«

»

AudioGals Guide to Romance Audio – The Classics

AudioGals Guide to Romance Audio - The Classics

For a full page view, click the Guide.

A few months ago, we started looking for listeners’ favorites in a large number of romance sub-genres. We took a close look at those most talked about audios at our Romance Audiobooks Goodreads group over the past three years. We studied the results of the two Favorite Romance Audiobooks Polls held at AAR in 2011 and 2012. We considered the numerous listeners’ emails and messages we have received over the past four years. We reviewed listeners’ comments at Speaking of Audiobooks for the past four+ years. And we tallied the comments and survey results at AudioGals. All in an effort to come up with a basic listening guide for romance audio. A guide to the best the genre has to offer – our AudioGals Guide to Romance Audio.

All audios chosen for The Classics graphic are well written, expertly performed, and contain quality production. We like to think of it as a core curriculum for romance listening – by listening to each of these audios, one can fully grasp the intense diversity romance offers and understand the high level of entertainment high quality audiobooks can provide.

We’re hoping this graphic will serve a number of purposes. First, to direct existing romance audio listeners to new listens. Second, enticing non-romance audio listeners to try the romance genre. And third, serving as a guide for those new to audiobooks – to get a taste of the best romance audio has to offer and build a desire within these new listeners to keep listening.

These are the audiobooks that keep inspiring highly favorable comments year after year as listeners either discover these titles for the first time or take a trip down memory lane by relistening to these old favorites yet again. It also includes new titles that have received an overwhelming “hurrah!” from romance listeners.

As we look at listener favorites over the past five years, there are a few titles from the 1990s that remain standouts even today including Anna Fields’ performance of a number of Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ titles, Davina Porter’s delivery of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, and Tom Stechschulte’s narration of Nora Roberts’ Carnal Innocence. But audio performances have changed greatly in the past thirteen years with narrators now expected to perform rather than merely read. The availability of more sophisticated production equipment also means we are discontented with poor production quality. No longer are we so tolerant of a low hum in the background or editing that fails to cut out swallowing, breathing, and such. Therefore many of the titles on The Classics graphic are from the past few years as more is expected and subsequently delivered. Listeners have embraced a number of newer titles as much as they once did Gabaldon’s Outlander series, long seen as the golden standard for romance audio. We see narrators meeting the magnificent standards set by those such as Davina Porter and Anna Fields.

In the end, today’s graphic includes titles from ten publishers over sixteen years with the oldest released in 1997 and the newest released in 2013.

We want to thank Tantor Audio for supporting this event and for their unfailing commitment to quality romance audio as they pay attention to listeners’ request and release a large selection of romance audiobooks each month. As part of this event, Tantor’s titles included in this graphic are 50% off.

We have detailed each of the audio titles on the graphic below. You will find that each title links to the hard copies, if available. Listed separately are links to Audible and Tantor’s sale.

There are many titles that came so very, very close to making The Classics list. We’d love to hear from you if there are titles you think deserve inclusion as this is just the first in a series. In 2014, we’ll be looking for the best in various sub-genres and plan to eventually devote a graphic to each of the major romance sub-genre, allowing us to include many more titles. We’ll hold your suggestions close. Feel free to share in our discussion area or use our contact form.

There are two titles we are certain would be listeners favorites (and would have made this list) if only they didn’t lie in that hard-to-find category – Karen Robards’ One Summer released in 2002 and narrated by Anna Fields plus LaVyrle Spencer’s Morning Glory released in 2003 and performed by Kate Forbes. Both cry for rerelease and to be among these treasured titles.

We encourage those who work with groups of listeners to download either our jpeg or pdf files. Our pdf file will print out as a good size poster if desired.

PDF – 36″ x 34″

JPEG – 13.3″ x 12.5″

JPEG – 8.25″ x 8.79″

 

Contemporary:

 

General

 

Something About You Audio125

Something About You  – Julie James

Narrated by Karen White

 

 

AudioGals review

Original publication date: 2012

 

 

Natural Born Charmer

Natural Born Charmer – Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Narrated by Anna Fields

 

AudioGals review

Original date: 2007

 

 

Blue Eyed Devil 175

Blue-Eyed Devil – Lisa Kleypas

Narrated by Renee Raudman

 

AudioGals review

Original publication date: 2008

 

 

 

Humorous

 

Match Me If You Can

Match Me If You Can – Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Narrated by Anna Fields

 

AudioGals review

Original publication date: 2005

 

 

To Die For

To Die For  – Linda Howard

Narrated by Franette Liebow

 

Speaking of Audiobooks review

Original publication date: 2004

 

 

 

 

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice Makes Perfect – Julie James

Narrated by Karen White

 

 

Speaking of Audiobooks review

Original publication date: 2013

 

 

 

New Adult

 

Beautiful Disaster

Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster – Jamie McGuire

Narrated by Emma Gavin and Dan Bittner

 

AudioGals review – Beautiful Disaster

AudioGals review – Walking Disaster

Original publication dates: 2012 and 2013

 

 

 

Perfect Chemistry

Perfect Chemistry – Simone Elkeles

Narrated by Blas Kisic and Roxanne Hernandez

 

Original publication date: 2009

 

 

 

 

 

Easy

Easy – Tammara Webber

Narrated by Tara Sands

 

Original publication date: 2012

 

 

 

 

 

Historical:

 

European

 

 

Kinsale-FlowersfromtheStorm-shadow

Flowers from the Storm – Laura Kinsale

Narrated by Nicholas Boulton

 

AudioGals review

Original publication date: 2013

 

 

 

Outlander choice

Outlander  – Diana Gabaldon

Narrated by Davina Porter

 

AudioGals review

Original publication date: 1997

 

 

 

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie  – Jennifer Ashley

Narrated by Angela Dawe

 

 

AudioGals review

Original publication date: 2012

 

 

American

 

SurrenderAudio192

Surrender   – Pamela Clare

Narrated by Kaleo Griffith

 

 

AudioGals review

Original publication date: 2013

 

 

Prince Charming

Prince Charming  – Julie Garwood

Narrated by Rosalyn Landor

 

Original publication date: 2012

 

 

 

 

 

Just Imagine

Just Imagine  – Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Narrated by Cristine McMurdo-Wallis

 

Original publication date: 2001

 

 

 

 

 

Viking to Medieval

 

Spell of the Highlander

Spell of the Highlander – Karen Marie Moning

Narrated by Phil Gigante

 

Original publication date: 2005

 

 

 

 

 

Dream of MeDream of Me – Josie Litton

Narrated by Josephine Bailey

 

Speaking of Audiobooks review

Original publication date: 2004 (approx)

 

 

 

Honor's Splendour

Honor’s Splendour – Julie Garwood

Narrated by Anne Flosnik

 

Original publication date: 2010

 

 

 

 

Paranormal:

 

Vampire

 

Lover Awakened

Lover Awakened  – J.R. Ward

Narrated by Jim Frangione

 

Speaking of Audiobooks review

Original publication date: 2009

 

 

Once Burned

Once Burned – Jeaniene Frost

Narrated by Tavia Gilbert

 

Speaking of Audiobooks review

Original publication date: 2012

 

 

 

Archangel's Blade

Archangel’s Blade  – Nalini Singh

Narrated by Justine Eyre

 

 

Speaking of Audiobooks review

Original publication date: 2011

 

 

 

Other Creatures

 

On the Edge

On the Edge – Ilona Andrews

Narrated by Renee Raudman

 

 

Original publication date: 2009

 

 

 

Dragon Bound

Dragon Bound – Thea Harrison

Narrated by Sophie Eastlake

 

 

Speaking of Audiobooks review of Dragon Bound

Original publication date: 2011

 

 

Slave to Sensation

Slave to Sensation  – Nalini Singh

Narrated by Angela Dawe

 

 

Original publication date: 2011

 

 

Humorous

 

Kiss of the Highlander

Kiss of the Highlander – Karen Marie Moning

Narrated by Phil Gigante

 

Speaking of Audiobooks review

Original publication date: 2008

 

 

 

 

Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs

Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs  – Molly Harper

Narrated by Amanda Ronconi

 

Speaking of Audiobooks review

Original publication date: 2010

 

 

 

 

Wolf at the DoorWolf at the Door – Christine Warren

Narrated by Kate Reading

 

 

Speaking of Audiobooks review

Original publication date: 2011

 

 

Romantic Suspense:

 

General

 

The Witness - Roberts

The Witness  – Nora Roberts

Narrated by Julia Whelan

 

AudioGals review

Original publication date: 2012

 

 

 

 

On Thin Ice

On Thin Ice  – Anne Stuart

Narrated by Xe Sands

 

 

Speaking of Audiobooks review

Original publication date: 2012

 

 

Kill and TellKill and Tell – Linda Howard

Narrated by Natalie Ross

 

Speaking of Audiobooks review

Original publication date: 2010

 

 

 

 

Heavy Suspense

 

Envy

Envy – Sandra Brown

Narrated by Victor Slezak

 

AudioGals review

Original publication date: 2001

 

 

 

Carnal Innocence

 

Carnal Innocence – Nora Roberts

Narrated by Tom Stechschulte

 

AudioGals review

Original publication date: 1999

 

 

 

Death Angel

Death Angel – Linda Howard

Narrated by Joyce Bean

 

Speaking of Audiobooks review

Original publication date: 2008

 

 

 

Series

 

Extreme Exposure

I -Team – Pamela Clare

Extreme Exposure , Book 1

Narrated by Kaleo Griffith

 

 

AudioGals review of Extreme Exposure

Original publication date: 2012

 

 

Naked in Death

In Death – J.D. Robb

Naked in Death, Book 1

Narrated by Susan Ericksen

 

Speaking of Audiobooks review of Naked in Death

Original publication date: 2004

 

 

 

flashpointTroubleshooters (starting with Flashpoint) – Suzanne Brockmann

Flashpoint, Book 7

Narrated by Patrick Lawlor and Melanie Ewbanks/Renee Raudman

No

AudioGals overview of the series

Original publication date: 2004

 

 

Fantasy Series:

 

Darkfever

Fever – Karen Marie Moning

Darkfever, Book 1

Narrated by Phil Gigante and Joyce Bean/Natalie Ross

 

Fever Series Two Gals Talking Discussion

Original publication date: 2008

 

 

 

The Sharing Kinfe

The Sharing Knife – Lois McMaster Bujold

The Sharing Knife: Beguilement, Book 1

Narrated by Bernadette Dunne

 

Speaking of Audiobooks review of The Sharing Knife: Legacy, Book 2

Original publication date: 2007

 

 

Halfway to the Grave

Night Huntress – Jeaniene Frost

Halfway to the Grave , Book 1

Narrated by Tavia Gilbert

 

Speaking of Audiobooks Halfway to the Grave review

Original publication date: 2010

 

 

Alpha and Omega

Alpha and Omega – Patricia Briggs

Alpha and Omega, Book 1

Narrated by Holter Graham

 

Original publication date: 2007

 

Magic Bites

Kate Daniels – Ilona Andrews

Magic Bites , Book 1

Narrated by Renee Raudman

 

 

Original publication date: 2009

 

 

Lea Hensley

23 comments

3 pings

Skip to comment form

  1. Tina

    Thank you for this fabulous guide! I know a lot of those books you listed and have listened to about 1/3 of them. Unfortunately, about half of them (e.g. those by Pamela Clare, Linda Howard, Julie James, Nalini Singh, Anne Stuart) are not available as downloads either from tantor or audible for listeners from Germany due to regional restrictions. I hope that this list may give them a push to be made available for us listeners from Europe – okay, we may buy those audiobooks on CD…

    1. Lea

      I’m sure geographical restrictions can prove to be extremely disappointing. We have two reviewers outside of the US – Australia and Britain, and we must watch this with review books as well. In fact, we will soon feature a three way chat about these restrictions.

      Are you saying that you can buy these titles in CD format? One of Brenda’s screenshot tutorials gives instructions for doing so if it is of interest to you: http://www.audiogals.net/simple-tech/take-audiobook-cds-to-an-ipod-playlist/#.UlP84xa1nww

      We’re thrilled you enjoyed the guide!

      1. Tina

        Yes, there is no problem with buying those audiobooks in CD format from a bookseller in Germany. It is only with downloads – and on Tantor, I get the info that I also would not be allowed to buy those CDs from them. But if I try a seller like amazon.de or buy them at a German bookstore, than there is no problem with that. I don’t want to sound mean/close-fisted or something like that, but I have an subscription on audible.com (and one on audible.de) and I would really like to use my credits there and not spend additional money on buying those CDs.

        However, I would like to thank you for this list of highly recommended audiobooks.
        I “use” those audiobooks not only for entertainment (although this is my main motivation for listening to them), but also to combine pleasure and listening practice since I’m mainly in contact with English in the form of specialised literature. So I look forward to adding some of those to my to-be-listened-to – list…

  2. LeeF

    How cool is this! Must go save to favorites…….

    1. Lea

      Thank you Lee! That’s what we are hoping – that listeners will save for future listening. :)

  3. sue

    My must read guide for the for the next year.

    Thank you AudioGals for putting this together.

    1. Lea

      Sue – I imagine you have listened to a number of these? I hadn’t thought about it being a guide for the coming year but what a great idea!

  4. Pamela Clare

    I love this graphic! I love the fact that my books are included. Thank you so much, AudioGals! I bet that took a lot of work.

    With regard to Tantor, they often don’t buy international distribution rights, which means they can’t sell the books to customers outside the US/Canada. I’m not sure why they make that choice, but it is very frustrating for my international listeners. I have a lot of readers in the UK and Australia who wanted to listen to the audiobooks but can’t.

    1. Lea

      Thanks Pamela! Choosing the titles did take a good bit of time but the graphic was put together by the graphic designer who created the art for our site, JLS Design. We love her work!

      The geographical restrictions continue to mystify me but I’m informed just enough to acknowledge that there are things at play that I simply don’t know or understand. I didn’t even know that it was in a package (so to speak) and could be referred to as “international distribution rights”. Do you know if rights can but purchased for just the UK or Australia or must it all be covered under the “International” tag?

      1. Pamela Clare

        It’s my understanding that it can be packaged or that the rights can go country to country. The English speaking Commonwealth nations tend to get lumped together.

        My print books are “world English-language rights,” where the foreign language countries are all individual. With the audiobooks it seems to be North America only and then (of course it’s all English-language) the UK/NZ/AUS get left out, not to mention non-English countries, where many people speak English and want to listen to them. I haven’t yet found a way for them to download the audibooks.

        If anyone figures out how someone in Australia or Germany or Spain can buy the books, please let me know!

        1. Lea

          Thank you Pamela!

  5. Karen White

    Thanks, Lea and crew for putting together such a comprehensive guide, and for supporting our efforts to create audiobooks to the best of our collective abilities!
    I’m honored to even be in the same category as Anna Fields, who generously helped me out at the beginning of my career, and I’m thankful to have been paired with Julie James, a writer of exceptional talent. Her way with words truly makes my job easier, and a lot of fun.

    1. Lea

      Brenda and discussed just last week the influence of Anna Fields on romance audio and wondered if she is considered somewhat of a pioneer in the genre by other female narrators. What a tremendous loss for all audio enthusiasts as I know she narrated more than just romance. In all sincerity, it’s fortunate that narrators such as you are stepping in to fill this void in contemporary romance.

      1. Karen White

        Pioneer because she was performing the books earlier than other narrators?
        I do find her approach inspiring as she was able to convey humor so well, her voice was SO expressive – and in the lower range which helps make the men more believable. Most of all, I think her books are seamless. You don’t hear “character voices”, you hear the characters. Does that make sense?
        She was generous with me in terms of explaining how the business worked when I was getting started. I am forever grateful for the hour or so she spent on the phone with me – as a favor to a friend of a friend of a friend.

        1. Lea

          Pioneer in that she “got” romance so completely and she acted rather than just read during a time when narrators were still reading with expression rather than performing the characters. And all the things you mentioned. You don’t find that much in other romance audiobooks of the 90s.

          1. Karen White

            Ah, I “get” it ;)

  6. Tanya Eby

    What a great list! I know I narrate and all, but I also listen obsessively to audiobooks, especially while cooking. Now my kitchen can get hot for other reasons than burning a risotto. Not that I’ve ever done that. Ahem.

    Seriously, what a lot of work. I’ve starred a bunch of these to my wish list and have started listening already.

    1. Lea

      Thanks Tanya. Hope you’ll let me know what worked best for you. I may come asking…

  7. Bea

    Thank you so much for this wonderful guide!! I’ve been looking for something like this for ages. Your hard and loving work is mana for my starving ears! I’ve always been an avid reader but I discovered the magic of audiobooks just a couple of years ago and they have transformed the barren hours of boring and numbing routine tasks and chores into something to look forward to (truth be told they also posed the minor problem of sleepless nights when said hours do not suffice and you can’t stop listening! I imagine that after going through this list my eyes will be in dire need of concealer…). You Gals rock!!

    1. Lea

      Bea – been there, done that many times! I now have a much cleaner house and exercising goes by more quickly than when I’m just listening to music. Thanks for the good word. Knowing we have helped you find some new listens is what we hope for!

  8. Shawny J

    Awesome list. I’m surprised to find Alpha and Omega instead of Mercy Thompson, but to each their own I guess. A note about the Fever series though, I listed to them all and Phil Gigante’s voice does inappropriate things to my insides now, but it’s not actually Phil and Natalie in the initial few volumes, it’s Joyce Bean. She narrates the first 3 books. She’s very good too actually, and if they hadn’t switched mid-series, it probably wouldn’t have suffered, but it’s worth mentioning to those who are new to Mac and Barrons so there’s not confusion.

    1. Shawny J

      *listened to them all. Typo. Sorry.

    2. Lea

      Thanks Shawny for the Fever series clarification. We “meant” to indicate that Joyce Bean narrated the first three books and then the final books were narrated by the team of Gigante and Ross. Obviously we didn’t word that quite right! I enjoyed Bean’s narration but (as I imagine you know) Moning fans were crying out for Gigante’s narration remembering his narration of her Highlander series. It was a difficult transition for me to make at the beginning of Dreamfever but since I too am a big Gigante fan, I loved the end result. I didn’t care for Bean’s performance of Barrons all that much although I was glued to those first three books. :)

      Good observation on the Mercy Thompson series. It was in the running most definitely. This is just the sort of thing we want to hear from listeners.

  1. AudioGal’s Guide to Romance Audio – The Classics » AudioGals | Caz's Reading Room

    […] As a big fan of audiobook romance, I had to reblog this fabulous guide from AudioGals today.AudioGal’s Guide to Romance Audio – The Classics » AudioGals. […]

  2. Announcing Our Improved Search Functions » AudioGals

    […] to make heavy use of our AudioGals search function as I wrote the article that accompanied our AudioGals Guide to Romance Audio: The Classics. Exasperated, I discovered that our search capacity was sorely lacking in functionality. I talked […]

  3. The Wonder of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander » AudioGals

    […] in October 2013, it was one of three European Historical Romance titles chosen for our infographic, AudioGals Guide to Romance Audio – The Classics. This past February, Outlander was mentioned by reviewers in Our Valentine to Romance […]

Comments have been disabled.