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Blog Tour: THE YOU I’VE NEVER KNOWN by Ellen Hopkins 5 star review & #Giveaway
Jan 25th, 2017 by Liza Wiemer

THE YOU I’VE NEVER KNOWNCover

by Ellen Hopkins

Published January 24, 2017

Margaret K. McElderry Books

(Simon & Schuster)

About the novel:

How do you live your life if your past is based on a lie? A new novel in both verse and prose from #1 New York Times bestselling author, Ellen Hopkins.

For as long as she can remember, it’s been just Ariel and Dad. Ariel’s mom disappeared when she was a baby. Dad says home is wherever the two of them are, but Ariel is now seventeen and after years of new apartments, new schools, and new faces, all she wants is to put down some roots. Complicating things are Monica and Gabe, both of whom have stirred a different kind of desire.

Maya’s a teenager who’s run from an abusive mother right into the arms of an older man she thinks she can trust. But now she’s isolated with a baby on the way, and life’s getting more complicated than Maya ever could have imagined.

Ariel and Maya’s lives collide unexpectedly when Ariel’s mother shows up out of the blue with wild accusations: Ariel wasn’t abandoned. Her father kidnapped her fourteen years ago.

What is Ariel supposed to believe? Is it possible Dad’s woven her entire history into a tapestry of lies? How can she choose between the mother she’s been taught to mistrust and the father who has taken care of her all these years?

In bestselling author Ellen Hopkins’s deft hands, Ariel’s emotionally charged journey to find out the truth of who she really is balances beautifully with Maya’s story of loss and redemption. This is a memorable portrait of two young women trying to make sense of their lives and coming face to face with themselves—for both the last and the very first time.

LINKS: Amazon | B&N

 

ABOUT ELLEN HOPKINS:Ellen Hopkins

Ellen Hopkins is the New York Times bestselling author of CrankBurnedImpulseGlassIdenticalTricksFalloutPerfectTrianglesTilt, and Collateral. She lives in Carson City, Nevada, with her husband and son. Hopkin’s Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest pages get thousands of hits from teens who claim Hopkins is the “only one who understands me”, and she can be visited at ellenhopkins.com.

Like most of you here, books are my life. Reading is a passion, but writing is the biggest part of me. Balance is my greatest challenge, as I love my family, friends, animals and home, but also love traveling to meet my readers. Hope I meet many of you soon!

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Tumblr

 

My 5 star review:

The You I've Never KnownThe You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

THE YOU I’VE NEVER KNOWN is filled with emotional punches, and it’s impossible not to be deeply effected by them in the best way. This story is brilliantly woven into a slow revelation of personal as well as sexual identity. Themes of friendship, love, loyalty, teen pregnancy, and family are key elements. Who am I? Who loves me? What does it mean to be loved? What IS love?

Abuse also comes into play, explored and revealed so that the victim comes to realize what she thought of as love was really anger, control, hate.

——Deep breath. This book. So much emotion. So many powerful messages. So important.

Once again, Ellen Hopkins pens characters who feel so real, it take imagination to believe that they don’t really exist, that you’re reading about them in a novel, not a journal of their life. Ariel is at the center of this story and readers will feel her confusion, her attraction, her sense of loyalty, friendships, love, fear. Her father is a despicable person. I have so many emotions wrapped up with him that I may need to amend this review later as I process my emotions.

From Monica to Zelda to Gabe to Hillary, I love each of these secondary characters for different reasons. Each one has a very special role in Ariel’s lives. They change her profoundly. You need to read this novel to understand each one’s impact.

And then there’s Maya’s story—at first separate, but then it converges into Ariel’s. PAINFUL! POWERFUL! DEEPLY MOVING! Sad. But then again, HOPEFUL.

Ellen Hopkins never shirks away from the tough topics. Be prepared to think. I highly, highly recommend this novel and all of her novels.

View all my reviews

 

Tour Schedule:

Week 1:

1/23: Such A Novel Idea – Review

1/24: Megnificent Books – Character Closet

1/25: Who R U Blog – Review

1/26: Wandering Bark Books – Playlist

1/27: Reading Is Better With Cupcakes – Review

Week 2:

1/30: The Irish Banana Review – Fast 5

1/31: Actin’ Up With Books – Review

2/1: Red House Books – Top 10

2/2: The Book Return – Review

2/3: Bookiemoki – Q&A

Giveaway:
3 Finished Copies of THE YOU I’VE NEVER KNOWN (US Only)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour: SNOWBIRDS by Crissa-Jean Chappell, Novel Secrets & #Giveaway
Jan 18th, 2017 by Liza Wiemer

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ABOUT SNOWBIRDS:9781507200698cvr.indd

Every year, Lucy waits eagerly for the arrival of the “snowbirds,” the Old Order Amish who come trundling into Florida on buses from the north, bringing Lucy’s best friend Alice, with whom she’s spent every winter she can remember. This winter is different. At sixteen, Alice is in the middle of “Rumspringa,” a season in which Amish teens try out forbidden temptations, in order to get them out of their system. Lucy is part of a different sect, in which teens aren’t allowed such bold experimentation, and she’s fighting to keep up as Alice races from one wild party to the next. Then, one night after just such a party, Alice vanishes. Wracked by guilt, Lucy knows that she should have been watching out for Alice, but instead, she was kissing Faron, an Older Order boy shunned by his society. Now, Lucy plunges into a search for her best friend–while also hiding her own secret, which could put her in even more danger.

LINKS: Amazon | B&N

 

ABOUT CRISSA-JEAN CHAPPELL:Crissa Snowbirds Portrait

CRISSA-JEAN CHAPPELL (crissajeanchappell.com) was born in Miami and now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Her debut young adult novel,Total Constant Order, is a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age and a VOYA Perfect Ten. Chappell’s second novel, Narc, is currently optioned for film. More Than Good Enough is her most recent novel, which Kirkus calls “compelling and emotionally nuanced.” Chappell holds a PhD and MFA from the University of Miami. She has taught creative writing and cinema studies for more than ten years.

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Instagram

 

 

Tour Schedule:

1/16: The Fake Steph – Looks from Books

1/17: Owl Always Be Reading – Review

1/18: Who RU Blog – Novel Secrets

1/19: Pretty Deadly Reviews – Review

1/20: The Irish Banana Review – Fast 5

1/21: Bookhounds YA – Review

NOVEL SECRETS: (Love this video!)

SNOWBIRDS behind the scenes from crissachappell on Vimeo.

GIVEAWAY: 1 copy of SNOWBIRDS

with doodles & notes by Crissa-Jean Chappell

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Blog Tour: LIFE IN A FISHBOWL by Len Vlahos, Novel Secret & #Giveaway
Jan 10th, 2017 by Liza Wiemer

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Buying Links: IndieBound | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

About LIFE IN A FISHBOWL:25131061

Fifteen-year-old Jackie Stone is a prisoner in her own house. Everything she says and does 24/7 is being taped and broadcast to every television in America. Why? Because her dad is dying of a brain tumor and he has auctioned his life on eBay to the highest bidder: a ruthless TV reality show executive at ATN.

Gone is her mom’s attention and cooking and parent-teacher conferences. Gone is her sister’s trust ever since she’s been dazzled by the cameras and new-found infamy. Gone is her privacy. Gone is the whole family’s dignity as ATN twists their words and makes a public mockery of their lives on Life and Death. But most of all, Jackie fears that one day very soon her father will just be . . . gone. Armed only with her ingenuity and the power of the internet, Jackie is determined to end the show and reclaim all of their lives, even in death.

6549389About Len Vlahos:

I dropped out of NYU film school in the mid 80s to play guitar and write songs for Woofing Cookies. We were a punk-pop four piece — think R.E.M. meets the Ramones — that toured up and down the East Coast, and had two singles and one full-length LP on Midnight Records.

The band broke up in 1987 and I followed my other passion, books. I’ve worked in the book industry ever since. And, of course, I write. And I write, And I write, write, write.

My first novel, The Scar Boys — it’s labeled as Young Adult, but I’ve never really liked labels — published January 2014. It is, not surprisingly, a rock and roll coming of age story. No vampires or dystopian future, just a messed up boy and his guitar. (I have nothing against vampires or dystopian futures. I loved The PassageThe Hunger Games, and The Road.)

Scar Girl, the continuation of The Scar Boys’ story.

I live in Connecticut with my super awesome wife Kristen, and our six year old son Charlie, and three and a half year old son, Luke, and I spend my days working at a small book industry non profit.

Find Len on Goodreads | Twitter | Website

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Listen to a song from Len’s former band: Woofing Cookies

The Secret of How Books Get Named, and Why this Name Means So Much

One of the things people find most surprising about the process of getting published is that the publisher, not the author, chooses the title of the book. Not to say we authors don’t have titles for our manuscripts; we do. But publishers reject those titles as often as they accept them.

The original title for Life in a Fishbowl was House of Stone. It referred to Jackie’s family and the house in which they lived, the setting for most of the book. It was also a play on words, making the point that the love that held the family together was made of stone. I liked it. I really, really liked it.

“Yeah, okay,” my editor said, “but no.”

“Why not?”

“Because no one will buy a book called House of Stone. Especially teens.”

“What do you mean? They buy The Catcher in the Rye. And Catch-22. Hey wait, maybe I should put catch in the title.”

“Sigh.”

“How about “Catching Stones?”

“Groan.”

You get the idea.

While authors know how to write books, it is the folks who work in the publishing house that know how to sell books. You have to trust their expertise when it comes to things like titles, and I do.

After my plea to give House of Stone one final chance fell on deaf ears, my editor sent me several lists of choices. This was one of them:

TERMINAL REALITY

UNSCRIPTED

LIFE OFF FOCUS

THE TERMINATION SHOCK

LIFE FOR SALE

THE MEMORY EATER

REZZING IN THE HOUSE OF STONE

LIFE IN THE FISHBOWL

THE WEAK-KNEED AND THE WOBBLY

THE STONE COLD TRUTH

My eye immediately zeroed in on Life in the Fishbowl, and not just because it was such a good fit for the book. It also had personal meaning to me.

When I was younger, I played guitar in a punk-pop band called Woofing Cookies. (If you like punk and stories about music, see my first book, The Scar Boys. But I digress.) After putting out two 45 RPM singles, Woofing Cookies was signed to record a full-length LP on a small label out of New York City by the name of Midnight Records.

I forget exactly how it happened, but I think the label rejected the working title for our record. Just like publishers, music labels, or at least this music label, have final say over album titles. To come up with something quick, we thought it would be funny if we each chose one word at random, and Horse Gum Tortilla Shoes, was born. (You can still find copies on eBay.)

What was the working title the label rejected? Have you guessed it? Are you ready?

Of course, it was Life in a Fishbowl.

Eerie coincidence? Fate? Or maybe my editor is a creepy stalker who somehow knew this obscure and arcane piece of knowledge about my life. I don’t know. Whatever the reason, I was ecstatic and I was on board. And, of course, any lingering fondness for House of Stone as a title evaporated when I saw the cover for the book. (I really, really love the Life in a Fishbowl cover. Thank you designers Jessie Gang and Donna Mark!)

So let this be a lesson to younger writers. Don’t obsess over the title of your book, because honestly, they’re probably just going to change it anyway. And you know what? That’s okay.

GIVEAWAY: 1 copy of LIFE IN A FISHBOWL (US/Canada)

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BLOG TOUR: AFTERMATH by Clara Kensie, 5 star review & #Giveaway
Jan 9th, 2017 by Liza Wiemer

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ABOUT AFTERMATH:29906037

Charlotte survived four long years as a prisoner in the attic of her kidnapper, sustained only by dreams of her loving family. The chance to escape suddenly arrives, and Charlotte fights her way to freedom. But an answered prayer turns into heartbreak. Losing her has torn her family apart. Her parents have divorced: Dad’s a glutton for fame, Mom drinks too much, and Charlotte’s twin is a zoned-out druggie. Her father wants Charlotte write a book and go on a lecture tour, and her mom wants to keep her safe, a virtual prisoner in her own home. But Charlotte is obsessed with the other girl who was kidnapped, who never got a second chance at life–the girl who nobody but Charlotte believes really existed. Until she can get justice for that girl, even if she has to do it on her own, whatever the danger, Charlotte will never be free.

LINKS: Amazon |  Barnes & Noble |  Books-A-Million |  Indiebound

ABOUT CLARA KENSIE:

Clara Kensie grew up near Chicago, reading every book she could find and using her diary to write stories about a girl with psychic powers who solved mysteries. She purposely did not hide her diary, hoping someone would read it and assume she was writing about herself. Since then, she’s swapped her diary for a computer and admits her characters are fictional, but otherwise she hasn’t changed one bit.7350533

Today Clara is a RITA© Award-winning author of dark fiction for young adults. Her super-romantic psychic thriller series, Run To You, was named an RT Magazine Editors Pick for Best Books of 2014, and Run to You Book One: Deception So Deadly, is the winner of the prestigious 2015 RITA© Award for Best First Book.

Clara’s latest release is Aftermath, a dark, ripped-from-the-headlines YA contemporary in the tradition of Roomand The Lovely BonesAftermath is on Goodreads’ list of Most Popular Books Published in November 2016, and Young Adult Books Central declared it a Top Ten Book of 2016.
Clara’s favorite foods are guacamole and cookie dough. But not together. That would be gross.

Find Clara online:

Website  Newsletter  Instagram  Twitter   Facebook  Insiders  Goodreads

 

AftermathAftermath by Clara Kensie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

FYI: There’s a Goodreads giveaway going on now for 3 annotated copies of AFTERMATH! https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/sh…

This book!!! It’s powerful, emotional, gripping, hard-to-put-down with lots of twists and turns you won’t predict. AFTERMATH will leave the reader thinking about these characters and the choices they made. How well do you know your community? How well do you know your brother? What would make a “seemingly normal” person kidnap a young girl and hold her prisoner? What happens afterward?

I read this book in a day. Three weeks later, I’m still thinking about this family—how each one found different ways of coping with the kidnapping and everything that came from that. The choices they made, the before and after. Human beings can endure a lot, but this…it’s a parent’s worst nightmare. Yet through the journey, readers will find hope. It’s a lifeline we all need.

Beautifully written, I still have images of the cage, the house, the school, and “home” in my head. Scenes will stay with you and there are moments that will make you gasp and may even bring you to tears. Have some tissues ready, just in case, but whatever you do, don’t miss AFTERMATH! It’s a must-read.

View all my reviews

1/2: The Irish Banana Review – Review

1/3: Bibliobuli YA – 2 Truths & A Lie Post

1/4: Swoony Boys Podcast – Character Interview

1/5: Novel Ink – Review

1/6: Fiction Fare – Q&A

1/7: Actin’ Up With Books – Review

1/8: The Story Sanctuary – Review

1/9: Who R U Blog – Review

1/10: Lisa’s Loves – Dream Cast

1/11: Gabriella M Reads – Q&A

1/12: Novelgossip – Review

1/13: Such A Novel Idea – Playlist

Giveaway:do-it-double-tote

1: A “Do It Double” Aftermath tote bag from Blu Bear Bazaar (photos attached). Inspired by Aftermath‘s message to “Do it double, because some can’t do it at all,” Blu Bear Bazaar designed beautiful artwork for it and printed it on tote bags and throw pillows. Blu Bear Bazaar is generously donating a portion of all Aftermath product proceeds to RAINN and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Click here for more information.
2: Choice of TWO books from Clara’s collection of YA novels. Clara will give the winner a list of the YA novels in her collection, and the winner can pick two. Some of the books are signed by the author.
*US/CAN for the above prizes. If the winner is international, the prize will be substituted by a book from Book Depository up to $18.00, winner’s choice.

Good luck, and happy reading!!!

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