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Blog Tour and Review for FINALLY, FOREVER by Katie Kacvinsky
Apr 30th, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

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Blog Tour and Review for FINALLY, FOREVER

by Katie Kacvinsky

Find Katie here: Website | Goodreads | Twitter

FINALLY, FOREVER is Katie’s FIFTH book! To learn more about the other four, including the first two books about Dylan and Gray—FIRST COMES LOVE and SECOND CHANCE, check out her book page.

My favorite quote from Katie’s bio: 

The First Book I Ever Wrote: Was in third grade. It was titled: “The Book of Swear Words,” where I wrote down every curse word I could think of, along with a carefully crafted definition. I showed it to my teacher, beaming with pride. He sent me to the principal’s office and called my parents into school. I was banned from the playground for two weeks and my book was destroyed. It obviously didn’t kill my writing ambitions.

Summary from Goodreads:

Author’s Note: Can be read as book three of the First Comes Love series, or as a standalone .
College baseball player, Gray Thomas, had to go far out into left field to find a girl like Dylan, the ex-love-of-his-life. More than a year later, literally at a crossroads, they find each other together on a journey that is a pause between a painful past and an uncertain future. In this sexy and offbeat summer read, 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?

My review: (Five stars. NA, or for mature YA. Themes: Love, soul mates, life’s journeys, family.)

Finally, Forever is the third book about Gray and Dylan by Katie Kacvinsky, but can absolutely be read as a standalone novel. So, don’t think, “Oh, I can’t read this (yet) because I haven’t read the first two books.” Nope, that’s not at all necessary. Katie does a fabulous job bringing readers into the story without any need to summarize what’s going on. Jump right in!

And let me tell you, I love these characters. They are as opposite as day and night, yet their differences bring out the best in one another. I also love that they have an appreciation and respect for those differences. They know each other so well and are so connected, that apart they’re like two people submerged in water, fighting their way to the surface to breathe. Ahh, this is romance/love at its finest.

Dylan (named for Bob Dylan – her mom’s favorite musician) is one of the quirkiest, free spirited, delightful characters I’ve ever read. The fact that she falls for Gray, a more straight-laced, down-to-earth, baseball player, and he falls for her, is . . . well . . . a perfect pairing!

There’s a wonderful cast of secondary characters. Almost immediately, we’re introduced to Nick, who jumps right in as Dylan’s boyfriend. The tales we weave! Then there’s Dylan’s unwed pregnant sister Serena, who adds quite a bit of sparkle to the story. So does Rachel, Gray’s coach’s daughter. I’m being vague, but don’t make any assumptions here. Remember that phrase – If you assume you could make an ass out of you and me? Then there’s Mike, the comedian, Serena’s older-by-ten-years boyfriend.

I can’t begin to tell you how many yummy moments there are in this novel. Like the time Dylan and Gray get caught in a horrific storm, or Dylan picking up a hitchhiker, or the hospital scenes when Serena gives birth. There are moments when you’ll feel your heart jabbed with a icepick and so many more when you’ll be sighing with joy! And yes, you will laugh! If you don’t, well . . . let’s talk. For those who are really into music, you’ll appreciate all the musical references.

This book is geared toward young adults eighteen and older. But there are plenty of young adult novels that are much more graphic than this. So if you’re in high school and have read books Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles, then you’re fine. There are details of childbirth, sexual references between soul mates. You decide!

Dylan and Gray definitely make my list for favorite book couples.

If you love a romance with characters with personality, then you’ll love Finally, Forever!

I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Here’s a teaser. Graphics put together by Kim, at Kimberlyfaye Reads. Check out her post for more.

teaser 2

Blog Tour:

Monday, April 28            Kimberleyfaye Reads                    FF playlist/teaser
Tuesday, April 29           Waiting For Wentworth               Post/discussion
Wednesday, April 30     Liza Wiemer (author)                   Post/discussion
Thursday, May 1             Book Nerds Across America        Post/discussion
Friday, May 2                  Actin’ Up With Books                   10 Facts About Gray and Dylan
Saturday, May 3              Please Another Book                     Character interview

Monday, May 5               Heidi McLaughlin (author)          Review/Post
Tuesday, May 6               A Booklovers’ Review                   10 Facts about Finally, Forever 
Wednesday, May 7         The Reading Date                          Guest Post about cover design
Thursday, May 8            Good Choice Reading                    Post/Discussion
Friday, May 9             Katie Kacvinsky, Release Day

Monday, May 12            Reading Teen                                   Teaser/Giveaway
Tuesday, May 13            Stuck in YA Books                          Post/Discussion
Wednesday, May 14      A Backwards Story                         Post/Discussion

Take 5 Q & A & Giveaway: LOOKING FOR ME by BETH HOFFMAN
Apr 28th, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

LookingForMePaperbackLOOKING FOR ME by BETH HOFFMAN

Take 5 Q & A & Giveaway

Celebrating the release of the ppb edition.

Pub date: April 29, 2014

Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books

Buy it here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Audible

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Teddi Overman loves her family and the simple life they share on their Kentucky farm, but when high school graduation nears and her mother pushes her towards secretarial school, Teddi knows it’s time to strike out on her own and pursue her dream of working with antiques. Gifted at refurbishing furniture and possessing an uncanny knack for uncovering the beauty and history in what other people discard, Teddi leaves Kentucky in the middle of the night and makes her way to Charleston, South Carolina. There, Teddi builds a new life for herself, and makes her dream come true in a small antiques shop frequented by a cast of quirky customers and friends. But each time Teddi, now thirty-six years old, leaves Charleston and visits the farm of her youth, she’s drawn to the mysterious beauty of Red River Gorge, where her brother went missing at the age of seventeen. Though everyone believes that her beloved brother is dead, Teddi never gives up hope of finding him. When circumstances lead her to clean out the old barn, Teddi makes a discovery that challenges her in ways she never could have imagined. And while trying to fit together the pieces of her family’s shattered past, Teddi unwittingly finds herself among the ruins. 

PRAISE FOR LOOKING FOR ME:
“Hoffman’s novel of a woman putting the pieces of her family’s secrets together combines a deep dramatic impact with Southern charm.”
Publishers Weekly

“Hoffman has a good ear for dialogue, and Teddie and her friends are realistic, appealing characters. Perfect for fans of family-centered women’s fiction, this book will have special appeal to readers interested in antiques and ‘shabby chic’ style.”
Booklist

Beth-Hoffman-Author-PhotoABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Beth Hoffman was the president and co-owner of an interior design studio before becoming a full-time writer. Looking For Me is her second novel. She lives with her husband and two cats in Kentucky.

Find Beth:

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook

Beth Hoffman’s Spring/Summer 2014 Tour:
NAPERVILLE, IL, Anderson’s Bookshop, May 1
WICHITA, KS, Watermark Books, May 6
KANSAS CITY, MO, Unity Temple (with Rainy Day Books), May 8
WOODSTOCK, GA, Foxtale Book Shoppe, May 13
FAIRHOPE, AL, Page & Palette, May 15
EVANSVILLE, IN, Vanderburgh Public Library, June 15

My Five Star Review: 

An exceptional story that will leave antique lovers drooling, nature lovers longing for the outdoors, animal lovers running to make a donation to their local animal shelter or humane society, and hopeless romantics swooning. Continues . . . on Goodreads

Take 5 Q & A with Beth:

Q: I love how Teddi leaves notes for her brother Josh in the bottles. It inspired hope for the readers that she’d connect with him again. If there was anyone to whom you could leave notes in a bottle with the hope that they’d find it, who would it be and what would you want that person to know?

A: When I was in my mid-20s I rented part of a big coach house from an older woman named Marge. Marge was funny, kind, and a fabulous storyteller. She’d often invite me into her kitchen and we’d talk while she cooked and I sat at a bistro table surrounded by a menagerie of animals and pots of overgrown plants. We shared the carriage house for two years.

Then Marge reunited with her former husband and I changed jobs and moved away. We kept in touch for a while, but as the years passed we lost track of each other. I don’t know if Marge is still alive, but if I could leave her a note in a jar, it would say this: “Thank you for loving me when I didn’t love myself, and for knowing when to wrap me in your arms and when to leave me be. Thank you for Friday night spaghetti dinners, laughing at the moon, and helping me find my way. I miss your stories so much, especially those that probably weren’t true. I will always love you.”

Q: Teddi thrives on giving new life to old things. Is this something that you personally do? Please give an example. Where did the inspiration for this come from?

A: It all started when my grandmother let me explore her attic: there was everything from canning jars filled with old buttons, to boxes of musty hats, to furniture. I’d open the drawers of dusty chests and imagine what they once held, I’d try on moth-eaten hats, and I’d sit on the floor and sift through fragile photographs. Then I’d go downstairs to find my grandmother and ask questions: who were the people in the photographs? Why were there so many jars of buttons? Who had owned the black hat with the giant plume? I was fascinated by the people and histories behind these objects, and I’ve had a soft spot for old things ever since.

Q: Teddi had many unresolved issues with her mother, yet she loved her deeply.  What’s your best advice for someone who doesn’t see eye to eye with a person they love?

A:  It’s often the people we struggle to understand who can teach us the most. I think it’s important to ask questions and listen carefully to the answers. The more we share, the easier it is to understand and accept our differences. Had Teddi’s mother opened up and talked about the struggles in her own life, her relationship with her daughter would have been so much better. And the flip side is also true, if Teddi had shown more interest and been curious about her mother’s past, the lines of communication would have opened.

Q: Josh decides to live in the wilderness. What kind of research did you do to write these scenes or did you base any of it on personal experience? If so, what was it?

A: The animal and wilderness scenes were the easiest to write because of how I was raised. I grew up on my grandparents’ farm and was taught to be kind to all creatures. The crop fields backed up to hundreds of acres of dense woodlands that I explored with endless curiosity. Fox, white-tailed deer, raccoons, rabbits, woodchucks and countless birds (from raptors to tiny chickadees) were frequent visitors to our farm. Spending time in the wilderness was a big part of my everyday life and I’ve loved and studied nature and animals ever since.

Q: What most surprised you while writing this novel?

A: Crafting LOOKING FOR ME was the most emotional and cathartic writing experience I’ve ever had. To create a story that encompassed my deepest passions often left me raw and depleted one moment, and then set me on fire the next. It’s impossible for me to describe how much I loved writing this book and how surprised I was by how it evolved.

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FLASHBACK FRIDAY (15): HOW TO SAVE A LIFE by Sara Zarr
Apr 25th, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

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For more information on Flashback Friday check out this post: http://fictionfare.blogspot.com/p/flashback-friday.html

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: HOW TO SAVE A LIFE

by Sara Zarr

Published: October 18, 2011

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Find it here: Amazon | Audible | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

 

From Goodreads:10757806

Jill MacSweeney just wishes everything could go back to normal. But ever since her dad died, she’s been isolating herself from her boyfriend, her best friends—everyone who wants to support her. And when her mom decides to adopt a baby, it feels like she’s somehow trying to replace a lost family member with a new one.

Mandy Kalinowski understands what it’s like to grow up unwanted—to be raised by a mother who never intended to have a child. So when Mandy becomes pregnant, one thing she’s sure of is that she wants a better life for her baby. It’s harder to be sure of herself. Will she ever find someone to care for her, too?

As their worlds change around them, Jill and Mandy must learn to both let go and hold on, and that nothing is as easy—or as difficult—as it seems.

My review:

Oh Sara – thank you for such a beautiful novel! HOW TO SAVE A LIFE is written in a way that the reader will feel connected to these characters as their stories pour off the pages. Told in alternating voice, Jill MacSweeney is facing the prospect of dealing with becoming an older sister when her mom decides she has to adopt a baby after her husband of 25 years dies in a tragic accident. Mandy Kalinowski is the eighteen-year-old girl who is going to make that possible through an open adoption. When these two teens meet their lives intertwine in such powerful ways that it’s impossible to put this book down. The reader is carried into the middle of the conflict, experiencing the frustration, fear, love, and anguish, which is described vividly. Though the circumstances described in this book are highly unusual, they’ll definitely make you think about issues such as: What makes up a family? When do you give a friend space and when do you pull that friend close? How does one grieve a loss? And how much do you allow circumstances to alter the love you feel for someone?

Don’t miss HOW TO SAFE A LIFE! It’s a winner.

This is one stand-alone novel that I’d love to read a sequel.

About Sara Zarr: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Review: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
Apr 24th, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

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Review: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

Published by: Candlewick

Pub Date: March 25, 2014

Find it here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible | IndieBound

 

From Goodreads:

Magical realism, lyrical prose, and the pain and passion of human love haunt this hypnotic generational saga.

Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird.

In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration.

That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo.

First-time author Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human.

My review:

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is magical realism, one of perhaps two I have read in a list of over 600 books since 2010. It was strange and different and enthralling. I definitely was pulled into the story of Ava Lavender, a winged girl born to a “odd” family. Walton does a great job giving readers a family history filled with wondrous occurrences and plagued with sadness. 

There are many metaphors and life lessons to be extracted from this novel. One of which is to accept or embrace your uniqueness. Love and the perils of love is another theme—choose wisely to whom you give your heart. 

Highlights: 
Ava’s family history and ghosts.
Henry, Ava’s non-winged twin.
The bakery.
Gabe!
Rowe!

I deeply appreciated the opportunity to suspend logic and go for this ride in magical realism. Ava was a remarkable character and I was able to visualize what she would have looked like with her useless wings. The bakery scenes with the textures and scents had me drooling. What an imagination Leslye Walton has! The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is a wonderful challenge for readers who want something different, something out of the ordinary. Mythical, magical, wondrous, unique.

Thank you so much, Candlewick, for the ARC!

Celebrating the Release of CAMP PAYBACK by J.K. Rock with a Giveaway
Apr 20th, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

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Celebrating the Release of CAMP PAYBACK by J.K. Rock with a Giveaway

From Goodreads:

Alex has big plans for camp this year, starting with making it the best summer ever. Having fun and breaking some rules will get her the payback she wants against her parents and her ex-boyfriend. Because of his disgusting texts, she’s headed to a super strict all-girls school in the fall. Then she meets Javier and revenge doesn’t seem nearly as important as getting to know the troubled loner determined to keep a low profile at camp. But Alex’s trouble-magnet personality and Javier’s need to stay in the background don’t mix nearly as well as their irresistible chemistry. With her home life eroding under her feet and her last year of summer camp speeding to a close, Alex wants to make her mark on the world and squeeze every bit of fun out of her time with Javier. Too bad her old plans for revenge turn back on her just in time to ruin everything. Will she lose Javier too?

About J. K. Rock:

J. K. Rock is the pseudonym for YA writing partners – and sisters-in-law – Joanne & Karen Rock. After years of comparing notes on their favorites books and films, often dreaming up new endings to suit them, they decided to write their own stories. Their first Young Adult book, CAMP BOYFRIEND, is part of a three-book series. CAMP PAYBACK will be an April 2014 release, and CAMP FORGET-ME-NOT arrives in Fall 2014. Visit the Camp Boyfriend website at http://campboyfriend.net to learn more about the free novellas they are offering readers prior to each full length book. Individually, Joanne Rock is an award winning Harlequin author published in 26 countries and translated into 20 languages. Karen Rock writes critically acclaimed stories for Harlequin Heartwarming including her latest, HIS HOMETOWN GIRL.

6691619Contact info:

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Karen’s Twitter | Joanne’s Twitter  | Pinterest

The first book in this series is called: CAMP BOYFRIEND.16409311

My Review: A best summer read of 2013

CAMP BOYFRIEND is . . .

authentic. Beautifully captures the difficulties of navigating friendships and relationships. So much more than a love triangle. (Don’t let that turn you off. It’s a huge plus.) This novel is about self-identity, self-worth, self-esteem.
I really want to see this in all middle schools/high schools/libraries.

CAMP BOYFRIEND does an incredible job of portraying the inner turmoil of a girl torn between two really good guys. But it’s also so much more. It begs the reader to ask, “What’s important to me?” Until that question is answered, it’s tough to know the bigger question, “Who am I?”

I am NOT going to summarize this novel. You can read that in the description. Instead, I want to share with you . . .
what I LOVED about CAMP BOYFRIEND.
1. Lauren’s a high school student struggling to figure out who she is. Often times we’re defined by others and I loved how Lauren decided that SHE needed to figure it out for herself before she could know for certain which boy was best for her.
2. I love that Matt saw that Lauren was worth waiting for and that he didn’t overreact and do something rash when another girl was clearly interested in him.
3. I love how Matt used camp as an opportunity to bring out his other fine qualities and talents, giving him the opportunity to shine.
4. I love that Seth is very different from Matt. He’s the science/outdoorsy guy. This pulled at Lauren’s love for nature, science etc.
5. As Lauren recognized the qualities she liked both Seth and Matt, it brought out her own interests and what qualities she liked within herself. <3
6. I love the dynamics between the girls and the cabins. In my opinion, it was so authentic. The way these girls flip-flopped in loyalty, the way they butted into each other’s business, often rashly, the way that other girls stepped up and found their own voices and backbones.
7. I love how these girls began to realize that they didn’t need to be with a guy just because they felt an attraction. They looked deeper at themselves and at the guys they were with and decided whether they made a good match.
8. I love how Lauren’s relationship with her sister evolved and that they were able to give the very best of themselves.
9. I love that Lauren learned that parents make sacrifices and that it’s not always perfect or exactly what they had hoped for, but with courage, things could evolve and change to something so much more.
10. I love how Lauren learned to start honoring all aspects of herself and began to stop worrying about what others would think. She really evolved.
11. I really believe that high school girls will see themselves, their friends, perhaps even their families in this novel. It mimicked real life, and that’s why I believe it’s an excellent YA contemporary novel.

Definitely recommend for seventh graders and above looking for an authentic YA contemporary novel.
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FLASHBACK FRIDAY (14): WANT TO GO PRIVATE? By Sarah Darer Littman
Apr 11th, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

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For more information on FLASHBACK FRIDAY, Click HERE

9780545151467

FLASHBACK FRIDAY (14): WANT TO GO PRIVATE?

By Sarah Darer Littman

Pub. Date: August 1st 2011

Publisher: Scholastic Press Buy: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound

From Goodreads:

Abby and Luke chat online. They’ve never met. But they are going to. Soon.

Abby is starting high school–it should be exciting, so why doesn’t she care? Everyone tells her to “make an effort,” but why can’t she just be herself? Abby quickly feels like she’s losing a grip on her once-happy life. The only thing she cares about anymore is talking to Luke, a guy she met online, who understands. It feels dangerous and yet good to chat with Luke–he is her secret, and she’s his. Then Luke asks her to meet him, and she does. But Luke isn’t who he says he is. When Abby goes missing, everyone is left to put together the pieces. If they don’t, they’ll never see Abby again.

Sarah Darer Littman

Sarah Darer Littman

My Review:

This is an extremely important YA novel that will leave you absolutely terrified because you’ll realize how vulnerable our children can be to online predators.

This novel doesn’t mince words, doesn’t try to be gentle. This novel is blatantly honest. Every parent, teacher needs to read this as a cautionary tale. I would much prefer younger YA read this simultaneously with a parent. WANT TO GO PRIVATE is an important book. Brace yourself – but read it! This book could save a person’s life.

About Sarah Darer Littman:

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr

INTERVIEW with Gayle Rosengren, Author of WHAT THE MOON SAID
Apr 7th, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

What the moon saidINTERVIEW with MG Author Gayle Rosengren:

WHAT THE MOON SAID

Published by: Putnam Juvenile

Pub. date: February 20, 2014

Buy it here:

Signed, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound

From Goodreads:

Thanks to her superstitious mother, Esther knows some tricks for avoiding bad luck: toss salt over your left shoulder, never button your shirt crooked, and avoid black cats. But even luck can’t keep her family safe from the Great Depression. When Pa loses his job, Esther’s family leaves their comfy Chicago life behind for a farm in Wisconsin.

Living on a farm comes with lots of hard work, but that means there are plenty of opportunities for Esther to show her mother how helpful she can be. She loves all of the farm animals (except the mean geese) and even better makes a fast friend in lively Bethany. But then Ma sees a sign that Esther just knows is wrong. If believing a superstition makes you miserable, how can that be good luck?

Debut author Gayle Rosengren brings the past to life in this extraordinary, hopeful story.

My review: 

An outstanding MG novel that I’m sure will become a favorite of students and teachers alike. I was completely captivated by this historical fiction novel, which takes place during the Depression. Esther is a young girl struggling to get her mom’s approval and love. Her mom is very superstitious and these superstitions guide Esther’s enter family, determining the good luck and bad luck they’ll have. At times, it’s frustrating, hurtful, and confusing for Esther, especially when she is forbidden to play with a girl she really likes as a friend.

Readers will move with Esther and her family from Chicago to a farm in Milwaukee. They’ll experience hunger, they’ll celebrate the holidays with them, they’ll go through Esther’s illness and recovery. Even though the novel takes place a good eighty years ago, readers will be able to relate to the characters. Family, friendship, and being neighborly are some of the bigger themes of this novel. It’ll has a timeless appeal like Little Women and Little House on the Prairie.

This MG novel is a winner!

1. In your debut MG novel, WHAT THE MOON SAID, it’s my understanding that your mom’s life had a deep influence. What are some of the most important lessons she taught you? 

I was the youngest child and the only girl so my mother and I were very close.  She often told me stories about her experiences growing up. I think the one that made the deepest impression was the lesson she learned about the importance of being honest–not just in terms of always telling the truth but in always behaving truthfully as well. For example, the chapter about cheating in WHAT THE MOON SAID was based on a true experience from my mother’s girlhood.  Mom couldn’t see the blackboard because her vision was poor and her family couldn’t afford glasses, so a friend used to copy the problems for her and my mom, as thanks, would provide the answers. She didn’t feel that she was doing anything wrong, since she wasn’t receiving answers, but one day her teacher caught on to what was happening.  My mother and her friend were both accused of cheating and made to stand in front of the class as punishment.  My mother, who’d only received praise from her teachers before, was mortified!  The lesson stayed with her forever.  She told it to me as a cautionary tale, and it obviously stayed with me forever, too. So the most important lesson my mother taught me was honesty, but also kindness.  My mother was a gentle soul who was always kind and generous, especially to children.

2. Superstitions are definitely prevalent in WHAT THE MOON SAID. Do you have6886590 any superstitions? If so, what are they? What’s your general opinion on superstitions?  

I’m going to answer these questions in reverse order.  My opinion on superstitions is that they are absolutely not true.  That being said, I also believe that if we believe in them, they become true and can have impacts on our lives.  Good moments and bad ones happen in the course of every day.  If we believe in superstitions, we’ll connect the bad moments to the mirror we broke or the salt we spilled earlier.  Conversely, when something good happens we’ll connect it to the lucky shirt we’re wearing or the wish we made on the first star the night before. 

I don’t believe in superstitions, yet, as a result of the beliefs planted in me as a child, I confess to tossing salt over my shoulder and never opening an umbrella in the house or putting shoes on a table.  Logic, it appears, only extends so far when it comes to tempting Fate.  😉

3. One thing that struck me about your novel is that it’s timeless, even though it’s set during The Great Depression. How were you able to achieve this? 

That’s a lovely compliment, thank you! If the story feels timeless I think it’s because it’s so centered in the main character, Esther.  We get drawn into her world very quickly so everything feels very real.

But looked at another way, all the things that happen to her really ARE timeless.  Parents still lose their jobs, forcing families to move to places that are not as nice as the homes they left behind.  Money is tight, and it gets tighter as things don’t improve.  Food becomes less plentiful.  The same families are forced to move again, this time to live with friends or relatives.  Sadly, this is an all too real experience for many children today in the United States since we experienced our own economic crash in 2008.

5. What personality trait do you share with your main character? 

Esther’s desire to please and her love of animals are the two most significant traits I share with her.  I really loved being able to give her a dog and horses to make up for the movie theaters and ice cream shops she had to leave behind when the family moved from Chicago to the farm.

6. Who has influenced your life the most and why?  

I would have to say my brother Dennis.  He was a wonderful big brother–protective, and also willing to take time to teach me things, from tying my shoes to playing chess, riding a two-wheeler to doing yo-yo tricks.  When I was about eight years old he told me to think about how my actions or words might make someone else feel; to always try to put myself in their shoes.  This advice was really taken to heart and I believe that it–combined with my love of reading–is why I’m a writer today. The ability to put myself in someone else’s shoes has enabled me to make even very flawed characters somewhat sympathetic.  But more than that, putting myself in other people’s shoes has also been a great maxim to live by and made me a better friend and a better person than I might have been otherwise.

Lightning round:

Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate?  COFFEE!!!

Winter, spring, summer, or fall? It always used to be spring but as I get older it’s shifting to fall.  Do you suppose there’s some hidden significance in that?  J

Sci-fi thriller or romance movie?  Sci-fi thriller.

Fiction or non-fiction?  Fiction

Folding laundry or doing dishes?  Doing dishes.

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES by Kristina McBride
Apr 4th, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

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For more information on Flashback Friday and to join this meme:

Swoony Boys Podcast and Fiction Fare 

6889070THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES

by Kristina McBride

Published by EgmontUSA

May 25, 2010

Buy the book here:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

From Goodreads:

When Tessa’s best friend Noelle disappears right before the start of eighth grade, Tessa’s life changes completely–she shies away from her other friends and stops eating in the cafeteria. Now, two years later, Noelle has escaped her captivity and is coming home, in one piece but not exactly intact, and definitely different. Tessa’s life is about to change again as she tries to revive the best-friendship the two girls had shared before Noelle–now Elle–was kidnapped; puts up a futile resistance to the charming new guy at school; pursues her passion for photography while trying to build the bravado to show her photos to the public; and tries to balance her desire to protect and shelter Elle with the necessity to live her own life and put herself first.

“Tense! The constant push and pull of friendship, pain, love, and jealousy is beautifully drawn. A definite must read.”—Jay Asher, New York Timesbest-selling author of Thirteen Reasons Why

[A] well-paced story with . . . emotional punches that really connect.”—Publishers Weekly

Told without explicit detail, the headline drama about sexual predators will pull teens in.”—Booklist

“There aren’t many explorations of what happens after such a crime . . . and readers will . . . sympathize with both Tess and Noelle.”—BCCB

My review written June, 2010:

This is a outstanding debut novel by Kristina McBride that I promise you will have you on the edge of your seat and examining what it means to be a true friend. When Tessa’s best friend Elle returns to Centerville two years after she was kidnapped by a pedophile, safe but deeply altered, their friendship is tested beyond what most could ever endure. I spent a tremendous amount of time thinking about this book and was thrilled to interview McBride on my site about her perceptions of what it means to be a true friend. The interview is definitely powerful! I highly recommend this book and challenge the reader to see it not just as a story about the aftermath of a kidnapping, but the power of friendship and its ability to change a person for the better.

More about Kristina McBride

Website |Twitter | Goodreads

Real Book Challenge: March
Apr 2nd, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

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Real Book Challenge: March

For more details and to join, click here.

I love the women from Swoony Boys Podcast and Fiction Fare. So, back in December, 2013, I joined their Read Book Challenge: 100 books in 2014. The books I read were: MARGOT, by Jillian Cantor, IDENTICAL by Ellen Hopkins, WAITING ON YOU by Kristan Higgins, QUEEN SUGAR by Natalie Baszile, HEARTBEAT by Elizabeth Scott, WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE by Rebecca Behrens, TO BE PERFECTLY HONEST by Sonya Sones, BE WITH ME by Jennifer Armentrout, UNDONE by Shannon Richard, ONCE IN A LIFETIME by Jill Shalvis

My personal analysis:

I went for lighter books this past month. A lot of adult/new adult romance novels, two free verse poetry novels (IDENTICAL and TO BE PERFECTLY HONEST), one serious adult novel, one middle grade novel, and one serious YA novel. I have this feeling that I may have read more, but didn’t review them yet. I’ll have to search my shelves!

How many “Real” Books are you challenging yourself to read?
Start Date: January 01, 2014
End Date: December 31, 2014
Liza Wiemer

You have read 27 books toward your goal of 100 books.
Great work, you’re 3 books (2%) ahead of schedule.

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