#R3COMM3ND3D2021 with Me! #BookBlogger Emma @damppebbles 🙃😳 #damppebbles #BookRecommendations #publishedin2021 #booktwt #whattoread

Hello and welcome to the final day of #R3COMM3ND3D2021. Things are a little different today as I’m going to share three of my favourite reads of the year with you, rather than inviting a fellow book lover to share theirs! As it’s the fifth year of #R3COMM3ND3D (and possibly the last for a while 🙈) I thought I would take the plunge. I have also been asked (twice, I think! 🤣) why I don’t take part in #R3C. And I don’t have a good enough answer. There’s space for me to share my three #R3COMM3ND3D2021 picks this year, the three I’ve selected haven’t been chosen by anyone else but they definitely deserve to be at the top of everyone’s reading list. They’re incredible books. You need them in your life, without a doubt!

So, what is #R3COMM3ND3D2021? It’s about sharing the book love. It’s a chance for authors, book bloggers and bookstagrammers to shout about three (yes, *only* three) books they love. They can be written by any author, in any genre and published in any way (traditionally, indie press or self-published). But there is a catch. All three books must have been published in 2021. To make things interesting there are a couple of teeny, tiny rules; 1) the book must have FIRST been published in 2021 and 2) special editions and reissues do not count. I like to keep you lovely people on your toes 😉

Here are the three books I recommend (three cracking 2021 debuts)…

Tall Bones by Anna Bailey
From the opening chapters this book had a hold over me and I savoured every moment I spent with it. It’s such a beautifully written piece of fiction which managed to completely entrance me. Tall Bones is a haunting, beautiful but ultimately dark read which I read with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. An astonishing debut.
My Review of Tall Bones

The First Day of Spring by Nancy Tucker
I devoured The First Day of Spring. When I wasn’t reading the book, I was thinking about the characters. Chrissie broke my heart time and time again. The author’s writing is immersive and totally believable which made Chrissie, Julia and Molly come to life before my very eyes. I don’t think I’ll be able or willing to forget The First Day of Spring. Haunting, compelling and utterly devastating.
My Review of The First Day of Spring

The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird
Oh.My.Goodness! This book is incredible. Absolutely superb and frighteningly real. The End of Men is a must read for all. Intelligent, poignant, devastating and totally absorbing. The true definition a page turner. I couldn’t put this book down as I was desperate to find out what revelation the author was going to share with me next.
My Review of The End of Men

Well there you have it. Three incredible books I think you really should read. What do you think of my three choices? Have you read any of them? Will you be adding any of them to your TBR?

So that’s it for #R3COMM3ND3D2021. Look out for the after-show party coming to a screen near you in early January (if I can get myself organised, lol!). Please also make sure you look out for my top ten (sort of!) books of the year list on 31st December. If you’ve made it this far, it’s likely you may recognise one (or three!) of the books mentioned!

Whatever your plans are for the next few days, I hope you have a chance to relax and do what makes you happy. Thank you for your support over the last somewhat trying year. It really does mean the world to me. Merry Christmas everyone 💖

#R3COMM3ND3D2021 with #Author Joy Kluver (@JoyKluver) #JoyKluver #DIBernadetteNoel @bookouture #BookRecommendations #publishedin2021 #booktwt #whattoread #damppebbles

Hello bookish friends and welcome to the penultimate day of #R3COMM3ND3D2021. It feels like only yesterday we launched the series with three cracking books. Now, fifty-two days and forty-seven posts later, we’ve amassed 124 individual recommendations across multiple genres, written by a bevy of brilliant authors! What a blast it’s been. But it’s not over just yet! We still have three recommended reads to discover from today’s guest (and three more tomorrow!)…

Joining me today to share their three #R3COMM3ND3D2021 picks is a brilliant book blogger turned awesome author, it’s the very lovely Joy Kluver. Joy writes the fantastic DI Bernadette Noel series published by Bookouture. Currently there are two books available (Last Seen and Broken Girls) with the third book in the series, Left for Dead, set to be published on 10th January 2022. I am a huge fan of Joy’s writing. If you’re a crime fiction fan, this is a series not to be missed!

So, what is #R3COMM3ND3D2021? It’s about sharing the book love. It’s a chance for authors, book bloggers and bookstagrammers to shout about three (yes, *only* three) books they love. They can be written by any author, in any genre and published in any way (traditionally, indie press or self-published). But there is a catch. All three books must have been published in 2021. To make things interesting there are a couple of teeny, tiny rules; 1) the book must have FIRST been published in 2021 and 2) special editions and reissues do not count. I like to keep you lovely people on your toes 😉

Here are the three books Joy recommends…

Black Reed Bay by Rod Reynolds
I’ve loved all of Rod Reynolds books but there’s something particularly special about Black Reed Bay and it’s Detective Casey Wray. After reading only a few chapters, I felt as though I’d known Casey all my life. Tough but empathetic, Reynolds puts her through the wringer in this book but somehow she’s still standing at the end.
Joy’s Review of Black Reed Bay

The Colours of Death by Patricia Marques
This is my favourite debut for 2021. Set in Lisbon, we follow Inspector Isabel Reis as she investigates the death of a high-ranking official. But Isabel is no ordinary detective. She’s Gifted. The Gifted are a group of people who have extraordinary powers – either telepathy or telekinesis. Perhaps not surprisingly, they are viewed with suspicion by Regulars or ordinary people. When I first heard about this aspect of the book, I wasn’t too sure whether it would work. But it does and brilliantly so. By the end of the novel, it felt completely natural to have the Gifted around. It’s a very clever way to look at prejudice and stigma and how fear propels control.
Joy’s Review of The Colours of Death

Daughters of Night by Laura Shepherd-Robinson
I loved Laura Shepherd-Robinson’s debut Blood & Sugar and Daughters of Night is even better. Laura’s depth of research comes across well and I felt completely submerged into Georgian London. But if you’re expecting a Jane Austen Georgian view, then think again. Yes, we have the aristocracy and the wealthy but we also have the underbelly of London’s streets. There are three main narrators – Caroline Corsham, wife of Harry Corsham from Blood & Sugar; Peregrine ‘Perry’ Child, former magistrate now turned thieftaker; and Pamela, a young maid who wants more out of life so decides to auction her virtue to the highest bidder. Definitely not Jane Austen!
Joy’s Review of Daughters of Night

All three are going to the top of the wish list! Thanks so much, Joy, for sharing these fabulous books 😍

About the Detective Bernadette Noel Series by Joy Kluver:
Last Seen (book #1)

I can see her, laughing as she swings as high as she can, her beautiful blonde curls flying out behind her. My little girl. If only I’d listened to my gut. Then maybe she’d be safe here with me…

When five-year-old Molly Reynolds is snatched from the park in the small village of Otterfield, Detective Bernadette ‘Bernie’ Noel throws herself into the search, sick with worry for the quiet, sensitive little girl and her distraught mother.

Wasting no time, Bernie finds a small green cardigan under a bush in the park. It still has the smiley face sticker Molly won that week at school. It’s the first in a chain of clues – and Bernie can’t shake the feeling that it was left deliberately, as a message.

But Bernie encounters a wall of silence. Otterfield is a close-knit community, yet no one in the village has anything to say about the missing child. And Bernie is sure there is something Molly’s mother isn’t telling her either. Why?

And then she makes a chilling discovery: twenty-five years ago, another little girl went missing from the area. Her name was Sophie, and all they ever found of her was her teddy bear, hidden under a bush, just the same as Molly’s cardigan. Now Bernie knows she’s in a race against time to save Molly’s life.

Bernie’s team work round the clock to find a connection between the two girls – but when they find their proof it comes at the price of a shocking tragedy that strikes right at the heart of the case. Molly’s family have been hiding a secret, and now their little girl is in greater danger than ever.

Then Bernie makes one deadly mistake that places her right in the hands of the most dangerous criminal she’s ever faced. She was willing to go to any lengths to solve the case – but will she stay alive long enough to do it?

A completely addictive crime thriller with mind-blowing twists that will have you reading late into the night. If you like Val McDermid, D.S. Butler or Angela Marsons, you’ll love Joy Kluver.

Purchase Links: | amazon.co.ukamazon.comWaterstones |

Broken Girls (book #2)
Brambles catch her dress, scratch her legs, pierce her feet. To escape, she’d had no option but to go barefoot. They’d been laughing together a few minutes before, but things can change in the blink of an eye…

The woman is dark-haired and young, judging by the short red dress. Any other signs of her identity have been erased during her long wait to be found, but it’s clear she was strangled: this was a passionate and personal murder.

D.I. Bernadette Noel knows that every second counts if she is to catch this killer, but she has no leads – until the discovery that the dead woman’s rings match a stolen property report, and the rings’ owner mentions Rosa, her missing nanny.

Just when Bernie and her team think they’re getting somewhere, a shocking discovery about Rosa – and the news that another young girl has been abducted – changes everything the team thought they knew about the case.

Laura is only twelve, and her parents are beside themselves with worry – but Bernie has an additional fear. Laura’s home is right next to the woods where their murder victim was found: are the cases connected?

When Bernie notices similarities between descriptions of the man last seen with Rosa and someone Laura was messaging online, these fears grow stronger. But they still have no clear leads as to the identity of the culprit.

With few options left, and time running out, she makes a desperate plan to trap the predator. But any mistakes will mean another innocent life lost…

A gripping crime thriller with a nail-biting climax. If you like Angela Marsons, Val McDermid or Cara Hunter, you’ll love Joy Kluver.

Purchase Links: | amazon.co.ukamazon.comWaterstones |

Left for Dead (book #3)
The sun is rising over the deserted park. Spring shoots have burst through the frozen ground, framing the woman’s broken body in green and gold. Their surge of relief at finding her alive quickly dissolves into fear: the man who did this is still out there. His next victim might not be so lucky…

The first time Detective Bernadette Noel sees Keira Howard, she is lying in a hospital bed fighting for her life. The police assume that she has become the latest victim in a series of brutal attacks, and after weeks of fruitless searching, they think the evidence found in Keira’s case will finally lead them to their man.

When a suspect is caught the case looks closed, but Bernie isn’t convinced. Keira may have the same markings as the other women, but she doesn’t meet the profile – the random attacker let his victims go. Keira’s attacker had intended to kill. The witnesses – Keira’s closest friends – are all telling different stories, and the discovery that Keira was hiding a secret pregnancy suddenly makes everything a lot more complicated.

When a crucial witness goes missing, Bernie’s gut instinct is proven right – so why won’t her superiors let her investigate? They may have caught a guilty man, but a potential murderer still walks free. Then when their prime suspect is suddenly killed on police watch, Bernie’s situation becomes much more dangerous.

The closer Bernie comes to discovering the truth, the more she is putting her life at risk. And the only people she can rely on to make it out alive might be those she can no longer trust.

An utterly compelling crime thriller full of twists and suspense, perfect for fans of Val McDermid, Angela Marsons and Cara Hunter.

Pre-order links: | amazon.co.ukamazon.com |

About Joy Kluver:
Escaping the madness of motherhood through writing crime novels. Author of the DI Bernadette (Bernie) Noel series set in Wiltshire – Last Seen and Broken Girls with book 3 coming January 2022.

Joy’s Blog and Social Media Links:
Joy KluverTwitter @JoyKluverFacebook |

Sadly submissions for #R3COMM3D3D2021 are now closed (posts will be running until just before Christmas so we’re not quite done yet). Shortly after the last post I will be inviting you all to attend the virtual after-show party, which should be a giggle, where we can cast our eyes over the marvellous and majestic beauty of 2021’s books. We will also crown 2021’s winner (or joint winners, if that’s the case). So I expect it to be a jolly good ol’ knees up! Until then stay tuned as we have lots more bookish loveliness heading your way ❤

WWW Wednesday | 22nd December 2021 #WWWWednesday #bookblogger #amreading #BookTwitter #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?

Echo by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
It’s One Thing to Lose Your Life
It’s Another to Lose Your Soul

When climber Nick Grevers is brought down from the mountains after a terrible accident he has lost his looks, his hopes and his climbing companion. His account of what happened on the forbidden peak of the Maudit is garbled, almost hallucinogenic. Soon it becomes apparent more than his shattered body has returned: those that treat his disfigured face begin experiencing extraordinary and disturbing psychic events that suggest that Nick has unleashed some ancient and primal menace on his ill-fated expedition.

Nick’s partner Sam Avery has a terrible choice to make. He fell in love with Nick’s youth, vitality and beauty. Now these are gone and all that is left is a haunted mummy-worse, a glimpse beneath the bandages can literally send a person insane.

Sam must decide: either to flee to America, or to take Nick on a journey back to the mountains, the very source of the curse, the little Alpine Village of Grimnetz, its soul-possesed Birds of Death and it legends of human sacrifice and, ultimately, its haunted mountain, the Maudit.

Dutch writer Thomas Olde Heuvelt is a Hugo Award Winner and has been hailed as the future of speculative fiction in Europe. His work combines a unique blend of popular culture and fairy-tale myth that is utterly unique. Echo follows his sensational debut English language novel, HEX.

What did you recently finish reading?

The Long Weekend by Gilly Macmillan
By the time you read this, I’ll have killed one of your husbands.

In an isolated retreat, deep in the Northumbria moors, three women arrive for a weekend getaway.

Their husbands will be joining them in the morning. Or so they think.

But when they get to Dark Fell Barn, the women find a devastating note that claims one of their husbands has been murdered. Their phones are out of range. There’s no internet. They’re stranded. And a storm’s coming in.

Friendships fracture and the situation spins out of control as each wife tries to find out what’s going on, who is responsible and which husband has been targeted.

This was a tight-knit group. They’ve survived a lot. But they won’t weather this. Because someone has decided that enough is enough.

That it’s time for a reckoning.

Good Girls Die First by Kathryn Foxfield
Mind games. Murder. Mayhem. How far would you go to survive the night?

Blackmail lures sixteen-year-old Ava to the derelict carnival on Portgrave Pier.

She is one of ten teenagers, all with secrets they intend to protect whatever the cost.

When fog and magic swallow the pier, the group find themselves cut off from the real world and from their morals.

As the teenagers turn on each other, Ava will have to face up to the secret that brought her to the pier and decide how far she’s willing to go to survive.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim
In rural Virginia, Young and Pak Yoo run an experimental medical treatment device known as the Miracle Submarine: a pressurized oxygen chamber that patients enter for “dives”, used as an alternative therapy for conditions including autism or infertility. But when the Miracle Submarine mysteriously explodes, killing two people, a dramatic murder trial upends the Yoos’ small community.

Who or what caused the explosion? Was it the mother of one of the patients, who claimed to be sick that day but was smoking down by the creek? Or was it Young and Pak themselves, hoping to cash in on a big insurance payment and send their daughter to college? The ensuing trial uncovers unimaginable secrets from that night – trysts in the woods, mysterious notes, child-abuse charges – as well as tense rivalries and alliances among a group of people driven to extraordinary degrees of desperation and sacrifice.

#R3COMM3ND3D2021 with #BookBlogger Rae (@rae_reads1) #RaeReads #BookRecommendations #publishedin2021 #booktwt #whattoread #damppebbles

Hello bookish pals and welcome to Tuesday on damppebbles. It’s also day 47 of #R3COMM3ND3D2021 which is cause to celebrate, I think! We’re 122 individual book recommendations into this year’s series and what a varied and brilliant sounding bunch of books we’ve seen. Has your favourite been chosen? If not, tell me what it is in the comments below.

Joining me to talk all things #R3COMM3ND3D2021 today is a brilliant blogger and all round lovely person, it’s Rae of Rae Reads. Rae’s blog is a must read for all book lovers as Rae reads across multiple genres, which I love (as someone who doesn’t 😂). Pop over there now, have a mooch around and if you don’t already follow Rae’s posts, hit the subscribe button!

So, what is #R3COMM3ND3D2021? It’s about sharing the book love. It’s a chance for authors, book bloggers and bookstagrammers to shout about three (yes, *only* three) books they love. They can be written by any author, in any genre and published in any way (traditionally, indie press or self-published). But there is a catch. All three books must have been published in 2021. To make things interesting there are a couple of teeny, tiny rules; 1) the book must have FIRST been published in 2021 and 2) special editions and reissues do not count. I like to keep you lovely people on your toes 😉

Here are the three books Rae recommends…

The Garden of Angels by David Hewson
Throughout this book the reader is immersed completely in the tangled and often secretive lives of the characters. I thoroughly enjoyed this vivid and atmospheric tale. I highly recommend picking up a copy so you can discover every little detail for yourself.
Rae’s Review of The Garden of Angels

The Cinderella Heiress by Janice Preston
For me there was a little bit of everything to entertain from wicked and scheming relatives to a romance that made me smile. If I could narrow it down and pick a few words to describe this book it would be… charming, gorgeous and just like a fairytale!
Rae’s Review of The Cinderella Heiress

Last One at the Party by Bethany Clift
From the very first page this book well and truly caught my attention. The reader really does get a front row seat and experiences everything with the narrator. I was taken on such a vivid and unexpected journey. Both the story and the character will stay with me for quite some time!
Rae’s Review of Last One at the Party

Thanks so much, Rae. Three super choices! This is the second time we’ve seen Last One at the Party by Bethany Clift which puts it into joint third place with The Wild Court by E.G. Radcliff, A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins, You Need Me by Sharon Bairden, The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain, When the World was Ours by Liz Kessler and The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper!

About Rae:
I’m Rae, a married mum of two and owner of a very cute cat called Callie. You can usually find me with tea and biscuits. Or reading and blogging about bookish things over at Rae Reads.

Rae’s Blog and Social Media Links:
| Rae Reads | Twitter @rae_reads1 | Facebook | Instagram @raereadsbookblog |

Sadly submissions for #R3COMM3D3D2021 are now closed (posts will be running until just before Christmas so we’re not quite done yet). Shortly after the last post I will be inviting you all to attend the virtual after-show party, which should be a giggle, where we can cast our eyes over the marvellous and majestic beauty of 2021’s books. We will also crown 2021’s winner (or joint winners, if that’s the case). So I expect it to be a jolly good ol’ knees up! Until then stay tuned as we have lots more bookish loveliness heading your way ❤

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

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

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

So, what is #R3COMM3ND3D2021? It’s about sharing the book love. It’s a chance for authors, book bloggers and bookstagrammers to shout about three (yes, *only* three) books they love. They can be written by any author, in any genre and published in any way (traditionally, indie press or self-published). But there is a catch. All three books must have been published in 2021. To make things interesting there are a couple of teeny, tiny rules; 1) the book must have FIRST been published in 2021 and 2) special editions and reissues do not count. I like to keep you lovely people on your toes 😉

Here are the three books Karen recommends…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sadly submissions for #R3COMM3D3D2021 are now closed (posts will be running until just before Christmas so we’re not quite done yet). Shortly after the last post I will be inviting you all to attend the virtual after-show party, which should be a giggle, where we can cast our eyes over the marvellous and majestic beauty of 2021’s books. We will also crown 2021’s winner (or joint winners, if that’s the case). So I expect it to be a jolly good ol’ knees up! Until then stay tuned as we have lots more bookish loveliness heading your way ❤

#R3COMM3ND3D2021 with #Podcast Audiobookish (@audiobookishpod) #Audiobookish #BookRecommendations #publishedin2021 #booktwt #whattoread #damppebbles

Hello and happy Sunday. I hope you have a relaxing day planned. I always think curling up with a book, a good strong cup of tea and a plate of biscuits is the best way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Heaven! It’s day 45 of #R3COMM3ND3D2021 and there are only 5 posts of this year’s #R3C left to share. The battle to be crowned the winner of 2021 is on and it’s anyone’s race at the moment. I wonder how today’s picks will affect the standing…

In a first for #R3COMM3ND3D, joining me today are the folk behind podcast Audiobookish. Audiobookish is the perfect podcast for those who love their audiobooks, and who doesn’t, right? I’m a huge podcast fan. And I’m a huge audiobook fan, so it’s a match made in bookish heaven. Make sure you check it out!

So, what is #R3COMM3ND3D2021? It’s about sharing the book love. It’s a chance for authors, book bloggers and bookstagrammers to shout about three (yes, *only* three) books they love. They can be written by any author, in any genre and published in any way (traditionally, indie press or self-published). But there is a catch. All three books must have been published in 2021. To make things interesting there are a couple of teeny, tiny rules; 1) the book must have FIRST been published in 2021 and 2) special editions and reissues do not count. I like to keep you lovely people on your toes 😉

Here are the three books Audiobookish recommends…

True Crime Story by Joseph Knox
The audiobook is brilliantly produced with excellent sound design. It has superb performances from a full cast. The plot is gripping and the characters are flawed but fascinating. A who done it that keeps you guessing and plays with reality.
Audiobookish’s Review of True Crime Story

Small: On Motherhoods by Claire Lynch
It is a beautiful book about being a parent and how the smallest things in our lives can have the most significance.

A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins
A really well written thriller.
Audiobookish’s Review of A Slow Fire Burning

Thanks so much, three terrific choices. This is the second time we’ve seen A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins which puts it into joint third place with The Wild Court by E.G. Radcliff, You Need Me by Sharon Bairden, The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain and The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper.

About Audiobookish:
An Audiobook Review Podcast

Audiobookish’s Social Media Links:
| Audiobookish | Twitter @audiobookishpod | Facebook | Instagram @audiobookishpod |

Sadly submissions for #R3COMM3D3D2021 are now closed (posts will be running until just before Christmas so we’re not quite done yet). Shortly after the last post I will be inviting you all to attend the virtual after-show party, which should be a giggle, where we can cast our eyes over the marvellous and majestic beauty of 2021’s books. We will also crown 2021’s winner (or joint winners, if that’s the case). So I expect it to be a jolly good ol’ knees up! Until then stay tuned as we have lots more bookish loveliness heading your way ❤

#R3COMM3ND3D2021 with #BookBlogger Julie Morris (@book_problem) #ALittleBookProblem #BookRecommendations #publishedin2021 #booktwt #whattoread #damppebbles

Hello book friends and welcome to Saturday on damppebbles. I hope you have some brilliant books lined up this weekend, and the opportunity to read them of course! It’s day 44 of #R3COMM3ND3D2021 and so far 115 individual 2021 publications have been selected by a whole host of brilliant authors, bookstagrammers and book bloggers. We currently have two books in joint first place, two books in joint second place and four books in joint third place. Will that change today…?

Let’s find out! Joining me to share the 2021 book love today is a fabulous, award-winning blogger – it’s Julie Morris of A Little Book Problem. I love Julie’s blog and I heartily recommend you get over there and subscribe, if you don’t already. Julie is sure to help you find a new favourite read or author with her beautifully written reviews and features.

So, what is #R3COMM3ND3D2021? It’s about sharing the book love. It’s a chance for authors, book bloggers and bookstagrammers to shout about three (yes, *only* three) books they love. They can be written by any author, in any genre and published in any way (traditionally, indie press or self-published). But there is a catch. All three books must have been published in 2021. To make things interesting there are a couple of teeny, tiny rules; 1) the book must have FIRST been published in 2021 and 2) special editions and reissues do not count. I like to keep you lovely people on your toes 😉

Here are the three books Julie recommends…

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin
It is probably surprising to describe a book dealing with terminal illness as uplifting, but that is a true description of The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot. The book describes the friendship between a teenage girl and an elderly woman who meet at an art class for long-term patients in a Scottish hospital and it is warm, uplifting, powerful, joyous and deeply affecting. I absolutely loved it and want everyone to read it.
Julie’s Review of The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot

The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper
This book is an extraordinary piece of writing. Set in the infamous brothels of Pompeii, Elodie Harper has written a book that is both a gripping thriller and a fascinating exploration of the tenacity of the human spirit, richly woven with historical detail. I found the book mesmerising and cannot wait for the second part of the projected trilogy to be published next year.
Julie’s Review of The Wolf Den

This Much Huxley Knows by Gail Aldwin
This is book that will have slipped under many people’s radar as it isn’t published by a mainstream publisher and I think that is a great shame because I don’t think I have ever read a book that so clearly describes life from the point of view of a child or captures so brilliantly the joy and pain of being a seven-year-old that doesn’t quite fit in. This is such an individual book, both saddening and uplifting to read and it deserves a really wide audience. I hop including it encourages more people to pick it up.
Julie’s Review of This Much Huxley Knows

Three gorgeous choices, thanks so much Julie. This is the second time we’ve seen The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper which puts it in joint third place along with The Wild Court by E.G. Radcliff, You Need Me by Sharon Bairden, The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain and When the World Was Ours by Liz Kessler!

About Julie Morris:
Book blogger of five years standing. Particularly loves reading and writing romance novels. Host of the popular Friday Night Drinks feature. RNA Media Star 2021.

Julie’s Blog and Social Media Links:
A Little Book ProblemTwitter @book_problemFacebookInstagram @alittlebookproblem |

Sadly submissions for #R3COMM3D3D2021 are now closed (posts will be running until just before Christmas so we’re not quite done yet). Shortly after the last post I will be inviting you all to attend the virtual after-show party, which should be a giggle, where we can cast our eyes over the marvellous and majestic beauty of 2021’s books. We will also crown 2021’s winner (or joint winners, if that’s the case). So I expect it to be a jolly good ol’ knees up! Until then stay tuned as we have lots more bookish loveliness heading your way ❤

#R3COMM3ND3D2021 with #BookBlogger Richard Fernandez (@r_m_fernandez) #Cafethinking #BookRecommendations #publishedin2021 #booktwt #whattoread #damppebbles

Hello and the warmest of welcomes to damppebbles. It’s Friday and day 43 of #R3COMM3ND3D2021. We’re approaching the end of this year’s series now but what an absolutely cracking year it’s been for books. I thought 2020 was good, couldn’t be beaten, but 2021 arrived and lifted the bar into the stratosphere. I wonder what 2022 holds for us bookworms…?

Joining me today is a fantastic blogger whose opinion, particularly on Nordic Noir, I really trust. It’s the brilliant Richard Fernandez from Cafethinking. If you don’t already subscribe to Richard’s blog then that must change. Head over there now and hit the subscribe button. But hurry back, you don’t want to miss Richard’s three #R3COMM3ND3D2021 picks!

So, what is #R3COMM3ND3D2021? It’s about sharing the book love. It’s a chance for authors, book bloggers and bookstagrammers to shout about three (yes, *only* three) books they love. They can be written by any author, in any genre and published in any way (traditionally, indie press or self-published). But there is a catch. All three books must have been published in 2021. To make things interesting there are a couple of teeny, tiny rules; 1) the book must have FIRST been published in 2021 and 2) special editions and reissues do not count. I like to keep you lovely people on your toes 😉

Here are the three books Richard recommends…

Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour
This is a book that is absolutely of its time. It’s an extremely clever satire that works even if (as I was) you are not always up with its references. It skewers white denials of racism and questions whether you can be both ambitious and authentic. It seems now that it is also a satire of the WeWork company which spectacularly came unstuck earlier this year. Full-on, funny and serious.
Richard’s Review of Black Buck

Silenced by Solveig Pálsdóttir
A thriller that rips apart the hollowness of social media – but really it’s an exploration of power, coercion and the secrecy that arises from them. Crime fiction should stand up for those with no voice, and this is angry, righteous fiction that speaks up for the powerless.
Richard’s Review of Silenced

Fall by West Camel
If the other titles are up to the minute, Fall, while published this year, has an analog feel to it. It tackles timeless themes of truth, power, family and justice and gives us something complex, unique and beautiful. It is unlike anything I have read in a long time: dreamy and mystic even, set in what these days many people would dismiss as a concrete eyesore. My book of the year.
Richard’s Review of Fall

Thanks so much, Richard. Three fantastic choices which I will be adding to my wish list!

About Richard Fernandez:
I fell into writing book reviews on the back of the Nordic Noir boom a few years ago. I love being part of the blogging community and have met some brilliant people and found books that I would never have come across – all three of my choices have that in common. What a fabulous hobby this has turned out to be!

Richard’s Blog and Social Media Links:
CafethinkingTwitter @r_m_fernandez |

Sadly submissions for #R3COMM3D3D2021 are now closed (posts will be running until just before Christmas so we’re not quite done yet). Shortly after the last post I will be inviting you all to attend the virtual after-show party, which should be a giggle, where we can cast our eyes over the marvellous and majestic beauty of 2021’s books. We will also crown 2021’s winner (or joint winners, if that’s the case). So I expect it to be a jolly good ol’ knees up! Until then stay tuned as we have lots more bookish loveliness heading your way ❤

#BookReview: The Christmas Carrolls by Mel Taylor-Bessent, illustrated by Selom Sunu @FarshoreBooks #TheChristmasCarrolls #mglit #kidlit #damppebbles

“Funny festive middle grade about the world’s most Christmassy family from the founder of Authorfy, perfect for 8+ readers and fans of Matt Haig, Ben Miller, Sibeal Pounder’s Tinsel, and the Nativity! films

Wish it could be Christmas every day? Well, for nine-year-old Holly Carroll and her family, it is! Living her merriest life in a house with year-round fairy lights and Christmas trees, a carol-singing toilet and a diva donkey who thinks he’s a reindeer, home-schooled Holly tries to spread cheer wherever she goes.

But when she goes to a new school with a singing Santa backpack and first day Christmas cards (during a heatwave in September!), she realises not everyone shares her enthusiasm for spreading cheer. In fact, when the neighbours try to remove the Carrolls from the street and Holly discovers a group of children that may not get a Christmas at all, her snowglobe world begins to crack. Is the world’s most Christmassy girl about to lose her Christmas spirit?

The Christmas Carrolls is a heartwarming, hilarious and inclusive tale about the power of spreading cheer, the magic of friendship and what really matters at this most wonderful time of the year.”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of The Christmas Carrolls written by Mel Taylor-Bessent and illustrated by Selom Sunu which was published by Farshore Books on 14th October 2021 in paperback, audio and digital formats. I chose to read and review a free ARC of The Christmas Carrolls but that has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to Rachel and Farshore Books for sending me a proof copy.

Joining me to shout about this wonderful festive book today is my favourite damppebbles guest reviewer (don’t tell the husband!), my 10 year old daughter. When we were offered the chance to read The Christmas Carrolls we squealed with delight and grabbed at it with grateful, eager hands. My daughter, unable to wait for the book to actually arrive, started reading it thanks to a well-known book selling site. Only to burst into fits of laughter as Holly asks the reader in the opening paragraph if an idea has ever hit them so hard they fell off the toilet. She then proceeds to describe the feeling of falling into the loo, comparing it to a thrilling water ride at a theme park! My daughter was in hysterics, and I knew she had found a new favourite read.

Holly Carroll loves Christmas. Which is a fairly normal thing for a nine-year-old. But Holly’s family are as equally smitten with the festive season as Holly is. So much so, they live Christmas and all it’s accoutrements 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Every day is Christmas for the Carrolls. So when the opportunity to move to a house on Sleigh Ride Avenue arises, the third most Christmassy named street in the world, Holly’s parents – Snow and Nick – pack up their belongings and move the family to London. The move leads to necessary changes within the family. Snow and Nick need to find new employment which means previously home-schooled Holly must start attending Lockerton Primary. She’s excited about the new challenges ahead and, if truth be told, just a little bit nervous too. But she’s used to spreading cheer wherever she goes and starting school will be no different. But after several days of trying to bring festive joy and the Christmas spirit to her classmates, it becomes clear that not everyone is as keen on Christmas as Holly is…

I’ll share my thoughts on this fun-filled middle grade read in a tick but first, here’s what the most important person, my 10 year-old daughter, thought of The Christmas Carrolls

The Christmas Carrolls is a book about being yourself and how it’s OK to be different. I liked this book because Holly is different to other people but she can still make friends despite being a little different to her classmates. I think the moral of the story is that you don’t have to fit in with everyone else, you should always be yourself. I like how intelligent Holly is and how she wants to be an inventor. I also like how Holly’s mum has changed her name to Snow. Holly’s dad is a keen inventor. My favourite character was Reggie because he is a cheeky little donkey (reindeer) and I love animals. I think people who like Christmas will like this book. The perfect book to read in front of your fire drinking a hot chocolate with marshmallows and whipped cream on it. I would give this book 5/5 stars.

I’ll admit it, I’m on the ‘bah humbug’ side of things a little when it comes to Christmas. I know, I know. Not the best person to be reading a Christmas book. But G and I couldn’t resist this festive adventure. And I’m delighted to confirm reading The Christmas Carrolls turned this Scrooge into a someone who was looking forward to Christmas a little bit more after turning the last page. I found Holly’s enthusiasm for the festive season to be infectious. The made-up words, the silliness and the crazy antics of the Carroll family all added up to a joyful story which this grown-up enjoyed just as much as the book’s intended middle-grade audience.

The beautiful pencil-drawn illustrations throughout the novel really add something extra special to a well-written, heart-warming story. I really appreciated the skill that had gone into creating these works of art. I know my daughter was a fan of the artwork too and we often spoke about what was happening in the sketches. I felt the take home message was clear for young readers to pick up on and understand.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. The Christmas Carrolls is a well-written, laugh out loud middle-grade adventure with a large, sparkly dollop of Christmas cheer and a mince pie on top! The characters were clearly defined and I particularly liked grumpy Mr Bleurgh. He’s the panto baddie who we all ‘boooooo’ when he walks on stage, which is exactly what I was doing in my own head every time he was mentioned. I loved everything about this gorgeous festive novel and both G and I are looking forward to The Christmas Carrolls 2 soon. An uplifting, feel good read. The perfect Christmas gift for the middle grader in your life. Recommended.

I chose to read and review a free ARC of The Christmas Carrolls. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

The Christmas Carrolls by Mel Taylor-Bessent, illustrated by Selom Sunu was published in the UK by Farshore Books on 14th October 2021 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 |


See the source imageFounder of the hugely successful Authorfy and Little Star Writing, Mel Taylor-Bessent has made her career connecting readers to their favourite authors and encouraging children to write for pleasure. After gaining a Creative Writing degree, Mel launched her first business at the age of 22 and ran creative writing workshops for thousands of children aged 6-12. As a result, she also arranged hundreds of author events and witnessed first-hand the positive impact these interactions had on her students.

In 2017, she decided to replicate this via online ‘Author Masterclasses’ on a website she created called Authorfy.com. Since then, Authorfy has gone on to win numerous awards, partner with the likes of World Book Day and BookTrust, and is used in classrooms all over the world. Now Mel is bringing her own writing to readers with The Christmas Carrolls, her debut fiction series.

See the source image

Selom Sunu is a London-based Illustrator and Character Designer who enjoys bringing characters to life visually.

He is a people person through and through and tries to bring his interactions with people and their various quirks into his work.

Selom has worked on a number of book projects including illustrations in ‘Puffin’s Book of Big Dreams’ for Puffin’s 80th birthday and ‘Ghost’, a New York Times Best Seller with publisher Knights Of and author Jason Reynolds.

Selom has also lent his drawing skills to Animation studios, providing Character Designs for various TV series pitches. He is also passionate about encouraging others to draw for fun and has run workshops for children and adults to that effect.

Outside work Selom enjoys playing football and is a devoted Christian, husband and father.

#R3COMM3ND3D2021 with #Author Jon Ford (@_Knightingale_) #TheBalladOfTheSongbird #BookRecommendations #publishedin2021 #booktwt #whattoread #damppebbles

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. It’s Wednesday which means we’re halfway through the week and thankfully one step closer to the weekend. Hoorah! It’s also day 42 of #R3COMM3ND3D2021 and so far a staggering 110 individual titles have been #R3COMM3ND3D. I only have one week’s worth of posts left to share with you now, plus the after-show party. The last month and a half has flown by! Has your favourite 2021 publication been chosen yet?

Joining me today to talk all things #R3COMM3ND3D2021 is a brilliant author, it’s Jon Ford. Jon writes The Ballad of the Songbird series which is a multi-character supernatural fantasy series. With two books published earlier this year – Hunters and Blood to Earth – and a further five, possibly SIX according to Jon’s website, books planned, this is a series readers can really get their teeth into. You can find out more about Jon and his writing further down the page.

So, what is #R3COMM3ND3D2021? It’s about sharing the book love. It’s a chance for authors, book bloggers and bookstagrammers to shout about three (yes, *only* three) books they love. They can be written by any author, in any genre and published in any way (traditionally, indie press or self-published). But there is a catch. All three books must have been published in 2021. To make things interesting there are a couple of teeny, tiny rules; 1) the book must have FIRST been published in 2021 and 2) special editions and reissues do not count. I like to keep you lovely people on your toes 😉

Here are the three books Jon recommends…

The Wild Court by E.G. Radcliff
I’ve just finished this last book in Radcliff’s ‘Coming of Aed’ trilogy, and it was the perfect resolution to an amazing series. It’s a fantastic book (and series) unlike any I’ve read before. The world building is subtly done, over the course of the first book (The Hidden King) and built upon in the second book (The Lost Prince), so by the time you’re reading ‘The Wild Court’ you’re fully immersed. But it’s the characters that REALLY draw you in. Each of them is struggling with an internal conflict and vulnerability, which gives you as the reader something to really lock on to. The character of Aed in particular is exceedingly compelling. A broken character both physically and emotionally who is trying to come to terms with loss and the discovery of who he truly is. Honestly, this is one of the best fantasy books I’ve read in years. Absolutely recommended.

Acts of Closure by NT Anderson
I’m not generally a romance book reader, but this one piqued my interest. I loved the hook of going back and sampling the path not take. I think everyone has thoughts of ‘what could have been’ when it comes to past relationships. The main characters, Natalie, was interesting, and I really enjoyed following her emotional journey. I also loved the inset DMs that break up the narrative, but always feel relevant and tell a second smaller story buried within the main one. It’s something I’d never seen before. If you like a little spicy romance in your life, with a kind of bittersweet feeling, then this is the book for you.
Jon’s Review of Acts of Closure

Fallen Angels (Behind Blue Eyes #2) by Anna Mocikat
This it the BEST in cyberpunk. It has everything you could want. Amazing world building, compelling kickass characters, mystery and intrigue, and some of the best action set-pieces committed to print. This is the second book in the Behind Blue Eyes series, and both carries on from the first book, but also kind of resets the arc in an unexpected way. It’s definitely a book that keeps you guessing. Additionally, the two main characters are utterly compelling. Neph is more than just a proto-typical kick-ass female heroine, and Metatron is more than just a dastardly villian. There’s much more to them than meets the eye, and the deeper into this story you get the more you ask questions as to where, ultimately, it’s going. It has definite Ghost in the Shell vibes, so if that’s in your wheelhouse then you can’t do any better than this.
Jon’s Review of Fallen Angels

Three super recommendations, thanks so much Jon. This is the second time we’ve seen The Wild Court by E.G. Radcliff which puts it in joint third place with The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain, When the World was Ours by Liz Kessler and You Need Me by Sharon Bairden!

About The Ballad of the Songbird Series:

Book one: Hunters by Jon Ford
Welcome to the new age…

In a world where Vampyrii, Werewolves and other creatures of myth and legend now live side by side with the remnants of the Human race, conflicts are inevitable.

Gayle Knightley has been fighting all her life.

As a Fae/Human hybrid, a quirk of her birth ensured she was destined to be a warrior. A Hunter. One of the best. But now she’s broken and grieving. Her team and her friends brutally taken from her. Gayle will need to overcome her grief and join the fight once again. Her first steps on the path to redemption take her back to London, and the Human Fae Academy where it all began.

Where she learnt to be a Hunter.

Yet on the eve of a historical global summit, an enigmatic manipulator threatens to shatter the fragile peace. In Werewolf controlled Canada, a girl is abducted by a monster. In Vampire occupied America, a lone Vampyrii forges an alliance with an enemy to try and correct history.

How are these things all connected?

And more importantly…who hunts the Hunters?

Hunters is a story as complex and deep as Game of Thrones or The Expanse, yet set in a modern urban fantasy setting.

| amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads |

Book two: Blood to Earth by Jon Ford

In the aftermath of tragedy, when the past is laid to rest, blood returns to earth…

When catastrophic events in Nexus City tip the scales, skewing the balance of power in New Victus and forcing Lyssa Balthazaar to accelerate her timetable for revolution, she struggles to find allies in her time of need while wrestling with an impossible decision – Follow her heart or her commitment to family.

A vacation in Rio takes a sudden turn for Alexa Reynolds when an unexpected job connects to her recent past and leads her to untangle a mystery. A mystery she follows from Rio, to the Bahamas, and to Venezuela before she discovers a shocking revelation in the Pacific Ocean.

In London, Gayle and Allyson Knightley are coping with both loss and love. While Allyson is driven to find justice for the victims in Nexus, Gayle is faced with a stark reminder of her past. It is a discovery that will drive her to risk it all to uncover the truth of Bloody Valletta.

| amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads |

About Jon Ford:
Jon Ford lives in Worcestershire, UK with his awesome Wifey, their lovable puppy Reflex, and under the watchful gaze of their cat-overlords, Lana and Gale. He has far too many hobbies for one man to sensibly hold down. In between his hobby-juggling, you’ll find him working as an Implementation Consultant by day and burning the midnight oil to bring you The Ballad of the Songbird saga — an epic seven-book series.

Jon’s Website and Social Media Links:
| Website | Twitter @_Knightingale_ | Facebook | Instagram @jonfordauthor |

👉 No #R3COMM3ND3D2021 post tomorrow as I have a review to share instead but #R3C will be back on Friday! 👈

Sadly submissions for #R3COMM3D3D2021 are now closed (posts will be running until just before Christmas so we’re not quite done yet). Shortly after the last post I will be inviting you all to attend the virtual after-show party, which should be a giggle, where we can cast our eyes over the marvellous and majestic beauty of 2021’s books. We will also crown 2021’s winner (or joint winners, if that’s the case). So I expect it to be a jolly good ol’ knees up! Until then stay tuned as we have lots more bookish loveliness heading your way ❤