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Audiobook Review – Maisie Dobbs – Jacqueline Winspear

maisie dobbsMaisie Dobbs
Author: Jacqueline Winspear
Series: #1 in the Maisie Dobbs series

Narrator: Rita Barrington
Run Time: 10 hrs
Producer: AudioGO

Description:
Maisie Dobbs isn’t just any young housemaid. Through her own natural intelligence–and the patronage of her benevolent employers–she works her way into college at Cambridge. When World War I breaks out, Maisie goes to the front as a nurse. It is there that she learns that coincidences are meaningful and the truth elusive. After the War, Maisie sets up on her own as a private investigator. But her very first assignment, seemingly an ordinary infidelity case, soon reveals a much deeper, darker web of secrets, which will force Maisie to revisit the horrors of the Great War and the love she left behind.

Review:
I had heard about this series through several of my online reading buddies who loved it – so when it was selected as a group read, I figured that it must have been a sign (since I didn’t really have any interest in either of the other books selected). I was looking forward to a lite mystery after reading a lot of dark, completely jacked up Nordic Noir mysteries and this was a great palate cleanser.

I loved the character of Maisie – she just seemed so unique in the current fiction world as it stands right now. And the time period is one of interest to me since there aren’t a lot of books written in the time period between WW1 and WW2 (that I have found). The mystery wasn’t so much of a mystery as a plot leading to a realization – or at least, that is how i saw it – while I didn’t know all the details that were revealed at the end, I had a 95% idea of what the result was going to be. But I honestly didn’t mind – for me, the best part of the book was seeing how Maisie Dobbs became Maisie Dobbs. The biggest surprise for me in the story was what happened to the love of her life during the war (but don’t worry, I try to keep my reviews spoiler free – so as not to ruin the book). It wasn’t what I was expecting and totally made me tear up.

However, one of my complaints was that while I liked that flashbacks were used – they were a bit chunky – I think the first flashback actually lasted a significant portion of the book – so when it jumped back to the present day I was a bit surprised/confused. I think it either would have been better to have broken the flash-backs up into some smaller portions – almost like an appetizer, rather than a whole entree – or write the first part of the book as her history up until when the mystery began. I think the former probably would have worked the best.

Unfortunately, my experience with the audiobook didn’t live up to the book itself and if I had had time, I might have stopped listening and read instead. I know that I nearly considered doing that with the rest of the series – because someone told me that the other books are narrated by someone else. I just did not enjoy the narrators voice. While I found that her female voices were passable – her male ones were like torture – I think I would have preferred a recitation rather than hearing her try to do male voices. It just didn’t work for me – which is unfortunately, because I think if done properly, this could have been a great audiobook (and the second one – review to follow in the future), was much improved. This is the first time that I have listened to anything by this narrator and it likely will be the last. I don’t think that I can fairly judge her on any other narrations after my feelings towards this one.

Overall, I’d give the book a solid 4 stars, but the narration only 1.5 – however, I do think that the book overall balanced out the mess of the narration – so 3.5 overall.

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2012 in Audiobook Review

 

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Audiobook Review – Timeless – Gail Carriger

Timeless
Author: Gail Carriger
Series: #5 in the Parasol Protectorate

Narrator: Emily Gray
Run Time: 11hrs and 29 minutes
Producer: Hachette Audio

Book Description:
Alexia Tarabotti, Lady Maccon, has settled into domestic bliss. Of course, being Alexia, such bliss involves integrating werewolves into London High society, living in a vampire’s second best closet, and coping with a precocious toddler who is prone to turning supernatural willy-nilly. Even Ivy Tunstell’s acting troupe’s latest play, disastrous to say the least, cannot put a damper on Alexia’s enjoyment of her new London lifestyle.

Until, that is, she receives a summons from Alexandria that cannot be ignored. With husband, child, and Tunstells in tow, Alexia boards a steamer to cross the Mediterranean. But Egypt may hold more mysteries than even the indomitable Lady Maccon can handle. What does the vampire Queen of the Alexandria Hive really want from her? Why is the God-Breaker Plague suddenly expanding? And how has Ivy Tunstell suddenly become the most popular actress in all the British Empire?

Review
This has to probably be one of my favorite series that I had read/listened to in the recent past. I loved all 5 books and while various ones had their ups and downs, like can be expected in a series, overall, they were well worth my time. I can’t wait to see how the spin-off series featuring Alexia’s daughter is going to turn out, as well as the other series pending that is set in the same world, but 20-ish years prior. But I digress. Timeless picks up 2+ years after the end of Heartless – but not much has changed in the world. There are still vampires and werewolves roaming loose in London, but Alexia isn’t just having to cope with that, she also now has a toddler to chase after. Adding a twist to this installment, Alexia travels abroad to Egypt (and all that entails). I really want to say more, but it could easily turn spoilish and I don’t want to ruin this series for anyone.

As I was listening to Emily Gray’s narration, I realized that sometimes, it felt like the author had just reached into a hat filled with various sounds and pulled several out to make names of some of the characters. I also loved Lord Ackeldama – he has been one of my favorite characters through-out the whole series and I can’t wait to see the influence that he has had on characters in the later books. I have to admit to being a bit disappointed by the Biffy/Professor Lyall scenario – I don’t think that it really added anything to the book overall – but maybe it will be needed in the future.

Emily Gray’s narration for all 5 books was spot on – I felt that she managed to capture the British accents perfectly and I felt like I was there. Her narration of Lord Maccon was great and well, Lord Ackeldama…all I could do was laugh because it was perfect. I highly recommend her for future narrations and will be looking out for her when I pick audiobooks in the future. Overall, 4 stars and a high recommendation

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2012 in Audiobook Review

 

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Recommend A….First Book in a Series

The Name of the Star – Maureen Johnson
September 29, 2011 from Putnam Juvenile
Hardcover – 372 pages
Available from Amazon here: The Name of the Star (Shades of London)

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it’s the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.


I love books that use Jack the Ripper as a plot because even now over a century later, the mystery behind him hasn’t been solved – although there are many hypotheses. So for me reading a YA book with a Jack the Ripper twist was interesting and I was immediately drawn into Rory’s story. Unfortunately, the second book in the series isn’t scheduled to be released until 2013 (although it is supposed to be early in the year). But I am tracking on its release and can’t wait to see what the author does next.

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2012 in Blog Hop, Recommend A...

 

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