Happily continuing to accept ARCs from, and only from..

Today I had a good look through all my past reviews from my old site, a rummage through a lot of emails and another look at the sites & accounts that have aroused my suspicions recently, and I’ve come up with a definitive list of publishers that I’ll happily Advance Review for. It’s more than the three initially mentioned here so I thought I should post a quick update, in fairness. So here are, in my eyes, The Good Guys:

Simon & Schuster, Harper Voyager, Hodder, Jo Fletcher Books, Berkley UK & Solaris.


These are the publishers I, personally, have found to be ‘Decent’ when it comes to reviews and blogs and all that lies therein. And a pleasure to deal with. And so they’re the ones I’m happy to devote time to. Because time is precious when you’re a parent and a full-time employee.

I’m always interested in Indies, because I love to find new and interesting stuff off the beaten path. But I’m done with all the other ‘Big Boys’. Or as I now can’t help but think of them, The Bad Guys.




When it comes to back catalogue stuff, would I ever not read a book because of it being from a certain publisher? It’s an interesting question that I’ve just stumped myself with. My immediate response would have been “No, I read whatever I want, I just wouldn’t waste my time Advance Reviewing for them”, but you know, the more I think about it, the more I do wonder. There are definitely two or three publishers whose titles I would certainly think twice about buying since having spent time reviewing for them. Maybe I’d just drop by the library if there was anything by them I was desperate for.

Food for thought.



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Posted by on March 20, 2013 in Reviews


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Impeccable Timing!

Naturally, having said that I’m not going to be involved much with Advance Reviews at the moment, this little lot landed in my mailbox today. Solaris, Pocket, and Indies are cool with me, and I’ll intersperse these with my ASOIAF re-read over the next few weeks. For those of you wondering about the odd one out, I’d completely forgotten about it, but will honour the review request as it came through before I changed my ways.

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It’s shaping up to be yet another tense and mizzerable week in the office, so I shall be having an early night tonight, hiding under my covers with Tyrion & Co, and perhaps the Club Monstrosity folk too, trying to forget the day job.

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Posted by on March 19, 2013 in Books Received


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Project Wilt Update & Game of Thrones re-read

It’s been another promising weekend on the Project Wilt front! Which came as a huge surprise to me as the rest of this week was something of a disaster. I had four chapters to revise, and was trying to chip away at them slowly over my lunch hours at work, but by the time Friday rolled around I hadn’t even got as far as finishing the first one.


What I had this weekend was another mad Saturday night triumph. That’s obviously ‘The Zone’ for me when it comes to writing. And it’s taken me this long to find out! My son goes to bed around 8pm, and if I lock myself in the office, crank up the iTunes and keep the tea coming I can write through ’til 2am and get infinitely more done than I can in a week of scrappy 30 minutes runs here and there. This is probably completely obvious, and I’ve no idea why it’s taken me so long to settle into a routine. I got there in the end though. Next working week I’m going to spend any spare time I can find just planning and outlining, and I’ll save Saturday night for the real grind. I’m very fortunate not to have any sort of life, so keeping to this schedule isn’t going to be a problem. If I’m not at work, playing with my son, or asleep, I’m writing. Plus it helps that Sunday is the only day of the week I don’t need to be up at 6am. Win!

Reading-wise, I think I’ve gorged enough on YA fiction for now. It was a good thing to do, I’ve learnt a lot about all the traits I want to avoid, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by some series, and unpleasantly narked by others, and while I’m still a bit concerned about being pigeon-holed, I think I genuinely do have enough up my sleeve to pull this one off the beaten track. My concern though is that people are going to hear a keyword and automatically assume they know exactly where I’m going, so I’m working hard at keeping that word as low key as possible initially.

So, with YA off the menu for me for now, and with my excitement factor ramping off the scale as the new Game of Thrones season approaches, I’ve decided to dive into a re-read of ASOIAF. A massive undertaking I know! But I want to distance myself from the style of novel I’m writing as much as I can, and immerse myself in some of the most incredible plotting, world building and characterisation I can find. As well as indulge my massive adoration for the series. So it’s pretty much a case of 3 birds,1 stone. Hurrah!


I’d even go almost as far as 4 birds, when taking into consideration the frustration I’ve been feeling this week in terms of advance reviews on certain sites, as a re-read of a series of this vintage and magnitude will keep me off the radar for awhile, and out of an area where I’ve begun to feel uncomfortable. The only downside of course is that the books take a good while to get through, and reviews will be sparse for a bit. But then it’s a case of quality, not quantity of course 😉 I’m picking up a few Independent requests in the meantime, so there will still be the odd bit of new stuff dotted in here and there, just not from the Big Boys.

And so, I’m away to my bed with A Game of Thrones, and I’ll be fighting off the fast approaching arrival of Monday for as long as I can keep my eyes open.


Posted by on March 17, 2013 in Writing


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Cover Twins?

A little too close for comfort these two, surely?

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In a genre so bursting at the seams with carbon copies, the covers are now looking as indistinguishable as the plots. I should probably point out that, going by the publication dates at least, Mills had this one first. Tsk team Kagawa, tsk.


Posted by on March 16, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Not a review: Lonely Werewolf Girl, Martin Millar

6941947 Obviously I can’t review a book I’ve not finished, and I didn’t get very far into this one at all. Every time my innards are cheering for a werewolf novel to be  amazing, it never fails to let me down. Maybe my expectations are far too high.

In this instance, I had to put Lonely Werewolf Girl aside when a werewolf, in wolf form, took a phone call. Sadly I kid you not. I was already wavering when the wolves were talking to each other in wolf form, but actually picking up a phone and chatting..that just made it so, so much worse. And in fairness up until that point I’d been enjoying the story, but there are some Cardinal Sins within the genre for me that just can’t be forgiven.

Come to think of it, I’ve never been completely blown away by a werewolf novel. And I really, really want to be. I didn’t mind the Armstrong series, and I thought Duncan’s The Last Werewolf was pretty decent. But aside from those, I’ve only ever found endless piles of either mediocrity or silliness.

If anyone has any recommendations for strong Werewolf fiction, I’m all ears, believe me. And if anyone suggests Mercy Thompson, I might just let out a howl or two of my own. Seriously. Don’t get me started.


Posted by on March 16, 2013 in Reviews


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