5 Questions With Khristine Hvam

5 Audiobooks and 5 Questions with One Skilled Narrator

Khristine Hvam

Khristine HvamPlease welcome Khristine Hvam to the Take 5 stage. When I tune in to one of Khristine’s audiobook performances, I’m always impressed with her skill at helping me forge a strong emotional bond with the characters. From fantasies to literary fiction, Khristine’s narrations immerse me in the story as I root for the heroes and boo the villains.

I’m most familiar with Khristine’s work in fantasy, but she’s won awards in historical fiction, literary fiction, romance, and more. The audiobooks I feature today reflect this range. Read more…

Candace Levy
Candace is a full-time freelance book editor as well as a book reviewer and journalist. When she’s not working, you'll inevitably find her listening to an audiobook while cooking, walking, making lace, or taking photographs. She was honored to be the 2016 Audio Publishers Association's Audiobook Blogger of the Year.

5 Audiobooks about Summer Sports

Dive Into Summer Listens

Find A Way

Hello, Summer! I welcome your days of outdoor living. You bring me gardening, cookouts, and naps on the deck. The air is teeming with the soothing sounds of birds and bees . . . and the occasional thwack of balls.

Find A WayYes! Now’s the time to dust off those tennis balls, golf balls, baseballs, soccer balls, and bocce balls. Don’t care for cricket? Maybe it’s time to launch a canoe, a sailboat, a kayak, or a raft. Don’t have sports equipment? No problem. Head on over to the swimming pool, the swimming hole, the creek, the beach, or the bay and just jump in.

I love summer sports and look for ways to participate on a casual level, whether it’s a pick-up neighborhood baseball game or a Saturday bike ride with my husband. Despite, or maybe because of, my amateur status, I’ve always felt that sports enrich our lives, not only encouraging us to improve our physical skills but teaching us to be better winners and losers and giving us a basis to form lifelong friendships.

I’ll never be a professional athlete, but thanks to audiobooks, I can live vicariously. Today I feature five memoirs from both hobbyists and elite athletes who are devoted to a summer sport. These audiobooks may not help you improve your score, but they’ll inspire you to get in the game. Read more…

Candace Levy
Candace is a full-time freelance book editor as well as a book reviewer and journalist. When she’s not working, you'll inevitably find her listening to an audiobook while cooking, walking, making lace, or taking photographs. She was honored to be the 2016 Audio Publishers Association's Audiobook Blogger of the Year.

Five Questions with Grover Gardner

Sharing five excellent audiobooks and five insightful questions with a veteran narrator

Grover Gardner

Grover GardnerI don’t know why I always associate veteran narrator Grover Gardner with nonfiction, because although he does indeed narrate history, biography, and theology, he has worked on a full range of genres, everything from horror to light kids’ stories. While I’m not likely to listen to Grover’s Earphones Award–winning performance of THE STAND (I think it might be too spooky for me), I enjoy listening to his “charming voice” on much tamer audiobooks.

Grover has narrated hundreds of titles (no exaggeration), so it was just a little difficult to pick only five to show off his work. The titles featured today reflect my own tastes: These are audiobooks I recommend or that are on my personal to-be-listened-to wish list. Read more…

Candace Levy
Candace is a full-time freelance book editor as well as a book reviewer and journalist. When she’s not working, you'll inevitably find her listening to an audiobook while cooking, walking, making lace, or taking photographs. She was honored to be the 2016 Audio Publishers Association's Audiobook Blogger of the Year.

Five Audiobooks Celebrating Nature

Getting your nature fix through audiobooks

The Soul of an Octopus

I know I’m not alone in welcoming warmer weather. Like so many others in the Northern Hemisphere, I couldn’t be happier to finally see spring. I love opening the windows and spending as much time as possible in the great outdoors. Whether I’m on the beach or in the woods, in my garden or relaxing on my deck, I’m all about enjoying the natural environment.

When Mother Nature won’t cooperate, and I’m cooped up inside because of rain or cold, I can still get my nature fix thanks to audiobooks. Sometimes I’m looking for a novel set in a remote locale or an outdoor adventure story; other times I want to be inspired to be a better advocate for planet Earth.

Today, however, I want an upbeat nonfiction audiobook that will teach me more about plants and animals or help me to better appreciate the world around me. Today’s Take 5 recommendations meet these requirements and take us from ocean to farm to sky. Read more…

Candace Levy
Candace is a full-time freelance book editor as well as a book reviewer and journalist. When she’s not working, you'll inevitably find her listening to an audiobook while cooking, walking, making lace, or taking photographs. She was honored to be the 2016 Audio Publishers Association's Audiobook Blogger of the Year.

5 Questions with January LaVoy

Take 5 with Candace: Why this narrator has fans of all ages and listening genres

January Lavoy by Scott Sherratt

January Lavoy by Scott SherrattSay hello to January LaVoy, a narrator who never fails to impress me with her incredible range of voices and ability to adapt her delivery to fit the intended audience. Our reviewers universally comment on January’s distinct, consistent voices and how smoothly she slips from character to character. It’s no wonder that audiobook fans of all ages and listening tastes have January on their short list of favorite narrators.

I had a hard time picking just five audiobooks to share this week (and, in fact, I cheated by featuring two series), but ultimately I made my choices to highlight January’s performances across different genres. Read more…

Candace Levy
Candace is a full-time freelance book editor as well as a book reviewer and journalist. When she’s not working, you'll inevitably find her listening to an audiobook while cooking, walking, making lace, or taking photographs. She was honored to be the 2016 Audio Publishers Association's Audiobook Blogger of the Year.

Learning to Love Author-Read Audiobooks

Take 5 With Candace: 5 Author-Narrated Audiobooks

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane

One of the great debates among audiobook fans has do with author-narrated audiobooks. Do you seek them out or avoid them like the plague? I used to be solidly in the “just say no to author-read books” camp, thinking audiobooks should be left to the professionals. While I still don’t fully reject that premise, I have to admit that some of my all-time most memorable audiobooks are, in fact, performed by the author.

Born With Teeth
H is for Hawk

Memoirs are a natural for author-read audiobooks. Who could understand the emotional impact and intimate revelations of books in this genre more than the authors themselves? It’s probably a little unfair of me to name Kate Mulgrew’s BORN WITH TEETH as one of my favorite author-read memoirs; after all, she’s an actor, and her ability to read her own life story should be a given. In reality, however, not all actors make good narrators, so I was pleasantly surprised at how genuine Mulgrew sounded as she recounted her journey from childhood to stardom. Read more…

Candace Levy
Candace is a full-time freelance book editor as well as a book reviewer and journalist. When she’s not working, you'll inevitably find her listening to an audiobook while cooking, walking, making lace, or taking photographs. She was honored to be the 2016 Audio Publishers Association's Audiobook Blogger of the Year.

5 Questions with Edoardo Ballerini

Take 5 with Candace: Get lost in this narrator’s voice

Edoardo Ballerini

Edoardo BalleriniToday I turn the spotlight on Edoardo Ballerini, one of my go-to narrators. When I see Edoardo’s name on an audiobook cover, I have two immediate expectations, which are always met: solid characterizations and a silky, smooth narrative voice. I’m always impressed by his wide range of accents and vocal qualities and love how he enlivens the characters’ personalities and hones in on their emotional journeys. In between the dialogue, I find myself getting lost in his soft, almost melodic delivery. Read more…

Candace Levy
Candace is a full-time freelance book editor as well as a book reviewer and journalist. When she’s not working, you'll inevitably find her listening to an audiobook while cooking, walking, making lace, or taking photographs. She was honored to be the 2016 Audio Publishers Association's Audiobook Blogger of the Year.

Take 5 with Candace: Pi Day

Celebrating Pi Day with pastries, pizza, and plenty of audiobooks

How To Bake Pi

How To Bake PiHappy Pi Day (or for some of us, Pie Day)! Okay, so you know about the Ides of March and St. Patrick’s Day and the Spring Equinox (all March events), but what’s with Pi Day?

Remember your high school geometry class? Pi (π) is used in the formula that determines the circumference of a circle.  So what does that have to do with March 14? Pi is equal to 3.14 (followed by a bunch of other numbers). Get it? 3.14 = March 14.

Even though I actually do use geometry in my real life (you were right, Mr. High School Math Teacher), I much prefer to celebrate my Pi Day as Pie Day. I’m always up for yummy fruit or nuts baked in a flaky crust, perfect for breakfast or a late-night snack. Read more…

Candace Levy
Candace is a full-time freelance book editor as well as a book reviewer and journalist. When she’s not working, you'll inevitably find her listening to an audiobook while cooking, walking, making lace, or taking photographs. She was honored to be the 2016 Audio Publishers Association's Audiobook Blogger of the Year.

Take 5 with Candace: 5 Questions with Alyssa Bresnahan

Alyssa draws listeners into the emotional heart of her audiobooks

Alyssa Bresnahan on a chairlift
Alyssa Bresnahan on a chairlift with her daughter
Alyssa and her daughter on their way to ski

Do you have a favorite audiobook? I do, and it was narrated by none other than today’s guest, Alyssa Bresnahan. You’ll have to forgive a little fangirl giddiness as I introduce you to Alyssa and recommend five of her stellar audiobook performances.

I’m not alone in praise of her work; Alyssa has won many AudioFile Earphones Awards and has appeared on several of our best of the year lists, most recently for her performance of Charlie Jane Anders’s ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY,  which was an AudioFile best of 2016 Science Fiction & Fantasy pick.

5 Audiobooks

An Owl on Every PostEach of today’s featured audiobooks highlights Alyssa’s talent for creating an evocative atmosphere and drawing the listener into the emotional heart of the story. For example, her performance of AN OWL ON EVERY POST—Sanora Babb’s memoir of homesteading in the early 20th century on the eastern plains of Colorado—helps us feel the expanse of the prairie, the power of nature, and the strength of the pioneering spirit. Read more…

Candace Levy
Candace is a full-time freelance book editor as well as a book reviewer and journalist. When she’s not working, you'll inevitably find her listening to an audiobook while cooking, walking, making lace, or taking photographs. She was honored to be the 2016 Audio Publishers Association's Audiobook Blogger of the Year.

Take 5 with Candace: Lunar New Year

Xin Nian Kuai Le!

Do Not Say We Have Nothing

In China, the celebration of the Lunar New Year is called the Spring Festival, though you may know it as Chinese New Year. During the two-week-long holiday, participants honor their ancestors and deities and spend time with their families.

Festivities involve red decorations, lanterns, parades, firecrackers, and special foods (such as dumplings and long noodles). Similar to the celebration of the new year in cultures and religions around the world, several Chinese traditions are meant to ensure a healthy and prosperous future.

Do Not Say We Have NothingThis year, Spring Festival begins on February 16 and ushers in the Year of the Dog. According to one source, the coming months will see an increase in “social awareness and action, for the many rather than the few.” If you were born in the Year of the Dog, you likely share traits with Winston Churchill, Madonna, and Mother Teresa.

What can you do if you’re unable to attend any local celebrations? You can still get into the spirit of the Lunar New Year by donning a bright red sweater and ordering in some spring rolls. Then settle down to listen to one (or more) of today’s Take 5 recommendations, which will transport you to China, right from your favorite armchair. Read more…

Candace Levy
Candace is a full-time freelance book editor as well as a book reviewer and journalist. When she’s not working, you'll inevitably find her listening to an audiobook while cooking, walking, making lace, or taking photographs. She was honored to be the 2016 Audio Publishers Association's Audiobook Blogger of the Year.