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Nicole Del Sesto

  • 30
  • reviews
  • 141
  • helpful votes
  • 38
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  • The Probable Future

  • By: Alice Hoffman
  • Narrated by: Susan Ericksen
  • Length: 11 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 553
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 462
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 458

Women of the Sparrow family have unusual gifts. Elinor can detect falsehood. Her daughter, Jenny, can see people's dreams when they sleep. Granddaughter Stella has a mental window to the future - a future that she might not want to see.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Nice, gentle story for when you feel bad.

  • By Anonymous User on 05-28-17

Chick Lit

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-03-19

With apologies to Hoffman fans.

I have no idea how this book hit my radar. I'm thinking I asked for recommendations for my mother and somebody replied and I thought this sounded good. It is not my kind of book at all.

With all the raves about Hoffman, I thought Practical Magic must be an anomaly "chick lit" type foray. Based on my experience here, it was not. This book was every Sarah Addison Allen book I've ever read all rolled into one.

This will definitely be my last Hoffman.

  • West Cork

  • By: Sam Bungey, Jennifer Forde
  • Narrated by: Sam Bungey, Jennifer Forde
  • Length: 7 hrs and 50 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 24,335
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21,751
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 21,754

This much we do know: Sophie Toscan du Plantier was murdered days before Christmas in 1996, her broken body discovered at the edge of her property near the town of Schull in West Cork, Ireland. The rest remains a mystery. Gripping, yet ever elusive, join the real-life hunt for answers in the year’s first not-to-be-missed, true-crime series.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • ENTERTAINING AND THOUGHT-PROVOKING

  • By Ann on 02-13-18

Podcast not an audio book

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-28-18

This is a podcast - Podcasts are free, this was not free. I couldn't get past that, and it may have impacted my ability to appreciate it.

HOWEVER, I've done a lot of true crime podcasts, and this just didn't measure up for me. Mostly we spent the whole time focused on a suspect (who is a gigantic jerk) who was never convicted of this 20-year-old crime.

You're better off listening to Up and Vanished.

  • Orchid & the Wasp

  • A Novel
  • By: Caoilinn Hughes
  • Narrated by: Caoilinn Hughes
  • Length: 12 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 10

In this dazzlingly original debut novel, award-winning Irish writer Caoilinn Hughes introduces a heroine of mythic proportions in the form of one Gael FoessA tough, thoughtful, and savvy opportunist, Gael is determined to live life on her own terms. Raised in Dublin by single-minded, careerist parents, Gael learns early how a person’s ambitions and ideals can be compromised - and she refuses to let her vulnerable, unwell younger brother, Guthrie, suffer such sacrifices. When Gael’s financier father walks out on them during the economic crash of 2008, her family fractures. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Breathtakingly beautiful prose

  • By Kimberly Hoover on 08-13-18

The "other" Milkman

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-28-18

This book hit my radar as as a possible Man Booker nominee, and it's a shame it wasn't nominated - especially with books like Snap and Sabrina on the list. Though nothing like "Milkman", it was enough like "Milkman" that if both books were on the list it would have been puzzling. If that makes any sense. I'm in the love-camp on "Milkman" by the way.

This is a remarkable novel. Hughes is obviously bright and talented. The writing stellar, the characters (FLAWED) and interesting, and the story kept me enthralled the whole way through. Gael is snarky and at times misguided (or properly guided but mis-actioned), self-absorbed, complicated, loyal, funny - you know ... human. The family dynamic is fraught, dysfunctional, complex, you know ... human.

Music is a central theme in this book - reminding me of another Booker nom, "Do Not Say We Have Nothing." In that book the music aspects really bored me, but in this book I felt they came to life.

I think (and I could be wrong) those who didn't love "Milkman" would like this one better. I feel like there was more going on both with characters and story, and can't imagine this being called "boring." I'd love for one of my non-Milkman-loving friends to read it and let me know.

I ended up doing the audio on this, which was read by the author (immediate inward groan) - she was fantastic. Very talented in many areas. Probably a lot like Gael.

This book wasn't perfect, there was a caricature or two, an annoying plot point here and there, and times when the story felt a bit bogged down, but for me they were easy to overlook and I ended up loving it.

  • Eileen

  • By: Ottessa Moshfegh
  • Narrated by: Alyssa Bresnahan
  • Length: 8 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 761
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 712
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 711

The Christmas season offers little cheer for Eileen Dunlop, an unassuming yet disturbed young woman trapped between her role as her alcoholic father's caretaker in a home whose squalor is the talk of the neighborhood and a day job as a secretary at the boys' prison, filled with its own quotidian horrors. Consumed by resentment and self-loathing, Eileen tempers her dreary days with perverse fantasies and dreams of escaping to the big city.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Strange, unsettling, but engrossing

  • By S. Yates on 01-09-18

Rescue me

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-21-18

I'm really glad I read [book:My Year of Rest and Relaxation|36203391] before I read this. I liked this, but R and R was far superior in my opinion. Moshfegh is a stellar writer. The love the way her mind works and how raw and honest she is.

This is about a woman who is stuck in all aspects of her life, and sort of her inner monologue about being stuck and fantasies about getting unstuck. The way she assigns the role of rescuer to random people and finally realizing perhaps she could save herself.

At this point, if Moshfegh puts it out, I will read it.

  • Strange the Dreamer

  • By: Laini Taylor
  • Narrated by: Steve West
  • Length: 18 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,037
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,836
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,830

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around - and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old, he's been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Great until the ending

  • By Shane A. McGarry on 10-23-17

Original

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-20-18

When it comes to fantasy, I've read a lot of it so it takes a lot to impress me, and this book really impressed me. I found it to be very original and loved the weaving of dreams into this story in a way that you didn't roll your eyes and go... oh, yeah, a dream.

This is not a full tale - there is a sequel which has just come out, so don't go into this expecting to get the whole story.

I found this book when trying to find a good audio for a road trip (see above) - Audible had noted it as one of their favorites of the year. Audio was pretty good at times the narrator was great, and at times he bugged me.

Definitely recommended, an entertaining fantasy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Mars Room

  • A Novel
  • By: Rachel Kushner
  • Narrated by: Rachel Kushner
  • Length: 9 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 665
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 610
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 608

Featuring original music by Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon! It's 2003 and Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women's Correctional Facility, deep in California's Central Valley. Outside is the world from which she has been severed: the San Francisco of her youth and her young son, Jackson. Inside is a new reality: thousands of women hustling for the essentials needed to survive; the bluffing and pageantry and acts of violence by guards and prisoners alike; and the absurdities of institutional living, which Kushner evokes with great humor and precision.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazing novel !

  • By Amazon Customer on 06-08-18

Bleak

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-09-18

What must the Booker judges think of America?  Based on the books I'm reading,  they must have a bleak impression.

I didn't enjoy this book in the slightest.  I can't even say I appreciated it.  I can acknowledge that the book was structurally sound, and it's filled with important topics ones that fiction surely should explore.  Poverty's impact on opportunity, the prison, system, and of course treatment of women because ... always.

The book missed for me in a couple areas - I made no connection with the any of the characters, and I had little sympathy for any of them as individuals.  Second, I found the book to be emotionless.  I know we haven't posted our Sabrina review yet, but I was left with a similar hopelessness as with that book.  Things suck but life goes on.  That's hard for me.  I still have hope.  I want to believe that things are going to get better for people, especially prisoners (and poor people, and women ...)

I really don't need my tough subjects sugar-coated. I just think there was a way to tell this important story in a way that made me want to root for the downtrodden.

The audiobook was read by the author. I think that was a mistake. She sounded like Rosanna Arquette (I listened to another book narrated by her) and the result was not good. Also, the audio made it difficult to understand whose POV was happening in the story.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • The Changeling

  • A Novel
  • By: Victor LaValle
  • Narrated by: Victor LaValle
  • Length: 14 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,099
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,019
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,017

When Apollo Kagwa's father disappeared, all he left his son were strange recurring dreams and a box of books stamped with the word improbabilia. Now Apollo is a father himself - and as he and his wife, Emma, are settling into their new lives as parents, exhaustion and anxiety start to take their toll. Apollo's old dreams return and Emma begins acting odd.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Fractured Fairytale

  • By Diane on 08-07-17

Started strong.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-06-18

Mom and I were on a long road trip and hated our audiobook. In an act of desperation I started googling "best audiobooks" and this came up. I'd seen it before so I thought it was worth a shot.

It started really strong and we were totally engaged. A husband disappears, his son has nightmares, he loses himself in books, and as an adult he meets and falls in love with a Librarian. Things took a turn after they had their baby- the book is called "The Changeling" after all.

Mom gave up, and I persevered. It was ... interesting ... I guess. Had a fantasy/horror vibe. It was a well-told story, and the author read the audiobook ably, and ultimately I pretty much liked it. That being said, there's not a person I would recommend this to. Though I found things about it to like, I cannot imagine anybody really "enjoying" it.

  • Milkman

  • By: Anna Burns
  • Narrated by: Bríd Brennan
  • Length: 14 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 138
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 129
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 130

In this unnamed city, to be interesting is dangerous. Middle sister, our protagonist, is busy attempting to keep her mother from discovering her maybe-boyfriend and to keep everyone in the dark about her encounter with Milkman. But when first brother-in-law sniffs out her struggle, and rumours start to swell, middle sister becomes 'interesting'. The last thing she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous. Milkman is a tale of gossip and hearsay, silence and deliberate deafness. It is the story of inaction with enormous consequences.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beyond the Pale

  • By Nicole Del Sesto on 07-27-18

Beyond the Pale

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-27-18

What a great start to Booker season!  I loved this book.  I thought the writing clever and the story engrossing.  It's an unnamed time and an unnamed place (actually Northern Ireland during the "troubles") with unnamed characters.  

Through the voice of our narrator ("middle sister" and "maybe girlfriend" and "friend") we explore issues of the time including: politics; feminism; family; individuality, conformity and love.   What it's like to group up in a place where everybody knows you and if you stick out even a little bit, to assume the worst about you.

There's a psychological  element as well, which added a layer of suspense to the whole story which I thought was done extremely well. 

I listened to the audio which only added to my enjoyment.  The narrator was perfect and the parts of the writing which would have been outstanding in the reading of them were really enhanced. 

A top 2018 read for me.   

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Neverworld Wake

  • By: Marisha Pessl
  • Narrated by: Phoebe Strole
  • Length: 8 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 250
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 234
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 231

Once upon a time, back at Darrow-Harker School, Beatrice Hartley and her five best friends were the cool kids, the beautiful ones. Then the shocking death of Jim - their creative genius and Beatrice's boyfriend - changed everything. One year after graduation, Beatrice is returning to Wincroft - the seaside estate where they spent so many nights sharing secrets, crushes, plans to change the world - hoping she'll get to the bottom of the dark questions gnawing at her about Jim's death. But as the night plays out, Beatrice senses she's never going to know what really happened.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful, engaging, and thought provoking

  • By Keri Owen on 06-23-18

And again....

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-10-18

I thought Pessl could do no wrong, but I was wrong. This is a young adult novel, so perhaps they will like it better than I.

Pessl's trademark wordplay was absent from this book, so that was a disappointment, but also it was just plain boring. Sheesh. It was a sort of interesting idea, not totally original, but a unique take. (To explain it would be spoilers.)

Though not a long book, it felt endless. The first half was essentially the same day lived over and over again and not in an interesting way. Unfortunately, I chose this as a "long car ride" book, so we kept at it. I did want to find out what happened. The second half was definitely more interesting than the first, but in such a basic way - the good guy isn't really good, the mean girl isn't really a mean girl and she's doing it all for you, etc.

The mystery, once solved, was overly complex.

Just was not good.

(The narrator, however, was great.)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Hazel Wood

  • By: Melissa Albert
  • Narrated by: Rebecca Soler
  • Length: 10 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,001
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 923
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 923

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice's life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice's grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: Her mother is stolen away - by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • dark and modern fairytale

  • By Stephanie on 02-02-18

Fun

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-17-18


This was a fun book. Dark fairy tale mishmash which put me in mind of Ready Player One and the Thursday Next books. Some clever ideas and very entertaining.

The narrator on the audio was really good. Nothing obnoxious, which is always a bonus.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful