Tag Archives: horses

Book Review: The Thunderbolt Pony

Title: The Thunderbolt Pony
Author: Stacy Gregg
Genre: Children’s Fiction , Middle Grade
Publisher: HarperCollins UK, Children’s
Publishing date: 5th of October 2017
ISBN: 9780008257026

Synopsis: A dramatic and emotional story about one girl’s determination to stand by her beloved animals – and her refusal to give up, even in the face of impossible odds.

My Review:

The Thunderbolt Pony is a good story for any animal lover. It is a cute little story about Evie’s journey across the earthquake torn South Island of New Zealand, accompanies by her three animal friends. Her pony Gus, her dog Jock and her cat Moxy
I did enjoy to read the story through the girls eyes, and her troubles and challenges seemed real. However I found the beginning of the story a bit hard to get in to, as I found it a bit implausible that a 12-year-old girl could pin point the exact moment she developed her OCD. Don’t get me wrong, the story was very touching and seemed logical of how her father’s declining health to cancer cased her to develop OCD, but I found that part implausible.
That did not stop me from continuing reading the story, and I did enjoy that the author spent a lot of time showing how an illness like OCD can affect people, even in crisis and I think we need more books that empathize this.
In the end it was a very moving story and I enjoyed to spend time with Evie, Moxy, Gus and Jock, and it emphasized the fact of not leaving anyone behind and that pets are part of your responsibility even when a disaster hit.


The Night Horses

Title: The Night Horses
Author: Anaka Jones
Publisher: Anaka Jones
Publishing Date:: 26.02.2015
Purchase Link: Amazon.co.uk
ISBN: 9781452882789

In “The Night Horses”, Anaka Jones creates a playful children’s book that imagines the secret lives of barn horses who chatter, chow, play and work all while their owners are away.

My Review:
The Night Horses is a short, comedic story about a day in a horse lives. All the horses at the stable are presented to the reader, and then the fun begins. The story doesn’t have any sort of plot, but it is a well-rounded story, and it is humorous that the horses are given human characteristics. For example one of the horses is a comedian during the night, and two other horses does each other’s hair and make up.
I did find the story cut and funny, but I don’t feel like it is one I will read again. It should have been a bit more of a story in the book. Maybe if the book was twice as long (it only has fourteen pages) it would have some sort of story o it and feel more like a book.

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.