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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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GIVEAWAY: 2 ARCS of ARROWS (US & Canada)

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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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THE NOVEL CUISINE LUNCHEON ’13 & Giveaway!
Dec 18th, 2013 by Liza Wiemer

The table is set with all the books that inspired the menu for the luncheon.

The table is set with all the books that inspired the menu for the luncheon.

THE 3rd ANNUAL NOVEL CUISINE LUNCHEON ’13

This year, authors, bloggers, librarians from Wisconsin and Illinois came together for The Third Annual Novel Cuisine Luncheon. Kelly of Belle of the Literati, Monica of Fuma Files , Erin and Jaime of Fiction Fare and the Fiction Fare and Swoony Boys Readalong, Author Gayle Rosengren – WHAT THE MOON SAID, Erica of The Book Cellar, Amanda, librarian in Stoughton, Anuradha teacher/writer, Rachel of Tiger Lily Rachel, Sarah from Novel Thoughts, Andrea of Mrs. Payan Reads, Heidi of YA Bibliophile, & Me!

All the recipes were inspired by a book. Just One Day, by Gayle Forman, Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller (2 recipes), What the Moon Said by Gayle Rosengren, The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler, Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg, The Distance Between Us by Kasie West, Reclaimed by Sarah Guillory, Wait for You, Trust in Me by Jennifer Armentrout, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heidi prepping for the party.

Heidi prepping for the party.

 

The awesome Heidi from YA Bibliophile came over on Saturday. After we spent several hours in the living room reading, we headed out to see THE HOBBIT II, and then we spent the rest of the night and into the early morning laughing and cooking and talking. We discovered that we’re cooking soul mates and dubbed “Modified Marthas.” Many of the things we made, were a first for us. Empanadas, Bubble Tea, Pastitsio, Galaktoboureko. All the recipes except for two were found on the Internet. The exceptions were Elizabeth Eulberg’s mom’s Cheese Ball from BETTER OFF FRIENDS – YUMMMMMMMM!!!!! and chocolate walnut cookies from WAIT FOR YOU and TRUST IN ME by Jennifer Armentrout. That’s a recipe I ended up creating based on several different recipes that I found on the net. Since Cam said that these cookies were better than sex, Heidi and I brainstormed names and came up with Cam’s Better Than Sex Chocolate Walnut Cookies.

menu

17228280HUGE THANKS TO:

Wisconsin born and raised author Elizabeth Eulberg: Twitter, Blog, Goodreads for supporting this event. Her publisher, Scholastic, provided ARCs of latest YA novel BETTER OFF FRIENDS. Her Wisconsin event for BETTER OFF FRIENDS will be held at Boswell Books on February 25th!

What the moon said

 

Wisconsin author Gayle Rosengren: Twitter, Blog, Goodreads for attending the event. Her publisher G. P. Putnam’s Sons provided ARCs of her MG novel, WHAT THE MOON SAID!

One lucky winner will receive an ARC of each of these novels.

(See Rafflecopter below.)

 

 

RECIPES:

Elizabeth Eulberg’s mom’s Cheese Ball recipe as found in BETTER OFF FRIENDS

Cheese Ball

Cheese Ball

cheeseball

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cookies

Cam’s Better Than Sex Chocolate Walnut Cookies, inspired from WAIT FOR YOU by Jennifer Armentrout

 Cam’s Better Than Sex Chocolate Walnut Cookies inspired from Wait for You by Jennifer Armentrout:

I adapted one recipe to create this one:

5 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate – I used Scharffen Berger Brand

1/2 stick butter

1 1/2 cups flour

1/4 cup 100% cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup chocolate chips

30 whole walnuts, lightly toasted in the oven at 300 degrees – approximately 5 minutes.

1/4 cup powdered sugar

Melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave safe container at 1/2 power. Stir until smooth. Mix flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Beat together eggs and sugar, then add melted chocolate/butter mix and vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients. Add chocolate chips, stir in with a spoon. Put the dough in the refrigerator for an hour. It will firm up! Take a tablespoon of dough and flatten in a circle in the palm of your hand. Add toasted whole walnut and fold over chocolate dough. Roll into a ball, completely covering the whole walnut. Cover the entire ball in powdered sugar. Place dough on greased cookie pan. Bake cookies at 350 for 8 minutes.  After 8 minutes gently use a fork to flatten the dough to a 1/2 inch thick. Bake for another 2 minutes, then cool cookies on a cooling rack.

Bubble Tea

Bubble Tea

Bubble Tea inspired by THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN by12813630 Holly Black: Here’s the recipe we used: Drinks Mixer

Potato Pancakes with Raspberry Jam (use any quality brand) inspired by WHAT THE MOON SAID by Gayle Rosengren

4 cups shredded potatoes

Fondue, cornbread, crepes, and potato pancakes

Fondue, cornbread, crepes, and potato pancakes

2 eggs

1/8 cup flour

1 diced small onion (I didn’t use it for this meal, but I do recommend including it for flavor)

Mix all ingredients together. Spray a cookie pan with vegetable oil. Spoon out a 1/4 cup of potato mixture. Flatten to about 1/4 inch thick. Bake at 425 degrees until the top is brown – about 10 minutes. Flip over with a spatula and brown the other side.

Crepes au Citron inspired by JUST ONE DAY by Gayle Forman

Recipe used: Martha Stewart

 

 

EmpanadasVegetarian Empanadas inspired by THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS by Sarah Ockler

Recipe adapted from Vegetarian Empanadas

Vegetarian Pastitsio inspired by WHERE THE STARS STILL 15826648SHINE by Trish Doller

Pastitsio

Pastitsio

Recipe used: Food.com 

Creamy Custard Pie (Galaktompoureko) inspired by WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE by Trish Doller

Recipe used: Greek Recipes.TV

Hot chocolate inspired by THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US by Kasie West – I used Omanhene Brand

 

 

 

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Cornbread inspired by RECLAIMED by Sarah Guillory

Recipe used from All Recipes

 

Cheese Fondue as found in Ann Mah’s MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH EATING: Check out Ann Mah’s Blog. Here’s the recipe straight from Ann’s book:

Fondue

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Giving Back:

One of the suggestions that Heidi had was for us to collect books and donate them to a school in need. I found about Hmong American Peace Academy, a school in Milwaukee desperate for books and in the middle of a library campaign. The school services over 1200 students in K-4 through 12th grade. Over seventy-five books are already in the hands of students.

More photos:

Book Talk:

We utilized best-books-2013Jamie from Perpetual Page Turner’s end-of-the-year survey:

Click here: Jamie’s 2013 End of Year Book Survey 

Q: Best book you read in 2013:

Daughter of Smoke & Bone, In Darkness, The One and Only Ivan, The Testing, The Burning Sky, Sea of Tranquility, Reclaimed, Second Chance Summer, Crown of Midnight, This Song Will Save Your Life, Defy, Things I Can’t Forget, If I Find Me, Tell The Wolves I’m Home, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Where the Stars Still Shine, The Winner’s Curse, Covet, Hopeless, Goodbye Rebel Blue, This Journal Belongs to Ratchet, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Q: Most surprising (in a good way) book of 2013:

Etiquette & Espionnage, Easy, Dear Cassie, Strands of Bronze and Gold, Six Months Later, Reclaimed, The Absolute True Diary of a Part-time Indian, Tangled, Alice in Zombieland, Uninvited, Unearthly, Stir Me Up, Ruby Red, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

Q: Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2013:

Code Name Verity, The Book Thief, Allegiant, Champion, If He Had Been With Me, Second Chance Summer, This Song Will Save Your Life, Things I Can’t Forget, Sea of Tranquility, The Fault in Our Stars, Me Before You, If I Stay

Q: Books you are most anticipating in 2014, non-debut:

The Worlds We Make,  No Surrender Soldier, Dreams of Gods and Monsters, Landline, Ruin & Rising, Panic, Isla and the Happily Ever After, On the Fence, Ignite Me, Split Second, Into the Still Blue, Dissonance

GIVEAWAY: (US & Canada ONLY)

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A Novel Cuisine Luncheon Recipes – December 16, 2012
Dec 17th, 2012 by Liza Wiemer

Dragon Carrot Risotto (Fault in our Stars)

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ sweet onion, ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • 1lb. dragon carrots, grated
  • Sea salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 2 cups risotto rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine (if you’re making this at school, substitute with 1/2 cup chicken broth)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan

Bring broth to a boil in a separate pot. In a large saucepan, melt 1Tbs. butter. Add onion and carrots; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in risotto. Add wine; cook, stirring, until absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes.
 
Add 2 cups hot broth; simmer over medium-low, stirring frequently, until mostly absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes. Continue to add broth, 1 cup at a time, stirring occasionally, until absorbed before adding more. Cook until risotto is creamy and just tender, about 20 minutes (you may not need all the broth).
 
Remove risotto from heat. Stir in Parmesan and 1 Tbs. butter. Season with additional salt and pepper to your taste.

This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart: http://www.marthastewart.com/316250/parmesan-carrot-risotto

 Poached Salmon (Titanic)

I received this recipe from a French Chef, which I adapted:

6 fresh salmon pieces cut into two inch wide pieces

4 cups chicken broth

2 carrots julienne cut

1 zucchini julienne cut

1 bunch Italian parsley

12 fresh garlic cloves cut into 4 pieces each

1-2 teaspoon cinnamon (to your taste)

1-2 teaspoon cumin (to your taste)

Wash the parsley and place in the bottom of a stovetop pan. Place carrots and zucchini around the edges. Place salmon skin down on top of the parsley and sprinkle fresh garlic on top. Boil broth with cinnamon and cumin. Pour over salmon pieces and cover. Turn on stovetop and continue to simmer liquid for 5-8 more minutes. Let the salmon stand for another 5-8 minutes until it is cooked.

 Mousseline Sauce (Titanic)

  •                     1/2 c. (1 stick) butter
  •                     4 egg yolks
  •                     2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  •                     1/4 c. boiling water
  •                     1/4 tsp. salt
  •                     1/2 c. whipping cream

Directions:

Beat butter at high speed of mixer until light and

fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each

addition. Continue beating at high speed and very gradually

add lemon juice, water and salt. (Mixture will thin out.)

Transfer to a heavy saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring

constantly, until thickened. Cool to room temperature. Whip

cream until very stiff, fold into cooled Hollandaise Sauce.

Use for Chicken Divan, asparagus, broccoli, artichokes, eggs or

poached fish. Yields 2 cups.

This recipe came from: http://frenchfood.about.com/od/dressingpreservessauces/r/Mousseline-Sauce-Recipe.htm

Mexican Coffee (Time Between Us)

Makes 8 (1-cup) servings.

6 cups dark roasted coffee coffee (regular or decaffeinated)

1-2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 cups milk

1/3 cup hot cocoa mix (I used Omanhene)

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Whipped cream (optional)

In a saucepan, add brewed coffee, milk, chocolate, brown sugar, and vanilla and simmer. Stir mixture until the cocoa and brown sugar is dissolved.

Pour into serving cups. Garnish with whipped cream and cinnamon, if desired. (We had the whipped cream – but no one added cinnamon. There was more than enough in the coffee.)

Recipe adapted from: http://www.mccormick.com/Recipes/Beverages/Mexican-Coffee.aspx

Grace’s Lemonade (My Life Next Door)

By Huntley Fitzpatrick

1 quart water

3 medium-sized lemons

¼ to ½ cup honey or maple syrup or sugar (I used sugar!)

Fresh mint leaves

Ice cubes

Grate skin of lemons and set aside. Mix other ingredients. Refrigerate.

Chop fresh mint leaves. Set aside ¼ cup. Mix with grated peel and 2 cups water. Pour into molds and freeze.

To drink: pour fresh lemonade into glasses, add frozen cubes. Garnish with a lemon slice.

Pesto Recipe from Marylyn Scheuer (Easy)

Wash and pat dry fresh basil. You can also use spinach leaf or a bit of arugula for peppery flavor to stretch it if need be.

3 Garlic cloves

¼ cup lemon juice

Olive oil

Walnuts or pine nuts (I used pine

Salt to taste

(Marylyn said:) I use a food processor and dump in a few cups of leaves; 2-3 garlic cloves; a good handful of nuts (1/2-3/4 cup) and pulse until the leaves, nuts, and garlic are roughly chopped. Add lemon juice (¼ cup) then turn the machine on and drizzle olive oil through the top opening so it comes in a fine stream. You will use around ¾ cup of oil and you keep blending until you like the consistency (add more or less depending on how thick you want it). Periodically, turn off the machine to scrape the sides. Season with salt and add lemon juice if you want it more tangy.

If you want to use the pesto to make a cream sauce, make the sauce first (warmed milk or soy, 1 Tbs. corn starch dissolved in water and added to milk to thicken with salt and pepper) and then whisk in the prepared pesto and warm through.

Toss with any cooked pasta.

Cherry Pie (Alice Bliss)

http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/06/sweet-cherry-pie/

I use this recipe. The two things I don’t add are the sugar on top of the crust or the butter. I personally don’t think it’s needed. Also, I cut patterns into my crust. Feel free to do what makes you happy. (I want to stress the importance of draining the liquid as much as possible, or it will be soupy. Also, refrigerate to firm up after it cools. Before serving, take it out of the fridge and serve at room temperature, though no one in our house can wait that long!)

Vegetarian Dumplings (Silver Phoenix)

Dumpling filling:

1 container shiitake mushrooms chopped

1/2 pound Napa cabbage, quickly blanch, then chopped

1/2 pound baby bok choy, quickly blanch, then chopped

3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1/8 cup cilantro chopped

2 green onions chopped

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 Tbs. fresh ginger grated

2 cloves garlic grated

1 egg – scrambled

 

1 packet of frozen dumpling wrappers* OR Dumpling wrappers:

Small bowl of water

Dipping sauce:

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon Chinese Rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Pinch of white pepper

To make the vegetable filling:

Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add the cabbage; blanch until just wilted. Using a slotted spoon, remove cabbage to strainer set over a large bowl. Press down on cabbage to squeeze out all liquid. Transfer to cutting board; roughly dice. Using the same pot of boiling water, repeat the process with the bok choy. Place all chopped vegetables in large bowl.

Add the sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, garlic to the vegetable mixture. Add in scrambled egg. After it’s all mixed, drain liquid.

Wrappers:

You can make homemade wrappers – I purchased wontons from the grocery store to save time.

NOTE: I used a dumpling press, which I purchased at a kitchen store. I used wonton wraps, which were square. When I filled the wontons and pressed, I removed the excess dough to form the moon shape.

Using your fingertip, wet the outer edge of the dumpling wrapper with water. Using a spoon, place one heaping tablespoon of dumpling filling in the center of the dumpling wrapper. Fold the dumpling in half and use the dumpling press to crimp and seal.

If there is too much filling and the dumpling cannot be sealed, remove the extra filling to prevent leakage during cooking.

Line up the finished dumplings on a foil-lined cookie sheet to prevent them from sticking or place on your countertop if it’s dry – it worked for me. You can freeze dumplings in tinfoil or a plastic bag for up to one month.

To cook:
 To cook the dumplings, gently lower them into a medium pot of boiling water and boil for approximately three to five minutes. They are done when the dumpling skins are translucent and the dumplings have been floating for about three minutes. Remove from pot carefully with a slotted spoon.

Serve hot.

For dipping sauce:
In small serving bowl, combine all ingredients. Serve with dumplings.

 Adapted from: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Vegetarian-Dumplings-106238#ixzz2ExXhjpo0

A Novel Cuisine Luncheon w/ Wisconsin & Illinois Bloggers/Teachers/Librarians
Dec 16th, 2012 by Liza Wiemer

A NOVEL CUISINE

The menu and the novels that inspired the recipes!

To celebrate the end of the year, a wonderful group of bloggers/teachers/librarians gathered at my house to discuss our favorite novels from 2012 & to enjoy a “Novel Cuisine Luncheon.”

I’d like to share some of those blogs:

Heidi, YA Bibliophile: http://www.yabibliophile.com

Monica, The Fuma Files: http://fumafiles.blogspot.com 

Erica, The Book Cellar http://thebookcellarx.com

Jillian, Mrs. Heise Reads http://www.heisereads.com

Okay, it was over-the-top yummy – but everyone who knows me knows I love to cook & what could be better than including some of our absolute favorite books with food? Silver Phoenix, which was recommended to me by Heidi has so many mouthwatering descriptions of food, it was hard to choose just one. Jillian was the inspiration behind making the November cakes in The Scorpio Races. It’s the kind of recipe that takes patience, but OMGosh is it worth it!

Some of the authors shared their recipes (Huntley Fitzpatrick – Grace’s Lemonade for My Life Next Door). Others were inspired by the pages themselves and I had to do some searching for my own recipes. In Such a Rush , Leah ate a salad with romaine lettuce, so I used a recipe I like.

One I didn’t want to adapt was the dragon carrot risotto from Fault in our Stars by John Green (Hazel and Gus eat dragon carrot risotto. pg. 165.) I did some research and discovered that dragon carrots are PURPLE on the outside and orange on the inside. I had a hard time finding dragon carrots—not one grocery store in Milwaukee had them—but eventually I found an organic farm – Harmony Valley http://www.harmonyvalleyfarm.com – not so far from me and the owner was willing to send them to me. So worth it!

Many thanks to author Laura Harrington. We raffled off a copy of her brilliant crossover novel Alice Bliss, which not only was an inspiration for the cherry pie, but one of my absolute all-time favorite novels! (Page 4 Matt mentions cherry pies (because he wants to plant more cherry trees). Page 209 Angie makes cherry pie for the special Sunday dinner (when Alice is trying to get out to plant the garden.) Here we hear that cherry pie is Matt’s favorite. Page 304 Gram puts a miniature cherry pie on the boat she sends out to sea.)

Our winner: Jillian Heise

Recipes:

Maggie Stiefvater’s November Cakes: http://maggiestiefvater.blogspot.com/2011/12/my-name-is-maggie-im-perfectionist-and.html

Click here for additional recipes: http://wp.me/PAaOH-pH

 

Blog Tour: PERSUASION by Martina Boone, Review, Q&A & #Giveaway
Nov 3rd, 2015 by Liza Wiemer

Cover

Blog Tour: Persuasion by Martina Boone, book 2 in the Heirs of Watson Island Trilogy

ABOUT THE PERSUASION:

Grieving the death of her godfather and haunted by her cousin Cassie’s betrayal, Barrie returns from a trip to San Francisco to find the Watson plantation under siege. Ghost-hunters hope to glimpse the ancient spirit who sets the river on fire each night, and reporters chase rumors of a stolen shipment of Civil War gold that may be hidden at Colesworth Place. The chaos turns dangerous as Cassie hires a team of archeologists to excavate beneath the mansion ruins. Because more is buried there than treasure.A stranger filled with magic arrives at Watson’s Landing claiming that the key to the Watson and Beaufort gifts—and the Colesworth curse—also lies beneath the mansion. With a mix of threats and promises, the man convinces Barrie and Cassie to cast a spell there at midnight. But what he conjures may have deadly consequences.

While Barrie struggles to make sense of the escalating peril and her growing and forbidden feelings for Eight Beaufort, it’s impossible to know whom to trust and what to fight for—Eight or herself. Millions of dollars and the fate of the founding families is at stake. Now Barrie must choose between what she feels deep in her heart and what will keep Watson’s Landing safe in this stunning addition to a series filled with “decadent settings, mysterious magic, and family histories rife with debauchery” (Kirkus Reviews, on Compulsion). 

 
Martina Boone

Martina Boone

 

ABOUT MARTINA BOONE:
Martina Boone was born in Prague and spoke several languages before learning English. Her first teacher in the U.S. made fun of her for not pronouncing the “wh” sound right, so she set out to master “all the words”—she’s still working on that! In the meantime she’s writing contemporary fantasy set in the kinds of magical places she’d love to visit.If you like romance steeped in mystery, mayhem, Spanish moss, and a bit of magic, she hopes you’ll look forward to meeting Barrie, Eight, Cassie, Pru, Seven and the other characters of Watson Island.
 
LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Pinterest

Q&A with Martina

Hi Liza! YAY! I am so honored to be here with you. It’s fun to get to hang out with you on your blog—mostly because you’re fun to hang out with any old place. : ) I’m afraid that your questions were so good that I went on and on and on about them. Sorry in advance!

1. Barrie hates that Eight knows how much she needs and wants him to stay on Watson Island. Because hes compelled to fulfill her desire, its hard for her to trust his feelings for her. What is important for readers to know about this relationship???

That’s a great question. It would be so easy for Barrie to just accept how Eight feels for her at face value. She’s already had to come to terms with questions about how much Eight’s ability to know what she wants allows him to manipulate her into falling in love with him, but it’s easier for her to believe that he’s worth loving than it is for her to see the same quality in herself. Part of that has to do with the fact that your parents create formative relationships in your life. When she isn’t sure that her own mother could love her, it’s hard to believe that someone like Eight would do so.

It quickly becomes more than that, though. It becomes a question of free will versus compulsion. Eight is changing his life for her—putting aside something that she knows has been a long-time dream he’s worked hard to achieve. Because she loves him, how can she let him do that if he isn’t doing it of his own free will?

While she’s thinking about that, the situation becomes complicated by Obadiah and Seven, who essentially make her have to choose between giving up her magic or giving up her relationship with Eight. She refuses to accept that choice, and she struggles to find an alternative solution—and the only way to do that, as she sees it, is to keep a secret that she probably shouldn’t keep.

I really wanted this relationship, and this entire book, to make people give some thought to the lies we tell, the secrets we keep, and the fine line between persuasion and compulsion.

2. I found the Civil War scenes very powerful and heartbreaking. What research did you do to bring the horrors from the past into your novel?

I did a ton of research. In addition to working with an archeologist and professor of anthropology on the trilogy overall, I spent months poring over and often crying over, the stories that I found in diaries and personal accounts. In some ways, though, the “official” records were far worse—the official records that I found and the ones that simply don’t exist.

There’s a myth that the Civil War was somehow “civil” when it came to women, that there wasn’t as much rape as there has been in other wars. There are two reasons for that—one is that the general stigma of rape was even worse back then than it is today. According to the Department of Justice, even now only 36 percent of rapes, 34 percent of attempted rapes, and 26 percent of sexual assaults are reported—and the reason those are reported is the hope of bringing the perpetrators to justice and preventing future victims. In war, neither of those outcomes is likely. White women were therefore unlikely to accept the shame of publicly admitting to having been raped. Crimes against black women were not reported either. The reasons for this were so horrifying that I felt almost paralyzed writing about it. For one thing, the rape of black women was most often reported as a property crime by slave owners rather than a sexual assault, and even more horrifyingly, female slaves were frequently forced into having sex.

The scene the night the mansion burned was one of the hardest things I’ve ever written. It’s actually based on an account about a ten-year-old child that I read. The situation was so awful that I had to tone it down to write the first draft, and then I toned it down again, because had I left it in, it would have overshadowed the entire book.

3. You blend the past and the present seamlessly. Past is the present as Cassie, Barrie, and Eight see the forces of the Civil War unfold right in front of them. What can readers learn from what they went through as witnesses to this horror?

I was researching and writing Cassie’s story at the time that Boko Haram took the school girls hostage and the extent of the slavery crisis across Africa and the rest of the world began to be more widely reported. Having spent so much time speaking to sexual assault and PTSD victims, I was deeply affected by what the girls I read about or spoke with had gone through or were going through. More than anything else, it gutted me to realize the extent to which we are going backward rather than forward. How can we, in 2015, have 30 million slaves in the world? Because most of them are women and children. Because most come from poor nations. Because . . . There are innumerable reasons and excuses. But slavery is just the extreme example of what are still staggeringly high statistics of crimes against women. We talk a lot about the “rape culture” in this country. That doesn’t exist just in the United States.

The problem isn’t just with men. It’s with anyone who allows the lines between free will, persuasion, and compulsion to get blurred by their own self-interest or desire. Force isn’t the only tool in the arsenal used to diminish, marginalize, or overpower women. Subtle pressure, bullying, blackmail, and threats of various kinds can be almost as, if not just as, damaging.

You know the saying—the best villains don’t know they’re villains. This was true with slave holders in the Civil War, and it’s true of those who enslave, rape, date rape, or abuse adults or children today. Somehow, they manage to convince themselves that they’re not really doing anything wrong.

The answer to this, I believe, has to start with empathy. The first thing we have to realize is that the people who do these horrible things, the people who did them in the past, and who are doing them in the present, are often kind or productive citizens in other respects—and that they use that fact to excuse their own horrific acts toward those weaker than themselves.

The interweaving of past and present in Persuasion was a very deliberate way for me to try to raise awareness of the problem of violence against women in all its different guises, both as a societal issue we need to repair here in the United States, but also as an act of war all around the world. And it’s my hope that girls who read this book might consider, even if only on a subconscious level, their own definitions of the line between compulsion and persuasion. It breaks my heart that one in three girls will be raped in the US before they are 19. Or when I see statistics that show 41 percent of 6th to 9th grade girls and 51 percent of boys think it’s okay for a man to force a woman to kiss him if he’s spent money on her. Or that 47 percent of the girls and 65 percent of the boys think that forcing sex on a woman is okay if they’ve been dating for more than six months, and this shoots up to 79 percent of girls and 87 percent for boys who think its okay as long as the couple is married. WTF?

This has to change. But we all know it’s not going to change by screaming at people. I truly do feel that fiction has a role to play here. Fiction builds empathy, and empathy is our hope for the future. Not everyone reads—and even fewer people read “issue books.” I wanted to write about the issue in a way that might reach readers who normally don’t read about issues. Fingers are crossed!

Lightning round:

Chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry?

Chocolate.

Vacation spot: big city, beach, nature preserve?

City.

Snack food you have a compulsion for?

Nutella.

What terrifies you more: snakes, spiders, mice?

Snakes. So much!

Would you rather be a Watson, a Beaufort or a Colesworth?

Watson. : )

 My review: – 5 stars

Persuasion (The Heirs of Watson Island, #2)Persuasion by Martina Boone

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cover: Absolutely GORGEOUS! ❤️❤️❤️

We have kissing like THIS:

Hold on to the edge of your seat, because PERSUASION takes you on a ride that will leave you breathless. Martina Boone does an extraordinary job weaving together history, magic, mystery, and modern times. She unspools questions like the Fire Carrier unspools his ball of flames across the river. Readers will swoon over Eight and Barrie, pray that they’ll make it as a couple. Is Eight with Barrie because she wants him and he wants to give her whatever she wants? Is their love for each other real? Or is it because of the magical gifts each one has: Barrie’s ability to find things and his ability to know what other people want.

The questions won’t stop there. Readers are introduced to Obadiah and his magic. Who is he? Is he evil? What is his connection to the curse plaguing Cassie? And what is going on with Cassie? More games? What kind of persuasion is influencing these characters? Why did Seven break up with Pru years ago, when clearly he loves her? Why is Seven keeping secrets from Eight? Can the curse be broken? Will Barrie get to keep her gift? Will Eight be burdened by his??? Will the archeologists find the missing gold or something unexpected, perhaps evil, on the Colesworth estate?

The biggest question of all? WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT?!

So, take a breath . . .

Get comfort where you can . . .

And be patient. OKAY, I CAN’T BE PATIENT!

I absolutely, positively MUST have the third book in this series!!!!!!!!!!!

If you haven’t read COMPULSION, get it now!

Fall in love with the history, Southern charm, romance, magic, mystery, rich scenes, clever, smart writing, and all those questions. (Oh! And I forgot to mention the food references!!!!!! I will be searching for recipes, just like the amazing COMPULSION Woopie pie cake Heidi from YA Bibliophile made for our Novel Cuisine Luncheon http://www.whorublog.com/2014/12/16/t… ! – which is once again mentioned in PERSUASION! Drool!)

Without any doubt, PERSUASION will be on my top-reads list of 2015!
Thank you so much to SimonTeen and Martina Boone for the advanced copy.

View all my reviews

Week 1:

 
Week 2:
 
Giveaway:
3 Finished copies of COMPULSION & PERSUASION to 3 Winners.
US Only

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BEA – Thursday & Friday
Jun 15th, 2015 by Liza Wiemer

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Thursday:

My day started early with the HARLEQUIN TEEN BREAKFAST!

Here are some of the highlights:

The panel @harlequinteen breakfast #BEA15 A photo posted by Liza Wiemer (@lizamwiemer) on

So much fun talking w @adialsaid at the @harlequinteen breakfast!

A photo posted by Liza Wiemer (@lizamwiemer) on

NO WHERE BUT HERE author by @katielmcgarry! Katie is just the sweetest! A photo posted by Liza Wiemer (@lizamwiemer) on

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Cage of Deceit author Jennifer Davis and me

BEA Thursday was incredible. I was able to hug my former student Talia Lakritz from Nerd with a Voice, met Terry from Reading Tub, hung out a bit at the Midpoint/Spencer Hill Booth. Rachel Simon found me at the SH, and it was a very happy reunion! We met at BEA two years ago while I was standing in the Simone Elkeles. We became instant friends. Thanks for the smiles, Melissa Amster from ChickLit Central and I also got to see each other, but it was once again way too short!!!!

 

Thursday night, I headed out with Meredith to the Fierce Reads Party, which was held in the magnificent Strand Book Store in the rare books room. It was an absolute blast. Some highlights were talking to Leigh Bardugo and Leila Sales. I told Leila about a friend of mine, Rachel Kinnard, who couldn’t attend BEA, but is a huge fan, and we video chatted with Rachel.

It was a blast talking to other bloggers and dressing up for pictures.

Afterward, Meredith and I headed to the New Yorker Hotel where some Spencer Hill family – yes family! – were hanging out! One of my editors from SH, Asja, brought her boyfriend, and little did they know that I was watching their soul mate connection and taking mental notes to be used possibly for a future novel! I have to give a special shoutout to Patricia, my main editor for HELLO? because I am who I am and where I am because she fell in love with my novel, so spending time with her was incredible! I also had the opportunity to meet and talk with the very sweet Grace Smith. Her mom is awesome too! Soon after, I hung out with Marcilia Loubach and Nicole Moy. Seeing them and talking with them made the entire day so much brighter!

It was a long, exhausting, and absolutely AMAZING DAY!

 

Friday:

Without any doubt, my signing for Hello? was one of the biggest, best moments of my life!!! I am so tremendously grateful to Spencer Hill for this amazing opportunity. Afterward, I attended the Penguin Luncheon and had the privilege to hear authors Sarah Dessen and Carrie Ryan.

BEA15 Recap – Wednesday
Jun 11th, 2015 by Liza Wiemer

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Wednesday started with The Novl Luncheon! I was able to see more blogger friends and reconnect with the AMAZING publicists from Little Brown. A few of the highlights included meeting THE WITCH HUNTER author Virginia Boecker! There was a special guest appearance by Jennifer E. Smith, who talked about her novel HELLO, GOODBYE, AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN! I met several twitter friends for the first time.  Senior publicist for Spencer Hill, Meredith from pandorasbooks.org and Margie from bumblesandfairytales.blogspot.com and I shared a taxi after the event and had fun talking books!

Here are some highlights:

 

  WOLF BY WOLF by @ryangraudin sounds really amazing! Alternate history? Yes please! @TheNovl — Liza Wiemer (@LizaWiemer) May 27, 2015

In the evening, I went to the HARLEQUIN HIGH TEA: Harlequin so generously provided transportation from the Javits Center to Harlequin’s headquarters. What an event! The display of food was fit for a posh hotel in England. But the highlight was meeting the authors. I’m happy to have some new romance books to read. Meeting Kristan Hannah was a real thrill! She’s an auto-buy, and her novel Someone to Love was one of the first books I read while unwinding from BEA.

From the Harlequin High Tea, Danielle from loveatfirstpage.org and Lauren from loveisnotatriangle.com got on the subway and headed to the Epic Reads Event! The experience on the subway was . . . well, quite intimate. This photo cracked me up. I somehow managed to keep myself from touching this guy!

At the event, we met some awesome authors, including Aaron Hartzler. I’m really looking forward to WHAT WE SAW.

 

2015 Book Blogger LoveAThon – Questionnaire
Feb 22nd, 2015 by Liza Wiemer

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 This event is being run by Alexa Loves Books

QUESTIONAIRE:

  1. What’s your name? Liza Wiemer

  2. Where in the world are you blogging from? Milwaukee, WI

  3. How did you get into blogging in the first place? I was working on my first YA novel and I wanted to blog about YA hot topics, books, helpful tips.

  4. How did you come up with your blog name? WhoRU Blog didn’t start out as mainly a book blog. But the title still works for books. Books have shaped me throughout my life and continue to do so. I like to ask authors questions that lead to helping people think about who they are.

  5. What genre do you read and review the most on your blog?  I read it all genres and love them. But, I will say that I have a tendency to lean toward contemporary. When I listen to audiobooks, I love fantasy.

  6. What other types of posts do you do on your blog, apart from reviews? Giveaways, interviews, cover reveals, Q & A, occasionally topics that are different. The annual International Holiday #Readathon, BEA, The Novel Cuisine Luncheon for bloggers, authors, librarians and teachers.

  7. Best blogging experience so far? Meeting others at book events & sharing our love of books through our blogs, Twitter etc.

  8. Favorite thing about the blogging community? I love it when a blogger shares their passion over a book, helping the author with a blog tour, tweeting wonderful, kind words.

  9. Name the 5 books you’re most excited for this 2015! Well, first and foremost, my own – HELLO? coming out October 10th, (Spencer Hill Contemporary). I’m excited about Sweet, by Tammara Webber, Persuasion by Martina Boone, Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout, The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick, Confess by Colleen Hoover, The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough, All We Have Is Now by Lisa Schroeder, Game Seven by Paul Volponi, A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, Hold Like A Breath by Tiffany Schmidt, Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone, Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler. Truly, Madly, Famously by Rebecca Serle. THERE ARE MORE! So many, many, many more. I know we were supposed to do 5. But gah!

  10. What’s an underrated book or series that you think everyone should read? Reclaimed by Sarah Guillory

  11. Which book boy or girl would be your book BFF? There are so many . . . but um if I have to choose, Lucas from Easy or Josh from The Sea of Tranquility.

  12. Apart from reading, what are your other hobbies or interests? I write! I love to cook, love to walk in state parks or along Lake Michigan.

  13. Apart from book shopping, what else do you like shopping for? I DESPISE SHOPPING. Really. I am the worst shopper. But if I have to shop, I would rather do it for someone else than for myself – my boys, a friend. 

  14. At a party, the DJ suddenly changes the song – and it’s your What song would be playing? My  song would be CENTURIES by Fall Out Boys!

  15. Pick out either a book you want turned into a film/TV show, or a film/TV show you want turned into a book. The Sea of Tranquility and Easy.

BETTER OFF FRIENDS by Elizabeth Eulberg – LAUNCH PARTY Blog Tour & Giveaway
Feb 16th, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

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We’re celebrating the launch of

BETTER OFF FRIENDS by Elizabeth Eulberg

Publisher: Point (Scholastic)

Pub. Date: February 25, 2014

SIGNED copies can be pre-ordered or purchased after the Better Off Friends Launch Party on February 25, 2014 through Boswell Books by calling (414) 332-1181

Summary From Goodreads:EEshot copy

For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can’t be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan’s friends. They are platonic and happy that way.

Eventually they realize they’re best friends — which wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t keep getting in each other’s way. Guys won’t ask Macallan out because they think she’s with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can’t help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated?

From romantic comedy superstar Elizabeth Eulberg comes a fresh, fun examination of a question for the ages: Can guys and girls ever really be just friends? Or are they always one fight away from not speaking again — and one kiss away from true love?

REVIEWS:

“…a pitch-perfect rom com. With a nod to When Harry Met Sally, rising YA romance writer Eulberg situates relatable characters in realistic situations. There’s depth, too… A humorous and cozy story about friendships and relationships, and the oh-so-fine line between them.”
– Booklist

“Reminiscent of When Harry Met Sally, Eulberg’s account of an evolving relationship offers witty banter interspersed with pangs of unrequited love. …their roller-coaster relationship provides plenty of entertainment and romantic thrills along the way.”
– Publishers Weekly

“Can a guy and a girl ever really be friends, as in ‘friends, but just friends?’ This is the question that animates this delicious, delightful romantic comedy. Readers will devour each chapter, narrated in Macallan’s and Levi’s alternating voices, correct in their confidence that Eulberg is going to deliver on her promise of an enormously satisfying story.”
– Children’s Literature

MY REVIEW:

I absolutely loved, loved, loved, loved this novel, and since it’s set in Wisconsin, it made it even better. Levi, as my friends at Swoony Boys Podcast would say, is totally swoon worthy!

Macallan and Levi relationship goes through many roller coaster rides. Sometimes their perspectives and values don’t match up, but ultimately there’s no doubt that they were made for each other. But are they “better off friends?” Readers will cheer them on & you have to read the book to find out what happens.cheeseball

Told in alternating points of view, BETTER OFF FRIENDS IS contemporary YA novel perfection. <3 <3

FOOD:

Cheese Ball

Cheese Ball

There’s something else that is absolutely delicious about this novel, and that’s the food!!!!!

Wisconsin is known for all sorts of cheese, and Macallan and Levi enjoy plenty of dishes that have cheese it it. Fried string cheese?  Cheese curds? – Welcome to Wisconsin. Elizabeth Eulberg included her mom’s cheeseball! I made it  and shared the recipe for our WI/IL Author/Blogger/Librarian luncheon back in December, but I’ll share the recipe again here:

 

BACKSTORY:

Better Off Friends came from a conversation my editor, David Levithan, had with one of his colleagues, Erin Black, who said she was looking for a YA story like When Harry Met Sally… that grapples with that age old question: can a guy and a girl really be just friends? When David mentioned it to me, I called dibs.Over the course of a year (while I was writing Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality), I thought about how I could tell the story in a fresh way. I went back toWhen Harry Met Sally… and loved that it’s a story that takes place over a long period of time so you can really see the relationship develop between those two characters. So I knew that I wanted Better Off Friends to be over the course of a few years as well as have little moments of the characters bantering throughout the book so the reader can see right from the beginning the kind of friendship they have.I began to slowly develop the characters of Macallan and Levi, and map out their friendship through five years. When I began writing the book, I decided on a whim to have it set in Wisconsin, which ended up becoming a character of its own. As someone who grew up in Wisconsin, it was fun to set a book in a place that I have such affection for. This also provided me with countless ways to insert my love for the Green Bay Packers (from Levi’s last name, Rodgers, to the various teachers names throughout the book). GO PACK!

Writing this book was a lot of fun, but it also made me cry in a few places. I’m really proud of Better Off Friends and hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.

GREAT LINKS:

Blog Tour: (Check out each link for a separate post and giveaway of a signed copy of BETTER OFF FRIENDS!)

Feb 16 Liza – WhoRuBlog – Review & some more recipes & giveaway of a signed book http://www.WhoRuBlog.com
Feb 17 Sarah – Novel Thoughts  – Review and and giveaway of signed book  http://www.novelthoughtsblog.com
Feb 18 Jaime and Erin – Fiction Fare – Quotes from the book with Wisconsin references & giveaway of a signed book http://fictionfare.blogspot.com
Feb 19 Andrea – Mrs. Payan Reads – History of Culvers and giveaway of a signed book http://mrspayanreads.blogspot.com
Feb 20 Erica – The Book Cellar – (still to be determined) & giveaway of a signed book http://thebookcellarx.com
Feb 21 Heidi – YA Bibliophile – Irish references and giveaway of a signed book http://www.yabibliophile.com
Feb 22 Rachel – As told by Rachel – Pictures of places mentioned in the book from Wisconsin and giveaway of a signed book http://tigerlilyrachel.com
Feb 23 Kelly – Belle of the Literati – WHEN HARRY MET SALLY: Can girls and boys be friends? Kelly is asking her friends for for their thoughts! http://belleoftheliterati.blogspot.com
Feb 24 Jillian – Heise Reads and Recommends – Reviews from Students & giveaway of a signed book http://www.heisereads.com

We’ll be tweeting: #BetterOffInWI @ElizEulberg

GIVEAWAY: One signed copy of BETTER OFF FRIENDS (US/Canada Only)

 

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