Xpress Reviews: Audiobooks | First Look at New Books, April 4, 2014

Week ending April 4, 2014

Boyd, Hilary. Thursdays in the Park. 8 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 9½ hrs. Recorded Bks. 2013. ISBN 9781470378448. $92.75; 8 CDs. retail ed. Whole Story Audio; digital download. F
After 30 years, Jeanie’s husband, George, has withdrawn from her, and she can’t figure out what went wrong. On her weekly trips to the park with her granddaughter, she meets Ray, who’s there with his grandson, and the two hit it off. Fortunately, the plot of this unique love story keeps the listener’s attention on its own merits since Joanna David’s narration leaves much to be desired. There is little change in the diction of female characters, making it difficult at times to figure out who’s speaking. Breaks in fluidity show poor editing, and awkward illustration of speech tags, such as forced laughter and chuckling, are quite distracting. Yet listeners will agonize along with Jeanie as she faces the prospect of sacrificing her own needs and desires in order to save her stagnant marriage. They will empathize with her as she fights her desire to move on and engage in an exciting new relationship and celebrate her personal growth as she makes difficult yet unexpected choices.
Verdict Boyd’s realistic and bittersweet later-in-life romance is well worth checking out, but many listeners will prefer it in print.—Erin E. Forson, Columbus, OH

Byrd, Sandra. Roses Have Thorns. 10 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 11½ hrs. Recorded Bks. 2013. ISBN 9781470352646. $102.75; digital download. F
When Elin von Snakenborg accompanies a Swedish princess to England in 1565, she is looking for a change of scenery after a broken engagement, not realizing that she’s embarking on a life-changing adventure. She marries, becoming Helena, the Marchioness of Northampton, and part of Queen Elizabeth’s inner circle. The queen’s Catholic enemies are always in the shadows, and Mary, the Queen of Scots, threatens. Narrator Liz Jasicki excellently relays the English voices but is less successful with French, Spanish, and Scottish accents.
Verdict For listeners who enjoy historical fiction set in England and historical religious fiction.—J. Sara Paulk, Wythe-Grayson Regional Lib., Independence, VA

Galenorn, Yasmine. Crimson Veil. (Otherworld, Bk. 15). 9 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 11¼ hrs. Recorded Bks. 2014. ISBN 9781470398149. $102.75; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. FANTASY
Following Autumn Whispers, Galenorn continues the adventures of the D’Artigo sisters—vampire Menolly, werecat Camille, and witch Delilah. The sisters are members of the OIA, the Otherworld Intelligence Agency, and they were sent Earthside to stay out of trouble. Taking center stage in this installment is Menolly, who deals with the destruction of her bar, Wayfarer, while the sisters work together to stop the daemon Lowestar Radcliff from awakening Suvika, the lord of vice and corrupt businessmen. There are plenty of werefolk, vampires, fairies, and mystery in this tale, along with interesting characters and remarkable worldbuilding. Cassandra Campbell lends her clear and energetic voice to this urban fantasy story, which contains vulgar language and graphic sex scenes.
Verdict Of interest to fans of the series and paranormal tales.—Denise Garofalo, Mount Saint Mary Coll. Lib, Newburgh, NY

James, Amanda. A Stitch in Time. 9 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 11 hrs. Recorded Bks. 2013. ISBN 9781470395148. $102.75; digital download. F
After a massive betrayal by her husband and best friend that resulted in losing her two closest relationships and the possibility of motherhood, Sarah Yates is left questioning her sanity. An unexpected visitor, John Needler, explains that Sarah has been chosen to go back in time to fix rips in time’s continuum. Her career as a history teacher provides her with invaluable insight, and her journeys through time have lasting effects on her life in the present. Over the course of her missions, Sarah and John forge a romance that must withstand the challenges of her skittishness, John’s glamorous ex-fiancée, and the forces of time. Narrator Penelope Rawlins ably voices the different chronological and geographic accents required by this globe-spanning, time-traveling tale.
Verdict Recommended for collections where historical fiction and time-travel television series such as Doctor Who and Quantum Leap are popular.—Nicole Williams, Rochelle Park Lib., NJ

Wells, Martha. The Element of Fire. 12 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 14 hrs. Tantor Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781452616315. $45; 2 MP3-CDs. retail ed.; digital download. FANTASY
elementoffire040414The kingdom of Ile-Rien, led by a weak and naïve boy king, faces the threat of invasion from the dark faerie host, led from behind the scenes by the treacherous sorcerer Urbain Grandier. The bastard half-fay princess Kade arrives at court after years of exile and is mistrusted by all. Thomas Boniface, captain of the Queen’s Guard, must determine who his allies and enemies really are amid court politics and magical sabotage. Narrator Derek Perkins’s refined style does a superb job of providing atmosphere to the Renaissance-like setting and gives characters individual voices.
Verdict Recommended for fans of intrigue and swashbuckling fantasy.—Jason Puckett, Georgia State Univ. Lib, Atlanta