Warning. While I avoided all major spoilers there may be small things that slip through the crack. Read on at your own risk.
Kick On by Kelly Jennings
“Mired down by grief, Kick On is one woman’s struggle to survive. Her journey sends her down an unexpected path in her riding career, and to an unlikely paradise where everything is not quite as it seems and secrets from an ancient world come to life. Leaving the life she knows behind, Lauren struggles to survive but discovers the strength to ride, trust, and love again.” – Book Description from Amazon.com
I think I wanted to like this book more than I actually did. Meaning I certainly enjoyed it but I also don’t think it lived up to my expectations or the reviews I had read on Amazon.com.
As an English major who concentrated on creative writing I heard a lot about adding conflict to my stories: aka ‘There should be “conflict” on every page.’ I feel like this writer heard that piece of advice as well; only there’s a difference between “conflict” and Conflict. Jennings chose Conflict. By the end, I felt like we couldn’t get past a chapter without something Dire and Horrible happening. And, personally, I don’t think that’s necessary and I don’t think it worked in this novel. The Conflict that befalls Lauren happens in part because she gets wrapped up with a guy but it’s so out there that every time something happened I would role my eyes. Lauren has just moved to Panama and has just started seeing this guy and she’s being wrapped into some grudge blood feud? Oooohkay. Moving on. To be perfectly honest, I think there could have been enough “conflict” with the horse goal to keep going and that this other plot wasn’t needed at all.
Which brings me to my other gripe. While it is clear that Jennings knows what she’s talking about in regards to the dressage and horse worlds I wish she would spend more words on the subject. There are times where the author will spend pages describing a shopping outing for a cocktail dress but when it comes to Lauren’s first PSG class not a word is said about anything! Lessons are often described in paragraphs, if they’re described at all.
So what do I love about this book? Jennings is FANTASTIC at painting a picture of the world she’s in. I have never been to Panama but with the vivid description I could feel every drop of rain and every grain of sand. You could really feel Lauren’s wonderment at being in such a different place than what she was used to.
I also felt like the story, despite it’s tendency to go towards the doom and gloom, moved at a fast clip and was entertaining. There are plenty of characters to like or to not like as the reader prefers and the horses are described with their own personalities. In fact, the story on how Lauren finally finds her own horse is quite fantastic and a real adventure all in its own.
To sum it up, Kick On is an enjoyable book. It’s a perfect companion if you’re lying on a beach (or by a pool) with a cold drink in your hand. While I wouldn’t say this is one of my favorite horse books (mostly because the horses play more of a secondary role), I’ll recommend this for those who love a good book involving horses written by someone who knows what they’re talking about. I will be reading the next book in the series and hoping that it will focus more on the horse side of Lauren’s life.
I loved that the main character was named Lauren. Too often in books and movies only the bitchy girl is named Lauren.
I don’t care if the author has a convenient excuse for why she goes in and out of writing her character’s heavy Scottish accent, it drives me NUTS. Pick one or the other.
Front Shoes Only