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Gnarly1

Sacramento, CA USA | Member Since 2005

38
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 9 reviews
  • 10 ratings
  • 541 titles in library
  • 4 purchased in 2015
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  • The Secret Cardinal

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Tom Grace
    • Narrated By Phil Gigante
    Overall
    (62)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (27)

    With help from the U.S. president, American Special Forces, and the CIA, ex-Navy SEAL Nolan Kilkenny assembles a team of 10 men and one woman that will use some of the most advanced weapons, aircraft, and computer technology to execute an extraordinary mission involving the Catholic Church, the underground Church in China, and the long-imprisoned Bishop of Shanghai.

    Sylvia says: "THE SECRET CARDINAL"
    "Worst Audible Book Ever"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Conservative Roman Catholics.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Tom Grace again?

    No.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Phil Gigante’s performances?

    Maybe.


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

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a paean to the Papacy. The plot is super thin. The narration was overdone.
    Spend your money on something that has a chance to be entertaining.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Bishop's Wife

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Mette Ivie Harrison
    • Narrated By Kirsten Potter
    Overall
    (61)
    Performance
    (57)
    Story
    (57)

    Linda Wallheim is the mother of five grown boys and the wife of a Mormon bishop. As bishop, Kurt Wallheim is the ward's designated spiritual father, and that makes Linda the ward's unofficial mother whose days are filled with comfort visits, community service, and informal counseling. But Linda is increasingly troubled by the church's patriarchal structure and secrecy, especially as a disturbing situation takes shape in the ward.

    Jonathan says: "One Non-Misogynist Man's Opinion - Worth Reading"
    "Mormonism Meets Murder She Wrote - Kinda, Sorta"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    If that person is a Mormon or an ex-Mormon, yes. To others only if they are interested in a "under the hood" look at modern Mormonism.


    If you’ve listened to books by Mette Ivie Harrison before, how does this one compare?

    This is the first book by her that I have listened to.


    Which character – as performed by Kirsten Potter – was your favorite?

    Linda Wallheim.


    Do you think The Bishop's Wife needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    This book is the first of a series. Ms. Harrison will have to be more creative with her plots in order for the franchise to attract a durable fan base.


    Any additional comments?

    A young LDS wife goes missing, leaving behind her husband and five year old daughter. Has she been kidnapped? Down the street a respected Mormon elder dies. He leaves behind a skeleton buried in the garden. Was he a murderer? Both were members of a Mormon “ward” in Draper, Utah. Who better to solve these mysteries than Linda Wallheim, the middle-aged mother of five boys who lives in the neighborhood and is the wife of the ward’s bishop?

    This is the first "adult" novel by Mett Ivie Harrison, a practicing Mormon and herself the mother of five. This is not really a murder mystery. It's about a Mormon wife who is obliged to fulfill her role as a dutiful spouse to a Mitt Romneyesque husband. He perfectly fits the stereotype of the Mormon male. He is stolid, taciturn and bland. He presides over his flock by the book. In turn, Linda's very personal god requires that she lend her husband full support even when she disagrees with him and wishes he could be less rigid and more empathetic. She must act as the informal "mother to the ward" while she chafes under the male domination that pervades the entire LDS organization. Her most memorable encounters are with egotistical, misogynistic church elders. All this as she pines for the stillborn daughter she never raised and worries that one of her sons may be gay. She has a lot on her plate besides Jello salad with marshmallows.

    Linda eventually "solves" - after a fashion - these two crimes. But in the course of doing so, she lifts the lid on contemporary Mormonism. She touches on - and in many cases lightly mocks - many of the bizarre doctrines and practices of the LDS Church. Unfortunately, the two plots are weak. This is the first in a Linda Wallheim series. Ms. Harrison will need to put a lot more effort into building suspense and believability if her future efforts are to create a sustainable fan base.

    As an ex-Mormon I was very interested to see what product a "faithful” female fiction author would produce, given the very tight controls that the church exercises over the thoughts and actions of its members. LDS women are to be "mothers in Zion" - raising their numerous well-scrubbed children in an atmosphere reminiscent of the 1950's TV show “Ozzie and Harriet.” LDS women are not to publicly repudiate church doctrine. One who advocates that the "sisters" should be equal with men in holding the Mormon priesthood will be given the same consideration ten renegade nuns lobbying for a woman pope would get from the Vatican. If, after warning, a dissenter persists, she will be excommunicated and sent packing - stripped of her chance to reunite with God and her family in the Celestial Kingdom after death. Plenty of incentive to stay quiet and bake cookies for the church social.

    I was pleasantly surprised by Ms. Harrison's willingness to touch on many of the troubling issues that face the church, particularly its female adherents. While Mormon women will be attracted to this book, Mormon men are unlikely to read it. Those who do will complain that it "unfairly" portrays the church. But it doesn't. If anything, it trends the other way. Will Ms. Harrison get at least a good tongue lashing from the Mormon authorities for portraying the church as less than perfect? Probably not, although it has recently expelled several people whose Internet websites have been deemed unacceptable to church authorities. This book comes nowhere near meeting that level of disapprobation, although you can be sure that many church members prefer that it had not been published.

    The mystery aspects of the book do not warrant the price of admission. But as a glimpse for non-Mormons into the workings of this “peculiar religion," it is worthwhile. And for ex-Mormons, it's a lot of fun. We will look forward to the subsequent adventures of Linda Willheim, a partially liberated Mormon woman.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • FREE The Gray Man

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Mark Greaney
    • Narrated By Jay Snyder
    Overall
    (1426)
    Performance
    (1257)
    Story
    (1279)

    Court Gentry is known as The Gray Man - a legend in the covert realm, moving silently from job to job, accomplishing the impossible, and then fading away. And he always hits his target. But there are forces more lethal than Gentry in the world. And in their eyes, Gentry has just outlived his usefulness. Now, he is going to prove that for him, there's no gray area between killing for a living-and killing to stay alive.

    Rollin says: "Gripping, unremitting action"
    "The author should pay you to listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made FREE The Gray Man better?

    Don't make it available.


    Has FREE The Gray Man turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Absolutely.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Jay Snyder?

    No one could make this story even remotely plausible.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from FREE The Gray Man?

    The entire book.


    Any additional comments?

    I listened to the whole thing to confirm my initial impression after listening for 15 minutes-this book is awful. OK, so that makes me an idiot. But my experience should spare you the pain. Audible supplied it free. Actually, I should have been paid to listen.
    Perhaps this was the winner in a contest to see who could produce the worst "thriller" novel in literary history.
    The Gray Man is Cort Gentry who kills for a living. He does bad things "but only to bad people." Kill squads from around the globe can't stop him. He works alone but dispatches his enemies by the score. Every platitude and stereotype is used to produce a hero who makes Jack Reacher look like a timid Sunday school teacher. And the plot? It would be hard to make it more banal and implausible. The only reason to listen to The Gray Man is if you are trapped in a coal mine with this as your sole entertainment.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Great Age of Discovery, Volume 2: Captain Cook and the Scientific Explorations

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Paul Herrmann
    • Narrated By Charlton Griffin
    Overall
    (110)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (41)

    As the 18th century approached its midpoint, commercial and military competition between the European states became fierce. And whoever obtained accurate information about distant lands would hold an advantage. Were there continental landmasses in the Pacific? Was there a Northwest Passage to Japan and China? What lay in the interior of Africa? Was it possible to cross the Sahara? Where did the rivers Nile and Congo originate?

    Aaron says: "Entertaining and moving"
    "A good listen, but beware of some hypotheses"
    Overall

    This (and the companion first volume) are good listening and provide a wealth of detail about numerous explorers - many you have heard of and several you have not. (Did you know that a Scotsman named Mungo Parks was one of the first great African explorers?)
    The narrator has a wonderful British accent which , naturally, makes the text sound very authoritative.
    The book was written in 1958. Consequently, some of the hypotheses advanced by Herrmann are no longer viable. For example, recent DNA analysis has disproved the theory of migration from the Americas west to Polynesia [the "Kon-Tiki theory"].
    Setting that aside, the book is fun and brings some real insight into larger than life figures like Columbus and Magellan, while introducing a number of explorers history barely remembers.
    The final problem with listening to any book involving many geographical references is that the listener does not have the benefit of any maps that the printed version may contain. So have an atlas handy.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Great Age of Discovery, Volume 1: Columbus, Magellan, and the Early Explorations

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Paul Herrmann
    • Narrated By Charlton Griffin
    Overall
    (184)
    Performance
    (69)
    Story
    (66)

    In the space of 400 years, Western man methodically set out to explore and map the entire earth. During some of the most dangerous expeditions ever mounted, an extraordinary group of determined men forced passages through vast oceans, dark jungles, and withering deserts. Never has their like been seen since. What drove these soldiers, sailors, and civilians to leave the comforts of civilized life and face the horrors of shipwreck, starvation, cannibals, and disease?

    Howard says: "Discover this Book"
    "Fun, but beware of some of the conclusions"
    Overall

    This (and the companion second volume) are good listening and provide a wealth of detail about numerous explorers - many you have heard of and several you have not. (Did you know that a Scotsman named Mungo Parks was one of the first great African explorers?)
    The narrator has a wonderful British accent which , naturally, makes the text sound very authoritative.
    The book was written in 1958. Consequently, some of the hypotheses advanced by Herrmann are no longer viable. For example, recent DNA analysis has disproved the theory of migration from the Americas west to Polynesia [the "Kon-Tiki theory"].
    Setting that aside, the book is fun and brings some real insight into larger than life figures like Columbus and Magellan, while introducing a number of explorers history barely remembers.
    The final problem with listening to any book involving many geographical references is that the listener does not have the benefit of any maps that the printed version may contain. So have an atlas handy.

    25 of 25 people found this review helpful
  • Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour: Armistice Day, 1918: WWI and Its Violent Climax

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Joseph E. Persico
    • Narrated By Jonathan Marosz
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (50)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    The best-selling author of Roosevelt's Secret War traces the last day of World War I, weaving together the experiences of the famous, such as President Wilson, General Pershing, and Douglas MacArthur, and the unsung and unremembered.

    A User says: "Beauty amidst savagery"
    "So Much For the Glory of War"
    Overall

    Captures the horrors of WW I and the absurdity of the death of those who lost their lives after the armistice was signed, but before the war was "officially" ended at 11 a.m. on November 11, 1918. Excellent narration.
    This book should be mandatory reading for any politician who wants to start a war, regardless of how "noble" the cause.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race Against an Epidemic

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Gay Salisbury, Laney Salisbury
    • Narrated By Barrett Whitener
    Overall
    (140)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (39)

    The year is 1925. It is sixty degrees below zero. The wind sweeps tons of snow over the deep-frozen Alaskan landscape. The nearest railhead is seven hundred miles away. Airplanes cannot fly. The way to Nome is blocked by a treacherous frozen sound, an icebound port, and mountains to the west. But there is a diphtheria epidemic in Nome. The children need serum from the outside world if they are to survive. Their only hope is a few chosen Eskimo drivers and their teams of dogs.

    Susan Carter says: "The Cruelest Miles Makes Exciting Reading"
    "Great Adventure"
    Overall

    Dogs and mushers race time, the cold, and bitter storms to bring life-saving serum to Nome. A true and exciting story. Narration is excellent.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Shadow Divers: Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of WWII

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Robert Kurson
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2176)
    Performance
    (645)
    Story
    (648)

    In 1991, acting on a tip from a local fisherman, two scuba divers discovered a sunken German U-boat, complete with its crew of 60 men, not too far off the New Jersey coast. The divers, realizing the momentousness of their discovery, began probing the mystery. Over the next six years, they became expert and well-traveled researchers, taught themselves German, hunted for clues in Germany, and constructed theories corrective of the history books, all in an effort to identify this sunken U-boat and its crew.

    Douglas says: "GRIPPING!"
    "Fascinating"
    Overall

    You don't have to be interested in Nazi subs or wreck divers to enjoy this marvelous true story. Like a great novel. Narration is excellent.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • April 1865: The Month That Saved America [Portable Professor]

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Jay Winik
    • Narrated By Jay Winik
    Overall
    (91)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (14)

    In April 1865, after nearly five years of bitter civil war, Robert E. Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House. Soon after, Richmond lay in ruins, Lincoln had been assassinated, and the terrible war, which had cost some 600,000 American lives, was not yet over. Many of the Confederate commanders still in the field that fateful April were prepared to fight a guerrilla war that might have prolonged the conflict indefinitely.

    Sean says: "Interesting material but not the greatest lecturer"
    "Good material; Terrible presentation"
    Overall

    I have enjoyed a number of the Portable Professor series. This one gets 3 stars only because Winik knows his material and is enthusiastic about it.
    It is difficult to know who gets the lion's share of the blame for the ghastly presentation - Winik, for not re-recording the material to eliminate his numerous mistakes, or the editors, who let this out to the public without bothering to listen to it.
    There are so many gaffs that you end up staying with it just to hear what will come next. It's like listening to George Bush on a really bad day. (Both Bush and Winik are Yale grads. Obviously, neither was required to speak in understandable sentences in order to get a degree.)
    Here's just one of countless examples. Winik refers not once, but twice, to Robert E. Lee as "Lincoln's General!"
    Unless you have run out of other things to listen to, try something else.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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