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Foodiewife

Monterey, California, United States
  • 13
  • reviews
  • 74
  • helpful votes
  • 336
  • ratings
  • The Moon in the Palace

  • The Empress of Bright Moon, Book 1
  • By: Weina Dai Randel
  • Narrated by: Emily Woo Zeller
  • Length: 12 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 125
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 119
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 117

There is no easy path for a woman aspiring to power. A concubine at the palace learns quickly that there are many ways to capture the emperor's attention. Many paint their faces white and style their hair attractively, hoping to lure in the One Above All with their beauty. Some present him with fantastic gifts, such as jade pendants and scrolls of calligraphy, while others rely on their knowledge of seduction to draw his interest. But young Mei knows nothing of these womanly arts, yet she will give the emperor a gift he can never forget.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • One of the most annoying narrations

  • By Foodiewife on 01-28-17

One of the most annoying narrations

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

Reviewed: 01-28-17

The narration of this book is one of THE most annoying I have ever listened to. I almost threw in the towel and gave up listening to the book, but I suffered through it. What was wrong with the narration? The narrator's version of a screaming Emperor was to GROWL and ROAR-- as were most of her male voices. It was so annoying that I couldn't stop rolling my eyes. Mei... her voice came across as a whiny little whimp. Okay, granted she was only 13, but her shrieking voice was no picnic to listen to.

For that reason, I had trouble really enjoying the story. Was it historical fiction? Well, that was a stretch. I didn't learn anything that was culturally enlightening... at least not much. The emperor was insufferable with that horrible narration. I hated him, for that alone (though he was quite a jacka$$ anyway).

There's a second book in the series, but I don't think I can stomach the same narrator again. I have listened to hundreds of audio books, and this one was so over-the-top dramatized with endless shrieking...and oh, I lost count of how many times "heart bloomed" or heart was filled, or "heart almost burst".

I seem to be in the minority, as I was totally disappointed.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Elephant Company

  • The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II
  • By: Vicki Constantine Croke
  • Narrated by: Simon Prebble
  • Length: 9 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,694
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,554
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,555

At the onset of World War II, Williams formed Elephant Company and was instrumental in defeating the Japanese in Burma and saving refugees, including on his own "Hannibal Trek." Billy Williams became a media sensation during the war, telling reporters that the elephants did more for him than he was ever able to do for them, but his story has since been forgotten.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Story of Friendship, Loyalty, and Bravery

  • By Patrick on 04-15-15

Fascinating Story!

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

Reviewed: 04-02-16

Where do I begin? I just finished listening to this excellent narrated book. I, originally, bought the audible book for my husband, since he loves history. I wasn't sure I could listen to a story about elephants and how they helped save lives in WWII. To this day, I've never watched the movie "Dances With Wolves" or "War Horse" because I can't stand to see (real or not) animals die on film. I love animals, and owned horses for decades. Animal cruelty is very hard for me to see photos of, let alone read about. I took a deep breath, and start listening....and listening. This is a fascinating story, indeed! Billy Williams was an "Elephant Whisperer". He was in Burma to become a "forest man" for a teak company. Through Billy's story, he helped me to appreciate how elephants can communicate among themselves, and also with humans. Bandoola, who would become Billy's soul elephant, also became my favorite. He was described as a magnificent beast.
As Billy began to study and learn more and more about elephants, I began to respect his love and compassion for these magnificent animals. He was not cruel, and made sure that the elephants were well taken care of. I learned about Uzi's, who were dedicated to training and caring for each elephant. I admired Billy's introduced program of saving baby elephants, born to to female elephants who worked for the teak company.
I dreaded the moment, in time, where World War II and the Japanese arrived in Burma. I'm not gonna lie. There is death, everywhere. The author doesn't describe detailed gore, but be prepared. Elephants do die. I winced many times, and felt grief. It was tough, for me, to continue on. While there is grief, there are also great stories about the elephants. There are stories about elephants saving one another, and elephants who were rehabilitated from terrible injuries. There were even humorous stories. Bandoola stars in many of the stories.
I found this story so captivating, that I had to do some internet research on Bill Williams. He has written a book, just about Bandoola.
This story was highly educational, inspiring, sometimes very sad. But, it's a story well told. I enjoyed this book as much as I enjoyed The Elephant Whisperer.

  • A Voice in the Wind

  • The Mark of the Lion, Book 1
  • By: Francine Rivers
  • Narrated by: Richard Ferrone
  • Length: 21 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,848
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,140
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,163

This heart-stirring tale of a young slave girl, torn between her love for a handsome aristocrat and her faith in God, transcends genres with its awe-inspiring power and emotional intensity.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An truly blessed author

  • By Amazon Customer on 01-09-09

Preachy? It's a Christian book!

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

Reviewed: 03-19-16

I bought this book, because it was on sale. I'm a bible-believing Christian, so I thought I'd give this a go. I've read some reviews where people complained that it was preachy and a romance novel. Hello. It's a Christian Faith-Based book! Remember? "The Great Commission"... yes?

I've never read anything from this author, and I did listen to this in audio. So, first, my review on the narration. It was right in the middle. The male narrator had a deep voice, and he was easy to follow and understand. His voice of females took some getting used to, because he made women sound... how do I put it... weird. I got used to it, though.

The first third of the book was a bit rough for me, because the violence and torment that the Jews endured-- not to mention, the gladiators, was a bit hard for me to NOT visualize. One I got to know each character (many names I can't spell, since I heard the book and never saw how names were spelled) I started to get into the groove of the story. Some readers complained that Hadassah was "too perfect". Yes, she was. I believe the author's purpose of this book was to convey what life must have been like in Rome, right after Jesus died and was resurrected (and if you don't believe in it, then you won't like this book). I could see that Hadassah would be someone that God uses for his purpose. Again, if you don't believe in the bible, then you'll struggle with this. Therefore, I understand why she seemed so perfect. She was 110% devoted to Jesus, and knew her scriptures. I enjoy bible study, and was thankful that many of the scriptures that Hadassah spoke of were ones that I remember.

About the romance part. Marcus is a Roman. He doesn't believe in Yahweh. I knew that he would fall in love with Hadassah-- it was just so obvious. I wanted to know if she could convert him. (I won't say, so I don't spoil it for anyone who hasn't read this book.) So, yes, Hadassah "preaches" to the unbelievers. She risks her own life to be God's voice. That didn't bother me one bit. If anything, it helped me to feel myself drawing closer to my faith.

Julia. Oh, how I hated her! She falls in-love with men she sleeps with. She's selfish, cruel and spoiled. I wanted to see her demise, unless she converted to Christianity. No spoilers, here, but she's the character that made me roll my eyes the most. She's a horrid character.

Atretes (no idea how to spell his name) is obviously going to be in Series #2.

At the very end of the story, I thought "nooooooooooo"! Again, no spoilers, but the ending is very open-- and I will consider listening to the sequel of the series. Maybe.

Bottom line: If you are atheist, then you'll hate this book. If you are agnostic, I'm not sure if this book will speak to your heart. As a God loving Christian, I enjoyed the story. Boy, did it really make me thankful that I did not live in those times. It sounds absolutely awful, and the Romans were an immoral Society. No wonder Roman fell! I hope that our country doesn't go that route.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Carry Her Heart

  • By: Holly Jacobs
  • Narrated by: Christina Traister
  • Length: 6 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 346
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 323
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 325

In her journal, writer Piper George notes the change of seasons. Each entry marks the passage of time since she became a teen mother and put her baby up for adoption. Her words flow together, painting a picture of loss, hope, and enduring love for the daughter she's never forgotten. But one autumn, a new presence appears in its pages and in her life: her neighbor, Edward "Ned" Chesterfield.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Absolutely the best story!

  • By tennismama on 08-01-15

Powerful story about adoption, and finding peace

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

Reviewed: 11-16-15

Okay. 3 3/4 stars. First, I'll rate the narrator. 5 stars as Piper. 1 Star as Ned. I've listened to many female narrators who are able to carry off the male voice quite well. Not this female narrator. Her male voice sounded like Ned was retarded. Low, soft voice. Bummer.
As for the story-- it took me a while to get into it. Then it all came together. Piper has given up her baby at a very young age. She's now a writer. She's writing a journal to her daughter "Amanda", telling her about her family history, and Piper's life. Ned, is her new neighbor with an annoying girlfriend. Piper and Ned become very good friends. His girlfriend-- not so much.

The last fourth of the book elevated to five stars. Yes, I got misty eyed at the very end. Mushy, in fact.

I guessed at what the ending would be-- and I was right. However, the way things came together was well done, and not quite what I had guessed.

If you're a weeper, then have a box of tissues on hand. Good read.

  • Four Fires

  • By: Bryce Courtenay
  • Narrated by: Humphrey Bower
  • Length: 29 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,719
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,338
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,333

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.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • His very best!

  • By Dave on 08-26-10

Australian Epic with my favorite narrator

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

Reviewed: 08-24-13

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.

  • The Witness [Brilliance Audio Edition]

  • By: Nora Roberts
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 16 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21,695
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,372
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,334

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.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • JUST SIMPLY FANTASTIC LISTENING ! !

  • By Gary on 04-24-12

Catches you right away

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

Reviewed: 05-09-12

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.

  • 1105 Yakima Street

  • By: Debbie Macomber
  • Narrated by: Sandra Burr
  • Length: 10 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 316
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 279
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 282

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.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Plenty of Saccharine and neurotic characters

  • By Foodiewife on 04-08-12

Plenty of Saccharine and neurotic characters

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

Reviewed: 04-08-12

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 Potato Factory

  • The Australian Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Bryce Courtenay
  • Narrated by: Humphrey Bower
  • Length: 23 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,311
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,177
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,177

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.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best audiobook of the year!

  • By karen on 11-30-05

Author and Narrator both earn five stars

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

Reviewed: 03-17-12

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!

The Kitchen House audiobook cover art
  • The Kitchen House

  • A Novel
  • By: Kathleen Grissom
  • Narrated by: Orlagh Cassidy, Bahni Turpin
  • Length: 12 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,650
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,203
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,196

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.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This is a must!

  • By AB on 09-04-10

Poignant but interesting enough

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

Reviewed: 03-17-12

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.

  • Dreams of Joy

  • A Novel
  • By: Lisa See
  • Narrated by: Janet Song
  • Length: 15 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,423
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,089
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,087

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.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Dreams of Joy and all of Lisa See's books

  • By maida smith on 06-03-11

Poignant and well written

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-08-11

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.