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Monday, December 5, 2016

A Boy Called Christmas Blog Tour {review and giveaway}

A Boy Called Christmas
by Matt Haig
November 1, 2016
Knopf BFYR
Source: from pub for review
Before there was Santa Claus, there was a young boy who believed in the impossible. . . . Lemony Snicket meets Elf in this warmhearted Christmas caper.
Eleven-year-old Nikolas—nicknamed “Christmas”—has received only one toy in his life: a doll carved out of a turnip. But he’s happy with his turnip doll, because it came from his parents, who love him. Then one day his father goes missing, and Nikolas must travel to the North Pole to save him.
Along the way, Nikolas befriends a surly reindeer, bests a troublesome troll, and discovers a hidden world of enchantment in the frozen village of Elfhelm. But the elves of Elfhelm have troubles of their own: Christmas spirit and goodwill are at an all-time low, and Nikolas may be the only person who can fix things—if only he can reach his father before it’s too late. . . .
Sparkling with wit and warmth, A Boy Called Christmas is a cheeky new Christmas classic-in-the-making from acclaimed author Matt Haig and illustrator Chris Mould.

“Irresistibly readable. Destined to become a Christmas and anytime-before-or-after-Christmas classic!” –Chris Grabenstein, New York Timesbestselling author of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

“Like stockings hung by the fire, this spellbinding opus may well become a yuletide tradition.” —Kirkus, Starred review

“Award-winning British author Matt Haig (To Be a Cat) writes with warmth, wit and irreverence.” —Shelf Awareness, Starred review

“Matt Haig has an empathy for the human condition, the light and the dark of it, and he uses the full palette to build his excellent stories.”—Neil Gaiman, Newbery-winning author of The Graveyard Book

“The definitive (and funny) history of Ho, ho, ho! My children loved it.” —Yann Martel, bestselling author of Life of Pi

“Humorous and heartfelt, A Boy Called Christmas will grow your heart three sizes and make you believe in magic.” –Liesl Shurtliff, New York Times bestselling author of Rump

“The most evergreen, immortal Christmas story to be published for decades. Future generations will receive the same comfort and joy from A Boy Called Christmas that they derive from mince pies, snowmen and creamy liqueurs.” –Stephen Fry

“Matt Haig puts the Happy back into Christmas.” –Jeanette Winterson

“A new festive classic. Funny, sad and brilliant. It turns out we only knew half the story.” –Simon Mayo, BBC

“An instant Christmas classic… Nikolas is a terrific character, clearly the offspring of Gerda from The Snow Queen and Roald Dahl’s Charlie Bucket.”  –The Guardian

Nikolas is an 11 year old boy who lives in a tiny shack with his woodcutter father, only a turnip doll for a toy, and his only friend a mouse...but Nikolas, nicknamed “Christmas” is happy and still believes in magic and goodness. When his father disappears far up north, Nikolas sets out on a journey to the North Pole and the legendary Elfhelm (home of the elves) to find him. Along the way, Nikolas befriends a Reindeer named Blitzen, battles with a troll, contends with a tricksy pixie, and discovers that the land of the elves isn’t all he imagined. This is the story of how young Nikolas one day become the beloved Father Christmas!

Matt Haig’s A Boy Called Christmas is full of cheer, charm, and cheeky storytelling! Haig has created an imaginative and endearing history for Father Christmas, aka Santa Claus, and has brought even more wonderment, awe, and whimsy to the beloved character’s timeless story. Through a sweet, yet humorous and pitch-perfect voice, the story of Nikolas unfolds in a captivating and entertaining way, with plenty of moments full of laughs, excitement, and heart. The land of the elves, Elfhelm, is wonderfully imagined and brought to life! Young readers will not be disappointed in this wintery, wonderland bustling with magic and mischief.

Nikolas’ optimistic spirit, graceful heart, and bravery make him an endearing and engaging character, that young readers will root for. Haig also introduces Nikolas and readers to a sleigh full of fun, lovable characters, from a surly reindeer, sassy pixie, a sweet elf girl, a grumpy old elf, and more!

My final thoughts: A Boy Called Christmas is bursting with holiday cheer and merriment, and with its charming story and lovable characters it is sure to be a Christmas favorite!

5/5 Cupcakes

Matt Haig was born in Sheffield, England in 1975. He writes books for both adults and children, often blending the worlds of domestic reality and outright fantasy, with a quirky twist. His bestselling novels are translated into 28 languages. The Guardian has described his writing as 'delightfully weird' and the New York Times has called him 'a novelist of great talent' whose writing is 'funny, riveting and heartbreaking'.

His novels for adults are The Last Family in England, narrated by a labrador and optioned for film by Brad Pitt; The Dead Fathers Club (2006), an update of Hamlet featuring an 11-year-old boy; The Possession of Mr Cave (2008), about a man obsessed with his daughter's safety, and The Radleys (2010) which won Channel 4's TV Book Club public vote and was shortlisted for a Galaxy National Book Award (UK). The film rights to all his adult novels have been sold. His next adult novel is The Humans (2013).

His multi-award winning popular first novel for children, Shadow Forest, was published in 2007 and its sequel, The Runaway Troll, in 2009. His most recent children's novel is To Be A Cat (2012). Website * Facebook * Twitter

Win a copy of A Boy Called Christmas!
Random House has generously offered one (1) finished copy for one winner.
-US only
-ends 12/11/16
-winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prizes
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Friday, December 2, 2016

Five Days of Famous Blog Tour: Author Interview with Alyson Noel

Five Days of Famous
by Alyson Noel
December 13, 2016
Delacorte BFYR

From "New York Times" bestselling author Alyson Noel comes a fun, adventure-filled, contemporary novel that poses the question what would you do if your dream life became reality?

A dream is a wish your heart makes . . . when your life is in desperate need of a makeover. Nick Dashaway would know. Either he makes it big this year in seventh grade or he risks being a nobody forever.

Enter the Greentree Middle School Talent Show, hosted by teen sensation Josh Frost. The show might just be Nick s ticket out of loserville. But popularity doesn t come easy, and when Nick is forcibly ejected from the stage, he feels like he s out of options. Desperate to avoid a permanent seat at the geek table and continued inattention from the love of his life, Nick chooses the only option he has left: he makes a wish.

"Be careful what you wish for, " the old saying goes and Nick s about to find out why."

Q1.  What three words best describe your novel, Five Days of Famous?

A Fun and Funny Christmas Fantasy.

Q2. Grab a copy of Five Days of Famous and answer the following:

Favorite chapter? One of my faves is Chapter 20, #Lame-o, when Ezer reminds Nick of the responsibilities that come with fame and the possible repercussions of Nick’s wild night on the town with his friends.

Favorite page? Let’s go with page 180 (which spills over to page 181) when Nick has an insightful conversation with Plum.

Favorite setting? Nick’s mansion during his Winter Wonderland themed Christmas party. I would love to go to a party like that!

Flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentences teaser: Page 1: “Ever have one of those days when you just knew that, by the time it was over, you’d never be the same? Only in a good way? For me, today was that day.”

Q3. What inspired Five Days of Famous? How did the story come to be?

I’d read an article a while back about a group of middle school kids who were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up and an overwhelming number of them said they wanted to be famous. While I understand the need to be liked and to feel seen and heard by your peers, along with the more obvious perks that fame brings, I’m disturbed by the current reality TV climate that elevates people to superstar status just for being rich and pretty and little else. So, I decided to write a fun and humorous story that explored exactly what might happen when one is granted such a wish, and how they might respond when the darker side of the dream is exposed.   

Q4. Can you tell us about your main character, Nick Dashaway? What makes him unique and what do you love about him?

I love Nick because when we first meet him, he doesn’t see his real value. Also, the very things that make him wonderfully unique are the exact same things he desperately wants to rid himself of. He’s convinced that the route to happiness is a seat at the popular table and he’s determined to do whatever it takes to get there.

I’m sympathetic toward Nick because I understand his desire to not be invisible and his need to feel accepted by the crowd he admires. Nick has some very big lessons ahead of him, and in order to secure his true dream life he’ll be called to use his voice and risk revealing his true self, all the while knowing the risk could backfire in a way he’ll never recover from.

Q5. Fill in the blanks:

I’m really awesome at adding books to my TBR pile.

I’m really embarrassed to admit That there probably isn’t enough time to read all of the books in my TBR pile, but that won’t stop me from continuing to add to it.

The last great book I read was I love a good, dark, psychological mystery, so YOU WILL KNOW ME by Megan Abbott did not disappoint.

Q6. If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by Five Days of Famous, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?

I don’t think I could outdo Plum’s cupcake, so I’d go with red velvet with cream cheese frosting and add a big gold star on top for decoration. I’d also include a small birthday candle with red and green swirls, since it’s an integral component of wish making. It would look quirky and homemade because I have no kitchen skills to speak of, but it would taste like love, magic, and good intentions. I would call it Christmas Enchantment, and it would come with a warning to be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Spotlight and Giveaway: The Official Adventures Series

I'm excited to share The Official Adventures series (plus a giveaway!) with y'all today...

“The Official Adventures” is a new children’s chapter book series that teaches the importance of sportsmanship, persistence, discipline, and respect - for referees, each other, and individuals with special needs.

The series tells the tale of two hockey loving brothers, Blaine and Cullen. On and off the ice, they have deep love for the game and also each other! Cullen is the all-star team captain and Blaine, who has Down syndrome, is the team manager and clearly the "unsung hero" of the team. The brothers join Rylee and Rosee, America’s favorite referees, in game day adventures filled with laughter, love and lessons.

“This is a rarity in children’s literature. We’ve seen characters with special needs on stage, film and other artistic expressions. But in books such a character is almost non-existent. It really is ‘ice breaking,’” states Katrina Dohm, Illustrator and Co-Creator, The Official Adventures Series.

The storyline doesn't hide Blaine's challenges; instead the text proudly displays Blaine's heart-warming perseverance, his discipline and love for the game, his family and life. Blaine's leadership and unselfish actions speak louder than any textual words. Through detailed illustration young readers are able to learn respect and a better understanding for the challenges individuals with special needs face on a daily basis.

The first two books in the series “Drop the Puck, It’s Hockey Season” and “Drop the Puck, Shoot for the Cup” are out now, with the third book “Drop the Puck, Let’s Play Hockey” set to be released this Fall 2016.

Proceeds from book sales will benefit The American Special Hockey Association. ASHA strives to give people with physical and developmental disabilities the chance to play ice hockey in an environment which is adapted to the level of ability which the athletes are able to participate.

The book series has received the endorsement and support of NHL greats:

This is a very worthwhile read that contains life lessons beyond the rink. It’s a great pickup and I especially appreciate that it includes Blaine, a special needs character.” –Mike Hickey, President, American Special Hockey Association.

“Drop the Puck, Shoot for the Cup is a great book with a very important message for kids everywhere – Everyone deserves the chance to play hockey, no matter what their capability.” –Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

“The Official Adventures Series books are terrific heart-warming stories that celebrate hockey, family and children with special needs! Our family loves these hockey tales that teach life lessons and encourages everyone to treat others with respect.” –Bridget and Matt Cullen (Pittsburgh Penguins Center)

“This book teaches real life lessons through sport, through victory and losses, and emphasizes the importance of hard work regardless of the score.” –Jocelyne Lamoureux, Team USA, Silver Olympic Medalist

“Playing hockey is awesome and reading about it can be just as fun. It's important to learn fundamentals on and off the ice!” –Claude Giroux, Captain, Philadelphia Flyers

To learn more, go to

With a shared love and energy-driven passion for outstanding academics, stellar athletics and innovative arts, Jayne Jones Beehler, a college professor, and Katrina Dohm, a high school educator, have teamed up and joined forces as co-authors and co-creators of “The Official Adventures.” Jones Beehler, a graduate of William Mitchell College of Law, is passionate about children, education, foster care and adoption, and child abuse/prevention public policy. Jones Beehler worked for US Senator Norm Coleman from 2002-2006, then headed to the Minnesota House of Representatives, where she was the Executive Assistant to the Speaker of the House, Steve Sviggum. Jones Beehler teaches political science classes at Concordia University-St. Paul where her students have gained national attention and praise for their legislative activities and involvement.

Dohm was exposed to hockey growing up in Minnesota and Wisconsin, but her true love of the game began when she went to college in January of 1987 at the University of North Dakota. She arrived just in time to cheer on her future alma mater as they skated their way to an NCAA Championship. Dohm graduated from the University of North Dakota with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Visual Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Education.  For the past twenty-two years, Dohm has dedicated herself to being an art teacher and all the “extras” that go with it.  Her classroom is filled to the brim with personal touches (especially her favorite color, PURPLE) student projects galore, yearbook publications, shelves filled with art and design books, school spirit signs, and memorabilia.

Jones Beehler and Dohm, have earned “Hall of Fame” status for their real-life story-telling, colorful fresh illustrating and combined natural zest for helping young learners enjoy reading, appreciate the arts, while ensuring their writing and books instill life lessons and reader’s adventures of their own, while inspiring and reaching educational goals.

Win a copy of Drop The Puck!
The authors have generously offered one copy for one winner.
-US only
-ends 12/9/16
-winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prizes
Fill out Rafflecopter form to enter:

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