Jase Ellison doesn’t remember having Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia when he was three years old. His cancer diagnosis only enters his mind twice a year. Once at his yearly checkup at the oncology clinic and when he attends Camp Chemo in the summer. No one in his “real” life knows about his past, especially his friends at Atlanta West Prep.
Mari Manos has never been able to hide her cancer survivorship. She wakes every morning, grabs her pink forearm clip crutches, and starts her day. Mari loves Camp Chemo—where she’s developed a healthy crush on fellow camper Jase. At Camp, she knows that she’ll never get “the look” or have to explain her amputation to anyone.
Jase wants to move on, to never reveal his past. But when Mari transfers to his school, he knows she could blow his cover. That’s the last thing he wants, but he also cannot ignore his attraction to her. For Mari, she only wants to be looked at like a girl, a person, and not only known for her disability. But how do you move on from cancer when the world won’t let you
This book deals with some really tough subjects. Bad things happen sometimes—and sometimes children are the one who have to deal with it. Jase and Mari survived childhood cancer, but years later they’re still dealing with the fallout. Mari is so unbelievably strong—and I love how she doesn’t just put up with Jase’s b.s. She calls him out on it and lets him know it’s not okay.
I felt really sorry for Jase. How can anyone think it’s okay to bully someone who had cancer? I can’t imagine being the victim there, on top of having cancer! Strength in the midst of pain runs through this novel, and it was so good!
Kati Gardner calls herself a recovering actor. She lives in North Carolina and had an amputation as the result of childhood cancer. Finding Balance is her newest novel, the second book in the Brave Enough series.
(Galley courtesy of North Star Editions/Flux in exchange for an honest review.)
Sometimes the truth comes at a cost. Can she forgive him when she learns his true identity? Posing as an Amish groundskeeper at Rose Allgyer’s lakeside cabin retreat, Englischer Caleb Miller is determined to clear his brother’s name of theft. But as he’s drawn to Rose’s good nature, the burden of his ruse gets heavier—especially after learning Rose was deceived by her ex-fiancé. Still guarded, will Rose trust Caleb with her heart when she discovers he isn’t who he claims to be?
I do love reading Amish fiction, and this was one I enjoyed a lot. It was interesting watching Caleb try to fit into the Amish community, mistakes and all. I was far more intrigued by the development of Caleb and Rose’s storyline than the mystery of the stolen coins, but there were also several other side intrigues to keep my attention as well. This was a sweet, uncomplicated read, perfect for a stressful day.
Carrie Lighte enjoys traveling to Amish communities across the United States and she hopes to visit a few in Canada soon, too. When she isn’t writing, reading or researching, she likes to hike, kayak and spend time at the beach.
(Galley courtesy of Harlequin/Love Inspired in exchange for an honest review.)
Asking for forgiveness is the hardest part. She once trusted him with her heart…but will she ever trust him with the truth?
With only two weeks to renovate her family’s Colorado B and B, struggling single mom Addie Ricci can’t turn away help. Especially not when it’s her handsome high school sweetheart, Evan Hawke, who’s offering to pitch in. As they repair the B and B, Addie and Evan also begin rebuilding their relationship…until a secret from their past threatens to bring it all crashing down.
I enjoyed this so much! Addie and Evan are struggling with so much pain and hurt from their past, but they learn to trust each other again and move past the mistakes and secrets they’ve hidden for so long. I love inspirational romances, but sometimes the faith feels like it’s shoehorned in. That’s not the case here. The faith aspect feels like a natural part of these characters, and it’s wonderful to see Addie learn and grow as she and Evan get to know each other all over again.
Jill Lynn is an ACFW Carol Award-winning author and has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Bethel University. Her Hidden Hope is her newest novel,
(Galley courtesy of Harlequin/Love Inspired in exchange for an honest review.)
Adunni is a fourteen-year-old Nigerian girl who dreams of finishing her education and becoming a teacher. Before her mother died, she made her father promise Adunni wouldn’t be forced to marry, but her father now disregards that promise and gives her to be the third wife to a local man who demands that she gives him sons—and his first wife terrorizes her.
So Adunni runs away—and finds herself as the house slave to a wealthy couple in the city. The wife forces Adunni to scrub the house with a toothbrush and beats her whenever the whim strikes. The husband is a threat of a different kind, and Adunni realizes if she is ever to have “a louding voice”—the ability to speak and stand up for herself—she will have to act despite her fear. For herself. For the ones who came before her. And for those who will come after.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget how blessed I am, but this book paints it in stark relief in comparison to Adunni’s life. The strength and determination it would take to stand up to centuries of tradition and cultural habits is amazing. Adunni has suffered unspeakable things at the hands of those around her—yet she’s still upbeat and determined to seize her dreams in both hands. An excellent read—but not light and fluffy.
Abi Daré grew up in Nigeria and now lives in the UK. The Girl with the Louding Voice is her debut novel.
(Galley courtesy of Penguin Group/Dutton in exchange for an honest review.)
A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know
Dr. Lee Warren, a practicing neurosurgeon, had seen enough cases of glioblastoma to know when he diagnosed the patient, that he’d seen the end of them. With a 100% fatality rate, he knew how it was going to end. But that never stopped him from praying for his patients, even as he knew there was no hope. Even as he experienced doubts about just what God was doing. Even as he asked Why, God? It wasn’t until Lee faced a personal tragedy that he finally came to the end of himself—and rekindled the hope that had been hiding in the darkness for so long.
I’ve Seen the End of You was an incredible read! I don’t normally get enthralled in nonfiction, but I could not put this book down! Dr. Warren’s raw honesty about his fears, his questions, his grief resonated with me, and the strength it must take to face such seemingly hopeless cases every day with a prayer and an offered bit of hope is inspirational and uplifting. For anyone going through any kind of tragedy, this is a wonderful read!
Lee Warren is a brain surgeon, inventor, Iraq War veteran, and writer. I’ve Seen the End of You is his newest book.
(Galley courtesy of WaterBrook in exchange for an honest review.)
This was my first full week without school or work obligations on Tuesday and Thursday, and it was an excellent writing week!
I got in writing sessions on three days, for a total of six pages, plus some planning on the King Arthur project, and a bit of work on the Holly Lisle HTWAN class. And…I’ve decided to do NaNoWriMo this year for the first time in…years! I’m actually super excited about this, and the Muse is already hinting at ideas. I want to finish the first draft of the King Arthur story before November, though. So it would probably be a good idea to plot that out…
Also wrote three book reviews and I’m trying to write a narrative nonfiction essay just because.
The warning: Don’t become that beached whale, trying to live in a foreign environment.
The promise: You will find freedom when your identity is centered under the safety of the Divine.
Life is tough. Depression, addiction, suicide, violence…they’re all commonplace in our society, and they make it hard to know where to turn. Despite the “connectedness” of our social media word, many people feel alone and adrift. But we have a choice: we can choose to seek God and His true nature, and we can choose to live healthy, purpose-filled lives.
I wasn’t sure what to expect of this book, but Redwoods and Whales brought inspiration and hope while acknowledging the sometimes-bleak world around us. The casual tone combined with the chatting-with-a-friend feel of the book makes it easier to soak in the deep message in this book.
Phil Joel is a musician and an artist. Redwoods and Whales: Becoming Who You Actually Are is his debut book.
(Galley courtesy of Emanate Books/Thomas Nelson via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)
Not only did I get in three writing days this week—a bit over my goal of 2,250 words—but I also finished up two lessons in HTWAN! So I hit both goals for the week!
Writing-wise, I’m still wandering, as I have only a bare idea of plot, but my goal for this week—in addition to word count—is to outline five scenes (sentence per scene), so I have some idea where I’m going. I know from experience that I wander when I don’t outline, so it’s time to correct that.
This week was crazy busy. Seriously. But, I still got in two writing days!
About 1,500 words of fiction this week. (Ah…10,000-word days are such a fond/unbelievable memory now. Thank you, NaNo!). I also wrote five book reviews this week (three of those were written and scheduled on Thursday, before I left for my conference.)
For accountability purposes: in addition to three writing days this week (or 2,200 words), my goal is also to get two lessons done in HTWAN, because I am woefully behind.