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Friday, August 26, 2016

Celebrate National Dog Day with Maxi's Secrets and a Giveaway!

I'm helping Penguin Kids celebrate National Dog Day and the new middle-grade, Maxi's Secrets, with a giveaway and a pet story from me...

Maxi’s Secrets
Lynne Plourde
August 23, 2016
Nancy Paulsen Books
When a BIG, lovable, does-it-her-way dog wiggles her way into the heart of a loudmouth pipsqueak of a boy, wonderful things happen that help him become a bigger, better person.
Timminy knows that moving to a new town just in time to start middle school when you are perfect bully bait is less than ideal. But he gets a great consolation prize in Maxi—a gentle giant of a dog who the family quickly discovers is deaf. Timminy is determined to do all he can to help Maxi—after all, his parents didn't return him because he was a runt. But when the going gets rough for Timminy, who spends a little too much time getting shoved into lockers at school, Maxi ends up being the one to help him—along with their neighbor, Abby, who doesn’t let her blindness define her and bristles at Timminy’s “poor-me” attitude. It turns out there’s more to everyone than what’s on the surface, whether it comes to Abby, Maxi, or even Timminy himself.

“This story is a tender reminder that perceived shortcomings don't define us and that the power of friendship can't be underestimated.”–Publishers Weekly
“This earnest boy-and-his-dog tale makes a strong case for Secret No. 11: ‘There's nothing so bad in the world that dog kisses won't make it better.’—Kirkus Reviews
“Perfect for reading aloud, any middle-level or younger student, especially dog lovers, will adore this humorous, heartwarming story of overcoming adversity.” –VOYA
“The characters are fully developed, and the delicate subjects of bullying and disabilities are dealt with deftly and with humor…heartbreaking, yet satisfying.”  --School Library Journal
“Maxi's story is one I know readers are going to love so much. I loved the friendship between Timminy and Abby, as well as the unlikely friendship found with Rory. All three of those characters are so multidimensional, giving readers a lot to think about as they navigate their own friendships during the difficult middle grade years… You really CAN learn a lot from a dog!” –Susan Dee, The Nerdy Book Club
“Recommended for kids and grownups who feel like they might never fit in, who worry about having their differences pointed out to all the world, and most of all who love dogs.” –Julie Falatko, author of Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book)

The author of more than 30 picture books, MAXI'S SECRETS is Lynn Plourde’s debut middle-grade novel. She writes of her switch: “At sixty years of age, why write my first middle grade novel? To bring my dog Maggie back to life, of course. When my beloved Maggie died three years ago, I got greedy. I wanted more time with her… Maggie gave me permission to sprinkle make-believe on her truth. To add, take away, change whatever I needed to in order to make the best story I could. And so I did. I turned my medium-sized, black, Irish-setter-mix Maggie into a giant, white, Great Pyrenees Maxi.”

The fun folks at Penguin Kids have asked bloggers to share a memory or story of a childhood pet (real or imaginary)...
This is our family cat, Kimchee, and my baby sister in 1997

Growing up I had a few pets that were considered mine (some fish, an evil hamster, a hamster that ran away...don't ask), but Kimchee (pictured above) was our first family cat. My father, who was working at a school at the time, found Kimchee, who would hang around the school and was fed by the school my dad brought him home, we named the sweet kitty Kimchee, and he was ours from then on. Kimchee lived a long, happy life and I have many great memories of him, from playing circus with him, cuddling him, and on Halloween, as a teen, I would dress up as a cat and hand out candy, and Kimchee would sit next to me on the porch all night long...the trick-or-treaters loved seeing a "cat" with her very own real cat, lol!

But one memory that sticks out in my mind, is the time Kimchee got stuck in a wall! One day, my family kept hearing Kimchee meow, but couldn't find him, and it turns out he somehow found a small hole in the attic, fell down the hole, and ended up inside the wall. We tried everything to get him out: we rigged up a sheets and basket contraption and lowered it in the hole, hoping he'd climb in...but he was too scared. Finally, my dad decided the direct approach was the best, went outside, carefully cut a hole near where Kimchee was stuck, and got him out! Poor, sweet Kimchee wasn't hurt, just dirty and happy to be saved! 

I'll never forget that day and will always remember our sweet, frisky Kimchee!!
Win a new copy of MAXI'S SECRETS and an art print of the cute cover!
The awesome folks at Penguin have one copy of the book and one print for one winner.
-US only
-ends 9/3
-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:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Review: Darcy Swipes Left and Scrooge #worstgiftever (OMG Classics Series)

Darcy Swipes Left
By Jane Austen and Courtney Carbone
Sept. 27, 2016
Random House
Source: from pub for review
Pride and Prejudice, one of the greatest love stories ever told . . . in texts?!
Imagine: What if Lizzy Bennet and Mr. Darcy had smartphones and dated IRL (in real life)? A classic is reborn in this clever adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice!
A truth universally acknowledged: a rich guy must want a wife.
A terrible first impression.
A couple that’s meant to be . . . if they can just get over themselves. #hatersgonnadate
Don’t miss: Lydia taking selfies with soldiers, Mrs. Bennet’s humble-brag status updates, Lizzy texting from her long walks, and Darcy swiping left on a dance card app.
tl;dr Jane Austen’s most famous novel told through its characters texting with emojis, posting photos, checking in at locations, and updating their relationship statuses. The perfect gift for any teen (or any reader with a sense of humor)!
A glossary and cast of characters are included for those who need it. For example: tl;dr means too long; didn’t read.

Scrooge #worstgiftever
By Charles Dickens and Brett Wright
Sept 27, 2016
Ranom House
Source: from pub for review
A Christmas Carol, one of the holiday’s greatest traditions told . . . in texts?!
Imagine: What if Scrooge, Marley, the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, and the whole Cratchit family had smartphones? A classic is reborn in this clever adaptation of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol!
One grouchy old man who can’t stop asking “How did you get this number?!”
Three ghosts who communicate in the most modern ways, including one who ONLY uses emojis!
And a status update with the most “likes” ever: God bless us, everyone!
This retelling will cure even the worst bout of Bah hummingbird! #darnyouautocorrect
A glossary and cast of characters are included for those who need it.


The OMG Classics series offers readers two more hilarious additions, Darcy Swipes Left and Scrooge #worstgiftever. These Pride & Prejudice and A Christmas Carol retellings are cleverly given a modern, fresh twist by being told completely through texts, emojis, social media postings, emails, and more.

What I love about this series of books, is the way each retelling manages to be cool and hip, yet still captures the essence and timelessness of each story. Both Darcy Swipes Left and Scrooge #worstgiftever are full of refreshing humor, relatable storytelling, and laugh-out-loud moments, but the stories remain as classic and thoughtful as ever. Scrooge #worstgiftever has great gallows humor and a entertainingly and darkly fantastical vibe, but Dicken’s poignant message still shines through.

Darcy Swipes Left is bursting with smart humor, just enough fanciful whimsy, and wonderfully snarky and engaging characters. Lizzy and Darcy’s personalities, so full of wit; sarcasm; and bite, are effortlessly captured through modern language and expression.

These two books, and the others in the OMG Classics Series, are perfect companions to their classic counterparts, especially for teen readers.

MY RATING for both books
4/5 Cupcakes

Monday, August 22, 2016

5th Blogiversary Giveaway!

Word Spelunking is 5 years old today!!

Ahhh, I can't believe I've been blogging at Word Spelunking for five years! It's been an amazing five years, filled with great books, wonderful authors, and the most awesome blog readers and followers in the world...seriously, y'all rock my socks and bake my cupcakes! I still can't believe that people actually take the time to visit my blog, leave lovely comments, and engage in thoughtful discussion.

I've experienced many fantastic things because of my blog, including my career, and I can't wait to see what the next five years will bring!

And to celebrate five years of bookish fun and to thank ALL OF YOU MAGICAL READERS, I have a little giveaway to celebrate...
Win a $10 Gift Card to 
the retailer of your choice!
The winner can choose any retailer, as long as I can email the gift card to the winner.
-open to everyone, everywhere
-ends 9/18
-the winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours

a Rafflecopter giveaway