Speaking of Audiobooks: Our Favorite Narrators

Anna FieldsOur first Speaking of Audiobooks column carried the subtitle, It’s All About the Narrator and was a general discussion of romance audiobooks.  It also provided us an opportunity to start sharing with each other, from one column to the next, those narrators that do (and don’t) work for us since we, as audiobook enthusiasts, know with great certainty that the narrator holds the power to make or break an audiobook.

This is our twentieth Speaking of Audiobooks column which means we now have nineteen discussions to look back on and survey trends in narrator recommendations.  Who are the most recommended romance audiobook narrators?  Well, I decided to not guess or rely on my memory for such a topic and started combing through our previous discussions and recorded each Favorable Mention of a narrator.  And what, you may rightly ask, qualifies as a Favorable Mention?  It can’t be along the lines of  “The narrator did a good job.”  No “goods” are included in this tally.  A Favorable Mention means that a narrator is someone’s favorite or, as is often the case, is signified with comments such as “I love this narrator.”  If I saw a narrator’s performance described with words such as excellent, outstanding, and wonderful, those also made the Favorable Mention list.  These are the narrators who, in the eyes of our listeners, did more than just a good job.

Tallying up Favorable Mentions and delivering them for your perusal is an unscientific process.  There are no ballots tallied here – no favorites list for you to mark your choice.  This is merely a listing of the number of times a narrator has received that Favorable Mention but even that is open for interpretation and not an exact process.  Please keep in mind that this is a list of Favorable Mentions from one column to the next with no record of who made the statement.  Therefore if one of our listeners has stated three times in separate columns over the last ten months that she “loved Johanna Parker”, then it’s been tallied three times.

Here’s our list of favorite narrators based on your Favorable Mentions here at Speaking of Audiobooks as well as a few book recommendations for each:

1. Anna Fields

With 71 Favorable Mentions, Ms. Fields easily comes in at number one and is best known by romance audiobook fans for her narration of Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ books (sixteen to be exact).  Most who have listened to one of these gems agrees that the pairing of Phillips and Fields is one of the best, if not the best, romance audiobook teams.  It’s often said that the strength of Anna Field’s performance can transform an average book into an above average listening experience.   Therefore, can you imagine an A graded book narrated by a grade A narrator?  Yes, success only begins to describe it!

Also known as Kate Fleming, Ms. Fields died unexpectedly in 2006 at the age of 41.  During a flash flood, her Seattle home was knocked from its foundation and she became trapped in her basement studio.  Having once told a friend “I was born to read books out loud”, Anna Fields was a star in the world of audiobooks.  Known as an accomplished actress who preferred a darkened sound booth to a brightly lit stage, Ms. Fields could convincingly portray a young child, a grumpy old man, a strong heroine, and a most sexy hero all in one scene with nary a change in pace or a noticeable indrawn breath.

Although there are many favorite Phillips/Fields audiobooks, a few easy recommendations come to mind: Match Me If You Can, Heaven Texas, It Had to Be You or Lady Be Good.

2. Davina Porter

With 54 Favorable Mentions, Davina Porter is often referred to as the best of the best by many of our listeners.  In November 2009, an entire Speaking of Audiobooks column was dedicated to the remarkable teaming of Diana Gabaldon and Davina Porter for the Outlander audiobook series.  To quote the opening words of that column:

“The audiobook standard of excellence in my opinion is undoubtedly the unabridged version of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series as told by narrator Davina Porter.”

A founding narrator of Recorded Books, Ms. Porter has narrated over 100 books and won the 2006 Audie Award for Best Female Narrator with A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon.  With her Scots heritage (English father and Scottish mother) as well as the fact that she is married to a Scot, she knows how to deliver those Scottish accents and can effectively perform numerous dialects in one scene – and often all men.  Describing Ms. Porter’s voice isn’t an easy task since there is so much to praise.  It’s completely soothing to the ear, cultivated, engaging, and basically “right on” for any character.  You may want to take a look at Audiofile’s close-up look at this truly talented narrator or watch this live interview at Outlandish Observations of Ms. Porter and her husband.

The Outlander audiobook series can often be found at your local library or, if you’re looking to buy your own copy, Audible has the first four in the series at an affordable cost and they are (in order): Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, and Drums of Autumn.

Phil Gigante3. Phil Gigante

Researching Phil Gigante was downright fun since there’s a lot to find – much of it hilarious!  With 28 Favorable Mentions, Gigante has narrated over 70 audiobooks and won the Audie Award in 2009 for Karen Marie Moning’s The Dark Highlander.  Those familiar with this column know of my love for this narrator – his voice is unbelievably sexy, especially when narrating Moning’s Highlander series.

Ms. Moning interviewed Gigante in 2009 and, if you’re a big Gigante fan, I strongly suggest you read the entire interview at her website.  But I just had to include a few excerpts for our enjoyment here and now!

KMM: If my Highlanders were your first foray into the genre – I’ve shared my skepticism about a man narrating my books – how did you you feel about taking on the job?

PG: Honestly… sort of the same as you. A bit skeptical. Sorry! But as a guy, when you hear, “This girl goes back in time and meets this big Scots dude with a big Scots, uh, castle. Then they fall for each other, but they don’t admit it, and in the end they do. Oh, and there’s Fairies.” Well. I thought, at least I get to do some Scottish voices. In fact, it was I that assigned the handle “Kilt Lifters” to the genre (as opposed to “bodice rippers”). But then I read it. And To Tame…, and I thought, “OK, I was really wrong. There’s so much more here.” The depth of the story, the fully realized characters… They had heartfelt love, hot sex, complex plots and were so very, very funny! The humor and real characters really sold me, and I’m glad to say I was a pig-headed brute proven wrong. BTW, we still call them Kilt Lifters, but with genuine affection!

Moning also includes a couple of recorded hilarious outtakes but my very favorites are the ring tones.  Yes, ten downloadable ring tones of the most memorable moments in the Highlander series.  So go have some fun listening if you want to hear a Highlander hero, Gigante style, say such things as the phrase below each time your phone rings:

“Ahh – this bloody contraption is ringing again.  Lass, make it stop so I can tup you as you’ve not been tupped before.”

Need I say more?  My favorite of Gigante’s narrations is Moning’s  Kiss of the Highlander, and, although it is the fifth in the series, it works well as a stand-alone.  Recently Gigante recorded Linda Howard’s Dream Man and it has been very well received as well.

4. Susan Ericksen

Susan Ericksen started narrating audiobooks in the 1980s for a fledgling audiobook publisher, Brilliance.  Coming from a literary family, Ms. Ericksen’s father was a Dickens scholar and her family read aloud around the campfire.  An extensive interview of Ms. Ericksen can be found at Audiofile’s website.

With more than 200 audiobooks to her credit, Susan Ericksen continues to thrill romance readers with, among other things, her narration of J D Robb’s In Death series and it was our listeners’ love of that series that brought in most of her 21 Favorable Mentions.  For those wanting to try Erickson’s narration, Naked in Death, is the first in the In Death series.  There’s also Linda Howard’s Dying to Please or, for loads of laughs, try Jennifer Crusie’s Anyone But You.

5. Barbara Rosenblat

With one of the most beautiful voices in the world of audiobooks, Barbara Rosenblat has narrated more than 400 audiobooks and won six of the coveted Audie Awards – more than any other female narrator.    The impressive range of subject matter that Ms. Rosenblat continually undertakes in a consistently successful manner caused one critic to remark “Barbara is to audiobooks what Meryl Streep is to film.”  Her narration of Judith Ivory’s Beast and The Indiscretion produced the majority of her 20 Favorable Mentions.

6. Simon Prebble

A British born performer, Simon Prebble is a veteran narrator of some 350 audiobooks who now lives in New York.  In my eyes, he’s almost as dreamy as Phil Gigante and, yes, I do admit Prebble is better with the female voices!  I encourage you to visit his impressive website where I found this Prebble quote I just had to share:

“Audio book narration is like artistic gold since it allows me to daily exercise my craft.  Whilst I’m a conduit for the author’s words, I am also an interpreter of them.  Through my voice, I get to make creative choices – rapidly and constantly – as the narrative progresses.  As if placed just behind the listener’s ears, and yet putting the story in the foreground, the medium enables me to communicate vocally what one’s imagination sees.”

A few of the reasons for his 19 Favorable Mentions are these romance favorites: Devil’s Bride by Stephanie Laurens, Secrets of Surrender by Madeline Hunter, and It’s In His Kiss by Julia Quinn.

7. Natalie Ross

Primarily earning her 13 Favorable Mentions for her narration of Linda Howard books, Ms. Ross has narrated Christina Dodd’s last three releases as well.  Her performances of Linda Howard’s Son of the Morning and Kill and Tell were first rate to say the least and makes me look forward even more to another Ross narration, the upcoming release of Linda Howard’s After the Night (May 29).  While her interpretation of the western hero in Howard’s The Touch of Fire was a real disappointment for me, I agree with others that Ms. Ross is a highly talented narrator.  Another one to check out – Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning.

8. Joyce Bean

It seems that Joyce Bean is seen all around romance audiobook land so it should be no surprise that she received 12 Favorable Mentions.  With her distinctive voice and multiple narrations for authors such as Jayne Ann Krentz, Susan Wiggs, Sandra Brown, Linda Howard, and Karen Robards, Joyce Bean has narrated a few of my favorites as well including Linda Howard’s Death Angel and Cry No More.  Other listener favorites are Nora Roberts Angels Fall, and Jayne Ann Krentz’s Dawn in Eclipse Bay.

dead-until-dark-cover9. Johanna Parker

With 11 Favorable Mentions, Johanna Parker is best known for her delightful narration of Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse aka Southern Vampire series.  If you’re interested in exploring this series, Dead Until Dark is the place to start.  All nine Sookie Stackhouse books are affordably available over at Audible.  For you fans of True Blood, this is where it started.

10. Kate Reading

As a narrator, Kate Reading doesn’t major in romance but our listeners tell us she does an exceptional job performing five of the six books in the Pink Carnation series by Lauren Willig and therefore earned 10 Favorable Mentions.  The Secret History of the Pink Carnation is the first of the series if you’re inspired to start listening.  Another note of interest – do any of you recall listening to Katherine Sutcliffe’s Whitehorse from 2001?  It’s an old favorite of mine and that’s Kate Reading you’re hearing.

Since a number of other outstanding narrators had a significant number of Favorable Mentions as well, I found I could not stop with a mere Top Ten list.

11. Jenny Sterlin – 9 Favorable Mentions

Beyond a Wicked Kiss by Jo Goodman, The Wedding Night by Linda Needham, and Winter Fire by Jo Beverley.

12. Lorilie King – 7 Favorable Mentions

Hot Stuff and Full House – both Janet Evanovich

13. Four narrators tied with 6 Favorable Mentions each:

Virginia LeishmanPrivate Arrangements and Delicious – both by Sherry Thomas, The Marriage Contract by Cathy Maxwell and Let Me Be the One by Jo Goodman.

Phyllida Nash – Georgette Heyer’s Cotillion or A Civil Contract.

Victor Slezak – Sandra Brown’s Envy or Play Dirty.

Jill Tanner – Jo Goodman’s Tempting Torment, Madeline Hunter’s Lessons of Desire or An Arranged Marriage by Jo Beverly.

14.Three narrators tied with five Favorable Mentions each:

Dennis Boutsikaris – Linda Howard’s MacKenzie’s Pleasure or MacKenzie’s Mission.

CJ Critt – Janet Evanovich’s Lover Overboard or Manhunt.

Rosalyn Landor – Lisa Kleypas’s Mine Till Midnight or Julie Garwood’s The Bride

Time for Your Thoughts

Who is your favorite narrator of romance audiobooks?  Is there a specific title by this narrator you can share with us?

Do you have recommendations for audiobooks by any one of these narrators?

What qualifies a narrator as a favorite in your eyes?

And as always, do you have any recent audiobook success of failure to share with us?

Big News

In romance audiobook land, this is, I promise you – BIG NEWS.  I just discovered that Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas is scheduled for audio release on December 1, 2010!

I’ll be back later this month to discuss new romance audiobook releases for April.

- Lea Hensley

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34 Responses to “Speaking of Audiobooks: Our Favorite Narrators”

  1. Amber says:

    Barbara Rosenblat is by far my favorite narrator. Her ability to do accents and characterization is incredible. I loved her versions of Katie MacAlister’s Aisling Grey series. As well as her versions of the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters–a mystery series, but it often has romantic elements.

  2. Shebbie says:

    I completely agree with 1 and 3. I have all of SEP and KMM’s (Highlander Series) on Audio, and have listened to them several times, and still do. Anna Fields did a great job on both Male and Female voices. She showed great emotions for both. My favorites are “Match Me if you Can” and Kiss an Angel”. As for Phil Gigante, the Scottish accents are delish! I cannot get enough of them.
    A couple of books I recommend are Men of the Otherworld By Kelly Armstrong (Charles Leggett) and Lawman by Diana Palmer (Todd McLaren).

  3. Shebbie says:

    I wanted to add I also agree on Natalie Ross. And I have to admit never listed to the Outlander series, simply because the first book in the series (Outlander) is over 30 hrs and I don’t know if I have the patience (though I hear it is very good, I need further convincing to try them…someone please convince me…)

  4. MarissaB says:

    Another great column, Lea. Thanks.

    I agree with your complete list, although I would change the order to have the top 3 read:
    (1) Barbara Rosenblat
    (2) Davina Porter
    (3) Anna Fields.

    I am with Amber – there’s just no one like Rosenblat. She enriches every book she reads with her interpretation of the characters, nationalities, mood, plot, etc. There is a reason she has 6 Audie Awards to her name. Her repertoire spans many genres, with romance not being the most prolific. When looking for audiobooks, it’s almost an auto-buy for me when I find that she is the narrator. And because her performance is so perfect, I listen to each book more than once. Many of them are my comfort reads.

    The other comfort reads are Davina Porter’s. I am so thankful I didn’t have to strain my eyes reading all the Outlander books, since the listen was so much better.

    I don’t know what it is about SEP books and Anna Fields. I have listened to quite a few, enjoyed every one of them, was impressed by Anna Fields, and would not hesitate to try any book read by her, but…I have yet to repeat a listen. Just me, I’m sure.

    I was surprised that Nancy Wu did not make the list for her narration of the Queen Betsy books by MaryJanice Davidson. I thought she did a wonderful job with them.

    Then there’s Dick Hill who read Nora Robert’s Circle Trilogy: Morrigan’s Cross, Dance of the Gods, and Valley of Silence. He did an excellent job with those. He co-narrates 2 of Linda Howard’s books with Joyce Bean,: Kiss Me While I Sleep and Cover of Night.

    As an aside:
    I read recently that Kate Reading is married to Michael Kramer, who is also an audiobook narrator of non-romance genre books. Kate Reading I loved with Pride and Prejudice, Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold and Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella . Michael Kramer is excellent in the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. And together they are wonderful in The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. My thought when I found out they were married was, “Wow! I’d like to have been child in their household. Imagine the magic of the nightly bedtime story!”

  5. GamaTST says:

    Lea you made my day with the news that Natalie Ross will be narrating After The Night. Now I really can’t wait!

    Great column, all my favorite romance narrators are here except Tom Stechschulte. He’s only done Christine Feehan’s Ghostwalkers series and Nora Roberts Carnal Innocence in this genre but he is very, very good. For a man he does very good women, he changes tone so you know it’s a woman but he doesn’t go falsetto.

    I have to agree with Marissa about Barbara Rosenblatt. She is one of the very first narrators I ever listened to remains a very favorite. The first 8 Amanda Quick books that were produced on audio, Mistress down through Wicked Widow, were narrated by Rosenblatt and she can’t be topped there. Then I found the joy of listening to Amelia Peabody, Ramses etc. Now Aisling Grey. She is so versatile and enjoyable.

    Nancy Wu is as perfect in the Betsy series as Johanna Parker is for Sookie.

    Phil Gigante and Natalie Ross do an excellent job together on Monings Dreamfever. I enjoyed KMM’s interview with him when I first read it and I still remember him saying he goes red in the face reading the love scenes.

    A recommendation from the narrators above would be Jill Tanner narrating The Secret by Julie Garwood. It’s wonderful.

    I need to say a big Thank You to the ladies in the last column that praised Bernadette Dunne narrating The Sharing Knife series by Lois McMaster Bujold. I am loving the series!! I’m already into the third book! My first straight Fantasy, a sweet romance in addition to an intriguing world and adventurous story. The narration is fabulous, as promised!

  6. Kaetrin says:

    Davina Porter is, for me, the best. Closely followed by Bernadette Dunne (yes it was me!) who does The Sharing Knife series by Lois McMaster Bujold, among others.
    I’m not as keen on Simon Prebble but that could just be me. In Australia we have a beer called “VB” and there’s a series of TV ads where this overwrought radio type male says things like, “You can get it milking a cow, matter of fact I’ve got it now” and when I hear Simon Prebble it makes me think of the VB ad, British style. Cracks me up. Usually this is inappropriate. *guilty shrug*
    Susan Ericksen is great too.
    I haven’t listened to any Anna Fields yet – I have a couple in my pile to try.

  7. Rose says:

    I know it’s off the romance theme, but I have to mention Jim Dale, who reads the Harry Potter series. He’s won several Audie Awards for his work. He was so wonderful and brought that series to life for me and for my children. I remember being so disappointed in the movies, because they didn’t have half the magic that I imagined while listening to Jim Dale. Also known for reading Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, Jules Vernes’ “Around the World in 80 Days”, and the Dave Barry’s Peter and the Starcatchers books.

  8. Christina Martinez says:

    You certainly have many of my favorites mentioned in your column. I am another huge fan of Bernadette Dunne’s reading of the Sharing Knife series by Bujold. I loved it.

    Another series that Kate Reading has done is Sara Donati’s Wilderness series. I am now listening to the most recent one , The Endless Forest. She does an excellent job. These books are not strictly romance, but they are along the lines of the Outlander series. I stalled out when I was reading them, but in audio I zipped right through them.

  9. MaryK says:

    Jenny Sterlin also did a great job on Howl’s Moving Castle.

  10. I like the people who do the Brockmann books. I also like Simon Vance, who recorded the Stieg Larsson books. Maybe it’s his accent. ;)

  11. Lea AAR says:

    Shebbie – Listening to Outlander is quite a commitment but once you begin listening, it’s not long before you’re not thinking about commitment. You are likely to be so steeped in the characters and the happenings, you won’t be wondering how many hours are left. Also, the first time I listened to the first four in the series, I listened one at a time and not one after the other. I took a break in between but I know others love to listen right through. I usually keep another audiobook playing as well to change the pace now and then.

    • Shebbie says:

      Lea AAR: Shebbie – Listening to Outlander is quite a commitment but once you begin listening, it’s not long before you’re not thinking about commitment. You are likely to be so steeped in the characters and the happenings, you won’t be wondering how many hours are left. Also, the first time I listened to the first four in the series, I listened one at a time and not one after the other. I took a break in between but I know others love to listen right through. I usually keep another audiobook playing as well to change the pace now and then.

      Thank you so for responding, Lea…I am going to download it today and give it a try (I have a ton of Audible credits)…I admit I have sort of a threshold for long Audiobooks, I think the longest one I listened to was Acheron (23 hrs). The good thing is I can listen to them at work.

  12. Lea AAR says:

    Oh, and I meant to add several more things…

    I’m seriously considering The Sharing Knife. I usually don’t read Fantasy but after reading all of this praise, it is now on my “to be purchased” list.

    Barbara Rosenblat – I agree she is one of the best. I believe the reason she didn’t rank higher on this very unofficial list is that the percentage of her romance audiobooks is low when compared to, say, her mysteries and fiction. As an example, Audible has 11 Barbara Rosenblat narrated romances and over a hundred mystery and general fiction.

    GamaTST – Garwood’s The Secret – I’m a little hesitant to try it after the too perfect young heroine in The Bride (it may have partially been due to Rosalyn Landor’s narration – I don’t recall). Did you feel a sense of that so much when listening to The Secret?

    I’m already making a list well beyond The Sharing Knife from these recommendations.

  13. Karen Henry says:

    @Lea – about the OUTLANDER audiobooks – I totally agree with you about becoming absorbed in the story and the characters. I have learned not to listen to the more emotionally intense parts of the books while driving!

    I also wanted to say thank you for the link to my blog, Outlandish Observations. (I tried to post this comment once before but it didn’t go through for some reason.) I think Davina Porter’s readings are just wonderful, and I was fascinated to hear her talk about what it’s like to do what she does.

    Karen

  14. Gamatst says:

    Lea I guess I’m a fan of Julie Garwoods “too perfect heroines”. I don’t want to read them every day mind you. But knowing the heroine will win the hero and eventually all around her with only a bit of angst, no big misunderstanding, no long separations etc makes them the perfect comfort reads.

    First let me say that Jill Tanner does lovely accents, both the English and the Scottish. Where she succeeded so well for me in narrating The Secret was that she portrayed Ian exactly as I read him. If Garwood writes the “too perfect heroine” she also writes the tough heroic leader that is enchanted with the heroine from the beginning. He may fight it but he’s protective and most especially he is kind. And once he admits that he’s has fallen he gets even better! Jill Tanner captured that crucial aspect with Ian.

    And that is where Landor with The Bride and Flosnick with The Prize both failed for me. Their general narration of the stories is good, the heroines were done well, but the heroes? Oh my, they ruined Alec and Royce for me! They made them too old and so harsh.

    When I read “he hid his grin” or “he tried not to laugh” or “gads she’s beautiful” I expect to hear that reflected in the “voice”. Not to have the heroes next words barked out harshly. And that’s about all I heard from Landor and Flosnick. It made me cringe to have my beloved heroes turned into mean old men!!

    As you see, major pet peeve for me! I so wanted to hear the enchantment and especially the love that Garwood writes. This being said I’ve lost almost all hope of enjoying the audio version of my favorite Garwood, Honors Splendor coming out in June.

    I say “almost” all hope because after Flosnick ruined (for me) AQ’s Seduction, Scandal and Surrender, for the exact reasons stated above, she hit it out of the park with Ravished! So maybe, just maybe I’ll get lucky with Honor’s Splendor???

    Didn’t mean for this to turn into a book! Nothing worse than a disappointment in an audio version of favorite books I guess. LOL

    Your very right, the lack of availability of so many of Rosenblatt’s romance titles hurts her standing here.

    Definitely give Bernadette Dunne the chance to sweep you away with Bujold’s Sharing Knife series, pure pleasure!

  15. Lea AAR says:

    GamaTST – You’ve sold me entirely! I am buying Garwood’s The Secret. I read most of Garwood’s medieval books (including The Secret) about 5-7 years ago and they all were A reads for me. Finally, I tried one too many in a row and noticed an aggravation with that too perfect, young heroine and didn’t finish it (I think it was Saving Grace). The audiobook version of The Bride is my first attempt at a reread of Garwood’s medievals and although the whole heroine thing bothered me a bit, I think it was more the narration. Now that I look back on my mini-review, I do see where I stated that her male characters, particularly hero Alec, were almost painful to hear. So, I’m excited to try this one. Tanner has worked very well for me each time I’ve listened to her narrations.

    I’ve mentioned before that I endure Anne Flosnik’s narration to hear good romance books. She was alright with Balogh’s A Matter of Class. I chose to quit trying with Quick’s Rendezvous and one of my all time favorite medievals, Lowell’s Untamed, was only “good” in audio format and that was primarily due to Flosnik’s performance of the hero, Dominic . Still, I’m going to have to seriously consider Ravished.

    Flosnik performs her males in such a slow, deliberate manner that I often envision her male characters being a bit dimwitted – like they are having to take – their – time – thinking – about – every – word – in – case – they – don’t – get – it – right.

    And another – First Comes Marriage by Balogh. It is a favorite audiobook of mine but that is DESPITE Flosnik’s narration. FCM strikes such a chord within me that it would take a poor narrator to ruin the audio version.

  16. Gamatst says:

    @Kaetrin I wanted to add a personal thanks to you, as the first one to mention the Bujold and Dunne combo last column. You have excellent taste :)

    You’ve also made me realize that if I were ever to move out the USA I’d make it a point to send money to a friend or family member in order to keep an Audible account up and running for myself!! It would be way too frustrating not to be able to choose from Audible’s full selection because of where I lived. I have my priority’s! LOL

    Last but not least, you won’t be sorry when you give Anna Fields a try via Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

    @Lea … I am so glad to hear I’m not the only one very frustrated with Flosnick and her producer for ruining so many favorite books! After waiting so long for old favorites to be released in audio it’s just sad to have to “tolerate” listening to them. And not fair that excellent books written by excellent authors are done such a disservice.

    IMHO it is the producers job to research and be familiar with any book that will be made into an audiobook. Thus making sure the narrator performs it with the intent and feelings that made the book worthy of an audio version in the first place! So where do I go to let the audio book producers know how important this is to listeners?? LOL

    Flosnick may never have a good heroes voice but Ravished proved to me that if she, or any narrator, can at least portray the heroes age, attitude and feelings properly they can be much more than tolerably listened to, they can be enjoyed.

    By capturing Gideon’s initial exasperation with Harriet, followed closely by his wonder and then his pure joy in finding a woman who could see past his scarred face and ruined reputation to the real man with honor underneath made Flosnick’s narration of Ravished everything it should have been, even without a great mans voice.

    With her scorecard I’m still not ready to plunk any more of my credits out on her narration of Reckless or the upcoming Dangerous though. I’ll porbably give Landor another try despite the total hash she made of Alec. Garwood’s books may need to be spaced but when I’m ready for one I need to “hear” what I remember reading. So far only Jill Tanner has come through for me.

    And here’s praying that when Audible gets to AQ’s Mistress and the 7 books that follow it they strike a deal with Recorded Books and get the versions done by Barbara Rosenblatt!

    • MaryK says:

      Gamatst: @Lea … I am so glad to hear I’m not the only one very frustrated with Flosnick and her producer for ruining so many favorite books! After waiting so long for old favorites to be released in audio it’s just sad to have to “tolerate” listening to them. And not fair that excellent books written by excellent authors are done such a disservice.

      That’s one of the major reasons I haven’t gotten into listening to Romance audiobooks – the mushy parts is the other :blush: . It seems like there’s so much more potential for a disastrous reading in Romance.

      I am going to try a Romance audiobook soon though, just have to figure out which one. I like Barbara Rosenblat’s Peabody readings so it’ll probably be one of hers.

      • Gamatst says:

        MaryK: the mushy parts is the other :blush:

        That’s what the fast forward button is for MaryK. LOL Some need it and some don’t. Lea focused a previous column on the very subject. You’ll have to check it out in the archives along with the columns focusing on everyone’s favorite romance listens. You’ll find something you’ll love for sure!

  17. Lea AAR says:

    GamaTST – you think we can contact Barbara Rosenblat and tell her we want more romance and promise to support her?? I only mean that partially in a tongue-in-cheek manner.

    MaryK – When both aspects – favorite story with great narration works, it is a fantastic ride. You may want to start with your library where you can feel free to shut it down if it’s not working for you. And then I do encourage to try another and another and soon, you’re likely to find what does work well for you. I’ll keep encouraging you in this! Also, if you can give us an idea of some of your favorite romances, I bet we can point you to successful narrators of at least a few.

    Shebbie – Yea! You have to let us know what you think. And if you EVER need help spending those Audible credits, I know we can give you lots of advice on that as well!

    • MaryK says:

      Lea AAR: MaryK – When both aspects – favorite story with great narration works, it is a fantastic ride. You may want to start with your library where you can feel free to shut it down if it’s not working for you. And then I do encourage to try another and another and soon, you’re likely to find what does work well for you. I’ll keep encouraging you in this! Also, if you can give us an idea of some of your favorite romances, I bet we can point you to successful narrators of at least a few.

      I like Linda Howard’s Romance but haven’t cared as much for her more recent Romantic Suspense. My library has Now You See Her, which I liked a lot, read by Laurel Lefkow. I’m going to give that one a try.

      Trying ones from the library is a good idea. I think I’ll scroll through their list and see what they have.

      I like Lisa Kleypas, Jo Beverley, MJP. And I’m blanking out! Will have to think on it some more.

    • Gamatst says:

      Lea AAR: When both aspects – favorite story with great narration works, it is a fantastic ride.

      Amen to that truth Lea. The many good ones are well worth the occasional disappointment, even if I did seem to vent mine all at once:)

  18. Kaetrin says:

    @ Gamatst – thanks and you’re welcome!!

    I listened to A Matter of Class recently and I didn’t enjoy Flosnick’s narration at all. You’re right Lea – she does make the men sound dimwitted. When she was trying to make the hero sound passionate and romantic, I thought she made him sound like he was being tortured and was dying. I haven’t read any Julie Garwood books (yet) but I think I’ll steer clear of any more Flosnick reads. I think I would have enjoyed AMOC so much more if I had read it – or if it had a different narrator.

    @ Mary K – I love love love the long books – it feels like I’m getting more value for money! The second book I downloaded from Audible was Outlander and for 1 credit I got 40+ hours of listening pleasure (not to mention the repeat listens I will enjoy in the future). I felt downright surly to use a whole credit later on on a book that was only 11 hours!! Too spoiled I guess.

    And, as for mushy, apparently Ellora’s cave have an audiobook section now! Oh gross! I don’t mind an SEP sex scene or a DG sex scene in an audiobook, but @ the Ellora’s Cave level of heat? erm, no thanks!! (I guess others will enjoy – whatever floats your boat I guess!).

  19. Diana says:

    Wow! So many excellent comments here. I’m making notes for future buys.

    Loved Gigante’s Dane voice in Dream Man but I have a HUGE problem with his drag queen reading of females. Aarrgghhh! There. I’ve said it again. :)

    Landor ruined Mine Til Midnight by barking the hero’s lines and having him sound furious. Jenny Sterlin had one if Jo Goodman’s sound so uppercrust snide and snotty that I won’t try any more of her performances.

    The good ones like Ross, Rosenblatt, Fields can make a favorite book even better.

    • Gamatst says:

      Diana: Loved Gigante’s Dane voice in Dream Man but I have a HUGE problem with his drag queen reading of females. Aarrgghhh! There. I’ve said it again

      Your so funny Diana! Phil does struggle with the woman’s voices but I can easily ignore a bad womans voice. While I find a bad “heroes’ voice nearly intolerable! Wonder what that says about me?

      @Kaetrin I’m with you on “listening” to anything with the level of description in erotica. I can read a little, but listening I’ll leave to others with broader tastes than mine.

      I enjoyed listening to Linda Howards “Blue Moon” from Strangers In The Night. Very good narration for my ears. Only complaint, too short! The usual with a novella :)

      Now onto Horizon, the 4th book in the Sharing Knife series. Still in love with the books and the narrator!

  20. Lea AAR says:

    Mary K – A fewer older Linda Howard audiobooks to try: Dream Man, MacKenzie’s Pleasure, Kill and Tell, & Son of the Morning. Her old westerns are also available: The Touch of Fire, Angel Creek, and Lady of the West (the really controversial LH). Good Lisa Kleypas audiobooks include Sugar Daddy and Blue-Eyed Devil. Jo Beverley – An Arranged Marriage, Skylark, To Rescue a Rogue, & An Unwilling Bride. MJP – The Marriage Spell. And since you like Barbara Rosenblat – she’s narrates two of Judith Ivory’s, The Beast and The Indiscretion.

    And for listening to those mushy parts, here is a link to an earlier column GamaTST mentioned on just that topic: http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=2130

    GamaTST – I’ve been hesitant to buy Strangers in the Night because I thought it would all feel too short. Overall, are you enjoying it and was it worth the price? And…you inspired me to buy Garwood’s The Secret and then I found it’s not easily available. Must wait and hope.

  21. Gamatst says:

    I’m heading over to check out the new column … but I wanted to answer your question in context Lea.

    I listened to White Out after your above question about Strangers in the Night. I had already thoroughly enjoyed Blue Moon even if it was short. White Out was another winner for me. Laural Merlington is doing an excellent job narrating. So for me, even short Linda Howard stories when read well are worth the purchase!

    Recorded Books still has The Secret but it is spendy! I’d use their rental program or the library when your ready to try it. I know you listen on an iPod and for The Secret I use the “faster” setting under audiobooks. It’s an excellently voiced narration but the generous pausing wasn’t needed. The “faster” setting makes it perfect.

  22. Lea AAR says:

    Karen Henry – Sorry I haven’t responded before now but the system was doing something strange with your post. I was notified of it on April 7th and kept looking for it and finally located it under a March 24th date.

    Anyway, let me say I enjoy Outlandish Observations and want to thank you for that wonderful interview of Davina Porter and husband! Hope you’ll come back to see us.

  23. bonnie says:

    how can i find out when Jill Tanner will be narrating upcoming audiobooks by StephanieLaurens? she narrated 5 of the 7 bastion club audiobooks but has not narrated the final 2-especially” mastered by love” which i await eagerly. i also would like to know when the newest Stephanie Laurens” cynster” romance novel will be published so i can look forward to Simon Prebble’snarration. I have found that the only 2 narrators who can make you lose yourself in an audio book are 1-Prebble, and 2-Tanner. If anyone can find a narrator like Simon Prebble with female voices I would like to know. I only listen to Stephanie Laurens audiobooks because te have the steamiest love scenes and pleasant stories. I have tried all the narrators mentioned thus far and cannot find one even close to the above 2. Also,are there any other authors just like StephanieLaurens out there. I find no comparison to Quick, Quinn, Jo Beverly, Balough, Coulter-they just do not thrill me. I also cannot stand narrators like Landor, Rosenblatt, Sterlin, Bean-they cannot change their voices believably. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  24. bonnie says:

    how can i find out when Jill Tanner will be narrating upcoming audiobooks by StephanieLaurens? she narrated 5 of the 7 bastion club audiobooks but has not narrated the final 2-especially” mastered by love” which i await eagerly. i also would like to know when the newest Stephanie Laurens” cynster” romance novel will be published so i can look forward to Simon Prebble’snarration. I have found that the only 2 narrators who can make you lose yourself in an audio book are 1-Prebble, and 2-Tanner. If anyone can find a narrator like Simon Prebble with female voices I would like to know. I only listen to Stephanie Laurens audiobooks because te have the steamiest love scenes and pleasant stories. I have tried all the narrators mentioned thus far and cannot find one even close to the above 2. Also,are there any other authors just like StephanieLaurens out there. I find no comparison to Quick, Quinn, Jo Beverly, Balough, Coulter-they just do not thrill me. I also cannot stand narrators like Landor, Rosenblatt, Sterlin, Bean-they cannot change their voices believably. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  25. Website says:

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