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Spotlight on After Lucas by Tudor Robins

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Spotlight on  After Lucas by Tudor Robins

Spotlight on  After Lucas by Tudor Robins After Lucas by Tudor Robins
Series: Stonegate #2
Published by the author on October 31, 2017
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 286
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Thanks to the talent of her pushbutton super-horse, Ava, Mavis wins every ribbon, trophy, and championship she competes for. No rider effort required, and not much skill either – Ava does it all.

So, when Mavis’s dad loses his job, and Ava must go up for sale, Mavis is swamped with … relief.

She knows it’s the wrong thing to feel, but Mavis is used to feeling, thinking, and acting the wrong way. It’s why she has no friends.

Also, riding’s been really boring, for a long time.

With super-Ava sold super-fast, Mavis is ready to start enjoying her horse-free life.

Until she meets Lucas. Lucas is everything Ava’s not. Stocky, dirty, untrained, and unproven, the former trail horse has the complete opposite on Mavis as her former show mare did.

Mavis likes Lucas. She loves him, even.

Lucas has a lot to learn, but it might be Mavis who gains the most from their new, unlikely, partnership.

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One

A gaggle of little girls wearing jodhpurs, with their long braids tied with bows, clusters around the car next to our trailer.

A man with a big voice and hearty laugh is frying an egg on the hood. “Who wants sunny side up?” he asks.

A round of giggles, and one girl says, “Over easy for me!”

Those hair bows – triple layered, in shades of pink, purple and turquoise, some with gems in the middle – make them look so sweet, but I know what those girls grow up to be like.

“Mavis!” Laney snaps her fingers at me.

“Please tell me you didn’t just snap at me,” I say. I’m used to riding coaches being tough, but those are top-notch coaches with full barns and waiting lists. Not you-weren’t-even-here-a-year-ago coaches trying to turn an old-school Western barn into a show stable.

Laney, though, hasn’t received the memo that she shouldn’t look a gift horse like mine in the mouth. That the only reason we’re boarding at her “up-and-coming” barn is that her brother plays on the hockey team my dad manages – that she should consider us giving her our business as a favour. That me and my ribbon-winning warmblood machine deserve a little more respect. “Please tell me you know you needed to be mounted and ring-ready five minutes ago,” she answers.

And, yeah, I do know. With no groom, and next-to-no help, I’m all too aware of my schedule at this show.

When I left my last barn, I told them I was going someplace bigger, better and shinier; somewhere I wouldn’t even have to tack up my own horse.

If only that had worked out.

If I thought I was sick of showing before, well, let’s just say searing sun, rock-hard footing, thirty-two degrees in the shade, and a show crew of me-myself-and-I isn’t helping.

“Mavis!” Laney snaps again. “Tighten your girth, brush off your boots, and get to the ring. Now.” She’s already walking away as she calls, “I’ll see you there in four minutes.”

No. The word bubbles up in me. I’m hot. I’m tired. I’m hungry. I already have so many ribbons that I don’t even bother to keep them anymore.

I squint through the sun at my mare standing next to the trailer. Even though she doesn’t have a hay net, she’s patient. Even though she doesn’t have a decent groom, she’s clean and shiny.

Maybe I should just load her on the trailer and declare our day done.

The main problem with that plan is I really have no idea how to do that. Loading Ava has always been somebody else’s job. My protest will lose a lot of its impact if I have to call Laney for help halfway through.

“Wanna Timbit?”
“What?” I turn to stare at a set of cheeks, chin, and collarbone so edgy you could cut yourself on them, face so pale the skin’s almost blue, sharp nose pinched like a fox’s muzzle, and reddish hair reinforcing the foxy impression. Sasha.

Eleven-year-old Sasha, and her flashy paint pony, Oreo (show name Cookies ‘n’ Cream) are the other half of Laney’s show “team”. Which, I suppose, means we should be bonding.

“My mom went to Timmie’s at lunch. She got a forty-pack.”

“Uh, yeah. No. I’m about to ride. The last thing I need is jelly-filled deep-fried dough rolling around in my stomach.”

“Sometimes being hungry makes you snappy.” Sasha holds the box out and, sure enough, there’s a jelly-filled perched right on the top. “This could help.”

I give her a direct three-second stare and say, “Why don’t you just snap off,” before leading Ava off to find Laney.

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About Tudor Robins

Tudor Robins is an Ottawa-based young adult author whose first novel, Objects in Mirror, was named a Best Book for Kids and Teens by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Tudor loves reading, writing, and horseback riding, as well as spending time on Wolfe Island with her husband and two sons.

The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro

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The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro
Narrator: Graham Halstead, Julia Whelan
Series: Charlotte Holmes #2
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on February 14, 2017
Source: Purchased
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult
Length: 8 hrs 18 mins
Format: Audiobook
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In the second brilliant, action-packed book in the Charlotte Holmes trilogy, Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are in a chase across Europe to untangle a web of shocking truths about the Holmes and Moriarty families.

Jamie and Charlotte are looking for a winter break reprieve in Sussex after a fall semester that almost got them killed. But nothing about their time off is proving simple, including Holmes and Watson’s growing feelings for each other. When Charlotte’s beloved Uncle Leander goes missing from the Holmes estate—after being oddly private about his latest assignment in a German art forgery ring—the game is afoot once again, and Charlotte throws herself into a search for answers.

So begins a dangerous race through the gritty underground scene in Berlin and glittering art houses in Prague, where Holmes and Watson discover that this complicated case might change everything they know about their families, themselves, and each other.

To be honest, I don’t really have much to say about this one. I enjoyed the first in the series, maybe partly because of the novelty but also because it was fun for the most part. This time around the Watson and Holmes were both a little more annoying and we didn’t get to spend much time with the characters I liked.

Maybe overall is was a little too full of YA drama for a mystery for me. Yes, you’re angry and jealous and whiny – I’m tired of hearing about it. Yes, you have a variety of issues, few of which are your fault, but you should definitely see a therapist. Can we get back to the mystery?

But then the mystery’s a bit disappointing. And I hated the ending.

The thing is, I really want to like this series. Since it’s only a trilogy, I’ll probably borrow the last from the library when it comes out and hope it makes up for this one. I hope the next one’s back at the school; I think the move to Germany as a setting was a mistake.

About Brittany Cavallaro

Brittany Cavallaro is a poet, fiction writer, and old school Sherlockian. She is the author of the Charlotte Holmes novels from HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books. She’s also the author of the poetry collection GIRL-KING (University of Akron) and is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. She earned her BA in literature from Middlebury College and her MFA in poetry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently, she’s a PhD candidate in English literature at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She lives in the Bay area with her husband, cat, and collection of deerstalker caps.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

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A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
Narrator: Graham Halstead, Julia Whelan
Series: Charlotte Holmes #1
Published by Harper Collins on March 1, 2016
Source: Library
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult
Length: 8 hrs 41 mins
Format: Audiobook
Buy on Amazon or Audible
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Jamie Watson has always been intrigued by Charlotte Holmes; after all, their great-great-great-grandfathers are one of the most infamous pairs in history. But the Holmes family has always been odd, and Charlotte is no exception. She’s inherited Sherlock’s volatility and some of his vices—and when Jamie and Charlotte end up at the same Connecticut boarding school, Charlotte makes it clear she’s not looking for friends.

But when a student they both have a history with dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.

I have a soft spot for Sherlock Holmes, so when someone (I forget who) said they enjoyed this take on the characters, I had to put it on my to-read list. Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are descendants of the famous duo and they “just happen” to meet at boarding school. In Connecticut. But don’t worry, the story will get to that. Coincidences are never really coincidences in a Holmes world.

Charlotte is pure Sherlock, complete with drug problems, brilliant deductions, and violin-playing, which comes off a little differently in a 16-year-old girl. She can be tough to like, but we’re seeing her through Watson’s eyes, and he’s either falling in love with her or is obsessed with her or both. When a student they both hates ends up dead, everything points at them, so of course they have to solve the mystery. What else could a Holmes and Watson do? The mystery was clever, with plenty of connections to the original Holmes stories.

I enjoyed the writing, the descriptions and metaphors were well-done. I especially enjoyed the Watsonian guide for the care and keeping of Holmeses that Jamie’s dad has put together.

I listened to the audio version and I think the narrator did a good job being Jamie, since the story comes from his point of view. The epilogue is told by Charlotte, who doesn’t really have much to add. I’m glad the same narrators are doing the next in the series.

This is a YA book and it does deal a lot with drugs. It also deals with a rape, which may be a reason some won’t want to read it. I’m not sure it was handled the best way either, it made sense to the plot and the characters, but is not a good example of how the crime should have been reported/prosecuted. The kids don’t really have much supervision, which makes it easier to investigate/sneak around campus, but also easier to end up over your head.

I do kind of wish Watson and Holmes could remain just friends, but I have the feeling one, if not both, is hoping for more.

This book trailer makes me almost wish it was a movie.

About Brittany Cavallaro

Brittany Cavallaro is a poet, fiction writer, and old school Sherlockian. She is the author of the Charlotte Holmes novels from HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books. She’s also the author of the poetry collection GIRL-KING (University of Akron) and is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. She earned her BA in literature from Middlebury College and her MFA in poetry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently, she’s a PhD candidate in English literature at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She lives in the Bay area with her husband, cat, and collection of deerstalker caps.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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