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  • Coroner's Pidgin

  • An Albert Campion Mystery
  • By: Margery Allingham
  • Narrated by: David Thorpe
  • Length: 8 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 102
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 92
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 94

Just returned from years overseas on a secret mission, Albert Campion is relaxing in his bath when his servant Lugg and a lady of unmistakably aristocratic bearing appear in his flat carrying the corpse of a woman. At first Campion is unwilling to get involved, but he is forced to bring his powers of protection to bear on the case, and to solve not only the mystery of the murdered woman but also the alarming disappearance of some well-known art treasures.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • An enjoyable entry in the series

  • By Wadie on 04-28-13

Overdone narration

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

Reviewed: 11-06-17

I like the interesting plots in the Albert Campion series. I've read a lot of them before but coming back to them at this point in history I can't help but be sensitized to the racism in the books although it is not a major thing, it just is an underlying note.

The narrator is a competent narrator, but the choice was made to really overact. I belong to the camp that is not looking for a fully dramatized story. I do like to know who is speaking and to have it phrased well. David Thorpe takes the description of Albert Campion's voice in the text and goes to town with it and it is pretty awful to listen to. Some of the other characters are awfully voiced as well.

Given those two issues I have, I still listened to the whole book, taking breaks to listen to other books when I couldn't stand the squeaks and squeals.

  • Beauty Like the Night

  • The Spymaster Series, Book 6
  • By: Joanna Bourne
  • Narrated by: Kirsten Potter
  • Length: 9 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 78
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 77
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 77

Severine de Cabrillac, orphan of the French Revolution and sometime British intelligence agent, has tried to leave spying behind her. Now she devotes herself to investigating crimes in London and finding justice for the wrongly accused. Raoul Deverney, an enigmatic half-Spaniard with enough secrets to earn even a spy's respect, is at her door demanding help. She's the only one who can find the killer of his long-estranged wife and rescue her missing 12-year-old daughter.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A worthy continuation to an excellent series

  • By noagnes on 04-22-18

Kirsten Potter can't do accents

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

Reviewed: 08-16-17

Any additional comments?

I really enjoy Joanna Bourne's spy/romance novels; her characters are interesting and she writes good but not overly convoluted plots. They are quick, fun reads.

However, I am really mad at myself that I again bought her book on audio; I should have remembered that these are books that I can't easily listen to again because the reader is so very bad at accents. Her main fake accent is what might be called standard British, only it's not. I am American, but I am constantly wincing at how badly Ms. Potter pronounces both the English dialogue as well as her pseudo French accent. She is actually a decent narrator although she tends to read very similarly from book to book. But I am really annoyed by readers who don't have the skill or the ear to do well by the material. This is bad enough that I'm warning other listeners off of it.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Rondo Allegro

  • By: Sherwood Smith
  • Narrated by: Fenella Fudge
  • Length: 19 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19

In 1799 all of Europe is at war. In Palermo 16-year-old singer-in-training Anna Maria Ludovisi is married by her dying father to Captain Henry Duncannon, the perennial bachelor. Minutes after the wedding he sets sail. The threat of French invasion causes Anna to flee to Paris. At the end of the revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte is transforming France; Anna must transform herself into a professional singer in order to survive.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good story, narration not great

  • By Mrs Max on 02-13-17

A good story ruined - beware

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

Reviewed: 07-26-17

What disappointed you about Rondo Allegro?

Fenella Fudge uses an overwrought Italian accent for the heroine that makes listening to this unbearable for me. I tried speeding the narration up to see if it would be listenable and it helped but not enough. I really dislike narrators/producers who think they are putting on a play or making a film instead of providing an enjoyable but unobtrusive reading of a book. It is too bad because this is book worth being well read. Get the print version!

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Victoria

  • A Novel
  • By: Daisy Goodwin
  • Narrated by: Anna Wilson-Jones
  • Length: 12 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,867
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,712
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,699

Early one morning, less than a month after her 18th birthday, Alexandrina Victoria is roused from bed with the news that her uncle William IV has died, and she is now queen of England. The men who run the country have doubts about whether this sheltered young woman, who stands less than five feet tall, can rule the greatest nation in the world. Surely she must rely on her mother and her venal advisor, Sir John Conroy, or her uncle, the Duke of Cumberland, who are all too eager to relieve her of the burdens of power.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Young Victoria

  • By Taren on 12-18-17

If you are interested in Queen Victoria

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

Reviewed: 12-03-16

Any additional comments?

I really enjoyed Daisy Goodwin's first two books: The American Heiress and The Fortune Hunter. This newest book is a fictionalized account of the time of Queen Victoria's life from just before she succeeds to the throne until she becomes betrothed to Prince Albert. Victoria is very well written and tells the story well. The problem for me ended up being that I just wasn't that interested in this small piece of history, at least not taken to this extent. The history (which the blurb says is well-researched) could be told in a fairly short essay. I have to say that while I did listen to the whole book, I didn't find it compelling. If you are a fan of Queen Victoria, it might be a better fit for you.

The reader is excellent, and I found her various accents convincing.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Savage Run

  • A Joe Pickett Novel
  • By: C. J. Box
  • Narrated by: David Chandler
  • Length: 8 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,960
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,744
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,739

An Edgar, Anthony, Macavity, Gumshoe, and Barry Award winner, C. J. Box delivers the second pulse-pounding installment in his critically acclaimed series. While investigating a string of bizarre murders, Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett is forced to flee across treacherous terrain with a deadly tracker on his trail.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Box brings the West alive!

  • By Kelly on 01-30-14

A potentially good plot, but...

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

Reviewed: 10-03-16

What disappointed you about Savage Run?

This is the second Joe Pickett noel I've read. I find Joe Pickett to be an uninteresting and actually stupid hero. As a game warden in Wyoming, he should be skilled outdoorsman yet he continually makes stupid choices or shows lack of knowledge. For instance in one case he needs to pull another person up using a rope; he just pulls, he doesn't use a nearby tree or even his own body as a belay. I could go on, there is much worse, but people don't like spoilers. This book has a basic plot which is actually potentially a very good plot, but it is ruined by turning most of the characters into caricatures. Even the 'normal' people are one dimensional. This is too bad because the challenges of the American West are really important and complex and don't deserve to be treated in this cartoonish way. (I say this as a westerner.)

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

I would never choose to listen to a David Chandler narration. I didn't find him unbearable but he was pretty flat and certainly did not add to the story.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Savage Run?

It wouldn't be saveable in that way. C. J. Box needs to have a better understanding of people, of the west and of the complex challenges of the Rocky Mountain West. There are so many competing wishes and needs, and perceived as well as legal rights. The allliances that arise from the changing nature of the western United States change often and are unpredictable; it is far from black and white in any area.

Any additional comments?

I do wonder if C. J. Box has gotten any better in later books in the series; I won't be finding out. I only finished reading this book to give it a thorough review. If it were up to me, I would add a bunch of 'spoilers' so other potential readers would know it's not just an off day for me.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Vinegar Girl

  • A Novel
  • By: Anne Tyler
  • Narrated by: Kirsten Potter
  • Length: 6 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 442
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 392
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 395

Kate Battista feels stuck. How did she end up running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and uppity, pretty younger sister, Bunny? Plus, she's always in trouble at work - her preschool charges adore her, but their parents don't always appreciate her unusual opinions and forthright manner.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Well worth a listen

  • By Hope on 07-20-16

Well worth a listen

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

Reviewed: 07-20-16

Any additional comments?

I bought this audiobook for two reasons; I was curious about what would be done with such a problematical plot in a current setting and I know Anne Tyler as a very good author. I don't usually read Anne Tyler; I have had enough angst and deep sorrow in my own life that I choose to read books that don't put me through it.

If I had had to rate Vinegar Girl in the middle of reading it I would probably have given it 3 stars. There is a lot of family dysfunction and I didn't love the characters. I was pretty uncomfortable; it was not happy reading, but it never reached the point where I thought seriously about not finishing. I am so very glad that I did finish. Anne Tyler really did take The Taming of the Shrew and make it work and beyond that, she made it make sense.

If you know Shakespeare, you know the plot; Tyler certainly deviates from the original; she has to in order for the plot to make any sense in today's world. She does hit the high points of the play but I really had no idea how she would bring it all together at the end, but she does, and it is brilliant. I was completely charmed by her ending.

I want to mention that I also appreciated that she kept the book very tight; it is short as audiobooks go these days, but it was the right length for what she accomplished; there was no filler in it. It is so much harder to skip filler in audiobooks than in print; I have sometimes loved the plot and characters in a book and have just been worn out by all of the extras thrown in. Thank goodness for a disciplined author and for good editors.

Kirsten Potter was brilliant all the way through. I have heard her read before and she is one of the audio narrators who really shines in the profession.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Julian Fellowes's Belgravia

  • By: Julian Fellowes
  • Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
  • Length: 15 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,466
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,288
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,271

Julian Fellowes's Belgravia is the story of a secret. A secret that unravels behind the porticoed doors of London's grandest postcode. Set in the 1840s, when the upper echelons of society began to rub shoulders with the emerging industrial nouveau riche, Belgravia is peopled by a rich cast of characters. But the story begins on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. At the Duchess of Richmond's new legendary ball, one family's life will change forever.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Fellowes is a Brand but the Narrator is a Marvel!

  • By M. T. Mirabile on 08-14-16

Overall, good for what it is

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

Reviewed: 07-10-16

Any additional comments?

Julian Fellowes is a very skilled writer. Belgravia seems to be set up to be a serialized TV show, like Downton Abbey but taking place at a different time in history (1825 and 1840).One of Julian Fellowes' and thus Belgravia's strengths is the depth of knowledge of history and culture that make this book more than just a fluff piece. I particularly enjoy a novel that is enriched with that kind of detail, although it was interesting that he chose to assume ignorance on his readers' part and use the term market cart seller rather than the usual term costermonger. All he had to do was provide the definition once and his readers would be smart enough to remember that. A very small quibble.

I did enjoy istening to this book. It is by no means great literature, it is rather like a period soap opera in book form, but well enough done that it is a fun escape. The beginning is particularly well done; as the book goes on, the plot is fairly predictable. I found the characters engaging (Anne in particular) and was very invested in their various stories.

I am glad I listened to it, overall, it made for some fun hours of escape from every day life.

Juliet Stevenson is a narrator whom I trust; I've listened to her read many classics. She is as good as ever reading Belgravia. She is a bit more emotive at various times than is usual for her, but I thought she did her usual excellent job.

30 of 36 people found this review helpful

  • A Kiss from Mr. Fitzgerald

  • By: Natasha Lester
  • Narrated by: Kelly Burke
  • Length: 12 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 426
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 396
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 397

It's 1922 in the Manhattan of gin, jazz and prosperity. Women wear makeup and hitched hemlines - and enjoy a new freedom to vote and work. Not so for Evelyn Lockhart, who is forbidden from pursuing her passion to become one of the first female doctors. Chasing her dream will mean turning her back on her family: her competitive sister, Viola; her conservative parents; and the childhood best friend she is expected to marry, Charlie.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Spoiled by the narrator

  • By Janet H. Maddox on 06-04-16

Starts well, crashes into melodrama

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

Reviewed: 06-24-16

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No, it's a book I found pretty disappointing. It began well, an interesting heroine who engages with the hero in quite an engaging way. She has serious ambitions to be other than the society woman she was brought up to be. She makes difficult choices (with some help) and pays a pretty heavy price for those choices. She is a very attractive young woman which actually makes her life easier for the most part; she is able to support herself quite well while she goes to medical school because of that.

There is a lot of back and forth between the H and h; he is still quite young himself and establishing himself in the business world; the two are drawn to each other but are unsure of the others true feelings. This is all well and good and done fairly well, not serious literature but entertaining and even somewhat educational about the life of a woman of her class during the 1920's. But then...



SO SERIOUS SPOILERS HERE! BE WARNED!



My big issues were how very melodramatic the story got the farther it went on. There was the Big Misunderstanding trope which fortunately did not last too long. But the thing I need to warn people off this book about is an issue which really enrages me. The hero declares his love for the heroine; they have extra marital sex - OK, birth control was available and they were in love. But then the hero has to go back to England for business; the heroine gets pregnant by him before he goes and NEVER TELLS HIM. For me this is despicable. If a man is a pedophile or extremely abusive, I could understand protecting his child from him, but otherwise, a man has a right to know that he has fathered a child! I don't care what excuses the heroine makes up about not wanting to wreck her lover's business career by having become a social pariah; she still needed to tell him that she was pregnant. Even at the end where it gets ridiculously melodramatic and she's not going to tell him that her little girl is his unless he loves her, the heroine, and would marry her anyway. This is so selfish both towards him but also to their daughter. The author uses the term 'prevaricate' when what is really happening are outright lies, both in commission and by omission. The last HOURS of the book is all mostly moaning and breast-beating instead of telling the truth and bringing the story to a neat and plausible ending.

Did Kelly Burke do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

Kelly Burke has a nice voice and she does differentiate characters fairly well; her male voices are her weak point, but I found them workable. What I did NOT like is her melodramatic reading from the first to the last. I've heard worse, but books that are written with this kind of drama in them already do NOT need to be played up. The words already convey the story and it takes only a little emotion in the reading (and only in those parts that call out for it) to get the feelings across. It's rarely clear at this point who has made the choice about how a book should be read. Some books are recorded by a narrator who directs and produces themselves while other have both an additional director and producer. I tend to believe that the better readings are done when there is outside feed back from a director and/or producer. (Just like self-published books are often crying out for a really good editor,)

Do you think A Kiss from Mr. Fitzgerald needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No.

Any additional comments?

Audible should give reviewers a choice of questionnaire formats instead of asking us to try to fit our reviews into formulaic questions like these; many reviewers only answer the questions that are asked no matter how irrelevant the questions are to the book being reviewed and even though the reviewer seems to have much more to say that would be useful to other readers who are considering buying that book.

  • A Hundred Summers

  • By: Beatriz Williams
  • Narrated by: Kathleen McInerney
  • Length: 11 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 692
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 633
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 636

Memorial Day, 1938: New York socialite Lily Dane has just returned with her family to the idyllic oceanfront community of Seaview, Rhode Island, expecting another placid summer season among the familiar traditions and friendships that sustained her after heartbreak. That is, until Greenwalds decide to take up residence in Seaview. Nick and Budgie Greenwald are an unwelcome specter from Lily's past: her former best friend and her former fiancee, now recently married - an event that set off a wildfire of gossip.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • This one is JUICY.

  • By Amber on 09-10-13

Histrionic story by an author who can do better

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

Reviewed: 06-19-16

What did you like best about A Hundred Summers? What did you like least?

Beatriz Williams is a competent writer; she could use a really good editor or a good writer's group to cut out the unnecessary melodrama. This book has a decent plot (with some too stupid to live moments, unfortunately) but it is self-indulgent and has a lot of scenes and descriptions which are excessive to the story. I did like some of the characters, although there were an enormous number of secrets kept unnecessarily.

Would you be willing to try another book from Beatriz Williams? Why or why not?

Yes, she can write well.

What didn’t you like about Kathleen McInerney’s performance?

Incredibly over-acted, histrionic performance. She has a good voice and reads well and rarely mispronounces words. It isn't clear whether the way she read this book was her choice or due to a director/producer. The book is already melodramatic; it doesn't have to be read so very over the top dramatically, from the very first sentence. In a movie, this level of over-emoting would be obviously ridiculous; I find it amazing that narrators read books in this manner.

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

No, it's pretty shallow, I don't think it would be worth the time.

Any additional comments?

I listened to this book sped up, I couldn't have finished it otherwise. I enjoyed the first third of the book, but by the end I felt that I had wasted my time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Age of Innocence

  • By: Edith Wharton
  • Narrated by: Nicky Whichelow
  • Length: 9 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40

Author Edith Wharton has a phenomenal ability to write about love that is lost and found. A young man by the name of Newland Archer seems to have everything he wants out of life, most notably a beautiful young fiancé named May Welland. Their innocent romance seems unbreakable until the introduction of May's cousin, Ellen Olenska, who is planning on divorcing her husband. As he gets to know her and her more rebellious take on life, Archer finds himself falling in love with her.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Book is always better than the movie, or is it

  • By rendezvous_with_reading on 08-07-18

Sloppy Production

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

Reviewed: 06-08-16

Any additional comments?

I actually chose this version of Age of Innocence to listen to because it was 3 hours shorter than other versions. The reader has a good reading voice and she reads in a way I like; not too dramatic but with some expression. She reads very quickly, which could be an issue if you are driving or otherwise trying to multitask; you will miss a lot. That is what I liked, I was only listening and I didn't want to wait for an actor's over emoting.

What I didn't like was the sense that this was a very poorly produced version; there are an excruciating number of mispronunciations; the reader is British and there are obvious differences in pronunciation between British English and American English, but even given that the reader rushes through words, skipping syllables or misreading the word. She mispronounces even quite well known foreign places; the Tuilleries were twilleria or something like that. These are errors that should be caught by a director or producer and fixed. This kind of shoddy recording work should certainly not be sold at full price.

I have noticed that this production company, A. R. N. Productions, has just put out a number of recordings of classics with very similar style cover art. Just based on the really annoyingly bad production quality of this example, I plan to avoid all of their recorded versions of books.

I know that there are a lot of self-published authors who are putting out audio books with incompetent readers; I have sympathy for their wish to get their books out on audio as inexpensively as possible, although I try very hard to avoid buying books with bad narrators

I have less sympathy for this production company that is putting out fairly attractively packaged new recordings of old classics and doing it badly.

I did listen to 4/5 of this recording before giving up in disgust and finishing up with the David Horovitch recording. He does a very good job, but he does read pretty slowly and with a lot of dramatic pauses, which I don't love either. But he does know the words and it's clear that mistakes have been corrected before the audio book was released.

The Age of Innocence is one of my more favorite of Edith Wharton's books. It gives a wonderfully clear sighted tale of the state of upper class New York City culture in the 1870's, well worth reading.

2 of 8 people found this review helpful