Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Character Interview and Cupcake Filled Prize Pack Giveaway

I am SO excited to have fellow cupcake enthusiast, Priyanka Gupta, here today! Pri is one of the awesome characters in Kami Kinard's latest middle-grade The Boy Problem. Learn all about The Boy Problem and Pri below, and enter to win a spectacular cupcake filled prize pack, below...

The Boy Problem: Notes and Observations of Tabitha Reddy
by Kami Kinard
April 29, 2014

Tabitha "Tabbi" Reddy believes in signs. Like fortune cookies. Magic 8-Balls. Shooting stars. And this year, she hopes, looking for the right signs will lead her to the right boy! Inspired by her BFF, Kara (star of THE BOY PROJECT), Tabbi starts her own "project" in the hopes of finding a cute crush. With the help of a math lesson on probability, Tabbi tries to predict who the right boy for her might be! Where is she most likely to meet him? What is he most likely to look like? Full of fun illustrations, hilarious equations, and lessons in cupcake-baking, life, love, and friendship, this book has a 100% probability of awesomeness. A perfect "next step" for fans of DORK DIARIES.

Hi, Pri! Thank you so much for stopping by Word Spelunking today and giving us all a chance to get to know you!

I am so excited to be here! This is the first time I’ve been interviewed. It’s going to be so much fun!

What three words best describe you?

Cupcakes. Energy. Family

Can you tell us a bit about your family and home?

Sure. There are four people in my family. My parents, my little brother, and me!
Our home is very colorful. My favorite room is our red living room. I especially like it because it has some beautiful paintings in it, and a few statues my parents brought back from Kolkata.

What makes your family special?

I think all families are special in their own ways, don’t you? But I think one thing that makes us special is that we all love books. And sometimes we act out scenes from our favorite books, just for fun.

I know you LOVE cupcakes, and as one cupcake enthusiast to another, what exactly is it about cupcakes that you love? What are some of your favorite cupcake-ish things you own?

I like the way cupcakes look. They’re so cute! But also, I like the way they make people smile. When you’re holding a cupcake, you’re holding something good, even if other things in your life aren’t all that great at the moment. My favorite cupcake-ish thing is a giant bean-bag chair shaped like a cupcake!

In your opinion, what are the three absolute best cupcake flavors?

Red Velvet, Oreo Surprise, and Lemon

I know you’ve recently become friends with Tabbi and Kara; what’s your friendship with them like? What kinds of things do y’all do together?

Tabbi and Kara are awesome! We started out doing school projects together, then we worked together on a fundraiser. When you work hard with people for a common goal, I think it must bond you, because now we hang out a lot. There’s often baking involved. But when we have sleepovers, we mainly talk…. sometimes about boys, but I’m not mentioning any names!

Are you as boy crazy as Tabbi? What do you look for in a boyfriend? Any special fellas in your life right now?

I think Tabbi just wanted to know that someone would like her for herself, and she really really wanted to find that person. The right guy, not just any guy. I’ve never had a boyfriend, so I would like to know what that’s like. I guess I would look for someone who likes cupcakes. That gives me a lot of guys to choose from! I’m pretty open minded about it. I don’t have my eye on anyone in particular.

This OR That
baking cupcakes OR eating cupcakes?  Baking!
Math class OR English class? English!
watching the movie OR reading the book? Reading the book!
getting a gift OR giving a gift? Giving a gift!
slaying a dragon OR being a dragon?  I don’t think I could ever slay anything. So I guess being a dragon. I wonder if you can bake cupcakes with dragon breath?

Fill in the blanks:
I’m really awesome at baking.

I’m really embarrassed to admit that the first time I baked cupcakes they tasted horrible! We didn’t have any baking powder, so I used an equal amount baking soda instead. Yuck!

The last great book I read was It by Stephen King. Just kidding! I could never read something so scary! The last great book I read was Malcolm at Midnight by W.H. Beck. Malcolm is a rat, but he enjoys eating tasty treats as much as I do!

And finally, if you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by YOU, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?

I love colorful things, so it would definitely be colorful. I’m thinking I’d start with red velvet – but I like the idea of a surprise in the center, like the mini oreo we put in the oreo surprise cupcakes – so maybe I’d stick a Hershey’s kiss in the middle of each one. I’d substitute chocolate icing for cream cheese icing, and add lots of sprinkles. And of course a cherry on top! A creation like that should be called something like Red Kiss Surprise! How about that? I’m thinking it might be a best seller someday!

That was so much fun, Pri! And that Red Kiss Surprise cupcake sounds super yummy!!!

Kami Kinard likes being happy, therefore she loves art, reading good books, spending time with family, laughing with friends and watching Sherlock! She is not afraid to make ridiculous analogies, an obscure talent that serves her well. Check out her novels THE BOY PROJECT (Scholastic 2012) and THE BOY PROBLEM (Scholastic 2914). 

A former high school English teacher, Kinard lives in coastal South Carolina with her family and the world's smartest dog.

Win a fabulous cupcake filled prize pack!
Kami Kinard has put together an awesome cupcake themed prize pack that includes:
Large cupcake bead kit, The Boy Problem bracelet, hardback copy of The Boy Problem (shipped from Scholastic), Cupcake ring, eraser, lotion, and bubble bath, and cupcake nail art.
I am seriously drooling over this prize pack *_*
-there will be one winner
-ends 4/30
-must be 13+
-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:

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Friday, April 11, 2014

The Summer I Wasn't Me Blog Tour {Interview & Giveaway}

I'm thrilled to have The Summer I Wasn't Me Blog Tour stopping by today, with my Interview with Jessica Verdi and a Giveaway...

The Summer I Wasn't Me
by Jessica Verdi
April 1, 2014
Sourcebooks Fire

Lexi has a secret…
Ever since her mom found out she was in love with a girl, seventeen year old Lexi’s afraid that what’s left of her family is going to fall apart for good.
You are on the road to truth. Help is on the way
The road signs leading to New Horizons summer camp promise a new life for Lexi- she swears she can change. She can learn to like boys. But denying her feeling is harder than she thinks. And when she falls head over heels for Carolyn, one of her fellow campers, Lexi will have to risk her mother’s approval for the one person who might love her no matter what.
In The Summer I Wasn’t Me, Verdi writes with raw honesty and an open heart, asking the hard questions and exploring emotional depths and difficult truths in her character that no YA author has done before.

What three words best describe The Summer I Wasn’t Me?
- Self-discovery
- Journey
- Friendship

Grab a copy of The Summer I Wasn’t Me and answer the following:
Favorite chapter?
        - Chapter 16, when Lexi and Carolyn start writing notes in the margins of The Great Gatsby.
Favorite page?
        - The last page. 339.
Hardest chapter and/or page to write?
        - Chapter 29. If you’ve read the book, you know what chapter that is.
Flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentence teaser:
Whoa, I think as I take in the dorm room. That’s a lot of pink.
The Summer I Wasn’t Me has some really memorable characters...did you have an absolute favorite character to write and explore? Did any of your characters end up surprising you in how they turned out?
I love my narrator, Lexi, so much. She’s conflicted and strong and giving and vulnerable. I also love Matthew, because let’s face it, he’s the voice of reason in the story. No spoilers, but Brianna definitely surprised me as the story went on.

What do you hope readers walk away with or learn from The Summer I Wasn’t Me and Lexi’s story?
I hope this book will go even a small way in helping LBGTQ teens to know that they are not alone and that they do not need to change for anyone—even if their families or churches or towns are insisting they do.
I hope Lexi’s story will help readers to know that they are perfect the way they are. And if someone is telling you otherwise (whether they’re criticizing your sexuality, your appearance, your disability, your hobbies and interests, or anything else) they’re the ones who have to take a long, hard look at themselves, and maybe start to make some new choices, not you.
I hope readers, regardless of whether they’re atheist, super religious, or anything in between, will be able to take something away from this story.
And I hope the more people know about these types of camps and “conversion” programs, the quicker we’ll be able to shut them down. California and New Jersey have already banned reparative therapy from being used on minors—great progress, but we still have a long way to go.

Fill in the blanks:
I’m really awesome at finding opportunities of the “that’s what she said” joke.
I’m really embarrassed to admit I still tie my shoes with bunny ears.
The last great book I read was the Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin. I can’t wait for book three.

If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by The Summer I Wasn’t Me, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?
It would be rainbow colors inside and out, with rainbow sprinkles and a rainbow flag stuck in the top. :) It would taste like summer, and I’d call it Peace, Love, and Equality.
Thank you so much, Jessica, for stopping by today!

Jessica Verdi lives in Brooklyn, NY, and received her MFA in Writing for Children from The New School. She loves seltzer, Tabasco sauce, TV, vegetarian soup, flip-flops, and her dog. Visit her at and follow her on Twitter @jessverdi.

Win a finished copy of 
The Summer I Wasn't Me!
Sourcebooks Fire has offered up one book for one winner.
-US/CAN only
-ends 4/19
-must be 13+
-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:

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Rose and the Lost Princess Blog Tour {Review & Giveaway}

I'm so excited to have the Rose and the Lost Princess Blog Tour stopping by today with my Review and a  Giveaway...

Rose and the Lost Princess
(Rose #2)
by Holly Webb
April 1, 2014
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Now an apprentice magician, Rose is asked to help find a very special missing person

Turning the worn pages of her spell book, Rose can't believe how much her life has changed. Once a poor orphan, she is now an apprentice to the king's chief magician. But when the country's beloved princess vanishes, everything changes. As rumors of dark magic fly through the city, the king asks Rose for help. She must find the missing princess, before all is lost.

Rose #1
Rose isn't like the other orphans at St Bridget's Home for Abandoned Girls. Instead of dreaming of getting adopted by loving, wealthy parents, Rose wants to get a job and be independent. She doesn't need anyone but herself. She finds her escape working as a maid for Mr. Fountain, an alchemist. Unable to ignore the magic that flows throughout the grand residence, Rose realizes that just maybe; she might have a little bit of magic in her too. This new series featuring magicians, witches, talking cats, mist-monsters, and friendships will have young readers in a trance! Amazon / B&N

I received an e-galley of this title in exchange for my honest review

I really enjoyed the first book in Holly Webb’s middle-grade fantasy Rose series, and was super excited to dive back into this world in book two. Rose and the Lost Princess is a wonderful second volume, full of magic, mystery adventure, and all the fun and charm of book one!

Picking up a few weeks after book one, in Rose and the Lost Princess our heroine Rose is adjusting to being both a maid and new magical apprentice to Mr. Fountain. Rose enjoys her magic lessons and is glad to have her new friends, Freddie and Isabella, by her side, but after the dark events of the previous weeks, people are starting to distrust magicians. Even the other servants, who are Rose’s once beloved friends, are wary of her. And when the beloved Princess Jane is kidnapped, Rose is asked by the king to help. Suddenly Rose may be the only hope to find the princess and uncover the truth behind the cold magic that has wrapped around the city.

Holly Webb’s Rose books are such delightfully fun reads! Rose and the Lost Princess is a captivating continuation of book one, with a brand new mystery adventure, intriguing characters, and thrills to be had.

Webb’s books are brimming with whimsy, enchanting fantasy, smart historical elements, and sparkle and shine! The magic filled Victorian world Rose lives in is smartly crafted and provides a fascinating backdrop to Rose’s adventures, and in Rose and the Lost Princess, we get to see even more of this exciting world (think a magic shop, luxurious palace, a Frost Fair,and so much more!). Mr. Fountain’s home is still filled with surprises around every corner and spine-tingling wonders. I loved getting to explore Rose’s magical abilities more and witnessing her magic lessons with Freddie and Mr. Fountain, in book two. Fast-paced and quickly read, the Rose books are perfect for younger middle-grade readers who love to devour their mystery adventures in one or two sittings. And Webb provides PLENTY of both mystery and adventure in Rose and the Lost Princess.

The quirky cast of characters in the Rose Series offer lots of laughs, heart, and entertainment! Rose is still such an endearing, admirable heroine, and I loved seeing her confidence and abilities develop even further in this book. She’s a heroine that young readers will relate to and root for. Freddie, Isabella, and Gus (the talking cat) continue to be such awesome companions for Rose and amusing characters for readers, while the eccentric and out-there Mr. Fountain, is adorkably charming.

Rose and the Lost Princess takes both Rose and readers to some unexpected places and wraps up one mystery while setting up an even bigger one...and I, for one, cannot wait to join Rose on even more magical adventures!

My Final Thoughts: Holly Webb clearly knows her audience well and this shines brightly through in her storytelling, pitch-perfect MG voice, and memorable characters. Like book one in this series, Rose and the Lost Princess is an addicting, wonder-filled read, that will charm middle-grade readers.


Holly Webb is the author of Dog Magic, Cat Magic, and Lost in the Snow. She has always loved animals and owns two very spoiled cats. They haven't said a word to her yet, but she's always listening, just in case! She lives in England.

Win a copy of Rose and the Lost Princess!
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky has generously offered one book for one winner.
-US/CAN only
-ends 4/18
-must be 13+
-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: