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hf (uk)

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Too Many Ponies
Too Many Ponies
by Sheena Wilkinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect modern pony book for youngsters (spoliers alert), 12 May 2014
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This review is from: Too Many Ponies (Paperback)
I read this in one sitting, i meant to just read a couple of chapters and next thing i'd finished it and it was silly o'clock! Obviously not a gritty novel like the authors previous two excellent novels, but enough depth for an adult to read, bearing in mind it's target audience is probably 9 to 12?
It has a slightly predictable plot, and I'm not 100% convinced by the lottery winning granda (you just knew it didn't you) but I'm looking on it as an adult and in a slightly jaded manner considering how excellent Taking Flight and Grounded were, certainly nothing predictable or average about those.
For the age rage it's first rate and i would have loved it as a child, right up there with my beloved Woodbury pc books. Kudos as well for going with another male in the lead role in the pink and sparkly world the pony book has become. I'm going to recommend school purchase copies for the library/Y4/5/6 classes.

Congratulations to the author for yet another first rate novel. Only trouble is we now need another installment or two to cover how Declan/Seaneen got to this place in time...

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The Unicorn of Kilimanjaro
The Unicorn of Kilimanjaro
by Vavra Robert
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 12 May 2014
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I would dare anyone to read this or Unicorns I have known and still not be a believer. Breathtaking photography only adds to the magic of the wonderful tale Robert Vavra weaves for his readers.


Beth's Junior Academy (Pony Showjumping Series Book 2)
Beth's Junior Academy (Pony Showjumping Series Book 2)
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A great modern pony book with a traditional feel, 12 May 2014
As per the previous title, It's a real shame a good proof reader wasn't employed as the many spelling and grammatical errors/ typo's really take away from, for me, what is developing into a nice little traditional style pony book series. The characters are well thought out and developed and the plot manages to stay original (lets face it every possible plot has pretty much been exhausted over the years). The author has tried hard to put her stamp on the events and way this series is developing and I am looking forward to reading future installments. Once again I really like the use of Pop culture but have to repeat my comment of it ultimately dating the book quite quickly, however it's not such a big thing and in years to come readers may well think the people mentioned are just fictional characters.

Would have been a 5 star if not for the grammatical errors (and if i was the targeted age range i may well have not actually noticed them in the first place).


For the love of Pip
For the love of Pip

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wanted to like it but..., 12 May 2014
I read the blurb and A Horse Called September immediately sprang to mind, scrolled down to the reviews and saw the same comment from a reviewer and a seemingly harsh review. I downloaded it anyhow (it was free!) and really wanted to be able to give it a better review but sadly I'm going to struggle.

Some of the grammatical and typing errors must have been cleared up, great, but it's still far from perfect. I'm guessing this is the down side to self publishing as there's no, very important, proof reading stage before going to press.

I suspect the storyline is heavily influenced by Anne Digby's title but i have to agree it's not in the same league at all. For me the biggest issue was, why in a proclaimed pony story of the more traditional type, does the lead protagonist have to be obsessed with the opposite sex! We're told early on the girls are only 11 and just started first year at comp, yet reading further on, not knowing this, you'd assume they were mid teens at least. Although it's all perfectly innocent, i don't really understand it's place in a pony story written for (I'm guessing) the 9 to 12 age bracket. This age issue is also backed up by the 16.2 horse our protagonist rides; At 11, unless exceptionally tall for her age, even her own beloved pony of 14.2 would be a fair size for her. Anyhow back to the boy thing, I was further alarmed (and yes alarmed is the correct word) that the 5 years older brother (who is away at collage so at least 16, possibly more) starts a relationship with the new best friend from boarding school. Considering the events in this book all take place over a 2 month period...Eeek!

If your after eBooks with a traditional pony theme for your youngsters, I strongly suggest looking up KM Peyton, The Pullein-Thompson sisters, the Sandy Lane Stables books or A Horse Called September even!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 12, 2014 7:47 PM BST


Beth's First Adventure (Pony Showjumping Stories Book 1)
Beth's First Adventure (Pony Showjumping Stories Book 1)
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars The startings of a nice little series, 1 Jun. 2013
It's a real shame a good proof reader wasn't employed as the many spelling and grammatical errors/ downright typo's really took away, for me, from what is actually the starting of a nice little traditional style pony book series. The main character Beth is well developed and the author has tried to reach out to her target audience by use of pop culture (One direction in particular get many mentions). Sadly in reality this will prematurely date the stories rapidly, however the actual content is good and should be strong to carry the stories forward. Beth's story (so far) is believable, something most definatly often lacking in pony stories, and i will be interested to see how this series progresses.


Grounded
Grounded
by Sheena Wilkinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warning - contains spoilers, 19 May 2013
This review is from: Grounded (Paperback)
This is the compelling sequel to the award winning Taking Flight.

It continues Declan story. We are about two years down the road now, Declan has finished and passed his equine collage course and still working for Cam, his Mum is clean and trying to make amends for the past, he is staring to fulfill his dream and competing with Flight, as Vicky has lost her nerve, and is in a steady relationship with Seaneen, whom we met briefly in Taking Flight.

Life is defiantly on the up for Declan but, such is life, complications are just around the corner. Flight being sold sets this ball in motion and despite his attachment to Seaneen, without Flight, Declan decides there is nothing keeping him here any longer. A dream job with a top show jumper in Germany is on offer and Declan has nothing to loose. That's when Seaneen drops bombshell no 1.

Bombshell no 2 is when Declan finds 3 abandoned horses in an old disused barn, a place that will come back to haunt him, on his way home one night, a rather grizzly find as only 2 are alive and barely at that!

These two events are enough to keep Declan firmly grounded in Ireland, his dreams now in tatters, however hard he tries to pretend at least one of these things isn't happening to him.

The two surviving horses are taken to a local sanctuary and Declan, with encouragement from Seaneen, enquires about rehoming the foal. He's devastated to learn it didn't make it and can't help but wonder if he had found them sooner would it have been different. Unperturbed he makes the decision to take on the other 'ghost' horse instead. This mare is difficult, to say the least, and has has unsurprisingly lost all faith in humans. Not exactly the show jumper Declan was hoping for!

Running parallel to Declan, Seaneen and the 'ghost' horses story is that of Cian. Cian is about 14 and the troubled son of one of Declans's mums new friends, Cians is a sad story of foster homes and alchol, drug and substance abuse. Declan doesn't want to but finds himself drawn towards the troubled youngster, who no doubt reminds him of his own past. It's Cian who provides Bombshell no 3, a truly horrific event that changes everything.

It's a real coming of age for Declan and although I'm not really one for happy endings the ending to this book is bittersweet to say the least but happy and very fitting.

As previously the characters are real, so very real, with proper depth and emotions and the horses are again integeral to the plot but this is not just a story for horse lovers. I particularly liked the parallel between Declan's troubled 'ghost' horse Folly and Cians story.

Once again an absorbing and compelling page turner i didn't want to/couldn't put it down. Just fantastic, must be amongst the best contemporary fiction around.
The author clearly knows/understands her subject (i believe she is a secondary school teacher) very well and isn't afraid to tackle these so so real issues, something she does with flair.


Taking Flight
Taking Flight
by Sheena Wilkinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a debut!, 19 May 2013
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This review is from: Taking Flight (Paperback)
In all honesty, although horses do form an integral part of the plot, this book is not exclusively a book for horse lovers, but it is a book that all youngsters would benefit from reading.
It covers such a wide base from coping with social deprivation, living with alcoholism, low self esteem and neglect to the social divide between these youngsters living this life and those from the same wider communities who have a far more affluent upbringing and want for nothing. This book covers all of these gritty issues and more with tact and remains true to life and most importantly of all is very believable.

Declan 'The Hood' and 'Princess' Vicky might be cousins but they are worlds apart.

The biggest hardship Vicky has ever dealt with is the breakdown of her parents marriage...however a young stepmother with the same interest in horses and whom Vicky likes very much is not too much a difficulty in her otherwise perfect life. She goes to a good school, has an expensive show jumper (who she has just gotten a place on school SJ team with), has private jumping lessons and her every whim catered for.
Declan on the other hand lives a far less charmed life. Social deprivation is very real in Declans world and with an alcoholic Mother, dead Father and previous conviction for joyriding just for starters I don't need to state the obvious.

Their two worlds collide, quite literally, when Declans Mother takes an overdose and Declan has nowhere to go but his Aunt Collette's (Vicky's mother). Without spoiling it too much, needless to say it's a whirlwind ride of emotions for both the youngsters and as Declan stumbles deeper into 'Vicky's world' emotions certainly ride high with devastating consequences...

Taking Flight is such an absorbing fast pace read that you are quickly drawn into it and I found it very hard to put down indeed.
Declan is an intricate but fascinating character, and a far cry from my own upbringing and experiences (thank goodness if I'm honest) but most of all he's real, sadly very real. There are millions of real Declans out there and Declans story highlights, not only how difficult life can be for these youngsters but also that there can be a different life for them. Anything is possible and life is what you make it regardless of where you come from...this echoes throughout this excellent story.


Dead Ever After: A True Blood Novel (Sookie Stackhouse 13)
Dead Ever After: A True Blood Novel (Sookie Stackhouse 13)
by Charlaine Harris
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.90

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What a let down, 19 May 2013
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This series started out magnificently, the first 9 books were a class act with strong characters and great plot lines which kept you wanting more...then something went wrong, very, very wrong.
For me it was the introduction of the Fae as major characters that killed the series, we wanted Sookie and Eric but progressively got more Claude, Dermot and their fae accompaniments. In my mind it would always end for Sookie in the manner it did, however I expected it to be explosive to say the least. Although I had been disappointed with books 10 onwards I thought maybe the author would pull something out of the bag for the finale, but a weak, everyone try to get sookie plot was all we, the loyal fans, were rewarded with. And what of Eric...what indeed? I don't think the person who wrote this book (yes i am questionning whether this and maybe some of the other more recent books were infact ghost written) even knew the characters built up over the first 9 or so books as the ending for Eric was just not in fitting with the character.

Fans are bound to buy and read it but prepare to be even more bitterly disappointed than you have been with the last few books.


Deadlocked: A True Blood Novel (Sookie Stackhouse 12)
Deadlocked: A True Blood Novel (Sookie Stackhouse 12)
by Charlaine Harris
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.99

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Inherently Unsatisfying, 7 May 2012
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I'm afraid the title says it all. I'm a huge fan of this series but this installement just left me disapointed and numb.

Yes it served a purpose, in that it pulled together some loose ends and set us up for what I hope isn't a too Predictable ending. I do hope the Author finds some of the sparkle and class the rest of the series literally oozes and totally blows us away with an ending we would never have thought of, but after reading this i have grave doubts that will be the case.

If your a die hard fan, then well you'll have already bought it but otherwise probably not worth purchasing until cheap copies are available if i'm honest.


Fly-by-night
Fly-by-night
by K. M. Peyton
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling!, 12 Sept. 2007
This review is from: Fly-by-night (Paperback)
This is a fantastic story from one of our best writers of 'teen' fiction. K M Peytons books are beautifully written and very real. Ruth, from this book, is your average pony mad girl growing up in a non horsey family. The book highlights her desire and the problems that can occur when an unknowledgeable person aquires a pony. We follow the trials and tribulations and the charcaters, equine and human, grow from strength to strength. The sequel The Team is an even more compelling read!

The Fidra edition is lovely, with the original front cover illustration and a nice introduction by the author herself.


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