Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Company... not your average read

see disclaimer below
I've been quiet on the book review front lately for one simple reason: scripted web fiction.

You all know what web fiction is, and a fair smidgeon of you know what a script is, so of course, I've spent the past couple of weeks reading a total of 24 original web-only teleplays.

I'll go into more detail about scripts and scripted fiction at a later date, but here are the bare facts you need to know.

The Company, created by Sarah-Jane Sheppard, simply... rocks.

Do you love Pushing Daisies, Wonderfalls or Dead Like Me? Because that's the kind of quirky, offbeat awesomeness you can expect to encounter in this young adult dramedy.

Meet Vi Morgan, a 16-year-old high school student. One day she's dead. And the next day, she kinda isn't. But her resurrection does come with an interesting price tag: she has to work for "The Company" and keep her secret life, well, secret from her family and friends. You can imagine how well that turns out.

Helping her out, is her scruffy, rebellious, but generally well-meaning mentor, Andrew, the efficient, but damaged, Jenna, and her best friend, the lovable, clumsy, musician-wannabe, Shane. Helping her keep on her toes is her nerdy, but adorkable, brother Cam, her neurotic, writer father, her commanding, but well-meaning mother and her bit-of-a-bitca sister, Penny.

Season one is a mere 13 episodes long, while season two rockets up to a full 22-episode roster. These numbers may seem daunting, but teleplays are a lot faster to read than novels, so it's quite doable to load up your Kindle and nail these beauties in under a week or two. And with Sarah-Jane's seemingly effortless ability to craft easy-to-read scripts, just overflowing with juicy dialogue, addictive character interactions and the occasional serial killer or two, it might even take you faster than that.

And believe me, you'll want to. Season 3 is coming soon!

Read The Company at:

Disclaimer: scripted web series will often use established actors to visually represent fictional characters. These actors are in no way affiliated with the series and are merely used as physical avatars. In fact, quite often, I replace characters with my own favoured actors (just like you'd do when reading novels).

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Review: Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident

Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident (Artemis Fowl, #2)Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Boy genius - and not all together "good guy" - Artemis Fowl, returns for a second adventure, teaming up with the very people he went up against in the last book.

And what a welcome team-up it is in this fast-paced book aimed at tweenies and teens.

In the first book, Artemis came across as a smug, mostly-unseen antagonist to the actual interesting characters in the story. In the Arctic Incident, not only do we actually get to see a human side to the boy, but he gets his hands dirty too.

Also returning are my favourites from the first book - Holly, Foaly and Root. They each get plenty of moments to shine, which is probably part of the reason why Artemis starts of as an arrogant, aloof brat and ends up, still arrogant, but a humbler character who feels actual affection and respect for the people around him.

We learn fairly early on who the villains are, so the majority of the story isn't dominated by a quest to reveal them or delve into their childhood traumas. Instead, we get to see Artemis and Butler interact with the fairies for most of the book. This gives both species a wonderful chance to learn that they aren't exactly what the other expected, and that there is common ground between the former "enemies". One can only hope that the next books follow this growth spurt of the characters.

Overall, a large improvement over the first book, which while enjoyable, felt like it should have been named "Cool fairies versus that fake mustache-twirling Artemis Fowl bloke."

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Lunarday Links!

If you can ignore the bad pun, then you will probably enjoy these posts as much as I do.

I follow a lot of cool peeps on twitter and through my RSS feeds. Here’s a neat collection of sites and articles to check out this week.

Via @bubblecow

How Changing The Structure Of Your Novel Can Help Get Your Book Published


Too Much of a Good Thing: Over Plotting Your Novel – from Janice Hardy’s blog, author of the fabulous YA novel, The Pain Merchants (as it’s known in my country) or the Shifter (as it’s known in other places).


Via @thDigitalReader
Books everyone should read (word cloud)

Are you asking these important questions about your fantasy setting?

5 Keys to Unforgettable Story Introductions

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My kingdom for a… book review template

Credit to MarkHan http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1315020I struggle to review.

On the surface, it seems a pretty dumb problem. I read. I write. Logically, I should be able to write about what I’ve read. Right?

Logic is intermittent  in the rooneyverse.

When I’m reading a good book, I get caught up in the moment, the pain of the heroes, the fiendishness of the villain. I get to the last page and am giddy with the wonder that accompanies things like magic and finding something new.

But I couldn’t honestly tell you what I loved or learned from the book. My thoughts coalesce into nerve-sparks like “OMG just frikkin’ wow” or *mope* “Why can’t I write like that?” or “Oooh, is there a sequel yet!?” (Actually, this last one isn’t that bad a question – I’m budget conscious and rarely read new releases, unless the publishers are nice enough not to set a regional restriction on books in the Amazon Kindle store. More on that anon.)

It’s far easier for me to concentrate on the characters, plot and writing of a book I’m not enjoying. That’s great if I were a beta reader, but hardly helpful when I want to share story love with others.

Thankfully, other readers have paved the way for me, and so I point you to:
I was googling this morning, looking for standard book review templates (see the multitude of failed ones I’ve created) when I stumbled upon this great site that also gives blogging tips and other helpful articles, and yes, that includes handy advice on how to review.
What are your tried and tested review methods?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Review: Jenny Pox

Jenny Pox (Jenny Pox, #1)Jenny Pox by J.L. Bryan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A writer I follow on twitter linked me to an Amanda Hocking blog post, which in turn linked me to this book. I'm quite glad that odd chain of events occurred. This was a rather macabre but awesome tale of Jenny Morton, the unfortunate bearer of the "Jenny Pox". Any living thing she touches, dies.

At first Jenny is a wallflower, doing her best to stay out of sight and mind of a rather nasty piece of work named Ashleigh. Ashleigh is all sugar and spice and everything nice to people who can give her what she wants, but anyone on her bad side may very well imagine they've stepped into "hello, this is your life on steroids... in hell". As a thoroughly nasty creature, I spent a great deal of the book wishing she'd get a massive dose of karma. Jenny's emergence as a more confident person put Ashleigh in her place briefly, but even the girl who doesn't fear snakes, spiders and ghosts knows to fear the picture-perfect cheerleader.

The ending is rather gruesome and serves as a declaration of independence for two of the leads, which in turn opens the door for a more proactive sequel, one in which the leads may need to abandon the shackles of normalcy and embrace their natures and pasts if they are to make something worthwhile of their current lives. There is a rather sweet romance running through-out, which affected each of the main characters in profound ways. I can only imagine that the author is an animal lover, because Rocky the dog was quite simply the most inspired choice of catalyst to trigger these changes.

Well worth a look at, and I'll definitely be checking out the sequel.

A few minor niggles were to be had on the ebook version,which had a few formatting errors that occasionally distracted.

I would, personally, not classify this as YA - rather paranormal fantasy or horror fantasy. Even though the novel features teens, there are some rather adult scenes in it.

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Review: Still Life

Still LifeStill Life by E.E. Horlak

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Still Life is the book that started me on my quest to find and read more of Sheri S. Tepper.

On the surface, it is a paranormal fantasy with elements of horror. What set it apart for me was how it didn't give into the clich├ęd happy endings and romance. It is well thought out and executed with a palpable atmosphere of foreboding and magic. I must admit, each time I read it, I still have the smallest bit of hope that there will be a happier ending... one day.

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