#CaseClosed: #June2018 #BookOfTheMonth #amreading #amreviewing #bookblogger #damppebbles #booklove #20BooksofSummer

Hello my bookish friends. You nearly caught me out there, I was convinced Sunday was the last day of June! It’s currently Friday evening and I had sat down to a lovely chilled glass of wine after a busy week, only for the penny to drop – and cue one chilled out Emma dashing from the sofa ‘a là comedy moment stylee’ and flinging open the laptop. It’s true, I could have left posting until Sunday but that’s not how these things work and I would have been waaaaaay too twitchy. But it’s OK, everything is OK…phew!

A very warm welcome to June’s #CaseClosed post and for the first time, a #20BooksofSummer update. June has been an odd month at damppebbles HQ. I’ve been reading like crazy but the blog has been relatively quiet. I’ve even read two books this month that I haven’t (shock, horror!) reviewed. What has happened to me?!

During June I took part in five blog tours:

Four posts were reviews:
When the Waters Recede by Graham Smith | Perfect Dead by Jackie Baldwin | The Date by Louise Jensen | After He’s Gone by Jane Isaac |

And one was a guest post:
A Steep Price by Robert Dugoni |

I also managed a number of other reviews and posts:
Rubicon by Ian Patrick (book review) | Gone to Ground by Rachel Amphlett (cover reveal) | The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven (book review) | The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond (book review) | Hide and Seek by M.J. Arlidge (book review) | The Caller by Chris Carter (book review) |

Plus I can’t forget to include the two books I have chosen not to review; a short collection from a well-known author and a crime thriller.

Here’s how my #20BooksofSummer list currently looks:
The Rule of Fear by Luke Delaney
The White Road by Sarah Lotz
Unsub by Meg Gardiner
Watching Edie by Camilla Way
The Dark Inside (Charlie Yates #1) by Rod Reynolds
The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp
The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond
The Nightstalker by Sebastian Fitzek
Perfect Remains by Helen Fields
Rattle by Fiona Cummins
Sirens (Aiden Waits #1) by Joseph Knox
The Caller (Detective Robert Hunter #8) by Chris Carter
Heartman by M.P. Wright
Hide and Seek (DI Helen Grace #6) by M.J. Arlidge
Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
Normal by Graeme Cameron
Blood City by Douglas Skelton
Cut To The Bone by Alex Caan
Don’t Make a Sound by David Jackson
Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips

Not off to the best start but I hope to improve on that during July. I have a couple of books coming up that I would like to get reviewed for publication day, along with ONE blog tour read. Yup, just the one. Nothing scheduled for August at the moment so I’m feeling positive – I CAN DO THIS!

damppebbles blog tours has the MOST exciting week ahead. I have organised four absolutely cracking blog tours next week; three starting on Monday and one starting on Thursday. If you’re not already on my blogger database then please do sign up. And if you’re a crime author looking to promote your book then maybe I can help ➡️ damppebbles blog tours.

Which leaves only one thing left to do.

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My book of the month for June is…….

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The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven

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“I have a bit of a thing for serial killer novels. They’re my favourite, particularly if they are a smidge on the gory side as well (which this book is). I also thoroughly enjoy books which make you think the plot is heading one way and then totally flips things over and makes you gasp in surprise when you end up somewhere you didn’t expect (which again, this book did). Another thing I love is a cast of well-written, individual, stand out characters who all add something to the story (yup, that’s The Puppet Show). I loved this book.

“Would I recommend this book? I would, most definitely. If you’re a fan of crime fiction, if you can stomach a drop of blood or a pool of melted human fat (OK, it is a little grisly in places and you may need a slightly stronger stomach than I’ve alluded to in this paragraph, but for me I loved the gruesome touches to this book. Plus the author provides a wealth of information about burns and the effect of fire on a human body) then you will enjoy this well-written, engrossing crime thriller. I struggled to put it down and I’m left wanting more Washington Poe and more Tilly Bradshaw. I can’t wait for the next instalment.”

So there we have it! I can’t wait to find out what my book of July will be (although I do have a sneaking suspicion. I won’t say any more at this point!). That’s it from me for this month. Make sure you join me on Friday 6th July as I have a rather fabulous cover reveal to share with you. It’s an Orenda Books book, it’s written by Steph Broadribb and it features a certain bounty hunter (girl crush swoon!). Don’t miss it!

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#CaseClosed: #May2018 #BookOfTheMonth #amreading #amreviewing #bookblogger #damppebbles #booklove

Hello my bookish friends! It’s not quite the last day of May but I have such a busy schedule on the blog this week that it seemed only right to post my May #CaseClosed a day early (it was that or four days into June which may have resulted in some unusual twitching, haha).

May has been another quiet month on the blog. I’m really struggling to find the time to read and if I’m honest, the thought of sitting down and writing a review is just a little ‘ugh’ at the moment. I took a lovely social media break over the Bank Holiday Weekend so that may become a more regular thing. Do you take regular social media breaks?

During May I took part in five blog tours (plus I have another tour coming your way tomorrow!):

All posts were reviews:
Pressure by Betsy Reavley | The Retreat by Mark Edwards | The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton | The TV Detective by Simon Hall | Absolution by Paul E. Hardisty |

I also reviewed two other books, both for publication day (or as near as dangit!):
Dead Blind by Rebecca Bradley | Don’t You Dare by A.J. Waines |

And that’s it for May! What an unproductive month it’s been *sigh*. Actually, thinking about it (brooding on it!) I do have other reviews waiting in the wings (It Was Her by Mark Hill for the blog tour on Thursday, When the Waters Recede by Graham Smith for the blog tour on Friday and I’m currently nearing the end of Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough for June’s First Monday Crime) so it’s not as bad as it looks after all! Hoorah!

As for other news, not a lot has happened this month. It was the #BloggersBash awards the other weekend and a number of very good friends won awards. I didn’t but d’you know what? I didn’t expect to. I won the Services to Bloggers category last year and it was time for other people to sparkle and shine. Congratulations to all the winners, you guys are awesome!

Business is good! Just a quick reminder that if you’re a crime author and you’re looking to run a blog tour then give me a shout. I’ve recently started my own blog tour organising business; damppebbles blog tours and I’m currently taking bookings. If you’re a book blogger and would like to find out about the tours I organise then click HERE. Actually, I was wondering where my reading time has gone. I may have just found the answer, lol! (But I’m certainly not complaining!)

Which I think just leaves my book of the month…

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So without further ado, here’s my book of May 2018…

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It’s The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton!

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“Our main character, WPC Florence Lovelady, had my full attention from start to finish and I’m left wanting more. What an intriguing, fascinating story and one that will stay with me for some time to come.

Would I recommend this book? Most definitely. It’s creepy, it’s tense and it’s full of witches! I loved it. I love what the author has done with her story and her characters are an absolute delight. Highly recommended.”

So that’s it from me for now. I have at least two posts a day for the rest of the week so strap yourselves in and hold tight, it’s gonna get busy!

Thanks for dropping by today. I hope you have a sunshine filled June and that the start of Summer is full of fantastic reads.

#CaseClosed: #April2018 #BookOfTheMonth #amreading #amreviewing #bookblogger #damppebbles #booklove

Hello my bookish friends and welcome once again to my monthly wrap up post, #CaseClosed! How has your April been? We had a couple of days of fabulous sunshine but then temperatures plummeted back to the UK’s usual arctic conditions (the heating was turned off, and then immediately back on again!). I’ve also been very busy setting up my new business, damppebbles blog tours and feel my reading has taken a bit of a hit because of it. It’s certainly been a quiet month on the blog. But here’s to a better, more productive, warmer May. I have promised lots of reviews during May so you will be hearing from me more often.

I took part in the three blog tours this month:

Two were reviews: My Little Eye by Stephanie Marland & Keeper by Johana Gustawsson, and one stop was a guest post; Our House by Louise Candlish (guest post)

I did manage to read a few other books here and there:
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton (for First Monday Crime) | Our House by Louise Candlish | All The Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson | Anything For Her by G.J. Minett (for First Monday Crime) | Dark Water by Robert Bryndza |

I also hosted a couple of fabulous giveaways (which are now both closed):
Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic (giveaway) | Hangman by Daniel Cole (giveaway) |

Then there were a few other promotional posts thrown in for good measure:
In For The Kill by Ed James (guest post) | Needle Song by Russell Day (cover reveal) | Needle Song by Russell Day (Free Short Story) |

And then there was the incredible news that damppebbles has been nominated for the Best Book Review Blog at the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards. By the time this post goes live I expect voting will have closed but, y’know, if you’re at a loose end…..

damppebbles.com nominated for Best Book Review Blog at ABBA’s

That’s it, that’s April at damppebbles HQ. Lots of posts but it didn’t feel very busy, well, not to me.

In other news, Twitter jail has finally won *sigh*. I have had to significantly reduce the number of book posts I share to Twitter, which makes me sad as I always thought the whole point of Twitter was to share the things you love. On the plus side, I haven’t ended up in the slammer now for a few weeks so it does appear to be working.

And that’s it really, except for my BOOK OF THE MONTH (which should come as no surprise!)…

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So, without further ado, my book of April 2018 is…..

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It’s Keeper the second book in the Roy and Castells series written by Johana Gustawsson and published by Orenda Books. With threads from the past and nods to Jack the Ripper, this book blew me away.

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“I adored this book. Plain and simple. If Keeper doesn’t make it to my top three books of the year then there is something seriously wrong with me. Regular visitors to the blog will be fully aware that I like my crime thrillers a little more on the dark side. Keeper is one heck of a dark read. Picture the scene, there I was merrily reading away thinking to myself, ‘yup, it’s another good one – probably four stars at the moment but we’ll see how things go’. Then all of a sudden Gustawsson stepped things up a notch (or two). My jaw hit the table and I was utterly smitten with the author’s story. One of those, ‘WOAH’ moments that I absolutely live for.”

“Totally gratifying, deliciously dark and WHAT a thrill-ride. Yeah, I loved this one. You really should read Keeper.”

So there we have it. No big surprise really seeing as I can’t stop talking about Keeper.

And that’s it from me for April.

I hope you all have a wonderful May, full of some absolutely brilliant books and lots of time to relax and read them. See you next month.

#CaseClosed: #March2018 #BookOfTheMonth #amreading #amreviewing #bookblogger #damppebbles #booklove

Hello, my bookish beauties. As today is the last day of March I have my monthly ‘goings-on’ post to share with you. It’s #CaseClosed time! And I’ll be honest here, I have no idea where March has gone. I ‘somehow’ missed that after March 29th (my dad’s birthday, an obviously easy to remember date!) and after March 30th, comes…wait for it, March 31st! And that’s it, March 2018 is officially done. How the heck did that happen?

Before I go any further, I would like to wish all of you who celebrate Easter a very happy, chocolate filled one. And if you don’t celebrate Easter then I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend so far, full of the things you love (books I hope, lots and lots of books).

I’m glad to say that March at damppebbles HQ has been significantly busier than February. Thank crunchie!

I took part in five blog tours:

Only three were review posts:
Blue Night by Simone Buchholz | Silent Victim by Caroline Mitchell | No Comment by Graham Smith |

And two were extract posts:
The Babysitter by Sheryl Browne | Dark Waters by Mary-Jane Riley |

I managed a few publication day or ‘near as dangit’ reviews:
Fighting Monsters by Rebecca Bradley | The Bone Keeper by Luca Veste | The Babysitter by Sheryl Browne | Call to Arms by Rachel Amphlett | Hangman by Daniel Cole |

My First Monday Crime review for March was the eerie The Intrusions by Stav Sherez. Well worth a look if you’re a crime thriller fan.

I hosted a couple of other posts which weren’t strictly blog tours but coincided with either the initial publication of a book or the release in a new format:
Call to Arms by Rachel Amphlett (guest post: Why Adam is a Vet) | Good Friday by Lynda La Plante (extract) |

I also had a small-(ish) NetGalley meltdown, lol! You can read that post by clicking HERE. I hope, by posting my burgeoning NetGalley shelf, that I’ve made a number of my fellow book bloggers feel a little better about theirs. The outright winner of the poll was the third book in the Detective Erika Foster series written by Robert Bryndza, ‘Dark Water’, so look out for a review coming to the blog soon. I’m absolutely thrilled with what you lot chose (thank you!), I adore Erika and can’t wait to read ‘Dark Water’.

Then there was the fantastic news that I’m going to be organising blog tours for the incredible indie crime fiction publisher, Fahrenheit Press! What a match made in crime fiction heaven, huh? If you’re a book blogger and would like to be kept informed then please click this link and enter your details. I have some of the most amazing books to organise tours for so you really don’t want to miss out!

(Gosh, March WAS a busy month!). Finally, I shared the stunning cover of the latest Louise Jensen psychological thriller, The Date. So excited to read this one. Louise Jensen’s ‘The Surrogate’ was one of my books of 2017!

And breathe….

Which only leaves one thing left to do. My book of the month for March 2018!

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I’ve had a couple of stonking five star reads this month. However, there was no question which book I was going to choose as my book of the month…

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It’s Hangman by Daniel Cole, the second book in the Ragdoll series. I enjoyed the first book in the series but this latest instalment blew me away. I loved it. It felt like a crime/horror crossover which I am absolutely loving at the moment. Highly entertaining from start to finish!

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“I have to say, I found the story a little far-fetched in some places but in all honesty, I didn’t actually give a hoot as I was utterly captivated by the characters and what was going to happen next. Daniel Cole had my full attention from start to finish and to me, that is more important than a little artistic licence. I also loved the humour Cole has written into the pages of Hangman. This is the first book in a long time that I found myself quietly chuckling along to.

So utterly gripping I couldn’t put this book down. I described the need to keep turning the pages of Ragdoll as similar to catnip. Well, the author has done it again but this is super strength catnip! A perfect read for me.”

So, that was March. I can’t wait to see what April has in store for us – lots of lovely new book releases I hope and maybe, just maybe, a hint of sunshine (PLEASE!). I’m joining the blog tour for My Little Eye by Stephanie Marland on Monday 2nd April so make sure you pop back for that. It’s a corker of a read.

Have a wonderful ‘springy’ month everyone.

#CaseClosed: #February2018 #BookOfTheMonth #amreading #amreviewing #bookblogger #damppebbles

Hello! Remember me? I’m the book blogger who hasn’t really posted very much this month (but has been reading like a machine, for some reason!). The one that likes crime fiction but gets irked when people get the name of her blog wrong (damppebbles, one word – no capitals)? Anything? No, well, I wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised if you have forgotten me. I haven’t been very ‘present’ this month for which I apologise.

It’s been a bit of a funny one, truth be told. The half term holiday always slows my reading down but this half term I had to organise a rather last minute birthday party for my four-year-old on Valentine’s day because he was suddenly having grommets and a tonsillectomy on the Friday of half term week. Then, of course, we had a very sad little man for the following week which was complicated when hubby came home from work on the Monday with this darned ‘flu that’s going around at the moment. Grumpy man child plus grumpy man – not easy. Then as the husband is getting (gradually, slowly) better I come down with a vicious case of tonsillitis myself. Gah! That’s all I could say, by the way. GAH! So to cut this incredibly long and boring story short, I have been reading but finding the time (or, whilst ill myself) the inclination to sit down at the laptop and write a few reviews was near impossible. A grumpy Emma is probably ten times worse than a grumpy man child and a grumpy man put together, after all.  My apologies dear reader. I hope March will prove to be a jam-packed bookish month on the blog.

So, what did happen? I took part in FIVE blog tours during February:

All five stops were review stops:

Past Echoes by Graham Smith | Force of Nature by Jane Harper | The Reunion by Samantha Hayes | Kiss Me, Kill Me by J.S. Carol | The Pact by S.E. Lynes |

I managed one review for around publication day and that was for The Memory Chamber by Holly Cave.

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I still absolutely flipping love that cover. Isn’t it gorgeous?! And what a very different subject for a book. Worth checking out if you’re looking for something a bit different.

So now I hope you see why I am so disappointed with the number of blog posts I have published this month. A measly six, I mean….SIX!!

Two very gorgeous things did happen though. I was sent a fabulous Valentine’s Day gift from the lovely folk at Dead Good Books. Look at how magnificent it is – but I totally failed to acknowledge the delivery or share it on social media, harumph.  Thank you Dead Good Books, I absolutely love my gift! So many beautiful things 😍😍.  Dead Good are focussing on helping us all find a little more time for ourselves this year and see reading as the perfect way to do that.  I have to say, I couldn’t agree more!  Reading IS the perfect hobby to help us all relax a little more.

I also won the fabulous Bibliobeth‘s fifth blogiversary giveaway.  My prize was to pick any five books and Beth would get them sent to me!  Yup, you heard that right – ANY FIVE BOOKS!!  I spent A LOT of time deciding on the five and here they are in all their glory.  What do you think?  Have you read any of them?  My thanks again to Beth for her super giveaway.  Still thrilled to have won and it was a few weeks ago now!

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In other news, I have been accepting books and blog tours like nobodies business so have made the decision to reset my year of tackling the TBR starting tomorrow – 1st March 2018.  If you missed my original post (aka failed plan) then click HERE.  No new books and limited blog tours allowed from now on until 1st March 2019!  Eek!

I think that’s about it for February.  All that’s left to do is name my book of the month…

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I had four five star reads this month so it was a tough choice but I have picked….

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Kiss Me, Kill Me by J.S. Carol is my book of the month for February!  I love James Carol’s books, they always have a great hook which keeps me glued to the pages from start to finish.  And oh, the emotions I felt reading this one.  Talk about a mixed bag!

“It’s superb, incredibly entertaining and really quite disturbing in places. I was completely smitten with Carol’s characters in this novel but in quite different ways…I loved this book. Love, love, loved it!”

That’s it from me for February.  Make sure you pop back tomorrow when I will be joining the blog tour for Blue Night by Simone Buchholz.  Then on Friday I will be sharing my review of Stav Sherez’s The Intrusions as Stav and a bevvy of other fabulous authors will be appearing at First Monday Crime on Monday 5th March in London.  Make sure you grab a ticket now so you don’t miss out!

Wrap up warm lovely people, it’s a bit chilly here at the moment but with only a sprinkling of snow, and I will see you on the other side (or maybe I should just say ‘March’).

#CaseClosed: #December2017 #Top10Booksof2017 #amreading #amreviewing #damppebbles #bookblogger

Hello you gorgeous bookish folk!  Welcome to my final #CaseClosed of the year and it’s a #CaseClosed with a twist.  Instead of including a book of the month, today is the day I will reveal my top ten books of the year! (And, yes, I’m hoping many of you can’t count *looks sheepish*).  As it’s going to be a chock full post today, instead of my usual witterings, I’m just going to crack straight on with what’s been happening on damppebbles during the month of December…

Not a lot is the answer!

Actually, that’s not true.  It has been such a joy for me to host the #R3COMM3ND3D2017 feature since mid-November.  And the good news is, we’re not done yet as I have posts scheduled until 13th January, ready for my second blogiversary on 14th January!  December has been full to the brim of lovely book recommendations from some incredible authors and the very best in book bloggers.  I feel quite humbled that so many incredible people wanted to take part, so THANK YOU.  #R3COMM3ND3D will return in 2018 but this time I am going to limit the number of places to 57 (one a day starting 1st November, running through to 30th December but excluding Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day).  The form is already up and raring to go (although it *may* be a touch early to start filling it in now 😉).  My heartfelt thanks to these lovely people for taking part in #R3COMM3ND3D2017 throughout December:

Sarah Hardy of By The Letter Book Reviews | Jackie Baldwin author of Dead Man’s Prayer | Cleo Bannister of Cleopatra Loves Books | Jen Lucas of Jen Med’s Book Reviews | Paul Cheney of Halfman, Halfbook | Tina of the TripFiction Team | Emma Mitchell of Emma the Little Bookworm | Lynne LeGrow of Fictionophile | Jessica Page Johnson of Jessica’s Reading Room | Cathy Ryan of Between the Lines | Chantelle Atkins author of The Tree of Rebels | Milana Madzarac of acouplereads | Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers | Melisa Broadbent of Broadbean’s Books | Rachel Sargeant author of The Perfect Neighbours | Helen of baattyaboutbooks | Ross Greenwood author of Fifty Years of Fear | Eva M. of Novel Deelights | Juliet Butler of Bookliterati | Kate Noble of The Quiet Knitter | Jo Robertson of My Chestnut Reading Tree | Tracie Delaney author of the Winning Ace series | Anne Williams of Being Anne… | Emma Littlefield of One Reader’s Thoughts | Karen Cole of Hair Past A Freckle | Rachel Broughton of Rae Reads | Nicki Maguire of Secret Library Blog |

Despite having NO blog tours in December, I did manage to squeeze a few extra posts in here and there (and they were mostly book reviews which makes me feel a little better about my lack of reading this month!):

All The Wicked Girls by Chris Whitaker | One GLORIOUS Louise Jensen Post (a repost of my reviews) | The Wrong Child by Barry Gornell | Ragdoll by Daniel Cole | Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney |

All awesome books and all highly recommended.

So……I can’t wait any longer.  I have to share my top ten list of the year with you otherwise, I may burst or spontaneously combust or something like that (ugh).  In no particular order, these beautiful creatures made my reading year.  Look at their gorgeousness….

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The Restless Dead by Simon Beckett (pub. Bantam Press)
“Sometimes you read a book and everything about it just feels right.  That’s how I felt about The Restless Dead.  I couldn’t put this one down and when I was away from the book I was thinking it through, trying to connect the threads of the story.”

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The Wrong Child by Barry Gornell (pub. Orion Books)
“Would I recommend this book?  Oh my goodness, I will go on about this book for YEARS to come.  It’s hypnotic and so beautifully dark.  I was enchanted and disgusted in equal measure, it’s absolutely everything I want in a book.  I am traumatised but I LOVED it.  I could not put this book down, nor did I want to.  Easily one of my books of the year (one for the books of all time list..?).  I was left heartbroken that it was over.  Absolute literary perfection!”

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Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb (pub. Orenda Books)
“Oh Lori Anderson, how I want to be you!  Ex-pole dancer turned bounty hunter Lori is the most likeable, most believable heroine I’ve met in a book in a long time.  She fights, she shoots, she beats herself up on a regular basis for not being a good enough mum to her daughter.  This woman carries a taser around with her for goodness sake, and she’s not afraid to use it.  Forget your Wonder Woman. Forget your SuperGirl. I want to be Lori.”

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Follow You by Richard Parker (pub. Bookouture)
“It had a lot to live up and it and it surpassed my expectations!  This is exactly the style of book that I devour.  It has the feel of a horror film in the making (not that I actually watch horror films….ever!), it doesn’t hold back on the detail (some gory) and the reader rarely has a moment to draw breath before the next heart-stopping moment.  I absolutely loved it.”

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Final Girls by Riley Sager (pub. Ebury Publishing)
“Would I recommend this book?  Most definitely.  It’s a new favourite and one I will be driving everyone around me crazy with!  I’m so excited that this book exists – it’s perfect and I want everyone to read it so you can all see how awesome it is as well.  Brilliantly addictive, deliciously dark and everything I want in a book! Superb.”

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Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski (pub. Orenda Books)
“I felt truly scared at points and heartily commend Matt Wesolowski for his use of tension.  The plot doesn’t really slow at any point and keeps you teetering on the edge.  I couldn’t get enough of this book and I can guarantee that I will read it again in the future (one of those rare books that gets a second read!).  Well, that’s if I can forget about Nanna Wrack in the meantime.  Creepiness at it’s very best!”

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The Last One by Alexandra Oliva (pub. Michael Joseph Books)
“Would I recommend this book?  Daft question really.  I loved this book and can see it featuring on my top books of 2017 list.  It made me nervous, it confronted my worst fears, it was everything I didn’t expect it to be!  So very well written.  Zoo will stay with me for a long, long time to come.  What an experience!”

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A Room Full of Killers by Michael Wood (pub. Killer Reads)
“One of the many things I loved about a A Room Full of Killers is that it’s set in Starling House, a young offenders prison.  Meaning the majority of the characters are evil, vindictive killers (the type I love to read about!).  Each of the young men gets to tell their story and the reason they have ended up imprisoned.  I loved these chapters.  They’re so well written and despite being relatively short summaries, they tell you everything you need to know about the killers.  Building a clear picture of the evil, sadistic children stuck behind the walls of Starling House.”

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The Surrogate by Louise Jensen (pub. Bookouture)
“There are so many surprises in The Surrogate that I became dizzy with joy while reading.  You think you know what’s going on, where the story will lead you but in reality, you know nothing!  Jensen has created a wonderfully intricate web of lies and half-truths with bucketfuls of creeping paranoia.  I loved it! (I may have said that already…)”

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A Patient Fury by Sarah Ward (pub. Faber & Faber)
“Would I recommend this book?  Absolutely.  It can be read as a stand alone so don’t worry if you haven’t read the first two books in the series (although if you get the chance, then do!).  I love DC Connie Childs.  I particularly like her when she’s breaking the rules and undertaking an investigation in her own time, which she *may* end up doing in A Patient Fury.  Honestly, my favourite crime series out there at the moment and I urge you to get yourself a copy of A Patient Fury.  You won’t regret it.  Sheer brilliance.”

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Exquisite by Sarah Stovell (pub. Orenda Books)
“If you buy only one book this week, this month, this year…make it this one.  Sarah Stovell has created a magnificent and perfectly crafted piece of fiction which sucked me in, chewed me up and spat me out.  And I LOVED it.  Regular readers may be aware that I’m not the fastest reader in the blogosphere but this book, I couldn’t put down.  I started reading at 4pm on the Sunday and was finished by 9am on the Monday – I absolutely drank it in and I’m desperate for more.”

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Hope to Die by David Jackson (pub. Bonnier Zaffre)
“I absolutely loved it.  One of my favourite reads of the year.  It may be that the murders have a religious connotation, which has always appealed to me.  It may be the subtle humour Jackson writes into his character’s narrative or it may just be that it’s an absolutely stonking crime thriller series that I insist you check out.”

So there you have it, my ten (please don’t count them) books of the year.  What do you think?  Did you also love any of my choices?  Did any of my top ten not quite work the same way for you?  I’d love to know.

Oh, and when I said the list wasn’t in any kind of order I was telling the truth.  However, I should add my absolute favourite book of the year is FINAL GIRLS, closely followed by THE WRONG CHILD.

Interestingly, neither of these reviews feature in my most read posts of 2017.  Here are my three most-read posts this year:

The Murder Farm by Andrea Maria Schenkel | The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell | Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson |

And finally, before I bid you farewell until next year, a few blogging resolutions I wanted to share (seeing as we all know how good I am at sticking to them!):

📚 I have been shockingly bad at the admin side of my blog this year.  My inbox is overflowing and I’m sitting in the corner gently burbling to myself and ignoring the gentle, rhythmic pings.  This is not to the be the case in 2018.  If you’ve emailed me and I haven’t replied then I am truly sorry.  I’m terrible at admin (which is a surprise seeing as I’ve been an administrator most of my working life!).  My plan is to delete (yes, you read that correctly, delete) everything in the inbox this afternoon and start afresh.  If you want to contact me make sure you email me after midnight tonight!  I’m going to start scheduling admin time into my day to make sure I can stay on top of my new, sparkly clean inbox.

📚 The same applies to moving reviews across from the blog to Amazon and Goodreads.  This will also be covered in ‘admin time’.

📚 I haven’t been replying to your lovely comments on my posts and again, I am very sorry (maybe I should give up now.  The good news is that I am able to read so I guess I do still have something going for me!).  More attention will be paid to my gorgeous fellow bloggers in the New Year.

📚 I now realise that I can’t share all the #booklove to Twitter, despite still wanting to.  I’m waaaaaaaay behind on my sharing at the moment so instead of fretting over it I’m going to be brutal once again and hit the delete button on the older emails (I’m so sorry).  Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep up from now on with my scheduled ‘admin time’ (it covers many things, believe me!).

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your support, advice and input this year.  The happiest of New Years to you all my lovelies, let’s make 2018 sparkle…and full of books, obviously.  There have to be books, otherwise, I’m not playing 😂😂.

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Make sure you join me again tomorrow when I will be welcoming the very lovely Joy Kluver to damppebbles with her #R3COMM3ND3D2017 reads.  Happy New Year!

#CaseClosed: #November2017 #BookOfTheMonth #amreading #amreviewing #bookblogger #damppebbles

Happy last day of November everyone!  Is it just me or has November felt like it has lasted a lot longer than 30 days?!  Maybe it’s because it has suddenly become a lot colder, maybe it’s because I’ve been suffering the loss of my reading mojo this month.

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Who knows.  I will be glad to wave goodbye to the month and welcome December with open arms and chocolatey fingers (yay for Advent calendars, double yay for my first proper Advent calendar in years – my thanks to Dead Good for sending this beautiful thing⬆!).  Please forgive my atrocious photography skills.  You’re looking at the reason I chose to read as my hobby, I don’t think I would have cut it as a photographer!

So back to #CaseClosed and my bloggish goings-on.  November has in one way been a very quiet month for me.  In another way, it’s been wonderfully busy.  I haven’t read very much at all this month and what I have read (bar blog tours), I’ve so far failed to write a review for (boo!).  In other news, my new #R3COMM3ND3D2017 feature has taken off with a rather large, ground shaking bang which I am thrilled about.  I’ll give you a short rundown of the posts so far in a wee while.

I took part in six blog tours during November:

Five were review posts:

Killing State by Judith O’Reilly | The Puppet Master by Abigail Osborne | Hell To Pay by Rachel Amphlett | CWA Anthology of Short Stories edited by Martin Edwards | Mother by S.E. Lynes |

And one stop was an extract:

We Have Lost the Chihuahuas by Paul Mathews

With regard to reviews that’s it, I’m afraid.  I think you will all agree, a pretty poor month for me.  The good news (for you, if you like reviews that is) is that I still have three books waiting in the wings which need to be reviewed on damppebbles.  Ragdoll by Daniel Cole, All The Wicked Girls by Chris Whitaker and the absolutely incredible The Wrong Child by Barry Gornell.  Look out for reviews coming your way soon.

So despite not reading very much during November, the blog hasn’t been quiet.  My #R3COMM3ND3D2017 has kept me (and hopefully you) busy.  #R3COMM3ND3D2017 is where I invite book bloggers and authors to share three MUST READ books.  The only stipulation being that they must have been published in 2017.  I am thrilled to have had such an incredible response to this feature and I thank each and every participant, sharer, liker and retweeter for their support.  Thank you!  If you missed any of the posts you can catch up here:

Noelle Holten of CrimeBookJunkie
Nicola Smith of Short Books and Scribe
Joanne Nicholson, author of Positive
Jacob Collins of Hooked From Page One
Katherine Sunderland of BibliomanicUK
Phil Rowlands, author of Siena
Lorraine Rugman of The Book Review Cafe
Amy Sullivan of NovelGossip
Naomi MacKinnon of Consumed By Ink
Jeff Dowson, author of the Jack Shepherd Thrillers
Carmen Radtke writing as Caron Albright, author of A Matter of Love & Death

So far there have been no duplicates so if you’re looking for a book recommendation please do check out the above links as there are 33 brilliant book choices for you to pick from.

One last thing on the #R3COMM3ND3D2017 front; I plan to close the form this coming Sunday evening (3rd December GMT).  If you would like to take part (and I would LOVE for you to take part) then please make sure you have submitted your choices before then.  I am so pleased with how it’s gone this year I will be dragging it, kicking and screaming, back to damppebbles next year.  The form is already up and raring to go for next year, just click HERE to find it.

Changing the subject totally, I am over the moon to confirm that I have managed to steer clear of the dreaded #TwitterJail this month.  I have unfortunately reduced the number of posts I share to Twitter which is keeping the Twitter folk happy but making me a little sad.  Oh well, change sometimes takes time 😢.

And that’s pretty much it for November!  Apart, of course, from my book of the month…

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I’m in a bit of a quandary at this point as I haven’t actually written my review for the most amazing book I’ve read during November – I only finished it today (it’s currently 8pm on 29th November, by the way).  It doesn’t seem right to post it without a review being published so I will pick the best book I’ve read and reviewed (which was also a brilliant read).  My book of the month is….

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Taddah!  CWA Anthology of Short Stories edited by Martin Edwards and published by the incredible Orenda Books!

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If you follow damppebbles regularly then you will know that I am a MAHOOSIVE crime fan.  Crime fiction is what I do.  I don’t tend to read anything outside of the crime genre.  I’m also a massive fan of international crime and that makes this book a perfect read for me.  The contributing authors were given the theme ‘Mystery Tour’ and the result is an engrossing mix of crime at home and away.  I loved it and gave the book an easy five stars!

“If I listed every story I enjoyed then I would be basically giving you the contents page! I love international crime so this was pretty much the perfect read for me.  Chock-full of GREAT stories, written by some remarkably talented people and the perfect Christmas gift for the crime fiction fan in your life.  This is a must-read book.  Don’t miss out!”

And that’s it for this month.  I have no blog tours scheduled for December and a mere two (they are stupendously exciting tours) booked in for January.  I think I’m managing this blog tour and new book ban rather well, even if I do say so myself!  You do have a whole month (bar Christmas Eve, Christmas day and Boxing day) of #R3COMM3ND3D2017 to look forward to though.  Plus my end of year post where I will tell you about my ten favourite books of the year (yes, it may look like thirty books but it’s actually ten.  Honest.  Your eyes may deceive you….it’s TEN!).

So if we don’t speak between now and then have a wonderful Festive season, full of good books and, well, more good books!  Maybe a mince pie or something as well (?).  Tarrah for now.

#CaseClosed: #October2017 #BookOfTheMonth #amreading #amreviewing #bookblogger #damppebbles

Hello and a warm, squishy welcome to my October #CaseClosed post where I look back on the month just gone and wonder why I didn’t read more books!  I know, I’m letting the side down.  Who needs sleep anyway….? Heh heh!

October was a rather exciting month for me.  Y’all be sick to the back teeth of this soon (maybe you are already!) but I decided to have a bit of a new books and blog tour ban to enable me to make a more substantial dent in the terrifying TBR.  To keep my FOMO at bay I have a list of 20 authors whose books and tours I am allowed to partake in.  So, how did I do in my first month?

In October I was part of FOUR blog tours (compared to my twelve tours in September I think I’ve done alright!):

All four were review posts:

Her Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite | Fox Hunter by Zoe Sharp | Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister | Murder Game by Caroline Mitchell |

But the blog wasn’t empty, oh no!  I featured these publication day reviews (or as near as dammit to publication day!):

The Visitors by Catherine Burns | Sleep No More by P.D. James | The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell | Two Dark Tales: Jack Squat and The Niche by Charles Lambert |

And I also got to read these beauties, all of which have been sitting on my terrifying TBR for some time encouraging me to cheat on my scheduled reads with their come-hither looks:

The Corruption of Chastity by Frank Westworth | Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart | Final Girls by Riley Sager | The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis | The Dry by Jane Harper | Follow You by Richard Parker |

And last but by no means least, I shared a cover reveal post for the latest book in the Kay Hunter series titled Hell To Pay.  Isn’t it a stunner? Keep an eye out for my stop on the tour in mid-November.  Really looking forward to reading this one!

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All in all, I have rather enjoyed my first month of being able to choose what I read and when I read it.  I think it’s given me a much-needed boost to my confidence and has reminded me exactly why I love (LOVE!) reading so much.

Saying that there has been one rather negative knock to the damppebbles armour which has caused me a lot of upset.  Two words; Twitter Jail!  Ugh.  Twitter jail, for those that haven’t heard of such a thing before, is more commonly known as Shadow Banning or Ghost Banning.  During the month of October, I have been in Twitter Jail at least once a week and nearly every weekend.  I laughed it off to start with but it got to the point where it became no longer funny.  I could tweet to the masses but I couldn’t speak to an individual or a group of people.  As soon as I added someone’s Twitter tag to my tweet I was silenced.  After a little bit of detective work, I discovered that I share, on average, 102 tweets containing a URL to Twitter on a daily basis, 102 TWEETS!  I thought I could beat the system.  I can’t.  I thought I could find a clever way to get around the problem.  I couldn’t.  So I have come to realise that I can’t share posts like I have been doing which is quite upsetting for me.  I’ve been told to share no more than 20 posts a day.  But how do I go from 102 to 20…..?!  All ideas welcome, I’m reaching out to you dear damppebbles visitor so please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.  At the moment I am considering a spreadsheet which randomly generates 20 blogs a day.  I may be thinking about this waaaaaaaaaay too much……!

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If you’re a regular visitor to the blog or you follow me on Twitter I don’t think my Book Of The Month is going to come as a massive surprise.  I have found a book which may well become my book of the year and it rightly deserves a place on my favourite books EVER list.  That book is…..

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Taddah!

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There we go, no big surprise really.  I fell head over heels in love with this gorgeously creepy mix of crime and horror.  It was absolutely everything I’ve ever wanted in a book and felt almost like it was written especially for me.  I adore it and if you haven’t read Final Girls yet then you MUST!

“I’m so excited that this book exists – it’s perfect and I want everyone to read it so you can all see how awesome it is as well.  Brilliantly addictive, deliciously dark and everything I want in a book! Superb.”

So there we have it, my bookish October in a mere 900 words (or so!).  I may be a little quiet as we start November; I have a number of blog tour reads all bunched together halfway through the month so will be concentrating on getting them all read and reviewed in time.  After that, and I can’t believe I’m actually saying this, I have NO blog tours scheduled – no tours in December, no tours in the New Year.  I know it won’t stay that way (especially as Steph Broadribb and Orenda Books are releasing the new Lori Anderson book in the coming months and that’s one book/tour I ain’t missing!) but it’s quite an exhilarating feeling.

Have a warm and cosy November filled with the very best books.  Tarrah for now!

 

 

#CaseClosed: #September2017 #BookOfTheMonth #amreading #amreviewing #bookblogger #damppebbles

Hello my bookish beauties.  You may be asking yourself exactly what you have stumbled upon, what the heck is #CaseClosed…?  Well, let me tell you.  Back at the start of the year I had this terrific idea where I would summarise the goings on of damppebbles in a monthly post.  It was a great idea, so great I only managed to post three times before collapsing in a bedraggled book strewn heap!  Okay, so I suffered a little blogger burn-out earlier this year but that was then and this is now…

My big news is that I have decided to drastically reduce the number of blog tours and new books I accept for review.  It’s not a total ban as my FOMO would end up kicking my butt.  It’s more of a (severe) cut-back on what I currently do.  I have found that I am only reading for blog tours at the moment and I have lost all choice.  My next read is already planned for me according to what is next in my diary.  Isn’t one of the many joys of reading finishing one book and deciding which to pick up next?  I think so, and I really miss having that choice.  I absolutely love blog tours and that’s 90% of the problem; I hate to say no to publishers and blog tour organisers, but that’s where my list of 20 authors comes in.  I have a list of 20 authors whose work I cannot live without.  If one of the authors on the list publishes a new book then I can purchase a copy.  If I am lucky enough to be asked to join their tour, then I can say yes without fretting.  It will also keep the dastardly FOMO at bay (I hope).

Oh yeah, and I’m aiming to do this for one whole year – until 1st October 2018.  You may think I’m crazy (you could be proven right) but this feels the only way to make sure I get some of the older books on my TBR read.  After all, some very lovely patient authors have been waiting a year and a half for a review from me….EEK!

Anyway, what’s been happening in September you may ask.  Quite a lot, actually.  I think I’ve been accepting more tours knowing that from 1st October I won’t be to do as many.  Desperately squeezing in as many as possible before my October deadline!

In September I took part in 12 blog tours:

Ten review posts:

Hide and Seek by Richard Parker | Maria in the Moon by Louise Beech | The House by Simon Lelic | A Patient Fury by Sarah Ward | Lost in the Lake by A.J. Waines | The Kindred Killers by Graham Smith | Race to the Kill by Helen Cadbury | House of Spines by Michael J. Malone | Hope to Die by David Jackson | The Surrogate by Louise Jensen |

Two content posts:

Scorn by Paul Hoffman (extract) | Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke (giveaway) |

Two cover reveals:

Her Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite | Shadows by Jackie McLean |

I’m over the moon that I managed to squeeze in two publication day (or near as dammit!) reviews:

The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan | The Fourteenth Letter by Claire Evans |

And I also reblogged two of my older reviews in celebration of First Monday Crime returning on Monday 2nd October (click either of these links to reserve your FREE place):

The Lucky Ones by Mark Edwards | Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear |

Now I know I’m not the most frenetic of bloggers but I’m really impressed with how much I’ve managed to squeeze in this month.  I still have a few reviews to type up so look out for reviews of Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart, Sleep No More by P.D. James and The Visitors by Catherine Burns coming your way soon!

It’s all very exciting, it’s now time for my book of the month.  I’ve seen many of my fellow bloggers select a book of the month and I ALWAYS look forward to seeing what they have chosen.  Which made me think, why don’t I include a Book of the Month post in #CaseClosed.  I’d be silly not to!

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There have been several standout books this month and some of you may have an inkling about what I’m going to choose.  There were two sublime reads which were fighting for the top spot.  However, my book of the month for September is….

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My other choice (which shall remain a secret 😉) will have lots of other bloggers voting it their book of the month which is why I wanted to support Sarah Ward’s wonderful DC Connie Childs series.  If you haven’t had the chance to meet DC Childs and DI Sadler then you MUST!

“Honestly, my favourite crime series out there at the moment and I urge you to get yourself a copy of A Patient Fury.  You won’t regret it.  Sheer brilliance.”

HERE is a link to Sarah Ward’s amazon.co.uk author page should you wish to purchase a copy or three (you won’t regret).

So that’s it for another month. I’m looking forward to those Autumnal evenings, cosied up at home with a great book and a glass of wine (obviously, I meant tea there, not wine 😶).  I have a couple of blog tours coming up in October (only a few, mind).  Otherwise, I hope to dazzle you all with considered and thoughtful reviews of some cracking crime thrillers.

Come back and visit damppebbles.com soon!

#CaseClosed: March 2017 #amreading #amreviewing #bookblogger #damppebbles

We may be one fifth of the way through April already but that’s not going to stop me from posting my monthly summary post, oh no!  Rules. Ha! They’re made to be broken, right?  That or I’m just a disaster at the moment and can’t get myself organised enough to publish my #CaseClosed posts on the first of the month.  I should probably add it to my extensive list of goals I shared with you last month…now there’s a thought!

Happy April everyone!  I’m delighted to report that the weather here in the UK has become more ‘Spring-like’ and I have finally managed to defrost after a long, cold Winter.  My kids have finished for the Easter break (I know, how early?!!) which means the amount of reading and blogging I’ll be doing over the next week and a half will be significantly reduced, boo!  But I get to spend time with the children, yay!

During March I managed to read the grand total of 11 books!  For those that have a vague memory of the ‘goals’ I set myself last month…goal one – tick.  I also managed to read Dark Houses by Helen H Durrant which is the book I’ve had on my NetGalley shelf the longest (goal two – tick) as well as one of the books my husband gave me as part of my Christmas present, The Poison Artist by Jonathan Moore (goal three – tick).  As for goal four….well, let’s not even go though (hehehehe).

So, what happened on the blog last month?  I was absolutely thrilled to welcome some incredibly talented guest reviewers to damppebbles.  I featured reviews of Nowhere Girl by Ruth Dugdall and Watch Her Disappear by Eva Dolan from the lovely Tracie Delaney at Passionate About BooksMadam Tulip by David Ahern from Nicki over at Nicki’s Book BlogSplintered by Kelly Miller from the gorgeous Dee over at Novel DeelightsThe One by John Marrs which could end up being Sam over at Clues and Reviews top read of the year! And The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti from Helen Claire over at baattyaboutbooks.  Thank you to all my guest reviewers for volunteering to help reduce the #terrifyingTBR.  I am eternally grateful.

I took part in 10 blog tours during March:

Of these six were reviews:

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski | The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman | The Place That Never Existed by Jim Ody | Mystery at Maplemead Castle by Kitty French | The Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney | After She’s Gone by Maggie James |

And four were either guest posts or extracts:

Dead Embers by Matt Brolly | The Abattoir of Dreams by Mark Tilbury | Deadly Game by Matt Johnson | Boundary by Andree A. Michaud |

I also hosted a series spotlight for the lovely Sheryl Browne and her new crime thriller series featuring DI Matthew Adams.

And on top of all of that, I actually managed to read and review some non-blog tour books…WOAH!

You can find links to my review of Dark Houses and The Poison Artist above.  Here are my thoughts on Little Bones by Sam Blake and Scared to Death by Rachel Amphlett.

In other news I made my 200th post to the blog.  I’m sure many of my fellow bloggers achieved this a very long time ago but as a slow reader I was rather proud.

I plan to set myself the same goals this month as last so keep an eye out for a review of The Rule of Fear by Luke Delaney as that’s the oldest resident on the NetGalley shelf at the moment.  I haven’t decided which of my Christmas present books I’ll read but I can share my April book with you:

51UlDLJK0OL._SY346_.jpg“This was meant to be the perfect trip. The Northern Lights. A luxury press launch on a boutique cruise ship.

A chance for travel journalist Lo Blacklock to recover from a traumatic break-in that has left her on the verge of collapse.

Except things don’t go as planned.

Woken in the night by screams, Lo rushes to her window to see a body thrown overboard from the next door cabin. But the records show that no-one ever checked into that cabin, and no passengers are missing from the boat.

Exhausted and emotional, Lo has to face the fact that she may have made a mistake – either that, or she is now trapped on a boat with a murderer…”

I’ve been hankering after this book for some time so it was good that I never mentioned it to the hubby (otherwise he wouldn’t have bought it for me, ha!).  Have you read it?  What did you think?

On a slightly more grumpy note, I have decided to reduce the number of blog tours I feature on.  I think I’m starting to suffer from the dreaded blogger burnout as I’ve found it hard going writing reviews and sharing the book love of late.  Hopefully this is just a temporary thing but I think I need to take a break (particularly from social media for a while). I know I’m not the only one who feels like this as several of my blogger friends have said they feel exactly the same.  I will try to do as much as I’ve always done, but you may notice a dip in the number of posts I share.  I’m sorry.  I really do want to spread the #booklove and support my fabulous fellow bloggers but I’m running out of time each day and the kids sulk when I make any kind of move towards my phone.  Grump over, normal(ish) service to resume (kind of!).

Well, that’s it my lovelies for another #CaseClosed.  Have a fabulous April, one and all.