The Mystery of the Lost Recipe

The Mystery of the Lost Recipe by Jerome Jones is a children’s book aimed at getting kids to eat healthy. This book is about a sister and brother who altruistically solve mysteries in the small town they live in. In this case they are looking for a lost lasagna recipe for a local restaurant. The kids are so excited to help. Their first stop is the restaurant for a healthy breakfast. They order their food and pay close attention to everything around them. When they don’t find their prize its time to move on in search of clues. The cute brother and sister pair ride bikes all over town tracking down anyone who might know what happened to the recipe. After speaking to the restaurant owner they all realize its in the safest place possible. As a thank you the owner shows the duo how to surf assuring they get plenty of exercise.

This book was well illustrated and easy for kids to follow. It gave subtle clues on what healthy meals were as well as showed great examples of a healthy lifestyle. It also showed children that they should be helpful which isn’t always seen today. My only knit pick with the book is its emphasis on orange juice. Even though it stressed “fresh squeezed” orange juice I’m an anti juice mom. Sorry I think it rots the teeth and they eventually get hooked on juice. Let them eat fruit, I say like queen Antoinette would. Ahh never mind.

Over all this book was a hit and I’m sure we will read it again soon although, four days have gone by and not a hint of a repeat. I did like the illustrations which sometimes slack in ebooks. I also liked the hidden messages in the fun story. The only detraction was lack of a call back.

 

The Silent Ninja Friendship is Golden

The Silent Ninja Friendship is Golden by Aaliyah Blackmon is a children’s book about a young girl who loves karate. Padge is an ordinary kindergartner who loves karate. She wants to advance quickly and practices every chance she gets. This includes on the playground at recess. All goes well until a new fifth grader starts to make fun of her. Padge doesn’t understand why the fifth grader would do that and her only logical conclusion is that she must be really bad at karate.

Each day at school the bullying continues. At first Padge is in denial and gets into a fight with her best friend Julie over it. Padge tries to apologize but Julie won’t accept. The bullying continues yet Padge is determined to fix it herself. Julie witnesses the fifth grader physically bullying Padge and the fight is over between the two friends. Julie makes Padge tell a teacher and the bullying finally stops.

The book ends on a happy note with Padge leveling up in karate and her former bully becoming a friend and fellow student. Julie is there every step of the way and levels up as well.

This book was a great read for children just a bit older than my six year old who has not started first grade. She did however enjoy it when I read it to her. Even my four year old listened attentively, although she would have liked more pictures. The story line was simple and the message clear. My daughter wanted to keep reading and instead of the week it took to read, it only took a couple days. My daughters main complaint was the title she kept looking for the ninja the whole book. I could see her point. The title did promise a ninja that the story never delivered. For me I was disappointed in the art work. Call me old fashioned but I think if you are going to include illustrations then they should look professional.

Overall I have no complaints about the writing. It was a children’s book written by a twelve year old and I don’t know that I wrote that well at her age. The story was age appropriate and entertaining. If you need a good story to help your child with bullies this is the book for you. I’m giving it 4 stars.

The Importance of Proper Review Requests from a Reviewers Perspective.

Review requests may seem like a tedious and pointless exercise but they are essential to getting reviews. Let me explain why. Even as a new reviewer I get several requests for reviews everyday. Right now four or five requests isn’t a lot and by any means overwhelming. However, I am not a full time blogger or reviewer. I have a full time job, two kids and writing of my own to do. I review books to build brand awareness and helpbook3 out fellow authors.

When I get a request I don’t want to do the work. I want all the information right there in the email I received. If there is additional content you think might interest a reviewer include a link; never rely on that for all your content and descriptions. If I am busy I won’t click it. If I have a lot of requests I won’t click it.

Unfortunately reviews like everything else today is a numbers game. Your request is easily lost in the crowd. Make your request stand out. Tell the reviewer (briefly) why you are a writer or why you wrote your novel, something, anything, (relevant) to grab their attention and make you stand out.

The other thing to keep in mind is to research your reviewer. Pay attention to their preferred genres so you aren’t wasting everyone’s time. If the reviewer says they will book1consider books outside their genre you should send reasons in your query to convince the reviewer to try your book. Unfortunately, your book is a harder sell than the others. You should also remember if a reviewer typically reviews fiction they probably aren’t your best bet for a non-fiction review unless they specifically list it in their preferences.

I face the same problems every other does. I send out requests and never hear back. Assume if you don’t the answer is either no or not yet. Be patient and wait. Search Goodreads and other internet forums for other sources but never give up. In this blog entry I have included a bad example of a request as well as a sample letter of what I send out.

Not so good:

I found your name on a book review website and am looking for feedback on my YA fantasy. You seemed to like that genre and was wondering if you would like to read it?

What I sent out:

Name,
I am an indie author requesting a review of my second book “For Their Sins”. It is a paranormal fantasy that has a slightly different twist on vampires. It is told from a first person perspective and covers the life of one 300 year old vampire. It was a fun project and a great stretch of the imagination. The ebook format is 428 pages long. It is also available in paperback  and I would be happy to send it in what ever format you desire. The link to the Amazon listing for further content and cover is listed  here.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0716SVRDS The summary is below. 
Alexandria Diego never wanted to be special. She was content to lay in bed with her lover forever. One decision will change everything. Suddenly, Alexandria is launched into a life of infamy, which carries a heavy burden that only she can bear. When a vicious war between her people, the Venandi, and their rivals, the Mordere, breaks out it forces Alexandria to change her tactics and be more cautious. But, when her love is captured by the enemy, Alexandria risks everything to get him back. 
It does contain some mature content. 
I would love for you to read it and hope that you enjoy it. Please let me know if you are interested. 
Thanks
R. Tran
I would be happy to answer questions or offer any advice I can. I haven’t been an author long and I’ve had to learn everything as I go. I would be happy for any advice that others can offer me as well.

Nosey Charlie Comes to Town

3-star

Nosey Charlie Comes to Town by Yvonne Blackwood is the first in a series of children’s books about a squirrel named Charlie. Poor little charlie is an orphan that goes to live with his aunt, uncle, and cousin Pete in a city park. Charlie spends his day at play with his cousin all summer. Then fall rolls in. Unfamiliar with how things work in the big city Charlie gets nosey. Several workers spend hours cleaning the park. Then Charlie gets into their litter and leaf bags making a mess. The workers see his cousin and assume Pete did it. They throw a rock and hit poor Pete on the head. His cousin turns out all right in the end and it teaches Charlie not to be so nosey. The book continues on, telling how Charlie and his family have to collect food for the winter. The aunt even sings a song on the importance of their work.

The interaction between the family members is playful and feels real. The squirrels are friendly and happy. The story itself has two good morals and teaching children not be nosey and prepare for the future. However, I don’t know that a children’s story should have people throwing rocks at animals no matter the reason.

Aside from that the first part and the second part felt disjointed. The two parts were unrelated. If the latter was deleted all together it would give the story one main theme that worked. The artwork was coarse as well and did not keep my girls attention. They like Charlie and the other squirrels but that was all.

This book gets three stars because the girls did enjoy reading it that night. With a revision and improved artwork this book has major potential. I would love to see the new and improved Charlie.

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Learn More about Yvonne Blackwood and her works at:

https://www.facebook.com/yvonne.blackwood.92

https://www.linkedin.com/in/yvonne-blackwood-6a6b6918/

Big Ugly

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Big Ugly by Lenny K. is a children’s book about a big ugly monster and what would image1happen if he came to live in your home. The book gives different scenarios of what might happen. Lenny wonders about how many things Big Ugly would break. Where he would sleep and even where and how you would bathe him. He says he might be helpful at fixing the roof or providing shade at the beach. Then Lenny worries about Big Ugly’s friend’s and if he’d be homesick. Not to worry there is a happy ending.

The pictures in this book are delightful. They make even grown ups smile. The story is amusing with enough rhymes to entertain children. The words are simple making it ideal for early readers. The story is amusing and funny. Big Ugly is a monster you can’t help loving.

Both my children and I enjoyed reading this book. My oldest daughter requested this book four times in six days. It is a real winner. They adored the pictures and lovable Big Ugly. The story is well written and thought out and all the illustrations match the text beautifully. If you want a book that both children and adults can appreciate grab Big Ugly today.

(I love the picture above he just looks so put out over getting his bath!)

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Find more information about Lenny K. and his books on his website:

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Chook Named Chuck Has Amazing Luck

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Chook Named Chuck has Amazing Luck (Friendship Series Book 3) is a children’s book written by Kimberly Kleczka.  Chuck is a depressed down on his luck bird, who looks like a chicken, with an amazing skill. Only Chuck thinks it’s a burden. which is why Chuck is depressed, or at least he seemed so to me, that is until he meets Klara the cow. She encourages Chuck to use his talent of mimicry to entertain and help other farm yard animals.

This book was a short and entertaining read. It is perfect for reading at bedtime or encouraging beginning readers. The rhymes are simple and fun with good cadences designed to help early readers anticipate words in a sentence. The concepts are easy to grasp as well. The pictures were bright and fun. They loved the barnyard scenes, My girls even knew it was a goat when I thought it was a llama. Hey what do I know?

My 4 and 6 year old girls helped review this book tonight. I asked if they would read this book again and it was an enthusiastic yes. I asked how many times a month and Grace my six year old said ten times a month. I asked their favorite part and of course it was the fart joke, it gets them every time. Way to go Kimberly! They also enjoyed the fact that chuck could sound like a dog and a pig, yep those two in particular. I rather enjoyed sounding like a fire engine myself while I read.

I was a bit more picky when it came to reviewing this book. I would have liked to seen the art work cleaned up a little so I knew the goat was a goat, and a chook wasn’t a chicken. The sentence structure slacked here and there to fit the cadences and rhyming schemes and irritated the writer in me. I would have given this 4 stars. But my girls loved it and I’m sure I will be reading it again in a night or two if not the next several nights so it gets five stars from us.