Thursday, December 8, 2016

Challenge Update: Favorite Audiobooks of 2016

I've decided to do something a little different for my end of the year wrap up. In addition to doing a favorite books of the year thing, once a week in December I am going to do a challenge wrap up to talk about some of my favorite books in the categories that I did challenges for. I did a total of four challenges this year and so that works out really well. So I figured I would start with the audiobooks because I don't really have any plans for more audiobooks to listen to this year. I'll probably listen to at least one more on my drive to New York for the holidays but I can confidently mention some of my favorites for the year.

So I listened to a ton of audiobooks this year. I am currently at a total of 38 audiobooks for the year which is above my goal of listening to 30 for the Audiobooks Challenge which was hosted by Hot Listens. And as I have read a total of 151 books so far this year, that means that about a quarter of by books have been in the audio format. If that doesn't show how much of a fan of audiobooks I am, I don't know what will. I love them because I can listen at work, while I'm doing stuff around the house. and while I'm driving but also because I think some books are just perfect for that format.

Most of the audiobooks I listened to in 2016, about half, were rereads and I don't want to mention them here. That's for two reasons. First it's not fair to all the other books to that were amazing but also I think many of them are used to me blabbing about how much I love the Reckoners, The Raven Cycle, and Throne of Glass on audio. If not check out This Post, This Post, This Post, or This Post. Suffice it to say, I talk about audiobooks a lot. So without further ado, here is more talk about my favorite audiobooks of the year, in no particular order.

1.) Outlander by Diana Gabaldon - My Review
Narrated By: Davina Porter
(Amazon / Goodreads / Audible)

I was late to the Outlander party. I had wanted to read the series but was intimidated by how think the books were and how many books there were in the series. So I took the plunge and listened to the first book this year and loved it. It's long coming in at a whopping 32 hours but it doesn't feel long. There is a ton of action, great characters, and it's the kind of audio where you don't want to stop listening.

As far as the narrator goes, I thought she did a fantastic job. There are a ton of different accents here with the Scottish and the English and she did them all really well. I have a hard time with heavily accented characters sometimes but I was impressed with these ones. Maybe they were terrible Scottish accents though. I'm not the best judge for this sort of this.

But I would absolutely recommend this one. I had it suggested from someone who is a huge fan of this series and a huge fan of audio and she was totally right. This was great and now I need to listen to the rest.

2.) You and Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnas - My Review
Narrated by Santino Fontana
(Amazon / Goodreads / Audible)

If you read my review of Hidden Bodies last week, the fact that I loved these audiobooks should not come as a surprise. Because seriously, these are amazing. Like they may end up on my favorites of the year list but if they don't they have to be on this list. I mean these books are super messed up, like it's about terrible people doing terrible things. Spoiler alert: the main character is a serial killer, and Kepnas still makes him really sympathetic. Like you root for a guy to kill people, it messes with your head.

A lot of why this book is so fantastic is because of the narrator. Santino Fontana is an amazing voice talent (he is the voice of Hans in Frozen if you weren't aware) and honestly no one does sympathetic and odious villains as good as he does. He really brings Joe to life and makes him a character you love to hate. My only issue is with his Rhode Island accents, but I'm bad at that accent too even though I lived there for six years.

Again, a book and audio I would absolutely recommend. Do I have to say that for all of these books. I recommend them all. But seriously, these are super messed up in the best possible way and the audio is amazing.

3.) Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar - My Review
Narrated by Michael Crouch
(Amazon / Goodreads Audible)

There are a few books that I considered including on this list that I think would probably end up on my favorites of the year list, including this one. The reason that this makes my list over The Diablic is because I think the main reason I loved this book is because of the narrator. Michael Crouch honestly did an amazing job here. He put so much emotion into the book. I think it may have fallen a little flat for me if I didn't listen to the audio. His accents were great and it helped develop the characters in a way that really made the book for me.

But honestly this was a really amazing book. It is one of the most unique books I read this year. It's one that defies categorization with elements of magical realism, mystery, and contemporary. It was a strange and interesting book and therefore super compelling. I really loved the plot development and the world building. It's atmospheric tone was perfect for the audio format.

If you are interested in this book I would definitely suggest listening to the audio. I think it kind of made it what it was for me. It's a great read and perfect for the audio format so yes, listen to it.

4.) The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye - My Review
Narrated by Steve West
(Amazon / Goodreads Audible)

Okay so once again I have to start by talking about the narrator because STEVE WEST! If you have read those posts I linked earlier you probably know that Steve West is among my favorite audiobook narrator. So when I saw that he was narrating a book I was super obsessed to read I knew I had to listen to the audiobook. And I was not at all disappointed. Steve was did amazing, was amazing. I usually hate Russian accents but ohmygod, this was amazing. Steve West's voice is like velvet and makes me feel things that I should not talk about in a public setting.

But also, this is another really atmospheric read that is perfect for the audio format. I love my high fantasies in audiobooks and this is a great example of that. It's the kind of book with a setting and magical system that you can perfectly visualize. Steve West totally brings it all to life. Plus it's a book that it a little light on the plot and that also works really well when in the audio format.

Again, an audio I would totally recommend but also one that I would say would be much better when it comes to audio. This was a book that I think was hit or miss for a lot of people and it was a total hit for me. A lot of that, of course was due to the fact that I love Steve West, but still.

5.) Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff - My Review
Narrated by A Full Cast of Awesomeness
(Amazon / Goodreads Audible)

If I had to come up with a favorite audiobook of this year it would probably be this one, it's that good. I did not expect this series to be good in the audio format but after some recommendations from people around Illuminae so I decided to try this one out. And honestly, it is really fantastic. Full disclosure, I did also flip the pages to look at some of the images but the audio is really amazing. It's a total immersive experience and definitely worth it for this series. You guys, there are sound effects and music. It's perfect and amazing.

Part of what makes it so immersive is that it has a full cast. In case you didn't know, I FREAKING LOVE FULL CAST AUDIOBOOKS. I'm sorry but that required all caps. I feel that strongly about it. One of my biggest criticism about audiobook narrators is when all their characters sound the same so different narrators combats that. Plus this had some of my all-time favorite narrators like Steve West, MacLeod Andrews, and Carla Corvo. Plus the narrator for  Ella was so freaking perfect. The narrators are all amazing.

I honestly think after listening to this audio I have been totally ruined for this series, I can never go back to just reading the book. It's such a uniquely formatted series and the best way to experience it is by listening to the audio and flipping through the book.

Honorable Mentions:

6.) Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo - My Review
My only reread on this list but it was so good. It also had a full cast and they were all amazing. They perfectly embodied the characters. I only wish it was radio play style and not you narrator your sections because I wanted it to always be the same voice when a character was speaking.

7.) The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan - My Review
I didn't expect to love this audio as much as I did but it was really fun. The narrator did a great job with the accents and it worked really well in this format. If you are a big contemporary fan and like audio, check this out.

8.) Stars Above by Marissa Meyer - My Review
This is an honorable mention because while it's not totally a reread, I've talked a lot about how much I enjoy the Lunar Chronicles audiobooks and Rebecca Soler and therefore it should come as no surprise that loved this one.

There you have it, all my favorite audiobooks of the year. I seriously loved a ton of them you guys. It was a great year for audiobooks. Not only is 37 books total not to shabby but I loved so many of them. I think I only disliked about 5 of them, maybe 6. But if you want to see the full list on all the audiobooks I listened to this year and to find my thoughts, check out the Audiobooks Challenge page HERE. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. Gemima had an audiobook? how does that work? wouldn't it not have those pretty artworks then?

    1. YES! The audiobook is phenomenal. It doesn't have the art work but it does have a full cast and sound effects. I think it's even more immersive than the images. Although to be honest, I flipped through the pages while listening so I suggest doing a bit of both.

  2. I have been meaning to listen to the Outlander audiobook as it's one of my favourite series. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    1. The audio is fantastic! I know a lot of fans of the series who love the audio. The narrator does a great job.

  3. I totally agree with the Outland series and The Royal We! Both of those were fantastic audiobooks! I also really loved Cinder and Scarlet as audiobooks! Great post :D

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

    1. Yes! Aren't they both fantastic. And The Lunar Chronicles! I am a huge huge huge fan of those audios. Rebecca Soler is one of my favorite narrators. I have her voice in my head so much that I can't read the books, I need to listen to the audio. But they're that good.