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Kathy

Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy

Davis, CA, United States | Member Since 2008

515
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 200 reviews
  • 414 ratings
  • 746 titles in library
  • 72 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
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FOLLOWERS
74

  • The Persimmon Tree

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Bryce Courtenay
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1654)
    Performance
    (1210)
    Story
    (1200)

    The Persimmon Tree opens in Indonesia in 1942 on the cusp of Japanese invasion and the evacuation of Batavia (Jakarta) by the Dutch. Seventeen-year-old Nicholas Duncan is on holiday there, in pursuit of an exotic butterfly known as the Magpie Crow. It's an uncertain, dangerous time to be in Indonesia, and Nick's options of getting out are fast dwindling. Amidst the fear and chaos he falls in love with Anna, the beautiful daughter of a Dutch acquaintance, and she nicknames him 'Mr Butterfly'.

    Corinne says: "An excellent sequel"
    "Courtenay and Bower--an amazing combination!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I put off listening to this book for quite a while due to the length. However, all the great reviews for author and narrator spurred me on to start it recently. It is an intriguing, highly enjoyable story with an unlikely hero, a young butterfly collector and his true love, an equally young half Dutch, half Indonesian girl. They have only known each other a few weeks before separating and having their own very different and intriguing story lines. Bower is a master at narrating different accents, and Courtnay really knows how to tell a story! What more could you ask for?
    It is highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Wonder

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By R. J. Palacio
    • Narrated By Diana Steele, Nick Podehl, Kate Rudd
    Overall
    (1039)
    Performance
    (943)
    Story
    (938)

    August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school - until now. He’s about to enter fifth grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid, then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?R. J. Palacio has crafted an uplifting novel full of wonderfully realistic family interactions, lively school scenes, and writing that shines with spare emotional power.

    Jay says: "A Beautiful Story"
    "A wonderful story for all ages!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Firstly, I'd like to address the narration. It seems a few readers were very put off by the female rendition of Augie s voice. At first, it seemed to me like an odd choice. However, as the book progressed, I got accustomed to it. I took into account that Augie had multiple facial deformities, including a cleft palate that was not yet completely repaired. He was also very small for his age. Under any circumstances, his speech/voice would have been somewhat odd and not entirely normal. I came to look forward to his chapters and listening to him narrate. So, for me, it was a positive, and I really enjoyed the narrator's interpretation of his voice.

    As for the story, I loved everything about it. I really miss it now that I am done and keep wishing there was more. I actually miss Augie! This is a book that can be enjoyed by all ages; it is not just for middle school kids. I really liked hearing the viewpoints of the different characters and felt the author was successful in giving them each their own chapters. This book has so many good messages and it should go a long way in fostering understanding and tolerance of differences. It would be wonderful if it was required reading for preteen students. It brought smiles to my face and tears to my eyes and it had a very feel-good ending that I think was realistic and believable.

    A highly recommended informative and fun listen!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shatter

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Michael Robotham
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    Overall
    (374)
    Performance
    (230)
    Story
    (230)

    Psychologist Joe O'Laughlin fails to stop a confused woman from jumping off a bridge to her death. Joe knows she had been talking on a cellphone. Now he needs to find out who - or what - was on the other end of the line.

    Old Hippy says: "First rate suspense story, great narration!"
    "Robotham and Barrett--an unbeatable combination!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I tried two other audiobooks and I just couldn't generate any interest in them, both highly rated books. I resignedly knew I needed to listen to another of Robotham's, Joe O'Loughlin series. So I picked "Shatter" and dived into it. (It is not absolutely necessary to listen to these books in sequence.) I felt like I had been ruined for anything else after my first Robotham/Barrett listen last week. That has not happened before!

    Aah, that fantastic narration with all those different English accents and voices. And a story that grabbed me and wouldn't let go. If I had the time and enough collateral things to do, I would have listened straight through. But this book is much too long for that and as usual, life got in the way. Besides, I didn't want the book to be over THAT fast. It was much too much fun.

    Look at the story description. If you like crime mysteries and really look for the best in narrators, give this one a try. I don't see anything that could be disappointing here. This combo, author and narrator, makes "Shatter" simply an awesome "listening experience."

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Watching You

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Michael Robotham
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    Overall
    (387)
    Performance
    (350)
    Story
    (350)

    Marnie Logan often feels like she's being watched: A warm breath on the back of her neck, or a shadow in the corner of her eye that vanishes when she turns her head. She has reason to be frightened. Her husband Daniel has inexplicably vanished, and the police have no leads in the case. Without proof of death or evidence of foul play, she can't access his bank accounts or his life insurance. Depressed and increasingly desperate, she seeks the help of clinical psychologist Joe O'Loughlin.

    bernadette says: "Wow!"
    "Take Care and Don't Mess With Marnie!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It didn't take long for me to become totally immersed in this mystery. And what a mystery it is! About half way into the book, a light bulb went on and I thought I had it figured out. How wrong I was, as there are twists and turns that are totally unexpected. This is a really good story that keeps you holding your breath til the end.

    Sean Barrett's narration was amazing. It was truly a performance that I will long remember and it added greatly to the enjoyability of the story. Barrett did all the characters so well and had such a variety of voices and accents. His interpretation of one particular character certainly added immensely to the creepiness factor which made the experience such fun for me.

    Collateral characters,while not as well described and developed, were also believable and interesting. This is a series and I think Watching You is the last one that was released. While it was a stand alone story, I imagine you might feel more at home with having previous experience with Joe O'Loughlin, the criminal psychologist. Still, despite entering the series in this later book, I found it thoroughly enjoyable and I highly recommend it.

    (I have not described the story as Audible gives a good summary, certainly enough for you to decide if the plot interests you.)

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Age of Innocence

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Edith Wharton
    • Narrated By David Horovitch
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (268)
    Performance
    (212)
    Story
    (214)

    Countess Olenska, separated from her European husband, returns to old New York society. She bears with her an independence and anawareness of life which stirs the educated sensitivity of Newland Archer, engaged to be married to May Welland.

    Ilana says: "Narrated to Perfection"
    "An Unexpected and Very Pleasant Surprise!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Age of Innocence was a daily deal and really not something that would interest me, but the reviews were all so enthusiastic that I had to give it a try.

    Horovitch narrated it so wonderfully, I wasn't the least bit bothered by his English accent for New York characters. I will admit I did laugh out loud at another reviewer's comment about Countess Oleska sounding like she was from Transylvania. Despite that little blip, it was a perfect narration.

    I particularly enjoyed the setting, 1870's New York City. The upper class families with their restrictive societal-driven behaviors fascinated me. I loved the description by Wharton of May and Ellen's grandmother, Mrs. Manson Mingott. It had me chuckling to myself as she described in detail Mingott's utterly fleshy state!

    I had hopes for different decisions on Newland Archer's part, but it seems he was greatly limited by societal restraints of the day and of his class as mentioned above. It was a very unusual threesome, something that would never play out in this day and age of immediate gratification. And yet, I loved every minute of this book. It was an enjoyable and amusing listen for me.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Dead Wrong: Joanna Brady Series, Book 12

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By J. A. Jance
    • Narrated By Stephanie Brush
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (76)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (46)

    Juggling a family and a career is never easy, and it's becoming a real challenge for Sheriff Joanna Brady. Coping with the impending delivery of her second child as well as a staff shortage, the last thing Joanna needs are two serious crimes.

    Lori says: "A Great Listen"
    "Dead Wrong and Dead Awful!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There are so many things wrong with this book, I'm not sure where to begin. The thing that stands out the most for me is the skills of the narrator, which are seriously lacking. Stephanie Brush has a lovely pleasant voice and she does Joanna Brady nicely. However, she cannot do anyone else in a decent, convincing voice. When she does males, she uses a throaty, shrill voice that makes them instantly annoying and unlikeable. At first, I felt her husband had aphasia or a mental deficiency, the halting way he spoke. She was equally awful at doing crying children or crying women--ferociously awful! She needs to go to Narrator School, for sure! No, I would NOT listen to another of her narrations, even if it was for a favorite author.

    Then, on to the story which was sorely lacking in credibility. We are to believe that a 9 months pregnant Joanna, only a week away from her due date, is working full-time, late into the evening, AND weekends in dangerous situations with no worries, no aching tiredness, or fears of doing damage to her unborn son? We are to believe her husband is perfectly okay with this, too? We are to believe she can fly down onto the ground, lie on her 9-months pregnant stomach, and shoot a bad guy from under her car? And the old tired cliche that parents must be inconsiderate, obnoxious idiots--both Joanna's AND also her husband's?

    The story was not very believable, either, and much too easily wrapped up in the end. Oh yes, Joanna was perky and fine right after the delivery and continued to work from her hospital bed! It leads us to speculate that the baby will enter daycare immediately and perhaps never see his mother again.

    I thought I really enjoyed Jance's books. I am thinking she is either resting on her laurels, relying on formula stories, or not using editors anymore. Too bad. I really like her settings and have even spent time in the Huachuca Mountains . . . .

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Just One Damned Thing After Another: The Chronicles of St Mary's, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Jodi Taylor
    • Narrated By Zara Ramm
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (261)
    Performance
    (235)
    Story
    (234)

    Behind the seemingly innocuous façade of St Mary's, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don't do 'time-travel' - they 'investigate major historical events in contemporary time'. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power - especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet. Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary's Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History.

    Carolyn says: "Book Lovers Nirvana"
    "Adventures in Time Travel!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I know there are folks who buy a book because of its cover. I got this one because of its title--I just couldn't resist it! Besides, time travel is 'in' right now and often can be very entertaining.

    Over all, I found the story enjoyable and a fun read. The heroine is surprisingly able and competent to handle herself in difficult situations and to save the day for her colleagues. I found this a bit incongruous with the narrator's particular British accent, in that I just could not imagine someone who talked like that punching someone in the face or being rough and tough enough to carry the story. Yet, Max was just that kind of heroine. I guess you just can't judge a book by its accent!

    In contrast to a previous reviewer, I enjoyed this book much more than Connie Willis' two World War II time travel books, which I found very unsatisfying and frustrating. Jodi Tayor's character, Max, has actual relationships with other characters and all these characters are more developed. I found Max's adventures in time travel into the past much more engaging. The Willis books, while expertly researched, were pure drudgery for me.

    If you love time travel books and are happy with a very British sounding heroine, this book will be a fun read for you. Go for it!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Atul Gawande
    • Narrated By John Bedford Lloyd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (381)
    Performance
    (115)
    Story
    (120)

    Atul Gawande explores how doctors strive for best performance in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. His stories of diligence and ingenuity take us to battlefield surgical tents in Iraq, to labor and delivery rooms in Boston, to a polio outbreak in India, and to malpractice courtrooms around the country. He discusses the ethical dilemmas of doctors' participation in lethal injections, examines the influence of money on medicine, and recounts the astoundingly contentious history of hand washing.

    Bonneville says: "Unfocused & Rambling"
    "A MUST read . . ."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    for anyone interested in the current state of health care and the medical field, for professionals, and those like me who aspire to be a doctor in my next life.

    Seriously, this is an excellent book that covers very interesting and surprising issues related to improving medical care and outcomes. A few of the things Dr. Gawande touches on are cleanliness, battle injuries, eradicating polio, doctors' salaries, hospital excellence (or lack of), and practice of medicine in impoverished areas of India. Each topic had surprising information and was compellingly interesting to me. The author's intelligence, clear-thinking, and caring came through as the book progressed. He has a great deal to offer medical professionals and also the non-medical, average person, too.

    John Bedford Lloyd did a fabulous narration. I never felt that he was reading someone elses book. He read it like it was his own. His voice is simply wonderful, too.

    Highly recommended if the topic is of interest to you.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Anthony Doerr
    • Narrated By Zach Appelman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (954)
    Performance
    (866)
    Story
    (862)

    Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is 12, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

    Hank Reads! says: "Completely absorbing!"
    "EXCELLENT!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a really wonderful book--I realized this more and more as the novel proceeded. It is such a different take on World War II and the Nazis, focusing on two youths on different sides. This said, I really don't see this as a YA novel but rather, for all age readers.

    Marie Laure is a French girl who became blind at age 6. She lives in France with her beloved father. After the war begins, they flee to St. Malo to live with her father's brother who is an agoraphobic. Werner, on the other hand, is a young German orphan who comes of age in Hitler's Youth, being sent to fight at a very early age and staying alive due to his uncanny skills with radios.

    This is a very touching, beautifully written story that I will remember and think about for a long time. The ending is not what I hoped for or expected, but we all know that a WW II story is unlikely to have a fairytale ending. This ending, however, was very satisfying and left me with good feelings.

    Zach Appleman should be commended for his excellent and consistently sensitive narration. It is perfect for this story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Billy Crystal
    • Narrated By Billy Crystal
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1659)
    Performance
    (1514)
    Story
    (1510)

    Billy Crystal is 65, and he's not happy about it. With his trademark wit and heart, he outlines the absurdities and challenges that come with growing old, from insomnia to memory loss to leaving dinners with half your meal on your shirt. In humorous chapters like ""Buying the Plot"" and ""Nodding Off,"" Crystal not only catalogues his physical gripes, but offers a road map to his 77 million fellow baby boomers who are arriving at this milestone age with him. He also looks back at the most powerful and memorable moments of his long and storied life, from entertaining his relatives as a kid in Long Beach, Long Island, and his years doing stand-up in the Village, up through his legendary stint at Saturday Night Live, When Harry Met Sally, and his long run as host of the Academy Awards. Listeners get a front-row seat to his one-day career with the New York Yankees (he was the first player to ever ""test positive for Maalox""), his love affair with Sophia Loren, and his enduring friendships with several of his idols, including Mickey Mantle and Muhammad Ali. He lends a light touch to more serious topics like religion (""the aging friends I know have turned to the Holy Trinity: Advil, bourbon, and Prozac""); grandparenting; and, of course, dentistry. As wise and poignant as they are funny, Crystal's reflections are an unforgettable look at an extraordinary life well lived.

    Pamela says: "Growing up with Billy Crystal"
    "Funny and interesting and moving!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I wasn't sure, at first, if I could enjoy 8 hours of Billy Crystal. The beginning of the book had many laugh-out loud moments as Billy discussed growing old. It particularly resonated with me, as Billy and I are very close in age and grew up in nearby Long Island towns. Billy alternated chapters of his autobiography with standup comedy routines about the joys (or horrors!) of getting old. He also ranted about people's behaviors that frustrated him, many of which I could identify with.

    Billy is a very likeable guy. He couldn't have made so many wonderful and amazing friends without having a genuinely great personality. I really liked his ability to look on the bright side of life and not focus on the negative. I also found it amazing that Billy has been married to his sweetheart, Janice, since 1970! You just don't see this happening in Hollywood any more.

    This was a fun, easy listen for me, and I am glad I purchased this book. It was an unexpectedly pleasant listening experience.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Involuntary Witness: Guido Guerrieri Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Gianrico Carofiglio
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (721)
    Performance
    (633)
    Story
    (633)

    A nine-year-old boy is found murdered at the bottom of a well near a popular beach resort in southern Italy. In what looks like a hopeless case for Guido Guerrieri, a Senegalese peddler is accused of the crime. Faced with small-town racism, Guido attempts to exploit the esoteric workings of the Italian courts. The voice of Sean Barrett brings this gritty Italian detective series to life.

    dumbclub says: "Excellence"
    "A Fabulous Find!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book was such a surprise for me. I didn't expect to be so riveted to the mp3 player--I finished the book in a day and a half! This is an audiobook I really hated to end and it is a hard act to follow for my next book.

    Firstly, the narration is the best! Sean Barrett nails the main character, Guido Guerrieri, but without even needing an Italian accent. He also portrays the defendent, Abdou Thiam, impeccably. I will definitely seek our more books by this narrator.

    I really like this sort of story. I felt I really got into the head of the main character, that he was actually speaking to me. What some other reviewers found "tedious", I found compelling. I could have listened to the character, Guido, musing on about his life for a really long time; I found myself interested in it all! I loved his incidental relationships, too. Perhaps this is an indication of the narrator's skill and the author's talent combined. The author and the narrator are an unbeatable combination for me.

    I liked the story very much too. I could not imagine how all the circumstantial evidence and prejudices of the main players could be overcome. It certainly wasn't how I expected it to turn out. I also found the Italian justice system very interesting.

    All in all, this was a fun listening experience for me, much to soon over. I am definitely wanting more of Carofiglio and Barrett!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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