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Scott

Wine, food and travel writer, editor, and aspiring novelist.

Moss Beach, CA, United States | Member Since 2009

113
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 49 reviews
  • 289 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 4 purchased in 2015
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FOLLOWERS
12

  • Gentlemen and Players

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Joanne Harris
    • Narrated By Steven Pacey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (140)
    Performance
    (52)
    Story
    (51)

    For generations, privileged young men have attended St. Oswald's Grammar School for Boys, groomed for success by the likes of Roy Straitley, the eccentric Classics teacher who has been a fixture there for more than 30 years. But this year the wind of unwelcome change is blowing, and Straitley is finally contemplating retirement. He is joined this term by five new faculty members, including one who holds intimate and dangerous knowledge of St. Oswald's ways and secrets.

    Leslie says: "Wonderful read"
    "Fine Book"
    Overall

    This is a very fine book, a sort of Mr. Chips goes to Hell, or to the Fun House. Fascinating characters, each distinct, each interacting with the others. The book is told from two perspectives, one narrated by a young person, the other old. The only problem I had was that at first I assumed the youthful narrator was a flashback and that the narrators were one-and-the-same person, which is not the case. There would have been no confusion if that had been understood from the beginning. Nonetheless, this book takes a twist on manners, appearances and the clever machinations of a diabolical mind. Very fine writing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Firebird

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Susanna Kearsley
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1170)
    Performance
    (1063)
    Story
    (1065)

    Nicola Marter was born with a gift. When she touches an object, she sometimes glimpses those who have owned it before. When a woman arrives with a small wooden carving at the gallery Nicola works at, she can see the object’s history and knows that it was named after the Firebird - the mythical creature from an old Russian fable. Compelled to know more, Nicola follows a young girl named Anna who leads her into the past on a quest through the glittering backdrops of the Jacobites and Russian courts, unearthing a tale of love, courage, and redemption.

    Sue says: "More heavy on the romance than the historical"
    "Fine Writing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love getting two books in one as the story jumps from the present to the past and back. The historical story is richer for its details, as well as its more diverse characters, but both stories were satisfying. As with all the best writers, Kearsley's prose seems effortless. She's a master of setting mood through description, and her characters are well delineated. The only fault I can find in this one is that all of the young males are stock Romance characters (tall, well-muscled, enigmatic, masterful and never crude). That may keep the ladies coming back for more. As for me, I'll try anything Miss Kearsley puts her hand to, because the power of her writing overcomes any cookie-cutter characters that may insinuate themselves into her stories.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Splendour Falls

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Susanna Kearsley
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (308)
    Performance
    (285)
    Story
    (288)

    Emily Braden has stopped believing in fairy tales and happy endings. When her fascinating but unreliable cousin Harry invites her on a holiday to explore the legendary town of Chinon, and promptly disappears - well, that's Harry for you. As Emily makes the acquaintance of Chinon and its people, she begins to uncover dark secrets beneath the charm.

    Amazon Customer says: "Another triumph for my favorite author!"
    "Wonderful Story, Strong Writing, Wrong Narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I probably would have enjoyed this better in print, but the audible offering is still worth the credit because the story is so strong. I agree with all of the comments regarding Barbara Rosenblat's narration. Her voice is simply too old for the part. That aside, I was in awe of Susanna Kearsley's evocative writing and her ability to weave a complex tale. Having read The Rose Garden and The Winter Sea, I assumed I'd be encountering a Romance novel with some supernatural or Time Travel angle. Instead, this is like a finely tuned, more literary version of an Agatha Christie tale, where disparate characters are brought together and we slowly learn their back stories and how they all relate. I wasn't aware that this was to be a Mystery. It was obvious that there would be a bit of the romance here, but it was subtly drawn out, and the mystery only slowly revealed. In the beginning the reader is simply getting to know the characters, and my hat's off to Ms. Kearsley for such a finely delineated cast of characters. Each one is distinct and plays his or her part in the drama/mystery/romance. When you finally realize that there is a mystery to be solved, you come to realize that virtually every previous scene was filled with clues that are relevant to the denouement. A wonderful book that will stay with me for a long while.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Karen Joy Fowler
    • Narrated By Orlagh Cassidy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (405)
    Performance
    (369)
    Story
    (367)

    Meet the Cooke family: Mother and Dad, brother Lowell, sister Fern, and our narrator, Rosemary, who begins her story in the middle. She has her reasons. "I spent the first eighteen years of my life defined by this one fact: that I was raised with a chimpanzee," she tells us. "It's never going to be the first thing I share with someone. I tell you Fern was a chimp and already you aren't thinking of her as my sister. But until Fern's expulsion, I'd scarcely known a moment alone. She was my twin, my funhouse mirror, my whirlwind other half, and I loved her as a sister."

    Amber says: "This was totally worth the credit."
    "Literary but not transcendent"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I debated about the headline, as this is a beautifully written book. But I kept thinking that the same story in other hands (Barbara Kingsolver and Ann Patchett come to mind) might have lifted it to another level. Nonetheless, it's totally worth your time. Ms. Joy Fowler is articulate, her characters are sufficiently compelling and the plot is adept at hanging the carrot just enough out of reach to keep me turning the pages (does that make me an ass?) Suffice it to say that It was good enough that I'm interested in trying some of her other books. Orlagh Cassidy's narration was unobtrusive and easy on the ears.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Revival: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By David Morse
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1993)
    Performance
    (1832)
    Story
    (1844)

    In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs - including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession.

    Thug4life says: "Not fit for a King"
    "Satisfying Character Driven Horror"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Another reviewer complained that "the plot of 'Revival' serves as a vehicle for Mr. King to spout off about drug addiction, aging, the existence of God, and guitar playing." All I can say is "Hallelujah!" Those are the very things that make this book so satisfying. King knows what he's talking about when he writes of addiction, aging and guitar playing (and any thinking adult will have to agree with the book's "terrible sermon"), which gives the narrator depth and inner demons and gives us reason to root for him. Other reviewers didn't think the story was scary enough, and while certain descriptions may be a bit formulaic, the very concept scared the pants off me and has left me with an uneasy feeling when looking into the abyss, which I guess can be viewed as a positive in the horror genre. The tone of the whole book, and the elegiac reflection of the coda, are reminiscent of Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness." King is so good, he makes it look effortless.

    I hope narrator David Morse gets to do future King books. His tone and pacing are just right and he's good at differentiating between the characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • I Capture the Castle

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Dodie Smith
    • Narrated By Jenny Agutter
    Overall
    (304)
    Performance
    (254)
    Story
    (255)

    "I write this sitting at the kitchen sink" is the first line of a novel about love, sibling rivalry, and a bohemian existence in a crumbling castle in the middle of nowhere. Cassandra Mortmin's journal records her fadingly glamorous stepmother, her beautiful, wistful older sister, and the man to whom they owe both their isolation and poverty: Father. The author of one experimental novel, and a minor cause celebre, he has since suffered from writer's block and is determined to drag his family down with him.

    Matthew says: "Well, that was a surprise"
    "Astonishingly Good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I didn't realize until I'd finished it that the book was written 60 years ago and that the author was famous for her children's book 101 Dalmatians. I had hoped that this was from a contemporary author and that there would be more books in the same vein. Though others have remarked on the similarity with jane Austin, I felt the tone and ability to set mood was far more reminiscent of Daphne du Maurier. The prose is beautifully restrained, the narrator is superb, the characters are full and delineated, and the world Dodie Smith recreates here (of English country life in the 1930s) is vividly drawn. Just my cup of tea.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Gilded Age

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Mark Twain, Charles Dudley Warner
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (11)

    The Gilded Age is the collaborative work of Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner that satirized the era that followed the Civil War. This period is often referred to as the “Gilded Age” because of this book. The corruption and greed that was typical of the time is exemplified through two fictional narratives: one, of the Hawkins, a poor family from Tennessee that tries to persuade the government to purchase their seventy-five thousand acres of unimproved land.

    TX lilbit says: "An American classic, beautifully narrated"
    "Surprisingly Current"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Gilded Age is one of the few Twain works I hadn't read, and I was pleasantly surprised. The American penchant for get-rich-quick schemes, and the corruption and hypocrisy of Washington politicians was already in full-force 150 years ago! The southern dialect of Senator Dilworthy is vintage Twain. Great satire, though the second half, which involves a murder trial, drags on a bit too long. It's all the more ironic that Twain followed the example of his characters who dream of quick riches, only to be bankrupted by their greed. Excellent narration by Bronson Pinchot.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Code Name Verity

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Wein
    • Narrated By Morven Christie, Lucy Gaskell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2015)
    Performance
    (1816)
    Story
    (1813)

    Code Name Verity is a compelling, emotionally rich story with universal themes of friendship and loyalty, heroism and bravery. Two young women from totally different backgrounds are thrown together during World War II: one a working-class girl from Manchester, the other a Scottish aristocrat, one a pilot, the other a wireless operator. Yet whenever their paths cross, they complement each other perfectly and before long become devoted friends. But then a vital mission goes wrong....

    Suzn F says: "Haunting, Beautiful, Exquisite, Special Book"
    "Preposterous"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I give Elizabeth Wein high marks for writing a compelling story, and the narrators are superb, but it's hard to give credence to the conceit of a confession written in literary style. There is another incredibly illogical action that I can't divulge without spoiling the book for other readers. But it makes no sense and that absolutely ruined the book for me.

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Attachments: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Rainbow Rowell
    • Narrated By Laura Hamilton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (909)
    Performance
    (804)
    Story
    (807)

    Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder, coworkers at The Courier, know the newspaper monitors their office e-mail. But they still spend all day sending each other messages, gossiping about their coworkers, and baring their personal lives like an open book. Jennifer tells Beth everything she can’t seem to tell her husband about her anxieties over starting a family. And Beth tells Jennifer everything, period. Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill still can’t believe that it’s his job to monitor other people’s e-mail.

    Julie says: "Just what I'd hoped for"
    "Captures the Zeitgeist of the Millennials"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First, let me preface this by saying I'm a "senior citizen," so you know where I'm coming from. I loved his book, as it rather accurately depicted my children's lives as boomerang kids approaching thirty. Moreover, it had a wonderful lead up, presented all the expected complications in unexpected ways, and made the resolution a little more complex than I anticipated. In other words, it was perfectly paced, giving us sympathetic characters, and leaving us satisfied. I read a lot of fiction, from historical to literary. If I had to characterize it, I'd say this is a masterfully presented Romance that makes us care about the characters and leaves us with a smile on our faces. Well done.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs)
    • By Jonas Jonasson
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2103)
    Performance
    (1874)
    Story
    (1895)

    After a long and eventful life, Allan Karlsson ends up in a nursing home, believing it to be his last stop. The only problem is that he's still in good health, and in one day, he turns 100. A big celebration is in the works, but Allan really isn't interested (and he'd like a bit more control over his vodka consumption). So he decides to escape. He climbs out the window in his slippers and embarks on a hilarious and entirely unexpected journey, involving, among other surprises, a suitcase stuffed with cash.

    Sylvia says: "Full of Surprises and Unexpected Events"
    "Laugh Out Loud Funny"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In a blending of Forest Gump meets Baron Munchausen meets Lao Tzu, mild mannered and apolitical Allan Karlsson manages to have an impact on his times, even if no one knows his name. Whether having exceptionally bad luck and hardship, or experiencing the most providential escapes, through it all he accepts whatever comes his way because, as his father pointed out, "whatever will be will be." Fatalistic acceptance forms the core of his character as he goes from one adventure to the next through a very long and very eventful life. Loads of fun.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Resistance Man: Bruno, Chief of Police, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Martin Walker
    • Narrated By Robert Ian Mackenzie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (66)
    Performance
    (58)
    Story
    (55)

    Bruno Courrèges - provincial French police chief extraordinaire - is back in another delectable tale of mystery and suspense that unfolds in the gastronomically ravishing Dordogne.

    Scott says: "Another Winner from Walker"
    "Another Winner from Walker"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This series is notable for its gentle tone, its sympathetic characters, the methodical unraveling of the core mystery, and topical themes. Earlier novels in the series have addressed xenophobia, illegal immigration, human trafficking, genetically modified crops, real estate development, truffle fraud, fois gras, PETA and the ETA. Resistance Man incorporates themes of prejudice against homosexuals, abortion, the longing for family and government corruption. And as always, there are the ever present family feuds, politics, testing of loyalties, and the struggle to reconcile legal, pragmatic and moral solutions. The only frustration is that we'll have to wait another year for the next installment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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