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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

ratings
410
REVIEWS
196
FOLLOWING
52
FOLLOWERS
68
HELPFUL VOTES
481

  • Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Sheri Fink
    • Narrated By Kirsten Potter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (580)
    Performance
    (511)
    Story
    (516)

    In the tradition of the best writing on medicine, physician and reporter Sheri Fink reconstructs five days at Memorial Medical Center and draws the listener into the lives of those who struggled mightily to survive and to maintain life amidst chaos. After Katrina struck and the floodwaters rose, the power failed, and the heat climbed, exhausted caregivers chose to designate certain patients last for rescue. Months later, several health professionals faced criminal allegations that they deliberately injected numerous patients with drugs to hasten their deaths. Five Days at Memorial, the culmination of six years of reporting, unspools the mystery of what happened in those days.

    Cynthia says: "Five Days in Hell/Years in Purgatory"
    "So utterly disturbing yet a must-read!"
    Overall
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    This book should be read by all thinking adults. It is so much more than just an account of what happened at Memorial Hospital in New Orleans during hurricane Katrina. I came away, just finishing the book, with really disturbing feelings. I know these uneasy feelings will linger for a long time. I feel the wrongness of what happened in my bones, but I also realize that there were extenuating circumstances that allowed it to happen. I feel a deep sense of anger, but I am not sure where it should be directed.

    I toss around so many thoughts, in my head and to those who will listen to me.

    Was Dr. Anna Pou a sociopath (a liar and murderer) or was she just a victim of her circumstances? After all, she appeared to be an experienced and talented surgeon who really cared about her own patients. But is that enough to excuse her behaviors, before and during the event?

    Are doctors considered on a par with God in this country? Just because a doctor takes charge in a critical situation, will no one even question their decisions? Understandably certain staff will follow all orders, but what about other doctors (co-workers) of equal status? Is it enough just to walk away and not see?

    Is it just in the personality of those people who step up and want to take charge--Anna Pou, most of our politicians, big bosses? Perhaps people of greater honesty and honor have no desire to take charge? I am often disturbed at having to vote, not for the best person, but for the lesser of two evils.

    Is a DNR really the best way to go? I always thought I should have one, but after listening to this book, I am not so sure anymore. How can one protect their own wishes in the absence of a friend or loved one?

    Above all, this book should be read by medical professionals, especially administrators, who can and should come up with policies, procedures, and recommendations, so that one or more rogue persons cannot take charge and make decisions that are not in the best interest of the most helpless souls.

    This book was expertly narrated by Kirsten Potter, who has the ability to narrate as the book was written, in a neutral, non-accusatory manner. I commend the author, Sheri Fink, for doing her research and for presenting the facts without an agenda getting in the way.

    Highly recommended listen!

    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
    (74)
    Performance
    (42)
    Story
    (44)

    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
    (237)
    Performance
    (214)
    Story
    (212)

    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!

    1 of 1 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
    (376)
    Performance
    (111)
    Story
    (116)

    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.

    1 of 1 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
    (623)
    Performance
    (572)
    Story
    (570)

    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
    (1570)
    Performance
    (1428)
    Story
    (1424)

    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
    (700)
    Performance
    (615)
    Story
    (615)

    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
  • Insignia

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By S. J. Kincaid
    • Narrated By Lincoln Hoppe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (89)
    Performance
    (82)
    Story
    (83)

    More than anything, Tom Raines wants to be important, though his shadowy life is anything but that. For years, Tom's drifted from casino to casino with his unlucky gambler of a dad, gaming for their survival. Keeping a roof over their heads depends on a careful combination of skill, luck, con artistry, and staying invisible. Then one day, Tom stops being invisible. Someone's been watching his virtual-reality prowess, and he's offered the incredible - a place at the Pentagonal Spire, an elite military academy. There, Tom's instincts for combat will be put to the test and if he passes, he'll become a member of the Intrasolar Forces.

    Wendy says: "YA Novel with Adult Appeal"
    "Definitely for YA audiences!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had hopes this book would be similar to Card's Ender series, in that they had wide appeal to adults and YA audiences, alike. However, I feel this book was written mainly for young adults, which is certainly understandable and reasonable. Therefore, I am not deducting stars because I was not the target audience.

    I felt that this book was lacking in action, that is, too much time was spent in setting up the story and characters. Yet, there was very little description of the characters and in my mind, I couldn't begin to visualize them. This was a relatively easy listen but towards the end, I was just wanting to finish. I already figured out what was going to happen and when it did, it was just ho-hum for me. I guess this book was missing a sense of excitement for me. Perhaps I look for something else than a younger audience--actually, there is little doubt about this.

    As for the narration, Lincoln Hoppe has always been a favorite of mine. I think he usually does a great job of narrating YA books. One problem, however, was that his voices sounded truly adult and not teen at all. I had difficulty with this and had to keep reminding myself they were teens, with the exception of the times they were creating fart viruses!

    I am a bit concerned about this review as I always want to be fair to an author. I'd say, if you are a lover of YA literature and this sounds like a book you'd like, go for it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 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
    (389)
    Performance
    (328)
    Story
    (325)

    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
  • The Sparrow

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Mary Doria Russell
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    Overall
    (580)
    Performance
    (400)
    Story
    (403)

    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
    (50)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (43)

    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

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