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Stephen J. Smith

I enjoy listening to fantasy, some science fictions and have recently found myself enjoying the lecture audiobooks.

7
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 10 reviews
  • 20 ratings
  • 208 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2015
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  • Gardens of the Moon: The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Steven Erikson
    • Narrated By Ralph Lister
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1722)
    Performance
    (1535)
    Story
    (1545)

    The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting, and bloody confrontations with ancient and implacable sorcerers. Even the imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for some respite. Yet Empress Laseen’s rule remains absolute, enforced by her dreaded Claw assassins. For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, their lone surviving mage, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities, yet holds out.

    Adnan says: "An engrossing yet demanding high epic"
    "Well Written But With Two Minor Problems"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Gardens of the Moon?

    I enjoyed how the characters end up intertwining and the characters themselves and the overall story arch.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    While I'm interested in Quick Ben, I'd have to say my favorite ended up being Cropper. Lots of personality, at times the character made me smirk and some surprises made him even better.


    Have you listened to any of Ralph Lister’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not, however he did very well.


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

    I'd have to say Croakus's (probably spelled the name incorrectly) love interests were a touch moving.


    Any additional comments?

    The only minor problems I found was that until about half way through the book, the constant adding on of all sorts of characters made it hard to keep track and even focus with the book, also it's the kind of book that very abruptly changes over to another characters story or continuation there of. There are a LOT of characters in the book. I got used to it after a long while, but it was frustrating at first. Otherwise the book is beautifully written.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Olivia Fox Cabane
    • Narrated By Lisa Cordileione
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1610)
    Performance
    (1370)
    Story
    (1361)

    What if charisma could be taught? For the first time, science and technology have taken charisma apart, figured it out and turned it into an applied science: In controlled laboratory experiments, researchers could raise or lower people's level of charisma as if they were turning a dial. What you'll find here is practical magic: unique knowledge, drawn from a variety of sciences, revealing what charisma really is and how it works. You'll get both the insights and the techniques you need to apply this knowledge. The world will become your lab, and every person you meet, a chance to experiment.

    Gare&Sophia says: "An excellent treatment of a fascinating topic."
    "A lot of info presented in a hit or miss style."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When I purchased this audiobook I wasn't exactly sure what would be taught, but I was pleasantly surprised. I've studied body language for quite some time and there is a decent amount of information on using body language techniques to improve your charisma here, which I greatly enjoyed. What I enjoyed even more however, was the techniques focused on improving the inner self and the information on different styles of charisma one can use when well practiced.

    There is a con here, but it is only slight and may not effect everyone else as it did I. While the narrator, Lisa, did a fine job, there were a great many times that editing (at least I think it was editing) was inserted into a sentence that sounded quite different from the normal voice. It may have been the same narrator being edited in after the fact, but it was enough to be a bit irritating and jarring for me.

    With that small con aside, I will say that there is a lot of potentially useful information, a lot of which is practicable in the daily life. If even a fraction of it makes one more charismatic and confident then it is worth it. I think that eventually I will be going back through this audiobook again, due to all of the information.

    4.5 out of 5 for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Thomas M. Sterner
    • Narrated By Thomas M. Sterner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (529)
    Performance
    (414)
    Story
    (402)

    Present moment awareness is an essential ingredient in life if one expects to experience any degree of authentic peace and contentment. It has been acknowledged for centuries as the cornerstone of spiritual awakening in all traditions of Eastern thought. In the West, however, it is still a relatively unrecognized concept for living. The Western mind is always restless, never content with the moment.

    Shaun says: "Very insightful!!!"
    "Basic information that people need to hear."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The information in this book is nothing new and the author admits as such, however the information is something that people don't quite catch onto and need to hear anyways. A lot of the tips can be extremely useful in life and I would greatly suggest if you can afford to, to give this book a try. The area on process and goals itself was really useful to me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Nerd's Guide to Being Confident

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 54 mins)
    • By Mark Manson
    • Narrated By Fleet Cooper
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (728)
    Performance
    (645)
    Story
    (644)

    Everyone knows confidence when they see it; but seemingly no one can actually describe what goes into it or how to get it. The Nerd's Guide to Being Confident is an unconventional way of looking at one of the most basic and obvious human traits and what one can do to gain a little more of it without feeling like a phony. Laughter included.

    Anthony A. says: "A More-Than-Pleasant Surprise"
    "Straight talk in entertaining and informative ways"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I found this book to be extremely enjoyable personally. There is cursing and some lewd comments, but the information in this audiobook / book, while everyday information, is useful to hear because sometimes people overlook said information. Slowly but surely I plan on incorporating the information and tips into my life and I believe it will better me. Which is what I was looking for when I got this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Masters of War: History's Greatest Strategic Thinkers

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Andrew R. Wilson
    Overall
    (153)
    Performance
    (138)
    Story
    (137)

    From Napoleon's revolutionary campaigns to the way insurgency, terrorism, and nuclear weaponry have defined the nature of warfare in the 21st century, the results of military strategy have changed the course of history. These 24 thought-provoking lectures give you an inside look at both the content and historical context of the world's greatest war strategists. From the triremes and hoplites of ancient Greece to the Special Forces in 21st-century Afghanistan, strategy is the process by which political objectives are translated into military action.

    John H. Heitmuller says: "Great Introductory Overview of Strategic Concepts"
    "Informative, Yet Still Able To Hold My Attention."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While this audiobook certainly didn't go through each and every point of the strategic masters that they mention (with reason, doing so would make this book amazingly long) it managed to do a lot for me in terms of information. Not just information though, information that I could follow and done in such a way that it held my attention.

    Professor Wilson brings the masters to the table, a lot of which I haven't really heard much about or had the chance to read and not only goes into their strengths and weaknesses, but also, at times, goes into context for when and what reason those books were written for in the first place as well as giving us a somewhat deeper look into those masters that wrote the books that many a strategic mind study today.

    There was a enough information here to help me think in a different manner as well as get interested in picking up and reading / listening to some other books on strategy and history. It also certainly changed some of my views on how things work today in terms of strategy.

    I could see myself coming back to this audiobook later in life (maybe as soon as a year or less) and giving it another listen and I'm sure I'd find more to love about this book. If your interested in strategy at all and you want to know more about the masters of strategy as well as some of their strategies, I encourage you to give this book a shot.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Ender's Game: Special 20th Anniversary Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki, Harlan Ellison, Gabrielle de Cuir
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (23873)
    Performance
    (15155)
    Story
    (15320)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: It’s easy to say that when it comes to sci-fi you either love it or you hate it. But with Ender’s Game, it seems to be you either love it or you love it.... The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Enter Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, the result of decades of genetic experimentation.

    Kapila says: "6 titles in the series so far"
    "Worth it."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I purchased Ender's Game after hearing from numerous friends that it was their favorite sci-fi book of all time and also because I saw the trailer for the movie. I decided to give it a shot. I am so glad I did. The book itself is well written and the voice actors for the most part did a very good job. I enjoyed it so much, I'm now scared to see the movie because I feel it can't be done proper justice.

    I will say that out of the voice actors the one I found the least enjoyable was the female voice actor. Not to say that she was horrible, but in terms of personal taste, how she read wasn't for me.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Eye of the World: Book One of The Wheel of Time

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Robert Jordan
    • Narrated By Kate Reading, Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10358)
    Performance
    (6343)
    Story
    (6387)

    When their village is attacked by trollocs, monsters thought to be only legends, three young men, Rand, Matt, and Perrin, flee in the company of the Lady Moiraine, a sinister visitor of unsuspected powers. Thus begins an epic adventure set in a world of wonders and horror, where what was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

    Greg says: "This Series Rocks"
    "Well written, with a couple slight gripes."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Overall the book was very good, with ever present dangers of imaginative varieties and a slight uncertainty over who exactly they were after. The characters were well written as well as the environments and I found myself actually feeling the occasional emotion. Now, occasional emotion might not be considered that great, but I feel I'm not a very empathetic / sympathetic person so something pulling any form of emotional response, to me at least, is noticeable. The emotions ran from excitement, to annoyance (with characters meant to draw such a response) to curiosity.

    Now, I consider myself an honest person (sometimes brutally so) and therefore I have the following things to say about the book.

    Pros:
    Well Written
    Great Characters
    Imaginative Creatures and Fantasy

    Cons:
    Sort of Weak Ending
    Female Narrator

    Now, you will notice that I mentioned the female narrator for this audiobook. There are a few things with this. At first when purchasing the audiobook I had thought the female narrator would be doing the female voices and the male narrator the male voices. This is not the case. The female narrator only chimes in a spare few chapters. My mistake, I misunderstood and I will admit as such.

    However, out of personal tastes, I did not enjoy the female narrator at all. She didn't seem to grasp the male voice all that well. Also, when her few chapters did come up, it felt too abrupt. It was almost jarring and took me out of the book noticeably. Now, they did her chapters at certain moments, so I can understand their thinking behind it. I just feel that it took away from the book in a small way. (I will continue listening to more of the series. It is that good for me.)

    Also noted above is I felt the ending was a bit anti-climactic, this however is balanced out with the set up of future books. I will relay what other friends who have read the books in the past have told me and which I hope is the truth. The endings and battles just get better and better, so keep with it. I did not need further push to keep going with the books however, as I already enjoyed it, but what the assured me is very good to hear.

    TL;DR:
    Very good audiobook with (in my opinion) an unnecessary second narrator (the female) and an "ok" ending. Everything before and leading up to the "ok" ending is more than worth checking this book out and keeping up with it if you do enjoy it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Monster Hunter International

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Larry Correia
    • Narrated By Oliver Wyman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7896)
    Performance
    (6988)
    Story
    (6982)

    Five days after Owen Zastava Pitt pushed his insufferable boss out of a 14th story window, he woke up in the hospital with a scarred face, an unbelievable memory, and a job offer. It turns out that monsters are real. All the things from myth, legend, and B-movies are out there, waiting in the shadows. Some of them are evil, and some are just hungry. Monster Hunter International is the premier eradication company in the business. And now Owen is their newest recruit.

    Mariya says: "Killin’s my business and business is fine"
    "Guts, Gore and Greatness"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed this book, the ending was a touch lack luster but the book kept me very invested in the characters throughout. I also felt at first that the main character was given a sort of superman syndrome, so many talents and skills that at first I felt less relatable to the main character. This is later lost in the fact that others have similar skills and talents in the book and that the main character is most definitely fallible. The characters are well done and with the help of the narrator are easily envisioned in my mind.

    The narrator did a great job and I'd definitely be willing to purchase more books that he has worked on. In the end, I was very happy that I got this book on sale and I'm even more happy that I bought the rest of the books during the sale. Besides the sample offered on the sight and the description and reviews I was still taking a "leap of faith" in purchasing the audiobook and I do not regret it one bit.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • H. P. Lovecraft, Volume 1: 'The Lurking Fear' and 'The Thing on the Doorstep'

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By H. P. Lovecraft
    • Narrated By David Healy
    Overall
    (58)
    Performance
    (52)
    Story
    (52)

    Howard Phillips Lovecraft is among the greatest American writers of fantasy and the supernatural. Born in 1890, a native of Providence, Rhode Island, his health was uncertain from childhood and he led a sheltered early life. His semi-invalidism enabled him to read omnivorously, and as a shy imaginative child he began to invent what would in his adult life become a whole macabre fantastic world of his own, peopled by creatures out of his own weird imagination.

    Stephen J. Smith says: "Classic Horror But With Noticeable Audio Problems"
    "Classic Horror But With Noticeable Audio Problems"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I decided to purchase these relatively inexpensive audio books by H.P. Lovecraft because I heard the books were well done horror with some classic creatures. That part at least was fulfilled. "The Lurking Fear" felt less captivating than "The Thing on the Doorstep" even though one can easily see where the story will end with the latter story.

    My real gripe is with the audio. Not necessarily the narrator, he did alright, I might even say he did well. The problem was that I heard an echo in the background of the audio. The narrator would speak and then a few seconds later you hear exactly what he just said in the background. It honestly got really annoying and a bit distracting at times. Now, it may be possible that it was just my file or perhaps my headphones, however I had started this book about 5 minutes after finishing another book that didn't have this problem. So, consider yourselves warned.

    TL;DR: Classic horror with decent narration nearly ruined by some kind of echoing in the background. (For me at least.)

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Amulet of Samarkand: The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Jonathan Stroud
    • Narrated By Simon Jones
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2191)
    Performance
    (1010)
    Story
    (1015)

    Nathaniel is eleven-years-old and a magician's apprentice, learning the traditional art of magic. All is well until he has a life-changing encounter with Simon Lovelace, a magician of unrivaled ruthlessness and ambition. When Lovelace brutally humiliates Nathaniel in public, Nathaniel decides to speed up his education, teaching himself spells far beyond his years. With revenge on his mind, he masters one of the toughest spells of all and summons Bartimaeus, a five-thousand-year-old djinni, to assist him.

    Randy says: "Terrific Trilogy"
    "Really, really good but not great."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Amulet of Samarkand: The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 1 again? Why?

    I may, though I've got plenty of other audiobooks to listen to still.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Bartimaeus was by far my favorite character. His personality was really well written and portrayed.


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

    The characters were really well read. Personalities were enhanced by his performance.


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

    Not in particular, which sort of leads to my additional comments.


    Any additional comments?

    While the story was good, the one thing I didn't like is 90% of the characters written are jerks. Including the co-star Nathaniel. I was ok with it for Bartimaeus because it seemed just what Djinni did. However, it did kind of hurt my connecting with any character other than Bartimaeus or a few other Djinni.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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