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Deborah

Chipping Norton, United Kingdom
  • 33
  • reviews
  • 96
  • helpful votes
  • 46
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  • My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece

  • By: Annabel Pitcher
  • Narrated by: David Tennant
  • Length: 5 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 491
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 320
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 320

Ten-year-old Jamie Matthews has just moved to the Lake District with his Dad and his teenage sister, Jasmine for a 'Fresh New Start'. Five years ago his sister's twin, Rose, was blown up by a terrorist bomb. His parents are wrecked by their grief, Jasmine turns to piercing, pink hair and stops eating. The family falls apart. But Jamie hasn't cried in all that time. To him Rose is just a distant memory.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Enthralling!

  • By Mrs A. on 18-05-11

Heavy subjects superficially dealt with

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 22-08-12

I am one of the minority; this didn't enthrall or capture me nor make me cry. It deals with some heavy subject matter - abandonment, anorexia, grief, alcoholism, bullying, racism - but in a somewhat superficial way. The pressure is piled onto poor Jamie until I was convinced he would buckle under the strain - I listen in about 80 minute chunks, and there was one section, maybe the penultimate, where I emerged from the gym sunk in gloom after listening to unrelenting misery for the whole time.
The friendship with Sunya is nicely drawn, as is the relationship between Jamie and Jas, but the adults are thinly drawn sketches.
I couldn't believe that anyone would let Jamie's dad get away with his behaviour at the school - he should have been prosecuted! I couldn't believe that Jamie's mum would be quite so dense, couldn't believe that the parents let their grief become so corrosive (I live in a family that has experienced the sudden death of a child, so I speak from experience here), couldn't believe the school was so blind to the bullying and parental neglect, and couldn't quite believe that the final catalyst was enough.
Nicely read, if a touch on the chirpy side at times, but then I suppose the narrator is only 10 so maybe the style was appropriate.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Hum and the Shiver

  • The Tufa Novels, Book 1
  • By: Alex Bledsoe
  • Narrated by: Emily Janice Card, Stefan Rudnicki
  • Length: 9 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 48
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 41
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 42

No one knows where the Tufa came from or how they ended up in the mountains of east Tennessee. When the first Europeans came to the Smoky Mountains, the Tufa were already there. Dark-haired and enigmatic, they live quietly in the hills and valleys of Cloud County, their origins lost to history. But there are clues in their music, hidden in the songs they have passed down for generations.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • At last, a fantasy with a bit of depth !

  • By Amazon Customer on 11-03-12

Engaging and different

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-05-12

A strange mix of a book - I was setting myself up for a standard mystery-folk-who-might-be-magical-living-with nature sorta thing, but was quite quickly jarred out of that. The Tufa are no cute backwoods folk, strummin' their guitars and spouting homilies; they can be nasty, crude and casually violent. On the other hand, they love their children, respect their parents and get joy from their music. So in short they can come across as normal folk - but there's a strangeness about them and what's with their music???

So what is this story? It's essentially about Bronwyn, who spent her early years fighting what she saw as a pre-ordained path by rebelling with a capital "R" and ultimately running away to the army. The book starts with her coming home from Iraq a decorated and (reluctantly on her part ) much feted hero. She's been badly injured, and as she struggles to sort out her concussed head and traumatised body, things are not quite as she expected back home. There's a "haint" - or ghost - that needs to talk with her, the family are seeing death omens everywhere, there's a new preacher trying with patient decency to engage with his new flock, and there's an underlying sense of threat. There are a host of well drawn supporting characters, a well conceived and developed world, and if things are a tad slow to start with, they gather a pace and I was totally absorbed by the final sections.

There's a fair degree of swearing and while there's no loving descriptions of sex, seemingly essential in certain genres these days, there's sexual talk and imagery, some of it pretty crude. It's in context though, and mostly sits within the storyline, altho it grated occasionally.

As to the narration - there are two narrators, alternating chapters, or clusters of chapters. Both do fine, but he has a very distinct, dark, deep voice that took me a while to take to - that said, by the end he sounded just fine! Well read, characters well inhabited and differentiated - a good listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Moon over Soho

  • Rivers of London, Book 2
  • By: Ben Aaronovitch
  • Narrated by: Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
  • Length: 10 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,242
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4,360
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,344

I was my dad's vinyl-wallah: I changed his records while he lounged around, and that's how I know my Argo from my Tempo. And it's why, when Dr Walid called me to the morgue to listen to a corpse, I recognised the tune it was playing. Something violently supernatural had happened to the victim, strong enough to leave its imprint like a wax cylinder recording.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very good sequel

  • By P. J. Williams on 05-08-11

Brilliant, wonderful, worth every penny!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 17-04-12

To add my voice to the general clamour of wonderfulness, this is a brilliant sequel, probably better than the first, Rivers of London. The plot is suitably engrossing, the characters well developed, and if there's less of Nightingale and Lesley, then there's a lot of Simone, who's... well, listen and see for yourselves!

Stunningly well read, I'm not sure if reading the books will be as good as listening, given the lovely reading by Mr H-S. He totally inhabits his characters, manages a range of accents from Ghanaian to Glasgow via Essex, copes manfully with the female characters, and even makes the more intimate scenes (ahem!) non-ew'ey, if you know what I mean. Having listened to Rivers of London and this back-to-back I am now bereft. I just hate breaking in a new audio book after a brilliant long listen...

Buy this, but you have to listen to Rivers of London first; you'll be totally absorbed for hours! Promise.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Twice Dead

  • A Novel of Haven
  • By: Kalayna Price
  • Narrated by: Piper Goodeve
  • Length: 11 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 20
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 12

Newly undead shifter-turned-vampire Kita Nekai is coming to grips with the reality that her cat has not awakened since her change. What she needs is a little time to adjust to her new liquid diet and the increasingly complex attraction to her sire, Nathanial. What she gets is a headless harlequin.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Oay - but our heroine still hasn't grown up!

  • By Deborah on 28-01-12

Oay - but our heroine still hasn't grown up!

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-01-12

I don't really agree with the other reviewer about the narrator - I think she does a pretty okay job of personifying the various characters. But...
I said in my review of the first book in this series (Once Bitten) that I found the heroine adolescent and whiny, and she hasn't changed that much! The first 10 or so chapters (about 2, 2.5 hours of listening) were, for me, quite uncomfortable, in that Kita is coerced, totally against her will, into actions and behaviours that are out of character. That the result of some of these actions was a form of sexual relief, made this section uncomfortably close to rape. AND, if Nathaniel hadn't been such an indulgent idiot, and Kita such a head-in-the-sand idiot, the whole section would have been avoided. But then there'd have been no first section of the book... Anyhow, once that section is over with, things do improve, but I wish Kita would stop saying "Crap" every time things go wrong, especially things she reeeeealllly should have see coming!
This is a tense story line, with a blood and body filled resolution very late in the day. Bobby doesn't get much of a look-in, we get a hint of changes in Kita that are extraordinary, she and Nathaniel get no closer to resolving or even flaming talking about their relationship, so no doubt book 3 will start with all the misunderstandings, mistrust and mistakes of books 1 and 2. Will I be reading or downloading it? Not totally sure - but don't' get me wrong, this is a reasonably exciting, nail-biting, cliff-hanging sort of book with suitably bad baddies and are-they-or-aren't-they goodies that is a good way to occupy a few hours - but be prepared for the occasional desire to smack some heads together!

  • Once Bitten

  • A Novel of Haven
  • By: Kalayna Price
  • Narrated by: Piper Goodeve
  • Length: 10 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 25
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 14

Kita Nekai, on the run and the smallest of her shifter clan-a calico cat among lions and tigers-is being hunted. She was expected to accept her role as her father's successor whether or not her cat was up to the task of leading the clan. She disagreed. Now she's less than a step ahead of the hunters, bone-tired, cold, and living hand-to-mouth in the city of Haven.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Absorbing, but with a petulant, adolescent heroine

  • By Deborah on 30-12-11

Absorbing, but with a petulant, adolescent heroine

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 30-12-11

I kept waiting for the 22/23-year-old heroine, who's lived rough, and solo, for 5 years to display a hint of adult capability or emotion - but for most of the book she seems stuck as a whiney, petulant, over-touchy adolescent. She tells one of the main male characters several times that she "hates him" - works usually used by 8-year-olds whose mothers won't let them go play, radiates sullen "it's-not-fair", and rejects any offers of friendship or support - I felt quite sorry for Nathaniel at times.
However, while I did get a tad fed up with Kitter, the world building is good, the other characters better drawn and less teenage (Nathaniel is 400 years old after all), and the ending is truly absorbing, running right up to, and slightly over, a deadly deadline, and with a very well described, and rather gruesome, finale. We end with Kitter maybe, just maybe, a smidgen more resigned to her lot, and with her set up as a supernatural investigator for the subsequent series.
Worth the listen, and well read with clear definition between characters - but for heavens sake buy it through Amazon for the cheaper price, you come back to your Audible account, but keep the cheaper price - and I'll be downloading the sequel.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Princess Ben

  • Being a Wholly Truthful Account of her Various Discoveries and Misadventures
  • By: Catherine Gilbert Murdock
  • Narrated by: Catherine Gilbert Murdock
  • Length: 7 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3

Benevolence is not your typical princess and Princess Ben is certainly not your typical fairy tale. With her parents lost to unknown assassins, Princess Ben ends up under the thumb of the conniving Queen Sophia, who is intent on marrying her off to the first available "specimen of imbecilic manhood." Starved and miserable, locked in the castle's highest tower, Ben stumbles upon a mysterious enchanted room. So begins her secret education in the magical arts.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Most definitely one for the younger listeners...

  • By Deborah on 02-10-11

Most definitely one for the younger listeners...

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-10-11

While I sort of knew this was a "young adult" book, I hadn't realised just how "young" the "adults" need to be to enjoy this. I would say this was more aimed at the10/11 year old girl, whereas "Young adult" says 16+ to me. So that out of the way, I have to say that I really, really didn't warm to Ben. She spends most of the book a self-centred, spoilt, gluttonous, greedy, self-centred (did I say that already - cos she really, really is!) prima donna. That she is a little fatty goes almost without saying, and nothing wrong with not being a classic sylph-like princess, but she is totally obsessed with food; she stuffs it down, spilling it over her clothes, over her face, in her hair, and yes, she turns to food when her world is turned upside down, but even when she's totally removed from her comfort zone, and filled with resolve to escape and save her country, she STILL obsesses about it, and when she returns home, after some serious adventuring, what's the first thing she does? Asks for food and shovels it down until she feels sick... I thought the overeating / food obsessing overdone, and consequently found Ben seriously unsympathetic.
Which is a shame, because in all other ways this is a classic little fairy tale, engagingly read by its author, complete with hard-hearted aunt (standing in for the wicked step mother), dragon, magic, princes, princesses, skulduggery, adventure, redemption etc etc etc - so if you think you can take the gluttonous, self-absorbed heroine who does, right towards the end, come through as a good 'un, then this is otherwise not bad, but most definitely not one for not-so-young-adults who usually enjoy young-adult books.

  • Shadow Blade

  • Shadowchasers, Book 1
  • By: Seressia Glass
  • Narrated by: Allyson Johnson
  • Length: 9 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 12
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 5

For Kira Solomon, normal was never an option. Kira's day job is as an antiquities expert, but her true calling is as a Shadowchaser. Trained from youth to be one of the most lethal Chasers in existence, Kira serves the Gilead Commission, dispatching the Fallen who sow discord and chaos. Of course, sometimes Gilead bureaucracy is as much a thorn in her side as anything the Fallen can muster against her. Right now, though, she's got a bigger problem....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Absorbing story with strong character in the lead

  • By Deborah on 12-09-11

Absorbing story with strong character in the lead

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-09-11

As the synopsis says, this is a book narrated, mostly, from Kira's point of view, although once Khefar comes along, there's also some sections that are all his. Kira is a strong, capable, lonely and alone lass, who can never touch anyone without essentially destroying them - something of a killer when it comes to relationships and friendship. She's determinedly independent, so when Khefar comes along she's not disposed to be welcoming - indeed doesn't even know if she should be.
This was slightly repetitive initially - we hear about her childhood at least twice I think - and there's a fair amount of internal thinking and talking, but it works. I listened to this over 5 sessions, and was always keen to get back to it, it picks up towards the end, and ends well, with the sequel no doubt already written! It's fairly classic urban fantasy, in that the real world is tweaked slightly to allow for magic, a psychic vampire, demons, shadow chasers, not forgetting a nigh-on immortal Nubian. There's a lurve interest, but it's kept low key at this stage, and the principle characters aren't white, which is unusual in the genre; this isn't made a great issue of, but it's nice to move away from the classic blond with blue eyes or red-head with alabaster skin (like the heroine in my latest paper book!).
It is well read, with a cast of accents that the narrator mostly keeps up well. Her English accent was to my English ear not that brilliant, but Khefar, Anency, Kira's friends, the vampire chappie whose name escapes me and others are all well read and easily distinguishable.
I'll be getting the sequel, which is read by the same narrator, and see there is a third already available on Audible.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Mystery of Grace

  • By: Charles de Lint
  • Narrated by: Paul Michael Garcia, Tai Sammons
  • Length: 9 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 16
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 9

Grace, as her friends call her, has a Ford Motor Company tattoo running down her leg and grease worked deep into her hands. She works at Sanchez Motorworks customizing hot rods. Finding the line in a classic car is her calling. Now Grace has to find the line in her own life. Grace loves John, and John loves her, and that would be wonderful, except that John, like Grace, has unfinished business: he's haunted by the childhood death of his younger brother. He's never stopped feeling responsible.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • highly recommended

  • By colin on 21-01-13

Thought provoking and considered...

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-08-11

First things first - this is brilliantly read, especially by Tai Sammons, who, to be fair, reads the lion's share, but her accents, and her voicing of the various characters is great. Don't get me wrong, the male narrator does an ok job, but he's reading a lot of women, and doesn't do so well.
This starts with alternate chapters, which are quite long from a listening perspective, read by either Grace or John, ending with all Grace, and underneath the love story, underneath the mystery of Grace, and Conchita, and Henry, and all the others, lies a moral tale about coping with grief and loss, about learning who we are, about moving on, and on the importance of friends.
I spent the first third or so wondering how de Lint was going to resolve the love story, reckoning I had it sussed. I was wrong, oh so very wrong, and I spent the final third wondering how this could end, and again, thought I saw how things might go, and was again wrong!
This builds both a credible love affair, and a very credible friendship, despite the whole thing hinging on the fairly incredible premise that Grace is dead, and yet able to meet, engage with and fall for John - who falls equally hard for Grace.
I loved the ending, loved the resolution of some issues and the fact that other issues didn't need resolution by that stage...
Why not 5 stars? Well, there are some longish internal monologues that I found I wanted over - if I'd been reading I'd have skipped a few pages!

  • The Girl with Glass Feet

  • By: Ali Shaw
  • Narrated by: Jilly Bond
  • Length: 10 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 49
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 19
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 19

A mysterious and frightening metamorphosis has befallen Ida MacLaird – she is slowly turning into glass, from the feet up. She returns to St Hauda’s Land, where she believes the glass first took hold, in the vain hope of finding the one man who might just be able to cure her… Midas Crook is a young loner, who has lived on the islands his entire life. When he meets Ida, something about her sad, defiant spirit pierces his emotional defences.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Compellingly frustating

  • By Nicola on 21-02-11

Beautifully written, but strangely frustrating!

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-07-11

This is essentially a book about people - change the glass feet for cancer and the plot wouldn't really be that different. However...
I agree with the other reviewer that its hard to believe people can be so relentlessly unable to communicate - his parents, the Japanese guy, Midas - none of them TALK! The prose is lovely, with some beautiful descriptions of the land and weather, and the inner thoughts of Midas and Ida and the other characters that are given a voice, some only briefly, are always interesting, but I found myself sometimes thinking "just get on with it for heaven's sake"! I don't think I'd have had the patience to read it, and would certainly have read the end long before I reached it.
Well read, if a little chirpily at times - the narrator has to be related to Samantha Bond the actress (her surname is Bond so its possible). I kept thinking of that TV ad for Aerial washing powder - Brrrrrilliant! She has very similar voice tone and cadence. Her voicing of the various characters was excellent, especially Ida and Midas, the principle characters.
So - good for a long patient listen, worth hanging on in there, and worth it for some lovely descriptions that really catch the ear.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Memory Collector

  • By: Meg Gardiner
  • Narrated by: Tara Ward
  • Length: 10 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8

Forensic psychiatrist Jo Beckett is called to the scene of an aircraft to help deal with an erratic passenger. She figures out that he’s got anterograde amnesia, and can’t form new memories. For every cryptic clue he is able to drag up from his memory, Jo has to sift through a dozen nonsensical statements. Suddenly a string of clues arises, something to do with a deadly biological agent, a missing wife and son, and a secret partnership gone horribly wrong.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Gripping from the very start...

  • By Deborah on 16-04-11

Gripping from the very start...

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 16-04-11

Excellent, gripping, fast moving... There's no need to have read the first Jo Beckett book (Dirty Secrets Club) but it's an equally good book, and reading it will explain some of the background and relationships.
Very well read, especially the female characters; the narrator does a brill English accent, and the Asian policewoman is wonderfully characterised. I agree with the other reviewer that her men sound like heavy smokers!
I really didn't see the ending coming, yeah, yeah there's the expected tidying up of baddies, but there's another story line that kept me wondering right to the end - and the very end, with Gabe's announcement left me looking for the next which is out this summer.
The loss of memory is an unusual plot device; imagine your memory re-setting every 5 minutes back to some point in the recent past, which in our hero's case, is the news that his family have been kidnapped. That re-setting can never be cancelled, even if the last fixed memory proves false, he's totally stuck in that loop - and each time it's explained to him, he recognises the awfulness of it all, if only for a few minutes. That was the plot line ending that caught me out.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful