Review: Wildwing

Wildwing by Emily Whitman
Genre: YA, romance, time travel, historical fiction
ISBN: 9780061724527
Published: September 21st 2010 by Greenwillow Books


Rating: 5



Addy isn't satisfied in her world, with her life, with the mean girls from school always telling her that she's worthless. She wants to be free, be respected, not have to work for her food every night. She knows she's better than what she's been given… and she's determined to find it. So when she stumbles into a time machine that brings her back to the time of castles and lords and falconers, and she is mistaken for a rich lady betrothed to marry the king, she believes she has found exactly what she wants to do.


But she didn't count on falling in love with a falconer, a nobody. If only she hadn't gone along with the lie, she'd be herself, a nobody too, and Will could be hers.


Addy must decide what she wants, and what is more important, and then fight to get home. But in the process she might lose the people she loves.


Wildwing drew me in from the first line and held me captive until the last words. A poor sweet lovable main character who isn't being treated fairly, she makes every girl understand her pain. Her insecurities are ours. She is one of the more relatable female protagonists I've read this year.


One thing I really liked about the story was Addy and Will's relationship. It wasn't based on pure physical attraction—although I'm adding Will to my list of literary crushes—they spent time together, they learned, they talked, they argued. It wasn't a shallow empty relationship, which is why it hurt so much in the end, and why the resolution was so sweet.


The plot started off so simple, and got more complex with every page. Addy's little schemes and ideas didn't always go through, and she had to improvise. It kept my heart pounding and my mind curious. The writing was very good, though nothing extraordinary. The characters were quickly developed, some became my friends and some were despicable.


This was more than a love story with a time machine; it was a beautiful enchanting story about a young girl who finds out for herself what is important, how to sacrifice, and how to truly fight for what she loves.


All in all I adored this story and recommend it to anyone ages 12+. No sex or language.


This review is copyright Haley Mathiot and Night Owl Reviews. Do not copy without permission.

New knitting pattern: Fair Isle wool mittens!



Finished these right before Christmas. As far as I know the pattern is accurate. Enjoy!

Fair Isle Wool Mittens

Review and tour: Toto's Tale



I'm pleased to host Hays and Weidman for the final stop on their virtual book tour with PUYB.


Toto's Tale by K.D. Hays and Meg Weidman
Genre: Children's Fiction
ISBN: 9781936144617

Published August 28th 2010 by Zumaya Thresholds
Rating: 3.8


Everyone knows the story of The Wizard of Oz… but since Toto couldn't talk, he never got his chance to tell the story. Now Toto tells what really happened in Oz after the windstorm that changed magical history. Toto becomes the main character in this story, and his mission is to save his pet girl and get her back to Kansas.


Toto's Tale was absolutely adorable. I fell in love with Toto right away. He has a wonderful personality and is very intelligent. Hays and Weidman did a very good job capturing the interior monologue of a dog who could not talk until this point. He was funny and a little quirky, and thought himself a lot bigger than he really was. But it only added to his charm.


Hilariously, Toto has a much better language than humans, and some of their words don't translate to dog-talk, so some of the human's dialogue is replaced with funny words that rhyme, or just the word "something." Along the way, they meet a straw man who says he needs some "trains," a Metal Man who needs a "cart," and a Big Cat who needs some "Porridge". They swallow the jello brick road to find the Lizard who will send them home.


The illustrations were adorable too. They were basic pen and ink drawings, one ever few chapters, displaying a lot of character. The supporting characters in the story like Happy the evil-turned-good Wolf, the bugs that Toto talks to, the Not-really-a-wizard, and the flying monkeys were quickly established and fun to read. As mentioned earlier, some of the dialogue of humans doesn't' translate to dog-talk, and the "something something"s got a little annoying after a while, but all in all I greatly enjoyed reading Toto's tale.


I loved Toto's tale and am going to get my little brother to read it when I go home for Christmas. It was a fast fun read.


Recommended for ages 6-14, and fun-loving teens and adults as well! A great Christmas gift for dog-lovers or Oz-lovers. Click here to purchase.


About the Authors:

K.D. Hays and Meg Weidman are a mother-daughter team who aspire to be professional roller coaster riders and who can tell you exactly what not to put in your pockets when you ride El Toro at Six Flags. Meg is studying art in a middle school magnet program. For fun, she jumps on a precision jump rope team and reads anything not associated with school work. K.D. Hays, who writes historical fiction under the name Kate Dolan, has been writing professionally since 1992. She holds a law degree from the University of Richmond and consequently hopes that her children will pursue studies in more prestigious fields such as plumbing or waste management. They live in a suburb of Baltimore where the weather is ideally suited for the four major seasons: riding roller coasters in the spring and fall, waterslides in the summer and snow tubes in the winter. Although Meg resents the fact that her mother has dragged her to every historical site within a 200-mile radius, she will consent to dress in colonial garb and participate in living history demonstrations if she is allowed to be a laundry thief.



I’d smelled fear on the humans all morning, and the
stink was really getting on my nerves. I mean, we all
knew a windstorm was coming, and it was going to be
rough; but the humans didn’t have anything to worry
about. They’d just go down into The Hole and wait till
it was all over.

It was the chickens who should have been worried.
Their house was so flimsy it was likely to take off
and fly away in the next windstorm. But chickens are
too stupid to think about these things, so they weren’t
worried yet. Meanwhile, Auntem gave off enough
worry scent to cover every living thing in the entire
state of Kansas, and as I said, the smell was pretty

So, yeah, I knew I wasn’t supposed to chase the
chickens, but I couldn’t help myself. When those lame brained layers started bragging about which one of
them could fly fastest, I decided to let them prove it.
I took off after Eggy, baring my teeth like I was
going to rip all the feathers out of her tail. It felt
really good to run. It also felt good to get some revenge
on the chickens. Ever since yesterday, when the
nasty old neighbor tried to stab me with a pitchfork
just for digging a little hole in her garden, everyone
here had teased me for running home with my tail
between my legs. They would have done the same
thing—it was a big sharp pitchfork, and the neighbor
is as mean as a wet cat.

The chickens, in particular, had acted like I was
the only one who had ever shown fear in the history of
forever. Now I decided I’d put a little fear in the
chickens so they could demonstrate why their name
means being a coward.

“Squahhhhh!” Eggy yelled as she ran across the
farmyard with me right on her tail. “That giant rodent
is going to eat me!” Her big fat feathered body
bounced ridiculously from side to side as she dashed
around on long spindly legs.

“I thought you could fly,” I barked. “And you know
I’m not a rodent.” I chased her into a corner between
the water trough and the barn.

“I can’t fly in this wind, you fool,” she squawked.

“Excuses, excuses.” I got ready to pounce on her,
but she turned fast and hopped out of the way. Then
she ran straight for the henhouse.

“Oh, no, you don’t,” I muttered as I shot after her.
She would have to pay for that rodent remark.
The other animals always make rude comments
about my size, but I think they’re just jealous because
I get to sleep in the house with the people. I’m small,
yeah, but I’m a lot bigger than a rat. And I have a
much nicer tail.

“He’s coming this—squaaah!—way,” one of the
other chickens shrieked.

They had been pecking in the yard, trying to eat
up all the loose bits of corn before they were blown
away by the storm coming across the plains. Now, instead of eating, they scrambled frantically to get away
from me, squawking and flapping and looking about
as ruffled as they could possibly get. I loved it. I ran in
circles, snapping occasionally to keep them moving.
Then I saw one obnoxious old hen who had pecked
at Dorothy’s ankle last week. I really did want to bite
her. So, I opened my mouth extra-wide and headed
straight for her big fat chicken butt.

I had to stop when I heard that voice. It was Dorothy,
my pet girl.

“Stop something chickens, Toto,” she said.
With her flat face and small mouth, she can’t
really talk properly, but I still love her. Auntem and
Unclehenry, the other people, are always making her
work when what she really wants to do is roam the
fields with me, chasing grasshoppers and digging for
shiny beetles. She needs me to protect her from work.
If you do too much work, you end up dull and sad like
Auntem, or pinched and mean like the mean neighbor
with the pitchfork.

I want to protect my girl and keep her just the
way she is. I love everything about my Dorothy, from
the smell of her shoes to her sloppy habit of throwing
things everywhere. She throws a stick or ball, and I
have to go pick it up for her. Then, instead of putting
it away, she just throws it someplace else, and I have
to pick it up again. It makes no sense at all, and
sometimes I get tired of cleaning up after her. Still, I
love her, and I’ll do anything she asks.




Read more of the excerpt here, and check out the other tour stops for more reviews.

Pump Up Your Book tour: Justice Rules

I'm pleased to host Thomas White on his tour for his new novel, Justice Rules. Check it out below, and read the first chapter here (Ages 16+). You can also see his tour schedule.


About: Justice Rules book cover2

FBI Profiler Brian Wylie, a transplanted Southern Californian, finds himself deep in the woods of Eastern Washington investigating a brutal murder. Wylie discovers that the body, Levi Dalton, is an ex-con who had viciously attacked a couple in their Portland, OR home years earlier. While he was convicted of burglary, Dalton's savage rape and torture of the wife could not be proven. Further investigation leads Wylie to a victims support group named the Victims Advocacy Center and the beautiful Spokane office manager, Kathleen Welch. As Wylie soon learns there is more to this situation than meets the eye. The murder of Levi Dalton has lead to a series of missing or dead ex-cons, all of whom were accused of greater and more vicious crimes than they were convicted. As the action continues Wylie is plunged into a situation that involves his best friends treachery and the well-being of his teenage daughter. Ultimately Wylie is faced with the moral dilemma of pursuing victims of violent crimes as murderers and defending the vile men who have perpetrated unspeakable crimes. 


About the Author: Tom White Bio pict

Thomas is the author of two novels, Justice Rules, a finalist in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association 2010 Literary Contest and The Siren’s Song, to be release dearly 2011. He has also written several screenplays including A Stitch In Time, a finalist in the NCW Screenplay Contest. You can learn more at his website,

  Thomas began his career as an actor, which lead to a degree from the United States International University School of Performing arts in San Diego. A Cum Laude graduate, Thomas was also named to "Who's Who In American Colleges and Universities.

   He immediately hit the road and spent several seasons touring across the country with various shows, working as an actor, tech director, stage manager, scenic designer, lighting designer, sound designer and finally a director.

    Several years later Tom found himself as an Artistic Director for a theatre in Los Angeles and the winner of several Drama-Logue awards for directing. Additionally, Thomas has directed 2 national tours and had one shining night on Broadway.

    He directed and co-produced the world tour of"The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Coming Out Of Their Shells". The show toured for over two years, was translated into seven different languages and seen by close to a million children.

feeling a little guilty…

because see, my blog here is suffering greatly. I haven't posted much lately and I feel bad. :(




it's finals week at WCU, and starting Friday will be three weeks of doing nothing! well, knitting, reading, catching up with family, drinking hot cocoa, writing my books… so yeah, three weeks of doing nothing.


And when those weeks start, I'll have some cool stuff to talk about, some reviews to post, and some patterns to put up (and maybe some excerpts to share!)


so hang in there. two more finals to go!

Pump Up Your Book tour: Gods of the Machines

I'm excited to be a part of Pump Up Your Book's tour for Gary Strata's new novel, Gods of the Machines. Check out the rest of his tour here.













picDetective Sam Benson, a native New Yorker, is brash, opinionated and candid. Transplanted to work on Earth’s first colonized planet, he envisions a relatively peaceful job. But Benson’s ruthless nature might bring it to the brink of annihilation when a series of murders begins. He suspects a non-human is responsible—an android who once shared engrams with a psychopathic human. However, the detective doesn’t know other non-humans once called his new world—theirs. And as Benson obsesses with making a case against the android, he is oblivious to their return and the reason why they consider machines to be their gods.



The survey mission gave Carol and Dean ample time to sample more than just soil and plants; they sampled one another. Neither had planned on the suddenness of their affair, at least not Dean Flavin. A professional geologist, Dean volunteered to scout out the next settlement for Ceres colonists. An influx of civilians from Earth precipitated expansion, preferably to an area that boasted healthy soil and not too much rocky terrain. Carol Walker, a botanist by profession, agreed to collaborate with Dean, citing the survey would provide an excellent opportunity to collect and catalogue new plant species.


They were formally introduced three days before their departure. “I’m so glad to be taking the trip with you Dean. I’ve read all your journals and admire your work.” Carol, fawning over what Dean considered trivial accomplishments, held onto his hand, embracing it as if something more than admiration might be intimated. Dean was more capable of comprehending petrography—the study of rocks—than deciphering the desires of the female species based on a single handshake. Oblivious to Carol’s true intentions, Dean spent the next few days packing and prepping for rock collection.


For him to be involved in this mission, Dean and his wife Cindy sacrificed a week’s time—time they might have spent conceiving their first child. Dean swallowed his guilt and told himself his involvement was for the good of his future children. Time passed so quickly. Dean’s thoughts were consumed by the mission and pondering his time away from Cindy. Before he knew it, he found himself bidding his wife goodbye and setting off in a rover with a mere stranger.


All civilian couples were required to conceive a child within three years of their arrival date or face deportation back to Earth. They signed contracts agreeing to populate the planet as quickly as possible; in other words, the Earth’s governmental rulings mandated they be fruitful and multiply. Most Ceres couples went about this challenge with zeal; Cindy and Dean were having more than just frequent sex, and he missed her already.

Dean, caught up in the prospect of authoring field journals, didn’t notice the alluring glances from his new mission partner, Carol. The rover was a large vehicle designed to accommodate field missions, equipped with beds, a kitchen, living room and bath. Carol could have kept her distance from Dean—but she didn’t. She found small excuses for keeping him company in the rover’s combination navigation deck and living room. Ignoring her presence, Dean alternated his attention between several manuals and the vehicle’s view screen.


The rover was fast-approaching a majestic, purplish-colored mountain range. While the onboard computer navigated a course, Dean felt he needed to keep a personal watch on the rocky path ahead. Sensors blinking in ever more urgent patterns warned him a rough ride was imminent. The information both scared and encouraged him. He felt like a true pioneer. No other Ceres civilian or scientist had previously ventured this far from Reliance Point—the name of the first settlement—located about fifty kilometers away from the mountains. The initiation of a new settlement, beyond the mountain range, would place colonists forty kilometers from Ceres’ nearest ocean, in a southwesterly direction from Reliance Point.


As the rover maneuvered closer to its destination, Dean stopped perusing his tech manuals and focused his eyes solely on navigational controls. Carol, pining to win Dean’s attention, became agitated. She attempted to draw attention to herself by combing her long blonde hair vigorously. Perhaps it would release some of her angst.

Dean’s vigilance over the instruments was totally unnecessary. The onboard computer alerted the team of any dangers far in advance and make the required course corrections. Nevertheless, Dean kept watch not only on the rover’s view screen but on a small panel underneath it, which displayed data from infrared technology, showing radiation emanating from the soil. Dean Flavin hovered, he was a hands-on sort of guy, always excited to plunge his hands into soil or work diligently to pull a rock out of the ground using his might. His physical efforts were nonessential, yet Dean felt compelled to maintain a tactile touch with his work; to keep his heart in physical proximity with his desires, never to forget he was flesh and blood and that the exhilaration of touch often gave humans their most gratifying pleasures.


As he watched, Dean prattled on about how rock dating might give scientists an idea of how old Ceres was; Carol did not fail to acknowledge the importance of Dean’s observations by moving closer and placing her hand upon his thigh to assure the scientist of her solidarity.


About the Author:



Gary Starta is a former journalist who studied English and Journalism at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

His love for science fiction compelled him to write his first novel ‘What Are You Made Of?’ published in 2006. Inspired by Isaac Asimov, the science fiction novel focuses on intelligent artificial life and whether sentient androids should possess the same rights as humans. The androids in Starta’s novel are created as hybrids – part machine, part human – further blurring the line between human and machine. Starta foresees a near future where humans will be forced to decide if intelligent machinery is indeed a life form. Possibly, in this near future, some humans will possess computer enhancements to overcome disabilities becoming hybrids themselves. The line between biological life form and mechanical life form will continue to be examined in a follow up novel now being written.

Starta cites Stephen King and Dean Koontz as inspirations for his 2007 novel ‘Blood Web’ which is also reminiscent of the The X-files television/movie series. Contemporary authors Laurell K. Hamilton, Rachel Caine, Jim Butcher and Kelly Armstrong also fuel his aspiration to create paranormal suspense. The follow up novel to ‘Blood Web’ – ‘Extreme Liquidation’ explores Caitlin Diggs’ supernatural gifts including the ability to see the future in dreams and to read a person’s character through emotions.

Starta’s crime novella ‘Murder By Association’ blends mystery with forensic investigation. It is a departure from previous books because it contains no science fiction or paranormal elements. Additionally, Starta foresees his 2008 novella ‘Alzabreah’s Garden’ – a fantasy romance - as another out-of-the-box effort.

Follow-up: Mukluks

"Don't complain. Your father and I used to have to walk thirty miles to school every day, in ten feet of snow. uphill. both ways. WITH NO SHOES!"












Mothers have been telling whiny children these stories for years. One day, I will tell my kids this story:


That I had to walk a half a mile downhill in three inches of snow… But my feet were toasty because I was wearing Mukluks!




We're down to 17 degrees in Cullowhee, NC (Western Carolina University). It's been snowing since Sunday morning and hasn't gotten above 30-ish for a while. Right now we've got snow and wind outside. It's beautiful! it's also freezing, but it's beautiful. Luckily, my feet are fine. If I didn't have these shoes, I'd be walking to school in rain boots or sneakers, and they'd be soaked by now. They kept me from slipping on ice a few times, too. (that and my fantastical balance.) 14


Head over to CSN Stores and grab yourself a pair of Mukluks. See my review here.

Gomez's After-party!

“Instead of heading for the big mental breakdown,      I decided to have a little one every Tuesday evening.” –Gomez Porter


You are cordially invited to Gomez' online after party. It starts right now and runs till December 10th. You'll receive: - ‘Activated Carbon’ exclusive short story collection - Making of Gomez: behind the scenes eBook A kindle will be raffled off. Extra prizes for those who bring friends. Simply purchase your copy of "No Hope for Gomez!" from Amazon and forward your receipt to Find out the details HERE

About Me

   My name is Haley, also known on various social networking sites as Haleyknitz (I'm an avid knitter), Victoria (Victoria's riddles) and Jim Victoria on Facebook (...long story there).


I’m nineteen, waiting for my prince, I have homeschooled almost all my life and I love it. My family owns Art and Materials in downtown New Bern, NC. I attend Western Carolina University full time, and I am majoring in English with a concentration in Professional Writing. My plans for after graduation are still vague, but I'm considering publishing or editing.


I'm a Christian, though I'm not sure of my exact age of conversion. This does, of course, affect some of my reviews, so please be aware that I come from a Berean Christian perspective (Acts 17).


My favorite things to do are knitting, reading, bike riding, writing books, classical French and Russian ballet, horse back riding, designing websites, baking and decorating cakes, and playing the piano and the recorder by ear (I'm a jack of all trades!). My last name is mispronounced so many times (because it's French) that I don't mind anymore, so don't feel bad if you have no idea how to say it. I've got just enough Irish blood in me to explain the pale skin, green eyes, and hair that doesn't want to be red or brown but must be both. I'm a bit of a quirk, and have a tendency to ramble on... and on... and on... I talk to the voices in my head (don't get too scared I promise they won't hurt you) and when I get inspired to write a book, it takes over my life.



(online editorial reviews)


Lydia Dare series

My Unfair Lady


(quoted by the author)

Gifts of the Heart

The Light The Dark and Ember Between


The Diabetic Pastry Chef

Thumbing Through Thoreau

"No Hope for Gomez!" Birthday Party. Win kindles, iPods, and get free books!

“It's the age-old tale:     
Boy meets girl.     
Boy stalks girl.     
Girl already has a stalker.     
Boy becomes her stalker-stalker.”

Guest post from Graham Parke:

It's hard to believe, but it's been a year since I handed in the final proofs for my weird little book ‘No Hope for Gomez!’ To celebrate this, and the fact that it just became a finalist in 2010's Best Book Awards, I decided to throw an international party. As I’ve had a debilitating fear of throwing parties and no-one showing up since early childhood, I’d be more than delighted if you’d come! Of course, with every cool, international party comes a gift bag. Here's just some of the stuff attendants will get:

  • ‘Unspent Time’ exclusive short story collection
  • No Hope for Gomez: The Lost Chapters
  • Making of Gomez: behind the scenes eBook
  • Signed hi-res poster + bookplate
(These are all exclusive items and will not be available again.) Additionally, several lucky attendants will win a Kindle or an iPod! Oh yeah, you can bring as many friends as you like, just don't bring your crazy uncle who drinks too much and then tries to get me to go to the attic with him to see something wonderful. I've fallen for that before and I don't mind telling you, I came away very disappointed! Find out how to attend HERE.

You mean women are women, not men? We're supposed to be this way?

I'm reading a book called Captivating, about why women are the way we are. and by that I mean why we always feel like we're "too much but not enough at the same time" and why any time that any man tells us that we look even the slightest bit nice, it makes our day. maybe our week. Shoot I still feel good from last Thursday when a guy-friend texted me and told me I looked nice.

Captivating is helping me understand why, even though I'm trying to learn what it means to be single and serve God, why I still yearn to be married and loved and pursued. why it doesn't matter if it's a friend's 14-year old brother who thinks I have a nice smile or a 40-year old man in books-a-million who thinks I look too good in those jeans, or a person who I'm not particularly attracted to, if some man thinks I look nice, I feel special and desired and adored. why even when a guy likes me and I don't like him back, I still allow myself to be around him, because I want to feel pursued. and why I pretended to marry my best friend when I was three. (I swear I don't think anyone will ever let me live that down.)

and the constant question that goes through my head every day: what's so special about me anyway? why me? what makes me important? the answer is simple: God made me special, and He made me the way I am. I don't think, even after reading the first few eye-opening pages, that I fully understand that statement.

I look forward to reading the rest of this book. I'll certainly post my thoughts on it when I finish.

New mitten pattern

You guys know I'm addicted to knitting mittens :) here is the pattern I made for my Grandma for Christmas.

gma mittens

Grandma's Mittens



Review: Knitting Mochimochi

Knitting Mochimochi: 20 Super-cute Strange Designs for Knitted Amigurumi 
by Anna Hrachovec
Genre: Knitting
ISBN: 9780823026647
Published June 29th 2010 by Watson-Guptill
Rating: 4

The first time I saw this book, I thought "what on earth… seriously?" I flipped through and wondered who on earth I would make a knit TV for, why I'd ever make a knit pig in a wig, and what I would do with a knit sky scraper. But as I looked through it, I began to think about certain people, and how much they'd love the little things in this book. I mean, really, who wouldn't love a pair of slippers that look like they're eating your feet? Not only are there a bunch of adorable little creatures to knit, there are instructions on how to create your own stuffed creature pattern.

Recommendation: Intermediate to advanced knitters who have knit just about everything else, and are ready for something different.

Tour: Closure

I'd like to welcome Rie McGaha to The Life and Lies today for her virtual tour for Closure!


1) Why and when did you begin writing?

I have been writing as long as I can remember. I made up stories before I could write and when I could write I wrote poetry, stories, etc. I wrote my first full length story in the 8th grade. It was about a lady from Boston who came to the wild, Wild West to teach school and fell in love with the local sheriff. I have no idea what happened to it or what the title was. I wish I had saved it though because I'd like to see how my 13 year old mind worked!

2) What inspired you to write Closure?  

I had a few issues in my past that I needed a little closure on. Since I couldn't kill anyone myself, I eviscerated them in fiction!

3) How did you come up with the title?

Once you read the story you'll see it's pretty self-explanatory. Closure was actually the only title that fits. 

4) What books or people influenced your writing? Was it positive influence, or negative?

I guess everything can be a positive or negative influence in one way or the other but as far as other authors go, it's always been positive. I love James Patterson, Stephen King, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Steinbeck, Anne Rice, Karen Marie Moning, Sherrilyn Kenyon and many others. Each one has their own voice and style and each has been an influence in a different way but all positive. 

5) How do you go about researching for your books?

Thankfully we have this thing called the internet that is chock full of information on every subject. That's a lot different than the days when research was done in libraries using books, microfilm, magazines and newspapers.  

6) Did you base any of your characters on real people?

In Closure I did use real  people as characters, I also used some real events but I'll leave the readers to guess which is real and which is fiction. 

7) What’s the most exciting part about being a published author? What is the hardest part?

The most exciting part of course is getting a new contract. Every time I get a new one it's just like the first one. The hardest part for me is the promotions I have to do. It's not gotten easier at all and I still dread it! 

8) Do you have any other books planned in the future?

Absolutely. On Oct. 9th DEEP WITHIN MY HEART will be released from Silver Publishing. This one is an action adventure historical pirate romance! In March, ONE GOOD MAN  from eXcessica publishing will be released. This one is a bbw, contemporary romance set in Biloxi, MS. 

9) Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?

I love all my characters. My favorite character though is in one of my early works called DEADLY DREAMS from Noble Romance Publishing. His name is Lucius McKenna and he's a really bad, bad man! 

10) What advice can you give to young writers who want to publish their books?

Don't let the rejection letters discourage you. Keep writing no matter what because eventually you are going to meet the right publisher at the right time who is going to get you in a way no other publisher did and you're going to get that first contract. 

Just for fun:

1) What are your ten most favorite things?  MEDIA KIT author picture

1. Margarita Thursday's at our never know what day it's going to show up

2. The smell of fresh coffee in the morning

3. Baking goodies for my family

4. Wine Wednesdays

5. My grandchildren

6. My children

7. My dogs

8. Riding the motorcycle with my husband

9. My husband

10. Life ( and these are in no particular order!)

2) What do you do when you’re not writing?

Usually taking care of grandkids, dogs, husband, baking, cooking, gardening, hunting, fishing, or crocheting or sewing....I guess it depends on my mood! 

3) Do you have any pets?

I do. 3 cats and 8 dogs. 

4) What are your favorite (and least favorite) foods?

I have a lot of favorite foods like tacos, pizza, lasagna, etc. but my absolute least favorite and won't eat it even if it was the last food on earth and I was starving is macaroni & cheese. I like macaroni and I like cheese, but put em together and yuk!! 

5) Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?

I write in bed with the TV on. 

6) Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?

Not usually food, but I do like a cup of coffee or tea, or a margarita, depending on what I'm trying to write! 

7) If you could go anywhere in the whole world, either for a vacation or to live there, where would you go?


8) What was your favorite and least favorite subject in school?

My favorite has always been English and I hate math with a passion.  [Note from Haley: I'm actually seeing that this is a pattern in many of the authors I've interviewed!]

9) What book are you reading right now?

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare [Great book, great series!!]

10) Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.

My 33rd grandchild is due in May. Thank you for having me on your blog, it's been great.


Thank you Rie! Here's a little more about Closure: Cover Closure

High in the hills above Albuquerque, New Mexico Detective Zachariah Ellison arrives at the scene of a murder, and not just any murder, but one that definitely falls into the “gruesome” category even for a seasoned cop like Zach. When another body is found murdered in much the same fashion, Zach knows he’s got a serial killer on his hands, and to top it off he’s got an assistant district attorney hounding him about the case. As Zach tries to investigate the crimes while sidestepping nosey Amy Logan, a third body is found and Zach hasn’t a clue as to whom the perpetrator might be.

Amy Logan has worked hard to put herself through school and pay for law school on her own and now that she’s secured a position as assistant district attorney in Albuquerque, she’s determined to do everything she can to be the best prosecutor this office has ever seen. And as if luck was following her, she’s been assigned to the biggest homicide case the city has ever seen. The only problem she’s having is the homicide detective who’s leading the investigation—Zach Ellison.

Creative Writing Club

In creative writing club we had to create a scenario, swap it with someone, then write how we would survive the scenario we got from the swap. here is mine.

1.       We're on vacation to Southern Canada in January. We were  going to skiing. It didn't happen.

2.       We missed our first flight. We caught a second one. We arrived at the destination and it had been taken over by Japanese ice demons. We were attacked and driven out, all we have left is  rope, our clothes, some canned food, and one half empty lighter.

3.       There are demons everywhere. They can't fly or climb. So we climb a tree, build a woven mattress between the branches with the rope, and live up there until March.

4.       When plants start to grow, we collect leaves and branches, build a huge wall around the tree, and light it on fire. Not only does this keep the ice demons away, but it attracts the mounted police and they come and recue us.



college is awesome.

Three quick reviews

Warm Knits, Cool Gifts by Sally Melville and Caddy Melville Ledbetter

Genre: Knitting
ISBN: 9780307408730
Published: October 5th 2010 by Potter Craft
Rating: 4.5

Sally and Caddy share 35 of their inspiring family-friendly designs in this new pattern book filled with classic and colourful designs, expert technique tips and tricks and heart-warming personal stories. There are plenty of projects for everyone on every knitter's gift list: babies and children; husbands; and, of course women's garments and accessories. There are appropriate pieces for all occasions, from a hooded scarf to wear on winter walks to jumpers perfect for a cosy Christmas morning brunch. The beautiful photography, clear and encouraging instructions and diagrams and inspiring stories will make this another must-have knitting book for Sally and Caddy fans.

Great variety! there are kids clothing patterns and toys, sweaters and other patterns for men, feminine patterns, lace, scarves, coats, sweaters, Christmas ornaments and stockings, and nearly everything else you can think up. I love so many of these patterns and am so excited to make some of them.

Recommendation: The skill level ranges from second project for a beginner to advanced lace.


Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People by Amy Sedaris
genre: Craft, humor
ISBN: 9780446557030
Published November 2nd 2010 by Grand Central Publishing
Rating: 4

America's most delightfully unconventional hostess and the bestselling author of I Like You delivers a new book that will forever change the world of crafting. According to Amy Sedaris, it's often been said that ugly people craft and attractive people have sex. In her new book, SIMPLE TIMES, she sets the record straight. Demonstrating that crafting is one of life's more pleasurable and constructive leisure activities, Sedaris shows that anyone with a couple of hours to kill and access to pipe cleaners can join the elite society of crafters.
You will discover how to make popular crafts, such as: crab-claw roach clips, tinfoil balls, and crepe-paper moccasins, and learn how to: get inspired (Spend time at a Renaissance Fair; Buy fruit, let it get old, and see what shapes it turns into); remember which kind of glue to use with which material (Tacky with Furry, Gummy with Gritty, Paste with Prickly, and always Gloppy with Sandy); create your own craft room and avoid the most common crafting accidents (sawdust fires, feather asphyxia, pine cone lodged in throat); and cook your own edible crafts, from a Crafty Candle Salad to Sugar Skulls, and many more recipes.
PLUS whole chapters full of more crafting ideas (Pompom Ringworms! Seashell Toilet Seat Covers!) that will inspire you to create your own hastily constructed obscure d'arts; and much, much more!

Sedaris' newest book is incredibly inspiring. This craft book really does not have many explicit instructions, more like pictures and just enough information to get you thinking. Most of the projects I could figure out myself just by looking at them, some I had to think about a little more and work through it in my head, and a few I knew I'd have to actually find a pattern somewhere or create one. It's definitely more an inspiration book than an instruction book—although there are some awesome looking recipes, and they do have specific instructions. The lack of clarity in instructions is the only reason I give it four stars and not five.

Also, Sedaris' humor is a lot like her brothers, David Sedaris. It's mature, and there are a few sections in the book I wouldn't want my younger sister to see. The book is almost more a humor book than a craft book—there is a lot of verbiage, but it's worth reading. Sedaris is hilarious in her own twisted slightly morbid way. 

Content/Recommendation: few photos of what looks like extremely painful morbid injuries, and a section with sex. Ages 18+


Recipes for a Beautiful Life by Julie Keye and Madaline Hall
Genre: spa/health, inspirational
Published November 17th 2009 by BookSurge Publishing
ISBN: 9781439249703
Rating: 3.5

Calling upon verses and Psalms from the Bible, these inspirational messages are framed by breathtaking color photography of nature's splendor, including sun-drenched deserts, white-capped mountains, and people of all ages and ethnicities. A charming addition to these messages is a sumptuous array of natural recipes for the enhancement of a woman's beauty and relaxation, using simple ingredients found in one's home. A life open to God and filled with the beauty around you, sharing it with those you love, and finding time to relax so that you can be the best you can be: these are the "Recipes for a Beautiful Life".

Some of the verses had photographs that didn't match very well, and a few of the verses were so out of context that the meaning was much different. Only about one fourth of the book was recipes, and I'd have liked to see an even distribution between photographs and recipes. Content-wise, there were plenty of them, but they weren't formatted very well so they didn't take up much space. It gave an uneven feel to the book. The recipes themselves were great, though.

Is it Christmas yet??

Have I blogged about Christmas yet? Not this year! I'm already anxious for Christmas.

I love Christmas. It is truly my favorite holiday. And I'm not talking about the over commercialized Christmas that stores start selling stuff for before Halloween. Mostly, I love Christmas traditions and time with family and… well, ok… food. I love Christmas food. It's the best kind of food.

snowflake cake

You agree with me, yes? (I decorated that cake by myself by the way!… took a long time… can't wait to do it again this year!)

Every year my family has a HUGE Christmas party. When we lived in California and had a huge house we had twice as many people and four times as much food. Of course now we have fewer people, but it's still awesome. We have our friends from the church come over, and friends from other places too. My ballet teacher's family, our employees and teachers, the kids' school friends. Our (fake) tree is exploding with ornaments, the table is filled with food—and people bring more when they come—and there's always someone on the baby-grand piano—usually me or Hannah—playing Christmas hymns that the whole party sings to. Of course the main attraction is Mom's homemade eggnog. She makes two batches: the "kids" batch and the "Adult" (spiked, but not too spiked) batch. And as people slowly leave, Dad reads the Christmas story, and our closest friends stay and watch us open our Christmas pajamas (another one of those traditions).

You want to see the whole story on a greeting card?

So would I.

This would be the card I would use, replacing each photo with a great shot from the former year's party. Six pictures is enough to portray quite a lot of joy, isn't it?


Shutterfly has Christmas cards, New year's cards, thank you cards, and every other type of cards you can think of for an awesome price, envelopes included. Head on over there before the holidays and stock up while they still have free shipping on orders over $30 (Offer ends Nov. 3). I received free cards in exchange for this post. Receiving the cards does not influence my post.

Review: CSN Mukluks


4 Stars

I had the opportunity to use a coupon at CSN Stores, and I ended up getting an adorable pair of Mukluks. They're the tall size in the Godiva coloring.

CSN also offers a short size in Godiva, and a Vintage coloring in both sizes.

They are lined with a faux fur and extend to mid-calf. the drawstring on the front lets me tighten or loosen them so I can wear anything under them, from tights to leg warmers to jeans and I can tuck them in and tighten them comfortably.

The shoes themselves are made to regulate heat. when it's really cold, my feet stay warm, and when it's warm out, my feet can breathe and they don't sweat too much. They're also REALLY comfortable, and really cute.

The rundown of why I like them: 74098_457444766729_805041729_5415056_8223990_n

1. Warm—and I'll need it up here. Supposedly it gets down into the single digits.

2. really pretty. I love the fair isle patterning and coloring.

3. the warmth regulation is convenient, especially when it's cold in the morning, warm in the afternoon, and cold at night. I only have to wear one pair of shoes!

4. The adjustable drawstring front—I can wear them with any pants and trap the heat in.

5. the sole is about an inch thick: so even walking through cold puddles is ok, because the fabric of the shoe doesn't get wet.


Tiny complaints:

1. slippery when wet. I have to dry them off before I walk on a linoleum floor inside (or be very careful), because they're really slick.

2. the lining on the bottom moves a little under my toes, so it feels weird sometimes and I have to straighten it out.

3. They feel just a little on the big side. Most size 9-s fit me with a little room, but my feet are wide so it's ok. These almost feel like they're bigger than 9-s. But they've got room for thick socks!

4. Not a lot of arch support.


So the good certainly outweighs the not-so-good in this case. I love these shoes! I'll probably wear them from November to April (Supposedly it stays icy for a while up here). I'll do a follow-up post once the snow hits.

Review: Lips Touch: Three Times

Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor
Genre: Young Adult, paranormal/fantasy, romance
ISBN: 9780545055857
Published: October 1st 2009 by Arthur A. Levine Books
Rating: 5

Three stories. Three kisses, all with horrible—or wonderful?—consequences. Goblins hunt girls who long for what they don't have. The most beautiful voice can't be heard, even by a lover, or all who hear it will die. A young girl has been thrown into something she never chose, for a reason she doesn't know, with memories that aren't her own. Welcome to paranormal love.

These stories were fantastic. There were three things that stuck out about them:

1. None of them had happyland syndrome endings where everything wraps up perfectly. In fact only one of them ends at the end of the story: the others solve the main conflict and wrap up nicely. Taylor didn't have to write all the way to the end because I knew what was going to happen and was satisfied exploring the rest in my mind.

2. They pulled me into the story with the first sentence. There was no "I'm going to give this a try and maybe it'll be worth reading." No, it was enchanting and enticing from the first word, and it was because of the creativity in the prose and the language.

3. Great writing. Beautiful intricate descriptions that stuck with me and gave me the feelings Taylor wanted me to have—whether they be enticing and sensual, or terrifying and upsetting.

Here are my thoughts on the individual short stories:

Goblin Fruit

Really?… Wow… why was that so good even though it had a horrible ending?… and was it really that horrible? Yes, it really was. I had to double check and make sure that it really was the end! I'd been wondering for a while 'can an author write a good book with a good ending that isn't happy?' answer, Yes. Laini Taylor can.

Spicy Little Curses Such As These

This story was horrid and sweet at the same time. I had a thought of how the story would end, but the ending turned out to be much different. It wasn't perfect, but it was perfect enough to leave me smiling and feeling satisfied for the characters.

The Hatchling

I could not visualize how this story would have a happy ending, and it certainly wasn't perfect—there is one character whom I still fear for her sanity. But I was so amazed an the unwinding of the mysteries and secrets of the plot and was more pleased than I thought I would be with the conclusion.

For wonderful writing, creativity, and fantastic characters, I give this one five stars and two thumbs up—get it, first chance you can.

Content/recommendation: Ages 15+ for some language, little sensuality. No explicit violence or language, no sex.

This review is copyright Haley Mathiot and Night Owl Reviews 2010.

Some quick reviews

I'm going to post a few quick reviews (I'm slightly backed up.) but I'll still try to give you an idea of my opinion on all these things.

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary by David Sedaris
Genre: Humor
ISBN: (Hardcover 9780316038393;) (Audio 9781600244995)
Published: October 5th 2010 by Hachette Audio (first published September 17th 2010 by Hachette)
Rating: 4

David Sedaris always makes me laugh. His humor is centered around the kinds of things that people aren't really supposed to talk about, but he can get away with it because he is, after all, David Sedaris. If you like Sedaris and you've always been a fan of talking animals, this one is for you. If you've never heard Sedaris, you may or may not like him. His humor is certainly not for children and can be inappropriate. But then he seems to write inappropriate things just because he can. Recommended for ages 18+


Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder
Genre: Young Adult
ISBN: 9781416991687
Published: January 5th 2010 by Simon and Schuster
Rating: 4

Brooklyn's boyfriend Lucca died, and then her friend, Gabe, went off the edge because of it and died soon after. And now Gabe is scaring her in her dreams. Nico is being haunted by his brother Lucca, who is constantly telling him to help Brooklyn. But Brooklyn won't talk. Brooklyn is empty, and broken, and terrified. Nico has no choice but to chase after her if he wants to rescue her and let Lucca rest in peace. Then Nico begins to see why Lucca fell in love with her in the first place.

I liked Chasing Brooklyn more than I liked I Heart You, You Haunt Me. I think it was because there was another character involved that I liked. Nico was a great character. I still thought the ghosts interacting with the humans was a little over the top, but it wasn't as bad as IHYYHM. There was one aspect that could have been more developed, but for the sake of spoilers I won't explain in detail. Basically I wanted a little more direction out of her haunted dreams. But all in all, I tore through this book very fast, I enjoyed it, and I found myself re-reading sections. It had a good plot, great characters, and a wonderful ending.

Chasing Brooklyn is part of International Book Tours. Check out IBT for more reviews.


The Single Girl's Guide to Meeting European Men by Katherine Chloé Cahoon
Genre: Advice, informative, travel guide
ISBN: 9781608320585
Published: October 1st 2010 by Greenleaf Book Group Press
Rating: 4

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from The Single Girl's Guide. At first I thought it was a memoir, then a novel, then a collection of stories. Turns out it is actually a guide book for meeting European men! Yes ladies, there is hope for all of you American women who are tired of American men and want someone foreign.

Because I wasn't quite sure what to expect from TSGG, I can't really say it met or fell below my expectations. It was interesting (some of the stories were pretty funny!), There was definitely some good advice… but keep in mind that I'm certainly not the dating professional to ask (It's me remember?… the one who is having her father arrange her marriage? yes, I'm serious.) so I can't really tell you how well the advice will work. I will say that most of the "attention grabbers" are somewhat familiar to what has happened to me in the past, and I will say that through reading the stories, Cahoon seems like she knows what she's talking about.

This book is also a great travel guide. There are places to go, hours and phone numbers, and specific people's names mentioned to enhance your European adventure.

Review: Little Green Dresses

Little Green Dresses by Tina Sparkles
Genre: Sewing and craft
ISBN: 9781600851216
Published: September 14th 2010 by Taunton Press
Rating: 3.75

Never shop retail again with this chic and sweet collection of DIY patterns from a former host of DIY Network’s Stylelicious, Tina Sparkles. Joining the green movement was never so easy — and cost saving! With Sparkles’ stripped-down approach to patterning and sewing, the delightful dresses, tops, skirts, and pants in this fashion-forward project book will not only raise your eco-IQ, but open your eyes to new methods for sewing garments. Author Tina Sparkles, a talented and imaginative designer, offers up an array of project ideas that are both earth- and user-friendly. Readers can pick and choose the patterns that suit them best, from A-line, tiered, and bubble skirts to “body tube” dresses and “cap-sleeve cutie” blouses. Included are sewing and shopping resources and a fitting guide.

Little Green Dresses is a very creative interesting craft book. The instructions are good, and Tina has step by step instructions for how to cut or create your own patterns, or make your own based on the ones in the book.

As far as the dresses themselves: They are all very unique. It's hard for me to visualize how I personally would wear some of them. Some are really cool. I like most of them. Some are just odd.

But then I was never much of a fashionista. My sister used to match my clothes for me. And I'm amazed I haven't gotten kicked off campus for some of the things I've worn.

Still, most of the dresses have a very artistic appeal to them. Only a very few do I actually dislike.

The only reason I don't give this book a 4 or a 4.5 is because, although they are very creative and interesting, some are impractical and I can't really see someone wearing them for anything other than a very specific occasion.

Recommendation: intermediate/advanced seamstresses

Review: Tracy Anderson's 30-day Method

Tracy Anderson's 30-Day Method
Genre: Exercise
ISBN: 9780446562041
Published:September 20th 2010 by Grand Central Life & Style
Rating: 4.5

When reviewing fitness books, I look for books that tell the reader how to fully use their bodies. I really like Anderson's method for two reasons:

1. She knows muscles. She knows how they work, she knows how to train them. In the book, the concept of using certain muscles to perform an exercise is clearly explained. This is a crucial part of muscle training.

2. She had a good balance between aerobic exercise and anaerobic exercise, and she has put them together in a good way.

Anderson was a dancer, she also took Pilates (the right way) and I could see both of those influences in her method. Don't get scared away by that—even if you've never seen the inside of a ballet studio, you'd be just fine working her method! But there is a reason that it is said that dancers are the athletes of God: because they are. Combining cardio (aerobic exercise) with Pilates (conditioning) and dance (alternating engage-disengage exercise to increase stamina) is the perfect combination for weight loss and muscle toning.

Now how to get there if you have never experienced any of that?

Anderson breaks the book down into different sections. The exercise portion, where she fully explains every stretch, position, and movement, is well described for the absolute beginner. More athletic users or advanced athletes would benefit also, but they wouldn't have to read the descriptions of the movements in their entirety.

The DVD is very good: It features Anderson working the exercises in the book enough time to hear the description, see all the details, and do it yourself.

There is also a section in the book with some great meals. The first section is a very thorough introduction that I do not recommend skipping! You'll learn tons about your body! I was also amazed at how much research Anderson did to create this method.

The only thing I don't like: The cardio routine has no verbiage. I expected some talking, either voiceover or real time, with some counting or some description of what you should be doing. However, it was just music and Anderson dancing. It would take me, who has been dancing for almost five years, two or three times doing the DVD to get the combinations. It would be a lot more difficult and confusing for someone who doesn't have practice taking what they see and converting it for themselves.

The other thing I wanted to see more of was proper stretching techniques. I honestly have yet to find a book that explains how to properly stretch without injury (it is possible!). My recommendation to anyone who uses this awesome program: stretch well. Stretch correctly. Get a dancer or a sports doctor to give you advice if you need it.

Recommendation: Ages 14+  for anyone serious. This program takes time, energy, and commitment. If you can't commit to about two hours of your day, it's not for you. If you use the program, make sure you follow instructions very carefully to avoid injury! doing exercises incorrectly is a very fast way to end up in the physical therapists office (I can tell you that from personal experience, though not experience from this book).

Review: The Island

The Island by Elin Hilderbrand
Genre: General adult fiction, Romance
ISBN: 9781607882404
Published: Published July 6th 2010 by Hachette Audio
Rating: DNF

Summary from Goodreads: From New York Times bestseller Elin Hilderbrand, a new novel set on Tuckernuck, a tiny island off the coast of Nantucket.

Four women-a mother, her sister, two grown daughters-head to Tuckernuck for a retreat, hoping to escape their troubles. Instead, they find only drama, secrets, and life-changing revelations.

I read (listened to) about half of The Island before I put it down for one reason or another, and I just never picked it up again. What I did read, I enjoyed. It had good pacing, it had good plot in the first part of the story. If it had followed through with that the whole way, I would have given it about 4.5. But when the characters got to a certain point, I felt like I knew what was going to happen at the end of the story, and I really didn't want to bother reading to get there.

So in summary, I have mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand I enjoyed what I read, and on the other hand I put it down and didn't want to bother reading the rest. You make your decision based on your patience level I guess.

As far as the reader, it was a little slow and smiley sounding, but it wasn't hard to listen too.

Content/recommendation: Some language, ages 16+

This religious post is guaranteed to offend you.

no matter what side you're on, this one will bother you. I promise.


Normally I would post this on my personal blog, but I wanted people to hear about this. It's sad and disappointing. I was not the only one who fled to the girl's bathroom to sob after the experience.


First of all, the following I heard from a fellow classmate and his friends, who had been on campus for more than one of these experiences. There is a traveling evangelist who goes around to different college campuses all over the united states. he holds up signs that preach the gospel in a very unloving verbally violent offensive way such as "you deserve hell" and the like (I don't remember the exact verbiage.) He stands on the UC lawn and talks into a microphone, and has someone videotape it. He preaches until someone hits him, then he sues the school. That is how he funds his ministry.


Talk about using Christ for personal gain.


When I heard it back in September, it irritated me. I didn't really expect it to be so bad though.


He came to school today. And I did get a chance to talk to him, and the things he was saying to the other students were horrible. He was calling them evil horrible sinners, telling them things like "you are all going to burn in hell!" and stuff like that. One guy cussed him out, and he started fighting with him.


Jesus didn't act like that.


and that was what I told him. I told him that Jesus preached the truth in love. Jesus didn't fight with people. and yet he argued with me and then ignored me when I wouldn't go away. I was furious. I every muscle in my body was shaking and I was crying by the time I left. when the guy started ignoring me, one of his assistants started talking to me.


Eventually I just gave up and left. I cried in the bathroom for a good half hour. a few other girls came in and we talked and managed to calm down with each other's help, but for the rest of the day I've gone out of my way (WAY out of my way) to avoid walking past that area again. Last time I saw, the students were chanting something at him.


The thing that gets me is that he just made my job a whole lot harder. Now everyone who experienced that is going to have a bad vision of Christians and of Jesus Christ. I couldn't give a crap about my reputation—it's pretty much ruined anyway. But Jesus' reputation is seriously tainted.


One girl said he comes back every year.


and the police can't get him off campus. They tried, but because of freedom of speech they can't do anything until it gets violent.


For those of you who are hurt: please pray that God changes the heart of this guy and forgives him. Pray that God will use the Christians on my campus as tools to show the others what Jesus really acts like.


And for those of you who look down on Christians, and are hurt or angry because of the unlovingness of this man: I'm sorry. I promise we're not all like that.

Review: Last to Die

Last to Die by Kate Brady 
Genre: Crime Thriller
ISBN: 9780446541534
Published: August 31st 2010 by Grand Central Publishing
Rating: 4


(from Goodreads)

A ruthless killer hides in plain sight, portraying the ideal citizen while hatching a horrific plan. Sins of the past have come to light and now the time is right for revenge. Six desperate women will be brutally murdered as punishment for the secrets they've kept hidden...
Detective Dani Cole is devastated to discover that a young woman viciously killed in a local park was someone whose life she'd helped redeem. Her investigation becomes even more personal when it leads her to Mitch Sheridan, a renowned photojournalist. The two share a painful past...and an attraction that sparks as they race to find the killer. But danger is much closer than anyone imagines. For in the shadows, this calculating criminal has a new target: Dani Cole.


I enjoyed Last to Die. I remember enjoying One Scream Away more I think, but then it was last year. The plot was very well thought out and complex, and because of that and the somewhat unclear writing style, at times I just followed along and hoped it would clear up in the end. It did, and everything was explained. I wouldn't have understood what was going on if it hadn't been for alternating the viewpoints between the protagonists and the antagonists, though.


The ending with Dani and Mitch could have been a little more, I think. It almost felt a little empty, like it was lacking some physical or mental release of tension. In fact there could have been more between Dani and Mitch the whole way through… her falling for him for the second time seemed just too easy.


All in all though, the plot was great, the writing was readable though a little confusing at times, and the characters were likeable. Dani and Mitch (ok…especially Mitch) definitely hold a place on my list as top hero's.


Content/Recommendation: language, some sex. Ages 18+

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Right now at All Coffee Tables, you can get $100 off coffee table and end table sets of select brands!



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Keep your eyes open for a review coming soon.

NaNoWriMo is next month!!!

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. And I have absolutely zero time to write a 50,000 word novel. However, I might work on one anyway… Just to see how much I can do.


And in honor of NaNoWriMo, The Marshal Plan ® is hosting a contest!


Get a Fiction Makeover for National Novel Writing Month!

A Contest Sponsored by The Marshall Plan®


In celebration of National Novel Writing Month (November 2010), Evan Marshall and Martha Jewett, leading literary agents and authors of The Marshall Plan® Novel Writing Software and The Marshall Plan® for Novel Writing ebook, are sponsoring a contest for aspiring novelists. Send them a proposal for your novel for a chance at winning a free copy of the software and a free Fiction Makeover—professional advice on revising your material for better chances of a sale!


Contest rules:

Entrants must not have published a novel with a major commercial publisher. Submit the first 25 (no more!) double-spaced pages of your novel, any genre, along with a synopsis no longer than 1 single-spaced page. Send your material in one .doc file as an email attachment to: Submission deadline: November 15, 2010. Winners will be announced on November 30, 2010, on as well as Facebook and Twitter. Entrants who do not follow rules exactly will be disqualified.

Become a fan on Facebook and follow on Twitter for contest updates and writing tips.



2 Grand Prizes:

· The Marshall Plan® Novel Writing Software ($149 value)

· A copy of The Marshall Plan® for Novel Writing Ebook ($10 value)

· A Free Fiction Makeover for your novel proposal: top literary agents Evan Marshall and Martha Jewett will tell you what you need to do to get your novel published faster in today's competitive publishing climate.

3 Runner-Ups:

· A copy of The Marshall Plan® for Novel Writing Ebook ($10 value)


Click Here to learn more!


Are you planing on participating in NaNoWriMo? Find me on the website (username is Haleyknitz)

Fall Break!!! and other random updates

Wahoo! So I've survived almost six weeks of school :D It has totally flown by and I've enjoyed nearly every minute of it. The only part about college that I don't like is the weekends.


You heard me.


I really kind of hate weekends. There is nothing to do and nobody to hang out with. (well, the fact that I only have like six friends doesn't help that.)


Other then that, it's awesome.


Fall break is October 14-19th, and I'm going to attempt to do some serious reading. I think I'll try to read my Bible through in a week. I think I can… I calculated that it's only about 175 pages a day or so. and over the summer, I'd read 400-page novels in a day. I think I can pull it off.


I've also got some reviews to work on and some knitting projects to finish. More on those in a second. I have like… trash-bags full of yarn. But no money. The logical conclusion for Christmas gifts? knit them!


My sister is considering where to go to school next term… and the school she's looking at is actually my school's rival! She invited me to go with her to visit. I'm going to try to do so, and if I do, I'm going to wear my obnoxiously huge college sweater. Just because I can.


Here are the mittens I made:




Brownie points if you can guess what movie—inspired from a YA book—they're from.


Hint: it was the only part about the movie that I liked.


Keep your eyes open for some giveaways and reviews coming up!!

Cover lust

Yeah… these just make you want to staaaarrrreeee… hehe. love 'em.


















Steel by Carrie Vaughn




















The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney


Falling Under by Gwen Hayes



Paranormalcy by Kiersten White


Wake Unto Me by Lisa Cach

Review: Knitting at Home

Knitting At Home: 60 Classics from Ella Rae Designs by Leanne Prouse
ISBN: 9781933027999
Published: Published October 5th 2010 by Sixth&Spring Books
Rating: 5


Knitting At Home aims to be more than a knitting book with pretty patterns. Specifically, it aims to inspire and create a desire to satisfy creativity. It accomplishes this wonderfully. There isn't a pattern in Knitting at Home that I don't like, and there are several I'm itching to start on.


The book has six sections: A Room for Living, Relaxing, Sharing, Retreating, Little ones, and It's the Weekend. Each one has a great collection of patterns.


There was a good variety of patterns in the book, between socks, fingerless mitts, bags, and decorations for the home. There were also a lot of throws and blankets. Now I've never made a blanket… but after flipping through this book a few times, I've never wanted to make one so badly (Alas, most of my yarn is at home and I'm stuck at college). Same with pillows. I never understood the idea of knitting a pillow, but when seen in the photographs in the book and when I saw the beautiful patterns, I desperately wanted one! There are also some beautiful sweater patterns, some nice socks, a cute pair of slippers, and even some felted stuffed dolls.


The patterns and the whole feel of this book drips creativity and inspiration: everything from the layout to the font to the color schemes. Both Leanne Prouse and her artistic director did a great job on Knitting at Home.


Recommendation: beginner to experienced knitters who like larger projects and projects for the home.


Knitting at Home is published on October 5th by Sixth&Spring books. Click here to pre-order!

Review: Dingle

Dingle: The Helpful Ice Cream Cone Delivery Dog 
by Audrey Kinsella
Genre: Children’s literature
ISBN: 9781449083625
Published: June 1st 2010 by AuthorHouse
Rating: 1

Dingle was a cute dog, and the characters in the story were likeable… but this book had the worst sentences I’ve ever read in a children’s book. It was mostly made up of fragments, and it made it hard to understand, even for me. And of all books to have fragments, a children’s book isn’t the one. I understand Adult literature… because Adults have a good understanding of the English language. But in the years where a child’s vocabulary and sentence structure are being formed? No, not a good idea.

Also, the pictures looked like clip art with speech bubbles. And I wasn’t sure what the whole speech bubble thing was about anyway. Was she trying to make it like a graphic novel? The words were printed in the speech bubbles, and then again at the bottom of the page, in blue or black ink, in a white box. I just didn’t understand, and it was distracting.

Spotlight: Self Publishing?

Self Publishing is becoming more common and more popular. What are the pros and cons, and what should you remember before you consider self publishing? Liberal Arts Colleges just published an article called Ten Things To Consider Before Self Publishing. Check it out at the link.

Liberal Arts Colleges also has lots of other articles you may find interesting about dating, food, test prep, and other stuff.

Guest Post: Sharon Dogar

Today I'm pleased to welcome Sharon Dogar, author of upcoming release Annexed, to The Life and Lies.
Publication Date: Oct 04, 2010
Annexed by Sharon Dogar (Houghton Mifflin Children’s Book Group; October 4, 2010) is a compelling and devastating novel that tells the Anne Frank story from the point of view of Peter van Pels, the teenaged boy who also hid in the annex. From the claustrophobic attic where the two teenagers fell in love, to their betrayal and deportation, and on through the unspeakable brutality of the death camps, this novel is an original and riveting contribution to Holocaust literature.
Dogar hopes Annexed will encourage contemporary young adults to learn more about the people in the attic and the camps; that they will go read Anne’s diary; and that what they learn about the Holocaust and its victims will ensure that this horrific chapter in human history is never repeated.     
Peter van Pels
By Sharon Dogar,
Author of Annexed
What we know of Peter van Pels is almost entirely limited to Anne Frank's diary, and her own personal view of him. He was, it seems, a shy boy, helpful and good with his hands. Reading between the lines of Anne's diary I've tried to imagine what Peter was "really" like. How do I do that? Here's an example: on Peter's arrival in the Annex, Anne describes him as a "hypochondriac" who "won't amount to much." She's fed up and dismissive of his histrionics, as most clever, early adolescent girls would probably be.
Anne describes a boy who sleeps all the time, lacks any type of motivation, has strange physical symptoms and believes he might be dying. If a child in my counseling room felt this way, I'd suspect depression. In fact, from an occupational point of view Peter's depression makes sense; it's a reasonable response to real events. Having to go into hiding to save your life isn't merely depressing, it's terrifying. Peter's "symptoms" and his fear that he's "dying" reflect the reality of both his own situation and of those in the attic. It's possible that this is partly what makes Anne so angry and dismissive of Peter, she doesn't want to be reminded of how dire a situation she is in (not at this stage). She wants to believe that she's safe. Peter's constant 'whinging' (as she calls it) keeps on reminding her that she's in danger.
We all have our own ways of managing fear and difficulty. Anne creates a safe fantasy world for herself (as many writers do) whilst Peter turns his distress into physical symptoms. Looked at in this way, Peter's character takes on a potentially different meaning from the one presented by Anne.
By carefully considering Anne's brilliantly vivid descriptions of Peter, and analyzing what they might mean, I slowly created a picture of how I thought Peter might be, and he came to feel very real to me. Most writers have that feeling of "hearing" their characters voices. Peter's voice (as I heard it) was quiet, thoughtful, questioning, full of feeling and in the end, quite stubborn and determined to be his own person. I can't, of course, know what the "real" Peter van Pels was like, but then again, how well do any of us know each other? How well did Anne know him, and how much was her view coloured by her own needs and desires?
I miss thinking and writing about Peter. I will always feel heart-broken and horrified at the waste of his young, promising life, and the lives of millions of others that the Nazis judged worthless. When it came to researching, imagining and writing about Peter's life in the camps I already felt very close to the character I'd created. I no longer really wanted to take the novel (and Peter) on into Auschwitz. I put off writing every day. I read survivor's testimonies. I went for long walks. I had very bad dreams. I decided that if I was going to go on, and imagine a life in the camps for Peter, then I had to make sure that every part of the "story" of what happened was rooted in reality.  I studied the mechanics of life as a Jewish inmate of Auschwitz. I also realized that in imagining an ending for one person -- Peter van Pels -- I could try to describe the horror and systematic destruction of human life that was a Nazi concentration camp. And so I began to write the final section of the novel. It was written very quickly, almost in one go, and the words came surprisingly easily. Nonetheless, it's not something I would want to do again.
It may sound odd, but for me a part of the horror of human mass destruction is the total disregard those who kill fellow human beings show for the story that each and everyone of us holds within us; the story of our life. So in the end I gave Peter a story. It's probably not the story he would have told himself, but it tries to acknowledge that his story did not end with his arrest on August 1st, 1944, and that there is a story to be told. It may be horrific, it may not be something we want to think about, but Peter, and millions like him had no choice, they had to live it, and unlike the survivors who can give testimony, they died. In their millions. That doesn't mean that they can't be thought about, or that we don't have the right to imagine their story; for me it was the opposite, I felt compelled to create a story.

© 2010 Sharon Dogar
, author of Annexed

Author Bio
Sharon Dogar
, author of Annexed, is a children's psychotherapist who lives in Oxford, England, with her family. She discovered Anne Frank's diary as a child and then again recently when her daughter started reading it. While writing and researching this book, she spent many hours soaking up the atmosphere of the Annex. This is her third novel for young adults.
For more information please visit


Copyright 2016 Haley Mathiot. All reviews are 100% honest and unbiased. One or more items featured in the blog post may have been free or discounted. Receiving free or discounted product does not affect review. For more please see my disclaimer page.