#BookReview: On the Edge by Jane Jesmond @Verve_Books #OnTheEdge #damppebbles


Jen Shaw has climbed all her life: daring ascents of sheer rock faces, crumbling buildings, cranes – the riskier the better. Both her work and personal life revolved around climbing, and the adrenaline high it gave her. Until she went too far and hurt the people she cares about. So she’s given it all up now. Honestly, she has. And she’s checked herself into a rehab centre to prove it.

Yet, when Jen awakens to find herself drugged and dangling off the local lighthouse during a wild storm less than twenty-four hours after a ‘family emergency’ takes her home to Cornwall, she needs all her skill to battle her way to safety.

Has Jen fallen back into her old risky ways, or is there a more sinister explanation hidden in her hometown? Only when she has navigated her fragmented memories and faced her troubled past will she be able to piece together what happened – and trust herself to fix it.”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of On the Edge by Jane Jesmond. On the Edge is published by Verve Books next week (on Tuesday 26th October 2021) and will be available in paperback and digital formats. I chose to read a free ARC of On the Edge which has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to Hollie at Verve Books for sending me a proof copy.

Jenifry Shaw lives for climbing. It’s in her blood and something she’s been doing for as long as she can remember. There were no limits in Jen’s mind, often undertaking dangerous climbs just for the buzz it gave her. Until the accident. The accident changed everything and instead of climbing, Jen turned to recreational drugs for the same high. But the drugs are behind her now. She’s checked out of rehab and is on her way home to a small Cornish village to answer her brother’s call for help. But on her first night in Craighston, she regains consciousness, precariously hanging from the edge of the lighthouse with no memory of what happened to get her there. Jen has to face facts. She’s either back to her old habits, or someone from her past has just tried to kill her…

On the Edge is the most beautifully atmospheric novel I have read in a long time. I was swept away by the author’s vivid descriptions of the dark and stormy Cornish landscape, as tension built and Jen stumbled her way to the truth. Jen is a terrific character and I was pleased to see that this is the first book in a series. If you’re a fan of the unreliable narrator then Jen is your woman! Parts of her past are patchy due to her drug use, she’s never sure if she can trust herself and she questions everything. Her unreliability made for a suspenseful read which this reader thoroughly enjoyed.

The mystery at the heart of the book is an intriguing one and I was with Jen every step of the way as she considered the options and questioned her friends and family’s motives. The enigmatic new arrival in town, who Jen unquestionably has chemistry with, adds another thread for her to unpick as she tries to discover what happened to her that dark and stormy night. Can Jen trust him? Can Jen trust anyone? I found myself suspicious of most of the characters at one time or another, which is testament to the author’s wonderful, suspense-laden writing.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. On the Edge is a very impressive debut and I’m looking forward to picking up Jen Shaw’s next literary adventure as soon as it’s available. The attention to detail and the research that has gone into this book is clear to the reader from the outset. From what I can gather, the author isn’t a climber but you would never guess that from the precise knowledge she displays of the sport (I should add that I’m also NOT a climber and get a little dizzy on the upper deck of a double decker bus!). It’s not just the technical stuff though. It’s the way the feel of the rock is described, along with the smell and a myriad of other sensations which cumulate to give Jen the high she so desperately craves.  A very well thought out tale with an unexpected darker edge which I appreciated. All in all, a thoroughly tense and enjoyable book which transported me to the atmospheric Cornish moors. Recommended.

I chose to read and review a free ARC of On the Edge. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

On the Edge by Jane Jesmond was published in the UK by Verve Books on 26th October 2021 and is available in paperback and digital formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukWaterstonesFoylesBook Depositorybookshop.orgGoodreadsdamppebbles bookshop.org shop |

Jane JesmondOn The Edge is Jane Jesmond’s debut novel and the first in a series featuring dynamic, daredevil protagonist Jen Shaw. Although she was born in Newcastle Upon Tyne, raised in Liverpool and considers herself northern through and through, Jane’s family comes from Cornwall. Her lifelong love of the Cornish landscape and culture inspired the setting of On The Edge. Jane has spent the last thirty years living and working in France. She began writing steadily six or seven years ago and writes every morning in between staring out at the sea and making cups of tea. She also enjoys reading, walking and amateur dramatics and, unlike her daredevil protagonist, is terrified of heights! You can subscribe to her newsletter at https://jane-jesmond.com/contact/

#BookReview: Time Is Running Out by Michael Wood @0neMoreChapter_ #TimeIsRunningOut #damppebbles

“You’re a survivor, aren’t you, Matilda? But what’s the point in surviving when everyone around you is dead?

When DCI Matilda Darke receives a mysterious telephone call, she immediately dismisses the threat. Afterall the Homicide and Major Enquiries team are a regular target for prank calls.

But ignoring this warning might soon be the biggest regret of Matilda Darke’s life.

A lone gunman is on a deadly rampage around Sheffield, leaving a bloody trail in his wake. Taking his shots with a sickening precision, he’s about to leave his mark on the world and change Matilda and her team’s lives forever.

The next chilling instalment in the DCI Matilda Darke thriller series, perfect for fans of Patricia Gibney and Angela Marsons.”

Hello and a very warm welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of the latest book in the DCI Matilda Darke series by Michael Wood – Time Is Running Out. Time Is Running Out was published on 26th February 2021 by One More Chapter and is available in digital format with the paperback to follow in May. I chose to read and review a free eARC of Time Is Running Out but that has in no way influenced my review.

This book is incredible and all kinds of insane! I’m a little awestruck but in the best way possible. Flipping heck! I have been reading the DCI Darke series for a while now. Although, I have to admit, I haven’t read the first two books but that has not hampered my enjoyment of the series at any point. My advice to you, before reading this latest instalment (which coincidentally is book seven), is to get to know the recurring characters a little first. Become familiar with and completely invested in this fantastic team. So then, when you get round to reading Time Is Running Out, the events and the outcome of this brilliant book will smack you about the head and leave you utterly dazed with your jaw on the floor. I ADORED this book!

It’s a normal day at South Yorkshire Police HQ when DCI Matilda Darke receives a strange phone call. She dismisses it, not giving it much thought and starts the morning briefing. But the phone call marks the start of an unforgettable day in the lives of those in and around the Sheffield area. The day a gunman terrorised their city, killing numerous people. The devastation and the grief is far reaching. Will life ever be the same again for the Homicide and Major Enquiry Team. And in particular, for DCI Darke…?

Holy moly, what a book! I’ve always said in my reviews for this author’s novels that he is not afraid to put his characters through the wringer and oh boy, I think Time Is Running Out proves that. What a brave, unflinching piece of absolutely gut-wrenching and gripping fiction. Fans of the series are either gonna love it or need counselling. I devoured this book and I loved every single bloodied second of it.

Now all I need to do is work out how to talk about the book without spoilers, which will be a challenge. We join the team on a normal day at the start of January and very early on the author gives readers a piece of good news – something to celebrate and warm the cockles. And then it all goes horribly, horribly wrong for the people of Sheffield. The initial scene, where we discover a gunman is on the loose, is utterly shocking. The pacing is perfect and I was holding my breath throughout. I kept muttering to myself under my breath – ‘surely, he won’t… oh, he has!!!’. It was jaw dropping and so brilliantly done. From there, things actually get a whole lot worse. If I said I was on the edge of my seat that would be an understatement. I had goosebumps, I had chills, I had palpitations.

The action doesn’t really stop from that point forward. Despite their best intentions and all resources being put into the investigation, the team falter. They struggle to find out the identity of the gunman or his reason for carrying out the devastating carnage. Time Is Running Out is so cleverly written, so very immersive and it was a dream of a novel to read. I am a little peeved at the author for a couple of things but hey, I can understand why he did what he did. I just wish other authors were as brave.

Would I recommend this book? I would recommend Time Is Running Out whole heartedly but only after you’ve read a couple of earlier DCI Darke novels. I think you need a good understanding of the team and what makes them tick to get the best out of the book. It’s a truly epic piece of crime fiction and I loved it. The best police procedural I’ve read in a long time, no doubt about it. Life will never be the same again. However, I will say it’s probably not for the faint hearted and contains some distressing scenes that not everyone will be comfortable with, but I devoured this book with glee. I cannot wait to see what the author comes up with next. Brave, bold and completely hypnotic. I struggled to put this one down. Highly recommended.

I chose to read and review a free eARC of Time Is Running Out. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Time Is Running Out by Michael Wood was published in the UK by One More Chapter on 26th February 2021 and is available in digital format with the paperback to follow in May (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukWaterstonesFoylesBook Depository | bookshop.org | Goodreads | the damppebbles bookshop.org shop |

Michael Wood is a freelance journalist and proofreader living in Sheffield. As a journalist he has covered many crime stories throughout Sheffield, gaining first-hand knowledge of police procedure. He also reviews books for CrimeSquad, a website dedicated to crime fiction.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook |

#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…


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!)…


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.


“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.

damppebbles.com nominated for #BestBookReviewBlog at the Fourth Annual Bloggers Bash Awards! #ABBAs #bookblogger #amreviewing #crimefiction

Hello, my bookish friends. I have some news *scrapes herself off the ceiling*. My little piece of the internet has been nominated for an award at the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards…..EEEEEEEEEPP!!

Those of you who were with me last year may remember that I was in the Services to Bloggers category. And I only flipping WON it!! Honest. It was me. I won an actual, real-life award.

The competition was tough last year but oh my gosh, it’s stepped up a few notches this year. Not helped by being in the same category as some of my very favourite book bloggers (not only are they very good at what they do, they are some of the loveliest people I know). This year damppebbles.com is in the BEST BOOK REVIEW BLOG category 🎉🥂!!

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So if you haven’t voted yet then please consider ticking the box next to ‘damppebbles.com’ for Best Book Review Blog (over 6,300 votes have been cast so far and it’s been less than a week since voting opened!). Here’s the link to vote: https://sachablack.co.uk/2018/04/06/voting-is-now-open-for-the-annual-bloggers-bash-awards-bloggersbash/

It’s so humbling to be nominated for something like the Bloggers Bash. I think back to the day I pressed ‘publish’ on my brand spanking new blog and thought to myself, ‘well, it’s something to keep me entertained for a little while’. That was two and a bit years ago and how my life has changed since. I didn’t expect anyone to follow me, I didn’t expect authors and publishers to want me to read their books, I didn’t expect that I would be able to chat to some incredible authors on a daily basis (and I still get starstruck!), I didn’t expect the lifelong friendships, the opportunities to read books that wouldn’t normally have crossed my radar, the sense of community and belonging.

Book blogging has changed my life and I LOVE it. Thank you all for your follows, your retweets, your shares, your comments but most of all, thank you for your support. YOU make blogging fun.

Wish me luck, guys. It’s an incredibly tough category and I think I need all the support I can get, up against some of the most dedicated and influential book bloggers out there.

Voting closes at midnight on 30th April 2018 (BST) and the awards will be presented at a ceremony in London on Saturday 19th May 2018. To find out more, click THIS LINK.

Thank you ❤

#BlogTour | #BookReview: The Pact by S.E. Lynes (@SELynesAuthor) @bookouture #ThePact

the pact.jpg“You made a promise to your sister. It could destroy your daughter.

The Daughter 
15-year-old Rosie lies in hospital fighting for her life. She’s trying to tell her mother what happened to her, and how she got there, but she can’t speak the words out loud. 

The Mother
Rosie’s mother Toni has a secret. She had a traumatic childhood, and she and her sister Bridget made each other a promise thirty years ago: that they could never speak the truth about what they went through as children, and that they would protect each other without asking for help from others, no matter what…

Rosie was Toni’s second chance to get things right: a happy, talented girl with her whole life ahead of her. Having lost her husband in a tragic accident, Toni has dedicated her life to keeping Rosie safe from harm. 

But Rosie has plans that her mother doesn’t know about. She has dreams and ambitions – of love, of a career, of a life beyond the sheltered existence that her mother has created for her. But the secrets Rosie has been keeping have now put her life in danger. 

The Pact
In order to save Rosie, Toni may have to break her lifelong promise to her sister… and open doors to her past she hoped would remain closed forever. 

The Pact is a chilling psychological thriller about the lies we will tell to save our children. Perfect for fans of Gone Girl, Apple Tree Yard and The Sister.”

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to damppebbles today and to my stop on The Pact blog tour, which I share with two fabulous bloggers; Jen over at Jen Med’s Book Reviews and Kaisha over at The Writing Garnet.  The Pact is written by one of my favourite authors, S.E. Lynes and was published today by Bookouture so I would like to take this opportunity to wish all involved a very happy publication day!  S.E. Lynes wrote one of my very favourite books of 2016, the incredible Valentina which put her well and truly on my radar as an author.  Last year Lynes signed a deal with the mighty Bookouture and published her first book with them, Mother, towards the end of 2017.  For a reminder of my review, please click HERE.

When I heard a second Bookouture release was in the pipeline from Susie Lynes I jumped at the chance to read it.  And flipping heck, I was not disappointed.  One of my favourite things about The Pact is how uneasy the reader feels from pretty much page one.  I felt very apprehensive, I could sense something wasn’t quite right with the picture Lynes was painting for me and I loved it!  If you’re a fan of suspense then this is a must-read.

We meet Toni, widowed mother of one teenage daughter, Rosie.  Rosie is a budding theatre star but lacks the confidence to push herself to the glittering heights others feel she could achieve.  Not helped by Toni, her overprotective mother.  Lending a more pragmatic and considered point of view to proceedings is Toni’s older sister, Bridget. Both Bridget and Toni have been through a lot; a traumatic childhood featuring unimaginable abuse for Toni, for Bridget the need to protect her sister from the horrors but feeling a constant failure.  That’s where the pact came in.  A promise made many years ago that no matter what, the two sisters would look after each other and not rely on the help of others.  But the pact could be the sisters undoing….

I absolutely loved Bridget.  She became a bit of a superhero for me and at times I found myself cheering her on as I read (thankfully this all happened in my head otherwise my family may have been giving me the odd strange look!).  I totally believed in Lynes’s characters; I could picture them, I could hear their dialogue in my head (more strange looks but from everyone reading this, this time haha!) and I truly felt for them.  I didn’t like Toni as much as I liked Bridget but that was due to her overbearing, smothering nature.

Lynes has cleverly used the vocabulary used by the ‘yoof’ of today along with text speak and emojis when writing Rosie’s interactions with friends.  All in all, this added to the believability factor making shy, naive young Rosie all the more real for me.  Throughout the pages of The Pact my heart broke for her in many different ways.

As usual, I was looking out for clues from the very start of the book and was able to see where a couple of storyline threads were heading.  Can I give you some advice?  Don’t do what I did.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it superbly gripping from start to finish despite being able to see where things were going.  I wonder how much it would have knocked my socks off if I hadn’t been doing that.  Really, don’t do what I did.  Read it with an open mind and see where Lynes takes you.

Would I recommend this book?  I would, definitely.  Very emotional, incredibly tense and a wonderful, wonderful read focussing on modern day fears and a parent’s worst nightmare.  I wanted to hide behind my hands at points whilst reading, peeking out from behind my splayed fingers.  Lynes is a very talented writer and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.

Five out of five stars.

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

The Pact by S.E. Lynes was published in the UK by Bookouture on 27th February 2018 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats (please note, the following Amazon and Waterstones links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

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about the author3

S E Lynes Author PhotoAfter graduating from Leeds University, S E Lynes lived in London before moving to Aberdeen to be with her husband. In Aberdeen, she worked as a producer at BBC Radio Scotland before moving with her husband and two young children to Rome. There, she began to write while her children attended nursery. After the birth of her third child and upon her return to the UK, she gained an MA in Creative Writing from Kingston University. She now combines writing with lecturing at Richmond Adult Community College and bringing up her three children. She lives in Teddington.

Author Links: | Facebook | Twitter |

Review © Emma Welton | damppebbles.com

#CaseClosed: #January2018 #BookOfTheMonth #amreading #amreviewing #bookblogger #damppebbles

Hello, my bookish friends. I can’t quite believe today is the last day of January. Normally January is a long, tortuous, grey month but I have to say, it’s been kind of OK for me and the blog this year! I hope you’ve had a good January featuring lots of fabulous books. I’m always looking for recommendations so if you’ve read something rather extraordinary then please let me know in the comments section below.

So, what treats did January hold for damppebbles? #R3COMM3ND3D2017 reached its conclusion and the series ended with a bang on my blogiversary with one of my favourite bloggers, Gordon Mcghie of Grab This Book. If you missed any of the posts then you can catch them all on the R3COMM3ND3D tab at the top of this page. There you will also find the form for #R3COMM3ND3D2018, so once you’ve found three must-read titles published this year, pop back and fill in the form (😉).

My thanks to these fabulous book bloggers and authors for taking part in #R3COMM3ND3D2017 this month:

Joy Kluver of Joy Kluver | Karla Forbes, author of the Nick Sullivan series | Gemma Wiles of Gem’s Quiet Corner | Sarah Swan of Sarah’s Vignettes | Emma Poulloura of Star Crossed Reviews | Karen of Go Buy The Book | Claire Ayres of BrizzleLass Books | Becca Burnton of If Only I Could Read Faster | Rachel Emms of Chillers Killers and Thrillers | Rebecca Foster of Bookish Beck | Ayo Onatade of Shotsmag Confidential | Claire Knight, reviewer at CrimeBookJunkie | Jonathan Mark, author of The Last Messenger | Gordon Mcghie of Grab This Book |

On 14th January I had my second blogiversary and offered up probably the biggest prize you will ever see on damppebbles (until next year when I try and come up with something even BIGGER!). The lucky winner was Sonya Alford who blogs over at A Lover of Books. If you haven’t discovered Sonya’s wonderful blog yet then you must do. Although, she may not be posting for a while after receiving this HUGE book haul (plus an eBook which you can’t see, plus another five paperback books to be sent separately!).


My thanks to Orenda Books, Fahrenheit Press, Jackie Baldwin, Anne Coates, Abigail Osborne and A.C. Hutchinson for their very kind and generous offerings to the prize bundle. You guys made my blogiversary extra special ❤.

I’ve partaken in a few blog tours this month (despite my promise to cut right back!)

All of which were reviews and all were pretty spectacular reading (three x five-star reviews and two x four-star):

Hydra by Matt Wesolowski | Keep Her Safe by Richard Parker | The Doll Funeral by Kate Hamer | Deep Blue Trouble by Steph Broadribb | This Is How It Ends by Eva Dolan |

I also managed a few other bookish posts here and there:

R3COMM3ND3D2017: The After Show Party | Review of If I Die Before I Wake by Emily Koch | My Final Girls by Riley Sager review was reposted to celebrate the books paperback publication | Review of The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor | Review of The Feed by Nick Clark Windo |

I don’t feel as though I have read enough this month so I’m aiming to really increase the amount of time I spend reading in February. I have lowered my Goodreads challenge target from the usual 100 to 75 this year to take some of the pressure off but I feel as though I’ve already fallen behind. Not good! Any words of advice would be greatly appreciated.

I think that’s it! Not a lot going on but what has been happening has been all good stuff. Which means it’s time for my book of the month…


So far this month I have rated FIVE books as FIVE sparkling star reads. A month of excellent reading, I’m sure you will agree! Most months consist of a couple of five-star reviews here and there, which normally make my choice of Book of The Month rather easy. But not this month. So many stand out reads. But I have made a choice and my book of the month is…..

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Here it is…The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor!

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This is another crime/horror crossover which ticked all the boxes for me. I still can’t get over the fact this is the author’s debut and it was plucked from the slush pile! Never lose hope budding authors, NEVER lose hope! I just loved this book from start to finish and I’m currently pining for the lead character, Ed.

“Would I recommend this book? Absolutely. It’s so deliciously gripping, chock full of suspense, engrossingly creepy and had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. Although I managed to put this book down and walk away from it I really didn’t want to. When I was doing ‘life stuff’ I was thinking about the story, thinking about Eddie and his friends. Trying to see where the story would lead me. I failed, by the way. There was no way I saw THAT coming. WOW! Absolutely brilliant, highly recommended, lots of fun and wonderfully addictive.”

As months go, January 2018 has been an exceptional month for me as I have loved every single book I have read. I hope this continues into February which I’m sure will start with a bang as I am currently reading the third Jake Boulder novel from Graham Smith and Bloodhound Books and absolutely blinking loving it! My blog tour post is scheduled for 3rd February so don’t miss it!

So long January 2018, thank you for being a little bit nicer than other Januarys. I hope, dear followers, that your Februarys are full to the brim of fabulous books.

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 with #BookBlogger Joy Kluver (@JoyKluver) #JoyKluver

Once again, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of the readers, subscribers and sharers of my blog (and my blog posts), my fellow book bloggers, the incredible publishing folk and the extremely talented authors who we readers hold in the highest regard, the happiest of New Years.  May 2018 be your brightest, most productive and most sparkly year to date, and may we all look forward to the many wonderful literary tales you have in store for us!

2017 may now be a distant memory but I am delighted to confirm it is not the end of ##R3COMM3ND3D2017.  I was overwhelmed with the number of bookish types wanting to take part in this feature – I had more replies than I had days available!  So instead of doubling up on posts, here and there, I have decided (with the help of my blogger friends) to continue running #R3COMM3ND3D2017 until my blogiversary on 14th January.  Which means another thirteen fabulous posts.  Starting today with another of my favourite book blogs.

Today I am thrilled to welcome the fabulous Joy Kluver to damppebbles.  Joy blogs over at Joy Kulver and has kindly agreed to share her #R3COMM3ND3D2017 reads with us today.

Without further ado, I’ll hand over to Joy…


Rattle by Fiona Cummins (DS Fitzroy #1)
This was published at the beginning of the year but I had the chance to read it last Christmas. I ‘rattled’ through it and ignored my family for a few days. As well as having one of the creepiest characters I’ve read in a long time, Fiona Cummins is fantastic at creating atmosphere. It’s hard to believe that it’s a debut novel.

eleanor oliphant

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
This isn’t really a crime genre book but there is a crime that takes place and that was a big hook for me. Initially, I found the ‘in head’ narrative a bit much but as Eleanor desperately tries to change her life, I found myself rooting for her. This book made me both laugh and cry.


Sealskin by Su Bristow
I love this book! I already knew about the legend of the Selkies (seals that become humans) so I was easily drawn into the story. Su Bristow conjures up the magic of the Scottish Isles with wonderful descriptions and authentic characters. If you’re looking for a book to whisk you away from your everyday life, then you can’t go wrong with Sealskin.


Many thanks for your excellent recommendations, Joy and for joining me today.  I have ‘Rattle’ on the TBR and hope to get to it soon as I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of the sequel ‘The Collector’ at Harrogate in July.

If Joy has managed to tempt you, or if you would like to find out more about the books she recommends then please see the following amazon.co.uk links (these links ARE NOT affiliate links):

Rattle by Fiona Cummins | Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman | Sealskin by Su Bristow |

About Joy:
My Twitter bio reads – Escaping the madness of motherhood through writing crime novels! As well as blogging, I’m writing my own police procedural series featuring DI Bernie Noel. I love going to book events to meet up with other readers, bloggers and writers. I’m part of the First Monday Crime reviewing team and sometimes, I take my homemade cookies to First Monday.

Joy’s Blog and Social Media Links:
Joy Kluver | Facebook | Twitter |

Huge thanks to Joy for joining me today.  Make sure you pop back to damppebbles tomorrow when I welcome Karla Forbes, author of the Nick Sullivan series, with her #R3COMM3ND3D2017 reads.

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 with #BookBlogger Noelle Holten (@nholten40) #CrimeBookJunkie

It is my GREAT pleasure to welcome you to my brand new feature which I plan to run for the rest of the year (or longer if I have enough authors and bloggers wanting to take part!).

What is #R3COMM3ND3D2017?  I don’t know about you but I love those end of the year posts where the booky community list their top ten or top twenty books (I think I had a ‘top twenty-seven books’ last year!).  That’s where #R3COMM3ND3D2017 comes from.  Three books they believe other readers MUST check out.  I don’t want to take away from anyone’s top list of the year – that’s really not the point – but I’m looking for authors and bloggers to recommend three books published in 2017.  Not necessarily their top three, just three standout reads.  And they don’t have to be crime reads either despite damppebbles being a crime book blog.

And to kick the series off I have someone special.  I would go as far as saying she is a crime book blogging superstar and as a blogger, I have followed and respected her opinion for a LONG time.  It is my pleasure to welcome Noelle Holten of CrimeBookJunkie to damppebbles today with her three recommended reads published in 2017:


The Kindred Killers by Graham Smith (Jake Boulder series #2)
I LOVE a good action/crime thriller and this book/series ticks every box. Fast-paced storyline, #killerhook to grab the reader by the throat and of course…Jake Boulder *swoon*. Need I say more? Read my full review here: https://crimebookjunkie.co.uk/2017/09/the-kindred-killers-blog-tour-review-nholten40-grahamsmith1972-bloodhoundbook-boulderunleashed/

hunger moon.jpg

Hunger Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff (The Huntress/FBI Thrillers #5)
I absolutely cannot resist a strong, kickass female lead and Alexandra Sokoloff never fails to disappoint. This whole series touches upon topics that other people shun away from – but not Alexandra! Cara and Roarke are fantastic characters and although they are on opposite sides of the law, you cannot help but root for both of them. Read my full review here: https://crimebookjunkie.co.uk/2017/10/hunger-moon-review/

fox hunter
Fox Hunter by Zoe Sharp (Charlie Fox series #12)
I had heard about the Charlie Fox series and had a few on my kindle before reading Fox Hunter this year – OMFG- WHY DID I WAIT! Again, another strong, intelligent kickass female lead along with being an action/crime thriller – #BOOM! The storyline was brilliant and kept me turning the pages. I definitely recommend this series! Read my full review here: https://crimebookjunkie.co.uk/2017/10/fox-hunter-blogtour-zoe-sharp/


Thank you, Noelle.  Brilliant recommendations as expected; two of which I have read and one (the Alexandra Sokoloff series, I am DESPERATE to read).  Personally, I can’t recommend the Jake Boulder series by Graham Smith highly enough.

If Noelle has managed to tempt you or if you would like to find out more about the books, then please see the following amazon.co.uk links:

The Kindred Killers by Graham Smith | Hunger Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff | Fox Hunter by Zoe Sharp |

About Noelle:
My name is Noelle and I am in my 40’s. I am an avid reader and by that I mean I am never without a book! I am now an ex-Senior Probation Officer having recently left following 17+ years to try something new and exciting.  By night I read all things crime!! My fascination for books started at a young age and I truly feel withdrawal symptoms if I am unable to read for a few days hence the name #crimebookjunkie! I am interested in many genres, my faves being Grit Lit, psychological thrillers and all things murder. I do enjoy Police Procedurals and legal/action thrillers as well. I tend to keep away from Chick Lit and Erotica…however, if forced at gun point I may give just about anything a read. I tend to review on Goodreads, Amazon UK and .com, Netgalley, sometimes BookBridgr and share reviews on Twitter/My CBJ facebook page, Facebook via Crime Fiction Addict, Crime Book Club, Book Connectors and other various book clubs I am a member of. I have been fortunate enough to be put on a few Publishers reviewing lists.

Oh..and I am obsessed with my chocolate Lab Buster and gorgeous Tabby cat Pebbles, who sadly passed away in Oct 2015 (RIP Pebs x). I previously had the pleasure of guest reviewing on the former site http://www.bestcrimebooks.co.uk now known as BCBandMore as the lovely Kat had kindly taken me under her wing whilst my site was under construction. I miss reviewing for her…but thrilled she gave me that nudge!

Noelle’s Blog and Social Media Links:
CrimeBookJunkie | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram |

What an awesome start to my new feature!  I am so excited and I can’t wait to see what other authors and bloggers have chosen as their recommended reads.

If you’re an author, blogger or work in publishing then please complete the following form to be a part of #R3COMM3ND3D2017

#BlogTour | #BookReview: Hope to Die by David Jackson (@Author_Dave) @BonnierZaffre

hope to die.jpg“On a bitterly cold winter’s night, Liverpool is left stunned by a brutal murder in the grounds of the city’s Anglican Cathedral. A killer is on the loose, driven by a chilling rage.

Put on the case, DS Nathan Cody is quickly stumped. Wherever he digs, the victim seems to be almost angelic – no-one has a bad word to say, let alone a motive for such a violent murder.

And Cody has other things on his mind too. The ghosts of his past are coming ever closer, and – still bearing the physical and mental scars – it’s all he can do to hold onto his sanity.

And then the killer strikes again . . .”

I am thrilled to be today’s stop on the Hope to Die blog tour.  Hope to Die is the second book in the DS Nathan Cody series and one of my most eagerly anticipated reads of the year.  I read the first in the series, A Tapping at My Door last year when it was first released and WOW, I absolutely loved it.  Click here to read my five-star review.  So much so it made it to my books of 2016 list.  I had incredibly high hopes for this second instalment.

And having read (read = devoured) Hope to Die I can confirm that I am not the slightest bit disappointed; this book was well and truly worth the wait!  Dare I even go as far as to say that I preferred it ever so slightly to the first book?  Hmmm……

DS Nathan Cody is one damaged copper.  Having been involved in an undercover mission which went dreadfully wrong several years ago, Cody has yet to shake the guilt and the terrors viciously pummelled into him that night.  A word to the wise, if you feel any sort of unease when it comes to evil clowns then this may not be the book for you.  I am terrified of the blighters but found some strange, perverse enjoyment in reading about Cody’s association with the malicious monsters.  Who knows, you may feel the same way I do!

The incredibly intense first chapter drew me immediately into the book and I consumed the whole thing, from start to finish, in less than 24 hours (which for me is really very quick).  That old cliche, I couldn’t put it down…?  Well, I couldn’t. Nor did I want to.  It was a delight to be back in the Major Incident Team alongside Cody, the formidable DCI Stella Blunt, the kind-hearted yet newly bolshy DC Webley. What an awesome team and yes, I may be a little bit in love with them all.

Called to the scene of a vicious murder in the grounds of a cathedral, the team are left stumped.  Their victim is a single middle aged woman, a teacher of religious studies at the local girls’ school with no skeletons in her closet, no one close enough to bear a grudge. They are left floundering.  Then a second body turns up, this one not so innocent but associated with the Catholic cathedral.  Could the link between these two victims be their beliefs?  Will Cody and the team discover who their twisted killer is before a third victim meets their maker…?

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.  As I approached the end of the book I had a fair idea of ‘whodunit’ but that didn’t take away from my enjoyment at all.  (I was right by the way.)

Would I recommend this book?  You have to ask?  Absolutely.  This one is definitely on the list of my top reads for 2017.  Cody and Megan have the most wonderful chemistry and I have high hopes for their future (I can hope, anyway!).  A stellar piece of crime fiction which I want all fans of the genre to read and enjoy.  It works perfectly well as a standalone but why bother when you can read the stunning A Tapping at My Door as well.  Brilliant work, well done Mr Jackson.

Five out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an eARC of Hope to Die.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.  My thanks to Imogen at Bonnier Zaffre for asking me to be a part of the blog tour.

Hope to Die by David Jackson was published in the UK by Zaffre on 21st September 2017 and is available in hardcover, paperback, eBook and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |


about the author3


David Jackson is the author of a series of crime thrillers featuring New York Detective Callum Doyle. His debut novel, Pariah, was Highly Commended in the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Awards. When not writing fiction, David spends his time as a lecturer in a university science department. He also gives occasional workshops on creative writing. He lives on the Wirral peninsula with his wife and two daughters.


Author Links: | Twitter | Website |