Wednesday 30 May 2007


Tomorrow is the last day for voting for Best Read this January!

So come on down and vote!

(Thanks to all those who have already!)

Tuesday 29 May 2007


The candidates for Best Read for January are:

7 Days in Hell
Black Rabbit Island
The Singing Stone
Brother Odd
By the Light of the Moon
The French Confection

The Blurred Man
I know what you did last Wednesday

Spiderwick Chronicles (1st volume)
Leaf: In Search of Ramune
24 Hours
The Lucky Diamond
Across the Wall

So get your emails sent, and your comments posted!


As we are inflicting so many book reviews on our readers, it seems only fair to ask the readers to vote for their own favourites.

Eligible books are those which have been reviewed on this website during 2007 (either by Inkpot or Valpot, or by guest reviewers).

We will put together a shortlist, consisting of two books from each month. Obviously you may not have read them the same month as the DNs, so this is the proposed schedule:

Votes for Best January Read from the January posts: Votes from readers by May 31st, the two shortlisted books for January will be announced the following week.

Best February Read: Votes in by June 8th. Announced the following week.

Best March Read: Votes in by June 15th. Announced the following week.

Best April Read: Votes in by June 22nd. Announced the following week.

Best May Read: Votes in by June 30th. Announced the following week.

Only one vote per reader. You can vote by posting on the blog (no anonymous votes will count) or by emailing me at Mark it for my attention.

If you like, you can email me with your list for all months to date!

Looking forward to receiving lots of entries!

Monday 28 May 2007

BOOK UPDATE - Inkpot's 31 - 35

A recent update from Inkpot:

31. BATTLESTAR GALACTICA REBELLION by Richard Hatch and Alan Rodgers.
I enjoyed watching the original Battlestar Galactica series very much. Apollo, played by Richard Hatch, was the hero and married Serena, played by Jane Seymour. My favourite was wise cracking hot shot viper pilot, Starbuck, played by Dirk Benedict (aka Face from the A Team). A few years ago, Richard Hatch approached a TV studio to make a new series of BG, catching up with the same characters twenty years on. He even bankrupted himself making a trailer for the proposed series. The studio didn’t bite and a few years later went with a‘re-imagining’. Hatch, undaunted, turned his ideas into a series of books, of which Rebellion is one. Unfortunately, the book is almost unreadable. I don’t know who is responsible. Hatch is an actor and Alan Rodgers is a horror writer, or so the back of the book tells me, but whoever wrote this book comes across as nearly illiterate. It changes tense every couple of paragraphs, over abounds in eclipses, and tells the reader everything without showing a peep. It is almost worth reading as an example of how not to write – almost.
1/10 Darren Shan-tastic.

32. WOMEN WHO THINK TOO MUCH by Dr Susan Nolen-Hoesksema
This is an excellent, thoughtful and insightful book about identifying and eradicating over thinking (negative, obsessive, unrelenting thoughts about problems and situations). I would highly recommend it to anyone who feels they are prone to over thinking.

33. ICEBOUND by Dean Koontz
Icebound is the story of a group of scientists stuck on an iceberg and their efforts to get off. Koontz describes the cold and horror of the situation superbly, keeping the tension and the pace of the book at break neck speeds, while still fitting in his characteristic touches of human story to the characters, the strong bond between husband and wife and the hint of Catholicism. In the author’s note at the back of this book, Dean says he wrote Icebound as homage to the works of Alistair McLean. I have never read any of the famous scot’s work, so I can’t judge whether he pulled it off. Altogether, Icebound is a taut, enjoyable thriller.
7/10 Not bad

34. REDWALL by Brian Jacques
Imagine Kenneth Graham’s The Wind in the Willows, add in a touch of The Animals of Farthing Wood and a hint of the Crusades and you have Redwall. Simply written, one moment quaint, the next dark and brutal, I couldn’t help thinking as I read this that it wouldn’t get published today (it was first published in the 1980’s). Enjoyable in a very putdownable way. It was good to read, but I didn’t rush back to finish it.
5/10 Readable

35. DEMON SEED by Dean Koontz
I’ve been struggling recently to finish a couple of long boring books, and, as a result, my book count has slowed down significantly. What better way to revive my flagging reading, I thought, than turning to old reliable Dean Koontz. Demon Seed was originally written in the late seventies and made into a film around that time as well. I had seen the film, although I had no idea until I started reading the book that the two were related. The film was not great, but it was very creepy and left a strong impression on me – as well as a lot of modern movie makers, as it is often referenced in TV shows and movies (there is one Simpsons episode about it). The book is quite different from the film in that it is told from the antagonist’s point of view, but it is just as creepy and Deanie does a wonderful job of creating a very disturbed creature.
8/10 I like it

Wednesday 23 May 2007

NOT NODPOT NEWS but of interest...

Technically this has nothing to do with the Nodpots (unless returning to the Meadow Grove Conference Centre), but there is a new resident in Churchtown:

Known as Toffee:

And will have company some time over the next few weeks. I know the DNs will all accord her a warm welcome.

(No, it's not a very long tongue - but her owner giving her some fingers to chew!)

Monday 21 May 2007


Latest recommendations (or not!) from Valpot:

31: City of Night

Book 2 in Dean Koontz Frankenstein trilogy. I didn't enjoy it quite as much as the first one, but it still is an exciting read, and I'm looking forward to reading the third one when it is published.

Rating: Not bad

32. The Poison Belt by A. Conan Doyle
From the author of Sherlock Holmes.. (hee, hee, I know you know that!). Part of The Lost World and Other Tales collection, all featuring Ed Malone, Professor Challenger and friends. Well written, as you'd expect, but quite an insubstantial story with an end that I considered a cheat really - but I won't ruin it, in case anyone reads it...

Rating: Good in Spots (good writing and thin plot combination!)

33. The Chingles from the East
Patricia Murphy's original prize winner. While there is plenty of magic and mythology in this story, and it's not badly written or anything, it's not really my style of story. I hadn't realised before that it was meant to be the first of a trilogy. Interestingly, I saw the third one has finally come out - and it's called something like The Chingles meet the Vampires. The kids go to the island off the West Coast as usual, but end up in Eastern Europe (where we all know the vampires come from) and have to battle with their mythological gods (or something like that).

Rating: Half way decent

34. Raven's Gate by Anthony Horrowitz
By the author of the Diamond brothers humorous detective stories, this is the first of a trilogy, and aimed at an older reader than the detective books. This is a fantasy story set in England - the author says in his forward that he wanted this alternative to traditional fantasy such as Narnia or The Shire. Unfortunately, this limits the development of his world, which makes the book a little less satisfying. It's well written, and the hero is stuck in a village from which he really can't escape from, and there seems to be nobody that he can trust (I like this as a story line) but the whole Raven's Gate thing didn't really work very well. It might well come into its own in the sequels. This book was recommended by a nine year old as his favourite book!
Rating: Readable

35. Williestop by Iserie Valult
The first co-authored story from these two fabulous writers. It's fast and exciting, with a whole plethora of characters that you care for, and a sci-fi world that convinces (me anyway!). It's also the first - and arguably best - Biff book to date. The end perhaps was a little rushed, but it's a long and very satisfying tale. I loved it!
Rating: Shines like the Lucky Diamond!

Thursday 17 May 2007


Yes, we have passed May's mid-point. However, it's never too late to see what the DNs have in store for the month, so let's check them out!

Inkpot, what targets have you set yourself for May?

Finish Til the Moon Fails
Enter Hughes and Hughes short story competition
Up date blogs

Sounds very worthy! Best of luck with all of them! Looking forward to reading Til the Moon Fails!

Mungo, how about you?

Rainbow and the Mountain of Life
Tour country with Mango

I'll certainly watch out for you on your tour! And best of luck with Rainbow and the Mountain of Life!

Marvin, hopefully May will be good for you. What have you planned?

Up date website and blog

Great! Parsley, any targets for May?

Get money from Iseult

That might prove difficult - judging by April - but you have the perseverance and charm (and dashing good looks!) to succeed!

Sparkie, I guess you don't have any targets, having successfully procured the gavel - or do you?

Make sure all the Nodpot minutes are up to date

You certainly go for the tough ones, don't you! All the best with that target!

Blueberry, I know you like to laze in the sun - but will you attempt anything more ambitious this month?

Enter Mungo’s writing competition

That's fantastic! I didn't realise you were into the writing side of being a Nodpot! Best of luck with it - I'm sure it will get the cream (so to speak)!!

October and November - any plans?

October: Just continue with our blog - a couple of posts during the month.

November: Maybe - and we mean MAYBE! - enter Mungo's competition - if we can fit it in amidst our busy schedule.

I hope you do! Good luck with the blog! Hope it reaches a happy ending (middle and beginning!) this year.

Valpot, what about you? Unrealistic as ever?

Sadly have to be realistic this month. With two teaching classes, two assignments, one project and - hopefully - a look at stuff for my final exam, I won't have much time for writing.
I might - MIGHT - enter the H&H contest, if I get a chance.
Otherwise, I'm all study!

Exciting stuff (not)! Good luck with the exams, and hopefully June will be more productive for you!

Well, readers, that's it - what do you think??

Post your comments and let us know!!!

Tuesday 15 May 2007


Is it just me or has anyone else notice the DNs getting a bit lacklustre? Apart from Mungo, of course, who is always full of energy!

Is it the usual summer time blues?

Anyway, let's have a quick look at their targets for April and how they got on:

Finish Til the Moon Fails by May 16th – Writing going well, but about a week behind schedule.
To have read 40 books by the end of April – 7 books behind target
Update my blog on a more regular basis – Only updated a couple of times
Plan out ten Dead Jimmy books and write first 3 chaps of book one – haven’t looked at it

Not too bad, Inkpot - you've done well on the most important target anyway!

Sparkie, what had you lined up last month?

No targets for April - Completed

Well, we all understand you recently completed the target of a lifetime! Blueberry, I don't think you had anything too onerous planned?

No targets for April - Completed

Parsley, you're always well on top of things - how was April?

Get after Iseult for late payments of Nodpot Fund – Failed to squeeze money out of Inkpot .

That's the tough part of your job, I guess, Parsley - getting the money out of the DNs! Mungo, how did you get on last month?

Kill Lulu staff if Mango doesn’t arrive this week – Luckily for Lulu, Mango arrived

Marvin, as Chairtoy of the DNs, I'm sure you continued to provide wonderful leadership and example?

Update my blog - failed
Do more pages for the website – failed

I'm sure it's all down to you providing encouragement and support to the other Nodpots.

October and November, did you set up your long-awaited blog?

Indeed we did! We may not have posted much to it - 2 posts in April -

But we kept our promise!

Well done, you two. And finally, Valpot - you've haven't yet met any of your targets so far this year. Was April any different?

Well, I like to set high targets, ones I know I won't reach, rather than set them too low. Where's the challenge then? But to answer your question - no.

Did you meet any of them?

No. By the end of April I should have reached 50 books out of my pledge of 150 - but sadly only reached 37.
I didn't get back into writing 5000 words a day - I'm afraid my course is demanding a huge amount of time at the moment, but once mid-June has arrived, I should be able to address this once again (unless I get a job, of course).
No submissions sadly nor assignments, again, because of all the study I'm doing at the moment.

That's a shame - but we look forward to great things in June!

Well, that's the update, readers. Perhaps not as bad as I suggested earlier, and we look forward to May achievements!

Thursday 10 May 2007


May is Mungo's month - so congratulations, Mungo!

I hope it is a good month for you - please tell all your fans how you plan to spend it. Have you any special projects?

Tell us how we can help you celebrate it!!

Tuesday 8 May 2007


26. Slaves of the Mastery by William Nicholson
This is a fast paced and exciting sequel to The Windsinger, and is far superior to it. The story unfolds deftly and all the skeins of plot, although not entirely unexpected, tie together very well. The characters, both new and old, are well developed, and overall, it has drama, tension, adventure, and everything else you'd want in a fantasy tale!
Rating: A good piece of fiction

27. St Martin of Tours by Regine Pernoud
Biography of the great saint, who famously cut his cloak in two to share with a beggar, told clearly and methodically. Both a satisfying read (in terms of a biography) and an inspiring one (in terms of its holy subject).
Rating (in the absence of an agreed fact rating): Definitely one to read

28. Firesong by William Nicholson.
I was disappointed with this, the conclusion of the Windsinger trilogy. Much of my disappointment could be the result of the excellence of the second book - I wanted more of the same, but I didn't get it! There were certain elements of the story that I did not like (was disappointed with), and I found the overall conclusion a bit of a let down.
Rating: Not bad.

29. 13 Tragic Tales
An interesting idea from the publishers of A series of Unfortunate Events, with 13 short tales by fans of the series (or just school kids in general!), presented in a small - free! - booklet! Great promotion for the series, and the free booklet is nicely produced. The tales vary, but as they are all so short, the children didn't have much scope.
Rating: Not applicable

30. Koontz Frankenstein: Prodigal Son
I don't think Dean wrote much of this story but I found the modern setting an interesting variation on the Frankenstein story. Written very much in the cop detective style of thriller, I enjoyed it without it being a classic.
Rating: Not bad.

7 Days in Hell *** GUEST REVIEW***

One of the recent publications from the Disresponsible Nodpots press was 7 Days in Hell, by Iseult Murphy.

Valpot reviewed it earlier this year, and this is what she said:

7 Days in Hell is a horror story set in Ireland. Twin sisters Irene and Vicky spend the October mid-term break in a self-catering cottage in the heart of the country. Unlike the promise of the website, the "converted barn" is a tiny shack which the siblings cram into with Ronnie, Irene's dog. The landlord and his ferocious dogs are sinister neighbours, the inhabitants of the local village are unfriendly, strange howls and light in the sky are apparent nightly, and to crown it all, the car unexpectedly breaks down. Just when the sisters are considering their holiday a disaster, they stumble into the much bigger trouble, the evil which has been perpetrated in the area for decades...

It's a pleasure to read a horror story based in a familiar "ordinary" environment, with normal people - though you might think twice about going self-catering after reading this. The story holds your interest from page one with a mixture of humour, suspense, horror and pathos. The sisters are well-developed, likable characters from the start, and the minor characters are equally deftly drawn. The story flows smoothly from the pen of its accomplished author, and it is difficult to believe that the bulk of this book was written in twelve days. The language is polished and skillful - as you would expect from this writer. The scene is expertly set, the plot is well-paced, and the denouement an original variation on its theme. It is a book where you are conscious of disappointment at the end - not because of the conclusion, but because you are finished. Highly recommended.

Marks out of 10: 10/10 Shines like The Lucky Diamond