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Head Coach

  • 11
  • reviews
  • 19
  • helpful votes
  • 117
  • ratings
  • Northanger Abbey

  • By: Jane Austen
  • Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
  • Length: 8 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 358
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 272
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 271

When Catherine Morland, a country clergyman's daughter, is invited to spend a season in Bath with the fashionable high society, little does she imagine the delights and perils that await her. Captivated and disconcerted by what she finds, and introduced to the joys of "Gothic novels" by her new friend, Isabella, Catherine longs for mystery and romance. When she is invited to stay with the beguiling Henry Tilney and his family at Northanger Abbey, she expects mystery and intrigue at every turn.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent

  • By Miss on 27-09-14

Always worth revisiting

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

Reviewed: 08-04-19

I reread this last week having just finished "The Mysteries of Udolpho" which, of course, plays an important part in this shortish Austen classic.

I love Austen to bits but have to admit that this isn't my favourite. It is full of typical Austen wit, irony and beautiful prose which is always a joy to read. But, compared with some of her others, the characters are less deep and the plot is less convincing. Catherine is just too gullible and unassertive to be a true heroine. Also, the way it's all wrapped up in a hurry at the end leaves me feel a bit short-changed.

I couldn't give any Austen novel, particularly when read by the excellent Juliet Stevenson, less than 5 stars though!

  • The Cuckoo's Calling

  • Cormoran Strike, Book 1
  • By: Robert Galbraith
  • Narrated by: Robert Glenister
  • Length: 15 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,801
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,971
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,947

When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case.Strike is a war veteran - wounded both physically and psychologically - and his life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model's complex world, the darker things get - and the closer he gets to terrible danger...

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Entertaining and likeable

  • By Dragon on 06-05-13

This is really well-written!

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

Reviewed: 08-04-19

I will probably annoy most people by admitting that I'm not a Harry Potter fan. I find the books have little real character development and have weak plots where the past is invented on the spur of the moment to suit some new idea the author has just had.

These Cormoran Strike books seemed to be well-rated so I tried this first one and found it to be a top read. Very satisfying characters and nice plot twists that you couldn't quite see coming. The others are great too.

I was a bit surprised when I found out half way through that J K Rowling was the author. I'm now convinced that she's a terrific writer and I look forward to the series being continued.

Robert Glenister does and excellent job of narration.

  • Martin Chuzzlewit

  • The Dickens Collection: An Audible Exclusive Series
  • By: Charles Dickens, William Boyd - introduction
  • Narrated by: Derek Jacobi, William Boyd - introduction
  • Length: 41 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22

Deeply distressed at thought of his singularly money-minded family circling around his inevitable death bed, when Old Martin Chuzzlewit comes across a young and kindly orphan girl, he immediately decides to take her into his employment. Offering her a comfortable living in exchange for her care and protection, Martin rests easy in the knowledge that her comfort will last only as long as he does; upon his death, Mary the orphan will find herself on the cold and dirty streets from whence she came. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful Book - Worth Persevering

  • By Head Coach on 26-12-18

Wonderful Book - Worth Persevering

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

Reviewed: 26-12-18

I tried to read this book some years ago and didn't make it past the first 50 pages which are full of very airy-fairy early Dickens writing. Little structure, little solid plot.

This nearly happened again with the talking book but I stayed with it and gradually the most wonderful novel emerged with tremendous characters and a plot with plenty of surprises.

It almost seems as though this was the moment when Dickens developed from his Pickwickian sketch-writing into the amazingly powerful author of novels he became. You can sort of see the change happening. Many of the characters will stay with me for the rest of my life, they are so well-drawn and so particular.

Excellent reading, as you would expect from Derek Jacobi. He sounds as though he really enjoyed the book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Life on the Edge

  • The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology
  • By: Jim Al-Khalili, Johnjoe McFadden
  • Narrated by: Pete Cross
  • Length: 12 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 119
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 102
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 102

Life is the most extraordinary phenomenon in the known universe; but how does it work? Even in this age of cloning and synthetic biology, the remarkable truth remains: nobody has ever made anything living entirely out of dead material. Life remains the only way to make life. Are we missing a vital ingredient in its creation? Like Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene, which provided a new perspective on how evolution works, Life on the Edge alters our understanding of life's dynamics.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • I wish Jim had narrated this book.

  • By S. Churchill on 14-07-17

Important learning if you like science

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

Reviewed: 01-02-17

Any additional comments?

This was recommended by a physicist friend. It's highly readable despite providing a full revision of modern physics before explaining new learning about the role quantum mechanics plays in the biology of life. I thought I had a reasonable grasp of biology but this stuff is dynamite!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Girl with All the Gifts

  • By: M. R. Carey
  • Narrated by: Finty Williams
  • Length: 13 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,554
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,110
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,090

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her 'our little genius'. Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A stunning read

  • By Simon on 19-01-14

Good Scary Stuff!

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

Reviewed: 01-02-17

Any additional comments?

This is a very original book with a surprising plot. At first I wasn't convinced by the characters but I became very involved as the story developed. The reader is excellent.

  • The Demon Awakens

  • Book I of the DemonWars Saga
  • By: R. A. Salvatore
  • Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
  • Length: 25 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34

A great evil has awakened in the land of Corona, a terrible demon determined to spread death and misery. His goblin armies and fearsome giants ravage the settlements of the frontier, and in the small village of Dundallis their merciless attack leaves behind two shattered orphans: Pony and her lifelong friend, the youth Elbryan. Taken in by elves, Elbryan is raised to become a formidable ranger - a fateful role that will lead him into harrowing confrontation.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Give it a miss

  • By Owen on 09-02-17

Very Disappointing

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

Reviewed: 03-01-17

What was most disappointing about R. A. Salvatore’s story?

The writing is very poor: thin characters who keep doing the same things that I find I don't really identify with; endless gory fighting scenes that aren't at all scary; implausible narrow escapes; a big demon who seems very easy to defeat.

There are much better derivative Lord of the Rings sort of books out there.

  • Out of Your Mind

  • By: Alan Watts
  • Narrated by: Alan Watts
  • Length: 14 hrs and 22 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 643
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 561
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 552

With Out of Your Mind: Essential Listening from the Alan Watts Audio Archives, you are invited to immerse yourself in 12 of this legendary thinker's pinnacle teaching sessions about how to break through the limits of the rational mind and begin expanding your awareness and appreciation for the Great Game unfolding all around us.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Beware

  • By Jo on 28-06-16

Very accessible way into Zen thought

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

Reviewed: 20-12-16

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, because i had such a deep experience listening to Watts talking. Years ago I read some of his books which were clear and helpful but seemed a bit quirky. Having now listened (twice) to 14 hours of him explaining Eastern thought in real depth I realise he was a deeply wise person who was really effective at putting across the unexplainable. On these 50 year old tapes he speaks directly to me today.

Any additional comments?

Just now and again he makes a remark that would have seemed normal in 1966 but seems a bit non PC today. These came as a surprise because it reminded me that he wasn't in the room with me!

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Barchester Towers

  • By: Anthony Trollope
  • Narrated by: Timothy West
  • Length: 19 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 327
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 253
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 254

Barchester Towers is the second of six in the series known as Chronicles of Barsetshire. Narrator Timothy West brings life to the story, begun in The Warden, of Mr. Harding and his daughter Eleanor. It chronicles the struggle for control of the English diocese of Barchester after one Bishop dies and a new one is selected. The rather incompetent new Bishop, Dr. Proudie, led by his formidable wife, and ambitious chaplain, Mr. Slope, begin to create turmoil with their desire to shake up the church establishment.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • West is best

  • By Francis on 28-10-08

Pure Pleasure

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

Reviewed: 04-04-16

Any additional comments?

Reading Trollope is always a pleasure and hearing Timothy West's reading is the icing on the cake. West really understands Trollope and brings out every bit of humour and nuance. I get more out of this than reading the book myself.

  • World Without End

  • The Kingsbridge Novels, Book 2
  • By: Ken Follett
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 45 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,360
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,684
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,683

On the day after Halloween, in the year 1327, four children slip away from the cathedral city of Kingsbridge. They are a thief, a bully, a boy genius, and a girl who wants to be a doctor. In the forest they see two men killed. As adults, their lives will be braided together by ambition, love, greed and revenge. They will see prosperity and famine, plague and war.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Bereaved when it ended

  • By bex4ad on 15-03-11

Not one of his best

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

Reviewed: 21-10-15

I've read or listened to quite a few Ken Follett novels. Even though they are all enormous, this is the first one which really seemed too long.

He spells out things very slowly and often repeats what's happened earlier as if the reader is too stupid to have understood it. He signals plot developments so blatantly that you'd also have to be stupid not to know what's going to happen next. More surprises please Ken!

Having said that, the way he brings history to light is still enjoyable and the reading is good.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Blood Song

  • Book 1 of Raven's Shadow
  • By: Anthony Ryan
  • Narrated by: Steven Brand
  • Length: 23 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,575
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,478
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,474

We have fought battles that left more than a hundred corpses on the ground and not a word of it has ever been set down. The Order fights, but often it fights in shadow, without glory or reward. We have no banners. Vaelin Al Sorna is the Sixth Order's newest recruit. Under their brutal training regime, he learns how to forge a blade, survive the wilds and kill a man quickly and quietly - all in the name of protecting the Realm and the Faith. Now his skills will be put to the test.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Superb debut novel

  • By Karen on 16-07-14

Great book, terribly dull reading

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

Reviewed: 23-08-15

What did you like best about this story?

It's a big story with interesting characters and it flits about the different scenes.

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Steven Brand?

I should think almost anyone could have done a better job! Unfortunately, Brand's narration is so monotonous it was hard to stay awake. He droned his way across chapter boundaries with no pause so you have to concentrate otherwise you find yourself with other characters on the other side of the world without noticing when the scene changed.

Any additional comments?

I'm reading the second volume of the saga, Tower Lord, in paperback and it's really great.