5 Favorite Series: Part 1

Outlander, In Death, All Souls, and more excellent series to love

Outlander

Hello, my name is Candace and I’m addicted to series. Especially on audio.

I’m not picky, either: mystery, science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction . . . if I sense author–narrator magic going on, I’m there. And I can’t stop listening.

I refuse rehab. You can’t get me to quit.

Outlander
Written In My Own Heart's Blood

One of my favorite audiobook series is Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books read by the divine Davina Porter. The books take place in two time periods (20th century and 18th century) and in both the Old and New Worlds. The plot includes family saga, romance, and time travel, wrapped up in historical fiction. Listen to these books just for Porter’s perfect accents (especially Gaelic/Scottish) and her characterizations, but really listen because the story is so, so good. Start with OUTLANDER and get ready for about 365 hours of audiobook heaven, ending with WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD. I understand there are at least two more books planned. Davina Porter had better clear her schedule. 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.

Audiobook Narrators Come to Maine

Robin’s Roundup July 27

Lobster Bake
photo by Sean Runnette

Each summer AudioFile celebrates audiobook narrators with a Maine clambake in Boothbay, Maine. Narrators come from across the country, and sometimes we even have an international guest. But it’s not just the usual suspects—each year a different and diverse group of narrators joins us. We greet old friends and make new ones!

We always have representation from AudioFile’s Golden Voices—this year Barbara Rosenblat and Robin Miles joined us. AudioFile Earphones Award winners and Audie Award winners also are well represented. And it’s a true delight just to get to put voices and faces together. Read more…

Robin Whitten
Robin is the Founder & Editor of AudioFile Magazine. The AudioFile Blog is her newest project to offer new voices and recommendations for audiobooks.

Four Reasons Writers Should Love Narrators

Hint: Narrators can make amazing books even better

Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall
Bring Up The Bodies

Hilary Mantel’s historical novels about Henry the Eighth’s chief fixer Thomas Cromwell, WOLF HALL and BRING UP THE BODIES, may have been hugely popular, but I never made far into either tome. Judge me if you will, but the long, phrase-filled sentences and constant present tense put me off. Then I turned to the audiobooks, and sure enough, narrators Simon Slater (WOLF HALL) and Simon Vance (BRING UP THE BODIES) captured me immediately. The expressiveness of their voices, scenic pacing, and vivid vocal portraits welcomed me into Mantel’s blend of prodigious fact and colorful imagination. Thanks to Slater and Vance, each of whom won an Earphones Award for their performances, I read two books I loved, and Mantel gained a fan. Read more…

Author and audiobook fanatic, Aurelia often falls asleep at night with earbuds still attached. She can also be found at www.aureliacscott.com.

Aurelia’s Audio Adventures: My Frozen Toes

Audiobooks About Winter’s Joys and Terrors

Speed Kings

Speed KingsWhat I remember most about my childhood attempt to ski is cold feet. Mine were so painful that I whimpered. That’s why, after one frozen season on the slopes, and several ineffectual years trying to be Peggy-Fleming-figure-skating’s-darling, I designated winter as my spectator season. Thus the current Winter Olympics suit me perfectly. I can admire the athleticism free from the urge to try it myself.

Take bobsledding, which bears no resemblance to my start-and-stop progress down Heaton Hall Hill on a Flexible Flyer at age twelve. Instead, teams of two or four fling themselves onto a super-fast sled in order to plummet down a twisting ice-chute. Insane. Yet the sport is huge fun to watch, and in Eric Meyers’s gripping narration of SPEED KINGS: The 1932 Winter Olympics and the Fastest Men in the World by Andy Bull, vicariously thrilling. Read more…

Author and audiobook fanatic, Aurelia often falls asleep at night with earbuds still attached. She can also be found at www.aureliacscott.com.

Tease: Pairing Up for the New Year

Finding that perfect match

Lady Traveler's Guide to Scoundrels and other Gentlemen

My niece (a smart cookie!) received a matching game for Christmas. All of her animal shapes in neat matching pairs made me think about how none of us like to be alone for New Year’s. If we’re going to jump into this brand new, perilous endeavor of 2018, we want company.

Surely, the same must be true of your audiobook collection. If one audiobook is good, then a pair must be better. So, in the spirit of starting the new year off right, here are some romance audiobook pairs. They all have something in common, some reason to be together in your playlist. And, if you have no other New Year’s resolutions, then keep it simple and Love Your Listening.

Pair THE LADY TRAVELERS GUIDE TO SCOUNDRELS & OTHER GENTLEMEN by Victoria Alexander, read by Marian Hussey
with VIRGIN’S SECRET by Victoria Alexander, read by Xanthe Elbrick

Both Victoria Alexander titles share her signature naughtiness. Her heroines manage to skirt the edges of proper behavior while remaining a part of society. THE VIRGIN’S SECRET was my first Xanthe Elbrick audiobook, and I still have fond feelings toward the book because of her superb accents and smooth-as-silk voice. If you like historical romance that keeps you on your toes, this pairing will suit nicely. Read more…

Caitlin is a librarian from Connecticut who enjoys great narrators and happy endings. She has been reviewing audiobooks for Audiofile Magazine since 2006, and she has had the privilege of judging numerous Audie Award categories since 2009. Her favorite authors are Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, and whatever she's listening to right now!

The Download: Barbara Rosenblat on The Painted Queen

On recording Elizabeth Peters’s final Amelia Peabody mystery

Barbara Rosenblat recording The Painted Queen

The Painted QueenGolden Voice narrator Barbara Rosenblat chats with AudioFile’s Jo Reed about one of the most enduring partnerships in the audiobook world—that of “the Barbaras.” Barbara Rosenblat and Barbara Mertz, aka Elizabeth Peters. THE PAINTED QUEEN is the 20th in the Amelia Peabody mystery series—all narrated by Barbara Rosenblat.

THE PAINTED QUEEN was left as a partially finished manuscript when author Elizabeth Peters died in 2013. Mystery writer Joan Hess completed the manuscript, and as our reviewer said, Barbara Rosenblat brings to life the “delicious blend of love and mayhem.”

“What you’re doing is creating a world. You’re channeling an author and an author’s intent . . . and you let the author be there with you, because in fact you are collaborating in every sense with the author as you move along.”—Narrator Barbara Rosenblat

Read more…

Josephine Reed
Jo Reed is a compulsive listener of audiobooks. She was the program director of the book and theater channel on XM Satellite Radio where she created, produced, and hosted This is Audible and Writers on Writing. She also created, produced, and hosted the literary show, On the Margin for WPFW, a public radio station in Washington DC where it ran for 18 years.

Tease: Intro to the Genre

The best titles to suck you into romance listening

Oh, dear. You know how you have an idea, and you think it’s a good idea, and then after a while, you realize you didn’t know what you were getting into? This is that time.

The Firebird

It was supposed to be simple (sigh). Introduce audiobook listeners to the romance genre with a few touchstone titles. These are audiobooks that epitomize the best of the genre and would appeal to a wide range of listeners. I thought I would organize it by category — for example, if you’re a mystery reader, you can jump into a romantic suspense listen and barely notice the landing. I had a few titles and narrators in my head. I started to organize them on paper to make categories. I jotted titles on the first paper. Quick and easy, right? Not so. I ran out of paper, had to start a second sheet. I thought of more suggestions. Then, I had to turn both of the sheets sideways in order to scribble more titles. Then, I was squeezing them in between the lines on both notes. Did I mention I don’t have good handwriting to begin with?

Long story short, there are MANY gateways to romance audio, and they are all worth entering. Here are a FEW to get you started. (Yes, this is a much shortened list from the original notes.)

Read more…

Caitlin is a librarian from Connecticut who enjoys great narrators and happy endings. She has been reviewing audiobooks for Audiofile Magazine since 2006, and she has had the privilege of judging numerous Audie Award categories since 2009. Her favorite authors are Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, and whatever she's listening to right now!

Solve: Always listen in order! (Or don’t.)

Do you follow your favorite sleuth’s every move or jump into each new series on a whim?

Glass HousesI have a confession to make. I sometimes listen to series out of order on audiobook. As a matter of fact, I recently finished Louise Penny’s GLASS HOUSES—but I haven’t listened to the previous two installments in the series. I know some of you are gasping in horror. There was a time I would have done the same thing. As I started doing more and more reviewing, my list of absolutely-must-listen-in-order started to get shorter and shorter.

I still adore Louise Penny’s Three Pines series, which seems to grow better with each book. And starting a new one is like visiting old friends. But my schedule—especially in August—doesn’t always permit me a lot of extra time for books and audios I’m not assigned to review. So I’ve ended up reading some out of order. Read more…

A freelance book and audiobook reviewer, I have also written numerous interviews of authors and narrators. Story entrances me and if I'm not reading for myself I love having a story told to me. In addition, I'm an avid photographer, where stories are in the images!

Tease: 7 Romance Audiobooks Good for a Laugh

Laugh-out-loud favorites for fun summer listening

Mixing romance and humor can be a tricky balance — and finding a narrator to dish out zany dialogue or ironic quips with droll aplomb is not as easy as it sounds. Often when I’m listening, I find myself surprised into unexpected laughter because the narrator snuck up on me with a covert zinger. Here are a few of my favorite humorous romances. These narrators have great senses of humor, pacing, timing and delivery. Add your own favorites in the comments!

Bet Me

BET ME
by Jennifer Crusie, read by Deanna Hurst
Brilliance Audio

If I were limited to one title, this would be it. Legendary in romance circles for the awkward encounters between Min and Cal as they fight a bad first date and the cat from hell, as well as for the memorable cherries on the heroine’s shoes, BET ME stands out as a romance sparking with verbal chemistry. Narrator Deanna Hurst has a voice low enough to score realism points for Cal and a humor that rolls out expressively through changes in pitch and pacing. Not to be missed.

Read more…

Caitlin is a librarian from Connecticut who enjoys great narrators and happy endings. She has been reviewing audiobooks for Audiofile Magazine since 2006, and she has had the privilege of judging numerous Audie Award categories since 2009. Her favorite authors are Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, and whatever she's listening to right now!