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Frances

Webster, MA, United States
  • 50
  • reviews
  • 102
  • helpful votes
  • 100
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  • I Remember You

  • A Ghost Story
  • By: Yrsa Sigurdardottir
  • Narrated by: Lucy Paterson
  • Length: 11 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 200
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 182
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 180

In an isolated village in the Icelandic Westfjords, three friends set to work renovating a run-down house. But soon they realize they are not as alone as they thought. Something wants them to leave, and it's making its presence felt. Meanwhile, in a town across the fjord, a young doctor investigating the suicide of an elderly woman discovers that she was obsessed with his vanished son. When the two stories collide, the terrifying truth is uncovered. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Absolutely terrifying web of misfortune

  • By jksullycats on 06-10-18

Classic Gothic Ghost Story

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

Reviewed: 03-19-19

A couple and their dear friend set off for a desolate, abandoned village in Iceland, where they have invested in an old \ house. Their plan is to renovate the structure into a bed-and-breakfast for the warmer seasons' visitors. They soon discover, however, that the "bad reputation" the ferry captain spoke of about the house is all too true.

Meanwhile, in more populated Icelandic town, a psychiatrist sets out to investigate the suicide of a woman who bore strange scars on her back. He's also endlessly searching for his son, who disappeared without a trace several years past.

This story is slow to start and difficult to follow in the opening chapters, partially due to an American's unfamiliarity with the strange character and place names. Basically, two tales are told in parallel, gradually converging with horrifying clarity. Avoiding the gore often in modern horror, this author relies instead on the subtlety of Gothic horror, where what is not exactly seen but heard and vividly imagined is scariest of all. Any reader who enjoys a truly creepy ghost story, written with a definite flair for the literary, will definitely enjoy "I Remember You: A Ghost Story."

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Kill Creek

  • By: Scott Thomas
  • Narrated by: Bernard Setaro Clark
  • Length: 15 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,335
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,121
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,110

When best-selling horror author Sam McGarver is invited to spend Halloween night in one of the country's most infamous haunted houses, he reluctantly agrees. At least he won't be alone; joining him are three other masters of the macabre, writers who have helped shape modern horror. But what begins as a simple publicity stunt will become a fight for survival. The entity they have awakened will follow them, torment them, threatening to make them a part of the bloody legacy of Kill Creek.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • UNUSUAL PREMISE, COULDN'T STOP LISTENING

  • By Linda Likes to Learn on 12-02-17

Great story with a Fatal Flaw

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

Reviewed: 12-27-18

Kill Creek is the intriguing tale of four horror authors who are all invited to spend a night - Halloween night, of course - in what is reputed to be a haunted house by an Internet podcast mogul. Each author writes their own flavor of the genre, all from different generations and backgrounds. What they have in common is that they all have "skeletons in their closets," which color their novels. But they have also all reached plateaus in their careers, and this publicity stunt just may be the boost they need.
The author has done a superb job of creating a classic Gothic environment. The house at Kill Creek, with a morbid history of its own, becomes a character in its own right. Deftly plotted with many unexpected twists and turns, the reader experiences the strange occurrences that night through each author's lens of perception. A page-turner until nearly the end, but . . .
The author reveals what determines the ending of the book way too soon, thereby causing the story to fizzle out and land flat. The reader thinks, "Duh, we knew that." No surprise.
Still, as well-written as this novel is, with so many layers of complexity, it deserves four stars. Fans of horror by the late Barbara Michaels will enjoy this book. The narrator of the audiobook does a superb job, with convincing accents and intonations throughout.

  • Mysteries at Midnight

  • By: Gary Alan Ruse
  • Narrated by: Jim Pelletier
  • Length: 7 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1

This collection of stories by science-fiction and mystery author Gary Alan Ruse explores fantasy realms and the dark side of human - and nonhuman - nature with thrills and chills, and, in some cases, a touch of humor. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Treasure Trove for a Mystery Lover

  • By Frances on 12-20-18

A Treasure Trove for a Mystery Lover

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

Reviewed: 12-20-18

This delightful collection of short stories is reminiscent of Rod Serling's brief but chilling tales of the supernatural. Each unique in its own way, these stories all lure the reader down a dark, mysterious path, all the while setting the stage in pure Gothic fashion. From a fantastical unicorn on a movie set who has a mind of its own to an odd pairing of a priest with a vampire to solve a crime, this collection never ceases to tantalize.The author combined his amazing imagination with eloquent prose and description to take the reader on a truly thrilling ride.
I listened to the audiobook version of this collection, and found the narrator to be exquisitely talented at accents and at setting the mood. I highly recommend this book to anyone who savors a paranormal experience.

  • The Mercy of Thin Air

  • A Novel
  • By: Ronlyn Domingue
  • Narrated by: Rebecca Gayheart
  • Length: 6 hrs and 11 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 59
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 39
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 37

The Mercy of Thin Air entwines two heartbreaking and redemptive love stories that echo across three generations and culminates in a finish that will leave readers breathless. It is a poignant and brilliant first novel that beautifully captures the nature of love and shows how it transcends all barriers, even death.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Thin Story

  • By Lisa on 07-18-06

Beautifully written, but...

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

Reviewed: 11-08-18

Raziela Nolan is a beautiful, savvy, modern woman of the late 1920s whose life gets cut short by a slip on the edge of her lover's pool. Andrew, who adores her beyond words, arrives just moments after she drowns. Razi, however, decides not to "cross over" right away. It's seventy years later and she's still around, still trying to find out what happened to her beloved Andrew after her death.

An antique bookcase in an estate sale catches the eye of Amy and Scott, a young couple looking to add to their vintage furniture collection. The bookcase belonged to Andrew. Little do they know, when they take the bookcase home, they are taking an unseen visitor with them.

A ghost.

This compelling story is told from the prospective of a spirit - Razi - who is stuck "in between," as she refers to her state. When she takes up residence in Scott and Amy's home, she becomes witness to their love drama. Amy is haunted by her own past, having lost her true love in a car wreck, then losing their unborn child in the aftermath. She's never gotten over her first love, and Scott knows nothing of any of this.

Twin time periods, twin love stories. Ms. Dominigue has certainly taken on a big challenge. So many characters, though, who appear in more than one time period - often in the same chapter - tend to cause confusion. Is this Razi alive or is she already dead? Is Aunt Tollie young and Razi's best friend, or old and Amy's aging aunt? In the last chapters, the prose takes on an almost hallucinogenic quality. Where are we? When are we? Although the author's word craft is elegant, I'm not sure the delivery provides the most satisfying love story.

But it's told by a ghost. If you loved Anne Sebold's "The Lovely Bones," do give "The Mercy of Thin Air" a go.

I listened to the audiobook version of this title and the narrator, Rebecca Gayheart, provided an outstanding performance.

  • Leaving Van Gogh

  • By: Carol Wallace
  • Narrated by: Luis Moreno
  • Length: 10 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 32
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 28
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 29

Leaving Van Gogh is Carol Wallace’s first historical novel and it has created quite a buzz among genre luminaries. In this meticulously researched, heartrending story, Wallace re-creates the final fateful days of legendary painter Vincent Van Gogh - who, at the age of 37, shot himself long before his paintings became recognized as some of the world’s greatest works of art.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Different Point of View

  • By Frances on 08-17-18

A Different Point of View

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

Reviewed: 08-17-18

This fictionalized story of artist Vincent Van Gogh is told by the physician who treated him in the final months of his life. Dr. Gachet was approached by Vincent's brother, Theo, explaining that Vincent had a history of mental illness, and had spent time in an asylum. Gachet is taken with Vincent, inviting him into his home for a time. His children, Paul and Marguerite, become infatuated with the artist. In this telling, the gun with which Vincent purportedly shot himself belonged to Dr. Gachet.

Gachet, it seems, was a widower whose wife died a very painful death from tuberculosis. She begged him to end her suffering, but he refused. The author of "Leaving Van Gogh" extends the theory that Gachet felt guilty for allowing his wife to suffer and die on her own. When Van Gogh tells him he wants to end his life, Gachet leaves his gun for Vincent to find.

This was an eloquently written twist on the life story of the troubled artist. Since it is plainly listed as "fiction," one must wonder just how much of this author's version is based on fact. Not knowing makes the reader/listener then question why the author strayed from the facts to fictionalize--why not just write a biography? Perhaps because no one will ever know the true story. Engrossing tale with outstanding narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Ghosted

  • A Novel
  • By: Rosie Walsh
  • Narrated by: Katherine Press
  • Length: 9 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 734
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 677
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 676

When Sarah meets Eddie, they connect instantly and fall in love. To Sarah, it seems as though her life has finally begun. And it's mutual: It's as though Eddie has been waiting for her, too. Sarah has never been so certain of anything. So when Eddie leaves for a long-booked vacation and promises to call from the airport, she has no cause to doubt him. But he doesn't call. Sarah's friends tell her to forget about him, but she can't. She knows something's happened - there must be an explanation. 

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Boring, tedious, not worth my time. I am so aggravated that I preordered this book. It was absurd. Much ado about nothing!

  • By Pamela M. on 07-28-18

Glad I stuck with it . . .

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

Reviewed: 08-10-18

From the title and description of this book, I truly expected a bit more mystery/action/suspense than what it is: a deep psychological study of old guilt, family ties, and emotional insecurities. For anyone looking for a fast-paced read, this book is not for you. The story concept, however, is brilliant.

Recently divorced Sarah is forging forward on a rocky, uncertain path in her life. Originally from the UK, she relocated to California to escape the memory of her losing her younger sister almost twenty years ago. She returns there, though, every year, on the anniversary of her sister's death. On this day she meets Eddie, who is sitting there on this same spot, seemingly waiting for her. They immediately click, spend the day together, and then the next two weeks.

But Sarah's Cinderella story ends when they separate--her to go back to the U.S., and he to go on holiday in Spain. He'll call, he promises. They will make this work. He never does.

The first third of this book reminded me very much of "The Girl on the Train," all the "action" taking place inside the protagonist's head. Sarah agonizes over what went wrong, whether it really was just a fling, or if perhaps something has happened to Eddie. The emotional turmoil, and her obsessive behavior, convince the reader she's gone mad.

This is the point at which I almost gave up. I persisted, however, and I was glad I did.

A deeply emotional study of tragedy, loss, guilt, insecurities, and hope, "Ghosted" was very deep. Unfortunately, there were a lot of loose ends left untied or dropped altogether, and the pacing of the first half of the book was frustratingly slow. Without giving away any spoilers, I will say that the story does have a very satisfying ending, and, if you are a patient and tenacious reader, is definitely worth the ride.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • The Broken Girls

  • By: Simone St. James
  • Narrated by: Rebecca Lowman
  • Length: 11 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,046
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,740
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,725

Vermont, 1950. There's a place for the girls whom no one wants - the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It's called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it's located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming - until one of them mysteriously disappears.... Vermont, 2014. As much as she's tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister's death.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Outstanding in Every Way!

  • By Alexis on 03-21-18

St. James' Best Yet!

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

Reviewed: 07-25-18

Two eras, two stories, linked by the persistent mourning of one woman for her murdered younger sister.

Idlewild Hall--Vermont,1950: A boarding school for girls who just don't fit. The place is rumored to be haunted. Four roommates share their secrets, their fears, clinging to each other. Until one leaves for a weekend visit and disappears...

Vermont, 2014: Journalist Fiona Sheridan still mourns her sister, whose body was found on the abandoned grounds of Idlewild Hall twenty years ago. When she discovers someone has bought the place and intends to re-open the school, Fiona becomes obsessed with one burning question--why?

This dual-timeline plot zips the reader back and forth, but seamlessly, with the parallel stories gradually converging. Amazing character development, intricate twists and turns, and poetically described scenery. A psychological thriller, murder mystery, and ghost story wrapped into one. The Gothic element is woven through with just the right amount of spooky. This author's best work yet.

  • Tribute

  • By: Nora Roberts
  • Narrated by: Jennifer Van Dyck
  • Length: 14 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,003
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,623
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,624

Finally out of the celebrity spotlight and away from her mother's demands, Cilla is free to do what she loves: fixing up houses for profit. Her current project is personal. The Shenandoah Valley farm house was once the vacation home of Hollywood luminary Janet Hardy, Cilla's grandmother. When Cilla uncovers a stash of her grandmother's private letters, and begins asking questions about the past, she becomes the target of a crazed killer.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Huh?

  • By B. Hongo on 06-22-10

Fantastic but narration needed editing

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

Reviewed: 07-17-18

This was one of those books that when I saw how long it was, I thought, "I wonder if I'll get through this." Well, I did, and it whizzed by.

Cilla McGowan started out life in the spotlight--literally. She came from a family of stars: her famous grandmother, Janet Hardy, then her mother. Cilla was a child-star but decides she is done with Hollywood, as her real love was remodeling and flipping houses. She heads off for the Shenandoah Valley where her grandmother's farm lay abandoned, neglected since the star allegedly took her own life years ago. Although the task seems insurmountable, Cilla feels it might be where she really belongs.

Neighbor Ford Sawyer is a graphic novelist who lives alone with his ugly dog, Spock. He soon takes notice of what's happening across the street, and is captivated by the long, lean woman who yields a hammer better than most men. She ignites within his imagination a new character, a woman with superpowers. But getting her to pose for his sketches isn't the only thing Ford wants from Cilla McGowan.

I found this to be a richly textured tale of redemption, finding one's true purpose in life, and of the complexity of family ties. The development of the relationship between Cilla and Ford is believable, slow, and heart-warming. Beautifully written, breathtakingly paced, I consider this to be one of Ms. Roberts' most complex and engrossing stories. A long ride but an exhilarating one.

My only criticism of the audiobook version of this book is that the volume levels did not appear to be properly modulated. The narrator's voice went from too loud to too soft, forcing a constant see-saw of the volume knob. ACX, you need to re-edit this one.

  • Doing It Over

  • Most Likely to, Book 1
  • By: Catherine Bybee
  • Narrated by: Cristina Panfilio
  • Length: 9 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,535
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,314
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,301

Voted Most Likely to Succeed, Melanie Bartlett ended up anything but. The down-on-her-luck single mom wants a complete do-over - is that too much to ask? With her family long gone from River Bend, strong, independent Mel is as surprised as anyone to end up in the quaint small town she once called home. But with her friends, Jo and Zoe, by her side, and a comfortable room at Miss Gina's quirky bed-and-breakfast, she just might have turned the corner on a new life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Exceptional - Tough Plot Line

  • By GH on 05-21-16

Sweet, Enjoyable, Predictable

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

Reviewed: 06-25-18

This was my first title by this author, and Ms. Bybee has a pleasant writing style. The story starts out with Melanie and her daughter, Hope, driving through the rain back to her hometown for Melanie's 10-year class reunion. Fate has not been kind to Mel: her boyfriend flew the coop shortly after Hope was born, her car is on its last wheels, and she has no money. Ten miles from her destination, the car dies, and Melanie does her best to protect her little girl when a stranger stops to offer help. We relate to Melanie from the start, and start rooting for her from page one.

Once back home, Melanie reunites with her two best friends, who have both done better since high school than she has. Jo is now the town sheriff. Zoe is a very successful, TV-icon chef. And the man who stopped to help her on the highway, one she refers to as "Mr. Ripper," turns out to be her next romantic interest. Add to that the eccentric, elderly hippie, Miss Gina, who owns the local bed and breakfast. Ms. Bybee does characters and setting very, very well.

All seems fine until Melanie's ex-boyfriend shows up, now an established attorney, claiming he wants a divorce (huh? We thought they weren't married?) and custody of his child--one he's never shown interest in nor paid a dime of support for.

The author does characters and setting well, but falls short in the suspense/intrigue department. I'd figured out about halfway through the book how the plot would play out--who was behind all the sudden turmoil in the small town. From that point on, the story was flat for me. Suspense isn't exciting when you know how it all will end.

I don't know much about this author's usual genre of choice, but I'd say she'd be better to stick with sweet, small town romance and leave the mystery/suspense game to those who know how to keep their cards closer to the chest.

  • Something in the Water

  • A Novel
  • By: Catherine Steadman
  • Narrated by: Catherine Steadman
  • Length: 11 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31,273
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28,942
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 28,853

Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough, Mark a handsome investment banker with big plans. Passionately in love, they embark on a dream honeymoon to the tropical island of Bora Bora, where they enjoy the sun, the sand, and each other. Then, while scuba diving in the crystal blue sea, they find something in the water....

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Give this a HARD PASS

  • By 3dewdrops on 06-27-18

Not what I was expecting

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

Reviewed: 06-21-18

Listed on Amazon under "Action & Adventure" and "Crime Fiction," I was a little surprised to discover that although this title definitely fits under those categories, it's really, at its core, a Psychological Thriller.

Much like The Girl on the Train, this story plays with the reader's head. Told in the present tense from the heroine's POV, the narrative does an outstanding job of keeping the reader wondering, on the edge of their seat. A London film producer and a bank executive meet in a pub, pure serendipity. Sparks of desire flame, and the two off to a wonderful life, a memorable wedding, a brilliant future.

Of course, we know from the start that it doesn't all end that way, because the author opens the story with the heroine describing how "difficult it is to bury a body." The body of her husband. I'm not giving away any spoilers here: The author does that in the opening pages. Now, we wonder, how does it come to this?

This novel is an interesting twist on a crime fiction novel. Expertly intertwined with a solid romance plot line, yet always keeping the reader guessing what will happen next. And we are, throughout, inside the heroine's head, wondering what she's wondering. Unsure of herself, of her new husband. At times we (the readers) question whether or not the obsessive behavior of the heroine indicates that she's gone mad.

Very reminiscent of The Girl on the Train. If you like that novel, you will love Something in the Water. Narrated by the author--a feat in itself, and expertly done.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful