Summary: “Giving up her pony didn’t make Austen’s sister better. Sacrificing her social life hasn’t done it either. But with her sister’s life at stake, Austen’s never good at saying no. So, when their mom decides a move to the island is just what Eliot needs, Austen says good-bye to her perfect summer plans.
Rand’s not on the island by choice, either. After drinking, driving, and crashing his neighbour’s car, he’s been sent to live with his uncle until a spot opens up for him at boarding school.
If too-nice Austen, and too-much-trouble Rand are opposites maybe that’s why they’re so attracted to each other.
New characters mix with familiar faces – not to mention plenty of horses and dogs – in this fourth book of the much-loved Island Series.”
Cover Review: Say what??? I can’t make heads or tails out of this cover… Cuz there aren’t any on it. It’s just weird… I mean, I’ve given baths to hundreds of horses, and I like to take artsy photos… But I would never take this shot and think “this should be on the cover of a book”. It doesn’t work. At all.
Why I put it on my TBR list: I love this series. Like, a lot. It’s my happy series. It’s what I read when I’m sad. It’s like the Heartland TV series, except books… and completely different stories. But still. I love Tudor Robins, and I love her writing! I am so so SO excited to read this one when I get back from my mission and I cannot wait to see what more Tudor has in store for us!
Tudor restored my faith in equestrian fiction when I thought that there could be no more good ones. Then I found these books and they are so beyond perfect I can’t even.
Are you a fan of the Island Series? Do you love horses? Make sure to go buy your copy of Faults!
Attention: This is a scheduled, pre-written, post. I am serving a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Jan. 2017 through Jul. 2018, and will not be checking my blog email, or updating my blog during that time. (I may have some already written posts scheduled go live during that time, but I will not be active on my blog, and these posts are completely my own opinion and are not representative of the opinions or stances of the church). For more information about Mormon missionaries, go to: lds.org or mormon.org.
Any book requests or other communication received in that time will not be responded to until after July 2018.
Summary: “Lily has a soft spot for helping people, but is it really worth the risk? Her life was already hard enough after the accident. How can she possibly deal with being a superhero too? Seventeen year old Lily Harrison is given an incredible gift. She doesn’t really want it, but she’s stuck with it. Lily’s best friend convinces her it can be used for the good of mankind, but it only seems to bring her trouble and put everyone around her in danger. Using her gift would force her out of her comfort zone and into the realm of top secret assignments, late night stake outs, and constantly looking over her shoulder. All she wants is to be a normal introverted teenager, hang out with her best friend, crush on a gorgeous guy from a distance, and pass algebra at the end of the semester. Lily would give anything for a normal, quiet, life. One thing is for sure, her life will never be the same again.”
Cover Review: Not everyone likes photography on covers, but I think this one was really well done. I LOVE the font of the title, and having some of the thoughts she hears on the cover is a very interesting concept. Overall, I think it’s a beautiful cover.
My Review: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. For some reason, I didn’t think I was going to like this book. I’m not exactly sure what made me think that, but I did. However, I was very pleasantly surprised when I was proven totally wrong, because I ended up loving this book. The premise was totally unique, and the story was wonderful! I really wish and hope that there will be a second book coming out, because I would LOVE to read more about these characters and their lives!
Characters: So this was pretty crazy… I wasn’t sure what to think of the characters at first, but I quickly grew to love them! Each of them underwent a huge amount of character development throughout the book, and they were each a good, well-written character in their own right. When reading this book, I didn’t really feel like any of the characters were relegated to second class roles like “love interest” or “optimistic best friend”, because even though some of them may have had those traits, they were real people, first. Except, obviously, not, you know… real.
Plot: Now this was the truly crazy bit. This book was a YA spy thriller with a gifted teenager going on top secret missions. There were times I was screaming at the book, laughing out loud, or gasping in shock. And then there was also that time when I got to one of the huge climactic moments of story and just then — my break was over at work and I had to clock back in. Yeah, that wasn’t fun, because then I spent the rest of my ten hour shift anxiously waiting to figure out what happened next.
Content Advisory: A girl gets pushed down the stairs and is in a coma, scenes of bullying occur, and there is some kissing in the book. There are some relatively intense scenes of stalking and kidnapping that might be too much for some readers. Gunfights and violence occur, but are generally off screen. Overall, it’s a pretty mild and age-appropriate YA novel.
To Sum It Up: This book was really awesome. Like, I know people (myself definitely included) way over use that word, but I mean it. This book reminded me of the books I used to go to the library, pick off a shelf at random, and then finish by the next morning, back when I was 13 or 14. It’s just one of those genuinely good quality and enjoyable books. I’m really looking forward to the sequel! I highly recommend this book to readers 13 and up.
Summary: “Can a Beverly Hills teen survive without a smart phone, Internet, and TV? Edna will find out.
Edna is thirteen, a precocious troublemaker wreaking havoc at her Beverly Hills school. Her therapist advocates medication, but her parents come up with an alternative cure: Edna will spend the summer in the desert with her grandparents. Their remote cabin is cut off from cell phone service, Internet and television. Edna’s determined to rebel until she meets an older local boy and falls in love for the first time. How can she get to know him from the edge of nowhere?”
Cover Review: Meh. It tells me nothing about the book, and doesn’t really incline me to pick it up. It’s a low-budget graphic design, nothing more.
My Review: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Weird disclaimer, of sorts. I wrote this review three years ago, but forgot to post it to my blog, so here ya go! Short, but sweet :)
So I thoroughly enjoyed this book. 3.5 stars.
I have a bit of mixed feelings on it. I feel that the story and message of the book came across quite well, however I feel that adding the almost sex scene between a 13 year old and a 17 year old, and the 13 year old’s continued thoughts afterwards, was absolutely 100% unnecessary, and for this reason I will not recommend this book to anyone under 16, even though the rest of the book is very lenient age wise.
Content Advisory: The above mentioned scenes of a sexual nature between a 17 year old and a 13 year old. I read this when I was 16, and there was stuff in it that I hadn’t even heard yet.
BUT, I did love the writing. The best thing? It was a very fluid easy read, that I could hardly put down! I loved the story, and I loved how it was written, and I loved the morals. They were very prominent, but not slap-you-in-the-face. It was a very thought provoking book, and I really loved it! I’m looking forward to hopefully reading more about Edna in months/years to come! I highly recommend this book, but only to readers 16 and up.
Summary: “Every 12-year-old’s two favorite words: Summer vacation. No cold weather. No school. Just months of free time ahead.
Best friends Sage Carrington and Isabel Flores are making the most of their summer break when they discover an antique treasure map near the Washington Monument. But when faced with difficult clues and a bully in the form of Edwin Hooser, the tween girls must use every bit of imagination, drive, and intellect to outsmart Edwin and decipher the map.
Join Sage and Isabel on a journey through the nation’s capital as they try to solve the puzzle and recover a priceless bounty.”
Cover Review: I adore this cover! Every little thing on it comes straight out of the book, and the artwork is amazing! Fabulous attention to detail.
My Review: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. As a nineteen year old, I’m not exactly the target audience for this book, but I read it to my little sister, who enjoyed it. I really have nothing against MG books, and I’ve read and enjoyed many of them, even as an adult, but this one just wasn’t really my style. I’d say it’s aimed more at 6-10, then it is at the typical MG age range of 8-12. Even though the protagonist is a 12 year old, I think the book just seems a bit younger than that.
Characters: The characters were well developed, and fun to read. I especially appreciated the real and hard issues that these characters deal with — bullying, divorce, failure, and cancer, to name a few. However, these issues are dealt with in such a way that they aren’t too intense for a middle grade audience. I think this book actually does a fabulous job of showing young children cope with these issues, and perhaps helping readers to find ways to cope with these or similar issues. The camaraderie and friendship between the two leads is beautiful and reminds me of my own childhood best friends.
Plot: The plot felt a bit all over the place at times, but overall, I think it was fast-paced enough to keep little kid’s attention, even if they can’t quite keep track of all the different things going on. Kids will for sure enjoy following Sage as she goes on her treasure hunt and various science-y adventures.
Content Advisory: It’s a MG novel. A girl almost drowns in a pool, and a girl also gets in a crash during a soapbox car race. Deals with topics like divorce, cancer, and bullying.
To Sum It Up: I think as an adult, this book is best read with a young child, rather than just alone. Reading it to a child helps you to enjoy and appreciate it for what it is — a fun story of adventure, friendship, and determination aimed at young children. I recommend this book to readers aged 5-10.
Summary: “Jules Thornton didn’t come to Ocala to make friends. She came to make a name for herself. Young, determined, and tough as nails, she’s been swapping stable-work for saddle-time since she was a little kid – and it hasn’t always been a fun ride. Forever the struggling rider in a sport for the wealthy, all Jules has on her side is talent and ambition. She’s certain all she needs to succeed are good horses, but will the eventing world agree?
On her own at last, Jules is positive she’s poised to become eventing’s newest star, but soon finds she’s making more enemies than friends in the close-knit equestrian community. Little mistakes cost big — her students are losing faith in her; her owners are starting to pull their horses. And then there’s the small matter of Peter Morrison, the handsome, on-the-rise event rider who keeps showing up when she least expects him.
Jules is convinced that all she needs is good horses — not friends, not romance, not anyone’s nose in her business. But it’s just the beginning of the long, hot, Ocala summer, and as Jules tumbles through the highs and lows of a life with horses, she might find she’ll need help after all to weather the coming storm.“
Cover Review: It’s pretty, and it does a good enough job of portraying the book accurately. I think it could greatly benefit from some real artwork, not just an image with text over it, but it’s not the worst I’ve ever seen.
My Review: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is a difficult book for me to review. As you can clearly tell from my five star rating, I really really loved this book. But the protagonist was infuriating, and the love interest was almost unrealistically obsessed with someone who had made it crystal clear that she despised him… But I still loved it. And I even loved the protagonist and the love interest (he wasn’t quite fleshed out enough to be anything more than that right off, unfortunately). They were just infuriating and dumb enough to be realistic, tbh.
Characters: So I guess I already started into this. Jules had a ridiculously huge victim complex, and was convinced that the ENTIRE world hated her (And if the person in question was rich, then they were basically personally responsible for every single one of her life problems), and as much as that part of her character made me want to talk (scream?) some sense into her, it was still very realistic. I mean, what’s the point of reading a book if you want the characters to be fairytale perfect without any unfair prejudices? Unless, of course, you’re reading a legit fairytale, and even then, those are darker than we give them credit for.
Aaannd… I’m off topic again. Anyway, I really loved Jules. She was fiercely independent, she was very knowledgeable about horses, and had worked insanely hard to get where she was. She was a beautifully complex and flawed character, and I cannot WAIT to read the second book and get to know her better. Mostly I loved her because of the huge amount of character development she underwent throughout the book. The other characters in the book were all wonderful, as well, adding great depth to the story as a whole.
Romance: I know I don’t usually have this section in my reviews, but I felt that if I didn’t have it, I would just rant about the strange relationship everywhere else. This is my attempt at some semblance of organization and self-discipline. So, I said above that Pete wasn’t fleshed out enough to constitute a co-starring character in the book, and unfortunately, that was true. He really was just an unusually complex love interest. I really hope he actually becomes a character in his own right in the second book. I really did love his character, though! I thought he was a pretty fabulous person, with amazing potential, and he was pretty fantastic with dealing with crazy-pants Jules. I definitely liked him more than I liked her, hahaha. He was really good at keeping a cool head all the time. I did wonder why he kept pursuing her when she kept telling him she hated him because he was rich / competition / both… But I suppose that’s just how romance novels are written. Once they finally got their act together, I thought the romance was beautiful and fun.
Plot: This was my favorite part of the book. I love love loved it. From the day-to-day drudgery and dangers of horse training and stabling, to the high stress competitive eventing environment, to the devastating natural disasters of Florida — this book had it all, and handled it all in such a way that made me always anxious to flip the next page and figure out what happens next. The plot and story of this book were absolutely PERFECT. The plot is definitely what made this a 5 star book.
Content Advisory: Some minor swearing, some huge and terrifying disasters, but nothing graphic.
To Sum It Up: Not too long ago, I had sworn off of equestrian fiction entirely. But then something changed — I read Appaloosa Summer, and my hope in equestrian novels was restored. So I was only slightly hesitant about accepting this book, and I loved every single action packed second of it! I highly recommend this book to all horse-crazy readers 16 and up!
Summary: “When twenty-seven year old fashion designer Berry Lake moves to Mission Ranch to live with her father, the last thing she expects is to be caught up in a murder investigation. Or could the last thing Berry expects be to help her father, Mitch, fend off the local retired ladies who are chasing after him? Or, could the last thing Berry expects be to fall for Sheriff Mark Fernandez who thinks she knows more about the murder than she’s saying?
What Berry really didn’t expect is that once she and her father determine who the murderer is, no one is safe.”
Cover Review: I really love the vibe of this cover! The artwork is cutesy and accurately portrays the contents of the books.
My Review: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. So, it’s weird. Right after I finished this book, I wrote “really fun read!” and though I still think that’s true, now, a month or so after reading it, I’m feeling a lot more “meh” about the book. Sure, I enjoyed reading it, but I don’t really have much of a desire to ever reread it (maybe that’s just how mystery novels work?). I would probably read a second book, though, if it was written. This was the first adult mystery I’d ever read (I loved Nancy Drew as a kid), and it wasn’t bad at all. In fact, I really liked it.
Characters: I think my favorite part of the book was the protagonist, her father, and her love interest(s?). They were fabulous characters! They were creative, unique, and utterly enjoyable. I loved reading about them, and I loved their dialogue! Some of the other characters (like “the harem”) I found very irritating (albeit painfully realistic, based on my personal life experiences. I suppose I just don’t want to read about people like that for fun, hahaha), and I honestly think it’s those characters that left a bad taste in my mouth about the book as a whole that led to the book losing one star. But looking back, I think the good characters definitely made up for the bad ones.
Plot: There were plenty of times where I thought I knew exactly what was going to happen — and almost every single time, it turned out that I was very wrong. Which I always love! I love it when a book is unpredictable and exciting. This mystery novel is full of laughs, romance, and adventure. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read. I really enjoyed the history of The Mission that is the setting of the whole book. Honestly, I think that was probably my second favorite thing about the book.
Content Advisory: Kinda graphic. Lots of death and violence and some implied sexual scenes.
To Sum It Up: I think this was a great book to be my introduction into the world of adult mystery novels — it wasn’t too intense or gross, but it was fun, original, and unpredictable. I don’t regret reading this book! If you’re looking for a fun mystery to read, then I highly recommend The Unlucky Horseshoe to readers 17 and up.
Summary: A summer at one of the poshest riding camps in the province. A hundred horses. Rolling hills ribboned with hacking trails and cross-country jumps.
It could be perfect. Unless you’re Lacey Strickland, and you’re leaving Salem, Meg, and Jared behind on the island.
The only thing that isn’t hard to leave is Lacey’s memory of her first kiss, delivered in a spring-scented hayfield, which sizzled, then fizzled into nothing at all.
The other thing making camp less-than-perfect for Lacey? She’s not a cosseted camper, but a staff member – teaching riding lessons from sun-up to sun-down.
In Meg’s first letter to Lacey, she writes: “I bet anything there’s at least one amazing horse waiting for you there. And maybe a new great – if not best – friend.”
Is Meg right? Could Lacey meet a horse she’ll love just as much as Salem? And are there new friends in her future? Maybe even somebody who could give her more than just one kiss in a hayfield?
Cover Review: It’s not the artwork that I really love on covers, but it’s still a beautiful cover. I would love to have this gorgeous book on my shelf.
My Review: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I absolutely adore this series. Check out my review of the first book, Appaloosa Summer, and my review of the second book, Wednesday Riders! I LOVED the first two books, and the third one did not disappoint!
This series has restored my faith in equestrian fiction. There actually ARE fun, original, quality horse novels out there in the world! The self-publishing world, at least. I think the traditionally published horse books are a lost cause, at this point. Anyway, back to the story. I absolutely loved that Lacey took center stage in this book, and getting a chance to better know a beloved character from the previous books made me incredibly happy! This story is set at a summer camp, and there’s something inherently magical about summer camp stories, and I’m not exactly sure what it is. I suppose I’ve simply watched too many Disney Channel Original Movies.
The romance is adorable and adds some fun drama to this incredible story chock-full of adventure, laughter, and solid horse training advice. I really can’t say enough good things about this book! It was fun to get to see Meg from Lacey’s point of view, and I loved the setting. It was very odd to get off the island, but in a good way. I also liked the larger cast of characters this book had, and the very unique plot. Sure, we’ve all read a million summer camp romance novels, but, as always, Tudor Robins takes a tried and true concept and turns it into something spectacularly original and refreshing.
Content Advisory: There’s one awkward scene that almost goes to the explicit level, but the character’s decide to stop. It was weird, tho. Lots of kissing.
To Sum It Up: I’m in love with this series. Tudor’s writing style is absolutely magical, and I immediately get drawn into her story of broken hearts, horse training, and new starts. I HIGHLY recommend that you read the other books in the series, but even if you haven’t, I think you would be able to enjoy this one as a stand-alone. I recommend this book for ages 14+.
Summary: What if you could tune your TV to the year 1963, and watch—live? A new theme park attraction allows visitors to not only observe, but talk with the people of that turbulent decade. For 16-year-old Amy, it’s the perfect escape from her own time, and the hardships of teenage life in the 21st century.
Things get complicated when Amy falls for a teenage boy in the 60s. Trying to build a relationship across time proves maddening, especially when computers bleep any language that might impact the future. Happily, Amy acquires a “magic clicker” which defeats this annoying restriction. But gaining the ability to speak freely comes with a heavy responsibility: Amy now has the power to alter history!
Cover Review: It’s a very simplistic cover, but it’s not awkwardly posed clipart, which is more than you can say for most covers nowadays. I like it!
My Review: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Age of Amy is a morality play. A hyperbolic story. A cautionary tale. Everything in it — characters, plot lines, events — is exaggerated to teach a moral. It’s not supposed to be a story where you think “Wow! I really relate to that character and what they’re going through right now!” It’s one of those books that makes you think “Wow. Maybe I should re-evaluate that aspect of my life. …Okay, I’ve thought about it, I probably won’t change anything, but it’s a fun story anyway!” Kinda joking there, but it really does teach important lessons, in a very fun way.
Personally, I found the endless 60’s references a bit tedious for my tastes. It was clear that the author was reliving his favorite era in the writing of this book. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, write what you know, etc., but it definitely didn’t captivate me, a 21st century teenager. The political agenda in this one wasn’t really my cup of tea, but being politically over-the-top has always been what makes these Age of Amy books so much fun. And this one was a lot of fun! I didn’t like Channel ’63 as much as I liked the first book in the series, Bonehead Bootcamp, and the second book, Thumper Amendment, but it was still an enjoyable read.
Amy is intelligent, rebellious, and fiercely independent. She’s a teenage girl trying to be a grown-up, and doing a pretty good job at it, honestly. Her voice is raw and defiant, and her story is almost inspiring. The only REAL issue I have with this book is the Robert A. Heinlein-esque borderline pedophilic relationship that was referenced but not explicitly stated, at the end of the book… That’s the best way I could describe it without any major spoilers.
Content Advisory: Some swearing, some intense scenes – medical emergencies, domestic fighting, and armed assault. Nothing graphic, detailed, or excessive.
To Sum It Up: Fun, fantastic (Definition: imaginative or fanciful), and more than a little crazy, The Age of Amy: Channel ’63 is the perfect choice for a younger reader — or for an adult looking for a break from the intense realism of most modern-day literature. I recommend this book to readers ages 10+.
Summary: “Orphaned at a young age, 15-year old Anouk’s punishment for being too outspoken is an arranged marriage worse than any she could imagine. Fleeing on horseback, yet without a sense of where to turn, she stumbles upon an idyllic village where she finds safe haven. Could this be home?
When a curse threatens to kill the villagers she’s come to love, Anouk takes on the dangers of the natural and magical worlds to save them. Her journey takes her deep into the Dark Woods where she must draw on all her strength to survive, but will come to realize that these magic woods hold the key to discovering a gift she never knew she had.
Ultimately, it will lead her to confront the very face of death, yet amidst the danger and darkness, she meets a handsome woodsman and finds a glowing blue flower with power beyond her wildest dreams.
Inspired by Russian fairytales and steeped in ancient folklore, Paige’s novel is ripe with fantasy, love, and courage.”
^^^ YESSSS Russian fairytales and ancient folklore FTW!
My Review: Thank you to Netgalley for a free copy for review! Wow, did I love this book or what? It’s been a little bit since I read (this review took longer than I’d thought), and I have to say that this is a book that will stand the test of time. It was absolutely magical.
Hero/Heroine: Anouk: I. Loved. Her. The end! She begins our tale as a terrified girl absolutely determined to escape a horrific arranged marriage. She grows into a confident young woman who is determined to save her friends. The character development was incredible, and Anouk was completely relatable. She’s the kinda person I want to be best friends with. ALL of the characters were excellently written, and with great depth and complexity. Even a relatively minor character had a complex and fascinating back story/motivations. I loved it!
Plot: I was kept guessing at every turn! I kept on predicting what was going to happen, but then Jessica would totally surprise me — in a good way. Wow, I loved this plot and story and world and characters so much! There is a main plot, but the plot is not simple. It is deep and complex and multi-faceted. You will not be bored. I adore how Jessica melded Russian fairytales with ancient folklore and a heaping dose of originality and creative story telling. Chasing Ravens was unforgettable.
Content Advisory: I can’t really remember anything bad. No swearing that I can recall (and I typically remember), no graphic violence or romance. It does deal with difficult subjects, like arranged marriages.
To Sum it Up: Do you love fairytale retellings? But do you want something DIFFERENT? Something that isn’t just Cinderella meets Snow White with a dash of Rapunzel? Something that’s truly creative with engaging and exciting characters and plots, in a world you’ve never been in before? Then you NEED to read Chasing Ravens. Buy it here. You’re welcome. :)
Have you heard of this book before? Have you read it? Did you like it?
You may recall back in August when I was gushing about Appaloosa Summer in my review. Tudor Robins truly restored my faith in equestrian fiction and contemporary romance in one fell swoop — and I fell madly in love with Appaloosa Summer, hardly able to wait for the sequel. Well, today, I am INSANELY EXCITED to announce that the sequel is available for purchase on Amazon.com. Do you love horses? Romance? A fun, light, novel? Appaloosa Summer became my “Happy book”. I just started Wednesday Riders, and I expect it to be the same. I am SO SO EXCITED. I’m sure this book is going to be just as (if not more) amazing than Appaloosa Summer! And if ALL of that isn’t enough… check out the GORGEOUS cover! It’s to die for!
Summary: The island.
Meg can’t wait to get back. She’s excited to see her new mare kick up her heels in Salem’s old paddock. She’s impatient to run on country roads between breeze-blown hayfields.
Mostly, Meg longs to be back with Jared again.
It’s going to be the perfect summer.
But can real life live up to Meg’s huge expectations?
When Jared makes a heart-wrenching confession, Meg has to re-evaluate everything. If perfection’s not possible, can Meg find a way to build happiness for herself?
Fans of Appaloosa Summer will welcome the return to familiar places and characters, with the chance to be captivated by more of the beauty, romance, and dreaminess of Meg’s summer island life.
“To show how much I appreciate my readers’ feedback, any reviews of Wednesday Riders posted on Amazon or Goodreads until March 15, 2015 will make the review-writer eligible to win print copies of Appaloosa Summer and Wednesday Riders, as well as my first book, Objects in Mirror.”
Now that’s an offer too great to pass up!
Make sure to buy your copy here! You won’t regret it!