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Kathy

Davis, CA, United States | Member Since 2008

455
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 188 reviews
  • 402 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 53 purchased in 2014
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66

  • A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Haven Kimmel
    • Narrated By Haven Kimmel
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (179)
    Performance
    (69)
    Story
    (72)

    When Haven Kimmel was born in 1965, Mooreland, Indiana, was a sleepy little hamlet of 300 people. Nicknamed "Zippy" for the way she would bolt around the house, this small girl was possessed of big eyes and even bigger ears. In this witty and lovingly told memoir, Kimmel takes readers back to a time when small-town America was caught in the amber of the innocent postwar period - people helped their neighbors, went to church on Sunday, and kept barnyard animals in their backyards.

    shopgirl says: "Beautifully written, beautifully read."
    "Such a great book to listen to!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I knew I wanted to get the two Zippy books, and then they went on sale recently. Perfect opportunity, and I downloaded them both.

    I just want to commend the author, Haven Kimmel, on her wonderful writing and narration skills. All in all, it was a truly fun listening experience! Kimmel's Zippy voice was amazing--obviously, no one could do it better than her, as she IS Zippy! This book is very funny and had me laughing out loud many times. Zippy tells of her childhood in short "essays" and you really get a feeling that she was an amazing child who made her own way in the world by necessity, as her parents were lacking in many parenting skills. There was just a touch of the bittersweet in this book if you "listen" between the lines, as parenting Zippy was not a priority for her parents. Zippy quickly became her own person and she had quite a memorable childhood despite what was lacking in her parents. I felt I could listen to Zippy's stories endlessly and was sorry when the book ended. Luckily for me, I had the sequel, "She Got Up Off The Couch" waiting in my library.

    Highly recommended.--not a child's book but a book for the young at heart.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Sparrow

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Mary Doria Russell
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    Overall
    (558)
    Performance
    (380)
    Story
    (383)

    Emilio Sandoz is a remarkable man, a living saint and Jesuit priest who undergoes an experience so harrowing and profound that it makes him question the existence of God. This experience - the first contact between human beings and intelligent extraterrestrial life - begins with a small mistake and ends in a horrible catastrophe.

    yvette hatfield says: "Far fetched book but good summer listen."
    "Jesuits in space!! First contact and so much more"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read this book in paper and was SO happy to be able to get the audiobook. Colacci does a really fine narration to make the listening experience just about perfect.

    While classified as science fiction, this book is so much more. If you are NOT usually a sci-fi fan, do not write The Sparrow off. It is a very unusual book that is multi-dimensional. It has so much to offer besides the sci-fi. If you ARE a sci-fi fan, just know that you will be getting a lot more than you might be expecting. Which is also good, right?

    The character development is excellent, and what interesting characters Mary Doria Russell has created! This book addresses so much--philosophy, theology (Catholicism, Judaism) , celibacy, friendship, music, sexual assault, among others. There are a great deal of references to God (after all, a number of the characters are Jesuits!) , but it didn't put me off at all. I usually am turned off by books with religiosity in them; I can't stand the sneaky preachy-ness of some authors. That is not what this book is about!

    I am not going to describe the story as it has been adequately done in other reviews. Perhaps you'd be better off surprised like I was the first time I read the book. But you should know that it is a very intense listening experience, especially toward the end, when we learn what really happened to the main character, Emilio Sandoz.

    This book is like no other book I have read or listened to. I am so glad I found it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By V.S. Ramachandran, Sandra Blakeslee
    • Narrated By Neil Shah
    Overall
    (46)
    Performance
    (41)
    Story
    (39)

    Neuroscientist V. S. Ramachandran is internationally renowned for uncovering answers to the deep and quirky questions of human nature that few scientists have dared to address. His bold insights about the brain are matched only by the stunning simplicity of his experiments - using such low-tech tools such as cotton swabs, glasses of water, and dime-store mirrors.

    Douglas says: "Wonderful To See..."
    "Really fascinating stuff!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ramachandran addresses various neurological disorders and oddities with his own insights into how these problems might arise. He discusses the roles of the different sides of the brain and how injuries or defects in various structures can affect the patient in really diverse and odd ways. He describes cases of patients who are in denial of a paralyzed limb, those who have lost awareness of the left side of their bodies, those who are savants, those who have religious experiences during epileptic episodes along with many other interesting and some times controversial topics.

    Ramachandran is a brilliant neuroscientist who has a very inquisitive and curious mind which leads him to ask questions that other scientists avoid such as the role of the brain in religion or multiple personality disorder. Just the fact that he is not afraid to explore these ideas makes this book even more interesting for me. Much of the presented information is based not only on the brain's physiology but also the author's theories. Often he performs simple accompanying experiments which usually provide support for his theories.

    The narration is excellent. I highly recommend this book if brain biology, physiology, disorders, and functioning are of interest to you.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Trust Your Eyes

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Linwood Barclay
    • Narrated By Ken Marks, Rick Holmes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (251)
    Performance
    (216)
    Story
    (222)

    Thomas Kilbride is a map-obsessed schizophrenic so affected that he rarely leaves the self-imposed bastion of his bedroom. But with a computer program called Whirl360.com, he travels the world while never so much as stepping out the door. He pores over and memorizes the streets of the world. He examines every address, as well as the people who are frozen in time on his computer screen. Then he sees something that anyone else might have stumbled upon - but has not - in a street view of downtown New York City: an image in a window. An image that looks like a woman being murdered.

    karen says: "One of 2013's best!"
    "Engrossing thriller I didn't want to put down!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    4 1/2 stars all the way across.

    I have enjoyed two other books by Linwood Barclay. This one was a great listen, with a really unique plot that had unexpected twists and never disappointed me, all the way through. Thomas Kilbride, diagnosed schizophrenic, seemed more to me like he had Asperger's syndrome, possibly with a bit of savant thrown in. His ability to memorize maps was extraordinary. However, he admitted to hearing voices and was being treated by a psychiatrist, so it appeared he was a high functioning schizophrenic, too.

    I particularly like the relationship between the two brothers and how it improved over the period of the story into something more positive. The behavior of the characters was quite believable for the most part, despite the high number of murders occurring over the course of the story. This book had plenty of tension toward the end, and I had to keep reassuring myself Thomas and Ray would be fine. This book had a complex and interesting storyline that I really enjoyed. It has been adequately summarized in the book description and anymore details most likely would include spoilers.

    As to the narration, I am not sure why there were two narrators. The narrator who narrated the two brothers' parts was exceptional--I really loved his voice and stye. The other narrator was adequate but nothing special. He did not detract from the story at all but really lost out in the comparison.

    I highly recommend this story for anyone who loves an unusual mystery with well-developed characters.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Android's Dream

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By John Scalzi
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2339)
    Performance
    (2027)
    Story
    (2033)

    A human diplomat creates an interstellar incident when he kills an alien diplomat in a most unusual way. To avoid war, Earth's government must find an equally unusual object: A type of sheep ("The Android's Dream"), used in the alien race's coronation ceremony. To find the sheep, the government turns to Harry Creek, ex-cop, war hero and hacker extraordinaire.

    James says: "Philip K Dick meets Douglas Adams"
    "Pure sci-fi sillyness!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Scalzi is the Christopher Moore of science fiction. He is terribly clever and witty and is sure to make you laugh. Wheaton is a fantastic narrator of this sort of techie fluff--it seems to come so naturally to him. However, I wish he would talk a little more slowly, so I could have time to digest the witticisms before he races on to the next bit.

    You will certainly get the sci-fi in a Scalzi book but comedy reigns, really. If you are prepared for that and if you love satire, you should enjoy this book as much as the many reviewers did.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Vatican Diaries: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities, and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By John Thavis
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (141)
    Performance
    (130)
    Story
    (126)

    For more than 25 years John Thavis held one of the most fascinating journalistic jobs in the world: reporting on the inner workings of the Vatican. His daily exposure to the power, politics, and personalities in the seat of Roman Catholicism gave him a unique, behind-the-scenes perspective on an institution that is far less monolithic and unified than it first appears. Thavis reveals Vatican City as a place where Curia cardinals fight private wars, scandals threaten to undermine papal authority, and reverence for the past is continually upended by the practical considerations of modern life.

    Linda says: "A neutral look at inner workings of the Vatican"
    "Fascinating stuff!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had expected a bit more on the current crisis the Vatican is facing, that of priests as molesters. While it was addressed on a limited basis, after reflection, I realized that it would be extremely difficult for any author to really know the extent and ins and outs of this apparently longstanding problem due to various obvious issues.

    That being said, I very much enjoyed this listen. I never thought much about the politics of the Vatican or the encompassing power struggles going on in the Church at any time. This book was quite an eye opener for me and interesting all the way through. It addresses many current issues in a neutral, non-biased fashion.

    Hillgartner does an excellent narration. Over all, I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the workings and politics of the Vatican.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Donnie Eichar
    • Narrated By Donnie Eichar
    Overall
    (108)
    Performance
    (99)
    Story
    (98)

    In February 1959, a group of nine experienced hikers in the Russian Ural Mountains died mysteriously on an elevation known as Dead Mountain. Eerie aspects of the incident—unexplained violent injuries, signs that they cut open and fled the tent without proper clothing or shoes, a strange final photograph taken by one of the hikers, and elevated levels of radiation found on some of their clothes—have led to decades of speculation over what really happened.

    Bruce says: "Fascinating and compassionate investigation"
    "Always a sucker for unsolved mysteries!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I breezed through this book in record time. It seems I still can't resist an unsolved mystery.

    This true story fascinated me and at no time did I find it boring, like several other reviewers. I found the details haunting and frightening--I can't even begin to imagine what those 9 hikers went through before their terrifying deaths. This is a creepy, mysterious true event that defies logical explanations. Whatever the actual cause was, it necessarily has to be as weird and strange as the manner in which the 9 hikers died. This is why I think the author has posited a reasonable explanation as to what actually happened. His unexpected explanation makes sense and certainly is plausible. However, I believe that no one will ever know for sure the events of that fateful night.

    I have mixed feelings about Donnie Eichar doing his own narration. He most likely has no previous experience narrating an audiobook and this was obvious. In parts, it felt like he was just reading someone else's pages with little or no expression. On the other hand, I got a feel for his earnestness and for who he really is. I could see that this mystery tied him up in knots and wouldn't let go until he did what he could to investigate what really happened to the hikers. I don't think a professional narrator, someone who was perhaps older and more mature, could have really conveyed the real Donnie. So, this is a case in which I won't complain about an author reading his own book. While it certainly wasn't the best narration, it served a useful purpose for me.

    Over all, this was an intriguing listen and I will be thinking about it in bed at night for a long while.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Fledgling: Liaden Universe: Theo Waitley, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Sharon Lee, Steve Miller
    • Narrated By Eileen Stevens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (130)
    Performance
    (122)
    Story
    (122)

    Theo Waitley has lived all her young life on Delgado, a Safe World that is home to one of the galaxy's premier institutions of higher learning. Both Theo's mother, Kamele, and Kamele's onagrata Jen Sar Kiladi, are professors at the university, and they all live comfortably together, just like they have for all of Theo's life, in Jen Sar's house at the outskirts of town.Suddenly, though, Theo's life changes. Kamele leaves Jen Sar and moves herself and Theo back into faculty housing, which is not what Theo is used to.

    Sires says: "A Coming of Age Story in the Liaden Universe"
    "A fine start to the series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This first novel of the Liaden Universe/Theo Waitley series does what you would expect it to. It has a fair amount of "world building" where you are learning the lay of the land in Theo Waitley's story. You get a feel for the main characters as this coming-of-age story begins. How refreshing to find a coming-of-age story involving a female character, too!

    In addition, Eileen Stevens gives a very good narration which adds to your listening experience.

    I think this novel has whetted my appetite and left me wondering what is next for Theo. So yes, I will be following up in the near future on her next adventure in book 2 of the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sycamore Row

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By John Grisham
    • Narrated By Michael Beck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7889)
    Performance
    (7114)
    Story
    (7112)

    Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten, will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County's most notorious citizens, just three years earlier. The second will raises far more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly?

    Brock says: "Grisham at his best (again)"
    "Couldn't have enjoyed it more!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is my first experience with a Grisham book and I couldn't be more pleased. I tend to shy away from blockbuster authors, as many keep producing long after they have run out of ideas, use ghost authors, or rest on their laurels in some other way.

    From the start of this novel, I was riveted and hated to interrupt my listening. When I wasn't listening, I was thinking of the story and where it was going and plotting how I could get back to it.

    I don't need to rehash the story line--it has been described very adequately here. What I particularly liked was that there was no unnecessary filler or overly descriptive writing. Everything that Grisham writes is relevant to his story and is in a logical progression. You really feel that this book was well-researched and planned out. The characters were believable--I cared what happened to them, even the unlikeable ones!

    The story was so well-narrated. Michael Beck did an exemplary job of doing individual voices and accents, of which there were many. He added to the listening experience. Although I consider this a stand-alone book, I am going to listen to the prequel.

    Very highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Customs of the World: Using Cultural Intelligence to Adapt, Wherever You Are

    • ORIGINAL (11 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor David Livermore
    Overall
    (117)
    Performance
    (102)
    Story
    (100)

    Based on groundbreaking research, these 24 lectures address dynamics and customs related to working, socializing, dining, marriage and family - all the areas necessary to help you function with a greater level of respect and effectiveness wherever you go. You'll also encounter practical tips and crucial context for greeting, interacting with, and even managing people from other parts of the world.

    Quaker says: "Quite possibly my favorite of The Great Courses"
    "Unexpectedly brilliant!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I didn't have any interest in listening to a lecture from the Great Course series. After all, I spent umpteen years attending college. I figured that part of my life was over. But here was a topic that greatly interested me and at a great price, too. I couldn't let it pass.

    From the moment I started listening, I felt a deep nostalgia for my university days. I also knew I was going to really enjoy this listen. This course is so wonderful that I want to highly recommend it to anyone who has even the slightest interest in the subject of cultural intelligence. The format is so pleasant--a series of related but separate lectures, each one leading into the next one.

    Even if you aren't planning overseas travel, you will find so much relevant information here that will explain behaviors that have puzzled or even irritated you in the past. And if you are planning on overseas travel, you will have a bunch of new information that will be immensely helpful to you. If you aren't able to interact with the "natives", you will still be equipped to look for various things that will tell you much about the culture you are visiting. Additionally, Professor Livermore gives you some do's and don't's to further enhance your knowledge and your travel. He is a wonderful lecturer, too.

    I enjoyed this book so much that I know it will be a repeat listen for me. It has also inspired me to look for further Great Courses subjects that sound interesting. This experience has been as enjoyable as any of my favorite audiobooks.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Piper Kerman
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2213)
    Performance
    (2012)
    Story
    (2028)

    With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money 10 years ago. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to 15 months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187-424 - one of the millions of women who disappear "down the rabbit hole" of the American penal system.

    Mark says: "My favorite book of the year, so far"
    "Like a year-long slumber party!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have mixed feelings about the author, but the book held my interest all the way through and the narration was very well done. Thus, I gave it 4 stars over all.

    Lucky for me, I have not yet watched the Netflix TV show by the same name, so I have nothing with which to compare this audiobook or to disappoint me. Besides, TV and movies often "enhance" a book's content to such an extent that it is difficult to compare them in the best of circumstances.

    Some of the things that bothered me are the following. Piper always came across as the spoiled, advantaged, pretty girl. She began whining about the prison conditions from day one, when she missed her fiance and her friends unbearably. For cripes sake, she wasn't even there for 24 hours! And after all, her crimes were only committed to satisfy a need for cheap thrills. Incongruent with her frequent indignance about the unfair treatment and unpleasant conditions in prison were the descriptions of all the fun she had--making cheesecake, having pedis, visiting the lake, making new friends. Even more puzzling was her constant need to pat herself on the back--for making so many friends, having so many visitors, being so well-loved by just about everyone.

    On the other hand, I really did enjoy Piper's story. I was surprised and happy to learn that there was so little violence in a women's prison--is her experience really typical? And it was interesting to get an inside picture of the often mundane day-to-day existence of prison life. I just wish she had added a small bit about life after prison and some follow-ups on her prison girlfriends. Puzzling how the book ended so abruptly. It felt a bit incomplete.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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