A Summer Listening Vacation

Do you have guilty pleasure audiobooks, too?

As a librarian, I tend to avoid summer vacations. It’s a busy time at work, so I live vicariously through my patrons’ vacations, asking them where they are going and making a mental map in my head of their journeys.

Caitlin Augusta blueberry picking
Mini vacation — blueberry picking

But . . . there are all kinds of vacations. So last week I took a “vacation” from my generally ginormous AudioFile listening queue. Going “off list” is a big deal for me. It always feels like a guilty pleasure. But where to start? I still have the goal of listening to all the Elizabeth Peters Amelia Peabody titles, and I’d like to re-listen to A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, since it features Oxford’s Bodleian Library.

Influenced by the stack I splurged on from the Audiobookstand closing-shop clearance sale (sad, very sad), I decided to go with Ilona Andrews’s CLEAN SWEEP (Innkeeper Chronicles, Book 1), narrated by Renee Raudman.

Clean Sweep

I had already read CLEAN SWEEP in print, but I’m a serial re-reader/re-listener/re-watcher, so that was a point in its favor. And, I’d listened to other Renee Raudman/Ilona Andrews pairings, which gave me the comforting knowledge that I would enjoy my vacation listening.

CLEAN SWEEP is a serialized novel that first came out on Ilona Andrews’s website in sections, kind of like a Dickens novel. It was later formalized into stories and audiobooks. I love the premise—magical innkeepers on Earth welcome interstellar guests and safeguard their interests. Innkeeper Dina Demille gets dragged into a major conflict when something wicked starts killing the dogs in her neighborhood. She works with a couple of vampires, a local werewolf, and, naturally, her trusty inn, to eradicate the problem.

Renee Raudman
Renee Raudman

Renee Raudman is a great match. Andrews has a lot of internal, first-person monologues, and that suits both the audio format and Raudman’s voice well. It’s set in Texas, and the accents were there but not overwhelming. There’s just the right balance of Dina’s humor and her terror at being out-gunned and out-maneuvered—CLEAN SWEEP was perfectly paced, and I didn’t want the experience to end. You can hear from Renee about the joys of narrating Ilona Andrews’s audiobooks in this Behind the Mic post.

So there you have it—my non-review review. My next “official” audiobook is queued up on my phone, so I guess my listening vacation has come to an end. Safe travels to all vacation-goers, and don’t forget to love your listening (it makes a great travel companion). And I hereby invite you to share your own guilty-pleasure audiobooks in the comments!

Caitlin is a librarian from Connecticut who enjoys great narrators and happy endings. She has been reviewing audiobooks for Audiofile Magazine since 2006, and she has had the privilege of judging numerous Audie Award categories since 2009. Her favorite authors are Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, and whatever she's listening to right now!

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