Speaking of Audiobooks: Tavia Gilbert Interview and New Releases

Tavia GilbertThe 2012 Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll is up and running.  It’s your chance to tell the audio industry what you like best about romance audio.  It’s a different type of poll this year and you will find few of the same categories as our 2011 Poll.  The poll ends Monday, July 2nd at midnight.  So go cast your ballot!

We’re continuing to celebrate June Is Audiobook Month with our fourth special event – an interview with Tavia Gilbert.  Tavia was a finalist for an Audie Award this year and attended the ceremony earlier this month.  She’s giving us an inside look at the Audies and the Audio Publishers Association and sharing a little about her career.  There’s another event that has Tavia’s name on it this month and that is the release of Jeaniene Frost’s Once Burned.  Tavia is once again in the narrator’s seat with Vlad’s book – something that Night Huntress fans have been waiting for.

We also have our New Releases for July and a number of reviews.  Up for review today are Kristan Higgins’ Catch of the Day, J.R. Ward’s The Player, Shiloh Walker’s Ash trilogy, and Nora Roberts’ The Last Boyfriend.

Talking with Tavia Gilbert

Welcome to Speaking of Audiobooks Tavia and thanks for joining us today in this last of our special events celebrating June Is Audiobook Month (JIAM). It’s been exciting to watch all that is going on in the audio industry this month as well as looking from the outside in at the 2012 Audio Publishers Association (APA) Conference and the Audie Awards.  I see that you have been an Audie finalist three times including the 2012 Audies for your narration of The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball.  Can you tell us about the Audie Awards and what being a finalist means to a narrator?

Every year, publishers submit hundreds of books to the competitive and prestigious Audie Awards, which recognize the excellence of the audiobook.  This year there was a record number of submissions — over 1200, I believe — out of which about 150 books received nominations for an Audie.  This was my third nomination, and the second time I have been nominated for a narration of a memoir.  The narration of the memoir The Middle Place (Blackstone) was my first, in 2009, and in 2010, I had a nomination for the inspirational fiction title, The Shape of Mercy (Christian Audio).  The announcement of nominations is always very exciting, and not only is it an honor to have one’s work recognized by the judges by being announced a finalist, it’s a wonderful opportunity to celebrate friends and colleagues, and to support the audiobook community as a whole.  It’s quite gratifying to have one’s work held out as representing excellence in one’s craft.  The Audie Awards is also a wonderful excuse to put on a beautiful dress and enjoy an elegant party in Manhattan with kind and talented friends.

I followed the progression of the Audies this year through Twitter and hope to attend the ceremony myself one day.  Knowing the Audies honors and awards the very group of performers who we, as listeners, cast our indirect votes of confidence for through purchases, makes me long to be in the audience watching it all happen. I know you also are active with APA.  Can you share with us some of the details of this year’s conference?

I am a member of the Audiobook Publisher’s Association, and for the last few years I’ve participated behind the scenes facilitating panels or round-table discussions.  This year’s conference was even better than the last.  The organizers work tirelessly to spark important discussions and to offer meaningful education opportunities for seasoned narrators and newbies alike.  This year I was invited to share a panel with two of my favorite people in the industry, facilitator/producer John McElroy, and producer/publisher Dan Zitt of Random House, as well as Chris Carvey, a NY social media expert.  Our conversation was loosely about how narrators can effectively use social media in their marketing plans, but for my part, it was also a general conversation about the narrating life.  McElroy graciously invited me to share with attendees how I began my narration career about five years ago, to describe my typical workday (I told him no day is typical or routine, and discouraged anyone from aspiring to maintain the kind of demanding, ambitious, slightly masochistic schedule I do), and to detail how I continually hone my craft.  I shared that in addition to having talent and working ferociously hard, my career has been helped each step of the way by the loving and supportive people without whom I would not enjoy this fortunate position of being an overly-booked, full-time voice actor.

I assume narrators have an acting background since they must perform so many characters convincingly while projecting to the listener the nature of events.  Can you give us a look into your acting background?

I trained at a small, rigorous Seattle arts conservatory, Cornish College of the Arts, and graduated with a BFA in acting with an emphasis in creating original work.  While at Cornish, I was blessed to have excellent voice teachers who inspired me to develop my instrument.  After moving to Maine, I worked a great deal in theater, including diverse roles in stage plays at the professional company, Portland Stage.  I also had the opportunity to do a number of independent films, as well as fair amount of commercial work.  I recognized that specializing in audiobook narration would be a wise move, both artistically and professionally, because it would offer me full-time acting work, as well as a skill that would enhance my performance in every other genre of acting — whether on stage or film or behind the mic.  I began studying writing at the acclaimed arts college, Vermont College of Fine Arts, two years ago, so I have concentrated only on writing and audiobook work since 2010.  But I’m eager to get back to performing live as soon as I earn my MFA in creative non-fiction in January 2013.  As much as I adore audiobooks, I miss the exchange of energy that comes from working with an ensemble of actors in front of an audience.  I hope to get back on stage next year, and I’m eager to see how much my work as a stage actor has transformed because of the intensive focus on voice and story telling.  After years of narrating, I will approach the work differently than I used to, with more confidence, relaxation, playfulness, intuition, and specificity, all skills that have been honed by my audiobook focus.

Your comment on studying writing immediately caught me attention.  Do you plan on writing or do you already have completed works?  And while I certainly understand your desire to act before an audience, I hope that your future plans also include some audiobook recording now and then.

I’m working on a memoir right now.  When I started my MFA in creative non-fiction two years ago at Vermont College of Fine Arts, I wrote stories and essays about my own life, more to have something to practice writing craft than with a mission to write a memoir.  My work has grown tremendously each semester, and particularly this year, with the guidance of the memoirist and novelist Connie May Fowler, my writing clicked into place and started to make sense to me.  Now I am on a mission to finish a draft of my memoir in the final six months of the program.  Connie and all of my advisors, including Larry Sutin, Robert Vivian, and Laurie Alberts—all accomplished, beautiful, lyrical writers—have been tremendously supportive and encouraging.  It’s exciting and more than a little terrifying to know that there is an important and resonant memoir that is begging to be finished and shared.  I’m still getting used to thinking of myself as a writer, but I’m eager to work hard in this final stretch, to write deeply and honestly, and productively, and to complete something that might someday find an audience in print (and audio!).  Voice acting and narration are certainly always going to be a part of my work, but I envision my career including writing, producing, and performing live (on stage and on screen), as well as behind the mic.

In the world of romance audio, you are well known for your performance of Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series and your take on Cat and Bones has warmed many a romance listener’s heart.  You talked with us previously here at Speaking of Audiobooks about your extraordinary performance of Bones.  What are some of your most memorable moments while recording the Night Huntress series?

You know, it would be very difficult to answer that fairly, because a good narrator — a good actor — creates a complete, discrete, fully realized, wonderful moment, every moment.  With close to a dozen hours-long books, that’s a lot of moments!  I don’t know that I can do justice by picking any one out…but I can say that it is most satisfying to feel the emotion of the scenes myself.  It’s very important to me that the listener have their own emotional experience and connection to the material that I am serving as a medium, so I don’t want to insert myself as a barrier between the listener and the story by overwhelming the scene with my feelings.  But I do want to really be present and experience the living scenes.  What I enjoy so much about Cat and Bones is that they are so easy to perform, because there is real emotional and intellectual depth in their relationship.  They’re not perfect, they’re not stereotypes, they’re not easy individuals.  After all my time with these two lovers, I admit to really enjoying their erotic scenes, because they advance the plot and deepen character development.  Many writers’ sex scenes accomplish virtually nothing, they are just gratuitous, and thus, terribly boring to narrate, I’m afraid (though maybe still sassy to listen to).  So those erotic moments are enjoyable (I’ve said before that if I’m turned on, I trust my listeners will be, too).  And when Cat and Bones are in conflict  — between the two of them or with other characters — and fighting for each other or for their relationship, those moments are really satisfying, too.  I like both characters so much, and I care about their connection and their future together.  In fact, I don’t think there is any character of Jeaniene’s I don’t adore (even Ian!).

Once BurnedThose following the Night Huntress series have slowly been introduced to Vlad Tepesh over the past few books and he’s a character that makes us want to chant “More, more…” Now it’s almost here with Frost’s June 26th release (in both print and audio) of Once Burned, the first of the Night Prince series with you taking on the narrator’s role.  What can you tell us about Once Burned?

Well, Vlad is a tormented character, isn’t he?  We know that he has suffered heartbreak, and has built up protective walls.  And yet, he is fiercely committed to those he loves.  We’ve seen that loyalty and devotion to Cat.  When Vlad meets Leila, he is true to form.  He gives of himself to her quickly — but he isn’t just going to surrender everything right away.  He is still guarded.  Jeaniene shares more about his background and history in Once Burned, which is great to learn.  It will be interesting to see how he continues to grow and develop as a character, now that he has a chance at true love, and maybe a sliver of peace.

Will Cat and Bones be featured in Once Burned?  If so, do they play a significant role or do they step back to allow Vlad complete center stage?

They make an appearance, but it is definitely Vlad’s story.

Do you know what, if any, plans Frost has for the Night Prince series at this time?  Will Vlad be the featured lead in each book as Cat and Bones are in the Night Huntress series?

I don’t know what she has planned, but I am confident that Vlad will continue to be the star of the Night Prince series, that he will commit feats of bravery, daring, and sexual gymnastics, and that he will continue to explore how much he’s willing to open his heart to Leila.

Back to your narrations in general, what are you working on now?  Are there any upcoming releases you can share with us?

I have a number of projects in the queue, always.  The next episode in Laura Wright’s Mark of the Vampire series will be out soon.  I just finished Once, the second in Anna Carey’s dystopian YA series.  I’m set to narrate the first in a series of paranormal romance books by a bright, young, dynamic writer named Laura Kreitzer, which I’m excited about.  But the project I’m most excited about is the first audiobook my company, Talkbox, is producing.  I have recently acquired the rights to the diary of Rachel Corrie, Let Me Stand Alone.  Rachel was an extraordinary young woman who was killed when she was working as a human rights observer in the Gaza Strip.  Rachel was a magnificent writer, philosopher, poet, and activist, and the world suffered a tragic loss when her light was brutally snuffed out.  Ed Asner has narrated Rachel’s father’s introduction to the collection of her writings, and later this summer I’ll start the narration.  It’s a project I care deeply about, because Rachel and her commitment to social justice and truth are an inspiration.  I hope that I can do her justice, and keep her voice alive.  I’m planning to release the audiobook next year, which will mark the tenth anniversary of her death.  And finally, I’m producing a wonderful kid’s musical audiobook of The Town Mouse and The Country Mouse, adapted and narrated by Todd Jefferson Moore, with superstars Reggie Watts and Danny Barnes, featuring Wayne Horvitz and Bill Frisell.  That will be a delight for kids and parents alike.

I hadn’t heard specifically of Talkbox although I knew something was in the works.  I agree – that is exciting news!  Please keep us informed and I’ll definitely be looking for Let Me Stand Alone. Do you have any idea when in 2013 we can expect to see its release?

Rachel was born on April 10, 1979, and killed on March 16, 2003—too, too short a life.  Though the tenth anniversary of her death is significant, and would be a meaningful release date for the audiobook, what matters most is what Rachel contemplated, worked for, committed to, and believed in during her nearly 24 years.  I want to celebrate that truth that her spirit still lives, rather than highlight the senselessness and ugliness of her tragic death, so I’m planning to release the audiobook on her birthday, April 10th, next year.

Again, thanks Tavia talking with us today and not only giving us a closer look at the Audies and Jeaniene Frost’s books but also your upcoming plans.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to speak to your readers and followers.  I feel such a great amount of love and support in this forum, and it’s meaningful to talk here about areas of my work that I haven’t shared with other audiences before.  Thank you all for your continued enthusiasm for audiobooks, and for embracing we artists who make them!  Happy listening!

The Great EscapeJuly’s Romance Audiobook Releases

Includes releases of audiobooks in new formats

Alers, Rochelle – Sanctuary Cove Narrator unknown

Andrews, Ilona – Gunmetal Magic Narrated by Renee Raudman

Ashley, Jennifer – The Duke’s Perfect Wife Narrated by Angela Dawe

Ashley, Jennifer – The Many Sins of Lord Cameron Narrated by Angela Dawe

Banks, Maya – Sweet Surrender Narrated by Caroline Wintour

Brady, Joanna – The Woman at the Light Narrator unknown

Bryan, Emily – Pleasuring the Pirate Narrator unknown

Castle, Jayne – The Chilling Deception Narrated by Kate Rudd

Castle, Jayne – The Desperate Game Narrated by Kate Rudd

Chapman, Janet – Spellbound Falls Narrated by Allyson Ryan

Collins, Manda – How to Romance a Rake Narrated by Anne Flosnik

Coulter, Catherine – Jade Star Narrated by Chloe Campbell

Edwards, Cassie – Eden’s Promise Narrator unknown

Elliot, Kendra – Hidden Narrated by Kate Rudd

Frank, Jacqueline – Hunting Julian Narrated by Xe Sands

Gabhart, Ann H. – The Gifted Narrator unknown

Galenorn, Yasmine – Night Seeker Narrated by Cassandra Campbell

Graham, Heather – The Unspoken Narrated by Luke Daniels

Harkness, Deborah – Shadow of Night Narrator unknown

Harrington, Alexis – Home by Nightfall Narrated by Amy Rubinate

Howard, Linda – The Cutting Edge Narrated by Lesa Lockford

Kenner, Julie – Aphrodite’s Kiss Narrator unknown

Mallery, Susan – All Night Long Narrated by Tanya Eby

Mason, J.D. – Beautiful, Dirty, Rich Narrator unknown

Merkin, Fanny – Fifty Shames of Earl Grey Narrated by Allyson Ryan

Nash, Joy – The Unholy Narrator unknown

Newport, Olivia – The Pursuit of Lucy Banning Narrated by Eleni Pappageorge

Phillips, Susan Elizabeth – The Great Escape Narrated by Shannon Cochran

Roberts, Nora – Happy Ever After Narrated by Angela Dawe

Sands, Lynsay – Lady is a Vamp Narrator unknown

Ward, J.R. – Heart of Gold Narrated by Emily Beresford

Ward, J.R. – Leaping Hearts Narrated by Kate Rudd

Woods, Sherryl – Catching Fireflies Narrated by Janet Metzger

Romance Audio Reviews

Catch of the Day – Kristan Higgins

Review written by Lea Hensley

Narrated by Xe Sands

Count me in as a big Kristan Higgins fan.  When I first discovered her books two years ago, I quickly and enthusiastically read through her backlist – a rarity for me.  I just couldn’t get enough of her contemporary stories that concentrate largely on the heroine with a romance that takes far fewer pages but one that always packs a punch leaving my romantic heart immensely pleased.

When voting in last year’s Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll, Kristan Higgins was my pick for the Author’s Backlist You Most Want to See in Audio.  Imagine my thrill when Tantor picked up two Higgins titles – Catch of the Day and Somebody to Love.

Already knowing I loved Catch of the Day in print and that Xe Sands is one of my auto-buy narrators, I was confident that I had an excellent listening experience in store for me.  And, it was just that.  Now that it is time to move on to a new audiobook, my mind still lingers and nothing seems to satisfy quite as well at the moment.  Ahhh, the great endings can be hard to leave behind especially when delivered well in audio.  Ms. Sands takes a lovely tale and enriches it with her performance.

Maggie Beaumont owns a diner in a small Maine coastal town and she loves taking care of customers, baking, and visiting with her regulars.  She’s always helping others – taking dinners to the elderly, assisting in someone’s care, volunteering to cook weekly for the fire department, and on and on.  She’s an incredibly sweet person who is also real – no icky sweet here.  Maggie can make a spectacle of herself by sharing too much of her life, but the town loves her, and as the listener, I adored her all the more for her vulnerability

Living with her dear elderly dog, Maggie is close to a number of people, especially her identical twin, but she wants to be married with children, and now that she is past 30, she’s trying hard to find the right person.  Into her diner walks Tim O’Halloran and she thinks he’s the one, spreading the word among her friends, only to discover when attending mass that he is Father Tim.  Maggie still can’t help but love the priest once she gets over her extreme embarrassment and starts devoting a good amount of her helpful nature to church projects.

Playing in the background is Maggie’s thoughts of Malone, a fisherman who keeps to himself.  She doesn’t even consider Malone a possibility in her hunt for that special one, although others are suggesting she may want to pay attention.  When he saves her from an awkward situation, Maggie starts to realize there is a lot more to Malone than meets the eye and she’s definitely interested.  Malone is the intense silent type who is also sexy as hell.

Xe Sands excels at her craft.  She is first blessed with the ability to lower her voice to a range where she can convincingly portray a number of male characters – each truly unique.  Second, Ms. Sands studies the required accents for each book and it’s evident in the end product.  I listened with such complete ease not once wondering who was speaking.  She clearly distinguishes her female characters both from the male characters and other females without falsely lifting her voice to a higher range.

If I were to wish for just a tiny bit more for Catch of the Day?  I’d wish for more pages dedicated to just Maggie and Malone as I wanted to see their relationship develop further.  And I’d wish to hear a little more of Maggie’s happy outlook on life reflected in her voice.

Regardless, the relationship between Maggie and Malone is satisfyingly real and, as I listened to the last minutes, my heart swelled and a few tears fell with the romance of it all.  For laughs, for those tears, and for the sheer fun of listening, I suggest you give this one a try.

Now, Tantor – please give us more of Kristan Higgins in audio!

The Player – J.R. Ward

(Originally published in 2006 as His Comfort and Joy by Jessica Bird)

Review written by Carrie

Narrated by Emily Beresford

Grayson is a political consultant whose job is to polish a candidate’s image and make problems disappear.  In the dog-eat-dog world of politics, that means less than savory tactics are sometimes necessary.  While his power and good looks have gained him a reputation as a lady’s man, his childhood has left him jaded on the subjects of love and marriage.

Joy is in her mid-twenties and inexperienced with love and life.  She helps run her family’s inn and catering business and assists in caring for her great aunt.  Joy has a knack for sewing and clothing design but hasn’t yet figured out what she wants in life.  She’s known Gray for years and has harbored a crush on him all that time.

Gray is powerfully attracted to Joy (she “made him feel male all the way to his chromosomes”), but he won’t make a move.  He sees her as a small town innocent and himself as the “player” who has done too many shady things.  When circumstances push them together, Gray gives into his attraction and takes Joy to bed (“He’d never been so turned on.”).  Once he makes his move and realizes she’s a virgin, he’s horrified and stops immediately.  Joy is disappointed but Gray is adamant that he can’t continue.  For much of the book Gray agonizes over what he did, as he alternately spends time with Joy and then avoids her.  Joy becomes confused and finally angry over Gray’s schizophrenic behavior.

The Player isn’t enhanced by the narration.  Emily Beresford has a nice voice and she differentiates between characters well enough but there are a couple of problems.  Ms. Beresford breaks sentences into phrases, not always logically, and she pauses at the end of each phrase.

“He could have licked (pause) the sweetness (pause) from her lips.”

“The pain of wanting her was sharp (pause) and shiny as a blade (pause) bearing deep into the muscles of his thighs (pause) making his back spasm.”

Another problem is Ms. Beresford’s character voice for Gray, specifically whenever he is feeling any strong emotion.  I believe she is striving for the graveling voice of passion, but she only succeeds in achieving the wheezing sound of an asthmatic.  As performed, the strangled voice makes Gray sound weak instead of passionate.

The Player is over-written and overwrought (“...his breath punched out of his mouth.”).  Gray, the savvy political consultant, is literally biting his knuckles over the fact that he took Joy’s virginity, and he’s so swamped with guilt he can’t concentrate on his work.  Then there is Joy, teaching Gray that love conquers all and sex with a small town girl is the best of his life.  Of course, there has to be a misunderstanding and a few other obstacles to their happiness, but the reader can take comfort knowing that these two rather pathetic people are finally off the market, so it’s safe to return to dating.

We’re trying something new with our review of The Ash Trilogy by Shiloh Walker.  Although it represents three separate audiobooks, it’s one review of the complete series.

The Ash Trilogy – Shiloh Walker

Includes three audiobooks: If You Hear Her, If You See Her, If You Know Her

Review written by Kaetrin

Narrated by Cris Dukeheart

If You Hear Her, the first in the Ash Trilogy, features Lena Riddle, a blind chef who lives outside of the small town of Ash, Kentucky.  Her place backs onto the woods and one night, she hears screams and calls the police.  They find nothing, but Lena is certain she heard the screams.  Ezra King is a maybe-retired detective on extended leave after a shooting left him seriously injured.  He is instantly attracted to Lena and believes her although the police don’t appear to do be doing anything about her complaint.

Each book in the Ash Trilogy focuses on one main couple and their HEA, but all of the characters are introduced in If You Hear Her.  It took me a while to understand their role in this first entry, but it eventually became clear as the story progressed.  There is a serial killer in Ash but the authorities haven’t yet realized it.  Over the course of the three books, the killer will be revealed and the crime solved.  Fair warning – this is definitely not a series you can listen to out of order and there is no closure of the suspense plot until the end of book three.

The attraction between Lena and Ezra is almost instant and it is only Ezra’s uncertainty on the timing that holds it off (temporarily).  Their chemistry is obvious and there’s very little conflict.  That’s good since there’s not much time for conflict with the significant amount of time spent introducing the series’ characters and setting up the suspense.

The series teems with internal monologue that was at times repetitious and occasionally boring.  Ms. Walker seems to have a writing tic where she uses the same words in a sentence – e.g., the breeze returned and the only sound she could hear were the leaves rustling in the breeze. Perhaps in print I would notice this less as I tend to skim, but in audio, this habit was very obvious to me.

If You See Her is the second in the trilogy and continues where If You Hear Her leaves off and follows Hope Carson and Remy Jennings as the main characters.  The serial killer is not terribly active until right near the end with Hope’s ex-husband primarily playing the bad guy.

The third book and final book, If You Know Her is set some months after the events of the first two books.  Law Reilly gets his HEA with Nia Hollister, cousin of victim Joelene Hollister.  And, of course, the villain finally gets his comeuppance.  I enjoyed If You Know Her more than If You See Her, which was the least successful of the trilogy for me.  This final book has much more action and tension and the romance moves more quickly.

New-to-me narrator Cris Dukeheart narrates the trilogy.  I’d describe her narration as serviceable but not exceptional.  Many times, she barely pauses between sentences or when there is a scene/POV change and I was often confused.

Not all of the books’ content translates well to audio (not the narrator’s fault).  Quite frequently, a character would be thinking to him/herself and suddenly, there would be an apparent POV change but a tag such as “he thought to himself” would appear at the end of the paragraph rather than at or near the beginning.  I expect that in print, but in audio there was no cue to let me know what was happening and I found it jolting.

Ms. Dukeheart doesn’t clearly differentiate her male and female voices.  Although I could usually tell who was speaking (apart from the internal conversations), I relied on dialogue tags.  The persistent internal monologue made me impatient for action fairly often (less so in If You Know Her) and the repetitious narrative and dialogue, which doesn’t work for me in print, worked even less in audio.

One aspect of the audio version that did work well for me was Ms. Walker’s portrayal of the victims’ POV, which is enhanced by the narration.  Those passages start with “Her name was…” and end with the same sentence.  It is quite chilling and very effective.

The scenes from the killer’s POV might be challenging to those who like their RS less gruesome, so be warned.

The Last Boyfriend – Nora Roberts

Review written by LinnieGayl

Narrated by MacLeod Andrews

I should start by saying I’m a huge Nora Roberts fan.  My 2010 ballot for AAR’s Top 100 Romances included 19 books by Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb, including 6 of my top 10.  I read in print, and enjoyed The Next Always, the first in this series.  Jane gave the print version of this second entry a B- at AAR.  That’s higher than I would rate the audio version.

I’m not a big fan of male narrators for romances and MacLeod Andrews makes this story worse.  His pace is slow and uneven (at 2x some of the voices still sounded too slow).  I found his rendering of voices more acceptable for men than women, but even his male voices often sound flat and emotionless.  When the three women talk, they all sound the same.  I often had trouble telling who was speaking without clear dialog tags.

If not reading for review I wouldn’t have finished The Last Boyfriend; I would have stopped at about the 10-minute mark and deleted the file.  At some later date I might have tried it in print – when I could skim quickly through much of the early narrative.  The first few hours were dull.  After listening to what I thought was a couple hours of introduction I checked the time and discovered I’d been listening for 11 minutes.  Time did not fly while listening and to show how uninterested I was, I couldn’t recall the name of the hero until about the two-hour mark.

With about 3 hours left I began to like the story, but the narration continued to distract.  Many times when Avery and Owen (our heroine and hero) were talking, I had trouble distinguishing the two.  And I absolutely hated Andrews’ portrayal of Avery when she was excited or pouting; she sounds like a two-year old, making me question how Owen fell in love with her.  I know I wouldn’t have had those same feelings reading this in print.

I’m curious about what I assume will be Ryder and Hope’s story so will definitely pick up the third book.  But unless there is a different narrator, I will be reading it in print.  It would take something very special for me to ever pick up an audio by this narrator again.

Ending Notes

Our main July column will be all about Linda Howard with thirteen reviews of her audiobooks and more.

Have you seen our new Facebook page?  We’re posting daily audiobook tidbits about romance audio or the industry in general, upcoming releases, and fun or interesting links to follow.  Look for Speaking of Audiobooks.

And don’t forget to vote in our 2012 Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll!

Enjoy your listening!

- Lea Hensley

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14 Responses to “Speaking of Audiobooks: Tavia Gilbert Interview and New Releases”

  1. Melinda says:

    I’m so glad to hear Catch of the Day was a winner! I’m also a Krstan Higgins fan, but Somebody to Love audiobook isn’t quite as good as I had hoped. However, you will get more of Malone in that book!

    @Carrie, LOL! Great review and I don’t think I’ll be putting that in my Audible wish list!

  2. Thanks again for celebrating June is Audiobook Month, and Audiobook Week!

    • Lea Hensley says:

      Tavia Gilbert: Thanks again for celebrating June is Audiobook Month, and Audiobook Week!

      I hope that after four columns this month in celebration of Audiobook Month, our listeners have a better idea of what it is all about. Thanks again for being the headliner of this, our fourth event.

      I just realized ONCE BURNED releases tomorrow – it will be an immediate listen for me.

  3. Lea Hensley says:

    Melinda – I had no idea Malone appeared in Somebody to Love! Goodie! I’ve been saving it for a special time and I will read it before I listen.

    I saved COTD for one of those special times. We took a trip to Phoenix and Las Vegas last week (hubby had a conference) and I listened to it at the airport, on the flights, while I was packing, while I was unpacking, and on and on. So fun to have a great audiobook make a trip all the more fun!

  4. It was very kind of you to invite me. Hope you enjoy Once Burned!

  5. I just fell a little bit more in love with Tavia. Thanks for sharing this great interview. :)

  6. Brenda says:

    Very interesting interview Tavia, what a varied career you have, your one busy lady. Looking forward to seeing what else will discover via Talkbox and of course to Once Burned tomorrow.

    @Carrie – but the reader can take comfort knowing that these two rather pathetic people are finally off the market, so it’s safe to return to dating. one of the best closing review lines ever, loved it. :D

    I agree with Lea, Catch of the Day was a great listen – felt like I cried buckets at one point but there was plenty of time to recover and then be all ready for the HEA. :) Father Tim and Malone were both especially delicious to hear, Xe has those Irishmen down pat!

    Julie James Some Body To Love is available for download via Tantor and it’s a fabulous listen. I loved every minute of it thanks to a great story line in general and the added enhancement of Karen White’s superior narration which I can’t emphasize enough – really superior narration.

  7. Brenda, I look forward to discovering Talkbox, too! I’m excited by the possibilities.
    :)

  8. Xe Sands says:

    What a wonderful interview – so appreciate Tavia’s grace and perspective. Thanks for interviewing her for JIAM, Lea!

    And thanks also for the lovely review of Catch of the Day – I so enjoyed narrating this that it’s doubly wonderful to know that others are enjoying the end result. I need to read more Higgins now – loved her humor and humanity. If anyone is interested, I’m actually running a giveaway in connection with Audiobook Week (hosted by Devourer of Books), and winner could choose Catch of the Day as one fo the prizes :)

  9. Melinda says:

    @Lea – I’m all caught up on the hardcopies via my iPad of Higgins’ entire backlist. Not sure why I went for STL first, since COTD is before it! But I’m glad I did now, since maybe COTD will enhance my experience with STL.

    @Xe – I’m looking forward to hearing your Maine accent! I did some googling on the pronunciation of “ayuh” since, well, I wasn’t sure what it should sound like. Looks like there are several opinions of which one is it’s not a sound at all, but a sucking in of breath. Go figure.

    @Brenda and Carrie: I hereby officially nominate that line as BEST CLOSING LINE IN A REVIEW IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE! I guffawed!

  10. Xe Sands says:

    @Melinda – I was in the same boat with that “Ayuh!” I watched a bunch of video footage and decided to just ask Kristan Higgins what she was hearing in her head. She said she saw the same footage and can’t for the life of her figure out where these folks got it from – LOL! So I went with what she shared – hope it works for you :) I’ll warn you though that the accent is only present for one character (because his dialog is written in the vernacular) and only spans about 4 lines total.

    Very much looking forward to your thoughts on it all!

  11. Lea Hensley says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with the best closing line for Carrie’s review. I laughed each time I read it preparing for the column and after it was published!

  12. Brenda says:

    Oh yeah, I’ll second that nomination Melinda with Lea we have 3 votes in for Best Ending Line in a Review Ever for the reader can take comfort knowing that these two rather pathetic people are finally off the market, so it’s safe to return to dating. Priceless!!

    Having totally mixed up the Julie James title I was raving about with my K. Higgins thoughts I’ll start over with the news that a Julie James title released early at Tantor – hopefully with a link – http://www.tantor.com/BookDetail.asp?Product=B0859_SomethingAbout

    Karen White rocks with the narration of Something About You by Julie James – Karen “gets” romance and special kudos for her Jack voicing, I for one appreciated the special effort at deepening his voice while also loving everything else about the narration – the opening sound effects and dialogue were so well done and LOL funny – Cameron’s attitude was perfect – Wilkins came alive in a way I never would have read into his character and … well I’m being a bit over exuberant – Something About You was a great audio experience for me. How had I not read more Julie James after loving The Sexiest Man Alive?

  13. Carolyn Houts says:

    I SO enjoyed your interview with Tavia Gilbert whom I consider a truly outstanding narrator! All of her experiences are so interesting to hear about, and I’m very excited about the upcoming Rachael Corrie book – which is a VERY IMPORTANT and socially/politically significant study! We ALL have MUCH to learn from young Rachael and her sacrifice for this situation. SO GLAD to hear Tavia Gilbert’s “Talkbox” company is going to do this!