Thanks so much to Jennifer for inviting me here today to chat about one of my favorite mediums for books! Years ago I used to listen to audiobooks only when on a road trip. I’d get a CD set from Cracker Barrel at the start of any trip (I listened to some great Linda Howard books that way!) and be good to go.
About 6 years ago I got an iPod shuffle and discovered a much better way to listen to audiobooks. I also discovered some new authors and series’ that I’m still addicted to including Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series and Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series (though after listening to the first one I devoured the rest in print because I was too impatient to listen to all of KMM’s books).
Over the last few years I’ve discovered four narrators I can’t get enough of.
1The first is Amanda Ronconi. She’s the narrator for all of Molly Harper’s books. I had to check to make sure and unless I missed something, she’s narrated all of Harper’s books from her quirky Jane Jameson and Half Moon Hollow books to her (also quirky) Naked Werewolf and contemporary Bluegrass books. Molly Harper is one of those authors whose books just make me happy when I’m reading. She’s got such a unique, funny voice that you can’t help but fall in love with her worlds and characters. I rarely read straight contemporary romance but Harper is an author I make an exception for, specifically with her Bluegrass books and ‘And One Last Thing’ one of my all-time favorite stand-alone books. Comedy is really hard to write (I can’t even imagine doing it) because it’s one of those ‘you know it when you read it’ type of things and Amanda Ronconi brings Harper’s books to life in a way that has had me laughing out loud so many times it’s embarrassing. There’s been more than one instance (oh so many) where I’ve been out walking or jogging while listening to my iPod and gotten strange looks from people because I’ve been unable to stop myself from literally laughing out loud to Ronconi’s narration.
2 The next narrator I’m a huge fan of is Susan Ericksen. She’s narrated so many books and after checking, it looks as if she’s been doing it since the 1980s but the series that I fell in love with because of her is In Death by JD Robb (aka Nora Roberts). It’s a sci-fi/fantasy/romance series that takes place in the future with a large cast of characters that revolve around Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her husband Roarke. There are so many characters in each book (40 so far in the series) yet I know who is speaking without a doubt because of Ericksen’s gift for narration. Robb writes in third person and often shifts POV from one paragraph to the next and again, because of Ericksen’s skill, I have no doubt who is thinking/speaking regardless of if there’s a dialogue tag, etc. or not. Since January of this year I’ve listened to almost the entire series (3 to go) on audible and every time I listen to another book or novella, it’s like visiting with old friends. Obviously JD Robb is an incredibly talented writer and Susan Ericksen does such justice to her In Death series that I always prefer listening to reading it because of her.
3I fell in love with the Elder Race series by Thea Harrison pretty much by page two of Dragon Bound. Then on a road trip I went old school and bought the CD set for Storm’s Heart and absolutely fell in love with Sophie Eastlake’s narration. Tricks is one of my favorite Harrison characters and the way Eastlake brought her and the whole Elder Race cast to life was brilliant. (So much so, that I reached out to her years later about narrating my own books and now she narrates two of my series.) As with Ericksen, Eastlake has got such a gift with larger casts of characters so that I never feel lost when I’m listening to her books.
4Lastly, Lorelei King is the reason I discovered Darynda Jones’s Charley Davidson series and I have only good things to say about the series. I think it’s probably categorized as urban fantasy or mystery/thriller (or a combo of both) but it’s also paranormal romance. (Written in first person) Charley is the grim reaper and one of the funniest female characters I’ve ever read. She has so many layers and King really brings out her strong personality in a way that this series deserves.
There are more narrators that are pretty much auto-buy for me, but these are the top four. I’ve always got my iPod attached to me; in the mornings when I jog, when driving pretty much anywhere, when cooking (heh, when I cook) or doing pretty much anything around the house if I’m alone and don’t have a 3 year old attached to me. I love to read and audiobooks have allowed me to ‘read’ when I don’t have time to actually sit down and kick my feet up with an ebook. This year alone I’ve listened to more books than I’ve been able to read on my kindle and I’m so thankful to have that option.
What about you guys? Who is one of your favorite narrators? Or what’s your favorite series/book in audio format?
When his wife was murdered two years ago, Special Agent Levi Lazaro turned his back on everything he cared about. Ever since, he has thought of nothing but vengeance. Now he’s finally uncovered the identities of those who killed his wife—and he’s ready to destroy them at any cost. He won’t let anything stand in his way—not even a beautiful NSA agent on a mission of her own.
Special Agent Selene Wolfe prides herself on being the best. Her fearlessness and quick-thinking make her the perfect person to take down a deadly terrorist cell. But she needs Levi’s help, and the moment he shows up, Selene knows her objectivity—and her heart—are in trouble.
As the two strike an uneasy alliance, Levi finds himself tormented by his desire for Selene—a feeling he thought long dead. But when their mission takes an unexpected turn, he finds himself faced with an impossible choice: either put aside his need for revenge, or save the woman who’s reawakened his soul…