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Michael

ARCADIA, CA, United States | Member Since 2004

19
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 19 reviews
  • 38 ratings
  • 431 titles in library
  • 36 purchased in 2014
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7

  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: From the Secret Files of Harry Pennypacker

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Michael B. Druxman
    • Narrated By Scott O' Neill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a revisionist history of Hollywood's Golden Era and the tabloid press that covered it. Harry Pennypacker was a prolific and revered newspaper columnist; a colleague of Louella Parsons, Walter Winchell, and the other great columnists of the day.

    Unfortunately, nobody has ever heard of him because the papers never ran his articles. They were too hot. Too dangerous. Too likely to tarnish the delicate image of silver screen icons. The newspaper syndicate couldn't fire him because he had an ironclad contract, so Pennypacker wrote his stories...and the editors buried them. Until now.

    Vanessa says: "Don't. Just don't."
    "Shocking Hollywood Scandal that Never Was"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood again? Why?

    For Scott O'Neill's brilliant performance.


    What other book might you compare Once Upon a Time in Hollywood to and why?

    This is like Hollywood Babylon meets the National Lampoon.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The Lon Chaney scene


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

    Yes. And it's possible because it's so short.


    Any additional comments?

    The text is packed with fun and humor, and Scott O'Neill brings it to vivid life. He has a ratatat delivery reminiscent of the old newsreels, but then provides a unique voice for each character being interviewed. Mr. O'Neill can claim the title "the Man of 1,000 Voices" (there were really only 69, but who's counting?) Laugh out loud moments abound in this feast of hilarity.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • A Heart of Ice: Araneae Nation

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 18 mins)
    • By Hailey Edwards
    • Narrated By Leah Christine Will
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Reine knows marriage isn't about love. It's about making the best bargain you can with what you have and then living with the consequences. Wedding vows are alliances given voice, and I do is on the tip of her tongue. Ennis is a man on a mission to woo the future Araneidae maven, whether she wants him or not. Her clan is wealthy, prosperous and in dire need of the one thing his people have to offer-protection. But one look at her and all thought of his obligations vanish.

    Amazon Customer says: "Need more"
    "Outstanding Epic Fantasy Romance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A Heart of Ice is an outstanding romance, set in an alternate world where two kinds of sentient beings exist. One is more or less human, the other is a kind of fanged hybrid with venom. Gripping plot and story. Leah Christine Will delivered a stellar performance. Her characters were distinct, her tones were perfect. I was never confused who was speaking, and more importantly, what the character's attitudes were. Excellent narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gray Barker's Book of Adamski

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By George Adamski, Gray Barker, Desmond Leslie, and others
    • Narrated By Nate Daniels
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    New Saucerian unveils its latest ufological classic, Gray Barker's Book of Adamski, an in-depth look at George Adamski, perhaps the most famous UFO contactee who ever lived. The Book of Adamski contains writings by George Adamski and various ufologists who knew him personally, such as Gray Barker, Desmond Leslie, Alice K. Wells, and Michael G. Mann.

    Michael says: "Visionary Revelations"
    "Visionary Revelations"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Nobody who understands the way science has described how the universe works can believe that UFOs are nuts and bolts space/time vehicles from another point in the physical universe. So, one has to read between the lines with regard to the "real" reality of the testimony being offered in this book. Adamski was tuned in to something paranormal, as much as he himself tried to say it wasn't so. The psychology of visitation is matter for serious study and debate, and humiliating contactees does no service to anyone. The book is put together very well. First we have the testimony of Desmond Leslie--a Brit with both feet on the ground, who opines that there's something more to Adamski than just hallucinosis. Then Adamski's spiritual/philosophical teachings. Finally Gray Barker's take--which always contains deep wells of subtext.

    Nate Daniels has a clear and comfortable delivery that made the book a pleasure to listen to.

    Finally, the book delves further into the relationship between Gray Barker and Jim Moseley and the internecine squabbles between those in NICAP (and today MUFON) who want to only regard UFOs as interstellar or interdimensional vehicles--and those who want to investigate the more Jungian implications of the contactee experience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Night of the Grizzlies

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Jack Olsen
    • Narrated By Kevin Pierce
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Jack Olsen's true account, traces the causes of the tragic night in August 1967 when two separate and unrelated campers, a distance apart, were savagely mangled and killed by enraged bears.

    Michael says: "The night the bears lost their fear of humans"
    "The night the bears lost their fear of humans"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Jack Olsen, the legendary reporter, delivers a superbly crafted non-fiction account of a night of unprecedented violence, that is also a meditation on Man's humanity, and our relationship with the environment. The first part of the book is a comprehensive description of Glacier National Park, and the flora and fauna that inhabit it. This sets the tone of the book. One can hear the birdsong, the splash of rippling waters, feel the frigid cold of the altitude, smell the scents of pine and loam. And we're presented with descriptions of the difficult, short lives of the beasts that live there.

    The second act focuses on people who live in the park; grandfathered in because their homesteads existed before the park became a national park, the hikers, fishermen and rangers that enjoy and protect it. Then a long section on the history of bears in North America, the Black Bear, the now extinct Golden Bear, and Ursus Horribilis, the Grizzly bear. (No mention of a polar bear--though). The second act rises in tension as rogue bears begin to behave very oddly. The fear mechanism that has prevented Grizzly bears from attacking humans for almost 60 years of Park history is beginning to fade, and the bears are becoming bolder, and more aggressive. And it's not just one. It's as though a bear group-think has occurred, and they've told each other they're mad as hell and they're not going to take it any more. The third act is a description of the atrocities that occurred that night, and the human reaction to it. It is by turns terrifying and deeply emotional.

    Kevin Pierce narrates with just the right tone of authority and passion. Like his earlier books that I've heard: the Bundy Murders, and the Black Dahlia Avenger, Mr. Pierce has a special sensitivity for the plight of victims. He humanizes them and gives their stories dimension and impact. I found myself tearing up several times. The Night of the Grizzlies is a really great story, and an important story, told by two masterful storytellers.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Case for the UFO: Unidentified Flying Objects

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Dr. M.K. Jessup
    • Narrated By Jack Chekijian
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    Flying saucers are not new! For thousands of years, men have seen mysterious objects in the skies. Now, a prominent scientists proves that unidentified flying objects originate here, on Earth.

    Diana says: "Annoying narration - returning this audiobook"
    "A Groundbreaking Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book by Morris K. Jessup published in the 50's broke new ground in ufology. I enjoyed the Fortean (for Charles Fort) details in the book, and because many of these phenomena still mystify humanity, it provides an interesting context to read reports of this phenomena through time. This is the book that Carlos Allende annotated and broke the story of the Philadelphia Experiment, so the book itself is a clue in the mysterious legend of the Philadelphia Experiment, time travel, ultraterrestrials, dimensional shifts, and the like. Being an astronomer by training and profession, MK Jessup has the chops to write about planetary orbits, the distance of objects seen between the moon and earth and the sun and earth. Jack Chekijian has a beautifully clear and resonant voice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Crowned Heads

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Thomas Tryon
    • Narrated By Rosemary Benson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    Fedora is dead, and movies will never be the same. A star since the early days of Hollywood, she survived the business for an unprecedented four decades before retiring to Crete. As the years wore on and her costars turned wrinkled and worn, Fedora's perfect features never faded. Now that she has finally passed, the secret to her longevity will be told - a shocking revelation that will raise her to the level of myth.

    Michael says: "Fame is a Fickle Food"
    "Fame is a Fickle Food"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Crowned Heads the story of four intersecting Hollywood superstars' lives. The first, Fedora, is a legend cut from the same cloth as Garbo and Swanson, through the point of view of a journalist who has adored her since he was a little boy, we learn that not everything Fedora presents to the world is on the level. Lorna Doone is the pretty little girl next door, in the vein of Debbie Reynolds, whose crises with men, money and mortality have forced her to flee to a quaint seaside resort in Mexico, where she encounters a spiritual menace that reflects Tryon's pedigree as a horror novelist. Bobbit was a child star at 10, and based on such real life movie stars as Freddie Bartholomew, Shirley Temple, and Bobbie Driscoll. Told from the point of view of one of his costars, it paints the picture of childhood fame, long since fled, and the crippling spiritual and mental disease it leaves behind. Finally Willy, a dapper dandyish star clearly based on Clifton Webb (down to his domineering stage mother), but also using elements from Ramon Novarro's murder (and the Manson family murders), paints the portrait of a Golden Age has-been who allows himself to be sacrificed for his sins of inauthenticity. The axis of the book is a film called the Miracle of Santa Christi, which all four of the stars were in, and which figures prominently in the plot of each character's story. This is a brilliant book, full of authentic detail concerning the reality of the dream that is Hollywood, told by a master author, but also someone who has experienced the glamor of Hollywood, the lure of fame, and the renunciation of same. Tryon is at his absolute best here, and it is my personal favorite of his books.

    Rosemary Benson's narration is magnificent. Her technical skill with differentiating the characters and the ease with which she pronounces words in French, German, and other accents, is astonishingly good. But it is the sensitivity and clarity she brings to the inner lives of the characters that impresses me most. I lost myself in her narration, and became conscious only of images playing out in my mind's eye. This is what I want from a narrator, and she delivers that and more--she understands how to tell a story--I choked up several times and was quite moved.

    This is an excellent book with a stellar performance. I loved it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Bundy Murders: A Comprehensive History

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Kevin M. Sullivan
    • Narrated By Kevin Pierce
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (32)

    Theodore Bundy was one of the more infamous, and flamboyant, American serial killers on record, and his story is a complex mix of psychopathology, criminal investigation, and the U.S. legal system. This in-depth examination of Bundy's life and his killing spree that totaled dozens of victims is drawn from legal transcripts, correspondence and interviews with detectives and prosecutors. Using these sources, new information on several murders is unveiled.

    Gayle says: "A REAL Monster"
    "An Unparalleled Beast"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Bundy Murders: A Comprehensive History is aptly titled, because it is very comprehensive, detailing crimes that I knew very little about. Throughout the book the author is respectful to the victim's memories; and describes them as three dimensional human beings with hopes, dreams, aspirations and loving families, and that makes their fates at Bundy's hands all the more repugnant. As horrific as Bundy's predations on his victims were, the author also describes the devastating impact of these crimes on the victim's families. In this context, Bundy is revealed to be the unparalleled beast that he was. I believe this book has a clearer and more complete account of the Utah/Colorado murders than what I had read before. Particularly the details surrounding the murder of Debbie Kent, where Bundy stalked victims in a crowded theater auditorium. The author describes Bundy's mind-set and psychopathic descent extremely well, and the gradual decay of his ability to control the beast within behind a mask of normalcy, a mask that ultimately crumbled. Kevin Pierce's excellent narration puts me right there, and brings the horror vividly to life. And with a special sensitivity, he captures the anguish of the families left behind. It is a brilliant true crime book.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Circles

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Ruby Standing Deer
    • Narrated By Karen Rose Richter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    With much of the world still undiscovered, a small band of people live a peaceful life, until the dream vision of a young boy, Feather Floating in Water, changes everything. Only nine winters old, Feather's dreams turn his seemingly ordinary childhood into the journey of a lifetime. He must help his people face a terrifying destiny from which they cannot turn away. He must find a way to make his people listen. Bright Sun Flower, the boy's grandmother, guides his beginnings, teaching him about the Circle of Life, and how without it, no life can exist.

    Michael says: "Beautiful coming of age with a touch of fantasy"
    "Beautiful coming of age with a touch of fantasy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved this experience. Karen Rose Richter is an accomplished narrator who gives vivid life to these many characters. Her performance is beautiful. Like another reviewer mentioned, her ability to distinguish between genders and all ages, is great, and one never gets confused about who is speaking. Her tone is just right for this story, warm, sometimes funny, but gentle. The story is interesting. I found the book to be like a fable at least in the first half. Feather goes through many incidents and adventures, and he learns lessons from them. Point of view switches when necessary to tell the story that the author wants to tell. So at first it seemed somewhat shallow prose--but that's only if you're comparing it to any other novel you might have read. The depth is in the mix. The second half of the story gets tense and thrilling.

    The spiritual practices and shamanism in the book has a feeling of authenticity, and is described in intricate detail, narratively. I'm not sure, but I think the predictive visions are meant to be fantasy. It is a book that unfolds at its own pace. It is not "a western", or any other distinct genre. Of course, as you're listening, your heart breaks for these wise, gentle people whose way of life is about to be wiped off the face of the earth by history. It was impressive that the wise characters in the story make the point several times that not ALL of the invaders are evil. That they will find friends among them. And then that is demonstrated. That kind of grace is rare in books and in life. While I had minor emotional responses to the first half of the book, the second half pays major dividends. There's so much detail about day to day life, and the spiritual lives of the people, their decisions and thought processes, that the effect becomes profound.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Oasis

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Brian Hodge
    • Narrated By Paul Heitsch
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    A golden time - that's what Chris Anderson, his brother Aaron, and their friends expected of that final summer. Freedom, and lazy, pleasure-filled days before the responsibilities of college and career. An idyll in their newfound private place on the shores of three small lakes. But Tri-Lakes is no oasis. A millennium ago it became the focal point of a powerfully malevolent force, and the remnants of an ancient Viking bloodfeud. Hatred is its source. Blood gives it power. And only sacrifice can banish it.

    Angela Fitzgerald says: "Wonderful!!"
    "Twilight of the Gods"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Brian Hodge's Oasis is the story of an ancient blood feud between Viking chiefs, one who worships the old gods, and the other who has been converted to Christianity. But that's far in the background, for 3/4 of the book we are treated to an idyllic story of teens coming of age in the Midwest, yearning to discover their adulthoods. This first part of the book reminded me of Summer of Night or Stand By Me, a heartfelt tale of true friendship and bonding in late adolescence. I enjoyed the characters, who were vivid and distinct. Paul Heitsch's narration provides distinction between the characters so that I was never confused about who was speaking. The narration is musical and coherent, which allowed me to see the story played out in my mind's eye, this the experience I want from an audiobook.

    What could have been a potboiler, contemporary fantasy, turned out to pack an emotional punch I was not expecting. So the book stayed with me long after the last chapter ended. This is not Raiders of the Lost Runestone. It displays a keen literary talent, though the story drags somewhat in the middle of the book, when only a few flourishes of the evil awaiting the heroes are shown. It doesn't build like a horror/thriller, but the ending is spectacularly fiery. I recommend this book highly.

    The title seems odd and doesn't compliment the contents of the story.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Declaring His Genius: Oscar Wilde in North America

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Roy Morris Jr.
    • Narrated By Christa Lewis
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Arriving at the port of New York in 1882, a 27-year-old Oscar Wilde quipped he had "nothing to declare but my genius." But as this sparkling narrative reveals, Wilde was, rarely for him, underselling himself. A chronicle of his sensational eleven-month speaking tour of America, Declaring His Genius offers an indelible portrait of both Oscar Wilde and the Gilded Age. Neither Wilde nor America would ever be the same.

    Michael says: "How Oscar Got His Groove"
    "How Oscar Got His Groove"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Brilliant book, brilliant narration. This history is full of character and facts about Oscar Wilde's tour of the U.S. early in his career. It is extraordinarily full of anecdotes and descriptions of encounters Oscar Wilde had with the luminaries of his day, such as Harriet Beecher Stowe, Henry Ward Beecher, Walt Whitman, Jefferson Davis, and many others. Also revealing was that Wilde, far from being a mere aesthete prancing about in knickers and dancing slippers, was a man of substance, who knew how to navigate the waters of class (the Miners of Leadville, CO come to mind), and treat even those who were contemptuous of him with dignity and respect. The force of this book is in the visceral way the reader is allowed to understand how the American Tour changed Wilde for the better, which gave him a backbone of iron, and changed his sensibilities. There was one Oscar Wilde before America, and a different Oscar Wilde after. This book reveals how that happened, with a joyful wit worthy of its estimable subject. Christa Lewis narrates with a gentle touch, and a wry sense of humor at moments that increase ones appreciation of the ironical positions Wilde finds himself in throughout his experiences. Brilliant narration. Only scant mentions are made of the scandal which looms in Oscar's future. And these are done only to serve the narrative, and not because of any salacious intent. I recommend the book to everyone. 7 hours in the contemplation of beauty and the beautiful is a treat for the soul.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Spider and Stone: A Forgotten Realms Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Jaleigh Johnson
    • Narrated By Pearl Hewitt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    Lolth - patron deity of the drow, Spider Queen, regent of the Demon Web Pits - has once again stirred the dark elves into roiling aggression against the rest of Faern, reveling in the chaos born from her dark schemata. This is the Rise of the Underdark. In Iltkazar, the last subterranean kingdom of the once resplendent dwarven realm of Shanatar, King Mith Barak faces a siege of drow soldiers, spies, and assassins looking to seize the powerful city and the ancient magical artifacts hidden there.

    Michael says: "Brilliantly told story, brilliantly narrated."
    "Brilliantly told story, brilliantly narrated."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I very much enjoyed listening to this book. I think Pearl Hewitt is one of the best of the best narrating books these days. Her characterizations are varied and emotionally evocative without becoming too overly dramatic -- very nice, pleasant delivery that invites me to become fully immersed in the story. I don't want technical fireworks, I just want the story, and Pearl delivers. The novel itself: I've only read a few of these WotC tie-ins, and I don't like stories that take place completely underground. That said, Jaleigh Johnson does a fantastic job of making sense of this world and structuring a dramatic, engaging plot. The characters (which are hers, and not WotC's at least to the best of my knowledge) are fully motivated by personal backstory and interesting. The wild spell scar magic is dramatic, as is the climax of the novel which features two stunning twists I did not see coming. I strongly recommend this book. I do not like all the game nomenclature--but that will be a strong plus for some readers. The battles are vividly described and narrated with coherence and flair. I strongly recommend this book for those interested in Drow and the Forgotten Realms.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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