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Helen

Aylesbury, United Kingdom
  • 27
  • reviews
  • 27
  • helpful votes
  • 27
  • ratings
  • Force of Nature

  • By: Jane Harper
  • Narrated by: Stephen Shanahan
  • Length: 8 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 270
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 258
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 257

Is Alice here? Did she make it? Is she safe? In the chaos, in the night, it was impossible to say which of the four had asked after Alice's welfare. Later, when everything got worse, each would insist it had been them. Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • More a Gentle Push of Nature

  • By Simon on 03-02-18

Australia - Not all Beaches and Barbies!

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

Reviewed: 06-06-18

I really enjoyed this tense tale of a team building exercise that goes wrong. Possibly in part because I hate these enforced bonding sessions, almost as much as these characters did! The relationships between the team was built up slowly and steadily and the characters well drawn and totally believable. The tension mounts throughout the book as more background information is revealed. The backdrop of stormy weather and unwieldy terrain set the scene really well, and there were a few red herrings thrown in to stop you from guessing what happens (or what happened - as the plot jumps from present to past quite seamlessly). The tone is gloomy and slightly menacing, but the narration was great, and the pace never slowed down. Highly recommended for a fireside winter read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Talented Mr Ripley

  • By: Patricia Highsmith
  • Narrated by: David Menkin
  • Length: 8 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 216
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 176
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 174

Tom Ripley is struggling to stay one step ahead of his creditors and the law when an unexpected acquaintance offers him the chance to start over. Ripley wants money, success, and the good life and he's willing to kill for it. When his newfound happiness is threatened, his response is as swift as it is shocking.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A real page turner

  • By darren on 12-02-15

Tense and Unpredictable

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

Reviewed: 06-06-18

Having seen the film a few years ago and remembering nothing much, except that I enjoyed it, I thought I'd refresh my memory with this. It's in turns cringey, clever and tense, and best of all, I didn't guess the ending. In fact, the ending was so surprising that I had to rewind to make sure I hadn't got the wrong end of the stick! I can't remember the end of the film (it's an age thing) but I'm sure it wasn't this. Thomas Ripley is so vividly drawn that I found myself cringeing on his behalf at the start and then listening with mouth hanging open as his character develops. The descriptions of Venice and Rome are so vivid that I felt I'd been there myself. The narration is just right, bringing all the characters to life. The tension builds throughout the second half of the book and by the end I was totally sleep deprived. I couldn't switch it off. Highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Paradise Lodge

  • By: Nina Stibbe
  • Narrated by: Helen Baxendale
  • Length: 9 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 438
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 416
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 412

This is the story of Lizzie Vogel, a 15 year old girl who finds herself working in a ramshackle old people's home in the English suburbs. It is the late 1970s and the place is in chaos - there's a much swisher old people's home nearer the supermarket with better parking which is taking all the best patients; Matron seems to be utterly without qualifications, and Lizzie has no idea what she's doing.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • absolute Paradise

  • By Alexis on 04-06-16

Elder Care Entertainment!

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

Reviewed: 29-05-18

There seem to be a lot of books out at the moment set in Care Homes, or with the elderly taking starring roles. Bring it on - we're all going to get old one day (hopefully!) . A warm and often funny (sometimes sad) tale, told from the point of view of a teenage carer and set in the 70s. Read brilliantly by Helen Baxendale. I'll admit I was dubious about the reader, not being a great fan of her acting roles, but she was fantastic, and hit exactly the right notes with both young and elderly characters.
As well as being a very entertaining story, this really made me think about how we view old folks. I hope I'll have a lot more patience in the future. A great listen.

  • Dietland

  • By: Sarai Walker
  • Narrated by: Lauren Henderson
  • Length: 10 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 28
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 26

The diet revolution is here. And it’s armed. Plum Kettle does her best not to be noticed, because when you’re fat, to be noticed is to be judged. Or mocked. Or worse. She works answering fan mail for a popular teen magazine and is biding her time until her weight loss surgery. Only then can her 'true life' as a thin person finally begin.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Not What I Expected

  • By Helen on 27-07-17

Not What I Expected

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

Reviewed: 27-07-17

There's a lot more to this book than meets the eye. It starts with Plum and her plan to lose weight (lots of it - she's obese) so that her life can begin. Elsewhere, men are being murdered in a gruesome way. Who is responsible, and what's the motive? Plum gets involved with a group of women whose mission is to show her that she can start living now - whatever her size, and there follows a story of friendship, sisterhood and strength, with themes of objectification, porn and revenge, and of course, the lucrative Diet Industry. It's a book that will make you think about the way in which women are treated in the 21st century and the lessons that Plum learns about living in a society where you are judged on the way you look. Great characters, quirky plotline, and a few sections that will make you want to turn your head away. The plot gathers speed as it goes on. Not the amusing frothy holiday read I was expecting, but gripping and thought provoking. Well worth a listen.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Life, Death and Vanilla Slices

  • By: Jenny Eclair
  • Narrated by: Jenny Eclair
  • Length: 11 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 285
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 262
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 262

Jean Collins had two daughters. But she only loved one of them. She knew it was wrong, but she just couldn't help herself. Jess was a little sweetheart, everyone said so. Anne was awkward and serious and not much fun, to be frank. But now the years have passed. Jess is missing - run off long ago, no one knows where or why. So when Jean is left in a coma after a road accident, it's Anne who travels back up north to sit at her mother's bedside. And she wonders - why did Jean dash out into the road without looking? What distracted her?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Funny, sad and insightful

  • By Saffy on 30-09-13

Real Life, brilliantly captured

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

Reviewed: 26-07-17

This is a wonderful book, filled with feelings that you may not want to admit to. Margaret is a 50 something Mum trying to find her place in a family that takes her for granted. The Past and the present are beautifully intertwined through Margaret's current situation, and the memories of her Mother, with whom she has always had a difficult relationship. This will appeal to all of us who are trying to manage an elderly relative and teenage children and still host the perfect dinner party while trying to hide our flabby bits! Brutally honest in places, it made me feel ok to admit that sometimes our family gets on our nerves, and much as we love them, we don't always like them much. The story is sad, funny and poignant in equal parts. It's as you would expect from Jenny E. - down to earth, honest and heartfelt. I really like it when an author reads their own book, and Jenny's reading feels like you're having a chat with a mate down the pub. You won't like all the characters here, or approve of their behaviour, but you'll recognise them among your own family and friends, and that for me, is what made the book so enjoyable.

  • The Luminaries

  • By: Eleanor Catton
  • Narrated by: Mark Meadows
  • Length: 29 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,359
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,239
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,234

It is 1866 and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of 12 local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Beautifully written, but slower than a snail

  • By Pippa Lamb on 02-11-13

A Man of Many Voices

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

Reviewed: 05-06-17

Mark Meadows is a genius! In this magnificent epic tale of greed, gold, crime and grime, he voices at least 20 characters, each one believable and realistic (the Frenchman occasionally veers into 'allo 'allo territory, but that's just me being picky). There's a cast of thousands in this book (ok, around 15 - 20) and it does take a while to work out who's who and what's what. Over the course of the book, each character's back story is revealed bit by bit, along with their relationship with the other characters. All the lives are intertwined, and as the book gathered pace, I was desperate to keep listening. Mark Meadows reading really brought the story to life and made it a lot easier to recognise the characters than it would have been if I'd read the book myself. There are plenty of surprises and twists. I loved it. Eleanor Catton describes the mood and feel of the period beautifully, and although I'm not normally a fan of period pieces, the characters are so well drawn that it could have been set anywhere at any time. It's long - 3 downloads - but time flew by while I was listening and I found myself volunteering to do extra ironing just so that I could listen for longer. Highly recommended, and if anyone can tell me the significance of what Moody saw on the ship he sailed in on, that would be a bonus.

  • Holding

  • By: Graham Norton
  • Narrated by: Graham Norton
  • Length: 7 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,646
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,503
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,501

Graham Norton's masterful debut is an intelligently crafted story of love, secrets and loss. The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama, and yet its inhabitants are troubled. Sergeant PJ Collins hasn't always been this overweight; mother of two Brid Riordan hasn't always been an alcoholic; and elegant Evelyn Ross hasn't always felt that her life was a total waste.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A classic tale of love and loss

  • By Panda on 13-11-16

Well Done Graham!

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

Reviewed: 17-05-17

I love Graham Norton, and bought this out of curiosity - I wasn't disappointed. It's a seemingly cosy tale of an Irish community, but one with a secret. The characters are well drawn and develop throughout the book until you feel a real affection for them. The plot kept me guessing all the way through and there were twists and turns aplenty as you realise that all is not what it seems. The whole thing is greatly enhanced by Graham's reading. An entertaining and enjoyable listen.

  • Cartes Postales from Greece

  • By: Victoria Hislop
  • Narrated by: Dan Stevens, Victoria Hislop, Esther Wane, and others
  • Length: 8 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 217
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 200
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 199

Week after week the postcards arrive, addressed to a name Ellie does not know, with no return address, each signed with an initial: A. With their bright skies, blue seas and alluring images of Greece, these cartes postales brighten her life. After six months, to her disappointment, they cease. But the montage she has created on the wall of her flat has cast a spell. She must see this country for herself.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful - dig out your passport!

  • By Helen on 17-05-17

Wonderful - dig out your passport!

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

Reviewed: 17-05-17

I cannot wait for my next trip to Greece after reading this. Lots of short stories and fables woven into the main narrative. Each tale provoking a different emotion and mood, and each as captivating as the last. The whole thing beautifully read by the author and others. I've bought the book so that I can re read my favourite stories and list all the places I need to go to asap!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Tent, The Bucket and Me

  • By: Emma Kennedy
  • Narrated by: Emma Kennedy
  • Length: 12 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 553
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 517
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 519

For the '70s child, summer holidays didn't mean the joy of CentreParcs or the sophistication of a Tuscan villa. They meant being crammed into a car with Grandma and heading to the coast. With just a tent for a home and a bucket for the necessities, we would set off on new adventures each year stoically resolving to enjoy ourselves. For Emma Kennedy, and her mum and dad, disaster always came along for the ride no matter where they went.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • great fun.

  • By c jennings on 02-12-15

Laugh out Loud Hilarious...

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

Reviewed: 17-05-17

You couldn't make this stuff up!! Absolutely hilarious all the way through. Brilliantly read by the author who has obviously has years of practice perfecting the Welsh accent. There's also a healthy dose of nostalgia for those of us who were born in the early 60s. You really won't regret this download - especially if you're listening on holiday or a long car journey. Thanks for sharing, Emma!

  • Hag-Seed

  • The Tempest Retold
  • By: Margaret Atwood
  • Narrated by: R. H. Thomson
  • Length: 8 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 242
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 224
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 223

Felix is at the top of his game as artistic director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival. His productions have amazed and confounded. Now he's staging a Tempest like no other: not only will it boost his reputation, it will heal emotional wounds. Or that was the plan. Instead, after an act of unforeseen treachery, Felix is living in exile in a backwoods hovel, haunted by memories of his beloved lost daughter, Miranda. And brewing revenge. After 12 years revenge finally arrives in the shape of a theatre course at a nearby prison.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Intriguing, entertaining and clever

  • By Kirstine on 09-12-16

A wonderful story of creativity, grief and revenge

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

Reviewed: 17-05-17

Worthy of the Bard himself!! I didn't know the story of the Tempest, but it is helpfully paraphrased at the end of the book. I would have preferred it to be at the beginning, as I'd pretty much grasped the basics by the end and it seemed a bit superfluous. That said, I felt that the book was both entertaining and educational. The story of the Tempest and those involved in its production carefully interwoven. Believable and likeable characters and an unguessable plotline. Loved it.