Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Coveted Cover: Opal Moonbaby

Opal Moonbaby by Maudie Smith
Maudie is a lovely friend of mine and I have to feature her book because you all need to read it. All of you. Your friends. Your family members and especially any children you know. I promise that they will love it.

Opal Moonbaby is hilarious, exciting and at times very touching. Amazon describes it as:

Sparkling, original and fun - meet Opal Moonbaby, the alien who came to stay, in this brilliant new series for 7+ girls.

But I know that there are boys who would enjoy it too. I think my favourite thing about Opal Moonbaby is that it isn't your typical girly kids book. Martha is a strong-willed little girl and Opal is, as one reviewer described her, like a "furturistic Pippi Longstockings". Then there's Martha's brother Robbie giving you a boy's view and I'm pretty sure that Opal's little pet mingle, Garnet, will have every child wanting one of their own.

So, onto the cover. Isn't it great? Opal looks as adorable and whimsical as I always imagined and Garnet, the mingle, is equally cute. I love the style, I love the font and I love the colour gradient. It's just so gorgeous and it certainly gets the book noticed. I know that my niece would pick it up and want to read it, that's enough proof for me that it's a great cover for a children's book.

Review: Unleashed

Read my full review of Unleashed by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie at Mostly Reading YA.
My rating: 3/5
For the most part Unleashed is like pretty much every other supernatural book out there. Orphaned teenage girl. Moves to new town. Something weird lurking in the forest. Told not to go out at night but does anyway. Finds herself caught up in something much bigger than she expected. Oh, and two sexy boys who she finds it hard to choose between. It fills that craving you get every so often for something that is a little predictable, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good book...

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Page Turners: Friends With Boys

I am currently still reading Pod so I'm going to be featuring something I've already read but still love.

Friends With boys by Faith Erin Hicks

"Being homeschooled and raised with three brothers had its problems, but Maggie's life is about to get a lot more complicated as she faces her greatest trial yet - entering public school for the first time!"

Okay so I've mentioned this comic book before but amazingly I've never actually featured it! I thought I had but apparently not. Faith Erin Hicks is a super amazing and super talented cartoonist and writer. She's been creating comics for about 13 years and the comics that she has written and/or drawn are Demonology 101, Ice, Zombies Calling, The War at Ellsmere, Brain Camp (art only), The Adventures of Superhero Girl and of course Friends With Boys.

Friends With Boys was available to read online however now that the print version is out Faith, understandable, will be taking it down. It's pretty amazing that her publishers allowed her to put it online while it was being printed, otherwise I may never have discovered it.

If you're looking for a story about family, friendship and learning how to deal with life's troubles then check out Friends With Boys. You can now buy it from Amazon.caAmazon.comAmazon.ukBarnes & NobleChapters/IndigosThe Book Depository and also some local book stores and comic book stores, although you'll most likely have to order it in.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Listen To This: Arrietty

Arrietty's Song

I finally got around to watching Arrietty this week and I really like the soundtrack so thought I would share one of the songs from it. If you haven't seen it yet then give it a watch!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Sunday Catch Up

Well this week saw me adding some more content to the Writes of Passage website, you can now read an extract of mine and everyone else's novels if you want to! I was also contacted by an agent who had read my synopsis on the website so I sent them the first three chapters, how exciting! Even if nothing comes of it, it's lovely to know that the website is doing it's job properly!

Image: Carrots 'n Cake
I made gyozas today from scratch which was kind of fun but also kind of annoying. The dough got too dry at one point which was annoying and then the spatula I was using to fry them melted. Luckily we have another one, metal. My fiancé shared them with me (we only had two and a half each, they're very filling) and said they were yummy and like the ones from Wagamama, which was lovely to hear and made all that effort worthwhile!

Image: Pinoy Foods
I'm planning on making him leche flan in the next day or so because he's never had it and I need to show him that it's amazing. So I'll try and get a picture of that, we've lost the charger for our camera so there are no photos at the moment.

We finally got around to watching Arrietty yesterday which was really lovely and I suggest that you go and watch it for yourself! It's so pretty and the music is great. It reminded me of how much I loved The Borrowers as a kid and how I would imagine how Borrower friendly our house was.

I also finished Catherine which was really good, my fiancé has played it through twice so far to get the best good and the best bad endings. It's also totally not a game for kids and don't got looking it up while you're at work, it's rated Mature. I'm also still playing Skyrim!

Oh, and I also decided to see how much French I remember from school. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I can remember more than I thought. I'm far from fluent but I could go to France and introduce myself, order food and ask for directions without insulting anyone or mixing up genders. Not bad really, it's about all a tourist needs anyway!

Image: Kiss4gi
Yesterday morning I also got to Skype with my lovely friend who has been living in Korea for that last year. We've known each other for about four years now, and we lived together for a year, so I've really missed chatting to her everyday like we used to. But she's coming home in March and will hopefully come and stay with us for a little while! It'll be pots of tea and video games all night long, just like old times.

Finally, this time next week I'll be at my Mum's house celebrating her birthday!

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Something For The Weekend

Something to do:
Make your own stationary set! Hand made cards and invitations are always appreciated. Then why not learn how to take great indoor photos showing off what you made?

Sewing 101, two basic clothing alternation techniques that everyone should know! Now you have no excuse.

Something to read:
Image from: makemineblack

Have you taken a break from writing to return and find that your character has developed laryngitis?

When someone mentions pathetic fallacy I think of A Room With  A View
What are your thoughts on pathetic fallacy? Also, have you notice how often people get the definition wrong and don't even realise, like me?

Something to eat:
Image from: Pinoy Foods

Leche Flan! I ate this so much as a kid when we lived in The Philippines. I'm going to try making it myself!

Friday, 24 February 2012

Feature Friday: Music

Okay so this might not be everybody's cup of tea but I have a soft spot for K-pop (and J-pop), which is weird when you consider that I've never been all that into western pop music, and I thought I would feature that today!

I have no idea what attracts me to Asian pop music over western. I think a part of it is that they're still a little 90s in some ways because they are big on boy and girl bands. I also love how dorky the members often are and they like bands that stick to a clean image, you don't hear much about them stumbling out of clubs drunk like you do with western celebrities. Though I'm sure that they do.

The only things I dislike is that these bands are very short lived, releasing a few albums and then disappearing forever after a farewell tour and I imagine that it can't be all that much fun being in a band like this, so maybe the members are quite happy to have a few solid, over-hyped years in the spotlight before fading away and doing their own things?

So, for those who don't know me you probably aren't aware that I love Japanese/Korean/Chinese things from the cutesy stuff to the actual cultural things to the food. I lived in The Philippines for two years as a kid so maybe that's why, but it might also be because my dad also has a big love for South-East Asia and he, and my mum, spent years travelling around and working in various countries. My sisters and my mum are not fussed about Asian things so I think my dad enjoys the fact that I like listening to him chat about what he did when he was in Japan and China. Most of his stories involve drunk business men.

So anyway, on to the music! Here are a few song/bands that I particularly like and thought you might like to listen to. Most of these have either English subs or a translation of the lyrics underneath so you won't feel too out of your depth!

Fat Cat - Is Being Pretty Everything?

Big Bang - Blue

Younha - Houki Boshi


Se7en - I'm Going Crazy

Kana Nishino - By Your Side

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Thursday Thought: How Much Do You Spend On Books?

How much do you spend on books each year?
How much have I spent on books in my life?!

I was looking through my review pile the other day which consists of about twenty books both read and unread. That doesn't include other books I have waiting to be read that aren't for review. It doesn't include comic books, graphic novels or manga. It doesn't include all the books I already own.

I read about three books a month, plus one or two comic books. I aim for around 50 books a year. Luckily I don't have to buy reading books much at the moment thanks to my reviewing gig (they're sent from publishers for free) so that saves me a fair chunk. If you have the spare time and love reading, look around for websites and blogs that need reviewers, you get paid in books! I used to review manga and anime too which worked in the same way but was less frequent than the website I now review for. I probably still spend a good few of hundred a year on comic books alone. But I'm sure we'd all agree it's money well spent!

Image from: Prettybooks
What about you?

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Coveted Cover: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

Well after saying yesterday how I thought Pod had a pretty poor cover I'm glad that today I get to feature a pretty one! Covers are hard to put together, how can you sum up an entire book in one image that will make people want to read it without giving the game away?

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Okay so I haven't read this book (but a friend of mine has which is how I found it) but look at that cover! That is a very cool cover. It's an really interesting way of laying out the title and author names and it also gives an impression of where the book is set and when. It's quite light-hearted, fun and romantic, plus the heart is really cute. So yeah, I'm sold.

From Goodreads:
“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”
So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?
Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Page Turners: POD

I am currently reading:
Pod by Stephen Wallenfels
Okay so I started this last night and I won't be passing judgement yet but seriously, this book has possibly the most boring cover ever. I have a review cover so it's just got a plain black cover and I was looking forward to seeing something interesting on the real deal but this is it?

These are the alternatives:

I am disappointed. The middle version appears the most online, but the last example is probably the best of a bad bunch. Also no one can seem to decide if it's POD, Pod or P.O.D. on websites.

This is in no way a criticism of the author because you rarely get much of a say in what artwork appears on your cover and I hope that he's happy with it (I know authors who hate their book's covers) and I know that his book has got pretty stellar reviews all round. The actual story sounds really good so I'm hoping that it's better than the cover. Which wouldn't be hard. I'm not sure what I want to cover to look like but the first two just look so incredibly boring that if I saw them in a shop I'd never pick them up. The third one is pretty decent  though.

From Amazon:
POD's - strange alien spheres hover menacingly in the sky, zapping anyone who ventures outside. Will is 15 and stuck in his house with his OCD dad. They're running out of food...Megs is 12, alone and trapped in a multi-storey carpark. The hotel next door is under the control of dangerous security staff, but Megs has something they want, and they'll do anything to get it...When the aliens invade, the real enemy becomes humanity itself. What would you do to survive?

 The most recent book I finished in-between Unleashed and Pod was:
DOGS: Bullets and Carnage Volume 6
It finally arrived and it was so good! I love the whole series and it just gets better with each volume. This volume sees a lot of things starting to make sense in regards to characters backgrounds. But now I'm back at the stage of having to wait another year for the next volume. Boo!

From Amazon:
Boasting furious action, switchback plotting, magnetic characters and dazzling art, Dogs tells the story of four individuals struggling to survive a dystopian urban future by gun and sword and courage and luck.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Listen To This: Gotye

Gotye - Somebody I Used To Know

Experimental indie rock by a Belgium/Australian rather pretty (if a bit weird) male singer-songwriter. Right up my street. Although some of the music videos teeter on the edge of being nightmarishly surreal.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Sunday Catch Up

Well, first I am sorry for not updating yesterday (I've done it now) but I was ill so spent the day napping and feeling sorry for myself. Not fun. I didn't get any work done yesterday at all! My fiancé was also ill this week, on Valentine's day, so I'm blaming him.

Other than working I have been reading One Piece (I'm up to volume 4 now) and reading DOGS: Bullets and Carnage Volume 6 which was amazing as always and I'm so sad that I have to wait another year for the next volume. I rarely read comic books or manga that are currently being published because I hate having to wait, I like to get a nice buffer in-between.

We ordered our first Chinese in our new house the other day, well it was Thai and Chinese, and we both completely forgot how gross leftover Chinese smells the next day. Ew. What is that? At least it was yummy to eat.

I also decided to print off two pages of one of my novels and see what it would be like as a comic book. Two pages of writing translates roughly to eleven pages of a comic book. For some reason I find that really cool.

I have heard back from any other agent's this week, but they've still got about a month and a bit.

Well, I hope everyone's had a nicer weekend than me!

Something For The Weekend

Something to watch:

From Amazon:
Arrietty is the latest release from Studio Ghibli, based on the classic children’s book The Borrowers. Tiny 14 year old Arrietty lives under the floorboards of an old house with her father and mother. Their peaceful life is dramatically changed when the ever curious Arrietty accidentally allows herself to be seen by Sho, a poorly and lonesome 12 year old human boy. The fledgling friendship between the two lonely children causes Haru the housekeeper to become aware of the borrowers’ existence. The family of little borrowers are forced to choose between staying in their well-established home or leaving for the uncertainty of the great outdoors.

Something to read:

Something to do:

Friday, 17 February 2012

Feature Friday: Video Games Are More Creative Than Reading

"Video games are more creative than reading" [source]

Katamari Damacy is definitely creative!
Or at least so say award-winning playwright Lucy Prebble and this has caused more than a few people to be aghast by such a notion. But why? Prebble believes that video games are more creative because you are more involved in them than you are with books or watching films. She also believes that gaming is an artform, just like theatre.

I can understand that view because in some ways you are passive when reading because you're not controlling the characters or the stories whereas with games you are, some more than others. However at the same time when you are reading you have to imagine the world and characters, whereas with games that is all done for you. One thing they both have in common is that you need to remember what's happened before you paused or put the book down so that you can continue onwards and you also have to invest in the story and characters so that you can get something out of it.

I've heard some people claim that books are obviously better because you get an emotional response from them, where as you don't with games. That's just silly. I can think of more games that have made me laugh than books. I can also think of more films that have made me cry than books. But that doesn't make one better than the other. I still love books because they are a solitary thing whereas games and films are more of a shared experience.

Lucy Prebble from: The Guardian
I doubt that Prebble meant to upset anyone with her comments. She's a writer herself so she obviously loves the written word, but she also loves games and there is nothing wrong with that.

I do agree with one comment she made. I do think that a lot of parents fear that if their kids get into video games then they'll become pasty little fatties who grunt very so often when they want more crisps or coke and only talk online to their fellow gamers. But seriously, that's just ridiculous and if you're even a semi-decent parent you don't have anything to fear. Just tell them to turn it off and shove them out the front door every so often to go play in the park. It's not like reading a book can make you lose weight either, you're still sitting around and not talking to anyone, yet we would rather our kids read.

You can have both. I adore books and I adore video games too. We own all the current generation consoles as well as a lot of older and retro consoles too. We have hundreds of games. I watch TV a lot, films a lot and play a game for a few hours every day or so. But I also read every night before I go to bed. I also go outside and I'm certainly not a pasty little fatty...although I am pretty pale.

This is one of those cases where you really can have it all. Games are fun and creative outlets and they can be social too, books are fun and creative, films are fun and creative. At the end of the day it's about how you use these things. If you're just staring blankly at the screen and going through the motions like a robot then no, it's not good. But the same can happen if you're reading a really boring book, you won't take anything in.

I love that Prebble has such positive things to say about video games, we need more people to stand up and reassure parents that their kids will be fine if they play games, as long as they're still good parents. My only issue is that by saying such a thing you are potentially pushing kids away from books and that's not a good thing. We all need to read more, stories are a huge part of our culture and history, there are so many ways to experience them so why not try and find as many ways to do that as possible? 

The Great Gatsby, also a NES game!


Thursday, 16 February 2012

Thursday Thought: Romance

Romance in novels is one of those things that I've always kind of loved and hated. I love seeing characters fall for each other, I love the silliness, the passion and all that. It's great fun. But it has always irked me that it's often so unrealistic and even as a teenager I wondered about what effect it had on readers. 

I never believed the romance in books was realistic. My fiancé was my best friend for a good few months before we got together. During that time he fancied one of our friends who didn't return his feelings, I had a boyfriend of three years when I first arrived at university, then another boyfriend for a couple of months, and inbetween was your usual studenty flings. We finally got together because his best friend came to visit and told him he was an idiot for fancying our friend and not me because I was the one who had the most in common with him. I have always fallen for my best friends, except once (see above boyfriend of a few months), and personally I cannot fathom the idea of being with someone who isn't your best friend. Why would you want to date someone who isn't your friend?

In novels though you always see heroines (though you do get the odd hero) falling for a boy at first sight because he's oh so good and he's oh so fine (to quote The Kinks). You don't get many who slowly end up realising that they fancy their best friend. You also don't get many main characters who go from fancying one person to another to another throughout the novel, which is generally what happens when you're a teenager. You often fancy people you can never have as well and you don't see very much of that either. 

Where's the rejection? Most heorine's end up with the guy they want, at the most they have to choose between two but they still end up with someone. Where's the heroine's that end up with no one? Even more so where's the heroine's who don't want anyone? Where are the girls who feel that they can stand up on their own two feet and do not need a boyfriend to complete them? I haven't seen many.

I do think that a lot of novels create unrealistic images of love and relationships. I don't know many teenagers who stuck with one person for more than a few months. Teenagers can love, of course they can, I'm not saying they can't and I had the same boyfriend from when I was 15 to 18 years old, but I know I was an exception amongst most of my peers. Not many people had relationships that long.

I think that over all I find romance in many teenage novels to be a bit too clean. I'm not saying we need lots of raunchy sex scenes but it's all very...nice. Even the bad boys are quite squeaky clean in some cases. I want more realism. I want to see love and lust. I want to see sex portrayed as it really is, not just having sex with one person, not all these virgin main characters, not just straight. I want to see confusion over sexuality but not just in books aimed at LGBT teens but in ordinary stories aimed at everyone. I want to see straight characters feeling confused about whether they might fancy their best mate as well as lesbian, gay and bisexual characters and their relationships. I want to see more transgender characters too.

I want realism.

My friendship groups at school consisted of geeks, musicians, bisexual/gay/lesbian teens, teens with eating disorders, teens who self-harmed, teens who slept around, teens who never had sex, teens who stuck with the same person for years, teens who cheated, teens who did drugs, I think we all drank, teens who were really into computers and video games, teens with anger problems, teens with depression, teens who were aiming for Oxford or Cambridge, teens who were aiming to drop out and teens who seemed like the most well-adjusted people ever. A lot of these traits were all combined in a few of my friends from those days too. And that was just my friendship group at school!

But when I read a lot of teenage novels (which is pretty much all I read) I don't see many teenagers like this. I'm not sure if it's because most of the books I've been reading lately are American, because I know publishers over there are very touchy about such subjects, or what. Maybe it's the view that teens like this wouldn't want to read books about characters similar to them? Or the idea that people might worry it would upset or influence teenagers to act like this? I'm not sure, but I find it weird to read about generally pretty average, white-bread teenagers. We have TV shows and films that portray these sorts of characters and much worse, and they're pretty amazing films so it's not as if there isn't an audience for it.

As a writer I'm sure I'm guilty of creating similar characters so maybe I should just take my own advice! Which I plan to. I'm not saying romance novels are all bad, some are wonderful and realistic, and to some degree I do think that it's totally fine for readers to have a way of fantasizing. As I said at the start I like the silliness of it all and the passion, but I still wonder if it affects our idea of relationships. With romance in novels (or comics, or film, or whatever) you never really see the boring bits and I wonder if that makes people feel that their relationships need to be perfect all the time. Even as an adult I know so many women who are still holding out for a Mr Darcy type. In those cases all I can think of is 500 Days Of Summer when Paul says : "Robin is better than the girl of my dreams, she's real". Which is so true.

All images are from
What do you think about romance in teen novels?

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Coveted Cover: Johnny Wander

Johnny Wander: Volume 1
I adore Johnny Wander, it's one of my favourite webcomics and I love the covers for their published book versions. I especially love volume 2's cover:
Johnny Wander: Volume 2
Yuko and Ananth who work together to write and draw the comic are both really awesome people too, and you can see that in their work. The series is whimsical, auto-biographical, surreal and at times features fictional work. It's one of those comics that I like to trot out whenever someone either say they don't like comics or when someone says that they don't know what to read. So check it out!

From Goodreads:
Johnny Wander is about life after college, striking out on your own, and all the moments in between the adult stuff. 

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Page Turners: Unleashed

I am currently reading:
Unleashed by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie
I started this the other day and I'm enjoying it so far. Forest, sexy boy, grumpy grandfather and secrets. Sounds good to me! I'm not sold on the cover though, the girls hair irritates me because it's soooo scraped back that I can see the shape of her skull and the boy is a bit weird looking floating up there in the sky. But it's certainly not a bad cover either.

From Goodreads:
Katelyn McBride’s life changed in an instant when her mother died. Uprooted from her California home, Katelyn was shipped to the middle of nowhere, Arkansas, to her only living relative, her grandfather. And now she has to start over in Wolf Springs, a tiny village in the Ozark Mountains. Like any small town, Wolf Springs has secrets. But the secrets hidden here are more sinister than Katelyn could ever imagine. It’s a town with a history that reaches back centuries, spans continents, and conceals terrifying truths. And Katelyn McBride is about to change everything. 

Monday, 13 February 2012

Listen To This: Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston passed away on Saturday so it seems only right to feature her today. She was pretty stunning and a massive influence on music and people.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Sunday Catch Up

Apologies for the late update! 
Sick Day by Erin McGuire
I wish I had a cat, instead I've been cuddling rats and gerbils.

I've had a cold most of this week which has been really boring. But I did get to see my parents last weekend which is always great! I returned home with some really nice dresses, t-shirts, a new jumper and a new cardigan too.

I don't think I've done anything interesting since last Sunday...I got back home on Tuesday and have since been working as usual. 

Oh, we did get a new bed, finally! Which I put together yesterday with some help from the boy. It's a bit higher than the old bed which is kind of weird but it's so nice to sleep in a bed that doesn't slope to one side.

When not working I've mostly been reading comics or reading about comics or feeling sorry for myself while drinking disgusting lemsips and blowing my nose a million times a day. 

Hopefully I'll be more interesting next Sunday. So I shall leave you with this image of a frog:

Isn't it cute?

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Something For The Weekend

Something to read:

I hate reaching into the cupboard or fridge to discover that those lovely veggies I was looking forward to eating have gone funny. So it's important to know how to store fresh produce, that way you're not wasting food or money!

Do you love nice, cheap clothes like me? Well here are some thoughts on thrifting.

Feeling low? What are some good mood foods?

Dar! A comic that is most certainly NSFW and is more for those who are 18 or older.

DAR! chronicles the six year long autobiographical story of Erika Moen, a lost 20-year-old lesbian artist-wannabe in college who falls in love with a boy in England and the evolution that her sexual identity undergoes before winding up marrying him as a queer 26-year-old full-time cartoonist. Along the way there are many vignettes about sex, farts, the queer community, the Brits, vibrators and figuring out sexual identity. 

Read it here.

Something to eat:

Chickpea, shallots and hummus salad
 I want to make this for my lunch today because chickpeas awesome. On a side note, so is peanut butter.

I also want to make this salad:
Brussel sprouts, potatoes and cranberries salad
Because I also adore brussel sprouts. They're mini cabbages! Another side note, broccoli is mini trees.

Something to listen to:

Scientists think that they have discovered the most relaxing tune ever! Give it a listen.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Feature Friday: Super Smart Animals

I watched this last night so thought I would share it with you all!

The latest science reveals that animals are a lot smarter than we thought. Prepare to be amazed, entertained and even outwitted by the world's Super Smart Animals.

You can watch episodes one and two over on iPlayer. It's definitely worth a watch because it is amazing to see some of the feats that these animals can achieve. I love animals and have always considered them to be intelligent so it's lovely to see just how intelligent some animals really are. They feature a great range from chimps to jay birds and meerkats to dogs.

This chimp was particularly amazing, as was the gorgeous collie dog Chaser.

I've also been watching Martin Clunes as he presents Horsepower.

Martin Clunes travels the world to unlock the secrets of man’s partnership with horses in Horsepower, a two-part documentary series that was broadcast on ITV1 in late August. 
His fascinating journey takes him from remotest Mongolia to the deserts of Arabia; to see the enigmatic wild Mustangs in Nevada, and watch the thrills and spills of rodeo in Las Vegas. He finds out what life in the saddle is like for cowboys out west and rides into battle on horseback in a suit of armour at Warwick Castle and joins the pomp and ceremony as horses and carriages are prepared for the State Opening of Parliament.  Martin is a special guest at the world’s most glamorous and lavish racing event in Dubai, and watches the colourful Palio horse race in Italy, which dates back to the 1200s. 
No animal has changed the course of human history as profoundly as the horse. For 6,000 years there was no faster way to travel. It helped us to win battles and build empires. It carried kings and emperors. It also pulled our carts, ploughed our fields and carried our heavy burdens. It’s been called the best slave we humans ever had – though that does not do justice to the rich and mutually rewarding relationship that’s possible. 
Martin unravels the story of how man and horse first got together, what the horse has done for us through the ages, and what the horse still means to us today. 
“I wanted to find out how this animal became so important to us. How did we manage to tame such a huge, fearful prey animal and make it both our servant and our friend,” says Martin. 
Horsepower follows the success two documentaries presented by Martin Clunes for ITV1: Martin Clunes: A Man and his Dogs, and Islands of Britain.

 You can watch Horsepower on DVD, through LoveFilm and on ITV3.

I love animals and love watching programmes that celebrate them, but even if you're not as into animals as I am these programmes are certainly worth a watch and you might end up leaving with a little more appreciation for our furry friends.

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