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Victoria Elizabeth

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Fun short story

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 17-12-18

Enjoyable and light story about an angel who wants a period of time on earth to be with the man she's been assigned as Guardian Angel for. She loses her memory, has a family and 20 years later must remember she's an angel and leave Earth. The story focuses on the later stages where she needs to remember, with her own Guardian angels (presenting as doves) trying to help without telling her. Central to this is her relationship with her family. particularly her children.
It was pleasant to listen to and kept my attention to the end. I like a good fantasy story and this managed to fulfil my needs for a couple of hours!
Audio quality a bit tinny but the narration was good.

Read like a children's bedtime story

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

Reviewed: 26-10-18

I've made it to chapter 4 and can't continue. Just googled to check if I've inadvertently bought a children's book as that's how it's being read! Loved the first 2 books and went off and watched the BBC film of them too which brought them to life even more. So was excited to continue the Discworld experience with book 3 but I think Equal Rites will be abandoned and returned and I'll move on and try book 4 instead. This one reminds me of Rohald Dahl children's books, probably would be fun to listen to with children but this style of reading doesn't seem somewhat adults.

Fabulous performance

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

Reviewed: 26-09-18

There's a psychic "holistic" detective, a ghost, an electric monk, a horse in a bathroom, an unrealistically old professor, time travel, space travel, murder, mystery and lots of other things that cannot be explained in any shape or form. The story is funny, clever, stupid, brilliant and so utterly bonkers I can't now begin to give any more of a review than this. Other than to say the performance of this is brilliant, there's some great actors, the music and dramatisation of the story really draws you in and makes it such fun to listen to.
It's a 4 overall for me because I enjoyed it a lot but it has driven me a bit too crazy trying to make sense of the apparent chaos and I'm still not 100% clear... but after many, many listens and reading the book I am content sitting at 90% on this occasion. It's time to move on.

Disappointing

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

Reviewed: 22-08-18

I was really looking forward to this book, using a precious credit on it, following seeing Stephen King's recommendation on Twitter.
The story itself should be pretty good and one of the narrator's is great - he narrates the younger version of the protagonist. I had read reviews that referenced a poor second narrator but pooh-poohed these in my excitement to get the book. I am incredibly disapointed though as this second narrator has ruined it for me.

The story itself revolves around some boys and their use of chalk to send each other messages - an idea given to them by a new teacher. Some nasty events happen when they are boys, and when they get older, chalk drawings start appearing again, seemingly linked to the teacher who may, or may not, also be the chalk man. This sounds just up my street and perhaps the way to go is reading a physical book rather than audio as this felt I was "putting myself through" listening to half the story, when the older protagonist was the focus.

I have persevered but can't bear it any longer at 2/3 through. This older narrator's voice and tone is dreary, depressing and mumbling - totally different to the younger narrator who had a great tone and pace. Also struggling to understand how the protagonist has become Irish between being a teenager and an adult. So I've regretfully abandoned the book as I've completely lost interest in the story and there's a whole world of books out there I would prefer to spend my downtime immersed in.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Slow burner but compelling read

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

Reviewed: 22-08-18

I enjoyed this book, more so into the second half when the ahhh, aha moments were kicking in. It starts out quite ethereal, psychedelic and odd... and I did wonder what on earth I'd got myself into for a while. But it settles into three distinct storylines (two 'normal', just the one psychedelic) involving three different women. It feels there must have to be a connection between them somehow but that's really not clear so we have to just get immersed in each of their separate existences.
The writing is great, the story eventually drew me in and made for compelling reading. Would definitely recommend it but you must keep going through the beginning, it is worth it.


I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review

Atmospheric, strange story

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

Reviewed: 22-08-18

We follow the story of newlyweds, Paul and Debbie, spending their honeymoon in a cabin in the the woods - and Paul's ex, who is struggling to move on, so joins their honeymoon uninvited, causing them quite a few problems.
They're staying near a strange house that is the stuff of local legend, where unusual things happen, people disappear and turn up dead...
The best thing for me about this book was the unique and atmospheric narration, which certainly brought an air of mystery and suspense to the story.
What a strange story though... I must be honest, it took a while to get going with it, I wasn't sure what was happening quite a lot of the time and when it ended still felt a little confused. Some of the content seemed superfluous and I had difficulty with time lines.
That said it had some interesting characters and the twists managed to just about hold my attention. There is humour at points and some great writing - the ending was rushed though.
It's odd... strange... confusing and, perhaps, needs a second reading / listen to. It's had a lot of great reviews so perhaps it's just me that struggled to 'get it' to the same extent.


I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

Beautifully written, tragic short story

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

Reviewed: 05-08-18

Kalyah is a young teenager caught in the middle of a horrific civil war. Her family members are all brutally murdered by soldiers whilst she hides and then manages to get away. But she is eventually tracked down and taken, by a soldier, to what she thinks will be her death. He too is a young teenager and Kalyah realises she knows him from a happier past.

This short story caught my attention from the outset and I could quite easily have continued to listen on to a full book based on the quality of writing and narration. The author captures a moment and compels the reader/listener to see and feel the horror of these young people's lives. Lives that are being lived and lost in countless places around the world now. The narrator has a very gentle, hypnotic tone that reflects the age of the characters well and helps draw the listener in and create the atmosphere for this very tragic story.

This is book 1 of 3 so I shall look forward to the next parts of the story.


I received a foc review copy of this story from the author/narrator/publisher via Audiobook Boom at my request and this is an unbiased review.

Absorbing Horror

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

Reviewed: 05-08-18

I loved everything about this book - the story is brilliant, with such a clever premise, the characters come to life immediately, the dialogue between characters is exceptional, at times such dry humour I laughed despite the scenario being horrific! The narration is at the absolute top end of excellent, the narrator just 'gets' the characters. When he's narrating the dialogue at the crooked house he totally brings the characters, the house and the oddities of the scenarios to life.

This is a short story that packs a big punch in 2.5 hours. It took me back to the pleasure and fascination of when I first discovered Stephen King - those wierd and often horrific situations people found themselves in, written in such a way that you're right there with them, wide eyed in fascination and trepidation of what could possibly happen next, willing it to be something you could never dream of, it pushing your imagination to new places and then yearning for more to feed the habit of expanding your mind into the impossible. Well this story is like that.

I received a foc review copy of this story from the author/narrator via Audiobook Boom. I don't personally know either and this is an unbiased review.

Engaging if not a bit close to home!

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

Reviewed: 05-08-18

This is an unusual story that often read like a work-related 'fable' such as the 5 dysfunctions of a team, but then didn't have the learning described - not to say it didn't have learning in it though! It's very descriptive of real life challenges of working in a dysfunctional HR Dept. From the sounds of it the author has a HR background and has experienced this political and bullying culture.

I moved from not wanting to listen because it was too close to home, to wanting to listen for exactly the same reason, as it's so relatable, The author contextualises the daily challenges really well. I wanted to see main protagonist (Louisa) manage her internal and external demons... Penelope... what a horrible, bully... Mike, the useless manager who deflects all blame... Louisa isn't perfect and makes many mistakes, as a result of being drawn into this dysfunctional culture and as a survival mechanism.

It's not chic lit, it's verging on work related self help, as this story highlights the impact of a couple of very poor leaders (Penelope and Mike) and what survival in a dysfunctional environment can do to individuals. Refreshingly different.

I received a foc review copy of this book from the narrator via Audiobook Boom. I don't personally know the author or narrator and my review is unbiased.

Wonderfully uplifting story

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

Reviewed: 02-08-18

I absolutely loved this story (as did my mum!). As the main character, Connie is wonderful. I felt like I was with her every second of her journey, thought she was brilliant and am missing her already. It feels like such a cliche writing this but I am fully giving into it, throwing my arms in the air, grinning, hugging myself and sighing in the warm, fuzzy afterglow of a simply lovely story, that made me feel happy.

This reminded me very much of the Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, which I also loved. That too is about a character from an older generation looking to find himself whilst travelling the country and meeting lots of people on his journey. This is what appeals I think - the adventure, the random meeting of all sorts of different people along the way, the acceptance of all characters, the individual journey each is on, the fragility of human life and the essence of goodness that is at the heart of most people (not all... but all in these stories!).

In today's fast paced, social media driven, highly political world, with scary and often horrific global events being fed to us by the minute, everyone able to comment on everything, people hiding behind keyboards and so much nastiness and hate filled written messages targeted at others who don't even know each other... It is easy to think and feel that the whole world and all people are a threat. So reading books like this are uplifting because they are a reminder that actually there is a lot of goodness, kindness and lovely people out there, each trying to live their lives the best they can.

I enjoy these stories that involve going off on an adventure and staying away from home for an extended period of time and gradually learning more about themselves, to the point where they get to a destination of self discovery. It's the grown-up version of running away from home, but with hotels, a car and money! It feels both an honour and great fun to accompany these individuals on their journeys. In this case, Connie, who feels quite trapped in her marriage, taken for granted by her husband and grown up children. She loves her children very much and feels very lucky to have her family but needs to rediscover who she is and not just be there for everyone else. And rediscover herself she certainly does - Connie, hats off to you, 66 years young and taking control of your life. Good on you, you lovely lady.

The narration was perfect - a gentle tone and impressive range of accents. Connie's trip around the UK certainly set a challenge there... she threw down a gauntlet and Diana Croft swept it up with aplomb!

I received a foc review copy of this story (as an audiobook) from the narrator via Audiobook Boom. This has in no way influenced my review.