This September, ring in fall with eight new romances on audio. All of them feature characters brave enough to try something new—an inspiring thought for all of us as the seasons change and summer’s lazy days slowly fade.
Ghostwriter Chandler Cohen dares to try a new relationship dynamic in BUSINESS OR PLEASURE by Rachel Lynn Solomon, read by Hathaway Lee. After attending a book signing for a book she ghostwrote and going unrecognized by the author, she has a one-night stand that leaves her cold. She hopes for a fresh start with her next ghostwriting assignment and discovers her new client is Hollywood character actor Finn—from her awkward one-night stand. Cohen uses a modern, professional-sounding voice that’s slightly husky to introduce listeners to this intriguing couple.
Stay in the entertainment industry with ALL THE RIGHT NOTES by Dominic Lim, read by Aaron J. Albano. Filipino American piano player Quito Cruz is powerless to refuse his father’s request to put together a hometown benefit concert … and to convince his high school crush turned Hollywood superstar Emmett to perform as well. Albano’s narration hits “all the right notes” with humor, desperation, and self-judgment mixed with excellent voices and a rapid-fire mix of English and Tagalog for Quito’s father.
Career challenges take center stage in THE WALL OF WINNIPEG AND ME by Mariana Zapata. Vanessa, performed by Emma Wilder in this duet narration, hides her resentment for her football star boss Aiden, even as she plots her resignation. The taciturn, brusque Aiden, narrated by Stephen Dexter, surprises Vanessa by countering her resignation with an offer of his own. Wilder gets the panoply of Vanessa’s complex feelings for Aiden as a boss and human being, while Dexter manages Aiden’s transformation from distant jerk to caring friend in incremental stages that seem realistic.
When things are too much to take, it’s time for a total change, just as El does in WILD THINGS by Laura Kay, read by Abigail Hardiman. After vowing to try “wild things,” El decides to move to a queer commune started by three friends. Hardiman knows how to make everyone at the commune come to life, including El during her year of changes. Hardiman’s voicing makes El’s frustration, anger, and boiling impatience evident for listeners so they, too, are ready to do something wild along with El.
Whether characters stay close to home or travel to far-flung galaxies, there’s always something new around the corner. Dual narration by Chris Brinkley and Elyse Dinh makes ROLE PLAYING by Cathy Yardley a winner on audio. With much encouragement from her college-bound son, reclusive 48-year-old Maggie reluctantly tries something new and meets people in real life. Disaster ensues—but it leads her to joining an online gaming group. She feels a strong connection with Aiden, the guild leader, and is shocked when she meets him in person and finds that connection in real life, too. Dinh presents Maggie as wry and slightly vulnerable while Brinkley excels at an aw shucks, likable reading with his uber deep voice and excellent pacing.
In CAPTURE THE SUN by Jessie Mihalik, the conclusion to the Starlight’s Shadow trilogy, narrator Frankie Corzo uses a slightly breathy, feminine voice to introduce intergalactic recovery specialist Lexi Bowen. A potential interstellar incident forces Lexi to work with her nemesis, teleporter Nilo Shoren. Corzo clearly indicates Lexi’s bitter memories of Nilo’s treachery and her doubts about their new mutual endeavor. Corzo's pacing helps listeners take in Mihalik’s world-building.
If you like the idea of space travel, what about trying time travel? In what feels like a delicious homage to 13 Going on 30, narrator Natalie Naudus reads WOKE UP LIKE THIS by Amy Lea. With a voice full of longing and awe, Naudus follows high school senior Charlotte Woo as she falls over and wakes up at age 30 in bed next to a high school rival. There’s so much to like about vintage retro, and Naudus’s ageless voices work on every level.
It seems perfect to end with the Earphones Award-winning CODENAME CHARMING by Lucy Parker, read by Anne-Marie Piazza. Working for a royal suits Petunia, until some trouble forces her into a fake relationship with bodyguard Matthias. Piazza shows that both Petunia and Matthias are flying by the seats of their pants in this funny romantic performance. Piazza’s detailed characterizations and careful pacing create some lovely crystalized moments that listeners can sink into, just like a giant pile of fall leaves. Whatever new adventures your fall brings, these audiobooks will make excellent companions on your journey.