Review: I Am Sleepless Sim 299 by Johan Twiss


I was kindly offered a free digital copy of this book for review by the author Johan Twiss.  This is the first in a trilogy of ‘I Am Sleepless’ and is a young YA science fiction novel.  Here is my review:

From a young age Aiden and his friends were chosen to become prime cadets.  As primes they all have special unique abilities and an appearance to match.  But along with their abilities come unfortunate defects.  But Aiden is different, with multiple abilities and no defect other than not sleeping, he’s had time to master all simulations, except 299…

This book is a science fiction novel aimed at teenagers and younger though anyone can enjoy this.  The main character is Aiden who is twelve years old and although there are a mix of different people in the story, it focuses mainly on Aiden and his friends.  This science fiction story is very complex to start with and I’ll admit is was hard for me to get through the first chapter as I just couldn’t grasp what was going on.  You are introduced to a set of characters but it’s all those character’s abilities and looks that makes it hard to understand when you first start reading.

The story explains that there are different types of primes: Vibrunts, Puzzlers, Eidetics, Agulators, Meks, Lugs and Vigoris.  Each of these primes is a bit like a different species with certain abilities, defects and looks.  There is a key at the back of the book explaining all these details but I really think it should have been placed in the front, and you really should refer to it as I didn’t and for almost half the story kept mixing up Agulators and Lugs.

Despite the mix ups it does get easier to understand the story and from chapter two it already makes more sense.  The whole plot is fast moving and is a good read but I never felt as engaged with this story as with others and I really don’t know why.  There are creatures in the story bearcats and piranharay to name a couple.  These creatures are literally the two earth creatures combined into one and at the end of every chapter there’s a fun sketch of one of these creatures.  I like the uniqueness of these but at times it felt a bit silly and I couldn’t take the plot as seriously, despite the fact I do like the images.

There’s no swearing, sex of vicious violence in this book, in fact on the book’s description on Goodreads it even states a ‘clean rating’ which I like.  The book finishes on a complete cliff hanger.  There isn’t even a slightly satisfying end to book one, you have no idea what will happen to the characters and it just stops.  I don’t mind the slight cliff hanger ending of books usually but they should have some sort of mini conclusion and this one doesn’t.  To satisfy this problem the first chapter of book two ‘I Am Sleepless – Search for the Reader’ is included in the back, but it still doesn’t satisfy the cliff hanger ending.

Overall anyone who enjoys a proper science fiction set book should enjoy this, kids and younger teens might enjoy it more than adults though I did like the overall plot.  Unfortunately this book just wasn’t as exciting as it could have been for me, I was able to put the book down, but it doesn’t mean I don’t want to read the next part – I do!  Just be aware of that cliff hanger ending if you do choose to read this book

Rating: 4/5

Review published on amazon UK, click here

Review published on Goodreads, click here

Book blurb:

While the others slept, Aidan spent hours each night running sim after sim. Although he was only a twelve-year cadet, he had completed more simulations than any prime— ever.

“You are setting history,” General Estrago told him. “No one has ever made it to the current simulation you are attempting. The other Masters and I are eager to see what comes next.”

So was Aidan.

The planet Ethos is at war with a mysterious enemy known as the Splicers. Their only successful defense is the Prime Initiative. All newborns with the compatible genetic code are taken from their families and injected with the Prime Stimulus. Each child that survives the stimulus develops an extraordinary ability and is conscripted into the military for training.

After turning twelve, Aidan is moved to the upper-class at the Mount Fegorio training complex. His special gifts allow him unprecedented success in the virtual training simulations, advancing him further than any prime cadet in history. No one knows what lies after sim 299, not even Director Tuskin, the ruthless and reclusive ruler of their planet. But something, or someone, has been guiding Aidan there. If he can pass the final tests, he may discover the key to ending the Splicer War.

Review: Good Night Like This by Mary Murphy


I was kindly sent this children’s bedtime book for review by the publisher Walker Books.  Here is my review:

This is a lovely bedtime book to read with kids. A touch wider and shorter than A4 in size this book is filled with thick, glossy, colourful pages. Each double page follows the same familiar pattern. There is a picture of an animal with it’s baby but where these animals sit there is a half page in the book. At first there is a short half rhyme with a picture of the baby animal awake. Turn the half page and then you see the baby asleep with a goodnight message to them. The half page is so well illustrated that when you turn it, the images blend into the page. My photos will show you how this works.
Every page follows this familiar pattern and it’s a joy to read for example, the first animals are rabbits. ‘Yawning and dozy, twitchy and cosy. Goodnight, rabbits, like this…’ Turning the half page, baby rabbit is asleep with the message ‘like this.’ And a speech bubble with ‘Good night’ Every page has a rhyme and then follows the same goodnight…like this pattern. The animals are all different and the illustrations are so lovely.

Cats, fireflies, ducks and bears are some of the animals in this book. Apart from being so beautifully illustrated the familiar words are large and easy for kids to read along together. The repetitive ‘good night’ hopefully leading to kids feeling sleepy too. The last page has some sparkles on it and the whole book just makes me smile every time I look at it. I love the cute illustrations and would recommend this as a great bedtime book.


Rating: 5/5

Review published on amazon UK, click here

Review published on Goodreads, click here

Book blurb:

Feeling yaaaawny, oh so snorey-snorey?  Time to cuddle up close and snuggle down deep.  Good night, little one, sleep tight.

Poetry: Alone


This is a poem with no particular prompt except for my own head :).  Not sure if it makes any sense but oh well…


Now I’m here, all alone,

Knowing you will never phone.

Staying still, nothing to see,

Won’t come here to be with me.

Hard to tell my heart, let go,

But deep inside, already know.

Truth I do not want to seek,

Reality is far more bleak.

Love made up, you were never real,

Created because I wanted to feel.

A love before I’m dust and bone,

But now I’m here, all alone.

Review: Fifty Nifty Facts About Cats

I’m trying out a new format for posting reviews (more speedy for me).  Please let me know what you think.  I’m planning to revamp this site and change the theme too – eventually, so a new format trial today with a lovely book:


I got free copy of this book via NetGalley to read for review.  It’s a lovely book although I have no way of showing you the internal pictures without photographing my ereader (which I don’t think is allowed) but hope on over to amazon’s look inside feature to see some great images of this.

‘Fifty Nifty Facts About Cats’ is a cute and informative read for anyone who loves cats.  Though this is aimed at children a lot of adults will enjoy this book.

As the title suggests this book has fifty different facts about cats.  The facts are displayed one at a time along with a cute and sometimes funny picture of a cat.  Although most of the facts are simple ones that I already knew such as: Cats use their tail for balance, I was surprised to find I didn’t know all there is to know about cats, despite owning cats my whole life and them being my favourite animal.  There were several facts I didn’t know including one about sea water.

Although the facts are informative this book is worth getting due to the beautiful photography.  The photos all have the same quality as the one on the front cover.  Each fact is accompanied by a photo of a cat (or occasionally cats) in different positions.  A fact about milk shows a cat drinking milk, but some photos are far funnier such as the first one being a wet cat looking very grumpy, or a very fat cat sitting upright (like a human) on a sofa.  It’s these photographs that really make this book worth getting as they’re not only cute and funny but also really detailed.  One photograph has such detail you can see the individual tiny bumps on a cats nose.

This book is a short but fun read and perfect for kids especially if the family is about to get a kitten or cat, and although this is aimed at children, I can see many adults enjoying the beautiful photographs in this too!

Rating: 5/5

Review published on amazon UK, click here

Review published on Goodreads, click here

Book Blurb:

Cats have lived with humans for almost ten thousand years, and in that time we’ve learned a lot about our furry friends.Did you know cats have a dominant paw?That cat spit causes allergies?That cats shouldn’t drink coffee?Discover these nifty facts and many more in this delightfully colorful, picture-packed exploration of America’s most popular pet! 

What’s in a Name? Is it Important to get it right? (yep it’s-Respect the Reviewer…again!)

respect cat

I have a question:  Is it important to get someone’s name right when requesting something from them like a review?

Today I’ve received another review request, nothing strange about that, until it came to the name at the top of the request.  Now I’m used to people addressing me with no name, even dear reviewer or dear blogger, I’ve been called thehappymeerkat, C, Meerkat but until now I’ve never had an author get my name wrong.  I wasn’t sure to make of it and wondered if this was a big deal to just me or anyone else?

Remember that Respect the Reviewer article I published a while back?  Here’s point 5: Get the name right! – This might sound ridiculously obvious but make sure if you’re going to send a request for review that you get their name right. – A personal request to me is always appreciated and I love it when people call me by name rather than my username or website name, it shows they’ve taken the time to read both my about page and review submissions page, however make sure if you are going to address someone specific that you get their name right. I’ve had authors call me different names, mix me up with others they’ve seen. It shows that once again they can’t be bothered to take the time to read my about and submissions pages which doesn’t take long. If in doubt as to what to call someone it’s better to say ‘Hi’ and nothing more than give the wrong name.

So this I thought was important.  But now I wonder if it is just me?

I’ve had Chinese sellers get my name wrong but I’ve always put that down to a weird language barrier and their habit of mass emailing people.  But someone who speaks English, who’s native tongue is English and who is an author looking for a review?  Well surely they should get your name right?

Why am I going on about this.  Because the first review request since my ban/cautiousness about indie author requests starts with ‘Hi there Kent’….Kent?


Ok, I admit, I come from Kent in the south east of the UK, but that is information only found on Goodreads and amazon.  It doesn’t appear on my facebook page, twitter or this blog, so where on earth did this author get the idea to call me Kent?

Were they referring to where I live, or did they mix me up with some guy who’s actually called Kent?  Did they try to call me by a surname – would my first name be Clark?  (ok bad attempt at funny)  But the fact is I’ve been called KENT!  So this author shows a great attention to detail, the ability to spend two minutes, nay two seconds to check out my name on my about me page (it’s the first line on that page), but instead they choose to call me Kent instead.  Not a great start and do I really feel like taking the time to carefully read someone else’s work if they can’t carefully read a few sentences of mine?

Any thoughts?

Reviewers- do you care if authors call you the right name?

Authors- do you care about calling someone by their name?  Or are reviewer names unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

Anyone else?  Any thoughts?  Do you agree the name is important?  Wouldn’t no name be better than the wrong name?

Dark, Chilling and Necessary Reading: Max


I will address all the comments that have come in recently very soon, thank you to those who have commented.  I just first wanted to share with you this amazing book I was kindly sent by the publisher Walker Books for review.  It’s a very dark and chilling read but something everyone should take a look at, here is my review of ‘Max’ by Sarah Cohen-Scali:

Max is the perfect Nazi baby.  Born as part of the eugenics programme his blond hair, blue eyes and entire body are perfect.  But raised with Nazi ideology and living through the brutality of war, how long can Max cope before reality questions his own beliefs?

‘Max’ is such an amazing and powerful novel it had me gripped, shocked, horrified and even had me crying!  Told in the first person perspective throughout, Max tells us his story.  It starts with him talking to us from inside the womb.  This may seem odd but I got into the story straight away and I’m surprised how gripped I was from just the first few lines.  As Max is born and begins to grow up he tells us his story though his own Nazi ideology.  Although children may have not been born with that mindset, they were conditioned to think a certain way, and this is how Max thinks from the first moment we read.  His attitude and opinions are full of hatred and are offensive, but it’s the way the Nazis thought and this is what makes this novel so powerful.

The book is separated into four parts.  Each one a different time period in Max’s life.  As the book spans the timeframe of 1936 to 1945 Max doesn’t grow up much in age but what he goes though and the experiences he has are far more mature than any nine year old should have gone through.  The story is Max’s and we learn about his life, growing up without love, conditioned to be the perfect future soldier, but as we read on other characters sometimes relay stories, or Max is able to see something happening which gives a greater insight into what was happening not only with the eugenics, titled the ‘Lebensborn’ programme, but we see other things that the Nazis did during the war.

The horrors or war get more and more dark and shocking the further you read into the book.  This may be a YA novel but it doesn’t hold back from describing what really happened.  You read about sickening and bloody deaths, sex, rape and many of the horrors including some of the details of the holocaust.  This book is designed to shock and horrify and it really does.  I’ve known a lot about the horrors of the Nazis in world war II both from what I learned at school and my various Polish extended family, but reading this stuff in a novel, when you feel you are part of the story was just all the more shocking and brutal.  I liked the fact that towards the end, the story didn’t hold back from telling the truth of what happened in the end of the war and didn’t just focus on the brutality from the Nazis.

Despite all the horrors I was so gripped by the novel that I only put it down when real life got in the way.  The ending is a satisfying one but the whole book isn’t a happy one.  Apart from some quite graphic descriptions and mentions of deaths, there is use of the f and s swear words (as well as some milder ones) though this isn’t too frequent.  I usually don’t enjoy too much swearing in novels but this felt so right and it made the story all the more intense.

At the end of reading this novel I feel exhausted, I felt like crying too, but I’m glad I read this.  Not only do you feel for this character Max as he’s just a young child, and what he goes though isn’t anything a child should go through, but at the same time you find yourself shocked at hearing the Nazi ideology come from him.  It was really chilling to read at times but you still feel for this character and it really makes it all the harder to put this book down as you want to see what happens to him.

I’d give this book a hundred stars if I could.  It deserves them.  It’s so well written and you feel such emotions when reading it.  It’s a book that should be read by everyone, young and old, and it’s the sort of book I wish I’d had when learning about the holocaust and war at school. It’s endorsed by Amnesty International which isn’t surprising.  The authors notes at the end show how most of the characters are based on real people, making this again more chilling and dark.  This book is sold as a YA novel but given the content I’d say older teens should read this and not anyone younger, the details are just too dark, but a book I’d recommend everyone around the world to pick up and read.

To read the burb or for links to amazon UK and Goodreads please click here (opens in a new tab)

To Clarify Yesterday’s Indie Post

Thank you everyone for your overwhelming support.  I appreciate that you can all understand the position I’ve been put in and thank you for the kind comments and personal messages too.  I will reply to them all soon I just wanted to clarify yesterday’s post as I want to be clear what’s happening.

I’m not abandoning all indie books for review.  But I will be more cautious about who I accept in the future.  I need to know people are genuinely fine with the possibility of a 1,2 or even 3 star review.  I may not give that rating but it has to be something an author is ready for as I have to be able to review giving an honest opinion.  I will also be reviewing books as I originally started, rating them and then contacting the author.  It messes my head to do it any other way and I hope this will sit well with people here.

My to-be-read pile is too large at the moment so I’m going to work on reducing that first.  I’ll be updating my review submissions page – It’s currently unavailable but I’m going to repost it with new information later today explaining everything plus stating that I want to review books that have gone through some thorough editing.  For those who’ve commented recently on editing this has to be done thoroughly but it doesn’t mean a writer needs a professional editing.  But there DOES need to be someone looking at the book with a very critical eye – someone who’s willing to be brutally honest and not say everything’s fine.

The wonderful person running the Book Review Directory has said I can stay on the directory!  So I’ll be reposting that badge🙂 !  I’ve also now joined NetGalley!  This will give me a chance to try out some great new releases, which I’m excited about, plus I get to display this wonderful badge on my blog (I know most bloggers already have this badge, but it’s new to me so I’m excited!).


I hope you will continue to enjoy reading my reviews regardless of whether they are by indie authors or traditional.  Along with that I still have all my usual poetry and ‘other musings’ (whatever they may be).  Thank you again, it takes some time to feel better but I feel like I’m back on the way up, and with such support here I’m sure I’ll bounce back sooner than I would if there had been a whole load of negativity thrown my way.