#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #BookBlogger Robyn Reo (@sinfullywickedb) #SinfullyWickedBookReviews

Happy Saturday everyone. I hope your plans include lots of downtime, particularly if it’s curled up with a good book. Today I am delighted to welcome a new-to-me blogger to damppebbles, Robyn Reo of Sinfully Wicked Book Reviews. Having had a nosey around Robyn’s blog I’m definitely subscribing as it looks gorgeous!

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 is a chance for book bloggers, authors and those in publishing to shout about three books they loved. Any three books with no bias towards genre, author or publisher. The only catch is that all three choices must have been published in 2018.

Here are Robyn’s choices…

the lost letters.jpg

The Lost Letters by Sarah Mitchell
It is such a beautiful and moving war time story.
https://sinfullywickedbookreviews.com/2018/08/03/blog-tour-and-review-the-lost-letters-by-sarah-mitchell-bookouture-sarahm_writer/

a mothers goodbye.jpg

A Mother’s Goodbye by Kate Hewitt
It is a heartbreaking story filled with emotion.
https://sinfullywickedbookreviews.com/2018/06/16/a-mothers-goodbye-by-kate-hewitt-review-katehewitt1-bookouture/

father figure.jpg

Father Figure by James J. Cudney
It is an extraordinary story that spans twenty years.
https://sinfullywickedbookreviews.com/2018/06/08/father-figure-by-james-j-cudney-blogtour-review-jamescudney4-shanannigans81/

Great choices, thanks Robyn. If Robyn has managed to tempt you, or if you would like to find out more about the books she recommends then please see the following links:

| The Lost Letters by Sarah Mitchell | A Mother’s Goodbye by Kate Hewitt | Father Figure by James J. Cudney |

About Robyn:
I am a self-confessed book junkie and hoarder of books. My love of reading began many, many years ago when I cracked open my first fiction book when I was still a young girl. Fast forward thirty plus years later, my addiction to reading has not changed. I love being immersed in a story/fantasy where I can fall in love with the characters of a book. My keeper shelf is overflowing with all of the great treasures I have found during my reading journey.

Robyn’s Social Media Links:
| Sinfully Wicked Book Reviews | Twitter @SinfullyWickedB | Facebook |

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 is fully booked but make sure you pop back tomorrow when another fabulous bookish type will be sharing their recommended reads from 2018.

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#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #Author Rachel Sargent (@RachelSargeant3) #ThePerfectNeighbours

It’s the weeeeeeeeeeekend! Happy Saturday, one and all.  I hope you have lots of bookish plans in store.  It’s day TEN of #R3COMM3ND3D2018 and I am delighted to welcome another author to the blog today, Rachel Sargent.  Rachel has kindly made a welcome return to damppebbles and to #R3COMM3ND3D after taking part last year.  If you would like to see what Rachel chose last year then please click HERE.

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 is an opportunity for book bloggers, authors and publishers to shout about the books they love.  Any three books (providing you didn’t write or publish it!) providing they were published this year.  That’s right, all three choices must have been published on or after 1st January 2018.

Here are Rachel’s choices…

the disappeared.jpg

The Disappeared by Ali Harper
As well as being a cracking mystery story featuring likeable but vulnerable sleuths, it will make you smile with its quick-fire humour. It was bliss to have a laugh while reading a feisty crime novel.
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2407004485?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

shadow man.jpg

Shadow Man by Margaret Kirk
A few of the crime bestsellers in the last 18 months have been good but gimmicky. It was refreshing to read a straightforward police procedural that stood its ground on the strength of plot, character and setting.
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2488795811?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

Merciless.jpg

Merciless by Heleyne Hammersley (DI Kate Fletcher #2)
I liked the smooth combination of police procedural and psychological thriller.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40119811-merciless

Thanks for your great choices, Rachel.  I have Shadow Man on my TBR and have been wanting to read it for some time now.  Your other two choices also look very appealing and will be added to the wishlist.

If Rachel has managed to tempt you or if you would like to find out more about her choices, please see the following links:

The Disappeared by Ali Harper | Shadow Man by Margaret Kirk | Merciless by Heleyne Hammersley |

About Rachel:
I grew up in Lincolnshire, spent several years living in Germany where I taught English and now live in Gloucestershire with my husband and children. My latest novel, a psychological thriller, The Perfect Neighbours became a Kindle top ten bestseller. My next book, a police procedural, will be published by HarperCollins Killer Reads in January 2019. I self-published Gallipoli: Year of Love and Duty, a novel inspired by the diary of my husband’s grandmother, a nurse at Gallipoli. I am book mad and love discovering authors I haven’t read before.

About The Perfect Neighbours:
the perfect neighbours.jpgThe perfect neighbours tell the perfect lies…
A dark and twisty psychological thriller from a rising star in the genre, perfect for fans of THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR. When Helen moves into an exciting new neighbourhood, she finds herself in a web of evil with no escape.

Behind the shutters lies a devastating secret…
When Helen moves abroad with her loving husband Gary, she can’t wait to meet her fellow expat teachers from the local International School. But her new start is about to become her worst nightmare…

As soon as the charming family across the way welcome Helen into their home, she begins to suspect that all is not as it seems. Then Gary starts to behave strangely and a child goes missing, vanished without a trace.

When violence and tragedy strike, cracks appear in the community, and Helen realises her perfect neighbours are capable of almost anything…

amazon.co.uk | amazon.com |

Rachel’s Social Media Links:
| Website | Twitter @RachelSargeant3 | Facebook |

If you would like to take part in #R3COMM3ND3D2018 (hurry, spaces are limited!) then all you need to do is complete this form:

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #BookBlogger Kate Noble (@TheQuietKnitter) #TheQuietKnitter

Hello you wonderful bookish folk.  It’s Wednesday, we’re halfway through the week and we’re one step closer to the weekend…phew!  Today I am delighted to welcome another of my absolute favourite bookish types to the blog to share their #R3COMM3ND3D2018.  Finding a hobby you love in life is a bonus.  Finding a hobby you love and then making some of the best friends you could ever wish for thanks to that hobby is the icing on the cake.  If you’re not already following Kate Noble’s fabulous blog – The Quiet Knitter – then we need to have words!  She’s a wonderful friend and if it wasn’t for this book blogging lark I don’t think our paths would ever have crossed.  Thank you book blogging.

I witter on too much, I know.  Anyway, if you haven’t come across #R3COMM3ND3D2018 before then let me explain.  #R3COMM3ND3D2018 is where I invite book bloggers, authors and publishers to share three recommended reads.  There’s a catch though (there’s always a catch, right?).  The books must have been published this year, in 2018.  Any genre, any title, any author but the publication date must be 2018.

So without further ado, here are the books Kate chose…

the story collector

The Story Collector by Evie Gaughan
This is a beautifully written tale that captures the heart and imagination of readers as it deftly weaves together two stories from different timelines that pull a range of emotion from the audience. Readers first encounter a hint of mysticism, folklore and sadness from the opening pages, setting the tone perfectly for what lies ahead.
https://thequietknitterer.wordpress.com/2018/06/15/celebrating-indie-publishing-with-evgaughan-urbanebooks/

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Fault Lines by Doug Johnstone
Set in an Edinburgh with a difference, the reader is plunged into a world of volcanology and death. The fragility of human psychology is deftly explored, emotions are laid bare and the rawness of grief and the associated disbelief at events makes this such a powerful read.
https://thequietknitterer.wordpress.com/2018/05/29/review-fault-lines-by-doug-johnstone-doug_johnstone-orendabooks/

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Keeper by Johana Gustawsson
Every now and again, there is an author who exceeds all expectations and writes a book that completely blows your mind, and I believe that Johana Gustawsson is one of those rare authors. The plotting is excellent, the characters are so realistic and chillingly authentic, this is a book that EVERYONE needs to read!
https://thequietknitterer.wordpress.com/2018/04/04/review-keeper-by-johana-gustawsson-jogustawsson-orendabooks/

Brilliant choices, Kate.  I remember when The Story Collector was released and the buzz around the book was wonderful.  Fellow bloggers were completely falling in love with it!  Fault Lines is on my TBR and Keeper has a strong chance of being my book of the year.

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

The Story Collector by Evie Gaughan | Fault Lines by Doug Johnstone | Keeper by Johana Gustawsson |

About Kate:
My name is Kate, I’m mum to 1 human child and 2 canines. I’ve had a fascination with books for as long as I can remember and most of my spare time is spent either reading or knitting. I live in a wee village in the countryside which is a huge change for a city girl!

Kate’s Social Media Links:
The Quiet Knitter | Twitter @TheQuietKnitter |

If you would like to take part in #R3COMM3ND3D2018, please complete the following form:

 

#damppebblestakeover with S.E. Lynes (@SELynesAuthor) | #GuestPost: In Praise of Insecurity #TheProposal @bookouture

the proposal.jpg“The first thing you should know, dear reader, is that I am dead…

Teacher Pippa wants a second chance. Recently divorced and unhappy at work, she uproots her life and moves to the countryside, determined to make a fresh start. But Pippa soon realises: your troubles are never far behind.

When Pippa meets blue-eyed Ryan Marks, he is funny and charming. He is haunted by his past – but insists he is a changed man. 

He might just be the answer to all of her problems. And Pippa can tell the truth from lies. She’d know if she were in danger. Wouldn’t she?”

Hello bookish friends.  I am delighted to welcome you to the blog today and to a #damppebblestakeover, hoorah!  I am thrilled to welcome one of my favourite authors to the blog, the fabulous S.E. Lynes.  Back in yesteryear (2016 to be precise), I was asked to join a blog tour for a book called Valentina.  It was the author’s debut and that author was S.E. Lynes.  The book blew my mind! Since signing last year with Bookouture, Susie’s books have gone from strength to strength culminating recently with Bookouture republishing the mighty Valentina.  But things haven’t stopped there.  On Friday 21st September Susie’s latest release with Bookouture was published, The Proposal.  I am absolutely kicking myself as I am monumentally behind in my reading at the moment but The Proposal is riding high on the TBR and I hope to bring you a review sooner rather than later.  But until then you can enjoy a brilliant guest post from the author herself.  Without further ado, I’ll hand over to S.E. Lynes…

The first question I ask my writing students is not why do you write but why don’t you?

Why don’t you write?

Their answers are variations on the same themes: ‘no time,’ ‘I’m worried I don’t have a story,’ ‘I’m scared people will think it’s rubbish,’ ‘I doubt I’ve got anything interesting to say …’

Pushing the old ‘no time’ chestnut to one side … that’s a whole other article … you will notice words like worried, scared, and doubt. How then do I get these would-be writers to put words on a page? How on earth do I get them to read those words aloud to their classmates?

Well, firstly, I have to get them to acknowledge their insecurities and see them in a different way. And they’ve already taken that step: voicing their worries aloud and realising that everyone else is worrying about the same things. The relief is palpable.

I didn’t write. For years. I was too full of insecurity. And then I did write, but I threw my work away. All of it. Why? Because nothing I wrote compared favourably to my favourite authors, to say the least. My conclusion ran something like: my work isn’t as good as theirs, therefore my work isn’t good at all, ergo, I’m not good. Needless to say, this kind of insecurity was not helpful.

I used to think the answer lay in getting rid of insecurity and reaching a place where I was completely confident. Because being completely confident is possible, right? After all, here we are, in an internet world of bumper sticker philosophies and motivational poster-bites which tell us to believe in ourselves, to be strong, to shine, to be different, to let our weirdness show … whatever. I have no problem with these slogans. In fact, I find their axe-to-crack-a-hazelnut approach a great antidote to my own personal brand of the heebie-jeebies. However, sometimes you feel insecure, you just do, and when that happens, those slogans can compound your insecurity by making you feel inadequate about feeling insecure in the first place. Sheesh! That’s not so helpful! What can be helpful, to me at least, is to embrace my insecurity and use it … and I try and pass that on to my students.

In class, the first thing I try and banish is the ‘my work is not good therefore I am not good’ equation and make a new one along the lines of ‘my work is not good – yet – therefore I need to study and practise’. No writer comes to their first page and dashes off a masterpiece. Well, there might be a few, but they are a very small minority and I blow a raspberry in their general direction. For the rest of us, when faced with the blank page, the pressure to shine is the death of creativity. If you’re trying to shine, you’re not learning. You’re not thinking about your characters and how they see the world. You’re not wondering where they were when they told their wife about the dead body in the bathroom or what they were doing/thinking when they said that. So, in the creative writing classroom, the spirit needs to be not ‘check this out, it’s pretty flipping awesome’ but ‘this is what I’m trying to do, how can I improve it?’ That requires removing your ego from the equation. It’s not about you! It’s about the work! THAT is helpful. THAT is a place of learning.

I encourage my students to think about writing as oboe practice. To write every day not to produce something great but to become a little bit better than last time. And in order to see the need to practice they need to be able to see their work as ‘not good’ or ‘not good enough’ in the right way. They need to embrace the right kind of insecurity.

So, on the cusp of publishing my fourth book and after some lovely reviews, am I able to say ‘I am good’? Good God, no! If I say that, I am dead creatively. None of my books are as good as I want them to be. If I’m proud of them it is because they are the best that I could possibly do at the time. Whatever I do next, I will try to do better. I will read my work back and think, no, not good enough. But I will not sit in a corner and weep. Well, I might, but after that I will return to it and think, how can I improve it? In practical terms, this might be cutting the dialogue back, or showing the character through an action, or upping the tension. In personal terms, it is using insecurity in the right way, using the critical voice constructively.

But maybe the question here, for all of us, is not why don’t we write but why don’t we do whatever it is we dream of doing? Releasing into the world the work you have sweated and fretted over is a risk. It is terrifying. It is exhilarating. Getting on stage is the same. Ditto singing in public. But if you think about it hard enough – and boy, do I ever – walking out of your front door is a risk, isn’t it? What if no one likes you? What if you say the wrong thing? What if your skirt is tucked into the back of your knickers? We are all of us worried about something. But if we can acknowledge our insecurity and realise everyone else feels it too, we can be kind in our intentions towards others and most importantly towards ourselves. We can relax and create the space we need to improve, in whatever it is we’re aiming to do.

Thank you so much for this insightful and inspiring post, Susie.  Dear reader, I hope, if you’re a budding writer, that you’ve taken note.  And as Susie said in her piece, the same applies to us all in whatever we dream of doing.  Feel the fear and do it anyway!

My reviews of S.E. Lynes’s books: | Mother | The Pact | Valentina |

The Proposal by S.E. Lynes was published in the UK by Bookouture on 21st September 2018 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio 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 | BookDepository | Goodreads |

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 |

#damppebblestakeover with Alice Castle (@DDsDiary) | #GuestPost: Why read cozy crime? #LondonMurderMysteries @crookedcatbooks

calamity in camberwell.jpg“Beth Haldane, SE21’s answer to Miss Marple, worries she is losing a kindred spirit when her friend Jen, the only other single mum in the playground, suddenly remarries and moves to Camberwell. 

Soon Beth has to face much more pressing fears. Has something gone horribly wrong with Jen’s marriage? What is her new husband really up to? Why is her daughter leading Beth’s son astray? And where on earth is Jen anyway? 

As Beth’s friends push her to start dating again, Beth turns to Metropolitan Police DI Harry York for help. But will they solve the mystery in time, or will it turn out that in south east London, not everyone gets to live happily ever after?”

I am delighted to welcome you to the second post in the resuscitated and reinvigorated #damppebblestakeover series.  Today I am thrilled to welcome the author of the London Murder Mysteries, Alice Castle, to damppebbles.  Alice is on the precipice of releasing the third book in her Beth Haldane and DI Harry York series so get those pre-orders in now (hitting eReaders on Monday 13th August)!

Without further ado, I will hand the reins of damppebbles over to Alice…

Why read cozy crime? By Alice Castle

We’re living at an extraordinary time for crime fiction. It’s officially now the most popular genre in the UK and, with steamroller successes like The Girl On The Train, crime is dominating not only bookshops but also TV, theatre and cinema screens too.

It might seem like an odd time to resuscitate the gentle tropes of cozy mystery, when the psychological thriller seems to be pushing new boundaries. But I believe that, in difficult times, people are drawn to Golden Age-type stories and find them just as satisfying, if not more so, than violent or shocking fare like twisty thrillers and grisly serial killers.

There’s still huge affection for Agatha Christie’s works, over forty years after her death, as evidenced by the success of recent TV remakes of Witness for the Prosecution, And Then There Were None and Ordeal by Innocence. These have led to the reissuing of many of the original novels in brand new tie-in covers. And who doesn’t love a good old murder amongst well-heeled folk in a country house, or feel a little thrill of satisfaction when the detective calls the suspects into the library for the final denouement?

I chose to write my series in the cozy crime genre, but have updated the formula by setting the stories firmly in contemporary south east London, with all the gritty urban problems that city life brings. I believe this gives my readers the best of both worlds – a secure moral universe, where evil-doers are always punished, a closed circle of suspects based in a beautiful area (lovely Dulwich!) and the real stresses and strains of modern life. Add a dash of satire on the frankly funny ways of the very privileged folk of SE21, and you have a series which I’m loving writing and which I hope will keep going far beyond the five stories which are either currently published or in the pipeline.

My single mum amateur sleuth, Beth Haldane, stumbles into her first investigation and is a hesitant but reckless detective. Her counterpoint is the Met’s DI Harry York, a pragmatist about crime but with a soft spot for Golden Age crime fiction – and for Beth.

If you’d like to read the stories, I suggest starting with Death in Dulwich (http://MyBook.to/1DeathinDulwich) and moving on to The Girl in the Gallery (http://MyBook.to/GirlintheGallery), then Calamity in Camberwell (http://MyBook.to/CiC, coming out on 13th August 2018) and Homicide in Herne Hill (3rd October 2018) with Revenge on the Rye following in 2019. They can all be read as stand alone stories as well. And do pop in to my blog, http://www.alicecastleauthor.com, for more news on the series and events I’m taking part in.

Thank you for joining me today, Alice.  Regular visitors to the blog will know that I love a grisly, gory serial killer – the more blood splatter, the better!  But I do have a rather large soft spot for cozy crime.  As for Christie, show me a crime reader who doesn’t love her books!  How do you feel about cozy crime? Let me know in the comments.

Calamity in Camberwell by Alice Castle was published in the UK on 13th August 2018 and is available in paperback and eBook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | BookDepository | Goodreads |

If you’re a crime author and you would like to take part in #damppebblestakeover then please contact me via damppebbles@gmail.com.  Having originally planned to run the feature over the Summer, I have now decided to make it a regular weekly blog post on a Friday but I need YOU to write something.  No #damppebblestakeover next week though as I’ll be on holiday and it’s my birthday (a rather significant one, at that!).

about the author3

acb.jpegBefore turning to crime, Alice Castle was a UK newspaper journalist for The Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Her first book, Hot Chocolate, set in Brussels and London, was a European hit and sold out in two weeks.

Death in Dulwich was published in September 2017 and has been a number one best-seller in the UK, US, Canada, France, Spain and Germany. A sequel, The Girl in the Gallery was published in December 2017 to critical acclaim. Calamity in Camberwell, the third book in the London Murder Mystery series, will be published this summer, with Homicide in Herne Hill due to follow in early 2019.  Alice is currently working on the fifth London Murder Mystery adventure. Once again, it will feature Beth Haldane and DI Harry York.

Alice is also a mummy blogger and book reviewer via her website: https://www.alicecastleauthor.com

She lives in south London and is married with two children, two step-children and two cats.

Author Links:Facebook | Twitter |

20 Books of Summer 2018 #20BooksofSummer2018 #amreading

I am stupidly excited! Having watched from afar for the past two years I am ready, I am prepped and I am determined to take part in the 20 Books of Summer challenge this year. If you’ve never heard of 20 Books of Summer before then hop on over to the lovely Cathy’s blog at 746 Books and you can find out all you need to know.

The challenge starts on Friday 1st June and participants have until 3rd September to read all 20 books on their lists. Gulp! It’s do-able, right?

20-books

It was a delight to choose my 20 books for the challenge and I’m 99% happy with my list. The odd change may take place here and there (I’m allowed, it’s in the rules!) but hopefully, no one will notice 😉

So without further ado, here are my choices…

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

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

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

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

The Rule of Fear by Luke Delaney
The White Road by Sarah Lotz
Unsub by Meg Gardiner
Watching Edie by Camilla Way

So there we have it! What do you think? Have you read any of the books on my list? Any you would recommend starting with?

I can’t wait to make a start, but which one to pick first….?? Hmmm 🤔. If you’re taking part in 20 Books of Summer 2018 then let me know in the comments.

Wish me luck because I’m going to need it 😉. I can’t wait to make a start though!

#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…

cropped-hand-master-botm

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

giphy (2)

giphy (7)

giphy (3)

It’s The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton!

the craftsman

“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.

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