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Jane

Sheffield, United Kingdom
  • 32
  • reviews
  • 292
  • helpful votes
  • 52
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  • Foxglove Summer

  • Rivers of London, Book 5
  • By: Ben Aaronovitch
  • Narrated by: Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
  • Length: 10 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,152
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3,885
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,870

In the fifth of his best-selling series Ben Aaronovitch takes Peter Grant out of whatever comfort zone he might have found and takes him out of London - to a small village in Herefordshire where the local police are reluctant to admit that there might be a supernatural element to the disappearance of some local children. But while you can take the London copper out of London you can't take the London out of the copper. Travelling west with Beverley Brook, Peter soon finds himself caught up in a deep mystery and having to tackle local cops and local gods. And what's more all the shops are closed by 4pm....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • You can take a city wizard to the country but...

  • By Sarah on 17-11-14

Best one so far

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

Reviewed: 24-11-14

In any long-running series, there comes the moment when the author decides to take the main character out of their natural habitat, and put them into a new environment. Done well it freshens things up and lets you see the central character in a new light. Done badly you spend the whole book wishing the narrative back home. Aaronovitch triumphantly falls into the former category, finding ways to give you glimpses of characters left back in London (e.g. Molly's packing) while also letting us see how a completely new set of characters perceive Peter. Peter, we learn, has matured and become more confident and powerful than at the outset of the series, but retains the innate goodness and occasional naivety that makes him such a compelling character. The novel avoids the many well-worn 'Londoner in the country' cliches, creating a new set of well-rounded characters. It also tackles a serious topic - child disappearance - in a fantasy series, without losing sight of the suffering that such disappearances cause in the real world.

I've never tried the print version of these novels, because I know that I could never match Kobna Holdbrook Smith's narration in my own head. What is so brilliant is that he is completely convincing as a young London copper, but also takes on such a range of other voices both male and female without making them feel strained. I love the fact that the author and narrator now do some book readings together. Holdbrook Smith *is* the voice of Peter Grant.

The only author-narrator pairing that compares is the Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold, as read by Grover Gardner. There's a similar dry humour with serious topics. I was delighted to discover that Aaronovitch is a McMaster Bujold fan - he offers a nice close reading of one of her scenes on his blog.

  • Ghost Seer

  • Ghost Seer, Book 1
  • By: Robin D. Owens
  • Narrated by: Coleen Marlo
  • Length: 9 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 11

When her eccentric aunt passes away, no-nonsense accountant Clare Cermac inherits more than just a small fortune. She receives the gift of communicating with ghosts. While Clare may not believe in spirits, it’s hard to overlook the shadowy talking dog appearing on her bed or spectral cowboys tipping their hats to her in the streets of Denver. And when she locks eyes with sexy - and living - Zach Slade, there’s certainly no ignoring him either.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Perfectly acceptable

  • By Jane on 17-09-14

Perfectly acceptable

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

Reviewed: 17-09-14

Is there anything you would change about this book?

For long periods of time there just doesn't seem to be much at stake - will Claire come to terms with her gifts, will she manage to lay the key ghost, will she get together with the hot ex-cop? It's all competently done and I liked the fact that both she and the ex-cop were extremely skeptical about the supernatural (this is a sensible response!). In fact, they are both likable characters and they were pleasant to spend time with. But it wasn't the kind of book that I was itching to get back to. When it was finished I was glad I'd stuck with it, but I won't be looking out for the next in the series.

  • Whispers Under Ground

  • Rivers of London, Book 3
  • By: Ben Aaronovitch
  • Narrated by: Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
  • Length: 10 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,396
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3,758
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,738

Peter Grant is learning magic fast. And it’s just as well - he's already had run-ins with the deadly supernatural children of the Thames and a terrifying killer in Soho. Progression in the police force is less easy, especially when you work in a department of two. A department that doesn't even officially exist. A department that if you did describe it to most people would get you laughed at.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful story, wonderful narration

  • By Jane on 04-07-12

Wonderful story, wonderful narration

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-07-12

This is another great volume in the Peter Grant series. Aaronovitch has established a set of likeable three-dimensional characters who inhabit a rich urban fantasy world. The central narrative thread of this volume (investigating a crime in the underground) moves along nicely, and the broader narrative arcs of the series are developed. Aaronovitch also does well in tackling some tricky real-world issues such as race and disability without ever seeming to preach. It's good to see Lesley back doing policework.
Kobna Holdbrook-Smith's narration is flat-out terrific. There is a broader set of accents for him to contend with here, but each voice emerges as individual and convincing. The central performance of Peter Grant holds the whole thing together - colloquial, self-deprecating, bright and perceptive in many ways, a bit obtuse in others.
Oh, and did I mention how funny the whole thing is in places? In fact, the only problem with this audiobook is the funny looks you get as you walk along apparently chortling to yourself.

24 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Cosmo and the Secret Spell

  • By: Gwyneth Rees
  • Narrated by: Sophie Aldred
  • Length: 2 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2

Cosmo the witch-cat has his paws full with his new baby brothers and sisters. Especially when the kittens accidentally get turned into frogs by the kindly Frog-Witch. But before she has a chance to magic them back, the Frog-Witch and all the frog-kittens are kidnapped by a sinister stranger with froggy plans. Can Cosmo come up with the purr-fect way to save the day... before it's too late?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A great book for the car

  • By Jane on 31-08-11

A great book for the car

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 31-08-11

I got this for my 5 year old daughter to listen to in the car, and I've now listened to it more often than anything else I've ever got from Audible. We both think it's great. The story is engaging without being too terrifying for a child. The underlying ideas are imaginative and fresh. Each scene is well done. The overall plot makes sense. The narrator, Sophie Aldred, does a terrific job of differentiating the characters. You can listen to it five times on a long journey to France and not want to smash your ipod into tiny pieces at the end.
I should note that it is the third in the series - Cosmo and the Magic Sneeze is first, Cosmo and the Great Witch Escape is second, and these are great too. But it's not really necessary to read them in order - everything explained very clearly.

2 of 3 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 5,194
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4,319
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,302

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

Perfect audiobook

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 26-07-11

This comes as close to perfection in an audiobook as I think it's possible to get. The mix of wry observation about everyday policing in London combined with a clever supernatural storyline is brilliant. And the narrator is fantastic. His dry, deadpan delivery works well both for the comic one-liners and for the action sequences. In fact, I suspect that I would not enjoy this book so much on the page because it would lack Kobna Holdbrook-Smith's timing and character voicing. Great stuff.

47 of 49 people found this review helpful

  • Dead Until Dark

  • Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mystery #1
  • By: Charlaine Harris
  • Narrated by: Johanna Parker
  • Length: 9 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 684
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 397
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 394

Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. She's quiet, keeps to herself, and doesn't get out much - not because she's not pretty - she's a very cute bubbly blonde - or not interested in a social life. She really is . . . but Sookie's got a bit of a disability. She can read minds.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Thank god and just in time!!

  • By Sophie on 25-10-09

Very enjoyable

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-05-11

I first read 'Dead Until Dark' some years ago. While I didn't hate it, I didn't really love it either. In print, it's a fairly short read and I just didn't find the romance between Bill and Sookie all that compelling. Having watched the TV series, though, I decided to give the audio books a try and I'm absolutely gripped. For a start it's fascinating to see what changes have been made between book and TV show, and it certainly helps that I can now visualise all the wonderful characters from the show (partly because the novel is in the first person, some of the supporting characters are not as fully fleshed as on the TV show). But the books themselves are also richer than initially gave them credit for, and the length works well for audio. Yes, they are quite formulaic in some ways, but Harris has some neat tricks up her sleeve and can write comedy, romance and action scenes effectively.
Credit must also go to the reader of the audiobook, Johanna Parker. Sookie is quite a difficult character to give voice to I think - she has to seem moral without seeming prissy, and to resist the attention of various gorgeous men without seeming prudish - and Parker really pulls it off. A well-paced and enjoyable listen.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • A Bear Called Paddington

  • By: Michael Bond
  • Narrated by: Stephen Fry
  • Length: 2 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 447
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 341
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 339

"A bear on Paddington Station?" said Mrs Brown in amazement. "Don't be silly - there can't be." The Browns first met Paddington on a railway station - Paddington station, in fact. He had travelled all the way from Darkest Peru with only a jar of marmalade, a suitcase and his hat. The Browns soon found that Paddington was a very unusual bear.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Paddington

  • By K. A. Meek on 27-01-18

Fabulous

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-05-11

It's lovely to hear the full version of the Paddington stories, which are so beautifully written and funny for children and adults alike. And Stephen Fry is the perfect reader for these stories - dry, witty, well-timed. He differentiates each voice very clearly without going over the top. One to enjoy in the car on a long journey again and again and again.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Winterfair Gifts

  • A Vorkosigan Adventure
  • By: Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 2 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 60
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 35
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35

In the festive season of Winterfair on the planet Barrayar, Lord Miles Vorkosigan is making elaborate preparations for his wedding. The long-awaited event stirs up romance and intrigue among his eccentric family and friends, particularly for bioengineered space mercenary Sergeant Taura and shy, diffident Armsman Roic.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A must for fans

  • By Jo on 07-07-11

A good short story

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-08-10

This is a short story (but then, it's cheap too). It's a good glimpse into some much-loved characters. It's certainly not where I would choose to start listening to the series, but for someone who has read everything else in the Vorkosigan series, it's certainly worth a listen.
Also I too disagree about the narration (while accepting that everyone has a right for preferences in such matters). For me, Grover Gardner is a superb reader of the novels - dry, witty and understated. I love to read the books and then a bit later listen them to them too - it's a completely different, but equally wonderful, experience.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Luck in the Shadows

  • Nightrunner Volume I
  • By: Lynn Flewelling
  • Narrated by: Raymond Todd
  • Length: 18 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 57
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 37
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37

Spy, rogue, thief, and noble, Seregil of Rhiminee is many things, none of them predictable. And when he offers to take on Alec as his apprentice, things may never be the same for either of them. Soon Alec is traveling roads he never knew existed, toward a war he never suspected was brewing. Before long he and Seregil are embroiled in a sinister plot that runs deeper than either can imagine and that may cost them far more than their lives if they fail. But fortune is as unpredictable as Alec's new mentor.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • An Absolute Tragedy.

  • By CeNedra Red on 17-11-16

Not a complete story

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-08-08

Although it had some slow patches, this was quite an enjoyable romp and Seregil is definitely a compelling character. Under normal circumstances I'd have given it four stars. However, what spoiled it a bit for me was that nothing really got resolved at the end. It's part of a series, but it doesn't stand alone as a complete story in it's own right. If you want to know the answers to the major questions you're going to have to get the rest of the series. And I didn't enjoy it *that* much that I'm dashing to read the rest. So, all in all, it was a bit let-down at the end.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

Magic Kingdom for Sale
    Sold!: Magic Kingdom of Landover, Book 1
    
        By:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Terry Brooks
    
    


    
    
        Narrated by:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Cameron Beierle
    
    


    
    Length: 13 hrs and 42 mins
    28 ratings
    Overall 4.1
  • Magic Kingdom for Sale

  • Sold!: Magic Kingdom of Landover, Book 1
  • By: Terry Brooks
  • Narrated by: Cameron Beierle
  • Length: 13 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 28
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4

Landover was a real magic kingdom, with fairy folk and wizardry, just as the advertisement promised. But after Ben Holiday bought it, he discovered a few details were omitted.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • pure magic

  • By Kim on 22-09-07

OK but a bit dull

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-01-08

This was a perfectly pleasant way to pass the time and the narrator was clearly enjoying himself. However, it had very little flair or excitement. The central character, Ben, was rather stodgy and the main female character, Willow, was drippy beyond belief. The plot trotted along in a workmanlike fashion but I was never gripped.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful