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Mary A. Madsen

  • 6
  • reviews
  • 4
  • helpful votes
  • 14
  • ratings
  • Gates of Hell

  • An ARKANE Thriller, Book 6
  • By: J. F. Penn
  • Narrated by: Veronica Giguere
  • Length: 6 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 24
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24

When the last of the Remnant is murdered at the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Arkane agent Dr. Morgan Sierra is drawn into the hunt for a supernatural Key. She's joined by Agent Jake Timber, who must face his own fears as they decipher clues left behind by Kabbalist scholars. From ancient sites in Spain to Israel and the Czech Republic, Morgan and Jake must follow the trail to the Key while evading Adam Kadmon, a man consumed by a lust for dark power.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An honest review is not always easy...

  • By Maggie Simpson on 07-11-15

When All Hell Nearly Breaks Loose

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

Reviewed: 06-26-15

An amazing thriller that travels the world and walks the thin line between the real and surreal. I read the book when it was first published, but since I got an extra credit for re-joining audible, I thought I'd give this a go as an audiobook. Listening to the book I was taken on a journey with even more depth and fine storytelling than in the reading. A good night's sleep was lost on this one, and without regret.

It begins when Rabbi Santiago Pereira falls to his bloody death at the feet of the sculpture of Christ on the Sagrada Familia basilica in Spain. He's been running in hopes of escaping a man, now known as Adam Kadmon, determined to know where the Key to the Gates of Hell is hidden. Hell is real in the world created by Penn, and there is a key. It can fall into the wrong hands. The rich details of the book become more vivid in the audiobook, which I hadn't expected, and the tension keeps growing until the terrifying end of the book. Penn's writing is so well done that there isn't a moment when the fear of God and hell don't scare the living daylights out of the listener. Angels and golden letters, a Golem and rituals of ancient Jewish mysticism mix with one tough lady for quite an adventure.

I was a bit surprised by the narration. I would have expected the weight of the subject matter to be told by by a deeper, more threatening voice. But as the action ramped up, so did the narrator's intensity. It was very well done, just a surprise at first.

I'd highly recommend this audiobook for anybody dealing with a boring commute or in need of something that keeps them focused as the world around them disappears. Simply fabulous.

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
  • By: The Writers of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart
  • Narrated by: Jon Stewart
  • Length: 3 hrs and 46 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,382
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,248
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,243

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.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Runs hot and cold..but when it's hot...it's hot

  • By Connie on 09-06-04

Do Not Listen In Public

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

Reviewed: 07-27-14

I made the mistake of listening to this book while on a long plane flight. Had I been on a bus, there's a good possibility it would have pulled over and the crew thrown me off so I'd stop bothering others with my non-stop laughter. Boy, this guy is good. His insight into politics is dagger sharp and hilarious. Unless you don't mind being enclosed with others who keep looking at you as if you're a lunatic, I highly suggest this be listened to in private. Or go ahead and spread the laughter. We need it.

  • Lincoln's Melancholy

  • How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness
  • By: Joshua Wolf Shenk
  • Narrated by: Richard M. Davidson
  • Length: 11 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 352
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 176
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 177

Drawing on a wealth of his own research and the work of other Lincoln scholars, Shenk reveals how the sixteenth president harnessed his depression to fuel his astonishing success. Lincoln found the solace and tactics he needed to deal with the nation's worst crisis in the "coping strategies" he developed over a lifetime of persevering through depressive episodes and personal tragedies.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Lincoln was depressed - who knew?

  • By Scott on 06-22-08

A Different Perspective On A Great Man

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

Reviewed: 07-27-14

This book made me re-think everything I know about Lincoln and melancholy. Perhaps the great become great because of their melancholy, rather than in spite of it. There's a depth of perception that can't help but bring about a dampening of spirits, but that doesn't mean one gives up or lose their determination to make the world a better place. I enjoyed every part of this book--the story, the uncovering of new information, the narration--and wouldn't mind listening to it again. The subject of this biography is one that is loved the more times one reads about his life and experience.

  • The Search

  • By: Nora Roberts
  • Narrated by: Tanya Eby
  • Length: 14 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,065
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,492
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,491

To most people, Fiona Bristow seems to have an idyllic life — a quaint house on an island off Seattle’s coast, a thriving dog-training school, and a challenging volunteer job performing canine search and rescue. Not to mention her three intensely loyal Labs. But Fiona got to this point by surviving a nightmare.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Searching for the right words.....

  • By Deborah on 07-18-10

Nobody Writes A Kiss Better

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

Reviewed: 07-27-14

Did something happen in this book? Was there a plot? A story? All those things, as thoroughly researched and developed as they are, disappear when Roberts is orchestrating a kiss and mounting romance. This book was no different. Her characters are always remarkably likeable, and her dog-trainer protagonist in this book has the same balance between need and strength I've come to expect from Roberts. But I thought the narration was going to drive me nuts. That's probably personal preference, but it's still stopped me from listening to Roberts, rather than reading her.

  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane

  • A Novel
  • By: Neil Gaiman
  • Narrated by: Neil Gaiman
  • Length: 5 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,862
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,552
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,529

A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. He is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock. Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie - magical, comforting, wise beyond her years - promised to protect him, no matter what.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Gaiman delivers an intimate masterpiece

  • By Talia on 08-07-13

Weird. Wonderful. Strange. Compelling

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

Reviewed: 07-27-14

This is one of those books that keeps you wondering what in the world is going on here, and yet you understand it on a level you can't quite put into words. I found that going back and forth between the book and the audio was disruptive in a world created from the ground up by the author, so I stuck with the book for most of the time. It goes by rather rapidly, but the strangeness that is more than real has stuck for a very long time.

  • Passion, Power and Sin

  • Books 1-5
  • By: Mike Wells
  • Narrated by: Karin Allers
  • Length: 20 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 32
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31

One spectacular financial scheme. One woman alone against the world. Young, beautiful, and yearning for love, Heather Bancroft meets the "perfect" man...and is lured into a game in which she begins to make more money than she ever imagined. Betrayed by her own innocence, she loses all that is dear to her and discovers that she has been mercilessly used. Defeated and broken, but surviving with sheer persistence and ingenuity, Heather emerges from her trying ordeal, determined to punish the ruthless man who destroyed her life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic Story and Audiobook

  • By BC on 08-02-14

What A Great Adventure

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

Reviewed: 07-27-14

Who was your favorite character and why?

The protagonist of this listen, Heather, goes from one adventure to another, constantly lead on by a mysterious benefactor who takes her ever closer to her dreams...then finds herself entrapped. From her humble beginnings in North Carolina, she goes on the adventure of a lifetime, first with a job in the big city, then continues on around a globe that is filled with danger, disappointment, obstacles, love, a growing fortune and ultimately to the destination of her own strengths and abilities. The financial intrigue of this story was a surprise in its detail and veracity; not a false note in a single thrill in this complex but easily understood world of high finance. She's one heck of a tough lady, she just has to discover it for herself.

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

The narrator of this book brought to life the story, which is something that can easily be lost when reading description and action along with the plot. There could have been more editing of breath intake and stops when the narrator needed to wet her voice, but these were only mildly distracting compared to what I've heard on other recordings. This was a long listen, during which the narrator's enthusiasm for the story never fell off. I enjoyed the energy with which it was read.

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

I did want to sit and listen to this in one sitting, simply because it was so compelling and there were questions to be answered and terrific pacing of the story, but it is a long listen. I had to break it up into several different sittings, as well as listen as I did mundane tasks. But I was always eager to come back to the story to see what was going to happen next.

Any additional comments?

This would be a great listen for those who have long daily commutes or planning a long drive for any reason, or as motivation to get back on that miserable treadmill yet again. There is enough adventure, romance, character development, and excellent story plotting to keep one absorbed as time passes. It was very nice hearing the romantic and mildly erotic elements from a male perspective. Combined with the world of high finance, real estate, thrills, and the mysterious stranger, it's sure to keep one's attention and the mind alert.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful