Posted in Review

Naming & Shaming – My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish, The Fintastic Fish-Sitter

Next on the unfortunate pile is My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish The Fintastic Fish-Sitter by Mo O’Hara and Marek Jagucki.

Zombie Goldfish comes from a successful series adored by children of all ages. This story focuses on Pradeep’s sister, Sami, babysitting a zombie goldfish called Frankie.

My first gripe is a spelling error early on. Sorry but it’s “Brussels”, not “Brussells”, only one “L” is required.  Even my spell checker came up with an error flag just as I typed it in.  If you’re wanting to publish, it does pay to proofread!


I was expecting the story to feature a zombie type scenario, but it fell a bit flat when it was brushed off in two words essentially. Overall I felt the book to be somewhat confusing, it’s meant to be about the babysitter, going off the title but felt like a Tom and Jerry story. Frankie did nothing to prove to the reader why he is the lead in the book and though Fang, the cute but evil vampire kitten, was featured, there was nothing remotely vampirish about him. I suspect the rest of the series will explain more. As a stand-alone book, it was OK, but if you’re going to read this make sure you have the rest of the series amongst your collection.

Like my previous post, this book was also published by Macmillan.  It is purely coincidental that I found fault with two of their books on the same day.  Then again I have hundreds of picture books at home, and that publishing house does tend to crop up a lot.


Posted in Review

Naming & Shaming: The Toucan Brothers

I started a new area on my blog a while ago, naming and shaming children’s picture books, as I felt some need improvement and some just need throwing in the bin altogether.  I realise authors and illustrators do pour a lot of hours and effort into creating something magical and enjoyable for children.  It frustrates me to no end that when I see a book with fundamental English mistakes – either spelling or grammar or even morals that are completely wrong, I think how did that get all the way from an agent to a publishing house, printed and sold with these glaring errors?

I read to my children all the time.  With it being my son’s birthday recently he was given 10 new picture books, which were hidden all over the house and he had to find them, he absolutely loved searching.  Today I read him one of his new books and the errors were so obvious it pained me to read it all the way to the end.  So I’m giving my review, I guess to enlighten you potential authors that you need a lot of proofreaders otherwise your work will come across as sloppy!

The Toucan Brothers by Tor Freeman

Based on a Mario Brothers mixed with Ghostbusters type story and setting, Sammy and Paul are the town’s best plumbers and general tradesmen. The story is set in rhyme, and the illustrations left my son giggling endlessly, he wanted to hear the story immediately again – the writer in me was fuming by the end, unfortunately!

The first page which first caught my eye was the slogan on the side of the van “No drip too big, no pipe too small”.  Also, note the name of the brothers – Sammy and Paul.


Yet the last line on the next page, to me, felt like a massive mistake with the text and the above picture. It reads “No job too big, no pipe too small”.  It’s a complete mismatch.  Proofreading would have easily fixed this. Frustration level increased a notch.


I’m all for not talking down to children, treat them with intelligence and they’ll shine on through.  The next series of errors would have put me at a failure level on my writing courses. If only Tor Freeman had asked for proofreaders and stuck to a basic writing concept – CONSISTENCY! It really is key!

Sammy has now become Sam.  This changed back to Sammy when the sentence needed that extra syllable.


And Paul has become Paulie.  This really left me seeing red! I had to go back to the beginning to double check I hadn’t read it wrong initially.


That’s everything I wanted to share, credit for a colourful and visual book Tor Freeman, but the errors are unjustifiably there.  As an author trying to find an agent and ultimately a publisher it astonishes me that this story was accepted by a very successful publishing house, Macmillan.


Posted in Review

Naming & Shaming: Peppa Pig, Fun At The Fair

Next in my ‘Naming and Shaming’ series I’ve found yet another problem with the world of Peppa Pig.

Luckily, again, I do not own this so was able to put it back on the pile of rubbish before walking away feeling mad.

This book is called ‘Peppa Pig, Fun At The Fair’. Admittedly it was a basic story about the Pig family at the fair. Daddy and George went on the helter skelter whilst Mummy and Peppa tried some of the stalls.

I felt bad for Mummy in this story because it was hinted very early on that she wouldn’t win anything but when she got to the archery is where the story took a complete nose dive.

For a book that’s supposed to help children learn I was horrified when Mummy and Peppa reached the archery. The archer simply said this:

‘Don’t worry you won’t win, women are useless at this’

I’m sorry. WHAT THE HELL?! you can’t go printing that into childrens books, what message does that send out to not only children but to their parents? I don’t care if she got a bullseye you shouldn’t be putting the stereotypical gender idea in stories for children.

Grr it really irked me and I hope the book is either discontinued or it received a lot of complaints. Leave sexism out of childrens book please Ladybird!!

Posted in Review

Naming & Shaming: Peppa Pig, Daddy Pig’s Lost Keys

I have read a lot of childrens books over the years and quite alarmingly I’ve discovered so many things wrong with them. Either story based, grammar or even spelling.

So I’ve decided to give some space on my blog to the books that have sparked a fireball of fury when read to my children. As I’m writing my own, with the aim of publishing I’m astounded at the sheer volume of so many getting published!

Today’s book choice is Peppa Pig, Daddy Pig’s Lost Keys.

This is the book that really got me irritated.

At the top of the mountain Peppa and her family are on some sort of day out. George, Peppa’s little brother, asks to play with Daddy’s car keys but gets told no.

Here’s where it got me:

The page where Daddy says no to George, Daddy has the sheer cheek to be tossing the keys around whilst clearly taunting his son. Tisk tisk.

But guess what happens next? He drops his keys down the drain!I guess he got his upcommance after all.

The story then goes on where a lot of familiar faces try and help get the keys out. But here’s what makes my blood boil. The solution to this is to dig a massive ugly hole in the very beautiful mountain. And that’s where it ended.

What’s that going to teach children? Forget nature, as long as you have your keys then that’s fine?!?! Why couldn’t the Pig family get a lift with one of their friends instead? It really sickened me to read this and luckily I do not own this book but I felt the wrong message was being sent out in this story.

A book I would definitely NOT recommend. I hate Peppa Pig anyway, I think it’s for babies and it does nothing to help children learn about the wider world.

Posted in cats, Review

My Cat & Plebs

I have only just discovered this show recently and now I absolutely love it, borderline obsessed with it.

For those who aren’t aware of Plebs it’s a comedy show following the mishaps of 2 friends (Marcus and Stylax) and their slave (Grumio). It’s set in Rome using modern day language and has an amazing cast and cameos ranging from Maureen Lipman and Simon Callow to Danny Dyer and Miriam Margolyes.

You should definitely give it a watch.

My cat did and got in the way of my viewing last night.

Posted in progress, Review

Review, Update & Tonight’s Writing

Last week I posted a blog about making some lifestyle changes, this was predominantly all about accommodating writing into my daily routine and to push back all the obstacles that prevented this (for such a long time too!).  The list is below, the comments next to each item describes the output –

WANTS (The things I’d love to do a lot more of)

Continue writing my book – Done! I had no expectations other than to write, no word count to achieve (I’m not ready for that yet), though I didn’t plan to be focusing on the scene I’m currently working on but I’m still happy to write it.

Gather a portfolio of work– Not achieved though this involves going into the attic and pulling down previous works and sifting through for small projects. It’s not critical but more of an ongoing item to tend to.

Learn more about WordPress – Not achieved the way I planned.  I had hoped to have taken an evening off from the story to focus on this platform but then it dawned on me that it’s only going to delay the writing at a time when there’s steam behind it, I’m just happy to churn these posts out and anything else magic that comes my way is an added bonus.

Go to the gym – I think I went twice last week but it’s not something I want to prioritise this week due to a bit of fatigue. If I’m too tired to write then I’m too tired to go out and exercise.

Give my cats more attention Not achieved at all. They get cuddles every day but this will be another ongoing item.  Sorry Spud and Rodney!

Meditate, do some Yoga, empty my mind of any stressesAchieved! The weird dreams have come back along with the heavy sleeping but I feel really mindful and when that doesn’t happen I’ve been meditating at night or have done some Yoga before a writing session.  

Read a book, listen to some musicAchieved both.  It’s a parenting book on “How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk”, definitely a book I’d recommend. I’ve even tried a few methods on my husband and it works wonders! Music wise I’ve just listened to “Kerrang Radio”.

Watch a film on Netflix with my husband (have a night off from all of the above)Achieved.  We watched “Dr Who, An Adventure in Space and Time” and I really enjoyed it.  It was all about the idea of Dr Who coming together as an idea and how the BBC coped with it, it also followed it’s main star William Hartnell and his expectations of the role. If you’re a fan of Dr Who you have to watch this! It was certainly nice to switch off from the laptop for a couple of hours.

Overall some things weren’t achieved but the list is still just a baby, time for it to grow and mature into something greater.  Writing was the main thing I wanted and I got it.

The list below contained every obstacle preventing the above list from happening. Here’s how it panned out:

NEEDS (These tend to be the main priority

Ironing – I found a new little trick.  Get it done whilst my husband are bathing my children.  There’s a dead space in time between this and feeding my youngest and I never knew how to fill it, bearing in mind it’s only 15 minutes, I found the micro-ironing (I’m coining the term now) to be more effective way of ensuring it gets done and that also frees up time in the evening to write or go to the gym – WIN!

Odd jobs around the house I couldn’t achieve during the day – Achieved, simply by putting it the dead space like above. Another win

Shower – Stayed the same really, nothing epic to report on, might scrap this from the list.

Reply back to people in messaging services (something I dislike doing during the day if I know it’s going to be a long conversation, so I have to wait until my children are in bed before replying)  – 50/50 if I’m honest. I tried to wait until the end of the day but then it’d cut into the writing time.

Sorting out the plans for the next day or upcoming week e.g. make sure there’s plenty of food in the house for my children or make sure there’s cash in the house for play groups, and then acting accordingly – Not Achieved. This nearly backfired on me this morning getting ready for playgroup as I couldn’t find any money to go and was running late.  Luckily a sneaky few pounds found their way into my clutches!

What is interesting is that these results are also a positive outcome.  It does feel like the focus has shifted from the 2nd list to the 1st, there’s probably a way to go but generally I’m loving this idea and mentality. I might try and see what happens over the next 7 days and review again.

The word count tonight is roughly 200 words, I want the scene to continue but am trying to envision it playing out and the writing for it is a bit of a struggle, looking at different perspectives and reactions is harder than expected!


Posted in Review

Mini Review #2

Have I reviewed my story so far?

So looking back at the past 7 days I realise the focus is slowly shifting from making the book a priority to blogging a priority.

I know I touched on this subject in a post from yesterday but it does need addressing. I think.  Maybe not, who knows? Well the way I see it, it isn’t too bad a thing. Think it is a way of having a time out from the book writing, my brain is having a tantrum when trying to think about the story and the characters!

I’m having a bit of trouble trying to fall asleep at night, not sure if the accupuncture mat is affecting that (I’m having really weird dreams, weirder than normal, I even wake up not knowing what day it is, it feels like I’ve been transported to the other side of the universe in my sleep and that some aliens have wiped my mind completely, not good for a writer eh?) as a result I’m trying to go to bed when my body is tired instead of my brain just crashing after a writing session.  It can be hard to write in the evening but it’s the only chance I get on a daily basis. So I’m getting even less time to write in general.

I hope by the next review the book writing has taken priority but I’m not going to get myself down if this can’t be achieved.

Until next time readers, sleep well (in this universe) and hope I haven’t forgotten my own name by the morning!


Posted in Review

Not A Good Night

Ok, whilst writing I realised I needed to do a bit of important online shopping (not clothes before you ask) and I needed a shower and then needed to sort the cat food out tonight so not much was done for my book.  I got just under 200 words though and I’m not going to compare it to other writing sessions I’m simply going to see what tomorrow brings instead.

I have noticed though that my brain is slowly gearing up every night for some writing, it used to come up with some lame excuse as to why something else needed to be done all the time.  Good progress there brain, good progress.

I will sign off for tonight as it’s bed time, see you all tomorrow readers.

Posted in Review

Mini Review: One Week On

I don’t know why I didn’t do this earlier. Why did I spend so many years hoping one day it’ll all come together perfectly and I’d be able to call myself a writer? I spend so much time on the internet I could, in a way, call myself a ‘volunteer internet reader’ who works 24/7, skill set includes:

  • having 20+ tabs open all the time
  • psychic email predictor ( as in every time my phone ‘bloops’ I know exactly who the email is from and why)
  • I have extensive knowledge in how to distinguish a good website from a shoddy one
  • Willingness to sit and wait for that magical website which gives me free money or shoes.

7 days on and the blog is going well, the writing is going OK but I am writing bits nearly everyday. There have been moments where the idea doesn’t seem to work out and there have been doubts BUT overall the drive/fire I wanted to keep at is still there and that’s what I want to work on.

Next review in another 7 days. Tick Tock Tick Tock