“The Cove: A Novel” by Ron Rash ($16.95): In his other novels, such as “Serena,” Ron Rash captures the gentle (or violent) interactions between humans set against the beauty of the natural world, especially the rugged Appalachians.
In “The Cove,” Merritt Hicks provides a thoughtful rendering of Rash’s new novel about a doomed love affair in the turbulent years of World War I.
Superstition surrounds a shadowy cove where a young woman and her brother live until a stranger’s arrival upsets their idyllic world.
“The Hunt” by Andrew Fukuda ($39.99, ages 12 and up): The scenario of Andrew Fukuda’s “The Hunt” is so wildly fantastic (in a good way) that narrator Sean Runnette delivers just what this story needs: a clear, steady voice.
Runnette doesn’t need to overdramatize this story of a world dominated by vampires and of a young boy, Gene, who attends school and struggles to hide the fact that he’s human.
When his father’s bitten, starts to transform and races outside to commit suicide in the bright sunlight, Gene’s sense of isolation is complete.
He’s not thinking of his society, however; he’s just mourning the loss of his family.
As for the book’s title, and Gene’s role in an awful hunt, Fukuda’s story has a clear message: There are many societies that have hunger games, not just Katniss’.
“Mud, Sweat, and Tears: The Autobiography” by Bear Grylls ($23.61): It’s a good choice to pair a British actor with a British author — in this case, actor Tom Patrick Stephens gives life to the story of outdoorsman Bear Grylls.
“Mud, Sweat, and Tears” describes his family’s history and what he did before striking it big with his “Man Vs. Wild” TV series. That includes his early love of mountaineering and sailing, reaching the summit of Mount Everest and a stint as a British Special Forces commando.
The only drawback to Stephens’ performance of this autobiography is that he makes Grylls sound, well, far too calm.
“My Extraordinary Ordinary Life” by Sissy Spacek ($39.99): Actress Sissy Spacek tells her own tale, tracing her journey from an East Texas childhood to New York as an excited, optimistic teen with dreams of stardom.
She takes listeners into her life as a successful actress on a broad variety of films: “Carrie,” “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and “The Help” not only to demonstrate her versatility but also show how successful she has been at defying easy categorizing.
Los Angeles Times