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Aeicha @ Word Spelunking

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Goodie Basket (40): Book Haul & Weekly Recap

Goodie a weekly feature hosted here at Word Spelunking that showcases all the goodies (books, bookish things, reviews, interviews/giveaways/guest posts, blog tours, etc) that popped up in the Goodie Basket that is Word Spelunking each week.

(This meme is inspired by other book haul memes such as Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga’s Reviews, Showcase Sunday hosted by Books, Biscuits & Tea and Sunday Post hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer )

I received the following four books from Random House Kids to celebrate Poetry Month in April...

Exposed by Kimberly Marcus
Orchards by Holly Thompson
May B by Caroline Starr Rose
I Haiku You by Betsy Snyder

Piece of my Heart by Lynn Maddalena Menna
  • Merit Press (sent from pub)

  • W.W. Norton (sent from pub)

Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn
  • St. Martin's Griffin (sent from pub for blog tour)
Prophecy Girl by Cecily White
  • Entangled (Netgalley)
Lupus Rex by John Carter Cash
  • Ravenstone (sent from pub)

Big THANK YOUs to Random House, Merit Press, WW Norton, St. Martin's Press, Entangled, and Ravenstone for all the bookish awesomeness this week!

Weekly Blog Recap
This week I...

NERDS by Michael Buckley


Guest Post- Sarvenaz Tash and Liz Coley 

What did you get this week?!

The March MG Madness Comes To A Close

The 2nd Annual March MG Madness is coming to a close.

The March MG Madness officially ends 3/31, but I wanted to take this time to say how awesome this event was! I had SO much fun reading, sharing, promoting, reviewing, and gushing about some fantabulous middle-grade books and authors this month. I want to say a huge 
to each and every author who participated. Y'all bake my cupcakes!!!

I look forward to doing this again for the third time next year and hopefully it will be even bigger and better. If you've missed any of the posts or giveaways you can find the full schedule and links HERE. All the giveaways (there's like 20!!) end at midnight on 3/31, so go forth and enter to win signed books, ARCs, ebooks, and swag!!! I'll be picking and announcing winners in the next week or so.

And to close the March MG Madness, I thought I would share a list of some of my fave middle-grade books that have come out in the last couple of years. Hopefully you'll be able to find some new and splendiferious reads from this list...

Click the title to learn more
by Sarvenaz Tash

by M.P. Kozlowsky

by Marissa Burt

by Jo Knowles

by Robert Gray

by Sheila Turnage

by Scott Cramer

by Adam Glendon Sidwell

by James Ponti

by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

by Lauren Myracle

What are some of YOUR fave middle-grade reads?!
Share in the comments!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Interview and Giveaway: Lisa Greenwald

I'm so excited to have Lisa Greenwald stopping by the March MG Madness today to talk about her Pink & Green series!

My Summer of Pink & Green
by Lisa Greenwald
Purchase: Amazon / B&N

At the end of My Life in Pink & Green, Lucy Desberg had just won the grant that would save her family’s pharmacy—and turn it into a modern eco-spa. Now it’s summer, and the work has begun in earnest. Lucy figures that with the spa opening and her sister, Claudia, home, she’ll have a great summer. But her sister brings a new boyfriend, and their investor brings his extremely irritating daughter, Bevin. Plus there’s a new spa coordinator in charge of the plans, and so Lucy finds herself at loose ends. What’s a girl to do? A makeover, of course. But this time Lucy’s makeover skills might not smooth over the cracks in her happy family . . .

What three words best describe your Pink & Green series?
fun, optimistic, inspirational
Can you give us your best one sentence pitch to convince readers (especially reluctant readers) to give your Pink & Green books a try? 

Twelve year old Lucy Desberg thinks she can save her family's pharmacy, heal the environment and help her best friend find love all at the same time! Is she crazy or can she do it?
Grab a copy of My Summer Of Pink & Green and answer the following? 

Favorite chapter?

chapter 6
Favorite page?

Favorite character?

Flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentence teaser?

I float and float and float and I keep telling myself to think, because if I think hard enough I can figure out what to tell Sunny and Bevin and my family.
Your character Lucy is all about helping the environment, which is awesome! Why was this an important element to you to incorporate in this series?

I think we all care about the environment and want to do as much as we can to help. Tweens, especially, feel very passionate about it, so it made sense that it was so important to Lucy. 
Why did you choose to write middle-grade fiction? What do you love about middle-grade and why do you think it's such an important category of books? 

I hated middle school and I want to try and make it better for middle schoolers today! It's such an exciting time, but it's also so difficult and emotional. I want tween readers to know they're not alone in their struggles. 
What is your favorite middle-grade book? Your favorite middle-grade hero and heroine? 

Tuck Everlasting is my favorite book of all time. My favorite middle-grade heroine is Emma-Jean Lazarus and my favorite middle-grade hero is Auggie Pullman. 

What's your favorite aisle to browse in a pharmacy? What would be the first thing you'd like to try or get at an eco-spa?
My favorite browsing aisle is definitely the face wash/moisturizer aisle. The first thing I'd try at an eco-spa would be an eco-friendly facial! 
You've been tasked with creating two different colors of nail polish inspired by your two Pink & Green books...what do these two colors look like and what do you call them? 

I love this question! My dream is to become a nail polish namer. color 1: a pale blue called Lounge Chair by the Seacolor 2: a bright pink called Toes in the Sand 
Fill in the blanks: 

I'm really awesome at 

finding people jobs .
 I'm really embarrassed to admit that

I can't do a cartwheel.
My favorite middle-grade appropriate curse word or expletive is

If I could live inside the world of any middle-grade book, I'd choose

It's not middle grade, it's YA but I'd pick The Summer I Turned Pretty series by Jenny Han because I really, really want a beach house!
  If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by your Pink & Green books, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?

It would be yellow cake with chocolate frosting, pink and green sprinkles and a peanut m&m in the middle. I would call it "The Sweet Surprise."

Lisa Greenwald
Lisa Greenwald is the author of Reel Life Starring UsSweet Treats & Secret Crushes, and My Life in Pink & Green. She works in the library at the Birch Wathen Lenox School in Manhattan and is a graduate of the New School’s MFA program in writing for children. She lives in Brooklyn. Visit her online at

Win a finished copy of
My Summer in Pink & Green!
Thanks to the generous people at Abrams Books, I have one copy to give away.
PLEASE READ: Throughout the March MG Madness, I will be giving away 10 books from Abrams. I will be using the same Rafflecopter below to give away each book. There will be ten winners who will each win one of the books. 
-Ten winners will each win one of the ten books
-will end 3/31
-must be 13+, one main entry per person
-winners will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, stolen prizes
Fill out the Rafflecopter

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Interview and Giveaway: Emma Adams

Emma Adams is stopping by the March MG Madness today to talk about her book The Puppet Spell. You can win an e-copy too!

The Puppet Spell
by Emma Adams
Rowanvale Books
Purchase: Amazon / B&N / Kobo 

Unlike her rebellious sister Lucinda, fifteen-year-old Lexa prefers to spend her free time playing video games, fighting the forces of evil with her partner-in-crime Marlon. But when Lucinda steals an invisibility potion from their uncle’s storeroom, she unleashes chaos into their lives. Lexa and Marlon find themselves catapulted into a world far more dangerous than any video game, full of misleading illusions, sinister Conjurors and deadly Fey, and threatened by a man with a grudge known as the Puppeteer. Accompanied only by Lexa’s uncle’s unreliable (and rather dangerous) Chimera, Lexa and Marlon must navigate this world to find Lucinda- before they too fall under the spell of the puppet master…

What three words best describe THE PUPPET SPELL?
Fun, imaginative and wacky!
Can you give us your best one sentence pitch to convince readers (especially reluctant readers) why they should give the THE PUPPET SPELL a try?
It’s a fast-paced fantasy adventure for all ages featuring eccentric characters, bizarre spells and an unreliable sidekick who also happens to be a terrifying monster. Convinced? :P
 Grab a copy of THE PUPPET SPELL and answer the following:
Favorite chapter? 
Chapter Six was one of my favourites to write. Crazy conjurors and buildings coming to life – fun!
Favorite page? 
Tough one! Looking at the first chapter, I’m quite fond of Lexa and Marlon’s conversation about zombies on page 15.
Favorite character? 
Has to be the chimera. I enjoy writing characters who refuse to do what they’re supposed to. He’s unreliable, sarcastic and unpredictable – and likes to eat people when their backs are turned. Yep.
Flip to a random page and give us 1-2 sentence teaser:
I looked back at the bottle. The label read, ‘Instantaneous Invisibility: three doses.’
What inspired THE PUPPET SPELL? Where did the story idea come from?
I wanted to write a traditional fantasy adventure with a modern twist.  I’d been working on another book series for years but it just wasn’t working out, so it was refreshing to invent a whole new set of characters. The original idea for this was in an old notebook I found in my room. I’d written the beginning of a story about a hidden laboratory a few years back, and I started thinking about how I might finish it. One idea led to another and The Puppet Spell was born!

THE PUPPET SPELL is infused with mythological elements...what are some of your favorite mythological beings?
My all-time favourite has to be dragons. I collect dragon ornaments and someday I’m going to write them into a story! When researching The Puppet Spell, I became fascinated by the idea of chimera, too, as they’re formed of pieces from different mythological creatures and as the legends are so varied I pretty much had free rein to give them whatever abilities I liked!
Why did you decide to write a middle-grade book? What do you love about writing middle-grade?
I like how fun and action-packed it is – after all, the key is not to bore your reader! It means I get to have fun writing it, too. And I get to revisit my childhood self.
Why do you think middle-grade is such a popular and important category of books?
Again, I think it’s because it’s fun. Kids at that age need heroes to root for, and the best MG books have fast-paced storylines and inventive plots.
 What is your all time favorite middle-grade book? Who is your favorite middle-grade hero and heroine?
I’m going to have to be cliché and go with the Harry Potter series…but Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy is a close second! My favourite HP characters are Snape, Sirius and Hermione.
Fill in the blanks:
I'm really awesome at 
multitasking (seriously…I must be the only person I know who can read a book and watch a film at the same time!).
I'm really embarrassed to admit that 
I fall over. A lot. Except it happens so often I don’t even really get embarrassed any more if I face plant in public! I also can’t dance to save my life.
My favorite video game is 
Pokemon HeartGold. Yep, I’m still an unashamed Pokemon nerd at 21!
My favorite place to write 
is at my desk.
The last great book I read was 
the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. Fantastic series.
If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by THE PUPPET SPELL what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?
Very interesting question! I’m picturing a cupcake that’s two-sided – one vanilla, representing the ordinary world, and one chocolate, representing the other world! And rainbow sprinkles on top. I’d call it the Chimera Cupcake! 
Emma Adams
Emma is a 21-year-old author of fantasy, urban fantasy and paranormal for young adults, from Birmingham, UK. When she isn't reading voraciously, studying, or taking every opportunity to travel, she can be found in front of her writing desk.
Having aspired to be a writer since the age of ten, Emma aims to give life to her (admittedly bizarre) daydreams, through creating weird and wonderful alternative worlds. Her debut novel THE PUPPET SPELL, published in January 2013 by Rowanvale Books, is a fantasy tale for young adults and the young at heart, inspired by her lifelong love of traditional fantasy, mythology, and video games.
When not living the crazy life of an English Literature with Creative Writing student at Lancaster University, Emma reluctantly resides in the attic in her parents' house in Birmingham, writing about demons and other assorted night terrors. She has recently signed a contract to publish her new NA/YA supernatural fantasy series with Curiosity Quills Press. 

Win an ebook copy of The Puppet Spell!
Emma has generously offered up one e-copy of her book to one reader.
-will end 3/31
-must be 13+, one main entry per person
-winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
Fill out the Rafflecopter form:

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pretty Girl-13 Blog Tour: Guest Post and Giveaway

I'm thrilled to have the Pretty Girl-13 Blog Tour stopping by today with guest post from Liz Coley! Plus, you can win a brand new finished copy.

Pretty Girl-13
by Liz Coley
Katherine Tegen Books
Purchase: Amazon / B&N 

Reminiscent of the Elizabeth Smart case, Pretty Girl-13 is a disturbing and powerful psychological mystery about a girl who must piece together the story of her kidnapping and captivity.
Angie Chapman was thirteen years old when she ventured into the woods alone on a Girl Scouts camping trip. Now she's returned home…only to find that it's three years later and she's sixteen-or at least that's what everyone tells her.
What happened to the past three years of her life?
Angie doesn't know.
But there are people who do — people who could tell Angie every detail of her forgotten time, if only they weren't locked inside her mind. With a tremendous amount of courage, Angie embarks on a journey to discover the fragments of her personality, otherwise known as her "alters." As she unearths more and more about her past, she discovers a terrifying secret and must decide: When you remember things you wish you could forget, do you destroy the parts of yourself that are responsible?
Liz Coley's alarming and fascinating psychological mystery is a disturbing - and ultimately empowering page-turner about accepting our whole selves, and the healing power of courage, hope, and love

How long does it take to write a book?
by Liz Coley

My short answer to this often asked question is: “November. It takes November to write a book.”

Ever since I discovered National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in 2006, I have participated in this frenzied month of caffeine-fueled writing. For those unfamiliar, the goal of NaNoWriMo is join a virtual international community of 300,000 writers who have committed to trying to put a 50,000-word downpayment on a novel (200 pages) into their computers. What happens afterwards is up to each individual. No one reads or criticizes or publishes the result automatically. The reward for making target is the ability to print yourself a Winner Certificate, and that’s it. I have always made target. It’s like putting peer pressure on yourself.

If you do the math, that’s 1666 words a day, or about seven manuscript pages. The basic rule of NaNoWriMo is “you can’t edit an empty page.” The goal of November is to crank out the raw material and edit later. I break this rule. Unless I’m in a transcendental flow state, I fix and work over and lightly edit as I go along; I go back to yesterday’s work to get a running start on today’s. Overall I produce six hundred new words an hour. My son kindly pointed out, “Mom, that’s ten words a minute. I can type two-hundred ten.” So there’s the sad but true difference between writing and typing.

NaNoWriMo is like foreign language immersion. It’s painful and confusing and it works. Something about the day after day grind puts the subconscious mind into a different gear. Story elements rise of their own volition. Plot connections appear like miracles. Characters leap to life, maybe even intrude on your dreams. After thirty days of this, I’m elated and exhausted.

I plan the rest of my year around NaNoWriMo. The fifty-thousand word manuscript is the “white room” version of the story. One revision pass through it fleshes out the setting, the descriptions, and the action beats in unbroken passages of dialogue. Anther pass examines the story arc, finds missing scenes and fixes pacing. Then it goes out to first readers and comes back for another round of fixes, often at the story or subplot level. Another round of polishing and a final out-loud read-through, and it is ready to go to my agent. Agent level revisions continue around the calendar as the season changes from spring to summer. My goal is to make the manuscript submission ready before the next November.

Pretty Girl-13 was my November 2009 NaNoWriMo novel. After more than a year in revision and half a year on submission, it was bought in the summer of 2011. The manuscript has waited its turn in the long production chain since then and was released internationally in March 2013.

I hope it finds its way into your hands and heart.

Liz Coley
Site / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook
Liz Coley writes fiction for teens and for the teen in you.
Her first published work was science fiction short stories, published in Cosmos magazine and several anthologies.
Self-published YA novel Out of Xibalba features a contemporary teenager thrown back to ancient Mayan times. 
The story starts when the world ends.
Pretty Girl-13 from HarperCollins will be released in at least ten languages on five continents, in print, ebook, and audiobook.
Liz lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband, her teenaged daughter, a snoring dog, and a limping old cat. When she's not involved in writing-related activities, she can be found sewing, baking, shooting photos, playing tennis, and singing.

Liz loves reading aloud.

Win a finished copy of Pretty Girl-13!
Thanks to the awesome people at Harper Collins, I have one shiny, finished copy to give away.
-US ONLY (it's shipping directly from me)
-will run from 3/27 - 4/7
-must be 13+, one main entry per person
-winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-I am NOT responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prizes in the mail
Fill out the Rafflecopter form:

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Review and Giveaway: NERDS (National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society) by Michael Buckley

Today's March MG Madness post features my review of NERDS by Michael Buckley. You have a chance to win book four in this series below.

Nerds: National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society #1
Michael Buckley
Format: pb
Source: pub
Purchase: Amazon / B&N
Michael Buckley is at his comic best in this madcap new series sure to appeal to kids looking for a quick, exciting read. Combining all the excitement of international espionage and all the awkwardness of elementary school, NERDS, featuring a group of unpopular students who run a spy network from inside their school, hits the mark. With the help of cutting-edge science, their nerdy qualities are enhanced and transformed into incredible abilities! They battle the Hyena, a former junior beauty pageant contestant turned assassin, and an array of James Bond–style villains, each with an evil plan more diabolical and more ridiculous than the last.

Michael Buckley's first book in his N.E.R.D.S (National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society) series was an absolute and complete joy to read! I went into this book not sure sure what to expect, and what I got was a wild bucket of awesomeness.

The NERDS are a secret organization made up of children spies. But these aren't just any children, these are the nerdy, unpopular kids. The ones who get teased and bullied the most. So, it would seem strange that once popular and King Bully, Jackson Jones becomes a NERDS agent, but he does. And he discovers the secret lab hidden under the elementary school, where the NERDS are trained and enhanced with super abilities. The other NERDS agents aren't thrilled with Jackson joining them, but they must all band together to stop the evil Dr. Jigsaw from destroying the world. Which is way harder than it sounds, especially when former beauty pageant queen turned deadly twelve year old assassin, The Hyena, is working for Jigsaw.

This book is over the top fun (in the best way possible) and chock full of adventure, thrills, cool gadgets, and humor. With non-stop action, awesome characters, and superb storytelling, NERDS is an un-put-downable middle-grade read.

NERDS is like an awesome kiddie version of a mash-up of James Bond films, Kick-Ass, and Veronica Mars (again, a very age appropriate mash-up)...which, is pretty epic, right? Michael Buckley has spun a spy story that readers of all ages will love. The spy gadgets and gizmos are wicked cool, the spy assignments are thrillingly dangerous, the villains are perfectly vile and the twists are extra twisty. I found myself completely addicted to this book and excited to turn each page.

This book is all about the nerd power! I LOVE that the butt-kicking, super-powered heroes are the misfit, outcast kids. This sends such an empowering and awesome message to young readers who feel like they don't fit in or belong. And the five original NERDS (Gluestick, Pufferfish, Choppers, Wheezer, and Flinch) are the coolest bunch of nerd, geeks, dweebs, and spazzes you'll ever meet. And each agent's super spy abilities and powers come directly from what others see as their weaknesses, which again, is not only cool, but empowering. The NERDS are wonderfully multicultural with distinct, unique personalities, and readers will have no problem connecting with and identifying with at least one character.

In the middle of all the fun, humor, mystery, spy thrills and danger, is also a great, heartfelt message about bullying and respect.

Ethen Beavers' comic book style illustrations are just as awesome as the story itself, and add a whole new layer of epicness.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Nerds everywhere unite! NERDS is such fantastic fun and stellar spy storytelling. I loved every minute of this book and can't wait to read the rest of the series! A MUST read middle-grade book!


Michael Buckley
New York Times bestselling author Michael Buckley was born in Akron, Ohio. He tried his hand as a stand-up comic and lead singer for a punk rock back before attending Ohio University. After graduating with honors he moved to New York City to be an intern on the Late Show with David Letterman which led to stints developing programming for Discovery Networks, MTV, MTV Animation and Klasky Csupo (producers of Nickelodeon’s Rugrats). Today he lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife, Alison, and their son Finn. 
Win a finished copy of
Thanks to the generous people at Abrams Books, I have one copy to give away.
PLEASE READ: Throughout the March MG Madness, I will be giving away 10 books from Abrams. I will be using the same Rafflecopter below to give away each book. There will be ten winners who will each win one of the books. 
-Ten winners will each win one of the ten books
-will run from 3/2 - 3/31
-must be 13+, one main entry per person
-winners will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, stolen prizes
Fill out the Rafflecopter