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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Godlefe’s Cuckoo by Bill Todd was published in the UK by DLE Fiction on 15th March 2018 and is available in paperback and ebook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukamazon.comGoodreads |

The Danny Lancaster Blog Tour

about-the-author3

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

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

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

Advertisements

#BlogTour | #BookReview: Mama’s Gone by Leopold Borstinski @borstinski @cobaltdinosaur #GuestReview #MamasGone #TheLagottiFamily

Mama's Gone - High Resolution.jpg

“When children grow up, the parents must die

California gang leader Mary Lou has built a criminal empire while her adult children are desperate for their mother’s attention and love.

As her mental faculties wane, Alice and Frank Jr must acknowledge their mother is not the woman she once was and that they need to step up and take the helm, despite the stark differences between them.

But their sibling rivalry blinds both of them to their weaknesses which threatens the family when the Russian mob moves into the state. How can they fend off those attacks while fighting to decide who will lead the family now their dear Mama’s gone?”

Hello my bookish friends. I am delighted to welcome you to the blog today to my guest reviewer’s stop on the Mama’s Gone blog tour. Mama’s Gone by Leopold Borstinksi is the fourth book in The Lagotti Family series and was published earlier this week on 18th March 2019. I’ll hand straight over to my guest reviewer, Ryan (or ‘the husband!’).

Starting a post on damppebbles is always tricky. It’s a great blog [Emma: You have to say that!] and I always worry whether my review is going to get it a bad reputation? But after reading Mama’s Gone, a mob crime thriller, I’m not so worried! I’m considering up and leaving damppebbles, setting up my own blog, making some money out of the marks and building my own blogging mob empire.

Mama’s Gone by Leopold Borstinski is effectively the fourth book in the Lagotti Family series. However, having read it, I would not have known this. It reads well as a standalone with plenty of back story and character history. The book moves at a rapid pace, starting with a shooting before bringing out what has gone before. The four main characters are each clearly cast; hard working Alice, lazy Mama’s boy Frank, reliable Bobby and of course Mama. Mama runs a traditional mob; drugs, prostitution and gambling but with two children growing up as rivals to be the successor and Russian mobs moving in, what will happen? Will the traditional mob be victorious as it has been so many times in the past or is a new dawn coming?

I must admit by the end of the book I didn’t really like any of the characters. Normally I like a good anti-hero but the author does a great job of showing the multiple flaws of each character. Too much loyalty in one, a ruthless streak for succeeding in another and what some would call a pathological streak in yet another. The book cleverly draws the story forward quickly with each small battle a character faces adding to the story. As we near the crescendo the characters not only have to fight with the outside world but also inside the family as Mama slowly loses her grip on the helm of the family organisation.

I have to say I liked the story. It read well as a standalone and bought some distinct characters into being. The author wasn’t afraid to let his characters live and die by their bloodthirsty, ruthless decisions. Decisions of a mob character rather than your typical reader and watching this happen from the other side of a kindle screen worked well! If crime is a genre you enjoy this will be an easy read for you and I recommend it to all.

However, as I reach the end of this review I can confirm I enjoyed the book but I’m not brave enough to be a mob boss, so I will just thank everyone for reading and quietly creep out before anyone notices!

Mama’s Gone by Leopold Borstinksi was publsihed in the UK on Monday 18th March 2019 and is available in eBook format: | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads |

MAMA'S GONE banner

about-the-author3

FullSizeRender.jpg

Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.

There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.

He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

Author Links: | Twitter | Facebook | Website |

#BlogTour | #GuestReview: Dead in the Water by Simon Bower (@SimonBowerBooks) @cobaltdinosaur #DeadInTheWaterBook

dead-in-the-water-cover“Was it murder, suicide or an accident? Who will be next to die?

Six international friends all appear to be successful, albeit to different levels. A human rights’ lawyer, an IT geek, a businessman, a waitress, a phone guy and a physiotherapist. None of them are known to the police.

One of them must know what happened that fateful night on the catamaran.

Agent Georges Fournier is assigned the case in the French resort town near Antibes. He’s short on time, with a growing health problem and a District Attorney who just wants the case closed as accidental. But he’s not letting go.

Chrissie is a single mother and respected flight attendant in New York. When she finds out who her father is, she’s ecstatic and wants to meet him. 

But within a week she’d wish she’d never known.”

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the blog today and to my guest reviewer’s stop on the Dead In The Water blog tour.  My guest reviewer, for those of you who don’t know, is my wonderful husband who is learning to love fiction once again after many years of not wanting to pick a book up (having my old Kindle helps I think…!).

Let’s find out what he thought about Simon Bower’s Dead In The Water

Thanks to Emma for letting me into damppebbles again. I am really excited to bring you my latest review of Simon Bower’s Dead In The Water.  I always get nervous writing reviews of crime books as I want to avoid giving away spoilers – but here goes….

Dead in the Water is a well constructed crime thriller, with a timeline that flits between the past and the present.  The author cleverly sets up teaser shots from the present day, without giving us too much information.  Someone is dead – but who, someone is in a hospital bed – but who and why?

The constant tease and reveal structure worked well to keep me speeding through this read and the author manages the pace nicely.  All of the 7 core characters are well formed – the 6 protagonists and Agent Fournier, the dogged detective tasked with understanding whether there was foul play in the death of ….(did you think I was silly enough to tell you who died!).  Simon Bower has carefully constructed his characters to show likeable elements and their not-so-nice side!  Characters and their story evolve through the book and I found myself re-assessing my liking for characters as I moved through, which is a good sign that I was engaged with the story.

Dead in the Water takes us on a pan-European adventure and the author has worked hard on his research – dropping in little facts as we move across the continent to give more depth and atmosphere to the locations.  Coupling this with the story’s narration switching between the main characters and you get an immersive and enjoyable read which will keep you guessing till the very end.

Would I read more Simon Bower – almost certainly.  Would I recommend this book to someone looking for an easy reading and enjoyable book that will immerse them in a fantastic story – yes.  Would I go on a boat with Simon – no….bad things seem to happen!

So hopefully I haven’t given too much away, death, hospitals, characters, Europe…you need to read it to find out the rest!  Thanks again to Emma for letting me takeover today!

4 stars out of 5.

Dead In The Water by Simon Bower was published in the UK by Middle Farm Press in May 2018 and is available in paperback and eBook formats [only 99p to download on Kindle this week!] (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Foyles |

dead in the water 2.jpg

about-the-author3

SIMONBOWERSimon Bower is a British and Canadian author born in Berkshire in 1973. Since 1998, he’s adopted a global lifestyle, setting up home at times in Europe, Africa and North America.  In 2016 Simon turned to writing full time, which led to his first published work, Dead in the Water, being released in paperback and eBook by Middle Farm Press in 2018. Simon currently lives in France, near the Swiss border, where his young family, mountains, acrylic paint and sharpened skis keep him in regular mischief.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Amazon | Goodreads |

#BlogTour | #GuestReview: Her Last Move by John Marrs

Her Last Move cover.jpg“He hides in the shadows, waiting for the perfect moment. Each kill is calculated, planned and executed like clockwork.

Struggling to balance her personal and professional life, young DS Becca Vincent has landed the biggest case of her career – and she knows that it will make or break her. But how can she identify one face in a sea of thousands? With the help of Police Super Recogniser Joe Russell, she strives to catch a glimpse of the elusive murderer, but he’s watching her every move.

Time is not on their side. The body count is rising, and the attacks are striking closer and closer to home. Can Becca and Joe uncover the connection between the murders before the killer strikes the last name from his list?

From the bestselling author of When You Disappeared and The Good Samaritan comes his most thrilling novel yet.”

A very warm welcome to the blog today and to ‘not my stop’ on the Her Last Move blog tour.  When I was asked to organise a blog tour for Her Last Move by John Marrs earlier this year I was put in touch with a number of keen bloggers and reviewers.  One of which was a movie reviewer, Steve Silver of Silver Screen Videos.com.  Steve runs a highly successful movie review site but doesn’t tend to include book reviews (despite being an avid reader).  That’s when it dawned on me that he could use my book review blog with an established audience to share his thoughts.

So without further ado, here’s Steve’s review: http://www.silverscreenvideos.com/herlastmovereview.html

Thanks Steve 🙂

 

#BlogTour | #GuestReview: The Good, The Bad & The Rugby by Mark Farrer (@mark_farrer) #TheGoodTheBadTheRugby @cobaltdinosaur

GBR-Front-Cover.jpg“Getting to the truth. By trial… and eror error.

Cullen is on jury duty, and the sleepy Scottish town of Melrose is experiencing a rare crime wave: the famous Rugby Sevens trophy is stolen, a dead body is unearthed, there is a spate of petty arson, and someone drives a van into Gloria’s front room.
Why? And what is her husband doing every night up on Eildon hill?

In this hilarious crime romp, misguided loyalties, thwarted love, and unbelievable gullibility reach crisis point on the one day in the year when the world pays a visit to Melrose.

At the final whistle, Cullen will ensure that justice is done.

Because sometimes twelve good men just isn’t enough.”

A very warm welcome to the blog today and to the final stop on The Good, The Bad & The Rugby blog tour.  I’m once again handing the reins of the blog over to my husband who is my overused and underappreciated guest reviewer!  Here’s what Ryan thought about The Good, The Bad & The Rugby by Mark Farrer…

I’ve just read “The Good, The Bad & The Rugby” and am delighted to be reviewing it for damppebbles.  Crime fiction comedy writers can miss the mark in many different ways; focusing on the comedic value rather than the story, humorous twists that are way too obvious and having long periods of story telling between “the funny bits”.   But as I think back on this book I believe Mark Farrer nailed it!  I’m not one of those reviewers who leaves these things to the end, it was 5 stars, my favourite fiction book of the year.

As I read the story it reminded me of Christopher Brookmyre’s work; fantastic characterisation, a well-paced and balanced storyline and lots of laughs.  I think the title is good but hope it doesn’t scare readers off who aren’t rugby fans.   You don’t need to be a rugby fan to enjoy this book.

I don’t know about you but one of my main criteria for judging a book like this is l how I reacted, so let’s do the checklist;

1) Did I laugh out loud? Yes

2) Did I laugh out loud somewhere I would have preferred not to? Yes (seat 13b of flight BA705 Vienna to Heathrow)

3) Did I read bits out to my wife despite not considering context or whether she was interested? Yes

4) Am I sad the books finished? Yes

5) Am I going to tell people about the book? Yes

So five out of five!  I have a sad Kindle staring forlornly at me now, it will surely have more of Mark’s books on it in the near future.

Looking forward to my next adventure with these characters!

I think he liked it! If Mark Farrer’s books encourage my husband to read more fiction then I am over the moon.

The Good, The Bad & The Rugby by Mark Farrer was published in the UK on 18th October 2018 and is available in paperback and eBook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com |

dirty barry

Download Mark Farrer’s novella DIRTY BARRY for FREE via this LINK!

 


UK Only Giveaway:

For your chance to win 2 bookmarks featuring the covers of all four of Mark Farrer’s books, please click the following Rafflecopter link.  Please note this a UK only giveaway.  The 14 winners will be selected at random and your postal address will be passed onto Mark Farrer.  There is no cash alternative.  The giveaway ends of midnight (GMT) on 16th November 2018.  Any personal information stored by the Rafflecopter giveway will be deleted after the winners have been drawn.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

good-bad-rugby.jpg

about-the-author3

Mark Farrer.jpgMark was born in Liverpool, studied Computer Science at Hull University, then had a successful career in IT management in London and the South-East for twenty years before moving to Edinburgh in 2001. He continued working in IT until 2015 when he decided to retire from the rat race and focus on becoming a writer. He now spends half his time writing and the other half worrying why he is not yet making money from writing.

The Good, The Bad & The Rugby is Mark’s third comic novel featuring a morally righteous loner called Cullen. He also has a perma-free novella on Amazon, called Dirty Barry, which tells how Cullen and Big Paul first met. He is currently at work on a second novella, called Bronchial Billy.

Mark has three children, one at University, one on a gap year in Ghana, and one still at High School. He lives with his partner Claire, a photographer, near West Linton, in the Scottish Borders.

He likes: his Mini Cooper, songwriting, playing piano, vanilla pannacotta, The Beatles, woodburning stoves, wittertainment, Bill Bailey, #sadmanonatrain, fruit gums, Carl Hiaasen, The Wire, spicy food, Van Gogh, Lindsey Buckingham, oaked chardonnay, House MD, long walks, cinema, reading in bed, florentines, Only Connect, board games, Otis Lee Crenshaw, Budweiser, GBBO, India, cheese, David Armand’s mimes, bookshops, Scandi Noir, Diet Coke, The Economist, Blackadder, good sausages, Dickens, Helena Bonham-Carter (secret crush), the Times crossword, the song mmmbop, and pies.

And lists.

He dislikes: ITV, pinot grigio, tattoos, ballet, ready meals, rap, religion, clutter, artificial raspberry flavouring, marmite, jazz, under-powered showers, people who don’t look after their stuff, opera, sprouts, and waste.

And mashed potato.

He really doesn’t like mashed potato.

Author Links: Twitter | Website | Amazon |

#GuestReview: The Ghost of Bowness by M.J. Evans (@MartinE13715833) @BookGuild @TheQuietKnitter

ghost of bowness cover.jpg“The friends of a young girl called Tara, who mysteriously went missing ten years ago, hire PI Jordan Lewis to investigate her disappearance.

There have been frequent sighting of what witnesses describe to be Tara. Jordan tries to piece together these statements to try and uncover the truth.

However as her investigation deepens multiple bodies start appearing around the usually quiet Lake Windermere and Bowness.

As Jordan gets closer to the truth, the attacks become more frequent.

Can Jordan solve the mystery of Tara’s disappearance before more residents are hurt? Or will Jordan and the police uncover more than they had bargained for?”

I am absolutely thrilled to welcome you to damppebbles today as I have something rather special to share with you, a guest review!  But it’s not any old guest review, no.  It’s a guest review from one of my very favourite bloggers, the gorgeous Kate over at The Quiet Knitter.  If you haven’t already, you MUST give Kate a follow as her reviews are superb and she’s much better at this blogging lark than I am!

So, without further ado, here’s what Kate thought about The Ghost of Bowness by M.J. Evans:

“The Ghost of Bowness” is the third book written by M.J. Evans to feature his ex Police officer turned Private Detective Jordan Lewis.  In this novel Jordan is contacted by the  friends of Tara Marshall, who went missing some ten years ago and no trace of her was ever found.  Strange sightings around Windermere and Bowness have the friends spooked, so Amanda O’Neil and Tony Jenkins decides it’s worth hiring Jordan to look into the sightings and find out once and for all what happened to Tara.

As the case evolves, Jordan finds herself working in close connection with the Police, especially with the discoveries of multiple bodies in the tranquil and peaceful setting.  Mysteriously, someone seems to be trying to run an investigation alongside Jordan’s and keeps sending her their files, texts from unknown numbers etc.

I found the pace of this to be a bit of a slow build up, but more in the way that groundwork needs to be done to set the scene and provide a framework for the plot to flow.  There were aspects of the narrative that I found a little slow in places but this wasn’t enough to put me off reading.  I was keen to find out what was going to happen next and see just how the case would pan out.  Most of the characters were an interesting mix of unreliable, questionable or untrustworthy which made the mystery element of the story very interesting.  Who’s version of events could be trusted, were any of them involved with the mysterious events were just some of the thoughts buzzing around my head while I read this.

Having visited Lake Windermere and much of the Cumbrian setting mentioned I found it easy to conjure clear images of the locations described and found that the details matched up with the images stored in my mind.  The juxtaposition of the attacks and murders in such a tranquil setting was nicely done, almost poetic in a sense.

Overall this was an enjoyable read, and one that fans of detective fiction might enjoy.

Thank you so much for reading and reviewing The Ghost of Bowness for me, Kate.

The Ghost of Bowness by M.J. Evans was published in the UK by The Book Guild on 21st July 2016 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | The Book Guild | Waterstones |

about the author2

m j evans.jpgI started writing in 2010 after I had spinal surgery and I am loving every minute of it and wouldn’t change a thing. I recently handed my third manuscript to my publishers and that should be out on sale sometime next year (2016).

When I started writing in 2010 I did a home learning course in Creative Writing. Doing this course was probably the best thing that I did because I have received no formal training in writing.

Author Links: | Twitter |

#GuestReview: The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by @hannahtinti | @TinderPress | @baattyabtbooks

samuel hawley.jpg“After years spent living on the run, Samuel Hawley moves with his teenage daughter Loo to Olympus, Massachusetts. There, in his late wife’s hometown, Hawley finds work as a fisherman, while Loo struggles to fit in at school and grows curious about her mother’s mysterious death. Haunting them both are twelve scars Hawley carries on his body, from twelve bullets in his criminal past – a past that eventually spills over into his daughter’s present, until together they must face a reckoning yet to come.

Both a coming of age novel and a literary thriller, THE TWELVE LIVES OF SAMUEL HAWLEY explores what it means to be a hero, and the price we pay to protect the people we love most.”

I am absolutely delighted to welcome you to damppebbles today as I get to share another of my fabulous guest reviews.  And it’s publication day which makes it even more special.  Congratulations to Hannah Tinti and Tinder Press.

In order to try and reduce my #terrifyingTBR I decided to ask for help from the amazing booky community.  And they came in their droves…..OK, slight over exaggeration!  A small but very talented bunch of folks offered to help by reading  a couple of the TBR.  One of my willing helpers was the gorgeous Helen Claire who blogs over at baattyaboutbooks.  Check out her blog when you have a moment because it’s fabulous.

Here’s a little more about Helen:

Me.jpgAn avid reader, reviewer and blogger and a keen supporter of the written word since her childhood days, the joy Helen gets from reading and talking about books has never diminished (in fact it has only increased).

And as a book publicist Helen gets paid to talk about books all the time! Helen is employed by Bloodhound on a freelance basis and plays a key role in ensuring our authors get as much publicity as possible, through arranging blog tours, book launch events and press coverage.

And here are Helen’s thoughts on The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley:

This is a very different kind of book. It is well written and keeps you hooked from start to finish and it certainly did me.

It is True Grit meets the trials of Hercules. It is extremely descriptive. Some of the scenes were so vivid, I really felt that I was there in the midst of it all. The characterisation is good, one character in particular. Read the book and you will guess which one I mean!

***

Thanks a million for taking the time to read and review this book for damppebbles, Helen.

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti was published in the UK by Tinder Press on 28th March 2017 and is available in eBook format (hardcover is scheduled for release in April with the paperback following in 2018) | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

copy-of-copy-of-smith-sons-1

hannah tinti.jpg

Hannah Tinti grew up in Salem, Massachusetts, and is co-founder and editor-in-chief of One Story magazine. Her short story collection, ANIMAL CRACKERS, has sold in sixteen countries and was a runner-up for the PEN/Hemingway award. Her first novel, THE GOOD THIEF, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, recipient of the American Library Association’s Alex Award, and winner of the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize. Hannah’s new novel, THE TWELVE LIVES OF SAMUEL HAWLEY will be published in March 2017.

Author Links: Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook |

 

#GuestReview: The One by @johnmarrs1 | @EburyPublishing @cluesandreviews

the one.jpg“How far would you go to find THE ONE?
One simple mouth swab is all it takes. A quick DNA test to find your perfect partner – the one you’re genetically made for.

A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one other person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love.

Now, five more people meet their Match. But even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking – and deadlier – than others…”

A very warm welcome to another of my fabulous guest review posts.  Today I am thrilled to welcome the lovely Sam to damppebbles who blogs over at Clues and Reviews.  Sam’s blog is fantastic so if you’re not already following her, I certainly recommend checking her blog out.  Sam has very kindly read and reviewed The One by John Marrs for me but before we find out what Sam thought of this incredibly popular book, here’s a little more information about her:

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 5.45.36 PMResiding in Ontario, Canada, with my book buddy, Ellie, I Screen Shot 2017-01-04 at 5.43.21 PMteach by day and blog by night.  Although I would never discriminate, mystery, thriller and suspense novels fill my TBR list; dabbling in some books in the horror genre and occasionally some romance, come check me out at Clues and Reviews for my thoughts, reviews and general bookish ramblings. Twitter: @cluesandreviews  Instagram: cluesandreviews

Here are Sam’s thoughts on The One by John Marrs:

The One by John Marrs , was a book that I had seen people raving about for months on various blog tours and floating around in various Facebook groups; I was curious, but hesitant.  How often does a book really live up to the hype?

Well let me tell you, this book does.

Set in, what seems to be the very near, future, a gene is detected that allows people (with one quick DNA test) to identify their perfect partner.  The one they are genetically made for.   The narrative follows five different matches as they navigate their paths with their newly found soul mates.

This novel bent whatever I know about genre norms; this one was equal parts mystery, suspense, science fiction,, fantasy and romance all molded into one fast-paced, unputdownable read.  I was on the edge of my seat.

The characters in this novel were what got me.  Each character was intricately thought out and developed.   As each of their stories unfolded, I couldn’t help but in awe of Marrs and his ability to make the reader completely engrossed in their plights.   I was especially drawn into Christopher’s narrative as he hides a dark secret from his match and by the story of Amanda, who is desperate to find love.

I love my novels with considerable twists and turns and The One did not disappoint.  As soon as I felt like I understood where Marrs was going, he would deviate from the course and send me into a tailspin.

This rating was an absolute no brainer for me, 5/5 stars.  In fact, this one is a front runner for my favourite novel I have read this year.

***

Brilliant review, thank you Sam.  You can tell how much you loved this book and I’m glad I was able to help you ‘maybe’ find your book of the year!

The One by John Marrs was published in the UK by Ebury Publishing on 26th January 2017 and is available in eBook format (with the paperback to follow in May 2017) | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

copy-of-copy-of-smith-sons-1

john marrs.jpg

 John Marrs is a freelance journalist based in London, England, who has spent the last 20 years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines.

He has written for publications including The Guardian’s Guide and Guardian Online; OK! Magazine; Total Film; Empire; Q; GT; The Independent; Star; Reveal; Company; Daily Star and News of the World’s Sunday Magazine.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook |

 

 

 

#GuestReview: Watch Her Disappear by Eva Dolan (@eva_dolan) @HarvillSecker @Tracie_Delaney

watch her disappear.jpg“YOU CAN RUN FROM YOUR PAST. BUT YOU CAN’T RUN FROM MURDER.

The body is found by the river, near a spot popular with runners.

With a serial rapist at work in the area, DI Zigic and DS Ferreira are initially confused when the Hate Crimes Unit is summoned to the scene. Until they discover that the victim, Corinne Sawyer, was born Colin Sawyer.

Police records reveal there have been violent attacks on trans women in the local area. Was Corinne a victim of mistaken identity? Or has the person who has been targeting trans women stepped up their campaign of violence? With tensions running high, and the force coming under national scrutiny, this is a complex case and any mistake made could be fatal…”

Welcome, lovely people, to another fabulous damppebbles guest review post.  Today I am thrilled to welcome the very lovely Tracie Delaney back to the blog with her review of Watch Her Disappear by Eva Dolan.  Tracie blogs at the fabulous Passionate About Books and previously featured on damppebbles with her brilliant review of Nowhere Girl by Ruth Dugdall.

Here’s a little more information about Tracie:

tracie.jpegI’ve been obsessed with books for as long as I can remember. As a child, I could be found with one of two things in my hand; a book or a bridle (I was an avid horse rider in my younger years).

Reading is a wonderful form of escape. I love the way books transport you to different worlds and allow you to be a part of so many character’s lives.

I blog and write under the pseudonym Tracie Delaney. My first novel, Winning Ace, is due out in May 2017.

And here are Tracie’s thoughts on Watch Her Disappear by Eva Dolan:

My heartfelt thanks goes to Emma Welton at damppebbles.com for giving me the chance to read and review Watch Her Disappear.

Police are called to a horrifying scene early one morning; the body of a woman has been discovered by a river, a popular spot with runners. The woman has suffered severe facial injuries and has been strangled with the cord from her music earphones, dragged from the path while she took her morning exercise.

When Detective Inspector Zigic, Head of the Peterborough Police Hate Crimes unit is called in, he’s confused. Surely this is more a case for CID?

But then it is revealed that the woman, Corinne Sawyer, used to be Colin Sawyer. Halfway through her transition, she presented in real life as a woman, but Zigic has to consider whether she was killed due to mistaken identity, or was there a murderer on the loose targeting transexual females?

As Zigic and his partner, Ferreira, dig deeper into the closed and secretive world Corinne belonged to, they begin to uncover hidden and unreported crimes from a community living in fear.

And alongside this murder, CID are embroiled in investigating a series of brutal rapes. Is the serial rapist escalating? Are the cases connected? And if they are, will Zigic struggle to hold off CID from wanting to reassign Corinne’s case into their own department?

I absolutely adored this novel. I’ve never read anything by Eva Dolan before, but believe me, that will be rectified.

This book is a slow burn mystery/thriller. It isn’t one of those books where you are left breathless as wave after wave of shocks come at you, thick and fast. In this book, the author builds the tension slowly, carefully—and realistically.

The story is told over one week, from the time of Corinne’s death to the eventual capture of her killer, but through that relatively short timeframe, the author digs deep, showing the level of scrutiny and work I would imagine goes into a real murder investigation.

I loved DI Zigic. You got to see two different sides to the same character – Exhausted husband due to newly-born daughter Emily keeping him awake at night to tenacious and integrity-fuelled DI, determined to find the killer while at the same time, desperately trying to stop the case being returned to CID.

Ferreira, his partner, took me a little more time to connect with, although as the story went on, it left me thinking that she’s exactly the sort of copper I’d want if I ever found myself in a similar situation to Corinne’s family.

This author is clearly very talented; from the way she strings a sentence together that leaves you in awe, to the careful pacing of plot and the full and rounded characters she lays on the page.

As the front cover states in a quote from Ian Rankin – She’s top drawer.

***

Thank you for this fabulous review Tracie.  I really want to read this book, and hopefully soon (luckily I still have a copy on the #terrifyingTBR).

Watch Her Disappear by Eva Dolan was published in the UK by Vintage Books on 26th January 2017 and is available in hardcover and eBook formats (with the paperback to follow later this year) | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

copy-of-copy-of-smith-sons-1

eva dolan.jpeg

Eva Dolan is an Essex-based copywriter and intermittently successful poker player. Shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Dagger for unpublished authors when she was just a teenager, Long Way Home is her debut novel and the start of a major new crime series.

Author Links:Twitter |

#GuestReview: Splintered by Kelly Miller (@MillerMystery) @BookaholicDee

splintered.jpg“Life turns from barely tolerable to complete hell when Maddy Eastin’s impulsive plan to win back the attention of her absentee father backfires. Word of her scheme spreads through her high school, but when mockery escalates to cyberbullying, Maddy and her failed stunt become headline news. But the worst is yet to come…

A disturbed man is fighting the overwhelming urge to surrender to his true nature—a moral code molded by a sadistic father who taught him that a girl needs proper training to become the perfect subservient woman. As he watches Maddy on the evening news, his already fractured psyche completely splinters. She’s the girl he’s been waiting for.

When Maddy disappears, she’s labeled a runaway even though her mother believes it was foul play. Will the detectives investigating Maddy’s disappearance find her before it’s too late? Or has she already fallen prey to the vicious stranger hunting her?”

I am absolutely delighted to welcome you to damppebbles today for another of my fantastic guest reviews.  Today I welcome relatively new blogger Dee to damppebbles.  Dee can be found over at Novel Deelights and despite being new to the blogging community she’s already a firm favourite.  If you don’t already then please give Dee a follow.

Dee has very kindly read and reviewed Splintered by Kelly Miller for me.  But before we find how what Dee thought about the book, here’s some more information about Dee:

dee.jpgI have the attention span of a gnat. Or as I like to call it “ooh shiny disease”. Think of me as a magpie who sees some sparkly thing and is off. But put a book in my hands and I’m a completely different person. I’ll be able to concentrate like there’s no tomorrow. Shoot a canon off next to me and chances are I won’t hear it. That’s how much I love reading and how much books mean to me. They calm me, they help me escape reality for a bit. But most of all, they’re now enabling me to meet some wonderful new people in the blogging community. Thank you for the warm welcome and support!

You’re a very welcome addition to our little community Dee.  So without further ado, here’s what Dee thought about Splintered by Kelly Miller:

All actions have consequences.

Fifteen year old Maddie is not only struggling with the harsh teenage hormones but also with the recent divorce of her parents. It’s been five months since she’s heard anything from the father. One morning, Maddie claims someone tried to kidnap her. Is she telling the truth?

Her mother, Lily, isn’t having a good time either. Forced to move house and take on another job after her divorce, she struggles to deal with her own issues as well as her daughter’s.

Then there’s Hank, who had a brutal childhood at the hands of a predator for a father. Hank has been trying to do the right thing while all the while taking care of his brain damaged brother but can he keep it up?

Naturally when Emma sent me her list to choose a book from, I checked out links for descriptions. This one caught my eye as the premise sounded interesting. Unfortunately, the description listed on amazon and Goodreads is almost the entire plot. I kid you not. Which is a shame as I think I would have otherwise enjoyed this one a lot more than I did. As it is, I just kept waiting for something to happen that I didn’t already know was coming and sadly that didn’t start until about 60% into the book.

The chapters switch back and forth between five characters which I felt wasn’t entirely necessary. While they flowed nicely from one to the next, some I thought of as mere fillers that didn’t particularly move the story along. Then when the action finally hit in the last chapters, it was all quite rushed. It left me wondering if maybe the story hadn’t worked better as a drama focusing on the mother/daughter relationship between Maddie and Lily.

As I said, for me, it was slightly ruined by pretty much knowing the entire plot but I think you might enjoy it if you go in blind. Friendly reminder: DO NOT read the book description! I may have been a little disappointed but I still I rated it 3 stars on Goodreads.

Thank you lovely Emma for my copy of this book and for having me on your blog. 🙂
***
Thanks for your honest and considered review Dee, and it was a pleasure having you visit!

Splintered by Kelly Miller was published in the UK by Kindle Press on 26th January 2016 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads |

copy-of-copy-of-smith-sons-1
kelly miller.jpeg

Writing has always been in my blood. Since the age of thirteen when I coauthored a cheesy romance novel in a blue, spiral bound notebook, I knew I wanted to pursue writing as a career. But somewhere along the way, I lost my voice. Sure I could craft a witty email or write marketing copy for other authors, as I did in a previous job, but to write that great American novel seemed just out of reach.

As is often happens, life simply got in the way. I got married, had three children, and adopt

ed a black Labrador. As a stay-at-home mom, I was lucky to get an hour a day to myself. And when I found those few precious minutes, they were spent reading a good book. A voracious reader, I’ve been researching the mystery and suspense genres for more than two decades.

 It was in my search for my own identity after staying at home with the kids that ultimately lead me back to my love of writing. I started my journey towards publication in August 2010. The first draft only took four months to write, but was followed by an enormous amount of time rewriting, and an even longer time searching for a publisher. Determination, perseverance, and God’s blessing made my publishing dream a reality. I signed a contract with Black Rose Writing on May 18, 2012 and my first mystery novel, Dead Like Me, debuted in November 2012. The second instalment in the Detective Kate Springer series, Deadly Fantasies, debuted December 19, 2013. Since that time, the book’s rights have reverted back to me and I’ve gone indie!

 A third mystery novel, “Splintered,” debuted in January 2016. In this story, I introduced my readers to a whole new set of characters. “Splintered” was chosen as a 2015 Kindle Scout winner and the e-book and audio book will be published by Kindle Press.

 As time got tight with starting a part-time job while keeping up with my three kids and husband, I switched over to writing on a smaller scale. I began writing novelettes which will eventually be put into a box set called My Nightmare Series. Each will feature a new psychopath and will revolve around a different color that’s integral to the story. The first is called My Blue Nightmare is only available for FREE when you sign up for my newsletter. Tee second is My Emerald Nightmare and comes out in the Spring of 2017. (Bio taken from Kelly Miller’s website.)

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook |