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Vivien Tarkirk-Smith

UK
  • 14
  • reviews
  • 71
  • helpful votes
  • 26
  • ratings
  • Murder in an English Village

  • By: Jessica Ellicott
  • Narrated by: Barbara Rosenblat
  • Length: 9 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,713
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,583
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,576

The year is 1920: Flying in the face of convention, legendary American adventuress Beryl Helliwell never fails to surprise and shock. The last thing her adoring public would expect is that she craves some peace and quiet. The humdrum hamlet of Walmsley Parva in the English countryside seems just the ticket. And, honestly, until America comes to its senses and repeals Prohibition, Beryl has no intention of returning stateside and subjecting herself to bathtub gin.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Can't Wait For Next Book

  • By Sally W. Harris on 05-22-18

American author posing as a Brit.

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

Reviewed: 08-28-18

I'm returning this book. I have only got a few chapters in and the use of "hood" for a car bonnet and pronunciation of "khaki" as "kakki" have already got my hackles up. The accents are OK, the reader giving appropriate accents to British and American characters, but if a book is set in the UK it shouldn't be altered for the benefit of Americans. Perhaps the American author is ignorant of certain things, in which case, set your stories in America.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • In Farleigh Field

  • A Novel
  • By: Rhys Bowen
  • Narrated by: Gemma Dawson
  • Length: 11 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,050
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,702
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,689

World War II comes to Farleigh Place, the ancestral home of Lord Westerham and his five daughters, when a soldier with a failed parachute falls to his death on the estate. After his uniform and possessions raise suspicions, MI5 operative and family friend Ben Cresswell is covertly tasked with determining if the man is a German spy. The assignment also offers Ben the chance to be near Lord Westerham's middle daughter, Pamela, whom he furtively loves. But Pamela has her own secret.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Entertaining and Engaging Storyline

  • By RavidReader on 03-05-17

Irritating

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

Reviewed: 09-17-17

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

This book might appeal to someone who likes romances. It is very lightweight, despite being set in wartime and code breakers.

Would you ever listen to anything by Rhys Bowen again?

No.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

For one thing, she must be very young as she pronounced "aerodrome" as "aerodome" every time the word came up. I know it is an oldfashioned expression these days, but READ the words properly! Where is the editor? French words also not properly enunciated.

Any additional comments?

If I had not taken so long to start listening to this book I would have asked for a refund.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Born a Crime

  • Stories from a South African Childhood
  • By: Trevor Noah
  • Narrated by: Trevor Noah
  • Length: 8 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 95,825
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 88,753
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 88,337

One of the comedy world's fastest-rising stars tells his wild coming of age story during the twilight of apartheid in South Africa and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed. Noah provides something deeper than traditional memoirists: powerfully funny observations about how farcical political and social systems play out in our lives.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great book and perfect narration

  • By Marilyn Armstrong on 12-15-16

A fun book

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

Reviewed: 01-19-17

Any additional comments?

I adore Trevor Noah, he is a mischievous pixie on television. The book is not particularly funny although it contains many amusing incidents, but it was so interesting to learn about life in South Africa for a mixed race child. I would have been interested to know how he found his way from there to hosting an important television programme in the USA, but that was not included. A fun listen.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The King of Lies

  • By: John Hart
  • Narrated by: David Chandler
  • Length: 12 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,546
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,932
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,927

John Hart creates a literary thriller that is as suspenseful as it is poignant, a riveting murder mystery layered beneath the southern drawl of a humble North Carolina lawyer. When Work Pickens finds his father murdered, the investigation pushes a repressed family history to the surface and he sees his own carefully constructed facade begin to crack.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • For the Eyes Only

  • By Deborah on 06-21-06

Don't shout!

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

Reviewed: 01-19-17

How could the performance have been better?

This narrator delivers the story as if reading it in a large stadium. With a microphone inches from his mouth he delivers the words like sports commentators on TV. I do dislike being shouted at. I must add, however, that he does well with the female voices, something not all male readers do well.

  • Lost Worlds of South America

  • By: Edwin Barnhart, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Edwin Barnhart
  • Length: 11 hrs and 51 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 698
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 638
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 625

Buried by the centuries on soaring mountain slopes and beneath arid deserts and lush jungles of South America, the remains of extraordinary, majestic civilizations-many unknown until recent decades-are now coming to light and raising tantalizing questions about what else may be awaiting discovery.Take an adventurous trek to these wilds of South America and the great civilizations of the ancients. In 24 eye-opening lectures, you'll take an in-depth look at the emerging finds and archaeological knowledge of more than 12 seminal civilizations.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Lost Worlds Rediscovered

  • By L.L. on 09-30-14

Better read the book

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

Reviewed: 10-15-15

Would you try another book from The Great Courses and/or Professor Edwin Barnhart?

I'm an information junkie so I am very interested in academic books.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Absolutely. I pity the poor students in class having to listen to this very unattractive voice. I think "The Great Courses" should consider asking actors to read when the author is so hard to listen to. I must admit to being British educated and acutely aware of the way people speak, but many Americans have lovely gentle easygoing voices. This kind of voice is harsh, fast and grating.

Did Lost Worlds of South America inspire you to do anything?

I was already inspired to visit Peru so I can't say it influenced me.

Any additional comments?

I did listen to a sample of his voice, but hoped the content would overcome it. Unfortunately it did not.

  • Aurelio Zen: And Then You Die

  • By: Michael Dibdin
  • Narrated by: Cameron Stewart
  • Length: 6 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 12
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11

Aurelio Zen of Rome's elite Criminalpol is back, but nobody's supposed to know it. After months in hospital recovering from a bomb attack on his car, he is lying low under a false name at a beach resort on the Tuscan coast, waiting to testify in an imminent anti-Mafia trial. Zen has clear instructions: to sit back and enjoy the classic Italian beach holiday - relaxing in the sun, eating seafood and engaging in a little mild flirtation with the attractive woman sitting under the next umbrella.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Ridiculous efforts at women's voices

  • By Vivien Tarkirk-Smith on 08-27-15

Ridiculous efforts at women's voices

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

Reviewed: 08-27-15

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

When women were not involved, Cameron Stewart's voice is excellent. However, the squeaky high pitched sound he uses for women is dreadful. Instead of imagining a lovely sexy young woman your mind conjures up a pantomime dame, an old crone - it is really awful. He - or an editor - should really have listened to the recording. It is a shame to ruin a good story and an otherwise excellent reading with such a hideous interpretation of a female voice. As a woman I feel insulted.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Cameron Stewart?

Simon Pacey perhaps; you need someone familiar with Italian pronunciation though, and I am not sure he is. Michael Kitchen's strange narration of other Zen books are awful too. This is a man with a lovely voice and great ability as an actor but his slow, halting reading is no good either. I will just have to read the books instead.

Any additional comments?

Audition your readers.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • 17 Carnations

  • The Royals, the Nazis and the Biggest Cover-Up in History
  • By: Andrew Morton
  • Narrated by: James Langton
  • Length: 11 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 220
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 193
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 189

Andrew Morton tells the story of the feckless Edward VIII, later Duke of Windsor; his American wife, Wallis Simpson; the bizarre wartime Nazi plot to make him a puppet king after the invasion of Britain; and the attempted cover-up by Churchill, General Eisenhower, and King George VI of the duke's relations with Hitler.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Dangerous fools

  • By Vivien Tarkirk-Smith on 03-23-15

Dangerous fools

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

Reviewed: 03-23-15

Any additional comments?

I have read several books about Edward VIII and can only think that the world has much to thank his unsuitable wife for. She saved us from having Edward as king at a time when Britain was in dire peril, and as a result we had George VI and then our present queen. Edward should have been tried for treason, whether his actions were the result of sheer stupidity or evil intent, for others who did less and had less influence were executed after the war. Wallis was a selfish, social-climbing hedonist who expected to be treated as royalty at a time when the British were near starving and being bombed daily. They were both used as patsies by Hitler, and seemed oblivious to the damage they did in fawning over him. I think a firing squad would have been too good for them and I applaud the royal family for consistently refusing to pander to them. Andrew Morton did a reasonable job with the book, but I certainly would have liked more information about how the Duke got away with it.

34 of 36 people found this review helpful

  • Forensic History: Crimes, Frauds, and Scandals

  • By: Elizabeth A. Murray, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth A. Murray
  • Length: 12 hrs and 11 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,179
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,047
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,047

Modern history is filled with terrible crimes, baffling hoaxes, and seedy scandals. The infamous Jack the Ripper slayings. The alleged survival of Anastasia Romanov, the youngest daughter of the murdered Tsar. Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong's public fall from grace. The Chicago Tylenol poisonings and the copycat crimes that followed.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • History of tabloid crimes - very little science

  • By Jouko on 05-29-15

Interesting and not like a lecture

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

Reviewed: 03-23-15

Any additional comments?

This was more like an audiobook written by an expert than a series of lectures. I can think of a number of cases I would have hoped she would have discussed, but nevertheless it was very interesting. The professor had a great deal more background information than the reader could have gleaned from the newspapers and also details of later happenings (person found innocent decades after imprisonment or -sadly - execution).

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Sycamore Row

  • By: John Grisham
  • Narrated by: Michael Beck
  • Length: 20 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,501
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,668
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,633

Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten, will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County's most notorious citizens, just three years earlier. The second will raises far more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Grisham at his best (again)

  • By Brock on 10-23-13

Unusual courtroom drama brilliantly read.

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

Reviewed: 01-15-14

John Grisham had lost me for a while with his deviation into sport, which I have no interest in. Here he returns with a very unusual story concerning a will. Not until the very end could one guess the history behind the strange provisions in the will. It is an investigation which keeps the listener puzzled and intrigued throughout. The reader imbues each character with a separate voice, many accents, the timbres of men and women, different racial and educational backgrounds. In one voice we have an entire cast of characters and I offer praise to both writer and reader and thanks for hours of engrossing listening. John, drop the ball and get back in the courtroom where you belong. This book shows where you excell like no other.

  • Sleeping with the Enemy

  • Coco Chanel's Secret War
  • By: Hal Vaughan
  • Narrated by: Susan Denaker, Mark Deakins
  • Length: 8 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 95
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 76
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 78

Coco Chanel created the look of the modern woman and was the high priestess of couture. But this book also pieces together how Coco Chanel became a German intelligence operative; how and why she was enlisted in a number of spy missions; how she escaped arrest in France after the war, despite her activities being known to the Gaullist intelligence network; and how she fled to Switzerland for a nine-year exile with her lover, Dincklage.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • If we all knew how things went...

  • By Renata on 09-20-11

Wandering account, errors in French

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

Reviewed: 07-04-13

Would you try another book from Hal Vaughan and/or Susan Denaker and Mark Deakins ?

The story of Coco Chanel's flirtation with the Nazis should surely make a great read, but this is not it. The narrative jumps from one time to another in a confusing way. A better editor was needed. One egregious error was referring to the duke of Windsor as Prince Edward VIII - was that the error of writer or reader? A number of mispronunciations hit my ear; the word "ingenuous" was read as "ingenious" (I am assuming that WAS the word as the other made no sense). The reader has a pleasant voice but falls often when mentioning the names of German and French places and people. I did not find her professional enough in this respect.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful