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Aeicha @ Word Spelunking

Friday, November 17, 2017

Guest Post & Giveaway: Hillary Homzie and Laney Nielson, authors of the new middle-grade Swirl novels

Sweet Treats for the Holidays
Pumpkin Spice & Peppermint Cocoa

Guest Post by Hillary Homzie and Laney Nielson

Thank you so much for having us on Word Spelunking! We definitely agree that life is sweeter with books and cupcakes. And we think it’s even sweeter with pumpkin spice and peppermint cocoa! In October, Hillary launched Swirl, Sky Pony’s new line for tween readers with the novel, Pumpkin Spice Secrets and now Laney’s Peppermint Cocoa Crushes is also out—both are here in time for the holidays.

It was fun cooking up these stories featuring friendships, crushes and lots of middle school activities. Sweet drinks and yummy flavors inspired us too! To celebrate, we’ve matched our books with some recipes we think readers might enjoy.

First about the books…

Sometimes secrets aren't so sweet...

Just as Maddie picks up her pumpkin spice frappe from the coffee shop counter, she spills it all over the cute boy behind her. Talk about mortifying! Luckily, the boy -- Jacob -- is also friendly and easygoing, and soon Maddie is deeply in crush.

But before she can tell her best friend Jana about him at lunch the next day, Jana announces her huge new crush -- on Jacob! Maddie doesn't want to cause trouble, so she keeps her feelings hidden. Jana will get over him soon, right?

Add major school stress to Maddie's secret, and it's a recipe for disaster. Can she stay true to both her friend and her heart... without it all turning into a sticky mess?

The major stress part is debating. Maddie is one of those kids who doesn’t like public speaking. In fact, she has a tendency to listen to other people and not speak up. Hillary admits that when she was younger, she fell into the not-speaking-up camp. In fact, she’s still working on it. So a big theme in this book is learning to speak up and communicate how you feel. Debate plays a part in helping Maddie to do that. Friendships are a whole lot easier when you express yourself truthfully.

Friends, cocoa, crushes... catastrophe!
Sasha is so excited. 'Tis the season for snow, gifts, peppermint cocoa, and the Holidaze Spectacular -- the school's variety show competition with an amazing grand prize! She and her best friends, twins Karly and Kevin, are working on a dance routine for it, and Sasha is sure they'll win. She's also sure that her crush -- Kevin -- likes her back. She just needs to find a way to tell him.
But then nothing goes as planned. Karly disappears into quiz bowl, things with Kevin are going nowhere, and Sasha's head is spinning between rehearsals, homework, and volunteer commitments. Everything is falling apart! Can Sasha repair a friendship, figure out her crush, and still make the most of her moment in the spotlight?

We think that readers will appreciate some of the delightful surprises in this book. What you need to know is that it’s full of holiday cheer, but it’s also realistic in that life is definitely not perfect. Sasha’s mother wants her to imagine a STEM related future and Sasha imagines a more artistic path. The mom in Peppermint Cocoa Crushes is fairly recently divorced and Sasha and her family must adjust to a new reality. And yet, life is ultimately very sweet.

And now for some fun recipes featuring our favorite ingredients…

If you enjoy these sweet treats, be on the look out for Cinnamon Bun Besties by Stacia Deutsch and Salted Caramel Dreams by Jackie Nastri Bardenwerper, two more Swirl novels coming early 2018!


Hillary & Laney

Win a copy of Pumpkin Spice Secrets and Peppermint Cocoa Crushes!
The folks at Sky Pony Press have generously offered a copy of each book for one winner.
-US/CAN only
-ends 11/24/17 at 11:59 pm ET
-one winner get a copy of both books
-winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-word spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prizes in the mail

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Danielle H. said...

These books sound fun and delicious to read. Just looking at the cover makes me want a coffee or hot chocolate. Looking forward to reading these books.

John Smith said...

These look like delightful fun for everyone!

Jillyn said...

Thanks so much for the chance to win! These sound cute and the covers are adorable

Hillary said...

I'm so happy you like the covers. Laney and I both think that Sky Pony did such a great job with the cover art. Maybe too good since I get a little hungry--or rather thirsty--when I look at them. Good luck to everyone who entered! Thanks to Aeicha for hosting us over here at Word Spelunking. I must say that cupcakes go quite well with Swirl books :)

pailofpearls said...

Sounds like a fun mg read for the holiday season.