• Seek out REVIEWS, even before the book is out. Get your advance readers to give you some catchy phases for the book. 

  • Don’t be discouraged by parts of reviews that seem off the mark, or nit-picking, since your reviewers may have experiences that will help you produce a better product. Experience will teach you what to take seriously and what to ignore.

  • What I took from the review below is that it’s a great read for kids, but I might improve the cover (cover received a rating of 7/10). The last paragraph is finally what I tried to achieve with this book, and that was to tell the story behind the story, how I wrote The Madonna Ghost. I am really having difficulty placing this book in the right genre.


TITLE: Making a Mystery with Annie Tillery: The Madonna Ghost


Star Rating: 4 stars


‘A truly gripping story with a strong cast of characters. Kids will love it!’ A ‘Wishing Shelf’ Book Review


I do enjoy a good children’s novel; and when there’s a heft dollop of mystery too, I’m in my element. In this sweetly written story of secrets, nasty crooks and a very spooky island, I discovered a well-plotted story with plenty of twists and turns to keep any adventure fan happy. The author seems to be very comfortable with her characters, even the secondary, and happily throws all manner of twists into the mix.

In terms of the story, there is also much to commend. With a fun opening chapter, and a cleverly structured plot – all the way to the exciting finale – the author seems determined to keep her readers thoroughly engaged. She also works well with the romance with Ty, providing the readers with plenty of chemistry between the two central characters.

If I was to be a tiny bit critical, the author has a tendency to ‘tell’ and to ‘show’. For example, I stumbled after my confident, determined aunt. As it happens, the author showed this in how the character acted; I wonder, was it necessary to ‘tell’ the reader too. I know the book is for children, and it is tempting to ‘dumb it down’, but trust me, this author is so good at showing, it’s not necessary.

All in all, a fun adventure for 9 – 13 year olds, particularly if they enjoy Enid Blyton’s Famous Five or, of course, Nancy Drew. I would recommend it to anybody who enjoys a good adventure where the characters are not secondary to the plot, but equally important; the sort of characters a reader can root for, can cheer on till the very end.

Also, of note, the author has included a number of helpful lesson plans at the end of the chapters and at the back of the book including topics for discussion, info on the author, help on improving writing style, developing characters and plotting a story. A wonderful resource for teachers!

To sum up: A modern day Nancy Drew!

A ‘Wishing Shelf’ Book Review


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