Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Book Reviews: Dark Calling & Gone

Good evening! I purchased a couple of books while at work on Saturday, and earlier today I finished reading the second of the two. In tune with my older blogs, I'll review them!!

The Demonata #9: Dark CallingReview: Dark Calling

About the book...

Kernel Fleck sees lights - it's one very important factor to keep in mind. He sees lights, he had control these special lights, and now, they're talking to him. He fights demons, he's part of a weapon, and the universe is at stake in the next battle. Darren Shan (the oh-so-famous author) picks it up around there.

Was it as good as the prequels?
Most definetely. I'd go as far as to say that it's perhaps the most important book so far, as it gives the reader a lot of answers as to what's going on. The series, up to then, looked a little... well, I won't say messy, but it was at the stage where it could be hard to follow. Dark Calling filled in the gaps and gave us more than we thought we'd get.

The only bad thing...
Well, there are two, but one isn't Shan's fault. It's a typing error in the back of the book. It says the final book is coming out in 2010, not 2009, and there's a line that wasn't brought down past the actual text of the book. No, the problem is that the series is coming to an end!! Hell's Heroes is the final book in the ten book series, and should wrap everything up. It's the big problem when authors tackle a series of books - they sometimes don't know how to end them. Shan had an...okay ending to The Saga, so he knows what he's doing. I expect he's going to follow the same sort of feeling the rest of the Demonata had - it's going to be a mighty big ending!!

I heartily recommend Dark Calling!!

Review: Gone
About the book...

GoneThere are no adults. Just suddenly, they are vanish. It's November; Sam Temple is 14 years old, turning fifteen in 299 hours, 54 minutes. Precise? You betcha! Anyone fifteen or over disappears, forever. They don't come back, and there have been no exceptions. What's more, is that people start developing abilities. The world is changing around them. The small Calfornian town is trapped in a ten mile radius, coming from the nuclear power plant. They call it the FAYZ, or Fallout Alley Youth Zone. But when some people have power (the power) and others don't, there can only be trouble.

I did, and I didn't. I work in a bookshop, so I heard about this one a few months before it's release. They described it as being Heroes for the book world. So I knew then and there that there was going to be super-powers. I was waiting for them. All the while, I was loving the book. It's fast, without being at a lightning speed. It's exciting. There's a real motive behind the protagonist Sam's actions - he has only days to live before he "poofs." His story is developed, his emotions become raw, his mind is put down on the page (although it should be mentioned after that that it's not a first person narrative; several others are followed for shorter periods of time). So I expected something with powers, and I got just that. I expected something about the people, not just about the powers. I got that too. But I heard the writer, Michael Grant, worked on Animorphs, so I expected two things from that: a short book, and a bad story. For one thing, the book is in no way short. Over 500 pages in length, it takes up a lot of space. And the story? Well, I loved it.

Wrapping up...
The book was brilliant, there's no denying it. Now I wonder if Grant can do it again. Hunger, the sequel, is out in April 2010. I can't see it being so compelling, except that I know the characters now. But this is one book we all need to keep an eye on! It's a fantastic read!!

The freakiest thing about it...
Not the powers, no. It's the many similarities Sam Temple has with my own friend. Same first name, similar appearance (as described), similar tastes in music, and a shockingly close family story. Freak, freaky stuff. I struggled to keep the two apart in my mind.

That's a wrap for this one. Come back next time, when I may have actually done something on the Campaign instead of reading books for 3 days!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Just some ideas...

So here we are, blog time!

It's the Easter break from school, a painful time when parents force their sons and daughters to study, just as the Irish weather decides to stop crying. Naturally, I'm going to beat the study blues with some good old fashioned, Literary Den!!

Elizabeth Dyer, AKA Ellie, came up with some rather smashing ideas that I wanted to put past the general readership of this blog... many of you who look at this won't even realise what I'm talking about until it's seven months later and something has happened in the world to give you a reason to look me up.

So here we go! Firstly, there's a "Read Me, Keep Me" day! Now, this all sounds very vague, so here's the details: second hand books with a postet stuck on them (with the aforementioned title) are left all around the city (it will be in Dublin and various other places in the UK and Ireland). People find the books, as you might guess if they're left in public, and they get to keep them, and read them. That way, more people are reading. We're still discussing the details, but it looks to be quite fun. Some artists did this in Dublin City a while back, much to the delight of the people who found the paintings! We'll need second hand books to do this with, so you may end up getting a knock on the door by a member of the "Read Me, Keep Me" team, asking for donations (if you're willing to part with them!!)

Secondly, our mentor programme. Now, I intend on annoying my friend Sam with this as much as humanly possible, but the rest of the public knows nothing about it yet. So, we're going to make a snazzy, and dare I say, sexy website to attract young writers into the group. This will be part of the Den, but an exclusive forum and independant website for the mentor programme. It's bloody excellent!

The group are now also getting ready for The Literary Den Book of New Fiction 2009, which will see the arrival of a large number of Irish writers! Myself and Anthea West were the only Irish writers last year; this time, we're going to have Brendan McLoughlin and Lisa Sills alongside us, and hopefully young Senan Warnock if he can throw something together. We also have a resident of Dublin and native to Bermuda, Jonathon Bell. Woo! In true Irish fashion, we're infesting the book, rather than invading. It's great craic!

So, that's about it for now. I'm still being too lazy to work on the new Campaign document. There's less pressure now, though. Battlefront opted to go for Wrong to Be Different? over our campaign, so we won't be on television. *sigh*

Anyway, if you want to "follow me" on Twitter, you can find me here!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Battlefront is a no go... for now

Well, the Literary Den did not make it onto the Channel 4 TV show, Battlefront. We came second in the public vote and in the judges' room, which I suppose is pretty damn good! The Campaign will continue as before, just without the handy Flip Camera and the associated videos (unless someone wants to make a donation....)

I've not got much else to say... I opted to enjoy my first Monday off since... well the last bank holiday, so I don't have that new file done yet. Maybe tomorrow. Definetely by the weekend.

So, until something new and exciting happens, I'll be off.

But feel free to follow me on Twitter!

I use it for my own life as well as the Den. People need to know the man behind the mask.... in this case, the author behind the Campaign!!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

20 million people in the UK don't read!

So, it's official - there are 20 million people in the UK who just don't read. They can afford to, they just have no interest to. An article by The Bookseller reveals all.

As a way to combat this, the Literary Den Campaign will take a number of actions. The first will be to create a Guide to Bookshops. Now, this isn't meant as an insult to anyone, merely as a response to the article. Apparently, the codes and references in bookshops are putting people off. So, the Guide will explain special offers, ISBN and genres to help customers find their way.When it's done, I ask that people spread it far and wide - the more people that know their way through a bookshop, the better.

Now, obviously every bookshop is laid out differently. But that doesn't mean that they use different terms. Everyone in the book world uses the acronym ISBN; everyone has "3 for 2" offers, and "25% off" and other such things. Pretty much all the High Street bookshops have the same genre sections. Any differences are easy enough that customers can find their way - we have to remember that everyone has a bit of common sense, and if they still get lost, there are always staff there to point them in right direction.

I see this every week. It's the advantage of being a writer and book campaigner who works in a bookshop! I'm there on every side of the transaction at some stage and therefore I know what I'm talking about. This document will help!

Thanks for tuning in..... well, no one really does as far as I know. But if you're that one person who does, thank you!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Campaign Update

Well, voting has stopped on the Campaign! In fact, we've even gone one step further to getting the Campaign into the show - I got a call from London on Wednesday. I liked that I got to confuse people with that piece of info for a little bit!

The call was terrifying to say the least. I was so afraid I'd mess it up there and then. Ultimately though, I may not get through. It could potentially cost too much to send a camera crew over to Dublin, when the other campaigns are all in the UK. Bummer....

Still, fingers crossed!

In other news, the How to Write Document has been updated. Basically, the date was in the wrong format, there was a typo in one of the questions (so it came up several times!) and one of the author's names wasn't underlined or centred. You can download the updated file here.

I'll find out on Monday if I've been accepted by Battlefront. Wish me luck!

I finished typing my story for The Literary Den Book of New Fiction 2009. Yay! And I have the same editor as last year - Claire Hack. So, we have ten submissions so far, and we're still waiting on a few. I'm so excited about this one. I think the book will be better, and there are already more writers from Ireland in it than last year! Yahoo! That'll make promoting it so much more fun too!! When it's released, I demand that you buy it. Afterall, the money goes to charity!