LISTENER

Wras

  • 341
  • reviews
  • 3,137
  • helpful votes
  • 474
  • ratings
  • Cold as the Grave

  • The Insepctor McLean Series, Book 9
  • By: James Oswald
  • Narrated by: Ian Hanmore
  • Length: 13 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 338
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 315
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 315

Her lifeless body is hidden in the dark corner of a basement room, a room which seems to have been left untouched for decades. A room which feels as cold as the grave. As a rowdy demonstration makes its slow and vocal way along Edinburgh's Royal Mile, Detective Chief Inspector Tony McLean's team are on stand-by for any trouble. The newly promoted McLean is distracted, inexplicably drawn to a dead-end mews street...and a door, slightly ajar, which leads to this poor girl's final resting place. But how long has she been there, in her sleep of death? 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best One for a While!

  • By Simon on 10-02-19

Not the Scotland I know.

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

Reviewed: 18-02-19

The charm of this series is the Scottish setting, but when the writer decides to turn the story into a propaganda piece that in no way represent the history or reality of the country he needs to let us know because it is offensive and defamatory.
James Oswald claims that Scotland has extreme right groups abusing refugees, factories that specialize in the abuse of Syrian refugees and the hole sale rape and mistreatment of Syrian woman by organized crime, never mind the occult sects that also specialize in terrorizing Syrians in the book, to make matters more incredible we have an influx of Christian Syrian Aramaic Speakers according to the writer.
Here are some real numbers or at least official numbers by the Scottish Refugee Council.

There were 23,507 applications in 2013
There was an increase in applications by particular nationalities, including Syria (+681), Eritrea (+649), and Albania (+507)
While Syria saw the largest increase in applications, the highest number of applications came from Pakistan (3,343), Iran (2,417) and Sri Lanka (1,808)
Asylum applications were at their lowest in 2010 (17,916), since a peak in 2002 (84,130)
The estimated number of asylum applications to the 28 EU countries was approximately 435,000 in 2013.

Now you will notice that the information is old (but that is all I could find of official details) as you know too much information makes people educated and then they ask for changes and that no firm numbers are given on Syria; that is because compared to other groups they are statistically not relevant. Scotland did promise to take 2000 refugees and is ahead of its target some were given houses in Scottish Islands, but they are not happy (35-year-old Syrian refugee, speaking under the pseudonym Rasha, said that Bute was “full of old people”, a place where “people come to die”. Her 42-year-old husband Abd (also a false name) worried that this would also happen to him; first despair, then entropy and the slow decline towards the grave. Abd said Scotland was beautiful, the people there had treated him well, he even liked the weather, but: “There is no movement, there is nothing. I’m not bored anymore. I am depressed now. I feel like I have one option now – to die here. Only die here, nothing else.”)
The political propaganda parties feed us is a travesty but for a book to be so out of touch even when fiction is not entertaining or fair to readers. I pay for books to entertain me or educate me, not to be lied to or be brainwashed with some one's version of their so-called political reality.
.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Dogs of War

  • By: Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • Narrated by: Nathan Osgood, Laurence Bouvard, William Hope
  • Length: 9 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 270
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 251
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 251

 My name is Rex. I am a good dog.... Rex is also seven feet tall at the shoulder, bulletproof, bristling with heavy-calibre weaponry, and a deadly weapon in a dirty war. He's part of a Multiform Assault Pack operating in the lawless anarchy of Campeche, southeastern Mexico. He has the intelligence to carry out his orders and feedback implants to reward him when he does. All he wants to be is a Good Dog, and to do that he must do exactly what Master says.    

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Dagnabbit! He's Done it Again!

  • By Simon on 28-12-18

The future augmented to us and them.

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

Reviewed: 14-01-19

Adrian Tchaikovsky is a writer like very few he gives you the entertainment and the ideas with equal passion. The action is well described and exciting, you can visualise it quickly and understand the complexities of a battle in progress; something very few can do well. The Ideas are explored in depth but maintaining a structure to the plot, and the characters all dough some not human are brought to life with ease and likeability.
A good read with some great ideas and tonnes of action.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Transcription

  • By: Kate Atkinson
  • Narrated by: Fenella Woolgar
  • Length: 11 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,033
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 949
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 948

In 1940, 18-year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathisers, she discovers the work to be by turns both tedious and terrifying. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past for ever. Ten years later, now a producer at the BBC, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Full Marks Kate

  • By Amazon Customer on 09-09-18

The complexities of deceit.

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

Reviewed: 14-01-19


The tangled web usually comes back to trap its creator as it has no other purpose but to entangle those that use it to create illusions of truth or morality.
The characters are well described, and the plot is eloquent and with enough surprises to make it a true thriller.
I hate the fact that the emphasis by the promoters of this books is on gender and not people, but that is the world we live in now. The fact that is based on a real character and events gives it a flavour and filling of real danger.

Worth reading, the book brings to life two periods that have for the most part been buried in time, the support of Hitler by British citizens. The infiltration of the left by communist Russia or as it was known then the Soviet Union immediately after the war, now described as the Cold War and how pervasive it was in Britain.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • How Do You Like Me Now?

  • By: Holly Bourne
  • Narrated by: Tuppence Middleton
  • Length: 8 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 239
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 206
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 206

There's no doubt that Tori is winning the game of life. She's inspired millions of women to stick two fingers up at convention with her best-selling memoir, and she has the perfect relationship to boot. But Tori Bailey has been living a lie. Everyone around her is getting married and having babies, but her long-term boyfriend won't even talk about getting engaged. And when her best friend Dee - her plus one, the only person who understands the madness - falls in love, suddenly Tori's in terrifying danger of being left behind.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Funny, sharp and very relevant

  • By Anonymous User on 01-08-18

Sinical,desperate female representation.

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

Reviewed: 18-10-18

All the worst traits of self-hate presented as humour is a dish I could not eat much less laugh about it. An acid distillation of pure unhappiness that darkened my day, so I left it.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • I Am Watching You

  • By: Teresa Driscoll
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth Knowelden
  • Length: 8 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,262
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,062
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,057

When Ella Longfield overhears two attractive young men flirting with teenage girls on a train, she thinks nothing of it - until she realises they are fresh out of prison and her maternal instinct is put on high alert. But just as she's decided to call for help, something stops her. The next day, she wakes up to the news that one of the girls - beautiful, green-eyed Anna Ballard - has disappeared.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Glowing Five Stars

  • By Caroline Mitchell on 23-10-17

Assumptions and lies

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

Reviewed: 18-10-18


Entertaining, a thriller with a few twists and a few cliches that take you to a satisfactory ending.

A good beginning with an ok plot that uses too much obvious manipulation by the author, the characters are realistic, but like most modern thrillers the voyeuristic aspects of the story are a bit exploitative, for my taste.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Normal People

  • By: Sally Rooney
  • Narrated by: Aoife McMahon
  • Length: 7 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,771
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,603
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,594

Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. When they both earn places at Trinity College in Dublin, a connection that has grown between them lasts long into the following years. This is an exquisite love story about how a person can change another person's life - a simple yet profound realisation that unfolds beautifully over the course of the novel. It tells us how difficult it is to talk about how we feel and it tells us - blazingly - about cycles of domination, legitimacy and privilege. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • It plunges under your skin and invades you.

  • By Wras on 18-10-18

It plunges under your skin and invades you.

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

Reviewed: 18-10-18

There is nothing normal about this book; it is more than it should be, deep, turbulent, complex, still and full of subtleties that are furthermore making me think, making me worried for both of the main characters.

A beautiful exploration of human frailty and the mystery of love and dependency, grief and misunderstanding, happiness and acceptance of that good when you feel undeserving of it.

A fantastic read that has left me full of melancholic fillings; absolute magic.

26 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Love Is Blind

  • By: William Boyd
  • Narrated by: Roy McMillan
  • Length: 11 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 406
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 374
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 375

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Love Is Blind by William Boyd. Love Is Blind is William Boyd's sweeping, heart-stopping new novel. Set at the end of the 19th century, it follows the fortunes of Brodie Moncur, a young Scottish musician, about to embark on the story of his life. When Brodie is offered a job in Paris, he seizes the chance to flee Edinburgh and his tyrannical clergyman father, and begin a wildly different new chapter in his life. In Paris, a fateful encounter with a famous pianist irrevocably changes his future - and sparks an obsessive love affair with a beautiful Russian soprano, Lika Blum.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Boyd on Top Form

  • By Mark on 27-09-18

We see very little when we want to.

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

Reviewed: 18-10-18


This is not my usual taste in books but it was written by William Boyd, and that makes it something I would explore. I was not disappointed.

The story is a beautiful period piece that describes time and places in a beautiful way and develops a plot and characters you naturally care for; Brodie Moncur became real and his travels and period became alive, and his fictitious life was real for a few spackling hours.

A definite yes, if you like good writing and something delicate.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • First Love Last Rites

  • By: Ian McEwan
  • Narrated by: Mark Meadows
  • Length: 5 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    2.5 out of 5 stars 2

Taut, brooding and densely atmospheric, these stories show us the ways in which murder can arise out of boredom, perversity can result from adolescent curiosity and sheer evil might be the solution to unbearable loneliness. 

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Perverted amoral tails

  • By Wras on 29-09-18

Perverted amoral tails

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

Reviewed: 29-09-18

Content.
"Solid Geometry" A twisted murder with sexual overtones.

"First Love, Last Rites" Pregnant rats and lovemaking, anyone's cup of tea?

"Last Day of Summer" Desperate people find comfort on each other but have limited fillings for any person; this one is to my taste the most approachable but by no means expect any ordinary outcome or happiness.

"Butterflies" paedophilia and murder or an afternoon by the canal absolutely horrible; an exploration of the worst in humanity as if it was an unfortunate occurrence.

"Homemade" incest normalised for no reason with no moral, just incest.
"Cocker at the Theatre" the comedy, in the form of porno theatre. not funny.

"Disguises" cross-dressing a child by force, first awakenings all confused, no point just a tale that is inconclusive.

A very disappointing collection that took me places I had no need to go and left me cold and empty.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Slow Horses

  • Slough House, Book 1
  • By: Mick Herron
  • Narrated by: Sean Barrett
  • Length: 9 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,117
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,049
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,046

Slough House is Jackson Lamb’s kingdom; a dumping ground for members of the intelligence service who’ve screwed up: left a secret file on a train, blown surveillance, or become drunkenly unreliable. They’re the service’s poor relations – the slow horses – and bitterest among them is River Cartwright, whose days are spent transcribing mobile phone conversations.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • More Smiley than Pilgrim

  • By Robert on 17-08-17

Politically correctness, almost killed the book

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

Reviewed: 15-09-18

We live in a funny time where writers must self-flagellate if they use terrorism as a plot device unless they make it a totally devoid of reality; so they are made to write Terrorist plots perpetrated by groups that have not ever committed terrorism to be fair to groups that have, making the story a parody of what it would be if written with true headline protagonists, I am sorry to say that this is one those books.
I only hope that the next book is not compromised by the Voldemort effect and allows the good characters shine instead of being PC.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Fear

  • Trump in the White House
  • By: Bob Woodward
  • Narrated by: Robert Petkoff
  • Length: 12 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,186
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,051
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,043

The inside story on President Trump, as only Bob Woodward can tell it. With authoritative reporting honed through eight presidencies from Nixon to Obama, author Bob Woodward reveals in unprecedented detail the harrowing life inside President Donald Trump’s White House and precisely how he makes decisions on major foreign and domestic policies. Woodward draws from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, personal diaries, files and documents. The focus is on the explosive debates and the decision-making in the Oval Office, the Situation Room, Air Force One and the White House residence. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • balanced and the text is served well by narration.

  • By David W. on 12-09-18

A balanced look at imperial dysfunction

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

Reviewed: 15-09-18

A very well written account of a time in history that reads like a novel, but is based in one of the stranges events of our period, a detailed view of how Trump was moved into the presidency of America and a look at how the dysfunction of that election has permeated the governance of the United States.
The media has focused on a few events and comments made about Trump, but this is an ensemble of this function that has many layers if anything Trump is described with compassion because through all his shortcomings he is a tragedy of mental illness and ignorance being used by the powers that surround him.
This book also shows a more complex set of players than the two-tone presented by the two tribes; we are presented with the intricacies of world power and the historical responsibilities this entails. Also, the dangers of not understanding that money is not the ultimate power but one of many.
I am sure the second part of this story will be just as thrilling, but will we survive it?

4 of 7 people found this review helpful