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.

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.

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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: 5 Iconic Audiobook Series

25 Years of Iconic Audiobooks—Part 1

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's StoneIn celebration of AudioFile’s first 25 years, we collected a list of 25 Iconic Audiobooks. We asked our reviewers and editors and heard your nominations on our social platforms for titles that stand out as truly memorable listening experiences. Our notion of  “iconic” is that they’re “widely known and acknowledged especially for distinctive excellence” and have withstood the test of time. Within our final cut of 25, there are 5 amazing series.

It’s impossible to talk about iconic audiobooks without several world-building fantasy series being on the list. HARRY POTTER and THE GOLDEN COMPASS are examples of the power of listening to audiobooks, though for different reasons. The entire HARRY POTTER series was masterfully narrated by the “bewitching, astonishing, brilliant, peerless” Jim Dale. He’s able to bring a whole cast of characters to life—134 characters in HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX alone. His narration may mark a turning point in how listening to audiobooks was viewed. 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.

Tease: Romance Audio Awards Announced

Two new categories for this year’s RT Awards

RT Book Reviews celebrates the awards season with the nominees for 2016 RT (Romantic Times) Awards that include the Reviewers’ Choice Best Book Awards and Career Achievement Best Author Awards. Two new awards are included for the first time: RT Review Source and AudioFile’s 2016 Best Romance Novel Narrator.

We are delighted to sponsor the Best Romance Narrator Award as part of our recent partnership with RT Book Reviews. AudioFile’s newest romance audiobook reviews now appear weekly on the RT Book Reviews website. 

The focus for BEST ROMANCE NARRATOR is, of course, the audio performance. And the nominees for  AudioFile’s first ever Romance NARRATOR Award 2016 are . . .

Nicholas Boulton for GLITTERLAND by Alexis Hall

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Nicholas Boulton brings a certain magic to his romance narrations. Sometimes intense, sometimes passionate, and sometimes inscrutable, Nicholas’s audiobook work in historical romance continues to garner raves from listeners and reviewers. His work with author Laura Kinsale has created remarkable audiobooks.

Jim Frangione for DARK CAROUSEL by Christine Feehan

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Jim Frangione intrigued listeners with his multilingual performance of Christine Feehan’s paranormal romance. As AudioFile‘s review raves, “Narrator Jim Frangione and author Christine Feehan are like chocolate and peanut butter — dark and delicious.” Frangione is equally well known for his narration of J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series, where “Frangione’s commanding narration shows listeners the ‘all-in’ nature of the characters.” Jim also narrates mystery, fiction, and children’s audiobook titles, including works by Dennis Lehane and Spencer Quinn. 

Rosalyn Landor for BECAUSE OF MISS BRIDGERTON by Julia Quinn

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Romantic fiction is a genre Landor has spent a lot of time with, narrating works by Lisa Kleypas, Johanna Lindsey, Julie Garwood, Mary Balogh, and Eloisa James. She feels passionate about it and embraces romance’s particular challenges for the narrator. “It requires a very specific discipline in giving voice to the male and female characters,” Landor says, “especially to switch in and out of the male and female roles and play both sides of an intensely passionate scene. It’s made me appreciate how well these authors understand the male/female perspective.”

Saskia Maarleveld for BAY OF SIGHS by Nora Roberts

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Narrator of over 150 audiobooks, Saskia was raised in New Zealand and France and now lives in New York City. She’s able to switch seamlessly between accents and can often be heard speaking in British, Australian, New Zealand, and various European accents, in addition to her natural American accent. Her romance audiobooks include titles by Nora Roberts, Heather Graham, Maya Rodale, and Katharine Ashe. 

Steve West for A BUCCANEER AT HEART by Stephanie Laurens

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London-born Steve West has an active film and stage career as well as more than 100 audiobook credits to his name. Steve can adopt a rich, rolling style for a nineteenth-century sea captain or embody a light, breathy, and genuine young heroine, then can switch easily to a menacing villain. His versatility is a great asset in his audiobook narrations. Steve’s audiography includes suspense, history, science fiction, and teen audiobooks. 

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The BEST ROMANCE NOVEL NARRATOR winner will be announced on Friday, May 5, 2017, at RT’s annual convention, held this year in Atlanta, Georgia. For information about the convention and its many events for romance lovers, authors, and industry professionals, see RTConvention.com

Good luck to these incredibly talented narrators, and thanks to the skilled writers who made their work possible.

Check out all nominees in all the RT Awards categories HERE

 

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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!