Robin’s Roundup: January 5 New Audiobook Reviews

A New Year and the Real Meaning of Robin’s Roundup

Robin's round up

2018 has roared into Maine with frigid temps and plenty of snow. This is great curl-up-and-read/listen weather.

Just what Danish author Meik Wiking suggests in his popular THE LITTLE BOOK OF HYGGE. His new audiobook, THE LITTLE BOOK OF LYKKEoffers encouragement for a happier year, and life that includes getting to know your neighbors and volunteering. Another new audiobook that offers thoughts along the lines of “fresh starts” for the new year is Oprah Winfrey’s audio collection THE WISDOM OF SUNDAYS: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations. I wasn’t initially sure about the title, but found that once I listened to the sample sound clip—that comes up with our review—I was eager to hear more. One activity I do in my neighborhood at the start of the new year reveals another meaning to Robin’s Roundup. My husband and I “roundup” Christmas trees for our garden—limbed up, the boughs make a terrific mulch!

Robin Whitten rounding up Christmas trees for mulch. 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.

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!

Solve: New Year’s Resolutions for Crime Fighters

What resolutions would your favorite crime fighters embrace in 2018?

Craig Johnson - The Western Star

Welcome to 2018, friends! I’ll still be writing 2017 for at least another month or so. This weekend, though, I was writing resolutions. The idea of resolutions always brings mixed reactions. You have those who are steadfastly against them, “I NEVER make resolutions! Those never work.” And others who are super creative or need them for motivation. The flurry of gym memberships in January always reflects those who resolve to get in shape, and the garbage collectors probably have to work harder the first month of the year due to all those who want to de-clutter.

For the past several years, I’ve seen people creating one-word resolutions. The idea, I believe, originated with Mike Ashcraft and his “My One Word” initiative. The concept is to choose one word that you want to represent you and to focus on it the whole year. This idea made me wonder about what words would be appropriate for our favorite characters in crime fiction. So here are my ideas:

Walt Longmire – Justice
The honorable lawman from Wyoming is always in search of justice, but by the end of THE WESTERN STAR, he’s a man on a mission, and no one had better stand in his way.

Craig Johnson - The Western Star 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!

Behind the Mic: The Ethan I Was Before

Hurricanes, wolves, and pool parties—the perfect ingredients for a teen novel

The Ethan I Was Before

Narrator Kirby Heyborne takes AudioFile readers Behind the Mic to hear more about his narration of THE ETHAN I WAS BEFORE from Ali Standish. Let this audiobook grab your heart.

“What I love about this audiobook is that it has a theme that is relatable to every age group, particularly young adults.”—Narrator Kirby Heyborne

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Behind the Mic: Hello, Universe

A family listening choice about courage, fate, and friendship

Hello, Universe

AudioFile magazine goes Behind the Mic with Ramon de Ocampo to learn about his narration of HELLO, UNIVERSE by Erin Entrada Kelly.  A wonderful coming of age story with keen perceptions on courage, fate, and friendship.

“I remember in the recording booth how swept up I was and pulled into this really honest and original coming of age story.”—Narrator Ramon de Ocampo

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Robin’s Roundup: December 22 Best Audiobooks of the Year #4

Getting an inside look at some biographies

Suzanne Toren

AudioFile Best of 2017

Looking this week at our choices for the BEST titles in the Biography & History category, I’m excited that we have the narrators’ Behind the Mic videos for so many of these titles.

Christian Baskous talking about recording Richard Ford’s BETWEEN THEM; Mark Bramhall on Ron Chernow’s GRANT biography; Jonathan Yen giving us a wonderful teaser to explore A MIND AT PLAY and discover the man who is called the father of the information age, Claude Shannon; and Rob Shapiro talking about recording THE WORLD REMADE, a timely look at America in World War I.

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.

Take 5 with Candace: Audiobooks for the Winter Solstice

Candace has found the perfect remedy for finding hygge on long winter nights

In the Kingdom of Ice

In the Kingdom of IceTomorrow is the first day of winter and the promise of cold weather ahead for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. But there’s no need to fret: Remember that the solstice also marks the point when the days start to get longer.

Here’s some more good news: Winter is the perfect time to indulge in your favorite indoor hobby, whether that’s baking, knitting, woodcarving, painting, or crafting. And while you’re enjoying your creative endeavors, you can pretend you’re out in the elements by listening to a good audiobook.

Grab a cup of hot chocolate, settle in by the fireplace, and get ready to experience winter the easy way.

Even armchair travelers may feel the chill after listening to IN THE KINGDOM OF ICE by Hampton Sides, about an 1879 expedition to find the North Pole. Narrator Arthur Morey “maintains our rapt attention” as he places the explorers’ emotional and physical challenges front and center. This audiobook is history and true-life adventure at their best. 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.

The Narrator Makes All the Difference

What Qualities Set the Best Audiobook Performances Apart?

Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient ExpressAfter months of persuasion, my friend Dory finally listened to her first book during a nine-hour drive from Virginia to Maine last month. She chose Kenneth Branagh’s performance of MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” she demanded when she arrived, as if I’d been keeping audiobooks a secret. “I’d never realized how witty Christie is until I heard it. And those amazing accents!” Then she uttered the classic line. “Listening to the performance made the story come alive.”

One more audiobook convert, all because of the narrator, which is how it should be. Read more…

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

Robin’s Roundup: December 8 Best Audiobooks of the Year #2

Cozy up for a variety of brilliant listening from our Fantasy & Nonfiction lists

Norse Mythology

AudioFile Best Audiobooks of 2017We continue to celebrate the Best Audiobooks of the year, and we appreciate all the shares & retweets from our narrator and publisher friends & audiophile partners—thank you, and keep spreading the word!

My Roundup today looks at our Sci-Fi, Fantasy & Horror list and also the Nonfiction & Culture list. My immediate take is all the contrast! Will the same reader who settles in for a comforting listen with THE LITTLE BOOK OF HYGGE also choose to contemplate the intangible menace of GWENDY’S BUTTON BOX? Who knows, but I do love the variety of our choices.

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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.

The Download: Joe Hill and Strange Weather

Author Joe Hill and narrator Dennis Boutsikaris share the secrets of making this chilling audiobook collection

Strange Weather

Listen to a conversation between Joe Hill and Dennis Boutsikaris on recording Joe Hill’s latest audiobook, STRANGE WEATHER. Boutsikaris reads Hill’s Aloft in this new collection of four novellas. Authors and narrators rarely get the chance to sit down and talk about their work. Our conversation gives audiobook fans insights into the creative process of both author and narrator.

“You can tell when something hasn’t been read aloud, and that is a great test of a manuscript—everything should be read aloud, everything should be tested by hearing it.”—Author Joe Hill

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