Caffeinated Confessions: Audio Narrators

May 31st, 2017 Kimberly Feature 45 Comments

31st May

It’s been a while since I had a Caffeinated Confession post where I share. Today I am talking Audiobook narrators and sharing some of my favorites. Grab a cup of your favorite caffeinated beverage and chat with me about what makes a great narrator and who you recommend.

Caffeinated Confessions


The pairing of a good book and narrator is similar to matching a fine wine with the perfect meal. A narrator can enhance the reader’s experience or hamper it. Pairings like Will Patton and Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes series is a perfect example. It was brilliant. Patton’s voice became the main character. His pacing and tone added an additional layer of suspense to the tale.  Other examples would be Ilona Andrews with Renee Rudman. I honestly cannot imagine one without the other.

I will be the first to admit I preferred male narrators.  I often find female narrators tend to create gruff sounding male voices or the dreaded Barbie type females.  However, the more I listen and try new narrators I have discovered not all female narrators are like that. I was delighted to find female narrators who can manage both male and female seamlessly. Like Nicole Pool and Karen White.


…a few of my favorite narrators

Male Narrators

Robert Petkoff – Before the Fall, Immortals After Dark series, The Bone Tree

Petkoff is amazing from his accents to unique voices.

Wil Wheaton– Ready Player One, Locked In, Boneshaker

Wil Wheaton becomes the characters in the books he narrates.

Will Patton – Mr. Mercedes, Raven Boys, Primal Fear

I love Will Patton’s voice and would listen to him read the phone book.

Sebastian York–  Billionaire Builder’s series, Lauren Blakley novels and more.

York kills me with his male voices and when he does a female voice you’d never know it was a male narrating.

Female Narrators

Nicole Poole – Seven Series, Mageri Series, Crossbreeds series, Change of Heart, Going Cowboy Deep

I love Nicole’s tone and her ability to maintain the same voice for characters throughout a series.

Renee Rudman– Kate Daniels series, anything Ilona Andrews, Trading Christmas, Wizard

I adore Renee although I’ve only listened to her narrate Ilona Andrews books. Her voice is clear, and the voices she creates for some of Andrews characters…priceless.

Alexandra Harris–  The Other series by Anne Bishop, Virginia Wolf

While admittedly I have only listened to Harris narrate the Others series, she has the perfect pace and gives both males, females, and others unique, identifiable voices.

Allison McLemore- White Trash Zombie series

I love McLemore’s voices. She enhanced the characters snark and her pacing is perfect.

Hollie Jackson – Witchless in Seattle

Hollie is a pleasure to listen to and seamlessly handles both male and female voices.


I recommend listening to samples and finding narrators that work for you. If audiobooks are new to you, go to the library and pick a genre and author you love. Give it a try. It’s addictive!

What narrators do you love? 


June is Audiobook Month and all month long I will be sharing audiobooks. Look for a giveaway mid-month and recommendations for beach listens.

Audible JIAM BANNER 2017

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

45 Responses to “Caffeinated Confessions: Audio Narrators”

  1. Terri M., the Director

    I”m a huge fan of Jim Dale (he narrated Pushing Daisies). And when I decided to re-read The Night Circus in audio format, I was delighted to find he narrated that as well! He’s done a version of the Harry Potter series as well.

    I’m partial to Davina Porter for women. She narrates the Outlander series and does a bang up job.

  2. Lark

    I quite like Simon Vance (the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik; the Green Knowe children’s books by L. M. Boston) and Nick Podehl (The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss.) And Jim Dale, of course! Ian Carmichael did a very good job on the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, but then, I already had his voice in my head as Lord Peter, since he played him in the (older) BBC adaptations. I haven’t listened to very many female narrators yet, for some reason. To be honest, many of my favorite audiobooks are by Full Cast Audio (which has, sadly, gone out of business.) I love having a narrator and a slew of actors taking the characters’ voices.

  3. Mallory

    I struggle with audiobooks for some of the same reasons you mentioned – especially Barbie Voice Syndrom with a few of my recent romance listens. I’m still working through The Others and Kate Daniels series and now wondering if the audiobooks could be a good fit for me while working in the yard this Summer. Thank you for the recommendations!

  4. Shaunesay

    Narrators can make or break an audio for the sure! I love several of the male narrators you mentioned, and would add Simon Vance and Scott Brick, and Neil Gaiman reading his own work, I really enjoy it when an author is good at reading their own writing.

    For female I have not heard of any of those, so I’m excited to learn of some new ones! My favorites have been Davina Porter for the Outlander series, Barbara Rosenblatt for the Elizabeth Peter’s Amelia Peabody series, Kate Reading and Katherine Kellgren on the Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen.

    I love it when they can do different voices!

  5. Jackie

    I’d also like to mention Jennifer Ikeda. She does a great job in A Court of Thorns and Roses. Book Two I didn’t like so much. I had no idea what was going on and lost interest in the characters pretty much.

  6. Jackie

    I love Robert Petkoff in the Immortals After Dark!
    I fell in love with Phil Gigante and Natalie Ross in Karen Marie Monings Highlander series and Fever series.
    As I recall, listening to a male voice in The Harry Dresden Files was my first experience in audiobooks. James Marsters nailed it and to be honest, I prefer the husky man voice.
    The lady who narrated Nos4a2, Kate Mulgrew I believe, was pretty dang good as well,
    Anyway, this narrator thing is pretty exciting.

  7. Ardis

    I loved Steve West’s narration of An Ember In the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. He has a smooth British accent that is oh so charming!

  8. Megan Riverina Romantics

    Agree on Sebastian York, Nicole Poole and Robert Petkoff. I also like Tavia Gilbert and Amanda Ronconi. Oh and the guy that does Karen Marie Moning’s books. His name is slipping my mind ATM.

  9. Trish

    I love audiobooks, and totally agree that Will Wheaton is fabulous to listen to. I also love Caroline Lee who narrated all the Liane Moriarty books, and of course Stephen Fry’s epic narration of Harry Potter. I think I’ve listened to more women narrators but I genuinely don’t have a preference, as long as they nail the feel of the book. Recently I’ve listened to a few full cast audiobooks too, and they are fab.

  10. Karen

    I’m going to bookmark this post because I’m trying to get into audio books. I get so distracted though lol

    I’ve been practicing with shorter podcasts and I’m hoping to test myself out with novellas soon.

    Baby steps hehe

    For What It’s Worth

  11. Cyn

    I still only really listen to autobiographies so I enjoy it when the author reads their story. But I did remember listen to a book one time because Tom Hiddlestone was narrating and he did a fantastic job haha. Thanks for the recommendations!

  12. Danielle

    Thank you for this! I am so new to audio, but it has been a life saver with work and my vertigo. This is a book mark worthy post for me 😉

  13. Debbie Haupt

    I love the extra oomph a narrator can add to a book with his/her voice acting abilities
    I also love Sebastian York, he is my favorite overall narrator
    I also love JR Ward’s narrators Jim Frangione for the BDB series and Alexander Cendese for her Bourbon Kings novels
    I also like Catherine Gayle’s Thunderbird series narrator Michael Pauley
    And I love getting to know a narrator from the early times and see how they mature like Angel Clark who narrates for Donna Augustine and Catherine Gayle’s Portland Storm series. I love how she’s coming into her own. I in fact am interviewing her about this very thing on Monday..
    Great post Kim!!

  14. The Bibliophile Babe

    I am ridiculously picky when it comes to narrators. Sebastian York is so, so good! I also loved Phil Gigante in the Fever books, and Zachary Webber is good, too.
    As for female narrators, I’ve enjoyed Renee Raudman, Tavia Gilbert, Shayna Thibodeaux, and Lorelei King,

  15. Adriana

    I’m getting back into listening to more audiobooks. I haven’t listented to that many to give recommendations but I did like Cassandra Campbell, Cynthia Bishop with a cast family of narrators, and Nicola Barber.

  16. Nise'

    I agree with many of these favorites. I am always on the look out for new to me narrators.

  17. Katherine

    I haven’t listened to many male narrators though I really want to listen to Sebastian York. I’ve heard so many raves about him I loved Wil Wheaton’s narration of Ready Player One. I don’t think I would have liked it nearly as much without his reading of it. I think my favorite female narrator is Imogen Church. I think I would listen to her read take out menus for an hour! I also typically like Cassandra Campbell as well. Now I need to go try some of the ones you mention!

  18. Nix

    I LOVE Renee Raudman. Definitely the best I’ve found.

    Honestly, narrators can make or break a book for me. I need a narrator that can take me on a journey without me ever thinking “that’s a terrible accent” or “this is putting me to sleep”.

  19. Melissa (Books and Things)

    I’d have to add Lorelei King and Luke Daniels to the list (Wil Wheaton and Zachary Quinto also come to mind, but I can’t say if it is also because I am an admitted trekkie). I know I’d add more, but those are 2 that stick with me most often that you haven’t listed. You are so right. A good narrator or a bad one can make or break an audiobook.

  20. Heidi

    I have been listening to audiobooks like crazy. I have a list of favorite narrators. I adore Luke Daniels. You really really must listen to the Iron Druid Chronicles he is fantastic. I also love Will Patton like you. Lorelei King is another favorite she does Charley Davidson. I also like Graham Holter he narrates the Alpha and Omega series. I need to listen to something narrated by Will Wheaton. I adore Will Wheaton!

  21. Geybie's Book Blog

    Thank you for the recommendations, Kim. So informative for us, audiobook newbies. You know I’m planning on trying audiobooks. The reason I haven’t tried any yet is because I was afraid I wasn’t gonna enjoy it. I tried one last year and couldn’t connect with it so I gave up. I’m gonna try one of the narrators in your list and Complicated by KA.

  22. Angie

    Because I read a lot of romance, I really like Jill Redfield. That woman sounds like she could man a 900 # all by herself.

    I agree with Alexandra Harris. I didn’t like her at first, but she really grew on me, and now I can’t even read The Others series. I always have to listen if I want a re-read!

    Great post.

  23. Kristin (Book Sniffers Anonymous)

    I personally enjoy when a book is written in male and female POV’s and they have a male and female narrator. I do agree with your assessment though. Male narrators do a better job in getting the different voices down where the females all kind of sound the same or just plain silly sometimes.

  24. Jonetta (Ejaygirl)

    You’ve named most of my favorite male narrators (FYI, Petkoff narrates all of Michael Koryta’s books) but will add David Chandler who narrates most of the Cork O’Connor series by William Kent Krueger.

    I also love January LaVoy as a female narrator. She’s SO good! And of course Renée Raudman who just IS Kate Daniels (series by Ilona Andrews).

  25. Tanya

    I haven’t listened to many male narrated books, which seems weird to me. Allison McLemore, Renee Raudman, Amanda Ronconi, Cris Dukehart and Angela Dawe are all favorites of mine.

  26. Melanie Simmons

    Petkoff is a favorite narrator of mine too. There are so many great narrators out there. My list is too long. I’ve listened to most of the narrators you listed and I agree that they are great. I do tend to listen to more female narrators, but that is only because they tend to get females to narrate so many PNR/UF series. I’m not partial to either gender. I just want a good one. 🙂

  27. Angela

    I’m like you and prefer male narrators. Of course, Sebastian York is at the top of my list. Lance Greenfield is one of my go-to narrators. When it comes to edgier narrators, I’ve really been enjoying Guy Locke.

    As for female narrators, I think the one that really draws my attention is Amanda Ronconi. Especially when it comes to her narrating Molly Harper’s books. I listened to one with another narrator, and it just didn’t work out for me.

  28. Evelina

    I don’t think I have actually listened to a narrated book! Maybe that one Gutenberg title back then. Usually I just use an app which uses the Google text to speech voice which is pretty natural, although it’s no human being. My boyfriend always laughs at me about this 😀

  29. Quinn's Book Nook

    I definitely have some favorite narrators. I love Susan Duerden for Regency Romance. I wish she narrated all the regency romance audiobooks.

    I also love Karen White who has done a lot of Jill Shalvis and Julie James. She expresses the humor very well.

    And, of course, Amanda Ronconi for all of Molly Harper’s books.

    I can’t resist Sebastian York, either.

  30. Tyler H. Jolley

    I really love Michael Kramer. He has done several Brandon Sanderson books. Sarah Koenig from This American Life/Serial posttests has an excellent reading voice as well. I’d love to hear her narrate a fiction novel.

  31. Stephanie

    I bet Wil Wheaton is an awesome narrator. I loved him in The Big Bang Theory and can easily see him as an awesome audio narrator.

    A few of my favorites are Davina Porter for the Outlander series. She does a decent job with the male voices but honestly can be a bit screech-y with Claire’s voice. I also really like Amy Rubinate. She does female voices quite well but she does tend to do gruff male voices. I don’t think they’re too gruff though.

    I listened to a self-pubbed ebook’s audio companion and the lead female character was supposed to be this smart self-assured 26 year old who ran who own business. Talked like Barbie and it was god awful so I know exactly what you mean!

  32. Nadene

    I still can’t imagine listening to an audiobook. I am easily distracted so I don;t think it would work for me.

  33. Ethan

    I agree 100% about Patton in the Mr. Mercedes series! I think another quality I look for in my narrators is sheer volume or their voice. I mostly listen in my car during my commute, so I need a voice that can withstand all the background noise of rush hour traffic. I’ve passed on several audiobooks simply because the narrator wasn’t loud enough.

  34. Cindy

    I don’t mind female narrators and I love how narrators do the different voices. I am listening to more audio books now and just started to listen while I run.

  35. Christine

    Davina Porter is AMAZING as the narrator of the Outlander novels — and those are practically marathons too! I’m also a big fan of Stephen Fry — he narrates the new Audible Sherlock Holmes collection as well as two of the Paddinton Bear chapter books and he’s part of a full cast dramatization of Winne the Pooh & The House at Pooh Corner — sooo good! I would LOVE to listen to his Harry Potter narrations but they’re only available in the U.K. (Unless I splurge and buy the actual discs from Book Depository!) Pretty much anything else he’s narrated is on my to-listen list 🙂

  36. Sophia Rose

    I have listened to Renee Raudman from your list and I agree that she’s got the right voice for the Ilona Andrews’ books. I’ve got Robert Petkoff on my list to try.

    I enjoy Tavia Gilbert for Angie Fox’s books and Luke Daniels’ for the Iron Druid Chronicles.

    And yes, the right or wrong narrator makes all the difference. I’ve had a few that were so distracting that they took me right out of the story, but I’ve run into more who make a story just come alive for me.

  37. blodeuedd

    I have no preference, as long as they do a good job then I can listen to a man or a woman. Sometimes the female voices do sound silly when a men do them, but eh.

    And some voices just makes me go arghhhhhhhh! No match there

  38. Melliane

    I should try more audio but it’s soooooooo long… always complicated for me. Only listened 2 books