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Top Reads for 2013 & International Giveaway – 3 winners
Dec 31st, 2013 by Liza Wiemer

My 2013 Top Reads & International Giveaway

(For international entries, winner must be from a country that The Book Depository services. 3 winners will get to choose 1 book.)

I read and reviewed on Goodreads 176 books during 2013. Click here to see MY LIST

So, it’s not easy to pick favorites or top reads. Every book has something special – perhaps a character, the setting, an experience, the cadence, the prose, an ending. And what I love most about being a reader, writer, and author is knowing there is a book for everyone. I’m going to share books that resonated with me based on my own categories, in no particular order:

Best Contemporary YA Novels:

WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE by Trish Doller

DARE YOU TO and CRASH INTO YOU by Katie McGarry

THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY by Katja Millay

Contemporary YA Series <3:

JUST ONE DAY and JUST ONE YEAR by Gayle Forman

YA Novel that Blew Me Away:

RECLAIMED by Sarah Guillory

Biggest Surprise Favorite:

THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN by Holly Black

Best Historical YA Novel:

CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein

Best YA Novel for Reluctant Readers:

BOY NOBODY by Allen Zadoff 

Best YA Novel Dealing with Serious Issues:

CHASING SHADOWS by Swati Avasthi

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT by Colleen Clayton

Best YA Novel Dealing with Family Issues:

THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS by Sarah Ockler 

Favorite YA Series for Time Travel:

TIME BETWEEN US & TIME AFTER TIME by Tamara Ireland Stone

Favorite YA Fantasy Series (Finished):

Covenant Series by Jennifer Armentrout

Favorite YA Fantasy Series (Unfinished):

DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE Laini Taylor

SHADOW AND BONE 

Favorite YA Dystopian Series (Finished):

LEGEND, PRODIGY, and CHAMPION by Marie Lu

Favorite YA Dystopian Series (Unfinished):

UNDER THE NEVER SKY and THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT by Veronica Rossi 

Favorite YA Summer Reads:

FROM WHAT I REMEMBER by Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas

CAMP BOYFRIEND by JK Rock

Favorite YA Endings:

HOW TO LOVE by Katie Cotugna

THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY by Katja Millay

Other YA Greats:

FANGIRL and ELEANOR AND PARK by Rainbow Rowell

YA Series I’m Excited to See What Happens Next:

UNBREAKABLE (Legion Series) by Kami Garcia

CRASH (Visions Series) by Lisa McMann

Best Adult Novels:

THE GIRL YOU LEFT BEHIND by Jojo Moyes

LOOKING FOR ME by Beth Hoffman

Best Memoir:

MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH EATING by Ann Mah

A Surprise Like – Adult Novel:

HOW TO KILL A ROCK STAR by Tiffanie DeBartolo

Favorite NA Contemporary Novels:

TRUST IN ME by Jennifer Armentrout 

SLAMMED by Colleen Hoover

Best MG Novel:

DOLL BONES by Holly Black

Best YA Audiobook:

BEAUTY QUEENS by Libba Bray

Best YA Audiobook Series:

DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor

SHADOW AND BONE by 

Best Adult Audiobook:

THE THINKING WOMAN’S GUIDE TO REAL MAGIC by Emily Croy Barker

 

Must read books for 2014 (ARCs I read in 2013)

YA – BETTER OFF FRIENDS by Elizabeth Eulberg (February)

YA – WHAT I THOUGHT WAS TRUE by Huntley Fitzpatrick (April)

MG – WHAT THE MOON SAID by Gayle Rosengren (February)

ADULT – THE YELLOW EYES OF CROCODILES by Katherine Pancol (December 31, 2013)

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THE NOVEL CUISINE LUNCHEON ’13 & Giveaway!
Dec 18th, 2013 by Liza Wiemer

The table is set with all the books that inspired the menu for the luncheon.

The table is set with all the books that inspired the menu for the luncheon.

THE 3rd ANNUAL NOVEL CUISINE LUNCHEON ’13

This year, authors, bloggers, librarians from Wisconsin and Illinois came together for The Third Annual Novel Cuisine Luncheon. Kelly of Belle of the Literati, Monica of Fuma Files , Erin and Jaime of Fiction Fare and the Fiction Fare and Swoony Boys Readalong, Author Gayle Rosengren – WHAT THE MOON SAID, Erica of The Book Cellar, Amanda, librarian in Stoughton, Anuradha teacher/writer, Rachel of Tiger Lily Rachel, Sarah from Novel Thoughts, Andrea of Mrs. Payan Reads, Heidi of YA Bibliophile, & Me!

All the recipes were inspired by a book. Just One Day, by Gayle Forman, Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller (2 recipes), What the Moon Said by Gayle Rosengren, The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler, Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg, The Distance Between Us by Kasie West, Reclaimed by Sarah Guillory, Wait for You, Trust in Me by Jennifer Armentrout, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heidi prepping for the party.

Heidi prepping for the party.

 

The awesome Heidi from YA Bibliophile came over on Saturday. After we spent several hours in the living room reading, we headed out to see THE HOBBIT II, and then we spent the rest of the night and into the early morning laughing and cooking and talking. We discovered that we’re cooking soul mates and dubbed “Modified Marthas.” Many of the things we made, were a first for us. Empanadas, Bubble Tea, Pastitsio, Galaktoboureko. All the recipes except for two were found on the Internet. The exceptions were Elizabeth Eulberg’s mom’s Cheese Ball from BETTER OFF FRIENDS – YUMMMMMMMM!!!!! and chocolate walnut cookies from WAIT FOR YOU and TRUST IN ME by Jennifer Armentrout. That’s a recipe I ended up creating based on several different recipes that I found on the net. Since Cam said that these cookies were better than sex, Heidi and I brainstormed names and came up with Cam’s Better Than Sex Chocolate Walnut Cookies.

menu

17228280HUGE THANKS TO:

Wisconsin born and raised author Elizabeth Eulberg: Twitter, Blog, Goodreads for supporting this event. Her publisher, Scholastic, provided ARCs of latest YA novel BETTER OFF FRIENDS. Her Wisconsin event for BETTER OFF FRIENDS will be held at Boswell Books on February 25th!

What the moon said

 

Wisconsin author Gayle Rosengren: Twitter, Blog, Goodreads for attending the event. Her publisher G. P. Putnam’s Sons provided ARCs of her MG novel, WHAT THE MOON SAID!

One lucky winner will receive an ARC of each of these novels.

(See Rafflecopter below.)

 

 

RECIPES:

Elizabeth Eulberg’s mom’s Cheese Ball recipe as found in BETTER OFF FRIENDS

Cheese Ball

Cheese Ball

cheeseball

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cookies

Cam’s Better Than Sex Chocolate Walnut Cookies, inspired from WAIT FOR YOU by Jennifer Armentrout

 Cam’s Better Than Sex Chocolate Walnut Cookies inspired from Wait for You by Jennifer Armentrout:

I adapted one recipe to create this one:

5 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate – I used Scharffen Berger Brand

1/2 stick butter

1 1/2 cups flour

1/4 cup 100% cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup chocolate chips

30 whole walnuts, lightly toasted in the oven at 300 degrees – approximately 5 minutes.

1/4 cup powdered sugar

Melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave safe container at 1/2 power. Stir until smooth. Mix flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Beat together eggs and sugar, then add melted chocolate/butter mix and vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients. Add chocolate chips, stir in with a spoon. Put the dough in the refrigerator for an hour. It will firm up! Take a tablespoon of dough and flatten in a circle in the palm of your hand. Add toasted whole walnut and fold over chocolate dough. Roll into a ball, completely covering the whole walnut. Cover the entire ball in powdered sugar. Place dough on greased cookie pan. Bake cookies at 350 for 8 minutes.  After 8 minutes gently use a fork to flatten the dough to a 1/2 inch thick. Bake for another 2 minutes, then cool cookies on a cooling rack.

Bubble Tea

Bubble Tea

Bubble Tea inspired by THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN by12813630 Holly Black: Here’s the recipe we used: Drinks Mixer

Potato Pancakes with Raspberry Jam (use any quality brand) inspired by WHAT THE MOON SAID by Gayle Rosengren

4 cups shredded potatoes

Fondue, cornbread, crepes, and potato pancakes

Fondue, cornbread, crepes, and potato pancakes

2 eggs

1/8 cup flour

1 diced small onion (I didn’t use it for this meal, but I do recommend including it for flavor)

Mix all ingredients together. Spray a cookie pan with vegetable oil. Spoon out a 1/4 cup of potato mixture. Flatten to about 1/4 inch thick. Bake at 425 degrees until the top is brown – about 10 minutes. Flip over with a spatula and brown the other side.

Crepes au Citron inspired by JUST ONE DAY by Gayle Forman

Recipe used: Martha Stewart

 

 

EmpanadasVegetarian Empanadas inspired by THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS by Sarah Ockler

Recipe adapted from Vegetarian Empanadas

Vegetarian Pastitsio inspired by WHERE THE STARS STILL 15826648SHINE by Trish Doller

Pastitsio

Pastitsio

Recipe used: Food.com 

Creamy Custard Pie (Galaktompoureko) inspired by WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE by Trish Doller

Recipe used: Greek Recipes.TV

Hot chocolate inspired by THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US by Kasie West – I used Omanhene Brand

 

 

 

16045763

Cornbread inspired by RECLAIMED by Sarah Guillory

Recipe used from All Recipes

 

Cheese Fondue as found in Ann Mah’s MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH EATING: Check out Ann Mah’s Blog. Here’s the recipe straight from Ann’s book:

Fondue

17675004

Giving Back:

One of the suggestions that Heidi had was for us to collect books and donate them to a school in need. I found about Hmong American Peace Academy, a school in Milwaukee desperate for books and in the middle of a library campaign. The school services over 1200 students in K-4 through 12th grade. Over seventy-five books are already in the hands of students.

More photos:

Book Talk:

We utilized best-books-2013Jamie from Perpetual Page Turner’s end-of-the-year survey:

Click here: Jamie’s 2013 End of Year Book Survey 

Q: Best book you read in 2013:

Daughter of Smoke & Bone, In Darkness, The One and Only Ivan, The Testing, The Burning Sky, Sea of Tranquility, Reclaimed, Second Chance Summer, Crown of Midnight, This Song Will Save Your Life, Defy, Things I Can’t Forget, If I Find Me, Tell The Wolves I’m Home, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Where the Stars Still Shine, The Winner’s Curse, Covet, Hopeless, Goodbye Rebel Blue, This Journal Belongs to Ratchet, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Q: Most surprising (in a good way) book of 2013:

Etiquette & Espionnage, Easy, Dear Cassie, Strands of Bronze and Gold, Six Months Later, Reclaimed, The Absolute True Diary of a Part-time Indian, Tangled, Alice in Zombieland, Uninvited, Unearthly, Stir Me Up, Ruby Red, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

Q: Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2013:

Code Name Verity, The Book Thief, Allegiant, Champion, If He Had Been With Me, Second Chance Summer, This Song Will Save Your Life, Things I Can’t Forget, Sea of Tranquility, The Fault in Our Stars, Me Before You, If I Stay

Q: Books you are most anticipating in 2014, non-debut:

The Worlds We Make,  No Surrender Soldier, Dreams of Gods and Monsters, Landline, Ruin & Rising, Panic, Isla and the Happily Ever After, On the Fence, Ignite Me, Split Second, Into the Still Blue, Dissonance

GIVEAWAY: (US & Canada ONLY)

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Holiday #Readathon Wrap Up
Dec 10th, 2013 by Liza Wiemer

FOURTH ANNUAL

HOLIDAY #READATHON

December 6-8, 2013

WRAP UP!!

Wow, what an amazing THREE DAYS! We set a record number of 130 participants! We had 20 mini-challenges and giveaways from 5 authors and 15 bloggers.

Thank you authors:

Tamara Ireland Stone (Time Between Us and Time After Time), Cylin Busby (Blink Once and The Year We Disappeared), Laurie Viera Rigler (Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict and Rude Awakenings of A Jane Austen Addict), Alan Day (The Horse Lover), and Lenore Appelhans (The Memory of After and Chasing Before)

Thank you bloggers:

Erin and Jaime (Fic Fare), Kassiah and Meg (Swoony Boys Podcast), Gaby (Queen Ella Bee Reads), Katelyn (Kate’s Tales of Books and Bands), Jenny (Supernatural Snark), Kai (Fiction State of Mind), April (Good Books, Good Wine), Courtney (Stiletto Storytime), Heidi (YA Bibliophile), Jen (Jenuine Cupcakes), Stacy (Girls in the Stacks), Monica (The Fuma Files), Joli (Actin’ Up With Books), and of course, ME!

Huge thank you to Books of Wonder – the best INDIE bookstore for purchasing signed books from your favorite children’s and YA authors.

bowonder_logo

And we burned up the Twitter feed during the Twitter party – #Readathon was TRENDING!!!!!!

Thanks to author Laurie Viera Rigler for emailing me this screenshot!

Thanks to author Laurie Viera Rigler for emailing me this screenshot!

Twitter Party Winners:

 

 

 

The winners of the general drawing for the Books of Wonder signed books are:

Katelyn @KatelynTorrey

Kimberly of @kimbacaffeinate

Lisa @heylisarenee

The winners of one of my favorite books read in 2013:

Beckie: @SyCo4Twilight

Cheyenne: @chaiann77

Books I read:17228280

Started before the Readathon and finished during:

PAWN by Aimee Carter – My review here: Goodreads

BRADLEY WIGGINS: My Time – An Autobigraphy

WHAT THE MOON SAID by Gayle Rosengren – My review here: Goodreads

Started and finished during the Readathon:

JUST ONE YEAR by Gayle Forman – My review here: Goodreads

PLAYING DIRTY by Jennifer Echols

BETTER OFF FRIENDS by Elizabeth Eulberg – My review here: Goodreads

YOU KNEW ME WHEN by Emily Liebert – My review here: Goodreads

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