#BookReview: The Women by S.E. Lynes @bookouture #TheWomen #damppebbles

the women

The night she moves in with Peter, she’s so happy, so exhilarated, so in love. Later, she will remember a much smaller feeling, a tiny one percent in her gut. And she will remember pushing that feeling aside…

Samantha Frayn doesn’t know why Peter Bridges picks her – a nobody with bitten fingernails and a troubled childhood behind her – but she falls quickly. He’s older, charming, likes fine wine and French films, and his beautiful home has real art on its walls.

Peter transforms Samantha’s life in an instant. He sees the better version of herself – the one she’s always wanted to be. It’s only normal that there’s a little friction, when she moves in, over domestic matters like where things are kept, or the proper times to eat, sleep and shower. She’s lucky to be with someone who can help her find a new job, move on from childish friends, and speak with greater sophistication.

But as Samantha notices, more and more, Peter’s temper, she starts to wonder if there might be consequences to breaking the rules of the world he has so quickly built around her.

And then she receives an anonymous note that makes her ask: is she the first woman to feel trapped by Peter? Is she being paranoid, manipulated, or could she be in danger?

You can tell the truth about your life, but someone needs to be listening. Someone needs to trust you. And someone needs to save you from the man you thought you loved.”

Oh I love S.E. Lynes’ writing. Bit of a fangirl moment for you! I’ve read nearly every book she’s written (bar one which is on my #15BooksofSummer list) and you can always guarantee it’s going to be brilliant and hard to put down. The Women is Susie’s latest book and was published by Bookouture on 22nd May. I received a free eARC of The Women but that has in no way influenced my review.

First thing I want to say about this book is I love the cover! If I weren’t already a huge S.E. Lynes fan then there’s a good chance I would be picking up The Women based purely on that brilliant blurb and the stunning cover. The book opens with Samantha and Peter (plus their baby, Emily) on their honeymoon in Rome. The opening is wonderfully tense and sets the scene perfectly. I was intrigued by what had gone before and I couldn’t wait to discover this couple’s story. And what a story it is.

The reader is then flung back in time to when Peter and Samantha first met. Professor Peter Bridges makes Samantha feel as though she’s the only woman in the world at a boring University party. He treats her with respect, listens intently to every word she says and makes her the centre of his universe. Samantha rapidly falls head over heels in love with Peter. He’s a class above the men (boys!) she usually meets with his expensive red wine, limitless supplies of cash, his elegant and sophisticated home and his sporty vintage midnight-blue Porsche. Before long Peter has suggested Samantha moves in with him, which she does leaving BBF and housemate, Marcia, on her own. Life is good for Samantha. Or is it?

What a great story this is with possibly one of the most unpleasant characters I have ever met in a novel. Peter is such a cliche and so utterly repulsive. Lynes has done an excellent job in making him so abhorrent – gah! He made my skin crawl, I was frequently cringing with how revolting he was. I was so desperate for sweet, trusting Samantha to see the light. To realise she was better than the life she was settling for, that not everything was how it seemed – not even to her – and for her to remove baby Emily from her obnoxious father’s influence.

It’s very difficult to say anything about this book without spoiling it for new readers. I will say, however, that the ending of this book was perfect. Had it ended any differently then I think I would have been disappointed. But Lynes has told her story with sensitivity (maybe not when it comes to Peter) and with wonderful little surprises along the way which made me despise ‘Peter the idiot’ even more.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. S.E. Lynes is a great writer and I urge you to read absolutely everything she has written (particularly Valentina). This is a beautifully written book with bucketloads of emotion. S.E. Lynes is a skilled and accomplished writer whose books I will return to again and again and again. Recommended.

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

The Women by S.E. Lynes was published in the UK by Bookouture on 22nd May 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 | amazon.com | Goodreads |

about-the-author3

S E Lynes Author Photo

S E Lynes is the Amazon best selling author of psychological thrillers, VALENTINA, MOTHER, THE PACT and THE PROPOSAL.

After graduating from Leeds University, Susie lived in London before moving to Aberdeen where she worked as a producer at the BBC before moving with her husband, Paul, and two young children to Rome.

In Rome, she began to write, snatching time where she could. After the birth of her third child and upon her return to the UK, she gained an MA in Creative Writing from Kingston University.

She now combines writing, mentoring and lecturing. She has also published two children’s books in Italy.

Author Links: | Facebook | Twitter |

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#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #BookBlogger imyril (@imyril) #TheresAlwaysRoomForOneMore #damppebbles

Hello and welcome to the blog today. It’s Monday which can mean only one thing – it’s time for another brilliant #R3COMM3ND3D2018 post (and you thought I was going to say something about the weekend being over, right?!). Today I am delighted to welcome another fantastic book blogger to damppebbles to share the book love, imyril from There’s Always Room for One More…

But first, let me explain what #R3COMM3ND3D is all about. ‘Books’ is the simple answer 😆! Every year I invite bookish types to share the titles of three books they love with the rest of us.  Any author, any genre – it’s a bit of a free for all, apart from one thing.  The books must have been published in a certain year.  At the moment we’re revealing the top books published in 2018 but on 1st November #R3COMM3ND3D2019  will start when it will be all about this year’s releases.  If you would like to take part then please fill in the form at the bottom of this post!

Without further ado, here are the books imyril has chosen…

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The Poppy War (The Poppy War #1) by R.F. Kuang
A setting that’s not quite early twentieth century China is an unusual and absorbing fantasy setting. Complex characters you’ll love to hate and fear to love, going through the wringer. A harrowing debut with an eye for epic storytelling and historical flavour.
https://onemore.org/2018/09/29/the-poppy-war/

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The Bitter Twins (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy 2) by Jen Williams
I hesitate to dive into a trilogy with book two, but the Winnowing Flame gets my nod for epic fantasy with sci-fi underpinnings and a flair for all-out horror. Vampiric elves, a fire witch, noble barbarians, a middle-aged archaeologist and mythical beasts must fight off a terrifying insectile alien threat or see their world consumed. The characters leap off the page, the lines between good, evil and pragmatic are blurred and I’ve never yelled NO so loudly at the page in my life. This is fantasy writ very, very large – and I think book two is even better than book one. Bonus points for being so dark without ever feeling hopeless or bleak.
https://onemore.org/2018/03/24/the-bitter-twins/

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Embers of War by Gareth L. Powell
A full-blooded space opera, peopled by a cast recovering from the trauma of a recent war. A sentient warship filled with regret. A lonely salvage crew who wish to make amends. A planet whose secrets are worth killing for. This is a well-constructed mystery with an almost Banksian setting. I came for the characters; I’ll be seeing out the series for the jaw dropping scope of what they find.
https://onemore.org/2018/03/11/embers-of-war/

Ooooh, once again I am drawn to books outside of my comfort zone and these three look brilliant! Thanks imyril!

If imyril has managed to tempt you, or if you would like to find out more about the books recommended above, please see the following links:

The Poppy War by R.F. KuangThe Bitter Twins by Jen WilliamsEmbers of War by Gareth L. Powell |

About imyril:
I’ve been reading almost as long as I’ve been walking (but I try not to combine the two, because of the bruises). These days I’m a business consultant by day and a bookworm and blogger 24/7. I mostly read SF/F, but I’m happy to be tempted into other genres by a strong story and well-crafted characters. Or tea. And cake. I’m easily tempted.

imyril’s social media links:
There’s Always Room for One More…Twitter @imyril |

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)

 

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #BookBlogger Paul Cheney (@halfmanhalfb00k) #HalfmanHalfbook #damppebbles

It’s Friiiiday! Welcome to damppebbles and to another brilliant #R3COMM3ND3D2018 post. I am delighted to welcome a favourite blogger of mine to the blog today, Paul Cheney who blogs over at Halfman, Halfbook.  I love Paul’s blog for several reasons.  The first is the name of it because, well, we all are, aren’t we? Half-book! And secondly, because Paul reads and reviews mainly non-fiction (I think his is the only non-fiction blog I follow…)

So what’s this #R3COMM3ND3D thing all about then? It’s a chance for bookish types to share the book love.  Three books they love and want to shout about.  Really, really love.  Any author, any publisher, any genre, but they must have all been published in the same year.  I’m currently sharing the posts from last year (2018) but on 1st November #R3COMM3ND3D2019 so if you would like to take part please fill in the form below.

Here are Paul’s three choices…

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21st-Century Yokel by Tom Cox
This is a wide ranging and occasionally random chat about his thoughts on the countryside, scarecrows and his very LOUD DAD. Very funny and honest.
[DP: *cough* I’m going to ignore the fact that this book was actually published in 2017 and not 2018…]
http://halfmanhalfbook.co.uk/review/review-21st-century-yokel/

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The Last Wilderness: A Journey into Silence by Neil Ansell
The Last Wilderness feels like a spiritual journey and he connects deeply to the landscape each time he visits, but it is tinged with the remorse that he has of no longer being able to hear the birdsong as his hearing fails. It is a beautiful book to read, he has a knack of teasing out all that he sees around him into the most exquisite prose.
http://halfmanhalfbook.co.uk/review/review-the-last-wilderness-a-journey-into-silence/

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The Salt Path by Raynor Winn
This is a heartwarming and inspiring story of a couple’s fight back against a life-changing legal decision that left them totally penniless. Winn writes with an honesty that is quite moving, she is open with her feelings and her thoughts about the people she meets on their walk and the events that led to them walking the South Coast path.
http://halfmanhalfbook.co.uk/review/review-the-salt-path/

Great choices, Paul.  Thank you.  I LOVE the cover of The Last Wilderness. How gorgeous is that?!

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

21st-Century Yokel by Tom CoxThe Last Wilderness by Neil AnsellThe Salt Path by Raynor Winn |

About Paul:
I have always loved all things about reading and books, and cannot walk past a bookshop or library without popping in; just to look, you understand.

I read all types and genres of books, but my real passion is for non-fiction, in particular travel, natural history, history and science. I also love science fiction and fantasy and try to read some contemporary fiction along the way too.

I have been writing for Nudge Books as their voice of Book Life for two years now.

Paul’s Social Media Links:
Halfman, HalfbookTwitter @halfmanhalfb00k |

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)

#BookReview: The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd @PenguinUKBooks #TheInnocentWife #damppebbles

the innocent wife.jpg“You’re in love with a man on Death Row in Florida, convicted of a brutal murder twenty years ago.

You’re convinced he didn’t do it, and you’re determined to prove it. You’re part of a mass online campaign that picks holes in the case, uncovers evidence of police incompetence, and agitates for this miscarriage of justice to be overturned.

Now you’re married to him, and he’s a free man, his conviction thrown out. You have the rest of your lives to spend together.

You’re overjoyed. After all, he’s innocent.

Isn’t he?”

I am delighted to welcome you to the blog today and to my review of The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd.  This book had a real buzz about it when it was first published in December 2017 (yes it has been on my NetGalley shelf for a while, yes I am a terrible book blogger who reads at a snail’s pace!).  I received a free eARC copy of The Innocent Wife which has in no way influenced my review.

I keep seeing mixed reviews for this book and I just don’t get it.  I know, I know, you don’t have to tell me – reading is subjective.  I totally get that.  I’ll say this though, if you’re anything like me you will love this book.  It has everything I want in a novel.  I loved the small town American feel of it, I loved how the author has used the nation’s love of true crime to give it a more authentic edge, I loved the plot and I loved the characters.  This is turning into an epic year of reading for me; nearly every book I pick up just blows me away!  And that includes The Innocent Wife.

Notorious convicted killer, Dennis Danson, comes to Sam’s attention when questions begin to be raised over the evidence and trial used to convict him and send him to death row.  An online group start petitioning for his release claiming the Red River Police got the wrong man.  Sam does what any normal (!) 30-something would do in this situation and starts corresponding with Dennis.  Before long a strong bond is formed between them and Dennis sends a visiting order.  Sam drops everything, packs her bags and flies off to Altoona Prison to meet Dennis in person, hoping he’s everything his letters lead her to believe he is.  After an awkward start, the couple relax into each others company and before long Sam has extended her visa to allow her to visit Dennis on a regular basis.  Then he’s released and everything changes.  Sam is married to a man she hardly knows.  And what’s more, what she was once certain of, she’s not anymore…

Character, character, character.  I flipping love a bunch of fascinating people!  I really felt for Sam.  I could feel her loneliness, her need to be loved and adored which emanated from the page.  I also found her a little frustrating at times because I wanted her to stop being so drippy and ‘woman-up’ a bit.  That didn’t stop me from wanting to read Sam’s story though.  She intrigued me.  I also loved the mysterious Dennis, although I doubt very much I was supposed to!  There was something quite dark and dangerous about him and that appealed. Other characters were great too such as the true crime documentary filmmaker, Carrie, who welcomes Sam to the US with open arms and then becomes her guardian angel.  She just knows Dennis is innocent and will do everything in her power to prove it.

Would I recommend this book?  I would, yes.  It’s a delicious slow burn of a read and I loved it!  I was absolutely fascinated to see where the story was going to go and I wasn’t at all disappointed.  Gripping, unnerving and it ticked so many boxes for me.  I would not hesitate to pick up another book by Amy Lloyd.  In fact, I can’t wait to read more from this author! Highly recommended.

I chose to read and review an eARC of The Innocent Wife.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd was published in the UK by Arrow Publishing on 4th October 2018 in paperback, hardcover, audio and eBook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukamazon.comWaterstonesBookDepositoryGoodreads |

about-the-author3

amy lloyd.jpgAmy Lloyd studied English and Creative Writing at Cardiff Metropolitan University. In 2016 she won the Daily Mail Bestseller Competition for her debut novel The Innocent Wife which, when it was published, became a Sunday Times top ten bestseller. Amy lives in Cardiff with her partner, who is also a published novelist.

Author Links:TwitterFacebook |

 

#BookReview: The Chain by Adrian McKinty @orionbooks @orion_crime @Tr4cyF3nt0n #TheChain #DontBreaktheChain #damppebbles

the chain.jpg“VICTIM.
SURVIVOR.
ABDUCTOR.
CRIMINAL.
YOU WILL BECOME EACH ONE.

YOUR PHONE RINGS.

A STRANGER HAS KIDNAPPED YOUR CHILD.

TO FREE THEM YOU MUST ABDUCT SOMEONE ELSE’S CHILD.

YOUR CHILD WILL BE RELEASED WHEN YOUR VICTIM’S PARENTS KIDNAP ANOTHER CHILD.

IF ANY OF THESE THINGS DON’T HAPPEN:
YOUR CHILD WILL BE KILLED.”

YOU ARE NOW PART OF THE CHAIN

I am delighted to welcome you to the blog today and to my stop on The Chain by Adrian McKinty blog tour.  I was given a free ARC copy of The Chain but that has in no way influenced my review.  My thanks to Leanne Oliver at Orion Books for being able to read minds and know this was a book I was desperate to get my mitts on and to Tracy Fenton for the blog tour invite.  This book is a corker.

I spend an awful lot of time on Twitter.  I’m not ashamed of that.  It’s part of being a book blogger and part of the job I do.  There are LOTS of books on Twitter.  It’s a total book-haven with something for everyone.  With that in mind, there are books I see and they don’t interest me (don’t get me wrong, I wish every success to the authors, publishers and everyone else involved – it’s just that I’m a psychological thriller and crime lover and if it doesn’t fall into that category then I let it pass me by).  Then there are the books I see and I know that I HAVE TO READ THEM.  Should I shout that a little louder? I KNOW I HAVE TO READ THEM!  The Chain by Adrian McKinty was one such book.  I saw a GIF.  The deal was done…

How often do you feel like you have a connection with a book before you’ve even read it?  To any of my blogger friends reading this, you may recognise this feeling.  Everyone is talking about a certain book and then the FOMO kicks in and you know you HAVE to read it.  It happens to me a few times a year.  And then the poor book sits on my shelf gathering dust for….well, however long it takes me to remember how much I REALLY wanted to read it.  The ‘gathering dust phase’ didn’t happen with The Chain.  I started reading it the same day it arrived.  I HAD to read this book immediately. I’m not even sure the book was completely out of the envelope before I made a start…

That premise.  How can you resist that premise? I know I couldn’t.  Are chain letters still a thing? I remember receiving a few when I was younger.  They didn’t invoke any kind of fear or compulsion in me.  The only thing they evoked was the desire to chuck the thing in the bin.  But what if the message you received meant your child had been kidnapped?  What if the only way to get your child back was to kidnap another child? And so on and so forth (#DontBreaktheChain).  To save your child you must become a kidnapper and turn another family’s life upside-down causing fear, heartache and untold trauma to so many.  And what if breaking the chain meant your child would die…?

That’s exactly the situation single mum, Rachel finds herself in after allowing her 13-year-old daughter, Kylie, to walk to the bus stop alone.  And there begins Rachel’s nightmare and the start of a compelling, high energy tale about the bad things good people are capable of doing when put under extreme amounts of pressure.  I loved it! It’s got everything you want; likeable and unlikeable characters (actually, the bad guys are pretty despicable characters in all fairness) and a flawless hook that won’t let you go even when you should really be doing ‘life stuff’.  Plus the writing is just wonderful.  Really, really top notch.

I really felt for Rachel but I’m still not sure if I liked her.  I kept wincing as another terrible scenario or choice was forced upon her.  If I could have read the book from behind my hands then I would have done.  Rachel was frequently put into impossible situations and I eagerly watched as she made the only decision she could whilst shaking my head and muttering ‘noooooooo…’ under my breath.  All the time reminding myself that ‘it’s just a book, it’s not real!’.  Exactly how far would YOU go to save your child?

Would I recommend this book? I certainly would.  It’s like nothing else you’ve read before and it will leave its mark on you.  The story is gripping from start to finish and the ending is very satisfying.  I wanted to race through this book yet savour every moment.  I haven’t read a book by Adrian McKinty before but I can guarantee The Chain won’t be the last title I pick up by this author.  A terrifying, edge-of-your-seat read which I highly recommend.  The Chain is going to be massive!

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

The Chain by Adrian McKinty was published in the UK by Orion Books on 9th July 2019 and is available in hardcover, audio and ebook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukamazon.comWaterstones | BookDepositoryGoodreads |

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about-the-author3

adrian mckinty.jpgAdrian McKinty is a crime novelist from Belfast, Northern Ireland.

His books have won the Edgar Award, the Anthony Award, the Ned Kelly Award and the Barry Award. Adrian is also a two time Dagger nominee and shortlistee for the Theakston Crime Novel of the Year.

He studied law at Warwick University and philosophy at Oxford University before emigrating to New York City in the mid 90s.

Author Links:TwitterWebsiteFacebook |

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #BookBlogger Ivana (@TheNovelette) #TheWritersBlock #damppebbles

Happy Monday! I hope the week ahead is full of brilliant books (and if you’re heading to Harrogate later this week then I’ll see you there!).  There’s a good chance I’ll be adding to your terrifying TBR today as I’m delighted to bring you another fantastic #R3COMM3ND3D2018 post! Today I am thrilled to welcome Ivana of The Writer’s Block to damppebbles to share her three top picks from 2018.

But first, let me explain what #R3COMM3ND3D is all about. #R3COMM3ND3D is a chance for bookish types to share the book love. Three books from one year that they really must shout about.  At the moment we’re concentrating on books published last year but come 1st November we’ll be all about 2019.  If you would like to take part then please pop your books, the reasons why you love them and your social media details on the form below.

Without further ado, here are Ivana’s choices…

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Hangman by Jack Heath
This book was just captivating, shocking, entertaining, perhaps THE best reading experience I have ever had!! (I gave it a 7-Star Review it was just that amazing!)

the date

The Date by Louise Jensen
Bookouture Books are just awesome! This book keeps you guessing until the very end! I always like that!

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#FashionVictim by Amina Akhtar
This book was dark humor, fashion culture, pop culture references, psychological thriller, and murder on steroids!! Which made it so, so good!! One of the best books I have ever read!

Great choices, Ivana – thank you! Hangman is going straight onto the wish list and it’s great to see The Date by Louise Jensen make another appearance.

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

Hangman by Jack HeathThe Date by Louise Jensen#FashionVictim by Amina Akhtar |

About Ivana:
Book Blogger, Book Trailer Creator, Virtual Book Festival Organizer.

Ivana’s Social Media Links:
The Writer’s Block Twitter @TheNovelette |

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)

#BlogTour | #GuestReview: Godlefe’s Cuckoo by Bill Todd (@williamjtodd) #GodlefesCuckoo #damppebbles @cobaltdinosaur

D6 - GODLEFES CUCKOO Cover - L“Danny Lancaster has been missing since the fishing boat exploded.

Police are closing their inquiry but Wanda Lovejoy continues her campaign to find the truth.

An evil man kept alive by machines nurses a corrosive hate. As drugs and disease pull his dying mind apart he throws his crime empire into a scorched earth quest to find one man.

If Danny Lancaster isn’t dead he soon will be!”

Happy weekend bookish friends and welcome to damppebbles.  Once again, I am handing the reins of the blog over to my guest reviewer (my husband, Ryan) who is going to share his thoughts on the sixth book in Bill Todd’s Danny Lancaster series, Godlefe’s Cuckoo, with you.

So without further ado, here’s Ryan’s review:

OK I admit I skipped a book.  Book 4 to Book 6 doesn’t sound the worst crime, does it? I mean what could go wrong, how much backstory, character development, death and destruction could I really have missed?

Well, before I tell you too much I must say I have written this review before the review for book 5 in the series has been published. But the strange answer appears to be zero.  In fact the book appears to directly follow on from Rock Hard, with Danny struggling to come to terms with his body and mind after the fishing boat explosion.

The book is intriguing from multiple angles. Firstly there is the struggle that Danny is going through. Where will it take him and will he still be the damaged but ultimately good character we have loved throughout the series?  Then there is the second element; the enemy.  Who knows when they will give up looking for him.

Donald Rumsfeld made headlines with his “known knowns and known unknowns” speech and this book turned my mind to that often.  For instance, if an enemy wants you dead and doesn’t know if you are dead or not, when do they stop?  In the case of Danny’s enemies in this book the answer is clear – “when there is proof”.  Reading this book as a standalone you may feel the enemies push too hard, and are prepared to go to extreme lengths.  But in the context of the series it feels a natural extension.

The same can be said for Danny’s allies. Will they support someone they don’t know is alive?  Will they?  Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out!

I enjoyed Godlefe’s Cuckoo. Once again it was a good read for relaxing into and letting the action and suspense play out.  The characters by book 6 are becoming well formed but there were good new additions, in his ‘rescuers’, further development of Wanda and of course the ever baffled police.

Well written, fast moving and characters you can like or loathe. This is the perfect read for those that don’t want gritty reality forced down their kindle each morning.  The title confused me at first but as you read the book you understand the historical relevance.  A great read from Bill Todd and I look forward to reading more.

Ryan chose to read and review a free copy of Godlefe’s Cuckoo. The above review is his own unbiased opinion.

Godlefe’s Cuckoo by Bill Todd was published in the UK by DLE Fiction on 15th March 2018 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.ukamazon.comGoodreads |

The Danny Lancaster Blog Tour

about-the-author3

2017-12-20 15.50.35Bill is a journalist and travel writer who has visited more than 40 countries from the white wastes of Arctic Finland to the ancient deserts of Namibia. He loves a good wilderness. He received the Ed Lacy travel award in 2007.

Bill has written six crime thrillers featuring soldier-turned-investigator Danny Lancaster and was startled and delighted to be voted one of the 100 best crime authors in the WH Smith readers’ poll in 2015. He’s also written three short factual military histories. He lives to write although keyboard time has been cut lately with the arrival of grandson Theo.

Author Links: | Twitter | Facebook | Website | Instagram |

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #Author Russell Day (@rfdaze) @fahrenheitpress #InkToAshes #damppebbles

Happy Friday! It’s nearly the weekend, phew.  Welcome to damppebbles and to another cracking #R3COMM3ND3D2018 post. Today I am delighted to welcome author Russell Day to the blog.  I read and reviewed Russell’s debut novel, Needle Song, last year and thoroughly enjoyed it.  The fabulous folk at Fahrenheit Press have recently published the second book in Russell’s Doc Slidesmith series, Ink to Ashes, and I can’t wait to get my mitts on a copy.  I’ll tell you a little about it later.

But first, if you’re new to damppebbles or you’ve not heard of #R3COMM3ND3D before, then allow me to explain.  #R3COMM3ND3D is a chance for bookish types to share the book love.  Three amazing books all published in the same year.  We’re currently working our way through 2018s recommendations but make sure you look out for #R3COMM3ND3D2019 which will start in November.

Without further ado, here are Russell’s 2018 picks…

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Stoned Love by Ian Patrick
I don’t like my heroes squeaky clean and Ian Patrick’s protagonist is anything but. Batford’s a dirty cop and a man wearing his welcome thin on both sides of the law; I love characters like that. Another factor in choosing this book was the authenticity of its voice. Ian Patrick’s an ex-cop with almost three decades of service under his belt. It shows in his writing, you don’t so much read his novels as experience them. I defy anyone to put this book down once they’ve opened it.

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A Dead American in Paris (Salazar Mysteries #2) by Seth Lynch
This novel’s set in Paris, in 1931, which makes it an odd choice for me to recommend. I generally like to read stories set in contemporary times. The trick Seth Lynch pulls off so well is building the setting around the reader so thoroughly that Europe between the wars feels like home. Not a happy home exactly, but you can’t have it all. Something about the tone of this book puts me in mind of J G Ballard’s novel High Rise; everything is familiar and alien at the same time. This is one of the most evocative books I’ve read this year.

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Chainsaw by John Bender
Some books are meant to be read totally at face value. Chainsaw is one of them. It’s pure pulp from start to finish, proud and unashamed. Blood soaked, gore splattered and mad as a box of frogs, it follows the misadventures of two redneck scumbags and a stolen chainsaw. What you see is exactly what you get. You will love it or hate it; John Bender doesn’t write for the middle ground.

I love your choices, Russell.  I’ve read the first of Ian Patrick’s Sam Batford books and loved it. I have Seth Lynch’s Salazar books on my TBR and Chainsaw is going straight onto the wishlist!

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

Stoned Love by Ian PatrickA Dead American in Paris by Seth LynchChainsaw by John Bender |

About Ink to Ashes:
ink to ashes.jpgDoc Slidesmith & Yakky return in a brand new adventure. Dago, president of The Handsome London Boys Motorcycle Club and one of Doc’s oldest friends, has died in an apparent accident. Before he can be laid to rest though, his wife makes an unusual request, one which Yakky fulfils with characteristic stoicism. The funeral is a particularly tense affair and it becomes clear to Doc that there’s more going on than initially meets the eye. All is clearly not well within the ranks of The Handsome London Boys and when Doc starts asking questions about the circumstances of Dago’s accident and the disappearance of a young pledger, he and Yakky find themselves being dragged into the secretive and potentially dangerous world of the ‘one-percenters’. Doc & Yakky need to tread very carefully if they’re going to ensure the truth is revealed, justice is served – and they both get out of this alive.

Fahrenheit Pressamazon.co.ukamazon.com |

About Russell Day:
Scruffy, hairy-arsed biker. I occasionally take time out from getting tattooed, eating curry and falling off motorcycles, to write crime fiction. Author of NEEDLE SONG and INK TO ASHES (both published by Fahrenheit Press). Winner of the 2018 Crime Writer’s Association Margery Allingham Short Story Competition.

Russell’s Social Media Links:
Twitter @rfdaze |

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)

#BlogTour | #GuestReview: Rock Hard by Bill Todd (@williamjtodd) #DannyLancaster #RockHard #damppebbles @cobaltdinosaur

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“When Danny Lancaster gets a call from an old friend it’s a chance to swap his troubles in Brighton for a sunshine reunion in Gibraltar. He hasn’t seen Pogo since Afghanistan. They have war stories to retell, beers to drink. But Pogo is broke, sick and in trouble. It started with smuggling cigarettes. Now his Russian boss has taken on a dangerous job for a mystery businessman. A priceless package must be smuggled into Europe across the narrow straits from Africa. But unseen eyes are watching, lives are in danger. A game of Russian roulette is just the start of a deadly clash where two continents meet. And Danny must make a decision. How far do you go to help the man who saved your life?”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles today. Today I’m handing the blog over to my guest reviewer (that’s the husband for anyone who doesn’t know!) who is sharing his thoughts on the fourth book in the Danny Lancaster series, Rock Hard by Bill Todd. Make sure you join him again on Saturday when he’ll be reviewing book six, Godlefe’s Cuckoo.

Ryan’s Review:
So…Danny Lancaster eh! Heading off to Gibraltar to meet his troubled ex-Army friend? What could possibly go wrong?

As you’ve probably picked up from this week’s reviews Danny Lancaster is a bit of a trouble magnet, wherever he goes a degree of chaos seems to follow. So when Danny lands in Gibraltar, a tiny territory of 2.6 square miles, the locals should have been getting worried! Danny has gone to Gibraltar to help his old army mate Pogo, who has fallen on hard times since they served together in Afghan. He has gotten himself involved with some dirty business and wants Danny to help him get back on to the right side of the tracks.

Gibraltar was a great setting for this book, the small location added a suffocating tightness to the drama. Bill Todd moves on the story on at a fast pace and you are never sure where the author is leading his characters. Todd’s characters in this book are pitched just right for an action thriller that keeps rolling. No long self indulgent reflection but enough background shared to draw emotion and make the motivation clear. The crime bosses are kept slightly mysterious even when close to the action, pushing the rest of the gang in the right direction (or worse, if needed) but keeping themselves hidden enough from the reader that you make assumptions on what is going to happen next.

As the end of the book approached there were some twists which I will not disclose here to avoid spoiling future readers enjoyment. The ending was also a surprise and provided a sharp end to the book which some may feel was too sudden, whilst others may rush to the next in the series to find out what happens next.

Would I recommend the Danny Lancaster books? Yes, they are easy to read, fast moving and contain an easy to like lead character. Join me again on Saturday when I review Godlefe’s Cuckoo and find out if I enjoyed that one just as much….

Ryan chose to read and review a free copy of Rock Hard. The above review is his own unbiased opinion.

Rock Hard by Bill Todd was published in UK by DLE Fiction on 26th November 2013 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 | Goodreads |

The Danny Lancaster Blog Tour

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Bill is a journalist and travel writer who has visited more than 40 countries from the white wastes of Arctic Finland to the ancient deserts of Namibia. He loves a good wilderness. He received the Ed Lacy travel award in 2007.

Bill has written six crime thrillers featuring soldier-turned-investigator Danny Lancaster and was startled and delighted to be voted one of the 100 best crime authors in the WH Smith readers’ poll in 2015. He’s also written three short factual military histories. He lives to write although keyboard time has been cut lately with the arrival of grandson Theo.

Author Links: | Twitter | Facebook | Website | Instagram |

#BookReview: The Dark Room by Jonathan Moore @orionbooks #TheDarkRoom #damppebbles #15BooksofSummer (5/15)

the dark room.jpgThey thought they’d buried their secrets 
Homicide inspector Gavin Cain is standing by a grave when he gets the call. Cain knows there’s something terrible in the coffin they’re about to exhume. He and his team have received a dying man’s confession and it has led them here.

But death doesn’t guarantee silence
Cain is summoned by Mayor Castelli, who has been sent sinister photographs of a woman that he claims he doesn’t know and a note threatening that worse are on their way.

And now light will be shone on a very dark place…
As Cain tries to identify the woman in the pictures, and looks into the mayor’s past, he finds himself being drawn towards a situation as horrifying and as full of secrets as the grave itself.”

Welcome to damppebbles. I am delighted today to be sharing my review of The Dark Room by Jonathan Moore which I have selected as one of my #15BooksofSummer challenge reads.  The Dark Room was published by Orion Books on 27th July 2017 and is available in paperback, audio and ebook formats. I received an eARC of The Dark Room but this has in no way influenced my review.

I read Jonathan Moore’s The Poison Artist back in 2017 and thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was whilst sharing that review that a fellow book blogger, someone whose opinion I really respect, suggested I give The Dark Room a go.  Unfortunately, due to being the slowest of readers and having a burgeoning NetGalley TBR, I have only recently gotten around to it.  The Dark Room felt a little different to The Poison Artist in tone but is still a very enjoyable read.

Inspector Gavin Cain of the San Francisco Police Department is about to get some answers as he stands by the recently exhumed grave of a thirty-year-old corpse.  That is until his Lieutenant calls and orders him to the Mayor’s Office – she’s sending a chopper and there’s no time to waste.  Cain arrives, is introduced to Mayor Castelli and takes what seems like an instant dislike to the man.  The Mayor confides that he has received a number of potentially incriminating photographs in the post along with a threatening note.  These are the first four snaps.  There are another eight to come.  The note suggests that maybe the Mayor would like to commit suicide before the photographs fall into the wrong hands and he is exposed.  Castelli claims to not know who the woman is and wants Cain to discover her identity.  But the Mayor is hiding something and the further back into the Mayor’s past Cain digs, the more secrets he uncovers…

This is a slow burn, noirish thriller set in San Francisco.  The slow drip of information as you watch the case unfold and as Cain joins the dots makes it an enjoyable read.  Helped along by the wonderful setting and the fascinating characters.  And, having read this author before, I can safely say he likes to throw the odd shock twist into the story to give his readers a bit of a start.  Cain is an interesting chap and one I would happily read more of if this were a series (it’s not, it’s a standalone).  He’s a very experienced SFPD Inspector and takes no bull (not even from the Mayor or his Lieutenant).  I don’t feel the reader really gets to know him though.  You learn so much more about his partner, piano teacher Lucy, than you do about him.  Maybe he’s meant to be more of an enigma – after all, there’s only so far you can go with a character when they feature in only one book.  Other characters in the book are well drawn, particularly the Mayor’s daughter, Alexa, who drove me crazy.

The ending absolutely fitted the story and it was the right way for the author to go but I was left feeling a little disappointed.  I think that says more about me than the writing though.  I wanted something a little more showy, more of a BANG than what we’re given.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes.  It’s an absorbing police procedural which pulls you in from start to finish – you just HAVE to know how this one is going to end.  If you’re a fan of a slower paced crime read with a cast of intriguing characters then absolutely, you will enjoy this book.  Recommended.

I chose to read and review an eARC of The Dark Room.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

The Dark Room by Jonathan Moore was published in the UK by Orion Books on 27th July 2017 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.comWaterstonesBookDepository | Goodreads |

15 books of summer

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jonathan-moore.jpgJonathan Moore is a Bram Stoker Award nominated author of five novels. His third novel, THE POISON ARTIST, was a selection of the BBC Radio 2 Book Club. His novels have been translated into seven languages.

Before graduating from law school in New Orleans, he lived in Taiwan for three years, guided whitewater raft trips on the Rio Grande, and worked as an investigator for a criminal defense attorney in Washington, D.C. He has also been an English teacher, a bar owner, a counsellor at a wilderness camp for juvenile delinquents, and a textbook writer.

Author Links: Facebook | Twitter | Website |