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Kate M.

Berkeley Springs, WV, United States | Member Since 2001

8
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 11 reviews
  • 16 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 44 purchased in 2014
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  • The Giving Quilt: An Elm Creek Quilts Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Jennifer Chiaverini
    • Narrated By Christina Moore
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (54)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
    (47)

    Jennifer Chiaverini's Elm Creek Quilts novels are as lovingly crafted and heartwarming as the homemade quilts featured prominently in each story. The milestone 20th entry in this charming series, The Giving Quilt chronicles the week after Thanksgiving- Quiltsgiving- as residents of Elm Creek Manor find creative ways to answer the question, ''Why do you give?''

    Mary says: "The Giving Quilt - Political book vs Quilting book"
    "Fairly preachy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I've read all of the books in the series, and now I wonder whether this is something new or whether I'm just less tolerant. There wasn't much of a story line. There were, I suppose, five story lines for each of the characters who become central to the story. Each of them was going through various problems, many of which have to do with the current social-political climate of the country. Even though I agree with most of her positions, it just made for a tedious book.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Declaring Spinsterhood

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Jamie Lynn Braziel
    • Narrated By Johanna Parker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (128)
    Performance
    (117)
    Story
    (118)

    Emma Bailey is fed up with the dating scene, and if she hears her mother nag one more time about getting married…well, she’s had it, and she wants everyone to know it. In a moment of clarity (or insanity?), she announces to the world that she will never marry. No husband and no kids; no worries about diapers, driving lessons, or divorce. Her friends are there for her, but they’re also involved in their own lives and loves, so off she goes into a world of casual dating. But what happens when the avowed spinster, the woman who has supposedly tucked her heart into a safe little space, suddenly realizes that her best friend Brian means more to her?

    Guiselle says: "Juvenile and poorly written"
    "It's cheap but I'd still avoid wasting the time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was beyond disappointed. The premise sounded great and reading the opening pages in the kindle preview and listening to the audio preview convinced me that it was a story I would enjoy. After listening a while I thought that the writer was either 16 or 83 (although that's a slap at 83 year olds, both my parents are considerably older than that and still not as rigid as this) because I couldn't believe the way the characters behaved. I don't say that a woman has to go to bed with a man because he bought her dinner, but this is the other extreme. We start out with a 30 year old woman who exclusively dated a guy for two years and after the breakup, which occurs before the beginning of the book, she's congratulating herself on never having an intimate relationship with him. I'm sorry, but by 30 you should know yourself well enough that it doesn't take two years, and him cheating on you, to decide that you should get married, get intimate or get gone. If he doesn't turn you on enough to choose one of the first two options, you should be looking for someone who does.

    The way the characters relate to one another is pure high school. The situations they set up really show the emotional maturity of teenagers. Additionally the mother is always carping on her to get married. The uncle is a truly gross character, telling her at Thanksgiving that they're going to have to use a turkey baster to get grandkids from her and instead of backing her up her dad, the minister, says his cop friends may have to give reduced time to some of the felons to get them to "make a contribution"? Why didn't she walk out if she couldn't get any more respect from her family than that? Only her sister-in-law and to a lesser degree her brother think that it's ok for her to choose her own destiny, everyone else is telling her what to do. An example of unhealthy family dynamics:

    Her mother wants her to catch the bouquet at her sister's wedding. "Why don't you go catch it for me, Mother, since you're so concerned about it?"
    "Don't sass your mother, Emma," Dad chimed in while wagging his finger. "You're not so old that I can't put you over my knee."

    Excuse me, at 30, yes, she is too old, and has been for some time. So Emma "managed to jump and grab it while avoiding the stampede at the same time." Does she need her mother's approval that much?

    I wouldn't have finished it if I hadn't gotten the audio book. I had a project I was working on, I needed something to occupy my mind while I finished it and I didn't want to re-listen to anything I already had so I bought this. The narrator was great. At first I thought that she was reading too fast but it became clear that the sooner she got us to the happy ending the better for everyone. I'm not sorry I finished it. I almost never leave a book in the middle because few characters are so unappealing that I don't want to find out how the story ends. This was almost one of them, again, if it wasn't for the audio I probably would have skipped to the last chapter and missed the one or two scenes that I enjoyed.

    I should send this to my daughter. Whenever she reads about parents like this I get phone calls telling me what a wonderful mother she thinks I've been. It's great for my ego. Even so, I can't do that to her, she'll have to find models of horrible parents somewhere else. (PS the best friends parents are really nice but still a little strange in the ways they're willing to manipulate the two "kids"...)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Necessary Detour

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Kim Hornsby
    • Narrated By Kelly McFarland
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    After a stalker's attack, rock star Goldy Crossland flees L.A. for her secluded lake house in Northern Washington. Retired from the music business, she hopes to avoid both the press and her psychotic fan. But obscurity leaves her restless, and when a mysterious - and disturbingly handsome - new neighbor moves in, she can't resist spying. Pete Bayer is undeniably attractive, but Goldy quickly realizes there's something strange going on in the log house across the bay. Is he a member of the paparazzi? Or a much more sinister threat?

    Kate M. says: "I really enjoyed the story, BUT"
    "I really enjoyed the story, BUT"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As with so many audio books the narrator can ruin it. Sometimes the narration is flat, other times there's over emphasis. The voice for the daughter of incredibly whiney. The voice for Goldie, the main character is only annoying so maybe that's personal preference and might not be so bothersome for another listener. The book is fine, and I got this narration for $1.99 so it may not be worth asking for a refund but I ended up just rereading the book because the narration was so awful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hogfather: Discworld #20

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Terry Pratchett
    • Narrated By Nigel Planer
    Overall
    (812)
    Performance
    (383)
    Story
    (387)

    "Discworld is more complicated and satisfactory than Oz," says Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. "Truly original. Pratchett creates a brilliant excess of delectable detail!" Hogfather is a Discworld Christmas tale - not to be missed! Browse more novels of Discworld.

    W. S. says: "Sure cure for December blues"
    "I bought this for a bookclub read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My scifi book club was reading this and since I like Terry Pratchett and Discworld I was excited about it. I couldn't finish reading it. It didn't seem to have any plot to speak of. Somehow the grim reaper, his daughter, various gods and the Hogfather are all mixed together in the story. To say much more would spoil any surprise you might be looking forward to. With the many good reviews I have to believe that my view of the book is unusual but I got more than half way through the book before I just couldn't bring myself to listen to it any longer. I listened to it most of the way from NC to WV and just couldn't continue.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Holiday Sparks: A Story from Naughty and Nice

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Shannon Stacey
    • Narrated By Savannah Richards
    Overall
    (1220)
    Performance
    (1075)
    Story
    (1094)

    'Tis the Season for Romance. Sparks fly when the lights go out in best-selling author Shannon Stacey's charming holiday romance.

    ~~ DARA ~~ says: "I Like Free! Thanks Audible!"
    "Fortunately this was free ***Spoiler Alert***"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This story was so formulaic as to be annoying.

    **SPOILER ALERT**
    1) girl from big city (Boston) goes home to small town, her parents are on vacation but I don't see any reason why she needs to stay at their house while they're out of town. She misses Chinese food delivered at 3am.

    meets

    2) boy she paid no attention to in high school who loves living in small town, he enjoys the Monday special at the local diner.

    3) they decide to hook up for a holiday interlude

    filled with stupid innuendo on a high school level

    ***The "Surprise" Ending***

    4) she doesn't really need crab Rangoon delivered in the middle of the night as much as she needs him.

    This is also available as part of a collection, "Naughty or Nice" in which the other stories may be worth listening to but I can't imagine reading anything else by this author. If it was free, I'd try another but I definitely wouldn't pay for one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Next Song I Sing: Next Time Around, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Donna McDonald
    • Narrated By Anne Johnstonbrown
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (15)

    Freshly divorced at 40 yrs old, Chloe Zanders has few illusions left about her ability to make her dreams come true. She is never going to be thin, never going to be a famous singer, and never going to be sexy enough to keep a man like her handsome ex-football player husband from cheating. While the first two dreams might continue to flicker hopefully inside her, Chloe now accepts the last one had been doomed from the start.

    Gaele says: "stories with heroines that are living their 40’s"
    "I read the story first"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the last of the Donna McDonald books I read on my Kindle after I got the first one for free. When this came out as an audiobook I was offered a great deal on it and took it since audiobooks are my first favorite, so to speak. The story isn't completely ruined by the narration but it's very distracting. It's almost as if the narrator wants to sound like an American impression of a British narrator. It's a matter of over-enunciating. Where most people would pronounce "matter" "mat-er" Johnston-Brown carefully says "mah-ter". It seems to mostly have to do with the letters T, D & P. If a word ends in t, d or p she always uses what I've heard called a "plosive". What it means is that when a word ends in a t, d or p you can make it with a lot of air, like when you say doughnut, or with just enough air to make it happen as is usually the case with words like don't. I've also heard the difference referred to as a "hard aspiration" or a "soft aspiration". I don't know if this makes any sense to anyone reading this, but listen to the sample, if you don't notice it you probably won't be bothered and it's an enjoyable story. It's easy to care about (or dislike in the case of the ex-wife) all of the characters. Their worries seem very familiar to me. They worry about their business successes and life failures and body image concerns. And, as with all romance it's going to come out well for the primary characters. I would have included beach reads and chick lit but it seems to me that those aren't always happy endings, sometimes they're more poignant than happy. I usually prefer happy, this is escapist reading after all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dixie Divas: Dixie Divas Mysteries, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Virginia Brown
    • Narrated By Karen Commins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (301)
    Performance
    (259)
    Story
    (259)

    Eureka "Trinket" Truevine, the newest Diva, gets more than she bargained for when she finds her best Diva girlfriend Bitty Hollandale's ex-husband in Bitty's hall closet. He's dead. Very dead. Now Trinket and the Divas have to help Bitty finger the murderer and clear her name.

    Maggie says: "Easy Read- Good Plot"
    "I'll be returning this"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It took forever for the story to get started and for me it never really took off. Now that it's over and I know who done it, I can't remember the why and I only finished it yesterday. Even though I figured out ahead of time who the villain was (and I was fooled into thinking I was wrong) it was based on who had the means and opportunity rather than seeing a motive. This is much more a story of Dixie Belles and I don't know any so I can't say how accurate the portraiture here is, but they were mostly very annoying women. The men were only a little better. I might have been tempted to go ahead with the second book if the narrator had changed but I can’t take any more of her. She doesn’t change emphasis between a scene where the main character is delivering food as a bribe and one where the second character is in fear for her life. It’s not that it’s monotonous, more like she’s so busy working on the accents that she can’t pay attention to the content. I might pick up the next book from the library so I can a) find out what happens next in the romances (I’m a sucker for a romance) and b) find out whether I enjoy the books more when I’m not listening to Karen Commins narration. Whichever turns out to be the case, don’t like the stories or just don’t like the narration, I’ll be returning this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Baby, Come Home: Southern Roads Trilogy, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Stephanie Bond
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (143)
    Performance
    (123)
    Story
    (123)

    The hardheaded Armstrong brothers are determined to rebuild their tornado-ravaged hometown in the Georgia mountains. They've got the means, they've got the manpower... what they need are women! So they place an ad in a Northern newspaper and wait for the ladies to arrive... Sensible yet sexy middle brother Kendall Armstrong penned that ad himself - but there's just one woman he really wants to answer the call.... Civil engineer Amy Bradshaw - Kendall's ex-fiance - fled Sweetness years ago, taking a personal souvenir with her. She's back now....

    Kate M. says: "Enjoyable characters but a little off"
    "Enjoyable characters but a little off"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This shouldn't be a spoiler because it's more or less given away in the description: "Civil engineer Amy Bradshaw - Kendall's ex-fiancé - fled Sweetness years ago, taking a personal souvenir with her." Why is it that whenever young love is thwarted she ends up pregnant with a baby she never told him about because she wanted to be loved and not married as an obligation? I know, because it makes good fiction, and this is fun, escapist, fiction. And I really enjoy the premise of three brothers trying to rebuild the town they grew up in after it's been abandoned for over ten years after being destroyed by an F5 tornado. I enjoy the picture of Sweetness, (though not the name, too icky-sweet, Sweetwater I could have understood but who would name a town "Sweetness"?). It's getting a little odd, from the first book we have all these men and women who've come together more or less in a big matchmaking plan, and none of them are living together? All the men are still living in the bunk house and all the women in the boarding house. It just felt a little unreal. If this were a book with the premise of a community who all believe in abstinence until marriage it would make more sense to me, but the combination of sex scenes and no men overnight rules which are only, as far as we see, broken by the three brothers... it just didn't flow for me. Still, I liked the characters and wanted to see how things came out.

    Unfortunately I really didn't like book three, which probably means I'll never listen to the series again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Baby, Don't Go: Southern Roads Trilogy, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Stephanie Bond
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (134)
    Performance
    (113)
    Story
    (114)

    Eldest brother Marcus Armstrong considers the estrogen influx an irritating distraction. He's running a town, not a dating service! Reporter Alicia Randall thinks the Armstrong brothers are running a scam and she intends to prove it-even if it means seducing oh-so-sexy Marcus in the process. Sizzling sex and a hot story? Win-win! At least it is, until she falls for the guy. Will love trump betrayal when the truth comes out?

    Shunda says: "Such a stubborn man"
    "Trite and tedious"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The plot line is great, the idea that three brothers are trying to recreate the town that they grew up in after an F5 tornado decimated it. The idea that they're trying to create a green community is also enjoyable. It's only that many of the characters are too formulaic, too stereotypical that led me farther and farther into disliking the book.

    I did finish this. I was invested in the characters from the first two books, and even though they were good rather than great they were the kind of escapist reading I was looking for. This one had such a nasty female protagonist I couldn't see any way for her to become a lovable character. She does, of course, otherwise it wouldn't be proper escapism. But neither character can really stay true to his or herself and still make the happy ending, so people had to undergo unrealistic changes to get to the end. This is so unpleasant that I might not re-read the first and second books because I'll know that getting through the third book will be a chore and I like to read an entire series together. So much so that one of my favorite authors is working on book 35 or 40 or some such and when I know it's coming out I'll go back and re-read all the previous books in order to enjoy a seamless transition to the new book. If you haven't guessed, I don't recommend this book. Book 1 had some troubling transitions in it, but I cared enough about the characters to want to go on. Book 2, again, there were a lot of, why do they do that moments. The ones that you know that why they do it is to forward the plot but you just can't believe that people are that relationship stupid. Maybe they are, but there are limits to credulity, to the amount of change a character can exhibit in the space of a month without wondering if aliens took them over, and this third book crossed those limits. I wouldn't have liked it, but it would have worked better for me if the two central characters went with, you're a person unlike any I would ever want to spend time with and ridden off into their respective sunsets.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Unsung Hero: Troubleshooters, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Suzanne Brockmann
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    Overall
    (759)
    Performance
    (374)
    Story
    (368)

    After a near-fatal head injury, Navy SEAL lieutenant Tom Paoletti catches a terrifying glimpse of an international terrorist in his New England hometown. When he calls for help, the Navy dismisses the danger as injury-induced imaginings. In a desperate effort to prevent disaster, Tom creates his own makeshift counterterrorist team, assembling his most loyal officers, two elderly war veterans, a couple of misfit teenagers, and Dr. Kelly Ashton - the sweet girl next door who has grown into a remarkable woman.

    Melissa says: "The first of many"
    "More than a romance, less than a suspense novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Disclaimers:
    1) This is about the audio version of the book. I also read the book, back before it was available as audio and I assigned stars here based on the book without regard to the narrator. If you're considering the audio book I only gave the narrator 2 stars. He makes the female protagonist sound incredibly whiny. Actually, I don't think I like any of the people's voices the way he reads them.
    2) I'm a big fan of Suzanne Brockmann and that may count for one star of the review.

    There was a complaint that this was a romance rather than suspense. I suppose if you're expecting Tom Clancy or Eric Van Lustbader that would be valid. That said, we have to figure out whether Tom is suffering from a head injury of whether he actually sees a terrorist (not a spoiler, you've got that information in the second chapter). Part of my problem is that Dufris reads it as pure romance. When you get to a sex scene his voice is distracting. This gets much better later in the series when there are two narrators. One of the things I really enjoy in these early Troubleshooters books, and I read them long before I got the audiobooks, is the interwoven WWII plot. Tom's uncle, Joe, and his neighbor met in France when the neighbor, Charles, was shot down and rescued by members of the resistance. There's tension between the two because of something that happened there that Joe is going to talk about and Charles wants to keep secret. Beyond that, almost anything I would say about the plot strikes me as a spoiler.

    Because this is a romance, there is a sense in the primary male/female encounter of excessive sensitivity. I think I enjoyed the sex in the written book, without Dufris' particular emphatic reading but maybe that's an area where Brockmann's writing has improved over the years and if I went back and read it again it would still stick out as a little contrived.

    I think it's important to realize that this was written in 2000. That's before the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and our view of terrorists on US soil was very different.

    So, would I recommend this book? I have, often. I enjoy later books in the series more but we're introduced to Jazz Jacquette, Alyssa Locke and Sam/Roger/Bob/Ringo Starrett and I like meeting everyone as they're introduced in the series so when I go back to re-read the series I start here, even though it isn't my favorite of the books. I suppose it would be a five star if it had a little less emoting and more action.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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