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K. Sewell

Kitty Harri's Sculpture Garden, Spain
  • 29
  • reviews
  • 27
  • helpful votes
  • 68
  • ratings
  • Girl Walks Out of a Bar

  • A Memoir
  • By: Lisa F. Smith
  • Narrated by: Hillary Huber
  • Length: 8 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 52
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 48
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 48

Lisa Smith was a bright young lawyer at a prestigious law firm in New York City when alcoholism and drug addiction took over her life. What was once a way she escaped her insecurity and negativity as a teenager became a means of coping with the anxiety and stress of an impossible workload. Girl Walks Out of a Bar explores Smith's formative years, her decade of alcohol and drug abuse, divorce, and her road to recovery.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic !!

  • By Miss JR Wiltshire on 12-10-18

Sad saga

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

Reviewed: 14-03-19

Lisa Smith's story about her addiction is staggering, in as much as I am surprised she is alive. Most people would have long died after the sheer volume of alcohol, cocaine and cigarettes she consumed daily for years, from morning till night. How her heart, her liver and her brain withstood this abuse is verging on unbelievable. And it is a credit to her constitution that she was able to perform in such a responsible job, and not get fired.
It was of course life affirming to read that she managed to save herself.
My quibble with the story is the pervasive attitude that life without alcohol lacks excitement, glamour, friendships, fun, good sex, etc. The author maintains the view that those who can party non-stop without almost killing themselves are very lucky indeed. She concedes that it is great to wake up without vomiting blood and needing booze to steady her hands, but makes little reference to the fact that life has beauty and wonder, interest and excitement in itself.
I think the book would have done a better job by shortening and downplaying the long years of endless drinking, snorting and embarrassing behavior and focusing more on her twelve years of sobriety. What did she find out about herself, her friendships, the world, the universe, the meaning of life? For many ex-alcoholics, sobriety opens so many doors, allows for all that extra time, money, talents, health, mental clarity and focus. I am sure Ms. Smith has found this. Perhaps a subject for another book.

  • Nineteen Eighty-Four

  • By: George Orwell
  • Narrated by: Andrew Wincott
  • Length: 12 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,135
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,840
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,832

Big Brother is watching you.... 1984 is the year in which it happens. The world is divided into three superstates. In Oceania, the Party’s power is absolute. Every action, word, gesture and thought is monitored under the watchful eye of Big Brother and the Thought Police. In the Ministry of Truth, the Party’s department for propaganda, Winston Smith’s job is to edit the past. Over time, the impulse to escape the machine and live independently takes hold of him and he embarks on a secret and forbidden love affair.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • excellent narration.

  • By Chris on 20-12-16

Chilling

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

Reviewed: 22-02-19

Did Orwell know about Stalin and Mao‘s purges, I wonder. It seems 1984 was written before these horrors were known to the world. The novel describes a society which is too ghastly to believe until you remember that it has in fact existed in our time and worse. Superbly written and read, but a very grim and depressing story.

  • 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 9,793
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,964
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,940

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...

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent!

  • By Roberto on 23-06-13

Too much inconsequence

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

Reviewed: 29-01-19

I think Rowling is a brilliant writer and I very much admire her, but reading this first Robert Galbraith who-dun-it I can't really say I loved it. The actor/narrator is totally brilliant and Strike is a great character, so is Robin, there are some good dialogues, but that everything circles around the "jumped or pushed" theme started to bore this reader after a while. The fact that we never got to know the dead girl in real time is part of the problem. I never got to care about her, so her death was academic. Whole sections went by without me being able to focus and it seemed pointless to go back to revisit them. In the end I gave up and just listened to the last chapter.

  • North and South

  • By: Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
  • Length: 18 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,134
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 955
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 954

Written at the request of Charles Dickens, North and South is a book about rebellion that poses fundamental questions about the nature of social authority and obedience. Gaskell expertly blends individual feeling with social concern and her heroine, Margaret Hale, is one of the most original creations of Victorian literature. When Margaret Hale's father leaves the Church in a crisis of conscience she is forced to leave her comfortable home in the tranquil countryside of Hampshire....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • an interesting novel made special by the reading

  • By Margaret on 27-12-10

Compelling at first

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

Reviewed: 11-01-19

The novel is interesting because it is a glimpse into another era, the minutiae of people's lives, their homes, work, attitudes, relationships, morals and mores. I enjoyed the premise of the novel, north and south of England, and the way industry changed the country.
The 'plot' of the story is predictable because we know that the heroine will eventually succumb to the hero, but deary me, it took ever such a loooong time. It was at times laughable how unemancipated women were, dependent and physically feeble (not working women of course) All that fainting for example. Whoever faints these days? Perhaps it was the corsets. So even though Margaret was a true heroine, because of her compassion and her stoicism in the face of continuous tragedies, she was difficult to admire from our feminist perspective. The second part of the novel is way to drawn out, but still, a pleasant listen for the old romantic in us.

  • Dreams from My Father

  • A Story of Race and Inheritance
  • By: Barack Obama
  • Narrated by: Barack Obama
  • Length: 7 hrs and 8 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,166
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 981
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 979

Dreams from My Father is a masterpiece: a refreshing, revealing portrait of a young man asking the big questions about identity and belonging. The son of a black African father and a white American mother, Obama recounts an emotional odyssey. He retraces the migration of his mother's family from Kansas to Hawaii, then to his childhood home in Indonesia. Finally he travels to Kenya, where he confronts the bitter truth of his father's life and at last reconciles his divided inheritance.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • heart touching!

  • By Yassin Musa on 03-10-18

Must read

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

Reviewed: 11-01-19

It is truly fascinating that a black man from such obscure and humble beginnings could rise to become a leader of the world. It gives hope to every human on earth. There is no doubt that his rise has to do with incredibly strong ethics, unwavering willpower and perseverance, high intelligence, unfailing hard work, but also with a measure of luck, yet his story is humbly and unassumingly told.
It lays bare the instability and strangeness of his childhood, and the incredible story of his African family.
Most of all I admire his reading. If all else would fail, he has a future career as an actor. His excellent range of accents made me smile time and time again. Oh, how I wish he still sat in the chair, now occupied by a flaming maniac.

  • The Girls

  • By: Lisa Jewell
  • Narrated by: Gabrielle Glaister, Amelie Jewell
  • Length: 9 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 833
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 756
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 750

You live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses. You’ve known your neighbours for years, and you trust them. Implicitly. You think your children are safe. But are they really? On a midsummer’s night, a 13-year-old girl is found unconscious in a dark corner of the garden square. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Weak in several parts

  • By Giftgiver on 14-11-16

Too many teenagers

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

Reviewed: 11-01-19

I have enjoyed all of Lisa Jewell's novels. Not great literary works, but engaging portraits of normal contemporary British people getting into scrapes and bruises.
This novel I rate slightly below her others. Is it aimed at teenagers? Perhaps parents of teenagers? In any case, there were far too many of them, and to be frank, teenagers are not all that interesting. The plot was pretty weak and it took forever to get to the denouement. I expected a surprise after all that, but there were not that many to choose from so it was far from mind blowing. Some of the adult characters were interesting. I enjoyed Gordon the old lecher. I also really liked the voice and character of the young girl portrayed by Amelie Jewell, perhaps the author's daughter.

  • The Ship of Brides

  • By: Jojo Moyes
  • Narrated by: Nicolette McKenzie
  • Length: 15 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 591
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 522
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 518

Australia, 1946: 650 brides are departing for England to meet the men they married in wartime. But instead of the luxury liner they were expecting, they find themselves aboard an aircraft carrier, alongside a thousand men. On the sun-baked decks, old loves and past promises become distant memories, and tensions are stretched to the limit as brides and husbands change their minds. And for Frances Mackenzie, it soon becomes clear that the journey is more important than the destination....

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Good, but found it slow.

  • By Elizabeth B on 12-06-18

A long tale

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

Reviewed: 29-11-18

Jojo Moyes is a most accomplished author, and this novel is an engaging and satisfying read. It does not contain a huge number of surprises, and the women in it are occasionally somewhat cliche'd. I did cringe several times at the sheer silliness of the "brides" but had to remind myself that these were mostly young girls. I liked the historical context and the the narrative certainly had the reader right there, in the action, and at the post war time.
Mostly I want to celebrate the astonishing stamina and skill of the actress Nicolette Mckenzie. She had an amazing range of accents and could depict the voices of young women and older gruff males without missing a beat. Each of the many characters had their distinctive voice, accent and cadence. A brilliant performance. I will look for other novels she has narrated. It was pure pleasure to listen to.

  • Before We Were Yours

  • By: Lisa Wingate
  • Narrated by: Catherine Taber, Emily Rankin
  • Length: 14 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 498
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 460
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 461

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family's Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge, until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children's Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents - but they quickly realize the dark truth….

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • thoroughly enjoyed it

  • By Amy Connolly on 22-01-18

Mixed bag, well told

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

Reviewed: 23-11-18

Another horrific story of child suffering based on true events.
Somewhat predictable in its sentimentality but engaging and well read, specially the children’s parts.
Told in two time periods, with a two generation gap, the present day story was attempting to solve a mystery, be a love story and a transformational coming-of-age, all at once. Not sure this added to the novel as a whole. Still, an splendid listen!

  • Watching You

  • By: Lisa Jewell
  • Narrated by: Gabrielle Glaister
  • Length: 10 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 901
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 827
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 822

Random House presents the audiobook edition of Watching You by Lisa Jewell. You’re back home after four years working abroad, with a brand-new husband in tow. You’re keen to find a place of your own. But for now you’re living with your big brother, camped out in his spare bedroom. And then - quite unexpectedly - you meet the man next door. He’s the head teacher of the local high school. He’s twice your age. And he’s devastatingly attractive. Soon you find you’re watching him. All the time. But what you don’t know is that someone is watching you....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A compelling listen!

  • By Mazalicious on 28-07-18

Engaging

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

Reviewed: 16-08-18

Well written and engaging throughout, although be prepared to suspend disbelief. The story concludes with a series of very implausible coincidences. Even so, it makes for entertaining reading. Well drawn characters, especially teenagers.

  • Lost for Words

  • By: Stephanie Butland
  • Narrated by: Imogen Church
  • Length: 9 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 729
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 678
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 676

Loveday Cardew prefers books to people, and her job in a York bookshop is her refuge. If you look carefully, you might see the first lines of the novels she loves the most tattooed on her skin, but there are secrets Loveday will never share. Into the bookshop come a poet, a lover, a friend and three mysterious deliveries, each of which stirs unsettling memories she wants to forget. Turning the pages of her past will be the hardest thing Loveday has ever done. Can she trust those around her?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Special

  • By Jordan Brewitt-Taylor on 13-08-17

A soft read

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

Reviewed: 16-08-18

This story is what I term a soft read. If you like stories of young woman damaged by childhood trauma, living alone, rejecting relationships (until Mr. Right shows up to rescue) , a grittier choice is "Eleanor Oliphant is perfectly fine".
I gave Lost for Words a three rating for not giving us something new, fresh or or surprising. The "book device" is ok, but too in-the-face obvious.
It is otherwise well written and reasonably engaging. The reader is also acceptable, but got a three rating for her hopeless male voices.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful