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Kirstine

Midlothian
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The Plantagenets: The Kings Who Made England cover art
  • The Plantagenets: The Kings Who Made England

  • By: Dan Jones
  • Narrated by: Dan Jones
  • Length: 22 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 108
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 98
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 97

England’s greatest royal dynasty, the Plantagenets, ruled over England through eight generations of kings. Their remarkable reign saw England emerge from the Dark Ages to become a highly organised kingdom that spanned a vast expanse of Europe. Plantagenet rule saw the establishment of laws and creation of artworks, monuments and tombs which survive to this day, and continue to speak of their sophistication, brutality and secrets. Dan Jones brings you a new vision of this battle-scarred history.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating and well read

  • By tombanx on 13-06-19

Entertaining and scholarly

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

Reviewed: 23-08-19

I've already listened to the author's excellent books: The Templars and The Hollow Crown, and so was confident that I would enjoy the present book. I wasn't disappointed: it's medieval history told with verve by a scholar of the period. Ideally I should have listened to this book before the Hollow Crown as the latter covers the later period of Plantagenet history and the present book sets the scene for the War of the Roses that is a central theme of the Hollow Crown. All three books are admirably read by the author.
I greatly enjoyed the book, but am left, as I often am, saddened by the misery, sacrifice of lives and draining of the public purse caused by the ambitions of rulers to go to war and also by the cruelties enacted in the name of religion. It's depressing that these blights on human life as still happening.

H.G. Wells: The Science Fiction Collection cover art
  • H.G. Wells: The Science Fiction Collection

  • By: H. G. Wells
  • Narrated by: Hugh Bonneville, Jason Isaacs, Sophie Okonedo, and others
  • Length: 27 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 928
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 850
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 847

Known as ‘The Father of Science Fiction’, Herbert George Wells’ writing career spanned over 60 years. He was a writer of novels, short stories, nonfiction books and articles. As a young man, Wells won a scholarship to the Normal School of Science in London, sparking his infamous vocation as a science fiction writer. Introduced by film director and H. G. Wells fanboy Eli Roth, this collection features unabridged recordings of the novels performed by Hugh Bonneville, Jason Isaacs, Sophie Okonedo, David Tennant and Alexander Vlahos.  

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant stories!

  • By Kazzakirk on 25-04-19

A great collection

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

Reviewed: 19-08-19

This collection of Well's stories reminds one why he is still a popular writer. I enjoyed all the stories but The War of the Worlds and the Time Traveller stand out not lest because of the accomplished narrations by David Tennant and Hugh Bonnevill respectively. An added bonus: over 27 hours of listening for one credit!

The Death of Mrs Westaway cover art
  • The Death of Mrs Westaway

  • By: Ruth Ware
  • Narrated by: Imogen Church
  • Length: 14 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 670
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 624
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 624

Random House presents the audiobook edition of The Death of Mrs Westaway, by Ruth Ware. When Harriet Westaway receives an unexpected letter telling her she’s inherited a substantial bequest from her Cornish grandmother, it seems like the answer to her prayers. She owes money to a loan shark, and the threats are getting increasingly aggressive: she needs to get her hands on some cash fast.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great book

  • By Amazon Customer on 09-09-18

Started well then became tedious and annoying

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

Reviewed: 15-08-19

The basic idea of the story if a good one but after a good start the book stagnated and the plot only slowly progressed with much repeating of the thoughts and fears of the heroine, Hal/Harriet. What really irked me was the writing-style. Nothing left to the imagination of the listener. Worse still are the dozens and dozens of references to Hal's physiological responses to her stressful situation: her churning stomach, nausea, thudding heart, dry mouth and welling tears. After about 9 hours of this bloated narrative I couldn't stand it it any longer and skipped to near the end only to find she was still churning away. I ended up heartily disliking the book. It would have been better if halved in length. The final revelation of who was Hal's father was obvious hours before the end.
The narrator is generally good but at times put too much emotion into Hal's already over-wrought thoughts.

Liberation Square cover art
  • Liberation Square

  • By: Gareth Rubin
  • Narrated by: Nicola Walker, Gareth Rubin
  • Length: 10 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 18
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 17

1952. Soviet troops control British streets. After the disastrous failure of D-Day, Britain is occupied by Nazi Germany and rescued only by Russian soldiers arriving from the east and Americans from the west. The two superpowers divide the nation between them, a wall running through London like a scar. When Jane Cawson calls in to her husband's medical practice and detects the perfume worn by his former wife, Lorelei, she fears what is between them. But when Jane rushes to confront them, she finds herself instead caught up in the glamorous actress' death.  

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A bit of a dog’s dinner

  • By The Curator on 09-05-19

Alernative dystopian scenario of post WWII life

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

Reviewed: 12-08-19

I enjoyed this imaginative story of what life might have been like in the UK at the end of World War !!, if the Nazis had succeeded in invading followed by opposing Soviet forces. A situation leading to a divided country similar to post war Germany with a wall separating the two sectors. It is chilling to imagine Anthony Blunt as the chief in the Soviet sector with Guy Burgess and Kim Philby in key positions. It is a gripping story of an unexplained death and clandestine dealings set in the Soviet sector of the UK and the imagined privations and curbs on freedom that were actually suffered by people behind the real Iron Curtain post WWII.

Nicola Walker's narration is excellent, however the author should stick to writing as his narration style is poor: thankfully his contributions were short and few in number.

Court Number One cover art
  • Court Number One

  • The Old Bailey Trials That Defined Modern Britain
  • By: Thomas Grant
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
  • Length: 17 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 65
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 58
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 58

The principal criminal court of England, historically reserved for the more serious and high-profile trials, Court Number One opened its doors in 1907 after the building of the 'new' Old Bailey. In the decades that followed it witnessed the trials of the most famous and infamous defendants of the twentieth century. It was here that the likes of Madame Fahmy, Lord Haw Haw, John Christie, Ruth Ellis, George Blake (and his unlikely jailbreakers, Michael Randle and Pat Pottle), Jeremy Thorpe and Ian Huntley were defined in history.... 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Engrossing collection of trials

  • By Kirstine on 11-08-19

Engrossing collection of trials

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

Reviewed: 11-08-19

A well-chosen selection of trials from different eras, so well-described I felt the proceedings were happening as I listened. Some trials are recent and more familiar but no less gripping as the details unfold. By choosing trials from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries changes in social attitudes are clearly demonstrated and, in some instances, made me cringe at the obnoxious racist and sexist comments.
The narrator is excellent and, unlike some reviewers, I thought his voice suited the material.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Churchill cover art
  • Churchill

  • By: Roy Jenkins
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 38 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 439
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 300
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 304

In this magisterial book, Roy Jenkins' unparalleled command of the political history of Britain and his own high-level government experience combine in a narrative account of Churchill's astounding career that is unmatched in its shrewd insights, its unforgettable anecdotes, the clarity of its overarching themes, and the author's nuanced appreciation of his extraordinary subject.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A biography worthy of Churchill

  • By Francis on 29-11-07

Magesterial biography of a great life

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

Reviewed: 09-08-19

This a comprehensive and engaging biography of an extraordinary man who was a major player in shaping the history of the 20th century. An example of how circumstances can catapult a person's career from the doldrums into world-fame and huge influence on the fate of a country and the world. It is sad that after achieving so much Churchill clung to power well beyond his ability to carry out the onerous tasks of leading a government.
Roy Jenkins has produced a magnificent biography and history of the turbulent first 7 decades of the 20th century and making it a great listen that is admirably narrated by Simon Vance.

The Hollow Crown cover art
  • The Hollow Crown

  • The Wars of the Roses and the Rise of the Tudors
  • By: Dan Jones
  • Narrated by: Dan Jones
  • Length: 13 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 195
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 172
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 170

Some of the greatest heroes and villains in British history were thrown together in these turbulent times: Henry V, whose victory at Agincourt and prudent rule at home marked the high point of the medieval monarchy; Edward IV, who was handed his crown by the scheming soldier Warwick the Kingmaker, before their alliance collapsed into a fight to the death; and the last Plantagenet, Richard III, who stole the throne and murdered his own nephews, the Princes in the Tower. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • More unbelievable then Game of Thrones!!

  • By Foxhole on 28-01-19
  • The Hollow Crown
  • The Wars of the Roses and the Rise of the Tudors
  • By: Dan Jones
  • Narrated by: Dan Jones

Vivid account of a turbulent period in history

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

Reviewed: 06-08-19

I really enjoyed this splendid and scholarly narrative bringing vividly to life the divisive events of the 15th century as the War of the Roses tore the country apart before the eventual conquest by the Tudor dynasty. I found it helped to remind myself of the genealogy of the different claimants to the throne via an online website as the respective rankings are complex owing to the lack of a direct line of decent from Edward III. This period of history is so full of events it makes for a gripping listen excellently narrated by the author.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle cover art
  • The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

  • By: Stuart Turton
  • Narrated by: Jot Davies
  • Length: 16 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,217
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,072
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,068

'Somebody's going to be murdered at the ball tonight. It won't appear to be a murder, and so the murderer won't be caught. Rectify that injustice and I'll show you the way out.' It is meant to be a celebration, but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed. But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden - one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party - can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself over and over again.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Complex but Brilliant. A Classic in the making!

  • By Martin on 03-08-18

Complicated with too many characters

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

Reviewed: 04-08-19

At first I thought I would enjoy this mixture of the supernatural, Gothic horror and crime detection, however, it soon became confusing as characters morphed into other characters and ultimately tedious as the main character, after he changed identity each day, experienced previous days from the perspective of his new persona. This would have been successful if the change shed light on the crime he was to solve in order to free him from the nightmare of perpetual re-incarnation each day: instead the story meandered on with little addition to the narrative. A weakness for me is that there are so many characters, few of whom are memorable, such that I never felt engaged by their fate and involved in the story even though each new day's experiences are evocative with well-written descriptions but after hours of listening I became bored and gave up after about 9 hours.
The narrator is excellent and his skill at giving characters different voices did help a bit in keeping track of who was whom.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

The Idiot Brain cover art
  • The Idiot Brain

  • A Neuroscientist Explains What Your Head Is Really up To
  • By: Dean Burnett
  • Narrated by: Matt Addis
  • Length: 10 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 978
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 884
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 873

Why do you lose arguments with people who know MUCH LESS than you? Why can you recognise that woman, from that thing...but can't remember her name? And why, after your last break-up, did you find yourself in the foetal position on the sofa for days, moving only to wipe the snot and tears haphazardly from your face? Here's why: the idiot brain. For something supposedly so brilliant and evolutionarily advanced, the human brain is pretty messy, fallible and disorganised.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • WOW! A much needed explanation. Thank you 😊

  • By Big G on 25-02-17
  • The Idiot Brain
  • A Neuroscientist Explains What Your Head Is Really up To
  • By: Dean Burnett
  • Narrated by: Matt Addis

Entertaining, accessible overview

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

Reviewed: 31-07-19

The author rightly says that this is not an in depth overview of the brain and its effects on behaviour and the workings of rest of the body. It is written in an entertaining and at times humorous style. I think the author's way of explaining things by simple analogues works well. I was enjoying the book until it came to the topic about which I am expert and my confidence in the accuracy of the other topics covered was undermined somewhat by a few factual errors but more by the lack of balance when presenting theories seemingly giving equal weight to those with much evidence compared with those without substance. I acknowledge that nowadays none of us in scientific research can master more than a fraction of the information available and so it's difficult for anyone to cover a huge subject such the brain and all its functions and effects on life.
The narrator goes a good job in pronouncing all the anatomical names.

Not My Father's Son cover art
  • Not My Father's Son

  • A Family Memoir
  • By: Alan Cumming
  • Narrated by: Alan Cumming
  • Length: 6 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,462
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,340
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,336

Alan Cumming grew up in the grip of a man who held his family hostage, someone who meted out violence with a frightening ease, who waged a silent war with himself that sometimes spilled over onto everyone around him. That man was Alan's father, Alex Cumming. Alex was the dark, enigmatic heart of Cumming family life. But he was not the only mystery. Alan's maternal grandfather, Tommy Darling, had disappeared to the Far East after the Second World War.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An extraordinary memoir

  • By Katherine on 06-11-14

A moving story of triumph over adversity

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

Reviewed: 29-07-19

This is an extraordinary account of how a boy, who suffered savage physical and mental cruelty by his father that was worthy of criminal prosecution, managed to emerge as a successful and sane human being. Alan lays his feelings and life bare over what he experienced and I am shocked by the systematic abuse he suffered. He tries to rationalize his father's behaviour but it is nevertheless appalling that a child should be treated so badly. It's sad but true that battered wives and abused children often try to hide their suffering from the outside world. I'm so glad that he had found happiness with his husband and satisfaction in his work. Alan's sense of humour and irreverence means that his story isn't all doom and gloom.
Alan narrates the book which certainly enhances the power of his life story so far.