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angela goodman

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Killing State cover art

Beautifully told

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

Reviewed: 25-07-19

A gripping story with interesting characters. The twists and turns of the plot keep you listening and the narrative is vividly told. Well read with convincing voices.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

The Reckoning cover art

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 cover art

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.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

Britannia's Wolf cover art

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 cover art

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 cover art

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 cover art

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

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 cover art

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 cover art

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.