#R3COMM3ND3D2021 with #BookBlogger Karen Cole (@karlou) #HairPastAFreckle #BookRecommendations #publishedin2021 #booktwt #whattoread #damppebbles

Hello bookish pals and welcome to the final week of #R3COMM3D3D2021. What a blast it’s been with 48 fantastic bloggers, authors, bookstagrammers and podcasters shouting about the books they loved this year. Has your favourite been selected? I do hope so. Without further ado, let’s crack on with day 46 of #R3COMM3ND3D2021 and see what bookish treats today’s guest has for us.

Joining me today is a fabulous blogger who you absolutely must follow, it’s the brilliant Karen Cole of Hair Past A Freckle. Karen’s blog is a thing of beauty, and Karen is responsible for many a spontaneous book purchase here at damppebbles HQ! Pop over and say hi, and why not subscribe whilst you’re there. You can thank me later 😉

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 Karen recommends…

The Gathering Storm by Alan Jones
I’m cheating a little here because really I’m recommending the Sturmtaucher trilogy which opens with The Gathering Storm. This epic series follows two families in Kiel, Germany as Hitler rises to power and war breaks out across Europe. The Kästners are a prominent military family and the Nussbaums are their Jewish domestic staff. It’s an honest, harrowing and comprehensive look at one of the worst periods of history and has been meticulously researched. It’s a truly magnificent book (and series) and one that I’ll be recommending for years to come.
Karen’s Review of The Gathering Storm

Hotel Cartagena by Simone Buchholz (translated by Rachel Ward)
Hotel Cartagena is the latest book in the gritty, acerbically cool Chastity Riley series. It’s suspenseful and immersive throughout but packs a surprising emotional punch and is sharply humorous too. The chapter headings are fabulous – ‘ARE THE NINJA TURTLES ON THEIR WAY?’, ‘THE WURST IS YET TO COME’ or ‘COLUMBOISHNESS’?! are among my favourites. It effortlessly exudes the essence of film noir and Rachel Ward’s superb translation deserves all the plaudits for capturing the supercharged emotions so perfectly. Starkly atmospheric and oozing style but achingly poignant and beautifully compelling, it’s possibly my favourite in the series so far.
Karen’s Review of Hotel Cartagena

The Rabbit Factor by Antti Tuomainen
Antti Tuomainen does Nordic Noir differently from anybody else because he makes it funny while still exploring many of the themes you’d expect in this genre. So while the memorable, loveable insurance actuary, Henri Koskinen might not be the usual protagonist in a crime novel nor an adventure park the usual setting, there is still a real sense of danger and plenty of violent deaths as Henri finds himself caught up in the underbelly of Finnish society. It’s also a novel packed with observant wit and affection for the idiosyncrasies of human nature and absurdities of life, and although it might seem strange to describe a thriller this way, I finished The Rabbit Factor feeling as if I’d been wrapped in a comforting blanket of love and hope.
Karen’s Review of The Rabbit Factor

Three fantastic recommendations, thanks so much Karen. I can see a couple of definite additions to my wish list here 😍

About Karen Cole:
I’m 49 years old and live in Shaftesbury, Dorset (famous for the Ridley Scott Hovis advert filmed on Gold Hill!) with my family and pets. I work as a teaching assistant and midday supervisor in a primary school, and have recently been asked to become the school’s reading for pleasure champion which is really exciting as it’s something I’m passionate about. I’ve started a weekly school library Book Club which has been really popular so far and I’ve also been interviewing small groups of children about the books they’ve been reading for our local community podcast. I started blogging back in 2012 after my brother died of suicide and what began as an outlet for my emotions became something I fell in love with when I started writing book reviews in June 2013. During the first lockdown I began recommending a book every Saturday on the award-winning community podcast radio show, This is Alfred. Next year it’s also going to become an FM radio channel and I’m thrilled to be involved with something which will allow me to spread the book love even more!

Karen’s Blog and Social Media Links:
Hair Past A FreckleTwitter @karlouFacebookInstagram @hairpastafreckle_bookreviews |

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 ❤

3 thoughts on “#R3COMM3ND3D2021 with #BookBlogger Karen Cole (@karlou) #HairPastAFreckle #BookRecommendations #publishedin2021 #booktwt #whattoread #damppebbles

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