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NickiMags

UK
  • 13
  • reviews
  • 6
  • helpful votes
  • 19
  • ratings
  • The Phantom Tree

  • By: Nicola Cornick
  • Narrated by: Laura Kirman, Stephanie Racine
  • Length: 11 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 40
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40

Browsing an antiques shop in Wiltshire, Alison Bannister stumbles across a delicate old portrait - identified as the doomed Tudor queen Anne Boleyn. Except Alison knows better. The subject is Mary Seymour, the daughter of Katherine Parr, who was taken to Wolf Hall in 1557 and presumed dead after going missing as a child. And Alison knows this because she, too, lived at Wolf Hall and knew Mary...more than 400 years ago. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Very Enjoyable Time Travel Audiobook

  • By NickiMags on 17-12-18

Very Enjoyable Time Travel Audiobook

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

Reviewed: 17-12-18

I came across this book on Instagram a couple of months ago and fell in love with both the cover and the synopsis. I love historical fiction as you know and I also love a good time travelling tale too
Told by both Alison in the present day and by Mary Seymour in the 1500s this was a very enjoyable story combining those two genres. I haven’t read many books set in this time period and this turned out to be a good book to start as with because of the dual time plot. It’s definitely made me want to listen to more audiobooks set during the Tudor and Elizabethan eras.
I wasn’t too sure about Alison in the beginning as the narrator (Stephanie Racine) read her as very standoffish and cold. However, as I heard more of the story I found out why she was like this and appreciated the narration a lot more. Laura Kirman who reads Mary Seymour, is a voice artist I’ve heard a few times already so was used to her style which worked perfectly for her portrayal of Mary.
As well as the historical and time travelling elements there are a few mysteries weaving their way throughout the book. As the book got nearer to the big reveal I ended up driving for longer in the car as I was desperate to find out more.
I definitely recommend this to lovers of historical fiction and time travel and look forward to seeing what Nicola Cornick comes up with next.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Becoming

  • By: Michelle Obama
  • Narrated by: Michelle Obama
  • Length: 19 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 11,234
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 9,988
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 9,957

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites listeners into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her - from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work to her time spent at the world's most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it - in her own words and on her own terms. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Audio better than print

  • By Fersh on 03-12-18

Wonderful

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

Reviewed: 13-12-18

This was such a fascinating listen. Firstly because I didn’t know much about America’s former First Lady, but also because she reads the book herself, bringing something extra special to this memoir.

I loved listening to her life story, as a young girl with her brother and parents living in a small apartment above her uncle and aunt, her school and college years and then when she’s working in a law office and mentors Barack during a summer internship. I loved her initial thoughts and feelings towards Barack and especially loved hearing her account of when he finally proposed to her.

Her account of fertility issues, her early days of motherhood and then going on to becoming a working mother, were so genuine and had me feeling quite emotional at times. I was surprised but also very grateful for her candidness in this era of fake news.

Her thoughts about politics and politicians are honest all the way through the book, and I was quite surprised about her serious reservations towards Barack running for the Senate and then President. I was appalled by the Republican party’s attitude towards Barack whilst he was running and even whilst in office, opening my eyes to American political arena.

I really enjoyed her chapters about living in the Whitehouse and did not envy her for one minute! I can’t imagine what it must have been like having so many security personnel around them, it makes me appreciate my normal lifestyle. There was a lovely account of how her Mum refused all the trappings of Whitehouse life when she went to live there. Apparently she’d do her own laundry and pop out to the shops by herself. When people mentioned her likeness to Michelle Obama’s mother she’d reply ” Yes I get that a lot! 😀

One of the stories I loved was when Michelle accompanied Barack on a G20 meeting in London and met the Queen at Buckingham Palace for the first time. After initial introductions the Queen reappears at her side and remarks on Michelle’s height and then both confess that their shoes are extremely uncomfortable. I love how normal that sounded.

Obviously Trump had to come up and she did not shy away from her feelings towards him, his campaign trail and his inauguration. It felt like a fresh of breath air to hear her voice what so many people feel.

As I said before this was a fantastic listen and one I thoroughly recommend on audio, especially if you’ve never listened to an audiobook before.

  • Step by Step

  • The Life in My Journeys
  • By: Simon Reeve
  • Narrated by: Simon Reeve
  • Length: 10 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 472
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 437
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 436

TV documentary maker Simon Reeve has dodged bullets on frontlines, hunted with the Bushmen of the Kalahari, dived with manta rays, seals and sharks, survived malaria, walked through minefields, tracked lions on foot, been taught to fish by the President of Moldova, and detained for spying by the KGB. After a decade spent making more than 80 programmes he has become a familiar face on British TV, well known for his extraordinary journeys across jungles, deserts, mountains and oceans, and to some of the most beautiful, dangerous and remote regions of the world. But what most people don't know is that Simon's own journey started in a rough area of Acton, West London where he was brought up and left school with no qualifications.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Couldn’t put it down!

  • By McStick on 18-09-18

Wonderful Listen

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

Reviewed: 30-11-18

I have always enjoyed Simon Reeve’s BBC documentaries, so as soon as I knew that this book was being published, I had to get copy, especially on audio as he reads it himself.
If you’ve watched any of his travel documentaries, you’ll remember his enthusiasm for meeting new people and travelling to dangerous countries around the world. He always comes across as excited and full of life with not a worry in the world. This book opens up his early life to reveal a completely different person who struggled with mental health issues and problems with his father’s authority as a teenager, something that you’d never imagine from his on screen personae.
He was so open about these issues that I wanted to give him a big hug and tell him everything would be okay. He talks about how desperately depressed he was, how disinterested he was with school and his future.
His account of how he got lucky with a job as The Times mail boy and how he progressed on the paper was fascinating. As was his research for his book “The New Jackals: Ramzi Yousef, Osama bin Laden, and the Future of Terrorism” that sank without a trace in 1999.
The stories of his first travel documentaries were really interesting revealing how he wanted to be more Michael Palin than Alan Wicker on TV.
I can’t recommend this book highly enough, especially if you too have enjoyed Simon’s travel documentaries.

  • The Witchfinder's Sister

  • By: Beth Underdown
  • Narrated by: Lucy Brownhill, Roy McMillan
  • Length: 10 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 348
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 312
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 314

It's 1645. When Alice Hopkins' husband dies in a tragic accident, she returns to the small Essex town of Manningtree, where her brother Matthew still lives. But home is no longer a place of safety. Matthew has changed, and there are rumours spreading through the town: whispers of witchcraft, and of a great book, in which he is gathering women's names. To what lengths will Matthew's obsession drive him? And what choice will Alice make when she finds herself at the very heart of his plan?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great Read

  • By ms on 26-03-17

Fantastic!

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

Reviewed: 29-09-18

I loved this audiobook and couldn't get enough of it. The narrator Lucy Brownhill was absolutely perfect for this book, her intimate reading truly bringing it to life for me.
There was tension right from the opening sentences, which kept up until the last page, filling me with a foreboding every time I listened.
I really liked Alice the main character and really felt for her as she struggled to know what to do about her brother and his witch-finding duties. She wanted to think the best of him and believed the women would be released and therefore didn't want to make a fuss by telling him to stop. I kept feeling that she was headed in a really bad direction though as she seemed to focus on the wrong issues. I was expected the story to end differently, so was very happy with the ending, especially the last few words and I would love to know what happened next to Alice.
The story made me very grateful to be a woman in the 21st Century and not the 17th in which the book is set. Life was tough enough as it was then without the added fact that being a woman I would be likely to be suspected of witchcraft, just because of my gender.
I definitely recommend this if you enjoy historical fiction with seasonal feel to it.

  • Two Steps Forward

  • By: Graeme Simsion, Anne Buist
  • Narrated by: Simon Slater, Penelope Rawlins
  • Length: 10 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 96
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 89
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 89

A romantic comedy from Graeme Simsion, author of The Rosie Project, and his wife, Anne Buist. Two misfits walk 2000 km along the pilgrims' way in Spain to find themselves and, perhaps, each other. Zoe, a sometime artist, is from California. Martin, an engineer, is from Yorkshire. Both have ended up in picturesque Cluny, in central France. Both are struggling to come to terms with their recent past - for Zoe, the death of her husband; for Martin, a messy divorce.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • enjoyable listen

  • By Anonymous User on 25-10-18

A New Favourite

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

Reviewed: 27-09-18

I must be one of the few people who didn’t get on with The Rosie Project by the author, but wanted to try this book because of the Camino de Santiago. I haven’t walked the Camino, but have always been interested in it after coming across a monastery in the Pyrenees that had a wine tap on it’s wall for pilgrims to drink from. I’ve also seen The Way film with Martin Sheen and James Nesbit a couple of times, and I loved Simon Reeve’s Pilgrim documentary for the BBC.
I liked Zoe straight away, although I did think she was incredibly naive when she parted with 200 euros for a silver scallop pendant at the beginning of her Camino and dreaded to think what else she was going to fall victim to next . I warmed to Martin the other main character and ended up quite liking him as his character developed along the way.
I loved Penelope Rawlins narration enjoying every chapter immensely as I journeyed with Zoe along the route. Would she walk all the way to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain or would she just walk until St. Pied to Port in southern France?
I loved meeting all the different characters along the way, the Australian couple, the fun Brazilians, the Spanish 6, the newbie Americans and even Bernhard the annoying German.
A perfect holiday listen that I’ll definitely be listening to again.

  • Before We Were Yours

  • By: Lisa Wingate
  • Narrated by: Catherine Taber, Emily Rankin
  • Length: 14 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 501
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 463
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 464

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family's Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge, until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children's Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents - but they quickly realize the dark truth….

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • thoroughly enjoyed it

  • By Amy Connolly on 22-01-18

What a Story!

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

Reviewed: 31-08-18

Wow what a story this was! I remember seeing this book a lot last year, when it was first published and thinking that I’d probably find it be too upsetting to read. Well a year later and an offer on the Audible daily deal and I’d changed my mind and decided to listen to it.
Emily Rankin and Catherine Taber were the perfect narrators for this book. I was instantly transported back to 1930s Memphis as I listened to Rill Foss’ story beginning on the fateful night her mother and Father left her in charge of her siblings on the river. Even though I knew this was a fictionalised account the imagery was so strong throughout Rill’s story I felt like I was hearing a true account. It was a heartbreaking story that made me gasp and hold my breath on numerous occasions, hoping that the best and not the worst would happen to Rill and her young charges.
Avery’s story set in the present day was less dramatic, being mostly about her new life in South Carolina supporting as her Senator father and his private struggles with health issues. It took me a while to warm to her as I found her privileged background quite hard to sympathise with. At times she sounded quite whinny, so I was very pleased that she chilled out as the story progressed. I enjoyed the mystery of the old lady she meets at a retirement home and the connection between her Grandma Judy.
There is a fantastic author’s note at the end of the book explaining the background for the story and of the horrific scandal surrounding the real Tennessee Children’s Home Society scandal.
I definitely recommend this if you enjoy dual time stories based on true accounts.

  • The Hourglass

  • By: Tracy Rees
  • Narrated by: Charlotte Strevens, Imogen Church
  • Length: 15 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 210
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 187
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 190

It's 2014. Sensible Nora has always taken success for granted until suddenly her life begins to fall apart. Troubled by anxiety and nightmares, she finds herself drawn to the sweeping beaches of Tenby, a place she's been only once before. Together with a local girl, she rents a beautiful townhouse and slowly begins to settle in to her new life. But Tenby hides a secret, and Nora will soon discover that this little town by the sea has the power to heal even the most painful memories.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • brilliantly evocative

  • By Amazon Customer on 22-07-17

Wonderful

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

Reviewed: 06-08-18

Well I loved this audiobook right from when I heard one of the narrator’s reading with a Welsh accent and knew I’d be in for a treat.
Chloe’s story set in 1950s Wales was my favourite, particularly when she visited Tenby each summer. I felt like I was there with her discovering the area, meeting Llew Jones and trying to get in her cousin Megan’s good books. Imogen Church’s narration was perfect for me as she expertly brought this part of the book and characters to life.
I must admit I was slow to warm to Nora’s story set in 2014, probably because I wasn’t so keen on the narrator for this part of the story. I eventually got used to her voice and actually really enjoyed it, particularly when Nora moved location and started experiencing new things.
This was a wonderful book that has become a favourite this year. I thoroughly recommend this if you enjoy dual time stories full of family secrets.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A Very English Scandal

  • Sex, Lies and a Murder Plot at the Heart of the Establishment
  • By: John Preston
  • Narrated by: Daniel Weyman
  • Length: 10 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 663
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 620
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 616

It's the late 1960s, and homosexuality has only just been legalised, and Jeremy Thorpe, the leader of the Liberal party, has a secret he's desperate to hide. As long as Norman Scott, his beautiful, unstable lover is around, Thorpe's brilliant career is at risk. With the help of his fellow politicians, Thorpe schemes, deceives and embezzles - until he can see only one way to silence Scott for good. The trial of Jeremy Thorpe changed our society forever: it was the moment the British public discovered the truth about its political class.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent

  • By C Hall on 13-08-16

Astonishing!

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

Reviewed: 06-07-18

A friend of mine recommended this book to me last year, but I promptly forgot about it until it came up on the audible Daily Deal this week. I’m glad I listened to this on audio as I don’t think I would’ve got along with it in a different format. Daniel Weyman was the perfect narrator for this book as he didn’t sensationalise any it, and was also a brilliant mimic for various British politicians and celebrities of the time.
I recognised the name Jeremy Thorpe, but don’t remember the news stories, as I was only 11 years old back in 1979, so politicians were definitely not on my radar back then. Unlike now of course with social media they constantly in the news and mostly for the wrong reasons.
Well this book really did come across as fiction, in fact I don’t think it would’ve been taken seriously as a novel because the ‘lead characters’ behaviour was so preposterous that I’m pretty sure the manuscript would’ve been rejected, many times.
It’s such an outrageous account and one that I really couldn’t stop listening to. As more of the outrageous details of the actions of these particular politicians, their friends, acquaintances and colleagues were revealed, it made me realise why certain politicians are still in power today, even though they should have resigned or been ousted years ago! It seems that in over 40 years things don’t change much in the British corridors of power!
I definitely recommend this if you enjoy non-fiction, especially political accounts. I also recommend that you don’t Google any of the story whilst reading/listening, as it will definitely spoil your enjoyment of the whole account.

  • A Tale of Two Cities

  • By: Charles Dickens
  • Narrated by: Martin Jarvis
  • Length: 14 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 826
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 637
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 642

'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times'; so the recording begins and ends with some of Dickens's best-known words, and between those lines is every Briton's view of the worst excesses of the French Revolution. Set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution, the audiobook tells the story of a French doctor who is imprisoned for 18 years in the Bastille in Paris. Upon his release, he moves to London with his daughter, Lucie, whom he had never met.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The best of books, the best of readers

  • By Mr David Newton on 17-11-07

Superb!

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

Reviewed: 12-04-18

I started reading A Tale of Two Cities back in January when I discovered Serial Reader, a fab App that allows you read classic books in segments delivered to your device each day. I loved the app and the way it performed, but really struggled with the book. I found some of Dickens’ descriptions so convoluted that I couldn’t comprehend what he was writing about. By February I’d had enough and decided it was time to put it down in the hope of picking it up again sometime, possibly in a different format.

A couple of months later I started listening to this audio version narrated by Martin Jarvis, a well known English actor and voice artist. I was hooked straight away by the wonderful voices and emotions he poured into this production. At times I had to remind myself that it was just one man playing all the different characters, English and French, evil and good.
I was familiar with the story, especially the end, having read a simplified version whilst at primary school. I also think I may have studied it for my English Literature O’Level in the ’80s. I knew what was going to happen, remembering certain characters involvement in the story, but I didn’t remember what the twist was or when and where it came.

I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook and feel quite sad that I’ve finished it. I’m really pleased I came back to this book and completed it, as it’s become a new favourite.
I definitely recommend this version, especially if you’re wanting to try a classic book in a different format.

  • Station Eleven

  • By: Emily St John Mandel
  • Narrated by: Jack Hawkins
  • Length: 10 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,418
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,304
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,307

Day one: The Georgia Flu explodes over the surface of the Earth like a neutron bomb. News reports put the mortality rate at over 99%. Week Two: Civilization has crumbled. Year Twenty: A band of actors and musicians called the Travelling Symphony move through their territories performing concerts and Shakespeare to the settlements that have grown up there. Twenty years after the pandemic, life feels relatively safe. But now a new danger looms, and it threatens the hopeful world every survivor has tried to rebuild.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Not just another dystopian novel

  • By Rosalynde on 20-07-15

Fantastic!

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

Reviewed: 29-03-18

This story really did captivate me right from the start. The writing was so good that I felt like I was there, before during and after ‘The Collapse’. I had to find out what was going to happen to the main characters, Arthur, Jeeven, Miranda, Kirsten, and Clark, but especially Kirsten. There are a lot of flashbacks but it’s not confusing, as the author makes sure you know what time period you’re in, either before ‘The Collapse’ or after.

This is one of those books where I kept thinking about how I would react or cope if I was caught in a similar situation. It was very creepy at times, especially when the Travelling Symphony came into contact with ‘the prophet’. Just thinking him about him now makes me shiver.

The narrator, Jack Hawkins, had such an amazing voice that I didn’t want to stop listening to him. Usually when I listen to audiobooks I’m doing something else at the same time, but with this book I had to slow down and stop because it was mesmerizing, I wanted to give it my full attention.

I don’t normally read or listen to books set in a dystopian future, but this has definitely opened my mind to trying another one. I’m so glad that I took a chance on this audiobook, I will definitely be listening to it again as it’s become a firm favourite.