Career Advice for the Romance Listener

Tease: Audiobooks featuring women in unconventional locales, careers, and callings

The Lady Travelers Guide to Larceny with a Dashing Stranger

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? (I wanted to be a superhero with a purple shirt, but I’m still waiting on that one.)

The Lady Travelers Guide to Larceny with a Dashing StrangerRegardless of your age, the scope of work for women has changed drastically during our lifetimes. Ask your grandparents or great-grandparents what jobs were available for women. Perhaps they went to college, or perhaps they raised a family. Perhaps they went to work during the Great Depression or during wartime. And what about your mother? Perhaps she became a teacher, a secretary, or a nurse, or perhaps she pursued part-time work when you and your siblings were little. Are there women in your family who are in the military, the sciences, or in government? And it goes on. In the past few years, women in our time have been pushing for equal inclusion in technology and corporate cultures. No matter what, I imagine the women you know and love have some stories to tell, for sure.

Speaking of stories, these romance audiobooks feature women in unconventional locales, careers, and callings. Whether it’s a historical romance where the woman wishes to define marriage and happiness on her own terms, the fast-paced world of journalism in the early twentieth century, a forced engagement via social media, or women breaking barriers in combat and law enforcement circles, these narrators create likable, authentic female characters who define their futures on their own terms. 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!

Solve: New Year’s Resolutions for Crime Fighters

What resolutions would your favorite crime fighters embrace in 2018?

Craig Johnson - The Western Star

Welcome to 2018, friends! I’ll still be writing 2017 for at least another month or so. This weekend, though, I was writing resolutions. The idea of resolutions always brings mixed reactions. You have those who are steadfastly against them, “I NEVER make resolutions! Those never work.” And others who are super creative or need them for motivation. The flurry of gym memberships in January always reflects those who resolve to get in shape, and the garbage collectors probably have to work harder the first month of the year due to all those who want to de-clutter.

For the past several years, I’ve seen people creating one-word resolutions. The idea, I believe, originated with Mike Ashcraft and his “My One Word” initiative. The concept is to choose one word that you want to represent you and to focus on it the whole year. This idea made me wonder about what words would be appropriate for our favorite characters in crime fiction. So here are my ideas:

Walt Longmire – Justice
The honorable lawman from Wyoming is always in search of justice, but by the end of THE WESTERN STAR, he’s a man on a mission, and no one had better stand in his way.

Craig Johnson - The Western Star Read more…

A freelance book and audiobook reviewer, I have also written numerous interviews of authors and narrators. Story entrances me and if I'm not reading for myself I love having a story told to me. In addition, I'm an avid photographer, where stories are in the images!

Solve: The Elvis Cole series

Robert Crais got Jen hooked on a life of crime (fiction)

The Watchman

Many people have heard me credit Robert Crais with hooking me on crime fiction. The Elvis Cole series was, in fact, my first serious foray into the genre. I picked up THE WATCHMAN at the bookstore and realized it was part of a series. Instead of getting that title, I grabbed THE MONKEY’S RAINCOAT and binged my way straight through the whole series and the three standalones that were available.

The WatchmanAppropriately, those who go a little nutty for Crais’s work are called the “Craisies,” and I’ve made many lifelong friends through a shared love of Elvis, Joe, and the gang. These people are extremely passionate about the series, so they are very upfront about their feelings on everything from book covers to characters to, yes, audiobook narrators.

Unlike some other series that have had long-running narrators who read most, if not all, of the series—Dick Hill for Jack Reacher, George Guidall for Walt Longmire, Will Patton for Dave Robicheaux, Lorelei King for Stephanie Plum—the Elvis Cole series has had a variety of narrators, including Crais himself (THE FIRST RULE). This lends itself to a lot of heated discussion between die-hard fans. Read more…

A freelance book and audiobook reviewer, I have also written numerous interviews of authors and narrators. Story entrances me and if I'm not reading for myself I love having a story told to me. In addition, I'm an avid photographer, where stories are in the images!

Solve: Crossing Genre Lines

Marcus Sakey lured me outside my literary comfort zone

Marcus Sakey: Scar TissueI have been a fan of Marcus Sakey’s work for many years now. His gripping suspense and Everyman characters always drew me in immediately and kept me glued to my audiobook with bated breath.

Sakey started his career with standalone novels, including GOOD PEOPLE and THE TWO DEATHS OF DANIEL HAYES. Each book always felt more intense, more thrilling than the one before it. His short stories were fabulous little nuggets of that same excitement. He was known to say in interviews that he didn’t have a great desire to write a series; at the end of a story he was ready to say good-bye to the characters that inhabited it. Read more…

A freelance book and audiobook reviewer, I have also written numerous interviews of authors and narrators. Story entrances me and if I'm not reading for myself I love having a story told to me. In addition, I'm an avid photographer, where stories are in the images!

Solve: Always listen in order! (Or don’t.)

Do you follow your favorite sleuth’s every move or jump into each new series on a whim?

Glass HousesI have a confession to make. I sometimes listen to series out of order on audiobook. As a matter of fact, I recently finished Louise Penny’s GLASS HOUSES—but I haven’t listened to the previous two installments in the series. I know some of you are gasping in horror. There was a time I would have done the same thing. As I started doing more and more reviewing, my list of absolutely-must-listen-in-order started to get shorter and shorter.

I still adore Louise Penny’s Three Pines series, which seems to grow better with each book. And starting a new one is like visiting old friends. But my schedule—especially in August—doesn’t always permit me a lot of extra time for books and audios I’m not assigned to review. So I’ve ended up reading some out of order. Read more…

A freelance book and audiobook reviewer, I have also written numerous interviews of authors and narrators. Story entrances me and if I'm not reading for myself I love having a story told to me. In addition, I'm an avid photographer, where stories are in the images!

Solve: Reading vs. Listening vs. Watching

Audiobooks are not cheating!

Recently I took a trip to Central Virginia to visit a friend who moved there. She waited for me to arrive before heading out to her new library so she could sign up for a card and investigate this cherished repository of stories. It’s a lovely, modern building that includes a front porch and—no joke—rocking chairs. But what really caught my attention was this sign they had hanging on one of the bookshelves:

Audiobooks Are Not Cheating

Having worked as a high school English teacher, I cannot understand the mindset that audiobooks are cheating. Don’t misunderstand—I believe literacy is vital in our society, but reading the words printed on the pages of a book is at the bottom of Bloom’s taxonomy. Where the true value of good stories comes into play is in the analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of characters, plot, theme, sometimes setting, symbols, etc. And when we listen to audiobooks, we’re still wholly responsible for that role. Read more…

A freelance book and audiobook reviewer, I have also written numerous interviews of authors and narrators. Story entrances me and if I'm not reading for myself I love having a story told to me. In addition, I'm an avid photographer, where stories are in the images!