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Pam Sykes

  • 9
  • reviews
  • 6
  • helpful votes
  • 19
  • ratings
  • The Queen

  • Aretha Franklin
  • By: Mikal Gilmore
  • Narrated by: Adenrele Ojo
  • Length: 3 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,969
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3,583
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,572

You know her voice. Now hear her story.

Audible has teamed up with Rolling Stone to produce an uncompromisingly honest Audible Original that honors the life and legacy of the incomparable Aretha Franklin. Aretha’s universal appeal was evident from the release of her first album at age 14 through her nearly 50 Top 40 hits. Yet this intimate biography reminds us that Aretha knew pain as much as she knew glory. It was the blues, residing deep within her soul, that gave way to a voice able to lift millions with a profound sense of freedom, self-worth, and undeniable talent to rise above sorrow.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I learned so much

  • By Amazon Customer on 10-15-18

A little too glib about the horror

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-17-18

I couldn't finish this book, for two reasons: First, it was just too heartbreaking to hear the details of the horrific abuse this amazing woman suffered as a child, and second, because the book glosses over this as if it's just a little unconventional, and is entirely too sympathetic to her monstrous father. Bearing your first child at the age of 12 is not quirky or bohemian -- and I don't think things were all that different in 1955.

I also found the narration a little over-dramatic for my tastes -- I would have preferred a more neutral approach for a work of non-fiction -- but your mileage may vary.

  • Remnant Population

  • By: Elizabeth Moon
  • Narrated by: Vanessa Hart
  • Length: 11 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 561
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 515
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 520

For forty years, Colony 3245.12 has been Ofelia’s home. On this planet far away in space and time from the world of her youth, she has lived and loved, weathered the death of her husband, raised her one surviving child, lovingly tended her garden, and grown placidly old. And it is here that she fully expects to finish out her days - until the shifting corporate fortunes of the Sims Bancorp Company dictates that Colony 3245.12 is to be disbanded, its residents shipped off, deep in cryo-sleep, to somewhere new and strange and not of their choosing.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • THERE ARE NO BAD PARTS IN REMNANT POPULATION

  • By Nancy on 03-13-13

A refreshingly different first contact story

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-11-18

I loved this book! It’s funny and sharp and slyly observant, just like its very unusual (for sci fi) heroine. I guess if you’re very young and a bit narrow-minded the idea of a heroine in her 70s might grate a bit, but I found the whole story completely delightful. An earlier review that mentioned “bad decisions” made me fear a horrible catastrophe for a while, but this is an optimistic book. (The narration is a little hard to follow in places — I actually had to rewind and re-listen several times — but the story survives it).

  • Great Expectations

  • By: Charles Dickens
  • Narrated by: Anton Lesser
  • Length: 19 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 254
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 222
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 220

In this, perhaps Dickens' most profound and personal novel, we are invited to share in the sentimental education of Pip, the poor boy from the village forge who risks losing himself in snobbery and selfishness when he mysteriously inherits a fortune. The story moves from the bleak Kentish marshes of Pip's childhood to a thrilling climax that mingles tragedy and triumph.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Complex characters and beautiful narration

  • By Bonny on 07-04-15

Superb narration of a great novel

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-18-18

I can't believe it took me so long to discover the glories of Charles Dickens! This novel deserves its place in the canon -- and the reading by Anton Lesser is outstanding. I listened to several samples of different narrations before choosing one and thought the lightness of Lesser's voice seemed appropriate for what I knew of the character of Pip. I didn't realise quite how versatile a performer he is and my expectations were massively exceeded. This was a beautifully paced, engaged, sensitive reading with just enough dramatic touches and accents to make the characters come alive, without ever becoming distracting, overdone or annoying. One of the most pleasing narrations I've encountered in all my years as an Audible listener.

  • Middlemarch

  • By: George Eliot
  • Narrated by: Maureen O'Brien
  • Length: 32 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 481
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 417
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 415

George Eliot's most ambitious novel is a masterly evocation of diverse lives and changing fortunes in a provincial community. Peopling its landscape are Dorothea Brooke, a young idealist whose search for intellectual fulfillment leads her into a disastrous marriage to the pedantic scholar Casaubon; and the charming but tactless Dr Lydgate, whose marriage to the spendthrift beauty Rosamund and pioneering medical methods threaten to undermine his career.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • One of the greatest novels in the English language

  • By Naomi on 06-17-14

Sometimes challenging but deeply satisfying

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-21-18

19th-century prose can be challenging to listen to, but this is a great performance — and the need to sometimes skip back a bit to get the full meaning of a long sentence is not unbearable. This book only gets more riveting as it goes on.

  • The House of Shattered Wings

  • By: Aliette de Bodard
  • Narrated by: Peter Kenny
  • Length: 14 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 68
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 63
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 64

In the late 20th century, the streets of Paris are lined with haunted ruins. The Great Magicians' War left a trail of devastation in its wake. The grands magasins have been reduced to piles of debris, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine has turned black with ashes and rubble and the remnants of the spells that tore the city apart. But those that survived still retain their irrepressible appetite for novelty and distraction, and the great houses still vie for dominion over France's once-grand capital.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • There are No Miracles in This House

  • By Dave on 10-08-15

Great concept, good performance, weak story

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-15-18

Any additional comments?

This book has a fabulous setting -- a war-wrecked Paris ruled by rival clans of fallen angels and their mortal dependents -- and a potentially interesting plot, but the whole is lethally undermined by the weakness of the characters. We are presented with what we are supposed to believe are centuries-old beings with immense magical powers - but they have all the political sophistication and interpersonal skill of a pack of feral 12-year-olds. This could have been an interesting idea to develop -- magical superbeings who are also lethally shortsighted, self-involved and stupid (almost comically so at times) but the book doesn't appear to realise how dumb its characters are. If the intended audience is 12-year-olds they might enjoy it - for adults, it's a frustrating read.

  • The Water Knife

  • By: Paolo Bacigalupi
  • Narrated by: Almarie Guerra
  • Length: 14 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,189
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,911
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,905

In the American Southwest, Nevada, Arizona, and California skirmish for dwindling shares of the Colorado River. Into the fray steps Angel Velasquez, detective, leg breaker, assassin, and spy. A Las Vegas water knife, Angel "cuts" water for his boss, Catherine Case, ensuring that her lush, luxurious arcology developments can bloom in the desert, so the rich can stay wet while the poor get nothing but dust.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The fight for water in a drought fueled apocalypse

  • By Lore on 09-24-15

Kept me up way past my bedtme

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-11-15

Any additional comments?

Paolo Bacigalupi is my biggest literary crush: His world-building is wholly and uncomfortably plausible and he's unflinching in following the concepts through, even if it does occasionally involve being incredibly mean to his very captivating characters. I still feel like I want to reach through the veils of fiction and bring Angel and Lucy and Maria over to my house for a long cool drink of water and as many showers as they want.

This is a gripping, scary book that led me to neglect all sorts of other important things (like sleep) until it was done. The level of violence is high enough to skirt the edges of the pornographic but it doesn't quite go there; you won't sleep easy, though.

I noted the narrator's occasional unusual pronunciation but it didn't worry me as it seems to have worried some other reviewers - I live very far away from the south western US and I have no idea what a "correct" accent sounds like. I did enjoy her soft Spanish lilt and her absolutely superb characterisation.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Curse of Chalion

  • By: Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Narrated by: Lloyd James
  • Length: 18 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,222
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,992
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,000

Amidst the decaying splendor and poisonous intrigue of Chalion's ancient capital, Cazaril is forced to confront not only powerful enemies but also the malignant curse that clings to the royal household, trapping him, flesh and soul, in a maze of demonic paradox, damnation, and death for as long as he dares walk the five-fold pathway of the gods.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What makes a hero... LMB knows

  • By Terri on 04-12-12

Hard to imagine how it could get any better

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-15-15

Just listened to this all the way through for the third time in as many years, and it he experience is only getting richer. The book is a quiet masterpiece, and the narration does it full justice.

  • Outlander

  • Outlander, Book 1
  • By: Diana Gabaldon
  • Narrated by: Davina Porter
  • Length: 32 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 54,445
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 45,389
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 45,237

Why we think it’s a great listen: An all-time Audible favorite that mixes historic fiction, adventure, and romance with one of the most fascinating literary devices: time travel. Outlander introduces an exhilarating world of heroism and breathtaking thrills as one woman is torn between past and present, passion and love. In 1945, former combat nurse Claire Randall returns from World War II and joins her husband for a second honeymoon. But their blissful reunion is shattered....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Time Travel VS Romance Quandary

  • By Sara on 09-10-14

Fabulous reading of a trashy-but-fun novel

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-01-15

Any additional comments?

Davina Porter's performance lifts this story to the level of "guilty pleasure" but even so I'm finding the historical, logical and geographical inconsistencies in the text difficult to handle. I'm the kind of person who gets nitpicky about whether a circle of standing stones is near Inverness or Fort William (it can't be both), or how a man can pass under an assumed name in a community full of relatives who've known him most of his life, or why a mid-20th century Englishwoman speaking a suspiciously American version of the language can be so easily understood in 18th-century Scotland. I'm trying to suspend these judgements and just enjoy it as a fun faux-historical bodice-ripper, but if you're like me you may want to give this a miss.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Mirror Dance

  • A Miles Vorkosigan Novel
  • By: Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 18 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,976
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,285
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,286

The dwarfish, fetally damaged yet brilliant Miles Vorkosigan has more than his share of troubles. Having recently escaped an assassination plot whose tool was a brainwashed clone of himself, Miles has set the clone, Mark, free for a new chance at life. But when he decides to let his clone brother assume his secret identity and lead the Dendarii Free Mercenary on an unauthorized mission to liberate other clones from the outlaw planet of Jackson's Whole, things get really messy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent book, but needs editing?

  • By Paul Mc Galey on 08-10-09

Great listen, very hard to put down

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-30-12

Where does Mirror Dance rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This book has had the most horrible effect on my sleep and productivity since The WindUp Girl -- I've deliberately left half an hour early for meetings so I can spend the extra time in the car park listening :-). The interplay between Miles and Mark is utterly gripping. The Vorkosigan series just keeps getting better.

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

Grover Gardner is a very worthy performer of these books with a great vocal and emotional range. I hope he enjoyed reading them as much as I've enjoyed listening to them, because there are a lot of hours in this! His accent is sometimes startling to me (e.g. he pronounces