Speaking of Audiobooks: June Releases and Slave to Sensation Discussion

Book ClubSpeaking of Audiobooks has now been around for two years!  This represents our 52nd column and if you are wondering about anything concerning romance audiobooks, you’ll probably find it in our audio archives.  They remain an invaluable resource.

It’s Time!  Our Group Discussion of Slave to Sensation

On April 6th, we announced our Group Listen of Slave to Sensation.  We decided to celebrate Tantor’s decision to release all ten of Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling Series (over a period of 4-5 months) by listening to the first in the series, Slave to Sensation as a group.  Our announcement was followed by a giveaway of ten audiobook copies (courtesy of Tantor) of Slave to Sensation and the excitement has been growing since.  I requested that we save our comments for this column to facilitate the group discussion.  Our Goodreads Speaking of Audiobooks group has kindly followed suit although I know many are bursting at the seams to talk about it!

Following is a list of questions for you to consider when making a comment.  Answer one or all – the goal is to hear your thoughts.  Remember it is a discussion so we don’t have to (or want to) agree all of the time.  I’ve gleaned hints here and there of others’ thoughts and I know my own opinion differs somewhat.

Our Discussion Questions:

  1. Did you enjoy Slave to Sensation?
  2. If you read Slave to Sensation in print before listening to the audio, which version do you prefer?
  3. What do you think of Dawe’s performance of Lucas and Sascha? Were their characterizations in audio true to Singh’s intent?
  4. Did you find the world building overwhelming in terms of needed background or did it flow easily for you in audio?
  5. With POVs coming from several angles – Sascha, Lucas, and The Council, do you think Singh’s writing style works for audio?
  6. Did you feel Slave to Sensation carried its task of being the first of a series well?
  7. With the glimpses given of other characters are you interested in hearing their stories now?
  8. How would you grade Angela Dawe’s narration overall?

Now, let’s start the discussion with a review and then let us hear from you!

Slave to Sensation – Nalini Singh

Review written by Diana

Narrated by Angela Dawe

I read Slave to Sensation when it was first published in 2006. I closed the book and thought, “Wow! This may be the best paranormal I’ve ever read.” Revisiting the origins of Singh’s Psy/Changeling series in audio format recalls all the reasons to admire the clever, deceptively simple world-building that imagines the way things might be in 2079. The Psy are a race of cerebral beings who for the past one hundred years have enforced Silence, a protocol implemented to breed all emotion out of the populace. The Changeling are the antithesis, shapeshifters who embrace life with passion. Psy and Changeling view each with disdain and suspicion but coexist within an uneasy truce. I’m relieved to report that humans are still around, but we’re just a footnote here, and a fairly boring one at that.

When Lucas Hunter, Alpha of the DarkRiver leopard pack, becomes certain that the serial killer preying on young changeling women is Psy, he proposes a joint business venture to the Psy ruling council hoping to ferret out the killer. Sascha is assigned as liaison and Lucas wastes no time in using his considerable cunning and charm to get close to this female who appears to embody the cold Psy ideal.

In truth Sascha is not the perfect Psy. She knows that she’s “broken” because she feels far too much and lives in constant fear of discovery and rehabilitation (mind wipe).  When Lucas introduces Sascha to his warm and loving packmates, her barriers begin to crack. She yearns to love and be loved and Lucas senses her vulnerability.  What follows is a heart clutching romance between complete opposites.

Angela Dawe’s narration has a soothing, steady cadence. Her reading of Sascha’s initial robotic monotone is spot on and I “heard” her gradual thawing. Her voice for Lucas and the Changelings is a bit off kilter. I missed “hearing” Lucas’ playful nature, his warmth, his growliness, and his sexy charm.  Key to these characters is how very different they are from one another.  Although it’s clear in Singh’s text that Psy and Changeling are polar opposites, I didn’t hear it in the narration and I’m not sure that Dawe got that. Nevertheless, It’s more of a missed opportunity that I hope will be enhanced as Dawe becomes more familiar with the characters.  I’m thrilled that the series has come to audio and I loved,loved, loved, listening to Slave to Sensation.

Leftovers from May

Here are just a few of those surprise audiobooks that failed to make last month’s new releases column.

Brockmann, Suzanne – Get Lucky Narrated by Elizabeth Livingston

Chesney, Marion – The Banishment Narrated by Jill Tanner

Deveraux, Jude – Someone to Love Narrated by Stafford Clark-Price

Gleason, Colleen – The Vampire Dimitri Narrated by Victor Villar-Hauser

Greenwood, Leigh – Arizona Embrace Narrated by Xe Sands

Heitzmann, Kristen – Indelible Narrated by Kirsten Potter

Johnston, Joan – The Price Narrated by Julia Gibson

Joy, Dara – Mine to Take Narrated by Rebecca Cook

Joy, Dara – Rejar Narrated by Rebecca Cook

Small, Bertrice – The Border Vixen Narrated by Jill Tanner

Audiobook Romances on Sale in June

Includes new formats of existing audiobooks

You Belong to MeUnabridged

Adrian, Laura – Deeper Than Midnight Narrated by Hillary Huber

Andrews, Ilona, et al. – Hexed Narrated by Renee Raudman & Cassandra Campbell

Brown, Sandra – Tomorrow’s Promise Narrated by Renee Raudman

Carey, Jacqueline – Naamah’s Blessing Narrated by Anne Flosnik

Day, Alyssa – Atlantis Unleashed Narrated by Joshua Swanson

Douglas, Kristina – Demon Narrated by Karen White & Paul Costanzo

Douglas, Kristina – Raziel Narrated by Karen White & Paul Costanzo

Eden, Cynthia – Deadly Heat Narrated by Justine Eyre

Evanovich, Janet – Smokin’ Seventeen Narrated by Lorelei King

Feehan, Christine – Deadly Game Narrated by Tom Stechschulte

Frank, Jacquelyn – Jacob Narrated by Xe Sands

Frank, Jacquelyn – Seduce Me in Dreams Narrated by Coleen Marlo

Goodwin, Daisy – The American Heiress Narrator unknown

Graham, Heather – Heart of Evil Narrated by Luke Daniels

Hamilton, Laurell K – Hit List Narrated by Kimberly Alexis

Hooper, Kay – Time After Time Narrated by Emily Woo Zeller

Kava, Alex – A Perfect Evil Narrated by Tanya Eby

Krentz, Jayne Ann – Man with a Past Narrated by Angela Dawe

Laurens, Stephanie – Fair Juno Narrated by Elizabeth Jasicki

Lindsey, Johanna – When Passions Rules Narrated by Rosalyn Landor

Palmer, Diana – Nora Narrated by Natalie Ross

Palmer, Diana – The Texas Ranger Narrated by Phil Gigante

Robb, J.D. – Time of Death CD Collection: Eternity in Death, Ritual in Death, Missing in Death Narrated by Susan Ericksen

Roberts, Nora – A World Apart Narrated by Angela Dawe

Rose, Karen – You Belong to Me Narrator unknown

Rowan, Michelle – Nightshade Narrated by Cynthia Holloway

Sands, Lynsay – The Countess Narrator unknown

Sands, Lynsay – The Heiress Narrator unknown

Singh, Nalini – Caressed by Ice Narrated by Angela Dawe

Singh, Nalini – Hostage to Pleasure Narrated by Angela Dawe

Singh, Nalini – Kiss of Snow Narrated by Angela Dawe

Singh, Nalini – Mine to Possess Narrated by Angela Dawe

Warren, Christine – She’s No Faerie Princess Narrated by Kate Reading

Warren, Christine – Wolf at the Door Narrated by Kate Reading

Blue-eyed DevilRomance Audio Reviews

Blue-Eyed Devil – Lisa Kleypas

Review by Lea AAR

Narrated by Renee Raudman

I’ve been in a contemporary romance mood lately.  It’s easily my favorite sub-genre, but character driven romances in audio are not all that easy to find.  I don’t go for the larger family sagas or romances bordering on chick lit.  I want to see significant interaction between the leads without someone’s murder waiting in the wings.

As I stated in my AAR review of Blue-Eyed Devil, I love a bad boy turned barely good and hero Hardy Cates is just that.  He played a good boy turned smooth ruthless self made millionaire in Sugar Daddy.  Now he’s paired with Churchill Travis’ daughter, Haven, and it is quite a tender love story as well as a tale of a woman’s growth beyond spousal abuse.

It is such a thrill to discover that a favorite print book is even better in audio.  Renee Raudman’s characterization of both Hardy and Haven made me appreciate this deeply moving tale on a whole new level.  In January 2010, I gave my impressions of Raudman’s performance in the Heart-Wrenching Narration Speaking of Audiobooks column:

Listening to Haven talk when she could hardly form words after Nick’s beating engaged me emotionally in a manner far deeper than the mere reading.  Once her physical wounds were healed, I continued empathizing with this woman who was in need of emotional and mental healing as well.  I heard rather than read her hesitancy with Hardy – I heard her fears and vulnerability – I heard her gaining much needed confidence on the job.”

Told in first person, Raudman also gives Hardy and the Travis men distinct voices although they often sounded hoarse.  I just ignored any thoughts about the sound of the male voices – they sounded male and I just went with this beautiful love story.  Although featured in a column’s core discussion previously, I felt like Blue-Eyed Devil deserved its own review.  Relistening to it last week was a real treat and one I’m tempted to give myself again soon.  However, to truly understand the dynamics of the family’s opposition to Hardy, you should listen to Sugar Daddy first.  Fortunately is it beautifully narrated by Jeannie Stith.

Tempest in Eden – Sandra Brown

Review by Melinda

Narrated by Renee Raudman

Originally Published in 1983 & Recorded in 2010:  Three words about the story -  dated purple prose.

Narration: Renee Raudman is on my personal list of quality narrators.  Her co-narration with Patrick Lawlor of the last several books in Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series has been excellent. She did a good job with the Kleypas contemporary Blue-Eyed Devil and Manhunting by Jennifer Crusie. It appears Brilliance Audio is currently recording and releasing a lot of Sandra Brown’s backlist in audio and Raudman seems to be their go-to narrator.  I wondered if Raudman receive direction to pronounce the word “a” to rhyme with “say” most of the time?  Was it a director’s idea to totally dramatize the dated purple prose of the story, or did Raudman decide to ham it up?  She has a wonderful narration voice but I found myself rolling my eyes every few minutes then blinking hard on the word “a.”  She did not do this in the Brockmann, Kleypas, or Crusie books that I noticed.  And believe me, you notice.

My opinion of the plot: it did not stand the test of time and the ending is flat out insulting.

Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll

It’s time!  Our first annual Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll is almost ready to go.  Look for it the week of June 13th.  Not only will we be polling for our favorite audiobook but also our favorite narrator and author in audio as well as favorites by sub-genre.  We’ll have a number of categories for narrators and miscellaneous categories such as “The author you most want to see in audio.”

The column introducing the poll will be here – our usual spot – but the poll will be on AAR’s main site (we’ll provide a link).  It will look similar in format to AAR’s annual Reader Awards and will run for two weeks.  Please share this news with your audio friends.  It’s our chance to let those in the publishing/production end of the audiobook business know what we like as consumers.  Come join us!

Ending Notes

What new releases are you looking forward to?  And, as always, what are your latest audio successes or failures?

Looks like there’s a change in narration of Lisa Kleypas’ backlist.  Susan Duerden is narrating Prince of Dreams and Midnight Angel.  Susan’s recent performance of Eloisa James’ A Kiss at Midnight earned the honor of a romance finalist at the Audie Awards.

I see that Harper Audio is releasing Rachel Gibson’s Any Man of Mine on July 5th.  Since I love Rachel Gibson books and I particularly enjoyed reading this one, this is a definite buy for me.

We now have a list of all our Mini Reviews from our Speaking of Audiobooks columns over at our Goodreads group.  You don’t have to be a Goodreads member to view this list so check it out.

Our Goodreads Speaking of Audiobooks group keeps growing and we now have 116 members with a constant flow of comments.  Come sign up and share your audiobook shelf with us.

I’ll be back next week with a column full of audio reviews.  A week later, we’ll feature our Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll!  Mark your calendars!

It’s time for you to give us your thoughts on Slave to Sensation!

Enjoy your listening!

- Lea Hensley

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33 Responses to “Speaking of Audiobooks: June Releases and Slave to Sensation Discussion”

  1. Lea AAR says:

    I’ll start our discussion today by saying first that when I read Slave to Sensation upon its release in print, I wasn’t much of a paranormal fan. Vampires were about it. However, Slave to Sensation impressed me and years later, I remember its plot elements (something unusual for me) even though I didn’t choose to continue with the series.

    That said I was excited about its release in audio. I’d heard good things about narrator Angela Dawe from listeners who had the same tastes as me. And I think herein lies the problem with my enjoyment of StS. I expected too much and therefore ended up disappointed. The narration didn’t work well for me. The hero and heroine were from vastly different worlds. I could understand Sascha speaking in a monotone – she was supposed to. But Lucas? I expected his words to be full of vigor and authority especially given that he was the alpha. Instead my ears heard a voice that didn’t differ all that much from Sascha’s monotone. And I needed to feel this couple’s chemistry as I did in print.

    I know I’m going to be met with great waves of disapproval by many of my audio buddies but that’s what a discussion is all about, huh? If I decide to experience Slave to Sensation again, it will probably be in print. However, I do plan on listening to the second in the series and will decide at that time. It may be that I didn’t pick up on the nuances in Dawe’s narrative with my first experience of her work.

  2. Kelli says:

    Lea – I’m surprised our listening experience differed so much. I didn’t hear the monotone at all. In fact, I heard a bit more life to Sasha’s voice than I was expecting and Lucas was quite lively to my ears. It is so interesting how people have different experiences with the same audiobook. It’s a good thing, too, or we wouldn’t have anything to discuss!

    StS was one of my first PNR reads when it came out in paperback in 2006. I hadn’t done much more than dip my toe into the genre but after finishing it, I was hooked. Even after reading a ton of PNR, this still remains my favorite in the genre so I was excited to see that an audiobook version was being released. I had re-read the book but I’ll pick an audio version (as long as the narrator is good) over an ebook or hard-copy every time and I was not disappointed.

    I thought Angela Dawe’s narration was spot-on to the characterization given in the text and it allowed me to lose track of the narrator’s voice and just hear the characters. Apparently, I built up pretty solid mental “voices” for Lucas and Sascha when I read the book and the audio version added a level of playfulness to Lucas and a bit more spark to Sascha than I had applied, which actually worked really well for me and added a bit of freshness to a story I was familiar with. I’m looking forward to the audio version of the second book to see if the narration mitigates some of my irritation with the “alphahole” aspects I didn’t like in Vaughn’s character.

    I thought there was excellent differentiation between characters, especially since there are so many pack members introduced that go on to headline later books. (I actually started wondering if a narrator ever builds a voice for a secondary character that they later regret doing when it comes time to do a whole book with that voice.) That differentiation made the POV switches easy to navigate.

    I’m interested in other people’s input regarding the ease of slipping into the world-building in the audio version, both because I’ve never noticed a difference in doing so between audio and hard-copy and because I have read the books in this series and so had a solid familiarity with the set-up.

  3. TrishJ says:

    I was a lucky winner of the audio version of Slave to Sensation. I’ve never reviewed anything, so I’ll give it my best shot and just answer the questions.

    1. Did you enjoy Slave to Sensation? Yes I did. I’ve not read many books like this, it really hooked me in.

    2.. If you read Slave to Sensation in print before listening to the audio, which version do you prefer? I only had the audio version

    3. What do you think of Dawe’s performance of Lucas and Sascha? Were their characterizations in audio true to Singh’s intent? I enjoyed Sascha. I got the monotone and confusion she was feeling. But I wished Lucas had more … Passion maybe? His voice wasn’t what I envisioned.

    4. Did you find the world building overwhelming in terms of needed background or did it flow easily for you in audio? It was okay for me, but I haven’t read many changling books, so I don’t know enough to compare.

    5. With POVs coming from several angles – Sascha, Lucas, and The Council, do you think Singh’s writing style works for audio? It wasn’t confusing to me.

    6. Did you feel Slave to Sensation carried its task of being the first of a series well?
    Yes. I enjoyed it and it made me want to find out about the rest of the characters.

    7, With the glimpses given of other characters are you interested in hearing their stories now? Definitely. Have already ordered the next one. Book form this time.

    8. How would you grade Angela Dawe’s narration overall? It was pretty good. Like I mentioned above, I would have liked Lucas to have more passion or emotion.

    I will definitely read the next book or 2. And maybe even another author in the same genre.

  4. LaurieS says:

    1. Did you enjoy Slave to Sensation?

    I’ll start out saying this was my first experience with the psy-changeling world and that I heard so many positive raves and recommendations that I fear my expectations were set so super high nothing would have lived up to them. This is the first book in a series and that almost always requires extensive world building and the introduction of many characters. I’m more of a one on one relationship focused romance fan so I have to admit that this book just didn’t “wow” me in the romance dept. I never fell into their relationship like I do with the best keeper romances and didn’t feel enough “awww” moments. They were there but they were overshadowed by everything else going on. My favorite part of the whole story was when Sascha allowed the cubs to gnaw on her boots. I found that so sweet. So, yes I enjoyed it but would give it a four out of five stars.

    2. If you read Slave to Sensation in print before listening to the audio, which version do you prefer?

    Only “read” this in audio.

    3. What do you think of Dawe’s performance of Lucas and Sascha? Were their characterizations in audio true to Singh’s intent?

    She did a good job with Sascha but Lucas I’m not so sure about. Lucas often got breathy and so quiet I couldn’t hear what he was saying and he just didn’t sound “cat-ish” if you know what I mean. He sounded sleepy instead of strong and sexy. I listened in the car and found myself drifting off many times and had to go back and rewind. Her voice was a bit monotonous at times but I guess when you’re dealing with a race of emotionless beings it had to be. I don’t know, at times it felt as if she were simply reading the text. I prefer it when narrators act out the scenes a bit more to bring them to life.

    4. Did you find the world building overwhelming in terms of needed background or did it flow easily for you in audio?

    It flowed okay but between the world building and the introduction of all of the other characters it seemed as if the romance got a little bit of the short shrift. I still do not completely understand why Sascha was so different from the other psy and the background of how exactly they attempted to cut off emotion and only failed with some of them.

    5. With POVs coming from several angles – Sascha, Lucas, and The Council, do you think Singh’s writing style works for audio?

    It did but the voices needed to be a bit more animated. Some of them sounded a bit samey but I find that in a lot of audios.

    6. Did you feel Slave to Sensation carried its task of being the first of a series well?

    Sure, I want to learn more. I just hope the balance is better between romance/action/world building.

    7. With the glimpses given of other characters are you interested in hearing their stories now?

    There were a a few who stood out and I will read the next few books to see where the go.

    8. How would you grade Angela Dawe’s narration overall?
    It was decent, I’d give it a 3 1/2 out of 5. It needed more emotion, passion and power but she did a good enough job.

  5. Diane says:

    I’ve been undecided whether or not to give this book a listen. I loved it in print and now I’m hearing enough of a difference in opinion of the audio that I’m almost curious enough to give it a try. :)

  6. Brenda says:

    My thoughts echo Kelli’s so well that it would be useless for me to reiterate them beyond not hearing anything I would call monotone in the narration.

    But I will weigh in on why Lucas’s voice worked for me. It was what I heard when I read the book myself and it translated to the audiobook just right in my ears.

    He was a hunting cat, he had prey in his sight, and he was stalking…. First for a way into the Psy world in order to ferret out a killer and secondly when he realized he also wanted to coax this seemingly rigid woman herself. There wasn’t going to be aggressive growling or I’m the alpha tones, in either of those situations. He was going for “nothings going to hurt you here, come a little closer, yes that’s it, just a little closer….” in a sexy, low tone.

    Lucas’s want’s to be seen as somewhat harmless, despite looking wild/feral to Sacsha and other outsiders. The complete contradiction in looks and tone of voice throws off his prey. He knows how powerful he is but he’s leashed himself, which in turn shows extreme strength to any who really know him.

    It also makes those around him comfortable, such as the women and children in the pack, and eventually Sascha. His ability at control shows his care of them.

    Now if Vaughn sounds like this too I’m not buying it, I don’t want him to come across as a jerk but he doesn’t have Lucas’s deep need/desire to care for others so this approach wouldn’t be him.

    • Vic says:

      Brenda: …But I will weigh in on why Lucas’s voice worked for me. It was what I heard when I read the book myself and it translated to the audiobook just right in my ears.He was a hunting cat, he had prey in his sight, and he was stalking…. First for a way into the Psy world in order to ferret out a killer and secondly when he realizedhe also wanted to coax this seemingly rigid woman herself. There wasn’t going to be aggressive growling or I’m the alpha tones, in either of those situations. He was going for “nothings going to hurt you here, come a little closer, yes that’s it, just a little closer….” in a sexy, low tone.Lucas’s want’s to be seen as somewhat harmless, despite looking wild/feral to Sacsha and other outsiders. The complete contradiction in looks and tone of voice throws off his prey. He knows how powerful he is but he’s leashed himself, which in turn shows extreme strength to any who really know him.It also makes those around him comfortable, such as the women and children in the pack, and eventually Sascha. His ability at control shows his care of them…

      I was disappointed at Lucas’s voice at first but then on second listen when I was REALLY listening instead of “judging” the narration, I came to this same conclusion. Very well said Brenda!

  7. maggie says:

    1.Did you enjoy Slave to Sensation?

    I really did. I often get the first books in a series and find myself disappointed, never to think about returning to the series. That was not the case here though. I already have book 2 in my audible cart waiting for my monthly influx of credits. :)

    2.If you read Slave to Sensation in print before listening to the audio, which version do you prefer?

    I read it years ago when it originally came out. Unfortunately I was going through a paranormal burnout at the time and didn’t read any more but I know I enjoyed it because I picked up additional books in the series. :) I didn’t really remember reading the book and it was only as I got into the audio that I “recognized” the world I was visiting.

    3.What do you think of Dawe’s performance of Lucas and Sascha? Were their characterizations in audio true to Singh’s intent?

    I enjoyed her narration. I never felt disappointed or “removed” from the characters.

    4.Did you find the world building overwhelming in terms of needed background or did it flow easily for you in audio?

    It flowed well for me. I didn’t feel confused or as if I were missing something.

    5.With POVs coming from several angles – Sascha, Lucas, and The Council, do you think Singh’s writing style works for audio?

    It’s nice having different viewpoints. I’ve been listening to some first person narration lately and it’s nice to “hear” peoples actions/motivations rather than guess what they might be.

    6.Did you feel Slave to Sensation carried its task of being the first of a series well?

    It felt like a nice start to me, and I’m looking forward to continuing the series.

    7.With the glimpses given of other characters are you interested in hearing their stories now?

    Definitely.

    8.How would you grade Angela Dawe’s narration overall?

    I rated the audiobook overall a 5/5, so, I found her narration quite compelling and look forward to hearing more of her work.

    • Vic says:

      maggie: …I already have book 2 in my audible cart waiting for my monthly influx of credits….

      ack… managed to miss this coming out today. Buy, Buy, Buy NOW!

      Nina: …One last thing about Slave to Sensation– The thing that bothered me most about the audio was a production issue.There should be a couple of seconds between the last sentence in the chapter before, practically in the same breath, announcing the next chapter.Maybe the CD or MP3 version have a longer gap between chapters but the audible.com version was quite jarring.I’d at least like to savor the last sentence for a second or two.Did this bother anyone else?

      This normally REALLY bothers me but I don’t recall even thinking about it during this listen. C.L. Wilson’s Tauren Soul series books 1 & 2 drove me NUTS with this issue and I LOVE the books!

      … hope multiple quoting in this comment comes out right. Hate that there’s not a “preview” on the comments.

  8. Diana says:

    Brenda, excellent summation of Lucas! My takeaway when I first read the book was “How refreshing!” An Alpha who respects his mate for her brains and skills. He never goes steamroller on Sascha and he gets huge props for that alone. It’s a very believable HEA–a true partnership of equals and you see that continue and grow in the subsequent books.

  9. kathy says:

    I tried. I really really did but I just couldn’t get into it. Maybe if I’d read it first it would have been different. I LOVE these discussions though and can hardly wait for the next one.

  10. Nina says:

    I read this book several years ago and liked it enough to buy the next few but ended up not reading any after about 4 – I can’t remember why I stopped reading them but I did. I basically remembered the plot so the world building aspect was easier than if I had gone into them cold. I’m not all that crazy about Angela Dawe – the narration was only okay for me. I have to agree that I thought Sascha’s monotone was well done but I also think she missed the mark on Lucas. Sometimes I wasn’t totally clear on who was speaking. I, too, wanted more passion in Lucas’ voice but I can buy into both Kellie and Brenda’s take on it. I will definitely listen to Visions in Heat and agree with Brenda that we should hear a different character voice for Vance. I give it a 3 out of 5. With that said even though I wasn’t bowled over by it if I’d had VOH on my iPod I would have begun listening to it immediately after finishing StS. I wonder if I was influenced a bit by just finishing 4 in a row of Ilona Andrew’s Magic series. Renee Raudman rocks that series.

    One last thing about Slave to Sensation – The thing that bothered me most about the audio was a production issue. There should be a couple of seconds between the last sentence in the chapter before, practically in the same breath, announcing the next chapter. Maybe the CD or MP3 version have a longer gap between chapters but the audible.com version was quite jarring. I’d at least like to savor the last sentence for a second or two. Did this bother anyone else?

    • Vic says:

      This normally REALLY bothers me but I don’t recall even thinking about it during this listen.C.L. Wilson’s Tauren Soul series books 1 & 2 drove me NUTS with this issue and I LOVE the books!…

      Nina: …One last thing about Slave to Sensation– The thing that bothered me most about the audio was a production issue.There should be a couple of seconds between the last sentence in the chapter before, practically in the same breath, announcing the next chapter.Maybe the CD or MP3 version have a longer gap between chapters but the audible.com version was quite jarring.I’d at least like to savor the last sentence for a second or two.Did this bother anyone else?

      Ack… I’m noticing it in book 2. I’m almost 10 minutes in and the POV switched from Faith to Vaughn and it was almost like the next sentence and NOT the next paragraph.

      … TANTOR – Please correct this in audios that are still being produced PLEASE!

      • Cassandra says:

        Vic:

        Ack… I’m noticing it in book 2.I’m almost 10 minutes in and the POV switched from Faith to Vaughn and it was almost like the next sentence and NOT the next paragraph.… TANTOR – Please correct this in audios that are still being produced PLEASE!

        Thank you for noticing this! I have passed this along and it is being addressed.

        Cassandra
        Tantor Audio

  11. nina says:

    oops…that’s Vaughn not Vance.

  12. Vic says:

    My thoughts before reading through comments….

    1. I LOVED StS! I was a bit behind on getting into this series. I think I read this book between books 5 (Hostage to Pleasure) and 6 (Branded by Fire – LOVE Mercy and Riley!) and I found the world building and all the PNR aspects very compelling and the relationship between Sacha and Lucas sexy and sweet. I will add a caveat that I was a double psych and computer science major so sci-fi and psychic aspects really grab me. YMMV! I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve re-read this book and my favorites of the series. I did actually listen to the audio twice this month. That’s hurting me on my goodReads reading challenge… oh, well.

    2/3/4. OK, I have to say that I prefer… the print version. The first time I listened to the audio, I was really disappointed. I felt as Lea did about the very slight variation in emotion and it just didn’t click with me that first time. I also agree that my expectations may have been too high. I LOVED AD’s narration of Keri Arthur’s Riley Jensen series and was expecting the same, immediate connection. That being said, I saw others response to the audio and decided to do a re-listen. I enjoyed it much better the second time. I think the first time, I was listening with too much of my preconceived notations and didn’t let Angela do the story telling. I was mentally debating it the first time and it didn’t allow me to really appreciate what was on digital. I still think I’m leaning a little more towards the print version being my favorite but since I have so much more time to listen, this will definitely be a favorite re-listen. I can’t imagine listening to this book without having read the book first just based on the amount of world building going on and how I focus a bit less in audio than in print since I’m multi-tasking.

    5. In terms of multiple POVs, I was OK with how it was done in this audio books. After hearing a few audiobooks utilizing a male/female narrator to highlight the change in POV (KMM’s Fever series – books 4, 5, S. Brockmann’s Troubleshooters off the top of my head…) I do appreciate THAT technique. I didn’t find I had any issues with listening to this book, even the first time through.

    6/7. Absolutely! Most first in series urban fantasy/fantasy books are weighed down too heavily in world building that the actually story seems thin or the characters 1 dimensional. I didn’t feel that way in this book. I felt Sascha blossoming from an icy psych to “almost” a hot changling. And who didn’t love Tammy coming out of this book? Not to mention Dorian and Hawk (based on this book – LOVE many of the other characters)

    8. I’d probably grade Ms. Dawe at about 3.75/4 * on narration.

  13. Nichole says:

    1.Did you enjoy Slave to Sensation? – I did enjoy the audio on this one.

    2.If you read Slave to Sensation in print before listening to the audio, which version do you prefer?
    I read the book last year and finished the audio a couple of weeks ago. In general I prefer reading the book because you can create the voices of the characters in your head. Once you listen to the audio that voice is what tends to stick with you whenever you read the book or others in the series….

    3.What do you think of Dawe’s performance of Lucas and Sascha? Were their characterizations in audio true to Singh’s intent?
    I thought the performance was good, don’t know if the characterizations were to the authors intent but I enjoyed it.

    4.Did you find the world building overwhelming in terms of needed background or did it flow easily for you in audio?
    It was not overwhelming at all, you got it a bit at a time so were not overloaded all at once, I thought it flowed very well in the audio version

    5. With POVs coming from several angles – Sascha, Lucas, and The Council, do you think Singh’s writing style works for audio?
    So far so good….

    6.Did you feel Slave to Sensation carried its task of being the first of a series well?
    Yes, I am very interested in continuing the series

    7.With the glimpses given of other characters are you interested in hearing their stories now?
    Yep….just downloaded the second one today

    8.How would you grade Angela Dawe’s narration overall?
    I think she did a good job overall in the narration,

  14. Vic says:

    OK, reviewing the end of column and adding further comments…

    Recently I’ve been VERY disappointed in 2 audiobooks that I was EXPECTING (due to my own assumptions than a publishing release date) that never came. Both author series were being produced by Brilliance and we got nothing…

    Late Eclipses – McGuire, Seanan – book 4 of Toby Daye series – really good book that I ended up getting in ebook. Would love to have this in audio still to have set.

    Savage Nature – Feehan, Christine – book 5 of Leopard series – I thought this was the best book in this series and one of the better books that Ms. Feehan has put out in some time. The “alpha” male wasn’t so much and respected and nurtured his mate. I e-mailed Brilliance and only received reply that “Unfortunately, I do not show any immediate plans to record the audiobooks listed below on audio”. Grrrrr.

    I don’t think I listened to anything new since last SOA article. I’ll try to get my sister to post her thoughts on StS audio here as well. I tried to get her to read the series last year and she resisted but I managed to convince her about a month and a half ago. She went through all 9 books that I had in a couple of weeks! She’s also a bit less tolerant of narrators but she really liked the AD sample she heard.

  15. Kaetrin says:

    I agree with Brenda! I quite enjoyed StS and I thought Lucas’ voice was fine. I do think that Dawe has only one “male” voice – she seems to be able to do different female voices but the males seem the same to me – I noticed that in NR’s Bed of Roses, frex.

    I’m looking forward to the next book but I think in general, it would be better not to listen to them all at once because the “same-y-ness” of the male voices would be even more obvious.

    It having been quite a while since I read StS, while I didn’t have any trouble following the story or anything, I’d forgotten any preconceived notions of how the characters spoke and in addition to the comments Brenda made, that’s probably why Sascha and Lucas’s voices worked okay for me.

    Other audio this month for me has been Soulless by Gail Carriger (narrated by Emily Gray) – I really enjoyed this one but I doubt I’ll listen to the next books anytime soon – I understand they aren’t really romances, but this one was, and I thought the narration was very good. Gray did a really sexy Scottish accent for Lord Maccon and she “got” the humour of the characters and I had quite a few chuckles during the listen.

    After that it was,all JD Robb all the way – I find these books really easy solid listening – I’ve read the books but it was long enough ago that I don’t usually remember who did it or if I did, there’s enough I’ve forgotten that the suspense is still enjoyable and I adore the relationships, Eve & Roarke, McNab & Peabody, Charles & Louise, Mavis & Leonardo etc. I don’t think I’ve made much progress on my listening challenge though! :)

  16. Brenda says:

    It’s a very believable HEA–a true partnership of equals and you see that continue and grow in the subsequent books. Diana I agree, Singh shines with the continued glimpses of L & S’s HEA throughout the series.

    I wonder if I was influenced a bit by just finishing 4 in a row of Ilona Andrew’s Magic series. Renee Raudman rocks that series. Nina I was very glad I listened to StS (and noted my narration thoughts) before I did my re-listen of Kate and Curran. There are very few who can hold a candle to Raudman and the emotion she imbues into her narrations. Tough act to follow!

    The super fast chapter changes bugged me too. Singh has the rep of starting a new chapter in the middle of conversations, I wonder if they were trying to downplay that? Either way it was annoying.

    The chapter changes themselves are much better in Visions of Heat, at least at 4 Chapters in ….. but the quick POV switching Vic mentions is there.

    I agree, Brilliance dropped the ball with no audio of Savage Nature, I wonder if Tantor could pick it up? The Cajun characters were made for audio!

    I’m looking forward to the next book but I think in general, it would be better not to listen to them all at once because the “same-y-ness” of the male voices would be even more obvious. This is my worry too Kaetrin, as the series continues, but I can deal with spacing my listens if needed to get these stories. :D

    The sample of Hawks voice at Tantor sounds promising, I’d be listening already if Audible had it. :( I do not like the child looking version of Hawk on their KoS audiobook cover at all though.

  17. Karen White says:

    Hey All:
    Lea suggested that I chime in here with this news:

    Tomorrow, June 1, narrators and authors and publishers will be tweeting, blogging, posting, etc. etc. about audiobooks as a kickoff for Audiobook month.

    Audiobook fans are totally welcome to join in! Please feel free to talk about your love of audiobooks everywhere online.

    And you’re all invited a JUNE IS AUDIOBOOK MONTH GIVEAWAY on my blog as well:
    http://karenwhiteaudiobooks.com/2011/05/30/june-is-audiobook-month/

    Happy Audiobooks Month!
    Karen

  18. Paula says:

    1.Loved it!

    2. I definitely preferred the audio. I read the book last year & it was “O.K.” for me, so I was surprised to have enjoyed the audio so much.

    3. I felt this was one of the best narrations I had heard in a while. I thought both voices were good, but particularly liked Lucas’s, as it came across in a “sensual” tone to me.

    4. Flowed well.

    5. I actually had a better grasp of the story line in audio than print form.

    6. Yes, thought it was an excellent start to the series.

    7. Most definitely anxious for the other stories. I do hope that they vary a bit from this one particular theme though (have read only the first two books, but the story line seemed a bit similar to me).

    8. I would give the narration a 4.5/5.

  19. Brenda says:

    As an aside with the StS discussion, I was born and raised in the Northern California setting of the books. Specifically the “Snowdancer” territory. :) It gives the series an extra kick for me, having traveled regularly to or through everywhere that is mentioned in my first 30 years.

    (I actually started wondering if a narrator ever builds a voice for a secondary character that they later regret doing when it comes time to do a whole book with that voice.)

    Kelli this thought made me think of Raphael’s first appearance in Magic Burns. The sex on a stick character Raphael develops into sure doesn’t go with that initial creepy/crazy “voice”. Very happy Raudman changed him to fit his description!

    Tantor shows Magic Slays in audio set for 6/8/11. Is it just me or is that another “child” on their cover for the audiobook? I’ll admit 52 is rushing up at me, but still, that girl/Kate looks 12, maybe 14.

    Curious as to how long June has been Audiobook Month? It’s a month I can get behind :) but the first time I’ve heard of it.

    • Kelli says:

      Brenda:
      Tantor shows Magic Slays in audio set for 6/8/11. Is it just me or is that another “child” on their cover for the audiobook? I’ll admit 52 is rushing up at me, but still, that girl/Kate looks 12, maybe 14.

      Brenda, I had the same thought when I saw Tantor’s Magic Slays cover for the first time yesterday! I did, however, prefer their Magic Bleeds cover to the paperback cover art.

  20. Karen White says:

    I think the Audiobook Month thing is relatively new. It’s the APA’s (Audiobook Publisher Association) way of reaching out to listeners. Last year was the first time that they tried to involve narrators and authors, which seems a smart thing. The more people are listening, the more titles that will be recorded, which is good for us narrators, but hopefully good for listeners as well as there will be more to choose from. One stat I heard this year is that only about 20% of published books are recorded as audiobooks. With new technologies making production and distribution less costly, titles that might not be such big sellers are now being considered for the audio format. I think I answered more than your question :)

  21. Diana says:

    I’ve listened to the first half of Visions of Heat and her character voices are even more monochromatic. I’m not able to distinguish who’s speaking, even more disconcerting with a new couple, quite a bit of Lucas and Sascha, and larger cast of characters. It’s just too low key and dare I say (okay, I will) that Dawe sounds bored with the whole thing. Probably I shouldn’t have gone straight into book two, because now I’m bored with the sameness. Also, with the volume turned up all the way I hear intermittent audio dropout, that after trying two different sets of headphones.

    Bottom line for me is that when it comes to fantasy/action I definitely prefer Raudman’s take no prisoners rocking style.

  22. nina says:

    Brenda
    Holy cow! I’m the same age as you and I also think that Kate on the cover of the audio version of Magic Slays looks like a teenager/child. She reminds me more of maybe Julie’s age. I have a 19 year old daughter and she looks older than the cover art! Why would they use 2 different versions of cover art for an audio book that’s being released at the same time as the written version? I could better understand having different cover art if the book was older and the audio was new. Oh well as long as the story is good I can overlook the cover…haven’t most of us who read romance in the 80’s overlooked the covers!

    Diane
    I agree with your comment on Dawe’s narration for VoH. I started listening last night as I was packing for a trip and found myself zoning out and having to rewind due to the monotonous tone of the dialogue. I’m going to push on because I’m committed to listening to this series. I’ll intersperse them with other books to break it up. I only read about 3 or 4 of them in print but I have almost all of them sitting on my bookshelf. Maybe they will pick up in enthusiasm as the series progresses.

    I just finished the first 3 of Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series (has anyone else listened to them?) and found the narration (Lauren Fortgang) s-o s-l-o-w, although I do like the story line. This is one of the first times that I’ve used the faster feature on my iPod. However, I ‘d rather listen to a slower cadence with expression than a monotonous recitation.

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  24. Lea AAR says:

    Thank you Cassandra for listening! It means a lot to us – believe me!

  25. Nina says:

    Finished VoH over the weekend and I have to say the narration is growing on me…I really liked it and look forward to the rest of the series.

  26. Brenda says:

    I’m looking forward to the rest of the series also Nina, even if I have to slap myself and realize I can’t hold Renee Raudman as my standard. I’ll never be happy again if I expect her mad skills in every book I listen to.

    Kelli good point with the Magic Bleeds cover at Tantor, it’s excellent. I also really like their Slave to Sensation cover. I’m scratching my head over Carressed by Ice though. Judd’s a Psy, Brenna’s a wolf … so where do the leopard markings come in?

    But Nina’s right, if we read or listened to romance based on covers we would have given it up years ago. :) Just thinking of all those Fabio covers makes me cringe, and laugh at the same time.

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