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LyzzyBee (Birmingham, UK)

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Marketing Your Editing & Proofreading Business: Being interesting and discoverable
Marketing Your Editing & Proofreading Business: Being interesting and discoverable
Price: 11.22

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for newcomers and those looking to grow their business, 20 May 2014
This book is aimed at newcomers to the editing profession and people who need to brush up their marketing skills. A follow-on to her business planning book, it goes more into the detail of marketing process, sharing ideas and encouraging the reader to try some of them.

Jargon is kept to a minimum and concepts are explained clearly and concisely. This means that the book is accessible and approachable for people who can't see the point of making the effort, who try to do it, but half-heartedly, or who fear doing it at all and can't get started. And it's not just for newbies - I'm an experienced editor and I learnt some tricks and hints while reading it.

The book is in four parts, concepts - what marketing is and how it helps you to grow your business; activities, which goes through all sorts of things you can do from the traditional to the new, including cold letters, face-to-face networking and social media, ; then a great sample marketing plan based around a fictitious and very interesting character; and a good list of resources at the end. The marketing plan is really excellent as it takes a non-traditional editor and sets out what they can achieve around an new career, making sure that they have a mix of customers and types of work.

This book would be particularly useful for anyone starting out in editing freelancing or for anyone who's giving it a go but not getting very far with getting customers. It's also very useful for anyone planning to work with traditional publishers, as it sets out a lot of information about choosing which companies to target, etc., and the author also says that she works with self-publishers, and gives plenty of advice about how to deal with these clients as well.

If you're in the early stages of an editorial career, especially if you are not sure of the market in which you wish to work, buy a copy of this book. Highly recommended to anyone in the profession - it's published in association with the Publishing Training Centre, which is a badge of quality, too.


Joe and the Race to Rescue: A boy and his horses (Horseshoe Trilogy)
Joe and the Race to Rescue: A boy and his horses (Horseshoe Trilogy)
by Victoria Eveleigh
Edition: Paperback
Price: 4.54

5.0 out of 5 stars A great modern pony book, 27 Mar 2014
This is the third Joe book. It starts directly after the last book. Joe has moved on from his champion pony Lightning to new loan Fortune. He begins to realise what a good teacher Lightning was as he struggles with Fortune, who is of a very high quality but doesn't seem to have engaged in a meaningful relationship with him.

Joe finds a horsey world with no girls, pink and sparkles when he meets a pair of heavy horses and starts to learn about driving and ploughing with, even riding - these gentle giants. I don't think I've seen driving covered in a modern pony book before - we also meet a smaller pony who does equally well being driven and ridden.

Joe's friendships, especially with Martin and Caroline, continue to deepen, and Sensei Radford is there again too. I do love the range of role models that Joe has, not forgetting neighbour Nellie, who gives Joe a few pointers along the way. Lots of plot and excitement around who will be picked for the England team in the international pony club games, and worry about flooding which seems very modern of course. There are some lovely touches and echoes, especially in a ploughing scene near to the end of the book.

Once again, the author gets it just right, with modern touches and technology but a good story without magic and silliness, lessons to learn and a good solid underpinning about family, community friendship and care for the animals. Highly recommended.


Deeds Not Words
Deeds Not Words
by Katharine D'Souza
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.24

5.0 out of 5 stars A good and absorbing read, 25 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Deeds Not Words (Paperback)
Having read the author's previous book, "Park Life", I was expecting another thumping good read set in my home city of Birmingham. I wasn't disappointed.

This novel centres around Caroline, who is back in the city of her birth, working at the Museum and Art Gallery, having run back to the familiar and safe when confronted with a risky choice. She's living out an existence between work and a sparsely-furnished flat, with office politics and the details of working in the museum and trying to find her place there leaving her little time for anything more. When family crisis hits and secrets - and art - start coming out of the woodwork, she's thrown into art-related detective work and engagement with an old flame and various characters. Meanwhile, the family threatens to engulf her, and there are decisions to be made about inheritance - in more ways than one.

In this modern book that looks back into 20th century, history, facets of family life and relationships are explored as are working life and its accompanying relationships - both seeming to be equally important these days. Although I will admit to living in Birmingham, this is not just a regional novel: take out those local details and you're still left with a strong story and memorable characters, especially the female ones, delineated beautifully and believable in their depictions, springing into focus at the appropriate moments.

An assured, engaging and readable novel that I will be recommending to lots of people.


Dark Horse: How Challenger Companies Rise to Prominence
Dark Horse: How Challenger Companies Rise to Prominence
by Dan Mack
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.45

4.0 out of 5 stars A good read for any business, 28 Jan 2014
A book about small companies that do better in business and against their larger competitors than they logically should do, with insights from the leaders of such companies culled from seminars and groups run by the author. He certainly knows his stuff, and the book is packed full of insights, inspiration and real-life, concrete examples of the theories and practices he discusses.

This book would be most useful for companies that are offering a product (rather than a service), and in the sectors of health, beauty and wellness, as these areas are where most of the examples are located, although there are some good general principles too. It would also be of most benefit to the small-to-medium sized enterprise, rather than a very small or single-person business, as there’s information about recruiting and managing the appropriate staff and departments working together which wouldn’t be so directly relevant.

It’s well laid out, in an easy to follow structure that is consistent across the chapters, and there is a good bibliography and references list to back everything up. I would recommend this to the CEO of a small company trying to hit above its weight, or to anyone in business (and in fact big businesses could learn much from this, too).


A Cottage by the Sea
A Cottage by the Sea
Price: 3.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well done and engaging, 26 Nov 2013
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A well done and engaging novel that made a couple of train journeys very much more bearable by whisking me away to the seaside and the trials and tribulations of three friends who are reassessing their relationships, priorities and perhaps even friendships.


From the Slopes of Olympus to the Banks of the Lea: A Book by Smoke: a London Peculiar
From the Slopes of Olympus to the Banks of the Lea: A Book by Smoke: a London Peculiar
by Matt Haynes
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read on London and the Olympics, 19 Sep 2013
This is going to live on my shelf alongside my Olympics DVDs. It tells the other story of the Olympics, of the lands that the venues were built on, the people who viewed the works suspiciously, but came to have a grudging liking for the events as they unfolded. There's something for everyone here: photographs, cartoons, humour, pathos, reportage, fiction, first person narratives and essays. The variety of voices keeps things fresh, and the chronological ordering makes sense of the wide range of material. A lovely artefact in itself and a book to treasure and re-read.


Heroines on Horseback: The Pony Book in Children's Fiction
Heroines on Horseback: The Pony Book in Children's Fiction
by Jane Badger
Edition: Paperback
Price: 16.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read, 9 Sep 2013
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I bought this book because pony books are my secret (but not guilty) pleasure and I was very excited to find there was a book on the history of pony books, their authors and their illustrators. This excellent book takes a mainly chronological approach to the genre (with general chapters on illustration, annuals and short stories and non-UK / overseas-set wild horse books), which highlights the development of different kinds of pony story and their relationship to the wider socio-cultural background of the times at which they were written.

It's written in an engaging (and perfectly edited - not a typo to be found in the whole book) way, with a combination of just enough academic rigour to satisfy the serious reader and personal notes to satisfy the more general fan. I particularly liked the use of input from other voices, whether those of the authors or their representatives, the people who contributed short essays on their own favourites, or the blog and forum users who were also quoted. There is also an excellent bibliography and a good index.

If you loved pony books as a child and haven't read any since, or if you've continued to love them and still read them, you will find something familiar and something new (and something to buy!). A great resource and a book that's been needed for a while.


Joe and the Lightning Pony: A boy and his horses (The Horseshoe Trilogy)
Joe and the Lightning Pony: A boy and his horses (The Horseshoe Trilogy)
by Victoria Eveleigh
Edition: Paperback
Price: 4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great read, 7 July 2013
This is the second book in the Joe trilogy, which began with Joe and the Hidden Horseshoe. You don't HAVE to have read the first book first, but why not, as it's shaping up to be a great little series.

Joe is getting used to countryside life, with ponies and now some horses to look after, thanks to his Mum's venture into horse rehabilitation. Emily, his sister, takes to riding really well after a shaky start, and starts to show him up a bit, fitting in with the girlie stereotype and the Pony Club people maybe a bit too well. Meanwhile, though, Joe's pony, Lightning, who has been recovering from foot problems, turns out to have a flair for mounted games competitions that could well take them far.

Our emotions are put through the mill a little in this one, although there's nothing to worry about in terms of things being too much: one theme may be a bit more hard-hitting than some of the traditional books but can be coped with (maybe with some pre-reading and support for the very young reader). Joe experiences some dilemmas about friends and ponies, and his relationship with his friend Caroline deepens, as he makes some new friends, human and equine, too.

Chris the farrier, Sensei Radford the aikido tutor and down-to-earth Nellie reappear, which gives the book a range of characters and depth of plot that is very appealing. We also learn about horse passports, mounted games and the Pony Club, all of the learning coming naturally within the course of the book.

Highly recommended yet again for pony-book-loving boys, girls and adults.


Gentry: Six Hundred Years of a Peculiarly English Class
Gentry: Six Hundred Years of a Peculiarly English Class
by Adam Nicolson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.96

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent!, 4 July 2013
A spectacular and amazing book.

Nicolson takes the stories of various gentry families active during various times from the 1410s to the present day and uses a combination of meticulous research, beautiful writing and the ability to tell a good story to bring their lives, relationships and concerns vividly to life, capturing small details and personal testimonies and seeming to revel in the process himself.

The written documents are highlighted as an amazing source of information, perfectly preserved in all its details, and the families are placed within their context and social history. The book as a whole is moving, honest, not extrapolating past the sources into "must have felt" this and "should have done that", and letting the voices of the subject shine through - the best kind of history writing, in my opinion. Flexible like the families about notions of gentry, but also looking at how that term has been defined over the centuries. It brings us right up to date in the last chapters, skillfully weaving the experiences of the modern-day gentry into their context and history. Magnificent.


Books, Bicycles and Banana Trucks: Adventures in Eritrea with VSO
Books, Bicycles and Banana Trucks: Adventures in Eritrea with VSO
Price: 1.36

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving, inspiring and a good read, 22 Jun 2013
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If you're ever despairing about the state of the world and its inhabitants, the selfishness of people, the insularity of the rich West, etc., etc., then I would recommend reading this book.

Richard Bates took out almost two years or a comfortable, happy life in the UK, volunteering with the Scouts and teaching, close to his family, to travel to the distant and poor country of Eritrea, live in a compound with electricity available for a few hours a day, "commute" on foot through 50 degree heat or on a disintegrating motorbike across stony deserts, teach people to teach in schools with no walls, let alone facilities, set up a computer resource centre in a room with no plug sockets (said computers having an "interesting" journey themselves from the city) and shower in a bucket.

He did so with grace, mostly dignity (apart from when he was falling off bikes and failing to return complex greetings in the prescribed manner), and an acceptance that he was going to be a "celebrity" for two years ... oh, and with no Weetabix or orange squash. We're told about his brave acceptance of yoghurt breakfasts and battles with bureaucracy, during which he remains as good humoured as it is possible to remain in such circumstances. You have to be committed to volunteering to do VSO, but his commitment to the children and teachers in his care shines through on every page.

Created by his sister, Linda, out of letters home and a blog that was written at the time, you get the immediacy of reading a blog with the distance and structure obtained by someone putting it together skilfully and adding her own comments - these last were funny, moving and thought-provoking in turn. A short history of the country, a diary of Linda's visit to her brother's life in Eritrea and a very moving introduction add to the reading experience.

We often find something about "what happened next" in books like this. But Eritrea remains a pretty closed country, and Richard and Linda are clear and accepting of this situation. This does not depress the reader - the book is a wonderful insight into a what I could stereotypingly call a "vibrant and welcoming community in the midst of hardship and deprivation", but it is, so I will.

I like reading travel books, and I like reading books about people helping other people. If you like such books, or are interested in teaching, volunteering, Africa, how you would survive if you were thrown into all sorts of different circumstances, how to cope without Weetabix ... this is the book for you.


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