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J. C. Schmidt

Metro Detroit, MI
  • 10
  • reviews
  • 34
  • helpful votes
  • 31
  • ratings
  • Phoenix Unbound

  • The Fallen Empire Series, Book 1
  • By: Grace Draven
  • Narrated by: Katharine McEwan
  • Length: 14 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 108
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 101
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 102

Every year, each village is required to send a young woman to the Empire's capital - her fate to be burned alive for the entertainment of the masses. For the last five years, one small village's tithe has been the same woman. Gilene's sacrifice protects all the other young women of her village, and her secret to staying alive lies with the magic only she possesses. But this year is different. Azarion, the Empire's most famous gladiator, has somehow seen through her illusion - and is set on blackmailing Gilene into using her abilities to help him escape his life of slavery.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Grace Draven is a master at world building!!

  • By DeRae on 09-26-18

Nothing special. Highly predictable

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

Reviewed: 10-10-18

I didn't hate this book and I didn't love it. It was kind of boring. I didn't find the characters compelling. The first third was the best. Some character development but overall not enough to make me feel connected.

I hate the "man abuses/abducts/rapes the woman, they fall in love" thing. A trope that should die.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • For We Are Many

  • Bobiverse, Book 2
  • By: Dennis E. Taylor
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 8 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 41,572
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 38,923
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38,811

Bob Johansson didn't believe in an afterlife, so waking up after being killed in a car accident was a shock. To add to the surprise, he is now a sentient computer and the controlling intelligence for a Von Neumann probe.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Denis E.Taylor Sets A New Standard For Sci-Fi

  • By Devin on 04-18-17

Pretty darn good

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

Reviewed: 04-29-17

Interesting story, engaging characters, good writing, good narrator. Can't wait for the next one.

  • The Dispatcher

  • By: John Scalzi
  • Narrated by: Zachary Quinto
  • Length: 2 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21,537
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20,037
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,979

Zachary Quinto - best known for his role as the Nimoy-approved Spock in the recent Star Trek reboot and the menacing, power-stealing serial killer, Sylar, in Heroes - brings his well-earned sci-fi credentials and simmering intensity to this audio-exclusive novella from master storyteller John Scalzi. One day, not long from now, it becomes almost impossible to murder anyone - 999 times out of a thousand, anyone who is intentionally killed comes back. How? We don't know.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Good Grief This Was Good

  • By Matthew on 11-09-16

Excellent Gift from the Author

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

Reviewed: 10-07-16

As with most of John Scalzi's work, I loved it and could listen to it forever. I've had it less than a week and listened to it twice. The writing is great, the narration enhances the story, the characters are believable. How does he think of these intriguing worlds and story lines?

Thank you Mr. Scalzi.

  • 14

  • By: Peter Clines
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 12 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38,436
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35,601
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 35,605

There are some odd things about Nate’s new apartment. Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job. He has no money in the bank. No girlfriend. No plans for the future. So while his new home isn’t perfect, it’s livable. The rent is low, the property managers are friendly, and the odd little mysteries don’t nag at him too much. At least, not until he meets Mandy, his neighbor across the hall, and notices something unusual about her apartment. And Xela’s apartment. And Tim’s. And Veek’s.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Jumps The Shark ... Too Late

  • By JayDub 1000 on 05-29-18

Boring

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

Reviewed: 11-05-15

I found this book boring - it moved slowly and I didn't care about what went on. I am not a reader who needs constant action to find a book interesting but this one I just didn't get. The "action" dragged and dragged. About halfway through the book I turned the narration speed up to get it over with. I didn't quit in the middle but it was a close thing.

I didn't find the characters' actions believable based on their situation. They were all blandly likable but none of them struck a chord with me and made me care.

The narration was pretty enjoyable. I would listen to another book with Ray Porter as a narrator.

This was my first Peter Clines, I won't bother to read anything else by him.

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • The Sagan Diary

  • By: John Scalzi
  • Narrated by: Stephanie Wolfe, John Scalzi
  • Length: 1 hr and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 1,076
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 903
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 909

Jane Sagan: Soldier. Killer. Lover. Dreamer. In John Scalzi's best-selling Old Man's War series of science-fiction novels, we see this warrior woman as the other characters see her - silent and strong, from the outside. But now The Sagan Diary shows us Sagan from another point of view: her own, as she prepares to leave military life and join her new husband and adopted daughter on a colony world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • It's a Poem

  • By wyatt on 03-27-13

Not My Cup of Tea: Listen to a Sample First

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

Reviewed: 07-06-15

I have enjoyed listening to every John Scalzi book I could find, until now. And the rotten thing is, it's my fault I listened to this one. Had I done the most cursory of research, I would have realized that this book is not for me. (I haven't read The God Engines yet because I'm aware of its departure from his other work, fwiw, so I'm not sure what I was thinking.)

The Sagan Diary was written, Mr. Scalzi explains, to increase bids at a charity auction. He wrote in a completely different style than any of his other work- an internal monologue. He reports he loves the book. I am so glad that he wrote this book, enjoyed it and likes the outcome. I think many authors write to please their audience and their work suffers for it. Authors should, if they want to, write new things in a new ways that make them grow and develop as artists. Few things are as disappointing as the 18th (or was that 14th) book in a series that is the third book rehashed without the joy and creativity of the original and with no character growth.

Having said that, we, the readers, need to make ourselves aware of what we are getting into - by reading reviews, author notes, and / or listening to samples. I, unfortunately, did not do any of these things. What this book is and how it differs from all of his other writing are not secrets or even hard to find out about. Shame on me.The Sagan Diary is not my cup of tea. I made it through 2 chapters and then cut my losses. The reading is fine, the writing is fine, but I do not want to listen to someone's internal monologue with no story. I could be wrong, there could be a story and I didn't listen long enough to figure out what it was.

I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Scalzi so I am feeling pretty bad about what I'm about to type. I found this work to be pure navel gazing word vomit worthy of the most vapid sixteen year old.

If you are looking for something different by Mr. Scalzi, read this book. If you are looking for something more "typical" of Mr. Scalzi's work, this book is not for you.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Dad Is Fat

  • By: Jim Gaffigan
  • Narrated by: Jim Gaffigan
  • Length: 5 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,394
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,627
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 6,592

In Dad is Fat, stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan, who’s best known for his legendary riffs on Hot Pockets, bacon, manatees, and McDonald's, expresses all the joys and horrors of life with five young children - everything from cousins ("celebrities for little kids") to toddlers’ communication skills ("they always sound like they have traveled by horseback for hours to deliver important news"), to the eating habits of four-year-olds ("there is no difference between a four-year-old eating a taco and throwing a taco on the floor").

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good for Gaffigan fans - better for expecting dads

  • By Sean on 05-17-13

Dad Is Funny

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

Reviewed: 02-06-14

Dad is fat is a pleasant listen. If you know Gaffigan’s work, you know what to expect. If you don’t like his humor or his voice, don’t bother. If you are unfamiliar with Gaffigan, he is a clean comic and this book is pretty much only about his family. If you don’t find humor in the small parts of family life, don’t bother. I like observational humor about families and the inside out look and this book hit a nice space. Clearly Gaffigan is happy and happy to share with us what’s going on and how crazy a large family is.

Gaffigan’s delivery is (this is not a criticism) flat just like his standup. Maybe it’s a bit nasal or whiny. It works for him (and me.) The book is 5.5 hours long so not too short. It is good for a drive – I could easily listen to a bit on my drive in.

I’m giving it fours because, while it is good and funny and I will buy his other products, it is not to the level of Tina Fey, Nora Ephron, Dan Savage or David Sedaris. I’m looking forward to the books to follow as the kids grow up. Growing up doesn’t sound like it is ever going to be a problem for Gaffigan and I, for one, and pretty happy about that.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Stiff

  • The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
  • By: Mary Roach
  • Narrated by: Shelly Frasier
  • Length: 8 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 6,067
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,316
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,319

For two thousand years, cadavers have been involved in science's boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. They've tested France's first guillotines, ridden the NASA Space Shuttle, been crucified in a Parisian laboratory to test the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, and helped solve the mystery of TWA Flight 800. For every new surgical procedure, from heart transplants to gender reassignment surgery, cadavers have been there alongside surgeons, making history in their quiet way.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Darn funny if you're open to the idea.

  • By Matthew on 03-15-04

Fascinating Read, Excellent Reader

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

Reviewed: 07-12-13

If you could sum up Stiff in three words, what would they be?

Somebody Loves Your Body Even When You're Done With It

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The true gift you can give to others and utility your body can have after death were the most compelling parts of this book. I had great information for conversations during the time I listened to it.

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

I have not listened to Ms. Frasier's work before but I LOVED it and I definitely will listen to her again. Her voice was perfect for the work. I can't imagine how another preformer could have added anything.

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

The most interesting tidbit regarded all of the uses your body can have after death. While I was reading, I made certain to let my family know that, if my organs cannot be donated, I would like to have my entire body left to science or my brain left to the Harvard Brain Bank. Also, I will definitely look into a variety of ways of disposing of my mortal remains when I am done with them.

The worst part of the book, for me, was the part about histoical medications and traditional medications that use corpses. I would probably have skipped that part if I were reading the dead tree version. As it was, I took a week long break from the book during that section. I probably should have skipped it altogether. The head transplant portion was pretty distressing as well.

Any additional comments?

Aside from the distressing portions mentioned above, the book was great as was the reader. I'm already planning to listen to more of Ms. Roach's work.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Night Watch

  • Discworld #27
  • By: Terry Pratchett
  • Narrated by: Stephen Briggs
  • Length: 10 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 2,908
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,224
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2,226

Commander Sam Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch had it all. But now he's back in his own rough, tough past without even the clothes he was standing up in when the lightning struck.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another brilliant Pratchett

  • By Terry Austin on 02-02-04

Recording Quality Ruined a Good Book

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

Reviewed: 07-12-13

The recording quality of this book was so poor I returned it. I love Terry Pratchett and Stephen Briggs narration is good, as always. Unfortunately, I think this particular recording needs to be redone or somehow a better master needs to be found. It is not up to Audible's normal quality. Very disappointing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • American Savage

  • Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics
  • By: Dan Savage
  • Narrated by: Dan Savage
  • Length: 7 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,080
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 968
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 970

Dan Savage has always had a loyal audience, thanks to his syndicated sex-advice column Savage Love but since the incredible global success of his It Gets Better project, his profile has skyrocketed. Savage is recognized as someone whose opinions about our culture, politics, and society should not only be listened to but taken seriously. Now, in American Savage, he writes on topics ranging from marriage, parenting, and the gay agenda to the Catholic Church, sex education, and the obesity epidemic.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • You will laugh, you may cry and will probably fume

  • By Tim on 08-11-14

Savage is an Amazing Writer and Narrator

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

Reviewed: 06-18-13

Would you listen to American Savage again? Why?

YES YES YES! I plan to listen to this again. In fact, I plan to buy his other audio books, narrated by him. First, Savage is an eloquent and witty writer who makes his points clearly and thoroughly. I don't always agree with him, but I always find him worth listening to. I generally do agree with him and I find listening to his writing gives me food for thought and new ideas in developing my own world view.

Second, his narration is amazing. I could listen to a grocery list if he read it and feel soothed. He has an amazing voice and listening to him read his own work only makes what is great material even better.

What other book might you compare American Savage to and why?

I would say that hearing David Sedaris reading his own work or Tina Fey read her own work come closest to this book for me - not because they are similar but because all three of these authors as narrators make me so happy. They are so wonderful to listen to. Their own narration adds so much to the written word, enhancing it and making the words so much richer.

What about Dan Savage’s performance did you like?

Everything. Truly. I love his timing, his voice, his pronouncation, his laugh, everything.

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

Many many parts of the book are moving. However, the most moving part was a story of his mother's last moments. I had heard this before on This American Life, slightly different. Even having heard that, even having cried for this moment before, even knowing what was coming, I had to work hard hold myself together. If I would have been driving, I would have had to pull over because I wouldn't have been safe to drive. I was walking in to work and it took everything I had to not break down sobbing in the building lobby.

Any additional comments?

Dan, if you ever read this - thank you so much for taking your time to write this book and then narrate it. Your work makes my vanilla little life richer. Thank you.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Captain Vorpatril's Alliance

  • By: Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 16 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,690
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,520
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,533

Captain Ivan Vorpatril is happy with his relatively uneventful bachelor's life as a staff officer to a Barrayaran admiral. Cousin to imperial troubleshooter Miles Vorkosigan, Ivan is not far down the hereditary list for the emperorship. Thankfully, new heirs have directed that headache elsewhere, leaving Ivan to enjoy his life on Komarr, far from the Byzantine court politics of his home system. But when an old friend in Barrayaran intelligence asks Ivan to protect an attractive young woman who may be on the hit list of a criminal syndicate, his chivalrous nature takes over. It seems danger and adventure have once more found Captain Vorpatril.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • We are finally allowed to see Ivan without Miles.

  • By Barbara on 11-06-12

Another winner from Ms. Bujold

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

Reviewed: 02-28-13

What did you like best about Captain Vorpatril's Alliance? What did you like least?

I love being taken back to Mile's universe and seeing things from a different perspective.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Ivan's Mother. She is a wonder!

Would you be willing to try another one of Grover Gardner’s performances?

I did not like Grover Gardner's performance at all. I had not listened to one of Bujold's books narrated by him before and I will not again. It was without any affect and ruined the book for me. I could not finish listening to the book - I read the book prior to trying to listening to it. That is some pretty major dislike because I loved the book.

Was Captain Vorpatril's Alliance worth the listening time?

Sadly, because of the narrator, it was not. For the story, yes.

Any additional comments?

This is a great story. Lois is as strong as ever with great characters and an interesting story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful