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debbie

  • 20
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  • 9
  • helpful votes
  • 89
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  • The Romanovs: 1613-1918

  • By: Simon Sebag Montefiore
  • Narrated by: Simon Russell Beale
  • Length: 28 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 485
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 437
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 432

The Romanovs were the most successful dynasty of modern times, ruling a sixth of the world's surface. How did one family turn a war-ruined principality into the world's greatest empire? And how did they lose it all? This is the intimate story of 20 tsars and tsarinas, some touched by genius, some by madness, but all inspired by holy autocracy and imperial ambition.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic content and narration

  • By H L Condliffe on 03-06-16

Vast history of an impressive dynasty

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

Reviewed: 03-12-17

A massive romp through the Romanov dynasty detailing their rise and dramatic fall. The book examines known Tsars such as Peter the Great and Catherine the Great as well those lesser known such as Paul I. A massive book which incorporates 300 hundred years and is therefore limited in depth about the individual Tsars with more attention paid to the more ‘popular’ rulers.

I enjoyed listening to the book and the separation techniques used helped me to remember some of the names of the different protagonists, although I did still struggle due to the similarities in names. A good solid book for those wanting an overview and basic understanding of the Romanov dynasty.

  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

  • By: L. Frank Baum
  • Narrated by: Anne Hathaway
  • Length: 3 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 192
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 150
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 149

One of the best-known stories in American culture, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has stirred the imagination of young and old alike for over 100 years. Best Actress nominee Anne Hathaway ( Rachel Getting Married, Alice in Wonderland), fresh from filming one of this year’s most anticipated films ( The Dark Knight Rises), lends her voice to this uniquely American fairy tale.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant narration

  • By Julia Brown on 30-11-14

Anne Hathaway's narration is brilliant!

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

Reviewed: 27-06-17


The first story within this series of children's books which has been immortalised by the film wizard of oz staring Judy garland. As most people are aware Dorothy (and Toto) is transported to a new land following a tornado. There she meets with beloved characters such as the cowardly lion, the scarecrow and tin man. There are enough similarities between the book and the film to delight the reader.

For me the best part of this audiobook was Anne Hathaway’s wonderful narration and different character voices. I found myself howling with laughter from listening to some of her voices, in particular I loved her stork. I’m unsure if this was her intention but for me I completely loved this!

  • To the Lighthouse

  • By: Virginia Woolf
  • Narrated by: Nicole Kidman
  • Length: 6 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 74
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 70
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 70

To the Lighthouse is Virginia Woolf’s arresting analysis of domestic family life, centering on the Ramseys and their visits to the Isle of Skye in Scotland in the early 1900s. Nicole Kidman ( Moulin Rouge, Eyes Wide Shut), who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Woolf in the film adaptation of Michael Cunningham’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Hours, brings the impressionistic prose of this classic to vibrant life.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Worth persevering!

  • By Saffy on 19-07-13

Masterful use of language

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

Reviewed: 26-06-17

The overall synopsis of the story is very simple and about a family, their holiday within Skye and whether they will go to see a lighthouse which is situated on a rock just out to sea. What on paper appears to be a very boring and strange story when it is actually read suddenly becomes more alive.

What the story is actually about is the individual thoughts and their thought process. It is a book which is entirely in the moment and with the strange random thoughts that often ping into people’s minds.

For me what brought the book alive was Woolf’s masterful use of language; the beauty and weird nature of words which can evoke so much. I loved the sometimes rhythmic words, the use of poems and reiteration of the same word. The impact of these was lovely and I found at times that I just wanted all these words to wash over me. The impact of this was that I found that I sometimes did not pay enough attention to listening to the story and found that I was a bit lost as to what was happening.

I think this is a book which requires repeat listening to both fully understand the linear story and also to begin to get to grips with each characters individual consciousness.

A tough book but one which is worthwhile!

  • The Girls

  • By: Emma Cline
  • Narrated by: Cady McClain
  • Length: 9 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 587
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 538
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 539

Evie Boyd is desperate to be noticed. In the summer of 1969, empty days stretch out under the California sun. The smell of honeysuckle thickens the air, and the sidewalks radiate heat. Until she sees them. The snatch of cold laughter. Hair long and uncombed. Dirty dresses skimming the tops of thighs. Cheap rings like a second set of knuckles. The girls. And at the centre, Russell. Russell and the ranch, down a long dirt track and deep in the hills. Incense and clumsily strummed chords. Rumours of sex, frenzied gatherings, teen runaways.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The human side...

  • By Mark on 05-01-17

A powerful book with links with today's culture

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

Reviewed: 25-06-17

A fictional story loosely based upon the 1970 famous Manson killings committed by primarily young women under the ‘order’ of a stronger male figure with a god like status to them.

The girls focuses upon the mainly the intense relationship of one young teenage girl has upon a slightly older teenage girl who is already within the cult. The story could be based within any time frame, I felt that there was a timeless quality which can be seen within today's culture. 

The main protagonist Evie is 14 years old and is feeling unloved and unwanted by her parents and friends. She is attempting to discover herself in the way most young teens will and experiment with ideas of who they are. As has been seen within recent child exploitation cases, Evie is ripe for exploitation from those more powerful than her who can clearly see the need in her to be ‘seen’ and wanted.

I found this to be a sad and powerful story. While I enjoyed the lyrical word plays within the story I found at times these want slightly too far and slowed the story down slightly with the author trying too hard to find a poetic way of speaking when something more blunt would have more power and be more evocative. That said I did enjoy the book a lot and found Cady McClain's reading was pitched just right and added to my enjoyment. A good solid read although I can see one which may have more meaning for an angst ridden teen than a 30 something adult.

  • Bertie: A Life of Edward VII

  • By: Jane Ridley
  • Narrated by: Carole Boyd
  • Length: 22 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 113
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 97
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 95

Entertaining and different, this is an enjoyable study of a flawed yet characterful Prince of Wales seen through the eyes of the women in his life. Edward Vll, who gave his name to the Edwardian Age and died in 1911, was King of England for the final 10 years of his life. He was 59 when at last he came to the throne. Known as Bertie, the eldest son of Victoria and Albert, he was bullied by both his parents.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent narration

  • By Knucklebones on 17-02-13

Massive and methodical

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

Reviewed: 03-06-17

An immense book which chronicles the life of Bertie, King Edward VII from cradle to death. This book includes details of his life and experiences of being queen Victoria's child and the relationship he had with her until her death in 1901.

This is a massive listen of over 22hrs and demanded a lot of time to listen. I was more interested in the latter period of his life of which is named after him, the Edwardian era. While I feel much of the information within the book I already felt that I knew, particularly in regarding his often fractious relationship with Queen Victoria. There was also parts that I was more unaware about such as the period when he eventually ascended to the throne. I feel the common remembrances regarding Bertie are around his early life when he had little to no responsibility. However it appears that when Bertie was given the responsibility as King he became a workaholic and began shaping the crown and monarchy into what we would recognise and understand today. In addition it was interesting to discover the amount of public grief displayed by the general public following his death which felt reminiscent of the grief displayed following the death of Princess Diana.

Overall this was an interesting read, however it felt at times overally long and ponderous.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Jaws

  • By: Peter Benchley
  • Narrated by: Erik Steele
  • Length: 9 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 621
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 545
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 546

Jaws is the classic, blockbuster thriller that inspired the three-time Academy Award-winning Steven Spielberg movie and made millions of beachgoers afraid to go into the water. Experience the thrill of helpless horror again - or for the first time! Jaws was number 48 in the American Film Institute's 100 Years...100 Movies, and the film earned the coveted number-one spot on the Bravo network's 100 Scariest Movie Moments countdown. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • One of my all time favourite books

  • By Steffiwinkle on 17-08-15

Atmospheric and dramatic

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

Reviewed: 22-05-17

A dramatic and powerful book on which the film ‘Jaws’ produced by Steven Spielberg is based upon. For anyone who has lived under a rock and has spurned films and t.v this is basically a book about a shark ’terrorising’ a fictional seaside town in America.

There are a lot deviations of the film away from the book which made reading the book a little more interesting as I wasn't always aware of what was going to happen next.I really enjoyed the a main characters and their motivations, something which has been changed within the film.

Like many the other audible reviews of Jaws, every time the shark was introduced I could hear in the back of my mind the dramatic and sinister rendition of the soundtrack, which I loved.

An enjoyable book which mingled with my recollections of Jaws suitably scared me.

  • Grimm's Fairy Stories

  • By: The Brothers Grimm, Margaret Hunt - translator
  • Narrated by: Joanna Daniel
  • Length: 5 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 87
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 72
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 74

A collection of classic Brothers Grimm fairy tales, pulled from Margaret Hunt's 1884 translation. Including: The Little Brother and Little Sister", "Hansel and Gretel", "Oh, If I Could but Shiver!", "Dummling and the Three Feathers", "Little Snow-White", "Frederick and Catherine", "The Valiant Little Tailor", "Little Red-Cap", "The Golden Goose", "Bearskin", "Cinderella", "Faithful John", "The Water of Life", "Thumbling", "Briar Rose", and "The Six Swans," among others.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Narration was great

  • By The Average Customer on 11-09-18

A sweet reminisce of stories from my childhood

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

Reviewed: 21-05-17

This audiobook contains a collection of the Brothers Grimm’s extensive collection of stories which included Tom Thumb, Cinderella and Snow White.

While very sweet to listen and reminisce I found many of the tales sounded very alike and similar themes emerged within many of the stories. From listening using adult ears and knowledge I can hear that they are old fashioned with dated ideas; for example there is a clear masochism which runs through many stories. These are things I would not have picked up on as a child.

The narration of the book was good, Joanna Daniel sounded like various readers from Jackanory, with just the right amount of condensation and jolliness which will engage a child while not alienating.

Overall these are sweet bite size stories which are the right amount for children with limited attention spans.

  • The Silkworm

  • Cormoran Strike, Book 2
  • By: Robert Galbraith
  • Narrated by: Robert Glenister
  • Length: 17 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,469
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,922
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,903

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, she just thinks he has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home. But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realises. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were published it would ruin lives - so there are a lot of people who might want to silence him.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 star rating based on quality not name

  • By Linda on 06-08-14

Addictive listening

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

Reviewed: 06-05-17

This is the second novel depicting private investigator Cormoran Strike by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling). This novel follows Strike who is asked to investigate and find a missing novelist by his wife. The ‘missing’ author is later found by Strike dead in a manner depicted like the protagonist at the end of his current yet unpublished manuscript. A manuscript which has scandalised and titillated the publishing world by defaming significant publishing and writing leaders as well as some individuals known to the now dead novelist. Much like many great classic mysteries, Strike is required to unearth the murderer and gather the relevant evidence to prove their guilt.

I am working through the series backwards having listened to ‘Career of Evil’ first; something which has afforded me an unfair advantage as I already had some knowledge of the characters which would not have been known to those reading in sequence. However I did not find that this dulled my enjoyment of the story and instead led to some smugness of knowing a ‘secret’. From working backwards I can see a progression in the depth of writing. I feel that as Rowling became increasingly familiar with her characters she became more able to write them with added depth and feeling. However this did not detract from my own enjoyment of listening to this audiobook, I continued to be addicted and compelled to finish as soon as possible binge listening over a few days.

Overall I found this book to be a joy and welcome distraction from the world.

  • Alien: River of Pain

  • An Audible Original Drama
  • By: Christopher Golden, Dirk Maggs
  • Narrated by: Anna Friel, Philip Glenister, Colin Salmon, and others
  • Length: 4 hrs and 52 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,159
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,958
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,952

Ellen Ripley finally returns to Earth, only to discover that LV-426 — where the crew of the Nostromo first came into contact with the deadly xenomorphs — has been renamed Acheron. Protected by Colonial Marines, the colonists seek to terraform the storm-swept planet against all the odds. But in the face of brutal living conditions and the daily struggles of a new world, there is humanity and hope.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Out of this World!

  • By Simon on 26-04-17

Electric and compulsive listen

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

Reviewed: 06-05-17

Within the ‘Alien’ timeline, ‘River of Pain’ is based between the first Alien and its sequel ‘Aliens’. The focus of the story is the events which led to a human colony to become virtually wiped out following an encounter with the Aliens and the sole survivor of a child called ‘Newt’.

While listening to this recording I had initially felt that the story appeared to drag with a lot of time and attention spent at the beginning of the story introducing the characters and their stories. I was impatient to get to the action and the Aliens! However as the story continued it became evident that the extra time spent understanding these characters was important to the overall story and later character motivations.

I found the production to be exciting, dynamic and a compulsive listen. I listened to the second half of the production while on a long run and found that in the places of scary action I was running a lot faster than I had intended. I clearly had become immersed in the production and was attempting my own flee from the Aliens, I like to think that I managed to escape with Newt!

  • Career of Evil

  • Cormoran Strike, Book 3
  • By: Robert Galbraith
  • Narrated by: Robert Glenister
  • Length: 17 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,767
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 6,294
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,289

When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman's severed leg. Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past whom he thinks could be responsible - and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another gripping story.

  • By Bernadette on 22-10-15

A classic and classy whodunit

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

Reviewed: 19-04-17

The story opens with the delivery of a female’s severed leg to Strike’s secretary/partner Robin Ellacott and continues with various twists and red herrings which would make Agatha Christie proud.

‘Career of Evil’ is the third book by Robert Galbraith AKA J.K Rowling with the main protagonist of private detective Cormoran Strike. This is also the first book from this series that I have read. While I found there to be some backstory relating back to the other two books which are referenced within this story, I found Career of Evil to be an easy read which did not require the reader to have any prior knowledge of the proceeding novels.

I found this audiobook to be highly enjoyable and addictive with Robert Glenister’s reading adding a further dimension. I would highly recommend anyone who enjoys Agatha Christie stories and her ilk to give this book a go as they will not be disappointed!