Apr 28, 2010



Kentucky Derby Reading List

The first lady of Kentucky has a Kentucky Derby reading list of ten books, and Thoroughbred, by some weird turn of fate, is named twice. It appears she is a Thoroughbred fan, because I still can't really figure out why The Horse of Her Dreams is on this list otherwise.

The List:
1. B Is For Bluegrass: A Kentucky Alphabet, Mary Ann McCabe Riehle
2. Perfect Timing: How Isaac Murphy Became one of the World's Greatest Jockeys
3. Little Freddie at the Kentucky Derby, Kathryn Cocquyt
4. The Horse of Her Dreams (Thoroughbred Series #24), Joanna Campbell
5. A Horse Called Wonder (Thoroughbred Series #1), Joanna Campbell
6. A Horse Named Seabiscuit, Mark Dubowski
7. Man O’ War: Best Racehorse Ever, Jennifer Guess McKerley
8. Skipingo Home, Jane Lyon and Karen Bailey
9. The Black Stallion, Walter Farley
10. National Velvet, Enid Bagnold


Apr 14, 2010

Child endangerment camp!

Horse Mad Series
Vol. 3: Horse Mad Academy
By Kathy Helidoniotis
Published in US: Mar. 1, 2009

Ashleigh and her horse, Honey, face their fears together in a new adventure.

Ashleigh Miller is starting a course at the Waratah Grove Riding Academy, one of the best riding academies in the country. It seems like a dream come true until she realizes there is more to this school than she bargained for. Getting through an exhausting riding schedule, training with the best junior riders in Australia, struggling with a horse who won't do dressage routines and competing for a chance to ride at the nationals all have Ashleigh thinking life in Shady Creek with the Creepketeers was a breeze.

But those aren't Ashleigh's only worries. She's beginning to unravel the mysterious past of her horse, Honey, and wonders if she can ever renew Honey's spirit. To top it all off, her new baby brother or sister is on the way at home, there's something fishy going on inside Roycroft Cabin and Ashleigh has to figure out a way to survive four weeks without her two best friends.

Ashleigh and Honey take on an exciting four weeks they won't soon forget.

Last time Ash had just won a trip to Waratah Grove Riding Academy, and found out her Mum was pregnant. This book sees Ash at said Academy, where all is magical and good. She stands in the parking lot for a while bemoaning her pregnant mom drama and getting all hot for a silver horse someone else is unloading from their trailer. She meets Mrs. Strickland, the boss, and gets thoroughly embarrassed by her parents at lunch before they leave.

She then makes friends with some girl named Brooke. It’s very important that you know that Brooke is wearing make-up, with painted nails, chews gum in an obnoxious manner, and says “like” in every sentence. This means she’s evil, but Ash is not genre savvy, so she doesn’t pick up on it.

Juliette, some other obnoxious girl who only repeats what Brooke says, and Ash are assigned to the Roycroft cabin with three other girls. Ash dubs Brooke, Juliette, and herself the Three (goddammit) Groveketeers. They meet their cabin leader, an older girl named Kylie who’s a big name rider.

The cabin mates and their horses are:
Brooke - Angel (the grey Ash drooled over)
Tash - Silverado
Molly - Rebel
Juliette - Storm
Ash (duh) - Honey
Lena - Biscuit

Brooke and Tash hate each other and Brooke warns Ash to stay away from her. Lena, the youngest in the cabin, is a bit of a crybaby, but she is only eight. Molly is a vegetarian.

Everyone gets their schedules, which are totally hardcore, are told the requirements to graduate from the camp, get homework assigned, and hear about the Waratah Grove Cup, a trophy that is rarely awarded, and only to a rider who proves themselves worthy. Ash vows to win it.

At Ash’s first Dressage lesson she gets chewed for showing up not dressed appropriately, after Brooke had said she looked fine. Brooke is the queen of passive-aggressive warfare.

Honey refuses to enter the arena, then freaks half way through a routine, tosses Ash and makes a run for it.. Ash gets back on, finishes her test, and feels pretty good about it until Brooke suggests that maybe she can’t handle a mare, and should get an easier gelding.

At the show jumping lesson, Brooke is a smart ass who makes sure everyone knows she’s a B-grade jumper, and bullies her mare. Ash jumps clean. Of course she does.

Tash has a picture of her little sister that someone cuts up into tiny pieces and then frames Ash for. Brooke tells Ash that they can’t be friends anymore, leaving Ash completely isolated. Brooke then begins open bitchiness.

Ash rocks the cross-country practice, and her next dressage lesson starts off well until she starts Honey in the arena where someone starts ringing a bell until Honey spooks. The instructor bans her from the dressage ring.

Molly and Tash help Ash eavesdrop on Brooke, who dun dun dun… is Carly’s cousin! The newly formed trio plot revenge. They steal her clothes and blackmail her with a warning that they’ll tell on her or some such.

Tash tries to help Ash with dressage, but Honey still acts like a butt. So they decide to train in the woods. Awesome. Honey randomly does a flying lead change and Tash gets all hot over her. Honey must be a dressage horse! So it’s to the library where they do a search on Honey, formally called Argonaut. They discover that Honey’s last owner had whipped her across the head repeatedly after a poor dressage score. Ash discovers a scar that she’d never noticed before behind Honey’s ear.

She goes to see Mrs. Strickland, who gives her a bullshit, “I knew but couldn’t tell you because you needed to learn it for yourself” talk. WTF? The adults in these book are morons.

Brooke keeps up the bitchiness, Ash is awesome at the show jumping, Tash reveals that her mum died and she takes care of her little sister. They keep practicing dressage until Ash is finally allowed back into the arena. Honey does the simple beginners course, but Ash feels the need to be a show off, and throws in some fancier moves, which earns her a bitching out from the instructor, who somehow manages to spook Honey, who chucks Ash into the wall.

The camp intends to send Ash home until Lena suggests that they teach Honey to park. Ash, Tash, and Molly argue, Honey refuses to park, Ash does bad in her last jumping lesson, she does good in her last cross country lesson, she’s still banned from dressage, then finally Honey learns to park and that makes everything better. Ash gets the okay to take the dressage test, Mrs. Strickland gets all proud, Ash gets all nervous over the test until Lena points out that, hey, it’s only horse riding. Genius!

Brooke and Ash make a bet that whoever gets the worst final score will refuse to have their name put on the Honour Board. At Ash’s dressage test, aside from a few little mistakes, everything goes fine. Ash makes up with Molly and Tash. In the show jumping, Ash gets a few faults. After some freaking out, Ash rides the cross country perfectly.

Ash gets to graduate, she gets more points than Brooke, who promptly forgets their bet, and Molly gets the Waratah Grove Cup for some reason. Ash goes home and her parents tell her about a new riding school opening up in Shady Creek looking for riders to come work for them. End.

God… What can I say? That the person in charge knew why Honey was acting like a nutcase, and didn’t say anything blew my mind. That Brooke was a villain in a book with enough to overcome without needing a villain, was ridiculous. And of course, the antagonist has to be abusive to her horse. That Ash, through stupid luck and actual hard work, fixed her batshit crazy horse with no help from the adults and didn’t get that super special trophy was anticlimactic. Would it have been cliché? Yeah. But it would have made sense. Molly did nothing of real interest, nothing to deserve the thing. Unless they’re handing out trophies to people for being Ash’s friend, but then Tash and Lena deserved one as well.

BTW, I noticed something about the cover. The pic above I got off of Amazon. The rider kinda looks like she's about to sneeze, the horse is obviously a bay, and has no blaze. My book's cover is exactly the same picture, except the rider is smiling, the horse is still bay, but the color has been lightened. It's still a bay, because it still has black points, but it's body is comparable to a chestnut horse. It also is sporting a blaze. I have to give them props for trying to make the horses on all the covers look like the same horse, but it's pretty easy to find chestnut horses. You don't have to photo manipulate a bay to make a fake chestnut horse. It's just weird.

Apr 11, 2010

So much PMSing...

Horse Mad Series
Vol. 2: Horse Mad Summer
By Kathy Helidoniotis
Published in US: Aug. 15, 2008

Join horse-crazy Ashleigh and her new horse, Honey, for their latest adventure.

Ashleigh Miller has just moved to the town of Shady Creek with her family. The best thing about leaving the city has been getting her new horse, Honey, and making a new best friend, Becky. But Ashleigh really misses the friends she left behind in the city, especially her other best friend, Jenna.

When Ashleigh finds out that Jenna is coming to spend the summer with her for a horse mad holiday, it sounds like the best news ever. She can't wait for her two best friends to meet. But when Jenna arrives, she doesn't get along with Becky. Ashleigh feels caught in the middle. Will the three girls be able to get past their differences and have the horse-crazy holiday that Ashleigh was hoping for?

Find out what happens to Ashleigh, Becky and Jenna in their first horse mad summer together.

I tore the last book a new one. This book doesn’t fair much better. At the Shady Creek Riding Club, Ash’s instructor Gary tells the group that the Waratah Grove Junior Cross-Country Riding Championships are coming up. The prize for which is $1000 dollars and a four week stay at Waratah Grove Riding Academy, a super swanky school. I don’t think I’ll spoil it for you by saying that Ash is going to win, but of course there must be a whole lot of wangst to get there. So let’s see what we got.

Only two riders per age group from each zone get to compete. The Club will sponsor any members who makes it in, so everyone has to think up fundraisers. Ash, having schemed for money all of the last book, is not thrilled with that, but is all sorts of excited that her BFF Jenna will be visiting for a month soon.

Becky and Ash decide to clean, paint, and decorate old horseshoes to sell as Christmas ornaments. (Side Note: Keep in mind that summer in Australia is in December. Simple, but I spent half the book being confused as Hell until I remembered.)

Ash tries to practice cross country, one of the (sigh) Creepketeers, Flea, spooks Honey and Ash falls off. Doing something like that is dangerous for the horse, so I didn’t get the chuckle out of it that I might have otherwise. But of course, Ash gets back on, does the jump, and is all around wonderful. Yay…

Ash is so in love with Jenna that it’s all she talks about. Becky gets annoyed, I get creeped out. Ash is oblivious to both. During her first ride over the cross country course, she’s totally awesome and everyone amazed. She realized that she wants to beat everyone, including Becky. She angsts over this.

Anywho, at the try-outs Ash has a clean round until the last jump, where she freaks out and causes Honey to refuse. Because of that, Carly, one of the (sigh) Creepketeers, and Becky are the two to go to the Championships.

Ash tags along on Carly and Becky’s training session. Both riders get caught up in competing and ride aggressively, earning a bitch out by Gary.

After Christmas, Jenna finally arrives. Ash bullies her about riding Cassata, Jenna is less than thrilled. Then Jenna and Becky meet, and Ash is disappointed that they don’t fall in love with each other. Jenna tells Ash that her parents are getting divorced, and she has to keep it a secret from Becky.

Jenna has her first riding lesson, Ash doesn’t train with Becky because she thinks she should stay with Jenna, after the lesson Jenna acts like a wuss because she’s saddle sore, Becky, Ash, and Jenna go swimming in the creek, Ash and Jenna act like lovers and it hurts Becky’s feeling. Then Ash blows Becky off about training to take Jenna around town. God, so dramatic.

Ash manages to tell Becky that she’s keeping a secret from her, a secret she refuses to reveal. Becky’s feeling are hurt some more. Fail, Ash. Then she bullies Jenna some more about riding, and Jenna is obviously scared, until her father tells her to knock it off.

More fundraising. Jenna has an idea to have a dance party, Flea of all people thinks it’s a great idea. The party is on and the theme is horses (duh).

Ash organizes a sleepover with Becky and Jenna. They kind of get along, go on a trail ride, until in the morning Becky discovers that the horses have gotten out of the corral. Jenna was the one to close the gate. Becky yells at Jenna, Ash sticks up for Jenna, Becky cries, Jenna cries, they find the horses, Becky goes home. God, so much more dramatic.

The dance happens and Jenna and Becky still hate each other. Ash notices that Becky’s eyes had lost the sparkle that she loved so much. I’m not kidding. The dance is a big hit, but Ash is scared that she’s losing Becky.

The three go trail riding, it turns into another emo fest, everyone cries, Becky breaks up with Ash because “three’s a crowd.” She canters off leaving Ash and Jenna. Then the forest catches fire! Then they find Becky, who fell off Charlie, twisted her ankle, and broke her arm. Ash gets her up on Cassata with Jenna and tells them to get out while she finds Charlie. She does and the day is saved. Wow.

Becky, Jenna, and Ash all decide they love each other. Because Becky can’t ride, Ash gets to ride in the Championships. She trains, the (sigh) Creepketeers try to mess with her. She goes to the Championship, rides a perfect ride, Carly gets disqualified for overuse of the whip, and Ash wins first place, a big honking trophy, $1000, the stay at Waratah Grove Riding Academy, and the love and admiration of the whole stinking world. Yay.

In the end, Jenna goes home and Ash’s parents tell her that they're expecting a baby. Ash asks if she can name it Jenna or Rebecca. The end.

God, this book. It’s almost ridiculous enough to be entertaining. As I’ve mentioned, Ash loves her friends to an unhealthy degree. I stopped caring long before the book was over. The horse related segments were somewhat few and far between, but were fairly solid. Soooo.. Ashleigh Miller vs. Ashleigh Griffen round 2... GO!

Apr 4, 2010

A Star Discovered Is Totally Being Cliche Put Him Back

Lucky Foot Stable #3: A Star Discovered

JoAnn S. Dawson


LIFE AT LUCKY Foot Stable has settled into a comfortable routine for epic friends Mary and Jody and all their horses, especially as they are working hard to train Star for his very first horse show.

But a menacing threat from a mysterious stranger may destroy their perfect world, unless Willie can save the day.

Hey folks. Apparently my last book review was back in July of 2008. I’ve either been slacking off here, or my life has been crazy insane. I’m working full time (gotta pay for that pony after all!) and riding every day that I can to get the golden boy in shape for this summer’s trail riding. Also, I’m hoping to try a Competitive Trail Ride this year, if I can. So it’s understandable that I haven’t written a review in a dog’s age.

But I picked up this book at the library – I needed a quick read or I was gonna go nuts on the bus. Postal, people, postal! And it’s singularly horrifying, and really deserves a good lambasting. So here it is, my first review in a dog’s age.

This is book 3 in a series, so I’m probably starting off on the wrong foot by totally skipping the first two books, which were not on the juvenile fiction paperback shelf, but honestly, given how this book seems willing to rehash everything that happened previously. So it’s not much of a loss.

Anyway, there’s this dairy farm, and there’s this old farmhand guy named Willie who is apparently really really pissed off that his boss is hiring someone else to do all the heavy work because Willie should be able to work himself into an early grave, damn it. But to make matters worse, there’s these two girls who board their horses at the farm, and they’re being whiny little babies about how this yearling colt named Star won’t square up for some halter show that’s 2 months down the road. So Old Willie growls at them, and stomps off to leave Mary and Jody flabbergasted before they see a dog and their yearling playing with a riding crop and see a beat-up old pickup truck with like junk and shit on it (just think Great Depression Era, folks) pull up, and Willie yells at them some more.

So Mary and Jody go see the dairy farmer’s wife, and she gives them HOT tea (gee, this lady doesn’t know weather, huh?) and starts talking about how Willie is old and stuff so he’s getting some help, and why don’t they ask Willie to help them with Star. And blah blah blah.

And there’s this other girl named Annie, and she’s sort of migrant-worker-trailer-trash, but she charms Mary’s horse, Gypsy and walks out of the stable which sort of puts a damper on Jody and Mary’s mood so they work with Star, and get into a tugging war with him when Willie shows up and lectures them.

And then fast forward like 2 months here, because they’re trying to load Star, and Willie helps them load him into the back of a pickup truck (I know of a guy who hauls a horse in a pickup) and they feed Star some grain because horses are happy eating and know they get good things in trailers. But Jody is a dumbass and the two girls take the back off the pickup without, you know, putting the freaking lead rope on and the colt gets away and runs off, and Annie catches him and walks him around with a dog leash of all things. Jody and Mary think Star needs grass, so they tie him up to a fucking harrow (I nearly shat my pants at this point … who the fuck are these moron girls?) and Mary thinks they can leave him there overnight. So is it any surprise that the poor pony gets himself wrapped up in the stupid rope and falls down? NO SHIT SHERLOCK! God, and to think they left him eating grass. Like Willie said, they were damn lucky he didn’t founder. So luckily, Star is ok and stuff, and then Willie says they need to pull his mane. And from Jody’s reaction you’d think he was telling her to kick a puppy dog. Stupid girl.

So the colt gets a bath, and they take him to this show and Jody has to mention that the colt’s name is Star of Wonder and he’s foaled on Christmas Eve (Of course he issss) and how they don’t know his sire. And he gets third place. But oh look, there’s a glaring man looking mysterious. And he comes over and starts playing 20 Questions with Willie. And Star wins his next class. Bully for him. And the mysterious man is even more angry and mysterious.

As it turns out, the mysterious man has every right to be angry. We’re told that the two girls, Mary and Jody, took Lady, one of their ponies, to a show and she got knocked up by this stallion and they decided to keep super hush-hush about it. And it’s an expensive champion stallion, and Mr. Mysterious wants his freaking stud fee. Of course, naturally, to two crying little tweenie girls like Jody and Mary, he’s a “horrible” man, but Willie does set their parents straight that he’s not horrible; he just wants to like, be paid for the fact that his stallion’s sperm made Star. But at least Mr. Mysterious is decent enough to let them maybe pay for the stud fee.

But this story’s starting to bore me at this point, because the next day the girls all feel sorry for themselves and Mrs. McMurry, the dairy farmer’s wife says they can earn money by helping prep dead chickens (Only these girls are like city slickers because they think they’re putting clothes on the birds) and Jimmy, Annie’s brother basically calls their shit so now Jody and Mary both grow a pair and pluck feathers off dead birds even though they were going to be sick. And then the next day some guy from a movie set shows up, and there’s going to be a movie, and it turns out Willie was this head wrangler-stunt-guy and they want him to be in charge and somehow Mary and Jody get to be extras in the movie. And Willie is a generous guy and says he’ll pay the stud fee, and everyone lives happily ever after, the end.

This book made me see red, really. It’s so damn cliché and shit. And the stupidity of Jody and Mary made me want to throttle them. But I guess it’s like a review or something. Maybe a review that people ought to stay away. For something that claims to be part of an award-winning series, it’s pretty lame. Maybe 2008 was a shitty year in publishing.

Apr 3, 2010

2010 Upcoming Books

A Good Horse
Jane Smiley
Oct. 26
Sequel to The Georges and the Jewels

When eighth grader Abby Lovitt looks out at those pure-gold rolling hills, she knows there’s no place she’d rather be than her family’s ranch—even with all the hard work of tending to nine horses. But some chores are no work at all, like grooming young Jack. At eight months, his rough foal coat has shed out, leaving a smooth, rich silk, like chocolate. As for Black George, such a good horse, it turns out he’s a natural jumper. When he and Abby clear four feet easy as pie, heads start to turn at the ring—buyers’ heads—and Abby knows Daddy won’t turn down a good offer.

Then a letter arrives from a private investigator, and suddenly Abby stands to lose not one horse but two. The letter states that Jack’s mare may have been sold to the Lovitts as stolen goods. A mystery unfolds, more surprising than Abby could ever expect. Will she lose her beloved Jack to his rightful owners?

The Outside of a Horse
by Ginny Rorby
May 13

The stories Hannah Gale's father told her of breaking wild horses in Nevada one glorious summer when he was her age have captured her imagination. After her dad is called up to fight in Iraq, she regularly stops to watch the horses at the nearby stable to feel closer to him, and finally gathers the nerve to ask the owner for a job. There, she helps bring a rescued mare back from the brink, takes her first riding lesson, and witnesses the birth of the filly who steals her heart.

Hannah believes the worst is over when her dad returns from war, but soon she realizes her family's fight is only just beginning. When his nightmares rock the household, it is the horses Hannah turns to for comfort. Can the horses help her teach her dad the same lessons of survival and hope they've taught her?

Based on a patchwork of true stories, this is a heartbreaking story about rehabilitative power of animals and the depth of the human capacity for hope.

by Alison Hart
May 25
Sequel to Shadow Horse

When thirteen-year-old Jas Schuler found her beloved mare Whirlwind dead in her padlock, she thought her heart would break. But now Jas knows the truth: Whirlwind is alive! Wealthy horse breeder Hugh Robicheaux faked the mare's death, collected insurance money, then sold her to an unsuspecting buyer. And he's going to get away with his crime, too—unless someone can find Whirlwind. And that's exactly what Jas plans to do.

But hunting for Whirlwind is dangerous. Hugh has threatened to destroy everything Jas holds dear unless she stops her search. As she struggles with her desire to find Whirlwind without endangering the people she loves, Jas must ask herself: Should she risk so much for a horse she may never find?

by Chris Platt
Sept. 1

Thirteen-year-old Lily O'Neil's passion is Arabian horses. Someday she wants to be a great endurance rider like her mother. But a year earlier, when a freak riding accident took her mother's life, Lily's father sold Lily's beloved pony and forbid her to ride ever again.

When Lily's grandmother comes to live with them, however, she convinces Mr. O'Neil to let Lily clean stalls on the neighboring Arabian ranch. Lily's mother had worked there as an exercise rider. Lily is ecstatic, especially since she'll be near her mother's favorite horse, Astra. Lily's mother believed that Astra had the talent to become a national champion. Her goal was to ride her in the famous Tevis Cup Endurance Race, the toughest horse race in America. Lily is determined to fulfill her mother s dream. But how will she convince her father to let her ride again?

Dream of Night
by Heather Henson
May 4

An abused horse. A damaged girl. A last chance for both...

A Horse Called Hustle is not called Hustle

A Horse Called Hustle
by CJ Love

Jessa Wilder's grandfather has one small desire: to win back the horse that was stolen from him in a poker game by that stack-the-deck, horse-pinching card sharp Cole Hannible. Jessa is not above fleecing the average man in a game of poker. That's why she's the Seven-Card Stud Shootout Champion of the Southeast. But Cole Hannible isn't your average man, and even though Jessa bluffs him for a while, he's got an ace up his sleeve called revenge. Jessa Wilder will never get her hands on his Triple Crown winner, A Horse Called Hustle. He's made sure of it...and it could cost them both their hearts.

In case you were wondering, the horse isn't called Hustle. The horse is called A Horse Called Hustle. It's kind of like saying my name is That Girl Called Mara. Think how fantastic our lives would be if we named things this way? Somehow, I think redundancy would be the least of our problems.

Anyway, Jessa (or The Girl They Call Jessica, But She Prefers Jessa), has arrived in Ocala. Or somewhere around in there. Due to some extreme planning of heights never reached before by man, she arrives at a gas station, where Cole (or The Dastardly but Beautiful Man Named Cole) has been working on his truck. She accidentally honks the horn, and he just happens to wander over to make her look like a moron, and incidentally notices she's leaking oil all over the place. She refuses his help, drives off, finds him later on the road with his broken down truck, and offers to drive him to this 4,500 acre thoroughbred farm. So the plan to get Cole to lose his Triple Crown winner via poker is well under way.

Right around here I suspected this story was going to turn to hilarity. It started when Cole picks up a rifle and jumps into Jessa's Porsche, which then promptly breaks down as a hurricane whirls up and leaves them deserted on some Florida highway. Jessa then reveals her cat named Stanley, who follows them determinedly through the woods as they attempt to walk through the hurricane on their way to Cole's farm.

They don't make it, and stumble into an abandoned barn, where they decide to pass the time by playing poker, all in hopes that Jessa will somehow get Cole to bet his Triple Crown winner, A Horse Called Hustle. That doesn't exactly happen, but she does get him to bet a "horse of her choice," and this is written out all nice and legal on a Taco Bell napkin.

So, to recap, this ploy to get Cole to lose his famous horse to her in a poker game included:
1. Strategically out of gas Porsche
2. Ignorance involving how to pump gas
3. The wild hope that Cole will happen to be at this gas station at this precise time
4. Sabotaging Cole's truck so it will break down
5. Cutting the Porsche's oil line so that it will break down after she has managed to pick up Cole

The hurricane passes, so Cole, Jessa and Stanley the cat go on their merry way. They run into the angriest cow on the face of the earth, cross a river by jumping through trees (with a house cat, mind you) and randomly wind up back at the cars. Someone picks them up and says, "Oh, hey, that's The Girl They Call Jessica, But She Prefers Jessa WILDER. You know, the granddaughter of the guy you hate who wants your horse?" And Cole gets all upset and refuses to speak to Jessa, even after she sends him twenty steaks and balloons and Hallmark cards and essentially decides that she'd rather not screw around with him and his horse. Of course, he does not tell her he hates her to her face, he sends her a telegram. Apparently Cole does not believe in pretty and insulting greeting cards.

And then the real fun starts. Cole and Jessa's grandfather, That Guy Named Pappy or Poppy or Somebody, "hate" each other. And they take this hatred out on each other through ridiculous pranks that seem to have some meaning, but I failed to really care. The important thing here is that Jessa is on Cole's To Prank list. This inevitably involves a "haunted house" and the reenactment of what I recognized to be my life as a college student. Eventually Jessa and Cole find themselves lost in Florida again, restlessly searching for a BP that never appears.

The pranks continue continuing. Cole outbids Jessa on all those Norwegian Fjords she wanted just to irk her, etc. Then someone lets a bull into the stud barn, scattering stallions in all directions. Cole blames Jessa for this incident, shakes her around because this is romantic and not abusive, and then randomly decides to play poker with Paddy or Pappy or whoever for her hand in marriage or what not. He loses. No one cares. Because the The Girl They Call Jessica, But She Prefers Jessa is more loved than A Horse Called Hustle.

I suppose they get married and have many fantastic adventures in the woods of Florida.

Just some random quotes:

- Slapping him on the back, they congratulated him for surviving the wilds and facing the hurricane like a man. It was a guy moment.

- It was all very dramatic as the sun sank lower in the sky and the lamps beneath the oak trees lit automatically.

- "We're grown men. By god, you have to be a man to pull some of the stunts we've...they've pulled. And you have to have a driver's license, and know someone who's studied electricity, or at least physics. A lawyer comes in handy once in awhile. We're men, okay?"

- Not hungry, Jessa approached the free-sample lady, thinking to pass the time.

- "Taco Bell," he said aloud. "I guess it's time to go south of the border."

- "Where are you going?" "To stare out the window."

As you can see, this book was about two parts hilarious and one part awesome. It has no clue on the horse end of things, but I think I was too entranced by the rest of it to even begin noticing that problem.

That said: hour and a half of your time, tops. It's time well spent.

Apr 2, 2010

Wildfire: The End, Part Two

4.13: The Ties That Bind, Part 2

You guys, I am kind of upset that I don't have any more Wildfire to watch. It kind of concerns me that I feel this way. It's sort of how I felt when I realized there would be no more new Thoroughbred books to mock.

Well, here goes.

(Reminder: I exchange Wildfire characters for Thoroughbred characters. Why? Because it is easy, and it is amusing, and I will forever maintain that someone behind this show read at least one of the early Thoroughbred books. Also, it's all on Hulu. If you don't believe me, check it out for yourself!)

The Good:

+ Clay informs Dani that he's going to take the high road with Brad/Ashleigh because he's the parent here, and surely being a parent means you have to Do The Right Thing sometimes. Sigh. I get it, Clay. I do. If only Doing The Right Thing could be as easy as manipulating others. +50

+ Ashleigh informs Brad that "it's always been" him. Thank you for proving me right, Ashleigh. +100

+ Clay opens up to Ashleigh and she smacks him down. Not that this isn't deserved. +5

+ Metaphor! Brad is off to Alaska, creating distance between himself and Ashleigh. Wonder just ran some super long race, but she ran the distance because she loves Ashleigh. Distance can't change love, blah blah blah. Nice attempt, Mike. I am pretty sure this is going to be the last time I reward you points, so I'll be nice and give you more than usual. +10

+ Pretty riding scene that ends in a surprise wedding, because Brad isn't going to Alaska after all, so everyone appears out of nowhere dressed to kill while Jean gives Ashleigh her old wedding dress? AWESOME. +5,000

+ Everything about the wedding (that, for a spontaneous wedding, was pretty ornate). The Brad & Clay reconciliation hug of manliness, the Dani & Ashleigh conversation about being sisters, the Jean & Ashleigh conversation about the dress. Then Ian and Jean give Wonder to Ashleigh as a wedding present, and she's all decked out in white flowers and ribbons and it is the best Thoroughbred fanfic ever. The End. +10,000

The Good: 15,165

The Bad:

- "What would you do with a stolen famous horse you can't sell?" Um, Ashleigh, the possible answers to that question are remarkably limited. The only answer I could think of was kill it. Ashleigh's answer is, "Set it free!" I don't know what this says about me as a person, but I'm pretty sure Brad, Mike, and Dani were definitely with me. -10

- So Wonder's been running around in the wild because some groom forgot to lock the stall door, discovered Wonder missing, and decided to stage a horse theft. Brilliant waste of time. -500

- The winner's circle afterward with Ashleigh, Mike, Jean, Ian and Wonder was a little too much. What with the giant check, the hefting of the trophy while Ashleigh's still on Wonder's back, Ashleigh proclaiming her love for Brad to the camera...oh, man, it just needed to stop. -500

The Bad: 1,010


The More Things Change (1): 22
The More Things Change (2): 1
Calm: 12
Flames: 25
The Friend: 32
Friendship/Passion: 39.5
Commitment Issues: 14.5
Life's Too Short: 4,969
Vows: 1,877.5
The Comeback: 461
Being Mrs. Junior: 1,698
The Ties That Bind, Part 1: 4,654
The Ties That Bind, Part 2: 14,155

*tosses glitter and confetti!*

And that was the great Wildfire marathon that only took me a year and a half to complete. Next up in terms of television: Heartland, which is supposedly entering US syndication this fall. And then there's Luck, which will happen whenever HBO wants it to happen, I guess. I'm sure the point system will be back for both of those. Whenever they actually appear.

Apr 1, 2010

Wildfire: The End, Part One

4.12: The Ties That Bind, Part 1

(Reminder: I exchange Wildfire characters for Thoroughbred characters. Why? Because it is easy, and it is amusing, and I will forever maintain that someone behind this show read at least one of the early Thoroughbred books. Also, it's all on Hulu. If you don't believe me, check it out for yourself!)

The Good:

+ Any episode that starts out like this one wins a prize. We've got Brad/Ashleigh in a field, the Porsche, Wonder, pretty beams of light, and a full circle moment brought to you by that yellow flower you always see in the opening sequence. +5,000!

+ Brad, Ashleigh, Clay and Townsend Acres, you say? Surely this cannot be done! It's kind of like how I always wanted Thoroughbred to wind up, which is my sad little admission, but there you have it. This show is kind of awesome. +5

+ Dani gives the best advice this season. Yes, Mike, you are entering Pride in this race in order to get back at Ashleigh for not picking you. I'm happy that you at least admit that much. +1

+ "Mike made her choose" between Townsend Acres and Whitebrook. Thank you, Jean! Finally someone is seeing sense. +3

+ Shirtless Brad. Not only that, but shirtless, wet Brad. I am pretty sure the writers were having a field day at this point. +200

+ Ashleigh is so gung ho on this relationship with Brad that it is starting to scare me. This "I don't care if you're going to Alaska, I am coming with you because that is what I want to do, so shut up already and MARRY ME" is like she's actually become decisive. +50

+ Surprise! We're going to get married after the race! +10 Will Jean and Ian walk Ashleigh down the aisle? Of course! +10 Does Clay look like he wants to kill something with his mind? +10

+ Ian and Jean are off making out in public, shocking Mike to speechlessness, as Dani says, "Everyone knows, honey." +5

+ So, Clay is fresh from being cut out of important wedding decisions (or cut out of manipulating important wedding decisions) and acts out by telling Ashleigh she is an opportunistic, ex-con who is also a whore. Ashleigh takes that rather well, but Brad is the one who strolls over and disowns him with about three words. They are all so awesome I hardly have words. +500

+ The melodrama at the end of this episode rivals just about every soap opera cliffhanger I can think of off the top of my head. "It's Wildfire! He's...gone!" Fade to black... +10

The Good: 5,804

The Bad:

- Mike, your childishness knows no bounds. I am so very sick of you. -100

- The great plot reveal: Wonder should come back from retirement to race one more time! Against juveniles! Because that's super logical! -1,000

- Raintree has silks? Has this become a giant inside joke or what? -50

The Bad: 1,150

5,804-1,150= 4,654

The More Things Change (1): 22
The More Things Change (2): 1
Calm: 12
Flames: 25
The Friend: 32
Friendship/Passion: 39.5
Commitment Issues: 14.5
Life's Too Short: 4,969
Vows: 1,877.5
The Comeback: 461
Being Mrs. Junior: 1,698
The Ties That Bind, Part 1: 4,654