Hello my bookish friends and welcome to Saturday on damppebbles. It’s day 42 of #R3COMM3ND3D2020 and before I reveal the three books today’s guest has chosen, I am delighted to confirm that we’ve so far had 116 unique book recommendations! The book currently in the lead is *swoon* We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker, closely followed by She Lies Close by Sharon Doering, The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman and The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor! Will that change today? Let’s find out…
Today I am over the moon to welcome one of my favourite book bloggers to share his three #R3COMM3ND3D2020 picks. It’s the fantastic David of Blue Book Balloon. I love David’s blog. His reviews are a thing of beauty and I heartily recommend you give him a follow.
So, what is #R3COMM3ND3D2020? It’s about sharing the book love. It’s a chance for authors, book bloggers and bookstagrammers to shout about three (yes, *only* three) books they love. They can be written by any author, in any genre and published in any way (traditionally, indie press or self-published). But there is a catch. All three books must have been published in 2020. To make things interesting I have added a couple of teeny, tiny rules this year which are; 1) the book must have first been published in 2020 and 2) special editions and reissues do not count. I like to keep you lovely people on your toes. 😉
Here are the three books David has chosen…
The Unspoken Name by A. K. Larkwood
The Unspoken Name is a fantasy novel that is a fascinating, well-told and involving story. It follows Csorwe, an orc priestess destined to be sacrificed. Falling in with a handsome stranger, she takes her destiny in her hands, runs away and is trained up as an assassin and thief by the mysterious Sethennai. There is a refreshing lack of moral certainty with absolutely no bright lines of good and evil. What Larkwood is interested in – and this becomes increasingly clear – is the relationships between Csorwe and Sethennai but also with Tal, another protege. Effectively making up a dysfunctional family, the three face many challenges in an exciting and refreshing story with a wicked vein of humour.
David’s Review of The Unspoken Name
I Am Dust by Louise Beech
There has to be a book by Louise Beech on this list! Her humanity, her grasp of her characters and her ability to spin a stinking story, and second to none. In “I am Dust” a vein of spookiness overlays the complex relationships between three teenagers, Chloe, Jess and Ryan, looking back fifteen years. I loved the awkward, triangular relationship between them, the balance always shifting in response to the lurching dynamics of the teenagers, and to external pressures. Beech writes, I think, with great insight when she draws these characters: they ring true, and one worries for them – not only in 2005, but in the future, where Chloe seems alone. What has become of Jess and Ryan?
David’s Review of I Am Dust
Untamed Shore by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
This yea, Moreno-Garcia’s horror novel “Mexican Gothic” has received a lot of attention, and rightly so, but I’d like to bang the drum for a book she published earlier in 2020, more of a noir-tinged thriller evoking classic films of the 40s, 50s and 60s – it isn’t too much of a stretch to imagine this story taking place in black and white, acted out by the chiselled profiles and dangerous beauties of Hollywood – even though it’s set later, in 1979. Into Viridiana’s provincial world, to the little town in Baja California where she spends her summer watching the dead sharks rot, dodging strutting boys and resisting her mother’s plots to marry her off – into this world comes a trio of glamorous strangers, American tourists who’ve taken a house for the summer. And her life will never be the same again… this is a powerful and enchanting book, both a study of a young woman coming of age and a tense thriller. I listened to it on audio and and Maria Liatis’s narration is excellent throughout, both clear and deeply atmospheric.
David’s Review of Untamed Shore
Three terrific picks, David. Thank you. I loved Mexican Gothic so I’ll definitely be checking out Untamed Shore. And of course, this is the second time we’ve seen I Am Dust by Louise Beech mentioned so it’s now hot on the heels of We Begin at the End!
If David has managed to tempt you, or if you would like to find out more about the books recommended above, please see the following links:
Originally a physicist, David is largely office based (or was till 2020 happened) in a job focussing on tax, though dreaming of science fiction, fantasy and crime. Blogging since 2011, he’s married to a vicar, lives in Midsomer Murders country, and is owned by two dogs – so is consequently usually muddy (especially since 2020 happened).
If you’re a book blogger, bookstagrammer or an author and you have three books published this year which you want to shout about then please complete the following form (or click this link: https://forms.gle/kHTQeQdiUNZTsW4d6)