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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.
I'm not even sure where to start with this fabulously awesome book. If you are anything like me, you enjoy fast paced stories, handsome cowboys, contemporary romances, and of course, horses upon horses! In The Reins offers that and so much more within it's wonderful pages. Once I started reading, I couldn't put the book down, having the need to learn more about Devon's journey with her horse, Faith and the mysterious, enigmatic cowboy McKennon.
In The Reins brings us the story of Devon, a journalistic city girl wanting to return to her country roots for a fresh start complete with a horse of her own. She ends up purchasing a young paint mare and moves to Green Briar, a quiet, private horse farm with an eclectic group of individuals. She quickly becomes friends with Sophia and JD, but McKennon, the mysteriously handsome cowboy, keeps evading her grasp. She can't help but notice that McKennon has a way with horses so it wouldn't hurt to get his help and direction, right? Devon ends up spending more and more time with McKennon when she is a part of a dangerous accident. This only serves to confuse her more of the mysterious cowboy and the resulting adventure is worth the read.
Upon reading In The Reins, I found well developed characters, superbly written details about the scenery, and a story line that kept moving and kept me entertained. Devon was a great female character with strengths and weaknesses that any reader would be able to relate to. She had her ups and downs throughout the story, but persevered through them to come out on top. Her strong character complements McKennon's, as well as the rest of the supporting characters. I enjoyed that Devon's actions and experiences were real and I found myself laughing, as well as cringing, when she would find herself in situations. Carly did a fabulous job at creating characters that drew me in to the story and had me stuck on the ride. My only complaint is that the book ended! I wasn't ready for Devon and McKennon's story to end and I was ready to hear more about Devon and Faith's journey to the show pen.
Overall, In The Reins was a delightful journey in the world of western pleasure, horses, and handsome cowboys. The terminology was spot on, the characters believable, and the story was a winner. I am eagerly looking forward to the next book in the series and finding out where Carly takes McKennon and Devon's story. I'm excited to hear more about their journeys into the horse show world and how their friendship progresses.
I gave it 5 out of 5 horseshoes!