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Michelle Hammond

  • 8
  • reviews
  • 5
  • helpful votes
  • 82
  • ratings
  • Behind the Wheel - Italian 1

  • By: Macmillan Audio, Mark Frobose
  • Narrated by: Mark Frobose
  • Length: 8 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 8

Behind the Wheel - Italian 1 covers beginner to intermediate level Italian, providing a flexible, solid, and universal foundation in speaking, understanding, and creatively expressing yourself in Italian.

The program features an English speaking instructor to guide you through the lessons and a native Italian speaker to aid with your pronunciation. Includes a companion book to reinforce and enhance the audio experience.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not possible behind the wheel

  • By Michelle Hammond on 08-07-18

Not possible behind the wheel

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

Reviewed: 08-07-18

This recording contains many useful Italian words and phrases, but rather than teaching you how to say them, Mark Frobose and his native speaker simply give them to you in long laundry lists, allowing you no time to assimilate anything. Mark keeps barking, "Remember to repeat, people!" and comes off as vaguely condescending. It's a shame, because the words and phrases contained in this audiobook were some of the most potentially useful I might have learned. Since I can only listen in the car, I thought this audiobook would be perfect, but be prepared instead to pause and rewind far more than I find safe behind the wheel.

  • Collins Italian with Paul Noble - Learn Italian the Natural Way, Part 1

  • By: Paul Noble
  • Narrated by: Paul Noble
  • Length: 4 hrs and 24 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 380
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 315
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 285

Collins Italian with Paul Noble combines an exciting, new non-traditional approach to language learning with the easy, relaxed appeal of an audio-only product.No books. No rote memorisation. No chance of failure.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The BEST language learning audio series

  • By Michelle Hammond on 02-20-18

The BEST language learning audio series

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

Reviewed: 02-20-18

One month ago, I bought Pimsleur Italian Level 1, Lessons 1-5 and 6-10; Innovative Language Learning's "Italian Survival Phrases"; and this, Collins Italian with Paul Noble, Part 1. While all had pros and cons, Collins Italian with Paul Noble was BY FAR the best of the lot. I felt I had a much better grasp of the language, more words to work with, and more confidence overall after listening to this audiobook just one time.
I listened to the Pimsleur audiobooks first. The native speakers talk very fast, much faster than the Collins speaker, but I like how they broke down the words and phrases from end to beginning. However, they give you almost no time to reply before the native speaker cuts in with the correct response. I had to listen to each lesson twice before I "got" it. "Italian Survival Phrases" was the same way. This makes it nearly impossible to learn in the car. That's the only time I have! Also, after starting Collins, I learned that Pimsleur had started me out wrong, teaching phrases with the pronoun for emphasis before telling me that people don't really do that, basically setting in place the habit for incorrectly adding emphasis in everyday speech before saying, no, never mind, don't do that. Collins teaches you in the opposite way— here's how Italians actually talk, and if you need extra emphasis, add the pronoun.
In addition, Collins, in teaching about the Latin roots of common English words, reveals that native English speakers essentially already know thousands of Italian words-- any word that ends with -TION or -IC or -ICAL, for example. This blew my mind. By simply changing the ending of these words, I already know the pronunciation and meaning of thousands of Italian words, and I just started learning Italian a month ago! This gave me a huge amount of confidence that I can actually learn a language that seemed impossibly daunting before.
"Italian Survival Phrases" did have great Italian survival phrases, without question. But the whole thing went so fast that I felt this was not made for a beginner listening to their first Italian phrasebook. Also, the musical cue that it was time to repeat what the speaker had taught got very annoying, very fast, and was completely unnecessary.
One final and maybe minor nitpick about Pimsleur: As soon as they teach you how to say, "I would like to drink something," they teach you how to say "wine" and "beer," but no other Italian words for beverages. Much of the second audiobook revolves around ordering wine and beer or asking someone to drink wine or beer with you. Since my husband and I don't drink alcohol, this was not at all helpful. Why would I want to learn words that will have no impact on my travel? Collins Italian with Paul Noble taught the word for "coffee." Humorously enough, I don't drink coffee either, but at least Paul Noble taught enough other words that the entire audiobook did not seem to dwell on this one concept, of ordering coffee.
Only Collins Italian with Paul Noble, Part 1 taught me much of what I needed to know and gave me the confidence to speak Italian right away. This is without a doubt the best language learning audio series out there -- highly recommended and worth every penny. I will definitely be continuing with the other books in the series

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Pimsleur Italian Level 1 Lessons 1-5

  • Learn to Speak and Understand Italian with Pimsleur Language Programs
  • By: Pimsleur
  • Narrated by: Pimsleur
  • Length: 2 hrs and 38 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 574
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 448
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 394

Each lesson of Italian Level 1 Lessons 1-5provides 30 minutes of spoken language practice, with an introductory conversation and new vocabulary and structures. Detailed instructions enable you to understand and participate in the conversation.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best audio for learning Italian

  • By Janeaustenruns on 04-14-10

Better than high school language class for certain!

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

Reviewed: 02-07-18

This was a decent introduction to Italian. Although not terribly expensive, I still wish there were more than five little lessons in this single audiobook. I will say that each lesson was the exact length of my 35-minute daily commute, so that worked out perfectly! (Not sure that was planned though, haha.) I had to listen to each lesson exactly twice before I felt comfortable enough to move to the next lesson, so this book lasted me five days, six if you count the day I listened to the intro. Each lesson was a manageable amount of information to learn, as long as I went through it twice. My only real gripe with the format is that I felt there was not always enough time for me to respond before the native speakers cut in with their replies. This sometimes left me frustrated, because I knew what I wanted to say but couldn't get the whole thing out by the time the native speakers began their replies, which meant I couldn't hear what they were saying, and my own response (correct or not) was cut off, and sometimes I gave up my reply altogether. I know part of this method is not to learn by rote but by reflex, but this was still frustrating. I also felt that sometimes a ridiculous amount of time was spent on stupid things (the difference between Americano and Americana, for example), while much more complex phrases were given relatively short shrift, and I wish those would have been broken down in the same way, word by word or sound by sound. However, overall, I feel as though I know vastly more Italian now than I did before listening to this single audiobook, and I think I'm more likely to retain it, too. I wish my high school language classes had been taught this way!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Sun of Suns

  • Book One of Virga
  • By: Karl Schroeder
  • Narrated by: Joyce Irvine
  • Length: 11 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 122
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 79
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 76

It is the distant future. The world known as Virga is a fullerene balloon 3,000 kilometers in diameter, filled with air, water, and aimlessly floating chunks of rock. The humans who live in this vast environment must build their own fusion suns and "towns" that are in the shape of enormous wood and rope wheels that are spun for gravity.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent

  • By Eivind on 03-04-10

Space pirates!

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

Reviewed: 01-31-18

This story was incredibly unique and a great yarn. I loved the steampunk feel and yet the fact that it was not really true steampunk at all. In some ways it felt like a combination of fantasy and science fiction. The characters were relatable. The only real flaw was that the big villain, Falcon Formation, is completely faceless and evil and you learn nothing at all about them. It is a completely one-dimensional cardboard cutout held up for all the characters to unite and fight against. But other than that one complaint, I absolutely loved this book and every quirky thing about it.

The narrator is exceptional and may be the best female reader of male voices I've ever heard. In short, I highly recommend this audiobook!

  • Presence

  • Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges
  • By: Amy Cuddy
  • Narrated by: Amy Cuddy
  • Length: 9 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,472
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,797
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,763

Brilliantly researched, impassioned, and accessible, Presence is filled with stories of individuals who learned how to flourish during the stressful moments that once terrified them. Every listener will learn how to approach their biggest challenges with confidence instead of dread, and to leave them with satisfaction instead of regret.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Watch the TED Talk

  • By A. Yoshida on 07-10-16

Outstanding

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

Reviewed: 01-06-18

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Although it is based in part upon Amy Cuddy's famous Ted Talk, as other reviewers have stated, it expands upon that talk so much and with so many other important details that just watching the Ted Talk does not even begin to cover all the topics that this book does. I found that this book ties in closely with many of the topics we covered in a leadership workshop in which I participated at work, which I found interesting. The ideas of powerlessness and empowerment and how those manifest themselves in leadership were fascinating. Best is that Cuddy gives you the tools to become more powerful in every aspect of daily life, and the research that backs up the simple steps to get you there. This book made such an impact on me that I immediately bought the hardback for a friend. This is absolutely worth the listen.

  • The Bird and the Sword

  • By: Amy Harmon
  • Narrated by: Trina Nishimura
  • Length: 11 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,195
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,122
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,124

The day my mother was killed, she told my father I wouldn't speak again, and she told him if I died, he would die too. Then she predicted the king would sell his soul and lose his son to the sky. My father wants desperately to be king, and I just want to be free. But freedom will require escape, and I'm a prisoner of my mother's curse and my father's greed. In a land purged of enchantment, love might be the only magic left, and who could ever love...a bird?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Entertaining, but not quite "epic"

  • By Leslie F. on 11-12-16

A magical tale

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

Reviewed: 10-31-17

The Bird and the Sword is the story of Lark, cursed (or blessed?) with outlawed magical talents and the muteness that has kept her safe since childhood. After a good deal of exposition at the beginning of the book which I found annoying, the story soon took over and I greatly enjoyed the rest of it, enough that I'll check out book two of the series. I adored the narrator. Trina Nishimura delivers every line in a husky whisper that makes the entire book sound maybe even more enthralling than it was. She can read me a book anytime!

  • The Collapsing Empire

  • The Interdependency, Book 1
  • By: John Scalzi
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 9 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,222
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,542
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,508

Our universe is ruled by physics, and faster-than-light travel is not possible - until the discovery of The Flow, an extradimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time that transports us to other worlds, around other stars. Humanity flows away from Earth, into space, and in time forgets our home world and creates a new empire, the Interdependency, whose ethos requires that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It's a hedge against interstellar war - and a system of control for the rulers of the empire.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not the best of Scalzi

  • By Gonzalo on 05-11-17

Lots of fun until the cliffhanger

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

Reviewed: 10-26-17

The Collapsing Empire: The Interdependency Book 1 follows the actions of a number of powerful noble families just as a space-time phenomenon called the "Flow," which allows them to travel between star systems and maintain their trade monopolies, is beginning to collapse. If this sounds dry and dull, it's not. It's a tale of one family's ambitious attempt to use the facts to their advantage. Evilly. It's also maybe a lesson about what happens when science is suppressed. It's also funny, in that Scalzi way of being sarcastic and profane.

Much of this book is a series of strangely satisfying scenes in which things continuously go wrong for the one bad guy or another, or in which the folks who have been wronged get to open a can of verbal whoopass on those who have done them wrong. I can't help but wonder if Scalzi has had to deal with a few too many stupid people in his life and it finally got to him. Ah, well, it makes for a fun romp... right up until the book suddenly ends! Nothing is resolved in terms of the plot, and dang, I'm out of credits!

Will Wheaton does a serviceable job of narrating, though I wish he wouldn't stray so often into caricature. However, I suppose some of the characters in this book are a little over the top. All in all, a decent yarn.

  • NPCs

  • By: Drew Hayes
  • Narrated by: Roger Wayne
  • Length: 7 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,345
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,835
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,826

What happens when the haggling is done and the shops are closed? When the quest has been given, the steeds saddled, and the adventurers are off to their next encounter? They keep the world running, the food cooked, and the horses shoed, yet what adventurer has ever spared a thought or concern for the Non-Player Characters? In the town of Maplebark, four such NPCs settle in for a night of actively ignoring the adventurers drinking in the tavern when things go quickly and fatally awry.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyable if you manage your expectations

  • By Miachi on 01-23-15

Not what I expected...

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

Reviewed: 10-03-17

When I purchased this book, I thought it would be a hilarious tale of how the odd, insignificant tasks given to background characters of an adventurers' group would end up being more exciting than the "real" adventure and ultimately save the day. That's not what this was.
In this unfunny fantasy novel, overlooked background characters become the main characters— honest-to-goodness adventurers. Still technically NPCs, I guess, but the line thins. The PCs in the story still make intermittent appearances as murderous jerks, but for all intents and purposes they are now the background characters. This gave the title an odd disconnect for me. Maybe that's nitpicky, but there it is. It seemed less like an homage to "the little guy" being important in his own right, and more like a promise that all little guys could be big important guys some day if they just tried hard enough. That's not the book I was hoping for.
The heart of this story is very sweet, with our intrepid heroes being honorable, kind, and loyal, and believing in the goodness of others. In fact, they are all SO good and generally unconflicted that it would read like a story for children... if it weren't for all the very foul language. This is not one to listen to with your kids unless your kids are tone-deaf to f-bombs.
The reader, however, was absolutely exceptional, and made a mediocre book something I looked forward to listening to. I will definitely search for other books he has narrated. He was so good that he added an extra star to the overall experience for me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful