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Susi

Eichstätt, Deutschland
  • 10
  • reviews
  • 110
  • helpful votes
  • 20
  • ratings
  • The Phantom Tree

  • By: Nicola Cornick
  • Narrated by: Laura Kirman, Stephanie Racine
  • Length: 11 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 24
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 21

Browsing antiques shops in Wiltshire, Alison Bannister stumbles across a delicate old portrait - supposedly of Anne Boleyn. Except Alison knows better.... The woman is Mary Seymour, the daughter of Katherine Parr, who was taken to Wolf Hall in 1557 as an unwanted orphan and presumed dead after going missing as a child. The painting is more than just a beautiful object from Alison's past - it holds the key to her future, unlocking the mystery surrounding Mary's disappearance and the enigma of Alison's son.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Good idea as a story, the execution however..

  • By Susi on 02-02-17

Good idea as a story, the execution however..

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

Reviewed: 02-02-17

I really wanted to like the book. Time-travelling stories can be so very rewarding, and this one with parts in the Tudor era had me buying the book in an instant.

While listening I was getting more and more frustrated because the main character seemed to be so very stupid. She is constantly asking: What? Why? Who? Where? as a device to explain to the reader some possibly unknown (for us readers in the 21st century) Tudor object or symbol. But as she is from the Tudor era herself that makes it...well, stupid.

And she constantly makes rash decisions that could cost her or others dearly, and I listened to it seriously disbelieving her capability to reason.

Apart from the that the story is falling flat, it is not very clear what the focus is: love, time, betrayal, myths, this character, or the other one? The story unfolds both too slowly and too rushed. It is sometimes badly jointed, and the ending is (imho) rushed, dissapointing and unconvincing.

On the plus side: It seemed to me that the Tudor era was well researched, it touched on some lesser known real people and the author was fairly unromantic with the living conditions of females in that time.

The performance is ok, sometimes the modulation of some of the characters was a bit grating, but overall an easy listen.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • A Study in Silks

  • By: Emma Jane Holloway
  • Narrated by: Angele Masters
  • Length: 21 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 46
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 44

In a Victorian era ruled by a council of ruthless steam barons, mechanical power is the real monarch and sorcery the demon enemy of the Empire. Nevertheless, the most coveted weapon is magic that can run machines - something Evelina has secretly mastered. But rather than making her fortune, her special talents could mean death or an eternity as a guest of Her Majesty's secret laboratories. What's a polite young lady to do but mind her manners and pray she's never found out?

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Horray for even this book ending!

  • By Susi on 10-01-15

Horray for even this book ending!

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

Reviewed: 10-01-15

This book is so annoying it wouldn't even let me fall asleep because I got so upset with it.
Evalina is a girl who grew up in a circus until her grandmother rescued her and put her in a fancy school where she told everyone where she came from. Until she got bullied for it. The she kept it as a secret and apparantly that's enough for everyone to conveniently forget it.
Wait, what?
Ranting:
Oh yes, and when she isn't pondering why she can't do this and she can't do that and why she loves him, and why that is so awful, and oh, there is that other guy that she surely would have married she is sulking, bitching, moaning, doing nothing and rejecting everything the world offers her.
Roundabout seven hours of your life, dear reader, will have passed until the story is set up. 30 Minutes would have sufficed. It has the worst similes (and the most similes, at that) I have encountered since, um, well, I can't remember. A light exhalation like a gloating smile? Yeah, right!

She is revolted by a corpse, then nauseated, then she bends down to inspect it closer, she shivers, sweats, trembles, retrieves stuff from inside a dress without touching the body, stares at it, can't even look at it and ON AND ON IT GOES!

sorry for shouting, rant over.

The story is much too much drawn out, the plotlines have a tendency to disappear and the construction of this steampunk world is neither logical nor appealing.

And if you like Sherlock Holmes, please don't even consider this book. He isn't like the Sherlock I know, neither the original nor one of the modern adaptations.


All in all: don't buy, don't listen to it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Soulless cover art
  • Soulless

  • By: Gail Carriger
  • Narrated by: Emily Gray
  • Length: 10 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 292
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 270
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 275

Firstly, Alexia Tarabotti has no soul. Secondly, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Thirdly, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette. With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This one is a keeper

  • By Susi on 28-08-14

This one is a keeper

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

Reviewed: 28-08-14

This book has taught me a lot - that there is a sub-genre called steampunk, several new words, and last but not least that there are still books that manage to bring on a new angle on the whole vampire and werewolf-hype.
The book's main character is Alexia Tarabotti, a person without soul, a so-called preternatural. In perfect logical conclusion, she cancels out the supernatural abilites of vampires and werewolves. She is a spinster, an intelligent, italian-looking spinster with decidedly strong opinions. When she keeps bumping into gruff werewolf-pack-leader, Lord Maccon, they discover that they feel a growing mutual attraction - despite the infamous hedgehog incident! But supernaturals keep disappearing, and what is going on behind the doors of the new Hypocras club?
Set in a slightly different version of Victorian England (with a lot more steam, and maybe even more etiquette), the characters move according to social rules, but they manage to finagle (see?! new word!) everything just as they wish it.
Apart from flawless story-development, likable characters and logical inner workings the book greatly benefits from the truly outstanding vocabulary, the witty dialogues and the prospect of books two, three and four.
The narrator keeps the characters distinguishable and manages to convey the properness of the British stiff upper lip.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Restless

  • By: William Boyd
  • Narrated by: Rosamund Pike
  • Length: 10 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,478
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,024
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,017

Shortlisted for the British Book Awards, Richard and Judy Best Read, 2007.
Winner of the Costa Book Awards, Novel of the Year, 2006.
A Richard and Judy Book Club selection.
Longlisted for the Audiobook Download of the Year, 2007.

What happens when everything you thought you knew about your mother turns out to be an elaborate lie? During the summer of 1976, Ruth Gilmartin discovers that her very English mother, Sally, is really Eva Delectorskaya, a Russian émigrée and one-time spy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A gripping and thoughtful book

  • By Tom on 03-11-07

Neat and fascinating espionage story

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

Reviewed: 16-07-14

The book is quite cleverly set up as a mother/daughter story through which the main topic of the book is being narrated.
Eva is being recruited as a spy during WW II and even though she is very capable, she soon discovers that she is in a net whose dimensions are way beyond her understanding.
Several decades later she decides to tell her daughter about her past - and present...

William Boyd has done the trick: he has created characters that are large-as-life, vivid, intense, intelligent, flawed and totally believable. He weaves hand-movements with large story elements, descriptions of transportation with current fashion, current slang words with espionage vocabulary....all in all, he created a world that I was able to delve in.
I rarely rave as much as I want to do here but credit is where credit's due: This book has it all: clever story, thorough research, plausible development, character insight, wit and a good and fitting length.


The narrator's voice is suited to the people in the story, manages to convey who's talking without strain and her speech pattern was pleasant to listen to.

This book isn't overly brutal or vicious, it focuses rather on psychological effects than big bangs.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Skeletons

  • By: Jane Fallon
  • Narrated by: Penelope Rawlins
  • Length: 11 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 93
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 85
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 85

Jen has discovered a secret. If she tells her husband Jason, will he forgive her for telling the truth? If she tells someone else in Jason's family, she'd not only tear them apart but could also find herself on the outside. But if she keeps this to herself, how long can she pretend nothing is wrong? Jen knows the truth - but is she ready for the consequences?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • All families are dysfunctional. But some more so.

  • By Susi on 14-07-14

All families are dysfunctional. But some more so.

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

Reviewed: 14-07-14

Skeletons is a non-violent, non-adventurous but very much character-driven story. Jen, after suffering from an absent father and no siblings during her childhood, very much adores her husbands large and warm family. They have two daughters, now both in college, and Jen muses about the void in their lives when she discovers her step-father in an ambiguous situation with a woman that is not her step-mother.

The whole story develops from here, and Jane Fallon manages to create a multi-faceted and likable character with Jen.The listener follows her doubts, decisions, thoughts and feelings throughout a story that is familiar to all of us, yet manages to draw one in.
Penelope Rawlins does a pretty good job narrating Jen's part of the story, but the other characters are done with way too much effort. Whenever Jen's husband Jason is talking I imagined Rawlings drawing her head back, chin in, to force "maleness" out of her box. Other characters are continuously excited, lamenting or breathless. It destroyed part of the charm that the book in written form surely has.

If you like "small stories", where people's interaction is what drives the plot, then this is a book for you. For you who expect really dark secrets (the proverbial bones) - non of it to be found here.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Voyager

  • Outlander, Book 3
  • By: Diana Gabaldon
  • Narrated by: Davina Porter
  • Length: 43 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,001
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 774
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 763

Set in the intriguing Scotland of 200 years ago, the third installment in the romantic adventures of Jamie and Claire is as compelling as the first. Now that Claire knows Jamie survived the slaughter at Culloden, she is faced with the most difficult decision of her life. She aches to travel back through time again to find the love of her life, but, in order to do that, she must leave their daughter behind.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent Narration

  • By kerbhugger on 22-10-08

Scotland, the Caribbean, Voodoo and a Voyage

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

Reviewed: 17-06-14

So I guess you've read/listened to the first two books? So you KNOW how seasick Jamie gets, right? One teeny tiny channel-crossing and he's half-dead. So how does he manage a crossing of the Atlantic Ocean? (I'm not telling, just teasing!)
Following is a rough description of the book's onset, but there won't be any spoilers!

Voyager begins where book two (Dragonfly in Amber, also available here, read as well, thank goodness, by Davina Porter) has left us: right on the battlefield of Culloden. Claire is gone, and Jamie has to go on without her. The book then describes how their lives continue, and that is done in a very, very beautiful way, partly in retrospect, partly in first person's narration and partly developing.

This book is, together with book one, my favorite of all the Outlander books. It has everything: adventure, loyalty, love, drama (oh, the drama!), the incredibly detailed description of countries, sceneries and people and, yes, there may be a hint of sex here and there (turtle-soup, anyone?) and of course, there's time-travel. In no other book DG has managed to portray what is involved in traveling through space and time: The costs, but also the merits. Where in later books she loses herself in side characters, military details or rambling dialogues DG here brilliantly pushes the story, develops the characters and uses language in a way that is seriously awesome. She never loses the threads of the many story-lines, interweaves them as best as is possible and allows the reader to keep all main characters in view at all times.

And if a male readers stumbles across this review: Give it a try, why don't you? It's historically well researched, there are weapons, wars, witty bantering and it is adventurous rather than romantic. I have convinced a few male acquaintances to read it, and they were not sorry to have done so.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Written in My Own Heart's Blood

  • Outlander, Book 8
  • By: Diana Gabaldon
  • Narrated by: Davina Porter
  • Length: 44 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 648
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 579
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 577

It is June 1778, and the world seems to be turning upside down. The British Army is withdrawing from Philadelphia, with George Washington in pursuit, and for the first time, it looks as if the rebels might actually win. But for Claire Fraser and her family, there are even more tumultuous revolutions that have to be accommodated. Her former husband, Jamie, has returned from the dead, demanding to know why in his absence she married his best friend, Lord John Grey.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not quite here and not quite there but somewhere..

  • By Susi on 15-06-14

Not quite here and not quite there but somewhere..

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

Reviewed: 15-06-14

..in between.
The story, of course, follows the life and times of James Fraser, his wife Claire and her family. They are all there: Ian, Brianna, Roger, Janet... It is somewhat difficult to cover anything thematically without spoilering something else due to context.
The book is absolutely worthwhile to be listened to, Davina Porter as divine in her narration as always. Really, I can't imagine someone else telling the story.
All in all: the story does evolve, we get to know many answers to unsolved aspects of previous books, Diana Gabaldon is a master in word-choosing and in weaving atmospheric and vivid scenery.


Only three stars then, why?

After scattering her main characters all over the place at the end of her last book (the worst possible cliff-hangers!) I was quite anxiously awaiting how the different story-lines would be joined again. Unfortunately, and this is one of my big issues with this book, I had the impression that - after flinging Roger, Jem, William, John Grey and Ian to who knows where - D.G. had difficulty in picking them up again and uniting them in one arc. For much too long the different time-lines are completely broken apart, and while there is a lot going on, the story itself gets lost in all the conundrum. Military expertise is a fine thing to read about, but not the point (my point!) in this series.

The "rejoining"-moments then are done without further description, somewhat abrupt and strange / inconsistent. Without spoiling: What was a really, really big step in previous books is now sometimes excruciatingly difficult and sometimes as easy as if it was a walk in the park.
These are maybe small aspects, but somehow they matter here, and I felt that they disturbed the "reality" of the story.

Although all characters show up, they weren't depicted as the shining, living, breathing personas you are expecting them to be when reading D.G. This is only my personal opinion, of course, but I'd have liked to have more links between the different people during the story. It all seemed to be quite disjointed, with seemingly important persons suddenly vanishing from view, popping up completely out of context and without logical explanation and then vanishing again. Some of them refuse verbally to say where they are headed to - and then they are gone. Poof.
it was as if they were, in fact, too much to be handled for the author, and so the characters literally fell off her plate, only to be picked up from the floor several chapters laters, slightly the worse for wear and a bit disoriented.


Some of the main characters have changed in vital aspects of their being - so much that it was hard to reconcile them with what they were before. And that, in all honesty, was bugging me a lot sometimes. Of course a person's being will evolve, but usually, the won't change so much - and not in such a sad, lamentable way as in this book.


Listen to this book, enjoy it, it's worth it if you have enjoyed the previous books, and join me in waiting four or five years for the next installment. Sigh.


10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Who Is Tom Ditto

  • By: Danny Wallace
  • Narrated by: Christopher Ragland, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
  • Length: 10 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 204
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 194
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 192

We join the action just as our ‘hero’ Tom, (early thirties, reads the ‘news’ on the radio) finds out that his girlfriend has not left him. Tom, I have not left you. But I am gone. Please carry on as normal. Love always, Hayley. Has Hayley gone or hasn’t she? Is she coming back? If she has gone, but is coming back, when is she coming back? And what is he supposed to bloody do in the meantime? And what if she’s never coming back?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliantly entertaining...and masterfully read!

  • By S. Cocks on 02-05-14

Who are you, and who could you be?

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

Reviewed: 14-05-14

I bought the audiobook after searching for books read by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith (great narrator of the fabulous Rivers of London books by Ben Aaronovitch.). While I'd never heard of the author, the story sounded interesting enough to try the book - and I wasn't disappointed.

Who is Tom Ditto is a story about a man in his thirties (Tom, an early-morning news-reader on the radio) who is left by his girl-friend without any warning and with only a strange letter as fare-well. Thoroughly unsettled and unable to cope, Tom starts to look for clues as to where and why Hayley might have disappeared.
Without becoming too spoilery I can add that Tom begins a journey that will change his life and, maybe more importantly, his perspective on life.

It is a quiet, quaint book, there's not much drama going on, but it isn't a boring book. The story is told with much sympathy for the protagonist, who is trying to lead a normal, stable life. I'll certainly listen to the story again and I am sure that I will discover new aspects that will add to the facets of the characters.

Why only 4 stars? Well, there is kind of a sub-story in the book, and this part is narrated by Christopher Ragland. He also did a good job in reading the story, but the sub-plot is, in my opinion, totally superfluous and distracting. Thankfully, these interludes are always brief and therefore negligible, but it made me wonder why the autor thought them important enough not to leave them out completely.

So, all in all, if you like character development, normal life and thoughts about the nature of men, then you could very well enjoy the book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair

  • By: Joël Dicker
  • Narrated by: Robert Slade
  • Length: 20 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,006
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 940
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 937

August 30, 1975: the day of the disappearance. The day Somerset, New Hampshire, lost its innocence. That summer, struggling author Harry Quebert fell in love with 15-year-old Nola Kellergan. Thirty-three years later, her body is dug up from his yard, along with a manuscript copy of the novel that secured his lasting fame. Quebert is the only suspect. Marcus Goldman - Quebert’s most gifted protégé - throws off his writer’s block to clear his mentor’s name. Solving the case and penning a new best seller soon merge into one.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • well i quite liked it

  • By knittyboot on 15-05-14

I don't wanna know the truth about the affair

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

Reviewed: 02-05-14

This was vastly disappointing. I'm not going to go in too deep about the storylines which are readily available in the summary.

What I want to say is
a) this book is a structural failure. A guy writes about himself, his past and how he came to write the book about "the affair". This he does partially in retrospect, partially in first-person narrative in the present, but, and this is done really badly, partially from the view of other characters. Clearly we have a protagonist in this story, but every so often he doesn't tell the story anymore, but someone else. In another setting this might be nice to follow, but this is a murder investigation, so it doesn't make ANY SENSE (sorry for shouting!) to give insights to third person's thoughts if they are not communicated to the investigator. How do they reach him?
It is so thoroughly illogical that it made me want to scream.
Our hero drives around town, visits someone in prison, switches on a tape-recorder, someone else begins to talk and suddenly the story switches to yet another person, recounting events from 30 years ago in the present tense. Then, suddenly, we are back in the skin of the author who continues his investigation.
To clarify: this is a book about the production of said book, told from multiple angles and multiple periods in time. I guess the author wanted to be very crafty, but the threads of the story become convoluted, misleading, hard to tell apart (who's talking now? Waitress? Author? Cop?) and most of all: tedious.

b) this book is stylistically bad: Endless annoying dialogues end without any conclusion, solution or explanation why the reader/listener had to suffer through them.

c) the story itself is sordid. If it isn't, it has become so with the narrator. It is supposed to be about an affair between a 15-year old girl, oh so sweet, oh so lovely, and a 34-year old jaded and self-centered writer. They aren't likable. The girl is whiney, childlike in her demeanor and, ha-ha, her name is Nola. (not Lolita, no, Nola) The author tells himself repeatedly that he really shouldn't be with a 15-year old girl, but he loves her! He wants her! And so he lies to her! Repeatedly! To make her adore him even more!
Enough already. I have given the matter some thought: If the author of the book wanted to write a love-story gone awry, he failed. Nola is no Lolita, she clearly is still a child (or at least rendered one by Robert Slade) and so the affair was, in my eyes, absolutely inappropriate. Disgustingly so. I have no patience whatsoever with the sympathetic depiction of, let's face it, chronophilia.

d) Robert Slade has succeeded in depicting all characters as nasty creatures. I didn't like ANY of them. They were, with his voice and modulation, annoying, whining, hard to distinguish personas that I wasn't invested in at all.

Of the clever ending, well ok, I'll credit the author with some ingenuity, but the hours before that were hard to digest.

57 of 69 people found this review helpful

  • The Visitors

  • By: Sally Beauman
  • Narrated by: Laurel Lefkow
  • Length: 20 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 83
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 73
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 76

Sent abroad to Egypt in 1922, 11-year-old Lucy is caught up in the excitement that surrounds the hunt for Tutankhamun's tomb. When she meets Frances, the daughter of an American archaeologist, the two girls spy on the grown-ups and a lifelong bond is formed. Haunted by the ghosts of her past, the mistakes she made, Lucy disinters her past. And she finally comes to terms with what happened after Egypt, when Frances needed Lucy most.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A sad, sad, sad story

  • By Susi on 28-04-14

A sad, sad, sad story

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

Reviewed: 28-04-14

This book was probably the saddest I have ever listened to - The Street by McCarthy being a close second.
The story is that of 11-year old Lucy who loses her mother in a typhoid infection that leaves her on death' door. To distract her, her father, being an absent, disparaging, misanthropic Cambridge scholar, ships her off to Egypt with a nurse/governess in the year 1922.
In Egypt, Lucy meets Frances, daughter of an American egyptologist. Lucy is drawn into the circle around Carter and Lord Carnarvon...

80 years onwards, a tired Lucy is being interviewed for a tv series on Tut. She reminisces about her life and the story skips from her life then and her life now.

I've said it once and I'll say it again: this book has made me cry buckets. I wept. It is not chick-lit, nor uplifting as, say, Major Pettigrew. But it describes life as it is. In this case, a life full of losses, deaths, departures and sadness.
Lucy is eye-witness to one of the greatest archeological finds of all times, and through her (flawlessly researched) eyes I too was witnessing the now lost Egypt of a hundred years ago. She isn't one of the persons on the center stage, but she is there, one the fringes, watching and observing. It made me long to go there, to glimpse what is left.

I had my issues with the story as well: Lucy practically never speaks or comments, so I never really got a feeling of her. She remained a canvas for the other people. Somebody to be spoken to, to have adventures with, yet she herself remains strangely inexistent.

The other thing, kind of spoilery: The last hours of the book wrap up the first third of her life, adding more losses, more tragedy, and I was left to wonder how anyone could live on like that for another 60 years. It is not being mentioned what she did in this time, but it can't have been happy, or Lucy wouldn't have been the person she was at the age of ninety-something.

Even so, full five stars for making me feel as depressed and hopeless as rarely before.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful