Six of My Favorite Standalone Listens

August 17th, 2017 Kimberly Feature 48 Comments

17th Aug

Six Favorite Listens

While I only began listening to audiobooks at the end of 2015, I have listened to over 179 audiobooks.  I always share a top ten audio listens in December of each year, but for my blogoversary, I wanted to share six standalone favorites.  I did this because series like the Others by Anne Bishop, all of Ilona Andrew’s books, the entire White Trash Zombie series and more would dominate. I wanted to recommend audios even a newbie could try.   Grab an iced vanilla coffee and discover your next listen…

Six Standalone Audios I loved…

Six of My Favorite Standalone Listens
The Martian
by Andy Weir
Narrator: R.C. Bray
Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins
Genres: Science Fiction
Source: Purchase
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Narration: 5 cups

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive - and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills - and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit - he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

outofthisworld EPIC Audiobook 2015 FAV

The Martian audio was stellar and held me captive. Even non-science fiction fan will appreciate this page-turner. I laughed aloud, held my breath and wanted to go to Mars! You can read my thoughts on the audio here: The Martian

You can listen to a sample here: THE MARTIAN


Six of My Favorite Standalone Listens
The Garden of Small Beginnings
by Abbi Waxman
Narrator: Emily Rankin
Length: 9 hours and 51 minutes
Genres: Fiction
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Narration: 5 cups

Not since Good Grief has a book about a young widow been so poignant, funny, original, and utterly believable. A compelling debut novel about loss.
Give grief a chance . . .

Lilian Girvan has been a single mother for three years ever since her husband died in a car accident. One mental breakdown and some random suicidal thoughts later, she s just starting to get the hang of this widow thing. She can now get her two girls to school, show up to work, and watch TV like a pro. The only problem is she s becoming overwhelmed with being underwhelmed.

At least her textbook illustrating job has some perks like actually being called upon to draw whale genitalia. Oh, and there's that vegetable-gardening class her boss signed her up for. Apparently being the chosen illustrator for a series of boutique vegetable guides means getting your hands dirty, literally. Wallowing around in compost on a Saturday morning can t be much worse than wallowing around in pajamas and self-pity.

After recruiting her kids and insanely supportive sister to join her, Lilian shows up at the Los Angeles Botanical Garden feeling out of her element. But what she ll soon discover with the help of a patient instructor and a quirky group of gardeners is that into every life a little sun must shine, whether you want it to or not "

2017 fave Beach Read Humor well written

This is a story that will stay with you. While it shares loss and moving forward, it also took us to a magical summer with an odd cast of characters brought together through a gardening class. Read my thoughts here: The Garden of Small Beginnings


Six of My Favorite Standalone Listens
by Joe Hill
Narrator: Kate Mulgrew
Length: 19 hours and 41 minutes
Genres: Horror
Source: Purchase
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Narration: 5 cups

NOS4A2 is a spine-tingling novel of supernatural suspense from master of horror Joe Hill, the New York Times bestselling author of Heart-Shaped Box and Horns.

Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.

Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”

Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son.

2016 Fave Holiday HORRIFIC Monsters thriller

Turn on all the lights and enjoy. For those who don’t know Joe Hill is Stephen King’s son and in this chilling tale, we meet the villain Charles Talent Manx and he is one you won’t soon forget. Katie Mulgrew narrates and will send chills down your spine. Hill is a powerful writer with a twisted mind and I loved it. See my thoughts here: NOS4A2

Right Now You Can Grab the Kindle Edition for $1.99 Amazon: NOS4A2


Six of My Favorite Standalone Listens
Lock In
by John Scalzi
Series: Lock In #1
Narrator: Wil Wheaton
Length: 10 hrs
Genres: Science Fiction
Source: Audible
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Narration: 5 cups

A blazingly inventive near-future thriller from the best-selling, Hugo Award-winning John Scalzi. Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever, and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent - and nearly five million souls in the United States alone - the disease causes "Lock In": Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge. A quarter of a century later, in a world shaped by what’s now known as "Haden’s syndrome", rookie FBI agent Chris Shane is paired with veteran agent Leslie Vann. The two of them are assigned what appears to be a Haden-related murder at the Watergate Hotel, with a suspect who is an "integrator" - someone who can let the locked in borrow their bodies for a time. If the Integrator was carrying a Haden client, then naming the suspect for the murder becomes that much more complicated. But "complicated" doesn’t begin to describe it. As Shane and Vann began to unravel the threads of the murder, it becomes clear that the real mystery - and the real crime - is bigger than anyone could have imagined.

scifi well written SUSPENSE mystery

This was such a clever and addictive tale. The book is available in 2 formats one with a female narrator and my personal favorite narrated by Wil Wheaton. Our hero is rookie FBI agent Chris Shane. This character is quite clever but I will leave you to discover all of that. Suspense, science fiction to feed your inner nerd and a mystery made this a stellar listen. Read my gushings here: Lock In


Six of My Favorite Standalone Listens
A Man Called Ove
by Fredrik Backman
Narrator: George Newbern
Length: 9 hours and 9 minutes
Genres: Fiction
Source: Gifted
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Narration: 5 cups

Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon - the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him "the bitter neighbor from hell". But behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents' association to their very foundations.

2017 fave well written Small-town Humor

Gosh, I loved this book to pieces. I listened first and then bought the book. In addition, I have a signed copy. So yes, I recommend A Man Called Ove all of the time! Heartwarming, hilarious and addictive you will want to listen all the way through. See my review here: A Man Called Ove

Six of My Favorite Standalone Listens
The Accident Season
by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Narrator: Colby Minifie
Length: 7 hours and 24 minutes
Genres: Magical Realism, Paranormal
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Narration: 5 cups

Every October Cara and her family become inexplicably and unavoidably accident-prone. Some years it's bad, like the season when her father died, and some years it's just a lot of cuts and scrapes. This accident season--when Cara, her ex-stepbrother, Sam, and her best friend, Bea, are 17--is going to be a bad one. But not for the reasons they think. Cara is about to learn that not all the scars left by the accident season are physical: There's a long-hidden family secret underneath the bumps and bruises. This is the year Cara will finally fall desperately in love, when she'll start discovering the painful truth about the adults in her life, and when she'll uncover the dark origins of the accident season--whether she’s ready or not.

Audiobook Young Adult paranormal freaky UNIQUE

I don’t listen to very many YA adult books, but enjoy such series as Guards of the Shadowlands,  Harry Potter, Six of Crows, An Ember in the Ashes. The Accident Season was magical and perfect for fall with its touches of magical realism and quirky characters. The prose is lyrical and the tale addictive. See my thoughts here: The Accident Season

Six of Caffeinated's Favorite Standalone Audio listens #audiobook #blogoversary Click To Tweet


Six of My Favorite Narrators

  • Renee Raudman
  • Sebastian York
  • Allison McLemore
  • Holter Graham
  • Rachel Dulude
  • Will Patton
Six Standalone Audiobooks recommended by Caffeinated #audio Click To Tweet
Share your favorite standalone audiobook
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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

48 Responses to “Six of My Favorite Standalone Listens”

  1. Natalie

    I am always looking for new things to listen to when I go running. I will check out Lock In
    by John Scalzi .

  2. Jennifer

    NOS4A2 is one of my favorite audios! I have a copy of A Man Called Ove, but I haven’t listened to it yet. I need to!

  3. Darlene

    I’ve never even heard of The Accident Season! I will definitely look for that one. I’m not entering because I already have this audiobook. Great picks!

  4. Melanie Simmons

    I’m way behind on visiting blogs. I love your list. I completely agree with The Martian, NOS4A2 and Locked In. I haven’t tried the others. Some recommendations: Those Who Wish Me Dead by Micheal Kortya and Before the Fall by Noah Hawley. Both of these are read by Robert Petkoff (which was the main reason I grabbed them and then loved the stories too).

  5. Katherine

    A Man Called Ove is on my audio TBR and I’m looking forward to it. Lock In is on my maybe list but now that I see Wil Wheaton is the narrator I have to listen to it! He could pretty much narrate a text book and I’d be on board! Garden of Small Beginnings sounds like a book or audio that I’d love. I’m making notes on your favorite narrators. I don’t think I’ve listened to any of them though I’ve heard you rave about a few. I definitely need to find some of their books!

  6. Tanya

    I can’t believe I missed this last week! Anyway, those are all new to me titles. The Martian has been on the TBR for a long time, I’m glad to hear the audio is awesome since I seem to be listening more than reading lately. My favorites are the same as what you mentioned first, White Trash Zombie, all of the Andrews, Darynda Jones books. LOVE them. I wish I had of started listening earlier!

  7. John Smith

    I have not listened to enough audiobooks. I want to listen to more of those extremely well-done audiobooks where P.G. Wodehouse is read by Martin Jarvis!

  8. Rosie

    I always wonder about people with marker plates with a message. The NOS4A2 sounds like a good book to read, very creative!

  9. MarthaE

    That is a lot of audios in only a few years! More good selections. There are several here I would like to listen to, including Garden of Small Beginnings.
    I could share so many audios I love. I am sure you have read/listened to Ready Player One.
    Another I recommend is: Quest of the Dreamwalker: The Corthan Legacy, Book 1 by Stacy Bennett.

  10. Laura Thomas

    I loved the John Cleaver series by Dan Wells. And thanks for reminding me about The Martian. I read the book and watched the movie and loved them. Forgot about grabbing the audible.

  11. Karen Blue

    I am really curious about Lock In. I had no idea Wil Wheaton was narrating for audible (I bet Sheldon is so pissed about that, lol).
    I too loved Kate Mulgrew on NOS4A2. She did a fantastic job on that. Will Patton is one of my favorite narrators as well. He could just read me everything and I would never grow tired of his voice. Thanks for sharing your favorites here!

  12. Jaime Lester

    The only one of these I have read is The Accident Season, and I adored it! It might be worth listening to, since I haven’t listened to audiobook before.

  13. Nise'

    The Martian is still on my all time favorite audio list. It was a great listen. I am intrigued by Lock In with two different narrators, Sebastian York is fantastic! Allison Mclemore is new to me.

  14. Steph

    I too listened to a Man Called Ove, it was a wonderful audiobook! I think one of my favorites recently was Anna Kendricks book Scrappy Little Nobody – it was funny and she reads it

  15. Lorna

    I loved listening to The Garden of New Beginnings, so thanks again for the recommendation. I have The Martian in audio, but right after I bought it, I saw the movie and really liked it. But now I keep putting off listening. Lock in really sounds good as well as The Man called Ove and The Accident Season. Maybe I need to spend a credit. I’ll have to think on it. Thanks for the recommendations!

  16. Courtney Whisenant

    The best audiobook I’ve listened to lately is The Book of Polly by Kathy Hepinstall. Jenna Lamia is one of my favorite narrators and she was perfect for this book. It’s laugh out loud hysterical.

  17. Carole

    I love a good audiobook! Now that I think about it, I really do listen to a lot that are a part of a series. A Man Called Ove was such a great audiobook. I really love The Night Mark by Tiffany Reisz when I listened to that earlier this year. I love the first three narrators you mentioned but haven’t listened to the others yet.

  18. Cali W.

    I don’t really listen to audiobooks but those are some good choices. ;:)

  19. Susan

    One of my current favorites is Leviathan Wakes by James SA Corey, plus books 2 and 3 which I recently listened to.

  20. Lover Of Romance

    I do love Renee Raudman and Sebastian York, both are fabulous to listen to. I haven’t listened to any of these titles you listed, but I see I need to change that.

  21. Sophia Rose

    Wow, nearly 180 audio books. 🙂 I still want to read/listen to The Martian and The Accident Season. Loved Garden of Small Beginnings.

    Yay, Renee Raudman is one of my favs, too. I’ve not listened to the last three on your list so I’ll have to watch for their books.

  22. Angela

    Great list. Thank you for sharing. I’m just now starting to get into Audiobooks. 2017 is the year for a bunch of new experience and fun things on the blog. ^_^

  23. blodeuedd

    Hmmm, well there was this book I listened to like 2 years ago..something fairytale ish, that one was awesome on audio

    Martian on audio, cool

  24. Dianne Casey

    I really enjoyed The House on Tradd Street by Karen White on audio. I actually liked the whole series on audio.
    Happy 6th blogoversary!

  25. Ben

    I’d like to read/listen to/watch the movie The Martian. The rest on your list look good too but that would be my pick!

  26. Jenea's Book Obsession

    These sound really good. I wish I could get into listening to audio books, maybe now that the kids are back in school it might be a little easier to not be so distracted and be able to pay attention better. 🙂

  27. Zirev

    I’ve only listened to one Audiobook so far. I have other audiobooks but they’re all science fiction and I need to accompany it with a book so I won’t miss relevant terms. Three years later, I still have no progress.

    Anyway, I’ve listened to Cary Elwes’ recollection of his experience in taping The Princess Bride, The audiobook is As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From The Making Of The Princess Bride [Unabridged]. I’ve really enjoyed it only because I love the classic film.

  28. Rosie

    I’d love to read The Garden of Small Beginnings. I’m in the mood for something funny, but nuanced. This sounds perfect!

  29. Kristin

    I broke down and got an Audible of Joy Ride by Lauren Blakely so I could listen to Sebastian York. HOLY CRAP!!!! That is PORN!!!!!!! I have no clue how you guys sit and listen to those books with a straight face (and body for that matter…). I can’t get through the book, I have to find “special time” to read it!!!

    I LOVE that you picked a Scalzi book with the Wil Wheaton narration!!! Both are early bloggers that I’ve followed forever!!!! I adore them both b/c they’re geeky and funny!! And real. And Garden made it, too! I never would have thought it made a good audio, too. That book rocked!! Thank, you, Heidi for the the wonderful recommendation on that one!! Yep… still need to write that review…

    Hugs… you rock too!!!

  30. Northwoman

    Great post! I also started listening to audio in 2015. The standalone audio I would recommend is Uprooted by Naomi Novik. Anne

  31. Ailyn Koay

    a little sad that Lauren Graham didn’t make the cut, but definitely good books there. The Martian is my favorite book too (not audio)

  32. Angela Adams

    When my book club returns from Summer Break, our first book on our schedule is “A Man Called Ove.” Thanks for the post!

  33. Debbie Haupt

    Great choices Kim I haven’t listened to any of these but have read a couple and The Martian is on my audible wish list.
    . I agree about Sebastian York, and I’ll add Alexander Cendese who narrates The Bourbon Kings trilogy by JR Ward.

  34. Maureen Bakker

    I so need to listen to more audiobooks. These all sound great and I would like to listen to them all! Great list Kimberly.
    I loved listening to ‘The Silent Waters’ by Brittainy C. Cherry. I thought it was a beautiful story and I loved the narrators.

  35. Geybie's Book Blog

    Yay, thank you for sharing. I’m growing to love audiobooks because of Once Perfect. I think I have an ARC of A Man Called Ove. Oh, The Garden of Small Beginnings is calling my name. It been recommended to me. Glad to know the audiobook is awesome. I need to check out the rest. ❤️

  36. Paij

    The only one of these I have is A MAN CALLED OVE. I have heard great things about it. This post is AWESOME! You know how much I love audio books, so all of them have been added to my audible list. Thanks for the heads up on these!