Speaking of Audiobooks: 2011 Listening Challenge

Girl Listening lg croppedAfter talking about it for months, it’s finally time for our first Speaking of Audiobooks 2011 Listening Challenge.  In November five of our listeners started working with me to design a Listening Challenge everyone can enjoy – from beginning romance audio listeners to our most experienced romance audio enthusiasts.

For those who are hesitant to commit to a Listening Challenge, we have developed Level One for an easy entry.  For those who are starting to understand that challenging your audio listening preferences is actually great fun, we have designed Level Two just for you.  And for those who desire a different challenge each and every month, Level Three is your ticket.

In 2010, I shared with you my experiences throughout the year as I worked through each category in My Unofficial Personal Listening Challenge. I was both thrilled and amazed to discover large numbers of romance audiobooks that hadn’t been on my radar simply because I didn’t think I liked their particular sub-genre.

Those sub-genres I avoided included Fantasy Romance, Urban Fantasy (with a romance thread), Romantic Suspense, and Series (continuous without an HEA at the end of every book).  My choices for these four categories were Lois McMaster Bujold’s The Sharing Knife: Beguilement, Karen Marie Moning’s Darkfever, Sandra Brown’s Envy, and Charlaine Harris’ Dead Until Dark.  All were personal audio hits.  With the successful completion of two other categories, Abridged Format and English Narrators, I found myself enthusiastically listening to a total of 28 Listening Challenge inspired audiobooks (with none below the B range).  I owe most of that success to the recommendations of my fellow listeners at Speaking of Audiobooks!

Now for the particulars.

Speaking of Audiobooks 2011 Listening Challenge

Choose your level of involvement:

Level One I’m Going to Give It a Try – Choose 6 of the following 14 categories

Level Two Hmmm, This Could Be Fun – Choose 9 of the following 14 categories

Level Three I Take Challenges Seriously – Choose 12 of the following 14 categories

The Categories

All categories refer to romance audiobooks or those containing a romance thread

  • Pick an audiobook that received a DIK grade at AAR in print format. You can find those DIK books through our Power Search.
  • Tempt yourself to find a series that grabs hold and won’t let go by listening to the first in a series.  For series suggestions, take a look at our Romance Audio Bests by Author column.
  • Listen to a book recommended in a previous Speaking of Audiobooks column (and following discussion).  All columns and following discussions include a significant number of recommendations but two columns stand out – Favorites and Romance Audio Bests by Author
  • Listen to a new-to-you author. We are targeting romance authors or those authors who include a romantic thread throughout the series such as Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series.

  • Listen to a romance sub-genre you usually avoid. Do you find yourself listening to the same type of book?  Challenge your tired old preferences and discover a whole new world.

  • Listen to a romance book released in 2011. Watch our monthly new release columns for suggestions.

  • Listen to an abridged audiobook. Abridged doesn’t have to mean cut up with favorite passages missing.
  • Listen to an audiobook that has been languishing in your to-be-listened (TBL) pile. Whether your TBL pile consists on CDs on your shelf, downloads on your MP3 player, or a book you have on your library list – just do it.

  • Relisten to a favorite book. Relistening to favorites is not only an affordable audio option, it is also a great way to while away the time.

  • Give a less-than-favorite narrator a second chance. So you weren’t impressed with that narrator and others are still praising her?  Give her another try.

  • Share in your listening – listen to a book someone else chooses for you. Ask for suggestions in any Speaking of Audiobooks column or check the thread we have going over at our Romance Audiobook message board at AAR.

  • Borrow a book from a friend or your library. Discover a more affordable way to listen.  For details on borrowing from a library see our Buy, Rent, or Borrow? column.

The challenge ends 12/31/11 and we’ll report our progress either here in each column’s discussion or at our Romance Audiobook Message Board at AAR that we plan to have up an running soon.  For easy reference, you can find the basics of the 2011 Listening Challenge here throughout the year.

As an example of reporting your progress, allow me to start by telling you first that I chose the I Take Challenges Seriously Level 3 (now, does that surprise anyone?).  Since I’m challenging myself to 12 of the 14 categories, I’ve chosen all but the Relisten to a favorite book and Listen to a romance book released in 2011 categories.  Given that I relisten to my favorite books on a continual basis and review new audiobooks for the column, neither are much of a challenge to me.

What categories am I tackling first in the challenge?  For Pick an audiobook that received a DIK grade at AAR in print format, I’m going with Amanda Quick’s Rendezvous. Second on the list is Listen to an abridged audiobook and this choice was easy with Penelope Williamson’s Heart of the West already in my to-be-listened folder. I’ll follow with reports on my thoughts of the two and let you know other audiobooks as I choose.

A big thanks to Julie, Melinda, MaryK, Kaetrin, and TSTBren for their help in planning our Listening Challenge.  You ladies made quite a team and were great to work with as well!

We invite you to come on and join us.  I know you can do it and have great fun in the process!

In Too DeepRecent Reads

Beginning with this column, we’ll feature an occasional mini-review written by a fellow Speaking of Audiobooks listener.  Thanks to TSTBren for her contribution today.

In Too Deep – Jayne Ann Krentz

Narrated by Joyce Bean

A loner by choice, chaos theorist Fallon Jones doesn’t understand the draw his new office manager, Isabella Valdez, has on him. Isabella pushes to become the latest agent for J & J, Fallon’s psychic detective agency, while keeping secrets about more than her psychic abilities. With Isabella’s discovery of a unique clockwork creation from the Victorian era, one that can be used as a psychic weapon, she and Fallon work together from the start. I enjoyed Joyce Bean adding a slight Spanish accent for Isabella, to go with her last name. The fact that Bean has been consistent with Fallon’s voice throughout the series is also a plus. Isabella was very funny and the narration pulled that out well and kept me laughing as the story proceeded. I’m not a fan of long inner monologues or a lot of angst which is one reason I really enjoyed this book. It’s dialogue driven, with the plot unfolding through conversation and actions. There are some “too convenient” intuitive jumps and discoveries, but we’re talking JAK here. Would I glom and listen to her books back to back? No. But three times a year, as she continues to unfold her interesting Arcane series in the past, present and future, that’s perfect for this fan.

- TSTBren

A Hellion in Her Bed – Sabrina Jeffries

Narrated by Antony Ferguson

I’m not what you could call a follower of Sabrina Jeffries but I do enjoy her stories from time to time.  Since I was searching for a historical romance with a new-to-me narrator, A Hellion in Her Bed fit that bill perfectly.  Featuring an autocratic grandmother determined to control her grown grandchildren’s lives, an especially notorious gambling grandson determined to allow her no control, and a woman willing to risk it all to obtain help for her family’s failing brewery, the setup is little more than your typical romance.  Antony Ferguson’s underplayed narration didn’t favorably impact my listening experience either with voices that were difficult to differentiate at times, inconsistent falsetto female voices, and a few male characters who sounded a little too effeminate (especially knowing one will be featured as a hero in a later book).  The story lags once it hits the two-thirds mark and with an average narration that fails to push it through the slow parts, A Hellion in Her Bed was an audiobook disappointment.  However, another Jeffries book,  Let Sleeping Rogues Lie,  sits in my audio library and with narrator Justine Eyre at the helm, I’m hoping for good things.

- Lea AAR

Darkfever2The Fever Series Watch Party

A number of us are currently listening (or relistening) to the first four books in Karen Marie Moning’s Fever Series in preparation for the January 18th release of Shadowfever, the final book in the series.  It’s not too late to join in the excitement by starting with Darkfever, the first in the series, and proceeding on to Bloodfever, Faefever, and Dreamfever.  We’ll be running a Fever Series thread on our Romance Audiobooks message board at AAR as we build up to Shadowfever’s release.

A major part of our Fever Watch Party is the January 17th interview with one of our favorite narrators, Phil Gigante, who performs the male characters in Shadowfever.  And we’ll be giving away all five of the Fever Series audiobooks!  You won’t want to miss our talk with this highly entertaining narrator (to learn more about Gigante, see our Favorite Narrators column) and your chance to win the entire series in audio.

Our Very Own Romance Audiobook Message Board

Yes, it’s almost here!  Any day you will see a Romance Audiobook message board at AAR’s main site.  I’m so excited that we will have the ability to discuss audiobooks 24/7.  Of course, our discussions following each Speaking of Audiobooks column will continue in the same manner.  I see the Romance Audiobook message board as an opportunity to talk even more about your audiobooks experiences.  We’ll utilize the message board for group reads, watch parties (such as our current Fever Series), Listening Challenge progress reports, specific audiobook discussions, announcement of audiobook sales, and those “Have you all listened to this book?” requests.

Stay tuned for the announcement here at AAR’s News and Commentary Blog.

Time for Your Thoughts

Are you joining in the challenge?  What level did you choose?

What are your categories?

What audiobook(s) will be the first in your Listening Challenge?

And as always, do you have any recent audiobook successes or failures to share with us?

Ending Notes

Our Speaking of Audiobooks Goodreads group keeps growing with 37 members.  Come join us and share your audiobook shelf with us.

I’m announcing romance audiobook news and new releases on Twitter.  To follow me on Twitter, look for LeaAAR.

I’ll see you again on January 17th when we talk with Phil Gigante.

- Lea Hensley

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33 Responses to “Speaking of Audiobooks: 2011 Listening Challenge”

  1. Carrie says:

    I’ll jump into the Level 1 Challenge. I listen to audiobooks, but not all the time, so this level should suit.

    My categories:
    ~New to me author- not sure which one, but I may start with Feehan’s Ghostwalker books. Would this count as….
    ~Start a series- maybe Feehan, or maybe Bujold. I have the first of her Chalion series on my iPod Touch right now.
    ~Audiobook languishing in my TBR pile: Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie.
    ~ Abridged version- this is really a challenge, because I don’t like them usually. But I’ll try.
    ~ Borrowed book- I do borrow from the library occasionally, but prefer the convenience of downloading from audible.
    ~ Audiobook recommended in the column. I might combine this with choosing a new genre. The only historical’s I’ve listened to are Heyer’s, which I adore. I might pick up an audio of an historical romance as a challenge, since I rarely read any historical romances.

    I’ll start off with Welcome to Temptation, I think. It’s been on my Touch for a couple of months. I tried reading the print version a couple of years ago and gave up on it. We’ll see if the audio version, plus a better understanding of Crusie’s style now, will help me enjoy it.

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by All About Romance, Lea Hensley. Lea Hensley said: The Speaking of Audiobooks Listening Challenge starts today! Come take a look & tell us about your latest listens http://bit.ly/eZq0fS [...]

  3. BevL says:

    Hmmm… I’m not sure if it’s much of a challenge for me. Is it fair to take up a challenge for things that I’m already doing on a regular basis? LOL.

    Seriously, other than listening to an abridged audio book, there’s not much else I’m not already doing! Egads I think I might love audio books more than print books!

    I’m going to have to research the challenge questions and see if I can come up with at least one for each that I might not have normally picked.

    Is it kosher to have one audio book apply to more than one category? For example, if I relisten to Devil’s Bride, does that mean I’ve fulfilled #1, 3, 4, and 10? or does each challenge question need to be fulfilled with a different book?

  4. Lea AAR says:

    For Audible members with available credits, there is a “Three books for Two Credits” sale. The selection of eligible audiobooks isn’t all that impressive but I enthusiastically purchased three titles:

    Northern Lights by Nora Roberts (an AAR DIK)

    Lover Revealed by JR Ward – this was on my wish list

    Shadow Game by Christine Feehan – the first in the Ghostwalker series I’ve been hearing so much about.

    All three have male narrators.

    With the cost of my credits ($11.48 each) each of these books ended up costing me $7.65 each!

  5. Nina says:

    Okay, I’m in… and I’ll shoot for Level 3! I just started listening to Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series last week so can that count for a new series? I’m still struggling with Tavia Gilbert’s portrayal of Bones. His character is so sexy but I keep getting the mental image of Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins with the high-pitched cockney accent.

    BevL – I’m in the same boat as you. I listen to far more books than I read these days and also rarely ever listen to an abridged book . I hate to think that I’m missing something – I mean, nothing the author writes is superfluous to the story once it is edited and published, right? The hardest thing in this challenge would be the abridged book.

    Lea – I love all 3 of the books that you just bought! I picked up Northern Lights a couple of years ago in a B&N pile for $5 and just loved it. It was the first time I had heard a male narrator for romance and I really liked him – Gary Littman, right? I can’t think of anything else I’ve heard him read. His portrayal made me look for more romances with male narrators (I think I’m one of the few on this site who prefer them). That’s how I discovered the Ghostwalker’s Series …one of my guilty pleasures. I began looking through the Romance section of Audible for male narrators. I purchased Mind Game on a whim and that was all it took. Again I liked the narrator right from the get-go. As soon as I was done with MG I bought all of the Ghostwalker books that they had at the time. I’m glad they finally added Shadow Game last year and filled in the few missing books in the middle of the series. Lover Revealed is my 2nd favorite of the BBD right after Lover Eternal – I’m one of the few people I know who doesn’t have Lover Awakened in 1st or 2nd place (3rd for me). And I still recommend Sea Swept with David Stuart narrating…a terrific story.

  6. BevL says:

    Nina said “His portrayal made me look for more romances with male narrators (I think I’m one of the few on this site who prefer them). ”

    Oh good gravy, I ADORE male narrators (except for Stefan Rudnicki, who co-narrated the Raintree trilogy)! In fact, when choosing a new audio book, I have to admit that I’m more apt to buy a so-so story if it has a male narrator. Sexist, but there ya go. Phil Gigante and Simon Prebble could read the phone book and I’d swoon. Actually, many of my audio book searches start by searching on those two names first.

    So, nope, you’re not alone.

  7. Peggy P says:

    Oh my, what an interesting column! So we’ll have our own board here, that sounds like loads of fun!e challenge looks interesting, so many choices, I shall have to sleep on this but will participate. Luckily, I don’t have my 2-3 hour commute anymore but man, that sure was some quality listening time! My drive is less than 10 min. now, really, it was like winning the lottery to get my new job (for many of reasons).

    Looking forward to a new year in audio!

  8. Diane says:

    I think I’m in the same boat as BevL in that I challenge myself on a monthly basis. I’m more likely to try a new to me author/genre in audiobook format than I am to buy the paper book. The only thing I refuse to try is audiobooks in abridged format. As an example, my last Audible purchase consisted of Blackout & All Clear by Connie Willis (new to me author), Dead or Alive by Tom Clancy (I love Clancy’s books but this was the first one I’ve listened to) and all 4 of KMM’s Fever books (I own these in hardcover so this is my first listen). I finished Dead or Alive yesterday. I thought Lou Diamond Phillips did a most excellent narration. Currently on Darkfever, will probably start Bloodfever tomorrow. :)

  9. melinda says:

    I’m thinking I should come in at Level 3 since I too listen to several audiobooks a month anyway!! But I’m going to ponder…

    I HAVE A SUGGESTION for those of you who want to try an abridged audiobook: Linda Howard’s Open Season, narrated by Kate Forbes. It’s still laugh-out-loud funny – yes, all the condom scenes are there, intact! Forbes is a great narrator for this. I read Open Season later, and I think the abridgement was stellar. So – this can count either as your “listen to a book recommended” or “abridged”!

    I also have a suggestion for a sub-genre you might might have avoided – inspirational romance. Yeah, yeah, I didn’t think I’d go for it either, but Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love is powerful and moving and well narrated and heart-wrenching and chock-full of tension. I actually read, er, listened to it for a “ring-around-the-genre” challenge. And I chose it based on either a review or an ATBF here at AAR!

    I am SOOO happy that we will have a forum here! Yea Lea! Now, back to Anne Flosnik plodding – but faster – through Balogh’s Huxtables…

  10. Lea AAR says:

    BevL – we tried to make the challenge easier for those just starting to listen to audiobooks or who were afraid to commit. We did consider making it more difficult but maybe next year… I’m hoping that those who think it may not be much of a challenge can play along almost like a game and report their listens in each category to encourage others to possibly consider the same choice.

    I too have books that would qualify for three or so of the categories but the idea is to have a different book for each category. I like your attitude in this statement “I’m going to have to research the challenge questions and see if I can come up with at least one for each that I might not have normally picked.” Now that’s challenge dedication!

    Nina – Yea Level Three! Seems to me that since you started the Night Huntress series just last week that it qualifies for a 2011 Listening Challenge. You had such good things to say about all three of my Audible purchases today that I feel like I did a pretty good job choosing. Although I have read the BDB a number of times (the first five), I have only listened to the first three so Lover Revealed was next. Can you tell I’m a FAN? I’m also looking forward to the Ghostwalker series but first I have to get Shadowfever out of my system and then I have to find my way through a relisten of Singh’s Archangel Series in preparation for the release of Archangel’s Consort. Then…maybe then.

    Peggy P – looking forward to hearing your choices. What a difference your blessed commute change makes on your audio listening.

    Diane – maybe you can consider all your audio listening as a sort of “fill in the space” for the challenge? That way we can hear of your experiences with each category. I too prefer listening to audio to reading paperback now that I know how to choose my audiobooks. Listening to others recommendations and researching narrators makes all the difference.
    And I am adamantly opposed to Abridged but I have discovered a couple of jewels and am determine to see if I can find a couple more.

    Melinda – does this mean you’re listening to the Huxtable series now on the fast speed? That is how I listened to much of Seducing an Angel!

  11. Laura (Goodreads) says:

    Hi Lea, I’ll take the challenge too-Level 1. I think it will be fun.
    Categories I will challenge myself on are:
    1. Pick an audiobook that received a DIK grade at AAR in print format.
    2. Tempt yourself to find a series that grabs hold and won’t let go by listening to the first in a series.
    3. Listen to a new-to-you author.
    4. Listen to an audiobook that has been languishing in your to-be-listened (TBL) pile.
    5. Give a less-than-favorite narrator a second chance.
    6. Listen to a new-to-you narrator.

    #5 will be the most challenging…but I’ll see what I can do. :-)

  12. TSTBren says:

    I’m going to come in at Level 3 also. I listen to a lot of audiobooks but I have a definite comfort zone compared to most here at SOA, so it will definitely be a challenge for me to fill 12 different spots.

    Re listening to the Fever series now in anticipation for Shadowfever next week covers both the Re-Listen Category and the 2001 release category.

    So I’ll choose the 12 remaining categories for my Challenge. I know some titles I’ll choose with just a quick review of what I have in my library.

    A sub genre I avoid is Regency – Georgette Heyer’s Sylvester is going to go in that spot.

    The first book in Molly Harper’s Dead Girls Don’t series will be the book to see if a new series grabs me.

    Giving a less than favorite narrator a second chance will be braving R Landor again with Dreaming of You. I have never read this very popular Kelypas book. With no “voices” already in my head I’ll see if Landor’s male voice for the hero works.

    I’ll start working on titles for the rest of the categories….

    Nina I’m very happy to see that you can still catch the vibe of what a sexy character Bone’s is, even though you haven’t made peace with Gilbert’s voice for him. To lose the TDF aspect of Bone’s would be criminal. :)

  13. Barbie Pomales says:

    I think I will be Level 3 I will post the books later this week

  14. Jo-Ann W. says:

    I’ll take the challenge – Level One please! I’ll listen to more than the six this year, but I’m happy to start small. I even have a pretty good idea what books will fit which challenge, but I reserve the right to digress. :)

    My challenges will be:

    1. Tempt yourself to find a series that grabs hold and won’t let go by listening to the first in a series.- —– I just started Darkfever by Moning yesterday (you all got me too curious), so that is a given for this one.

    2. Listen to another listener’s romance favorite. —– I’m going with NR’s Carnal Innocence read by Tom Stechshulte (I think was on GamaTST’s list?)

    3. Listen to a romance book released in 2011. —- If nothing else fits this before Warrior Rising by Linda Howard and Linda Jones comes out (not until October according to Amazon), I’ll pick this one. I listened to Blood Born and enjoyed it very much.

    4. Listen to an audiobook that has been languishing in your to-be-listened (TBL) pile. —– Wild Ride by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer – an amusement park setting is not thrilling to me so I’ve been avoiding it.

    5. Relisten to a favorite book. —- This one’s pretty easy – I’ve been eager to listen to Breathing Room by SEP again. I know it’s not a general reader’s favorite, but I really liked it. Both in print and audio. And it’s never a hardship to listen to Anna Fields.

    6. Listen to a new-to-you narrator. —– I’m thinking Mackenzie’s Pleasure by Linda Howard read by Dennis Boutsikaris. This is my favorite “Mackenzie” and I’ve yet to hear Dennis B.

    I’m happy about the upcoming board. It will inspire me to join the forum finally.

  15. Kaetrin says:

    Hello SOA AAR ladies! I’ve just got back from holidays – I think we were in the only NOT flooded parts of Queensland – they are having such a hard time up there – I hear it’s been likened to Hurricane Katrina for the devastation level.

    Anyhoo, I’m in for the challenge. Even though I listen to audiobooks all the time, this is my very first one, so I’ll sign up for the Level 2 – if I manage to cross them off my list in a reasonable time, I guess I can always upgrade to Level 3 right? (Also, @ Lea – if you listen to a book which might fall into more than one category, do you just pick one or can you use it for multiple?)

    My categories:
    DIK @ AAR
    Listen to 2011 release
    Listen to a new to you narrator
    Give a less than favourite narrator a second chance (this will be my hardest challenge I think!)
    Start a new series
    Listen to another SOA listener’s favourite
    Listen to a book someone else chooses for you (actually, this could be hard to, depending on who does the choosing!!)
    Listen to an abridged audiobook
    Listen to a new to you author

    I’m starting with a new series – I’m listening to Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning to see what all this fuss about Jericho Barrons is!

    @ TSTBren – great review – and you said you couldn’t do it!!

    I’ve just finished listening to Angel’s Blood and Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh and narrated by Justine Eyre. I can’t say she’s my favourite narrator but I don’t have trouble listening. I was happily and pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed them so thx TSTBren! The second book wasn’t as successful for me but I think that was mainly because I had large gaps between listening times because I was doing the family holiday thing with theme parks and Barrier Reef snorkelling and whatnot. I liked them so much I’ve bought the books and I’m very much looking forward to Archangel’s Consort in both paper and audio format.

    Happy new year everyone. :)

  16. Kaetrin says:

    @ JoAnn – count me as another one who loves SEP’s Breathing Room. You are not alone!

  17. Nina says:

    Lea – I just finished At Graves End so I’ve listened to the first 3 in the Night Huntress series. Decided to take a break from them and started Shades of Midnight yesterday. It was just added to Audible Monday so now I can listen to the last two in that series. I think Hillary Huber has the right huskiness of voice to do male and female characters convincingly. I couldn’t skip from 6 to 8 without either reading 7 or listening to it. After that it’s straight to Fever. I recently relistened to Darkfever and Bloodfever on a long drive with my daughter so I’m going to start with Faefever. I hope you like the Ghostwalker series. I have to say that the first one isn’t my favorite but it’s necessary to set-up the story line. I think Feehan gets better with each one and is able to add new twists and turns to keep the story-line interesting. I’ll be very interested in hearing your opinions about your recent purchases.

    BevL – I’m so glad that there are more people in my camp for male narrators! There aren’t too many that I don’t like. One guy that I didn’t like is Richard Ferone reading the Only series by Lowell although I’ve liked him in other books. However, I seem to be more forgiving of a male narrator doing a bad female voice than I am a female doing a bad hero.

    Melinda – I’ll put Open Season on my heretofore empty list for an abridged book. I have it in its entirety (and have already listened to it) so I’ll have to look around for it in an abridged format…probably the library?

    Jo-AnnW – I really liked Boutsikaris’ narration of Mackenzie’s Pleasure…again my love of male narrators and of course, I love the early Howard books. I wish she’d add A Game of Chance to audio. Have you listened to Mackenzie’s Mission? I liked that one, too! I have relistened to those 2 books several times over the years…comfort read. They were one of my early audio purchases while looking for male narrators. Loved Carnal Innocence (also as a suggestion from this forum. Rats! There goes the category for recommendations since I listened to that last Fall!). Count me as one who liked Breathing Room, too. It was the first SEP I ever listened to since I got it from the library which, of course, led me to buy all of the other books by her. I’m intrigued by Call Me Irresistible which will be released soon.

    TSTBren – Yep, I think Bones is trés sexy (I actually read the 2nd book One Foot in the Grave and that helped me)…still trying to get image of a Bert the chimney sweep out of my mind…a glass of wine while listening may help!

    Question – if you’ve read a book but haven’t listened to it does that count? I have the Archangel series in both print and audio but have only read them so this will be a first listen for me. I haven’t listened to Justine Eyre (although I have several books in my TBL pile narrated by her) so can I count that as a new narrator even though I read the books? I was dismayed to learn yesterday that although the Archangel’s Consort will be out on the 25th that the audio version won’t be out until a month later. I think I’ll delay my listening of this series until the audio is released.

    Will be back later with my selections and categories.

  18. Lea AAR says:

    Laura and Barbie – Good to see you here! So glad you are going to join in. For those who don’t know, these ladies are part of our Goodreads Speaking of Audiobooks group.

    TSTBren wrote “Giving a less than favorite narrator a second chance will be braving R Landor again with Dreaming of You. I have never read this very popular Kleypas book. With no “voices” already in my head I’ll see if Landor’s male voice for the hero works.” – I’m anxiously awaiting your views on this. Here’s hoping Landor pulls off Derek Craven.

    Jo-Ann W and Kaetrin – so glad to hear you’re joining in on the Fever books! I’m relistening to Faefever right now and plan on starting Dreamfever tomorrow. I want to be finishing up just about the time of Shadowfever’s release on Tuesday. Needless to say, I will be on pins and needles if Shadowfever isn’t released in digital on Tuesday.

    Kaetrin – the idea is to pick one book for each category. 9 categories = 9 books even if some cross over.

    Nina said “I hope you like the Ghostwalker series. I have to say that the first one isn’t my favorite but it’s necessary to set-up the story line. I think Feehan gets better with each one and is able to add new twists and turns to keep the story-line interesting.” That’s just the sort of info I need to hear!

  19. hilly says:

    Sure, I’m up for the level 3 challenge, too.

    I trusted you enough to try the Highlander series, and that was a great discovery for me. (Hope it ends well. :-) ) I’ll be happy to keep on trying out new audiobooks!

  20. TSTBren says:

    Thanks Kaetrin! Me? Concise and to the point, who knew! :)
    My love of Singhs Guild Hunters came from reading them first, but I did enjoy the audio very much also. I’m looking forward to seeing Elena back in kick a$$ mode with Consort.

    Nina, perfect assessment of the Ghostwalker books as a series …. And stop putting Mary Poppins in my head in regards to Bones!! LOL The voice is true to his character background, but it does take some concentrating for the sexy to come out…. Nighthuntress is another series where my first love came from reading the books and now I’m just happy to have them as audios.

    Lea, Derek Craven has definitely been given the hype from all I’ve read and seen. With no personal impression of him I’m hoping Landor can impress me. I’m still mad about Alec from The Bride so we’ll see.

    Jo Ann W. do you have a line on the hard to find Carnal Innocence with Stechshulte narrating? I We could talk about a loan if you don’t.

  21. [...] All About Romance kicks off its Speaking of Audiobooks 2011 Challenge. [...]

  22. Lea AAR says:

    Nina said “Question – if you’ve read a book but haven’t listened to it does that count? I have the Archangel series in both print and audio but have only read them so this will be a first listen for me. I haven’t listened to Justine Eyre (although I have several books in my TBL pile narrated by her) so can I count that as a new narrator even though I read the books?”
    I actually woke very early this morning thinking “You didn’t answer that question!”

    If you have read the book in print, it still counts as new for audio. It’s the listening that matters. A new narrator to you is just that – if you have not heard him/her before, it counts.

  23. BevL says:

    Lea, could you clarify something for me? What exactly does the challenge require from us when we sign up? Are we merely saying we’re in and at what level? Or must we name the categories we’ve accepted and/or name the individual titles we intend to listen to?

    I realized this morning that, even though I listen to so many audio books, I haven’t quite committed to the challenge yet because I don’t want to find myself passing up a future audiobooklust release because I needed to listen to a pre-named challenge title instead. I guess your answer will help me determine at what level I’ll accept the challenge.

    Fear of committment? Who me? ;-p

  24. Lea AAR says:

    BevL – we’re easy! There’s no rule that says you can’t change categories as you go along (or even books within those categories) if you feel the need. The main idea is to commit to completing a number of categories and then report in and share you experience and possibly encourage (or discourage) someone else from listening to the same book. Next year we may have a more difficult level but mostly we just want to have people challenging themselves and having fun at the same time.
    Many of us have chosen our categories ahead just to make the challenge a bit more challenging and I imagine it will open others up to suggesting books for another. So glad you’re almost ready to commit. Hope this does the trick!

  25. Diane says:

    Question, my brain isn’t functioning very well right now. Do we report back to this column as we finish each challenge or wait until we’ve finished the entire thing and report in elsewhere? I’m going to participate but haven’t picked my categories. I figured I would just report back as I finished a book that fit in wherever. :)

  26. Lea Hensley says:

    Diane – we hope that you will report here (or at our future audiobook message board) throughout the year each time you complete a category. That way you can be fresh with your impressions and you may inspire someone else to listen to that particular book.

  27. BevL says:

    Okay, Lea, count me in at Level 2 for sure. Thanks! And I hope I easily pass level 2 and end up completing level 3 instead.

  28. melinda says:

    Nina said: “I’ll put Open Season on my heretofore empty list for an abridged book. I have it in its entirety (and have already listened to it) so I’ll have to look around for it in an abridged format…probably the library?”

    What?? Unabridged recording of Open Season? Who? Where? The abridged version I got was from audible. (Oh, maybe this came up in a previous discussion – googled and found Sound Library, Dec 2001, narrator Deborah Hazlett) Where did you get your copy?

  29. Barbie says:

    My Audiobook Challenge
    1. Pick an audiobook that received a DIK grade at AAR in print format. Howl’s Moving Castle Diana Wynne Jones

    2. Tempt yourself to find a series that grabs hold and won’t let go by listening to the first in a series.
    TroubleShooter Series- Suzanne Brockmann

    3. Listen to another listener’s romance favorite.
    Diana says:
    February 24, 2010 at 8:55 pm (Quote)
    Son of the Morning by Linda Howard

    4.Listen to a book recommended in a previous Speaking of Audiobooks column (and following discussion).
    jennifer crusie strange bedpersons

    5. Listen to a new-to-you author. Elizabeth Hoyt- To Beguile a Beast

    7. Listen to a romance book released in 2011.
    SEP- CMI or Diana Palmer’s Lord of the Desert

    9. Listen to an audiobook that has been languishing in your to-be-listened (TBL) pile
    Sandra Brown’s Smoke Screen or A Treasure Worth Seeking

    10. Relisten to a favorite book
    SEP- Match me if you can

    11. Give a less-than-favorite narrator a second chance
    Lucky Series Carly Philps

    12. Share in your listening – listen to a book someone else chooses for you
    Ask for suggestions in any Speaking of Audiobooks column or check the thread we have going over at our Romance
    Audiobook Message Board at AAR.

  30. Jo-Ann W. says:

    ~~TSTBren asked Jo Ann W. do you have a line on the hard to find Carnal Innocence with Stechshulte narrating? I We could talk about a loan if you don’t.——-Thanks, but I do have a copy. When it was so highly recommended I dug one up. It wasn’t easy though…lol

    ~~Nina, no I haven’t listened to Mackenzie’s Mission yet. I just felt like skipping right over this and going to my favorite one. Yes, I’m interested in Call Me Irresistible as well. I’ll probably read it in paper first and then give the audio a try a while later since there has been good buzz on this reader. As someone who owns every SEP/Anna Fields audio available, I could barely get through the sample of What I Did For Love so it may end up being a glaring hole in my collection. :(

    ~~Lea, I don’t get to listen to audiobooks for long stretches at a time, so I’m only about a third of the way into Darkfever. I’m enjoying it for the most part but Mac has gotten on my nerves about a hundred times so far. I trust that will improve!

    ~~Kaetrin, glad to find someone else who really likes Breathing Room (Nina too!) Have you begun Darkfever and if so, how are you liking it?

    It’s very hard to chat on this blog but I guess blogs aren’t designed for that?

  31. TSTBren says:

    Jo AnnW – It is difficult to chat on a blog but I had to jump in, “Pink” Mac annoys a lot of people, don’t give up! With not being able to listen quickly or read straight through it would be much harder to watch her growth in Darkfever, but it’s worth it!

    Another Breathing Room fan here and Mackenzie’s Pleasure is an all time favorite in print and audio. Glad you were able to track down Carnal Innocence, great find.

    Off to read the Phil Gigante interview!!

  32. Anne Stuart says:

    OK, I’m most definitely in. But which shall I pick? I just listened to First Drop of Crimson — really liked the book and really disliked the narrator. Though I guess I gotta be careful in case she gets assigned to me.

    OK, which categories:
    Definitely a DIK book. Maybe Archangel’s Kiss — I just bought that
    First in a series — not sure what. I’d choose the Shadowfever series but I gather the first few are weak-ish
    I go with other listeners’ favorites all the time, so that one’s easy.
    I kept looking — you know, I’m going to do all fourteen of them. The one I’d hesitate about is abridged but I do listen to Richard Armitage.
    I’ve already gotten stuff from the library so that’s easy. A TBL might be the hardest — I’ve put off listening to them for good reason.
    It’ll be interesting to have someone else choose one.
    Tell you what. Bet I do all fourteen before the year’s half over. Not that I’m competitive, mind you.
    Here’s a challenge just for me. Listen to something by an author I know well. For that reason I’ve avoided Jo Beverley, Barbara Samuel, Carla Neggers and Maggie Shayne, though I’ve listened to Crusie’s stuff and she’s my BFF.
    But there’s something that stops me when it’s my friends, and it would be a good personal challenge for me.
    I’ll check back in July 1st. Hell, I might do it all in 3 months. I’m so obsessed with audio books that I have three audible accounts.

  33. Leslie G says:

    So far I completed three of the categories
    I started with a relisten: Desire by Amanda Quick. She is a favorite author of mine, I love that the Heroin and Hero have flaws.

    Next I chose a series: The Fever series I was hooked after the first book and listen to all 5 in a little over a week. I was totally addicted to Fay and am not sure I have kicked it yet. I am still having withdraws.

    I then listened to a new release: How to Woo a Reluctant Lady by Sabrina Jefferies. It was good but difficult coming off of the Fever series. I was not crazy about the new narrator in the series Sarah Coomes. But I will give her another try as one of my challenges.

    I will post more updates as I continue through the Challenge.
    I am really enjoying the Challenge!!!
    Thanks to everyone who put it together!!!