This is an excellent overview of a very complex topic. It begins with an explanation of how wine is made and goes on to discuss grapes and regions, and the anti-snob snobbery is great. Throw in a few mildly snide comments about the French (all in good fun) and you have a tremendously useful overview.
Is there too much information here? Well, if you do not enjoy listening to non-fiction or if you do not really "learn by listening" then maybe so, but I did not have this reaction AT ALL. There were times when I stopped the narrative to back up and listen again, and I'm pretty sure I will listen from beginning to end at least one more time, but because of the quality of the information and not because there is just too much of it. Wine is a complex topic, and if you could learn all there is to know by listening to a single book (no matter how complete or delightful), then there would be no need in this world for wine stewards or sommeliers! I thought this was more than worth the price for both the content and the droll reading which I personally found to be delightful.
This first book is not bad if you can stand it when words are mispronounced (and Rosenblat never does that...but she did) and when details are wrong. The book suffers from inadequate editing and results in scenes where characters in the room seem to be forgotten by the author, details of events are wrong (e.g.: she has a scene with a stick-shift driver's ed car, and the author does not describe driving that kind of car accurately to the detriment of the story, and she actually gets a couple steps wrong in two recipes), and in the end the villain and hero have weird motivations and actions that don't match their characters or their ages. But if you listen to books like this for a bit of fluff and fun, this one is as good a choice as any. Buy on sale, and FYI: this takes place in the late 1980s or early 1990s, so it feels a bit old.
This is a fun story with a fun twist, but the narrator has an odd way of speaking, and it's distracting. You should make sure to listen to the preview to see if you can take it. To me, she sounds like she puts periods in the middle of words, e.g.: "LIS.en to the PREE.view to see if you can TAKE. iT." I managed to make peace with my reaction though, and I liked the book. By the second in the series the narrator has toned down the irritating affectation and it's barely noticeable.
These are fine modern mysteries in a modified cozy style. There is no sex (except between Nana and George, and that's only "off stage"), and the main character is silly but likable. My main complaint is that, although each of the books is set in a different location, the sense of place is very weak in the novels.
It seems to me that the author has likely traveled to these places and then written about it, but as a reader you are not going to get a feeling that you have "seen" any of these countries. In fact, in the first book the scenery is nearly always covered in fog.
Also, the books have a bit of product placement in them: Ziplock Bags, M&M's/Skittles, different types of cameras and film, and a few other name brand products get a plug. If it's not a paid advertisement, it should be. All-in-all, though, I like the books in the series. Listen to them in order (I'm writing this review on book 5, but it applies equally to all the books). The last one was written in 2013 and I'm doubtful we'll see another.
Second in the series, do not read out of order.
It occurred to me that these books are re-do's of Lord Peter Wimsey books, at least in terms of overall theme. I was left with the VERY strong impression that some kind of computer program either wrote this book or aided in the writing. It's okay. I love Davina Porter and will listen to her narrate just about anything. Without her, this is not worth the credit. If you love her, it is.
This book is not well edited and reads like a late draft rather than a completed manuscript. All the same, if you like Agatha Raisin, you'll like this one as well. I will say that M.C. Beaton must hate to end a story because this has ending after ending after ending to get through. I don't mind much because it stretches the stories out. It's a shame that Beaton did not take more time to develop characters along the way, though, as the story could have been fleshed out in a much more satisfying way. Unlike "As the Pig Turns" (the next in the series), this does "feel" like it was written by M.C. Beaton.
I cannot believe that M.C. Beaton wrote this book because there are way too many errors. Years have gone by since Toni Gilmour started working at the detective agency, yet she's still 18 in this story, for an example. There are a number of little things like this throughout the book, and it's frustrating. If they are going to get someone in to keep the series going under the name M.C. Beaton (a pseudonym already), fine, but at least have the ghost writer read the earlier books!
As for the plot, well, if you like Agatha Raisin then far-fetched plots don't bother you. It's impossible to believe that the body of a man could be mistaken for the body of a pig, but who cares if you are along for the ride. But if you are looking for a development of the metanarrative, then forget it. The details get muddled too much for there to be much book-to-book development.
This is straight genre writing. It's a satisfying story and a good mystery.
Yes and no. I want to listen to the other titles in this series, but I would rather this narrator were not doing them. I would never seek out this narrator. Her voice is very flat and has an odd inflection. Words like "death" sound like "dath," and I find that distracting.
It's interesting to learn a bit about wicken culture.
No, but I would certainly never look for this author or this narrator again.
Some people seem to like Scott Brick, but I find his voice to be whiney and his narration to be filled with inexplicable "profound moments." His narrative style for women and for Blacks is insultingly cliched.
There are a number of unnecessary characters in this book.
Meh. I bought this book cheap and it held just enough interest for me not to "put it down" until the end, but nothing more. There are numerous stupid little errors (like for example, a character says he is going to grill "burgers, fries, and dogs," but really, who grills fries?) It's the kind of thing that makes the writer and the editor look sloppy. The plot of the book is unbelievable to the bitter end (spoiler: the main character is never called to testify? Now, come on...) The characters seem false, especially the main male character who seems to exist without any normal human motivations.
No. I expected this to be a book for a well-educated lay reader. But a lay reader could not hope to understand the content, especially in an audio format.
This was ill-suited for an audiobook. There is much too much math here to listen to.
The performance was workmanlike. Not much good or bad to say about it.
Frustration. It's very tedious to listen to long equations being read out loud. And there are a lot of long equations in this book.
The narrative was stripped of the stories that make it fascinating and we were left with the math. A person who can understand this level of math likely already knows it. For the rest of us, there will be few who can hold these new quantitative concepts in their heads as the equations are read out loud. If you think you can and somehow you've managed to get this far in life without already knowing the book's content, then go for it. For the rest, there are many books that are much better with theory and anecdote out there. I cannot recommend this book in the audio format.
I have read many of M.C. Beaton's books. I am not sure if I would read another Hamish book, though.
This needed a more plausible story line, more deeply developed characters, and less hopelessness.
The performance is fine but not as good as some of the narrators of earlier books. The accents would often slip and the narrator didn't seem to understand the characters.
It may be time for M.C. Beaton to quit writing Hamish books, and this book has all the hallmarks of a lead-up to a sendoff. I would anticipate that the next Hamish book has him fading into the sunset in some way, and that would probably be good. The author seems to have stopped liking Hamish and the Highlands. Her stories used to make me want to fly to Inverness immediately and hire a car to drive all around northern Scotland. Now she makes it sound simply drug-ridden, depressed, and dumpy. I don't know if the author is deeply bitter or if she's just lost interest, but if you are a Hamish fan, you might leave off with Death of a Chimney Sweep.
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