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  • Princess Elizabeth's Spy: A Maggie Hope Mystery, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Susan Elia MacNeal
    • Narrated By Susan Duerden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Susan Elia MacNeal introduced the remarkable Maggie Hope in her acclaimed debut, Mr. Churchill's Secretary. Now Maggie returns to protect Britain's beloved royals against an international plot - one that could change the course of history. As World War II sweeps the continent and England steels itself against German attack, Maggie Hope, former secretary to Prime Minister Winston Churchill, completes her training to become a spy for MI-5.

    Jennifer says: "Terrible Narration"
    "Not a Strong Second"
    What would have made Princess Elizabeth's Spy better?

    The first book was much stronger as a period piece and a story. This one was rather too predictable.

    Would you be willing to try another book from Susan Elia MacNeal? Why or why not?

    I might read the third book to find out if the series gets back on track. I won't get it from Audible if Susan Duerdan reads it.

    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Ms. Duerdan's very breathy, sing song cadence was terribly distracting, especially for the third person narration. Some of the character voices were OK; most were also subject to the distracting cadence. This has not been a feature of her other narrations; one can only think that this book was very oddly directed.

    What character would you cut from Princess Elizabeth's Spy?

    Unfortunately, the characters which should probably not be there are fairly central to the story. (1) Main bad guy. (2) Sadly, very sadly, Princess Elizabeth. Luckily, she seems to have grown up MUCH smarter and all around better than portrayed here.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Primary Phase (Dramatised)

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Douglas Adams
    • Narrated By Peter Jones, Simon Jones, Geoffrey McGivern, and others

    A Special Edition of the original radio series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1978 and recently voted the Nation's Favourite Audiobook in a Guardian poll. Starring Peter Jones, Simon Jones, Geoffrey McGivern, Mark Wing-Davey, Susan Sheridan and Stephen Moore, these six episodes (Fit the First to Fit the Sixth) have been remastered to modern-day standards by Dirk Maggs, and for the first time feature Philip Pope's arrangement of the familiar theme tune.

    Thomas says: "Difficult to listen to in the car!"
    "PLEASE fix the levels - 5 stars other than that."
    Would you try another book from Douglas Adams and/or the narrators?

    Yes. I have. All of the above.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The Guide. Peter Jones cracks me up in everything I've seen / heard him in. I just watched an old Midsommer Murders episode in which he is a very minor character who stole the show,

    Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes, as much as I can get of Simon Jones, Peter Jones, Stephen Fry [the uncredited whale is genius], and all the rest.

    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    I did. The radio drama is much better and movies or tv.

    Any additional comments?

    As some other reviewers have noted, it is very difficult to adjust for the differences in sound levels from actor to actor, particularly when listening on the go. Were this corrected, the recording would be perfect. WHAT a cast of stars with cutting edge and dead brilliant material. The add on "making of" piece was a nice treat.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Third Reich in Power

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Richard J. Evans
    • Narrated By Sean Pratt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The definitive account of Germany's malign transformation under Hitler's total rule and the implacable march to war. This magnificent second volume of Richard J. Evans's three-volume history of Nazi Germany was hailed by Benjamin Schwartz of The Atlantic Monthly as "the definitive English-language account... gripping and precise." It chronicles the incredible story of Germany's radical reshaping under Nazi rule.

    Maria says: "Great book, annoying narrator"
    "The Collected Atrocities, Part 2"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    This is a story we need to know and history we need to remember. That said, this volume, more so than Book 1 in the series, bogs down in detailed statistics. I think it is the weakest book in the trilogy.

    Would you recommend The Third Reich in Power to your friends? Why or why not?

    Yes, but with a warning about detail and narration.

    Would you listen to another book narrated by Sean Pratt?

    I'm going to make it through all three books in this series, then probably not. The unique pronunciations of some things, and the general lack of emphasis do make me eager to hear this voice again.

    Was The Third Reich in Power worth the listening time?

    See the first question.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs)
    • By Paulo Coelho
    • Narrated By Jeremy Irons
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Paulo Coelho's enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its simplicity and wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an Alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest.

    Judi says: "A Timeless Tale"
    "The Little Prince, it's not"
    If you could sum up The Alchemist in three words, what would they be?

    Self-discovery fable falls.

    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Heavy handed, actually.

    Which scene was your favorite?

    I loved the meeting with the King, and the crystal shop.

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

    No. From reviews, I had rather expected to find another Little Prince gem of a story. This was more obvious and less charming than I was looking for.

    Any additional comments?

    WONDERFUL narration. Jeremy Irons could read a grocery list and I'd want to hear him.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wolf Hall

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Hilary Mantel
    • Narrated By Simon Slater
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII's court, only one man dares to gamble his life to win the king's favor and ascend to the heights of political powerEngland in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years, and marry Anne Boleyn.

    Tim says: "Divorced, beheaded, died..."
    "Sometimes the medium IS the message."
    Would you try another book from Hilary Mantel and/or Simon Slater?

    I really do like Hillary Mantel. I love this series, the period, her point of view.

    This series works SO much better in print.

    The huge downside of this series in Audio for me was that the books make it clear through use of quotation marks what is internal monologue, and what is spoken aloud. I can't think how else to make this clear in Audio than the constant " ... he said", "... he thought", but that really slowed down the story and makes it much less effective. Cromwell's portrayal as a man who thought much more than he spoke was a critical part of the tale.

    Did Simon Slater do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Slater was a good narrator, but I got stuck on the constant verbal markers of the difference between thought and speech. That distracted me to the point at which I could not listen to this. Luckily, I had access to the books in another format.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Chronicles of Clovis

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Hector Hugh Munro
    • Narrated By Cathy Dobson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    A masterful collection of 28 short stories by Edwardian satirist Hector Hugh Munro, who wrote under the pseudonym “Saki”. The Chronicles of Clovis includes many of Saki’s best known tales, exemplifying his witty and multi-layered storytelling, satirizing the habits and morals of British society of his day.

    GeekyGal says: "Saki's always a treat"
    "Saki's always a treat"
    Would you listen to The Chronicles of Clovis again? Why?

    Probably not.

    What other book might you compare The Chronicles of Clovis to and why?

    Many other very British and very funny authors. Think PG Wodehouse, early Evelyn Waugh, Jerome K. Jerome.

    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The choice of a female narrator for the male POV character jarred. I think I was spoiled by hearing the Stephen Fry Reads Saki stories first. That set very high expectations. There was nothing wrong with the narration; it was thoroughly professional. It just didn't match up to my expectation. I did listen to the sample, and thought this would not be an issue for me. I was wrong.

    Who was the most memorable character of The Chronicles of Clovis and why?

    Clovis, of course, as the archly witty POV character, and poor, supplicant Conradin in Srendi Vashtar.

    Any additional comments?

    I first read these stories probably 40 years ago, and go back to the Saki short stories from time to time over the years. This is literary comfort food.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Mysterious Howling: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Maryrose Wood
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Of especially naughty children, it is sometimes said: “They must have been raised by wolves.” The Incorrigible children actually were. Discovered in the forests of Ashton Place, the Incorrigibles are no ordinary children: Alexander keeps his siblings in line with gentle nips; Cassiopeia has a bark that is (usually) worse than her bite; and Beowulf is alarmingly adept at chasing squirrels.

    "A Thoroughly Charming Return to Childhood"
    What did you love best about The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place?

    I happened on this by accident when it was part of an Audible sale. Ashton Place is in the best tradition of children's stories which are even funnier for the adults: Rocky & Bullwinkle, Series of Unfortunate Events and now Ashton Place. Children will have fun with this, but may miss many of the jokes.

    What other book might you compare The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place to and why?

    Lemony Snicket meets Jane Eyre by way of Charles Adams.

    What does Katherine Kellgren bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Ms. Kellgren is a delight as the POV governess, but even better as the Incorrigibles. And every other character. Each of the many voices make this performance a jewel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Short Stories: The Timeless Collection

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Jerome K. Jerome, Saki, Lewis Carroll
    • Narrated By Hugh Laurie, Maimie McCoy, Nigel Hawthorne

    This collection contains: "Idle Thoughts on Babies"; "The Schartz-Meterklume Method"; "A Photographer's Day Out"; and more.

    GeekyGal says: "What an odd use of excellent materials"
    "What an odd use of excellent materials"
    What would have made Short Stories better?

    The stories were well chosen, mostly ones I had already read but enough new-to-me gems to keep this interesting. The problem with the presentation is that it is disconcerting to have only SOME of the stories introduced with the story and author names [and better yet, narrator name, too]. How much time and money could a fast identification per story have added? A Table of Contents (and a better way to search by story) would have been a HUGE help.

    The bottom line is that this could have been SO much better with simple better organization. All of the individual pieces were good; the fault was in the package.

    What did you like best about this story?

    The narrator selections were wonderful. What's not to love about the line up? Hugh Laurie, Patrick Malahide, Stephen Fry, Mamie McCoy go without saying, but Nigel Hawthorne reading Lewis Carroll could have been the highest point, even if the Carroll story wasn't the strongest literature.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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