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Katie

Geneva, Switzerland
  • 27
  • reviews
  • 77
  • helpful votes
  • 45
  • ratings
  • Happiness: A Memoir

  • The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After
  • By: Heather Harpham
  • Narrated by: Heather Harpham
  • Length: 11 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,500
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,386
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,379

Happiness begins with a charming courtship between hopelessly attracted opposites: Heather, a world-roaming California girl, and Brian, an intellectual, homebody writer, kind and slyly funny, but loath to leave his Upper West Side studio. Their magical interlude ends, full stop, when Heather becomes pregnant - Brian is sure he loves her, only he doesn't want kids. Heather returns to California to deliver their daughter alone, buoyed by family and friends.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Long & Tedious. If Only She'd Had a Good Editor.

  • By Carolyn on 07-05-18

Pretty good!

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-04-18

Heather Harpham narrates her own real-life story of the struggles of being a new parent to a child with a life threatening illness.
I appreciated the very real account of her experience, it wasn't overly sentimental or emotional, but it was interesting and relatable, even if you don't have children.
The author/narrator over annunciates which will definitely get on some people's nerves, especially if you're expecting a professional narrator. I personally felt that it matched with the story, although it could have definitely been improved.
Overall, I think this book was pretty good and I'm glad I listened.

  • The Forgotten Garden

  • By: Kate Morton
  • Narrated by: Caroline Lee
  • Length: 20 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,900
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,188
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,221

Thirty-eight year old Cassandra is lost, alone, and grieving. Her much loved grandmother, Nell, has just died and Cassandra, her life already shaken by a tragic accident 10 years ago, feels like she has lost everything known and dear to her.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Enchanting, intriguing, mysterious, and beautiful

  • By Joseph on 12-10-08

Adoption Mystery; Very Pleasant Listen

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-04-18

The narrator, Caroline Lee, has a lovely storytelling voice. This book was very pleasant to just sit and listen and absorb the lives of the characters. I was completely engaged from start to finish. If you're interested in genealogy, this is a great book for you.
The book gives bits and pieces of 4 generations, allowing you to slowly piece together the mystery of why a child was abandoned and who her parents were. The year is clearly announced at the beginning of the chapter so make sure you take note of that. I didn't have a hard time following and don't be alarmed if you don't have all the characters down right away, the character development is very gradual.
This story is a mystery, although Kate Morton goes into such great detail of each event (sometimes twice from different points of view) that some of the mystery is a bit predictable, although it's still very engaging and suspenseful.

  • The Winter of Our Discontent

  • By: John Steinbeck
  • Narrated by: David Aaron Baker
  • Length: 10 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 975
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 872
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 878

In awarding John Steinbeck the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature, the Nobel committee stated that with The Winter of Our Discontent, he had “[R]esumed his position as an independent expounder of the truth, with an unbiased instinct for what is genuinely American".

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Memorable characters, great narration, POOR AUDIO

  • By Sam D. on 05-18-16

Much more to this book than it seems!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-18-18

This is a great book but it was not at all what I expected. The story is told from the protagonist's internal dialogue, Ethan Allen Hawley, who spends the majority of the book plotting and manipulating others for a plan that the reader is not made aware of.
We only know that something is afoot. Ethan maintains a friendly face and hides his true feelings, emotions, and intentions. There are a number of people he doesn't like, but he keeps up appearances and acts like they are pals. He uses friendly small talk to manipulate others. He addresses his wife with probably 100 different pet names. There is a lot of pondering about morality and ethics and obsession with his family history and wealth of the past. I don't believe he has any ethical or moral foundation. Ethan supposedly came up with the whole plan after a moment of moral crisis, but I think he has always lacked empathy and a moral foundation; this isn't a sudden change of heart, it's way too manipulative (and extreme!). The opportunities just started to come together for him.

Up to hour 5 I thought it was just a slow moving book with an unclear plot, then hours 5-8 I knew something was going to happen and the book became quite suspenseful. About hour 8 as the plot came together and Ethan's intentions became clear bit by bit, I was stunned. I felt the emotions of Mr. Baker when he realizes Ethan's plan, and Ethan's nonchalant admittance. I needed a few hours after finishing the book to really process the whole thing.

Definitely recommend! This would also make a great selection for a book club; lots to discuss!

  • Neptune

  • The Allied Invasion of Europe and the D-Day Landings
  • By: Craig L. Symonds
  • Narrated by: Craig L. Symonds
  • Length: 15 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 197
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 179
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 177

Seventy years ago, more than 6000 Allied ships carried more than a million soldiers across the English Channel to a 50-mile-wide strip of the Normandy coast in German-occupied France. It was the greatest sea-borne assault in human history. The code names given to the beaches where the ships landed the soldiers have become immortal: Gold, Juno, Sword, Utah, and especially Omaha, the scene of almost unimaginable human tragedy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Whys of D-Day

  • By Mike From Mesa on 02-09-15

Very Interesting!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-12-18

I picked this book for a road trip to Normandy. It starts with Pearl Harbor and covers the extensive planning that went into Operation Neptune. It's extremely detailed, really in the weeds, the majority of the book consists of the planning and coordination between the U.S. and Great Britain and the trial and error (and there's a lot of error!). I thought the journey of Eisenhower's career was interesting.
This book is easy to listen to, but because it's so incredibly detailed, there's quite a few things that went in one ear and out the other for me. My husband with military experience had a bit more context to link together some of the details in the book. But overall, it's very interesting and includes a lot of important facts about WW2 that are skipped over in our basic education of WW2.
I definitely recommend this book for anyone with even just a moderate interest in WW2 or American history in general.

  • What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky

  • Stories
  • By: Lesley Nneka Arimah
  • Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh
  • Length: 5 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 207
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 194
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 194

A dazzlingly accomplished debut collection explores the ties that bind parents and children, husbands and wives, lovers and friends to one another and to the places they call home. In the title story, in a world ravaged by flood and riven by class, experts have discovered how to "fix the equation of a person" - with rippling, unforeseen repercussions.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Hard to follow as an audiobook

  • By JC on 07-02-18

Audiobook ruins it, read actual book instead

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-14-18

Skip the audiobook for this one. Twelve short stories divided among 26 audiobook chapters that run together. "War Stories," "Windfalls," "Glory," and "Redemption" start in the middle of a chapter with no pause or noticeable introduction.
With the same narrator alternating between the same Nigerian and American accents for each story I kept having to rewind and pause to figure out if the story had ended, if it was the same story, what had happened. Too confusing, I couldn't make it halfway through, which is too bad because the few stories I could differentiate were really good. They were entertaining, but a bit dark.
I plan to read the book instead, where I can devote my attention to each story individually.

  • Pachinko

  • By: Min Jin Lee
  • Narrated by: Allison Hiroto
  • Length: 18 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,121
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,646
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4,634

Profoundly moving and gracefully told, Pachinko follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them. Betrayed by her wealthy lover, Sunja finds unexpected salvation when a young tubercular minister offers to marry her and bring her to Japan to start a new life.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • wonderful book

  • By erin on 12-11-17

Multigenerational story, Korean hardship in Japan

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-14-18

I enjoyed this book very much, but I do see where some of the negative reviews are coming from. To me, the narrator had a very pleasant storytelling voice that seemed to match the personality of the main character, Sunja (simple and kind). The prose is simplistic, which makes this an easy listen. There is little to no internal dialogue among the characters, these are not people pondering their hopes and dreams or having profound discussions amongst themselves. For most of the first half, they are struggling just to stay alive. Sometimes you are left to infer the full details of what has happened, because of the lack of dialogue and the fact that the characters don't ask a lot of questions themselves (I'm assuming culturally accurate for women during that time), and there are a few jumps in time. A few of the main characters die with only a passing sentence and the story continues on without them. It was frustrating but I I think it represents the brutal reality of the characters' lives constantly facing hardship and having to persevere on. There are many interesting characters introduced throughout the book (it spans almost 80 years).
The cultural elements of the book were interesting. I enjoyed the friendship between Sunja and her sister-in-law, the progression of Sunja and Koh Hansu's relationship, and the youngest character Mozasu.

  • Less

  • By: Andrew Sean Greer
  • Narrated by: Robert Petkoff
  • Length: 8 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,587
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,313
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,305

You are a failed novelist about to turn 50. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: Your boyfriend of the past nine years is engaged to someone else. You can't say yes - it would be too awkward - and you can't say no - it would look like defeat. On your desk are a series of invitations to half-baked literary events around the world. Question: How do you arrange to skip town? Answer: You accept them all.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Endearing, funny, but sometimes overly clever

  • By Lili on 07-30-17

I must be missing something...

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-28-18

I am sorry that I couldn't get into this book. I was bored from beginning to end. 49 year old man, having lived a fairly privileged and interesting life feeling sorry for himself as he approaches 50; reflecting on past adventures and mishaps (which are not funny or that interesting). There was maybe one part that I thought someone might think was humorous.
Maybe it would be better reading the book in your own voice using your own mental images. I don't think the narrator did a bad job, but he certainly didn't do the book any favors.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Originals

  • How Non-Conformists Move the World
  • By: Adam Grant, Sheryl Sandberg - foreword
  • Narrated by: Fred Sanders, Susan Denaker
  • Length: 10 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,550
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,939
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,917

With Give and Take, Adam Grant not only introduced a landmark new paradigm for success but also established himself as one of his generation's most compelling and provocative thought leaders. In Originals, he again addresses the challenge of improving the world but now from the perspective of becoming original: choosing to champion novel ideas and values that go against the grain, battle conformity, and buck outdated traditions. How can we originate new ideas, policies, and practices without risking it all?

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Read before listening

  • By Michael on 07-18-16

random hodgepodge, moderately interesting

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-20-18

I chose this book because I heard Adam Grant on a podcast passionately talking about some of the various points in the book and was immediately interested. This is probably one of the few cases where the author should have narrated the book himself. It was simply read by the narrator, where it should have been in the conversational voice of the author.

Chapter 5: Goldilocks and the Trojan Horse was by far my favorite section, especially his discussion of women's suffrage movement, coalitions, and the present day idea that "enemies make better allies than frenemies." It was fascinating and I would recommend the book simply for this chapter, in fact, if you get bored, just skip to this chapter.

Each chapter had a "in this chapter, I will explain/explore..." paragraph which is really unnecessary. The chapter on birth order seemed really random and uninteresting. The case study on Bridgewater was interesting but personally it sounds like an awful place to work. I had a hard time seeing how other companies could utilize or recreate anything from that strange and extreme office culture.

  • Educated

  • A Memoir
  • By: Tara Westover
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 35,214
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 31,940
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 31,790

Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard. Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. Her quest for knowledge transformed her.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Other Side of Idaho's Mountains

  • By Darwin8u on 03-28-18

Extreme patriarchy, brainwashing, and violence

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-28-18

This is not really a book about homeschooling or mormons. It's about growing up and out of an extremely patriarchal, violent, and dysfunctional family. It's about the slow process and journey that one takes when leaving an abusive relationship, questioning yourself every step of the way but slowly finding independence. Tara was luckily able to gain her independence through her extensive college education.
This is a really difficult book and may be triggering for some. I felt a number of strong and unpleasant emotions (anger, fear, sadness) while listening to this, but I couldn't put it down. Horrific as it is, I'm really glad that Tara Westover had the courage to publish this. The book kind of has an open ending, you know that the family dysfunction and drama is still continuing, and you wonder how much distance Tara Westover will be able to keep from her family over time, if she will continue to return, yearning for the acceptance of her parents.

The narrator was a perfect match.

66 of 71 people found this review helpful

  • Grant

  • By: Ron Chernow
  • Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
  • Length: 48 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 5,597
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5,125
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 5,097

Ulysses S. Grant's life has typically been misunderstood. All too often he is caricatured as a chronic loser and an inept businessman or as the triumphant but brutal Union general of the Civil War. But these stereotypes don't come close to capturing him, as Chernow reveals in his masterful biography, the first to provide a complete understanding of the general and president whose fortunes rose and fell with dizzying speed and frequency. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent Book (BUT WHERE IS THE PDF FILES)????

  • By Amazon Customer on 10-25-17

“Unique intermingling of strength and weakness”

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-13-18

I chose this book because I enjoyed Hamilton and Washington, but had no real interest in Grant or the Civil War. I was completely sucked into the story within the first 30 minutes and didn't want to turn it off.
Ron Chernow has really outdone himself, this is seriously a Pulitzer Prize level masterpiece. I thought it was more interesting than the Hamilton and Washington books, and you definitely get a sense from the author that he is trying to set the record straight and dispel myths and misperceptions around the Civil War and Reconstruction. It turns out he wasn't dispelling any myths to me because I knew very little of it to begin with (I was surprised at how much I had never heard of).
Grant is an interesting mixture of strength and weakness, an alcoholic and a visionary. He's not like any of our founding fathers, although a few minor similarities to Washington. I kept wanting to categorize him as being similar to other important figures in American history, but Grant was a complicated, unique person all on his own. In his younger years, he reminds me of Adam Trask in East of Eden - overbearing father, lacks ambition, weak personality. Later on, his alcoholism, antisemitism, and naivety (on so many things) is really frustrating. But he was learning and improving throughout his life till the very end. He pushed legislation against the KKK and racial violence, promoted ratification the 15th Amendment, established the first national park, and so many more important accomplishments.

I highly recommend anyone that has even a slightest interest in history to read this. This is a very important book.

One complaint, the narrator's random and inconsistent selection of regional accents and character voicing when quoting gets really annoying. Grant sometimes sounds like a bad John Wayne impersonation, someone from NY is voiced like someone from Charleston, etc.