You no longer follow Karen

You will no longer see updates from this user when they write new reviews, or suggestions based on their library or recommendations.

You can re-follow a user if you change your mind.

OK

You now follow Karen

You will receive updates from this user when they write new reviews, or suggestions based on their library or recommendations.

You can unfollow a user if you change your mind.

OK

Karen

Likes: Cozy mysteries (cats a plus), personal memoirs,not too dark fantasy, books about the brain. Dislikes: Torture, animal cruelty.

Glen Gardner, NJ, United States | Member Since 2014

50
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 104 reviews
  • 104 ratings
  • 286 titles in library
  • 2 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
5

  • The 39 Clues, Book 1: The Maze of Bones

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Rick Riordan
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1022)
    Performance
    (520)
    Story
    (525)

    What would happen if you discovered that your family was one of the most powerful in human history? What if you were told that the source of the family's power was hidden around the world, in the form of 39 Clues? What if you were given a choice - take a million dollars and walk away...or get the first Clue? If you're Amy and Dan Cahill, you take the Clue - and begin a very dangerous race.

    Craig says: "Riordan Rulz"
    "Too silly and not interesting enough"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could Rick Riordan have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    So I decided to listen to Book 1 of The 39 Clues, The 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones, despite all the criticism heaped on this series for being a "poorly concealed scheme to sell cards" or some such. And it IS the most contrived series I ever even tried to read. Still, since I like fantasy when it isn’t too depressing and violent, I like to give fantasies aimed at kids a try. Somewhere I read a description of the characters (other than our two main characters, Amy and Dan Cahill) as being “intentionally exaggerated caricatures”, which is clearly what they are, but that just makes me say, "Why?" Wouldn't normal characters have been more interesting? Like the family that all wears purple running suits and is "buff" and is always marching in formation with a snapping family pitbull at their heels. Was that really necessary? Amy and Dan are (of course) orphans and have an (of course) uncaring guardian. They did have their powerful and mysterious grandmother who loved them but it is her death that starts the whole series. Her will gives the heirs a choice between a million dollars and a clue which could lead to power/riches/something . There isn’t much to say about the book itself. It’s short and moves along quick as we follow the two kids in their quest for clues.
    I thought about reading the next one. I might have except that there are at least 11 of these and I don't think I could stand 11 books of Amy and Dan discovering a clue only to have it stolen from them by some nasty relative or other. Not to mention - and I suppose this isn't an uncommon problem with books aimed at kids - but I found myself wishing the author would just decide if there is or isn't mortal peril here. Are these relatives really willing to kill Amy and Dan? They can't be - or they would just do it already. Yet, one must acknowledge, that rigging up a pit to open at their feet and sending guys to poor cement in it seems like a real threat. And their 11 year old cousin who is always slinking around with a gun full of poison darts seems a real threat too and the former KGB agent cousin. And yet, Amy and Dan live on, and aren't offended enough by their near death experiences to suit me. But the real problem is just knowing each clue gets stolen. Sooo frustrating. I was interested to see how things flowed when we got to book 2 and there was a different author, but not interested enough to actually waste an audible credit on it.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • A Stolen Life: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Jaycee Dugard
    • Narrated By Jaycee Dugard
    Overall
    (1443)
    Performance
    (1084)
    Story
    (1084)

    "In the summer of 1991 I was a normal kid. I did normal things. I had friends and a mother who loved me. I was just like you. Until the day my life was stolen. For eighteen years I was a prisoner. I was an object for someone to use and abuse. For eighteen years I was not allowed to speak my own name. I became a mother and was forced to be a sister. For eighteen years I survived an impossible situation. On August 26, 2009, I took my name back. My name is Jaycee Lee Dugard. I dont think of myself as a victim. I survived...."

    Daniel says: "Terrific"
    "Not as Hard to Listen to as I Feared, Hard to stop"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I actually had this audiobook for ages before I listened to it. I was one of the many people totally fascinated by Jaycee's story in the news. I just wasn't sure I could actually handle listening to the abuse that she had suffered. My main area of interest was in what happened when she returned to her family though and this seemed to be the only source for that info. I finally listened to it and I have to say that it wasn't as hard to hear as I thought. I hate rape scenes, even in fiction, and dreaded that in this book. Jaycee manages to communicate the facts of her abuse without dwelling on the suffering and she explains the pattern of abuse in detail basically just once. The reader understands what happened without having to keep reliving it. I thought it was very well done. Some reviewers are critical of Jaycee's narration. I rather liked it. She sounds very young which works well when discussing her early days. There is also a flat, reading quality to what she is saying that makes it less emotionally charged and easier to listen too. I really think this was preferable to some narrator dramatizing the material. What happened was drama enough. As with anything that makes headlines, you tend to think that you already know a lot of the story. I confess to being surprised at how Jaycee came to tell the officers who she was. I had the impression from the news that once she was alone with officers she seized the day to reclaim her identity. Actually, they really had to pull it out of her. She does go into a lot of detail on her therapy after the reunion wit her mom. I would have really liked to hear what her mom was thinking at certain points but I guess that is a different book. I found the book a quick and compelling read that is hard to assign a starred value to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Working Stiff: Mattie Winston Mysteries, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Annelise Ryan
    • Narrated By Jorjeana Marie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (203)
    Performance
    (187)
    Story
    (188)

    When Mattie Winston catches her husband Dr. David Winston receiving some very special loving care from R.N. Karen Owenby, she quits her job and moves out. Mattie's best friend Izzy offers her a place to stay and suggests she'd be a natural as deputy coroner. Now, instead of taking patients' pulses, Mattie's weighing their hearts and livers. But Mattie's first homicide call turns out to be for none other than Nurse Karen, and even though she saw her ex in a heated argument with the newly deceased the night before, she refuses to believe David could be a killer.

    Kathy says: "A Combo of NCIS, Bones and Physical Comedy!"
    "A Fun, Not Too Serious, Mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am not sure why I see complaints about the narrator. I liked her quite a bit. I felt like she was Mattie and that Mattie was a very likable character. For a good chunk of the mystery I did not know who did it though I did guess before the end. I also found myself laughing at times at Mattie's antics. Basically I found this to be a fun, light mystery. I did think the sexual references were a bit much. They weren't offensive or anything just Mattie spends a lot more time thinking about the hunky detectives private parts than you might think the state of her life calls for. And of course when she is in the middle of doing her laundry and has to run out without a bra on, it doesn't take a genius to know what's going to happen. Still, it was a light fun mystery, and there's even a cat (always a plus to me). I will definitely get the next in the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • There but for the

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Ali Smith
    • Narrated By Anne Flosnik
    Overall
    (30)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (26)

    At a dinner party in the posh London suburb of Greenwich, Miles Garth suddenly leaves the table midway through the meal, locks himself in an upstairs room, and refuses to leave. Neighbors and friends slowly gathers around the house, and the story of Miles is one told from the points of view of four of them: a woman in her 40s called Anna, a man in his 60s called Mark, a woman in her 80s called May, and a 10-year-old child called Brooke. The thing is... none of these people knows Miles anything more than glancingly.

    Robert says: "Insufferable as a bad house guest"
    "Why I Didn't Like This Book - But You Might"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I normally wouldn't stop reading a book and then review it but I am making an exception here. I want to review it so other people know what I know but I didn't want to spend any more of my life listening to it when there are so many other books. I should listen to samples before buying books too so at least I would have known about the really strong theatrical English accent the narrator uses. I am not a big fan of narrators with accents but sometimes they are OK. This one I found made it hard to understand what was being said. Between the accent and the slang I got lost a lot, and add on to that the content which involves a lot of stream of consciousness and cutesy word play, I have never listened to a book so poorly suited to be an audiobook. If you like these sorts of very British books with clever wording and stories of lives of quiet desperation, maybe this is your book. BUT I suggest you read it rather than listen to it. I am not sure why I picked this out in the first place - something in the description caught my interest but I think I will avoid books like this in the future. The last straw for me was a scene where a man was walking through a park (that much I got) and I thought he was talking to his mother, then he seemed to be talking to his dead father but I wasn't really sure, and I could never tell which comments were said aloud and which just thought. If you can't tell whether someone is talking to themselves, or a live person, or a dead person, I think it is time to move on to a different book. So I will.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Murder of a Botoxed Blonde: A Scumble River Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Denise Swanson
    • Narrated By Christine Leto
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (205)
    Performance
    (138)
    Story
    (139)

    A health spa complete with tofu turkey and "Dress for Sexcess" lectures is the last place school psychologist Skye Denison wants to spend Thanksgiving. But when her best friend Trixie Frayne convinces her to take a complimentary weekend at the new Scumble River Spa, Skye accepts her fate and prepares to be slathered, wrapped, and roasted - until a murder ruins the good time.

    Beatrice says: "A new spa means a new murder in Scrumble River"
    "Typical Fun Scumble River, but voices changed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Basically I like all the Scumble River mysteries. I very much enjoyed finally seeing some progress in Skye's love life too. The mystery was ok but I confess to enjoying the characters as the primary attraction. So that may be why it bothered me that although most of the voices have not changed, May and Bunny sounded totally different. Was so weird after getting used to everyone to hear Skye sound like she always did than her mother suddenly sound completely unlike herself. I think the previous voices were much better. I hope this resolves by the next book. The story line being set in a spa gives lots of opportunities for various comments to be made about Skye's weight, appearance etc. I confess to be a bit bored having to dwell on her chubbiness all the time. I also remember Skye commenting at some point (might not have been this book) about eating healthy despite no longer dieting. Skye does a lot of eating (even when it is forbidden at the spa) and she is always chowing down McDonald's, or piles of meat potatoes and gravy, or bags of candy and chips. I think she's a little deluded. But in the beginning of the book especially I was getting tired of people being so rude to her. Some unresolved threads from previous books do get wrapped up in the one, which is nice. As usual I plan to go on to the next in the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • High Sobriety: My Year Without Booze

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Jill Stark
    • Narrated By Vannessa Coffey
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    I'm the binge-drinking health reporter. During the week, I write about Australia's booze-soaked culture. At the weekends, I write myself off. Born and raised in Scotland, the home of whisky, Jill Stark had booze in the blood. Alcohol had dominated her social life ever since she had her first sip of lager, at 13. She thought nothing could curb her love of big nights. Then came the hangover that changed everything. In the shadow of her 35th year, Jill made a decision: she would give up alcohol.

    Karen says: "Great Book, for the right audience"
    "Great Book, for the right audience"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I REALLY enjoyed this book. I want to say first off though that anyone with no binge drinking experience just won't get it so they might as well skip it. The perfect audience is what I was, someone who has recently had a bad hangover that led them to wonder - am I just that person who should never drink? And, is that even possible? We follow our formerly binge drinking health reporter through totally relatable, and often funny, sometimes sad, situations. I should mention that I normally hate when narrators have strong accents. I have a horrible time understanding them and find it unnecessary. In this case, while heavily accented the reader is clear and the accent and local slang are more atmospheric than annoying. The book at times can get a little statistics heavy, and I didn't necessarily agree with everything (for example, I never saw an issue with alcohol ads during sporting events) but overall I found the book very interesting. One thing that stuck with me was the comment that not drinking at all was what people did when they found moderate drinking to be too hard. There is also the drama of what our heroine will do when her time is up. Kept me interested all the way through.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ten Years Later

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Hoda Kotb
    • Narrated By Hoda Kotb
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (41)
    Story
    (41)

    Through years of perseverance, purpose, and passion, Hoda Kotb landed a spot with Kathie Lee on the Today show, won numerous journalism awards, and gained valuable life lessons. Now, after captivating audiences in her blockbuster memoir Hoda, she turns to stories about others who have undergone personal transformation against great odds. In Ten Years Later, Hoda chronicles six amazing stories by identifying a game-changing event in her subjects’ lives and then revisiting those lives a decade later.

    kris says: "Hoda Hits it Out of the Park!"
    "Stories were interesting BUT"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is Hota telling of her interviews with 6 people. I found the stories interesting. However, I did not really get how the stories really belong together. Even the subtitle "Six People Who Faced Adversity and Transformed Their Lives" isn't entirely accurate. I really think she just thought these were six good stories so wanted to make a book but any real connection for all six is a stretch. The final story is about a woman who went from choosing to live a subsistence lifestyle to owning a multimillion dollar company. Is the adversity being poor when choosing to live that lifestyle? At any rate, each story on it's own was interesting but a few things did bug me. Our first story deals with a woman who after being in an abusive relationship and losing her kids, leaves the guy, loses hundreds of pounds and regains custody. She later becomes a life coach. This is inspiring except that one question kept popping into my mind while listening and Hota never asked it. The woman after gaining her kids back, moves in with another guy shortly after that, then another guy after that. It seemed to me like she always had to have a man and never got comfortable just being herself. It seemed so crazy after what she put her kids through to move them in with another guy right away. But Hota never asks her about that. After that story was a woman who survived cancer and went on to help cancer patients by getting the medical community to deal with issues of fertility loss differently. Those two made me think our book was about people who suffered something them went on to do something for others. But the next two stories were a little off from that. I was fascinated by the woman who recovered from epilepsy and became an ultra marathoner. (I had never heard of ultramarathons.) I am just not sure how that fits the theme. Similarly there is man who stops doing drugs after his sister is murdered and helps to influence the prosecution of her killer. There is also the man who helped a burn victim on 9/11 only to learn later his sister and niece had died that day. That is certainly a powerful story but I kept waiting to see what he was going to do and that was apparently just be a regular happy guy. So although the stories were interesting, I don't think Hota or her book added anything to them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Murder of a Real Bad Boy: A Scumble River Mystery, Book 8

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Denise Swanson
    • Narrated By Christine Leto
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (91)
    Performance
    (85)
    Story
    (85)

    Still recovering from breaking up with her boyfriend and alienating half the people in town, Skye Denison has sworn off men - but she hires sexy contractor Beau Hamilton to renovate the old house she inherited. After all, who can ignore his qualifications? Golden hair, bronzed chest, muscular thighs - he’s just too good to be true. Sure enough, he has a reputation for conning the ladies. But before the not so nave Skye can fire the hunk, he turns up dead.

    Karen says: "Liked it - But not my favorite"
    "Liked it - But not my favorite"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoy all the Scumble River Mysteries because I have become attached to the characters. The narrator is always great as well. There are a few things that prevent this one from being a favorite. I was very much looking forward to some exciting changes in Skye's love life in this book. I had gotten tired of her previous relationship and was very much looking forward to a new relationship in this book. But it never really makes progress. Skye spends a lot of time being obsessed about "taking it slow" and when she does get about to get close to her new man, something prevents it every time. So that was a letdown. The mystery was okay except that it was the only time that comes to mind where I knew who the guilty party was way before Skye did. She seemed a little clueless this time around.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Coming Clean

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Kimberly Rae Miller
    • Narrated By Kimberly Rae Miller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (271)
    Performance
    (240)
    Story
    (244)

    Kim Miller is an immaculately put-together woman with a great career, a loving boyfriend, and a tidy apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. You would never guess that Kim grew up behind the closed doors of her family’s idyllic Long Island house, navigating between teetering stacks of aging newspapers, broken computers, and boxes upon boxes of unused junk festering in every room - the product of her father’s painful and unending struggle with hoarding. In this moving coming-of-age story, Kim brings to life her rat-infested home and her childhood consumed by concealing her father’s shameful secret from friends.

    Margaret says: "Vicarious Hoarding"
    "Fascinating, and a Quick read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am one of those people who is fascinated by hoarding and I have watched a ton of shows on TV about it, but this book was so much better than those shows. Getting to know the characters better and seeing them change over time really added dimension that is missing on those TV shows. It was particularly interesting to watch roles within the family change over time as Miller transitions from the child to an almost parental role in dealing with her parents. It is amazing how the background of challenges created such a strong person. I liked too that this was a book about a challenging childhood without being one of the many abuse memoirs. I liked Miller's narration too once I got over wishing she would speak just a little louder.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Murder of a Smart Cookie: A Scumble River Mystery, Book 7

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs)
    • By Denise Swanson
    • Narrated By Christine Leto
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (96)
    Performance
    (89)
    Story
    (88)

    Yard sales can bring out the worst in people. So when Scumble River school psychologist Skye Denison organizes a 100-mile yard sale, otherwise neighborly folk get downright nasty: her own mother creams a woman, and a battle of the sexes breaks out. But when her former boss is found murdered, nobody knows for sure how this cookie will crumble.

    Karen says: "My Favorite Scumble River So Far"
    "My Favorite Scumble River So Far"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    For those of you who enjoy Skye and Scumble River but find her and Simon to be a bit goody goody and dull sometimes, this is the book for you. I had gotten bored with Simon, and in this book he isn't around much and Skye seems pretty bored by him too, so finally she was up to some more exciting things in her personal life. There is a lot of relationship drama with various couples in town in this book as well. It also shakes up the status quo because Skye is not in school in this one, she is running an enormous yard sale. As tends to happen there are a number of snooty newcomers in town trying to bully Skye and her small town cohorts. I did not know who the killer was in this one. At any rate I enjoyed a little something different in this one and am looking forward to seeing where it goes in the next book. And not too much Bunny in this one either - she only made me cringe once, though it was a big cringe. Narrator does a great job, voices are all spot on.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Murder of a Pink Elephant: A Scumble River Mystery, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Denise Swanson
    • Narrated By Christine Leto
    Overall
    (99)
    Performance
    (88)
    Story
    (89)

    When Skye Denison's brother forms a band called Pink Elephant, the town goes wild-maybe too wild. First, a groupie turns stalker, seducing the band members one by one. Then, one of the Pink Elephants winds up murdered. Who's to blame? Everyone seems to think it's the drummer - and now Skye has to clear her brother's name.

    Karen says: "Another Good Small Town Cozy"
    "Another Good Small Town Cozy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am a Scumble River fan and have enjoyed all the books in the series so far to various degrees. (I am not sure these would work well as stand alones - a lot of what I enjoy about them is from getting to know the town and its people in previous installments.) I think this one is definitely a step up from the last one, which was not a favorite. This book gets back to the focus on small town life and a lot is going on. We have a school dance, a mayoral election campaign, a developer trying to buy up farmland for an amusement park, drug dealing, a new bowling alley and of course. murder. Skye has a valid reason (other than her natural nosiness) for getting involved this time around since her brother Vince has managed to get himself in yet another sticky situation. I was getting a bit annoyed for a while with the depiction of all law enforcement though. I mean how likely is it that the police department of this small town has totally failed to notice a sudden meth problem and that they would need to be educated about it by Skye whose knowledge all came from some printouts someone gave her from the internet? Speaking of the internet and technology in general, this book has a dated feel (paperback is from 2004) because Skye doesn't know anything about the internet and cell phones still seem very rare. Emailing the police chief doesn't seem to be a possibility and Skye has to go to his house to reach him. In all fairness I think today's technology makes it harder to write mysteries. At least we don't go through all those elaborate reasons for some character not to be able to use their phone. (I remember a Rita Mae Brown mystery where there were so many unlikely occurrences happening just to explain why things that could have been resolved or avoided quickly by a cell phone call are not.) Swanson has her own quirks. In general I enjoy Skye even if she and Simon are a little too goody goody to be entirely accessible, but I can see why a friend says she is annoyed that Skye has to constantly go over her status as a plus sized woman - there are constant references to her curves, her bulk, her padding, etc. She gets attacked in this one by a mean spirited thin woman for her dessert consumption. Seriously though, Skye does eat a lot of cake! I didn't find Swanson at her most believable in the drug part of the plot, everyone just seemed so naive. But I enjoyed the small town atmosphere and the complex overlapping plot pieces and have already downloaded the next in the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.