You no longer follow Bronwyn Soell

You will no longer see updates from this user when they write new reviews, or suggestions based on their library or recommendations.

You can re-follow a user if you change your mind.

OK

You now follow Bronwyn Soell

You will receive updates from this user when they write new reviews, or suggestions based on their library or recommendations.

You can unfollow a user if you change your mind.

OK

Bronwyn Soell

Illinois, United States | Member Since 2006

170
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 36 reviews
  • 94 ratings
  • 281 titles in library
  • 15 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
20

  • Swordspoint: A Melodrama of Manners

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Ellen Kushner
    • Narrated By Ellen Kushner, Dion Graham, Katherine Kellgren, and others
    Overall
    (774)
    Performance
    (693)
    Story
    (694)

    On the treacherous streets of Riverside, a man lives and dies by the sword. Even the nobles on the Hill turn to duels to settle their disputes. Within this elite, dangerous world, Richard St. Vier is the undisputed master, as skilled as he is ruthless--until a death by the sword is met with outrage instead of awe, and the city discovers that the line between hero and villain can be altered in the blink of an eye.

    Stacy says: "What a beautiful book..."
    "Splendid :) A real treat!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've loved this book for years for its elegant prose and detailed and interesting world and sense of honor, danger and romance. It is a great example of the 'show don't tell' theory of storytelling and really sets the standard for classic modern fantasy.

    I've never been a huge fan of full cast recordings of audiobooks. I find many of them to be sort of overdone- all the background noise, various voice actors, etc. can just turn the story into a mish mash that can ruin the prose you enjoyed in the book in the first place.

    So when I read that Swordspoint was being produced with a full cast, I was not enthused. Until I saw that it was being produced by Neil Gaiman and read by Ellen Kushner herself. I knew that if anyone could do it up right, it would be these two and my trust in them more than paid off.

    This is simply lovely- deliriously fun and witty and clever to listen to. The background noise and actors are unobtrusive and a perfect counterpoint to Ms. Kushner's reading as well as the other actors who also portray the main characters. If you love fantasy, just get it and let yourself fall into Riverside. You'll be glad you went.

    11 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • To Kill a Mockingbird

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Harper Lee
    • Narrated By Sissy Spacek
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1271)
    Performance
    (1178)
    Story
    (1188)

    Harper Lee’s Pulitzer prize-winning masterwork of honor and injustice in the deep south - and the heroism of one man in the face of blind and violent hatred, available now for the first time as a digital audiobook. One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than 40 languages, sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the 20th century by librarians across the country.

    Alan says: "Stunning"
    "Cannot imagine this classic read any better!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    One of my favorite books. I'm not even going to try to recap the story, but I will say that Sissy Spacek's narration is absolutely perfect. She brings a total honesty and directness to the story that illuminates each chapter. This is a great way to experience this American classic.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Bride of the Rat God

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Barbara Hambly
    • Narrated By Marguerite Gavin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (19)

    It is 1923, and silent film reigns in Hollywood. Of all the starlets, none is more beloved than Chrysanda Flamande, a diva as brilliant as she is difficult to manage. Handling her falls to Norah, widow of Chrysanda’s dead brother. She has always done her job well, but she was never equipped to deal with murder. When a violent killing shocks Chrysanda’s entourage, and other weird happenings swiftly follow, Norah begins to suspect that some strange power is stalking the star. In Chinatown she receives warning that a curse has been placed on the actress as vengeance for wearing a sacred amulet in one of her films.

    Bronwyn Soell says: "fun mix of fantasy and 1920s Hollywood"
    "fun mix of fantasy and 1920s Hollywood"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love all of Barbara Hambly's books, but I have to admit to an extra soft spot for this stand-alone. Mixing ancient Chinese magic with 1920s Hollywood, a kind and brave English war widow who becomes a companion to her Hollywood vamp movie star sister in law, some Pekingese dogs and too many more details to mention here, Bride of the Rat God is funny, clever and an entertaining read for people who like fantasy or for those who don't normally read it.
    The main characters are all really engaging, the system of magic is interesting and most importantly, (as with all her other books, mystery,fantasy, whatever) Hambly's writing is very detail-oriented and her fascination with the early history of Hollywood, silent films and the time and places she writes about shine through. The book is filled with historical research inserted so seamlessly into the story that it adds verisimilitude and charm to every section.

    The narration and accents were very well done and did not disappoint for a book which I had read many times. This is a fun trip through old Hollywood, Chinatown with some magic and honestly scary bits along the way as well. I recommend it highly!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Time Traveler's Wife

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Audrey Niffenegger
    • Narrated By Fred Berman, Phoebe Strole
    Overall
    (4443)
    Performance
    (1786)
    Story
    (1811)

    Clare and Henry have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was 36. They were married when Clare was 23 and Henry was 31. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing.

    Scott says: "Epic Drama & Love Story through Time Travel"
    "Really makes Claire and Henry come to life"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A lot of this book takes place in Chicago in the 1990s and I was in my 20s then and there, so I really appreciate the author's absolute command of that scene. The world Claire and Henry inhabit there is totally congruent with my memories. The two narrators do a beautiful job of handling their strange co-existence and bring great charm and incredible sympathy to both characters and their unique situation. This is a beautifully realized version of the book and I recommend it highly, whether you have read the book or not.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Major Pettigrew's Last Stand: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Helen Simonson
    • Narrated By Peter Altschuler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2495)
    Performance
    (1201)
    Story
    (1194)

    You are about to travel to Edgecombe St. Mary, a small village in the English countryside filled with rolling hills, thatched cottages, and a cast of characters both hilariously original and as familiar as the members of your own family. Among them is Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired), the unlikely hero of Helen Simonson's wondrous debut. Wry, courtly, opinionated, and completely endearing, Major Pettigrew is one of the most indelible characters in contemporary fiction.

    Sara says: "A Surprising Treat!"
    "Charming, excellent narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is a story of unexpected love, a love that comes along gradually and later in life to Major Pettigrew and Mrs. Ali, a widow whose husband ran the local village shop. The way their friendship unfolds, the common interest in books, small kindnesses, and finally a blossoming attraction and romance is completely compelling. The viewpoints of those around them, ranging from awkward discomfort to absolute horror at the impropriety of it all can be both funny and sad, but is always believable. You will find yourself rooting for the prim and proper Major and the kind and brave Mrs. Ali. I enjoyed this book tremendously and the narration, both accents and just the attitude of different characters was excellent.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Queens' Play

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Dorothy Dunnett
    • Narrated By Andrew Napier
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (30)

    This is the second book in the famous Lymond Chronicals by Dorothy Dunnett, exploring the intricacies of 16th century history through the exploits of the soldier Francis Crawford of Lymond. In Queens Play, Crawford is despatched to France and embarks on a nightmare game of hide and seek in the court of Henri II...

    Suzanne says: "A wonderfully complex, satisfying story"
    "Wonderful to finally have Dorothy Dunnett here!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is such a wonderful series to read and the audio version is superlative. Andrew Naiper's narration is authentic, his accents are excellent and his characterization is totally believable. I am thrilled to finally be able to get this author's work in audio form. Her understanding of history and ability to narrate historical events in a way that makes them exciting and relevant while including fictional characters that catch your imagination and keep you listening/reading through long series and then going back to read them again makes Dorothy Dunnett the greatest author of historical fiction, IMO. I was fortunate enough to meet her in person before she passed away, and she was personally gracious and charming as well as being a fascinating speaker.

    HOWEVER, I have to note that the first book in the series is NOT available on Audible. This is the second book of the series and although the quality of the writing, performance and production is so high that I think even a new listener could enjoy it, you will definitely not have the whole story of Lymond or the other characters in the book and their relationships to one another. I hope Audible will have the first book soon, because I would hate for anyone to get discouraged and not continue with this extraordinary series because they were a little lost from having to start with the second book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Bossypants

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Tina Fey
    • Narrated By Tina Fey
    Overall
    (18760)
    Performance
    (14550)
    Story
    (14491)

    Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV. She has seen both these dreams come true. At last, Tina Fey's story can be told....

    Warren says: "Tina Fey broke my new SUV"
    "Absolutely wonderful and entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Not only is Tina Fey hilarious, but she is also really, really smart. Every bit of this book is filled with humor and intelligence. But she also comes across as kind, thoughtful, and I think she is probably a really good boss. Listen to this book and the hours will fly by!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Insurgent: Divergent, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Veronica Roth
    • Narrated By Emma Galvin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12233)
    Performance
    (11070)
    Story
    (11170)

    One choice can transform you - or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves - and herself - while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

    Lore says: "Decent but not as interesting as Divergent"
    "good writing and voice, but story is lacking"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The narration is very good in the book and the appeal that the reader gave to the different characters kept my interest more than the story did. The author is not a bad writer- she does well with dialog and has some interesting ideas. But the actual story was lacking for me. Many things that were supposed to be big 'reveals' were so blatantly obvious from the beginning that it was just annoying to sit through. This book takes place immediately after the first one, but what I had hoped were just 'first novel' mistakes kept happening here. Tris continues to do things that are so just dumb, that I lost interest in her as a character. It isn't a terrible book, but I think it could have been a much better one.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • How Green Was My Valley

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Richard Llewellyn
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (42)

    How Green Was My Valley is Richard Llewellyn’s best-selling - and timeless - classic, as well as the basis of a beloved film. As Huw Morgan is about to leave home forever, he reminisces about the golden days of his youth when South Wales still prospered, when coal dust had not yet blackened the valley. Drawn simply and lovingly, with a crisp Welsh humor, Llewellyn’s characters fight, love, laugh, and cry, creating an indelible portrait of a people. Richard Llewellyn (1906–1983), a Welsh novelist, was born in Hendon, England, in the county of Middlesex.

    Jan says: "The rhythm of life... the pattern of words..."
    "A beautiful and timeless story- very moving"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This story of a Welsh coal mining family and the village they live in is lyrically written and beautifully narrated. It is not a fast book, it is a book you listen to carefully, for the sake of the language. It is an old-fashioned book, that allows you to listen to someone remembering a time long gone and a way of life that has disappeared. The Morgan family is loving and loyal and tries hard to stay true to themselves and the ideals they were raised with, even as the world is changing around them and their small village becomes a place that is filled with bitterness and poverty. But if you just listen to the melody of the language and let the story flow, I believe that this book will stay with you and move you more than you may realize at first. I loved reading it years ago and I loved listening to it as well. If you are looking for a slower-paced listen and want to savor the language and writing, give it a try!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Me Before You: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Jojo Moyes
    • Narrated By Susan Lyons, Anna Bentink, Steven Crossley, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3443)
    Performance
    (3123)
    Story
    (3139)

    Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life - steady boyfriend, close family - who has never been farther afield than her tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life - big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel - and now he's pretty sure he cannot live the way he is. Will is acerbic, moody, bossy - but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected.

    Michael says: "Who or What defines Quality of Life?"
    "Excellent narration, moving and funny!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Me Before You the most enjoyable?

    I was afraid the book might be too much of a 'downer' but the nuance of the story is very balanced. A young woman who is bright and funny but without any formal education and who can't really seem to think of a future for herself becomes a caretaker and companion to a young man who is a quadriplegic. Although I felt great sympathy for Will (the young man) the character's personality is very well defined and forceful and I found myself really relating to the character as a person and not just as a 'disability character' set up for the purpose of the story. The voices are very well done, and a few chapters are briefly told from a different character's perspective- Will's mother, who appears cold and distant to the other characters, and also his male nurse. These glimpses into how the main characters and their situations are seen by others were enlightening to me and really rounded out my perception of the story as a whole. But mostly I just really enjoyed these people's lives and was completely drawn into what was happening to them and wanting to know how the book would end.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The narration was excellent and made me feel as if I really knew the main characters. The descriptions of the just everyday difficulties of Will's life really made me examine my own life and how I react to people with disabilities, as well as just thinking about some issues I had not previously given much thought to.


    Any additional comments?

    I've seen some reviews here that complained that Will is made a 'token' character- the guy in the wheelchair- because none of the chapters are told from his point of view. I have to disagree completely with this. For me, this was a key part to the understanding of the story and Will's entire situation- the main crux of the book is can Will live- does he want to live- while having to largely participate only vicariously in what was once a very active life in every way. Sexually, physically, etc. he no longer has access to the things he once did. IMO, the author tells the story through other people's perceptions in order to school the reader somewhat- I found myself trying very hard to understand Will's perspective, in part BECAUSE he never speaks in first person. That said, the character of Will is very complete and his speech, personality, etc. shine through. I had no trouble at all coming to know him or realizing his charisma or frustration through the third person perspective. Just as Will, the character, ultimately keeps much of his illness and inner emotions private from his fellow book characters, those things are also private from the reader. I felt it added to my understanding and did not detract from the book or my involvement with it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Therese Anne Fowler
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (441)
    Performance
    (391)
    Story
    (391)

    Picture a late-May morning in 1918, a time when Montgomery wore her prettiest spring dress and finest floral perfume - same as I would wear that evening.... Thus begins the story of beautiful, reckless, 17-year-old Zelda Sayre on the day she meets Lieutenant Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald at a country club dance. Fitzgerald isn’t rich or settled; no one knows his people; and he wants, of all things, to be a writer in New York. No matter how wildly in love they may be, Zelda’s father firmly opposes the match....

    L.W. says: "Great! From the first page to the last....."
    "A fascinating viewpoint of the 1920s"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald?

    The narrator seemed to get Zelda Fitzgerald's 'voice' spot-on. I am very familiar with many writers and artists from this time period, and Zelda Fitzgerald is often dismissed as a sort of appendage to her husband, or as someone who held him back. While both of these things are at least partially true, this book helps to give a much more nuanced portrait, not only of Zelda herself, but also of her husband and the world they lived in. It made Zelda not just sympathetic and likable, but also really gave me some insight into the qualities that made her so irresistible to her husband and the generation she came to help represent.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Zelda! Scott doesn't come off at his best here, I've always thought Hemmingway sounded like a jerk, and although all of these Jazz Age people are very well-drawn, it is a book about Zelda, after all, and her perspective is really interesting. There was a lot more to her than I had realized.


    Any additional comments?

    If you enjoy reading authors of the 1920s or that period in history, you may already be familiar with many of the characters here and I think you will find a fascinating interpretation here of their personalities. If you have only heard a little about Zelda Fitzgerald, as the famous flapper married to the brilliant and troubled Scott, you will find a much deeper portrait of her as a person. Either way, it is a charming and engrossing listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.