Romance in Audio | 29 Titles To Try

Romances on audio that deepen characterization and enhance conversations.


Accardo, Lauren. Bold Love. Penguin Random House Audio. (Forever Adirondacks, Bk. 3). Jan. 2022. 9:15 hrs. ISBN 9780593558287. $20. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

Prolific narrator Andi Arndt returns for the third book of Accardo’s “Forever Adirondacks” series. Denny, a former professional football player, is settling into his quiet new home in the Adirondacks. With his parents’ impending visit, he hires the independent, kindhearted Bee to decorate his home. With Bee’s plans to move to London for design school and Denny’s uncertainty about his life after football, the duo fight their growing attraction and decide which path their hearts will choose. With her energetic performance style, Arndt keeps the story moving. She has the ability to capture the protagonists’ personalities, most notably their insecurities and the self-confident personas masking them. While she voices each character differently, her portrayal of male characters isn’t as strong as her female ones. Arndt’s expressive voice adds depth to the story, helping to vivify the secondary and tertiary characters. Though the production isn’t quite up to the high standard of the previous series entries, Arndt makes this an enjoyable listening experience. VERDICT Fans of the series will want to listen.—Amanda L. S. Murphy

Bailey, Tessa. Hook, Line, and Sinker. HarperAudio. (Bellinger Sisters, Bk. 2). Mar. 2022. 10:10 hrs. ISBN 9780063045712. $26.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

Seven months after the action of It Happened One Summer, Bailey gives listeners another glimpse of the Bellinger sisters. Hannah, a production assistant, misses her sister Piper terribly. After suggesting filming in the small town of Westport, WA, she impresses her director and crush, Sergei, and returns to town. But Piper’s in-laws are visiting, which lands Hannah in the guestroom of the sexy fisherman, Fox, who has a heartbreaker reputation. The forced proximity is more than either can handle. Romance and narration are slow, and listeners may get whiplash from the will-they-or-won’t-they game. The sex scenes are on fire, but some sexy talk is cringeworthy. The story is light on comedy as well. The prologue, a series of texts between Hannah and Fox, helps with the backstory and showcases the romantic undertones of their friendship, but it is not ideal for the audio format. Lauren Sweet’s narration gives depth to the characters, particularly Fox. Kudos to Bailey for spotlighting the slut-shaming of men and the 10-year epilogue that helps wrap up this duology. VERDICT Optional purchase for fans of Bailey’s other books or if romance circulates well.—Emily Pykare

Ballard, Falon. Lease on Love. Penguin Random House Audio. Feb. 2022. 9:07 hrs. ISBN 9780593552636. $20. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

Debut novelist Ballard writes a witty roommates-to-lovers romance that will leave readers laughing and cheering for the mismatched couple. When Sadie Green doesn’t get the promotion she rightly deserves, she finds herself out of a job and soon to be out of an apartment she can no longer afford. In her desperation she mixes up a dating app for a roommate-finding app and lucks into discovering a gorgeous brownstone in her new price range…broke. It’s fortuitous for Sadie, but not so much for the owner of the brownstone, Jack Thomas. Sadie is wowed by the real estate and not so much by the man with the keys. But the two may have more in common than their shared address; sparks start to fly, resulting in a delightful slow burn. Humorously narrated by Addison Barnes, who makes this rom-com really shines with her hilarious inflections. VERDICT Many will enjoy this spicy, entertaining, and heartwarming romance that highlights a found family and good vibes.—Erin Cataldi

Bass, Elizabeth. A Letter to Three Witches. Dreamscape Audio. Feb. 2022. 9:17 hrs. ISBN 9781666549591. $24.99. PARANORMAL ROMANCE

Gwen and her cousins Trudy and Milo all receive the same ominous letter from Gwen’s adopted sister, Tannith, who claims to have bewitched one of their partners and will run away with him at the end of the week. Gwen’s family is forbidden to use magic ever since a spell cast by their great-great-grandfather wreaked havoc on their hometown of Zenobia, NY, but not everyone is following the rules laid forth by the Grand Council of Witches. While Gwen tries to discover which boyfriend Tannith enchanted, she also worries that her feelings for newcomer Jeremy, who could be a Watcher sent by the Council, are caused by an accidentally enchanted cupcake from Trudy’s bakery. Narrator Emily Durante’s dry narration keeps the frothy story moving forward in this contemporary witch tale that is light on worldbuilding but as easy to consume as one of the magical cupcakes from the Buttered Biscuit Bakery. The chapters narrated by Nick Mondelli from the perspective of a magical cat add the most interest. VERDICT Bass’s (Life Is Sweet) latest is recommended only for collections with high demand for light paranormal romance or as a read-alike for Erin Sterling’s The Ex Hex.—Elizabeth Gabriel

Bellefleur, Alexandria. Count Your Lucky Stars. HarperAudio. (Written in the Stars, Bk. 3). Feb. 2022. 11 hrs. ISBN 9780063000902. $26.99. LGBT ROMANCE

Margot Cooper doesn’t need a committed relationship. She’s perfectly happy with her friend group, thanks. Only now, all her friends are either engaged or getting married, and Margot is afraid she’ll be left behind. So when “the One Who Got Away,” Olivia Grant from Margot’s small hometown, pops up as the event planner for Margot’s best friend’s wedding, all rom-com hell breaks loose. Well-drawn characters with relatable worries, fears, and insecurities make the obligatory breakup seem slightly less manufactured than the genre sometimes sees. Lauren Sweet provides a lively and highly listenable narration that helps bring the characters further to life. VERDICT A first purchase audio for libraries with an active contemporary romance readership, fans of Bellefleur’s (Hang the Moon) previous installments in the series, and libraries looking to expand the LGBTQIA+ representation in their collections.—Chrystopher Lytal

Bliss, Alison. Out of the Blue. Hachette Audio. (A Perfect Fit, Bk. 4). Feb. 2022. 9:58 hrs. ISBN 9781549166198. $25.98. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

After her doctor delivers less-than-stellar news about her health, Preslee Owens vows to lose weight and get in shape, hoping to also catch the eye of the good-looking employee at her father’s antique shop. When her first attempt at using the gym ends up in a viral video, Preslee is ready to throw in the towel. Gym owner and personal trainer Adam convinces her to stick with the plan. Unbeknown to the other, the two develop romantic feelings as they work out together. Erin Bennett and Will Collyer both narrate this slow-burn contemporary romance. Especially notable are their distinctive character portrayals. Their expressive performances draw and engage listeners into the tale. VERDICT Fans of Kate Stayman-London and Olivia Dade will appreciate this.—Amanda L. S. Murphy

Clare, Jessica. Go Hex Yourself. Penguin Random House Audio. Apr. 2022. 11:38 hrs. ISBN 9780593558560. $20. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

A fan of the card game Spellcraft: The Magicking, Regina “Reggie” Johnson is excited when she answers an ad for a job she believes will let her use her skills. Instead, she finds out she’s been hired to be a familiar for a real witch. There’s only one problem--Ben Magnus, the nephew of her employer and a totally insufferable man. When a curse strikes Ben’s aunt, Reggie and Ben have to work together to save her, creating sparks neither can deny. Narrators Andrew Eiden and Holly Linneman bring the sultry, aggressive Ben and lovable, free-spirited Reggie to life. This is a fun and sexy romantic read with just the right amount of magic. It lightly makes fun of genre tropes and expertly includes pop culture references that will especially appeal to Dungeons and Dragons players and Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans. VERDICT This fun romance from Clare (Holly Jolly Cowboy) is a joy to listen to.—Elyssa Everling

Collins, Anna E. Love at First Spite. Harlequin Audio. Jan. 2022. 8:56 hrs. ISBN 9781488213090. $26.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

After finding her fiancé in bed with their real estate agent, interior designer Dani and two of her friends decide the best way to get on with her life is to get revenge. Purchasing the small property across the street from what was supposed to be her marital home, Dani devises a plan to build the ultimate “spite house” to hide the ex’s gorgeous view. Needing an architect to develop the blueprints, she makes a deal with Wyatt Montego, her handsome and haughty work colleague, and soon their relationship changes. Lila Winters exquisitely performs the small cast of characters in Collins’s debut, deftly capturing their varied personalities and easily differentiating between each one, regardless of gender or age. She breathes life into the story and keeps listeners wanting more. Slow and sensual. Stumbling and inebriated. Energetic and fun. All are presented in a believable fashion. VERDICT Recommended for fans of contemporary, workplace, rom-com novels featuring protagonists with opposite personalities, such as The Hating Game.—Amanda L. S. Murphy

Cooper, Sharon C. Business Not as Usual. Penguin Random House Audio. Apr. 2022. 8:55 hrs. ISBN 9780593551653. $20. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

Contemporary and romantic suspense author Cooper (“Atlanta’s Finest” series) returns with a seriously sexy and whirlwind romance that is also a reckoning of social class. Dreamy Daniels lives on the not-so-great side of L.A. with her cousin and grandfather, works a less than stellar job while finishing her bachelor’s degree, and believes that one day she will win the lottery. Life throws her a curveball when she meets Karter Redford, a young, sexy venture capitalist. During a business meeting, Dreamy catches his eye and soon finds herself swept up into his world of fame and fortune as the son of a famous actor. Can a relationship between two very different people work? Dreamy’s struggle to make the most of her life, live independently, and find love is both moving and engaging. Her story and feelings are brought to life via vivid and expressive narration by Marcella Cox. VERDICT A great addition to established romance collections.—Elyssa Everling

Croucher, Lex. Reputation. Macmillan Audio. Apr. 2022. 10:58 hrs. ISBN 9781250839633. $26.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE

Bridgerton and Beecham House actress Bessie Carter performs this debut Jane Austen–meets–Mean Girls Regency-era novel. Georgiana Ellers, whose parents abandon her, moves to live in the English countryside with her aunt and uncle, where she expects her life to be boring. When she is befriended by the wealthy and enchanting Frances Campbell, she is pulled into an elite world full of wild parties brimming with forbidden pleasures. Carter’s performance is delightful. She easily differentiates between each character, captures the myriad of emotions, and brings both them and the story to life. One can easily imagine the bacchanalian soirées and drunken escapades. Some pausing between sentences in the earlier chapters may put off listeners, but the delays decrease and turn into an aural illustration of how Georgiana’s dull life becomes more entertaining and exciting. VERDICT Carter provides an exquisite narration of this far-from-fluffy historical romance that is perfect for listeners who like their Regency tales filled with guilty pleasures instead of lots of sense and sensibility.—Amanda L. S. Murphy

Eddings, Mazey. A Brush with Love. Macmillan Audio. Mar. 2022. 10:30 hrs. ISBN 9781250842701. $26.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

In this debut, fourth-year dental student Harper is stressed about everything—she’s studying hard to get into oral surgery residency and her anxiety isn’t helping. When she crashes into first-year hunk Dan in the stairway, she doesn’t want to fall in love. Harper’s life plan doesn’t include romance, and she has no time for daydreaming or dates. Dan dreams of finance instead of teeth—he’s only in school because of his mother’s wish to keep the dentistry office in the family. Told through alternating viewpoints, their on-and-off-again romance is only rekindled satisfactorily when both adults have tackled their own mental health problems head-on. Narrators Emily Lawrence and Vikas Adam voice their characters with warmth and sincerity. Harper’s nervousness and pain is perfectly rendered by Lawrence, and Adam’s narration of the sexy lovemaking scene will make hearts pound. The novel begins with mental health trigger warnings from the author. VERDICT Recommend to listeners who want slow-burn contemporary romance with an authentic anxious main character.—Sarah Hill

Elliot, Amanda. Sadie on a Plate. Penguin Random House Audio. Mar. 2022. 10:38 hrs. ISBN 9780593552186. $20. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

After losing her job in a trendy Seattle restaurant, Sadie competes on the popular cooking show Chef Supreme. On the flight to New York, she hits it off with Luke, the handsome man seated next to her. She tells him that she won’t be able to see him again for at least six weeks because of the show. When filming is about to begin, however, Luke shows up there, too. Sparks fly as the two fight to keep their attraction a secret and at bay. Emily Lawrence presents a fun—and believable—narration that shows off her exquisite talents. Listeners can imagine themselves as witnesses of Sadie’s reality TV, behind-the-scenes experiences. Lawrence gives characters voices that reflect their personalities, bringing them to life and further pulling and engaging the listener into the tale. Her performance captures both the story’s lighthearted humor and the cooking competition’s fast-paced intensity. VERDICT Listeners who enjoy their audiobook romance full of food and fun will find a winner in Elliot’s debut.—Amanda L. S. Murphy

Hazelwood, Ali. Below Zero. Penguin Random House Audio. (The STEMinist, Bk. 3). Apr. 2022. 3:43 hrs. ISBN 9780593584675. $9. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

Savannah Peachwood narrates the last book of Hazelwood’s “The STEMinist” novella trilogy. Set in the Arctic in February, NASA aerospace engineer Hannah is injured and stuck in subzero temperatures in the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago. When Ian, a fellow NASA engineer and the same person who denied her project’s funding, comes to her rescue, she can’t help but wonder why. Despite their recent professional clashing, Hannah and Ian’s attraction to each another has only grown more heated. Hannah’s tough exterior, and the vulnerability hidden beneath it, clearly comes through this narration. Her portrayal of Ian captures both his shy uncertainty during the couple’s first meeting years earlier and his confidence in his professional capabilities. Her even pacing keeps the story moving. Though the scenes between Hannah and her two best friends, the protagonists of the previous novellas in this series, are few, the trio’s close relationship shines through the narration. VERDICT Listeners who enjoy Hazelwood’s other works will enjoy the aural treat Peachwood serves.—Amanda L. S. Murphy

Hazelwood, Ali. Stuck with You. Penguin Random House Audio. (The STEMinist, Bk. 2). Mar. 2022. 3:22 hrs. ISBN 9780593584651. $9. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

The second book in Hazelwood’s “The STEMinist” novella series about three best friends working in STEM fields focuses on Sadie, a civil engineer. After a perfect evening, Sadie’s devastated to discover that the hot engineer she spent time with has betrayed her trust. Erik, not realizing that his well-known firm got the contract Sadie had been vying for, just wants to apologize for whatever it was that made Sadie shun him. When the power goes out and they are stuck together in an elevator, sparks fly. With her expressive delivery, narrator Meg Sylvan’s performance gives the story more depth. She captures Sadie’s myriad of emotions. With a believable male voice and a slight accent, as described in the text, Sylvan adds to the listening experience. Additionally, secondary characters have unique voices, making conversations easy to follow. Quick pacing keeps listeners engaged as the two work through their miscommunications. VERDICT Great for listeners who enjoy their contemporary romance audiobooks on the shorter side.— Amanda L. S. Murphy

Hazelwood, Ali. Under One Roof. Penguin Random House Audio. (The STEMinist, Bk. 1). Feb. 2022. 3:38 hrs. ISBN 9780593584637. $9. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

Hazelwood (Love Hypothesis) certainly knows how to pack a punch. In the first of the three-part “STEMinist” novella series, available first in audio, narrator Emma Wilder introduces listeners to Mara, an environmental engineer. Mara has recently inherited a house, and Liam, a big-oil company lawyer, is the co-owner. With no plans to sell and no alternatives in sight, Mara decides to make the best of the situation and move in with him. From enemies to roommates to friends to lovers, the romance begins in the present, jumps back to six months earlier, then slowly heads toward the present day again. Because of this, the pacing can feel rushed or choppy at times, making the chemistry and a steamy sex scene either a hit or miss for listeners. The wonderfully talented Wilder has an impressive vocal range. With the bright high-pitched Mara, some listeners may be surprised to learn that Liam’s deep and sexy voice is not only swoon-worthy but also performed by Wilder. VERDICT A quick and easy listen with representation of women in STEM throughout the series.—Emily Pykare

Heron, Farah. Kamila Knows Best. Hachette Audio. Mar. 2022. 10:51 hrs. ISBN 9781549166587. $25.98. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

In this sparkling tribute to Jane Austen’s Emma and Bollywood, Kamila’s life is perfectly full of all the things she loves; her perfectly themed and catered Bollywood movie nights, her Instagram famous dog Darcy, serving on the Puppy Prom fundraising committee, her job, and playing matchmaker for her friends and family. Kamila truly seems to have it all, even if her family’s long-term friend Rohan Nasser teases her about her frivolity. Despite his teasing Kamila knows Rohan is a rock she can always lean on, but lately her rock has been giving Kamila some distracting butterflies and their “harmless” flirting starts to feel a bit more serious. Narrator Soneela Nankani brings to life Kamila, Rohan, and the large cast of Kamila’s Toronto-based friends and family, giving each character a distinctive voice, especially posh Kamila, who learns to be vulnerable and to ask for help while falling in love with her best friend. VERDICT Heron (Accidentally Engaged) captures the heart of what makes a rom-com shine. A true delight.—Elizabeth Gabriel

Holton, India. The League of Gentlewomen Witches. Penguin Random House Audio. (Dangerous Damsels, Bk. 2). Mar. 2022. 10:31 hrs. ISBN 9780593558645. $20. HISTORICAL ROMANCE

Miss Charlotte Pettifer is skilled in the subtle art of witchcraft, a word that is not to be spoken aloud in polite society. She and a small group of women use magic to tidy up the world, very much unlike their less reputable counterparts, the Wisteria Society. When an amulet goes missing, Charlotte teams up with pirate Alex O’Riley, a rogue, to keep the amulet out of dangerous hands. They find not only the amulet but love as well. This historical romance with a large dose of wit is a hilarious romp through proper English society. Narrator Elizabeth Knowelden handles the romantic sparring between the protagonists as well as the novel’s more upright characters with ease. VERDICT This second installment in the “Dangerous Damsels” series from Holton (The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels) can also be read as a stand-alone and will appeal to fans of Jane Austen who aren’t afraid to also poke fun at her writing. A perfect addition to any romance collection.—Elyssa Everling

Hubscher, Libby. If You Ask Me. Penguin Random House Audio. Mar. 2022. 10:25 hrs. ISBN 9780593554203. $20. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

The picture of perfection, Violet Covington has a beautiful home, a husband, and a great career as the anonymous author of the advice column “Dear Sweetie.” Then she walks in on her husband, Sam, in flagrante delicto with their neighbor. As Violet comes to terms with the downfall of her marriage, her advice column takes on a new tone that’s anything but sweet. While on the brink of self-destruction, Violet meets a smokin’ hot and sweet firefighter named Dez and eventually finds herself on a path to self-discovery. With a light and feathery Southern accent, the talented narrator, Shannon McManus, captures Violet’s authentic transition between sweet and sassy, while simultaneously showcasing her depth and vulnerability. Even though it’s told from Violet’s POV, as a narrator, she is reticent. But the advice column and readers’ letters provide a lot of insight. Hubscher’s (Meet Me in Paradise) latest is more than a light rom-com; it covers difficult issues too and gives trigger warnings in the prologue. VERDICT An enjoyable easy-paced listen and a great addition to any library wanting to bolster its women’s fiction collection.—Emily Pykare

Jackson, Kosoko. I’m So (Not) Over You. Penguin Random House Audio. Feb. 2022. 10:54 hrs. ISBN 9780593551950. $20. M/M ROMANCE

Months after the breakup with his boyfriend, Kian Andrews receives a text message from Hudson Rivers, the son of affluent distillery owners. He wants to apologize to Kian for his actions—and ask Kian to pretend to be his boyfriend in order to appease his parents. It starts as one dinner, but Kian soon finds himself with Hudson at a family wedding weekend in Georgia. Feelings emerge and lines get blurred, but what does this mean for Kian and Hudson? Narrator Timothy Bell Reese adds dimension to the novel, deftly switching between the New England and Southern accents of the two characters. The story tackles class, race, and gender issues in a way that does not feel heavy-handed, but rather a natural part of the story, and there are plenty of fun pop culture references. VERDICT This Black queer romance from Jackson (Yesterday Is History) is a fun and sexy read full of sweet moments that would be a perfect addition for any library looking to add m/m romance.—Elyssa Everling

Kate, Lauren. By Any Other Name. Penguin Random House Audio. Mar. 2022. 7:31 hrs. ISBN 9780525590989. $17.50. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

Kate’s (Fallen) latest enemies-to-lovers romance reads more like a friends-to-lovers, but the ending will leave listeners swooning. Lanie Bloom has just landed the promotion of her dreams as an editorial director at Peony Press. But that promotion comes with a sizable caveat: get a bestselling manuscript from the notoriously elusive romance author Noa Calloway, who is already four months past the manuscript’s deadline. Noa is suffering from a crippling case of writer’s block and, of course, only communicates via email. Lanie and Noa have been email pen pals for seven years, but finally meeting face-to-face turns their worlds upside down. Narrator Brittany Pressley gives a delightful performance in a sweet and optimistic style, which makes Lanie’s voice feel like that of a dear friend. She leans on tender tones that make sorrow palpable when Noa and Lanie talk about their mothers. Overall, this is an enjoyable mix of friendship, love, redefining expectations, and lots of healthy character growth. VERDICT A quick read with a very slow-burn romance, this fun and light listen will do well for fans of contemporary romance.—Emily Pykare

Lowell, Joanna. The Runaway Duchess. Penguin Random House Audio. (Duke Undone, Bk. 2). Jan. 2022. 11:10 hrs. ISBN 9780593456668. $22.50. HISTORICAL ROMANCE

In this second volume of Lowell’s “Duke Undone” Victorian romance series, self-proclaimed “expert snob” Lavinia Yardley is accustomed to getting what she wants. When misfortune forces her to marry an abominable, aged duke, what she wants is to be anywhere or anyone else. That opportunity presents itself when a charming botanist, Neal Traymayne, mistakes her for a colleague, whom he knows only through correspondence, and invites her to accompany him to Cornwall. Lavinia seizes her chance for escape and adventure. While many romance writers focus on creating an immersive setting, Lowell’s focus is on character development, yielding an authentic and engaging lineup. It is no surprise that narrator Mary Jane Wells has a score of acting credits to her name, as she expertly breathes life into each character. Her silvery voice ranges from singsong to smoky as needed. VERDICT This audio will appeal to listeners who enjoy the classic trope of love in disguise, with an intelligent and intriguing twist; recommended for fans of Elizabeth Everett, Minerva Spencer, and Evie Dunmore.—Lauren Hackert

Matthews, Mimi. The Siren of Sussex. Penguin Random House Audio. (Belles of London, Bk. 1). Jan. 2022. 13:46 hrs. ISBN 9780593458051. $22.50. HISTORICAL ROMANCE

Evelyn Maltravers, confirmed bluestocking and excellent horsewoman, leaves her Sussex home for London in order to create a better future for her younger sisters. Without many prospects in society, Evelyn plans to use her riding skills and fashion sense to capture a potential husband’s attention as she rides through Hyde Park’s Rotten Row, much like the courtesans known as the Pretty Horsebreakers. Pursuing her plan, Evelyn searches for someone to make her exquisite new riding habits and finds Ahmad Malik, a half-Indian tailor who also needs a leg up in society to secure his shop and his sister’s future. Striking a deal to help each other, Evelyn and Ahmad must balance their growing feelings while trying to secure their futures in a society that would struggle to accept their relationship. VERDICT Vidish Athavale and Lydia Hanman bring Victorian London to life with their narration, capturing both the lush details in Ahmad’s fashion creations and Evelyn’s love for her stallion and search for a partner worthy of her. A must-have for library collections, this romance from Matthews (John Eyre) is great for those looking for stories with exquisite historical details and chaste heat.—Elizabeth Gabriel

Painter, Lynn. Mr. Wrong Number. Penguin Random House Audio. Mar. 2022. 8:27 hrs. ISBN 9780593552148. $20. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

After Olivia Marshall inadvertently torches both her apartment and her life during a self-care “burn your cheating ex’s mementos” garbage can fire that gets out of control, she’s forced to move in with her brother and his best friend, the incredibly handsome, rich, and irritating Colin Beck. Colin sees her only as her brother’s annoying little sister, a point he makes abundantly clear every time they interact. Thankfully a flirty text from a person Olivia only knows as Mr. Wrong Number helps keep her in good spirits as she navigates a new job, her new living situation, and the tension between her and Colin. Unbeknown to Olivia, Colin has discovered she is the Miss Misdial he’s been sexting all these weeks, and now he has to decide what’s next. VERDICT Narrators Callie Dalton and Andrew Eiden are familiar rom-com voices, bringing Olivia and Colin to life through their dialogue and texts, although some listeners might find the jokes and cat fishing a bit mean spirited. The latest from Painter (Better Than the Movies) is a fine choice for libraries where rom-com audiobooks circulate well.—Elizabeth Gabriel

Pembrooke, Kate. Say You’ll Be My Lady. Hachette Audio. (Unconventional Ladies of Mayfair, Bk. 2). Feb. 2022. 9:55 hrs. ISBN 9781549166228. $25.98. HISTORICAL ROMANCE

In this second installment of Pembrooke’s “Unconventional Ladies of Mayfair” series, narrators Jeanette Illidge and Joe Knezevich provide a lovely dual narration of this friends-to-lovers historical romance. Lady Serena Wynter has decided that her friend the starchy former boxer Charles Townshend is just who she’d like in her bed. While Serena is comfortable flouting societal conventions while pursuing various charitable passions with the women of the Wednesday Afternoon Social Club, Charles feels he must protect Serena from the scandal she’s flirting with, even if that means missing out on an affair with the woman he’s always desired. Further, both Serena’s and Charles’s pasts and secrets prove to be stumbling blocks to Serena’s search for passion and Charles’s desire for marriage. Listeners who are new to the series might find they are missing some of the initial spark between the main characters, who were introduced in book one. A few too many plot points including the work of the Social Club, an orphan boy, and the secret held by Charles muddle the romance arc. VERDICT Recommended only where the series circulates well.— Elizabeth Gabriel

Rodale, Maya. A Groom of One’s Own. HarperAudio. (Writing Girls, Bk. 1). Feb. 2022. 10:06 hrs. ISBN 9780063162150. $26.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE

Launching the “Writing Girls” series, and originally published in 2010, this audio edition gives listeners a place to jump into some of popular romance author Rodale’s (An Heiress To Remember) earlier work. After being jilted at the altar, Sophie Harlow swore off matrimony. Her misfortune continues, however, when the only employment she can find is as a wedding columnist, surrounded by the society ceremonies she dreads. When a dashing stranger saves her from a close call with a carriage, Sophie’s carefully guarded heart is captured. Complications arise, however, when this stranger turns out to be the groom in the next wedding she is covering! Can they eschew propriety for passion or will the threat of scandal thwart their chance for love? The narrative is rounded out by droll banter and delightful gossip from a fleet of secondary characters whose love stories are explored in subsequent volumes. Narrator Carolyn Morris’s sultry voice is, at times, incongruous with the youthful exuberance of the protagonists, but well matched to the steamy love scenes. VERDICT This audio will appeal to readers seeking a self-sufficient yet sensual heroine, torn between her head and her heart; recommended for fans of Sarah MacLean and Julia Quinn.—Lauren Hackert

Sharma, Nisha. Dating Dr. Dil. HarperAudio. (If Shakespeare Was an Auntie, Bk. 1). Mar. 2022. 10:49 hrs. ISBN 9780063001121. $26.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

Kareena Mann believes it’s possible to have a marriage just like her parents had—based on love—not arranged by her family. Cardiologist Prem Verma, host of the South Asian television station’s Dr. Dil Show, doesn’t believe love truly exists. After a meeting gone awry and a viral video the next day, it seems the two are more combustible than compatible. Prem needs funding for the community health center he wants to open. Kareena needs a fiancé so she can buy her childhood home. Her marriage-minded aunties’ matchmaking attempts might be the solution to their problems. If only they agreed on love. Experienced narrators Soneela Nankani and Vikas Adam once again perform a contemporary romance audiobook together. Both are talented with accents and capture the characters’ personalities. Infusing her performance with a whiny, demanding note, Nankani aptly portrays Kareena’s less desirable traits as well as her growth. Adam easily becomes Prem, but his female voices are a bit weak. Both use good pacing and emotion, which showcases Kareena and Prem’s chemistry. VERDICT An uneven production may deter listeners, but fans of Sharma’s popular Desi romances will enjoy.—Amanda L. S. Murphy

Spencer, Kate. In a New York Minute. Hachette Audio. Mar. 2022. 9:56 hrs. ISBN 9781549166549. $25.98. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

How can a bad day get worse? After she loses her job, Franny is further humiliated when her dress gets caught in the subway door and exposes her backside to the world. A mysterious businessman in a suit insists she take his jacket, a gesture that goes viral, complete with a hashtag. As Franny keeps crossing paths with Hayes (the chivalrous stranger) all over New York City, a friendship begins and an attraction grows. A jaunty tune welcomes listeners to the audio version of Spencer’s debut novel, and narrators Amanda Dolan and Neil Hellegers are entertaining throughout the characters’ misadventures. Dolan personifies Franny’s exuberant demeanor, instilling her performance with Franny’s peppy nature. Hellegers captures Hayes’s personality, imbuing his performance with the haughty, precise tone that masks his introverted tendencies. Both narrators give unique voices to the secondary characters, notably Hayes’s close friend, his cousin, and Franny’s two best friends. Hellegers’s weaker portrayal of some of the female characters, however, might distract some discerning listeners from the story. VERDICT Listeners who like some humor in their contemporary romances will enjoy.—Amanda L. S. Murphy

Sullivan, Emily. The Rebel and the Rake. Hachette Audio. (League of Scoundrels, Bk. 2). Dec. 2021. 10:11 hrs. ISBN 9781549110733. $24.98. HISTORICAL ROMANCE

The second in Sullivan’s late-Victorian “League of Scoundrels” series is a sure hit. Sylvia Sparrow is a lady’s companion to Mrs. Crawford, helping to transcribe her memoirs in a Scottish castle owned by Mr. Wardale, a wealthy man not of the gentry. While there, she meets Rafe Davies, a rake of the highest order and a spy for the Crown. Sylvia has a secret past that she will do anything to hide, including obeying an anonymous blackmailer who wants her to steal documents owned by Mr. Wardale. Unfortunately, Wardale has invited Rafe to the castle to find the blackmailer. Neither Sylvia nor Rafe knows who the other really is but they develop a deep attraction, forcing Sylvia to decide whether she can trust Rafe enough to take a chance on love. Narrator Victoria Aston is most lively. She sets a brisk pace and performs a variety of amusing voices to easily identify each character. VERDICT Listeners will be entranced by the excellent writing and superb narration of this historical romance.—B. Allison Gray

Sussman, Elissa. Funny You Should Ask. Penguin Random House Audio. Apr. 2022. 7:52 hrs. ISBN 9780593505137. $17.50. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

Sussman’s adult debut presents Chani Horowitz, who writes celebrity puff pieces and blogs about her personal life. Chani is most remembered online for a blog post about her whirlwind weekend with Hollywood hunk Gabe Parker; everyone still wonders what really happened between them. Ten years later, newly divorced Chani is commissioned to interview Gabe. She’s never been able to shake her feelings for him, so she hesitantly accepts the job, hoping to find out if there’s something more. The story bounces back and forth in time, interspersed with article clippings sharing gossip about the protagonists. Listeners will appreciate this modern look at celebrity life under the public eye, with easy-to-love characters who have ordinary flaws. Narrator Kristen Sieh delivers incredible wit and chemistry between Chani and Gabe, which keeps the story upbeat. VERDICT Any suckers for second-chance romances will enjoy.—Lacey Webster

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