Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Vanessa reviews Midnight Sky by Jan Ruth

Today we have a review from book review team member Vanessa, she blogs at http://vanessawesterwriter.blogspot.co.uk/

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Vanessa chose to read and review Midnight Sky by Jan Ruth

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“The first book I selected to review via Rosie’s Book list was MIDNIGHT SKY. I don’t know if it was the cover or the blurb, or both, but something drew me to this one. I can tell you I was not disappointed! Five stars for my first read! I did not expect that.

It’s difficult to explain a story like this in a review, because it was so real! There were a lot of characters who I loved and a lot of issues discussed, which I consider really important. Also, the fact that I know so little about horses added an extra depth to the plot.
So, let’s start with the characters. Laura is a pretty, talented home designer who lives and works with a married man, who is now juggling the kids and his ex (but has yet to get a divorce). Simon is the married man and a rogue – he represents the male stereotype I dislike. But, he does seem to care about his kids so he is not a complete waste of space. Maggie, Laura’s older sister, has been in a stable relationship from a young age and is stereotypical of the stay-at-home wife, frustrated by her husbands lack of motivation to help at home. Finally, I have to mention Jess, Maggie’s daughter. A seventeen, going on eighteen, flirtatious and outrageous girl, who made me laugh many times!
There are other characters, but the one I have to talk about is the brooding (let’s think of Darcy or perhaps Mr Rochester) male hunk, James! James is heartbroken after losing his wife in a riding accident and I felt his pain on many levels. However, his patience and ability with broken horses and children won me over. When he also managed to be there for Laura when she goes through a traumatic experience he became my favourite!
However, without giving away any spoilers, this story is about how Laura, James, Maggie, and Jess confront and overcome their issues. It has a feel-good ending, which, in my opinion, opens the door for a sequel. I would love to know what happens next.”
Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Georgia reviews Midnight Sky by Jan Ruth

Today’s book review comes from team member Georgia, she blogs at http://www.georgiarosebooks.com

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Georgia chose to read and review Midnight Sky by Jan Ruth

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I would like to thank Jan Ruth for gifting me a copy of Midnight Sky which I have thoroughly enjoyed reading. I chose this book because of its countryside setting and its romantic and horsey themes. The main character in this story is Laura who is living with Simon and the guilt of breaking up his marriage. His ex-wife (though they are yet to divorce) is irritatingly demanding of Simon and his time and I wished both he and Laura would stand up to her more. Maggie, Laura’s sister, is very different in that she is married with rather challenging children, the middle one of which is the outrageously annoying Jess who works at the local stables where her younger, slightly autistic, sister is learning to ride.

Laura and Simon are in business together running Dragon Designs, a property development company, and Simon, keen to expand overseas seems to show more interest in this, and his ex-wife’s demands, than he does in Laura. Through Dragon Designs Laura is brought into contact with the stables, and horse-whisperer James, who is still very much married to his wife, even though she died two years previously.

I very much liked the writing and excellent characterisation throughout this book. I particularly warmed to James who, still in mourning, worked hard amidst a life of disorganised chaos and I loved the descriptions of his house, dogs and relationships with the horses under his care. Laura and James become great friends drawn together by tragedy and Laura struggles as her relationship with Simon breaks down whereas James can’t see past the loss of his wife. Watching him as he tries to overcome his grief is heart-breaking but Ruth handles the progression of the relationships very well as they develop slowly throughout this story both for Laura and James but also for Maggie whose own family life is also in turmoil.

A lovely, easy read that I’m sure will be a joy for anyone who picks it up.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Cathy reviews Midnight Sky by Jan Ruth

Today’s book review comes from team member Cathy, she blogs at http://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

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Cathy chose to read and review Midnight Sky by Jan Ruth.

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James is a widower and, in the two years since his wife’s sudden death, has built an impenetrable wall around himself and is in a very dark place emotionally. He runs an equestrian centre with his sister, Liz, and finds it hard to do anything much else other bury himself in work until he, literally, drops with fatigue.

Laura and her lover, Simon, run a property development and interior design company and are working and living together. Laura and Simon had an affair while Simon was still married, and his bitter and resentful wife seems to be permanently in the picture. Consequently things are not going too well and when Laura suffers a harrowing trauma and her relationship goes from bad to worse.

Maggie, Laura’s sister, is having seemingly insurmountable problems of her own, money worries, her insensitive husband and her pretty but offensive teenage daughter. Her younger daughter, Ellie, has mild autism which is helped by her riding lessons with James, but Maggie doesn’t know how much longer she’ll be able to afford them. On top of all that she’s waging a losing battle with her weight.

All the involved story threads are woven together beautifully and, one way or another, the colourful array of characters manage to bring out the best qualities in each other. Midnight Sky encompasses such a lot, emotional highs and lows, relationships, heartache and not to mention a good dose of teenage angst. The story is set mainly in Snowdonia, which is described in evocative detail, giving a vivid sense of place.

Jan Ruth’s writing flows easily and the story is captivating and poignant. The complete mixture of emotions are conveyed with such realism and sensitivity I couldn’t help but empathise. James, suffering so much torment and yet so patient and gentle with his horses, especially the damaged, untrusting Midnight Sky, and the children he takes for specialist teaching. He is a complicated and compelling man. Laura and Maggie are both facing critical and life changing situations and learning how to deal with them.

All the characters are genuine and credible and penned sympathetically. I was drawn completely into their lives almost without realising it. Very nearly a fly on the wall. I loved it!

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

No Reins by Angie Skelhorn

No ReinsNo Reins by Angie Skelhorn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

No Reins is a romance for young adults, the story revolves around horses and race tracks. It follows the decisions that a young girl makes about her future and her loves. Angel learns which people she can trust and those whom she cannot. Left alone Angel must keep her job and prove to her family that she is old enough to make her own decisions.

This is what the author told me about her book;
The book No Reins revolves around what happen to me in my teens.  My mother couldn’t keep me chained to the house so instead of us fighting she let me leave home at 14 years old to race horses knowing I could come home or phone when ever I needed.

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