Last June during June Is Audiobook Month, I penned a complaint here at Speaking of Audiobooks about the Audie Awards and how out of touch they were with the romance listening community. What are the Audie Awards? Sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association, they give recognition to those within the industry for excellence in narration, direction, and engineering. The 2013 awards gala is scheduled for May 30th this year.
Romance listeners in the past have talked very little about the Audie Romance Finalists here at Speaking of Audiobooks and at our Romance Goodreads group. Why pay attention to an awards ceremony that often doesn’t even fill the romance category with books actually categorized as romance? After all, the Romance winner in 2011(The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte by Syrie James) was categorized as general fiction. I understand that the list of romance finalists is not meant to be a statement of romance listeners’ favorites. However, generally those lists (and the winners) haven’t generated many warm fuzzies among the romance listening community. Continue reading →
There’s a new trend sweeping the audiobook industry and it’s the frequent use of untrained narrators. Narrators who are more likely to take away from the audiobook experience rather than add to it. It’s a trend that I hope will simply spend itself and go away, but one which I’m afraid is here to stay. I can only assume that somewhere along the line, the decision to use untrained narrators (with lower pay) translates into the ability to produce more audiobooks. But in the process, an invisible price is paid as the listener’s trust slowly erodes. How many listeners will continue to buy audiobooks (or even use the library) if the experience is less than enjoyable? It’s not only a waste of the listener’s money but their time as well.
Fortunately, there are still a number of audiobook publishers who choose to use well-trained narrators for the majority of their releases. As we often see expressed here at Speaking of Audiobooks, listeners develop a trust relationship with narrators, so much so, that listeners are known to follow narrators as well as authors from one audiobook to the next. Continue reading →
It looks like 2013 will be one of the best years yet for historical romance listening with many popular print books finally scheduled for audio release.
It starts this month with the release of Julie Garwood’s The Secret, a book that has made every AAR Top 100 Romances Poll since it started in 1998. It’s classic Julie Garwood and one many recall from their early days of romance reading with its original 1992 publication date. And it is being narrated by one of my favorites for historical romance – Susan Duerden.
Brilliance has scheduled the majority of Garwood’s backlist (that is not already in audio format) for release in 2013. A month ago, we saw the release of Prince Charming (Rosalyn Landor) with projected release dates for: Continue reading →
It’s once again time to take a look at the previous twelve months of listening and choose my Top Ten romance audios for the year. Over the past two weeks, I’ve relistened to portions of each of these choices, bringing vividly to life the reasons for their inclusion on this list. I recall my excitement and pleasure as I listened to each of these outstanding releases.
I find I’m no longer a purist when it comes to my romance listening. Oh, I still require a thread of romance or the potential (in a continuing series) for such but my favorites no longer have to feature the romance first and foremost. And this year’s Top Ten is evidence of such with books bordering on women’s fiction, paranormal with future romance potential, or fantasy with overtones of romance. Continue reading →
Romance audio enthusiasts have something splendid coming their way in 2013 – the ever so loved and admired Laura Kinsale. I’m not talking about our usual experience of seeing an audio release here and another there as we wonder about the timing of the next release and especially the chosen narrator. It’s much bigger than that.
How about seeing her entire backlist in 2013? That’s the plan – twelve extraordinary tales as only Laura Kinsale can deliver. And our wait won’t be all that long with five to six of those titles released around mid-year followed by the balance before year-end. As one of my favorite authors in print, I was thrilled with this news. After all, I’ve been wishing for Kinsale audios out loud for several years now.
We won’t need to wait anxiously for the choice of narrator either as Ms. Kinsale chose, with great care, one narrator for all of her titles – Nicholas Boulton. An accomplished British actor, you can explore his background over at IMBD as well as listen to sound bites at Audible. After listening to samples from A Battle Won and David Copperfield, I’m convinced his gorgeous sexy voice combined with obvious talent and excellent material will spell scrumptious listening!
If Laura Kinsale is a new name to you, it’s a good time to check out her books in eBook format as Amazon currently has six of her titles priced at $2.99. If you are looking for a place to start, I recommend The Shadow and the Star, Flowers from the Storm or Uncertain Magic. Don’t expect anything ordinary – these are intricate stories packed with emotional depth and unusual characters.
Here’s a toast to all the Kinsale listening in our future!
Reading tastes often change over the years – I realize that. But I find the degree of change I’ve seen in my life over the past five years to be on the rather surprising side. At one time, I knew my favorite romance sub-genres and stuck to them faithfully. If I tired of one, I moved to another, knowing a break would allow me to regain interest in the first. The genres that totally captured my attention five years ago were historical (any setting) and contemporary romance – period. If a contemporary romance developed a whodunit, the grade went down. If a historical heroine started helping the super spy hero find the bad guy or investigate a mystery (usually with no such experience on her part), I could barely finish the book. I needed my contemporary and historical romance titles to be purely just that with no whodunits thrown in. Continue reading →
Here at Speaking of Audiobooks, we have bragged on Audible in the past, encouraged others to give Audible a try, alerted listeners to Audible specials, and followed Audible’s romance releases day by day – reporting back to fellow listeners, both here and our affiliated Romance Audiobooks Goodreads group, those unexpected releases we know will cause excitement. And we have wondered out loud many times just why Audible doesn’t provide a comprehensive Coming Soon list for all genres and romance in particular.
Well, change is a coming. A few months ago at Audible, I started noticing a few future releases (with preorder ability) tucked in a corner here and there if the book was part of an ongoing series. Good. Then I noticed Audible had increased their Coming Soon section on their Home Page with the ability to sort by genre. Better. And then I realized you could preorder those Coming Soon titles. Even better. Continue reading →
Paige Holden is a trainee Private Investigator working pro bono for Maria Munoz, the mother of Ramon, currently in prison for the murder of a woman six years earlier. Maria is convinced that Ramon is innocent and asks Paige to look into it. Early one Tuesday morning, Elena Munoz (Ramon’s wife) is killed in front of Paige and thus starts the roller coaster ride that is No One Left to Tell. Continue reading →
After getting a taste of the winning combination of author Julie James and narrator Karen White with Penguin’s release of Just the Sexiest Man Alive in 2010, romance audio fans have been begging for more from this talented team. After all, Julie’s A Lot Like Love won the Best Contemporary Romance award in AAR’s 2012 Annual Reader Poll and Something About You won that same award in 2011. And since Karen’s narration of Just the Sexiest Man Alive, she has been praised throughout the romance audio community for her performances.
If you’ve been an audiobook enthusiast for long, you know that the industry exploded with the availability of digital downloads. As a result, the number of romance releases increased sharply and the selection only gets better with each passing month. As one of those enthusiasts and a fan of romance, I pay close attention to those audio publishers who historically have offered a significant selection of romance audio and continue to do so. You know, those publishers who take the time to choose quality narrators for their titles as well as discover those authors that make romance listeners sit up and take notice. Here’s to giving a shout-out to those publishers who are doing a particularly fine job of it.
Before we start, I’ll add a disclaimer – I’m using numbers from Audible. I’m aware that there are audiobooks from years ago in audio cassette or CD format that have yet to hit the digital download market. But since we’re discussing the move in the romance audio industry over the past few years, I feel the Audible numbers are adequate for this discussion.