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James

Palmer, AK, United States
  • 11
  • reviews
  • 9
  • helpful votes
  • 34
  • ratings
  • Who Is to Blame?

  • A Russian Riddle
  • By: Jane Marlow
  • Narrated by: John Hosking
  • Length: 12 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4

Jane Marlow's debut novel is a beautifully written 25-year saga of two families - one born of noble heritage and the other bound as serfs to the noble's household. Set during the mid-1800s in the vast grain fields of Russia, Who Is to Blame? follows the lives of two star-crossed serfs, Elizaveta and Feodor, torn apart by their own families and the church while simultaneously trapped in the inhumane life of poverty to which they were born.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Riddles of Russian Life in the 19th Century

  • By Lisa on 05-14-18

These characters will follow you around

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

Reviewed: 08-15-18

This gives an amazing insight to Russian private lives in the early 1800s. The characters are well developed and the book ends too soon. I felt momentary fury at the author when the ending happened because I wanted to know more, but thankfully Jane gets on and assures us that there will be follow-ups.

  • The Baker's Secret

  • A Novel
  • By: Stephen P. Kiernan
  • Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
  • Length: 9 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,422
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,154
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,145

Only 22, Emma learned to bake at the side of a master, Ezra Kuchen, the village baker since before she was born. Apprenticed to Ezra at 13, Emma watched with shame and anger as her kind mentor was forced to wear the six-pointed yellow star on his clothing. She was likewise powerless to help when they pulled Ezra from his shop at gunpoint, the first of many villagers stolen away and never seen again.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Help is really on the way

  • By Georgia on 07-15-17

This is one of the best European WWII stories yet

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

Reviewed: 08-06-18

As a former bookstore employee, I had felt guilty for my Audible habit until I read Stephen P. Kiernan's novel, "The Baker's Secret." Cassandra Campbell adds an edge to this that I would not have been able to read into the book, myself. At first her well-developed French accent was grating, but soon into the book, I realized that these accents remind us that Emma and all the other characters are in France where there was terrible suffering, humiliation, and deprivation. The characters are multifaceted. I had not thought about women like Michelle, the German officer's girlfriend and collaborator, to be helping to make it possible to get food out to the other villagers, or of people like the elderly MiMi, Emma's grandmother, and MonkeyBoy, the little boy with learning disabilities, who grew up during the war, to be able to play a part in helping, but they did.

I normally read the end of books first to see if I will even want to finish them, otherwise I have wasted my time and emotions. I did not read the end of this book first, deciding that the French did not know how the end would happen so I would hang on. I was glad that I waited. Seeing the Americans landing through French eyes, seeing how the Allied soldier's interactions looked to them after so many years after German rule-- I was laughing and crying.

This was a great listen and I may go off and buy the book next.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Race to Save the Romanovs

  • The Truth Behind the Secret Plans to Rescue the Russian Imperial Family
  • By: Helen Rappaport
  • Narrated by: Damian Lynch
  • Length: 10 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 36
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 33
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32

The murder of the Romanov family in July 1918 horrified the world, and its aftershocks still reverberate today. In Putin's autocratic Russia, the Revolution itself is considered a crime, and its anniversary was largely ignored. In stark contrast, the centenary of the massacre of the imperial family will be commemorated in 2018 by a huge ceremony to be attended by the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church. While the murder itself has received major attention, what has never been investigated in detail are the various plots behind the scenes to save the family.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Eastern Orthodox Christians will love this...

  • By James on 07-11-18

Eastern Orthodox Christians will love this...

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

Reviewed: 07-11-18

Eastern Orthodox will enjoy this because it shines a light on the sainted Romonov family and their last days where it seems that they were faithful to their faith and their country until the last moments.

The book depicts Tsar Nikolai as being clueless about the state of the people (he was, history has proven this) and his Empress as being the force (a negative and mean one) behind their rule. It is well researched and shows the tambour of the country and how the Tsar was ignoring the clues that he needed to get out of the country and take his family with him. The author shows the readers how there was a collective denial of the obvious by an Empress who felt that she and her husband had a right to rule, and kept their family insulated from the reality of a country that had just fought in a huge war and was suddenly faced with a civil war.

We learn that rescuing the Tzar had impacts on the other countries politically and why they were all passing the buck around as to whose responsibility it was, and why even his closest relatives would not help him.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Curse of the Boyfriend Sweater

  • Essays on Crafting
  • By: Alanna Okun
  • Narrated by: Alanna Okun
  • Length: 4 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 63
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 56
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 55

People who craft know things. They know how to transform piles of yarn into sweaters and scarves. They know that some items, like woolen bikini tops, are better left unknit. They know that making a hat for a newborn baby isn't just about crafting something small but appreciating the beginnings of life, which sometimes helps make peace with the endings. They know that if you knit your boyfriend a sweater, your relationship will most likely be over before the last stitch.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great listen

  • By E. J. Butler on 03-21-18

Neurotic Knits

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

Reviewed: 07-07-18

The writer is obviously talented, but she spends too much time discussing her worries and fears. This is a day-to-day blog on audio.

  • The Lost Letter

  • A Novel
  • By: Jillian Cantor
  • Narrated by: Allyson Ryan, George Newbern, Betsy Struxness, and others
  • Length: 9 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 980
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 908
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 902

A historical novel of love and survival inspired by real resistance workers in World War II Austria and the mysterious love letter that connects generations of Jewish families. A heartbreaking, heartwarming story for fans of The Nightingale, Lilac Girls, and Sarah's Key.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Finally! A Great One!

  • By M. Ryder on 10-27-17

This is golden

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

Reviewed: 10-25-17

These characters are as real to me as my own real life family. I love this from start to finish and it is one of those books that I will listen to over and over. The characters are not stereotypes of people, I feel like the author knows people in her own life who are complex and kind on who this is based.

I once worked in extended care and I sometimes got misty eyes remembering my own clients with dementia and how their families coped. The trips, the interactions, and how generations interacted with each other. This was golden all the way through.

The main character is dealing with modern problems-- and she avoids them as the rest of us might, and she gets distracted and occupies herself. She is easy to identify with and connect to. All of the characters are people who we would love to have in our own lives.

As it concludes, nothing is rushed. Everything ends in a tidy fashion, but it is not contrived.

  • An Unseemly Wife

  • By: E. B. Moore
  • Narrated by: Natalie Gold
  • Length: 9 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 48
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 45
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 45

Not all journeys come to an end.... 1867: Ruth Holtz has more blessings than she can count - a loving husband, an abundant farm, beautiful children, and the warm embrace of the Amish community. Then, the English arrive, spreading incredible stories of free land in the West and inspiring her husband to dream of a new life in Idaho. Breaking the rules of their Order, Ruth’s husband packs up his pregnant wife and their four children and joins a wagon train heading west.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great

  • By Lori Seward on 06-07-18

I love Natalie Gold

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

Reviewed: 02-14-17

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

The first part up until the ending is all right. I cared about these folks like I'd care about my own siblings. Too much time was spend reminiscing for Ruth-- I understand that the past made her the person she was and it was the only way she could make sense of the world, but still... I would gift it to a woman on bedrest if I knew she could handle the complications that happen...

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

I want to banish whomever came up with the ending to an island.

Have you listened to any of Natalie Gold’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Natalie Gold is a phenomenal speaker and reader. I listened to her read the Magnus Flyte books-- she was great then, too, but I liked the Magnus Flyte books better.

Did An Unseemly Wife inspire you to do anything?

I wanted to hop in a covered wagon and tour the country. No, I wanted to become Amish... not really. It gave me greater compassion for a lady in my church who left the Amish. I didn't realize what she did when she left the fold, leaving her family, getting shunned, and perhaps treated poorly. I'm going to make sure to send one of my kids over when she gives birth to take care of her garden for her as her own family is actively shunning her.

Any additional comments?

The ending annoyed me. The author had me until the end. I was hoping that there would be more. That is a good thing, right? I wish it went on a little longer. I wish that we knew more about Sadie.

  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

  • A Novel
  • By: Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows
  • Narrated by: Paul Boehmer, Susan Duerden, Rosalyn Landor, and others
  • Length: 8 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,802
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 6,588
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,572

London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she's never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb.... As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends – and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • MUCH better than I ever expected! Give it a try!

  • By Kent on 10-19-09

These Characters Stay with the Reader

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

Reviewed: 11-15-16

Would you listen to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society again? Why?

These characters stayed with me after I read it, and the Audio was just as wonderful. I have these folks in my head now. This is a time that we will never get back (Kit would be in her late 60s were she for real and alive) and can only visit by novels such as these. There were less distractions, people got into each other's business and were attempting matchmaking, playing silly games, and wrote letters. They WALKED places, always with beautiful countryside and island life surrounding them.

This is not a rollicking, exciting read, but I stayed up late reason and later, listening to it.

What other book might you compare The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society to and why?

Rosamund Pilcher's "Coming Home." They are based around the same time, although Coming Home was happening before and during WWII and slightly after, and TGLPP was after the war. The characters are as real and all care for each other. There is no drama, just people reaching out. I loved the letter writing in CH, as I did in TGLPP where ther letters serve as a narration for what the characters were feeling.

Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I've not, but I was worried about having so many and they worked out great.

  • The Boston Girl: A Novel

  • By: Anita Diamant
  • Narrated by: Linda Lavin
  • Length: 7 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,088
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,809
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,801

Addie Baum is "The Boston Girl", born in 1900 to immigrant parents who were unprepared for and suspicious of America and its effect on their three daughters. Growing up in the North End, then a teeming multicultural neighborhood, Addie's intelligence and curiosity take her to a world her parents can’t imagine - a world of short skirts, movies, celebrity culture and new opportunities for women.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting story!

  • By LL on 05-24-18

I love Linda Lavin!

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

Reviewed: 11-02-16

If you could sum up The Boston Girl: A Novel in three words, what would they be?

Lind Lavin rocks.

What other book might you compare The Boston Girl: A Novel to and why?

Jerusalem Maiden-- these are Jewish girls who have a rich culture that shapes them while they grow.

What does Linda Lavin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Because she was Alice, I felt like I already knew her. I always imagined her in real life to be a lot like the down to earth waitress she portrayed. Over the years I have seen her acting and I always like her because she is Linda Lavin. Her voice is so unique. I was envisioning the actors who played Flo, Vera, and Mel playing certain people in the book. I could imagine a young LL as Addie.

Every time I listen to an Audible book, the story comes to life, but LL added to it. I hope to find other books that she narrates. I liked her before but now I am a fan!

Who was the most memorable character of The Boston Girl: A Novel and why?

Linda Lavin because she became my Jewish grandmother that I never had-- because I'm a gentile.

I also fell in love with the tiny Lenny-- his tiny hands were holding my heart.

Any additional comments?

My husband bought me this book and four words into the reading I burst out laughing, "This is Alice!" Oh my goodness, she is perfect for reading this! It helps that I was so familiar with Linda's character Alice so I could picture her in this story as being the kind and wonderful, independent lady. I would love to see this made into a movie, casting Linda as the narrator.

So many evens happened in Addie's life that made history real to me-- sure, I have read about the flu epidemic, but it was real when Addie lost a couple of her nephews to it-- by then I was already thinking of LL as my grandmother, and the flu epidemic became truly tragic-- it was as bad as the black plagues! She introduced us to one of her dates who had lost a foot in the war and who had a PTSD episode on the beach-- WWI wasn't just a historical event, it was real and I cried for that poor kid/young man. As the world changed, so did she.

  • The Secret History of the Mongol Queens

  • How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire
  • By: Jack Weatherford
  • Narrated by: Robertson Dean
  • Length: 10 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 429
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 351
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 342

The Mongol queens of the 13th century ruled the largest empire the world has ever known. Yet sometime near the end of the century, censors cut a section from The Secret History of the Mongols, leaving a single tantalizing quote from Genghis Khan: “Let us reward our female offspring.” Only this hint of a father’s legacy for his daughters remained of a much larger story.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another Great Book

  • By Shawn on 08-09-10

I will come back to listen to this again and again

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

Reviewed: 01-31-16

What did you love best about The Secret History of the Mongol Queens?

I learned about human behavior. I finally got it. Humans are jerks. It's been happening for thousands of years and no matter what I do to try to make things better, humans are jerks and will ruin it. I was heartbroken to realize that Genghis's sons were jerks to his sisters and that within a generation that all that he'd worked for would fall apart.

But just as there are jerks, there are also good people who fight to help out. I admired other kids, grands, their spouses, doing whatever they could to help make their world better. I loved this aspect, too.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Secret History of the Mongol Queens?

I found the last section to be the most memorable because I am a tree hugging world peace wanting neo-hippie. I realized that the human condition is to fight and to be at war and that we will have to fight for peace. (That sounds silly: fight for peace.) Even if things are good for everyone, someone will want to fight because they are able and can get more. This isn't just a modern day problem.

What does Robertson Dean bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He's just a great orator. I will look over what else he does so I can listen to more of the works that he reads. He did what a good orator will do-- he brings characters to life and makes them exist in the listener's mind.

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

I called in sick for a church event so I could keep listening.

Any additional comments?

Yes. I wanted to see what my friends were so psyched up over and at first I bought some "chick lit"-- women's literature-- and it was *death by a thousand paper clips*. My ears hurt. Thank goodness for Audible's return policy. I returned the women's literature book a couple of days later and I am thankful that I could return it and buy this book, instead, The Secret History of Mongol queens is a great read.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

No Idle Hands audiobook cover art
  • No Idle Hands

  • The Social History of American Knitting
  • By: Anne L Macdonald
  • Narrated by: Kymberly Dakin
  • Length: 4 hrs and 46 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 79
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34

Drawn from diaries, letters, and personal reminiscences, No Idle Hands tells an intimate and sometimes hair-raising story of hand knitting in America from Colonial times onward. Women knit through the hardships of covered-wagon travel across the West. They knit to save their husbands and sons from freezing to death on battlefields....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This is sheer delight!

  • By James on 10-10-12

This is sheer delight!

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

Reviewed: 10-10-12

What did you love best about No Idle Hands?

Kymberly Dakin has the sweetest voice-- I love listening to her. The story is fine-- it's a history of knitting and is interesting to me because I am a compulsive knitter. Kymberly's voice make it interesting because her voice and inflections are kind. She is probably a trained actress, but I feel like she is speaking to her audience, not just reading.

What other book might you compare No Idle Hands to and why?

So far, I don't know of any. I am going to order some more knitting books, Knitting Memories (by Lela Nargi) is next because Kymberly is the speaker.

Which character – as performed by Kymberly Dakin – was your favorite?

I am listening to this for the third time. I think the introduction pulls me in, and I love the humor with which Anne writes of the plays that were written during WWII for the knitter's circles. I heard this and my own daughter has a boyfriend deploying to the Iraqi war and I am making her learn to knit because of this. It's a good thing to do while anxious.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Profound interest. I don't mind listening to it a second time because the anecdotes are ones to share in my next knitting circle.

Any additional comments?

The other day I was writing memoir and I heard Kymberly Dakin's voice in my head. She is truly gifted as a speaker.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful