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Breeding a champion

Guarding Cat Book Cover Guarding Cat
(The McKenna Curse Book 5)
by Patricia Rosemoor
Mystery & Thrillers, Romance
Dangerous Love Publishing
Pub Date 7 Jul 2020

Horse trainer Aidan McKenna has the ability to glimpse into the future. So when the dreams begin—searing, erotic dreams about his new partner, Cat Clarke—he knows the dangers of ever falling in love again. Aidan and the beautiful horse breeder had staked everything on their racing venture. But when Cat's missing stable manager turns up dead, it becomes clear they have more to lose than races. Aidan knows he has to find a way to defeat the curse to save the woman of his dreams.

Cat owns a horse breeding farm. Now I knew very little about this aspect of horses so I researched it. I found an article in the Horse magazine which was informative of how a large breeding facility operates.

What they are attempting to do is to provide a controlled environment for the breeding. Artificial insemination is not used, so they use live stallions for the breeding. It is a high cost business. As well as the controller- to keep track of ins and outs, there is the agronomist whose job it is to produce pastures that are both balanced in their nutrients and palatable to the horses. There are the vet and their technician, who take bloods, ultrasounds and check on the health and ovulation of the mares. Including palpating/ultrasounding mares for breeding soundness and estrous cycle timing; using that information to plan breedings; checking for pregnancies and problems; administering treatments; and monitoring stallion fertility. They also handle preventative care such as plasma administration for foals; deworming; vaccinations; and caring for sick animals; confirming ejaculation occurred; evaluating sperm motility via dismount semen samples after every breeding; and evaluating sperm morphology (physical shape).  Mares will undergo uterine bacterial culturing prior to the breeding season. This allows time to treat any infection present and avoids “wasted” breedings. Mares are also cultured if they don’t get pregnant on the first cycle; the samples are evaluated at the farm, as are foals’ immunoglobulin levels. Amazingly technical and complicated work to ensure a successful pregnancy that will produce a foal that can win races and then – if male – earn lots of dosh at stud.

Then there is the barn manager who looks after the mares and foals general care; and marketing – of the stallions and facilities available; plus someone for all the following roles: assistant controller; stallion administrator; certified public accountant; farm manager; seeding of pastures; projects coordinator; landscape architect; director of bloodstock services; insurance; sales coordinator; and transport.

So compared to all these staff we can see that Cat’s farm is very small ‘fry’.

This story is a romance with horses, mystery and suspense, and some murder thrown in for good luck. We are not privy to the police side of things, but we do have a horse whisperer from Ireland, who also has second sight, who needs to get his colt to race and win well so that he can be used for stud – at exorbitant charges.

 Quite an insight into also just how many staff there are at a race course to look after the horses all of whom have a separate job – grooming; stall work; walking a ‘hot’ horse after racing; riding a horse to train him and so on. No wonder it costs so much to race horses! And to buy a Thoroughbred horse.

All the English classics are for three-year-olds, and are designed to establish which horses are the best of that generation, so they can then be bred from. As breeding has become more commercialised, with powerful studs such as Darley and the mighty Coolmore in Ireland, so racing has in some respects become secondary, a means to the end of producing commercial stallions. According to the Guardian newspaper, 2009 :

A really good stud could impregnate least 100 mares a year; the owner of each mare is likely to pay around £75,000 for the privilege; he thus stands to make at least £7.5m a year. He could cover 400 mares if the owners wanted to work him really hard.  And this happens for around 20 years!

Sea and Sand earned  $250,000 per mare! – or pregnancy in 2009. This is Uncle Mo- in 2017: The champion American juvenile of 2010, he has established himself as the dominant stallion of his generation.

His first two-year-olds earned $3,675,294 in 2015, a record figure for a North American first-crop sire that eclipsed the previous benchmark of $2.8 million set by Tapit in 2009. 

The most expensive stud – Galileo – in 2008 was reputed to earn over $600,000 per pregnancy!

So 4 stars for learning about thoroughbreds..

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Hidden where?

All That’s Hidden Book Cover All That’s Hidden
(Sugar Shack, #2)
Susan Golden
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Humour
Susan M. Golden
August 12th 2019

Pet sitter turned entrepreneur, Jennifer Albright thinks she has it all: an expanding business, a new, blissful marriage to a very sexy husband, a dog named Rupert that people frequently think is a bear, and a parrot named Sugar that Jennifer’s pretty sure is psychic. But her idyllic life begins to unravel when a series of creepy incidents threatens to sabotage the launch of her doggie day care center, and the discovery of a hidden treasure thrusts her into the world of federal agents and international thievery. The chaos soon spills over onto her home life and Jennifer reluctantly begins to suspect that her seemingly perfect, unbelievably supportive husband is hiding something from her. There’s just so much that doesn’t add up. Tech-mogul Ryan has found the love of his life in his adorable new bride, Jennifer. But trouble seems to follow her like a basset hound. When one strange twist of events offers Ryan an opportunity he feels he can’t pass up, he unknowingly launches himself down the road of suspicion and mistrust. But he’s got this covered. She doesn’t suspect a thing.

Review

I loved this story – so much that I went back and read book 1 in the Sugar shack series too.

I especially liked in book 1 ‘Fate’. Fate who spun her top, or got dressed up to suit the occasion. And finding out how Simon was first introduced to Jennifer and Ryan was a gas. [Book 1 is called Catnapped]

There is gentle humour and lots of shaggy dog stories here.

So we have Rufus: and of course the Cockatoo Sugar as prime characters in both books as well as John for security and more. We have a really intelligent in an engineering way guy in Ryan and a somewhat flaky woman in Jennifer. Not that she isn’t bright but… They are fated to be together and these series see them get into scrapes together – see marriage – and then find interesting and novel ways out – see garbage trucks, sewers and 3 D printers. Not to mention Jennifer imitating scoundrels – quite poorly.

A very affectionate bird it can live upto 70 years in captivity and forms a strong bond with its owner. it grows to around 21 inches or slightly more and can be destructive if bored, as well as loud. Known to ‘dance’ to a beat/
originally used as a working dog to pull nets for fishermen and haul wood from the forest. He is a capable and hardworking dog, well suited to work on land or water. He is a strong swimmer and equally strong “pack horse.” Sweet-natured and responsive, he makes a wonderful family companion as well. Some 100-150 pounds and over 2 foot tall, but dislikes being alone.

AUTHOR BIO

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Retired federal government employee turned accidental author. 

https://susangoldenauthor.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Susan-Golden-Books-1849620365326979/

https://twitter.com/susangoldenbook

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Wandering Cupid Cats

The Break Up Book Cover The Break Up
Tilly Tennant
Fiction, Romance , Women's Fiction
Bookouture
March 26, 2020

Lara and Theo are meant to be. They just don’t know it yet… Lara loves her job as a wedding planner. She gets to organise other people’s perfect days and make sure nothing ever goes wrong. Theo loves his job as a jazz musician, working unpredictable hours and giving other people great nights out. Lara knows she’s got high standards. But there’s nothing wrong with getting things right… so why has it stopped her finding Mr Right? Theo knows people think he’s a bit scruffy, a bit too laid back. But there’s nothing wrong with setting your own pace… if only he could find someone who wanted to live life at his speed. It’s okay, though. Lara gets to come home in the evening and have heart-to-hearts with her greedy grey cat Fluffy. And Theo can come home in the early hours and unwind with his loyal cat Satchmo. What they don’t know is that it’s the same cat. And when they find out – standing in the street in their pyjamas, both on the hunt for their lost pet – sparks of the wrong sort will fly… A wonderfully warm will-they-won’t-they romantic read that will have you laughing one minute and crying the next. If you’re a fan of Jill Mansell and Carole Matthews, A Cat Called Cupid is the love story you’ve been waiting for. What readers are saying about Tilly Tennant: ‘I loved every minute of it… I was glued to my Kindle for a few days that's for sure!… A really brilliant read that will leave you hooked even after a few pages.’ The Cosiest Corner, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘Bloody brilliant… I loved being back with the characters… Oh I just enjoyed everything about it!’ I Love Reading, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘Put a smile on my face!… I've LOVED it!… the most heart-warming of stories… loving every single page… drawing you in and not letting you go until the end of the very last page… totally captivated!’ Chat About Books, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘I was hooked! Every chapter left me wanting to carry on reading. My housework and family have pretty much been neglected whilst I have read this!… This is the perfect holiday read, or lazy Sunday afternoon read or that perfect distraction to a dreary weekday commute.’ Goodreads Reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘I absolutely loved it. The story weaves together a tale of love, friendship, trust, desire and so much more. I will be reading more by this talented author.’ Haven’t Got a Clue, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘I just want to say how fantastic this book is… If you’ve not read any books by this author, why the heck not?! Do it now… you won’t regret it! I just love love loved it.’ StefLoz Book Reviews, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Sweet cat story with human servants.
As cat owners know, many cats will tour neighbours and wander quite long distances. If, by any chance, someone starts to feed them, then they will visit regularly.
Cupid aka Fluffy (aka who knows how many names) is such a cat. Starting life as a stray means wandering was already in his behaviour patterns.
Fighting over who owns such a Wanderer is also common. The simple answer is don't feed cats that are in good condition.

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Let ’em Talk…

Night's Gift: The Adventure Begins Book Cover Night's Gift: The Adventure Begins
Of Cats And Dragons Book 1
Carol E. Leever, Camilla Ochlan
Fantasy, YA, Fairy tales
Independently published
(7 Dec. 2018)
kindle

Omen is a young warrior with a knack for finding trouble. Nobody's surprised when he unwittingly makes a deal with an undead alchemist. In over his head, Omen has to band together with the notorious prince of Hex to battle bloodthirsty giants, devious Night Dwellers, and arcane magic — all while trying to survive in the city's infamous arena fights.

But when Omen accidentally frees a talking cat, total disaster can't be averted.

In the shadows of the city,  an ancient evil awaits.

Can our young heroes protect the cat and the people of Hex, or will they end up as an undead nightmare's main course?

I started reading this book and then went on and bought the rest of the 7 book series!

Technically, this is a set of stories for younger adults or older children, in the same way Harry Potter was aimed that way but found an adult audience too. So can this series. Some parts are quite horrific and could give nightmares to younger more impressionable children so be careful especially in book 5 where Sable describes her life in the country of N’vel.

I loved all the books but especially the cats of course. Not just the various sizes but also the way they talked.

Now we have a talking cat too. Unfortunately she only speaks ‘cat’ but nonetheless she can tell you when she wants to go outside, sit on your lap or accompany her to her lunch – yes we have walk with her to her food. Just like a Princess she needs her servants and her maids. And whenever we have been away, she will tell us in great detail what has happened and who she has seen out the window while she has waited for us to come back – she waits in our window for this and knows the sound of our suitcases so she can meet us at the front door and give us a series of complaints that we left her.

So magical cats that can actually speak several languages was great fun and I am waiting now for the authors to write the stories of how the cats left their own land and found their humans. As at least one is a Prince there must be much to tell and the Fairies did kneel to them…

So yes, please read and enjoy these totally fantastical books.

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What type of Detective?

The Metaphysical Detective: A Riga Hayworth Mystery Book Cover The Metaphysical Detective: A Riga Hayworth Mystery
A Riga Hayworth Paranormal Mystery
Kirsten Weiss
Mystery, Female Sleuths, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Misterio Press;
4 edition (24 Oct. 2011)

Tarot, Wine... and a Dog Named Dog.

When Riga Hayworth finds her new client dead, she smells a setup of metaphysical proportions. Now, to find a killer, Riga must travel from San Francisco to the underworld of Greek mythology... and make it back alive.

Riga's client, Helen Baro, believes her husband is trying to kill her. One problem: her husband died in a car crash last year. Is Helen mad? Is someone else hunting the woman? Or is this really a case of attempted murder from beyond the grave?

But then Helen is found dead, leaving a strange haiku and tarot for a clue, and Riga is hurled into an investigation that threatens the detective and those she loves.

The Metaphysical Detective is the prequel to the Riga Hayworth series. If you like no-nonsense heroines and a bit of supernatural with your mystery, you’ll love The Metaphysical Detective. Buy this quirky urban fantasy and explore the magical world of Riga Hayworth today!

Here I am reviewing the series of 6 books plus bonus stories written from Brigitte’s view.

I really liked these stories as they were fun to read, light despite some nasty occurrences with dark magic, and as for the twins! – say no more –

A series that takes you from the time when .. meets … and sets up her Metaphysical Detective agency in Tahoe and settles down by the lake. Having visited Tahoe I totally get what is meant by the road that gets boring as it keeps on going round the Lake.. Loved the idea of Nessie in the Lake. And Kirsten should know that the latest thinking on Nessie is that she is a either a giant eel, or a whole load of eels that swim together in such tight formation that they seem to be one. And yes, they would look like a monster when doing this…

Just fyi, I found the origin of the phrase ‘sleep tight’  when I visited an old home last year. It comes from when the frame of a bed was wooden with rope tied to form the base. The knots on the rope used to slip so make the  bed more comfy and less saggy you had to tighten up the rope.

I also looked into the Menehunes. [sorry, I have always been a researcher and can’t just stop when I get interested in a topic]. They are (semi) mythical. When the Polynesians arrived in Hawaii they found that there were s number of artefacts and structures already in existence – dams , fish ponds, roads and temples. So someone had lived on the islands before they came, but no skeletons have ever been found. The Polynesians thought they were dwarves for some reason.

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