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on June 13, 2012
I've always loved horses and good horse stories, and this is one of the finest of its kind I've read in years. "Horses of the Sun" might be labeled for Young Adults, but this book is for everyone everywhere, even if horses aren't your favorite thing. It is written with such good examples of how family members show and maintain their love for one another through the best of times and the worst of times, and shows excellent examples of how to treat people and how to treat animals, always with kindness and patience.

When cranky,snobbish, city dweller cousin Amy comes to Sunhaven Downs, her aunt's, uncle's and cousins' cattle station in the outback of Australia, she is very unhappy and can only be nasty to her relatives who have taken her in for the year that her mother and step-father are on an archeological dig in Turkey. The Winter kids, Lani, Dane and Matthew center their lives around horses, and for their ages, they are fairly accomplished riders and compete every year right before school starts. Amy claims that she hates horses, they smell bad and she wants nothing to do with them. For all the fussing that Amy does, her Aunt Eleanor and Uncle Geoff remain patient and positive with her while the cousins are exasperated. They do try to engage her in their usual summer activities such as swimming, but Amy says that she is only used to swimming in nice chlorinated swimming pools, not in the creek or her cousins' favorite swimming hole.

Like the other reviewers, I couldn't stop reading this once I started it. The characters are so likeable and the family as a whole that I just wanted to slip into it as another long-lost cousin or auntie. It is written with compassion and a message for living life to the fullest. I'm very anxious to read the next in this series. There is a lot to learn about Australia, determination, kindness and horseback riding.

Highly recommended.
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on April 30, 2012
This is a superbly written story about the Australian outback, horses and riders. I loved it (and I am in my 20's!) and will definitely be giving this book to my nieces and nephews.
Horses Of The Sun should be in bookstores - I would have loved to have had something like this to read growing up.
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on July 14, 2012
This series is like taking Nancy Drew books and throwing in the Walter Farley "Black Stallion" series, mix well and add in Australia's outback!
I'm 51, and I am enjoying the series immensely!

Well written, excellent character development, good plot development, and reasonably believable happenings. None of the stupid jumps in the plot that aren't supported by the back story.

A big plus for me, is the correct use of horse riding lingo, descriptions of it and aids, whether dressage, three day eventing, show jumping, reining, and cutting, along with a horse sport I didn't even know about! Polocrosse, a combination of Polo and Lacrosse!!

SPOILER ALERT! Probably the only thing that would prevent me from reading parts of the first book to young kids is that there is death, in the first book, of someone that affects the kids and families deeply, and the descriptions of the "event" and injuries are detailed. I'm not sure what age would be appropriate for those parts, but as parents you should read the book first and plan how to relay that part of the story appropriately for "your" children's maturity levels. The story does show how to handle grief and loss extremely well!! I would say that it can be used as an excellent introduction to this "part of life"!!!

I AM NOT saying there is anything wrong with that part of the story, just that it is a little graphic and painful and not all kids would handle that part well. It is a risk we all face and I believe that children should be exposed to death and pain early so that they begin to understand it, and so it isn't so shocking when it happens. For example; A child's pet dying, even a young young child, shouldn't be hidden from kids, but used to help them learn coping skills around death and loss. Death is part of life, and the earlier they are exposed to how to handle it, and the facts of life in that area, the more they will integrate it and not be so scared or shocked when they are faced with it in life. So this series I believe is wonderful in how it shows the family dealing with the loss, pain, and grief. Farm kids learn those things early, from day one, but today's world is so removed from "life" it makes it hard for kids to understand the world in its true beauty and darkness. My humble opinion anyway.

Sorry to make this such a "BIG" part of my review, and its not a huge part of the book!! I just think its important to be clear. I LOVE this series and highly recommend it to all ages of kids, with parents to help them discuss this particular part so they learn great lessons from it!

Do NOT let my comments prevent you from buying this series, and the future books in the series!!! In all ways, I love it, but as parents we need to always be aware of how our children handle issues, and use books and parables to teach and guide them in life! and this series is wonderful in that regard!
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on June 23, 2012
I left my teens behind many, many years ago but somewhere inside me that young teen still lingers ready to be enthralled by stories like this one. I loved this story. It took me away from a grey and dreary Sydney winter's day, to the sunny Queensland outback.

The Winter family are delightful and although Amy initially appears to be a complete brat when she goes to live with them, she soon becomes as delightful as they are. The plot is simple but strong, and the writing is so evocative that I could almost taste the dusty air, and feel the humidity as the storm approached.

It's a beautifully written book. I'm eagerly looking forward to reading the next in this series, and I hope there will be even more in future.
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on January 6, 2013
Very engaging Novel. It certainly kept me reading, not wanting to put it down. I just had to find out if the main character jumped the Gorge, or even attempted to do so. Being set in Australia I found it very informative about life there. The Author brought out details that I would not have connected to living in the Out Back.
Of course there were places where tears slid down my cheeks, as I could certainly relate to the situation, others that brought chuckles and smiles. It is well worth spending money and time to enjoy an excellent Novel. NC
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on December 12, 2011
i thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, even if it is "quite" some years since I was a teenager. The style of writing was lovely, easy to read with the required Aussie feel about it, and I'm sure people from other countries (as well as Australians) will enjoy this book and get a true feel for our "outback".
I'm very much looking forward to the next instalment.
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on March 15, 2012
As a girl I just loved horses and I still do as an adult woman! I also still enjoy reading books about horses and I read through this story fairly quickly as I couldn't put it down. 13 year old Amy is being sent to the live in the outback for a year with her Uncle & Aunt Winter along with her 3 cousins because her mother & stepfather are going away for a year on an archaelogical dig. Amy is from the city and when she shows up at the outback she promptly states that she hates horses. The Winter family love horses and most of their activities involve horses and horse competitions. There is a rough period where Amy and the cousins are not getting along and they keep trying to get her to ride a horse. Little do they know that Amy has her own secret heartbreak that she is keeping to herself. Amy finally does ride a horse named Melly and starts spending enjoyable time with her cousins until there is an accident. I won't really give any more of the story away as it would contain spoilers.

I really loved this story and enjoyed getting to know all these characters, especially the Winter children who had me laughing at the beginning. There is also some sadness that pulled at my heartstrings. This short book was written very well and flowed smoothly. There is definitely room for more in this series and I will be on the lookout for more from these characters and their horses.

I received this book free through Good Reads First Reads in exchange for an honest review.
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on June 30, 2012
A 10+, again! Great read. I won't tell the entire story as the book won't sell if I do that. I was once again drawn into the entire family and felt part of it, again. What a wonderful Author Leanne Owen's is. What a wonderful family she writes about again. You just can't help but feel part of the family while reading this entire series of "The Outback Riders Series". Thank You so much for your books. They are more than books. They are teaching tools for readers. More than just a good book. I was a nurse and it touched my soul. If I had children, I would have taught mine the exact same things. I do teach nieces/nephews and all my greats old enough to learn some of these medical lessons which might be needed. There are many other lessons in each of these books. Common sense, love of family/friends, being helpful and thoughtful and of growing up but having a lot of good clean fun too!
I've just begun another book of Leanne's but am awaiting the next one about "The Outback Riders Series". Patiently awaiting this next book. I love these memorable stories which continue on and on. Thank You Leanne. Good luck writing and raising your beautiful horses.
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on October 21, 2013
Besides just being fun for horse lovers, the story line in "Horses of the Sun" is well constructed and the book carries a powerful message. I thought the writing left quite a bit of room for improvement.

I rated this book 3-stars because of the foreshadowing. Although it kept me reading, the foreshadowing was misleading and I kept waiting for events that never happened, or at least didn't happen the way that had been implied. After I finished the book, I even went back and searched to find the crucial sentences to see if I'd misunderstood or if the author had made a mistake. I'm not sure if the author intended to mislead or if she just didn't write it well enough. Whatever the case, the misleading statements didn't work for me and I think the foreshadowing would have been much better had it not led the reader to the wrong expectations.

Mishandled foreshadowing is one of my pet peeves. If this type of thing doesn't bother you, read the book. Recommended for horse lovers ages 10 and up.
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on November 5, 2012
I read this book with anticipation because it is about two fascinating, for me, topics: horses and Australia. I enjoyed the book a lot. I recommend it for anyone who loves horses and the outback. The story is believable and fun if just a bit simplistic. Great entertainment.
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