Saturday 27 October 2018

Book review: Bad Girls by Jacqueline Wilson

⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

What a disappointment!

It's so similar to "Double Act" by the same author, that I knew what was going to happen after the first couple of pages except that this is a girl in glasses instead of twins... everything else is pretty much the same though!

They are good to read, but save your money and choose one or the other 'cos they are waaay too similar to read both.

I'm sorry, but it smacks of laziness to have two books so similar to each other.
Do your readers a favour and don't copy and paste ideas in future, Ms Wilson. By all means, use bullying as the theme of more than one book, but don't change so little that it's obvious you've made good use of your copy and paste function.

You're a good author, Ms Wilson, but this copying and pasteing has really sent you spiralling down in my opinion of you now.


Thursday 25 October 2018

Book review: A Tale Of Dreams by Annette Spenner

⭐ out of 5

What a weird book... the random capitalisations of A in the middle of sentences, the amount of speech between the characters was under a thousand words throughout the book and it was waaaaay too short to be a Middle Grade book.

It's incredibly rare that I give a single star rating, but the only reason this book is getting a single star is because I can't leave a rating without any stars.

The publisher obviously found something good about this book that I've obviously missed, but it needs to go through some major editing IMO.

Seriously, unless you can afford to lose £1 and several hours of your time, don't get this book.


Monday 22 October 2018

Book review: The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

⭐⭐ out of 5

Good in theory, but unfortunately it's another disappointment in reality.

Fluff for most of the book, table of contents at the back yet again and only a few pages of emotions.  The first page of emotions lulled me into a false hope that there would be loads of pages of emotion names, like with the Positive traits book, but I was wrong... unfortunately it's more like the negative traits book.

If you're looking for a book that gives you loads of names of emotions, like I was, then you will be disappointed.  If you want to teach your granny how to suck eggs then this might help.  The positive traits was the most helpful book of the three for what I wanted.


Book review: Negative Trait Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

⭐⭐ out of 5

This is a really short book that has very few negative traits in it.  Useful if you really can't think of any negative traits, but there are only a few and it's all back to front with most of it telling your granny how to suck eggs and very little useful information unfortunately.

The table of contents is at the back again and I went straight there this time and there were only maybe 3 or 4 pages of negative traits at the back and a load of padding over the first three quarters.

It's good to have it in one place, but there are more negative emotions than are in this book.  The positive traits book had several pages of emotion compared to the handful in this one.

Useful at a stretch, but could be a lot better and more useful to writers if there was more negative trait names and less fluff at the start... would be good if the table of contents was in the right place too!


Book review: Positive Trait Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

This is a useful book for writers but, IMO, it's all back-to-front... I had to go 95% of the way through it to find a list of personality traits because the first quarter goes on and on about character traits, the second quarter gave loads of details about each trait, the third quarter was a list grouped into various ways you would use each trait and the final quarter is the table of contents.

If it had been written from back to front then it would have got the full 5 stars, but it's all topsey-turvey and confusing.

If you are looking for a book that will give you a list of positive personality traits, get this book but read it backwards to how it's presented.  If you are hoping to read it front to back, you'll get frustrated and confused.  


Sunday 21 October 2018

Started adding details to the new software...

I'm only up to E in the first book so I've got a looooong way to go but I'm hoping to have finished the first book's details by bedtime tomorrow, then start on the details from the second book for the software on Tuesday!

This software will be for members only and you won't need the current software to make it run... they are two totally separate bits of software!

Apply now so that you can get your hands on it as soon as I release it!!

Another, small, update for the writing software

Just added a few more first names to the writing software.  Nobody has bought it yet and there is going to be another software programme dooberry soon that I'll put in the shop... go and get the current software while it's still such a good price!  😀

Saturday 20 October 2018

Opinions please!

This is the current start to my query email for Keep Out! and I'm after some opinions on how it sounds please?!

I am submitting my novel, Keep Out!, for your consideration.  The story is a realistic Middle Grade novel about a mixed race family who are all racially bullied.  Jools, Emma and Jason become inseparable friends.  They go shopping for their CornerRidge Secondary School uniforms together and while Zion (Jools’ older sister) passes her uniform onto Emma to save money, Logan (Jools’ younger brother) throws a strop about not getting anything out of the shopping trip, even though he hasn’t grown out of his current uniform and he’ll be able to go on a shopping trip of his own when he starts at CornerRidge in two years’ time too. 

Keep Out! is a 50,000 word novel for readers aged 9-12 and would appeal to those who have enjoyed Billionaire Boy by David Walliams plus the angst of having a sibling as described in Jacqueline Wilson’s Double Act.

Thoughts please?

Book review: Double Act by Jacqueline Wilson

⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

This is a good book for tweens, but after the author's popularity around her books, I was left a little disappointed.

I also got very confused about which twin was talking and writing because the only tell-tale switch between them is the use of the authors italics.  If a different font or different colour or even just the name of the twin followed by a colon immediately before the account entry then it would have been better, but I very quickly got confused about which twin was writing which bit.

It's a good book if you've got a good memory and can put some work into closely following which character is writing in italics but I just found it too hard to keep up with which twin was saying what.

I wish I could give this book more than 3 stars, considering how popular the author is, but I'm left feeling disappointed at the end of it.


Friday 19 October 2018

Learnt something new this evening!

Apparently what I was missing last night was something called "x meets y" and only needs to be a single sentence rather than the paragraph I was thinking!

Maybe "this manuscript is a British 11 by 12 meets Billionaire Boy" instead of going into why they are similiar!  I'm gonna read the 2 Kindle books I bought yesterday then try and come up with the correct x meets y thingy by the time I go to bed tomorrow.

I can so do this now and it's all thanks to SCBWI-BI!!

Book review: Billionaire Boy by David Walliams

 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

A fantastic friend recommended this book because I'd asked for books for tweens that heavily featured bullying.

I was initially suspicious because David Walliams is so well-known - surely he's not that good, right?  He must have paid for all the positive publicity or something?

I was wrong. 

So wrong. 

So very wrong.

This is a truly fantastic book for tweens and the author has got everything sooooo right... the language, the humour, the gross bits... Mr Walliams is waaaay up there alongside Enid Blyton for me now!  He returned me to the feeling of being engrossed by a book and wanting it to never end!

Book review: 11 before 12 by Lisa Greenwald

⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

Just finished reading this book and it's not as good as the other reviewers make it out to be unfortunately.  It's slow to start and doesn't really pick up the pace or excitement.  There's very little reason for British tweens to keep turning the pages and there are too many reasons for putting the book down and never picking it up again.

I'm proud of the author for putting her work out across the Atlantic and maybe American tweens would find it more interesting, but I can't give it above 3 stars unfortunately.


Saturday 13 October 2018

Book review: Deputy Paws and the Puppy Mill Cause

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

I'm very rarely speechless about books but this one has to be read to be believed!

It raises the issue of puppy mill dogs and their health in an incredibly sensitive way for youngsters.  It shows that dogs who are bred and survive in puppy mills are incredibly unhappy pups and that they are either euthanised or handed in to shelters with seemingly no thought.

Our pup is a rescue pup so it's a very important cause to me.  The author has raised a very important reason to avoid pet shops and go to rescue/rehoming centres instead.  The author is reaching out to the next generation who will hopefully put up a fight against puppy mills in the future.

A must-read for everyone!

WTG Peggy!

Thursday 11 October 2018

Just been rejected by an agent

At this time last year I'd have been ready to throw in the towel at the rejection, taken it as a personal attack on me or whatever.

Not any more though.

I realise that my manuscript just wasn't right for them right now and I'm gonna get straight on with subbing to the next agent.

The rejection still hurts, but I'm not gonna give up, I'm gonna put todays date into me spreadsheet along with their comments and click on the URL for the next agent on the list!

Ho hum.  😞

Get creative!

Wednesday 10 October 2018

Competition for UK children's writers

I've just found out about a competition for writers of children's fiction here and wanted to let you all know about it as soon as I could.

It's judged by children and the prizes sound awesome.  There's a £25 entry fee per novel you submit but there are no limit to the amount you can enter so if you enter one novel it would cost £25 but if you enter 5 then the price would be £125.

Apparently there have been authors taken on from this competition even though they've been rejected by the same agent that takes them on, so it's worth entering!

Good luck and don't forget where you heard about it if you're awarded a multi million pound contract with one of the agencies judging it!

Book review: Children's writers and artists yearbook 2019

⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

This is a must-have for every children's writer or illustrator, but most of this years book seems to cover other countries and stuff.  For such a huge volume there are only maybe 50 pages of agents and publishers in the UK which is OK if you are looking for contacts around the rest of the world and by the time it was published most of the information was out of date.

In previous years I'd got a lot more UK agents and publishers on my spreadsheet, but only about 10 entries *combined* out of this one.  It's good that they cover the world's agents and publishers, but it seems to be at the expense of the UK unfortunately.

I've never got this every year (last year I bought this was the 2016 yearbook in 2015) and have always valued it covering every agent and publisher of children's books in the UK but seemingly not any more.

If you've never bought the yearbook before, or you want to find worldwide agents and publishers then this yearbook will hopefully help you, but if you've bought it in the last few years, save your money on this one because more things have been taken out of the UK part than put in!

And another update to the software this morning!

I added another 20-odd names to the software and uploaded it this morning... for the first time since it's creation, I did it all meself this morning without any help from the in-house geek who programmed it for me!

Just about to review the Yearbook too - unfortunately it only gets 3 stars from me this year  😞

Tuesday 9 October 2018

Another update to the writing software

Just uploaded 50-odd additions to one of the parts of the writing app.   Now would be a good time to become a member and buy the software because while the free version will always be free, there is unlimited access to the paid for non-members version, but only members get free updates as they are uploaded for their entire membership!


Learn from my mistake

I published a book with Author House back in 2013.

I spent literally tens of thousands of pounds when I was originally told that it'd be less than $750.

I've made a grand total of £17.62 since then and I've had nothing but problems from them, trying to force me to pay thousands more for things that just won't happen.

Now they want me to pay tax on my earnings this year.  I've opted out now so I'll have to pay 30% tax.  Fine by me 'cos 30% of nothing is nothing!  It'll cost them more to work it out and send me the letter/email than it will in the money I'll have to pay back. 

I know that right now you want to be published.  That's totally understandable.  That's why I went with Author House in the first place and it'd be less than £500 to get the book published and I'd be getting thousands a month, right?


I spent getting on for £25,000 and I've had a total return of £17.62 in the last 5 years.

Learn from my mistake and run for the hills instead of going to Author House!

Monday 8 October 2018

Book review: What Is Me? by Brett Coon

⭐⭐ out of 5

The author seems very confused about who his audience is and how long the book should be.

He's said that it's a picture book and it's got pictures in, but it's only got 11 pages instead of 28, covers issues of gender and sexuality that would confuse a 4 year old that would be better placed in a Young Adult novel for teens instead of a small child.  In the age bit on Amazon apparently for "8-18 year olds" so why is a picture book (which is the age range of birth to five years old) aimed at such a huge 10 year gap in the market?

Even Middle Grade readers (9-12 year olds) would struggle with the ideas presented in this book, so you're looking at teens (Young Adult) who wouldn't pick up your book because it's too short and immature for them.

It's also been put in the "crime, thriller and mystery > thrillers" section yet there is absolutely nothing in it that fits anywhere in that category at all!

Sorry Brett, this needs a lot of work and thought about who it's aimed at then re-written and expanded for that audience.  I'm in a good mood this morning so I'm giving you 2 stars because of the rhyming for a book that would usually struggle to get a single star.