Blog Tour: TRULY MADLY FAMOUSLY by Rebecca Serle – Review
Oct 13th, 2015 by Liza Wiemer



Truly, Madly, Famously

by Rebecca Serle
Published byLittle, Brown Books for Young Readers

Pub. Date: October 13, 2015

From Goodreads:

In this romantic sequel to Famous in Love, new Hollywood “It Girl” Paige must navigate love with her co-stars, both on and off screen and all in the public eye.

Lights, camera, love!

After being plucked from obscurity, Hollywood’s newest starlet, Paige Townsen, has a hit film to her name and Rainer Devon on her arm. But being half of the world’s most famous couple comes with a price, and soon Paige finds herself dodging photographers; hiding her feelings for her other costar, Jordan Wilder; and navigating tabloid scandals that threaten to tear her and Rainer apart-and end her career as quickly as it began.

Rebecca Serle’s sequel to Famous in Love is filled with the kind of celebrity drama and swoon-worthy romance fit for the silver screen.

My review:

This is book #2 in the Famous in Love Series.

The story continues with Paige being torn between two boys: the one she REALLY loves and the one she feels a sense of loyalty to. That loyalty is also love, but the kind one feels for a close friend, not someone you want to spend the rest of your life with. Straight out of the tabloid headlines, Paige gets herself into compromising situations. More on those soon.

One of my most favorite characters in this book is Alexis. She’s strong, sensible, authentic. There’s a scene at the end of the book that reminds me of other actors who have done similar things at national events. Good on ya Alexis!!!!

My heart ached for Rainer. He really struggled with his relationship with his dad and found it difficult to be vulnerable, especially with Paige. Without a doubt, his father’s betrayal crushed Rainer. How do you reconcile the fact that the father you’ve loved has done something so awful that you can no longer respect him?

Then there is Jordan. He’s had to turn off his feelings for Paige like one turns off a spigot. Unfortunately, the spigot leaks once in awhile.

Paige really does some inappropriate and/or boundary-breaking things that definitely confuse and encourage Jordan. As far as the love triangle situation, I kept thinking about Twilight—Kristen Stewart & Taylor Lautner and, of course, Robert Pattinson. Then there is Paige’s sister. You’ll have to read the book to form your own opinion of what was right or what was wrong. The best part of Paige’s life are her friends from before she became famous, Jake and Cassandra. They accept her for who she is with little expectations. If they did have expectations of Paige, like getting phone calls returned, I doubt they’d be able to remain friends. This acceptance, this unconditional love, is a foundation for Paige, one she’s very fortunate to have and is able to lean on when she needs to be rooted again.

For those who love Hollywood drama, love triangles, and the human side to actors and actresses, you will gobble up Truly, Madly, Famously! Without a doubt, Rebecca Serle has created a story that’s right out of the tabloids. It’s captivating, filled with vivid descriptions, and a Hollywood dripping with privilege and betrayal.


About Rebecca: From her website—

Hey, Guys! I’m so glad you decided to visit my little corner of the Internet. As you may know I am a writer– always have been and barring some kind of Broadway-discovery– always will be. I have loved writing since I could put words down on a page and that love took me through school at USC and eventually delivered me to NYC, my home and the scene of one of my novels, The Edge of Falling. I feel about New York the way I feel about writing– pretty in love. That is not to say they both don’t have their challenges (they do– they are both so unruly and noisy!) but there is really no where else in the world I’d rather live, and nothing else in the world I’d rather do. I’m crazy lucky, but by far the best part of my job is interacting with you, the wonderful people, teens, hearts on the other side of this dialogue. So please reach out! Tweet me, visit me on Tumblr, talk to me about your favorite TV show (mine is The Vampire Diaries) and know that it is because of you that I am here.

Connect with Rebecca here:



Win 1 of 10 copies of TRULY MADLY FAMOUSLY (US Only)

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BFF Blog Hop: Interview with 14-year-old blogger Jessica of Bookish Serendipity + #Giveaway
Oct 12th, 2015 by Liza Wiemer


Huge thanks to Jaime and Erin of Fiction Fare and Kassiah and Meg of Swoony Boys Podcast for putting this amazing blog tour together. A lot of work went into it, and I’m so glad that I was able to participate. And take a look at the INCREDIBLE GIVEAWAY at the end of this post!

Jessica, Bookish Serendipity

Jessica, Bookish Serendipity

Why Authors and Book Bloggers Should Follow Jessica of Bookish Serendipity: My Interview with this amazing, talented YA blogger

    I decided to interview Jessica from Bookish Serendipity because from the moment I found her blog two years ago, I’ve loved her posts. If you’re an author or blogger who likes to follow book bloggers, then Jessica must be included on your list. Find her on TWITTER and check out her blog: Bookish Serendipity!

   I’ve been impressed with Jessica’s creativity,  her respectful interactions on Twitter, her generous spirit, and thoughtfulness in writing her reviews. But, that’s only the beginning. When you check out her blog, you’ll see that it’s much more than reviews and interviews. She addresses important issues for blogging, asks for others to weigh in on topics that are on her mind, welcomes ideas from others, asks for guidance when she doesn’t know something, and offers a wide variety of bookish posts! From “Discussion: What Makes You Follow a Blog?” to “A Book Blogger’s Guide to Commenting” to “Resources for Book Bloggers,” where Jessica references other blogs/bloggers she admires, to her “Let’s Discuss” posts that are always thought-provoking—check out “Are You An Emotional Reviewer or An Analytical Reviewer?“—to her traditional book blog posts like Top Ten Tuesday, Waiting on Wednesday, reviews, interviews, and giveaways, readers of her blog will never be bored! She thorough, honest, respectful, and thoughtful!  In my mind, she’s a role model for book bloggers.

But I’d like YOU to judge for yourself!

Read my interview with Jessica and see EXACTLY WHAT I MEAN! 🙂


Why did you decide to start blogging?
Bookish Serendipity is actually my second blog! The first one was a writing blog for teens that I ran for a few months. Eventually, though, my focus shifted from writing to another of my passions: reading. It was a few more months before I officially changed my blog name and transferred my content to Bookish Serendipity, though.
One of my main goals, both with the first blog and Bookish Serendipity, has been to connect with other readers. I don’t know many other teens who are book-obsessed as I am, which is where the Internet comes in. I started the blog with the intention to connect with other bookworms, and that has always remained a primary goal of mine.
What novel or series started your passion for reading?
I’ve been a reader my entire life. My parents would always read to me and as I grew older, I remained a huge book nerd. When I was younger, I remember reading a lot of Nancy Drew books (I must own at least 100 of these–no joke!), Magic Tree House novels, and more.
I’ve been reading YA for several years now. I think the series that really got me into reading YA novels was the Percy Jackson series. I loved that series and as the characters grew from middle graders into teenagers, I followed their stories. I started reading YA shortly after, and I’ve been hooked on it since.
What types of blog posts do you enjoy writing the most?
I try to write the types of posts that I would love to read on other blogs, so Bookish Serendipity has a mix of book reviews, discussions, and blogging advice posts. I really like writing all of those, but discussion posts are probably my favorite. I love having Bookish Serendipity as an outlet to share my thoughts and opinions, and discussion posts are a huge part of it. Besides that, discussion posts tend to start some fantastic conversations in the comments section, and I always enjoy seeing what other readers and bloggers have to say about a topic.
What bookish experiences have been the most amazing in your life so far?
I’ve had the privilege of attending numerous book signings, publisher events, and book festivals over the past two and a half years of blogging, and they’ve all been absolutely amazing. One of the most memorable bookish experiences was this year in May when I flew to NYC to attend Book Expo America.
I was only able to go for 2 out of 3 of the days, but I’m not complaining! I’m Canadian, and we don’t typically have a lot of book tours and events up here. That is why I loved getting to meet several of my favorite authors and bloggers for the first time. The experience was so unforgettable and while I’m not sure if I’ll be able to return next year, I would definitely love to!
Where is your favorite place to read?
I’m pretty versatile, so I can read everywhere. Now that school has started again, I tend to have the most reading time on the bus ride to school, since I spend 2+ hours on the bus each day.
With homework, I don’t often have a lot of extra time at home to devote to reading. When I do, I love to curl up on the couch with a snack and a good book. I’m pretty sure I’ve worn a dent into the couch from sitting on it all summer!
Lightning round:
Hot chocolate, tea, coffee, hot cider?
Hot chocolate (with marshmallows/ Kit Kat)
Cat, dog, bird, or hamster?
My own dog is glaring at me as I write this, so…dog?
French fries, potato chips, tortilla chips, popcorn?
Popcorn! With extra butter, ideally.
Math, science, history, English?
History is one of my favorite subjects! English is probably a close second.
Skiing vacation, beach vacation, big city vacation?
I love to ski, so a skiing vacation sounds pretty fun.

The BFF Blog Tour


October 1st

The Irish Banana Review – Blog Besties

Neon Yeti Reads – Blogger Interview

Otakutwins Reviews – Why I Love Being a Blogger

October 2nd

Eli to the Nth – Blog Besties

ReadWriteLove28 – Favorite Newbies

Once Upon A Twilight – Top Bookstagrammers

Rattle the Pages – Top 10 Book Bloggers

October 3rd

Mostly YA Lit – Underappreciates Sites

That Artsy Reader Girl – Blogger Interview – Thatartsyreadergirl.com

Bookstacksamber – Get Vloggy – bookstacksamber.wordpress.com

Books in My Suitcase – Why I Love Being A Blogger

October 4th

The Book Cellar – Blog Besties

Caught Read Handed – Blogger RAK

Based on A True Story – Surprise Post

October 5th

Grounded Wanderlust – Get Vloggy

Lostbraincell’s Bookish Blog – Top 10 Book Bloggers – lostbraincell.com

The Reading Nook Reviews – Top Bookstagrammers

October 6th

Rhea’s Neon Journal – Blogger Interview

What Sarah Read – Blogger RAK

Bookish in Texas – Why I Love Being a Blogger

October 7th

Nicks’ Book Blog – Favorite Newbies

Oops! I Read A Book Again – Underappreciated Sites

Twenty Three Pages – Why I Love Being A Blogger

Owl Always Be Reading – Blogger Interview

October 8th

GReads! – Blogger Interview

Andi’s ABCs – Top 10 Book Bloggers

Reading Is My Treasure – Favorite Newbies

October 9th

Reading the Blues Away – Surprise Post

Strupag – Top 10 Book Bloggers

Adventures in Reading – Blog Besties

October 10th

Literary, Etc – Blogger RAK

The Fox’s Hideaway – Why I Love Being A Blogger

Bibliobeth – Blogger Interview

Carpe Librum – Blog Besties

October 11th

Snowflakes & Spider Silk – Top Bookstagrammers

The Novel Orange – Why I Love Being A Blogger

Don’t Fold the Page – Top 10 Book Bloggers

The Reader and the Chef – Favorite Newbies

October 12th

Wandering Bark Humanities – Underappreciated Sites

WhoruBlog – Blogger Interview

Kimberlyfaye Reads – Top 10 Book Bloggers

October 13th

BookCatPin – Surprise Post

The Eater of Books! – Blogger Interview

A Reader Under The Sea – Top 10 Book Bloggers –

Effortlessly Reading – Why I Love Being A Blogger

October 14th

HelloChickLit – Blogger Interview

We So Nerdy – Blogger RAK

Thebibliophagist – Get Vloggy

October 15th

Hashtag Avenue – Blog Besties

Galleywampus – Podcaster Love

Novel Ink – Top Bookstagrammers

October 16th

No BS Book Reviews – Blog Besties

The Book Bratz – Underappreciated Sites

One Night Book Stand – Top 10 Book Bloggers

October 17th

Fiction Fare – Surprise Post

Swoony Boys Podcast – Surprise Post




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Oct 7th, 2015 by Liza Wiemer

FirstAndThenBlogTourImage_9.9 (1)

Emma Mills’


When I was writing First & Then in college, I would write in the cafeteria during meals, in the student lounge, in the radio station where I hosted a show, before and after classes… just about everywhere!

These days, I prefer to write at home when I can, but I also love writing outside my favorite coffee shop.

Picture 1: My ideal writing set-up—a computer for when I’m on a roll, and a notebook for when I want to work something out on paper.


Picture 1

Liza’s note: MacBookAir and occasionally a notebook – usually carry one in my purse and keep one next to my bed! You never know when you’ll find inspiration!

Picture 2: I’m not saying the inspiration comes DIRECTLY from iced Chai lattes, but they certainly help. 🙂


Picture 2-1

Liza’s note: I definitely need a mocha to write!

Picture 3: Sometimes when I’m stuck on something, I look to the sky and hope that a bit of inspiration will rain down on me!

Picture 3

Liza’s note: I take a walk along the shores of Lake Michigan!

About First & Then 

Published by Henry Holt & Co.23310751

Devon Tennyson wouldn’t change a thing. She’s happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon’s cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn’t want them first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.


CL0AMq_UEAA_1s_About Emma Mills

Emma Mills is a debut author better known to her subscribers as vlogger Elmify. She is also cocreator and cohost of the “life skills” channel How to Adult.

Find Emma Here:

Youtube | Twitter | Goodreads

Giveaway (US Only)

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ODIN’S PROMISE by Sandy Brehl, Q&A and Giveaway
Oct 1st, 2015 by Liza Wiemer


by Sandy Brehl

Q&A and Giveaway

Buy here: IndieBoundAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository


GREAT NEWS AND HUGE CONGRATS to Sandy! She has signed a contract to write two more books, so Odin’s Promise is now going to be a trilogy! Click here for more info: Sequel Update: Good News- DOUBLED 

Literary awards: Midwest Independent Publishers AssociationMidwest Book Award (2014)Gold for Children’s Fiction

About the novel:

ODIN’S PROMISE is a historical novel for middle-grade readers, a story of the first year of German occupation of Norway in World War II as seen through the eyes of a young girl. Eleven-year-old Mari grew up tucked under the wings of her parents, grandma, and older siblings. After Hitler’s troops invade Norway in Spring 1940, she is forced to grow beyond her “little girl” nickname to deal with harsh new realities. At her side for support and protection is Odin, her faithful elkhound. As the year progresses, Mari, her family, and her neighbors are drawn into the activities of the Norwegian underground resistance.

About the author:7831795

Books have been a central part of Sandy’s life since bedtime read-alouds with siblings. Reading and writing with and for her students during her long teaching career led to some publications in magazines and journals.
When Sandy retired from teaching and joined SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) she gained a critique group and took part in professional workshops and conferences. The development of her writing craft and extensive research led to the publication of Odin’s Promise.
She writes picture book text, poetry, early reader paneled text, and professional articles on developing reading with quality literature.
Sandy hosts a blog about the use of picture books for all ages at http://UnpackingPictureBookPower.blog….

To connect with Sandy: Goodreads | Website | Twitter


Readers might be surprised to find out that Odin is a dog. He’s very protective of eleven-year-old Mari. I noticed you dedicated the novel to the first Odin. What can you tell us about the first Odin and was he, too, protective of you?

Odin was a mixed breed, golden retriever-spaniel, and was a wise and gentle soul. He came into my life when he was already an older dog, full of humor and loyalty. Perhaps because he was nearly deaf by then he was very attuned to changes in household routines and the environment, so he would alert me to those. I have no doubt he would have defended me with his life, if needed (between naps).

Here’s an interesting fact: I avoid reading books featuring dogs, until I absolutely can’t stop myself because I know the book is so terrific. I’m sure there are other readers like that, and I NEVER planned to write a story with a dog in it. When dogs are in stories I’m in constant fear for their safety, even if I’m told in advance that nothing bad happens.

After I found Mari’s voice and perspective (or she found me) I had no choice. Mari needed a dog. She knew it and I knew it. I needed to give her the right one.

That’s when research about native Norwegian breeds began. The more I researched the more certain I was that she needed a Norwegian elkhound, even though I never had one or had even known one. Its breed traits (protective, intelligent, loyal, powerful, and fearless) were perfect for Mari. Even more importantly, elkhound traits represent the ideals of Norway as a country. Odin HAD to be his name. He became my symbol for Norway’s stand against the Nazis and refusal to accept their false claims of friendship.

I was relieved to find that there are black elkhounds, even though elkhound-blacks are not common. As a child we had a black dog with white toes and tail-tip, and the dog/family member I met on my first trip to Norway was also black with those markings. I was especially happy to find that was a realistic option for Mari’s dog, too.

Since Odin’s Promise was released I have been involved with members of the NEAA, the Norwegian Elkhound Association of America. Through their warm-hearted members (two- and four-footed ones) I’ve fallen in love with the breed and found that everything I read about them is true, and more.

Anyone interested in learning more about the breed and available dogs could contact: http://www.elkhoundrescue.org


Can you share any picture of the type of traditional dress Mari would have worn to her sister’s wedding?

hardanger bunad detail hardanger bunad iamge

Link here to a post with other links: http://www.sandybrehl.com/bunad-whats-that/

Norway is a single country but represents widely different cultures and climates because it stretches from northern Europe into the Arctic Circle. The country is divided into districts (something like our states), separated by geographic landmarks like mountain ranges, tundras, etc. As with our states, each district has its own local pride and practices. The bunad (traditional costumes) for each district are distinct and can be easily identified by most Norwegians. (Think cheeseheads and team logos.) Even when someone moves (within the country or by emigrating) the bunad design from their “homeland” or family-based district is usually the design they will continue to wear and use in succeeding generations.

Mari’s family in Ytre Arna would wear the Hardanger District bunad. (pictured). These are VERY expensive outfits and include many embellishments with silver or pewter buttons, laces, and jewelry adornments. When children are young and growing fast they may have simpler bunad, made in the general style, then finally receiving their adult version at fifteen. At that age they have Confirmation, a major event in Norwegian culture indicating passage to adulthood.

Over the course of the occupation many people found they needed to barter away the buttons and other valuable parts from personal and heirloom bunad in exchange for necessities.

What is your favorite food that Mari and her family would have eaten? Can you share a recipe?

(kranse kaka recipe sent, if you want it, from a master-expert Norwegian baker, a friend of mine.) Link to it on my blog is here, but the special eBook price no longer applies: http://www.sandybrehl.com/holiday-kranse-kake-recipe-a-bonus/

Recipe for Kranse Kake

3 – 8 ounce cans SOLO pure almond paste

1 cup granulated sugar

2 egg whites

Mix together in mixer until well-blended. Spray tins well with PAM for baking with flour. Use flat star template in cookie press to make a ring of dough in each section of the tins. Use a blunt tool such as a plastic orange peeler to press ends together. Be sure the ring of dough is perfectly round.

Bake tins (2 or 3 at a time) in a 325 degree oven for 17-22 minutes. Check at 15 minutes. Do not let the rings get too brown. They should be just turning and be golden brown on the edges. Remove from oven and let cool before removing from pans. (I take my orange slicer tool and gently lift here and there to make sure they aren’t sticking.)

After rings are completely cold, remove from tins and arrange in order on a counter. Begin with the largest and stack “gluing” them together with frosting:

1 egg white slightly beaten

3 drops white vinegar

1 cup powdered sugar

Put the “glue” into a strong zip-lock bag and when you are ready to assemble the cake, snip a very small piece off one corner of the bag. Pipe a solid band of frosting all around the top of the layer and then immediately set the next layer on top. Repeat until all layers are used.

If you wish, you may pipe “scallops” of frosting around the cake to decorate. Store the cake in an airtight container. It may also be frozen.

Norwegian flags or wrapped candies may be stuck into the cake for decoration. For special occasions, I have used a wired ribbon bow atop the cake.


This recipe makes an eighteen layer cake. You will likely have dough left over which can be used to make fingers. (Just pipe out long lines of dough on a cookie sheet and cut into uniform pieces and then bake.)

If you double the recipe (which we do for weddings) it will make a 36 layer cake and about 200 fingers.

Note: I always use the SOLO almond paste because it works the best. I have used other brands (Odense) and the cake does not turn out as well.

Nancy Sande


Food was extremely scarce during this time, but Mari didn’t complain. Would she have suffered in any other way besides weight loss, which you mentioned?

Odin’s Promise is only the first year of the occupation, so the rationing was not nearly as severe as it would become over the course of five long years of occupation. The conditions in specific areas varied greatly, as I suggested in the story. Mari lived near the southwest coast, a milder climate, and had access to the fjord for fishing.

Agricultural areas had more ability to provide for themselves despite the fact that much of their crops/livestock were confiscated for German use. From the beginning the Germans stayed well-fed and many reports say they considered being stationed in Norway a luxury posting.

Urban areas with limited garden space, dense populations, and a heavy concentration of soldiers suffered the greatest shortages.

Over time this had different effects depending on age and general health. Young children were allowed a modest milk ration until age five. Children had poor bone and dental development, including toothaches and decay as well as joint pain. It was common to develop severe and chronic coughs during the winter months, usually treated with nothing more than flannel rags soaked in warm camphor oil tied to their chests. Pneumonia posed the greatest threat to the very young, very old, and those with chronic illnesses because nutrition and resistance were so poor.

In the final year of the occupation the potato crop failed, an essential staple, at a time when troop numbers were the highest and resources had been severely depleted.

Mari and her family were VERY fortunate to be able to stay in their home when the Nazis came to their village. Please share what happened to other families who had to leave their homes or had to house Nazis during this time.

This changed after the first year and is a major component of Books Two and Three, and shapes major plot elements in both.

What topics would Mari have studied in school and how would they have been different or the same for children going to school at the same time in the United States?

First, Norway offers parents a full year paid maternity leave, followed by high-quality free or affordable early childhood services. Children usually attend preschools and child-care centers at which socialization, play, and other developmentally appropriate experiences fill their days.
Schools do not actually enroll children in “year one” (first grade) until they are seven years old. At that time they begin working with a single teacher and often stay with that teacher and group until “lower school” is completed at year six (age 13).

As you can imagine, these groups, including the other students, their teachers, and their families, become very close during those years. I heard numerous stories of people who remained lifelong friends from those shared years.

School subjects included the usual math, reading, writing, grammar, history, and science. Nature, art, music, fitness, and sports also played important roles.

Additional languages were taught as early as year four, and at that time the foreign language was often German. Norwegian language has variations in different regions of the country, but it is similar in many ways to Danish and Swedish, so those were picked up more naturally.

These days formal English instruction begins at year four and by the time students leave the school system most are fluent in three or more languages.

Foreign language was rarely taught in elementary schools in this country. In fact, those who spoke other languages were often treated with disdain or suspicion here, especially after war began in Europe and the Pacific areas.

School patterns were affected severely in the second year of occupation and beyond due to ever-increasing numbers of German troops. These changes play a significant part in Book Two of the trilogy, as Mari and her classmates move into upper school.

There were Norwegians who joined the Nazis. What kinds of things did they do for the Nazis and how was their relationship with the other Norwegians who refused to become members of their party? 

This was some of the most interesting research I was able to discover while preparing to write Odin’s Promise. The Germans quickly eliminated the authentic Norwegian government and constitution and replaced it with German control, a new flag, and a controlling party, the “NS”, or Nazi Norway. Anyone who openly joined and acted friendly toward the Germans and these changes was treated as if they were Germans. Anything seen as making the Germans welcome (chatting, dating, attending their events) was collaboration. The benefits granted meant some who agreed with the Germans weren’t the only ones supporting them. In order to provide additional food or medicine, some insisted they “had no choice” but to cooperate. It was understood that anyone might be “striped”, acting and talking as if loyal to Norway but then reporting on others to the Germans for extra ration tickets or because of threats.

This posed a challenge to everyone there, but especially to young Mari who had never doubted that everyone she met could be trusted—until the Germans arrived.

“The ice front” (social ostracizing) was a major tool used against the soldiers and anyone who openly supported them. This could be simple things like ignoring them to boycotting their businesses, ridiculing them in the underground newspapers, and making them the butt of jokes.


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