Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Shadows Breathe by Kathleen Marentes

This equine saga about a passionate horse lover named Kara Springs begins when she first takes lessons at Falling Waters Stable as an eight-year-old. The barn manager, George, and instructor, Sarah, are so impressed with her intuition about horses that she's offered a job to work at the stable. Then the story skips to when Sarah is in high school, and now a trainer at the same stable.

When George moves away, Kare is horrified to witness the new trainer, Ryan, abusing the horses in the name of controlling them. Instead of confiding in Sarah or the stables owners, Kara hatches a plan with her friends to rescue the horse. But it doesn't stop at one, or even a few. She steals horses from another pair of horse thieves as well as the ones belonging to Ryan. An exciting race ensues with lots of obstacles, including an emotional one with a fellow worker.

Although the story is accurate in its equine setting and details, I found it too long with lots of repeated internal dialogue and scenes that didn't advance the story. Plus, several points were unrealistic: George was an adult when Kara starts there, but as a teen she has a crush on him; Kara, who at first seems like a responsible good girl, yet she decides not to contact her superiors about the early abuse; the whole rounding up the herd at the end just doesn't seem plausible.

A fun fictional ride, but please don't try this way of saving horses at home!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Ambition by Natalie Keller Reinert

Ambition by Natalie Keller Reinert describes a young woman's passion to achieve her goal despite the many obstacles she encounters.

Jules Thornton is a horse trainer in Ocala, FL with the focus on Three Phase Eventing. She works hard and tries to to run her business alone with the help of working students. When a new trainer shows up name Peter Morrison, she tries to prove her abilities but in the end, after a hurricane hits the area, Jules realizes she can't do it all alone.

Great descriptions of the sport, setting and characters, but not for young readers due to some adult language and scenes.