Profile for Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod, author of the Seven Day Manuscript Machine and Writing the Bible for Kids > Reviews

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Customer Reviews: 414
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Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod, author of the Seven Day Manuscript Machine and Writing the Bible for Kids "WriteKidsBooks dot org" RSS Feed (Israel)

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The Unit
The Unit
Price: $3.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Took me by surprise - in a wonderful way, December 29, 2014
This review is from: The Unit (Kindle Edition)
I wasn't sure whether I'd like this, given how many mixed reviews I saw before I took the plunge and actually bought this book. But wow, I was blown away.
I can see where others might see some aspects of this personal story, set within a dystopian society, to be trite, but I found it both easy to read and tremendously satisfying, a well-crafted story from beginning to end.
I wouldn't say this was great literature, but I think what made this special were the little human touches that recurred throughout the book. It's not exactly science fiction, since it's set pretty much in the presence, but it spurs the kind of thought that good science fiction by definition must.
Not sure who I'd recommend this for. Light women's fiction with a little bit of depth... if that makes any sense. :-)


Self-Publishing: Confessions of a Grandma: Part 2: Did I Really Do That By Myself?
Self-Publishing: Confessions of a Grandma: Part 2: Did I Really Do That By Myself?
Price: $0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cute "article" - only wish it was longer, December 29, 2014
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I really like the author's writing style, but I found this very, very short. I picked it up free, but I imagine that even for 99 cents, I'd expect a little more.
That said, her writing is warm, personal and more than a little humourous. I feel like I'd love to read an entire memoir from this author. Perhaps she can start one... when she's not busy setting up her website, shopping on Fiverr, or writing her terrific kids' stories!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 29, 2014 3:33 AM PST


Children's Book: The Midnight Feast: Beautifully Illustrated Children's Bedtime Story Book (Funny Bedtime Story, Children Books Collection)
Children's Book: The Midnight Feast: Beautifully Illustrated Children's Bedtime Story Book (Funny Bedtime Story, Children Books Collection)
Price: $0.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No, it is not (any of the above), December 29, 2014
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The "title" of this book claims that it is "beautifully illustrated" - it's not. And I don't mean that in the sense that art is personal taste and maybe I just don't like it. Nope, with a couple of exceptions, it's simply not very well-drawn. The title also says it's "funny" but unless the author means that in the sense of being highly strange, then nope to that as well.

Starting with a good, basic story concept, this "book" has clearly not been edited at all. It's full of typos that actually DO make the book a bit funny - like when the brother thinks of his sister as a "sacredly cat" (should be scaredy cat?). At one point, we learn that she's "not a coward ad Ted thought" and "Amy's shoulder's shaking" ("oh he had to comfort her he thought") is par for the course in a book where punctuation is sprinkled around like pepper, perhaps in the hope that it will land in the right places (for the most part, it hasn't).

The cover of the book - really just a picture to which the author has crudely added the name of the book - implies that the children will be outdoors with all sorts of scary critters. In reality, they never leave the house and the scariest thing that happens (spoiler alert!) is that they bump into their own family dog.

So if you're looking for that sort of book (which my kids love!) look elsewhere - just one more example of what this book is NOT.

I wish the writer had put more time and attention into this book, which might have succeeded if she had. But I suspect that the entire purpose of this "book" is to direct readers to the author's so-called "personal blog," which seems to be a dummy site designed to collect email addresses to receive Kindle freebie spam. Clever marketing tactic? Maybe... just don't call it a children's book.


The Ten Lost Tribes: The Amazing Story of the Ten Lost Tribes - and What Really Happened to Them (History of the Jewish People)
The Ten Lost Tribes: The Amazing Story of the Ten Lost Tribes - and What Really Happened to Them (History of the Jewish People)
Price: $2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Two typos in the first sentence - don't bother paying money for this, December 28, 2014
Here's how he begins: "One of the great mysteries that continue [should be "continues"] to puzzle people all over the world is the fat [probably meant "fat"] of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel."

I didn't need to read more than this to be seriously Not Impressed.

It's a promising topic, but the pictures are all clip art and the "facts" (or is that "fats"?) can all be gleaned free from Wikimedia. Don't bother paying money for this.


Nelly Has Lost Her Baby
Nelly Has Lost Her Baby
Price: $0.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous illustrations held back by odd, stilted dialogue, December 22, 2014
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I realize I'm going against the tide here. This book has many, many positive reviews, probably thanks to its absolutely lovely illustrations. They're such a nice change, marking this book as distinctly different from the overly-bright, overly-digitized look of some independent children's books. They are very relaxing and gentle on the eyes, and the love between the mother and the baby is so genuine and precious.
However, the story itself - while a good basic "searching for baby" tale - is somewhat lacking. It reminded me slightly of Harriet Ziefert's "Where is my Baby?" which also has the benefit of a better title. While the expression "losing a baby" may not have any meaning to young children, it's absolutely terrible for adults, who understand that when a woman "has lost her baby," it means the baby has died.
Within the story itself, there's an odd mixture of dialogue (monologue?) and first-person narrative. This whole book seems to be Nelly speaking to the reader, so I didn't quite get why some of it was in quotation marks and some wasn't. I also wasn't sure who she was speaking to. The reader? (I think this is the case - that the child is supposed to be shouting out responses.) Every once in a while, she stops, asks someone if they can help, and then, the following line, says, "Oh, well thank you for trying" without making this clear.
All in all, this is a cute story and well worth looking at if it's a free download. Because the illustrations are so wonderful, I'm disappointed that the author didn't put more into the text. With a little professional editing, it probably could have been a terrific book.


The Story of Succot (The Jewish Holidays)
The Story of Succot (The Jewish Holidays)
Price: $2.99

2.0 out of 5 stars It's not a story, it's a VERY short poem., December 18, 2014
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My main concern is that this is sold as a "story" when it very clearly isn't. According to Amazon's estimate, this is 4 pages long, but it's only 1.5 on my reader.
This poem shares quite a few accurate facts about the holiday, which was nice to see, but one line really made me hesitate when it says that the Jews in the desert "didn't have string" so they tied their sukkot with leather. A quick check on Google tells me string was invented 28,000 years ago, which suggests that the word "leather" was included only because it rhymes with "together."
Overall, this poem feels like a picture-book manuscript that isn't finished - it needs illustrations and perhaps editing to smooth out the rhymes. I picked this up free, and if you see it free again, you may want to grab a copy. It'll take you about three minutes to read, but your children might enjoy it. At the moment, Amazon is telling me this "book" is $2.99, which is, frankly, too much to pay for a very short holiday poem.


Grandpa Talks Funny: Keys to Speaking Grandpa-eese
Grandpa Talks Funny: Keys to Speaking Grandpa-eese
Price: $2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Sugar-sweet, a cute conversation opener, December 18, 2014
What a sweet book! The generation gap doesn't have to be a bad thing, if you've got the right translator, as this little girl does. Sure, Grandpa doesn't use the same expressions as the kids and their friends do, but it's easy enough to understand him - and love spending time together with him - once you know what he means.
When I first saw the title, I thought the book might have something to do with a disability. My own grandfather, for example, had a stroke when I was 10 or 11 and talked "funny" for the rest of his life. Many kids may have a similar experience, but parents and teachers should be aware that that's not what this book is about. The Grandpa in this story actually talks just fine... once you get to know what he's saying.
The illustrations are simple and cartoonish and complement the text nicely. The little girl's literal visualizations of what her grandfather is saying might also be helpful with children who are on the higher-functioning end of the Autism spectrum, who think very literally and have a difficult time with figures of speech in general.
I'm happy I came across this sweet little book, which was obviously created with a lot of heart. I'm sure kids will enjoy it as much as I did!


Useless Advice For New Writers from Josh Hilden: Revised Second Edition
Useless Advice For New Writers from Josh Hilden: Revised Second Edition
Price: $2.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Dare I say it's kind of... useless?, November 17, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Meh. It had the word "useless" in the title, so I suppose I should have been better prepared. I'm glad I didn't pay much for this. The writer is honest and seems to love what he does, so that's worth quite a bit. But in the end, it doesn't make this particular book a terrific read.


Elisha Davidson and the Letters of Fire
Elisha Davidson and the Letters of Fire
by M. R. Attar
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.06
15 used & new from $16.88

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Weird but wonderful; ambitious, multi-layered plot, November 17, 2014
Are you ready for a wild ride?

I hope so, because writer M. R. (Rhonda) Attar has just released the first in what promises to be a trilogy of adventure books about young Elisha Davidson, Elisha Davidson and the Letters of Fire (Menorah Books: 2014).

I'd call the book weird and wonderful. But I'd also caution that it's not for the youngest readers, or maybe for any reader younger than 12 or 13. There are scenes that are frightening and/or violent, like in the first chapter, where a renowned professor passes out era pool of blood. (He remains comatose for the entire book.)

This is an ambitious book, weaving hundreds of years of mystical Jewish teachings into an exciting modern-day story. It reads quickly as long as you don't let yourself get too hung up on the details. But that might be just me.

The book itself is well-researched and intricately plotted. The cover art is colourful and appealing, if not necessarily targeted to the right demographic. It is clearly designed to appeal to the Harry Potter crowd, but any younger Harry Potter fan would probably be turned off by the slow pace and complexity of the book. There are also many references to psychiatry, and I'm unconvinced that an actual psychiatrist would ever behave the way Dr. Brody does in this book.

If you're looking for a straight adventure book for kids, this may not be the easiest sell. It gets very intricate in places. On the other hand, if your kids are mystically inclined or love obscure tidbits and details from Jewish tradition, they may absolutely love it.

Elisha Davidson and the Letters of Fire is well worth reading, and I'm confident that its sequels will be as well. I'm tremendously impressed at how many elements have been brought together in this story and the richness and complexity it encompasses, even if the fusion of these elements is not entirely smooth and consistent throughout.


Character Motto: A Writer's Tool for Creating 3-D Characters & Enhancing Plot, Setting & Conflict
Character Motto: A Writer's Tool for Creating 3-D Characters & Enhancing Plot, Setting & Conflict
Price: $2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars The list in the back of the book is a huge plus, October 29, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This little book is a solid tool to help writers focus either while they're writing or once their manuscript is done. It sounds a little corny, but stick with it, because I believe any manuscript can be improved by the kind of character insight that Susan Gable advocates in this book. The list in the back of the book is both funny and priceless. I got this book along with 3 others on the topic of creating character (2 paid, 2 free), and this emerged as one of the top two (perhaps tied for first!). It might have been nice to see a longer list of clashes between mottos and/or goals for each motto, but the author gives you enough help to envision what these might be where she hasn't provided them.


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