Secret Book Giveaway #1: A Kids Book

Today's secret book giveaway: A Christmas-themed kid's book!

Here's what the book looks like!

Here's what the book looks like!

A few facts about this book:

  1. It's a hardcover.
  2. It retails for $19.99.
  3. Why so expensive? Because there's a sing-along CD and dance-along DVD included.
  4. It won a Moonbeam Children's Book Award.
  5. Perfect for ages 3+. Older kids will love learning the dance that goes along with the story.
  6. It's Christmas themed.

If you have a guess as to what book this is, tell us in the comments! In the meantime, check out our gift ideas for kids.

Want to win this secret book? Enter below.

ANNOUNCING: Secret Book Giveaways

Wrapping presents is a bizarrely polarizing thing. Like cilantro. You either love it or can't stand it. Luckily, we have a resident BGG-er who has an unhealthy obsession with wrapping gifts. So much so that she's wrapped all of the books on our office bookshelf. The little bugger.

Since they're already wrapped, why not give them away? Which leads us to...

THE SECRET BOOK GIVEAWAYS.

How it works:

  • We show you a picture of a wrapped book (we picked holiday-neutral wrapping paper because we love you).
  • We give you the genre, a few descriptors, and an idea of who would like this book (so you know who to give it to).
  • You enter to win.
  • If you win, we mail you the book. It will have a sticky note on top with the title and author in case you decide to gift the book and don't want to unwrap it (so you know what you're giving).

Check back tomorrow for the first giveaway!

Unwrapping the Best Christmas Gift Ever (Guest Blog Post by T. Rae Mitchell)

Guest Blog Post by T. Rae Mitchell, author of Fate’s Fables

When I was a kid, as soon as December hit, Christmas break couldn’t come quick enough. There was so much to look forward to. Two blissful weeks of no school, baking and eating cookies, watching my favorite Christmas specials, skiing and sledding, playing with friends, opening presents and most of all, waking up to Santa’s gift and a stocking stuffed with goodies.

The author's 70's era Christmas wish

The author's 70's era Christmas wish

Christmas Eve was especially exciting. I could barely sleep and I’m positive I heard reindeer thumping around on the rooftop a few times. I definitely heard my parents wrapping last minute gifts. It never occurred to me that the paper crinkling in the other room might be the special wrapping paper used on all Santa gifts every year. No, I was too busy imagining the Movin’ Groovin’ Crissy doll I’d asked Big Red for. I had to have her. She was the doll with beautiful long hair that grows right down to her toes. Yup, that was the catchy sales line hitting the air waves way back in the 70’s.

Santa was good to me. He always gave me what I asked for, whether it was a Crissy doll or a new bike with a flower-power banana seat. There were other gifts of course, though much less exciting. You know the ones. Necessities like clothes, mittens, pajamas and socks lurking beneath those shiny bows and wrap that fooled me into thinking at least one of them had to be a glow-in-the dark Kozmic Kiddle.

And then there were the books. I never failed to receive at least one book from some well-intentioned relative, who no doubt wanted more for me than the plastic comfort Mattel was offering every ten-year-old in the country. Thankfully, my resistance to reading came to an end the year I was given A Wrinkle In Time. It’s not like I cracked the book open immediately. Up until that point, no book had ever had me in its grips the way Crissy had. But as it turned out, combing her luxurious auburn hair lost its luster after a few hours.

When I finally did give the book a chance, I was hooked from the very first line, “It was a dark and stormy night.” I related to Meg Murry’s problems and sensed a greater trouble brewing in the storm. The remainder of my Christmas break was spent on the other side of the universe with Meg, Charles Wallace and Calvin. Suddenly those all important toys and holiday TV specials seemed empty in comparison to Madeleine L'Engle’s rich, dangerous world unfolding before me with each turn of the page.

That’s when I knew I’d unwrapped the best Christmas gift ever, one that kept the holiday magic going. There’s no better feeling than being taken on a perilous adventure while enjoying the cozy comforts of home and the presence of family in the background.

Now that I’m all grown up, I’ve always tried to pass this magical experience on to the youngsters (and oldsters) in my life with perfect book choices for Christmas. I’m thrilled to have discovered Book Gift Guide to help me with my list and super excited that Book Gift Guide is comparing my young adult fantasy novel, Fate’s Fables to the New York Times bestseller, Blood of Dragons as a great gift for fantasy lovers.

I can now look back to the moment the magic of reading a good book was instilled in me and see that this is what I wanted to create for other readers. My character, Fate Floyd, and her harrowing journey through the Book of Fables gave me the opportunity to do just that. In essence, Fate’s Fables is nine books in one. I wanted this novel to be one of stories within stories by creating eight dark, enchanting fables, all of which were wholly new yet felt as if they’d been around forever. This gave me a deep well in which to draw from for the main storyline of Fate as she encounters the long list of storybook characters dwelling within the Book of Fables. It’s my hope this holiday season that I can give to you or someone special in your life the magic, adventure and thrills waiting inside Fate’s Fables.


Check out the book trailer for Fate's Fables!

30% off Paperbacks and Hardcovers at Amazon

Amazon is running a Black Friday deal where you can get an EXTRA 30% Off any print book. To redeem the offer enter the code BOOKDEAL at checkout. The code will only work on books sold directly from Amazon and you can only use one code per customer. Ends December 1.

The extra 30% off is on top of the Amazon discount list price so you can get some great deals

Happy Gifting!

What to Get Me for Christmas... Again (by Jessica Alexander)

Guest Blog Post by Jessica Alexander (1/2 of Kirby Howell – Authors of THE AUTUMN SERIES

I believe that the best gift you can give is a book.  

Well, to be honest, my very own butterscotch-speckled Appaloosa would be an awesome gift… and as long I’m dreaming, another fantastic present would be a very dramatic change in Southern California weather that would allow me to wear (daily) a squeaky pair of Hunter boots (which, coincidentally, are also a good gift).

But since both would require a good deal of money and/or an act of God (or some pretty heinous global warming) let’s go back to books – a gift that is more attainable, and also readily available online and at your local bookstore.  (They’re also built for easy wrapping!)

Unfortunately, there is a drawback to gifting books.  The remorse when you shut a book the final time and realize you just experienced something as close to real magic as you’ll ever get (poor, unfortunate Muggles!!!) is inevitable.  But the joy of remembering the times you laughed out loud or cried silently will hopefully outweigh this drawback.

Since I am without the nifty aid of a memory charm, I won’t ever be able to read one of my favorite books again for the first time.  But you can!  Here are some of my favorite first time reading experiences:


The Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder 

I’m not sure who gave my family this little yellow box set, but it quickly became mine after my mom read aloud from it to keep my sister and me calm during thunderstorms when we lived in southeastern Virginia.  It now sits in the bedroom I share with my husband; the once-cheerful yellow cardboard box faded and a little dilapidated (and mysteriously minus one little house).  Now, when I pick up Little House on the Prairie and settle in with Ma, Pa, Laura, Mary, and Baby Carrie, I can still smell the summer rain. 


Ready Player One by Ernest Cline 

I’ve never used Google more while reading a book than I did while reading this one.  Having been born in 1980, I was familiar with most of his 80s references, but not all.  Songs, movies, television shows, toys, books, and video games all became regular searches on my phone and my Internet history filled with nostalgic 1980s geekdom.  This book made me yearn for the arcade room at my childhood pizza parlor.


White Oleander by Janet Fitch 

I read this book in tandem with one of my best friends while on a meandering road trip that took us from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, through the old coal towns of southern West Virginia, up through the boroughs of steel country in Pennsylvania, and finally to the capitol of the First State - Dover, Delaware.  (Which is about as far as you can get from Astrid’s gritty Los Angeles foster homes.)  My friend and I both finished the novel in Dover during the hot afternoons that late summer.  To this day, there’s still a grass stain on its spine.


The Stand by Stephen King 

Nothing juxtaposes a horrific plague novel tinted with fantastical religious elements like the smell of Banana Boat sunblock.  I read this book while on vacation in Hawaii and, if you give this book as a gift, I highly recommend including a Lava Flow (or some other type of cheerful alcoholic drink adorned with a slice of bright fruit).  Why?  Because this book scared me out of my mind.  And I loved every minute of it. 


The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Planning a wedding while reading this series for the first time was a challenge.  All I can say is “thank God my husband was so involved in the planning and executing of our big day!”  Slowly leafing my way through the seventh and final tome was an exercise in patience - not for me, but for my soon-to-be husband.  I was motionless on the couch for days, save my eyes and page-flicking fingers, while he faithfully booked our European honeymoon without me or my input – I couldn’t be bothered with any of that while Harry, Ron, and Hermione were in jeopardy.


About the Author

Dana Melton and Jessica Alexander, who write under the name Kirby Howell, have been writing together since 2000 when they met as freshman in their first script writing class at the University of Alabama.  Dana, a native Southerner, quickly showed Jessica the ropes and the joys of living below the Mason Dixon Line.  Having lived in nearly every other part of the country, it didn’t take Jessica long to acclimate to sweet tea, grits and football.  Four years later, with a couple of film degrees under their belts, they moved to Los Angeles to pursue their professional writing careers.  

Gifts for the Writer in Your Life: Guest Blog by Mike O'Mary

Guest Blog by Mike O'Mary

Are you a writer – or do you have a writer in your life? If there’s anything that a writer likes more than a good story, it’s a good book about writing or creativity. I have a personal library of such books. My favorites do what all great writing books should do: they make you want to write.

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. A great book for any artist, this book focuses on creativity and living the artist’s life. 

The Art of Fiction by John Gardner. The first half is about the nature of fiction. The second half is about technique. A densely packed book of advice from the author bold enough to retell the story of Beowulf. 

On Writing by Stephen King. A how-to manual from one of the most prolific writers of all time. Includes numerous examples of how people and events from his own life influenced his writing.

MFA in a Box by John Rember. Described as “a sacred read” by writers, “beyond Burroway” by teachers, and “the essential truths about excellent writing” by the Hoffer Awards, this book explores the writer and love, grief, place, family, violence, and more with humor that is dry, mordant, and merciless.

Mike O’Mary is author of Wise Men and Other Stories, and founder of Dream of Things, an indie press focused on memoirs and anthologies of creative nonfiction. 

The Book that Changed My Life: Guest Blog by David Estes

Guest Blog by David Estes, author of The Moon Dwellers

I read The Hunger Games and it made me want to read more dystopian novels. I read Divergent and it made me want to write dystopian novels. And then I wrote The Moon Dwellers and it changed my life. 

When I started writing The Moon Dwellers while holding down a fulltime day job as an operational risk officer at an investment manager, I never would’ve guessed it would turn into a 7-book series with thousands of sales and fans. Not in a million years would I have guessed it would be listed on Buzzfeed as one of “15 Series to Read if you Enjoyed The Hunger Games,” alongside bestselling series such as The Mortal Instruments, Divergent, and Delirium. And if you told me that 18 months later it would be compared to Divergent in The Book Gift Guide 2013, I would have said you were crazy. 

But life’s funny that way. It throws you curves when you expect it to be straight—and is like an arrow when, from a distance, it looks all twisty. That’s what keeps it interesting.

So here I am, almost two years after finishing my first draft of The Moon Dwellers, shaking my head and pinching myself. I’m an agented full time writer of YA and Children’s novels travelling the world. I sometimes wonder if I’ll wake up from an exceptionally vivid (and long) dream. I think I’d cry on the way into the city, completely unready to take my place back in my tiny cubicle. 

So where did The Moon Dwellers come from? Was it the result of a strange dream about people living underground or did I simply watch one too many episodes of Fraggle Rock growing up? Honestly, I have a terrible memory, and I can never seem to pinpoint the exact moment that the idea popped in my brain, but I do remember cocking my head and thinking “Hmm…interesting.” I thought about it during meetings, during my commute to and from work, and in the shower, and as I did I got more and more excited at the potential. There are so many dystopian novels out there, but one thing they almost always have in common is that they’re set aboveground for most, if not all, of the story. So I went deeper, deeper, deeper…underground. 

It’s hundreds of years in the future and the citizens of the United States have been forced underground due to the earth’s surface being deemed “uninhabitable.” Living conditions are harsh for the lower classes and plush for the upper classes. Rebellion is stirring. And at the center of everything is a middle class girl, Adele, whose parents have been arrested for treason, and the upper class son of the president, Tristan, who’s quickly learning of the inequalities of the world he’s destined to govern over. 

The Tri-Realm’s are about to explode in violence; and in this world there’s only one truth: Someone must die. 

Honestly, I’m just thankful that I had the inspiration to write the book, and the motivation to see it through for six sequels. I’m even more thankful for the thousands of people who have given The Moon Dwellers a chance and written the most moving reviews and messages I’ve ever read. You are my inspiration every day of my life. And to my future readers, I hope you enjoy the world and story I’ve created!

David Estes

PS- I pledged when I started writing to always respond to readers, and I love getting comments and questions, so please contact me using one of my favorite social networking sites below.  As always, happy reading!!


Win a $100 Amazon Gift Card!

Book Gift Guide is giving away a $100 Amazon Gift Card - just in time for holiday shopping. Enter below!

Book Gift Guide is your go-to site for recommendations on which books to buy as gifts for the book lovers in your life. You'll find a mix of best sellers and undiscovered gems for everyone on your list (and maybe a little something for yourself). Happy gifting -- and happy reading!

We're linked with:

Mom Loves 2 Read
 

Gifts for Book Lovers (That Aren't Books)

T-Shirts

Most book lovers always have a book on hand... but how about toting your favorite book on your clothing? Alas, they aren't readable, but it is a lovely way to represent the fellowship of bibliophiles. 

See all of the literary T-Shirts here. 


Jewelry 

Or, instead of toting your favorite literary reference on your clothing, how about displaying it around your neck? Or dangling from your ears? We LOVE these little miniature book gifts. What is better than something that is both adorable AND literary? 


Journals 

Because readers are often writers, a journal is a great gift for an avid reader. Whether they are writing down their own stories, or their favorite lines from the ones they are reading, a journal is often a useful and constant companion of books lovers. You can go with a basic Moleskine, sleek, slim, and easy to carry, or something beautiful and a little more personal depending on your recipient. 


Mugs

Mugs are a great gift for your bibliophile because, lets face it, a proper relaxing evening with a good book is not complete without a piping mug of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. We love  these "Great First Lines of Literature" and "Shakespearean Insults" mugs! 


Technology 

Sometimes, a bibliophile's life can be made just a little bit easier with the help of some useful technology. Reading lights are always useful. Flexible and compact you can use them to illuminate more than just the pages of your book. Or, if you think they are ready, you can buy your reader an eReader. All of the books they could ever want available at their fingertips. Sounds like a bibliophile's dream, right? 


Bags

No matter what the gender or occupation of your giftee, a useful bag is a great gift. Whether they use it to carry their books with them daily, or as their eco-friendly tote when going to the grocers, there is always a use for a bag. 

To see a whole selection of Literary totes, click here. 

Contributed By: Chloe Kizer

A Favorite First Line in Literature

The first line of a book is monumentally important. Here's one of our all-time favorites:

dawn treader.jpg

What a beautifully crafted sentence. It tells so much about a character and the story (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by CS Lewis) in just 13 words. 13 perfectly chosen words.

See 13 more Fantastic First Lines on the Waterstones Blog.

Contributed by:Taylor Coil

What We're Gifting This Year

We've given you tons of gift ideas for all the readers in your life- but what are the Book Gift Guide team members planning to gift? Taylor, our Marketing Manager, weighs in on what she's buying this season.


For my Grandfather:

My grandfather is a deeply religious man who loves history. I have tons of memories of Grandpa sitting by the fire with a book, reading about World War Two or highlighting passages in his study Bible. Often, he'd turn off his hearing aid so as to not be disturbed. Sneaky man. To be fair, my family does talk a lot (and very loudly). Unbroken and Jesus Calling are perfect for him.


For my favorite middle schooler:

My "godsister" (mom's best friend's daughter) is thirteen and the most lovely middle schooler I've ever met (not that I'm biased or anything). Since I'm a role model for her, I'm gifting an old favorite of mine with a great message: Stargirl. Lovely novel. Perfect for middle schoolers. The Selection by Kiera Cass is more for fun. She's at that age where she's a tad boy-crazy- and this book reads like an episode of The Bachelor. 


For my Brother-in-Law:

Let me start off by saying that this dude is difficult to buy for. His personal style is hard to predict and he's one of those (admirable) people who just doesn't want anything. He does, however, like to laugh - and both of these books are hilarious. He's 21 and starting a fancy new job in a new city soon - which means he'll be cooking for himself for the first time. I own the other book (by The Oatmeal) and it's great.

 


What do you think of my picks? Tell me in the comments! 

Contributed by:Taylor Coil

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