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Richard

ratings
49
REVIEWS
10
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
4
HELPFUL VOTES
92

  • Wintersmith: Discworld Childrens, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Terry Pratchett
    • Narrated By Stephen Briggs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (855)
    Performance
    (398)
    Story
    (401)

    At nine, Tiffany Aching defeated the cruel Queen of Fairyland. At 11, she banished an ancient body-stealing evil. At 13, Tiffany faces a new challenge: a boy. And boys can be a bit of a problem when you're 13. But the Wintersmith isn't exactly a boy. He is winter itself.

    Kent says: "THANK YOU TERRY"
    "Tiffany Rocks!"
    Overall

    My daughter and I have thoroughly enjoyed all three of Terry Pratchett's books about Tiffany Aching. As a middle school teacher and parent, I love the message that everyone makes mistakes--the important thing is what you do about it--and being smart is more about listening to other people than using big words. The humor makes the message completely palatable and opens the door for great conversations with your tween. Plus, it's hard to resist Rob Anybody, Daft Wully, and Wee Billy Big-Chin.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Spark Unseen

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Sharon Cameron
    • Narrated By Fiona Hardingham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    When Katharine Tulman wakes in the middle of the night and accidentally foils a kidnapping attempt on her uncle, she realizes Stranwyne Keep is no longer safe for Uncle Tully and his genius inventions. She flees to Paris, where she hopes to remain undetected and also find the mysterious and handsome Lane, who is suspected to be dead. But the search for Lane is not easy, and Katharine soon finds herself embroiled in a labyrinth of political intrigue. And with unexpected enemies and allies at every turn, Katharine will have to figure out whom she can trust - if anyone - to protect her uncle from danger once and for all.

    Richard says: "Pure Gothic Pleasure"
    "Pure Gothic Pleasure"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Both this title and its predecessor, A Dark Unwinding, provide pure gothic entertainment following the tried and true gothic formula--an orphaned heroine journeying to unknown relatives, two potential love interests--one dark, one light--a surly housekeeper, potential insanity, an inheritance. What distinguishes them from gothic drivel are Katherine's Uncle Tully, a loveable autistic savant, and Katherine herself, who learns to take matters into her own hands rather than wait for rescue. Because the author has followed the traditional gothic formula, the listener will be able to predict some details. Ms. Cameron, however, delights in finding other ways to surprise. Her characters develop beyond their 2-dimensional prototypes and provide delightful suspense. While not necessarily "improving literature," both books are excellent stories, well narrated. Worth the credits.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Started Early, Took My Dog: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Kate Atkinson
    • Narrated By Graeme Malcolm
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (617)
    Performance
    (366)
    Story
    (369)

    Waterhouse leads a quiet, ordered life as a retired police detective - a life that takes a surprising turn when she encounters Kelly Cross, a habitual offender, dragging a young child through town. Both appear miserable and better off without each other-or so decides Tracy, in a snap decision that surprises herself as much as Kelly. Suddenly burdened with a small child, Tracy soon learns her parental inexperience is actually the least of her problems, as much larger ones loom for her and her young charge.

    Beverly says: "For the Love of Children and Dogs"
    "good book--droning narrator"
    Overall

    It makes me terribly sad to give a Jackson Brodie novel by Kate Atkinson less than 5 stars, but the narrator nearly ruined it for me. His voice did not change for any of the characters, nor did his pitch or inflection ever vary from a near monotone. I gave up listening and went to my local bookstore to buy the hard copy, which was wonderful (although not as good as When Will There Be Good News? or One Good Turn). I can't imagine why the publisher went with a narrator other than Ellen Archer, who read WWTBGN. She was spectacular. Graeme Malcolm wasn't. Kate Atkinson does lovely plot twists and I really like what she has been doing with Jackson and his delayed cultural growth--reading poetry, going to museums, attending the theatre. I did miss the tension between Jackson and Louise, so I am hoping that the end of this book is not just a tease.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • When Will There Be Good News?: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Kate Atkinson
    • Narrated By Ellen Archer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (554)
    Performance
    (261)
    Story
    (263)

    On a hot summer day, Joanna Mason's family slowly wanders home along a country lane. A moment later, Joanna's life is changed forever....On a dark night 30 years later, ex-detective Jackson Brodie finds himself on a train that is both crowded and late. Lost in his thoughts, he suddenly hears a shocking sound.

    Richard says: "Kate Atkinson pleases again."
    "Kate Atkinson pleases again."
    Overall

    If you've read (or listened to) Case Histories and One Good Turn, then When Will There Be Good News? is just what you'd expect from Kate Atkinson. If this is your first experience with this author, be prepared. Her characters and their predicaments will draw you in to the point where you'll find yourself sitting in the driveway or tuning out your family to find out what happens next. Jackson Brodie is back along with the string of misfortunes that have been plaguing him since Case Histories. In addition, we get better acquainted with DCI Louise Monroe and meet the ineffably persistent Reggie Chase. The mysteries in this book are compelling and, as always with Kate Atkinson, twisted together in ways that do not all become apparent until the very end of the book. When Will There Be Good News?, along with Atkinson's other Jackson Brodie books, are mystery thrillers for people who don't like mystery thrillers. The characters are as intricately developed as the plot line. The dialogue is natural, never forced. The endings are like good chocolate--satisfying, but leaving you wanting just a little more. The reader does a creditable job of managing a variety of British accents and both male and female voices.

    25 of 25 people found this review helpful
  • The Palace of Illusions

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
    • Narrated By Sneha Mathan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (154)
    Performance
    (53)
    Story
    (53)

    The novel traces the princess Panchaali's life, beginning with her birth in fire and following her spirited balancing act as a woman with five husbands who have been cheated out of their father's kingdom. Panchaali is swept into their quest to reclaim their birthright, remaining at their side through years of exile and a terrible civil war involving all the important kings of India.

    Richard says: "timeless story"
    "timeless story"
    Overall

    I didn't realize until I was part of the way through this listen that it was anything more than a work of fiction. Imagine my surprise when I started seeing the names of characters from Palace of Illusions in the actual book I was reading. Upon doing a little internet searching, I discovered that Palace of Illusions is actually a re-telling of the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata, told from the point of view of Draupadi, the main female character.
    You will not always like or sympathize with Draupadi--she is a pampered, self-centered, vindictive woman who doesn't appreciate what she has until it is gone. Her story is compelling, however, and the reader does a wonderful job, using subtle changes in her voice and accent to characterize the many different people in the story. This one is definitely worth your time. A note of caution, however--the author's previous books on audible, from The Brotherhood of the Conch, are aimed at upper elementary or middle school aged children. The Palace of Illusions is probably not appropriate for children of that age.

    26 of 26 people found this review helpful
  • Flight: A Quantum Fiction Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Vanna Bonta
    • Narrated By Vanna Bonta
    Overall
    (40)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    Mendle Orion is a writer who lives at the intersection of fiction and reality. He idealizes love and cynically rails against a world that wastes his dreams. The man's life is forever changed the day he meets a mysterious young woman with intense blue eyes and total amnesia who looks at urban life as though she's seeing it for the first time.

    FRANCISCO says: "Up There With Great Forever Books"
    "Just Awful!"
    Overall

    I could only listen to 20 minutes of this drivel. The writing was bad and the reading was worse, both of which were extremely disappointing because the premise was interesting. Don't waste your time with this one.

    2 of 20 people found this review helpful
  • The Book Thief

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Markus Zusak
    • Narrated By Allan Corduner
    Overall
    (9161)
    Performance
    (7235)
    Story
    (7272)

    It's just a small story really, about, among other things, a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist: books.

    Amazon Customer says: "Word Thief"
    "The Book Thief Steals Hearts, Too"
    Overall

    By the time this book finishes, Leisl, Rudi and the Hubermanns will feel like people you have known and loved forever. Leisl's story is both heartbreaking and beautiful. Given up to foster care by an impoverished, Communist mother during the Third Reich, ten year old Leisl is taught to read, to trust and to love by her foster father, Hans Hubermann. As she learns and grows, she touches other lives through her love for words. The narrator does a marvelous job with the voices and German accents--they do not sound like caricatures, but like real people. Zusak's writing is unique and elegant. He has a very sensory style that I found very appealing. He writes the kind of sentences that you notice for the quality of the language as well as the thought expressed. I did not want this book to end.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • A Thread of Grace

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Mary Doria Russell
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (187)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (56)

    It is September 8, 1943, and Claudette Blum is learning Italian with a suitcase in her hand. She and her father are among the thousands of Jewish refugees scrambling over the Alps toward Italy, where they hope to be safe at last, now that the Italians have broken with Germany and made a separate peace with the Allies. The Blums will soon discover that Italy is anything but peaceful, as it becomes, overnight, an open battleground.

    Michelle says: "I loved the story and the narrator"
    "fascinating story"
    Overall

    I will agree with other reviewers that the reader was not the greatest--she was very distracting at first, but once I got interested in the story, I found I didn't care. I knew next to nothing about Italy during WWII before listening to this book. Now, I wish I knew more. This book is filled with many interesting characters, although the "main" character, Claudette Blum, is not really one of them. I found myself fascinated by Renzo Leone and the German doctor. It's hard to portray how riveting their characters were without giving away much of the story line. I'm sorry for those who could not get into this book because they missed an excellent story.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • A Hat Full of Sky: Discworld Childrens, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Terry Pratchett
    • Narrated By Stephen Briggs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1150)
    Performance
    (415)
    Story
    (421)

    Tiffany Aching, the boldest heroine ever to swing a frying pan against the forces of evil, is beginning her apprenticeship in magic. She expects to work hard, learn spells, and become a witch. She doesn't expect to find herself doing chores, caring for the careless, and trying to outthink an ill-tempered nanny goat. There must be more to witchcraft than this!

    Joyce says: "More Crivens!"
    "Briggs is a master narrator."
    Overall

    After listening to The Wee Free Men, I bought a couple of Pratchett's Discworld books. While I enjoyed them, I am convinced after listening to A Hat Full of Sky that more than 50% of the reason I loved both is Steven Briggs's excellent narration. All of the voices are distinguishable through changes in pitch and accent. The Scottish brogue of Rob Anybody and his Feegles are the crowning glory. I would recommend any book narrated by Briggs.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Wee Free Men: Discworld Childrens, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Terry Pratchett
    • Narrated By Stephen Briggs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1335)
    Performance
    (500)
    Story
    (502)

    Armed only with a frying pan and her common sense, Tiffany Aching, a young witch-to-be, is all that stands between the monsters of Fairyland and the warm, green Chalk country that is her home. Forced into Fairyland to seek her kidnapped brother, Tiffany allies herself with the Chalk's local Nac Mac Feegle, aka the Wee Free Men, a clan of sheep-stealing, sword-wielding, six-inch-high blue men who are as fierce as they are funny.

    Richard says: "First Sight and Second Thoughts"
    "First Sight and Second Thoughts"
    Overall

    My 9-year old daughter and I listen to audiobooks any time we have a drive longer than 15 minutes and this has been one of our favorites. I find myself chuckling just thinking about Rob Anybody and Not-so-big-as-medium-sized-Jock-but-bigger-than-wee-Jock Jock and their escapades. Humor aside, I love the message that looking at things and thinking them through is more important than being able to do magic. We should all have First Sight and Second Thoughts. Especially since they generally help Tiffany sort things out for herself before the Nac Mac Feegle arrive back on the scene from whatever carousing has distracted them from the crisis at hand.

    22 of 22 people found this review helpful

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