Tease: Audie Award Winners in Erotica and Romance

Congratulations to the 2017 winners!

Each year, the Audio Publishers Association (APA) and dedicated audiobook judges gather, listen, and select the Audie Award winners. I’ve seen little bits of the process over the last 9 years, and it’s no small endeavor. I must admit I look at the finalists each year the same way I browse the cookie aisle at the grocery store – hard to choose, everything looks yummy! I’ve listened to many of these titles, and I encourage you to do the same.

And now, the winners! From countless entries, to the short list of finalists, to a single winner in each category:

Marriage Games

2017 Audie Award for EROTICA

MARRIAGE GAMES: The Games Duet, Book 1
by CD Reiss, read by Elena Wolfe and Sebastian York
Flip City Media, Inc.
AudioFile Earphones Award

Our take: This was my odds-on favorite to win. I liked all the titles in this category, and MARRIAGE GAMES stood out as a psychological erotica with narration that lived up to Reiss’s visceral story. Erotica narrators deserve extra bonus points for their work – it’s very difficult to narrate high emotion and intense physicality with realistic subtlety. Congratulations Elena Wolfe and Sebastian York, true professionals and masters of their craft!

Dirty

2017 Audie Award for ROMANCE

DIRTY: Dive Bar, Book 1
by Kylie Scott, read by Andi Arndt
Macmillan Audio
AudioFile Earphones Award

Our take: Erotica and Romance got swept! Andi Arndt aka Elena Wolfe took home both awards. Andi did a tremendous job with this wedding day-mishap romance. Male and female voices wow equally. And as a romance listener, I was thrilled to see so many excellent romances nominated for this category. There was variety, but also that all-important happily ever after that romance listeners crave. Awesome job to Andi for standing out in a category full of incredible performances!

See the full list of finalists for Romance and Erotica audiobooks and start listening! 

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!

Tease: Wicked Abyss

A paranormal love affair – and an Earphones Award winner!

Robert Petkoff has narrated Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series for all 17 audiobooks, much to the delight of AudioFile’s reviewers! In the newest installment, WICKED ABYSS, Robert is able to bring alive the complicated love story of Sian, a demon lord of Hell, and his mate, the fey Princess Lila — not to mention a dragon with a brogue and a slightly manic Valkyrie.

You can jump into the series with WICKED ABYSS or go back to earlier titles in the series to hear Robert tell the story of a bloodthirsty vampire and an Appalachian young woman possessed by an evil goddess in LOTHAIRE, or listen to the tale of Lucia the Huntress and Scottish werewolf Garreth MacRieve in PLEASURE OF A DARK PRINCE.

Wicked Abyss

WICKED ABYSS: Immortals After Dark, Book 17
by Kresley Cole, read by Robert Petkoff
Simon & Schuster Audio
Earphones Award Winner

Look for more new Romance reviews on our website!

We're the editorial team at AudioFile Magazine!

Tease: Steve West – RT Romance Narrator Award winner!

What was Steve wearing when he recorded award-winner A BUCCANEER AT HEART? We’ll leave it to him to tell you!

Steve West

Congratulations to Steve West, the winner of RT Book Reviews Romance Novel Narrator award given by AudioFile! Steve won the award for his narration of A BUCCANEER AT HEART. With his “rich rolling style”, he tells the tale of nineteenth-century sea captain Robert Frobisher and his growing intimacy with—and subsequent fear for—the captured Aileen Hopkins.

Buccaneer at Heart

A BUCCANEER AT HEART: Adventurers Quartet, Book 2
by Stephanie Laurens, read by Steve West
Blackstone Audio
AudioFile Earphones Award

Steve has narrated more than a hundred audiobooks, and gives us some intriguing insights into his recording of The Adventurers Quartet in our recent interview with him:

It was boiling hot weather. Even with air-conditioning on, my recording booth becomes a mini-greenhouse. The only thing for it in these circumstances is to record in your underwear. I’m not kidding, and I can bet you a lot of narrators do this in their home studios! If they say ‘no,’ they’re telling fibs.—Narrator Steve West

Steve also described his love for the feisty female leads in The Adventurers Quartet series in a Behind the Mic video about LORD OF THE PRIVATEERS earlier this year!

Keep your eye—or ear—out for Steve and his many new audiobooks. Explore his whole audiography of audiobook titles.

We're the editorial team at AudioFile Magazine!

Tease: Interview with Author Kristen Ashley

Ready for a roller-coaster romance? Hear what superstar author Kristen Ashley says about her audiobook exclusive, COMPLICATED!

Kristen Ashley Pic

Superstar romance author Kristen Ashley’s new title—COMPLICATEDwas released as an audiobook original. We asked her to share her thoughts on the audiobook process and her favorite titles. Read on!

Read more…

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!

Tease: Duking It Out

What is it about dukes that makes them so appealing to romance listeners?

Admit it—we’re fascinated with royalty. Just look at the commemorative plates/snowglobes/spoons your relatives scooped up to celebrate the marriage of William and Kate. In the British peerage, dukes are in the direct line of royal succession, and many ducal titles were originally created for the ruler’s siblings. In the Regency period (1811–1820), for example, a popular setting for historical romances, King George III’s progeny enjoyed the dukedoms of Cornwall, Rothesay, York, Albany, Clarence, Kent, Strathearn, Cumberland, Teviotdale, Sussex, and Cambridge, to name a few. For romance readers, dukes are the best of both worlds. They are figures of immense wealth and power (and, of course, they are handsome to boot), with the freedom to pursue outside interests—and maybe, in the world of romantic fantasy—to marry a commoner! Far from common, these six audiobooks about dukes will be a royal treat for listeners.

Between the Devil and the Duke

BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DUKE: Season for Scandal, Book 3
by Kelly Bowen, read by Ashford McNab
Hachette Audio

Ashford McNab creates a believable cast of characters spanning from the highest to the lowest members of society, with dangerous dealings with the “devil” in a gambling parlor. A recommended title for those who prefer their romances unabashedly feminist and a little mysterious. You can start the series with DUKE OF MY HEART or dive right into BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DUKE!

If the Duke Demands

IF THE DUKE DEMANDS: A Capturing the Carlisles Novel
by Anna Harrington, read by Justine Eyre
Hachette Audio
AudioFile Earphones Award

Narrator Justine Eyre’s voice is textured and full of emotion as she narrates the first in this Regenecy romance trilogy. Eyre gives each character a unique voice, from the determined-sounding Miranda Hodgkins to the deeper, more forceful tone of Sebastian Carlisle, the Duke of Trent.

The Truth About Love and Dukes

THE TRUTH ABOUT LOVE AND DUKES: Dear Lady Truelove
by Laura Lee Guhrke, read by Carolyn Morris
Harper Audio

Narrator Carolyn Morris draws listeners into the historical romance of Henry, Duke of Torquil, and Irene Deverill, a publisher who has printed provocative columns. Morris helps listeners envision the world of the aristocracy that the characters inhabit and leaves them rooting for Henry and Irene to overcome their differences to find love together.

Duke of Sin

DUKE OF SIN: Maiden Lane, Book 9
by Elizabeth Hoyt, read by Ashford McNab
Hachette Audio

The Duke of Montgomery, Valentine Napier, is uncertain in his love of Bridget Crumb, his housekeeper. Narrator Ashford McNab convinces listeners that the despicable duke has hidden depths and motivations to redeem him as he and Bridget join forces to deal with secrets in both of their lives.

While the Duke was Sleeping

WHILE THE DUKE WAS SLEEPING: The Rogue Files, Book 1
by Sophie Jordan, read by Carmen Rose
Harper Audio
AudioFile Earphones Award

Carmen Rose narrates heroine Poppy Fairchurch’s vulnerability and hero Struan Mackenzie’s no-nonsense temperament and virility in this historical romance. In Rose’s capable voice, the story, set in London and at the duke’s country home at Christmastime, is a satisfying romp.

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished

NO GOOD DUKE GOES UNPUNISHED: The Third Rule of Scoundrels
by Sarah MacLean, read by Rosalyn Landor
Harper Audio

Rosalyn Landor’s lovely British accent and engaging delivery provide the perfect pairing for this appealing historical romance. Handsome William Harrow is dubbed the “Killer Duke” after the apparent murder of his soon-to-be stepmother, young heiress Mara Lowe. If you love NO GOOD DUKE GOES UNPUNISHED, listen to the next in the series, NEVER JUDGE A LADY BY HER COVER!

Do you have a favorite duke whose tales you love? What is it about dukes that keeps you coming back for more stories? Share your favorites with us 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!

Tease: Hot Picks

Our reviewers loved these eight new romance audiobooks—read why!

This month’s hot picks are some of the most diverse, intriguing titles I’ve seen in a while . . . all gathered together! For romance lovers who like to delve deeply into exotic worldbuilding, these titles are unusual gems. Each title listed below has a brief description and a quote from the review as well as a link to the full review. Props to our awesome team of romance reviewers who selected and reviewed these titles. 

Breathless

Breathless (Old West, Book 2)
by Beverly Jenkins, read by Kim Staunton
HarperAudio

It’s all about… Hotelier Portia Carmichael finds a peripatetic cowboy from her past too tempting to resist.
Audiobook love: “Kim Staunton makes the journey comforting and familiar, thanks to her heartfelt delivery.”

The Colonel's Lady

The Colonel’s Lady
by Laura Frantz, read by Laura Jennings
Books & Such Literary Agency

It’s all about… Set on the Kentucky frontier in 1779, Colonel Cassius McLinn reluctantly welcomes a group of women to Fort Endeavor, becoming intrigued by Virginian Roxanna Rowan.
Audiobook love: “Narrator Laura Jennings’s use of accents and pacing brings the various characters to life, moving deftly from the twang of the Kentucky soldiers to the pensive cadence of Roxanna and brusque Irish brogue of McLinn.”

Devil in Spring

Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, Book 3)
by Lisa Kleypas, read by Mary Jane Wells
HarperAudio

It’s all about… Lady Pandora Ravenel prefers the board games she creates to society’s games, but her unwilling association with Lord St. Vincent involves high stakes for both of them.
Audiobook love: “Mary Jane Wells perfectly captures Pandora’s naïveté, outspokenness, and frustration with a society that marginalizes women.”

Ha'ven's Song

Ha’ven’s Song (Curizan Warrior, Book 1)
By S.E. Smith, read by P.J. Ochlan
Susan E. Smith/ Blackstone Audio

It’s all about… Earthling Emma Watson falls for extraterrestrial warrior Ha’ven Ha’darra on their way to his home planet.
Audiobook love: “P.J. Ochlan’s framing builds anticipation when Ha’ven’s spaceship crashes in unknown territory and when Ha’ven’s enemies kidnap Emma.”

How The Duke Was Won

How the Duke Was Won (Disgraceful Dukes, Book 1)
by Lenora Bell, read by Beverley A. Crick
Tantor Media

It’s all about… Charlene Beckett impersonates her half-sister in her dealings with James, the dashing Duke of Harland.
Audiobook love: “Beverley Crick’s upper-crust British accents are spot-on for Bell’s romance.”

Knight's Caress

Knight’s Caress
by Lynette Vinet, read by Elaine Claxton
Dreamscape

It’s all about… Norman keep holder Amberlie accepts an arranged marriage to Saxon warrior Tedric of Woodrose.
Audiobook love: “Narrator Elaine Claxton delivers both the sophisticated French accents of the Normans and the distinctly more plebian English accents of the Saxons.”

Salt Hendon

Salt Hendon Collection: Salt Bride, Salt Redux, Salt Angel
by Lucinda Brant, read by Alex Wyndham
Sprigleaf Pty Ltd

It’s all about… These Georgian romances full of villains and historical detail should not be missed.
Audiobook love: “Alex Wyndham takes Brandt’s romantic suspense, set in England in the late 1700s, and creates a vocal tapestry of characters, from the highest nobility to the lowest of servants…”

What the Heiress Wants

What the Heiress Wants
by Kristina Knight, read by Carly Robins
Audible, Inc.

It’s all about… Miranda leaves her family’s business to work for rival Connor Reeves. What will happen when he discovers her true identity?
Audiobook love: “Carly Robins’s narration reflects the sensual charm and determination of publishing heiress Miranda Clayton.”

Here’s the hard part — choosing which one to listen to! (My advice — don’t limit yourself to just one!)

Want even more ideas? Visit our site to find more new romance audiobooks here!

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!

Tease: It Happened in Scotland

Our reviewers loved this new audiobook — read why!

There are two reasons to listen to this audiobook: Kirsten Potter and Scotland. In the interests of complete honesty, I would probably listen to almost any Scotland-set tale. It’s the most craggy, magical place to visit, and they like butter as much as I do. (I’m including a link to the absolute best shortbread – Stag Stornoway Shortbread – that you can only get in the Outer Hebrides. It’s worth the flight . . .  and the ferry ride . . . trust me.) So take a cozy Scottish village setting and a second-chance-at-love story and add the memorable vocal stylings of narrator Kirsten Potter, and you get true listening pleasure. Did I mention it’s a series? I jumped in mid-series with this title and had no problem following along. I liked hearing hints about other characters and their stories, and I kept thinking it would be fun to go back and listen to the other stories.

In IT HAPPENED IN SCOTLAND, Rachel journeys to Scotland as a widow, bringing her daughter Hannah to meet her husband’s family, not realizing her old flame Brodie has also returned to the village of Gandiegow. Potter manages the intricate backstory of this contemporary, small-town saga with great aplomb. She incorporates Scottish terminology and accents into her character-driven voicings, differentiating Scots of various ages and temperaments, ensuring that each character is unique.

It Happened in Scotland

IT HAPPENED IN SCOTLAND: Kilts and Quilts, Book 6
by Patience Griffin, Read by Kirsten Potter
Tantor Media
AudioFile Earphones Award

Watch a Behind the Mic video and find other audiobooks narrated by Kirsten Potter at our website!

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!

Behind the Mic: If Not for You

Debbie Macomber writes, “Spring is full of hope for me.” That seems just right as we talk with narrator Khristine Hvam about recording IF NOT FOR YOU.

AudioFile goes Behind the Mic to talk with Khristine Hvam about recording the latest in Debbie Macomber’s New Beginnings series, IF NOT FOR YOU. Khristine speaks with such heart and entices listeners to step into the unlikely friendship of Beth and Sam.

“We can all relate to getting to a point in our lives when we need to make our own choices . . . and finding love along the way. —Narrator Khristine Hvam

If Not For You

IF NOT FOR YOU
by Debbie Macomber, read by Khristine Hvam
Random House Audio/ Books on Tape
AudioFile Earphones Award

Debbie Macomber’s books have legions of fans, and she uplifts her readers with stories of connection and hope. We love to hear that this newest audiobook, winner of our Earphones Award, follows through on that promise. Khristine brings keen intuition to her performance of Macomber’s new classic. Listen to a sound clip from IF NOT FOR YOU and read AudioFile’s full review here.

If you can’t get enough of Debbie Macomber, you might enjoy AudioFile’s interview with her!

Debbie MacomberTalking with Debbie Macomber

Discover more great romances to listen to at our website!

We're the editorial team at AudioFile Magazine!

Tease: Sweet Dreams

The audio format turns up the heat on Sunny Leone’s Indian erotica

When I set out to review SWEET DREAMS – an Audies finalist in the Erotica category – I first thought, oh, interesting, a collection of erotic tales set in India. My second thought was, oh. Accents. Each of these stories has a dreamy, slow pace, and each relies heavily on its Indian setting for context and tone. Without realistic and seamless accents, the audiobook would fail – and it wouldn’t be pretty. Enter narrators Simone Lewis and Vikas Adam, with their confident presentation and appropriate accents. Simone Lewis, especially, evokes the sensory nature of the Indian culture that Sunny Leone – a Canadian-born adult film star who works extensively in Indian cinema – shares in her vignettes.

 Sweet Dreams

Sweet Dreams
by Sunny Leone, read by Simone Lewis and Vikas Adam
Novel Audio
AudioFile Earphones Award
2017 Audies Finalist

Workaholic professional bachelors and bored housewives share moments of passion and loneliness. Both Lewis and Adam provide nuanced performances that share the sensual nature of Leone’s erotica, using delicate, twisting phrasing that sings with desire, longing, and love. Enjoy a sound clip and read the whole review here.

See the rest of the 2017 Audies Erotica finalists!

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!

Tease: Love Your Lists

Why are lists addictive clickbait? If you consider lists a lifeline–check here for 3 romance audiobooks that will change your life!

I’ve had lists on the brain lately. The faster life spins, the more I treat my to-do list as a lifeline. And the publishing industry is all about lists. Each year, I wait impatiently for the Audies finalist lists in the Romance and Erotica categories for must-listen titles and noteworthy narrators. 

Perhaps most importantly, a bunch of us at AudioFile had an insider discussion on lists and listicles and why they are addictive clickbait. For confused readers, a listicle is an article created in list format. How many times have you seen an irresistible tagline like 100 Swoon-Worthy Romances (in this case, from NPR) and been compelled to pore over the list items and count the titles you know, deciding if the list is flawed or if your score adequately represents your commitment to the genre? I’m going to resist the urge to title this post “Three romance audiobooks that will change your life,”  but hey, you never know . . .

INTO THE FIRE
Night Prince, Book 4
by Jeaniene Frost, Read by Tavia Gilbert
Harper Audio
I’ve been wanting to spotlight a Tavia Gilbert narration for some time—lucky for you, it’s a paranormal with tons of action and humor by the incomparable Jeaniene Frost. Don’t miss this series!

POWER GAME
Ghostwalkers, Book 13
by Christine Feehan, Read by Jim Frangione
Recorded Books
At the risk of being redundant, I cannot recommend this narrator/author duo highly enough. Feehan loves her alpha males, and Frangione holds nothing back as he brings their power plays to life.

OFF BASE
Out of Uniform, Book 1
by Annabeth Albert, Read by Tyler Stevens
Harlequin Audio
Narrator Tyler Stevens was new to me, and this is a great introduction to his work. Going from sensitive to strong, he hits all the right notes as hot Navy Seal Zack finally gives in to his attraction to his flirtatious roommate, Pike.

More new romance reviews can be found on our website here!

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!