#BlogTour | #BookReview: Ghoster by Jason Arnopp @orbitbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #Ghoster #damppebbles

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“Kate Collins has been ghosted.

She was supposed to be moving in with her new boyfriend Scott, but all she finds after relocating to Brighton is an empty flat. Scott has vanished. His possessions have all disappeared.

Except for his mobile phone.

Kate knows she shouldn’t hack into Scott’s phone. She shouldn’t look at his Tinder, his texts, his social media. But she can’t quite help herself.

That’s when the trouble starts. Strange, whispering phone calls from numbers she doesn’t recognise. Scratch marks on the door that she can’t explain.

And the growing feeling that she’s being watched . . .”

Hello my bookish lovelies. Welcome to damppebbles and to my stop (one of the first stops!) on the epic Ghoster blog tour. Ghoster is the latest release from Jason Arnopp and will be published in ebook tomorrow (that’s Tuesday 22nd October) and paperback on Thursday 24th October (just in time to add it to your Hallowe’en reading list!). I received a free eARC of Ghoster but that has in no way influenced my review.

Jason Arnopp is a name that has been known to me for a while. If you’re a fan of horror fiction then you can’t have missed his previous novel, The Last Days of Jack Sparks. I haven’t had the pleasure of reading it myself yet but it’s waiting patiently on my bookshelf and as soon as I have a little downtime then it’s my next book of choice. So Ghoster was my first foray into the dark mind of Mr Arnopp and what a wonderful spooky experience it was. Reading Ghoster, if anything, has made me even more keen to get stuck in.

Paramedic Kate Collins is a modern woman who is a bit ballsy, very likeable but also very lonely. She also has an addiction many of us can relate to; her phone. A world where a hundred friends are ‘there for you’ but you don’t actually know a single one of them in person. A world where accumulating ‘likes’ is everything. So much so, that you view life through the lens of your phone’s camera – rather than actually live it. Following an incident at work Kate decides to dump her smartphone and buy a basic Nokia. She also takes herself off to Wales to a digital detox retreat. It’s here she spots a familiar face. Scott is a guy she super-liked on Tinder earlier in the year. He blanked her but now he’s here! They begin chatting, find out they have lots in common and before long they’re arranging to meet again in Leeds where Kate lives. Romance slowly blossoms and a few months later Scott asks Kate to move in with him to his luxurious seafront apartment in Brighton. Kate agrees without a moment’s hesitation and moving day looms. But then Scott vanishes. He doesn’t answer Kate’s calls or her texts. Kate’s first thought is that he’s lying dead in a ditch somewhere so rushes down to Brighton with all of her worldly possessions and a moving van in tow, only to find his apartment completely bare. No Scott. None of Scott’s stuff. Apart from one thing. His phone. Against her better judgement and after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, Kate hacks into Scott’s phone. What she discovers will change her life forever…

This is a well-written, easy to devour supernatural thriller that had me turning the pages at the rate of knots. I really liked Kate but also found her utterly annoying at times. She is a little bit needy but then I think I would have completely fallen to bits a lot sooner if I were in the same situation. I loved how current Arnopp has made this story and I’m afraid I recognised myself in Kate a little – I think many people will. How often do YOU have to check your phone? Ghoster is also a stark reminder that dating in this day and age is a darn complicated business! It seems a lot has changed in the last 12 years since I first met my other half.

Once I warmed to Kate (which didn’t take long) I knew I had to see the journey through with her. I just had to know what was going on. Where the strange calls were coming from, what the blue things were and what was the cause of the strange scratch marks on the door. Her search for missing Scott takes up a large proportion of the novel and the mystery element was intriguing. I did find myself wanting Kate to quit moaning a couple of times and just get on with it. I understand that she was torn by the ethics of the situation but we all know she’s going to do it so stop questioning things and get on with it, Kate! We’re with you every step of the way! I loved the last section of the book though, particularly the diary chapters when the reader discovers a lot more about one of the characters. My heart broke. When everything is laid bare for the reader you can’t help but feel sad that things were not meant to be – because they would have been flipping awesome.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. It’s a fun and entertaining novel which I enjoyed. Arnopp has created a book which, if you use a smartphone, will make you think long and hard about how much you use it and whether you *could* actually manage without it. I don’t think I will be putting my phone in the bin just yet though! Not until the strange whispering phone calls start anyway. I am even more excited to read The Last Days of Jack Sparks now and can certainly see why Arnopp’s books are so incredibly popular.

Ghoster by Jason Arnopp was published in the UK by Orbit Books on 24th October 2019 and is available in paperback, audio and ebook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | Goodreads |

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about-the-author3

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Jason Arnopp is the author of the Orbit Books novel The Last Days Of Jack Sparks, which has been described as “a magnificent millennial nightmare” (Alan Moore), “scarier than watching The Exorcist in an abandoned asylum” (Sarah Lotz) and “The Omen for the social media age” (Christopher Brookmyre). Director Ron Howard (Apollo 13, Frost/Nixon, The Da Vinci Code) optioned the film rights shortly after the book’s 2016 release.

Arnopp co-wrote the official behind-the-scenes book Inside Black Mirror with Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones.

Why not check out his four shorter-form fiction titles? These are:
— Beast In The Basement, a suspenseful, mind-blowing thriller novella
— A Sincere Warning About The Entity In Your Home, a chilling and groundbreaking short story set in YOUR home
— Auto Rewind, a dark, emotionally charged thriller novelette
— American Hoarder, a supernatural creep-fest available only when you join the author’s free mailing list at JasonArnopp.com

Arnopp previously wrote and executive-produced the Lionsgate feature film Stormhouse and script-edited the Peter Mullan feature The Man Inside. He has also written for the worlds of Doctor Who (BBC), The Sarah Jane Adventures (BBC) and Friday The 13th (New Line Cinema).

In his past life as a rock journalist, he interviewed the likes of Bon Jovi, Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne and Guns N’ Roses. He was once surrounded by angry guards holding semi-automatic weapons at The Vatican. His Slipknot biography, Slipknot: Inside The Sickness, Behind The Masks, was released in 2001 and is now available as a Kindle Edition. Arnopp has also written a guide to journalistic interviewing, entitled How To Interview Doctor Who, Ozzy Osbourne And Everyone Else, which is also out on Kindle.

Arnopp’s latest non-fiction book is From The Front Lines Of Rock. Available in the Kindle Store now, it gathers 30 of his favourite interviews he wrote as a rock journalist, with the likes of Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Iron Maiden, Korn, Kiss, Faith No More, Garbage, Nine Inch Nails and Green Day.

When you sign up for Arnopp’s free newsletter at JasonArnopp.com, you can also download his short story American Hoarder for free. You might also want to check out his YouTube channel by searching for his name there. What a wonderful world.

#BlogTour | #GuestReview: Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr. @Nichola14282741 @cobaltdinosaur #JusticeGone #damppebbles

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WINNER OF THREE AWARDS

2019 AMERICAN FICTION AWARD
NATIONAL INDIE EXCELLENCY AWARD – Best Legal Thriller OF 2019
SILVER MEDAL WINNER 2019 READERS’ FAVORITES AWARDS

Chosen by Wiki.ezvid.com among their list of 10 Gripping and Intelligent Legal Thrillers

The courtroom scenes are wonderfully written…the characters are well described and the author paints a picture of each in the mind of the reader…Strong plot, strong characters and a strong writing style that I really enjoyed. This one is a definite “thumbs-up.” Strongly recommend! I look forward to reading additional works by N. Lombardi, Jr.
Kim M Aalaie, Author’s Den

One of my favorite suspense novels of the year. It will make you question the legal system.
The Eclectic Review

The courtroom action is excellent, trimmed to the most gripping parts of the trial, with plenty of emotional impact…a fairly realistic portrayal of the way small-town US society works…a fast-moving story with plenty of dramatic moments, and a big twist in the final pages.
Crime Review

“When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down.

A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr. Tessa Thorpe, a veteran’s counselor, is caught up in the chase.

Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa’s patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets off to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers gets there first, leading to Darfield’s dramatic capture.

Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge?”

Today I am delighted to hand the blog over to my guest reviewer, Ryan the husband, who is going to share his thoughts on Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr. So without further ado, let’s find out what Ryan thought…

N. Lombardi Jr took on a tough task with Justice Gone, writing a legal thriller around veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) without trivialising the huge impact this condition can have on their lives. Dr Tessa Thorpe is the central character in this novel and works at the New Hope Trauma Recovery Clinic in Lower Manhattan. The Clinic’s work has bought her into contact with many veterans including Donald Darfield and Jay Felson. The book opens with the traumatic beating of Jay Felson and builds a strong story in five sections through protests, a man hunt, court case and the outcome.

This book seems to capture something that is “very now” with media focus on police brutality in the US. Protesters taking to the streets and the public’s need for a conviction. So it is no surprise that the book has won awards. There is a strong cast of characters in the book from the driven Tessa Thorpe who finds an unlikely ally in Police Chief Garson. Casey Hull, another counsellor at the New Hope Clinic and a veteran himself and Felson’s father a retired Marine with an unhealthy disrespect for almost everything. Small scenes showing the Police talking informally in their favourite bar ensure that room is given for all viewpoints and build suspicion well.

Lombardi Jr does a great job of planting doubt in the reader’s mind about a number of the characters’ motives. I think I suspected at least four characters of various acts they turned out to be innocent of, as I progressed through the book (lucky I am not a police officer I guess!). I also can’t believe I have got this far through my review without mentioning Nathaniel Bodine; a blind lawyer with a showman’s panache, cynicism that could sink a battleship and unique legal style. I still don’t know whether I liked or loathed Bodine but for the middle section of the book he became the main character and he controlled the courtroom scenes in a unique and memorable way.

But what of Darfield himself? Darfield provided a fascinating case study of PTSD. Bravery in a warzone leading to PTSD which could make him violent…but a killer? You’ll have to read it to find out. The sensitivity with which the book addressed PTSD whilst emphasising its seriousness was impressive and added to the reading experience.

Would I read more by N. Lombardi Jr? I would, and it will be interesting to see if he takes any of these characters forward or leaves this as a stand alone. A highly recommended legal thriller.

I chose to read and review a free digital copy of Justice Gone. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr was published in the UK by Roundfire Books on 22nd February 2019 and is available in paperback and ebook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Foyles | Goodreads | Book Depository |

PLEASE USE IN ALL POSTS

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about-the-author3

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N. Lombardi Jr, the N for Nicholas, has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, working as a groundwater geologist. Nick can speak five languages: Swahili, Thai, Lao, Chinese, and Khmer (Cambodian).

In 1997, while visiting Lao People’s Democratic Republic, he witnessed the remnants of a secret war that had been waged for nine years, among which were children wounded from leftover cluster bombs. Driven by what he saw, he worked on The Plain of Jars for the next eight years.

Nick maintains a website with content that spans most aspects of the novel: The Secret War, Laotian culture, Buddhism etc. http://plainofjars.net

His second novel, Journey Towards a Falling Sun, is set in the wild frontier of northern Kenya.

His latest novel, Justice Gone was inspired by the fatal beating of a homeless man by police.

Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Visit his goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6982373.N_Lombardi_Jr_

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #Author Nick Quantrill (@NickQuantrill) #TheGeraghtyNovels @fahrenheitpress #damppebbles

Hello and happy Thursday. The weekend is almost in touching distance – hoorah! Today has a bitter/sweet feel to it as today also marks the last of my #R3COMM3ND3D2018 posts. But fear not, #R3COMM3ND3D in the form of #R3COMM3ND3D2019 will return on 1st November – yay! I am delighted to welcome a brilliant author, Nick Quantrill, to damppebbles today. Nick is the author of the Geraghty Novels which have recently been republished by Fahrenheit Press and I cannot wait to read these books! I’ll tell you a little more about them soon.

First, allow me to explain what #R3COMM3ND3D is all about. #R3COMM3ND3D is my end of the year feature where I invite book bloggers and authors to share three books they think the rest of us need to read. They can be any genre, published traditionally, by an indie press or self-published by the author. There’s always a catch though, otherwise, it would be far too easy! All three books must have been published in the same year. This is the last of my #R3COMM3ND3D posts for 2018. But watch out for #R3COMM3ND3D2019 starting on 1st November!

Here are Nick’s three choices…

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November Road by Lou Berney
Who doesn’t love a conspiracy novel? ‘November Road’ touches on the most enduring of conspiracy theories, the assassination of John F Kennedy, but it’s much more than that. It’s part-noir, part road novel, part-love story. Frank Guidry, a man who’s lived a bad life is on the run, but what happens when he discovers he really wants a shot at redemption?

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This Is How It Ends by Eva Dolan
With her finger always on the pulse, this is the best yet from a writer with an unflinching eye on the state of the UK. Focusing in on the gentrification of a London tower block, we meet the cynical and downtrodden, the hopeful and those who want a better future. But is everyone as they seem to be? It’s a book that grapples with big social issues, but never forgets its primary job is to be a thrilling read.

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The Smiling Man by Joseph Knox
He’s young, he’s talented, he’s good looking – the list goes on, so I should hate Joseph Knox. But how can you hate someone who writes books like this? On the face of it, it’s a police procedural, but in reality it twists off into different territories. Aidan Waits is a troubled cop for our times, pounding the grim and dark streets of Manchester. Waits is practically a Private Investigator, ‘The Smiling Man’, a pitch-perfect noir novel.

Brilliant choices, thanks Nick. I have read and loved This Is How It Ends and I’m adding the other two to my wishlist!

If Nick has managed to tempt you, or if you would like to find out more about the books he recommends, please see the following links:

| November Road by Lou Berney | This Is How It Ends by Eva Dolan | The Smiling Man by Joseph Knox |

About The Geraghty Novels:

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Book #1 Broken Dreams
A cracking authentic crime thriller.

Joe Geraghty is used to struggling from one case to the next, barely making the rent on his small office in the Old Town of Hull.

Invited by a local businessman to investigate a member of his staff’s absenteeism, it’s the kind of surveillance work that Geraghty and his small team have performed countless times.

The case soon becomes anything but routine when Jennifer Murdoch is found bleeding to death in her bed, Geraghty quickly finds himself trapped in the middle of a police investigation which stretches back to the days when the city had a thriving fishing industry.

As the woman’s tangled private life begins to unravel, the trail leads Geraghty to local gangster-turned-respectable businessman, Frank Salford, a man with a significant stake in the city’s regeneration plans. Still haunted by the death of his wife in a house fire, it seems the people with the answers Geraghty wants are the police and Salford, both of whom want his co-operation for their own ends.

With everything at stake, some would go to any length to get what they want, Geraghty included.

Broken Dreams is the first urban thriller from Hull based writer, Nick Quantrill, featuring private detective Joe Geraghty.

Book #2 The Late Greats
Hull’s most successful band of the 1990s is making a comeback…but not everyone is happy…”

Having been convinced by their manager, Kane Major, to put their acrimonious break-up behind them and launch a comeback, New Holland, Hull’s most successful band of the 1990s, is reforming. Allowing one privileged journalist to document the process.

Joe Geraghty is employed to act as a liaison between the different camps. What appears to be a straightforward assignment sees him neck deep in trouble when singer, Greg Tasker, disappears leaving behind a trail of people who wanted him out of their lives.

Geraghty has to choose sides and the investigation penetrates deeper into the city. As the rich and famous rub shoulders with the poor and vulnerable, the stakes increase. Forced to keep his friends close but his enemies’ closer still, the case could see Joe Geraghty lose everything.

Book #3 The Crooked Beat
When Joe Geraghty’s brother Niall finds himself in financial trouble, it’s only natural that he turns to the private investigator for help. But when it relates to a missing consignment of smuggled cigarettes, it’s not so easily sorted.

A consignment of smuggled cigarettes have gone missing and as Joe is drawn into the murky world of local and international criminals around the busy port of Hull, Geraghty knows the only way to save his brother is to take on the debt himself.

As Joe attempts to find a way out of the situation, it becomes clear that the secrets and conspiracies he uncovers are buried deeply in the past and that the people he’s investigating are willing to do whatever it takes to keep them that way.

As the pressure mounts we see Geraghty’s relationships with those closest to him start to unravel but Geraghty can’t let his family down and when the past crashes into the present Joe is in until the bitter end.

The Crooked Beat is the third urban thriller from Hull based writer, Nick Quantrill, featuring private detective Joe Geraghty.

| amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Fahrenheit Press |

About Nick Quantrill:
Nick Quantrill was born and raised in Hull, an isolated industrial city in East Yorkshire. His trilogy of Private Investigator novels featuring Joe Geraghty are published by Fahrenheit Press and he’s hard at work on a fourth. A prolific short story writer, his work has appeared in various volumes of “The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime”. Nick is also the co-founder of the Hull Noir festival.

Nick’s Social Media Links:
| Website | Twitter @NickQuantrill | Facebook @NickQuantrillWriter |

If you’re a book blogger or author and you have three books published this year that you want to shout about then please complete the following form (or click this link: https://forms.gle/PE483qCyrKEgV5Uq6)

#BookReview: Soon by Lois Murphy @TitanBooks @lydiagittins #Soon #damppebbles

soon.jpgA gripping literary horror novel about the death of a haunted town, for fans of Richard Matheson. Winner of the Aurealis Award for Best Horror, shortlisted for the Colin Roderick Award.

On winter solstice, the birds disappeared, and the mist arrived.

The inhabitants of Nebulah quickly learn not to venture out after dark. But it is hard to stay indoors: cabin fever sets in, and the mist can be beguiling, too.

Eventually only six remain. Like the rest of the townspeople, Pete has nowhere else to go. After he rescues a stranded psychic from a terrible fate, he’s given a warning: he will be dead by solstice unless he leaves town – soon.”

Welcome to the blog today and to my review of the fantastic Soon by Lois Murphy.  Soon is published by Titan Books in the UK today.  Wishing the author and the folk at Titan Books a very happy publication day.  I received a free ARC copy of Soon but that has in no way influenced my review.

I love a spot of horror. You can’t beat a gripping horror novel, which is exactly what Soon is. It’s the kind of novel that works its way under your skin. When you’re not reading it, you’re thinking about it. When I had finished this book I felt bereft and I wanted to return to the Australian town of Nebulah and the company of Pete, our main protagonist, immediately. Which is kind of odd because Nebulah is haunted. Big badass haunted. Haunted with a capital H-A-U-N-T-E-D.

The story is set in the late 1990s and virtually all residents of this once thriving town have gone. They’ve either had the peace of mind to grab whatever they can and leave, or they’re dead.  Three residents remain; Pete, who has nowhere else to go, Milly, who won’t leave because it would break her heart, and Li, who is too stubborn and won’t be driven out.  Every day during the daylight hours in Nebulah is pretty much like yours or mine. Every night is a terrifying nightmare which they pray they will survive. Because as the sun falls, the mist arrives. The mist will terrify and taunt you. Close your windows and lock your doors because if it gets in, or you leave the safety of your home, it will tear you to shreds. The residents have to drown out the sound of the mist’s claws scratching at the windows every night. A good night’s sleep is a long-forgotten luxury. It calls their names and pretends to be the people they love the most. The mist will show you what it wants you to see. Beguiling to some, horrifying to others. The only thing it wants to do is destroy you. Ignored and ostracised by the Government, their pleas for help are firmly ignored. Outside of Nebulah, Nebulah no longer exists.

So when Pete ends up helping a visitor to the isolated town get away from the terrors in time, she issues a stark warning. He must leave Nebulah or he will die. And he must leave SOON.

This is a truly captivating novel which drew me in from start to finish. The unease and the uncertainty the author creates is a joy to read and I savoured every single second of this book. I was right there at the heart of Nebulah with the characters as they realised the sun would set soon and they were rapidly running out of time… It’s a beautifully written piece of fiction where everything works perfectly; the place, the characters, the gripping plot and of course, the terrifying mist. I wanted to return to this book again and again to get my next Nebulah fix.

I adored Pete. Far from perfect in many ways, I really felt his connection to the remaining residents. Having been shunned by his own daughter for his past failings, his love and respect for his friends, Milly and Li, really shone through. Despite retiring as the local police officer, the added burden of that responsibility – particularly as the next available officer was several hours drive away – still weighed heavy on his shoulders.

Would I recommend this book? I would. I would also recommend it to non-horror readers too as yes, there are a couple of gory scenes but in comparison to many horror novels there really aren’t that many and it’s more about the isolation, the grief and the regret. This is a totally engrossing piece of literary horror fiction and I adored it. I may become as obsessed with this book as I am with Josh Malerman’s Bird Box – you have been warned. Such an atmospheric, beautiful and beguiling novel. Don’t miss this one.

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

Soon by Lois Murphy was published in the UK by Titan Books on 15th October 2019 and is available in paperback and ebook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukWaterstonesFoylesGoodreads |

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lois-murphy-1Lois Murphy’s first novel, Soon, won an Aurealis Award for Best Horror and was shortlisted for the Colin Roderick Award.

Lois has travelled widely, most recently spending six years exploring Australia in a homemade 4WD truck, working mainly in small or remote towns. Lois currently lives near Melbourne, Victoria.

 

 

 

 

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #BookBlogger Joanna Wright (@bkslovelythings) #BooksandLovelyThings #damppebbles

Hello and the happiest of Mondays to you, dear reader. Thank you for joining me on this Autumnal October day where damppebbles is all about the book love (today and every day, really!). I am delighted to welcome another brilliant book blogger to share their #R3COMM3ND3D2018 picks with us today – the lovely Joanna at Books and Lovely Things. Now Jo is on semi-hiatus at the moment as she has her hands rather full but you should still subscribe to her beautiful blog. And don’t forget to check her out on Instagram too.

I have some news….this is the penultimate #R3COMM3ND3D2018 post. On Thursday I will be sharing the last of 2018’s recommendations, shortly followed by an ‘After-Show Party’ post and then 2018s feature will sadly be over. But don’t fret, this year’s recommended starts on 1st November so it won’t be gone for long!

Allow me to explain what #R3COMM3ND3D is all about. It’s where I invite bookish types – book bloggers and authors – to share with us three books they love. They don’t have to be their top three of the year, just three books they thoroughly enjoyed reading. Any genre, any author, any publisher – but published in the same year. At the moment we’re concentrating on 2018 but very soon #R3COMM3ND3D2019 starts. If you would like to take part please complete the form at the bottom of this post.

Here are Joanna’s three choices…

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A Different Drummer by William Melvin Kelley
A forgotten classic that tackles the difficult topics of slavery, divisions of race and much more.
https://booksandlovelythings.wordpress.com/2018/10/31/a-different-drummer-by-william-melvin-kelley-review/

the songs of us

The Songs of Us by Emma Cooper
It’s such a brilliant read with an original storyline- filled with laugh out loud moments, tragedy and joy.
https://booksandlovelythings.wordpress.com/2018/10/15/the-songs-of-us-by-emma-cooper-review/

one day in december

One Day in December by Josie Silver
It’s a cosy festive read filled with romance, emotion and real-life issues. Reminiscent of ‘One Day’, it spans nearly a decade and is a real page-tuner.
https://booksandlovelythings.wordpress.com/2018/10/17/one-day-in-december-by-josie-silver-review/

Thanks so much, Jo. Great to see a couple of #R3COMM3ND3D2018 favourites making an appearance!

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 links:

| A Different Drummer by William Melvin Kelley | The Songs of Us by Emma Cooper | One Day in December by Josie Silver |

About Joanna:
A wifdle and mum of a toddler who loves and hoards books!

Joanna’s Blog and Social Media Links:
| Books and Lovely Things | Twitter @bkslovelythings | Instagram @books_and_lovely_things |

If you’re a book blogger or author and you have three books published this year that you want to shout about then please complete the following form (or click this link: https://forms.gle/PE483qCyrKEgV5Uq6)

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #BookBlogger Kerrie (@lovedreadinthis) #ilovedreadingthis #damppebbles

Hello bookish friends and welcome to another brilliant #R3COMM3ND3D2018 post. Today I am delighted to welcome another superb book blogger to damppebbles to share their three #R3COMM3ND3D picks from 2018 – the lovely Kerrie at ilovedreadingthis. If you haven’t discovered Kerrie’s blog yet then I suggest you head straight on over and say ‘hi’!

If you’re new to damppebbles then please allow me to explain what the Dickens I’m on about. #R3COMM3ND3D2018 is all about sharing the book love. Three books from one year which you think everyone else should really make a point of reading. They can be any genre, written by any author and published traditionally, by an indie press or by the author themselves.  At the moment we’re looking at books published last year in 2018 but very soon (1st November *soon*) it will be all about this year’s releases. If you’re an author or a book blogger and you would like to take part in #R3COMM3ND3D2019 then please fill in the form at the bottom of this post.

Here are Kerrie’s choices…

the immortalists

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
An interesting and thought provoking read based on the premise, ‘if you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life? Well written in 4 distinct parts telling the story of 4 children who visit a fortune teller who tells them the date they will die. Just Brilliant!
https://wordpress.com/post/ilovedreadingthis.wordpress.com/2498

us against you

Us Against You by Fredrik Backman
The sequel to Beartown, set in the world of Ice Hockey. Backman writes superbly about people and life, good and bad in a small community in Northern Sweden, told through the lens of Ice Hockey with the most engaging characters. One of those WOW reads, that I truly loved and will be recommending everywhere.
https://wordpress.com/post/ilovedreadingthis.wordpress.com/2691

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Fatal Inheritance by Rachel Rhys
A glorious summer read set in the French Riviera post war. A truly escapist piece of fiction encompassing all the glamour of this time and location while the protagonist seeks to discover why she has been left a mysterious inheritance. For me it was the perfect read at the perfect time.
https://wordpress.com/post/ilovedreadingthis.wordpress.com/2358

Brilliant choices and a couple of #R3COMM3ND3D2018 favourites! Thank you, Kerrie.

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

The Immortalists by Chloe BenjaminUs Against You by Fredrik BackmanFatal Inheritance by Rachel Rhys |

About Kerrie:
Hi, I’m Kerrie and I have been an avid reader all my life. I have been blogging for over a year now and I enjoy reading a range of books. When not blogging I am parent to a teen and tween and I work full time.

Kerrie’s Blog and Social Media Links:
ilovedreadingthisTwitter @lovedreadinthisInstagram @lovedreadingthis |

If you’re a book blogger or author and you have three books published this year that you want to shout about then please complete the following form to take part in #R3COMM3ND3D2019 (or click this link: https://forms.gle/PE483qCyrKEgV5Uq6)

 

#BookReview: All Fall Down by Tom Bale @bookouture #AllFallDown #damppebbles

all fall down.jpg“You tried to save a life. Now you’re fighting to save your own.

It’s the perfect Sunday. Summer sunshine, a barbecue with the kids. 
But a knock on the garden gate and two words, ‘HELP ME’, changes everything.

When loving parents Rob and Wendy Turner let a dying man into their home, and do their best to help him, they think pure chance led him to their house. But soon their lives are threatened in ways they could never have imagined … and then the first anonymous letter arrives, forcing them to question all they know. 

Someone is watching.
Someone is waiting.
They will stop at nothing.

Rob and Wendy will do anything to keep their family safe, but their children Georgia, Josh and Evan are teenagers now, with their own hidden lives. 

Everyone has secrets, but how can you save your family, if you don’t really know them?”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles.  I am delighted to be reviewing the tense and twisty All Fall Down by Tom Bale today.  All Fall Down was published by Bookouture in September 2016 and is available in paperback, ebook and audio formats.  I received a free eARC of this book via NetGalley but that has in no way influenced my review.

I read and reviewed Tom Bale’s See How They Run shortly after starting my blog over three years ago and rather enjoyed it.  All Fall Down had a lot to live up to and I am delighted to confirm that it didn’t disappoint at all.  In fact, it surpassed my expectations with jaw-dropping scene after jaw-dropping scene as the story reached its climax.  I love Bale’s books in that respect.  His characters are so beautifully, brilliantly normal but they somehow end up in the most terrifying, heart-stopping scenarios.

Rob and Wendy Turner and two of their three teenage children are spending a sunny Summer afternoon in the garden enjoying a Barbecue.  Pretty normal, right? Until someone starts banging on their fence, pleading to be let in.  Their gut reaction is to help so they fling the gate open only for a badly beaten man to stagger into their garden.  They try their best to save him with their basic first aid skills but he dies.  What they believe was a chance encounter turns out to be anything but.  What secrets are the family hiding?  And could they be deadly…?

I thoroughly enjoyed All Fall Down.  The plot is gripping and moves at a good pace to keep the reader turning the pages.  The characters are superb and you feel as though you’re living the nightmare with the Turner family.  The story took off in directions I never expected and for that, I loved this book.  There were so many highlights.  There were also a number of uncomfortable moments which made my skin crawl, all brilliantly written.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, I would.  If you like to read about extraordinary things happening to normal people then you will love All Fall Down.  The only quibble I had was that the end felt a little drawn out.  I would have liked everything tied up a little quicker but that’s just me.  All in all, a compelling page-turner of a family thriller which kept me spellbound from start to finish.

I chose to read and review an eARC of All Fall Down.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

All Fall Down by Tom Bale was published in the UK by Bookouture on 1st September 2016 and is available in paperback, audio and ebook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukamazon.comWaterstonesBook DepositoryGoodreads |

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tom bale.jpgTom Bale worked in a variety of jobs (and also had a demanding spell as a househusband) before realising his lifelong ambition to be a full-time writer. He is the author of nine novels including the bestsellers SEE HOW THEY RUN and ALL FALL DOWN. His latest book, ONE DARK NIGHT, is available now. A keen cyclist and sea swimmer, he lives in Brighton.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterFacebook |

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #Author Jonathan Whitelaw (@JDWhitelaw13) @urbanebooks #TheManInTheDark #damppebbles

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. It’s Tuesday which can mean only one thing, I’ve got my dates muddled again 😂! It may be Tuesday but it’s time for another brilliant #R3COMM3ND3D2018 post. Today I am joined by author Jonathan Whitelaw. Jonathan has recently published The Man in the Dark with Urbane Books and I have to say, it looks rather intriguing. I’ll tell you more about The Man in the Dark soon.

What is this #R3COMM3ND3D I speak of? It’s a chance for book people to share the bookish love and shout about three must-read titles. Any book, any author, any genre, any publisher, one catch. The book must have been published in a certain year. I’m currently sharing the book love from 2018 but watch out for #R3COMM3ND3D2019 which starts on 1st November. If you’re an author, book blogger or you work in publishing and you would like to take part, please add your details to the form at the bottom of this post.

Here are Jonathan’s three recommendations…

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Picking Up The Pieces by Jo Worgan
A really moving story about a woman trying to move on from an abusive relationship with her autistic son only to be followed. It’s a wonderfully told tale that covers a wide range of issues very pertinent to modern-day society, including domestic abuse, parenting an autistic child and companionship.

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Blood, White and Blue (Lucie Musilova Book 1) by James Silvester
If you want action and thrills, this is your book! Fresh off the success of his Prague thrillers series, Silvester is very much in the pink here with a new hero and a new set of ways to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. Fresh and all too poignant in the topsy-turvy political times we live in, this is the perfect escape from what can sometimes feel like the real political thriller we’re all living in!

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In Servitude by Heleen Kist
A thrilling read that’s a real page turner, there’s really something for everybody here. Intrigue, mystery and gangsters, a pulse-racing debut from an author to watch.

Thanks so much, Jonathan. Three great choices!

If Jonathan has managed to tempt you, or if you would like to find out more about the books he recommends, please see the following links:

| Picking Up The Pieces by Jo Worgan | Blood, White and Blue by James Silvester | In Servitude by Heleen Kist |

About The Man in the Dark by Jonathan Whitelaw:

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The Devil’s back – and he’s STILL not had a holiday.

There’s another mystery to solve – a woman kidnapped by terrorists and the world trying to find her. While he hates doing God’s bidding, The Devil can’t resist trying to put one over on Him. But nothing is EVER that simple.

While The Devil helps the London cops crack the case, there’s trouble in the Underworld. And two of humanity’s greatest backstabbers – Brutus and Cassius – are sharpening their knives with an eye on stealing his crown.

It’s a race against time to find the girl, be the bad guy and maybe, just maybe, stop the apocalypse.

| amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Foyles |

About Jonathan Whitelaw:
Jonathan Whitelaw is an author, journalist and broadcaster.

After working on the frontline of Scottish politics, he moved into journalism. Subjects he has covered have varied from breaking news, the arts, culture and sport to fashion, music and even radioactive waste – with everything in between.

He’s also a regular reviewer and talking head on shows for the BBC and STV.

HellCorp, from Urbane Publications, is his second novel following his debut, Morbid Relations

Jonathan’s Social Media Links:
| Twitter @JDWhitelaw13 | Facebook |

If you’re a book blogger, author or you work in publishing and have three books published this year that you want to shout about then please complete the following form (or click this link: https://forms.gle/PE483qCyrKEgV5Uq6)

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#BlogTour | #BookReview: The Family by Louise Jensen @HQstories #TheFamily #damppebbles

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ONCE YOU’RE IN, THEY’LL NEVER LET YOU LEAVE.

Laura is grieving after the sudden death of her husband. Struggling to cope emotionally and financially, Laura is grateful when a local community, Oak Leaf Organics, offer her and her 17-year-old daughter Tilly a home.

But as Laura and Tilly settle into life with their new ‘family’, sinister things begin to happen. When one of the community dies in suspicious circumstances Laura wants to leave but Tilly, enthralled by the charismatic leader, Alex, refuses to go.

Desperately searching for a way to save her daughter, Laura uncovers a horrifying secret but Alex and his family aren’t the only ones with something to hide. Just as Laura has been digging into their past, they’ve been digging into hers and she discovers the terrifying reason they invited her and Tilly in, and why they’ll never let them leave…”

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the blog today and to my stop on The Family blog tour. The Family is the latest release from one of my very favourite authors, Louise Jensen and was published by HQ in paperback on Thursday 3rd October. I received an ARC copy of The Family but that has in no way influenced my review.

Louise Jensen is an incredible writer. If you haven’t discovered her books yet then you and I need to have serious words. They’re perfectly plotted family-driven psychological thrillers that leave you on the absolute edge of your seat. Only for Jensen to throw something completely unexpected and deliciously twisty your way, leaving the reader gasping and wanting more. They’re insanely good and the release of a new Louise Jensen book is a highlight of my year. So you can imagine how much I was looking forward to reading The Family. And oh boy, it didn’t disappoint.

The Family does have a slightly different feel to Jensen’s other books. There are twists and turns galore and a family is at the forefront of the action, as I have come to expect from this author. I found the pace to be quite different though. This is a slow and intoxicating unravelling of a clever and well-plotted story which held my attention from start to finish. I really felt for our main protagonist, Laura. Recently bereaved and on the brink of losing her livelihood, she is barely holding things together. Wanting to make sure she and 17-year-old daughter, Tilly, still had somewhere to call home she reaches out to her deceased husband’s family – only for them to shun her. Rapidly running out of ideas, Laura turns to charismatic Alex, asking for help. Alex has the legal know-how she needs and he and the Oak Leaf Organics community welcome Laura and Tilly with open arms. But not everything at Oak Leaf Organics is as perfect as it first appears. How does Alex know everything about Laura’s life? And exactly how close are Tilly and Alex becoming?

There are so many secrets for the reader to get their teeth into in this book. And secrets are what Jensen is the master of. Laura’s story is beautifully presented to the reader. You feel you have a fairly good idea of who is who and what is going on. Only for Jensen to pull one of her brilliant sleight of hand moves on you. Actually, in reality, you know nothing. And that is why Louise Jensen’s books are a joy to read. The Family is another example of how adept Jensen is at what I would assume is a difficult skill to master. You think you’ve got the measure of these characters, but you haven’t.

One of the things I enjoyed the most about The Family is the way Jensen puts a mother/daughter relationship under the microscope. This book was all about Laura and Tilly for me. I had several moments of ‘what if this was MY 17-year-old daughter? What would I do in Laura’s situation?’. There are some really powerful emotive parts to the story. Some I can understand because I’m a mum too. Some I thankfully will never understand. And there’s one twist, towards the end of the book, which very nearly broke me. That’s going to stay with me for a while to come.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. In fact, I suggest you just go and purchase every book Louise Jensen has written because they are all outstanding. Jensen remains one of my absolute favourite authors and I am now counting down the days until her next book is released. The Family is a very compelling, very real read that draws you in until the very final page. Highly emotive, chock full of delicious secrets and another incredibly readable book from the pen of Ms Jensen.

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

The Family by Louise Jensen was published in the UK by HQ on 3rd October 2019 and is available in paperback, audio and ebook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | Goodreads |

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Louise Jensen has sold over a million English language copies of her International No. 1 psychological thrillers The Sister, The Gift, The Surrogate and The Date. Her novels have also been translated into twenty-five languages, as well as featuring on the USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestseller’s List. Louise’s fifth thriller, The Family, will be published in Autumn 2019 by Harper Collins.

The Sister was nominated for the Goodreads Debut Author of 2016 Award. The Date was nominated for The Guardian’s ‘Not The Booker’ Prize 2018. The Surrogate has been nominated for the best Polish thriller of 2018. The Gift has been optioned for a TV film.

Louise lives with her husband, children, madcap dog and a rather naughty cat in Northamptonshire. She loves to hear from readers and writers.

Author Links: | Twitter | Facebook | Website |

#BlogTour | #GuestReview: The Lagotti Family Series by Leopold Borstinski (@borstinski) @cobaltdinosaur #TheLagottiFamily #damppebbles

Boxset 3D.jpgTwo generations and four decades in the lives of Frank, Mary Lou and the rest of the gang

The Heist: After leaving Baltimore Penitentiary, Frank’s get rich quick scheme to rob a bank requires his girlfriend, Mary Lou to sleep with an inside guy and for his gang to stay together long enough to take down the vault. Meanwhile Mary Lou falls for the inside man and can’t decide whether to go with him or Frank. If she chooses the wrong fella she’ll be penniless and wind up dead. How would you choose between a fool and a dreamer?

The Getaway: After ex-con Frank and his girlfriend Mary Lou rob a Baltimore Bank, they must flee across country before the Feds find them and the mob ices them for stealing from an organized crime boss. As they dash to California, trust becomes the most important currency as Frank and Mary Lou grapple to decide whether love is enough to keep them together. And by the time they reach their goal, they must fight to the death to survive hired guns and trained police shooters. If they don’t kill everyone in their way then they will die themselves. Would you risk everything for a sack of greenbacks?

Powder: When Mary Lou takes the proceeds from a bank robbery to start up her heroin dealing business, old enemies circle overhead and threaten the lives of her twins. How will she keep them safe in such a dangerous place and what is she prepared to do to secure her new venture?

Mama’s Gone: When Mary Lou makes some bad decisions, her twins and her husband must decide whether she’s losing her mind. If they can get that cleared up then all they have to worry about is their feud with the Russian mob. And then someone goes and ices the old lady. Who would have the cajones to murder the head of the Lagotti family?”

Happy Friday and welcome to damppebbles. Ryan the guest reviewer here. Emma has let me take over with a review of Leopold Bortstinki’s book as she is looking through all of your lovely R3COMM3N3D2019 suggestions after her post yesterday (she’s also spent a lot of time adding books to her ‘Terrifying TBR’).  So whilst I am here, I thought I would share my review of The Heist. Without further ado, here’s what I thought…..

The Heist by Leopold Borstinski is the first book in The Lagotti Family Series Box Set. Now those of you with a keen memory will remember that earlier this year I reviewed Mama’s Gone, the fourth and final book in the series.  This blog tour offered me the chance for some reader ‘time travel’ and an opportunity to learn more about Frank and Mary Lou’s back story.

It is almost unfair to call Frank and Mary Lou the main characters as this book revolves around a small number of characters who are working to make Frank’s bank robbery a success.  Andrew and Brian represent the hired muscle and Pete, the getaway driver, completes the gang.  The story follows the planning of the job and the reader watches as tensions develop, scores are settled and each character works out how to get the best deal for themselves.  The deceit, plotting and characterisation in this novel are great as you soon realise that not everyone is going to get their way. And some characters are willing to spill a lot of blood to get a few extra dollars.

Outside the plotting is Mary Lou’s growing relationship with the inside man she is seducing to get information on the bank.   As time moves on you start to wonder who’s side she is on; is it Frank’s, Carter’s – the inside man, or just her own!  It has to be said there is a lot of carnal activity in this book and if that is something that you don’t enjoy then I would suggest you read something else.

My favourite aspect of this book was the slow burn. The planning isn’t over in a few days, it takes a lot longer.  Time for emotions to surface, characters to get hurt, plan their revenge and make whatever alliances are required.   In the background is the insidious Frank Snr, a character straight out of the grittiest noir novel, and a gritty noir novel is really what Borstinski has created here.  A novel which sets the platform for the rest of the box set.

So if you want strong characters, gritty noir and a sense of foreboding this is a good place to start. The Lagotti Family Series Box Set is going to show you a lot of twists and turns and probably a lot of blood before you put it down.  But beware, if you enjoyed this you will be straight into The Getaway – book two of this box set, as some plot lines are deliberately left dangling to entice you onwards. Follow them and watch a mob start from a bank job and develop through to an empire.  What are you waiting for?

I chose to read and review a free digital copy of The Heist. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

The Lagotti Family Series box set was published in the UK by Sobriety Press on 30th June 2019 and is available in paperback and ebook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukWaterstonesFoylesBook DepositoryGoodreads |

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FullSizeRenderLeopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.

There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.

He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.