All in for Love | Romance Audio Stars

Spanning werewolves and vampires to sizzling sports stars, these alluring audio romances are sure to satisfy.

Bailey, Tessa. Fangirl Down. HarperAudio. (Big Shots, Bk. 1). Feb. 2024. 11:29 hrs. ISBN 9780063308398. $23.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

Wells Whitaker might be “golf’s resident bad boy,” but his number one fan, Josephine Doyle, knows that there’s a charitable Prince Charming under that facade—though she might not realize just how far under. Armed with her fangirl arsenal of enthusiasm, persistence, and snacks, Josephine takes the reins as Wells’s caddy, determined to see him restored to his former golfing glory and garner some much-needed funds for her family’s pro shop in the bargain. It doesn’t take long, however, for things to start heating up both on and off the course. Bailey (Wreck the Halls) presents the first installment in her “Big Shots” sports romance series. With a playful sunshine-meets-surly plot and a heat level that sizzles, this engaging and upbeat story is sure to delight. Narrator Callie Dalton’s expressive performance of this heartwarming tale is a hole-in-one. From sweet to sexy, she captures every alluring moment. VERDICT This audio will appeal to listeners seeking a steamy, sporty rom-com about tough choices and second chances. Recommended for fans of Elle Kennedy, Amy Lea, and Chloe Liese.—Lauren Hackert

Hall, Alexis. Glitterland. Dreamscape Media. (Spires, Bk. 1). Jan. 2024. 9:05 hrs. ISBN 9781666653717. $17.99. LGBTQIA+ ROMANCE

An early work by Hall makes its audio debut. Ash is a posh former wunderkind whose struggles with self-harm left him hospitalized. A chance hookup at a stag party, working-class Essex boy Darian is loud, brash, and disarmingly sweet. Ash thinks it’s a one-off until Darian crashes his next book signing, and Ash can’t help but invite him into his life. Ash realizes that Darian is awakening feelings he thought were long dead: trust, hope, and vulnerability. But he’s so used to things going wrong that love seems unattainable. Will he sabotage this relationship, or can he keep his world lit with Darian’s glitter? The 2013 book by Hall contains their hallmarks, including depictions of mental illness, deepening characterization through sex scenes, and making tired tropes feel new. Some early-writer foibles are present, including flowery similes, but Nicholas Boulton’s expert narration molds it into a cohesive whole. Boulton’s skillfully rendered Essex accent is tailor-made for readers put off by the transliterated accent in the written work. Additional content, including an expanded conclusion, helps round out the narrative. VERDICT A perfect narrator and a deeply felt romance make this a definitive version of a Hall favorite.—Katherine Sleyko

Hazelwood, Ali. Bride. Books on Tape. Feb. 2024. 12:48 hrs. ISBN 9780593825556. $95. PARANORMAL ROMANCE

Narrators Thérèse Plummer and Will Damron perform a love story starring two very different beings. Vampyres, Werewolves, and Humans have long been at odds, each seeing the others as enemies. When Misery, the daughter of the Vampyre Southwest council leader, agrees to marry Lowe, the Alpha of the regional Weres, they hope to maintain the peace; however, Misery has another, more personal motive for the arrangement. She’s looking for her best friend, the only person she’s ever cared about—and Misery suspects she may be lost in Were territory. The two foes reluctantly grow closer as other forces try to disrupt the tenuous treaty. Each chapter begins with short snippets told from Lowe’s third-person point of view, which are expertly performed by Damron, who imbues the few lines with Lowe’s intensity. Plummer, who narrates the majority of the story from Misery’s first-person point of view, is expressive as she captures not only Misery’s voice but also those of the other characters. VERDICT A unique take on the star-crossed lovers trope. Listeners who enjoy fun and funny paranormal romances, such as those by Molly Harper, will be delighted with this production.—Amanda L. S. Murphy

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