Monday 31 December 2007

BEST BOOK - SEMI-FINAL!

We have 12 candidates - let's get them down to six!

Please vote up to six books by six pm today!

The winner will be voted tonight at the DNOTY dinner!

The BOOK OF THE SEASON WINTER winners were:

The Five Muses
Revenge of Queen Rose
Lottie

Sunday 30 December 2007

DECEMBER WINNER BEST READ

The winner of December's BEST READ is :

If Chins Could Kill by Bruce Campbell.

Runner up was:

The Wheel of Darkness by Lincoln Preston.

Our poll for BOOK OF THE SEASON - WINTER is now up - please vote by 11am tomorrow December 31st.

Thank you for voting!

Saturday 29 December 2007

BEST READ - DECEMBER

Please vote for the Best read for December. The candidates are:

If Chins could kill by Bruce Campbell
The Wheel of Darkness by Lincoln Preston
The Last Vampire by Christopher Pike
Black Blood by Christopher Pike
Know Your New Zealand Birds by Murdoch Riley

Please vote by lunch time tomorrow (Sunday) - cos we're almost out of 2007!

Thursday 27 December 2007

BOOK OF THE SEASON - AUTUMN

Winners of the Autumn Book of the season are:

Heart-shaped Box
Mr Murder
The Empty Chair

No books by any of the DNs - for a change!

Sunday 23 December 2007

BOOK OF THE SEASON - SUMMER

And the winners of the Summer Best Read are:

MANGO
7 DAYS IN HELL
WILKIESTOP

Congrats to Mungo (again!), Iseult Murphy and Iserie Valult!

BOOK OF THE SEASON - SPRING WINNERS

Well, as you can all see, we have our winners for Spring and therefore the following books are shortlisted for the semi-finals of Book of the Year 2007:

LEAF
THE LUCKY DIAMOND
BLACK RABBIT ISLAND

Well done, Mungo and Valinora Troy, for making the semi-final (hope you do as well in the Times competition).

Wednesday 19 December 2007

UPDATES ON BOOK PLEDGE - INKPOT

Here are recent reports from Inkpot (actually sent from NZ!):


73. If Chins Could Kill by Bruce Campbell
I can't say I've actively followed Bruce's career, but I have always been happy to see him in the numerous movies and tv shows he has been in. I found his autobiography a fascinating insight into his career, how a group of guys from Detroit managed to break into the movie business as well as very humorous and Bruce came across as a really likeable, decent guy.

I like it. 8/10

74. The Wheel of Darkness by Lincoln Preston
A return to form for these pair, and about time too. This book concentrates on Special Agent Pendergast and his ward Constance Green and involves a stand alone adventure. They don't shirk from the preternatural in this tale, I am glad to say, and I found it a gripping read. My only gripe with his book would be that no mention is given of the demise of Vile Viola and the survival or Margo Green. It feels as if they made a conscious effort not to mention the back story of these characters.

Not bad. 7/10

75. The Last Vampire by Christopher Pike
I think these series of books are hot property - or so the ads on the radio tell me. I knew what to expect before I cracked the spine - first person, a little bit of Darren Shan, beat 'em up heroine ala Buffy and lots of praise for the heroine like Anita Blake. I am not a fan of these kind of books - Lottie the half vampire being an exception and I have high hopes for Tottie the Demon Rabbit Slayer - but this book stands slightly above the Shanmeister and Blakinator, mainly because of the interesting back story of the eponymous heroine.

The Curates egg. 6/10

76. Black Blood by Christopher Pike
The second in this series of vampire books. The Indian mysticism element to the back story is original but its interest quickly pales and I found this rehash of the first book soon lost my attention.

Readable. 5/10

77. Know your New Zealand Birds by Murdoch Riley
This handy illustrated pocket book lists 66 of the rarest and most common native and introduced New Zealand birds. I've seen 48 of them.

I like it. 8/10

BOOK OF THE YEAR - QUARTER FINALS

At the moment, we 21 books eligible for Book of the Year, and that is without December's votes!

Therefore here is how we will vote - for each quarter of the year, we will pick the top three books. These will go into a semi-final round, from which we will select six finalists.

Spring & Summer polls will be open until Friday night December 21st- so get voting!

Thanks!

Tuesday 18 December 2007

2008 - YEAR OF THE ????

As you are aware, 2007 was officially designated The Year of the Nodpot - and hence this blog came into being.

The year is now drawing to a close and unless the nodpots disresponsibly end the year on a date other than December 31st, this blog is drawing to a close. Our last entry will probably be early on January 1st, when we shall announce the winner of DNOTY '07.

Shortly before that, we will announce book of the year - more details later this week.

It has been a wonderful year here at the helm of our blog, and there's no doubt that both Bee and I will miss it terribly.

Anyway, watch out for the final vote of the year!

Wednesday 12 December 2007

AND THE WINNER IS...

Best read for November 2007 is a tie between Leaf: In Search of Ramune by Mungo and Lottie, The Half-Vampire by Valinora Troy.

A close second (or should that be third?) is The Five Muses.

Thanks for voting everyone!

Monday 10 December 2007

NOVEMBER BEST READ

Don't forget to vote - tomorrow is your last chance!

Wednesday 5 December 2007

TIMES/CHICKEN HOUSE COMPETITION

For those following the fortunes of Valinora Troy and Mungo, both entered in TheTimes/Chicken House Children's author competition, The Times Online have started to published extracts from some of the submissions. They will have a new one each week, and the first was posted Friday November 30th, so I expect there'll be a new one this Friday.

You check out the competition then at : http://timesonline.co.uk/tol/system/topicRoot/Children_s_author_competition/

Best of luck to the two Nodpots!

Monday 3 December 2007

BEST READ NOVEMBER

And the candidates are:

The Wisdom of Fr. Brown by G.K.Chesterton

The Five Muses Anthology (you know who the authors are!)

The Kingdom of Animals by Various

The Twelfth Card by Jeffrey Deaver

Priest by uncredited author

The People's Friend short story collection

The Scandal of Fr. Brown by GKC

Lottie The Half-Vampire by Valinora Troy

Leaf: In Search of Ramune by Mungo

The Twilight Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko


Hmm quite a line up! Plenty of short story collections plus a few by distinguished Nodpots...

You have until Tuesday 11th December to vote - so get voting!!

Saturday 1 December 2007

ANOTHER TEST FILE

Testing this new technology...

Also to show the Monster that Tofpot has conquered her fear of the stairs!

video

Friday 30 November 2007

Valpot's Book Pledge - 76 - 80

Here is the latest reads from Valpot.



76: The People's Friend
A short story collection form The People's Friend magazine. The stories were in the romantic Woman's Weekly genre, and apart from one which was original, well-written, funny and sweet (co-incidentally with a strong Irish connection!), all the others were fairly standard below average stuff.
Rating: Almost Darren Shan


77. The Scandal of Fr. Brown by G.K. Chesterton
Another gem of a story collection featuring Fr. Brown. If only there were more!
Rating: Shines like The Lucky Diamond


78. Lottie the Half-Vampire by Valinora Troy
First of a (possible) new series. has potential, maybe. Needs a lot more work.
Rating: Half-way decent

79. Leaf: In search of Ramune by Mungo
As everyone knows, this is an absolutely FANTASTIC tale by Mungo. I've read and reviewed it before, and read it again prior to Mungo entering it to the Times/Chicken House competition - and it's still great!
Rating: Shines like The Lucky Diamond

80 (to 82). The Twilight Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko
This is the third volume about the Night Watch, Day Watch, and now also Inquisition. However, it consists of three separate stories, although they share an overall theme and follow on from each other. It was interesting to catch up with the characters, and the twilight is much developed form the earlier books. The glimpse of post-Soviet Russia is also pretty interesting.
Rating: Not bad

Monday 19 November 2007

LILY

Lily and her mother, Danielle.
Lily is enjoying her last meal of the day, on Saturday November 17th.
Sorry about the poor quality - we are hosting this clip as an experiment!


video

Sunday 18 November 2007

GOOD LUCK

November seems to be a quiet month for the Disresponsible Nodpots, partly because DNOTY '04 and DNOTY '05 (ie Inkpot) is enjoying her self at the other side of the world.

I am glad to report, somewhat belatedly, I'm afraid, that prior to Inkpot journeying to the Southern Hemisphere, both Inkpot and Valpot entered the Amazon Break-Through Novel Award, while Valpot and Mungo entered The Times/Chicken House Children Novelist Award.

Best of luck to all three of you with your entries - let us know how you get on!

Monday 12 November 2007

Valpot Book Pledge 71 - 75

Here's the latest from Valpot:



71: The Wisdom of Fr. Brown by G.K.Chesterton
What can I say about this brilliant collection of short stories from the pen of a master? IT'S BRILLIANT!
Shines Like The Lucky Diamond



72. The Five Muses by Murphy, Murphy, Murphy, Murphy, Murphy, etc...
Excellent selection of short stories of various genres by an exciting mix of authors. Gems, every last one of them. Get your own copy (and the cover is fab!)
Shines Like The Lucky Diamond



73. The Kingdom of Animals by Various
I actually read this when it was published a few months ago but forgot to put it on the list. It's a collection of stories about the Kingdom of Animals NOT written by Mungo, though he provides sightful analysis of each tale. The winning entries of I Want To Be Like Mungo Competition are published in this wonderful collection.
Shines Like The Lucky Diamond



74. The Twelfth Card by Jeffrey Deaver
Deaver continues to entertain despite the increasingly contrived plots. The motive for this one is totally ridiculous, and it felt like there was a lot less of Lincoln and Amelia so it is not as good as earlier ones. Also I was not mad on the Happy Ending- it seemed awfully weak to me.
Curate's Egg



75. Priest (don't know the author)
Interviews/Biographies of ten holy priests who are making a difference in today's world. Different areas - from army chaplins to Siberia to American parishes. Very interesting and inspiring read.
10/10

Wednesday 7 November 2007

HAPPY TRAVELLING

Best of luck on your trip to NZ, Inkpot, who is travelling there tonight with The Monster.

Have a great time the two of you!

And remember to keep reading this blog for all the latest on the Disresponsible Nodpots!

BEST READ OCTOBER

We have had great interest in our poll for October's Best Read - possibly our largest turnout yet, and I know some did try to vote after lunchtime yesterday but were too late.

Anyway, we have joint winners. The Five Muses, a brilliant collection of short stories by various people and Revenge of Queen Rose, sequel to The Lucky Diamond, were both voted BEST READ October.

However Lottie the Half-Vampire, also by Valinora Troy, was a close second.

Thanks to all who voted!

Friday 2 November 2007

MONTH OF OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER

This month we celebrate October and November.

It's also the month of New Zealand, and Inkpot and Judge Pamela are going to that country to walk along the beach instead of the afore mentioned nodpots October and November.

Perhaps this month you'll do some work on your blog, O and N??

Thursday 1 November 2007

BEST READ OCTOBER

I have a feeling that the Best Reads posted during November may be thin on the ground!

Anyway, here are the October candidates. Remember - only votes on this blog will be counted!


1. Lottie, The Half-Vampire by Valinora Troy

2. The Vanished Man by Jeffrey Deaver

3. The House of Thunder by Dean Koontz

4. One Door from Heaven by Dean Koontz

5. The Incredulity of Fr. Brown by G.K. Chesterton

6. The Fog by James Herbert

7. The Five Muses Anthology

8. The Revenge of Queen Rose by Valinora Troy

9. Twilight Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko


It doesn't look many but a number of these books received 10/10 by their reviewers so I expect there will be some hot competition!

Voting closes lunchtime Tuesday 6th November, so get voting!

Wednesday 31 October 2007

NANWRIMO 2007

Good luck to all the DNs with this year's NaNoWriMo!

We hope you all enter and we look forward to reading your work later this year!

Friday 26 October 2007

LATEST ON BOOK PLEDGE FROM INKPOT

Here are Inkpot's 66-70 reads:


66. THE FOG by James Herbert
Apart from the name and the fact that this was written in the 1970’s, this book has nothing in common with the similarly titled John Carpenter horror movie. An earth quake in a sleepy town in the south east of England releases a strange microbiological parasitic fog that wanders towards London, sending everyone it comes in contact with into a murderous rage (not unlike the Rage in 28 days later). It is up to one man, who is immune, to destroy it and save England. An interesting, and perhaps original (for the time) idea, I found it disappointing.

– 4/10 Half way decent


67. THE FIVE MUSES by Various
This anthology is a collection of fantasy short stories written by a collection of authors. The stories feature (among other things) dragons, druids and a dog’s perfect day out. I would love to discuss each story in detail, but this is not the right forum. All I can say is, READ IT! IT IS BRILLIANT!

– 10/10 Shines like the Lucky Diamond.


68. LOTTIE THE HALF VAMPIRE by Valinora Troy

Lottie has always been different. Sunlight hurts her skin, garlic makes her sick and her lack of energy has been a concern for her family all her life. Now a mysterious and frightening man has turned up, telling her things that she finds hard to believe. Could it be true that her pale appearance and new found abilities are because she has vampire blood in her veins? This exciting story is the first in the Lottie series. I can’t wait to read the next instalment.

- 10/10 Shines like the Lucky Diamond


69. THE REVENGE OF QUEEN ROSE by Valinora Troy

It has only been a matter of days since Queen Rose was banished from Ferga, and the five children are enjoying the return of their uncle while Lucky, the diamond, makes plans for her wedding to Charlie. However, they are not allowed rest on their laurels for long. A new enemy imprisons the diamonds, kidnaps Susan and Vicky and sends Ferga and her surrounding countries into turmoil. What results is an amazing, exciting, scary, funny, magical adventure that spans three countries and ten characters. I laughed, I cried, I loved it. I might even go as far as to say it outshines its predecessor, the Lucky Diamond. I can’t wait for the next book in the series!

– 10/10 Shines like the Lucky Diamond


70 - 72. The Twilight Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko
This is the third instalment in the ‘Watch’ trilogy (nothing to do with time pieces) following on from Night Watch and Day Watch. I was very disappointed in Day Watch, so I wasn’t expecting much from this book, therefore I was pleasantly surprised. I would rank it as my favourite of the three, with an interesting story and more character development of Anton and the other Others.

– 7/10 Not Bad

Thursday 25 October 2007

AMAZON-PENGUIN BREAKTHROUGH NOVEL AWARD

As you probably have heard, Amazon and Penguin and HP have got together to help an aspiring (or aspired) novelist to get their book published. The prize is a publishing contract with Penguin, including a $25,000 advance (sadly the Euro is at an all time high against the dollar). This of course would mean publication in the US - which would be fantastic! Plus lots of publicity.

Only 5,000 entries will be accepted - so get going, DNs, you will have a 1 in 5,000 chance of winning!!

You also have a 1 in 5 chance of making the semi-finals, and should you do that, a 1 in 10 chance of getting your book read by Penguin (they read the top 100 out of the 1,000). If you make the top 1000, your book will be read and reviewed by Publishers Weekly (which hopefully would be a good thing!)

Should you make the top 100, you have a 1 in 10 chance of being a finalist, and therefore a 1 in 10 chance of winning, and a 1 in 3.3 chance of being flown to NYC for the big dinner!!!

In other words, Nodpots - by entering, you have a 1 in 50 chance of your book being read in full by Penguin, and a 1 in 5 chance of it being read by Publishers Weekly!!

So what are you waiting for, DNs? This is too good an opportunity to pass up!!

Tuesday 23 October 2007

CORRECTION ON SEPTEMBER BEST READ

Thanks to Inkpot for pointing out an error on the counting of votes for September's BEST READ.

The Fr Christmas Letters did indeed get two votes and therefore is validly voted into second place. (One vote would have been sufficient if there had no been an apparent tie).

Apologies to Parsley Noir, who's vote was misplaced, and to Tolkien.

Friday 19 October 2007

Valpot's Book Pledge - 66 - 70

Here is the latest report from Valpot on the books she's read:

66. The Glories of St Joseph
Excellent compilation on what various saints have written about St Joseph, plus stories of miraculous answers to prayers addressed for his intercession, as well as a whole range of prayers and novenas for the reader to use. According to the author, St Joseph is a much under-utilised intercessor. Not any more if enough read this book!
Rating: 10/10

67. The Vanished Man by Jeffrey Deaver
Another enjoyable tale about the antics of Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs. I have to say that this is about the most contrived of his tales that I have read to date. The opening "vanishing" scene is so obvious that it was totally unworthy of him, and the motivation for the killer's actions beggars belief. I enjoyed reading it, especially the bits about magician's tricks, but the plot is just too ridiculous to give this book a high rating.
Rating: Not Bad

68. The House of Thunder by Dean Koontz
This is an early book by Dean (1982, I think) and originally written under a different pen name. Well, maybe that's where he should have left it. The writing has none of the polish that I expect from Dean, and the story is both Agatha Christie-ish AND unpleasant. You would not be inspired to read a second, if this was your first Dean Koontz. The book's only interest is to see how far this writer has come since he started
Rating: Half-way decent

69. One Door from Heaven by Dean Koontz
A much later story from this author - I think 2001 or thereabouts - and wow, what a difference! The language is beautifully crafted, and his theme is redemption or perhaps I should say salvation. Very interesting ideas and story lines, but I'm not sure how well it works as a book. It's an interesting read rather than a tense, excitement-never-ends type read, and I was a little disappointed in the end (though I often am with Dean's books).
Rating: Not Bad

70. The Incredulity of Fr. Brown by G.K. Chesterton
What can I say about this excellent collection of short stories about the crime-solving priest who understands the hearts and minds of people? The mysteries are clever (although occasionally implausible - Chesterton doesn't bother going into the absolute minutiae of how each crime was done - if nobody notices that the body is cold and therefore dead for hours, that's not relevant to his story), the language is beautiful, vividly descriptive, and his insight into human nature incredibly perceptive, and Chesterton's incredible faith and charity pervades the stories. Excellent stuff!
Rating: Shines like The Lucky Diamond

Please note that Valpot has included the author's names and used the correct ratings for non-fiction.

Wednesday 17 October 2007

WHERE THE DNS STAND

So where do each of the Disresponsible Nodpots stand in relation to the prestigious Disresponsible Nodpot Of The Year 2007?

An insider slipped us the low down on points accumulated so far by each DN after the last DN meeting (sometime in August). We have been obliged not to disclose the actual points but just to give you an idea of the relative standing.

Blueberry and Rusty had failed to score any points at all (did Blueberry not attend a DN meeting early in the year?)

Parsley is next lowest in the ranking. If he had only scored 1 point (which he hasn't), then Marvin would be next with a total of 2 points.
October and November would have 3 points.
Mungo (DNOTY '06) would rank next with 7 points.
Valpot would be ahead of Mungo with 10 points.
Inkpot would have 11 points.
Sparkie would be the outright leader with 20 points.

So you get the picture? See how they stand? Only the example above shows fictitious points. Parsley, for instance, could have 200 points - which would mean Sparkie could have 4,000 points, with closest runner up Inkpot carrying 2,200.

So Sparkie is way way way ahead!!

It will be interesting to see how the rankings change after the next meeting - the penultimate one this year!

Can anyone beat Sparkie?

Monday 15 October 2007

BEST READ SEPTEMBER

Disappointing turnout for the September vote - only 9 made it on time, perhaps the ban on email upset some people.

Anyway, Rainbow and The Mountain Of Life by Mungo has not yet be published/launched, and so is not eligible for a vote. Equally with Tottie, The Demon Rabbit Slayer, which I believe has not yet been written.

Therefore the outright winner is The Bone Collector by Jeffrey Deaver.

There was one valid vote for The Vanished Man, and one for The Fr Christmas Letters. Given the small turnout, it has been decided to only have one winner this month - The Bone Collector.

Friday 12 October 2007

BREAKING NEWS..FIRST PAID SALE!

News just in - one of the Disresponsible Nodpots has just had an article accepted for publication.

Yes, it's true - the shock waves are still rippling around the globe. Valpot's article on patron saints has just been accepted for publication by a prestigious Irish journal.

"It's like a dream," Valpot gushed. "I'm so thrilled!"

'I never doubted her for a second,' Marvin, chairtoy of the Disresponsible Nodpots said.

'I am so pleased, she has worked so hard and deserves every penny' Parsley, treasurer of the same society, was quoted as saying. No doubt this sale will also benefit the flagging coffers of the society.

Meanwhile DNOTY '06 had this to say.:
'Thanks to my presentation at the DN conference, Valerie has gone on to follow my four step programme, 'Writing is easy', to success' said Mungo.

'I'm too excited, I can't speak' Iseult, fellow DN member and former DNOTY winner said.

Reactions from the other Nodpots :

'Oh dash it' Sparkie said. Sparkie of course is currently top contender for the DNOTY '07 award.

'About time' Blueberry said. And as the DNs have been in existence ten years, I guess he's right.

"Maybe we should wait until next year before we go for the ultimate title," October said. "Too much competition this year!"

"What percentage will the DNs get from this sale?" November wanted to know.

Let's hope this is the first of many publishing successes for the DNs!

Thursday 11 October 2007

PLEDGES AND TARGETS

During August we asked Inkpot and Valpot for their targets for the next month.

This is what they said:

Inkpot:

My targets from now to November are:-

1. Send out query letters for the Mark of the Wolf
2. Have the first 50 pages of TMOTW completed in four weeks
3. Completely edit TMOTW by October
4. Finish TTMF
5. Submit up to 9 assignments for the writers bureau in October




Valpot:

1. Polish up Lottie The Half-Vampire Book 1 for Iseult's birthday
2. Finish and print up Revenge of Queen Rose in time for Iseult's birthday
3. Print up luxury final version of the Lucky Diamond
4. Submit article on the patron saints to St Martin's Magazine
5. Write a short story for Iseult's birthday & put together the collection
6. Concentrate on the WB for October
7. Think of a story to write in November
8. Continue to submit The Lucky Diamond to agents


Let's check next week to see how far they have got.

Wednesday 10 October 2007

***GUEST REVIEW *** MUNGO***

We are honoured to have the following guest review from Mungo


Lottie the Half Vampire by Valinora Troy

A review, by Mungo, DNOTY 2006


It is strange to see Valinora Troy’s name associated with something other than The Lucky Diamond, but it is true, your eyes have not deceived you. Lottie the Half Vampire is the first book in her new children’s series and, like those annoying wood preservative ads on the television; it does exactly what it says on the tin. This book introduces Lottie, a preteen human girl who lives with her widowed mother, older sister and West Highland White terrier, a perfectly ordinary girl it would seem, except that her father is a vampire. Not that Lottie knows that. This book is well written, as you might expect, and there are plenty of genuinely scary and suspenseful moments. Lottie is likeable, for a girl, and while it is a human-centric tale, the animals are represented in the form of her dog, Mac, and a large white cat that stalks her.

Now, this leads to the only gripe I have with this novel, and it is a big one. This massive white cat has magical powers, is malevolent and is pretty cool, except for his name. He is called Ungom. Now, any one with any sense will realise that only a creature of light could have a name with such a delightful choice of letters, no matter what the arrangement. This must mean that Ungom is either 1. An agent for good in disguise or 2. Valinora Troy made a serious mistake in naming the character. Of course, it couldn’t be the latter, in which case I look forward to future titles to discover how Ungom’s secret scheme unfolds.

Tuesday 9 October 2007

BEST BOOK SEPTEMBER CANDIDATES

A little belatedly, the list of candidates...


(Please note: due to the holiday season, a number of reviews were received by this blog but only posted October. Technically, however, they belong to September, so all reviews up to and including Mon 8th October are included).


The Bone Collector (J. Deaver)

The Empty Chair (J. Deaver)

Stir of Echoes (R. Matheson)

Somewhere in Time (R. Matheson)

Carry On Jeeves (PG Wodehouse)

The Softwire Virus on Orbis 1 (P Haarsma)

The Twelvth Card (J. Deaver)

The Vanished Man (J. Deaver)

The Father Christmas Letters (JRR Tolkien)

Watching the Magpies (Les Charles)

By the way, voting by email is no longer available. Please vote for your favourite book among the list of candidates by posting a comment on the website.


Voting open until Friday 12th October at midnight.

Monday 8 October 2007

Inkpot's book pledge 61-65

Inkpot is surging ahead with her books and now has surpassed the 65 mark. Here is what she had to say about recent reads:


61. WATCHING THE MAGPIES by Les Charles
This is a one act play written by a Welsh playwright. It is about two women in their sixties, one who suffers from Alzheimer’s and her friend who is her carer, who are being thrown out of their house by the council. It is well written, understated and natural.

– 5/10 Readable

62. THE SOFTWIRE VIRUS ON ORBIS 1 by P J HAARSMA

This science fiction novel for children is the first book published by Mr Haarsma – and you can tell. He has a lot of first novel fluffs in this book – telling, not showing, clunky sentences, etc – but for all that his writing shows promise and his world is imaginative if not exactly original.

– 6/10 The Curate’s Egg.

63. THE FATHER CHRISTMAS LETTERS by JRR Tolkien

This book is the collected letters and illustrations that Tolkien wrote to his children every year under the guise of Father Christmas and his helper, The North Pole Bear. These letters are filled with love and it gives an added dimension to man who was the father of modern fantasy.

- 9/10 (incredibly sweet)

64. THE VANISHED MAN by Jeffery Deaver

A return to form for daring Deaver after the disappointing The Stone Monkey. The Vanished Man revolves around magic, illusion and circus, topics which are always bound to entertain. While I think some of Deaver’s plot devices are so contrived as to be hilarious, I enjoyed guessing every new curve ball he threw at the reader.

– 7/10 Not Bad

65. THE TWELTH CARD by Jeffery Deaver
More of the same from Dare to be Deaver, this time centring on a black school girl from Harlem. By this stage I find the Lincoln Rhyme books very formulaic, though still enjoyable. This is the most recent in the series and, while I didn’t find it the most exciting instalment, it is an entertaining read. Hard working school girl Geneva Settle has been targeted for murder – but why, and by whom? That’s for Lincoln and Amelia to find out, which they do with their indomitable skill.

– 7/10 Not Bad

Friday 5 October 2007

Valpot's Book Pledge 61-65

Valpot's 61-65 books reviewed last month but not published until now.



61. The Wonders of The Mass
A fascinating booklet on the beauty, glory and wonders of the Mass.
Rating: Excellent


62. St Margaret Clitherow
Fascinating, though too short, biography of this saint martyred during Elizabethan times. Also good information and insught into the time - how the Faith in England was almost totally destroyed, to which the country tragically never returned.
Rating: Excellent


63. St Francis Assisi
Chesterton's biography. More facts and details about the saint's life can be found here than Chesterton put into his book on St Thomas Acquinas. GKC writes with all his usual brillaince and verve. Some might prefer the more traditional chronological biography but Chesterton always provides such enthusiasm, energy and love for his subject along with great insight into Man in general, and the saint in particular, that he is always worth reading.
Rating: Another gem from Chesterton


64. Biography of Pope Benedict XIV
Short but great insight into our wonderful Pope's life. A longer, more detailed one would be even better, but it's well worth reading.
Rating: Recommended


65. The Softwire
For a change, some fiction! Written by a friend of Nathan "Swoon" Fillion, this is a children's sci-fi story about a boy who can connect directly with and into computers without using any kind of interface (keyboard, mouse etc). In fact, he can push his mind inside computers. The children's parents all die on a journey from earth to a far distant planet, and the computer hatches the embryos the parents left behind. They make their new home on the planet of Orbis, and work to pay off their parents debts. Of course, there's trouble afoot and our hero (the softwire) has to find out who's behind it. It's not bad but not great. Interesting ideas, and even more interesting to see are the errors a first time writer makes (a lot of telling, not showing, and as for overuse of the word "just" - well, just what can I say!!). I thought the hero was very mature for a 13 year old (maybe they're all like that these days!), and I suspect it's only the first in a series...
Rating: Curate's Egg

Thursday 4 October 2007

Inkpot's Book Pledge 56 - 60

Recently Inkpot reached book 60 out of 150. Here's what she had to say about them:



56. THE LIFE OF BLESSED MIGUEL PRO by Ann Ball
Blessed Miguel Pro was a Mexican priest martyred in the 1920’s. This is a very good account of his life, portraying his human side as well as his sanctity. It is impossible not to love this cheerful, brave and heroic man, and not to be saddened by the manner of his death. An excellent, inspiring and informative – if brief – read.

– 10/10

57. CARRY ON JEEVES by P G Wodehouse
P G Wodehouse is undoubtedly a wonderful writer. His skill at weaving intricate, humorous plots is second to none and I love his Psmith books. However, his Jeeves and Wooster stories are not my favourite, made all the worse by association with the Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry adaptation in the 1980s. With that in mind, I found this collection of short stories only mildly diverting.

– 7/10 Not bad.

58. THE FOUR AGREEMENTS by Don Miguel Ruiz
The four agreements are 1. Be impeccable in your word, 2. Don’t take anything personally, 3. Don’t make assumptions and 4. Always do your best. It is common sense really, but this handy little book points it out to you clearly, just in case you had forgotten or perhaps never knew in the first place.

- 9/10

59. SOMEWHERE IN TIME by Richard Matheson
I loved I am Legend and The Shrinking Man, but the other works of Richard Matheson that I have read have left me cold. What Dreams May Come was supposed to be about love that transcends death and Somewhere in Time is a companion piece of sorts, about love that transcends time. Simply put, the hero of this book – Richard Collier – falls in love with the woman in a photograph taken seventy five years in his past and manages to travel back in time to meet her. Perhaps because romances are not my favourite reading material, I was left untouched by this book.

– 5/10 Readable

60. ST ANTHONY THE WONDER WORKER OF PADUA by Charles Warren Stoddard
This book was written in 1896 and was a little old fashioned in its delivery, but apart from that, it is a short yet excellent account of this amazing saint. All the famous miracles are in there – preaching to the fishes, the donkey adoring the Blessed Sacrament and St Anthony and the Christ Child – as well as ones that were less familiar to me, including bi-location. It is hard to read this book and be unmoved by such a wonderful saint who was on fire with love of God from the start.

– 10/10

Wednesday 3 October 2007

NEW DN PUBLICATIONS

Following on from last weekend's great disappointment (the non-appearance of Rainbow and The Mountain of Life), the Disresponsible Nodpot Press nonetheless produced three new titles.



The Five Muses Anthology - a collection of short stories from the pens of M. Murphy, M. Murphy, M.Murphy, P. Murphy, V. Troy, Wiggins, Rags and Leopard & Jacob.



Lottie, The Half-Vampire - first of a new "For Your Eyes Only" Imprint, designed to get those first drafts into print! Written by Valinora Troy, this is the first of a new series about a girl struggling against her inheritance (ie her father's a vampire!).




Revenge of Queen Rose (Not actual cover) - the sequel to The Lucky Diamond by Valinora Troy.


Also launched by the Disresponsible Nodpots last weekend was the ultimate version of The Lucky Diamond - illustrated by the wonderful I.M.M. Murphy.


We would like to invite our readers to submit reviews of these new titles - all reviews will be published on this blog.



BEST BOOK - AUGUST

Very belatedly, the winner of BEST BOOK AUGUST was:


The Empty Chair by Jeffrey Deaver


Runner up was :


Hurin's Children, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Two worthy winners.


Watch out soon for list of BB candidates for September.



Tuesday 2 October 2007

TRAGIC NEWS

The world is still reeling from the devastating disappointment last weekend - Rainbow & The Mountain of Life - Mungo's eagerly anticipated story of the continuing adventures of Leaf and his friends - was not published last weekend.

"Mungo has enough on his plate at the moment," an insider told us. "He is too wonderful to worry about trivial issues like dates and deadlines. He has spoiled his fans enough already with all his wonderful works. They're getting too greedy."

It's true - we are all dying to read Mungo's latest book. Let's hope we'll have good news on the launch date soon.

Monday 10 September 2007

Valpot Book Pledge 56-60

Here are Valpot reviews of her books 56-60 (Note both pledgers should have reached book 100 by end of August to be up-to-date with their pledge).

56. The Bone Collector
I love the film and enjoyed the book. It was difficult not to see Denzel and Angelina as the main characters, and personally I think the film's take on the suicide was much better than the book. The whole forensic stuff was interesting to read and the denouement was different from the film. I understand - and agree with - the changes the film made in general, but still enjoyed the book.
Rating: I like it

57. The Empty Chair
Also by Jeffrey Deaver (author of The Bone Collector), I enjoyed this book even more. Lots of good character development, an unusual situation, and lots of twists.
Rating: I like it

58. Stir of Echoes
I have read The Shrinking Man and Legend, and thought both books were brilliantly written and very imaginative. In contrast, Stir of echoes seems very tame, the plot is quite light, and it has none of the impact of the other novels of his that I've read. Still, it's well written, though you would like it developed a lot more.
Rating: Not Bad

59. St Gerard Majella
I picked up a biography of this great saint a while ago. Unfortunately the style of the book is very old-fashioned, which makes it difficult to read. I ended up leaving it aside, only to finish it a couple of months later.
Rating: Amazing saint but I'm sure there's a better biography out there.

60. Blessed Miguel Pro
A short biography of this holy man but a brilliant one! He actually reminds me of Fr William Doyle (Merry in God) because he seemed to unite a sense of fun and humour with courage and heroic sanctity. If, as is rumoured, they make a film of Mexico in the 1920's and featuring this saintly priest, I will queue up to see it!
Rating: An inspiring read

Friday 7 September 2007

BEST READ AUGUST

It's time we looked to see what book will be voted the Best Rad of Augist.

Here are the candidates (a short list this month):

The Prestige
For One Day More
The Coffin Dancer
Something Wicked This Way Comes
The Secret Of Crickley Hall
The Empty Chair
Hurin's Children
The Stone Monkey

It won't take long for you to decide - so please decide by midnight Tuesday 11th September!

Wednesday 5 September 2007

MONTH OF INKPOT

Congratulations to Inkpot - September is her special month.

Already it has started well with Inkpot being whirled off to a secret location for filming an advertisement set to surprise us next month.

We also expect her to complete her revised Mark Of The Wolf novel, which is being eagerly awaited.

Have a great month, Inkpot!

Monday 3 September 2007

CONGRATULATIONS!

Congratulations to the winners of Mungo's "I want to be like Mungo" competition.

The bookies had tipped Mango and Tottie as favourites, closely flanked by Rosie. The other entrants were not too much further behind, and October and November brought up the rear at 100/1 shots.

In a surprise move (surprise for the bookies anyway), Mungo announced that all entrants were winners in a competition with exceptionally high standard.

So well done, all of you!

For those who don't know, the winners were:

Mango & Tottie
Rosie
Duckles
Pamela Murphy
Dr Madeline Murphy
October & November

Tuesday 21 August 2007

VALPOT'S BOOK PLEDGE 51 TO 55

51: For One day More
This book did really well - a bestseller I think - from a very successful writer (Mitch Albom). I have to ask: why? The protagonist's marriage has failed, he has turned to drink, his family disowning him (not even inviting him to his daughter's wedding), and he almost had a baseball career but quits his dull job, and is now considering killing himself. His childhood was spent trying to please his father (who deserted his mother for another woman) and taking his mother for granted, which he now regrets as she is dead. On the way to his old family home to kill himself, he is involved in an accident. A little dazed he staggers on towards his old own where he meets his mother,and gets to spend a day with her. The day is interspersed with flashbacks of his childhood plus a new appreciation for his mother, before he is returned to life by the medics, no longer suicidal but anxious to make amends with his daughter and estranged wife. Well, apart from the unoriginal story line, the uninteresting glimpses of childhood (dull and lacking in insight), and the cliched characters - it's probably wouldn't be bad if it had anything else. Which it doesn't (the writing is polished enough, though the language unexciting). So - don't bother.
Rating: Darren Shan wannabe

52. The Prestige
I enjoyed this book though I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't seen the film first. Well written, characters well drawn, and interesting idea. I did think the plot was a little thin for a full length novel - but if I hadn't known what was going on (more of less), I might have found it more intriguing.
Rating: Curate's Egg (Good in spots).

53. The Coffin Dancer
I enjoyed this a lot. I read it before I read The Bone Collector (first in the series, excellent film made) but not having read the first did not impair my enjoyment. Exciting thriller, interesting forensics, and good characters. Jeffrey Deaver does go in for a lot of twists at the end of his books, perhaps one too many but very well done here.
Rating: Not Bad

54. Left to Tell
True story of a Tutsi woman surviving the holocaust by hiding in a pastor's tiny bathroom with 18 other women and trusting in God. Her parents sounded wonderful saintly people, who were brutally murdered, as were two of her three brothers. An upsetting read, especially reading the accounts of her family's murders, but it shows how quickly people can descend into evil killing gangs. Imaculee, the author, now works for the UN trying to promote forgiveness and peace in Rwanda. It's remarkable how she can forgive the killers, who were once family friends, neighbours or locals whom her parents had helped.
Rating: Not for the faint hearted

55. Something Wicked This Way Comes
I enjoyed this atmospheric tale by Ray Bradbury of the evil circus that comes to town, although too much time is spent by the father agonising over his age without resolving it totally.
Rating: Not Bad

Friday 17 August 2007

POLL RESULTS

In a surprising turn of events, the nodpot voted most likely to be DNOTY 2007 was tied between Valpot (who has produced nothing new this year) and Inkpot (ditto), with 30% of the vote each. Mungo (whose second book of the year is on the printing presses as we speak, and his third promised before the end of the year) received a low 20% of the vote. Sparkie also received support - 10% of the voters, while 10% also guessed that a nodpot other than those mentioned would scoop the coveted prize.

I assume that many of Mungo's supporters were too busy anticipating his new book to vote, or realise that one existed.

I wonder how many of those eligible to vote in December actually voted on this poll.

It would also be interesting to know where the respective nodpots stand in relation to points accumulated so far this year - as you know, these points count as much as votes on the day. Perhaps Marvin could supply us with this information?

We shall run the poll again in a couple of months time to see if people's views change.

Monday 13 August 2007

INKPOT'S BOOK PLEDGE 51-55

Here are the latest reviews from Inkpot - now over a third of the way to 150 books!

51. THE SECRET OF CRICKLEY HALL by James Herbert.
Gabe, an engineer, moves his family (wife Eve and two girls, Loren and Cally) to Crickley Hall for a couple of months while he works in the nearby town. Gabe and Eve are mourning the loss of their son Cam, who was abducted from a park a year previously. Crickley Hall has its own tragic past, as 11 evacuated orphans and their guardian all perished on the night of the big storm during the Second World War. Now it seems that the house is haunted by the ghosts of the dead and Eve won’t leave because she hopes to find a link to her missing son through the dead children.
Ok, this book is long – over 600 hundred pages – and stories of haunted houses should be scary, right? Well, er, not in this case. I expected more from the author of The Fog. I think a good editor could have brought this book down to 200 pages and it would have improved immensely. This was not my cup of tea.

2/10 Darren Shan Wannabe

52. THE EMPTY CHAIR by Jeffery Deaver
Once more top criminalist Lincoln Rhyme and top cop Amelia Sachs are collecting evidence and walking the grid to fight crime, except this time they are fish out of water in the backwoods of Carolina. Yet again Jeffery Deaver has produced an interesting, well written thriller which breathes new life into the formula.

7/10 Not bad.

53. HURIN’S CHILDREN by J.R.R Tolkien
You can not fault the works of Tolkien that were published during his life, but I have questions about his posthumous works, published by his son Christopher. Always a perfectionist, Tolkien worked on several different versions of this story (and a short version is included in the Simerillion) but was never finished one to his satisfaction. While there are parts of this tale that are brilliant, a lot of it is stilted and I can’t imagine Tolkien ever allowing it to print if he were still alive. The plot reads like a Greek tragedy with elves.

6/10 Curate’s Egg


54. ST MARGARET CLITHEROW by Margaret T Monro
A concise biography of an amazing martyr under the reign of Elizabeth 1st. An inspiring tale of an admirable woman and her trials and eventual death, as well as providing a snap shot into life in England at the time and the systematic eradication of the Catholic faith.

9/10


55. THE STONE MONKEY by Jeffery Deaver
This is the fourth Jeffery Deaver in the Lincoln Rhyme series. I really enjoyed the other three and I was expecting another exciting thriller with my favourite characters, Rhyme and Sachs, in this book, but I was disappointed. I suppose every author throws a dud here and there. This book is about human smuggling from China to America and involves Rhyme trying to hunt down a ‘snakehead’ (a human trafficker) before he kills the surviving passengers of a ship he blew up. I caught Lethal Weapon 4 on telly the other night, and the plot is pretty much the same except Murtagh and Riggs are slightly more entertaining. Apparently Deaver considers this to be his best Lincoln Rhyme book. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned in this. The book that the author likes best is never his best book.

5/10 Readable.

Thursday 9 August 2007

A Few Words from SPARKIE


My name is Sparkie and I have been a member of the Disresponsible Nodpots since the very first meeting on the 27th July 1997. I am writing this as a warning to anyone who enjoys fame or favour at the moment. This too will pass. You may feel that the world is your oyster, that everyone wants your opinion and that you are indispensable. This is an illusion. I know this, because once I was in that vaulted position. I was favoured, taken everywhere, consulted on every topic. I had the best clothes, the best everything in fact. I was loved by all. And where am I now? People hardly know my name. My halcyon days are long forgotten. So, be warned, you who are flying high at this current age, for your hours are numbered and they are fleeting. You would do well to think on the days to come when all that you now hold dear has turned to dust and what will you turn to for comfort then. Mark my words, your life will not always be as it is now.

I suppose, the reverse is also true.

Sparkie.

Wednesday 8 August 2007

JULY BEST READ

As you can see from the polls (which will be removed shortly), The Coffin Dancer won BEST READ for July.

Mr Murder and The Heart-shaped Box were tied for second place.

Thanks for voting everyone!

Watch out for August reads - reviews returning to this blog in the near future!

Sunday 5 August 2007

DISRESPONSIBLE NODPOT DAY

Last Friday week, July 27th, was Disresponsible Nodpot Day.

Every year on this date (or thereabouts) the Nodpots celebrate the anniversary of their founding. This year marked the 10th anniversary of that first meeting. We cannot but wonder what inspired this band of creatures to inaugurate their wonderful society.

I would therefore like to publicly invite Marvin, Chairtoy of the Disresponsible Nodpots, to contribute an article on the history of the DNs, the ups and downs, and what the future promises. I think I could promise a fascinated audience.

To celebrate the occasion, most of the Nodpots travelled to the Big Smoke (otherwise known as Dublin). Blueberry refused to travel, and Rusty was unable to. In Dublin, the travelling DNs (Inkpot, Marvin, Parsley, Mungo and Sparkie) met up with those who habitually remain there (October, November and Inkpot). The more sporty Nodpots then headed out to Kilmacanogue for some rifle practice and clay pigeon shooting.

The sniper at work

Reloading for more...


A less than scary sniper...


Returning with a fine bag, the Nodpots then turned their attention to lunch and Frasier, afterwards allowing Cocoa and Champagne (who strangely turned up for DN Day) a chance to play Balders Gate.

In time honoured fashion, the Nodpots then requested a nap before going out for dinner (though I believe they may have watched Frasier instead, to C & C's disgust).

Looks as happy as C & C as they decimate their enemies...

Dinner on this momentuous occasion was in Bellagios, Terenure. We have no photos or records from this meal, but our understanding is that it was most enjoyable. Then back to Churchtown to finish the evening off with Balders Gate.

To celebrate the day properly, the country DNs stayed the night, only returning home the next day after a traditional breakfast (and more Balders Gate).

Was it really a Cocoa and Champagne day out, I wonder?

Anyway, we managed to purloin a few snaps of some of the DNs on the range (see above & below).

Bulls eye!

My shoulder aches







MONTH OF SPARKIE

Happy Month of Sparkie, everyone!

Maybe Sparkie would like to post a few words on his month????

Thursday 2 August 2007

POLL

We have received a few comments and readers have voiced concerns over the poll vote on the Best Read July.

The issues seem to be these:

It's anonymous
There's no place for extra comments
Can't vote for something not on the list
There's a limit of 5 items so several polls have to be done.

As we stated the other day, this was a trial. To give people the option to leave comments etc, please post your vote here as before.

The books are:

Mr Murder
Heart-shaped box
Fly by Night
The Good Guy
What Dreams Make Come
The Coffin Dancer
Who Censored Roger Rabbit?
Stir of Echoes
Something wicked This Way Comes


So vote whichever you prefer!

Wednesday 1 August 2007

BEST READ JULY

This time we are testing the new polling feature in Blogger to record your votes.

Unfortunately it will only display 5 entries so we have had to add it twice. Please only vote ONCE though!

You have a week to make up your mind!!

Monday 30 July 2007

BEST READ JUNE

And the winners for June are...


There is a tie for first place between Mango: The Unlucky Monkey and The Heart-shaped Box.

Therefore second place goes to Mr Murder.

Congratulations to you all - and thanks for voting!

Friday 27 July 2007

NEW DN TITLES

Early in January, we published a list of the 6 titles published by the Disresponsible Nodpots during 2006.

We are delighted to report that since then, there have been two more added to the list.

In March, the DNs brought out Wilkiestop - an exciting science fiction thriller, the first joint effort by Iserie Valult.







The following month, the long-awaited and eagerly anticipated Mango: The Unlucky Monkey by Mungo was published.




Both excellent additions to the list of titles already produced by the DNs.


Hopefully there will be more to come in 2007.


By the way, HAPPY DISRESPONSIBLE NODPOT DAY everyone!

Thursday 26 July 2007

BEST READ JUNE - VOTE NOW

Don't forget tomorrow is the last day for voting for BEST READ JUNE.

So if you haven't already voted, vote today!

Thanks to those who have already voted.

Wednesday 25 July 2007

DISRESPONSIBLE NODPOT DAY

Devoted readers of this blog will no doubt have noticed that although we published June targets for the Nodpots, we never checked in with them to see how they went. Neither have we yet said anything about July aims and ambitions.

The reason for this is that the DNs, for reasons unknown, always have a summer slump, and we didn't want to embarrass them.

However, this Friday is Disresponsible Nodpot Day. It's a very special one too - the 10th anniversary of the society.

We'll be publishing a full report on the day, hopefully with photos, and get totally up to date with what the DNs are up to!

Monday 23 July 2007

BEST READ JUNE

Here are the candidates for BEST READ JUNE.

You have until next Friday, July 27th (and Disresponsible Nodpot Day) to vote - so get your votes in!

Here they are:

Mango: The Unlucky Monkey
Night without End
Fear is the Key
The Dark Crusader
Married under the Italian Sun
Mr Murder
The Bone Collector
The Clan of the Cave Bear
The Partner
The Boy in Striped Pyjamas
Demon Seed
When Eight Bells Toll
Marley & Me
Heart-Shaped Box
The Good Guy
The Prestige



Plenty of good books there - so get voting!