Rapturous Romantic Listens | Top Audiobooks for Romance Fans

Sparks fly in these engaging, flawlessly voiced audio romances.

Desai, Sara. To Have and to Heist. Books on Tape. Jul. 2023. 12:32 hrs. ISBN 9780593684450. $95. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

Simi Chopra is tired of mind-numbing jobs where she’s overqualified and underpaid. She gets more excitement than she bargained for, however, when her best friend is framed for a jewelry theft, and they must steal back a priceless necklace to clear her name. Aided by a sexy professional “repossessor” and an eclectic entourage of aspiring criminals, Simi takes on mobsters, bridezillas, and exotic animals, all while dodging one hunky detective and endless matchmaking attempts from her well-meaning aunties. Has she found her calling as a caper coordinator, or will her beginner-level burgling end in disaster? Desai (The Singles Table) presents an enchanting, plot-driven contemporary romance. The quirky cast of characters is hilarious and heartwarming, whether cracking jokes or cracking safes. Narrator Soneela Nankani shines as Simi in this fast-paced, first-person tale. From sweet to steamy, her expressive performance enhances the wit and whimsy of the narrative. VERDICT This audio will appeal to listeners seeking a hilarious heist rom-com full of engaging entrapments and action-packed antics. Recommended for fans of Alisha Rai, Christina Lauren, and Ally Carter.—Lauren Hackert

Lea, Amy. Woke Up Like This. Brilliance Audio. Aug. 2023. 8:26 hrs. ISBN 9781491595237. $35.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

Charlotte Wu has ticked almost every box on her high school bucket list. Okay, so she’s student council vice president instead of president, and maybe she got stood up for homecoming, but every shortcoming can be attributed to her nemesis: J.T. Renner. He is equally and annoyingly perfect when it comes to planning prom, the last hurdle to Charlotte’s high school happiness. Unfortunately, Charlotte falls face-first onto Renner during a decorating fiasco; more unfortunate, they wake up more than a decade in the future, inexplicably engaged to each other. Can they somehow reverse this time slip and get back to 17, or are they doomed to an early, unwanted adulthood? Lea (Exes and O’s) presents a witty, whimsical new adult romance with a Thirteen Going on Thirty time-travel twist. Narrator Natalie Naudus gives an expressive and engaging performance. Her delightful delivery, paired with the playful narrative, creates a captivating listening experience. VERDICT This audio will appeal to listeners seeking a hilarious, coming-of-age contemporary romance about living in the moment. Recommended for fans of Sarah Adams, Sarah Jost, and Allison Winn Scotch.—Lauren Hackert

Lee, Victoria. A Shot in the Dark. Books on Tape. Sept. 2023. 9:16 hrs. ISBN 9780593663639. $76. LGBTQIA+ ROMANCE

Back in NYC for a summer art program, Ely is determined to stay in recovery and to learn all she can from famous photographer Wyatt Cole. But when they meet in a queer nightclub the night before class and sparks fly, they must navigate the power differential of teachers being attracted to students, though both are consenting adults. The two try to stay respectable all summer but grow closer as Wyatt confronts his family, who rejected him for being trans, and as Ely deals with a relapse and her summer project about her complicated relationship with the Orthodox Jewish community that expelled her. Lee (A Lesson in Vengeance), well known for YA queer romances, seamlessly and successfully transitions into adult queer romance. This debut includes hot and steamy scenes, but readers will connect with Ely and Wyatt as they come of age emotionally and search for their true home and family. Narrator Scott Turner Schofield identifies as trans and lends an authentic and engrossing voice to the chapters from Wyatt’s point of view. Narrator Gilli Messer, a native Hebrew speaker, flawlessly voices Ely. VERDICT Recommend to listeners who are looking for a realistic and complicated love story.—Sarah Hill

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