Tag Archives: grief

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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Dear Diary: My Brother Died Today by Suzanne Gene Courtney

 
 
Lone Star Literary Life Blog Tours presents
 
DEAR DIARY: 
MY BROTHER DIED TODAY
 
by Suzanne Gene Courtney






Title: DEAR DIARY: MY BROTHER DIED TODAY
Author: Suzanne Gene Courtney
Genre: Children’s Book>Death & Dying>Grief
# of pages: 32 pages
 
 


A seven-year-old girl records the sudden death of her beloved older brother by writing her personal feelings in her diary. In her own innocent way, she tells about being able to see him when no one else can. She embraces this ability and is not afraid.


Throughout this tender book, the little girl relates her experiences in feeling her brother’s nearness, even when she cannot see him anymore. In her own trusting way, she knows that everything will be all right, and through her honest feelings, she is able to help her parents cope with their loss. She also learns about angels and knows that her brother is safe.


Dear Diary: My Brother Died Today is the third in a trilogy about the circle of life. The story enables children to perceive the life in heaven that awaits them. Although fictional, the story’s events could actually happen.
Review
It’s been a while since I’ve read a children’s book about grief or dying, and I forgot how writing so simple can affect you so deeply. Courtney does a great job of emulating the writing and drawings of a young girl grieving the loss of her big brother. You can tell that she has been around children because the story feels genuine and is certainly heartfelt. I think that this book would be great for young children who might have trouble expressing their feelings at the loss of a loved one. However, I think the spiritual element might be off putting if the family does not believe in an afterlife and angels.
 
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Suzanne Gene (Davis) Courtney comes from a family of teachers. She has taught several subjects and grade levels over a span of thirty years. Retiring in 2011, she moved to Austin, TX, in 2015 to be closer to her children and

grandchildren and continue her writing aspirations.

Suzanne has three children, Laura, Gregg, and Daniel. Daniel passed away unexpectedly in 1997 in Hawaii, where he was born. Devastated, she began to write. At first, she wrote poems of angst and darkness, then while healing, poems of understanding and hope surfaced.
To date, she has authored five books, with another due later this year. Four of the six books deal with death and grief with words of support to help the bereaved. Being a former elementary teacher, she has worked with many children experiencing loss. Two of her books, incorporate her experiences while traveling and are meant for pure reading enjoyment. Book awards to date are: Indie Excellence Award (Finalist), Character Building Counts Award (Silver), Great Southwest Book Festival (Honorable Mention), and Pacific Rim Book Festival (Honorable Mention).
Book signings at various sites around Texas so far include: the Author Extravaganza in Llano, and the Texas Book Festival in Austin. She will be presenting her books for the classroom in several schools in the area soon.

 

Suzanne is a member of the following organizations: SCBWI Austin, The Writers League of TX, Texas Authors Association, Alpha Xi Delta Alumni, and Reiki Master Teacher.
 
 
 
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