LISTENER

Jacqueline Kirk

  • 21
  • reviews
  • 28
  • helpful votes
  • 39
  • ratings

Listened twice already! You should read this series never mind this one book.

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

Reviewed: 13-05-19

If you have not read the St Mary’s series you really should; you are in for a treat. Start with book one and work your way through them ALL to this one, you lucky ducks. Slightly different to previous St Mary’s tales in a brilliant way. Don’t want to gave anything away but what an ending! Don’t you just love Leon? No wonder Max does. ‪So proud of Dr B too - he really came through.
A bit of a hint at the end for future books possibly, Ms Taylor??? I hope so!
Zara Ramm is a wonderful narrator. Perfect voice for Max.

Wonderful!

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

Reviewed: 19-11-18

A sweet and enjoyable story that contains the things we love about Fiona. I wish CS McDonald would consider placing several of these wonderful short stories in an anthology. I was just settling in to Fiona’s world and enjoying it greatly when the story came to an end! I would have loved to hear several of them together to get my full “Fiona fix”. Not much of Nathan this time; I’m with Mrs. Quinn - that pair need to get a move on! I loved hearing from Fiona’s parents - it is a beautifully written and hilarious natural-sounding relationship -not to mention Harriet’s short excursion into crime which was wonderful.
Maren Swenson Waxenberg did a fabulous job as usual. For me she is the perfect narrator for these stories.

Wonderfully enjoyable story as Fiona does it again

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

Reviewed: 18-06-18

Trouble has found Fiona again, this time at her cousins wedding - not a spoiler to tell you this. We meet more of her family who are as much of a nightmare as you might imagine. Fortunately wonderful Nathan is on hand to help. (Don’t ever spoil him CJ, he is wonderful!) Found the plot hilarious and cringed for Fiona as she got deeper into hot water. The author achieves a delicate balance of a dreadful situation where a bride is murdered at her wedding rehearsal and the hilarious misadventures of poor Fiona. Fast paced due to clever use of dialogue which was sparking and witty giving the characters energy and making them realistic and believable. Loved the ending which was quite touching as well as being so typical of so many families meaning we can completely empathise with Fiona not just in the ending but from the beginning of the story. As with previous books in the series, I fell for a couple of red herrings. Once again Maren Swenson Waxenberg provides superb narration and is definitely the voice of Fiona. Recommend this book and the rest of the series which I have also reviewed.

First part of a series

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

Reviewed: 30-05-18

Margaret Beaufort recently caught my attention as the possible culprit behind much of the Tudor/ Plantagenet skullduggery. This introduction is a fascinating insight into her early life. I assume this will continue as the author creates the medieval world in which she lived and breathes life into her character, turning her from a name on a family tree to a flesh and blood woman. Can’t wait to find out about the events that made her the successful schemer and very dangerous woman I believe her to be.

3 people found this helpful

Wonderful book highly recommended for lovers of history

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

Reviewed: 18-05-18

I knew little about this part of our medieval history until I joined Audible. Everyone recognises old Henry 8th but his ancestry is fascinating and his mother Elizabeth of York is especially so. Samantha Wilcoxson does a fantastic job of bringing her to life. By the end of the book I felt I knew Elizabeth and she will now always be a real human being to me rather than a two dimensional footnote to these troubled times. This is a superb book that gives the lady the credit she deserves. The author says she had to use her imagination to put together the story of this queen’s life but I don’t think she altered the historical account, she imagined her personality from what she researched in the historical account and projected an inspired story telling of her life and especially her relationship with Henry7th her husband. If she had lived to be an old lady, I wonder if she would have been a positive influence on her son Henry. She should be eulogised as one of the most important women of the medieval period at a time when women were merely baby makers and the property of their fathers and husbands. Loved this book. The narrator, Rachel Beresford does a superb job too, handling all the difficult regional accents brilliantly.

The original game of thrones in ancient Britannia

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

Reviewed: 08-10-17

There is a great deal of wonderful ancient intruigue in this book. There are detailed touches that make it feel authentic- many of them are bloodthirsty as this time was reputed to be and so are in context. The is a beautifully written struggle for power. It is an exciting story and the paranormal twist of a dark prophecy adds an extra dimension to a classic tale that has been replayed in history in every era. The paranormal abilities of the young protagonist are forbidden or at least severely fround upon. Within an atmosphere of political plotting and manoeuvring you will find this is also the touching story of a young girl, Princess Catrin, who is trying to come to terms with her magical abilities, the aforesaid prophecy which directly involves her, whilst addressing her obligations as a valuable bartered bride burgeoning womanhood and dealing with a mother who is infuriatingly unsympathetic and creates some unnecessary problems for Catrin. Her fatalistic father - King Amren is no help and you feel her frustration at her lack of control over her own destiny. Enter the handsome Roman and sort of prisoner, Marcellus who catches Catrin's eye, and whom despite being the enemy seems to be the most heroic and courageous of them all. We all want Catrin and Marcellus to get together but you will enjoy the obstacles that get in their way as well as the details of their beliefs back in the time of the Celtic tribes, druids and Romans. This cleverly written epic tale needs your full attention. There is a lot background information that is relevant to the plot. Definitely worth reading. Narrator Kristin James does a good job voicing the accents - regional English accents are a challenge for any actor.

1 person found this helpful

Once again Fiona's plans go hilarously awry

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

Reviewed: 12-07-17

I meant to keep this book for my Christmas binge but in the end, I couldn't resist having Christmas in July. This book is enjoyable any time of the year. Once again Fiona finds things spiralling out of control, despite her best-laid plans. This time, her family are involved in her Christmas catastrophe. These books are cleverly written with a delightfully light touch and despite the subject matter, full of humour. I cringed for Fiona when her boyfriend Nathan came to dinner with the family, which is just one example of a story filled with scenes that will make you laugh as you realise it is exactly what your own family would have done. Hearing Fiona's thoughts makes you warm to her and understand her reactions. She is a very likeable character. Her Kindergarten class feature more in this story and are another source of humour. The plot is well worked out and keeps you guessing to the end as Fiona stumbles her way towards uncovering the murderer, baled out occasionally by Detective Boyfriend, Nathan. Again, a word for the narrator, Merren Swenson Waxenberg; for me, she is the voice of Fiona, but the way she voices the other characters, not only by changing the pitch of her voice, but also by the rhythm, tone and speed of their speech, is perfect.

Great story, great narrator.

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

Reviewed: 06-07-17

I think Fiona is adorable She is a self-doubting chatterbox who sometimes doesn't know when to shut up. There are some very funny scenes as a consequence of this. Fiona has a normal nice guy boyfriend without any hidden vices or dual intentions, this adds to the book's charm. As the plot develops, and Fiona finds herself in a bit of a jam, her reaction to the situation is hilarious and completely understandable. The way she extracts herself from this situation is one of the main themes of the book. The comedy is gentle but also clever. The dialogue is superbly done, I love the way what Fiona thinks comes straight out of her mouth even at a moment that is not all together suitable. We hear her thoughts and her opinions. I loved the grandmother touch. No spoilers but I kept waiting for a certain person to be freaked out. I look forward to seeing how that plays out in subsequent books. I am so glad the series is now on Audiobook, it is my best chance of enjoying them. The narrator Maren Swenson Waxenberg does an incredible job with C.J. McDonald's great dialogue. She definitely has a gift for voices and gets Fiona just right as well as all the other characters. I would like to give her five stars too.

Fiona is a loveable chatterbox

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

Reviewed: 06-07-17

I am glad these books are now available on Audible, I have already reviewed Waves of Murder, the book after this one, and put it on Goodreads I will copy it on to Audible. Even though I read the books in the wrong order it did not spoil my enjoyment of this story. This book has a creative and unusual plot that causes a merging of very different worlds and Fiona finds herself mixed up in murder as a consqeuence. Yes, as the title suggests it involves ballet, but not in the way you think. Fiona, the main protagonist is very loveable probably because she has some minor flaws that are instantly forgivable and actually make her more likeable.The story keeps you guessing "who done it" right until the end. There are some surprise touches that I won't mention because they would spoil the story but they add to the enjoyment of the book. The narrator Meren Swenson Waxenberg is superb. As we dedicated Audiobookers know, the narrator is almost as important as the story and Ms. Swenson Waxenberg is now on my list of narrators to watch out for.
This book is perfect for a relaxing read. It will also make a long journey more enjoyable or any chore you're doing more pleasant.

1 person found this helpful

A light, humorous story guaranteed to lift your mood

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

Reviewed: 19-07-16

The characters in this story remind me of a friend of mine who has always claimed the dating scene is every bit as horrendous as Jane Costello describes. It's a lightweight story about dating, shoes and too much pressure about personal appearance, but don't dismiss this book on those grounds. The writer skilfully draws you into the characters lives and gets you frustrated at their actions. I guess I would be cast as a Mum to these characters, but imagine many who read the book would feel as frustrated as I did at their bad decisions and inability to see what's been there all along under their noses. The dialogue is brilliantly done and it's full of humour - some of it acerbic and hilarious- I laughed out loud in places. It's nice to see the guy having the "make over" for a change and the writer subtly puts across the double standards between men and women in the subsequent events. The story kept me interested unlike some in this genre where I often get bored with the characters and don't care what happens. That's not the case here, the main character is bright and funny, you feel you know her and want to find out if it all turns out okay for her. Alex Tregear is a great narrator with a gift for accents. She delivers the humorous lines just right, but there were some surprising pronunciation errors that jarred me out of the story. Still, a very good performance and a worthwhile listen.

6 people found this helpful