
    (1508)

    In a case that spans 20 years, Harry Bosch links the bullet from a recent crime to a file from 1992, the killing of a young female photographer during the L.A. riots. Harry originally investigated the murder, but it was then handed off to the Riot Crimes Task Force and never solved. Now Bosch's ballistics match indicates that her death was not random violence, but something more personal, and connected to a deeper intrigue. Like an investigator combing through the wreckage after a plane crash, Bosch searches for the "black box", the one piece of evidence that will pull the case together.

    Priscilla says: "Disappointing"
    "Good riddance Carriou, but still needs work"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If the narrator hadn't changed, I wouldn't have bothered to listen. I found Len Carriou painful to listen to with his gasping and wheezing, so the current reader, bland as he is, is easier to take. In the absence of a skilled narrator and a dynamic plot line, however, all of the pedestrian qualities of Connelly's writing are on full display.

    But it kept me entertained enough while knitting a scarf and cleaning out the closet:).

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Royal Flush: A Royal Spyness Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Rhys Bowen
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1757)
    Performance
    (1514)
    Story
    (1490)

    With its posh clientele in the country for the summer, Georgie's housecleaning business has fizzled. So she tries hiring herself out as a dinner and theatre companion. But her first client has quite the wrong idea. To avoid further scandal, Georgie's shipped home to Castle Rannoch, where her summer plans include honoring a promise to Her Majesty to keep Castle Rannoch's divorcedhouseguest from seducing the Prince of Wales.

    Coffee Lover says: "The joy continues!"
    "Cute, but not completely ridiculous"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Low level royal takes on investigations, back in the day (1930's). Amusing writing, decent plots, and the requisite romance. Light and entertaining.

    Kellgren's narration is a plus--she is vocally nimble and it really elevated the material.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Ender's Game: Special 20th Anniversary Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki, Harlan Ellison, Gabrielle de Cuir
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (19908)
    Performance
    (11509)
    Story
    (11626)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: It’s easy to say that when it comes to sci-fi you either love it or you hate it. But with Ender’s Game, it seems to be you either love it or you love it.... The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Enter Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, the result of decades of genetic experimentation.

    Kapila says: "6 titles in the series so far"
    "Powerful story, terrific performances"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Orson Scott Card began his writing career as a playwright, and it shows in his fiction which is dramatic, fast-moving, and full of the best sorts of conflict. The themes of xenophobia, child soldiers, government manipulation of information, social control mechanisms, and others are very current. There is absolutely no sentimentalizing of children, either, and the denouement is heart-wrenching.

    I loved reading this book when it was first published, and I loved listening to this audio version. There are multiple voices, and bonus material includes Orson Scott Card talking about his start as a writer of SF, and a chapter from another novel dealing with the same story from a different point of view.

    I don't always love Stefan Rudnicki's choices as a vocal actor--some of them seem a bit drab--but at least he doesn't do "funny voices" for the sake of variety.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • North and South

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Gaskell
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (700)
    Performance
    (491)
    Story
    (490)

    Set in the context of Victorian social and medical debate, this novel is about rebellion, posing fundamental questions about the nature of social authority and obedience. This revised edition draws on recent theoretical work on gender and class.

    Sally says: "Delightful"
    "Not Austen--and that's a good thing:)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Although this novel has some structural problems (which are understandable since the serial publisher put constraints upon Mrs. Gaskell, she then reworked the novel before it's non-serial publication, and all this was happening near the end of her life) this is a fascinating book. Yes, there is a marriage plot (full of pride and prejudice on both sides) but there is so much more--and the more is something that is still timely, while also being of historical interest. The thematic material includes gender, class, geographical distinctions, and religious beliefs. Please, my list might sound tedious but the novel is anything but.

    The narration by Juliet Stevenson is lovely, revealing the humanity and intelligence of the writing, and an array of smart, articulate characters in many walks of life.

    This is my first Mrs. Gaskell foray, and it won't be my last.

    P.S. I am not demeaning Austen, but because this was written at a later date, under different circumstances, and with a somewhat wider social view, there is a bit more meat here for the modern reader.

    Also recommended: Anthony Trollope's The Way We Live Now.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Green Mill Murder: A Phryne Fisher Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Kerry Greenwood
    • Narrated By Stephanie Daniel
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (298)
    Performance
    (216)
    Story
    (219)

    Phryne Fisher is doing one of her favorite things -dancing at the Green Mill (Melbourne's premier dance hall) to the music of Tintagel Stone's Jazzmakers, the band who taught St Vitus how to dance. And she's wearing a sparkling lobelia-coloured georgette dress. Nothing can flap the unflappable Phryne -especially on a dance floor with so many delectable partners. Nothing except death, that is.

    Su says: "The best so far"
    "Enjoyable enough fluff"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was the first Phryne Fisher mystery I have read or listened to, and the series won't be at the top of my list for a re-visit.

    I found the main character a bit too smug, and there really wasn't much to the plot. If this is any indication of the rest of the series it is just Nancy Drew with sex:) Nothing wrong with that, however, if you are in the mood for very light entertainment.

    At the same time I ordered this from the Audible sale, I bought one of the "Royal Spyness" series, which is just as silly in its own way, but I think it was better read and had a bit more charm.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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