I've been lucky enough to receive a whole bunch of ARCs for books releasing throughout the next few months. I'm very choosy about what books I accept and/or request and I was especially excited about these 3 books that released this month.
Chase Away Cancer- Ellie Poole Ewoldt (May 1)
Ellie is a dear friend of mine so on the one hand, this review is biased because I love her and because I walked alongside her from afar as her son Chase was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Yet on the other hand, this isn't biased because I know good writing when I come across it and I also know the pediatric brain tumor world, as that was my specialty when I worked as a pediatric oncology social worker. In fact, Chase was diagnosed only a year after I stepped away from social work. I remember talking to Ellie on the phone soon after, she in Illinois and I in Nashville, as she tried to sort through the decisions they had to make about treatment. I remember how sad and scary it was and I also remember Ellie's confident faith, even in the midst of her worst nightmare.
It is that same faith that flows through her account in this book. No matter what twists and turns their cancer journey took, Ellie remained unflinching in her belief that God was carrying them and carries them still. I can say with assurance I would not respond the same way, which is partly why I'm so amazed by my friend. But Ellie in all her amazingness is human, too. Her honesty about her fears, her questions, and even her capability in difficult circumstances is something we can all relate to, even if our circumstances are different. People may hear what this book is about and think it's not for them or that it will be too hard to read and they will be wrong. This book is full of hope, laughter, and love. It is full of life, in no small part due to Chase's vivacious personality brought to life by Ellie's words.
There are no wrapped-up-in-a-bow conclusions. Chase's prognosis is uncertain and yet this is a family who is choosing, moment by moment, to fully live to the best of their abilities. Ellie is a gifted writer and I'm so glad she chose to share her story in this way.
The Girl From Summer Hill (Summer Hill #1)- Jude Deveraux (May 3)
I've never read Deveraux before but I thoroughly enjoyed her take on Pride and Prejudice as a contemporary romance. Purists won't appreciate a few of her liberties (the P&P sisters aren't all sisters) but these changes are minor in the grand scheme of things and serve to keep the story interesting. There were a few funny moments and I loved all the food descriptions. It's not necessarily the best writing but I've never been able to turn down a good update on Jane Austen and this is no exception. This is the first book in a series and I'm looking forward to seeing what other Austen work she takes on next.
The City of Mirrors (The Passage #3)- Justin Cronin (May 24)
If you've been around here for a while, you'll know The Passage was one of my favorite novels in 2015. I gushed about it some more when I was on What Should I Read Next? a couple of months ago. I held off on reading book #2 The Twelve because it would be a long wait until The City of Mirrors finally came out. The Twelve fascinated me because of Cronin's bold choices in how to move the story forward toward it's ultimate conclusion. The bold choices only continued with The City of Mirrors. While there are a few minor quibbles I have with two things that happened toward the end, they did not distract me from the amazing way Cronin drew this trilogy to a close. We see how character development pays off (or doesn't), we learn a key character's origin story and what that has to do with everyone else, we are treated to more of the complex, nuanced social commentary Cronin served up in the first book. The literary and religious references add depth and richness throughout. And the ending was satisfying and not at all what I expected. Some day I will read all 3 books back to back and I'm sure I will walk away with even more insights. For now, I'm in awe of Cronin's genius. If only I could pick his brain and learn how this giant story came to be!
Disclosure : Affiliate links included in this post. If you click through, any purchase you make supports this site. I received a free copy of City of Mirrors and The Girl From Summer Hill from NetGalley. I received a free copy of Chase Away Cancer from Tyndale House Publishers. This did not influence my opinion in any way.