Current Giveaways

Word Spelunking’s temporary hiatus is now permanent. All requests are closed and there will be no new content. Thank you to everyone I’ve worked with and everyone who has read and supported this blog. Y’all are awesome!!

Aeicha @ Word Spelunking

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Spring Fling Giveaway Hop: Win a Custom Book Charm Necklace

The Spring Fling Giveaway Hop is hosted by

Hi, Cupcakes! I'm so excited to be participating in this hop because I have a really fantabulous prize up for grabs....


Last year, I offered the same prize and people seemed to love it, so I thought I'd offer it again. One winner will win a custom book charm necklace made by Little Literature. The winner will be able to choose ANY book to made into a mini book charm that will be placed on a necklace.
Here are some examples of this shop's awesome bookish creations:

(remember, these are just examples and the winner will be able to pick ANY book to turn into a charm)

all pictures come directly from Little Literature's Etsy shop and used with permission:

  • one winner will win 1 custom book charm necklace and be able to choose ANY book to made into a charm
  • will end May 7th
  • must be 13+ to enter, one main entry per person
  • winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen
  • Word Spelunking is NOT responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prizes in the mail (prize is shipping directly from Little Literature and may require several weeks to make and ship)

Fill out the Rafflecopter form:

Hop on over to all the other giveaway hosts:

Teaser Tuesdays (64): Love In The Time Of Global Warming

Teaser a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"It doesn't take long for them to find me. A light under the door frame. The door shakes on its hinges--the sound of a screwdriver in the lock--and it shudder-thumps open. I grip the scissor handles." (ARC, pg 22)

Love In The Time Of Global Warming
by Francesca Lia Block

Seventeen-year-old Penelope (Pen) has lost everything—her home, her parents, and her ten-year-old brother. Like a female Odysseus in search of home, she navigates a dark world full of strange creatures, gathers companions and loses them, finds love and loses it, and faces her mortal enemy.

In her signature style, Francesca Lia Block has created a world that is beautiful in its destruction and as frightening as it is lovely. At the helm is Pen, a strong heroine who holds hope and love in her hands and refuses to be defeated.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Goodie Basket (43): Book Haul & Weekly Blog 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 )

In my mailbox this week...

by Rick Yancey (ARC from Penguin Teen)

by K.A. Barson (ARC from Peguin Teen)

by April Genevieve Tucholke (ARC from Penguin Teen)

by Joelle Charbonneau (ARC from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

by Molly McAdams (pb sent from Harper Collins)

by Dayna Lorentz (ARC from Penguin Teen)


by J. Gabriel Gates and Charleen Keel
(HCI Teens)

by Sarah McCarry 
(St. Martin's Griffin)

by Amanda Sun
(Harlequin Teen)

Big THANK YOU's to Penguin Teen, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Harper Collins, HCI, St, Martin's Griffin, and Harlequin Teen for all the bookish awesomeness this week!

Weekly Blog Recap
This week I...




What did you get this week?!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Celebrating Poetry Month {Mini Reviews}: May B., Exposed, and Orchards

I'm continuing my celebration of Poetry Month with three mini reviews of books written in verse.
(all books provided by Random House for review)

May B.
by Caroline Starr Rose
Random House
Purchase: Amazon/B&N/Indiebound
I’ve known it since last night:It’s been too long to expect them to return.Something’s happened.
May is helping out on a neighbor’s Kansas prairie homestead—just until Christmas, says Pa. She wants to contribute, but it’s hard to be separated from her family by 15 long, unfamiliar miles. Then the unthinkable happens: May is abandoned. Trapped in a tiny snow-covered sod house, isolated from family and neighbors, May must prepare for the oncoming winter. While fighting to survive, May’s memories of her struggles with reading at school come back to haunt her. But she’s determined to find her way home again.
Caroline Starr Rose’s fast-paced novel, written in beautiful and riveting verse, gives readers a strong new heroine to love.

Caroline Starr Rose's May B. is an inspiring and captivating story of one young girl's heroic struggle for survival. May B. is sent to live and work for new neighbors 15 long miles away from home, but when the unthinkable happens, May B. finds herself alone in the soddy during the harsh winter months. May B. must survive the cold weather with a dwindling supply of food and the threat of wild animals and unwanted guests.

Caroline Starr Rose writes in simple, yet lovely verse from the point of view of her unforgettable heroine, May B. Within these poetic lines, Rose paints a vivid, almost touchable, picture of a harsh prairie winter in the 1800's. For most of the book, May B. is alone, allowing for a very limited amount of dialogue, and instead creating a poignant character study of young, brave May B. I was completely riveted by May B's harrowing long months in that soddy and found her to be such a strong, lovable heroine. Rose also beautifully explores May B's struggle with a reading disorder that didn't yet have a name in May's time.

Readers of all ages will be awed by May B's story and transfixed by Rose's effective verse.

Caroline Starr Rose
Site / Goodreads / Facebook
CAROLINE STARR ROSE spent her childhood in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and New Mexico, camping at the Red Sea in one and eating red chile in the other. As a girl she danced ballet, raced through books by Laura Ingalls, and put on magic shows in a homemade cape. She graduated from the University of New Mexico and went on to teach both social studies and English in New Mexico, Florida, Virginia, and Louisiana. In her classroom, she worked to instill in her students a passion for books, the freedom to experiment with words, and a curiosity about the past. Visit her at


by Kimberly Marcus
Random House
Purchase: Amazon/B&N/Indiebound
In the dim light of the darkroom/I'm alone, but not for long.As white turns to gray, Kate is with me.background of the dance studio blurred,so the focus is all on her--legs extended in a perfect soaring split.The straight line to my squiggle, my forever-best friend.
Sixteen-year-old Liz is Photogirl—sharp, focused, and confident in what she sees through her camera lens, confident that she and Kate will be best friends forever. But everything changes in one blurry night. Suddenly, Kate is avoiding her and people are looking the other way she passes in the halls. As the aftershocks from a startling accusation rip through Liz's world, everything she thought she knew about photography, family, friendship, and herself shifts out of focus. What happens when the picture you see no longer makes sense? Told in breathtaking, searingly raw free verse, Kimberly Marcus's unforgettable debut will appeal to fans of Ellen Hopkins and Laurie Halse Anderson.
Kimberly Marcus' Exposed is a breathtaking and heart-achingly honest glimpse into the life of 16 year old Liz, as a painful accusation rips into everything and everyone she thought she knew. Told in electric and stunning verse, this story devastated me in the most beautiful way.

I don't want to spoil the story for anyone, so I won't go into much detail about what is accused, who is accused, and who does the accusing, but just know that Marcus hits upon a very relevant topic. Liz sees the world through the lens of her camera and Marcus explores the idea of perspective in a really profound and smart way. This is a story that will evoke very strong emotions, as it should. It made me feel a dozen different things, many times within the span of only a few verses.

Could Exposed be told through, and work, as traditional prose? Sure. But the clipped, fractured verse captures Liz's shattered world so well and creates such a powerful statement.

Exposed is intended for a YA audience and deals with some heavy and dark stuff, but it will leave readers thoughtful and moved.

Kimberly Marcus
Site / Goodreads 
KIMBERLY MARCUS lives with her husband and two children near the beach in Massachusetts, not far from the ferry to Martha's Vineyard. She is a clinical social worker specializing in the treatment of childhood and adolescent trauma. Exposed is her first novel. You can visit her on the Web at


by Holly Thompson
Random House
Purchase: Amazon/B&N/Indiebound
After a classmate commits suicide, Kana Goldberg—a half-Japanese, half-Jewish American—wonders who is responsible. She and her cliquey friends said some thoughtless things to the girl. Hoping that Kana will reflect on her behavior, her parents pack her off to her mother's ancestral home in Japan for the summer. There Kana spends hours under the hot sun tending to her family's mikan orange groves.Kana's mixed heritage makes it hard to fit in at first, especially under the critical eye of her traditional grandmother, who has never accepted Kana's father. But as the summer unfolds, Kana gets to know her relatives, Japan, and village culture, and she begins to process the pain and guilt she feels about the tragedy back home. Then news about a friend sends her world spinning out of orbit all over again.
Holly Thompson's Orchards is told in gorgeous and thought-provoking prose as it explores the summer in one young girl's life as she travels to Japan. Kana is half Japanese, half Jewish, and when a classmate commits suicide, her parents send her to relatives for the summer to reflect on what happened.

Thompson explores grief, guilt, cultural differences, mental illness, and so much more in a really honest and captivating way. She sets out to asks readers and explore the question “Who's to blame for this young girl's suicide?”, while allowing the effects of this event to play out organically and with such heart-wrenching emotion around Kana and her classmates. 

Orchards has a quiet and subtle intensity, found below the vivid descriptions of Japan and insightful musings of one confused, grieving young girl. Kana's story is an unforgettable and poignant one.  

Holly Thompson
Site / Goodreads / Twitter
Holly Thompson was raised in New England, earned her B.A. in biology from Mount Holyoke College and her M.A. in English with a concentration in creative writing/​fiction from New York University. Long-time resident of Japan, she is a lecturer at Yokohama City University, where she teaches creative writing, academic writing, short stories and American culture.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Privateer's Apprentice Blog Tour: Interview with Susan Verrico

I'm excited to have the Privateer's Apprentice Blog Tour stopping by today with my interview with Susan Verrico. Privateer's Apprentice is a historical adventure story for middle-grade readers...

Privateer's Apprentice
by Susan Verrico
Peachtree Publishing
Purchase: Peachtree / Amazon / B&N

When Jameson is kidnapped and taken to sea, he must learn how to survive - and how to apply the skills he has learned at home as a printer's son.
Jameson Cooper always assumed someday he'd grow up to be a printer like his father. But after the death of his parents, he's wrongly accused of stealing bread and sentenced to indentured servitude for the baker, changing his fortunes forever. What happens next defies all of Jameson's expectations: suddenly knocked out and kidnapped, he awakes on board the Destiny, captained by the fearsome Attack Jack, a privateer in the service of Queen Anne.
Now Jameson is learning an entirely new trade as a sailor. He's also using skills he learned from his father to aid Attack Jack in mapping the New World so that they can claim new territories for England. But the captain and his first mate, Solitaire Peep, have a secret hidden deep in a cave on a mysterious island. England's future might hang in the balance...and so might Jameson's.

What three words best describe PRIVATEER'S APPRENTICE?
 Excitement, Suspense, Adventure

Can you give us your best one sentence pitch to convince readers (especially reluctant readers) why they should give PRIVATEER'S APPRENTICE a try? 

Jameson’s journey, filled with danger and adventure as he travels from a jail cell to a secret island, will keep you turning the pages until you reach the very last one.

Grab a copy of PRIVATEER'S APPRENTICE and answer the following:
Favorite chapter?
 Chapter 24. Jameson has to step up and he does.
Favorite page?
188 – I really like the scene where Jameson is sketching the crew as they sit around the fire on Crossed Island.
Favorite character? 
Tie between the captain and Cook.

Flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentence teaser:  
Page 178 – The judge, who thinks Jameson is lying, threatens to have Jameson’s arms and legs pulled from his body and put on display.

What inspired PRIVATEER'S APPRENTICE? And what do you hope readers will walk away with from this book? 
Growing up in Florida and hearing about pirates and buried treasure was an inspiration. I thought every shiny object in the sand was a gold coin. I hope readers will first and foremost, enjoy the story, especially those who normally don’t read historical fiction. I hope they walk away with a better understanding of the period, Queen Anne’s War, and life on a sailing vessel.

Since PRIVATEER'S APPRENTICE is a historical fiction novel, did you have to do a lot of research while writing? If so, what kinds of research did you do? 
I did tons of research. I began with just a general overview of the period and then went deeper into sailing vessels, weapons, occupations, etc. I had a great editor at Peach Tree who even had me checking word origins to make sure the word was in use during the story’s time period.

What do you love about writing middle-grade fiction? Why do think middle-grade is such a popular and important category of books? 
The life of a middle school student is very interesting. There is so much going on: school, building new friendships and letting go of old ones, finding one’s own path. Students enter middle school as 11 or 12 year olds and in two or three short years they transition to young adults ready for high school. It’s such a fast paced journey! So, for writers, the middle school age provides a wealth of ideas and opportunities. On the flip side of that, middle schoolers are a demanding audience. They have their friends, school, clubs, etc., so they require books that have the power to pull them away from all that for a little while. I think it’s important that those type of books are available to them so that they move smoothly as readers from their elementary years through their high school years. You don’t want them to stop reading when they leave the elementary grades.

Who is your favorite middle-grade hero and heroine? 
Junior from The Absolute True Diary of a Part Time Indian. That’s probably considered more young adult, but students in my class loved it and so did I. He was so courageous. Heroine: Anne from Anne of Green Gables. I loved her spirit.

What's your favorite thing about being a writer? What's the hardest? 
Favorite: Creating the scenes in my head and plotting a story. The hardest is always the writing for me.

 Fill in the blanks:
I'm really awesome at___
 being optimistic.
I'm really embarrassed to admit that___
 I would make a terrible pirate. I would be seasick, refuse to scrub the deck without sunscreen, and insist on a low carb diet. No weevil filled biscuits for me.

My pirate name would be ___.
 I don’t think I would be allowed to be a pirate.  I would talk like an English teacher which would probably annoy everyone on the ship, and I would be forced to walk the plank.

My favorite middle-grade curse word or expletive is ___. 
I don’t have a favorite, but I’m always amazed at the way kids can rework a word or phrase to mean something totally new.

The last great book I read was__
Actually, two books come to mind. Jefferson’s Sons and The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by PRIVATEER'S APPRENTICE, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?
 A Privateer’s Apprentice cupcake would be full of Island flavor. The cake would be as white as the sand on Crossed Island. The frosting would be pale yellow and taste like fresh bananas. It would be decorated around the edges with Tropical Skittles and coconut. I would name it something like Island Surprise.

Thank you so much, Susan, for stopping by to chat! And that cupcake sounds super yummy!!

Susan Verrico
Susan Verrico has been writing stories since she was ten, when she won her fifth grade class writing contest. She grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, and spent countless hours roaming nearby beaches looking for pirate treasure. She earned a BA in communications and a MA in writing from Rowan University. A history buff, Susan spends her spare time researching and writing. She teaches language arts in a middle/high school in New 

Don't miss any of the stops on the 
Privateer's Apprentice Blog Tour:
Monday, the 22nd - Sally's Bookshelf:
Tuesday, the 23rd - Book & Movie Dimension:
Wednesday, the 24th - Boys to Books:
Thursday, the 25th - ME!
Friday, the 26th - There's a Book:

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Picture Book Mini Reviews: Boom! Boom! Boom! AND Some Monsters are Different

I have reviews* of two adorable picture books to share today...

Boom! Boom! Boom!
By Jamie Swenson
Illustrated by David Walker
Purchase: Amazon / B&N / Indie Bound
FLASH! CRASH! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!One rainy night, in the midst of a storm,A brave little boy is cozy and warm.He’s all snuggled up, safe in his room—When “ARROOO” howls dog, “is there room?”Of course there’s room—and all is well—Until . . . FLASH! CRASH! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!What happens when too many friends start to squish in?That’s when the fun is sure to begin!
Even the youngest of readers are invited to count along as each of the family pets seeks refuge from the thunder and lightning in this lively and adorable picture book about bedtime, fears, and friendship

Jamie Swenson's Boom! Boom! Boom! is a fantastic and fun little story told in rhyming lines. On a stormy night, one scared little boy and his animal friends squish together in bed and bravely ride out the storm together.

Swenson writes with an addicting and charming lyrical voice and the cute rhyming verses are the perfect combination of silly and sweet. Young readers will get a kick out of the various animals who make their way into the little boy's bed and the story will leave them giggling.

David Walker's adorable pictures fill the pages with soft, eye-catching colors. Walker has captured the various characters brilliantly and each character is depicted with such personality.

Little readers will love everything about this fun book and will want to hear and again and again (I did!). Boom! Boom! Boom! is the perfect read aloud book.

Jamie Swenson
Jamie A. Swenson received an M.F.A. in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University. She works as an associate librarian and early literacy storyteller. Jamie lives in Wisconsin with her family.

David Walker
David Walker has illustrated many books for children, including Victoria Adler’s Baby, Come Awayand Ann Whitford Paul’s Little Monkey Says Good Night and If Animals Kissed Good Night. He lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Some Monsters Are Different
by David Milgrim
Purchase: Amazon / B&N / Indie Bound
This laugh-out-loud book describes the many differences found between monsters. Some monsters will eat anything; some are picky. Some monsters talk and talk and talk; some are quiet. But ultimately, as this hilarious book makes clear, all monsters are absolutely, positively, completely perfectly wonderful . . . just the way they are!
David Milgrim’s spare text and colorful, contemporary illustrations are perfect for beginning readers. And for anyone who’s ever felt like the odd one out, this is a funny, playful, and comforting story

David Milgrim's Some Monsters Are Different is a laugh-out-loud celebration of differences and uniqueness, with some of the coolest monster illustrations ever!

With simple, sparse text, Milgrim explores and celebrates the differences among monsters (and people!) in an absolutely charming and adorable way! This story will have readers (young and old) giggling and flipping through the pages again and again. Milgrim creates a heartwarming and important message, about acceptance and appreciating differences, that even the youngest reader will understand.

As much as I love Milgrim's words, I adore his bright, cheery illustrations. The different monsters (there's a lot) are just SO cute and squee-worthy! These eye-catching and fun pictures will delight readers every time they open this book...I know I want to spend all day staring at them!

David Milgrim
David Milgrim has written and illustrated over twenty picture books, including Goodnight iPadEddie Gets Ready for SchoolMy Dog, Buddy; and Cows Can’t Fly, an IRA/CBC Children’s Choice Award winner. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, with his family.

 *Please note, I do not rate picture books. I merely review them

Book Spotlight and Giveaway: Shudder (Stitch Trilogy #2) by Samantha Durante

Today I'm spotlighting Shudder, the second book in Samantha Durante's Stitch Trilogy, by sharing its cover and synopsis. Plus, the author is giving away a print ARC...

Coming June 15, 2013

It’s only been three days, and already everything is different.
Paragon is behind her, but somehow Alessa’s life may actually have gotten worse. In a wrenching twist of fate, she traded the safety and companionship of her sister for that of her true love, losing a vital partner she’d counted on for the ordeal ahead. Her comfortable university life is but a distant memory, as she faces the prospect of surviving a bleak winter on the meager remains of a ravaged world. And if she’d thought she’d tasted fear upon seeing a ghost, she was wrong; now she’s discovering new depths of terror while being hunted by a deadly virus and a terrifying pack of superhuman creatures thirsting for blood.
And then there are the visions.
The memory-altering “stitch” unlocked something in Alessa’s mind, and now she can’t shake the constant flood of alien feelings ransacking her emotions. Haunting memories of an old flame are driving a deep and painful rift into her once-secure relationship. And a series of staggering revelations about the treacherous Engineers – and the bone-chilling deceit shrouding her world’s sorry history – will soon leave Alessa reeling…
The second installment in the electrifying Stitch Trilogy, Shudder follows Samantha Durante’s shocking and innovative debut with a heart-pounding, paranormal-dusted dystopian adventure sure to keep the pages turning.

Learn more:
Samantha Durante

Stitch Trilogy

Samantha Durante is giving away a print ARC of SHUDDER!
(open INT)