Tuesday, 5 July 2022

That's my Toni trilogy officially...

...archived.  I trawled through until chapter 8 and decided that it was best left alone from now on... it's been through too many crits and edits so it's lost all the heart that I poured into the three manuscripts.  I've gotta be brutal and that's the only one (I'm counting the trilogy as one manuscript) that I've felt so negatively about so it's better archived and forgotten about so that I can move onto more worthy manuscripts that stand a better chance of being accepted, published and then read by the intended audience.

Goodbye Toni.

I'm not enjoying...

...editing my first book in my Toni trilogy as much as I thought I would.  The MG books that I edited last week were so much better and I can totally see why the agents I approached with the trilogy rejected it now.  I'm even pondering on letting it wither and wilt and I forget about the whole trilogy 'cos the way it is now is just waaay too boring.  The books I started on in this folder were so much better than this one... it's lost the sparkle and my voice is completely lost in it.  I'll give it until the end of this current chapter and if it hasn't dramatically improved, I'm gonna archive the entire trilogy - I can't expect others to enjoy my words when I'm not enjoying them myself!  It's had too many people giving too much crit advice in the early days and Toni is just words on a page now... there's no emotion or excitement or need to read more.

Sunday, 3 July 2022


I've just remembered that I've written a few short stories that need to be edited too, so I'll make a start on those when I get back here too so that I don't get too far out of the creative writing mind-set!

I can sooo do this!

Saturday, 2 July 2022

I'm being spoilt with...

...my own writing!  I've just finished editing my third book in 3 days and really enjoyed this one too.  If I'm feeling so positive about books I wrote in 2015-2017 then the more modern ones will hopefully be even better!

I'm gonna give myself the rest of today and all of tomorrow off from editing then get cracking on my Toni trilogy on Monday.

This is gonna be my year!


...I'm 89 pages into a 337 page manuscript and I'm already having to swallow tears.  These are considerably better manuscripts than I'd ever given myself credit for.  In my book reviews, I can always tell a good book by how much emotion it stirs up inside me... I can already tell that I'll be in tears soon with this book, so it's the third book in as many days that I'm proud of which is an awesome feeling and is doing wonders for my confidence.

Friday, 1 July 2022

Another manuscript that...

...needed very little editing and I honestly enjoyed reading, so that's two manuscripts in two days that I'm already feeling proud of.

Tomorrow is gonna be the 4th edit of "Don't Bother!" by the looks of things, then I'm giving myself the day off on Sunday and then I'll get cracking on my Toni trilogy next week so that I can do one a day without forgetting what I've already written about.

Decision made about yesterday's editing

I decided for definite this morning that it's a MG MS so I've changed the age from 16 to 14 and edited the bit about making Dad a grandad so early and I'm a lot happier with it now.

Gonna edit "That's Magic!" today.

Thursday, 30 June 2022

Even if I do say so myself...

...this is a blimmin' good manuscript that has needed very little editing done to it!  I'm hoping I'll have finished editing it by bedtime tonight and it was one of my earlier manuscripts too (first written in 2016) which makes it even better!

The MC has just had her 16th birthday though, but I've written it for MG so I'm wondering if I should take the age down or make it a short fantasy for YA 'cos it's 50k words?  It's fantasy though, so talk of future pregnancies and making a grandparent doesn't have to be with the realistic legal age of consent, right?

Tuesday, 28 June 2022

Book Review: "Dear Daddy" by Serena Haeuser

⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

If you've read any of my other book reviews recently, you'll know that I've always started them off by saying that every book starts off with the full five stars and that I'm always hopeful that I'll finish reading the last page with them all still stuck firmly in place.

Let's get started, shall we?

First off, I love the cover design - it shows a happy dad and daughter spending time together, which is already making my heart swell, even before I've opened it and started reading!

The illustration on the first page is absolutely gorgeous and it look like this is gonna be a letter as opposed to a story and it's a letter to the father figure from the child which I don't think a young child would understand or enjoy, but we shall see.  The fifth star is looking wobbly.

Oh dear.  The second page uses a word that a child reader/listener wouldn't understand at all ("appreciated") so the first star is unfortunately plopping off and onto the floor after only two pages  :-(

Thankfully I haven't found anything to whine about in the next three pages, so do I have a four star book in my hands??

Oh dear.  This was obviously written for the American audience 'cos the author has spelt it "mommy" which would confuse a British child and not every child prays so the fourth star is coming off too.

I love all the photos of the Dad and child spending time together... that's a great touch to finish the book on.

Monday, 27 June 2022


⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

Before I get started with this review properly, I'm gonna start it in the same way as all of my other recent book reviews: every book I read and review, starts of in the same way - with the full 5 stars stuck firmly in place and I'm always hopeful that they will still all be sitting there proudly when I close the back cover.

Let's get started.

I have fond memories of making my own bed as a child, in the days before quilts were the go-to bedding that most people used and nobody could ever pull the bottom sheet tight enough so they quickly gave up and left it to me lol  I've got 3 nephews now though and if this book is good enough, I'll recommend it to the parents of my eldest nephew to try and encourage him to make his own bed too.

This book was obviously written for the American audience 'cos of the use of "mom" instead of "mum" which could confuse such young listeners and makes it harder work for the parent or carer reading the book, with having to instantly change it back to British English every time it appears which could get very frustrating, very quickly.  I'm not knocking off a star for that, but it's not a solid 5 stars any more, just one more slip up will mean it plops off though.

There's no way that a picture book reader/listener would understand what the word "confident" meant, so we are now at a 4 star book, which is still good but could be better.

Oh boy, now we've got "successfully completed too - it's good that this book is out there, but the language choices and amount of pages aren't suitable for the UK market (there are 39 pages and the maximum for a UK picture book is 32) so the fourth star is looking really wobbly too unfortunately.  I won't be recommending this book for my nephew otherwise the language alone will confuse him too much.

The character name is too complicated for such a young audience, so we're finishing the book on 3 stars unfortunately.

Book Review: "Bliss and Her Friends" By Carl Baker and Bernadette Wells

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

If you've read any of my other recent book reviews, you'll already know that I start all of them off in the same way, by saying that every book starts off with a solid 5 stars and that I'm always hopeful that they will all still be stuck solidly in place by the time I close the back cover.

I've always had a special interest in books that are for those groups who are less well catered for, and the cover of this book seems to show that there will be a variety of children who aren't usually catered for, so I can't wait to get started on this book!

Let's get the front cover opened up and start reading.

There are a few totally blank pages in my version which is a touch worrying... they must be blank for a reason, right?

It's great that there are a few questions to ask on each page, but maybe they could be in a different font or colour or something like that, so that the adult reading it with the child doesn't get confused?

It's awesome to see such a range of children playing on this page!  WTG the author and illustrator!

Oh dear, poor Bliss sitting there all tearful while surrounded by so many other happy children playing together!

A good way to end the book... I'd like to have seen the final image showing a different breakdown of the family though - either same gender or disabled or mixed race or something like that?

Overall a very worthy 5 stars and deserves a place on your child's bookshelf.

Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Book Review: "Mate and Rix Escape Boredom" by Jolie Curran


⭐⭐ out of 5

If you've read any of my other book reviews, you'll already know that I start 'em all off by saying that each book starts off with the full 5 stars and that I'm always hopeful that they will still be stuck firmly in place when I close the back cover.

I'm intrigued to read this book 'cos maths has never been my strong point, so I'm hoping that this book will explain things clearly and that the knowledge will stay firmly lodged in my noggin' for future reference.  It's aimed at 5-9 year olds, so it should be pretty simple maths for a middle-ager, right?  It's only 29 pages long too, so hopefully I'll be able to put the sums to good use this afternoon after our groceries have been delivered.

Let's get started.

The first few pages are incredibly confusing 'cos they are all just a jumble of letters... I don't think they are even a proper language, just random letters with spaces... I'm hoping they are just a woopsie by the publisher 'cos I'm 64% of the way through and haven't read a single word of the story yet!

Such a young age group would barely know that those numbers ("Ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty") existed as words and they certainly wouldn't be able to read them, so that's the first star coming off, unfortunately.

More text as opposed to numbers so a five year old would have given up, picked their nose in frustration and never walked off... even a 9 year old might struggle with seeing "lining up twenty-nine" and "lining up eighteen more" and they certainly wouldn't be able to do the maths, so that's another star coming off, unfortunately.

Ah-ha!  Now we're at the maths, but the tens are being added up first which isn't how UK children are taught, so the 8 and 9 year olds would be frustrated and confused so would maybe storm off in a huff at this point.  It might be how it's taught in America, but it's really not a good book for UK children unfortunately.

At 91% of the way through, there's a major problem with the illustration 'cos it shows 47+3=40 then +10=50 when it should be *37* instead of 47 - big woops to make there!  Definitely a third star coming off very rapidly!

It's good that the author has explained their maths right at the end, but this book will hinder rather than help young children with their maths, unfortunately.  It may be suitable for youngsters in other countries, just not the UK unfortunately.

Book Review: "Cheeky Chameleon: Where Are You?" by Marie Zhang


⭐⭐ out of 5

I'll start this review off in the same way as I've started all my other recent book reviews, by saying that this book (and every book I review) starts off with the full 5 stars and that I'm always hopeful that they are all stuck firmly in place by the time I close the back cover.

I'm also a childrens author and the age range of 2-8 years old covers two types of books - picture books for the up to 6's and early readers for the 7-8 year olds.  They also have a huuuuge difference in understanding and interests, so I'm wondering which age group this book is really for already.

Whoever set this book out for the Kindle, didn't do a very good job because the words and the intended illustration are on two different pages with the words for the next illustration directly underneath the previous illustration so this middle-ager is getting confused already so I dread to think what the intended audience would be thinking and feeling about this book!  The first star is dropping off unfortunately.

At 58% a very American word is used ("trash") which would seriously confuse such a young audience, so the second star is coming off.

This is definitely an American author and book 'cos of the spelling of "gray" too, which would confuse the upper age group this book is aimed at when they are being taught to spell it with an e ("grey") so the third star is coming off and we're down to two stars at 69% of the way through.

It ends well, but this really isn't a book for the UK market with such a young audience who are only just getting to grips with the English language.

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Book Review: "Zyla & Kai" by Kristina Forest

Kindle edition:
Paperback edition:

⭐ out of 5

If you've read any other recent book reviews by me, you'll already know that I start every review in the same way: that they all start off with the full 5 stars and that I'm always hopeful that they will all still be firmly in place when I close the book too.  This book ain't no different  ;-)

OK, so the author is American, so I won't knock a star off for not spelling words with u's and using z's all over the place too  ;-)

It's only taken 3 dull and boring pages to finally have some speech.  I realise that backstory is needed, but not 3 pages of dratted boredom!!

The first 8 pages have been soo dull - it might be how things are written for teens in America, but it's been so overwhelmingly boring that the first star is coming off before I start reading page 9... will I be skipping more than I read with this book?  Haven't had to do that for a while, thankfully, but it's already looking likely with this book.

The second star is coming off because of the totally unnecessary swearing... I get that swearing is allowed in Young Adult books, but this was a totally unnecessary swear so the second star is already coming off and we're down to 3 stars in under 10 pages.

Another 2 swears on the next page too, which is again totally unnecessary.  If the author is so determined to swear in her books then she should stick to adult fiction IMNSHO.

Now the author is using big brand name drinks, probably without written permission, which is Trademark infringement, so the third star drops off at page 12.  I was really looking forward to reading this book, but now I'm regretting ever requesting it and wasting my time on it so far.

Four swears in three pages is  horrible and I really don't know how or why the publisher has approved it for publication over here in the UK.  I'm gonna skip ahead and hope beyond hope that things improve in a few pages' time.

OK, I'm now at Chapter Two on page 19, so lets see if things have improved, shall we?

I'm on page 20 and things have definitely improved now.  The author has used a big brand name again, but I've already knocked a star off for that, so I'll let it go again.

Oh yes, the second chapter was soo much better than the first!  If the story had started at chapter two then this would be making me feel so much warmer towards it.

Blimey!  I'm now up to chapter nine and haven't found anything to bitch about.  The author is really in her stride now and her words are flowing like a river!

Over the last 10 chapters (and the entire book so far, in all honesty) have been sooo dull and boring 'cos there has been so little speech between the characters, so a star is coming off for that, so there are only two left and I can't leave a zero star review, so if just one more star comes off, I'm not reading any further.

Skipped ahead to chapter 24 now... I really wanted to believe the description on Amazon and was looking forward to an awesome book, but this is the exact opposite of that unfortunately.

*sigh*  I've skipped ahead to chapter 28 now... this really is the final chance - if I manage to trawl through this chapter without skipping any farther then the star stays in place, but if it's so dull that I can't bear it then the final star will come off and I'll stop reading.

Oh dear, the use of brand names that even I've heard of means that, like with other books I've read and reviewed, the star is coming off and I'm officially giving up on this book, unfortunately.

I'm just mightily relieved that I didn't have to pay for this book and that I got it for free from Net Galley.

Friday, 3 June 2022

Something for my members

I've just heard of a little something that my unagented members might be interested in... I've put it at the bottom of the first page in the members area, but it's only available until the end of this month!

It's for my members only, so if you're a member just sign in and scroll down to the bottom of the first page.

If you're not a member but you've been pondering on it, then now might be a good time for you to join so that you can take advantage of things like this too.

I wish oodles of success to all those who decide to give it a go!

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Book Review: "Read Between the Lies" by Malcolm Duffy

⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

I got approved to read and honestly review this book from NetGalley and the publisher and I wanna start off in my normal way of reviewing books, by saying that each book I read starts off with the full 5 stars and I'm always hopeful that they will all still be firmly held in place by the time I close the back cover but I've got no problem with removing stars as I feel is necessary.

Let's get started with the reading shall we?

I like the cover of the book 'cos I initially read it as "lines" instead of "lies" but I've literally just noticed that the lines can be read as an E as well as an N which has already piqued my interest!

After 2 chapters and 3 chapter titles, this book is already giving me more appreciation for what children go through during school.  I've read less than 10 dyslexic words so far in this book and it's made me realise for the first time in my life just how hard it really is for those with dyslexia and gives me a greater appreciation for their struggles... they must have awesome coping strategies that they've learnt since their diagnosis!

This book gets better and better!  After only 8% I'm already hooked and it takes a truly special book to achieve that!

Noo!  There's a brand name potentially used without permission, so my sense of fair play has kicked in and I've had to knock off a star, just like I have with other books... it's a 5 star story, but potential trademark infringement means that we're down to four stars unfortunately  :-(

I'd been wondering how old Ryan and Tommy are 'cos it says on Amazon that it's a book for 12+ and also teens and young adults, so I was wondering which it was, but it's definitely a book for younger teens 'cos the main characters are 16 and 17.

Oh dear.  The end of that chapter can't bring good news for Tommy, let alone Ryan!

The built up tension and explosiveness in the next few chapters has been spot on.  I'm right on the edge of my seat and the atmosphere it's created is absolutely amazing.

Oh my life... the explosions are still happening and make for incredible reading!  My heart is starting to race which can't be good this close to our groceries being delivered lol

That was an unexpected end to that chapter... I'm 42% of the way through and our groceries are due in the next hour, so I've stopped reading until that's over and done with.  Can't wait to keep reading though!

Time to carry on with the reading now.

I'm at 60% now and just got a big surprise - it's what I've been hoping for since the first page, but to see it come true is fantastic.

Oooh!  Shakespeare... this should be interestingly handled!

I'm intrigued by the loft letter now lol

OMGosh!  I really wasn't expecting the loft letter to be talking about *that*!!  Totally caught me off guard but it ties up the questions that teens might have been having about Tommy and Ryan!

What an awesome end to an incredible book.  It should definitely be 5 stars, but my sense of fair play to previous books I've reviewed is demanding that the fifth star stays forlornly on the floor, sobbing and heartbroken.

Friday, 20 May 2022

Book Review: "Finding My Moo: What Can I Do?" by Marie Zhang


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

I wanna thank Book Review Buzz and Net Galley for letting me know about this book.  I decided to buy it using my Kindle Unlimited membership.

I also wanna start off this review in the same way I start off all my other book reviews - by saying that it'll start off with the full 5 stars and I'm hopeful that it'll end with them all firmly in place too.

Let's get started shall we?

It's a gorgeously cute front cover and my heart is breaking for the poor cow sat in the puddle.

Ooooh!  I've never had that on my first generation Kindle before!  I'm seeing images instead of the just plain text that I get... I dunno how the publisher sorted that out, but it's the sign of a good book to be able to produce a book with images on my Kindle!

I'm loving all the repitition and the opportunity to invite the youngster to make the noises of the animals too.  The words used to describe each noise might be a touch advanced for such a young audience, but they might learn how to recognise the words and associate it with the noise they produce.

Just finished reading and it's a wonderful book that is right up the street of such young listeners... it's a great introduction to books that involve them that I reckon should be available to every youngster!

Friday, 8 April 2022


...my JanNo23 novel is totally planned out, so I'm sorted until this time next year for things to write now, so I really can concentrate on editing my MG and YA novels now.  Gonna give myself a break for a few days so that I can get out of Alex's head and into my editing headspace, then I'm hoping to crack on with the editing in about the middle of next week... I've got no excuses now!  😌

I realised this morning...

...that I haven't finished planning out my JanNo23 MS yet and there hasn't been any news so that's what I'm gonna spend the rest of the day doing.  Gotta get back into my MCs headspace again and remind myself of what they have already got up to first though lol

Thursday, 7 April 2022

There won't be any news today because...

...I got a warning from my anti-virus programme about one of my sources having a virus in it.  The virus has been quarantined and I've scanned my machine so I'm not infected, but I'm not gonna risk opening any of my sources today - maybe I'm being over cautious about it, but I'm just not willing to take any risks now that I know there's a quarantined virus in one of my emails.  Things'll be back to normal again tomorrow, but you've all got the day off today so I recommend making yourself a soya chocolate milkshake instead  😌