Sit, Stay, Love by Dana Mentink (Harvest House, 2016)

Book Review – Sit, Stay, Love by Dana Mentink

Sit, Stay, Love by Dana Mentink (Harvest House, 2016)

About the book (from the publisher):

Sit, Stay, Love by Dana Mentink (Harvest House, 2016)

Pro baseball pitcher Cal Crawford is not a dog guy. When he inherits his deceased mother’s elderly dog, Tippy, he’s quick to call on a pet-sitting service.

Gina isn’t thrilled to be a dog sitter when her aspirations lie in the classroom. Furthermore, she can’t abide the unfriendly Cal, a man with all the charm of a wet towel. But with no other prospects and a deep love for all things canine, she takes the job caring for Tippy.

As Gina travels through Cal’s world with Tippy in tow, she begins to see Cal in a different light. Gina longs to show Cal the God-given blessings in his life that have nothing to do with baseball or fame. When her longing blooms into attraction, Gina does her best to suppress it. But Cal is falling in love with her too…

Discover the charming story of Tippy, the dog who brought a family together.

My thoughts:

This book was an adorable and fast read. The abundance of realistic dialogue increased the pace of the book, and the author incorporates setting in an active way that moves the plot along at the same time as giving the reader a sense of surroundings.

The characters are also delightful. I came to like Gina quickly after she was introduced, and the side characters (particularly Oscar, Sweets, and Pete) add both to the interesting plot and the endearment of the book. After peeling back some of Cal’s defensive layers, readers will root strongly for him, too. Multiple changes in setting and action (city, baseball fields, travel, the farm) also offer opportunities for sensory details to pull the reader into the story even more.

As a mom of a child with special needs, I also enjoyed the inclusion of a sight-impaired youth baseball team and felt the families briefly introduced were a wonderful (and well-written) addition that focused on those characters’ abilities (not disabilities) and added depth to the characters and themes.

The romantic plot line does waver back and forth just a touch too much for me (several instances of will they be together? won’t they?) when there’s very little doubt that they care for each other. But the book addresses great themes including the pitfalls of fame, varied lifestyles, trust, forgiveness, second chances, redemption, and offering (and accepting) mercy.

Learn more about the book and author on the Litfuse group page.

You can also click here to enter a giveaway (open through April 25th)!

Sit Stay Love Dana Mentink
 

What life lessons have you learned from a family dog or other pet?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher as a part of the Litfuse blogging team in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

I am an affiliate for Amazon Associates. If you click on an Amazon link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Greek Words in the New Testament

About Church and Community

One aspect of faith I’m consistently learning more about is the idea of ekklesia – of being called out to gather together.

We’re doing a New Testament Greek Words series at Do Not Depart month, and I studied a bit on ekklesia and wrote about it there today.

Join me there, and please read the other posts in the series for looks at other words my cowriters have studied.

Greek Words in the New Testament

Easter in the Old Testament series

Isaiah 53 and What to Do When Suffering Comes

Over at Do Not Depart this month, we’re looking at Isaiah 53 and seeing hints of Easter in the Old Testament.

Today, I’m writing on Isaiah 53:7-9, hard verses to read because it’s all about suffering. But, as always, Christ shows us how to react through suffering and why it’s important to keep reading (and living) beyond those verses. Join me at Do Not Depart to read more, and check out the rest of the Easter in the Old Testament series, too.

Easter in the Old Testament series

book review of 7 Women and The Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas (Thomas Nelson, 2015)

Book Review – 7 Women and The Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas

When I had only reached the halfway point, I had already mentioned this book to five people in person (besides mentioning it online) and pinpointed specific reasons/passages each individual would find particularly interesting.

That’s a sign of an intriguing book.

book review of 7 Women and The Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas (Thomas Nelson, 2015)

Seven Women and The Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas (Thomas Nelson, 2015) is that intriguing book. Metaxas is a well-respected biographer of people of faith, and this is the first book I’ve gotten to read by him. (I’m a fan now, and look forward to picking up his biography on Bonhoeffer one day.)

This book chronicles seven women from the past 700 years and how following their faith led to incredible acts of courage, love, dedication, and cultural/societal change for the good. The book is divided into an introduction (which I highly recommended spending time and thought in — I highlighted numerous quotes from just those first few pages) followed by a chapter on each of the seven women: Joan of Arc, Susanna Wesley, Hannah More, Saint Maria of Paris, Corrie ten Boom, Rosa Parks, and Mother Teresa.

What Metaxas does exceptionally well is not only include interesting abbreviated biographies on each woman, but also explains basic history of the place and era while highlighting how the woman’s actions were so culturally significant at the time (and thus influenced our time now in so many ways). This combination provides a strongly influential and inspiring read.

These stories are not fluff, either. Each woman suffered repeated trial and tragedy, yet each grew in their faith and their impact on our world through various means. While the book is focused on women, Metaxas writes in a way that is interesting and intriguing to all (and discusses in many sections how important God made women’s roles to be).

I also learned a great deal of history and of some women I hadn’t really heard of before. I already knew about Joan of Arc, Corrie ten Boom, Rosa Parks, and Mother Teresa, but this book definitely increased my knowledge and awe. And, honestly, I’d hadn’t read much at all (or any) about Susanna Wesley, Hannah More, and Saint Maria. I’m now honored to know their stories and pray God continues using their examples and their impact to further His love among people.

I highly recommend picking this one up. You won’t regret your time amongst its pages.

*Note: There is also a companion book to this one, titled 7 Men. I haven’t read it, but after reading 7 Women, I’d say that one would also be worth checking out!

Which woman of faith would you like to read a biography about?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher as a part of the BookLook blogger program in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

I am an affiliate for Amazon Associates and GrapeVine Studies. If you click on an Amazon link or a GrapeVine Studies link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Blue Ribbon Trail Ride by Miralee Ferrell

Book Review – Blue Ribbon Trail Ride by Miralee Ferrell

Blue Ribbon Trail Ride by Miralee Ferrell

From the publisher:

Blue Ribbon Trail Ride by Miralee Ferrell (David C Cook, 2016 – Book #4 of the Horses and Friends series)

Thirteen-year old Kate and her friends came up with the perfect way to raise money for her autistic younger brother and others to attend summer camp—a horse scavenger hunt! As local businesses donate money and prizes, Kate keeps the entry fees in her mom’s antique jewelry box.
But when the box and the money disappear, Kate and her friends must unravel the clues, hold on to hope, and solve the mystery along the Blue Ribbon Trail Ride.

My thoughts:

The good: The main character in this book (and series), Kate, has several faults, which is good because it makes her more relatable and realistic. She’s hasty to judge others and often needs to backtrack on her verbal actions to apologize and make amends. This flaw is great to tie-in to middle grade novels because we all need practice with choosing words. The horses are also a highlight of this book (and series). Most of the riders ride English (dressage, flatwork, and jumping), but mention is made of Western riding, as well. The connection between horse and rider is described well and very enjoyable to read. We also see the most variety in character personalities and backgrounds in this book of the series.

A few cautions: I feel most of the book “talks down” to the middle grade reader. Much of the book’s lessons are blatantly told to the reader through outright inner and external dialogue rather than allowing the reader to infer morals/themes from character actions and plot conflicts. (Lots of “telling” rather than “showing.”) Dialogue is also often used to move the plot along rather than actual action, dulling the reading experience at times. The “friends” characters within the book are around 13 years old, yet their dialogue is somewhat unrealistic (problems are solved too quickly, dialogue feels better suited to 8- and 9-year-olds talking at many points). Some readers and families may agree with many of the stereotypical boy-girl remarks made throughout the story, but some may find it limiting.
*Special note for families with special needs: I believe that the author genuinely tried to include a child with autism realistically, however I do have to warn that many special needs families may take offense to how autism is referenced in these books. I am a mother of a child with special needs (though not autism), and it stung to read that the child’s family referred to him as “needing to be fixed” or “growing out of autism.” I do not believe that the author meant any harm, but I feel it worth mentioning as a caution.

Horse-loving preteens will probably enjoy this series, regardless of its faults. It also teaches good lessons, though perhaps not always realistically solved, and the lesson become more of the focus of this story than the plot and adventure.

Check out the Litfuse page for more information about this book and author.

Which horse-related books are your family’s favorites for middle grade readers?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher as a part of the Litfuse blogging team in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

I am an affiliate for Amazon Associates. If you click on an Amazon link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.