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BEST SERIES BLOG HOP: My choice: THE DREAM CATCHER’S SERIES by Lisa McMann
Mar 31st, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

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BEST SERIES BLOG HOP

Presented by CUDDLEBUGGERY

My choice: THE DREAM CATCHER’S SERIES by Lisa McMann and International Giveaway!

More about Lisa McMann:

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It’s always so hard for me to choose just one of anything when it comes down to favorite novels, let alone series! There are so many! So, I decided to go back in time to the FIRST SERIES I EVER READ! It’s the DREAM CATCHER SERIES by Lisa McMann, Wake, Fade, Gone. These books had a profound impact on me as I fell in love with reading YA! So thanks, Lisa!1661957

Fade

 

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Review: Dated January 24, 2010 – The last statement, about sitting down with Lisa McMann? It happened when she came to Milwaukee! I adore Lisa. She’s dynamic, kind, fun to be with! Her books are fantastic. I recommend all of them.

About the series:

WAKE: 

From Lisa’s website: For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people’s dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie’s seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.

She can’t tell anybody about what she does — they’d never believe her, or worse, they’d think she’s a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn’t want and can’t control.

Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else’s twisted psyche. She is a participant….

FADE:

From Lisa’s website: For Janie and Cabel, real life is getting tougher than the dreams. They’re just trying to carve out a little (secret) time together, but no such luck. Disturbing things are happening at Fieldridge High, yet nobody’s talking. When Janie taps into a classmate’s violent nightmares, the case finally breaks open–but nothing goes as planned. Not even close. Janie’s in way over her head, and Cabe’s shocking behavior has grave consequences for them both.

Worse yet, Janie learns the truth about herself and her ability. And it’s bleak. Seriously, brutally bleak. Not only is her fate as a Dream Catcher sealed, but what’s to come is way darker than she’d even feared…

GONE:

From Lisa’s website:

Janie thought she knew what her future held. And she thought she’d made her peace with it. But she can’t handle dragging Cabel down with her.

She knows he will stay with her, despite what she sees in his dreams. He’s amazing. And she’s a train wreck. Janie sees only one way to give him the life he deserves–she has to disappear. And it’s going to kill them both.

Then a stranger enters her life–and everything unravels. The future Janie once faced now has an ominous twist, and her choices are more dire than she’d ever thought possible. She alone must decide between the lesser of two evils. And time is running out…

He reaches toward her, his fingers black and bloody, his eyes deranged, unblinking. Janie is paralyzed. His cold hands reach around her neck, squeezing tight, tighter, until Janie has no breath left. She’s unable to move, unable to think. As his grasp tightens further around Janie’s neck, his face turns sickly alabaster. He strains harder and begins to shake.

Janie is dying.
She has no fight left in her.
It’s over.

From Goodreads:

I have been thinking about writing a review of WAKE for quite some time. Lisa McMann’s Wake series is absolutely BRILLIANT. I have read FADE too, and felt the exact same way. The situations she presents in the books re: drinking, sex, date rape drugs etc. are definitely right in line with what is happening with many teens today. I have pre-ordered GONE and am looking forward to it. REALLY!
This is strictly an observation – the F word is used a lot. As a writer, I can only assume that this is the voice that Lisa heard from her characters, and I deeply respect that need to be authentic to that voice. At times I found the F word distracting – but that’s me. To swear or not to swear is debated all the time among YA authors.
The bottom line is this – the concept for this series – helping people by changing the outcome of their dreams – is absolutely inspiring. I wish Lisa McMann tremendous success and if I am lucky will some day sit down to a cup of Starbucks coffee with her at some writers’ conference or book fair!

Crazy, but I never reviewed GONE! But readers, you have to know that I loved it! I love this entire series. So, here’s your opportunity to get a paperback copy of each book.

International Giveaway (As long as I am able to use The Book Depository)

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Review: MARGOT by JILLIAN CANTOR
Mar 30th, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

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Review: MARGOT

by JILLIAN CANTOR

Buy the novel:

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From Goodreads:

Anne Frank has long been a symbol of bravery and hope, but there were two sisters hidden in the annex, two young Jewish girls, one a cultural icon made famous by her published diary and the other, nearly forgotten.

In the spring of 1959, The Diary of Anne Frank has just come to the silver screen to great acclaim, and a young woman named Margie Franklin is working in Philadelphia as a secretary at a Jewish law firm. On the surface she lives a quiet life, but Margie has a secret: a life she once lived, a past and a religion she has denied, and a family and a country she left behind.

Margie Franklin is really Margot Frank, older sister of Anne, who did not die in Bergen-Belsen as reported, but who instead escaped the Nazis for America. But now, as her sister becomes a global icon, Margie’s carefully constructed American life begins to fall apart. A new relationship threatens to overtake the young love that sustained her during the war, and her past and present begin to collide. Margie is forced to come to terms with Margot, with the people she loved, and with a life swept up into the course of history.

My Review:

What would have happened if Anne Frank’s sister Margot had lived?

Jillian Cantor asked that question and came up with a brilliantly imagined story that seems plausible. Instead of dying in the Holocaust, Margot survives and moves to Philadelphia. There, she takes on a new identity as Margie Franklin, a non-Jewish woman who is from Poland. She ends up working for a Jewish law firm and falling for Joshua, the attorney she works for. He definitely is interested, but not so interested that he would give up his Jewish girlfriend for a non-Jew. (This was difficult or Margot, because she desperately wanted to identify with other Jews, but had suffered so much that it was hard to reveal her secret. (Margie had a number tattooed onto her arm, which she kept hidden underneath clothes. She suffered from a tremendous amount of survivor guilt and was often profoundly lonely.)

The characters in this novel really resonated with me. Cantor showcased antisemitism and discrimination that was prevalent in the US in the 1940s and 50s. Having interviewed Holocaust survivors, Cantor was spot on in her depiction. There is a great cast of Jewish and non-Jewish supporting characters for readers to find likable and interesting.

Bravo to Jillian for being brave and daring to imagine a different ending for Anne Frank’s sister Margot. Obviously, it’s pretend, but in pretending it helps to keep the memory of Anne Frank, Margot Frank, and the others who died in the Holocaust in the forefront of our minds. It also makes you ask the question, what if they had lived? What would they have contributed to this world? Maybe we could all be a little kinder to one another. And wouldn’t it be a miracle if genocide would exist no more!

About Jillian Cantor:1651861

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FLASHBACK FRIDAY (10): THE FINAL FOUR by Paul Volponi
Mar 28th, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

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To learn more about Flashback Friday, check out FICTION FARE

11699202The Final Four by 

Pub. Date: March 1, 2012

Publisher: Viking Juvenile

Buy it here: Barnes & NobleAmazon, IndieBound

Author’s website

From Goodreads:

Four players with one thing in common: the will to win.Malcolm wants to get to the NBA ASAP. Roko wants to be the pride of his native Croatia. Crispin wants the girl of his dreams. M.J. just wants a chance.March Madness is in full swing, and there are only four teams left in the NCAA basketball championship. The heavily favored Michigan Spartans and the underdog Troy Trojans meet in the first game in the semifinals, and it’s there that the fates of Malcolm, Roko, Crispin, and M.J. intertwine. As the last moments tick down on the game clock, you’ll learn how each player went from being a kid who loved to shoot hoops to a powerful force in one of the most important games of the year. Which team will leave the Superdome victorious? In the end it will come down to which players have the most skill, the most drive, and the most heart.

My Review:

For those who follow me on Twitter and Goodreads, it’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Paul Volponi’s. I became intrigued by his work when RESPONSE received the Milwaukee County Teen Book Award Honor in 2010. After that, I devoured his novels and dubbed Paul the King of Urban YA Fiction.THE FINAL FOUR is one of Paul’s finest novels. Volponi writes about March Madness, the time when the best college basketball teams play for the NCAA Championship. It’s huge money, huge exposer, huge pressure. Volponi tells the story of two teams battling in the Final Four through the eyes of four players. Interspersed are newspaper and TV interviews, commentary. One of the characters is Michael Jordan-imagine what it must be like to love basketball, be named after one of the best players to ever play in the NBA, and always having to deal with being compared to your namesake: THE Michael Jordan. Another character is Malcolm McBride, a young man who’a nickname is “One and Done” because he’s only playing one year of college ball until he’s eligible to enter the NBA draft. Malcolm’s outlook on life has definitely been shaped by poverty and the horrible experiences that have plagued his life. Crispin Rice is a character I really enjoyed, a leader for sure. But his life isn’t as storybook as the media makes it out to be. My favorite character is Roco Bacic who survived some horrific experiences in Croatia to come to the US and fulfill his dream of playing basketball. Some of his story is told through a personal journal that captures unforgettable moments of terror.
The reader becomes immersed in the players’ lives on and off the basketball court. The novel is rife with raw emotion, tragedy, and triumph.
There were several passages where I shook my head in awe. Even if you rarely on never read realistic fiction, THE FINAL FOUR should be your first. Get swept away in March Madness.
I highly recommend this novel for young men – seventh grade and up – who are reluctant readers. THE FINAL FOUR may very well be just the novel to inspire a love for reading

Review: WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE by Rebecca Behrens
Mar 26th, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

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WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE

by Rebecca Behrens

Pub. Date February 4th 2014

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Buy the Book: Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound

Signed copy through Boswell Books, call 414-332-1181

From Goodreads:

First daughter Audrey Rhodes re-creates Alice Roosevelt’s infamous antics in this fun, smart middle-grade debut

First daughter Audrey Rhodes can’t wait for the party she has planned for Friday night. The decorations are all set and the pizza is on its way. But the Secret Service must be out to ruin her life, because they cancel at the last minute-citing security breach and squashing Audrey’s chances for making any new friends. What good is being “safe and secure” if you can’t have any fun?

Audrey is ready to give up and become a White House hermit, until she discovers Alice Roosevelt’s hidden diary. The former first daughter gives Audrey a ton of ideas for having fun…and more problems than she can handle.

My Review:

I don’t read that many MG novels, but I was totally captivated by When Audrey Met Alice, a story about a first daughter Audrey Rose discovering Alice Roosevelt’s diary in one of the closets in the White House. As Audrey tries to adjust to her own life as first daughter, Alice through her diary becomes Audrey’s guide. I love how Behrens uses historical information in this novel and mixed it with a modern story. I was transported to the White House and Audrey’s school. I got a very strong sense on how difficult life was for her living in the White House, always under a microscope and not seeing her parents much (her mom is president).

Going back to the history, I loved learning about what it would have been like for a first daughter in the early 1900s: fashion, trips, friendships, social pressures.

The description of the White House was very cool with the gardens, the bowling alley, the movie theater, the dining rooms, and bedrooms.6894558

Audrey is a very likable character who I believe many MG students will adore. There’s a good balance between history and present day, and I loved the use of a diary to share the information and how Alice ended every diary entry with: To Thine Own Self Be True. It’s a great message.

A winner, WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE is a must for MGers, schools, libraries.

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Review: WHISPER FALLS by Elizabeth Langston – 14 Reasons Why I Loved It!
Mar 24th, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

15705687WHISPER FALLS by Elizabeth Langston

14 Reasons Why I Loved It!

Publisher: Spencer Hill Press, Pub date: November 19th 2013

Purchase:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

IndieBound

The Second Book, A WHISPER IN TIME is being released on April 8, 2014. Check out the a mega-giveaway celebration!

From Goodreads:

While training for a mountain bike race, high-school senior Mark Lewis spots a mysterious girl dressed in odd clothing, standing behind a waterfall in the woods near his North Carolina home. When she comments on the strange machine that he rides, he suspects something isn’t right. When Susanna claims to be an indentured servant from 1796, he wonders if she’s crazy. Yet he feels compelled to find out more.

Mark enters a ‘long-distance’ relationship with Susanna through the shimmering–and temperamental–barrier of Whisper Falls. Curious about her world, Mark combs through history to learn about the brutal life she’s trapped in. But knowledge can be dangerous. Soon he must choose between the risk of changing history or dooming the girl he can’t stop thinking about to a lifetime of misery

My review: 

WHISPER FALLS had me completely captivated with its integration of history and modern times. I loved learning about a time in American history that I knew very little about, the late 1700s with indentured servants. Susannna’s life is absolutely brutal, yet Langston balances it with her love for the children she works with and her love for her family. In modern times, we have Mark, a young man who spots Susanna through the Whisper Falls after he crashes on his mountain bike. Susanna has never seen a bike and Mark can’t get over the girl dressed in the weird costume.

Things I loved about this novel:
1. The historical information is detailed and interesting.
2. Love the relationship Susanna and Mark develop as they learn more about each other’s lives and centuries.
3. How Mark alters history.
4. Mark’s compassionate, supportive family.
5. Susanna’s strong personality.
6. Mark’s desire to help Susanna.
7. Langston took an unbelievable situation and made it completely believable.
8. The scenery is vivid in my mind.
9. Mark’s work ethic.
10. How Mark dealt with his ex-girlfriend.
11. This novel points out the modern conveniences we take for granted, and then makes us look at them from someone’s eyes from the eighteenth century.
12. Susanna’s protective nature toward her sister and the huge lengths she goes to protect her, including involving Mark.
13. Mark’s relationship with his grandparents – and the descriptions of the food his grandma makes.
14. This is a series, and I’m really glad because I’m very much looking forward to finding out what happens next for these characters.

This is an excellent YA novel for anyone who enjoys mystery, history, time travel, romance. Loved it!

About the Elizabeth Langston:

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Big NEWS – My YA Debut Novel HELLO? is Being PUBLISHED! (Announced in Publisher’s Lunch) & GIVEAWAY
Mar 17th, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

My debut novel, HELLO?—my heart, my soul—is being

PUBLISHED by Spencer Hill Contemporary in 2015!

Check out the entire post with videos AND the GIVEAWAY on my author blog: http://lizawiemer.com/2014/03/17/hello/

To read a synopsis, click on my Hello? page or on Stuart Krichevsky’s Literary Agency Liza Wiemer page. I will have more to share in the upcoming months, but I wanted to start today by describing the journey to publication.

HERE’S THE ANNOUNCEMENT – Posted in Publisher’s Lunch TODAY!

Pub. Lunch HELLO? Announcement!

FLASHBACK FRIDAY (9) – BEFORE I DIE & YOU AGAINST ME by Jenny Downham
Mar 14th, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

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 To learn more about Flashback Friday, check out FICTION FARE!

FLASHBACK FRIDAY (9) – BEFORE I DIE

& YOU AGAINST ME

by Jenny Downham

Before I Die:1314332

Tessa has just a few months to live.

Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, drugs with excruciating side-effects, Tessa compiles a list. It’s her To Do Before I Die list. And number one is sex.

Released from the constraints of ‘normal’ life, Tessa tastes new experiences to make her feel alive while her failing body struggles to keep up.

Tessa’s feelings, her relationships with her father and brother, her estranged mother, her best friend, her new boyfriend, all are painfully crystallized in the precious weeks before Tessa’s time finally runs out.

BEFORE I DIE is a brilliantly-crafted novel, heartbreaking yet astonishingly life-affirming. It will take you to the very edge

My Review: 

BEFORE I DIE by Jenny Downham is a remarkable YA novel about a dying girl named Tessa. It’s raw, gritty, direct, and descriptive. At first, I found it quite difficult to like Tessa. She starts out with a lot of self-destructive behavior, almost like she was trying to push the limits because of her illness, and in turn she left a wake of pain and worry, usually aimed at her father who loves her and has cared for her. Enter a remarkable young man named Adam who works through his own troubles to be a huge support and the love of Tessa’s remaining short life. I started out feeling frustrated and by the last page I was in tears. This is one heck of a worthwhile read. It shows how living and dying has to be done on one’s own terms. A beautiful novel. I also highly recommend Jenny Downham’s second novel, YOU AGAINST ME.

 

8720917You Against Me:

If someone hurts your sister and you’re any kind of man, you seek revenge, right?

If your brother’s accused of a terrible crime but says he didn’t do it, you defend him, don’t you?

When Mikey’s sister claims a boy assaulted her, his world begins to fall apart.

When Ellie’s brother is charged with the offence, her world begins to unravel.

When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide.

This is a brave and unflinching novel from the bestselling author ofBefore I Die. It’s a book about loyalty and the choices that come with it. But above all it’s a book about love.

My Review:  Posted on Goodreads in December, 2011

Oh wow! Unfortunately YOU AGAINST ME is not a crazy premise. It’s about a fifteen-year-old girl who accuses a college student of sexual assault after a night of drinking. The young man denies it. She’s poor, he’s rich. The boy’s sister (Ellie) was in the house at the time of the attack and her entire family, including her brother, expects her to defend him in court. The girl who was assaulted has a brother (Mikey) and he’ll do anything to protect his deeply hurt sister, including beating up the boy who assaulted her. It’s because of these circumstances that Ellie and Mikey’s lives intersect. What happens after is fascinating and crazy. Because how does one build any kind of honest relationship based on such horrific circumstances, let alone open one’s heart? But Jenny Downham pulls it off, and she does it magnificently!
I gobbled up this novel. It was good to see the system work. There is morality! This is a tough, tough novel with unforgettable characters. I loved it.

COVER REVEAL: FINALLY, FOREVER by Katie Kacvinsky
Mar 1st, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

COVER REVEAL:

FINALLY, FOREVER

by Katie Kacvinsky

Summary from Goodreads:

What do you do when you run into the ex love-of-your-life? Say hello? Hug? Shake hands? Run for your life?

In this tender and emotional story, Gray and Dylan discover that a destination isn’t always a place. More often, it’s a person. Now it’s time for them to finally decide, is this forever?

And here it is . . . 

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(I love the heart made from the Converse shoestrings.

Can’t wait to read it!) 

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