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.
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.
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.