You no longer follow S. Smail

You will no longer see updates from this user when they write new reviews, or suggestions based on their library or recommendations.

You can re-follow a user if you change your mind.

OK

You now follow S. Smail

You will receive updates from this user when they write new reviews, or suggestions based on their library or recommendations.

You can unfollow a user if you change your mind.

OK

S. Smail

A 32 year old with a painfully short attention span. Audio books brought me back to reading.

Summerville, SC United States | Member Since 2013

5
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 11 reviews
  • 49 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 38 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0

  • In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Nathaniel Philbrick
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (619)
    Performance
    (261)
    Story
    (266)

    The ordeal of the whaleship Essex was an event as mythic in the 19th century as the sinking of the Titanic was in the 20th. In 1819, the Essex left Nantucket for the South Pacific with 20 crew members aboard. In the middle of the South Pacific the ship was rammed and sunk by an angry sperm whale. The crew drifted for more than 90 days in three tiny whaleboats, succumbing to weather, hunger, disease, and ultimately turning to drastic measures in the fight for survival.

    Kimberly says: "Good book, poor editing ..."
    "Something's not quite right..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book itself is great for the most part. While I can't find myself sympathizing with the men, I do find myself getting caught up in the story and eagerly waiting to see what happens next. That's not always the case with true stories. Story wise my issue is with the graphic details of killing the whales and turtles. Don't get me wrong, I knew there'd be death. It's a whaling ship, of course whales will die. But I think the author got a little overzealous with the descriptions at times. (Do I really need the intricate details of the men slitting a sea turtle's throat and drinking it's blood? Eew.)

    My issue with the audiobook is one that I've seen at least one other reviewer mention. Sometimes mid sentence it'll suddenly skip ahead. And on top of that the entire narration sounds different. It's like they recorded the book on a bunch of different machines, and at least once I wasn't even entirely sure it was the same narrator. That's such a shame too, because I love listening to Scott Brick read.

    Overall I would recommend this book, I'd just warn ahead of time that it's a little wonky and a little gory.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Awakenings

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Oliver Sacks
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis, Oliver Sacks
    Overall
    (107)
    Performance
    (97)
    Story
    (93)

    Awakenings - which inspired the major motion picture - is the remarkable story of a group of patients who contracted sleeping sickness during the great epidemic just after World War I. Frozen for decades in a trance-like state, these men and women were given up as hopeless until 1969, when Dr. Oliver Sacks gave them the then-new drug L-DOPA, which had an astonishing, explosive, "awakening" effect. Dr. Sacks recounts the moving case histories of his patients, their lives, and their extraordinary transformations.

    Douglas says: "Absolute classic!"
    "Interesting in parts, but otherwise "meh"."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm of two minds about this book. Parts of it, particularly when giving details of the patients' lives, how they reacted to L-DOPA, etc. were interesting. Though after a while it got a little repetitive, and eventually I started wondering why on Earth anyone thought this was a good idea. Seriously, it seems like at least 80% of reactions to L-DOPA were awful, so overall it just seemed like kind of a cruel experiment. But that isn't a valid book critique, just my own observation.

    Unfortunately, the book got very dry and very boring after a while. I haven't even brought myself to finish it yet because it is just dragging on and I'm having a hard time staying awake.

    I would probably read another book by the author (even if I do question his judgement and moral composition) just to give him the benefit of the doubt since so many people rave about his books. And I would definitely listen to another book read by the narrator, who did a fantastic job.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Circus Fire: A True Story of an American Tragedy

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Stewart O'Nan
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (101)
    Performance
    (51)
    Story
    (52)

    In 1944, the big top of Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus in Hartford caught fire during the middle of an afternoon performance. Nine thousand people were inside. In seconds, the big top was burning out of control. The toll of the fire, and its circumstances, haunt Hartford to the present day. But it is the intense, detailed narrative - before, after, and especially during the panic under the burning tent - that will remain with listeners long after they finish this book.

    P. M. Morris says: "Harrowing and brilliantly detailed"
    "Tragic event. Great telling."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Circus Fire in three words, what would they be?

    Tragic. Powerful. Heartbreaking.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It was thorough, and linear. A lot of books seem to jump around in the timeline for dramatic effect (which sometimes works and sometimes doesn't) but this one doesn't do that.


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

    The story of Little Miss 1565 broke my heart. Afterwards I decided to do a search online and easily found her picture. Seeing it and knowing that was a real, dead little girl made everything hit home for me. After I was done with the book I just kept wondering how on Earth she hadn't been claimed. It's possible someone claimed the wrong body, but how? She was (one would think) the most identifiable of all the victims. Her story stuck with me.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • History of the Donner Party: A Tragedy of the Sierra

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By C. F. McGlashan
    • Narrated By Bobbie Frohman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    C.F. McGlashan was the newspaper publisher of the local paper in Truckee, California, the closest town to the Donner Pass. McGlashan interviewed the survivors of the Donner Party, gathered artifacts and amassed an enormous amount of secondary information. Over an 18 month period, McGlashan published serialized articles in his paper and turned his articles into a book. History of the Donner Party is considered the definitive account of one of the most notorious treks in American history.

    S. Smail says: "Good story, bad reading."
    "Good story, bad reading."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from C. F. McGlashan and/or Bobbie Frohman?

    The author? Sure, as long as it interested me. The narrator? Not a chance.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    I didn't really like the narration right from the start. She quickly jumped from the end of one chapter to the beginning of the next, seemingly in the same breath. There was also just something about the rhythm of her reading that I didn't like. If those were the only two issues I wouldn't have really been bothered, but halfway through the book it's like whoever edited it just stopped trying. The narrator has to repeat herself many times, she'll get halfway through a sentence, stop and read the sentence over again. At one point she mispronounces a word so many times she stops, you can faintly hear her saying it to herself, and she starts again. (She did pronounce it right that time though.) She can also be heard clearing her throat at least one time. I'm only giving the performance two stars instead of one because if all of those issues had been edited out or if she'd been asked to read pieces of it again I would have only taken off one star. I actually feel bad for the narrator.


    Any additional comments?

    The book itself is well written, even if it is a little dull in parts. It also starts off fairly slowly, but that's often the case when it comes to the telling of historical events. But due to the narration I could only recommend it to anyone if they didn't have to pay for it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Demonologist: The Extraordinary Career of Ed and Lorraine Warren - The True Accounts of the Paranormal Investigators Featured in the film 'The Conjuring'

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Gerald Brittle
    • Narrated By Todd Haberkorn
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (408)
    Performance
    (389)
    Story
    (385)

    If you think ghosts are only responsible for hauntings, think again. The Demonologist reveals the grave religious process behind supernatural events and how it can happen to you. Used as a text in seminaries and classrooms, this is one book you can't put down. For over five decades, Ed and Loraine Warren have been considered America's foremost experts on demonology and exorcism. With over 3,000 investigations to their credit, they reveal what actually breaks the peace in haunted houses. Don't miss the Warrens in the new blockbuster movie The Conjuring.

    eric says: "WARNING!: THIS IS BASED ON REAL CASES,TERRIFYING!"
    "Skeptical or not, it's a darn good read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What other book might you compare The Demonologist to and why?

    I guess the obvious one would say The Amityville Horror, but that's touched on very lightly in this book as well. The other obvious one would probably be The Exorcist, but I haven't actually read that one.


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

    Oh wow, where to begin? He really brings life to the characters in the book, and he literally gives them voices, and rather distinct ones at that. I immediately knew who was talking every time before the narration even specified. I really cannot get over what an amazing job he did, if I could throw on some extra stars in my rating I would.


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

    I don't know if moved is the correct word, but as soon as the Annabell story mentioned the doll I said "ah hell no" out loud. That definitely got a reaction out of me.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm an atheist. This book didn't give me a sudden belief in God. It did however, bring demons "alive" (figuratively speaking) enough for me that I got to thinking how many possible near misses I'd had in my life. It also moved me to decide it was time to throw away the Ouija board I've had for the past sixteen years. I'd only used it a couple of times within the first two years of getting it, and it's spent the rest of its years tucked away under a bed, but better safe than sorry. I have enough problems without demons thank you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Amityville Horror

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Jay Anson
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    Overall
    (206)
    Performance
    (142)
    Story
    (143)

    In December 1975, the Lutz family moved into their new home on suburban Long Island. George and Kathleen Lutz knew that, one year earlier, Ronald DeFeo had murdered his parents, brothers, and sisters in the house, but the property - complete with boathouse and swimming pool - and the price were too good to pass up. This is the shocking true story of an American dream that turned into a nightmare beyond imagining for the Lutz family, who were forced to flee their new home in terror.

    JRM says: "Maybe, Maybe Not"
    "True story? Fiction? Whatever, it's awesome."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Amityville Horror rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It's not the best but it's somewhere between the middle and the best. It's a very well done book.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Amityville Horror?

    Probably the general existence of the red room. I want to know more about that!


    What about Ray Porter’s performance did you like?

    There wasn't anything I didn't like. For some reason I feel like whenever he read the new chapter titles he sounded really creepy. Maybe it had to do with me being caught up in the story, but either way I loved it.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    That pigs can be creepy? I'm not sure if that counts.


    Any additional comments?

    I know that this story is a controversial one, and that people will probably be debating whether it's true or not forever. Personally, I don't care. Enough of it rings of truth that I could believe it, even though at times I found myself thinking that little parts just seemed way too weird. (Hoof prints in the snow? That's bizarre, but it creeped me out.) Overall I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good horror story. Don't get hung up on whether it's true or not.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Eric Schlosser
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (339)
    Performance
    (308)
    Story
    (306)

    Famed investigative journalist Eric Schlosser digs deep to uncover secrets about the management of America's nuclear arsenal. A groundbreaking account of accidents, near misses, extraordinary heroism, and technological breakthroughs, Command and Control explores the dilemma that has existed since the dawn of the nuclear age: How do you deploy weapons of mass destruction without being destroyed by them? That question has never been resolved - and Schlosser reveals how the combination of human fallibility and technological complexity still poses a grave risk to mankind.

    Ethan M. says: "A miracle that we escaped the Cold War alive...."
    "A different kind of scary"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Normally when I think of scary books I think of monsters or serial killers or something along those lines. This book is scary on a whole new level. What it lacks in monsters it makes up for in glitches and close calls that could have literally been hours away from starting a nuclear war. Think about that. A computer glitch could have caused a war. More than once. And I wouldn't be surprised it there were even more that weren't made public. I used to think that government cover ups were just things that over eccentric people ranted about, but clearly I was a lot more naive than I thought I was.

    My only criticism is that the timeline skips around a bit, and while I didn't find it too confusing, I did find it annoying. Even with the weird skippy timeline I would recommend it though.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Forever on the Mountain

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By James Tabor
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (56)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (19)

    In the summer of 1967, an Arctic hurricane trapped seven veteran climbers, members of Joe Wilcox's 12-man expedition, at 20,000 feet on Alaska's Mount McKinley. Ten days passed while the storm raged. Despite the availability of massive resources, no rescue was mounted, and all seven men died. The tragedy was one of the most controversial, bitterly contested, and mysterious tragedies in all of mountaineering history.

    Art says: "Tabor pulled it off!"
    "Fascinating Book, Fantastic Narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you want to read a book that will make you want to reach through the pages (or speakers I suppose) and strangle someone, this is the book for you! Listening to the absolutely ridiculous rescue attempt (or lack thereof) frustrated me beyond belief. I just kept thinking that if this guy wasn't such an idiot or that guy would just do his job then they might have survived. So I guess you could say I got fairly immersed in the story.

    I was a little hesitant to get this book because although Scott Brick is my favorite narrator ever, a lot of people have criticized his performance saying that he tried too hard to make it interesting or went over the top. I decided to give it a go anyway and the entire time I was waiting for this melodramatic reading to begin and it never did. To me it sounded no different than the way he narrated Helter Skelter, In Cold Blood or The Devil in the White City.

    And lastly because I'm not above a bit of childish name calling, Bradford Washburn was such a jerk. Talk about kicking a guy while he's down... and then jumping on him for good measure.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Bill Wasik, Monica Murphy
    • Narrated By Johnny Heller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (414)
    Performance
    (368)
    Story
    (371)

    The most fatal virus known to science, rabies kills nearly 100 percent of its victims once the infection takes root in the brain. From Greek myths to zombie flicks, from the laboratory heroics of Louis Pasteur to the contemporary search for a lifesaving treatment, Rabid is a fresh, fascinating, and often wildly entertaining look at one of mankind’s oldest and most fearsome foes.

    Sparkly says: "My favorite science read this year."
    "Horrifying and fascinating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Rabid again? Why?

    I already have. It's a scientific story without being sluggish or confusing. It's more than just a book about rabies, it's a series of stories.


    Any additional comments?

    Rabies is one of those things that I've heard about all my life but I never really learned about it. The extent of my knowledge was that it was fatal and it made animals aggressive and foamy. I had no idea how completely terrifying it is, and what a serious issue it is. I can assure you that I am 100% positive that my cats are all up to date on their rabies shots now.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Jules Verne
    • Narrated By James Frain
    Overall
    (148)
    Performance
    (139)
    Story
    (139)

    An American frigate, tracking down a ship-sinking monster, faces not a living creature but an incredible invention - a fantastic submarine commanded by the mysterious Captain Nemo. Suddenly a devastating explosion leaves just three survivors, who find themselves prisoners inside Nemo's death ship on an underwater odyssey around the world from the pearl-laden waters of Ceylon to the icy dangers of the South Pole... as Captain Nemo, one of the greatest villians ever created, takes his revenge on all society. More than a marvelously thrilling drama, this is a perfect classic novel,

    Tad Davis says: "Anthony Bonner!!"
    "An amazing story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea?

    The way the story unfolded with beautiful language and vivid imagery. I sometimes have a hard time visualizing things when listening to books, but I had absolutely no problem with this book. At certain times (Atlantis particularly) I found myself breathless, even teary eyed.


    Which character – as performed by James Frain – was your favorite?

    Captain Nemo, naturally. He's a mysterious genius that you just find yourself wanting to know more about. My biggest emotional reactions throughout the book all were in relation to Captain Nemo.


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

    I'm not sure I could sit for 15 hours. I'd listen to it in two sittings though.


    Any additional comments?

    I know that a lot of people have commented about the overly large amount of lists of flora and fauna throughout the story, and I have to admit those were the only time I found my mind wandering. I didn't really mind though, and it didn't take away from the story at all.

    My only real critique is that at times Ned sounds very Scottish. It's not that it bothered me, it's just that any time he was referred to as "the Canadian" I chuckled. Maybe he was Scottish Canadian.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

CANCEL

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.