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K. J. Noyes

West Yorkshire, UK
  • 91
  • reviews
  • 191
  • helpful votes
  • 91
  • ratings
  • Unexpected Twist

  • By: Michael Rosen
  • Narrated by: Michael Rosen
  • Length: 4 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1

Shona and her dad are moving house, and at Shona's new school, the rules are pretty confusing; she keeps getting into trouble without realising! It's a lot like how it is for Oliver Twist, that boy she's reading about in English class. After Shona is unexpectedly given a mobile phone, she begins to suspect there's something fishy about the new boys she's met. Where did the phone come from? And some gifts, she soon learns, aren't exactly free....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Two-pronged Oliver story...

  • By K. J. Noyes on 20-02-19

Two-pronged Oliver story...

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

Reviewed: 20-02-19

Two-pronged Oliver story, using the original alongside a modern school setting.

Rosen inserts extracts of Dickens into a school story of a new girl having trouble keeping out of it. Shona has moved to a new school, and is very sensitive about her home life and family, her Dad's benefits have been stopped. As she meets people and must decide whether to trust them or not, her class reads parts of Oliver Twist which interact and mesh with events in the real world.

It's a great way for readers to access the classic, making it an adaptation that uses the text, shortened, but keeping the story pretty much intact.

I've read Oliver Twist, but a while ago, so some of this seemed unfamiliar. It could be understood by fairly young readers though, top end of primary school won't have trouble with the language of the extracts selected.

Shona is sympathetic, though I didn't really feel anyone else stood out as a character in school. I was most interested in this to see the connections between the Dickens and the school story. Great idea, and it worked well. Would hopefully be useful in classrooms for KS2/3 lessons on PSHE, Victorians, Dickens.

Rosen reads the book himself, and as a well-practiced speaker, he's an engaging narrator. Oliver Twist works when read aloud, as the narrator of this is also talking direct to audience at times.

With thanks to Nudge Books for the sample Audible copy.

  • The Wall

  • By: John Lanchester
  • Narrated by: Will Poulter
  • Length: 6 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 93
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 88
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 88

Kavanagh begins his life patrolling the Wall. If he's lucky, if nothing goes wrong, he only has two years of this, 729 more nights. The best thing that can happen is that he survives and gets off the Wall and never has to spend another day of his life anywhere near it. He longs for this to be over; longs to be somewhere else. He will soon find out what Defenders do and who the Others are. Along with the rest of his squad, he will endure cold and fear day after day, night after night. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good listen, but lacking subtlety

  • By Miko on 20-01-19

Strong first half in a frightening dystopia

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

Reviewed: 18-02-19

Stronger first half in a dystopia that is incredibly relevant and frightening.

Narrated by Kavanagh, the bleakness of his world is apparent from the offset. It's our world, with walls and all, such a pertinent topic in 2019... everyone must take their turn guarding the country on a Wall against the Others, those wanting to infiltrate his society.

Spending days and days on duty, Kavanagh gives us an insight into a society where fear of the outsider trumps all others, where even parents are resented for not having had to patrol in their turn.

We see training, the boredom of duty, the confusion and pain of attacks, the comradeship that develops between the Defenders.

I preferred the first half that featured all of the above, the second half, a lot happens and Kavanagh's situation changes rapidly and depressingly. There are more points to be made earlier on.

This was an audio read for me, and I found it a fascinating listen, almost a diary, and the first person perspective made it a straightforward listen. Will Poulter gave Kavanaugh a youthful yet jaded voice.

Bleak, despondent, but still a relevant and thoughtful story.

With thanks to Nudge Books for providing a sample Audible copy.

  • Crackanory (Series 1)

  • By: Nico Tatarowicz, Toby Davies, Holly Walsh, and others
  • Narrated by: Jack Dee, Sharon Horgan, Sarah Solemani, and others
  • Length: 2 hrs and 40 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11

Imagine if Jackanory was set free from its childish shackles. What twisted, funny tales would it unleash upon the world? Inspired by the popular children’s TV show Crackanory combines some of the UK’s best comedy writers and performers. From much-loved funnyman Jack Dee narrating a story of a man who quickly becomes the World’s most-hated after tweeting a celebrity to actress and writer Sharon Hogan telling a story of a political translator getting creative with her interpreting, expect to be amused further by the likes of Hugh Dennis, Sally Phillips and Richard Hammond.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loved them

  • By Anonymous User on 02-01-19

Darkly comic adult stories

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

Reviewed: 17-02-19

Darkly comic adult stories, some excellent ideas that kept my attention through.

Just series 1, an Audible exclusive. I never saw the TV series but did hear about it, and was very happy to see this in an audio format, as of course, stories such as these are designed for listening to.

Eleven stories, each read by a 'name', each only 15 minutes in length. So SO dark in places, but brilliantly comic, each with their own little moral lesson at the end.

My favourites were 'Bitter Tweet', about the impact of one Twitter comment on the life of the sender, 'Fakespeare' about a newly-found Shakespeare play and the writer who discovers it, and 'Becoming Zoe' and the postman's obsessive love for one of his customers.

Each story comes from a different writer, and the talent on display is apparent, each keeping a similar tone and pace. It's all very adult, relevant and contemporary, each could be filmed as a TV series I would say.

No reader hindered the storytelling, a few stories I didn't find as strong/memorable as the others, but that is down to personal taste. I loved having these to listen to on commutes/walks, and would definitely like to hear further episodes from the series.

With thanks to Nudge Books for providing a sample Audible copy.

  • Testament of Youth

  • By: Vera Brittain
  • Narrated by: Sheila Mitchell
  • Length: 23 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 51
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 45
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 47

This classic memoir of the First World War is now a major motion picture starring Alicia Vikander and Kit Harington. In 1914 Vera Brittain was 20, and as war was declared she was preparing to study at Oxford. Four years later her life - and the lives of her whole generation - had changed in a way that would have been unimaginable in the tranquil prewar era.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Almost impossible to listen to

  • By Julia on 12-03-16

Powerful and effecting memoir.

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

Reviewed: 23-01-19

Powerful and effecting memoir, a timely feminist read.

My mum has been persuading me to read this for at least twenty years. For some reason, I never did. I knew the story, and saw the recent film last year, and decided it was time, with the commemorations for the 100 years since the end of the First World War, to pick this up.

Though I decided that the style of this would suit an audio-read, and downloaded the Audible (24 hour) version. Though this did take me nearly a fortnight to listen to, I was engrossed in the early 1900s world of Brittain's youth.

It's just heart-breaking, listening to Vera as a mature adult look back at the world of 1914, at her own diaries, letters and poems from the time the world changed forever.

Knowing what was going to happen, it didn't lessen the pain I felt for Vera as each death occurs, seeing her continue to live, seeing her as typifying the experience of so many others.

Testament of Youth takes us from Vera's middle class adolescence as she grew up amidst the years of Women's Suffrage and struggled to earn a place at Oxford to the years of the War and beyond.

The experiences are so vivid, Vera's time nursing, with honest appraisals of the systems, people and behaviours. Quite eye-opening, seeing as Florence Nightingale had revolutionised nursing not too long before.

I cried a few times, there are such moving letters between brother and sister, an incredible relationship kept up even in a war. And I really felt for the young Vera and the naïve outlook that her older counterpart looks back on with a world-weary air. This is very-well conveyed as an audiobook with the narrator giving the Vera of 1914-18 a different voice and air to that of the older woman. The style of writing suits an audiobook perfectly as well, as the writer is addressing her reader directly making it very easy to follow aurally.

Enjoyed the 'post' war parts slightly less than Vera's WWI experiences, but I did like seeing her views on the suffrage movement and how women's rights and treatment in society altered after 1918.

A very important book, written for the ages, will not fail to impress itself upon you.

  • The Unteachables

  • By: Gordon Korman
  • Narrated by: Sarah Beth Goer, Oliver Wyman, Josh Hurley, and others
  • Length: 6 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1

The Unteachables never thought they’d find a teacher who had a worse attitude than they did. Mr. Kermit never thought he would actually care about teaching again. Over the course of a school year, though, room 117 will experience mayhem, destruction - and maybe even a shot at redemption.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Perfect 'Mr Chips'-like uplifting fare for KS2/KS3

  • By K. J. Noyes on 12-01-19

Perfect 'Mr Chips'-like uplifting fare for KS2/KS3

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

Reviewed: 12-01-19

A good teacher gone to seed. A class of misfits the system has given up on. While you might guess how the story is generally going to unfold, it was an absolute pleasure listening to the multiple narrators tell their story of a year in the Unteachables.

The protagonist arguably is Kiana, only registering at the school for a few weeks while her mum is away working, and due to her stepmother's preoccupation with a baby, finds herself in a 'special class' with only six other students.

And trying to survive his last year before early retirement is teacher Mr Kermit, still jaded from a decades-old scandal he was unfairly implicated in. Doing the time, set the Unteachables class by a superintendent keen to force him to resign, his teaching methods include completing the puzzles in the newspaper every day and setting worksheets he never marks. He's just waiting for June and he's out of there...

But the seven students in his class - with anger issues, bad attitudes, the inability to read - they may still have something to teach themselves.

Multiple actors voice the roles of the children and adults who share the story, making it very clear who is speaking. I loved the structure, hearing everyone's own take on the class and how gradually they all start to affect each other. It's an ideal novel to listen to, first person with lots of voices that are easily identifiable and an easy-to-follow story.

The oft-utilised 'problem child' scenario is very nicely developed with several different issues experienced by the Unteachables cast, each humanised and shown to be someone who needs the right help, the right guidance... and just maybe so does their teacher.

Mr Kermit is made very sympathetic, and the story manages to fit in without issue an arc for each major character, bringing in business from years past. Readers will be cheering by the end (I was smiling broadly) and warmed.

No issues with language or violence, no mature themes, this is perfect material for ages 9-14.

With thanks to Nudge Books for providing a sample Audible copy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Atomic Marriage

  • By: Curtis Sittenfeld
  • Narrated by: Diane Lane
  • Length: 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5

All marriages are hard. Many of them fail. Brock Lewis, an evangelical businessman turned self-published author, has the answer. Follow his international bestselling book’s 12-point “Atomic Doctrine” - make eye contact with your spouse? Always! Use the bathroom in front of them? Never! - and you, too, can build a marriage that thrives.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Short, neat and astute look at modern marriage...

  • By K. J. Noyes on 06-01-19

Short, neat and astute look at modern marriage...

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

Reviewed: 06-01-19

...through a Hollywood lens.

Multi-million bestselling self-help author Brock Lewis is visited by a Hollywood studio broker. His 'Atomic Doctrine' gives couples finding their marriages failing a series of rules to live by, from always kissing/hugging on meeting and leaving your spouse to never behaving in your own bathroom other than as you would in an airport bathroom.

Heather is coming to meet with Lewis in order to persuade him to allow a gay couple to feature in the forthcoming Hollywood rom-com adaptation of his book, knowing his evangelical leanings. She is invited to spend the night with his family to discuss her agenda. Her own marriage already quite sedate and drab, their initial conversations spark an immediate yearning in Heather, despite their differences in morality and the display of his own perfect-seeming marriage.

I could identify with Heather's situation, and her unbidden passion for someone she neither knows nor agrees with, and enjoyed the portrayal of the two contrasting marriages, as well as the closer observation of the imperfections.

At less than an hour in length, it's a short story that feels finished and rounded. I didn't yearn for a longer novel as I often do with novellas. I felt satisfied by the scope and conclusion of the story, and the issues raised and exposed.

It's a female narration, as I've come to know from Sittenfeld, with a mature woman bringing a little life experience to the character, and men, while they are given a voice, are background to Heather. Diane Lane, the voice artist, complements the character, giving both the experience and the impulsiveness required.

An intriguing listen, whether as a fan or someone new to the author. Will appeal more to female readers, though men will probably find the female perspective quite frank.

With thanks to Nudge for providing a sample Audible copy.

  • The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

  • By: R. A. Dick
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth Jasicki
  • Length: 5 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2

Burdened by debt after her husband's death, Lucy Muir insists on moving into the very cheap Gull Cottage in the quaint seaside village of Whitecliff, despite multiple warnings that the house is haunted. Upon discovering the rumors to be true, the young widow ends up forming a special companionship with the ghost of handsome former sea captain Daniel Gregg. Lucy finds in her secret relationship with Captain Gregg a comfort and blossoming love she never could have predicted. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Classic film's source novel.

  • By K. J. Noyes on 31-12-18

Classic film's source novel.

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

Reviewed: 31-12-18

I've seen both the fim and a theatrical adaptation, enjoying the gentle humour of both. The lifetime of friendship between a widow and the ghost inhabiting her house is a warm one, and very much set in its time.

Lucy Muir has two young children when her husband dies. They must find an affordable new house, and Gull Cottage, mostly because of the supposed haunting by a previous occupant, proves the perfect place for them. Lucy immediately discovers that the haunting is very real, Captain Gregg is a salty, worldly old ghost, who 'allows' her to stay in his house if she promises to leave it to retired sailors in her will.

This is just the start of a lifelong relationship, one that shows affection, care and annoyance, almost a marriage! Lucy watches her children grow up and leave her, sometimes less than appreciatively, and in need of money, it is Captain Gregg who offers her the solution.

Mrs Muir is very much a woman of her time, embarrassed at the thought of using a pawn shop, concerned with appearances. Her son Cyril exemplifies old-fashioned values, daughter Anna pushing for a more modern outlook as Lucy herself ages and wants only their happiness. The oldest of them all, Gregg, sees their lives and wishes in the clearest light of all, with the perspective of a much-travelled and experienced sailor, shocked by nothing.

The unspoken affection (similar in some ways to 'The Remains of the Day') is understated but evident, as Lucy (or 'Lucia' as Gregg calls her) ages, he remains constant.

I didn't question the paranormal element at all, I just enjoyed the nostalgic feeling of the 1940s setting and outlook.

This made a very congenial listen, with a female voice conveying the upper class but slightly naive Lucy at the same time as the salty sea dog Gregg without sounding false. Lucy's voice even aged and matured as she did.

Lovely period piece, even if I could only picture Rex Harrison as Captain Gregg.

With thanks to Nudge Books for providing a sample Audible copy.

  • Holidays on Ice

  • By: David Sedaris
  • Narrated by: David Sedaris, Amy Sedaris, Ann Magnuson
  • Length: 4 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 137
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 107
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 107

Holidays on Ice collects six of David Sedaris' most profound Christmas stories into one volume. This drinking-man's companion can be enjoyed by the warmth of a fire, the glow of a brilliantly decorated tree, or even in the backseat of a police car. Here is the timeless "SantaLand Diaries", which immortalised the struggle of department store elves the world over. Here is "Dinah, the Christmas Whore", in which the Sedaris family opens its heart to an unexpected, almost Mary Magdalene-like visitor. Plus five additional holiday-themed stories to make you ho ho ho.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The subversive, funny, absurd side of Xmas

  • By Jim Vaughan on 18-12-13

Deliciously dark collection of festive stories

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

Reviewed: 23-12-18

I've had these waiting on my phone for months, deciding to listen to this in December in the run-up to Christmas. While it doesn't give much festive feeling, admittedly, I was amused from beginning to end with the subversion and black humour.

Of course, the centrepiece, a narration of a Macy's elf and his work life is very funny. The longest of the stories, it's the reason I bought this collection in the first place and is totally worth it. My other favourites were the 'Round Robin Christmas letter 'that escalates quickly from the usual boasts to a hideously dark story, and the one-man-upmanship that likewise takes on a very, very black turn. The animal story of a Secret Santa with a sting in the tail is also wonderfully morbid. For those alone, this is recommended, but the other stories also have their merits.

I loved listening to this, I got to smirk along with the author as he told me his own stories. They translate very well to audio, some are told to the listener/reader straight anyway. Sedaris is a talented reader, definitely one I'd listen to again.

I just love subversion, especially of traditional themes, so this collection was right up my street. I'll probably listen to it again next December as well.

  • Dodge & Twist

  • An Audible Original Drama
  • By: Tony Lee
  • Narrated by: Matt Lucas, Stephen Mangan, Michael Socha, and others
  • Length: 4 hrs and 56 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 36
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36

It’s rumoured that Dickens wanted to return to his classic novel Oliver Twist, to bring him back into a later book as an older character, but he never managed this before he died. However, if Oliver had returned, what would he have been like? Would the scars of his childhood affect the man he would become? And what of ‘Dodger’, sent to a land halfway around the world, his friend, mentor and master dead because of Oliver? Dodge & Twist is that story. The tale of two boys, 12 years later, returning into each other’s lives - for both good and bad.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great fun. Love the dramatics.

  • By Dicky on 10-01-19

Dramatised follow-on with 'twists' of its own

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

Reviewed: 22-12-18

Dramatized format works wonderfully - psychologically dark, follows on nicely from Dickens.

A follow-on, in the approximate language of Dickens, that takes place years after the end of Oliver Twist. I believe it is based on Tony Lee's own graphic novel of 2011, but having not read this I cannot compare.

I can though, comment on this audio presentation. The story itself was suitably dark, with psychological elements, a few in-jokes (even a reference to the Carol Reed musical?!), with familiar characters meeting new ones that wouldn't have been out of place in a Dickens' novel.

Oliver returns to London a decade after leaving it with his guardian, his circumstances requiring him to return. He runs into Dodger of course, also back in London after being transported for his crimes, and the two form an uneasy alliance as Oliver is persuaded to help his old friend commit a crime in exchange for financial assistance.

This worked so well as an audiobook, with the whole story dramatised, no narrator slowing down the action, the characters speak their thoughts to us, converse openly, and with sound effects in the scenes, the scenes came alive. Some great voices as well, a few famous voices were recognisable and the young men playing the lead characters did sound like older versions of Oliver and Dodger, those you might imagine if familiar with either the book or the musical.

With Fagin making an unexpected but sinister reappearance as well, as well as other characters from the novel, it feels like a continuation in many respects, and a story that Dickens might well have approved of. There's a Nancy substitute who manages to feel fairly contemporary as well, and Oliver and Dodger both changed a few times in my estimation and how I wanted their stories to conclude. Some nices 'twists'.

I really enjoyed the story, the idea of it and its execution. Loved hearing this, a great production of sound and voice.

With thanks to Nudge Books for the sample Audible copy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Mascot

  • By: Antony John
  • Narrated by: Maxwell Glick
  • Length: 6 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2

Noah Savino has been stuck in a wheelchair for months. He hates the way people treat him like he’s helpless now. He’s sick of going to physical therapy, where he isn’t making any progress. He’s tired of not having control over his own body. And he misses playing baseball - but not as much as he misses his dad, who died in the car accident that paralyzed Noah. Noah is scared he’ll never feel like his old self again. He doesn’t want people to think of him as different for the rest of his life.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Sincere look at coping with spinal injuries

  • By K. J. Noyes on 22-12-18

Sincere look at coping with spinal injuries

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

Reviewed: 22-12-18

Sincere-feeling look at a boy coping with spinal injuries, grief and facing his demons.

Paralysed in a car crash that killed his dad, Noah is angry. He's angry at his Dad for dying, at his body for not being able to play baseball and for not getting better.

In a story encompassing bullies, friendship, baseball and disability, Noah voices a KS2/KS3 book with feeling.

This would be a good recommendation for boys in particular, there are characters here to latch onto and themes for the age group to relate to.

The narrator of the Audible version brought Noah to life nicely, an authentic young voice that worked well as a listen.

With thanks to Nudge Books for providing a sample Audible copy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful