Xpress Reviews: Audiobooks | First Look at New Books, July 26, 2013

Week ending July 26, 2013

Banks, Maya. Fever. 11 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 13 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781469281957. $59.97; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F
Bethany Willis and her foster brother, Jack, are staying in shelters while she looks for work. When she lands a job with a hotel caterer, she’s just looking forward to the promise of leftover food and a meager paycheck. Wealthy hotel owner Jace Crestwell frequently shares women with his best friend, Ash. He notices Bethany working at his sister’s party, and he feels an unusual surge of desire—and a surprising desire to have her all to himself. Before the night is over, Jace, Bethany, and Ash go to bed together, but when the threesome is over, Jace realizes he feels more than lust for Bethany and cuts Ash out, putting a strain on their longtime friendship. Banks’s (Rush) latest erotic romance is well written, with realistic dialog. The scenes in which Bethany and Jack’s childhood history is revealed are touching, as were those with the shelter volunteers. Narrator Adam Paul does a pretty good job with his interpretation of this book, though his breathy depiction of Jace during the bedroom scenes sounds a little like Clint Eastwood; his inebriated Bethany is more caricature than character.
Verdict Recommend as a Fifty Shades of Grey listen-alike to those comfortable with graphic sexual content. [The Berkley: Penguin Group (USA) pb was a New York Times best seller.—Ed.]—Laura Brosie, Abilene, TX

Leavitt, Caroline. Is This Tomorrow. 10 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 11½ hrs. HighBridge Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781622311422. $36.95; 10 CDs. library ed.; digital download. F
Leavitt (Pictures of You) sets this novel in Eisenhower-era Massachusetts. On a fateful day in 1956, 12-year-old Lewis has a dentist appointment. Later that afternoon, he meets his neighbor 13-year-old Rose, and they are very late in coming home. When they arrive, the police are there. Everyone is at first relieved that the kids are safe, but then they realize that Rose’s 12-year-old brother Jimmy is missing. Narrator and voice artist Xe Sands brings a rather husky, careworn quality to this narration. The book has an unfinished feel to it as the young protagonists have only just started their adult lives at novel’s end.
Verdict Of interest to Leavitt fans and those who enjoy the challenges of fiction portraying dysfunctional families. [“Leavitt sets out to portray a repressive society and the way it stifles a sympathetic heroine who is oblivious to the social ramifications of her string of former boyfriends. Although the backstory at times dissipates the tension, this tale of domestic suspense builds to a shocking climax and will appeal to anyone immersed in suburban lore,” read the starred review of the Algonquin hc, LJ 4/1/13.—Ed.]—David Faucheux Louisiana Audio Information & Reading Svcs., Lafayette

Philbrick, Nathaniel. Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution. 11 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 14 hrs. Penguin Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781611761658. $39.95; 11 CDs. library ed.; 2 MP3-CDs. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. HIST
Philbrick (Mayflower) here takes a fresh look at Boston and its environs from the December 1773 Tea Party through the British evacuation in March 1776. Painting rich portraits of the key players including Sam Adams, Joseph Warren, and British generals Gage and Howe, Philbrick argues that the roots of the American Revolution are to be found in the reactionary ethos of the Colonists, who simply wanted to preserve the status quo in the face of an encroaching British Empire, and that a series of growing misunderstandings and tensions culminated in the title battle. The narration by actor Chris Sorensen is clear and engaging.
Verdict Recommended. [“…an exhaustively researched, intelligent…narrative with a sophisticated approach,” read the review of the New York Times best selling Viking hc, LJ 4/15/13.—Ed.]—Forrest Link, Coll. of New Jersey Lib., Ewing

Rush, Jennifer. Altered. 10 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 8 hrs. AudioGO. 2013. ISBN 9781619699201. $64.99; Playway digital; digital download. F
Debut author Rush’s unforgettable YA novel addresses the challenges of learning that you can’t rely on your own memories. Annie and the four genetically altered boys who live in her basement escape from the Branch and are on the run while trying to piece together their lives. What they learn is shocking and deadly. Will they be able to beat the Branch and get their freedom? The story is fast paced and holds listeners’ attention until every twist has come and gone. Casey Holloway does a decent job narrating, though at times it sounds a bit choppy. However, the story is so well done that you cannot help but be drawn into their world as they struggle to put the pieces of their lives together.
Verdict Fans of SF and fantasy YA novels as well as those who enjoy psychological thrillers will appreciate this title.—Stephanie Charlefour, Wixom P.L., MI

Strout, Elizabeth. The Burgess Boys. 11 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 13½ hrs. Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 9780307967091. $39.95; digital download. F
Jim and Bob Burgess will always be known as “the Burgess Boys” in their childhood home of Shirley Falls, ME, where they return many years later to help their troubled nephew. He has committed a hate crime that shocks the family into focus. The story is told from multiple viewpoints, including that of concerned Bob; Jim’s sophisticated wife, Helen; angry sister Susan; and contemplative Abdikarim Ahmed. Reader Cassandra Campbell does a fine job portraying the characters. Bob’s voice has an uncertain quality, and his questioning inflections distinguish him from Helen’s crispness, Jim’s harsh staccatos, Susan’s high, nasal sharpness, and Ahmed’s thoughtfulness.
Verdict Campbell’s interpretation matches the relationships, symbolism, and themes of Strout’s novel. Recommended. [“Pulitzer Prize winner Strout (Olive Kitteridge) takes the reader on a surprising journey of combative filial love and the healing powers of the truth,” read the starred review of the New York Times best-selling Random hc, LJ 4/15/13.—Ed.]—Juleigh Muirhead Clark, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Lib., Colonial Williamsburg Fdn., VA

Wiggs, Susan. The Apple Orchard. 10 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 12 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781455836932. $69.97; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F
The hospitalization of a grandfather she never knew brings Tess Delaney in contact with an unknown half-sister and a new world in which the two women discover they are destined to inherit jointly the old man’s estate provided they can stave off the local bank’s foreclosure. As she seamlessly switches from Irish brogue to an Italian American accent to unaccented mainstream English, Christina Traister employs a broad voice range that makes listening and character identification a breeze regardless of the character’s sex and age.
Verdict A heartwarming story of family roots, personal growth, love, and the value of memories, this title will appeal to fans of Wiggs and Fern Michaels.—Laurie Selwyn, formerly with Grayson Cty. Law Lib., Sherman, TX

Bette-Lee Fox About Bette-Lee Fox

Bette-Lee Fox (blfox@mediasourceinc.com) is Managing Editor, Library Journal.

Now in her 46th year with Library Journal, Bette-Lee also edits LJ's Video Reviews column, six times a year Romance column, and e-original Romance reviews, which post weekly as LJ Xpress Reviews. She received the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Vivian Stephens Industry Award in 2013 for having "contributed to the genre or to RWA in a significant and/or continuing manner"