Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll

Polling stationThe time has finally come for our first annual Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll and it’s one I’ve been waiting for with great anticipation.  When I first envisioned this poll two years ago in the first days of our Speaking of Audiobooks column, I merely thought of it as a comprehensive list of our favorite romance audiobooks, narrators, and audio authors for our own reference as listeners.  Now I believe it has a second purpose as well.  As a group we can proclaim to the audiobook industry the types of romance audiobooks we prefer and what we want to see in the future.

The poll is much more than simply voting for your favorite audiobook (a difficult task for most) and, staying true to AAR’s style of polling, we have multiple favorite categories.  And since we know narrators “make or break an audiobook,” seven of the 25 categories are dedicated purely to various aspects of narration.

Starting June 14th and ending Tuesday, June 28th at midnight, you have two weeks to submit your ballots at AAR’s main site.  Just follow this link. If you don’t have a choice for a particular category, please don’t let that discourage you.   Just keep in mind that you must enter at least six titles/authors for your ballot to be valid. Once you submit your ballot, you will be redirected to a thank you page. We’ll publish the results in our July column.  I don’t know of a comparable audiobook poll so let’s join in, have fun, and make a statement!  We look forward to seeing the results as much as you do!

In keeping with our dedication to the romance genre, this is purely a romance poll.  We have included Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, and Sci Fi categories but all choices in these categories must include a romance thread.  Now let’s take a look at the categories.

First – the Absolute Favorite Categories

Favorite Romance Audiobook

The romance audiobook standard when you consider narration, writing, and pure “I didn’t want to stop listening” involvement.  We will also be voting by sub-genre so you’ll have the opportunity to list more than one favorite.


Favorite Romance Narrator

The narrator who comes closest to perfection in your mind when narrating a romance audiobook.  Once again, there are a number of other categories for narrators.

Favorite Romance Author in Audio

What author do you prefer above all others in audio?  Favorite audio author doesn’t always equal favorite print author even if both formats are available.


Favorite Romance Audiobook Series

This doesn’t mean you have read every book in the series but you’ve read enough to know it’s your favorite.


Favorite Abridged Romance Audiobook

Not everyone is a fan of abridged but if you have tried a few, you probably discovered one you’d recommend.

Favorite Audio Romance Hero

Who is the audio hero that most appeals to you?  In audio not only does it mean you appreciate the hero as written but also as performed.

Favorite Romance Heroine

Ditto the Hero – a heroine you may have liked in print but you adore in audio!

Favorite Audio Romance Couple

What couple works best for you?  You may have loved them in print but the narrator’s sense of timing and expression in delivering their lines to one another as well as an understanding of their relationship moves this couple into the top audio spot.

Sub-genre Favorites

Below you will find the sub-genre categories complete with definitions and sample authors who write in that particular sub-genre.  With the exception of Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, and Science Fiction, I have borrowed the definitions from the Romance Writers of America (RWA).

Favorite Contemporary Romance Audiobook

Romance novels that focus primarily on the romantic relationship, released as individual titles, not as part of a series and set after 1945. (for purposes of this poll, we are including Series Romance).  Examples of contemporary authors in audio are Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jennifer Crusie, and Robyn Carr.

Favorite Romantic Suspense Audiobook

Romance novels in which suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an integral part of the plot.  Authors who write Romantic Suspense include Anne Stuart, Linda Howard, and Sandra Brown.

Favorite Paranormal Romance Audiobook

Romance novels in which the future, a fantasy world, or paranormal happenings are an integral part of the plot.  We’re including vampire, shapeshifters, and the like in this category.  A few paranormal authors you see in audio are J.R Ward, Christine Feehan, and Nalini Singh.

Favorite Historical Romance Audiobook

Romance novels set in any time period prior to 1945, and taking place in any location.  Lisa Kleypas, Diana Gabaldon, and Judith Ivory are included in this category.

Favorite Urban Fantasy with Romance Thread

Set primarily in a city with elements of fantasy and usually a contemporary or futuristic timeframe.  Examples of urban fantasy include Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series, Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series, and Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series.

Favorite Fantasy or Sci Fi with Romance Thread

Fantasy – Usually takes place in a fictional world with magic as a primary element of the plot.  Fantasy authors who include a thread of romance in their books are C.L. Wilson and Lois McMaster Bujold.

Science Fiction – Usually set in the future, imagined innovations in science or technology is integral to the central story.  Examples of science fiction writing with romance threads include Linnea Sinclair and Catherine Asaro.

Fav List buttonNarrator Favorites


Favorite Female Romance Narrator

She may be your overall favorite narrator or you may want to recognize another of your favorite narrators.

Favorite Male Romance Narrator

Again, he may be your overall favorite narrator or simply a vote for another of your favorite narrators of the male variety.

Favorite Debut Romance Narrator

Narrators who have debuted since January 1, 2010.  To make it easy, check Audible.com for the production dates by narrator.  Let’s give credit to the dynamic new narrators we are seeing.

Best Male/Female Dual Romance Narration

Who made the best team for you?

Most Disappointing Narration of a Highly Anticipated Romance Audiobook

You were excited to see this one in audio but upon listening, you felt deflated, cheated, or wanted to cry.

Romance Narrator You Learned to Like

We’ve talked about training our ear to appreciate a narrator just for the sake of listening to a book you wanted to hear.  What narrator eventually worked for you?

Other Favorites to Ponder


Favorite 2010 Romance Audiobook

A romance audiobook released in 2010.  However, the print version’s publication date may be before 2010.

Favorite Funny Romance Audiobook

Can you recall tears in your eyes from laughing or one that simply made you chuckle over and over again?

Best “Keep you on the Edge of Your Seat” Romance Audiobook

Be it Romantic Suspense, Paranormal, or a Fantasy, the combination of writing and narration made you wonder in excitement just what in heck would happen next.

Let’s Let the Audiobook Industry Know…


Romance Author Whose Backlist I Listen to the Most

What author’s audio backlist do you return to again and again or buy/borrow consistently with each new release?

Author’s Romance Backlist You Most Want to See in Audio

We talk about it all the time.  Now it is time to make a statement.  What romance author do you most want to see in audio who has little or no audio backlist at this time?

And thanks…

I want to give a special thanks to Brenda for brainstorming with me in preparation for this poll.  Brenda is a silent support for many of the features you see here at Speaking of Audiobooks and her ideas are invaluable to me.  Thanks Brenda!

Now, it’s time to complete your ballot!  Let us know your favorites!

JacobJacquelyn Frank Audio Giveaway in Our Next Column

In honor of Audiobook Month (the month of June), there will be a giveaway of Jacquelyn Frank’s Nightwalker series books in our next Speaking of Audiobooks column.  The first of five in the series, Jacob, is scheduled for release June 27th with the release of the remaining series over the following three months.


Time for Your Thoughts


Do you need further explanation of any category?

Can you offer assistance in determining the debut of a particular narrator?

Have you read Frank’s Nightwalker series or are you planning on listening to it in audio?

What are the latest additions to your audio library?

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

Ending Notes

Thanks to CindyS, one of AAR’s pollsters, for formatting our poll ballot.

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.

If you’re considering joining our 2011 Listening Challenge, we have a quick start up guide for you.  It’s not too late.

Our Speaking of Audiobooks Goodreads group keeps growing and we now have 123 members!  It’s easy to join and it’s a great place for discussion in between our columns.

I look forward to seeing your ballot for our Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll!

Enjoy your listening!

- Lea Hensley

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21 Responses to Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll

  1. melinda says:

    Wow! very exciting! I need several days to prepare my polling answers… (scurries off)

  2. Brenda says:

    I’m with you Melinda, it’s going to take some pondering now that all the category are finalized and up. The definitions give good food for thought in deciding.

    Love the brainstorming :) And believe it or not Lea, I still have a question with one category.

    Favorite Debut Romance Narrator
    Narrators who have debuted since January 1, 2010.

    Can we include those who debuted into Romance specifically. Example: Karen White has narrated for several years but in looking through her backlist 2010 was her first year to do straight up romance (correct me if I’m wrong here!) ie: Just the Sexiest Man Alive. So would she be a viable candidate for this category?

    As to recent listens, Renee Raudman with Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews has toasted me on being able to find a new listen that comes close to measuring up at this time. She is top of the line.

    So I’ve fallen back to a re-listen of One Summer with, the also remarkable, Kate Flemming/Anna Fields narrating.

  3. Lea AAR says:

    I had a feeling the Debut Narrator would cause some discussion. I thought long and hard on this one and still didn’t make it crystal clear, did I? Sure enough, my go-to person for details, Brenda, found it!

    In my mind, it is a narrator who is new to the industry since January 2010. This also means a debut made in June, 2011 – it is not JUST 2010. To qualify, they will need at least one romance title under their belt but their first book need not be a romance.

    If anyone has ideas on how to discover a narrator’s past titles with release dates other than Audible, I’d love to know! Cross checking with Amazon will probably pick up non-digital titles but I don’t believe you can conduct a successful search at Amazon by narrator. Has anyone had luck with this?

  4. melinda says:

    I have had fairly good luck just googling “name narrator” like “Karen White narrator” and finding pages about them. Audiofile seems to come up fairly frequently, and if they list a narrator, there’s an audiography complete with dates.

    I even tried this with my least favorite narrator and a narrator I know personally who hasn’t hit the Big Times yet, and found info on both, though not on Audiofile.

  5. Kaetrin says:

    I’m going to need a few days as well to pick my favourites – it’s so hard to pick just one, even if there are lots of categories. Also, I keep thinking Renee Raudman like Brenda, so I’m going to have to do something zen to make sure my votes count! :D

    I read Magic Slays last week – can’t wait to listen I expect it will be even better on audio. Raudman just brings something wonderful and extra to the mix.

  6. Lea AAR says:

    I started tabulating our first ballots last night and I’m noticing a common error. The category “Best Keep You on the Edge of Your Seat Audiobook” requires both author and book title. I have now seen a number of responses with authors and no titles.

    Just a heads up in case you misunderstood. We will attempt to contact you if your answer was only partial.


  7. Lea AAR says:

    Another thing I am seeing on the completed ballots – some are missing the first two categories which are considered the most important of all.

    Directly below name and email address are your choices for:
    Favorite Romance Audiobook
    Favorite Romance Narrator

    Since they sit side by side rather than a single column down the middle, I think some don’t realize they are there.


  8. Kayne says:

    One thing I would like to see is more abridged audio books. I am probably alone in this. I wouldn’t want to read abridged versions of my favorite books but sometimes the audio versions seem really slow. I had someone tell me recently that they speed the tempo up when they are listening but I don’t know if that’s something I’m interested in. Our library has just come out with new playback devises that are similar to an ipod and have one book on them. I am hoping to check one out.

    • melinda says:

      Kayne: One thing I would like to see is more abridged audio books. I am probably alone in this.

      No, say it ain’t so!! Really, so many books are SLAUGHTERED when abridged, and so many books are only available abridged. Really, they are definitely out there.

      Give me the whole book, or nothing at all!! Although I did enjoy the abridged Open Season by Linda Howard, since it’s so funny – I read the book later and decided they did a good cut on it. However, I have seen other comments from those who thought it too was slaughter.

  9. MaryK says:

    Oh, this is going to be hard! I haven’t really listened to enough Romance to have strong opinions on some of these questions. I’m sure I can get six though.

    I have a question about Favorite Male & Female Romance Narrators. What do you mean by overall favorites? Can they be a favorite narrator but not have read any Romance? I’d pick Lloyd James as the best Male Narrator I’ve ever listened to. Or do I need to pick a best Male Narrator I’ve heard read Romance?

  10. Lea AAR says:

    All categories are for romance only. If a narrator hasn’t performed a romance, they don’t qualify.

  11. Gale says:

    Can’t wait to see the results! I’ve just started tracking my audio listens and making notes on reactions. I love the audiobook threads. I really like the variety of categories – even though working thru them will take some time. Thanks for launching this poll.

  12. Lea AAR says:

    Gale – thanks! I can’t wait to see the results either. The ballots are coming in at a steady rate and I’m quite pleased with the response. I’m expecting that we will see many more – that is usually the case with a poll such as this. Many of our listeners will wait until the final days as they ponder their choices.

  13. melinda says:

    OK, I turned my in and refrained from adding comments – I mean, I deleted my comments before submitting. This was hard! I would put something down and then think, No, wait, I liked another one better… I found I listed a Favorite Narrator that I didn’t list under Favorite [gender] Narrator, go figure. I changed my mind about Favorite Funny Romance – had 4 I wanted to list. It’s weird that I had no trouble picking any number of favorite heroes, but all the heroines left my brain when I went to fill in that category.

    Well, I can’t wait to see what everyone else thinks!

  14. Jennie says:

    I can’t tell you how sorry I am that I missed this poll. Hope there is going to be another one soon.

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