Review, Spotlight & Giveaway: The Trail Rules by Melanie Hooyenga

Posted 12/03/2018 by Isabelle MBTL in giveaways, review, tours / 0 Comments

Review, Spotlight & Giveaway: The Trail Rules by Melanie Hooyenga

I received this book for free from YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review, Spotlight & Giveaway: The Trail Rules by Melanie HooyengaThe Trail Rules by Melanie Hooyenga
Series: The Rules Series #2
Published by Left-Handed Mitten Publications on March 9, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 217
Format: kindle e-book
Source: YA Bound Book Tours
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Junior year’s looking up for sixteen-year old Mike. Her new BFF isn’t a sadistic control freak, her boyfriend adores her, and she’s learning to bike in the mountains without decapitating herself on a tree. 

Well, almost.

When she meets a group of riders who welcome her into their pack, she feels like she’s finally found where she belongs. One particular rider—a boy with an amazing smile and an even more amazing ability to see what she’s truly capable of—gives her the confidence to go after what she wants: her own life with her own rules.

There’s only one problem—he’s not her boyfriend.

Just as things seem to be falling into place, her parents put on the pressure to figure out her future—one that doesn’t include riding. Mike soon realizes that having everything isn’t that great when she’s not the one choosing it. She needs to decide if she’s going to continue to be a follower or step out of the shadows and find her own trail.

Series Rating: four-stars
Also in this series: The Trail Rules

Also by this author: The Trail Rules


Young Adult, Contemporary romance.

Book #2 of a series, even though it could be read as a stand-alone, I believe you would miss a lot about their stories without reading the first book.

  • Addictiveness: I love the series. Is fast-paced and an easy read. I did in one sitting.
  • Character: hero 3.5/5, heroine 4/5, secondary characters 5/5, growth 4/5, real 4/5  Even though I was unable to connect with them as I did in the first book, they are good. I liked Mike from the first book. No, she is not Callie, she was part of the bunnies and she needed a lesson in being a better person, but she did change, and being a teenager is not an easy task. Here she has shown a different side and a lot of growth through out the story. Mica is a good character. I like how they seem to be really a perfect match to each other. I had really liked Evan in the first book and I’m not certain if I have liked him here. I felt bad for him.
  • Cover: art 4/5, title 5/5, subtitle 5/5, color-font 4/5, buy 4/5 This is a good cover art. It really tells a lot of the story. I would totally guess YA read. I would buy this book without reading the blurb.
  • Freshness: I like it. This was my first read about cycling which brings a very unique theme to this story.
  • Plot: believable 4/5, conflict 4/5, dialogue 4/5, ending 4/5, enjoyment 4/5, opening 4/5, pace 5/5, setting 5/5, subplots 5/5, twists 4/5  Good opening and  ending. Interesting conflict and dialogues well written . Fast-paced with enough subplots to enhance the story. A few  twists here and there, that makes this story believable and enjoyable.
  • Writing Style: Great setting, good characters, interesting and unique plot. I like the author’s writing and would recommend it.


  • Romance: believable 3/5, chemistry 3/5, description 3/5, development 3/5, steam 0/5 I like Mike’s story by I didn’t feel the romance. I felt more like the story was Mike’s journey than a love story. Yes, she and Mica had a lot in common, but I didn’t feel the chemistry. I think there were more parts about exploring Mike’s coming of age than Mike and Mica’s relationship.


I really like this book, but not as much as I liked the first one. I guess because I couldn’t connect with the characters like I did with Callie and Blake.

I’m really looking forward to this series, it has several interesting characters to be explored.


  • Action 2/5
  • Angst 4/5
  • Darkness 0/5
  • Humor 1/5
  • Romance 3.5/5
  • Suspense/Mystery 0/5
  • Would I recommend? I would recommend this book for everyone that enjoy young adult romance. 
  • Would I re-read this book? Definitely!!!
  • Would I re-read this series? Yes!!!
  • Would I read more from the author? I am going to follow the series and other books from Ms. Hooyenga. 

You MAY read this because you like young adult reads; you SHOULD read this because you followed the series ; you MUST read this because you want a unique story!!!

I’ve always loved being outdoors—I think it’s a requirement when you live in Colorado—but I never imagined how much I’d come to crave being “one with the dirt,” as Evan likes to say. A lot of boarders and skiers ride when there’s no snow but with Brianna leading the way, I’d never gotten into this scene.

Now I’m grateful for it.

I flex my forearms as we crest the first incline, letting gravity pull me downhill. Evan’s far enough ahead that I won’t run him over if he crashes—another thing I’m still getting used to. When I ski, I never take chances so there’s no risk of falling, but careening through the woods while balanced on two rubber tubes kind of guarantees you’re gonna fall.

The wall of trees thickens. I squeeze the brakes to slow down but don’t sit. That’s another thing I’ve learned: the seat’s pretty much there to stop the bike from impaling you. It’s not for sitting—at least not on hills.

Sunlight streams through an opening far above, highlighting a gnarly root jutting from the side of the narrow trail. I pull up on the handlebars and smile when my front wheel safely clears the twisted wood.

“Hook left!” Evan’s voice carries up to me.

A wall of trees lies straight ahead. I’d probably slam into them without his warning. I test the brakes and ease into the turn, leaning left like he taught me. My stomach flutters like I’m on the big drop on a roller coaster. A tiny piece of me is still afraid I’m going to tip over if I lean too far, but I do it anyways. My arms shake as I bounce over the uneven trail, the vibrations rattling my teeth, but I don’t fall. When the path straightens, a smile spreads over my face. Evan could do this trail in his sleep but I’m still shocked any time I make it through a turn unscathed.

His bright green shirt flashes through the trees ahead of me. I pedal to gain speed and force myself to take slow, steady breaths. Being able to see him helps me navigate the turns because I know what to expect, but I still need to watch the ground. Riding requires split focus—way more than skiing—because the kind people at the ski resorts clear stumps and rocks from the runs.

When I see him stopped at the edge of the trail my whole body relaxes.

“Need a break?” he asks.

I don’t, but he’s already stopped so I rest a foot on the ground, the other still on the pedal, and grab my water bottle from the crossbar. “Just for a sec.”

“You’re doing great, Mike. I hope you know that—”

A whoop from up the trail where we just were makes us both turn. Flashes of orange and yellow fly through the trees and in seconds two bikers skid to a stop next to us. They both drop a foot to the ground, smiles plastered to their mud-streaked faces. There’s so much dirt it’s hard to tell skin or hair color. With the exception of their neon shirts, they’re brown from head to toe.

The guy in yellow nods at Evan. “Gorgeous day, huh?”

Mr. Orange nods at me. “Y’all okay?” A couple day’s worth of stubble peeks through the mud, making him look older than his friend.

Evan and I say, “Yeah,” in unison.

“Just taking a quick break,” Evan adds.

“I’m Topher,” says Yellow Guy.


I lift a hand in a wave. “Mike.”

“No, shit?” Topher says.

I’m used to getting weird reactions about my name, so I just shrug.

Topher nudges Mr. Orange, who glances at the ground before saying, “Mica.”

Topher doubles over laughing, but the rest of us just smile. A name is a name. It’s not like I haven’t met fifty billion Mikes before.

But either Mica’s never met a girl named Mike or he doesn’t handle teasing well, because the tips of his ears turn red beneath his helmet.

I flick my thumb over the lever for my brake. Evan clears his throat. And poor Mica shifts his weight from one foot to the other as his friend slowly realizes no one else is laughing.

Topher pushes his shoulders back and nods up the trail. “Haven’t seen you before.”

Evan smiles at me. “It took me a while to convince her.”

There’s so much unsaid in that statement—me choosing him over Brianna, finally learning to ride—and the warmth that usually spreads through me when he says things like that turns to irritation. Like I’d never consider riding without his permission.

Topher doesn’t seem to notice my mood shift. He clicks his brake gear back and forth. “You enter the Pow Cross?”

The spell breaks and I whip my head at him. “Pow Cross?”

Mica finally finds his voice, and I’m startled at how it’s both smooth and rumbly at the same time, like it’s coming from deep in his chest. “It’s a big race at the end of the season. There’s categories for all levels so you”—his eyes meet mine for a millisecond, then flick to Evan—“can enter even if you’re a beginner.”

Evan’s face lights up. On the competitiveness scale, he’s below Cally but definitely above me, and I can already tell he wants to do it. “Where do we sign up?”

I hold up a hand and Topher quirks an eyebrow. “Why pow? Isn’t that snow?”

Topher grips his handlebars like that’s all that’s keeping him from bouncing out of his skin. “Technically, there’s pow—snow—and brown pow,” he points at the dirt beneath us, “but this race is so late in the season there’s usually snow.”

“Biking in snow?”

Mica grins. “It’s pretty rad.”

“It sounds cold.”

“You’ve got gear that’ll work.” Evan leans toward me and runs his hand down my arm. For a split second it feels like he’s marking his property, but Evan’s not like that. And besides, these guys are older. Mica practically has a beard. We’re just a couple kids and they’re being nice. He turns to Topher. “Thanks, man. We’ll check it out.”

Topher hops off his bike to fist bump Evan, then me. “Sweet.” Then he’s back on his bike and heading down the trail. “See ya!”

Mica rests a foot on his pedal. “It’s a cold race, but it’s awesome. Think about it.” He catches my eye and holds my gaze for a beat, then is back on his bike and pedaling away.

Evan faces me. “What do you think?”

My mind follows Mica and his piercing gaze down the trail. We barely made eye contact but it’s like he saw right through me. What’s that about? I shake the thought away.

“You’re not even gonna consider it?”

“What? Oh.” He took my head shake as a no to his question. I smile, but it feels forced. “Yeah, I’ll think about it. It sounds fun.”

He squeezes my arm. “That’s all it would be. Fun. No pressure.”

If Evan thinks I should, I probably will.

“You ready?” I nod, and he mounts his bike and takes off after Topher and Mica.

I feel unsteady, but for once it’s not because of my lack of riding skills. I’m not sure what just happened, and I don’t like the tiny part of me that hopes we catch up to them.



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About Melanie Hooyenga

While not a fan of matching Day-Glo outfits, Melanie’s been skiing since she was five and always points her tips up while exiting the chairlift. She lives in the land of lake effect snow—also known as west Michigan—with her husband Jeremy and Miniature Schnauzer Owen, and is always looking for ways to enjoy the outdoors. This novel, her fourth, inspired her to purchase her first helmet.

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