As I may have revealed in former holiday roundups, I revel in all things Christmas. I watch holiday movies (and upgraded to an app this year to track my progress — 11 so far). My reindeer-in-a-winter-forest shower curtain is up, my wreath is on the door, and I have already baked pumpkin bread and scones as my warm-up to cookie baking. (Happy to share the recipes!) So it is no understatement to say I have been preparing for this roundup with a hint of festive sparkle since July. Here are five holiday romance audiobooks that will warm your heart, have you humming carols, and make you smile despite holiday traffic and busy schedules. Love your holiday listening, with my best wishes to you and your family. Read more…
Applaud my restraint. I have waited until November to post holiday audiobook reviews. Just ask my coworkers—it was June when I announced the schedule for a certain “Countdown to Christmas” holiday movie festival that I plan my weekends around. So for my fellow Christmas-philes, these audiobooks should add to your festive spirit.
A VERY MERRY ROMANCE
by Brenda Jackson, read by Ron Butler
AudioFile Earphones Award
Narrator Ron Butler doesn’t take sides as he presents the romantic journey of Marilyn Bannister and Jonathan Madaris. A Houston principal, Jonathan can’t date his new teacher, so he secretly transfers her to begin his courtship. Butler embodies the suave confidence Jonathan uses to attract Marilyn’s attention and overcome her misgivings while subtly differentiating Marilyn’s dialogue. The holiday warmth comes near the end of the recording, so this is a good warm-up to the holiday season. Read more…
Say hello to Karen White, the first guest in my 5 Audios / 5 Questions series. Karen is not only one of the queens of romantic fiction narrators but is also known for compelling performances in literary fiction, memoir, mystery, and more.
Audiobook fans live for those magic pairings between author and narrator, especially for ongoing series. Karen has performed many of Jill Shalvis’s novels and is the voice of her Heartbreaker Bay Series, including this fall’s CHASING CHRISTMAS EVE. Her delivery emphasizes the romantic tension between the characters and brings out the Shalvis’s sense of humor. Karen’s believable characterizations and spot-on pacing for Julie James’s FBI-US Attorney romantic fiction series won her an Earphones Award for SUDDENLY ONE SUMMER. Read more…
Full disclosure. I am that person who runs around singing, “It’s the most wonderful time… of the year!!!”
Which is the earliest my coworkers will let me get away with it. I love holidays and celebrations, especially ones involving gifts — given or received — and hot cocoa and elf shortbread. So, this is about as exciting as it gets for me, to showcase some Christmas romance audiobooks for festive holiday listening.
MERRY AND BRIGHT
Read by Em Eldridge
Random House Audio/Books on Tape
Romance is a sprawling genre that pretty much encompasses every style of writing that you can think of. That said, if I were going to choose a contemporary romance writer who embodies faith and family, Debbie Macomber is the one. This bestselling author presents realistic stories with flawed characters who rise above their everyday problems to find happiness through grace. Read more…
As the crisp days of fall tread inevitably to the snowy invasion of winter — at least here in the Northeast — I start to hunker down and cozy up. My softest green Express sweatshirt from the ’90s comes out of the bottom drawer, I pace the grocery store for new and novel hot chocolate flavors, and I look for cozy listens. I’m a re-reader and a re-listener, so many of my cozy listens are old favorites like historicals or Mary Stewart mysteries, or books I read as a child like THE SECRET GARDEN or THE LORD OF THE RINGS. I have slightly different criteria when it comes to cozy romance. I don’t want to spend most of the book on the edge of my seat fretting. I want an intimate connection with the main characters. Even if they are flawed, I still want to love them. I look for comforting and wondrous elements such as a dreamy setting or heartwarming dialogue. This column features some cozy listens, including a few holiday titles for you to enjoy in your favorite sweatshirt — or even — no judgment here — pajamas after breakfast.
Oh, dear. You know how you have an idea, and you think it’s a good idea, and then after a while, you realize you didn’t know what you were getting into? This is that time.
It was supposed to be simple (sigh). Introduce audiobook listeners to the romance genre with a few touchstone titles. These are audiobooks that epitomize the best of the genre and would appeal to a wide range of listeners. I thought I would organize it by category — for example, if you’re a mystery reader, you can jump into a romantic suspense listen and barely notice the landing. I had a few titles and narrators in my head. I started to organize them on paper to make categories. I jotted titles on the first paper. Quick and easy, right? Not so. I ran out of paper, had to start a second sheet. I thought of more suggestions. Then, I had to turn both of the sheets sideways in order to scribble more titles. Then, I was squeezing them in between the lines on both notes. Did I mention I don’t have good handwriting to begin with?
Long story short, there are MANY gateways to romance audio, and they are all worth entering. Here are a FEW to get you started. (Yes, this is a much shortened list from the original notes.)