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Monday, November 12, 2018

Sophie Washington: Secret Santa by Tonya Duncan Ellis - Book Tour - Book Sale - Book Review - Giveaway - Enter Daily!

Hey lovelies!  It gives me great pleasure today to host Tonya Duncan Ellis and her new book, “Sophie Washington: Secret Santa”!  For other stops on her Goddess Fish Promotions Book Tour, please click on the banner above or any of the images in this post.

Be sure to make it to the end of this post to enter to win a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card!!  Also, come back daily to interact with Tonya and to increase your chances of winning!

This book is on SALE during the book tour for ONLY $0.99!!!  See below for more details.

Thanks for stopping by!  Wishing you lots of luck in this fabulous giveaway!

Sophie Washington: Secret Santa
by Tonya Duncan Ellis


GENRE: Children's Middle Grade



Christmas is three weeks away and a mysterious "Santa" has been mailing presents to sixth grader Sophie Washington. Her friends guess that the secret Kris Kringle could be either Nathan Jones or Toby Johnson, two boys in Sophie's class who have liked her in the past, but she's not sure. Sophie uncovers clues to find her secret Santa and the final reveal is bigger than any package she's opened on Christmas morning. It's a holiday surprise she'll never forget!



“Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg!”

“Be quiet, Cole!” I put my hands over my ears to muffle my brother’s out-of-tune singing and focus back on my laptop to finish my English essay. It’s less than three weeks until winter break and my teachers have been piling on the assignments to make sure we get our end of semester grades in.

There sure is a big change between fifth and sixth grade, workwise, at Xavier Academy, the private school my brother and I go to. Between all the essays and projects and studying for final exams, I feel I can barely take time to pat my dog, Bertram, when I get home; whereas, my eight-year-old brother Cole acts like he’s already on vacation.

Since we got home from school an hour ago, he’s been living it up, shooting hoops in the driveway, eating a snack and now playing on the handheld video game player that my mother would make him put up if she were downstairs with us. I ought to tell on him now…

Ding Dong!

The doorbell interrupts my thoughts.

“Can you get it, Sophie?” Mom yells from upstairs. “I’m putting some clothes in the closet.” 

I would ask her why she wants me to answer the door, and not Cole, but I already know the answer: “Because you’re the oldest.”

Of course, that logic doesn’t hold when it comes to who gets the first dessert or who doesn’t have to do the dishes at night. As the baby of the family and favored child, my little brother has got it made.

I trudge to the front door in time to see the mail carrier heading back to his truck. He’s left a medium-sized box on the porch. Wonder what it is?

My mother sometimes has holiday packages delivered to the house, but Cole and I haven’t made our Christmas lists yet, so I doubt it’s anything for us. I open the door, pick the package up, and check out the label. It’s got my name on it in bright, red ink, “Sophie Washington.”

Who could this be from?

I never get any mail, except for birthday gifts my Granny Washington sends to our house in Houston from Corpus Christi when she can’t be here, and I don’t remember my parents ordering anything for us online. Granny is driving up to see us tomorrow, so I doubt she would mail presents here when she could just bring them with her.

“Mom, I got a package!” I call out.

“What is it?” Cole bounds from the family room to stare at the box as I set it on the kitchen counter.

“Back off, Cole, it’s mine,” I move him to the side with my hip and take a closer look at the delivery. The box is wrapped in brown paper, and there is no return address. It looks difficult to open with my fingers, so I pull a butter knife out of a drawer in the kitchen and slit through the tape on the side. A sweet, sugary scent fills the air.

“Cool!” exclaims Cole in appreciation as the brown wrapping slides off to reveal a box filled with packages of licorice, gummy bears, gum, and red and green M&Ms. I notice a typed note underneath. 

Dear Sophie,
Hope your day is super sweet!
Your Secret Santa



I have seriously fallen in love with the Sophie Washington Book Series!

This is the fourth book I’ve read in The Sophie Washington Book Series, and this is the fifth book in the series that I’ve featured on my blog!  I have truly enjoyed every single one of them!  So yes, I was stoked to read and review this book – and it did not disappoint one bit!

This book follows Sophie, now in sixth grade, and her family and friends in the beautiful suburbs of Houston, Texas.  This book takes place just three weeks away from Christmas, when Sophie begins receiving packages marked from her Secret Santa.  Sophie isn’t part of any Secret Santa program and can’t imagine who could be sending her all these gifts.  Sophie and her friends start going through the possible suspects and narrow the list down to two boys, Nathan and Toby.  Now they are determined to follow the clues and find out who the real Secret Santa is!  This Christmas is sure to be one huge holiday event that Sophie will be sure to never forget!

I love the characters!!  Sophie, her little brother, Cole, her family, her friends, Chloe, Valentina, and Mariama – they were all enjoyable, genuine, realistic, and relatable.

I really like that this book takes real-life issues head on and allows the young reader to easily connect with the characters and the situations they get into at home and at school.

This book really delves into bullying, which is such a hot topic these days.  I love that the author doesn’t shy away from the ugliness and instead brings light to these issues.  Kids are young and don’t always realize the right or wrong way to tackle these situations.  This is another reason I love this book series as the author lets the characters make mistakes and learn from them – just like real kids would do.  This book lets the characters work through real-life problems and hopefully will inform, teach, and inspire the young readers when they face similar situations.

I loved the mystery aspect of this book.  I enjoyed following the clues and trying to solve the mysterious Secret Santa puzzle alongside Sophie and her friends.

There are some exciting twists and turns and unexpected moments that will keep you guessing!

I really enjoyed reading this book with Christmas just around the corner as it definitely got me into the holiday spirit!  However, this book could easily be enjoyed any time of the year!

This book also offers insight into Sophie’s friends and family’s traditions of Christmas.  This was really exciting to see all the different cultures and customs being represented.

This book series is just filled with so many wonderful life lessons and morals and this particular book did not miss the mark!

I liked that this book touched on so many topics such as friendship, family, love, forgiveness, life lessons, second chances, growth, faith, hope, bullying, torment, support, determination, overcoming challenges, new beginnings, unity, integrity, respect, compassion, appreciation, dignity, honor, humor, recognition, and so much more.

Mrs. Tonya Duncan Ellis remains showcasing her beautiful Houston and Texas roots by throwing in many references throughout the book since the book does take place in the Houston Suburbs.  I have been to Houston many times, and I have lived in several parts of Texas before.  So, I really enjoy when I read a book from there that the real Texas is found in the pages – and it sure was!

Mrs. Tonya Duncan Ellis continues to shine with her impressive writing technique with each Sophie Washington book!  This book has a great storyline that flows, fantastic writing style with detailed scenes, beautiful illustrated images, well-developed characters, important and educational life lessons, is steady paced, and keeps you completely entertained through the last page – regardless of your age!

I think the best part of this book being for middle graders, is that it’s a fun, cool, intriguing, suspenseful book for them!  It’s not a dumbed down kid’s book and it’s not a book that a parent can be worried that their kid is reading.  It’s a book that a kid will want to read, won’t be embarrassed to read in front of their friends or their parents.  It’s the right kind of a book a kid should be reading and the right kind of book their parent will be glad they are reading!

This book is book seven of the Sophie Washington Book Series.  Although I have read other books in this series, this book can absolutely be read on its own as a standalone without any fear of getting lost or confused.  However, I am really enjoying this book series, and would totally recommend the whole series!!

This book is “G” rated as there is no swearing, no violence, no adult situations, and no sexual content.

I would absolutely recommend this book for middle graders as I think they would love this book and the Sophie Washington Book Series!

This book is marketed towards middle grades and I totally agree!  However, I might even go as far as to suggest this book for readers in third grade to seventh grade as they too would also easily enjoy this book and book series as well!

**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book and have voluntarily provided an honest, and unbiased review in accordance with FTC regulations.**

Did you find this review helpful?
If so, please, please, please mark it as helpful on Amazon here:



Check out my other Sophie Washington Book Series Posts & Reviews:

Sophie Washington: Queen Bee – Book One – Review

Sophie Washington: The Snitch – Book Two – Guest Post

Sophie Washington: The Gamer – Book Four – Review

Sophie Washington: Hurricane – Book Five – Review



Tonya Duncan Ellis is the author of the award winning, Readers' Favorite "Five Star" rated, Sophie Washington children's books series, geared toward readers ages 8 to 12, and is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She has received awards for literary excellence, worked as a journalist and freelance magazine writer, and is a graduate of Centre College of Kentucky and Washington University in St. Louis.

The Sophie Washington book series recounts the adventures of a precocious African American preteen from Houston, TX and her diverse group of friends. Each funny and heartwarming story teaches lessons about friendship, responsibility, truthfulness and perseverance. Books in the series include Queen of the Bee, The Snitch, Things You Didn't Know About Sophie, The Gamer, Hurricane, and Mission: Costa Rica.

Tonya loves to travel and has visited 49 American states and three continents, but some of her best journeys have been between the pages of a novel. As a girl she could always be found with a book in her hand, and reading is still one of her favorite hobbies. When she's not reading or writing, the author likes to ride her bike, swim, and spend time with her husband and three children. She lives in Houston, TX.




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**Sophie Washington: Secret Santa is on SALE during the book tour for ONLY $0.99!!!**

Amazon Kindle:

Amazon Paperback:

Barnes and Noble:


The Book Depository:



Tonya will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

**This post contains affiliate links and if clicked and a purchase made I may receive a small commission to help support this blog.  This does not cost you anything, it just helps pay for all those awesome giveaways on here.**

This contest is sponsored by a third party. Fabulous and Brunette is a registered host of Goddess Fish Promotions.  Prizes are given away by the sponsors and not Fabulous and Brunette. The featured author and Goddess Fish Promotions are solely responsible for the giveaway prize.


  1. Wow! What a detailed and thoughtful review. Thanks so much Ally! I so appreciate you hosting me on your blog.

  2. Sounds like a really nice book. I forsee myself buying it.

    1. Thanks Kim! The ebooks are on sale for just 99 cents on Amazon through this month.

  3. Thanks for stopping by my tour Rita! Good luck in the giveaway.