Melissa’s listening life revolves around 1. escapism and 2. magic. Give her a glimpse of a new world with characters who can serve up some witty banter, and she’ll be there, listening long into the night. Romance, YA, and fantasy (or a combination of all three) usually hit the sweet spot, but she always leaves room for serendipity when choosing her next listen. After all, magic <i>does</i> lie in the unexpected.

AUDIBLE EDITOR

Melissa Bendixen

Melissa’s listening life revolves around 1. escapism and 2. magic. Give her a glimpse of a new world with characters who can serve up some witty banter, and she’ll be there, listening long into the night. Romance, YA, and fantasy (or a combination of all three) usually hit the sweet spot, but she always leaves room for serendipity when choosing her next listen. After all, magic does lie in the unexpected.

Melissa's Recent Reviews

    • Unzipped

    • By: Lauren Blakely
    • Narrated by: Joe Arden, Andi Arndt
    • Length: 6 hrs and 30 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 662
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 626
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 625

    Picture this - I’m ready to win back the love of my life, and I’m going big this time. We’re talking boom box, sing her name in the rain, let the whole damn neighborhood know I'm good and ready this time around. There’s only one little problem....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Terrific rom com with unexpected depth!

    • By RexyRomance on 10-30-18
    • By: Lauren Blakely
    • Narrated by: Joe Arden, Andi Arndt
    • Length: 6 hrs and 30 mins
    • Release date: 10-30-18
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 662 ratings
    • Fall in love all over again
    • Given that it’s narrated by Andi Arndt and Joe Arden, it doesn’t take much to sink into this accidental love story. I love that Finley is a comedic television writer. It just goes to show that yes, the girl can be the funny one in the relationship. And Kyler is the hottest of hot nerds who designs roller coasters. How cool is that? They go together like monkeys in comedy: they’re golden (okay this is an inside joke but you’ll see what I mean!). For fans of the eighties and rom coms everywhere, this one’ll go down nice and easy.
    • The Bridge Kingdom

    • By: Danielle L. Jensen
    • Narrated by: Lauren Fortgang, James Patrick Cronin
    • Length: 11 hrs and 52 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 134
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 122
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 122

    Lara has only one thought for her husband on their wedding day: I will bring your kingdom to its knees. A princess trained from childhood to be a lethal spy, Lara knows that the Bridge Kingdom represents both legendary evil - and legendary promise....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Enjoyable Read

    • By ange2262 on 10-17-18
    • By: Danielle L. Jensen
    • Narrated by: Lauren Fortgang, James Patrick Cronin
    • Series: The Bridge Kingdom Series, Book 1
    • Length: 11 hrs and 52 mins
    • Release date: 10-16-18
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 134 ratings
    • This book will trigger fellow fantasy romance lovers
    • While I was in the midst of this book, every hour of my day that I was not listening felt like a wasted hour. Needless to say, I finished it pretty quickly. I will admit that in the beginning I hated our main character, Lara, because I thought she had done a terrible, terrible deed that I could not forgive her for. But when I found out how wrong I was, I loved Lara more fiercely than I had hated her. Narrators Lauren Fortgang and James Patrick Cronin were absolutely perfectly cast. Their performances elicited strong emotions in me, and I devoured the drama, romance, and knife-edged tension faster than I thought possible. It was completely delicious!
    • The Lost Queen

    • A Novel
    • By: Signe Pike
    • Narrated by: Toni Frutin
    • Length: 17 hrs and 44 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 195
    • Performance
      5 out of 5 stars 180
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 179

    In a land of mountains and mist, tradition and superstition, Languoreth and her brother Lailoken are raised in the Old Way of their ancestors. But in Scotland, a new religion is rising, one that brings disruption, bloodshed, and riot....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Lost no more!

    • By Beckersly on 09-13-18
    • A Novel
    • By: Signe Pike
    • Narrated by: Toni Frutin
    • Length: 17 hrs and 44 mins
    • Release date: 09-04-18
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 195 ratings
    • Recovering a fantasy-like piece of history
    • Wife to a Christian-born king and daughter of the Old Way, Languoreth stands at the crossroads of the changing times. She must be the warrior behind the walls to fight to preserve the traditions of Scotland and its druid magic. Sound like a fantasy? Well, it’s not. It comes straight from a little-told piece of Scottish history, fully researched by Signe Pike and told in the melodic brogue of Toni Frutin. Though the past may seem like a kind of fantasy, the world drawn in this historical novel is utterly touchable.
    • The Simple Wild

    • By: K. A. Tucker
    • Narrated by: Rebekkah Ross
    • Length: 12 hrs and 34 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 336
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 319
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 319

    City girl Calla Fletcher attempts to reconnect with her estranged father, and unwittingly finds herself torn between her desire to return to the bustle of Toronto and a budding relationship with a rugged Alaskan pilot in this masterful new romance....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

    • By Cyndi on 08-10-18
    • By: K. A. Tucker
    • Narrated by: Rebekkah Ross
    • Length: 12 hrs and 34 mins
    • Release date: 08-07-18
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 336 ratings
    • I delighted in every moment
    • Sometimes it can be hard to express exactly how much we enjoyed a book. I could compare my experience listening to The Simple Wild to food (that bacon maple donut I had this morning) or I could compare it to a feeling (toes in the grass, fresh mountain air, warm campfires on damp nights) or I could compare it to another book, even (Northern Lights by Nora Roberts without the murder?). But none of it would really quite capture what I’m trying to say: that I loved all that this book was—all that I felt while listening to it (thank you Rebekkah Ross)—and I hope other people will feel the same way.
    • Kill the Farm Boy

    • The Tales of Pell Series, Book 1
    • By: Kevin Hearne, Delilah S. Dawson
    • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
    • Length: 12 hrs and 38 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 931
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 893
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 890

    A plucky farm boy will find more than he's bargained for on his quest to awaken the sleeping princess in her cursed tower. First there's the Dark Lord, who wishes for the boy's untimely death...and also very fine cheese....

    • 1 out of 5 stars
    • A forgettable story with none of the iron Druid charm

    • By Adam on 07-23-18
    • The Tales of Pell Series, Book 1
    • By: Kevin Hearne, Delilah S. Dawson
    • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
    • Series: The Tales of Pell, Book 1
    • Length: 12 hrs and 38 mins
    • Release date: 07-17-18
    • 4 out of 5 stars 931 ratings
    • But first, let us appreciate this tag line:
    • Once. A pun. A time.

      As one who unabashedly flocks to any story with even a whiff of eau de chosen one, my bookish senses were tingling as soon as I heard Kill the Farm Boy would be the one chosen one story to rule them all (and make fun of them all). Add to that the fact that it’s written by Kevin Hearne and Delilah S. Dawson—and narrated by Luke Daniels—and this book catapulted to the top of my list of summer listens I’m hyped about. Here it is: imagine The Princess Bride if Westley never met Buttercup, and if maybe he ran into Donkey from Shrek instead. There are shenanigans and adventures to be had in equal amounts, and all in all, it’s riddikulus.
    • Pucked Love

    • By: Helena Hunting
    • Narrated by: Sebastian York, Stella Bloom
    • Length: 7 hrs and 49 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 974
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 919
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 920

    As an NHL player, relationships haven't been my thing. Shrouded in secrecy and speculation, they never last very long. But then that's what happens when you require an NDA before the first date....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • 5 Pucking Amazing Stars

    • By Melissa B. on 07-21-18
    • By: Helena Hunting
    • Narrated by: Sebastian York, Stella Bloom
    • Series: Pucked, Book 6
    • Length: 7 hrs and 49 mins
    • Release date: 07-10-18
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 974 ratings
    • Rooting for Darren + Charlene + the Pucked family
    • For those who like starting in the middle of the action, Pucked Love doesn’t disappoint. I was immediately swept away by Charlene and Darren’s relationship, which felt fresh and exciting since I was coming into the story with them already comfortable with one another. We get to skip their meet-cute (mostly) and jump right to the good parts, where we can witness the couple fall from lust into love. Sebastian and Stella’s narrations are, as always, bellissimo. Stella Bloom in particular captured the feel of Charlene and her bright firefly personality, true to Darren’s nickname for her. This was my first foray with the Pucked gang, and I’ll definitely be returning for more!
    • Neverworld Wake

    • By: Marisha Pessl
    • Narrated by: Phoebe Strole
    • Length: 8 hrs and 47 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 202
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 189
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 187

    Once upon a time, back at Darrow-Harker School, Beatrice Hartley and her five best friends were the cool kids, the beautiful ones. Then the shocking death of Jim - their creative genius and Beatrice's boyfriend - changed everything....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Wonderful, engaging, and thought provoking

    • By Keri Owen on 06-23-18
    • By: Marisha Pessl
    • Narrated by: Phoebe Strole
    • Length: 8 hrs and 47 mins
    • Release date: 06-05-18
    • 4 out of 5 stars 202 ratings
    • The vote, the vote, the VOTE
    • Between five bright, college-aged kids, can they really decide who out of them should live? An impossible scenario: it is the end of the summer, and these five friends are caught in a head-on collision, causing them to get stuck in a time loop called the Neverworld Wake, where they will continually live the 11 hours prior to the crash until they can vote on which one of them will walk away from the accident. Add to this the mystery between them: they used to be a group of six friends, but last year one of them died, and nobody knows how it happened. It’s a murder mystery wrapped in a time loop, and yeah, strange things are about to happen.
    • Amour Amour

    • The Aerial Ethereal Series, Book 1
    • By: Krista Ritchie, Becca Ritchie
    • Narrated by: Ava Erickson
    • Length: 13 hrs and 21 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 230
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 216
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 216

    The best aerial technique won't land 21-year-old Thora James her dream role in Amour, a sexy new acrobatic show on the Vegas strip. Thora knows she's out of her element the second she....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Amazing

    • By Mary L on 03-28-17
    • The Aerial Ethereal Series, Book 1
    • By: Krista Ritchie, Becca Ritchie
    • Narrated by: Ava Erickson
    • Series: Aerial Ethereal, Book 1
    • Length: 13 hrs and 21 mins
    • Release date: 10-04-16
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 230 ratings
    • I ran away with the circus
    • I’d listened to a bunch of insta-love stories before I started Thora and Nikolai’s story, so their slow-burn relationship was the welcome change of pace I was needing. But while I came for the promise of the slow build, I stayed and loved Amour Amour because it reminded me of one of my old loves: dance and acrobatics. I was a gymnast when I was younger, so I’ve always had a fascination with the circus. My memory of Cirque du Soleil is still bright despite the fact that it was ten years ago since I last saw it. Stories about the circus, be it magical or no, will always hold a special place in my heart.
    • Love and Other Words

    • By: Christina Lauren
    • Narrated by: Erin Mallon
    • Length: 8 hrs and 22 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 507
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 483
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 482

    Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down....

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • ✫✫ 4 Stars ✫✫ Great Narration

    • By Cyndi on 04-13-18
    • By: Christina Lauren
    • Narrated by: Erin Mallon
    • Length: 8 hrs and 22 mins
    • Release date: 04-10-18
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 507 ratings
    • What’s your favorite word?
    • Love and Other Words is both a love story and a coming of age novel. It’s populated by the loveable characters and sprinkled with the quirk and wit that fans have come to expect from Christina Lauren, but it also draws an intimate picture of both Macy and Elliot as we see them grow from teens to adults. Macy in particular does not have an easy childhood after losing her mother at a young age. Erin Mallon’s narration had me feeling both the highs and the lows twice over as Elliot and Macy become neighbors, then friends, and then something more in their teen years. Their relationship seems to be of storybook perfection, but something comes between them to separate them for 11 years. Told in alternating timelines, the book had me unable to stop listening with the growing tension and the need to know: What could have possibly separated them all those years ago?
    • My Oxford Year

    • A Novel
    • By: Julia Whelan
    • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
    • Length: 9 hrs and 58 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,146
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,085
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,075

    American Ella Durran has had the same plan for her life since she was 13: study at Oxford. At 24, she’s finally made it to England on a Rhodes Scholarship....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Beautiful

    • By Karen on 05-03-18
    • A Novel
    • By: Julia Whelan
    • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
    • Length: 9 hrs and 58 mins
    • Release date: 04-24-18
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 1,146 ratings
    • A book nerd’s dream
    • In her debut novel, Julia Whelan has crafted a story that touches on the highs and lows of life, from the elation of falling in love to the sadness of loss. As an award-winning narrator, her narration of her own work is especially rich with a multitude of character voices and true-to-life expression through dialogue. Set at Oxford, a university so famous that those of us who’ve never even been to the UK have strong associations with the name (I think of rainy stone walkways and Harry Potter), it’s pretty much a book nerd’s dream. Ella, the American, meets Jamie, the quintessentially Oxfordian man who can recite poetry and show her the secrets of the university. It’s a blast, but it also delivers a few punches to the heart. In short, it’s a listen that has a little bit of everything, and I came away feeling full.
    • How to Date Your Dragon

    • By: Molly Harper
    • Narrated by: Amanda Ronconi, Jonathan Davis
    • Length: 6 hrs and 24 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 4,839
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 4,518
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 4,511

    Concerned that technology is about to chase mythological creatures out into the open, the League for Interspecies Cooperation is sending Jillian to Louisiana....

    • 3 out of 5 stars
    • Reasonably Good

    • By Kerri J. on 02-05-18
    • By: Molly Harper
    • Narrated by: Amanda Ronconi, Jonathan Davis
    • Series: Mystic Bayou, Book 1
    • Length: 6 hrs and 24 mins
    • Release date: 01-23-18
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4,839 ratings
    • You Can’t Rush a Good Gumbo
    • Set in a one-stoplight town where humans and supernaturals live side-by-side, How to Date Your Dragon is a big helping of southern comfort. Jillian, a young and enthusiastic anthropologist of the supernatural, is easy to root for. She’s come to Mystic Bayou to study why so many magique beings can live together in such close quarters, which should be impossible. During her research Jillian manages to butt heads with the infuriating, closed-off, and maddeningly sexy sheriff, Bael, each time they meet. The slow-brewing chemistry between them is palpable in Amanda Ronconi and Jonathan Davis’ dual narration within the first ten minutes. As my Southern grandma says, “You can’t rush a good gumbo,” and the same is true when it comes to love. The magic here lies in the simmer, and my response to that is “yum.”
    • Howl's Moving Castle

    • By: Diana Wynne Jones
    • Narrated by: Jenny Sterlin
    • Length: 8 hrs and 34 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 5,246
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 4,669
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 4,693

    On a rare venture out from her step-mother's hat shop, Sophie attracts the attention of a witch, who casts a terrible spell transforming the young girl into an old crone....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Very Entertaining

    • By Christopher on 07-02-12
    • By: Diana Wynne Jones
    • Narrated by: Jenny Sterlin
    • Series: Howl's Castle, Book 1
    • Length: 8 hrs and 34 mins
    • Release date: 11-14-08
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 5,246 ratings
    • Positively Incandescent
    • I don’t know what took me so long to listen to the audiobook of Howl’s Moving Castle. The Studio Ghibli film adaptation is one of my favorites and I’ve probably watched it more than any other movie. I’m so glad, then, that I can now love Diana Wynne Jones’ original story too and keep it in my pocket for whenever I’m needing a little magical pick-me-up. I’ve always been a sucker for fairytale spinoffs, underdogs, and heroes or heroines who hold powerful secrets, and here it is, all of it, in one package. Jenny Sterlin as the narrator just gets it: practical Sophie and aloof but dreamy Howl are opposites, but they make such a good match because their playful banter is positively incandescent. It’s infectious and I love it.