Category: #MiddleGradeMarch

#MiddleGradeMarch Book Review | “Selah’s Sweet Dream” (Book Two: the Dream Horse Adventures series) by Susan Count

Posted Saturday, 28 March, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I had to take a leave of absence hosting for this touring company in [2015] whilst I worked towards finding better balance in my blogging and personal life. I returnt to hosting for Lola’s Book Tours in [2018] before having to take a small hiatus from requesting future blog tours for a second time. By [2020] as my health afflictions from 2018/19 started to recede I realised I could start to host for her authors with better confidence in being able to participate on the tours themselves. Thereby it was with the Dream Horse Adventures series I decided to mark my return and was quite thankful this was a series she was celebrating through her touring company.

I received a complimentary copy of “Selah’s Sweet Dream” direct from the author Susan Court in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What I enjoyed about my introduction to
the Dream Horse Adventures series whilst reading “Mary’s Song”:

We journey back to 1952 wherein a horse crazy twelve year old girl named Mary yearns to ride the horses she is fascinated with observing through the fence line at her house. Her father, a kindly man who sees the hope of the situation in regards to her medical condition rather than the frustrated anguish of his daughter’s lost faith in a solution to present itself to give her a future wherein she could gain back what she’s physically lost. His voice is portrayed as a humbled and empathetic compassionate man who simply wants the best for his girl who dreams of horses and the freedom which carries the rider into the currents of the wind.

She might not have the regular childhood of her peers but she has a keen insight into art and the ways in which she can project her dreams into a sketch. She openly talks to her father about her fears and the reasons why she loses her belief in having a day arrive where she is not confined to a chair without the ability to rise and walk. She chooses to focus on the horses – to observe their behaviour patterns and to treat them whenever she can with treats she can throw over the fence. The horses have their own unique personalities which Count allows Mary to talk about whilst giving you the impression that it is the horses who strengthen her resolve moreso than the efforts of her father to find a way to give his daughter a second chance at life.

One of my favourite passages rather early-on in the story is when Mr Gregory (Mary’s tutor) is asking Mary how she’s able to get him to discuss horses in the middle of her lessons! The response from Mary is not only one of the most heartfelt answers I’ve heard in a horse drama of this nature (the second favourite of mine is actually the essay shared about mustangs from the film Flicka) – but it gives keen insight into Mary’s own heart and where her mind alights the most in her joy of feeling a deep attachment to horses. She was quite right too – about how horses played such a central role in History, from working horses to war horses to everyday horses who aided commoners to get round their townes. You don’t have to go too far back into our living histories to find horses as the main method of transportation and recreation, either!

I had to grin when I heard the girls’ talking about Black Beauty – as there weren’t too many stories involving horses I hadn’t personally known about myself when I was their age! Plus, the horse neighs as measures of a segue between scenes was just too delightful for words! You almost felt like you were listening to the story in the barn awaiting Mary and Laura to come round the corner and tell you its time to go for a ride! Laura likes to compete in Equestrian games but she doesn’t quite understand how Mary isn’t as confident in what she can accomplish herself. Mary tends to hold herself back even though she has the courage to try new things – especially observed when Mary talked to Laura about Laura’s sport. This was a lovely compliment to the library Mary has wherein she was encouraged to pursue collecting stories and books about horses. I must admit, I was awe-struck by how inclusive her library was in that regard! You can just see yourself agape looking at all the titles and browsing through her collection!

Laura was a smart lass – she understood Mary in a way that most might not have picked up upon themselves as she knew that Mary needed a bit of nudging and encouragement round the edges to step outside her comfort zones. It was through their growing friendship that both girls’ started to make choices which would affect their own lives. Their willingness to put themselves on the line for a horse and to rebel against the established rules of their parents endeared them to me because of how convicted they were in their belief about what they were doing was the right way to fix a wrong. Their passion and their dedication to their cause is beyond heartwarming and it was one of my favourite parts of the overall story!

I honestly felt conflicted by Mary’s father – he had such a difficult personality! At times, he was harsh and too hard on Mary – in ways that didn’t feel like he had her best interests at heart. Other times? He was sweet and caring – almost like he had an dual personality! I was quite shocked by the ending, too – as I just didn’t see that ‘coming’ in regards to how her father finds a new bit of happiness. For me, the heart of this story truly was encompassing how Mary was self-persevering to re-write her own truth – to seek out a method of therapy which worked best for and for having the courage to defy the odds in order to find her own path back to solid ground.

Ms Count has provided such a wonderful stepping stone into this series – I hadn’t realised it focuses on Selah’s grandmother until I first started to listen to the audiobook; having read the overlooked bit of trivia! Thought it makes sense as when I was contemplating the series before starting to read and listen to it I was trying to sort out how do we go from focusing on Mary to Selah? It would make sense Mary is laying down the origin story for Selah and building on how this family generationally has a connection to horses! I do look forward to seeing how Selah is introduced and how we carry-on with the series from here. Despite a few wrinkles of angst for me as a reader, I thoroughly enjoyed the narrator’s performance of the story – Cavannaugh truly brought to life everyone within the novel!

-quoted from my review of Mary’s Song

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#MiddleGradeMarch Book Review | “Selah’s Sweet Dream” (Book Two: the Dream Horse Adventures series) by Susan CountSelah's Sweet Dream
Subtitle: Dream Horse Adventures Book Two
by Susan Count
Source: Author via Lola's Blog Tours

Twelve-year-old Selah’s quest to be equestrian superstar is impossible without a horse. Then she spots buzzards circling in the grasslands behind Grandpa’s farm. They’re stalking a horse trapped in wire and Selah is its only hope. But the mare she rescues might be a bigger challenge to her dream than not having a horse at all.

An old friend of Grandpa’s and a world renowned horse trainer offers to work with the wild and defiant mare. Selah jumps at the opportunity. She trains with a fierce determination to equal the equestrian talent of the deceased grandmother who instilled the love of horse in her. But when the horse causes mayhem at the trainer’s facility, he sends them home. Selah must gather her courage and face up to the trainer or watch her dreams gallop away.

Genres: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Children's Literature, Middle Grade, Equestrian Fiction, Horse Drama


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780997088304

Also by this author: Mary's Song (Book Spotlight), Selah's Sweet Dream (Book Spotlight), Selah's Painted Dream (Book Spotlight), Selah's Stolen Dream (Book Spotlight), Mary's Song

Also in this series: Mary's Song


Published by Hastings Creations Group

on 15th December, 2015

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 187

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The Dream Horse Adventures series:

Mary's Song by Susan CountSelah's Sweet Dream by Susan CountSelah's Painted Dream by Susan CountSelah's Stolen Dream by Susan Count

Mary’s Song (book one) (see also Review)

Selah’s Sweet Dream (book two)

Selah’s Painted Dream (book three)

Selah’s Stolen Dream (book four)

Available formats: Ebook, Trade Paperback and Audiobook (for Book One)

Converse via: #DreamHorseAdventures and #SusanCourt + #MiddleGradeMarch
as well as #MiddleGrade, #MGLit, #HorseDrama and #Equestrian Fiction

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Posted Saturday, 28 March, 2020 by jorielov in #MiddleGradeMarch, 20th Century, Blog Tour Host, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Children's Literature, Coming-Of Age, Indie Author, Juvenile Fiction, Lola's Blog Tours, Middle Grade Novel, Mother-Daughter Relationships

#MiddleGradeMarch Audiobook Review | “Mary’s Song” (Book One: the Dream Horse Adventures series) by Susan Count, narrated by Caitlin Cavannaugh

Posted Wednesday, 25 March, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I had to take a leave of absence hosting for this touring company in [2015] whilst I worked towards finding better balance in my blogging and personal life. I returnt to hosting for Lola’s Book Tours in [2018] before having to take a small hiatus from requesting future blog tours for a second time. By [2020] as my health afflictions from 2018/19 started to recede I realised I could start to host for her authors with better confidence in being able to participate on the tours themselves. Thereby it was with the Dream Horse Adventures series I decided to mark my return and was quite thankful this was a series she was celebrating through her touring company.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Mary’s Song” direct from the author Susan Court in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

In case you missed my Series Spotlight, let me re-share why this series appealled to me:

Let’s talk about how important *horses!* and *horse dramas!* were to Jorie when she was younger – as there came a point in my childhood where I was truly motivated and dedicated to learning Dressage, natural horsemanship, ethical care for horses and I had a dedicated eye for #horsefiction wherein I was either traversing alongside cowboys as they took wagons west into a new frontier or I was curled up inside the Children’s series of Thoroughbred, The Saddle Club and/or The Black Stallion (the series).

I could relate to these series because the lead characters had a heart for horses which mirrored my own heart and thoughts about how to be an ethically minded Equestrian whilst fusing your passion into dedicated training. I had the pleasure of riding retired thoroughbreds as the barns in which I took lessons had these available as schooling horses as thoroughbreds in order to have a happier retired life must be retrained into a new skill set. Dressage and/or Endurance racing is quite common as they expell so much energy and require a lot of focused pursuits to feel happy in of themselves.

I never lost my connection to horses, #horsefiction or horse dramas – by book, motion picture nor television series – I’ve come across more than a few and my top favourites are still: The Man From Snowy River (1982), Return to Snowy River (1988), The Black Stallion (film, 1979), The Black Stallion (Canadian tv series, 1990-93), A Horse for Danny (1995), Virginia’s Run (2002), Hildago (2004), The Horse Whisperer (film only 1998, not the book), The Long Shot (2004), Dreamer (2005), Flicka (2006), SeaBiscuit (2003), Secretariat (2010) and the Canadian tv series “Heartland” (2007-current) to name a few. One of the more dramatic entries of horse fiction as an adult reader was my readings of the at-risk (foster care) youth and the situations involving their placements (as they are hard to place) within the novel “The Language of Hoofbeats” which I found to be #unputdownable for its realism and capacity to interconnect the truth about today’s foster youth.

Whenever I come across a new series in either MG or YA Lit, I get quite excited as there is a part of my bookish heart where I hope these never lose favour with children and that today’s child can grow up in the wonderment of horse culture and Equestrian experiences as there is something magically beautiful about connecting to a horse and being connected to them as you ride together.

This is why I was truly excited to send up a boost of a signal flare to announce this series on Jorie Loves A Story – hopefully letting my fellow readers, book bloggers & followers alike know about a series like this in case they know of a boy or girl who are growing up with a fascination about horses themselves!

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#MiddleGradeMarch Audiobook Review | “Mary’s Song” (Book One: the Dream Horse Adventures series) by Susan Count, narrated by Caitlin CavannaughMary's Song
Subtitle: Dream Horse Adventures Book One
by Susan Count
Source: Author via Lola's Blog Tours
Narrator: Caitlin Cavannaugh

Mary's Song is completely independent of the three Selah books. It is the story of Selah's grandmother.

A young artist falls in love with a foal that is lame, just like her. The expensive surgery the foal needs has little chance to correct the problem. Still Mary plots and conspires to raise money to save the horse, even as time runs out. She sacrifices what she holds dear - the trust of her papa, to gain her heart's desire. But she could lose everything in her struggle to save the foal.

Genres: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Children's Literature, Middle Grade, Equestrian Fiction, Horse Drama


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780997088335

ASIN: B07Y2GVYSY

Also by this author: Mary's Song (Book Spotlight), Selah's Sweet Dream (Book Spotlight), Selah's Painted Dream (Book Spotlight), Selah's Stolen Dream (Book Spotlight), Selah's Sweet Dream

Also in this series: Selah's Sweet Dream


Published by Hastings Creations Group

on 20th September, 2018

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 3 hours and 40 minutes (unabridged)

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The Dream Horse Adventures series:

Mary's Song by Susan CountSelah's Sweet Dream by Susan CountSelah's Painted Dream by Susan CountSelah's Stolen Dream by Susan Count

Mary’s Song (book one)

Selah’s Sweet Dream (book two)

Selah’s Painted Dream (book three)

Selah’s Stolen Dream (book four)

Available formats: Ebook, Trade Paperback and Audiobook (for Book One)

Converse via: #DreamHorseAdventures and #SusanCourt + #MiddleGradeMarch
as well as #MiddleGrade, #MGLit, #HorseDrama and #Equestrian Fiction

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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Posted Wednesday, 25 March, 2020 by jorielov in #MiddleGradeMarch, 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Childhood Friendship, Children's Literature, Coming-Of Age, Indie Author, Juvenile Fiction, Lola's Blog Tours, Middle Grade Novel, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Teacher & Student Relationships, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, the Fifties

#MiddleGradeMarch | a readathon celebrating #MGLit | #MiddleGrade stories – Find out what is on Jorie’s TBR!

Posted Wednesday, 11 March, 2020 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , 4 Comments

#MiddleGradeMarch badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Found out via the tag #MiddleGradeMarch on Twitter

Then discovered A Dance with Books blogged about it

Whilst I traced down who is hosting: @BooksAndJams

This runs concurrently with @MGBookVillage‘s #MGBookMarch!

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

I’ve been appreciating Middle Grade Fiction for quite a long while now – as a book blogger, I’ve had the chance to explore this category of fiction a bit more closely than I might have on my own – however, my local library has a hearty collection of Middle Grade titles – whilst they are also open to purchase requests for either print or audiobook copies. My regional libraries are of the same mind and it makes finding Middle Grade stories to read quite lovely because there is such a wide sea of choice nowadays for readers who are of the age Middle Grade stories were initially meant to be discovered by and for today’s adult reader who likes to revisit the stories of their childhood whilst being updated for today’s market, world and audience of Middle Grade Fiction.

I first started to revisit Children’s Lit due to feeling inspired to convey selections to my nieces and nephews whilst at the same time, knowing I would be an adoptive Mum in the future – I also wanted to find stories being writ by contemporary writers who were writing the kind of stories I would feel comfortable sharing with my future children. This is partially why ever since I first started book blogging in [2013] (as 31st March, 2020 marks the start of my 7th Year) I’ve elected to feature works of Children’s Lit (known on Twitter as #KidsLit) which encompass all stages of a child’s reading life – from Picture Books to Chapter Books, to Middle Grade and Young Adult.

A Sampling of my Favourites over the Years are as follows:

Book Review | “The Walking Fish” by Rachelle Burk & Kopel Burk A new #MGLit novel speaking directly to girls & boys who love science and the curious realms they can endeavour to explore!

Book Review | “Call Me Amy” by Marcia Strykowski – a #middlegrade coming-of age story set amidst the rescue of a baby seal

Finding a readathon this March which champions #MGLit is a wicked chance for me to find redemption in reading the stories which arrived on my shelf to be reviewed but which were not able to be read the months and years they first arrived. The timing was off due to health afflictions and/or my chronic migraines – whilst I am sure there were more than a few unexpected life moments peppered in for good measure as well!

Whatever first took me away from these stories – this particular readathon is re-aligning me with these books and I am wicked thankful for it! As you’re about to find out – I have a rather eclectic mix of Middle Grade stories – from a diverse group of authors and the genres are a brilliant dance of topics, subjects and the kind of world-building I love to disappear inside! If you’re taking part in #MiddleGradeMarch this year – kindly share a link to your blog or your Twitter *thread of updates for me – as I’d love to see what you’re reading as well!

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Share this #booktuber’s tweet!

& let them know you’re joining #middlegrademarch!

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The Challenges I am undertaking this year:

  • Challenge Two: Non-Human Main Character
  • Challenge Three: Read a MG Fantasy novel
  • Challenge Four: Written in Verse (*)
  • Challenge Five: Diversity of Any Kind

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I decided to skip round to the challenges which befit the stories I have on hand to be read this year rather than trying to seek out more titles than I honestly have time to devout to reading. In regards to the challenges I’ve picked – the only one I’m most worried about finishing is “Written in Verse” as I only have one book on hand which fits this category choice and I’m uncertain if it will even count – as various sites list this as either YA or MG depending on whose defining where it ‘belongs’ in Children’s Lit. The book is “The Crossover”.

The rest of the selections I’ve made will become quite obvious once I start talking about them! Especially as the category for “diversity” is being read from different perspectives & angles this year whilst I sadly only had *one!* Fantasy novel which was considered to be Middle Grade.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission. Read More

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Posted Wednesday, 11 March, 2020 by jorielov in #MiddleGradeMarch, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, RALs | Thons via Blogs, Reading Challenges