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Blog Tour: HELLO, SUNSHINE by Leila Howland – Review & #Giveaway – Nantucket Summer
Jul 10th, 2017 by Liza Wiemer

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Review of HELLO, SUNSHINE

& Giveaway for Nantucket Summer

If the Movie La La Land was a Young Adult Novel

Hello, SunshineHello, Sunshine High Res

by Leila Howland

Publisher: Hyperion

Publication Date: July 11th, 2017

 

Praise for Howland’s Nantucket Blue:

“When it comes to indulgent beach reading, sometimes it’s more fun to get pushed over by a wave than to stay safely on your towel.”

The New York Times

“Sand, secrets, Nantucket Reds, and romance. A fresh, feel-good debut.”

   —The Boston Globe

About HELLO, SUNSHINE

With a relatable heroine, diverse cast of characters, and an aspirational story, in HELLO, SUNSHINE (Hyperion | On Sale July 11, 2017) the author of the Nantucket duology, Leila Howland, takes readers on a journey based on her own experience moving to a big city to pursue her dreams of acting. An ode to Los Angeles, this grounding, sarcastic, and relatable story chronicles one girl’s struggle to be brave while pursuing a dream, and makes for the perfect summer read.

Becca Harrington is a reject. After being rebuffed by every college on her list, she needs a fresh start, so she packs up everything and moves to LA, giving herself one year to land an acting gig. Unfortunately, after a few grueling months, LA is looking like the worst idea ever. Becca can’t land an agent, she’s running out of cash, and her mom is hounding her to apply to more schools.

In an act of desperation, Becca and her friend Marisol start posting short videos online—with the help of their adorable filmmaker neighbor, Raj—and the videos catch the attention of a TV producer. Could this be her big break? Or will she have to move back home with nothing but some bad head shots and a monstrous credit-card bill?

Readers will love every page of HELLO, SUNSHINE, a funny, romantic, and aspirational novel about a girl who just wants to make it on her own.

About Leila Howland:Leila Howland Author Photo

A graduate of Georgetown University, LEILA HOWLAND spent five years acting in New York in everything from an MTV public service announcement for safe sex to a John Guare play at Lincoln Center, and was a proud company member of the award-winning Flea Theater in Tribeca. Currently, she is a school librarian in Los Angeles, where she lives with her family. Visit her online at leilahowland.com or on Twitter @leilahowland.

 

REVIEW:

Hello, SunshineHello, Sunshine by Leila Howland

Hello, Sunshine is a book for young adults who have dreams and are afraid to go after them. It’s a book for those who have experienced…

heartbreak,

betrayal,

hard knocks,

friendships lost

and friendships found.

It’s a book for those who have struggled to cut those apron strings from Mom.

This is a novel for those who have had to work hard and long hours without getting paid.

It’s a book about

relationships,

sex,

love,

fighting self-doubts,

finding your inner strength to go after what you want, even after you’ve lost everything but a kernel of hope.

It’s a novel about making mistakes, keeping secrets, making choices—some of them not good at all and living with them.

It’s filled with Hollywood dreams and Hollywood drama.

This was a fast read for me. I finished it in one sitting. For those who are looking for and have been craving a young adult novel that opens the window to what can happen after high school, this is an outstanding novel.

Do I recommend it? Yes! I absolutely do! Maybe, just maybe your alternative (college) post-high school dreams could come true?

Tour Schedule:

Week One

Monday, July 10th: Who R U, Review

Tuesday, July 11th: Page Turners, Ode to LA Guest Post

Wednesday, July 12th: The Lovely Books, Review

Thursday, July 13th: YA Books Central, Playlist Post

Friday, July 14th: Fiktshun, Review

 

Week Two

Monday, July 17th: Ex Libris, Review

Tuesday, July 18th: Such a Novel Idea, Author Post

Wednesday, July 19th: Book Crushin’, Review

Thursday, July 20th: Across the Words, Dream Casting Post

Friday, July 21st: The Reading Nook Reviews, Spotlight Post

 

Nantucket Summer

[Nantucket Blue and Nantucket Red together!]

By Leila Howland

Published by Disney-Hyperion

Pub. Date: 4/25/2017 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Spend two intoxicating summers on Nantucket with the spunky Cricket Thompson in this bind-up of Leila Howland’s poignant and romantic Nantucket Blue and its sequel, Nantucket Red.

NEW FORMAT: Just in time for Leila Howland’s new young adult novel, Hello, Sunshine, readers will be able to kick back and read her first two books straight through.

GREAT REVIEWS: This delicious duology received impressive critical acclaim, and Nantucket Blue landed on multiple “Best of” lists, including the Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year and the IRA/CBC Young Adults’ Choice lists.

A BEACH READ FOR THE THINKING GIRL: These novels have a satisfying blend of commercial and literary elements that will appeal to readers of Jenny Han and Sarah Dessen.

NANTUCKET SETTING: The famously beautiful seaside community is the perfect backdrop for these wistful, coming-of-age love stories.

 

Follow the exploits of Cricket Thompson as she explores the alluring island of Nantucket and faces the unexpected in this collection of Leila Howland’s first two novels.

Nantucket Blue

For Cricket, a summer on Nantucket with her best friend Jules is a life-changing dream come true. That is, until Jules and her family suffer a devastating tragedy, and Jules becomes a stranger. And instead of lying on the beach working on her tan, Cricket is making beds and cleaning bathrooms to support herself in paradise. But it’s the things she hadn’t counted on—most of all, falling hard for someone who should be completely off-limits—that turn her dreams into an exhilarating, bittersweet reality.

Nantucket Red

Cricket is headed to Brown University in the fall, but to help pay for her living expenses, she returns to work on Nantucket for the summer, where she finds challenges she hadn’t anticipated. As her world opens up in new ways, Cricket questions the future she’s been working toward her whole life. With the pull of a love triangle complicating everything, she’ll have to learn that success isn’t just about reaching goals, but also about listening to what she’s been trying to ignore—her own heart.

Praise for Nantucket Blue

“[Howland] evokes the Nantucket setting vividly . . . when it comes to indulgent beach reading, sometimes it’s more fun to get pushed over by a wave than to stay safely on your towel.”

—The New York Times

“Sand, secrets, Nantucket Reds, and romance. A fresh, feel-good debut.” —The Boston Globe

*”Readers should feel empowered by Cricket’s efforts to grow up into a strong, honest, and emotionally intelligent young woman, even as they are enchanted by the romantic and exclusive island setting. This is a natural beach read, but will easily win Howland year-round fans, too.”

—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Fans of Sarah Dessen will find much to like here, as the charm of this summery yarn lies in Cricket’s open appeal.”

—Library Journal

“[Cricket’s] story is told in a way that is both engaging and alluring. Definitely a standout novel in its genre.”

—School Library Journal

Praise for Nantucket Red

“Enjoyable and introspective, this is more than just a summer beach read.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“In this novel about finding oneself and following your heart, Howland creates a character that readers will be cheering for from beginning to end.”

—VOYA

“Nantucket Red is an engaging continuation of Cricket’s story, and its pace is perfect for a long weekend or beach read.”

—School Library Journal

 

Praise for Nantucket Blue

“[Howland] evokes the Nantucket setting vividly . . . when it comes to indulgent beach reading, sometimes it’s more fun to get pushed over by a wave than to stay safely on your towel.”

—The New York Times

*”Readers should feel empowered by Cricket’s efforts to grow up into a strong, honest, and emotionally intelligent young woman, even as they are enchanted by the romantic and exclusive island setting. This is a natural beach read, but will easily win Howland year-round fans, too.”

—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Fans of Sarah Dessen will find much to like here, as the charm of this summery yarn lies in Cricket’s open appeal. Readers will root for her as she falls down, takes her lumps, and moves forward to her final year in high school, always remembering what she learned under the Nantucket sun.”

—Library Journal

“Several elements in this novel make it a little more than just another summer romance. Cricket’s struggle to define herself apart from Jules, her decision to follow her heart, and her realization that she can rise above her parents’ divorce make this a story that many teens will find absorbing.”

—VOYA

“Sand, secrets, Nantucket Reds, and romance. A fresh, feel-good debut.”

—The Boston Globe

“A rich, satisfying novel.” —Providence Journal

“Utterly romantic and fun. I didn’t want Nantucket Blue to end.”

—New York Times best-selling author Jenny Han

“Just like the moonlit shores of the island where it is set, Nantucket Blue casts a spell that will make you hope the summer never ends.”

—Elin Hilderbrand, author of Beautiful Day

Praise for Nantucket Red

“Enjoyable and introspective, this is more than just a summer beach read.” —Kirkus

“In this novel about finding oneself and following your heart, Howland creates a character that readers will be cheering for from beginning to end.”

—VOYA

Excerpts

I looked up; he was so close. Our cheeks touched.

“You are just . . .” he said into my ear. My eyes closed, eyelashes like matches striking my cheeks, setting them on fire. He kissed me, long and sweet, on the mouth.

“Just what?” I asked when we came up for air, stunned, heart stomping like a parade, wrists aching from holding the oars.

He seemed unable to finish his sentence with words. He pulled the wet oars inside the boat, wrapped his arms around me and kissed me again.

 

THE STRANGE CASE OF THE ALCHEMIST’S DAUGHTER by Theodora Goss
Jun 20th, 2017 by Liza Wiemer

THE STRANGE CASE OF TThe Strange Case CoverHE ALCHEMIST’S DAUGHTER

by THEODORA GOSS

Publication date: June 20, 2017

LINKS: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to share THE STRANGE CASE OF THE ALCHEMIST’S DAUGHTER with you all! I read Theodora Goss’s The Thorn and the Blossom (2012), a novella in a two-sided accordion format, and it was unforgettable.

Here’s my review:
The Thorn and the BlossomThe Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss

My elder son Justin had Professor Theodora Goss for a class at Boston University his freshman year. He has always spoken so highly of Prof. Goss that I was excited to read her two-sided love story. Incredible. I started with Brendan’s story. The story was so engrossing. I loved his perspective on his relationship with Evelyn. I loved the mystical aspect of their relationship and the medieval connection with THE TALE OF THE GREEN KNIGHT. Magic, romance.
Evelyn’s story bought an entirely different perspective and insight to their relationship. I am actually glad I didn’t read her story first. But then again, maybe because I didn’t, I’m biased? There were things about her that I am really glad I didn’t know before I read Brendan’s tale. I think it would have changed my thoughts and taken some of the mystery away. But as I said, who knows?
The idea behind THE THORN AND THE BLOSSOM is so clever.

The story unfolds in an accordion, so that also was unique.

I loved it. I highly recommend this very quick read!

View all my reviews

So, don’t miss THE STRANGE CASE OF THE ALCHEMIST’S DAUGHTER!!!!!!!

ABOUT THE STRANGE CASE OF THE ALCHEMIST’S DAUGHTER:

 Based on some of literature’s horror and science fiction classics, this is the story of a remarkable group of women who come together to solve the mystery of a series of gruesome murders—and the bigger mystery of their own origins.

Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture…a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes.

But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.

When their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power-crazed scientists, the horrors of their past return. Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous.

ABOUT THEODORA GOSS:Theodora Goss (Matthew Stein Photography)

Theodora Goss’s publications include the short story collection In the Forest of Forgetting (2006); Interfictions (2007), a short story anthology coedited with Delia Sherman; Voices from Fairyland (2008), a poetry anthology with critical essays and a selection of her own poems; and The Thorn and the Blossom (2012), a two-sided novella in an accordion format. She has been a finalist for the Nebula, Crawford, Locus, and Mythopoeic Awards, and on the Tiptree Award Honor List. She has won the World Fantasy and Rhysling Awards. 

LINKS: Website | Twitter

Blog Tour: STAR-CROSSED by Barbara Dee, Novel Secret & #Giveaway (USA)
May 25th, 2017 by Liza Wiemer

Blog Tour: STAR-CROSSED27242442

by Barbara Dee

Published by: Simon & Schuster, Aladdin

Important Links:

Goodreads | IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

About STAR-CROSSED:

Mattie is chosen to play Romeo opposite her crush in the eighth grade production of Shakespeare’s most beloved play in this Romeo and Juliet inspired novel from the author of Truth or Dare.

Matti
e, a star student and passionate reader, is delighted when her English teacher announces the eighth grade will be staging Romeo and Juliet. And she is even more excited when, after a series of events, she finds herself playing Romeo, opposite Gemma Braithwaite’s Juliet. Gemma, the new girl at school, is brilliant, pretty, outgoing—and, if all that wasn’t enough: British.

As the cast prepares for opening night, Mattie finds herself growing increasingly attracted to Gemma and confused, since, just days before, she had found herself crushing on a boy named Elijah. Is it possible to have a crush on both boys AND girls? If that wasn’t enough to deal with, things backstage at the production are starting to rival any Shakespearean drama! In this sweet and fu
nny look at the complicated nature of middle school romance, Mattie learns how to be the lead player in her own life.

PRAISE FOR STAR-CROSSED:

“A sweet story of young love amid middle school theatrics. Mattie’s genuine inflections and stream-of-consciousness narrative resonate well with the early-adolescent experience. Readers cannot help but root for Mattie as she discovers bravery she never gave herself credit for, both onstage and in life.”—Kirkus Reviews 

“A sweet coming-out story for jr. high readers. The clever Shakespeare content is a bonus…VERDICT: A fine choice for middle school libraries in need of accessible LGBTQ stories and a great option for students reading or performing Romeo and Juliet.”—School Library Journal

“A star student falls for the lead actress of her school play in this welcome addition to the middle grade LGBTQ bookshelf…Dee thoughtfully dramatizes the intricate social performance of middle school, with its secret crushes and fierce rivalries. The book benefits from a memorable cast…Mattie’s narration is intimate and believable, and readers will be pleased to watch her grow from spectator to star.”—Publishers Weekly

“A sweet look at unexpected first love. Recommended.”—School Library Connection

School Library Journal “Popular Pick” for March, 2017!

About Barbara Dee:Barbara Dee 2 142 kb

Barbara Dee is the author of seven middle grade novels all published by Simon & Schuster, including TRUTH OR DARE (Sept. 2016) and STAR-CROSSED (March 2017). Her next middle grade novel, HALFWAY NORMAL, will publish September 5, 2017. Barbara is one of the founders and directors of the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival. She lives with her family in Westchester County, New York.

Novel Secret:

 

You know those T-shirts and mugs that say “Be nice to me or I’ll put you in my novel”? I have a confession: I based a character in STAR-CROSSED on a real-life acquaintance whose name-dropping (particularly about famous authors) was driving me crazy. I couldn’t call her out on it, so I used her irritating behavior in the creation of Miss Bluestone, the teacher who “talked about authors as if they were her former boyfriends,” and referred to Emily Dickinson by her first name. It’s the first time I ever created a character to help me deal with a tricky person, but I highly recommend it as a coping mechanism.

Giveaway: 1 signed copy of

STAR-CROSSED (US only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Five Star Review: Strange the Dreamer, by Laini Taylor
Mar 27th, 2017 by Liza Wiemer

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)Strange the Dreamer

by Laini Taylor,

Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers,

Publication Date: March 28, 2017

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Strange The Dreamer is a rare, precious gem. Every word is a part of a stunning masterpiece of one of the most unique, imaginative stories I’ve ever read. Get swept away in a magical fairy tale filled with romance, monsters, myths, friendship, betrayal, and the most fascinating flawed heroes and heroines. Be prepared to savor it, then crave the next book the second you reach the last page.

Strange The Dreamer is a work of wonder, one that will leave you breathlessly awed by the incredible imagination and storytelling skills of the brilliant Laini Taylor.

Don’t miss it!

I received an ARC of Strange The Dreamer from Little Brown!

View all my reviews

Blog Tour & #Giveaway: ORGANIZE YOUR WAY by Katie McMenamin and Kelly McMenamin
Mar 14th, 2017 by Liza Wiemer

For all those who need help getting organized,Organize Your Way Cover

here’s the book for YOU!!!
Pixies Did It:
Website
:
Facebook:
Twitter:
Book Videos:
Book Trailer:
Amazon Buy Link

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Stressing over the mess? Discover YOUR personal organizing style—and stay organized forever!
Organization isn’t one-size-fits-all. Different people need different solutions. Fortunately, Katie and Kelly McMenamin—the organizing gurus behind PixiesDidIt!®—have found the key to making organization stick, with strategies that work for every personality.

Whether you’re OCD or a little less fastidious, Katie and Kelly will help you discover your organizational style, using unconventional approaches or sticking to what already works. Along with personality-based solutions for every space in your home, they offer advice on solving strife between different “PixieTypes.” So you can keep the stuff you love . . . and the peace!

 

5232--High Resolution--Katie and Kelly

Katie and Kelly

 

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Katie McMenamin and Kelly McMenamin are sisters, professional organizers, personality-type experts, and founders of PixieDidIt! Their business is an outgrowth of buttoned-up hedge fund analyst Kelly spending 30-odd years trying and failing to get her messy older sister Katie, a writer, to be more organized. Countless fights ensued until they had an idea: What if there is more than one way to organize? Today, they spend the bulk of their time organizing for clients, writing for their website, and giving talks on how to organize according to your personality type. Kelly lives in NYC with her husband and three sons and Katie lives in their hometown, the Land of Champions, aka Cleveland, OH, with her husband and three daughters.

 

 

Top Ten Pixie Tips

1. Knowing who you are is the key to organization mainly because if you’re pretending to be someone else, it’s hard to remember where that pretend person put something!

2. Change is hard, so be honest about organizing tasks. People who never hang up their coats in a closet, probably never will; get a coat rack and call it a day.

3. Perfect isn’t real. Magazine perfection is styled by a professional whose job it is to make everything perfection for the millisecond it takes to snap a photo.

4. No shame, no blame! You liking clear, spotless surfaces doesn’t make you OCD (it’s not a personality disorder), it’s your personality type.

5. Later Box It. When you can’t part with a useless item, store it away in a box and revisit that box in a few months (a year), whatever you missed keep, whatever you forgot … dude, let it go.

6. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Change is hard (see #2!) so if storing TP right next to the toilet works for you, do it, but for heaven’s sake try to make it look nice—unless you live alone on Antarctica then who cares.

7. Organizing at its core is about retrieval. Period. Can you easily find and get things when you need them. Everything else is an argument about aesthetics.

8. One-step solutions are golden. Hanging up your coat is a five-step process whereas popping it on a hook is one-step. Light bulb (at least it was for us!)

9. Be loud & proud. So, you write important To Do’s on your hand in a pinch. Who cares? Don’t apologize, defend it and tell any scolds where they can go.

10. There’s no best way to organize—just the best one for you!

Giveaway:
1 Finished Copy of ORGANIZE YOUR WAY (US Only)

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Blog Tour: THE BLUE MOON NARTHEX by N.J. Donner: Novel Secrets & #Giveaway
Feb 23rd, 2017 by Liza Wiemer

BMN Banner

THE BLUE MOON NARTHEX by N.J. Donner

The balance of good and evil has been left in the hands of a thirteen year old…Nick Donner Front Cover 300 RGB

Since the beginning of time, Karmanic matter worked silently and unassisted keeping good and evil in balance, until growing greed in the world meant Karma couldn’t keep up. As World War I rages, the secret Karmanic Sovereign Legion works behind the scenes to help Karma.

A suspicious train accident and an odd stone-shaped object that belonged to his father thrust Cole McCarthy and two schoolmates into the middle of this battle to keep dark forces in check.

With only the powerful stone, a letter, and grandfatherly Norm to guide them, the trio must unravel clues and tap into unknown strengths to discover who Cole’s father really was and keep themselves and those they love safe.

Includes chapter 1 of book 2 in the Karmanic Sovereign Legion series!

LINKS: Amazon | B&N

N.J. Donner

N.J. Donner

ABOUT N.J. DONNER:

N.J. Donner is the author of the new Karmanic Sovereign Legion books. N.J. loves to explore. The world fascinates him and he wants to figure out why and how things work, including Karma.

College adventures took N.J. far from his small Nebraska hometown to the southern hemisphere and the inner city. This was the beginning of his wanderlust and today he loves to travel with his wife, Amanda, and their three children.

N.J. became the first person to graduate with a minor in international affairs from Nebraska Wesleyan University and spent the years right out of college building a successful steel company.

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram

 

Novel Secrets:

How a character was named?

Most of the character names are based on my family. They are the names that I have come to love over the years, so it helped me build the persona and connect with each character as the story unfolded.

The three main characters, Cole, Sophie and Britten are based and named after my kids.

What inspired a scene?  

Norm and Diesel (his black lab) walking around trying to delay the day’s inevitable work. I have seen this play out for years almost every morning at my steel business. I have heard the saying “getting lined out” (getting the day planned) more times than I can count.

How the idea for the book came to be?

It started with a dream. It had the basics about trains and the ability for people to slide or transport themselves between them. My over-active daydreaming brain took over from there with questions of who, when, where, and what if. The idea of Karma was always in the back of my mind as the story unfolded.

If there was a place or a person who was influential in some way.

Norm. (One of the names I did change) is based on a real person. He is one of those people who has nor wants anything. He’s an odd person with a rough exterior, but extremely kindhearted. Most people in the real world don’t give the Norms a chance. I just hope everyone gets to meet someone like him.

Unusual research?

After reading The Blue Moon Narthex, you’ll understand why I would need to research the finest animal hair in the world for a tool of the Bahjani. I had to research where the term “once in a blue moon” came from. I also had to research the speeds of bullets and arrows for comparison on some of the tools that are made by the Techies and tested by the Testers.

Anything readers wouldn’t know based about the book just from picking it up.

The world and network of the KSL is much bigger than only Coreseum. The adventures Cole, Sophie, and Britten get swept into during the next book take them across the globe. Watch for The Kin Larsi Agenda, book two of the of the Karmanic Sovereign Legion Series.

Tour Schedule:

Week 1:

2/6: Swoony Boys Podcast – Review

2/7: Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Q&A

2/8: Kara the Redhead – Spotlight

2/9: Young Adult Rocks – Review

2/10: books are love – Top 10

Week 2:

2/13: Such A Novel Idea – Q&A

2/14: Book Stacks Amber – Excerpt

2/15: Books Buying Beauty – Review

2/16: Red House Books – Guest Post

2/17: Basic Book Blog – Review

Week 3:

2/20: The Irish Banana Review – Review

2/21: Lisa’s Loves – World Building

2/22: Pondering the Prose – Review

2/23: Who RU Blog – Novel Secrets

2/24: The Plot Bunny – Review

Giveaway:

The Blue Moon Narthex Swag Box (US Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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)
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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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