Tag Archives: audio book

Review of Anatomy of a Miracle, by Jonathan Miles

I initially won a paperback copy of Jonathan MilesAnatomy of a Miracle through Goodreads. But lacking in time to sit and read lately, but interested none the less, I opted to borrow the audio version from the local library.

Description from Goodreads:

Rendered paraplegic after a traumatic event four years ago, Cameron Harris has been living his new existence alongside his sister, Tanya, in their battered Biloxi, Mississippi neighborhood where only half the houses made it through Katrina. One stiflingly hot August afternoon, as Cameron sits waiting for Tanya during their daily run to the Biz-E-Bee convenience store, he suddenly and inexplicably rises up and out of his wheelchair.

In the aftermath of this “miracle,” Cameron finds himself a celebrity at the center of a contentious debate about what’s taken place. And when scientists, journalists, and a Vatican investigator start digging, Cameron’s deepest secrets–the key to his injury, to his identity, and, in some eyes, to the nature of his recovery–become increasingly endangered. Was Cameron’s recovery a genuine miracle, or a medical breakthrough? And, finding himself transformed into a symbol, how can he hope to retain his humanity?

Review:

As I said above, I won this book and I’m really glad I did, because I almost certainly wouldn’t have picked it up on my own. I’ll grant that it’s a little overly long (though I think the fact that I listened to it made this a little more bearable) and slow, but the subtitles of the story are well worth the read. This book hands you nothing, it lays things on the table and invites you to consider them. I appreciated that a lot.

Were there times I wanted Cameron to open up and speak more, so that I could understand him better, for things to be a bit more obvious? Yes! But that wouldn’t have fit his character and honestly, this isn’t a story about Cameron. It’s the story of his miracle, if a miracle it be (this being a crucial question). And if the author had taken the easy route of allowing Cameron to hand the reader a pat answer, it wouldn’t be anywhere as good a book.

I did spend a lot of time afraid it was going to go the way of so much literary fiction and end in unbearable tragedy, but it didn’t. And the huge sigh of relief at the end was worth the anxiety.

I don’t think this will be a book everyone will enjoy. But I really did. And Edoardo Ballerini’s narration was no small part of this. He does an excellent job.

Review of How to Walk Away, by Katherine Center

I borrowed an audio copy of How to Walk Away, by Katherine Center from my local library.

Description from Goodreads:

Margaret Jacobsen has a bright future ahead of her: a fiancé she adores, her dream job, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in one tumultuous moment . 

In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Margaret must figure out how to move forward on her own terms while facing long-held family secrets, devastating heartbreak, and the idea that love might find her in the last place she would ever expect. 

Review (with spoiler):

To my complete surprise, I really enjoyed this. Plus, even though I have the paperback, I’m really glad I decided to go with the audio version. Because I think Plummer‘s performance only contributed to my enjoyment. 

How to Walk Away deals with some tragic topics. There’s the accident and subsequent paralyzation of the main character, but also all of the innumerable ways she is further victimized by the people around her; most without ever intending to be cruel. But these were balanced with a wry humor and the lightness of support from unexpected (and often resented) corners. Maggie’s sister especially was a star of the book for me. 

I of course realize that in real life Ian falling in love with Maggie would cross some serious ethical lines (and this is addressed in the book), but in the confines of fiction, I thought the romance was very sweet. And I can not say how happy I am that Center chose not to give Maggie any miraculous recovery. Maggie learned to happy with life with her injury, to live life and find meaning while in her wheel chair. This makes for a much more meaningful story than one in which a character is “fixed.” All in all, a true win in my opinion.

Review of Wicked Appetite (Lizzy & Diesel #1), by Janet Evanovich

I borrowed an audio copy of Janet Evanovich‘s Wicked Appetite from the library.

Description from Goodreads:

For centuries, treasure hunters have been eager to possess the stones, undeterred by their corrupting nature. The list is long — Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, to name a few. Now the Stones have found their way to Salem, Massachusetts, and so has Gerwulf Grimoire, adding himself to this rogues’ gallery of power seekers. He’s an uncommonly dangerous man, with a hunger for the forbidden, and a set of abilities that are way beyond ordinary. Abilities that he feels entitle him to possess anything he might desire.

That would include Elizabeth Tucker, the woman he needs to find the Stones. She’s freshly transplanted from New York City to Boston’s North Shore. With a new job as pastry chef at Dazzle’s bakery and an old house inherited from her Aunt Ophelia, her life is pretty much on track …until it’s suddenly derailed by a guy named Diesel, a rude monkey, and a ninja cat.

Lizzy can handle the monkey and the cat. She’s not sure about Diesel. He’s offering up his own set of unusual talents, promising to protect her from Grimoire. The kind of protection that Lizzy suspects might involve guarding her body day and night.

The Seven Deadly Sins are pride, greed, lust, envy wrath, sloth and gluttony. That pretty much covers everything that is wicked. Diesel thinks it also pretty much covers everything that’s fun. And Lizzy thinks Diesel and the Seven Deadly Sins cover everything her mother warned her about.

Review:

I’ve wanted to try a Janet Evanovich book for a while. Everyone seemed to love them. But I was never certain where to start; there are so many of them. So, when I came across Wicked Appetite, clearly labeled book one in a series I jumped at it. (For the record, I think Diesel is a character from another of Evanovich’s series. But the book certainly stood alone.) After all the anticipation I was severely let down. I found the whole thing silly beyond belief. And not even endearingly silly, just stupid silly. I was irritated by all the onomatopoeia, the dialogue was ridiculous, the plot paper thin, and the characters shallow. I made it all these years without ever reading one of Evanovich’s books. It looks like I’ll go several more without them. I have no desire to read another one. Lorelei King did a fine job with the narration.