Tag Archives: horse

Book Top Recs and Why

Due to me being a pudge this weekend while getting over bronchitis (again), I have a list for this week’s post, one I’ve been wanting to post for a while. My bio has some of my favorite writers listed, but that doesn’t really explain some of my favorite books. I cheat and do a few series, just because sometimes it’s hard to break a single away from the whole (those who remember my Top 10 Favorite Movies will remember this trait of mine). Otherwise, well, welcome to my influences. Not calling this a top 10 list because…well, I had to narrow myself down, and I wasn’t paying attention to count.

Goddess of the Rose by P. C. Cast
As much as I love to flambe The House of Night series (and ohhhh, do I love to use that as bonfire starting fuel), Goddess of the Rose will always hold a special place for me. Not only was it my first adult romance novel, but it combined so many of my own personal quirks that it still has a pride-of-place position on my bookshelf. If you’ve read too much of Cast’s work, the magic system is going to seem painfully familiar, and there are obvious romance tropes that are just going to have to be suffered through, but it still remains a personal favorite for the characters and plot.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
I use a specific book, because I am surprisingly apathetic about a large chunk of the rest of the series at this point in my life, but Half-Blood Prince for some reason hits this perfect balance of the personal problems that are always on Harry’s mind at the same time as trying to save the world from an evil wizard. It helps that Voldemort finally gets some much needed back story and character fleshing out that he becomes a real villain to my mind. The characters are also at a more relate-able age, rather than being pre-teens or very young teens. It isn’t an easy book to just jump into the series with, but if you’ve been in it for the long-haul, it hits you right in all the emotional weak spots.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The first classic to find its way on my list, yes, you are going to have to wade through literature language to get through it. (Give these poor folks a break, they were paid by the word.) But Mary’s and Colin’s character growth will make it totally worth it, as you watch these two children find family in each other and grow beyond what is expected of them. The ending is a tear-jerker, and just brings it all together. At times the spoiled behavior in the beginning and the cold attitudes of the adults can be really wearing, but the moments of goodness makes up for it in my mind.

The Dragon Chronicles by Susan Fletcher
So far a quartet (though I suspect this is a come-back-to-when-I-have-ideas series for Fletcher), there’s a lot to like about this series in my opinion and a lot to be irked about it. It’s sort of a pick-and-chose thing. I wish the romances were better written, since sometimes those plots feel forced. It does this weird jump from medieval, high fantasy to urban fantasy from book three to book four, which takes some twisting of the brain. But at the same time, it’s dragons. I’m easily pleased by dragons.

Green Rider by Kristen Britain
See my review for a more thorough review, but yes, this makes high on my rec list. Just so many moments I love in this book, and the character growth is awesome.

The Unicorn Chronicles: The Last Hunt by Bruce Coville
This series was the one that got me into fantasy and my big unicorn kick. The relationship between Cara and Lightfoot in Song of the Wanderer just struck me for some reason, and The Last Hunt is the conclusion I’ve been waiting for half my life for (literally in two senses: it took him a while to finish, and omg, my eleven year old fanfic idea actually came true, I died when I found out, just died). I feel like there’s a lot more to this world that could be fleshed out, but at the same time it gives a sense of completion to things that I don’t want him to mess with. (Okay, I want Lightfoot/Cara fluff. But I’m a sap, this is a given.)

Protector of the Small by Tamora Pierce
Female power figures are sort of my jam, and Kel is a perfect fit. The first girl to publicly go for her knighthood after the king passed the law allowing it, she faces bullying and sexism while she goes through the physically and mentally exhaustive process of being a noble warrior. She faces the trials of war, and proves her character when everyone sane would have turned back. But don’t let that fool you, there are moments of pure  humor in these books, particularly Squire, that always make me giggle.

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
Classic number two, and if you are surprised to see it here…do you read this blog? Because I think my horse-obsession is pretty clear, and it actually used to be worse before I was a teenager (if you can imagine that). I’ve read multiple versions of this story, seen multiple films, and all of them have at least a touch of the charm that makes the whole thing so enjoyable. There’s some preachy moments and getting used to the narrator being a horse, but I think it is an excellent story with heart.

Rangers Apprentice by John Fletcher
Speaking of heart, ugh, this series. This is the series that I actually ordered a dinky little book from New Zealand for an outrageous amount of money because I couldn’t wait for the American print of the next one in the series. I read the stories in chronological order, so short stories before the last book, and that made the knife to the heart that much harder. I was crying, I was throwing things, Ginny can testify that I did not handle this well…because that’s how hard Fletcher makes you feel. I haven’t read any of his other works (I’m still nursing my broken heart, okay?), but I highly recommend this one, obviously.

White Fang by Jack London
The last technical classic, I don’t know why this book jives with me as much as it does. I’m not a dog person, I’m not a wilderness person…I’m a snow person, but only if I don’t have to drive in it. Maybe it’s because it’s the exact opposite of Black Beauty, and makes no apologies that it’s central protagonist is an animal who doesn’t understand humanity. Maybe it’s watching White Fang grow, and change, and adapt. I don’t know, but I recommend reading it.

The Immortals by Tamora Pierce
…She’s my favorite writer, she’s going to be on this list twice. Deal with it. 😛 Daine was actually the first of her characters that I read, and hooked me on the whole world. It combines this whole magic-and-animals-and-character-growth theme I’ve been having on this list. Emperor Mage has my big moment of heartbreak, Realm of the Gods has my moment of squee, but without Wild Magic and Wolf Speaker, we never would have gotten there, and it’s so important to see the growth and change that happens. Also, Daine is sassy and Numair gives as good as he gets, it’s hysterical.

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
I loved the movie, I’m gonna love the book. I have the special edition with the short story that serves as a sort of epilogue, which I think helps with my satisfaction level. Everything I love about the movie is still true about this book, though I feel like the plot is a little heavy with the additions that text allowed him (such as all the business with Lir and the prophecy and whatnot). The extra fleshing out is great if you are already familiar with the story, but might be a little hard on those coming in blind.

Brightly Burning by Mercedes Lackey
Another first for me as far as this being the book that introduced me to Valdemar (boy, that was a mistake), I picked it up on clearance and never looked back. Lan really just resonated with me at the time. I hadn’t dealt with the bullying history I had in an emotionally healthy way, and Lan went through such a similar experience that it almost made me cry right from the beginning. Then just when things start to get better…war came, and ruined everything. Just all the feels. All of them. I wouldn’t call the ending happy…but it is satisfying even in the tragedy, which is all I can ask of it.

Advertisements

Day 3: What is this feeling…? (Part 1)

April 5, 20xx

Dear Diary,

You know, I don’t know much about summer camps, but there is very little about this place that seems normal.

Except maybe how the morning started. I woke up before the alarm (I am ready for that time adjustment, please), so I went ahead and rolled (figuratively, I’m not crazy) out of bed. I was just sore enough from the mining adventure of yesterday that I did a few stretches to limber up my muscles, though they weren’t too bad. I’m sure they will be worse tomorrow.

Thankfully, my hair just needed a little bit of curling with the iron to tame the fly aways rather than a complete wash today. I put on my eyeliner and tinted lip balm, and realized that I would probably want to help Savvy wake up. So I pulled up “Icarus” by Bastille on my phone. It’s got that heavy drum and almost chamber music like singing in the beginning, I thought that would help ease her awake than it being a sudden shock.

She threw a pillow at me! Missed entirely, but still! I clutched at my robe, grabbed the nearest pile of clothes, and ducked into the bathroom with a squeal to get dressed. If she was going to be throwing things, I didn’t want to stay in the room!

I didn’t realize I’d left my phone in there until I was pulling those new pants and it switched from “Icarus” to the Audien remix of “Pompeii.” I scrambled into the green t-shirt and ran out, but Savvy was already up and had my phone in hand. I flushed and scuffed my feet on the floor, feeling like I had just been called into Daddy’s office. She didn’t say anything, though, other than to grumble and start getting ready herself. Today, I finished before her and took the time to unpack a little more. Honestly, there is hardly anything in that trunk! Shopping is about to become a necessity, as much as I am loath to admit it.

Rather than rely on Justin for food again, I dragged Savvy to the food hall again. Breakfast was come and go as you please, so I was able to have a cup of strong tea and milk and some toast. Savvy woke up enough and insisted I eat some protein. I managed to mollify her by having a bite of eggs, but I just don’t feel like eating much for breakfast most days.

Evening was just as cranky this morning as he was yesterday, and I’m afraid I lost my temper a little. He managed to get a mouthful of my hair, and I reached up and slapped his neck (loudly rather than forcefully) in reprimand. At least he had the decency to look ashamed of himself. I wagged a finger at him anyway, and took no nonsense with the cinch today, while you know I normally like to let the horse breath a little and then tighten it up. Honestly, my hair is the one thing about my appearance I actually like and people compliment. I know I shouldn’t be so sensitive, but… Oh, what am I saying. He’s a horse testing his boundaries, that’s all. Savvy’s Heart, of course, was the epitome of good manners. Couldn’t he learn a little from her?

We had just left the stable when May had need of us. Apparently the camp cow, Daisy, was sad and off her feed, poor thing. And since unlike the other campers, we actually knew Mrs. Holdsworth, she wanted us to speak with the woman since the vet couldn’t find anything wrong. Apparently despite being a retired accountant, she grew up around cattle, used to tell stories about them and anything. I know that there were cattle on the estate back home, but I’d never really been allowed near them. I don’t think Savvy was quite as enthusiastic about it as I was. I heard her muttering to Heart, though I couldn’t understand what was being said. But I thought it was an excellent learning opportunity.

Mrs. Holdsworth had a story about a cow named Wendy. I refrained from asking if it was a Peter Pan reference. But Savvy snorted, and I had to give her a curious look. Wendy seemed like a perfectly fine name to me… We had to gather some dandelions–easy enough this time of year–and she made us a brew for Daisy. She also suggested talking to her. Savvy was reluctant to leave Heart’s side, but I dismounted and chattered at her in complete sympathy. I understood having bad days.

When I pulled my hand back, though, there was this strange…spark. I would normally pass it off as just static electricity, but…

Well, I had just gotten back up on Evening’s back when there was a great kerfuffle. Thomas Moorland was shouting, and when we ran up to him, we found out that someone had taken that deed we had just recovered from Mr. Holbrook! Oh no, we had gone through too much fuss for us to let it go to pot that quickly. Not when he had been as tetchy as Great-Aunt Carolynn. So we went tearing after the rider.

And oh, dear, goodness. The rider. For a moment, I thought this was some specter from that tomb who had come to haunt us. The horse was dark with a white mane and tail, and his hoof prints were aflame. His rider was hooded in black and red. Evening and I forced them to turn, letting Savvy snatch the documents. And as soon as that happened, they just…faded from sight.

I had to grab Evening’s mane to keep from falling right off. He snorted, and side-stepped to help us both stay balanced, I was listing so badly as fear made all the blood drain out of my face. The blacksmith’s words from yesterday and my scoffing almost rang in my ears. Were magic and…and ghosts…real here? Evening managed to shift and shake me back into the center of balance of the saddle and we walked back to Moorland. (I would have fallen for sure if we had tried to go any faster.)

Mr. Moorland tried to dismiss our concerns, much like I did yesterday. It would certainly be easier. But I couldn’t help thinking of that spark with the cow and how she perked back up so quickly… it all seems so strange. Too strange. I didn’t want to think about it anymore, and still don’t.

So where did we go next? Of course, to check back in with the blacksmith. Now he needed spikes for the shoes, ones that could only be found on the beach. I beg pardon? Why are ancient artifacts being left out in the beach to be stepped on or picked up by campers? Ugh. But the beach itself was lovely. There was something going on with a barge and crates, at least on this side, but it gave me hope that maybe there would be something more hospitable around the fort.

Well, as much as it irked both Savvy and I, we had to take back what we found rather than clean the whole beach, since that would easily take the rest of the day, if not the next several. Evening dragged his feet back though, and kept looking back to snort at the beach’s direction. Conrad was happy with the spikes, and said to come back tomorrow. Sigh. It’s going to be one of those summers, isn’t it? But he gave us a jacket…even though the two greens of the shirt that came with and the jacket do not go together. At all. Even I can tell that.

Savvy wanted to go check out Fort Pinta next…or, I suspect, to do whatever her variation of Mummy’s shopping she had. I’m not quite full in the pocket enough to really consider shopping, but I thought poking around couldn’t be a bad idea. So I went along without needing too much coaxing.

But we hadn’t made it farther than the path to the abbey we were being interrupted again with another so called emergency.

Continue to Part 2…