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Therese Van Arsdale

Pittsburgh, PA United States
  • 30
  • reviews
  • 7
  • helpful votes
  • 410
  • ratings
  • The Elusive Miss Ellison

  • Legacy of Grace Series, Book 1
  • By: Carolyn Miller
  • Narrated by: Anna Parker-Naples
  • Length: 9 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 87
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 79
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 78

Hampton Hall's new owner has the villagers of St. Hampton Heath all aflutter - all except Lavinia Ellison. The reverend's daughter cares for those who are poor and sick, and the seventh Earl of Hawkesbury definitely does not meet that criteria. His refusal to take his responsibilities seriously, or even darken the door of the church, leave her convinced he is as arrogant and reckless as his brother - his brother who stole the most important person in Lavinia's world.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • would have been a better book 1/4 shorter

  • By MARY K WALTER on 03-23-18

Preachy

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

Reviewed: 07-06-19

I wanted a Regency and I got a sermon. No, I got several of them. The Regency elements of the story are fine but when the author gets into pulpit mode I wanted to shout, "Show, not tell!"

  • Mary B: A Novel

  • An Untold Story of Pride and Prejudice
  • By: Katherine J. Chen
  • Narrated by: Marisa Calin
  • Length: 11 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 27
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 25

What is to be done with Mary Bennet? She possesses neither the beauty of her eldest sister, Jane, nor the high-spirited wit of second-born Lizzy. Even compared to her frivolous younger siblings, Kitty and Lydia, Mary knows she is lacking in the ways that matter for single, not-so-well-to-do women in nineteenth-century England who must secure their futures through the finding of a husband. As her sisters wed one by one, Mary pictures herself growing old, a spinster with no estate to run or children to mind, dependent on the charity of others.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • LOVED IT! Completely transported me far away.

  • By carole thorn on 08-28-18

Hear, Hear Mary B

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

Reviewed: 05-26-19

This is an interesting take on Pride and Prejudice and although I can't agree with all of Ms Chen's choices, I did find them refreshing. There are some mistakes that really annoyed me. The Bennets are not poor, they are undowered because neither of their parents is any good at managing money. They are in the top fifteen percent of earnings of their era. The descriptions of shabbiness at Longbourne comes more from the Keira Knightley film than they do from the novel. Why did she make Mr Collins short when Jane Austen said he was a tall heavily built young man? Plain isn't a discrete way of saying ugly. It simply means ordinary, nondescript, not pretty, May Bennet wouldn't have broken any mirrors. No mother as dedicated to marrying off her daughters as Mrs Bennet would allow her daughter to dress like a governess in greys and browns--just wouldn't happen. There is no Bedfordhire County, this is an American usage. Any UK County ending in ---shire is simply ---shire i,e, Hampshire, Lincolnshire, Herefordshire. Counties without the ---shire ending are County Whatever; i,e. County Durham, County Devon and so on. This grated because this is easily researched and someone should have caught it. Yes, I am capable of being as pedantic as Mary Bennet.

That said Ms Chen does create a compelling character in her Mary Bennet, she's as witty as Lizzy and has her own take on the world around her. Often a caustic take. This frees her of some of the constraints of her society and allows her to forge her own path. Seeing the events of Pride and Prejudice through her eyes adds new dimensions to the well-loved story and makes us reconsider the characters JA fans know and love so well. This, however, is only the first part of the novel. Most of the story is set at Pemberley where Mary has been invited for a long visit as Lizzy awaits the birth of a child. While staying at the great house she meets and befriends Col. Fitzwilliam and Mr Darcy himself. I don't want to give away to much of the story but this part of the story asks a question that is both old and new: Can a woman attract a man with something other than her look? Mary uses her abilty to make friends as a way to forge relationships. Will it work?

This is a sprightly novel full of wit, and Ms Chen delivers her tale with a light touch and wonderful character descriptions. She's thought through her plot well and uses it to raise interesting questions.
Loved it.

  • The Bride Test

  • By: Helen Hoang
  • Narrated by: Emily Woo Zeller
  • Length: 10 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,884
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,766
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,764

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny‚ but not important emotions, like love. His family knows better - that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful book!!!

  • By Kelly B. on 05-08-19

Modern Arranged Marriage.

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

Reviewed: 05-22-19

Once again Helen Hoang has brought her wit and humour to modern romance. Returning to the NoCal setting of her first novel, The Kiss Quotient, Hoang tells the story of Kai, last seen in a martial arts studio working out and ignoring all of the adoring girls who come to watch him. The boy is so hopeless his mother makes a trip to Vietnam to find a wife for him. The girl chooses is hardworking and possessed of green eyes. A poor girl she has a summer to get Kai to fall in love with her before she goes back to her old life. This is a beautifully written, funny novel with great insights into the Vietnamese community.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Upside of Falling Down

  • By: Rebekah Crane
  • Narrated by: Alana Kerr Collins
  • Length: 7 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 303
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 275
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 276

For Clementine Haas, finding herself is more than a nice idea. Ever since she woke up in an Irish hospital with complete amnesia, self-discovery has become her mission. They tell her she's the lone survivor of a plane crash. They tell her she's lucky to be alive. But she doesn't feel lucky. She feels...lost. With the relentless Irish press bearing down on her, and a father she may not even recognize on his way from America to take her home, Clementine assumes a new identity and enlists a blue-eyed Irish stranger, Kieran O'Connell, to help her escape.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Narration?

  • By CydLHH on 06-26-18

The Same and Different YA Story

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

Reviewed: 02-18-19

First of all, I want to commend Rebekah Crane for not having a quarterback in her story. I am so done with those guys and I never understood the attraction in the first place. Second, I would like to recognise her character building since her quirky characters are mostly new quirky characters. Yes, there's the teen gay guy but he's tiny town Latino gay guy which is a nice twist. Clemmie, her main character isn't too wise for her age. Clemmie's sister is at turns a brat and sad. As the little group that inhabits this novel coalesces they don't shake their tiny town by its foundations but they do form a tight group that helps each other. Which is what it takes to survive high school when you aren't the approved package.

  • New Family Values

  • By: Andrew Solomon
  • Narrated by: Andrew Solomon
  • Length: 6 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,346
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,006
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,008

Drawing on dozens of intimate audio interviews with families from all across the country, award-winning psychologist and writer Andrew Solomon redefines what it means to be an “ideal family” in America today. Solomon observes that America, led in large part by the women’s, civil rights, and gay rights movements, has undergone a radical social shift in the last few decades. Although the structure of family has changed, economic and legal structures lag behind and need to adapt to accommodate this explosive new reality.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Difficult subject handled well.

  • By Michael on 12-21-18

Reconsider

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-19-18

I really enjoyed the portraits of the different families and would ask everyone who thinks these families are somehow detrimental to consider this: every family is its own minikingdom. We all have habits and traditions that are incomprehensible to outsiders. Why not except families that go just a little further?

Great series.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • The Theater of War

  • What Ancient Greek Tragedies Can Teach Us Today
  • By: Bryan Doerries
  • Narrated by: Adam Driver
  • Length: 5 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 464
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 432
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 426

This compassionate, personal, and illuminating work of nonfiction draws on the author's celebrated work as a director of socially conscious theater to connect listeners with the power of an ancient artistic tradition. For years Bryan Doerries has been producing ancient tragedies for current and returned servicemen and women, addicts, tornado and hurricane victims, and a wide range of other at-risk people in society.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Breathtaking

  • By Emily Willis on 01-05-18

Wonder War

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

Reviewed: 12-07-18

I really enjoyed Adam Driver's narration. He's such a good actor that he reads his own name as if it is any other when he comes across in the text. That is difficult, after all, we all love our own names. I've read the ancient Greek tragedies like any other good theatre major but Theatre of War seems to have come upon a way of making the stories more compelling, more authentic and easily understood by a modern audience. Fascinating.

  • That Night

  • By: Chevy Stevens
  • Narrated by: Jorjeana Marie
  • Length: 11 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 825
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 760
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 758

Toni Murphy was eighteen when she and her boyfriend, Ryan, were wrongly convicted of the murder of her younger sister. Now she is thirty-four and back in her hometown, working every day to forge and adjust to a new life on the outside. She's doing everything in her power to avoid violating her parole and going back to prison. But nothing is making that easy – not Ryan, who is convinced he can figure out the truth; not her mother, who clearly doubts Toni's innocence; and certainly not the group of women who made Toni's life miserable in high school.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Didn't Care For the Narrator

  • By KathrynBorgia on 09-23-14

Canadian New Black?

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-05-18

I have enjoyed most of Chevy Steven's thrillers, they had unique setting, rural Vancouver Island, and she presents difficult families fairly and compellingly. Toni is released fifteenth years after being convicted of her sister's murder and wants to restart her life more than she wants clear her name. Her (ex)boyfriend, Ryan, who was convicted for the and crime insists they must clear their names by finding out what happened that night.
This novel tiks all the well boxes: well written, well paced, well characterised. Great fun.

  • My Oxford Year

  • A Novel
  • By: Julia Whelan
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 9 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,242
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,061
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,043

American Ella Durran has had the same plan for her life since she was 13: study at Oxford. At 24, she’s finally made it to England on a Rhodes Scholarship when she’s offered an unbelievable position in a rising political star’s presidential campaign. With the promise that she’ll work remotely and return to DC at the end of her Oxford year, she’s free to enjoy her Once in a Lifetime Experience. That is until a smart-mouthed local who is too quick with his tongue and his car ruins her shirt and her first day.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautiful

  • By Karen on 05-03-18

Intro to Adulthood

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

Reviewed: 11-22-18

One of the best things about this novel is that the author knows about Oxford and that makes all the difference. Ella is a twenty-four year old high court on the fast track to an inside the Be!yeah career when she wins a Rhodes scholarship. She lands in city with colleges older than her country and it's own way of doing things. Along the way she enters a thing with her very fit, posh part of a lecturer which leads to her reconsidering her life and calling. Funny and poignant, this is one great read.

Worth

  • The Good Liar

  • By: Catherine McKenzie
  • Narrated by: Teri Clark Linden, Kate Rudd, Whitney Dykhouse, and others
  • Length: 10 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 433
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 379
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 376

When an explosion rips apart a Chicago building, the lives of three women are forever altered. A year later, Cecily is in mourning. She was supposed to be in the building that day. Instead, she stood on the street and witnessed it going down, with her husband and best friend inside. Kate, now living thousands of miles away, fled the disaster and is hoping that her past won’t catch up with her. And Franny, a young woman in search of her birth mother, watched the horror unfold on the morning news, knowing that the woman she was so desperate to reconnect with was in the building.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • The Truth About "The Good Liar"....

  • By MA Reviewer on 04-15-18

In an Instant

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-02-18

10/10/10 is a tragedy that sweeps three Chicago women into its wake. Building new lives, discovering old secrets, they all pursue new goals. Great characters, a wry voice, and a crackling plot are all complimented by superb narration.

  • The Man I Thought You Were

  • By: Leah Mercer
  • Narrated by: Napoleon Ryan, Heather Wilds
  • Length: 8 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 53
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 46
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 46

One fine autumn evening, Anna returns from work and starts making dinner, eager to welcome home her husband, Mark. It's just like any other day in their ten-year, Pinterest-perfect marriage - until he says he's leaving her. Discovering that the man she thought she knew better than anyone else is capable of abandoning it all sends Anna reeling. She believed the life they'd built together - and the bright future they'd imagined - counted for everything. How can he walk away?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Veey moving story

  • By Luccia Gray on 09-09-17

Holding Back to.Hold on

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-02-18

The premise of this novel sounds as if it could be a heartpounding thriller: husband enters flat, stars he is leaving, not to look for him. Wife sits stunned while the onions burn and pursues the man she loves. In this book instead of a long list of misdeeds the wife discovers the past pain her husband has always hidden and how loss breaks down certainty. And now it restores it. Well paced and insightful , this is worth the time and the contemplation.