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Pamela

Bigfork, Montana
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  • The Fallen Man

  • By: Tony Hillerman
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 7 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 209
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 193
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 191

When a human skeleton is discovered on sacred Navajo land, the publicity surrounding the find sets in motion a widespread investigation and a series of attempted murders. After a Washington group hires Leaphorn to investigate the "fallen man's" past, he joins Chee in unraveling a deadly intrigue that finally involves players from both the FBI and a suspicious corporation.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Not much better than a Hillerman

  • By Phyllis on 10-09-17

Another great Leaphorn / Chee tale

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

Reviewed: 03-11-19

While this is not the first book in the series, it can easily be read at any time. Leaphorn may have retired but he has not given up with Chee or investigation of crime on the Navajo reservation. In this volume, a case from Leaphorn's tenure is resolved when a body is discovered more than a decade after the death occurred.

I love the quiet pace at which these stories unfold and the way they demonstrate a way of life foreign to me. Respect for culture and the land are the most important things to Chee, solving the crimes is almost incidental (although he is very good at that too!). You would not use the words "fast paced" or "thrilling" for any book in this series but there is a clear mystery which is solved through effective police work. This is one of my favorite series.

  • Cooking the Books

  • A Corinna Chapman Mystery, Book 6
  • By: Kerry Greenwood
  • Narrated by: Louise Siversen
  • Length: 8 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 235
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 221
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 221

Corinna Chapman, talented baker and reluctant investigator, is trying very hard to do nothing at all on her holidays. Her gorgeous Daniel is only intermittently at her side (he's roaming the streets tracking down a multi-thousand-dollar corporate theft). Jason, her baking offsider, has gone off to learn how to surf. And Kylie and Goss are fulfilling their lives' ambition auditioning for a soapie. It should be a time of quiet reflection for Corinna, but quiet reflection doesn't seem to suit her - she's bored.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fun!!!

  • By RoHunDoc on 06-01-15

A heroine for the rest of us

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

Reviewed: 01-16-19

Corinna is in a second career, has a failed marriage and deals daily with her many shortcomings - how refreshing after too many preternaturally perfect young leading ladies in mysteries. While managing her successful bakery and the handsome boyfriend who has stolen her heart, Corinna solves a bunch of mysteries that astonishingly come together at the end like an unraveling watched in reverse. Hold your skepticism in reserve for this one! There are a lot of peripheral characters who are hard to keep track of and the ending does come pretty much out of thin air. It is a bit of a cheat when the sleuth knows something the reader does not.

Not a particularly edifying series which borrows quite a bit from the stronger Phryne Fisher series, this is still a lot of fun with endearing characters and a romp through Corrine's Melbourne. I would love to stop by Earthly Delights to see what muffin Jason has been testing. I will listen to more in the series because they are fun!

Most of the tine Louise Siversen is a fine narrator but some of her ethnic or eccentric characterizations are over the top and difficult to listen to.

  • Consider the Fork

  • A History of How We Cook and Eat
  • By: Bee Wilson
  • Narrated by: Alison Larkin
  • Length: 11 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 996
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 888
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 887

Since prehistory, humans have braved the business ends of knives, scrapers, and mashers, all in the name of creating something delicious - or at least edible. In Consider the Fork, award-winning food writer and historian Bee Wilson traces the ancient lineage of our modern culinary tools, revealing the startling history of objects we often take for granted. Charting the evolution of technologies from the knife and fork to the gas range and the sous-vide cooker, Wilson offers unprecedented insights.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Intriguing history of everyday utensils

  • By Amazon Customer on 03-31-14

Like being stuck next to a blowhard on a plane

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

Reviewed: 01-01-19

I had high hopes for this book - I have enjoyed many others in the same genre. I won't discuss the narrator - her shortcomings are discussed by other reviewers - but will just say that I may have been less irritated with the book if it had a different narrator.

The author takes a dogmatic tone and it is clear that if you do not agree with her opinions, you are simply wrong. Is a food processor the best thing since sliced bread? Not really, and no, you can not make quenelles in 10 minutes with a food processor as the shaping and poaching are the real time consuming steps and the last time I checked, my food processor does not help with that at all. What cook considers 8" to be the ideal length for tongs? One who likes to burn his or her fingers - tongs are ideal for getting you away from the heat! A seasoned cast iron pan does not lose its seasoning and force you to start over from scratch. Why would anyone want flank steak with the texture of a mousse? yuck! You get the idea.

Every ten minutes or so I wanted to yell at the book "wrong wrong wrong." But it did have some interesting history of the evolution of cooking buried in the foolishness. I just wish it had been more fun. Will someone please write that book for me?

If you want a better listen that covers a similar topic but in a different manner, try the Great Courses Food: A Cultural History, available on Audible.

  • Dying Games

  • By: Steve Robinson
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 8 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 462
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 405
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 404

Washington, DC: Twin brothers are found drowned in a Perspex box, one gagged and strapped to a chair. It's the latest in a series of cruel and elaborate murders with two things in common: the killer has left a family history chart at each crime scene, and the victims all have a connection to genealogical sleuth Jefferson Tayte. Hoping his insight and expertise will help solve the case, the FBI summon Tayte back to the capital. But as he struggles to crack the clues, the killer strikes again - and again.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Wonderful Suspense Mystery Surprise!!

  • By Wayne on 11-06-17

Death is a game for Jefferson Tate

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

Reviewed: 12-23-18

An odd book as the protagonist is indirectly responsible for the deaths of several people, most of whom he has never met. The who-dun-it is not long a mystery, so the story is about the race between Tate and his vengeful opponent.

I have listened to one other book in this series and that was not enough to prevent me from missing most of the reference to other people and events from earlier books. Tate is an ancestor hunter, but has gotten himself involved with deadly mysteries in the past. Those come back to haunt him in this volume.

Thank goodness for his prodigious memory though - even though he proudly disdains keeping electronic records, he is generally able to find just the right document in a room full of paper files. Too many coincidences and too many nick-of-time discoveries make the whole story implausible.

I also have a problem with his inconsistent reactions - if the drama calls for rational and cautious action, that is Tate, full stop. If the story is better served by a thoughtless and reckless response, that is Tate too. I am tired of books that make me shake my head in dismay and this is one of those.

Simon Vance is, as always, an easy listen.

  • Forensics

  • What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA, and More Tell Us About Crime
  • By: Val McDermid
  • Narrated by: Sarah Barron
  • Length: 11 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,889
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,736
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,722

The dead talk - to the right listener. They can tell us all about themselves: where they came from, how they lived, how they died, and, of course, who killed them. Forensic scientists can unlock the mysteries of the past and help serve justice using the messages left by a corpse, a crime scene, or the faintest of human traces.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Crime Seen

  • By Mark on 09-02-16

Good history of forensics

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

Reviewed: 09-03-18

I enjoyed the history of each of the elements of forensics discussed - fingerprints, blood spatter patterns, facial reconstructions, etc. Many unsung heroes got a little, well deserved, credit here. Most were discussed in the context of one or more real cases which introduced or advanced the science.

I personally enjoyed the reader's Scottish accent, as opposed to some other reviewers. You should be able to determine from the sample excerpt whether it is for you or not. What I did not like were the horrible English and American accents which sounded as if they were drawn directly from 1930 melodramas. Fortunately, they constituted less than 5% of the material. But sadly, they are what I will remember most about this narrator. I would like a version of this book where she read it through in her lovely Scottish brogue.

  • Real Food, Fake Food

  • Why You Don't Know What You're Eating and What You Can Do About It
  • By: Larry Olmsted
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Yen
  • Length: 12 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 645
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 587
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 582

You've seen the headlines: Parmesan cheese made from sawdust. Lobster rolls containing no lobster at all. Extra-virgin olive oil that isn't. Fake foods are in our supermarkets, our restaurants, and our kitchen cabinets. Award-winning food journalist and travel writer Larry Olmsted exposes this pervasive and dangerous fraud perpetrated on unsuspecting Americans.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Disappointed in how few foods were covered.

  • By Perry Gallagher on 01-13-17

Pretentious, condescending and, yes, repetitive

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

Reviewed: 05-28-18

There was very little new information in this book - honey imitations was the only one that was both new to me and touches my daily life. I am very disappointed that reading labels carefully can only prevent about half of the frauds described in this book. I use the word frauds cautiously as most of the problems discussed are not crimes but the result of poor legislation.

My big problem with the research in this book is that it is biased towards publications by and discussions with farmers, producers and trade organizations representing the product in question. Olmsted admits that Kobe beef is not his favorite and discusses the trouncing French wines received at the hands of Napa Valley vintners in taste tests. Despite that, his argument is that food produced outside the defined geographic areas are intrinsically inferior. He seems to believe that producers will exchange cheaper ingredients unless there is a government body watching carefully. The high-end US wine industry clearly disproves this - highly rated and regarded products command higher prices and the producers, in general, would not sully their good reputation with rotten or contaminated grapes. The flip side is well established brands that fall under profit pressures and bad production cycles - those prices are not usually decreased to reflect the lower quality. There are poor quality products overcharging naive consumers. But if a consumer finds a product they like and is of consistent quality, they will continue to buy it and recommend it to friends.

He is irritatingly inconsistent in his expectations. American-style Kobe beef is a fraudulent name, but Gruyere-style cheese is an adequate disclosure that the cheese did not come from Switzerland. I could list dozens of these, but won't bore you - the book will do that adequately.

On a minor note, Olmsted falls into the same trap the marketing organizations do - the monetary loss is not the gross tonnage of fake food sold multiplied by the selling price of the exclusive controlled product. I am not likely to spend $30+/lb for Parmigiano-Reggiano or aged balsamic vinegar when I am making Caesar salad or lasagna. I might for a cheese plate but I can not afford those prices for everyday use. Additionally, there is not nearly enough production in these exclusive areas to meet worldwide demand - price is not the only cause of substitutions.

If you do not want to suffer through the book, here it is condensed into just a few rules:
1. Read labels - what are the ingredients, where is the product made? (be aware this may not always be accurate)
2. Buy local when you can, knowing the producer is a real plus.
3. Do your research. Know which products and brands are reputable and which are questionable. Know the meaning of terms such as organic, all natural, and pure for the products you are buying.

Jonathan Yen is not a bad narrator but is totally wrong for this book. He sounds shocked at every discovery - cranberry juice is mostly apple juice!!! McDonald's lobster rolls are not real Maine lobster!!! Maple-flavored items may contain no actual maple syrup!!! It gets very tiring very quickly. His attempts at accents are laughable at best and cringe-worthy at worst.

  • Winston Churchill Reporting

  • Adventures of a Young War Correspondent
  • By: Simon Read
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 8 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21

Long before his finest hour as Britain's wartime leader, Winston Churchill emerged on the world stage as a brazen foreign correspondent, covering wars of empire in Cuba, India, the Sudan, and South Africa. In those far-flung corners of the world, reporting from the front lines between 1895 and 1900, Churchill mastered his celebrated command of language and formed strong opinions about war.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An Icon in the Making

  • By asassyvic on 03-02-16

Young and Reckless

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

Reviewed: 05-02-18

I have read many books by and about Churchill, but Read does us all a service by covering a period of his life we do not often hear about. Much of the book is fairly slow going - more detail about the battles than I expected.

There are great stories about Churchill himself: how he used his family connections to gain access to battle zones, his struggles to get his writing published and his inability to settle into the lifestyle expected of a young officer. I knew the basics of his escape during the Boer war, but the adventure is told well here and in much more detail than I have read before.

We do get glimpses of how his experiences shaped the Winston Churchill who lead the British during much of the second world war. It does feel a bit like the first volume of a long and detail biography. There is a fairly abrupt end to the action, followed by a one chapter epilogue that outlines the next 50 years of his life. I wish that there had been some discussion about how the experiences outlines in this book came into play in later policy or strategic decisions.

But as a fan of everything Churchill, I did enjoy the book and will probably listen to it again after reading books that only refer to this period in passing.

Simon Vance, as always, did an excellent job with the narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Collectibles

  • The Collectibles Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: James J. Kaufman
  • Narrated by: Joe Barrett
  • Length: 9 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,061
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,885
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,880

"Do what the other fella can't. Be what the other fella ain't. And then help the other fella." Joe Hart has never let go of his uncle's words. An orphan from the unspoiled Adirondack Mountains, Joe leaves his humble beginnings and goes on to distinguish himself, first as a navy submarine commander, then as an attorney unequaled in his field. But Joe's world crashes with an unexpected tragedy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This book is a MUST READ!

  • By shelley on 05-10-16

VERY contrived and unrealistic

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

Reviewed: 03-30-18

First, let me say that I do not mind books that touch my heart, but they have to have some connection with reality. I know a fair amount about several of the subjects touched by this book - finance, banking, the Navy, woodworking - and this book is so far off base as to be laughable.

For only one example that will not divulge the plot, there is an extensive portion which talks about the deal that Joe manages with the lending banks. There is no way in the the world, that any major bank would have all of its officers and executive staff available at a minute's notice to spend more than a day listening to a proposal from someone they have never met before, especially not for what is essentially a small business loan. A few million dollars in loans may get you a VP but will not get you a dozen of the top officers who can all be converted by an outsider's fancy binders.

Joe may be good at what he does, but when he gets some medical tests done and the doc tells him his MRI results are "amazing" I almost gave up. Everyone, even people who have never seen him before, think he is amazing. He criticizes Preston for trying to be in control all of the time, but he is so manipulative it is frightening. He is not malicious or evil, but he does control everything - even going so far as asking Preston to vow that he will do whatever Joe asks of him - anytime anywhere.

I felt manipulated too and that is never good in a book.

And no, this most assuredly not a mystery or suspense book. It is a feel good novel, if that is even a category.

It gets 2 stars overall though because Joe Barrett is as good as ever. There is some implied sexism, a tiny bit of swearing and nothing violent or sexual if any of those make a difference to you.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Customs of the World: Using Cultural Intelligence to Adapt, Wherever You Are

  • By: David Livermore, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: David Livermore
  • Length: 11 hrs and 59 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,650
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,471
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,468

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

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Quite possibly my favorite of The Great Courses

  • By Quaker on 09-17-13

Targeted to businessMEN

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

Reviewed: 03-11-18

This series does raise my awareness slightly for areas I have not yet visited, but I was more frustrated than informed.

Despite repeatedly saying that just being polite and tolerant is not enough, Professor Livermore repeated falls back on that stance because people can not be pigeonholed, no matter where they are from. His examples are of the Ugly American faces the puzzled local variety, rather stereo-typed and superficial. If you are going to do business in a foreign culture, you need a lot more information than is provided here. If you are touring, you will probably never face most of the situations he reviews (you are unlikely to be invited into the home of a Saudi family unless there is expectation of an ongoing relationship).

But my single biggest complaint is that the entire presentation is from the standpoint of men. As a woman who has traveled extensively in Asia, Europe and Latin America for professional reasons, I can guarantee you that I would never be invited to a night drinking with my Chinese counterparts. There is absolutely no discussion of the issues a woman faces in traditional cultures, with the exceptions that Italian women have learned to ignore men who throw catcalls their way on the street and Arab women find the hijab comforting..

Anyone who travels for work or pleasure will gain much more from the trip if they are informed before they travel - not just the social customs, but the history, current events and cusine of a new place. If you are traveling and do not do that already, you have missed a great opportunity. If you do your research, there is not a lot new to learn here.

Livermore is perfectly acceptable as a presenter and his 10 cultural dimensions can be helpful to remember that others' cultures can be quite different than mine. If this helps me be more understanding and tolerant, that can only be a good thing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Starlight Detectives

  • How Astronomers, Inventors, and Eccentrics Discovered the Modern Universe
  • By: Alan Hirshfeld
  • Narrated by: Joe Barrett
  • Length: 13 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 209
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 192
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 191

In 1929, Edwin Hubble announced the greatest discovery in the history of astronomy since Galileo first turned a telescope to the heavens. The galaxies, previously believed to float serenely in the void, are in fact hurtling apart at an incredible speed: the universe is expanding. This stunning discovery was the culmination of a decades-long arc of scientific and technical advancement.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Experience the discovery of most of the universe.

  • By Zachary Adams on 05-26-15

A story of imaging stars

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

Reviewed: 11-14-17

This is not my favorite book on discovering the skies. It is jam packed full of information, with so many characters, I could not develop a clear sense of any of them.

The story is really more about the improvements in imaging the universe than of the discoveries themselves. There is more than I ever imagined about the competitive approaches to photographing through telescopes. (I use the word photographing generically - I know that it not inclusive, as is exhaustively discussed in this book). I was surprised at the resistance to using anything other than the human eye to document what has been seen in the skies.

Astronomy and astrophysics have always drawn my curiosity and sense of discovery, but this book, sadly did not take me on that journey.

As noted in other reviews, Joe Barrett is a fine narrator but not the best for this book. His skills are probably better suited for fiction.

For something more comprehensible in an audiobook, try anything by Stephen Hawking or Neil deGrasse Tyson or look at the highest rated books in the astronomy category. This one is a bit of a snooze that should probably be left for those with a special interest in its narrow focus.