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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

51
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 110 reviews
  • 110 ratings
  • 304 titles in library
  • 13 purchased in 2015
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5

  • A Load of Old Bones

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Suzette A. Hill
    • Narrated By Leslie Phillips, Simon Hurst, Grant Russell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    The curious amd murderous exploits of the Rev Frances Outerard as recounted by himself with interspersions from his cat Maurice and his dog Bouncer. Leslie Phillips as a cat? Inspired casting! An enchanting tale full of fun, wit and insight. Set in a delightful 1950s mythical Surrey. The collusion between the cat and the dog to ensure their owner keeps out of trouble is hilarious.

    E. says: "Silly, but not offensively so"
    "A tough listen, not sure I get the humor"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I only give 1 star for performance if something about the performance made it difficult for me to understand what was being said. Truthfully I almost gave up on this book, but I did manage to get used to it. The accents are very heavy, especially the character Maurice the Cat. Not only is his accent heavy but he has a very dramatic way of speaking (if anyone remembers how the Grinch talked in the old TV cartoon Christmas special that is what it reminded me of). The dog was easier to understand and the man was pretty good. Also the characters did use a lot of large words and a bunch of British slang. So not the easiest listen. Still I made it through and I was interested enough in what was happening to get through it pretty quickly. Having said that though, I am not sure I really "got" this book. It is not a mystery in the sense that a crime is committed at the beginning and there is no mystery about who has done it. The mystery is just whether or not they will get caught. When things are seen through the eyes of cat or dog character, you can expect a certain differing from the emotions you get with a human narrator, but here oddly our human FO displays the same lack of normal human emotion as his pets, if not more so. Since others have described this book as "hilarious" perhaps that is part of the humor? I'm not really sure. Maybe it is a British thing. I am not always tuned in to British humor. The plot (no spoilers here) revolves around FO murdering a woman who ruins his peace and quiet by being annoying and the efforts of his pets and himself to see he gets away with it to preserve all of their peace and quiet. I couldn't help but notice that FO is a sociopath. I guess this fact is just played for laughs but it made it hard for me to predict possible directions the book would take. Oddly I didn't dislike FO and I was interested enough in his story. But I think one book of it was enough.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Sociopath Next Door

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Martha Stout
    • Narrated By Shelly Frasier
    Overall
    (2941)
    Performance
    (1894)
    Story
    (1892)

    We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals, but in The Sociopath Next Door, Harvard psychologist Martha Stout reveals that a shocking 4 percent of ordinary people, one in 25, has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse. One in 25 everyday Americans, therefore, is secretly a sociopath.

    Taryn says: "Reinforces what you have already known"
    "Interesting, Not horrible, Good narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While perhaps not earth shattering in its content, I did find this book interesting. One thing I particularly liked was as I listened a question would occur to me and it seemed every time I wondered something I found that whatever I was wondering about (theory of causation, or brain differences, or relation to attachment disorder) was the next thing to be addressed. The book starts with a discussion of the prevalence of sociopaths in society, and the 1 in 25 people statistic explained a lot of what happens in the world. As the author first discusses and portrays sociopaths, I was a little concerned that given the nature of the behavior of stereotypical sociopaths that I was in for an upsetting read. However with the exception of one episode which was unfortunate for bullfrogs, the book is safe even for the tenderhearted. I think the author did a great job showing different types of sociopaths outside the stereotype, and i like that while starting on a scarier note that the book ended in a more positive way. Really enjoyed the narrator - she really brought the characters to life. Her Doreen Littlefield in particular was perfect.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lucky Stiff: A Mattie Winston Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Annelise Ryan
    • Narrated By Jorjeana Marie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (122)
    Performance
    (111)
    Story
    (110)

    It's Christmas Day in the sleepy town of Sorenson, Wisconsin, but instead of unwrapping presents, deputy coroner Mattie Winston is at the burnt remains of a house where a charred body has been found. The victim is none other than Jack Allen - a paraplegic who recently won a huge casino jackpot. Upon closer inspection, Mattie and detective Steve Hurley are convinced Jack was murdered to steal his winnings, giving the phrase blackjack a whole new meaning....

    Beatrice says: "humorous and fun"
    "Mattie, Mattie, What are you doing?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A lot of reviewers were very annoyed by this book and the sheer number of stupid things Mattie manages to do in it. I agree it is frustrating behavior for someone we have been regarding as a smart woman. Also, I agree with others who say the amount of disasters in the book is really over the top. It reads more like an action movie that a mystery. But I certainly did enjoy parts very much. The Mattie and Hurley build up is a lot of fun, and there is a scene with a drunken Mattie that was priceless, despite the fact that the narrator is really bad at drunk voices. And if the book hasn't driven you mad by the end there is the up and down of the cliffhanger ending that had me starting the next book within five minutes of this one. But since this is a mystery I should say something about the mystery part. There are two deaths being investigated in the book, and I have to say I am not sure what the author was thinking with the secondary death. It was a downer and didn't showcase anything good about Mattie and Hurley (who I notice both seem to like to play bad cop and feel ok bullying anyone involved in any capacity with a suspicious death). The main mystery was better. Book definitely kept my interest throughout.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Board Stiff

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Annelise Ryan
    • Narrated By Jorjeana Marie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (115)
    Performance
    (103)
    Story
    (103)

    Sorenson, Wisconsin's deputy coroner Mattie Winston is back on the job...in a nursing home examining the body of Bernie Chase - the now former president of the Twilight Home's board of directors - who is covered in a powder used to turn liquids to solids. The home's residents are certain Bernie was offing the patients who cost him too much...and the patient that found him can't remember a thing.

    Karen says: "Not a Great Mystery, But Enjoying Mattie's Life"
    "Not a Great Mystery, But Enjoying Mattie's Life"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have become attached to Mattie and the characters in this series, so my standards aren't super high with the mysteries. However, this was definitely not a favorite for a couple of reasons. The mystery was set in a nursing home and I don't really care for the portrayal of old folks in this book. They are mostly played crudely and for laughs. I have never found the character of the sex starved old lady who is supposed to be funny/repulsive to be amusing. I gather plenty of people do find that funny since this author certainly isn't the only one to put in such characters for humor. It seems especially off when they are also trying to make statements about the value of life. That wasn't a big deal though. What I found weak about the mystery was that no one ever solves it. They investigate but really nothing gets accomplished until the killer basically comes forward. I prefer my detectives to actually solve the mystery not just work on it until it blows up in their face. Still, I enjoyed Mattie and Hurley. I was surprised by how quickly they fell back in together after the cliffhanger ending of the last book. Although there are some things left up in the end at the end of this one, Mattie seems in a better place in her life than usual. I wish the next one was available on Audible!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Murder of a Chocolate-Covered Cherry: A Scumble River Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Denise Swanson
    • Narrated By Christine Leto
    Overall
    (270)
    Performance
    (216)
    Story
    (216)

    Grandma Sal's Soup-to-Nuts Cooking Challenge is coming to town, and Skye Denison is entering. And though she can't solve the mystery of the perfect mousse, murder is another story. Because a cocky contestant has been found delectably drowned in a chocolate fountain....

    deanna says: "I keep re-listening to the Scumble River Series"
    "Good Enough Cozy for Scumble Fans"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In the last book the narrator suddenly changed the voices of two characters which was really annoying. In this book, one of them, Skye's mother May, sounds normal again. Thank goodness for that since she has a prominent role in this book. In fact I would say there is way too much May in this book. Bunny still doesn't sound right. The book centers around a cooking contest, which gives us that good small town atmosphere. As usual the victim is a snooty, insulting woman. There is a secondary mystery of a missing teen. I enjoyed the mysteries well enough but I have to say that some of the characters were not strongly drawn enough that I necessarily could tell them apart. That was inconvenient when some of them were suspects. I was very happy to see more maturity from Skye in this book, she was less reckless and at one point I was sure she was going to do something very stupid, and she didn't do it! So I was all around satisfied with this installment and ready for the next.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Frozen Stiff: A Mattie Winston Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Annelise Ryan
    • Narrated By Jorjeana Marie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (137)
    Performance
    (127)
    Story
    (126)

    Deputy coroner Mattie Winston knows everyone in the charmingly small town of Sorenson, Wisconsin - except the latest body discovered in a desolate field. If a woman this attractive had moved into town, the news would have surely hit the gossip mill in record time. So who was the murdered femme fatale? Whose knife was left planted in her chest? The mystery deepens when detective Steven Hurley takes one look at the body and turns as white as the newly fallen snow...and excuses himself from the case.

    Diane says: "Good story, Narrator needs help!"
    "Better Mystery, Romance not as good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have been enjoying this series because I enjoy the characters particularly Mattie and Hurley, and Mattie makes me chuckle. In the first two books, the mysteries were perhaps not that well developed. In this book we move on to a much more complicated mystery which plays a bigger role in the book. I considered that a plus and I even listened up to 5 hours in one day to have it resolved. Also, I did not solve this one. That said though, I found the lack of romantic progress disappointing. In fact the developing romance has gone backwards instead of forward in this book. But I will definitely go on to the next one to see if it gets back on track! It's the same narrator as previous books and I really like her as Mattie but she does sometimes mispronounce words.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Scared Stiff: A Mattie Winston Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Annelise Ryan
    • Narrated By Jorjeana Marie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (160)
    Performance
    (144)
    Story
    (144)

    When Deputy Coroner Mattie Winston and her boss/best friend, Izzy, are called to the home of waitress and part-time model Shannon Tolliver, they find the ghoulish Halloween decorations a bit too authentic. Among the fake blood and skeletons is the corpse of Shannon herself. Since the whole town knows Shannon recently had a very public spat with her estranged husband, Erik, he's suspect number one. But Mattie happens to know Erik truly loved his wife, and is simply incapable of the brutal act - even if he owns the exact same caliber handgun as the murder weapon.…

    Melanie says: "Good Series, Nix the Stupid Sexual References"
    "Light, Enjoyable Cozy Mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am really enjoying this series. Unlike some other listeners I have no problem with the narrator. I find her voice fits the characters, even if she does occasionally use a pronunciation that seems off to me. Unlike the first book, I did not guess the ending in this one. I think this is going to be one of those series though that I enjoy the characters so much that I feel no need to over analyze the mystery. Mattie makes me chuckle. If you liked book one you will like this one. All the things you could dislike about it (like Mattie's klutziness, or the crude sexual innuendo) were part of book one as well. They did not bother me. There was one character who got a little tiresome in this one for me, an elderly man with dawning dementia and a catheter problem, but I can over look that since I enjoy Mattie and Hurley and Izzy and the pets enough.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Stolen Life: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Jaycee Dugard
    • Narrated By Jaycee Dugard
    Overall
    (1469)
    Performance
    (1108)
    Story
    (1109)

    "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
    (215)
    Performance
    (199)
    Story
    (200)

    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
    (31)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (27)

    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
    (218)
    Performance
    (151)
    Story
    (151)

    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

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