Wednesday 31 October 2007
Friday 26 October 2007
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
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
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
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!
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
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
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
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
This is what they said:
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
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
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.
Tuesday 9 October 2007
(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
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
61. The Wonders of The Mass
A fascinating booklet on the beauty, glory and wonders of the Mass.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Wednesday 3 October 2007
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.
Tuesday 2 October 2007
"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.