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Catherine

ratings
415
REVIEWS
37
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
25

  • Dreaming in Chinese: Mandarin Lessons in Life, Love, and Language

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Deborah Fallows
    • Narrated By Catherine Byers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (56)
    Performance
    (47)
    Story
    (47)

    Deborah Fallows has spent a lot of her life learning languages and traveling around the world. But nothing prepared her for the surprises of learning Mandarin - China's most common language - or the intensity of living in Shanghai and Beijing. Over time, she realized that her struggles and triumphs in studying learning the language of her adopted home provided small clues to deciphering behavior and habits of its people, and its culture's conundrums.

    Catherine says: "Interesting examination of Chinese culture"
    "Interesting examination of Chinese culture"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed the perspective on Chinese culture from someone who lived there and studied the language. It is probably more interesting for someone who has studied the language, even briefly as I did, than for someone who hasn't studied foreign languages, and particularly Mandarin.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs)
    • By Jonas Jonasson
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1290)
    Performance
    (1141)
    Story
    (1159)

    After a long and eventful life, Allan Karlsson ends up in a nursing home, believing it to be his last stop. The only problem is that he's still in good health, and in one day, he turns 100. A big celebration is in the works, but Allan really isn't interested (and he'd like a bit more control over his vodka consumption). So he decides to escape. He climbs out the window in his slippers and embarks on a hilarious and entirely unexpected journey, involving, among other surprises, a suitcase stuffed with cash.

    Sylvia says: "Full of Surprises and Unexpected Events"
    "Swedish Zelig"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I liked the outset of this novel, but then it dropped into the past and his activities in all the major events of the 20th century left me cold. It has a sort of dry humor that I associate with British writers, and it was compared to some of those novels, but the story line stretched credulity in a way that was supposed to be humorous, but didn't work for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl You Left Behind

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Jojo Moyes
    • Narrated By Clare Corbett, Penny Rawlins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (409)
    Performance
    (364)
    Story
    (361)

    France, 1916: Artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his young wife, Sophie, to fight at the front. When their small town falls to the Germans in the midst of World War II, Edouard’s portrait of Sophie draws the eye of the new Kommandant. As the officer’s dangerous obsession deepens, Sophie will risk everything - her family, her reputation, and her life - to see her husband again.

    FanB14 says: "Exquisite Portrait of Sophie and Liz"
    "Liked Half of it."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I didn't care for the half of the story set in WWI German-occupied France. I especially didn't care for the choice to read it in a French accent. I almost stopped listening, but then the modern half of the story started, and that I found compelling, so I did finish the book. I had enjoyed Moyes's Me Before You, and wish I had read the description of this one more carefully before buying it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Whole Enchilada: A Novel of Suspense: Goldy Bear Culinary Mysteries, Book 17

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Diane Mott Davidson
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (302)
    Performance
    (270)
    Story
    (265)

    >Goldy Schulz knows her food is to die for, but she never expects one of her best friends to actually keel over when she's leaving a birthday party Goldy has catered. At first, everyone assumes that all the fun and excitement of the party, not to mention the rich fare, did her in. But what looks like a coronary turns out to be a generous serving of cold-blooded murder. And the clever culprit is just getting cooking. When a colleague - a woman who resembles Goldy - is stabbed, and Goldy is attacked outside her house, it becomes clear that the popular caterer is the main course on a killer menu.

    ChihuahuaMomma says: "BEST book in the entire series."
    "Fun voice for the character"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have read and enjoyed this culinary mystery series for years, looking forward to each new release. This was my first time listening, and I enjoyed the performance of Barbara Rosenblat. Her slightly raspy voice gave wonderful character to the rowdy Goldy Bear. I look forward to listening to the next one.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Bill Wasik, Monica Murphy
    • Narrated By Johnny Heller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (428)
    Performance
    (378)
    Story
    (381)

    The most fatal virus known to science, rabies kills nearly 100 percent of its victims once the infection takes root in the brain. From Greek myths to zombie flicks, from the laboratory heroics of Louis Pasteur to the contemporary search for a lifesaving treatment, Rabid is a fresh, fascinating, and often wildly entertaining look at one of mankind’s oldest and most fearsome foes.

    Sparkly says: "My favorite science read this year."
    "Where's a Good Editor When You Need One?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a fascinating topic, but the book was sometimes so dull I feared I would never finish it. As a science nerd, the development of the vaccine was the most interesting part of the book for me, and I really loved learning about Louis Pasteur and the other researchers of the 19th century. The strength of the book is how they made so many of those historical characters come alive with stories about them and their competitors or families, etc. I enjoyed learning about how the illness was understood throughout history and the crazy, revolting treatments that different societies developed to attempt to forestall the inevitable fatal outcome of a bite from a rabid animal. That being said, I felt the writing style was too wordy with too much repetition of facts and stories, which made it very slow going, even dull at times. If there is an abridged version, that would probably be the way to go--with any luck a good editor could maintain the details in the lively sections and tie everything together more efficiently.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • On What Grounds

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Cleo Coyle
    • Narrated By Rebecca Gibel
    Overall
    (373)
    Performance
    (320)
    Story
    (322)

    Clare Cosi used to manage the historic Village Blend coffeehouse…until she opted for quieter pastures and a more suburban life. But after ten years and a little friendly cajoling from the owner (a fresh pot of Jamaican Blue Mountain was all it took), she's back to the grind. With a sprawling rent-free apartment directly above the Village Blend, her cat Java by her side, and plenty of coffeehouse redecorating ideas, Clare is thrilled to return to work. Until she discovers the assistant manager unconscious in the back of the store, coffee grounds strewn everywhere.

    Pam says: "Stands out"
    "Opinionated Barrista = Fun Character"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I got a kick out of this book, and thought it was well written. I understand that some other readers didn't like all the coffee descriptions, but for me it was a major part of the main character's personality as well as important in the place setting. Even though I am not a coffee drinker, I can appreciate someone else's enthusiasm for their specialty. I found it lively and fun.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Orphan Train: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Christina Baker Kline
    • Narrated By Jessica Almasy, Suzanne Toren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3197)
    Performance
    (2840)
    Story
    (2835)

    Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to "aging out" out of the foster care system. A community-service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse.... As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

    Susan says: "Fascinating Journey for Two"
    "Wonderful parallel stories, fascinating history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved this book with its fascinating look into the odd history of the orphan trains. The quirky modern teen provides an interesting parallel to the story of the older orphan, but could have used a little more fleshing out to help understand her motivations.
    My one quibble was the reader's choice to use a somewhat girlish voice to narrate the story. I understand that this was probably motivated by the fact that most of the story is from the point of view of a 9-12 year old, but I found it distracting, especially given the maturity level of the girl in question. I didn't care for the breathiness or high lilting tone, but would recommend the book, nonetheless.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The English American

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Alison Larkin
    • Narrated By Alison Larkin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (964)
    Performance
    (317)
    Story
    (321)

    When Pippa Dunn, adopted as an infant and raised terribly British, discovers that her birth parents are from the American South, she finds that "culture clash" has layers of meaning she'd never imagined. Meet The English American, a fabulously funny, deeply poignant debut novel that sprang from Alison Larkin's autobiographical one-woman show of the same name.

    Michael says: "Outstanding"
    "Funny and light"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I got a kick out of this funny book. While some of the characters were a tad stereotypical, the situation was unusual in the juxtaposition of British vs. American culture. The issue of adoption and wanting to know where you came from was thoughtfully handled.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Garden of Evening Mists

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Tan Twan Eng
    • Narrated By Anna Bentinck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (161)
    Performance
    (146)
    Story
    (146)

    Malaya, 1951. Yun Ling Teoh, the scarred lone survivor of a brutal Japanese wartime camp, seeks solace among the jungle-fringed tea plantations of Cameron Highlands. There she discovers Yugiri, the only Japanese garden in Malaya, and its owner and creator, the enigmatic Aritomo, exiled former gardener of the emperor of Japan. Despite her hatred of the Japanese, Yun Ling seeks to engage Aritomo to create a garden in memory of her sister, who died in the camp.

    Susan says: "The best"
    "Lyrical writing, fascinating story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved the beauty of the writing in this book. The attention to detail in the prose--the lyrical descriptions and wonderfully imaginative word choice made for a very stimulating and artistic read, in keeping with the major theme of the philosophy and creation of a Japanese garden. In addition there is a compelling story of an interesting protagonist set during and after WWII in what is now Malaysia.
    I recommend this highly.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Elizabeth George Speare
    • Narrated By Mary Beth Hurt
    Overall
    (239)
    Performance
    (108)
    Story
    (111)

    Orphaned Kit Tyler knows, as she gazes for the first time at the cold, bleak shores of Connecticut Colony, that her new home will never be like the shimmering Caribbean islands she left behind. In her relatives' stern Puritan community, she feels like a tropical bird that has flown to the wrong part of the world, a bird that is now caged and lonely.

    Susan says: "Great characters - a delightful listen!"
    "Wonderful Young Adult Historical Fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Very nice book for tweenagers (and their moms) set in Puritan New England. Has themes of religeous freedom and outsiders who don't fit into the local community. Great topic for youth, and very well written with engaging characters. Probably wouldn't appeal as much to boys.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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