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Daryl

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

ratings
218
REVIEWS
212
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
15
HELPFUL VOTES
182

  • Dead by Sunset: Perfect Husband, Perfect Killer?

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Ann Rule
    • Narrated By Richard Ferrone
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (237)
    Performance
    (189)
    Story
    (187)

    Loni Ann, Cynthia, Lauren, Cheryl, and Sara seemed to have it all - beauty, wealth, children, and a husband who they believed to be this perfect man - Brad Cunningham. He was handsome, charismatic, and mysterious. They adored him and tried to give him all he wanted. But he wanted everything: sex, money, and it seemed, their very lives. How long would it take before he finally got what he deserved?

    Lily says: "My house is clean, my dogs are exhausted!"
    "Ann Rule's most understated work"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Over the years I have read many Ann Rule books - some I have liked more than others. I think this one has been somehow lost in the shuffle. It is not as emotionally gripping as Small Sacrifices, but is super suspenseful. How did this happen? How could this happen? And how can justice come to pass?
    This book seems to have been downplayed whenever anyone mentions Ann Rule, though I am not sure why. The hold that Brad Cunningham had over beautiful, successful - though obviously emotionally dependent - women is astounding. And yet....

    Richard Ferone's narration of this was fantastic! I have read several of his novel narrations and have had a hard time with them, but he was pitch-perfect here.

    If you like true crime with character study, this book is for you! Well, well worth the credit!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Now I See You: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Nicole C. Kear
    • Narrated By Nicole C. Kear
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (19)

    At nineteen years old, Nicole C. Kear's biggest concern is choosing a major - until she walks into a doctor's office in midtown Manhattan and gets a life-changing diagnosis. She is going blind, courtesy of an eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa, and has only a decade or so before lights-out. Instead of making preparations as the doctor suggests, Kear decides to carpe diem and make the most of the vision she has left. She joins a circus school, tears through boyfriends, travels the world, and through all these high jinks, she keeps her vision loss a secret.

    Daryl says: "Wonderfully funny and insightful"
    "Wonderfully funny and insightful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Now I See You in three words, what would they be?

    Hilarious, poignant, moving


    What other book might you compare Now I See You to and why?

    Ryan Knighton's "Cockeyed." Both have denied, then been forced to embrace, their visual impairment with humour. While both had preconceived ideas about what blind people could do, both have lived productive lives.


    What does Nicole C. Kear bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Her acting talents are on full display here. She should definitely consider another career as a narrator!


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The epilogue, when Nicole was enjoying alone time with Lucia, her youngest baby. It shows that you do not need vision to have quality time with children.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved this book. All paths to blindness have different routes, but at their core, we all have had to face anger, denial, frustration. While Nicole's denial was frustrating to behold, and the book was definitely irreverent, it seems that she is finding ways to acknowledge - yet not be consumed by - her blindness.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • And Then She Was Gone

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Rosalind Noonan
    • Narrated By Erin Bennett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (47)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (45)

    Eleven-year-old Lauren O'Neil vanished one sunny afternoon as she walked home from school. Six years later, her parents Rachel and Dan still tirelessly scour their Oregon hometown and beyond, always believing Lauren will be found. Then one day, the call comes. Lauren has been rescued from a secluded farm mere miles away, and her abductor has confessed. Yet her return is nothing like Rachel imagined. Though the revelations about what Lauren endured are shocking, most heartbreaking of all is to see the bright-eyed, assertive daughter she knew transformed into a wary, polite stranger.

    Lisa says: "Good but predictable"
    "Predictable, psychological textbook in novel form"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about And Then She Was Gone?

    It started out compulsively readable, but it went into such detail about therapy sessions that it felt like I was reading a psychological case history.


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

    I haven't, but I liked her performance immensely.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    I did like some of the complexities of the post-abduction unification ...


    Any additional comments?

    I wanted to like this, but it was just all cliched dialogue. I feel like I know where this book is going, and the endless therapy sessions make me cringe with their predictability frustrate me. I find I don't even care about what happened to one of the characters, which is the emotional linchpin....

    Save your time and credit.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Color of Water

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By James McBride
    • Narrated By J. D. Jackson, Susan Denaker
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Who is Ruth McBride Jordan? A self-declared "light-skinned" woman evasive about her ethnicity, yet steadfast in her love for her twelve black children. James McBride, journalist, musician, and son, explores his mother's past, as well as his own upbringing and heritage, in a poignant and powerful debut, The Color Of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother.

    Daryl says: "Compulsively readable, moving"
    "Compulsively readable, moving"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Color of Water the most enjoyable?

    It deals with family separation and tragedy without being sappy, morose, or otherwise depressing. Both narrators were terrific, and the book is written in such a way as to be a quick read, dealing with some complex issues of race, identity, and the love of a family.

    I also loved the integration of faith in both James' and his mother's lives. It is not a conversion story in the sense of "I found Jesus and my life got better, the end"; the faith of James and his mother is more like a journey, an integral though not central focus of the biography.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I liked James' mom for the complexity and wisdom that was described of her... neither saint nor sinner, but complex and strong.


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

    Definitely. I read this book quickly, and will read it again to pick up some of the little thigns you always miss along the way during a book's first reading.


    Any additional comments?

    Terrific book! I normally don't like books that use race as a central concept, but I found this book - which, dealing with issues of race, particularly in the 1930s-40s - was so much more than a treatise on race and racial identity.

    Well worth the time, credit, or money.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Beneath the Night Tree

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Nicole Baart
    • Narrated By Johanna Parker
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    Christy Award nominee Nicole Baart delivers “this beautifully written, heartwarming” (Library Journal) tale. Living in a cozy Iowa farmhouse with her kindly grandmother, 24-year-old Julia Desmit struggles to support her five-year-old son and 10-year-old half-brother. Though her boyfriend is away at medical school, Julia harbors hope for a better life. And then the man who abandoned her six years ago rocks her happy world with one question: “Do I have a son?”

    Daryl says: "Wonderful continuation of Julia's story"
    "Wonderful continuation of Julia's story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Beneath the Night Tree the most enjoyable?

    I loved Nicole Baart's strategy of taking a break from Julia's life for a couple of books and then returning there to continue the story several years later. Julia and her little family have stretched and grown, both closer and further apart, in interesting and realistic ways. Johanna Parker's narration was superb in this book, as it was for the previous books, "After the Leaves Fall" and "Summer Snow."


    What about Johanna Parker’s performance did you like?

    She became Julia DeSmit, her grandmother, even the children. her voices were realistic and not grating, like so many narrators who try and portray children.


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

    yes. Julia's growth as a character, as well as the growth and changes in Parker, Michael, and the children made for wonderful and compelling reading. I also thought the depiction of Julia's wise grandmother was mostly well-done, but it doesn't seem that she struggled with any unforgiveness, impetuousness... perhaps she was just too "saintly" for my taste. This is why I could only give the book 4 stars.


    Any additional comments?

    Baart has a knack of putting everyday characters with faults and foibles front and center in her books. They are damaged without being tragic, sympathetic without being sappy.
    Great work, well worth the read!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Etched in Sand: A True Story of Five Siblings Who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Regina Calcaterra
    • Narrated By Regina Calcaterra
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (57)
    Performance
    (50)
    Story
    (52)

    In this story of perseverance in the face of adversity, Regina Calcaterra recounts her childhood in foster care and on the streets and how she and her savvy crew of homeless siblings managed to survive years of homelessness, abandonment, and abuse. Regina Calcaterra's emotionally powerful memoir reveals how she endured a series of foster homes and intermittent homelessness in the shadow of the Hamptons, and how she rose above her past while fighting to keep her brother and three sisters together.

    Stefanie Jensen says: "I love the sound of Regina's voice"
    "Tragic, yet full of hope"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What about Regina Calcaterra’s performance did you like?

    Sometimes narrators overplay or underplay their own performance, but Regina Calcaterra did a wonderful job narrating her story. Her accent and pitch were terrific!


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

    No. There were portions that were very difficult to read, but I wanted to see how Regina and her siblings grew and changed and overcame the brutality and inconsistency of their childhood.


    Any additional comments?

    This book was not an easy read, and the portions regarding Regina's law suit got a bit confusing, but it is well worth the time and credit. Regina and her siblings are tough, streetsmart and resilient, doing what they had to do to stay together and make better adulthoods for themselves.
    Good work!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Summer Snow

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Nicole Baart
    • Narrated By Johanna Parker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    In the sequel to Nicole Baart's literary gem After the Leaves Fall, pregnant Julia DeSmit returns to her grandmother's home to begin a new life in small-town Iowa. But she's thrown off track when her long-lost mom shows up one frosty night - after 10 years. And yet as Julia herself faces what her mother experienced decades earlier, her comprehension of God's grace begins to trigger an unexpected change.

    Daryl says: "A wonderful followup"
    "A wonderful followup"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What was one of the most memorable moments of Summer Snow?

    There were very many. Julia DeSmit is growing as a character, as her author/creator is growing as a writer.


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

    I love this narrator. I want to pick up many more of her performances. Her depiction of Julia, her grandmother, and even young Simon was pitch-perfect.


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

    it made me laugh in spots and cry in spots. I felt Julia's understandable pain, anger, confusion and resolution as she grows to embrace and let go of people in her life.


    Any additional comments?

    I love Nicole Baart's writing. Her characters are flawed and believable, and faith elements are neither preachy nor glossed over. You would need to read her first book "After the Leaves Fall" to understand much of the build-up in this book, but Baart is certainly an author to watch!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • After the Leaves Fall

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Nicole Baart
    • Narrated By Johanna Parker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Abandoned by her mother at age nine, Julia agonizes over her father's lingering death six years later. Now living alone with her saintly grandmother, Julia is crushed to learn that her longtime best friend and secret love has a college sweetheart. Hoping to redefine herself, Julia attends a nearby university on an engineering scholarship.

    Daryl says: "A promising debut"
    "A promising debut"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of After the Leaves Fall to be better than the print version?

    Probably. I loved Johanna Parker's performance - she became Julia. Her performance made a descriptive coming-of-age tale into a pure joy to hear.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I would have to say Julia, just because she was messy and unpredictable. Beyond that, I liked Becca.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I found Julia's choice of a Christmas gift for her grandmother was moving and special, and the ending was bittersweet, leaving many open-ended questions. Thankfully Baart wrote two more books with some of these characters, and I look forward to seeing where Julia's fictional life takes her.


    Any additional comments?

    Terrific debut. baart creates Christian fiction that doesn't like the easy answers. I think this is what I like about her writing, because life - and faith journeys - are not that simple.
    Great work!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Just Like Us: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Helen Thorpe
    • Narrated By Paula Christensen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (12)

    Just Like Us tells the story of four high school students whose parents entered this country illegally from Mexico. All four of the girls have grown up in the United States, and all four want to live the American dream, but only two have documents. As the girls attempt to make it into college, they discover that only the legal pair see a clear path forward. A coming-of-age story about girlhood and friendship, as well as the resilience required to transcend poverty, Just Like Us is also a book about identity.

    Valice says: "I wanted to listen but..."
    "Timely, poignant biography"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Just Like Us to be better than the print version?

    Probably. I don't know what audiobook another reviewer read, but I thoroughly loved this narration. Paula Christensen did a fantastic job with her characters, and thoroughly owned this personal book. Her pronunciation was wonderful, and the only weak spot was her dialogue portions, which were difficult to differentiate between the characters at points.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I would have to say Clara or Yadira - good girls, bookish, who (in Yadira's case) keep themselves squirreled away and not letting others get too close. I found them complex and likable.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There were many that moved me. I found myself asking many questions during the course of this book, not many of which have answers that will assist the girls in this book, and those like them - children who, through no fault of their own, are in the USA or Canada illegally - or the countries that struggle to find a place for them.


    Any additional comments?

    Fantastic and timely book. It was timely in 2009 when it was first published, and it is timely now, when we have people coming from war or poverty from Mexico, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, and many other countries.
    Terrific!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Accidents of Marriage

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Randy Susan Meyers
    • Narrated By Susan Bennett
    Overall
    (31)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (29)

    Maddy is a social worker trying to balance her career and three children. Years ago, she fell in love with Ben, a public defender, drawn to his fiery passion, but now he's lashing out at her during his periodic verbal furies. She vacillates between tiptoeing around him and asserting herself for the sake of their kids - which works to keep a fragile peace - until the rainy day when they're together in the car and Ben's volatile temper gets the best of him, leaving Maddy in the hospital fighting for her life.

    Daryl says: "Searing, honest... I loved this book!"
    "Searing, honest... I loved this book!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Accidents of Marriage the most enjoyable?

    It wasn't "enjoyable" in the sense that it was a happy read - in fact, it really and truly was not a happy read - but it was well-written, with real characters that felt real, raw, honest emotions, without the over-flowery pretty language that authors who create such characters seem to use. The narration was spot-on, turning a good book itno an outstanding performance.


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

    yes. It was a difficult read, depicting a family already in crisis going through the necessary messy changes of recovery from a brain injury - the overwhelming expectations of older children and the other parent, the hopes and shattered innocence of the younger children...


    Any additional comments?

    I read Meyers' "The Murderer's Daughters" years ago, and I didn't like it then. Perhaps now that I ghave matured - and enjoyed this book so much - I will go back and read it.
    I will also check out Susan Bennett's other narrations; if they're half as good as this, time and credits well spent!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Lost Wife: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Alyson Richman
    • Narrated By George Guidall, Suzanne Toren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1645)
    Performance
    (1465)
    Story
    (1472)

    In pre-war Prague, the dreams of two young lovers are shattered when they are separated by the Nazi invasion. Then, decades later, thousands of miles away in New York, there's an inescapable glance of recognition between two strangers. Providence is giving Lenka and Josef one more chance. From the glamorous ease of life in Prague before the Occupation, to the horrors of Nazi Europe, The Lost Wife explores the power of first love, the resilience of the human spirit, and the strength of memory.

    Sara says: "Love, Strength & Survival"
    "Unforgetable Love Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Lost Wife to be better than the print version?

    Definitely. The narrators were wonderful choices for the characters, depicting the dreams and fears and memories of two people who survived war and love and loss long ago, their marriages to each other and others, the longing... I can't even begin to describe how thrilled I am with these narrator choices.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Lost Wife?

    The depiction of the concentration camps and some of the resistance work... the deprivation... it is not happy reading, but it is unforgetable.


    Have you listened to any of George Guidall and Suzanne Toren ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes, both... and this one shines above them all.


    Any additional comments?

    This is not an easy read... depicting with an artist's precision the love and loss and anger and pain experienced by the main characters. I purchased this book on sale, but it would be well worth the credit.
    This is not just a love story, but a story of war, of family, of unforgetable tenderness.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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