Mar 31, 2011

A Vamp in the Stalls - Yea or Nay?


Strange things are happening on the horse farm. It all started with the arrival of Gato, a little horse from South America. He was sluggish. Extremely sluggish. And under his mane were tiny bite marks. A creepy disease? Jarrod thought there was a vampire bat on the loose and went looking for it. I thought it would be fun, hanging out with Jarrod. But it’s not fun anymore. Jarrod’s getting paler by the day and he’s acting weird. And Tsar, my favorite pony, is sick now, too. What is really going on inside the barn? 

I'm thinking I may need to read this.Who else thinks this needs to happen?

Mar 21, 2011

New Books

Dare to Dream
by Valerie Lilian
Pub Date: 3/15/2011

Dreams only lead to disappointment. I've had dreams of finding a family and of having my own horse. Something always goes wrong. Look what happened when I took a ride with those boys. The main reason I went was to see some dumb horses; horses that landed me in the hospital and are soon to land me in that hole they call a home. My dreams are history. If I expect the worst I won't be disappointed. Jan Allen wakes up in the hospital after a drunk-driving accident with high school friends. Although innocent, Jan is no longer wanted by her foster parents and is forced to return to the horrible girl's home upon her recovery. Jan used to live in a dream world, but after twelve years of foster-homes and countless foster families, she's convinced herself that dreams do not come true. When Jan meets Tammy, a competitive horse rider, her life is changed forever. Tammy's elaborate schemes present Jan with her dream horse and a compassionate young cowboy. But Jan's dream becomes a nightmare when she crosses paths with Celia, a jealous and vengeful girl who stops at nothing to see Jan ruined. Dare to dream is an exhilarating story filled with the magic of horses, teenage romance, and the struggles of a young girl who Dared to Dream. 

Finding Somewhere
by Joseph Monninger
Pub Date: 11/8/11

Two girls: Best friends Hattie and Delores feel that life in their small New Hampshire town is a dead end.
One horse: Old and about to be put down, Speed gets a reprieve when Hattie and Delores decide to save him.
A road trip: Determined to set Speed free, Hattie and Delores drive him west in search of rangeland. But the road takes some unexpected turns as the girls get their own taste of freedom—and as they confront the reasons they left home.

True Blue
by Jane Smiley
Pub Date: 9/27/11
True Blue is a beauty, a dappled gray, and when Abby gets to take him to her family's ranch, she can hardly believe her luck. The horse needs a home: his owner—a woman brand new to the riding stable--was tragically killed in a car crash and no one has claimed him. Daddy is wary, as always. But Abby is smitten. True Blue is a sweetheart, and whenever Abby calls out, "Blue, Blue, how are you?" he  whinnies back.

But sometimes True Blue seems...spooked. He paces, and always seems to be looking for something. Or someone. Abby starts to wonder about True Blue's owner. What was she like? What did she look like? One moonlit night, Abby could swear she hears a whisper in her ear: "He's still my horse." Filled with riding scenes and horse details, this newest middle-grade novel from a Pulitzer Prize-winner offers a mysterious and suspenseful almost-ghost story.

Star Gazer
by Chris Platt
Pub Date: 9/1/11

Thirteen-year-old Jordan McKenzie loves draft horses gentle giants, as they're known in the horse industry. Her favorite is the sweet, dependable Black Percheron, and she hopes that her mom will let her have one someday. But considering they don't own even one animal on the small farm they rent in their new southern Michigan town, that seems very unlikely. Jordan's fortunes change at a local livestock auction. With the help of a Mennonite boy, Jacob Yoder, she and her mom bid on a draft mare who is in danger of being sold to a slaughterhouse. She's thrilled to become the proud owner of a large, two-thousand-pound draft horse named Star Gazer. But Jordan's joy is short-lived when she learns that her new horse, once the winner of many log pulling contests, is lame and depressed due to years of neglect. Furious, Jordan vows to beat Star Gazer's former owner in the state pulling contest at the end of the summer but can she get Star Gazer's health and confidence back?

 Winter Pony
by Iain Lawrence
Pub Date: 11/8/11

In the forests of Siberia, in the first years of the 20th century, a white pony runs free with his herd. But his life changes forever when he's captured by men. Years of hard work and cruelty wear him out. When he's chosen to be one of 20 ponies to accompany the Englishman Robert Falcon Scott on his quest to become the first to reach the South Pole, he doesn't know what to expect. But the men of Scott's expedition show him kindness, something he's never known before. They also give him a name—James Pigg. As Scott's team hunkers down in Antarctica, James Pigg finds himself caught up in one of the greatest races of all time. The Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen has suddenly announced that he too means to be first to the Pole. But only one team can triumph, and not everyone can survive—not even the animals.

Mar 8, 2011

Flicka: Part Deux

Flicka 2

Carrie is a big-city teenager whose life is turned upside down when she moves to a horse ranch in Wyoming to live with her father. But everything changes when Carrie meets Flicka, a wild, jet-black mustang who's just as free-spirited and strong-willed as Carrie. The two form a special bond and Carrie opens her heart to her father and a handsome, local boy, but when a jealous rival puts Flicka's life in jeopardy, Carrie must do whatever it takes to save her best friend.

I would just like to point out that I had the option of watching this as an in-flight movie back in July, but I decided not to do that because I was sitting next to someone I did not want to embarrass myself in front of. Probably not because I was watching a really dumb movie, but because I would have started snickering like crazy in public. Sort of like what happened when I watched Twilight over the Atlantic and my friend kept giving me these weird looks when I couldn't contain my laughter.

I wasn't going to do that again. I am an adult, damn it!

Mar 6, 2011

The Outside of a Horse

The Outside of a Horse
by Ginny Rorby

Hannah Gale starts volunteering at a horse stable because she needs a place to escape. Her father has returned from the Iraq war as an amputee with posttraumatic stress disorder, and his nightmares rock the household. At the stable, Hannah comes to love Jack, Super Dee, and Indy; helps bring a rescued mare back from the brink; and witnesses the birth of the filly who steals her heart. Hannah learns more than she ever imagined about horse training, abuse, and rescues, as well as her own capacity for hope. Physical therapy with horses could be the answer to her father's prayers, if only she can get him to try.
I wound up really liking this book. Allow me to explain. 

Mar 4, 2011

Lord of Misrule

Lord of Misrule
by Jaimy Gordon

I've been trying to think of a way to discuss this book in an intelligent manner since I received it a few months ago, which, incidentally, is about as long as it took me to finish it. I got stuck about two thirds in, which is usually when I throw up my hands and start screaming, "What did I do to deserve this?! I quit!" and yet this week I buckled down and picked it back up again. So here we are.

There are things that I love about this book. With italics and everything. The ending of the first chapter hooked me. Granted, there are only five chapters in Lord of Misrule, so there were plenty of pages of pondering whether or not I could do this, but I was determined.