Behind the Mic: Cruel Beautiful World

AudioFile goes Behind the Mic with narrator Xe (pronounced “EK-see”) Sands to tell us about her experience narrating Caroline Leavitt’s CRUEL BEAUTIFUL WORLD.

“What happens when beloved characters make choices that have tragic, even unforeseen consequences?”—Narrator Xe Sands

Cruel Beautiful World

by Caroline Leavitt, read by Xe Sands
HighBridge Audio
Earphones Award Winner

When a high-profile book is brilliantly channeled through audiobook performance, it’s a gift for listeners. Our reviewer calls CRUEL BEAUTIFUL WORLD “an audiobook lover’s dream.” Xe tells us how she invested in the emotions of Caroline Leavitt’s characters. Listeners will as well. Listen to a sound clip of Xe and read our full review here!

Xe Sands
Photo by Charles Tarnowski Photography

Find more recent audiobooks narrated by Xe!

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Tease: November Hot Picks

This month’s picks go from sweet to steamy and include some of our favorite authors and narrators. Good luck choosing just one!

DragonmarkDRAGONMARK: Dark-Hunter, book 27
Sherrilyn Kenyon, read by Holter Graham
Brilliance Audio

Betrayal and passion mix when dragon Illarion and human Edilyn meet.

Linda Howard and Linda Jones, read by Abby Craden
Harper Audio

Conflicting magical missions make Lenna and Caine’s unwilling attraction deliciously complicated.

Erin Knightley, read by Courtney Patterson
Hachette Audio

Opposites attract as rodeo champ Tanner Callen falls for city slicker Madeline Harper.

Christine Feehan, read by Jim Frangione
Recorded Books

Hunted by a murderer, Francesca seeks refuge and protection from the Ferraro crime family and their unusual abilities.

Sweet Little LiesSWEET LITTLE LIES: Heartbreaker Bay, Book 1
Jill Shalvis, read by Karen White
Harper Audio

Pru’s secrets may ruin her relationship with pub proprietor Finn O’Riley.

Twelve Days of ChristmasTWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
Debbie Macomber, read by Suzanne Elise Freeman
Random House Audio

Julia starts a Christmas blog chronicling her efforts to befriend her curmudgeonly neighbor, Cain.

Keep your must-list hot with AudioFile’s newest romance reviews.

Solve: Cry of Thunder

AudioFile goes Behind the Mic with narrator Johnny Heller to hear about Kolchak: The Night Stalker doing a little time-travel and getting wrapped up with Sherlock Holmes. CRY OF THUNDER: Sherlock Holmes & Kolchak the Night Stalker piques our curiosity—before the X-Files there was Kolchak.

“Kolchak, the hardened newspaper reporter, investigates crimes and events that law enforcement doesn’t want because they have, at their heart, the supernatural.”—Narrator Johnny Heller


CRY OF THUNDER: Sherlock Holmes & Kolchak the Night Stalker
Joe Gentile, Read by Johnny Heller
Blackstone Audio

Johnny Heller has a ball with the characters—from crime reporter Kolchak to Holmes and Watson and somehow looping in cowboys of the American West. Read our full review here!

Browse our newest mystery reviews to find your next great listen!

Self: Frientimacy

Women’s friendships are the key to everything. Shasta Nelson’s advice begins with a description of intimacy that will resonate with everyone. Narrator Robin Eller makes us believe it.

Shasta Nelson, read by Robin Eller
Vibrance Press
AudioFile Earphones Award

Explore the impact of friendship on our health and happiness. Shasta notes, “With the constant connectivity of today’s world, it’s never been easier to meet people and make new friends—but it’s never been harder to form meaningful friendships.” Robin Eller gives listeners a deeply-connected audio performance. Listen to a sound clip of Robin and read our full review here!

For more SELF recommendations, browse AudioFile’s newest personal growth reviews!

Behind the Mic: Grayling’s Song

We know that narrator Katherine Kellgren can weave spells with her versatile voice and her prodigious narration talents. As AudioFile goes Behind the Mic, we learn about another of Katherine’s gifts when she recorded Karen Cushman’s GRAYLING’S SONG.

“Karen Cushman loves to have music in her books . . . We agreed that I would write all the melodies for Grayling’s songs.”—Narrator Katherine Kellgren

Grayling's Song

by Karen Cushman, read by Katherine Kellgren
Recorded Books
Earphones Award Winner

AudioFile Editors knew the combination of Karen Cushman and Katherine Kellgren would again create terrific listening. Celebrated Cushman titles ALCHEMY AND MEGGIE SWANWILL SPARROW’S ROAD and now GRAYLING’S SONG make a trifecta of song, history, magic, and memorable characters. Listen to a sound clip of Katherine and read our full review here!

Katherine Kellgren
Photo: Jo Anna Perrin

Find more recent audiobooks by Katherine!

Best Audiobooks 2016AudioFile
2016 Best Audiobooks
Award Winner