Sunday, October 26, 2014

Review: The Horse That Haunts My Heart

Set against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, Deborah Smith Parker's coming of age memoir takes place in the 1950s during three transformative summers she spent on a horse ranch. As a young girl growing up in the Midwest, she longed for the life of a cowboy. At age 13 her parents allowed her to go west to live her dream where she met her first love—a horse nick-named Tank. She spent her summers riding, wrangling, and sleeping out under the stars while her extraordinary relationship with Tank developed, shaped by the poignancy, hilarity and drama that tested relationships undergo. Like the rugged mountains in which these events took place, this story has rapidly shifting light and shadow which Parker artfully leads the reader through with humor and well-wrought descriptions of vivid pictures of life on the ranch—daily chores, risky antics and real peril, coping with dirt and dangers on the trail, and learning the language of horses, her horse in particular.
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Deborah Smith Parker's The Horse that Haunts My Heart (Astrologicus Press, 2014) is a love story as real as any romance.  Parker's description of her relationship with her horse, Tank, and the impact that relationship had on her growth as a young woman rings absolutely true.  If you were a girl that loved horses or you have a girl that loves horses, read this.  A word of warning, though; the ending will break your heart.

I received a complimentary copy of The Horse that Haunts My Heart to facilitate my review.  No other compensation was received.  For full disclosure, see the sidebar.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Review: Strangers On The High Seas

Captain No Beard and the crew of the Flying Dragon welcome a new crew member, when Cabin Girl Cayla joins the ship. Responsible for his little sister, Captain No Beard is not very happy because he finds his newest charge a distraction. When faced with danger, the captain must find a way to escape. While learning valuable lessons about strangers, the crew realized not to judge somebody because they are young or small. Strength comes in all sizes!

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Carole P. Roman's Strangers on the High Seas (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013) is the fourth book in her Captain No Beard series.  Despite its bright, colorful illustrations, Strangers on the High Seas just didn't float my boat.  The story feels somewhat disjointed, and the insertion of "valuable lessons about strangers" is awkward and contrived.  The ending is cute and is sure to get a giggle from young readers, but, overall, Strangers on the High Seas is a bit of a dud.

I received a complimentary copy of Strangers on the High Seas to facilitate my review.  No other compensation was received.  For full disclosure, see the sidebar.