Sonic Swoons | Top Romance Titles for Audiophiles

Appreciate the banter and get swept away by the HEA in these top romances on audio.

Appreciate the banter and get swept away by the HEA in these top romances on audio.

Harper, Lana. Back in a Spell. Books on Tape. (The Witches of Thistle Grove, Bk. 3). Jan. 2023. 9:45 hrs. ISBN 9780593627266. $85.50. PARANORMAL ROMANCE

Powerful witch Nineve “Nina” Blackmoore is reeling from a broken heart after being dumped by her fiancé. After a night at the bar with her best friend, she agrees to a blind date with Morty Gutierrez, the nonbinary owner of a local pub, the Shamrock Cauldron. After an awkward first date, Morty, who previously knew nothing of the magical world, begins to develop magical powers, and Nina finds that her own abilities have become stronger. The two must navigate their newfound powers while delving into the truths of long-held family secrets. Harper’s third installment in the “Thistle Grove” series (following From Bad to Cursed) is a delightful and heartfelt romance full of passion and sorcery. Narrator Carlotta Brentan brings the entire cast of characters to life by deploying different voices and mannerisms for each. Her portrayal of the undeniable connection between Nina and Morty is especially affecting. Listeners looking for romance that also shows personal growth will enjoy, as Harper focuses not only on romantic love but also on platonic love between friends. VERDICT Harper’s thoughtful yet action-packed story is a must-add to any romance collection. Recommend to fans of Elizabeth Bass and Karen F. Williams.—Elyssa Everling

Lea, Amy. Exes and O’s. Books on Tape. (The Influencer, Bk. 2). Jan. 2023. 9:38 hrs. ISBN 9780593625781. $76. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

Tara Chen may work as a NICU nurse, but her true passion is love. As an aspiring romance reviewer and influencer, Tara knows every trope and has an ex for each, from opposites-attract to the-one-that-got-away. She’s certain that happily-ever-after lies with one of these former flames, but setting her sights on second-chance romance may have blinded her to the forced-proximity friends-to-lovers potential of her foxy firefighter flatmate, Trevor. Though their introduction was less “meet cute” and more coitus interruptus, can Tara and Trevor push past the tropes to their own happy ending? Lea (Set on You) crafts a clever contemporary romance with this second installment in her “Influencer” series. Narrator Natalie Naudus seamlessly shifts from sarcastic and silly to sultry and sensual. Her playful performance creates an engaging listening experience and gives unique voices to the diverse and well-developed cast of characters. VERDICT This audio will appeal to listeners seeking a fast-paced roommates rom-com that is sexy and sweet. Recommended for fans of Alisha Rai, Andie J. Christopher, and Helen Hoang.—Lauren Hackert 

Matthews, Mimi. The Belle of Belgrave Square. Books on Tape. (Belles of London, Bk. 2). Oct. 2022. 15:22 hrs. ISBN 9780593627204. $95. HISTORICAL ROMANCE

Regency romance lovers will swoon over the second offering in the “Belles of London” series. Matthews has penned another fun Regency romp sprinkled with fairy-tale references and outrageous situations. Julia Wychwood is an heiress desperate to escape her demanding parents and the confines of London—she is much more at ease with books than balls or society soirées. Captain Jasper Blunt is in London in search of a wealthy wife who can offer him a cash influx to save his crumbling estate in the English countryside. Both of their problems can be fixed with one minor event—marriage. They decide to eschew the opinions of the London elite and wed. Julia’s sizable dowry will go to Jasper, and in return she asks for freedom to read, ride, and wander the estate. Jasper readily grants her that, but she can’t wander everywhere on the estate; there are some off-limits areas that certainly pique Julia’s interest, especially when she learns what kind of man the Captain really is. Charmingly narrated by Ell Potter and Sebastian Brown, this audiobook brims with fun, charm, and growing sexual tension. VERDICT A must-listen for fans of the “Bridgerton” series, fairy-tale spin-offs, and Regency romance.—Erin Cataldi 

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