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Flashback Friday: OKAY FOR NOW by Gary D. Schmidt
Dec 26th, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

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For more information on Flashback Friday, check out Fiction Fare

OKAY FOR NOW

by Gary D. Schmidt

Hardcover, 360 pages

Published April 5, 2011

Publisher Clarion Books

9165406Buy it here: IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible

For more information on the author: Website

Literary Awards

From Goodreads:

Midwesterner Gary D. Schmidt won Newbery Honor awards for Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boys and The Wednesday Wars, two coming-of-age novels about unlikely friends finding a bond. Okay For Now, his latest novel, explores another seemingly improbable alliance, this one between new outsider in town Doug Swieteck and Lil Spicer, the savvy spitfire daughter of his deli owner boss. With her challenging assistance, Doug discovers new sides of himself. Along the way, he also readjusts his relationship with his abusive father, his school peers, and his older brother, a newly returned war victim of Vietnam.

My review:

Okay for NowOkay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt

Lindsey Leavitt’s review on Goodreads motivated me to pick up this novel, and boy was I not disappointed. The development of the MC Doug Swietleck was absolutely brilliant. He is a character who is easy to fall in love with, sympathize with as his family dynamics play out and as his own strengths and weaknesses are revealed. This is a young man who deals with many tough issues, struggling through pain that seems so real that the reader will feel it intimately. Okay for Now reminds us all to live in the moment and to appreciate those who accept us and love us––flaws and all––and cheer us on to do greater and better things with our lives.
A fabulous novel. Don’t miss it.

View all my reviews

Flashback Friday: RUCKER PARK SETUP by Paul Volponi
Dec 19th, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

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For more information on Flashback Friday, check out Fiction Fare

RUCKER PARK SETUP274057

by Paul Volponi

Hardcover, 160 pages

Published May 17, 2007

Publisher Viking Juvenile

Buy it here:  | Amazon | IndieBound

To learn more about Paul Volponi: Website | Facebook | Goodreads

Note from Liza:

Paul Volponi is one of the most extraordinary YA authors in the US today. Many of the bloggers and authors I know don’t know about him. This shocks me. He’s had 11 books published and many have received top awards! He has been addressing issues of race, sexually for years and years and years, doing so in a way that is honest, real, painful, and respectful. Years ago, I dubbed him the King of Urban Fiction. I hope anyone who is interested in diversity will not only read his books, but promote them.

 

From Goodreads:

Best friends Mackey and J.R. have waited their whole lives to win the basketball tournament at Rucker Park, where their favorite pro ballers squared off against street legends. But the day of their big game, J.R. is fatally stabbed—and it’s Mackey’s fault, even though he didn’t wield the knife. Now Mackey has a score to settle, but the killer is watching his every move.

 My review:

Rucker Park SetupRucker Park Setup by Paul Volponi

Couldn’t stop turning the pages with this eye-opening book into the world of schoolyard basketball in NYC. Another masterpiece by “The King of YA Urban Fiction,” Paul Volponi. True-to-life lessons on how one word, even a nod can impact a person’s life irreparably! The choices we make and with whom we interact can have a long lasting impact – Who are our role models and what do they stand for? Who are the people deserving of our respect? What truly counts if we’re going to live as moral and responsible human beings? And finally, when any sport – whether basketball or football etc. – is the ticket out of poverty – what the price and to whom are you willing to pay it?
Another heartbreaking wow!

View all my reviews

Third Annual Novel Cuisine Luncheon & Giveaway ARCs & Swag & Gag :D
Dec 16th, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

Third Annual Novel Cuisine Luncheon

For the past three years, Wisconsin and Illinois authors/bloggers/librarians have gotten together for a luncheon inspired by foods mentioned in various novels. This may have been our best year yet! Though people are still talking about the Dragon Risotto from The Fault in Our Stars, which we had two years ago. 😀

There is no way this event could be done without my awesome co-host Heidi Zweifel of YA Bibliophile. We had a blast cooking together, laughing and occasionally tasting. It was a lot of fun and time flew by.

If you are a book club or just a group of people like us who love getting together, I highly recommend hosting a Novel Cuisine Luncheon. It really is a blast. We talked favorite books, books that surprised us, and books we rave about to others. Author Lori Lee told us about her YA debut GATES OF THREAD AND STONE (It sounds amazing!) and author Liz Czukas also attended. She wrote ASK AGAIN LATER & Amazon’s best pick for December,  TOP TEN CLUES YOUR CLUELESS. Jaime and Erin Arkin from Fiction Fare, Rachel Kinnard, Andrea Payan of Mrs. Payan Reads, Krista Hutley, and Monica Fumarolo.

A photo posted by Liza Wiemer (@wiemerliza) on

Here was our menu:

My True Love Gave To Me edited by Stephanie Perkins

 

from Kiersten White’s story – Baked Mac & Cheese (we left out the onions)

 

from Kiersten White’s story – Ensalada Navidad (we used cilantro instead of mint)

 

from Stephanie Perkins’ story – Apple Cider

 

from Holly Black’s story – Brie cheese

 

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

 

Tomato-basil salad

 

The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre

 

Vegetable Soup

 

Chai Latte

 

I Was There by Gayle Forman

 

Vegetarian Enchiladas

 

Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler

 

Guacamole

 

Love, Lucy by April Lindner

 

Bread and Havarti cheese

 

The Strange & Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

 

Bread

 

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

 

Funnel Cake

 

Compulsion by Martina Boone

 

Whoopie Pie Cake

 

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

 

Tea

  Everyone who attended received  an ARC of Elizabeth Eulberg’s WE CAN WORK IT OUT – Thank you so much Scholastic, an ARC of COLD WAR ON MAPLEWOOD STREET by Gayle Rosengren – Thank you so much Putnam, and bookmarks, necklaces, and swag other awesome swag from author Martina Boone for COMPULSION! Lori Lee brought bookmarks from GATES OF THREAD AND STONE! So, one lucky winner will receive all of the above ARCs and swag – plus – our gag gift fun that relates to our favorite cake: Whoopie Pie Cake from COMPULSION! You’ll just have to wait to see what it is. (No, it is not a cushion.)

A photo posted by Liza Wiemer (@wiemerliza) on

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Flashback Friday: WANT TO GO PRIVATE? By Sarah Darer Littman
Dec 12th, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

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For more information on Flashback Friday, visit Fiction Fare

WANT TO GO PRIVATE?

By Sarah Darer Littman

Published August 1, 2011

Published by: Scholastic

 

Buy here:

IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

 

From Goodreads:8922184

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.

My Review:

Want to Go Private?Want to Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman

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.

View all my reviews

About Sarah Darer Littman:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr

Blog Tour: BREAKING THE RULES by Katie McGarry – Guest Post – Behind the Character’s Names & Giveaway
Dec 10th, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

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BEHIND THE CHARACTER NAMES

By Katie McGarry

Names for me, in books, are important.

When I was first writing Pushing the Limits, Echo’s name was originally Sarah.

I love the name Sarah. Depending upon where you look, the name Sarah means princess or lady. I’ve also seen that it can mean happy. Sarah’s a great name, but it wasn’t working for the character I was writing—it wasn’t working for who we’ve come to know as Echo.

I was looking at the naming of my character wrong. I was trying to name her, when it was my character’s mother who would named her and that person was obsessed with Greek mythology.

I poured through the Greek myths, attempting to find the perfect name for my main character and when I came across the myth for Echo, I knew I had found her name.

Echo was a wood nymph who was cursed to lose her own voice and only repeat what others said as a punishment. If that wasn’t bad enough, she fell in love with a guy who was so self-absorbed that he never noticed her. She was so heartbroken that her physical body faded away into nothing, leaving behind her voice that is doomed to repeat what everyone else said.

To me, Echo was the girl who lost her voice. I’m very proud that Echo found her voice at the end of Pushing the Limits.

In Breaking the Rules, Echo has to work to maintain that voice that she had lost and then rediscovered. She has to forge her path in a very cruel world, but she also has to deal with something she’s never allowed herself to face—her grief over the loss of her brother Aires.

There are two major revelations in Breaking the Rules and both of them involve names. Once you read Breaking the Rules, you’ll find out why I gave Noah and Aires their names and you’ll also learn how deeply those names are involved in Echo and Noah’s story.

About Breaking the Rules:

About Katie McGarry:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | HarlequinTEEN website

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Katie was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie is the author of the full-length Young Adult novels PUSHING THE LIMITS and DARE YOU TO, and the e-novella CROSSING THE LINE. Her debut novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS, is a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and an RT Book Reviews 2012 Reviewer’s Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel.

Writing has given Katie an excuse to pursue her passions. Research for her books has provided her with the amazing opportunity to train with baseball players, ride along in a drag car at ninety-six miles per hour and experience boxing and mixed martial arts. The most memorable moments for Katie are when she speaks to groups of teenagers about her research, writing and the truth that no dream is out of reach. Katie would love to hear from her readers.

Contact her via her website, katielmcgarry.com, at Twitter @KatieMcGarry, or become a fan on Facebook and Goodreads.

Novels by Katie McGarry:

Tour Schedule:

Giveaway:

BTR_Giveaway

  • Four lucky winners will each receive ONE signed copy of Katie’s print books: Pushing the Limits, Dare You To, Crash Into You and Take Me On
  • One grand prize winner will receive a $100 gift card to Amazon, B&N or iTunes as well as a zodiac necklace.

 

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Book Blitz Tour: COMPULSION by Martina Boone, Teaser, Characters & Giveaway
Dec 8th, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

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COMPULSION (HEIRS OF WATSON ISLAND, BOOK 1)

Simon & Schuster, Simon Pulse

Hardcover, 10/28/14 ISBN: 1481411225

Summary from Goodreads:

Three plantations. Two gifts. One ancient curse.compulsion cover

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunts South Carolina plantation instead–a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who somehow seems to know what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her familys twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isnt what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.

Add to Goodreads

Buy Compulsion

Compulsion is available anywhere books are sold. Signed copies are available from One More Page Books. You can also order with the special “I have a Compulsion for reading” bookplate from Eight Cousins.

IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Walmart | Target | Book Depository (free worldwide shipping)

About the Author

martina boone

Martina Boone

Martina Boone was born in Prague and spoke several languages before learning English. She fell in love with words and never stopped delighting in them.

She’s the founder of AdventuresInYAPublishing.com, a Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers site, and YASeriesInsiders.com, a Tumblr site devoted to news, giveaways, and insider secrets of much-loved and up-and-coming YA series.

From her home in Virginia, where she lives with her husband, children, and Auggie the wonder dog, she enjoys writing contemporary fantasy set in the kinds of magical places she’d love to visit. When she isn’t writing, she’s addicted to travel, horses, skiing, chocolate flavored tea, and anything with Nutella on it.

 

THE AWESOME COUPLE:

Barrie_Profile Eight_profile

GIVEAWAY:

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Ah, the romance! It’s just one of many reasons why I love this novel and gave it five stars.

To see my full review, check it out on Goodreads.

Here’s a teaser:

Compulsion

Drained by the aftereffects of anger and adrenaline, Barrie found herself breathing in Eight’s recklessness, swept up in it, and suddenly it didn’t matter where they were going or what he planned to do. His moods were contagious, dangerous to her equilibrium.

He stopped at the beach, the same beach where they’d seen the turtle nest. Neither of them said a word while Eight retrieved a musty-smelling towel from his trunk and caught Barrie’s hand, lacing their fingers like they were made to fit.

They ran barefoot over the dunes and through a break in the pickets that held back the sea oats. The moon turned the white sand to diamond dust, and Eight laid the towel down above the hide-tide marker of shells and seaweed and damp, dark sand. He sat down and drew her against him, her back against his chest. His arms wrapped around her, and she leaned into the solidness of him. His heartbeat washed through her like the waves, until she didn’t know whether the pounding of it was hers or his.

When she sighed and relaxed, he eased her down and leaned over and finally kissed her until she felt like she was going to fall. She reached for him, kissing him more deeply. His lips were scalding on hers, leaving her tingling and whole instead of so, so alone. She wanted the feeling, the moment, to never stop.

Happy Release Day & Review: A LEAGUE OF HER OWN by Karen Rock
Dec 1st, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

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A LEAGUE OF HER OWN

by Karen Rock

Publisher: Harlequin

Pub. Date: December 1, 2014 Buy here: Amazon

Connect with the author: Goodreads | Website | Facebook

From Goodreads:

He was attractive, talented…and way off limits.
Heather Gadway may have been a world-class college pitcher and a top university coach, but she’s a rank amateur when it comes to managing the Falcons, her father’s struggling minor league team. And when it comes to managing her aggravating attraction to Garrett Wolf, their talented new pitcher. It’s going to be difficult enough to make it as the first female manager in the league and prove to her overly critical father she’s worthy. No distractions. No missteps. And certainly no romances with players. Everything stands between them—including their troubled pasts—even as Heather’s world falls apart and Garrett’s the one who’s there to catch her…

Romance, Baseball, Rivals to Lovers, Contemporary Romance.

My Review:
A League of Her OwnA League of Her Own by Karen Rock

How does the past influence your present? In A League of Her Own Karen Rock brings Heather and Garrett together — two deeply wounded people scarred from their past.

Heather’s father owns a minor league team. When he needs Heather (a former superstar pitcher of her own right and a pitching coach at a college), she drops everything to take over for her dad, managing the boys.
Garrett is a potential star pitcher, but his sketchy past haunts him in the present. For Heather, it’s a reminder of her worst childhood nightmares. Yet, her attraction to Garrett and vise versa is so palatable that it hurts. On so many levels this relationship is wrong. Heather’s Garrett’s boss, he has issues that cut her to the core, and she can’t move past them, even though he’s trying the best he can.

Can they resolve issues from the past and find a way to love and cherish one another?

With baseball as the backdrop, Karen Rock fuels readers attention for America’s pastime and interjects sweet, tender romance appropriate for anyone at any age.

Things I loved about this story:

1. The lesson that our past shouldn’t always influence our present and future.
2. That we’re not all doomed to repeat past mistakes if we work hard to change.
3. That love is the most powerful weapon/gift of all.
4. Sometimes healing the past can be done by helping someone in the present.
5. Personal dreams can change.
6. Appreciate the NOW because in an instant what we know can vanish.
7. What we believe isn’t always the truth, so hear others out.

This is a romance novel for anyone who seeks something deeper and more meaningful, for anyone who has experienced difficulties and has had a hard time moving past them. This is a story of love and ultimately hope. Enjoy!

Thank you to the publisher for the NetGalley copy.

View all my reviews

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