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Book Blast: Ellie, Engineer by Jackson Pearce

Today I'm very excited to participate in a book blast for Ellie, Engineer by Jackson Pearce hosted by Jean Book Nerd.  I love the idea of this book because it gives young girls a great role model and exposes them to a job or area they might now always know about. To find out more check out the tour page HERE.


The hilarious and smart start of a series about a girl who loves to build—STEM-powered, creative fun for girls.

Ellie is an engineer. With a tool belt strapped over her favorite skirt (who says you can’t wear a dress and have two kinds of screwdrivers handy, just in case?), she invents and builds amazing creations in her backyard workshop. Together with her best friend Kit, Ellie can make anything. As Kit’s birthday nears, Ellie doesn’t know what gift to make until the girls overhear Kit’s mom talking about her present—the dog Kit always wanted! Ellie plans to make an amazing doghouse, but her plans grow so elaborate that she has to enlist help from the neighbor boys and crafty girls, even though the two groups don’t get along. Will Ellie be able to pull off her biggest project yet?

Illustrated with Ellie’s sketches and plans, and including backmatter with how-tos, this is full of engineering fun!


"A charming book featuring an engineer who makes mistakes when navigating the roads of friendship. In addition to spotlighting engineering, the narrative contains strong themes of friendship and working together toward a common goal. VERDICT A solid addition to chapter book collections." ―School Library Journal

"Charming. . . . In addition to spotlighting engineering, the narrative contains strong themes of friendship and working together toward a common goal." ―School Library Journal

"Pearce emphasizes Ellie’s persistence and individuality. . . . Mourning’s notebook-style images help give a sense of how Ellie’s brain works." ―Publishers Weekly

"Explicitly rejects the idea that activities and objects are gendered (e.g., boys and girls can both like engineering and tea parties). The twist ending is not what most readers will expect. A spirited, duplicable depiction of STEM fun." ―Kirkus Reviews


Jackson Pearce currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia. After attending Brookwood High School in Snellville, GA, Jackson attended Georgia College & State University and later transferred to the University of Georgia, where she graduated with a major in English and a minor in Philosophy.

Jackson was an avid reader as a child—she loved the Boxcar Children and Indian in the Cupboard series, but really, she read anything she could get her hands on. This proved problematic when she got her hands on her mother’s paperback romance books from time to time.

It was her love of reading that spurred her to start writing—when Jackson was in her tweens, she was looking for a book that involved a smart girl, horses, baby animals, and magic. When such a book couldn’t be found, Jackson vowed to write it herself. She gave the story up after about ten pages, but the love of writing didn’t die as easily as the story. In her late teens, Jackson began writing for publication. Her first book, AS YOU WISH, sold to Harper Collins when she was twenty-two years old. There are currently four books in her series of retold fairytales—SISTERS RED, SWEETLY, FATHOMLESS, and COLD SPELL. She has also written a contemporary novel called PURITY, a historical fantasy under the pen name J. Nelle Patrick (TSARINA), and has two middle grade series forthcoming—THE DOUBLECROSS (AND OTHER SKILLS I LEARNED AS A SUPERSPY), coming July 2015, and PIP BARTLETT’S GUIDE TO MAGICAL CREATURES, co-written with Maggie Stiefvater, coming May 2015

Photo Content from Jackson Pearce

TWITTER: @JacksonPearce

10 Winners will receive a Copy of ELLIE, ENGINEER by Jackson Pearce.
Giveaway is open to International. 
Must be 13+ to Enter

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Book Subscription Review: Bookroo

I'm a reader.  Always have been always will be.  And my passion is to get others reading as well.  For me that starts at birth.  When my three kiddos were little that had so many books! We had them everywhere.  I feel its so very important to introduce the youngest of kids to books and reading.  

So when I was offered a sample of Bookroo for review I jumped at the chance.  What is Bookroo you ask?  It's a book subscription box for children.  Each month they send you 2 or 3 books depending on your subsciption.  These are books that are choosen in a fantastic way.  This his how Bookroo puts it, "As book explorers, Bookroo discovers the hidden gems not already on your shelves and brings them straight to your door. With help from a panel of approximately 12 families attending Stanford University who read the books with their own children and rate them, Bookroo uses those ratings to help select the best books in each box every month!"

Bookroo has two different subsciption boxs:

Picture Book Box
  • Perfect for kids age 2-6
  • Contains 2 hardcover picture books, individually gift wrapped!
  • Chosen with the help of the Bookroo Review Process
  • Retail value of books exceeds subscription price

Board Book Box
  • Perfect for kids age 0-2
  • Contains 3 board books, individually gift wrapped!
  • Chosen with the help of the Bookroo Review Process
  • Retail value of books exceeds subscription price

I was sent a sample of the Picture Book Box. The first thing I noticed when the box arrived was the packaging! It was super cute and solid. I've had a few books from placed I've orderd from arrive in simple envelops. That wasn't the case with Bookroo. The second thing I noticed was the packaging for the books inside. They were wrapped!! What fun for a little one getting the box.

Wrapped books

Inside I found two picture books:

I hadn't heard of either of them. That was good because I wouldn't want them to be the overly popular books because the risk of owning them would be too high.

About the books:
Land Shark by Beth Ferry
Illustrated by Ben Mantle
The only thing Bobby wants for his birthday is a pet shark. So you can imagine his disappointment when his parents get him...a puppy. Everyone knows shark lovers can never become dog lovers. Or can they? Full of humor and heart, this book explores the idea that sometimes, getting exactly what you don't want turns out to be exactly what you need.

Rock-a-Bye Room by Susan Meyers
Illustrated by Amy Bates
A mother soothes her daughter before bed as they say good night to all the things in her room—a rocking horse, dolls, blocks, and even the pictures on the wall—until it’s time to share a story and a kiss good night. With lulling rhymes and lush watercolors, Rock-a-Bye Room is a homespun love song from a mother to child with a dreamy, rockabilly twist. This tender lullaby will be the perfect complement to any child’s nighttime ritual.

Thoughts on the Books
I loved both books. Land Shark made me giggle and Rock-a-Bye Room is a book I could have seen reading when I needed my kids to quiet and get ready for bed. What I really loved was that they were two different types of books. They were both silly or serious. And that neither were based on popular cartoon or movie characters. They were beautiful fun well chosen books.

Final thoughts: If I had little ones I would be getting this subscription box for sure! The presentation was fantastic and the books were thoughtfully chosen. It would've been something both my kids and I wouldn't looked forward to!

Encourage your child to read with Bookroo!
Available starting at $15.99, with month-to-month subscription at $17.99 in both US and Canada. Can be purchased online at
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Blog Tour: Speed of Life by Carol Weston. Review and GIVEAWAY!

Today I'm participating in a blog tour for Speed of Life organized by Smith Publicity.  

First about the book

Sofia wonders if 14 might be the worst possible age to lose your mom. Talking with her dad about puberty and s-e-x is super-awkward (even though he is a gynecologist). And when she wants to talk about her mom, her friends don't know what to say and her dad gets sad.

When Sofia discovers Dear Kate, an advice columnist from Fifteen magazine, she’s grateful to have someone to confide in about everything from crushes to mourning—someone who is completely, wonderfully anonymous. It feels ideal—until Sofia’s dad introduces her to his new girlfriend, Katherine Baird, a.k.a., Dear Kate…

About the Author
Carol Weston has been the Dear Carol advice columnist at Girls’ Life since 1994. Her sixteen books include Ava and Pip, Ava and Taco Cat, Ava XOX, The Diary of Melanie Martin, and Girltalk: All the Stuff Your Sister Never Told You, which came out in a dozen languages. Weston has been featured in The New York Times, The TODAY show, The View, Parenting, Redbook, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen and elsewhere. A summa cum laude Yale grad, Carol has an MA in Spanish from Middlebury. She lives in Manhattan.

For more on Weston, please visit and follow her on Twitter @carol_weston.

I really wasn't sure what to expect when I first started this book.  I was familar with Weston's Ava and Pip books.  That was actually a bit of a problem because I went into the book subconsciously expecting a book for that same age group.  It's not! That's not a bad thing at all!!!!! It just threw me for a minute.  

Once my brain got that this book was for a bit older group of kids (the main character is 14), I really settled in and enjoyed the story.  We learn right away the Sofia's mother passed away.  It was difficult to read about her finding her mom, but it helped me understand Sofia so much better.  I could understand she was grieving, but after that scene I understood  the layers of her grief better.  This is, of course, an important part of the story, but I liked that it went beyond that.  And it was going beyond that really made this story more realistic and relatable.  Now I know that many students won't be able to relate to losing a parent like Sofia did but they can relate to having a parent date, and they can relate to all the emotions Sofia goes through dealing with everything - especially at the age of 14.  

I also wanted to comment on the diversity in the book.  I loved what it brought to the story, and I love that it was important to the richness of the characters but not their only factor.  This gave the book another place where readers could connect.  Many readers will be able to see themselves in Sofia's family.  

There was one small scene that stuck with me and reminded me of the importance of how books can show the reader other ways of thinking.  Sofia and her friend Kiki were talking about a dollhouse they played with and how at first they stuck all the furniture in one room because that's what they knew from living in apartments.  Sofia says they coudn't fathom spreading out to the other floors.  As someone who as always lived in a house I wouldn't never thought that.  The scene stuck with me because it reminded me that not everyone sees the world as I do! And I think that's what this book does well.  It reminds the readers of the way we see things differently but also how alike we are.  

Final thought: Well done.  Much for a reader to relate to! 

Yes I would put this in the library.  I might touch base with the 5th graders checking it out just because it does talk about a few mature things.  

I am able to giveaway one copy of the book.
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Audio Book Review: Son by Lois Lowry

Title: Son
Author: Lois Lowry
Narrator: Bernadette Dunne

“They called her Water Claire.”

When the young girl washed up on their shore, no one knew she had been a Vessel. That she had carried a Product. That it had been carved from her belly. Stolen. 
Claire had had a son. She was supposed to forget him, but that was impossible. When he was taken from their community, she knew she had to follow. And so her journey began.
But here in this wind-battered village Claire is welcomed as one of their own. In the security of her new home, she is free and loved. She grows stronger. As tempted as she is by the warmth of more human kindness than she has ever known, she cannot stay. Her son is out there; a young boy by now. Claire will stop at nothing to find her child . . . even if it means trading her own life. 

In the last year I've finished the complete The Giver series.  I listened to both Gathering Blue and Messenger.  Both of those I thought were good.  They added to my understanding of the world of The Giver, but yet had their own story.  So I decided it was time to finish the series and listen to Son.  I'm going to be completely honest.  I was not impressed.  I liked the beginning when Claire is in the community after have Gabe.  I found that interesting, but after that the story went downhill for me.  I found the second part very very slow and there were parts I felt odd about.  There was so much focus on women having babies (I get it! Claire is a mother who is missing her son!), but I seemed very old fashioned and stereotypical.  Plus ther wer some things said by Inor (I don't know if I'm spelling that right since I listened to the story), that I found odd and out of place for the age group the book is for.  And I think that's what I felt about a chunk of the book - it just wasn't necessary.  The ending was over-done for me.  I knew what was going to happen, so have it explained in so much detail was way more than I needed.  I found myself fast-forwarding!

Ok sorry I don't ususally give negative reviews, but I really struggled with this book.  I'm kinda sorry I read it because it took away some of the love for The Giver because now I have way more story than I needed or wanted.  I know I'm in the minority for this feeling, but it's where I stand. 

Thoughts on the audio book: I actually liked the narrator.  She did a good job with all the difference characters and was easy to listen to.  

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