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Rosie

Nottingham, United Kingdom
  • 11
  • reviews
  • 53
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  • 18
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  • The Woman in White

  • By: Wilkie Collins
  • Narrated by: Roger Rees, Rosalyn Landor, John Lee, and others
  • Length: 25 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 133
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 70
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 71

Secrets, mistaken identities, surprise revelations, amnesia, locked rooms and locked asylums, and an unorthodox villain made this mystery thriller an instant success when it first appeared in 1860, and it has continued to enthrall ever since. From the hero's foreboding before his arrival at Limmeridge House to the nefarious plot concerning the beautiful Laura, the breathtaking tension of Collins's narrative created a new literary genre of suspense fiction, which profoundly shaped the course of English popular writing.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • the wonderful woman in white

  • By sjtroddy on 20-11-10

Wonderful story, pretty well read

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

Reviewed: 03-01-18

This is a great, action-packed read with one of the most brilliant heroines ever written in the form of Marion Halcombe. The cast read it pretty well, though none of them seem to be able to get Count Fosco's voice quite right.

  • The Last Tudor

  • By: Philippa Gregory
  • Narrated by: Bianca Amato
  • Length: 19 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 378
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 340
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 338

Jane Grey was Queen of England for nine days. Using her position as cousin to the deceased king, her father and his conspirators put her on the throne ahead of the king's half sister Mary, who quickly mustered an army, claimed her crown and locked Jane in the Tower. When Jane refused to betray her Protestant faith, Mary sent her to the executioner's block. There Jane turned her father's greedy, failed grab for power into her own brave and tragic martyrdom.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Loved the book but was confused by the muddle of the recording.

  • By Lin on 12-08-17

Very typical Philippa Gregory, as in very average

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

Reviewed: 23-10-17

This is very much in the same vein as Philippa Gregory's books, of which I have read a good few. I admire her for trying to give the forgotten women of history a voice; it's just unfortunate that she has to give them all the same voice.

The main characters of this book, all of whom have a narrative, sound exactly the same in the way that they speak and think. Lady Jane Grey is probably a bit more interesting than the other two (her sisters), but, well, we all know how long she lasted!

It's unfortunate that, as in a lot of Gregory's books, the women come across as so petty and constantly critical of each other. I can't help feeling that these noblewomen must have recognised how difficult and dangerous life was for each other and would not have despised each other so much for no good reason. In this book, the Grey sisters actually have an excellent reason to despise Queen Elizabeth by the END of the book, but really no reason to do so at the beginning. But Gregory portrays them as hating her for being self-involved and insecure from the very beginning of the book, meaning that neither they nor she have any character development at all.

The lack of character development is one of the most obvious failings of the book. The characters are always so frustrating sure of everything - they're sure that news will come, they're sure that they could never be beheaded - meaning that when the thing does happen, they come across as unbelievably naive and a bit stupid. And yet they sill don't learn from their experiences, but carry on in the same attitudes.

Furthermore, Gregory seems to be a bit obsessed with portraying Queen Elizabeth badly in her books. I would have thought a woman who is so interested in giving a realistic voice to women of history, rather than trying to see them only through the eyes of history (which is inescapably male) would find this queen interesting and inspiring. But Elizabeth gets no credit for any of her political victories, for being strong enough to resist being pressured into marriage, or even for the mere fact of her survival in such a difficult time, and is consistently merely portrayed as a petty, hateful woman. So keen is Gregory to show that Elizabeth is worthless that she portrays one of the Grey sisters as being privately supportive of Mary, Queen of Scots, which I'm sure would never have been the case for anyone from such a staunchly protestant family.

My final gripe is the writing style, which is monotonous and even soporific at times. Gregory can't ever use a pronoun to refer to anybody (it's always 'she, the queen, my cousin Queen Elizabeth' and never just 'she'), as well as other annoying rhetorical devices, such as always saying, 'I feel that it is cold' or 'I think that it is cold' rather than just 'it is cold. This means that her sentences pretty much all sound the same as each other, which is very boring.

In terms of the narration, I must say that Bianca Amato has improved on her reading of previous Philippa Gregory books. A lot of her annoying quirks of speech have disappeared and she pronounces place names correctly now. She still pronounces some words a little oddly, but overall I was quite impressed.

42 of 44 people found this review helpful

  • The Book of You

  • By: Claire Kendal
  • Narrated by: Orlagh Cassidy
  • Length: 9 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 165
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 151
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 153

A terrifying psychological thriller about obsession and power, perfect for fans of Gone Girl and Before I Go to Sleep. Clarissa is becoming more and more frightened of her colleague Rafe. He won’t leave her alone, and he refuses to take no for an answer. He is always there. Being selected for jury service is a relief. The courtroom is a safe haven, a place where Rafe can’t be. But as a violent tale of kidnap and abuse unfolds, Clarissa begins to see parallels between her own situation and that of the young woman on the witness stand.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow... Think I held my breathe the whole book!

  • By Dizzything on 01-05-14

Don't expect a twist

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

Reviewed: 18-10-17

This was described by some other reviewers as in the same vein as Gone Girl or Before I Go To Sleep - it isn't. This isn't a subtle thriller with a twist, it's a story about a woman being stalked. There are some interesting things in this book; the author explores violent fairy tales as a way of reflecting on her main character's position, but not with a great deal of subtlety. The depiction of the stalking itself is also pretty good, in that as much as the creeping sense of dread, we also get a sense of how frustrating and irritating it must be to be stalked.

Characters in this book are either good or bad. I understand that stalking is a very evil thing to do, but I do think that the author could have given her main characters a bit more depth. I kept expecting a new layer of meaning to be revealed, but it never was.

To add to the disappointing story, the narration was extremely poor. As another reviewer has commented, I have no idea why you would employ an American to read this book (when it's set in the UK and none of the characters are American) and have her put on a range of dodgy accents. The high-pitched squeakiness of the female characters made them all extremely difficult to like (even the ones I think we were supposed to like) and the men were all mystifyingly Australian. I know that the narrator was American, because she reverts to her real accent when concluding the book.

I made it to the end, but only because I kept expecting a twist to appear and make the whole thing worth the slog. Overall, I'd give this one a miss if I were you.

  • Hamilton: The Revolution

  • By: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeremy McCarter
  • Narrated by: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mariska Hargitay
  • Length: 6 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 58
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 57
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 57

Lin-Manuel Miranda's groundbreaking musical, Hamilton, is as revolutionary as its subject: the poor kid from the Caribbean who fought the British, defended the Constitution, and helped to found the United States. Fusing hip-hop, pop, R&B and the best traditions of theater, this once-in-a-generation show broadens the sound of Broadway, reveals the storytelling power of rap and claims the origins of the United States for a diverse new generation. Hamilton: The Revolution gives listeners an unprecedented view of both revolutions.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Dont throw away your shot!...of listening to this

  • By Kristoffer on 05-01-18

I will never be Satisfied...with this

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

Reviewed: 01-02-17

This isn't a bad examination of the songs in Hamilton and there are lots of interesting insights. In particular, as someone who doesn't know much about hip hop, I was interested to learn about all the call outs and references to hip styles and artists that appear throughout the show.

The audiobook is accompanied by a PDF annotated Hamilton script, featuring all the songs and Lin Manuel Miranda's footnotes about them. In the second part of the audiobook, Lin narrates these footnotes, though I think most people would need to have the PDF open in front of them to see what he is talking about in each footnote, as no context is given. The PDF looks nice and features photographs of the show in performance.

I definitely don't regret buying it and would recommend it to other Hamilton fans. Unfortunately these types of books can sometimes become a bit fawning (Look what Lin did there, isn't he a genius?) which can be a bit irritating after a while (even if you do agree that he is a genius).

Paradoxically, as a Hamilton fan I also wished that the book could have been ten times as long, as I will never be able to get enough of this amazing show! Also, at 6 hours it's maybe a little short to spend an audible credit on, though I wouldn't want to spend £17 on it either.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Juniper

  • The Girl Who Was Born Too Soon
  • By: Kelley French, Thomas French
  • Narrated by: Kelley French, Thomas French
  • Length: 8 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1

Juniper French was born four months early, at 23 weeks' gestation. She weighed one pound, four ounces, and her twiggy body was the length of a Barbie doll. Her head was smaller than a tennis ball, her skin was nearly translucent, and through her chest you could see her flickering heart. Babies like Juniper, born at the edge of viability, trigger the question: Which is the greater act of love - to save her or to let her go? Kelley and Thomas French chose to fight for Juniper's life, and this is their incredible tale.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Very personal story, beautifully written

  • By Rosie on 20-01-17

Very personal story, beautifully written

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

Reviewed: 20-01-17

If you could sum up Juniper in three words, what would they be?

Honest - because although everything turned out OK for Juniper, the Frenchs make it clear that they doubted themselves at every turn.

Moving - in particular the relationships that the Frenchs formed with the hospital staff and their doctors, and their developing relationship with their daughter.

Uplifting - because it is a story about hope and involves a lot of clever people coming together to save a child.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Juniper?

I found it very moving when Thomas described reading Harry Potter to his tiny daughter.

What about Kelley French and Thomas French ’s performance did you like?

Both of them have very pleasant speaking voices and read the story in a way that hinted at how they felt at the time, without becoming melodramatic. They narrate as well as they write!

  • Dancing Bear

  • By: Michael Morpurgo
  • Narrated by: Sir Ian McKellen
  • Length: 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 34
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 28

A gentle and deeply moving story of a young girl and her bear, told with great charm by a master storyteller. High in the mountains, in a tiny village, an abandoned bear cub is adopted by a lonely orphan child. Soon they are inseparable, beloved by the whole village - safe, until the arrival of a glamorous film crew who need a dancing bear....

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Nearly ruined by invasive music

  • By Richard on 18-11-17

Memories of my childhood!

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

Reviewed: 20-01-17

Have you listened to any of Sir Ian McKellen’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I'm not sure if he has done any other audiobook readings, but this reading is beautiful. It's quite a simple story but his reading elevates it to make it even more meaningful and beautiful.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Yes, this book made me cry the first time I listened to it, years ago, when I was a little girl. Ian McKellen's gorgeous reading combined with the lovely music make it a very emotional listen.

Any additional comments?

It's a short book, so if you're looking for a longer listen then maybe it's not the best use of an audible credit. I bought it with my own money as opposed to a credit.

  • Under the Wide and Starry Sky

  • A Novel
  • By: Nancy Horan
  • Narrated by: Kirsten Potter
  • Length: 17 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5

From Nancy Horan, New York Times best-selling author of Loving Frank, comes her much-anticipated second novel, which tells the improbable love story of Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson and his tempestuous American wife, Fanny.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A great story slightly let down by the narration

  • By Rosie on 20-01-17

A great story slightly let down by the narration

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

Reviewed: 20-01-17

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

I would because it's a really interesting book and allows you to look at that period in history, and the lives of the people concerned, in an unusual way.

What did you like best about this story?

I like that is is about travellers and thoroughly creates the world of this 19th century bohemian family. I also like that it is a love story, but a realistic one. Louis and Fanny's marriage is very loving, but it is not without problems. Fanny, in particular, is a very interesting character; it's nice to see a woman in literature who is a realistic character, not a saint, a victim or a femme fatale.

What three words best describe Kirsten Potter’s performance?

Can't do accents.

I don't hate the performance, but if bad accents are a turn-off for you then don't buy this book. She is an American and can do neither a Scottish or an English accent, which is not great as more than half of the characters are British. Her performance of Fanny is very good though.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. The book is fairly episodic (and long) and so suits the way I listen to it, which is mostly during my commute.

  • The Goldfinch

  • By: Donna Tartt
  • Narrated by: David Pittu
  • Length: 32 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,761
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,471
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,485

Aged 13, Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and a reckless, largely absent father, survives an accident that otherwise tears his life apart. Alone and rudderless in New York, he is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. He is tormented by an unbearable longing for his mother, and down the years clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, strangely captivating painting that ultimately draws him into the criminal underworld.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Like watching a runaway train....

  • By Robyn on 18-10-14

One of the best books I've ever read

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

Reviewed: 30-11-16

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

Yes, it's long but definitely worth getting into. I listen to it during my commute and whenever I have a free moment and it doesn't feel like it drags, as some audiobooks can.

Who was your favorite character and why?

My favourite character is Boris - he's a terrible person but very loveable.

Which character – as performed by David Pittu – was your favourite?

Probably Hobie, he performs him very well. I feel as if some of the female characters are a bit overdone (voices slightly too high or whiny), but for the most part the reading is wonderful.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Both. This is one of the best books I've ever read, and my favourite of Donna Tartt's. The words truly sing. It has a slightly Great Expectationsy feeling about it.

Any additional comments?

I can't describe how good this book is. If you are put off by the length or think that it might be too 'heavy' for you, then don't be. The plot is all engrossing and the characters are full of life and humour, even when they are in tragic situations.

  • Life After Life

  • By: Kate Atkinson
  • Narrated by: Fenella Woolgar
  • Length: 15 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,002
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,807
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,788

What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right? During a snowstorm in England in 1910, a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath. During a snowstorm in England in 1910, the same baby is born and lives to tell the tale. What if there were second chances? And third chances? In fact an infinite number of chances to live your life? Would you eventually be able to save the world from its own inevitable destiny? And would you even want to?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Intriguing story, beautifully told.

  • By susan on 02-05-13

One of the best books I've read all year

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

Reviewed: 30-11-16

Would you listen to Life After Life again? Why?

I will listen to this book over and over again, along with its companion book A God in Ruins.

What other book might you compare Life After Life to, and why?

I'd probably compare Life After Life to A God in Ruins (which is the companion book by Kate Atkinson about Ursula's brother Teddy), and it's even better than A God in Ruins. The characters are so beautifully realised that you start to feel as if they are part of your own family.

Otherwise, you might compare it to something like the series about the Cazalets, by Elizabeth Jane Howard (starting with The Light Years), as it is set in a similar time period and has the same family feeling.

Any additional comments?

This is definitely one of the best books I read this year, so I had to get the audiobook so I could listen to it over and over again. It was the first Kate Atkinson I'd read and since then I've read three more of her books - they all share the wonderful quality of being able to mix humour with tragedy and really feeling like you know these characters. So often when I'm listening to this book I would find myself saying 'Classic Sylvie' or 'Oh Teddy' as if I really knew them!

  • Gone Girl

  • By: Gillian Flynn
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
  • Length: 19 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,677
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,028
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,040

Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do? Just how well can you ever know the person you love? These are the questions that Nick Dunne must ask himself on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police immediately suspect Nick. Amy's friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn't true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they aren't his. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Keep going with this

  • By E on 23-02-13

A fantastic twisted thriller beautifully read.

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

Reviewed: 06-03-15

If you haven't listened to or read this yet then do it. The narrators are both great at getting you to love and hate the characters and the story is just brilliant, whether you're a fan of thrillers or not.