Tag Archives: Coming of Age

Review and Giveaway: The West Texas Pilgrimage by M. M. Wolthoff

THE WEST TEXAS PILGRIMAGE
by
M.M. Wolthoff


  Genre: Contemporary / Coming of Age

 

Publisher: River Grove Books
Date of Publication: February 29, 2015
Number of Pages: 220
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Hunter’s friend Ty survived war in the Middle East only to succumb to cancer at home. On a quest with his college buddies and Ty’s father, Hunter journeys from South Texas into the mountains and desert of West Texas to bury his close friend. During this trek, they’ll drink, hunt, party, and encounter unexpected people and enthralling landscapes as Hunter deals with his grief, compounded by his struggle with depression and obsessive–compulsive disorder. 

The West Texas Pilgrimage is a love letter to West Texas and the wild culture that defines it. Author M. M. Wolthoff vividly depicts the regional landscape, exploring intriguing stops along the way and the authentic context of music, food, and language integral to this generation of Texans, while frankly and thoughtfully addressing relationships, mourning, and mental illness, with characters as unforgettable as the region itself.


 

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PRAISE FOR THE WEST TEXAS PILGRIMAGE:

 

I laughed. I cried. This is a book that is real, honest and reminds all of us that life is filled with ups and downs. The only way to keep moving forward is to get real with ourselves about whom we are and accept our beauty and our pain. This young author has amazing wisdom that is so articulately shared with readers of all ages. 
5 Stars, Amazon Verified Purchase
The West Texas Pilgrimage was insightful into the mind of a privileged, pre-adult male who tries to self-medicate his OCD condition with alcohol. While reading, I felt the main character’s vulnerabilities as he struggled with his feelings regarding his career choice, the loss of a good friend to cancer, and the complications of his search for the right female life mate. The book was a quick read…only because I could not put it down! There were several “ah-ha” moments when I thought: oh my, that’s really how a pre-adult male thinks??!? I never knew!! 
5 Stars Donna J Millon
I read the first half of the book in one night; it draws you in with believable characters and real challenges they face. Could have been written about people you know or have met. It covers some tough topics but is an enjoyable read. — 5 Stars Peter Day
Really nice read. Very detailed description of so many things made me feel like I was right there with them. 2 nights to read for a non reader like me makes for a really easy and entertaining time. Thumbs up. 
5 Stars Nunya
The book brought me right back to the border towns of my youth. Step outside any bar and be hit with the smell of fajita and sewer. Glorious!  — 5 Stars Amazon Verified Purchase
Review
Only moments into this novel I thought to myself, Wolthoff knows a lot about guns. Hunting, game animals, and cowboy gear, too. And after waiting to see if Hunter (funny how that’s his name and he never pulls a trigger) will shoot down the biggest buck ever seen, I found that I had been holding my breath. I was so taken with the beautiful description. Well, minus the talk about taking a piss. I suppose there must be some allegory at play there but I’m not very good at dissecting literature like that.
Hunter is not the kind of guy that I hung out with or lusted after during my UT years. I didn’t run in circles like his either, so his and Cinco’s shenanigans are things that I’ve only heard of or seen in National Lampoon and American Pie movies. But all of their douchiness fades a bit when you realize they’ve come together to remember their dear friend who lost his battle to cancer. Only in the memories of his friends do you get to know Ty. From cocky playboy to soldier to smitten man to loving father. I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel teary eyed to find Ty hung on just long enough to meet his newborn baby.
I’m not a fan of went on in Mexico, but I guess boys will be boys. Especially when in Boys’ Town. I don’t really understand why Hunter and Cinco went there. Hunter tried to find the humanity in a hooker and then boinked her brains out. I was just confused. They run into trouble, of course. I’m not going to say why but I will say that I didn’t see the point of it. The novel would have been just as real and touching if that whole section was removed and the guys just met up with Ty’s dad and the crew to go on the hike.
On a side note, I wouldn’t have minded a little more interaction between Hunter and Stacey, Ty’s little sister. That might just be the chick lit lover in me, but that would have been a great replacement for the Boys’ Town saga.
I can say for certain that the climb up the mountain was literal and figurative for Hunter. Even I’m not too thick to see that. I got teary eyed again as all the guys laid their memories in with Ty’s ashes. When I put my phone down (I read the ebook from my phone), it occurred to me that not much happened in this book. Yet, I felt like I had been on a journey. Not a pilgrimage, not for me, at least. But I could definitely see how that short journey, short in both time and distance, was the beginning of a new life for Hunter. I hope he doesn’t squander it.
Matthew Martin Wolthoff lives in McAllen, Texas, with his wife, Lucy Ann, and three children, Hunter Ann, McCoy Martin, and Kerr Dunkin. He grew up in a military family, living all over the world until finding home in South Texas, where he went to high school in San Antonio. He is a graduate of the US Air Force Academy and has a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas at San Antonio. His parents instilled a passion for reading and writing in him early in life that grows stronger every day. An avid outdoorsman, he finds his inspiration—and peace of mind—in the shallow waters of the Lower Laguna Madre and the wilderness of the South Texas brush country. His first West Texas pilgrimage was in 2010. It was a life-changing event.  

 

 


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The Burning by D.E.L. Connor

The Burning
Spirit Warriors Book 3 
by D.E.L. Connor
Genre: YA / Fantasy / Coming of Age
Publisher: Booktrope Publishing
Date of Publication: September 21, 2015
# of pages: 357

In the third book of D.E.L. Connor’s magical coming of age Spirit Warriors series, Emmeline and her friends find themselves still reeling from the loss and pain caused by the evil spirit, machayiwiw- but the danger is far from over. As Emme, Charlie, Bets, Ollie, Jack and their beloved Spirit Animals prepare for the final battle against the machayiwiw, Emme struggles with a battle within her own heart. She longs for the beauty and softness she feels around Charlie, but she can’t deny the burning passion that consumes her with Jack. Will she finally let Charlie go and give her heart to Jack? Enthralling and passionate, Spirit Warriors brings the vibrant American West to life once again and whispers its ancient secrets of love and friendship.

BUY LINKS
Praise for the books:

“There is something special about a book/series when you feel like you’ve come home to family/friends in the first chapter. That is how I feel when I begin each new book in this series. I find I care more about each character as the series progresses.” – Amazon Reviewer

“I have been a huge fan of this series. After the second book I wasn’t exactly sure how this one would develop. Hands down it is the best book of the series so far.” – Goodreads Reviewer

“The Concealing is one of the best books that I have read in a long time…You will fall head over heels in love with all of the characters and the plot as well in The Concealing.” – The Avid Reader

“I was glued to the book from the moment I began reading it and was sad when it ended, because it ended. I can very easily visualise this book as a film, the descriptions are detailed enough to make it a great opportunity for a film. Amazing.” — Cookie Book Reviews 

“A great young adult series along the formulaic values of the “Twilight” series. Also a wonderful book for adults who want to immerse themselves in a world full of youth and American Indian heritage.” — Respect the Books

Enter to win: a signed copy of 
The Concealing, Book 1 of the Spirit Warriors Series, 
a $25 Amazon Gift Card, and some Swag!

Della Connor (D.E.L. Connor) was born in South Dakota and raised in Southeastern Montana where she acquired a keen appreciation for Western and Native American culture. She moved to Texas as a young adult and acquired her honorary Texan status. She became a registered nurse, a nurse practitioner and eventually earned her PhD in nursing. She still works as a nurse educator and as a nurse practitioner. Her nights and weekends, however, are filled with her stories and books. Her first book, Spirit Warriors:The Concealing, was published by Booktrope Publishing in November of 2014. The second book in the series Spirit Warriors: The Scarring published on July 21, 2014 and Spirit Warriors: The Burning rolled out on September 21, 2015.The Spirit Warriors story evolved from a short story she wrote for a college English class in the early 1990s. The professor read it, loved it and asked her to stay after class and discuss it. During this discussion, he told her that a “dark” story like hers, which was written for older children, would be unmarketable and unsaleable. The story kept floating around in her mind. Finally, J.K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyers and others stepped forward with amazing “dark” stories to create a new genre called Young Adult. The time was finally right for her book. She wrote book 1 in two weeks. It took another year and a half and about a 150 queries all with a “not interested” for her to find a publisher.

Review

If I’m to be brutally honest, it took me several chapters to find a comfortable reading rhythm with this book. That’s not to say that Connor’s writing is lacking in some way, but rather a testament to just how intricate the storyline is. I can only imagine just how much happened in the first two books. There are historic flashbacks, premonitions, and soul flinging amidst the already riveting plot lines. Embarrassingly, it took me a few re-reads to realize that a character was an animal instead of a human. And trying to figure out which animal went to who made me slow down for a few chapters. You would think that a girl who watched shows like Voltron and Pokemon as a kid would have a better handle on this.

The characters are beautifully written, but I wish there was more explanation about the Charlie and Emme issue. (And how Jack falls into the equation, while we’re at it.) I know that this is book three, but I feel like things should be clearer in case someone didn’t read the other two. Connor does a fantastic job of filling in the backstory of Emme’s brother and mother, and especially Lilly. At the expense of sounding all Team Edward, Team Jacob, I wish I knew more about the love triangle.
Unless the other two books are pretty vague too, I would have liked to know more about the prophecies as well. What were the previous prophecies and were they fulfilled exactly as they imagined? Why does everyone seem to have a different version of this latest one? And are Emme’s nightmares explained in the other books?
Because I don’t know the Jack backstory much, the engagement while still in high school feels a bit meh to me. But I get it. Bella wanted to hurry up and marry Edward so he would turn her into a vampire already. Jack wants to marry Emme because they all think they’re going to die soon. I know that’s the literal case here, but I have to wonder if it can also be a metaphor for young adult emotions. Like, “I’m going to die if Brad doesn’t ask me to the prom” and “My life is so over because I didn’t get into Yale.”
Overall, this was definitely a fun read and unlike any Young Adult fantasy that I’ve read. (And I’ve read many!) I hope that you’ll pick up the rest of the books in the series too.
Check out these other great blog stops on the tour!
 

1/31       Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books– Promo
2/1         My Book Fix Blog  – Promo

 

2/2         All for the Love of the Word – Guest Post

 

2/3         A Novel Reality – Promo
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2/7         The Page Unbound – Author Interview
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