Sunday, 29 June 2014

Pines (Wayward Pines #1) by Blake Crouch

Ethan Burke arrives in the town of Wayward Pines but things aren't quite as they should be.  He tries to get out, to contact his family, to go home, but the town doesn't want him to leave.

I definitely found this to be un-put-downable as I read it in one day after a friend recommended the series.   I won't say it is high fiction, but it is definitely fast-paced and I wanted to know what happened next and next and next.  I agree with some reviewers where they say Burke should spend a bit of time resting as he seems to have super human recovery powers as he gets beat up and then keeps going with all his injuries.  Even I was feeling exhausted for him.

This has been compared to Twin Peaks, Lost, Walking Dead, but I didn't get those vibes.  I was imagining it more like (the TV series) setting of Under The Dome.  Being British, I only know "small town rural America settings" from TV series, but the town was quite fleshed out in this story.

In summary, I enjoyed this, even with its flaws and will read book 2 after having a rest.

Murder in the Midi by Cecilia Peartree

I adore Cecilia Peartree's Pitkirtly mysteries and the author herself had said this early story is "not a Pitkirtly", so it languished on my Kindle as I didn't want to be disappointed.

However I was happy to not be disappointed.  This is a reasonably story with a bit of a whodunnit.  It is a light read, nothing too heavy.  

Whilst this is not Pitkirtly - the sun shines in this story - It is not a bad read.

Without A Hitch by Andrew Price

Without a Hitch is almost two books for the price of one.  It's kind of like an episode of Law and Order where the first bit is the Law and the second is the Order.

Two colleagues who are bored in their jobs decide to commit the perfect crime - credit card theft.

The setting up of the "thefts" was enjoyable to read, although I must admit I kept getting the two characters mixed up at the start as it dragged a bit and they seemed much of a muchness.  As the book progressed, it was obvious which was which as their characters and what they wanted from this diverged.

I was rather taken by this story.  It was better than expected and I really enjoyed it.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

The No-Kids Club by Talli Roland

The No-Kids Club is thought up by Clare when she couldn't get a decent conversation with her friends without them going on and on about children.
The first two members to join have issues with the topic of children themselves which is why they need non-kid conversations.  The book then follows the lives of these three women as they find out what they really want in life.

I enjoyed reading about them avoiding kid-talk, but inevitably, as with the chick-lit canon, the more they don't talk about children, the more the topic of children comes up.

As with all of Talli Roland's books, you get a great easy to read story with reasonably happy endings, although the endings may not be what you expect from the start.

This is not my favourite of the author's books, probably because the subject matter didn't really interest me, but in saying that, I always get a great quality interesting read from this author and will always read one of her books.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Interrogating Tim Arnot

Meet Tim Arnot.  You'll find him hanging out after the apocalypse.

How do you strike the balance between writing something you want to write and writing something that people want to read, in terms of the compromises you make, if any?

I write what I want to read. I hope other people want to read the same kind of things. So far no one has complained because I killed off X, or Y didn’t get off with Z. I guess the only compromise I make is in terms of “maturity”. I pitch my writing at what might be termed a “15 Certificate” level, so that determines how much swearing there is (yes I have f-bombs, although not many), and what levels of violence, sex and nudity I allow myself.

What excites, attracts or appeals to you about the genre(s) you write in.

My stories are post-post-apocalyptic (is that a genre?). There was an apocalypse somewhere in the distant past, and presumably a post-apocalypse too, although it’s not important to the story. We’ve had lots of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction that deals with the immediate aftermath (Terry Nation’s Survivors on TV in the 70s was probably my introduction to the genre, and consequently a big influence), but I think it’s much more interesting to look at what has happened to society, say, 100 years down the road.

Do you have a box, drawer, folder etc where you keep thoughts and ideas for future stories? Such as names you have come across, bits of dialogue, ideas, characters - even if you have no idea when you might use them?

I have an A5 sized notebook for every project, that works kind of like the rough books we had in school. So I try to do all my planning etc. in that. It does capture many plot bunnies, but there are lots more that crop up while I’m driving, or in the bath, out shopping etc., and that relies on me remembering them until I can scrawl them down on the back of a napkin, or get my phone out an email myself. Those bunnies do have a habit of getting lost.

One of the nice things about Scrivener (the program I use for writing) is that it has a “Research” folder, and that can capture web sites. So if I’m browsing – for the sake of argument – the difference between a brig-rigged sailing ship and a ship-rigged one (it’s the number of masts, btw ;)) I can easily save the web site for later reference.

How do you manage plot bunnies (ideas that invade your mind that aren’t usually helpful to the story you’re writing but breed

They go in the book, along with the rest. I tend to plan fairly well in advance – you need to when you’re writing a trilogy, because things that are going to happen in book 2 might need to be set up in book 1, and stuff for book 3 needs to be kicked off in book 2 – so they don’t distract me too much.

I never get rid of stuff I’ve written – even if I’ve “deleted” a 30,000 word sub-plot, because one day it might come in useful.

How much of you is in your characters? Which of your characters is the you that you’d most like to be? Or be with ?

Probably quite a lot, I dunno. I think it would take someone else to spot it, and it’s not something I really think about. Who would I like to be? Probably Socko. He started off as basically a simple cypher to deliver some evidence, but he really kicked off my imagination, and has now got his own spinoff series. In terms of who would I like to be with? That’d be telling, and anyway she wouldn’t be interested.

Do you become so wrapped up in your writing that your spouse wonders if they're married to you or one of your characters?

There’s a spouse? Anyone who’s seen the state of my house and garden would know that boat sailed long ago!

What type of book do you like reading? Is it the same genre as you write?

I love reading space opera. Big epic spaceship battles are definitely my thing. I did try to write one one year for NaNoWriMo, but it was awful. Truly awful. But I do read pretty widely – Post-Apoc and Dystopia of course, but also thrillers, fantasy, speculative fiction are my staples. I’ve recently discovered Urban Fantasy: Ben Aaronovitch – look him up if you haven’t read him. Utterly brilliant. I’m not so keen on out and out horror, and I run away screaming from historical romance.

What lengths do you go to to convince us readers that your book has the X factor?

Not enough, obviously. Like every author, I struggle to find the pot of gold whose name is visibility. It doesn’t matter how wonderful your words are, how many freebies you have, knickknacks or whatever, if nobody knows about it. In the end I decided it was probably more important to get on with writing the next book, and not worry about it too much.

How do you feel when a reader points out the spelling mistake(s) you have made?

I love it. Of course I strive for a perfect product from the get go, but we’re all human, and things do slip past  me, my editor and my beta readers. But because direct publishing through Kindle, Kobo etc. allows near-instant updates, we can fix issues pretty much as they arise (unlike traditional publishing, where any errors are fixed possibly forever).  I have a standing “thing” that anyone who emails me with an error that I subsequently fix, gets a part in the next book. There are several Characters in Hunted, for instance who are named after people that reported a typo in Wanted.

What do you like most about visiting KUF/GR/forums?

I’ve found a great bunch of people there, many of whom I now consider friends, and some of whom are now my beta readers. The GR UKAKF tends to have quite a low signal to noise ratio, but it’s a good place to let your hair down for a bit, and we’ve had a couple of meet ups, which was fun.

What is on your near horizon?

Hunted, my second novel is currently with beta readers, and is expected out in August. I’m starting to ramp up publicity for that. I’m currently writing the third Socko spinoff – “Socko’s First Fire” and the third part of the Flick Carter trilogy, tentatively titled “Defeated” plus another spinoff novella are in development.

Where can we find you for more information? is my Facebook page. @TimArnot is my twitter. My blog is but I admit to being rather lax at keeping it updated. I do have a mailing list for people interested in new releases, at and I’d love more people to sign up for that. You can also spot me around the KUF GR and KBoards forums.