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Brit in Exile

Grapevine, TX, United States | Member Since 2010

  • 4 reviews
  • 4 ratings
  • 330 titles in library
  • 11 purchased in 2014

  • The Thirteen-Gun Salute: Aubrey/Maturin Series, Book 13

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Patrick O'Brian
    • Narrated By Patrick Tull

    Captain Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin set sail aboard the Diane for the South China Sea, shepherding a diplomatic mission to prevent links between Bonaparte and the Malay princes. If their mission fails, English merchant shipping in the area will be threatened. At the barbaric court of Pulo Prabang, the stage is set for a duel of intelligence agents, pitting the savage cunning of Stephen Maturin against the French envoys, who are already entrenched in the Sultan's favor.

    Justin says: "Perhaps the best one I've heard"
    "Great Story, Excellent Narration"
    What made the experience of listening to The Thirteen-Gun Salute the most enjoyable?

    This continues to represent the finest example of historical fiction I have read. The characters have been formed over many volumes and they continue to develop and interest throughout.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Stephen Maturin has to be my favorite character, his quicky irish deference, addiction to tincture of laudanum and his faithful yet honest relationship with Jack Aubrey is a revelation.

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

    All of Patrick Tull's readings of this series are excellent. I cannot for the life of my understand the criticisms of his narration. I see people writing that they cannot distinguish characters and don't enjoy his unique voice. For me, he is the voice of Master and Commander, almost speaking from the 19th century and I would not dream of listening to this series with anyone else - I have read every book so far and one of the things I look forward to most is the fascinating intonation and cadence of Patrick's voice. I particularly like the Irish Maturin diffidence and low cadence whenever he expresses disdain or disagreement with his friend Aubrey.

    If you could rename The Thirteen-Gun Salute, what would you call it?

    Its fine as it is

    Any additional comments?

    Great series - very consistent and hugely enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Divergent

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Veronica Roth
    • Narrated By Emma Galvin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue - Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is - she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

    Grant says: "It's not for me. Loved it anyway."
    "I'm Sorry This is Really Bad"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I don't really know how anyone over the age of 13 can really enjoy this book. It is poorly written, regurgitated YA Hunger Games/Twilight fair. If you are a young teen or even younger I think you may well enjoy this, but the writing is mediocre, the characters are not believable and the narrator is irritating, it is a reasonable job of reading, but there are certain phrases that gradually begin to grate and eventually drove me to want to stop listening ("I Say" - which is repeated hundreds of times is one of the worst).

    It just feels like Veronica Roth saw the success of The Hunger Games and Twilight and so created a book with the same dystopian young adult themes with the intention of making a lot of money. As the book is now being released as a film, I can only take my hat off to her for achieving her goal, but it is done at the expense of what could have been much better written literature. Our young adults deserve better. I loved the Hunger Games trilogy by the way, though the first film was a disappointment, so I am not prejudiced against this genre. I just don't think this a good example.

    What was most disappointing about Veronica Roth’s story?

    Mediocre writing and plagiarism aplenty.

    How could the performance have been better?

    Less irritating repeated phrases

    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?


    Any additional comments?

    I have put my comments in the review

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Black Swan Green

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By David Mitchell
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne

    From award-winning writer David Mitchell comes a sinewy, meditative novel of boyhood on the cusp of adulthood and the old on the cusp of the new. Black Swan Green tracks a single year in what is, for 13-year-old Jason Taylor, the sleepiest village in muddiest Worcestershire in dying Cold War England, 1982. But the 13 chapters, each a short story in its own right, create an exquisitely observed world that is anything but sleepy.

    Janet Tarasovic says: "The joys of teen misery"
    "Great Book from one of my favorite Authors"
    What did you love best about Black Swan Green?

    Wonderful capturing of young teenager's world in Britain in the 1980s plus some great commentary on relationships, political events and social mores.

    What did you like best about this story?

    The authenticity of the world of Black Swan Green - as an English guy who has lived in the States for the last 13 years, it was such a realistic reminder of life in the UK and particularly the period in question when we were actually in residence in the homeland.

    How could the performance have been better?

    The actual intonation and reading was pretty good, but unfortunately this narrator is clearly not British or if he is, is suffering ironically from a speech problem (the main protagonist and young teenager who narrates the story in the book has a stammer). The mis-reading of 'a' in a lot of words is very off-putting and very strange. Instead of Hangman the narrator says 'Hengman' and the older characters are apparently Ardults not adults. Gerry Drake should be Gary Drake etc. Also, even though there is very clear description of the difference between a stammer and a stutter, when the narrator is demonstrating young Jason's speech defect he stutters instead of stammers even though he is supposed to have a stammer??

    Who was the most memorable character of Black Swan Green and why?

    Jason of course - the boy about whom the story is written

    Any additional comments?

    Overall a great read, just need to employ a British narrator to read a British character's narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Four Fires

    • UNABRIDGED (29 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Bryce Courtenay
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower

    The four fires in this story are passion, religion, warfare, and fire itself. While there are many more fires that drive the human spirit, love being perhaps the brightest flame of all, it is these four that have moulded us most as Australian people. The four fires give us our sense of place and, for better or for worse, shape our national character.

    Robert says: "Hit in the solar plexus"
    "My 7th Courtenay/Bower Combination - Stunning"

    So, as I mentioned in the title, this was my 7th Bryce Courtenay novel and I have listened to every one narrated by Humphrey Bower. Actually, I am now in the middle of 'The Persimmon Tree' which will be my 8th. So why haven't I just reviewed all of them - I should have done, but just haven't sat down on this site to do so. They are all superb, but I have never felt quite so engaged in a book and thoroughly moved and literally emotionally wrenched by a novel as I was with Four Fires. The description of the experiences of Tommy as a POW had me in tears, the love and togetherness of the Maloney Family is touching, humorous and essentially uplifting.

    As with most of what I have read by Bryce Courtenay, the research into the history, the development of the characters and the sheer artfulness of the storyline are a delight. Put all this together with an outstanding narrator in Humphrey Bower and you have an unforgettable experience - Highly Recommended, as are all of these books, especially with the combination of author and narrator. I am just sorry that I am going to run out of books to listen to by BC in the next couple of months!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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