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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!

 

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.

 

Excerpt

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
annoying.


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.


“Toto!”
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, www.justice-rules.com

  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. :(

 

but!

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis

 

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.

 

Excerpt:

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:

 

pic1

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!

 

snow

 

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 nohopeforgomez@gmail.com. Find out the details HERE

Disclaimer

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.