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Mrs. Debra E. Humm-bremser

I decided to use my time being laid up to get smarter! In 18 months I've listened to over 200 books, mostly history, literature & biography.

Pacific Grove, CA | Member Since 2013

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HELPFUL VOTES
  • 10 reviews
  • 11 ratings
  • 662 titles in library
  • 14 purchased in 2015
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  • The History of Us

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Leah Stewart
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (40)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (36)

    Eloise Hempel is on her way to teach a class at Harvard when she receives devastating news. Her sister and her husband have been killed in a tragic accident, and Eloise must return home to Cincinnati to take her sister's three children, Theodora, Josh, and Claire, out of the hands of her own incapable mother. Nearly two decades later, Eloise is still in that house, still thinking about what she left behind. With Claire leaving for New York City for a promising ballet career, Eloise has plans to finally embark on a life that's hers.

    Debbie says: "Disappointing"
    "The story of an Accidental Family"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The History of Us rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Occasionally, I throw in some fiction in my long line of history/biographies. I'm never disappointed. Characters are fully developed in this story of a woman who reached her goal of Harvard professor only to give it up to raise her sister's orphaned children. After they're grown, they are all still bound together by the old Cleveland manse that everyone grew up in, but can't let go of.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Sisterhood

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Helen Bryan
    • Narrated By Laura Roppe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (161)
    Performance
    (140)
    Story
    (143)

    Reeling from a broken engagement, adopted 19-year-old Menina Walker flees to Spain to bury her misery by writing her overdue college thesis - and soon finds herself on an unexpected journey into the past. The subject of her study is Tristan Mendoza, an obscure 16th-century artist whose signature includes a tiny swallow - the same swallow depicted on a medal that is Menina’s only link to her birth family. Hoping her research will reveal the swallow’s significance and clue her in to her origins, Menina discovers the ancient chronicle of a Spanish convent containing the stories of five orphaned girls hidden from the Spanish Inquisition.

    Kafwood says: "Implausible & schoolgirlish"
    "Andalusia Old World secret New World discovery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a sucker for historical fiction that spans generations, so this twisting tale from an ancient fortress of convent in mountainous Spain to its offshoot in the Andes of the Incas fits the bill perfectly. Strong female characters, interaction among Muslim, Christian and Jewish cultures and sweetly subtle romance pique interest from start to finish.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Things They Carried

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Tim O'Brien
    • Narrated By Bryan Cranston
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1459)
    Performance
    (1351)
    Story
    (1339)

    Hailed by The New York Times as "a marvel of storytelling", The Things They Carried’s portrayal of the boots-on-the-ground experience of soldiers in the Vietnam War is a landmark in war writing. Now, three-time Emmy Award winner-Bryan Cranston, star of the hit TV series Breaking Bad, delivers an electrifying performance that walks the book’s hallucinatory line between reality and fiction and highlights the emotional power of the spoken word.

    Darwin8u says: "Grief, terror, love, longing"
    "Eloquent reminiscing of Vietnam"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My takeaway quotes/
    ✅They would repair the leaks in their eyes.
    ✅They used a hard vocabulary to contain the terrible softness.
    ✅...all the ways I might die...
    ✅ A true war story makes the stump believe.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The American Heiress: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Daisy Goodwin
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (517)
    Performance
    (381)
    Story
    (383)

    Be careful what you wish for. Traveling abroad with her mother at the turn of the 20th century to seek a titled husband, beautiful, vivacious Cora Cash, whose family mansion in Newport dwarfs the Vanderbilts’, suddenly finds herself Duchess of Wareham, married to Ivo, the most eligible bachelor in England. Nothing is quite as it seems, however: Ivo is withdrawn and secretive, and the English social scene is full of traps and betrayals.

    Maria says: "I loved this book!"
    "Almost like a Downton PREquel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Like Downton, the protagonist is a Cora who marries into English nobility in the 1890s. Like Downton, there is a parallel story downstairs. Like Downton, there's a clash between the mothers-in-law as well as a clash of cultures between the staid and brash.

    When it ended, I was not ready. I had to relisten to the last chapter. Unlike Downton, we do not have the luxury of following the next generation's story. Maybe in a sequel to American Heiress?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Little Failure: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Gary Shteyngart
    • Narrated By Jonathan Todd Ross
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (164)
    Performance
    (141)
    Story
    (145)

    After three acclaimed novels - The Russian Debutante's Handbook, Absurdistan, and Super Sad True Love Story - Gary Shteyngart turns to memoir in a candid, witty, deeply poignant account of his life so far.

    Shteyngart shares his American immigrant experience, moving back and forth through time and memory with self-deprecating humor, moving insights, and literary bravado. The result is a resonant story of family and belonging that feels epic and intimate and distinctly his own. Provocative, hilarious, and inventive, Little Failure reveals a deeper vein of emotion in Gary Shteyngart' s prose.

    HRD says: "I loved this book - funny, sad, all that nonsense"
    "Modern Soviet Immigrant Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This author is smartly witty. The narrator is genius. His Russian accent gets fainter as the story goes along and the protagonist assimilates into the American culture.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba...and Then Lost It to the Revolution

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By T. J. English
    • Narrated By Mel Foster
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (545)
    Performance
    (240)
    Story
    (246)

    Havana Nocturne takes listeners back to Cuba in the years when it was a veritable devil's playground for mob leaders Meyer Lansky and Charles "Lucky" Luciano. Thanks to strong ties with the island's brutal dictator, President Batista, the mob soon owned the biggest luxury hotels and casinos and launched an unprecedented tourist boom. But their dreams collided with those of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and others.

    Rob Mack says: "History with Spice!"
    "Havana explained"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Cuban mafia vs Fidel Castro
    So much to learn. The last line said the mobsters wanted Havana to be a party that never ended but turned out to be a hangover.
    The narrator butchered both the Spanish and the English, but other than that was passable as a storyteller.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Johnny Carson

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Henry Bushkin
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (405)
    Performance
    (362)
    Story
    (363)

    From 1962 until 1992, Johnny Carson hosted The Tonight Show and permeated the American consciousness. In the ’70s and ’80s he was the country’s highest-paid entertainer and its most enigmatic. He was notoriously inscrutable, as mercurial (and sometimes cruel) off-camera as he was charming and hilarious onstage. During the apex of his reign, Carson’s longtime lawyer and best friend was Henry Bushkin, who now shows us Johnny Carson with a breathtaking clarity and depth that nobody else could.

    Pi says: "Not for the uninitiated"
    "Complicated Man, distracting narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I now understand Johnny Carson better, but he's sadly unlikeable.
    The narrator, Dick Hill, has a whiny voice I finally got used to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Peter the Great: His Life and World

    • UNABRIDGED (43 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Robert K. Massie
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    Overall
    (409)
    Performance
    (322)
    Story
    (315)

    This superbly told story brings to life one of the most remarkable rulers––and men––in all of history and conveys the drama of his life and world. The Russia of Peter's birth was very different from the Russia his energy, genius, and ruthlessness shaped. Crowned co-Tsar as a child of ten, after witnessing bloody uprisings in the streets of Moscow, he would grow up propelled by an unquenchable curiosity, everywhere looking, asking, tinkering, and learning, fired by Western ideas.

    Susan says: "detailed history"
    "Russian history is just the beginning. . ."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What was one of the most memorable moments of Peter the Great?

    Saint Petersburg's founding


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    There's too much to digest.


    Any additional comments?

    Massie takes the time to fully introduce the peers of Peter The Great along with their countries and how interconnected they were. I never knew how powerful Sweden was or how influential Dutch merchants were. I wanted to delve into Russian history and now my favorite European historical figure is Peter because he was tireless in his effort to make his country a leader in trade, navy, and power. His curiosity in how everything worked was refreshing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Melvyn Bragg
    • Narrated By Robert Powell
    Overall
    (1996)
    Performance
    (780)
    Story
    (796)

    This is the remarkable story of the English language; from its beginnings as a minor guttural Germanic dialect to its position today as a truly established global language. The Adventure of English is not only an enthralling story of power, religion, and trade, but also the story of people, and how their lives continue to change the extraordinary language that is English.

    Amazon Customer says: "Many Of Course monments"
    "Our English language is a voracious assimulator!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Adventure of English in three words, what would they be?

    Rethinking linguistic roots


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Adventure of English?

    Chaucer was resurrected for me because of his genius with the language and his ingenious, natural rhyming. I just had to listen to The Canterbury Tales right afterward!


    What does Robert Powell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He made old English sound alive and current. And important.


    Any additional comments?

    Affirmed my conviction that I should have been a Linguistics major :)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Juliet

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Anne Fortier
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (440)
    Performance
    (165)
    Story
    (167)

    Twenty-five-year-old Julie Jacobs is heartbroken over the death of her beloved aunt Rose. But the shock goes even deeper when she learns that the woman who has been like a mother to her has left her entire estate to Julie’s twin sister. The only thing Julie receives is a key—one carried by her mother on the day she herself died—to a safety-deposit box in Siena, Italy.

    Glory says: "Excellent! Merits 20 hours"
    "The spoken Italian is such a treat!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Juliet again? Why?

    Too many books in the world I have to get to!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Juliet?

    Both instances when the characters are in the "bowels" of Siena were nerve-racking, but thrilling. My dreams that night had me in the caves under Carmel!


    Which character – as performed by Cassandra Campbell – was your favorite?

    Narrator's Italian is lyrical to the ear. All her male characters sound identical, however.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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