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Bethann McLaren

Farm girl, voracious reader, lover of wine & whiskey.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Member Since 2015

4
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 20 reviews
  • 129 ratings
  • 388 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2015
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  • MaddAddam: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Margaret Atwood
    • Narrated By Bernadette Dunne, Bob Walter, Robbie Daymond
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (908)
    Performance
    (809)
    Story
    (809)

    Months after the Waterless Flood pandemic has wiped out most of humanity, Toby and Ren have rescued their friend Amanda from the vicious Painballers. They return to the MaddAddamite cob house, newly fortified against man and giant pigoon alike. Accompanying them are the Crakers, the gentle, quasi-human species engineered by the brilliant but deceased Crake. Their reluctant prophet, Snowman-the-Jimmy, is recovering from a debilitating fever, so it's left to Toby to preach the Craker theology, with Crake as Creator.

    UncleHammy says: "Not as good as O&C or The Flood"
    "Exciting, intelligent, well-executed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What other book might you compare MaddAddam to and why?

    Sci-fi or post apocalyptic for the literary lover.


    Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

    Toby really shines in this final chapter of Atwood's trilogy. In Year of the Flood, Ren was very compelling, but she fades away into the background here. Bernadette Dunn reprises the role wonderfully.


    Any additional comments?

    Zeb's character and his narrator where a little bit irksome after a while. Bob Walter has a lovely rich voice, but his narration took on an annoying, rhythmic lilt that really got under my skin after a while.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Anna Karenina

    • UNABRIDGED (38 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Leo Tolstoy
    • Narrated By David Horovitch
    Overall
    (776)
    Performance
    (551)
    Story
    (545)

    Anna Karenina seems to have everything - beauty, wealth, popularity and an adored son. But she feels that her life is empty until the moment she encounters the impetuous officer Count Vronsky.

    Marcus Vorwaller says: "Beautiful story, amazing narration"
    "Exceptional narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I try not to review classic literature in Audible as there are plenty of reviews out their for potential readers to peruse. I do think it's important to review the narration as that can make or break even the most wonderful novel.

    David Horovitch is one of the best! His voice is measured without being monotonous and he infuses just the right amount of emotion into the text, without falling prey to melodrama. He only narrates a few novels on Audible and most of them are classics so it is my intention to immediately download and listen to all of these books. After nearly 40 hours with his voice in my head, I would sorely miss his company.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • KJV Audio Bible, Pure Voice

    • UNABRIDGED (86 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Zondervan
    • Narrated By Rene Auberjonois, Scott Brick, LeVar Burton, and others
    Overall
    (44)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (33)

    The complete King James Version Bible in a pure voice audio format: each book of the Bible is read to you one voice at a time. Clear and uncluttered, this Bible speaks plainly, and making it easier for you to enter into God’s Word. Acclaimed audiobook readers speak new life to the cherished and revered King James Version of the Bible, including Scott Brick, Edward Herrmann, John Rubinstein, LeVar Burton, Theodore Bikel, Samantha Eggar, Robert Forster, Kristoffer Tabori, Juliet Mills, and more.

    Linda says: "Disappointed"
    "Who is reading what?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    My biggest issue with this audio version of the KJV Bible is not with the actual narration itself; I enjoyed the multiple narrators, each of whom brought something unique and interesting to the table. I was mostly annoyed by the fact that I never knew who was reading what book in the Bible! As far as I can see, the PDF only tells you what books are being read in what parts (which IS helpful, by the way, although it doesn't include a reference to the exact chapter/minute each book can be found at). Unless I've missed something, we know the narrators' various identities, but we have to guess who is reading what. A minor issue overall, but still irritating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Christmas Carol [Audio Connoisseur Version]

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Charlton Griffin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (54)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (27)

    The spirit of Christmas has never been captured better than by Charles Dickens' masterpiece about Scrooge, Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchit and all those wonderful spirits, especially the ghost of Jacob Marley. It can be fairly stated that Dickens was so successful with A Christmas Carol, that his characters have become more well known than the title itself.

    P. Lane says: "I'm happy with my choice"
    "Little Fan's voicing is the stuff of nightmares"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What didn’t you like about Charlton Griffin’s performance?

    I listen to the audio version of this classic Dicken's tale every year. Usually I listen to Simon Prebble's version but I had a copy of Grifin's version I hadn't listened to in years and thought I'd switch things up. Griffin's voice is generally quite good, BUT he unfortunately does the most horrendous, artificial little girl's voice for Scrooge's little sister Fran that I had to stop listening. I've listened to this version several years ago and somehow had forgotten how terrifying Griffin's children's voices are. Simon Prebble's version is significantly better.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Awakening

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Kate Chopin
    • Narrated By Kim Basinger
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (238)
    Performance
    (207)
    Story
    (198)

    Kate Chopin’s novel, a landmark work of early feminism, is seen as a pre-cursor to the works of American novelists such as William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway. The upper-class Creole society of New Orleans and the Southern Louisiana coast at the end of the 19th century is brought to audio in a stirring performance by Academy Award-winning actress Kim Basinger.

    Deborah Jacob says: "Like Seeing a Movie with Your Eyes Closed"
    "Passionless narration a real buzz kill"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made The Awakening better?

    Is Kim Basinger hadn't read it. She has a soothing voice, but she's so fridges and bland and timeless I felt like I was instantly going to fall asleep whenever she spoke. Also, I never read this as a young woman in my teens or early twenties and I really think that's when this book would be most relevant. For a book hailed as a classic and a key piece of feminist literature, I felt the characters were boring and underdeveloped. It was difficult for me to relate to or care about any of them.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Listening to A Christmas Carol now.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Kim Basinger?

    Anyone but. It seems terribly ironic that a book that's called the Awakening and is about female passion, sexuality and desire could be narrated in such a dreary, monotone fashion.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Horse and His Boy: The Chronicles of Narnia

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By C.S. Lewis
    • Narrated By Alex Jennings
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1474)
    Performance
    (543)
    Story
    (564)

    On a desperate journey, two runaways meet and join forces. Though they are only looking to escape their harsh and narrow lives, they soon find themselves at the center of a terrible battle. It is a battle that will decide their fate and the fate of Narnia itself.

    Bryan J. Peterson says: "Couldn't turn it off."
    "Alex Jennings is one of my new favourite narrators"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Have you listened to any of Alex Jennings’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This is the first recording I have heard by Mr. Jennings and I will absolutely listen to more if I have the chance! He was absolutely perfect for this role. I really appreciated how his voicing of Hwin and Bree was very humanized, which is how I believe Lewis intended the characters to be. He didn't give them ridiculous "horsey sounding" voices which would have been especially tiresome to listen to for 4 or 5 hours! Really just a perfect voicing of all the characters and a soothing and enjoyable listen overall.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Prince Caspian: The Chronicles of Narnia

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By C.S. Lewis
    • Narrated By Lynn Redgrave
    Overall
    (1753)
    Performance
    (609)
    Story
    (629)

    Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are returning to boarding school when they are summoned from the dreary train station (by Susan's own magic horn) to return to the land of Narnia, the land where they had ruled as kings and queens and where their help is desperately needed.

    A User says: "A hidden jewel"
    "Glad they got a lady to do one of the Chronicles!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I can see why there is a tendency to get male narrators to read the Chronicles of Narnia, the most obvious reason being that Lewis is a male and the Chronicles are written in a kind of combined third person objective and first person narration style. readers identify the narrator with C.S. Lewis, which I think he very much encourages them to do. That said, this is a world of fiction and literature and magic and I really appreciate the diversity of narrators that harper Audio got to do this series. Lynn Redgrave really does a fabulous job!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Silver Chair: The Chronicles of Narnia

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By C.S. Lewis
    • Narrated By Jeremy Northam
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1250)
    Performance
    (480)
    Story
    (495)

    Narnia is in peril, and only Eustace and Jill can help. Along with Puddlegum, a gloomy but valiant Marsh-wiggle, they are sent by the mighty lion Aslan to find Prince Rilian, heir to the throne. Their quest leads them past hungry people-eating Giants, and deep into the dark underground. But the true test for this noble band of friends comes when they face an evil witch and her deadly enchantments.

    book buyer says: "wonderful!!"
    "Northam only enhances the magic!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What does Jeremy Northam bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Northam is the perfect "Narnian" narrator for me. He's able to give each character voice, without being too melodramatic in invasive. For me, it is curtail that narration isn't too dramatic - I want to feel like I'm being read to, not like I'm at the theatre. At the same time, you don't want someone so monotonous they put you to sleep (unless you do!). Northam is the perfect balance for me. I particularly loved his use of different English accents and dialects to voice the different characters.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: The Chronicles of Narnia

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By C.S. Lewis
    • Narrated By Derek Jacobi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1446)
    Performance
    (527)
    Story
    (543)

    The Dawn Treader is the first ship Narnia has seen in centuries. King Caspian has built it for his first voyage to find the seven lords, good men whom his evil uncle Miraz banished when he usurped the throne. The journey takes Edmund, Lucy, their cousin Eustace, and Caspian to the Eastern Islands, beyond the Silver Sea, toward Aslan's country at the End of the World.

    Sarah says: "Favorite Narnia book"
    "Beautiful rendition of a childhood classic!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely! The Chronicles of Narnia were my favourite books as a kid, and even now as an adult with a BA and MA in English Literature, I return to this series frequently. Each time, I discover something new and rewarding, be it another dimension of allegory I'd previously missed, or else some clever joke that went over my head as a younger reader.


    What does Derek Jacobi bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Derek Jacobi is really one of the better Harper Audio "Narnian" narrators, my only qualm is his voicing of Reepicheep the Mouse, which can be a little bit grating for long-term listening! Just a bit melodramatic for my taste, although other listeners, particularly younger ones, might really enjoy his interpretation of the character.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Magician's Nephew: The Chronicles of Narnia

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By C.S. Lewis
    • Narrated By Kenneth Branagh
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1958)
    Performance
    (683)
    Story
    (701)

    Digory and Polly meet and become friends one cold, wet summer in London. Their lives burst into adventure when Digory's Uncle Andrew, who thinks he is a magician, sends them hurtling to...somewhere else. They find their way to Narnia, newborn from the Lion's song, and encounter the evil sorceress Jadis, before they finally return home.

    Jason says: "An incredible children's series"
    "Branagh's narration is a real treat!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What other book might you compare The Magician's Nephew to and why?

    The Horse and His Boy


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

    This is first and I hope it won't be the last!


    Any additional comments?

    Branagh is wonderful! He really brings this classic to life. Second best only to my father.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: The Chronicles of Narnia

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By C.S. Lewis
    • Narrated By Michael York
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3901)
    Performance
    (1230)
    Story
    (1276)

    Lucy is the first to find the secret of the wardrobe in the professor's mysterious old house. At first her brothers and sister don't believe her when she tells of her visit to the land of Narnia. But soon Edmund, then Peter and Susan step through the wardrobe themselves. In Narnia they find a country buried under the evil enchantment of the White Witch.

    Caitlin says: "Great audiobook!"
    "A fine classic with decent narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Michael York can be a bit melodramatic and some of his character voices are a little irritating and distracting. When reading as narrator, he's quite good and very pleasant to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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