Monday, February 24, 2014

#BetterOffInWI Blog Tour: BETTER OFF FRIENDS by Elizabeth Eulberg & Giveaway

Elizabeth Eulberg is one of my favorite authors when I want a guaranteed enjoyable book (we bonded over our cheeseheadedness) and have been a huge fan of all of her books since I first read THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB. Then came PROM & PREJUDICE, followed by TAKE A BOW, and the latest, REVENGE OF THE GIRL WITH THE GREAT PERSONALITY. So I was thrilled when I heard that Elizabeth's latest book was set in Wisconsin (finally!) and even more excited when I was able to get an early copy of BETTER OFF FRIENDS to read in September. And let me tell you, I was up early the next morning to keep reading the book because I couldn't stop thinking about Macallan and Levi. When I finished later that day, I declared it Elizabeth Eulberg's best book yet. And now (well, tomorrow) you get to read it, too! We Wisconsin bloggers were so excited that Elizabeth's launch part would be in Milwaukee, and I knew I had to be a part of the blog tour. And the best part? Elizabeth is visiting my school today! 
In honor of her visit, I wanted to share some of my students' thoughts/blurbs for BETTER OFF FRIENDS. 

"I LOVED it! It was mind-blowing and heart-breaking."

"A sweet and entertaining book that'll have you hooked by page 1!"   

"This book was so amazing. I love Levi & Macallan together. No other girls will compare to Macallan and how nice and cool she is. I think Levi is pretty cool too with his long haired self."

"Girls and guys can be best friends too...just like Levi & Macallan were." 

"My all time favorite bok of the year. Perfect setting, since it's Wisconsin, perfect names, perfect story, just everything about this book is perfect."   

"A book full of love, friendship, and cheese curds!"  

"...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."

"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

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.

*If you can't make it to the launch party event,  SIGNED copies can be pre-ordered or purchased after the Better Off Friends Launch Party through Boswell Books by calling (414) 332-1181. If you want it personalized, you have one more day to order!

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Feb 16 Liza @ WhoRuBlog
Review & some more recipes & giveaway of a signed book
Feb 17 Sarah @ Novel Thoughts
Review and and giveaway of signed book 
Feb 18 Jaime and Erin @ Fiction Fare
Quotes from the book with Wisconsin references & giveaway of a signed book
Feb 19 Andrea @ Mrs. Payan Reads
History of Culvers and giveaway of a signed book
Feb 20 Erica @ The Book Cellar
The Packers in Better Off Friends & giveaway of a signed book
Feb 21 Heidi @ YA Bibliophile 
Irish references and giveaway of a signed book
Feb 22 Rachel @ As Told By Rachel
Pictures of places mentioned in the book from Wisconsin and giveaway of a signed book
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! 
Feb 24 Jillian @ Heise Reads and Recommends 
Reviews from Students & giveaway of a signed book

Thanks to Liza Wiemer at for organizing this blog tour!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Giveaway: THE INVENTOR'S SECRET by Andrea Cremer

Author: Andrea Cremer
Publisher: Philomel (a Penguin imprint)
Release Date: April 22, 2014
Number of Pages: 336
Source of Book: ARC from ALAN Workshop
Sixteen-year-old Charlotte and her fellow refugees have scraped out an existence on the edge of Britain’s industrial empire. Though they live by the skin of their teeth they have their health (at least when they can find enough food and avoid the Imperial Labor Gatherers) and each other. When a new exile with no memory of his escape from the coastal cities or even his own name seeks shelter in their camp he brings new dangers with him and secrets about the terrible future that awaits all those who have struggled has to live free of the bonds of the empire’s Machineworks.
        The Inventor’s Secret is the first book of a YA steampunk series set in an alternate nineteenth-century North America where the Revolutionary War never took place and the British Empire has expanded into a global juggernaut propelled by marvelous and horrible machinery.

I love Andrea Cremer's NIGHTSHADE series (the original, the prequel, and the new legacy follow-up). She's a fantastic, intelligent writer who creates depth to the worlds she builds. Her newest series is her upcoming steampunk coming in April. Thanks to the generosity of publishers at NCTE & ALAN, I ended up with a second copy of the ARC for THE INVENTOR'S SECRET, and Andrea generously signed it for me to use as a giveaway on the blog.

Thanks to Philomel/Penguin and Andrea for this giveaway!

Enter below on the Rafflecopter form to 
win a SIGNED ARC of THE INVENTOR'S SECRET by Andrea Cremer!
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Sunday, February 16, 2014


Author: Tiffany Schmidt
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Release Date: February 18, 2014
Number of Pages: 288
Source of Book: eARC from publisher on NetGalley
Jonah and Brighton are about to have the most awkwardly awful night of their lives. For Jonah, every aspect of his new life reminds him of what he has had to give up. All he wants is to be left alone. Brighton is popular, pretty, and always there to help anyone . . . but has no idea of what she wants for herself. Her seemingly perfect life is marred only by Jonah, the one person who won't give her the time of day, but also makes her feel, well, something. So when they are repeatedly thrown together over the course of one night, anything can—and does—happen. Told in alternating chapters, this poignant, beautiful novel's energy and tension, amidst the humor and romance, builds to a new beginning of self-acceptance and hope.
Sometimes the best stories are the ones that take place over a course of hours instead of days. Those stories that highlight the moments in life, the nights when things change. Perspectives are shattered, feelings are awakened, hearts are broken and healed, and two people come to know each other in a way that would never have happened had circumstances not led to them being together and talking.

Both Jonah and Brighton are hurting. Their families don't seem to realize that they're part of what's making each more wounded. They don't really know each other, but they end up in the same place thrown together. Neither one thinks much of the other, although each is trying to figure the other out, and that helps them figure themselves out also. Through the course of this one night, that will happen. And in the end, neither will feel the same, act the same, or be the same as they were at the start. This is a story that has things happening, but also delves deeply into the internal examination of each character trying to figure out what they project to others and whether that's truly who they are. Over the course of this one night, they both see each other more deeply and come to learn things about themselves that help them see themselves more clearly. I do love the ending, but I wouldn't mind being able to follow Brighton and Jonah's story a bit more beyond it.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story. I appreciate it being told in dual points-of-view so that we know not only what Brighton is thinking/feeling, but we also get Jonah's perspective on things. It makes for a richer and more fulfilling story. It also allows the reader to get to know each character more and really feel for them. I was pulling for each to come out okay in the end. This is the type of story that would work for those looking for a lighter romance book, but also those looking for a story with more depth of teens trying to figure themselves out in the context of other's perspectives and families dealing with divorce of loss of a parent. I know that I will be passing it on to students very soon because it is the type of story I know they'll like.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Happy Book Birthday, Kasie West!

For those of you who have been following me for awhile, you've probably heard me mention Kasie West and PIVOT POINT. I'm a huge fan of all of Kasie's books, and PIVOT POINT was my first introduction to her. My students and many teacher friends have also read and like it, and today you can finally find out what happens with Addie next in the sequel, SPLIT SECOND.


Author: Kasie West
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: 2/11/2014
Number of Pages: 360
Source of Book: ARC from agent

I'm not posting the summary because there are spoilers if you haven't read PIVOT POINT yet.

My thoughts: Loved, loved, loved! Fantastic follow-up continuing the story from PIVOT POINT. Having both Addie & Laila's voices/perspectives in alternating chapters was perfect in getting to know more about the Compound. And Trevor is back in a big way, and we get to meet Connor - both of whom have become favorites. Kasie West writes relatable characters, great guys, sweet romances, and intriguing stories.

I've also had many students read it already since we've had an advanced copy of the book, and they all loved it also. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Launch Day Giveaway! ALIENATED by Melissa Landers

ALIENATED Launch & NOOK Giveaway!

Hey, fiction lovers. I’m author Melissa Landers, and I’m thrilled to announce that my debut YA sci-fi romance, ALIENATED, is finally available from Disney-Hyperion! Cue the dancers and toss the confetti, because it’s been a long wait!

In a nutshell, ALIENATED is the story of valedictorian Cara Sweeney, who gets more than she bargained for when she agrees to host the nation’s first intergalactic exchange student, the gorgeous but emotionally-stilted Aelyx (pronounced A-licks) from planet L’eihr. The tone is light and humorous, but I explore some deeper themes as well.

What do reviewers have to say?

“The storyline is out of this world and character development paired with authentic voice is superb. Filled with intrigue and suspense, this book will appeal to both sci-fi and contemporary YA fiction fans.” –VOYA

“Interstellar relations heat up in this start to a new romantic science fiction series. Landers [explores] larger social, ecological, and ethical issues in this tense, fast-paced read.” –Booklist

“The perfect blend of sizzling romance, action, and suspense.” –#1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout

“Smart, funny, and epic. I am now awaiting contact from planet L’eihr.” Julie Cross, bestselling author of Tempest.

“Intergalactic exchange students? Yes, please! I fell in love with this story and couldn’t put it down.” Jodi Meadows, author of Incarnate.

If you like hot, swoony science fiction as much as I do, I hope you’ll give ALIENATED a try. It’s now available in stores and online.

Barnes & Noble:
Book Depo (free international shipping):
Indie Bound:

To celebrate my book birthday, I’m offering one lucky winner a Nook Simple Touch. I’ll even throw in a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble so you can fill your new e-reader with whatever you want!

Now for the fine print: This giveaway is open to US residents only. (Sorry, international friends, but you need a US billing address to buy digital content on the Nook.) Due to sweepstakes laws, entrants must be 18 years or older to participate.
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Best of luck, and happy reading!

Melissa Landers is a former teacher who left the classroom to pursue other worlds. A proud sci-fi geek, she isn’t afraid to wear her Princess Leia costume in public—just ask her husband and three kids. She lives outside Cincinnati in the small town of Loveland, “Sweetheart of Ohio.” For more information, or just to say hello, visit