Saturday Smutty Six: “Before you give up on audiobooks, try these” with partial covers for Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews, Slippery Creatures by KJ Charles, Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas, Silver Silence by Nalini Singh, Goal Lines & First Times by Eden Finley and Saxon James, and From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata
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Saturday Smutty Six: Before You Give Up On Audiobooks, Try These

I don’t read nearly as fast as Holly or Ingrid, and I really like to multitask in certain areas (embroidery and movie night, anyone?). Holly and Ingrid were recently bemoaning (might be a strong word, but if they weren’t, they should have been) the fact that they can’t process audiobooks, and there I sat, wondering how on earth I’d live without them. (I mean, I would, but my shopping trips would be less fun.)

Aside from one’s ability to process audiobooks or not, there’s the matter of narrators. A narrator can make or break an audiobook. I’m sure I’ve listened to audiobooks that I might have thought were just okay if I had read them, but the narrator brought the story to life in such a way I thought it was fantastic. I might do another smutty six featuring narrators I like to listen to, but for today we’re looking at the combination of great stories brought to life with great narration. 

I decided to organize these more or less (how does one even compare apples and oranges, anyway?) in order so we end with my absolute, top, I-squee-to-everyone recommendation. So without further ado, before you give up on audiobooks, try these:

From Lukov With Love by Mariana Zapata

Narrated by Callie Dalton and Teddy Hamilton

Zapata’s books are all first person from the heroine’s perspective, and typically that narration would simply be done by a woman reading the whole book, but in this case, Callie Dalton narrates the story, and Teddy Hamilton voices only Ivan’s lines. The style is unusual and absolutely not for everyone, but I enjoy Dalton’s calm tones with enough intonation to give us Jasmine’s attitude, and Teddy Hamilton’s voice is mellifluous, bringing Ivan to life even though he’s not reading any full chapters. Plus, Lukov is one of Zapata’s most popular books.

Goal Lines & First Times by Eden Finley and Saxon James

Narrated by Alexander Cendese and Iggy Toma

I have listened to so many books narrated by Alexander Cendese and Iggy Toma, and I typically  find the combination delightful, but this is the one I’m suggesting. Both narrators have very distinctive voices (Cendese especially), so YMMV, but Cendese as the cuddly but clueless hockey himbo, Cohen, and Toma as the academically superlative but romantically sidelined grad student, Seth, in a playful college romance, really lets those voices shine. 

Silver Silence by Nalini Singh

Narrated by Angela Dawe

Did I listen to 19 Psy-Changeling books in a row? In a month? I sure did. Angela Dawe is so easy to listen to. Why am I recommending Silver Silence instead of Slave to Sensation? Well, it’s the beginning of Psy-Changeling, Part II a.k.a. Psy-Changeling Trinity, so it’s a good place to start, and without some dated stuff from the earliest books. But really? The bears. 


Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas

Narrated by Mary Jane Wells

Mary Jane Wells has narrated many books, but I just listened to this one to prep for our Back to Old School duel, and, look, I stan Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent. I could have listened to a satisfactory narration of the book, and it would have been fine if he weren’t quite right, but let’s face it: I would have left unsatisfied. Luckily, I listened to Mary Jane Wells, who absolutely nailed the assignment. She had me chuckling out loud at Sebastian’s outrageousness because she captured him perfectly.

Slippery Creatures by K.J. Charles

Narrated by Cornell Collins

It’s possible I have accent envy, but really, kudos to Cornell Collins for managing all the different accents in this whole series (there are quite a few). The way he brought Will and Kim to life… So fun. And I legit gasped when Will and Kim kissed for the first time. It’s so fun when a narrator pulls you into the story so completely that you react out loud to what’s happening. Another winning combination: KJ Charles is an exceptional storyteller, and this series deserved—and got—an exceptional narrator.

Burn For Me by Ilona Andrews

Narrated by Renée Raudman

I have enjoyed many an audiobook, but I do not think I have ever heard a better narration than Renée Raudman’s in this trilogy. Some of the voices she creates for the secondary characters seem not to be from the same person who is voicing the narrator. The first time I listened to this book, I made excuses to keep cleaning my house so I could binge all three almost straight through. It doesn’t hurt that the story is riveting, too.


Bonus points:

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

Narrated by Neil Gaiman

I know it’s not romance, it’s actually a short children’s book (<1hr), which is how I found it: desperately searching for something to occupy my kids on a drive. It. Is. Amazing. Gaiman simply brings to life this witty and outlandish story about a father explaining to his children why he was late coming back from the corner shop with their milk for breakfast. It involves a stegosaurus, a hot air balloon, a Really Good Moves Around in Time Machine, and, of course, the milk.


Want to give audiobooks a try? All of these romances are available on Audible. (Or support your local library by seeing if they’re on Hoopla!)

Saturday Smutty Six: We Really Did LOL featuring covers for I Think I Love You by Christina C. Jones, Frat Wars: King of Thieves by Saxon James, Heidi's Guide to Four Letter Words by Tara Sivec and Andi Arndt, Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson, Mrs. Martin's Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan, and Riley Thorne and the Dead Guy Next Door by Lucy Score
Listicle

Saturday Smutty Six: We Really Did LOL

We’re wrapping up Rom-Com week here at The Smut Report, so we thought we’d leave you with some comedies that really did make us laugh out loud. And to help us narrow down our options, we chose some books that might be well known in their own distribution circles, but don’t necessarily have the broader distribution of larger publishing house. 

If you’re looking for some laughs with your reading this weekend, might we recommend…

I Think I Might Love You by Christina C. Jones

Look, she meets him when she’s completely wasted after destroying her surprise-married ex’s car and she’s trying to crash at her sister’s apartment, only to discover that her sister has sublet the apartment to someone else. After she’s already let herself in. And the new renter is super naked. And super mad that she just punched him in the eye. Things can only go up from there, right? 

While this book is chock full of situational humor, it’s all about the protagonists being true to themselves. 

Frat Wars: King of Thieves by Saxon James

The tag line for this book is: We’re basically Romeo and Juliet. But dudes. And without all the dying.

And if that’s not the energy of this book in a nutshell, I don’t know what to tell you. Chad and Bailey are in rival frats and, because of Reasons, can’t consort with the enemy. It’s very college-level maturity and shenanigans, but that’s in no small part because Chad is hell-bent on embracing the final throes of his youth. James intentionally wrote Chad to be “such a Chad” who still gets his own HEA with a guy who loves him, pranks and all, so it’s all meant to be fun.

Heidi’s Guide to Four Letter Words by Tara Sivec and Andi Arndt

When Heidi’s mom found out she was working at a studio that records erotic romance and then started taking sex tips from the erotic romance she was reading, I started choking on my own laughter. This book is Minnesota AF, and it’s hilarious. Heidi’s journey to be brave enough to ask out her neighbor—who’s totally into her, she just can’t see it—is full of embarrassing twists and turns that make Heidi want to crawl in a hole and also ultimately gives her a greater sense of community.


Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson

If unlikable heroines are your jam, I would like to introduce you to Betsy, Vampire Queen. She is selfish, vain, and very very unimpressed with her new role as ruler of the undead—especially since all the other vampires have such bad fashion sense. Think the Shopaholic books, but with vampires. Don’t go in expecting the full HEA here, as this is the first book in a long series about Betsy’s adventures. 

Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan

There’s a scene where Mrs. Martin and Ms. Beauchamps hire some carol singers to follow Mrs. Martin’s Terrible Nephew down the street singing “Robby Bobkins” over and over again to the tune of the Halleleuia chorus from Handel’s “Messiah.” (You’re welcome for the earworm.) There are also shenanigans involving livestock, and a bit where the neighborhood prostitutes collectively agree to no longer service that same Terrible Nephew. Everything about this book is delightful.

Riley Thorn and the Dead Guy Next Door by Lucy Score

This is a duo so far (book 3 is in the works) about a crime fighting couple consisting of a reluctant psychic who lives with a bunch of eccentric old people and her private investigator boyfriend. It’s pretty nuts, like all of Lucy Score’s books, but it’s just a totally fresh and unique situation full of hijinks and absurdity, and if you’re looking for something with a very immersive setting and very little stress, this is just the ticket.