#R3COMM3ND3D2017 with #BookBlogger Kate Noble (@TheQuietKnitter) #TheQuietKnitter

When I started damppebbles in January 2016 the one thing I didn’t expect was to make some incredibly good friends.  I wasn’t aware of the community of like-minded individuals whose love of books holds friendships strong like glue.  From blogging, I have made some very dear friends but there are two ladies I can always count on to make me smile when I’m in a grump or to help me out with a tricky blog based question or advice.  Two stupendously good blogger friends and I am thrilled to have them both feature on the damppebbles, one today and one tomorrow.

First up is the gorgeous Kate Noble of The Quiet Knitter who has absolutely no idea exactly how good she is at this blogging lark and how much we all appreciate her.  Kate’s blog (obviously) is one of my favourites so if you haven’t discovered The Quiet Knitter yet then you must!

Kate joins me today with her #R3COMM3ND3D2017 choices.  #R3COMM3ND3D2017 is where I ask book blogger and authors to name three must-read titles published this year (that’s 2017).

Here are Kate’s choices…

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The Sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie
A very special book that has taken up a place in my heart, I fell in love with the stories of each of the characters and became so invested in them that it felt like they came alive. The wonderful writing drew me in and captured my attention completely. The exploration of the characters is so wonderfully done, the research that has gone into this book shines through and it’s almost magical to read.

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Angels in the Moonlight by Caimh McDonnell (A Prequel to the Dublin Trilogy)
Two words – Bunny McGarry! This is a character that I took a huge liking to in previous books and when I heard he was the star of this book I was ecstatic! But that aside, this is also a very well written crime novel with some incredibly important themes. Relationships are so vital in this book and the clever way they are written is awesome to see. I also really loved the way that Caimh McDonnell writes, it’s like he’s sitting sharing the story with you over a coffee (or pint), easy flowing, humorous & utterly brilliant!

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Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson (translated by Maxim Jakubowski)
One of my most heart stopping, shock inducing, tear jerking reads. There’s something so “wow” about this book that I’m beginning to regret picking it, how do I sum this up? Utterly despicable killer, so cold and ruthless who leaves me feeling so cold and creeped out, heart wrenching tales of concentration camps under Nazi rule, a complex murder investigation – what’s not to love?! Such a powerful book and a bloody brilliant read!

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Thank you so much for joining me today, Kate and for your terrific recommendations.  I’ve read the first book in ‘The Dublin Trilogy’ and it was a hair’s breadth from featuring on my top reads of 2016 list.  And I can completely understand what you mean about ‘Block 46’.

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

The Sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie | Angels in the Moonlight by Caimh McDonnell | Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson |

About Kate:
My name is Kate, I’m mum to 1 human child of the toddling variety and 2 canines (a border collie and a border collie x). I’ve had a fascination with books for as long as I can remember and most of my spare time is spent either reading or knitting. I live in a wee village in the countryside which is a huge change for a city girl!

Kate’s Blog and Social Media Links:
The Quiet Knitter | Twitter |

Join me tomorrow when I will be welcoming my #blogbestie, Jo Robertson of My Chestnut Reading Tree to damppebbles with her three #R3COMM3ND3D2017 picks.

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#R3COMM3ND3D2017 with #BookBlogger Juliet Butler (@Bookliterat) #Bookliterati

It is my pleasure to welcome another great book blogger to damppebbles today, Juliet Butler of the brilliant Bookliterati.  Juliet has very kindly agreed to share her three #R3COMM3ND3D2017 choices with us.

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 is an opportunity for book bloggers and authors to share the book love.  All I ask is that the three books chosen must have been published this year, in 2017.  That’s the only stipulation.  Pretty easy, right?!

Here are Juliet’s choices…

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In The Name of the Family by Sarah Dunant
Sarah Dunant brings Renaissance Italy to life with her vivid descriptions of both people and places. This is a novel of the infamous Borgia Family so is full of intrigue, Secrets, corruption and murder. It is because of Sarah Dunant that I finally made the decision to start my degree in Art History.

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A Column of Fire by Ken Follett (The Kingsbridge Novels)
I thoroughly enjoyed the previous two books in the Kingsbridge Trilogy so was very excited to read this book. It is full of historical detail and covers a turbulent period in British history. Full of fact and fiction, it is historical fiction at its best.

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The Pearl Sister by Lucinda Riley (The Seven Sisters #4)
This is the fourth book in The Seven Sisters series of books, and for me it is the best so far. Beautifully written, with attention to detail, Lucinda brings her characters to life, and conveys the desolate red dust of the Australian outback so well, you can almost feel the heat. This is my favourite series at the moment.

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Thanks so much for joining me today Juliet with your brilliant recommendations.  If Juliet has managed to convince you, or if you would like to find out more about the books she recommends, please see the following amazon.co.uk links:

In The Name of the Family by Sarah Dunant | A Column of Fire by Ken Follett | The Pearl Sister by Lucinda Riley |

About Juliet:
I started blogging eighteen months ago to help give me purpose to life as I suffer from spondylosis and depression. My favourite genre is good historical fiction but I also love crime, thrillers, literary fiction and contemporary fiction. I live in Whitley Bay with my husband, daughter who is still at home at 24 and my three wonderful cocker spaniels.

Juliet’s Blog and Social Media Links:
Bookliterati | Twitter | Facebook |

My thanks to Juliet for joining me today.  Check back in tomorrow when I am joined by one of my very favourite people, the gorgeous Kate Noble of The Quiet Knitter.

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 with #BookBlogger Eva M. (@noveldeelights) #NovelDeelights

I am stupidly excited to welcome the lovely Eva of Novel Deelights back to damppebbles today.  Eva very kindly provided a guest review when I was being drowned in books (best way to go) earlier this year*.  Since then, Eva has become an incredibly popular blogger (nothing to do with me) and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching her blog grow over the last year.

Eva joins me today to take part in #R3COMM3ND3D2017.  If you’re new to the blog then let me explain.  #R3COMM3ND3D2017 is where I invite the awesomeness of book bloggers and authors to recommend three of their favourite reads from 2017.  And that’s the only rule, the books must have been published in 2017.

Here’s what Eva chose…

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A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave
Because Paul Cleave seems to be rather underrated and more people should be reading his books. I hope this stand-alone will make people check out some of his other work.

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The Scandal (Published in the US as Beartown) by Fredrik Backman
Sometimes heartbreakingly sad and incredibly thought-provoking, it got completely under my skin and I will recommend this one until I’m blue in the face.

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The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter
It’s Karin Slaughter. ‘Nuff said. 😉

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As expected, brilliant recommendations, thank you Eva.  ‘The Good Daughter’ is cropping up a lot which is great to see (I have ‘The Good Daughter’ on my TBR and will get round to reading it soon, I promise).

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

A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave | The Scandal by Fredrik BackmanThe Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter |

About Eva:
I’m Eva, wrong side of 40, living in Belgium with a hubby and a 13-year-old Maltese called Yoshi. I like books, boots and white wine, not necessarily in that order and dream of living in Tuscany.

Eva’s Blog and Social Media Links:
Novel Deelights | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram |

* I’m STILL drowning in books!

My thanks to the wonderful Eva for joining me today.  Make sure you check in again tomorrow when I welcome Juliet Butler of Bookliterati to the blog.

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 with #Author Ross Greenwood (@greenwoodross) #FiftyYearsofFear

I am delighted to welcome author Ross Greenwood to damppebbles today.  Ross has written three books; Lazy BloodThe Boy Inside and self-published Fifty Years of Fear.  Today Ross joins me with his three #R3COMM3ND3D2017 reads.

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 is where I ask book bloggers and authors to recommend three MUST read books.  The only stipulation is that the books must have been published in 2017.  Nice and easy!

Here are Ross’s choices….

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Friends to the End; The Journey of a Lifetime by Susan Tarr
This book is beautifully written about terminal sickness. The pace, and flow are rhythmic and would be a valuable read to someone going through it themselves.

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Decimation: The Girl Who Survived by Richard T. Burke
A slightly futuristic thriller about the possible end of civilisation. I loved it. Fast paced, and possible…

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The Eleventh Floor by Shani Struthers (The Haunted World #2)
It’s been so long since I read a proper horror book that I have to include this. Cleverly written, and even though it was a bit spooky, great fun.

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Thanks for joining me today, Ross and for three very different recommendations.  I am, of course, adding ‘The Eleventh Floor’ to the wishlist as I type!

If Ross has managed to tempt you, or if you would like to find out more about the books he has suggested, please click the following amazon.co.uk links:

Friends to the End by Susan Tarr | Decimation: The Girl Who Survived by Richard T. Burke | The Eleventh Floor by Shani Struthers |

About Ross:
I was born in 1973 in Peterborough and lived there until I was 20, attending The King’s School in the city. I then began a rather nomadic existence, living and working all over the country and various parts of the world.

I found myself returning to Peterborough many times over the years, usually when things had gone wrong. It was on one of these occasions that I met my partner about 100 metres from my back door whilst walking a dog. Two children swiftly followed. I’m still a little stunned by the pace of it now.

Lazy Blood book was started a long time ago but parenthood and then after working in sales management all my life, I randomly spent four years as a prison officer. Ironically it was the four a.m. feed which gave me the opportunity to finish the book as unable to get back to sleep I completed it in the early morning hours.

I’ve now written two further books. My second book, The Boy Inside, was picked up by Bloodhound Books, and now, Fifty Years of Fear is out. All my books are thought-provoking, and told with a sense of humour.

All three books are stand alone, however, some of the characters cross over, and you can see how at times, their lives overlap. I hope you enjoy reading them.

Please feel free to get in touch.

About Fifty Years of Fear:
fifty years of fear.jpgCould you forgive murder? What if it was something worse?

A childhood accident robs Vincent of his memories, causing him to become sensitive and anxious around others. His differences attract bullies, and he comes to rely heavily on the support of his family.

After the devastating loss of his parents, a remarkable woman teaches him to embrace life and, little by little, he realises the world is far more forgiving than he imagined. When fragments of his memory return, he begins to unravel his past.

Who was his mother? What kind of a man is his brother, Frank? And why does death surround them?

Fate is cruel. History is dark. Things are not as they seem.

Perhaps he should have stayed at home.

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

Ross’s Social Media Links:
Website | Twitter | Facebook |

 

My thanks to Ross for joining me today.  Make sure you pop back tomorrow as I welcome another of my favourite bookish types, the lovely Eva M. of NovelDeelights.

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 with #BookBlogger Helen (@baattyabtbooks) #baattyaboutbooks

I am delighted to welcome the lovely Helen of baattyaboutbooks to damppebbles today.  Helen has very kindly agreed to share her three #R3COMM3ND3D2017 reads with us.  If you haven’t discovered Helen’s fab blog yet then you must.

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 is where authors and bloggers tell us about their three MUST read books of 2017.  The only stipulation is that the books must have been published this year, in 2017.

Here are Helen’s choices…

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Another Woman’s Husband by Gill Paul
Loved the mixture of past and present, what I learnt about Wallis. Pretty much everything really.

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Sweetpea by C.J. Skuse
Because it’s f**king brilliant.

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Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys
The quality of the writing and plot really reminds me of Agatha Christie who I love and this was a really enjoyable read.

***

Brilliant choices, Helen.  Thank you for joining me today.  ‘Dangerous Crossing’ is definitely top of my wishlist and despite being turned down (for the first time EVER) on NetGalley for ‘Sweetpea’ I will get a chance to read it one day (otherwise, I’ll probably cry).

If Helen has managed to tempt you or if you would like more information about the books she has recommended then please see the following amazon.co.uk links:

Another Woman’s Husband by Gill Paul | Sweetpea by C.J. Skuse | Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys |

About Helen:
Blogger and reviewer, admin for TBC on Facebook.

Helen’s Blog and Social Media Links:
baattyaboutbooks | Twitter |

My thanks to Helen for joining me today.  Tomorrow I am thrilled to welcome author Ross Greenwood with his #R3COMM3ND3D2017 reads.

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 with #Author Rachel Sargeant (@RachelSargeant3) #ThePerfectNeighbours @KillerReads

I am delighted to welcome author Rachel Sargeant to damppebbles today.  Rachel has kindly agreed to share her three #R3COMM3ND3D2017 reads with us but before we get to the nitty gritty, I would like to take this opportunity to wish Rachel and the team at Killer Reads a very happy publication day.  Rachel’s third book The Perfect Neighbours is released in eBook today with the paperback to follow in January, yay!

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 is where I invite authors and book bloggers to shout about three reads they have loved this year.  The only stipulation being that they must have been published during 2017.

Here are Rachel’s choices…

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The Child by Fiona Barton
I adore the author’s no-nonsense prose. No overwriting in sight. Barton draws on her experience as a journalist not only in her writing style but also in her plot. London-based journalist Kate, the protagonist in Barton’s first novel The Widow, is back and on the trail of a human interest story, when the skeleton of a new-born baby is unearthed on a building site. There are no car chases or damsels in distress and our heroine Kate is an ordinary fifty-year old married mum. Bravo. This author is becoming one of my favourites.

Sweet Little Lies

Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear
I like a good police procedural but I’ve read so many that they are starting to seem the same. This one was a breath of fresh air. Young detective, Cat Kinsella, finds herself investigating a murder with current links to her father and also harking back 18 years to a holiday she had as a child visiting her late mother’s family in Ireland. The murder mystery at the heart of the book was perfectly paced with an excellent ensemble cast of wise-cracking police investigators at the helm. This is sure to become the first in a classic series.

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Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo
The dark opening chapter describing two soldiers’ desertion from an army that made them torch villages and kill the inhabitants leaves the reader in no doubt that dark times are ahead in this novel. However, from the moment these two characters set off on their journey to Lagos and hook up with three other runaways – a middle-class housewife, a vulnerable girl and a rebel without a cause – the author presents a warm, humorous and characterful tale of resilience, adaptability and vibrancy that still manages to be a realistic depiction of despair, corruption and violence. More than any other book I read this year, this one showed the triumph of the human spirit over adversity.

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Excellent choices, thank you Rachel.  I really enjoyed Caz Frear’s ‘Sweet Little Lies’ and am really looking forward to more Cat Kinsella in the future.

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

The Child by Fiona Barton | Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear | Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo |

About Rachel:
I’ve been writing as a hobby for a long time and have just had my third novel The Perfect Neighbours published. I’m a previous winner of Writing Magazine’s Crime Short Story competition and have been placed or shortlisted in various competitions, including the Bristol Short Story Prize. My stories have appeared in My Weekly and the Accent Press Saucy Shorts series. I spent several years living in Germany, teaching English and swimming, and I now live in Gloucestershire with my husband and children. When I’m not at work (as a school librarian) and not writing, you’ll find me swimming or reading, but rarely both at the same time.

About The Perfect Neighbours:

the perfect neighboursBuilds from a creeping sense of unease to a jaw-dropping climax and a denouement I defy anyone to see coming.’ Chris Curran, author of Her Deadly Secret

The perfect neighbours tell the perfect lies… When Helen moves to Germany with her loving husband Gary, she can’t wait to join the ex-pat community of teachers from the local International School. But her new start is about to become her worst nightmare. Behind the shutters lies a devastating secret… As soon as the charming family across the way welcome Helen into their home, she begins to suspect that all is not as it seems. Then Gary starts to behave strangely and a child goes missing, vanished without a trace. When violence and tragedy strike, cracks appear in the neighbourhood, and Helen realises her perfect neighbours are capable of almost anything.

amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Goodreads | HarperCollins |

Rachel’s Social Media Links:

Website | Twitter | Facebook |

My thanks to Rachel for joining me today.  Tomorrow I am thrilled to welcome book blogger Helen of Baatty About Books with her #R3COMM3ND3D2017 choices.

 

#BookReview: The Wrong Child by #BarryGornell @orionbooks @orion_crime @BenWillisUK

the wrong child.jpg“Twenty-one of the 22 children in a rural village die in a disaster. By chance, the ‘wrong’ child, Dog Evans, lives. Crippled with survivor’s guilt, his parents abandon Evans to a feral life at the margins. He is shunned by those left behind, for whom his presence is a daily insult, a reminder of unbearable loss.

As the action moves from past to present and back, we learn what took place and its shocking consequences for both Dog Evans and the wider community. Gornell’s forensic gaze dissects the lives of the bereaved, fractured relationships and existences frozen the day their children died….

Deborah Cutter, separated from her husband, John, numbs her pain with alcohol and sex. Local postman Nugget holds tight to the hope that the Evans house contains valuable secrets. Parish priest Father Wittin is an embarrassing irrelevance….

As grief turns to rage, the villagers’ insatiable desire for catharsis, one final blood sacrifice, becomes unstoppable. The master of ‘rural noir’, Barry Gornell has created a mesmerising, heartbreaking examination of rural life with a remarkable note of hope within the darkness.”

Oh. My. Gosh.  Oh. My. Flipping. Gosh!  I recently read a book which totally blew me away and surpassed every other read to make it to the number one spot on my ‘books of the year’ list.  Little did I expect at the time that a similar thing would happen, only a month or so later!  The Wrong Child by Barry Gornell is a book I have seen mentioned on only a small number of blogs.  This is a travesty.  More people need to read this exceptional book.  More people need to immerse themselves in the dark and destructive world of Dog Evans and the broken people left behind.

On a fateful snowy day, the roof of the local school collapses killing everyone inside.  Everyone except Douglas ‘Dog’ Evans.  So many young lives snuffed out in the blink of an eye, children ranging in age from 5 to 12.  How would you expect a small town of close-knit neighbours and friends to react to such a disaster? Lots of support, revering the lone survivor?  Certainly not, not when the survivor is Dog Evans.  Dog Evans is The Wrong Child.  Of all the children to survive, why did it have to be him?  Dog becomes the emblem of everything the town has lost, everything that’s missing and the reason why every single day hurts.

The reader meets Dog Evans some seven years later.  No longer is he an adolescent thirteen-year-old but a young man, approaching his twentieth birthday.  Dog has been abandoned by his parents, as a child,  left to fend in every which way for himself.  The sheer guilt of being Dog’s parents has driven them away.  The reader questions the morality of Dog’s parents, Shep and Rebecca as they apparently willingly walk away from their one child.  It’s only as you progress through the story that the author begins to give you snippets of information, glances into the past and expertly begins to build this small town’s painful story.

Each chapter is either set in the present day, seven years after the incident, or the past.  The chapters set in the past focus on each of the children killed that day and the lead up to the tragedy.  What I found incredibly eerie and unsettling was that each chapter is headed by a partially burnt photo of the child the chapter is about.  This is a devastating tale in itself but these photos added so much more emotion for me.  My heart ached for these fictional children.  I was mesmerised.

The town is one hundred percent guilty and to watch these characters deal with that guilt in their differing ways was a riveting experience for me.  The priest, Father Wittin, was a particularly interesting case (I can’t say any more, buy the book to find out what I’m on about!).  A glance into the dark side of human nature…

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!

Five out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an ARC of The Wrong Child.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

The Wrong Child by Barry Gornell was published in the UK by Orion Books on 2nd November 2017 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

about the author3

BarryGornell_900.jpgBarry Gornell was born in Liverpool and now lives on the West Coast of Scotland. He is a novelist/screenwriter, ex fire-fighter, truck driver and bookshop manager. His short films Sonny’s Pride and The Race were broadcast on STV. Graduating from the University of Glasgow Creative Writing Masters programme in 2008, he was awarded a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Bursary in 2009. His short fiction has been published in The Herald newspaper, Let’s Pretend, 37 stories about (in)fidelity, Gutter 03 and Gutter 04The Healing of Luther Grove was his first novel followed by The Wrong Child, which was originally published by Scottish press Freight Books in 2016.

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 with #BookBlogger Melisa Broadbent (@TheBroadbean) #BroadbeansBooks

I am thrilled to welcome the ever so lovely Melisa Broadbent to damppebbles today.  I’ve not been following Melisa’s brilliant site Broadbean’s Books for long but I’m already a little bit in love with her blog.

Melisa has kindly joined me today to take part in #R3COMM3ND3D2017.  #R3COMM3ND3D2017 is where I challenge book bloggers and authors to come up with three recommended reads, all published in 2017.  It’s that simple; any genre, any book as long as it was published this year.

Here are Melisa’s choices…

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Island of Secrets by Patricia Wilson
A beautifully well-written book with such vivid descriptions that you feel you on this beautiful island. Heartbreaking in places but I loved this book from the first page.

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Sleep No More by P.D. James
I am sad to say that I have never read a PD James book. Shame on me as I’ve been missing out on a treat. This is a collection of short murderous stories that I devoured in a weekend. Wicked and funny – a brilliant combination! Highly recommended.

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Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at the Christmas Fair by Heidi Swain
This is a beautiful book set at Christmas time in the idyllic village of Wynbridge. I was pulled right into this deliciously cosy storyline and fell immediately in love with the characters and setting. I wish I had actually saved this to read at Christmas but I couldn’t resist it. This is one book that I will be reading every Christmas from now on.

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Great choices, thanks Melisa.  And just so you don’t feel too bad, I hadn’t read any P.D. James either before I picked up ‘Sleep No More’ and I call myself a crime blogger.  Pah!  I have seen ‘Sleep No More’ in a number of bookshops since it’s release and I can’t help but pick a copy up and stroke it – it’s so lovely!

If Melisa 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:

Island of Secrets by Patricia Wilson | Sleep No More by P.D. James | Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at the Christmas Fair by Heidi Swain |

About Melisa:
I have loved reading all my life and would regularly visit the local library and come back home weighed down with books. I recently set up my blog as a way of interacting with other bookworms and have been welcomed into the book blogging world with open arms. They are really a lovely set of folk! I have two dogs (who thankfully have stopped eating my books) and a lovely fiancé Graham, who reads one book a year. Unbelievable but it’s true.

Melisa’s Blog and Social Media Links:
Broadbean’s Books | Twitter | Instagram |

My thanks again to Melisa for joining me today.  Check back in tomorrow when I welcome author Rachel Sargeant to damppebbles with her #R3COMM3ND3D2017  choices.

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 with #BookBlogger Tracy Fenton (@Tr4cyF3nt0n) #CompulsiveReaders #TBConFB

I am delighted to welcome the lovely Tracy Fenton to damppebbles today and it’s her blogiversary, whoop whoop!  One year ago today Tracy leapt into the world of book blogging with the awesome Compulsive Readers and hasn’t looked back since.  Happy blogiversary Tracy, long may you blog.  Tracy is also the founder member of a super secret book group on Facebook *wink, wink* and she’s here today to share her #R3COMM3ND3D2017 reads with us.

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 is where I ask book bloggers and authors to name three must-read books published in 2017.  That’s it.  It’s that simple.  Three books from one awesome bookish year.

Here are Tracy’s choices…

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You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood
Once in a while you read a book that not only gets under your skin, but it leaves you breathless and gasping out loud. You Don’t Know Me is an incredible debut novel. Told entirely through Court Transcripts – a young man charged with murder sacks his lawyer and tells his defence story in his own voice to the jury over a period of ten days. Covering gang culture and social issues, our young narrator breathes life in his story and brings it vividly into the readers imagination. Keeping the reader interested for over 400 pages highlights the skill of this author. A truly fascinating, enthralling, thought-provoking book which will stay in my thoughts for a long time.

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Exquisite by Sarah Stovell
Oh My! Where do I begin? Firstly I apologise as I don’t think my ramblings will give this book half the credit it deserves and as I am not a writer myself I am finding it difficult to put my emotions and thoughts down coherently. However I will give it a go. Bo Luxton is a successful author, married with a two young daughters and living a life of harmony in the Lake District. Alice Dark is a young aspiring writer without much direction in her life and meets Bo on a Creative Writing course. Almost instantly you can feel the connections both intellectually and physically grow between these women which escalates into a very dark, intense relationship. This is a very tense and beautifully crafted psychological thriller which keeps the reader captivated until the final page. Each chapter, whether it was Bo’s or Alice’s narrative, kept me gripped and holding my breath. I absolutely adored this book and wish it every success it deserves and highly recommend it to all lovers of intelligent psychological thrillers.

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All The Wicked Girls by Chris Whitaker
Having only recently discovered Chris Whitaker and raved about Tall Oaks (I was rather excited (jumped up and down several times) to receive an advanced copy of his 2nd novel All the Wicked Girls from his publishers. I was told it was nothing like Tall Oaks and quite dark. Dark? Dark doesn’t even begin to describe this book – how about a complete black-out? I found myself reading this book so slowly as I was savouring each page/chapter and character instead of my usual rapid read and that is because each page is a literal work of art. Chris Whitaker has the ability to pick up the reader and transport them into the fictional small town of Grace, swelter in the heat, feel the fear and tension amongst the town folk and connect with the characters. Once again he created two wonderful characters in Noah and Purv and whilst their stories were heartbreaking, tragic and sad, their friendship and humour made me smile throughout. A beautifully written story of love, friendship, beliefs, fear, passion and I’m not embarrassed to say I cried at the end.

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Thanks for these tremendous recommendations, Tracy.  I’ve recently read and reviewed ‘All The Wicked Girls’ myself and completely agree with what you say.  ‘Exquisite’ is a book which will feature in my books of the year post on New Year’s Eve and I am DESPERATE to read ‘You Don’t Know Me’.

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

You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood | Exquisite by Sarah Stovell | All The Wicked Girls by Chris Whitaker |

About Tracy:
I am a self-confessed Compulsive Reader. In Oct 2014 I set up THE Book Club on Facebook, a secret group for readers, authors, publishers and book addicts. With an international membership of over 7800 readers and 1200 authors THE Book Club (TBC) is now considered one of the most influential online book clubs in the publishing industry. In December 2016 I set up Compulsive Readers reviewing and recommending only the books I LOVE and also interviews with all my favourite authors.

Tracy’s Blog and Social Media Links:

Compulsive Readers | Twitter | Facebook |

My thanks to Tracy for joining me today.  Make sure you pop back tomorrow when I will be welcoming the lovely Melisa Broadbent of Broadbean’s Books to damppebbles.

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 with #BookBlogger Milana Madzarac (@acouplereads) #acouplereads

Today I am pleased to welcome another ‘new to me’ blogger to damppebbles.  Milana Madzarac blogs over at acouplereads which is an absolutely stonking idea for a book blog.  Mr damppebbles, take note!

Today Milana joins me to share her three #R3COMM3ND3D2017 reads published in 2017.  #R3COMM3ND3D2017 is where I invite book bloggers and authors to share three of their recommended reads with us.  The only stipulation is that the books must have been published this year, in 2017.

Here are the books Milana has selected…

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Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Beautiful writing, strong world building, amazing storyline.

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Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire (Wayward Children series)
Vivid settings, strong writing, amazing characters, diversity.

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A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan
Wonderful storyline, character development, tone was perfect for October.

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Thank you for joining me today, Milana and for your recommendations.  I’m drawn to the cover of ‘A Secret History of Witches’.  It may be time to read a bok out of my comfort zone for once.

If Milana has tempted you with her recommendations, or if you’d like to find out more about the books she has mentioned, please see the following amazon.co.uk links:

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor | Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire | A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan |

About Milana:
Milana Madzarac is a 27 year old book blogger from Canada.  She co-reviews with her partner, Alex, on their blog ‘acouplereads’.

Milana’s Blog and Social Media Links:
acouplereads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram |

Many thanks to Milana and to you for joining me today.  Make sure you stop by tomorrow when I will have the pleasure of welcoming Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers and TBConFB to damppebbles.