Best of 2019

Best of 2019 – Top 12 Narrators

Best of 2019 - Top 12 Narrators

My love of audiobooks is immeasurable at this point, due in large part to the incredibly talented narrators out there that bring great stories to life and often can make an “okay” story really good. So here’s my list of those narrators who made my ears happy this year! And, this year I’m including full cast or multiple narrators because they made such a difference.

1. Narrator: Julia Whelan

Whelan will always appear on my list of favorites as she consistently delivers and outstanding performance. It’s no wonder that I listened to five of her books this year. She’s also one of the narrators in #12 below.

Narrator: Cassandra Campbell

Campbell delivered GREAT performances in these two books. She’s always been a favorite but these were standouts for me this year.

3. Narrator: Kaleo Griffith
Deadly Intent
Griffith is the official narrator of this series and I’ve loved every performance. In fact, I wait until the audiobook is available before I read new releases. He’s that good.





4. Narrator: Derek Perkins

Perkins narrates the Victorian Rebels series, which I started this year and he’s a large part of my enjoyment of the stories. He’s a great storyteller and nails the characters. I’m only listening to the rest of the series!

Narrator: January LaVoy

Under Currents
LaVoy will always be on this list as she seems to be a favorite of one of my auto read authors, Nora Roberts who produces at least one book a year with her as narrator. Every performance is wonderful. She’s also one of the narrators in #12 below.


6. Narrator: Jim Frangione

Frangione is the voice of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series and I can’t imagine ever going back to reading the books because his narration will always be in my head. He takes that campy, cheesy dialogue and makes it sound normal!

Narrator: Jennifer Lim

Miracle Creek
Lim handled diverse characters beautifully as well as the others who weren’t. Her storytelling skills were so, so good, too. I’m hoping to listen to her again in the future.





8. Narrator: Emily Shaffer
The Grace Year
This was my first experience with Shaffer and it was a fine one. This is a tough, tough story and she kept me in it. I highly recommend listening to this one and you’ll better understand what I mean.




Narrators: Caitlin Davies & Tavia Gilbert

Oh, my goodness this was GREAT because of these two narrators. Don’t get me wrong, this was a fascinating story but they elevated it to something special. Run, don’t walk to get the audio version of this story.




Narrator: Kathleen Early

The Last Widow
I’ve listened to all but one of the books in this series and they’ve all been narrated by Early. But, this was just on another level. If you’re planning to read this series, try the audio versions and at least this one. You’ll thank me for it.




Narrators: Richard E. Grant, Robert Cordery, Nina Sosanya & Laurence Kennedy

A Ladder to the Sky
I’m a big fan of multiple narrators when the book has multiple points of view. There were many I enjoyed this year but this one was my favorite in the category. Each seemed to fully grasp their characters and wore them like tailored clothing. It was a stellar performance by each.



12. Narrators: Full Cast (see below for the list)
Daisy Jones & The Six
It’s rare to get a full cast narration for this kind of fiction and whomever made the decision deserves an award. I’m convinced that there’s quite a big difference in the level of enjoyment depending on whether you listened to this book or read it in another format. I can’t rave about it enough. This 2019 Goodreads Choice Award winner earned that distinction.



Full Cast

  • Daisy Jones, read by Jennifer Beals
  • Billy Dunne, read by Pablo Schreiber
  • Graham Dunne, read by Benjamin Bratt
  • Eddie Loving, read by Fred Berman
  • Warren Rhodes, read by Ari Fliakos
  • Karen Karen, read by Judy Greer
  • Camila Dunne, read by January LaVoy
  • Simone Jackson, read by Robinne Lee
  • Narrator / Author, read by Julia Whelan
  • Jim Blades, read by Jonathan Davis
  • Rod Reyes, read by Henry Leyva
  • Artie Snyder, read by Oliver Wyman
  • Elaine Chang, read by Nancy Wu
  • Freddie Mendoza, read by P.J. Ochlan
  • Nick Harris, read by Arthur Bishop
  • Jonah Berg, read by Holter Graham
  • Greg McGuiness, read by Brendan Wayne
  • Pete Loving, read by Pete Larkin
  • Wyatt Stone, read by Alex Jenkins Reid
  • Hank Allen, read by Robert Petkoff
  • Opal Cunningham, read by Sara Arrington


Who were some of your favorite narrators this year?

28 thoughts on “Best of 2019 – Top 12 Narrators”

  1. I agree with several of your choices (Julia Whelan, Cassandra Campbell, January LaVoy, Kaleo Griffiths) and would add Edwardo Ballerini and MacLeod Andrews to my list. The cast of Daisy Jones was amazing!
    Happy New Year, Jonetta 💖

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a great list, Jonetta! I’m new to the world of audiobooks, but some of these names I already know, as I keep hearing great things about them.
    Is there a special category in Goodreads awards for audiobooks? 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m a Goodreads Librarian and am a stickler for selecting the correct editions and always make certain the narrators are listed on the book page. Plus, I belong to a Goodreads audiobook group that includes a narrator challenge so that also helps.

      Cassandra Campbell is so, so good in everything she narrates.


  3. I agree, the narrator can make the a huge difference to how much you enjoy the story. I haven’t reached the stage though, where I actually check out the narrator before buying or select books based on the narrator.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I quite like Julia Whelan too! My other fave is Imogen Church 🙂
    The full cast for Daisy Jones was awesome. I don’t think i would have read that book as a book, but with those narrators i ended up enjoying it a lot ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have enjoyed almost all these great narrators. Some others I LOVE are Steve West, Andi Arndt, Gabra Zackman, Luke Daniels, Emily Woo Zeller, Lorelei King, Hillary Huber, Karen White to name a few favorites.Kathleen Gati was great on the Katherine Arden trilogy. And no favorite narrator list would be complete without James Marsters.

    Anne – Books of My Heart

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I haven’t read listened to any of the books you’ve listed BUT a couple of my favourite series were read by some of the narrators you mentioned.
    Caitlin Davies did an amazing job getting me to love my first ever fantasy series – The Warrior Chronicles by K.F. Breene and Tavia Gilbert is the wonderful narrator who reads The Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries by Angie Fox that I love so much!

    Liked by 1 person

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