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Penny

Havelock North, New Zealand
  • 14
  • reviews
  • 53
  • helpful votes
  • 18
  • ratings
  • Hitch-22

  • A Memoir
  • By: Christopher Hitchens
  • Narrated by: Christopher Hitchens
  • Length: 17 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 776
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 627
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 621

In this long-awaited and candid memoir, Hitchens re-traces the footsteps of his life to date, from his childhood in Portsmouth, with his adoring, tragic mother and reserved Naval officer father; to his life in Washington DC, the base from which from he would launch fierce attacks on tyranny of all kinds. Along the way, he recalls the girls, boys and booze; the friendships and the feuds; the grand struggles and lost causes; and the mistakes and misgivings that have characterised his life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Honest but difficult listening

  • By Penny on 18-06-16

Honest but difficult listening

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

Reviewed: 18-06-16

I was always engaged in the unfolding story of C.H. and his family - a very honest and revealing memoir of an interesting life. His was no ordinary life, living in a world where elitism is the norm, the world of private schools and Oxford, rubbing shoulders with influential people. However, you get the feeling that despite inhabiting the 'dreaming spires' he was a decent bloke at heart. I feel bad complaining about the narration of this audiobook as it is done by the author, and who could better that? But his voice rises and falls away over the course of phrases and sentences and I completely lost a lot of it - I found at times I was just about yelling at him to 'speak up'!! Sorry - I'm a fan and have great respect for his writings but C.H. is not a good narrator.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Charlotte Brontë

  • A Life
  • By: Claire Harman
  • Narrated by: Claire Harman
  • Length: 15 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38

Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable, audiobook edition of Charlotte Brontë: A Life written and read by Claire Harman. Raised motherless on remote Yorkshire moors, watching five beloved siblings sicken and die, haunted by unrequited love: Charlotte Brontë's life has all the drama and tragedy of the great Gothic novels it inspired. Charlotte was a literary visionary, a feminist trailblazer and the driving force behind the whole Brontë family.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Charlotte Bronte's true memoir

  • By a.hopewell on 26-07-17

Charlotte Bronte revealed

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

Reviewed: 18-06-16

I really feel as if I know Charlotte Bronte after listening to this audiobook, I found it an absolutely engaging and revealing story of her life and relationships, such as they are known. Her intellectual snobbery is a little off-putting and, and no doubt she would have been a discomforting companion - though not as difficult as Emily! However her determined and unswerving search for truth and honesty shines through - I loved this book.

  • Circling the Sun

  • By: Paula McLain
  • Narrated by: Suzannah Hampton
  • Length: 11 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 45
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 41
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40

As a young girl, Beryl Markham was brought to Kenya from Britain by parents dreaming of a new life. For her mother the dream quickly turned sour, and she returned home; Beryl was brought up by her father, who switched between indulgence and heavy-handed authority, allowing her first to run wild on their farm, then incarcerating her in the classroom. The scourge of governesses and a serial absconder from boarding school, by the age of 16 Beryl had been catapulted into a disastrous marriage.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating story, narration almost unbearable!

  • By Penny on 23-10-15

Fascinating story, narration almost unbearable!

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

Reviewed: 23-10-15

I almost gave up listening several times, despite being gripped by the real life story of Beryl Markham, who lived an extraordinary life in Africa, contemperary of the more famous Karen Blixen (Out of Africa). Unfortunately I found the narrator extremely off-putting, over-enunciating and way too 'put on posh' for my taste, and what I believe would suit the story. Yes, Beryl was undoubtedly English upper class but she could never be this prissy!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Did She Kill Him?

  • A Victorian Tale of Deception, Adultery & Arsenic
  • By: Kate Colquhoun
  • Narrated by: Maggie Mash
  • Length: 12 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 33
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 32
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 32

In the summer of 1889, young Southern belle Florence Maybrick stood trial for the alleged arsenic poisoning of her much older husband, Liverpool cotton merchant James Maybrick. The ‘Maybrick Mystery’ had all the makings of a sensation and cracked the varnish of Victorian respectability. Florence’s fate was fiercely debated on the front pages of the newspapers and in parlours and backyards across the country.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Really good listen

  • By Kathryn on 13-02-15

Labours a bit on details of the 'crime'

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

Reviewed: 14-09-15

This is a fascinating true story of Victorian morality. Florence Maybrick was convicted of killing her husband by arsenic poison in 1889, but there was always doubt surrounding the conviction. This is a long book and is more detailed than I would need, seeming to go over some aspects of the case multiple times. This was most evident in the hypocrisy towards female adultery, which was explored quite a number of times. I found the story fascinating and the narrator excellent.

  • Cold Light

  • Resnick, Book 6
  • By: John Harvey
  • Narrated by: Keith Barron
  • Length: 2 hrs and 59 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3

Winner of The Crime Writers' Association, Cartier Diamond Dagger, 2007.

Dana Matheison calls the police to report her flatmate, Nancy, missing. Dana's had a pretty grim Christmas herself: she's been sexually harassed by her boss, and may even have lost her job as well as her friend. Pretty soon the police have proof that Nancy was kidnapped, and then, as the New Year celebrations wind down, the first tape arrives - and Resnick knows they're dealing with a dangerous psychopath.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • I was yelling at narrator

  • By Penny on 14-09-15

I was yelling at narrator

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

Reviewed: 14-09-15

I hadn't realised this was an abridged story as I would never normally listen to those. Keith Barron's narration is excellent in bringing characters to life, but he doesn't seem to realise that narrators need to keep a constant volume, more or less. Unfortunately the modulations in his voice take it from loud to a whisper in one sentence and I've been constantly fiddling with the volume on my phone trying to hear it but not get an ear blast. Several times I found myself shouting at him in frustration. Story is good crime fiction but, as abridged, it is sometimes hard to follow.

  • Dead in the Dog

  • By: Bernard Knight
  • Narrated by: Gordon Griffin
  • Length: 9 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 27
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 19
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 19

A fifties murder mystery set in Malaya from author of the popular Crowner John books. Arriving in Singapore, newly-qualified pathologist Tom Howden soon discovers that his new home is a hotbed of scandal and intrigue. When an English planter is attacked one night, the finger of suspicion points at local bandits. It soon becomes clear, however, that the situation is far more complicated - and deadly - than it first appeared. Tom Howden's newly-acquired forensic skills are about to be put to the ultimate test.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Murder in the malay emergency

  • By Rita on 24-09-13

Murder in 1950's Malaya

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

Reviewed: 13-01-15

The depiction of ex-pat life in Malaya in 1950's was more interesting and memorable than the murder mystery plot at the heart of this novel - I really enjoyed being immersed in the rubber planter's lifestyle, the Communist Terrorist activity and the British Army occupation of the time, and the relationships with the locals. It is a glimpse into another world of the past. My enjoyment was marred by the narrator who seemed not to have pre-read the book and frequently misconstrued the sentences, wrongly accenting words and phrases in a very annoying way - rather surprising as he is otherwise a very talented narrator and does the various regional accents of the characters really well, bringing the story to life. Unfortunately he seemed to struggle to make sense of complex sentences!

  • Mercy

  • Department Q, Book 1
  • By: Jussi Adler-Olsen
  • Narrated by: Steven Pacey
  • Length: 13 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,778
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,606
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,603

The unabridged, digital audiobook edition of Jussi Adler-Olsen’s Mercy, Scandinavia’s new bestselling crime phenomenon. Read by the actor Steven Pacey. At first the prisoner scratches at the walls until her fingers bleed. But there is no escaping the room. With no way of measuring time, her days, weeks, months go unrecorded. She vows not to go mad. She will not give her captors the satisfaction.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Danish Noire superbly read by Steven Pacey

  • By Nick on 08-02-13

Please, please - more from author and narrator!!

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

Reviewed: 09-12-13

I've listened to three in a row now (Mercy, Disgrace and Redemption) and found them all utterly compelling - I feel totally bereft now I don't have one to listen to. I love all the flawed characters - makes it so interesting to listen to, and Steven Pacey is brilliant as a narrator, switching voices and accents to different character's speech - marvellous. The only other narrator to compare with him is Derek Jacoby (Pereira Maintains - another brilliant listen). I simply can't rave enough about this, and I'm not usually a raver.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Paris

  • By: Edward Rutherfurd
  • Narrated by: Jane Wymark, Jonathan Keeble
  • Length: 31 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 218
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 198
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 200

Inspired by the haunting, passionate story of the city of lights, this epic novel weaves a gripping tale of four families across the centuries: from the lies that spawn the noble line of de Cygne to the revolutionary Le Sourds who seek their destruction; from the Blanchards whose bourgeois respectability offers scant protection against scandal to the hard-working Gascons and their soaring ambitions. Over hundreds of years, these four families are bound by forbidden loves and marriages of convenience; dogged by vengeance and murderous secrets , and brought together by the tumultuous history of their city.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A great book - hard to follow in Audible format

  • By Penny on 29-11-13

A great book - hard to follow in Audible format

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

Reviewed: 29-11-13

I love the way Edward Rutherford follows families through the ages, and gives such marvellous glimpses of what it might have been like to be involved in, or witness to, historical events - both terrible and inspiring. It alternates between events in the middle ages and more recent, with a lot more focus on the 19th and 20th centuries, but is quite hard to follow. I kept thinking that I needed the book to refer back, to remind myself of the family connections, and I also believe it is likely that a book might contain maps and drawings to illustrate the places it was referring to.
That said, I loved the book, it has given me a good overall perspective on French history. Narration is excellent too.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • The View on the Way Down

  • By: Rebecca Wait
  • Narrated by: Mandy Weston, Carl Prekopp
  • Length: 7 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 129
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 113
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 113

The View on the Way Down captures the insidious, sometimes violent, force of depression and its ability to tip lives into chaos. Gripping, moving, and ultimately hopeful, The View on the Way Down will have you rooting for the family’s redemption. Rebecca Wait graduated from Oxford University in 2010 with a first class degree in English, having been mentored by the poet and novelist Craig Raine at New College. She’s been writing since she was a child and has won numerous prizes for short stories and plays.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Compelling Listening

  • By Nancy on 24-04-13

Depressing and poorly read

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

Reviewed: 17-08-13

I agree wholeheartedly with the reviewer who took these two narrators to task - I also wondered if I would enjoy the book if I'd read it rather than listened to it. Craig Prekopp was especially bad - missing the 't' off words, and his accent sounded contrived and deliberately dumbed down to me - both narrators totally unconvincing so I don't know where these reviews full of praise are coming from - their friends I suspect.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Redemption of Alexander Seaton

  • By: S. G. MacLean
  • Narrated by: Crawford Logan
  • Length: 13 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 414
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 333
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 328

Banff in the 1620s. A man staggering down the street. He appears drunk, but he's been poisoned. The victim, and apothecary's apprentice, is discovered dead in Alexander Seaton's house, a fallen minister whose life lies in tatters after his affair with the Laird's daughter is discovered and he is cast out of the kirk in disgrace. When his friend is accused of the apprentice's murder, Alexander sets out to solve the crime and clear his friend's name.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great book, well read

  • By Rachel on 16-05-09

A dark and compelling murder mystery.

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

Reviewed: 17-08-13

This story is full of historical information about 17th century Scotland - social, cultural and religious - I loved it and will definitely be looking for more from this author.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful