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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

811
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 235 reviews
  • 449 ratings
  • 875 titles in library
  • 39 purchased in 2015
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FOLLOWERS
106

  • The Coroner’s Lunch: The Dr. Siri Investigations, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Colin Cotterill
    • Narrated By Clive Chafer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (667)
    Performance
    (554)
    Story
    (555)

    Laos, 1975: The Communist Pathet Lao has taken over this former French colony. Dr. Siri Paiboun, a 72-year-old Paris-trained doctor, is appointed national coroner. Although he has no training for the job, there is no one else: the rest of the educated class have fled.

    Jane says: "a splendid story"
    "Alot to like in this unusual mystery!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There's a great deal to like about this book. It is a very unusual setting, a very unusual protagonist, and delightful collateral characters. As is mentioned in many other reviews and the description, the story takes place in Laos after the Communist takeover in the 1970's. Siri Paiboun is the 72 year old coroner, the only coroner in the country, who investigates a series of deaths. Siri would really like to retire after being a doctor for many years but it just isn't in the picture for him. He has been deemed to be a coroner and that is that.

    For me, this is a book that you really have to listen to very carefully due to the unfamiliar sounding names, the many characters, and different plot lines. I got lost somewhere toward the end, and I had to listen to the last chapters over a couple of times. Thus, I rated it 3 stars and no higher. I think this book would be more enjoyed by a listener who can devote all their attention to it. My concurrent activities left me feeling lost in the story several times and this I can't really blame on the author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Breakfast with Buddha: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Roland Merullo
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1110)
    Performance
    (953)
    Story
    (951)

    When his sister tricks him into taking her guru on a trip to their childhood home, Otto Ringling, a confirmed skeptic, is not amused. Six days on the road with an enigmatic holy man who answers every question with a riddle is not what he'd planned. But in an effort to westernize his passenger---and amuse himself---he decides to show the monk some "American fun" along the way.

    Mary McCarthy says: "a thoughtful and often hilarious journey"
    "WOWZER!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I hesitantly started this book the other day, not having any idea if I would like it. No worry, I told myself, if it's awful, you will get your money back. I realized immediately that was not going to happen.

    This is a fun and very enjoyable book. It grabbed me from the start and I loved each and every minute of it. It elicited quite a few chuckles and even a tear or two. It is more serious than funny, quite introspective, but the Rinpoche is just so endearing and amusing and Otto has many life lessons to learn. If I could be overly flowery I would say it made my heart sing.

    Audible provides a nice summary. Basically, a husband/father is tricked into traveling cross country, not with his flaky sister as planned, but with her guru, as he travels to wrap up things in North Dakota after his parents' sudden and unexpected death in a car accident.

    That's all you need to know. Take the leap and get this book. I have a feeling it is an easy to miss experience, that you just might feel you have no interest in gurus or Buddhism. Neither did I. What a loss it would have been if I didn't take a chance and get it. Such a nice surprise.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Impasse: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Royce Scott Buckingham
    • Narrated By Allan Robertson
    Overall
    (53)
    Performance
    (47)
    Story
    (47)

    Forty and facing a midlife crisis, Stu Stark has lost his mojo. He simply gave up after being fired from his prestigious job as a prosecuting attorney for losing the biggest case of his career. So when Stu's best friend gifts him a one-week trip into the Alaskan wilderness to rediscover his manhood, Stu thinks it just might do him some good. But after a horrible week, Stu is crushed when he realizes no one is coming back for him.

    Marci says: "Really great with just a couple of flaws"
    ". . . intrigue, murder, adventure, sex, and more!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I took a chance, putting my trust in several of the nice listeners I follow, and purchased this audiobook. All I can say is thanks, folks, for pointing me in the right direction! What a fun, compelling listen. This is a author I will definitely be looking for more from.

    You have a once up-and-coming attorney who made a colossal blunder on a big case. He seemingly lost his way, getting fired from a great job and having to open a private practice with someone he didn't know all that well, someone he went to law school with but didn't pal around with. No worries, he had a beautiful wife and was working hard to redeem his name, slowly but ever so surely. Until, that is, he is put in a life and death predicament in the wilds of Alaska. This part of the book, the time in Alaska, fighting for his life and finding his manhood, was one of my favorite parts.

    Also enjoyable was his slow dawning that what happened to him might not be a terrible mistake but an attempt on his life. How he comes to his realization and what he does is pure fun and makes that little mp3 player so hard to put down. I had the ear-buds on at the crack of dawn this morning in bed! I never do that.

    I just want to add a few things. IMHO, this book has nothing to do with David Copperfield, which I also listened to not that long ago. This is a modern, up to date story that races to its conclusion; it's thrilling almost every moment of the way. While they are both great listens, I would by no means put them in the same category or compare them.

    Additionally, Allan Robertson, as narrator, does an expert job, adding even more to a very enjoyable listen. Impasse has everything--intrigue, murder, adventure, sex, and maybe even redemption. I say, go for it!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition

    • ORIGINAL (36 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Greenberg
    Overall
    (549)
    Performance
    (491)
    Story
    (482)

    Great music is a language unto its own, a means of communication of unmatched beauty and genius. And it has an undeniable power to move us in ways that enrich our lives-provided it is understood.If you have ever longed to appreciate great concert music, to learn its glorious language and share in its sublime pleasures, the way is now open to you, through this series of 48 wonderful lectures designed to make music accessible to everyone who yearns to know it, regardless of prior training or knowledge.

    Lee the reader says: "Wonderful, I've wanted this for so long...but..."
    "It Doesn't Get Any Better!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've spent the last four weeks immersed in this Great Course. I feel like I am coming away a changed, better person--enlightened, with my interest in classical music rekindled. I took an elective course in college many years ago, music listening, but I haven't experienced this type of music since then, with very few exceptions. This course changed all that.

    Professor Greenberg is simply amazing. I feel really privileged to have the chance to listen to his 48 lectures. He is sharp as a tack--brilliant, actually. And he brings to it such enthusiasm and such a love of music! Add to this a sharp sense of humor that is ever-present and which gave me so many little bursts of laughter through out this marathon listen.

    To add to the enjoyment of listening to great music excerpts, Professor Greenberg tells anecdotes of the individual composers' lives. This made them come alive for me--they were not just names to associate with music but actual people struggling with life like all of us. Very colorful people, indeed. How can I ever forget the story of Hector Berlioz' lusting romance with his "Henriette?" How can I not want to listen to the music of Liszt after learning his story?

    Greenberg has succeeded here. I strongly recommended this audiobook if you want to reignite your interest in great music. It is educational but also pure fun!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Judy Melinek, MD, T. J. Mitchell
    • Narrated By Tanya Eby
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (663)
    Performance
    (594)
    Story
    (588)

    Just two months before the September 11 terrorist attacks, Dr. Judy Melinek began her training as a New York City forensic pathologist. With her husband and their toddler holding down the home front, Judy threw herself into the fascinating world of death investigation-performing autopsies, investigating death scenes, and counseling grieving relatives. Working Stiff chronicles Judy's two years of training, taking listeners behind the police tape of some of the most harrowing deaths in the Big Apple.

    R. Milam says: "Great story - but not for the faint of heart!"
    "Dead Body Soup!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is very interesting but be forewarned. It is not for the faint of heart. There are in-depth descriptions of dead bodies, mangled and marred by accidents, suicides, criminal activity, or just plain old time. That is, they weren't found right away. Ever wondered what happened to a decaying body? No, I didn't either, but now I have an idea! Some of the author's depictions of autopsies come with an interesting story, others are just about the autopsy. It is interesting how cause of death is determined--or not determined. It was unsettling to learn of how often the NY law enforcement were uninterested in learning a death might be non-accidental because they were just too lazy to do a criminal investigation. Ugh.

    I found the 9-11 story fascinating in a ghoulish way. Actually, most of the book was ghoulish, but that didn't make it bad. You just have to be prepared for what is being presented.

    I was taken aback when I first started listening to the author's description of her autopsies, which were presented in great detail and with great glee. Then, I had to remind myself the glee was coming from the narrator, not the author. The author is a medical doctor and the narrator is versed in chick-lit books, for heaven sakes! How does that compute? And once again, there were those renditions of buffoonish male voices. I knew I would persevere and keep on listening but am left wondering who picked this narrator for a very serious topic and why? Does an author have any say in the matter? I can't believe Melinek was very happy when she listened to her own book.

    (As to my review title, this has always stuck in my mind. A very rude co-worker once asked her cubicle neighbor, who brought in an apparently aromatic ethnic soup for lunch, "What are you eating? Dead body soup?" Ugh, again.)

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Inexplicable Universe: Unsolved Mysteries

    • ORIGINAL (3 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, Neil deGrasse Tyson
    • Narrated By Professor Neil deGrasse Tyson
    Overall
    (1312)
    Performance
    (1143)
    Story
    (1124)

    Everything we now know about the universe - from the behavior of quarks to the birth of galaxies - has come from people who've been willing to ponder the unanswerable. And with the advent of modern science, great minds have turned to testing and experimentation rather than mere thought as a way of grappling with some of the universe's most vexing dilemmas. So what is our latest picture of some of the most inexplicable features of the universe? What still remains to be uncovered and explored by today's scientists?

    Kristi Richardson says: ""The Universe is in us!""
    "Greate Mysteries--Solved, Unsolved, Unimaginable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Mysteries of the universe, solved and unsolved. . . hmm.

    Neil deGrasse Tyson is such an enthusiastic lecturer, I can imagine he could make just about any topic fascinating. He talks about some of the greatest mysteries of our universe, a few that have been already solved and others that we are currently struggling with and may never in our lifetimes find the answers to. He talks about mysteries that keep him up at night and some that defy current imagination. He talks about the existence of mysteries that we don't even have the intelligence or current knowledge to wonder about.

    Should we even worry or fret or care about mysteries we cannot solve or even imagine? What was it like when the universe was formed? How about when it will eventually die? Are there parallel universes? What in the heck is dark matter or dark energy? Why should we even care?

    If any of these questions interest you, I suggest you get this selection from The Great Courses. It is guaranteed to feel too short for you, no matter what your knowledge base or curiosity index is. It is guaranteed to be fascinating, anyway.

    Now, I have to check and see if I can find any other books by deGrasse Tyson. He is a wonderful lecturer! He is worth pursuing further.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Yellow Crocus

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Laila Ibrahim
    • Narrated By Bahni Turpin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (883)
    Performance
    (805)
    Story
    (808)

    Moments after Lisbeth is born, she’s taken from her mother and handed over to an enslaved wet nurse, Mattie, a young mother separated from her own infant son in order to care for her tiny charge. Thus begins an intense relationship that will shape both of their lives for decades to come. Though Lisbeth leads a life of privilege, she finds nothing but loneliness in the company of her overwhelmed mother and her distant, slave-owning father.

    Kathy says: "A rare find, a 5 star book!"
    "A rare find, a 5 star book!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't rate all good books with 5 stars, but I have absolutely nothing to nitpick about this audiobook. I enjoyed everything about it, and I am sure it will remain in my memory for a long time to come.

    I am often wary of reading a "slave" book, just like I am of a "holocaust" book. It takes some emotional bracing and mental preparation beforehand, but I will not avoid these two heartrending and important subjects.

    This book was beautifully written. The characters were well-developed and all very believable. Whether I loved them or hated them, I could surely understand their motivations and behaviors based on the times and the setting they resided in. The slavery period can make for very sad and uncomfortable reading, but author Ibrahim handled this with finesse, neither appealing to or manipulating our emotions and our guilt, nor glossing over it to make it more palatable. I feel the story was well-balanced and the facts of the period were presented in a non-preachy and non-exaggerated manner.

    The story was engrossing to me. I really cared what happened to the two main characters, Mattie and Lisbeth. I held my breath at times when they exhibited behaviors that would likely put them in real danger, and I sighed with relief when it seemed that they would be all right. The ending was very intense and emotional--I listened with rapt attention, even though I believed I knew what was going to happen. This book is an example of what I refer to as "an author taking care of their readers."

    The narration, in case you are wondering, was just perfect. I hope to find more audiobooks narrated by Turpin in the future.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Walk

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Richard Paul Evans
    • Narrated By Richard Paul Evans
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (348)
    Performance
    (284)
    Story
    (284)

    What would you do if you lost everything - your job, your home, and the love of your life - all at the same time? When it happens to Seattle ad executive Alan Christoffersen, he's tempted by his darkest thoughts. A bottle of pills in his hand and nothing left to live for, he plans to end his misery. Instead, he decides to take a walk. But not any ordinary walk. Taking with him only the barest of essentials, Al leaves behind all that he's known and heads for the farthest point on his map.

    Beth says: "A story of Hope"
    "Great listen but why is it so SHORT?"
    Overall
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    I really enjoyed this short story and am left wondering, since there are at least five books in the series, why oh why are they so short? It is totally unnecessary and I am left with a slight negative feeling from a book that I otherwise loved listening to.

    Alan Christoffersen's life falls apart in a matter of weeks. Everything that he knew and loved is gone, and he has to make some pretty serious decisions. His first decision is whether he even wants to go on living. Well, there wouldn't be any book at all if he did himself in, so that is no spoiler. Besides, you already know he is going on a long, long walk (5 books worth, so far).

    Alan's walk becomes what I might call a spiritual endeavor (but not really religious) and I feel he is going to learn some of life's deeper and more important lessons as he continues on his cross country trek. This is a very gentle, sweet book that moves along at a walker's pace. I enjoyed it immensely and I do look forward to continuing the journey .

    This is an author-narrated book. Authors are not necessarily the best narrators, I think we all would agree, but sometimes that can acceptable. Evan's tells his story in a quiet, believable fashion, so much so that I had to do some research to find out if this was a novel or true story at the beginning.

    So, all in all, this was a very positive listening experience for me despite the above-mentioned shortness of the audiobook.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A Watershed Year

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Susan Schoenberger
    • Narrated By Amy McFadden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (44)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (33)

    Lucy never confessed her love to her best friend Harlan before he passed away. Two months after his funeral, she is haunted by the power of things left unsaid. But then she receives the first of his e-mails arranged to be sent after his death. So begins the year that everything changes - Lucy's watershed year. In an e-mail, Harlan says something that consumes her: He's certain Lucy is destined for motherhood. In her grief, she suddenly rediscovers hope, journeying to Russia to adopt a four-year-old boy.

    Kathy says: "Ugh, chick-lit again, and a bad case of the blahs!"
    "Ugh, chick-lit again, and a bad case of the blahs!"
    Overall
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    This book was so utterly disappointing for me. So many words, such minutiae and so much triviality. It seemed like such a promising story line. International adoption is a real interest of mine. I felt like this book never took off, that was stuck on the tarmac for hours and hours. I didn't see much character development and thus, I didn't feel for any of the characters, at all. The endless nonsense about the saints--ugh, what type of plot gimmick is that? It wasn't educational or informative or even interesting, just quirky filler to me.

    Add Lucy and Harlan's friendship and her year of endless grieving for what never ever was, for what she was actually afraid to even acknowledge. And how far-fetched was what Lucy learned about Harlen at the end? Really? (I am not going to say more as I don't want to spoil it for anyone.)

    As for the narrator, I have mixed feelings. She did the foreign voices well but she got very shrill whenever there was any emotional dialogue. In addition, I really didn't enjoy the way she portrayed Lucy. Too much emphasis in her voice. It made Lucy seem downright annoying to me most of the time.

    And yet, I plodded on and on even though I knew how it would end beforehand. There was something that kept me going. Therefore, I am giving it three stars across the board. And yet, I will not seek this author out again.



    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl on the Train: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Paula Hawkins
    • Narrated By Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, India Fisher
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (22216)
    Performance
    (18490)
    Story
    (18473)

    Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. "Jess and Jason," she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good? Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

    L. O. Pardue says: ""Rear Window" Meets "Gone Girl""
    "A very difficult review for me to write!"
    Overall
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    I follow many reviewers (it's fun!), and the reviews kept coming in on this book, every one positive. So, of course, I chose to listen to it, too.

    This is a difficult review to write because I don't want to give ANYTHING away. You will be missing something from the listening experience if you know anything about what to expect. It is best to let the story unfold, ever so slowly, have your surprises and make your own opinions. So, what is there to say about The Girl on the Train? As you can see from my star ratings, I have mixed feelings.

    The first thing you should know, as I didn't and had to rewind the first hour, is that there are three different narrators for the three main characters. So, pay attention until you start to recognize the voices.

    On the positive side, the book held my attention all the way through, and the narrators were excellent in "becoming" the individual women. I was kept guessing who-done-it until the last hour or so of the book. It's always nice to have a surprise you never saw coming at the end.

    So, besides the above-mentioned good aspects, there were some things that bothered me enough to lower my ratings. Again, trying not to give anything away, there were some real inconsistencies in the plot--people acting out of character along with conflicting behaviors and information. More disconcerting was the weakness and passivity of the three women. It made me grimace and want to shake them. The likeability factor of the characters--just about all of them--was pretty low, too. As a result, I felt little tension and anxiety when danger appeared.

    I wouldn't encourage anyone to read or not read this book. You just may love it, as did many reviewers. It is your choice to make!

    5 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Moving Day

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Jonathan Stone
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (492)
    Performance
    (446)
    Story
    (439)

    Forty years’ accumulation of art, antiques, and family photographs are more than just objects for Stanley Peke - they are proof of a life fully lived. A life he could have easily lost long ago. When a con man steals his houseful of possessions in a sophisticated moving-day scam, Peke wanders helplessly through his empty New England home, inevitably reminded of another helpless time: decades in Peke’s past, a cold and threadbare Stanislaw Shmuel Pecoskowitz eked out a desperate existence in the war-torn Polish countryside, subsisting on scraps, dodging Nazi soldiers.

    Joe Crescenzi says: "What a fantastic story... a real treat!"
    "What an unusual and fascinating story!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thought the plot sounded interesting, but I didn't have a clue where this book would lead me. I enjoyed this book immensely and just know I will listen to it again. There is a certain enjoyment that comes with knowing a book's ending. You can sit back without tension and just enjoy the second trip. Which is not to say that I didn't enjoy the first trip. There was just a bit of anxiety plaguing me, a bit of worry.

    You can better learn the plot from the publisher's description. Per my short summary, you have a 72 year-old affluent, somewhat snobbish, very intelligent Jew who is wronged by a con artist who steals the old man's and his wife's lifetime of belongings before a retirement move to southern California. Stanley Peke, as victim, started out as not such a likeable character and at some points, even reminded me of the con artist, Nick--some similarities in personality, the wish to get even, egocentric, and both very much in their own heads. That is what is so unusual about this book. Most of it was written as if it was coming from the two men's own thoughts and feelings. Some felt this method was too slow moving, not so interesting. I got used to it fairly fast. I realized what the author was doing and was able to go with the flow. I was not in a hurry. I am not an action junkie.

    As the book progressed, I learned a great deal more about Stanley Peke, who he was and why he was that man. While he did not become significantly more loveable, I could surely understand him. As time progressed, I became a staunch supporter and rooter for old Stan. The book took me places I never imagined, and every bit of it was compelling and fascinating, becoming more so as the book charged on toward the ending.

    (And I have not even said anything about Nazis! You are in for a treat.)

    Narration was done perfectly by Christopher Lane. He nailed both main characters as well as anyone could.

    A most unusual story. I am looking forward to more from this author.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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