laura bailey recent comments

written 78 days ago
cherry

RCG Review for Politically Incorrect

Hi Sarah,

I have been intending to review your book for a while and I'm so pleased that I finally got around to it. I thoroughly enjoyed what I read.

Pitches - Your pitches are almost a storyboard of the thoughts happening in Emily's mind during the book (in a good way). The tone fits completely with the main body and the pitches themselves let the reader know exactly what kind of rollercoaster they are about to embark on whilst also letting the reader know that there may be some surprises along the way. Good hook!

Style/voice - your style is witty, funny and clever - exactly the characteristics I would expect from someone writing in this genre. The very informal prose leave the reader with an impression that Emily is venting, releasing herself from the stuffy persona she is required to adopt as Ralph's husband. This makes the reader feel very involved in Emily's life and the story, which makes your voice all the more important. Great job!

Setting - I think the setting is almost decided by the story so it definitely works. The only one thing I didn't pick up is where the family home is based. I suspect it is a little more of a country affair since Ralph has a London flat but this could be made clear with a very simple addition, something life "Surrey housewife", in the first chapter. Whether you already know it or not, your use of the parliamentary background is very good/well researched. Subtle details make the setting come to life.

Dialogue - Your dialogue in the main is done well. It suits the voice of the characters and moves the story along nicely. There were one or two places where it felt slightly forced, perhaps because a little too much detail was spoken. This is a small niggle but maybe move the detail to the main body and out of the dialogue to allow the dialogue to flow more naturally (the descriptiong of the vicar is a particular example).

Characterisation - you have done a great job of developing rounded characters. Emily is great but very obviously trapped. Ralph is quite easy to dislike, yet there are elements (very rare and small I should add) of his interactions with Emily that actually demonstrate some emotional attraction.

Some nit picks:

- I wonder if Emily's speech should be more disjointed and formal around Ralph's work place and with his colleagues as a contrast against the narrative voice and her ordinary speech.

- Commanments (which I love by the way) "1. Thou shalt..." - place a comma after Emily Pemilly. / "like Madonna for exmaple. Or Fergie." - I would use like Madonna or Fergie. / "The truth is - despite it all - is..." - you don't need "is" twice.

General points

This is light, fun and perfect for the genre. It is a good summer read and should do very well.

High stars and backing. I hope this does well!

Best wishes,
Laura view book

written 202 days ago
cherry

Hi Susan,

I love your story. You execute your ideas well and manage to maintain intrigue and interest throughout. As mentioned, another edit would be useful but I think there's always room to edit until it is professionally done. The main thing is you have a great premise and clear structure so huge well done! I don't think your pitch does your main body justice. I think the quote works well and the rest could be a little more snappy. I don't know about you but I think a good pitch is hard work in itself...harder than the story in some ways...but it is your first impression so I'd take another look, your novel deserves it :-)

Huge well done and good luck!
High stars!

Laura
Vengeful Love view book

written 209 days ago
cherry

This is extremely polished and intelligent. I am thoroughly enjoying reading your upload and thought I'd pause to drop you my thoughts. Your pitch is great, intelligent, just enough to set the plot and leave intrigue. I think it also sets the tone for the audience perfectly. I personally always like a subplot and there is something incredibly attractive about a story set across the story of a war too. Your voice is strong and you fall firmly on the right side of the show, don't tell line, which is a difficult thing to do, especially with the knowledge that you are transporting to reader to a world they (certainly in my case) have not seen. Your subtle details make for vivid imageryand your characters are well rounded.

Well done, high stars and shelf time!

Good luck!
Laura view book

written 215 days ago
cherry

RCG Review

Pitch - I think your pitches are good. The long pitch feels a little wordy but they do the job, they outline the story and provide intrigue to hook the reader.

Plot - I like the plot. It is different and, for me, took me completely out of my comfort zone, whilst remaining within the "fit" of the genre. Well done!

Setting - I love the setting. Your descriptions allow the reader to really visualise places they have not been (at least in my case). Given the plot and issues covered in your book, I think the setting is bright and brilliant. Thumbs up!

Voice - Your voice is strong. It flows nicely and works well with the pace of the novel. It also affords the reader greater insight into your protagonist, who is in himself very interesting, so this works very well for you.

Characterization - I am starting to get a strong sense of your characters generally but especially Aaron. He is well rounded and you have given him depth. I am looking forward to continuing to learn more about him and his relationships with the other characters. I like the contrasting personalities you use in the story, for example, Aaron and his mother. They serve to highlight and enhance the key characteristics each has which are different and they subtly offer insight as to varying perspectives in day to day life. Great job!

Dialogue - your dialogue flows well. Its enhances the story and does not detract from it. Your supporting descriptions are neat and do not distract from the story. It is clear who is speaking and who they are addressing.

Spelling/Punctuation - I notice a few errors here and with grammar, particulalrly in the beginnning of the story. I think a good edit will help you here, however, and you seem to have a lot of comments from other users so I have not added nitpicks.

Show/Don't Tell - I think you do well at not over describing and yet creating a vivid setting for the reader.

General - I like this story it is very different for me and I think different for the RCG group, so it was nice to be led into reading something different which I might not otherwise have chosen to read...thank you! I think you story and characters are good. My only real obersvation is that the opening feels very poetic and perhaps to the risk of losing clarity of setting and characters. This becomes clear as the story continues but in the all important opening paragraphs I would maybe work on making clear who is narrating and where he isbefore moving overly into imagery.

On the whole well done, nice start and high stars!

Laura
Vengeful Love
view book

written 215 days ago
cherry

The Last Deity Review

Sorry for the delay in returning the read. I have read much of your upload and must say I think you have a great piece of work here. The opening, wow, that is really hard hitting. I then like the contrast in the 2nd chapter, brining Taylor from the adult state of having to deal with serious domestic violence and adult problems, back to being a child. The relationship between Karley and Taylor is lovely and well fleshed out. The fact that Taylor struggles to share her ordeal with her best friend enhances her age and creates a very poignant yet subtle sense of loneliness.

Your writing is polished and the pace is good. I like the plot and really want Taylor to succeed in life. Wanting to know how things pan out and wishing for a happy ending for Taylor is a strong hook for the reader.

I am giving this high stars and shelf time becuase I think you have a great start here. I would say, as a nitpick, I think the opening is slightly too graphic, particularly the language, for young adult - mostly the swearing. I'd possibly make more of the slightly inferences which lend themselves to a fantasy to come, as this will add to the intrigue.

Huge thumbs up!
Laura view book

written 221 days ago
cherry

Your short and long pitch are intriguing and the story which follows does not disappoint. This is not my usual but I thoroughly enjoyed reading your upload. I like the characters or Arty and Helen, they have depth but your descriptions of them and use of dialogue do not prevent the reader from building his/her own version of the characters. The pace is great and your use of language is very clever. Your style seems suited to the plot, setting and characters.

If I could offer a nitpick, it would be that the opening feels slightly cryptic to me. I was half way through the first chapter before I really had a good hold on where the story was, who was in it, what the scene looked like etc. This changes very soon into the story and is not a problem elsewhere but perhaps you could rejig the first few paragraphs to add some clarity into what are quite poetic descriptions. For example, in the first line I couldn't follow why Arty is waving to the hearse, we don't know enough about him or the scene to follow. As I say, just a nitpick at the very beginning, which does not prevent this from being a great piece of work.

High stars! Thank you for the read!

Laura view book

written 222 days ago
cherry

Hi Ian,

This is great and well worth backing and high stars. I think what makes the narrative so good is that your describe perfectly ordinary feelings and situations with which the reader can relate. Hasn't everybody had that feeling of, ye, today is the day, the diet begins or I'm not going to moan at work or I'm quitting drink for at least three weeks?! You create a wonderful humour not only because you write humour into your story subtly but because each reader is thinking, yup, that's me, do I really sound like that!?

Your writing is very polished, the pace and cohesion of your story are excellent and quite frankly, you make this seem easy!

High stars and backing!

Best wishes and thanks for the read!

Laura
Vengeful Love view book

written 225 days ago
cherry

Hi Emma,

So pleased I got around to reading this. It's so funny it has just turned my gloomy day right around. I noticed one tiny nitpick which is "a man takes care of their area" should be "his area". Full stars for good writing, hilarious lines and daring to be different.

High stars!

Laura
Vengeful Love view book

written 226 days ago
cherry

I'm sorry for the delay but I am now here for our read swap...I'm mostly sorry because I could have already read your book before now!

This is a book to read with Ben and Jerries and a bowl of popcorn! Your descriptions are so vivid I was able to watch the entire story unfold as it if was a movie!

This is truly fantastic. I loved every word. It is not at all surprising that it has done so well so quickly on this site and I will not at all be surprised when I hear it has been snapped up and published. Your use of language is wonderful. It is not too poetic, nor too simplistic. It is perfect for the genre. Your style, voice and pace are excellent and you characters really have depth.

The plot and in particular the introduction to Lucian with the flash back to his uncle work very well. I am absolutely desperate to keep reading about Eve and Lucian but I am also extremely intrigued to learn more of his story.

Your story and characters have depth and your wriritng is extremely polished. I would like to offer constructive criticism but honestly, other than 2 niggles I will mention below, I have nothing to add, I'd buy this off the shelf as it is!

My two small nitpicks:

(1) "The girl could be a complication to his charade though, if he wasn't careful though"; and
(2) "If isn't too much of a bother".

Needless to say I have given you full stars and I will be giving this the shelf time it deserves!

Massive congratualtions on writing something as good as this!

Laura
Vengeful Love view book

written 235 days ago
cherry

Hi Pamela,

Here for our read swap...sorry for the delay!

I think you have a great start here. Great cover and wonderful, original premise. You transport the reader with your colourful descriptions. The way you describe Goa is wonderful! I am visiting this year and you e certainly added to my excitement! I like his your characters are developing and their stories are coming through. You open well, straight into the action and I think you continue to handle dialogue well.

To give you a couple of useful things to work with (if you want, my view of course), watch your tense switches. The tense confusion I first noticed was in you pitch but your main body was not so obvious (or I got sucked into your setting. :-)). My other suggestion is to use some of your wonderf background information in the main prose, as opposed to developing the characters through lengthy dialogue. You handle the information given through dialogue very well but I think in prose you could really develop it and make the most of your flare for vivid descriptions and creative language...just a thought!

High stars and I'm going to WL you to see how this develops.

Good luck!
Laura
Vengeful Love view book

written 241 days ago
cherry

Hi Kate,

Finally gotten around to our read swap. I have read chapters 1 and 9 of your upload, Mother and Mexico. I have given you lots of stars, I think you write very well and I like your book.

Chapter 1 - Mother

This is truly heartbreaking. Your descriptions are phenomenal. I especially think the way you describe the tension between your frustration and love when helping your mother is very real, honest and true. The mention of what may seem like smaller things, like not being able to take your mother to mass because she has lost the ability to behave as she once did, are gripping for the reader. In my experience it is these smaller things that are really hard to accept when you are caring for another.

The way you describe memories in both your pitch and the first chapter is thought provoking and poetic. Really well done!

My only niggle in this chapter would be just look out for over telling in very few places. For example, "communicating her love for her child". Whilst this does not detract from your story, the reader can be satisfied by having picked up that thread, so there is no need to point it out.

Really great chapter on the whole!

Chapter 9 - Mexico

The D-U-R-E-X comments are very funny! I love how things like that happen in foreign countries but generally you laugh and the time and forget later. Nice touch!

The way you describe the bustling City is vivid and is a real reflection of Mexico City in my view. Mmm...street food...takes me back! I can smell the stalls as you describe them!

Again, this is a great chapter and having read it against the first chapter, I love the contrast of emotions your are able to create in this book. It is difficult to adjust your mindset like that when you are writing but you make it look simple!

My only nitpick in this chapter is that I would like to know more of your specific experiences and your interactions with the locals, more than your observations (or in addition to them, as I love the way you set the scene!). Be careful that (particularly in the latter half of the chapter) you do not become too "guide book to Mexico".

High stars and thumbs up! Thanks for the read!

Laura view book

written 246 days ago
cherry

Hi Kate,

Here for my return read and I want to say thank you so much for writing something so incredibly enjoyable and different! I have given you 6 stars!

I love Keira, in fact I love all of your characters but she, in particular, has a lot of depth. Your descriptions are wonderful, especially the lonely flat in the first chapter. Your writing is beautiful and vivid yet leaves some room for the reader's imagination. That is a difficult balance to strike in my opinion but you do it very well!

I think you voice, setting and dialogue are all handled really well and suit the plot. I can't decide whose camp I'm in, both Noah and Leigh have stand out qualities but I do LOVE Noah's first chapter. That's an excellent read!

As you were kind enough to offer me some useful critique, all I would say is that (mostly towards the end of the first chapter) the information the reader is given is close to being autobiographical. That said, I think what you write is great so I wouldn't remove it or change it at all but I wonder if you could keep the feed going throughout later chapters and have a little less in the earlier chapters. Just a thought!

Huge thumbs up, this is brilliant!

Laura
Beneath the Blossom Tree; and
Vengeful Love view book

written 248 days ago
cherry

Hi Marcie,

Sorry for the delay in returning your RCG review for Harbinger's Kiss. First, let me tell you this is a great piece of work. I am thoroughly enjoying reading and, although I have paused to leave this review, I cannot stop reading until I have completed your upload!!

Pitch: your pitch is short, sweet, to the point and a hook without giving too much away. Well done!

Plot: from the very beginning we suspect there will be a romance between Laurel and August. You set this up very well. The dive into the action with the found letters and the Bandit article adds suspence very early. I like this mis of romance with a touch of comedy and a bit of a mystery.

Voice/Style: I think you have created a very real and strong voice in Laurel. Initially the strong past tense unsettled me for some reason int he first couple of paragraphs. I'm not sure if some of the past words felt a little too strong (perhaps the shortened form) but as I read on I didn't notice it at all and I think your voice and style work very well.

Characterisation: I have a very strong sense of Laurel's character. Your descriptions of her appearance and manner and the speech you have created for her are excellent. I think she's intriguing and strong/vulnerable in the right places. She's very likeable. Other characters like Rachel and August are starting to become more rounded as I read on and you are introducing additional characters at the right pace in just the right level of detail. You are very good at this! I loved the first description of August and his manner with Laurel in chapter 1, this gives a great insight into the person he is.

Setting: I love the library. It's different and quirky. You cleverly use the description of the library in the first chapter not only to create a vivid image for the reader but also to build suspense. This in particualr, I thought was very well done! The conversation about the mermaids in maps was a touch of brilliance...it is an original idea and adds humour, the fact that this obnoxious August has managed to pick one of the only things Laurel cannot walk away from.

Spelling/Grammar: spelling and grammar and fine. I notice one nitpick with speech marks...in the first chapater "Next time you're here, you should..." needs a speech mark before "Next". This is a very small point and I think you writing is very polished!

Dialogue: Your dialogue is easy, it flows nicely and moves the story along. It is always clear who is speaking and it is not over used to inform the reader.

Show/Don't tell: Some of your descriptions are wonderful, truly! I don't think you give too much, you leave scope for the reader to use his/her imagination but you give enough to place the reader right in the action with a sense of where you want him/her to be.

Needless to say, high stars and backing!!! I am now going to have a cup of tea and finish your upload...thanks for the read!!!

Laura
Beneath the Blossom Tree; and
Vengeful Love view book

written 260 days ago
cherry

Hi Kindra,

This is a good read!

I think your pitch is great and very intriguing. The tone is just right. I'm not such you need "At this moment" I'd just start that line with "little did she know...".

Your prose are great. Very dark and scriptive. The shift from the prologue into the first chapter is nice. The change of pace is marked and exciting. I love your spin on the Vampire. It is rare to have the vampire as the hunted in stories of late.

I think you right well and this is a compelling read.

In the Prologue I really like your V-A-M-P-I-R-E at the end. My only nitpick is the piece where you say not many people knew what Jack was like...I think you need punctuation before "she did".

Excellent, high stars and backing!

Laura
Vengeful Love view book

written 267 days ago
cherry

Hi Joshua,

I have to say, WOW! You have some imagination. I always wonder where people like you come up with these "out of the box" ideas and turn them into a well founded, solid story. This is truly an excellent piece of work.

The concept of the Rationals is great. It makes them almost superhuman, infallible, but you contrast that with the subtle creeping emotions. I love the interaction in the early chapters between Penny and Kit. the tickle scene is very sweet. The way you play in the abandonment by the mom is very cleverly done. I suppose it reflects an everyday person who cuts off from the world of emotions because they have been hurt. Does that give them a super power, the ability to shut down?

Your prose are wonderful and your descriptions fantastic. This is very VERY polished writing and I did not notice any mistakes...although I was so engrossed in your story I would have missed them in any event.

I think your characters are very full, particualrly Penny and Kit. Your title, cover and pitch are great. Your pitch is very intriguing...great hook!

I would like to offer you something to change but given how quickly you are climbing, it is quite obvious that this is a very good book already.

Please let me know when you have uploaded more. I would definitely buy this book!

High stars and backed with ease!

Massive well done!

Laura
Vengeful Love
and
Beneath the Blossom Tree view book

written 268 days ago
cherry

Hi Sarah,

I think this is a great book and I have given it high stars and backing.

I think the tone with which you write is perfect for a biographical piece. You manage to story tell and not focus on you as much as give umbrella messages to the reader. I read your entire upload and though it is upsetting in places it is equally heart warming. You write in such a way that a reader does not need to have had your exact experiences to identify with the broader messages.

Your writing is very polished, I did not notice grammatical/spelling mistakes and given this is a huge prose piece, I think that is quite an achievement in itself!

I especially liked your first Christmas in Australia. Having moved to Australia myself for some time, it was Christmas for me too which was a real pull ont he heart strings. It was the first huge recognition/realisation of being away from family and friends. BUT you manage to draw out the silver lining and...see the glass as "half full". I think this is a great book for anyone to read in tough times.

Your descriptions are vivid and often beautiful.

Big thumbs up!

Laura
Beneath the Blossom Tree
and
Vengeful Love view book

written 268 days ago
cherry

RCG Review:

Hi Olivia,

I'm glad we agreed to read swap, I really enjoyed reading your book. I goot hooked and read much more than I had intended so I think that's already a pretty solid thumbs up!

Title: I just wanted to drop a note on this. I think your title is fantastic, really well thought out. You manage to mix your voice and key concepts in 5 words...really well done!

Pitch: I think your short pitch is good but your longer pitch is perhaps a little disjointed and doesn't do your prose justice. It's absolutely fine but I think your book deserves a special pitch ;-)

Characterisation: I am getting a good sense of your lead character - clumsy, knight in shining armour type romantic, a good friend, doesn't take life generally too seriously, easly led. I'd like a little more of a description about her and her house mate. Especially since your physical descriptions and the descriptions of the manners of other characters like Emily and Mr. Coffee are great. I love the way we find out how delicious Mr. Coffee is just from Em's reaction to him in the coffee shop.

Plot: so far this seems to have the key ingredients of a boy meets girl infatuation romance but I like the extra dimension fo the dance, it adds unexpected depth and interest.

Voice: I think you have a strong voice, just look out for slightly confused tenses. I noticed this in your first chapter and it would be a shame to let that get int he way of what is a good read. The opening I thought was very strong, it plays out like a vivid movie scene, which is a real art. Mid-way through the first chapter I'd be tempted to through in a little action, perhaps just something around driving, other cars ont he road etc. to break up the prose, just to make sure you don't end up too much like a monologue.

Style/Setting: I think you have this nailed. First chapter, wet, miserable, much like your lead. Coffee shop romance...tick! I would like a little more description about the appearance of places in the first 3 or 4 chapters, particualrly chapter 4 would benefit in my opinion. It is great to jump right into the romance and get the story going, I like that a lot so I wouldn't suggest you add so much description that you detract from the fast pace of the story but just enough to allow the reader to visualise your scene a little more. I really like the end of your first chapter, the "here's the story..." approach.

Spelling/Punctuation: I noticed one or two niggles which I'll address below but on the whole I think you have a fab draft,

Dialogue: I think your dialogue reads well and your descriptions don't break the flow. It moves along your story and maintains interest in the characters so ticks all the right boxes. I LOVE the first interaction of your lead with Emily, it is SUPER funny and really reflects that instant dislike girls manage to generate for each other based on men! I would just mention that (very rarely) the language is a little too formal for speach..."Alexei's requirements", for example.

Show/don't tell: as above, a little more description of physical places would be nice but I don't think you cross the line into telling at all. I think you have mastered this very well!

General: I LOVED Cafe Au Lait and Barista, great chapters! I really think you have an excellent start and I was intrigued enough to keep reading. I am going to return to finish your upload and I am looking forward to seeing where this gets too but in the meantime super high stars and backing for a fab start!

Thanks for the read!
Laura

Niggles in Chapter 1

"Unitl I no longer feel anything - anymore" - not sure you need "anymore"
I think starting a paragraph with "However..." is a little too formal for this book.
"Its bullshit" - "it's bullshit"

Other chapters - sorry, I got too engrossed in the story ;-)

view book

written 271 days ago
cherry

RCG Review:

Pitch: I especially like your short pitch but I think both are good. The long one gives enough information to tickle the reader's interest.

Characterisation: By the end of your upload I am starting to get a good sense of Ash but it would be nice to know a little more about why she's home and a few more flash backs in relation to toher characters, like Crystal and her father, who I imagine could be quite important in later chapters. I like the development of Reid's character so far.

Setting: Your setting is perfect for the genre. The City guy comes back to the country and by chance bumps into his ex. I think it has the key ingreients for a very tasty romance! The whole scene is very romantic, the lake, the mountains etc.

Voice: Your voice is good. It allows for a good overview of what is going on off scene and allows the reader to see both Reid's and Ash's perspective on things. I like how balanced the story is so far, despite the fact that we follow Ash.

Dialogue: You manage your accents weel...just enough but not so much that it is difficult to read. You don't overly describe between speech and your grammar/puntuation in dialogue is spot on, I didn't notice any errors.

Spelling/Punctuation - I was too busy concentrating on your story but to me this seems very polished so far.

Show/Don't Tell - My one nit pick is actually around your first couple of hundred words, when I think perhaps you were focussing on getting the story off the mark. This is just a tad wordy. For example, the first time we are introduced to Crystal's name, perhaps she could be "best friend, Crystal," then you wouldn't have to have "best friend, Crystal, from X" after the first text. Otherwise, I think your descriptions are lovely, especially the flashbacks and I don't think you close down the reader's imagination by over describing.

I think this could be really good and I'm looking forward to reading what you next upload. Great start...high stars!

Laura view book

written 271 days ago
cherry

RCG Review:

Pitch - I think your pitch is good. It gives the reader enough of a hook to open the book but leaves room for intrigue.

Characterisation - By Chapter 4 I am getting a good sense of Jackson's character. On the one hand he has a very sweet heart and clearly cares very much for Sarah. On the other hand, he is arrogant and obnoxious. It's an intriguing blend which you bring out very well in your writing and which makes a reader want to know more. It is seductive in the way he seduces his victims, which imports the reader into your book...great work! Sarah's charcter is beginnnig to round more and the introduction to Connor was well done.

Plot - be careful not to fall too much into "Twilight", it is sad but true that every vampire book for some time will be compared to Twilight. Whilst you do very well to mark this story as unique and make it your own, there are obvious cross-overs so just look out for them and be careful. I think your plot is good and I like the relationship between Jackson and Sarah, it's a good dynamic.

Setting - You handle the setting well, remaining modern whilst dipping into the vampy past. It might be worth a note on their language and how they make an effort to adopt modern era words?! Just a thought. New England works as a vampy setting and I like the odd vampire spots, like the holding cell.

Voice - I think you have a strong voice and your person works. You manage to put a very modern and playful twist on the story but keep the dark and sinister element when you need to...again, great job!

Dialogue - your interchanges are very well handled. They are blended well with descriptions and help the story move forward rather than detracting from it (which is easily done). I think Jackson's voice in particualr is very well developed.

Spelling/Punctuation - I notice minimal typos, which I'm sure you'll pick up when editing if others haven't already mentioned them. I got lost in your story and forgot any nit picks. Certainly nothing distracted me from your plot and charcaters.

Show/Don't Tell - I think some of your descriptions are wonderful and there aren't too many, leaving just enough for the reader to fill in for his or her self. I especially liked your introduction to Jackson and the small history of your vampires throughout the story.

Overall, a wondeful read. High stars and backing.

Best of luck,
Laura view book

written 284 days ago
cherry

This is a very unique and original premise, which is an instant draw. You deal with the story well and your writing is beautiful. I like that you introduce the reader to the Committee early and also give a very real, rounded sense of the Father's character in the early chapters.

High stars...good luck!

Laura
Beneath the Blossom Tree
And
Vengeful Love view book