It’s time to share with you my favorites among the best audiobooks of 2023!
From bestselling authors to hidden gems, this year’s selection of my favorite audiobooks has been nothing short of spectacular.
I have a mix for you ranging from Thrillers to Fantasy, Cozy Mystery to Literary Fiction, as well as Nonfiction books that pack a serious punch.
There are also pirates, authors, dragons, aunties, and elves.
Something for every mood!
And, of course, each one of these captivating stories has been brought to life by outstanding narrators.
Like in previous years, I have a dedicated post for the best Romance audiobooks 2023, so make sure to check that out as well if you are a Romance listener.
Now, sit back, put on your headphones, and get ready to discover 20 of the best audiobooks of 2023!
**The marked links and book covers on this page are affiliate links. If you use them to purchase something, I earn a fee at no additional cost for you. Disclosure**
Best Audiobooks 2023 Thriller, Suspense, and Mystery
Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers
Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers looks and feels like a Cozy Mystery. But, like other books by Jesse Q. Sutanto, it breaks quite a few rules of the genre.
This is an absolutely delightful Mystery novel, though, and a truly heartwarming book about finding family. I loved all the different characters here and the way the story builds up.
Vera Wong is the owner of a small tea shop that is not seeing many customers anymore. One morning, she finds a dead person in the shop. Between boredom and unhappiness with the police’s work, Vera takes things into her own hands. And with a trick, she draws out all the people who might have had a motive to get rid of the man…
Eunice Wong is one of my favorite narrators, and I could have listened to this audiobook for many, many more hours! Come to think of it, I will probably listen to it again soon.
Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto is one of the best audiobooks of 2023!
With every book, I will include links to Audible because we all use it. But I will add alternatives as well!
Libro.fm: If you buy an audiobook there, you actually own the mp3 and can listen to it in any app. Plus, you support indie bookstores with your purchase!
Audiobooks.com: A very solid audiobook service, and you can grab a book from the list below for free with a trial there.
Everand (formerly Scribd): A very budget-friendly option for listeners as you can borrow several of the audiobooks below for a flat monthly fee.
Perfectly Nice Neighbors
I went on a Kia Abdullah binge after listening to her new 2023 audiobook, Perfectly Nice Neighbors (the title is Those People Next Door in the UK).
This author writes addictive Thrillers that force you to think about uncomfortable things and won’t let you jump to easy and convenient conclusions.
In Perfectly Nice Neighbors, a husband, wife, and their son from Bangladesh move into a nice, polished English suburb. But soon, they notice little acts of aggression around their house, and the wife, Salma, is convinced that the next-door neighbor is to blame.
Things spiral completely out of control until someone gets seriously hurt!
The book moves from a domestic Thriller to a legal Thriller as things come to light bit by bit.
Tania Rodrigues did a breathtakingly good narration of Salma and everything she’s going through. I can’t recommend this audiobook enough to you, a must-listen for Thriller fans and one of the best audiobooks of 2023!
Related article: The Best Audiobooks Apps
Yellowface by R.F. Kuang is so incredibly captivating, that for an entire day, I did nothing else but sit somewhere, stare at the wall, and listen to Helen Laser bring Juniper to life.
Juniper is an author and endlessly jealous of her successful friend – or frenemy – Athena Liu. Athena has several bestsellers out and movie deals on top of that. She is also breathtakingly gorgeous.
Then Athena dies in a freak accident, and Juniper takes Athena’s latest work in progress and publishes it under her own name.
R.F. Kuang plays effortlessly with comments people make who tell themselves they are “not a racist, but…”. The book is entirely written from Juniper’s point of view. And Juniper has so many good reasons (she believes) to do everything she does.
She has a seemingly solid explanation for every decision. And she is convinced that none of them have anything even remotely to do with racial bias.
I could not turn this audiobook off and devoured it. Juniper shows all her ugliness, she is pathetic and pitiful, and you just need to know how low she will sink and how all of this will end for her.
This book about racism, gatekeeping in the publishing industry, and online shitstorms is a must-read and not to be missed! Yellowface by R.F. Kuang is truly one of the best audiobooks of 2023 and a book you need in your life right now.
Related article: The Best Audiobook Service based on how many books you listen to!
Killing Me is such an incredibly cool book! I devoured it, and it was quite difficult to move on from this wonderful fast pace and the extremely engaging characters.
Amber is kidnapped by a serial killer. She was sure something like this would never happen to someone like her. But here we are. However, at the last moment, she is saved by a weird person in a ski mask.
From then on, things spiral quickly for Amber, who has a criminal history of her own and can’t afford to be part of an investigation.
I adored Amber and her big mouth! And the author perfectly feeds you one tidbit at a time about Amber’s past and the forces at play in her current situation.
This book made me laugh, but it also has a lot of suspense that had me sitting on the edge of my seat. Jaime Lamchick’s narration brought out all the facets of Amber, and I cannot recommend this book enough to you.
Killing Me by Michelle Gagnon is one of the best audiobooks of 2023 and is not to be missed!
Against the Currant
Food Cozy Mysteries are so awesome, and Against the Currant is particularly excellent at it!
Lyndsay turned her dream into reality and, with the help of her family, opened a West Indian bakery in New York.
Another bakery owner harasses her and soon turns up dead. Lyndsay is the main suspect since everybody saw her threatening him.
I found it really difficult to guess who the real murderer was. But honestly, I like just being along for the ride, and this book captivated me instantly! I loved how all the characters were so fleshed out and real.
Janina Edwards did an excellent narration, and Against the Currant by Olivia Matthews is a great start to a new series.
Related article: The Best Cozy Mystery Audiobooks
I’m Not Done with You Yet
Jesse Q. Sutanto (Author), Yu-Li Alice Shen (Narrator), Saskia Maarleveld (Narrator), Leiana Bertrand (Narrator), Eunice Wong (Narrator)
Get the Audible book**
Or get it on Libro.fm**
Or get it on Audiobooks.com**
Yes, another book by Jesse Q. Sutanto! I usually try to feature each author only once on these kinds of lists. But this one is quite different from Vera Wong above.
I’m Not Done with You Yet is a Thriller that had me hooked for the entire duration. Jane cracked me up several times, and I loved the narration by Eunice Wong. I adore her voice, and she so dryly presented Jane’s rather violent thoughts.
Jane is a fairly unsuccessful midlist LitFic author. She has a publisher, but her books don’t earn out, and the size of her advances makes her writing more of a hobby than an actual occupation.
She hates her husband and their life together, and Jane is really, really angry. All the time. She also believes that she is a “sociopath”.
Then she has the opportunity to meet with the woman who was her best friend in grad school – a woman Jane was utterly and completely obsessed with!
While Jane herself kept me wholly invested, I did not see the twists and turns coming. There are quite a few revelations coming your way later on in the book. And the ending was a whole thing of its own!
With four narrators, this audiobook is outstandingly produced, so much fun, and, for me, one of the best audiobooks of 2023!
Pin this Book List of the Best Audiobooks of 2023 for later:
Best Audiobooks 2023 Fantasy and Sci-Fi
Fourth Wing is a breathtakingly fast-paced, exciting Romance Fantasy adventure and one of the biggest viral hits of the year!
Violet is the youngest daughter of a dragon-riding general from a country that has created its entire identity from the war with its neighbors. She is pressured by her mother to join the dragon academy.
As the cover says, “Fly… or die”. This book has a truly huge body count. But Rebecca Yaros manages to keep the heroine hopeful and determined.
Rebecca Soler has a very fitting voice for Violet and did an excellent narration! Teddy Hamilton reads the epilogue.
The second book in the Empyrean series, Iron Flame, was released in November and feels even more epic than Fourth Wing.
If you live under a rock and haven’t heard of this New York Times bestseller yet, now is the time to visit the Basgiath War College!
I admit, I slept on the amazingness that is Ninth House. But I have caught up now, and the second book in the series, Hell Bent, is outstanding!
Just like the first book, Hell Bent is enchantingly and darkly atmospheric. But Alex is now moving more self-assuredly through the magical world of Yale’s secret societies.
I don’t want to give too much of the storyline away since you might not have listened to the first book yet. But rest assured, you are in for a treat!
The writing is so vivid, and paired with Lauren Fortgang’s excellent narration, Hell Bent runs like a movie in your mind. Whether you are a fan of Urban Fantasy, Mystery, or Paranormal Romance, this is one of the best audiobooks 2023!
Relatec article: The Best Urban Fantasy Audiobooks
Fans have waited for two and a half years to listen to new adventures of our favorite SecUnit and, in November 2023, book 8 was finally released!
In System Collapse, Murderbot, ART, and the humans have to save the people of a doomed planet, which is made quite a bit more complicated by those people not believing them that they are “the good guys”.
This leads Murderbot to philosophize on intent and appearance, how, no matter how well-meaning you are, what other people see is an entirely different thing.
Of course, Murderbot is its usual charming self in System Collapse. I just adore its dry sense of humor and general nihilism.
While full cast productions of all the earlier books in the Murderbot series are available and I’m usually quite fond of these kinds of audiobooks, I strongly recommend that you listen to the Kevin R. Free narration!
His voice goes right under your skin and makes you experience Murderbot and all its facets in such an intense way that no other production can rival this experience.
And with that, System Collapse is simply one of the best audiobooks of 2023 for all Murderbot fans and Sci-Fi listeners!
The Wicked Bargain
The Wicked Bargain by Gabe Cole Novoa is a very captivating Young Adult Historical Fantasy set in the Caribbean Sea during the time of the Spanish conquistadors.
Mar is nonbinary and the child of a famous pirate captain. They can wield magic, which is a very rare and feared trait. When their ship is attacked, they have to find their way in the world – and they meet new friends who will support them.
This is a wonderful book full of action, adventure, love, and magic. I always enjoy listening to Vico Ortiz, and it’s fantastic to hear them bring a book with so many Spanish phrases and words to life!
A must-listen not only for fans of Our Flag Means Death.
Related article: Nonbinary Books
Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries
Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett is delightful!
Emily is a researcher and wants to fill any gaps in mankind’s knowledge of the fae world. She travels to a northern country to learn more about their folklore, where she is soon joined by her colleague Bambleby, whom she despises but who seems to have a much easier time connecting to the local people than she does.
It’s honestly remarkable how this book manages to feel so very cozy, with the cute little rural hut and the academia and general book wormery, while also sporting several axe injuries and things like bloodied hand prints on a window, observed from the outside.
I suppose the atmosphere of this book gives back perfectly the way faeries are portrayed in stories: Often beautiful and fun, gliding through luscious gardens, hosting feasts with all kinds of candy, while they can also be villains, cat-like in the way they play with and torture their prey.
The narration by Ell Potter and Michel Dodds is wonderful and really fleshed out for me how I pictured Emily and Bambleby while listening. This is an immensely enjoyable Fantasy with a slow-burn Romance and one of the best audiobooks of 2023!
And the next book in the series will be out in January 2024.
Starling House was not only one of my most anticipated books of the year, it also turned out to be one of the best audiobooks of 2023!
This book blew me away! I expected a gothic-y haunted house story. But it feels almost unfair to call Starling House haunted. It’s a very special place.
This story has so many layers. Yes, it’s gothic and creepy at times, but it’s also romantic and almost tender. Opal and Arthur are for sure not your average romance couple. Their love story is weird yet so, so romantic.
Natalie Naudus is perfect at bringing out Opal’s rage, her desperation, as well as all the many beautiful and soft moments of this story.
Thief Liar Lady
Thief Liar Lady is one of the best audiobooks of 2023 for fans of fairytale retellings!
Imagine Cinderella (Ash) was trained by the evil stepmother in the art of schemes and intrigue. They hatch a plan to get the prince to fall in love with the young woman without anyone ever suspecting her of being only after his money and power.
Yes, the glass slipper was placed on purpose! But Ash has more planned at court than just securing the future of her stepsisters…
Thief Liar Lady by D.L. Soria is incredibly captivating and entertaining, with a fascinating magic system and political maneuvering. While the book takes its time exploring life at court, the intrigue and secrets kept me thoroughly hooked!
I do need to give you a content warning here, as the wedding night isn’t truly consensual. Ash has several reasons why she goes through with it, but none of them is that she actually wants it. Her suffering during that scene is very vividly described and could be triggering.
The narration by Zura Johnson is excellent and brings out all facets of Ash’s personality. I’m very much looking forward to more new audiobooks by D.L. Soria!
A Song of Salvation
A Song of Salvation by Alechia Dow is a wild trip through the universe!
The book has these beautiful nods to the cult classic movie The Fifth Element. There’s Rubin, the vivacious podcaster, who feels like an homage to Ruby Rhod.
Then we have Wesley, the quiet, grumpy pilot. And last but not least, Zaira, a reincarnated god!
The story is utterly unique and beautiful.
Rubin, Wesley, and Zaira meet when Wesley is tasked with protecting Rubin from an alien race that wants to take revenge for some not-so-nice things Rubin said on his podcast about their emperor. Wesley is supposed to bring Rubin to Earth, but then Zaira approaches and tells him he is destined to help her save her home planet.
One thing I particularly loved about this book is how much all three protagonists feel like equals. There’s a beautiful balance in their relationship with one another.
And yet another thing I loved (yes, there is so, so much to love here!) was the outstanding cast of voices!
Zaira is read by Joniece Abbott-Pratt, who always fills her narration with so much emotion that it takes my breath away.
Then there’s André Santana as Wesley. He has a lovely voice and a fantastic range of voices.
And last but not least, Logan Rozos brings Rubin and his podcast to life in a way that makes you wish there was a real show like that!
With this excellent performance and the wonderful story, A Song of Salvation is one of the best audiobooks 2023, not only for fans of Young Adult Science Fiction!
Related article: The Best Sci Fi audiobooks of all Time
That Self-Same Metal
Set in medieval London (but with magic), That Self-Same Metal by Brittany N. Williams was one of my surprise hits of the year.
Joan can shape metal, but as a child of her time, she knows she won’t inherit her father’s workshop. It would go to her brother, who rather wants to be an actor and is a member of a theatrical troupe led by The Bard himself, William Shakespeare.
Brittany N. Williams perfectly connects documented medieval history with a sword-fighting Black heroine, a fae uprising, and a true love for Shakespeare.
Patricia Allison brought this hidden gem of a book to life and turned this enthralling story into one of my favorite Fantasy audiobooks of the year.
Slayers: A Buffyverse Story
Christopher Golden (Author), Amber Benson (Author, Narrator), Charisma Carpenter (Narrator), James Marsters (Narrator), and a full cast
Get the Audible book**
Was I counting down the hours for Slayers to be released? Why, yes, of course I was!
I used to be a huge Buffy fan, and it made me so angry when it came out what type of person Joss Whedon is.
So, it meant a lot to me, and it was particularly great to see the beloved Buffy cast in the trustworthy hands of none other than Amber Benson. She is the co-author of Slayers!
Her character’s fate in the TV show had left me sad and annoyed, but now we get a new twist on Tara.
Seeing Tara back is a delightful development! In addition, of course, to revisiting Spike, Cordy, Rupert, and Clem, who I always kinda loved with his squishy face 😀
The production of this Audible Original is everything you’d hope for. Great sound effects, seamless dialogue scenes, great sound quality, and a full cast with the original actors. You are listening to a movie!
I also truly appreciated that this wasn’t the usual 2- or 3-hour audio special, but a full 8-hour length audiobook, allowing for a lot of story depth and character development.
For everyone who loved Buffy at least a little bit, this is a must-listen and one of the best Audible books 2023!
Related article: The Best Audible Originals
Must-Listen Nonfiction Audiobooks of 2023
The Woman In Me
Britney Spears’ memoir is so much more than just the story of a popstar.
We have all watched her rise and fall in the news and were constantly prompted to form judgments about this woman.
Hearing her give back how everything came to pass from her point of view was beyond moving.
This is a book that shook me to my core, and that still hasn’t let me go after weeks.
The singer reads the foreword herself, but since many parts of this book give back traumatic experiences, Michelle Williams reads the audiobook.
The actress did a very fine narration of Britney’s words. She doesn’t try to copy Britney’s voice, but she has a charming accent and makes it easy to feel invested and empathetic.
Without a doubt, this is one of the best audiobooks 2023 and a must-listen memoir!
Easy Money: Cryptocurrency, Casino Capitalism, and the Golden Age of Fraud
Just like me, you probably remember Ben McKenzie from the TV shows The OC or Gotham.
But apparently, the actor has become a well-known crypto skeptic!
In 2023, there was no getting around the topic of cryptocurrency. At this point, everyone has heard of it – if not picked a side by either buying or hating it.
I won’t lie, for me, as an audiobook aficionado, it was a true pleasure to listen to this man read his own book. But I also found the content itself very captivating and I learned so much!
Easy Money is entertainingly written while also giving back a lot of developments in the cryptocurrency scene that I hadn’t been aware of.
If you have a bit of an interest in this topic, do grab this excellent audiobook!
Elliot Page’s memoir is so good!
This is a very moving, personal, and raw book. Tidbits have been covered on various news sites. But there, they stand as isolated events, while in the book, they become a part of the person Elliot Page is allowing us to get to know.
It’s read by the author himself, which makes this an even more intimate look into his thoughts and feelings, from the intense struggles he went through before his transition to the joy of getting gender-affirming care.
If you enjoy memoirs and/or if you are interested in the experiences of trans people, I can’t recommend this audiobook enough to you!
He/She/They: How We Talk About Gender and Why It Matters
Schuyler Bailar is an incredible person! He/She/They covers a lot of ground on current gender topics. But I’d like to describe the author as “a lover, not a fighter”. He doesn’t argue, he doesn’t rage. Instead, he shows an unbelievable amount of faith in humanity.
Schuyler is a trans man who is a well-known social media personality and does many speaking engagements, specifically in conservative areas. Here, he explains with love and patience what it means to be trans and why gender topics are important for everyone.
This is a must-listen book for anyone looking to learn more about being a human being, absolutely anyone!
The author reads the book himself and did a wonderful job of filling the words with emotion, with warmth, and with emphasis. This is a must-have of the best audiobooks 2023!
I hope you will have as much fun as I had with these amazing books, and wish you a Happy New Year!
If you are a fellow Romance fan, make sure you also take a look at my list of the best Romance audiobooks of 2023 as well now.
Eline Blackman (pronouns: she/they) fell in love with books as a child – with being read to and reading herself. 10 years ago, she bought her first Audible book. It was love at first listen! An average of 250 audiobooks per year has become the new normal and you will rarely see Eline without a wireless earbud. Romance and Fantasy are the go-to genres for this audiobook fan.