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Bel Joeor Sale and Giveaway!

Amanda from Bel Joeor is hosting a big sale on her Etsy site and a giveaway on her blog!  She makes beautiful saddle covers and bags.  I highly recommend checking out her shop and entering her contest.  

BOOK REVIEW: Susan Richards trilogy

I love to read.  I mean, yes, I am an English teacher so I TEACH reading (and writing) every day, but I still love to read regular old books that are not in the "canon".  LOL!  I tend to read more in the summer and winter, and this winter is no exception.

I have recently finished the third book in a "trilogy" of novels by Susan Richards. Overall, I liked them all, with the exception of the middle one.  Remember the following is only my opinion and you may disagree, which is fine!  :)


The first book Chosen by a Horse was fabulous.  Published in 2006, I want to say I read it a year later.  It is a wonderfully written memoir about how a starved and abused Standardbred mare named Lay Me Down helped heal Susan's own broken heart.  It was incredibly sad but also uplifting, and truly resonated with someone like me who has a strong bond with a horse.  I liked the Standardbred connection, of course, and I can appreciate any book that makes me cry.  This is a definite "must-read" for any horse person out there!  :)  The only thing that really bothered me was that the cover did not have Lay Me Down (the Standardbred) on it, but some random wild horse pic.  Fail.  I realize that she probably did not have a "cover worthy" picture of the horse, but still.



The sequel, Chosen Forever, was published in 2008 and was also well written.  But I will be honest, I did not enjoy it nearly as much as the first book.  I know that is common, but it was a bit of a let-down.  This one was all about how Susan dealt with her life as she began to heal (bad upbringing, bad marriage, alcoholism, and OH a best-selling book!  And a new husband!)  It was almost too "OMG-my-life-is-fabulous-look-at-me!" for me to really like it.  I mean, I admired all that Susan has been through in her life.  And I certainly admire her as an author.  But I did not need to pay $13.95 to read the book.  I know that it was probably not her intent for that to be what I got from it, as she does seem humble enough, but this book just didn't do it for me.  Plus, it had very little to do with horses.  :-(  And the cover was again, stupid IMO.  



The final book, Saddled, was published in 2010.  I just bought it after Christmas with a bookstore gift certificate.  I liked this one as much as the first.  It goes back to the beginning of Susan's life, with more anecdotes on her rough (and abusive) childhood, her alcoholism and her first awful marriage.  It clears up all of the things she mentions briefly in the first book.  It was a bit of going back in time, but I liked it.  It focused on her Morgan mare Georgia and how moving to a new farm and owning Georgia helped start a road to recovery and strong mental health.  But again, I wish it were GEORGIA and not some random horse on the cover.  Oh well.  Cover fail times three.  What can ya do?


Overall, I highly recommend the first and third books, especially for a horse person.  I felt like I could relate to her feelings for her horse (though not so much to the terrible upbringing, alcoholism, or bad marriage.....but still).  Reading about how she struggled and relied on her horse was much more interesting than the middle book all about how perfect! everything turned out.  I am not sure if she will publish another one in two years.....but I cannot imagine what she might have left to write.

Comments

Dom said…
Read and loved the first one.
AareneX said…
Great reviews, thanks! I read the first book as an Advanced Reader Copy, so it didn't have cover art at all. It helped me make the "tough decision" when it was time for Story.

I started reading the second book and lost interest...maybe I'll try the third book now. But I'll probably get it from the library, you know.
Mare said…
Read the 1st one and loved it. Refused to read the second one. Considering reading the third one...