Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing

BILLY HAS A BIRTHDAY by James Minter – my review

Bullying and abuse has never sit well with me, so any attempt to stop it is appreciated. James Minter has composed a series of stories about negative behaviour and positive outcomes, and Billy Has a Birthday deals with overcoming bullying. 

This chapter book is intended for children 8-11 and can be used in a family or classroom situation, or the children can read it by themselves. There are even additional activities available to help engage the children. A simple, everyday situation, a boy’s 10th birthday, and an average family setting should make the children feel safe while reading, and, if guided well by the educator or parent, the child who reads it might open up about being bullied or witnessing bullying, which is what is usually the most difficult thing to do – open up and ask for help. Despite keeping the story simple and using likeable illustrations, the author does not embellish the boy’s fear of the bully, the complications it causes and explains the real punishment which befalls the bully himself. 

In my opinion, a sensitive topic like this one should be discussed both in families and schools, and this book is a good tool to help One might claim children want more suspense from stories – such as dragons, zombies, pirates, etc. All that is well and true, but children know that is just fancy, fabrication, fantasy. It is seemingly simple books like this one that stir up real emotions because, to children, they are almost non-fiction. They will relate and react. It is up to us to be there and steer them towards positivity.

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STORM PORTAL by Michael R. Stern – my review

Incredible story! Although I am not a History teacher, I am never going to look at my classroom door the same way! Congrats to author Michael R. Stern on Storm Portal! I have always loved time travel tales, and can happily report this one gives a fresh perspective on all the possible controversy and allure of it.

As a History teacher accidentally opens a time portal within his classroom, the author leads us into a twist-filled, well-paced and intelligently written story, with characters that grow on you, starting from the teachers and students, to the amazing presidential couple and detail team. The setting of the school and lessons as crucial turning points can be discussed on a metaphorical level to infinity, but suffice it to say that most people I know would love history taught this way (even only at discussion level, time portal excluded), and most students I know would love learning from someone who genuinely cares what they think.

The language is simple and not distracting from the events, but only seemingly simple on the surface, because the author has a cunning way with words, and/or has worked with an excellent editor who applies the ‘less is more’ principle perfectly. Character development is great and seamless, and (spoiler alert) Ashley keeps question marks blinking in my mind with his yearbook; great way to entice readers to sequels. Dialogues are clever, witty and often deliver exactly what the reader wonders about. The history parts revolve only on U.S. history (this time), but the author does not fail to point out the connection between world events.

What impressed me was the pace – a somewhat playful, lingering initial rhythm gains in strength, drama and intensity as the plot thickens, and using the storm as the trigger to time travel, with its possibly dangerous aftermath, reminiscent of ancient tragedies, adds to the ominous power and the vast potential of all the what-ifs that ensue. By the end, I forgot I was actually (only) reading:). History became an action/spy thriller!

As a reader, don’t you love a book which makes you want to meet the author and ask him tons of questions? A book which makes you feel as if you’d crawled inside it or at least leaves you wanting to read more? A story which even makes you want to meet the characters? Well, if you like all that, plus history and time travel, dig in! Good to know there are sequels.

As a reviewer for the Readers Review Room  it gives me great pleasure to award this book the gold bookworm. Congrats, Michael R. Stern. It takes guts to tackle time travel, and you aced it!

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The Good Pirate

What a lovely surprise this morning! A lovely review by author Ashely Marie Uzzell for my kidlit The Good Pirate (currently only $0.99). Thank you, Ashley!

Imagination Inspiration

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My review of The Good Pirate by Anita Kovacevic

Rating: 5 Stars

Review:

A wonderful story about a man who wants to be a pirate and find buried treasure for the woman he loves. The questions at the end of each chapter and word games at the end of the book are perfect teaching tools for teachers and parents alike.
A nice, short read for young children.

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Gratitude

To all those who have helped me, one way or another, to get my new #children’s book Spikes for Hank out there – THANK YOU. In these unkind times, your #kindness and support are not taken lightly and will be reciprocated. I am happy to report the #book has been uploaded to Lulu.com this morning, in both #e-book and #paperback form, and I am waiting for my #proof #copy to arrive. Fingers crossed!

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Telling it like it is;)

So I’m finishing the final touches on the new children’s book I am about to publish, and I safely remove my flash drive and check the time.

‘Oh-oh, I should go make salad for lunch,’ I say.

My 7-year-old daughter looks at me with a frown and a cynically raised eyebrow and says:

‘So what are you doing here stalling at the computer?!’

I’m telling you, there’s never been such a general before. 

PS: That’s her in the photo, improving on my sketch of the Indominus Rex.

#lovemykids #parenting

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Expanding my network

If you like to browse for books on Readers Gazette, you can now find most of my books there as well:). Excited? You bet I am!

It is amazing to see how far the small and rare steps can take you. There are times I want to just give it all up, just stop battling with the constant lack of time, being tired and overwhelmed with teaching, family, and all the Murphy-law stuff life has a tendency to bring on, but then again – so many people support me, without pushing, that it would be ridiculous not to at least pace myself and do my best.

So one step more in my dream direction…


http://readersgazette.com/

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Readers Review Room

Congratulations to Traci Sanders on pushing forward with the Readers Review Room! I’ve found many wonderful #books there and am proud to be included in the #reviewers’ team! So happy to say that the #readers/reviewers at RRR are volunteers of all ages who get to read vetted books for no charge and write honest reviews. 

Thinking of applying? Email form

The exclusive newsletter is out.  Congrats to Karen J. Mossman, author of the month, and to all the reviewers who volunteer their time to support authors write more books and excel! 

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It is.

Sometimes I think I should not even write at all any more. I mean, life seems to be sucking free time out of me anyway. 

Furthermore, so many people have already written, and are still writing, so many phenomenal books (my TBR pile is humongous) that nobody will miss my stories. 

And then an idea comes, or my characters come whispering, or I tell my story to some children… and the spark just won’t be extinguished. I don’t write with an agenda – I write because it has always been a part of me.

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Surprise!

A little surprise! Announcing my new children’s book by July/August 2017, these 2 ebooks are on special summer offer https://tinyurl.com/y864klzz! You might want to grab them – each has special activities for adults who read to/with kids or kids who read by themselves! 

#kidlit #childrensbooks

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Who is SHE? – Deb McEwan

Today I have another wonderful guest – award-winning author Deb McEwan. She opens up about a number of things in this no-questions interview where I ask authors to write down what some key words mean to them. Thank you, Deb, for taking the time to do this.

Dreams – I’ve had vivid dreams for most of my life. There’s nothing worse than somebody telling you they had a weird/bad/whatever dream the night before then going into every single detail. For this reason I won’t bore you with my dream stories, suffice to say that I’ve been woken up for shouting at or hitting my husband due to something that’s going on in my head while sleeping. I often nod off again and return to the exact part of the dream where I woke up – like an episode in a series. My husband is very happy that I now write novels. I don’t dream like I used to and wish I’d known years ago that writing was the creative outlet I needed to stop the weird or frightening dreams.

I only want to know about your dreams if they are uber original or unusual. Any takers?

Stress – The good or the bad? Let’s take the good first. Anything that takes me out of my comfort zone and it’s not only physical like abseiling or a tough session with my personal trainer for example. (Though it’s a while since I’ve done any abseiling). Giving a presentation to a room full of people or the final minutes before a job interview are the situations that normally cause my good stress. I usually enjoy the buzz after the event!

Like most people, I don’t thrive on bad stress generally caused by having unrealistic deadlines thrust upon me, the thought of having to do housework or having to attend health and safety lectures. I might have mistaken the latter for boredom and don’t have to attend health and safety lectures these days. This sounds flippant I know and there are plenty more triggers that cause bad stress. I’m a bit more serious about this under the Journey heading.

Release – Sport or walking generally does it for me. Any tension melts away following a good workout. The ideas floating around in my head always take shape during a long walk and it’s my way of either escaping from real life, or working through any problems.

Support – You sometimes expect support from family members but can’t beat the support of your good friends who choose to be there for you. As far as writing is concerned, the Indie Author Community are a marvellous bunch, who help each other without expecting anything in return.

Model – the first image that springs to mind are the waif-like serious looking females who strut up and down the catwalk. Images of these ladies have been blamed for many eating disorders in young girls who aspire to be super skinny. I read something the other day that models in France now have to have a healthy BMI before being employed in the industry. Don’t know if this is true but I hope it is. Should the model industry reflect all different shapes and sizes like the real world? You tell me?

Journey – When I was younger I discovered I had a 50/50 chance of inheriting the Huntington’s Disease gene. There are so many awful illnesses and diseases but I believe the worst is the one that may affect you, your family or any others you love. The relief of discovering that I didn’t have the gene was tempered by the guilt when I found out that other family members did. Up until that point I’d always thought I wasn’t good enough to do many things, including writing. Discovering that I wasn’t going to die from Huntington’s was a major turning point; I felt like I’d been given another shot and now embrace life to the full.

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Issue
– Writing. My characters talk to me all the time and the urge to get their words onto the computer is simply irresistible.

Relevance – According to Wikipedia: “Relevance is the concept of one topic being connected to another topic in a way that makes it useful to consider the second topic when considering the first. The concept of relevance is studied in many different fields, including cognitive sciences, logic, and library and information science.”

So there you have it.

Some believe there’s a reason for everything and that everyone is connected. Maybe this makes it easier to understand seemingly random events? Nobody knows for certain. Isn’t the majority of science best guess?

Joy – Loads spring to mind.

Spending time with the people I love is top of the list.

The sun is shining and birds are chirping away to the background music. I’m chilling with the people I love (husband, family, friends) in the pool and a glass of something is waiting in the fridge, for when I/we dry off.

Then there’s the random stuff like hearing children giggling, reading a fab book, or having a good old belly laugh.

Haven – Don’t know why, but I’ve always loved being around water. Walking in the rain, cwtched up at home reading while it’s raining outside, listening to the sea, taking a long shower, sitting under a tin roof listening to the rain. I think you’ve got my drift.

Deb’s writing news

I write in various genres. It all started with songs, followed by a book for children. The first, ‘Reindeer Dreams’, is a quirky rhyming Christmas story featuring Barry the reindeer and his family. My books for grown-ups started with the Aliens series. The Afterlife trilogy came next with a few ‘Jason the Penguin’ books in between.

The first book in my ‘Unlikely Soldiers’ series (free on Amazon, iBooks, Kobo and Nook) is set in 1970s Britain, with others to follow through the decades.

I’m currently working on a story about netball players, due out in the autumn.

Details of my books and some of my songs (co-written with musicians and I’m not singing thankfully) are on my website. https://debmcewansbooksandblogs.com

One was written for my husband for our 25th wedding anniversary – but that’s another story…

Thank you so much for sharing! Happy writing!

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