I am, usually through every fault of my own, a person who reads series out of order. I’ve started in the middle of series by Elizabeth Peters, Marissa Meyer, Lemony Snicket, and JD Robb (all on audio, mind you), and I’ve lived to tell the tale. So, far be it from me to judge, but I do pay attention to “Book 1” reviews — that is to say, a review of the first audiobook in a new romance series. A Book 1 review gives you, the discerning listener (because you can see that I’m a hopeless cause) the chance to start from the beginning and enjoy an ongoing romance experience that makes chronological, logical sense. And, yay, here are four new ones! Three contemporaries and a historical by mostly big-name authors and well known narrators, so you can’t go wrong here. I hope you love your listening, in whatever order you choose.
THE START OF SOMETHING GOOD: Stay, Book 1
by Jennifer Probst, read by Sebastian York, Madeleine Maby
Jennifer Probst’s books work so well as a dual narration — great dialogue, lots of feels, and enough drama to keep you engaged ’til the very end. Meet Special Forces operative Ethan Bishop as he heads home to bucolic Gardiner, New York, and falls for PR executive-turned-babysitter Mia Thrush. Did I mention the lovable chicken?
FEARLESS: Rosewood Bay, Book 1
by Carly Phillips, read by Angela Dawe
Angela Dawe is a great series narrator, and you’ll understand why when you hear her lower voice and her fluid accomplishment with male and female voices. This is a heavier contemporary with a female character reeling from a childhood in the foster system who gets picked up by the side of the road (yes, literally) by mechanic Kane Harmon, whom she knew from childhood. The two of them get the chance to put together a new life as their romance progresses.
THE LAST KING: The Kings, Book 1
by Katee Robert, read by Brooke Hayden
Time to kick up the heat with narrator Brooke Hayden in this sexy Texas romance. This is what I would categorize as a business saga romance — family business goes to the son, Beckett King, and his relatives are out for corporate blood. His priorities? Consolidate power and connect with his assistant, Samara, after a satisfying encounter.
WICKED AND THE WALLFLOWER: The Bareknuckle Bastards, Book 1
by Sarah MacLean, read by Justine Eyre
When you hear Justine Eyre, you’re struck by her charming mix of proper society rules and heartfelt emotion. I’m sure how she does it, but it’s just right. Throw in characters from every walk of life in nineteenth-century London, and you have this intriguing series opener. In WICKED AND THE WALLFLOWER, Lady Felicity Faircloth literally makes a deal with Devil (a crime kingpin) when her ill-advised boast about being betrothed to a Duke lands her in serious society peril. The results of her nefarious bargain make for an excellent Brit-storical romance.