Xpress Reviews: Audiobooks | First Look at New Books, August 30, 2013

Week ending August 30, 2013

Brooks, Terry. Bloodfire Quest. (Dark Legacy of Shannara, Bk. 2). 10 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 13 hrs. Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 9780307913708. $45; digital download. F
Brooks (The Wards of Faerie) here follows the efforts of the druid order to find the missing Elfstones within the Forbidding, which was formed generations ago to imprison the most dangerous enemies of the Four Lands. Meanwhile, back in the elf city of Arborlon, the Elessedil sisters become aware of a weakening of the great tree that keeps the Forbidding intact. The sisters must find a way to renew the tree’s strength, while those on the quest for the Elfstones find themselves trapped with their ancient enemies. Brooks’s tale is entertaining and rich with interesting characters. Though reminiscent of earlier works, the formula continues to work. Narrator Rosalyn Landor keeps the characters compelling and the action moving. Fantasy readers will be clamoring for this one and may want to turn to L.E. Modesitt or Orson Scott Card while they wait for the next installment to come out in July.
Verdict Highly recommended for fantasy collections. [“Since the 1977 publication of The Sword of Shannara, the adventures of the people of the Four Lands have attracted a huge readership. The second volume of Brooks’s new trilogy…continues the themes of love, duty, sacrifice, and transformation that have resonated with fantasy lovers. A strong backstory and vivid world make this a must-read for series fans,” read the review of the New York Times best-selling Del Rey: Ballantine hc, LJ 12/12.—Ed.]—Lisa Anderson, Omaha P.L.

starred review starGibson, Gregory. The Old Turk’s Load. 5 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 6 hrs. HighBridge Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781622310104. $29.95; 5 CDs. library ed.; digital download. F
Acclaimed nonfiction writer Gibson’s (Hubert’s Freaks; Gone Boy) first mystery is reminiscent of the great pulp classics. Set during the Newark riots of 1967, the book takes us on a wild ride when a New Jersey mob boss loses $5 million in Turkish heroin, the titular “old Turk’s load,” introducing listeners to dreams, plans, double- and triple-crosses, mafia thugs, hippies, burned-out private investigators, antiestablishment protesters, drug addicts, crooked business moguls, and suicidal postal clerks, just to name a few of the colorful characters. The narration of R.C. Bray is perfection in almost every aspect.
Verdict A gripping good read, this audiobook is a real pleasure. Highly recommended. [“Breaking new ground in crime fiction with his unusual protagonist, Gibson gets a gold star for deftness, great writing, lethal encounters, mayhem, murder, and bleak black humor,” read the starred review of the Mysterious: Grove Atlantic hc, LJ 4/15/13.—Ed.]—Scott R. DiMarco, Mansfield Univ. of Pennsylvania Lib.

Graham, Lauren. Someday, Someday, Maybe. 7 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 8½ hrs. Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 9780385367493. $35; digital download. F
Frances Banks is trying to make it as an actress in New York City, and she has only six months left until her self-imposed deadline. Listeners follow along on her journeys through the first part of 1995 as she goes through her acting classes, auditions, first jobs, relationship highs and lows, and, ultimately, the realization of knowing she is on the right path. The author’s own narration is outstanding. Playing with subtleties and exaggerations, Graham will have you laughing out loud, swearing in frustration, and cheering along as Franny makes her way through this pivotal point in her young life.
Verdict This book will appeal to most fiction listeners as its universal themes of hope, pursuit of dreams, and figuring out life are things for which we all strive. [“With insight, care, and an abundance of humor, actress Graham (Gilmore Girls; Parenthood) demonstrates that her acting chops are not her only talent. Franny’s struggles are so real, so relatable, and at times so familiar that one wonders just how much of this first novel is autobiographical. Recommended for all aspiring actors and for any reader who has ever wondered about the life of an actor before she becomes a star,” read the review of the New York Times best-selling Ballantine hc, LJ 4/15/13.—Ed.]—Stephanie Charlefour, Wixom P. L., MI

Hoffman, Beth. Looking for Me. 10 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 12 hrs. Penguin Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781611761702. $39.95; digital download. F
Teddi Overman escapes her Kentucky farm life and travels to Charleston, SC, to pursue her passion for restoring antique furniture. As Teddi achieves her dream of owning an antiques shop, her brother vanishes and Teddi blames herself for his disappearance. Friends and family encourage her to let go and move on, but she refuses to give up hope and can’t stop believing that he is still alive in the Kentucky wilderness. This works falls short of Hoffman’s acclaimed debut, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. Narrator Jenna Lamia reads life into the story using myriad voices for the many characters. However, those listeners who adored Lamia as CeeCee might have trouble thinking of her as Teddi given that she uses the same soft Southern inflection for both characters.
Verdict Sadly disappointing and anticlimactic owing to numerous characters and spotty subplots that fall flat. Even so, Hoffman’s fans will be expecting to find this audio on the shelf, so libraries would do well to purchase. [The Pamela Dorman hc was a New York Times best seller.—Ed.]—JoAnn Funderburk, South Garland Branch Lib., TX

Wingate, Lisa. Firefly Island. 11 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 12¾ hrs. Recorded Bks. ISBN 9781470342401. $123.75; library/retail eds.; digital download. F
At 34, Mallory Hale falls in love and makes a hasty decision to marry, leave her high-powered legislative aid job in Washington, DC, and move to rural Moses Lake, TX, to live on a ranch. Her husband’s new boss is intimidating, especially considering the rumors regarding his missing wife. Mallory needs to adapt to a new marriage, being stepmother to a three-year-old, and her new challenging, sometimes disturbing way of life. She finds creative release by updating her family and friends through her blog, The Frontier Woman. Portions of this fictional character’s development are very similar to that of real-life author Ree Drummond, who writes a blog called The Pioneer Woman on which she chronicles her misadventures of moving from a large city to a rural ranch. Meredith Orlow brings a joy and depth to the narration.
Verdict The suspense and romantic elements outweigh the inspirational aspects, but all mysteries are neatly resolved by the end. For romance and inspirational fiction listeners.—J. Sara Paulk, Wythe-Grayson Regional Lib., Independence, VA


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"