Burning LampAs many of you know, watching for new releases of romance audiobooks is a part of my morning routine and one I quite enjoy since it’s a constant search for those gems that failed to be included in some sort of “upcoming audiobook” list.  Audible, in particular, seems to pride itself in surprising us with new releases we had no idea were coming.

Lately Audible seems to be playing another game and that is dumping numerous audiobooks into their romance listings that have little or nothing to do with romance.  I’ll acknowledge that there’s always been this tendency at Audible but romance is becoming more of a catch all every month and it takes away some of the excitement during my morning searches.  As I sign on each day, I’m always looking for an increase in that magical number of romance audiobooks (it’s always stamped in my memory) but it’s a bit of a letdown when I see, say, five new releases only to find four, upon research, aren’t romances at all.

I’m buying as many new audiobooks each month as previously but recently I’m finding fewer new releases (this includes new releases of older books) to fire my interest to the point of purchase.  My purchasing lately is based more on those recommendations I’ve picked up here at our Speaking of Audiobooks discussions.  Is anyone else noticing a lack of depth in our romance audiobook choices or is it just a dry period for someone with my combination of preferences?

However, as I look at numerous romance audiobooks scheduled for release later this year, there’s still a lot for me to be excited about.  Let’s just hope my morning searches start offering some more of those hidden gems!

Audiobook Romances on Sale in April

Abridged

Jackson, Lisa – Without Mercy

Krentz, Jayne Ann – Light in Shadow

Lindsey, Johanna – A Rogue of My Own

Michaels, Fern – Fern Michaels CD Collection 2: What You Wish For, Mr. and Mrs. Anonymous

Michaels, Fern – Texas Rich

Robards, Karen – Karen Robards CD Collection 2: Obsession, Guilty

Robb, J.D. – Glory in Death

Roberts, Nora – Heart of the Sea

Roberts, Nora – Midnight Bayou

Snelling, Lauraine – No Distance Too Far

Shameless 2Unabridged

Dodd, Christina – One Kiss From You

Dodd, Christina – Scandalous Again

Feehan, Christine – Wild Fire

Graham, Heather – The Killing Edge

Howard, Linda & Jones, Linda – Blood Born

Macomber, Debbie – Married in Seattle: First Comes Marriage, Wanted: Perfect Partner

Macomber, Debbie – The Matchmakers

Macomber, Debbie – Right Next Door:  Father’s Day, The Courtship of Carol Sommars

Michaels, Fern – Deadly Deals

Michaels, Fern – Kentucky Heat

Michaels, Fern – Kentucky Rich

Michaels, Fern – Kentucky Sunrise

Michaels, Fern – Return to Sender

Quick, Amanda – Burning Lamp

Quick, Amanda – Dangerous

Robards, Karen – Shameless

Roberts, Nora – Savor the Moment

Woods, Sherryl – Sweet Tea at Sunrise

Recent Additions to My Audio Library

Devil’s Bride – Stephanie Laurens

Narrated by Simon Prebble

Devil’s Bride is one of the first audiobooks I listened to many years ago and I still own it in tape format.  Although I’m not a big Stephanie Laurens fan, I wanted to enjoy this one again, this time in MP3 format, especially after hearing so much praise from many of our listeners for Simon Prebble’s narration.

Everything I Ever Wanted – Jo Goodman

Narrated by Jenny Sterlin

This is the second in Goodman’s Compass Club series (I was very pleased with the first, Let Me Be the One) and I’m hoping that Jenny Sterlin lives up to Virginia Leishman’s narration.  This one is expensive unless using an Audible credit – running in the neighborhood of $56 – $79.

The Sharing Knife Volume 1: Beguilement – Lois McMaster Bujold

Narrated by Bernadette Dunne

After reading such extreme praise for this series from our listeners, I had to find out what the excitement is all about.  Apparently I’m in for quite a treat with narrator Bernadette Dunne.  She’s new to me.

Getting Rid of Bradley – Jennifer Crusie

Narrated by Elenna Stauffer

For the most part, Crusie’s books (with the exception of the excellent Welcome to Temptation) are only average reads for me in print.  But I’ve discovered that many are quite delightful in audio format and I’m continuing to add these treasures to my audio library.

Lawman by Diana Palmer

Narrated by Todd McLaren

I have never read a book by Diana Palmer and it looks as though readers either love or hate them.  Lawman received a B+ grade here at AAR and one day I was in a “What the heck?!” mood and decided I’d try Palmer audio style.

Beast 2Recent Reads

The Dead Travel Fast – Deanna Raybourn

Narrated by Charlotte Parry

Gothics – I love them and this one totally fits that bill.  Told in first person by the heroine, Charlotte Parry gives Theodora a light Scots lilt that is more than pleasant to the ear and also works to effectively differentiate her voice from that of the Count.  Parry’s male characterizations aren’t quite as effective but I accustomed myself to the timbre of Count’s voice shortly after his introduction.  Overall, this is a definite audiobook success with well written and delivered suspense, fascinating characters, and a satisfying romance.

Beast – Judith Ivory

Narrated by Barbara Rosenblat

My least favorite of Ivory’s books, I decided to give the audio version a shot, especially when I discovered it was narrated by the wonderful Barbara Rosenblat.  Her narration was definitely the highlight and held my attention to the degree that I listened to an entire book that I still didn’t care for.  A staggeringly beautiful, very young heroine combined with an older hero surprisingly worked more for me in audio but I think that was mostly due to the hero’s highly entertaining self talk.  It was, once again, the presence of so many lies and disguises that ultimately left me more frustrated than contented.

Start Me Up – Victoria Dahl

Narrated by Wanda Fontaine

My first Dahl book, this is one that I believe is probably best experienced in print.  The narrator’s characterization of Lori was uneven and she often sounded like a little girl.  Overall, the characters’ voices weren’t easily distinguishable and I found myself frequently losing track of who was speaking.  There were also too many drawn out sensual scenes for my audiobook comfort level.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m certainly not shy about that sort of thing but I wanted more solid story content with fewer sexual encounters.  Added to all of this is the fact that I wasn’t too fond of Lori nor did I think she had much on the ball.

Time for Your Thoughts

What new releases are you looking forward to?

Do you know of any April releases that failed to make this list?

What upcoming romance audiobooks further into 2010 are you especially looking forward to?

What are the latest additions to your audio library?

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

Ending Notes

Please check AAR’s main site for monthly lists of upcoming audiobook releases,

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

See you again later this month.

– Lea Hensley