A Calling in Wyoming (Creeds Crossing Book 4)


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Lonesome Bend, Colorado Ranching, Brody Creed thought, shifting in the saddle as he surveyed the sprawling range land from a high ridge. It can mend a broken heart, this life, and then shatter it all over again, in a million and one different ways and twice that many pieces. There were plenty of perils. Cattle starved or froze to death when a hard winter came around, which averaged once a year up there in the high country. Spring calves and colts fell prey to wolves and coyotes and sometimes bears, hungry after hibernating through the coldest months.

It was now May, and all was well, but come summertime, wells might dry up for lack of rain, and turn the grass to tinder, ready to blaze up at the smallest spark. He'd seen wildfires consume hundreds of acres in a matter of hours, herds and houses and barns wiped out.

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Year round, good horses went lame and pickup trucks gave up the ghost, and every so often, somebody drowned in the river or one of the lakes. On the other hand, Brody reflected, the beauty of that land could heal, take a man by surprise, even though he'd called the place home all his life. That day, for instance, the sky was so blue it made Brody's heart ache, and the aspens, cottonwoods and pines lining the landscape were shimmering splashes of green, a thousand hues of it, ranging from silvery to near-indigo.

The river wound like a ribbon through the valley, clear as azure glass. After a few moments, Brody adjusted his hat and sighed before giving the gelding a light nudge with the heels of his boots. The buckskin, long-legged with a black mane and tail, picked his way cautiously down the steep slope that led to the water's edge. Behind them and a hundred yards farther along the riverbank, in a westerly direction, hammers clacked and power saws screeched, and Brody glanced back, pleased, as always, to see the steel-and-lumber skeletons of his house and barn rising.

Not so long ago, there had been a campground and RV park on the site, owned by Tricia McCall, now his sister-in-law and therefore a Creed. The picnic tables and the concrete fire pits were gone, along with the public showers and electrical hookups for trailers. Only the log building that had once served as the office remained; Brody had been baching in it since last Thanksgiving, when he'd moved out of the main ranch house. The peace between him and twin brother, Conner, could be a fragile one at times, and they both benefited by a little distance.

Now, ready to get moving, Brody clucked his tongue and gave the gelding, Moonshine, another tap with his heels. If we're going to be working livestock on both sides of this river, then you've got to learn how to cross it. No time like the present, he figured. Brody was about to get down out of the saddle and lead the horse into the water, which lapped gently at the stony shore that used to be a swimming beach, back when the River's Bend Campground was a going concern, when Moonshine suddenly decided he was willing to get wet after all.

He plunged into the water, up to his chest, making a mighty splash in the process. Brody, gripping the barrel of that horse hard between his knees, just to stay in the saddle, laughed out loud before giving a whoop of pure delight. His boots filled, and within moments his jeans were soaked to the tops of his thighs, but he didn't care. Moonshine swam that river like he had Olympic aspirations, his powerful legs pumping, his head high and his ears pricked up.

Once he'd gained level ground, the animal shook himself like a dog and Brody laughed again, for no other reason than that life was good. He was home. And, for the most part, he was happy to be there. Drenched, he got down from the saddle to pull off his boots, empty them and yank them back on over his sodden socks. When he got to the main house, he'd swap his wet duds for dry ones from Conner's closet. Having an identical twin brother had its advantages, and one of them was access to a whole other wardrobe. There'd been a time when Conner would have groused about Brody's tendency to borrow his stuff, but last New Year's Eve, Brody's "little brother," born a couple of minutes after he was, had taken a wife.

Conner was happy with Tricia, and these days it took more than a missing shirt or pair of jeans to get under his hide. They were on a perpetual honeymoon, Conner and Tricia, and now, with a baby due in three months, they glowed, the both of them, as if they were lit from within. Brody mounted up again and reined Moonshine toward the home-place, feeling a mixture of things as he considered his twin's good fortune.

Sure, he was glad things were working out so well for Conner, but he was a little envious, too. Not that he'd have admitted it to anybody. Tricia was beautiful, smart and funny, and she'd taken to ranch life with surprising ease, for a city girl. Then Conner had put a stop to the pursuit. No more trail rides until after the baby's arrival. Period, end of discussion. Brody grinned, recalling how adamant his brother had been.

For the most part, the marriage appeared to be an equal partnership, but this time, Conner had laid down the law. And Tricia, normally the independent type, had capitulated. That was just common sense, to Brody's mind, though a lot of country women continued to ride when they were expecting a baby, herding cattle, rounding up strays, checking fence lines.

There hadn't been a specific incident, but soon after giving birth to Brody and Conner, Rachel's health had begun to go downhill. She'd died when her infant sons were less than a month old. Blue Creed, their father, hadn't lasted much longer. Overwhelmed by the responsibility, he'd brought the babies home to the ranch, right around their first birthday, and handed them over to his brother, Davis, and Davis's wife, Kim.

Soon afterward, Blue himself had been thrown from a horse and broken his neck. He'd been in a coma for six weeks, and then died. He did take some consolation from seeing the cattle grazing all around, most of them Herefords, with a few Black Anguses to break the red-brown monotony. Two dozen broncos, specially bred for the rodeo, and six Brahma bulls completed the menagerie. Clint and Juan and a couple of the other ranch hands wove in and out among the different critters on horseback, mainly keeping the peace. Brody touched his hat-brim to the other men as he passed, and those who were looking his way returned the favor.

By then, Moonshine was restless, trying to work the bit between his teeth, so Brody gave him his head. That cayuse might be skittish when it came to crossing rivers, but he sure did like to run. Brody bent low over the buckskin's neck, holding his hat in place with one hand and keeping a loose grip on the reins with the other.

And that horse ate up ground like a jet taxiing along a runway before takeoff. Brody was enjoying the ride so much that the corral fence sprang up in front of them as suddenly as a line of magic beanstalks.


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Moonshine soared over that top rail as if he'd sprouted wings, practically stretched out flat, and came in for a magnificent landing about one foot short of the place where Conner stood, looking like he'd had rusty nails for breakfast instead of bacon and eggs. Brody gazed down into a face so like his own that the sight of it even took him aback sometimes, and he was used to being pretty much an exact duplicate of his brother. Conner was scowling up at him, through swirls of settling dust, and he looked as though he'd like to grab hold of Brody, haul him off that horse and beat the holy bejesus out of him.

So much for personality improvements resulting from wedded bliss!

You darn near ran me down, and it'll take me the better part of the morning to get this mare calm enough to work with again! Instead, he decided to come from a place of helpfulness. Conner grabbed the saddle and jerked it out of Brody's hands. This is a subjective article on what some pudgy, Caucasian film snob from the Midwest thought of the cinematic year. That said, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is like a lost Wes Anderson coming-of-age film set in a high school filled to the brim with teens at the peak of their inherent awkwardness. This story of a socially misanthropic amateur filmmaker who befriends a leukemia-stricken classmate is told with the goofiest of hearts and honest themes that grip your heartstrings and takes no prisoners.

And your cheeks will be very teary by close, thanks in part to the humor and the great characters you feel for. Best Horror Film : Crimson Peak. The absolute best thing about watching Crimson Peak is the sense of detail and history that the director and his crew infuse everything with. Every set dressing feels real and like it was plucked from the best preserved Edwardian-era home on Long Island.

Every costume breathes and ruffles appropriately without looking like it was just picked up from the local Kostume Room. The mood seeps through the celluloid and drips into your bones, like a harsh wind that subtly makes its way across the countryside. The cast glides through the brilliantly composed settings like specters of an age gone by.

The sounds that reverberate down the cavernous halls of Allerdale Hall are super effective, like ice chips in homemade ice cream. More for me. Best Science Fiction : Ex Machina. But this little film from the writer of the acclaimed zombie actioner 28 Days Later and bloody superhero reboot DREDD a personal favorite of mine stunned all with its lurking sense of curious anxiety.

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As the protagonist further studies Ava, the artificial intelligence created by an arrogant software baron, he comes to question his own station in life and the hierarchy of first-world humanity and the toys they create. Long story short, the film makes you think about the world we live in by making us slightly uncomfortable with the advances we are making in technology. This small-scale romance about the affair between an affluent, but troubled mother and a department store ingenue was a perfect theatrical experience.

The imagery was lustrous and just stunning from frame one. The music was the most ingeniously Burwellian thing Mr. Carter Burwell has ever composed. And to top it all off, the film is the perfect length. CAROL deserves the big screen appreciation.

What gives Academy? You have been flaking out on stunt performers for decades, and they actually made several of your movies classics. The Matrix owes its success solely to its originality in its stunt-work. I anxiously await the day all the out-of-touch troglodytes are shuffled out of the system and we can retroactively give these people the respect and honor that the SAG Awards can manage to recognize, but the Hollywood Foreign Press and AMPAS are too self-centered to honor.

Among the many films up for Academy Awards at the end of this month, there has been minor uproar over the lack of colored persons nominated for anything at all in the major categories. I briefly discussed my thoughts in my review of that hollowed out DiCaprio frontier vehicle.

And again I iterate, this could have been easily resolved on two fronts: I- Giving Straight Outta Compton a Best Picture nomination for the sake of appeasing the crowds who flocked to it. Now, to be fair, I had only read opinions at the time on the latest Rocky Balboa-verse installment. But, I had not yet seen the film to adequately surmise its merits. And I am here to stand by those words as I have now seen Creed , and I must say I did not expect to enjoy it nearly as much as I did. Not to say I expected to dislike it, not at all.

But over the years of viewing the Rocky Balboa franchise, I never was truly struck with the story of the boxing worlds greatest underdog, aside from the classic first entry. True, he has been the one behind the writing and conception of the character, but sometimes creators need a bit of distance between their darlings and them.

True, there was a fight at the center of the picture, but the story was much more based in Rocky recognizing his paternal relations with his son and the one he has with his community at large. Ryan Coogler had other ideas, apparently. And with Creed , he injects fresh vitality into the weathered Rocky Balboa universe. Instead of remaking the original film as any other director or studio would have happily done, Coogler takes the risk of telling a side story, one taking place in the same shared universe and community of a franchise, but focusing on entirely new characters with connective appearances by key characters from the original franchise, in this case the only living in-universe lead, Rocky himself.

As an adult, he nurtures a talent in the ring, and leaves for Philadelphia when L. Adonis starts romancing a local songstress and starts to train for small-time events to hone his skills. Creed starts out a wholly different creature from the Rocky franchise as possible, a study of a young man struggling to make a name for himself doing what he enjoys and has a knack for. While Adonis does not quite have the ability to take punishment like Rocky could in his prime, he does have a constantly sensitive rage boiling underneath his seemingly zen demeanor.

Most audiences and Academy patrons would write this film off as a Stallone comeback vehicle alone that just happens to continue with a black protagonist , but that is being unfair and cynical. Rocky has had comebacks before, and so has Stallone, proving his dramatic chops with choice titles such as Cop Land and First Blood.

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This movie does give Rocky a choice role, but he is not the focal point. Coogler takes the existing material and takes what he wants freely from the mythos of the Balboa backstory, but fashions it into a lively and reborn sports drama that thrums with energy and skilled visual storytelling, one of my soft spots. The prologue where we meet young Adonis in juvenile detention and learn of his parentage is shot not sappily, as Stallone may have, but honestly and it cuts to the title at the perfect moment.

Immediately we are thrown into the seedy prize fights in Tijuana, where the now-grown Johnson seeks his sport. There are a couple of solid long takes during the fights that truly put audiences in the ring with the fighters almost as if participating as an unofficial referee, dodging hulking masses of muscle and spinning around the fighters without making viewers queasy. There is never a sense that the writers insert conflict for the sake of scripting, the foils and foibles are organic to the characters and their faults.

The camerawork is simply splendid. Jordan was robbed of an awards nomination for no obvious reason. And Stallone also has his moments of quiet understanding, watching Adonis as a sort of reflection of himself as a young fighter.


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Creed is one of those near-perfect cinematic experiences that proves you can still instill life into an aged franchise provided the right point-of-view.

A Calling in Wyoming (Creeds Crossing Book 4) A Calling in Wyoming (Creeds Crossing Book 4)
A Calling in Wyoming (Creeds Crossing Book 4) A Calling in Wyoming (Creeds Crossing Book 4)
A Calling in Wyoming (Creeds Crossing Book 4) A Calling in Wyoming (Creeds Crossing Book 4)
A Calling in Wyoming (Creeds Crossing Book 4) A Calling in Wyoming (Creeds Crossing Book 4)
A Calling in Wyoming (Creeds Crossing Book 4) A Calling in Wyoming (Creeds Crossing Book 4)
A Calling in Wyoming (Creeds Crossing Book 4) A Calling in Wyoming (Creeds Crossing Book 4)
A Calling in Wyoming (Creeds Crossing Book 4) A Calling in Wyoming (Creeds Crossing Book 4)
A Calling in Wyoming (Creeds Crossing Book 4) A Calling in Wyoming (Creeds Crossing Book 4)
A Calling in Wyoming (Creeds Crossing Book 4)

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