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Adrienne

ohope, New Zealand
  • 12
  • reviews
  • 22
  • helpful votes
  • 25
  • ratings
  • Educated

  • By: Tara Westover
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1,115
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 994
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 989

Tara Westover grew up preparing for the End of Days, watching for the sun to darken, for the moon to drip as if with blood. She spent her summers bottling peaches and her winters rotating emergency supplies, hoping that when the World of Men failed, her family would continue on, unaffected. She hadn't been registered for a birth certificate. She had no school records because she'd never set foot in a classroom and no medical records because her father didn't believe in doctors or hospitals. According to the state and federal government, she didn't exist.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful, inspiring book on the value of education

  • By David Bowden on 03-03-18

Compulsive reading

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

Reviewed: 14-06-18

The damage within a family explored through religious fervour and counter balanced by awakening understanding of the world. This family dynamic is totally credible and yet devastating and you absolutely believe in the characters and their flaws. Loved it.

  • The Blackwater Lightship

  • By: Colm Toibin
  • Narrated by: Niamh Cusack
  • Length: 7 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17

Set in Ireland in the 1990s, Colm Tóibín's The Blackwater Lightship tells the story of the Devereux family. Dora Devereux, her daughter Lily and her granddaughter Helen have come together after years of strife and reached an uneasy truce. Helen’s adored brother, Declan, is dying. Two friends join him and the women in a crumbling old house by the sea, where the six of them, from different generations and with different beliefs, must listen to and come to terms with one another. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautifully explored family relationships

  • By Adrienne on 29-05-18

Beautifully explored family relationships

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

Reviewed: 29-05-18

Colm Toibin has a sensibility in writing his female characters which is simply awe inspiring. They are flawed and familiar and utterly real. This story follows the last weeks of a son, brother and grandson dying of aids in Ireland last century and the family fall out and redemptive rapprochement that ensues. Brilliantly written and read with calm dignity and restrained emotional power. Excellent.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Himself

  • By: Jess Kidd
  • Narrated by: Aidan Kelly
  • Length: 9 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 271
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 252
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 254

When Mahony returns to Mulderrig, a speck of a place on Ireland's west coast, he brings only his handsome face, a photograph of his long-lost mother and a determination to do battle with the village's lies. Mahony also somehow wakes the dead from their graves, with their foggy memories and hidden stories floating greyly amongst the unseeing living. No one, though - living or dead - will be able to guess what happened to the teenage mother who abandoned him as a baby.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant narration of a great story.

  • By Anonymous User on 17-01-17

Mesmerising

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

Reviewed: 20-12-16

Compelling story narrated with warmth and humour. The magic and fantasy are subsumed in the overwhelming reality of the protagonist's journey. Will listen to this again and again.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Casual Vacancy

  • By: J.K. Rowling
  • Narrated by: Tom Hollander
  • Length: 17 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,052
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,427
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,428

When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early 40s, the town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty facade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils.... Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Stick with it

  • By Amazon Customer on 05-10-12

Authentic and Credible Tale

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-12-12

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and believed absolutely in all of the characters presented. The dirty politics, the disaffected relationships and the callous disregard from society for the unappealling underdogs was a damning description of contemporary life in the UK. It is read excellently by Tom Hollander who breathes life into a wide range of characters. Excellent listen!

  • The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

  • By: Simon Mawer
  • Narrated by: Anna Bentinck
  • Length: 11 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 601
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 327
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 331

Marian Sutro is an outsider: the daughter of a diplomat, half French, half British, naive yet too clever for her own good. But when she is recruited from her desk job by SOE to go undercover in wartime France, it seems her hybrid status - and fluent French - will be of service to a greater, more dangerous cause. Trained in sabotage, dead-drops, how to perform under interrogation, and how to kill, Marian parachutes into southwest France with an urgent mission....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A great thriller, but also beautifully written

  • By Jill on 10-05-12

War story

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-12-12

I was disappointed by Simon Mawer's latest book as I loved The Glass House and found the characters compelling and engaging. Not the same experience at all, reading The Girl Who Fell From the Sky - there was a cool distance between the reader and the protagonist and her fellow cast of characters. The central premise of her mission read as incredible and things fell too neatly into place in order to get the narrative underway. A disappointing listen overall.

  • A Possible Life

  • By: Sebastian Faulks
  • Narrated by: Rupert Degas, Samuel West, Christian Rodska, and others
  • Length: 10 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 113
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 60
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 59

Terrified, a young prisoner in the Second World War closes his eyes and pictures himself going out to bat on a sunlit cricket ground in Hampshire. Across the courtyard in a Victorian workhouse, a father too ashamed to acknowledge his son. A skinny girl steps out of a Chevy with a guitar; her voice sends shivers through the skull. Soldiers and lovers, parents and children, scientists and musicians risk their bodies and hearts in search of connection.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Little Depressing

  • By Pauline on 18-09-12

Dark and haunting tales

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-12-12

Faulkes writes beautifully about war; he captures the inhumanity, the waste, the wanton cruelty and the senselessness of it all. The first of the stories that are loosely linked in the text, is an examination of war and its cruelty and I found it horrifying and disturbing. Having read Birdsong I knew his ability to place his reader in the event, but this story had an even greater impact. The move from story to story is quite abrupt and this is a disadvantage to lstening to this text rather than reading it.

  • Nocturnes

  • By: Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Narrated by: Adam Kotz, Neil Pearson, Julian Rhind-Tutt, and others
  • Length: 6 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 58
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 47
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 48

In Nocturnes, a sublime story cycle, Kazuo Ishiguro explores ideas of love, music and the passing of time. From the piazzas of Italy to the Malvern Hills, a London flat to the "hush-hush floor" of an exclusive Hollywood hotel, the characters we encounter range from young dreamers to cafe musicians to faded stars, all of them at some moment of reckoning. Gentle, intimate, and witty, this quintet is marked by a haunting theme: the struggle to keep alive a sense of life's romance, even as one gets older.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Gentle listening

  • By Tracey on 24-01-13

Musical off notes

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-12-12

I love Ishiguro's work- particularly his novels and I was disappointed by these short stories the characters and central themes of which failed to really engage me. Ishiguro uses music as a foundation to the collection and perhaps not having any knowledge or ability in the musical world was a disadvatage for this listener.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Chaperone

  • By: Laura Moriarty
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth McGovern
  • Length: 13 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 69
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 41

On a summer's day in 1922, Cora Carlisle boards a train to New York City, leaving behind a marriage that's not as perfect as it seems and a past that she buried long ago. She is charged with the care of a stunning young girl with a jet-black fringe and eyes wild and wise beyond her 15 years. This girl is hungry for stardom, and Cora is hungry for something she doesn't yet know. Under the bright lights of Broadway, in a time when prohibition reigns and speakeasies thrive, Cora and her charge, Louise Brooks, take their first steps towards their dreams.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • America 1926 Louise Brooks early years in New York

  • By Fizog on 08-07-13

Frothy nostalgic fun

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-12-12

This is excellently read by Elizabeth McGovern, immediately recognisable from Downton Abbey, whose warm southern cadences are easy to engage with. The story brings tobgether an eclectic cast of characters and doesn't fare well under too close examination in terms of plot credibility, but it is light-hearted fun and in the end a good yarn to entertain you whilst you drive, walk the dog or hang out the washing!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

  • By: Muriel Spark
  • Narrated by: Miriam Margolyes
  • Length: 4 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 349
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 293
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 292

"You girls are my vocation... I am dedicated to you in my prime." So says Miss Jean Brodie, a teacher unlike any other. She is proud and cultured. A romantic, with progressive, sometimes shocking ideas and aspirations for the girls in her charge. When she decides to transform a select group of pupils into the 'crème de la crème' at the Marcia Blaine School they become the Brodie set. In exchange for their undivided loyalty the girls earn a special place of honour and privilege within the school. Yet they are also introduced to a startling new world of adult games....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Sharp wit that doesn't date

  • By Adrienne on 23-12-12

Sharp wit that doesn't date

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-12-12

Maggie Smith's representation of Miss Jean Brodie in the film from the fifties, made me want to read this text. It didn't disappoint. The language is crisp and dry and unforgiving and the reader moves through a series of responses towards the flawed protagonist. None of the girls is painted as a likeable character and therefore our sympathy for them at the hands of this fascist, misguided, arrogant educator is limited.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Dinner

  • By: Herman Koch
  • Narrated by: Clive Mantle
  • Length: 8 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 167
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 106
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 106

A summer's evening in Amsterdam and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse - the banality of work, the triviality of holidays. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened. Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A wonderfully dark modern parable.

  • By M on 19-10-14

Dark and disturbing

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-12-12

The characters in this novel are not there for you to befriend. They are dark, disturbing and unlikeable, yet the pace of the text and the unravelling of their lives is hugely compelling so you have to stick with it. This was hard to listen to at times but impossible to abandon. A mesmerising listen.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful