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C. Schmidt

Mid-America | Member Since 2004

ratings
68
REVIEWS
29
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
9
HELPFUL VOTES
167

  • Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Randy O. Frost, Gail Stekeete
    • Narrated By Joe Caron
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (586)
    Performance
    (363)
    Story
    (364)

    What possesses someone to save every scrap of paper thats ever come into his home? What compulsions drive a woman like Irene, whose hoarding cost her her marriage? Or Ralph, whose imagined uses for castoff items like leaky old buckets almost lost him his house?

    JoAnn Marcon says: "Utterly fascinating"
    "Recommended with caveats"
    Overall

    I can recommend this book to anyone who is interested in psychology-themed discussions. I found the academic style and presentation reassuring that the information was as reliable and vetted as well as possible at the time of writing. In contrast to some other reviewers, I did not personally find the academic nature of the discussion to be boring or dry. Some of the descriptions of hoarders is gave me an almost voyeuristic thrill and made my messy desk seem completely normal in contrast. I am not sure this was the intent of the author, but I would suspect that other non-hoarders might well have this response. The final segment of the book contained a discussion of modern American culture, and I found this part of the book to be preachy, irrelevant to the overall content, and speculative in a non-academic way. Other than that one weakness, I can recommend this book as an interesting read. The narration is fine but not spectacular. If you are not interested in the content, the narration will not carry this book for you.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Death and the Lit Chick: A St. Just Mystery, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By G. M. Malliet
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    Overall
    (63)
    Performance
    (51)
    Story
    (54)

    Wildly successful chick-lit mystery writer Kimberlee Kalder is the guest of honor at an exclusive writers' conference at Dalmorton Castle in Scotland. But the fun ends when Kimberlee is found dead at the bottom of the castle's bottle dungeon. Who didn't want to see prima donna Kimberlee brutally extinguished like one of her ill-fated characters? It's up to Detective Chief Inspector St. Just to track down the true killer in a castle full of cagey mystery connoisseurs who live and breathe malicious murder and artful alibis....

    Kathi says: "Surprisingly Unexciting"
    "Meh"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Second in the series, do not read out of order.

    It occurred to me that these books are re-do's of Lord Peter Wimsey books, at least in terms of overall theme. I was left with the VERY strong impression that some kind of computer program either wrote this book or aided in the writing. It's okay. I love Davina Porter and will listen to her narrate just about anything. Without her, this is not worth the credit. If you love her, it is.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Busy Body

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By M. C. Beaton
    • Narrated By Penelope Keith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (108)
    Performance
    (49)
    Story
    (49)

    Agatha Raisin has never been one for forced holiday cheer, but her friendly little village of Carsely has always prided itself on its traditional Christmas festivities. But this year the bells will not be ringing out, as Mr. John Sunday, an officer with the Cotswold Health and Safety Board, has chosen Christmas as the time to crack down on safety hazards. But Mr. Sunday is soon found face down in the petunias, very much dead.

    A User says: "Busy body,There goes the bride"
    "Very undisciplined book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is not well edited and reads like a late draft rather than a completed manuscript. All the same, if you like Agatha Raisin, you'll like this one as well. I will say that M.C. Beaton must hate to end a story because this has ending after ending after ending to get through. I don't mind much because it stretches the stories out. It's a shame that Beaton did not take more time to develop characters along the way, though, as the story could have been fleshed out in a much more satisfying way. Unlike "As the Pig Turns" (the next in the series), this does "feel" like it was written by M.C. Beaton.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • As the Pig Turns

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By M. C. Beaton
    • Narrated By Penelope Keith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (243)
    Performance
    (205)
    Story
    (203)

    The picturesque Cotwsold village of Winter Parva has decided to warm the post-Christmas season by roasting a pig in the town square. Agatha, always one for a good roasting, organizes an outing to enjoy the merriment. But as the rotary spit is placed over a bed of fiery charcoals and the pig is carried toward its final resting place, Agatha realizes that things are not as they seem... Stop!" she screams suddenly. The "pig," in fact, is Gary Beech, a policeman not exactly beloved by the good people of the village. Although Agatha has every intention of leaving matters to the police....

    G. Byrge says: "Beaton always delivers"
    "Did M.C. Beaton Write This Book?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I cannot believe that M.C. Beaton wrote this book because there are way too many errors. Years have gone by since Toni Gilmour started working at the detective agency, yet she's still 18 in this story, for an example. There are a number of little things like this throughout the book, and it's frustrating. If they are going to get someone in to keep the series going under the name M.C. Beaton (a pseudonym already), fine, but at least have the ghost writer read the earlier books!

    As for the plot, well, if you like Agatha Raisin then far-fetched plots don't bother you. It's impossible to believe that the body of a man could be mistaken for the body of a pig, but who cares if you are along for the ride. But if you are looking for a development of the metanarrative, then forget it. The details get muddled too much for there to be much book-to-book development.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Opal Fire: A Stacy Justice Mystery, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Barbra Annino
    • Narrated By Amy Rubinate
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (324)
    Performance
    (289)
    Story
    (291)

    Stacy Justice is your average small-town reporter...who just so happens to be a witch. She’s never had the time or patience to mess around with the magic her grandmother and great-aunts are into, even though Grandma says Stacy has a higher calling. Right now, Stacy has stories to cover, her cousin Cinnamon’s bar to help run, and her cute cop boyfriend and flatulent Great Dane to keep her company. But when someone sets Cinnamon’s bar ablaze - almost killing Stacy in the process - the green-eyed redhead will have to embrace her inner witch after all.

    susan says: "Very enjoyable mystery with a slight bit of magic"
    "Narrator has an odd voice"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Opal Fire?

    This is straight genre writing. It's a satisfying story and a good mystery.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Amy Rubinate’s performances?

    Yes and no. I want to listen to the other titles in this series, but I would rather this narrator were not doing them. I would never seek out this narrator. Her voice is very flat and has an odd inflection. Words like "death" sound like "dath," and I find that distracting.


    Any additional comments?

    It's interesting to learn a bit about wicken culture.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Absolute Power

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By David Baldacci
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1207)
    Performance
    (495)
    Story
    (505)

    In a heavily guarded mansion in a posh Virginia suburb, a man and a woman start to make love, trapping a burglar behind a secret wall. Then the passion turns deadly, and the witness is running into the night - because what he has just seen is a brutal slaying involving the president of the United States.

    Patti says: "Loved the book and the characters"
    "Not worth the money unless it's close to free"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from David Baldacci and/or Scott Brick?

    No.


    Has Absolute Power turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No, but I would certainly never look for this author or this narrator again.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Some people seem to like Scott Brick, but I find his voice to be whiney and his narration to be filled with inexplicable "profound moments." His narrative style for women and for Blacks is insultingly cliched.


    What character would you cut from Absolute Power?

    There are a number of unnecessary characters in this book.


    Any additional comments?

    Meh. I bought this book cheap and it held just enough interest for me not to "put it down" until the end, but nothing more. There are numerous stupid little errors (like for example, a character says he is going to grill "burgers, fries, and dogs," but really, who grills fries?) It's the kind of thing that makes the writer and the editor look sloppy. The plot of the book is unbelievable to the bitter end (spoiler: the main character is never called to testify? Now, come on...) The characters seem false, especially the main male character who seems to exist without any normal human motivations.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Quantum Story: A History in 40 Moments

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Jim Baggott
    • Narrated By Mike Pollock
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (157)
    Performance
    (110)
    Story
    (109)

    Utterly beautiful. Profoundly disconcerting. Quantum theory is quite simply the most successful account of the physical universe ever devised. Its concepts underpin much of the 21st-century technology that we now take for granted. But at the same time it has completely undermined our ability to make sense of the world at its most fundamental level.

    John says: "Not for the Casual Reader"
    "Not for a Lay Reader"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Jim Baggott and/or Mike Pollock?

    No. I expected this to be a book for a well-educated lay reader. But a lay reader could not hope to understand the content, especially in an audio format.


    What could Jim Baggott have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    This was ill-suited for an audiobook. There is much too much math here to listen to.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The performance was workmanlike. Not much good or bad to say about it.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Frustration. It's very tedious to listen to long equations being read out loud. And there are a lot of long equations in this book.


    Any additional comments?

    The narrative was stripped of the stories that make it fascinating and we were left with the math. A person who can understand this level of math likely already knows it. For the rest of us, there will be few who can hold these new quantitative concepts in their heads as the equations are read out loud. If you think you can and somehow you've managed to get this far in life without already knowing the book's content, then go for it. For the rest, there are many books that are much better with theory and anecdote out there. I cannot recommend this book in the audio format.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Death of a Kingfisher: A Hamish Macbeth Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By M. C. Beaton
    • Narrated By Graeme Malcolm
    Overall
    (164)
    Performance
    (145)
    Story
    (145)

    When Scotland is hit by the recession, Police Constable Hamish Macbeth notices that the Highland people are forced to come up with inventive ways to lure tourists to their sleepy towns. The quaint village of Braikie doesn't have much to offer, other than a place of rare beauty called Buchan's Wood, which was bequeathed to the town. The savvy local tourist director renames the woods "The Fairy Glen," and has brochures printed with a beautiful photograph of a kingfisher rising from a pond on the cover. It isn't long before coach tours begin to arrive.

    Chablis from Seattle says: "A delightful, tangled web of intrigue!"
    "Not as Good as it Should Be"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from M. C. Beaton and/or Graeme Malcolm?

    I have read many of M.C. Beaton's books. I am not sure if I would read another Hamish book, though.


    What could M. C. Beaton have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    This needed a more plausible story line, more deeply developed characters, and less hopelessness.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The performance is fine but not as good as some of the narrators of earlier books. The accents would often slip and the narrator didn't seem to understand the characters.


    Did Death of a Kingfisher inspire you to do anything?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    It may be time for M.C. Beaton to quit writing Hamish books, and this book has all the hallmarks of a lead-up to a sendoff. I would anticipate that the next Hamish book has him fading into the sunset in some way, and that would probably be good. The author seems to have stopped liking Hamish and the Highlands. Her stories used to make me want to fly to Inverness immediately and hire a car to drive all around northern Scotland. Now she makes it sound simply drug-ridden, depressed, and dumpy. I don't know if the author is deeply bitter or if she's just lost interest, but if you are a Hamish fan, you might leave off with Death of a Chimney Sweep.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Labours of Hercules

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Agatha Christie
    • Narrated By Hugh Fraser
    Overall
    (127)
    Performance
    (87)
    Story
    (85)

    A dinner party guest compares Hercule Poirot to the Greek hero Hercules. Proving his skill, Poirot takes on 12 monumental cases corresponding to the 12 labors of Hercules. Includes The Nemean Lion, The Lernean Hydra, The Arcadian Deer, The Erymanthian Boar, The Augean Stables, The Stymphalean Birds, The Cretan Bull, The Horses of Diomedes, The Girdle of Hyppolita, The Flock of Geryon, The Apples of the Hesperides, and The Capture of Cerberus.

    C. Schmidt says: "Must not miss"
    "Must not miss"
    Overall

    I agree with other reviewers who don't typically like Christie's short stories, but these are ones you should not miss. Rather than short stories, each is a mini-novel with fully-developed characters and well conceived mysteries. I put off getting this book to the very end, but there was no reason to do so. Hugh Fraser's narration is as good as ever, and the novella nature of each "chapter" allows me to listen to a story a night with ease. I really liked this book!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Skeleton in the Closet: A Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By M.C. Beaton
    • Narrated By Donada Peters
    Overall
    (97)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (21)

    Ever since the death of his father, poor Fellworth Dolphin has slaved away as a waiter to support his miserly, cold-hearted mother. When his mother suddenly dies, Fellworth is shocked to discover that she has left him a sizable inheritance. Confused, Fell teams up with Maggie, a plain girl with a similar background, to investigate the source of the riches. But what they find is a closet full of skeletons.

    Betty says: "Light and enjoyable"
    "Hard to care about an unlikable character"
    Overall

    I am an M.C. Beaton (Marion Chesney) fan, but this book did not live up to the expectations I have for her. It was competently written and had a plot that was a mild throwback to the comedy of errors genre, but the main male character was very hard to like or care about. As he developed, I grew to oppose the "romance" that was slowly evolving between the two main characters. He's a guy I would not want my sister to end up with, and I can't imagine why the female lead would want him. The mystery was fine, and I did finish the book, but this book is not in the class of Hamish Macbeth or even Agatha Raisin. Only okay.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Death of a Maid

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By M. C. Beaton
    • Narrated By Graeme Malcolm
    Overall
    (236)
    Performance
    (82)
    Story
    (79)

    Mrs. Gillespie is famous for being the best maid in the northwest of Sutherland. But to Hamish Macbeth, she is a malicious gossip who bangs around the furniture and clanks pots. When Hamish wins Mrs. Gillespie's services in a church raffle, he spends most of the day trying to avoid her. He doesn't understand how she managed to gain such a fine reputation. Then she is found dead, struck down violently by a metal bucket of water.

    Barbara says: "Death of a Maid"
    "So many endings"
    Overall

    If you are a Hamish MacBeth fan, you already know that the author hates to say goodbye. Frequently, these books have a good 30 minutes or more after the murder is solved, and I often find the complete endings charming and satisfying. In Death of a Maid, however, there are just too many endings. This book is a fun read with an interesting plot, but the last hour has a "horror movie" quality in that the main story can't seem to die out so we can get the pleasing wrap up that we usually get. If you are listening to this whole series, you will be happy with this installment. If you are looking at this series for the first time, I'd suggest you not start here (Wikipedia has a good list of the Hamish MacBeth stories under the article on M.C. Beaton; take them in order). Either way, prepare yourself to have to say goodbye to this story at least three separate times!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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