Although Speaking of Audiobooks is a relatively young column, our archives contain a tremendous amount of information relating to romance audiobooks.  Yes, the actual columns do comprise a fair amount of this content but the greater part is provided by your comments.  As you discuss the column’s topic, you also share recommendations and offer your thoughts on narrators, listening devices, future releases, and a myriad of other details related to romance audiobooks.  Each time I write a column, I find myself combing through these past discussions for reminders, insights, and direction.

So we’re starting today’s column with a look at our past discussions.  Each Speaking of Audiobooks (SOA) column is summarized with a nod to significant discussions as well as titles of Mini Reviews within.  Mini Reviews are just that – shorter reviews (when compared to AAR’s reviews) with the emphasis on the audio aspects.

After taking a look at our past columns, we’ll get your ideas on what you want to see in future columns and what you want to stay exactly the same.

Our Past Discussions

It’s All About the Narrator May 5, 2009

Our introduction column focuses on romance audiobooks and the vast entertainment they provide – if you just know what’s out there and how to choose correctly.

Male Narrators June 8, 2009

A few preferred male narrators and the arguments surrounding male versus female narrators especially when it comes to romance.

Other Discussions of Note: Phil Gigante’s narration of Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander Series highlighting Kiss of the Highlander

Mini Reviews:

Howard, Linda – Kiss Me While I Sleep

Howard, Linda – Touch of Fire

Thomas, Sherry – Private Arrangements

Ward, J.R, – Lover Eternal

July 2009 Releases June 18, 2009

Our first new releases column.

Discussions of Note: Puzzling difficulties in finding new audiobook releases

Listening to Those Sex Scenes July 19, 2009

Are you uncomfortable when listening to intimate scenes?  Have you discovered that you can listen comfortably as long as no one is around?  Or, has it never bothered you?

Mini Reviews:

Balogh, Mary – Seducing an Angel

Brockmann, Suzanne – Over the Edge

Gibson, Rachel – Tangled Up in You

August 2009 Releases July 27, 2009

Audio romances on sale in August and leftovers from July.

A Multitude of Mini Reviews August 11, 2009

AAR reviewers, Ellen, Katie Mack, and LinnieGayl, join me in reviewing a multitude of audiobooks – mini style.

Mini Reviews:

Crusie, Jennifer – Crazy for You

Evanovich, Janet – Finger Lickin’ Fifteen

Gaiman, Neil – Stardust

Hoag, Tami – The Trouble With J.J.

Howard, Linda – Burn

Ivory, Judith – Sleeping Beauty

Phillips, Susan Elizabeth – Lady Be Good

Robb, J.D. – Promises in Death

Roberts, Nora – Hot Ice

Stuart, Anne – Ice Storm

Willig, Lauren – The Seduction of the Crimson Rose

September 2009 Releases August 24, 2009

Discussions of Note: The availability of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, Georgette Heyer audiobooks

Why Do We Listen? September 9, 2009

Since 2003, my view of audiobooks has changed 100%.

Mini Reviews:

Gibson, Rachel – Not Another Bad Date

Heyer, Georgette – Black Sheep

Phillips, Susan Elizabeth – Match Me if You Can

Quinn, Julia – When He Was Wicked

October 2009 Releases September 28, 2009

Audio romances on sale in October and some surprise titles from September

How We Listen October 9, 2009

What device do you use to listen to your audiobooks?  What is available today?  An extensive and very informative discussion.  Check it out anytime you’re considering changing listening devices.  We’ll hold this discussion every two years since technology in the world of audiobooks is ever changing.

Other Discussions of Interest – Audible Helpful Hints, Downloading from the Library

Mini Reviews

Lindsey, Johanna – Gentle Rogue

Lowell, Elizabeth – Untamed

Samuel, Barbara – No Place Like Home

November 2009 Releases October 19, 2010

The challenge of searching for audiobook releases continues.

The Outlander Series November 9, 2009

A column dedicated totally to Diana Gabaldon’s popular audiobook Outlander series and particularly the first four in the series – Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, and Drums of Autumn.

December 2009 Releases November 20, 2009

A sneak peek at some 2010 releases as well as December’s romance offerings.

The Funny Ones December 9, 2009

A number of our listeners offered their thoughts on the funniest romance audiobooks.

Audiobook discussions include:

Andersen, Susan – Head Over Heels

Crusie, Jennifer – Anyone But You and Welcome to Temptation

Evanovich, Janet – Stephanie Plum books

Howard, Linda – To Die For and Drop Dead Gorgeous

Kinsella, Sophie – Can You Keep a Secret

Moning, Karen Marie – Kiss of the Highlander

Phillips, Susan Elizabeth Phillips:

Heaven, Texas

It Had To Be You

Lady Be Good

Match Me if You Can

Natural Born Charmer

Nobody’s Baby But Mine

Robb, J.D. – Born In Death

January 2010 Releases December 23, 2009

Mini Reviews:

Garwood, Julie – The Bride

Holm, Stef Ann – Leaving Normal

Howard, Linda – Son of the Morning

Heart-Wrenching Narration January 15, 2010

Narrators who totally captivate your heart through their performance of emotionally riveting scenes.

Includes discussions of: Lisa Kleypas’ Blue-Eyed Devil, Linda Howard’s Cry No More, Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Dream a Little Dream, and Lisa Kleypas’ Seduce Me at Sunrise

Mini Reviews:

Tempting Torment by Jo Goodman

What I Did For Love by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Black Ice by Anne Stuart

February 2010 Releases February 4, 2010

Upcoming releases and news of older romances scheduled for later in 2010.

Mini Reviews:

Balogh, Mary – First Comes Marriage

Crusie, Jennifer/Mayer, Bob – Don’t Look Down

Favorites February 22, 2010

Listeners share dozens of favorites – this is the place to start if you are looking for an audiobook.

Audiobooks with significant discussion: Too many to detail but a few of those chosen (no prior SOA review) include:

Howard, Linda – Death Angel

Kleypas, Lisa – Suddenly You

Litton, Josie – Dream of Me

Phillips, Susan Elizabeth – It Had To Be You, Nobody’s Baby But Mine, and Match Me if You Can

March 2010 Releases March 8, 2010

Mini Reviews:

Balogh, Mary – A Matter of Class

Goodman, Jo – Let Me Be the One

Howard, Linda – Kill and Tell

Favorite Narrators March 22, 2010

An unofficial count of our favorite narrators based on past discussions.  Top ranks go to Anna Fields, Davina Porter, Phil Gigante, Susan Ericksen, Barbara Rosenblat, Simon Prebble, Natalie Ross, Joyce Bean, Johanna Parker, Kate Reading and more.

April 2010 Releases March 30, 2010

Mini Reviews:

Dahl, Victoria – Start Me Up

Ivory, Judith – Beast

Raybourn, Deanna – The Dead Travel Fast

Listening Challenges April 19, 2010

Challenging ourselves to listen to audiobooks outside of our normal comfort zone.

Discussions include: Sleeping Beauty by Judith Ivory, My Unofficial Personal Listening Challenge for 2010

May 2010 Releases May 4, 2010

Other Discussions of Note: The Sharing Knife: Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold.

Mini Reviews:

Laurens, Stephanie – Devil’s Bride

Palmer, Diana – Lawman

Ward, J.R. – Lover Awakened

Buy, Rent, or Borrow? May 17, 2010

Where do we obtain our romance audiobooks?  A very informative discussion on the advantages of borrowing from the library, renting, or purchasing in CD or MP3 format.

Other Discussions of Note: Library downloading tips, Audible, understanding MP3 buying

June 2010 Releases June 4, 2010

Discussions of Note: Abridged version of Georgette Heyer’s Sylvester narrated by Richard Armitage

Mini Reviews:

Brockmann, Suzanne –Out of Control

McMaster, Lois Bujold – The Sharing Knife: Legacy

War, J.R. – Lover Eternal

Vacation Listening June 17 , 2010

Choosing audiobooks for our summer getaways.  Do you plan ahead for your vacation listening?

Mini Reviews:

Anderson, Catherine – Phantom Waltz

Brockmann, Suzanne – Breaking Point

Brown, Sandra – Slow Heat in Heaven

July 2010 Releases June 30, 2010

Discussions of Note: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris, Angel’s Blood by Nalini Singh

Mini Reviews:

Crusie, Jennifer – Manhunting

Spencer, LaVyrle – Separate Beds

Those Older Hard-to Find Romances July 16, 2010

Many romance audiobooks that we enjoyed years ago in cassette tape format are now rare finds.  The hunt for these jewels is on.

Audiobook Discussions include:

Balogh, Mary – More Than a Mistress

Dunnett, Dorothy – The Lymond Chronicles

Kleypas, Lisa – Suddenly You

Karen Robards – One Summer

Spencer, LaVyrle – Morning Glory

Also: Audible iPhone app

August 2010 Releases July 26, 2010

Mini Reviews:

Carriger, Gail – Soulless

London, Julia – One Season of Sunshine

Singh, Nalini – Angel’s Blood

Romance Audio Bests by Author August 13, 2010

Our own SOA version of Favorite Books by Favorite Authors (a feature at AAR).  What do you recommend as the best audiobooks by authors you follow?  The discussion generated literally hundreds of recommendations (but in a mostly organized manner).

September 2010 Releases August 27, 2010

Discussions of Note: Cassette tape listening,

Mini Reviews:

Brown, Sandra – Envy

Harris, Charlaine – Dead as a Doornail

Kleypas, Lisa – Tempt Me at Twilight

Robards, Karen – One Summer

Speaking of Audiobooks – What’s Next?

Today, SOA is a place to talk about all aspects of romance audio.  We’re getting to know each other’s preferences, conversations flow easily, and discussions often continue from one column to the next.  We see Speaking of Audiobooks as the “go to” place for romance audio.

Now we’re looking to our future columns and asking for your input on possible content.  To start things off, here are a few ideas under consideration:

  • A Listening Challenge for 2011.  Would you be interested in participating in a (very low key) 2011 challenge?  I’ll need help in creating the challenge and will ask for your recommendations.
  • Narrator interviews – it’s likely that we will begin conducting narrator interviews in 2011.  What narrator do you most want to see interviewed?
  • Audio industry news – rather than complete columns on this subject, I’m hoping for “Industry Updates”.  Once again, this is best accomplished with help from our listeners.  More to come.
  • Mini Reviews from listeners.  A formal part of the column, you may choose to contribute an occasional romance Mini Review.

Please give us your ideas!

Time for Your Thoughts

What features or subject matter do you want to see in future at SOA?

What is your favorite aspect of this column?

Is there a regular column feature you want to see more of?

What has been your favorite column to date?

Would you be willing to participate in a 2011 Listening Challenge?

What narrator do you most want to see interviewed?

Will you write an occasional Mini Review for SOA?  Email me if you are interested.

And as always, do you have any recent audiobook success of failure to share with us?

Ending Notes

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

If you have a romance audiobook question, please feel free to contact me at afriendatheart at cox dot net.  If I don’t know the answer, we’ll do our best to find it.

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

– Lea Hensley

Note to Readers: We are currently experiencing problems posting photos and images to our blog as a result of the AAR server transfer.  We apologize for the lack of images with this column.  They’ll be back with the next edition.