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Jennifer Dickinson

yogini, knitter, quilter, sewist, stitcher, reader, cook, foodie, wine snob, francophile, wife, dog mom, SF Giants fan

Bay Area, CA United States | Member Since 2015

4
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 14 reviews
  • 18 ratings
  • 66 titles in library
  • 2 purchased in 2015
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  • Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By The Countess of Carnarvon
    • Narrated By Wanda McCaddon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (21)

    Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey, a transporting companion piece to the New York Times best seller Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey, tells the story of Catherine Wendell, the beautiful and spirited American woman who married Lady Almina's son, the man who would become the 6th Earl of Carnarvon.

    Jennifer Dickinson says: "More Fascinating Tales From Highclere"
    "More Fascinating Tales From Highclere"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey in three words, what would they be?

    History, family, society


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey?

    Spoiler alert!


    Porchie's affairs, the scandal with Almina' second husband/his ex-wife.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Spoiler alert!


    Catherine's second marriage.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    While I did enjoy this book, I found it just a tiny bit less compelling than Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Erik Larson
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1552)
    Performance
    (1311)
    Story
    (1307)

    On May 1, 1915, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were anxious. Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone, and for months, its U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic.

    L. O. Pardue says: "What a Ride!"
    "Obsessive Listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was an excellent and totally absorbing listen, sensitively read by Scott Brick, one of my favorite readers. Of course, we all know what happened, but the book is nevertheless suspenseful because it follows a handful of passengers and crew, and you don't know who survived or not until near the end. In addition, Larson analyzes a number of key details to delve into the great many factors that led to the sinking, the change or absence of any one of them might have led to a different result. Larson also expertly situates the sinking into the larger contexts of both WWI and US foreign policy.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Hundred-Foot Journey: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Richard C. Morais
    • Narrated By Neil Shah
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1465)
    Performance
    (1343)
    Story
    (1336)

    Born above his grandfather’s modest restaurant in Mumbai, Hassan first experienced life through intoxicating whiffs of spicy fish curry, trips to the local markets, and gourmet outings with his mother. But when tragedy pushes the family out of India, they console themselves by eating their way around the world, eventually settling in Lumière, a small village in the French Alps.

    Marci says: "Great details & writing in a flawed story"
    "Wasted Potential"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really wanted to like this book and it seemed to have all the indications (food, India, France, working class kid makes good) of things that I like. To me, however, there were two large flaws:

    1. The story tried to do too many things and ended up doing none of them particularly well. The best part was about the first third, i.e., the story of how the family left India and settled in France via London. The dramatic arc was really the feud with Madame Mallory and it should have ended with its resolution. A more detailed and nuanced version of just that story would have been much better. Instead, the remainder of the story, focusing on Hassan's career was not particularly interesting, nor did it ring true/authentic for me.

    2. Mr. Shah's voicing of the French characters, particularly the women, was so distracting I nearly put the book down many times. It was really a stubborn need to see where the story was going to go. His accent varied, but overall was poorly done across the board and the female characters came off as lisping, mincing, shrill and just.... totally unappealing. Given the large portion of the book set in France and including French characters, a different reader (or having two readers) would have been preferable. In contrast, I listened to Devil in the White City right after this. The reader, Scott Brick, had a handful of French words to say, which he delivered perfectly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Devil in the White City

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs)
    • By Erik Larson
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5226)
    Performance
    (2814)
    Story
    (2848)

    In a thrilling narrative showcasing his gifts as storyteller and researcher, Erik Larson recounts the spellbinding tale of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Also available abridged.

    D says: "A Rich Read!"
    "Absorbing Listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Devil in the White City again? Why?

    Yes, there is so much detail in the twin stories of how the fair was built and how HH Holmes used it as an opportunity to collect more victims. You couldn't possibly absorb it all in one listen. Scott Brick is an articulate, precise reader and I thought he handled the material perfectly.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Definitely. I knew almost nothing about the topic and had no expectations or ideas on how things would turn out. The story was perfectly told so as not to give any hints.


    Have you listened to any of Scott Brick’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not; not applicable.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    This is when/how the Ferris Wheel was invented!


    Any additional comments?

    I am a bit of an armchair architecture nerd, so I loved having a look into how the fair was achieved (and nearly wasn't) as well as insight into the minds of the great men who built the fair.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gone Girl: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Gillian Flynn
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (29101)
    Performance
    (25685)
    Story
    (25757)

    It is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media - as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents - the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter - but is he really a killer?

    Teddy says: "Demented, twisted, sick and I loved it!"
    "Unique, Unexpected Thriller"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Gone Girl the most enjoyable?

    Truly original plot with lots of twists.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Gone Girl?

    The bit when Nick is undergoing fertility testing and the... mechanics... are hilariously described.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When Nick reaches the end of the treasure hunt.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I was constantly in suspense over every detail. I found this a very engaging, totally unique thriller.


    Any additional comments?

    Excellent, spot-on performance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bite Me: A Love Story

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Christopher Moore
    • Narrated By Susan Bennett
    Overall
    (1686)
    Performance
    (897)
    Story
    (893)

    "The city of San Francisco is being stalked by a huge shaved vampyre cat named Chet, and only I, Abby Normal, emergency backup mistress of the Greater Bay Area night, and my manga-haired love monkey, Foo Dog, stand between the ravenous monster and a bloody massacre of the general public. Whoa. And this is a love story? Yup."

    Ron says: "WOW!!!"
    "Funny, Sweet and Whatnot"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Bite Me the most enjoyable?

    Susan Bennett's storytelling is amazing. She captures a huge variety of characters, their accents, behavior and mannerisms. This was also my favorite of the trilogy; all of the characters are fully developed and completed in this final book of the series.


    What other book might you compare Bite Me to and why?

    Bloodsucking Fiends and You Suck, the prior two books in the trilogy. They are all obviously in the same style and follow many of the same characters. Though I enjoyed them all, Bite Me was the funniest and most interesting.

    I did not especially like Abby Normal in You Suck, but found her much funnier and more nuanced/interesting in Bite Me.


    What about Susan Bennett’s performance did you like?

    All of it. She is the most talented narrator I have heard so far and is a great match for Christopher Moore's writing. She also did an amazing job voicing Marvin, Bummer and Lazarus, the three dogs who appear in the story. Moore's "translations" of dogspeak were hilarious and Susan Bennett brought them to canine life.


    If you could take any character from Bite Me out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    The Emperor! As a native San Franciscan, I grew up with stories of the actual Emperor Norton and I loved that this character appeared in the trilogy.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Christopher Moore
    • Narrated By Susan Bennett
    Overall
    (2644)
    Performance
    (1450)
    Story
    (1477)

    A striking red-head, 20-something Jody is attacked and transformed into a vampire while walking home one night in downtown San Francisco. Befriending 19-year-old Tommy, Jody tries to understand her new undead life, but trouble finds her when the cops start suspecting Tommy of being a local bloodsucking serial killer.

    SHEILA says: "Bloodsucking FUN!"
    "Hilarious Intro to Enjoyable Series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Bloodsucking Fiends in three words, what would they be?

    Witty, modern, adventure


    What did you like best about this story?

    As a native of this beautiful city, I loved that it was set in San Francisco and that the descriptions and locations were so pithily and accurately described. The best scene ever is when Jody goes to the laundromat in the Tenderloin. It has everything: a lady who kicks butt and takes no prisoners, hilarious descriptions and the best snappy comeback ever.


    What does Susan Bennett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    More than any other audiobook I have listened to, Susan Bennett so perfectly and finely renders each character. Each is so distinct and spot on. I would enjoy the books if I read them, but her performance adds so much nuance and hilarity that I couldn't imagine the story without the audio. She just adds everything to it.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    In the trailer, San Francisco's trademark fog would roll in over the Golden Gate and the words "bloodsuckers by the bay" would appear on the screen. Then the vampires would emerge from the fog.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kafka on the Shore

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Haruki Murakami
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett, Oliver Le Sueur
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (217)
    Performance
    (187)
    Story
    (191)

    With Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami gives us a novel every bit as ambitious and expansive as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which has been acclaimed both here and around the world for its uncommon ambition and achievement, and whose still-growing popularity suggests that it will be read and admired for decades to come.

    Dr. Curmudgeon says: "What's better than Murakami? More Murakami"
    "Wonderful Story, Perfectly Read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Kafka on the Shore the most enjoyable?

    The readers were amazing and so perfectly captured the characters. They turned a great story into a transcendent experience.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    So hard to say, but probably Nakata. Although he is supposed to be a simpleton, he has a particular genius for living the life he is given and being happy with what he has.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    My favorite scene is when Miss Saiki tells Kafka he has to go back to the world to remember her.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Absolutely. This is a very philosophical and emotional story. I cried in all the right places and laughed out loud at its wry wit. Loved it. Will definitely listen again.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Runaway

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Tracy Chevalier
    • Narrated By Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (208)
    Performance
    (183)
    Story
    (184)

    In best-selling author Tracy Chevalier’s newest historical saga, she introduces Honor Bright, a modest English Quaker who moves to Ohio in 1850, only to find herself alienated and alone in a strange land. Sick from the moment she leaves England, and fleeing personal disappointment, she is forced by family tragedy to rely on strangers in a harsh, unfamiliar landscape. Nineteenth-century America is practical, precarious, and unsentimental, and scarred by the continuing injustice of slavery. In her new home Honor discovers that principles count for little, even within a religious community meant to be committed to human equality.

    Tom says: "unjustified perseverance got me through"
    "Easy, enjoyable listen (with some flaws)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I did truly enjoy this book, though I did occasionally find the narration a bit annoying (unexpected pauses, shifting/inconsistent accents, male voices not as realistic and an uplift at the ends of declaratory sentences) and there were a couple of plot points that seemed out of character for Honor.

    That being said, as a quilter and armchair historian of American slavery I found the subject matter, characters and overall storytelling engrossing and I am sure I will listen to it again. It is a quick listen and a very welcome escape on my commute. I especially enjoyed the quilting bits, which seemed very natural/appropriate to the plot and were accurately rendered (a huge pet peeve of mine is supposedly crafty fiction that is hardly crafty at all or just pasted on). If you like quilts or quilting, I think you will appreciate this book.

    Though Honor is the main character, she is supported by two great characters in particular: Belle and Mrs. Reed, both of whom give dimension to the story and a bit of a reality check to Honor when required.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By David Mitchell
    • Narrated By Jonathan Aris, Paula Wilcox
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1585)
    Performance
    (803)
    Story
    (803)

    In 1799, the artificial island of Dejima lies in Nagasaki Harbor as Japan’s outpost for the Dutch East Indies Company. There, Jacob de Zoet has come to make a fortune large enough to return to Holland and marry the woman he loves.

    Michael Cox says: "Less about the arrival more about the ride"
    "Compelling Historical Drama"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Number 1! I loved this book and the narrators. I very nearly started over again as soon as it ended.


    What other book might you compare The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet to and why?

    Possession by A.S. Byatt or Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres in terms of the forbidden love aspect. Corelli's Mandolin in particular for the wartime setting, themes of separation, time passing and how the characters grapple with these issues. I would also say it reminded me a little bit of Edward Rutherfurd's books: even without the multi-generational aspect, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is just as ambitious and sweeping (and successfully so).


    What about Jonathan Aris and Paula Wilcox ’s performance did you like?

    I really enjoyed having a male and female reader to handle the various voices. It added to the realism of the story and helped keep the characters/dialogue straight. They both did a great job voicing the characters and capturing just the right feelings in a given situation.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Yes, I found it thoroughly engrossing and felt very involved in the story and characters. I definitely had strong loves and hates among the characters. And I did cry (on the train, during my commute)!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Antonio Mendez, Matt Baglio
    • Narrated By Dylan Baker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (363)
    Performance
    (321)
    Story
    (324)

    On November 4, 1979, Iranian militants stormed the American embassy in Tehran and captured dozens of American hostages, sparking a 444-day ordeal and a quake in global politics still reverberating today. But there's a little-known footnote to the crisis: six Americans escaped. And a midlevel agent named Antonio Mendez devised an ingenious yet incredibly risky plan to rescue them. Armed with foreign film visas, Mendez and an unlikely team of CIA agents and Hollywood insiders traveled to Tehran....

    Minta says: "I listened to this twice in a row!"
    "Suspenseful and Riveting True Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Argo the most enjoyable?

    The events described seemed so immediate and real. The action and emotion were evident in the writing. I felt like the author was telling me the story in my living room.


    What other book might you compare Argo to and why?

    Anything by Frederick Forsyth because if the similar themes of espionage, statecraft, geopolitical issues and the like.


    What does Dylan Baker bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Hearing the story read made it so much more immediate and real.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Definitely!!!!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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