Bergers Book Reviews

The Darling Buds of May: The Larkin Novels Volume 1 (Naxos Audiobooks)

The Darling Buds of May
Author: H.E. Bates
Read by: Philip Franks
Publisher: Naxos Audiobooks
Genre: Fiction
ISBN: 978-1-84379-998-6
Total time: 4 CDs / 4:21:42

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Cedric Charlton arrives on the Larkin doorstep, determined to get Pop to complete his tax form. But the crafty junk dealer has other ideas. Distracting him with food, alcohol, and his beautiful daughter, Mariette, Pop tries to keep him from his mission.

Charlton wants to keep his focus, but finds he enjoys Mariette’s company too much to consider leaving any time soon. And the joys of the country become dearer and dearer to his heart. As his visit is extended, he experiences his first strawberry season, as well as a horse riding competition, and learns how to eat country-style. Will he choose to go back to his tax office, or will he stay with the Larkins for a while and see what country living has to offer him?

The Darling Buds of May is read by Philip Franks, who does a wonderful job with these voices. While listening, one can easily picture each of the unique characters, as well as the scenery around them. The story is told from multiple perspectives, and it reads more like a play than a novel, with only the props missing. This light-hearted and humorous story is best enjoyed while relaxing on a summer day. I really enjoyed this recording and hope Naxos Audiobooks plans to do more in this series.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

March 11, 2016 Posted by | audio book, fiction | Leave a comment

The Moonstone

The Moonstone
Author: Wilkie Collins
Publisher: Naxos Audiobooks
Genre: Mystery / Audiobook
ISBN: 978-184-379-797-5
Running time: 22:27:34 (17 CDs)
Price: $98.98

Naxos Audio
Buy it at Amazon

Rachel Verinder inherits the Moonstone – a beautiful yellow diamond – on her eighteenth birthday. But before she can begin to enjoy it, it disappears. Did the three Indians hovering about the property have anything to do with it? Did the servants take it? Or was it one of the guests at the birthday party?

Sergeant Cuff is brought in from Scotland Yard to investigate, but the mystery remains. Finally, the people associated with the disappearance are asked to write a summary of the events as they saw them, in the hope that something will come of their collective remembrance. Their stories are what make up the text of this narrative.

While The Moonstone is considered the first English detective story, there is so much more to this tale than solving the crime. The narrators share their own opinions and thoughts on the theft, as well as their personal philosophies of life. This audio version is more like listening to them sharing their story over a cup of tea, and the cast has done a magnificent job of bringing the novel to life. This is no stuffy old classic, and I laughed out loud on several occasions at the humorous commentary. I highly recommend this audio book for all who love a great story.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

December 18, 2014 Posted by | audio book, mystery | Leave a comment

Sylvester (Naxos Audio)

Sylvester
Author: Georgette Heyer
Read by: Nicholas Rowe
Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks
Genre: Romance
ISBN: 978-184-379-757-9
Length: 9 CDs (10:59:09)
Price: $59.95

Naxos AudioBooks website
Buy it at Amazon

Sylvester, Duke of Salford, has decided it’s time to marry. After consulting with his godmother, Lady Ingham, he reluctantly agrees to meet her granddaughter, Phoebe Marlow, to determine if she might be a suitable match. But Phoebe is horrified when she learns of his intentions, since she intensely dislikes him, and has cast him as the villain in her soon to be published novel.

When Sylvester and Phoebe suddenly find themselves stranded in a small country inn for a few days, they get to know each other better and question their initial impressions. But as circumstances unravel around them, their relationship goes from bad to worse. Is it possible that they both could be so wrong about the other?

Listening to Nicholas Rowe’s rendition of Sylvester is an absolute delight. Since the text is heavy on dialog, it reads more like a play than a book, and it is easy to immerse oneself fully in the story. Many scenes are laugh-out-loud funny, and the characters are well-developed and even comical in their actions. I absolutely adored Sylvester, and Phoebe is a spunky girl with a good heart. Anyone who enjoys a good, clean romance will love this book.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

July 31, 2014 Posted by | audio book, romance | Leave a comment

Jimi & His Friend Joe

Jimi & Joe Cover

Author: Anna-Christina
Produced by: Busy Bees Publishing

Music Audio Stories

Jimi the cat lives on a farm. Although he gets along well with the farm animals, the Collie dogs are bullies, and he tries to avoid them. So when a new Collie named Joe shows up, Jimi isn’t pleased. But Joe wants to be friends with Jimi, and that makes them both happy.

One night Jimi and Joe notice the barn is on fire. The other Collies are sleeping inside, and Jimi and Joe need to act quickly. Working together with all the other animals, they rescue the Collies, who learn that everyone can be friends – even cats and dogs.

As Music Audio Stories says on their website: “These special audio books can be enjoyed by children of all ages but are tailored for the blind as well. They can also be a useful learning tool for children with impaired vision or vision disabilities.” These unique audio stories use music as an essential part of the story, as the tension rises and falls.

Jimi & His Friend Joe is a sweet tale of friendship, reminding kids to look past their differences to find the best in each other. With the touch of drama created through the music, it’s an enjoyable story that kids will listen to over and over again.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

January 7, 2014 Posted by | audio book, children | Leave a comment

Johnny No Cash

Johnny No Cash

Author: Anna-Christina
Produced by: Busy Bees Publishing

Music Audio Stories

Johnny the hamster has just heard from Robin that Cowboy Dan has a terrible cold. Johnny has always longed for adventure, so he sets out immediately to cheer up his friend. But he has no cash on him, and will have to figure out how to get there on his own.

The musical accompaniment to Johnny No Cash becomes a part of the story, as the dramatic melody surrounds the narrative. As Johnny navigates the journey, he runs into helpful and unsavory characters, but he’s determined to get to Cowboy Dan.

As Music Audio Stories says on their website: “These special audio books can be enjoyed by children of all ages but are tailored for the blind as well. They can also be a useful learning tool for children with impaired vision or vision disabilities.” Johnny No Cash is a humorous adventure tale that kids will enjoy hearing over and over again.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

October 30, 2013 Posted by | audio book, children | Leave a comment

Chris the Caterpillar

Chris the Caterpillar

Author: Anna-Christina
Produced by: Busy Bees Publishing

Music Audio Stories

Chris, the caterpillar, has always wanted to be a butterfly. One day a fairy visits him, and he tells her his wish. The fairy calls on her friends, the flowers, to offer their color, and with a wave of her wand, Chris becomes a butterfly.

The musical accompaniment to Chris the Caterpillar becomes a part of the story, as the dramatic melody surrounds the narrative. Like Chris, children will come to believe in magic when he is transformed.

As Music Audio Stories says on their website: “These special audio books can be enjoyed by children of all ages but are tailored for the blind as well. They can also be a useful learning tool for children with impaired vision or vision disabilities.” Chris the Caterpillar is a sweet story that kids will enjoy hearing over and over again.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

October 2, 2013 Posted by | audio book, children | Leave a comment

The Perfumed Garden

The Perfumed Garden
Author: Sheikh Nefzaoui
Translator: Richard Burton
Read by: Jonathan Keeble
Publisher: Naxos Audio Books
Genre: Classics
Length: 5 CDs (Total time 6:34:43)
Price: $34.98

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The Perfumed Garden was written in the 15th century by Arab Sheikh Nefzaoui. Like India’s Kama Sutra, it portrays the joys of marital love through words and descriptions. If the reader follows the instructions provided, the author declares he will have an opportunity to experience these pleasures to the fullest.

Sheikh Nefzaoui was determined to provide an encyclopedic work in naming sexual positions, and both the male and female body parts. These lists are followed up by detailed descriptions which require some work to visualize properly. Drawings would have been nice, but were not provided with the CDs, and may not have been included in the original text.

In addition to the copious lists, short anecdotes and other explanations are included. Commentary on the deceits and treacheries of women is especially amusing, and home remedies for various ailments are also provided, although they should be used with extreme care. Married love is considered one of the greatest pleasures on earth, and both men and women are encouraged to enjoy each other to the fullest.

This sensitive subject is handled professionally and skilfully by reader Jonathan Keeble. Taking on the personality of Sheikh Nefzaoui, he encourages listeners to follow his instructions and maximize their pleasure. This quality production would be perfect for couples to enjoy on a quiet evening, letting nature take its course with its message.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

September 19, 2013 Posted by | audio book, classics | Leave a comment

Resurrection (Naxos Audio)

Resurrection
Author: Leo Tolstoy
Publisher: Naxos Audio
Genre: Classics / Audio Books
ISBN: 978-184-379-574-2
Length: 16 CDs (Total time 20:13:55)
Price: $98.98

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Prince Dmitri Nekhludov once loved a young girl named Katusha. Many years later, he serves jury duty on a murder case. The accused is Katusha, now a prostitute, and when she is unjustly convicted, Nekhludov’s conscience can’t let the verdict rest.

Facing his own role in destroying Katusha’s life, he determines to do everything he can to free her from her sentence. And in the process, he becomes interested and involved in how the prison systems operate. Now he not only needs to protect Katusha, but he also begins to help others who have been unjustly and unfairly imprisoned.

Tolstoy’s classic, Resurrection, is a powerfully moving tale of a wealthy and privileged man facing his own inhumanity in the treatment of those who are helpless to protect themselves. In working to save Katusha, Nekhludov is also saving himself from a life of useless and vain pursuits.

Neville Jason is marvelous in conveying the drama as it unfolds, and bringing this somewhat dry tale to life. The listener has compassion for Nekhludov and Katusha, as he listens in on their life stories. Naxos Audio has created a wonderful production of Resurrection for all who enjoy listening to the classics.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

August 7, 2013 Posted by | audio book, classics | Leave a comment

March of the Ants

March of the Ants
Author: Anna-Christina
Produced by: Busy Bees Publishing

Free Download at Music Audio Stories

Sid is the smallest of the ants, and no one notices him at all. One day he joins the others in a march of the ants, and soon grows very tired. But when a storm suddenly soaks them with rain, it’s up to Sid to save the others from the rising waters.

This audio production of March of the Ants includes a lively soundtrack as a background for the march. The story is told in rhyme and includes character voices and nature sounds throughout the narrative. The pace is quick, as befitting a march, and will draw kids in with young Sid’s heroism.

As Music Audio Stories says on their website: “These special audio books can be enjoyed by children of all ages but are tailored for the blind as well. They can also be a useful learning tool for children with impaired vision or vision disabilities.” March of the Ants is a fun story that kids will love to hear over and over again.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

March 26, 2013 Posted by | audio book, children | Leave a comment

The Mill on the Floss (Naxos Complete Classics)

The Mill on the Floss
Author: George Eliot
Read by Laura Paton
Produced by Naxos AudioBooks
Genre: Classics
ISBN: 978-184-379-6046
Length: 16 CDs (Total time 20:38:08)
Price: $98.98

Buy it at Amazon

In 1860, Mary Ann Evans, known under the pen-name of George Eliot, published The Mill on the Floss. This intricate picture of the life of Maggie Tulliver, born and raised at Dorlcote Mill on the river Floss, begins when Maggie is a young girl. Spanning two decades, the story revolves around the Dodson and Tulliver families.

Maggie’s dearest love is her brother, Tom, who alternately loves and despises her. When her father’s rash decisions leave the family destitute, Maggie is a teenager, searching for meaning in her life. Although she later falls in love, the unsuitability of the match causes her much pain and suffering.

This delightfully complex novel introduces some memorable characters. Each has his own strengths and weaknesses, and no one is entirely good or bad. They are all simply human, struggling in a world that often feels very unfair.

Naxos Audio has presented a wonderful audio adaption of this unabridged classic. Laura Paton does a masterful job of acting the various roles, and providing different voices for each character. The listener almost feels a part of the conversations as they take place. Although reading a classic can often feel dull and difficult, the audio version brings it to life in a brand new way. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to The Mill on the Floss and look forward to hearing more of these unabridged recordings of the classics.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

January 15, 2013 Posted by | audio book, classics | Leave a comment