The founders of AudioGals are Lea Hensley, Brenda Lee, and Melinda Parmer. AudioGals premiered in August 2012. Our Gal family has grown with the addition of several reviewers.
Lea let others know about her love affair with romance audiobooks in 2009 when she started writing the Speaking of Audiobooks column for All About Romance. She continued to write the column until spring of 2015, She has an abiding love for audiobooks which started as a means to just get through an exercise regime and increased when experiencing light sensitivity. Now she prefers listening over reading in print although she spends time with both. Lea loves perennial gardening, natural environments, creating mixed media art, and writing.
Lea’s favorite romance sub-genres are Contemporary, Historical, and Romantic Suspense. She can’t list just a few of her favorite audiobooks. The list is long but here are her top 25:
It Had To Be You – Susan Elizabeth Phillips Narrated by Anna Fields
Nobody’s Baby But Mine – Susan Elizabeth Phillips Narrated by Anna Fields
Match Me If You Can – Susan Elizabeth Phillips Narrated by Anna Fields
One Summer – Karen Robards Narrated by Anna Fields
Envy – Sandra Brown Narrated by Victor Slezak
Flowers from the Storm – Laura Kinsale Narrated by Nicholas Boulton
For My Lady’s Heart – Laura Kinsale Narrated by Nicholas Boulton
Surrender – Pamela Clare Narrated by Kaleo Griffith
Unlawful Contact – Pamela Clare Narrated by Kaleo Griffith
Breaking Point – Pamela Clare Narrated by Kaleo Griffith
Catch of the Day – Kristan Higgins Narrated by Xe Sands
Death Angel – Linda Howard Narrated by Joyce Bean
After the Night – Linda Howard Narrated by Natalie Ross
To Die For – Linda Howard Narrated by Franette Liebow
Halfway to the Grave – Jeaniene Frost Narrated by Tavia Gilbert
Kiss of the Highlander – Karen Marie Moning Narrated by Phil Gigante
The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie – Jennifer Ashley Narrated by Angela Dawe
Outlander – Diana Gabaldon Narrated by Davina Porter
Dead Until Dark – Charlaine Harris Narrated by Johanna Parker (actually the entire Sookie Stackhouse series)
Private Arrangements – Sherry Thomas Narrated by Virginia Leishman
Dream of Me – Josie Litton Narrated by Josephine Bailey
First Comes Marriage – Mary Balogh Narrated by Anne Flosnik
Practice Makes Perfect – Julie James Narrated by Karen White
Just the Sexiest Man Alive – Julie James Narrated by Karen White
Love Awakened – J.R. Ward Narrated by Jim Frangione
Lea penned the Speaking of Audiobooks column at All About Romance from May 2009 to May 2015. These were cutting edge articles for romance audio enthusiasts at the time and we had some great discussions starting with the very first column Speaking of Audiobooks: It’s All About The Narrator.
Meet Brenda Lee
Romance reading has been Brenda’s preferred form of entertainment since discovering Harlequin Presents at 12. Audiobooks were added into the mix when she and her young (at the time) family moved to the mountains a good two hours away from a city. She started with audiobooks on cassette tape to pass the time on those drives to the city and, after discovering how fast listening to a book can make a tedious trip go by, she was soon finding more reasons to listen – mundane housework, yard work, computer work, any work at all that can be done by rote. She has progressed with the times into CD’s, MP3-CD’s and now, the easiest of all, digital audio book downloads and with that progression came an addiction to MP3 players and audiobook paraphernalia of all kinds and discovering how they work together.
Brenda’s favorite romance genres have changed over the years from Historical and Contemporary to Romantic Suspense, Paranormal and Urban Fantasy as long as there’s a thread of romance, some laughs and go easy on the angst. As a big fan of continuing series she has several favorite authors combined with their given narrators who are must listens in audio – Ilona Andrews (Renee Raudman), Patricia Briggs, Charlaine Harris (Johanna Parker), Jeaniene Frost (Tavia Gilbert), J.D. Robb (Susan Ericksen), Karen Marie Moning (Phil Gigante, Natalie Ross, Joyce Bean), Molly Harper (Amanda Ronconi), Nalini Singh (Angela Dawe, Justine Eyre), Kresley Cole (Robert Petkoff), Christine Warren (Kate Reading), Jayne Castle, Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Anna Fields), and Janet Evanovich. Individual titles than have been standouts include LaVyrle Spencer’s Morning Glory (Kate Forbes); Nora Roberts’ Carnal Innocence (Tom Stechschulte), The Search (Tanya Eby), and Blood Brothers (Phil Gigante); Karen Robards’ One Summer (Kate Fleming/Anna Fields); Susan Andersen’s Head Over Heels (Anna Fields); Linda Howard’s Dream Man (Phil Gigante), Kill and Tell, After The Night (both Natalie Ross), and Heart of Fire (Tanya Eby); and most recently Julie James’ Something About You (Karen White).
Meet Melinda Parmer
AudioGal3: A bespectacled business executive by day, a romance audio-junkie the rest of the time, Melinda maintained a private blog for her reading habit under the mysterious name Aunt Rowena. “Since so many people called me anything but Melinda most of my life, I laughingly adopted the persona of Rowena (there may have been alcohol involved) one evening over dinner. Melissa, Belinda, Amanda, Miranda, Linda – you name it, I’ve been called it.” She considers herself “yet another romance listener with opinions” and you are going to benefit from hers here at AudioGals – whether you are in agreement, or find yourself running from her recommendations you’ll still enjoy her witty take on audiobooks, narrators and the state of romance reading today.
She started the slippery slope to romance audiobooks the way many people did, with Diana Gabaldon’s iconic Outlander series (Davina Porter). Having already read the available books multiple times, she got a tip that listening to them added to experience – and that tip was spot on. A wonderful book read by a talented narrator is an experience to be consumed like water in the desert, like fine wine and decadent chocolate, like slow, steamy sex with… you get the picture. Her favorites constantly change as new books are published and old favorites re-released. To wit: LaVyrle Spencer’s Morning Glory (Kate Forbes) was an incredibly hard-to-find gem, now available again; Linda Howard’s After The Night (Natalie Ross) a sort of guilty pleasure, with one of Howard’s love-to-hate heroes; Judith Ivory’s The Indiscretion (Barbara Rosenblat) a witty, pithy jewel of talent personified. In spite of her fascination with Outlander and time travel, she leaves the paranormal audio to Brenda.