Take 5 with Candace: Five Fiery Listens

Discovering a red-hot trend in audiobooks

A Column of FireHave you noticed that this year’s books have been on fire? It seems every time I turn around, there’s another audiobook with the word fire in the title; in fact, there are LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE (Celeste Ng). From kids’ stories to fantasy and politics, 2017 has been the year of the red-hot audio. Want to share in a little of the heat? Here are 5 audiobooks across the genres to get you started.

Historical fiction listeners should put A COLUMN OF FIRE at the top of their audiobook list. The combination of author Ken Follett’s complex storytelling with narrator John Lee’s believable characterizations and “crisp, rich” delivery can’t be beat. The audiobook is the third in a series about the people of Kingsbridge, England, but can easily be enjoyed as a standalone journey back to the 1500s. 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.

Behind the Mic: The Room of White Fire

T. Jefferson Parker’s taut thriller about the harrowing effects of war

AudioFile goes Behind the Mic with narrator Will Damron to hear more about his narration of  THE ROOM OF WHITE FIRE, a new thriller from T. Jefferson Parker.

“This is a book about war, about the stories we tell ourselves about war.  And the wars  that we fight within ourselves.”—Narrator Will Damron

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Take 5 with Candace: 5 Questions with Karen White

Five audiobooks and five questions for narrator Karen White

Karen WhiteSay hello to Karen White, the first guest in my 5 Audios / 5 Questions series. Karen is not only one of the queens of romantic fiction narrators but is also known for compelling performances in literary fiction, memoir, mystery, and more.

5 Audiobooks

Audiobook fans live for those magic pairings between author and narrator, especially for ongoing series. Karen has performed many of Jill Shalvis’s novels and is the voice of her Heartbreaker Bay Series, including this fall’s CHASING CHRISTMAS EVE. Her delivery emphasizes the romantic tension between the characters and brings out the Shalvis’s sense of humor. Karen’s believable characterizations and spot-on pacing for Julie James’s FBI-US Attorney romantic fiction series won her an Earphones Award for SUDDENLY ONE SUMMER. 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.

Robin’s Roundup: November 10 New Audiobook Reviews

We persist—with both ferocity and compassion

Nevertheless We Persisted For a little listening to lift our spirits this week, I want to highlight this audio-first anthology of stories, poems, and essays, NEVERTHELESS WE PERSISTED, written and performed by an ensemble of authors and narrators. The collaboration between authors and narrators from around the globe resonates clearly in this labor of love and careful production. And for tiny feminists (ages 4-6) and their parents, remember to take a listen to Chelsea Clinton’s SHE PERSISTED.

For a listening choice to galvanize resolve to speak up, Gretchen Carlson’s BE FIERCE: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back is a timely choice this week. When Carlson walked away from her job as a news anchor for Fox News to fight—and win—her sexual harassment case, she discovered that her story is just one of many that deserves to be told. She suggests practical steps women can take to stand up for themselves. Read more…

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

Behind the Mic: Say You’re Sorry

This audiobook will freak you the heck out — perfect for your Halloween weekend!

Narrator Cris Dukehart takes us Behind the Mic to share with AudioFile readers how narrating for Melinda Leigh has changed her life. SAY YOU’RE SORRY is the first in a suspenseful series about former prosecutor Morgan Dane and her peaceful life in her hometown — well, almost peaceful, until her babysitter gets killed.

“To Melinda Leigh . . . . Just wanted you to know how narrating from your killer’s point of view is FREAKING ME THE HECK OUT!”—Narrator Cris Dukehart

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The Download: Stephen Fry’s Sherlock Holmes

Join us as we discuss the legendary Sherlock and this masterful new interpretation of the classics

Sherlock HolmesAudioFile contributing editor and reviewer Aurelia Scott has been a lover of Sherlock Holmes since she was a little kid poring over the annotated collection, as regular blog readers are well aware! I was excited to learn of actor Stephen Fry’s new narration and commentary on the complete works of SHERLOCK HOLMES and decided to sit down to chat with Aurelia about our mutual love of the detective and all the many interpretations we have listened to over the years.

Stephen Fry’s narration is special, as it not only includes his complex rendition of Sherlock and the engaging Watson, but also his own introductions that share with listeners his reflections on the novels and short stories. Listen in as Aurelia and I discuss our love of Sherlock, our appreciation for this masterful collection, and why Sherlock is still so relevant today.

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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.

Behind the Mic: Arrowood

An anti-Sherlock Holmes mystery set in the streets of Victorian London

AudioFile goes Behind the Mic with Malk Williams to hear more about his narration of ARROWOOD by Mick Finlay. We hear about the memorable characters Malk takes on in Finlay’s first novel about south London’s anti-Sherlock.

“The characters in Arrowood were just wonderful. You could practically close your eyes and see the dirt under their fingernails—that’s how good they were.” —Narrator Malk Williams

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Aurelia’s Audio Adventures: Sherlock Holmes Anniversary

My Man Sherlock

Sherlock HolmesIt began with “The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” which is arguably Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous short story. I was 11 years old and at odds with the world when my mother thrust a heavy volume into my hands. Still complaining, I retired to my room. Within a page, I’d been offered a wonderful new nineteenth-century identity as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson’s invisible sidekick. One who knew that only a dog cart throws up mud on a person’s sleeve in that way. “And then,” as Holmes explained, “only when you sit on the left-hand side of the driver.” Soon thereafter, we discovered the snake in the wall, that is, the speckled band, and I was hooked for life.

The Sherlock Holmes canon—four novels and 56 short stories—has remained in print since publication of the first novel, A STUDY IN SCARLET, in 1887. It’s inspired hundreds of screen adaptations (beginning with a silent film in 1900), radio and stage plays, and new Holmes novels and short stories by other writers. Luckily for us, that wealth has produced an equal richness of audiobooks. 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.

The Download: Barbara Rosenblat on The Painted Queen

On recording Elizabeth Peters’s final Amelia Peabody mystery

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

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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.

Robin’s Roundup: September 22 New Audiobook Reviews

George Smiley, Malachy McCourt, and my favorite Aussie narrator

A Legacy of SpiesA week for old friends—that’s audiobook friends we’ve heard before, but we’re oh so glad to hear from them again. The newest John le Carré novel, A LEGACY OF SPIES, is a perfect example. Not only do I celebrate any new title from British master spy novelist le Carré, but LEGACY also brings back George Smiley. Ok, I admit it, I see actor Alec Guiness, but narrator Tom Hollander brings alive the Cold War spy masters and their craft. Le Carré, now in his 80s, read his memoir THE PIGEON TUNNEL magnificently just last year, but it seems right to hand the mic to Tom Hollander here.

Malachy McCourt brings back different sorts of memories, but his new memoir, DEATH NEED NOT BE FATAL, sounds like a lot of fun. He sings, he jokes, he talks about his life in Brooklyn and Ireland and his saintly mother, Angela, and his equally famous brother, Frank, who wrote ANGELA’S ASHES. I hope listeners are still discovering the great audiobook of Frank McCourt’s 1996 memoir. It is certainly an audiobook that “sold” many readers on the format 20+ years ago. Read more…

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