Speaking of Audiobooks: An Audio Take on the Top 100

The Devil in WinterIt’s time for another audio take on the Top 100 List. We did so back in 2010 and, at the time, the list contained 58 unabridged audio titles. This year, there are 70 (one abridged, 69 unabridged). Just as with AAR’s Top 100 list of print titles, a good number are titles from the previous poll – 45 to be exact. Where did those 25 new titles come from? In the world of audiobooks, it’s just as likely that older titles are contributing to that number as new titles. Over the past three years, we have seen new audio releases of old favorites including such as Jennifer Ashley’s The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, Laura Kinsale’s Flowers From The Storm and The Shadow and The Star, Elizabeth Hoyt’s The Raven Prince, Jude Deveraux’s A Knight in Shining Armor, Georgette Heyer’s The Grand Sophy, and soon – Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels.

At a later Speaking of Audiobooks, we’ll feature those audiobooks contained within The Best of the Rest, those books that ranked from 101 to 200 in the 2013 Top 100 Poll. There are another 65 audio jewels hidden in that list.

Continuing our inclusion of sound samples (other than those found at Audible), you’ll find samples within the list below of five audiobooks romance listeners hold in high regard – Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ It Had To Be You, Elizabeth Hoyt’s The Raven Prince, Lisa Kleypas’ Blue-Eyed Devil, and Linda Howard’s After The Night. Each includes that all-important interaction between the hero and heroine, something you seldom find in an Audible sample. Of course, there are dozens more we wish we could include.

Each title is numbered by its ranking on the Top 100 print list. Since we’re leaving the print titles off this list, the numbering will appear inconsistent. As an example, the first six books on the Top 100 list are available in audio format. The seventh, ninth, and tenth are not. Therefore, the list skips from sixth to eighth to eleventh.

Although our list of Top 100 audiobooks would likely differ greatly from this list since the narrator’s performance heavily impacts the success of an audio title, I feel safe in saying there are fans of each of these audio titles. I encourage you to ask in our comments area if you are unfamiliar with a narrator of a title you think will be of interest.

1. Lord of Scoundrels – Loretta Chase

Narrator unknown – to be released 2/15/14

Blackstone Audio

2. Devil In Winter – Lisa Kleypas

Narrated by Rosalyn Landor

Brilliance Audio

3. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

Narrated by Josephine Bailey

Tantor Audio

4. The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie – Jennifer Ashley

Narrated by Angela Dawe

Tantor Audio

5. Outlander – Diana Gabaldon

Narrated by Davina Porter

Recorded Books

 

 

6. Flowers From The Storm – Laura Kinsale

Narrated by Nicholas Boulton

Hedgehog, Inc.

8. Dreaming of You – Lisa Kleypas

Narrated by Rosalyn Landor

Brilliance Audio

11. The Spymaster’s Lady – Joanna Bourne

Narrated by Kirsten Potter

Penguin Audio

15. Bet Me – Jennifer Crusie

Narrated by Deanna Hurst

Brilliance Audio

18. Nobody’s Baby But Mine – Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Narrated by Anna Fields

Books on Tape

19. It Had To Be You – Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Narrated by Anna Fields

Books on Tape

 

 

20. Welcome to Temptation – Jennifer Crusie

Narrated by Aasne Vigesaa

Brilliance Audio

21. Match Me If You Can – Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Narrated by Anna Fields

Harper Audio

22. The Raven Prince – Elizabeth Hoyt

Narrated by Moira Quirk

Hachette Audio

 

 

23. A Week To Be Wicked – Tessa Dare

Narrated by Carolyn Morris

Harper Audio

24. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

Narrated by Susan Ericksen

Brilliance Audio

25. Morning Glory – Lavryle Spencer

Narrated by Kate Forbes

Recorded Books

27. Naked In Death – J.D. Robb

Narrated by Susan Ericksen

Brilliance Audio

29. The Bride – Julie Garwood

Narrated by Rosalyn Landor

Brilliance Audio

30. It Happened One Autumn – Lisa Kleypas

Narrated by Rosalyn Landor

Brilliance Audio

31. Blue-Eyed Devil – Lisa Kleypas

Narrated by Renee Raudman

Brilliance Audio

 

 

32. Devil’s Bride – Stephanie Laurens

Narrated by Simon Prebble

Recorded Books

33. Private Arrangements – Sherry Thomas

Narrated by Virginia Leishman

Recorded Books

34. Lover Awakened – J.R. Ward

Narrated by Jim Frangione

Recorded Books

35. Persuasion – Jane Austen

Narrated by Juliet Stevenson

Naxos Audiobooks

37. A Knight in Shining Armor – Jude Deveraux

Narrated by Steve West

Simon and Schuster

38. Devil’s Cub – Georgette Heyer

Narrated by Michale Drew

BBC Audiobooks

39. Ravishing the Heiress – Sherry Thomas

Narrated by Jenny Sterlin

Recorded Books

40. Kiss An Angel – Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Narrated by Anna Fields

Books on Tape

41. Mr. Perfect – Linda Howard

Narrated by Laura Hicks

Simon and Schuster

42. When He Was Wicked – Julia Quinn

Narrated by Simon Prebble

Recorded Books

44. What Happens in London – Julia Quinn

Narrated by Rosalyn Landor

Harper Audio

45. Venetia – Georgette Heyer – Abridged

Narrated by Richard Armitage

Naxos Audiobooks

46. Smooth Talking Stranger Lisa Kleypas

Narrated by Emily Durante

Brilliance Audio

The Secret47. The Secret – Julie Garwood

Narrated by Susan Duerden

Brilliance Audio

48. Dream Man – Linda Howard

Narrated by Phil Gigante

Brilliance Audio

49. Heaven, Texas – Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Narrated by Anna Fields

Books on Tape

50. MacKenzie’s Mountain – Linda Howard

Narrated by Christina Traister

Brilliance Audio

52. This Heart of Mine – Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Narrated by Anna Fields

Harper Audio

53. More Than A Mistress Mary Balogh

Narrated by Rosalyn Landor

Brilliance Audio

55. Slave To Sensation – Nalini Singh

Narrated by Angela Dawe

Tantor Audio

56. Love in the Afternoon – Lisa Kleypas

Narrated by Rosalyn Landor

Brilliance Audio

58. Ravished – Amanda Quick

Narrated by Anne Flosnik

Brilliance Audio

60. When Beauty Tamed the Beast – Eloisa James

Narrated by Susan Duerden

Harper Audio

62. Then Came You – Lisa Kleypas

Narrated by Rosalyn Landor

Brilliance Audio

64. A Lady Awakened – Cecilia Grant

Narrated by Susan Ericksen

Tantor Audio

67. Cry No More – Linda Howard

Narrated by Joyce Bean

Brilliance Audio

69. After The Night – Linda Howard

Narrated by Natalie Ross

Brilliance Audio

 

 

70. Frederica – Georgette Heyer

Narrated by Clifford Norgate

BBC Audiobooks

72. Open Season – Linda Howard

Narrated by Deborah Hazlett

Simon and Schuster

73. Honor’s Splendour – Julie Garwood

Narrated by Anne Flosnik

Brilliance Audio

75. Ransom – Julie Garwood

Narrated by Susan Duerden

Brilliance Audio

76. Unveiled – Courtney Milan

Narrated by Rebecca De Leeuw

Courtney Milan

77. The Iron Duke – Meljean Brook

Narrated by Faye Adele

Penguin Audio

78. To Beguile A Beast – Elizabeth Hoyt

Narrated by Anne Flosnik

Blackstone Audio

79. Dream A Little Dream – Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Narrated by Anna Fields

Books on Tape

80. Suddenly You – Lisa Kleypas

Narrated by Jill Tanner

Recorded Books

84. Sugar Daddy – Lisa Kleypas

Narrated by Jeannie Stith

Brilliance Audio

85. Secrets of a Summer Night – Lisa Kleypas

Narrated by Rosalyn Landor

Brilliance Audio

86. The Shadow and The Star – Laura Kinsale

Narrated by Nicholas Boulton

Hedgehog, Inc.

87. The Governess Affair – Courtney Milan

Narrated by Rosalyn Landor

Courtney Milan

89. For My Lady’s Heart – Laura Kinsale

Narrated by Nicholas Boulton

Hedgehog, Inc.

91. Mine Till Midnight – Lisa Kleypas

Narrated by Rosalyn Landor

Brilliance Audio

93. Rising Tides – Nora Roberts

Narrated by David Stuart

Brilliance Audio

A Hunger Like No Other95. A Hunger Like No Other – Kresley Cole

Narrated by Robert Petkoff

Simon and Schuster

96. Lady Sophia’s Lover – Lisa Kleypas

Narrated by Susan Duerden

Brilliance Audio

97. Natural Born Charmer – Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Narrated by Anna Fields

Harper Audio

98. The Grand Sophy – Georgette Heyer

Narrated by Sarah Woodward

Naxos Audiobooks

100. Sylvester – Georgette Heyer

Narrated by Nicholas Rowe

Naxos Audiobooks

 

Audio Reviews at AAR

As I announced earlier, our audiobook reviews are now published with AAR’s print reviews rather than contained within this column. Over the past month, we’ve reviewed the following audiobooks:

About Last Night – Ruthie Knox     Narrated by Coleen Marlo

The Duchess War – Courtney Milan     Narrated by Rosalyn Landor

My Sweet Folly – Laura Kinsale     Narrated by Nicholas Boulton

The Passion of the Purple Plumeria – Lauren Willig     Narrated by Kate Reading

Sylvester – Georgette Heyer     Narrated by Nicholas Rowe

 

Romance Audio News

Loretta Chase

Did you notice number one on today’s list? Yes, it’s finally coming to audio! In both the 2011 and 2012 Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll here at Speaking of Audiobooks, Loretta Chase was the overwhelming first choice of our listeners in the Author’s Romance Backlist You Most Want to See in Audio category. And Lord of Scoundrels has always been at the top of my Loretta Chase list and I imagine others as well with its number one place in the last five Top 100 Polls – 2013, 2010, 2007, 2004, and 2000. Talk about standing the test of time. Blackstone Audio has slated its release for February 15th and now we can only hope fervently for a strong narrator.

More Kristen Ashley in Audio

Law Man is coming this month and Motorcycle Man in January. We’ve known about those upcoming releases for months now but the excitement is strong, especially for Motorcycle Man. Hachette Audio has now committed to five additional Ashley titles in 2014. On March 24th, we’ll see the release of Fire Inside, the second entry in the Chaos series. Following that, the Colorado Mountain series is scheduled for late spring through the summer – The Gamble on May 7th, Sweet Dreams June 24th, Lady Luck on July 29th, and Breathe on August 26th. I, for one, am hoping for a stronger narrator than that chosen for the three titles released to date.

Christine Feehan’s Dark Series

Harper Audio is rerecording eight entries in Christine Feehan’s Dark series. It’s all male narrators this time around with performances by Patrick Lawlor, Kaleo Griffith, Marc Bachmann, and Sean Crisden. All eight are slated for release on 12/31/13. Let’s hope this will reinvigorate the Dark series in audio as well as introduce to today’s younger listeners. I know I’m on board.

 

Ending Notes

Check out our Speaking of Audiobooks Facebook page to see romance audio updates, industry news, and links to articles of interest.

For those new to our Speaking of Audiobooks column, be sure to check out our audio archives for further recommendations and discussions.

Our affiliated Goodreads group – Romance Audiobooks keeps growing and now has 648 members. Come join us for discussions in between columns.

Enjoy your listening!

-       Lea Hensley

 

 

20 Responses to “Speaking of Audiobooks: An Audio Take on the Top 100”

  1. Lady Wesley says:

    So excited to hear about Lord of Scoundrels and fervently hoping that they get the great narrator this book deserves.

  2. Chris says:

    Where can I get the version of Morning Glory that you refer to? I’ve only ever found the abridged version narrated by Deborah Raffin. I would love an unabridged audio of this book.

    • Lea Hensley says:

      Unfortunately, the unabridged version of Morning Glory is one of those hard-to-find audios. It is an absolute jewel though and so worth the looking. You can find it used at online retailers or possibly your library. But I think it is only available in audio cassette format. And I didn’t think the abridged version was worth the money or the effort. Again, unfortunately.

  3. Caz says:

    I’m really excited about the prospect of Loretta Chase in audio, too – I just hope they get a top-notch narrator.

  4. LeeF says:

    Really, Lea- could you make it any harder for me to ever reach the bottom of my TBL pile? ;-) OK- bring on the The Best of the Rest- my charge account at Audible is ready.

  5. Stephanie says:

    I love audiobooks. There are several books I have not read yet simply because I would rather listen to the audio (Loretta Chase!). There are also a few that I re-read when they were finally released in audio format (Jennifer Ashley’s Mackenzie Family series is one!). I am also happy the hear the they are rerecording some of Christine Feehan’s Dark series. I have all of the originals and some of them were horrible!

    • Lea Hensley says:

      I have heard that the narrator of the Dark series’ entries we are seeing rerecorded was absolutely awful. So, you are not along in your thoughts.

      What titles are being rerecorded?
      Dark Legend
      Dark Challenge
      Dark Gold
      Dark Magic
      Dark Melody
      Dark Guardian
      Dark Fire

      Missing one! Or at least I think I am… Will continue checking.

  6. Renee says:

    I love this list as well. I am particularly happy to see that many of Georgette Heyer’s books, such as the Grand Sophy are now making it to Audio. I would love to see more of Mary Jo Putney and Joanna Bourne make it to audio. The Spymaster’s Lady with Kirsten Potter is a true gem.

    • Lea Hensley says:

      I am thrilled too to see Naxos Audiobooks releasing more unabridged Heyers and all with excellent narrators.

      And only, if only we could see more Bourne titles! Penguin picked up one – just one several years ago. I hope that means the rights to more could be picked up as well? We’ll keep hoping.

  7. Lupdilup says:

    This list has been my Bible… And I remember when most of this were not on audio, thank God it’s getting better :)
    Thank you! front the bottom of my ears (and heart) for bringing some of my most adored series to my radar.

  8. Lupdilup says:

    Of course I need a spell checker and a grammar genie to follow me around…LOL I meant, I remember when most of these!!! See, not a typo..just a Loupe ;)
    Realy, thank you guys!

    • Lea Hensley says:

      Ha Lupdilup! I didn’t even notice.

      Hasn’t it been fun watching these favorites gradually appear? Now I guess we should turn all this around and let the audio publishers know those lacking on the audio list that are in the Top 100 are sure to be hits if they can attain the rights. Or, possibly the author will be encouraged to release their titles through Audible’s ACX program.

  9. Ducky says:

    Listening to some samples – the lady who narrates the SEP audio books sounds perfect for those books. Really charmed by her. I also really like the voice of the woman who narrates Crusie’s WELCOME TO TEMPTATION.

    Richard Armitage is great doing the Heyer.

    But a few of the other historical romances sound very stilted and un-natural on audio.

    • Lea Hensley says:

      Unfortunately, just because an audio is part of the Top 100 print romance list doesn’t mean the narrations are top of the line (as I’m sure you discovered). There are a few of my favorite print books on this list that just don’t work for me in audio – and those are mostly historicals. The SEP narrator, Anna Fields, is one of the most popular romance narrators of all time, if not THE most popular. Unfortunately, she died unexpectedly a few years back and the romance audio community has mourned her loss.

  10. Jessica says:

    One of my favorite voices/narrators is Xe Sands in Jacquelyn Frank´s the Nightwalker series and Jim Frangione in JR Ward´s Black Dagger Brotherhood. I can heartily recommend both writers, and the experience when you hear the books is magic.

    • Lea Hensley says:

      I agree Jessica! Can’t imagine anyone else performing Ward’s BDB. And Xe’s narration of Anne Stuart’s On Thin Ice and Fire and Ice are top notch too.

  11. Nikki H says:

    Anna Fields was absolutely amazing. She nailed SEP’s books. I still throw out dialogue to a couple of my friends using “her voice”. She is sorely missed.

    • Lea Hensley says:

      Although I have listened to Anna Fields narration of SEP’s Chicago Stars series numerous times, I loaded a few back on my iPod yet again after spending time choosing the sound clip for this column. She simply is the best when it comes to contemporary romance humor. Missed indeed.

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