Welcome, Chelsea Mueller back to The Book Nympho. This time, she’s talking audiobooks.
I’m a rather finicky audiobook reader. It has to be the right story with just the right narration to hook me. The best ones keep me in my car after the commute is over because I have to hear how the chapter ends. I’m much less fickle with printed or Kindle books. This might explain why I tend to think of my audio reads as palate cleansers.
I can delve into the heavy and dark or the tortured romances in print, and then take a reprieve with the perfect balanced read for audio. As such, here are my top three recommendations for reads that hit all the marks—stellar storytelling, pitch-perfect narration, and utterly engaging dialog.
Lick by Kylie Scott (Stage Dive #1)
One thing to know about me is I tend to like books with giant emotional rollercoasters and dark tones and a bit of grit to them. And almost always I want a good paranormal element. Lick is none of these things. It’s super sexy, which I always like, and it’s laugh-out-loud funny. There’s a nice emotional arc, but nothing that makes you ugly cry five minutes before arriving at work.
The narrator Andi Arndt injects the right amount of personality into each of the characters that they’re distinct people and it’s easy to imagine you’re eavesdropping on conversations when she hits a good patch of dialog. Plus the hero is a musician, and who doesn’t like a bit rockstar in their life?
Delightful read and perfect in between doom-and-gloom reads where vampires have to save the world.
Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night by Kresley Cole (Immortals After Dark #4)
Okay, so, I really can’t make this list without including a paranormal romance. I need them. Want them. Love them. Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series hits my buttons for pretty much everything. They’re great in whichever format you prefer, but I have to admit the audio versions are exceptional.
Robert Petkoff’s narration is what makes it. Every person is special and clear and so alive as he speaks. He gets the Scottish brogue of hero Bowen MacRieve perfect. The throaty growls and groans, the obvious “mine” possessiveness every time he speaks to the woman he’s been chasing for so long.
Plus, this is part of one of my favorite story arcs within the Immortals After Dark series that’s essentially like the Amazing Race but with supernatural creatures. There are numerous “fan yourself” passages as well as the right doses of humor.
The Martian by Andy Weir
This is the one novel that I always recommend people experience on audio instead of in print. Yes, the audiobook is that good. I think it also helps because The Martian is a little heavier on the “science” in sci-fi than most of my friends would typically read. In print some of that could come across as dragging. In the audio, though? You can’t get enough of it. There’s this wry personality of the hero Mark Watney, who is an astronaut stranded on Mars, that comes through when he talks about how he’s going to MacGyver something on Mars to survive/contact others/escape listening to ‘70s disco.
Much like Petkoff from IAD, R.C. Bray makes every character come alive. You’d think there was an entire cast narrating instead of a single person. It’s brilliant and engaging, and you’ll find yourself cheering the characters along as you listen to this one.
Do you use audiobooks as a palate cleanser? Hit the comments with your favorites so everyone can build their wishlists and TBRs.