THE WINNER’S TRILOGY by Marie Rutkowski, a must read YA fantasy series
Dec 20th, 2015 by Liza Wiemer

The Winner’s Curse, The Winner’s Crime, The Winner’s Kiss

by Marie Rutkoski


1. The main characters, Kestrel and Arin, come alive.

Forbidden love you can’t help but cheer for! They’re strong, they go through so many trials and tribulations that you’re often holding your breath, nearly going crazy to find out what is going to happen next.

2. Extraordinary world building.

Marie makes this fictional world come alive.

3. The writing is exceptional, beautiful, lyrical.

4. Edge-of-your-seat action.

5.  Fantasy at it’s absolute BEST!



The Winner’s Curse

The writing is incredible. The story will have you turning the pages faster and faster and faster to find out what happens. You’ll be craving the next book, and after you read it (The Winner’s Crime) you’ll be screaming for the next book.

Bottom line: Don’t miss this series. Fantasy at its best. What a world Marie created. Amazing, unforgettable characters. Kestrel and Arin are strong-willed, have fantastic chemistry, know their strengths and weaknesses (often each other), and turn the world upside down.

This series is a gift for readers to cherish. I most definitely am cherishing it! Standing ovation for Marie Rutkoski!



The Winner’s Crime

From start to finish, it’s edge-of-your-seat action! Breathtaking, heart-stopping AMAZING! The writing, the story! Incredible. *Flail*Hug*Cry* If you need a support group after you finish reading THE WINNER’S CRIME, I are here for you!


The Winner’s Kiss

Without any doubt, I know that I’m going to absolutely love this novel. I trust Marie Rutkowski wrote the story that has been in her heart since this trilogy was a germ of an idea. Writing an outstanding story takes tremendous work, dedication, and passion for the craft. Marie has it in spades. Her storytelling skills are masterful, taking readers on the best kind of emotional roller coaster. It’s her characters, world building, cadence (lyrical) writing that captures the reader from page one. For those reasons and many more, The Winner’s Trilogy is one of the best YA fantasy series of all time. I can’t wait until THE WINNER’S KISS is in my hands. Marie Rutkowski and this series is worthy of ALL THE PRAISE! A best book for 2014, 2105, and I have no doubt for 2016! Cheering you on, Marie!


4th Annual YA Novel Cuisine Luncheon & ARC Giveaway of ARROWS
Dec 15th, 2015 by Liza Wiemer

For the past four years, Wisconsin and Illinois authors/bloggers/librarians/teachers have gathered together for a luncheon inspired by foods mentioned in various novels. This may have been our best year yet! After all, we had some fantastic new people join us, including Alyssa of lifeofabookenthusiast.wordpress.com, who drove all the way from Michigan to be with us! Though people are still talking about the Dragon Risotto from The Fault in Our Stars, which we had three years ago. 😀

There is no way this event could be done without my awesome co-host Heidi Zweifel of YA Bibliophile. Together with Alyssa, we had a blast cooking together, laughing and yes, tasting.

Our group included: Monica Fumarolo,  Heidi ZweifelKristen HarveyAlyssa PerrinErin ArkinJaime ArkinRachel KinnardLori Lee and her daughter, Phoebe Dyer, Mary EversTara Jordan, Liz CzukasJenny ChouSilvia AcevedoMelissa GorzelanczykEmily AlfanoJaimie M., and me!

As part of our fun celebration, everyone received an ARC of Wisconsin debut YA author Melissa Gorzelanczk’s ARROWS, which is being published by Delacorte Press on January 26, 2015! We’re all proud of Melissa and are excited for her book to come out in the world.

In addition to enjoying outstanding company and yummy food, everyone brought books to donate to the new Sojourner Family Peace Center’s library!

Our Menu:

Strawberry Fields Salad – We Can Work It Out

Deviled Eggs – Keeping the Moon

Guac & Chips – What Happened to Goodbye, When Joss Met Matt

Trail Mix – The Start of Me and You

Tomato Salad – Better Than Perfect

Make Your Own Pizza – Saint Anything, Lying Out Loud, G0D Awful Loser  

Pasta- Hello?

Pies – Hello?, The Devil You Know

Hummingbird Cake – Rebel Belle

Chocolate Chip Cookies – The Boy in the Black Suit, Arrows

Raspberry Lemonade – The Rest of Us Just Live Here

Hot Chocolate – A Court of Thorns and Roses

Coke/Diet Coke – What Happened to Goodbye, Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless

Sweet Tea – Persuasion



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Review: The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough
Dec 9th, 2015 by Liza Wiemer

5 Star Review:23399232


by Martha Brockenbrough

The Game of Love and DeathThe Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Stayed up until after 3 AM to finish reading this novel!

Overall impression: So imaginative! I loved how Martha interwove historical fiction in a non-traditional love story. The diverse characters felt so authentic and the blend of fantasy with reality read seamless for me. Despite the calamities that befell Flora and Henry, their ability to cope with the trials and tribulations of life touched me. Death, love, loss, friendship, racism, homosexuality are some of the themes touched upon in this novel.

I love how Martha showed that we lived in a society (1937) where people quickly judged a person’s worth based on skin color or sexual orientation. SO glad we’ve made strides in these area, but without a doubt, we have a ways to go before people appreciate/embrace our common humanity. I loved how vivid 1937 Seattle came to life. From the descriptions of school, food, clothes, the jazz clubs, music in general, wealth and the poverty of Hooverville, people’s occupations, and landmarks, readers will be transformed back in time. I loved learning about Flora and her passion for flying and the restrictions/racist attitudes she was subjected to that kept her from opportunities to pursue her dream. Her heroine was Amelia Earhart and Flora wanted the same opportunities afforded to Amelia.

I highly recommend this novel! It’s a wonderful blend of historical fiction, fantasy, and love story. Thank you so much to my dear friend Kelly Hager, who purchased this book for me and said, “It’s one of my absolute favorites! You have to read it!”

View all my reviews

Holiday #Readathon Mini-Challenge: What novel would you give as a gift?
Dec 3rd, 2015 by Liza Wiemer


It’s time for the Holiday #Readathon – – sign up here Actin’ Up with Books & there are many easy challenges and spectacular giveaways! It’s a time to receive (and maybe give – see Joli’s mini-challenge), and READ for fun! Doesn’t matter if you read only for a MINUTE! JOIN US! To enter any of the challenges, please sign up by adding your name to the link above! It’s SIMPLE! 🙂

Here’s my mini-challenge: 

This year, I’m drawing upon a tradition that’s a part of our family, one that I would definitely pass on to Emerson’s family in my novel Hello?. 

A holiday tradition in Emerson’s family is everyone receives a book. Essentially, that’s the only “physical”gift they will get. Their big gift is a family activity, like a road trip to the caves of Kentucky or a trip to Memphis to see the Civil Rights Museum or a trip to Chicago to explore museums.


The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, by Anne Bronte

Emerson would give Tricia a classic novel, one he knows she hasn’t read, but definitely a book that he would believe provide inspiration and strength: THE TENANT OF WILDFELL HALL by Anne Bronte

Tricia would give Emerson a first edition copy of Ralph Waldo Emerson poems. It’s expensrwepoems__39626.1410996008.1280.1280ive, but she has money she inherited from her father and grandma, so she’d spend it on this:

Here’s the link to the 1847 1st Edition signed copy: Poems by Ralph Waldo Emerson


My mini-challenge is: What book would you give as a holiday and why?


Extra entry: If you chose to pass on other holiday gifts and instead decided to take a road trip within reasonable distance of your home (so it’s affordable) where would you take a few days off to spend quality time with your loved one(s)?

Prize: International22663633

2 random winners will receive an annotated copy of my debut YA novel, Hello? if US or Canada – otherwise an international winner must be from a country that receives books from the Book Depository. Those books will NOT be signed and annotated, since they’ll be coming directly from the Book Depository.

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