Archive for the ‘Lea Hensley’ Category

The results of the AAR Top Ten Lists are in and the winner is….

Monday, October 7th, 2013

loverawakenedBack in April, we began, on each Tuesday, publishing a reviewer’s Top Ten list. There were no rules other than the books be in the romance genre. Over the next five months, we published twenty-three lists. Out of the 230 entries, we listed 201 books. We hit every genre (although we have a definitive fondness for historical romance), and waxed upon the works of 121 authors. After every one had weighed in, only one book garnered five–the most–votes: J.R. Ward’s Lover Awakened. (more…)

Speaking of Audiobooks: Locating Your Audiobook Files

Friday, October 4th, 2013

sFall

We have something special at Speaking of Audiobooks today. Brenda Lee is giving us some technical advice – she’s quite good at it and has been the hidden technical side of Speaking of Audiobooks for years now. Brenda has now officially joined AAR as our Audiobook Tech and we’ll occasionally run one of her tutorials. Please let her know if there is a specific audiobook technical issue you’d like to see featured here. –  Lea Hensley

Fall turns my mind to sorting, organizing, and settling in for the winter months. Once the snow starts to fly, it stays on the ground until spring in these mountains. What does this have to do with audiobooks you ask? Bringing order to my surroundings includes setting my computer files to rights, audiobooks included.

While doing this, I thought I’d share what many audiobook enthusiasts consider hidden entrances to their audio libraries. The back way in, where you can find normal disorder or utter chaos – neither of which shows from the front entry. (more…)

Speaking of Audiobooks: Bits of Audio News

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Kinsale-FlowersfromtheStorm-shadow(1) Quality versus Quantity

With more and more romance audiobooks flooding Audible these days, it’s not all that easy to locate those audios that may be of particular interest to you. Just two years ago, the romance audio pickings remained slim with proven narrators performing the majority of titles. As with the eBook market, I imagine most readers/listeners understand that increased selection doesn’t necessarily mean increase in the number quality titles.

Of course, with this tremendous increase in audio titles, it only makes sense that there is an increase in the need for narrators as well. Unfortunately, this also means publishers are looking for the most affordable way to bring those narrations to their doorstep and home studios provide them with such. Combine an untrained narrator with a home studio with no director, and the consumer pays the price of an unsatisfactory listening experience.

The result? The percentage of overall quality narrations has decreased with untrained narrators performing not only those numerous new-to-us authors but also well-known authors with backlists just now releasing in audio format. Since successful audio purchasing requires the combination of a talented author (who speaks to you) and a gifted narrator who effectively delivers, it’s more challenging than ever to find these winning combinations. Fortunately, Audible provides an easy return service. If an audio isn’t working for you, return it and state your reason.

Keeping this in mind, Speaking of Audiobooks will now mention a few titles each month that should prove to be exceptional while cautioning listeners on a number that may prove to be disappointing. I hope you will join in and share with us those that are exceptional listens or utter disappointments. (more…)

AAR Staff Top Ten Favorites – Lea’s Picks

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

keeperofthedream As I’m sure a number of other AAR reviewers discovered when choosing their Top Ten Favorite romance books, it’s not an easy task. I whittled my list down to twenty and realized some of my absolute favorites still had to be marked off the list. I wondered, should I include those ultimate favorites from ten years ago when I was most passionate about the romance genre? Or, now that my tastes have evolved, should I choose newer discoveries that more closely match my tastes today? And since I listen to so many audiobooks, how could I keep those with excellent audio deliveries from influencing my choice of print books? Not easy. But then I realized just how much my Top Ten audiobooks list would differ from those books available in print format only and decided to not mix the two. I’ll save my list of top audiobooks for a Speaking of Audiobooks column.

As I reduced the list to only ten books, I decided to include a number of romances that were A+ reads years ago and a number that are my first choices today. After painfully marking a good number of extremely good, completely satisfying reads off the list, here are my Top Ten Favorites in no particular order. (more…)

Speaking of Audiobooks: June is Audiobook Month

Monday, June 24th, 2013

JIAM
“June Is Audiobook Month” (JIAM) reads like a sentence but it’s actually the name of a month long campaign to enhance visibility, awareness and popularity for audiobooks by directly reaching out to consumers. Sites and blogs celebrating the audio publishing industry are featuring all sorts of giveaways, interviews, chats, reviews, and examples of the sheer excellence that can be found in audio listening.

Since we’re entering the last week of JIAM, I thought it a good time to share with you some of the many events we’ve already seen during JIAM 2013 and some still to be enjoyed this week. Here are a number of blogs and sites that have strongly supported JIAM: (more…)

Speaking of Audiobooks: APAC Report

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Narrators/Bloggers Breakfast - from left to right - Xe Sands, Simon Vance, Amy Rubinate, Gayle Weiswasser, Anne Flosnik, Lea Hensley, Patrick Lawlor, Lauren Fortgang; Standing - Karen White and Robert Fass

Narrators/Bloggers Breakfast – from left to right – Xe Sands, Simon Vance, Amy Rubinate, Gayle Weiswasser, Anne Flosnik, Lea Hensley, Patrick Lawlor, Lauren Fortgang; Standing – Karen White and Robert Fass

In late May, I attended the Audio Publishers Association Conference (APAC) in New York City, a first time event for me. Not only was I there to meet face-to-face those narrators and publishers I’ve come to know over the years by working together online but to participate in a panel discussion on Listening Community Reviews.

Not knowing what to expect from a one-day conference, I was thoroughly impressed, first with the community of narrators – professionals who work more often than not, alone in a sound booth and hail from all over the country. I discovered it is a close knit group, not large in number, that is highly supportive of one another. And warmly appreciative of bloggers and sites that feature their work and personally promote audiobooks. (more…)

Speaking of Audiobooks: It’s All Reviews – May 2013

Monday, May 20th, 2013

TPOM-print It’s time for another All Reviews column here at Speaking of Audiobooks. Eight audiobooks are up for review including Laura Kinsale’s The Prince of Midnight (no link yet for the audio), Rachel Gibson’s Simply Irresistible, Julie James’ Love Irresistibly, Julie Garwood’s Prince Charming, Cynthia Eden’s Die for Me, J.D. Robb’s Calculated in Death, Jeaniene Frost’s Twice Tempted, and Sophie Kinsella’s Wedding Night.

The Prince of Midnight – Laura Kinsale

Narrated by Nicholas Boulton

Review written by Lea Hensley

It’s finally here. Romance listeners have eagerly awaited The Prince of Midnight, the first audio release from Laura Kinsale’s fascinating backlist. Earlier this year, Ms. Kinsale announced that her entire backlist (twelve titles) would be released in audio during 2013 and into 2014 and now we have a taste of Kinsale’s skillful writing combined with Nicholas Boulton’s talented performance. It’s sheer audio perfection. (more…)

Speaking of Audiobooks: Covers – Help or Hindrance?

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Crystal Cove(1) When making a decision to buy an audiobook, the cover doesn’t influence my choice one way or another. If I want a particular audiobook, I’ll buy it, and if I don’t like the cover, I’ll remind myself that with my iPod, I’ll seldom see it.

But can an attractive or catchy cover influence me to take a second look at a book by an author unfamiliar to me? Or does a non-appealing cover have the power to repel me enough that I won’t consider taking a deeper look at an unknown author? The answer to both of those questions is a “most definitely.” Do those second looks lead to an audio purchase? I admit that it seldom does but if a cover speaks to me, I’m often inspired to take a closer look at the synopsis and reviews.

When you consider that choosing the right audiobook is a series of decisions as one must consider the author, narrator, and the publisher’s history of production quality as well as the synopsis and reviews, I think a case can be made that audiobook covers need to make an even stronger statement than their fellow print versions. After all, their duty is to attract listeners despite the fact that both the author and narrator may be unfamiliar to the buyer. And that’s what a cover is to me – a sales job. Can they entice me to stop and look just a little longer? (more…)

Speaking of Audiobooks: It’s All Reviews – March 2013

Monday, March 25th, 2013

It Must Be Love It’s time for another All Reviews column here at Speaking of Audiobooks. Six audiobooks are up for review including Rachel Gibson’s It Must Be Love, Pamela Clare’s Breaking Point, Julie Garwood’s The Secret, Jayne Ann Krentz’s Dream Eyes, Diana Miller’s Dangerous Affairs, and Maya Bank’s Rush.

It Must be Love by Rachael Gibson

Narrated by Rebecca Tripp

Review written by Carrie

I’ve read all Gibson’s books and was excited about listening to It Must Be Love on audio. I’m pleased to say the narrator is a win, but certain aspects of the plot make the book less enjoyable than I remembered.

Gabrielle, our heroine, mixes herbal remedies and essential oils and talks about auras and karma. She meditates and chants and attempts to find her peaceful center. The street festival in our local university town would be an ideal place to find Gabrielle, and perhaps that’s also true for Boise, Idaho where the book is set. While many of the beliefs Gabrielle espouses are still quite popular, the New Age phenomenon was much more prominent in pop culture when the book was published in 2000. (more…)

Speaking of Audiobooks: The Audie Finalists in Romance

Monday, March 4th, 2013

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie 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. (more…)