Wednesday 25 April 2007


Inkpot has kindly forwarded reviews of her next 5 reads. She's now crossed the 30 book mark - well done, Inkpot!

This is what she says of the stories:

Edgemont, the publisher of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, ran a competition in UK schools for short stories inspired by the books. These are the 13 winning entries. Some are good, some are not so good, and there is even space at the end to add your own story (well, that’s what I did with the couple of blank pages provided). This is a beautifully produced booklet and a lovely idea for this popular series.

27. THE DREAM ARCHIPELAGO by Christopher Priest
I took this book out of the library after reading an interview with the author in the latest Albedo One. He seemed a nice guy (he thinks using bad language in books is poor writing and Galaxy Quest is one of his favourite films) and he also wrote the book on which The Prestige was based. The Dream Archipelago is a collection of previously published short stories all loosely based around the islands of the title. I felt these stories belonged more to Glimmer Train than to Analog, and had little interest for me. Two stories stood out - one, about a soldier and a writer on the battle front and another rather disgusting account about the consequences of eating forbidden fruit. Other than that, I thought they were very boring and similar to each other.
3/10 Almost Darren Shan

28. BURNT OFFERINGS by Laurell K Hamilton
I wouldn’t want to know Anita Blake. She will kill you, or threaten to kill you, one minute and then fight for your life the next because someone else threatens to kill you and then will kill you the minute she has saved your life. And if you are lucky enough not to be threatened by her for a few hours, then someone else probably will because Anita has a lot of enemies and anyone who associates with her usually ends up tortured or dead. Then there is the way her powers keep on growing until she can do anything and is more powerful than any other creature, and the way she can put you down when pretending to put herself down and don’t get me started on how her dating a vampire is so uncool.
2/10 Darren Shan Wannabe

29. DREAMWEAVER by Louise Lawrence
This book is about two teenagers, Eth and Troy. Troy is travelling on a space ship with three thousand people from Earth to colonise the planet Arbroth. Eth lives on the planet Arbroth, a peaceful pastoral place, and can project her spirit throughout the galaxy while asleep (dreamwalk). The threads of both their lives are wound through the story. As Troy journeys to Arbroth, Eth journeys into adulthood. Some parts of this book, like the Dreamwalk and astral projection, I liked a lot. The rest of it I found very standard fantasy fare passing off as science fiction. How come the people on Arbroth were identical to people from earth apart from having orange eyes? Very simply written with a lot of telling (as opposed to showing) this was average reading.
6/10 The Curates Egg

I started, with come trepidation, Mungo’s second book – Mango, the Unlucky Monkey. Could it be as good as Leaf, In Search of Ramune, his debut novel? Hardly. However, I found it just as good if not better. There were moments where I was laughing out loud; the characters were endearing and the adventure compelling. I look forward to reading his next book in the autumn.
10/10 Shines like the Lucky Diamond.

Monday 23 April 2007


Sunday 22nd April saw the long awaited launch of Mango: The Unlucky Monkey.

Cover of Mango: The Unlucky Monkey

As usual with anything Mungo is involved in, the launch was a great success.

Mungo and his new book

Excerpts were read by Iseult (the illustrator and rival DNOTY) and Pamela ("the judge") Murphy. Noted author Geri Valentine then said a few words about Mungo and his brilliance, and the author himself hosted a Question & Answer sessions.

Mungo with Iseult, the illustrator

Mungo with fellow author Geri Valentine

There was a big turn out for the event, and Mungo and his new book was greeted with riotous applause.

Needless to say, Mango sold out almost immediately.

Janna can't believe how lucky she is to meet Mungo

We will be reviewing Mungo's latest on this blog in the near future, but we're confident it will be another brilliant work of art!

Mungo with his fans!

Looking forward to your next book launch, Mungo!

Friday 20 April 2007

Breaking News...

Mungo's exciting sequel to his best selling Leaf: In Search of Ramune will be launched this Sunday, April 22nd, as we have just learned.

The book entitled Mango: The Unlucky Monkey has been eagerly awaited by Mungo's many fans.

Your trusty reporters will attend the opening and give you, dear readers, all the news on Monday.

But remember - it's available to purchase NOW so don't be shy!

Monday 16 April 2007

April Targets

Although the month is half-way over, let's have a glance at the DN targets for the month.

Finish Til the Moon Fails by May 16th
To have read 40 books by the end of April
Update my blog on a more regular basisPlan out ten Dead Jimmy books and write first 3 chaps of book one

This month I hope to submit at least one article to a magazine. I also wish to get back into writing 5000 works each day (week day), and to read 12 books. I should also look at Assignment 4 for the WB, though I'm not sure if I will have time as I have exams coming up...

October & November:
We will set up our blog this month. We may not post much to it - but at least we will have begun!

No targets for April

No targets for April

Get after Iseult for late payments of Nodpot Fund

Kill Lulu staff if Mango doesn’t arrive this week

Update my blog
Do more pages for the website

Glad to see you all more or less have targets - even if some are a bit more violent than I expected!!
Best of luck with them all, Noddies - we're rooting for you!

Friday 13 April 2007

Book update - VALPOT!!!!

And now for Valpot's reviews of books 21 - 25:

Book 21: Killers of the Dawn
Why? What can I say? I persevered with the attempt to discover why D. Shan is so popular in Japan - and the answer is... it's incomprehensible. I also thought that this was the last in the series but it's not - for other people. Definitely my final attempt to understand why these atrociously badly written books are published. The "hero" is as painful as ever, and there are also even more unpleasant elements - eg the use of torture by the "good" guys (vampires) which is justified by necessity, plus the police portrayed nastily (I didn't think this sent good vibes to young kids - the Japanese women probably are used to reading about it!) and killed by our heroes. I did laugh at "vampet" - evil humans who work for the vampaneze!
Rating: Darren Shan-tastic!

Book 22: Hollow people - Brian Keaney
For children/teens. An attempt to depict a controlled society as experienced by two teenagers, and their rescue by smart people who will lead our hero to the realisation of his destiny, saving all from the world where dreaming is forbidden... I have a fondness for stories about state control but Brian Keaney's does not live up to its potential, the writing/characters not sufficiently interesting to read either of the sequels. His depiction of the controlled society is unsubtle, and his heroes reaction too pat - hasn't the mastery that Garth Nix and William Nicholson have!
Rating: Half-way decent

Book 23: Those Terrible Middle Ages
I enjoyed this book by Regine Pernoud very much. However, it is quite conversational in tone (not the systematic analysis I had expected) and my own ignorance of the middle ages meant the conversation was one-sided!
Rating: I like it

Book 24: The Wind Singer by William Nicholson
This is an enjoyable read, in the main. The society - although strongly reminiscent of Garth Nix - is well depicted (BK should study how!); the evil legions are sinister and relentless. Some elements bored me (the desert fights) or confused me (the old people), so a bit of a mixed bag!
Rating: Curate's egg - good in spots

Book 25: Coraline by Neil Gaimen
Children's horror - very imaginative & well written, as you'd expect from this writer. Aimed at a slightly younger children's age group than I am used, so the plot was quite simple but excellently done.
Rating: I like it

Wednesday 11 April 2007

Book Update - INKPOT!!!!!!!

Some time ago, Inkpot contributed her reviews of books 21- 25, as follows:

21. DEAN KOONTZ’S FRANKENTSTEIN PRODIGAL SON by Dean Koontz and Kevin J Anderson
This book has a complicated history. Originally planned as a TV series, Koontz withdrew involvement after the bigwigs making the series altered it so completely he no longer recognised it (I saw the TV movie that was ultimately made and it was so bad I fell asleep). Not wanted to lose the story, Koontz has already written two books of a planned three, each co-authored with a different writer. Despite a lot of things going against it, this is an exciting read.
7/10 Not Bad

Two things drew me to this book – 1. It was short and 2. (more importantly) I expected lots of zombies. However, by the fourth instalment of this computer game inspired franchise, they had run out of zombies and I had to make do with much less interesting fare. Dry as ten day old bread.
1/10 Darren Shan-tastic

This is the second book in Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein. I don’t think Dean writes a lot in these books, leaving the bulk to his co-author. I don’t think Ed is as good a fit with Dean’s style as Kevin was, leaving a much jumpier, less exciting and satisfying book. However, I still really enjoyed it and I am eagerly waiting for the third instalment due out at the end of May.
7/10 Not Bad

I was very disappointed initially by this book. When I picked it up in the library, I falsely assumed that it was an original novel of the series. Instead, it is the novelisation of two episodes from the Tom Baker era. The writing is very sparse and nothing is elaborated on from what you would see on screen, but it made me long to see the episodes and reminded me how great Dr Who really is. Despite the rather spare writing, the good writing for the episodes shines through. 6/10 Curates Egg (Good in Spots)

25. I AM LEGEND by Richard Matheson
When I recently organised my book shelves I noticed my copy of this classic was missing, an omission I rectified when I next went to the bookshop. This brilliant mixture of horror and science fiction has already been made into two dismal movies and is about to be made into a third, starring Will Smith. I don’t think it will fare any better than its predecessors, as the fact of the matter is; the story works best as a novel. Nothing much happens in Neville’s (the hero) life as he struggles to remain alive in a world turned completely into vampires. Nothing that fits into the pattern for an action movie, anyway. Despite that, it is one of my favourite books and still chills me so much when reading it that I don’t want to read it before bed time.
10/10 Shines like the Lucky Diamond

Tuesday 3 April 2007

March Update on Pledges and targets

You may remember, dear reader, that early in March, the DNs gave their targets for the month. Most DNs had nothing to aim for, and those that did - well, they didn't sound too hopeful.

Let's start with Valinora Troy. Well, Valinora, how did you get on?

Valpot: Badly, I'm afraid. I'm not sure how many books I read during March. I hoped to get up to 36 by the end of March - sadly, I only reached 32. But that's not bad, is it?

(Shrugs) I'm not one to comment, but it's not good, is it?

Valpot: It's okay. I submitted Assignment 3 to the WB. One article got very positive feedback (though I was told to rewrite the other!) so I'm quite pleased with that.

Thought you wanted to submit Assignment 4 also during March?

Valpot: I did, but unfortunately I didn't. If you know what I mean. Still I'd rather aim high each month and fail than aim low and succeed. I think.

Sparkie had no targets this month, so Parsley, how did you get on with the accounts?

Parsley: The accounts are all perfectly in order, thank you.

Well done (as always!) October and November?

October: March was an extremely busy month for us, what with first birthdays and things.

November: So we didn't get anything done on our blog. But we will this month - before the next DN meeting too!

Best of luck with your plans. Though I wonder how many readers believe you will succeed...

November (looks angry): We will, I assure you!

October: We'll be back!

Marvin is enjoying a month off, with no targets for March. Blueberry did not bother either, and Mungo basked in his own (well-deserved) glory. Which leaves us with Inkpot (favourite with the bookies for first to get published). Inkpot, how was March for you?

Inkpot: I read 9 books and I wrote TTMF but not 50%, maybe 20 or 30.

Not too bad, considering all the big occasions during March. Well done, all you DNs, and perhaps later this week, you will your your April targets with us all!