Category Archives: Books

I have books coming out!

In fact, I have three books due out this year. All are young adult fiction.

Two books in the Pointe Perfect series – which has six books in total – will be out in 2018. One in August and the other in November. The series follows a student, Jessica Hamilton, through her final three years at an elite ballet school.

Additionally, a sweet young adult romance involving a male Irish dancer who’s keeping his dancing secret from everyone at school will be out in October. (I’m going to be travelling throughout September, so I had to move some dates around)

The first book in my Pointe Perfect series has a page up here, and will go up for preorder across many ebook stores (and will be available in print on Amazon) in a few weeks. The release date is the 22nd of August.

Here’s the cover. The blurb is beneath it.

Cool Competition (Pointe Perfect Jessica Hamilton Book #1) by Natalia Heaney

 

Cool Competition (Pointe Perfect #1)

 

‘The new girl is called Sarah. And she’s better than me.’

 

Jessica Hamilton has two goals for the year 1997:

#1 Get promoted to the advanced ballet class.

#2 Dance the Winter Fairy solo in Cinderella.

Everything is going well, and it looks like she might earn both her dreams – and then a new girl arrives at the ballet school and changes everything.

Extra competition is the last thing Jessica needs, and just like that her goals seem far out of reach. No matter what she does, Sarah Webster does it better.

And right when things couldn’t get any worse at ballet, disaster strikes at school, too.

Suddenly it seems like it’ll be hard enough simply surviving the year. However, maybe, just maybe… luck will turn back on Jessica’s side.

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Book Spotlight: The Loneliest Robot

The Loneliest Robot by Andrew Glennon (Author) and Matt Dixon (Illustrator)

I saw this book in my Twitter feed recently, and something about the title and the poor robot on the cover made me want to read it!

This is listed as a book for teens.

The Loneliest Robot by Andrew Glennon (Author) and Matt Dixon (Illustrator)

At last, a story for the fast-moving modern technology age that reminds us all to stay HUMAN!

 

A lonely boy discovers an incredible Robot in his garden shed. A silent and highly gifted girl chooses to be alone in her attic bedroom. The richest man in the world mysteriously disappears.

It all waits to be discovered in THE LONELIEST ROBOT, a brilliant new novel for the modern technological age which features original illustrations from acclaimed robot artist, Matt Dixon.

Join a group of unlikely best friends, on a journey of self-discovery as they all transform through life. We can get so lost; we can forget what it’s truly like to feel HUMAN. Many things distract us all – smartphones, buying more and more stuff, technology, TV, everyone working longer and harder…. It’s so easy to get lost in modern life.

 

An imaginative new book for teens, young adults and anyone with a human heart, which explores and challenges modern life. A thought-provoking dark comedy – this uplifting tale is told with warmth and humour, making it highly digestible for young and curious minds. Also very suitable for adult readers (especially frustrated parents of technology-addicted children!)

 

Discover The Loneliest Robot. Discover yourself!

Just As You Are for Teens: Accept Your Imperfections and Thrive by Michelle Skeen, Matthew McKay, and Kelly Skeen.

Adobe Photoshop PDF

Stop comparing yourself to others-you’re special just as you are! In this fun, practical guide, you’ll learn how to silence your nit-picky inner critic, cultivate self-compassion, and discover what really matters to you.

If you’re like many teens, you probably feel pressured to live up to the impossible standards set by our culture, the media, and even by your peers. After all, everyone wants perfect hair, a perfect body, cool friends, and good grades. But while it’s okay to strive to be your best, it’s also easy to get caught up in a never-ending comparison game that can feed your inner critic and rob you of your happiness. So, how can you break free from negative self-criticism and learn to appreciate your strengths?

In Just As You Are, psychologist Michelle Skeen and her daughter, Kelly Skeen, offer simple tips to help you overcome feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness, stop comparing yourself to others, and be more open and accepting of all aspects of who you are. You’ll also learn how to be more aware of your thoughts and feelings in the moment using powerful mindfulness tools, and build a plan of action for the future based on your values.

Sometimes it’s hard to see yourself with clarity and kindness. With this important guide, you’ll learn to move past your faults, celebrate your true strengths, and discover what really matters in your life. What are you waiting for?

Just As You Are for Teens: Accept Your Imperfections and Thrive by Michelle Skeen, Matthew McKay, and Kelly Skeen.

Being a teenager these days is both very different to when I was one – and also pretty much the same. Every generation goes through many of the same things, but these days there’s this thing called the internet, and this other thing called social media.

The internet has made some aspects of adolescence easier (try doing research for an assignment back when you had to catch a bus to the library and take photocopies out of books!), but it has also created a pretty hostile environment for a lot of people.

Just As You Are takes present-day obstacles into consideration and speaks directly to teenagers with the message: you’re not alone in this. It also offers activities of sorts for teens to work issues out for themselves.

There’s one page of the book I had a problem with: the example of a girl who regrets shutting down a political argument and not wanting to hear a boy’s opposite point of view.

In this current climate, that’s hugely problematic, because chances are that girl didn’t want to hear the misogyny being spewed by a boy on the Trump side of the spectrum. I see NO problem with what she did!

Otherwise, this is a thoughtful read for young people. I might not be in the target audience, but we’ve all been there at some point in time.

 

Review copy from NetGalley.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan’s life. Having missed her flight, she’s stuck at JFK airport and late to her father’s second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley’s never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport’s cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he’s British, and he’s sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver’s story will make you believe that true love finds you when you’re least expecting it.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

This is a nice little book that covers the space of a day. (American) heroine and (English) hero end up sitting together on a flight from the United States to England, both ducking across the pond for family events.

Heroine Hadley’s family was torn to pieces when her father fell in love with an Englishwoman and abandoned them, and now she’s expected to attend the London wedding. This story is as much about family as romance.

As for the romance, I think the author managed the culture clash aspects well, and didn’t push things too far over such a short timeframe.

A sweet little book overall, though I’m not sure the father deserved to be so easily forgiven!

Cheating in Kindle Unlimited

There’s been a lot of drama in the publishing world recently, and one of the biggest stories at the moment is about the authors in the Kindle Unlimited program who are cheating the system to take money from honest authors.

In order to make MUCH more money than they’ve actually earned these people manipulate unsuspecting readers into helping them, and very few people seem to be aware what is going on.

Here’s how it works:

#1 Kindle Unlimited is a book subscription service. Customers pay a fee each month and have access to numerous ebooks that are exclusively on Amazon.

#2 Authors aren’t paid by book borrows, but by how many pages are read. That means they only get paid for twenty pages if the reader goes no further than that, as long as the reader doesn’t click through to the end (e.g. to rate the book).

algorithms-1641857_1920 pie chart book stuffing kindle unlimited cheating scammers

In theory, authors are paid for equal work.

#3 Scammers try every trick there is to make their readers go to the end of the book. This includes adding links at the front to make readers jump to the end.

pie-36268_1280 pie chart book stuffing kindle unlimited cheating scammers

In reality, it looks more like this.

#4 The more pages readers skip over, the more the “authors” are paid. And so they “stuff” many other, previously-released books and other random content into the one book. It doesn’t matter if it ever gets read; it just matters that people click through it so they can make more money from it.

#5 This is 100% against the Kindle Unlimited Terms of Service. There is not meant to be more than 10% of bonus material in a Kindle Unlimited book, but some of these cheaters have extra stuffing in there that makes up 80 or 90% of the book.

And it is SO bad because:

#6 All authors are paid out of the same pot of money. They get paid based on the % of page reads, and so authors who’ve tricked people into flicking through literally thousands of extra pages are taking income away from authors who don’t cheat.

#7 Very few authors in this world make much money, but some of these book stuffers are making a fortune by scamming everyone.

#8 Now, finally – because people have started reporting the scammers – some of the worst offenders have been removed from Amazon in recent days, and they’re complaining loudly, all over the internet. They have their fan club members out complaining, too.

#9 At the moment, these scammers are playing the victim in the situation. THEY’RE NOT. They are complaining about loss of income, and saying ridiculous things like, ‘How will I feed my family now?!’

What they don’t mention is that they’ve been STEALING from other authors for years. Not once did they care how other authors would feed their families.

Don’t fall for the sob stories.

 

How you can help stop these unethical authors:

#1 DO NOT, under any circumstances, skip through to the end of a stuffed book.

#2 And DO NOT, under any circumstances, click on suspicious links within the contents or the book’s text.

#3 And… DO NOT, under any circumstances, click to the end of the book in order to rate or report it. Even if you intend to stop the scammers by reviewing or reporting, if you’ve gone to the end, you’ve just paid the thieves and stolen from honest authors anyway.

If you want to review etc., go to your computer or tablet and log on to Amazon there.

#4 And – finally –  nothing will change unless these people are REPORTED.

At the moment the worst of the book stuffing is taking place in the romance genre because it’s so big and lucrative. However, some of these so-called authors are listing their books in every category under the sun in order to trick more readers.

The Tribe: the Birth of the Mall Rats by Harry Duffin

The Tribe the Birth of the Mall Rats by Harry Duffin

The world began without the human race. Now, after a mysterious pandemic decimates the entire adult population, it looks as if it will end exactly the same way. Unless the young survivors – who band together in warring Tribes – overcome the power struggles, dangers and unexpected challenges in a lawless dystopian society to unite and build a new world from the ashes of the old. The Birth of The Mall Rats is the first story in a compelling series of novelisations of the global cult television phenomenon, The Tribe. Creating a new world in their own image – whatever that image might be…

The Tribe: the Birth of the Mall Rats by Harry Duffin

In the late 1990s and early 2000s a New Zealand-made show about a world where the adults were wiped out by a virus became a cult hit. Running for five seasons (before the producers thought the actors were getting too old for their roles and cancelled it), The Tribe centred on the Mall Rats living in a previously abandoned shopping mall in the middle of an abandoned city, and featured other tribes of kids and teens trying to survive in this new world.

Since the show’s cancellation the cult following has continued, including a spinoff show about younger kids, soundtracks, DVDs – and books.

The Tribe: the Birth of the Mall Rats is not the best introduction to this phenomenon. It is a for-fans-only type of book, and is more or less the first season of the show in written form. The problem with this is that the book is basically the scenes from the television on the page, which means they’re all too short (there are 181 chapters!).

The show had large ensemble cast (with some standouts – go Amber and Bray!), which means we’re jumping around a lot. It works on the screen, and the author has tried his best to make it work here, but it really is a book for people who already know these characters.

There’s another book – The Tribe: A New Dawn – which reads more like a proper novel. A New Dawn has taken the scripts and storylines for the planned but never made sixth season and turns them into something that works on the page.

For all its drama, crazy costumes, and occasionally weird acting, The Tribe was an addictive post-apocalyptic-type soap opera that was loved by at least one generation.

Remaking Roswell?

gallery-ustv-roswellRoswell starring Katherine Meigl, Jason Behr, Shiri Appleby, and Brendan Fehr

Roswell was a TV show (based on a book series), that became a cult favourite after its premiere in the late-1990s. I wrote about it a while ago, after reading all of the books. I was a fan of the show before I even knew the books existed, and – like many others – wasn’t happy when it ended.

However, the last thing I expected was for the network to reboot it so many years later, with a new cast! A second version of Roswell is due to hit screens in 2019.

I want to say I’ll give the new version a chance, but I don’t think I want to! Why can’t people come up with a new idea instead of taking a cult favourite and redoing it?

I suppose the target audience this time round wasn’t even born when the original was on, but I hope that new Roswell fans will go back and take a look at the first version.

Out Now: Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

Undead Girl Gang was released this month and is a fun take on the paranormal. I read the first few chapters as a sample review copy, and the writing is fun.

Here is the blurb:

Mila Flores and her best friend Riley have always been inseparable. There’s not much excitement in their small town of Cross Creek, so Mila and Riley make their own fun, devoting most of their time to Riley’s favorite activity: amateur witchcraft.

So when Riley and two Fairmont Academy mean girls die under suspicious circumstances, Mila refuses to believe everyone’s explanation that her BFF was involved in a suicide pact. Instead, armed with a tube of lip gloss and an ancient grimoire, Mila does the unthinkable to uncover the truth: she brings the girls back to life.

Unfortunately, Riley, June, and Dayton have no recollection of their murders, but they do have unfinished business to attend to. Now, with only seven days until the spell wears off and the girls return to their graves, Mila must wrangle the distracted group of undead teens and work fast to discover their murderer…before the killer strikes again.

New Release: Melody’s Unicorn by Richard Swan

Melody's Unicorn A Story of Here and There by Richard Swan

A fantasy book with an interesting premise is coming out now:

Melody’s Unicorn: A Story of Here and There by Richard Swan

I love the London theme! Here is the blurb:

Melody is on a quest to discover her real identity and purpose when she encounters a dryad on Ealing Common! After hearing the dryad’s prophecy, Melody’s day becomes even stranger when she spots a unicorn in Oxford Street, and follows it into the mysterious Otherworld. Returning to the human world, further adventures finally lead Melody to Tower Bridge and a confrontation with a dragon… Melody’s Unicorn is the first volume in a new children’s fantasy trilogy which continues with Melody’s Dragon and Melody’s World.

Dear Authors…

Please stop trying to trademark common English words! Trademarking a word and then forcing other authors to stop using it is selfish and just plain wrong.

Now there’s an author trying to trademark the word FOREVER, and it’s appalling.

Nobody owns the word, and nobody should want to steal it from other authors.

If there IS one person in the world who might make a claim on it, surely it’s Judy Blume with her 1970s classic YA book!

Judy Blume FOrever Young Adult Romance Vintage