Reader Favorites – Nay’s Top Ten Audiobooks

by Maryse on December 3, 2016 · 27 comments

in Book Recommendations

Nay is a recent addition to our very active “peanut gallery” (at least in her commenting and being silly with us… however we just found out she’s been lurking for years). ;) LOL!

She just officially (publicly) joined us in October, in fact, but it feels like she’s been chatting with us from the start! We absolutely LOVE her! And I’m so glad she’s decided to join in on our book-fun, and let us know all about her favorites, too. She’s right there with us in loving the same books we do, but she has her own fun book-quirks and specialities.

In fact, she’s fond of the super-hurty ones, saying: “…for those of you who are also lovers of angst, you know, the twistier the better!” <— YES!!! She loves those that involve alpha-jerk heroes (or should I call them anti-heroes?), dark reads and books like “Arsen” <— yeah… you know what I’m talking about. ;) Mind you, she has her limits.

Here’s a little more about Nay (and I KNOW we can all relate to her!!! It’s like she’s my other book-twin!! I have a few. *snort*):

Hey everyone! My name’s Renee, but since there’s already one here, I’m using the nickname my stepdaughter uses.

…I’ve been following for years, but I have also posted a few times, and now, with the events of life, I find that I’m going to have a lot of time on my hands the next 8-12 months and would love to read and also talk about what I’m reading—maybe throw in a suggestion here and there, because telling my hubby about the new, awesome book I just read really isn’t nearly as fun as sharing it with other like-minded readers! lol

I’d also really like to get in on some buddy reading if possible!

➔ I started following Maryse in at least 2011, when all those little gems like Fifty Shades, Beautiful Disaster, Thoughtless and allllll those wonderful Kristen Ashley books first started rolling off the assembly line and before the market became oversaturated with so, so many similar types of books… I just noticed that Maryse and I had similar reading tastes…

➔ I love most all of them–Death, cheating, love triangles–anything that rips my guts out… Anyway–I LURVE angst!!!

➔ …what’s really awesome is that before you sob those happy tears, your guts get chewed up and spit back out over and over again! Such a delicious feeling for angst lovers!

➔ I think it’s hard to get angsty with characters that put you off from the very beginning. It happens to me quite a bit with books that others love, and it only takes one little thing to do it. For instance, like we were talking about the other day, the wrong pet name–if the romance book H calls the h ‘darling’ and he’s not European or maybe Aussie, he just totally becomes unsexy to me, and I find it very hard to finish the book unless it’s REALLY good. (Cowboys who say darlin’ are a different story and are totally acceptable!)

➔ I love jerks and I flove dark reads

➔ I don’t like books that say ‘fun’ or ‘sweet’. I may read one and end up loving it, but a sure way to steer me away from it is to put a word like one of those in the blurb.

➔ I wonder…did anyone who loved Thoughtless ever really find a book that compares to it?? I haven’t. I read all the ones suggested and many of them were very good or even great, but none of them twisted up my insides like Thoughtless did, and for those of you who are also lovers of angst, you know, the twistier the better! …I have searched and search for a similar book for 5 years, and I haven’t found anything that even touches it!

➔ I hate it when a book comes out that I *think* I want to read because I 5-starred the one before it but I have ZERO remembrance of what the first book was about!

➔  I love to listen to audiobooks, but my faves are where the man does ALL the male voices and the woman all the female voices, but unfortunately, those audiobooks are few and far between. All but the first few of the Fever books are done that way, and there’s a mystery series I listened to that was done that way and I loved it.

As long as both narrators are good actors as well as readers, this type of true dual narration sounds like you’re listening to a movie or a play because you don’t have to deal with the man or the woman trying to unnaturally raise or lower their voices.

➔ If you need any suggestions, I’d be happy to give some. Just tell me a genre (I’ve listed to quite a few UF because sometimes it’s hard to get into (and stay into) the feel of the storyline with the audiobooks with more romance unless you have REALLY good narrator(s).

I usually listen to at least one audiobook per week, sometimes more when I’m doing a lot around the house. And I’m ALWAYS looking for the ones with great narrators…

I’ve spent hours searching for good audiobooks with great narrators, and it will be SO nice to have a list for people like me to reference!

And today, she has submitted her very own favorites list, and this one is extra-special, ’cause it involves strictly audiobooks (which I’ve been asked about, in regards to more recommendations lately).

Nay has some that are tried and true for us!

She says:

“Although I mostly read romance, when it comes to audiobooks, I like to try to venture out into other genres, mainly because most of the romance narration I’ve heard ranges from bad to just plain painful. It’s fine when the female and male narrators are voicing their own gender, but when I have to listen to a sex scene where either the woman sounds like a guy who’s been kicked in the gonads or a man who sounds like an teenager, it does absolutely nothing for me.”

LOL!!!!!!! Okay Nay… hit us with your favorites!!!

My Top 10 Audiobooks by Renee Craig (Nay)

  • THE FEVER SERIES —books 4-8 by Karen Marie Moning and narrated by various narrators—this is BY LEAPS AND BOUNDS, my favorite PnR/UF series AND my favorite audiobook series. You’ll note that I only listed books 4-8. That’s because ALL the male parts are performed by a man and ALL the female parts are performed by a woman. And the result is SPECTACULAR! Equal parts romance and paranormal, the paranormal being the fae, in each and every book, I became immersed in the characters and their actions. I very highly recommend books 4-8 of this series in audiobook!!
  • THE HOLLOWS (RACHEL MORGAN) SERIES –books 1-13 by Kim Harrison and narrated by Marguerite Gavin—an awesome urban fantasy series that just got better and better with each book. Just a touch of romance, but the storyline was so great that it was just enough, and I thought M. Gavin did a great job on both female and male voices.
  • THE ANDREW Z. THOMAS/LUTHER KITE SERIES —books 1-3 by Blake Crouch (Desert Places, Locked Doors: A Thriller, and Break You); book 4 by J.A. Konrath (Stirred)—a fabulous mystery series about one of the most ruthless, demented serial killers you’d never want to meet. I was completely engrossed in these books. I listened to this series in tandem with the Jacqueline Daniels series by J.A. Konrath because the fourth and final Luther Kite book is Stirred, book #8 in the Jacqueline ‘Jack’ Daniels Mystery series. You don’t have to read the entire Jack Daniels series to enjoy or understand this book, but I think it helps, and the entire Jack Daniels series is super and inexpensive, so why not?

There are 4 books in this series, and to get the full enjoyment, I suggest reading them all and in order. All of the books are free with Kindle Unlimited, and the Whispersync version of each is only $*.** if you own the Kindle version.

  • THE JACQUELINE ‘JACK’ DANIELS MYSTERY SERIES —books 1-10 by J.A. Konrath and narrated by various narrators, who are all great, because they play the parts instead of just reading them—one of the best mystery series I’ve ever read, it has a little bit of everything: mystery, suspense, a lovable cast of supporting characters, a cast of devious criminals and even more devious serial killers, and a little bit of romance. Please note that #8 in this series, Stirred, is the final book in the Luther Kite series by Blake Crouch (you don’t have to read the rest of the Luther Kite books to enjoy it at all, but I think it helps, and they’re awesome, inexpensive books, so why not?)

There are 10 books in this series and several short stories (the short stories are all included under the title: Jack Daniels Stories: Fifteen Mystery Tales, which is free with Kindle Unlimited.) I suggest looking on the author’s website for the series reading order, which includes the short stories. Additionally, I suggest reading them in order (the short stories aren’t completely necessary, but they’re all very good). All of the books are free with Kindle Unlimited, and the Whispersync version of each is only $*.** if you own the Kindle version.

  • WAYWARD PINE SERIES —books 1-3 by Blake Crouch and narrated by Paul Michael Garcia (these are the books that the Fox tv series are based on, and in my opinion, are 100 times better than the tv show). Wow! What a fabulously unique mystery/thriller/horror series! I was glued to my headphones and didn’t want to take them off! The premise is so different, the characters are very well written, and the narration is spot on.

There are 3 books in this series, and to get the full enjoyment, all 3 must be read in order. All of the books are free with Kindle Unlimited, and the Whispersync version of each is only $*.** if you own the Kindle version. I also greatly enjoyed Run, Snowbound, and Abandon by Blake Crouch.

  • GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn and narrated by Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne. If you liked the movie, you’ll LOVE the book! The narration is wonderful (Kirby Heyborne is one of my favorite male narrators), and the storyline is unique, suspenseful, and unputdownable!
  • OUTLANDER by Diane Gabaldon and narrated by Davina Porter. Before the hugely popular series, which is awesome in its own right, there was this sweeping saga filled with romance and adventure. Although Davina Porter does a fabulous job of narrating this book (and the rest of the series), I, personally, would really love it if they had a man do the male parts and a woman do the female parts, but I still really, really enjoyed this as-is.

All in all, this is a heck of a deal… ($*.** for the Kindle book and $*.** for the audiobook with Whispersync) for over 32 hours of listening!

  • BRIGHT SIDE by Kim Holden and narrated by Lydia Dornet and Roger Wayne—one of my favorite books of 2015. Expertly narrated to take you IN to the storyline, but don’t forget to take the tissues with you! (I also recommend the sequel, Gus, which I read and absolutely loved—I actually loved Gus more than Bright Side–but also plan to listen to one day.

This is free with Kindle Unlimited, and the Whispersync version is only $*.** if you own the Kindle version.

  • LOVE…FROM BOTH SIDES by Nick Spalding and narrated by Heather Wilds and Napoleon Ryan. I absolutely ADORED this book and Napoleon Ryan’s narration (I love listening to British male voices). It’s a romantic comedy and as I stated in my review on Goodreads, it’s rude, crude, and hilarious! It perfectly describes the real-life ups and downs of dating. This is NOT something you want to listen to in public unless you don’t mind possibly embarrassing yourself when you bust out laughing. I actually laughed until I cried several times. I also listened to books 2 and 3 and enjoyed them as well, but it would be hard to top this one!

This is free with Kindle Unlimited, and the Whispersync version is only $*.** if you own the Kindle version.

To add to your reading enjoyment, it’s helpful to know that several of the books ‘go’ together because they’re set in the same town and you see the same secondary characters (neighbors, police, city officials) throughout.

First, there are the books set in Milford, CT (listed by oldest to newest publication date): No Time for Goodbye, Fear the Worst (which is one of my favorites and is narrated by the wonderful Buck Schirner), The Accident (another favorite) and No Safe House, which is the direct sequel to No Time for Goodbye, 

Next, there are the books that are set in Promise Falls, NY (oldest to newest): Too Close to Home (another one of my favorites), Never Look Away, Trust Your Eyes, A Tap on the Window (loved it!) and then the Promise Falls Trilogy—Broken Promise, Final Assignment (novella), Far from True, and The Twenty-Three (In this trilogy, I’ve only listened to Broken Promise thus far).

I’ve marked several as my favorites, but I really suggest listening to them all in the orders I’ve listed. If I had to pick the one that I loved the most, I think it’d have to be Fear the Worst because it’s super suspenseful and hilarious at the same time—and as I mentioned, the narration was phenomenal!)

Honorable Mentions–The following are Urban Fantasy series with a single female narrator that I loved for content and narration. I highly recommend listening to any of these: The Jane Yellowrock series by Faith Hunter and narrated by Khristine Hvam ; The October Daye series by Seanan McGuire and narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal; The Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep and narrated by Lauren Fortgang; The Charlie Davidson series by Darynda Jones and narrated by Lorelei King; The Scarlett Bernard series by Melissa F. Olson and narrated by Amy McFadden; Prospero’s War series by Jaye Wells and narrated by Morgan Hallett; The Chronos Files series (YA time travel) by Rysa Walker.

Both the Scarlett Bernard series and the Chronos Files series are free with Kindle Unlimited with inexpensive audiobooks through Whispersync.

AUDIOBOOK L:DVERS ➜ For those going on a road trip soon, or maybe you’ve got some projects that require both hands this weekend but still allows you to “listen”… check out the free audible trial + 2 free audiobooks deal —>

AND! Here’s the fun-tool again! —> Find out which of YOUR Kindle ebooks are available as audiobooks at a BARGAIN-PRICE! <— This thing is so cool (Amazon calls it “Matchmaker“)! It’s an Amazon feature, that scans your Kindle books and will list all of the ones you have that are also available as an audiobook at a discounted price (not normal audiobook prices). This way, you can switch back and forth, seamlessly between your ebooks and your audiobooks. :D !!! VERY COOL!

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

kate December 3, 2016 at 10:53 PM

Omg ,i would really love for Nay to tell her favorite books full of angst!Is she on goodreads maybe?

Rebecca December 3, 2016 at 10:54 PM

I am a huge audible fan, and love this list!! I too listen at least one each week, usually while in the kitchen or cleaning.
I too leave my audio listening for other genre’s, preferring to Read romance.
For the Urban Fantasy favourites, I wonder if Ney has listened to Jeaniene Frost’s series, narrated by Tavia Gilbert? Starting with Half Way to the Grave. One of my favourite narrators.

Amy E December 4, 2016 at 3:13 AM

Romance novels Jim Frangione does The Black Dagger Brotherhood, would say he does a pretty good job.
Ok so outside of romance novels The Harry Potter series read by Jim Dale is great. The last apprentice series read by the late Christopher Evan Welch is the best audiobook I’ve ever heard though. I mean this guy does witch voices that will creep you out in the most awesome way ever.

Teri W December 4, 2016 at 5:04 AM

It’s good to see JA Konraths Jack Daniels series mentioned on this blog. I read several of the books a few years ago and the author is male and the heroine ( Jacqueline-Jack) is a female police detective. It’s a very well written series. I’m looking for an audible for boring gym time so while I normally prefer my imagination and only like to read books it will be just perfect for the gym!

Fabi December 4, 2016 at 10:25 AM

Nay, this is awesome. Thanks so much for sharing. And thank you Maryse for posting an audio book list. I wouldn’t have nearly the patience I have in heavy traffic if it wasn’t for my audio books. After all, why be in a hurry when you’re in the middle of a great book? :-)

Karin December 4, 2016 at 11:43 AM

The Stage Dive series by Kylie Scott are great audible.

Amy E December 4, 2016 at 3:11 PM

I was really trying to remember Joe Arden! When I posted my comment earlier. He reads quite a few romance novels and I was swooning over him reading Stuck Up Suit by Vi Keeland. So much so I looked him up right away!!!!

Cheryl December 4, 2016 at 3:48 PM

Thanks Nay!! I love a well narrated audiobook. It’s great when I’m doing yard work or cleaning the house and like Fabi said when stuck in traffic or traveling long distance.

Jan December 4, 2016 at 5:23 PM

Thank you Nay. It’s great to see some different books that I haven’t heard of before, as well as favs like the fever series. I haven’t listened to many audio books (yet!) but the quality of the voice is so crucial to your enjoyment so thanks for the recs.

Leslie M December 4, 2016 at 9:52 PM

Great list Nay! :)

Tracie December 4, 2016 at 11:03 PM

The JD Robb in death series is great on audio. I’m on book 31 and totally in love with all the characters. The narration is awesome with all the different voices and accents. Plus the narrator is always the same.

Nay December 5, 2016 at 8:34 AM

Thanks, everyone! I really enjoyed putting it together.

Kate–yes, I’m on GR. If you go to your ‘friends’ page, on the right side, you’ll see a box where you can ‘search members’. Enter ‘R. C.’ (make sure to include the periods and the space between the letters), and of those results, I’m the only one in TN. I’m happy for anyone to send me a friend request!!

And I do have an ‘angst’ shelf (along with an ‘audiobook’ shelf). I wasn’t on GR much in 2015 and the first half of 2016, so I’m still trying to get caught up and have more books to add to both of them, but there are plenty there to give you some ideas.

Jackie December 5, 2016 at 12:43 PM

Thanks for sharing Nay. I’m a big audio listener as well. And I whole heatedly agree that there has never been a book that touches Thoughtless. I’ve read it twice and listened to the audio and I have never found a book that compares.

Lisa Aiello December 5, 2016 at 2:43 PM

Nay – I’d love to friend you on Goodreads too…and I tried R. C. But I couldn’t find you……sob. Now I’m super angsty!! Can you give me another hint on how to find you? Or can you look me up (Lisa Aiello and I’m in Omaha, NE) and friend me?

Lisa Aiello December 5, 2016 at 2:45 PM

Never mind Nay – I’m an idiot who shouldn’t be allowed out on the internet without a guide dog!!! I found ya :)

Nay December 5, 2016 at 3:41 PM

Got it, Lisa–thanks! And I sent you some recs for other people around here too that you aren’t friends with yet.

Lisa December 6, 2016 at 4:01 PM

Oooh, I love angsty too, especially when the male is a jerk. Don’t know why…just do. Another great audio (and print) series, Darkest London by Bec McMaster. I’m currently listening to Evernight. OMG the accents are fabulous. And the interplay between the characters is entertaining and nuanced. So much fun. That series has a lot of dark/damaged males.

Fabi December 6, 2016 at 5:01 PM

Evernight by Bec McMaster? I don’t see one. Or do you mean Evernight by Claudia Gray

Lisa December 6, 2016 at 5:09 PM

Oh dear, I put the wrong author. Sorry Kristen. It’s Evernight by Kristen Callihan. She is a great writer and all the audio books in this series are well narrated.

Fabi December 6, 2016 at 5:21 PM

Thank you! I’m going to look for it now.

Lisa December 6, 2016 at 5:32 PM

I’m also listening to The Edge series by Ilona Andrews. They are a great writing team (husband and wife). The Edge is a very interesting world. It’s not too heavy on the romance but the characters usually start out either indifferent or hating each other. It’s fun to watch them progress to lovers and the narration on the audio books is pretty good.

Fabi December 6, 2016 at 5:35 PM

Thanks! I try to keep a short list of audiobooks that are recommended because otherwise it takes me an hour to sort through and sample listen to what’s on my tbr. A bad narrator can ruin even the best book.

Lisa December 6, 2016 at 8:59 PM

Oh seriously Fabi. I listened to this one audio book that I promised to review. The narration was so bad I wanted to hit something. Totally ruined the book. The narrator for the Immortals After Dark series is probably the best I’ve ever heard. His Scottish accent is veeerrry sexy. That’s a wonderful series too.

Fabi December 6, 2016 at 9:07 PM

Yes. I’ve listened to quite a bit of that series. Very good!

Stephanie December 7, 2016 at 2:40 AM

Another awesome series with a great narrator is The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. James Marsters does a brilliant job with the characters.

Nay December 7, 2016 at 9:55 AM

Oooh, Lisa! That’s Robert Petkoff narrating the Immortals After Dark series! He’s a legend among women because of his sexy brogue!

I’ve listened to about five of those books, a couple of the BDB books with Jim Frangione (who, btw, is the new male narrator for the next Fever book!) and several of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter books, narrated by Holter Graham.

All three are really great narrators–my only problem is the woman voices in the romantic scenes, which, as I mentioned, is why I mainly listen to other genres besides romance.

Lisa December 7, 2016 at 2:29 PM

Yeah, it can be a little creepy if it’s not done right. I think it’s easier for a female to do a good male voice than visa versa. You mentioned to the other Lisa about suggesting other friend for Goodreads. I only do paranormal, fantasy or sci fi romance. I also read fantasy and sci-fi in general. Do you have some recommendations for me? I already friended you yesterday. Thanks.

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