#R3COMM3ND3D2019 with #BookBlogger Kate Eveleigh (@bantambookworm) #PortableMagic #damppebbles #BookRecommendations #Publishedin2019

Happy Sunday book fans! Welcome to damppebbles and to day three of #R3COMM3ND3D. I hope you’re enjoying the recommendations so far. I certainly am! Today I am delighted to welcome another brilliant book blogger to damppebbles – the very lovely Kate at Portable Magic. If you haven’t discovered Kate’s fabulous blog yet then make sure you check it out and hit the subscribe button whilst you’re there!

So, what is #R3COMM3ND3D2019? It’s about sharing the book love. It’s a chance for authors and book bloggers 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 2019. To make things interesting I have added a couple of teeny, tiny rules this year which are; 1) the book must have first been published in 2019 and 2) special editions and reissues do not count. I like to keep you lovely people on your toes 😉.

Here are Kate’s recommendations…

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Take It Back by Kia Abdullah
There are so many layers to this book and each one is relevant to society today. It’s incredibly powerful and thought provoking.
Kate’s Review of Take It Back

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Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech
It’s different from Louise Beech’s other books but just as beautifully written. It’s also really atmospheric and full of tension.
Kate’s Review of Call Me Star Girl

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The Girl at the Window by Rowan Coleman
Rowan Coleman’s writing is so beautiful. I don’t even have the words! It’s also fascinating to learn more about Emily Bronte.
Kate’s Review of The Girl at the Window

Thanks so much, Kate. I have a copy of Call Me Star Girl which I’m really looking forward to reading.

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

Take It Back by Kia Abdullah
Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech
The Girl at the Window by Rowan Coleman

About Kate:
I’m a blogger from Leeds who reads mostly crime and thrillers but is up for trying most genres! When I’m not reading, I can be found watching Bradford City or catching up with my family and friends.

Kate’s Blog and Social Media Links:
| Portable Magic | Twitter @bantambookworm | Facebook |

If you’re a book blogger or an author and you have three books published this year which you want to shout about then please complete the following form (or click this link: https://forms.gle/PE483qCyrKEgV5Uq6)

#R3COMM3ND3D2019 with #BookBlogger Yvonne Bastian (@yvonnembee) #MeAndMyBooks #damppebbles #BookRecommendations #Publishedin2019

Hello and welcome to damppebbles! Delighted to have you join me today on day two of 2019’s #R3COMM3ND3D. Today I am thrilled to welcome another of my favourite bloggers to share the book love – the lovely Yvonne of Me and My Books. I love Yvonne’s blog so if you haven’t discovered it yet then head on over and say ‘hi’!

So, what is #R3COMM3ND3D2019? It’s about sharing the book love. It’s a chance for authors and book bloggers 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 2019. To make things interesting I have added a couple of teeny, tiny rules this year which are; 1) the book must have first been published in 2019 and 2) special editions and reissues do not count. I like to keep you lovely people on your toes 😉.

Here are Yvonne’s three recommendations…

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Out Of The Silence by Owen Mullen
This was a book I read way back in January and it still remains with me. It is crime/thriller read and but what made this book so special for me was the heartbreaking and harrowing human interest story that was woven into it. A stunning read!
Yvonne’s Review of Out Of The Silence

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Dear Rosie Huges by Melanie Hudson
A book I read back in February that by the end had me a sobbing wreck. A story of a friendship re-kindled and told in a series of letters and messages. It is a heartwarming story that was full of emotion and simply had me engrossed. A beautiful read.
Yvonne’s Review of Dear Rosie Hughes

Wanderers

Wanderers by Chuck Wendig
This is a dystopian book, it could be set tomorrow or in a couple of years. I say dystopian but it really didn’t feel like it because of the realness behind it. The story has compassion, misunderstanding, extremism, violence, and well… if I’m being honest has a bit of pretty much everything. A fabulous read.
Yvonne’s Review of Wanderers

Great choices, thanks Yvonne. I have Wanderers on my terrifying TBR and I cannot wait to read it! I think it’s going to take a while though as I’ve heard it’s 800 pages long.

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

Out Of The Silence by Owen Mullen
Dear Rosie Hughes by Melanie Hudson
Wanderers by Chuck Wendig

About Yvonne:
I am a reader and Book Blogger. I started my Blog in Feb 2017 when I discovered a thing called Book Blogging. It is a fantastic way to share my love of reading and of books and it gives me a chance to give something back to an author. I am a genre butterfly and flit around from genre to genre reading whatever takes my fancy.

Yvonne’s Blog and Social Media Links:
Me and My BooksTwitter @yvonnembeeFacebook |

If you’re a book blogger or an author and you have three books published this year which you want to shout about then please complete the following form (or click this link: https://forms.gle/PE483qCyrKEgV5Uq6)

 

 

#R3COMM3ND3D2019 with #BookBlogger Lynne (@fictionophile) #Fictionophile #damppebbles #BookRecommendations #Publishedin2019

Hello my bookish lovelies! Today is a very special day for damppebbles. Today marks the start of #R3COMM3ND3D2019 which I am so very excited about. I have loved sharing your 2018 posts over the last year (apologies for the delay to MANY of you!) but it’s time to wave goodbye to #R3COMM3ND3D2018 and give a big, welcoming bookish hug to this years #R3COMM3ND3D which I already know is going to be incredible! And to prove my point, I am delighted to welcome one of the loveliest book bloggers out there to damppebbles today to kick this show off – the lovely Lynne at Fictionophile. Lynne is a blogger I have huge respect for so if you’ve not come across her blog before then please subscribe – you won’t be sorry.

So, what is #R3COMM3ND3D2019? It’s about sharing the book love. It’s a chance for authors and book bloggers 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 2019. To make things interesting I have added a couple of teeny, tiny rules this year which are; 1) the book must have first been published in 2019 and 2) special editions and reissues do not count. I like to keep you lovely people on your toes 😉.

So exciting! Here are Lynne’s choices…

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Scared To Breathe by Kerena Swan
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It was a perfect blend of psychological thriller and gothic suspense – written in a way that held me spellbound throughout.

The setting, the beautiful old Cotswold manor, was well described. I could picture every nook and cranny of the house and grounds.

The characters were written sympathetically, causing the reader to become invested in the story-line and the protagonist’s experiences. I particularly enjoyed reading about Tasha’s friendship with the octogenarian Bob and his dog, Bonnie.

Kerena Swan is a ‘new to me‘ author, but I plan to follow her work in further novels. A suspense-filled thriller, “Scared to Breathe” is a book I can, and will, highly recommend.
Lynne’s Review of Scared To Breathe

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The Widows (Kinship) by Jess Montgomery
I never cease to marvel at all the research that must have been done to make a book like this possible. It is obvious that Jess Montgomery didn’t stint on her meticulous research. She crafted two fictional woman who became flesh and blood to the reader. Vividly described places and situations expound on the extreme poverty and resilience of the coal mining families in the 1920s.

The women overcome the odds in a time when women had little, if any, socioeconomic power. These women will remain in my memory for a very long time.

This fiction debut by author Jess Montgomery proves that she has a writing talent to be reckoned with – and should be a firm favorite of all lovers of historical fiction. Highly recommended.
Lynne’s Review of The Widows

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The Binding by Bridget Collins
I think I’ll remember this novel for quite some time – but probably not for the reasons I would normally. It was a lengthy book that held my interest. It was exceedingly well written, and it was a genre that I don’t normally enjoy. With themes of innocence and altruism, perversion and depravity, it will hold appeal for countless readers. The historical aspect of the novel highlighted the chasm between the social classes and the eternal problem of powerful people preying upon those who are vulnerable.

All in all, I really enjoyed this reading experience and would recommend this book. Readers who enjoy historical fiction, and historical fantasy fiction will be most enthralled by Bridget Collins debut adult novel.
Lynne’s Review of The Binding

Thanks so much, Lynne. Excellent choices and I’ve made a couple of additions to the terrifying TBR.

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

Scared To Breathe by Kerena Swan
The Widows by Jess Montgomery
The Binding by Bridget Collins

About Lynne:
Book blogger, retired library cataloguer, new grandmother, from Nova Scotia, Canada.

A Message From Lynne:
I have read 58 books as of June of this year. The majority of those were published before 2019 so please feel free to visit my blog for reviews of many backlist titles that I have thoroughly enjoyed.

Thanks so much to Emma for hosting this blog series. She is a prime example of how supportive the book blogging community is [DP: Aw, thanks for your kind words, Lynne ❤️]

Lynne’s Blog and Social Media Links:
FictionophileTwitter @fictionophileInstagram @fictionophile56 |

If you’re a book blogger or an author and you have three books published this year which you want to shout about then please complete the following form (or click this link: https://forms.gle/PE483qCyrKEgV5Uq6)

#BookReview: The Whisper Man by Alex North @MichaelJBooks @1stMondayCrime #TheWhisperMan #FirstMondayCrime #damppebbles

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“If you leave a door half-open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken…

Still devastated after the loss of his wife, Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake move to the sleepy village of Featherbank, looking for a fresh start.

But Featherbank has a dark past. Fifteen years ago a twisted serial killer abducted and murdered five young boys. Until he was finally caught, the killer was known as ‘The Whisper Man’.

Of course, an old crime need not trouble Tom and Jake as they try to settle in to their new home. Except that now another boy has gone missing. And then Jake begins acting strangely.

He says he hears a whispering at his window…”

Hello bookish friends. I am delighted to welcome you to the blog today because I get to share one of my favourite books of the year with you! The brilliant Alex North will be appearing at First Monday Crime this month which is the perfect excuse for me to shout about The Whisper Man for a second time. Scroll down to find out who else will be appearing at First Monday alongside Alex on Monday!

I received a free ARC copy of The Whisper Man but this has in no way influenced my review.

Well, this is an absolutely cracking read and a strong contender for my book of the year! You know when you see a book and you just know, without any shadow of a doubt, that you’re going to LOVE it. That happened to me at a crime fiction festival last year when I won a book. I could choose between this and another title. A very naughty publicist (who shall remain nameless) talked me into taking a different book against my better judgement and since then I have been hankering after a copy of The Whisper Man. I haven’t read the other book yet, by the way, and it’s got some awesome reviews. I was drawn to this one though and should have gone with my gut!

This a wonderfully creepy and dark read which I powered through – probably quicker than anything else I’ve read this year. There’s a definite horror vibe about it which just added to my overall enjoyment of the book. But what I loved most were our lead characters, Tom and Jake, who absolutely shone from the pages. Tom and his 7-year-old son, Jake, don’t have the easiest of relationships. Rebecca; wife, mother and the glue which held the family together, died suddenly leaving the pair of them to fend for themselves. Jake discovered his mum’s body slumped at the bottom of the stairs. Something that would traumatise most adults. He misses his mum terribly and has a new found fear of the stairs. Which is why Tom decides a fresh start is what they need. They leave the painful memories and the frightening stairs behind and move to the sleepy village of Featherbank. But Featherbank has a dark past of its own. The Whisper Man killed a number of young boys fifteen years ago. And now another boy has gone missing. Bewildered by Jake’s behaviour normally, Tom is even more confused when Jake starts acting even stranger…

I absolutely loved this book and will be sending people barmy by recommending it all of the time! The characters are just superb. I loved Tom and my heart ached for little Jake (I have kids around the same age) but there are other equally as brilliant characters in this book. I have to mention DI Pete Willis who I adored. A man with many regrets and forever searching for the one boy he couldn’t find. He has a troubled past which he tortures himself with on a daily basis and deals with an addiction which he takes one step at a time. Then there’s Frank Carter, an evil psychopath who revels in his past as The Whisper Man and who longs to be remembered for what damage he did. Brilliant, just brilliant!

You need this book in your life. It’s brilliantly creepy, edgy and chock full of surprises. I was totally smitten from the moment I read the first page. The characters are outstanding, the plot hooks you in in a matter of minutes and the writing is just sublime. Not forgetting the seemingly-quaint yet overwhelmingly sinister setting of Featherbank. This book has definitely left its mark on me. I loved it and it’s going to take something extra special to knock it off the top spot.

Would I recommend this book? You have to ask…?! Most definitely. It gave me chills and made my heart ache for Tom, Jake and their struggling relationship. Full of some of the most memorable characters I have ever met in a book – I loved it (do say if I’m repeating myself!). Completely unforgettable, impossible to put down and absolutely everything I want from a book. I am in love.

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

The Whisper Man by Alex North was published in the UK by Michael Joseph on 13th June 2019 and is available in hardcover, audio and ebook formats with the paperback to follow in December (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | BookDepository | Goodreads | Foyles |

First Monday Crime:
Alex North will be joining the panel for November’s First Monday Crime event on Monday 4th November 2019. Alex will be appearing alongside Louise Candlish, Abir Mukherjee, Victoria Selman and Sophie Goodfellow. The event is FREE of charge and will be held at 6.30pm on Monday 4th November at City University, College Building, Room A130. Click HERE to book your FREE ticket or hop over to the First Monday Crime website for more information.

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Alex North was born in Leeds, where he now lives with his wife and son. He studied Philosophy at Leeds University, and prior to becoming a writer he worked there in their sociology department.

Author Links: | Twitter |

#BlogTour | #BookReview: Safe House by Jo Jakeman @HarvillSecker #SafeHouse #damppebbles

SH_7.jpg“NOT EVERYONE DESERVES A SECOND CHANCE . . .

The morning after a terrible storm, a woman turns up in a remote Cornish village. She calls herself Charlie, but it’s a name she’s only had for a few days. She keeps herself to herself, reluctant to integrate with the locals. Because Charlie has a secret.

Charlie was in prison for providing a false alibi for a murderer. But Lee Fisher wasn’t a murderer to her; he was the man she loved. Convinced of his innocence, Charlie said she was with him the night a young woman was killed. This sacrifice cost her everything.

And now she has a chance to start again. But someone is watching her, waiting for her, wondering if she’s really paid the price for what she did.”

I am delighted to welcome you to the blog today and to my stop on the Safe House blog tour. Safe House is the second book from Jo Jakeman and it’s published in hardcover and ebook formats today! The happiest of publication days to Jo and the team at Harvill Secker. I received a free eARC of Safe House but that has in no way influenced my review.

Charlie Miller is a woman with a lot to hide. What’s the best thing to do when you’ve made a number of terrible mistakes and want to forget your past? When you walk down the street of the town which you’ve lived your entire life in and people spit at you? You obviously up sticks and move to a different part of the country! Charlie Miller moves her meagre belongings to Penderrion in Cornwall and starts afresh. But Charlie Miller is a brand new creation. A new identity to help ex-convict Steffi Finn fit in. Steffi has just been released from HMP Hillstone for providing a false alibi for her partner, Lee Fisher. But that’s in the past. No one knows who Charlie really is. Or do they….?

I enjoyed this slow-burn psychological suspense novel. I found Charlie, despite her faults, easy to like and the setting, the beautiful and dramatic Cornish coastline, played as much a part in the story as the characters themselves. With Jakeman’s vivid descriptions I could picture myself stood on the cliffs overlooking the turbulent waves.

There’s a wonderful sense of impending danger and unease throughout the novel which comes from three angles. The lawyer husband of Jenn who seems to recognise Charlie on first sight, the unknown narrator who appears a handful of times throughout the novel and from Ben Jarvis who seems hellbent on trying to track Charlie down. For what purpose the reader is left wondering.

Would I recommend this book? If you like a lighter, edging on women’s fiction thriller, then yes – this is a book for you. Charlie’s neighbours were great characters and I enjoyed the community spirit they embodied – particularly Aubrey who was my favourite character in the book (and had very little community spirit about him but he was fond of Charlie and I think we all know or have known an Aubrey). An entertaining read to while away an Autumnal afternoon.

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

Safe House by Jo Jakeman was published by Harvill Secker on 31st October 2019 and is available in hardcover and ebook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | Goodreads |

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JO JAKEMAN was the winner of the Friday Night Live 2016 competition at the York Festival of Writing. Born in Cyprus, she worked for many years in the City of London before moving to Derbyshire with her husband and twin boys. Safe House is her second novel and Sticks and Stones was her debut thriller.

#R3COMM3ND3D2018: The After Show Party #BookBlogger #Author #Publishedin2018 #MustReadBooks #damppebbles #BookRecommendations

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. More importantly, welcome to the #R3COMM3ND3D2018 after show party! Now, this post is a couple of days later than planned. But hey, all the best parties don’t go quite to plan – right?

And not going to plan is EXACTLY what #R3COMM3ND3D2018 did. Following my very best intentions to post your brilliant 2018 recommendations during November and December last year, I unfortunately fell ill and pretty much stopped blogging for a few months. But you can’t keep a good book recommendation down (nor a determined blogger!) and earlier this year, in the Spring, I restarted the series and posted all of the outstanding posts.

I have LOVED sharing your 2018 recommendations, and I hope you have enjoyed seeing which books have been chosen – and of course, the all-important WHY! If #R3COMM3ND3D2018 has managed to add only one book to your TBR then we’re doing a stonking job.

So, without further ado, here are the #R3COMM3ND3D2018 titles in all their glory…

Aren’t they beautiful?! If you took part in #R3COMM3ND3D2018 and the book(s) you chose aren’t here then please get in touch.

But what of the winners? Which books were recommended the most? I can’t quite believe it myself but there were SIX books which tied for first place. All six books had FOUR votes each which is amazing!

Here they are…

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How many have you read? I’ve read three of the six and thoroughly enjoyed them. They’re all very worthy winners.

Which leads us to this year. Who will come out on top? #R3COMM3ND3D2019 starts this Friday on 1st November (eek!) and runs every day until the end of December (except 24th, 25th, 26th and 31st December). Make sure you have your say by filling in the form below and casting your vote for the top books of 2019.

The biggest thanks to all of the book bloggers and authors who took part in #R3COMM3ND3D2018 and whittled their favourite reads down to three (an impossible task, I know!). Huge thanks for all the shares, likes, tweets and retweets – you make #R3COMM3ND3D such a fun feature to run ❤️.

If you’re a book blogger or an author and you have three books published this year which you want to shout about then please complete the following form (or click this link: https://forms.gle/PE483qCyrKEgV5Uq6)

#BlogTour | #BookReview: Ghoster by Jason Arnopp @orbitbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #Ghoster #damppebbles

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“Kate Collins has been ghosted.

She was supposed to be moving in with her new boyfriend Scott, but all she finds after relocating to Brighton is an empty flat. Scott has vanished. His possessions have all disappeared.

Except for his mobile phone.

Kate knows she shouldn’t hack into Scott’s phone. She shouldn’t look at his Tinder, his texts, his social media. But she can’t quite help herself.

That’s when the trouble starts. Strange, whispering phone calls from numbers she doesn’t recognise. Scratch marks on the door that she can’t explain.

And the growing feeling that she’s being watched . . .”

Hello my bookish lovelies. Welcome to damppebbles and to my stop (one of the first stops!) on the epic Ghoster blog tour. Ghoster is the latest release from Jason Arnopp and will be published in ebook tomorrow (that’s Tuesday 22nd October) and paperback on Thursday 24th October (just in time to add it to your Hallowe’en reading list!). I received a free eARC of Ghoster but that has in no way influenced my review.

Jason Arnopp is a name that has been known to me for a while. If you’re a fan of horror fiction then you can’t have missed his previous novel, The Last Days of Jack Sparks. I haven’t had the pleasure of reading it myself yet but it’s waiting patiently on my bookshelf and as soon as I have a little downtime then it’s my next book of choice. So Ghoster was my first foray into the dark mind of Mr Arnopp and what a wonderful spooky experience it was. Reading Ghoster, if anything, has made me even more keen to get stuck in.

Paramedic Kate Collins is a modern woman who is a bit ballsy, very likeable but also very lonely. She also has an addiction many of us can relate to; her phone. A world where a hundred friends are ‘there for you’ but you don’t actually know a single one of them in person. A world where accumulating ‘likes’ is everything. So much so, that you view life through the lens of your phone’s camera – rather than actually live it. Following an incident at work Kate decides to dump her smartphone and buy a basic Nokia. She also takes herself off to Wales to a digital detox retreat. It’s here she spots a familiar face. Scott is a guy she super-liked on Tinder earlier in the year. He blanked her but now he’s here! They begin chatting, find out they have lots in common and before long they’re arranging to meet again in Leeds where Kate lives. Romance slowly blossoms and a few months later Scott asks Kate to move in with him to his luxurious seafront apartment in Brighton. Kate agrees without a moment’s hesitation and moving day looms. But then Scott vanishes. He doesn’t answer Kate’s calls or her texts. Kate’s first thought is that he’s lying dead in a ditch somewhere so rushes down to Brighton with all of her worldly possessions and a moving van in tow, only to find his apartment completely bare. No Scott. None of Scott’s stuff. Apart from one thing. His phone. Against her better judgement and after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, Kate hacks into Scott’s phone. What she discovers will change her life forever…

This is a well-written, easy to devour supernatural thriller that had me turning the pages at the rate of knots. I really liked Kate but also found her utterly annoying at times. She is a little bit needy but then I think I would have completely fallen to bits a lot sooner if I were in the same situation. I loved how current Arnopp has made this story and I’m afraid I recognised myself in Kate a little – I think many people will. How often do YOU have to check your phone? Ghoster is also a stark reminder that dating in this day and age is a darn complicated business! It seems a lot has changed in the last 12 years since I first met my other half.

Once I warmed to Kate (which didn’t take long) I knew I had to see the journey through with her. I just had to know what was going on. Where the strange calls were coming from, what the blue things were and what was the cause of the strange scratch marks on the door. Her search for missing Scott takes up a large proportion of the novel and the mystery element was intriguing. I did find myself wanting Kate to quit moaning a couple of times and just get on with it. I understand that she was torn by the ethics of the situation but we all know she’s going to do it so stop questioning things and get on with it, Kate! We’re with you every step of the way! I loved the last section of the book though, particularly the diary chapters when the reader discovers a lot more about one of the characters. My heart broke. When everything is laid bare for the reader you can’t help but feel sad that things were not meant to be – because they would have been flipping awesome.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. It’s a fun and entertaining novel which I enjoyed. Arnopp has created a book which, if you use a smartphone, will make you think long and hard about how much you use it and whether you *could* actually manage without it. I don’t think I will be putting my phone in the bin just yet though! Not until the strange whispering phone calls start anyway. I am even more excited to read The Last Days of Jack Sparks now and can certainly see why Arnopp’s books are so incredibly popular.

Ghoster by Jason Arnopp was published in the UK by Orbit Books on 24th October 2019 and is available in paperback, audio and ebook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | Goodreads |

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Jason Arnopp is the author of the Orbit Books novel The Last Days Of Jack Sparks, which has been described as “a magnificent millennial nightmare” (Alan Moore), “scarier than watching The Exorcist in an abandoned asylum” (Sarah Lotz) and “The Omen for the social media age” (Christopher Brookmyre). Director Ron Howard (Apollo 13, Frost/Nixon, The Da Vinci Code) optioned the film rights shortly after the book’s 2016 release.

Arnopp co-wrote the official behind-the-scenes book Inside Black Mirror with Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones.

Why not check out his four shorter-form fiction titles? These are:
— Beast In The Basement, a suspenseful, mind-blowing thriller novella
— A Sincere Warning About The Entity In Your Home, a chilling and groundbreaking short story set in YOUR home
— Auto Rewind, a dark, emotionally charged thriller novelette
— American Hoarder, a supernatural creep-fest available only when you join the author’s free mailing list at JasonArnopp.com

Arnopp previously wrote and executive-produced the Lionsgate feature film Stormhouse and script-edited the Peter Mullan feature The Man Inside. He has also written for the worlds of Doctor Who (BBC), The Sarah Jane Adventures (BBC) and Friday The 13th (New Line Cinema).

In his past life as a rock journalist, he interviewed the likes of Bon Jovi, Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne and Guns N’ Roses. He was once surrounded by angry guards holding semi-automatic weapons at The Vatican. His Slipknot biography, Slipknot: Inside The Sickness, Behind The Masks, was released in 2001 and is now available as a Kindle Edition. Arnopp has also written a guide to journalistic interviewing, entitled How To Interview Doctor Who, Ozzy Osbourne And Everyone Else, which is also out on Kindle.

Arnopp’s latest non-fiction book is From The Front Lines Of Rock. Available in the Kindle Store now, it gathers 30 of his favourite interviews he wrote as a rock journalist, with the likes of Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Iron Maiden, Korn, Kiss, Faith No More, Garbage, Nine Inch Nails and Green Day.

When you sign up for Arnopp’s free newsletter at JasonArnopp.com, you can also download his short story American Hoarder for free. You might also want to check out his YouTube channel by searching for his name there. What a wonderful world.

#BlogTour | #GuestReview: Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr. @Nichola14282741 @cobaltdinosaur #JusticeGone #damppebbles

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WINNER OF THREE AWARDS

2019 AMERICAN FICTION AWARD
NATIONAL INDIE EXCELLENCY AWARD – Best Legal Thriller OF 2019
SILVER MEDAL WINNER 2019 READERS’ FAVORITES AWARDS

Chosen by Wiki.ezvid.com among their list of 10 Gripping and Intelligent Legal Thrillers

The courtroom scenes are wonderfully written…the characters are well described and the author paints a picture of each in the mind of the reader…Strong plot, strong characters and a strong writing style that I really enjoyed. This one is a definite “thumbs-up.” Strongly recommend! I look forward to reading additional works by N. Lombardi, Jr.
Kim M Aalaie, Author’s Den

One of my favorite suspense novels of the year. It will make you question the legal system.
The Eclectic Review

The courtroom action is excellent, trimmed to the most gripping parts of the trial, with plenty of emotional impact…a fairly realistic portrayal of the way small-town US society works…a fast-moving story with plenty of dramatic moments, and a big twist in the final pages.
Crime Review

“When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down.

A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr. Tessa Thorpe, a veteran’s counselor, is caught up in the chase.

Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa’s patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets off to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers gets there first, leading to Darfield’s dramatic capture.

Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge?”

Today I am delighted to hand the blog over to my guest reviewer, Ryan the husband, who is going to share his thoughts on Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr. So without further ado, let’s find out what Ryan thought…

N. Lombardi Jr took on a tough task with Justice Gone, writing a legal thriller around veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) without trivialising the huge impact this condition can have on their lives. Dr Tessa Thorpe is the central character in this novel and works at the New Hope Trauma Recovery Clinic in Lower Manhattan. The Clinic’s work has bought her into contact with many veterans including Donald Darfield and Jay Felson. The book opens with the traumatic beating of Jay Felson and builds a strong story in five sections through protests, a man hunt, court case and the outcome.

This book seems to capture something that is “very now” with media focus on police brutality in the US. Protesters taking to the streets and the public’s need for a conviction. So it is no surprise that the book has won awards. There is a strong cast of characters in the book from the driven Tessa Thorpe who finds an unlikely ally in Police Chief Garson. Casey Hull, another counsellor at the New Hope Clinic and a veteran himself and Felson’s father a retired Marine with an unhealthy disrespect for almost everything. Small scenes showing the Police talking informally in their favourite bar ensure that room is given for all viewpoints and build suspicion well.

Lombardi Jr does a great job of planting doubt in the reader’s mind about a number of the characters’ motives. I think I suspected at least four characters of various acts they turned out to be innocent of, as I progressed through the book (lucky I am not a police officer I guess!). I also can’t believe I have got this far through my review without mentioning Nathaniel Bodine; a blind lawyer with a showman’s panache, cynicism that could sink a battleship and unique legal style. I still don’t know whether I liked or loathed Bodine but for the middle section of the book he became the main character and he controlled the courtroom scenes in a unique and memorable way.

But what of Darfield himself? Darfield provided a fascinating case study of PTSD. Bravery in a warzone leading to PTSD which could make him violent…but a killer? You’ll have to read it to find out. The sensitivity with which the book addressed PTSD whilst emphasising its seriousness was impressive and added to the reading experience.

Would I read more by N. Lombardi Jr? I would, and it will be interesting to see if he takes any of these characters forward or leaves this as a stand alone. A highly recommended legal thriller.

I chose to read and review a free digital copy of Justice Gone. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr was published in the UK by Roundfire Books on 22nd February 2019 and is available in paperback and ebook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Foyles | Goodreads | Book Depository |

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N. Lombardi Jr, the N for Nicholas, has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, working as a groundwater geologist. Nick can speak five languages: Swahili, Thai, Lao, Chinese, and Khmer (Cambodian).

In 1997, while visiting Lao People’s Democratic Republic, he witnessed the remnants of a secret war that had been waged for nine years, among which were children wounded from leftover cluster bombs. Driven by what he saw, he worked on The Plain of Jars for the next eight years.

Nick maintains a website with content that spans most aspects of the novel: The Secret War, Laotian culture, Buddhism etc. http://plainofjars.net

His second novel, Journey Towards a Falling Sun, is set in the wild frontier of northern Kenya.

His latest novel, Justice Gone was inspired by the fatal beating of a homeless man by police.

Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Visit his goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6982373.N_Lombardi_Jr_

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #Author Nick Quantrill (@NickQuantrill) #TheGeraghtyNovels @fahrenheitpress #damppebbles

Hello and happy Thursday. The weekend is almost in touching distance – hoorah! Today has a bitter/sweet feel to it as today also marks the last of my #R3COMM3ND3D2018 posts. But fear not, #R3COMM3ND3D in the form of #R3COMM3ND3D2019 will return on 1st November – yay! I am delighted to welcome a brilliant author, Nick Quantrill, to damppebbles today. Nick is the author of the Geraghty Novels which have recently been republished by Fahrenheit Press and I cannot wait to read these books! I’ll tell you a little more about them soon.

First, allow me to explain what #R3COMM3ND3D is all about. #R3COMM3ND3D is my end of the year feature where I invite book bloggers and authors to share three books they think the rest of us need to read. They can be any genre, published traditionally, by an indie press or self-published by the author. There’s always a catch though, otherwise, it would be far too easy! All three books must have been published in the same year. This is the last of my #R3COMM3ND3D posts for 2018. But watch out for #R3COMM3ND3D2019 starting on 1st November!

Here are Nick’s three choices…

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November Road by Lou Berney
Who doesn’t love a conspiracy novel? ‘November Road’ touches on the most enduring of conspiracy theories, the assassination of John F Kennedy, but it’s much more than that. It’s part-noir, part road novel, part-love story. Frank Guidry, a man who’s lived a bad life is on the run, but what happens when he discovers he really wants a shot at redemption?

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This Is How It Ends by Eva Dolan
With her finger always on the pulse, this is the best yet from a writer with an unflinching eye on the state of the UK. Focusing in on the gentrification of a London tower block, we meet the cynical and downtrodden, the hopeful and those who want a better future. But is everyone as they seem to be? It’s a book that grapples with big social issues, but never forgets its primary job is to be a thrilling read.

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The Smiling Man by Joseph Knox
He’s young, he’s talented, he’s good looking – the list goes on, so I should hate Joseph Knox. But how can you hate someone who writes books like this? On the face of it, it’s a police procedural, but in reality it twists off into different territories. Aidan Waits is a troubled cop for our times, pounding the grim and dark streets of Manchester. Waits is practically a Private Investigator, ‘The Smiling Man’, a pitch-perfect noir novel.

Brilliant choices, thanks Nick. I have read and loved This Is How It Ends and I’m adding the other two to my wishlist!

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

| November Road by Lou Berney | This Is How It Ends by Eva Dolan | The Smiling Man by Joseph Knox |

About The Geraghty Novels:

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Book #1 Broken Dreams
A cracking authentic crime thriller.

Joe Geraghty is used to struggling from one case to the next, barely making the rent on his small office in the Old Town of Hull.

Invited by a local businessman to investigate a member of his staff’s absenteeism, it’s the kind of surveillance work that Geraghty and his small team have performed countless times.

The case soon becomes anything but routine when Jennifer Murdoch is found bleeding to death in her bed, Geraghty quickly finds himself trapped in the middle of a police investigation which stretches back to the days when the city had a thriving fishing industry.

As the woman’s tangled private life begins to unravel, the trail leads Geraghty to local gangster-turned-respectable businessman, Frank Salford, a man with a significant stake in the city’s regeneration plans. Still haunted by the death of his wife in a house fire, it seems the people with the answers Geraghty wants are the police and Salford, both of whom want his co-operation for their own ends.

With everything at stake, some would go to any length to get what they want, Geraghty included.

Broken Dreams is the first urban thriller from Hull based writer, Nick Quantrill, featuring private detective Joe Geraghty.

Book #2 The Late Greats
Hull’s most successful band of the 1990s is making a comeback…but not everyone is happy…”

Having been convinced by their manager, Kane Major, to put their acrimonious break-up behind them and launch a comeback, New Holland, Hull’s most successful band of the 1990s, is reforming. Allowing one privileged journalist to document the process.

Joe Geraghty is employed to act as a liaison between the different camps. What appears to be a straightforward assignment sees him neck deep in trouble when singer, Greg Tasker, disappears leaving behind a trail of people who wanted him out of their lives.

Geraghty has to choose sides and the investigation penetrates deeper into the city. As the rich and famous rub shoulders with the poor and vulnerable, the stakes increase. Forced to keep his friends close but his enemies’ closer still, the case could see Joe Geraghty lose everything.

Book #3 The Crooked Beat
When Joe Geraghty’s brother Niall finds himself in financial trouble, it’s only natural that he turns to the private investigator for help. But when it relates to a missing consignment of smuggled cigarettes, it’s not so easily sorted.

A consignment of smuggled cigarettes have gone missing and as Joe is drawn into the murky world of local and international criminals around the busy port of Hull, Geraghty knows the only way to save his brother is to take on the debt himself.

As Joe attempts to find a way out of the situation, it becomes clear that the secrets and conspiracies he uncovers are buried deeply in the past and that the people he’s investigating are willing to do whatever it takes to keep them that way.

As the pressure mounts we see Geraghty’s relationships with those closest to him start to unravel but Geraghty can’t let his family down and when the past crashes into the present Joe is in until the bitter end.

The Crooked Beat is the third urban thriller from Hull based writer, Nick Quantrill, featuring private detective Joe Geraghty.

| amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Fahrenheit Press |

About Nick Quantrill:
Nick Quantrill was born and raised in Hull, an isolated industrial city in East Yorkshire. His trilogy of Private Investigator novels featuring Joe Geraghty are published by Fahrenheit Press and he’s hard at work on a fourth. A prolific short story writer, his work has appeared in various volumes of “The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime”. Nick is also the co-founder of the Hull Noir festival.

Nick’s Social Media Links:
| Website | Twitter @NickQuantrill | Facebook @NickQuantrillWriter |

If you’re a book blogger or author and you have three books published this year that you want to shout about then please complete the following form (or click this link: https://forms.gle/PE483qCyrKEgV5Uq6)

#BookReview: Soon by Lois Murphy @TitanBooks @lydiagittins #Soon #damppebbles

soon.jpgA gripping literary horror novel about the death of a haunted town, for fans of Richard Matheson. Winner of the Aurealis Award for Best Horror, shortlisted for the Colin Roderick Award.

On winter solstice, the birds disappeared, and the mist arrived.

The inhabitants of Nebulah quickly learn not to venture out after dark. But it is hard to stay indoors: cabin fever sets in, and the mist can be beguiling, too.

Eventually only six remain. Like the rest of the townspeople, Pete has nowhere else to go. After he rescues a stranded psychic from a terrible fate, he’s given a warning: he will be dead by solstice unless he leaves town – soon.”

Welcome to the blog today and to my review of the fantastic Soon by Lois Murphy.  Soon is published by Titan Books in the UK today.  Wishing the author and the folk at Titan Books a very happy publication day.  I received a free ARC copy of Soon but that has in no way influenced my review.

I love a spot of horror. You can’t beat a gripping horror novel, which is exactly what Soon is. It’s the kind of novel that works its way under your skin. When you’re not reading it, you’re thinking about it. When I had finished this book I felt bereft and I wanted to return to the Australian town of Nebulah and the company of Pete, our main protagonist, immediately. Which is kind of odd because Nebulah is haunted. Big badass haunted. Haunted with a capital H-A-U-N-T-E-D.

The story is set in the late 1990s and virtually all residents of this once thriving town have gone. They’ve either had the peace of mind to grab whatever they can and leave, or they’re dead.  Three residents remain; Pete, who has nowhere else to go, Milly, who won’t leave because it would break her heart, and Li, who is too stubborn and won’t be driven out.  Every day during the daylight hours in Nebulah is pretty much like yours or mine. Every night is a terrifying nightmare which they pray they will survive. Because as the sun falls, the mist arrives. The mist will terrify and taunt you. Close your windows and lock your doors because if it gets in, or you leave the safety of your home, it will tear you to shreds. The residents have to drown out the sound of the mist’s claws scratching at the windows every night. A good night’s sleep is a long-forgotten luxury. It calls their names and pretends to be the people they love the most. The mist will show you what it wants you to see. Beguiling to some, horrifying to others. The only thing it wants to do is destroy you. Ignored and ostracised by the Government, their pleas for help are firmly ignored. Outside of Nebulah, Nebulah no longer exists.

So when Pete ends up helping a visitor to the isolated town get away from the terrors in time, she issues a stark warning. He must leave Nebulah or he will die. And he must leave SOON.

This is a truly captivating novel which drew me in from start to finish. The unease and the uncertainty the author creates is a joy to read and I savoured every single second of this book. I was right there at the heart of Nebulah with the characters as they realised the sun would set soon and they were rapidly running out of time… It’s a beautifully written piece of fiction where everything works perfectly; the place, the characters, the gripping plot and of course, the terrifying mist. I wanted to return to this book again and again to get my next Nebulah fix.

I adored Pete. Far from perfect in many ways, I really felt his connection to the remaining residents. Having been shunned by his own daughter for his past failings, his love and respect for his friends, Milly and Li, really shone through. Despite retiring as the local police officer, the added burden of that responsibility – particularly as the next available officer was several hours drive away – still weighed heavy on his shoulders.

Would I recommend this book? I would. I would also recommend it to non-horror readers too as yes, there are a couple of gory scenes but in comparison to many horror novels there really aren’t that many and it’s more about the isolation, the grief and the regret. This is a totally engrossing piece of literary horror fiction and I adored it. I may become as obsessed with this book as I am with Josh Malerman’s Bird Box – you have been warned. Such an atmospheric, beautiful and beguiling novel. Don’t miss this one.

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

Soon by Lois Murphy was published in the UK by Titan Books on 15th October 2019 and is available in paperback and ebook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukWaterstonesFoylesGoodreads |

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lois-murphy-1Lois Murphy’s first novel, Soon, won an Aurealis Award for Best Horror and was shortlisted for the Colin Roderick Award.

Lois has travelled widely, most recently spending six years exploring Australia in a homemade 4WD truck, working mainly in small or remote towns. Lois currently lives near Melbourne, Victoria.