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26th June 2021
...the application form is sorted now too. Amanda is still waiting for her tech support bod to come up with a message to take the information straight from the form you (as the potential new member) fill in to the database and then to her so that she can officially welcome you into the madhouse of stories for children. Right now you need to fill in the form, pay up, then email her to let her know you've applied so that she can check PayPal and jump through all the admin hoops to get you added as the newest member.
I've got a free day tomorrow, but I'm at the hospital on Thursday morning, but that's it then until Monday when the groceries are due again, so if you're pondering on it, now would be a good time to sign up so that you can be sure you'll get in before the rush starts!
Are you going to be Amanda's next member??
Quick update on this morning's post - the members section is working now, but the application form is still out of action, but hopefully that's just a temporary problem and tech support are currently working on it... it *will* be back, Amanda just doesn't know for sure just how soon unfortunately. The last major problem like this was back in 2019...
Tech Support thinks they've found the issue and apparently something is pointing to the wrong server or something, so he's typing out the techy stuff that he's found and the information he needs to change within the database or PHP or something that went shooting over my head pretty quickly, so he's typing out a geek-speak email and the hosts will hopefully understand it and be able to geek-speak a reply which will hopefully be a quick fix and then we'll be ready to rock and roll again.
I just know enough HTML and CSS for the day to day running and get into a flap when something goes wrong!
Stay tuned and I'll let you know as soon as I know more.
I've literally just discovered an issue with the application form and I got Tech Support onto it as soon as I realised, but I don't think you can get into the members area until it's fixed - I'm so so sorry and hoping beyond hope that it'll be fixed soon!
For anyone who wants to join up, could you just bear with me for a little bit longer until Tech Support have worked their magic pretty please?
I'm guessing it's a casualty of the blatting I had to do last week, but if you could just bear with me for a little while then everything will hopefully be sorted and ready to go again.
There won't be any news today so that I don't mess anything else up!
I'll let you all know as soon as things are sorted again... please accept my apologies for the glitch and keep checking back for updates!
Thank you in advance for your patience!
...I'm having to blat my computer and reinstall Windows, starting tomorrow. Hopefully I'll be back before the end of the day but I can't guarantee it. Keep checking back and as soon as things are working again, I'll post here to let you all know... not sure how long it'll take in reality.
It's currently downloading then installing the most recent update which'll hopefully fix whatever broke, but just in case, I'll see you when I see you!
⭐⭐ out of 5
This book is starting off with the full 5 stars, the same as with every book I read and review.
First off, the author has said that they've written it for 8-13 year olds, but that covers 3 different ages of books over here in the UK - Early Chapter Books for the 8 year olds, Middle Grade novels for 9-12 year olds and Young Adult for the 13 year olds... it might be different in the authors country, but there's a huuuuuge range of reading ability between 8 year olds who are newly confident readers and 13 year olds who either love, hate or feel indifferent to books. I guess I'll find out the age of the main character and therefore which book this is aimed at over here. It's only got 66 pages too apparently, so that's short even for 8 year olds!
Ah right, it's printed in America, so maybe that's how things are done over there? Different books for different age ranges, just like their education system? Is that why the author has chosen to write for such a huge range of ages - because they wanted to include the gifted and the less able in the same book?
Riiiight... the author has put an index to each of the chapter beginnings which is more of a non-fiction book thing, rather than a fiction thing, especially over here in the UK. Does that mean that it's non-fiction maybe?
Ooh! The first image is good! It's great that there's a non-white character for this book, so my interest is already increased and I can't wait to get to know this character!
Oh dear, judging by the fourth word of the story, the author is aiming it at teens 'cos there's no way that an 8 year old would know what "ominous" meant, let alone how to pronounce it. Same with "ferociously" - that's two words in the first paragraph so maybe it's a short story for 13 year olds?
Another two words in the first two sentences of the next page... an 8 year old would have thrown this book across the room already, so I reckon this is definitely a short story for young teens, based on the first two paragraphs of the book alone.
I've read two pages and there hasn't been a word of dialogue yet... there were a few opportunities to have thoughts or even whispers but the author has chosen not to use them unfortunately. If it carries on like this, then the first star will come off unfortunately.
Now the author is using imperial as opposed to decimal which might be how they measure things in America, but UK children wouldn't have a clue about how tall "six feet tall" is.
Even more opportunities for dialogue that haven't been grasped.
Not even a single word of dialogue after five pages, so I'm out of patience with it now and the first star is coming off.
The word choices haven't improved - "qualitative" on page 6 now... unless things improve dramatically there will be another star coming off unfortunately. I don't like taking stars off and I prefer to give the benefit of the doubt, but there's only so far I'll go and I'm in the head of a 13 year old and even if they were gifted, there is only so much a child is mature enough to forgive. We're down to three stars and there's still 60 pages to go, so things aren't looking good right now.
Well, I've just finished reading chapter 1 and there wasn't a single word of speech so there's no way that even the most bookwormey 13 year old would keep reading, unfortunately.
It's taken eleven pages, but there is finally speech! Brian and his dad have finally uttered a sentence of speech each!
At 16 pages and 1.5 chapters, I've just discovered that Brian is 15 years old, so it's a young adult short story rather than a novel for 8-13 year olds. I'm guessing there are only 10,000 words tops too, so definitely not a novel.
Where's the tension and disagreement? I've read 18 pages so far and there hasn't been anything like that at all... not even a disagreement between Brian and his family which happens all the time in teenagers real lives! The author has written this as an escape for parents rather than a novel for children!
Blimey! After maybe 2 or 3 pages, I'm at chapter 3 now... that's about a third of the number of pages in the first chapter!
The first page of chapter 3 has me confused... to quote directly from the book "when he saw the man with the black at the rap contest." What is the black thing that the man has? Hair? Coat? Hat? Shoes? Clothes? Skin? That should definitely have been picked up in the edits before publication! The third star is teetering on the edge of being dropped and I'm only a third of the way through the book!
At last! Some speech between Brian and his parents! It's only taken until chapter 3 and a third of the way through for that to happen!
Suddenly there has been a robbery of diamonds come out of nowhere! If the book had opened at the crime scene, instead of so much dull backstory, then it would have thrown the reader right into it and made them want to keep reading!
Another boo-boo that should have been picked up before publication... at least it's just a single letter (s) as opposed to a whole word this time though!
Oh boy, the author is using measurement characters instead of the words now which will confuse the teens even more! That teetering star is on the verge of being dropped and taking the book down to two stars, but at least I'm (just) over half way now.
Within literally three sentences, the detective has found the undisclosed location that the guards had disappeared to, interviewed them, decided that they hadn't stolen the diamonds then released them... that could have been a tension point there and made the reader want to carry on reading, instead of just being three sentences!!
We're up to chapter 5 now and there are 19 pages left to read, so it's gonna be rushed and potentially spoiled.
Another error that should have been picked up before it was published... who is the "I" on page 46??
As predicted, the story is being rushed now and too much is happening too quickly, so the third star just dropped off and we're now at only two stars. It's not the worst children's book I've read, but it should have gone through critiques and at least one edit before it was published, IMHO.
Chapter six is a whole new storyline that seems to have been tagged on to the end for no reason whatsoever that I can see.
Yep, the last pages are totally rushed. There are plenty (as in at least 40,000) of words left to make it into a proper novel instead of a short story, so I dunno why the author felt the need to rush things.
There was slight potential in a few places, but it was an obviously rushed, self-published book that the author wanted to see their name on, rather than caring about the quality of their manuscript.
⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5
Like with all the books I read and review, this one is starting off with the full 5 stars too.
This book was a recommendation to help with my research and the other book I read by the same author was good, so I've got high hopes for this book too.
In only 8 pages, there have already been three words that I'm not sure a child would understand and having to stop reading this book to find a dictionary to look up each word then re-find their place in the book and keep reading. I'm not knocking off the star yet, 'cos maybe the author has a reason for using words that are maybe beyond their intended readers current ability, but it's teetering unsteadily unfortunately.
Just finished chapter one and there have been a couple of medical terms but there's another appendix in this book that may confuse such young readers, especially as it's supposed to be fiction.
It's taken 49 pages before the author has used a High Street brand name this time which is good going compared to the other novel I read in this series where the brand names seemed to be used whenever the author fancied it... it's another star that's teetering on the edge of being dropped after only 18% of the book.
The author is using characters from Harry Potter now so that's the first star gone after 18%.
I'm at 24% now and haven't had anything negative to say about this novel in that 6%, so I'm hoping the author is into their stride and I won't need to take any more stars off for the rest of the book.
Oooh! I like that made-up word and I may have to start using it in my real life too - flooffy!
Chapter 6 was good, but why did Nan-Nan leave the twins alone and how will they get out of the holes without causing suspicion?
The author is definitely in their stride with this book now... although I'm getting slightly confuzzled about the SWAT team and Mumsy... is Mumsy a member of the SWAT team or something??
The author has just used the name of a popular search engine and I doubt they've got written permission to use it in their book but I've already knocked a star off, so the four stars are currently safe. There have been a few words that made the star wobbly, but they didn't detract from the story, so it's still in place but still on risky ground.
Another good book by the author... could have done with faaaar less backstory right at the start and just dived right in, weaving in the backstory as she went, but other than that, this is another good book by a passionate neurosurgeony author. A well deserved 4 stars that could easily have been 5 with a few word choice changes early on, especially.