5 Questions with Simon Vance

Plus 5 Audiobooks from a King of Audiobooks

Simon Vance

Simon VanceIs there genre or style today’s Take 5 narrator can’t handle? If there is, I haven’t discovered it. Veteran narrator Simon Vance is one of the kings of audiobook performers and a favorite of thousands of listeners (me included).

Simon’s voice has been my companion for many hours over the years, helping me navigate fantasy worlds as well as the very real past and contemporary culture. I’m sure you agree: If you see his name is on an audiobook cover, you know the performance will be fabulous. 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 for the New Year

Meet Your Goals in 2019

Craft A Life You Love

Craft A Life You LoveI don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but I can’t help but see the new year as a chance to carve out more down time, to be a better scheduler, and to enjoy more time with friends and family. Every January when I open my new planner and hang the new calendar, I promise myself that this is the year I break the busyness cycle.

Researchers and social observers note that most of us are, in fact, less busy than we feel. Theories for this disconnect abound. For example Science Alert makes an argument that technology, information overload, and too many leisure choices add to our anxiety levels. The Guardian puts the blame on our DIY lifestyle. By booking our own travel or acting as our own bankers, we not only have to make time for those chores but we also miss out on face-to-face interactions, which can brighten our days. 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.

Cozy Christmas Mysteries

5 Audiobooks for the Season

Cozy Christmas Mysteries

Cozy Christmas Mysteries

Don’t panic, but Christmas is less than a week away! If you celebrate Hanukah, then you’re already cruising and looking forward to the new year, but if you celebrate Kwanzaa, Christmas, or the winter solstice, then you’re probably deep into last-minute prep.

For most of us, pre-holiday activities include baking and cooking, cleaning, decorating, shopping, wrapping, and—I hope—relaxing in the evening with some cookies and a warm (or warming) drink. Are you looking for something that will make all of those chores more fun and will put you in a holiday mood? One of my secrets is listening to holiday-themed cozy mystery audiobooks. 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 Best Young Adult Audiobooks 2018

2018 Best Young Adult Audiobooks

2018 Best Young Adult AudiobooksWelcome to December and the winter holiday season. One of my favorite things about the end of the year is reading all the best-of lists, especially those that focus on audiobooks. I love adding to my wish list and discovering great books I might have missed.

Get ready to find your next outstanding listen: Today’s Take 5 post is all about AudioFile’s Best Young Adult audiobooks for 2018. All the titles that made our list deserve the spotlight not only for their great stories but also for the fantastic narrators whose performances made the audiobooks unforgettable.

Here, I give you a hint of what each audiobook is all about, but don’t forget to click through to our full reviews. To see all the winners in all the categories, check out AudioFile’s 2018 Best Audiobooks E-Zine.

Now for this year’s best audiobooks for young adults: 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 Cassandra Campbell

From World Travel to Zsa Zsa Gabor, the Life of a Narrator

Cassandra Campbell

Cassandra CampbellI would recognize the voice of today’s Take 5 guest anywhere, because Cassandra Campbell has been my virtual companion many, many times over the years. Have you ever noticed how some narrators are tapped for all the audiobooks you love to listen to? Cassandra and I seem to have that kind of relationship.

I count on Cassandra’s calm, soothing voice to envelop the emotional heart of an audiobook, connecting me to the story no matter the intended audience or genre, including middle-grade fantasy (THE GLASS SENTENCE) and literary short stories (YOU KNOW WHEN THE MEN ARE GONE).

The audiobooks I feature here demonstrate the range of Cassandra’s solo work. I tried to limit my choices to books published this year, but I couldn’t resist sneaking in a couple of older titles. 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 Flying

Celebrating National Aviation Month

Celebrating National Aviation Month

Celebrating National Aviation MonthCan you guess which holiday I look forward to celebrating when I turn my calendar to November? Two hints: It doesn’t involve American flags or turkey dinners. Instead, I turn my thoughts to the sky and feel so lucky to live in a time of easy air travel (never mind those TSA lines).

Why? Because November is National Aviation History Month. According to the U.S. Government Printing Office, this month “is dedicated to exploring, recognizing and celebrating America’s great contributions and achievements in the development of aviation. Aviation history refers to the history of development of mechanical flight—from the earliest attempts in kites and gliders to powered heavier-than-air, supersonic and space flights.”

For whatever reason, I love to fly and have been in all kinds of aircraft, including hot-air balloons, Cessna four-seaters, helicopters, and gigantic commercial jets. I’ll be forever sad I never flew in a Concorde, but I’m looking forward to whatever advances in air travel the future holds. 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 Ron Butler

5 Audiobooks and 5 Questions with a Versatile Voice Performer

Ron Butler

Ron ButlerToday’s Take 5 guest is one smooth-talking man. No matter the genre, I find myself swimming in Ron Butler’s soft voice, leaning in to catch every nuance. I’ve always admired his feel for the pace of a story, whether truth or fiction, and seeing Ron’s name on an audiobook is enough for me to add the title to my wish list.

I’ve chosen five excellent audiobooks to introduce you to the range of Ron’s solo work, but I can’t miss this opportunity to encourage you to listen to some of the award-winning multi-narrator books he has contributed to, including FRESH INK, a collection of contemporary short stories for teens celebrating diversity in literature. 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 Starring Paranormal Beings

Werewolves, witches, zombies, oh my . . .

Pumpkins

PumpkinsI know Halloween is a couple of weeks away, but I’m already excited about carving pumpkins and seeing the neighborhood kids in their ghoulish costumes. Like so many of you, I get in the mood by listening to mysteries, thrillers, and other spooky audiobooks throughout the month of October.

Although I don’t read a lot of horror (okay, so I don’t read horror at all), I do like stories that introduce me to not-quite-human paranormal creatures. I’m not fond of ghosts, but give me a werewolf, witch, zombie, or vampire, and I’m all in.

If you’re not sure where to start on your creepy creature audiobook adventure or if you’re looking for something new to listen to, I’ve got you covered. Get ready to meet your new paranormal BFF. 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 Julia Whelan

Plus 5 of her best audiobooks

Julia Whelan

Julia WhelanThis month’s Take 5 spotlight is shining on Julia Whelan, an audiobook narrator extraordinaire. I’ve spent many hours listening to Julia’s voice as she performed a wide variety of fiction, and I trust her to perfectly capture the characters’ personalities and to sweep me up in their emotional journeys. I thank her for many extra-long walks or additional hours working in the garden: Her spot-on pacing and emphasis on the elements that make the plot flow (foreboding, romance, anticipation) make it hard for me to turn off my audiobook.

Julia must be one of the most hardworking narrators in the business. When I was picking examples of her work to feature today, I noticed she performed at least a half dozen audiobooks set for release this month. I immediately added four to my listening wish list, including A HEART IN THE BODY IN THE WORLD which Julia says is “timely and incredible.” 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 for the New School Year

Get a fresh start with these audiobooks

5 Audiobooks for the New School Year

I love novels that feature schools; public school, boarding school, parochial school, or college—I read them all. Because fall fills me with fond memories of a new school year and all the promises of a fresh start, I’m often drawn to these kinds of stories in September.

I especially like novels in which the school itself (or a particular classroom) is a prominent aspect of the story, and the audiobooks featured in today’s Take 5 meet that criterion. Each one is tightly linked to a specific school or teacher and transported me back to my school days. Well, maybe not my school days, but you know what I mean.

Sharpen your pencils and shine your apples; it’s time to head off to class and make new friends. 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.