Book Review: The Woman Who Rides Like a Man

Book Review:

The Woman Who Rides Like a Man (Book Three in the Song of the Lioness Series) by Tamora Pierce

I actually finished this one weeks ago.  However, my full time construction job on top of motherhood leaves me very little computer time.  But here is my review of the third book in this saga. (And I mean that in the sense that the series is becoming a little long winded with only a few dramatic events.)


Now that she has won her knighthood and defeated the sorcerer who threatened the peace of the kingdom, Sir Alanna of Trebond seeks adventure in the deserts of Tortall.  She defeats a band of robbers but breaks her sword irreparably.  In a strange twist of fate she is adopted by the desert Bazhir tribe, the Bloody Hawk, and becomes their Shaman.  And this is where the majority of the book takes place.

As Shaman, Alanna improves her own magic skills and trains apprentices, two girls and a boy.  Alanna spends much of her knighthood defending the rights of women in a male dominated culture, as opposed to seeking out adventure.  There is not a distinct antagonist in this book.  Instead, this books seems to be a sort of coming of age story for Alanna.  She continues her search for love and acceptance, while turning down a marriage proposal, and mastering her Gift.


I give Book Three 3 out of 12 buttered rolls.  This could be the “Empire Strikes Back” installment of this series but really, I was left totally underwhelmed.  There is so much drama.  I’m talking femi-nazi, “Girls can do anything boys can do,” “A family will kill my career,” “Anyone who supports a patriarchal society is enslaving women,” type feminism.  It got old, and without a specific antagonist or quest to focus on, it got old fast.  Don’t get me wrong, I do like the idea of a female heroine.  I encourage my daughters to be anything they want to be.  But between the what-am-I-going-to-do-with-my-life drama and the men-hate-strong-women femi-nazi propaganda, I am left hoping there is a “Return of the Jedi” finish to this series.  Here’s hoping for the best.


What Is That? – Photo Edition

“What is that?” is the most common question the kids have asked while cleaning?  This is the fourth installment and is the first photo edition.  You can read the first three here and here, and here.

These pictures are from all over the house (Great Room, garage, basement, and main living area).

What Is That?

A mouse skeleton we found in some old insulation

Mouse Skeleton

A really old pair of snow shoes (possibly made by my Mom’s Dad?)

Old Snow Shoes

Two sets of deer horns from deer my Dad killed

2 sets of deer horns

Some type of shell my mother kept

Two old large pipe cutters

Old pipe cutters

An old oil lantern (antique?) of unknown functionality

Old oil lantern

The Kawasaki motorcycle that I jumped into the canal behind my house



A bathroom sink of unknown origin

The Husqvarna motorcycle my Dad used to race up Widowmaker

A big pile of staples we found on the garage floor in a mess of spiderwebs

Three broken weed eaters (we threw others away before I can grab pics)

The tire from my Dad’s first car?

The watering jug that time forgot

An elk horn that my sons want to turn into a weapon (like a Klingon Bat’ leth)

A pair of chest waders that I wouldn’t trust to cross a rain gutter

A box of glass jars (this was repeated ad nauseam)

Roller skates that (hopefully) belonged to my sister

A gallon jar of brown sugar from the 20th century (does it ever go bad?)

A Kerosene heater we (only occasionally) used while I was growing up

A can green paint (I think 1963 is a code for the color, but could the purchase date)

A Garbage Can that is just happy that it can be helpful (unlike the kids)

a SMALL sampling of various tools

A canteen I’m going to pretend was Grandpa’s WWII companion (possible!)

A ceramic chicken that now greets us at the door each day

A really old fire extinguisher that I think Mom wants to turn into a lamp

And finally, my favorite find to date, a Yahtzee score card used by my good friend Darby Golub (circa 1985-88?).  There was a time we spent every waking moment together.  Darby was killed just a week after I got home from my mission and I never got to see him.   I still have the program from his funeral in my personal hymnal.  This find is special to me.   RIP my friend!

At this point we really have transitioned from cleaning/organizing to construction.  So don’t expect another installment of What Is That? anytime soon… but more will come at some point.  We WILL finish cleaning out the basement AND the garage… And I’m sure that there are a ton of gems to be found in those places!

Scouting – Raising and Training Young Men

This is content first appeared on my Facebook page regarding my Scout, Joshua, and his most recent camping adventure.  I’m reposting it here for saving.

Scout Camp 7/14/17-7/15/17

Joshua and his scout troop had a local campout last night. Josh came home exhausted and said it was great, and said the boys were up almost all night.

I later heard that some of the other parents were angry that their son had stayed up late and were subsequently tired all day today. Apparently this anger was directed at the Scoutmaster. If true, I think that it is misplaced.

I’ll talk in generalities because I don’t know which parents/child this story refers to. Those names weren’t part of the telling that I heard. and it doesn’t really matter. Regardless, having been a 12-13 yr old scout, and having a 12 yr old son right now, in my opinion if blame is to be had for lack of sleep on the scouts part (including my own scout) the blame rests with the SCOUT.

Scouting and responsibility

As my scout relayed it to me, they were told of the curfew, and they were called in from their playing and told that they were past their curfew. Unless you think that a Scoutmaster should be tucking them all into bed, then I think he did his job just fine. The entire program is designed for the boys to be in charge and making the decisions.

I know not everyone parents the same, but I expect my Scout to be trained how to think and act for himself. To learn the relationship between responsibility and consequences. A Scoutmaster isn’t a babysitter, and Scouts aren’t babies. They should be allowed to make choices and be held accountable for them – good and bad.

If your scout is informed, and reminded, but chooses to ignore, then it is on them! Unless their behavior is in someway immoral or injurious, I would want a Scoutmaster to let the Scouts make their own decisions and live with the consequences. Staying up late isn’t injurious, and isn’t in any way immoral or inherently bad/wrong. So give the boys responsibilities and let them THEM be held accountable.

That seems like a good way to help these men who are young turn into men who are great! And I think our Scoutmaster is doing a GREAT job of helping make that happen.

Thanks Gregory Robert Adams!

This post got nothing but positive comments and “likes” on Facebook.  I hope that is an indication that others are trying to raise their sons with the same sense of responsibility that I’m trying to raise mine with.

I hope it didn’t bring any embarrassment to our great Scoutmaster Greg.  He does a great job with our boys.  I know that my son for one really thinks highly of him.

A Genuine Smile

Bluffdale 1st Ward

The Jensens attended church today with the Bluffdale 1st ward.  That is the ward that I grew up in and will be attending again once we move.  It was quite nice to see the large number of people that are still there from when I was a little boy.

We attended there today (and hopefully will often) so that the kids can try to make some friends before school starts.  It would be nice for them to already know people on their first day so that they can fit in just a little bit easier.  So we took the drive from PG to Bluffdale so that they could have that opportunity.

I am sure that only a few know we are moving in, and fewer knew we would be attending services with them today.   So they were not expecting us.  That set the stage for two nice experiences for me (or perhaps for the same nice experiment twice?).

A Genuine Smile

Twice today, I passed someone who was an adult in the ward while I was growing up, and I said, “Hello ______” and called them by their first name.  Both times this person replied, “Hello” in a kind but unfamiliar way and started to move on.  But when I extended my hand to shake, they took a moment and really looked at me.

Both of these fine gentlemen then flashed a genuine smile and said something close to “Oh! Hi Richard.  It’s so good to see you. How have you been?”   While they were polite and cordial with me when they thought we were strangers, when they realized that they knew me, their behavior changed to reflect genuine affection.


This was a rarity for me.  The only time I ever get that kind of ‘brotherly kindness’ shown to me from someone outside my household is one particular saint of a man in Missouri.  I don’t know if or when I’ll see him again.  And I am bereft of friends here in Utah.  So just this simple extension of recognition and a genuine smile felt good to someone for whom it rarely happens.

Since my Army days I’m more cantankerous and introverted.  I don’t expect to make many new friends (and all my efforts so far seem to have failed).   There isn’t a whole lot about me to like or to want to spend time with.  But these two men knew me before.  They knew me when I was young, healthy, and energetic.   I’d like to think they remember me as someone who smiled and was outgoing, instead of someone who grimaced or scowled.  They know me as I used to be; and how I would wish to be again someday.  They remember a version of me I like.  They were happy to see me, which isn’t something that ever happens to me any more.

So it was small and simple – a genuine smile.  By now they probably don’t even remember it and it probably meant nothing to them.  But the encounters were meaningful to me.  They uplifted me today.  And for that I am grateful.