Mini Reviews: Novels about broken bodies and strong minds

Romance audiobooks with disabled or chronically ill protagonists

Welcome to a new round of mini reviews! I’ve been listening to a lot of Romance Package books lately and found I made a good start for a little passion project of mine: Chronic illness and disability in Romance.

Lovely Audiobooks mini reviews

Chronic illness, the physical kind to be specific, is a very important topic to me. And the lack of representation in Romance pains me. Right now it’s not much more than a vague idea but I hope to compile a list of Romance novels with audiobooks that feature disabled and chronically ill protagonists. Stories that give readers hope who are at a point in their lives where they might not even be able to hold a book. So, please, whenever you encounter one, make sure to send me a note! Today’s mini reviews have in common that either the hero or the heroine deal with physical disability, as well as the consequences this has on their mental health. I highly recommend every single one of these books and they are all in the Audible Romance Package**.

 

Archer’s Voice**
written by Mia Sheridan

What a beautiful, beautiful story! There’s good reason this book got the recognition it did (New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller, Top 100 Romance Novels of All Time on Goodreads).

What is it about?

We have a hero who is unable to speak and has withdrawn from the world, and a heroine who deals with Post Traumatic Stress, fleeing to a quiet little town to find rest.

What I loved most:

This love story is so warm and romantic and goes right for the feels, while the general storyline is suspenseful and captivating. I absolutely love small town romance and this one didn’t disappoint in that regard either. The book is very atmospheric and played out like a movie in my mind.

What I didn’t love:

The drama is thick. I would have preferred a little less of everything. A little less intrigue, a little less “towns people ignorance”, a little less violence, a little less crazy people being super crazy and mean people being super mean. A bit less black and white / good and evil would have been nice.

The audiobook:

I didn’t know Kris Koscheski and Emily Durante before but they did a fantastic narration and I’ll be sure to remember their names. I really liked Emily Durante’s voice. It stands out and she’s a great voice actor. Kris Koscheski sounds hot. Period. This is a very steamy book in general!

 

Cinder & Ella**
by Kelly Oram

I’ve always loved fairy tales but I’m hesitant about re-tellings. This one was done absolutely perfectly though. There was just the right amount of similarities to feel the magic, yet enough differences for it to feel modern and… possible! This is a Sweet YA Romance, so no sex.

What is it about?

The heroine was hurt in a car accident and has to deal with scars and physical disability, as well as the trauma of the event: The loss of her mother and the loss of herself as she was before.

What I loved most:

I could relate to Ella’s struggles, the feeling of “who I was before” and “this now isn’t really me, or is it?”. The fairy tale adaption was done perfectly, with people feeling realistic, each one showing bad sides and good sides. I loved the little tidbit of Ella being a book blogger, being a total fangirl and feeling so strongly about her favourite Fantasy series. I also appreciated how she has a strong support network, something that is so often missing in Young Adult. (Although I’m not sure if this isn’t actually New Adult since Ella is 18/19.)

What I didn’t love:

Initially I wasn’t sure the book would be for me, because Ella behaved all out like a defiant teenager. But she grows throughout the story, tries to adjust to her situation and becomes more insightful and reflected (which is something I loved). The bullying is despicable, it felt over the top, but I know it sadly is realistic. Lastly, I would have preferred two narrators since it’s a dual PoV story.

The audiobook:

Kirsten Leigh did a great narration. She has a very good range of voices so I got over it pretty quickly that she narrated all chapter.

 

Brooklynaire**
by Sarina Bowen

This is everything you expect from a billionaire romance, yet it has many different twists to it which make it feel unique and different, not the same old, same old trope.

What is it about?

When Rebecca suffers a head injury and is impaired longer than expected, her boss acts on his secret crush for the first time and wants to be there for her. During the story Rebecca recovers mostly, with a good chance of a full recovery. Yet her illness is central to her struggles and prolonged enough to put the book on this list.

What I loved most:

I loved Nate. He isn’t your typical romance hero. He isn’t brooding or particularly alpha. He’s an all around awesome, good guy with lots of strengths and a few weaknesses and I thoroughly enjoyed his story. Overall, Rebecca takes her illness in stride, and her worries about it, as well as her reaction to receiving a diagnose, resonated with me.

What I didn’t love:

Overall, Rebecca disappointed me a bit. Self-sacrificing people are not my favourite. At one point Nate asked her why she wouldn’t accept his help, if she wouldn’t have done the same for him, if he was hurt. She said of course. Yet she keeps trying to deal with everything on her own instead of asking her friend for help. A friend who just so happens to be a billionaire and can easily do so. I get that it would suck if she’d randomly ask him for a car and a house. But it’s pretty obvious that he’s happy to help her with medical bills, even more so since she’s a valued employee. So he’d even directly benefit from her being able to work fully again.

So, why the self-flagellation? Not to mention how much she gave up for her sister. Her education, her home… It was just too much. Being kind to others works better if you are also kind to yourself.

The audiobook:

Joe Hempel is the narrator for the in between third person chapters. Zachary Webber narrates Nate and Virginia Rose is Rebecca. All three are well-known and popular romance narrators and it’s an all around entertaining listening experience.

 

All three of these books are great choices when you’re looking for Romance audiobooks with chronically ill or disabled protagonists. I hope you’ll give them a chance and enjoy them as much as I have.

If you don’t have the Audible Romance Package because you don’t usually use Audible.com, visit my guide with lots of pictures to help you sign up to it from anywhere in the world: Romance Package Guide

 

Lovely Audiobooks: Romance audiobooks with disabled or chronically ill protagonists

 


 

18 comments on “Mini Reviews: Novels about broken bodies and strong minds

  1. I have a weird relationship with audios that have a characters with certain disabilities particularly with MS (since I have it). I came across it in an audio once and couldn’t finish it. It suddenly became too real. And I like the escape of the listen. But I did recently finish one where one of the main characters had MS. I’m not sure what was different about it (if anything) but it was nice to hear a story where the characters weren’t picture perfect nor were they bed ridden…if that makes any sense.

    1. I absolutely understand what you mean. I have ME. I like it when characters deal with problems I can relate to, but overall the story should be entertaining and hopeful 🙂

  2. Thank you so much for this post! My favorite novels include characters with disabilities. Frequently it’s hard to find romance novels that include diverse representation.

  3. It’s so nice to see something you relate to in a romance novel. In general I feel left out, which is why at the beginning of 2018 I decided to go a quest to read all books I could find that treat fat female protagonists with dignity. It’s been a bumpy road–there are some really awful books out there that miss the definition of “dignity,” but I have found some romance novels, too!

  4. I love seeing Archer’s Voice on your list. It was my first Mia Sheridan read and my goddddd; I fell so HARD for this book! So beautiful! I’m not familiar with the other two books but I’m definitely going to check them out now, thanks for the recs!

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