Speaking of Audiobooks: April 2010 Releases

Burning LampAs many of you know, watching for new releases of romance audiobooks is a part of my morning routine and one I quite enjoy since it’s a constant search for those gems that failed to be included in some sort of “upcoming audiobook” list.  Audible, in particular, seems to pride itself in surprising us with new releases we had no idea were coming.

Lately Audible seems to be playing another game and that is dumping numerous audiobooks into their romance listings that have little or nothing to do with romance.  I’ll acknowledge that there’s always been this tendency at Audible but romance is becoming more of a catch all every month and it takes away some of the excitement during my morning searches.  As I sign on each day, I’m always looking for an increase in that magical number of romance audiobooks (it’s always stamped in my memory) but it’s a bit of a letdown when I see, say, five new releases only to find four, upon research, aren’t romances at all.

I’m buying as many new audiobooks each month as previously but recently I’m finding fewer new releases (this includes new releases of older books) to fire my interest to the point of purchase.  My purchasing lately is based more on those recommendations I’ve picked up here at our Speaking of Audiobooks discussions.  Is anyone else noticing a lack of depth in our romance audiobook choices or is it just a dry period for someone with my combination of preferences?

However, as I look at numerous romance audiobooks scheduled for release later this year, there’s still a lot for me to be excited about.  Let’s just hope my morning searches start offering some more of those hidden gems!

Audiobook Romances on Sale in April


Jackson, Lisa – Without Mercy

Krentz, Jayne Ann – Light in Shadow

Lindsey, Johanna – A Rogue of My Own

Michaels, Fern – Fern Michaels CD Collection 2: What You Wish For, Mr. and Mrs. Anonymous

Michaels, Fern – Texas Rich

Robards, Karen – Karen Robards CD Collection 2: Obsession, Guilty

Robb, J.D. – Glory in Death

Roberts, Nora – Heart of the Sea

Roberts, Nora – Midnight Bayou

Snelling, Lauraine – No Distance Too Far

Shameless 2Unabridged

Dodd, Christina – One Kiss From You

Dodd, Christina – Scandalous Again

Feehan, Christine – Wild Fire

Graham, Heather – The Killing Edge

Howard, Linda & Jones, Linda – Blood Born

Macomber, Debbie – Married in Seattle: First Comes Marriage, Wanted: Perfect Partner

Macomber, Debbie – The Matchmakers

Macomber, Debbie – Right Next Door:  Father’s Day, The Courtship of Carol Sommars

Michaels, Fern – Deadly Deals

Michaels, Fern – Kentucky Heat

Michaels, Fern – Kentucky Rich

Michaels, Fern – Kentucky Sunrise

Michaels, Fern – Return to Sender

Quick, Amanda – Burning Lamp

Quick, Amanda – Dangerous

Robards, Karen – Shameless

Roberts, Nora – Savor the Moment

Woods, Sherryl – Sweet Tea at Sunrise

Recent Additions to My Audio Library

Devil’s Bride – Stephanie Laurens

Narrated by Simon Prebble

Devil’s Bride is one of the first audiobooks I listened to many years ago and I still own it in tape format.  Although I’m not a big Stephanie Laurens fan, I wanted to enjoy this one again, this time in MP3 format, especially after hearing so much praise from many of our listeners for Simon Prebble’s narration.

Everything I Ever Wanted – Jo Goodman

Narrated by Jenny Sterlin

This is the second in Goodman’s Compass Club series (I was very pleased with the first, Let Me Be the One) and I’m hoping that Jenny Sterlin lives up to Virginia Leishman’s narration.  This one is expensive unless using an Audible credit – running in the neighborhood of $56 – $79.

The Sharing Knife Volume 1: Beguilement – Lois McMaster Bujold

Narrated by Bernadette Dunne

After reading such extreme praise for this series from our listeners, I had to find out what the excitement is all about.  Apparently I’m in for quite a treat with narrator Bernadette Dunne.  She’s new to me.

Getting Rid of Bradley – Jennifer Crusie

Narrated by Elenna Stauffer

For the most part, Crusie’s books (with the exception of the excellent Welcome to Temptation) are only average reads for me in print.  But I’ve discovered that many are quite delightful in audio format and I’m continuing to add these treasures to my audio library.

Lawman by Diana Palmer

Narrated by Todd McLaren

I have never read a book by Diana Palmer and it looks as though readers either love or hate them.  Lawman received a B+ grade here at AAR and one day I was in a “What the heck?!” mood and decided I’d try Palmer audio style.

Beast 2Recent Reads

The Dead Travel Fast – Deanna Raybourn

Narrated by Charlotte Parry

Gothics – I love them and this one totally fits that bill.  Told in first person by the heroine, Charlotte Parry gives Theodora a light Scots lilt that is more than pleasant to the ear and also works to effectively differentiate her voice from that of the Count.  Parry’s male characterizations aren’t quite as effective but I accustomed myself to the timbre of Count’s voice shortly after his introduction.  Overall, this is a definite audiobook success with well written and delivered suspense, fascinating characters, and a satisfying romance.

Beast – Judith Ivory

Narrated by Barbara Rosenblat

My least favorite of Ivory’s books, I decided to give the audio version a shot, especially when I discovered it was narrated by the wonderful Barbara Rosenblat.  Her narration was definitely the highlight and held my attention to the degree that I listened to an entire book that I still didn’t care for.  A staggeringly beautiful, very young heroine combined with an older hero surprisingly worked more for me in audio but I think that was mostly due to the hero’s highly entertaining self talk.  It was, once again, the presence of so many lies and disguises that ultimately left me more frustrated than contented.

Start Me Up – Victoria Dahl

Narrated by Wanda Fontaine

My first Dahl book, this is one that I believe is probably best experienced in print.  The narrator’s characterization of Lori was uneven and she often sounded like a little girl.  Overall, the characters’ voices weren’t easily distinguishable and I found myself frequently losing track of who was speaking.  There were also too many drawn out sensual scenes for my audiobook comfort level.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m certainly not shy about that sort of thing but I wanted more solid story content with fewer sexual encounters.  Added to all of this is the fact that I wasn’t too fond of Lori nor did I think she had much on the ball.

Time for Your Thoughts

What new releases are you looking forward to?

Do you know of any April releases that failed to make this list?

What upcoming romance audiobooks further into 2010 are you especially looking forward to?

What are the latest additions to your audio library?

And, as always, what are your latest audio successes or failures?

Ending Notes

Please check AAR’s main site for monthly lists of upcoming audiobook releases,

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

See you again later this month.

- Lea Hensley

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17 Responses to Speaking of Audiobooks: April 2010 Releases

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  2. Wm. says:

    Georgette Heyer’s Venetia (abridged), read by Richard Armitage, will be availabe on CD and to download April 2010.

  3. Anne Stuart says:

    Bummer. I’m not excited about any of those upcoming books, though there may be great stuff I haven’t tried yet. And yep, you’re right. Lots of non-romance in Audible’s daily updates (which I check too).

  4. katie bug says:

    Would it be too much to ask these people who make audio books to have TWO narrators. One for the male and one for the female? I’ve just finished “Dream man” by Linda Howard narrated by Phil Gilante? I’m probably not spelling his name right. I loved the book and his male voice can give you an eargasim! but his female voice not so much. I recently listened to “Touch of Fire” by Linda Howard narrated by Natalie Ross. She has a lovely female voice but again her male voice not so much. Not many people can do both male and female voices. Off hand I can only think of three; Anna Fields and God don’t we miss her, Davina Porter and Lorilie King. There are many narrators out there with beautiful male OR female voices but not both. Why do they insist on one person doing both. Not many females can make deep sexy male voices and I haven’t heard any male that can make lovely light and lilting female voices. Do you see what I mean?

  5. katyco says:

    I’ve just listened to the first 2 Sharing Knife books by Lois McMaster Bujold and enjoyed them very much. I listened to The Dead Travel Fast and it was good. Definately different.

    katie bug – I also recently listened to The Time Traveler’s Wife which has a male and female narrator. I thought they did a great job.

    Of the new audios, I will probably try Christina Dodd’s new releases. I’m a big fan and I’m curious to see if I will like her books in audio format. For some reason, some authors just don’t translate well to audio for me. I love Nora Roberts, but I think the only audio boods I’ve ever enjoyed of hers are The Chesapeake Bay books. I have no idea why.

  6. enesbit5 says:

    I have the same issue as ‘katie bug’ as in I’d like to have a male and female narrator do the voices. This is one of the main reasons why I don’t buy audiobooks. Plus, I’m a reader who has to have a face and a particular voice to match the characters I’m reading and the few times that I bought/rented audiobooks, I was always disappointed with the ‘sound’ I heard. Does that make sense?

  7. jojo says:

    i checked, and barnes and noble says that “lover mine” by j.r. ward is being released to audio 4/29/2010… it’s the 8th of the black dagger brotherhood books…

    • Shebbie says:

      jojo: ward

      You beat me to it, Jojo…I am sooo looking forward to that audiobook. I don’t know who is reading it, but I hope it’s not Jim Frangione, who has read all the BDB Audiobooks. EVERYONE he reads sounds the same…

  8. Diane says:

    I am currently listening to the Kushiel Series by Jacqueline Carey. Anne Flosnik is the narrator for the first three books and I think she is doing a wonderful job. I’m finding her voice to be pleasant to listen to and I think she’s differentiating between the characters quite nicely. I haven’t heard her on anything else but on these 3 books she’s doing a good job. Marguerite Gavin has done all but one of Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series and I find her voice quite pleasing. She also does a nice job differentiating between the voices. As for upcoming books, I just found out that Audible will be releasing Linnea Sinclair’s books. Haven’t heard any dates or narrators mentioned yet as she just signed the contract with them.

  9. Lea AAR says:

    Wm – I’ll add Venetia to the new release list on AAR – thanks.

    Anne – glad to hear I’m not the only one who checks Audible daily! My morning’s not complete without it.

    jojo – I’ll add Lover Mine as well too – thanks!

    Shebbie – I am finally accustomed to Jim Frangione’s narration of Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series (I think). About ten months ago, I wrote a negative review of his narration of Lover Eternal for your exact reasons – he didn’t perform the voices. Yet I couldn’t imagine any narrator effectively performing all those male voices in a distinctive manner. Just a few weeks ago, I tried Lover Awakened and ended up enjoying it tremendously and came to the conclusion that maybe the non-performance worked. Was I ready to just experience LA (one of my favorite romances) again or am I now more tolerant of less-than-perfect narration? I don’t know but it worked this time! Now I’m ready to try Lover Eternal again and we’ll see if I feel the same way. I do think that first timers to this series would be better served in print followed by audio. Too, too many details, characters and odd language (defined in print version).

    katie bug – I’ve been thinking about a column on dual narrations – what are the successes? Unfortunately I’ve not had that many successes yet but I’m determined to find a few – at least.

    katyco – I’ll have to look into Niffenegger’s Time Traveler’s Wife for the dual narration. I’m not familiar with either narrator. So glad you enjoyed The Dead Travel Fast and I totally agree with you about it being different and, for me, memorable. Was it the spooky castle? I really felt that.

    enesbit5 – you may want to take a look at our very first Speaking of Audiobooks column. http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=1593
    We talk about some of the issues you mentioned. Also, I have found that there’s a bit of a learning curve to successful audiobook listening. Not only do you have to find a good book but a great narrator as well. Once you have discovered what combinations work for you, it usually just takes listening to one of those well chosen audiobooks to get you going (and loving) the experience.

    Diane – that’s the first I’ve heard of the Linnea Sinclair books – thanks!

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  11. Gamatst says:

    I’m looking forward to the Linda Howard/Linda Jones book, something different that could be very good if they are on their game. We’ll see….

    I too am tired of Audible dumping erotica and gay romance etc into the romance section. I have nothing against the books being offered but they need their own sections IMO. And the random sticking of romance books elsewhere makes searching by author name a must lately.

    One of my favorite dual narrator books was The Golden Chance by Jayne Ann Kretnz. It was done really well.

    A Nora Roberts book that I really enjoyed listening to was The Three Fates. Bernedette Quigly did an excellent job with the accents etc. Which I found interesting as she, the same narrator, totally ruined Birthright for me by giving the hero a creepy old man voice. She is the only narrator I have both loved and hated!

    I’m at the halfway point in Horizon, The Sharing Knife #4 and still loving the books and Bernadette Dunn. I’m already mourning the end of such a great listen :(

    I downloaded Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs yesterday. Since I love the Mercy Thompson series at least I know I’ll move from Bujold to another author I’ll enjoy listening to!

  12. Gamatst says:

    Just popped over to Audible and saw Jeanine Frost’s Halfway To the Grave is out on audio!! Oh my, a top favorite PNR series, Cat and Bones done right, this could be so good!

    Anyone familiar with Tavia Gilbert as a narrator? She sounds pretty good as Cat, she’s got the right attitude down. But they only gave two short sentences as Bones and I’m not quite sure she’s going to catch his tone and British accent right. Bones is a TDF Hero, he can’t be messed up by a narrator or it will ruin the book.

    Anyone give this a listen yet??

  13. MaryK says:

    I’ve just been combing through Audible because my “My Next Listen” list is getting too short so this post is very timely. My favorite Romances tend to be older and Audible tends not to have them.

    I’d love to know what you think of Sterlin’s Goodman narration. I loved her performance of Howl’s Moving Castle and I’d be interested in checking out the Goodman books. Jennifer Crusie is a good suggestion. I’ll see what they have of her.

    I took your advice and got a few Romance audio books from my library to practice. :) The selection wasn’t great but I got a Krentz, a Castle, and Now You See Her. Krentz is kind of an average read for me but her books are always fun and “easy” reading so I started with it and it’s working well for me so far. I’m finding it easier to listen to a book I don’t have as much of an investment in as say the Howard; voice oddities don’t bother me as much. :) I’ve also discovered that I have a harder time with “denser” books. I think there’s too much going on and my brain has trouble tracking it.

    I listened to an Audible sample of Natalie Ross reading Howard, and I can tell I won’t be able to listen to those. She has an odd “turn of voice” that shows up too frequently.

    I noticed that Audible has Anne Bishop’s Daughter of the Blood. Anybody brave enough to try that one? :) The sample wasn’t inspiring. As usual, it’s taken from a monologue section so is not very useful.

  14. Lea AAR says:

    MaryK – So glad you’re experimenting!

    Jenny Sterlin – I have a mixed reaction to her narration right now. Virginia Leishman narrates the first in the Compass Club series, Let Me Be the One, and she does an excellent job. Sterlin narrates the following three. When comparing her to Leishman, she just doesn’t measure up (IMHO). Her portrayal of the male characters reminds me of Anne Flosnik in that they both really slow down their speech for such. In addition, the English accent given to the hero in the second, Everything I Ever Wanted, just sounded off and it bothered me.

    BUT, I loved Everything I Ever Wanted so much that, in the end, I didn’t care all that much. It took me a couple of hours to become accustomed to the hero’s voice and then I was totally immersed in the story. However, I immediately started the third in the series, All I Ever Needed, and had to stop after about an hour. The hero and heroine sound exactly like the hero and heroine from the previous book and I can’t help but think it’s a continuation of their story. So, I’m putting it aside for a few weeks and then will pick it back up.

    Now Natalie Ross is a different story for me. I absolutely loved her narration of books such as Howard’s Son of the Morning and Kill and Tell but had a negative reaction to her narration of Howard’s Touch of Fire (and wrote a negative review of her narration). I think it’s a case of my ears not liking her interpretation of western heroes.

    We all seem to hear things differently as well and it could be a case of your tastes line up with loving Sterlin’s narration of Everything I Ever Wanted and disliking Ross’s Son of the Morning!

    Again, I’m so glad you’re exploring. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts as you continue.

  15. Cait says:

    Listening to Susan Erickson read SHATTERED by Karen Robards. Having just finished the latest In DEATH by JDROBB, read by SE, it was a jolt: Somebody sounds just like Eve, somebody like Peabody, etc.
    I see the comment concerning BEAST by Judith Ivory. I have all the books of hers which have been recorded, including BEAST. I wouuld state absolutely that Violet Primm (SLEEPING BEAUTH, a real fav) is realy Davina Porter. VP has only ever recorded that book and when I wrote Recorded Books asking for more info, I never received a reply.
    I find Anne Flosnik difficult. She sounds as if she has a mouth full of marbles, and I don’t like her men. WTT by JC is a real favorite because of ASgne Viegesa.
    A few Books by Men and Women: WHITE LIES, SMOKE IN MIRRORS, ALL NIGHT LONG to start.
    I see that the O’Hurley series by NR is being recorded as well as teh Donovan Series. We can look for these read by bmany new names. Check htem on the Brilliance Audio site.

  16. melinda says:

    Cait wrote: “I wouuld state absolutely that Violet Primm (SLEEPING BEAUTH, a real fav) is realy Davina Porter. ”

    I was just googling about Violet Primm, having just finished Sleeping Beauty and knowing without a doubt that was absolutely Davina Porter’s voice!! She has the exact same mannerisms, pronunciations, timbre, rhythms, patterns – it’s too coincidental. No other British voice I’ve heard sounds anything like it. But why would she use a different name… hmmmmm…

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