Hello dear bookish friends and welcome to Wednesday on damppebbles. We’re halfway through the week and one step closer to ‘you know what’. If you’re looking for the perfect gift for the book lover in your life then you’ve come to right place! We have book recommendations galore thanks to the juggernaut that is #R3COMM3ND3D2021. I may be overselling it a bit but, you know…
Joining me today is a fantastic blogger, one of my favourites without a doubt, it’s David from Blue Book Balloon. David’s blog is chock full of bookish delights, his reviews are beautifully written and he’s a blogger you definitely need to be following. It’s also the 10th anniversary of Blue Book Balloon today so happy blogiversary, David. What a huge achievement – congratulations 🥳
So, what is #R3COMM3ND3D2021? 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 2021. To make things interesting there are a couple of teeny, tiny rules; 1) the book must have FIRST been published in 2021 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 recommends…
A Number’s Game by RJ Dark
A Numbers Game introduces Malachite (‘Mal’) Jones and Jackie Singh Khattar. Mal is a bereavement counsellor/ con artist/ cold reader, a well-intentioned fraud who comforts those who’ve lost someone. Jackie is a ‘legitimate businessman’ who takes protection money and installs security for all the local firms (all the easier to gain entry afterwards). Both live on the tough Blades Edge estate, where Dark locates an ingenious plot with engaging and down to earth characters that resists pigeonholing: is it cosy crime (despite the starkly depicted violence)? Does kit play by noir rules? Does the fiendishly complex situation that develops perhaps even has echoes of PG Wodehouse, though with bullets? I couldn’t decide. Whatever, it’s a cracking read.
David’s Review of A Numbers Game
Black Water Sister by Zen Cho
Black Water Sister is an absorbing story set in the modern world, taking place on the bustling island of Penang, yet blends that with a sympathetic take on traditional magic, mythology and indeed, gods. Jessamyn (“Jess”) and her parents are Chinese Malaysians, who have returned to the island. We know two things from the start of this book, both threatening no end of upset. First, Jess is gay. Secondly, she’s being haunted by a ghost who is, she soon learns, that of her grandmother, Ah Ma. Granny drags Jess into a complicated feud involving a businessman with criminal connections, rival Chinese deities and the history of that sprawling family. I loved the way this book weaves together disparate themes and creates the most surprising connections across generations, cultures and time.
David’s Review of Black Water Sister
Notes from the Burning Age by Claire North
Notes from the Burning age is set in a near-future of ruinous climate change which humanity may, perhaps, be managing to turn around. Hovering over everything in the book are moral choices, the foremost of which is perhaps, how much damage must one accept to preserve peace? In this book the environmentally sensitive way of life of some is threatened by revanchist nationalism. Blending espionage, fantasy and a shrewd understanding of human nature, North shows society on the brink of ruin, being forced to face hard truths. An absolute winner for tension, mystery and its take on morality.
David’s Review of Notes from the Burning Age
Three excellent choices, thanks so much David. I will be adding all three books to my burgeoning wish list as they sound so good!
A vicar’s husband, father and ex physicist, I work in an office (but remotely) and spend my free time dog walking, reading and trying not to get too angry on Twitter. And shouting about books on my blog. You can’t have too many books, really.
👉 No #R3COMM3ND3D2021 post tomorrow as I have a review to share instead but #R3C will be back on Friday! 👈
Sadly submissions for #R3COMM3D3D2021 are now closed (posts will be running until mid-December so we’re not quite done yet). Shortly after the last post I will be inviting you all to attend the virtual after-show party, which should be a giggle, where we can cast our eyes over the marvellous and majestic beauty of 2021’s books. We will also crown 2021’s winner (or joint winners, if that’s the case ). So I expect it to be a jolly good ol’ knees up! Until then stay tuned as we have lots more bookish loveliness heading your way ❤