I found this tag on Kristin Kraves Books. I love audiobooks for when my eyes are tired, which is often, or when I’m just being lazy, which is sometimes. This post is a big shout-out to all my favorite narrators.
HAVE YOU ALWAYS LISTENED TO AUDIOBOOK OR WHEN DID YOU BEGIN?
Sean Crisden started it all in 2016 with Prisoner by Megan Derr. I was struggling with it when I heard a sample of his reading and I was immediately drawn to his narration and British accent (because who doesn’t love British accents). He made the book come alive just like that and Prisoner turned out to be one of my all-time favorite enemies-to-lovers story ever since.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUDIOBOOK?
A very difficult question. I can’t choose one. Here are some faves
WHAT IS MY LEAST FAVOURITE THING ABOUT AUDIOBOOKS?
My least favorite thing is when a less than stellar narration ruins an otherwise good book. Also, when I’m not feeling the narrator’s voice or the voices are not distinct enough that you don’t know who’s talking.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE DIFFERENCE IN EXPERIENCE BETWEEN PHYSICALLY READING A BOOK AND LISTENING TO IT?
I love both formats but audiobooks make it more fun to listen to banters and snappy dialogues. Also, for non-native speakers like me, I learn the proper pronunciation of some tricky words. And of course, who can forget those lovely accents! Sometimes, I pick a book because I know I would hear Scottish, Russian, etc.
HOW AND WHEN DO YOU LISTEN?
Daytime is a no go. It’s too noisy outside since I live right next to the highway. I usually listen late at night when there’s less noise, unless somebody’s revving their bike and having a drag race.
WHAT STYLE/GENRE DO YOU PREFER?
I don’t have a preferred genre or style but there are some books that are more challenging to read, such as non-fiction or description-heavy sci-fi/fantasy, are easier on audio. I also go by narrator sometimes. If I like how they sound, then there’s a much higher chance I finish the book.
WHAT ARE SOME AUDIOBOOK/NARRATOR RECOMMENDATIONS?
I made a list of my favorite audiobook narrators that I was thinking of posting someday. Might as well post them here.
Top of the list is Michael Ferraiuolo. I just love his works. He doesn’t narrate. He performs! I love how he always makes this little sound effects. Like when the text says “he gave a dark chuckle”, MF would also give this sinister little laugh. It makes so much difference in the quality of narration and adds an extra layer of characterization. It’s like listening to a radio play. He was the first narrator I came across with who did this and he still the best one at it.
MF does some of his best work with L.A. Witt, with whom he is a regular collaborator. Aside from The Left Hand Of Calvus, I recommend If The Seas Catch Fire, Bad Behavior, To My Future Number 1 Fan, and Blood and Bitcoin.
Speaking of author/narrator combo, one of the best marriage of writing and narration is K.J. Charles’ books and Matthew Lloyd Davis a.k.a. Cornell Collins’ readings. MLD perfected that upper crust supercilious tones that goes well with the sarcasm and biting humor of the books. His characterizations were always on point and those accents!
The go-to guy if you have a book with a million cast and multiple accents is Gary Furlong. He has narrated some of my favorite books. I liked his “young adult” voice and his Lord Courtney (Cat Sebastian‘s The Ruin Of A Rake) , to quote another reviewer, “has got to be the sexiest thing I’ve ever heard. “
Gomez Pugh is Victor Bayne. That’s all you really need to know. Go listen to Psycop now.
He has also narrated books by Amy Lane, Isobel Starling, Aleksandr Voinov‘s Burn, Josh Lanyon‘s Winter Kill and other Jordan Castillo Price novels. It’s not easy to separate him from Vic in my mind but when he reads other books, he’s a completely different person. No trace of the snarky psycop. Amazing!
Joel Leslie is another master of a thousand and one accents. Emotion just pours out of his narrations. His normal speaking voice has a distinct cast (I don’t know the right word) to it but when he’s doing a character, it disappears and all you hear is the character. And when he’s having a good time with a book, you can tell because there’s an extra oomph to the delivery.
Kevin R. Free is on this list because he is Murderbot. He also voiced Christopher Holmes from Josh Lanyon‘s Holmes & Moriarity. He is the voice of curmudgeons. I highly recommend both series. He also did Jay Bell’s Something Like series and some children’s books among others.
Ruiari Carter has the kind of distinct soft voice and accent I wanted to hear more of. He narrated my all-time favorite book, Spectred Isle, to perfection. But I had a hard time finding more of his works, until I learned he goes by Liam Gerrard who also narrated the Poet Anderson series. Unfortunately, he doesn’t do much MM books.
Nick J. Russo is a straightforward, no frills narrator who does great distinct voices, especially between the age range of early 20s-30s. I also like his ‘teenager’ voice. He narrated a gazillion MM books by Felice Stevens, Victoria Sue, Amy Lane, Z.A. Maxfield, Cardeno C, Cari Z, L.A. Witt and many other authors. I really enjoyed his reading of Falling Sky duology and Hostile Ground.
Ethan Holtan might be a new narrator but he blew me away with his performance in The Vampire’s Club books. The voices sounded distinct, the accents were spot on and the acting! He made the already palpable emotions even more electrifying. I hope he narrates more books. This man is pure eargasm.
Those are my faves and recs. I hope you enjoyed reading.
What do you think of audiobooks? Do you prefer a physical copy or an audio? Do you have a go-to narrator?