Category Archives: Horse Fiction

Double Feature

Title: Double Feature
Series: Timber Ridge Riders #9
Author: Maggie Dana
Genre: Teen fiction, Sports
Publisher: Pageworks Press
Publishing date: April 13th, 2014
ISBN: 9780985150488
Purchase Link: Amazon.co.uk

Synopsis: Kate McGregor’s movie-star boyfriend has been making headlines, and when Kate attends the Moonlight premiere in New York, she ends up making a headline of her own.
Then comes the Festival of Horses with an even bigger surprise. A girl from Kate’s past is tangled up with Angela’s present, and the fallout affects all of them… including Mrs. Dean who’ll stop at nothing to shove her daughter into the limelight.

My Review:

In many ways “Double Feature” was both extremely satisfying and disappointing at the same time. Old storylines are finally wrapped up, after four more than four books, we finally get a resolution to Kate’s boyproblems and we finally get to the festival of horses.
The say the boytrouble was wrapped up, was a relief but also very quickly done. Over the last five books the relationship between Kate and her moviestar boyfriend has been hyped up, as well as a relationship between Kate and Brad has been built. The need for a conclusion was raised, at least, one book ago, and it was a huge relief that this problem is sorted. The way it was sorted though was very swift and dissatisfying.
The Festival of horses is another thing which has been constantly mentioned during all the books I’ve read in the series. It was good to finally have it happening, and it was nice to see that Angela, Kate & Holly’s rival and enemy, finally starts to become more a person and less just a tool to make trouble. Angela’s humanity started to shine through in the previous book, it started to grow more during Double Feature.
Double Feature is a bit longer than the previous books in the series, probably due to more things happening, but it could have been even longer. To give the story more depth and more room to evolve it should have been about fifty pages longer, because it felt like a lot of things were thrown in on too few pages.
All in all the story was enjoyable, and it was good to see the story finally move forward (even though it felt more like a leap than a step) after a few “filler books.”

After the Storm

Title: After The Storm
Series: Timber Ridge Riders #8
Author: Maggie Dana
Publisher: Pageworks Press
Publishing date: November 20th, 2013
ISBN: 9780985150471
Purchase Link:

Synopsis: Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and the Timber Ridge girls are excited about getting dates and new outfits for the school dance. But a blizzard plunges them into reality when the barn’s power goes out. If Kate and Holly don’t act fast, a pony may die. But Angela Dean doesn’t care. She spreads false rumors that Kate can’t be trusted around horses.  If Angela succeeds in her latest vendetta, Kate might lose all she’s worked hard to attain-her place on the team and the respect of her two closest friends.

My Review:

After the Storm felt much like a filler book. The one incident with the pony happens in the beginning of the book, and not much happen after that. Teenage girls do have fights, but as Holly’ boyfriend told her: their argument sounded stupid.

“For once Adam was speechless. He opened his mouth, then shut it again as Holly blurted out her problems with Kate. But the more she talked about them, the dumber they sounded.”

This pretty much sums up the book. The arguments and the reasons for the arguments seem contrived. But what Adam thinks about it kind of makes up for some of it. Also because Holly and Kate are apart for much of the book every second chapter is devoted to each of their POV. The change of the POVs in it self is rather wasted, firstly because there is little to no distinction between the two voices, secondly because from the synopsis it seems like Kate is the main character while Holly is her sidekick.
Kate’s “long distance-relationship” with the famous actor should come to an end at some point. It doesn’t fit in with the story, and is more of a nauseant than entertaining.
I have been reading a lot of the books in this series, but this is the first one which is majorly disappointing. As for now I’m content with continuing reading the series.

Taking Chances

Title: Taking Chances
Series: Timber Ridge Riders #7
Author: Maggie Dana
Publisher: Pageworks Press
Publishing date: April 7th, 2015
ISBN: 9780985150464
Purchase Link: Amazon.co.uk

Synopsis: Kate McGregor and her best friend, Holly Chapman, are swapping horses until Kate qualifies for the big show in April. But just as Kate is getting to really know Holly’s gelding, Magician, a flashy new horse shows up at the barn. He captures the heart of everyone except his owner and sends Kate’s plans tumbling into free fall. So does Brad Piretti, the local snowboarding star. He invites Kate to go skiing, and Kate takes yet another unexpected tumble.

My Review:
This is the third book in the series I review, and they have all been rather enjoyable. All the small adventures Kate and her friend Holly get up to are varied and realistic. They are both love horses and the storyline is neatly tied up to the barn Timber Ridge. Up until this book the story has mostly been focused on the girls and their horses, as well as trouble cast in by the antagonist Angela. In Taking Chances, it started to be more about Kate and boys. In earlier books the “normal teenage life with school and boys and drama has been featured but in “Taking Chances” it seemed to be more prolific than the horses and the story going on there.
The story was again lighthearted and easy to follow. It was a short story and a very quick read, but a good length for a Middle Grade novel. The girls again was faced with some horse related trouble when Kate hurt her knee skiing, which might result in her being unable to qualify for a big horse show. Due to the injury, Kate has been banned for riding until the February, but the horse show she need to compete in is in late January. Holly is convinced that Kate will be well enough to ride by the time the horse show takes place, and together the two girls tries to find out how Kate can compete without Holly’s mother finding out. Also the antagonist, Angela shows a more three-dimensional character in this book when Kate helps her with a problem with her new horse.

Sky Rider

Author: Nancy Springer
Open Road Media Teen & Tween
Published: 30.12.2014

amazon.co.uk || Waterstones.com

The premise of Sky Rider was very interesting and good. The story of a ghost struggling to come to terms with his death, an alcoholic father he struggles to come to terms with his alcoholism and how it injured his daughter.
The story, though, seem a bit rushed, and the characters aren’t developed well. The story feels very superficial and the characters feels like characters, not people. As a book first published in 1999 I think it holds some standard, but as a book being republished in 2014 I feel like it is a story that I have read one time too many without having anything new contributing to it.

I did though very much enjoy the ghost to ghoul or angel aspect of the story, but I felt like it was only the beginning of a story and it ended where the story should have started. A guardian angel on a horse would a great story. The fact that the ghost name is Skye Ryder might be a bit much, when the books title is Sky Rider.

I will end it on a positive note and say that the story was entertaining and the story had a good and steady pace.

A horse for Kate

Horses and Friends (1)
Author: Miralee Ferrell
David C Cook
Published: 01.03.2015

Amazon.co.uk || Waterstones.com

As much I wished to enjoy this book it did fall flat for me. The premise of the story was very promising: a young girl moving to a new place with her parents and autistic brother, and she find a horse abandoned in a meadow.

Though the premise of the story, where Kate searched for friendship in a Latino heavy community where her white skin is frowned upon, the story fall flat as the writer doesn’t attempt to create characters but rather create puppets to preach through.  Kate never does anything wrong, she has a good dialogue with both her parents and she cares a lot for her brother. Nothing is wrong with having a good family with good relationships, but by making the family perfect (expect from financial struggle) takes away from developing real and believable characters. Obstacles comes into the way, but they also solve themselves without much suspense, which brings me back to say that the book is preaching. There is nothing wrong with a book holding up christian values, but there is a fine line between upholding a Christian moral and preaching. This book crossed far over in preaching-land: “Just do everything that is right, and everything you want will fall down in your lap.” The story would have been much more interesting and probably more entertaining had it not been so important for the author to be “political” (or rather “religiously”) correct throughout every page.

Another thing that was bothersome was the authors tendency to dump information on the reader, as well as having too wordy dialogues that over-explained everything.

Also the approach to horses in the book was uncomfortable. At more than one instance it is described how you can never trust a horse. My suggestion is: if you don’t trust the animal, don’t try riding it. I have been an active rider from a young age; a horse rider relationship is built on mutual trust and respect, not force and discipline.
Also, the pony that Kate complains about in the book is a large category II pony, a thirteen year old would not have complained that it was “not a real horse,” It is about 11 centimeters shorter than a horse. But that might be the single character-trait Kate has that makes up any conflict at all in this story: She complains if anything falls short of what she had in mind.

Almost Perfect

Timber Ridge Riders (6)
Author: Maggie Dana
Pageworks Press
Published: 07.09.2013

Amazon.co.uk || Waterstones.com

This is the sixth installment in the Timber Ridge Riders series, and it is still enjoyable. This installment had more “boytrouble” in it, and the characters acted like teenagers. Holly got suspicious of her best-friend Kate, while Kate conspired with Holly’s boyfriend Adam to prepare a surprise party. Not to mention that Kate is dragging herself into a premature love-triangle with Nathan and Brad. The aspect of “boytrouble” does not interest me much, but it gives another aspect to Kate’s and Holly’s life.

The story is fast-paced and easy to read, but there is a lack of change in the narrative every time the author changes between Holly’s and Kate’s point of view. Which makes it confusing to follow at times. Though the story in itself is quite simple and easy to catch up on again. It is interesting to see how the “everyday” teenager problems are handled and solved, though I still wish to see a more rounded antagonist in Angela.

Almost Perfect is not the book I have enjoyed most in the series, but it was entertaining and I look forward to the next installment in the series.

Chasing Dreams

Timber Ridge Riders (5)
Author: Maggie Dana
Pageworks Press
Published: 27.04.2013

Amazon.co.uk || Waterstones.com


Chasing Dreams is a facepaced story where we continue to follow Kate in her live at Timber Ridge. Occasionally the narrative is a little confusing, as it is not always clear that the action is told from Kate’s point of view, which makes it hard to follow the story. Though as soon as the narrative gets straight again it is easy to fit the confusing parts in.
The story is engaging and gives everyday challenges that a fourteen-year-old is likely to challenge. The antagonist (Angela) tend to be two-dimensional and not very well-rounded. I would have liked to see some deeper development of Angela, and maybe see why she behaves the way she does. Angela’s nice little sister casts some light on how the life is in that family, but Angela still lack depth.
Again the issue with Skywalker (Angela’s horse) never being ridden is an issue, as a horse that is not trained can not perform. Though this is shed a light on in this book as it is mentioned that Liz (the stable’s owner/trainer) is the only one, apart from Angela, allowed to riding him.
This book also shed some more light on Kate’s father, as in previous installments he has more or less been absent. He was painted as a strict and eccentric father figure, but he soon changed into a good a caring father. Which was very nice to see.

My only persistent issue with the book series is that the cover continue to have a brown horse, while Kate’s horse is palomino (Golden fur with white mane and tail).

Overall I did very much enjoy reading this book, and as an older child/young teenager I would have enjoyed it even more.

Wish Upon a Horse

Timber Ridge Riders (4)
Author: Maggie Dana
Pageworks Press
Published: 11.01.2013





The book is easy to read and will be a joy for younger readers. It is a lovely little story about two best friends and their lives at the stable. For Some reason it did remind me of the Saddle Club. I’ve been a rider for several years, and I did enjoy this book. It was sweet and funny and it had some suspense. It kept me reading. Though there are some issues in the book I have problems with: why would Liz not see that Tapestry was a great horse just because she was a little dirty? I understand she was underweight and such, but she proves to be a strong young horse, and a experienced horse-person would see that despite the dirt. Also I thin the romance is a bit malplaced, it was cute and all, but in the end the “superstar” was not really needed in the book at all, he did not affect the action in any way.. Third, if Skywalker was only ridden occasionally, his physic would falter and he would be in no shape to compete, and even though Angela came to the stable and rode him a few weeks before each show, he would not be able to become a top horse in that time. Also there is no such thing as a “Grand Prix” outfit for dressage riders. On a side note I did also have an issue with how the shows ran and how they were set up, but I figure that they were A) made that way to benefit the story, or B) that kind of shows are normal in the author’s district/country.

Other than that I found the book very enjoyable, it was a fast read and it was easy to follow the action.