It Happened One AutumnIt seems as though I’m on an audiobook high and I think it all has to do with my newfound love of paranormal romances.  Since I’m not too familiar with the genre, I clump paranormal, fantasy, alternate reality, futuristic, vampire, and shapeshifter romances all into a category I refer to as, yes…paranormal.

My thanks for this paranormal audio high go to our listeners here at Speaking of Audiobooks.  Through your recommendations I am successfully exploring a number of categories I usually consider outside of my comfort zone.  Here are a few of those paranormals that I’m finding highly entertaining.

The Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris

Narrated by Johanna Parker

The first in this series, Dead Until Dark, was one of my selections for My Unofficial Personal Listening Challenge for 2010.  An A for the series so far and I’m on Book 4.

The Sharing Knife series by Lois McMaster Bujold

Narrated by Bernadette Dunne

If you read the column regularly, you’ve probably read my highly favorable comments on this series.  It contains four books and I’ve listened to three.  I’m saving the fourth because I simply don’t want it to end!

The Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh

Narrated by Justine Eyre

I’m talking about this series later in the column but the first, Angel’s Blood, knocked me off my feet.  There are only two in the series so far but the third is scheduled for release in early 2011.

The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger

Narrated by Emily Gray

Actually the first in the series, Soulless, is the only book in audio to date but I’m waiting on Changeless (April print release) and Blameless (August print release).

The Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward

Narrated by Jim Frangione

I’m cheating a bit here since I fell in love with this series when I read it in print (my only paranormal success at the time).  I find the audiobooks to be a true winning experience as well.

Leftovers from July

Here are just a few of those surprise audiobooks that failed to make last month’s New Releases column.

Brockmann, Suzanne – Forever Blue Narrated by Ashley Adlon

Brockmann, Suzanne – A Man to Die For Narrated by Blair Windsor

Brockmann, Suzanne – Not Without Risk Narrated by Tiffany Cole

Carr, Robyn – Angel’s Peak Narrated by Therese Plummer

Dahl, Victoria – Crazy for Love Narrated by Montana Chase

Frost, Jeaniene – First Drop of Crimson Narrated by Tavia Gilbert

James, Eloisa – An Affair Before Christmas Narrated by Susan Duerden

James, Eloisa – Desperate Duchesses Narrated by Rosalyn Landor

Morsi, Pamela – The Bikini Car Wash Narrated by Gabra Zackman

Showalter, Gena – The Darkest Passion Narrated by Max Bellmore

Audiobook Romances on Sale in August

Abridged

Deveraux, Jude – Scarlet Nights Narrated by Rick Holmes

Feehan, Christine – Dark Peril Narrated by Natalie & Phil Gigante

Garwood, Julie – Rebellious Desire Narrated by Anne Flosnik

Graham, Heather – Ghost Moon Narrated by Angela Dawe

Heyer, Georgette – The Convenient Marriage Narrated by Richard Armitage

Macomber, Debbie – 1022 Evergreen Place Narrated by Sandra Burr

Macomber, Debbie – 92 Pacific Boulevard Narrated by Sandra Burr

Michaels, Fern – Exclusive Narrated by Natalie Ross

Michaels, Fern – Fern Michaels Sisterhood CD Collection Narrated by Laural Merlington

Michaels, Fern – Sins of Omission Narrated by Joyce Bean

Quick, Amanda – Wait Until Midnight Narrated by Anne Flosnik

Roberts, Nora – Heaven and Earth Narrated by Sandra Burr

Roberts, Nora – Nora Roberts Irish Trilogy: Jewels of the Sun, Tears of the Moon, Heart of the Sea Narrated by Patricia Daniels

Veil of NightUnabridged

Dickey, Eric Jerome – Tempted by Trouble Narrated by Dion Graham

Dodd, Christina – Tongue in Chic Narrated by Christina Traister

Feehan, Christine – Dark Peril Narrated by Natalie & Phil Gigante

Fitzgerald, Laura – One True Theory of Love Narrated by July Whelan

Garwood, Julie – Rebellious Desire Narrated by Anne Flosnik

Gerritsen, Tess – Call After Midnight Narrated by Angela Dawe

Graham, Heather – Ghost Moon Narrated by Angela Dawe

Howard, Linda – Mackenzie’s Mountain Narrated by Christina Traister

Howard, Linda – Veil of Night Narrated by Clarinda Ross

Kleypas, Lisa – It Happened One Autumn Narrated by Rosalyn Landor

Kleypas, Lisa – Secrets of a Summer Night Narrated by Rosalyn Landor

Macomber, Debbie – 1022 Evergreen Place Narrated by Sandra Burr

Mallery, Susan – Finding Perfect Narrated by Tanya Eby

Mallery, Susan – Under Her Skin Narrated by Julie Francis

Michaels, Fern – Exclusive Narrated by Natalie Ross

Michaels, Fern – Sins of Omission Narrated by Joyce Bean

Phillips, Carly – Love Me If You Dare Narrated by Coleen Marlo

Quick, Amanda – Desire Narrated by Anne Flosnik

Sands, Lynsay – Born to Bite Narrator name not provided

Sands, Lynsay – The Hellion and the Highlander Narrated by Marianna Palk

Woods, Sherryl – Welcome to Serenity Narrated by Janet Metzger

Recent Additions to my Audio Library

Family Blessings – LaVyrle Spencer

Narrated by Barbara Rush

After listening to Spencer’s Separate Beds, I had to try more.  An age difference between the leads of 15 years (heroine 45 – hero 30) sounds like only the beginning of the challenges this couple faces but it sounds like a meaty romance nonetheless.

What Happens in London – Julia Quinn

Narrated by Rosalyn Landor

Andi granted this DIK status (A grade) when she reviewed it for AAR and so I decided to pick it up when I found it on sale cheap at Audible recently.  I’m hoping for more of the delightful exchanges between the leads I’ve seen in other Quinn books.

Summer of Two Wishes – Julia London

Narrated by Natalie Ross

This looks to be a deeply moving love triangle with an assumed dead husband returning from the war in Afghanistan only to find his wife remarried.  I’m not too fond of the whole triangle thing but I do have faith in London’s contemporary voice.  I actually had this one on my wish list for months before it was released.

Morning Glory – LaVyrle Spencer

Narrated by Kate Forbes

Victory!  In our last column I talked about how I longed for an unabridged copy of Morning Glory (the abridged is easily available) – it is very hard to find.  Katyco located a library copy and then MaryK advised me that one was for sale on eBay!  Thanks to MaryK, I’m now waiting for it to arrive.  I really don’t care all that much that it’s in cassette tape format.  I thought Morning Glory to be an outstanding read and, after all, I listened to tapes for years.  I have the whole process down pat.

s BloodRecent Listens

Soulless – Gail Carriger

Narrated by Emily Gray

Having read Soulless in print, I was quite excited to see it in audio format.  Heroine Alexia is quite a witty, entertaining character who plays perfectly against Lord Maccon, an alpha werewolf.  The narration is simply superb.  It’s my first experience listening to Emily Gray, but I’ll look for her narrations in the future.  Ms. Gray primarily uses accents to differentiate characters and it is with great effect.  Her timing is spot-on and her delivery of the leads voices and attitudes was better than those in my head.  I highly recommend Soulless in audio format.

Angel’s Blood – Nalini Singh

Narrated by Justine Eyre

Wondering if I could truly enjoy a book so thoroughly paranormal, I began listening a bit nervously since my expectations were high.  Others here at Speaking of Audiobooks had given Angel’s Blood high praise and I thought the hero sounded pretty perfect for my tastes.  I can’t say that the narration was completely ideal since the voice in my head for Raphael often differed from that which I heard but it was still a remarkable listening experience.  An inspired performance by Justine Eyre, the entire scope of the characters voices doesn’t range much in pitch but rarely did I find it difficult to differentiate characters and that’s quite a statement considering the large secondary cast.  Accents and rhythm are utilized instead to distinguish voices and, I must add, with great effectiveness.  As soon as I finished listening to Angel’s Blood, I started listening all over again and that is very rare, if not a first, for me.  This particular paranormal delivers a lot of romance and the buildup towards the end was moving beyond words.  The sequel, Archangel’s Kiss is on my iPod ready to go.  Overall, the audiobook and story content rates an A in my book.

One Season of Sunshine – Julia London

Narrated by Natalie Ross

More chick lit than romance, One Season of Sunshine delivers a solid story that I found tender at times and a little aggravating at others.  Asher, a wealthy widower, has two children in need of care and it’s the perfect job for Jane as she takes time from her usual life to search for her birth mother.  Natalie Ross is a talented narrator but one I find inconsistent – her performance here is only adequate.  There is little to distinguish Asher’s voice from the general narration or a number of the other characters and I backed up more than once to discover just who had made the last statement.  But I think I may have looked over this lack of distinction if I hadn’t been annoyed with Jane.  Her independence seemed more like immaturity at times and I wanted to say “Count your blessings!”  Asher and his children as characters get an A+ – Jane’s more in the C range.  Combined with the narration, this one gets a qualified recommendation.

Time for Your Thoughts

What new releases are you looking forward to?

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

What are the latest additions to your audio library?

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

Ending Notes

I’m announcing new audiobook releases as they occur each weekday on Twitter.  I don’t cover every new release but attempt to include the more significant titles.  To follow me on Twitter, look for LeaAAR.

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 mid-August.

– Lea Hensley