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N. J. Simicich

Labelle, FL United States
  • 9
  • reviews
  • 6
  • helpful votes
  • 15
  • ratings
  • Phule Me Twice

  • Phule's Company, Book 4
  • By: Robert Asprin, Peter J. Heck
  • Narrated by: Noah Michael Levine
  • Length: 8 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 158
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 146
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 147

You can't mistake just anyone for a Phule. When the planet Zenobia is invaded, Captain Willard Phule is made their military advisor. The first priority for Phule's Company: staying out from underfoot of the peaceful, dinosaurlike Zenobians.... But, unbeknownst to the Zenobians, they're getting two Phules for the price of one. A robot double of Phule appears out of nowhere. And only the real Phule knows who the real Phule is....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Just plain fun

  • By scott on 01-23-18

Classic story marred by jarring performance

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-14-19

I hate it when the performer mispronounces words. Perhaps the most jarring was the repeated mispronunciation of adjutant. There were others, several others. Every time it was done, I was ripped out of the story and brought back to the quality of the reading. Isn't there an editor who listens to these things? I checked a couple of major dictionary sites, the guy just read the words and guessed, albeit poorly, at the pronunciation of the words, and no one corrected him. Bah!

  • Flashman and the Seawolf

  • Adventures of Thomas Flashman
  • By: Robert Brightwell
  • Narrated by: Henry Clore Harrison
  • Length: 7 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 53
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 52
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 52

This book introduces Thomas Flashman, whose career covers the Napoleonic and Georgian era. This first book covers his adventures with Thomas Cochrane, one of the most extraordinary naval commanders of all time. From the brothels and gambling dens of London, through political intrigues and espionage, the action moves to the Mediterranean and the real life character of Thomas Cochrane.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great Historical Novel

  • By Jean on 09-20-17

Not quite as good as the Harry Flashman series

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-14-19

The original Flashman series was nothing short of superb, and you really got the sense that the author had spent at least as much time plowing through historically significant documents and determining what might have happened. The series was about the easiest possible way to absorb English political history that I can think of. It was not politically correct at all, Harry spoke as a Victorian Englishman would.

I can't rate that series highly enough, and, while the actor who read the books had a bit of a thick accent, it was authentic, or so I, as an American, believed.

I said all that to say this: This series is good, but not as good. You get the sense that Brightwell worked just as hard as Frasier did in his historical research, but I kept thinking that it just was not a person speaking in an authentic voice, but a person speaking through the politically correctness filter of the late 20th and 21st century. This impacted my enjoyment of both the story and the performance.

But, I am a Flashman addict, and I don't see as well as I used to, so I am dependent on audiobooks. And these were not unenjoyable, I just enjoyed the Frasier books more. But we will see no more from Frasier.

So, if you are a Flashman addict, you will probably want to read or listen to these books. If you are not, then it depends on how you feel about political correctness. If the "N" word offends you such that you can't read "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" then this is the series for you. If not, start with the Frasier series.

  • Ready Player One

  • By: Ernest Cline
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 15 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 210,335
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 196,375
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 195,964

At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I’m sorry I waited so long to read this book.

  • By Julie W. Capell on 05-27-14

A good book read by a great author

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-13-18

Even if you have seen the movie, you should read the book to see how it really ended, what the real plot was, etc. While they did a good job with the movie, it was, at best, OK. There were some major plot points that they just tossed away.

  • Life Reset: A LitRPG Novel

  • New Era Online, Book 1
  • By: Shemer Kuznits
  • Narrated by: Jeff Hays
  • Length: 24 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,347
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5,060
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,045

After being betrayed and cursed by an extremely rare spell, Oren, a powerful and influential player, finds himself as a first-level goblin! Without even a fraction of his previous power, he vows to pull through and have revenge on those who betrayed him. His thorough knowledge of the game's world and his unique ability to immerse himself entirely are his only advantages. But first, he must figure out how to survive long enough playing what is basically a low-level fodder monster!

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • All Hail Our Tiny Green Overlord!

  • By HeatherY on 11-11-17

An excellent, well written, well narrated example of the genre.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-23-18

I have read a number of these. They all start out the same. Someone gets trapped in a fantasy world somehow. They learn to cope, there is divine intervention. What makes this one stand out were two things. One was the growth that the main character went through...or perhaps it was the character's descent into madness. I have not decided. I want the next one, I want to know! Hmmm. Should I look to see if it has not beend read yet? Eyes are not so good anymore. But I can listen to automated voice from kindle. Yes...it is that good, and the epilogue made it better. Hope it is published.

Only bad thing about the narration was that you could hear an echo in the background with headphones.

  • Four-Day Planet

  • By: H. Beam Piper
  • Narrated by: Eric Stuart
  • Length: 5 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 46
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 40
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 41

Fenris isn't a hell planet, but it's nobody's bargain. With 2,000-hour days and an 8,000-hour year, it alternates blazing heat with killing cold. A planet like that tends to breed a special kind of person: tough enough to stay alive and smart enough to make the best of it. And when that kind of person discovers he's being cheated out of wealth he's risked his life for, that kind of planet is ripe for revolution.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • loved it as a kid, in the 1960s.

  • By N. J. Simicich on 10-10-17

loved it as a kid, in the 1960s.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-10-17

I loved this book as a junior high school student in the 1960s, and I still thought it was great. Tech, of course, was a bit dated, but the performance was more than acceptable, and the story held up.

  • Forensics

  • What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA, and More Tell Us About Crime
  • By: Val McDermid
  • Narrated by: Sarah Barron
  • Length: 11 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,888
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,735
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,721

The dead talk - to the right listener. They can tell us all about themselves: where they came from, how they lived, how they died, and, of course, who killed them. Forensic scientists can unlock the mysteries of the past and help serve justice using the messages left by a corpse, a crime scene, or the faintest of human traces.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Crime Seen

  • By Mark on 09-02-16

Scottish Accent makes it hard to listen

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-18-17

Would you listen to Forensics again? Why?

Not sure. It was hard to listen to because the performer reads it in Scottish English, and her accent is thick as treacle.

What did you like best about this story?

It is more like a set of short stories that deal with different aspects of Forensics, the history of Forensics and land mark cases.

What didn’t you like about Sarah Barron’s performance?

She was hard for me to understand. I speak American English, and a London accent is not hard to listen to - but Sarah's accent is thick..years ago, I was told that it takes a half hour for someone to listen to someone speaking in an accent before you can understand them clearly. But I found that I still had to replay parts of her book, even after listening for a half hour.

If you could give Forensics a new subtitle, what would it be?

A UK Centric view of Forensics. It was very clear that not only the reader had an accent that was more at home on the other side of the Atlantic, but I learned way more than I care about regarding the structure of what labs serve local UK police departments and how. Some US stuff is covered, as is some stuff from other countries, but the detail about who reports to who and how and who is called out and so forth was very UK centric.

Any additional comments?

Had I listened to the audio sample, I would not have purchased this book. The reader can do an American accent where she was quoting Americans. I think that she could have read the book in a London accent and it would have been easier to listen to.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • The Lion's Paw

  • By: Robb White
  • Narrated by: Troy W. Hudson
  • Length: 4 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 16

An audiobook of the beloved children's adventure story first published by Doubleday & Co. in 1946.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • My teacher read this book to our class, in 1962

  • By N. J. Simicich on 12-14-16

My teacher read this book to our class, in 1962

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-14-16

What did you love best about The Lion's Paw?

The story brought me back to my childhood - and I just took a 26 foot sailboat down the same canal that the protagonists traveled down.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Nick, of course, my namesake. And he was the same age that I was, almost, when I first heard the story.

Would you be willing to try another one of Troy W. Hudson’s performances?

I hated the reader. First off, he didn't know how to say any of the local place names, and didn't bother to check with anyone. It would only have taken a minute to have made a phone call. "Hi, Labelle Chamber of Commerce? (Being the county seat in the area). How do you say Hickapoochee? Really, it is not pronounced anything like I expected, huh? Well, thanks, you saved me from sounding like a fool and doing a reading that really would jar my knowledgeable readers."

Then he made mistakes that he didn't bother to re-record. I presume that all readers make mistakes, and they back up and re-read so that the editor can fix it.

I wish that some other reader would read this book

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

It is a beautiful children's story. It should not be made into a film. I made all of the pictures in my mind when the story was read to me. I doubt a film could do better, and I don't see why today's children should be

Any additional comments?

Thinking about it, Robb White probably didn't make the crossing on the canal. First off, I was constantly running into low bridges that would have required the crew of the Lion's Paw to step the mast or have the bridge opened. Some of these, like the Ft. Denaud bridge, replaced bridges that had been in place for a very long time. The Indiantown Railroad swing bridge has been there since 1924 and has bridge to water clearance of 7' it might have to be opened even if the boat's mast was stepped.

The canal is narrow, and it turns this way and that, it is unlikely that it could have been sailed for that long without adjusting sails and so forth. These days, sailing at night would get you hung in a snag, and there are low bridges that have to be opened, and, while there are whistle signals that are standard so that you need not talk on the radio, the bridge tenders could have been alerted to be on the lookout for a sailboat of a certain length, and they could have trapped our intrepid adventurers through the simple stratagem of not opening the bridge until the police got there.

This does not stop this from being a great story, one that would be exciting to its intended 10 year old audience.

  • Rocket Ship Galileo

  • By: Robert A. Heinlein
  • Narrated by: Spider Robinson
  • Length: 5 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 342
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 225
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 229

Ross Jenkins, Art Mueller, and Morris Abrams are not your average high-school students. While other kids are cruising around in their cars or playing ball, this trio, known as the Galileo Club, is experimenting with rocket fuels. Art's uncle, the nuclear physicist Dr. Donald Cargraves, offers them the opportunity of a lifetime: to construct and crew a rocket that will take them to the moon. But there are those who don't share their dream and who will stop at nothing to keep their rocket grounded.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A science fiction classic

  • By Ellen Anthony on 03-31-10

Dated, but still good

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-02-16

I remember reading this, for the first time bac kok in the mid 1960's, when I was in Junior High. It was dated and corny even then. But it stands up, well, except for the dangers of zinc vapor, and a few other things. I imagined that it was possible that one scientist could coax a few high school kids into a moon trip and I imagined myself going along.

  • The Martian

  • By: Andy Weir
  • Narrated by: R. C. Bray
  • Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 161,870
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 149,392
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 149,224

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive - and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plainold "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Worth it even if you've seen the movie

  • By R. MCRACKAN on 12-08-17

Hard Science Fiction with a vengance

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-19-15

The contract that a good hard science fiction writer makes with you is that he will set the e scene and nothing will happen that is not suggested by that. Furthermore, nothing will be done that contradicts what we currently know about the applicable science. Few of today's authors can pull hard science fiction off. This book pulls it off perfectly. The performance was good, rough in a few spots, but almost never distracting. If you like hard science fiction, and want to know what we are considering sending men to mars for when robots would serve just as well, read this book. And think about what was learned, that would not have been learned from a robot expedition.