Pride and PrejudiceOur holiday season in Oklahoma is in full swing and I’m finding myself busy with gift buying, decorating, and planning several trips to see family from Christmas through New Year’s.  Ours will be an old fashioned Christmas celebration, complete with country cooking and Southern style cornbread dressing.  Traveling to and from our family get-togethers, I’ll be armed with my iPod and yet another entertaining audiobook.  Sitting next to me in the car will be my husband with his iPod listening to an audiobook of his choice as well.  Yes, I have made a true convert of my husband and he is now a certified audiobook listener.  However, we don’t share the same tastes in books and, therefore, don’t have any joint listening sessions.  What a sight we are.  Thoroughly modern grandparents on the way to see their new grandbabies, both with iPods playing and wearing earphones!

AAR’s Top 100 Poll – Audio Style

Last week AAR published the results of their 2010 Top 100 Romances poll.  The poll is conducted every three years and hundreds of readers submitted their Top 100 reads which were then painstakingly tallied by LinnieGayl, CindyS, and Lee B.  As I looked over the list I started wondering, “Just how many of our readers’ top 100 romances are available in audio as well?”  I was shocked to find 61!

Of course, as audiobook enthusiasts, we know well that just because a book is a favorite in print does not mean it translates well to audio.  And the reverse is true as well.  A book that may not make your Top 100 ballot may very well be one of your favorites in audio.

Format makes a difference as well and 57 titles of these 61 audiobooks are available in unabridged format.  It should be noted that the three classics on the list, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion are all available in numerous audiobooks, allowing a choice of narrators.

Of AAR’s top 25 books, 13 (listed by rank) are also offered in audio:

2. Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas

3. Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas

4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

5. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

13. Paradise by Judith McNaught

15. It Had to Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

16. Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

19. The Bride by Julie Garwood

20. The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne

22. Heaven, Texas by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

23. Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard

24. Naked in Death by J.D. Robb

25. Blue-Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas

The complete list of audiobooks we discovered hidden within the depths of AAR’s Top 100 poll (listed by author) are:

Lisa Kleypas:

Dreaming of You (1/01/11)

Devil in Winter

Blue-Eyed Devil

It Happened One Autumn

Suddenly You

Smooth Talking Stranger

Sugar Daddy

Then Came You (1/01/11)

Love in the Afternoon

Seduce Me at Sunrise

Married by Morning

Scandal in Spring

Susan Elizabeth Phillips

It Had to Be You

Heaven, Texas

Nobody’s Baby But Mine

This Heart of Mine

Match Me if You Can

Kiss an Angel

Dream a Little Dream

Natural Born Charmer

Ain’t She Sweet

Linda Howard

Mr. Perfect

Mackenzie’s Mountain

Dream Man

After the Night

Cry No More

Open Season

To Die For

Julie Garwood

The Bride

Honor’s Splendour

The Secret

Ransom (abridged)

Saving Grace

J.R. Ward

Lover Awakened

Lover Eternal

Dark Lover

Judith McNaught (all abridged)



Something Wonderful

Jennifer Crusie

Bet Me

Welcome to Temptation

Julia Quinn

When He Was Wicked

What Happens in London

Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice


Diana Gabaldon



Mary Balogh

More Than a Mistress

Joanna Bourne

The Spymaster’s Lady

Suzanne Brockmann

Over the Edge

Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre

Georgette Heyer

Devil’s Cub

Elizabeth Hoyt

To Beguile a Beast

Judith Ivory

The Proposition

Stephanie Laurens

Devil’s Bride

Amanda Quick


J. D. Robb

Naked in Death

Sea SweptNora Roberts

Sea Swept

Nalini Singh

Angel’s Blood

LaVyrle Spencer

Morning Glory (Abridged version.  Unabridged is ISBN 1-4025-2253-3)

Sherry Thomas

Private Arrangements

Unfortunately a number of these treasures are in that hard-to-find category but after our Those Older Hard-to-Find discussion earlier this year, many of us have discovered that the finding is not as impossible as it once seemed.  Libraries are excellent sources as well as online used book sites, eBay, and simply borrowing from an audio friend.  Much of it is just knowing that they are out there to find.

I’ve listened to 40 of the 61 and have another eight in my to-be-listened-to folder.  It’s obvious that I still have some exploring to do.  After mulling over this list, I’ll be trying all three of those classics (I know it’s a shame – I have yet to listen to a single classic audiobook) and Nora Roberts’ Sea Swept.  I’m still thinking about a few others.

Speaking of Audiobooks will conduct an official Top Romance Audiobooks poll later in 2011.  We audiobook lovers can then get a true picture of those favorites that rate high both in story content and narration.

The Fever Series

After listening to the first four books in Karen Marie Moning’s Fever Series, I’m in the mood for a party to celebrate the ending of this fascinating series when Shadowfever is released on January 18th.  Unfortunately I won’t be in New Orleans on January 17th when Moning holds her Shadowfever Launch Party but we can still have fun discussing all the mysterious details and hints of things to come that Moning uses to both entrance and tease us.  Ours will be a much more laid back affair as we can still sleep if we choose to.  The plans for Moning’s Launch Party includes (in KMM’s own words) “…a book signing gala the night before Shadowfever goes on sale, a stay-up-all-night-long-reading Pajama Party capped off by intimate discussion and Q & A with me the next day about the entire series” (starting at 10:30 a.m.).

A number of us plan to start listening (or relistening) to the Fever Series the last week of December.  You may want to ask along the way (again in KMM’s words), “What’s what and what did you think of what’s what, who was right, who was wrong, and how much did you see coming?”  We’ll have a specific place set up for discussion during the month of January.  On the day of the Shadowfever’s release, Speaking of Audiobooks will interview narrator Phil Gigante and have a Fever giveaway as well.

And we’re not just watching to see how this captivating series ends or merely along for what is sure to be a breath taking ride.  As romance readers of an urban fantasy series, we’re watching to see if KMM will provide us with a happy ending for Mac.  Many of us already have bets on who we think the hero will be in that longed-for HEA.  We’re hoping you’ll decide to join us!

Call Me IrresistibleSusan Elizabeth Phillips News

For those of us who will forever miss the voice of Anna Fields (Kate Fleming) narrating a Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ book, Harper Collins is giving us a sample of their newly chosen narrator for Call Me Irresistible and let me tell you that after hearing this sample, I am excited!

Receiving disconsolate letters from SEP listeners after the audiobook releases of Glitter Baby and What I Did For Love, Phillips took seriously the job of finding new talent for Call Me Irresistible acknowledging that it was somewhat of a Herculean endeavor, saying, “I don’t envy anybody walking in Kate’s shadow.  The readers loved her so much.”

Phillips chose Shannon Cochran explaining that, “she ‘acts’ the characters instead of reading them, something I think will go over really well with my readers. This book is a huge challenge in terms of accents.  There are two women with upper-crust British accents in conversations with deep Texas women, and Shannon really carries it off. I feel like Kate Fleming was perched on my shoulder when I finally took that deep breath and chose Shannon.”

Harper Collins wants to know what you think about Ms. Cochran’s reading of Call Me Irresistible – so much so that they are making the entire first chapter available in advance of the 1/18/11 release date.  Report back here to Speaking of Audiobooks your impressions and we’ll let Harper Collins know your thoughts.  We’ll be collecting your responses for the next month.

We often talk in our discussions about the likelihood of those powers-that-be in the audiobook industry actual taking note of listeners’ complaints and here’s proof positive that at times, they certainly do!

Audible’s Best of 2010

Audible recently released its Best of 2010, including the five best romance audiobooks (chosen through Editor’s Picks and Customer Favorites):

Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie

Lover Mine by J.R. Ward

A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James

Lead Me On by Victoria Dahl

First Drop of Crimson by Jeaniene Frost

Color me surprised as I have not listened to a single one of these Bests (although Lover Mine is in my to-be-listened-to folder).  Maybe This Time does confuse me as the best romance since it is mostly a ghost mystery with a secondary romance.  That doesn’t fit my best romance definition but I also understand the fact that Crusie has a large fan base with remarkable marketing.  As for the other books – it’s not that the authors are unknown to me; it’s just that I hadn’t thought to give these books a try.

Time for Your Thoughts

How many of your favorite audiobooks were included in AAR’s Top 100 list?

Share with us a few of your favorite audiobooks that were in the Top 100.

Have you been inspired to try an audiobook by seeing this list?  What are the titles?

What are your thoughts on Audible’s Best Five Romances for 2010?  Can you recommend any?

Have you listened to the sample of Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips?  What were your thoughts?  Remember, we’ll be collecting those thoughts in the columns’ discussions for the next month.

And as always, do you have any recent audiobook successes or failures to share with us?

Ending Notes

Fellow audiobooks enthusiast Anne Stuart announced this past week on Facebook that an audio deal has been made for her Rohan series as well as Fire and Ice.

Speaking of Audiobooks 2011 Listening Challenge begins in January.  Our first column of the year will be dedicated to our upcoming challenge.  We hope you’ll decide to join us!

Our Speaking of Audiobooks Goodreads group keeps growing with 29 members.  Come join us as and share your audiobook shelf with us.

I’m announcing romance audiobook news and new releases on Twitter.  To follow me on Twitter, look for LeaAAR.

I’ll be back again later this month when we discuss January audiobook new releases.

– Lea Hensley