Monday, May 6, 2013

What the Feck (WTF): Audiobooks

What the Feck?! (WTF?!) 
Every Monday we talk about a book related topic 
that had us thinking WTF?! while reading a book 
or talking to others in the book community.

When a narrator can make or break a book.
by Jennifer

When we read books, especially series, we get the voice of the characters in our head. We develop our own way they sound and look. We make the characters ours and that's why we can get a little touchy when a book is made into a movie or tv show. Sometimes we don't always agree with the casing because the actor/actress doesn't fit what we see as character X to be like in our heads.

Same can be said for the narration of books. For this post I'm sticking with series where I've both read and listened a book(s) in a series. Some of them I read before listening to the audios and others I listened to audio and then read a book. Lets see how the narrator stacked up in my opinion.

Downside Ghosts series
by Stacia Kane
Narrated by Bahni Turpin

I tried reading Unholy Ghosts and after about 4 chapters I just could not get into it. I think it was the slang I was having problems with. So I stopped with the intent of starting over at a later date. Then I got into audiobooks and tried it in that format. LOVE LOVE LOVE it.

Why the change? The writing is awesome but the narration takes the series from awesome to fan-fecking-tastic. Turpin does an excellent job with the characters and the Downside slang. This series is on my audiobook auto-buy list. Even after reading an ARC of the latest book in the series, Chasing Magic I still bought the audio to listen to. And while I read CM I had Turpin's narration of the characters in my head the whole time.


Tempest Rising (Jane True, #1) 

Jane True Series 
by Nicole Peeler
Narrated by Kate Reinders

Jane True serie is an example of where the narration killed the story for me. Reinders's is not bad, it's just not what I thought Jane and the gang would sound like. Well that's not fair....her narration of Jane is ok even though she sounds like a 12 year old girl, it's the male voices I don't like. Reinder doesn't change her pinch enough for the males or really any of the characters. I find it hard to know who is speaking at times while listening to the audios. I really enjoy Peeler's writing. This series is better enjoyed by reading it than listening to the audio, IMO.



Mercy Thompson Series
by Patricia Briggs
Narrated by Lorelei King

I've read all of Mercy Thompson series but when I was running low on reading time I checked out Frost Burn from the library in audio format. I was curious what it would sound like since I love King's narration of Dryanda Jones' Charley Davidson series. But to me the series are different in tone. Mercy is more serious than Charley, or at least that's what I thought while reading the books. But now that I've experienced Mercy through King's narration, I found myself picking up on Mercy's snarky side. I must say the way I view Mercy is totally different now. I'm not sure if I'll read the next book or listen. 


Elemental Assassin Series
by Jennifer Estep
Narrated by Lauren Fortgang

This series is an excellent example where you have a delectable cake drizzled with yummy, rich chocolate sauce. Both Jennifer Estep and Lauren Fortgang is on my top 5 favorite list. Both ladies do an outstanding job. Estep writes amazing characters and Fortgang brings them to life like no other narrator can. I've done the whole series on audio with the exception of Thread of Death (novella) and the arc of Deadly Sting and when reading, I have Fortgang's voice in my head.


What are some of your favorite 
books/series on audio?


  1. I think Tina Fey's narration made Bossypants something I loved rather than a book I'd probably never pick up to read.

    Most of my other wins are YA. Pure, Seraphina, Daughter of Smoke & Bone and Scorpio Races. The narration of the Morganville Vampires may be causing a lack of love for that series.

    Amy @

  2. Nicole is getting a new narrorator: Laini Taylor. I am kind of excited about that!

    BREAK: Rise of the Governer series by Robert Kirkman---too many POV's for one-dimensional POVs for one narrator. Fred Berman did ok but everyone is so non-personality they all sound the same. These books are better read.

    FENCE: James Patterson's Womens Murder Club---I have listened to 5 on audio. The narrators (they switch up in different books--in 5 books there have been 4 of them but Carolyn McCormick is my favorite of them)is great but the sound effects about kill me. I think this is probably more of an overall production thing but I believe it plays into what you were saying.

    MAKE: The Immortal Gardians series by Dianne Duvall narrated by Kristen Potter. It is just fantastically done :)

    ALWAYS: Christopher Farnsworth The President's Vampire series narrated by Bronson Pichot! AMAZING! I read the first one and listened to the second one. The series is even better in audio and I LOVED it in print.


  3. MAKE: Harlan Coben's Myron Bolitar series is narrated by Jonathan Morasz through the first 8 books. He SO captures the wit and sarcasm of Myron and brings the story to a different level. The 9th book was narrated by the author and I thought I was listening to a completely different series! Fortunately, another actor was hired to narrate the next two.

    MAKE: The narration of My Name is Memory by Anne Brashares made all the difference between being utterly confused by all the time travel to being entranced by the story. If you plan to read this book, I strongly recommend the audiobook. It was extraordinary.

    MAKE: Sophie Kinsella's I've Got Your Number is a book I wouldn't have read if not for the audiobook. The narrator, Jane Entwistle, made this one of the most hilarious stories I've ever listened to.

    BREAK: I was really excited to read my first book by acclaimed mystery writer, Dorothy Sayers and listened to Whose Body? It was just awful. The narrator was a woman for a series with a male lead and a story with mostly a male cast. She mumbled most of the dialogue so I spent more time trying to figure out what she was saying and missed deciphering the clues to solve the mystery. I couldn't wait for it to be over.

    MAKE: I read the first book in Val McDermid's Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series. I enjoyed it but I'm now listening to the second book, The Wire in the Blood, and it is fantastic. I listen to most of my mysteries and a lot of the best writers in this genre are British. Sometimes the syntax or language vernacular can hang you up and I've found the audiobooks make a positive difference. In this case, it's made this story vivid and it's creeping me out, as it should be:)

  4. There are some audiobooks that I had to give up on because I hated the narration so much. It really makes a difference when the reader is good. I just listened to Under the Dome and it was amazing!!! I really don't think I would have enjoyed it as much if I had read it.

  5. I also forgot to ditto what Jennifer wrote about the Downside Ghost series. The narrator is the best I've ever heard for what she does to this series. I can still hear each character distinctly in my head and know I never would have understood them if I had to read the dialogue.

  6. MAKE: Renee Raudman's narration of the Kate Daniels series is fantastic and Khristine Hvam's narration of The Graveyard Queen series and the Jane Yellowrock series has made her a got to narrator for me.

    BREAK: Cynthia Holloway's narration of the Chicagoland Vampires series (books #1-#5) is simply awful. She has no intonation or inflection when she reads and her accents are non-existent. Thankfully book #6 is narrated by someone else.

    1. I will definitely stay away from the Chicagoland Vampires audiobooks.

    2. I totally agree about The Chicagoland Vampires narrator. She is horrible! I wish I'd switched to reading it; I think I would be more motivated to continue the series if I'd read it instead.

  7. Jen- I'm also on the fence about the Mercy Thompson series. I've listened to the first two on audio. IMO the narrators voice makes Mercy sound much older than I envision her.

    MAKE- YA books, Daughter of Smoke & Bones books by Laini Taylor are AMAZING on audio, as well as the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi

    Adult books- Also My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland- narrator Allison McLemore, she's phenomenal! I also really enjoyed the narration of the Psy/Changeling series by Nalini Singh, narrated by Angela Dawe.

    1. Oh, I love the audiobook for Daughter of Smoke & Bones! I've recommended the audio version of the second book for my library.

      Hmmm...I don't see Mercy as snarky; she's more earth bound and Zen like to me. I'd hate to hear her otherwise.

    2. I agree with you about the White Trash Zombie books. I talked with Rowland at RT about them and what a great job the narrator does. I'm happy to report the 3rd book will be on audio.

  8. On the Fence: The Guild Hunter's series by Nalini Singh and narrated by Justine Eyre. This series is fantastic and the audio versions are just as fabulous. I'm not sure which is better; Eyre sounds just like I imagined the characters and I'm not sure which format I prefer.

    Break (and I will probably take flack for it!): Amanda Ronconni and her Molly Harper titles. I love reading the Harper books but cannot stand Ronconni's Southern accent. It's flat and grates on my nerves.

    1. I love Ronoconni. And being from the south I think her accent is better than most.

    2. Maybe I don't get it because I don't have much experience with a true Southern accent. I'm a mountain girl and my peoples have butchered accents for hundreds of years! ;P

    3. LOL. If they sound like Forest Gump then it's bad. LOL The narrator that did the Sookie books sounded like FG.

  9. I don't think I will ever like an audio book. It doesn't hold my attention. I would be thinking, "I wish I had something to read."

    1. Oh, they are a lifesaver for me when I'm in the car, especially for my monthly 10-hour round trip road trips. They make the miles melt away. I also listen to one whenever I'm cooking or cleaning...basically, anytime my hands are tied up doing something else. Otherwise, I'm like you, I'm reading.

      You should try one...

    2. Steph, I felt the same way but once I got hold of a great narrator I was hooked.

  10. I forgot it was Monday!
    MAKE, I have so many, but I have to definitely go with Turbin on Downside Ghost, but automatic for me are: Lorelie King, Rosalynd Landor, Kirsten Potter, Davina Porter, Mai Guest, Phil Gigante and Jim Frangione.

    BREAKE - The chic the narrates Jane True series.I couldn't do it, a DNF for me, and also Marguerite Gavin on the Hollows, I have another but I can't remember her name..LOL

    Tavia Gilbert on Night Huntress - It's all about Bones

    1. I agree about Tavia Gilbert. She does a pretty good job with the female characters but not so much for Bones and Vlad.

  11. I'm just now starting my journey with audiobooks. I adore the Harry Potter series narrarated by Jim Dale. I'm currently listening to The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan. It's narrated by Kate Reading and Michael Kramer. I'm enjoying it quite a bit.

    I've also really enjoyed The Help by Kathryn Stockett Narrated by Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, and Octavia Spencer and Outalnder by Diana Gabaldon Narrated by Davina Porter.

    1. I've heard Davina Porter's narration of Outlander was excellent.


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