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L

ratings
15
REVIEWS
13
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
16

  • End in Tears

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Ruth Rendell
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (103)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (26)

    A lump of concrete dropped deliberately from a little stone bridge over a relatively unfrequented road kills the wrong person. The driver behind is spared. But only for a while.

    Susan B. says: "Intriguing & complicated story"
    "Full of twists and turns"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is one of my favorite Ruth Rendell books, and the audio rendering is terrific. John Lee is the best Wexford narrator, in my opinion.

    The story has complexity, and the central characters are particularly rich in this book. You don't need to read the Wexford books in order (no spoilers between books) but the characters do age and evolve over time, which makes the Inspector and his companions much less like cardboard cutouts and more like real people who happen to have jobs solving crimes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Blue Sapphire

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By D. E. Stevenson
    • Narrated By Hilary Neville
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (13)

    On a beautiful spring day, Julia Harburn sat on a seat in Kensington Gardens enjoying the sunshine. She was wearing a white frock and a large straw hat with a sapphire-blue ribbon which exactly matched her eyes - a strange coincidence, as it turned out, for the blue sapphire was to have a far-reaching influence upon her life. So far, her life had been somewhat dull and circumscribed; but quite suddenly her horizons were enlarged. She began to make new friends.

    L says: "A meandering journey"
    "A meandering journey"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I only "discovered" DE Stevenson recently, but I have enjoyed many of her books several times over. This offering will not make my re-listen list. It seems as if DE collected scrap ends from different stories that just didn't make it into a more robust novel. It's not to say it's not gentle and somewhat enjoyable, but the heroine has almost no character and her foray in the hat-selling business seems dated, even as it was written.
    A better DE Stevenson book about a young woman leaving a sheltered life is "Listening Valley."
    If you're looking for something not terribly hard to follow with no big surprises or alarming plot turns, this could fit the bill. (And I'm not being sarcastic, sometimes a quiet book is needed.) It should be noted that this book puts forth a few more stereotypes and recycled characters than usual.
    The narrator, Hilary Neville, does her usual excellent job.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Listening Valley

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By D. E. Stevenson
    • Narrated By Emma D'Inverno
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (20)

    Antonia and her sister Louise grow up as thick as thieves, in a world apart from their detached parents. Tonia is a dreamer, slipping away into her "listening place" when life is becoming too much for her. When the more adventurous Lou elopes, Tonia is left on her own. Hope comes in the form of Mr Norman, a caring older man who teaches Tonia how to live for herself. They marry and move to London, but when tragedy strikes Tonia is left to build her own life. She returns to Scotland, in search of a new happiness - although there are some obstacles in her way....

    Jerri says: "More Travels with D. E. Stevenson"
    "Believe In Yourself is theme of this comfort read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am a new fan of the long-established DE Stevenson, and this offering is one of her best as far as main characters go. The development of Tonia -- from her beginnings as a shy school girl into her young adulthood -- is believable and satisfying.

    The story itself is a bit choppy, and seems like two stories mushed together. It's either that the WW II aspect of the novel that is plunked into place after the middle, or the school days are glued on to the beginning -- I can't decide. Despite this bit of a disconnect, the story held my interest, overall, and Tonia is a thoroughly decent character with a pure heart.

    The narration is smooth as silk and unwinds effortlessly. It's a good bedtime listen, from both content (nothing too rousing) and narration.

    While characters and settings are used repeatedly in Stevenson's works, this book functions as a stand-alone novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Obituary Writer

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Ann Hood
    • Narrated By Tavia Gilbert
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (428)
    Performance
    (378)
    Story
    (374)

    A sophisticated and suspenseful novel about the poignant lives of two women living in different eras.... On the day John F. Kennedy is inaugurated, Claire, a young wife and mother obsessed with the glamour of Jackie, struggles over the decision of whether to stay in a loveless but secure marriage or to follow the man she loves and whose baby she may be carrying. Decades earlier, in 1919, Vivien Lowe, an obituary writer, is searching for her lover, who disappeared in the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.

    Kathi says: "Parallel stories of love and loss"
    "Listenable -- but not much else to recommend it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is built on over reliance of period detail. The author seemingly took two events that were easy to research (San Francisco earthquake and JFK inauguration) and built stories outwardly from that, rather than upon interesting characters. Claire's story in particular is full of endless minutia about the food, the clothes, the furnishings of the early 1960s that the resulting story is very thin. Anchored by their settings, the characters fail to become interesting on their own.

    As others have noted, narration is a coin toss. I didn't mind her but she is. very. precise. and. enunciates. every. word.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Charlotte Fairlie

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By D. E. Stevenson
    • Narrated By Hilary Neville
    Overall
    (43)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (28)

    Charlotte Fairlie is a successful, elegant career woman. Still in her 20s, she has landed a job as headmistress of her old school. She is admired and liked by both staff and pupils - but she begins to feel there is something missing in her well-organised life. Then one summer she goes to stay with a young pupil on the remote Scottish Isle of Targ. In the romantic atmosphere of the Highlands, anything can happen - and even the cool, efficient Charlotte surprises herself.

    susan says: "A good "read""
    "As a "comfort read," I just love this book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was surprised how much I loved this book. The story is old fashioned and a little choppy, but the main character is so decent and likable it's hard not become engaged with her life decisions.

    When I was young, I was a big fan of boarding school stories this book is from the perspective of the head of such a school. Another plus for me.

    If you're looking for a gentler type of book, but not one that's insipid, I highly recommend this.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Her Royal Spyness: A Royal Spyness Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Rhys Bowen
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    Overall
    (4789)
    Performance
    (4111)
    Story
    (4087)

    Georgie, aka Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, cousin of King George V of England, is penniless and trying to survive on her own as an ordinary person in London in 1932. So far she has managed to light a fire and boil an egg... She's gate-crashed a wedding... She's making money by secretly cleaning houses... And she's been asked to spy for Her Majesty the Queen.

    Alice says: "Happy addition to a difficult genre"
    "Too light AND too derivative"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you have ever read Nancy Mitford's wonderful "Pursuit of Love" you'll find a clumsy homage in this book -- and some elements are practically identical. Other inspirations for this book seem to be the mediocre "Maisie Dobbs" series, the "Poor Relation" series and Dorothy L. Sayers. I'm not saying that authors cannot be inspired by other works -- but these echoes distract from what could be a more singular experience.

    Regarding the book itself, the mystery takes too long to get going and Georgie isn't a strong enough character to carry the novel part of the book. If I hadn't read the above books, I'd probably like this one more.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Enchanted

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Alethea Kontis
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    Overall
    (287)
    Performance
    (257)
    Story
    (251)

    It isn’t easy being Sunday’s child, not when you’re the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true. When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night, Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him....

    Amazon Customer says: "Charming... Enchanting"
    "Choppy narration spoils good story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I found the reader very hard to listen to. Regardless of the book's action, all the dialog and narration seems to have the same choppy, semi-intense cadence. This is the first time I've encountered this phenomenon but it made the book almost unlistenable, for me at least.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • An Unkindness of Ravens: A Chief Inspector Wexford Mystery, Book 13

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Ruth Rendell
    • Narrated By Michael Bryant
    Overall
    (42)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (20)

    Rodney Williams's disappearance seems typical to Chief Inspector Wexford - a simple case of a man running off with a woman other than his wife. But when another woman reports that her husband is missing, the case turns unpleasantly complex.

    Marilyn says: "Brilliantly written and very entertaining"
    "Classic Wexford"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is one of my favorite Inspector Wexford books. While the book was written in the mid-80s, the story holds up very well today.
    One of the beauties of Rendell's work is that while her characters grow and develop, you don't have to read the books in order. There are no spoilers between books.
    The narrator is well suited to the story and to the character of Wexford. (I don't like all the narrators for the series; I wish Michael Bryant was available for more.)
    Note: the narration on the actual file sounds better than the preview.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Falling Off Air

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Catherine Sampson
    • Narrated By Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (173)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (32)

    Robin Ballantyne's life is finally coming together. After learning she was pregnant with twins and being abandoned by her irresponsible boyfriend, Adam, she's settling into life as a single mother. But one night, after putting the children to bed, she hears an argument and suddenly, a body falls past her window. Running outside, she finds the body of Paula Carmichael, a renowned activist.

    Hannah says: "Rich, developed and unusual"
    "Wonderful main character, wonderfully narrated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The fact that I've re-listened to this mystery more than once is indicative of the appeal of a great main character (Robyn Ballantyne) and the great reader (Kate Reading.) Robyn's story is equally -- if not more compelling -- than the mystery that is at the core of the book. I wish Catherine Sampson would write another beyond the two books in this series. I would get it in a snap.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Behind the Scenes at the Museum

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Kate Atkinson
    • Narrated By Susan Jameson
    Overall
    (324)
    Performance
    (167)
    Story
    (166)

    Ruby Lennox was conceived grudgingly by Bunty and born while her father, George, was in the Dog and Hare in Doncaster. Bunty had never wanted to marry George, but he was all that was left. She really wanted to be Vivien Leigh, swept off to America by a romantic hero. But here she was, stuck in a flat above the pet shop beneath York Minster, with sensible Patricia, aged five, greedy Gillian who refused to be ignored, and Ruby, who tells the memorable, witty, and eventful story of The Family.

    Gail says: "One of my favs"
    "My All Time Favorite Download"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've listened to this complex book several times; it's that good. A rich and rewarding story.
    It's also a book where the narrator brings so much life and depth to the narration that it is equal to (and I might even say superior to) the printed work, which I also read. Jameson does a wonderful job with the characters and nuances of the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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