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Miss M

England
  • 25
  • reviews
  • 61
  • helpful votes
  • 87
  • ratings
  • Beneath the Cypress Tree

  • By: Margaret Pemberton
  • Narrated by: Louiza Patikas
  • Length: 16 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 82
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 74
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 74

Summer 1935. Best friends Kate Shelton, Ella Tetley and Daphne St. Maur are on the cusp of a new life, having graduated with classics degrees. Kate is desperate to start work on an archaeological dig straightaway, and she is thrilled to be given a position at the famous Knossos palace site in Crete. However, she doesn't bargain for working with gruff site director Lewis Sinclair - nor for her own complex feelings towards him. In Yorkshire, Ella's family expect her to marry Sam, her steady friend who is training to be a doctor....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Superb!

  • By Claire on 16-12-17

Nice

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

Reviewed: 10-06-18

Seared into early school memory was the commandment never to use the word ‘nice’ when writing, but nice is what this audiobook was. Nice characters and a nice enough story to keep one listening (always hoping for a bit more juice).

The book’s description led me to believe there would be more of the book set either in the war or more richly drawing on historical detail that would be woven into the story to form the main arc of the book. However, the war was rather tacked on very much towards the latter stages of the book.

I’d like to have learnt more - a personal preference - for any novel rooted in real events.

What was included was indeed interesting and doubtless well-researched, but as with the book overall, it needed a bit more heft to elevate it from nice to lovely. Both words might conjure more that’s saccharine than I intend, or that is fair to this book, which has more body than anything so sickly sweet.

Lovely, was another virtually heretical word teachers sternly guided us from using in any writing. But for all the wish-washy flaccidity of either descriptor, I think both nice and lovely have their place. And this book is, in this reader’s/listener’s opinion, nice, which is one rung down from lovely.

A whiling away pleasant distraction rather than an itching to get back to carry on sort of listen.

  • Tuscan Rose

  • By: Belinda Alexandra
  • Narrated by: Caroline Lee
  • Length: 23 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 44
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24

A mysterious stranger known as 'The Wolf' leaves an infant with the sisters of Santo Spirito. A tiny silver key hidden in her wrappings is the only clue to the child's identity and so begins a story as intriguing and beautiful as the city of Florence itself. Belinda Alexandra's new novel, Tuscan Rose, is set in Italy during the time of Mussolini. This richly woven tale of passion, love, longing, witchcraft and magic promises to be everything her readers love and more.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • great book but

  • By Hilary blackshaw on 01-02-19

Brilliant

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

Reviewed: 16-05-18

Absorbing, moving and historically fascinating. A book with real heart, that doesn’t shy away from the despicable horrors of war without descending into relentless grimness. Highly recommended.

Thank you Belinda Alexandra for the evocative creation of so many characters of light and shade and a courageous and loving protagonist living in an unimaginably tough time in Italian history both pre and during the Second World War.

  • The Humans

  • By: Matt Haig
  • Narrated by: Mark Meadows
  • Length: 8 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,858
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,666
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,664

One wet Friday evening, Professor Andrew Martin of Cambridge University solves the world's greatest mathematical riddle. Then he disappears. When he is found walking naked along the motorway, Professor Martin seems different. Besides the lack of clothes, he now finds normal life pointless. His loving wife and teenage son seem repulsive to him. In fact, he hates everyone on the planet. Everyone, that is, except Newton. And he's a dog.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A profound and shining star

  • By Kaggy on 24-08-13

Top class read ranking as an all-time favourite

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

Reviewed: 24-11-16

Any additional comments?

Original, hilarious, poignant, acerbic, The Humans, is brimming with accurate observations and truisms about the absurdity, the loneliness and the extraordinariness of being a human on this isolated watery little planet.

This is a fantastically entertaining, humorous book that at once satirises the hypocracies, venal cruelties and myriad flaws of our species, whilst simultaneously showing compassion and a gentle determination to see the courage, bravery and truth about what it means to get through life as a human.

The external look at our own often risible, also tragic ways and circumstances is provided by a nameless alien from a far-away advanced planet appropriating the recently deceased body of a self-absorbed but brilliant mathematician ( and rather less brilliant husband and father.)

Through the alien, now living as Professor Andrew Martin, we are able to take several steps back and look at ourselves. Our flawed, mercurial ways; our strange contradictions and needs, become almost as off-putting, peculiar, beguiling and ultimately tragi-heroic to us the reader, very much the life-form under observation, as they do to our nameless indifferent, but ever more curious, alien.

As the title so plainly states this is very much a book rooted in human life - human nature and earth's place in the unfathomably large universe is cleverly and marvellously considered. For those so anti sci-fi, that even the term alien is off-putting, do overlook such an objection because this is a beautiful, funny, perceptive book with the heart, humour and wisdom to stay with you for a long time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Butterfly Summer

  • By: Harriet Evans
  • Narrated by: Anna Parker-Naples, Juanita McMahon
  • Length: 17 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 71
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 67
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 67

You follow the hidden creek towards a long-forgotten house. They call it Keepsake, a place full of wonder...and danger. Locked inside the crumbling elegance of its walls lies the story of the Butterfly Summer, a story you've been waiting all your life to hear. This house is Nina Parr's birthright. It holds the truth about her family - and a chance to put everything right at last.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting storyline but probably best to read rather then listen

  • By Charlotte on 14-06-16

Ok but not her best

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

Reviewed: 09-09-16

I've enjoyed some of Evans' previous books. Her accessible writing and talent as an author of books that hook but are bereft of unutterable woe and miserable endings that I, as someone bedridden and too often in intolerable pain, cannot cope with; made her works ones I looked out for.

Sadly this did not capture my heart and mind or absorb as I had hoped or needed. It is pleasing enough and I'm sure will be popular with many, but it is plods rather and doesn't have the magnetism, charm and pull I'd hoped for.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Villa

  • By: Rosanna Ley
  • Narrated by: Anna Bentinck
  • Length: 15 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 301
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 273
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 276

When Tess Angel receives a solicitor's letter inviting her to claim her inheritance - the Villa Sirena, perched on a clifftop in Sicily - she is stunned. Her only link to the island is through her mother, Flavia, who left Sicily during World War II and cut all contact with her family. Initially resistant to Tess going back to her roots, Flavia realises the secrets from her past are about to be revealed and decides to try to explain her actions.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • So happy when it was over...

  • By Amazon Customer on 10-10-14

To gentle and slow

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

Reviewed: 22-07-16

I'm sure, by the many positive reviews, that many will continue to enjoy this. I like and need the escapism of lighter fare, and this certainly ticks those boxes and seemed promising.

The characters were likeable enough but the gentleness and slow-burn intrigue were all just a bit to just too gentle and too slow to invest over fifteen hours in and that's despite being bedridden and living for audio. I eventually gave up after ten hours.

  • The Frozen Lake

  • A Vintage Mystery
  • By: Elizabeth Edmondson
  • Narrated by: Nicolette McKenzie
  • Length: 15 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 224
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 210
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 210

Fabulous family saga of secrets held through two generations, set against the atmospheric background of the Lake District at Christmas. The year 1936 is drawing to a close. Winter grips Wetmoreland and causes a rare phenonmenon: The lakes freeze. For two local families, the Richardsons and the Grindleys, this will bring unexpected upheaval, as the frozen lake entices long-estranged siblings and children to return home for the holiday season.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another world

  • By Trina on 09-05-16

Too many characters for an audio

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

Reviewed: 14-05-16

Any additional comments?

This is quite possibly an unfair slur on an enjoyable novel as I am very severely ill but I just could not maintain the concentration of real care and interest in such a vast cast of characters. Those that strike a chord and whom one does develop more interest in, vanish because we switch scenes and coteries of characters too regularly. And we return too fleetingly to build any kind of concerned desire to continue finding out the fates and journeys these characters go on as their lives, no doubt, all interweave with more oomph and plot advancement.

Other audios have kept my attention whilst enduring shocking degrees of agony over days but this one wasn't to be. For someone better able to concentrate I am quite sure this is a decent book worth persevering with. If anything, I am disappointed I eventually gave up.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Silk Roads

  • A New History of the World
  • By: Peter Frankopan
  • Narrated by: Laurence Kennedy
  • Length: 24 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,515
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,283
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,266

The sun is setting on the Western world. Slowly but surely, the direction in which the world spins has reversed: where for the last five centuries the globe turned westward on its axis, it now turns to the east.... For centuries, fame and fortune were to be found in the West - in the New World of the Americas. Today it is the East that calls out to those in search of adventure and riches. The region stretching from Eastern Europe and sweeping right across Central Asia, deep into China and India, is taking center stage.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • History that is as entertaining as it is educating

  • By Natalia on 03-12-15

Ruined by 'dead' tones of a sleeping-pill narrator

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

Reviewed: 28-02-16

Any additional comments?

What an epic disappointment. Having heard the author speak on a history podcast (Dan Snow's History Hit) I was certain this, Frankopan's magnum opus work, would be an enlightening, informing, thought-provoking read.

Where the author has an engaging, captivating delivery and intonation, the same cannot be said of this, the most achingly dreary, of narrators.

Laurence Kennedy's reading voice - and it must be a reading voice, for one does not feel as if one is being spoken to or appealed to listen in any way - has echoes of BBC newsreaders of the 1950's. Yet it is not so much his slightly archaic, anachronistic sound rather his wholesale lack of energy, verve and zip in his flat delivery, that really drains the listener.

I have not managed to concentrate on, or imbibe the information of a single sentence, and as someone who is bedridden 24/7, I am a voracious consumer of audio-content, used to hearing many varied speakers.

I have no choice but to return this. It is like listening to the very worst monotonous history lecture given by a stodgy, distant teacher, unconcerned that he is boring his pupils senseless.

I know I am the loser as this is undoubtedly a capacious and fantastic book capable of delighting its readers as much as the author did himself when I heard him speak. How incredibly sad that the audio version has been massacred by the wrong narrator.

14 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • The Turning Point

  • By: Freya North
  • Narrated by: Buffy Davis
  • Length: 15 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 29
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 27
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 27

Everyone deserves a new beginning. But sometimes fate isn't on your side.... Over one short weekend, when Canadian musician Scott Emerson and British children's author Frankie Shaw meet by chance, a profound connection is made. Their homes are thousands of miles apart: Frankie and her children live by the coast of North Norfolk while Scott's roots lie deep in the mountains of British Columbia. Against all advice, they decide to see where this might go.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Slow, sweet, sad and a little insipid

  • By Miss M on 28-06-15

Slow, sweet, sad and a little insipid

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

Reviewed: 28-06-15

I have hugely enjoyed many of Freya North's previous titles - she has, as one of her characters says, 'a way with words where [she] can condense so much into powerful brevity'.

The Turning Point does nothing to diminish North's reputation as an accomplished, accessible wordsmith but, if you're after a bit of escapist oomph, it is rather missing the power aspect.

The pace and plot is rather plodding. It's a mild and thoughtful tale of a single-mother unexpectedly and wonderfully finding great love which deepens as the book continues. The sticking point is geography - she lives in Norfolk, he lives in Canada. The book centres around navigating, and to some degree, integrating their two worlds.

To avoid any spoilers - something irrevocable takes place about three quarters of the way through and the remainder of the book is a slow and gentle integration of this happenstance.

The characters are all likeable and well-drawn and I generally enjoy a gentle soulful exploration of human emotions but this certainly wasn't one to set pulses racing.

I am bed-bound and was listening to this during a particularly pain-filled and desperate stage of a long and frightening illness so I was in need of absorption and uplifting diversion. This didn't quite provide but I'm sure many will enjoy it as a tender, thoughtful, if slightly tepid, meditation on a deep love that encounters sorrow but endures nonetheless.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Act of Faith

  • By: Erica James
  • Narrated by: Eve Matheson
  • Length: 16 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 50
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 38

Impetuous Ali Anderson has always been a loose cannon. While she’s still trying to come to terms with the death of her baby son and subsequent divorce from Elliot, she takes it upon herself to play God with her best friend’s incomprehensible marriage. Ali’s meddling has disastrous consequences. Finding herself cut off from those she loves, she comes to realise that a little forgiveness goes a long way...

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another good book from Erica James.

  • By Natasha on 02-11-15

Disappointing

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

Reviewed: 12-06-15

Erica James writes brilliantly and I have hugely enjoyed many of her books but this is not one of them.

The characters are engaging but the story drags and I grew bored. Rather late in the book a bit more action kicks in and we know things will go horribly wrong before coming good but the protagonist's deluded act of well-intentioned foolishness is so absurd it simply made the remaining chapters rather irksome. This is most assuredly not the absorbing feel-good fare that James so often does deliver. Try other titles before this.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Last Letter from Your Lover

  • By: Jojo Moyes
  • Narrated by: Julia Franklin
  • Length: 13 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 961
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 772
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 780

When journalist Ellie looks through her newspaper's archives for a story, she discovers a letter from 1960, written by a man asking his lover to leave her husband.... In 1960, Jennifer wakes up in hospital after a car accident with no memory. And then, when she returns home, she uncovers a hidden letter, and begins to remember the lover she was willing to risk everything for.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A lovely book

  • By Kirstine on 01-04-12

Not Moyes at her best

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

Reviewed: 23-05-15

The One Plus One was wonderfully moving; The Girl You Left Behind I enjoyed so much I bought a copy for a friend and I could write effusively about other titles like The Horse Dancer but this one was just rather flat.

The love story may arguably have been intended to have more force than those in other titles. It is certainly a realised, if subsequently frustrated, part of much more of the book than in other Moyes works. But the main problem is it just never really touches or ignites in the way one would hope or expect.

Jennifer, our female lead may be a woman of her time and class but we are given little to really like or admire about her character and consequently I never felt invested in her unfolding story.

I shall certainly remain keen to return to Moyes again but my advice would be to
try others before opting for this.