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Farniboy

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Festive Fun

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

Reviewed: 06-12-19

Enjoyable chat show style podcast. Special guest share anecdotes about their own Christmas and a Christmas historian explains the myths and origins of Christmas traditions.

12 people found this helpful

A Fab Look At The History of the Hollywood Musical

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

Reviewed: 20-11-19

Wow, Jeanine Baker knows her onions!

This is a brilliant look at the Hollywood musical from the advent of sound through the glory years of the 50's, their fall from favour in the 60/70's upto the faltering attempts at revitalising the genre in recent years. Its chocka block of anecdotes and back scene stories of the films and their stars. Special consideration is given to Gene Kelly and Fred Estaire and their impact on the form and also the Fox Studio blondes. Its not just the actors that are exhaustively studied but the composers, lyricists, designers, choreographers etc that made the musical so special. An indispensable look at one of the true American art forms.

I grew up watching musicals and I've now started to rewatch them, inspired by the new perspectives that this book has given me.

Audible we need the rest Of Jeanine Bakers back catalogue on Audible ASAP.

Bloods Up!

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

Reviewed: 01-03-19

I enjoyed the first book in Angus Donald's Holcroft Blood series, Blood's Game. I liked that Blood (and his father) are minor historical figuress who lived in interesting times. I enjoyed the fact that the character had Asperger's and his straight forward analytical thinking was an advantage in the scheming court of Charles II. Whilst at court he befriends a randy lieutenant, John Churchill, whose real life historical glory will be something Holcroft will bask in. The character I really enjoyed was Aphra Behn a woman out of time, part time spy and successful playwright, she gets an important cameo in the new book.

This book is set a decade or so later.Charles II is dead and his brother James II is king. Holcroft is an artilleryman and we find him and his friend John Churchill during the events of the Monmouth Rebellion. The events of the book cover the period of time between the Monmouth Rebellion and the Glorious Revolution. It has all the ingredient of cracking historical fiction, there are religious rivalries, battles and skirmishes, an evil French spy, buffoonish officers, treasonous plots, life long friends on opposing sides and in the middle of the storm Holcroft Blood trying to make sense of it all .

Writing historical fiction you are sometimes hampered by the facts, and that they only look neat and tidy with hindsight, so sometimes there are lulls in the story where nothing pertinent to the plot is happening, this is the case but this is handled neatly with a good sub plot. I really want the listener to find out the story twist and turns, so no spoilers, but the writer sets up the next installment beautifully.

A decent narration with the oddest portrayal of a beautiful woman I've heard, but that's the point of it!

I really enjoyed this book and look forward to the next book in the series.

1 person found this helpful

Cracking Fantasy With a Touch of Eastern Spice...

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

Reviewed: 28-02-19

I've read all of Angus Macallan's books under his name Angus Donald. His Outlaw Chronicles were a great update of the Robin Hood myth and I'm also enjoying his Holcroft Blood books.You know what you're going to get with his books, a fast paced story, with exciting action scenes, great characters and strong female characters in a well researched historical setting. Gates of Stone is no exception...

This is his first foray into fantasy. In a brave decision he hasn't set the Gates of Stone in the usual Tolkeinesque, European, Middle Ages setting of castles, Celts, and armour but in what I would guess as an 18th Century Indonesia of islands, drugs, cartels and muskets. The world building is excellent, you can feel the sweat dripping from the heroes in some scenes. He paints a picture of a sultry land where there is rigid caste structure, where most people know their place, of pirates and navies warring in an azure sea, of politics and magic and of quests and revenge.

The book follows the story of Princess Katerina who has lost her right to the throne because she is a woman,she's headstrong, brave and more than a little callous in her pursuit of power and eventually I presume, her inheritance. Prince Arjun is the romantic dreamer who is forced to fight against an evil mage to revenge the death of his father with the help of a servant with a secret. All the great elements of decent fantasy fiction plus a great selection of well rounded supporting characters.

The shadow of GRR Martin and Joe Abercrombie cast a large shadow over modern fantasy, but these books remind me more of Brian McClellan's Powder Mage series in that some of the characters are likeable and have honour, Abercrombie's books wore me down a little with the fact I couldn't root for anyone, also Angus writes at a steady clip (a book a year) so no half decade wait between instalments like GRR Martin! Plus there is something seriously cool about a musket as a weapon.

One of the downsides is that Audible don't provide a PDF map to download, as the book is set on a series of islands, it would be a good idea to go to the authors website and familiarise yourself with the layout.

A good narration from Mandy Williams. I'll look forward to the next in the series.

Predictable But A Lovely Festive Freebie.

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

Reviewed: 13-12-18

The perfect listen as you dash about getting ready for Christmas. A great narration too. I'm sure the creator of Annie had read this book before writing his comic strip. A lonely old man is convinced to take three children into his Cornwall mansion over a Christmas period. Cheers Audible, a great festive freebie!

1 person found this helpful

A Brilliant History of a Warner Bros Studios

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

Reviewed: 16-09-18

Starting in a small impoverished Polish village and ending at a lush Hollywood memorial ceremony this superb series of podcasts tells the story of Warner Brothers Studios. Alongside the story of the rise of the studio we have the biography of Jimmy Cagney and a few smaller stars. This series has it all, double dealing, thwarted love affairs, illegitimate and abandoned children, hostile take overs, tragic heroes. Jack Warner is surely the role model for every ambitious and ruthless film producer ever put on film. His life story would make a superb film in its own right I really can't express how enjoyable these 30 podcasts are.

Adam Roche's research, production and delivery are all superb. I'm really developing an obsession with his work. They balance the technical/production side of film making with anecdotes about the stars and the time periods that the films were shot. The addition of the Secret History of Hollywood podcasts to Audible was an inspired decision. I've downloaded and listened to them all.

Honestly just give them a go. Perfect company for cooking a meal, taking a walk or a commute.

1 person found this helpful

Story Behind the Definitive Film Sherlock Holmes.

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

Reviewed: 23-08-18

I grew up in the UK in the 70's and 80's for much of my childhood we only had three TV channels. I was a movie buff back then (as I am now) and because of the limited access to films at the time, I watched everything I could. Gangsters films, Hollywood musicals from Busby Berkley through to Paint Your Wagon, Westerns and Sci Fi films, I'd watch anything, The Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce films were family favourites and played all the time especially over Christmas.

This series of three documentary podcasts goes behind the scenes of the films from casting, filming and the critical reception and box office of the finished product. It even delves into the successful radio series that ran concurrently with the films. It was great to hear that taciturn Rathbone and the avuncular Bruce were close friends in real life.

I'm finding my self increasingly obsessed by Adam Roche Secret History of Hollywood series of podcasts. Bearing in mind these productions are a one man show and produced by a father of three with a full time job, the results are nothing less than miraculous.

Well researched and great delivery. Please give this a go.

Story Behind the Definitive Film Sherlock Holmes.

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

Reviewed: 23-08-18

I grew up in the UK in the 70's and 80's for much of my childhood we only had three TV channels. I was a movie buff back then (as I am now) and because of the limited access to films at the time, I watched everything I could. Gangsters films, Hollywood musicals from Busby Berkley through to Paint Your Wagon, Westerns and Sci Fi films, I'd watch anything, The Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce films were family favourites and played all the time especially over Christmas.

This series of three documentary podcasts goes behind the scenes of the films from casting, filming and the critical reception and box office of the finished product. It even delves into the successful radio series that ran concurrently with the films. It was great to hear that taciturn Rathbone and the avuncular Bruce were close friends in real life.

I'm finding my self increasingly obsessed by Adam Roche Secret History of Hollywood series of podcasts. Bearing in mind these productions are a one man show and produced by a father of three with a full time job, the results are nothing less than miraculous.

Well researched and great delivery. Please give this a go.

Story Behind the Definitive Film Sherlock Holmes.

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

Reviewed: 23-08-18

I grew up in the UK in the 70's and 80's for much of my childhood we only had three TV channels. I was a movie buff back then (as I am now) and because of the limited access to films at the time, I watched everything I could. Gangsters films, Hollywood musicals from Busby Berkley through to Paint Your Wagon, Westerns and Sci Fi films, I'd watch anything, The Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce films were family favourites and played all the time especially over Christmas.

This series of three documentary podcasts goes behind the scenes of the films from casting, filming and the critical reception and box office of the finished product. It even delves into the successful radio series that ran concurrently with the films. It was great to hear that taciturn Rathbone and the avuncular Bruce were close friends in real life.

I'm finding my self increasingly obsessed by Adam Roche Secret History of Hollywood series of podcasts. Bearing in mind these productions are a one man show and produced by a father of three with a full time job, the results are nothing less than miraculous.

Well researched and great delivery. Please give this a go.

1 person found this helpful

Reds Under The Bed and Much More.

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

Reviewed: 23-08-18

I'm finding my self increasingly obsessed by Adam Roche Secret History of Hollywood series of podcasts. Bearing in mind these productions are a one man show and produced by a father of three with a full time job, the results are nothing less than miraculous.

This particular series tells of the rising anti-communist hysteria in post WWII Hollywood. How the HUAC (House of Un-American Activities Committees) affected the lives of all strata of the movie business from writers, and actors to the animators at Disney studios. Well researched and full of interesting anecdotes, these series are a must listen. Perfect listens for a short journey.

Well researched and great delivery. Please give this a go.