As I’m not really a movie buff, I’m sharing my favorite audiobooks listened to in 2015. This is Part 1 of my Favorite Reads of the Year.
Boy21, Matthew Quick (Author) Ben Lukens (Narrator)
I don’t really like contemporary books – especially YA contemporary – but wow, did the author turn things upside down for me. In fact, I already shared that this is one of my surprise favorite reads this year. Boy21 is a book about friendship, love, depression, navigating life, hope and loss. The narrator managed to make each character distinct, and more importantly, transmit how each person was emotionally with his voice and inflections – this is a book full of emotional upheaval.
Basketball has always been an escape for Finley. He lives in gray, broken Bellmont, a town ruled by the Irish Mob, drugs, violence, and racially charged rivalries. Russ has just moved to the neighborhood. A former teen basketball phenom from a privileged home, his life has been turned upside down by tragedy. Cut off from everyone he knows, he now answers only to the name Boy21—his former jersey number—and has an unusual obsession with outer space.
The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (Author) Robin Miles (Narrator)
This book is everything! There is complex world building which the author does a great job of detailing, emotional and relatable characters, some serious drama happening and some very dark and worrying subtext – all the elements for a phenomenal book! The story jumps back and forth through time, and kept me guessing as to what was really going on – and what was going to happen – the entire time I was listening. It is IMPOSSIBLE for me to believe that 1 narrator did this entire book. She made every character distinct … and there were MANY characters. She was able to communicate different genres, ages and accents very well.
This is the way the world ends. Again. Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.
Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3), Laini Taylor (Author) Khristine Hvam (Narrator)
I listened to all 3 books in this series on audio, all narrated by Hvam who has done an outstanding job every single time. The World building has been awesome throughout the series, the story buildup has finally come to a fitting climax. I suggest that you start with book 1 though, or you’ll be totally lost.
Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.
The Girl in the Spider’s Web, David Lagercrantz (Author) Simon Vance (Narrator)
This book is the continuation of The Millenium Series (Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) by Stieg Larsson, who is deceased. The publication was controversial because it’s not written by the original author of the series, but I have to say that I really enjoyed The Girl in the Spider’s Web. The author stayed true to the personalities of Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist, and wrote an intriguing, thoughtful mystery that was complex and worthy of the talents of Salander. I hope that there are more books planned. The narration by Vance is wonderful – as expected.
Late one night, Blomkvist receives a phone call from a source claiming to have information vital to the United States. The source has been in contact with a young female superhacker—a hacker resembling someone Blomkvist knows all too well.
The Various Haunts of Men (Simon Serailler #1), Susan Hill (Author) Steven Pacey (Narrator)
I feel like I totally lucked out when random chance led me to start listening to this auddiobook. The characters in this book are phenomenally written, and I couldn’t let go of them even when the book had finished. Thank God this is a series! The narrator, Steven Pacey, almost faded into the background – which is a sign of just how remarkable he is. The story took over and he dropped me in their World, and I can honestly say I was left stunned when he finally let me go at the end.
Police detective Freya Graffham has just transferred to the small cathedral town of Lafferton from London’s “Met” with Chief Insp. Simon Serrailler, her enigmatic superior. She finds herself unable to let go of what seems like a routine missing persons report on a middle-aged spinster. When yet more townspeople turn up missing, her hunch is verified and a serious police search begins, bringing her into closer proximity with Serrailler at the same time it exposes her to danger.
The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins (Author) Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, and India Fisher (Narrators)
I went back and forth with including this book on my list. The main character is sometimes sympathetic, but oftentimes a self-pitying mess. She does some really stupid things and sometimes it’s really hard to like her. For me, it’s hard to separate an unlikeable main character from the book. But somehow I can this time. Because the book really does take us through it, doesn’t it?! She is an emotional wreck, and at the end of reading this book, I felt like I had been through an emotional ringer myself after going through all of Rachel’s ups and downs with her.
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.
The Redbreast (Harry Hole #3), Jo Nesbo (Author) Robin Sachs (Narrator)
I have listened to the audiobooks of all but the first 2 books of this series. The narrators vary between Robin Sachs, John Lee and Sean Barrett (multiple books each) and Thor Knai, who narrated book 4 – but Robin Sachs is my favorite narrator of them all (unfortunately, he passed away). He essentially became Harry Hole for me – the flawed, deeply emotionally scarred and unavailable, mus-understood detective, and Harry Hole, is my favorite fictional detective. I’ve gone through 9 books with him already!
Have you listened to any phenomenal audiobooks this year?