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Top 12 Favorite Audiobooks of 2012

Happy New Year’s Eve! I’m back from Hawaii and had a wonderful time, and managed to do a little reading (and listening) too. I have a bunch of reviews to catch up on, but I don’t want to miss counting down my favorite audiobooks of the year.

Audiobooks are my sneaky way of getting more book time in, and they have become one of my favorite ways of “reading”.  In 2012 I listened to 40 audiobooks, and that’s 33% of my total books read, and 16 more than last year.

I do tend to play favorites with audiobook narrators, and when I find one I like to check out their other work. These are the narrators I’ve listened to more than once this year:

Emma Galvin – 6 books
Rebecca Soler, Heather Lind, Emily Gray, Jennifer Ikeda, Julia Whelan, and Rebekkah Ross – 2 books each

I guessed I listened to about 90% female narrators – but in fact it’s more like an 80/20 split.

I still listen to mostly YA audiobooks, though I do step a little more out of my comfort zone with audiobook genres than I do with books:

YA- 24 books
Romance – 5 books
Fiction – 4 books
Memoir – 4 books
Middle Grade – 3 books

Audiobook challenges completed:

Teresa’s Reading Corner Audiobook Challenge 

Goal: Lover- Listen to 25 Audio Books. Actual: Listened to 40 Audio Books.

A Book and a Latte Young Adult Audiobook Challenge

Goal: Rock’n Out – Listen & Review 24 YA Audiobooks. Actual: Just squeaked by with 24 YA audiobooks.

2012 Favorite Audiobooks Wrap-Up

These 12 audiobooks are my favorites in terms of story, narration, audiobook production, and general addictiveness by category:

Dystopia/SciFi:

A Million Suns by Beth Revis. Narrated by Tara Carrozza and Lucas Salvagno. From my review: This audio recording is one of the reasons I like audiobooks in general because it really makes the book come alive and like you are right there in the action.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth. Narrated by Emma Galvin. From my review: Emma Galvin nails the tone of the book and most importantly the voice of Tris. She reads with the appropriate intensity and in fact makes the book even more exciting. The audiobook enhances the book and provides an incredible listening experience.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Narrated by Rebecca Soler. From my review: (Soler’s) pacing is very good and she reads with the emotion that is called for.  She handles the different male and female voices and accents with ease, and injects Cinder’s sense of humor into the reading. I actually liked the narrator so much I downloaded another audiobook that she reads to check out.

What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang. Narrated by Kim Mai Guest. From my review: (Guest’s) voice is clear and she gives just enough inflection to the characters without overdoing it. Her pace is good too- I always think an audiobook is successful if I don’t notice the narration too much, and that is the case with this book.

Fantasy/Paranormal:

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood. Narrated by Nicole Sudhaus. From my review: When the story starts out slow in the beginning I had more patience with it because the audio kept me entertained, and as the story went on I went out of my way to do more household chores so I could keep listening.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. Narrated by Steve West and Fiona Hardingham. From my review: The lovely prose and nature of the story lends itself well to the audio format, and the narrators convey the right tone, rhythm, and emotion for the story.

Historical:

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. Narrated by Emily Gray. From my review: (Gray) captures the distinct voices of the characters well, and conveys the appropriate emotional intensity to the story. Listening to the audiobook actually made some of the scenes more difficult to get through because they seemed so real.

Gilt by Katherine Longshore. Narrated by Jennifer Ikeda. From my review: When you listen to it it’s like Gossip Girl in the royal court, and Ikeda hits all the right notes in her reading. She flows effortlessly from one character to the next and all of them are easily distinguishable. Her British accent sounds natural to me and not overdone.

Contemporary:

Collateral by Ellen Hopkins. Narrated by Rebekkah Ross. From my review: This is my first experience with Ross as a narrator and I thought she did a great job connecting with the characters and conveying the appropriate tone.

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire. Narrated by Emma Galvin. From my review: She brings sass and personality to the characters, and delivers a spot-on reading for the Travis and Abby characters.  Galvin reads with intensity that ramps up the drama of the story. Though the story is crazy at times, I was addicted to the audiobook.

Humorous Memoir:

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. Narrated by the author. From my review: Lawson’s reading is conversational sounding and matter of fact and it feels like she is relating the stories to you personally. Because the stories are hers, she is able to convey the appropriate tone and emotion as she recounts her life tales.

Tough Sh*t by Kevin Smith. Narrated by the author. From my review: (Smith’s) story is very personal, and like his films potty-mouthed at times, and I can’t imagine anyone else narrating the book. Smith is a professional podcaster so is obviously very comfortable behind the mic, and the six hours I listened to this audiobook flew by.

Looking forward to more audiobook listening in 2013. Maybe I’ll hit 50 audiobooks next year! What were your audiobook favorites of 2012?

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Posted on December 31, 2012, in Audiobook, Young Adult and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. I haven’t listened to any audio books. Maybe one day I will.

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  2. Well now I really want to listen to A Million Suns and I haven’t even read book #1 yet!

    Are you a member of Audible? I joined but it doesn’t seem like I can copy the audio book to a usb which is how I listen to them in the car – boo! I might have to stick to borrowing from the library for now. I definitely want to listen to more in 2013 and try out some of your fave narrators!

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    • Do you have a smartphone? If so, you should be able to download the app to the phone and connect your phone via USB like you would a USB drive, then just push play in the app and go!

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    • I am on Audible, and love their sales! Try out the Audible app for some great features and like ditzyscrap says you can connect your phone via USB.
      Now’s a good time to try out the Across the Universe series now that the trilogy is almost complete! Glad you’re enjoying audiobooks, Mandee.

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  3. I love audiobooks. I used to listen to them frequently when I had longer commutes, but for the past few years I spend very little time in the car. I’ve gotten back into them towards the end of this year, though, and am loving them.

    I’m like you, though. I will listen to particular audiobook that I know I wouldn’t read the book. For example, I listened to TFIOS, hoping that it would help me keep a little distance from the characters. Not sure if that worked too well :)

    Also, I’m listening to Cinder (and LOVING IT!) because I don’t really care for science fiction, and knew I would never read the book.

    Thanks for the recommendations!

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    • I have TFIOS audiobook and you’re right – sometimes sad books are even sadder when you listen to them.

      Glad to hear you are enjoying Cinder! It was out of my comfort zone too and such a pleasant surprise.

      Looking forward to checking out your audio recs, Quinn!

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  4. I’ve just recently discovered audiobooks – my first one being The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and I listened to Love Anthony as well…I loved them both! I’m currently listening to Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. It’s a great way to pass the time when I’m making my 2-hour-long drive to pick up my kids every other weekend!

    I was *so* close to buying Collateral by Ellen Hopkins as an audiobook, but I listened to the preview and decided against it. I believe whole-heartedly that her books are meant to be seen rather than just heard – there is so much more with free verse than just the words – the shapes, word placement (so that there is multiple meanings). But that’s just my opinion, lol! I’m sure it was good, but I’d be so worried about missing something that I’d have trouble enjoying it 100%.

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    • I listened to Perks recently too- the Johnny Heller version, but I think there’s a new narrator now. How did you like it?

      Beautiful Ruins sounds amazing. I keep seeing it on year end lists and really want to check it out. Looking forward to your review!

      Collateral I think works even better in print because of the verse format, but I did really enjoy the narration and it has stuck with me enough to warrant it’s best of status for me. Loved the story. I’m on the fence on whether I should pick up Hopkins’ other work in audio or print, though you are swaying me towards print.

      Happy listening in 2013!

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  5. great list, lucy. i can’t believe that you listened to that many. wow. i agree that audiobooks are a great sneaky way to get more reading in. each time i drive, the minutes add up, and soon i have finished a book.

    i haven’t listened to a lot of these yet and will definitely have to give some of these narrators a try. happy new year!

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    • Happy new year, Thuy! The minutes really do add up when you are listening to audiobooks. Soon you’ll be taking the long way home when you are listening to a particularly addictive audio :)

      Happy reading and listening in 2013!

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  6. Oh, how I love Between Shades of Gray! Collateral was one of my favorites of the year as well.

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  7. I love Cinder and I have yet to read Insurgent!

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  8. I’ve always kept audio books at bay, but your reviews of them make me want to try them out :) I have listened to the Princess Diaries and my favorite is when Anne Hathaway narrates them!

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