Reviewer: Robyn Roberts
Title: Saddle Up Sweetheart - Sequel to Noel Bandit
Author: Sydney Shay
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Release Date: June 2008
Genre/Sub-genre: YA Fiction (Short Story)
Publisherís Age/Grade Recommendation: Ages 14-19
OUARís Age/Grade Recommendation: Ages 12-18
Year/Setting: Present Day Lucky Lake Ranch
Overall Rating: 4.0
Sexual Content Rating: Very Subtle
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None
Violent Content Rating: None
Sydney's Website: www.sydneyshayroses.blogspot.com
Natalie Coombs is happy working at the Lucky Lake Ranch. She pulls her own weight and helps run things when Melinda (the ownerís daughter) doesnít want to. Her boyfriend, Russ Kent, is amazing and Natalie & Russ have plans for the ranch. Russ is the ownerís son and will inherit the ranch someday.
When she overhears Russí dad telling him to giver her two weeks notice, she knows her world is collapsing. She will be sent packing the week of her 19th birthday. She resolves to start over and never look back. And if Russ canít find a way to stand up for her, itís over with him, too.
Once she moves back to town and into her old job at the feed store, life falls into a routine of work and trying not to remember time with Russ. Sheís filled with regrets and wishes heíd try to contact her.
I canít share what transpires next or it will spoil the story. It is very much a Romeo & Juliet story where the two in love just canít find a way to connect. Russ has pressures on him from the ranch that Natalie canít understand. Natalie has issues from her past that make her feel inadequate.
I liked Natalie and Russ. They were realistic and their actions made sense for their personal beliefs. Sometimes what they did made me angry with them, but I did know why they were behaving the way they did. It reminded me of some of my own friendships where I want to smack some sense into them. Russí sister Melinda is a little bit spoiled and I didnít like her much at first. She did develop during the story and turned out to be a girl Iíd like to read more about.
It was a very quick read, but a story with a lot of character and emotion put into it. While the page count is short, the story is as good as a full-length novel. I was impressed at how well it stands alone since I didnít realize I read the sequel first. Iím looking forward to going back and reading the first book about the Lucky Lake Ranch, The Noel Bandit.
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