Breaking Free

by Lauraine Snelling

From the back cover
Just get by. Those words have gotten Maggie Roberts through ten long, hard years after a tragic accident sent her to prison. There, she's kept her heart walled up and her head down, so when a chance to work in a high-profile retired Thoroughbred racehorse program is offered to her, Maggie is reluctant.

Nevertheless, her love of horses makes the opportunity too tempting to resist. Maggie finds new purpose working with Breaking Free, an abused blood-bay gelding who lashes out at anyone who tries to help him. Maggie soon learns he'll be put down if he can't be controlled, and she is determined to save him. But when a local businessman sets his sights on adopting the horse, Maggie may have to let go of the one thing keeping her afloat.

My rating

My review
This was a beautiful story with several very good parts and a few exceptional descriptions. However, overall, it was poorly written. There are quite a few punctuation errors, and it reads like a cheesy romance novel (despite containing very little romance). In addition, there are no gradual changes in this book, and every decision is made abruptly, no matter how major.

But before I go too far into my complaints and scare all the readers away: it is a light read with good morals and plenty of horses--the latter being the reason I picked it up in the first place. If Lauraine Snelling doesn't have horse experience, she did her research very well, because there were no horse-related facepalms on my part. And Bonnie the Basset hound is perhaps my favorite character.

This is very much a fairy tale in that everything works out perfectly and the villain, who is known to be evil from the beginning, has vanished by the end in one way or another. Speaking of the end, it's one of those grand finales where not only the main plot, but all of the subplots as well, is resolved. And the last sentence of the last chapter was a gag-worthy mini epilogue that could have been, if not a decent epilogue, several more chapters.

Breaking Free


words borrowed from Emily Dickinson

Why--do they shut Me out of Heaven?
Did I sing--too loud?
But--I can say a little "Minor"
Timid as a Bird!

Wouldn't the Angels try me--
Just--see--if I troubled them--
But don't--shut the door!

Oh, if I--were the Gentleman
In the "White Robe"--
And they--were the little Hand--that knocked--

-Emily Dickinson


please excuse the mess...

I'm implementing some slight design changes--nothing major, but it's messing with my post formats a bit. Hopefully everything will look cleaner when I'm all finished! Feedback is most certainly welcome. :)


The Shadow Things

by Jennifer Freitag

From Goodreads
The Legions have left the province of Britain and the Western Roman Empire has dissolved into chaos. With the world plunged into darkness, paganism and superstition are as rampant as ever. In the Down country of southern Britain, young Indi has grown up knowing nothing more than his gods of horses and thunder; so when a man from across the sea comes preaching a single God slain on a cross, Indi must choose between his gods or the one God and face the consequences of his decision.

My rating

My review
Jennifer Freitag has a beautiful writing style. I have enjoyed following her blog for some time now, and was excited to discover The Shadow Things in my local library. And the writing did not disappoint--it was full of rich description and well-woven language.

In fact, it was a beautiful novel all the way through. I found the plot riveting, and Indi's journey moving. All of the characters, good and "bad," were very well written and fleshed out. And the introduction of a loving God provides a beautifully stark contrast to the fear-motivated paganism, which, while I can say nothing to the historical accuracy, was explained well.

Why only 3/5, then? I'm not sure. Perhaps it just wasn't my cup of tea. The only complaint I have is that the ending didn't sit well with me. To avoid any possible spoilers, I'll just vaguely say that there was a bit of violence that occurred with hardly the bat of an eye, though it was the only such situation in the novel. Lives are treasured, people loved, except for that one brief moment.

However, I can say that if (when?) Jennifer Freitag publishes another book, I will most certainly read it!