Favorite Listens

I love audio books. When people ask me how I find time to read with such a heavy grading load, I always tell them audio books are always a great way to incorporate more reading time into your life.

I first fell in love with audio books thanks to Jim Dale, reader of ‘The Harry Potter’ series. Since then, I have been hooked.

I relish time spent at the library digging through the latest in YA audio, but then a year ago I decided to give Audible a try. I haven’t looked back since.

If you’re not too sure if audio books are for you, try your local library first. I always check out two or three audio books at once, just in case I don’t like the reader. That’s the thing with audio books, the reader can make or break the story. If I find a reader that I enjoy, I usually try to find other books they have read. This helps me step out of my comfort zone every now and again.

But when I find that I’ve accumulated quite a pile of books in my mound, I will try to find the audio version. As a result, I have found quite a few great books that I’m not too sure I would have enjoyed in print as much.

A Handful of My Favorite Audio books – in no particular order

1.    ‘The Harry Potter’ series (Rowling)
Jim Dale, the reader, is amazing. Any time I go to the library and cannot find an audio, I always check out a HP audio instead. My son loves them, my husband loves them, I love them. They really bring a new perspective to Rowling’s tale, and I always notice something new.

2.    ‘The Graveyard Book’ (Gaiman)
Gaiman read this, and wow! I have read the book, which I recommend because the art is amazing, but you’ve also got to let Gaiman tell you his story as well. This is worth your time. Seriously.

3.    ‘The Hunger Games’ series (Collins)
The reader breathes new life into Katniss’ character. I read the novels as they were published, I’ve seen the movie, and I’ve listened to all three audios. If you’re a fan of the series, you must have these in your life. If you’ve not yet read the books but enjoy audio, add these to your life. You know what, just add them. You won’t be disappointed in the reader.

4.    ‘A Discovery of Witches’ (Harkness)
Fantastic reader and fantastic story. I love a witchy tale, period. I was told by everyone to read this book, but it seemed I just did not have the time. So, I downloaded it to my phone. I found myself exercising a bit longer each time just to continue the story. Absolutely love the character development, the storyline, and the reader. She really captured these characters. I plan to do the sequel audio as well, even though someone bought it for me as a gift. Sometimes I like to go back and read the print copies once I know how the characters names are pronounced, and this is one book I know I would have had some of the names incorrect.

5.    ‘If I Stay’ and ‘Where She Went’(Forman)
First, do not listen to the first one while driving alone at night to stay in a hotel by yourself. I thought I was going to wreck when the moment of horror happened because my eyes were filled with tears. This is absolute solid storytelling, and the reader is fab. Once I finished the first I was disappointed that the second was not out yet, but guys, these are great listens.

6.    ‘Lola and the Boy Next Door’ (Perkins)
Met Perkins a couple of years ago before I read any of her books. Her style is so soft and free and enjoyable, and this audio is no exception. The reader takes Perkins’ characters and presents them in a way that reminds me of Perkins herself. The plot is fun, the reader is fun, listening to it was, well…fun.

7.    ‘Nancy Drew’ series
Now, this takes a seasoned listener to enjoy these. At first I found Laura Linney (the actress/reader) to be a bit monotone, but that’s Nancy Drew. She is monotone as a character. And I found myself checking out every single one the library had. Absolutely love these as audio, and it’s a great way to re-live my childhood reading.

8.    ‘Junie B. Jones’ series (Park)
Be warned: laughter will happen. A lot. These are great for road trips if you have children six and under in the car. The reader is so fantastic. She really captures Junie B. in a way that I never did while reading these out loud to my son. After listening to the audios, my son wanted me to read the books like the reader on the CD. Yeah, that didn’t happen, but it was a great joy to take a road trip with my little man with these in the CD player.

9.    ‘Daughter of Smoke & Bone’ series (Taylor)
Can I just say that if I ever meet Taylor, I will fangirl all over the place?! Original storytelling at its best – and the reader? Swoon! I did both books via audio because I was so in love with the reader’s storytelling of this series. Add this to your listen pile, even if you’ve read the books.

10. ‘Matched’ series (Condie)
I have not read the series. I did it 100% as audio, and as a result I think I enjoyed the series more than if I had read them. The readers are invested in these characters, and as a result I became invested. I had people tell me the final novel was disappointing, but I did not find it that way. I found it predictable, but I also had time to absorb the words and the characters, slowly over one hour a day, instead of four hours in my chair. I think that upped my enjoyment level of the story.

11.  ‘Coraline’ (Gaiman)
Another Gaiman read. And by that I mean he is the reader. Guys, he is amazing. And he sings to us. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. The creep factor is raised a lot with his voice. I’ve read this book, but the chills ran up my spine while listening to him.

12. ‘The Princess Diaries’ series (Cabot)
Okay, I am in love with this series as audio. This may be my #2 fave of all time. Anne Hathaway was the reader for the first two and then the reader switched. I thought I was not going to like her, but actually, I loved her. Princess Mia forever! I’ve read and listened to all of these books. If you want to feel relaxed and happy about life, listen to these books.

13.  ‘The Help’ (Stockett)
While everyone was reading this book, I was listening. I had to see what all the hoopla was about, and I have a lot of feelings about this book, feelings that don’t match the others who have read it. But as an audio, this was a great listen. The readers were fantastic, and I really enjoyed their interpretations of the characters. I jogged to this book – a lot – because it would get my heart pumping in angry and annoyance at some of the characters.

14. ‘Entwined’(Dixon)
This was, well, amazing as an audio. I think I’ve used that word too much, but it was. Absolutely loved it. Solid read. Solid story. A good example of a book I don’t think I would have enjoyed as much in print but enjoyed immensely while listening to it. I found myself getting lost in the “entwined” while listening.

15. ‘All American Girl’ & ‘Ready or Not’ (Cabot)
Looking for a great audio that will make you laugh until you almost pee your pants? Look no further. Seriously! I don’t know who decides on readers for Cabot’s books, but they are GODS. I did both of these books as audios, and they are so good that even my husband asked me to drive around the block a few times so he could see how they ended. True story. And now he will be forever embarrassed that I put that on the blog, but it’s true.

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