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Toby

Anglophile. Prefer only British fiction and mysteries. Good translations of Italian, too.

Portsmouth, NH, United States | Member Since 2010

124
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 76 reviews
  • 76 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 181 purchased in 2014
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8

  • Just One Evil Act: A Lynley Novel, Book 18

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Elizabeth George
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    Overall
    (380)
    Performance
    (332)
    Story
    (330)

    Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers is at a loss: The daughter of her friend Taymullah Azhar has been taken by her mother, and Barbara can't really help - Azhar had never married Angelina, and his name isn't on Hadiyyah's, their daughter's, birth certificate. He has no legal claim. Azhar and Barbara hire a private detective, but the trail goes cold. Azhar is just beginning to accept his soul-crushing loss when Angelina reappears with shocking news: Hadiyyah is missing, kidnapped from an Italian marketplace.

    Ruth Nielsen says: "Not a Fan Anymore!"
    "Perhaps the best ever of Elizabeth George mysterie"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Just One Evil Act the most enjoyable?

    Many things made this book captivating. I liked the focus on Barbara Havers. I loved that most of the "action" took place in Lucca, Italy. I liked that Lynley had a new love interest. There was just so much about this book that I adored. I liked the new character, Salvatore.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Just One Evil Act?

    When Barbara Havers is up all night trying to figure out what to do next. I won't reveal more as no reader wants to know in advance too many details!


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

    Davinia Porter is one of my favorite readers. As I am legally blind and have no option but to listen to books, the reader is key. Ms. Porter is excellent.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Barbara sees Lucca from the rooftop terrace. Also, the various emotional encounters.


    Any additional comments?

    A brilliant read. I especially enjoyed that the book was not hurried and that it was long. I liked this very much. As always with Ms. George, the characterizations were marvelous. She is such a grand and enjoyable author.

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • I Capture the Castle

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Dodie Smith
    • Narrated By Jenny Agutter
    Overall
    (241)
    Performance
    (201)
    Story
    (201)

    "I write this sitting at the kitchen sink" is the first line of a novel about love, sibling rivalry, and a bohemian existence in a crumbling castle in the middle of nowhere. Cassandra Mortmin's journal records her fadingly glamorous stepmother, her beautiful, wistful older sister, and the man to whom they owe both their isolation and poverty: Father. The author of one experimental novel, and a minor cause celebre, he has since suffered from writer's block and is determined to drag his family down with him.

    Matthew says: "Well, that was a surprise"
    "Charming. Perhaps the original chick lit?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, I would. I do not care for the term "chick lit" but if we must put it into an elevated grouping, this book would suit nicely. The plot and characterizations are beyond excellent.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The pace, the exquisite prose, the tensions, the little moments. Quite simply, everything. I did not want this book to end.


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

    As I cannot read print due to partial blindness, I cannot say. I did think this reader was exemplary and did a fantastic job with pacing and voices.


    If you could rename I Capture the Castle, what would you call it?

    I would not rename it as the title is perfect. Why would I want to rename it? This is a bit of a silly question, isn't it?


    Any additional comments?

    Probably a one off kind of book as I cannot think of any others that come close. Such a really fine read - meaty yet whimsical. Quite simply, perfect.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • C'est Modnifique!: Adventures of an English Grump in Rural France

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Ian Moore
    • Narrated By Ian Moore
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    After six years in the idyllic Loire Valley, comedian Ian Moore, his family, and his ever-expanding menagerie are beginning to feel like they're on the cusp of the peace and tranquility they hoped for when they moved from dreary Crawley to la belle France. Their grand project, a writing school called Les Champs Créatifs, is finally complete - only, nobody's signed up.

    Toby says: "Ian Moore writes and read this - so special!"
    "Ian Moore writes and read this - so special!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of C'est Modnifique! to be better than the print version?

    How would I know? I am visually impaired and can only listen to books.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The gentle humor and compassion for animals and human beings. I also loved the details about living in rural France.


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

    Yes. I have listened to his first book, a La Mod ... that is also very good. I suppose I would say this may be a tad bit better, but again -- who can say? Because I've read the first book and read his blog posts, I feel as if I almost know him and his family.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    I do not answer these type of questions as I find it irrelevant. I also almost never, ever go to see a film of a book I have read. They are never good.


    Any additional comments?

    Ian Moore's reading of this book lends it a very special touch. Not many authors can read their own books well. Perhaps because he is a comic, he can do it. It is such an easy and natural reading, that I feel as if I am there with him, nodding and laughing or crying a bit. I love his gently humanity. An intelligent humorist.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Want You Dead

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Peter James
    • Narrated By Daniel Weyman
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (17)

    In Peter James' Want You Dead, 30-year-old Red Cameron meets handsome, charming and rich 35-year-old Bryce Laurent through an online dating agency, and is instantly attracted to him. But as their love blossoms, the truth about his past begins to emerge, and with it his dark side. Everything he has told Red about himself turns out to be a tissue of lies, and her infatuation with him gradually turns to terror. Within a year, and under police protection, she evicts him from her flat and her life.

    Toby says: "A perfect Roy Grace mystery"
    "A perfect Roy Grace mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Want You Dead the most enjoyable?

    No doubt partly it is because I have read every book in this series. This new one is even better than I had expected. A sure page turner.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Want You Dead?

    I liked Grace's pre-wedding dream and then the wedding itself.
    Also liked the inner conversations of Red.


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

    If it is the same as earlier Peter James books, then yes. Very good.


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

    I was spell bound and could not figure out what would happen next always, so this is good as in most the plot is too simplistic. Not the case with how James presents the work.


    Any additional comments?

    I especially like that it is set in Brighton. The descriptive prose lives up to my expectations. You do want to get to know these characters more and more.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • They Found Him Dead

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Georgette Heyer
    • Narrated By Ulli Birvé
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (19)

    The sixtieth birthday party of Silas Kane was marred by argument and dissension among his family. And then, the morning after the celebrations, Kane is found dead at the foot of a cliff. The theory that Silas accidentally lost his way in the fog is confirmed when the coroner returns a verdict of death by misadventure. But then Kane's nephew and heir is murdered and threats are made on the next in line to the fortune, throwing a new and sinister light on Kane's death. All clues point to an elderly lady of eighty as the killer.

    Toby says: "Heyer's classic mysteries are ripe & delicious"
    "Heyer's classic mysteries are ripe & delicious"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. For any fan of the classic Golden Age mystery, this is great. I am actually rereading them. Witty, clever plot and likable and despicable characters.


    What other book might you compare They Found Him Dead to and why?

    I suppose all of hers are similar in that they follow traditional mystery lines and I like this.


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

    A wonderful reader. Just perfect. Brings the story to life.


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

    It made me laugh as I enjoy truly witty dialogue and plot twists. This book has both.


    Any additional comments?

    A most delightful read. If only the good Ms. Heyer had written more mysteries and less romances. Those are okay, but the mystery books are far superior.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Out of the Past: Miss Silver, Book 23

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Patricia Wentworth
    • Narrated By Diana Bishop
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (27)

    James and Carmona Hardwick are spending the summer playing host to numerous friends and relatives in an old Hardwick family residence by the sea. The arrival of Alan Field, a devastatingly handsome though shady figure from Carmona's past, destroys the holiday atmosphere in the old house and replaces it with a mounting tension, culminating in murder. Fortunately, Miss Silver is present to unravel the complex mystery and seek out the murderer amongst them.

    Toby says: "Wentworth classics never disappioint"
    "Wentworth classics never disappioint"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Out of the Past?

    I love most all things in the Wentworth mysteries. Miss Silver, most certainly!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Out of the Past?

    Cannot define just one. Love the interactions between the lovers/friends. Wentworth is an expert at dialogue. A master.


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

    Yes. I have listened to Ms. Bishop many times. She is good in that she does not over-act and keep raising her voice. Who wants to hear shouting in an audible book?


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

    Mostly. I read all of Wentworth long ago when I was still able to read a proper, print book, before my eyes went wonky.


    Any additional comments?

    I'd say Wentworth is one of those amazing ladies of the Cozy Mystery/Tea Cake Ladies genre. I wish we had some NOW.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • From Notting Hill with Four Weddings...Actually

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Ali McNamara
    • Narrated By Finty Williams
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Movie addict Scarlett O'Brien is finally living the jet-setting life she's dreamed of - but it all hangs by a shiny, golden thread. Flying between London and New York, running two businesses, planning her wedding to handsome fiancé, Sean, with best friends Oscar and Maddie - life couldn't be better. But then Scarlett meets paparazzi darling, Gabriella Romero, and life suddenly becomes even more extravagant and glamorous.

    Toby says: "Not as enjoyable as the real movies"
    "Not as enjoyable as the real movies"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Ali McNamara and/or Finty Williams?

    No, I think not. Yet, I did like the reader. I feel as if McNamara might grow up a bit.


    Would you recommend From Notting Hill with Four Weddings...Actually to your friends? Why or why not?

    No. I finished it because I was hoping for a twist. It is pretty darn shallow.


    What aspect of Finty Williams’s performance would you have changed?

    The reader was pretty good. It is not her fault she was given such lines.


    Could you see From Notting Hill with Four Weddings...Actually being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    The premise led one to believe the book would have some depth, but it did not. This would be okay if the book held some huge humor or sardonic commentary or even a message. God forbid! The only reason I finished this book is that I was ill and in bed and had no other options. I thought the characters were beyond believable. Some, in fact, were simply as boring as if I were watching some lame tv show. Which I never do.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Murder on Cue

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Jane Dentinger
    • Narrated By Jane Dentinger
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    In the first book of the Jocelyn O'Roarke series, when a Broadway show’s lead actress is murdered, her understudy must race to find the killer before it’s too late. Struggling actress Jocelyn "Josh" O’Roarke just got a real offer. Well, something resembling a real offer. Her old friend Austin Frost has written a play for Broadway and cast the glamorous Harriet Weldon as the lead. Not wishing to leave his old friend Josh behind, he has invited her to be Harriet’s understudy.

    Toby says: "A welcome entry into the charmed NYC theatre world"
    "A welcome entry into the charmed NYC theatre world"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Murder on Cue rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I cannot rank all the books I have listened to, as it would be comparing apples to oranges. In the genre of cozy mysteries, I would rank this quite high.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    As I lived in NYC, in close proximity to the sight of Jocelyn's apartment, this was much about nostalgia. I can attest that her descriptions and sense of place are spot on. Also, I love that Jocelyn is a smart character, not some lame stereotypical woman.


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

    I think she reads her own prose very well. I was engaged and have since purchased two more in the series.


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

    No, not that sort of book. It was a gentle, sweet read. I read it in two days. `


    Any additional comments?

    I am very happy that Audible has made this series from the 80s/early 90s available on audible format. Now, get me Barbara Pym!
    I think that this Jane Dentinger series is pretty much timeless. The author's wit and dry humor resonate. She is a compelling character and good read. Bravo!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Shopaholic to the Stars: Shopaholic, Book 7

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Sophie Kinsella
    • Narrated By Clare Corbett
    Overall
    (86)
    Performance
    (78)
    Story
    (78)

    Becky and her two-year-old daughter, Minnie, have relocated to L.A. to join her husband, Luke, who is there to handle PR for famous actress Sage Seymour. Becky can't wait to start living the A-list lifestyle, complete with celebrity sightings, yoga retreats, and shopping trips to Rodeo Drive. But she really hopes to become a personal stylist - Sage's personal stylist - if only Luke would set up an introduction.

    Amazon Customer says: "A Cliffhanger!"
    "A generally good read with some laughs"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Shopaholic to the Stars?

    I mostly enjoyed this book, but having read all of her previous Shopaholic and other novels was a bit let down by the ending. Not much was resolved and this may have been intentional. Still, it could have been done so with a bit more information.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Becky, I suppose. I would have enjoyed ore of Sooz and the other other characters. Shopaholic and Sister was so ripe with rich characters. This may have spoiled me. However, as satire of Hollywood and american shallowness, this is pretty right on as the characters are exactly that.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    No.


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

    No. I had been overly anticipating the new one. I think this book could have been much better if it had gone on for a few more chapters, "to sort things out a bit more."


    Any additional comments?

    The character of Eleanor was ripe for expanding and this did not happen. Also, Minnie was a bit stereotypical and not particularly lovable. I also felt the reader/presenter was too gushy and the variations in sound level annoying.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Fathomless Riches: Or How I Went from Pop to Pulpit

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Richard Coles
    • Narrated By Richard Coles
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (1)

    A parish priest in Northamptonshire; a former rock-star whose number-one hit with The Communards was the biggest-selling single of 1986; the regular host of BBC Radio 4's SATURDAY LIVE - these three people are not usually embodied in one person. The Reverend Richard Coles' memoir offers his rich and personal insights into one of the most diverse of lives, encompassed with the wit and humour he brings to his popular radio show. Richard Coles gives the phrase 'time management' a new emphasis.

    Toby says: "A bit too boringly confessional"
    "A bit too boringly confessional"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Richard Coles and/or Richard Coles?

    Yes, I would. There were many aspects of the book that I enjoyed. Overall, however, I felt there was too much confessional info and it was not even that interesting. I read it as I know of him as a personality. The religion bit left me cold.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    I already knew how it would end.


    What three words best describe Richard Coles’s performance?

    Erudite, fast-paced, listenable.


    Was Fathomless Riches worth the listening time?

    In retrospect, no. I read it to the end to see if would improve. Some of the prose was lovely, but I wanted more dialogue and meaningful interactions.`


    Any additional comments?

    I suppose this captures an era, but I didn't feel it went deep enough. It wasn't Joe Orton. Also, the conversion stuff was not terribly believable or interesting. The best bits were about the BBC and his travels.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Demon Summer: A Max Tudor Mystery, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By G.M. Malliet
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (35)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (34)

    The powerful Lord complains loudly to the local bishop, who asks Father Max Tudor, vicar of Nether Monkslip and former MI5 agent, to investigate. Just as Max comes to believe the poisoning was accidental, a body is discovered in the cloister well. Can Max Tudor solve the case and restore order in time to attend his own nuptials?

    Ronna says: "A must read for all cozy enthusiasts--"
    "A Predictable read. Earlier books better"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    If the friend had read the earlier three in the series, I might give a cautionary warning. It is simply not as good as the three earlier books.


    If you’ve listened to books by G.M. Malliet before, how does this one compare?

    The least enjoyable of the earlier three books.


    What about Michael Page’s performance did you like?

    I thought his reading was good, but sometimes his various accents and shrieks were just too much.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    I am visually impaired. I do not go to movies.


    Any additional comments?

    I was so looking forward to the next in the series. Perhaps the next one will restore my adoration. I love the main characters, but the monastery and the nuns and guests were basically one big bore. One-dimensional characters. Get Max back to the village!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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