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Catherine

TALLAHASSEE, FL, United States | Member Since 2013

ratings
113
REVIEWS
113
FOLLOWING
21
FOLLOWERS
11
HELPFUL VOTES
50

  • House of Evidence

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson, Björg Árnadóttir (translator), Andrew Cauthery (translator)
    • Narrated By Peter Berkrot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (13)

    When the body of Jacob Kieler Junior is discovered in a stately old house in Reykjavik on a cold January morning in 1973, Jóhann Pálsson, an expert in the emerging field of forensics, is called to the scene. He soon discovers something even more unsettling than the killing itself: The victim’s father, Jacob Senior, was shot to death in the same living room nearly 30 years earlier. Through diaries Jacob Senior kept throughout his lifetime Pálsson and his colleagues try to link Jacob Junior’s shooting and the death of Jacob Senior, an ambitious man dedicated to bringing the railroad to Iceland at any cost.

    Tracey says: "Love the Iceland setting, memorable characters"
    "Avoid this like the plague!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is quite possibly the worst book I have ever read. The first hour is somewhat interesting. The middle is boring. The end is horrible and anti-climactic.

    Peter Berkrot was a decent narrator. There just wasn't much for him to work with, here. The book begins with the death of a man in a house. The man's father had been found dead in the same house many years ago on the same day of the son's death, which makes the two deaths seemingly connected. The rest of the book is spent on boring journal entry after boring journal entry and boring interview after boring interview. I kept thinking..."it will get better." It only got worse. The last hour or so is pure smut with a really boring ending.

    Save your money, your time, and your credits for something with a plot.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Trevor Corson
    • Narrated By Brian Nishii
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (172)
    Performance
    (116)
    Story
    (114)

    Trevor Corson takes us behind the scenes at America's first sushi-chef training academy, as eager novices strive to master the elusive art of cooking without cooking. He delves into the biology and natural history of the edible creatures of the sea, and tells the fascinating story of an Indo-Chinese meal reinvented in 19th-century Tokyo as a cheap fast food.

    David says: "I want to see Top Chef: Sushi on the Food Network"
    "Engrossing storyline and intriguing history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was not what I expected. I thought I would hear nothing but the history of one of my favorite foods, but instead I was treated to the story of a girl named Kate as she learned to be a professional sushi chef by attending a sushi academy in California. The history of the food was presented as an aside to the story, which was entertaining and educational.

    Kate's story has ups and downs, elation and insecurity, but most importantly, it centers around the lesson that was should never give up on ourselves or our dreams. I know that sounds very Disney-like for a book about the history of sushi, but Trevor Carson interweaves Kate's story with so much history and information that his work could be used as a textbook.

    I learned a great deal, not only about the history of sushi, but about the art of it. I learned how a sushi chef looks at it, and how the chef hopes that his/her customers will approach it. Personally, I will never eat sushi the same way again. I learned about mistakes I was making that inhibited my full enjoyment of this unique cuisine, how to order properly at a sushi bar, and the differences between true sushi and Americanized sushi.

    The narrator did an impressive job narrating the general story line and voicing the different characters. Brian Nishii made me feel as though I were there with Kate struggling through sushi school and wishing I were better at constructing the rolls. Every character had his or her own style and I feel as though I know the characters personally, which is as much a feat of Nishii's as the author's.

    The only reason that this book did not receive a full five-star rating is because of the course language and unnecessarily vulgar descriptions that were included. This occurs in sparse patches, but it was a distraction to what could have been a perfect listen. For those with little ones at home, you shoudn't play this audiobook aloud around them, which is a shame, because otherwise, it might have been a book that children might have enjoyed listening to, and it could have been used as a way to interest them in food and cooking.I am of the firm opinion that the F-bomb and sexual descriptions of women and seafood are not appropriate in the first place, but they are all the more inappropriate in a book about the preparation of fine cuisine.

    Overall, anyone interested in the topic of sushi or cooking would find this to be an engaging and informative read. Anyone interested in the challenges female chefs face in the male-dominated arena of sushi would also find this story intriguing. It's not a bad listen for the storyline or the information as long as you fast-forward through the vulgar bits.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Alone With God: Rediscovering the Power and Passion of Prayer

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By John MacArthur
    • Narrated By Maurice England
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (18)

    Embrace the Lord's pattern for prayer. God longs for us to spend time with Him. Yet while His invitation is extravagant, too often we struggle to spend even brief moments with our Heavenly Father. For some, action has replaced prayer. For others, requests can take priority over relationship, as we try to mold God to our desires. How did the simple act of prayer become so complicated? Renowned pastor and author John MacArthur invites you to experience the art of prayer.

    longie says: "Excellent read and study for believers!"
    "Excellent conceptual guide to prayer"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had almost written John MacArthur off due to another book he wrote about forgiveness. The topic was approached with such a judgmental attitude that it turned me off. I decided to give him another chance with this book because I love to read about prayer and because Maurice England is one of my favorite narrators.

    I was pleasantly surprised that MacArthur did such a magnificent job of presenting prayer conceptually rather than theoretically or as some sort of a step-by-step program as most authors approached it. He begins with the concept that God is always near to us, with us, and wants to hear from us. As simple as that idea may be to grasp theoretically, MacArthur did a beautiful job of making it very real to the listener. He then moves on to deal with various topics such as constant prayer, the use and abuse of memorized prayers, and the use of God's names in prayer. He does a good job of breaking things down and defining terms that other authors tend to skip over. For example, he doesn't just exhort the listener to be in constant prayer, he explains what constant prayer is and what it isn't.

    I will listen to this one again, and I will consider it to be one of my more valuable resources on prayer. It would be a good book for anyone who is new to prayer or for people who have years of experience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Murder, She Wrote: Madison Avenue Shoot

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Jessica Fletcher, Donald Bain
    • Narrated By Cynthia Darlow
    Overall
    (35)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    Jessica's favorite nephew, Grady, asks her to visit him in New York City - and star in a commercial he's creating. But there's little time for sightseeing when there's a murder on the set, complete with a long list of suspects. And Jessica soon finds herself not just a witness in a murder case - but the only one who can uncover the killer!

    Catherine says: "Not bad, but not the best"
    "Not bad, but not the best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've read several books from the Murder, She Wrote series, and I've really enjoyed them. This was the first one I've listened to in audiobook format. I have to start by saying that Cynthia Darlow is now among my top favorite narrators. She did an outstanding job of differenting the voices of the various characters, and her voice was simultaneously melodic and energetic.

    As to the story, while it was sweet in sections, it left a lot to be desired in terms of the movement of the story. I became bored several times during the book because of the slow plot development, and there just wasn't a lot of action or suspense. It actually had a good ending, for a murder mystery, but I wouldn't buy it again. There wasn't anything really awful about the story, it just wasn't that great.

    I'll probably try another selection from the series because of the narrator. I'll just assume that this one wasn't one of the best examples.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Barbara Kingsolver
    • Narrated By Barbara Kingsolver, Steven L. Hopp, Camille Kingsolver
    Overall
    (1054)
    Performance
    (353)
    Story
    (357)

    When Barbara Kingsolver and her family move from suburban Arizona to rural Appalachia, they take on a new challenge: to spend a year on a locally-produced diet, paying close attention to the provenance of all they consume. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle follows the family through the first year of their experiment.

    Sydney says: "Eye opening"
    "One family's struggle to grow their own food"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Barbara Kingsolver and her family embarked on an experiment to grow their own food - both plant and animal - for a year and eat locally grown, seasonally-available produce. I applaud their effort and I do not stand in judgment for anything they did or didn't do in their quest. Kingsolver and her family narrated and didn't do a terrible job although I had to speed it up to 1.5 and 2x in parts because they read very slowly.

    This wasn't a bad book. It actually contains a lot of useful information for anyone interested in raising poultry. It just got too preachy in certain areas, it contained too many weird thrown-in references to various religions, and it didn't contain the information I was hoping for in the way of gardening techniques for growing vegetables. Perhaps that last part was unjustified given that I have recently read The Edible Garden by Alys Fowler, which I consider to be the magnum opus of vegetable gardening books. Kingsolver's agenda was very different from Fowler's in that she sought to document her family's year-long quest and not to provide a step-by-step guide.

    I have to say that I thought the best part of the book to be the interview with Kingsolver at the end in which she describes the process of writing the book and how she approached it stylistically (which information she decided to include and why). I consider that interview to be one of the best explanations of the ethics and dynamics of the writing process that I've ever heard.

    Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is more of a story than a guide, and maybe that's why I didn't like it more; I wanted a guide. The story is well-documented, although I thought it could have used a little less description and a little more information. Kingsolver and her family have calming voices and they all read very slowly. It took me a couple of months to finish because the book drags in places and the overall pace of the book is so slow that it didn't maintain my attention.

    The main point of the book seemed to me to be that there is a moral point to be made about overconsumption and that small, individual efforts against gluttony and overuse of resources add up to big changes. This would be an invaluable reference for anyone who wants to raise their own poultry or for anyone who wants some basic ideas about how to grow or raise their own food. If you're looking for more of a guide to gardening, however; read The Edible Garden by Alys Fowler. Something else - you may not want to listen to this one while driving. It's not exactly caffeine for the mind and it drags in places, but it's a great listen around bedtime or while doing something else around the house.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Ambition: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Lee Strobel
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (46)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (37)

    A corrupt judge in a mob murder case. A disillusioned pastor, hungry for power. A cynical reporter, sniffing for a scandal. A gambling addict whose secret tape threatens the lives of everyone who hears it. New York Times best-selling author, Lee Strobel, weaves these edgy characters into an intricate thriller set in a gleaming, suburban megachurch, a big-city newspaper struggling for survival, and the shadowy corridors of political intrigue.

    J. says: "Quite surprised"
    "Good drama, legal thriller, and romance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was really impressed with this book. Lee Strobel is best known for his works dealing with the topic of apologetics (the study of the proof of the existence of God). There is some of that in this book, of course, but I didn't find it preachy in the slightest. What I did find was action, romance, realistic discussions about church vs. state issues, and a really good legal/political thriller.

    The book centers on a pastor of an evangelical megachurch that is considering pursuing an appointment for the remainder of a senatorial term. Throw in a nonreligious reporter covering a dangerous political story, a romance that connects the reporter with the megachurch, mob connections, and legal intrigue that explores the church vs. state issue, and you have a really interesting read.

    The narrator could have been better, but Scott Brick's performance wasn't bad by any means.

    If you want a good drama, thriller, this is a good choice. At the risk of a spoiler alert, you should know that the ending is not entirely happy. I found it satisfying, but there are sad parts.

    This was Strobel's first fiction work, and I'm looking forward to more from him.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Edible Garden: How to Have Your Garden and Eat It, Too

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Alys Fowler
    • Narrated By Melora Kordos
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Alys Fowler shows that there is a way to take the good life and re-fashion it to fit in with life in the city. Abandoning the limitations of traditional gardening methods, she has created a beautifully productive garden where tomatoes sit happily next to roses, carrots are woven between the lavenders and potatoes grow in pots on the patio. And all of this is produced in a way that mimics natural systems, producing delicious homegrown food for her table. She shares her favorite recipes for the hearty dishes, pickles and jams she makes to use up her bountiful harvest.

    Catherine says: "Best gardening book I've ever heard"
    "Best gardening book I've ever heard"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a great book for beginning and experienced gardeners. It is full of information that would be valuable to any gardener. The author covers companion planting, organic solutions, container and ground gardening, getting the most out of your gardening area, and how to use your crop (cooking, herbal uses, etc.).

    I will purchase this book in hardcover soon, but I will also listen to the audiobook version again. Just don't try to listen to it while you're driving. It's not the narrator, as she did a wonderful job, and she has a soothing voice that isn't too sing-songish. The boring parts are the lists of spacing requirements, types of plants and herbs that are useful for various situations, etc. Granted it isn't a book that was really intended to be an audiobook, but I will probably listen to it at least a couple of times a year to prepare myself for the planting seasons, anyway. That said, I may listen to it before going to bed or while doing housework - definitely not while operating heavy machinery.

    If you love gardening, you will love this book. Do yourself a favor and listen to it before buying seeds or planting. Just don't listen to it while driving.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pest Control for Organic Gardening: Natural Methods for Pest and Disease Control for a Healthy Garden

    • UNABRIDGED (42 mins)
    • By Amber Richards
    • Narrated By Gina E Manegio
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Pest Control for Organic Gardening is a short book dedicated to gardeners, who want to keep their gardens free from synthetic and often times harmful pesticides, and fertilizers. However, there still is the problem and pests and disease. This book gives practical and sometimes surprising ways to address these problems in a biological method. It contains an extensive list of beneficial insects that can be used to battle harmful pests.

    Catherine says: "Good primer for organic gardening"
    "Good primer for organic gardening"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a good book for organic gardeners who know nothing or very little about organic gardening. It's a quick read, so don't expect too much in-depth information. However, there was more detail to this short book than I had anticipated.

    I learned, for example, that I can mail order beneficial insects. Who would have thought? I'm sure there are people who do this all the time, but I had never heard of it. Some of the more detailed ideas of companion planting were also new to me.

    Beginning gardeners will benefit from listening to this gem. It was worth the credit, and I will probably listen to it again, but people who already know the topic will probably find this a little too introductory for their tastes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • How to Reach Your Full Potential for God: Never Settle for Less Than His Best!

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Charles F. Stanley
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (32)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (17)

    Things are never going to change or "This is just the way I am--I'm never going to get better" are just a few of the damaging lies Christians believe about themselves, their situations, and their walk. But Dr. Stanley shares the real truth as God sees it. In this powerful and inspiring message, readers reconnect with the grand vision God had when He uniquely created them.

    Catherine says: "One of the best books around for this topic"
    "One of the best books around for this topic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Dr. Stanley gives a very broad-spectrum approach to reaching your full potential as a Christian. He addresses time, resource, and health management, he gives clear and simple advice about ways to control influences and thought patterns, and he makes the point very plainly that God is to be center of your every decision, but he doesn't leave you alone to figure out God's will by yourself. He gives concrete examples of how to pray for guidance in making decisions.

    A lot of the book is about trusting God - trusting that He will make his plans known to you if you ask Him before making your own plans, trusting that God is good and that He has your best interests in mind, trusting that God is capable of bringing about His purposes through you no matter what you think you are or are not good at, and trusting that He will always be there whether you succeed or fail. Dr. Stanley uses examples of Biblical characters and how they dealt with trust issues, decisions, and stress.

    For me, this book really brought home the importance of prayer BEFORE making decisions. It also illuminated for me just how important one decision can be and therefore, how important it is to bring ALL decisions in prayer to God.

    I would encourage anyone who is feeling overwhelmed and frustrated by life to read this book. I am not suggesting that your life will be completely fixed in ten minutes after reading it, but I know that mine has already improved because I have read it. Dr. Stanley offers a great deal of encouragement and practical advice that would be of great help to any believer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Perfect Scent: A Year Inside the Perfume Industry in Paris and New York

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Chandler Burr
    • Narrated By Mel Foster
    Overall
    (150)
    Performance
    (82)
    Story
    (83)

    No journalist has ever been allowed into the ultrasecretive, highly pressured process of originating a perfume. But Chandler Burr, the New York Times perfume critic, spent a year behind the scenes observing the creation of two major fragrances.

    Roy says: "A Thoughtful Book"
    "Great information, poor language"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Let me start by saying that I had just finished "The Secret of Chanel No. 5" by Tilar Mazzeo when I read this book, and that audiobook turned out to be a great segway for this one. The Chanel book was a lot more biographical, while this one delved into the closed-door realm of the perfume industry - its tricks, strategies, financial structure, scientific methods, and marketing. Chandler Burr follows the creation of two perfumes including Sarah Jessica Parker's Lovely from start to finish.

    This was an extraordinary work in terms of the amount of research that went into it, and I thought that most of the writing was very well done. Chandler Burr did a magnificent job of presenting the facts of the industry without forgetting to present the art of it. He has a delightful off-the-cuff style that balances what could have been an overly serious take on the creation of perfume. He offers a lot of insight, but he also allows the listeners to create their own perceptions of the industry and the science and marketing behind it.

    This book did not receive a perfect Overall score from me because it included unnecessary foul language that distracted from the material. The occurence of these terms are somewhat sparse, but I would say that they appear about 15-20 times throughout the book. I find the use of these terms (the F-bomb, profanity) to be tacky, distracting, and out of place in what could have been a five-star work. There are also descriptions of some scents that, while they do exist in nature and are used in the industry, I could have lived without knowing about. I didn't subtract stars for that because those scents are part of the perfumery world, but I subtracted stars for foul language that could and should have been omitted.

    Beyond the language, this would be a fascinating read for anyone who is interested in perfume, how it is made, how it is marketed, and how much it really costs in terms of money, time, and resources. Just be warned that after hearing about certain scents that are used to create perfume, you may never be able to wear some of your favorites again.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Secret of Chanel No. 5: The Intimate History of the World's Most Famous Perfume

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Tilar J. Mazzeo
    • Narrated By Liz de Nesnera
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (11)

    Every minute, someone buys an Art Deco-inspired, amber-hued bottle of Chanel No. 5. Considering that nearly ninety years have passed since No. 5’s creation, this statistic alone makes a compelling case for the perfume’s stature as the world’s most famous. However, its cultural impact might be even more staggering than its business success....

    Nola says: "Fascinating behind the scenes story of an icon"
    "Fascinating story with poor presentation at times"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Most of the first hour of this book borders on smut. After that, it's worth listening to for the intricate history of this famous fragrance.

    The story of Chanel No. 5 involves the Romonovs, tales of industrial espionage, international incidents, political intrigues, celebrities, and marketing ploys that were, at times, pure genious and, at other times, pure folly.

    I found the story, itself, to be enchanting. The presentation of the story, however, suffered from too much emphasis on sexual themes, occassional profanity (once or twice, but too much, in my opinion), and, mostly due to the meanderings into subjective opinions about the sensuality of the fragrance, a lack of cohesion. Thus the reduction of two stars from the Overall score.

    The narrator, Liz de Nesnera, did a good job with the material. She wasn't stellar, but she wasn't bad. I listened at a speed of 3x.

    If you're interested in the life of Coco Chanel, the history of the Chanel company, Chanel No. 5, or in the perfume industry, in general, this book is worth the money or the credit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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