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Paul

Crawley, West Sussex United Kingdom
  • 26
  • reviews
  • 49
  • helpful votes
  • 79
  • ratings
  • First Light

  • By: Geoffrey Wellum
  • Narrated by: Andrew Brooke
  • Length: 11 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 214
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 196
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 197

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of First Light by Geoffrey Wellum, read by Andrew Brooke. Two months before the outbreak of the Second World War, 18-year-old Geoffrey Wellum becomes a fighter pilot with the RAF. Desperate to get in the air, he makes it through basic training to become the youngest Spitfire pilot in the prestigious 92 Squadron. Thrust into combat almost immediately, Wellum finds himself flying several sorties a day, caught up in terrifying dogfights with German Me 109s. Over the coming months he and his fellow pilots play a crucial role in the Battle of Britain. But of the friends that take to the air alongside Wellum, many never return.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent

  • By Amazon Customer on 02-08-18

Gripping account of being a Spitfire pilot in WWII

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

Reviewed: 12-12-18

I could not stop listening to this gripping account of Mr Wellum's career in the RAF during the most critical time in its history. He takes us through flying school and is very honest about the challenges that brought him, and then straight into the Battle of Britain, flying sorties to clear the skies of enemy aircraft. His descriptions of the joy of flying such a beautiful machine are extremely vivid, as are the stories of flying right on the edge of his, and his aircraft's, abilities just to survive, at times.

I found it humbling to be reminded of the debt we owe to these young men who stood alone against Hitler and his war machine. I just cannot imagine how difficult it must be to make friends, only to see them fail to return from missions a few weeks or months later. I see that Squadron Leader Wellum passed away last summer after a long life. I hope he found contentment and peace; he, and his comrades, will always have my gratitude.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Commune

  • Commune, Book 1
  • By: Joshua Gayou
  • Narrated by: R.C. Bray
  • Length: 9 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 396
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 379
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 378

For dinosaurs, it was a big rock. For humans: Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). When the Earth is hit by the greatest CME in recorded history (several times larger than the Carrington Event of 1859), the combined societies of the planet's most developed nations struggle to adapt to a life thrust back into the Dark Ages. In the United States, the military scrambles to speed the nation's recovery on multiple fronts including putting down riots, establishing relief camps, delivering medical aid, and bringing communication and travel back on line. Just as a real foothold is established in retaking the skies (utilizing existing commercial aircraft supplemented by military resources and ground control systems), a mysterious virus takes hold of the population, spreading globally over the very flight routes that the survivors fought so hard to rebuild.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great story. R C Bray awesome as always

  • By Matthew B. on 23-11-17

For gun fans, mainly

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

Reviewed: 28-06-18

If you are fascinated by guns and ammunition - this is the post-apocalyptic book for you! There is so much loving detail about the guns, how the guns work, what kind of ammo they take and so on. If, like me, you don't give a stuff about guns, you might find this fairly heavy going. I gave up about three quarters of the way in as I just didn't like or relate to any of the characters.

Also, I know I am in the minority here, but I think Bray is a terrible reader. He isn't too bad when he is in character, but when he is narrating, he has a weird, stilted thing going on with his voice. I have made it through a couple of books read by him but I find him really offputting.

  • Anatomy of a Scandal

  • By: Sarah Vaughan
  • Narrated by: Julie Teal, Luke Thompson, Esther Wane, and others
  • Length: 10 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,148
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,059
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,055

You want to believe your husband. She wants to destroy him. Gripping psychological drama for fans of Apple Tree Yard, The Good Wife and Notes on a Scandal. Anatomy of a Scandal centres on a high-profile marriage that begins to unravel when the husband is accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is sure her husband, James, is innocent and desperately hopes to protect her precious family from the lies which might ruin them.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Tense, engrossing and very topical

  • By Kaggy on 06-02-18

Disappointing courtroom drama

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

Reviewed: 03-02-18

Imagine a book where all the male characters are thoughtful, caring and intelligent, and the female characters are uniformly horrible: ranging from psychopathic sex offenders to stupid misogynists. No, I can't either, because that book would not be published, but reverse the genders and this is what we have here. The story revolves around a politician (Tory, of course) accused of rape. The author missed a trick in not giving him a waxed moustache to twirl, but other than that he conforms to ever characteristic of the pantomime villain.

I gave it every chance, reading until the final hour hoping that it would have some redeeming features. And to be fair, the writing is pretty good, and it is very well read. But eventually I was defeated by what is ultimately a pretty depressing diatribe against men.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Broken Faith

  • By: Toby Clements
  • Narrated by: Jack Hawkins
  • Length: 15 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 671
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 610
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 610

Set during England's bloody and brutal War of the Roses, this is the second novel in an epic historical fiction series. If you liked Conn Iggulden's Stormbird, you will love Toby Clements' Kingmaker novels. October 1463. England is a divided nation. In the north the Lancastrian king struggles to hold power while in the south the princes of the house of York prepare for war.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good, if a little harrowing

  • By swheelie on 05-08-16

Series getting better and better

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

Reviewed: 02-11-17

Sometimes with book series the author seems to have run out of ideas by the second book and it all becomes a bit formulaic. This was certainly not the case here and I enjoyed this book even more than the first, which I enjoyed immensely. The improvement for me was a few more flashes of humour. Thomas and Katherine are still having a pretty torrid time of things but there is the odd turn of phrase in the dialogue that really made me genuinely laugh out loud.

Special mention to Jack Hawkins whose reading of the book is brilliant. He is definitely up there with the best narrators.

  • I Can't Make This Up

  • Life Lessons
  • By: Neil Strauss - contributor, Kevin Hart
  • Narrated by: Kevin Hart
  • Length: 11 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,091
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4,666
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,660

Superstar comedian and Hollywood box-office star Kevin Hart turns his immense talent to the written word by writing some words. Some of those words include: the, a, for, above, and even even. Put them together and you have the funniest, most heartfelt, and most inspirational memoir on survival, success, and the importance of believing in yourself since Old Yeller.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Epic

  • By Della Michelle on 14-06-17

Surprisingly inspirational

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

Reviewed: 14-07-17

I didn't have great expectations for this book to be honest - I didn't know Hart's stand-up and only aware of him in a couple of films. I bought it expecting a laugh or two, but what I really didn't expect was to actually learn some life lessons from him, not because I look down on him in any way, but because our backgrounds are so very different (I am white, middle class,
middle aged and English). However, I was massively impressed by Hart's dogged approach to making a success of himself even, or especially, when life was very hard for him. Well worth a read - I couldn't stop listening to it. I now think when in a difficult situation: "What would Kevin do?".

  • We Are Legion (We Are Bob)

  • Bobiverse, Book 1
  • By: Dennis E. Taylor
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 9 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,454
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 7,050
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,030

Bob Johansson has just sold his software company and is looking forward to a life of leisure. There are places to go, books to read, and movies to watch. So it's a little unfair when he gets himself killed crossing the street. Bob wakes up a century later to find that corpsicles have been declared to be without rights, and he is now the property of the state. He has been uploaded into computer hardware and is slated to be the controlling AI in an interstellar probe looking for habitable planets.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An unexpected gem

  • By Andrew on 29-01-17

Just a bit dull

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

Reviewed: 22-06-17

I am really struggling to understand why this gets such great reviews. I stuck with it until about half way through but it just isn't very enjoyable. Somehow, even a space battle becomes a dry discussion of vectors and velocities. The characters (variations on Bob) are not funny and have no interior lives. And after a while the different voices really started to grate. Maybe I am just not geeky enough.

  • How to Be a Vigilante: A Diary

  • By: Luke Smitherd
  • Narrated by: Luke Smitherd
  • Length: 7 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 844
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 792
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 792

It's 1998. The Internet age is still in its infancy. Google has just been founded. Eighteen-year-old supermarket shelf-stacker Nigel Carmelite has decided that he's going to become a vigilante. There are a few problems: how is he going to even find crime to fight on the streets of Derbyshire? How will he create a superhero costume - and an arsenal of crime-fighting weaponry - on a shoestring budget?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • We're Only Making Fans For Nigel

  • By Simon on 15-09-16

One of the author's strongest books

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

Reviewed: 12-06-17

This is another very strong book from Luke Smitherd, one of the most original authors in the UK, in my opinion. The narrative is a diary written by a young man who is alienated from society and frustrated by a culture that values 'coolness' above creativity and imagination, and cruelty over kindness. This feeling has been hightened by a family event which has caused the protagonist, Nigel, to retreat further into his own world.

At the beginning of the book, it is actually painfully funny to see how naive Nigel is in his relationships and interactions with people as he embarks on his life-task to become a vigilante. It then gets much darker as his plans unravel spectacularly.

To be honest, I have sometimes found the author's narration a bit off-putting (sorry Luke!), but actually I don't think anyone could have read this story any better. I really helps the listener to identify with the first-person narrative. A really good listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Kill Someone

  • By: Luke Smitherd
  • Narrated by: Matt Addis
  • Length: 8 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,187
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,149
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,144

Here are the rules. Method: you can't use a gun. You can't use explosives. You can't use poison. It has to be up close and personal. You don't have to worry about leaving evidence; that will be taken care of. Victim: no one suicidal. No one over the age of 65. No one with a terminal illness. Choose your method. Choose your victim.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Dark and gripping

  • By M. Williams on 17-03-17

His best so far

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

Reviewed: 14-03-17

Smitherd is one of the most original authors I have read - all his books start with a great idea, and he is adept at developing the plot while dealing with wider themes, such as friendship, purpose and identity. Kill Someone is his most accomplished novel yet, I think. Chris, the main protagonist, finds himself in an impossible situation, and as the reader, you can't help but empathise and wonder what you would do in the situation. I found it really compelling and couldn't stop listening.

It is also a welcome return of Matt Addis as reader who does a superb job. I particularly enjoyed his portrayal of 'Mr White' - he absolutely does the character justice and brings it to life brilliantly.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Wise Man's Fear

  • The Kingkiller Chronicle, Book 2
  • By: Patrick Rothfuss
  • Narrated by: Rupert Degas
  • Length: 42 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 7,891
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 7,024
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 7,014

Sequel to the extraordinary The Name of the Wind, The Wise Man’s Fear is the second instalment of this superb fantasy trilogy from Patrick Rothfuss. This is the most exciting fantasy series since George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire and a must for all fans of HBO's Game of Thrones.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The problem with a trilogy....

  • By Robyn on 09-01-14

Engrossing

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

Reviewed: 14-02-17

This review can be read as a review of the first two books in the series as the second book very much picks up the story and carries on unchecked. I have really enjoyed both books. They are very long, but I never found myself getting bored. Kvoth is a complex character with great talents, but he is also flawed and believable. There are so many dimensions to the story that it is kept interesting - music, martial arts, philosophy and social class are just a few themes explored. I am looking forward to the next volume.

Rupert Degas reads the books superbly and his performances are definitely part of the charm of the series. For me, his voice has the timbre of the great Richard Burton, and praise doesn't come much higher than that.

  • Dark Matter

  • By: Blake Crouch
  • Narrated by: Jon Lindstrom
  • Length: 10 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,842
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,666
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,664

'Are you happy in your life?' Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he wakes to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before the man he's never met smiles down at him and says, 'Welcome back, my friend.' In this world he's woken up to, Jason's life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • WOW - This was a weird one

  • By Jules on 26-10-16

Grower

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

Reviewed: 06-02-17

This book really builds as the plot develops and by the end I was completely hooked. The book has a really interesting premise and Crouch really explores the possibilities of it well. At the heart of the book there is a powerful message about valuing the people in your life and not taking them for granted, which I think we all need reminding of from time to time.