The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves–Updated Pony Pix!

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba of The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This is a weekly meme where we can share news of the week and highlight new books received.

Here are some updated pictures of the Morgan twins born this spring. 

This is from June.  They were still pretty small and skinny.

This is from last weekend.  They are being taught basic ground  manners, like how to stand and how to lead.  They will be going to their first horse show in September, where they will have to stand and be led around the ring.  Because they are babies and their brains are about as big as a pea, they have a very hard time doing that.  Weanling classes are fun to watch, because you never know what the silly little things will do.

This is the older twin.  She is a bay.  See how nicely she is developing?  She is very cute.

This is the younger twin.  Look at her!  Her lighter chestnut coat shed out, revealing her liver chestnut coat.  I love her!

Look at that pretty face!! 

Here is the happy family after lessons have ended.

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews to share new additions to our library. Click here to learn more about it.

New Arrivals at the Café:

Most of these were delightful surprises.


Rough Justice: The DC Comics Sketches of Alex Ross by Alex Ross

Blood Moon (The Drake Chronicles) by Alyxandra Harvey

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

Black Bottle by Anthony Huso

The Moonstone and Miss Jones (Phaeton Black, Paranormal Investigator)  by Jillian Stone

Adaptation by Malinda Lo

The Diviners  by Libba Bray

Fathomless by Jackson Pearce

How to Tame a Willful Wife by Christy English


Cleopatra Ascending (A Shadow’s Edge Novel) by Maureen Lipinski

Shifter’s Destiny (Harlequin Nocturne) by Anna Leonard (Yes, it is about a shape-shifting unicorn.  You didn’t really think I could pass this one up, did you?)

I also received the new issue of RT Book Reviews.  I love flipping through this magazine.

A great big thanks to the publishers for their continued support!

What did you get? Please leave links and share!

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Cover Shot! My Favorite Mistake by Georgina Bloomberg and Catherine Hapka

I loved The A-Circuit, so I’m super excited to see that there will be a follow-up book.  The horse is a cutie, but I am not so sure that I like the model.  I certainly don’t like what she’s wearing.  I can’t image tackling a few jumps dressed in that!  It would make Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction appear tame.  Wearing that is like wearing flip-flops to work your horse; just think about what you might step in, and better yet, a steel or aluminum shod hoof trampling on your toes.  Despite the fashion disaster that’s waiting to happen, I can hardly wait to get my hands on My Favorite Mistake by Georgina Bloomberg and Catherine Hapka.

Tommi, Zara, and Kate are all elite riders on the A Circuit. Tommi, the billionaire heiress, is training a young horse to prove she can make horses a real career. But when her new beau, Alex, convinces her to skip a horse show to party in the Hamptons, the results could be disastrous. Zara, the celebutante wild child, is finally taking her riding seriously. Until the new "nanny" her dad hires threatens to upstage Zara’s party girl status. Then there’s Kate. She doesn’t have money to burn like the others, but she does have Fitz, the barn’s resident hot guy. But when the pressure of being a working student builds, Kate’s perfectionist tendencies threaten to get in the way of her relationship and her riding.

Readers who are growing out of the Canterwood Crest series or searching for an A-list fix have found just what they’re looking for in the A Circuit series.

In stores March 2012

Gone Fishing!

Ok, so I am really going riding, but that doesn’t have the same connotation.  My buddy persuaded me to go trail riding this morning, and as the significant other had to work, I thought why the heck not.  This will be Blondie’s first time on the trails, and the first time I have gone in two years.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t just the slightest bit apprehensive about  whether or not Blondie will behave, but since Laurie’s mare can be a handful, too, I figure at least I am in good company if Blondie decides that walking through the woods is the scariest activity ever.   If I can snap some pix of the wilderness (local Metro Park) I’ll post again later. 

I hope all of you enjoy your Saturday!

Labor Day 2011!

I am kicking back today, chillaxing.  I went riding with my barn buddies this morning, and now I don’t want to do anything but sit around and read.  Instead of posting about books, I’ll share pix of my baby pony instead.   What are your plans for today?


Have a wonderful Labor Day!

More About The Show

Because Jenni commented that she would like to see more on the show, this one’s for you, Jenni! If you don’t want to read more about my horsey hobby, don’t click for more. Like book fanatics, horse people love their ponies, and we will latch onto any excuse to talk about them. Drives my non-horsey friends nuts. It especially drives Dean up a wall, so I try not to blather about the girls very much – I usually fail.

More after the jump – don’t jump if you don’t want to see more large, smelly animals!

Read more

Since It Can’t All Be About Books

Things have been a little quiet over the last week, and will probably be a little on the slow side this week as well.  I was in Columbus, Ohio most of last week, attending Morgan Gold Cup.  My mare, Elle, made her English Pleasure driving debut, and my big girl did me proud.  She had a great show, she had a wonderful work ethic, and she looked like she was having some fun, too.  If anyone is interested, let me know and I will post more about the show.  Otherwise, here are a few pictures – book coverage will begin again on Tuesday.

Heading into her in-hand class

Final adjustments before her driving class

Decked out in her reserve champion ribbon

Review: Horse Show by Kate Hayden


Title: Horse Show

Author: Kate Hayden

Publisher: DK Readers

ISBN: 978-0789473714


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Lucy, Alice, and Jack are getting ready for the horse show. Whose horse will win the ribbon? Find out what happens when the big day arrives! Longer sentences and an expanded vocabulary make this series of 48-page books slightly more challenging: Level 2 is appropriate for children who have started to read but still need help. Information boxes full of background information will stimulate inquisitive minds. These books contain between 700 and 850 words, and they are approximately 70 percent pictures and 30 percent text. The Dorling Kindersley Readers combine an enticing visual layout with high-interest, easy-to-read stories to captivate and delight young bookworms who are just getting started. Written by leading children’s authors and compiled in consultation with literacy experts, these engaging books build reader confidence along with a lifelong appreciation for nonfiction, classic stories, and biographies. There is a DK Reader to interest every child at every level, from preschool to grade 4.


I’m at a horse show this week, so when I saw that one of the girls from my barn had this book, I asked if I could borrow it.  She was very happy to share it with me, and I have to say that I really enjoyed this beginning reader book.  I have never heard of publisher DK  before, but if all of their titles are as well written and interesting as this one, I will definitely be adding them to my list of pubs to further explore at the library.

Horse Show has a reading level of 2, which in the DK scheme of things means Beginning to Read Alone.  This book is packed with vivid photos of ponies, and each picture helps to provide a visual key to highlight the activity taking place on the page.  Three young riders are preparing for a horse show, and the book follows, with a great deal of accuracy, the steps involved.  You can’t just load your mount and go to the fairgrounds.  Nope!  There is tack to clean, ponies to wash, and a trailer to load.  Even the riders are expected to present themselves neatly and professionally.  I have helped with all of these pre-show chores, including tail washing.  Everything felt very familiar to me.

On show day, one of the young riders is challenged because his safe, comfortable mount has injured himself.  Instead, Tom must take the less reliable and more temperamental Chester to the show, and Chester is a handful! I could really relate to Tom!  Blondie can be a handful, too!  She gets all wound up getting ready for shows, and she is just as fussy as Chester!  It was fun reading along as Tom gained confidence with his difficult, but ultimately rewarding,  pony.

Horse Show is a wonderfully accurate portrayal of the steps necessary to get ready for a show.  The pictures add depth to the simple narrative, and as well as reinforce new terminology that is introduced throughout the text.  The language is easy to understand, and this book will appeal to young readers who love horses and animals.  I am glad I had the opportunity to borrow the book from my little horse loving friend.

Grade: A

Review copy borrowed from a friend

Review: The A Circuit by Georgina Bloomberg & Catherine Hapka


Title: The A Circuit

Author: Georgina Bloomberg & Catherine Hapka

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

ISBN: 978-1599906348


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

The A Circuit is the top of the top when it comes to horse shows. It’s a world with its own rules and superprivileged lifestyles. Teens travel the circuit all year, showing horses that cost as much as some homes.

Tommi, Kate, and Zara are all elite competitors on the circuit, but they come from totally different backgrounds. Tommi is a billionaire heiress trying to prove she has real talent (not just deep bank accounts). Kate puts the working in working student-every win has been paid for with hours of cleaning stalls. She’s used to the grueling schedule, but Fitz, the barn’s resident hot guy, is about to become a major distraction. And then there’s Zara. She’s the wild child of a famous rockstar, but she’s ready to take riding seriously. Can a party girl really change her ways?

Readers who enjoy peeking into the elite world of Gossip Girl or The A-List will feel right at home in this new series with its friendships, drama, and privilege set against the backdrop of competitive horseback riding.


Warning – Very long and rambling post; my apologies

It seems like I have waited forever to read this book!  When I first saw it, with that pretty horse on the cover, all shiny clean, wearing show tack, and ready to put on a show, I wanted to read it, even though I am usually disappointed by books with horses.  Most of them have left me underwhelmed, because the horse facts are wrong.  Before I had horses, that never bothered me. I read horse stories all the time, and loved them.  Now, in my life with horses, I don’t enjoy them as much, because most of the time, they don’t feel authentic.  I know that Georgina Bloomberg shows competitively, so I had high hopes for this book. Probably too high!  But I enjoyed it so much!

First off, this book is soap opera with horses.  If you don’t like horses, think they stink, can’t imagine shoveling their poop, The A Circuit is probably not for you.  Most of the action takes place at the show grounds or the barn, with minimal time spent elsewhere.  When the characters aren’t at the barn, they want to be at the barn.  That feeling certainly resonated with me!

Told through alternating points of view, the story focuses on three teens: Tommi, Zara, and Kate.  Tommi and Zara come from money, while Kate, the daughter of a cop, has had to work day and night for the opportunity to ride.  She doesn’t have a horse, but she is able to show the barn owner’s string, or catch ride for clients.  I liked Kate.  I felt for Kate.  I understood Kate.  Horses are like a drug.  When you aren’t around them, they are all you think about.  Chilling at the barn, forging that bond between yourself and an animal that weighs half a ton and could stomp the life out of you if it got a burr up its butt.  Why do we work ourselves to the bone to experience this rewarding, though occasionally unnerving pursuit?  I have no idea, but if I ever figure it out, I will write up a post about it.

Zara rubbed me the wrong way, and I wanted to beat her with a riding whip or strangle her with a lead rope.  Which ever was closer would have worked.  She has no respect for anyone, including herself.  She is out of control, and she takes her anger out on everyone, including her horses.  She doesn’t beat them, she is just very rough and demanding with them.  It made me angry.  The general rule is ask for a little, reward a lot, but this is a foreign concept to Zara.  She has no discipline, and I wonder why she rides at all.  She wants to ride and train on her terms, and she should have been sent packing the first time she put a horse in harm’s way.  But no, money talks just as loudly in the horse world as it does anywhere else.  Unfortunately.

Both Tommi and Zara take their horses for granted.  Both of their fathers pick up their training and show tabs with nary a fuss.  Tommi, at least, is trying to think of a way to keep doing the horsey thing after she finishes high school, despite her family’s insistence that she attend a prestigious college and get a high profile job.  That’s just not her thing.  I admired her drive to find a way to pay her own way, and was even more intrigued with her self-doubts.  Was she good enough to train a horse capable of showing on the A circuit?  Her self-confidence takes a beating, and I am so curious to see how she progresses – really hoping for a sequel for this!

Without spoiling anything, I was so disappointed with both Tommi and Kate when they are involved, indirectly, in a display of blatant stupidity that injures a horse.  That is so not cool!  Their silence was painful for me, and they both took the easy way out of a difficult situation.  To me, they didn’t learn from a mistake that could have gotten someone killed.  You can’t goof off around horses; their size makes them dangerous if you aren’t paying attention.  I get a little sick when I think back on that scene in the book. So senseless and such a waste, and nobody has proved to me that they learned a darned thing from it!

The A Circuit was everything that I had hoped for, and more.  It is a soap opera set in a barn, with a group of angsty teens and their horses in starring roles.  Their little dramas kept me engaged in the story, and the show scenes made me wish I was at the fairgrounds. 

Grade: B+

Review copy provided by publisher