Hello, reader friends! I don’t know about y’all but I’m starting to stock my kids’ summer reading list! Here’s a middle-grade fiction series for all your horse-loving kiddos with a JustRead blog blitz including a Selah’s Stolen Dream excerpt by Susan Count and a giveaway!
about the book
Title: Selah’s Stolen Dream
Series: Dream Horse Adventures #4
Author: Susan Count
Publisher: Hastings Creations
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction
Release Date: October 13, 2016
One girl’s victory is another’s tragic defeat.
Thirteen-year-old Selah’s perfect life unravels when her beloved horse is stolen. Then ten-year-old Emma buys the dream of a lifetime at a horse auction. When she learns the horse was stolen, even removing her hearing aid won’t drown out the voice telling her to make it right.
But two girls can’t divide the horse they both adore. So will life surprise them with an answered prayer?
Dream Horse Adventures series
Selah’s Stolen Dream excerpt
Ten-year-old Emma sat astride the couch arm and cantered in sync with a girl, even younger than her, in a video. The pink ribbons in the girl’s brown braids flapped behind her. The gray pony’s legs fired like an engine in overdrive. At the approach of each jump, the girl thumped her boots on the pony’s side and swatted it with a crop.
Her hands clinging to pretend reins guiding her imaginary mount expertly through the Speed Jumping event. She leaned into the turns and squared her pony to the jump. Gauging the canter strides to take off, she squeezed with her knees and balanced over her mount’s withers. With a long moment of suspension, her imagination soared over the jump. Clear! She calculated the angle to the next jump. As the video pair nailed the last combination, she patted the couch jubilantly, praising her pony.
Mom tapped her shoulder. “Come on. We’ll be late for your lesson.” She switched off the TV.
Her parents always asked her to use her words, but she thought her voice sounded strange. Emma signed whenever she could get away with it. “I get so into watching her ride that I forget everything else.” Her own riding lessons were too quiet, too slow, and too safe. They never had the excitement and energy of the girl in the video. But then the girl with the flying braids wasn’t deaf.
Completely deaf in one ear, she couldn’t remember a time when she didn’t need a hearing aid in the other ear. Her parents told her she didn’t lose her hearing until the year she started kindergarten. She had it, and she lost it. And the specialists couldn’t tell them why.
She slipped on her riding boots, grabbed her safety vest and helmet, and flew.
Mom held out her jacket. “Bundle up. I don’t want you catching cold.” “Yesterday, it was 72.” As she stepped outside, Emma shivered. “Today, it’s 49. That’s Texas. We never know what to wear.” As the February winds swirled the trees, a feed store delivery truck sputtered and rumbled outside the arena making it impossible for her to hear. While the hearing aid worked okay in small rooms, she found it useless outside. Even a slight breeze put so much static in her ear she had to turn it off. Her parents were saving to get her a higher quality one. Even though it was a pain, she wished they’d help her save for a horse of her own instead. But one dime at a time, she’d do it. She wasn’t complaining. Not really. Because she had Pony-Boy.
She hung around the pony farm down the road until Mrs. Holmes recognized her as a horse lover and knew Emma wasn’t going away. Mrs. Holmes graciously offered to give her a riding lesson on the old pony her college-age daughter had outgrown.
A big chalkboard hung in the center of the arena, attached to two jump standards. As she circled the arena at a trot to warm up Pony-Boy, she watched for Mrs. Holmes to write instructions on the board. Things like “relax your calf muscles” and “sink deeper into the stirrups”.
For safety, Mom positioned herself at one end of the arena. Though Brianna didn’t know how to sign or anything about horses, Mom insisted Emma’s sister take her position at the opposite end of the arena. They would signal if there were any urgent instructions. Like really, Mom? What could happen on Pony-Boy?
Any horseback riding scared Mom, but jumping even little crossrails terrified her. The only reason she got to ride was because Dad insisted she do things hearing kids did. To get Mom to agree, she had to wear an ugly, bulky safety vest as if she were competing in upper-level, Cross-Country eventing. The helmet was strapped on so tightly she could hardly swallow. She was mostly deaf, but not helpless.
about the author
Susan Count is a life-long equestrian and owned by a Rocky Mountain Horse that is kind hearted enough to take her on long forested trail rides. She adores grandchildren, horses, and bunnies.
Instilled with the need to create, she loves building projects and writing adventure stories. She writes at an antique secretary desk that occupies a glass room with a forest view. Fittingly, it once belonged to the grandmother who introduced her to the love of reading via Walter Farley’s horse books. That desk has secret compartments which hold memories, mysteries, and story ideas.
Susan has published four books in an equestrian series. As a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Texas Association of Authors, she takes studying the craft of writing seriously. Revision is her super-power.
She says the only thing more fun than riding might be writing horse adventure stories and she invites you to saddle up and ride along. You can learn more about Susan’s work by visiting her website or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest!
(1) winner will receive a copy of Selah’s Secret Dream, Selah’s Painted Dream, and Selah’s Stolen Dream plus a $25 Amazon gift card!
Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway will begin at midnight March 5, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on March 12, 2020. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Continental US mailing addresses only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.
Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.
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Let me know if you have any horse-lovers who would enjoy this story, reader friends!
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