I say this every year, but it’s true: One of my favorite things about December is the best-of book lists, especially the best in audiobooks. I love adding to my wish list and getting great ideas for gift giving.
I also keep my eye (ear?) out for good audiobooks to listen to with family. An audiobook can take the sting out of traveling, cooking, and house cleaning, and it makes a quiet night at home in front of the fire extra special.
Today I’m happy to share with you AudioFile’s Best Biography & History Audiobooks for 2019. We picked the following titles not only for their excellence in research and style but also because of the narrators’ exceptional performances, which leave listeners wanting more. Read more…
Say hello to Kirsten Potter, a narrator I count on to enhance the mood of whatever audiobook I’m listening to, from fun romance to creepy thriller to serious science. I always appreciate her well-thought-out characterizations and attention to the pacing of the story.
Kirsten has performed dozens of standalone audiobooks over her career and has also been tapped for returning roles. For example, she is the voice for Dianne Duvall’s very popular Immortal Guardians series; these paranormal, action-packed romances have garnered her many loyal fans.
If you’re looking for something a little tamer, don’t worry. Kirsten has performed young adult fiction, classics, thrillers, literary fiction, and a variety of nonfiction. Let’s take a closer look at some of her work. Read more…
Most people I talk with have fond memories of the years they spent raising children. It felt great to love those little ones with such intensity and to feel that consuming sense of responsibility for their journey into adulthood. Now that I’m a grandparent, I can tell you it’s even more fun when you’re not the primary care provider and don’t feel that pressure to do something when things aren’t going well. My responsibilities now are to give unwanted advice to the parents and to hide my judgment when I see they’re doing something “wrong.” Two of the parenting audiobooks I listened to recently struck a chord with the part of me that misses being overprotecting and pushing my children to astounding achievements. Read more…
Listeners can celebrate the Lunar New Year with Grace Lin’s THE YEAR OF THE DOG. Recently re-released, Lin’s debut novel was first published in the previous year of the dog, 2006. The combination of part story and part memoir makes the audiobook welcome for family listening.
As most of you know, Maine has quite a lot of “weather.” For anyone who can’t stand cold and doesn’t like to experience the elements, this state may not be for you. In my family, we have a mantra about that that’s just turned up as the title of Linda Åkeson McGurk’s audiobook: THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS BAD WEATHER. In the pictures below are my hearty son and grandson, and on the right, Alex Johnston, Denny’s second grade teacher who espoused what’s now called the No Child Left Inside movement in the 1990s.
Equal time. In my recent posts, I’ve focused on cozy and historical romances. This time, let’s hit shuffle on the player and turn to edgy and paranormal romance. For any Twilight fans, it’s my opinion that the successful edgy romance is an experience similar to Bella’s jump off the cliff. Nothing’s held back. It’s life or death, do or die, all or nothing, Montagues or Capulets.
These narrators are intense; they’re living the story, making it impossible to stop listening for fear of breaking the emotional experience that feels all-consuming. This type of romance can feel almost like a madness—think of Charlotte or Emily Brontë’s narratives. It’s key that the narrator places listeners at the center of the whirlwind rather than leaving us outside it, staring judgmentally at the couple, wondering, “What were you thinking?” In a romance in which it’s the couple against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, the listener needs to feel at every moment that together is better than apart. Take a deep breath and dive into the addictive experience of being someone’s entire world. Read more…
Audiofile Magazine is proud to present its 2017 Best Romance Audiobook list. These fifteen audiobooks represent a snapshot of this year’s best listening. Many reviewers helped make this list possible — thanks to all of them for being wonderful listeners. Since it’s impossible to choose a favorite from among these stellar titles, I thought I would prepare a little quiz for you as an introduction to the titles (see the end of the post for the answers!). And don’t forget to Love Your Listening!
Best of Romance Audio Quiz
1. Twelve of the titles are part of a series. Which 3 titles are standalone audios?
2. Of the historicals, one is set in the reign of King George IV of England, one during King Edward I of England’s reign, and one during King George III of England’s reign. Which is which?
3. Of the paranormals, one is set in a magical upstate New York and one is set in a magical Houston, Texas. Which is which? Read more…
Usually we have the pleasure of featuring titles we’ve listened to and loved, but this week, I’m focusing on historical romance titles that are so new, some of them still in our players. All of these have caught our reviewers’ interest for one reason or another, and bringing them to you feels as sweet as sharing a giant bag of leftover Halloween candy ready to scarf. Love your 19th-century listening!
CAUGHT BY THE SCOT
by Karen Hawkins, read by Gary Furlong
Simon & Schuster Audio
AudioFile Earphones Award
Narrator Gary Furlong takes full control of privateer Conner Douglas’s concerted efforts to woo his best friend Lady Thea back from her squire swain. Connor’s steamy persuasions and Thea’s disconcerting wit will have listeners enjoying the spectacle.
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.)
It’s back-to-school time, and August is National Crayon Collection Month. I didn’t know about this until I started researching blog topics—don’t ask, my mind works in scary ways sometimes. Anyway, there’s this cool non-profit organization aptly named Crayon Collection that gathers gently used crayons and distributes them to schools in high-poverty areas. This does two things: keeps perfectly good crayons out of landfills and puts them in the hands of children to encourage their creativity. Who knows, they may be the masterminds writing our mysteries of tomorrow!
Based on titles in the genre, our past and current scribes were likely influenced by the wax art supplies of their childhoods. Although they don’t get quite as creative as the marketing gurus at Crayola—laser lemon?—crime writers (and their publishers) make use of color frequently in titles. John D. MacDonald started the themed series fad using color names for his Travis McGee titles (THE DEEP BLUE GOOD-BY, A PURPLE PLACE FOR DYING, etc.). David Handler followed suit with his Berger and Mitry mysteries (THE COLD BLUE BLOOD, HOT PINK FARMHOUSE), while many other crime writers had single titles featuring a veritable rainbow of color names.