Monday, August 17, 2015

Stealing Jake, Reviewed + A Little Book Spine Poetry

Hey, folks! I just finished drinking a glass of sweet iced tea and re-reading (yes, I did) Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman. I couldn't wait to share my thoughts on this book and hopefully you'll enjoy hearing about it as much as I enjoyed reading it.

Stick around until the end of the post for a bit of fun with Book Spine Poetry. Thanks to Amada Chavez for suggesting I try Book Spine Poetry in my Improvement Questionnaire. If you haven't filled out the questionnaire, please do, as I look toward revamping The Sweet South blog for next year using your suggestions!

Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A sheriff and a former pick-pocket team up to rescue street kids and find unexpected love in Chestnut, Illinois. I like to break down my reviews into several elements...

The heroine: "Light-fingered" Livy is a wonderful heroine, feminine without being stiff, and gutsy without being overbearing. With her past, it is hard to see how things could ever work out between her and Jake, but that's what makes for great story conflict!

The hero: Jake is a down to earth, selfless hero that would make any lady's heart patter. He only has eyes for Livy, though, which makes him all the more swoon-worthy.

The romance: Sweet sorghum molasses! Jake does a handsome job of pursuing Livy against his better judgement. Shy, reticent girl that Livy is, Jake's attentions are of necessity determined, yet gentle and sweet. They melted this reader's heart more than once--okay, a lot.

The plot: This is a page-turner for sure. I was constantly guessing until the end, and the plight of the children really makes this story unique.

The setting: While reading this novel, I felt like I was living the scenes. The details immerse the reader into the snowy world of Illinois winter but never overwhelm or slow the pace too much. The effect feels effortless and is a mark of Pam's incredible talent.

The theme: Forgiving ourselves and overcoming secrets in our past is hard. Everyone can relate to making mistakes they'd rather no one else know. But through the blood of Jesus, we have forgiveness and He gives us victory over sin. The prejudices about street kids are also addressed along with our need to "be Jesus to the least of these." Matt. 25:40. This leads me to my final point...

The faith element: Pam Hillman writes her faith into her stories so gently and earnestly, the reader never feels preached to, but at the same time there's never a question this book was written to minister and encourage. Another mark of excellent fiction writing. I was happy to find a good read that speaks of Jesus' blood and His power to cleanse us from sin.

The audience: Because of the subplot with the courageous, desperate street kids, people of all ages will enjoy this story. I recommend this novel to anyone who loves good fiction.

As promised, here's a snippet of book spine poetry I put together from my shelves. Spine poetry is where you stack novels to where the titles form a sentence or idea. Disclaimer: I haven't read Mr. Knightly's Diary and don't know much about it, but I'm hoping it's an elegant followup to Emma.

Painless research projects: Mr. Knightly's diary.

Mr. Knightly's diary vanished. Emma? Deep trouble.

We had such good participation in Johnnie Alexander's giveaway of Where Treasure Hides, she has decided there should be TWO winners! has helped us out and the winners are BARBARA and AGBOSS (Alison). Congrats, Barbara & Alison! We'll be getting in touch with you soon!


  1. Loved your review, Natalie! It almost made me cry, it was so sweet.

    You're just as sweet as your blog!

    Must tell Mary about your Spine Poetry. That is too cute. :)

  2. Natalie, great review for one of my favorite books!!

    And I gotta tell you -- that "spine poetry" is flat-out adorable!! Is that your idea or did you find it somewhere?


  3. Hi, Julie!!! I was introduced to spine poetry via one of the lovely readers here at the Sweet South Blog. I wondered what in the world "spine poetry" was, so I Googled it. There are some very cute ones out there.

    Then I hauled all my books out and arranged several poems the other day, so if you like it, I've got a whole post coming up soon with just book spine poetry using mostly Christian romance books. :)

  4. Oh, Natalie, that is sooooo cool!! Be sure to email me the link when you do it, if you remember, okay?


  5. Love the idea of "spine poetry." Brilliant! :)

  6. I really enjoyed Claiming Mariah. I can't wait to read this one.


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