ScandalousIn my search for those hard-to-find romance audiobook gems, I recently found myself happily buying several in cassette tape format.  Ah, the joys (or should I say with our present day technology – the challenges) of listening to audiobooks on a tape player.  I recalled accurately the ease of backing up to replay a passage but I had forgotten the required fast forwards or worrying about the temperature in my car.  Fortunately my old boom box (that looks so out of date these days) still plays the cassettes just fine once I got it going although the volume was a little tricky.  Then there’s the old bright yellow (trimmed with black) Sony Sports Cassette tape player my son proudly purchased for me 20 years ago.  It was considered so high tech and I found such joy in attaching its small case (5” x 3 ½“x 1 ½”) to my clothing as I went for a run.  Now, I have to wear a belt just to support its weight and I can’t help comparing its clunky body to my iPod nano.  The end of each side of a cassette seems to come so quickly before I hear, “Please fast forward to the end of the tape before turning over (or changing to a new tape).”  To think this all used to be so routine to me and never seemed to be a bother.  But you know?  It’s so worth the minor hassle to hear Karen Robards’ One Summer while knowing such audiobooks as LaVyrle Spencer’s Morning Glory, Nora Roberts Carnal Innocence, and Susan Andersen’s Head Over Heels are waiting in the wings.

Leftovers from August

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

Ashley, Jennifer – Immortals Narrated by Rebecca Cook

Brockmann, Suzanne – Prince Joe Narrated by Ashley Adlon

Dodd, Christina – Tongue in Chic Narrated by Christina Traister

Holt, Elizabeth – Wicked Intentions Narrated by Ashford MacNab

Hunter, Madeline – Provocative in Pearls Narrated by Polly Lee

Hunter, Madeline – Ravishing in Red Narrated by Polly Lee

Kenyon, Sherrilyn – Seize the Night Narrated by Fred Berman

Miller, Linda Lael – McKettricks of Texas: Garrett Narrated by Jack Garrett

Shalvis, Jill – The Heat is On Narrated by Gayle Hendrix

Shayne, Maggie – Kill Me Again Narrated by Rachel Butera

Silver, Eve – Sins of the Heart Narrated by Savannah Richards

Thompson, Vicki Lewis – Claimed! Narrated by Felicity Munroe

Audiobook Romances on Sale in September


Evanovich, Janet – Wicked Appetite Narrated by Lorelei King

Howard, Linda – Killing Time Narrated by Joyce Bean

Kleypas, Lisa – Lisa Kleypas CD Collection: Sugar Daddy, Blue-Eyed Devil, Smooth Talking Stranger Various Narrators

Michaels, Fern – Cross Roads Narrated by Laural Merlington

Michaels, Fern – Sins of the Flesh Narrated by Joyce Bean

Robb, J.D. – Survivor in Death Narrated by Susan Ericksen

Roberts, Nora – Hidden Riches Narrated by Sandra Burr

Steel, Danielle – Legacy Narrated by Arthur Morey


Brown, Sandra – French Silk Narrated by Renee Raudman

Delinsky, Barbara – Heart of the Night Narrated by Sandra Burr

Evanovich, Janet – Wicked Appetite Narrated by Lorelei King

Jeffries, Sabrina – A Hellion in Her Bed Narrated by Antony Ferguson

Kenyon, Sherrilyn – No Mercy Narrated by Holter Graham

Macomber, Debbie – Call Me Mrs. Miracle Narrated by Jennifer Van Dyck

Macomber, Debbie – First Comes Marriage: A Selection from Married in Seattle Narrator unknown

Macomber, Debbie – Perfect Partner: A Selection from Married in Seattle Narrator unknown

Mallery, Susan – The Best of Friends Narrated by Renee Raudman

Mallery, Susan – Lip Service Narrated by Julie Francis

Mallery, Susan – Straight from the Hip Narrated by Julie Francis

Michaels, Fern – Cross Roads Narrated by Laural Merlington

Michaels, Fern – Sins of the Flesh Narrated by Joyce Bean

Miller, Linda Lael – Sierra’s Homecoming Narrated by Nellie Chalfant

Robards, Karen – Scandalous Narrated by Justine Eyre

Roberts, Nora – Best Laid Plans Narrated by Christopher Lane

Woods, Sherryl – A Chesapeake Shores Christmas Narrated by Christina Traister

Woods, Sherryl – The Inn at Eagle Point Narrated by Christina Traister

EnvyRecent Listens

Envy – Sandra Brown

Narrated by Victor Slezak

Envy is part of my Unofficial 2010 Listening Challenge.  I haven’t been a fan of romantic suspense in the past and Envy changed that – completely.  Sandra Brown has to be one of the more refined voices for sophisticated suspense combined with romance.  I wasn’t bored for a moment as I listened to Victor Slezak’s superb narration – he simply entrances the listener.  The characters voices are clearly distinguished one from another including several male characters with Southern accents.  The intriguing storyline centers on two old friends, now enemies, and the woman connected to both who is unknowingly being used as a pawn.  I found myself totally caught up in the action as well as the romance and experienced such a sense of loss at its completion that I immediately started listening all over again.  Thanks to Diana for the recommendation. A definite A+.

One Summer – Karen Robards

Narrated by Kate Fleming (Anna Fields)

Knowing this audiobook would be a total winner for me, I finally purchased this hard-to-find gem in cassette tape format.  One Summer is one of my favorite contemporaries and it’s usually readers’ number one Robards book as well.  This character driven romance featuring an ex-con hero framed for a murder he didn’t commit (while still in high school) and his former high school teacher successfully meets every one of my requirements for great romance.  On top of that, narrator Kate Fleming, aka the Anna Fields of Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ numerous audiobooks, performs flawlessly.  Her depiction of Johnny is even better than the voice that played in my head when I read One Summer in print.  I had a better understanding of his attitude (no narrator does a belligerent male better IMO) and his vulnerabilities.  Of course, as expected, Fleming’s performance of Rachel’s character is spot on as well.  I encourage you to look for this one through your local library.  However, if you locate or not, I encourage you to sign on to Audible and suggest that they consider bringing this one to the masses.  Maybe if they hear that request again and again – who knows?  And, this is another A+.

Dead as a Doornail – Charlaine Harris

Narrated by Johanna Parker

The fifth in the Sookie Stackhouse books, my enjoyment of the series continues as well as my amazement that an unending story of vampires, werewolves, humans, shapeshifters, etc. holds my attention so completely.  I did feel this one contained just a few too many dangerous scenarios (the action doesn’t have to keep coming hard and fast to please me).  Regardless, this stimulating series with its myriad characters remains fresh.  Harris simply knows how to write very well and Johanna Parker knows how to deliver her stories.

Tempt Me at Twilight – Lisa Kleypas

Narrated by Rosalyn Landor

No more than a B grade for me when I read in print last year, I was hoping to better appreciate the storyline in audio.  Unfortunately that didn’t prove to be the case.  I have to work at enjoying Rosalyn Landor’s narrations and her depiction of the leads only worked to the book’s detriment.  Poppy’s character once again seemed a little too good even with her hint of self-righteousness and her ever so sweet problem with non-forgiveness.  Landor’s high voiced performance of Poppy reinforced this façade of sweetness to an uncomfortable degree for my tastes.  In a similar manner, Harry’s hard character still rang true with me but Landor’s delivery of his lines made him seem too abrupt.  Overall the narration didn’t flow easily and I found myself fighting it throughout the audiobook.  As I consider other bothersome issues for me in both print and audio (namely the matter of consummation and the contrived separation) along with the lack of realistic narration, the audio version of Tempt Me at Twilight rates no higher than a C grade.

Recent Additions to my Audio Library

Wicked IntentionsWicked Intentions – Elizabeth Hoyt

Narrated by Ashford McNab

A Hoyt fan, I was excited to see this unexpected Audible offering before I had time to read the print version.  I’m finding I enjoy listening to new releases rather than reading the printed word as long as the plots are not overly complicated or highly detailed.  McNab is a first time narrator for me but the sample sounds promising.

Smash Cut – Sandra Brown

Narrated by Victor Slezak

I’m on a Sandra Brown audiobook glom and this is my third of her romantic suspense audios.

Provocative in Pearls – Madeline Hunter

Narrated by Polly Lee

The second in Hunter’s Rarest Bloom series, I’m ready for another Hunter historical but am taking a chance with this narrator.  Her voice sounds quite pleasant on the sample but also possibly a bit too slow and measured.  I’m hoping the overall delivery is speedier than that sample.

Night of Fire – Barbara Samuel

Narrated by Jill Tanner

A European historical romance that is also hard-to-find in audio.  Thanks to MaryK for finding this one during our Those Older Hard-To-Find Romances column’s discussion.  Jill Tanner has excelled as narrator each time I’ve heard her perform in the past.

Gabriel’s Ghost – Linnea Sinclair

Narrated by Dina Pearlman

Based on recommendations in our last Speaking of Audiobooks discussion, I decided to try a Sci-Fi romance.

Montana Sky – Nora Roberts

Narrated by Erika Leigh

Wanting to experience a few of Roberts’ audiobooks, I asked for recommendations in our last column.  Montana Sky was the number one readily available recommendation.

Definitely Dead – Charlaine Harris

Narrated by Johanna Parker

I’m continuing my grand adventure with the Sookie Stackhouse series.  This sixth in the series, this one looks to have a most interesting change for Sookie.

Time for Your Thoughts

What new releases are you looking forward to?

Do you know of any September 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-September.

– Lea Hensley