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Jenny

Woodlands, Australia
  • 31
  • reviews
  • 20
  • helpful votes
  • 34
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  • The Girl on the Train

  • By: Paula Hawkins
  • Narrated by: Louise Brealey, India Fisher, Clare Corbett
  • Length: 10 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,421
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,303
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,297

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She's even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life - as she sees it - is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. And then she sees something shocking. It's only a minute until the train moves on, but it's enough. Now everything's changed.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic

  • By Claudia on 04-14-15

Twisted Thriller

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

Reviewed: 03-16-16

A book that starts slowly and gains moderate momentum towards the end. No deep characterisation, though enough to explain each character's role in the story.

It is important to bear in mind that all 3 narrators are unreliable, presenting events from their personal perspective only.

Each reader portrayed their character very well.





  • The Narrow Road to the Deep North

  • By: Richard Flanagan
  • Narrated by: Richard Flanagan
  • Length: 15 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 128
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 111
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 110

August, 1943. In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Thai-Burma death railway, Australian surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his love affair with his uncle's young wife two years earlier. Struggling to save the men under his command from starvation, from cholera, from beatings, he receives a letter that will change his life forever. This savagely beautiful novel is a story about the many forms of love and death, of war and truth, as one man comes of age, prospers, only to discover all that he has lost.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Insert hyperbole here

  • By Margaret M. Bell on 10-21-14

What Is Love?

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

Reviewed: 10-22-14

Would you consider the audio edition of The Narrow Road to the Deep North to be better than the print version?

No, not better. Each one has so much to offer the person reading or listening. Both are intimately connected to Richard Flanagan in a remarkable way.

What other book might you compare The Narrow Road to the Deep North to and why?

I have not read a book quite like this one. Richard Flanagan has written so sensitively about human relationships - between people - and within oneself. The way he writes challenges the reader/listener to reflect on their own experiences, even if that person does not recognise what is happening to them as they work through the book.

Which character – as performed by Richard Flanagan – was your favorite?

For a lot of the book I was drawn to Darky Gardiner; and I was shocked to discover his origins. The revealing of his story, was as ironic as it was loving.

In the end, I had the greatest warmth for Amy. Her bewilderment, her illness, her life, mostly unexpressed after the early part of the book, brought out the caring, nurturing part of my soul. I felt good thinking about her.

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

I was so very impressed with the way Dorrigo Evans' story is brought around at the end of the book. Such sensitive and insightful writing.

Any additional comments?

I was deeply moved to hear Richard Flanagan reading his book. Many authors are far from being adequate narrators. RF, using a flat voice, with very little intonation, allowed the characters to reveal themselves without any veiling.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Monogram Murders

  • The New Hercule Poirot Mystery
  • By: Sophie Hannah
  • Narrated by: Julian Rhind-Tutt
  • Length: 11 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 22
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 22
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 21

Hercule Poirot's quiet supper in a London coffee house is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered. She is terrified, but begs Poirot not to find and punish her killer. Once she is dead, she insists, justice will have been done. Later that night, Poirot learns that three guests at a fashionable London hotel have been murdered, and a cufflink has been placed in each one's mouth. Could there be a connection with the frightened woman?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Channelling Agatha

  • By Jenny on 10-13-14

Channelling Agatha

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

Reviewed: 10-13-14

What made the experience of listening to The Monogram Murders the most enjoyable?

The story. I think that Ms Hannah has captured the essence of Agatha Christie's story telling style. There is a lot of reliance on dialogue to move the plot along, always interspersed with Poirot's egomanic claims that HIS little grey cells are superior to his offsider's!

The only 2 comments that I make about the book, is the setting is not a classical Christie setting - elite hotel, aristocratic home or simple English country village. (Indeed the village in this story bears more relation to Midwich that St Mary Mead!) The other comment is that the writing is a bit more detailed than I am used to with Agatha Christie, making the story a bit too long.

However, neither of these was a significant barrier to my enjoyment of the book. I congratulate Sophie Hannah on an excellent replication of a Hercule Poirot tale, and await her foray into Miss Marple's world.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Not on the edge of my seat, any more than one of Agatha Christie's stories did. What it did do well was to get me to exercise my little grey cells. I thoroughly enjoyed the many and varied red herrings as they trailed across the story.

Have you listened to any of Julian Rhind-Tutt’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I haven't heard Julian Rhind-Tutt previously, and I thought that his personification of Poirot was especially good. I liked his voice and the pace at which he read.

One problem that I did have was that he varied the volume of his voice rather too much, and that even with earphones that sit inside my ear, there were times when I had to turn the volume of my iPod very high (if I had time) and then, when using hie regular voice, it was much too loud.

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

No extreme reaction - a quiet delight that there is someone who can write a good copy of Agatha Christie's style.

Any additional comments?

If you are a Christie afficionado - read it. If you have never read Christie - read it, but then read some Christie afterwards

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules

  • By: Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg
  • Narrated by: Patience Tomlinson
  • Length: 12 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 6

The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules is an incredibly quirky, humorous, and warm-hearted story about growing old disgracefully - and breaking all the rules along the way! 79-year-old Martha Andersson dreams of escaping her care home and robbing a bank. She has no intention of spending the rest of her days in an armchair and is determined to fund her way to a much more exciting lifestyle. Along with her four oldest friends - otherwise known as the League of Pensioners - Martha decides to rebel against all of the rules imposed upon them.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Boring

  • By Kim Hannan on 11-18-17

The Winner Takes It All; or Practise Makes Perfect

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

Reviewed: 02-18-14

Is there anything you would change about this book?

It is a long book. Within it there are 3 sections in each of which a significant crime is committed. This is a great structure. But the book is filled with back story and explanation of character's observations and responses. Personally I think it needs a very severe edit in order to bring the focus much more clearly onto the crimes and their intentions and results.

What could Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Less words. Too many descriptions and backstories.

Which scene was your favorite?

None of the scenes was particularly memorable to me. In spite of all the explanations and descriptions, the characters did not come alive to me. Having said that, I still think the concept in the book is terrific - that of elderly people grabbing life by the throat and shaking the gold from it.

Did The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules inspire you to do anything?

I haven't started planning a crime spree, but I think I will be very vigorous in editing my own writing.

Any additional comments?

So - I think - listen to this story when you need a long and meandering tale that has excellent concepts in it - grey power and the Zimmer Frame Gang standing up against the inequalities in their world - and told in a slightly amused, slightly ironic voice. But don't expect anything profound.

  • Light Shining in the Forest

  • By: Paul Torday
  • Narrated by: David Timson
  • Length: 10 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3

Norman Stokoe has just been appointed Children's Czar by the new government. He sells his flat and moves up north to take up the position. However before his first salary cheque has even hit his bank account, new priorities are set for the government department for which he works. The Children's Czar network is put on hold but it is too late to reverse the decision to employ Norman. So he is given a P.A. and a spacious office in a new business park on the banks of the Tyne. He settles down in his new leather chair behind his new desk, to wait for the green light to begin his mission.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Public Service vs The Individual

  • By Jenny on 02-18-14

The Public Service vs The Individual

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

Reviewed: 02-18-14

Would you consider the audio edition of Light Shining in the Forest to be better than the print version?

I haven't read this book, I have only listened to it.

Has Light Shining in the Forest turned you off from other books in this genre?

I don't think it is very easy to slip this book into a genre.The story is horrible, macabre, bizarre - in the class of weird that I put M J Hayder - but it is not only that. It is more; and more important.The motif of unaccompained children being taken by someone that they know, rather than a stranger is very, very unsettling. All the more so when the listener realises the reason behind the kidnappings. What happens to the children is not dealt with in any detail, and if it were, it would be unbearable. BUT - This book is written by a man who clearly understands the machinations of the Public Service, in particular, its awful failings and bureaucracies. He very cleverly juxtaposes these with what is happening to the kidnapped children and how The System fails them. And fails them very badly.He also shows how the system, being amoral, can never be changed nor overcome by an individual; and so, in the greatest irony of all, the listener discovers that Norman, the Children's Czar without a job but who cannot be removed from his public service post until he transgresses the public service codes, Norman then enters that other massive and amoral bureaucracy - the Roman Catholic Church!

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

No favourites, I just found it very easy to follow the book because of the clarity of David Timson's characterisations

If you could rename Light Shining in the Forest, what would you call it?

No Picnic For Teddy Bears

  • Gone Girl

  • By: Gillian Flynn
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
  • Length: 19 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 670
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 599
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 601

Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do? Just how well can you ever know the person you love? These are the questions that Nick Dunne must ask himself on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police immediately suspect Nick. Amy's friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn't true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they aren't his. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Get Gone Girl soon!

  • By Janie on 06-26-12

Too long by half

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

Reviewed: 11-03-13

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

Only to a friend who a) really liked drawn out mystery/thrillers; b) needed an audio book that lasted a long time - ie someone who was travelling a long distance/time; c) had a lot of patience and d) is very open-minded about sexual dysphemisms.This is because this story, although filled with murderous and ghoulish twists and turns, moves remarkably slowly - and this is different from your average thriller book. There is a lot of backstory in it, which is interesting and to some extent useful, but it seriously interrupts the flow of the front story.Amy, the female protagonist is a particularly nasty woman with a sweet affect and a pitch black soul. Her various sexual images is disturbing and, was for me, unpleasant.

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

Amy's plot(s) were ingenious. Amy's back story was almost irrelevant.

Which scene was your favorite?

The interview that Nick does with Rebecca in the pub.

Could you see Gone Girl being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Not without a lot of editing and shortening of the story. I don't think it has enough to carry a TV series, other than a 2 or 3 parter that tells the story in some detail.I am not very au fait with current stars, so am not able to comment on who would be good currently. From yesteryear - I think Amy was almost written for Joan Crawford and the hapless Nick could be played by James Stewart or Kevin Spacey.

Any additional comments?

The essence of this story is excellent. The twists and turns were not easily predicted, usually, and there were a lot of them. My difficulty was that it went on and on, and much of what was told did not take the actual tale any further forward. It was a lot of reflecting by one unreliable character about the other, equally, unreliable character. The opinion of one of them about the other was not often helpful.
The format, of Nick and Amy speaking in the first person was very good. Neither of them are reliable narrators, both of them lying frequently but undetectably.The readers were very good. They brought the characters to life vividly.If you have a long time to fill in, or simply enjoy an almost neverending story - then this would be an excellent choice.

  • Quiet

  • The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
  • By: Susan Cain
  • Narrated by: Kathe Mazur
  • Length: 10 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 223
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 202
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 203

The unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of Susan Cain’s groundbreaking book Quiet, brilliantly read by Kathe Mazur. In Quiet, the international best seller, Susan Cain shows how the brain chemistry of introverts and extroverts differs, and how society misunderstands and undervalues introverts. She gives introverts the tools to better understand themselves and take full advantage of their strengths. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with real stories, Quiet will permanently change how we see introverts - and how you see yourself.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Flawed and preachy

  • By Peter on 09-29-15

What if you are different?

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

Reviewed: 10-18-13

Would you consider the audio edition of Quiet to be better than the print version?

Using the audio edition meant that I could have the programme running more than I would be if I were reading. However, when using audio, it is much more complicated to turn back/go back to something that is referred to in an earlier chapter.

I think that the listener/reader will have to choose according to their personal situation.

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

There is no story - this is a book about psychology.

What about Kathe Mazur’s performance did you like?

I thought that she read very well. Her voice was clear, her pauses were enough to allow me to absorb the information.

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

This could only be made into a documentary and as such it would be terrific with the name and tag line that it already has.

  • Joseph Anton

  • By: Salman Rushdie
  • Narrated by: Salman Rushdie, Sam Dastor
  • Length: 27 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 25
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22

On 14 February 1989, Valentine's Day, Salman Rushdie was telephoned by a BBC journalist and told that he had been "sentenced to death" by the Ayatollah Khomeini. For the first time he heard the word fatwa. His crime? To have written a novel called The Satanic Verses, which was accused of being "against Islam, the Prophet and the Quran". So begins the extraordinary story of how a writer was forced underground, moving from house to house, with the constant presence of an armed police protection team.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating story, great narration

  • By Jane on 08-23-16

Beware the Ayatollah!

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

Reviewed: 09-23-13

What did you love best about Joseph Anton?

It's immediacy.And it's sadness.In doing what was his passion and his purpose, Salman Rushdie was condemned, not just by the fatwa, but by many colleagues and countrymen who accused him of doing it for the publicity!

What was one of the most memorable moments of Joseph Anton?

The decision to have a baby and then the birth of that baby - Milan. It spoke of hope in a very hopeless place. A place that then grew more hopeless as the marriage that produced Milan broke down. Yet Rushdie expresses an eternal hope in the love that he bears for both his sons.

Which character – as performed by Salman Rushdie and Sam Dastor – was your favorite?

Salman Rushdie himself. Resenting being called Joseph Anton and yet thinking how clever he was to have devised it- too clever for his minders, who then called him Jim!

His patience with his situation and the occasional outbreak of frustration. His bewilderment as other people seemed to misunderstand and to resent what was happening to him and how much it was costing to maintain 24 hour protection for him.

His personality glows softly in every word.

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

Both. But neither in an extreme way.

I certainly felt outrage towards those who condemned him for The Satanic Verses without reading it - and that included Ayatollah Khomeini.

I was also very annoyed by the attitude of the Iranian government who prevaricated about removing the fatwa, even going so far as to say that because Khomeini was dead, it could never be removed. It reinforced my opinion of that regime.

Any additional comments?

This is a long and very interesting book.

It has to be as the fatwa lasted from 14 February 1989 to a nominal withdrawal 24 September 1998.

Rushdie still receives cards on the 14 February every year from hardliners who declare their intention to carry out the fatwa. He describes this rhetoric rather than a real threat.

  • Midnight's Children

  • By: Salman Rushdie
  • Narrated by: Lyndam Gregory
  • Length: 24 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 13
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 13

Born at the stroke of midnight at the exact moment of India’s independence, Saleem Sinai is a special child. However, this coincidence of birth has consequences he is not prepared for: telepathic powers connect him with 1,000 other 'midnight's children' all of whom are endowed with unusual gifts.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Briliant on all fronts!

  • By Linda on 02-25-14

India's Magic, India's Mystery

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

Reviewed: 09-23-13

What did you love best about Midnight's Children?

The prose, the prose, the prose. Salman Rushdie has a poetic style throughout this book that is fable and mystery and historical novel in every sentence.

What other book might you compare Midnight's Children to and why?

Yann Martel's Life of Pi. Maybe because they both encompass something of the subcontinent that as a Western raised Anglo, I cannot quite hold, but which enthrals me.

Myth of any culture is a fascination to me, and both these books have a quality of myth and parable. They demand that I look deeper into everything I know.

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

I have never listened to this narrator,and I thought he was excellent in portraying the various characters so that they were instantly recognisable each time they appeared.

If you could take any character from Midnight's Children out to dinner, who would it be and why?

If I had a choice, I would like to eat a meal with all the characters and to watch the interplat amongst them. I didn't feel drawn to one in particular.

Any additional comments?

I may read/listen to this Booker of Bookers another 199 times, and always there will be another layer to peel back. I will not live long enough to know that I have grasped it.

  • Giving Up the Ghost

  • A Memoir
  • By: Hilary Mantel
  • Narrated by: Jane Wymark
  • Length: 6 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 10
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 10

Opening with "A Second Home", in which Mantel describes the death of her stepfather, Giving Up the Ghost is a wry, shocking, and beautifully written memoir of childhood, ghosts (real and metaphorical), illness, and family. Finally, at the memoir's conclusion, Mantel explains how a series of medical misunderstandings and neglect left her childless, and how the ghosts of the unborn have come to haunt her life as a writer.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Her Grief Observed

  • By Jenny on 09-23-13

Her Grief Observed

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

Reviewed: 09-23-13

What made the experience of listening to Giving Up the Ghost the most enjoyable?

The anecdotes from the life of Hilary Mantel that are then reflected upon by the author and placed into the context of her whole life. It is a complex book, but there is a simplicity about it that is very graceful.

What other book might you compare Giving Up the Ghost to and why?

Clearly, by my plagiarism of his title, C S Lewis' book, ' a Grief Observed'. Although Lewis is writing about the death of his wife, and his responses to it; and Mantel is writing about her never-born child, to me they are very synchronistic in their integrity and openness.

I did not think either wrote of raw pain, but rather of observed pain. They were able to experience and then describe an internal feeling.

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

No, I have watched innumerable 'Midsomer Murders' though.

In this book, I found her voice sympathetic and expressive. It told the story without being in any way obtrusive to it.

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

I do not think this could be made into a film. It is too intimate and inward looking. The actual story of the author's life is not remarkable and would not really make for good watching.

What is remarkable is how Hilary Mantel focusses on her emotional responses to the events of her life - and that is something that can only be presented in words, not pictures.

Any additional comments?

The book is complex and rewarding. It is short and beautifully crafted.

I think it speaks to all of us, as each one of us has had a deep loss at sometime in our lives.

It is important to say that such a complex book will not satisfy in a single listening/reading. There is too much in it to take in. However given its brevity it is easy to listen to a 2nd and even a 3rd time with as much interest in it as was there the 1st time.