Audiobooks to Get You in the Mood for Valentine’s Day

Single? In a relationship? It’s complicated? No matter your relationship status, getting curled up with a good book will give you those warm fuzzy feelings. Whether you love clean romance or the spicier stuff, historical love stories or the romantic thrillers, we’ve got you covered.

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Contemporary Romance

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Confessions of a Secret Admirer: A Valentine’s Day Anthology, by Candis Terry, Jennifer Ryan, & Jennifer Seasons, narrated by Andi Arndt, Johanna Parker, & Xe Sands

This sweet anthology, with short stories by three romance favorites, is perfect for the season. The stories will have you smiling, giggling, and blushing and searching for more by these authors and narrators (don’t worry, there’s plenty!).

Erotic Romance

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Watch Me, by Shayla Black (writing as Shelley Bradley), narrated by Sasha Dunbrooke

Watch Me packs a lot of punch into just four hours. Shayla Black’s trademark steam won’t keep you waiting, but the stories mystery will keep you guessing until the quickie’s exciting climax.

Fantasy Romance

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Fire of Stars and Dragons, by Melissa A. Petreshock, narrated by Casey Holloway, Daniel Thomas May, and Kevin Stillwell

If you like a little extra fantasy in your fantasies, Fire of Stars and Dragons has got it all. Dragons, Demi-gods, and Vampires, a strong female lead, and plenty of sexy scenes. The three narrators fit their roles perfectly.

Clean Romance

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Welcome to Last Chance, by Hope Ramsay, narrated by Kristin Kalbli

Sometimes you need romance that is all swoon, no steam. Hope Ramsay’s Last Chance series is about love in a small Southern town between church goers. Kristin Kalbi’s clear narration brings the characters to life.

Young Adult Romance

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The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, by Jennifer E. Smith, narrated by Casey Holloway

Jennifer E. Smith novels bring up all the first love feelings you need in a young adult romance. It’s a sweet, quick book with major cinematic value. Casey Holloway’s narration is sweet and sincere.

Historical Romance

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The Knave of Hearts, by Elizabeth Boyle, narrated by Susan Duerden

Contemporary romance is lovely, but sometimes what you want is some regency in your romance. The Knave of Hearts is the fifth in a series, but works just fine as a standalone. Download and start swooning.

Romantic Suspense

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Keep Me Safe, by Maya Banks, narrated by Jeffrey Kafer

Suspenseful romance can get your heart pounding in more ways than one. Keep Me Safe is a suspenseful thriller with a touch of paranormal and plenty of romance.

Let us know in the comments what you’re reading this weekend! All of our Romance Audiobooks are on sale, so download a few to keep you entertained.

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Best Audiobooks of 2015

At ListenUp Audiobooks, we publish, produce, and distribute audiobooks. For the ones we publish, we are involved in every step of the process – we select the narrator, we record the story, listen to the whole thing while reading along to find any mistakes, fix any problems through re-recording and editing, master the files, and upload it to distribution servers.

We’re also hired by publishers and authors for any of those steps – sometimes we do it all, sometimes we just listen for mistakes and edit. Because of this relationship, our narrators, engineers, editors, quality control technicians, and mastering professionals get to read and listen to amazing books, some of which have been overlooked.

Here are, in no particular order, our favorite books of the year.

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The Passion of Marie Romanov: A Tale of Anastasia’s Sister, by Laura Rose, narrated by Lillian Webb & Travis Smith

The Man From Muscle Shoals: My Journey From Shame to Fame, by Rick Hall, narrated by Rick Hall & Jeremy Arthur

It was surprising to hear some of the heartache, loss, and personal struggles these men endured, while still managing to bring beautiful, memorable songs to our record collections. – Chris, editor

The Only Ones, by Carola Dibbell, narrated by Sasha Dunbrooke

Mine is obvious. The Only Ones. Because it was a natural story for me to tell, to become. I loved my character. So much. – Sasha, narrator.

Bitter Blood, Blood GamesBefore He Wakes, and Death Sentence – all by Jerry Bledsoe, narrated by Kevin Stillwell

Those were all good. Kevin gave great nonfiction performances on all of them. I became seriously immersed in the craziness of the true story murder mysteries. Especially since all occurred in semi-rural southern towns. – Delia, QC

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Bury Me, by Tara Sivec, narrated by Stephanie Willis

Stephanie Willis was the narrator and she KILLED it. It was so creepy and intense. Great thriller! – Kristin, director

Those Girlsby Lauren Saft, narrated by Analysa Gregory, Casey Holloway, and Amy Talmadge.

It was pretty raw and even uncomfortable at times, while still having moments of humor. It’d be a great “beach read” or “guilty pleasure” book. – Amy, narrator
Time Salvager, by Wesley Chu, narrated by Kevin T. Collins
Unbreakable, by Thom Shea, narrated by Brian Troxell

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A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara, narrated by Oliver Wyman

The Anatomy of a Calling: A Doctor’s Journey from the Head to the Heart and a Prescription for Finding Your Life’s Purpose, by Lissa Rankin, M.D., narrated by Erin Moon.

Buddy Boys: When Good Cops Turn Bad, by Mike McAlary, narrated by Dan Triandiflou

Buddy Boys was a great title I worked on with Dan, great story about good cops turned bad and an inner look into a crooked cops world! Plus it’s based on a true story on NYPD. – Jacob, editor.

Bull Mountain, by Brian Panowich, narrated by Brian Troxell

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The Words We Live By, by Linda R. Monk, narrated by Marianne Fraulo

I really enjoyed working on Words We Live By — a study of the U.S. Constitution and the ensuing legislation that has shaped our society.  It was a joyous challenge to make the legal language come alive and to inspire readers –particularly, I hope, young readers and new immigrants — as they learn about the Constitution as a living document whose provisions have been argued, interpreted and illuminated by debate in the public arena, and which has reflected the growth of our republic’s commitment to civil liberties. – Marianne, narrator

Taking a Stand, by Rand Paul, narrated by Brian Troxell

The Beast Side: Living (and Dying) While Black in America, by D. Watkins, narrated by Brandon Rubin

The Dead Saintby Marilyn Brown Oden, narrated by Cassandra Livingston

Compelling story, good characters, it was an utter [bear] to research, but I respect that. – Cassandra, narrator

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Destroyer, by Brett Battles, narrated by Vikas Adam – will be released January 12.

I’d have to say, one that sticks out as fresh in my mind is the book Destroyer. Wow! Very riveting. Once it got going, it had me on the edge of my seat to the very end. It’s a time traveler science fiction thriller. The main character is ripped repeatedly through different historical events of the past, (WW2, WW1, the Civil War, ect.) in a desperate attempt to preserve our timeline, all why his nemesis aims muck it all up. Very thrilling. Very Entertaining. – Thomas, editor

From Russia Without Love, by Stephen Templin, narrated by Brian Troxell

The Head, The Heart, and the Home, by Kaitlyn Wylde, narrated by Barbara Benjamin-Creeel

I think I most enjoyed working on The Head, The Heart, and The Home by Kaitlyn Wylde. She has a beautiful way with words – and, that’s all really. – Barbara, narrator

The Lotus Crew, by Stewart Meyer, narrated by Fleet Cooper

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Space Chronicles, by Neil deGrasse Tyson, narrated by Mirron Willis

Very interesting and informative book, written by a smart/bright man, and about things that matter.  I’ve learned quite a bit working on this.  It made me think… Still does. – Gregory, editor

No Mardi Gras for the Dead, by D.J. Donaldson, narrated by Brian Troxell

Petty: The Biography, written and by Warren Zanes

Renegade, by Joel Shepherd, narrated by John Lee

Renegade was my favorite book I worked on this year. It was lengthy, well written, great characters, SciFi with action, memorable plot that wasn’t predictable. – Philip, QC

What were your favorite audiobooks of the past year?

Short Audiobooks for the Shortest Day of the Year

Happy Winter Solstice!

Today is the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere – aka the Winter Solstice. For the North Pole region, that means 24 hours of night. For ListenUp, in Atlanta, it means less than 10 hours of daylight. To celebrate, we’ve picked some of our favorite short (less than 5 hours) audiobooks.

Short Audiobooks

Funny Story: The Incomplete Works of Topher Payne, written by Topher Payne, narrated by the author and a full cast. This audiobook is 4 hours and 35 minutes long and comprised of shorter stories. Check out what the author has to say about it with Creative Loafing.

Binary Star, written and read by Sarah Gerard. This is an gripping, serious listen about a young woman’s struggle with anorexia and her turbulent relationship. At just over 3 hours, it’s an intense ride.

Two Gentlemen of Lebowski, by Adam Bertocci, narrated by Bernard Setaro Clark. What if William Shakespeare wrote The Big Lebowski? The concept is clever, the story is well-written, and the performance is Shakespearean. At just 2 hours and 7 minutes, it’s a small commitment.

The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra, by Pedro Mairal, narrated by Tony Chiroldes. The audiobook is 3 hours and 44 minutes long and Audiofile Magazine says, “Tony Chiroldes is an excellent narrator for this short novel set in Argentina.”

Waiting for our Souls to Catch Up, written and read by Carol M. Perry, SU. Sister Carol is a Catholic nun and the Resident Bible Scholar at the oldest Protestant congregation with continuous service in North America. Her story runs just 4 hours and 2 minutes long.

Don’t Worry, It Gets WorseOne Twenty-Something’s (mostly failed) Attempts at Adulthood written and read by Alida Nugent. This 4 hour, 35 minute audiobook, by the creator of The Frenemy, chronicles the author’s hilarious successes and failures in adulthood.

Holidays on Ice, by David Sedaris, narrated by David Sedaris, Amy Sedaris, and Ann Magnuson. Holidays on Ice is a holiday classic as far as we’re concerned. This audiobook is a 3 hour, 10 minute collection of beloved holiday stories by Sedaris and will keep you laughing long after it ends.

Watch Me, by Shayla Black (writing as Shelley Bradley) narrated by Sasha Dunbrooke. In true Shayla Black fashion, this quickie packs a steamy punch. This erotic romance is only 4 hours long, but that’s all you’ll need.

Have a safe and happy solstice and let us know in the comments what your favorite short audiobooks are.

Audiobooks that will get you to Grandma’s house

Traveling during the holidays can be a chore, but these audiobooks will make you wish your trip was just another chapter longer.

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Need to stay awake on a long drive? Expedition Indigo, by Stacy Allen, read by Kristin Kalbli, is full of adventure, intrigue, romance, and mystery. Protagonist Riley Cooper’s adventure in underwater archeology, romance, and mystery solving will keep your eyes open and mind active. Expedition Indigo will keep you alert for nearly 11 hours.

Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse: One Twentysomething’s (Mostly Failed) Attempts at Adulthood, written & read, by Alida Nugent is a quick listen at only 4 and a half hours. Nugent’s stories of trying to be a grown-up will make you laugh the whole time you travel and will boost your confidence. This one is great for young adults with parents who keep asking “when are you getting a job/married/your life together?”.

If your travels include a cross-country road trip or multiple connecting flights, listen to Allen Drury’s Advise & Consent, read by Allan Robertson. This brilliant political thriller won a Pulitzer and at over 33 hours, it will keep you entertained no matter where you’re going.

If you’ve already perfected your road trip playlist, only to realize you’ll run out of music long before you run out of road, listen to the Man from Muscle Shoals: My Journey from Shame to Fame, by legendary music producer Rick Hall, narrated by Rick Hall and Jeremy Arthur. You’ll be amazed at how much of your favorite music was produced by Hall.

Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, written and read by Janisse Ray, is perfect for those who want to feel more in touch with the Earth this year. Stories of Ray’s childhood, spent in a junkyard in South Georgia, are interspersed with lessons learned from and about the long leaf pine ecosystem. Ray was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame this year. At a little over 7 and a half hours, you’ll have plenty to teach your relatives over dinner.

Driving all night? Listen to Bury Me, by Tara Sivec, narrated by Stephanie Willis. Bury Me’s terrifying twists and turns will make sure you won’t fall asleep even after you finish the six and a half hour audiobook.

 

Travel safely and have a happy holiday from us at ListenUp Audiobooks. If you want more personalized suggestions, tweet us!

ListenUp Audiobooks New Release, March 17

Available today:

Fire_Of_Stars_and_Dragons_ACX copyFire of Stars and Dragons, by Melissa A. Petreshock, read by Casey Holloway, Daniel Thomas May, and Kevin Stillwell.

Fire of Stars and Dragonsthe first book in the exciting Stars and Souls trilogy, follows 21-year-old Caitriona “Cait” Hayden as she navigates finding her way in 22nd century soverign America, where women are expected to be seen and not heard. And where someone is trying to kill her.

Cait is taken on as a ward by Theo Pendragon, a sexy dragon sworn to protect her. Theo, along with demi-god Dante, and King Corrin fight for Cait’s affections as she makes impossible choices with dire consequences.

DontWorryItGetsWorseACXDon’t Worry, It Gets Worse, written and read by Alida Nugent.

In Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse, Nugent shares what it takes to make the awkward leap from undergrad to “mature and responsible adult that definitely never eats peanut butter straight from the jar and considers it a meal.” Nugent documents, with a little snark, and a lot of heart to formative moments of being a twenty-something – from apartment searching on the black hole known as Craigslist to the creative budgeting allowing one to pay student debt and still enjoy happy hour. Based on her popular Tumblr blog, The Frenemy, Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse is a love note to boozin’, bitchin’ ladies everywhere.

Now available on Audible & iTunes:

JCD-REVISED-with-LAMB Just a Couple of Days, by Tony Vigorito, narrated by Bernard Setaro Clark.

Just a Couple of Days is cult favorite Tony Vigorito’s inventive underground hit chronicling the party at the end of time. A mischievous artist kicks off a game of graffiti tag on a local overpass by painting the simple phrase, “Uh-oh.” An anonymous interlocutor writes back: “When?” Someone slyly answers: “Just a couple of days.” But what happens in just a couple of days? Professor Blip Korterly is arrested, his friend Dr. Flake Fountain is drafted into a shadow-government research project to develop the ultimate biological weapon, and an accidental outbreak turns into a merry-hearted, babble-inducing apocalypse that will either destroy humankind or take it to the next step in evolution.

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Reign: An Unfortunate Fairy Tale: Book 4by Chanda Hahn, read by Tavia Gilbert.

Reignthe 4th installment of the Unfortunate Fairy Tale series, follows Mina Grimm. Mina disobeyed Jared’s orders and went to the Fae plane, which has cost her dearly. She is haunted by her decision as new danger surfaces. The Grimms are fading.

Mina will have to enlist the help of her Fae Godmother and a magic pair of shoes to travel to the past and save her family’s future.  She must return to where the Story first began – to the beginning of the dark prince’s reign. Can Mina finish her quest before her time runs out? Or will she be forever trapped in the past?

Best of 2014: Narrators’ Choice – Non-Fiction

 Our amazing narrators intimately know the books they read, so we trust their recommendations for which ones are the best. Today, we are highlighting our narrators’ favorite non-fiction titles of 2014. Check out their suggestions below and let us know your favorite non-fiction book of 2014.

“What I love about working on non-fiction is how much I discover about the subject in the process of research and narration. This book, about how women can find productive ways to work together and empower each other, moved me greatly. I’ve recommended it to all of my friends.” – Narrator Elisa Carlson on Power Through Partnership: How Women Lead Better Together, by Betsy Polk and Maggie Ellis Chotas.

  

The Arab Uprising: The Unfinished Revolutions of the Middle East, by Marc Lynch, narrated by Nick Edwards.

The Accidental Super Power:  The Next Generation of American Preeminence and the Coming Global Disorder, by Peter Zeihan, narrated by Peter Zeihan.

Over Our Dead Bodies: Undertakers Lift the Lid, by Kenneth McKenzie and Todd Harra, narrated by Gregory St. John, Brian Troxell, and Reay Kaplan.

Margaret Fuller: A New American Life by Megan Marshall was my favorite book. It also received a Golden Earphones Award from Audiofile Magazine in June.” narrator Cynthia Barrett on her favorite book of the year.

  

A Voice From Old New York, by Louis Auchingloss, narrated by Gregory St. John.

Factory Man, by Beth Macy and Charity & Sylvia, by Rachel Hope Cleves, both narrated by Kristin Kalbli.

“I really enjoyed working on Plunder of the Ancients, the most recent book I read. I got to talk to the author, learned so  much about native American culture.” – narrator Susan Larkin on her favorite book of the year, by Lucinda Delaney Schroeder.

  

Severed: A History of Heads Lost and Heads Found, narrated by Reay Kaplan.

Coach, edited by Andrew Blauner, narrated by Robin Bloodworth, Brian Troxell, Marianne Fraulo, & Susan Larkin

The Rogue’s Road to Retirement, by George S. Rider, narrated by Allan Robertson. (To be released January 6, 2015).

Best Audiobooks of 2014: Narrators’ Choice – Fiction

We asked our narrators which books, of those they recorded this year, were their favorites. Narrators spend a lot of time getting to know a book’s storylines, characters, and nuances and we trust their recommendations. Check out some of the stories our narrators loved that you may have missed in 2014!

Today, we’re looking at our favorite fiction of 2014. Check back for our narrators’ non-fiction picks tomorrow!

“Well, I love me some Topher Payne and having the opportunity to record “Groom’s Cake” may just be the highlight of my career. The people Topher creates or shares in his plays and stories are so…um…colorful, you can’t not believe they’re real because your relatives are just like them – or you wish they were.” – Narrator Jo Howarth on Topher Payne’s Funny Story: The Incomplete Works of Topher Payne.

   

Butterflies in November, by Audur Ava Olafsdottir, narrated by Angéle Masters.

The Free, by Brian Ruckley, and High Midnight, by Rob Mosca – both narrated by Bernard Setaro Clark.

Angels Make Their Hope Here, by Breena Clarke, narrated by Love Carter.

“When my engineer asked me, “What’s it about,” my response was – “It’s about absolutely nothing and – at the same time – it’s about everything.” The book is a sort of stream of conscious from the perspective a a 70-year-old woman looking back over her life as the wife of a private school headmaster – a life of privilege she did not originally think would ever be hers. A quiet and deeply moving book, we had to stop recording a couple of times because I teared up. I loved Peter and Ruth dearly.” – Narrator Jo Howarth on The Last First Day, by Carrie Brown.

   

Wading Home: A Novel of New Orleans, by Rosalyn Story, narrated by Brad Sanders.

The Fault Tree, by Louise Ure, narrated by Kara Bartell.

Mr. Tall: A Novella and Stories, by Tony Earley, narrated by Kevin Stillwell and Courtney Patterson

Blood in Snow, by Robert Evert, narrated by Fleet Cooper

“I really loved Courage for Beginners. I could identified with the characters and I think the story is an important one.” – narrator Casey Holloway on her favorite audiobook of 2014 – Courage for Beginners, by Karen Harrington.

“My favorite was Talk, by Michael Smerconish. It’s now being developed into a television sereies by Warner Bros.”. – Narrator James Edward Thomas

   

Whack Job: An Elliot Libson Mystery, by Kendel Lynn, narrated by Rachel Frawley.

In Cuba I was a German Shepherd, by Ana Menéndez, narrated by Maria Rodriguez Saravia.

Pickett’s Charge: A Novel, by Charles McNair, and The Stories of Breece D’J Pancake, by Breece D’J Pancake and Andre Dubus III, both narrated by Jeremy Arthur.

“This is a historical fiction about Laura Bridgman, the first deaf, mute, and blind woman who became famous because she learned to communicate. She predated Helen Keller by 50 years and was, in fact, Annie Sullivan’s teacher. Laura Bridgman was – in her day – as famous as Queen Victoria and yet, no one has ever heard of her. Besides a keen and always active brain, Laura’s only remaining in-tact sense was that of touch. Using Laura’s contemporaries’ diaries and papers as well as her own imagination, the author takes us into Laura’s rich and often feisty inner life. I loved living these people as I narrated the book and was very sad to come to the end of their story.” Narrator Jo Howarth also loved What is Visible, by Kimberly Elkins.