Monday, March 21, 2011

Life takes charge

Hello everyone. It's always been my policy that, when my everyday life needs me, the first thing to get set on the back burner is my blog. With ACTs and my homeschoolers' needs and everything else that is popping up. I'm going to have to take a break for a few weeks. There's nothing wrong. It's just that there are only so many hours in a day. See you when I get back. I hope everyone is enjoying the beginnings of Spring! It's sure lovely around here.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday's photolife--Time at the barn

Wednesday's answer and winner: It is a mounting block with two levels. If you look closely you can see the hoof prints in the gravel of the path beside it. The first to get it right was Stina Lindenblatt, but it's not just for the disabled. Using it helps keep the saddle padding, etc., in place when you mount. They're not necessary, but they're nice. I rarely used them when I was young, but I don't get on a horse these days without one.
I almost used this picture, but I thought it might be too hard. What do you think?

On to the photolife:

My kiddies (and myself for that matter) have a particular love for horsey kind. We have spent tons of time over the years at barns hanging with the horses. I don't usually take a lot of pictures there though. Sure, every now and then I will, but, when there, it's more about the enjoyment of the experience than keeping a record of it. There's just something about these amazing animals. Time with them is uplifting. It's no wonder there are great rehabilitation and therapy programs that use horses. 
My youngest with a pony she has a soft spot for.
The youngest grooming one of the sweetest ponies on the planet. She wasn't riding that day just wanted to come while her brother rode. 
I love how different riders express their individual personalities.
We find ourselves reflected in their eyes.
Application to writing? I've often wondered if I should write stories with horses. I almost included them in one WIP but ended up cutting the horse person. She was extraneous to the main plotline, and I found I only put her in because I wanted to include someone like her. That should be a clue, eh? They say you should write what you know. What do you think? Should I do a horse story?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday=Book Review Time--For the boys out there

Up for today: Ranger's Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan (Book 1) by John Flanagan

Why I bought it? This question should probably be more along the lines of why I read it. I actually bought this several years ago. It was something my daughter picked out at the bookstore. Barnes and Noble--I think. I finally read it because my son kept pushing it on me.

Synopsis/Set up: 15 year old Will wants more than anything to be chosen as an apprentice to the battle school, but he's rejected for his slight size. He ends up being chosen as the Ranger's apprentice, and he's not sure he's happy about it. He learns that his natural talents and size are a perfect fit for the Rangers. It's the story of a kid finding his place in the world.

What I thought? I'm getting to be a big fan of all these Australian authors who have been showing up on our bookshelves recently. This is a fantastic read for a boy, and I didn't want to put it down either. The characters are great, fully realized with strengths and weaknesses. (On a side note: as a mom, I was glad my kids read it. The heros are the kind that I like my kids to identify with. Working hard, doing their best, striving to do what is right. But not perfect. Real.) The setting is detailed and you feel like you're really in a medieval environment. It's an engrossing, fun read. Flanagan's style reminds me a lot of Louis L'Amour--a non-western Louis L'Amour for kids and teens. Here's a great video of Flanagan talking about why he wrote this series and his writing in general.

My Rating: **** 1/2 out of 5

My Daughter's Rating (16 yr. old): ***** out of 5, She read it several years ago and kept recommending it to her brother until he read it.

My Son's Rating (14 yr. old):  ***** out of 5, "It's wonderful," he said when I asked for his comment.  He used to be a reluctant reader. (Can I tell you how happy I am to be able to say he "used to be"?) After he read the Percy Jackson series and finally realized that he could like reading, I was searching high and low for something else he would love. His sister brought this out for him and pitched it again. He bit this time and loved it. He has even taken up archery as a result of reading this novel and all the ones that follow. I recently bought 8 and 9, and 10 comes out in April.

Cleanness Score: 3 out of 10, This is mostly for the violence. There's enough to make it exciting for the older boys and teens--not so much that younger boys can't enjoy it. As for language, there may have been a mild expletive here or there, but there was nothing jarring to me. I wouldn't have a problem with my 10 year old daughter reading it, but she hasn't yet. She's busy reading Rick Riordan.