This is one of those rare books you don't want to end. Half-way through, I began reading it really s-l-o-w-l-y so it would last longer.
Beautifully wri...moreThis is one of those rare books you don't want to end. Half-way through, I began reading it really s-l-o-w-l-y so it would last longer.
Beautifully written and beautifully told, FALLING FOR ELI grabbed me from the very first page and didn't let go until the last. In fact, it still hasn't let go and I finished reading it three days ago. It's the sort of book that stays with you long after the last page is turned.
Nancy Shulins is a talented journalist who really knows how to paint big pictures with just the right words. She made me cry, she made me laugh; at one point, she reduced me to helpless giggles. And, having just met her, she's as charming and funny in person as she is on the page of her fabulous new book. I can't wait for her to write another one. (less)
Six Degrees of Lost is a perfect coming-of-age story. It's compelling, believable, and quietly powerful. It held my attention from the very first page...moreSix Degrees of Lost is a perfect coming-of-age story. It's compelling, believable, and quietly powerful. It held my attention from the very first page, and when I finished one chapter, I just had to dive into the next, and the next. There's plenty of dialogue, which is what YA readers love, and there's just enough description so you get a good sense of your surroundings. I could actually feel the dampness of a Pacific Northwest summer; I rejoiced when the sun came out.
The author, Linda Benson, has her finger firmly on the pulse of young teens. She made me care about the two main characters, Olive and David, who form an unlikely friendship that's sparked by a stray dog. These are ordinary and likeable kids and they have all the rollercoaster teenage emotions. They're sometimes selfish, thoughtless, and rude; they're also sensitive and funny and quietly brave. They make mistakes, but own up to them, and the author handles this with just the right touch.
While this is a solid YA book, I feel it's also ideal for that often hard-to-fill gap between middle-grade and YA readers. Both age groups will enoy this well-written story, as will the adults in their lives.
This is the second book by Linda Benson that I've thoroughly enjoyed and I hope she's hard at work on her next one.(less)
This is one of those books that stays with you, long after you've turned the last page. The images and word pictures the author paints are subtle and...moreThis is one of those books that stays with you, long after you've turned the last page. The images and word pictures the author paints are subtle and provide layers of insight into this compelling story.
The author's well-formed descriptions really caught my attention. I mean, who cannot love the way this house in Florida is portrayed: "This sprawling farmhouse looked like it had been dropped carelessly from a helicopter which had been en route to a more suitable location, like Vermont."
And here's another, about Aqueduct racetrack: "The windows were pitted with baseball-sized holes, as if there were an unfortunate profusion of home-runs from parking lot pick-up games."
Then, there's this: "He was a good-looking Thoroughbred who had been around the block a few times, with bumpy cannon bones that had seen many splints and the waterfall pattern of pin-fire scars down his forelegs. He had a patient look to his eyes, as if he knew that his life was ridiculous, but that there was hay waiting in his stall if he was just nice to this rider. I adored him instantly."
This says it all. A bond between horse and rider that reaches into the hearts and minds of horse lovers everywhere.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novella and hope the author is busy writing more.(less)
After I got through reading this extraordinary book, it was a forest of sticky notes ... passages I wanted to revisit and ponder about. There is so mu...moreAfter I got through reading this extraordinary book, it was a forest of sticky notes ... passages I wanted to revisit and ponder about. There is so much to learn here, all the way from pre-historic horses to the way our contemporary equines are hard-wired to respond to their ancestral survival instincts. According to the author's meticulous research, the natural behavior of horses hasn't changed much at all.
From there, she goes into a wealth of information that's engagingly written and keeps you turning the page. Skillfully, she weaves stories of her own horses and those of neighbors and friends into the narrative to create a compelling history of our favorite animals. Here's a bit that really got me:
"Nursing is instinctive, but finding the milk bag can be a bit of an action adventure [don't you just love this?]. Like finding the centre of a maze, all our foals took the scenic route. Patiently, a broodmare will help her foal by positioning herself alongside so that the foal faces toward her hindquarters ... often the foal will toddle straight forward and try to suckle on the wall of the stall, or walk between her hind legs without looking up and out through a curtain of tail."
Amid all the great stuff I loved about this book, was this: the right way to pronounce Przewalski's horse: 'shur-val-ski'. After all these years of tripping over this word and avoiding saying it out loud, I'm tickled to bits with this information, and can't wait to baffle horse-loving friends with it.
"Heart of a Hoofbeat" is one of those books you read and then think about, again and again. The photography is stunning, both in its depth and simplicity. When I read the last page, I sighed, put it down, and wanted to read it all over again. It had wrapped itself around me and left me feeling better for having read it.(less)
In a recent Twitter chat group, the subject of 'tween' fiction came up ... books that bridge the gap between middle-grade and YA (young adult), much o...moreIn a recent Twitter chat group, the subject of 'tween' fiction came up ... books that bridge the gap between middle-grade and YA (young adult), much of which seems a little too dark and edgy for most 12- and 13-year-olds, to say nothing of their parents. One of the online participants--a literary agent--gave an electronic sigh, then said that the problem boiled down to shelving, that there wasn't actually a 'tween' fiction section in bookstores which made it kind of hard for booksellers to know where to shelve it. She then added that she'd love to see it, and followed up with: "Tween fiction is a kinder, gentler, YA."
That's what this book is ... kind and gentle. It pulls you in with a whisper, wraps you up in its arms, and leaves you feeling really good about having read it.
As a die-hard print book lover, I'm always impressed when an e-book makes me forget I'm not reading paper. I got so deliciously lost in The Girl Who Remembered Horses that hours zoomed by without my realizing it. I forgot to finish the laundry, the dishes piled up, and that cup of tea I'd been looking forward to, went cold on the counter.
The author's talent with words draws colorful and meaningful pictures, so real you can almost smell the scenery. You can see what Sahara, the main character, sees ... the desert, the meager campground she lives in, the dogs and goats she cares for, and now ... the horses.
But for all its implied bleakness, this is a book about hope, about a girl's resilience and determination to succeed, and that no matter the circumstances, she's going to hang onto her dream.
Prior to reading a book, I don't read reviews or even cover blurbs. I read the first page or two and let the author's voice lure me inside. So, when I began reading The Girl Who Remembered Horses I had no preconceived notions. I didn't even know it was set in the future, which kind of tripped me up when a character found a plastic container. Then the penny dropped. This was post-apocalyptic, one of my favorite genres ... and it included horses. I mean, what could be better?
I found this book at a second-hard store, and am only sorry it wasn't a book store so the author would've benefitted from my purchase.
This is an info...moreI found this book at a second-hard store, and am only sorry it wasn't a book store so the author would've benefitted from my purchase.
This is an informative, illuminating, and well-written book. I've been a horsewoman all my life, yet till I read this book I had no idea about the level of discrimination against female riders by the male-dominated equestrian establishment. Not only in Thoroughbred racing but in show jumping, eventing, and even dressage. Till as recently as the 1970s, men believed women lacked the strength and endurance to compete in equestrian sports. It took a bunch of determined and dedicated women riders to make them realize it doesn't take muscle to get a horse to do what you want it to do. It takes patience and intuition, which is why women excel at a sport that requires the meeting of two minds.
Girls and young women who ride today may not realize it, but they owe their place in equestrian sports to these pioneer women. (less)