#R3COMM3ND3D2022 The After Show Party #BookBlogger #Author #Bookstagram #writingcommunity #bookcommunity #Publishedin2022 #MustReadBooks #booktwt #WhatToRead #damppebbles #BookRecommendations #amreading #amreviewing

Hello bookish friends and welcome to the social highlight of the year (🤔 if I keep saying it, it must be true, right?!), the #R3COMM3ND3D2022 after show party! The annual-ish recap of everything #R3COMM3ND3D where we get to gaze fondly upon the books that were chosen by twenty-nine brilliant bookish types (plus me) and announce the winner or…*audible gasp*…winners!

Of course, if you’re new to the blog you may be wondering what #R3COMM3ND3D is, so allow me to explain. 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 2022.

Waaaaaay back at the start of November book blogger Lorna of On The Shelf Reviews kicked things off for us with three cracking recommendations. By the time the feature finished on 30th November thirty days had passed and twenty-nine brilliant bookish folk (plus me) had recommended the grand total of 86 books. Eighty-six recommendations is pretty epic, right? Particularly as this year’s #R3C was a shortened, mini version.

So, let’s gaze upon the beautiful #R3COMM3ND3D2022 covers in all their splendiferous glory. Aren’t they gorgeous?!

A thing of beauty, I’m sure you’ll agree! If you took part in #R3COMM3ND3D2022 and the books you chose aren’t here then please get in touch.

You can read all of the individual posts by clicking HERE and scrolling down to 2022 or, if the thought of scrolling feels like a lot of effort, click HERE instead.

But let’s talk winners and find out what the most #R3COMM3ND3D book, or books, of 2022 were. A combination of a much shorter #R3C and the high quality of reading material published this year meant that there wasn’t a lot of opportunity for one book to rise above the rest. So 2022’s most #R3COMM3ND3D book is actually FOUR books! I give you our #R3COMM3ND3D2022 winners – the most recommended books of the year!

🏆 Huge congratulations to The Girl from Guernica by Karen Robards (MIRA), Nothing Else by Louise Beech (Orenda Books), Love and Other Human Errors by Bethany Clift (Hodder & Stoughton) and WAKE by Shelley Burr (Hodder & Stoughton) 🏆

Four very deserving titles which I hope you’ll keep an eye out for and add to your reading list at the first opportunity. One of these beauties I’ve read, the other three are going straight on the TBR. Have you read any of these cracking novels? What about the other #R3COMM3ND3D2022 books? How many do you have on your TBR? Let me know in the comments!

#R3COMM3ND3D will return next year in the form of #R3COMM3ND3D2023 (🤩) and you can help influence how it will run! If you’ve taken part in #R3COMM3ND3D since it began in 2017 and have 20 seconds to spare, please complete this survey (it’s so short, blink and you’ll miss it!): https://forms.gle/gBCgTVVwwhtLmQ4q7

The biggest of thanks to all of the book bloggers, bookstagrammers and authors who took part in #R3COMM3ND3D2022 and whittled their favourite reads down to three (an impossible task, I know!). Thank you for all of the likes, retweets, shares and comments – every single one is always appreciated. And enormous thanks to everyone who has filled in the survey so far (all six of you 😂). I’m hugely grateful for your feedback and the incredibly kind comments about the feature (although there is NO pressure to add a comment – you can skip that bit if you’re in a hurry).

Your support means everything to me and I’ll be forever grateful for the love a crazy idea I had six years ago has received from the book community. Book people really are THE BEST PEOPLE! 💜💜💜

Now’s let paaaarrrrtttttty!

Paul Rudd Reaction GIF by Saturday Night Live

WWW Wednesday | 7th December 2022 #WWWWednesday #bookblogger #amreading #BookTwitter #booktwt #damppebbles

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading.

The Three Ws are:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

Dead Man’s Creek by Chris Hammer
Old bones sink – but secrets always rise to the surface.

Newly-minted homicide detective Nell Buchanan returns to her hometown, annoyed at being assigned a decades-old murder – a ‘file and forget’.

But this is no ordinary cold case, her arrival provoking an unwelcome and threatening response from the small-town community. As more bodies are discovered, and she begins to question how well she truly knows those closest to her, Nell realises that finding the truth could prove more difficult – and dangerous – than she’d ever expected.

The nearer Nell comes to uncovering the secrets of the past, the more treacherous her path becomes. Can she survive to root out the truth, and what price will she have to pay for it?

Gripping and atmospheric, Dead Man’s Creek is a stunning multi-layered thriller from Chris Hammer, the award-winning author of Sunday Times Crime Book of the Year Scrublands (2019) and Times Crime Book of the Month Opal Country (January 2022).


What did you recently finish reading?

Black Widows by Cate Quinn
Aged nineteen, devout Rachel marries fundamentalist Mormon, Blake Nelson, and moves to a remote homestead in rural Utah. Isolated and alone, Rachel obeys her husband’s advice to keep sweet and prepare for End of Days.

Soon after their disappointing wedding night, Blake takes his second wife – emotionally-troubled, jailbait, Emily. Though it’s not until the arrival of third wife Tina, a reformed junkie-stripper from Vegas, that the bitter rivalry sets in.

Out in the desert, the only thing the sister-wives have in common is an obsession with their righteous husband. Until, that is, Blake’s body is found, brutally murdered near his favourite fishing spot, his wedding finger missing.

As police dig deeper, it seems a hot-bed of bitter tensions bubble beneath the pious Mormon exterior. Blake’s sister-wives just couldn’t keep sweet. But which was capable of murder?

Inspired by true events, this gripping tale of religious polygamy peeks under the covers of a real-life Mormon fundamentalist cult.


What do you think you’ll read next?

Kill For It by Lizzie Fry
How far would you go for the thing you want most?
Would you… kill for it?

Cat Crawford is not especially good at her job.

Erin Goodman is the woman Cat wants to be when she’s older – smart, successful, and the best part? She’s earned it – nothing was ever handed to Erin on a plate, or to Cat.

But Erin doesn’t notice Cat. Not until something awful happens and Cat, finding herself in the right place at the right time, writes the article that goes viral. Now she’s got Erin’s attention.

The difference is, Cat knows Erin is onto her. And Cat is more than happy to toy with her colleague, especially if it gets her an even bigger story to report on.

In the game of cat and mouse, there can be only one winner.

#BlogTour | #BookReview: Nobody But Us by Laure Van Rensburg @MichaelJBooks #NobodyButUs #damppebbles

“He’s a well-respected college professor. She’s a young and eager-to-please student.

He knows she would do anything for him. She knows his certainty is his weakness

He thinks he’ll get what he wants. She thinks he’ll get exactly what he needs.

Two liars.
One twisted path.
A game of cat and mouse.
BUT WHO IS THE HUNTER? AND WHO IS THE PREY?”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of Nobody But Us by Laure Van Rensburg. Nobody But Us was published by Penguin Michael Joseph in paperback format on 10th November 2022. I chose to read and review a free ARC of Nobody But Us but that has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to Jen and Sriya at Penguin Michael Joseph for sending me a proof copy.

THIS BOOK! As soon as I laid eyes on Laure Van Rensburg’s debut thriller I knew I had to read it. That cover is glorious, the blurb is so utterly intriguing and the tagline was pretty unforgettable – meet 2022’s most f*cked up couple! I couldn’t wait to get stuck into Nobody But Us and oh boy, it delivered on every count and more.

Ellie and Steven have finally managed to find a gap in their busy schedules to get away for a few days and celebrate their six month anniversary. They’re heading to an isolated cabin in the woods, many miles away from the hustle and bustle of New York. It will be the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time together and really get to know each other. A perfect weekend for a perfect couple. Except, that’s not quite the truth. Ellie and Steven are far from perfect. They both have secrets. They’re both liars…

Dark and intoxicating, Nobody But Us is an exquisite yet deeply unsettling read which pulled me into its pages instantly and didn’t let go until the brutal end. The tension the author conveys is palpable. I felt as though I was on a precipice and at any moment the ground could fall away beneath my feet. Who would make it out of the cabin alive? Would either of them? Both of them? Neither of them? The drama was pinpoint sharp, the dance of these two adversaries towards the denouement, full of danger and anger, was utterly compelling. I didn’t want to be parted from this story for any amount of time but when I was, it was ALL I could think about.

Told in the present with flashbacks to the past, the author ensures the reader gets the full uncomfortable picture of what led these two characters to this point. And with a small cast of characters we really get to know the bones of Van Rensburg’s creations. The propulsive plot and with suspense building throughout it felt as though I was watching a movie play out before me. Precariously balanced on the edge of my seat and with my heart in my mouth.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. Nobody But Us is an exceptional debut and I’m excited to see what this author publishes next. Very unsettling, hugely character driven – just how I like my thrillers – and near impossible to be parted from for any length of time. The pace of the novel draws the reader into the story and puts you on edge immediately. You never really know what direction the author is going to take next and as an avid reader of thrillers, that is a wonderful thing! I loved the isolated setting (also a fan of thrillers where help is nowhere near) and the perfectly placed twists and turns. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed Nobody But Us. I found it refreshing, sophisticated and utterly captivating. Highly recommended.

I chose to read and review a free ARC of Nobody But Us. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Nobody But Us by Laure Van Rensburg was published in the UK by Penguin Michael Joseph on 10th November 2022 and is available in hardcover, paperback, audio and digital formats (please note, 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.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | bookshop.org | Goodreads | damppebbles bookshop.org shop | damppebbles amazon.co.uk shop | damppebbles amazon.com shop |

Laure Van RensburgLaure Van Rensburg is a French writer living in the UK and an Ink Academy alumna. Her stories have appeared in online magazines and anthologies such as Litro Magazine, Storgy Magazine, The Real Jazz Baby (2020 Best Anthology, Saboteur Awards 2020), and FIVE:2:ONE. She has also placed in competitions including 2018 & 2019 Bath Short Story Award.

#BookReview: Bone White by Ronald Malfi @KensingtonBooks #BoneWhite #damppebbles

“A landscape of frozen darkness punctuated by grim, gray days.
The feeling like a buzz in your teeth.

The scrape of bone on bone. . .

Paul Gallo saw the report on the news: a mass murderer leading police to his victims graves, in remote Dread s Hand, Alaska.

It’s not even a town; more like the bad memory of a town. The same bit of wilderness where his twin brother went missing a year ago. As the bodies are exhumed, Paul travels to Alaska to get closure and put his grief to rest.

But the mystery is only beginning. What Paul finds are superstitious locals who talk of the devil stealing souls, and a line of wooden crosses to keep what s in the woods from coming out. He finds no closure because no one can explain exactly what happened to Danny.

And the more he searches for answers, the more he finds himself becoming part of the mystery. . .”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of Bone White by Ronald Malfi. Bone White was published by Kensington Publishing on 25th July 2017 and is available in paperback, audio and digital formats.

In the last couple of years I have become a huge fan of Ronald Malfi’s writing. So much so, the author’s latest book – Black Mouth – was one of the three books I chose for my #R3COMM3ND3D2022 post yesterday. Both Come With Me and Black Mouth are exceptional, unforgettable horror reads which I strongly recommend you pick up if you’re a fan of the genre. And if you’re a lover of short stories you won’t go wrong with Ghostwritten which is also excellent. So of course I was going to delve into this author’s back catalogue and visit a few of their earlier books. Bone White is the first of Malfi’s earlier books I have managed to get a copy of. But based on my enjoyment of this, and the author’s more recent works, it certainly won’t be the last!

When a bedraggled yet vaguely familiar face makes an unexpected appearance in the local diner one night muttering and covered in blood, the locals of Dread’s Hand are shocked. When he speaks of killing people and willingly leads detectives to the burial site, the spotlight falls on the small Alaskan town. Paul Gallo is desperate to find his twin brother Danny whose last known location was on the outskirts of Dread’s Hand. Seeing the news reports of the serial killer and watching the footage of the forensic teams excavating the burial site is too much for Paul. He packs a bag and heads straight to Alaska. But on arrival Paul discovers Dread’s Hand is like no other town. The locals are hostile and secretive, no one speaks of the horrors uncovered in the woods and he can’t help but notice the lines of crosses placed near the edge of the woodland. To find closure Paul needs to discover if his brother was one of the serial killer’s victims. But Dread’s Hand and its strange residents aren’t going to make life easy for him…

Bone White once again proves to the reader what an exceptionally talented writer Ronald Malfi is. The setting, the characters and the plot couldn’t have been any better. They were moulded and sculpted into the best versions of themselves giving the reader an unforgettable reading experience. It seems to be something this author achieves time and time again. I saw some similarities between the town in Black Mouth and Dread’s Hand. The thing that stood out the most though was how Dread’s Hand is as much a character in the story as Paul, or Detective Jill Ryerson are. It felt as though it was a living, breathing, terrifying thing which I, of course, LOVED!

The plot is well paced keeping the reader within the story and turning the pages late into the night. Although, the more I progressed into the book, the more unsure I became about reading just before bed. Paul’s story is a chilling, creepy one with a well-written sense of impending doom which had me imagining all sorts of nasties before I turned out the light!

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. If you’re a horror reader and you haven’t experienced Bone White then that needs to change. Paul is a such a well-crafted character that he felt real to me. I could feel his grief, his desire for answers no matter what that meant, for closure of any description. And despite the last turbulent years of their relationship, the strong brotherly bond between the twins. I loved the small town feel of the novel, the way the community turned their back on Paul and the isolation he experienced. This is another cracking novel from a favourite author of mine who excels at writing the three key elements of a novel: place, character and plot. The author really knows how to tell a riveting and compulsive story. Reading a Ronald Malfi novel is always an experience, a memorable one at that, and I don’t think as readers we can ask for anything more! Highly recommended.

Bone White by Ronald Malfi was published by Kensington Publishing on 25th July 2017 and is available in paperback, audio and digital formats (please note, 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.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | bookshop.org | Goodreads | damppebbles bookshop.org shop | damppebbles amazon.co.uk shop | damppebbles amazon.com shop |

Ronald Damien MalfiRonald Malfi is the award-winning author of several horror novels, mysteries, and thrillers. He is the recipient of two Independent Publisher Book Awards, the Beverly Hills Book Award, the Vincent Preis Horror Award, the Benjamin Franklin Award, and his novel Floating Staircase was a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Maryland and tweets at @RonaldMalfi

#R3COMM3ND3D2022 with Me! #BookBlogger Emma @damppebbles #BookRecommendations #publishedin2022 #booktwt #whattoread #damppebbles

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. It’s so lovely to see you! I hope your Wednesday is going well so far. It’s day 30 of #R3COMM3ND3D2022 and the final day of this year’s series 😭 I can’t believe it’s over already! The last month has flown past but what a beautiful book-filled month it’s been. I’ve enjoyed every single moment of #R3COMM3ND3D2022 and I hope you have too, as well as adding a few books here and there to your TBR!

I decided to change a few things about #R3C this year and moved the deadline for submissions from December to early November. As a result, I wasn’t quite able to fill all 30 spots. So today, dear reader, I’ll be sharing my own three #R3COMM3ND3D2022 picks. We were so close. A mere squeak away, but I see that as a positive thing as I now get to talk to you about three books I LOVED this year. But first…

As mentioned, I made a few changes to #R3C this year and I would love to hear your thoughts about the shortened version. If you’ve taken part in #R3COMM3ND3D at any point over the last six years I would be enormously grateful if you could complete this very short survey. I promise it won’t take very long. There are only four questions and they’re multiple choice: https://forms.gle/ZLAt6WyyWBGtjjai6

So, what is #R3COMM3ND3D2022? It’s about sharing the book love. It’s a chance for authors, book bloggers, reviewers 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 2022. To make things interesting there are a couple of teeny, tiny rules; 1) the book must have FIRST been published in 2022 and 2) special editions and reissues do not count. I like to keep you lovely people on your toes 😉

Here are the three books I recommend…

WAKE by Shelley Burr
Oh. My. Word! I loved this book. Atmospheric, packed full of mystery and brimming with suspense. It’s an absolutely glorious debut which consumed my days and had me blurry eyed in the morning after staying up far too late to finish it! I was well and truly gripped by this compelling piece of well-written crime fiction and I savoured every single second I spent in Mina McCreery’s company. Beautifully tense, truly unforgettable and the ultimate page turner.
My Review of WAKE

More Than You’ll Ever Know by Katie Gutierrez
More Than You’ll Ever Know is a superbly written debut which ticked all of the boxes for me. The entire book worked. But the characters, they were EVERYTHING. A sublime novel which, if you’re a fan of beautifully written literary mysteries you will devour. I was completely entranced and captivated by this stunning novel.
My Review of More Than You’ll Ever Know

Black Mouth by Ronald Malfi
Black Mouth is a captivating, emotional, yet creepy story of childhood trauma and how, as we get older, the nightmares we faced as children can still be just as frightening, the memories just as destructive. The characters are sublime, the setting was perfect and the writing is divine. Completely absorbing, totally immersive, I was addicted to this book from the moment I cracked the spine.
My Review of Black Mouth

I have so much love for these three books and I hope, should you get the chance to read any of them, that you love them as much as I do.

So that’s it for now. The 2022 series of #R3COMM3ND3D has sadly come to an end. The books have been chosen and revealed, and what a magnificent bunch they are! Make sure you keep an eye out for the After Show Party post which, if all goes to plan, should be with you in the next couple of weeks. We’ll take a look at all of the books chosen and reveal our winner (or winners). The biggest, heartfelt thanks to everyone who took part in the feature, and to everyone who shared, retweeted and liked the posts on Twitter and Instagram. The love #R3COMM3ND3D receives from the book community means the world to me.

*Psst* And if you’ve taken part in #R3C over the last 6 years please don’t forget to complete the survey: https://forms.gle/ZLAt6WyyWBGtjjai6. Thank you so much 🤗

WWW Wednesday | 30th November 2022 #WWWWednesday #bookblogger #amreading #BookTwitter #booktwt #damppebbles

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading.

The Three Ws are:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

Black Widows by Cate Quinn
Aged nineteen, devout Rachel marries fundamentalist Mormon, Blake Nelson, and moves to a remote homestead in rural Utah. Isolated and alone, Rachel obeys her husband’s advice to keep sweet and prepare for End of Days.

Soon after their disappointing wedding night, Blake takes his second wife – emotionally-troubled, jailbait, Emily. Though it’s not until the arrival of third wife Tina, a reformed junkie-stripper from Vegas, that the bitter rivalry sets in.

Out in the desert, the only thing the sister-wives have in common is an obsession with their righteous husband. Until, that is, Blake’s body is found, brutally murdered near his favourite fishing spot, his wedding finger missing.

As police dig deeper, it seems a hot-bed of bitter tensions bubble beneath the pious Mormon exterior. Blake’s sister-wives just couldn’t keep sweet. But which was capable of murder?

Inspired by true events, this gripping tale of religious polygamy peeks under the covers of a real-life Mormon fundamentalist cult.


What did you recently finish reading?

Halloween Slaughter (Slaughter Books #2) by Sergio Gomez
The Legend Continues

With the campgrounds destroyed, Ignacio has found a new place to take refuge. A new place to turn into hunting grounds. He has his eyes set on a very specific target that reminds him of his past. But hunting in a small town in PA will be different than in the isolated campgrounds.

Ignacio will have to be smarter. More patient. And wait for the right moments to strike…

The perfect time, he’ll come to find out, is on the night of ghouls and goblins and witches. On the night when everyone else is wearing masks and disguises, Ignacio will don his own mask and let the monster out like never before.


What do you think you’ll read next?

Dead Man’s Creek by Chris Hammer
Old bones sink – but secrets always rise to the surface.

Newly-minted homicide detective Nell Buchanan returns to her hometown, annoyed at being assigned a decades-old murder – a ‘file and forget’.

But this is no ordinary cold case, her arrival provoking an unwelcome and threatening response from the small-town community. As more bodies are discovered, and she begins to question how well she truly knows those closest to her, Nell realises that finding the truth could prove more difficult – and dangerous – than she’d ever expected.

The nearer Nell comes to uncovering the secrets of the past, the more treacherous her path becomes. Can she survive to root out the truth, and what price will she have to pay for it?

Gripping and atmospheric, Dead Man’s Creek is a stunning multi-layered thriller from Chris Hammer, the award-winning author of Sunday Times Crime Book of the Year Scrublands (2019) and Times Crime Book of the Month Opal Country (January 2022).

#R3COMM3ND3D2022 with #BookBlogger David (@Bluebookballoon) #BlueBookBalloon #BookRecommendations #publishedin2022 #booktwt #whattoread #damppebbles

Hello friends and welcome to damppebbles. It’s Tuesday, we’ve bid a fond farewell to Monday and we’re well and truly getting into the week now. It’s also day 29 of #R3COMM3ND3D2022, the penultimate day of this year’s series and what a series it’s been! We’ve had 81 books recommended with 3 of those books being picked by our esteemed judges twice. Will that still be the case after today’s guest have revealed their three picks? Let’s find out….

Joining me today to chat about their three #R3COMM3ND3D2022 picks is one of my favourite bloggers. If you’re a book lover and you’re not following him, then you’re getting it all wrong! It’s the brilliant David of Blue Book Balloon. I’m a huge fan of David’s blog and I heartily recommend you give him a follow if you don’t already.

So, what is #R3COMM3ND3D2022? It’s about sharing the book love. It’s a chance for authors, book bloggers, reviewers 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 2022. To make things interesting there are a couple of teeny, tiny rules; 1) the book must have FIRST been published in 2022 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…

All the White Spaces by Ally Wilkes
This is story set in the heroic age of Polar exploration, and it takes an unlikely adventurer way out of their comfort zone. It’s a different world that Ally Wilkes takes us to. Not only is the fell, merciless territory of Coats Land itself a strange, haunting place – a place unwelcoming of humanity – but the psychological landscape, the attitude of those on the expedition, feels so remote in its almost inhuman fixation on painting in those white spaces. Oddly, in some respects, at least outward ones, it reminded me most of Arthur Ransom’s Swallows and Amazons stories in its portrayal of an obsession with, a worship of, the last great generation of explorers, a meticulous attention to their journeys, their survival and their endurance.

It is, though – to be absolutely clear – not a book of children’s adventure, even if some begin by seeing the world in that way. This is not the high Edwardian nursery but the fallen, post-war world. The members of the expedition have all brought their own baggage to Coats Land, including losses from the Great. One man was a conscientious objector, and is therefore hated and mistrusted by his fellows. Others are scarred by what they saw in France. The expedition is pinched, operating on a shoestring, forced to get by with second best, and it soon becomes clear that the whole thing is something of a gamble, an attempt to reclaim lost glories, to succeed where a German rival recently failed. A reflection, perhaps, of the war-weary, fading state of Britain.

Such a comparison could have been made crudely and clumsily, but Wilkes, in her first novel, avoids that danger, drawing a group of men whose strengths and weaknesses, histories and prejudices, are allowed to speak for themselves – but also to evolve, becoming more marked as danger increases and as its nature subtly changes. Physical threats – cold, darkness, shortages of food, failure of equipment – are joined by something stranger, exploiting who the men are and what they’ve lost. English reserve and the suppression of feelings are fatal then: the only way to survive is to trust, to share, even to love, and this is so out of kilter with the attitude of Imperial disdain that won the war, it’s hard to see how anyone will come through…
David’s Review of All the White Spaces

Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield
Our Wives Under the Sea is a story of two women, Miri and her wife Leah. Miri works from home writing grant applications for charities; Leah is an explorer, a scientist working on deep sea research for the mysterious Centre. In chapters narrated alternately by Miri and Leah, Armfield tells how Leah went to sea, was lost, and unexpectedly returned. And about the aftermath of that. Along the way we hear about their earlier lives, how they met, and their friends.

It’s a short book but packs so much in. There is loss, twice over – Miri’s time after Leah vanished (her dive went several months past its scheduled end) is mentioned in retrospect, with her complex feelings, the lack of closure, hinted at. More directly addressed is the growing realisation that the person who came back is not the same. Returned, Leah spends much of her time in the bath; she eats little; there is little conversation and no intimacy. Yet is she is, indisputably, back and shows flashes of her old self – and Miri desperately tries to find a way to cope, to reach out, researching, for example, an online community ‘Our Husbands in Space’ of women who pretend that their husbands have gone off on space missions (or, in some cases, ‘Come Back Wrong” – CBW).

It’s a very weird book but the weirdness only points up the love been the two women, more vivid because of the loss and the brokenness of their lives. The wider world is uncaring, though Armfield gives us very mundane, rooted scenes of modern life: a party with Leah’s mates, figures who are immediately familiar, the recurring annoyance of a neighbour who leaves their TV on loud at all hours, the difficulty of negotiating the logic loop of a call centre.

Inevitably the question arises of whether this is a “lockdown” novel and, yes, it does have that sense of enclosure, of squashing one’s head against the window, as well as reflecting on the openness of sea (the book is imbued with the heaviness of the ocean) and sky (‘People grow odd when there’s too much sky’). But there’s much more going on here than that. Leah’s and Miri’s lives, as seen in glimpses of the ‘before’ are being milled into something else by the rolling of the waves and that’s not just a slide, it’s a very active process which we seen going on – and, while the book may sound very sorrowful, it’s not a process without hope.
David’s Review of Our Wives Under the Sea

Kezia and Rosie by Rebecca Burns
This is a collection of linked stories which, while being self-contained in their explorations of a moment or an event, link to tell us about the lives of Kezia (8) and Rosie (6), two young girls staying with their grandparents in the summer of 1986 while their mum is elsewhere. They, especially Rosie, from whose point of view the stories are told, worry about her absence – less about their dad’s absence. The reader will see that there is some trouble there. Rosie is also conscious of that, but is focussed very much on the here and now.

Rebecca Burns is very good at developing this split perspective, so much so that Kezia and Rosie is almost like reading two books in one, since we inevitably do so with an adult perspective and knowledge. And while the narrative is driven by vivid childhood highlights – escaped ferrets from the garden next door and the exaggerated gusto with which the adults join in the pleasing terror, the boredom staying indoors during a rainy spell, loss of a favourite toy – it’s more than nostalgia, there’s always the wider picture in the background, a sense of uncertainty over the future, disruption to little lives, the fact that Grandad and Grandma are clearly worried.

It’s a gem of a book, both sad in what we glimpse of the wider background and also comforting in its focus on loving relationships and on finding a way through. A great read, and a book I’d strongly recommend.
David’s Review of Kezia and Rosie

Thank you so much, David. Three really interesting sounding books. One I’ve had my eye on for a while now so I’m just going to take the plunge and add all three to the TBR! That’s how this works, right? 🤔🤣

About David:
David splits his life between dogs, reading and the irritating need to make a living by answering emails. He lives in prime Midsomer Murders country and is married to a vicar, so may be found interestingly done in one day (possibly involving chocolate? Please?)

David’s Blog and Social Media Links:
Blue Book BalloonTwitter @Bluebookballoon |

Sadly submissions for #R3COMM3D3D2022 are now closed. Shortly after the last post I will be inviting you to attend the virtual after-show party, which should be fun. We’ll get to gaze upon the marvellous and majestic beauty of 2022’s books and also crown 2022’s winner, if we have one (they’re all winners, right?). Until then stay tuned as we have one more post to go (but don’t get too excited as it’s only me! I can’t believe we *almost* made it to the end of November, but not quite 🙈🤣).

#BookReview: My Husband’s Killer by Laura Marshall @BooksSphere #MyHusbandsKiller #damppebbles

Three couples. One murder. A holiday to die for . . .

We arrived at a villa on the Amalfi Coast, ready to enjoy a sun-soaked weekend with our oldest friends – and one new face.

By the end of the weekend, my husband is found dead.

But how can I mourn him, when on the day of his funeral I discover he was having an affair?

The only suspects are the women we went on holiday with. My oldest, closest friends.

Do I really want to dig into my husband’s secret? Do I really want to know who betrayed me?

And as I start to unravel their secrets . . . do I really believe his death was an accident?”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of My Husband’s Killer by Laura Marshall. My Husband’s Killer is published by Sphere Books today (that’s Tuesday 29th November 2022) and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats with the paperback to follow next year. I chose to read a free ARC of My Husband’s Killer but that has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to Becky and the team at Sphere for sending me a proof copy.

Earlier this year I read The Anniversary by Laura Marshall and loved it! I went in blind, having not reminded myself of the blurb before starting, and was gripped from the very first page. As a result, I downloaded all of the author’s earlier novels and have been looking forward to the newest book from Marshall with bated breath. And what a treat it was! My Husband’s Killer is another cracking psychological suspense novel from a new favourite author of mine!

A dream holiday with close friends on the Amalfi Coast turns to a nightmare when Andrew, husband to Liz, and father to Ethan and Josh, goes missing. After an extensive search, no sign of Andrew is found. Local authorities presume he drowned after a drink-fuelled night in an unfamiliar location. So his friends and family return home without him. On the day of his funeral Liz makes a shocking discovery which turns her world upside down. She comes to realise one of her closest friends has a devastating secret they’ve been keeping from her. It’s the ultimate betrayal. She can’t help but question everything they’ve been through over the last 25 years and where their loyalties really lie. But in discovering who has deceived her, Liz may unwittingly find out exactly what happened to Andrew that night. And if it wasn’t an accident it raises the biggest question of all. Which of her friends killed Andrew…?

My Husband’s Killer is a suspenseful psychological thriller which I powered through keen to discover whodunit. Marshall’s writing is once again excellent. The plot builds beautifully over the course of the book, with red herrings and well-placed touches of misdirection to keep the reader guessing. There are a lot of characters in this story and my poor addled brain did lose track of who was who and how they were all related at times. But as the story progresses and you get to know the characters in a little more depth, it all becomes clear. Particularly as many of the main characters get to tell some of the story themselves. The core group of characters have known each other for a long time and have been friends/lovers since university (most of them are in their 40s now). So there is a lot of history here which I thought the author conveyed incredibly well to the reader. You really get a feel of what’s what in this friendship group before tragedy struck and I appreciated the clear and thorough backstory. The multiple timelines helped a lot in this respect. The reader gets to witness life at university for the group and the beginning of several long-term relationships, the tragic holiday to the Amalfi Coast which is the beginning of the end for Andrew, and how utterly devastating life for Liz and the boys is after Andrew’s death. The way the author provides such a believable starting point for her characters and then builds upon it, giving the reader glimpses into their lives, made me feel as though I had been on the journey with them.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. I thoroughly enjoyed My Husband’s Killer and flew through it keen to discover who was responsible for Andrew’s demise. I did manage to guess the culprit but I think I got there only a minute or two before Liz did. The plot was intriguing and kept me turning the pages. There are a lot of characters which did feel a little confusing to start with, but I soon became used to the different names and relationships. To the point where the main characters, by the end of the book, felt familiar to me. The majority of them aren’t particularly likeable but that makes them all the more interesting I feel! I enjoyed their stories. All in all, this is a suspense filled thriller which I devoured in a few short sittings. EVERYONE is a suspect, they ALL have something to hide and I was very much caught up in the mystery. A very readable, tense, compulsive novel which I recommend to fans of psychological suspense thrillers. Particularly those who like a domestic thriller.

I chose to read and review a free ARC of My Husband’s Killer. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

My Husband’s Killer by Laura Marshall was published by Sphere Books on 29th November 2022 and is available in hardcover, audio and digital formats with the paperback to follow (please note, 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.ukWaterstonesFoylesBook Depositorybookshop.orgGoodreadsdamppebbles bookshop.org shopdamppebbles amazon.co.uk shopdamppebbles amazon.com shop |

Laura MarshallLaura Marshall is the bestselling author of four psychological thrillers. Her debut novel, Friend Request, was a Kindle No.1 and Sunday Times bestseller, with over half a million copies sold in the UK. Laura’s books have sold in twenty-four territories around the globe.

She grew up in Wiltshire, studied English at the University of Sussex and currently lives in Kent with her family.

For more information visit Laura’s website www.lauramarshall.co.uk or find her at www.facebook.com/lauramarshallauthor or on Twitter @laurajm8.

#R3COMM3ND3D2022 with #BookBlogger Sue Bavey (@SueBavey) #SuesMusings #LuckyJack #BookRecommendations #publishedin2022 #booktwt #whattoread #damppebbles

Hello and a very warm welcome to damppebbles. It’s Monday, the start of a brand-new week with brand new bookish opportunities! It’s also, sadly, the last week of #R3COMM3ND3D2022. Posts will be running on the blog until Wednesday this week and shortly after that (or a few weeks, or never, if past #R3Cs are anything to go by!) I’ll host the online after-show party. Which sounds all fancy and grand but is really only a blog post 😂 We’ll officially crown the winner (or winners) and it’s a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has taken part, so it is quite special.

Joining me to share the #R3COMM3ND3D2022 book love today is a brilliant blogger and someone you must follow. It’s the fabulous Sue Bavey of Sue’s Musings! Sue’s blog is essential reading for all bookworms, and Sue’s reading tastes are many and varied so there’s lots to look and choose from. Personally, I’m a fan of Sue’s fantasy reviews as it’s a genre that’s always intrigued me. And I can’t not mention Sue’s own book which was published last year. More info below!

So, what is #R3COMM3ND3D2022? It’s about sharing the book love. It’s a chance for authors, book bloggers, reviewers 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 2022. To make things interesting there are a couple of teeny, tiny rules; 1) the book must have FIRST been published in 2022 and 2) special editions and reissues do not count. I like to keep you lovely people on your toes 😉

Here are the three books Sue recommends…

The Children of Gods and Fighting Men by Shauna Lawless
This book is an amazingly well-researched historical fantasy with elements of Irish Mythology. Two very different strong female characters on opposing sides, one side which has interesting magic. It’s difficult to believe this is a debut!
Sue’s Review of The Children of Gods and Fighting Men

Beneath a Copper Sky by Valerie Poore
This book is an historical fiction novel which reads like the author’s love letter to South Africa. It transported me to South Africa and was educational about rural life during apartheid. Filled with tiny observational details and an added mystery. Beneath a Copper Sky was a highly enjoyable read with knowledgeable commentary on both the social and political aspects of living with Apartheid during this time period.
Sue’s Review of Beneath a Copper Sky

Legacy Witches by Cass Kay
A perfectly spooky story for October. Legacy Witches is a fun, yet dark story of murderous witches, set in Salem, Massachusetts. Salem is filled with witch-related tourist attractions, but the legacy witches of the title are part of a hidden world – away from the tourism – that reaches back through history to the Salem Witch trials. This book is a murder mystery with magic, action, interesting characters and a likeable strong female main character.
Sue’s Review of Legacy Witches

Thank you so much, Sue. I love the sound of all three of your picks, and I’m pretty taken with those covers too!

About Lucky Jack (1894-2000):

“One of the perils of being a sniper during the First World War was the likelihood of a grenade going off right next to you and burying you alive”.

Meet Jack Rogers. Born in 1894, he once locked eyes with Queen Victoria and was one of the first travellers on London’s ‘Tube’. An early car owner, he had many escapades on his days out to Brighton, including a time when his brakes failed and he had to drive through central London without them!

His skills as an entertainer earned him popularity throughout his life, and kept him out of the deadly mines while a prisoner during the First World War. At the tender age of 103 Jack earned the title of ‘The World’s Oldest Columnist’ as he began dictating his life’s exploits to a reporter from the local newspaper.
A PREMIER Readers’ Award winner
Feed My Reads non-fiction book of the year 2022

Purchase Links: | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads |

About Sue Bavey:
English Mum, living in Massachusetts USA. BBNYA2022 panelist. Member #RBRT. Reviewer and SPFBO8 judge for http://booknest.eu. Author of Lucky Jack (1894-2000). Beta reader and book blogger.

Sue’s Blog and Social Media Links:
| Sue’s Musings | Twitter @SueBavey |

Sadly submissions for #R3COMM3D3D2022 are now closed. Shortly after the last post I will be inviting you to attend the virtual after-show party, which should be fun. We’ll get to gaze upon the marvellous and majestic beauty of 2022’s books and also crown 2022’s winner, if we have one (they’re all winners, right?). Until then stay tuned as we have lots more bookish gorgeousness heading your way throughout November.

#R3COMM3ND3D2022 with #BookBlogger Patricia B. (@grantsbrarian) #BookCravings #BookRecommendations #publishedin2022 #booktwt #whattoread #damppebbles

Hello bookish pals and welcome to Sunday on damppebbles. I hope you have a relaxing day planned and that you get to spend some quality time with a good book. What’s that you say? You’ve just finished a great book and now you’re on the lookout for an even better one? Well, you’ve come to the right place as so far this series we’ve recommended the grand total of 75 books with three books being chosen by our panel of highly qualified experts more than once! Click HERE to see all of the posts published so far.

I am delighted to welcome a fairly new-to-me blogger to damppebbles today to share the #R3COMM3ND3D2022 book love, it’s Patricia B. of Book Cravings. I have recently subscribed to Patricia’s blog and I am loving what I’m seeing! Make sure you give Patricia and her a blog a follow across the socials, if you don’t already.

So, what is #R3COMM3ND3D2022? It’s about sharing the book love. It’s a chance for authors, book bloggers, reviewers 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 2022. To make things interesting there are a couple of teeny, tiny rules; 1) the book must have FIRST been published in 2022 and 2) special editions and reissues do not count. I like to keep you lovely people on your toes 😉

Here are the three books Patricia recommends…

Her Perfect Twin by Sarah Bonner
I predicted this debut novel would be the “book of the year” and in fact it was just named one of Publishers Weekly Best Mystery/Thriller Books of 2022. This was very original, had a creative use of POV and was one of the better descriptions of how a lockdown plays out in a thriller.
Patricia’s Review of Her Perfect Twin

The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
This was one of the most creative, well written books I read this year. It’s hard to believe this was co-written as it flows and the timing is impeccable.
Patricia’s Review of The Golden Couple

Amen Maxine by Faith Gardner
This was sort of a genre buster, about an Alexa type machine in the near future. I thought it would be sci-fi leaning, but it was a great thriller!
Patricia’s Review of Amen Maxine

Thank you so much, Patricia. Three cracking books which I am adding straight to the TBR. They all sound so good!

About Patricia B:
Reviewer and blogger with background in education, technology and social media. On Instagram, Amazon, and tweeting as @grantsbrarian. Reviews on Goodreads as Patricia. Former blogger at withabookinourhands.com, a collaborative blog with 18 other reviewers (2019-2022), currently blogging on Book Cravings, bookcravings.com

Patricia’s Blog and Social Media Links:
Book CravingsTwitter @grantsbrarianInstagram @grantsbrarianGoodreads |

Sadly submissions for #R3COMM3D3D2022 are now closed. Shortly after the last post I will be inviting you to attend the virtual after-show party, which should be fun. We’ll get to gaze upon the marvellous and majestic beauty of 2022’s books and also crown 2022’s winner, if we have one (they’re all winners, right?). Until then stay tuned as we have lots more bookish gorgeousness heading your way throughout November.