The first audiobook I ever listened to was The Power of Now by Ekhart Tole. Whilst I consider Tole a life mentor, his narration of the book wasn’t exactly the most entertaining. So, I bought the physical copy and thus ended my venture into the audiobook world. Fast forward a couple of years to 2020, when I came across an instagram post claiming that audiobooks are the easiest way to reach your yearly reading goals. Shortly after this, one of my favourite bookstagrammers (shoutout to @thrillerbookbabe) posted a review of the audiobook for The Anatomy of Desire by L.R. Dorn, raving about how great the narration was. I took this as my sign to give them another go.
2 years later, I have an audiobook playing in my ears as I exercise, travel, and even eat lunch. The main reasons why I love it so much is because:
- It’s such an easy way to digest stories
- It’s so convenient when you’re travelling on a packed train and can’t hold a physical book
- It can be so relaxing when you’re too tired to read a book but still want to engross yourself in a story
Despite all this, I will say that I haven’t always enjoyed an audiobook (thank you Audible for including a return function) and I mainly put this down to narration. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but some voice actors just don’t float my boat so there have been many a times where I have had to buy a physical book instead. Nevertheless, it’s an enjoyable experience most of the time and now I can’t imagine doing most things without an audiobook in my ears.
So, without further ado, here are 4 of my favourite audiobooks so far! Number 1 may shock you as it’s not the most well known novel, but the audio version is excellent! Side note, yes, they’re all thrillers because would I really listen to anything else?
5. The Dead Zone – Stephen King. Read by James Franco
After waking from a 5 year coma, Johnny Smith realises that he has developed this strange ability to see someone’s past or future through a single touch. Whilst others see his new power as a gift that could help save lives, Johnny feels as though he’s been cursed. When he attends a rally for Presidential candidate Greg Stillson, he has a disturbing vision that leaves him in an emotional dilemma – should he keep quiet or take drastic action to change the future?
There’s no doubt that Stephen King will go down in history for his catalogue of gruelling novels, and this book will be right up there. Despite the novel not having any major plot twists, he has still managed to entertain by creating a thought provoking novel that challenges morality whilst sticking to his sci-fi expertise. It wouldn’t be a King novel without death and supernatural powers! James Franco also does an excellent job with the narration – his voice suits the genre well and the voice acting was very engaging.
4. The Woman In The Window – A.J. Finn. Read by Ann Marie Lee
Anna Fox suffers from agoraphobia after a traumatic car accident involving her ex husband and daughter. Unable to go outside and now separated from her family, she lives alone in her large New York house drinking one too many glasses of wine every day. She soon develops a keen interest in the Russel family who move in opposite her, watching them daily through her window. One day, she witnesses something she shouldn’t and her world starts to crumble.
This was one of those novels that made it to my TBR list but kept being pushed further and further down the pile. Then, last year the movie came out and my mum really wanted to watch it, but naturally, I refused to do so before I read the book. So with the growing pressure from my mum, I listened to the audiobook instead knowing it would take me half the time to finish it, and I’m so glad I did! The story itself is absolutely amazing and I couldn’t get over the plot twists, but what really made it stand out so much was Ann Marie Lee’s reading of it. There was so much emotion which made the story come alive – I could feel Anna’s anxiety, her fear, her love… Lee really hit it out the park with this one.
3. You – Caroline Kepnes. Read by Santino Fontana
When Guinevere Beck walks into the bookstore where he works, Joe Goldberg instantly falls head over heels for her. He googles the name on her credit card and finds all her public social media accounts, telling Joe everything he needs to know about her. To Joe, she’s the perfect girl and he’ll do anything to get her to fall in love with him, including orchestrating a series of events that forces her into his loving arms. But how far will he go to be with her?
Kepnes has hit the nail on the head with this one. She’s somehow made a narcissistic psychopath almost likeable. I think that’s just a testament to how well Kepnes writes because the way she justifies Joe’s actions partially makes you feel for him. I almost fell into the trap of sympathising with Joe and as the story progressed, Kepnes made it harder and harder to hate him. Side note, I really don’t think Joe Goldberg should, in any way, be fantasised about. He’s the definition of toxic and… well… psychotic. Also, Santino Fontana was the perfect narrator for this novel. He embodied Joe and was exactly the voice I would’ve envisioned for him (and that doesn’t mean that I think Fontana sounds like a narcissist, he was just perfect for this novel)
2. The Visitor – K.L. Slater. Read by Lucy Price-Lewis
After an incident years before, David is too scared to leave his house in the dark. When he’s not working, he mostly stays in doors, watching the neighbourhood from his bedroom window to keep them safe from harm. After tragedy strikes, Holly returns to her home town in an attempt to start a new life. She moves in with Cora, David’s elderly widowed next door neighbour, and finds a job as a sales assistant to sustain herself. Both lonely and vulnerable, Holly and David strike up a friendship but both are hiding secrets – David can’t shake the incident and Holly feels like her someone from her past has tracked her down.
This is one of those books I bought on a whim based solely on the audible blurb. I had never heard of K.L. Slater or The Visitor but it deserves the number 2 spot! It’s filled with unpredictable twists and unique plots. Switching between the two POVs worked well and Slater masterfully utilises both to tell a gripping story that intertwined beautifully. It’s definitely a “one more chapter” kind of book (a page turner if you will) and I took every opportunity to get to the end of this quicker. At first, when I realised the first chapter was in David’s POV, it really annoyed me that the narrator was female, but as the chapters went on, I realised how prefect Lucy Price-Lewis was for this novel – I particularly enjoyed the voices she put on for each character as they fit so well.
1. Tell Me Lies – J.P. Pomare. Read by Aimee Horne
Psychologist Margot Scott has a seemingly perfect life; a nice house in the suburbs, a loving husband, two children, and a successful career. When her house is burnt down, Margot goes into a panicked frenzy trying to figure out who is trying to harm her, paranoid that it could be any one of her clients. But as she tries to solve the arson, her past starts to come back and haunt her.
I can’t express enough how much I love this audiobook, both for the story and the narration. Pomare has written a dark and twisted whodunnit about a woman’s love for her family, and the mistakes she can’t help making again. It’s action-packed and filled with plot twist after plot twist; just when I thought there couldn’t be much more to it, Pomare throws another bomb in there. I feel like I should have seen it coming, and in retrospect it was hinted at throughout the novel, but Pomare lured us into a false sense of security with these characters, that I just completely brushed past them. The novel is set in Australia so naturally, they chose an Australian narrator. I must admit, that took some getting used to at first, but eventually I got so into it. I particularly loved how they edited the phone conversations so that the people Margot was speaking to sounded like they were on a line. Like Price-Lewis, Aimee Horne puts on excellent voices (her Irish accent was so spot on) and it added so much depth and believability to the story – I literally felt transported whilst I listened. Such an excellent story narrated by an equally brilliant voice actor.