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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

Thursday, November 27, 2014


to my fellow Americans...

glitter maker




I'm VERY thankful for all of YOU!!


Monday, November 24, 2014

Book Spotlight and Giveaway: Taken With A Grain Of Salt by Aaron Galvin

I'm thrilled to be spotlighting and giving away Aaron Galvin's newest YA book, Taken With A Grain Of Salt, the sequel to Salted...

Taken With A Grain Of Salt
(Salted #2)
by Aaron Galvin
Anyone can be taken - a simple truth for Salt folk, a stark reality for innocent teens Garrett Weaver and Kellen Winstel. Kidnapped by Selkie slave catchers and dragged into the realm beneath the waves, both teens must adapt to their new surroundings if they hope to see the shore again. Yet even if they escape their captors, both will need to embrace their fears. For darker things than Selkies lurk in the Salted depths and not all of them have pure intentions for the innocent ones brought down into their watery world.

(Salted #1)
by Aaron Galvin

Life isn't better under the sea. Lenny Dolan is all too familiar with this reality. A Selkie slave in the realm beneath the waves, he has no choice when charged with leading a crew ashore to capture an elusive runaway. If unsuccessful, the loved ones kept behind will pay for his failure with their lives. But when their target leads Lenny and his crew to deeper, darker secrets, the Selkies are faced with a moral dilemma. Secure their own freedom at the expense of others, or return empty-handed to face the grisly consequences? How Lenny and his crew answer the question will teach them the harshest truth of all. Only through the loss of innocence does one become Salted.

Praise for the Salt Series

It's always hard to find a unique novel on mermaids. I've seen a spin or two from time to time, but nothing really original, and certainly nothing I'd really describe as 'cool'. That was until I got the chance to read Salted.  

Aaron Galvin has a vivid and rich imagination (I'm a fan of Tolkien and Martin so I'm really into detail)...The plot is clever, inspiring, and definitely thought provoking. I'll never be able to look at a seal in quite the same way again!

We've been in a bit of a rut in the merbook business lately. Waiting for sequels, reading some filler in the time between...And then Salted waltzes in, and it blew my's a totally fresh take on selkies and merpeople, and definitely one of the best of the newer crop of mer-novels released. Go read it!

I totally bought into the Salted world Galvin created. Not an easy read but a unique one, I would recommend Salted by Aaron Galvin for people who are looking for something beyond the typical mermaid and selkie tales.    

We have seen a glut of young adult fiction that has made its way to bookshelves. Vampires, werewolves and post-apocalyptic survivors have become the dominant characters in many books for young readers. It’s a trend that has very much worn out its welcome if you ask me. That’s why it is so refreshing when an author creates something new and genuinely interesting. Enter Aaron Galvin’s Salted, a book that actually presents a mythology that I never knew existed.  

Salted was an intriguing read that kept me hooked. It is a different spin on the underwater world and creatures, which I found brought quite a bit of originality to the genre.   
- Lost To Books

One of the best things Salted has going for it is the presentation of a type of world we haven’t seen much, if at all, in popular young adult fiction today...Salted is sure to grab your interest at the onset.

Aaron Galvin first cut his chops writing original stand-up comedy routines at age thirteen. His early works paid off years later when he co-wrote and executive produced the 2013 award-winning indie feature film, Wedding Bells & Shotgun Shells.
He is also an accomplished actor. Aaron has worked in Hollywood blockbusters, (Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, and Clint Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers), and starred in dozens of indie films.
Aaron is a proud member of SCBWI. He lives in Southern California with his wife and daughter.

Win an ebook copy of 
Taken With A Grain Of Salt!
Aaron has generously offered up three ebook copies of book two in his series, for three winners. And remember, you can get the first book for free on Amazon.
-open INT
-ends 12/1
-must be 13+ to enter
-winners will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
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Monday, November 17, 2014

Guest Post and Giveaway: Jake Kerr, author of Tommy Black and the Staff of Light

I'm excited to have Jake Kerr, author of the middle-grade Tommy Black and the Staff of Light, here today with a great Guest Post and Giveaway...

Tommy Black and the Staff of Light
by Jake Kerr
Currents & Tangents Press
For fourteen-year-old Tommy Black, nothing is worse than being raised by an overprotective grandfather in the city that never sleeps. That is until his grandfather is captured by magical creatures and Tommy has to save him with his family's magical staff. 
That wouldn’t be so bad, but the only magic he can do with the staff is weak--making light. What the heck can you do with light? 
Tommy finds out as he fights golems, shadow creatures, and djinn in a journey that features a magical river, an enchanted train, and an illusionary fortress. But the worst part of all? Tommy has to save his grandfather with the help of Naomi, a girl whose talent with magic is only rivaled by her ability to hurl insults. 
"Jake Kerr has told an exciting coming-of-age tale that asks serious ethical questions about the costs of magic. This is a world that will stay with the reader long after the last page." -- Ken Liu Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award winning author of The Grace of Kings 
From Nebula, Sturgeon, and Million Writers Award nominee Jake Kerr comes the Tommy Black trilogy, an action adventure series for readers of all ages.

by Jake Kerr

I want to talk about opportunity. We generally think of opportunity as a welcome surprise, a sudden way to advance our lives or careers. But opportunity can take many forms and sometimes when we seen a bright and shining opportunity we miss another opportunity that is perhaps not as obvious be even better for us.

For example, I am currently writing this guest post in the Night Hotel in Manhattan. Tomorrow morning I am meeting with an executive editor at a major publishing house who loves my writing. However, we are not meeting about book deals or editing or anything like that. We’re just going to hang out and have coffee.

The reason is simple: I’ve chosen to self-publish.

Why would I self-publish when I have amazing opportunities in the publishing world with both agents and editors? The reason is simple: As much as I appreciate and value those opportunities, I value the opportunity of self-publishing even more—the opportunity to publish my kids books back-to-back so people don’t have to wait for them, the freedom to pick the cover art, the opportunity to price my ebook low so as many people as possible can afford to read it. I could go on, but that this is a real opportunity should be clear.

This is an important lesson, I think. When we are growing up the world seems so full of wonder and opportunities abound. Little by little we start to see that what seemed like endless possibility has become limited by the world around us. Eventually wonder and possibility become so rare that we welcome any opportunity that presents itself to us. We cling to it as the blessing it is.

But is this true? Aren’t we surrounded by opportunities? What if we looked a little harder and embraced a different perspective? When you look for opportunities in the world, they are suddenly not so difficult to find. Sure, it may not be what you were looking for, but it exists, and it is real.

And isn’t that the nature of true opportunity? It is surprising and opens up new vistas for us. But there doesn’t just have to be just one, and even if that one looks like a dream you’ve always had—like publishing a book with a New York publisher—maybe there’s a different dream, a better dream, in front of you, as well.

Tommy Black faces this in my novel Tommy Black and the Staff of Light. Tommy is a boy who has the most amazing opportunity—to embrace a legacy of magical power while going on thrilling adventures.  But along the way he finds out that there is another opportunity for him, an opportunity to do the right thing and help others. It’s a decision we all face in some form or fashion as we grow up.

Actually, it’s the kind of decision we face all the time in our lives. Little opportunities, the kind that filled our imagination when we were children, are all around us. And a little opportunity may turn out to be more important to us than a big one, whether it is facing a legacy or deciding whether to publish your own books.

After fifteen years as a music industry journalist Jake Kerr's first published story, "The Old Equations," was nominated for the Nebula Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America and was shortlisted for the Theodore Sturgeon and StorySouth Million Writers awards. His stories have subsequently been published in magazines across the world, broadcast in multiple podcasts, and been published in multiple anthologies and year's best collections.

A graduate of Kenyon College, Kerr studied fiction under Ursula K. Le Guin and Peruvian playwright Alonso Alegria. He lives in Dallas, Texas, with his wife and three daughters.

Win a copy of 
Tommy Black and the Staff of Light!
Jake has generously offered up two copies (one paperback and one ebook) of his fun book for two winners.
-ends 11/23
-there will be two winners:
  1 winner will get the paperback (US/CAN only)
1 winner will get the ebook in any format of their choice (open INT)
-must be 13+ to enter
-winners will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is NOT responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen items in the mail
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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cupcake Update! what's happening round here for the rest of the year!


So, you splendiferous people may have noticed I haven't been posting as much lately :(

 I'm sorry for sucking these last few months! My job and family have kept me wonderfully busy, but I want you to know that I haven't forgotten this blog *smooshes blog in hugs*

Things will be slowing down more here at Word Spelunking for the rest of 2014, but I'm NOT going anywhere! I still have a few fun blog tours, awesome interviews, cool giveaways, and reviews planned throughout November and December, but if I go MIA for a few days or weeks at a time, don't worry.  And come the first of 2015, I plan on getting back to regular posting and planning the 4th Annual March MG Madness!

So, just bear *heehee, see what I did there?* with me and I hope you loverly readers still enjoy Word Spelunking!

(can you feel me hugging you?)

And now, I'll leave you with an adorable picture of my niece, who has kept me busy in the most amazing, fun ways....

Aeicha Elizabeth, 17 months old

Friday, November 7, 2014

Interview: Martin Widmark, author of the Whodunit Detective Agency Series

I'm so honored to have internationally bestselling children's author Martin Widmark here today to chat about his super fun Whodunit Detective Agency series. These awesome books are perfect for the mystery loving little readers in your life...

The Whodunit Detective Agency, which has sold over 1.6 million copies in Sweden and 2.5 million worldwide, has been translated into almost 30 languages, been adapted for TV and film, and is currently the subject of a year-long exhibition at Junibacken, an interactive museum in Stockholm celebrating Swedish children’s literature. The series follows best friends Jerry and Maya, who, in their spare time, run a detective agency in their small town, and are frequently called upon by the town’s police chief to save the day.

The Diamond Mystery
(The Whodunit Detective Agency #1)
by Martin Widmark
Grosset & Dunlap

Somebody is stealing diamonds from the jeweler Mohammed Carat! It looks like the culprit is someone on his staff, but who? Is it Luke Smith, the recently hired fitness fanatic with a taste for the finer things in life? It surely can’t be Vivian Leander, the loyal shop assistant who is now short of money . . . The police in the little town of Valleby are stuck, so they contact young detectives Jerry and Maya, classmates who run their own detective agency. Will Jerry and Maya be able to use their detective skills to find the thief? As they well know, even a tiny clue is worth its weight in gold.

The Hotel Mystery
(The Whodunit Detective Agency #2)
by Martin Widmark
Grosset & Dunlap

It is Christmas Eve, and the grand Braeburn family has come to stay in the luxury suite of Valleby’s hotel. With them, they have brought their extremely valuable dog. The hotel manager promises the family that he’ll take great care of their dog—but before they know it, the dog has gone missing without a trace! Jerry and Maya, the local young detectives, are brought in to help sniff out the missing hound. All the evidence suggests that one of the hotel staff had a hand in the case, but who could it be?

What three words best describe your series, The Whodunit Detective Agency?
Humorous, engaging, accessible.
Can you give us your best one sentence pitch to convince readers, especially reluctant readers, to give The Whodunit Detective Agency a try?
The books are easy to read, but not so easy to solve!

Grab a copy of the first book in this series, The Diamond Mystery, and answer the following:
favorite chapter?
Chapter 8: In which we may follow how the detective brains of Jerry and Maya have worked.

favorite page?
66-67: In which we can see how Helena Willis, the illustrator, summarizes the crime committed in one spread.

favorite setting?
At Mr. Carat´s office where there are pools of tears on the floor.

flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentences teaser:
“Don’t you have something else to do besides snoop on me?” (p.43)

Can you tell us a bit about your characters Maya and Jerry? What makes them special?
They are normal kids, good friends, but have a passionate interest of solving crimes. They see the adult world like I saw it when I was a child, a light-crazy, exaggerated version.

How do you come up with the mysteries for Maya and Jerry to solve? Are they completely made up or are any of the mysteries based on fact?
I look upon all places as possible crime scenes. Most of my books are influenced by “reality,” but my own version of it. For instance, I came up with the idea of how to steal the jewels in The Diamond Mystery when I was working on my summer house.

Jerry and Maya have solved many mysteries throughout The Whodunit Detective you have an absolute favorite?
The Circus. The motive for the crime is moving, I would say.

Fill in the blanks:
I’m really awesome at Being curious
I’m really embarrassed to admit That I am not always listening when people speak.
The last great book I read was 11/22/63 by Stephen King. Where is his Nobel Prize??

If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by The Whodunit Detective Agency, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?
It would look like a normal cup cake, but taste like a meatball – and the mystery would be called “The Animal Rights Mystery.”

Thank you so much for stopping by, Martin!

Martin Widmark was born 1961 and lives in Stockholm with his family. He worked as a middle school teacher and as a teacher of Swedish to immigrants - and he has written several textbooks - but is now a full time author of children´s books. He is fascinated by oddities and everything that is different; food, music, languages and people. Widmark is considered one of the giants of current children’s fiction. Martin Widmark´s Nelly Rapp and Lasse Maja series are always on the best seller lists and have also received a lot of lavish praise.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

100 Sideways Miles Blog Tour {Review and Giveaway}

I'm so thrilled to have the 100 Sideways Miles Blog Tour stopping by today with my Review and a Giveaway...
100 Sideways Miles
by Andrew Smith
Simon & Schuster

Finn Easton sees the world through miles instead of minutes. It’s how he makes sense of the world, and how he tries to convince himself that he’s a real boy and not just a character in his father’s bestselling cult-classic book. Finn has two things going for him: his best friend, the possibly-insane-but-definitely-excellent Cade Hernandez, and Julia Bishop, the first girl he’s ever loved.

Then Julia moves away, and Finn is heartbroken. Feeling restless and trapped in the book, Finn embarks on a road trip with Cade to visit their college of choice in Oklahoma. When an unexpected accident happens and the boys become unlikely heroes, they take an eye-opening detour away from everything they thought they had planned—and learn how to write their own destiny.

After reading Winger, I became a huge Andrew Smith fan, then after devouring Grasshopper Jungle, I was completely enamored with Smith’s writing. Now, after finishing 100 Sideways Miles, I can say I’m absolutely in love with this author’s work and he has earned a place on my “Will Read Anything He/She Writes” list!


100 Sideways Miles tells the story of a boy who, like many other boys, feels trapped in a role he’s not sure is even his. Finn Easton, with his two different colored eyes, scarred back, and seizures, measures time in distance and desperately wants to be more than just a character in his father’s wildly popular book. Finn has two wonderful things going for him: his probably crazy, but completely lovable BFF, Cade, and his beautiful on the outside and inside girlfriend, Julia. But when Julia moves away, a heartbroken Finn accompanies Cade on a road trip to visit a college in Oklahoma. And when the unthinkable happens, Finn must finally decide just who he is and what he’s made of.


Andrew Smith creates unforgettable stories full of pitch-perfect writing, palpable emotions, wonderfully developed characters, and unique premises, and 100 Sideways Miles is no exception. This quirky novel is an engaging mix of laugh-out-loud humor, powerful emotion, and beautiful coming of age moments.


Like Smith’s other YA novels, 100 Sideways Miles is full of the unexpected and down-right strange, but never feels over-the-top or hokey. No matter what odd situations his characters find themselves in or what one in a billion events happen, Smith’s stories always feels so real, like they have to be playing out somewhere in the world. Smith is a superb storyteller who expertly balances the light and the dark, the funny and the heart-wrenching, in 100 Sideways Miles. With its quirks, unusual pacing, and unique writing style, in the hands of a less talented writer, 100 Sideways Miles could have gone very wrong, but Smith makes it go very, very right.  Like Winger and Grasshopper Jungle, 100 Sideways Miles kept me laughing and punched me in the heart, often at the same time. And like these two previous books, the poignant and profound emotion in 100 Sideways Miles comes quietly, but leaves a powerful and lasting mark. Smith explores the complex, confusing, amazing, painful, wonderful, complicated experience of being a teen in such gorgeous, smart, relatable ways.

Andrew Smith excels at creating and developing compelling characters! Finn Easton, Cade Hernandez, Julia Bishop, and, of course, Laika the dog, are unforgettable characters that I fell madly in love with. Finn will break your heart, Cade will make you melt, Julia will make you smile, and Laika will make you laugh. These are teen characters that sound and act like actual teens, but aren’t forced into some cliche role. They are real, they are likable, they are AWESOME!


My Final Thoughts: Thought-provoking, funny, powerful, smart, incredible...these are just a few words I’d use to describe this stellar novel! With 100 Sideways Miles, Andrew Smith has once again created an important and must-read YA book!


Andrew Smith is the award-winning author of several Young Adult novels, including the critically acclaimed WINGER (Starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist, and Shelf Awareness—an Amazon “Best of the Year”) and THE MARBURY LENS (A YALSA BFYA, and Starred reviews and Best of the Year in both Publishers Weekly and Booklist).
He is a native-born Californian who spent most of his formative years traveling the world. His university studies focused on Political Science, Journalism, and Literature. He has published numerous short stories and articles. STAND OFF, the sequel to WINGER, coming in January 2015, is his ninth novel. He lives in Southern California.

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November 3rd – November 7th

November 3rdThe Pirate Tree – Review

November 3rdRoof Beam Reader – Review

November 3rd ~ Cabin Goddess – Mom & Son Review with a Recipe

November 3rdBookish – Review

November 3rdLookandseebeanazed – Review

November 4th ~ The Reader and the Chef – Review

November 4th~The Bookish Confections – Review

November 4th ~ Fangirlish – Review

November 4th ~ Reads All The Books – Review

November 5thWord Spelunking – Review

November 5thDebbie Bookish – Review

November 5thBooks and Bling – Review

November 5thFalling For YA – Review

November 5th ~ I Read Banned Books  – Review

November 5thRingo The Cat – Review

November 5thA Leisure Moment – Review

November 6thReading on the Farm – Review

November 6thBlogging Between the Lines – Review

November 6thBookhounds YA – Review

November 6th ~ What A Nerd Girl Says – Review

November 6thMovies, Shows & Books – Review

November 6th ~ Deal Sharing Aunt  – Review

November 7thPixie Vixen Book Reviews – Review

November 7throro is Reading – Review

November 7th ~ The Reader and the Chef – Review

November 7thCabin Goddess – Review

November 7th ~ Reads All The Books – Review

November 7th ~ Laura Kreitzer, Bestselling Author  – Review

November 7th ~ LRB - Karin Baker  – Review

November 7th ~ Read Now Sleep Later – Review