Today I am so excited to be teaming up with the Audio Publishers Association for their Voices on the Road Blog Tour and Giveaway! Each day in November, a different blog is hosting a tour stop where we share some of our thoughts on audiobooks. And so today I have for you a list of my personal Top 5 Favorite Romance Audiobook Narrators! I’ve also included my favorite audiobook by each of them (ok, I had some runners up because choosing is hard!).
The APA has also brought along a fabulous prize of goodies to give away — TEN audiobooks to one lucky Joyfully Jay winner! So be sure to check out the details below to enter to win.
The Queen and the Homo Jock King by T.J. Klune and The Lightning-Struck Heart by T.J. Klune
Ok, so a tie right off the bat, but if any of you have heard these audiobooks you will know why I can’t pick just one. I’m just going to say it. Michael Lesley is transcendent in both of these. Both stories are comedies with a ton of characters, and Lesley brings them to life in a way that elevates them even above the amazing stories they are in their own right.
Homo Jock King inspired pretty much the most fawning audiobook review I have ever written. I wrote an entire Top 10 list dedicated to how fabulous Lesley narrates this book and the myriad of ways that he excels in his performance. And Lightning-Struck Heart was really an audio revelation for me. It is a fantasy story with a ton of characters and Lesley just brings it to life. I know so many people who cite this as one of their all time favorite audiobooks and I can see why. Lesley brings more than just great voices, he brings nuance and subtlety to characters who are often (intentionally) over the top and makes them feel real.
Hemovore by Jordan Castillo Price
Joel Leslie is a master of accents and he has become a go-to narrator for many authors who want authentic sounding characters. I have been so impressed by his skill, from Boston accents in Necromancer’s Dance, to a village of Scots in Romancing the Ugly Duckling. So it is kind of funny that this is my top choice by Leslie given that it’s not a story with tons of accents. But what makes this book a total standout is the way Leslie inhabits the main character, Mark. He made him completely magnetic and the perfect voice to carry us through the story. And of course, Jonathan and his Hungarian accent are the perfect counterpoint. I was just blown away by this story and it is easily one of my favorites audiobooks of the year.
My runner up for Joel Leslie is Lord Mouse by Mason Thomas, which is a fabulous fantasy that is exciting and engaging and Leslie brings it to life so well.
Nick J. Russo
Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane
We have reviewed more audiobooks by Nick J. Russo than almost any other narrator on the blog. Russo is a favorite for so many of our folks here that we keep coming back to his books time and again. I have enjoyed so many of his performances, but for my favorite I am picking Christmas Kitsch. I loved this book in written form and I adored it in audio. Russo brings such warmth to this young love story and really brings the characters to life in a way that made it even better than the first time around. He brings such depth to the characters and the tone and feeling of the story are spot on.
Dance with Me by Heidi Cullinan
For me Iggy Toma will always be associated with Heidi Cullinan, one of my favorite authors. He has brought so many of her books and characters to life and they are a perfect partnership. I loved this book when I first read it, but the experience of listening in audio is even better. The book is very sensory with the portrayal of music and dance. So here Toma is able to really enhance that by bringing those elements to life through his voice. He also does a fabulous job with these characters and Ed and Laurie are so perfectly rendered.
My runner up for Toma is the Love Lessons series, also by Heidi Cullinan. This is a fabulous new adult series and the voices and the tone are so perfect. I can’t hear Toma’s voice without thinking of Walter and he is so connected to this series in my head.
When All the World Sleeps by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock
Greg Tremblay (along with his other performance name Greg Boudreaux) is another narrator that we have reviewed here time and again, and across so many different reviewers. Tremblay is one of the first narrators that really made a name for himself in this genre with his standout performances in Rhys Ford’s Cole McGinnis series and he has become a favorite of listeners and authors alike. I have listened to many great audios by Tremblay, but I chose When All the World Sleeps because I think it is one of his most impressive performances. This is a hard book, hard to read, and certainly it has to be hard to narrate. There is so much intensity, so much pain, but also so much comfort and joy and love. Tremblay does an amazing job bringing this story to life and captures Bel and Daniel so perfectly.
As a runner up I’ll add Control by Mary Calmes and Cardeno C. I loved this story so much and listening to the audio I was struck for the first time how much a narrator’s perspective can really affect a book. Tremblay interpreted one of the characters in such an interesting way, differently in many regards than I had seen him. And it really opened my eyes to a whole new view on the book that I really loved.
I have so many favorites it was really hard to choose just five. So here are some additional standout performances by some amazing narrators. I can recommend them all!:
- How to be a Normal Person by T.J. Klune (Derrick McClain)
- Shattered Glass by Dani Alexander (Joseph Northton)
- Something Like series by Jay Bell (Kevin R. Free)
- Wolfsong by T.J. Klune (Kirt Graves)
(also can we note that T.J. Klune picks narrators like whoa because I have four of his books with three different narrators on these lists)
Now as I said, these are some of my personal favorites based on book/narrator combos that I really loved. But you can also check out our list of Favorite Audiobook Narrators to see some of our top rated narrators across all our reviewers here on the blog. And you can check out ALL of our audiobook reviews here.
Also, if you want to follow along with the tour, including the chance to enter to win prizes at other blogs participating, check out the APA’s website: https://www.audiopub.org/
The APA has brought a fantastic selection of 10 audiobooks that have been generously donated by Galaxy Press, Hachette Audio, Harper Audio, High Bridge Audio, Macmillan, Penguin Random House Audio, Post Hypnotic Press, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster Audio, and Tantor Audio (titles TBD by the publishers). The contest is open to readers from U.S. and Canada and the 10-book prize will be awarded to one lucky reader.
Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Thursday, November 30th at 11:59 pm EST.
- By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
- Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
- If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
- Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
- Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
- All book prizes are in electronic format unless otherwise specified.
- By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
- Readers may only enter once for each contest. Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
- Void where prohibited by law.
Thank you so much for this post! I love audiobooks so much! I teach high school students, and I have found that the more I use audiobooks in class, even just excerpts, the more they develop a love of reading! Learning about narrators that have a skill for keeping the reader/listener engaged throughout is super helpful! I can’t wait to check out their work. Thanks again and Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂
I have not listened to many audiobooks, but I would love to get some! I am in the car a lot so I am looking for something else to listen to besides music.
Jay, what a terrific giveaway. I would love to hear The Lighting Struck Heart . I need to adjust my monthly book budget so I can start purchasing some audio books. Do you have any feed back on Audible’s new monthly membership service? Happy Thanksgiving to you and to your wonderful team of reviewers.
You know, I don’t know much about it but I’ll see what I can find out. I am mostly hearing about it from the narrator/publisher side, but let me see what i can find out from a reader end.
I joined this month as they let you try it for one month free. It works just like KU and it’s the author’s choice whether to put the audio in the program so it’s mostly self published titles. There is a reasonable number of LGBT titles as well as many other romance genres it just depends what appeals to you. It’s definitely worth trying out for the free month.
I’ve had an Audible subscription for 1.5 years, and I absolutely LOVE it! I listen to books so often now that I have no idea what I did before I discovered audiobooks! 🙂 As someone else already stated, if you sign up for a free trial membership, they will give you 2 books of your choice for free right now, just to try it out. That’s what I did…they gave me 2 credits (one each month…for 2 months) to purchase any audiobook you want. If you finish your book before the month is up, they have a bunch of different “channels” with free content ranging from author and narrator interviews to comedy shows to monthly/seasonal free full books in every genre right on the Audible app (I use the app, but I’m sure it’s also available on their website). If you decide to stay a member after your trial, it’s $14.95 a month and you get 1 credit/month to use on any book you want of any length and/or price. If you don’t use your credit that month, it will carry over to the next (credits don’t expire at the end of the month). If you don’t want to continue as a member after the trial, just click cancel/do not continue and that’s it…no charges. You don’t have to call them or anything; you can do it all online (I did mine right on Amazon). But, if you do call them, their customer service is very helpful and accommodating, at least from my own experiences. They also now have an add-on Romance audiobook package for $6.95 (?) for those who are adding it to their monthly subscription or $14.95 (?) as a stand-alone. It is similar to Kindle Unlimited in the sense that you can listen to your hearts content (no need for credits to buy Romance books if you have that subscription), but you have to choose the listen to books that are placed in the Romance categories (I don’t have this add-on, but I’ve looked and there are tons of books!). Sorry this is so long, but I wish someone told me all of this when I was thinking about joining. 🙂 Let me know if you have any more questions…hope this helped a little. 🙂
Thanks Tara for sharing your experiences!
Thank you Jay, Michelle and Tara. Good information, I think I’m going to try the romance subscription.
I love listening to audiobooks. They make my home chores bearable, and they keep me company when I go on long treks. Though I recognise my budget does not allow me to buy as many as I would like, I understand that the narrators make an amazing job, and that has to be paid. Some of my favourites are in the list above!
Don’t count me in the giveaway, because I’m not US/Canada
Some of my favorite book series/narrator combos are Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson series with Lorelei King, who also does Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thomspson series; Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels series with Renee Raudman; Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series with Davina Porter; and Nalini Singh’s Pys-Changling series with Angela Dawe.
Oh thanks for the suggestions!
The Hate U Give narrated by Bahni Turpin is incredible I also love Ari Fliakos narrating “You”. These are both the perfect narrators for the characters!
Yessss! The Hate U Give is my #1 favorite audiobook!!
Thanks for the fantastic contest! Some of these narrators are new to me while others are favorites. Audiobooks really help me get through my commute.
I love audiobooks, they make the work day fly by! And searching for my favorite narrators has helped me find new authors to read/listen to
I have to be in the mood for an audiobook (and the wrong narrator just WOUNDS me, like hearing a song I can’t stand in the grocery store), but they’re starting to grow on me…
Michael Lesley is definitely my favorite, but I also enjoyed Michael Crouch’s narration of Simon versus the Homo Sapiens Agenda.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Thanks for this list – I agree with every narrator mentioned – especially Greg Trembay, a master! The only glaring omission- imho, lol – is Tristan James – he just is Sinners Gin – and I can’t remember the number of audiobooks I’ve purchased just to hear his voice!! Next up is Depth if Field by Riley Hart. Can’t wait!
Oh yes, Tristan is great. I haven’t listened to Sinner’s Gin so he isn’t on my personal top five, but he is on the blog’s Favorite Narrators list!
Thank you for sharing your favorite narrators and the books. I haven’t heard them all before there’s two of five that I should give a listen to too =)
Oh good, let me know if you give any of them a shot!
I only have a few audiobooks because I didn’t really have a way to listen to them other than sitting at my PC, but I just got an Amazon Fire so it would be wonderful to win some audiobooks to put on it.
Thanks, Tara, for explaining how Audible works. 🙂
I love your selection, I pretty much have all the narrators and the books you mentioned. If I had a choice of 5 more, I’d add
Tristan James (Rhys Ford’s Sinners series )
Gary Furlong (books by Isobel Starling and Cat Sebastian )
JF Harding (On Point, Annabeth Albert; Cut and Run series, Abigail Roux)
Derrick McClain (Snow and Winter series by CS Poe)
Damn, I still have 5 more ?
Yes Derrick is on my “honorable mention” list and he, Tristan and Gary are all on our blog Favorite Narrators list. I know Kenna is really loving Gary’s narration of Isobel starlings series.
I’ve only listened to one audio book and loved the experience. I’m going to copy this list and keep it for future purchases. If I become hooked on them I may have to give up chocolate in order to feed my addiction! I can only imagine falling asleep with some of these voices in my ear…
I completely agree with the entire list. Joel Leslie is probably my all time favorite narrator. His voices are amazing and the amount of books he pumps out is crazy!!!
Who doesn’t love Michael Lesley?? He is amazing as well. Just finished Slide by Garrett Leigh which he narrates and he did a fantastic job ????
The one narrator I would add is Michael Pauley. His voice plus Lucy Lennox’s Made Marian series =super sexiness!!!
Oh and Mark Westfield ! Love his narration of Charlie Cochets THIRDS series!!!
Glad you enjoyed the list! And yes, Mark Westfield’s narration of the THIRDS series is supposed to be amazing. I haven’t listened to it myself, which is why he’s not on my personal top 5, but I have heard nothing but good things. I’ll have to check out Michael Pauley as well!
I don’t believe I’d be able to survive the work day without audiobooks. And yes, every narrator on your list is amazing. I admire their talent so much. And after getting the opportunity to speak with most of the ones on your list in person at GRL I believe their amazing people as well.