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Novie

Retired nightclub performer/computer technician, I now teach hula and ukulele to seniors, and record Hawaiian music for my halau!

Kailua Kona, HI, United States | Member Since 2012

204
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 61 reviews
  • 224 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 39 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
6

  • Travels in Siberia

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Ian Frazier
    • Narrated By Ian Frazier
    Overall
    (202)
    Performance
    (106)
    Story
    (108)

    Ian Frazier trains his eye for unforgettable detail on Siberia, that vast expanse of Asiatic Russia. He explores many aspects of this storied, often grim region. He writes about the geography, the resources, the native peoples, the history, the 40-below midwinter afternoons, the bugs. The book brims with Mongols, half-crazed Orthodox archpriests, fur seekers, ambassadors of the czar bound for Peking, tea caravans, German scientists, American prospectors, intrepid English nurses, and prisoners and exiles of every kind....

    Sara says: "I Loved This Book"
    "Ultimately fascinating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I LOVE books that are narrated by their own authors. A long time a Simon Winchester fan, I can now add this charming author to my list of favorites. There is nothing like listening to someone relate their own stories. His reference to the belt-sander effect of the wind on his face as he stood looking into the wind on Diamead Island in the Bering Strait, made me chuckle out loud. His sincere and rather humorous recount of the unique "smell" of Russia is delightful. I know just what he means because having been to Japan several times over the decades I know there is a recognizable and distinct aroma of that country as well. I have read only the first part of "Travels in Siberia" and can't wait to listen to the other two. I do, however, reserve the right to change my mind on the other portions, but I don't think I will. Mr. Frazier is a genuinely captivating storyteller.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Anna Karenina

    • UNABRIDGED (38 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Leo Tolstoy
    • Narrated By David Horovitch
    Overall
    (810)
    Performance
    (582)
    Story
    (575)

    Anna Karenina seems to have everything - beauty, wealth, popularity and an adored son. But she feels that her life is empty until the moment she encounters the impetuous officer Count Vronsky.

    Marcus Vorwaller says: "Beautiful story, amazing narration"
    "Likely the best narration of anything I've heard!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I can't describe the perfection that David Horovitch brings to this fabulous classic novel. Of course, we cannot deny this moving work of Leo Tolstoy on its own merit; it is a true classic. But Mr. Horovitch brings a dimension to this beautifully elegant story that can't be gotten from reading the book alone.

    The setting is Tsarist Russia, and no matter what we Westerners think of Russia now after the Cold War, we forget that these people were once very similar to our own 19th century ancestors in Europe. I got a real sense of the political and social environment of the society as a whole. The dialogue sets a precursor to the historical events that occur in the early 20th century. It was really like looking into a time capsule of the era. Well done.

    The translation here is not exactly the same as the Gutenberg Project PDF that is online, but so close I found that reading the book along with listening to the narration gave me greater enjoyment, than doing one or the other on its own.

    The most memorable part was Nikolai's death. Mr. Horovitch's performance was OUTSTANDING! It was intense! I am sure that just reading the book would not have moved me as deeply as Mr. Horovitch's reading.

    What I want to know is how I could have missed reading this book in 74 years. |Sometimes, the sheer length of a book seems daunting, but this is one that is not to be missed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Plagiarist: A Novella

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 29 mins)
    • By Hugh Howey
    • Narrated By Alexander J. Masters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (364)
    Performance
    (318)
    Story
    (316)

    Adam Griffey is living two lives. By day, he teaches literature. At night, he steals it. Adam is a plagiarist, an expert reader with an eye for great works. He prowls simulated worlds perusing virtual texts, looking for the next big thing. And when he finds it, he memorizes it page by page, line by line, word for word. And then he brings it back to his world, the real world, and he sells it. But what happens when these virtual worlds begin to seem more real than his own? What happens when the people within them mean more to him than flesh and blood?

    Katherine says: "PKD could have written this story"
    "Unexpected enjoyment!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Gee, for such a short story this little gem leaves you a lot to think about. I had no idea where it was going at first -- it seemed a little baffling to me, I couldn't wrap my head around the plot. But then...slowly it dawned on me, and my mind was captured completely! Oh, what images it conjured up, and the premise of the story was unbelievably believable. I mean, what if...we were all sim worlds, and any minute now...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Trouble in Mudbug

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Jana DeLeon
    • Narrated By Johanna Parker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (682)
    Performance
    (626)
    Story
    (622)

    Scientist Maryse Robicheaux thought that a lot of her problems had gone away with her mother-in-law's death. The woman was rude, pushy, manipulative and used her considerable wealth to run herd over the entire town of Mudbug, Louisiana. Unfortunately, death doesn't slow down Helena one bit. DEA Agent Luc LeJeune is wondering what his undercover assignment investigating the sexy scientist has gotten him into - especially as it seems someone wants her dead.

    K. April Holgate says: "My newest addition"
    "Very cute and charming!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I wanted to take a break from more serious subjects and fell into this silly and totally charming book by Jana DeLeon. First of all, the narrator, Johanna Parker, is terrific! It starts off in a funeral parlor where Marisse (the heroine) is present at her mother-in-law's funeral. You immediately get the idea that there is no love lost between Marisse and her mother-in-law, Helena Henry. Suddenly, the corpse sits up and starts yelling. No one else in the room notices anything odd, but Marisse can't believe her eyes! AND, YOU'RE OFF on this wild and crazy story that defies retelling. I know, I tried to tell my daughter the story line, but failed miserably.

    There are mysteries to solve, friendships to mend, lost husbands to find, new loves to repel (under duress), lessons in how to behave like a ghost, attempted murders to thwart, and it all comes together at the last minute possible.

    This is the first book in a series, but it is one that doesn't leave you hanging. As a stand-alone piece, it is wonderful. I will read more of this author, and Mudbug seems like just the place to escape to for fun and well, escape!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Night Circus

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Erin Morgenstern
    • Narrated By Jim Dale
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7816)
    Performance
    (6937)
    Story
    (6945)

    The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

    Suzn F says: "Dreamlike Experience to Savor"
    "Even Jim Dale couldn't save it."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am currently in the second run through of this audiobook. I thought I must have missed something the first time, but right now I don't even think I can finish this. It is, in a word, "blah". I bought the book because 1) Jim Dale is, of course, Jim Dale -- and that is magical in and of itself. 2) There was all this grand hype associated with the book and positive this and that, and I figured, okay, well, gotta get it! 3)The actual premise was tantalizing.

    Truth is, none of it panned out! I think there is a conspiracy going on, something like payola, to have so many critics give bad books such great ratings. The killer for me is that the book is out there in a free downloadable PDF. This means that the book sucks, if, after one year, it's farmed out like that. So...I got bit again. But I got the book on sale.

    If you want to know the plot of this book, look on Wikipedia. Trouble is, they couldn't figure it out, either. I am licking my wounds on this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Mental Floss History of the World: An Irreverent Romp Through Civilization's Best Bits

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Steve Wiegand, Erik Sass
    • Narrated By Johny Heller
    Overall
    (331)
    Performance
    (163)
    Story
    (159)

    About 60,000 years ago, the first Homo sapiens were just beginning their move across the grasslands and up the ladder of civilization. Everything since then, as they say, is history. Just in case you were sleeping in class that day, the geniuses at mental_floss magazine have put together a hilarious (and historically accurate) primer on everything you need to know---and that means the good stuff.

    Batman says: "History can be entertaining."
    "Am I missing something?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When I bought this book I surely thought it was going to be one of those satires, peppered with unusual factoids like Monty Python, et al. However, sadly it is not. The funniest part, coincidentally, is the beginning, where they explain how the editors would not let them print the original book, as it would be the first book in the world that could be seen from the moon...I laughed hard on that one and settled back for more of that nonsense. Well, perhaps I missed something.

    This book talks about history, all right, but it has no continuity. We get Napoleon in the same breath as the Hittites, and the timeline jumps back and forth like a damn yoyo. It needs a major rewrite and a damn good editor, and perhaps someone should explain to the authors what makes people laugh.

    I checked some of the other reviews of this book, and some thought it was pretty entertaining. What I want to know is, "What were THEY on when they listened to it?" Straight up, it's kind of lame. Occasionally during the rather bland narrative, there will be a little aside, like "The Minoans probably never guessed that would happen..." But that kind of stuff was just annoying.

    History is a difficult subject to capture one's attention, but it can be done. "Lies My Teacher Told Me, Everything Your American History Book Got Wrong" is one. "All the Trouble in the World, the Lighter Side of Overpopulation, Famine, Plague and Poverty" is another.

    This Mental Floss thing is not a joke, it's a disjointed combobulation of sentences are just strung along in no apparent order for no apparent reason. Now if you think THAT's funny, go ahead -- blow your brains out.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Butterfly's Shadow

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Lee Langley
    • Narrated By Laurel Lefkow
    Overall
    (219)
    Performance
    (195)
    Story
    (194)

    In a Japan still rigid with tradition, an apprehensive 15-year-old tea-house girl prepares to welcome her first client. In his gleaming white uniform, Lieutenant Pinkerton walks up the hill to a house in Nagasaki to find the female he has purchased for a few weeks. When he sails away, she waits, aching for his return. It is one of the world’s great love stories. And, as the curtain falls on Madame Butterfly, Cho-Cho hands over her son to his American father, before killing herself...

    Mary Catherine says: "Unhappy"
    "Great retelling of the famous opera!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have read the other reviewers of this book and am simply astonished that NO ONE has connected this tragic love story to the opera "Madame Butterfly" by Puccini. In my opinion, Lee Langley does a very fair job of translating the libretto to novel form. So, it's tragic. That's what most operas are, people. This is the standard operatic fare - seventh in the world for popularity.

    First of all, the time setting is very true to the era. Imagine yourself as a young 15-year-old girl who must, because of the loss of prominence of her family, has been sold to a marriage broker. Here is a teenager, who has her secret hopes and dreams of marriage to a gaijin (foreigner). No one tells her that its all a sham, that she's really his live-in prostitute and has no plan to actually marry her. In truth, in the early 20th century, this scenario was played out over and over again as young innocent girls were sold as sex slaves to foreigners.

    The gutless Pinkerton plays her along not caring how he is damaging her psyche, and treats her as if she has no feelings. But...this is the way things were in the early 20th century. Historically, women were chattel. Read this book and thank your lucky stars you are in the 21st century and this kind of abuse doesn't fly in civilized countries anymore.

    The poor Cho-Cho is clueless, and what 15-year-old girl raised in a cloistered, upperclass family was not. Her classic Japanese upbringing turns out to be fatal, because she would rather die than cause her "husband" or his wife any grief. One reviewer complained that Pinkerton didn't have any character...well, that's absolutely correct. He was an unfeeling, selfish jerk who was a user and abuser. His American wife had more class than he did.

    I feel sorry for those of you who did not "get" this story. Oh, poor you. It was too sad. Sorry about that, but Lee Langley courageously tells it like it was in Japan in those days. I know because I was there during the Occupation and I witnessed it.

    The opera itself was a huge success not only for the pathos and tragedy but for the arias and costumes. Perhaps if you saw the story in this light it would be more interesting. I give this one five stars! Narration was spot on!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Time Traveler's Guide to Elizabethan England

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Ian Mortimer
    • Narrated By Mike Grady
    Overall
    (191)
    Performance
    (167)
    Story
    (168)

    Organized as a travel guide for the time-hopping tourist, The Time-Traveler's Guide to Elizabethan England is an entertaining popular history with a twist. Historian Ian Mortimer reveals in delightful (and occasionally disturbing) detail how the streets and homes of 16th century looked, sounded, and smelled for both peasants and for royals; what people wore and ate; how they were punished for crimes and treated for diseases; and the complex and contradictory Elizabethan attitudes toward violence, class, sex, and religion.

    Amazon Customer says: "Elizabethan England... As Never Presented Before"
    "Unbelievable detail! Great listen!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am listening to this book again as I write this. I am so hooked on the way Ian Mortimer gives us, the time traveler, a look at Elizabethan England like we never realized it existed. It's amazing...and sometimes horrible, and makes me glad I'm alive today in the 21st century. We take flush toilets for granted -- I never will again.

    And I found out that board games and other games for entertainment were against the law because the monarchy wanted them to practice archery. Women had NO rights at all, and Queen Elizabeth traveled in a stagecoach, along with a spare, and had a "convenience coach" in case she had to use the loo. Twenty was middle aged. Disease and plague were every day threats, and you should hear about the cures! The one using the goat's behind got me.

    This is just the tip of the iceberg! Seventeen hours was not enough. I had to listen to it again. Mike Grady is perfect as our guide through Elizabethan England. I hope there are more coming from this author. This was jaw-dropping fun. As my Southern relatives might say, "Y'all ain't gonna believe this sh....." Have fun with this one!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Sound and the Echoes

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Dew Pellucid
    • Narrated By David Radtke
    Overall
    (95)
    Performance
    (87)
    Story
    (82)

    The Sound and the Echoes is a high-concept, fantasy adventure for middle grade and young adult listeners. Imagine that everyone around you has a mirror image living somewhere else. Your world is like a sound, which produced that other world of echoes. And in this land men are governed by a terrible law-no Echo is allowed to live after his Sound dies. One Sound especially must die. The Prince's Sound. The Fate Sealers and Fortune Tellers will make sure of that!

    Julia says: "Beyond Imaginative!"
    "Absolutely the WORST narration!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I can't even begin to tell you how poor the narrator is in this production. His wooden delivery definitely detracts from the story, however interesting it might be. I COULD NOT CONCENTRATE on the plot line because of the amateurish delivery of the narrator. Geez, I am 73 and can do a better job than that.

    I often purchase books on sale because I listen voraciously, and don't often listen right away. This book has been on my "shelf" for some time, and I didn't feel I could return it readily so the only satisfaction I have for owning this book is to tell everyone how awful this is.

    The reviewer who says that it was written for kids so adults should back off (and there were many who panned this book for the irritating narrator) probably doesn't care what his children listen to. Listening to a book can be magical for a child -- OMG, Jim Dale's narration of ANYTHING practically guarantees the book is priceless. This book might have had some potential, but I'm pretty sure the narrator, David Radtke, has demolished any books he has "talked".

    I always hate to give a book such a bad rating, because the author probably deserves better. I might has stayed with it longer if a decent narrator was telling the story. Get the book in print if you are into this stuff -- the Audible version is horrible.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Ulysses

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By James Joyce
    • Narrated By Jim Norton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (876)
    Performance
    (580)
    Story
    (569)

    Ulysses is regarded by many as the single most important novel of the 20th century. It tells the story of one day in Dublin, June 16th 1904, largely through the eyes of Stephen Dedalus (Joyce's alter ego from Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man) and Leopold Bloom, an advertising salesman. Both begin a normal day, and both set off on a journey around the streets of Dublin, which eventually brings them into contact with one another.

    A User says: "Ulysses (Unabridged)"
    "Call me an idiot, but I just DON'T get it."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought this book largely based on the customer reviews that so ardently raved on and on about it. I had to have it. Now I realize that there must be a conspiracy of lunatics out there trying to make art out of garbage. I just don't get it.
    In desperation, I finally went to Wikipedia to find out what the hell this book is about (after struggling through seven chapters). I could not believe what I heard. Basically it is the "stream of consciousness" running through a man's mind in the space of one day. Just rambling on and on, on and on. Wiki gives a great synopsis of the chapters, and I was totally surprised to find that there was a thread of thought to any of what I had experienced.
    People have called it it best book of the 20th century? If I have to have a translation to understand the English language, it's definitely not for me. According to Wiki, Joyce said he would gain immortality just because literary professors would forever be arguing about what he meant in the book.
    NOT entertaining! There is a Gutenberg Project of this book online and I skimmed over it to see if I could better understand it. It's a little better to READ it than to listen to it, but still--I don't find myself wanting to STUDY a book of 330,300 or so words to find out what the author is trying to say or the parallels to Homer's work. Leave this one to the pedantics. I had to put it down.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Off to Be the Wizard

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Scott Meyer
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4454)
    Performance
    (4096)
    Story
    (4105)

    It's a simple story. Boy finds proof that reality is a computer program. Boy uses program to manipulate time and space. Boy gets in trouble. Boy flees back in time to Medieval England to live as a wizard while he tries to think of a way to fix things. Boy gets in more trouble. Oh, and boy meets girl at some point.

    Charles says: "Fantastic"
    "Fabulous fun, but narration spoiled it!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Hilarious fun, this book. I certainly did enjoy the premise, and I am NOT the demographic that Scott Meyer is going for. I am a 73-year-old geek - and a great grandma, but I have computer programming background from way back - say, 1982 and the Timex Sinclair 4K personal computer. (Upgradeable to 16K for $79.95 -- big money back then)

    The story is very original, and I really did not have to "suspend belief" to get through the wacky story line. Great fun. But... Luke Daniels overdoes the narration to a point where I often got extricated from the plot thinking how dumb and out of character the voices were. Being jolted out of the story line because of the narrator's faux pas is unpleasant.

    He starts off well enough. Martin's voice is definitely in character. The FBI guys sound like 45 IQ mobsters, a little too intimidating, but its a humorous piece. Philip is charming, and right in character -- I can believe that his British accent comes from the length of time he has spent in 12th century England.

    I have to admire Luke Daniels for trying to give the various characters unique voices, but he forgot that all these "wizards" are actually geeks from the 20th century who have discovered a very interesting file and tampered with it. I do not think that Jimmy should sound like one of the Bowery Boys (for you youngsters, the Bowery Boys were a lowbrow street gang in the 1930s. Or, think Squiggie from "Laverne and Shirley".)

    All the computer geeks that I have ever come in contact with have much more eloquence in their speech. Plus, Jimmy has been in England almost as long as Philip, and continues to talk like that? See, every time he talked I just shook my head sadly.

    I am going find a copy this book and read it for myself. Sorry, Luke, but you have to pay attention to the details.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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