#BookReview – NINJA SCHOOL MUM by Lizzie Chantree #humour

I’m back again with another review (July/August are manic months at work, with lots of travelling which means lots of reading, not so much writing). This one is a different genre, in fact, it doesn’t really seem quite certain what genre it is, categorised on Amazon as ‘contemporary’, ‘friendship’, and ‘humour and satire’. It was gently humorous at times, I’ll agree, but it certainly defies easy classification.

Here’s the blurb:

Obsessive-compulsive school mum, Skye, is a lonely elite spy, who is running from her past whilst trying to protect the future of her child. She tries hard to fit in with the other parents at her son’s new school, but the only person who accepts her unconventional way of life is new mother, Thea.

Thea is feeling harassed by her sister and bored with her life, but she suspects that there is something strange about the new school mum, Skye. Thea has secrets of her own and, although the two become unlikely friends, she hesitates to tell Skye about the father of her own child.

Zack’s new business is growing faster than he could have dreamed but, suddenly, he finds himself the owner of a crumbling estate on the edge of a pretty village, and a single parent to a very demanding child. Could he make a go of things and give his daughter the life she deserved?

When three lives collide, it appears that only one of them is who they seem to be, and you never know who the person next to you in the school playground really is.

 

And here’s my review:
Ninja School MumNinja School Mum by Lizzie Chantree
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Obsessive-compulsive school mum, Skye, is hiding a big secret. She’s trying to carve out a normal life for the sake of her son, but it doesn’t come easy after years on the run. When she dares to make a friend, it turns out Thea has secrets of her own. And then there is Zack, the ruggedly handsome and super intelligent (not to mention rich) single father who owns the estate where Skye rents a cottage.
I was drawn to this book by the title, blurb and the cover, and found it a strangely compelling read, despite how slow the plot is to develop. The characters drew me in, which is pretty impressive considering I’m not very child-oriented, and a lot of the first third is about school and kids and dealing with a bully. I did spend a lot of the first third wondering where the Ninja spy bit fitted into what seemed to be a small village school story.
Once the backstories of the various players start coming out, the depth of the book increases dramatically, and I really wanted to know how these threads would resolve. The hint of a threat here and there is just enough to keep stoking an edge of tension, though if it had appeared earlier in the book it might have been better.
The writing is a naïve style, often using asides and slang from everyday language, but not the sort of thing one usually puts into a book. I found this at time refreshing (when it injected humour) and at times irritating. I also had an issue with the over-use of past perfect tense (‘she had had an experience’, for example) – not because of incorrect use, but because there was often no reason to use it, and distanced the reading experience from the action. My biggest bugbear was the pivotal scene where two of the characters finally get it together, and it’s all reported in past perfect! I wanted immediate! It would have had so much more impact in good old past tense.
I certainly didn’t see the twist coming, and I felt both impressed and a bit cheated by the way it had been concealed. Nor did I expect an ending that barely resolves anything, although it does explain it. Perhaps this is a good thing, because it was as messy and open-ended as real-life often is with such complicated relationships, I was just a bit surprised as I’d expected a neat wrap up.
Overall, I feel it has good potential but could really do with a serious amount of copy editing to turn it into the book it deserves to be.

View all my reviews

If you want to take a look, you can find it on Amazon HERE

 

Please note, I have signed up with Amazon as an Affiliate, which means if you click through from certain links on my site I will earn from qualifying purchases.

I won’t be allowing this to compromise the honesty of my reviews!

 

 

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7 comments

  1. This does sound interesting. A twist on the spy theme.

    I tried the Amazon Affiliate but not terribly aggressively. I’ll be interested to see how this goes for you.

    1. So will I! As I’m not a US resident, I will have to earn £100 dollars before they pay me – can’t see that happening anytime soon 😦

  2. Hi Deb. I love your eagle eyed reviews with fact and honesty. 🙂
    So wow, you decided to try the affiliates with Amazon. What do you think so far? And what is exactly entailed in doing so. I know if someone clicks through your links it’s good for you as I read a bit about this from Nicholas Rossis’ blog. But what and where are you adding these affiliate links to? 🙂

    1. I’ve only just signed up, so still getting sorted. So far I’ve joined the US and UK sites, and I recall from the original page (US) there is a way of linking different country sites together with one smartlink they provide, though at this point I haven’t managed to find that again yet!
      I’m using the affiliate links in future on all my books on my site, on all the books I review, and on Pinterest, now I’ve figured out how to use that! (I feel a post coming on…)
      I don’t expect to earn much, and if you don’t have a minimum of 3 qualifying purchases from your links within 6 months, they close your account. What I DO know is that if a person clicks your link, an then stays on Amazon and buys anything else after leaving your page, you get credits for those sales too.
      It’s just a small percentage of sale price, but it isn’t making anything cost any more, its just taking a tiny bit more out of Amazon’s pocket.
      The same old thing applies as CS used to be though, about payment – I have to earn $100 dollars before I get paid anything 😦 You get paid in your own country each month, but on other sites you have to accrue minimum amounts before they pay. Seems daft to me, when instant bank transfers cost nothing, so I’m hoping one day that might change.

      1. Well I have read that once someone clicks the link their visit stays open for 24 hours if they buy anything you get your piece. Really, it’s no different when it comes to book promotions. I have to think that all those promo sites that feature our books add their own affiliate links to them,. that’s how they make money by sharing our books.

      2. Oh some of them do, for sure, but you’ll find the disclaimer somewhere on their site if you really want to search for it. I have seen it sometimes on some authors’ sites.
        I will also use it if I recommend a piece of writing software – can’t see any harm in doing so, as it doesn’t affect the price for the purchaser. I’m just dubious it’ll bring much in, but hey, every little helps!

      3. Oh yes, no harm it’s no different than you or I getting a tiny piece of the action by using affiliate links. I think I’m going to do it too. 🙂

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