Book Review: Bridge Called Hope

Bridge Called Hope

Without raising his eyes to look at me, in a voice barely clearing the horizon of a whisper, he said, “I know you don’t love me…You just say that ’cuz you’re an adult and it’s kinda like your job. But I know you don’t really love me.”

Welcome to Crystal Peaks, the ranch of rescued dreams. Author Kim Meeder uses her gift of storytelling to capture the stories of the abused horses and needy children who come to her ranch for healing. From a young man convinced he cannot be loved, to horses fighting for their lives, the stories in this book show God’s grace as the dying light of hope is revived time and again.

I purchased this book two or three years ago at a homeschool conference. I can remember sitting on the hotel bed in the evening with tears streaming down my face as I read the first chapter, Proof. After reading the entire book and the companion book, Hope Rising, that first story remains my favorite. For a girl who grew up with “horse fever” and has grown into a deep caring for the fatherless, these books were great finds, and I continue to treasure them.

Author: Kim Meeder
Audience: YA to Adult
Genre: General/Inspirational Non-Fiction
Pages: 246

Book Review: A Horse to Love

A Horse to Love

“Young lady, and I use the term loosely, I’m tired of your despicable behavior. You have exhausted this court’s patience. I’m sending you to the Chesterfield Detention Center and throwing away the key!”

Skye Nicholson is trouble with a capitol T. At thirteen years of age she’s been in countless foster homes and has a record with drugs and theft. She’s on her way to juvie when the Chambers step in. Skye resents her new foster family’s faith and strict rules. The only thing keeping her at Keystone Stables is Champ, the horse she is learning to ride. What will it take for Skye to accept the second chance being offered her?

I first read this book in the summer of 2008. I’d read stories about adoption before, but this was my first foster care story, and it captivated me. I remember being slightly scandalized by the references to drugs. When I re-read it a few weeks ago, I had to laugh at that memory because the mentions are so mild. But, they are there, so keep that in mind. 😉 The author does a great job of showing Skye’s defiance as something unacceptable, yet tempering it by showing her internal turmoil. This book is a win for both horse lovers and those who enjoy adoption/foster care stories.

Fun Fact: I recently found the first few pages of a foster care/horse farm story that I started writing after reading this book.

Author: Marsha Hubler
Audience: 10 and up
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 144

P.S. The older edition I read was titled The Trouble With Skye. I used the updated title and cover for this review because I think that’s what is mostly available now.

New Feature

LighthouseRecently a mom commented on this blog saying, “My daughter is a voracious reader…she has been reading and re-reading Little Women for the past 3 years. She is nine now and it is just hard to keep up with her and know what to offer.” That comment gave me the idea for a new feature on this blog.

When I was between 8 and 12 years old, I gobbled animal stories. My mom had a hard time keeping up with me. I know I’m not the only animal crazy girl out there, so I put together a list animal series I do and don’t recommend, and the reasons I do or don’t recommend them. Hopefully, in the future, I’ll put together more lists for parents (and everyone else) to use.

For now, here’s the link to the new Parent Guide.

Book Review: Gabriel’s Horses

When Pa shows me something, I take note. Pa’s the best horseman in Kentucky, and I aim to follow in his path.

Horses and horse racing are Gabriel’s life. He is the son of a freedman and a slave woman, making him a slave. He enjoys jockeying for his master and learning about horses from his father. He is happy until war sends his world spinning. His father leaves and a new horse trainer with harsh training methods arrives. To top things off, Confederate soldiers begin stealing horses. Gabriel must make sense of his new life while trying to protect the horses he loves.

This is the first book in the Racing to Freedom Trilogy. I read the trilogy several years ago. My library purchased the second book in the trilogy. After reading that book, I begged the librarians to buy the first and third book to add to their collection. They did and I enjoyed all three books. The story is fast paced and provides an unusual look at a popular period of history.

Author: Alison Hart
Audience: Middle Grade–Tween
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 160
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers

What are your favorite historical horse stories?

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Book Review: Runaway (Starlight Animal Rescue)

Wherever we’re going, I won’t be staying. That much I can promise.

Dakota doesn’t have any intention of loving or staying with her new foster family. She has runaway from all her previous foster homes and this one shouldn’t be any different. Then she meets Blackfire. Can the Coolidge family and the animals they rescue win Dakota’s heart?

I first read this book several years ago and loved it right away. My heart went out to Dakota. You can’t help but root for her. Definitely recommend this book. Good, wholesome (and fun!) reading.

Author: Dandi Daley Mackall
Audience: 9 and up
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Pages: 224
Publisher: Tyndale

Come back on Wednesday for an interview with author Dandi Daley Mackall.

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Book Review: Gib Rides Home

No one had heard from Gibson Wittaker since he went away, but the rumor was that he had been adopted by a family who lived near Longford, a small cattle town in the next county. There was nothing especially uncommon about that. Half, or even full, orphans left Lovell House fairly often, going back with a remaining parent or out to an adoption, but what was so shocking was his reappearance. How could Gib Wittaker be strolling into the senior boys’ dormitory when the law said, at least the law according to Miss Offenbacher, that Lovell House adoptions were not reversible?

The fact is Gib Wittaker was not adopted–more like farmed out–and he didn’t really want to return to Lovell House. More than a year earlier a gray-bearded man had come and taken Gib from the orphanage he’s lived in for the past five years. As he works at his new home, Gib finds a sense of accomplishment from working hard and discovers a talent for handling horses. But the Rocking M Ranch is also full of mysteries, some of them related to Gib. He hopes to find out more about his past, but some secrets are better off left alone.

Audience: 9 and up