Slave to SensationWith Tantor’s announcement to release all of Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series (that’s ten books) in less than five months during 2011 (4/25 – 9/19), we’re celebrating their decision to do so.  I’m sure many listeners will be thrilled to see the release of this favorite series as well as the fact that there won’t be a long wait between titles!  And how are we celebrating?  Well, with none other than a Group Listen (our third to date).  Singh’s first in the series, Slave to Sensation, is the choice and it is scheduled for release on April 25th.  Angela Dawe narrates and, although I’m not familiar with her narrations, I’ve heard many positive comments on her performances of Keri Arthur’s Riley Jensen series or Nora Roberts’ Bride Quartet (to mention a few).  So, when will our Group Listen run?  April 25th until our June Releases column in late May.  We’ll host our group discussion at that time.

Even better, we’ll be giving away two audiobook copies of Slave to Sensation courtesy of Tantor during our next Speaking of Audiobooks column which runs the week of April 19th.  I hope you’ll decide to join us for our Group Listen!

Leftovers from March

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

Andersen, Susan – Skintight Narrated by Johanna Parker

Brockmann, Suzanne – Breaking the Rules Narrated by Patrick Lawlor & Renee Raudman

Carriger, Gail – Changeless Narrated by Emily Gray

Enoch, Suzanne – The Care and Taming of a Rogue Narrated by Tavia Gilbert

Ione, Larrisa – Passion Unleashed Narrated by Renee Raudman

London, Julia – Highland Scandal Narrated by Anne Flosnik

MacAlister, Katie – Love in the Time of Dragons Narrated by Barbara Rosenblat

Ward, J.R. – Lover Unleashed Narrated by Jim Frangione

Harper Audio released the full Love at Stake series by Kerrelyn Sparks at the end of March.  Yes – ten books and, I must say, I am very impressed with this all-at-once series release and hope it is the beginning of a trend.  The first in the series is How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire.

Audiobook Romances on Sale in April

Includes new formats of existing audiobooks

Beginning this month, we’re listing Unabridged audios before Abridged since they garner more attention.

Chasing FireUnabridged

Arthur, Keri – Mercy Burns Narrated by Cassandra Campbell

Brown, Sandra – Temptation’s Kiss Narrated by Renee Raudman

Brunstetter, Wanda – The Journey Narrated by Jaimee Draper

Howard, Linda – Mackenzie’s Pleasure Narrated by Dennis Boutsikaris

Jeffries, Sabrina – Wed Him Before You Bed Him Narrated by Justine Eyre

Kenyon, Sherrilyn – Born of Shadows Narrated by Holter Graham

Krentz, Jayne Ann – Ghost of a Chance Narrated by Aasne Vigesaa

Laurens, Stephanie – Impetuous Innocent Narrated by Polly Lee

Macomber, Debbie – A Turn in the Road Narrated by Joyce Bean

Macomber, Debbie – The Matchmakers Narrated by Tanya Eby

Michaels, Fern – Southern Comfort Narrated by Jeffrey Cummings

Palmer, Diana – Lacy Narrated by Natalie Ross

Price, Kalayna – Grave Witch Narrated by Emily Durante

Quick, Amanda – Quicksilver Narrated by Anne Flosnik

Roberts, Nora – Chasing Fire Narrated by Rebecca Lowman

Roberts, Nora – Winter Rose Narrated by Coleen Marlo

Singh, Nalini – Slave to Sensation Narrated by Angela Dawe

Woods, Sherryl – Moonlight Cove Narrated by Christina Traister

Abridged

Brown, Sandra – Temptation’s Kiss Narrated by Renee Raudman

Howard, Linda – CD Collection 4: Death Angel, Burn Narrated by Joyce Bean

Krentz, Jayne Ann – Dreamlight Trilogy CD Collection: Fired Up, Burning Lamp, Midnight Crystal Various Narrators

Macomber, Debbie – A Turn in the Road Narrated by Joyce Bean

Macomber, Debbie – Hannah’s List Narrated by Fred Stella

Michaels, Fern – Kentucky Series CD Collection: Kentucky Rich, Kentucky Heat, Kentucky Sunrise Narrated by Laural Merlington

Michaels, Fern – Southern Comfort Narrated by Jeffrey Cummings

Quick, Amanda – Quicksilver Narrated by Anne Flosnik

Roberts, Nora – Chasing Fire Narrated by Rebecca Lowman

Steele, Danielle – CD Collection 3: Matters of the Heart, Southern Lights Various Narrators

Woods, Sherryl – Moonlight Cove Narrated by Christina Traister

Recent Listens

 

Dance of Dreams – Nora Roberts

Review by Brenda

Narrated by Angela Dawe

In Dance of Dreams Nora Roberts takes us into the world of ballet. While the storyline from 1983 shows its age, narrator Angela Dawe doesn’t miss a beat with her presentation. The attitude and slightly husky voice for prima ballerina Ruth Banion portrayed well the point that, although young in physical years, she was very mature and more than an equal match for Nickolai, who is ten years older than his onetime student and current dance partner. The temperamental superstar’s arrogance and his Russian ethnicity came through clearly with Dawe’s rendition of Nickolai Davidof.  Happily, for me, Angela Dawe has quickly become a reliable favorite when it comes to narrators.

 

 

The Goodbye Quilt by Susan Wiggs

Review by Melinda

Narrated by Tanya Eby

Full Disclosure: I don’t have kids

More Disclosure: I’m also a cynic

Genre: Women’s fic – partly autobiographical

The Plot: Mother goes with only child, an 18-yr-old daughter, on a road trip to college to put off Empty Nest Syndrome one week.  She’s quilting Daughter a comforter of her life while Daughter drives.

Narrator: Almost too cheery and animated – some of the prose might have worked better in a more serious tone, or more self-deprecating.  She’s a good narrator.  Imagine Jane Curtin from old SNLs, wearing a Mrs. Cleaver dress and reading, but with a macabre twist.  She enunciates well, establishes characters well.

The Mother: Compulsively introspective.  Self-centered.  Shockingly unable to recognize how manipulative she is.  If Mother wasn’t so scarily over-involved in Daughter’s life – almost stalker-esque – it might seem sweet and loving.  I think that was the author’s intention.  The “ending” (before epilogue) almost became wall-banger material.

Reviewer’s Comment: Maybe if I wasn’t so cynical and/or had a daughter of my own, I wouldn’t think this.  You may bond better than I did with Mother.

Length of audio in actual time: about 4 hours. Length of audio in apparent time: zzzzzz.

Treachery in DeathTreachery in Death– J.D. Robb

Review by LinnieGayl

Narrated by Susan Ericksen

Jean began her review of the print version of Treachery in Death by noting that in some ways, her DIK review was superfluous, “If you read her, you’ll probably read this one. And if you don’t, you sure as heck ain’t gonna start with the 32nd.” I concur wholeheartedly with this assessment. No one will start the In Death series by picking up this audio book. However, the audio version offers something very special for longtime fans of the series who have yet to try In Death in audio.

Since listeners in the past have expressed problems with Susan Ericksen’s narration, I was reluctant to try any of the books in audio format. When I finally gave in a few months ago, I fell into the “I don’t like it” camp. Some characters – most notably Peabody – just didn’t sound like I expected. But by the end of my first book, I was completely sold.

This is the first In Death book I’ve listened to without reading the print version beforehand and this was such a success for me that I don’t envision going back to reading in print first.  From the first, Ms. Ericksen brings all of the characters to life – each has their own voice and tone, and she remains faithful to that voice throughout the book. When someone speaks, I have no doubt who it is.

Like Jean, the story itself is a DIK for me, and one of the best in the series for quite some time. I liked the focus on an internal investigation of dirty cops rather than serial killers. We know almost immediately who the villains are; the pleasure is seeing all of Eve’s team work together to bring them down.

Aside from the story, there was some strong character development as Eve comes to recognize she is a good leader.  The interplay between Eve and Peabody was particularly strong and there was a touching moment toward the end when her team acknowledges their affection and respect for her as a leader.

I’m completely sold on Susan Ericksen as the narrator for the series and eager to find her other works.

Tough Customer – Sandra Brown

Review by Lea AAR

Narrated by Victor Slezak

During my Sandra Brown audio glom last year, I met the hero of Tough Customer, Dodge Hanley, in Smash Cut.  He’s a middle aged hard-talking, chain-smoking investigator.  I can’t say I saw hero potential in Dodge but I didn’t know that’s what Brown had in mind either.  It’s been thirty years since his divorce from the love of his life, Caroline, but at her call for help he travels to Houston to assist in finding the madman stalking her daughter Berry.  A fourth character, Ski, is the local law investigating the case making Tough Customer a three part romance – Dodge and Caroline present day, Dodge and Caroline in their beginning years, and Berry and Ski.  It all worked very well for me.

I experienced Tough Customer purely as an audiobook – no print version around.  However, I have a sneaking suspicion that if I had, I’d prefer the audio.  I let the narration and characters sweep me away and didn’t nitpick some of the suspense details that may have been bothersome in print.  And I must say – I was thoroughly entertained.  Victor Slezak comes close to first place in my ranking of male narrators and when he talks – I listen.  His characters are easily distinguishable although I did have to listen closely to differentiate Caroline and Berry at times.  For those who dislike male narrators performing high-pitched female voices, you won’t find that with Slezak.  Tough Customer is no Envy (my favorite Brown audio) but listening still made me want to do a little extra housework or extend my walk a bit just to hear more…and more.

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?

Do you have a Listening Challenge update to share with us?

What are the latest additions to your audio library?

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

Ending Notes

We now have a list of all our Mini Reviews from our Speaking of Audiobooks columns over at our Goodreads group.  You don’t have to be a Goodreads member to view this list so check it out.

If you’re considering joining our 2011 Listening Challenge, we have a quick start up guide for you.  It’s not too late.

Our Speaking of Audiobooks Goodreads group keeps growing and we now have 82 members!  Come sign up and share your audiobook shelf with us.

I’m announcing new romance audiobook releases and other audio tidbits 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.

I’ll be back later this month talking about the process of choosing a narrator.

Enjoy your listening!

– Lea Hensley