Ace Collins’ Take-Your-Dog-to-the-Park Pack

Fall in love with these remarkable service dogs and their stories of courage, faith, and loyalty in Ace Collins’ new book, Service Tails. Their training was intense, their loyalty unquestioned and each step of the way they constantly adapt to better serve those they lead. These unforgettable dogs are more than heroes; they are models from which we can learn how to love and serve unconditionally.

Celebrate the release of Service Tails with Ace by entering to win the Take-Your-Dog-to-the-Park Pack!

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One grand prize winner will receive:

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Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on August 30. The winner will be announced August 31 on the Litfuse blog.

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Service Tails More Stories of Man’s Best Hero by Ace Collins – A Real Treat

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As an animal lover, it didn’t take me long to request Ace Collins newest book Service Tails – More Stores of Man’s Best Hero.  What a treat it was to read this book.  With all that’s wrong in the world today, it was lovely to take some time and learn about how service dogs have been helping people with disabilities and health challenges live full and independent lives.

Service Tails tells the stories of twelve different people, with various disabilities, whose lives were transformed for the better though the use of service dogs helping them live everyday life.  For years I’ve known about seeing-eye dogs that help the blind, but didn’t realize all the other areas that dogs could be trained to help.

I found it interesting to learn about how the dogs are trained.  Why one breed of dog is used over another.  Each organization takes a careful look at the needs of the disabled person and puts a lot of thought into selecting just the right animal.  Training may need to be customized so the dog is able to meet the needs of the person they will be serving.

In Service Tails you will learn how service dogs first started being used in the United States.  I felt grateful for the courageous and pioneering spirit of Morris Frank and his determination to get a guide dog so he could regain his freedom and independence.  But he didn’t stop there; he went on to share with other blind Americans the gift of guide dogs.

It was heartwarming to hear about the bonding that happens between a person and their service dog.  However, it was disconcerting to read about the way people with disabilities are treated and may feel isolated, ignored or treated like a small child.  I was encouraged to see how the service animal helps breakdown some barriers for disabled people.  Instead of people shying away from a disabled person, they are now drawn to them because of the animal.  The service dog serves as a vehicle to help people see beyond the disability and see the person for who they are and things they may have in common.

Service Tails is a book about heroes.  The disabled person who won’t settle for being isolated, giving up and living the rest of their life behind closed doors.  The service dogs whom God has gifted with the right temperament, skills, and intelligence to learn and help and serve people in need.  Not to be forgotten are the people who train and work with the dogs to prepare them for a life of serving, loving and caring for their own special person.

I highly recommend Service Tails – More Stores of Man’s Best Hero by Ace Collins.  This book will encourage you and may give you a new perspective on disabled people and the dogs who serve them.

I would like to thank Litfuse and Abingdon Press for the opportunity to read Service Tails by Ace Collins in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

 

Close to Home by Deborah Raney – Interesting Characters and Relationships

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Close to Home is the first book I’ve read by author Deborah Raney.  Even though it’s fourth book in the Chicory Inn Series, I didn’t feel like I had to start with the first book to enjoy it.  Enough background information is woven into the storyline, so even a reader new to the series won’t be lost.

Close to Home tells the story of Bree Whitman, who has been widowed for five years.  Since her husband Tim was killed in Afghanistan, she has remained close to her in-laws and extended family, who have shared a common bond of grief.  But there is a desire stirring in Bree.  She is still young and now contemplates marrying again and starting a family.  Those feelings are intensified when Aaron from work starts showing an interest in Bree.  How will romance with a new man affect her relationship with people who have been her family these past five years?  Will she have to cut off those ties?  Will those feelings of betraying her husband and his memory ever fade?  Is Aaron the right man or has the Lord planned someone else for Bree?  To find out, you’ll want to read Close to Home by Deborah Raney.

I really enjoyed the relationships between Bree and the other characters.  I thought the author had some good insights into people, emotions, what’s going on under the surface.  I liked the characters, with the exception of one person who seemed rather narcissistic, but that’s probably why I didn’t like him.

There were a few times that the book seemed a little slow and dragged a big.  Especially when it came to Bree getting a clue on what she needed to do about a relationship.

There was a little bit of faith woven into the book, but it was very minimal with a couple of references to prayer and church.  There was one point in the book when Bree and Aaron were having lunch and they independently bowed their heads to pray.  That just seemed really odd.  Why wouldn’t they pray together?

Personally, I think the book would have been richer and fuller if the author would have done a bit more with faith.  Have a person pray out loud, or even show how they are impacted from reading the Bible, hearing a sermon at church or through relationships with other believers.

I did appreciate that the book is clean.  There are no sexually inappropriate scenes or language, nor situations that are offensive.

All in all, I really liked Close to Home by Deborah Raney.  She is gifted in developing characters and relationships and is insightful.  I recommend this book and I would like to go back and read the first three books in the Chicory Inn Series and look forward to future books by this author.

I would like to thank Abingdon Press and Net Galley for the opportunity to read Close to Home by Deborah Raney in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

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Medical Judgment by Richard L. Mabry – Mixed Emotions

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I’ve read several of Richard Mabry’s novels and looked forward to reading his newest book Medical Judgment.  I like suspense and books where Christian writers include faith as part of the character’s development.  Richard Mabry includes the element of medicine which is drawn from his years of experience as a medical doctor.  Unfortunately, I have some mixed feeling on this book.

I liked and appreciated faith of not only the main character, Dr. Sarah Gordon, but also the several other characters including Detective Bill Larson who was investigating the threats against Sarah, her friend Kyle Andrews and Pastor Steve Farber.  I liked the character Connie, a nurse in the ER.  She seemed like solid Christian who truly cared about people.  She was honest and open with her faith.

The narrative at the end the chapters, from the perspective of the stalker, was effective in creating a suspense.  I also appreciate that the author doesn’t resort to filthy language or sexually inappropriate scenes.  Also, I really liked the character towards the end of the book veterinarian, Dr. Brad Selleck, he seemed like the most well-adjusted and healthy of the bunch.

Now to some of the things that I didn’t care for.

The main character Dr. Sarah Gordon got a little irritating after a while.  She seemed slow to admit she had a serious problem and that she needed to take steps to protect herself.  She whined about setting her security system just about every time she set it.  Enough already!  It was a little repetitive.  It surprised me that the security system did not include cameras.  At times Sarah seems scatterbrained which doesn’t really seem in sync with someone who is an emergency room physician.  It didn’t ring true to me that Sarah could have had a dog at home for less than a day and she misses him so much when he’s being treated at the vet’s office.

I struggled with the character Kyle Andrews who seemed very presumptuous, obsessive and bordered on creepy at times.  He talked about his faith, but not until the end did he seem to recognize that perhaps his actions were not done with the purest motives.  At times I wondered if Kyle was really a true Christian.  When he is obviously sinning he didn’t have the Holy Spirit reining him in.

Theologically, there were a couple things that were off.  On page 181, Kyle is recalling what Pastor Steve told him about grief and when bad things happen.  Specifically, I take issue with this sentence, “He’d assured Kyle that God didn’t cause bad things to happen, but after they did, God would provide the help needed to get through them.”  This doesn’t quite square with the sovereignty of God.  Also, on page 184, Detective Bill Larson prayed for someone who was dead.

I think this book could have been a little shorter and left off some of the repetitive actions and thinking of the characters.  The ending seemed to occur really quickly after a longtime getting there.  There were a lot of potential suspects and I couldn’t figure out who done it.  I would like to have seen the Pastor not included in the list of suspects, and instead just been a stable and good solid influence.

Medical Judgment by Richard Mabry is not great and not horrible, it’s okay.  While this book wasn’t his best, I still look forward to reading future books by author Richard Mabry.

I would like to thank Net Galley and Abingdon Press for the opportunity to read Medical Judgement by Richard Mabry in exchange for an honest review.