I love Cornelia Funke's books and her writing doesn't disappoint. The characters are unique in their blend of original fantasy and realism, exemplified in the Brownie Sorrel. However, I was completely blown away by the quality of Brendan Fraser's narration! He must have imitated 10 different accents, added completely realistic sound effects and generally made the whole story come to life so that there wasn't a dull moment! I look forward to listening to anything he narrates. Overall, highly recommended for all ages!
Absolutely beautiful writing, but the slow pacing of the story coupled with the even slower pacing of the narration lends itself better to reading than to an audiobook. There is a very gradual buildup of suspense, which suddenly gives way to the highly predictable happy end, leaving me feeling a bit cheated.i would recommend the book for lovers of atmospheric, light gothic romances, but don't expect any big surprises or twists and turns.
Highly enjoyable exploration of military and political complications of colonizing a distal planet and engaging in warfare with cyberonically augmented soldiers. I particularly loved this schizophrenic (but very realistic) reaction of the civilian population to the soldiers once the war was over, and of the soldiers' feelings of frustration with their inability to return to their former lives. The story was exciting and a great mixture of suspense and background story, and the characters were highly engaging and realistically portrayed. The narration was excellent. Highly recommended, can't wait to listen to the sequels!
Professor Greenberg has tremendous depth of knowledge and understanding of classical music and opera, which he makes more interesting by placing it in context with the historical and political events of the time. What could be dry and boring is made tremendously entertaining by Professor Greenberg's great sense of humor, the intermingled personal anecdotes about the composers and performers, and of course the music itself. Perhaps my only criticism is that I would've preferred more Verdi and less Monteverdi, but that is a very minor issue. My understanding and enjoyment of opera has been increased considerably by listening to these lectures. I can't recommend it highly enough, both to the novice and the connoisseur !
Mozart is one of my all time favorite composers. I already knew the basic facts of his life, but this audiobook made everything so much more clear and introduced me to aspects of his music that I hadn't understood. The narrator/lecturer is very well informed and is a most entertaining speaker. Mozart's music is interspersed between sections of the narrative. Highly recommended to novices and Mozart aficionados alike!
I enjoyed this series with amateur detective Georgiana Rannoch so far, but Rhys Bowen has run out of creative ideas for her cast of characters. The storyline has become utterly boring and predictable. I used to feel sorry for Georgiana, the plucky heroine surrounded by a cast of shallow and self-serving family and friends, but at some point you have to wonder why she continues to maintain relationships with these people. Her narcissistic mother, who spends the time she isn't with her numerous lovers putting her daughter down or abandoning her. Her would-be lover, Darcy, who vanishes as soon as the relationship shows signs of getting going and reappears as soon as she is getting on with her life. Her "friend", Belinda, who is the definition of self-serving and shallow, and finally her maid, Queenie, who abuses her kindness and destroys her belongings. Each character behaved entirely the same way they had in every previous novel. There wasn't a single moment of suspense in this story. Only Katherine Kellgren's superb narration (and the fact that the book is pretty short) kept me going. Save your credit for something better.
Absolutely fabulous start to a new series! I keep reading how this book and that book is the "new" Game of Thrones, so I was highly skeptical about yet another fantasy book purporting to be in the same class as a book of George RR. However, for once the hype was true. This book has incredible depth of world building, complete with religions, social classes, geography, philosophy, etc. - a world you could lose yourself in. I loved the maxims of the Shin (The first step in winning a sword fight is not to lose...). The characters all have complexity and conflicts that ring true and stay with you. They undergo changes, which are believable. I have to admit that I was a bit turned off by the unbelievable cruelty with which they treated Kaden and also Valyn in the beginning, but it all turned out to be for a worthwhile cause. The story is highly suspenseful with terrific pacing. I can't recommend this book highly enough - it ranks up there with my absolute favorites. Can't wait for part 2!!! The narration by Simon Vance was wonderful, like all of his books.
1. Tove Alsterdahl: Reunion
Meandering, atmospheric tale of a group of school friends reuniting as middle aged women. Can't quite decide if it's a ghost-story or a murder mystery. 3*
2. Ralph and Silla Borland: He liked his Hair
Incomprehensible story with minimal plotline that was a serial killer story?
Vampire novel? Werewolf novel? Not helped by the glacial pace of the narration. Thank God this was a short story! 1*
3. Aka Edvardson: Never in real Life
Terrific story of a couple's summer vacation turning out not to be quite what it looks like… 5*
4. inger Freemansson: In our darkened house
Excellent nugget about a woman's revenge on her former coworkers. 4*
5. Eva Gabrielson: Paul's last summer
Slight tale of a premature tombstone. 2*
6. Ana Johnsson: The Ring
Bullied child uses "The Ring" to give him courage and gets more than he bargained for. 4*
7. Asa Larsson: The Mail Run
Standard story of murder, misdirection and suspect wrongly accused/convicted by prejudice, but well told in a frontier mining town with medieval morals 4*
8. Stieg Larsson: Brain Power
Cautionary tale with the theme of "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" taken to an extreme. Interesting idea, but you can see that the writer was young and immature since the characters are poorly developed. 3*
9. Henning Mankshall and Hagen Nesser: an unlikely meeting
Plotless story of two Swedish crime writers and their fictitious inspectors meeting on Christmas Eve. 1*
10. Magnus Montellius: An Alibi for Señor Venegas
Excellent tale of small time, petty politician manipulated into a false murder confession. 5*
11. Dag Orland: Something in his Eyes
Terrific morally ambiguous story of a repressive father and a daughter's fall from a balcony. Was it murder or was it suicide? 5*
12. Maryland Persson Jolito: Day and Night my Keeper Be
Strong character study, but depressing tale of a missing child. *4
13. May Huval and Per Walu: The Multimillionaire
Silly, pointless story about the start of the career of a minor con artist, who became a millionaire. It's beyond me what this story is doing in this collection since it contains neither murder nor mystery. It certainly wouldn't convince me to read the novels of the authors, who are reportedly Sweden's most famous and enduring crime writing couple. 1*
14. Sara Stridsberg: Diary Braun
A major disappointment after all the positive reviews. The story seems to consist mostly of endless descriptions of how she is getting rid of her jewelry and clothing while preparing for death 2*
15. Johann Theoren: Revenge of the Virgin
Skeletons in a rowboat. not much to it. Meh. 2*
16. Veronica von Schenck - Eitreia. an author to keep track of. Unfortunately, her books are only available in Swedish. Terrific story of an art dealer turned art fraud expert. I would love to read more of this author’s stories. 5*
17. Katerina Wenstahm:Too Late Shall the Sinner Awaken. Outstanding short story featuring a lesbian detective, Charlotta Lund, who is told the solution to an unsolved murder of a teenage boy that happened 25 years ago. 5*
I particularly loved the intros to each of the stories, which gave background information on the writers. I will try to read some of the novels by these writers, if they are available in English, since I generally prefer novels to short stories.
The book gets off to a promising start. I liked the character of Jek and his anger at being cheated by the evil King. His escape from the castle was exciting with the promise of more action and character development to come. Unfortunately, then the princess enters the scene and after that the story grinds to a complete halt. Plot is replaced by juvenile bickering between Jek and the Princess. Jek alternates between admiring her breasts, and her hair, and her eyes, and her soft skin (are you bored yet? I was), etc etc, while the Princess showers him with scorn and anger and admonishments not to fall in love with her - excellent advice in my opinion. He ties her up and gets her filthy, then releases her when she promises to help him, then ties her up when she breaks her promise, then releases her etc etc etc. At that point I admit I gave up. Too bad, this could have been at least a decent story.
This was a very uneven book. In parts it was utterly thrilling and fascinating, but other sections slowed to a crawl. I loved the first parts describing Nicolai Hel’s childhood and background - couldn’t stop listening. And I found the description of WWII from the point of view of the Japanese interesting, in spite of the anti-American sentiments expressed repeatedly, since these were directed against the corrupt politicians and the unthinking masses of consumers rather than against individual people themselves. There was a lengthy middle section, which was rather tedious, with an (for me) endless description of a caving expedition, which brought the plot to a grinding halt. I would have preferred more description of how Hel ended up with his chateau and his concubine to the lengthy and detailed depiction of dangerous caving. At this point I was also getting very tired of how every character has to constantly expound “bon mots” about other cultures. Then, for the last section, the story really picks up again. I loved the end, which was again suspenseful and overall satisfying. The narration was very good for the most part, although the narrator had difficulty with Arab accents. The other accents were highly convincing.
In spite of very uneven writing and the continuous, excessively testosterone laden interchanges, the first book of the Erevis Cale series had enough of a mystery and character development to make me want to read the second book. What a mistake!! The sequel filled in some of the background story, but in more of a “tell” not “show” kind of way, and it had none of the mystery of the first book, only constant obsession with killing the Slaadi and endless, tedious, bloody descriptions of what the characters were going to do to each other when they got ahold of each other. I gave up after the first few chapters, when I realized my mind was wandering and I was forcing myself to listen. Too bad, the first book could have used a good editor, but it had promise. The narration was too slow and a bit ponderous for my taste, but otherwise good enough.
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