LISTENER

Andy Parsons

Sheffield
  • 51
  • reviews
  • 331
  • helpful votes
  • 285
  • ratings
  • The Toymakers

  • By: Robert Dinsdale
  • Narrated by: Ruby Bentall
  • Length: 14 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 141
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 125
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 123

It is 1917, and while war wages across Europe, in the heart of London, there is a place of hope and enchantment. The Emporium sells toys that capture the imagination of children and adults alike: patchwork dogs that seem alive, toy boxes that are bigger on the inside, soldiers that can fight battles of their own. Into this family business comes young Cathy Wray, running away from a shameful past. The Emporium takes her in, makes her one of its own.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • disappointing

  • By David lindfield on 26-02-18

Not magical for me

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

Reviewed: 29-01-19

I found this book annoyingly ambiguous. The magical elements just could not have coexistence with the real elements. That is the trick and delight of the genre.
Could the toys not have been put to real.military use. Would the shop really just be treated as a curiosity.
I was also not really engaged by any of the characters.
I liked the ending and the reading was generally OK but there are edits which been left in when the reader has a second go at some phrases. Tut Tut.
I had hoped for Rivers of London in a toy shop but it didn't have the wit in any sense.
I see a lot of people liked it but not me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Middle England

  • By: Jonathan Coe
  • Narrated by: Rory Kinnear
  • Length: 14 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 274
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 256
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 254

Beginning eight years ago on the outskirts of Birmingham, where car factories have been replaced by Poundland, and London, where frenzied riots give way to Olympic fever, Middle England follows a brilliantly vivid cast of characters through a time of immense change.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Highly absorbing 'political Gogglebox'

  • By K. J. Noyes on 17-11-18

Brumie love for this tale of our interesting times

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

Reviewed: 15-11-18

It feels like Jonathan just finished this book yesterday Brexit runs through the themes of division and disappointment. Lots of fun but lots of pain.
Growing up and growing old.
It’s another tour de force in social commentary with a generally affectionate foot the Birmingham.
I loved it.

  • Can You Keep a Secret?

  • By: Sophie Kinsella
  • Narrated by: Gracie Thomas
  • Length: 10 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,643
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,242
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,238

Nervous flyer Emma is sitting on a turbulent plane. She really thinks that this could be her last moment. So she starts telling the man sitting next to her all her innermost secrets, including how she once threw a troublesome client file in the bin. She survives the flight, of course, and the next morning the famous boss of the whole mega corporation she works for is coming for a look at the UK branch. As he walks around, Emma looks up and realises ­ it's the man from the plane.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This book is very funny

  • By Matthew on 10-08-08

Can’t believe it’s so bad

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

Reviewed: 10-11-18

All I can say is romantic fiction must have a very low standards indeed if people think this is a good book.
The main character is amongst the most irritating women I have ever I have ever come across in either real-life or fiction.
The plot lacks total credibility why would the male lead full for this Ditsy woman. Unless he is as shallow as she is, which we are asked to believe he is not.
All the business jargon is actually as nonsensical as it sounds.
All the secondary characters lack credibility in their actions and characteristics. Apart from that it’s great.
Bought it on a two for one, and I was impressed with the reviews.
Jeez

  • The Break

  • By: Marian Keyes
  • Narrated by: Aoife McMahon
  • Length: 19 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,282
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,062
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,061

The story of a relationship that everyone thought was forever and which is now in danger of being for never, The Break is about getting older and staying in love when life, real life, is trying to pull you apart.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • So boring ...

  • By Heike on 14-11-17

What the actual.....? Crash course in modern Irish

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

Reviewed: 27-01-18

Would you consider the audio edition of The Break to be better than the print version?

Very funny and enjoyable book with helpful hints on having and affair, a marriage and a holiday. It is the idiomatic Irishness that is the great joy along with the fantastically well drawn characters.
My one criticism is that the reader, who is generally superb, never gets to grips with a Geordie accent for one of the lead characters which is distracting.
It is a very lively and quite lengthy book,great value and great entertainment life you like a bit of fecking and blinding,also a lot of hot sex scenes....just so you know!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Dreams of Bethany Mellmoth

  • By: William Boyd
  • Narrated by: William Boyd
  • Length: 7 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 63
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 57
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 60

The Dreams of Bethany Mellmoth depicts the random encounters that bring the past bubbling to the surface, the impulsive decisions that irrevocably shape a life and the endless hesitations and loss of nerve that wickedly complicate it. These funny, surprising and strangely moving stories are a resounding confirmation of Boyd's powers as one of our most original and compelling storytellers.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Get on with the next one!

  • By Christina on 14-11-17

Shards of life from the almost famous and might have been rich

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

Reviewed: 08-11-17

William Boyd plays with form again, this time stretching the short story with teasing interrelationships. Almost all of the stories stand alone as satisfying dishes forming a bigger whole. It’s a bit like a tasting menu in a Michelin restaurant. Just ever so slightly pretentious but so classy and clever that you can easily forgive the showy in jokes.
Bethany is a tragic masterpiece in personal chaos but personally I liked the Shakespearean tragic fall of the man who should have stuck to kissing.
Almost every one of these stories is a beautiful funny and tasty dish worthy of Heston at his best.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • When We Were Orphans

  • By: Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Narrated by: Michael Maloney
  • Length: 10 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 519
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 483
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 484

England, 1930s. Christopher Banks has become the country's most celebrated detective, his cases the talk of London society. Yet one unsolved crime has always haunted him: the mysterious disappearance of his parents, in old Shanghai, when he was a small boy. Moving between London and Shanghai of the interwar years, When We Were Orphans is a remarkable story of memory, intrigue and the need to return.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautifully crafted and gripping.

  • By Aliza Bat-Ami on 25-06-16

Plenty of story wonderful and mysterious book

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

Reviewed: 17-10-17

I don't know what some reviewers want, it's not Game of Thrones but there is plenty of magic and adventure. A Knight of the round table, a dragon, mysterious saxon warrior, ferryman and lots of incident.
It does have a slow start but once they are on the road the mystery and magic start to swirl around you giving glimpses into the underlying themes of memory, retribution and redemption.
Give that man a Nobel prize!

  • A Column of Fire

  • The Kingsbridge Novels, Book 3
  • By: Ken Follett
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 30 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,459
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,349
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,338

Christmas 1558, and young Ned Willard returns home to Kingsbridge to find his world has changed. The ancient stones of Kingsbridge Cathedral look down on a city torn by religious hatred. Europe is in turmoil as high principles clash bloodily with friendship, loyalty and love, and Ned soon finds himself on the opposite side from the girl he longs to marry, Margery Fitzgerald. Then Elizabeth Tudor becomes queen and all of Europe turns against England.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another masterpiece

  • By Amazon Customer on 30-09-17

From Liz to Guy according to Ken

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

Reviewed: 08-10-17

Ken Follett is the master of historical fiction from the perspective of supporting cast. It allows him to write with some hospital accuracy without having the strong story lines constrained unduely.
I broadly share his liberal feminist values so I feel very comfortable in the world he has created. Strong women and tolerant heroes.
I love the narrative that drives you on through 35 superbly read hours.
If there are historical liberties they didn't put me off feeling it is a worthy third part to the magnificent Kingsbridge series.
If you like a strong story with great characters and a bit of history for free look forward to 35 hours passing in a rewarding way.

  • The Far Pavilions

  • By: M. M. Kaye
  • Narrated by: Vikas Adam
  • Length: 48 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 215
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 185
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 189

When The Far Pavilions was first published 19 years ago, it moved the critic Edmund Fuller to write this: "Were Miss Kaye to produce no other book, The Far Pavilions might stand as a lasting accomplishment in a single work comparable to Margaret Mitchell's achievement in Gond With the Wind." From its beginning in the foothills of the towering Himalayas, M. M. Kaye's masterwork is a vast, rich, and vibrant tapestry of love and war that ranks with the greatest panoramic sagas of modern fiction.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Fabulous story but TERRIBLE narration

  • By Miss D Srao on 13-03-17

Epic tale but poor narration

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

Reviewed: 14-08-17

It is a massive narrative and gives an interesting perspective on British India but the narration is occasionally so poor it is distracting. Not just the worst Oirish accent ever but many many mispronounced words and miss hit emphasis.
Shame really not like Audible whose production values are normally high.

  • What Alice Forgot

  • By: Liane Moriarty
  • Narrated by: Caroline Lee
  • Length: 15 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,803
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,649
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,641

When Alice Love surfaces from a beautiful dream to find she's been injured in a gym, she knows that something is very wrong – she hates exercise. Alice's first concern is her baby – she's pregnant with her first child, and she's desperate to see her husband, Nick, who she knows will be worried about her.But Alice isn't pregnant. And Nick isn't worried.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A must listen

  • By Helen on 01-12-13

Spikey, twisted and witty

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

Reviewed: 30-05-17

I absolutely love Liane Moriarty she is witty and slightly twisted - just my kind of woman. This book is grounded in her world of middle class Australia; competitive super moms, house prices, school socials.
The plot concept is intriguing and she teases all the possibilities from it revealing what has happened and the character of the narrator, bit by bit and from the corner of the eye.
The whole book reminded me that great interview question " What would your 20 year old self think of the person you are now?"

I think I read a comment critical of Caroline Lee's wonderful narration. As they say where I live now "there's no accounting for folk".

Great book great narration.

  • And the Mountains Echoed

  • By: Khaled Hosseini
  • Narrated by: Khaled Hosseini, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Navid Negahban
  • Length: 14 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 449
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 407
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 407

In this tale revolving around not just parents and children, but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A touch disappointed

  • By R. Singh on 06-09-16

Complex structure form beautiful mosaic

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

Reviewed: 20-11-16

A series of related short stories or novella form an ultimately satisfying whole. The place of each of the stories in the overall narrative is often obscure at the start but fitting it in its place is a satisfying dimension.
It does however mean there is less of a narrative drive than might otherwise be the case. There is a reasonably logical sequence to the stories though this is often not clear until close to the end.
Overall the characters and the drama are strong enough to,make a compelling whole with strong themes about friendship, family and home.
One very unusual criticism The narration is very patchy. The scents are fine but some of the emphases and intonation of one of the women is just plain wrong. Not a cultural thing just bad reading in a few places.
Great book highly recommended.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful