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Reluctant Sceptic

  • 16
  • reviews
  • 4
  • helpful votes
  • 45
  • ratings
  • The Old Curiosity Shop

  • By: Charles Dickens
  • Narrated by: Anton Lesser
  • Length: 22 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 237
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 202
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 201

Provoking an unprecedented outpouring of public grief when it was first published, it follows the story of Little Nell and her feckless grandfather. Forced to leave their magical shop of curiosities in London, they are pursued across the English countryside by the grotesquely evil dwarf Quilp. They escape - but at what cost?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Good old Charlie!

  • By Moominmamma on 17-08-13

Struggled with this one.

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

Reviewed: 06-03-19

Sort of enjoyed it but found the story line too predictable and incredible. I know it's Dickens but even so. Narration good as always by Anton Lesser.

  • Gut

  • By: Giulia Enders
  • Narrated by: Katy Sobey
  • Length: 7 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,637
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,454
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,444

The key to living a happier, healthier life is inside us. Our gut is almost as important to us as our brain or our heart, yet we know very little about how it works. In Gut, Giulia Enders shows that rather than the utilitarian and - let's be honest - somewhat embarrassing body part we imagine it to be, it is one of the most complex, important, and even miraculous parts of our anatomy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I have to redress the balance

  • By David J James on 13-03-16

Mostly Credible?

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

Reviewed: 06-01-19

As for the general theme I think the book is very informative. The trouble I have is which bit is science and which is the authors personal fad?... Caring little over a PhD bragged about.

I’m an Engineer not a medical scientist. So on too many occasions I noted acknowledged science was being contradicted without at least highlighting it as an alternative opinion. One of the basic one’s being babies can’t accept blood types other than their own! If that kind of editorial scrutiny was missed, then as a layman, which of the other ‘facts’ I’ve no idea over should I trust?

As for the editing and narration, I ended up looking out for too many ‘however’s’, ‘though’s’ and other such lazy writing. So often repeated as well were misplaced punctuation, which the reader fumbled. An annoying listen overall.


  • The Secret Barrister

  • By: The Secret Barrister
  • Narrated by: Jack Hawkins
  • Length: 11 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,060
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,878
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,861

Welcome to the world of the Secret Barrister. These are the stories of life inside the courtroom. They are sometimes funny, often moving and ultimately life-changing. How can you defend a child abuser you suspect to be guilty? What do you say to someone sentenced to ten years whom you believe to be innocent? What is the law, and why do we need it? And why do they wear those stupid wigs?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A superb dissection of the English legal system

  • By Kirstine on 06-06-18

Worringly interesting with...

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

Reviewed: 14-11-18

A book I'm glad I've read/listened to, though couldn't say enjoyed. Chapters explained the set up of the processes well enough but towards the end of each, sort of accelerated into a rant to push home points. Points previously made that I pretty much understood earlier. Some interesting comparisons of cost/benefit of the legal system against other government spending along with views on the politics that we're duped by government spin into arguably accepting without any real understanding.

  • Fire and Brimstone: The North Butte Mining Disaster of 1917

  • By: Michael Punke
  • Narrated by: William Roberts
  • Length: 9 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4

From the number-one international best-selling author of The Revenant - the book that inspired the award-winning movie - comes the remarkable true story of the worst mining disaster in American history. In 1917, the lives of a company of miners changed forever when the underground labyrinth of tunnels in which they worked burst into flames. Within an hour, more than 400 men would be locked in a battle to survive. Within three days, 164 of them would be dead.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great narration

  • By Suzy on 05-01-17

Well written and great performance.

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

Reviewed: 20-10-18

From the sample I was apprehensive over buying the title... no need. A well structured account of the mining tragedy and politics of the period. William Roberts’ narration’s great. Grabbing your attention and keeping it there all the way.

  • Scott and Amundsen

  • Their Race to the South Pole
  • By: Roland Huntford
  • Narrated by: Tim Piggott-Smith
  • Length: 6 hrs and 34 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 13

This is a brilliant dual biography charting British Robert Scott's and Norwegian Roald Amundsen's race to the South Pole during 1911-12. Huntuford's is the accepted, definitive account of the race and a reassessment of the two men. Thoroughly researched, revealing the adventures and misfortunes that befell them both, he describes the driving ambitions of the era, and the complex, often deeply flawed individuals who were charged with carrying them out.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Super Story

  • By Anonymous User on 16-01-19

Essential but very annoying read.

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

Reviewed: 14-10-18

Having read other books of Scott’s expedition, I’d figured for myself he wasn’t a particularly gifted leader or good at planning. However the way Amundsen is idolised and Scott unfailingly criticised over what felt like everything was very annoying. Too many vailed opinions amongst the facts. Structured or narrated in a way that makes it come across as very biased, not sure which. Will probably avoid the author’s other books because of it.

  • Emotional Intelligence Mastery: 7 Manuscripts

  • Emotional Intelligence x2, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy x2, How to Analyze People x2, Persuasion (Anger Management, NLP)
  • By: Ryan James
  • Narrated by: Sam Slydell, Miguel Rodriguez
  • Length: 9 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 19
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 18

Emotional Intelligence Mastery is the ultimate 7 Book Boxset that is designed to help you with every aspect of emotional development, interpersonal relationships, becoming more charismatic and influential, dealing with negative emotions and intrusive thoughts, and achieving personal growth. It is a combination of the following seven books that will help you achieve success and happiness in life. Each book is packed with simple, yet very effective, strategies that you can start implementing in your life today. 

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Waste of money

  • By Anonymous User on 12-07-18

Gosh the narration is so so drab.

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

Reviewed: 22-09-18

A list of the pretty obvious things you've probably come across somewhere else gathered into a book for you to reflect upon. Did I enjoy it?... Yes, probably. At the least it made me focus on the points. Really let down by the drab narration and a clear intention to repeat the same advise over and over. May have been to embed the point though probably to lengthen the book.

  • The Worst Journey in the World

  • By: Apsley Cherry-Garrard
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 20 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 118
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 85
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 86

This gripping story of courage and achievement is the account of Robert Falcon Scott's last fateful expedition to the Antarctic, as told by surviving expedition member Apsley Cherry-Garrard. Cherry-Garrard, whom Scott lauded as a tough, efficient member of the team, tells of the journey from England to South Africa and southward to the ice floes. From there began the unforgettable polar journey across a forbidding and inhospitable region.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Takes your breath away

  • By Bettym on 17-06-13

Fascinating listen but a suggestion...

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

Reviewed: 12-09-18

Fascinating account with a comfortable narration that helps focus on the detail.

I only thought of checking the maps showing locations and routes after getting in a muddle a third in. Versions can be found on Wikipedia or a general search can bring up the ones in the printed book. A shame the audio version didn’t include copies as accessible PDF’s

  • Winter Pilgrims

  • Kingmaker, Book 1
  • By: Toby Clements
  • Narrated by: Jack Hawkins
  • Length: 17 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,127
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,055
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,049

February 1460. In the bitter dawn of a winter’s morning, a young man and a woman escape from a priory. In fear for their lives, they are forced to flee across a land ravaged by conflict. For this is the Wars of the Roses, one of the most savage and bloody civil wars in history. Where brother confronts brother, king faces king, and Thomas and Katherine must fight just to stay alive....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A fantastic read

  • By Loraine on 10-01-16

OK but story and narrator had me struggling.

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

Reviewed: 22-08-18

Really started off well but I then found myself wanting to fast forward. Not because of the battle gore but just to get on with it. The narrator on the whole was engaging but for his mono regional accents and very annoyingly, an inability to pronounce the Welsh name Dafydd. grrr! (phonetically... Davuth would be closer).

  • The Templars

  • By: Dan Jones
  • Narrated by: Dan Jones
  • Length: 15 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 683
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 608
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 611

The Knights Templar were the wealthiest, most powerful - and most secretive - of the military orders that flourished in the crusading era. Their story - encompassing as it does the greatest international conflict of the Middle Ages, a network of international finance, a swift rise in wealth and influence followed by a bloody and humiliating fall - has left a comet's tail of mystery that continues to fascinate and inspire historians, novelists and conspiracy theorists. Unabridged edition read by Dan Jones.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A very engaging account of the Templar's history.

  • By Simon B on 20-12-17

2nd Attempt and still struggling.

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

Reviewed: 03-08-18

While seemingly comprehensive, dates, places and names start to homogenise to the point not caring. So around the third chapter I started again. I’m now about half way through and though I’m finding it more interesting, it doesn’t feel like a book about the templars. More of history of the crusades with the templars thrown in. I’ll persevere, but given it’s a chore to stay with it, a refund will be sought.

By the way, I’m no historian by any stretch, but I don’t think Herod had all babies killed as the author states, only the male ones? So it does breed some doubt over what else is inaccurate.

  • The Sisters Brothers

  • By: Patrick deWitt
  • Narrated by: William Hope
  • Length: 8 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,023
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 802
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 800

Oregon, 1851. Eli and Charlie Sisters, notorious professional killers, are on their way to California to kill a man named Hermann Kermit Warm. On the way, the brothers have a series of unsettling experiences in the landscape of Gold Rush America. And they bicker a lot. Arriving in California, and discover that Warm has invented a magical formula, which could make all of them very rich. What happens next is utterly gripping, strange and sad....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • If you like the Coen Brothers...

  • By Sara on 15-12-11

Well worth the listen. Very satisfying.

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

Reviewed: 30-07-18

Engaging western that kept me immersed all along. The cool narration certainly made listening better than reading with each character credibly presented. Little need for a film version as I feel I’ve already seen it.