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Cerisaye

  • 8
  • reviews
  • 36
  • helpful votes
  • 81
  • ratings
  • The Beginning

  • Berlin Gothic, Book 1
  • By: Jonas Winner, Edwin Miles (translator)
  • Narrated by: Mikael Naramore
  • Length: 13 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    2.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars 3

The Bentheims of Berlin take in Till Anschütz, an orphan on the run, who quickly befriends 12-year-old Max. The boys are intrigued by the office where Max’s cold, distant father, Xavier Bentheim, writes his horror novels. And when they get up the nerve to explore, Max and Till are truly horrified by what they discover behind a hidden door.… Till awakens strapped to a gurney. His belly is burning, and a young woman with dead eyes flicks her forked tongue against his face. "We’ve modified you - you’ll like it," a familiar voice purrs.…

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Not for me

  • By Cerisaye on 11-02-19

Not for me

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

Reviewed: 11-02-19

I gave up on this book because it doesn't appear to be going anywhere and I have better books waiting. The story rambles like one of those vampire fanfics I used to read back in the day that went on and on with no end in sight. I'm not interested in the characters and the back & forth in the timeline narrative is confusing. Just not enjoying it so not prepared to invest any more time on it. Certainly won't be picking up the sequels. Unfortunately I bought the book more than a year ago so I can't send it back. Even that won't persuade me to read further.

  • Ross Poldark

  • Poldark, Book 1
  • By: Winston Graham
  • Narrated by: Oliver J. Hembrough
  • Length: 14 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 398
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 354
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 352

Tired from a grim war in America, Ross Poldark returns to his land and his family. But the joyful homecoming he has anticipated turns sour, for his father is dead, his estate is derelict, and the girl he loves is engaged to his cousin. But his sympathy for the destitute miners and farmers of the district leads him to rescue a half-starved urchin girl from a fairground brawl and take her home - an act which alters the whole course of his life....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Can't tell...

  • By Amanda Isbell on 13-04-15

Entrancing

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

Reviewed: 14-04-15

What made the experience of listening to Ross Poldark the most enjoyable?

I raced through this audio book wallowing in the pleasure of listening to a well loved story about characters I have been familiar with for nearly 40 years now. It is interesting that I picture some as described in the novel whereas others take the appearance of the actors who played the parts in the 70s and more recent BBC adaptation.

What did you like best about this story?

I love Poldark and have done since watching the 70s adaptation and then reading the first few books. There is romance in abundance, a brooding Byronic hero in Captain Ross, fiesty, wonderful Demelza who saves him, a complicated love triangle, dastardly deeds and scheming by the rapacious New Men of the Warleggan family, more information about copper mining than you are ever likely to find in fiction, social commentary and historical detail. The writing is excellent, the story told with obvious love and passion for Cornwall and its people, with a deal of humour in the telling. You can practically smell the salt tang, feel the warm summer breezes and wintry blasts. Graham has created characters that live and breathe in your imagination like real people that you care about, or love to hate. I love Ross & Demelza, obviously, but Verity has a special place in my heart, too. Now I am so much older than when I first came to Poldark I find I have more sympathy for poor Francis.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

Other listeners have complained about poor reading but I had no problem with the narrator and enjoyed this audio book performance. The various characters had distinctive voices with what sounded to my ear (though I admit I am no expert) passable Cornish accents, better than the new TV adaptation. The female parts were read passably, too, which often is a problem with audio books read by male readers. I wasn't fond of the voice used for Francis, however, which sounded out of character, too old.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, absolutely!

Any additional comments?

I can't wait to listen to the next book, and hope Audible issues the entire series, soon.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • The Secret History

  • By: Donna Tartt
  • Narrated by: Donna Tartt
  • Length: 22 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,546
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,271
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,268

The smartest murder-mystery you will ever hearA misfit at an exclusive New England college, Richard finds kindred spirits in the five eccentric students of his ancient Greek class. But his new friends have a horrific secret. When blackmail and violence threaten to blow their privileged lives apart, they drag Richard into the nightmare that engulfs them. And soon they enter a terrifying heart of darkness from which they may never return.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Such a disappointment after the Goldfinch

  • By Srjane on 25-07-16

Enjoyable despite Donna Tartt's narration

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

Reviewed: 06-09-14

Would you try another book written by Donna Tartt or narrated by Donna Tartt?

I enjoyed this book much more than The Goldfinch and will probably read The Little Friend though I hope Audible offers a different narrator or I will avoid the audio book version.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Somewhat satisfied. It might not have been the ending I wanted but I doubt somehow it could have ended any other way. The story is a Greek tragedy after all so it was never going to be sugar sweet.

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Donna Tartt?

Well I just listened to the Discovery of Witches trilogy read by Jennifer Ikeda who does a marvelous job, so I would choose her...or just about anyone other than Donna Tartt herself.

Was The Secret History worth the listening time?

Absolutely. I listened to the book at every opportunity during my day until it was done.

Any additional comments?

I recently read "The Goldfinch" which I did not get on with, and enjoyed "The Secret History" so much more. The two books have similar strengths and flaws. "The Secret History" has a more convincing (and less irritating) narrator, and held my interest to the end with well crafted tension, anticipation and dread (what happens is pretty much laid out in the opening paragraph leaving us to wonder How/Why not Who dunnit?). The fun is in the unravelling of plot and characters, a process that succeeds in making the reader complicit in the dark deeds at the heart of the story. I wouldn't say I wanted them to get away with it, but I felt a lot of sympathy for the characters, and that testifies to the power of Tartt's writing (also my preference for evil doers and flawed types in general in my fiction)

  • The Passage

  • By: Justin Cronin
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick, Adenrele Ojo, Abby Craden
  • Length: 36 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,235
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,454
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,451

Amy Harper Bellafonte is six years old, and her mother thinks she's the most important person in the whole world. She is.... Anthony Carter doesn't think he could ever be in a worse place than Death Row.... He's wrong. FBI agent Brad Wolgast thinks something beyond imagination is coming.... It is.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • long and absorbing

  • By Tom on 20-07-10

Over-long post apocalyptic vampire story

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

Reviewed: 18-08-14

What would have made The Passage better?

There is a more than halfway decent novel buried in the bloated mess that saw publication. Does no one edit properly any more? The characters I liked in the gripping opening disappear once the story shifts forward 100 years and their replacements just didn't do much for me, Supporting characters blend together lacking distinctive 'voices', though I enjoyed the section where our band of post-apocalyptic survivors meet up with a tough military unit engaged in fighting the good fight against the voracious vampires that have overrun humanity.

The novel never quite recovers from an unwelcome change of pace signaled by release of a virus that causes test subjects (all death row inmates) to develop superhuman strength with the unfortunate side effect of vampirism, when the action moves to a colony of survivors in California. Cronin never actually uses the 'vampire' word, preferring to call his bloodthirsty, soulless creatures 'virals' and 'smokes', though there is a good scene with effective use of an old Dracula movie.

What could Justin Cronin have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

It took me nearly 6 weeks to struggle through the book. At first I was hooked by the story and some engaging characters, despite problems with clunky dialogue, overuse of exposition and back story. I'm a sucker for a good vampire story and love dystopian fiction. Yet by the final few hundred pages I was desperate to finish the thing, and not because I was eager to find out what happens, just to get it over with. Which is fortunate in a way because the ending is more set up for the follow-up novel than satisfactory conclusion.

Would you listen to another book narrated by the narrators?

The narrator helped when my attention began to wander, so, yes, I would definitely look for other titles.

Any additional comments?

In short, a promising premise with a page-turning opening section then several hundred pages of frequently dull rambling that stops frustratingly short of a proper ending. Will I buy the sequel? Probably, because Cronin undoubtedly has talent; he just needs a really good editor.

  • Shadow of Night

  • The All Souls Trilogy, Book 2
  • By: Deborah Harkness
  • Narrated by: Jennifer Ikeda
  • Length: 24 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,581
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,330
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,329

Historian Diana Bishop, descended from a line of powerful witches, and long-lived vampire Matthew Clairmont have broken the laws dividing creatures. When Diana discovered a significant alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, she sparked a struggle in which she became bound to Matthew. Now the fragile coexistence of witches, daemons, vampires and humans is dangerously threatened. Seeking safety, Diana and Matthew travel back in time to London, 1590.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent

  • By ER on 07-11-12

Great story, brilliant performance

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

Reviewed: 12-05-14

What was one of the most memorable moments of Shadow of Night?

I loved the whole section (the bulk of the story) during which Diana and Matthew time travel back to Elizabethan England where they encounter a number of real life characters including Christopher Marlowe, Dr. John Dee, Walter Raleigh and Queen Elizabeth. Diana's difficulties (all those layers of restrictive clothing, household management, the position of women in society, how to write with a quill and ink) with the unfamiliar world of 1591 seem very real, with exposure a serious danger at a time when witches are burned at the stake. Harkness does an amazing job to convey a believable sense of time and place, as you'd expect given her background as an historian, and doesn't shirk the potential problem of time travel to the past affecting the future.

What about Jennifer Ikeda’s performance did you like?

The narration is brilliantly done which makes the book a pleasure to listen to, with distinct and appropriate accents and voices for each character. I just couldn't stop listening every night even though I needed to sleep!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

This is a BIG book that requires a lot of listening to but the narrator makes it easy so I couldn't quite believe I had reached the end in about a week of daily installments. I now eagerly await the sequel in July.

Any additional comments?

I enjoyed how the story further develops the relationship between Diana and Matthew, over a much longer time period than the first book which covers only several weeks. I loved that they (we) were able to meet their respective fathers in the past. I really liked, too, that Diana learns more about her witch powers and isn't so much the damsel in distress relying on her big strong vampire lover to rescue her from perilous situations.
This is a very satisfying listen despite being the middle volume of a trilogy, which is not always the case. It carries the story forward nicely and introduces new elements, leading into the final book. Though it can be read as a standalone you should start with Discovery of Witches to get the most from the story and its characters.
The All Souls books are Sookie Stackhouse for grownups, with a 1,500 year old vampire you can believe has lived through changing historical periods and a romantic relationship that doesn't leave you wondering what on earth such an eternal creature sees in a modern young woman.

  • The Goldfinch

  • By: Donna Tartt
  • Narrated by: David Pittu
  • Length: 32 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,543
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,271
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,284

Aged 13, Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and a reckless, largely absent father, survives an accident that otherwise tears his life apart. Alone and rudderless in New York, he is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. He is tormented by an unbearable longing for his mother, and down the years clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, strangely captivating painting that ultimately draws him into the criminal underworld.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Narrator Hand Picked By Tartt- Outstanding!

  • By Tara Mcgrath on 02-12-13

A good listen

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

Reviewed: 05-01-14

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The book is overlong, and its ending anticlimactic. I loved the opening section describing what happens at the museum but the pace lags thereafter and never regains that initial excitement with its emotive punch. Main character Theo Decker is too self-centred and unsympathetic to spend such a long time in his POV, and his youthful sophistication and precociousness didn't ring true to me, very much a case of an older, wiser narrative voice imposing on his earlier self which comes off as pretentiousness. Increasingly I was drawn to the charming miscreant Boris who is by far the more interesting character. I would love to read more about him whereas I have heard more than enough from Theo. The main problem I had, though, is that it felt out of period, i.e. as though the story takes place in the 60s or 70s rather than 00s so when things such as mobile phones and laptops are referenced they were jarring.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Seems to fizzle out, and my attention drifted away. To be honest I was surprised by how positive the ending turns out to be.

What does David Pittu bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

The narration of this book is exceptionally well done and held my attention for the most part. I particularly enjoyed how David Pittu brings individual characters to life with distinctive accents. Somehow I doubt I would have enjoyed the book as much if I had read rather than listened to it.

Was The Goldfinch worth the listening time?

I had never heard of Fabritius or his painting of the Goldfinch before listening to this book and Tartt certainly crafts a good story around this work that has profound things to say about the role of art and precious objects to human experience and providing a link between past/present. As a coming of age story it works despite problems I had with main character Theo. The parts of the story dealing with drug use and addiction rang true, the criminal gang aspects not so much, however, like something out of a bad movie.

Any additional comments?

I liked Tartt's writing about antiques and old furniture, and the character Hobie with his lovingly crafted reproduction pieces. I don't think it was necessary to give Theo an unattainable and unsatisfactory female love interest when there is such a well developed relationship between Theo and Boris.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Luminaries

  • By: Eleanor Catton
  • Narrated by: Mark Meadows
  • Length: 29 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,401
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,275
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,271

It is 1866 and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of 12 local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Beautifully written, but slower than a snail

  • By Avril Sawers on 02-11-13

I tried but failed to like this book

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

Reviewed: 01-12-13

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I really struggled through this book, mainly because I just didn't care about ANY of its characters and the story wasn't gripping enough to engage my interest as it winds its way painfully slowly from beginning to damp squib ending. I didn't bother trying to understand the astrological aspect, though maybe had I read the novel rather than listened to it I might have got more from that. The chapter headings becoming progressively longer than the shortening chapters was tiresome. The way the story turns back on itself annoyed me, too, because it made me feel I wasn't getting anywhere despite devoting so many hours of my time listening to the book, hearing about the same few events from too many different perspectives. There is no emotional centre and the story ultimately doesn't seem to matter, since it just fizzles out. Seems to me the writer is more concerned with form and being clever, the novel as an intellectual exercise, which makes it shallow and heartless. I formed no attachment to any of the (too) many characters because they are not written as real people but the embodiment of astrological signs. If they adapt the book for the screen, which is inevitable, they should film it like the recent "Anna Karenina", a play on a theatrical stage.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Mark Meadows?

The skill of the reader was all that kept me going to the end. I suspect I would have abandoned the book had I been reading rather than listening. So yes, I would listen to another of his narrations.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I was disappointed because I had high hopes going in. Normally I love long, meaty novels such as Hilary Mantel's "Wolf Hall" and "Bring up the Bodies", and have previously enjoyed 19th C pastiche such as Charles Palliser's "The Quincunx". I was frustrated that this novel puts form and structure above pace and narrative drive. I was annoyed that the final section (after the conclusion of the trial) adds little or nothing to the story to justify dragging out its length.

Any additional comments?

I did enjoy the period New Zealand setting and background detail about gold mining. Eleanor Catton is young and very talented, I am sure she will develop as a writer and produce something remarkable and enjoyable.

23 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • A Book of Tongues

  • Hexslinger, Book 1
  • By: Gemma Files
  • Narrated by: Gordon Mackenzie
  • Length: 10 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3

Two years after the Civil War, Pinkerton agent Ed Morrow has gone undercover with one of the weird West's most dangerous outlaw gangs - the troop led by "Reverend" Asher Rook, ex-Confederate chaplain turned "hexslinger," and his notorious lieutenant (and lover) Chess Pargeter. Morrow's task: get close enough to map the extent of Rook's power, then bring that knowledge back to help Professor Joachim Asbury unlock the secrets of magic itself.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 3:10 to Yuma with magic and a slash relationship.

  • By Kbae on 02-11-13

Promises a lot but fails to deliver

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-01-13

I disliked this book so much I returned it to Audible, the first time I have done that in over a year's membership of happy listening. I read reviews for Gemma Files' first Hexslinger book and it sounded right up my alley, violent Deadwood style Western, with dark, fantasy elements and the promise of sexy gay romance. Well, I was confused, disappointed and frustrated. Half the time I didn't have a clue what was going on, nor did I care much to be honest. I skimmed through chunks...all the 'supernatural shenanigans' (main character Rook's words not mine). The triangle relationship between the male leads did get my attention but that's only a small part of the story. The characters are underdeveloped, and there is just too much mumbo jumbo magic and exposition. The final annoyance is its lack of a proper ending, what you get instead is set-up for the sequel (which I have no interest in reading). I have read much better developed and more satisfying fan fiction published free on the internet, and in fact would not be at all surprised to learn this series has its origins there. At least the narration is well done.