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Needles

St Peters, Australia | Member Since 2011

ratings
27
REVIEWS
11
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
8

  • The Sunday Philosophy Club

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Alexander McCall Smith
    • Narrated By Phyllis Logan
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    Amateur sleuth Isabel Dalhousie is a philosopher who uses her training to solve unusual mysteries. She edits the Review of Applied Ethics, addressing such questions as "Truth telling in sexual relationships", and she also hosts The Sunday Philosophy Club at her house in Edinburgh. Behind the city's Georgian facades, its moral compasses are spinning with greed, dishonesty, and murderous intent.

    Needles says: "Not McCall Smith's best"
    "Not McCall Smith's best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Alexander McCall Smith and/or Phyllis Logan?

    I'm a big Audio-book fan of Alexander McCall Smith (love the Corduroy Mansions series in particular) but this one is far from his best work. The central character -Isabel Dalhousie- becomes annoying after a while, falling into the McCall Smith cliches; just too comfortably smug middle class Edinburgh, with a mystery tied up too conveniently in a neat bow at the end.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Alexander McCall Smith again?

    Yes absolutely, I would listen to the Corduroy Mansions series again rather than the Isabel Dalhousie series though...ANY day!


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Nothing, Phyllis Logan's reading is the best thing about this book, she has a very pleasing


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Sunday Philosophy Club?

    I would cut all of the moral philosophising monologues, I found them rather laboured.


    Any additional comments?

    Not recommended

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Drowning Girl

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Caitlin R. Kiernan
    • Narrated By Suzy Jackson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (229)
    Performance
    (208)
    Story
    (207)

    India Morgan Phelps - Imp to her friends - is schizophrenic. Struggling with her perceptions of reality, Imp must uncover the truth about her encounters with creatures out of myth - or from something far, far stranger....

    Diane says: "A Modern Haunting"
    "Some readers may like it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about The Drowning Girl?

    This novel reads like a work created as part of a Creative Writing course; pretentious and self-conscious.
    Reams and reams of "what it's *really* like to have a mental illness" stream-of-consciousness style.
    Perhaps if you're an avid reader of Nexus magazine, or if you're really into mediocre Symbolist Art, or perhaps even enjoy obsessive tangental list-making, you may find this riveting.
    I only kept listening out of a perverse interest to see if it could get any worse;
    it did!


    What didn’t you like about Suzy Jackson’s performance?

    As an Australian accustomed to English pronunciation of words I found some American pronunciations particularly jarring, and her characterisation of the girlfriend was just woeful.


    Any additional comments?

    Now I'm wise to the fact that an imprimatur from Neil Gaiman is no guarantee of quality!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Rottweiler

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Ruth Rendell
    • Narrated By Nigel Anthony
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (47)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (39)

    The first girl had a bite mark on her neck, but they traced the DNA to her boyfriend. But the tabloids got hold of the story and called the killer 'The Rottweiler' and the name stuck. The latest murder takes place very near Inez Ferry's antique shop in Marylebone. When the Rottweiler’s trinkets start showing up in the shop, suddenly, everyone Inez knows is a suspect, and the killer feels all too close.

    Sparkly says: "Lots of atmosphere, and a Freudian mystery."
    "Superb listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Rottweiler?

    There are some wonderful character studies in Freddy Perfect, Zainab and her gloriously pompous and lovelorn 'fiance' Morton Fibling, and Nigel Anthony's acting brings them all to life in a very entertaining way. Provides excellent comic relief to the backdrop of a more sinister and disturbing story.


    Which character – as performed by Nigel Anthony – was your favorite?

    Morton Fibling without doubt.


    Any additional comments?

    Enjoyed every moment; highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Good Girl

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Mary Kubica
    • Narrated By Lindy Nettleton, Johnny Heller, Tom Taylorson, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (431)
    Performance
    (385)
    Story
    (388)

    Born to a prominent Chicago judge and his stifled socialite wife, Mia Dennett moves against the grain as a young inner-city art teacher. One night, Mia enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn't show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. With his smooth moves and modest wit, Colin Thatcher seems at first like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia's life.

    VanDelay says: "Cheap Trick"
    "Discerning readers may guess the ending."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Mary Kubica and/or the narrators?

    No.


    What was most disappointing about Mary Kubica’s story?

    Discerning readers may anticipate the ending; in which case why bother? All the groundwork of the writing - a narrative in reverse- for what? A flimsy "Poor Little Rich Girl Revenge Fantasy". Boo-hoo, spare me. File under Airport Fiction


    What didn’t you like about the narrators’s performance?

    Lindy Nettleton, who narrates the part of Eve (the eponymous girl's mother) is just awful, so amateurish and annoying, especially when she starts to really emote in the more 'dramatic' paragraphs. I started to turn the volume down during those parts as it was like fingernails down a blackboard for me; just unbearable.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Good Girl?

    the entire Epilogue. I think leaving it as a mystery rather than devolving into poor little rich girl revenge fantasy would actually improve the whole novel. The aforementioned 'dramatic' paragraphs.


    Any additional comments?

    Disappointing overall.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Goldfinch

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (132)
    Performance
    (119)
    Story
    (118)

    Aged 13, Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and a reckless, largely absent father, survives an accident that otherwise tears his life apart. Alone and rudderless in New York, he is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. He is tormented by an unbearable longing for his mother, and down the years clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, strangely captivating painting that ultimately draws him into the criminal underworld.

    Cay.S says: "Such an exquisite story, I didn't want it to end"
    "Excellent narration brings book to life."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Goldfinch the most enjoyable?

    David Pittu's narration. He was quite brilliant at giving voices to each character and thereby giving life to the story.


    If you’ve listened to books by Donna Tartt before, how does this one compare?

    Well I've actually read both of Tartt's earlier books (old school!). For me the last chapter breaking from the established style and delving into philosophical soliloquizing was a device that just didn't work. I don't remember this being an aspect of the earlier novels which I remember being all character and plot.


    Which character – as performed by David Pittu – was your favorite?

    James Hobart, or "Hobie"; main character's mentor


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Absolutely. A real "page-turner" if you can call an audio-book by that term.


    Any additional comments?

    Intriguing novel; I was completely drawn into the world of Theo for the first 3/4 of the novel. By the final quarter however I found myself somewhat alienated by the increasing preposterousness of the plot and repetitive ruminations of Boris (Pittu's narration saved the day there in my opinion), and I've already talked about the unsatisfying nature of the 'philosophical reflection' of the last chapter

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Worst. Person. Ever.

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Douglas Coupland
    • Narrated By Julian Rhind-Tutt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    A razor-sharp portrait of a morally bankrupt and gleefully wicked modern man, Worst. Person. Ever. is Douglas Coupland's gloriously filthy, side-splittingly funny and unforgettable novel. Meet Raymond Gunt. A decent chap who tries to do the right thing. Or, to put it another way, the worst person ever: a foul-mouthed, misanthropic cameraman, trailing creditors, ex-wives and unhappy homeless people in his wake. Men dislike him, women flee from him.

    Needles says: "Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas for the 21st century"
    "Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas for the 21st century"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Worst. Person. Ever. again? Why?

    I very rarely re-read books so no, I wouldn't listen again however that's not to diminish from this book.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Absurd. Relentless. Dark. Scatological. Hilarious. Surreal in the best possible way


    What does Julian Rhind-Tutt bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I do feel that this novel and the narration (or acting really as he lends superb characterisation to all the voices) are a marriage made in heaven.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Absolutely laugh-out-loud funny. Occasionally I had to pause so I could recover from a fit of giggles.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sweet Tooth

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Ian McEwan
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (123)
    Performance
    (108)
    Story
    (106)

    Serena Frome, the beautiful daughter of an Anglican bishop, has a brief affair with an older man during her final year at Cambridge, and finds herself being groomed for the intelligence services. The year is 1972. Britain, confronting economic disaster, is being torn apart by industrial unrest and terrorism and faces its fifth state of emergency.

    Christopher says: "Superb and surprising"
    "McEwan Back On Form"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you’ve listened to books by Ian McEwan before, how does this one compare?

    Certainly an absorbing story imbued with period verisimilitude, even some clever twists. However, only a male writer (and dare I say a baby-boomer-age one at that) would write such cringe-inducingly bad sex scenes from the P.O.V. of a young woman. If you could edit those eye-rollingly self-indulgent paragraphs out I'd give it a higher rating. Seriously though McEwan seems to have finished exploring the "privileged middle aged professionals meet at funeral and have angst-ey love triangle" genre and finally got inspired again with something halfway decent.


    What about Juliet Stevenson’s performance did you like?

    I'm still undecided whether it was the perfect brilliance of Stevenson's reading that made the story so refreshingly interesting, or indeed the book itself. All I know for sure is that I certainly would not have read the printed version, let alone bought it as I've been so put off McEwan for so long now. The choice of Juliet Stevenson certainly sold this to me so well done clever producers.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Spies

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Michael Frayn
    • Narrated By Martin Jarvis
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    In the quiet cul-de-sac where Keith and Stephen live, the only immediate signs of the Second World War are the blackouts at night and a single random bomb-site. But the two boys suspect that the ordinary houses in the Close and their inhabitants are not what they seem.

    Kc says: "Gave up"
    "What a beautiful piece of writing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about this story?

    What a beautiful piece of writing. The title is only slightly, wryly ironic as I found this to be a Rite Of Passage story, and a beautifully evoked one at that. To say that the bulk of the story is told in flashback would be to put it too crudely but technically speaking I suppose it it. It's as much about the excruciating nuances of the English class system, the general awkwardness of youth and the fallibility of memory itself as it is about the events themselves (a particular summer of WW2 era suburban England) , as observed once through the prism of the young Stephen and then again through the older, more bittersweet prism of the older Stephen. But this is no Waugh-esque cloying nostalgia, but something much more honest and real.


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

    I would listen to Martin Jarvis read the telephone book.
    (Do we even have telephone books anymore?)


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Alexander McCall Smith
    • Narrated By Hugh Laurie
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    In the sequel to Portuguese Irregular Verbs, our hero, Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld, is the unlikely choice to address veterinarians in the Ozark mountains of Arkansas; is dogged by dachshunds; becomes embroiled with that notorious Coptic schismatic, the Duke of Johannesburg (and his victim the Patriarch of Alexandria); and finally ends up being mobbed as the star attraction on a Mediterranean cruise ship.

    Needles says: "A treat for Hugh Laurie fans"
    "A treat for Hugh Laurie fans"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs in three words, what would they be?

    Acerbic. Witty. Amusing.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I'm sure anyone familiar with the absurdities of the life of an Academic will find this hilarious. McCall-Smith's invention of the von Igelfeld character is truly inspired; one of my favourites!


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

    Hugh Laurie's outrageously silly German accent as von Igelfeld absolutely adds to the humour, he has great fun with the nuances.


    Any additional comments?

    Highly recommended, McCall Smith fans won't be disappointed with these charming stories

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    • Narrated By David Timson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (130)
    Performance
    (42)
    Story
    (41)

    The award-winning Sherlock Holmes narrator David Timson leads us through Conan Doyle's most famous tale. This extended story brings the archetypal detective to the moors with his friend and biographer Dr. Watson to investigate the mystery of a beast terrorizing the neighborhood.

    Linda says: "A masterpiece"
    "A classic thriller with no surprises"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I would recommend this if you're after a short, dependable story of the Classic variety.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Obviously this story has to be viewed in the context of the era in which it was written as the slightly class-ist and racist views of Sherlock Holmes don't translate that well to the modern era. Very much


    Which character – as performed by David Timson – was your favorite?

    Timson (narrator) does a reasonable job of distinguishing the different characters in his performance and captures the slight pomposity of Holmes quite well.


    Any additional comments?

    Overall an undemanding diversion with no surprises.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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