Wonders Never Ceaseby Tim Downs
Welcome to Los Angeles, the City of Angels, where traffic never stops, people never sleep, and wonders never cease.
It's a brilliant plan, if Kemp McAvoy says so himselfand Kemp never hesitates to point out his own brilliance. Kemp is a night nurse for a beautiful but aging movie star in a medically induced coma. And with the help of her agent and a/b>
Welcome to Los Angeles, the City of Angels, where traffic never stops, people never sleep, and wonders never cease.
It's a brilliant plan, if Kemp McAvoy says so himselfand Kemp never hesitates to point out his own brilliance. Kemp is a night nurse for a beautiful but aging movie star in a medically induced coma. And with the help of her agent and a struggling young publisher, he's concocted a can't-fail scheme that will make them all rich.
Olivia Hayden is about to receive a heavenly visitoran angel with a message for all humankind. All it takes is a blinding light and little adjustment of her meds, and when she awakes she'll think it was realand they'll have an instant best-selling book.
The scheme seems foolproof. All they have to do for it to work is be good angels and stay out of trouble. But Kemp McAvoy has never been good at staying out of troubleand he doesn't realize there may be out-of-this-world consequences for impersonating an angel.
From award-winning author Tim Downs comes this warm-hearted story of mistaken identity and unlikely redemption that will have you both laughing and looking at life from a higher perspective.
"Aging Hollywood movie star Olivia Hayden finds herself being nursed by Kemp McAvoy after an accident lands her in intensive care. His ministrations make him seem like an angel, but his real goal is to exploit Olivia’s frailty. Meanwhile, his girlfriend’s daughter has a gift—she really does see angels. Tim Gregory's animated voice and pleasant tone engage listeners in a suspenseful plot as the trajectories of the scheming and the innocent come together. Gregory uses a gruff inflection to distinguish the unsavory Kemp and, in contrast, an empathetic tone for his victims. Gregory’s delineation of good versus evil, along with his solid pacing, makes this a compelling audiobook."
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Wonders Never Cease
By Tim Downs
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2010 Tim Downs
All right reserved.
Chapter OneBeverly Hills, California
So tell me. What did you think of the script?"
"I loved it. I devoured it. It was genius."
She was lying. In twenty years of acting, Olivia Hayden had never read an entire screenplay from cover to cover. Liv didn't like to read-it bored her. Whenever the studios sent over a script, she simply passed it on to her agent, Morty Biederman. She always let Morty digest the thing and evaluate her part, then run off the pages containing her dialogue and send them back to her, reducing the 120-page screenplay to a manageable few sheets of Courier 12-point text. Liv always told the tabloids that she didn't like to read because she was dyslexic, because that's what Tom Cruise had told them and it seemed to work for him-and Liv could stand a little more sympathy from the rags these days.
The young director let out a sigh of relief. "I was afraid you might not like it."
"It's brilliant," she said with just the right touch of breathless awe.
When the director glanced down at his feet in modesty, Liv used the opportunity to quickly look him over. I wonder if this kid has a driver's license? she thought, shaking her head ever so slightly. The guy couldn't have been more than twenty-five-he probably had his UCLA Film School diploma still rolled up in his back pocket. But hey, the kid had a script and he had a studio backing him, and a part is a part. Is that a pimple? Man, I'm old enough to be his ... older sister.
"You know, I cowrote this script," the director said.
"Astonishing. A multidimensional talent."
Liar. Who did he think he was fooling? Morty had already filled her in. The kid had just stumbled onto a decent story concept, then hired himself a second-string writer to hammer out a treatment and first draft. He probably bought the script outright and then pasted his own name on the cover to negotiate a better deal as a writer-director hyphenate, inflating his salary and granting him casting privileges. That's the only reason Liv was sitting there: if this kid wasn't casting the film she wouldn't even be talking to him. She rarely spoke to a director before a deal was signed, and writers-well, everybody in Hollywood knows that writers are basically pond scum.
"I can't tell you how thrilled I was to find out you were available," he said.
"You were lucky," Liv said. "I happen to be between films right now."
Way between. Ten years ago she wouldn't have taken a second glance at a half-baked script like this, but it was a lead role, after all, and good parts were getting hard to find. "What's the title again?" she asked.
"Lips of Fury."
She winced. "Catchy."
"I think some of the dialogue still needs a little tweaking," he said.
"Don't you dare change a thing. It's perfect the way it is." Why bother? She never argued about a script before she was on the set anyway. Once production started the clock would be ticking and money would be flowing like water-then she would have leverage and she could rip the script to shreds.
They sat together at the bar at Kate Mantilini's on Wilshire Boulevard, perched on round gray barstools with tall rigid backs that were designed for appearance only-like everything else in this town, she thought. It was almost morning, though Kate's typically closed by midnight. That's the way Liv planned it; the director had requested the meeting, but Liv had insisted on choosing the time and place. The ridiculous hour wasn't chosen simply to ensure privacy, though Kate's had its share of celebrity patrons and annoying fans; the hour was intended to remind this kid who she was: she was Olivia Hayden, and Kate Mantilini's or any other eating establishment in Hollywood would stay open just as long as she wanted it to. Liv Hayden was used to getting what she wanted, and the sooner this kid learned that lesson, the easier it would be when it came to negotiations. Not negotiations over money-Morty always handled that. The negotiations she was interested in were the ones that took place on the set: when she wanted to shoot a scene without rehearsals, or when the director was demanding a third take when she preferred to head back to her trailer for a nap. She wanted things the way she wanted them, and she didn't want to have to flirt and pout to get her way each time. She had paid those dues by the time she was thirty; Liv was fast approaching forty-five now, and she didn't have the patience or the energy to play those games anymore.
The director grinned at her. "I'm really looking forward to working with you on this film, Ms. Hayden. I welcome your input-your opinion means a lot to me. I mean, an actor of your-stature."
Stature. The word stung, but Liv kept a smile plastered on her face. Stature-durability-longevity-they were all just euphemisms for the same brutal reality: age. It was no picnic being a forty-plus box office icon in Hollywood, especially for a woman. Oh, sure, male actors complained about the ravages of time, too, but it was different for men. Less than a week ago she was lunching with Nic Cage at The Ivy when he started whining about hairlines and face-lifts and she shoved his corn chowder into his lap. She reminded him that Brando was the size of a Macy's balloon when they paid him $3.7 million to do Superman-but let an actress pack on an extra twenty and the only role she'll get is doing commercials for Jenny Craig. It's not the same, she told him. Women in Hollywood have to do everything men do, but we're supposed to do it crammed into a size four.
And in Hollywood the cameras were everywhere, circling like buzzards, searching the landscape for sagging appendages or a heretofore unreported nip or tuck. The buzzards could smell death-career death-and the instant they detected the onset of death the cameras all went click, click, click. The digital cameras didn't even make a sound-you never knew where they were or when they were clicking away. And just when you thought they had finally left you alone, you would find yourself on the cover of a tabloid looking worse than you ever imagined possible, bulging out of some horrid swimsuit you should have had the sense to drop off at Goodwill ten years ago.
Buzzards, that's what they were. No-the cameras were worse than buzzards, because a buzzard can only eat you once, but a bad photograph can eat away at you forever.
"Why don't we talk about the part?" the director suggested.
"Yes, let's do." It's about time.
She needed this part, because the only antidote for a bad photograph is a good one. The public doesn't have a short memory; it has amnesia. The minute they walk out of that theater they forget your face, and the last image they see of you is the one they remember. This was a smaller film, a film she wouldn't have touched when she was at the top of her game-but that was then and this is now. At least it was a feature film with a respectable budget and decent distribution, not just some pathetic sub-fifteen-million-dollar trailer that would end up buried on the Lifetime Channel. And the role was a good one-the kind that was getting harder to find. Danielle Blakelock, sleek and seductive twenty-five-year-old microbiologist martial arts expert.
But she could do it-she could still pull it off. After all, it was the same role she had been playing for twenty years. Different name, different location, same role. Twenty-five-it wasn't such a stretch. If shooting didn't start until summer, she still had time to squeeze in three weeks of green tea diets and detox wraps at Las Ventanas. That would do it. That would put her back in top form-except maybe for the close-ups ...
"Will we be using a body double?" she asked.
The director frowned. "Why would we need to do that?"
She gave him a wink. "I knew I liked you the minute I saw you." She casually laid her hand on her right thigh and hiked up her skirt a little to show just a bit more leg-then spotted a telltale lacework of faint blue lines and slid it back down again.
"I see this character as essentially tortured," the director said. "I think her driving motivation is to relieve her own guilt by redeeming the soul of someone she loves."
"I couldn't agree more." Whatever.
"The opening scene finds her in an alcoholic stupor in the middle of a vacant lot. She opens her eyes and looks around ... Where is she? How did she get there? How long has she-"
"Wait a minute. She's an alcoholic?"
The director paused. "How could you miss that? It's central to her entire character."
Liv made a mental note to strangle Morty. "How long has she been an alcoholic?"
"Twenty, maybe twenty-five years."
"What was she doing, sipping margaritas in her bassinet?"
"The woman's only twenty-five years old."
"What are you talking about? She's closer to fifty."
Liv's left shoe slipped off the footrest and clacked on the tile floor.
"Did she come across younger in the script? I suppose we could knock off a couple of years, but she has to be at least in her midforties if she's got a twenty-five-year-old daughter."
"I thought we were talking about Danielle."
"No, we're talking about your character-Margaret Blakelock, Danielle's alcoholic mother."
A very long pause followed, during which Liv's eyelids slowly lowered until her eyes were only burning slits.
"Margaret Blakelock," she said.
"No, Margaret. Didn't your agent tell you-"
"And may I ask who will be playing Danielle?"
"I haven't cast that part yet. I'm thinking about one of the Olsen twins."
Another long pause.
Without breaking eye contact, Liv reached to her left and picked up a bowl of mixed nuts from the bar. She held the bowl in front of her and slowly sorted through them with her index finger, settling on a filbert of unusual size. She brought the nut to eye level and held it like a dart; she took careful aim, then tossed it at the young director. It bounced off the center of his forehead-plink.
The director sat speechless.
Liv reached for another nut-a cashew this time.
"Let me get this straight," she said. "You want to cast me as the alcoholic mother of an Olsen twin-an actress who would make me look like John Madden in a housedress just by standing beside me."
She tossed the nut-plink.
"I thought you-I thought I made it clear that-"
"Let me make something clear: I am Olivia Hayden. I have made twenty-seven feature films, and most of them turned a profit."
"I was starring in films when you were still in training pants. My face is known all over the world, and my name is practically a household word."
"I have played a sleek and seductive police officer, a sleek and seductive shuttle astronaut, and a sleek and seductive advertising executive. I can even play a sleek and seductive microbiologist martial arts expert, because I'm a professional and I have that kind of range. But I do not-"
"I do not-"
"I do not play the bloated fifty-year-old mother of an Olsen twin."
She dumped the remainder of the bowl in his lap, slid off her barstool, and headed for the door without another word.
Liv stood seething in the parking lot while the valet brought her car around. The young man opened the door for her and held it, smiling. She stepped up to the car and then stopped and turned to the valet. "Do you know who I am?" she asked.
The valet's smile vanished. "Uh-BMW M6 ragtop-that's what your claim check says, anyway. Is there some problem with-"
"Get away from my car, moron." She jerked the door out of his hand and ducked inside.
She jammed the pedal to the floor and hit Wilshire Boulevard with the tires already smoking. It was after four o'clock and the streets were all but vacant; she raced down Wilshire without regard for speed limits or stoplights, half hoping that a cop would pull her over just so she could pull a Zsa Zsa and slap the fool broadside. She was dying to slap somebody-she needed it bad. She glanced around at the empty streets. There's never a cop around when you need one.
She reached the 405 a few minutes later and headed south with no particular destination in mind. She just wanted to drive, and anywhere would do.
Margaret Blakelock, she thought. Not Danielle-of course not! No, we need someone younger to play that role, someone without distracting body features-like skin! An Olsen twin-I weigh more than both of them combined! I'd have to face sideways the whole picture!
She passed a minivan like it was standing still and crossed all eight lanes just to feel the car swerve.
The alcoholic mother, she thought. How glamorous! I can see it now: As the scene opens I'm lying drunk in some vacant lot. I lift my bloated head and drool runs down my chin ... Cut! Print it! Boy, I hope they pick a nice shooting location-a vacant lot in Jamaica maybe. Morty-he knew about this. I'm gonna kill that guy. You keep an agent for twenty years, and this is what he does to you? He didn't send me the wrong pages-he did it on purpose! He's trying to tell me that I'm getting old-that I'm going to have to start taking different parts. Well, thanks for the press release, Morty, but I already knew that.
She shot under an overpass at ninety miles per hour. The wind swirling behind her BMW blasted the concrete abutment with bits of sand and gravel.
Goldie Hawn was right, there are only three ages for women in Hollywood: Babe, District Attorney, and Driving Miss Daisy. What happened to me? Yesterday I was sleek and seductive-suddenly I'm the alcoholic mother of sleek and seductive. Tomorrow I'll probably be checking myself into Betty Ford.
She glanced in the rearview mirror and to her astonishment found a vehicle trailing behind her barely a car length off her bumper. "Moron!" she shouted at the mirror. Eight empty lanes and this idiot still wants to tailgate! Welcome to Los Angeles.
For a split second she considered slamming on her brakes and sending him slamming into her tail end, but she knew that at ninety miles per hour his engine would end up in her lap. She tapped on her brakes instead; the car behind her slowed down a little but still remained a single car length behind.
She hit the gas and accelerated-the car behind her kept pace. She changed lanes twice-so did her pursuer. Who is this idiot? she wondered, and suddenly she knew.
The paparazzi-they must have been waiting for her outside Kate Mantilini's. Don't those people ever have enough pictures? Doesn't an editor ever have the decency to say, "Enough! We've got photos of this chick coming out the wazoo-give her some privacy." Couldn't some sympathetic editor at least remind them, "Look-nobody wants to see this woman walking out of a Walgreens with a bottle of Metamucil. And no more shots of her stuffing her face with french fries either-nobody wants to see that." But no, the buzzards were never satisfied.
She glared into the mirror. Where did this guy think she was going at four o'clock in the morning? What was the big attraction? The way he was driving you'd think he was following her to the Golden Globes!
She lowered her window and screamed into the wind, "Get off my tail, you moron! I'm just an alcoholic mother-you have me confused with someone else!"
But the car stayed right behind her.
And that's when Olivia Hayden got mad.
She was sick to death of feeding these buzzards, and she made up her mind right then and there that this guy was one bird that wasn't going to eat tonight. She would outdrive him if it took her all night; she would take the 405 all the way to Irvine, then jump onto the San Diego Freeway and take it all the way to Tijuana if she had to.
An Olsen twin, she kept repeating to herself, and her hands gripped the steering wheel until her knuckles turned white.
* * *
Ramon Munoz reached out the window and smacked the 24-Hour Pizza light that was magnetically attached to the roof of his car. The light flickered once and went out again, and he decided to leave it that way. Hey, it was only for advertising-what did he care? It's not like he was driving a cop car-nobody was yelling, "Pull over! Let the pizza guy through!"
He glanced over at the street address taped to the top of the pizza warmer-someplace in Inglewood. He hoped he didn't get lost again. The drivers were no longer obligated to make their deliveries in thirty minutes or less-too many accidents-but a slow delivery meant a cold pizza, and a cold pizza meant a bad tip. Why don't they give us GPS units? The owner-he's the man, he's got the money. A nice Garmin or something-that would speed things up. Still, Ramon managed to make most of his deliveries in the originally promised thirty minutes or less, but not because of satellite technology. He managed it because he was smart.
Excerpted from Wonders Never Cease by Tim Downs Copyright © 2010 by Tim Downs. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Tim Downs is the author of nine novels including the Christy Award-winning PlagueMaker and the highly acclaimed series of Bug Man novels. Tim lives in North Carolina with his wife Joy. They have three grown children.
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When I read the summary of Wonders Never Cease on Book Sneeze, I was intrigued. I couldn't put this book down! Each chapter flowed into the next, and every part was interesting (except when the criminal masterminds were talking about money...I am not a money person!). This book would not have been as great if it wasn't for the constant humor and sarcasm. Many times I had to stop reading because I was laughing so hard! Wonders Never Cease tackles a tough subject (are angels real?) and puts it in a modern context that we can relate to. Also, points for the uniqueness of the book. Kemp McAvoy is out to get money and he picks up a few money-snatchers on the way to dupe a celebrity...genius. I would definitely recommend this book.
In Wonders Never Cease, Kemp comes up with an idea that will make him filthy rich without trying too hard. Leah, the daughter of his live-in partner told people that she¿s been seeing angels. Kemp gets his idea from Leah. He pretended to be an angel. I¿ve encountered the same concept of someone being able to see angels or ghosts. Usually, people assume that the certain person is crazy. But that¿s not always the case. Wonders Never Cease was the kind of novel that holds the interest of people. It is a mixture of light realistic fiction, a dash of crazy, a bit of drama and a cast of likable characters. It reminded me of the typical television show. The plot was the kind that had a familiar quality to it but at the same time the author managed to inject life into this novel. So that it remained entertaining. I liked the humor and the familiar-quality of this novel. It was light enough that I could enjoy but not too light that I feel uncomfortable. It was predictable at some point. From the beginning, we knew what would happen to the bad guy but what intrigued me was what happened in between. *Thomas Nelson/BookSneeze provided a copy for an honest review.
This just isn't a good book.
The compelling novel "Wonders Never Cease" by Tim Downs appeals to those who appreciate a warm-hearted story. The author's meticulous writing allows the details throughout the novel to be consistent. As many stories throughout the novel are combined to one story, they all combine in to about one or two main conflicts. One of the main character changes their identity to an angel in order to make a lot of money. If this character gets caught, then any other character that is associated with him will have their lives changed for the worse. The main conflict with this situation is man vs. society. The mans choices against whether or not what he has done is illegal. The other conflict that characters face in this story is that a little girl in the story believes she sees angels. However, nobody believes her. The theme that this brings on is the fact that nobody believes her, because nobody is willing to believe. While the novel may seem implausible, it has a good plot that allows the reader to connect their lives to what they are reading. The story is somewhat delayed, or slow at first, but the morals of the story are excellent. Despite the slow start, this story also allows the reader to look at life from a different perspective. For many, a different view at life is needed, and this story allows this to happen.
Im a fiction lover. I like stories filled with complex plots, animated characters, and dialogue and description that makes me feel like Im right there smack dab in the middle of the story as it unfolds. I was expecting no less when I began reading this book. A high profile actress, a money hungry make nurse, a mother whose daughter sees angels, and a cast of other extra personalities...sounds like the making of a great book, right? Unfortunately; in my humble opinion, not so much. The storyline was scattered, and while the ending was unpredictable, I was so puzzled and confused by the end, I simply expelled a sigh of relief. I will say however, there was never a dull moment. Not much to review. This book was pieced together and unfortunately not a very good read.
I'm a skeptic when it comes to extraordinary claims of angel sightings in the modern world, but if a person somehow did see angels, Tim Downs' "Wonders Never Cease" provides an interesting scenario of what could happen. When his girlfriend's daughter starts seeings angels, nurse Kemp McAvoy decides to take on some wings and become an angel himself to scam the movie star who comes under his supervision at the hospital. Kemp aligns himself with a failing book publisher and the movie star's agent, but as debt collectors, a janitor, and real angels get into the mix, things won't turn out the way Kemp expects. Downs well-crafted story will intrigue the reader. The story, itself, pulls the reader in. Characters get less credit. The characters are predictable and echo similar characters in other books and movies, especially Downs' aging movie star. The moral themes don't satisfy, either. While Kemp's girlfriend and her daughter manage to get out of a bad situation and away from Kemp, Kemp and his partners find themselves in a get-what-you-deserve ending. Kemp never realizes how selfish and wrong he is, and he never makes up with his overbearing father. Unfortunately, wonders do cease in this book, but Downs still manages to keep the readers' attention in his less than original but still captivating book.
Wonders Never Cease, by Tim Downs, is a fictional novel about how a night nurse, Kemp, tries to trick a sick movie star into believing that he is an angel in order to make enough money to take better care of the family. This book is fairly predictable, with trite phrases and writing that is overly-clichéd. It read very much like a made-for-TV-movie, and because of this I wasn't a huge fan. I think that some readers might like this for a very lighthearted read that has the bigger goal of imparting an important message at the end, but I just found it to be overly boring and too heavy-handed with the metaphoric, clunky language. I didn't think that the plot was tightly wound together, and I would not recommend this book to people who prefer a book with high literary interest. I got this book for free from Booksneeze, but now I don't know what to do with it. I don't recommend that you spend your money on this - if you must read it, just check it out from your library. I doubt you would really want to have it around to reread it time and again.
Wonders Never Cease by Tim Downs , a general Christian fictional book, is a novel that has touch of tension that builds between the characters right from the beginning that keeps you wanting to read to the next chapter and beyond - it's a story you can't put down. Plan to read this book during the day instead of before going to sleep!, if sleep is something that need everyday, like most of us. I found the characters likeable, the plot interesting and the ending very satisfying! There were definitely some twists I hadn't expected... Just like life, it doesn't all get tied up in a nice little bow at the end. The story takes on two themes that allows the reader to ponder certain aspects of life that are not often found in a novel. I absolutely loved the humor, and had numerous laugh-out-loud moments when I was reading it. This book could be read and understood by children age 13 on up. This is a book I would not have a problem with my own 7th grader, 13 year old, daughter reading. Tim Downs has written a novel that is not only a thoroughly satisfying novel but is also a tightly crafted story that delivers a nice balance of drama, suspense and humor. The characters are clearly rendered, real people who struggle with day to day morality in the modern world at a big city hospital. But the book is never preachy, just a fun read that challenged me to think about what I would do in similar circumstances. And it also reminded me that what is going on in the spiritual world is a close and present reality. " I guess some people are are ready to believe and some people just aren't. I suppose some people think they're too smart for this kind of thing; they've got the universe all figured out and things like this don't fit in. Even God doesn't fit in- they've got him all explained away too."
This book was a quick, light and easy read for me. It really gets your mind think about God's ways and the human nature. Tim Downs created a story that is full of humor to keep the reader pulled in and focused on the story. He also added enough suspense to the story to really leave me wondering what would happen next! Tim Downs really brought out a theory about angels with this one. I am really glad that I was able to review this book for Booksneeze. It is one that I would suggest my daughter read as well as any other book lover out there! Well done, Tim Downs!
This is the first novel I've read by Downs. It's praised as "a warm-hearted story of mistaken identity and unlikely redemption". I wouldn't classify this story as warm-hearted, and I struggle to find the redemption. The main characters are a lazy narcissist, a co-dependent single mom, and a six year-old who sees angels. Then add the child's teacher and school counselor, both non-believers in a Christian school, a self-center movie star, her greedy agent, a dishonest book editor, and a loan shark. The only genuine character is the janitor, who eventually turns to extortion to get his way. I found the story a bit depressing - it starts with lies and ends with lies. Instead of forgiveness and redemption, there's retribution and manipulation. The author attempts to touch on the issue of faith, commenting that there needs to be "a willingness to believe". While that concept sounds nice, a willingness to believe in angels doesn't redeem one's soul. It's the belief in and acceptance of Jesus Christ that redeems. The story is well-written, but it left me disappointed. The characters all continue on in their troubled ways, not learning lessons or repenting of their wrong decisions, but finally getting what they deserve. I found this story to be less about redemption and more about consequences - you reap what you sow. *** I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
What do you get when you combine a little girl that see angels, an obnoxious nurse (with an MD), a single mom, a narrow-minded school psychiatrist, and a few other colorful characters? You get Wonders Never Cease - a book by Tim Downs. The simple plot of the book centers on a six year old girl that sees angels. Some people believe her and others do not. This plot by itself would make a very boring book, but Tim Downs combines some very memorable characters with many sub-plots to turn Wonders Never Cease into a book that you don't want to put down. The first two chapters of the book were a little slow, but needed to set up the rest of the story. The pace picks up at the end of the second chapter and continues through the surprise ending. There were several twists in the book that I never saw coming. I would not consider this an inspirational book, but it was an excellent piece of fiction. Wonders Never Cease was an enjoyable, easy read that contained well-measured parts of suspense, sadness, and humor. I would highly recommend this book to anyone. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
So, what happens when you take a single working mom, her daughter who sees angels, and a live-in boyfriend who thinks the rules don't apply to him? You get an interesting book, "Wonders Never Cease" by Tim Downs. When I first picked up the book I thought it was going to be about the relationship between the two adults and the struggles involved in step-parenting. Instead, the plot evolves into a story about a man who has always tried to use shortcuts and underhanded means to get ahead in life. And of course, he always fails. This time he capitalizes on a Hollywood star's accident, the fact that people will believe anything they read, especially if Oprah endorses it, and a little girl's belief in angels. In the end, he gets everything he deserves and then some! This was a fun and easy book to read that reminds you that 1. there really is no substitute for hard work; 2. your past will catch up with you at some point and 3. people tell us who they are, but too often we don't listen.
In Tim Downs' latest novel - Wonders Never Cease - Kemp McAvoy is a disgruntled nurse who believes, when he is assigned as the private nurse of has-been actress Olivia Hayden, his ship has finally come in. Olivia Hayden, in a medically induced coma, will receive an angelic messenger who delivers an astounding message that will produce a best selling book and millions for Kemp. But, when his girlfriend's six-year-old daughter claims that she is seeing angels, will this make his whole scheme start crashing down? Tim Downs has created a beautiful story that leaves you guessing until the very end. It is heartwarming and tender. He has created very likable characters (Natalie, Leah and Emmett) as well as despicable characters (Kemp, Wes and Morty). While the story seems to jump around a lot at the beginning, the fluidity in which the story moved worked with the pieces. I absolutely hated Kemp and his selfishness, but Natalie and her selflessness was enough of a balance. This story was one that was difficult to put down and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Overall it is a great piece of fiction that restores one's faith in the human race and in a higher power. As a side note, I did receive a free copy of the book from Thomas Nelson Publishing. I was not required in any way to post a positive review. The opinions stated above are mine and mine alone.
Wonders Never Cease by Tim Downs, takes an insightful (and at times hilarious) look at a unique set of circumstances that bring together an eclectic cast of characters. When aging Hollywood starlet, Olivia Hayden ends up in a medically induced coma, her nurse, would-be playboy Kemp McAvoy, seizes the opportunity to cash in on this famous "cash cow". With assistance from Olivia's parasitic manager and an unsavory book publisher, the trio set out to convince the actress she's on an "angelic" inspired mission to spread a divine message to the world. Meanwhile, Kemp's girlfriend's daughter Leah, claims to really see angels. As the novel unfolds, we're left wondering if divine spirits are indeed things of fantasy or if they're closer than we think. Pros I really enjoyed reading Wonders Never Cease. It's the kind of book you have to force yourself to put down, because it truly is that good! The story line moves along at a fluid pace, and delivers a well-balanced blend of mystery, drama and wicked humor. A fun read, that delivers a powerful message in a non-preachy way. Cons The ending was swift but satisfying.
Kemp McAvoy had a foolproof scheme, or so he thought. This doctor wanabe is arrogant, rude and self absorbed and thinks he has it all figured out. As a night nurse, his sole patient is an aging movie star who is in a coma from an automobile accident. All Kemp has to do is use a few placed bright lights, adjust her meds and when she wakes from her coma she will think she has had a heavenly visitor. Then they will have a best seller on her hands. It should work like a charm. What Kemp never counted on was his girlfriend Natalie's six year old daughter, Leah who sees real angels and the consequences that can result from impersonating angels. Leah tells others about the angels and her mother, her teacher and the school counselor think there is a deeper problem. But what? He mother is trying to juggle her job, motherhood and a less than supporting self absorbed boyfriend in Kemp. Leah's teacher thinks she just a vivid imagination and the school counselor thinks there are deeper problems. He thinks she has issues as a result of her parents divorce or something more sinister with her relationship with her mother's boyfriend. The counselor even suggest to Natalie that Leah may even have a brain tumor. As the story progresses with Kemps determination to make the movie star believe she sees angels, more characters are introduced and each plays an important part in the outcome of this get rich quick scheme. Only six year old Leah believes there are angels and that she sees them. When Leah's nanny abruptly quits, leaving Natalie no choice but to bring her daughter to work with her at night, leaving Leah free to roam the halls of the hospital that angelic encounters increase, the real and the not so real. One seemingly angelic person is Emmet, the night janitor, who takes an interest in the precious child. Tim Downs, author of "Wonders Never Cease" keeps you turning page after page in this entertaining novel. His cast of characters is interesting. Some of them you love and some you can't stand. This is a real easy read and I finished reading it in one day. I couldn't wait to see how the good guys defeat the bad guys and to find out if Leah is really seeing angels or is it something much different. Thomas Nelson publishers has made reading a delight for people like me who love to read. This is my second book I received for free as a book reviewer through Book Sneeze, a part of Nelson Publishers.
I requested this book because it reminded me a little of Jodi Picoult's Keeping Faith, but the two are really different. Natalie's daugher Leah keeps seeing angels (and, of course, nobody believes her). But Natalie's boyfriend Kemp* gets an idea--what if he engineers it so that movie star Olivia Hayden (who is in a medically-induced coma) thinks SHE sees an angel and writes a book about it? He gets a publisher and her agent in on it, and he figures he'll stand to make a ton of money. Except it turns out that it's not a good idea to pretend to be an angel. (And it's an even worse idea when you're greedy and an idiot like Kemp is.) This is definitely an interesting premise, and most of the characters are incredibly likable (except for Kemp and his partners in operation faux angel sighting.) * = Kemp is a total ass. And that's one of the nicer things I could say about him.
I have no idea why I chose to review this book for Thomas Nelson, but I was pleasantly surprised. Wonders Never Cease by Tim Downs is the story of a self-centered medical-school-drop-out-turned-nurse and his plan to "get what he deserves". When world-famous actress Liv Hayden is in a serious auto accident and is put into a medically induced coma to prevent swelling of the brain, Kemp McAvoy concocts a plan with a struggling publisher and Hayden's long-time agent to make them all rich. Since Hayden is Kemp's only patient on his night shift, he adjusts her medication to bring her to semi-conscious state, and then lets the fireworks fly. Kemp explains he is a heavenly visitor- an angel- with a message for all humankind. Once Hayden is brought out of her coma by her doctors, she thinks the entire experience was real- that an angel presented her with a message to share with the world. Conveniently, her agent suggests writing a book- one that will be a best-seller and bring in millions not only for Hayden, but for the individuals involved in the scheme. Things get complicated quickly, and no one knows how everything will turn out in the end. Sounds like a crazy plot- and it is- but it was actually a really enjoyable read. There are other supporting roles and sub-plots which help to define the main characters in the novel, and Downs does a good job laying out the story and then filling in the crevices with great details. It's not a 'deep thinking' book by any means, but if you're in the mood for a relaxing read, this would be a good option. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."