This year was really difficult. For all the reasons that many of us struggled with, and for many personal reasons on top of those. I struggled to find motivation to be a person at all, and my concentration capabilities basically quit on me with no notice. As Suzanne said in her 2019 Favourites: It was "a really bad year for reading with my eyeballs." When I could eyeball-read, (Can we trademark this term? Getting my lawyers on this, stat!) I reread the books that comforted me; ones I could dive into and know everything would be exactly as I needed. But this year of limited eyeball reading also lead to an Audiobook Adventure! (Pretend there are sparkly emojis here, okay thanks!)
[Editor's Note - All reading is reading! To suggest otherwise is horribly ableist among other things. So please don't. There are lots of reasons why reading with eyeballs doesn't go well/isn't possible, and everyone deserves stories.]
Suzanne has beeeen repping audiobooks, and I really wanted to be the kind of person who was there with her, but I never got round to it. Then, during a LiP Patreon chat (whoop whoop this is the sign up link, join us for the next one wink wink) before my long flight to South Korea, the LiP Patreon gang SOLD me! I signed up for Audible while still on the chat, and added a ton of their recs to my Wishlist. In the end, I was violently ill the entire flight there and knocked out cold on the flight back, so I did not get to listen. But when I came home and everything sucked, audiobooks swept in and saved the day! These are my favourites on the adventure so far:
Salt Magic, Skin Magic, by Lee Welch
This is the very first audiobook I listened to. Got dat free Audible trial credit, listened to this sample and boom. I was hooked. It was SO captivating and intriguing, and it made me smile. Even just looking at the cover, I hear the specific atmospheric British accent and immediately feel pulled into the
Salt Magic, Skin Magic realm and wanna go back. I've never really been into things this... mystical and magical in Romance but wow this one captures your whole heart and man, these guys are so deeply devoted to each other it's magnificent. Thank you Suzanne for the rec! It's literally the reason I got into audiobooks. I am eternally grateful, and so are my eyeballs.
Finders Keepers, by N.R. Walker
This is a book I will never stop recommending. And now I can recommend it in audio format! It is PURE SUNSHINE. This will come up in my eventual 'books I read for comfort' list because man, oh man, I must have read it eight times this year alone. Twice on audio. It's equally cheerful and sexy and utterly perfect in both formats. I love the Australian-ness of it, I love how normal and genuinely good both these guys are. And I love love love Wicket, the dog the story centers around! It's a charming, sweet as heck, all-in perfect summer romance that is as delightful as the cover makes it seem. Possibly even more!
King Me: A Forever Wilde novel, by Lucy Lennox
Okay, whoa. Think of every cool heist movie you love, and then squish them into one. You're thinking 'But Andrea, how would that even work? There's so many twists and levels to just
of them! How could that all fit into a single book?' I don't know how!! But that's what happens!! And the thing that really hits my heart in the very golden juicy middle (my heart is now
a Caramello bar
, apparently) is that these guys are sworn enemies, but pretty much from the moment they dive in and accept they're into each other, that's it. Sold. All in. The drama and the worry and the ups and downs of the story and the EPIC crime plot twists are all set on the solid ground of knowing they trust and love each other, which MAKES MY HEART SING. The art heist suspense vibes often made me GASP. And these characters made me LAUGH OUT LOUD! A lot. Like, a lotttt.
I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
Amazon (and Audible)
There's something about the wonder of a YA Romance --that ohmygoshisthishappening of the first kiss and the first crush and the chaos of being a teenager against the quiet of being with someone that stills your heart because true love. Jandy Nelson is... The person whose writing I am most in awe of. I have read her books to escape into their magical realism, I have read them as a writer being like "howww can I do what she does here," and I have read them as a young adult daydreaming that I too could find bright love in the middle of my grief. I know this story well. Hearing it on audio somehow showed it to me from new angles and emphasized a whole new layer of whoa.
Turbulence, by E.J. Noyes
Isn't this cover just great? Such pretty colours! Awesome things in this book: Women just killing it in their professional lives. Brilliant stockbroker. Badass pilot. Doing their jobs well and having epic sexual chemistry. There's teasing, and a whole lot of masturbation while they fantasize about each other and also when they can't spend the night together. The HR logistics and employee-relationship conflict is very much addressed and considered a lot, with company lawyers and Isabelle's (really great) therapist, which is dope. It's also extremely (2011 rom-com) Friends With Benefits in its "This is just sex, okay wait I took you home to meet my mom, oops we're in a wonderful rhythm of food and friendship on top of the sex, okay woah are we basically dating aaaahh! but neither of us is gonna say that aloud because we don't want to risk it ending" vibes. It is Great! Also very very sexy, did I say that? I mean it, from the bottom of my heart.