Audiobook – My Good Life in France In Pursuit of the Rural Dream by Janine Marsh

 

A thoroughly entertaining audiobook written by Janine Marsh and narrated by Esther Wane.

 

In this totally captivating audiobook we discover that people really do buy a house in another country on impulse. In fact, the author Janine Marsh did just that on a wet and windy February cross channel day out with her husband Mark, and Dad.

Townies Janine and Mark threw caution to the wind, and jumped in with both feet, buying and renovating a run-down French farmhouse. So what made these sensible people with their feet firmly on career paths do such a rash thing? Well, quite simply it was the love of France and everything (well almost) French.

I am an expat but even if you are not, I am sure, you will like me fall in love with the North of France, the Seven Valleys region, its coastline, seaside and country villages, the gastronomy, its people and so much more.  This story isn’t just a wonderful way to enjoy experiencing someone else’s life in another country, it is a way to get a real feel for what living in France is really like – warts and all.

It is amazing also to listen about the transformations which can easily happen to someone when they go to live in another country, the new skills we discover, and how anything seems possible.

Throughout this audiobook there is plenty of information about, food, history, renovation, quirky sayings, and not least the enormous differences between our two cultures, even though we are only separated by the English Channel.

The narrator, Ester Wane wonderfully tells this story, so whether you are looking for a highly entertaining story to listen to, considering moving to France and want to know what really motivates anyone to give up a successful career and life in the UK to make the move, or are going on holiday to France and would like a little insider information, this is the audiobook for you!

About the Author:

 

 

 

 

 

Janine Marsh lives in northern France with her husband and myriad pets. She is unable to resist a stray animal, and the word is out. She works from a converted pig sty when she’s not travelling around France doing research for her website www.thegoodlifefrance.com, which tells you everything you need to know about France and more.

She gave up a sensible job in London, where she was born, to renovate a bargain basement barn and turn it into a home – an ongoing project. Along the way she became maid to six cats, three dogs, fifty chickens and ducks, and four mad geese.

She is an award-winning travel writer and social media fan who loves to share her life, explorations and photos on Facebook at The Good Life France.

About the Book:

One grey dismal day, Janine Marsh was on a trip to northern France to pick up some cheap wine. She returned to England a few hours later having put in an offer on a rundown old barn in the rural Seven Valleys area of Pas de Calais. This was not something she’d expected or planned for.

Janine eventually gave up her job in London to move with her husband to live the good life in France. Or so she hoped. While getting to grips with the locals and la vie Française, and renovating her dilapidated new house, a building lacking the comforts of mains drainage, heating or proper rooms, and with little money and less of a clue, she started to realize there was lot more to her new home than she could ever have imagined.Ten years ago, Janine Marsh decided to leave her corporate life behind to fix up a run-down barn in northern France. This is the true story of her rollercoaster ride, in many ways a love story, with her sharp observations on the very different way of life, culture and etiquette of France.

From her early struggles and homesickness through personal tragedy, to her attempts to become self-sufficient and to breed ‘the fattest chickens in the village’, Janine learned that there was more to her new home than she could ever have imagined.

My Good Life in France is available as an audiobook from Audible https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Travel-Adventure/My-Good-Life-in-France-Audiobook/B079G3PXL3?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=c6e316b8-14da-418d-8f91-b3cad83c5183&pf_rd_r=E4APMM8KXWQ20XMEBS6D&

Amazon.co.uk https://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Good-Life-France-Pursuit/dp/B079G3KJN9/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

and Tandor Media https://tantor.com/my-good-life-in-france-janine-marsh.html

Boudicca: Britain’s Queen of the Iceni by Laurel A. Rockefeller

Guest Audiobook Review from Dab of Darkness.

Set in the 1st century ancient Britannia, Rome is still attempting to expand their empire. This short, creative non-fiction historical account follows King Prasutagus of the Iceni and runaway Gaulish slave Boudicca.

The author does a good job of making these characters accessible to the reader by showing the story through their eyes. Events do move rather quickly as decades of their lives are covered in a mere 50 minutes. Luckily, I was able to connect with the characters quickly because of the first person point of view.

I found this an interesting, quick overview of Boudicca’s life during Roman conquest. The listener gets the clear idea of the culture clash between Romans and the various Britannic tribes. For instance, most, or perhaps all, of the Brittanic tribes held women as equal to men in most areas of life whereas the Romans felt a woman’s place was in the home or as a slave. The timeline had to move swiftly for most of Boudicca’s life to be covered in such a short amount of story time. I think this book would be of interest to those just getting into the historical fiction genre or for folks wanting a short recounting of Boudicca’s life and deeds. If you are looking for a history (not fiction) or a more in-depth historical fiction, this may not be for you. The author doesn’t steer clear of the harsher side of Boudicca’s life: slavery, battles, rape, etc. are included in this historical fiction, though the author does not go into graphic detail.

The book left me wanting more. Often drama was used, and perhaps over used, to get the poignant parts of Boudicca’s life across to the listener. I think this work would have been a little better if even 2 hours were given in which to tell Boudicca’s tale. For instance, the ending was pretty dramatic (if historically accurate) but I didn’t really understand Boudicca’s choice at the end as she fought her whole life to stay alive and free. Also, I wanted to know how her kinsman, loyal followers, etc. reacted on a personal level to her final choice.

Boudicca: Britain's Queen of the Iceni: The Legendary Women of World History, Book 1 | [Laurel A. Rockefeller]

Available from Audible: http://www.audible.com/pd/Kids/Boudicca-Britains-Queen-of-the-Iceni-Audiobook/B00NFXO172/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1434456223&sr=1-1

The New Concise History of the Crusades by Thomas F. Madden

 

51phybtbwol-_sl300_Guest Review

This book provides an excellent look at the crusades, putting them in perspective for their time and in relation to current world politics. It is a great overview for the uninitiated and a great review for folks who have studied the crusades.

The book opens by providing a setting just prior to the first crusade, placing us in the mindset of Medieval Europeans. From there, the information is laid out chronologically. The book closes with the authors analysis of how the crusades were held up as examples of chivalry, later to be reviled as early colonialism, and finally how they relate to modern politics. The pacing is good, not getting bogged down in minutiae or in lists of dry ancient reference texts. Occasionally, there were more names being used than I could keep easy track of, simply because I was unfamiliar with the subject matter.

I learned quite a bit from this book and that makes me happy. Before listening to this book, what little I know came from popular movies and books, and, of course, I couldn’t rely on those to be accurate. I really liked how the book was laid out chronologically and I deeply appreciated the author’s constant efforts to have the reader think like a Medieval European.

In addition to this, the author often gave examples of Muslim impressions of the crusades. This in particular was fascinating. For Europeans, and even Americans, the crusades were a big deal, and continue to influence our culture, if mostly through popular media. At the time of the crusades, the Muslim world barely took note of them, seeing them as just yet one more barbarian force to be repelled (and the crusades were often repelled). The crusades had a greater impact on the Byzantine Empire, mostly because places were sacked and sometimes burned.

It was fascinating to see how the crusades evolved over time. Initially, the word ‘crusade’ was not associated with the pilgrims who ventured east for religious enrichment. Old, young, sick, healthy, men, & women traveled on pilgrimage. It was only later that such pilgrimages became armed men crusading to the east, with the blessing of pope and lord, to defend Christian lands.

In short, this book was an excellent read and definitely worth shelf space as a reference work. It is chock full of info on the European leaders, the Byzantine reactions, the few bits directly affection Muslim affairs, and how the crusades were affected by the Mongols. The book does an excellent job of placing the reader in a Europe steeped in a religious culture and how that affected, even directed, the actions of European leaders. It’s even worth a reread.

Narration:  Claton Butcher gave a good performance. He had a clear voice that used a little emotion as needed, so it was not textbook dry. He also went to the effort of pronouncing people and place names with the correct accents. Such touches are so appreciated by this listener!

What I Liked: Educational!; the cover art; clear & easy to follow; perfect for someone new to the subject; the author places the crusades in the context of the times; the book wrapped up with a short analysis of how the crusades were viewed after their time, and by the Muslim world.

What I Disliked:  Occasionally, there were many names in play and I had trouble keeping them all straight, but this is mostly due to my lack of knowledge and I would not hesitate to recommend this book.

 

Reviewed by Susan Voss – http://dabofdarkness.com/2015/05/02/the-new-concise-history-of-the-crusades-by-thomas-f-madden/

 

Authors Website: http://www.thomasmadden.org/

 

Available from Audible in Audiobook format:  http://www.audible.com/pd/History/The-New-Concise-History-of-the-Crusades-Audiobook/B00JF6FNS4/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srImg?qid=1431336335&sr=1-1

 

Gethsemane: An Epic Poem about Us by R. Douglas Jacobs

51ptUTx50lL__UY250_Firstly, I have to say that it is the audiobook version I reviewed and it provides an experience like no other.

Unusually it is an epic poem, and as soon as I put it on I found myself absorbed in the author/narrator’s voice, it was relaxing and yet, I found myself listening intently to it. R. Douglas Jacobs, narration is set against a wonderful original piece of baroque music, which was written by the gifted composer Mark Moya.

Accompanying the narration, there are a cast of actors James MacEwen (The Gent), Dominique Vance (Celeste), Kahi Taufa’asau (Lucifer), Sigmund Kramer (The Lord), Michael David Little (Azazel), Micah Delhauer (Michael), Lucho Franco (Young Man of Brawn), Sedamar Fitzgerald (The Nude Maiden) and sound effect, which make this audiobook a unique piece of work.

This is the story of Lucifer’s fall from grace, and his journey from there, hell, mankind’s embracing of his ways, and also redemption. Woven into it is some very thought provoking writing, as I started to read this, I mentally decided it would be suitable for a religious group or suchlike, however, by the time I had finished I had definitely changed my mind. It is full of very powerful writing, and I have to warn potential listeners that the content is sexually explicit at times and would not be suitable the young or for those easily offended.

However, despite the previous statement it is to be admired for its sheer powerfulness, the author has, in this most unusual of works created a total living work of art. With beautiful music, talented actors and stunning sound effects, it is something to behold.

 

About the Author: R. Douglas Jacobs, the person, still remains an enigma, whereas, R. Douglas Jacobs, the poet, has developed a clear and distinctive voice as a storyteller four years after he first entered the literary forum as an author with the debut of his sonnet anthology, The Rhymes of Love and Reason. That book was met with little publicity and less fanfare due to the fact that he was virtually anonymous and had no reputation to uphold among critics and consumers, alike. This initial endeavor of his, however, would turn out to serve as a primer for his new, ambitious book, Gethsemane, a sweeping epic poem that transcends the boundaries of literature through its rare prowess and ingenuity. This undertaking presented major challenges over a two and a half year span that often consumed his psyche and pushed him to the brink of reasoning. On one occasion, the anxiety of confronting the climatic nuance of the second act caused him to frantically ride his road bike into the cold darkness of a coastal boardwalk on a late, Thanksgiving Eve in 2010. His relationships became impaired by neglect and he experienced considerable weight loss. Yet, he persevered and entrusted his faith to lead his imagination in ways it had never been led before. Gethsemane was not only a metaphorical escape, but was an asylum for him to exercise his demons, and the end result is as poignant as it is profound. If R. Douglas Jacobs, the poet, were to speak on behalf of R. Douglas Jacobs, the person, he would argue that the person in him will always be misunderstood for the simple, yet sincere, fact that his heart has never known how to discriminate.

Author’s Website: http://www.rdjpublishing.com

Gethsemane is available:

From Amazon in Kindle format http://www.amazon.com/Gethsemane-R-Douglas-Jacobs-ebook/dp/B0063U2PEK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416219709&sr=8-1&keywords=gethsemane+an+epic+poem

in Paperback http://www.amazon.com/Gethsemane-An-Epic-Poem-About/dp/1463525168/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1416219709&sr=8-1

as an Audiobook http://www.amazon.com/Gethsemane-Epic-Poem-about-Us/dp/B00LOS43BO/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1416219709

and from Audible http://www.audible.com/pd/Drama-Poetry/Gethsemane-Audiobook/B00LMJ6XEU/ref=a_search_c4_1_2_srImg?qid=1416220273&sr=1-2

Precipitous Tales by H. P. Lovecraft – Narrated by Neil Hellegers

GulliversTravels_Cover_9780979377754A creepy short story collection.

 

I have to say straight away that I absolutely loved all four of these creepy stories and think that the voice of Neil Hellegers was excellent for them, as his narration left me with shivers running down my spine.

There are four short stories in this collection by this classic and well known author.

In the first, The Nameless City, a brave explorer decides to explore an abandoned city in the desert and is shocked at what he discovers…

The Tomb tells of the effect a lifelong obsession with his families crypt has on a young man.

Another tells of a sailor, adrift at sea, who awakes to discover himself in a different world.

The last, but not least is a haunting tale of a student, and the music he loves to hear, until he realises that it serves a sinister purpose.

If you fancy cuddling up (preferably not alone) in front of a fire, turning the lights down low and thoroughly un-nerving yourself, then this is definitely the audiobook for you.

 

Precipitous Tales is available from Amazon and Audible in audiobook format:

http://www.amazon.com/Precipitous-Tales/dp/B00OQI3III/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1413963700&sr=8-1&keywords=precipitous+tales

http://www.audible.com/pd/Classics/Precipitous-Tales-Audiobook/B00OPFPBUK/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srImg?qid=1413963530&sr=1-1

 

 

The Treebobs and the Dizzy Broomsticks by Declan Harney

Ever wondered how broomsticks fly – find out in this magical story.

DIZZY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the book:

Mischief and magic abound when the two wicked witches of the magical forest, Badlot Barbara and Rotten Rena, decide to open up their very own broomstick shop in the middle of the forest. Of course witches from miles around pay a visit and cause mayhem while test driving their broomsticks. However, the Treebobs come up with a most cunning plan to put the two wicked witches out of business with quite dizzying results.

 

When the peace of the forest is broken by the sound of tree saws and evil cackling, Treebob Bluebell and two fairies are sent to discover what is happening.

In a clearing, they find Rotten Rena and her cousin Badlot Barbara waving their wands and cackling with laughter as giant saws move through the air cutting down trees and scaring all the tree dwelling animals.

It’s not long before the Treebobs and fairies find out what they are doing, posters start appearing for a broomstick shop. As witches arrive from near and far, and try out broomsticks, the forest dwellers become very unhappy and they form an action committee, but what can it do?

Well, have you ever wondered what magic makes broomsticks fly?  You can discover the secret in this story, and then find out if Rotten Rena and Badlot Barbara’s plans can be thwarted, or is the forest doomed to the sound of witches zooming around, cackling with laughter, as they try out broomsticks?

A brilliantly entertaining story, which is wonderfully narrated by Lindsay Abbott.

Available from:

the Tales4All website as an Audio CD or for MP3: http://www.tales4all.co.uk/buytreebobsnow/

Amazon.com as an Audiobook http://www.amazon.com/Treebobs-Dizzy-Broomsticks/dp/B00A44447W/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1390045419

in Paperback http://www.amazon.com/Treebobs-Dizzy-Broomsticks-Once-Treebob/dp/0956987303/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1390045419&sr=8-1

AudiobookCD http://www.amazon.com/Treebobs-Dizzy-Broomsticks-Declan-Harney/dp/0956987311/ref=tmm_abk_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1390045419

also from:

Amazon.co.uk as an Audiobook download http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Treebobs-Dizzy-Broomsticks-Unabridged/dp/B00A45QGW2/ref=cm_cr-mr-title

 

The Treebobs Rescue Rotten Rena by Declan Harney

 A magical story.

ROTTEN RENA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the book:

In this magical story from the ever-popular Treebob series, Rotten Rena, the wicked witch of the enchanted forest, comes up with yet another mad scheme involving one of her very own magical potions. Of course since Rotten Rena isn’t the cleverest of witches it all goes wrong with hilarious results! Of course its up to the Treebobs to rescue her.

 

 

Poor Rotten Rena is not very good at magic, however, when she finds an old book she decides one of the potions will be the perfect way for her to make her fortune.

Potion made, she sets up a stall in the forest, unfortunately, the forest dwellers are frightened of her, and the only person to appear is her cousin, Badlot Barbara, who is also a wicked witch.

Taunted, Rotten Rena takes her own potion, only to discover it was not what she thought it was…

Luckily, good fairy Bindweed Bell has seen it all, and knows Badlot Barbara will be far worse than Rotten Rena for the forest dwellers, so the Treebobs and fairies send out a search party.

They soon find her, but will they be able to help, and if so, how?

This is a wonderful story, the comical wicked witches and clever working together of the inhabitants of the Enchanted Forest are brought magically to life by the narrator Lindsay Abbott.

Available from:

the Tales4All website in MP3 format: http://www.tales4all.co.uk/product/treebobs-rescue-rotten-rena-mp3/

and also as an audiobook from Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/The-Treebobs-Rescue-Rotten-Rena/dp/B00A46MQJI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389879899&sr=8-1&keywords=the+treebobs+rescue+rotten+rena

and Amazon.co.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Treebobs-Rescue-Rotten-Rena-Unabridged/dp/B00A45QKQ4/ref=cm_cr-mr-img

The Treebobs and the Giant Mole by Declan Harney

Magic and mayhem in the Enchanted Forest.

GIANT MOLE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the book: 

Another fun filled Treebob story straight from the magical forest.

When Rotten Rena a truly wicked witch makes an enemy of Mole Hill Marge she does so at her peril as Marge is famous for being a very stubborn mole indeed. However not even Rotten Rena dares to imagine the lengths that Marge will go to in order to get her own back but Rena soon finds out when Mole Hill Marge becomes Mountain Marge and its down to the Treebobs to save the day.

 

 

One day, the peace of the Enchanted Forest is disturbed by Rotten Rena and Mole Hill Marge arguing, Marge is a large mole, and she’s sitting on top of her hill wearing sunglasses, she loves digging and insists she will dig whenever and wherever she likes, despite threats from Rotten Rena.

Later that day, whilst digging, a happy singing Marge comes across the wicked witch Badlot Barbara’s cottage. Badlot Barbara is not friends with her cousin Rotten Rena, today and so she agrees to help Marge take revenge on Rotten Rena, and gives her a magic potion.

The next day the ground trembles as a gigantic Marge tunnels through the earth. As she causes havoc, it is apparent that something has to be done to stop her, but what?

I love listening to audio books and, even as an adult, I find the adventures of the Treebobs relaxing and entertaining. The magic and characters are delightful and the story is brought alive by the wonderful voices of Lindsay Abbott.

Available from:

The Tales4All website for MP3: http://www.tales4all.co.uk/buytreebobsnow/

and as an Audiobook from Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/The-Treebobs-Giant-Mole/dp/B00A46MPFS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389701559&sr=8-1&keywords=treebobs+and+the+giant+mole

and Amazon.co.uk http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Treebobs-Giant-Mole-Unabridged/dp/B00A45QCBW/ref=cm_cr-mr-img