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Debby

Foodiewife

United States | Member Since 2007

ratings
132
REVIEWS
9
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
6
HELPFUL VOTES
41

  • The Potato Factory: The Australian Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Bryce Courtenay
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3295)
    Performance
    (2329)
    Story
    (2330)

    Always leave a little salt on the bread. Ikey Solomon's favorite saying is also his way of doing business, and in the business of thieving he's very successful indeed. Ikey's partner in crime is his mistress, the forthright Mary Abacus, until misfortune befalls them. They are parted and each must make the harsh journey from thriving nineteenth century London to the convict settlement of Van Diemen's Land.

    Jan says: "Powerfully told story... but a warning"
    "Author and Narrator both earn five stars"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My first audio book that had Humphrey Bower as the narrator was Shantaram-- which is on the top of the list as favorite story, author and narrator thus far. I loved that book so much, that I searched for other books narrated by Mr. Bower. I hesitated downloading this book for a couple years, but now I'm glad that I did. I really enjoy reading series, and have listened to all of the Outlander Series (Diana Gabaldon and narrate by Davina Porter...who is one of my favorite narrators). I just finished listening to this book and immediately had to download the second of the series. I enjoy historical fiction, and the story of Australia in the early 1800's is poignant, and very interesting. The story begins in London, and introduced Ikey Solomon, who I envision as a rotten scoundrel. Of course, I related to Mary Abacus as a Woman of Substance (which is the title of a novel I read in the 70's and began my appetite for stories of women who overcome hardship and become successful). There are dark periods of history-- the mistreatment of prisoners, who are sent to Australia to serve out their prison sentences...to the cruel mistreatment of the Aborigines. I loved every minute of this story, which has a fair balance of sorrow, compassion, humor, revenge, and determination. I grew to see Ikey Solomon in a new light, as having a heart-- albeit misdirected, at times, as he was self-serving. When I listened to the end of the story, I had to continue on-- so I could find out what happened to Tomo. Great read!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Four Fires

    • UNABRIDGED (29 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Bryce Courtenay
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    Overall
    (1064)
    Performance
    (728)
    Story
    (720)

    The four fires in this story are passion, religion, warfare, and fire itself. While there are many more fires that drive the human spirit, love being perhaps the brightest flame of all, it is these four that have moulded us most as Australian people. The four fires give us our sense of place and, for better or for worse, shape our national character.

    Robert says: "Hit in the solar plexus"
    "Australian Epic with my favorite narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've downloaded the unabridged audible version of almost all of Bryce Courtenay's books. The primary reason is that Humphrey Bower is one of my favorite audible book narrators. He makes a story come alive with his uncanny ability to change accents, and even makes me believe I'm hearing a woman's voice. As for the story-- this one is very epic. I had just finished listening to "Jessica" which is one of the saddest stories I've heard in a long time. With this book, I found the Maloney family to be fascinating. Nancy, as the feisty mom, is a woman I grew to admire as the fought to make sure her kids were given every opportunity to make something grand of their lives. She wanted them to have a better life than she did. Rough as she was, around the edges, I admired her devotion to her children. I've noticed a repeating theme, with the author's books-- the Christian characters are often portrayed as hypocrites, and misguided in what Christianity is all about. I notice this, because I'm a Christian. I won't get into my religious beliefs/views, except to say that not all Christians are hypocrites. So, it saddens me to see a rather unfavorable view of Christians...though, I have no doubt there are plenty of evil people who go to church. Moving on... I'm a bit of a girly-girl, so I have a tough time reading about war and torture and gore. So, when Tommy finally reveals the story of his time as a prisoner (and this is not a spoiler, because you know it's coming), I found his story to be like a train wreck. I wanted to look away) albeit, fast forward. Yet, I listened to it. It's heart-breaking, to be reminded about prisoners of war, and the suffering they endured. Yet. we need to be reminded.
    I'm sad that Bryce Courtenay has passed away, and there will be no more of his books to read/listen to. I've never been to Australia, so his stories are my armchair to traveling the world. Well done, Mr. Courtenay. Thank you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Witness

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Nora Roberts
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7189)
    Performance
    (6263)
    Story
    (6244)

    Daughter of a cold, controlling mother and an anonymous donor, studious, obedient Elizabeth finally let loose one night, drinking too much at a nightclub and allowing a strange man’s seductive Russian accent to lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive. The events that followed changed her life forever. Twelve years later, the woman now known as Abigail Lowery lives alone on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she works at home designing sophisticated security systems.

    Amazon Customer says: "A great book"
    "Catches you right away"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I don't recall if I've ever read a Nora Roberts book before, but I'm not a fan. The story grabbed me right away, and the narrator is a large reason why. Her narration made me feel each character, including the male voices. The very beginning (and I won't write a spoiler) had me sitting in a parking lot, and listening...wondering what would happen. The romance part was very transparent. Abigail is so darn "Dr. Spock-ish" with her logical mind, but I found her endearing. The end was just a tad bit of a letdown-- I felt it was also predicable, yet I found the entire story to be engrossing enough that I found myself cleaning my house a lot more thoroughly than normal, because I just didn't want to stop listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 1105 Yakima Street

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Debbie Macomber
    • Narrated By Sandra Burr
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (188)
    Performance
    (163)
    Story
    (163)

    Dear Reader,You’ve probably heard that my wife has left me. Rachel’s pregnant, and she says she can’t handle the stress in our household anymore. My 13-year-old daughter, Jolene, is jealous of her. Maybe it’s my fault. As a widower I spoiled her - Jolene was reading over my shoulder just now and says that’s not true. She claims Rachel ruined everything. But that’s not true. The real question is: How can I get my wife back? I don’t even know where she is. She’s not with Teri Polgar or any of her other friends from the salon.

    Debby says: "Plenty of Saccharine and neurotic characters"
    "Plenty of Saccharine and neurotic characters"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    At the risk of upsetting die-hard Debbie Macomber fans, this was the least favorite of her books that I've read. I found myself rolling my eyes most of the time. Why do these characters play such games? Grace, refusing to fall in-love with a puppy. I can't even remember the characters names anymore, and I just finished the book-- the whiny pregnant girl who ditched the hunky doctor (in the last book). Will and Miranda... good Lord, that was a boring and predictable thing waiting to happen. Worst of all was the whole Rachael fiasco-- with the bratty daughter. My eyes almost rolled permanently in the back of my head, when Rachael refused to accept money from Bruce, while pregnant with his child. Really? It seems like all the characters are just playing games-- heaping on the guilt and stubborn pride. All the story lines wrapped up in a neat little bow-- as predictably as I figured they would. This is good, clean reading. Nothing wrong with that, but I guess I've outgrown the Harlequin romance type of novels. Now, for an exciting history fiction-- with knights sweeping damsels onto the back of their horses, swords, fights, and all that stuff-- I'd rather read about women of character who have guts and courage. You won't find it here.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Kitchen House: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Kathleen Grissom
    • Narrated By Orlagh Cassidy, Bahni Turpin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6754)
    Performance
    (4729)
    Story
    (4714)

    Orphaned while onboard ship from Ireland, seven-year-old Lavinia arrives on the steps of a tobacco plantation where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house. Under the care of Belle, the master's illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family, though she is set apart from them by her white skin. Eventually, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles opium addiction.

    B.J. says: "Good, but with reservations"
    "Poignant but interesting enough"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The narrator did a great job. The story grabbed my interest from the beginning, but I have to say that this isn't the most uplifting story of all time. In fact, there were times I struggled through getting past all the cruelty. You can't wear rose colored glasses, while reading this book, because the story didn't end as I had hoped it would. I won't give it away, but at the very end I found myself wishing things would tie up neatly-- and more happily. Overall, I liked Lavinia's character, her strength and integrity.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dreams of Joy: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Lisa See
    • Narrated By Janet Song
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (851)
    Performance
    (588)
    Story
    (584)

    In her beloved New York Times best sellers Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in Love, and, most recently, Shanghai Girls, Lisa See has brilliantly illuminated the potent bonds of mother love, romantic love, and love of country. Now, in her most powerful novel yet, she returns to these timeless themes, continuing the story of sisters Pearl and May from Shanghai Girls, and Pearl’s strong-willed 19-year-old daughter, Joy.

    Maida says: "Dreams of Joy and all of Lisa See's books"
    "Poignant and well written"
    Overall

    I have ready every one of Lisa See's books. This one kept my interest, yet made me shake my head at the plight of the people of China during the Great Leap Forward. Such a poignant story, yet a lovely story of a mother's love, forgiveness and I look forward to the next book.

    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
    (470)
    Performance
    (340)
    Story
    (341)

    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!"
    "Well narrated. Gets better towards the end."
    Overall

    I'm a fan of historical fiction. This book didn't deliver much on history, but opened my eyes to the aristocrats, but not in a flattering way . The narrator does a great job, with both the female and male characters. But, I found myself rolling my eyes at the droll English accents-- wondering to myself "do the Duchesses really talk like this?" How would I know? I've never met one. The book droned on a bit, I felt. I found myself growing weary of the characters-- until, at last, the plot began to thicken. Not the best book I've ever listened to, but the narrator kept me wanting to stick to the end.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Howard E. Wasdin, Stephen Templin
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1786)
    Performance
    (1327)
    Story
    (1325)

    When the Navy sends their elite, they send the SEALs. When the SEALs send their elite, they send SEAL Team Six—a secret unit tasked with counterterrorism, hostage rescue, and counterinsurgency. In this dramatic, behind-the-scenes chronicle, Howard Wasdin takes listeners deep inside the world of Navy SEALs and Special Forces snipers, beginning with the grueling selection process of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL - the toughest and longest military training in the world.

    Allan says: "unique among these books"
    "A Woman's Review Perspective"
    Overall

    I downloaded this book, mostly for my husband. We were headed on a 4-hour drive on a vacation trip. Naturally, the hype about the Navy Seals and the killing of Osama Bin Laden has been a lot of PR about our special forces. The book started out to be really interesting. Unexpectedly, I got sucked into the story, though I usually listen to historical novels or mysteries. That says a LOT. My husband, having worked with Navy Seals, enjoyed the way the author shares his humorous and yet very serious stories about his training. Once he began to share the story of his mission in Mogadishu, I was riveted to learn more about this very sad chapter in our history. I found myself getting angry all over how the political mess that caused these people to suffer so much. Then, the storyline went flat. I felt as though Howard had just scratched the surface of what I thought could have been a more compelling story. I won't give the ending away, but suffice it to say that it's not what I had expected. Overall, it's a good listen. Maybe I'm spoiled after listening to "Unbroken", which is one of the most riveting stories I've read in a long time.

    31 of 34 people found this review helpful
  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs)
    • By Laura Hillenbrand
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11110)
    Performance
    (7118)
    Story
    (7150)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Seabiscuit was a runaway success, and Hillenbrand’s done it again with another true-life account about beating unbelievable odds. On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared.....

    Anastasia Burke says: "Hillenbrand could make even laundry fascinating!"
    "Yes, it's a tough story but it needs to be told"
    Overall

    I'm not a big fan of reading or watching films about war. My husband loves to watch The History Channel, and I can't handle seeing film on corpses, or emaciated prisoners. I bought this book for my husband, but decided I'd give it a listen. Lo and behold, I found myself completely engrossed in reading the story and I couldn't stop listening. The narration is excellent. As I begin to listen to the true story of the men who flew bombers in the Pacific, I began to have a new appreciation for their courage. The tale of how three men survived on two small rafts, with sharks all around-- starved and thirsty was a miracle in itself. Yes, reading about the cruelty these men endured at the hands of the Japanese was very hard to listen to. It broke my heart. I made me wince. But, I needed to be reminded that this really happened. I found myself hating "The Bird" and wishing someone would kill this cruel person. It was saddened to hear how difficult it was for the rescued POW's to adapt to life after the war. Louie's descent into his alcoholic hell broke my heart. What I did not expect to read was how and what changed his life. I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it. It was powerful for me, and had me weeping at this point. It's a powerful book, and one that I will think about for some time to come. It's an epic movie, no doubt. I'm so glad I decided to read this story. It's brilliantly told and I'm glad I read it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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