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Xe Sands

5 Questions with Xe Sands

Xe SandsThis month I welcome Xe Sands to the Take 5 stage. Xe’s soft voice and emotionally deep performances have enhanced hundreds of audiobooks across many genres. She is particularly skilled at tightening the gap between author and listener while still leaving enough room to let us experience our own reactions to the story, whether it’s literary fiction, mystery, or romance.

As I picked five audiobooks to showcase Xe’s work, I couldn’t help but be biased by my own favorites, which lean heavily toward literary fiction. I should point out, though, that Xe has many devoted romance-loving fans and has earned much praise for her performances of a variety of nonfiction titles as well. Read more…

Chu's First Day of School

9 Audiobooks for a New School Year

Whether you’re headed to Kindergarten or middle school, starting a new school year can be scary no matter how old you are. This collection of audiobooks about heartwarming school friendships can help calm first-day fears and show your child that there can be a bright side to a new start, too.

Chu's First Day of School
Wemberly Worried
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Who Is Vera Kelly?

Stretching Out of My Listening Comfort Zone

The FallenOne of the things I love about being a reviewer for AudioFile Magazine is the opportunity to listen to new books I would not have chosen on my own. Frankly, I frequently find myself going back again and again to the same authors, narrators, and types of mysteries. Yet the mystery category covers many genres, including Cozies, Noir, Police Procedurals, P.I., Sherlock Holmes, Hard-boiled, Soft-boiled, Historical. And then there are Thrillers, Suspense, Horror, and Paranormal. And then there are sub-genres within all of these categories. The point is, with so many flavors, why stick with just plain vanilla or chocolate? Go for it—try something new and different.

While slightly out of my comfort zone, I have listened to and enjoyed David Baldacci’s Amos Decker series, most recently THE FALLEN. I find the lead character Amos Decker intriguing and sympathetic. He is known as the “memory man” as he has the special ability to remember everything. The audiobook, read by Kyf Brewer and Orlagh Cassidy, solves the challenge of male narrators performing female characters and visa versa. Read more…

Fred Berman

New Audiobook Biography of Robin Williams

Narrator Fred Berman takes AudioFile listeners Behind the Mic to share about narrating ROBIN, Dave Itzkoff’s biography of late comedian Robin Williams.

“It’s a beautiful warts-and-all look at this mad genius. We think we know the guy, but Dave Itzkoff goes so deep.”—Narrator Fred Berman

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The Middleman

New Audiobooks Offer Plenty of Contrast

Contrasts—dark or light-hearted, subtle or intense, Russia or North Carolina. Going through our new reviews this week, I am struck by the variety of titles and how the audiobooks are often in stark contrast. Of course, books are written on a vast variety of subjects and with radically different points of view, and this gives a grand range of options for listening and reading.

The Middleman
East of Innocence

In newly reviewed thrillers, I’ll contrast the cerebral and politically charged THE MIDDLEMAN by Olen Steinhauer with EAST OF INNOCENCE by David Thorne. Narrator Rupert Degas portrays a cast of hard-bitten characters with stunning emotional dimension in the latter. In the former, Ari Fliakos deftly takes listeners through “a snarl of idealism, cynicism, paranoia, and lies.” Read more…