Friday, April 29, 2016

Release Week Blitz: THE SECRETS WE KEEP by Trisha Leaver

I am so excited to help spread the word that THE SECRETS WE KEEP by Trisha Leaver is now out in paperback! If you haven’t yet added this awesome book to your shelf, now’s the perfect time. Just scroll down to learn more about the book and author, to read an excerpt, and to enter the giveaway for a chance to win an Amazon gift card!

By: Trisha Leaver
Published By: Farrar, Strauss, & Giroux
Release Date: June 27, 2013
Series: None
Pages: 304
Genre: Contemporary
Reading Level: Young Adult
Buy the Book: Amazon

Twin sisters. A fatal accident. A devastating lie. Which girl survived?

"A girl takes over her twin sister's identity in this emotionally charged page-turner about the complicated bond between sisters."

Ella and Maddy Lawton are identical twins. Ella has spent her high school years living in popular Maddy's shadows, but she has never been envious of Maddy. In fact, she's chosen the quiet, safe confines of her sketchbook over the constant battle for attention that has defined Maddy's world.

When--after a heated argument--Maddy and Ella get into a tragic accident that leaves her sister dead, Ella wakes up in the hospital surrounded by loved ones who believe she is Maddy. Feeling responsible for Maddy's death and everyone's grief, Ella makes a split-second decision to pretend to be Maddy. Soon, Ella realizes that Maddy's life was full of secrets. Caught in a web of lies, Ella is faced with two options--confess her deception or live her sister's life.


“I am already gone.
I died that night on the side of the road with my sister.”

I don’t remember her room being so cold. Even snuggled into her sweater the chill seeps in, settling into my bones like a whisper from beyond. That’s where I will sleep Maddy’s bed, surround by her scent. Mom wants to change the sheets, but I won’t let her. The hint of vanilla mingled with Alex’s dark cologne brings a little piece of my sister back to me each night.

The only thing I have left of my old life is a few sketches and a poor replica of the friendship bracelet Josh gave me. It took me days to re-create, to weave the strings into the right pattern. It’s not perfect, but it goes with me everywhere, a tiny reminder of who I once was and what Josh still means to me. The real bracelet is gone, cut off and tossed aside just like my life.

I want to make peace with my choice, but Maddy’s secret haunts me. The dark pieces of her life are hid- den in the back of her closet for no one but me to see. She’s not who I thought she was, but that doesn’t matter. Maddy was my sister, my twin sister, and I’ll do anything for her, including losing myself.


Trisha Leaver lives on Cape Cod with her husband, three children, and one rather disobedient black lab. She is a chronic daydreamer who prefers the cozy confines of her own imagination to the mundane routine of everyday life. She writes Young Adult Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Psychological Horror and Science Fiction and is published with FSG/Macmillan, Flux/Llewellyn and Merit Press. Her YA Contemporary, THE SECRETS WE KEEP, was named one of the best YA novels for summer (2015) by Teen Vogue and received starred reviews from VOYA Magazine and School Library Journal (audio). For more details, check out her website at


The Giveaway Details:
There is a blitz-wide giveaway, courtesy of the author, for:
• ONE (1) winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card
***Giveaway is open to anyone 13 or older who can accept an Amazon Gift Card***

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A New Start for Portrait of a Book

Welcome back, readers, and welcome back to the blog!

As you probably know, the blog has been rather dormant for a long time. Although I have no excuse, I do have an explanation--and a reason for why I'm finally back.

I never intended to walk away from blogging. I didn’t make a considered decision to take a break for a while. I never intended to let my blog sit idle for so long. It would be easy to say that life got in the way, that because I moved from Houston to Salt Lake City, started new jobs, and still enjoy a much more active social life than ever before, I simply didn’t find time for blogging anymore.

But that wouldn’t be the entire truth. I had definitely slowed down on my blog even before moving. Reading became almost a chore and every book seemed to sound exactly like another one, right down to small plot details. A stretch of less-than-stellar (for me) books combined with the pressure (real or imagined) to always deliver content took its toll. In addition, I wanted to work on writing, and this made me question the reviews I was posting. Who was I to judge literary merit and then turn around and ask a publisher to find my work worthy? I couldn’t reconcile the two, and that led to even fewer reviews being posted.

After so much time away, I feel like I have a clearer head. Yet even in considering making a blogging comeback, I can feel some of the same worries creep in. Why write reviews when so many books that I have now are a year or two old? Is it worth returning to the blogging world if I can’t devote what I remember as being “sufficient time?” Should I just read for myself and not worry about reviewing? But as an aspiring author, I would want bloggers to help and promote my book. And even bad reviews—or just non-glowing reviews—are okay. The publishing industry would hardly be as huge as it is if everyone wanted the same kinds of books all the time. It is possible to explain a reason for disliking something and still be respectful of the product and its creator. Reviews don’t have to be literary masterpieces to deliver enthusiasm about a book and encourage another reader to pick it up. My blog may not be perfect or the top-rated by any means, but if I can recapture the fun, why not go for it? I’m making a few changes—such as a new look and a new review style that’s more fun—and I want to be more social with other bloggers. I used to worry that I needed to be “professional” if I was going to communicate with publishers and authors. But the blogs I loved reading the most, the people whose tweets I paid attention to, are the ones who were open, honest, and unashamedly themselves. That’s always been hard for me—I’m an introvert who listens more than talks, stays reserved until I really know and trust someone, and interject comments only when the time is right—but who’s to say I can’t change? It’s worth a shot.

Now that I am teaching in a school for autistic children, working as an organist and choir director, tutoring, and finishing my second time through grad school, I am busier than ever, but I feel the need to read and blog again. I used to walk into bookstores and feel like I was among old friends; now I walk in, see so many new and unfamiliar books on the shelves, and I feel like I am among strangers. I missed so much time to read books that I was (and still am) so excited for, and I don’t want to do that anymore. Escaping into stories is something that I have always done. As a child, I always had a book in my hand, and I devoured them as quickly as possible. Even though my life not revolve around reading now, I don’t want to let one of my favorite pastimes fall by the wayside anymore. When I do find time to read, it is like a mini-vacation for me, and I hope to take quite a few in the future.

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