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Daryl

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

ratings
214
REVIEWS
208
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
15
HELPFUL VOTES
175

  • A Descent into Hell: The True Story of an Altar Boy, a Cheerleader, and a Twisted Texas Murder

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Kathryn Casey
    • Narrated By Gillian Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (75)
    Performance
    (61)
    Story
    (62)

    Bright, attractive, and both from good families, University of Texas college student Colton Pitonyak and vibrant redhead Jennifer Cave had the world at their beckoning. Cave, an ex-cheerleader, had just landed an exciting new job, while a big-money scholarship to UT's prestigious business school lured Pitonyak to Austin. Yet the former altar boy had a dark, unpredictable streak. When Jennifer failed to show up for work on August 18, 2005, her mother became frightened. Sharon Cave's search led to Colton's West Campus apartment, where Jennifer's family discovered a scene worthy of the grisliest horror movie.

    Sharon says: "Not my cup of tea."
    "Senseless story well-told"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does A Descent into Hell rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Near the top of true crime books. It is obvious that Ms. Casey got interviews with many of the people that she needed to in order to tell the story in a well-balanced way. I found that I really got to know the people involved in the tragic story - Jennifer, Colton, members of Jen's family... I found Laura to be a bit of an enigma, but possibly because her family did not wish to provide more information. The shocking nature of this crime, coupled with the tragedy of Jen wanting to get her life back together, was just so senseless.


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

    It made me angry. How could this have happened? How could drugs have given three young people who had everything going for them into a murderer, a mutilator, and a victim treated in such a horrific way?


    Any additional comments?

    This is the second Kathryn Casey book I have read (the first being "Evil Beside Her." It is obvious that Ms. Casey's professionalism is on full display here, that she has grown as a journalist and as a writer. I am glad to see most if not all of her catalog on AUdible.

    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
    (52)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (47)

    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
    (15)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    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!

    2 of 2 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
    (1588)
    Performance
    (1412)
    Story
    (1419)

    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
  • One Breath Away

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Heather Gudenkauf
    • Narrated By Joyce Bean, Susan Ericksen, Laural Merlington, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (61)
    Performance
    (54)
    Story
    (53)

    In the midst of a sudden spring snowstorm, an unknown man armed with a gun walks into an elementary school classroom. Outside the school, the town of Broken Branch watches and waits. Officer Meg Barrett holds the responsibility for the town’s children in her hands. As tension mounts with each passing minute, the hidden fears and grudges of the small town are revealed as the people of Broken Branch race to uncover the identity of the stranger who holds their children hostage.

    glamazon says: "Flat As An Iowa Prairie"
    "Not Gudenkauf's standard"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Yes. This book would've best been served as a novella. It drags on so long, and honestly doesn't go anywhere. The characters just ring flat in some places and act emotionally overrun in others.
    Perhaps the narration also contributed to this thought; no narrator shines in this performance either.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The relationship between Holly and her parents and children was the most interesting; the least interesting was probably the gunman and his identity and motive.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by the narrators?

    I have listened to some of these narrators before; some are better than others, but as an ensemble I just couldn't finish.


    Any additional comments?

    This is not up to the potency of Gudenkauf's "The Weight of Silence" or the strong female leads in "These Things Hidden." I wanted to like this book, but it just meanders along with rabit trails that lead nowhere and everywhere, and I know that Gudenkauf is up to better than this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Moment Between

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Nicole Baart
    • Narrated By Jennifer Ikeda
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (2)

    In The Moment Between by critically acclaimed author Nicole Baart, a woman is pushed to the brink of obsession after her sister's suicide. From Florida's beaches to British Columbia's vineyards, Abigail pursues a handsome, charis­matic man. On her quest, she is awash with memories of her beautiful yet vulnerable sister. But as past and present converge, Abigail's mission becomes even more complicated.

    Daryl says: "Snow in the summerlands"
    "Snow in the summerlands"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Moment Between to be better than the print version?

    Definitely! I first heard this narrator in Lynn Austin's "A Proper Pursuit". Her voice is soothing and modulated and emotive... she did a fantastic job!


    What did you like best about this story?

    It is not a happy read, by any stretch, but it is a hopeful one. Nicole Baart tackles the difficult subject of suicide - seldom addressed in Christian fiction - with grace and complexity. Abby's obsession with the man she blames for her sister's death is complex and all-consuming, and Baart tackles many difficult subjects and point-of-view changes well.


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

    No. Actually, I tried to get into this book several years ago and just couldn't; perhaps it was the brooding nature of portions, or the description of the suicide itself, but it took me putting it down years ago and picking it up again now, starting from the beginning, to really get into it.


    Any additional comments?

    As a Christian novel, it breaks many molds. Perhaps protestants will find the Catholic imagery a bit too heavy-handed, or Catholics may find it too protestant for their tastes, but as a Christian reader I have decided to take the book on its merits as a literary novel. It is skillfully drawn, with moments of beauty and moments of heartbreak, an ending I didn't see coming, and a fantastic performance by Jennifer Ikeda.
    Highly recommended!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Freeman

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Leonard Pitts
    • Narrated By Sean Crisden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (122)
    Performance
    (109)
    Story
    (107)

    Freeman, the new novel by Leonard Pitts, Jr., takes place in the first few months following the Confederate surrender and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Upon learning of Lee's surrender, Sam - a runaway slave who once worked for the Union Army - decides to leave his safe haven in Philadelphia and set out on foot to return to the war-torn South. What compels him on this almost-suicidal course is the desire to find his wife, the mother of his only child, whom he and their son left behind 15 years earlier on the Mississippi farm to which they all "belonged".

    Chrissie says: "After the Civil War"
    "Destruction and rebuilding"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Freeman again? Why?

    Definitely. Another reviewer stated that many people assumed that the troubles of the slaves were mostly over when the Civil War ended. But this does not indicate the continued sorrow of thwarted reunions and lack of education and work opportunities and the hate that pervaded the society toward, not only the negros themselves, but those who assisted them in any way.

    it is gritty and hard to read, but well worth the time.


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

    His voice is well-modulated, and he does slight characterizations, well-done, of both northern and southern, black and white. Fantastic narration!


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

    There were many that made me sorrowful, those that made me cringe with the inhumanity of them...


    Any additional comments?

    Great book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Hope in The Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Ron Suskind
    • Narrated By Peter Jay Fernandez
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (12)

    New York Times best-selling investigative journalist Ron Suskind based this book on his Pulitzer Prize winning articles about Cedric Jennings, a black youth struggling to survive one of D.C.'s toughest school districts. A moving portrait of inner city life, A Hope in the Unseen offers a view of life through the eyes of someone trying desperately to make his way up from the bottom.

    Laura says: "Great Story"
    "Gritty and hopeful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about A Hope in The Unseen?

    I loved the hope in this book. Cedric was neither too good to be true, nor a real "bad boy", despite where he came from and some of the anger that engendered.
    Ron Suskind did a fantastic job juxtaposing the smarts of this young man with the rigeurs of an Ivy League school, and the fallout of higher education for those who receive scholarships for an education for whcih they are simply ill-prepared.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved this book. It neither sugar-coats the life on the street that Cedric and his mother lived, nor gives us gratuitous shock value for the hard life that Cedric is subjected to.
    I found myself rooting for Cedric, even while I was angry at an education system that short-changed him and kids like him; the kids have the smarts, but are not nurtured because the school system is so focused on dealing with the realities of a tough neighborhood. Classes are large, high absenteeism, gangs, drugs, guns... just everyday occurrences.
    I have started to seriously question race, and what that has to do with how one looks at the world. As a Canadian, I have witnessed the government's inquiry into First nations residential schools and the effect they have had on subsequent generations. The high school described in this book reminds me of the Native school I volunteered at several years ago.
    it is gritty and real and hopeful... worth your time!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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