LISTENER

Zebra Karma

  • 15
  • reviews
  • 30
  • helpful votes
  • 23
  • ratings
  • The Female Persuasion

  • By: Meg Wolitzer
  • Narrated by: Rebecca Lowman
  • Length: 14 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 47
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 41
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 41

Random House presents the audiobook edition of The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer, read by Rebecca Lowman. ‘Greer didn’t really know why Faith took an interest. But what she knew for sure, eventually, was that meeting Faith Frank was the thrilling beginning of everything. It would be a very long time before the unspeakable end.’ Greer Kadetsky is a shy college student when she meets the woman who will shape her life. Faith Frank, dazzlingly persuasive and elegant, has been a pillar of the women’s movement for decades, a figure who inspires others....

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • First half very engaging, second fairly predictable

  • By Amazon Customer on 19-07-18

Fantastic

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

Reviewed: 17-03-19

A thoroughly satisfying novel - superbly drawn characters, important themes, witty writing and great narration. One of my all time favourite Audible purchases.

  • The Wych Elm

  • By: Tana French
  • Narrated by: Paul Nugent
  • Length: 22 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 81
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 78
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 76

One night changes everything for Toby. A brutal attack leaves him traumatised, unsure even of the person he used to be. He seeks refuge at his uncle's rambling home, the Ivy House, filled with cherished memories of wild-strawberry summers and teenage parties with his cousins. But not long after Toby's arrival, a discovery is made. A skull, tucked neatly inside the old wych elm in the garden. 

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Long, dull and poorly narrated.

  • By the typist on 02-03-19

Too long, too grim

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

Reviewed: 04-03-19

This is a hard review to write because I’ve always been a big fan of Tana French. As ever, in this novel, her first stand-alone away from the Dublin Murder Squad, her prose is stunning. In a way, this might have been better read on the page than as an audio book. The story of Toby is initially promising. He’s the lucky one who has never known misfortune in any area of his life, until one day he is burgled and brutally attacked. The problem is that rather than developing this storyline, we descend, and I use the word advisedly, into his teenage past at the Ivy House, site of the Wych Elm. It felt to me that in her zeal to write something similar to The Secret History, French abandoned all concern for her a compelling plot, not to mention her long-suffering readers.

Basically the story just gets sadder and more depressing, and the plot meanders hither and thon. For ten hours, this would have been a challenge. But I stuck with it for all 22 hours and 7 minutes. I’ve never been so happy for an audio book to end!! The narrator is very fluent and natural but basically, there’s just too much of Toby.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • This Could Hurt

  • A Novel
  • By: Jillian Medoff
  • Narrated by: Andrea Gallo, Nick Podehl, Saskia Maarleveld, and others
  • Length: 12 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5

Rosa Guerrero beat the odds as she rose to the top of the corporate world. An attractive woman of a certain age, the longtime chief of human resources at Ellery Consumer Research is still a formidable presence, even if her most vital days are behind her. A leader who wields power with grace and discretion, she has earned the devotion and loyalty of her staff. No one admires Rosa more than her doting lieutenant Leo Smalls, a benefits vice president whose whole world is Ellery.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Damp squib.

  • By Zebra Karma on 05-01-19

Damp squib.

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

Reviewed: 05-01-19

I had high hopes for this novel. I think there were too many characters. It would have been better if the author had created a more satisfying storyline for Rosa, the central character and office matriarch. There aren’t enough novels featuring female characters in their 60s, least of all novels set in the workplace. So it felt like a wasted opportunity.

Another issue I had is in her efforts to accurately describe modern corporate life, the author gets into too much dull detail and the many storylines go nowhere.

The bright spot are the great narrative performances.

  • Normal People

  • By: Sally Rooney
  • Narrated by: Aoife McMahon
  • Length: 7 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,371
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,247
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,244

Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. When they both earn places at Trinity College in Dublin, a connection that has grown between them lasts long into the following years. This is an exquisite love story about how a person can change another person's life - a simple yet profound realisation that unfolds beautifully over the course of the novel. It tells us how difficult it is to talk about how we feel and it tells us - blazingly - about cycles of domination, legitimacy and privilege. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • It plunges under your skin and invades you.

  • By Wras on 18-10-18

Beautiful

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

Reviewed: 05-11-18

Wonderful writing and narration. Lives up to the hype and I want to listen to her other book now.

  • Your Dream Life Starts Here

  • By: Kristina Karlsson
  • Narrated by: Kristina Karlsson
  • Length: 6 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 5

Kristina Karlsson, the woman behind the inspiring global success story, kikki.K, shares personal insights from her amazing journey, from humble beginnings on a small farm in Sweden to the 3am light bulb moment that led her to chase and achieve dreams that are now inspiring a worldwide community of dreamers. Filled with simple and practical magic - and inspiring stories and wisdom from people who’ve dared to dream big - this audiobook will show you how to harness the power of dreaming to transform your life in small, simple steps.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Delightful and inspiring

  • By Zebra Karma on 09-10-18

Delightful and inspiring

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

Reviewed: 09-10-18

This is a beautiful and heartfelt guide to living your dreams by someone who has really done it, the creator of the Kikki K stationery empire Kristina Karlsson.

The book is not only inspiring, it contains wonderful stories of others who have realised their dreams and fantastic exercises that will get you thinking, dreaming and ultimately doing. It is the author’s dream to create a global movement of 101 million dreamers.

Karlsson has joked about her “Swenglish” accent but it’s a joy to listen to. Highly recommended.

  • Alternate Side

  • By: Anna Quindlen
  • Narrated by: Ellen Archer
  • Length: 7 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 4

Some days Nora Nolan thinks that she and her husband, Charlie, lead a charmed life - except when there’s a crisis at work, a leak in the roof at home, or a problem with their twins at college. And why not? New York City was once Nora’s dream destination, and her clannish dead-end block has become a safe harbor, a tranquil village amid the urban craziness. Then one morning she returns from her run to discover that a terrible incident has shaken the neighborhood, and the fault lines begin to open: on the block, at her job, especially in her marriage.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • A cure for insomnia

  • By Zebra Karma on 21-09-18

A cure for insomnia

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

Reviewed: 21-09-18

Anna Quindlen is a fine writer but this novel was such a snorefest. It was so tedious that in the end, determined not to abandon it, I listened to it in bed. Every single time I drifted off to the land of nod so quickly!

There’s no plot, no intrigue, just a bunch of dull, middle-aged New Yorkers living in a gentrified pocket of Manhattan. But you never get so much as a bagel crust, it could’ve been set in any city where property has become a commodity.

I didn’t care what happened to any of the characters either. The one bright spot was Ellen Archer’s narration which is exquisite.

  • L'Appart

  • The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home
  • By: David Lebovitz
  • Narrated by: Graham Halstead
  • Length: 10 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 2

When David Lebovitz began the project of updating his apartment in his adopted home city, he never imagined he would encounter so much inexplicable red tape while contending with perplexing work ethic and hours. Lebovitz maintains his distinctive sense of humor with the help of his partner, Romain, peppering this renovation story with recipes from his Paris kitchen.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Other People’s DIY

  • By Zebra Karma on 18-08-18

Other People’s DIY

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

Reviewed: 18-08-18

I adored the author’s previous books. He’s terrific on food and on being an ex-pat in Paris. Alas this book iliterally involved watching paint dry, not to mention many trips to Ikea and the search for floorboards that are a few millimetres off the standard French dimensions.

Where was his editor during all this I wonder? Sound asleep probably. How else to explain it. A typical paragraph.
“The one thing I wasn’t paying attention to was how far from the sink the crew had attached the faucet. When the water line was attached, the lever to the faucet happened to be in the open position and after a few lurching sputters of water came out, a steady flow suddenly burst forth drenching the counter. The faucet had been set too far back and the spigot barely cleared the side of the basin.”

Couldn’t finish it.

  • Bella Figura

  • How to Live, Love and Eat the Italian Way
  • By: Kamin Mohammadi
  • Narrated by: Kamin Mohammadi
  • Length: 8 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 97
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 92
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 92

One woman's story of finding beauty and herself - and a practical guide to living a better life, the Italian way! Kamin Mohammadi, a magazine editor in London, should have been on top of the world. But after heartbreak and loneliness, the stress of her 'dream life' was ruining her physical and mental health. Gifted a ticket to freedom - a redundancy package and the offer of a friend's apartment in Florence - Kamin took a giant leap.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Good Life

  • By Kate Lord Brown on 30-06-18

Mostly very good

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

Reviewed: 28-05-18

I’ve deducted a star because of the preachy and long-winded epilogue about food and exercise regime. “Bella Figura is not a diet...” - surely no one thought it was? Although the book is a tad more Bridget Jones Diary than it needed to be. Still a diverting read though.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Persons Unknown

  • A Manon Bradshaw Thriller
  • By: Susie Steiner
  • Narrated by: Juanita McMahon
  • Length: 11 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 78
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 72
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 72

As dusk falls, a young man staggers through a park, far from home, bleeding from a stab wound. He dies where he falls, cradled by a stranger, a woman's name on his lips in his last seconds of life. DI Manon Bradshaw can't help taking an interest - these days she handles only cold cases, but the man died just yards from the police station where she works. She's horrified to discover that both victim and prime suspect are more closely linked to her than she could have imagined.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A rather stereotyped female detective

  • By Clare on 08-09-17

Mama Mia

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

Reviewed: 26-08-17

I really enjoyed the author's first book but this one was not for me. WAY too much about Manon's pregnancy, and general guff about motherhood. I'm sorry but this isn't what I want from a crime thriller. The plot was convoluted and not terribly interesting. Juanita McMahon is a wonderful narrator however so all is not lost. I do think though when a non-Chinese person does a ham Chinese accent it sounds a tad offensive. Ditto Irish, ditto a couple of other accents she doesn't entirely carry off.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Wild Other

  • A Memoir
  • By: Clover Stroud
  • Narrated by: Esther Wane
  • Length: 9 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 45
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 41
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 41

Clover Stroud's idyllic childhood in rural England was shattered when a horrific riding accident left her mother permanently brain damaged. Just 16, she embarked on a journey to find the sense of home that had been so savagely broken. Travelling from gypsy camps in Ireland to the rodeos of West Texas and then to Russia's war-torn Caucasus, Clover eventually found her way back to England's lyrical Vale of the White Horse.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A wild ride

  • By Zebra Karma on 21-02-17

A wild ride

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

Reviewed: 21-02-17

This is a compelling, at times distressing memoir. The author was just 16 when her mother suffers a devastating riding accident. Although not a single bone is broken she's never able to communicate with her family again and spends the next 22 years mostly in residential care.

It would be enough to dissuade many people from ever getting in the saddle again but instead the teenage Clover leans in to the danger that horses now symbolise. Spells trading gypsy horses in Ireland and as a ranch-hand soon follow as well as a rather peculiar liaison with a circus performer in Chechnya.

Ultimately this is a life-affirming account of a life thoroughly well-lived in spite of or because of the intense trauma and grief of the accident. The book raises difficult questions about whether it is always better that a person escape death, and also the shocking decisions made by our care system.

Stroud doesn't mention that one sister is pottery queen Emma Bridgewater and another is Nell Gifford founder of the circus. Knowing this did make me marvel at the inner drive their mother must have given them before tragedy struck. Beautifully narrated too.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful