#CaseClosed: #December2017 #Top10Booksof2017 #amreading #amreviewing #damppebbles #bookblogger

Hello you gorgeous bookish folk!  Welcome to my final #CaseClosed of the year and it’s a #CaseClosed with a twist.  Instead of including a book of the month, today is the day I will reveal my top ten books of the year! (And, yes, I’m hoping many of you can’t count *looks sheepish*).  As it’s going to be a chock full post today, instead of my usual witterings, I’m just going to crack straight on with what’s been happening on damppebbles during the month of December…

Not a lot is the answer!

Actually, that’s not true.  It has been such a joy for me to host the #R3COMM3ND3D2017 feature since mid-November.  And the good news is, we’re not done yet as I have posts scheduled until 13th January, ready for my second blogiversary on 14th January!  December has been full to the brim of lovely book recommendations from some incredible authors and the very best in book bloggers.  I feel quite humbled that so many incredible people wanted to take part, so THANK YOU.  #R3COMM3ND3D will return in 2018 but this time I am going to limit the number of places to 57 (one a day starting 1st November, running through to 30th December but excluding Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day).  The form is already up and raring to go (although it *may* be a touch early to start filling it in now 😉).  My heartfelt thanks to these lovely people for taking part in #R3COMM3ND3D2017 throughout December:

Sarah Hardy of By The Letter Book Reviews | Jackie Baldwin author of Dead Man’s Prayer | Cleo Bannister of Cleopatra Loves Books | Jen Lucas of Jen Med’s Book Reviews | Paul Cheney of Halfman, Halfbook | Tina of the TripFiction Team | Emma Mitchell of Emma the Little Bookworm | Lynne LeGrow of Fictionophile | Jessica Page Johnson of Jessica’s Reading Room | Cathy Ryan of Between the Lines | Chantelle Atkins author of The Tree of Rebels | Milana Madzarac of acouplereads | Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers | Melisa Broadbent of Broadbean’s Books | Rachel Sargeant author of The Perfect Neighbours | Helen of baattyaboutbooks | Ross Greenwood author of Fifty Years of Fear | Eva M. of Novel Deelights | Juliet Butler of Bookliterati | Kate Noble of The Quiet Knitter | Jo Robertson of My Chestnut Reading Tree | Tracie Delaney author of the Winning Ace series | Anne Williams of Being Anne… | Emma Littlefield of One Reader’s Thoughts | Karen Cole of Hair Past A Freckle | Rachel Broughton of Rae Reads | Nicki Maguire of Secret Library Blog |

Despite having NO blog tours in December, I did manage to squeeze a few extra posts in here and there (and they were mostly book reviews which makes me feel a little better about my lack of reading this month!):

All The Wicked Girls by Chris Whitaker | One GLORIOUS Louise Jensen Post (a repost of my reviews) | The Wrong Child by Barry Gornell | Ragdoll by Daniel Cole | Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney |

All awesome books and all highly recommended.

So……I can’t wait any longer.  I have to share my top ten list of the year with you otherwise, I may burst or spontaneously combust or something like that (ugh).  In no particular order, these beautiful creatures made my reading year.  Look at their gorgeousness….

the restless dead

The Restless Dead by Simon Beckett (pub. Bantam Press)
“Sometimes you read a book and everything about it just feels right.  That’s how I felt about The Restless Dead.  I couldn’t put this one down and when I was away from the book I was thinking it through, trying to connect the threads of the story.”

the wrong child

The Wrong Child by Barry Gornell (pub. Orion Books)
“Would I recommend this book?  Oh my goodness, I will go on about this book for YEARS to come.  It’s hypnotic and so beautifully dark.  I was enchanted and disgusted in equal measure, it’s absolutely everything I want in a book.  I am traumatised but I LOVED it.  I could not put this book down, nor did I want to.  Easily one of my books of the year (one for the books of all time list..?).  I was left heartbroken that it was over.  Absolute literary perfection!”

51dphgk8vsl-_sx324_bo1204203200_

Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb (pub. Orenda Books)
“Oh Lori Anderson, how I want to be you!  Ex-pole dancer turned bounty hunter Lori is the most likeable, most believable heroine I’ve met in a book in a long time.  She fights, she shoots, she beats herself up on a regular basis for not being a good enough mum to her daughter.  This woman carries a taser around with her for goodness sake, and she’s not afraid to use it.  Forget your Wonder Woman. Forget your SuperGirl. I want to be Lori.”

follow you

Follow You by Richard Parker (pub. Bookouture)
“It had a lot to live up and it and it surpassed my expectations!  This is exactly the style of book that I devour.  It has the feel of a horror film in the making (not that I actually watch horror films….ever!), it doesn’t hold back on the detail (some gory) and the reader rarely has a moment to draw breath before the next heart-stopping moment.  I absolutely loved it.”

final girls

Final Girls by Riley Sager (pub. Ebury Publishing)
“Would I recommend this book?  Most definitely.  It’s a new favourite and one I will be driving everyone around me crazy with!  I’m so excited that this book exists – it’s perfect and I want everyone to read it so you can all see how awesome it is as well.  Brilliantly addictive, deliciously dark and everything I want in a book! Superb.”

SIX STORIES BF AW.indd

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski (pub. Orenda Books)
“I felt truly scared at points and heartily commend Matt Wesolowski for his use of tension.  The plot doesn’t really slow at any point and keeps you teetering on the edge.  I couldn’t get enough of this book and I can guarantee that I will read it again in the future (one of those rare books that gets a second read!).  Well, that’s if I can forget about Nanna Wrack in the meantime.  Creepiness at it’s very best!”

the last one

The Last One by Alexandra Oliva (pub. Michael Joseph Books)
“Would I recommend this book?  Daft question really.  I loved this book and can see it featuring on my top books of 2017 list.  It made me nervous, it confronted my worst fears, it was everything I didn’t expect it to be!  So very well written.  Zoo will stay with me for a long, long time to come.  What an experience!”

a room full of killers

A Room Full of Killers by Michael Wood (pub. Killer Reads)
“One of the many things I loved about a A Room Full of Killers is that it’s set in Starling House, a young offenders prison.  Meaning the majority of the characters are evil, vindictive killers (the type I love to read about!).  Each of the young men gets to tell their story and the reason they have ended up imprisoned.  I loved these chapters.  They’re so well written and despite being relatively short summaries, they tell you everything you need to know about the killers.  Building a clear picture of the evil, sadistic children stuck behind the walls of Starling House.”

The-Surrogate-Kindle

The Surrogate by Louise Jensen (pub. Bookouture)
“There are so many surprises in The Surrogate that I became dizzy with joy while reading.  You think you know what’s going on, where the story will lead you but in reality, you know nothing!  Jensen has created a wonderfully intricate web of lies and half-truths with bucketfuls of creeping paranoia.  I loved it! (I may have said that already…)”

a patient fury

A Patient Fury by Sarah Ward (pub. Faber & Faber)
“Would I recommend this book?  Absolutely.  It can be read as a stand alone so don’t worry if you haven’t read the first two books in the series (although if you get the chance, then do!).  I love DC Connie Childs.  I particularly like her when she’s breaking the rules and undertaking an investigation in her own time, which she *may* end up doing in A Patient Fury.  Honestly, my favourite crime series out there at the moment and I urge you to get yourself a copy of A Patient Fury.  You won’t regret it.  Sheer brilliance.”

exquisite

Exquisite by Sarah Stovell (pub. Orenda Books)
“If you buy only one book this week, this month, this year…make it this one.  Sarah Stovell has created a magnificent and perfectly crafted piece of fiction which sucked me in, chewed me up and spat me out.  And I LOVED it.  Regular readers may be aware that I’m not the fastest reader in the blogosphere but this book, I couldn’t put down.  I started reading at 4pm on the Sunday and was finished by 9am on the Monday – I absolutely drank it in and I’m desperate for more.”

hope to die

Hope to Die by David Jackson (pub. Bonnier Zaffre)
“I absolutely loved it.  One of my favourite reads of the year.  It may be that the murders have a religious connotation, which has always appealed to me.  It may be the subtle humour Jackson writes into his character’s narrative or it may just be that it’s an absolutely stonking crime thriller series that I insist you check out.”

So there you have it, my ten (please don’t count them) books of the year.  What do you think?  Did you also love any of my choices?  Did any of my top ten not quite work the same way for you?  I’d love to know.

Oh, and when I said the list wasn’t in any kind of order I was telling the truth.  However, I should add my absolute favourite book of the year is FINAL GIRLS, closely followed by THE WRONG CHILD.

Interestingly, neither of these reviews feature in my most read posts of 2017.  Here are my three most-read posts this year:

The Murder Farm by Andrea Maria Schenkel | The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell | Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson |

And finally, before I bid you farewell until next year, a few blogging resolutions I wanted to share (seeing as we all know how good I am at sticking to them!):

📚 I have been shockingly bad at the admin side of my blog this year.  My inbox is overflowing and I’m sitting in the corner gently burbling to myself and ignoring the gentle, rhythmic pings.  This is not to the be the case in 2018.  If you’ve emailed me and I haven’t replied then I am truly sorry.  I’m terrible at admin (which is a surprise seeing as I’ve been an administrator most of my working life!).  My plan is to delete (yes, you read that correctly, delete) everything in the inbox this afternoon and start afresh.  If you want to contact me make sure you email me after midnight tonight!  I’m going to start scheduling admin time into my day to make sure I can stay on top of my new, sparkly clean inbox.

📚 The same applies to moving reviews across from the blog to Amazon and Goodreads.  This will also be covered in ‘admin time’.

📚 I haven’t been replying to your lovely comments on my posts and again, I am very sorry (maybe I should give up now.  The good news is that I am able to read so I guess I do still have something going for me!).  More attention will be paid to my gorgeous fellow bloggers in the New Year.

📚 I now realise that I can’t share all the #booklove to Twitter, despite still wanting to.  I’m waaaaaaaay behind on my sharing at the moment so instead of fretting over it I’m going to be brutal once again and hit the delete button on the older emails (I’m so sorry).  Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep up from now on with my scheduled ‘admin time’ (it covers many things, believe me!).

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your support, advice and input this year.  The happiest of New Years to you all my lovelies, let’s make 2018 sparkle…and full of books, obviously.  There have to be books, otherwise, I’m not playing 😂😂.

giphy (5).gif

giphy-downsized-large.gif

Make sure you join me again tomorrow when I will be welcoming the very lovely Joy Kluver to damppebbles with her #R3COMM3ND3D2017 reads.  Happy New Year!

Advertisements

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 with #BookBlogger Nicki Maguire (@Nicki_Mags) #SecretLibraryBlog

I am delighted to welcome another fellow book blogger to damppebbles today.  The lovely Nicki Maguire who blogs over at Secret Library Blog.  Nicki has very kindly agreed to share her #R3COMM3ND3D2017 picks with us today.

I’m sure we’re all fully up to date with how #R3COMM3ND3D2017 works by now but if not, it’s an opportunity for authors and book bloggers to shout about three books they love.  The only stipulation being, the books must have been published in 2017.

Here are Nicki’s choices…

genuine fraud

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart
I loved everything about this quirky book. The main character fascinated me even though I didn’t particularly like her., The backwards telling of the story was so clever, really messing with my head, but not so badly that I couldn’t understand what was going on. Perfect for lovers of quirky thrillers.

the vanishing of audrey wilde.jpg

The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde by Eve Chase
This was a wonderful dual time novel set in present day and the summer of 1959. It was full of atmosphere and in both settings, but it was the 1950s part that I really loved and felt transported back to time before I was born.

the hate u give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
I was an amazing book that I couldn’t and didn’t want to put down. It opened up a whole new world to me making me uncomfortable as I read it. I don’t normally read YA books but I’m so glad I picked this one up. It’s one of those books that everyone should read.

***

Many thanks for joining me today Nicki, and for your brilliant recommendations!  I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Genuine Fraud’

If Nicki has managed to tempt you or if you would like to find out more about the books she has chosen, please see the following amazon.co.uk links:

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart | The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde by Eve Chase | The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas |

About Nicki:
I’m Nicki a 40 something wife and mother to a 16 year old son. I live on the beautiful island of Jersey where we only have a Waterstones bookshop and a WHSmith to buy books from. Fortunately, we have a fantastic library service over here and all the charity shops sell second hand books too. Twice a year the local guide Dogs for the Blind charity have their second-hand book sales which raise thousands of pounds each time.

I’ve dabbled with blogging for years and have been reviewing books for a long time on Goodreads, Amazon and Waterstones, but wanted a central place for all my reviews. I had a book blog on Booklikes for a few years but actually started this blog last October when Booklikes looked like it was dying. It recovered but I preferred the new format on WordPress and so made this my blog home. I’m very happy here and have been made very welcome by all the lovely book bloggers out there.

Nicki’s Blog and Social Media Links:
Secret Library Blog | Twitter | Facebook |

My thanks to Nicki for joining me today.  Make sure you pop back tomorrow when I will be sharing my top reads of the year and the last #CaseClosed of 2017!

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 with #BookBlogger Rachel Broughton (@rae_reads1) #RaeReads

It is my pleasure to welcome the lovely Rachel of Rae Reads to damppebbles today.  Rae Reads is well worth a visit if you haven’t discovered Rachel’s wonderful blog yet.  I thoroughly enjoy her reviews and I’m thrilled to have Rachel join me today to share her #R3COMM3ND3D2017 picks.

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 is a chance for book bloggers and authors to champion three books published in 2017.  That’s it as far as rules go, the book must have been published in 2017.

Here are Rachel’s choices…

the many colours of us.jpg

The Many Colours of Us by Rachel Burton
There is such a hopeful feeling to the story that I couldn’t help but be drawn in and I loved the main characters Edwin and Julia. The writing is descriptive with a lovely emotional edge, it really is a brilliant debut.

letter to eloise.jpg

Letters to Eloise by Emily Williams
Emily Williams has a lovely descriptive writing style that had me continually turning the pages. Along with creating a wonderful character in Flora who is so engaging, her story definitely held an emotional hold over me.

the man who died

The Man Who Died by Antti Tuomainen (translated by David Hackston)
I loved how matter of fact the main character Jaakko is and it was so much fun going on this madcap journey with him. The story is cleverly written and at times darkly funny which I really appreciated. Highly recommended!

***

Thank you so much for these brilliant recommendations, Rachel.  And it’s good to see Antti Tuomainen’s ‘The Man Who Died’ popping up again.  I really must get myself a copy!

If Rachel has managed to tempt you or if you would like to find out more about the books she recommends, please see the following amazon.co.uk links:

The Many Colours of Us by Rachel Burton | Letters to Eloise by Emily Williams | The Man Who Died by Antti Tuomainen |

About Rachel:
My name is Rachel or if you like you can call me Rae and I’m married with two children. They definitely keep me busy so being a book blogger helps to keep me sane(ish) I started blogging in December 2015 and I can’t believe how fast the time has gone.

My favourite genres are romance, mystery, historical fiction & thrillers. I’ve always been a book worm so my blog is a wonderful way to share my love of reading xx

Rachel’s Blog and Social Media Links:

Rae Reads | Twitter | Facebook |

Huge thanks to Rachel for joining me today.  Thrilled to welcome Nicki Maguire of Secret Library Blog to damppebbles tomorrow with her #R3COMM3ND3D2017 reads so make sure you pop back tomorrow!

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 with #BookBlogger Karen Cole (@karlou) #HairPastAFreckle

It is my great pleasure to welcome another awesome book blogger to damppebbles HQ today – the lovely Karen Cole of Hair Past A Freckle.  I haven’t been following Karen’s blog as long as some others but I’ve become such a fan of her reviews.  I also like her blog because it has a slightly different sounding name.  (I can empathise Karen, I’m regularly asked why I chose to call my blog damppebbles!).

Karen has very kindly agreed to share her #R3COMM3ND3D2017 reads with us today.  #R3COMM3ND3D2017 is where I invite book bloggers and authors to share three of their favourite books published in 2017.  It’s that simple – three books, all published in 2017.

Here are Karen’s choices…

the man who died

The Man Who Died by Antti Tuomainen
What can I say about this book to really do it justice? The Man Who Died is my top read this year and it will be a book I’ll be talking about for years. A deliciously dark black comedy thriller, it is beautifully written and juxtaposes the laughs with moments of tension and poignant truths. I defy anybody not to warm to Jaakko Kaunismaa, a mushroom entrepreneur who discovers he has been slowly poisoned and decides to investigate his own murder. With unique (and grisly!) deaths, dry wit and touching observations, this really is one of those books I want to thrust into the hands of anybody who ventures into a bookshop. See my full review here: https://hairpastafreckle72.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/blogtour-bookreview-man-who-died-by.html

the cardinals man.jpg

The Cardinal’s Man by M.G. Sinclair
I loved this fictional biography that follows the life of Sebastian Morra, a dwarf born into poverty who rises to become a trusted ally of Cardinal Richelieu. M.G. Sinclair vividly brings 17th century France to life, from the abject poverty of many citizens driven to the brink of starvation by the relentless Thirty Years War, to the opulence of Louis XIII’s court and the power battles and intrigue behind the throne. Starkly visceral yet beautifully written and there’s some real tension here too so this could be the ideal book for thriller lovers looking to try historical fiction! See my full review here: https://hairpastafreckle72.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/blogtour-bookreview-cardinals-man-by-mg.html

spaceman of bohemia.jpg

Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfař
With a Nutella loving giant arachnid alien, the Velvet Revolution that saw the end of Communism in Eastern Europe, childhood memories of rural Czechoslovakia and a marriage on the rocks, this is definitely the most unique book I’ve read this year! Jaroslav Kalfař blends the fabulously absurd with a riveting social history. Ultimately about a young man who must confront his past; it might be strange but this beautifully written book combines sci-fi, historical and literary fiction and is weird, funny and touching. See my full review here: https://hairpastafreckle72.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/book-review-spaceman-of-bohemia-by.html

***

Thank you so much for joining me today, Karen and for your great recommendations.  I really must get myself a copy of ‘The Man Who Died’ as it’s popping up on #R3COMM3ND3D2017 fairly often.  And in all honesty, ‘grisly deaths’ are two of my trigger words!

If Karen has managed to pique your interest or if you would like to find out more about the titles she has recommended, please see the following amazon.co.uk links:

The Man Who Died by Antti Tuomainen | The Cardinal’s Man by M.G. Sinclair | Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfař |

About Karen:
My name is Karen and when I’m not reading or blogging about books I’m a teaching assistant and midday supervisor in a primary school. I live in Dorset with my husband, three daughters, and a dog, cat, rabbit and tortoise. Before I had my children I was a veterinary nurse in a mixed practice. I started Hair Past A Freckle in 2013, it was originally going to be a blog about anything and everything but I found I loved being a book blogger. The name is taken from something my dad used to say, it refers to either not knowing or not caring about the time – I’m sure most people reading this will have lost track of time when engrossed in a book so it seems apt!

Karen’s Blog and Social Media Links:

Hair Past A Freckle | Twitter | Facebook |

My thanks to Karen for joining me today.  Make sure you stop by again tomorrow when I welcome the awesome Rachel Broughton of Rae Reads to damppebbles with her #R3COMM3ND3D2017 picks!

 

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 with #BookBlogger Emma Littlefield (@LittlefieldEmma) #OneReadersThoughts

How was your Christmas bookish friends?  I hope you had a wonderfully festive time with the people you care about, and you are now the proud owner of lots of lovely new books to read.  I can’t quite believe it’s all over for another year!  Still, New Year is on the horizon which means my ‘Top 10 Books of the Year’ post is imminent, shortly followed by my second-year blogiversary!

And, thank goodness we’re back to #R3COMM3ND3D2017 which I have sorely missed over the last couple of days.  Goodness knows how I will cope when the middle of January arrives and I wave goodbye to #R3COMM3ND3D until November 2018!  Anyway, enough of my wittering.  Today I am delighted to welcome another fabulous book blogger to damppebbles with her  #R3COMM3ND3D2017 reads.  Emma Littlefield blogs over at the wonderful One Readers Thoughts, which if you haven’t discovered yet then you must!

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 is an opportunity for book bloggers and authors to shout about three books published in 2017 which they loved,  I’m all about sharing the book love and what better way to do that than ask my bookish peers to share their most loved reads.

Here are Emma’s choices…

the last day of Emily Lindsay.jpg

The Last Day of Emily Lindsey by Nic Joseph
I thought this was a clever plot, which wove the past and present together so well that I was kept guessing until the very end. The characters were well drawn and the setting, which included a cult, completely drew me in.

the binding song

The Binding Song by Elodie Harper
An excellent debut. It was a perfect read as the nights started to draw in. There are great characters, a prison setting which made for a dark story, and a supernatural twist which made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

forgotten.jpg

Forgotten by Nicole Trope
Whilst there a more than a few books out there with the missing children and frantic parents, I haven’t read any as well written as this. It looks at it from the points of view of the parents, police, and the abductor. It’s tense from the first page and I couldn’t put it down,

***

Excellent choices, thank you Emma.  I really enjoyed the atmospheric feel of ‘The Binding Song’ and would pick up another book written by Elodie Harper in a heartbeat.

If Emma has tempted you or if you would like to like to find out more about the books she has recommended, please see the following amazon.co.uk links:

The Last Day of Emily Lindsey by Nic Joseph | The Binding Song by Elodie Harper | Forgotten by Nicole Trope |

About Emma (and my favourite bio of the series so far!):
I’ve been a book blogger for about three years (with a few breaks for “blogger burnout”). I love to read, and sometimes I don’t feel like I do much else. I read a lot of books where people end up dead but anything that catches my eye will get read including non-fiction. I would live in the library if I could but the librarians might find that a bit strange.

Emma’s Blog and Social Media Links:
One Readers Thoughts | Twitter |

My thanks to Emma for joining me today.  Join me again tomorrow when Karen Cole of ‘Hair Past a Freckle’ book blog will be joining me to share her #R3COMM3ND3D2017 reads!  See you tomorrow my bookish lovelies.

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 with #BookBlogger Anne Williams (@Williams13Anne) #BeingAnne

It is my pleasure to welcome one of the loveliest people in the booky world to damppebbles today, the lovely Anne Williams of Being Anne….  Anne’s blog was one of the first I followed when I started damppebbles all those years ago (OK, only two years!) and I’ve been a huge fan ever since.  Anne has kindly agreed to share her #R3COMM3ND3D2017 reads with us today.

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 is an opportunity for authors and book bloggers to share three must-read titles with the rest of us.  The only stipulation being, the books must have been published this year – in 2017.

Here are Anne’s choices…

not thomas.jpg

Not Thomas by Sara Gethin
If you’d told me that I’d sit, totally rapt, reading a book written in the voice of a five year old child, seeing a dreadful world of drug culture, violence and neglect through his eyes and from his unique perspective – well, I really wouldn’t have believed you. This book was just stunning. Read my full review here: http://wp.me/p7NhnN-Ms

snow sisters.jpg

Snow Sisters by Carol Lovekin
And another stunner? The most exquisite writing – imagery, descriptions, detail drawn from nature, all breath-taking in their beauty. There’s magic woven into this book too – it’s there in the narrative, but it’s also there in the writing. Read my full review here: http://wp.me/p7NhnN-SC

zenka

ZENKA by Alison Brodie
From the sublime to… the totally unexpected! A wildcard for my third choice – a Hungarian pole dancer, gangland crime and a totally preposterous story, told with warmth, humour, and tremendous panache. I never thought I’d like this book in a month of Sundays – but I absolutely loved it. Read my full review here: http://wp.me/p7NhnN-Ww

***

Thank you so much, Anne.  All brilliant choices and I’ve had my eye on ‘ZENKA’ for a while now.  Keep seeing some truly great reviews.

If Anne has managed to tempt you or if you would like to find out more about the books she recommends, please see the following amazon.co.uk links:

Not Thomas by Sara Gethin | Snow Sisters by Carol Lovekin | ZENKA by Alison Brodie |

About Anne:
My name is Anne (as you’ve probably guessed…) and I live in the beautiful market town of Wetherby in West Yorkshire. I haven’t always lived here though – I’m originally from a village near Bangor in North Wales. I worked as a civil servant (DWP) for more years than I care to remember, in my later years working in project and change management, and in marketing and communications. But I’m now 62 years of age, retired for the last three years, and – although I care for my 92 year old mum some of the time – can spend my time doing all the things I most enjoy. My first passion has always been reading – I now enjoy spending much of my time doing just that, writing about books on Being Anne, and discussing them with blogging and reading friends. The blog is now nearly five years old – transferred last year to the WordPress platform, from Blogger, where it had over 220,000 views. I was so thrilled to win the Best Pal Blog Award at the 2016 Annual Bloggers’ Bash – and I was thoroughly delighted to win it for a second time in 2017. I also really enjoy doing a monthly book review slot on local community radio, and run the local U3A Book Group. I travel regularly to book related events – and am lucky to be invited to some of the best launches and parties. My second passion is travel – I live for my holidays, usually long haul, and really love to visit places where other people might not have been.

Anne’s Blog and Social Media Links:

Being Anne… | Twitter | Facebook |

No #R3COMM3ND3D2017 for the next couple of days because it’s Christmas, yay!  But make sure you check in again on 27th December when I will be welcoming Emma Littlefield of One Reader’s Thoughts to damppebbles.  Have a wonderful Christmas; full of friends, family and books and I’ll see you on 27th December. ❤🎄

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 with #Author Tracie Delaney (@tracie_delaney) #PassionateAboutBooks #WinningAce

I am delighted to welcome Tracie Delaney, author of the Winning Ace series of novels and blogger over at Passionate About Books, to damppebbles today with her three recommended reads published in 2017.  The latest book in the Winning Ace series, Mismatch, is published TODAY so many congratulations Tracie!  Have a wonderful publication day.

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 is where book bloggers and authors choose three MUST READ books published since January 1st 2017.  Not necessarily their top three, just three standout reads.  And they don’t have to be crime reads either.  I’m open to suggestions in any genre.

So without further ado, I’ll hand over to Tracie…

last breath.jpg

Last Breath by Robert Bryndza (Detective Erika Foster #4)
I am a HUGE fan of Robert’s Erika Foster series. She’s everything I love about women protagonists; strong, fearless, passionate and, above all, flawed. Ever since I read Girl in the Ice, I wait—not so patiently—for the next in the series. In this novel, I think Robert broke the bar he’d set for himself with the previous novels. I loved how Erika had to fight for her place on the investigation team. And fight she did…tooth and nail. Robert’s writing continues to excel. I can’t wait to see where he takes this series.

over my shoulder.jpg

Over My Shoulder by Patricia Dixon
Oh my, but this was a difficult book to read. It reminded me of how I felt when I read Michael J Malone’s A Suitable Lie. The story follows Freya who falls under the spell of a very bad man. The menace builds slowly, and before she realises, Freya is in too deep to extricate herself. Patricia Dixon does a marvellous job of dealing with a very difficult subject. I actually found myself shouting at Freya to run, to get as far away from Kane as she could and that is the sign of a book that has me in its grip. Highly, highly recommend this novel.

forbidden bonds.jpg

Forbidden Bonds by Lexi C. Foss (Immortal Curse series #2)
This novel is the second in a new PNR (Paranormal Romance) series. Now I’m a bit fussy about my PNR. In fact, very few authors excel in this genre. It’s one of those where you have to dig to find someone who does this well. J R Ward is the master, and I measure every PNR novel I read against hers. But with this second novel in her Immortal Curse series, Lexi C Foss has me desperate for more. The first novel was a little slow for me – but that often happens in PNR or fantasy where the author needs to build the world around the book, but in Forbidden Bonds, the world was established so the story could be told. Lexi is definitely a PNR author to watch – I can’t wait for the next in the series.

***

Thanks so much for taking part in #R3COMM3ND3D2017 Tracie, and for your great suggestions.  If any of the books Tracie has recommended take your fancy or if you would just like to find out more. then here are the amazon.co.uk purchase links:

Last Breath by Robert Bryndza | Over My Shoulder by Patricia Dixon | Forbidden Bonds by Lexi C. Foss |

About Tracie:
Tracie Delaney writes contemporary romance novels that centre around strong characters and real-life problems with, of course, a perfect Happy Ever After ending.

When she isn’t writing or sitting around with her head stuck in a book, she can often be found watching The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones or any tennis match involving Roger Federer. Her greatest fear is running out of coffee.

Or, for the latest news, exclusive excerpts and competitions, why not join her reader group (smarturl.it/lvtnjm) and those things will be automatically delivered right to your inbox, along with a special gift just for signing up.

Tracie lives in the North West of England with her amazingly supportive husband and her two crazy Westie puppies, Cooper and Murphy. Any tips on stopping them chewing the furniture would be gratefully received.

About Mismatch:
mismatch.jpgThe perfect life. A killer blow.

When playboy Rupe Fox-Whittingham wakes up in bed next to a dead woman, he’s charged with murder. His best friend, ex-tennis ace Cash Gallagher, arranges for frosty but brilliant lawyer, Jayne Seymour, to represent him.

Jayne swore off men after her husband’s terrible betrayal. She’s far too bright to make the same mistake twice.

Rupe wants her—and he always gets what he wants. Winning her heart won’t be easy. Still, he thrives on challenge.

When danger comes knocking, the mismatched pair are thrown together.

Can Jayne learn to trust again, before it’s too late? Or will fate step in to snatch her happiness away?

Mismatch is a fast-paced, suspenseful novel that can be read as a standalone. However, those who enjoyed the Winning Ace series will love catching up with old characters, and meeting fascinating new ones.

amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads |

Tracie’s Social Media Links:
Passionate About Books | Facebook | Twitter | Website |

My thanks to the lovely Tracie Delaney for joining me today.  Join me again tomorrow when I welcome Anne Williams of Being Anne… to damppebbles.  And it’s the last #R3COMM3ND3D2017 before the Christmas break so don’t miss it!

 

#BookReview: Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney (@alicewriterland) @HQStories

sometimes I lie.jpgMy name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me: 
1. I’m in a coma. 
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore. 
3. Sometimes I lie. 

Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it. Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from twenty years ago, this brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something really a lie if you believe it’s the truth?”

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney was such a huge book with an impossible to ignore buzz about it earlier this year.  I bit NetGalley’s hand off when I realised it was up for request.  Little did I know at the time that I would have to wait MONTHS before finding the time to read it.  My FOMO* really kicked in when, stood with a very good friend at Harrogate during the Dead Good Reader Awards I happened to mention my suspicion that the lady stood to my left was the author, Alice Feeney.  Well, my friend came over all giddy and went up to Alice immediately to introduce herself and commend her on Sometimes I Lie.  Yup, FOMO sucks.  I shall also mention that just behind Alice stood C. L. Taylor and to our right was the incredible Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books with one of my all-time favourite authors, Steph Broadribb!  This is the only time in my life I will ever get to namedrop so please let me have my moment, will you?

But I digress.  What I’m trying to get across (and probably failing) is that I was so very keen to read this book but time was against me.  That was until I was caught waiting for what seemed like hours at the dentist without a book.  And there, sat on my Kindle, was Sometimes I Lie.  The responsible book blogger would have opted for their next January blog tour read, but I couldn’t remember what was next so I went with what I wanted to read instead.  Plus I was at the dentist and it felt like I was being kind to myself ahead of the agonising filling which was coming my way!

I was immediately suspicious of the main protagonist, Amber Reynolds.  Before the reader turns to the first page they are made aware by the cover, by the blurb, that Amber sometimes lies.  Now, I am a naturally suspicious person – not helped by mostly reading books about people doing bad, underhand things in order to save their own skin or to enhance their own enjoyment of life.  So much so that when my husband was asked as a favour to take a couple of items of clothing to a meeting he was attending overseas for a colleague, I asked him if he’d checked the lining of the suit for any hidden drugs.  Am I weird?  Maybe.  So I was on high alert, trying to work out what, in Amber’s case, was true and what was not.  I totally failed.  All I did was over analyse everything instead of just relaxing and enjoying the book.  My advice to you if you intend on picking up a copy of Sometimes I Lie is don’t scrutinise every little thing – just enjoy it because it’s a corking story.

Amber Reynolds is in a coma.  She cannot move, cannot speak, cannot blink but she hears nearly everything that happens in her hospital room.  I really enjoyed the way the author has provided the reader with three different viewpoints; Amber’s as she lies uncommunicative in her hospital bed, a look at the events leading up to the accident and diary entries from a somewhat sinister, unknown child 20 years or so ago.  Amber cannot remember what happened to put her in the coma.  She overhears conversations which confirm she was in a car accident but she was the only victim.  So until Amber wakes up and remembers, the incident will remain a mystery.

Chock full of twists that seem to come out of nowhere and leave you wondering ‘how did that happen?’, or ‘gosh, I really didn’t see that coming!’, this is a complex psychological thriller which leaves the reader feeling both a little mystified but also fully satisfied.  I loved the character of Amber, even when she was doing odd, unexplainable things.  I was still rooting for her.  I did manage to work out one aspect of the book about half way through but until my suspicions were confirmed, I did frequently doubt myself.

Would I recommend this book?  I would.  Fans of the unreliable narrator will adore this twisty, turny read.  I spent the entire time I was reading Sometimes I Lie wondering exactly how much I actually knew about Amber and her story.  The answer in hindsight, ‘not a lot!’.  Complex, intricate, highly original and difficult to put down.  I can’t wait to read more from Alice Feeney.

Four stars out of five.

*FOMO = Fear of Missing Out

I chose to read and review an eARC of Sometimes I Lie.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney was published in the UK by HQ on 23rd March 2017 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats (please be aware that the following Amazon links are affiliate links) | amazon.co.uk | amazon.comWaterstones | Goodreads |

about the author3

alice feeney.jpgAlice Feeney is a writer and journalist. She spent 15 years at the BBC, where she worked as a Reporter, News Editor, Arts and Entertainment Producer and One O’clock News Producer.

Alice is has lived in London and Sydney and has now settled in the Surrey countryside, where she lives with her husband and dog.

Sometimes I Lie is her debut thriller and is being published around the world in 2017.

Author Bio © https://www.alicefeeney.com/

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter |

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 with #BookBlogger Jo Robertson (@jocatrobertson) #MyChestnutReadingTree

If you’re looking for a reason to start your own book blog, well…I could give you several.  But the top of that list would be the incredible friendships you make with likeminded bookish folk.  I count myself incredibly lucky in that respect as I have made many lifelong friends and one very special #blogbestie.  Jo Robertson is one of the nicest people you could meet and she’s stonkingly good at blogging.  Pop over to My Chestnut Reading Tree and see for yourself.

Jo has kindly agreed to share her three #R3COMM3ND3D2017 reads with us today.  #R3COMM3ND3D2017 is where I invite book bloggers and authors to share the book love and recommend three must-read titles published in 2017.

So without further ado, here are Jo’s choices…

all the wicked girls

All The Wicked Girls by Chris Whitaker
This book made me cry at the end just with the sheer desolation of it actually being over. The writing is breathtakingly brilliant and the darkly despairing storyline plus a cast of characters that sprang to life off the page made this an unputdownable masterpiece. I’m still thinking about it now and can’t even bear to put it away on my bookshelf-it’s still sitting in front of me on my desk! Without giving too much away….oh okay I will then-its my book of the year!

my little eye.jpg

My Little Eye by Stephanie Marland
This book is something very special indeed. A crime solving duo on separate sides of the law with a fabulous chemistry even though they never meet till much nearer the end. It has a very current feel due to the use of social media and the media in general and the author has created some brilliant characters that you can’t help but cheer on – even though their methods of investigation are somewhat questionable! My Little Eye will leave you desperate for more from this author who is writing under her crime thriller pen name.

Her-Last-Secret-Kindle

Her Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite
One of those books that, as you’re reading it, you are torn between wanting to put it in the freezer so you don’t have to know how it ends or racing to the end doing an “elastoplast read” hoping that if you rip through it quickly it won’t hurt as much! It’s darkly addictive with a plot that will plunge into your heart like a knife! You may want to read it through your fingers at times but you will want to know exactly what happens to this very normal family that causes the horrific event described in the first few pages of Her Last Secret.

***

Fabulous choices as expected, Jo!  Thank you for joining me today.  I’m a huge fan of both ‘All The Wicked Girls’ and ‘Her Last Secret’ and I CANNOT wait to read ‘My Little Eye’ as I have a treasured ARC copy which the author signed for me in Harrogate <3.

If Jo has managed to tempt you or if you would like to find out more about the books she recommends, please see the following amazon.co.uk links:

All The Wicked Girls by Chris Whitaker | My Little Eye by Stephanie Marland | Her Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite |

About Jo:
I’m Jo and I blog at My Chestnut Reading Tree where I review mainly crime and women’s fiction. I’m a mum of 3 and Nana to 4 and married to Mr Grumpy Scotsman for 30 years next year. I live in Cheshire and work part-time in my local primary school inbetween looking after all my little munchkins. I also eat lots of chocolate and drink gallons of tea daily.

Jo’s Blog and Social Media Links:
My Chestnut Reading Tree | Twitter | Facebook |

Make sure you join me again tomorrow when I will be welcoming author Tracie Delaney to the blog with her #R3COMM3ND3D2017 reads.

#BookReview: Ragdoll by Daniel Cole (@Daniel_P_Cole) @TrapezeBooks

ragdoll.jpg“A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together, nicknamed by the press as the ‘Ragdoll’.

Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter.

The ‘Ragdoll Killer’ taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them.

With six people to save, can Fawkes & Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?”

Ragdoll by Daniel Cole is a book which has been sat on my bookshelf for some time now giving me the eye.  I have been desperate to read this intriguing tale for such a long time, and I have finally managed to do so!  Let’s face it, regular readers of the blog will know that I like my crime fiction with lots of bodies and blood.  In fact, the gorier, the better.  So on hearing that the killer creates a ragdoll made of severed limbs and various other body parts….well, there was no way I could pass this one by!

Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes is a rather notorious figure in the MET.  His career hit an all-time low during the trial of London’s most feared serial killer, The Cremation Killer.  After taking several years to himself Wolf is back in the midst of the action and facing down a new killer.  Except this one has provided a list of the intended victims and the dates they will die, alongside a macabre ragdoll which, coincidentally, points with a long-dead finger to Wolf’s newly leased apartment.  Wolf and his former partner, Detective Emily Baxter are on the case but will they be able to save the victims before it’s too late…?

I really wanted to like both Wolf and Emily Baxter but I’m afraid neither managed to provoke much of a reaction in me, I neither liked them or loathed them.  Out of the two characters, Emily Baxter was the harder to like as she came across as quite needy at times and her desire to be more than colleagues with Wolf was quite stomach churning.  But that’s me, I would happily go without a romantic interest in the books I read for, well, all eternity if I could.  Fawning over a bloke, particularly a bloke like Wolf, made her feel quite cringe-worthy to me.  This may be due to Ragdoll being the first book in the series.  There have been several occasions before where I haven’t like the lead characters in book one, only to warm to them as the series progresses.  I’m excited to see what Cole is planning next, and the good news is we don’t have to wait long.  Hangman, the second Ragdoll book, will be published in March 2018!

What I absolutely loved and what I have to commend the author on, is the fabulously inventive and original ways in which he killed off a number of the characters.  Reading this book and discovering how the next murder was carried out was like catnip to me.  I had to carry on reading, I became quite feverous wanting to know what ingenious way the killer was going to strike next.  Absolutely blinking brilliant from start to finish and I couldn’t stop reading.  I also enjoyed how Cole linked the past and the present, making sure Wolf was fully aware that he was involved in this process, whether he liked it or not!

Would I recommend this book?  Yes, I would.  This is a must read if you’re a fan of grisly crime fiction (a bit like me really!).  I can’t wait to see where Cole will take his characters next, particularly with that chilling last line of Ragdoll.  Incredibly compelling, highly inventive and full of surprises.  I very much enjoyed Ragdoll.

Four out of five stars.

Ragdoll by Daniel Cole was published in the UK by Trapeze Books on 19th October 2017 and is available in hardcover, paperback, eBook and audio formats (the following Amazon links are affiliate links)
| amazon.co.ukamazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

about the author3

daniel cole

Daniel Cole has worked as a paramedic, an RSPCA officer, and most recently for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Ragdoll is his first novel. He lives in Bournemouth, England.

Author Links: Twitter |