Book Review: Hello? by Liza M. Wiemer

Title: Hello?
Author: Liza M. Wiemer
Publisher:  Spencer Hill Contemporary
Published:  November 10th 2015
Page count: 417 pages
Format: Paperback
Source: Won

Goodreads | Amazon

Book Summary:
One HELLO can change a life. One HELLO can save a life.

Tricia: A girl struggling to find her way after her beloved grandma's death.Emerson: A guy who lives his life to fulfill promises, real and hypothetical.Angie: A girl with secrets she can only express through poetry.Brenda: An actress and screenplay writer afraid to confront her past.Brian: A potter who sets aside his life for Tricia, to the detriment of both.
Linked and transformed by one phone call, Hello? weaves together these five Wisconsin teens' stories into a compelling narrative of friendship and family, loss and love, heartbreak and healing, serendipity, and ultimately hope.
Told from all five viewpoints: narration (Tricia), narration (Emerson), free verse poetry (Angie), screenplay format (Brenda), narration and drawings (Brian).


*The Chef's Review*
    Actual rating: 4/5 stars

Hello? is a brilliant novel. It was such an interesting read and the story it tells easily captures the reader's attention. It talks about the lives of five main characters and how they are all connected to each other, no matter how far away they are. Each one of them has issues of their own that they have to figure out, which is very fascinating.

What I liked:
  • The characters. This book talks about five different teenagers and each of them has their unique qualities and way of being that I believe made this book all the better. Tricia, Emerson, Angie, Brenda and Brian are in those difficult years where they have the pressure of what's next in their lives after high school along with personal problems. Tricia suffers from heartbreak after realizing that she doesn't have close family left with her. Emerson is traumatized by a childhood accident which he barely escaped and witnessed. Angie at first I thought was a bit clueless, but she just was in the wrong relationship and turned out to be an awesome friend. Brenda had a dark childhood experience that she was afraid to speak. Brian is a good guy, but he needed to step back a little and organize his thoughts ... See what I mean? This book had a lot going on with captivating characters that made it so engaging.
  • The style of writing that the author chose for this book. Hello? uses different writing techniques depending on the character the author chooses for the chapter. I enjoyed reading and getting to know the characters in their  own voice and point of view without jeopardizing their meaning. 
  • The settings. They change quite a lot since the characters don't all live on the same spot. It takes place in an edge of Wisconsin. I loved the way the author described the place, specially where Tricia and Brian lived. Tricia's house was a lighthouse in a beautiful town. I actually looked Washington Island just to get a clearer image of the place.

What didn't do it for me:
  • I thought there were some parts that were too slow or too fast for my taste. Some parts of the book needed to speed up and other where I wanted to know more.
  • I wish there was more to the story after everything clicked into place. I would have liked to know a bit more about everyone. Even though it hinted in some of the characters, in others there wasn't much information after it wraps up.
Final Verdict:

All in all, I give this book four stars because I thought it was a good read and it has a great story. To go along with this review, I baked these banana chocolate chip cherry muffins that Tricia mentions that she learned from her grandmother. I thought she had a really sweet relationship with her andbecause they mention they were the best muffins and because I have a long time since I had that combination  of ingredientsI decided to make some to go with this post (posted yesterday on our Bookstagram!). I hope they make Tricia's grandmother proud ;)


The Week's Entrée #113

Hi everyone! Welcome to another edition of The Week's Entrée!

I can't believe that August is coming to an end this week but my sister & I are pretty excited for what's to come at the end of September (hint: some traveling involved!). And as it's the end of the month on Wednesday, be on the lookout for our monthly giveaway on Instagram!

The end of August also marks the end of #ARCAugust which has me flipping away ARC pages in order to meet my goal of 8 books... I'm currently on my 5th read LOL. Wish me luck with that!

How did your August go? I hope it was a good one ♥
.......
New books!

{Purchased}


My parents gave me a book of my choice for my birthday, and after a quick poll on Twitter, my friends told me I needed to have Illuminae, and so I did. Can't wait to read!
.......

To Read This Week:


And because polls are so much fun on Twitter, I also asked my friends to pick my next reads and Replica by Lauren Oliver won! I just started reading it from Lyra's POV but will be alternating to Gemma's POV as well. After I'm done with Replica, I'll read Spells & Sorcery by S. Usher Evans which was the runner-up in my poll. :D
.......
And that's it for The Week's Entrée! What are you all reading? :)

Author Interview with Kay Honeyman + INTL Giveaway!


Hello everyone! Today I'm thrilled to have on the blog Kay Honeyman, author of Interference! This book releases on September 27th but I already read and LOVED it (check out my review here) so I'm super stoked that Kay granted me the honor to interview her. You can also read more about this great book below, check out a fun snack my sister prepared inspired by this novel AND enter an INTL giveaway for a pre-order of Interference! Happy reading. ♥
...........


Interference by Kay Honeyman
YA Contemporary
September 27th, 2016 by Arthur A. Levine Books
As a Congressman's daughter in Washington, D.C., Kate Hamilton is good at getting what she wants -- what some people might call "interfering." But when her family moves to West Texas so her dad can run in a special election, Kate encounters some difficulties that test all her political skills. None of her matchmaking efforts go according to plan. Her father's campaign gets off to a rough start. A pro tip for moving to Texas: Don't slam the star quarterback's hand in a door. And whenever Kate messes up, the irritatingly right (and handsome) Hunter Price is there to witness it. But Kate has determination and a good heart, and with all her political savvy -- and a little clever interference -- she'll figure out what it takes to make Red Dirt home. 

Terrifically funny and sweetly romantic, with whip-crack dialogue and a wise perspective on growing up, INTERFERENCE is the perfect next read for fans of Jenny Han, Huntley Fitzpatrick, Elizabeth Eulberg, or Sarah Dessen.


....Interview with Kay Honeyman....

When I first read Interference, I didn't catch that it was inspired by Jane Austen's Emma (which is amazing, I love Emma!). Did you initially plan it to be a retelling? If so, why did you choose Emma instead of the more popular novels like Pride & Prejudice?

I kind of like that you didn’t catch it. I usually start with a mentor text when I write. I use it to do some early shaping of the story, and it really helps when I feel lost and don’t know what they can do next. The story keeps elements of Emma but hopefully shapes it into a new thing. I didn’t use Pride and Prejudice because Fire Horse follows the same thread. It’s subtle, but it’s there if you know what to look for. 

Was it easy to go from writing Historical YA (The Fire Horse Girl) to Contemporary?

No, but I don’t know if I should blame switching genres. Starting a new book is just difficult. I spend years with these stories figuring out every detail, so starting at the beginning is disorienting.

What, in your opinion, are the challenges faced when writing a YA Contemporary book?

For me it’s authenticity. The magic of YA contemporary is that it captures authentic characters in authentic situations. Their emotions and their relationships have to be real and relatable.

Which character from Interference do you relate to the most? Who was your favorite to write?

I am a combination of Kate and Ana, but if I’m honest, I am probably more Ana than Kate. Ana genuinely cares for people. Kate wants Ana to be happy. Ana wants everyone to be happy. I can relate to that.

Does Interference have a playlist that we can listen to?

Ha! It does. You’d have to find the CD it’s burned on. If you do, let me know. I made it years ago, really early in the process and then lost it. So, it is probably turned into a different playlist. So here is a debut of a few songs that would go on the new, evolved version…

“Here We Go’ Mat Kearney

“Fight Song” Rachel Platten

“America’s Sweetheart” Elle King

“Raised on It” and “Break Up in a Small Town” – Sam Hunt

Are there any deleted/extra scenes that we should know about? :)

The original first three chapter got cut almost immediately after submitting them to my editor. Along with that, a sister and a dog (oh, I’d forgotten about the dog, funny, but totally unnecessary and a logistical nightmare) got cut.

Speaking of scenes, which one was your favorite to and/or the most challenging?

The scene that I had to keep rewriting was the one with her dad the day after the incident with Kyle. I couldn’t quite get their words right. They are two head-strong characters, and I couldn’t get them to common ground. They kept having their own separate conversations. I finally got it after much gentle prodding from my editor J.

And because my sister & I LOVE food, could you tell us more about these Frito Pies mentioned in Interference? They sound so good!

I am so thrilled you asked! It never occurred to me that everyone didn’t enjoy Frito Pies. They are amazing! You can have them in or out of the Frito bag. I think the ones in the bag are better. Cut open the top or side of a small bag (my editor pictured the big bag of Fritos when she first read it. Ever since then I’ve been thinking about if that would be viable because it would be a fun thing to bring to a party). Put the chili, cheese, and onions and/or jalapenos (if you like) inside. Bon appetite! Although, fair warning – it tastes better when you buy it from a stand at a high school football game sponsored by band or football boosters. A game during playoffs is even better. You and my editor Cheryl Klein are on my list of people to buy Frito Pies for.

...........
Such great answers! And my sister & I would love to try the original Frito Pies ♥ In fact, my sister made some based on your description. They came out pretty good, but I bet they would taste better during playoffs! 




Thank you so much again for answering my questions, Kay! I loved Interference and can't wait for more books from you. ♥
...........


About the Author
Kay Honeyman grew up in Fort Worth, Texas and attended Baylor University, graduating with a Bachelors and Masters in English Language and Literature. Her first novel, THE FIRE HORSE GIRL, came out in January 2013. It was published by Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic. Her next book INTERFERENCE comes out in Fall 2016. She currently teaches middle school and lives in Dallas, Texas.

Social Media Links:

...........
Giveaway!
Enter the rafflecopter below to win a pre-order of Interference by Kay Honeyman (courtesy from the author ♥) This giveaway is open international (as long as The Book Depository ships free to you). Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Classic Fridays #4: Back To School Reads


Hi everyone! Welcome to another post of CLASSIC FRIDAYS, a brand new weekly meme created by the wonderful Team Gray members of BBCP (Book Blogger Creativity Project).

What is Classic Fridays? A set of questions that can be answered about any book/series. A topic will be chosen every week and with each topic, there will be a set of questions. These topics will range from your TBR to Current Reads and everything bookish in-between! For more info about this meme and future topics, you can visit this page. You can also sign-up to receive next week's topic HERE.

This Week's Topic:

... Back to School ...

(Readers who are not in school are welcome to answer this week’s questions based on their school years or what they’d wish to have read during school!)

How many books do you read per month during the school year?
I used to read around 60 books in my college years and around 30 in my other stages of school.
Do you usually enjoy reading books assigned by your school?
Not the books assigned to me when I was in Middle and High School. They were mostly spanish "classics" and were totally complicated/boring. The assigned reading in Mexican schools (at least in my state) are the reason why there aren't many readers here. I hate how they only promote books based on violence and weird stuff. Except Don Quijote, that was nice.

What has been your favorite assigned read?

I'll have to go back to my Elementary school years for this one and say Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. This book remains as my favorite classic. It's such a beautiful book, so heart-warming and heart-breaking at the same time, and it's about a horse! Have you seen the movie? Is lovely too! ♥
Which required read was the hardest to get through and why?
It was one called El Llano en Llamas by Juan Rulfo and it was SO. Weird. Hated every second of it.
Were they always classic novels or also recent books?
It was a mix, but never really great or memorable books. They didn't even make us read Shakespeare, and I wanted that kind of reads. I had to go to the school library on my own and check out The Odyssey and such to get my fill of good books.

Which books do you wish your school would mark as “required reading” and why? ( #ClassicFridays Bookstagram prompt)


From my YA stack, I wish schools would add books like The Fire Horse Girl by Kay Honeyman because they promote diversity and give insight on different cultures. Also, I wish schools in Mexico would give you free reign to pick a new/popular book that looks interesting, like Illuminae.

What is one book that you had to read for school?

Lord of the Flies was a must read with one teacher. Actually, this book was not bad at all, but you get what I mean about morbid/difficult reads? Lord of the Flies is not a light read.
What genre was it in? Is it something that you normally read?
It's like a Dystopian book. I used to read a lot of dystopian books but I haven't read many in this year.
Would you have picked up this book by yourself?
Maybe after I read The Hunger Games, it had that same survival type kind of feeling.
What activities did your class do with this book?
Book reports, class discussions & we watched the movie. For a month. It kind of got tiring at the end. But overall, I enjoyed this read.


Don't forget to leave me a link to your Classic Fridays post if you participate! ♥

Picture Book Review: Rice & Rocks by Sandra L. Richards and Megan Kayleigh Sullivan

Title: Rice & Rocks
Author: Sandra L. Richards
Illustrator: Megan Kayleigh Sullivan
Genre: Kid Lit/ Picture Book
Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing
Published:  August 23, 2016
Page Count:  32 pages
Format: eARC
Source: From publicist


Summary:
Tradition takes flight in Rice & Rocks, a picture book celebrating culture and diversity.

Giovanni’s friends are coming over for Sunday dinner, and his grandmother is serving rice and beans. Giovanni is embarrassed—he does not like “rice and rocks” and worries his friends will think the traditional Jamaican dish is weird. But his favorite Auntie comes to the rescue. She and Giovanni’s pet parrot, Jasper, take him on a magical journey across the globe, visiting places where people eat rice and rocks. This exciting story celebrates the varied traditions of every culture while also highlighting the delicious similarities that bring us all together.
*The Reader's Review*
My rating: 5/5 stars

Oh, you guys. I don't know if I've told you this but besides from YA books, I have a serious love for children's picture books. Maybe it's because they are the ones that helped me learn English quicker when I was in USA, or maybe because they are just too fun and incredible to look at, but either way, I really must tell you all how utterly amazing Rice & Rocks is.

I feel as if Rice & Rocks was written for the 7 year old me stuck in a foreign country. I wish I could have read it when I was a kid since it would have really helped me to feel a lot more comfortable with my roots, my traditions, in a foreign place with people of other colors & customs. I remember how I would feel embarrassed with the kind of food I ate, including Rice & Rocks a.k.a Rice and Beans. And it's such a silly thing because Rice and Beans were one of my favorite dishes when I was a kid (as long as they had chopped purple onions on top!) and it's still is (tho I can now eat with any type/color of onions now ;). But as a kid you want to blend in when in a different place and possibly show how you aren't any different from them. Even when it comes to food!

So I love the message that this book sends. I love how in just a few pages, it shows that you should never be embarrassed by your roots or your traditions. How they are beautiful, special, and part of who you are. I even learned that my Rice and Rocks (beans) are also shared and cherished all over the world - in Jamaica, Puerto Rico, New Orleans and all the way to Japan. ♥

However, not only the story is beautiful, but the art drawn in the 32 pages is simply stunning. The characters and the different cultures are richly represented, making Rice & Rocks a true joy to look at. Kudos to the talented Illustrator!

I truly  cannot recommend Rice & Rocks enough. Picture books lovers, you are in for a treat!

The Week's Entrée #112

Hi everyone! Welcome to another edition of The Week's Entrée!

As promised, here's a look at me and my birthday cake! Did you catch it on our bookstagram?


The Chef finally settled for a pink ombre cake (that I delightedly approved!) and it was vanilla with buttercream filling and icing. She also decorated it with whipped cream flowers on top. Plus many 30+ cupcakes too. It was so cool! ♥

And I had a lot of fun taking this pic. My parents took me to a candy shop in the morning and let me pick up candy, balloons, and party hats. It was kind of hard to believe that I turned 23 with how I was acting that morning LOL. It's just that for the last years I had not had the chance to properly celebrate a birthday since I'm usually traveling around the U.S. It was a nice change, though I should have gotten a piñata. :(
.
.
How do you usually celebrate your birthdays? :)
.......
Latest book reviews in other sites:

I reviewed The French Impressionist by Rebecca Bischoff on YA Books Central

I enjoyed this YA Contemporary novel because it has a great colorful vibe, just like its bright cover. The MC was a bit immature but fun to be around with, though at times she does go a bit too far. Still, I liked how this novel touches how a communication disorder works--something I had never read about before! So overall, it's a 3.7 star read for me.

Here's the book's summary:

Rosemary is fifteen and gloriously free, on her own for the very first time. Part of an exchange program for aspiring artists, she arrives in southern France with one goal: she doesn t plan to leave, ever. She wants a new life and a new identity. But her situation, crafted from lies big and small, is precarious. As Rosemary struggles to hide her lack of artistic talent and obvious communication disorder from her new family, she must ultimately choose whether or not she ll tell the biggest lie of all, even if it means destroying the life of someone she cares about.
.......
New books!

{Purchased}


The only new addition to my digital library is The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson. I've always wanted to read this series, so after I saw that it was on sale, I just had to get it. :D
.......

To Read This Week:

I just started reading Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven! Despite my initial hesitation to read it (didn't know it was the book that caused so much drama a few months ago because of its terrible blurb), I find myself enjoying it. I really like the female MC.
.......
And that's it for The Week's Entrée! What are you all reading? :)

Classic Fridays #3: 2016 Debuts


Hi everyone! Welcome to another post of CLASSIC FRIDAYS, a brand new weekly meme created by the wonderful Team Gray members of BBCP (Book Blogger Creativity Project).

What is Classic Fridays? A set of questions that can be answered about any book/series. A topic will be chosen every week and with each topic, there will be a set of questions. These topics will range from your TBR to Current Reads and everything bookish in-between! For more info about this meme and future topics, you can visit this page. You can also sign-up to receive next week's topic HERE.

This Week's Topic:

... 2016 Debuts ...

What are your top 5 favorite debuts of 2016 (so far)? (#ClassicFridays prompt for IG)


- Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco (YA Historical Thriller)
- Liars and Losers Like US by Ami Allen-Vath (YA Contemporary)
- Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn (YA Contemporary)
- Summer of Supernovas by Darcy Woods (YA Contemporary)
- Adorkable by Cookie O'Gorman (YA Contemporary)
Which 2016 debuts where you highly anticipating but have not read yet?
- The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi. It's on my shelf, for crying out loud! I must get on to it ASAP. ♥
- The Love that Split the World by Emily Henry. This one was my most anticipated read of all, and now that it has released, I have hesitated to pick it up and I don't know why :(
If you had a free pass ticket to 3 debut bookish worlds, which ones would you like to visit the most?
-I would love to step into the time period of Stalking Jack the Ripper. Despite the serial murders, I would brave it just to visit 1888 london for a while.
- Despite not having read The Star-Touched Queen yet, I am eager to visit Askaran & all the beautiful settings inspired by Indian mythology. I feel that it's such a colorful world, and it has a castle!!
- And I'd really like to hang around Adorkable's YA contemporary setting. It's a bright town with great people! And there's Becks too, of course ♥.♥

Favorite debut book boyfriend and why?
I LOVED, like, absolutely adored, Thomas from Stalking Jack the Ripper. He's like the perfect mix between Sherlock Holmes and Cricket from Lola and the Boy Next Door. I WANT ONE JUST LIKE HIM. ♥
Favorite cover of a debut author


Assassin's Heart by Sarah Ahiers. Just look at that cover! It's so so pretty ♥
Who is your most favorite character from a debut novel?
It will have to be Bree from Liars and Losers Like Us. I liked that she was like a "normal" kind of character in the beginning of the book. Not popular or the invisible type, just... there. As the story progresses and she finds herself in the middle of a crisis that happens to a fellow classmate, she develops panic attacks that make life a lot harder to deal with. And yet she gets through (or not) and gets on with life. I feel that this person represents all of us and how, no matter how normal you are, it doesn't mean you can't be a main character of your own story, to be interesting. Also, she's a strong person in her own right.

A close second is Audrey from Stalking Jack the Ripper because she's totally kick-ass! Q’s about the latest debut read:


What made you pick this book up?
I'm not much of a thriller fan, but the cover and the blurb made Stalking Jack the Ripper quite irresistible!
How did you hear about the book?
All social media was going crazy after Stalking Jack the Ripper was announced so I obviously got extremely curious about it. I requested it on Edelweiss not really believing I had a chance to be approved and when I did, I FLIPPED. I then proceeded to read it and it was the best thing I have done in my entire year.

What genre was the book in? Is it something that you normally read?
It's a YA Historical Thriller! I do read historical books but not so much thrillers. Now I know better, I def need to read more thrillers if I get to read more books like this one. ♥

Would you read more books by this author? Why or why not?
YES! I am highly anticipating the rest of the books in the series, because yes, Stalking Jack the Ripper is a series and it will surely rock my socks off!

Don't forget to leave me a link to your Classic Fridays post if you participate! ♥