Speaking of Audiobooks: August 2011 Releases

Prince of DreamsNot only are we featuring a list of upcoming romance audio releases today but also five audiobook reviews and a new section we’ll run at least once a month for the remainder of 2011, Beyond the Winners.  Up for review are Kristina Douglas’ Raziel, Cynthia Eden’s Deadly Fear, Alyssa Day’s Atlantis Rising, Lauren Willig’s The Temptation of the Night Jasmine, and Christine Warren’s She’s No Faerie Princess.

Beyond the Winners

Our recent Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll featured some big name winners such as Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander and J.D. Robb’s In Death series.  Both series swept a number of categories and made more than a few of our listeners wonder what other favorites are lurking out there beyond the big poll winners.  Over the remainder of 2011, we’re taking a number of the poll categories one by one and asking you what are your other favorites?

We’re starting today with the Contemporary sub genre – those romance novels that focus primarily on the romantic relationship, released as individual titles, not as part of a series and set after 1945.  Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips took first place with Match Me if You Can, another Phillips book, taking second.  Jennifer Crusie’s Bet Me came in at third.

So, what are your other contemporary favorites?  Let us know in our comment area below.  If another listener states one of your favorites, write it down again because we’re taking an unofficial count.

As a tribute to these favorites that don’t hold an official place on the winning poll ballot, we are utilizing our Goodreads audio bookshelf to summarize those most often mentioned.  Our Goodreads audio bookshelf is actually a number of bookshelves.  Currently we have a Mini-Review shelf (reviews from our columns), a Romance Audiobook Poll Winners shelf, and an Upcoming Reviews shelf.  We’re adding another shelf, Beyond the Winners, and will add to it each time we discuss a poll category.

Let us know your other contemporary favorites!

Audiobook Romances on Sale in July

Includes new formats of existing audiobooks.

Unabridged

Aiken, Frank, Ione, & Alexandra – Supernatural Narrator unknown

Banks, Maya – Sweet Possession Narrated by Caroline Wintour

Banks, Maya – Sweet Temptation Narrated by Caroline Wintour

Cole, Kresley – The Warlord Wants Forever Narrated by Hagan Verret & Simone Formhar

Day, Alyssa – Atlantis Betrayed Narrated by Joshua Swanson

Deveraux, Jude – Heartwishes Narrated by Gabra Zackman

Feehan, Christine – Murder Game Narrator by Tom Stechschulte

Frank, Jacquelyn – Damien Narrated by Xe Sands

Frank, Jacquelyn – Elijah Narrated by Xe Sands

Garwood, Julie – The Ideal Man Narrated by Christina Traister

Gerritsen, Tess – Thief of Hearts Narrated by Nicola Barber

Graham, Heather – The Evil Inside Narrated by Luke Daniels

Gray, Shelley Shepard – The Survivor Narrated by Heather Henderson

Harrison, Thea – Storm’s Heart Narrated by Sophie Eastlake

Herron, Rachel – How to Knit a Love Song Narrator unknown

Kenyon, Sherrilyn – Retribution Narrator unknown

Kleypas, Lisa – Midnight Angel Narrated by Susan Duerden

Kleypas, Lisa – Prince of Dreams Narrated by Susan Duerdan

Krentz, Jayne Anne – Wizard Narrated by Renee Raudman

Laurens, Stephanie – The Reasons for Marriage Narrated by Helen Stern

Lauren, Stephanie – Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue Narrated by Simon Prebble

Leigh, Lora – following titles will be released in digital format and are narrated by Brianna Bronte.  No links available at this time:

Dawn’s Awakening, Styx’s Storm, Tanner’s Scheme, Mercury’s War, Coyote’s Mate, Bengal’s Heart, Lion’s Heat

Lindsey, Johanna – The Pursuit Narrated by Michael Page

Macomber, Debbie – 1105 Yakima Street Narrated by Sandra Burr

Mallery, Susan – Only Yours Narrated by Tanya Eby

Michaels, Fern – Late Edition Narrated by Natalie Ross

Palmer, Diana – Trilby Narrated by Natalie Ross

Roberts, Nora – The Witching Hour Narrated by Joyce Bean

Singh, Nalini – Blaze of Memory Narrated by Angela Dawe

Warren, Christine – Howl at the Moon Narrated by Kate Reading

Romance Audio Reviews

Raziel – Kristina Douglas (Anne Stuart)

Review written by Diana

Narrated by Karen White and Paul Constanza

If you’ve ever read a paranormal romance starring fated mates…oh wait, Anne Stuart doesn’t do checklists. In Raziel the author plays with biblical myths, turning more than a few on their heads. The plot is complex and I’ll do my best to cram it into a nutshell.

Raziel is a fallen angel (yes, there’s a compound filled with  future heroes) who works as a reaper for the extremely anti-social head fallen angel Uriel. While on a routine reaper pickup, Raziel impulsively saves Allie from the fires of hell for reasons he doesn’t understand. He decides to keep her in his suite at Fallen Angel Central where she’s an object of intense scrutiny among the other fallen and their mates. Why is she here?

Raziel and Allie spend most of the book bickering and denying that their spectacular sex is anything more than just sex. This distracted me since I’ve read far better I love you/hate you scenarios from this author.  Raziel has all those Stuart very-bad-man tendencies and it’s a long haul before he finally gets over himself. And there’s no grovel. I really wanted a grovel scene. On another note, I was left with questions about the series mythology as to immortality which I hope will be addressed more fully in subsequent books.

Karen White’s reading of Allie was appropriately attitude-y for a young woman who finds herself dead…or not.  Paul Costanza, I have to call a miscast. He sounds bored, robotic, and remote – hardly the voice for a virile, powerful, angry man. Dual narration was a good idea, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.  A solo narration from Karen White would have made Raziel a more enjoyable listen. Still, it’s better than most and raises thought provoking questions about the afterlife.

Deadly FearDeadly Fear – Cynthia Eden

Review written by Melinda

Narrated by Justine Eyre

This romantic suspense is truly heavy on both the romance and the suspense. FBI Agent Monica Davenport is a profiler who is good at getting into the minds of serial killers.  Her colleague Luke Dante is the only one who ever managed to get through her personal defenses. Together they go on a hunt for twisted serial killer who uses the victims’ fears to scare them to death.

Justine Eyre gives the book an eerie feel with her narration – she speaks with a quiet, rushing quality that keeps you on the edge throughout the story. Not only does the author keep you in suspense with her creepy killer, she keeps the sexual tension high and fueled by adrenaline, neither tension ever seeming to break. Eyre pushes through it all with a sort of urgency. Her characters are all distinct and consistent. There is an odd shakiness in her voice – I wasn’t sure if it was a recording issue or not, but it seemed to actually add to the tension.

As we get closer and closer to locating the killer, clues that lead you and mislead you became thicker and thicker.  I was surprised by the perp’s identity and, after finishing Deadly Fear; I’m still a little on edge.

Atlantis Rising – Alyssa Day

Review written by Brenda

Narrated by Joshua Swanson

Atlantis Rising is the first in Alyssa Day’s Warriors of Poseidon series.  For a quick take on the series, think J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood (BBD under the sea) – a group of large warriors who keep humans safe from unknown threats.  After that, the world building is new and unique within itself.

This action packed story features Prince Conlan, recently escaped from seven years of imprisonment and torture, and stressed social worker Riley Dawson.  He senses her feelings and emotions before his feet even hit the earth. Mind to mind contact with a human is unheard of and the possibility of it being a threat to the Prince, among other things, means that Riley will be joining the nine warriors as they search for the powerful Trident that has been stolen from their kingdom.

Narrator Joshua Swanson’s general narration of the story is pleasing.  His performance of the female characters is excellent as well as Conlan’s brother Ven (he’s a riot).  He captures the distinct attitudes of the various characters and you can easily hear the humorous sarcasm in the banter between the guys.  But when it comes to Conlan and his chief advisor Aleric, Swanson’s effort to add royal formality to their voices makes them brain numbingly slooow speakers. When Conlan talks to himself in his head, he sounds perfect.  However, Conlan and Aleric’s speaking voices made me want to stop cold regardless of all the other positives.  How did I get through it?  I sped the tempo up and with that tweak I settled in for the entire story without my eyes crossing each time either of these two spoke.

The Temptation of the Night Jasmine – Lauren Willig

Review written by Melinda

Narrated by Justine Eyre

It is human nature for one to become accustomed to a narrator who has already narrated several books in a series – in this case, the A+ List Narrator Kate Reading. Justine Eyre is what I would consider an A List Narrator, a slight notch below. She is very experienced and according to her bio on Audiofile, has a wide range of accents in her narration bag. Why, then, do her Welsh accents sound Irish to me?

Kate Reading brings out the humor of Willig’s prose – I laugh throughout her narrations of The Pink Carnation Series at her clever use of alliteration, the contemporary in-jokes she sprinkles throughout (her historical hero wonders if he can say that while in the opium den, he never inhaled), and the farcical slapstick situations her characters get in. Justine Eyre lacks the nuanced reading of Reading.  And a number of Eyre’s pronunciations grated on my nerves.

The story itself satisfactorily advances the contemporary plot. Eloise and Colin are now officially an item, although she still doesn’t know what he does for a living. Could he be carrying on the family tradition? The historical pair-up is the Dowager Duchess of Dovedale’s granddaughter, Charlotte, and the incredibly-distantly-related cousin who is now the Duke of Dovedale, Robert. Even though I didn’t laugh as much, I enjoyed the book immensely. Eyre is good; she’s just no Reading.

She’s No Faerie Princess – Christine Warren

Review written by LinnieGayl

Narrated by Kate Reading

I read She’s No Faerie Princess years ago based on the original review here at AAR and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was eager to revisit it when offered the chance to review in audio format.

Princess Fiona, the niece of Queen Mab, is supposed to be tucked away safe in the Seelie Court. Fiona has other ideas and thinks that a vacation in New York City would be just the thing. However, the minute she pops into the mortal world (in Central Park), she encounters a demon determined to kill her. Fiona is saved by Tobias Walker, a high level werewolf who is patrolling the park. I enjoyed this grown-up fairy tale, and found the world created by the author to be fascinating.

I did no research on the audio version and was delighted when I listened to the first passages and discovered that it was narrated by Kate Reading, one of my favorite narrators. She didn’t disappoint.

Ms. Reading gave each character in the book a unique voice, so I never had any problems distinguishing between them. Some, such as the imp and pixie Squick and Babbage, were absolutely hilarious. She always got the emotion of a scene – be it passion, fear, or anger – correct.

Christine Warren’s The Other series has been hit or miss for me but She’s No Faerie Prince was a big hit for me, and I heartily recommend it.

Time for Your Thoughts

What contemporary romance audiobooks are your favorites?

What new releases are you looking forward to?

Do you know of a new romance release that didn’t make the list?

Have you listened to one of today’s review books?  What were your thoughts?

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

Ending Notes

I’m announcing new romance audiobook releases and other audio tidbits on Twitter – look for LeaAAR.

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

Our Speaking of Audiobooks Goodreads group keeps growing and we now have 133 members.  It’s easy to join and it’s a great place for discussion in between our columns.

We’re talking with Penguin Audio in August and taking a peak into the romance audio industry.

Enjoy your listening!

- Lea Hensley

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42 Responses to “Speaking of Audiobooks: August 2011 Releases”

  1. Susan says:

    Right now I’m tearing my hair out listening to the latest Harry Dresden book, Ghost Story. I know it’s not romance, but a lot of PNR fans read those books. The narrator changed for this book, and though he’s close, he’s no James Marsters.

    For contemporary romance, I loved Victoria Dahl’s trilogy, Talk Me Down narrated by Savannah Richards, Start Me Up, and Lead Me On both narrated by Wanda Fontaine. I re-read and re-listen to these three, especially Lead Me On.

  2. Lea AAR says:

    I have many contemporary favorites – it is my favorite sub-genre after all. My favorites list includes:

    One Summer – Karen Robards

    A number of additional SEP titles:
    It Had to Be You
    Kiss an Angel
    Nobody’s Baby but Mine
    This Heart of Mine

    Just the Sexiest Man Alive – Julie James (tied for second – Favorite 2010 Romance)

    Summer of Two Wishes – Julia London

    Leaving Normal – Stef Ann Holm

    To Die For – Linda Howard (winner of Favorite Funny)

    I know the question will be asked “Can we include titles that placed in other categories?” and I think it only fair that we do. When we look at this category, we want to see all favorites beyond the category’s winners.

    Also, some consider Robards’ One Summer a romantic suspense rather than a contemporary. To be fair, it will be included in either category because I do think it is often the perception of the reader. Byron lists One Summer as contemporary romance. To me, it is a contemporary romance with a suspense element. So, go with your gut feel! It’s perfectly okay!

  3. Lea AAR says:

    I should also include that To Die For by Linda Howard is also another that crosses sub-genre lines. It is considered a romatic suspense by most, I think, although Byron lists it in three categories – mystery, contemporary romance, and romantic suspense. To me however, it FEELS like a contemporary with a suspense element. Therefore it will always pop up on my radar as a favorite contemporary.

  4. MaryK says:

    Melinda, thanks for the very descriptive review of what listening to Deadly Fear is like. I can tell it’s not for me, at least not in audio.

    Susan: the latest Harry Dresden book, Ghost Story. … The narrator changed for this book

    What?! That’s just wrong! I wonder why they did that.

    I love Robards’ One Summer and Howard’s After the Night is close behind it. I think I voted for One Summer in the RS category :) but I’ll mention it here since it doesn’t fit most people’s definition of RS.

  5. Kaetrin says:

    @ Brenda – I totally agree about Raziel! :)

    My vote for fave contemporary would be Blue Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas, narrated by Renee Raudman. I also really liked The Search (Nora Roberts) narrated by Tanya Eby. Plus of course, the SEP Chicago Stars series – my favourite is Heaven, Texas. But Natural Born Charmer runs a close second.

  6. Diane says:

    I’m listening to a paranormal right now: Kiss of Snow and I enjoy it. The narrator is great and you feel like you’re there.

  7. Brenda says:

    Jayne Castle’s Canyons of the Night narrated by Joyce Bean will be out the end of August if still on schedule.

    @ Kaetrin – since I could cut and paste Diana’s review of Raziel and make it my own, we do indeed agree. :D

    I also agree with you about Nora Robert’s The Search being a top place contemporary listen. I’ll add my other top favorite contemporary listens as:

    Karen Robards – One Summer
    Susan Andersen – Head Over Heels
    Julie James – Just the Sexiest Man Alive

    SEP in general … with my personal favorites (after the first and second place Match Me if You Can Natural Born Charmer) being Lady Be Good and Heaven Texas.

    When I think Linda Howard I think RS but in light of recent experience it’s very light RS so I could stick To Die For – After The Night – Heart of Fire on my favorite contemporary list too.

    Any Diana Palmer fans out there?? I apologize in advance … I hate her writing style and every time I see Phil Gigante or Natalie Ross narrating one of her books I cringe … they are going to permanently mark the romance genre from their “willing to narrate list” if they have to do any more of her stuff. Who is making these audiobook choices?

    Knock, knock, Linda Howard’s series romance back list is out there. Start with 1986′s Midnight Rainbow, move forward from there … get Natalie Ross / Karen White / Xe Sands and strike some audiobook gold with good books to go with good narrators. Whew, Okay, got that off my chest.

    • MaryK says:

      Brenda: Knock, knock, Linda Howard’s series romance back list is out there. Start with 1986’s Midnight Rainbow, move forward from there … get Natalie Ross / Karen White / Xe Sands and strike some audiobook gold with good books to go with good narrators.

      No kidding!

      melinda: One of my all-time contemporary favorites is something I’m not sure anyone else here has listened to – Sarah Mayberry’s Hot For Him.

      Do you have a review for that on Goodreads? I’m a category Romance junkie but I haven’t quite worked up the nerve to listen to one yet, particularly a Blaze. I did pick up an HR in an Audible sale a while back with the intention of using it for the “try a new subgenre” category of the Challenge. I never quite feel up to it though.

  8. melinda says:

    @Brenda: ROFLMAO!! Yes Ma’am indeed – you shoulda told me that about Diana Palmer and Phil Gigante before I got my hands on that To Remain Unnamed book I DNFed this weekend! I’m right there with you – who makes these bad choices to record cr@p while there are so many, MANY good books not recorded (or even worse, out of print!)?

    One of my all-time contemporary favorites is something I’m not sure anyone else here has listened to – Sarah Mayberry’s Hot For Him. Ok, yeah, it’s a Harlequin Blaze – it’s also a very touching story of a woman’s struggle with her mother’s alcoholism, as well as an affirmation of the power of women’s friendships, served alongside a heaping helping of a hunkahunka burning love and a very satisfying HEA.

  9. melinda says:

    @LinnieGayl: wow, She’s No Faerie Princess sounds a lot like Enchanted (the movie) which is my favorite movie of all time! I haven’t read Warren but will be snagging it with one of my three new extra credits Audible just offered me this weekend! thanks!

  10. renee says:

    My latest audio success was The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne, narrated by Kirsten Potter. It was absolutely excellent. The narrator did a fabulous job with all of the voices and related accents. I had read the book before and was totally charmed and reminded of what a wonderful tale Joanna Bourne had created. I realize we are not yet talking about the historical category of the recent poll but I definitely would have voted for this one if I had listened to it at the time of the poll.

  11. Kate Reading says:

    Thanks for the favorable review of Faerie Princess! I’m recording the whole series and I have to admit, I’m having a blast. There’s lots of humor, passion, and the sex is quite woman-centric: those werewolves know their way around a female body. Currently working on One Bite with a Stranger. Five down, seven to go. I look forward to hearing from you again… and again… and again….

    • Lea AAR says:

      Kate Reading: Thanks for the favorable review of Faerie Princess! I’m recording the whole series and I have to admit, I’m having a blast. There’s lots of humor, passion, and the sex is quite woman-centric: those werewolves know their way around a female body. Currently working on One Bite with a Stranger. Five down, seven to go. I look forward to hearing from you again… and again… and again….

      Kate – it’s great to see you here. If you take a look at our Speaking of Audiobooks Goodreads bookshelf (http://www.goodreads.com/group/bookshelf/39149?order=d&per_page=20&shelf=read&sort=author&view=main), you’ll see that we have enthusiastically reviewed a number of your narrations including two Lauren Willig titles and two Christine Warren titles.

      M first Reading experience was years ago with Katherine Sutcliffe’s Whitehorse (which I pulled out for a relisten a few weeks ago). It’s been at least five years since I last listened but I’ve never forgotten your portrayal of Johnny Whitehorse.

      We hope to see you again soon here at SOA.

  12. Kaetrin says:

    @ Brenda & @ Lea – Just the Sexiest Man Alive didn’t work for me on audio unfortunately. Horses for courses I guess.

    Does anyone know if Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas is available on audio? That was a great book and I think it would make a great listen.

    I haven’t listened to One Summer or Head Over Heels (yet). I’m not sure if I have them. I do plan to listen to To Die For soon – the print version was a crack up and Drop Dead Gorgeous was too!

  13. Lea AAR says:

    Kaetrin – Smooth Talking Stranger inspired my first Speaking of Audiobooks column and not in good way! You may want to take a look in our archives for that column. I adored the book in print but not audio.

  14. Diana says:

    I wasn’t bothered by the narrator for STS, but she stepped on Lea’s last nerve. Believe me, I understand because I’m listening to one now by another highly praised narrator whose voice and style grinds on my ears. I think we can both recommend Kleypas’ Blue-Eyed Devil read by Renee Raudman.

    I want to mention that after reviewing Raziel I listened to Demon, the second in Kristina Douglas’ fallen angel series. I liked Demon quite a bit more. It’s a stronger story and I loved Douglas’ take on the Lilith myth. Yay, Lilith! Paul Costanza sounds a little more enthusiastic although I’m still not in love with his interpretation of studly angels.

    • Lea AAR says:

      Diana: I wasn’t bothered by the narrator for STS, but she stepped on Lea’s last nerve. Believe me, I understand because I’m listening to one now by another highly praised narrator whose voice and style grinds on my ears. I think we can both recommend Kleypas’ Blue-Eyed Devil read by Renee Raudman.I want to mention that after reviewing Raziel I listened to Demon, the second in Kristina Douglas’ fallen angel series. I liked Demon quite a bit more. It’s a stronger story and I loved Douglas’ take on the Lilith myth. Yay, Lilith! Paul Costanza sounds a little more enthusiastic although I’m still not in love with his interpretation of studly angels.

      Yes, saying it got on my last nerve is a good way to describe it Diana! And I heartily agree about Blue-Eyed Devil. It was wonderful in both print and audio but I think I appreciated it even more in audio.

  15. Kaetrin says:

    O-o Lea – I forgot about your STS experience! Maybe I will pass!! :)

    Blue-Eyed Devil was so good though. What a pity STS wasn’t.

    I’ve just stared listening to Demon by Kristina Douglas – Paul Costanzo is sounding a little more lifelike – it helps that Azazel is “cold”! I don’t know anything about the Lillith myth, so it’s all new to me. (Lea – am I reviewing this one for AAR? I forget…)

    • Lea AAR says:

      Kaetrin: O-o Lea – I forgot about your STS experience! Maybe I will pass!! Blue-Eyed Devil was so good though. What a pity STS wasn’t.I’ve just stared listening to Demon by Kristina Douglas – Paul Costanzo is sounding a little more lifelike – it helps that Azazel is “cold”! I don’t know anything about the Lillith myth, so it’s all new to me. (Lea – am I reviewing this one for AAR? I forget…)

      Yes Kaetrin – you’re down for reviewing Demon and I must say I’m highly interested in your review after reading Diana’s take on it.

  16. Kaetrin says:

    @ Lea – Thought so! I only started listening today – you’ll probably have my review by early/mid next week. :)

  17. Brenda says:

    Started Kresley Cole’s The Warlord Wants Forever today … had forgotten the steam quotient, which has scorched my eyebrows … but the two brand new narrators (it’s a POV narration … unfortunately) are acing it! What a great surprise!

    @ MaryK “What?! That’s just wrong! I wonder why they did that.” According to Audible it was a scheduling conflict .. from the reviews I’ve seen so far they should have worked the schedule around Marsters!

    @ Melinda … glad to know my Palmer thoughts don’t stand alone … But when it comes to Gigante, he does no wrong. :) It’s my pity for him and Natalie at having to narrate her books that brought on my “vent”. I know I’m a total hypocrite but if you get the heroes right, all I need from the heroines is the right attitude, give them any voice you want after that … :D

    And I’ve gotten Sarah Mayberry’s Hot For Him from PBS after your rec .. do you think the audio made it even better??

    @ LinnieGayle Can’t wait to get to She’s No Faerie Princess after your review, especially after I’ve already LOL through the audio of Wolf At The Door.

    @ Kate Reading After loving what you brought to Wolf At The Door via audio (far surpassed the written word!) I’m in for the rest of the series!

    @ Kaetrin We need to chat on the phone so I can “hear” vocally why JTSMA didn’t work for you … but then again, maybe I’ll stick with being accent challenged … I have no real knowledge of them, thus I’m easily pleased. :D

    @ Diana Some knee groveling would have made Raziel for me too. Glad to hear Paul Costanza gains some life with Demon … makes me at least want to give the audio a try. Kaetrin I’ll be waiting for your thoughts…

    Hmmm, love Renee Raudman but keep shying from the theme in Blue Eyed Devil, I need to look closer to see if the pansy in me can deal …

  18. Kaetrin says:

    @ Brenda – go on – try Blue-Eyed Devil!! I bet you won’t regret it. The domestic violence isn’t all of the book and you know Haven is okay because it’s told from her first person POV – you have to hear Raudman doing Hardy Cates telling Haven that her ex “won’t fit in a matchbox” by the time he’s finished with him!! (It’s one of those things where you detest the villain so much that statements like that are VERY satisfying). It’s emotional but, well worth it IMO. That said, I know domestic abuse is a hot button for some people and if it’s not your cuppa, it’s just not. But, I can say the book does not glorify it at all and I didn’t think it was gratuitous. And Raudman is excellent.

  19. Lea AAR says:

    Looks like this is our Contemporary Beyond the Winners shelf so far. I’ll indicate on the shelf how many votes each book received. Please let me know any others you have – of course, this will be open until out next column goes live.

    One Summer – Karen Robards

    Just the Sexiest Man Alive – Julie James

    Blue-Eyed Devil – Lisa Kleypas

    To Die For – Linda Howard

    The Search – Nora Roberts

    After the Night – Linda Howard

    Heaven, Texas – Susan Elizabeth Phillips

    SEP Chicago Stars’ series is listed as a whole as well as her backlist but a few specific mentions:
    It Had to Be You
    Kiss an Angel
    Nobody’s Baby but Mine
    This Heart of Mine
    Lady Be Good

    Victoria Dahl’s Talk Me Down, Start Me Up, Lead Me On

    Heart of Fire – Linda Howard

    Head Over Heels – Susan Andersen

    Hot for Him – Sarah Mayberry

    Summer of Two Wished – Julia London

    Leaving Normal – Stef Ann Holm

    I’d love to see more votes. Remember that if one of your favorites is already mentioned to give it another mention. It will help in rating the final list!

  20. Carrie says:

    Of the ones already mentioned I’d have to agree with After the Night by Linda Howard, plusIt Had to be You, Heaven, Texas and This Heart of Mine.

    In addition, I’d like to include Jeniffer Crusie’s The Cinderella Deal. I love the book and enjoyed the audio.

    Also: Infamous by Susanne Brockmann. The dual narration took some getting used to for me, but overall it worked well.

  21. Karen White says:

    I’d love to nominate HEAD OVER HEELS by Cindy Procter-King (read by me)!

    • Lea AAR says:

      Karen White: I’d love to nominate HEAD OVER HEELS by Cindy Procter-King (read by me)!

      Karen – I’ve had my eye on Head Over Heels. Your narration is a great temptation…

  22. Brenda says:

    Okay Kaetrin I’ll give Blue Eyed Devil a whirl, I know it’s a favorite whether in paper or audio for several. And I know I love Raudman … off to skim the book itself first of course. :)

    I second Carrie’s vote for Brockmann’s Infamous, I loved that story and listen despite the POV narration.

  23. Kaetrin says:

    @ Brenda – let me know what you think! :)

    Further beyond the winners nominations – how could I forget Jenny Crusie? (bad Kaetrin). I nominate Welcome to Temptation, Faking It and Manhunting. And, Bet Me of course. All excellent listens. Does Maybe This Time count as contemporary? It’s kind of PNR and its set in 1992… Haven’t listened to the Cinderella Deal yet but I think I have it on my TBL.

  24. Christina says:

    I don’t listen to a lot of contemporary romance so many of my favorites have already been mentioned. Nora Roberts and Susan Elizabeth Phillips books are always favorites.

    One that I can contribute – years ago I listened to Darkling I Listen by Katherine Sutcliffe, narrated by Alyssa Bresnahan. I remember that it made a lasting impression on me, and I thought it was a really good narration. I believe this would fall in the romantic suspense category.

  25. [...] releases and more: Rarely Dusty Books (August m/m romance releases), Elisa (LGBT), AAR (romance audiobooks), Book Lovers Inc (romance and more), and Literary Escapism [...]

  26. Sally says:

    I am new to the romance genre and to audiobooks, but typical to my obsessions I have thrown myself in and have now listened to 700+ books.
    Many of my favorites have been covered like SEP and some Jennifer Cruise, so I will attempt to mention some more obscure, but still very good comtemporary audiobooks. Be forewarned that in this genre, I am a less discriminating critic of the narrator. I like a plucky, fast tempo narrator with a flair for comedy. My favorite books have crisp dialogue and sexy tension between the leads. The voices are less important to me than in historicals (not sure why). That being said:

    And One Last Thing, Molly Harper, a new author, very funny, her first contemporary, and was nominated for a RITA
    Tangled up in You, Rachel Gibson, not enough of her books have gone to audio
    To Catch a Mate by Gena Showalter, I know, but this is her only contemporary and I liked

  27. Kelli says:

    @Sally – Thanks for reminding me about Molly Harper’s And One Last Thing. I’ll throw in a vote for that one; it was so much fun to listen to.

    @Melinda – I’m so glad you mentioned Sarah Mayberry. If I am going to pick up a category romance without any kind of recommendation leading me to it, it will be one of hers. She really knows how to take a common trope and turn it on its ear in addition to packing a surprising amount of emotion into a shorter story. Hot For Him happens to be one of the few I haven’t read and despite knowing Audible produces some Blazes I never noticed they had so many of hers. Not only that but after listening to the sample, I now know Hillary Huber records under the name Elizabeth Livingston.

  28. Brenda says:

    Kaetrin …… you have to hear Raudman doing Hardy Cates telling Haven that her ex “won’t fit in a matchbox” by the time he’s finished with him!! (It’s one of those things where you detest the villain so much that statements like that are VERY satisfying).

    You have no idea how much I can relate to that analyzes …. and your so right, it’s an extremely satisfying line that is delivered perfectly. :)

    I’m glad I ventured from my comfort level for this BED, despite the personal repercussions involved. Raudman is gold with Hardy Cates.

    Sally thanks for the reminder of One Last Thing, it’s on my TBL and sounds like a perfect pick me up … Amanda Ronconi is one of my favorite 2011 discoveries with Harper’s books.

    Kelli be sure and weigh in on Mayberry’s Hot For Him, it’s on my wishlist at Audible….

  29. Kaetrin says:

    @ Brenda – I’m sorry it pushed your buttons :( but I’m glad you liked Hardy! :)

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