Brenda Casto


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Smashwords book reviews by Brenda Casto

  • The Girl Who Ran With Horses on Dec. 25, 2010

    Stevie Buckbee misses her family, or what's left of it. She only receives a few cards a year from her mother, who left the family a few years ago, and then with the death of her brother Edwin, her dad decided it would be best if she spent the school year in Tulsa with her aunt and uncle. Although she spent school breaks at home on the family ranch in Antlers, OK, she is anxious to return for good. When summer break arrives she is anxious to head home for good, all she ever dreams of is being home with her dad and brother Blake ,and to spend time with her beloved horses, especially Jack Rabbit a feisty horse her father purchased for her. While on spring break Jack Rabbit threw her but that doesn't diminish her plans for training and racing him over summer break. When she arrives home her dad seems distant, and her brother Blake is making plans to go away to college in the fall. The ranch looks neglected, and there are fewer horses boarding there. When she learns she has developed a special connection with the horses, being able to communicate with them thru thoughts, and sometimes feeling what they feel, she isn't sure at first its real. With everything going on at the ranch, the one thing she fears is that her dad will send her back to Tulsa in the fall. Can the family pull together, and will things ever be normal again for Stevie? Stevie is a young girl coming of age, who has dealt with a lot of upheaval in her life. The author does a remarkable job of portraying Stevie's feelings. She seems like a young girl lost in alot of ways without alot of control over what goes on around her. While she is a bit headstrong at times, especially when it comes to listening to people who are trying to teach her how to ride her horse. She is also very practical and worries about those around her.The author tackles some very heavy subjects such as the abandonment by her mother, the death of her brother, her father's alcoholism, and her brother Blake growing into his own person, wanting to spread his wings away from the ranch. The authors writing drew me to Stevie immediately, and made it easy to connect with her. I could also see where her family was coming from, they are all suffering, and each one is handling it the best way they can. Her dad really feared abandonment as well, but the things he did often pushed the people closest to him away. The paranormal twist the author throws in was neat, it was fun to hear the thoughts of the horses, although sometimes it wasn't what Stevie wanted to hear. It was interesting to see her learn to block some of it out. A heartwarming story that horse lovers of all ages will enjoy reading. A story that is easy to connect with because the author deals with problems that are easy for alot of people to relate to. The characters are also down to earth and easy to connect with, making you hope that all will work out for them.
  • The Tribe on July 22, 2011

    A tribe of cats has been living alone on an old farm for many years. The tribe is led by two cats Tia and Bella. There is only one cat in the tribe that has any positive memories of humans and that cats name is Daca. So you can imagine when two legs( humans) start coming to the farm the tribe believes no good can come of it. When the humans move to the farm things start looking up, the female human starts putting out food and water in the hopes of gaining the cats trust so that she can eventually catch them to have them spayed and neutered. While the tribe watches the humans with trepidation, Daca decides the only way to protect her kittens from a coyote that is hanging around is to move them in with the humans. When Bella and Tia are attacked by the coyote they soon come to realize that not all humans are the same. I loved this book! The author does an amazing job of telling the story not only thru the eyes of the cats but also thru the eyes of the humans. It was so easy to understand the fear that the tribe had of the humans. Bella and Tia were convinced that the humans would kill and eat them. The bond between Tia and Bella was heartwarming,and the way the tribe members looked out for each other allowed the reader to see the bond that had formed between the members of the tribe. You could easily imagine the longing Daca had for her former human owner, and she sort of became the ambassador cat traveling between the tribe members and the humans. I found the message of spaying and neutering very appropriate, but not preachy at all. A quick read that would make a wonderful gift for cat lovers, or anyone who enjoys a great animal story. A complimentary copy of this e-book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.