The Upshot: Summer Vacation Reading for Tweens

Books Children

Nick and Tesla’s Secret Agent Gadget Battle!

I LOVE the Nick and Tesla series!


If you love ALL things science, then you’ll love the next installment: Nick and Tesla’s Secret Agent Gadget Battle! As we follow twins Nick and Tesla around Half Moon Bay, their lovable weird Uncle Newt constantly gets them into trouble. Uncle Newt is under surveillance (but who?? and why??) and it’s up to the twins to figure out why!

Along they way you’ll learn how to make all kinds of neat science experiments (WARNING: wear protective clothing and eyewear, I’m just saying) just like the kids do in the series.

Remember the science experiment I made trying to follow their recipe in High Voltage Danger Lab?  Here’s the link.

Quirk Books always brings the BEST stuff!

Grab your copy now, put on your white lab coat and get experimenting. OR, put on sunglasses and a fake mustache and try your hand at going undercover.


Non Fiction

How to Make Your Cat an Internet Celebrity, a Review by Cleo Cat

I’m Cleopatra Jones


Cleo Cat for short. I’m the boss around here. Pam stepped out for a bit to do some dumb human things so I took this chance to read and review the book How to Make Your Cat an Internet Celebrity by Patricia Carlin.

First, I had to help Pam read the book.


She’s a freakishly large  nice person and all but she’s a pretty slow reader.  I may have dozed off while she read.

When we’re not reading, we like to sit in our comfy box.


Where’s my cat nip?

Sometimes I take my meals with Pam.


She clearly does not know how to open a simple package of cat treats.

I know Pam read the book and is looking for options to attain financial freedom, but she keeps missing all these great photo opps. She’s so dumb human.

I try to help her.  I really do.


But she just doesn’t get it.


I sit and I’m cute and I wait for her to take photos but she is NOWHERE to be seen.


By the way, the tea here is terrible.

I’m at my wits end with Pam.  She reads books but doesn’t use the knowledge that she gains from them.  I tell her all the time; knowledge is power.

How to Make Your Cat an Internet Celebrity

Maybe she needs to read the book again?


Hollow City Review by Ransom Riggs @quirkbooks



You know that moment when you realize a book is going to be AS good as you thought it was going to be? And then you get knee deep into it and it’s BETTER?? Like out of the galaxy better?

Yeah this.  Hollow City you break my heart. To be sure, I loved Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Convinced myself even, that because my letter from Hogwarts didn’t arrive, that perhaps I might be destined to be peculiar.

Enter Hollow City.  And now I know I’m peculiar because I can’t love a book anymore than I love Hollow City.  I’m back with all of my peculiar siblings and we can now be proud of the peculiar things we do and we revel in how well these peculiar things help us get through the world! Bees?!! Floating little girls!?!

It’s great reading friends. So GREAT that I took my time reading.  My review was scheduled for a different day, but I couldn’t let go of my friends.  I didn’t want to read too much or too far, or too fast lest the book be over too soon.  But alas, and alack, the book came to an end.  My heart is broken for so many reasons, least of all because I must wait to discover what happens next to my friends.

BTW did you see the fun spin off Valentine’s Day cards I made from the ones that Quirk books made?  Check them out:



Young Adult

Hollow City Valentines with an Unconventional Twist

Need a Valentine’s Day card for the love of your life? Wanna scare the pants off of someone?  Wanna chuckle? No matter your reason, you NEED to check out the Hollow City Valentines made by my besties at Quirk Books.  Hollow City is the much anticipated follow up to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.  I am in the middle of Hollow City right now and believe me, it does not DISAPPOINT!

So, go over to Quirk Books, grab your copy of Hollow City, then check out their Valentines.

But wait. Before you go, wanna see the ones I’m sending?


Children Non Fiction

Let’s Talk About Monkeyfarts

You know the old adage about never working on screen with children and animals, right?  Well every once in a while you have to break that rule in order to discuss important issues.

Thus is the case today where we discuss Quirk Books hilarious Monkeyfarts book! Monkeyfarts is a compilation of super silly animal jokes that only true kids at heart will love.  If you don’t like fart jokes then this isn’t the book for you; but if you’re still a 6 yr old inside then this is the title for you.

And speaking of 6 yr olds, I’m joined today by Camille.  We both LOVE Monkeyfarts so we decided to have our own little book club to discuss our fave book.

Take a look:



As you can see, Camille knows her Monkeyfarts jokes! Isn’t her smile to die for? Do you have a favorite Monkeyfarts joke? Or a favorite childhood joke?  Tell us in the comments!


P.S. Many thanks to Janeane of Janeane’s World for loaning me her child.


The Geek’s Guide to Dating by Eric Smith

The Geek’s Guide to Dating by Eric Smith



Hey friends, I’m here to talk about dating.  I can sum up dating in two words: Boys have cooties. Ok, so that’s 3 words.  But  I can equally say the same about girls:  Girls are Impossible. (I should know, I are one)


But, if you’ve decided you just HAVE to date, snag a copy of my bestie Eric Smith’s book The Geek’s Guide to Dating.  Eric (aka Pookie) is the expert on modern dating matters.  First of all, Big Pook gives it to you straight: you’re a geek so you need to accept that fact and work with what you have.  That’s just the kind of dating advice I need.  If I were X years younger.  And single. But no matter, for the purpose of this review, I’m a single geek like you.


So, inside Pook helps us identify our Geek and then we can learn to work our geek powers for good.  You’ll be surprised to know that I am an academic geek; one who loves books and is not afraid to engage in lengthy dissertations about my fave books.  Take the quiz that starts on page 21 to see what your geek superpowers are.  Remember we must use these powers for good.

There are many problems with being a geek and wanting to date.  Smith identifies these problems and offers sound advice on how to overcome them.  For example:

  • Where to meet datable people
  • What to say to datable people
  • What to wear if actually secure date with datable people

You see the pattern? Geek’s Guide to Dating covers it all. From nose hairs to bad breath to sex. Big Pook tells you what to do and how to find a wingman (wingperson) to help you coordinate your dating activities.  (SB: I always took a friend on a date in case I wanted to ditch)

You can’t go wrong with the Geek’s Guide to Dating.  Buy multiple copies and give them to your fellow Geek friends.  As Smith says “All your date are belong to us.”

I wish I’d had this book when I was a single geek girl wading in the internet dating cesspool.  But eventually, I found my own geek!

And BTW? Gotta love a dating book that references LOTR, right??



Tales from Lovecraft Middle School: Substitute Creature

If there was ever a school you didn’t want to attend, it’s Lovecraft Middle School.  The School is haunted by too many creepy and ghoulish creatures to mention.  Why? Because Lovecraft Middle School is built on top of Tillinghast Mansion, which is haunted.


But here’s why I LOVE the series: it’s creepy and multicultural.  To be sure, basement tunnels full of rats, closets that warp you to another dimension, creepy weird LIBRARIANS, and snake-like people are CREEPY. With a capital Creep.  They make my skin crawl.  But what I love love love about the series is that the characters appear to be of mixed ethnicity and that’s alright with me.

Substitute Creature is especially fun! The action is so quick moving you can hardly catch your breath: our favorite heroes Glenn and Robert are trapped on the ledge of the school outside in the freezing cold in their bare feet!

Don’t take my word for it; check out my other reviews as you KNOW I’ve read all of them so far:

It seems like that poor school cannot keep a librarian employed; sounds like they need me.  If anyone is listening, can I turn in my app?

I give this particular book in the series 4 paws for fast paced action and multicultural fabulousness!

Unconventional Librarian 4paws