Book ClubSpeaking of Audiobooks has now been around for two years!  This represents our 52nd column and if you are wondering about anything concerning romance audiobooks, you’ll probably find it in our audio archives.  They remain an invaluable resource.

It’s Time!  Our Group Discussion of Slave to Sensation

On April 6th, we announced our Group Listen of Slave to Sensation.  We decided to celebrate Tantor’s decision to release all ten of Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling Series (over a period of 4-5 months) by listening to the first in the series, Slave to Sensation as a group.  Our announcement was followed by a giveaway of ten audiobook copies (courtesy of Tantor) of Slave to Sensation and the excitement has been growing since.  I requested that we save our comments for this column to facilitate the group discussion.  Our Goodreads Speaking of Audiobooks group has kindly followed suit although I know many are bursting at the seams to talk about it!

Following is a list of questions for you to consider when making a comment.  Answer one or all – the goal is to hear your thoughts.  Remember it is a discussion so we don’t have to (or want to) agree all of the time.  I’ve gleaned hints here and there of others’ thoughts and I know my own opinion differs somewhat.

Our Discussion Questions:

  1. Did you enjoy Slave to Sensation?
  2. If you read Slave to Sensation in print before listening to the audio, which version do you prefer?
  3. What do you think of Dawe’s performance of Lucas and Sascha? Were their characterizations in audio true to Singh’s intent?
  4. Did you find the world building overwhelming in terms of needed background or did it flow easily for you in audio?
  5. With POVs coming from several angles – Sascha, Lucas, and The Council, do you think Singh’s writing style works for audio?
  6. Did you feel Slave to Sensation carried its task of being the first of a series well?
  7. With the glimpses given of other characters are you interested in hearing their stories now?
  8. How would you grade Angela Dawe’s narration overall?

Now, let’s start the discussion with a review and then let us hear from you!

Slave to Sensation – Nalini Singh

Review written by Diana

Narrated by Angela Dawe

I read Slave to Sensation when it was first published in 2006. I closed the book and thought, “Wow! This may be the best paranormal I’ve ever read.” Revisiting the origins of Singh’s Psy/Changeling series in audio format recalls all the reasons to admire the clever, deceptively simple world-building that imagines the way things might be in 2079. The Psy are a race of cerebral beings who for the past one hundred years have enforced Silence, a protocol implemented to breed all emotion out of the populace. The Changeling are the antithesis, shapeshifters who embrace life with passion. Psy and Changeling view each with disdain and suspicion but coexist within an uneasy truce. I’m relieved to report that humans are still around, but we’re just a footnote here, and a fairly boring one at that.

When Lucas Hunter, Alpha of the DarkRiver leopard pack, becomes certain that the serial killer preying on young changeling women is Psy, he proposes a joint business venture to the Psy ruling council hoping to ferret out the killer. Sascha is assigned as liaison and Lucas wastes no time in using his considerable cunning and charm to get close to this female who appears to embody the cold Psy ideal.

In truth Sascha is not the perfect Psy. She knows that she’s “broken” because she feels far too much and lives in constant fear of discovery and rehabilitation (mind wipe).  When Lucas introduces Sascha to his warm and loving packmates, her barriers begin to crack. She yearns to love and be loved and Lucas senses her vulnerability.  What follows is a heart clutching romance between complete opposites.

Angela Dawe’s narration has a soothing, steady cadence. Her reading of Sascha’s initial robotic monotone is spot on and I “heard” her gradual thawing. Her voice for Lucas and the Changelings is a bit off kilter. I missed “hearing” Lucas’ playful nature, his warmth, his growliness, and his sexy charm.  Key to these characters is how very different they are from one another.  Although it’s clear in Singh’s text that Psy and Changeling are polar opposites, I didn’t hear it in the narration and I’m not sure that Dawe got that. Nevertheless, It’s more of a missed opportunity that I hope will be enhanced as Dawe becomes more familiar with the characters.  I’m thrilled that the series has come to audio and I loved,loved, loved, listening to Slave to Sensation.

Leftovers from May

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

Brockmann, Suzanne – Get Lucky Narrated by Elizabeth Livingston

Chesney, Marion – The Banishment Narrated by Jill Tanner

Deveraux, Jude – Someone to Love Narrated by Stafford Clark-Price

Gleason, Colleen – The Vampire Dimitri Narrated by Victor Villar-Hauser

Greenwood, Leigh – Arizona Embrace Narrated by Xe Sands

Heitzmann, Kristen – Indelible Narrated by Kirsten Potter

Johnston, Joan – The Price Narrated by Julia Gibson

Joy, Dara – Mine to Take Narrated by Rebecca Cook

Joy, Dara – Rejar Narrated by Rebecca Cook

Small, Bertrice – The Border Vixen Narrated by Jill Tanner

Audiobook Romances on Sale in June

Includes new formats of existing audiobooks




You Belong to MeUnabridged

Adrian, Laura – Deeper Than Midnight Narrated by Hillary Huber

Andrews, Ilona, et al. – Hexed Narrated by Renee Raudman & Cassandra Campbell

Brown, Sandra – Tomorrow’s Promise Narrated by Renee Raudman

Carey, Jacqueline – Naamah’s Blessing Narrated by Anne Flosnik

Day, Alyssa – Atlantis Unleashed Narrated by Joshua Swanson

Douglas, Kristina – Demon Narrated by Karen White & Paul Costanzo

Douglas, Kristina – Raziel Narrated by Karen White & Paul Costanzo

Eden, Cynthia – Deadly Heat Narrated by Justine Eyre

Evanovich, Janet – Smokin’ Seventeen Narrated by Lorelei King

Feehan, Christine – Deadly Game Narrated by Tom Stechschulte

Frank, Jacquelyn – Jacob Narrated by Xe Sands

Frank, Jacquelyn – Seduce Me in Dreams Narrated by Coleen Marlo

Goodwin, Daisy – The American Heiress Narrator unknown

Graham, Heather – Heart of Evil Narrated by Luke Daniels

Hamilton, Laurell K – Hit List Narrated by Kimberly Alexis

Hooper, Kay – Time After Time Narrated by Emily Woo Zeller

Kava, Alex – A Perfect Evil Narrated by Tanya Eby

Krentz, Jayne Ann – Man with a Past Narrated by Angela Dawe

Laurens, Stephanie – Fair Juno Narrated by Elizabeth Jasicki

Lindsey, Johanna – When Passions Rules Narrated by Rosalyn Landor

Palmer, Diana – Nora Narrated by Natalie Ross

Palmer, Diana – The Texas Ranger Narrated by Phil Gigante

Robb, J.D. – Time of Death CD Collection: Eternity in Death, Ritual in Death, Missing in Death Narrated by Susan Ericksen

Roberts, Nora – A World Apart Narrated by Angela Dawe

Rose, Karen – You Belong to Me Narrator unknown

Rowan, Michelle – Nightshade Narrated by Cynthia Holloway

Sands, Lynsay – The Countess Narrator unknown

Sands, Lynsay – The Heiress Narrator unknown

Singh, Nalini – Caressed by Ice Narrated by Angela Dawe

Singh, Nalini – Hostage to Pleasure Narrated by Angela Dawe

Singh, Nalini – Kiss of Snow Narrated by Angela Dawe

Singh, Nalini – Mine to Possess Narrated by Angela Dawe

Warren, Christine – She’s No Faerie Princess Narrated by Kate Reading

Warren, Christine – Wolf at the Door Narrated by Kate Reading

Blue-eyed DevilRomance Audio Reviews


Blue-Eyed Devil – Lisa Kleypas

Review by Lea AAR

Narrated by Renee Raudman

I’ve been in a contemporary romance mood lately.  It’s easily my favorite sub-genre, but character driven romances in audio are not all that easy to find.  I don’t go for the larger family sagas or romances bordering on chick lit.  I want to see significant interaction between the leads without someone’s murder waiting in the wings.

As I stated in my AAR review of Blue-Eyed Devil, I love a bad boy turned barely good and hero Hardy Cates is just that.  He played a good boy turned smooth ruthless self made millionaire in Sugar Daddy.  Now he’s paired with Churchill Travis’ daughter, Haven, and it is quite a tender love story as well as a tale of a woman’s growth beyond spousal abuse.

It is such a thrill to discover that a favorite print book is even better in audio.  Renee Raudman’s characterization of both Hardy and Haven made me appreciate this deeply moving tale on a whole new level.  In January 2010, I gave my impressions of Raudman’s performance in the Heart-Wrenching Narration Speaking of Audiobooks column:

Listening to Haven talk when she could hardly form words after Nick’s beating engaged me emotionally in a manner far deeper than the mere reading.  Once her physical wounds were healed, I continued empathizing with this woman who was in need of emotional and mental healing as well.  I heard rather than read her hesitancy with Hardy – I heard her fears and vulnerability – I heardher gaining much needed confidence on the job.”

Told in first person, Raudman also gives Hardy and the Travis men distinct voices although they often sounded hoarse.  I just ignored any thoughts about the sound of the male voices – they sounded male and I just went with this beautiful love story.  Although featured in a column’s core discussion previously, I felt like Blue-Eyed Devil deserved its own review.  Relistening to it last week was a real treat and one I’m tempted to give myself again soon.  However, to truly understand the dynamics of the family’s opposition to Hardy, you should listen to Sugar Daddy first.  Fortunately is it beautifully narrated by Jeannie Stith.


Tempest in Eden – Sandra Brown

Review by Melinda

Narrated by Renee Raudman

Originally Published in 1983 & Recorded in 2010:  Three words about the story –  dated purple prose.

Narration: Renee Raudman is on my personal list of quality narrators.  Her co-narration with Patrick Lawlor of the last several books in Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series has been excellent. She did a good job with the Kleypas contemporary Blue-Eyed Devil and Manhunting by Jennifer Crusie. It appears Brilliance Audio is currently recording and releasing a lot of Sandra Brown’s backlist in audio and Raudman seems to be their go-to narrator.  I wondered if Raudman receive direction to pronounce the word “a” to rhyme with “say” most of the time?  Was it a director’s idea to totally dramatize the dated purple prose of the story, or did Raudman decide to ham it up?  She has a wonderful narration voice but I found myself rolling my eyes every few minutes then blinking hard on the word “a.”  She did not do this in the Brockmann, Kleypas, or Crusie books that I noticed.  And believe me, you notice.

My opinion of the plot: it did not stand the test of time and the ending is flat out insulting.

Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll


It’s time!  Our first annual Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll is almost ready to go.  Look for it the week of June 13th.  Not only will we be polling for our favorite audiobook but also our favorite narrator and author in audio as well as favorites by sub-genre.  We’ll have a number of categories for narrators and miscellaneous categories such as “The author you most want to see in audio.”

The column introducing the poll will be here – our usual spot – but the poll will be on AAR’s main site (we’ll provide a link).  It will look similar in format to AAR’s annual Reader Awards and will run for two weeks.  Please share this news with your audio friends.  It’s our chance to let those in the publishing/production end of the audiobook business know what we like as consumers.  Come join us!

Ending Notes

What new releases are you looking forward to?  And, as always, what are your latest audio successes or failures?

Looks like there’s a change in narration of Lisa Kleypas’ backlist.  Susan Duerden is narrating Prince of Dreams and Midnight Angel.  Susan’s recent performance of Eloisa James’ A Kiss at Midnight earned the honor of a romance finalist at the Audie Awards.

I see that Harper Audio is releasing Rachel Gibson’s Any Man of Mine on July 5th.  Since I love Rachel Gibson books and I particularly enjoyed reading this one, this is a definite buy for me.

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.

Our Goodreads Speaking of Audiobooks group keeps growing and we now have 116 members with a constant flow of comments.  Come sign up and share your audiobook shelf with us.

I’ll be back next week with a column full of audio reviews.  A week later, we’ll feature our Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll!  Mark your calendars!

It’s time for you to give us your thoughts on Slave to Sensation!

Enjoy your listening!

– Lea Hensley

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