SPOTLIGHT: Q&A for Lisa Papademetriou’s new book: HEARTS AND CRAFTS

My friends at BookMark Communications sent me some info on this new title by popular middle grade author, Lisa Papademetriou. Below is some info on this new series and a Q&A with the author.

Hearts and Crafts

Latest from Bestselling Author, Lisa Papademetriou

(Confectionately Yours, Middle School: Big, Fat Liar) 

Mackenzie Miller loves a project. In addition to making candle holders and friendship bracelets, there’s the Mom Project (finding her a boyfriend — even if she says she’s not interested), the Friend Project (win back the BFFs who dumped her and make a new friend), and the Band Project (so what if she’s never planned a fundraiser? How hard can it be?).

But life doesn’t come with a set of instructions. The harder Mackenzie works to craft the perfect school year, the more she feels like she’s failing. She can do it all…can’t she? 

This fast, funny novel is the Ted Lasso of kids’ books: full of nice people trying their best and not always living up to their own expectations. Comes with craft directions for making one of Mackenzie’s signature bracelets!

Lisa Papademetriou (Papa-Dim-Meet-Ree-Yoo) is the author of numerous novels for tween and teen readers, including the new series Hearts and Crafts; A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic (a South Asia Book Award Highly Commended Title); the New York Times-bestselling novel Middle School: Big, Fat Liar and Homeroom Diaries (both with James Patterson), and the Confectionately Yours series (almost 1,000,000 books in print). Her books have appeared on many prestigious lists, including Bank Street Best Books of the Year, the NYPL Books for the Teen Age, and the Texas Lone Star Reading List and have been translated into French, German, Spanish, Polish, Italian, Portuguese, Czech, and Japanese. A former editor at Scholastic, Disney Press, and HarperCollins, Lisa is also the founder of, the premier creativity and productivity tool for writers. 

What inspired this book? Especially–“interweaving” crafts/making into the story?
The past few years have been really rough ones for me, personally, and for a lot of people I knew. My daughter is in middle school, and I saw how tough it is to manage all of her shifting friendships. I felt like I wanted to write a feel-good book—a story that was full of nice people and funny situations. I felt like we all needed a laugh; I knew I did. 
I’ve always loved crafting, and so does my daughter. It’s the perfect thing to do when you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed—just make something pretty. So I thought that would be perfect for the character of Mackenzie. 

How has your daughter affected your story telling? Or this story?
Watching my daughter grow up is a good reminder of how hard it is to be a tween. Grown-ups often tell kids that they don’t have “real” problems. But figuring out how to deal with other people—including friends, parents/caregivers, siblings, and teachers—and your own emotions is tough work. And those problems are very real when you’re going through them. Breaking up with a friend as a tween can feel as hard as breaking up with a spouse as an adult. It’s intense. It’s emotional. In my work, I always try to honor these everyday sorts of problems. 

Are you a maker? (crafty one?) If yes, what are your favorite materials to work with?
I love crafting! My favorite craft is quilting, but it’s a bit cumbersome, so I tend to work with yarn more often. I knit a bit and love to crochet. My daughter is terrific with painting and hand-lettering. Calligraphy is one thing I’d love to learn. I also love to make fun, simple crafts. I even have a monthly author newsletter, where I send readers a new, easy craft each month along with a creative writing idea!

Sisters of Night and Fog by Erika Robuck

If you follow me, you know I love Erika Robuck’s novels, which usually have a strong, historical, female protagonist. This book was exciting because it had two strong, female protagonists, from WWII.

Here’s the scoop:


Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2022 by Buzzfeed · Bookbub · BookTrib · and more!

Two women, two countries. Nothing in common but a call to fight.

A heart-stopping new novel based on the extraordinary true stories of an American socialite and a British secret agent whose stunning acts of courage collide in the darkest hours of World War II.

1940. In a world newly burning with war, and in spite of her American family’s wishes, Virginia d’Albert-Lake decides to stay in occupied France with her French husband. She’s sure that if they keep their heads down, they’ll survive. But is surviving enough?

Nineteen-year-old Violette Szabo has seen the Nazis’ evil up close and is desperate to fight them. But when she meets the man who’ll change her life only for tragedy to strike, Violette’s adrift. Until she enters the radar of Britain’s secret war organization—the Special Operations Executive—and a new fire is lit in her as she decides just how much she’s willing to risk to enlist.

As Virginia and Violette navigate resistance, their clandestine deeds come to a staggering halt when they are brought together at Ravensbrück concentration camp.

The decisions they make will change their lives, and the world, forever.

It was so crazy as I read this to think that these were true-life people. This story is suspenseful and heart-breaking. In a word: unforgettable. While I love all of Erika’s works, this is my favorite as it’s so beautifully written. You felt like you truly knew what it was like to be in that person’s mind and heart. Often, her novels have told the story of a women through the eyes of a third part (sort of a “Gatsby” feel in the retelling) but I found this story so powerful as each woman told her own. And I learned of two new heroines that I had not heard of before.

If you like WWII genre and female spies, don’t miss it!

Thank you so much for my review e-copy through Net Galley!

Wild Irish Rose by Rhys Bowen and Clare Broyles

I always love reading the Molly Murphy mysteries, so I was excited to see a new one out. I believe Ms. Bowen is sharing the writing of the series now with her daughter, Clare.

This installment finds Molly married to Daniel and with a little one and still trying to stay our of trouble. Of course trouble seems to find her and she works to solve a mystery involving an Irish immigrant who looks like her and a with a connection to Ellis Island.

I enjoyed it! And I always enjoy this series, and Ms. Bowen’s Royal Spyness series, too.

Thank you for my copy!


New York Times bestselling author Rhys Bowen, now writing in partnership with her daughter, Clare Broyles, transports and enthralls readers through the incomparable Molly Murphy Sullivan. Wild Irish Rose is the next novel in this beloved mystery series, a cause for celebration for readers and critics alike.

New York, 1907: Now that she’s no longer a private detective—at least not officially—Molly Murphy Sullivan is looking forward to a time of settled tranquility with friends and family. Back in New York, where her own story began, Molly decides to accompany some friends to Ellis Island to help distribute clothing to those in need. This journey quickly stirs up memories for Molly. When you’re far from home and see people from your country, every face looks like a family member.

That evening Molly’s policeman husband, Daniel, is late returning home. He comes with a tale to tell: there was a murder on Ellis Island that day, and the main suspect is the spitting image of Molly. The circumstances are eerily similar to when Molly herself arrived on Ellis Island, and she can’t help but feel a sense of fate. Molly was meant to be there that day so that she can clear this woman’s name.

Harper-Collins Historical Fiction Blog Tour for MRS.ENGLAND by Stacey Halls

I’m taking part today in a wonderfully gothic and evocative read: Mrs. England by Stacey Halls. I have to say that I found it hard to believe that this book was written in 2022 as it feels so much like a novel from the early 1900’s (or even 1800’s). I loved this story of Ruby May, a nanny with a secretive past who finds her niche with the England family and their four children. There is an undercurrent of tension running throughout this book, as well as an air of mystery, and I just couldn’t put it down! Loved it!

Thanks for my copy and for making me part of the tour!

Mrs. England

Author: Stacey Halls

ISBN: 9780778386315

Publication Date: April 12, 2022

Publisher: MIRA

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Social Links:

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Twitter: @stacey_halls 



Author Bio: 

Stacey Halls grew up in Rossendale, Lancashire. She studied journalism at the University of Central Lancashire and has written for publications including the Guardian, Stylist, Psychologies, the Independent, the Sun and Fabulous. Both of her first two novels, The Familiars and The Lost Orphan, were Sunday Times bestsellers, Mrs England is her third novel.

Book Summary:

Simmering with slow-burning menace, Mrs. England is a portrait of an Edwardian marriage, an enthralling tale of men and women, power and control, courage, truth and the very darkest deception.

West Yorkshire, 1904. When recently graduated Ruby May takes a nanny position looking after the children of Charles and Lilian England, a wealthy couple from a powerful dynasty of mill owners, she hopes it will be the fresh start she needs. But as she adapts to life at the isolated Hardcastle House, it becomes clear something is not quite right about the beautiful, mysterious Mrs. England.

Distant and withdrawn, Lilian shows little interest in her children or charming husband and is far from the angel of the house Ruby was expecting.

As the warm, vivacious Charles welcomes Ruby into the family, a series of strange events forces her to question everything she thought she knew. Ostracized by the servants and increasingly uneasy, Ruby must face her own demons in order to prevent history from repeating itself. After all, there’s no such thing as the perfect family—she should know.

This captivating new feminist novel from Sunday Times bestselling author Stacey Halls is her third work of fiction and proves her one of the most exciting and compelling new storytellers of our time.

Sunday Times bestseller!

Spotlight on: UNTIL WE MEET by Camille Di Maio

Today I’m throwing the spotlight onto a great sounding new book about a group of friends in WWII: Until We Meet by Camille Di Maio

A poignant and page-turning story of three women whose lives are forever changed by war.…

New York City, 1943

Can one small act change the course of a life?Margaret’s job at the Navy Yard brings her freedoms she never dared imagine, but she wants to do something more personal to help the war effort. Knitting socks for soldiers is a way to occupy her quiet nights and provide comfort to the boys abroad. But when a note she tucks inside one of her socks sparks a relationship with a long-distance pen pal, she finds herself drawn to a man she’s never even met.

Can a woman hold on to her independence if she gives away her heart? Gladys has been waiting her whole life for the kinds of opportunities available to her now that so many men are fighting overseas. She’s not going to waste a single one. And she’s not going to let her two best friends waste them either. Then she meets someone who values her opinions as much as she likes giving them, and suddenly she is questioning everything she once held dear.

Can an unwed mother survive on her own?Dottie is in a dire situation—she’s pregnant, her fiancé is off fighting the war, and if her parents find out about the baby, they’ll send her away and make her give up her child. Knitting helps take her mind off her uncertain future—until the worst happens and she must lean on her friends like never before.

With their worlds changing in unimaginable ways, Margaret, Gladys, and Dottie will learn that the unbreakable bond of friendship between them is what matters most of all.

I haven’t read it yet, but I thank my friends at Books Forward for drawing it to my attention!

The Many Daughters of Afong Moy by Jamie Ford

I loved this novel (by the author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet) and found I could not stop thinking about it after I finished. Dorothy was such an interesting character, and I just loved her and her little girl. The premise in this book is so intriguing and the writing is so beautiful that I just couldn’t put it down.

A big thank you for my friends at Simon and Schuster for reaching out with this one for me!


The New York Times bestselling author of the “mesmerizing and evocative” (Sara Gruen, author of Water for ElephantsHotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet returns with a powerful exploration of the love that binds one family across the generations.

Dorothy Moy breaks her own heart for a living.

As Washington’s former poet laureate, that’s how she describes channeling her dissociative episodes and mental health struggles into her art. But when her five-year-old daughter exhibits similar behavior and begins remembering things from the lives of their ancestors, Dorothy believes the past has truly come to haunt her. Fearing that her child is predestined to endure the same debilitating depression that has marked her own life, Dorothy seeks radical help.

Through an experimental treatment designed to mitigate inherited trauma, Dorothy intimately connects with past generations of women in her family: Faye Moy, a nurse in China serving with the Flying Tigers; Zoe Moy, a student in England at a famous school with no rules; Lai King Moy, a girl quarantined in San Francisco during a plague epidemic; Greta Moy, a tech executive with a unique dating app; and Afong Moy, the first Chinese woman to set foot in America.

As painful recollections affect her present life, Dorothy discovers that trauma isn’t the only thing she’s inherited. A stranger is searching for her in each time period. A stranger who’s loved her through all of her genetic memories. Dorothy endeavors to break the cycle of pain and abandonment, to finally find peace for her daughter, and gain the love that has long been waiting, knowing she may pay the ultimate price.

Harper-Collins Blog Tour for SUMMER ON THE ISLAND by Brenda Novak

I’m thrilled to take part in the blog tour today for Brenda Novak’s new novel: Summer on the Island. This is a story of family and friendship, of relationships and secrets. I’m sure Ms. Novak’s fan will love it!

I enjoyed the story, but have to say that I enjoyed the main plot best, focused on Marlo and her life. I had a little trouble getting into the book until about a quarter of the way in, then it moved quickly for me. I was wondering if perhaps another book with the main characters could be coming in the future?

Thank you for my copy and for making me part of the tour!

Summer on the Island : A Novel 

Brenda Novak

On Sale Date: April 5, 2022


Trade Paperback

$16.99 USD

400 pages


For fans of Elin Hilderbrand and Nancy Thayer, New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak’s newest standalone novel about friendship, family and the ties that bind and challenge us follows three friends as they escape to a coastal Florida town for the summer.

Marlo Madsen has just been through a global pandemic that turned her life—and the lives of almost everyone she knows—upside down. Her beloved father has died from COVID. Helping her mother, who has MS, handle his estate means returning to the small coastal Florida town where she was raised.

Having just left her job as a divorce attorney—which paid well but showed her too much of the worst in people—she’s invited two friends to join her for a seaside summer. The two friends are also facing huge life changes after the worsening California wildfires took everything from them, and need to decompress and recuperate. And travel has long been forbidden, so they are beyond appreciative for the ability to escape.

Unfortunately, a restful summer doesn’t seem to be in the cards, especially when Marlo learns about a special provision in her father’s will that reveals he has a love child with Rosemarie, the housekeeper who’s worked for the family for years. Rosemarie’s son was around while Marlo was growing up, but she never suspected a thing. Nobody did. And once the news is revealed, the fallout will cause waves big enough to topple two families and a whole community.


Brenda Novak, a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author, has penned over sixty novels. She is a five-time nominee for the RITA Award and has won the National Reader’s Choice, the Bookseller’s Best, the Bookbuyer’s Best, and many other awards. She also runs Brenda Novak for the Cure, a charity to raise money for diabetes research (her youngest son has this disease). To date, she’s raised $2.5 million. For more about Brenda, please visit


TWITTER: @Brenda_Novak

FB: @BrendaNovakAuthor

Insta: @authorbrendanovak 


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Blog Tour for FOUR TREASURES OF THE SKY by Jenny Tinghui Zhang

Today I’m part of the Flatiron Books blog tour for Four Treasures of the Sky by Jenny Tinghui Zhang. This was a beautifully written and amazing read, telling the story of Daiyu, a young girl kidnapped from China and brought to San Francisco in the 1880’s. This story was startling, sad, and had many triggers relating to sexual violence, abuse, neglect, and more, but it was so beautifully told that I could not stop reading. Daiyu’s story tells of her strength and courage and shines a light on a time in our history that many don’t know much about. This is Zhang’s debut novel and her writing is so picturesque and so mellifluous that it’s hard to believe that this is her first. As someone who adores Lisa See’s novels (and has read most if not all of them), this book reminded me of her works. I can’t stop thinking about this story.

Historical fiction at its finest – thank you for my copy.

Here’s the overview:


“Engulfing, bighearted, and heartbreaking.” —Ann Patchett

A propulsive and dazzling debut novel set against the backdrop of the Chinese Exclusion Act, about a Chinese girl fighting to claim her place in the 1880s American West

Daiyu never wanted to be like the tragic heroine for whom she was named, revered for her beauty and cursed with heartbreak. But when she is kidnapped and smuggled across an ocean from China to America, Daiyu must relinquish the home and future she imagined for herself. Over the years that follow, she is forced to keep reinventing herself to survive. From a calligraphy school, to a San Francisco brothel, to a shop tucked into the Idaho mountains, we follow Daiyu on a desperate quest to outrun the tragedy that chases her. As anti-Chinese sentiment sweeps across the country in a wave of unimaginable violence, Daiyu must draw on each of the selves she has been—including the ones she most wants to leave behind—in order to finally claim her own name and story.

At once a literary tour de force and a groundbreaking work of historical fiction, Four Treasures of the Sky announces Jenny Tinghui Zhang as an indelible new voice. Steeped in untold history and Chinese folklore, this novel is a spellbinding feat.

And from the publisher:

I have always hated my name. As a child growing up in China, Daiyu’s grandmother tells her the tragic tale of Lin Daiyu, the heroine for whom she was named who died of a broken heart. Daiyu refuses to be like her namesake, resenting being named after a weak and sorrowful character. But at a young age, tragedy strikes when Daiyu is left parentless and destitute. When she is kidnapped and smuggled at the bottom of a coal barrel across the sea to San Francisco, Daiyu must constantly reinvent herself in order to survive. We follow Daiyu on a desperate quest to outrun the tragedy that chases her as she tries to find herself and a more promising future during a time when anti-Chinese sentiment and rampant violence are spreading throughout the country.

Jenny Tinghui Zhang is a Chinese-American writer. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Apogee, Ninth Letter, Passages North, The Rumpus, HuffPost, The Cut, Catapult, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from the University of Wyoming and has received support from Kundiman, Tin House, and VONA/Voices. She was born in Changchun, China and grew up in Austin, Texas, where she currently lives. 

Harper-Collins Blog Tour for THE LYING CLUB by Annie Ward

I’m thrilled to take part in the Harper-Collins Winter Reads Blog tour for yet another great book: The Lying Club by Annie Ward. This was a suspenseful and engaging read, which had me reading late into the night as I didn’t want to put the book down!

Here’s the overview:


Author: Annie Ward

ISBN: 9780778389408

Publication Date: March 22, 2022

Publisher: Park Row Books

Buy Links: NOT affiliated with BBNB


Barnes & Noble




Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @_annie_ward

Facebook: @anniewardbooks


Book Summary:

From the acclaimed author of Beautiful Bad comes an explosive new novel of revenge, murder and shocking secrets—where the victims aren’t who you might think. Perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty, Lucy Foley, and Liv Constantine.

Three women. Two bodies. One big lie…

A tangled web of lies draws together three women in this explosive thriller of revenge, murder and shocking secrets.

At an elite private school nestled in the Colorado mountains, Natalie, an office assistant, dreams of having a life like the school moms she deals with every day. Women like Brooke—a gorgeous heiress, ferociously loving mother and serial cheater—and Asha, an overprotective mom who suspects her husband of having an affair. Their fates are bound by the handsome assistant athletic director Nicholas, whom Natalie loves, Brooke wants and Asha needs.

But when two bodies are carried out of the school one morning, it seems the tension between mothers and daughters, rival lovers, and the haves and have-nots has shattered the surface of this isolated, affluent town—where people stop at nothing to get what they want.

Author Bio: 

Annie Ward is the author of Beautiful Bad. She has a BA in English literature from UCLA and an MFA in screenwriting from the American Film Institute. Her first short screenplay, Strange Habit, starring Adam Scott, was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival and the Grand Jury Award winner at the Aspen Film Festival. She has received a Fulbright scholarship and an Escape to Create artist residency. She lives in Kansas with her family.

I always love stories that take place in private schools (I’ve taught in them for over 30 years!). And I really liked the character development in this story, especially of Natalie, the protagonist. I felt like tension was building and building throughout the story (which is told out of chronological order) as you came to know the backstory behind the events that start the novel, and I could not put it down. My only disappointment was that I felt that the tension built and built and then the ending wrapped up rather quickly. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it felt “quick” to me after all the build up to the “accident”. However, I think it would make an awesome movie!

If you like this genre, then I think you’ll love this one! Thank you for my copy and for making me part of the tour!

Inkyard Press YA Blog Tour for KILLING TIME by Brenna Ehrlich

Today I’m part of the Inkyard Press YA blog tour (a division of Harper-Collins) for Killing Time by Brenna Ehrlich. This was a suspenseful story of two murders, one now and one in the past, with a central protagonist of a girl in high school who loves true crime and has her own podcast, even though her mother hates her passion with a passion!

Here’s the overview:

Killing Time  

Brenna Ehrlich

On Sale Date: March 8, 2022



$18.99 USD

336 pages

About the Book:

Killing Time follows a true-crime obsessed teenage girl who sets out to uncover a killer when her favorite teacher is murdered. With a dual POV that sends the reader back twenty years, this engrossing and twisty thriller is perfect for fans of Courtney Summers and Karen McManus.

Summer in Ferry, Connecticut has always meant long, lazy days at the beach and wild nights partying in the abandoned mansions on the edge of town. Until now, that is.

Natalie Temple’s favorite teacher has been murdered, and there’s no way this true-crime obsessed girl is going to sit back and let the rumor mill churn out lie after lie. Not if she has anything to say about it – even if she has to hide her investigation from her disapproving mom and team up with a new boy in town with a mysterious smile and a talent for making fake IDs.

But the more Natalie uncovers, the more she realizes some secrets were never meant to be told.

With two interwoven mysteries, Killing Time is a deathly warning to a generation of murderinos: what happens when the stories we’re chasing finally catch up with us?

About the Author:

Brenna Ehrlich is a journalist, YA author, and editor who has worked everywhere from MTV News to Rolling Stone. She resides in New Jersey with her husband Morgan and their two cats, Nimbus and Hazel. She enjoys horror movies and romcoms in equal measure.

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I’ll be getting this one for my daughter for her birthday! Thank you for my copy and for making me part of the tour!