Listening to those old tape cassettes – it seemed like such a good idea when I reported my favorable experience in the September Releases Speaking of Audiobooks column. But that was before I started listening to the cassette tape audiobooks from my library. There were definitely more challenges than rewards in listening to worn out tapes where the background noise was high, the echo of other tracks played constantly, and the volume continuously ran from high to low in cycles of less than a minute. Having two cassette players I tried both thinking (and almost hoping) that the player was the problem but, alas, the worn out audiobook was at fault. As I gave up on Nora Roberts’ Carnal Innocence before the halfway point (I knew it was too good to waste on such problems), I tried another older romance I’d been excited to find at my library, Sandra Brown’s White Hot only to experience the same problems. Sadly, I returned both audiobooks to the library unfinished.
Then I discovered I had a fairy godmother of romance audiobooks! Actually my fairy godmother is a very special friend with a fantastic audiobook library. She stepped forward and loaned me clear copies of a number of old hard-to-find romances and I’ve been in heaven since listening to a few of these oldies! I’ll share as I listen to these over the next few months. You may be inspired to hunt down a used copy or, at least, find a decent copy through your local library.
Leftovers from September
Here are just a few of those surprise audiobooks that failed to make last month’s New Releases column.
Brockmann, Suzanne – Time Enough for Love Narrated by Susan Boyce
Hoyt, Elizabeth – To Taste Temptation Narrated by Anne Flosnik
Hunter, Madeline – Sinful in Satin Narrated by Polly Lee
Kenyon, Sherrilyn – Sins of the Night Narrated by Fred Berman
Kurland, Lynn – Another Chance to Dream Narrated by Ilyana Kadushin
Nash, Joy – The Awakening Narrated by Rebecca Cook
Quinn, Paula – Ravished by a Highlander Narrated by Carrington MacDuffie
Quinn, Paula – Seduced by a Highlander Narrated by Carrington MacDuffie
Silver, Eve – Sins of the Soul Narrated by Savannah Richards
Audiobook Romances on Sale in October
Graham, Heather – Home in Time for Christmas Narrated by Angela Dawe
Howard, Linda – Son of the Morning Narrated by Natalie Ross
Krentz, Jayne Ann – Soft Focus Narrated by Dick Hill & Susie Breck
Lindsey, Johanna – Johanna Lindsey CD Collection 6: The Heir, The Devil Who Tames Her, A Rogue of My Own Various Narrators
Palmer, Diana – Diana Palmer CD Collection: Fearless, Heartless Narrated by Phil Gigante
Rice, Luanne – Summer Light Narrated by Laural Merlington
Roberts, Nora – Inner Harbor Narrated by Guy Lemonier
Steele, Danielle – Toxic Bachelors Narrated by Kyf Brewer
Balogh, Mary – A Secret Affair Narrated by Anne Flosnik
Coulter, Catherine – The Valcourt Heiress Narrated by Anne Flosnik
Crusie, Jennifer – Getting Rid of Bradley Narrated by Elenna Stauffer
Crusie, Jennifer – Trust Me on This Narrated by Angela Dawe
Dodd, Christina – Thigh High Narrated by Natalie Ross
Henry, Patti Callahan – The Perfect Love Song Narrated by Emily Durante
Henry, Patti Callahan – When Light Breaks Narrated by Emily Durante
Kleypas, Lisa – Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor Narrated by Tanya Eby
Laurens, Stephanie – Tangled Reins Narrated by Rosalyn Landor
London, Julia – The Year of Living Scandalously Narrated by Justine Eyre
Macomber, Debbie – 5-B Poppy Lane Narrated by Sandra Burr
Macomber, Debbie – Christmas in Cedar Cove Narrated by Sandra Burr
Macomber, Debbie – The Courtship of Carol Sommars: A Selection from Right Next Door Narrated by Angela Dawe
Macomber, Debbie – Father’s Day: A Selection from Right Next Door Narrated by Angela Dawe
Macomber, Debbie – Those Christmas Angels Narrated by Sandra Burr
Palmer, Diana – Fit for a King Narrated by Tanya Eby
Robards, Karen – Irresistible Narrated by Anne Flosnik
Roberts, Nora – Dance to the Piper Narrated by Marie Caliendo
Roberts, Nora – The Last Honest Woman Narrated by Marie Caliendo
Roberts, Nora – O’Hurley Born: The Last Honest Woman, Dance to the Piper Narrated by Marie Caliendo
Roberts, Nora – Spellbound Narrated by Jeffrey Cummings
Woods, Sherryl – Flowers on Main Narrated by Christina Traister
I have been most fortunate lately in that nearly everything I have listened to has fallen into the very good to excellent category. Here are but a few:
Narrated by Johanna Parker
These represent books 6-8 of the Sookie Stackhouse series. I started listening to this series as a part of my Unofficial 2010 Personal Listening Challenge and it has been a fantastic ride. Book 7, Altogether Dead, is my favorite of the series to date and I’m already dreading the fact that the last of the series to date, Book 10, is not far away (then I’ll have to start waiting for releases like other fans). As unlikely as it seems to me, this series just keeps getting better even with the addition of were-tigers, witches, and fairies (to mention a few). Each new character carries with it a sense of anticipation for some new entertaining adventure. Narrator Johanna Parker plus author Charlaine Harris equals an absolute audio thrill!
Wicked Intentions – Elizabeth Hoyt
Narrated by Ashford MacNab
I greatly enjoy Elizabeth Hoyt’s writing. Although she has three audiobooks to date, this is my first listen and that is due entirely to the choice of narrators. Hoyt’s two previous audios are performed by Anne Flosnik, a narrator I avoid if possible. But when I saw that Wicked Intentions was narrated by a new-to-me voice, I took the chance and was richly rewarded for it. Ashford MacNab’s voice is quite pleasant to the ear and utilizes accent and rhythm to distinguish her characters rather than pitch. At times, this worked well while at other times I had to listen closely to differentiate characters. Lazarus is an intense and outspoken hero needing the assistance of Temperance, a woman running a home for foundlings in a dangerous section of London. The romance scenario is out of the ordinary (and completely to my taste) and the overall story more meaty than most. The sensual scenes are beautifully written and MacNab excels in her performance of these passages. Wicked Intentions is definitely a book I’ll be listening to again.
Summer of Two Wishes – Julia London
Narrated by Natalie Ross
London’s 2009 contemporary (released in audio in 2010) is a moving tale featuring a returning soldier from Afghanistan believed to be dead for three years. Although devastated by the news, his wife has finally picked up the pieces and is now happily remarried. Natalie Ross does a superb job of delivering this heart wrenching story of a woman with two husbands and the dilemma they face. I’m not a fan of love triangles (and admit that I finally looked ahead to discover the chosen one) but with the combination of London’s writing and Ross’ performance, I found myself mesmerized – tears and all. Ross clearly distinguishes one voice from another and the pacing is perfect as well as the sense that this narrator understands what the listener is feeling at any particular moment. Although I enjoy both London’s historicals and contemporaries, I prefer her contemporary voice and had this one on my wish list for months. It lived up to my anticipation and, as an audiobook, this one rates a solid A.
Carnal Innocence – Nora Roberts
Narrated by Tom Stechschulte
Attempting to listen to a bad copy of Carnal Innocence, I just knew there was so much to enjoy that I was missing because of all that extra noise. Giving up on my library copy, I was delighted when my friend offered to loan me a copy. I totally fell into the story and in love with Tucker. Tom Stechschulte’s narration is superb and I believe it’s his interpretation of Tucker that made him so, well, to die for! There are a number of suspense plots (probably too many for my taste if I had been reading) that, when added to some well written characters, make this unabridged audio version into pure entertainment. Although released in both CD and cassette tape formats in 1999, it can be difficult to find affordably. Hopefully your local library’s copy is better than mine although, I must add, that Carnal Innocence was on hold when I returned it to the library. Even after eleven years, it’s still a popular audiobook.
Recent Additions to my Audio Library
Dead and Gone – Charlaine Harris
Narrated by Johanna Parker
The ninth in the Sookie Stackhouse series, I’m saving this one because I don’t want the series to end (for now). I have no doubt, however, that this entire series is definite relisten material – deluxe style.
Smoke Screen – Sandra Brown
Narrated by Victor Slezak
If you’ve been around Speaking of Audiobooks the past few months, you probably know I’m crazy about the Sandra Brown/Victor Slezak team. This one sounds intriguing and I’m betting it’s a personal hit.
Mr. Perfect – Linda Howard
Narrated by Laura Hicks
It’s difficult to find in audio but the book is quite hilarious at times while downright serious at others. If you have read Mr. Perfect, who of you can forget that morning refrigerator scene?
The Wedding – Julie Garwood
Narrated by Steven Crossley
Years ago, I granted DIK status to a number of Garwood’s Medievals until I tired of her sweet heroines. However I’ve been told that this is an excellent audio presentation and, if you have listened to Judith Ivory’s The Proposition, you are familiar with Steven Crossley.
One for the Money – Janet Evanovich
Narrated by C J Critt
The first of the Stephanie Plum series, this is also my first Evanovich book. Sounds like I’ll be highly entertained.
Time for Your Thoughts
What new releases are you looking forward to?
Do you know of any October 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?
I’m announcing new romance audiobook releases and other audio tidbits on Twitter during the week. 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-October.
– Lea Hensley