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angela goodman

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  • helpful vote
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  • The Reckoning

  • By: John Grisham
  • Narrated by: Michael Beck
  • Length: 17 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 415
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 384
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 380

Pete Banning was Clanton's favourite son, a returning war hero, the patriarch of a prominent family, a farmer, father, neighbour and a faithful member of the Methodist Church. Then one cool October morning in 1946, he rose early, drove into town, walked into the church, and calmly shot and killed the Reverend Dexter Bell. As if the murder wasn't shocking enough, it was even more baffling that Pete's only statement about it - to the sheriff, to his defense attorney, to the judge, to his family and friends and to the people of Clanton - was 'I have nothing to say'. 

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Grisham Grinds to a Halt!

  • By Simon on 24-10-18

Needed a good editor

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

Reviewed: 16-11-18

This story has a good plot and some colourful characters but drags on and on and on with digressions and inclusions of minutiae which have little bearing on the narrative and fail to move it forward. It's like being on a very slow riverboat which takes detours down looping streams which lead nowhere but which only add to the tedium of a long journey. Occasionally there is something of great interest to look at; occasionally there's a feature which indicates progress; occasionally there is some jeopardy. But mostly the journey is flat and featureless. It's a pity and very disappointing for those of us who have enjoyed Grisham's earlier works.

  • The Swiss Spy

  • By: Alex Gerlis
  • Narrated by: Stephen Critchlow
  • Length: 12 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 65
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 57
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 55

It's not unusual for spies to have secrets, but Henry Hunter has more than most, and after he is stopped by British Intelligence at Croydon airport on the eve of the Second World War, he finds he has even more. In March 1941 in Berlin, haunted by a dark episode from his past, he makes a fateful decision resulting in a dramatic journey to the Swiss frontier, with a shocking outcome.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Thrilling tale

  • By Rolo on 29-12-17

Well written but not well produced.

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

Reviewed: 09-01-18

An exciting and enjoyable read with plenty of hooks to keep the reader interested. The narrator is a very good actor with the ability to convey different voices and accents, however much of the action takes place in Germany or German speaking Switzerland and his erratic and annoyingly inaccurate German pronunciation is very irritating for anyone who knows the language. German has easy pronunciation rules which even a non speaker can learn and master. Certainly this gifted reader with his good ear for accents could have mastered it. It seems no one prepared him.
Apart from that it's a good and well read novel.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Britannia's Wolf

  • The Dawlish Chronicles: September 1877-February 1878
  • By: Antoine Vanner
  • Narrated by: David Doersch
  • Length: 13 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 3

In 1877, the Russo-Turkish War is reaching its climax. A Russian victory will pose a threat for Britain's strategic interests. To protect those interests, an ambitious British naval officer, Nicholas Dawlish, is assigned to the Ottoman Navy to ravage Russian supply lines in the Black Sea. In the depths of a savage winter, as Turkish forces face defeat on all fronts, Dawlish confronts enemy ironclads, Cossack lances, and merciless Kurdish irregulars and finds himself a pawn in the rivalry of the Sultan's half brothers for control of the collapsing empire.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Exciting adventure with odd choice of narrator

  • By angela goodman on 02-11-16

Exciting adventure with odd choice of narrator

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

Reviewed: 02-11-16

What made the experience of listening to Britannia's Wolf the most enjoyable?

The choice of setting - unusual for a naval adventure but fascinating because it deals with a time of massive technological change. I was intrigued by so many historical details - the early torpedoes and the Popovkas especially. The central character is believable and sympathetic though the narrator's unconvincing 'British accent' tended to make Dawlish's speech sound forced, strange and artificial at times which jarred and affected the characterisation

What other book might you compare Britannia's Wolf to, and why?

I'd compare it to Jules Verne - historical setting and the fascination with technology of the time - also the timings and suspense in the narrative. The author's enthusiasm and research of 19th century technology really shines through. However it is also about warfare and Dawlish - with his humble beginnings and intelligence, his passion for the sea and ships, not to mention a strong moral sensibility - has a pleasing family resemblance to other great naval action heroes like Hornblower, Bolitho and Aubrey.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

The narrator has a lovely voice which I could listen to for hours ... he reads expressively and with feeling. He's a great reader/actor - he really is - and I like him and would like to hear more read by him and I'm sorry to criticise but... He is an American. In itself that wouldn't be a problem except that - like nearly all Americans - he can't quite manage convincing British accents. Why choose an American narrator to read a story about a British sea captain with characters who are all British, Turkish or Russian? It's a puzzle. As odd as if a British narrator was selected to read the Jack Reacher novels or Raymond Chandler. But I suppose the book is being aimed at the US market? In which case they will expect to have a US narrator and wont notice the glaring aural flaws and impossibilities which set teeth on edge this side of the pond.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Some parts were sad and others wonderfully life-affirming. There was great hardship and heroism in it which does affect the reader's emotions.

Any additional comments?

Great book - looking forward to reading or listening to more by Antoine Vanner.

  • The Lacuna

  • By: Barbara Kingsolver
  • Narrated by: Barbara Kingsolver
  • Length: 19 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 172
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 78
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 80

Born in the US and reared in Mexico, Harrison Shepherd is a liability to his social-climbing mother, Salome. When a violent incident sends him to North Carolina, he remakes himself in America's hopeful image. But political winds continue to throw him between north and south, in a plot that turns many times on the unspeakable breach - the lacuna - between truth and public presumption.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Well, I like her voice!

  • By patashnik on 28-09-10

Beautiful vivid writing read by a beautiful voice

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

Reviewed: 27-10-16

What made the experience of listening to The Lacuna the most enjoyable?

Her gift for evocative writing and her inventive ideas made this book compelling. I love the way she brings characters to life - I can see Salome, Frida and Violet and the old Lawyer Mr Gold - and the vivid settings and contrasts. I like the way she makes historic events personal and gives you a window onto history. I'm not going to spoil anything by revealing the story but it brought me to tears in places and also made me smile.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Lacuna?

The discoveries - milestones in Harrison's life - the underwater world, archaeology, art, love and people. Also the conversations between all kinds of people from so many walks of life.

What about Barbara Kingsolver’s performance did you like?

Anyone who stopped listening because her voice isn't 'professional' has sadly (for them) missed out on a great book read sensitively and evocatively. Her voice is compelling and beautiful - she may not modulate it to the extremes of professional actors/readers but you can still oh so clearly hear and see the characters through it. Her incredible gift for spoken accents is a pleasure to listen to and brings characters to vivid life - from Mexicans to American boys in the 30s to Southern genteel drawl to New York Jewish Lawyer to Russian Emigre - all really well done and so clear.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Panoramic and heart-stopping view of the American continent in the mid 20th century.

  • Picture Perfect

  • By: Jodi Picoult
  • Narrated by: Megan Dodds
  • Length: 5 hrs and 21 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 33
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 20
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 19

What do you do when the person who holds you together is the one who tears you apart? Best-selling phenomenon Picoult's novel centres on domestic abuse. A woman is found in a Los Angeles graveyard, unable to remember anything about herself or her life. No one is more surprised than she when, days later, her husband comes to the police station to take her home - and turns out to be Hollywood's leading superstar, Alex Rivers.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Good but goes on and on.

  • By angela goodman on 04-06-16

Good but goes on and on.

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

Reviewed: 04-06-16

I thought the idea for this story was intriguing. The portrayal of domestic abuse rang true and was subtly and sensitively told. I liked the legends even though it wasn't always clear why they were there. The use of music to clarify flashbacks was generally helpful to the listener even if the choice was a bit annoying and cloying at times.
However there were plot elements which I felt somehow didn't work and didn't add to the story except to its length. I listened to the abridged version only because there wasn't a full version and I usually like long novels but this novel felt as if it went on and on... and on...

  • Artemis

  • Thomas Kydd, Book 2
  • By: Julian Stockwin
  • Narrated by: Christian Rodska
  • Length: 11 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 122
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 95
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 98

This second naval adventure follows the life of Thomas Paine Kydd who sails into Portsmouth a hero after a ferocious battle against the French. Soon the sea beckons and Kydd sets off aboard his beloved Artemis for another adventure.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Avast!

  • By David Perry on 30-08-11

A spanking good yarn

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

Reviewed: 28-02-15

Where does Artemis rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Ranks near the top.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Characters are well drawn so no favourite.

Have you listened to any of Christian Rodska’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Christian Rodskaer is a consummate actor. He's a veteran of radio drama - I have heard him many times - and can suit his voice to most characters - their ages, genders and accents.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Hurricanes - cape horn - storms - bravery and courage beyond measure

Any additional comments?

I loved this book from start to finish.

Black Swan Green cover art
  • Black Swan Green

  • By: David Mitchell
  • Narrated by: Chris Nelson
  • Length: 14 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 373
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 224
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 222

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, 2006.
Shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards, 2006
Shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, Best Book, 2007.

Jason Taylor is 13, doomed to be growing up in the most boring family in the deadest village on earth.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Welcome nostalgia

  • By Kelly on 23-03-07

Beautifully written and narrated.

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

Reviewed: 31-01-15

If you could sum up Black Swan Green in three words, what would they be?

Absorbing, lyrical and touching

What other book might you compare Black Swan Green to, and why?

It's a growing up (or 'coming of age') novel - the world as seen through an intelligent and articulate but very naive 13 year old boy's eyes - adults reading this will understand and read between the lines the things that Jason himself isn't aware of. It could hold its own in the company of LP Hartley's The Go Between, Salinger's Catcher in the Rye or Sue Townsend's Diary of Adrian Mole. To anyone who wants to know or remember what the 1980s were like in England the descriptions are all too vivid and Jason's life in a Worcestershire village is set against the background of larger events such as the Falklands War. Readers of other David Mitchell books will see cameo appearances by characters from other books... Cloud Atlas The Bone Clocks and the 1000 Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. I'd recommend all those too...

What does Chris Nelson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Chris Nelson has exactly the right voice for the adolescent Jason Taylor. He doesn't quite get all the accents quite right but then neither would Jason. The voices of Jasons' parents, teachers and peers at school are utterly varied, believable and a real pleasure to hear. He also manages to bring out the lyrical qualities of the wiring and of Jason's poetic observations.

  • Ghostwritten

  • By: David Mitchell
  • Narrated by: William Rycroft
  • Length: 15 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 273
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 257
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 257

An apocalyptic cult member, a jazz buff in Tokyo, a woman on a holy mountain, a burnt-out lawyer, a Mongolian gangster, a redundant spy, a despondent "zookeeper", a nuclear scientist, a ghostwriter, a ghost, and a New York DJ are all tenuously connected. All of them have tales to tell, and all must play their part as they are caught up in the inescapable forces of cause and effect.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • An Engrossing Whirlwind

  • By Antti on 03-09-14

a fantastic journey through interconnected lives

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

Reviewed: 02-01-15

Where does Ghostwritten rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This was one of the best I have heard so far and for me it was on a par with Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks.

Who was your favorite character and why?

All the characters were unique and intriguing . I found myself identifying with each narrator - even the less 'nice' were people one could feel sorry for.

What does William Rycroft bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

He manages the individual voices so believably - even female characters and accents.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The book kept me in suspense from start to finish. I did feel a bit teary at times.

Any additional comments?

I'd recommend this book because I loved the clever way David Mitchell interwove the stories and also the way the book is a travelogue with impressions of the vastness of Asia - Russia - China.

  • Gone Girl

  • By: Gillian Flynn
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
  • Length: 19 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,555
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,917
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,930

Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do? Just how well can you ever know the person you love? These are the questions that Nick Dunne must ask himself on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police immediately suspect Nick. Amy's friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn't true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they aren't his. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Keep going with this

  • By E on 23-02-13

twists and turns keep you gripped

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

Reviewed: 12-11-14

Would you listen to Gone Girl again? Why?

I'd watch the film perhaps but I never listen again to books and rarely re-read so probably won't. Having said that it's such a detailed and suspenseful book that I might but only in some years' time.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Both Amy and Nick - fascinatingly drawn. I liked the contrast in Amy between the initial diary and the later Amy. I also liked the way Nick's character develops and the idea of the meta-story - the Amazing Amy idea and the counterpoint to Amazing Amy

What about Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne ’s performance did you like?

I loved the variety of tones they each produced - the deft conveying of characters.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It terrified me and worried me.

Any additional comments?

I can't imagine anyone not being gripped by this clever plot and the strongly drawn developing characters.