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In The Reins (In The Reins Series) (Volume 1) Paperback – December 10, 2015
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"If you love horse stories and are looking for a book to draw you into its pages and not let go until that last page is read, check out In the Reins - you won't be disappointed."
- Feathered Quill Book Reviews
"In the Reins, by new author Carly Kade, has it all: new beginnings, fun characters, beautiful horses, and plenty of enticing, steamy scenes at the stable!"
- Maryland Equestrian Book Reviews
"... if you're tired of waiting around and hoping for some tall-dark-and-handsome mystery cowboy to jingle his spurs on into your barn (and, believe it or not, that was NOT intended to be a metaphor for anything), go ahead and pick up a copy of In the Reins to live out your fantasy in fiction."
- Eileen Cody, Horse Nation Resident Book Reviewer
"A book that will feel like coming home, complete with a sexy cowboy, a strong female lead, and beautiful horses."
- Heather and Horses Book Reviews (5 out of 5 Horseshoes)
"I ride English and jump and I still loved his western horsey themed novel. I may primarily ride English but I have a cowgirl heart and this book definitely calls to it."
- Booking Around Book Reviews
About the Author
Carly Kade is an award-winning equestrian author from Arizona. Creative writing makes her spurs jingle! She writes fiction about horses, horse shows, western pleasure and a handsome cowboy or two. Her books are for people just like her ... crazy about reading, horses and cute cowboys! Carly's novel inspired by the equestrian lifestyle is an EQUUS Film Festival Literary Award Winner for Best Western Fiction and has earned two Feathered Quill Book Awards in the Romance and Adult Book featuring Animals categories.
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The main character was supposed to be 28 yrs old but acted like a bratty pre-teen or hormonal teen quite/most often. I had no idea there were so many ways for anyone's eyes and lips to longingly be described over and over again- but apparently there is. And quite a few times through out the book it was mentioned that Devon had to "clench her thighs" because McKennon was so hot and she couldn't control her reaction to him. Ugh- really!?! The sexual tension or more realistically- her sexual reaction to a good looking cowboy was way, way overplayed. I think the book might have been significantly shorter without all the repeating descriptions of McKennon.
I think all of the horse book series that I have read that are great and amazing are English riding based- dressage or showjumping mainly. I ride western- just casual trail ride, enjoying horses, no competing, western riding. But I do enjoy ALL types of horse books including steeplechasing and racing. I am not afraid to learn more things and I ENJOY when an author teaches me something even something as simple as a piece of equipment that is not used in western in what it does. The author did not take the opportunity to educate the readers even a little bit. The term "leather straps" was used and I often paused to confirm the visual if that meant reins or not.
I found the typos, very long sentences and distacting grammar to really break up the flow of reading. More often than not the word "steed" was mis-spelled and it was way over used to begin with. I would strongly suggest that at the end of or at least through out the process the author use "horse understanding" feedback readers. Even understanding horses- I haven't figured out why Faith had to be tied in the stall at show so she would not roll in the fresh shavings and rip a tendon. I didn't see any further explanation so wondered if I completely missed the explanation or if it was lost in editing. And Devon wanted to buy a world class horse right from the start- I was kept wondering a world class what? reining? barrel racing? sorting? conformation? extreme horseman challenge? At one point McKennon strapped a pair of spurs of Devon, explained the control is not all in the reins, let her walk a lap or 2 of arena on his horse and decided she was then ready to gallop on her horse, together with him outside the arena. What? Something was missed there- why not let the reader in on it? Not horse related- but the scene involving the strawberries/lusty fruit referred to bushes and branches. At best strawberry plants are pretty low growing but it seemed as though author or editor had never picked strawberries.
All of these things caused for the reading not to be smooth and enjoyable- there were pauses and stumbles along the way. I noticed this book is supposed to be a series. I imagine the author has a choice- continue to write the "bodice ripper" that the 5 star reviews plainly love and can't get enough of, or re-group and figure out how to grow Devon as a person that the reader can even like and possibly relate to and write a good western riding based horse series without all the really crazy hormones, typos, crazy grammar snafus and lack of detail about actual riding itself. I think beta readers that don't personally know the author, know western horses and have a good grasp of spelling to the point where typos really jump out would be immeasurable to this author.
This is meant to be a constructive review that I typed on my own time, so I expect that there might be some accidental typos or possible grammar mistakes. I am not a professional editor so I don't feel that any silly mistakes I might make should lessen the meaning behind the review even if I call out typos and grammar.
EDIT: After reading the book and thinking about how conflicted I was about the review as I REALLY wanted to love this book, I realized that Devon pretty much treated McKennon the same way JD treated her at times (as a sexual object). I had hoped that Devon would come to the realization that her physical reaction to her "trainer" could be set aside when appropriate and she could try earning positive attention thru learning and showing her aptitude towards horse training and Western Pleasure riding. I know this isn't the typical "cowboy way" but I also would have liked if Mckennon would have told Devon to buy a helmet once he expressed how worried he was about her getting injured from falling of Faith often. You can still learn to ride safely and wear a helmet at the same time. Devon put more thought into her outdated boots than her safety. It was a subtle learning opportunity for the reader I would have liked to have seen and it didn't have to be a lecture just included would have been nice. A woman can still be sexy wearing a helmet and a progressive minded trainer/cowboy worried about safety could suggest one.
In The Reins takes us on a ride with Devon Brooke, a journalist unhappy living the city life. She wants to start anew and resort back to her country roots. Doing so means welcoming horses back into her life, after searching the web high and low for the perfect companion she finally find a young, green paint mare. As soon as she laid her eyes upon her, Devon knew it was fate calling to her. She finds a quiet secluded barn called Green Briar that's privately owned and only has a few individuals. She deems it the perfect place to begin training and bonding with her new mare, Faith.
Upon arrival, Devon is told to mind her p's and q's but she quickly befriends Sophia, the owner of Green Briar as well as JD one of the barn hands. Then there is McKennon whom seems to be mysteriously untouchable and off limits but she see's how well he does with his horses so it wouldn't hurt to acquire some training tips, would it? Devon spends a lot of time with JD but McKennon always seems to be coming to her rescue. After an accident with her and Faith, Devon begins spending more and more time with McKennon and feelings begin to develop. But every time they get close, McKennon pulls away. Devon wants to badly to get to know him and uncover the mysteries that he guards close to his heart [...]
To read the rest of my review check it out on my blog! [...]
I also greatly enjoyed the western world of this book. There aren't many western horse books on the market so I was excited to get lost in a world filled with two hunky cowboys, a sassy (but naive) cowgirl, boots, buckles, horse shows, country bars, and lots of flirting, banter, and swooning. And, I've actually never read a book that specifically revolved around western pleasure. I grew up showing this discipline so it was fun to read about those specific references ... Quarter Horse Congress even plays into this story!
I'd suggest adding In the Reins to your beach bag or throwing it in your trailer to read and unwind after a long day at a horse show! I spent a few evenings on my deck, wrapped up in these characters, and sipping on a glass (or two) of wine. :)
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