Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday: Listen Up! Audiobook Week

Once again Jen @ Devourerofbooks has some great discussion questions for us make sure you check out her blog and see all the other bloggers that have posted their answers.

Friday: Listen Up!
Where do you learn about great audiobook titles? Find reviews? Buy your audiobook? Share your secrets with the rest of us!

Where do you learn about great audiobook titles? 

Audiobookjukebox is a great one stop for audiobook reviews search for a title and there will be links to reviews and sometimes more than one opinion on the same book, and these are Audio specific reviews. They also have the great Solid Gold Reviewer Program for audiobooks.This is a great site, Jeff & Susan do a wonderful job!

Twitter is a great place to get audiobook recommendations, connect with narrators, authors, publishers and bloggers see my list here on who to follow in the audiobook twitterverse.

I belong to a great group on Goodreads we have good discussions and keep each other alerted when there is a good sale or a giveaway or freebies …..

Also sign up for AudioFile RealTime Reviews Newsletter and an actual subscription doesn’t cost much either.

YA Sync from Audiofile Magazine has free downloads all summer 2 new audio’s every week one YA title paired with a Classic title this is a wonderful program and I’d like to thank all the publishers for this and hope it will bring a new generation to audiobooks.

There is also Librivox which has free audiobooks for download narrated by volunteers, however what you need to remember with these is that there may be 4-5 different narrators for the book and I’m not talking multi cast I’m saying each section of the book is narrated by someone different. Then there are others you will find that have great narration. These are public domain books narrated and produced by, volunteers you just have to remember that when you listen to these.

Your local library depending on the size of your library they should have at least some audios on CD, also see if they have access to Overdrive Library2Go where you check out downloadable audiobooks just like a regular library book for 2-3 weeks.

Buy your audiobook?

I will admit to being an addict there are so many reasons to be a member you get credits and can get audios for a lot less plus great member only sales that are so worth the membership price!

I also subscribe to audiobook publishers newsletters so you know when they have sales exclusive to their sites I subscribe to Tantor, Blackstone, Randomhouse Audio ect…

Thursday, June 28, 2012

What Makes a Good Narrator? – Audiobook Week Discussion

Again Jen over at Devourer of Books gives us some discussion questions, Thanks so much Jen for a great job again! Make sure you scroll down on her page and check out all the other blogs joining in for Audiobook Week.
Who are your favorite narrators and why? What do you look for in a narrator? Have a preference between male or female narrators?
Alternate suggestion: Narration preferences – single narrator, multiple narrators, full cast, etc.

What I Look for in a Narrator

The very most important thing to me is, does the narrator fit the audiobook? 
I recently listened to a book where the narrator received mixed feedback from me I was impressed with Maggi-Meg Reed’s narration of the young girl with braces because I knew she had braces before the book mentioned it. However there was a lot of crying and wailing going on and that got annoying so that part of it I had wished I’d read instead of having to hear it. The narration was a bit over the top and I am not totally convinced I wouldn’t have liked this book more if the characters hadn’t all sounded so whiny.

Expression: what exactly this means will depend on the book you’re listening to, but is the level of expression appropriate for the book? Do they avoid falling into melodrama? Do they provide enough emotion to make you invest in the story? If they are narrating nonfiction, do they sound interested in their subject matter?
I guess my answer above kind of fits in here too. I think  2 great examples of non-fiction done well are The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot narrated by, Bahni Turpin & Cassandra Campell & Catherine the Great by, Robert Massie narrated by, Mark Deakins these both had me riveted.

Accents and vocal differentiation: Are any necessary accents believable? Can you tell one character from another?
If a book is Southern Fiction I expect a southern accent, to me it is very important when you can tell one character from another I don’t enjoy when the voice is same inflection all the way through.
I recently listened to the book Revolver by, Marcus Sedgwick narrated by, Peter Berkrot his voices were distinct and you always knew who was talking, he seamlessly went from voicing a 15 year old boy to the gruff and rough Wolff with ease.

Voice: Do I want to sit and listen to this person for 8-20 hours? 
This is an important question recently I saw on audible an unabridged version of Mist of Avalon 50 hours long but the narrator is Davina Porter who I know I can enjoy for that long! I had a recent book where 2 hours into this audiobook I just couldn't listen to the narrator anymore the cadence and tempo of her voice grated on me, other people loved it so it just goes to show its all personal taste.

As for male/female I've come to realize I listen to way more women narrators than men and that may be just the books I read but I am adding more male narrators to my favorites and seeking them out more.

I myself enjoy full-cast narration, multiple narration and theater/radio dramas this is another one of those personal preferences because I have heard people who feel very different.

Alrighty, Favorite Narrators I am going to try to keep this short but I may not succeed:

Katherine Kellgren
Davina Porter
Bahni Turpin
Rosalyn Landor
Caroline Lee
Lorelei King
Cassandra Campbell
Karen White
Xe Sands
Jenna Lamia
Emily Gray
Hilary Huber

Simon Vance
Jim Dale
Kirby Heybourne
James Marsters
Robin Sachs
David Thorpe
Gerard Doyle
Dion Graham
I do believe a couple I discovered this month that will end up on this list in the future are---Scott Brick,Grover Gardner & Peter Berkrot

Alright I am going to stop there I could go on listing great narrators for awhile. My advice is listen to samples take suggestions but don't worry if you don't feel the same way others do about a narrator it is all personal preferences and it's up to you to decide who you like!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mid-Week Meme – Audiobook Week Discussion

Today's meme from Devourer of Books here's something quick and easy for the middle of the week, just a short meme.

Current/Most Recent Audiobook:

The Chaperone by, Laura Moriarty narrated by, Elizabeth McGovern


I'm only an hour in and Elizabeth McGovern is doing a good job at the narration her voice is very distinct however everytime she says the name Cora I have to remind myself it's not Downton.

Current/Most Recent Favorite Audiobook:

I would have to say most recent Favorite was The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by, Christopher Healy narrated by, Bronson Pinchot It was So Much Fun my review is here

Favorite narrator you've discovered recently:

I have been trying to listen to New-To-Me narrators for JIAM so I have discovered quite a few including the above mentioned Bronson Pinchot he is fabulous. I also finally listened to Scott Brick & Grover Gardner and now understand why they have legions of fans. A Couple others I will be listening to again are Peter Berkrot, Amy Rubinate, Nick Podehl & Scott Holst.

One Title From Your TBL (To Be Listened) Stack or audio Wishlist:

The Ghosts of Belfast  by, Stuart Neville Narrated by, Gerard Doyle this was a recommendation from @dogearedcopy  I am a big fan of Gerard Doyle so I am really hoping to get to this one in July

Your Audio Dream Team (What book or author would you Love to see paired paired with a certain narrator, can already exist or not):

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Defending Jacob by, William Landay Narrated by, Grover Gardner

Audio Book Week Review: One more for my New- to- Me Narrators Challenge

Defending Jacob by, William Landay Narrated by, Grover Gardner Published by, Blackstone Audio

This was a new to me author & narrator…I know I know how could I have gone this long without listening to Grover Gardner but there it is.

This book is a mystery/thriller, a legal drama and a family story. What would you do if your child was arrested for murdering his classmate, there really wasn’t much evidence and your son denies being involved how would you react? I think that is the question of this book what would you do in these parents shoes?

It kind of goes back and forth in time to the trial and the events leading up to it this did take some getting used to when all of a sudden it was like reading the trial transcript but once I got used to it , it was fine. This book kept me guessing in fact I am still guessing and the ending Wow what an ending in fact I went back and re-listened to the last 25 minutes twice.

It’s hard for me to figure out if the mother is being hard on Jacob or if the father is too soft and just sees what he wants to see. This is such a powerful story about being a parent, Jacob’s father Andy is the parent we get to know the most because he is telling the story and we get his inner dialogue about his son, Jacob’s mother we don’t get to see that, we only see Andy’s reactions to her behavior, which was odd in a sense because I feel like I never really got to know her and I would have liked to see inside her head for awhile.  There are times I don’t like the wife much but that may have been because we didn’t see her inner turmoil like we did Andy’s. Ugh this is really hard not to give any spoilers so I think I will stop now.

Well I can say I have finally listened to Grover Gardner, his narration was very well done, I think he sounded just right he brought this sharpness to Andy’s anger and a softness when he talked about his son, Gardner’s inflections were just right. I will definitely be listening to more from this narrator.

I thought this book was very well done and would highly recommend it to legal thriller fans and I also think this will become a great book club pick, because I think this will lead to some interesting discussions. I thought this was a debut novel but I now see William Landay has a few other books that I plan on reading.

I had a hard time putting this one down and wanted everyone to go away while I finished listening so I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

4 ½ stars

Monday, June 25, 2012

It's Audiobook Week: My Year In Audiobooks

Devourer of Books has set up a great finale to audiobook month and I wanted to help her celebrate audiobook week she has put together some great discussion topics, be sure to stop over there and check out all the other blogs that are taking part. So to start everyone out here are today’s topics: Monday: 2011-2012, Your Audiobook Year
Are you new to audiobooks in the last year? Have you been listening to them forever but discovered something new this year? Favorite titles? New times/places to listen? This is your chance to introduce yourself and your general listening experience. 

I didn’t go all the way back to last June I started this on Jan.1st you can see my 2011 Narrators Year in review from last year here .
As I look over the list of audiobooks I’ve listened to this year ( since Jan.1st) I realized I have listened to a lot of new to me narrators  including a few very famous narrators that it’s about time I listened to! I have listened to 15 tried and true narrators and 24 new to me narrators
I have actually had a slow reading year this year; I have only read 53 books so far this year with 39 of those being on audio.
Looking through my list I’ve listened to some great books so far this year, however these are ones I’d like to highlight:

The Best Melding of  an Author’s Words & Narrator’s Voice- The Silence of the Trees by,Valya Dudycz Lupescu narrated by, Xe Sands Produced by, Iambik-This book evoked such emotion and the narration by Xe Sands brought those emotions through beautifully, the combination of Valya’s writing and Xe’s narration is so great both story and narration are lyrical. Xe’s soft delivery lends beautifully to the written word. My Review is here 

The Best Author Narration: A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty by, Joshilyn Jackson narrated by the author, published by, Hachette Audio-I must say Joshilyn Jackson narrates this book like a pro and I think if you didn’t know it you wouldn’t think twice of recommending this narrator, I see that she narrates most of her book so I will continue with this author on audio! My review is here 

Most Surprisingly Enjoyable book- Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by, Seth Grahame-Smith narrated by, Scott Holst published by, Hachette Audio - I was so surprised at how much I loved this book it read like a real biography and Scott Holst’s narration was just wonderful Abe’s Midwestern accent with just the barest touch of twang from his roots was spot on! My Review Here 

Funniest Family Book for all ages- The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by, Christopher Healy narrated by, Bronson Pinchot published by, Harper Audio - This was a great fairytale retold from the prince’s point of view. Wow I now understand the Bronson Pinchot love! All of his voices in this one are so fantastic! He made me see animation and characters in my head each one with a distinct personality, look and facial expressions he totally brought this great book to life for me! Between Christopher’s fun writing and Bronson’s narration this one will be a go to book when I am feeling down! And if you are listening to the audio make sure you listen all the way to the last second! My Review here 

Best Non-fiction that reads like fiction- Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie narrated by, Mark Deakins published by, Random House Audio- This audio book is 23 hours long but I enjoyed every minute of it; Mark Deakins did a great job on the narration and would definitely listen to others by this narrator. My Review Here 

Best Book to Feed Your Inner Nerd-Ready Player One by, Ernest Cline narrated by, Wil Wheaton published by, Random House Audio-From my Review -  Wil Wheaton's narration was perfect can't imagine anyone else narrating this one.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Dream Casting of Narrators for Bell Bridge Books

An Open letter to Bell Bridge Books:

I have read some of your wonderful books, you have a great selection of southern fiction but I notice there are no audiobooks for your titles so here are some suggestions for you. Here is my dream casting of some of your titles.

Praise Jerusalem! by Augusta Trobaugh Narrator Suggestion- Bahni Turpin & Lorna Raver
Synopsis: Fans of southern novels that explore the complex relationships between white families and their black hired help will find a compelling story about race relations in PRAISE JERUSALEM. Amelia, an aging Georgia matron forced by money woes to move in with two other women--outlandishly preachy Maybelline and take-no-nonsense Mamie, who is black--begins to confront her childhood memories of the black women who worked for her family. Their lives, both tragic and yet sublimely proud, haunt Amelia even now, as she searches for a way to make peace with the sorrows she innocently observed.
PRAISE JERUSALEM is a rare mix of poignant drama but also wry humor. Both the elder Amelia and her childhood self are primly rebellious and irrepressible; Amelia's sharp eye for petty human foibles never fails her.


The Wedding Gift by Kathleen McKenna - Narrator Suggestion-Jenna Lamia
Synopsis: It is a spine-electrifying supernatural tale where a huge Southern States mansion contains one of the most terrifying, violent and indeed psychopathic ghosts to haunt any town. It is also a murder mystery - why did Robina Willets apparently kill all five of her young children, and her husband, before stabbing herself to death? And, if you are in the camp of believing that 'justice .... just is not', then this will have you frothing at the mouth with righteous social fury. Add to that the vision of two exceptionally beautiful girls lying on a landing stage in the middle of a secluded lake, sleeping naked in the sun .... .... and then see if you can find any consecutive ten minutes in this book when you don't at least snicker at the heroine Leeann's sly, caustic, sometimes-knowing sometimes 'too stupid to live' commentary.

Beyond the Bougainvillea by Dolores Durando-  Narrator Suggestion-Xe Sands
Synopsis- She found her place in a turbulent era of deep passions, heartbreaking sacrifices, and grand dreams.
When scholarly, smart Mary Margaret is sixteen, her father marries her off to a drunken neighbor in return for a tract of land. The year is 1924, and Mary Margaret's motherless childhood has already been hard as a farm girl on the desolate prairies of North Dakota. Abused and helpless, the new Mrs. "Marge" Garrity seems destined for a tragic fate.
But Marge is determined to make her life count, no matter what. Her escape from her brutal marriage takes her to California, where she struggles to survive the Great Depression and soon answers the lure of the state's untamed northern half. There, embraced by the rough-and-ready people who built the great Ruck-a-chucky Dam on the American River, she begins to find her true mission in life and the possibility for love and happiness with an Army Corp engineer of Cherokee Indian descent.
This vivid saga of one woman's life in the early decades of a turbulent century is told from the heart of a true storyteller in the grand tradition of women's sagas. 

Sweetie by Kathryn Magendie- Narrator Suggestion-Karen White
Synopsis: For shy, stuttering Melissa, the wild mountain girl named Sweetie is a symbol of pride and strength. But to many in their Appalachian town Sweetie is an outcast, a sinister influence, or worse. This poignant and haunting story takes readers deep inside the bittersweet heart of childhood loyalties.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Stay Close by, Harlan Coben narrated by, Scott Brick

Stay Close by, Harlan Coben narrated by, Scott Brick

I chose this book for my #JIAM challenge of listening to new to me narrators and with a bonus of a new to me author that I have been meaning to read ,I am so glad I picked this one what a great book and great narration!

I now see why Harlan Coben is so popular here at the library this was a really good mystery, it kept me guessing all the way to the end. Coben’s writing kept me glued and I didn’t want to stop listening. I liked all the different parts of the story and trying to figure out how they all came together. The cop still trying to solve a 17 year old disappearance, the ex-stripper with so much to hide, the ex-photo journalist who has lost everything; how do all these people fit together and why after 17 years is it all coming to a head.

This mystery will keep you guessing and keep you on the edge of your seat, as I said this was my first book by Harlan Coben and it will not be my last. 

Scott Brick’s narration was fantastic I just love his deep voice and was impressed with his characterizations. I will be seeking out more from him and I can see now why he has so many fans and I now count myself in that group!

4 Stars

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by, Seth Grahame-Smith narrated by, Scott Holst

This is my first in the new to me narrators challenge. I was very impressed with Scott Holst and will look for more narrated by him.
Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by, Seth Grahame-Smith narrated by, Scott Holst

 My Review:

I enjoyed this book so much more than I had expected to! It read like a real biography and I found myself believing every word. I am having a hard time writing this review because the book feels like fact but is so much fiction, and that’s what makes this a great book just enough real historical facts to make it believable.

Yes, there are gory moments but really no more than any other vampire book so those never distracted me from the story. The character other than Abe I liked best was Henry Sturgis and I liked his back story it is interesting though how easily the Roanoke Colony can be and has been used in vampire lore. It is funny how the Abe Lincoln you know blends so well with the vampire hunter of this book. I can’t wait to see the movie now and really hope they do a good job on it!

Scott Holst’s narration was just wonderful Abe’s Midwestern accent with just the barest touch of twang from his roots was spot on! I will definitely be finding more from this new to me narrator.

If you can’t already tell I highly recommend this book, and I honestly didn’t think I would. If you like vampires, Historical Fiction, Biographies and/or mash-ups pick this book up I think you will be as pleasantly surprised as I was!

4 ½ Stars

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Audiobooks on Twitter #JIAM2012

As an audiobook fan, Twitter is the place to be you get the chance to chat with your favorite narrators, give audiobook publishers your feedback , get a glimpse behind the scenes in the audiobook publishing world, and follow bloggers that know their stuff when it comes to audiobooks.
It was really fun to follow along with the live tweeting from the Audies Tuesday night . Though I will admit there are times it hard not to go all fangirl which I try to keep in check the best I can, but I will admit to squeeing at times when my favorite narrators respond to one of my tweets…Luckily they can’t hear me!!

Audiobooks on twitter Part 2- Here

By the way I am Susie S. @MissSusie66

Feel free to add anyone I missed in the comments Twitter was being a real pain in my… you know what …while I was trying to put this list together!

Here are some narrators to follow on twitter


Sally Blake

Bloggers & Audioreviews

AudioBook Biz:

AudioBook Publishers:

Add Ons From Comments:
John @SciFiAudiobooks
Tanya Eby ‏@Blunder_Woman
LATheatreWorks ‏@LATheatreWorks
Kate Reading ‏@Anglojen
Laurie C ‏@baystateRA

Erin Bennett ‏@theerinbennett

kathe mazur ‏ @kathemazur

Anna Parker-Naples - @AnnaParkerNaple