Hello and welcome to damppebbles. It’s Wednesday which means we’re halfway through the week and thankfully one step closer to the weekend. Hoorah! It’s also day 42 of #R3COMM3ND3D2021 and so far a staggering 110 individual titles have been #R3COMM3ND3D. I only have one week’s worth of posts left to share with you now, plus the after-show party. The last month and a half has flown by! Has your favourite 2021 publication been chosen yet?
Joining me today to talk all things #R3COMM3ND3D2021 is a brilliant author, it’s Jon Ford. Jon writes The Ballad of the Songbird series which is a multi-character supernatural fantasy series. With two books published earlier this year – Hunters and Blood to Earth – and a further five, possibly SIX according to Jon’s website, books planned, this is a series readers can really get their teeth into. You can find out more about Jon and his writing further down the page.
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 Jon recommends…
The Wild Court by E.G. Radcliff
I’ve just finished this last book in Radcliff’s ‘Coming of Aed’ trilogy, and it was the perfect resolution to an amazing series. It’s a fantastic book (and series) unlike any I’ve read before. The world building is subtly done, over the course of the first book (The Hidden King) and built upon in the second book (The Lost Prince), so by the time you’re reading ‘The Wild Court’ you’re fully immersed. But it’s the characters that REALLY draw you in. Each of them is struggling with an internal conflict and vulnerability, which gives you as the reader something to really lock on to. The character of Aed in particular is exceedingly compelling. A broken character both physically and emotionally who is trying to come to terms with loss and the discovery of who he truly is. Honestly, this is one of the best fantasy books I’ve read in years. Absolutely recommended.
Acts of Closure by NT Anderson
I’m not generally a romance book reader, but this one piqued my interest. I loved the hook of going back and sampling the path not take. I think everyone has thoughts of ‘what could have been’ when it comes to past relationships. The main characters, Natalie, was interesting, and I really enjoyed following her emotional journey. I also loved the inset DMs that break up the narrative, but always feel relevant and tell a second smaller story buried within the main one. It’s something I’d never seen before. If you like a little spicy romance in your life, with a kind of bittersweet feeling, then this is the book for you.
Jon’s Review of Acts of Closure
Fallen Angels (Behind Blue Eyes #2) by Anna Mocikat
This it the BEST in cyberpunk. It has everything you could want. Amazing world building, compelling kickass characters, mystery and intrigue, and some of the best action set-pieces committed to print. This is the second book in the Behind Blue Eyes series, and both carries on from the first book, but also kind of resets the arc in an unexpected way. It’s definitely a book that keeps you guessing. Additionally, the two main characters are utterly compelling. Neph is more than just a proto-typical kick-ass female heroine, and Metatron is more than just a dastardly villian. There’s much more to them than meets the eye, and the deeper into this story you get the more you ask questions as to where, ultimately, it’s going. It has definite Ghost in the Shell vibes, so if that’s in your wheelhouse then you can’t do any better than this.
Jon’s Review of Fallen Angels
Three super recommendations, thanks so much Jon. This is the second time we’ve seen The Wild Court by E.G. Radcliff which puts it in joint third place with The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain, When the World was Ours by Liz Kessler and You Need Me by Sharon Bairden!
About The Ballad of the Songbird Series:
Book one: Hunters by Jon Ford
Welcome to the new age…
In a world where Vampyrii, Werewolves and other creatures of myth and legend now live side by side with the remnants of the Human race, conflicts are inevitable.
Gayle Knightley has been fighting all her life.
As a Fae/Human hybrid, a quirk of her birth ensured she was destined to be a warrior. A Hunter. One of the best. But now she’s broken and grieving. Her team and her friends brutally taken from her. Gayle will need to overcome her grief and join the fight once again. Her first steps on the path to redemption take her back to London, and the Human Fae Academy where it all began.
Where she learnt to be a Hunter.
Yet on the eve of a historical global summit, an enigmatic manipulator threatens to shatter the fragile peace. In Werewolf controlled Canada, a girl is abducted by a monster. In Vampire occupied America, a lone Vampyrii forges an alliance with an enemy to try and correct history.
How are these things all connected?
And more importantly…who hunts the Hunters?
Hunters is a story as complex and deep as Game of Thrones or The Expanse, yet set in a modern urban fantasy setting.
Book two: Blood to Earth by Jon Ford
In the aftermath of tragedy, when the past is laid to rest, blood returns to earth…
When catastrophic events in Nexus City tip the scales, skewing the balance of power in New Victus and forcing Lyssa Balthazaar to accelerate her timetable for revolution, she struggles to find allies in her time of need while wrestling with an impossible decision – Follow her heart or her commitment to family.
A vacation in Rio takes a sudden turn for Alexa Reynolds when an unexpected job connects to her recent past and leads her to untangle a mystery. A mystery she follows from Rio, to the Bahamas, and to Venezuela before she discovers a shocking revelation in the Pacific Ocean.
In London, Gayle and Allyson Knightley are coping with both loss and love. While Allyson is driven to find justice for the victims in Nexus, Gayle is faced with a stark reminder of her past. It is a discovery that will drive her to risk it all to uncover the truth of Bloody Valletta.
About Jon Ford:
Jon Ford lives in Worcestershire, UK with his awesome Wifey, their lovable puppy Reflex, and under the watchful gaze of their cat-overlords, Lana and Gale. He has far too many hobbies for one man to sensibly hold down. In between his hobby-juggling, you’ll find him working as an Implementation Consultant by day and burning the midnight oil to bring you The Ballad of the Songbird saga — an epic seven-book series.
👉 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 just before Christmas 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 ❤