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Optimistic skeptic

Terry McArdle

Member Since 2014

  • 7 reviews
  • 61 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 49 purchased in 2015

  • The Sea-Hawk

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Rafael Sabatini
    • Narrated By John Bolen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Sir Oliver Tessilian, a Cornish nobleman, is abandoned or betrayed by everyone he ever loved. He is framed for murder, affronted and shunned by his fiancee and sold into slavery by his half-brother.

    Optimistic skeptic says: "Fun story ruined by poor reading"
    "Fun story ruined by poor reading"

    The reader was excruciating. Some mispronounced words were jarring because they were pretty basic. Pacing was weak and the acting was marginal. The reader varies so little in tone that my attention often wandered.

    If you can't find a better place to spend your credits, try a test listen first to make sure you don't agree with me.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • In Sunlight and in Shadow

    • UNABRIDGED (29 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Mark Helprin
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    New York in 1947 glows with postwar energy. Harry Copeland, an elite paratrooper who fought behind enemy lines in Europe, returns home to run the family business. In a single, magical encounter on the Staten Island ferry, the young singer and heiress Catherine Thomas Hale falls for him instantly but too late to prevent her engagement to a much older man. Harry and Catherine pursue one another in a romance played out in postwar America’s Broadway theaters, Long Island mansions, and the haunts of gangsters.

    Leslie says: "Great Insomnia Listening"
    "Worth the effort"
    If you could sum up In Sunlight and in Shadow in three words, what would they be?

    Lyrical, gorgeous and romantic.

    What other book might you compare In Sunlight and in Shadow to and why?

    The Piano, Frank Conroy: New York City; the 1940s; Glorious romantic style. Overcoming great obstacles against hard reality; growing into adulthood through travail and an unwillingness to give up.

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

    Enunciation, an ability to manage voices well and convincingly. Easy to listen to for nearly 30 hours.

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

    It made me patiently watch and engage, unusual for me.

    Any additional comments?

    Give this book a chance, but be prepared to sip. This is poetry as well as fiction, and it requires time and attention. I found it well worth it.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Cold Dish: A Walt Longmire Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Craig Johnson
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Award-winning author Craig Johnson's critically acclaimed debut Western mystery takes listeners to the breathtaking mountains of Wyoming for a tale of cold-blooded vengeance. Four high-school boys were given suspended sentences for raping a Cheyenne girl. Now, two of the boys have been killed, and only Sheriff Walt Longmire can keep the other two safe.

    Dataman says: "Not Your Ordinary Western Novel (Series)"
    "Dave Robicheaux in Wyoming"

    Perfect narration, as ever, from George Guidall.

    As Walt Longmire struggles with grief, alcohol and a police force that's either competent and irascible or neither, he somehow rises. He links with his community, Indian mysticism and long-hidden secrets to figure out who's killing some young men who richly deserve it.

    Walt has credible relationships and shortcomings even as he's brave and relentless on the way to saving a friend and finding a killer. I was sad to see it end.

    34 of 41 people found this review helpful
  • Blasphemy

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Douglas Preston
    • Narrated By Scott Sowers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The world's biggest supercollider is locked in an Arizona mountain. The Torus was built to unlock the secrets of the very moment of creation: the Big Bang itself. Will the Torus divulge the mysteries of the creation of the universe? Or will it, as some predict, suck the earth into a mini black hole? Or is the Torus a Satanic attempt, as a powerful televangelist decries, to challenge God Almighty on the very throne of heaven?

    carl801 says: "This makes"
    "Mixed success"

    I gave this five stars just to offset the hypersensitive types who over-reacted to the message about uninformed zealots. It also takes on megachurches and some of their less well-behaved and thoughtful preachers,members and hangers-on.

    This book is actually quite pro-religion; it's got a problem with mindless fundamentalism of all stripes. And sorry, it's no "homage to L. Ron Hubbard."

    There are many intriguing ideas in the book, and that makes it well worth the time. I urge you to seriously consider it.

    Here are some of the problems...

    As for the story: yep, too many stereotypes. This could have been a better book given more time, care and editing. The writing is fine, but too many plots twists are telegraphed("Hey, I just noticed this cliff...").

    It took me an hour to get past the sub-par narration. There's at least one jarring mispronunciation ("mantilla" like "ill" rather than "tree") and some of the voice characterizations might have been done differently. They served to emphasize the stereotypical nature of the characters rather than deflect that feeling.

    16 of 18 people found this review helpful
  • Leaving the Saints: How I Lost the Mormons and Found My Faith

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Martha Beck
    • Narrated By Bernadette Dunne

    Leaving the Saints is an unforgettable memoir about one woman's spiritual quest and journey toward faith. As "Mormon royalty" within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Martha Beck was raised in a home frequented by the Church's high elders, known as the apostles, and her existence was framed by their strict code of conduct.

    Sheila says: "Decide for yourself"
    "Why the split in ratings?"

    I found the book enlightening and a little scary. Riveting story, effective and engaging narration. In short, exactly what I seek in a recorded book.

    I'm also not a Mormon. As a reader/listener of this book without an ax to grind, I wonder about the negative reviews I saw here. Was there a separate agenda? Hard to say, but worth consideration.

    Order the book and decide for yourself.

    19 of 29 people found this review helpful
  • Elvis in the Morning

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By William F. Buckley
    • Narrated By Lloyd James

    Orson is a young boy whose mother works at the U.S. Army base in Germany in the 1950s. There, he becomes a fan of a G.I. stationed at the base, one Elvis Presley, whose music is played over and over on the radio. When Orson is caught stealing recordings of Elvis' tunes from the PX, the attendant publicity catches the star's attention, and he comes to visit his young fan. Thus begins a lifelong friendship.

    Deborah says: "Too bad Elvis has left the building..."
    "Shockingly good"

    I have no patience for Buckley's politics and was never an Elvis fan. After listening to this book, however, I have new admiration and appreciation for Buckley the writer and Elvis the human being / music empire / phenonenon. The narrator did one of the best jobs I've heard, ever, and I'll be thinking about this book for quite a while. Well worth the audio credit, believe me.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America (The Audiobook): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction

    • ABRIDGED (3 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Jon Stewart, The Writers of The Daily Show
    • Narrated By Jon Stewart

    Jon Stewart, host of the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning The Daily Show, and his coterie of patriots deliver a hilarious look at American government.

    Connie says: "Runs hot and cold..but when it's's hot"
    "Love him; disappointed with the book"

    I've only recently started watching The Daily Show. I love it. I think Jon Stewart is always bright; sometimes brilliant and often funny. But this book is sophmoric. I'll get his next one because he deserves another try, but this rarely goes above high school clever.

    Wait for the next one, gang.

    3 of 8 people found this review helpful

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