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Jim

OxfordUnited Kingdom | Member Since 2004

72
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 13 reviews
  • 150 ratings
  • 595 titles in library
  • 31 purchased in 2014
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  • A Mortal Bane

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Roberta Gellis
    • Narrated By Nadia May
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (181)
    Performance
    (58)
    Story
    (59)

    Magdalene la Batarde is the madam of the Old Priory Guesthouse in Southwark. She and her women are expected to engage in a number of sinful activities, but bloody murder isn't one of them until Baldassare, the messenger, dies. Though Baldassare isn't a regular client of the Old Priory Guesthouse, Magdalene and her women refuse to allow his death to go unavenged. Of course, their efforts aren't completely altruistic.

    Jim says: "Delightful"
    "Delightful"
    Overall

    A beautifully crafted historical mystery, which gives a real sense of the period, while maintaining a tight and intriguing story line. The characters are as well realised as their setting, and their actions and underlying motivations are believeable and natural. The pace of the book is gentle, this is not a swashbuckling romp, but what there is is gripping enough. I am not sure what vague dissatisfaction made me drop the rating from a five to a four, but I can whole heartedly recommend it as a companion for the 10 hours it will take to finish.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Dark Matter

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Michelle Paver
    • Narrated By Jeremy Northam
    Overall
    (235)
    Performance
    (185)
    Story
    (185)

    January 1937. Jack Miller has just about run out of options. His shoes have worn through, he can't afford to heat his rented room in Tooting, and he longs to use his training as an specialist wireless operator instead of working in his dead-end job. When he is given the chance to join an arctic expedition, as communications expert, by a group of elite Oxbridge graduates, he brushes off his apprehensions and convinces himself to join them.

    Madeleine says: "Incredible!"
    "Didn't get it."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really like a good claustrophobic ghost story and this had all the right ingredients and was obviously quality writing and voice acting but....

    I was left feeling really rather flat and went through it rather dutifully rather than enjoying it or being affected by it.

    I'm pretty much in the minority here and not really sure why it didn't work for me. Pity really, I just found it slightly dull.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Excession: Culture Series, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Iain M. Banks
    • Narrated By Peter Kenny
    Overall
    (63)
    Performance
    (53)
    Story
    (54)

    Two and a half millennia ago, the artifact appeared in a remote corner of space, beside a trillion-year-old dying sun from a different universe. It was a perfect black-body sphere, and it did nothing. Then it disappeared.

    Peter says: "A perfect team(?) at the top of their game"
    "Mr Banks on top form"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Excession to be better than the print version?

    Mr Kenny is a superb complement to this excellent book. I had to smile as he subtly changes the voice of a character as they moved between sexes. Very slick!


    What other book might you compare Excession to and why?

    Its up there with "Consider Phlebas" in terms of breadth of story, large ideas and character detail. Compulsive reading for Culture addicts.


    What about Peter Kenny’s performance did you like?

    See above, but I also liked the conceit of giving the ship minds british regional ( and occasional colonial :-) ) accents that really rather suited their personalities. Really a very impressive rendition.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Hard to imagine it being a film, but I bet it is "the way many people want the future to be", which is the function of good sci-fi; to inspire.


    Any additional comments?

    Great writer at the top of his game. If we lose him it will be a big loss to our collective imagination, so my best wishes to the man.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Keeper Martin's Tale: Ruin Mist Chronicles, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Robert Stanek
    • Narrated By Robert Stanek
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    After the Great War that divided the peoples, the kingdoms of men plunged into a Dark Age that lasted 500 years. To heal the lands and restore the light, the great kings decreed that magic and all that is magical, be it creature, man, or device, shall be cleansed to dust. The cleansing raged for so long that no human could recall a time without it and it is in this time that the Dark Lord Sathar returned from the dark beyond.

    Patrice says: "The Tale"
    "Read by the author"
    Overall

    Unfortunately the author decided to narrate his own work. I suggest you listen to the sample before buying as I'm afraid I really ended up hating his voice and couldn't face listening to another is he was reading it.

    So listen to the sample and make up your own mind

    6 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • The Tangled Skein

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By David Stuart Davies
    • Narrated By David Ian Davies
    Overall
    (39)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    In The Tangled Skein, author David Stuart Davies accomplishes a creative coup by arranging the fateful meeting of two of literature's most resilient characters: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes and Bram Stoker's Count Dracula.

    Jim says: "Hmmm?!"
    "Hmmm?!"
    Overall

    More a pastiche of a pastiche than an original story, as it resembles one of the "wolfman meets Dracula" films of the 40's rather than one of Conan-Doyle's efforts. Basically a sequel to the hound of the Baskervilles with Dracula tacked on. Not that there isn't some slight entertainment here, but fans of Holmes or the Count may be disappointed by this rather cardboard outing for their heroes.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Speak of the Devil

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs)
    • By Richard Hawke
    • Narrated By Paul Michael
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (47)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    It's a beautiful Thanksgiving morning in New York City. Perfect day for a parade, and Fritz Malone just happens to have drifted up Central Park West to take a look at the floats. Across the crowd-filled street he sees a gunman on a low wall, taking aim with a shiny black Beretta. Seconds later, the air is filled with bullets and blood.

    Jim says: "Great Fun"
    "Great Fun"
    Overall

    Though basically a modern version of the wise cracking gumshoe, the story works well and brings in a cast of interesting, believable charators. If your looking for some fun escapism this is for you. The narrator was a truly excellent voice actor, I will look out for him again.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Traitor's Moon: Nightrunner, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Lynn Flewelling
    • Narrated By Raymond Todd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (298)
    Performance
    (108)
    Story
    (114)

    Master spies Seregil and Alec are no strangers to peril. Their assignments, night running for wizards and nobles, have led them into many deadly situations. But sometimes the greatest danger can lurk beneath a traitor's moon.

    Julie says: "Wonderful writer!"
    "Ok but slow"
    Overall

    I have enjoyed the two previous Nightstalker books. Well, once I got used to the narrator's eccentricities and limited vocabulary. His pronunciation of debacle is a total tongue twister and he's never obviously stood on a quay before. That aside, the first two books were cheerful romps through an colourful world, populated by interesting characters, with some truly bizarre names. Unfortunately, this third instalment, went away from this and bogged itself down in a political tale and the description of a culture. When the characters complain of their boredom and chaff under inactivity, I could only sympathise. I will still read the fourth instalment when its comes out in the hope that it will represent a return to night running.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Haunted Hotel

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Wilkie Collins
    • Narrated By Walter Covell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (7)

    Wilke Collins was the author of two of the greatest mysteries ever written, The Moonstone and The Woman in White. However, like Poe before him and Conan Doyle after, he shifted easily from rational domains to the 'superrational'. Like them, he often preferred to indulge his occult predilection, a lifelong indulgence.

    Jim says: "Dated"
    "Dated"
    Overall

    Though I am a fan of both the genre and era, I find this, Collins' last major work, to really show its age. The plot chugs along its torpid course, with much remonstrations of benighted heartfelt-love, for women with all the personality of a wilted salad. Imagine a novel with all the dull parts of Stoker's Dracula, but without the characters and action to balance it. The detective element of the novel is hardly a twist in the tale and the supernatural elements are pure Victorian mummery. The narration and quality are acceptable. I could only recommend it to a Collins completist.

    5 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • His Last Bow

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    Overall
    (36)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    This collection of eight world-famous cases from Doctor Watson's portfolio illustrates the singular mental faculties of Sherlock Holmes: a body on the London Underground; the strange disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax; a parcel containing some coarse salt and two freshly severed human ears.

    Jim says: "Fantastic"
    "Fantastic"
    Overall

    Its been sometime since I've read these stories and being in need of some comfort reading, I decided to download an audible version. These stories are like some old friends and the narrator, who I have heard with his work on John Buchan's books, only enhanced the stories with his most complementary reading. If you like Holmes you will not be disappointed. The final story is also interesting for the very singular time in history in which it was written.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Angels and Demons

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Dan Brown
    • Narrated By Richard Poe
    Overall
    (6323)
    Performance
    (1901)
    Story
    (1928)

    World-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a cryptic symbol seared into the chest of a murdered physicist. What he discovers is unimaginable: a deadly vendetta against the Catholic Church by a centuries-old underground organization, the Illuminati. Desperate to save the Vatican from a powerful time bomb, Langdon joins forces in Rome with the beautiful and mysterious scientist Vittoria Vetra.

    Phillip says: "I couldn't put it down...5 STARS"
    "Dross!"
    Overall

    Drivel of the standard of a fifteen year old's wish fullfilment fantasy. When the hero (ruggedly handsome) gets of on a secret jet, shaped like a space shuttle, made out of matrix bonded something or other, which can fly at MACH 24, you know what you are in for. Never mind suspending your disbelief, you would have to string it up from the rafters! I've never read any of the author's other books, including the best selling De Vinci code, and on the strength of this I never will. You would need a sharp knife to cut this bland old cheese.

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful

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