Audiobooks 101- A guide to the Audiobook Galaxy

Filed in Audiobooks , Bookish Rant or Raves , The Geeky Lover , The HEA Lover Posted on March 8, 2012 @ 7:00 am 29 comments

Welcome to the world of Audiobooks! Today we’ll be raving about our love for audiobooks and what you have to consider before choosing what to listen to next! 

Susi: I can’t really say how all this started- okay maybe I do- Caro was crazy about audiobooks and the last Carolyn Crane was in audio first so I tried it and never looked back. It’s just so handy. You can knit while listening to audiobooks or be on the tram or clean the apartment or other things you need 2 hands for. Just the perfect way to spend the time.

Caro:I started listening to Harry Potter years ago when I had insomnia (it didn’t help btw the narration sucked me in). The narrator blew me away and ever since I kept wishing I could listen to more Audiobooks. I finally gave in and tried a few books and I got addicted. I listen to Audiobooks mostly while knitting (I should mention Susi and I are knitting Addicts) but also while driving to work. It’s so fun I ended up looking forward the 2 hours driving I had everyday LOL. It’s also a change from reading. My eye are grateful for the little break.

There are a few things you should consider when you choose an Audiobook:

Male vs. female narrator?
Susi: I admit this does really depend on the book. If it’s an urban fantasy with a male leading character I wouldn’t expect anything else. I actually like that. In romance it’s not as easy for me though. I actually only had one romance audiobook so far (okay maybe 2) where I loved the male narrator. I think the problem is that in a romantic setting the male voice has to fit your own preference and let’s face it we all like different things. So my male narrator crush goes to Robert Pettkoff- he made Lothaire that much more yummier. And well I do have some German narrators I love but other story.

Caro: I am picky too when it comes to choosing the narrator. I have huge male narrator crutches but all were 1st person narrator of UF series. They seriously rocked! I only had one audiobook about a contemp YA romance where the narration was shared between a man and a young woman. He was pretty awesome. Sometimes it’s very hard to like a book when the woman narrator makes stupid male voices. *shudders* Let’s just say Bones is forever ruined for me.

Susi: I had that Nora Roberts’ audiobook where the dude made these high pitched girly sounds- killed all the attraction I had for his voice and constantly made me roll my eyes. Soooo silly.

Age of narrator?
Susi: Okay first we do not really talk about the actual age of the narrator- heck if I know stuff like that. It’s more about what the voice feels like. And I have to say that didn’t pose a problem for me often yet. I think I had to books where the difference between the voice’s age and the leading character was just so big (in my head) that it totally annoyed and confused me. And even more so- one was a rather steamy one so in the middle I felt like my mom or granma would read a smut book to me. Talk about a disturbing image. LOL Kind of kills the mood for me. ;-P Oh but an older narrator can also work- in fantasy or science fiction or anything else not romantic or including sex.

Caro: LMAO I can see why this would be traumatizing hon! I know what you mean, I always listen to an extract so I get the feel of the narrator’s voice. It’s funny but most Historical romances sound like they are read by an ‘old’ voice and it disturbs me. I like ‘neutral’ voices. Some narrators are very good at making us forget what there real age must be.

Susi: Seriously? Another reason to not try that. My poor mind doesn’t need that. Perhaps one reason is also that we are still so young (tries to believe it herself). I mean we hear that difference more? No idea how that would actually feel for let’s say a 40 year old woman- the voices changes in that time, I think. (and I sounds so judging but I really don’t mean in a  bad way)

The Slurpers:
Caro: I think this is something you have to take into consideration when you plan to spend 12hours listening to the same person. I think it comes with experience and maybe techniques but sometimes you can hear the narrator swallowing their saliva, breathing loudly, making irritating Ssssssss sounds that hurts your ears. I remember listening to the first Dresden Files audiobook and I was shocked. The narrator (whom I adore to pieces now) wasn’t really good at that time. It was stressful to listen to. And it’s even funnier considering how good he’s become. Anyway those little things can really kill a book for you.

Susi: OMG it drives me crazy when they swallow their saliva aka slurp- drives me crazy. I hate when they do that. I listen to my audiobooks with my headphones on so every time the narrator slurpes directly into my brain. Makes me shudder and totally distracts me from the actually story. I sometimes catch myself waiting for the next slurp.

The Different voices:
Susi:This can be a hit or miss depending on your personal expirience and liking. For example my real life exposure to Scots, Brits and Aussies is non existent so my judgement of it is a bit unprofessional. I have to say I usually adore accents in stories. I listened to the first few Love At Stake books by Kerrelyn Sparks and the scots in them are so adorable. I loved their accent. In the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne was a German coven and it took me more than one book to finally get what their name was. LMAO Me as a German didn’t understand what the German name was- kind of silly, I know. But it did annoy me and made me laugh so much when I finally got it.

Caro: I agree with the fact that it can either be great or end up being completely stupid. For example I love the narrator of Molly Harper’s books. She has a slight southern accent I find most compelling. I had a laugh a few time when hearing a french accent. As I said before I like ‘neutral’ voices, that means that I am not a huge fan of Historical romances read by ‘old’ ‘aristocratic-like’ British voices. I just can’t relate.

Susi: I adored the Molly Harper books- even more because of the great narration. Amanda Ronconi rocks big time. And yes I do agree- I do not like when the narrator tries to much to differentiate the voice of the characters. This venture into sillyland to easily.

Caro: Once again I will mention Bones *shudder* that was SUCH a stupid voice. Oh and the voice of Lex in Stacia Kane’s books….I wanted to throw my audiobook against a virtual wall.

The Sex Scenes:
Caro: It took me some times to pass from Sex-less audiobooks to very hot ones. Listening to smex makes it WAY more personal. And well I use to listen to my audiobooks in the car, can you imagine me listening to sex scenes at a red light with my windows open. LOL believe it or not it happened once! Funny thing is I end up blushing a lot more when I listen to sexy scene than when I’m reading it. If well read it can be very very hot. I nearly had an attack while listening to Storm’s Heart by …… there’s a scene in a club that had my heart going crazy. I’ve never blushed so much in my life LOL.

Susi: I still like my books romantic and It usually is my selling point- audio, ebook or print. I’m shallow like that. I just adore the romance and all BUT I have to say that having someone talk to you about hot and steamy sex while you’re sitting in the tram can be weird. It actually depends on all of the before mentioned factors if I like it or not. If you like the book, the voice of the narrator and all it’s easier to buy into the romance and the sex. It can be weird but it doesn’t have to be. I noticed that I do prefer it when the narrator doesn’t try to immitate sex sounds or starts to sound all husky. It should, at least for me, fit into the rest of the book or I’m all laughing again. I have to say it amuses me to no end when a dude narrates a woman’s PoV in a sex scene. All the mushy feelings and that buzz. Poor guy (.<

Caro: Oh my…I tried listening to Bite Me but it was O_o…way too fast for me. My brain just wouldn’t take all the infos in. I’ve found myself finishing a book by reading it because the audiobook was just way too slow.

Caro: If well chosen Audiobooks can be a very fun experience. I mean come ON…we’re addicted!!! You just need to listen to an extract first and go with something you’re comfortable with. I know that we don’t all have the same tastes but if you want to try a few books with great narrators we listed our favorite below. Also…if you want to try a book for free you can try Audible. You can have a free audiobook and leave at any time if you don’t want more.

Susi: Yes, do not buy before listening to the sample first- an audiobook wins or fails with the narration and you should be sure that will be able to stand the voice for at least 9+ hours. Give audiobooks a chance- I know I didn’t for so long and now I can’t seem to live without them.

Narrators we love:
Amanda RonconiMolly Harper Books ⇐ Susi’s all time favorite narration
Lorelei KingDarynda Jones books ⇐ funny and very well done
Robert Pettkoff Lothaire by Kresley Cole ⇐ example of great male narrator (YUM)
Luke Daniels Iron Druid Chronicles
James Marsters//John Clover – The Dresden Files ⇐ Caro’s crushes. John Clover narrated the last Dresden book


What do you think of Audiobooks?  Have you ever tried one?
Did you like/dislike it?
Are you an Audiobook addict? If so any good narrator/Audiobook you’d recommend?
If you don’t like listening to book, what don’t you like about them?

About Caro The HEA Lover

Caroline is a HEA loving, yarn addicted French who's desperately hoping to get a HEA of her own. If she's not reading then she can be found knitting while listening to Audiobooks or watching Tv shows. Her secret addiction is reading websites that make fun at other people's expense (DYAC, Failbook)! Caroline also blogs at the Secret HEA Society with Susi.

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  • aurian March 8, 2012 at 7:15 am

    Lol, you actually “do” audiobooks, when busy with other things. I could never listen to one while driving, as it would be distracting me too much from the busy traffic I have to navigate daily.
    I dislike being told things 😉 I can read much faster by myself. I sometimes need to turn the page back and read something again, that is not as easy with audio. And well, the voice. Anyone listend to the Fever series? By best friend let me listen and it was horrid. But well, she liked it.

    So, I am glad you like it so much, but it just is not for me.

    • pattepoilue March 8, 2012 at 7:29 am

      Believe it or not it help me suffer through the boring drive to and from work. I thought it would be distracting but in the end it’s just like listening to the radio.
      Now that I’m home I listen to audiobooks when I have difficult knitting to do where I have to keep my eyes on pattern. *g*
      I haven’t heard the Fever books I do like the voice of Barron though LOL I listened to the smex scene from Barron’s POV and it was droolworthy.

    • Susi March 8, 2012 at 7:59 am

      I adore knitting but my mind is often bored with just counting and moving hands so I need the audiobooks to keep me going. LOL Well I got so used to it. Before I usually watched some series or so but that sucks when you don’t actually look at the screen. 😉

      I have to say I still need to read some books because a narration can ruin a book for you. So well I go with those I like and ignore the rest. 😀

  • Felicia the Geeky Blogger March 8, 2012 at 7:17 am

    YEAH! I am glad y’all did one of these on audiobooks! I wish more people gave them a try cause we know I love them LOL Plus they truly are the secret to me getting so many books read in a year 🙂

    I agree with the five that you have listed up there as favorites! I would probably replace Amanda with Susan Erikson who does the J.D. Robb series (she truly knocked it out of the park)

    • pattepoilue March 8, 2012 at 7:32 am

      *g* YAY an Audiobook Lover!! *g* I had to work on Susi for months before she finally gave up and tried an audiobook. Before that she felt sure it wasn’t for her!
      I will check out Susan Erikson. I thought about trying the Death series in Audiobooks *g*

    • Susi March 8, 2012 at 8:01 am

      Ohhhh yay. I plan to start catching up on In Death in audio.. Good to know she’s good. *g*

      *waves to the fellow audiobook lover*

      And btw I discovered that too about the book count. I will so exceed my goodreads challenge this year- I’m already like 17 books ahead. 🙂

    • Susi March 29, 2012 at 10:20 am

      I started J.D. Robb audios and I’m truly in love with the narrator. Awesome

  • Sarah (The Brazen Bookworm) March 8, 2012 at 7:17 am

    Yes, Amanda Ronconi rocks! In fact, I now have all Harper’s books in print and on audio because I so love how she performs those books. I have the same reaction to the sex scenes, though – roll up the windows, stare straight ahead even though my heart is pounding! In all, I adore audiobooks, but the one thing I’ve discovered I don’t like is when men read romance novels. I gave up on Nora Roberts’ last book (The Next Always) b/c I didn’t like the male narrator.

    I’m going to try Darynda Jones’ books on audio though, based on your recommendation!

    • pattepoilue March 8, 2012 at 7:36 am

      You’re gonna love the Darynda books in audio. The narrator is awesome. I don’t think I would have liked them as much in print.
      I don’t have all of Molly harper’s books in Audio but from now on I will get them all because the narrator rocks.
      Susi told me she had the same problem with The Next Always, the male narrator wasn’t working for her I think. Maybe you should try Cole’s books because the male narrator is awesome (so Susi says)

    • Susi March 8, 2012 at 8:03 am

      Ohhh yay to giving Darynda a try. And I adore every single one of Molly’s books in audio. It’s a bit sad to say that when I read the first Jane book in print I wasn’t that thrilled. But in audio I’m an addict.

      Oh and I hated The Next Always narration too. I finished it but his “voices” were shudder worthy IMO.

  • Lynn K March 8, 2012 at 10:31 am

    I’ve been into audiobooks lately. Don’t know why it took me so long to get into into it (which is weird cause I absolutely love drama CDs). Currently a few hours into Lothaire. 🙂

    Some others I’ve listened to are Gayle Forman’s Where She Went (I love his voice, but when he started doing ‘girl’ voices…>.>) and one of the Kate Daniels (again, I liked her voice but when she started her ‘Curran voice’ I didn’t like it that much).

    • pattepoilue March 8, 2012 at 10:33 am

      Not all narrators know how to pull off other sex voices. Sometimes they are just trying too hard

    • Susi March 8, 2012 at 1:01 pm

      The voices really can be a pain. Very hard to get that right.

  • Diane March 8, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    The Darynda Jones audio are great and the narrator very good, same with the In Death series. Also the one for the Chicagoland series!!!

    • pattepoilue March 9, 2012 at 3:17 am

      Ohhh I should maybe try the Chicagoland books this way, I gave up on them in print form.

    • Susi March 11, 2012 at 8:11 am

      Ohh I already have the In Death ones on my wishlist. Will think about teh Chicagoland ones. *g*

  • Susan March 8, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    I confess that I’ve never listened to an audiobook and wouldn’t even know where to begin. But I’m intrigued. And I really like the idea of doing some kind of needlework while listening.

    My main qualm is that I’m a very visual person. I like seeing the words. I’m a bit leery that my listening comprehension/retention wouldn’t be up to snuff.

    • Susi March 11, 2012 at 8:14 am

      I love to knit while reading and even I as a German do understand and progress what I hear. It’s not that hard. Well the Christopher Moore one was a challenge speedwise. 😉

  • pattepoilue March 9, 2012 at 3:13 am

    I was scared of the same thing, well even more since at first I was still struggling with understanding spoken English. But now it’s exactly like listening to the tv or someone talking to me.
    You should try a funny one, one that doesn’t need you to remember everything that has been said. =)

  • Alexa March 9, 2012 at 3:29 am

    I’m so on the fence about audio books. I like to listen to them because I have a 45 minute drive one way to see my boyfriend every weekend so that is a good time to put on an audio book. On the other hand I don’t like them because sometimes I think I get more when I read the story. With audio it is easy to tune out for a minute or so then come back to the storyline and have no clue what you just listened to for the past 1-3 minutes.

    Plus I don’t think I could listen to sex scenes so I normally stick to YA books on audio.

    • pattepoilue March 9, 2012 at 3:36 am

      This is definitely something to take into account when choosing which book to listen to. I usually choose books which do not need too much thinking for driving. =)

    • Susi March 11, 2012 at 8:20 am

      I have to admit that most of the time (I’m excluding teh Darynda Jones and Molly Harper books) I only get the books in audio I could never squeeze into my reading schedule. It’s my method of catching up. So much more time for books when you don’t need your hands and eyes to read them. LOL

  • sienny March 9, 2012 at 8:24 am

    never try to listen an audiobook before, and i’m not sure i’ll give it a shot. one reason is, it’s hours long.. i probably read the whole book by then, and i can flip the pages back and forth for as long as i have the need. second, i kinda scared to try it on. what if my first encounter with audiobook ruin me on them for good

    • pattepoilue March 9, 2012 at 8:29 am

      Audiobooks don’t replace prints for me they complement them. I listened to quite a few books I KNOW i’d never have read otherwise. It depends on your tastes but I’d say you should try a funny one with great narrator, that doesn’t require too much thinking. You can listen to extracts online for free. =)

    • Susi March 11, 2012 at 8:24 am

      I would never choose a book I desprately NEED to finish in audio. I read those for speed reasons.

      Actually the audiobooks are like a method to read when you actually couldn’t. Like while making laundry, other chores or knitting. Efficient timemanagement and fun at the same time. LOL

  • DeAnna Schultz March 9, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    I adore audio-books! I’ve had a platinum membership with for 2 years now. I always have to have my favorite series in audio version. Even if I already have it in paper or eBook format. Awesome post!!!

    • pattepoilue March 10, 2012 at 7:28 am

      Thank you *g* So glad you enjoy our post! I started with the smaller membership and now i have a platinum membership too! It’s so great I love it.
      BUT I’m often annoyed because I can’t get all the titles due to my non US status *sigh* LOL.

    • Susi March 11, 2012 at 8:29 am

      Squeeee, a fellow crazy. I got Lothaire in audio because my print was late. LMAO And I might have bought the Darynda books in print just because I can. *g*

  • Lynn K March 17, 2012 at 4:27 am

    I am currently listening to Third Grave Dead Ahead and I must say, I LOVE it!! I love the variety of voices the narrator used. When she reads those funny Charlie train of thoughts, I burst out laughing. xD Her kid voices are adorable and most of all, her guy voices didn’t make me cringe. I’m really enjoying it.

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