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  • Simply the Best

  • By: Karin Kallmaker
  • Narrated by: Abby Craden
  • Length: 11 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: Romance
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (14 ratings)

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Summary

Simply the Worst.... Alice Cabot's only great love is science, but a lapse in judgment has exiled the New York journalist to the glitzy Gallerias and vapid bubble-babble of Beverly Hills. The assignment to do a flattering feature series on Simply the Best and the superficial nonsense it sells threatens to crush what little is left of her spirit.

Simply the Best.... Pepper Addington can't believe she's moved up from grunt intern to personal assistant for Helene Jolie, the celebrity socialite founder of SimplytheBest.com. Succeeding at the job she worked so hard to get is her only priority. Keep a cynical know-it-all reporter in check? She promises Helene that she can.

Simply Irresistible.... Expecting nothing but games from the beach-blond surfer girl that Helene Jolie has assigned to keep an eye on her, Alice is fully prepared to resist any and all of California's charms. Or so she thinks.

©2021 Karin Kallmaker (P)2021 Tantor

What listeners say about Simply the Best

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great as always from KK and AC

This is the first book I have listened to with some mention of the pandemic and awful science deniers and such. It is really well done and adds to the authenticity of Alice's frustration and anger and sort-of-meltdown - I mean we've all felt that in recent times! The story is so interesting with the added subject of women exploiting women and the various injustices in the workplace. But the overarching romance is perfect with all the right feels in the right places. I very much enjoyed this book.

1 person found this helpful

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Intelligent and well written lesfic

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is not very romantic but nevertheless it is an especially good romance because it is based in the real world, addresses real world issues and reaches a satisfying conclusion. I will definitely be listening to more novels be Karin Kallmaker.

Abby Craden's narration is not perfect, as she stumbles over passages of the text and sounds like she doesn't get what she's reading, but on the whole she does a decent job.

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Rooting for these two.

Really wanted this to have a happy ending. Strange thing is I was even rooting for the “bad guy” to get better. Listen on folks. Not to shabby.

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  • Michael Thelander
  • 17-11-21

Excellent

Well written with enough detail to get a real feeling for the characters. As always AC’s narration was spot on. Definitely worth the credit.

3 people found this helpful

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  • JCPDX
  • 07-12-21

Highly recommend this book

I loved how multi-layered this book was. The story is fuller than just the MC relationship. There is a fullness to Alice’s life, background and pain. But a wonderful and engaging relationship with her mother. I loved her nerdy, socially aware personality.

Pepper is a driven and committed personality that you can immediately feel for because she believes in the straight line between hard work and reward. Of course, that is no guarantee.

The chaos and negativity created for women at the company in the center of the story is very well presented by Karin. And hats off to how Pepper was written to take control of her story.

For 2-3 years I have been submitting requests to Audible for more KK Audible options. I am so happy to see that happening and this is a wonderful new addition.

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  • paedagogue
  • 19-11-21

Kallmaker's best

Is both a love letter to California (the climate, the sun, the beaches, the surfers, the spicy cuisine, the gorgeous High Modern aesthetic--in its rustic and urban variants) and a clear-eyed critique of its "enlightened" brand of consumer culture. The MCs are both comfortably middle-class, with the special twist that Alice Cabot--disillusioned 40-YO New York science journalist exiled to the Style section due to a viral faux pas--is both a woman of color and a moneyed blueblood (father a Jamaican scientist, mother an accomplished liberal journalist from an old NY family). Pepper Addington, an authentic blond California surfer-girl, is the super-competent underpaid 20-something intern tasked with handling Alice when the journalist is strong-armed into writing a series on the phenomenal success ("recession proof") of the fashion/self-care Hollywood-based brand Simply the Best, masterminded by Helene Jolie, 50ish former NY society girl and a real dragon lady. Helene, who affects an over-the-top French accent consonant with her family name, immediately raises Alice's suspicions about the brand's "socially responsible all-natural" message. Though Alice dutifully researches and writes an "in-depth" puff piece for the company, she has demons that drive her to numb herself with alcohol: she's in furious mourning for friends and colleagues lost to covid, for the collapse of science reportage, for the rise of a pseudo-individualist culture of moneyed selfishness. But she finds herself with no shields against Pepper, who is disarmingly sunny, deeply intelligent, humane, and totally smitten by Alice. The sexy vibe, the psychological accord between these two seemingly so different women is totally believable, and their love-making--when it finally overcomes the many many obstacles in its way--feels to this reader wholly transformative, for both Alice (who is jolted into facing her demons) and Pepper (who fully grows into the adult she's yearned to become). The velvet-voiced Abby Craden's Audible narration makes us fall head over heels for both Pepper (Kallmaker created in her an irresistible figure of all that's good and gay about CA) and Alice, but she also has a lot of fun with Heh-le'hh-ne's subtly villainous French "ax-ce'n." I think this is one of Kallmaker's best titles given the audio treatment, though I did slow it down to .9 speed: the text is wordy in a good way (Kallmaker went all out in fleshing out the idyllic Simply the Best "campus," the Santa Monica environs, Alice's mom's splendid Hamptons home, the gritty NYC settings and the glittering STB store whose NYC opening marks the climax of the story), but I think Craden sped up her reading just enough that the multi-tasking listener might have some trouble keeping track of the narrative thread from time to time.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Sab
  • 02-12-21

OMG

This was an excellent book:
1. It described what many of us are going through with the pandemic
2. It talk about the fact that even women when in power might be harassing other women

The MC all three of them were excellent I could not let it go as the story was unfolded.
Abby Craden was wonderful, and she even improved her French accent :)
Loved it. .

1 person found this helpful

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  • Tammi
  • 21-11-21

Well Done

Well written book. Karin Kallmaker is never a let down for me. And paired with Abby Craden is a bonus.
This book went by so fast. I was very invested in it. Karin Kallmaker really develops characters in realistic ways. So good. Even the ones I hate I hate deeply!
There’s so much to this book. I appreciated it all.
Abby Craden is flawless as always.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Bobn
  • 01-02-22

A suggestion that proved accurate

After finishing a superb book and performance, this was recommended as something I might like. It was good, the characters were believable and interesting.
I did slow the performance to 90% so the words were clear, but Abby Craden did her superb job.
Excellent story, worth the listen

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  • Catherine Card
  • 15-01-22

I expected more from this story…

I expected more from the story. I was a little let down because the storyline was one dimensional almost formulaic. Ironically, I’m a big fan of Karin Kallmaker. I was excited about this new book, but it didn’t meet my expectations. The narrator was OK, but some of her characters sounded the same. overall the book was fine but I wanted more plot, character building, and better narration of the story.

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  • Hacnslac
  • 17-12-21

best of KK

I have a few books by K.K. but this is my favorite. The work to build such complete characters is appreciated and applauded. The subject matter is hard only for its realism. It had me invested and cheering both MC"s on. Solid storytelling and narration. Both author and narrator are such professionals, they made this audiobook a great experience. Highly recommended.

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  • Bree
  • 02-12-21

It’s Pronounced Saguaro, Abby

If only all writers were as intelligent as Kallmaker. The genre is resuscitated with each new offering.

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  • Wende B
  • 22-11-21

Didn’t catch my interest

I usually find Karin Kallmaker books to be engaging with well developed and likable characters. This book, however never really caught my interest.