The damppebbles Top Ten(ish!) of 2021 #amreading #amreviewing #amblogging #Bestof2021 #TopReadsof2021 #BookRecommendations #bookblogger #BookTwitter #damppebbles

Hello bookish friends, I’ve missed you! After posting every day for fifty-three days straight, when you don’t post, it feels a little…odd. Like you’ve forgotten to do something really, REALLY important! Anyway, it’s only been a week and a smidge since I last officially posted and I have lots of reviews coming your way starting the first week of January so we’ll be back in the swing of things soon.

Welcome to my final post of 2021, my top ten(ish!) books of the year. ‘Ish’ because, as in previous years, I hope you can’t count 😂. It’s been a cracking year for books and in particular, debuts. Time and time again, the debut authors have absolutely hit it out of the park and I’m excited about what 2022’s debut authors have to offer. No pressure though, lol!

So without further ado and in no particular order (actually, tell a lie, they’re in the order I read them starting with the earliest!), here are my top ten(ish!) books of the year…

Shiver by Allie Reynolds
I loved Shiver. The dangerous and atmospheric setting of the Alps ensured I was hooked from the very start. I wanted to return again and again to my copy of the book. When I wasn’t reading, I was thinking about the story. Trying to work out how things were going to turn out, picturing the snow covered mountains and the pure terror of being trapped in such a hostile, unforgiving environment. Absolutely flipping marvellous. I lived and breathed Shiver.
My Review of Shiver

Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton
I’ve never read such a tense, compelling novel before. My heart was in my mouth from the very start and it stayed there throughout. I was living the story alongside the characters, like a movie playing in my mind. And the terror felt real. It was insane how deeply this book burrowed its way into my being. It was such an intense, emotional experience.
My Review of Three Hours

Tall Bones by Anna Bailey
From the opening chapters this book had a hold over me and I savoured every moment I spent with it. It’s such a beautifully written piece of fiction which managed to completely entrance me. Tall Bones is a haunting, beautiful but ultimately dark read which I read with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. An astonishing debut.
My Review of Tall Bones

The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird
Oh.My.Goodness! This book is incredible. Absolutely superb and frighteningly real. The End of Men is a must read for all. Intelligent, poignant, devastating and totally absorbing. The true definition a page turner. I couldn’t put this book down as I was desperate to find out what revelation the author was going to share with me next.
My Review of The End of Men

The Hunger by Alma Katsu
Like nothing else I have read before. I found The Hunger to be a completely engrossing and spell-binding read which I heartily recommend to horror fans. The ending was perfect and took my breath away. I adored this book. Something truly special which has left its mark on me.
My Review of The Hunger

Falling by T.J. Newman
Falling is a superb debut. Tense, scarily real and absolutely relentless. The book starts with a bang. Highly, highly entertaining. I was completely captivated from that blisteringly good start to the heart-stopping, ‘read behind your hands’ end. Shedloads of suspense, a fast and pacey plot and a cast of characters I felt fully invested in. Sublime!
My Review of Falling

The First Day of Spring by Nancy Tucker
I devoured The First Day of Spring. When I wasn’t reading the book, I was thinking about the characters. Chrissie broke my heart time and time again. The author’s writing is immersive and totally believable which made Chrissie, Julia and Molly come to life before my very eyes. I don’t think I’ll be able or willing to forget The First Day of Spring. Haunting, compelling and utterly devastating.
My Review of The First Day of Spring

The Beach House by Beverley Jones
The Beach House is a gripping tale of secrets, lies and obsession and I gobbled it up in a couple of short sittings. I found Grace, as the book’s lead character, to be intriguing and utterly captivating. I think I’m a little bit in love 😳. As the story unfolds, the tension ramps up with a dramatic and thrilling denouement which I thought was a perfect conclusion to Grace’s story.
My Review of The Beach House

Survive the Night by Riley Sager
I loved Survive the Night. Everything about it was perfection on a page. The twists are weaved into the story masterfully. There are lots of other really clever little details thrown into the story to keep you gripped and turning the pages. Sager has excelled himself. I feel as though I lived this book alongside the characters. Absolutely bloody marvellous! Tense, all absorbing and utterly captivating.
My Review of Survive the Night

Good Neighbours by Sarah Langan
Good Neighbours is a deliciously dark, visceral tale of suburbia which I devoured with utter glee. It’s so beautifully sinister, so packed full of menace, it was impossible to tear myself away from it. I was fully immersed in the drama of Maple Street. The ending was perfect. The whole darn book was pretty perfect.
My Review of Good Neighbours

For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing
I adored spending time with Downing’s characters, I could happily have read another 500 pages of Teddy’s nefarious goings on (and it’s not a short book at 400 pages for the hardcover!). For Your Own Good was a dark and devious joy to read. Totally absorbing, exactly the type of book I love to lose myself in. I will be shouting about this one for a long time to come.
My Review of For Your Own Good

Come With Me by Ronald Malfi
Emotional, edgy and dark. It ticked so many boxes for me and I struggled to be parted from it, needing to find out how things would turn out for Aaron. As for the ending, it blew my mind and made a book I was really enjoying hit new heady heights. A memorable story the reader can truly invest in. Perfectly pitched and expertly written.
My Review of Come With Me

So there you have it. Lashings and lashings of gorgeousness in one glorious post (even if I do say so myself 🤣). It’s a darn fine looking bunch of books, I think you’ll agree. Ten (😳) truly amazing books which you should do everything in your power to get hold of. I said it earlier but I’ll say it again, the debuts have absolutely stolen the show this year. I think five of my, ahem, ten are debuts which is incredible, right? The future for us booklovers is looking very bright indeed.

Have a peaceful and safe New Year, bookish lovelies, and I will see you on the other side. I’ll be sharing my #R3COMM3ND3D2021 After-Show Party post in January which will feature all 130 books chosen, along with the winner (OR winners!), so keep an eye out for that. Thank you for your support through a second difficult year. You are AMAZING! Stay safe, stay bookish and keep reading. Lots of love, Emma @damppebbles x

Fancy purchasing one of the books on my top ten(ish!) of the year? Then please check out my bookshop.org affiliate page (please note, the following link is an affiliate link which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): damppebbles bookshop.org shop

WWW Wednesday | 29th December 2021 #WWWWednesday #bookblogger #amreading #BookTwitter #damppebbles

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading.

The Three Ws are:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

Echo by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
It’s One Thing to Lose Your Life
It’s Another to Lose Your Soul

When climber Nick Grevers is brought down from the mountains after a terrible accident he has lost his looks, his hopes and his climbing companion. His account of what happened on the forbidden peak of the Maudit is garbled, almost hallucinogenic. Soon it becomes apparent more than his shattered body has returned: those that treat his disfigured face begin experiencing extraordinary and disturbing psychic events that suggest that Nick has unleashed some ancient and primal menace on his ill-fated expedition.

Nick’s partner Sam Avery has a terrible choice to make. He fell in love with Nick’s youth, vitality and beauty. Now these are gone and all that is left is a haunted mummy-worse, a glimpse beneath the bandages can literally send a person insane.

Sam must decide: either to flee to America, or to take Nick on a journey back to the mountains, the very source of the curse, the little Alpine Village of Grimnetz, its soul-possesed Birds of Death and it legends of human sacrifice and, ultimately, its haunted mountain, the Maudit.

Dutch writer Thomas Olde Heuvelt is a Hugo Award Winner and has been hailed as the future of speculative fiction in Europe. His work combines a unique blend of popular culture and fairy-tale myth that is utterly unique. Echo follows his sensational debut English language novel, HEX.

What did you recently finish reading?

Good Girls Die First by Kathryn Foxfield
Mind games. Murder. Mayhem. How far would you go to survive the night?

Blackmail lures sixteen-year-old Ava to the derelict carnival on Portgrave Pier.

She is one of ten teenagers, all with secrets they intend to protect whatever the cost.

When fog and magic swallow the pier, the group find themselves cut off from the real world and from their morals.

As the teenagers turn on each other, Ava will have to face up to the secret that brought her to the pier and decide how far she’s willing to go to survive.

What do you think you’ll read next?

The Perfect Escape Leah Konen
When her husband Harry walks out after just six months, a girls’ weekend away with two friends seems like just what Sam needs.

But they aren’t even halfway to their destination when things start to go wrong: car trouble that just happens to leave them stranded in the town where Harry lives.

And that’s only the beginning.

Because there are three things Sam doesn’t yet know:

One of her friends is lying about what happened.
One is lying about who she is.
And one of them will never make it home . . .

#R3COMM3ND3D2021 with Me! #BookBlogger Emma @damppebbles 🙃😳 #damppebbles #BookRecommendations #publishedin2021 #booktwt #whattoread

Hello and welcome to the final day of #R3COMM3ND3D2021. Things are a little different today as I’m going to share three of my favourite reads of the year with you, rather than inviting a fellow book lover to share theirs! As it’s the fifth year of #R3COMM3ND3D (and possibly the last for a while 🙈) I thought I would take the plunge. I have also been asked (twice, I think! 🤣) why I don’t take part in #R3C. And I don’t have a good enough answer. There’s space for me to share my three #R3COMM3ND3D2021 picks this year, the three I’ve selected haven’t been chosen by anyone else but they definitely deserve to be at the top of everyone’s reading list. They’re incredible books. You need them in your life, without a doubt!

So, what is #R3COMM3ND3D2021? It’s about sharing the book love. It’s a chance for authors, book bloggers and bookstagrammers to shout about three (yes, *only* three) books they love. They can be written by any author, in any genre and published in any way (traditionally, indie press or self-published). But there is a catch. All three books must have been published in 2021. To make things interesting there are a couple of teeny, tiny rules; 1) the book must have FIRST been published in 2021 and 2) special editions and reissues do not count. I like to keep you lovely people on your toes 😉

Here are the three books I recommend (three cracking 2021 debuts)…

Tall Bones by Anna Bailey
From the opening chapters this book had a hold over me and I savoured every moment I spent with it. It’s such a beautifully written piece of fiction which managed to completely entrance me. Tall Bones is a haunting, beautiful but ultimately dark read which I read with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. An astonishing debut.
My Review of Tall Bones

The First Day of Spring by Nancy Tucker
I devoured The First Day of Spring. When I wasn’t reading the book, I was thinking about the characters. Chrissie broke my heart time and time again. The author’s writing is immersive and totally believable which made Chrissie, Julia and Molly come to life before my very eyes. I don’t think I’ll be able or willing to forget The First Day of Spring. Haunting, compelling and utterly devastating.
My Review of The First Day of Spring

The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird
Oh.My.Goodness! This book is incredible. Absolutely superb and frighteningly real. The End of Men is a must read for all. Intelligent, poignant, devastating and totally absorbing. The true definition a page turner. I couldn’t put this book down as I was desperate to find out what revelation the author was going to share with me next.
My Review of The End of Men

Well there you have it. Three incredible books I think you really should read. What do you think of my three choices? Have you read any of them? Will you be adding any of them to your TBR?

So that’s it for #R3COMM3ND3D2021. Look out for the after-show party coming to a screen near you in early January (if I can get myself organised, lol!). Please also make sure you look out for my top ten (sort of!) books of the year list on 31st December. If you’ve made it this far, it’s likely you may recognise one (or three!) of the books mentioned!

Whatever your plans are for the next few days, I hope you have a chance to relax and do what makes you happy. Thank you for your support over the last somewhat trying year. It really does mean the world to me. Merry Christmas everyone 💖

#R3COMM3ND3D2021 with #Author Joy Kluver (@JoyKluver) #JoyKluver #DIBernadetteNoel @bookouture #BookRecommendations #publishedin2021 #booktwt #whattoread #damppebbles

Hello bookish friends and welcome to the penultimate day of #R3COMM3ND3D2021. It feels like only yesterday we launched the series with three cracking books. Now, fifty-two days and forty-seven posts later, we’ve amassed 124 individual recommendations across multiple genres, written by a bevy of brilliant authors! What a blast it’s been. But it’s not over just yet! We still have three recommended reads to discover from today’s guest (and three more tomorrow!)…

Joining me today to share their three #R3COMM3ND3D2021 picks is a brilliant book blogger turned awesome author, it’s the very lovely Joy Kluver. Joy writes the fantastic DI Bernadette Noel series published by Bookouture. Currently there are two books available (Last Seen and Broken Girls) with the third book in the series, Left for Dead, set to be published on 10th January 2022. I am a huge fan of Joy’s writing. If you’re a crime fiction fan, this is a series not to be missed!

So, what is #R3COMM3ND3D2021? It’s about sharing the book love. It’s a chance for authors, book bloggers and bookstagrammers to shout about three (yes, *only* three) books they love. They can be written by any author, in any genre and published in any way (traditionally, indie press or self-published). But there is a catch. All three books must have been published in 2021. To make things interesting there are a couple of teeny, tiny rules; 1) the book must have FIRST been published in 2021 and 2) special editions and reissues do not count. I like to keep you lovely people on your toes 😉

Here are the three books Joy recommends…

Black Reed Bay by Rod Reynolds
I’ve loved all of Rod Reynolds books but there’s something particularly special about Black Reed Bay and it’s Detective Casey Wray. After reading only a few chapters, I felt as though I’d known Casey all my life. Tough but empathetic, Reynolds puts her through the wringer in this book but somehow she’s still standing at the end.
Joy’s Review of Black Reed Bay

The Colours of Death by Patricia Marques
This is my favourite debut for 2021. Set in Lisbon, we follow Inspector Isabel Reis as she investigates the death of a high-ranking official. But Isabel is no ordinary detective. She’s Gifted. The Gifted are a group of people who have extraordinary powers – either telepathy or telekinesis. Perhaps not surprisingly, they are viewed with suspicion by Regulars or ordinary people. When I first heard about this aspect of the book, I wasn’t too sure whether it would work. But it does and brilliantly so. By the end of the novel, it felt completely natural to have the Gifted around. It’s a very clever way to look at prejudice and stigma and how fear propels control.
Joy’s Review of The Colours of Death

Daughters of Night by Laura Shepherd-Robinson
I loved Laura Shepherd-Robinson’s debut Blood & Sugar and Daughters of Night is even better. Laura’s depth of research comes across well and I felt completely submerged into Georgian London. But if you’re expecting a Jane Austen Georgian view, then think again. Yes, we have the aristocracy and the wealthy but we also have the underbelly of London’s streets. There are three main narrators – Caroline Corsham, wife of Harry Corsham from Blood & Sugar; Peregrine ‘Perry’ Child, former magistrate now turned thieftaker; and Pamela, a young maid who wants more out of life so decides to auction her virtue to the highest bidder. Definitely not Jane Austen!
Joy’s Review of Daughters of Night

All three are going to the top of the wish list! Thanks so much, Joy, for sharing these fabulous books 😍

About the Detective Bernadette Noel Series by Joy Kluver:
Last Seen (book #1)

I can see her, laughing as she swings as high as she can, her beautiful blonde curls flying out behind her. My little girl. If only I’d listened to my gut. Then maybe she’d be safe here with me…

When five-year-old Molly Reynolds is snatched from the park in the small village of Otterfield, Detective Bernadette ‘Bernie’ Noel throws herself into the search, sick with worry for the quiet, sensitive little girl and her distraught mother.

Wasting no time, Bernie finds a small green cardigan under a bush in the park. It still has the smiley face sticker Molly won that week at school. It’s the first in a chain of clues – and Bernie can’t shake the feeling that it was left deliberately, as a message.

But Bernie encounters a wall of silence. Otterfield is a close-knit community, yet no one in the village has anything to say about the missing child. And Bernie is sure there is something Molly’s mother isn’t telling her either. Why?

And then she makes a chilling discovery: twenty-five years ago, another little girl went missing from the area. Her name was Sophie, and all they ever found of her was her teddy bear, hidden under a bush, just the same as Molly’s cardigan. Now Bernie knows she’s in a race against time to save Molly’s life.

Bernie’s team work round the clock to find a connection between the two girls – but when they find their proof it comes at the price of a shocking tragedy that strikes right at the heart of the case. Molly’s family have been hiding a secret, and now their little girl is in greater danger than ever.

Then Bernie makes one deadly mistake that places her right in the hands of the most dangerous criminal she’s ever faced. She was willing to go to any lengths to solve the case – but will she stay alive long enough to do it?

A completely addictive crime thriller with mind-blowing twists that will have you reading late into the night. If you like Val McDermid, D.S. Butler or Angela Marsons, you’ll love Joy Kluver.

Purchase Links: | amazon.co.ukamazon.comWaterstones |

Broken Girls (book #2)
Brambles catch her dress, scratch her legs, pierce her feet. To escape, she’d had no option but to go barefoot. They’d been laughing together a few minutes before, but things can change in the blink of an eye…

The woman is dark-haired and young, judging by the short red dress. Any other signs of her identity have been erased during her long wait to be found, but it’s clear she was strangled: this was a passionate and personal murder.

D.I. Bernadette Noel knows that every second counts if she is to catch this killer, but she has no leads – until the discovery that the dead woman’s rings match a stolen property report, and the rings’ owner mentions Rosa, her missing nanny.

Just when Bernie and her team think they’re getting somewhere, a shocking discovery about Rosa – and the news that another young girl has been abducted – changes everything the team thought they knew about the case.

Laura is only twelve, and her parents are beside themselves with worry – but Bernie has an additional fear. Laura’s home is right next to the woods where their murder victim was found: are the cases connected?

When Bernie notices similarities between descriptions of the man last seen with Rosa and someone Laura was messaging online, these fears grow stronger. But they still have no clear leads as to the identity of the culprit.

With few options left, and time running out, she makes a desperate plan to trap the predator. But any mistakes will mean another innocent life lost…

A gripping crime thriller with a nail-biting climax. If you like Angela Marsons, Val McDermid or Cara Hunter, you’ll love Joy Kluver.

Purchase Links: | amazon.co.ukamazon.comWaterstones |

Left for Dead (book #3)
The sun is rising over the deserted park. Spring shoots have burst through the frozen ground, framing the woman’s broken body in green and gold. Their surge of relief at finding her alive quickly dissolves into fear: the man who did this is still out there. His next victim might not be so lucky…

The first time Detective Bernadette Noel sees Keira Howard, she is lying in a hospital bed fighting for her life. The police assume that she has become the latest victim in a series of brutal attacks, and after weeks of fruitless searching, they think the evidence found in Keira’s case will finally lead them to their man.

When a suspect is caught the case looks closed, but Bernie isn’t convinced. Keira may have the same markings as the other women, but she doesn’t meet the profile – the random attacker let his victims go. Keira’s attacker had intended to kill. The witnesses – Keira’s closest friends – are all telling different stories, and the discovery that Keira was hiding a secret pregnancy suddenly makes everything a lot more complicated.

When a crucial witness goes missing, Bernie’s gut instinct is proven right – so why won’t her superiors let her investigate? They may have caught a guilty man, but a potential murderer still walks free. Then when their prime suspect is suddenly killed on police watch, Bernie’s situation becomes much more dangerous.

The closer Bernie comes to discovering the truth, the more she is putting her life at risk. And the only people she can rely on to make it out alive might be those she can no longer trust.

An utterly compelling crime thriller full of twists and suspense, perfect for fans of Val McDermid, Angela Marsons and Cara Hunter.

Pre-order links: | amazon.co.ukamazon.com |

About Joy Kluver:
Escaping the madness of motherhood through writing crime novels. Author of the DI Bernadette (Bernie) Noel series set in Wiltshire – Last Seen and Broken Girls with book 3 coming January 2022.

Joy’s Blog and Social Media Links:
Joy KluverTwitter @JoyKluverFacebook |

Sadly submissions for #R3COMM3D3D2021 are now closed (posts will be running until just before Christmas so we’re not quite done yet). Shortly after the last post I will be inviting you all to attend the virtual after-show party, which should be a giggle, where we can cast our eyes over the marvellous and majestic beauty of 2021’s books. We will also crown 2021’s winner (or joint winners, if that’s the case). So I expect it to be a jolly good ol’ knees up! Until then stay tuned as we have lots more bookish loveliness heading your way ❤

WWW Wednesday | 22nd December 2021 #WWWWednesday #bookblogger #amreading #BookTwitter #damppebbles

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading.

The Three Ws are:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

Echo by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
It’s One Thing to Lose Your Life
It’s Another to Lose Your Soul

When climber Nick Grevers is brought down from the mountains after a terrible accident he has lost his looks, his hopes and his climbing companion. His account of what happened on the forbidden peak of the Maudit is garbled, almost hallucinogenic. Soon it becomes apparent more than his shattered body has returned: those that treat his disfigured face begin experiencing extraordinary and disturbing psychic events that suggest that Nick has unleashed some ancient and primal menace on his ill-fated expedition.

Nick’s partner Sam Avery has a terrible choice to make. He fell in love with Nick’s youth, vitality and beauty. Now these are gone and all that is left is a haunted mummy-worse, a glimpse beneath the bandages can literally send a person insane.

Sam must decide: either to flee to America, or to take Nick on a journey back to the mountains, the very source of the curse, the little Alpine Village of Grimnetz, its soul-possesed Birds of Death and it legends of human sacrifice and, ultimately, its haunted mountain, the Maudit.

Dutch writer Thomas Olde Heuvelt is a Hugo Award Winner and has been hailed as the future of speculative fiction in Europe. His work combines a unique blend of popular culture and fairy-tale myth that is utterly unique. Echo follows his sensational debut English language novel, HEX.

What did you recently finish reading?

The Long Weekend by Gilly Macmillan
By the time you read this, I’ll have killed one of your husbands.

In an isolated retreat, deep in the Northumbria moors, three women arrive for a weekend getaway.

Their husbands will be joining them in the morning. Or so they think.

But when they get to Dark Fell Barn, the women find a devastating note that claims one of their husbands has been murdered. Their phones are out of range. There’s no internet. They’re stranded. And a storm’s coming in.

Friendships fracture and the situation spins out of control as each wife tries to find out what’s going on, who is responsible and which husband has been targeted.

This was a tight-knit group. They’ve survived a lot. But they won’t weather this. Because someone has decided that enough is enough.

That it’s time for a reckoning.

Good Girls Die First by Kathryn Foxfield
Mind games. Murder. Mayhem. How far would you go to survive the night?

Blackmail lures sixteen-year-old Ava to the derelict carnival on Portgrave Pier.

She is one of ten teenagers, all with secrets they intend to protect whatever the cost.

When fog and magic swallow the pier, the group find themselves cut off from the real world and from their morals.

As the teenagers turn on each other, Ava will have to face up to the secret that brought her to the pier and decide how far she’s willing to go to survive.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim
In rural Virginia, Young and Pak Yoo run an experimental medical treatment device known as the Miracle Submarine: a pressurized oxygen chamber that patients enter for “dives”, used as an alternative therapy for conditions including autism or infertility. But when the Miracle Submarine mysteriously explodes, killing two people, a dramatic murder trial upends the Yoos’ small community.

Who or what caused the explosion? Was it the mother of one of the patients, who claimed to be sick that day but was smoking down by the creek? Or was it Young and Pak themselves, hoping to cash in on a big insurance payment and send their daughter to college? The ensuing trial uncovers unimaginable secrets from that night – trysts in the woods, mysterious notes, child-abuse charges – as well as tense rivalries and alliances among a group of people driven to extraordinary degrees of desperation and sacrifice.

#R3COMM3ND3D2021 with #BookBlogger Rae (@rae_reads1) #RaeReads #BookRecommendations #publishedin2021 #booktwt #whattoread #damppebbles

Hello bookish pals and welcome to Tuesday on damppebbles. It’s also day 47 of #R3COMM3ND3D2021 which is cause to celebrate, I think! We’re 122 individual book recommendations into this year’s series and what a varied and brilliant sounding bunch of books we’ve seen. Has your favourite been chosen? If not, tell me what it is in the comments below.

Joining me to talk all things #R3COMM3ND3D2021 today is a brilliant blogger and all round lovely person, it’s Rae of Rae Reads. Rae’s blog is a must read for all book lovers as Rae reads across multiple genres, which I love (as someone who doesn’t 😂). Pop over there now, have a mooch around and if you don’t already follow Rae’s posts, hit the subscribe button!

So, what is #R3COMM3ND3D2021? It’s about sharing the book love. It’s a chance for authors, book bloggers and bookstagrammers to shout about three (yes, *only* three) books they love. They can be written by any author, in any genre and published in any way (traditionally, indie press or self-published). But there is a catch. All three books must have been published in 2021. To make things interesting there are a couple of teeny, tiny rules; 1) the book must have FIRST been published in 2021 and 2) special editions and reissues do not count. I like to keep you lovely people on your toes 😉

Here are the three books Rae recommends…

The Garden of Angels by David Hewson
Throughout this book the reader is immersed completely in the tangled and often secretive lives of the characters. I thoroughly enjoyed this vivid and atmospheric tale. I highly recommend picking up a copy so you can discover every little detail for yourself.
Rae’s Review of The Garden of Angels

The Cinderella Heiress by Janice Preston
For me there was a little bit of everything to entertain from wicked and scheming relatives to a romance that made me smile. If I could narrow it down and pick a few words to describe this book it would be… charming, gorgeous and just like a fairytale!
Rae’s Review of The Cinderella Heiress

Last One at the Party by Bethany Clift
From the very first page this book well and truly caught my attention. The reader really does get a front row seat and experiences everything with the narrator. I was taken on such a vivid and unexpected journey. Both the story and the character will stay with me for quite some time!
Rae’s Review of Last One at the Party

Thanks so much, Rae. Three super choices! This is the second time we’ve seen Last One at the Party by Bethany Clift which puts it into joint third place with The Wild Court by E.G. Radcliff, A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins, You Need Me by Sharon Bairden, The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain, When the World was Ours by Liz Kessler and The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper!

About Rae:
I’m Rae, a married mum of two and owner of a very cute cat called Callie. You can usually find me with tea and biscuits. Or reading and blogging about bookish things over at Rae Reads.

Rae’s Blog and Social Media Links:
| Rae Reads | Twitter @rae_reads1 | Facebook | Instagram @raereadsbookblog |

Sadly submissions for #R3COMM3D3D2021 are now closed (posts will be running until just before Christmas so we’re not quite done yet). Shortly after the last post I will be inviting you all to attend the virtual after-show party, which should be a giggle, where we can cast our eyes over the marvellous and majestic beauty of 2021’s books. We will also crown 2021’s winner (or joint winners, if that’s the case). So I expect it to be a jolly good ol’ knees up! Until then stay tuned as we have lots more bookish loveliness heading your way ❤

#R3COMM3ND3D2021 with #BookBlogger Karen Cole (@karlou) #HairPastAFreckle #BookRecommendations #publishedin2021 #booktwt #whattoread #damppebbles

Hello bookish pals and welcome to the final week of #R3COMM3D3D2021. What a blast it’s been with 48 fantastic bloggers, authors, bookstagrammers and podcasters shouting about the books they loved this year. Has your favourite been selected? I do hope so. Without further ado, let’s crack on with day 46 of #R3COMM3ND3D2021 and see what bookish treats today’s guest has for us.

Joining me today is a fabulous blogger who you absolutely must follow, it’s the brilliant Karen Cole of Hair Past A Freckle. Karen’s blog is a thing of beauty, and Karen is responsible for many a spontaneous book purchase here at damppebbles HQ! Pop over and say hi, and why not subscribe whilst you’re there. You can thank me later 😉

So, what is #R3COMM3ND3D2021? It’s about sharing the book love. It’s a chance for authors, book bloggers and bookstagrammers to shout about three (yes, *only* three) books they love. They can be written by any author, in any genre and published in any way (traditionally, indie press or self-published). But there is a catch. All three books must have been published in 2021. To make things interesting there are a couple of teeny, tiny rules; 1) the book must have FIRST been published in 2021 and 2) special editions and reissues do not count. I like to keep you lovely people on your toes 😉

Here are the three books Karen recommends…

The Gathering Storm by Alan Jones
I’m cheating a little here because really I’m recommending the Sturmtaucher trilogy which opens with The Gathering Storm. This epic series follows two families in Kiel, Germany as Hitler rises to power and war breaks out across Europe. The Kästners are a prominent military family and the Nussbaums are their Jewish domestic staff. It’s an honest, harrowing and comprehensive look at one of the worst periods of history and has been meticulously researched. It’s a truly magnificent book (and series) and one that I’ll be recommending for years to come.
Karen’s Review of The Gathering Storm

Hotel Cartagena by Simone Buchholz (translated by Rachel Ward)
Hotel Cartagena is the latest book in the gritty, acerbically cool Chastity Riley series. It’s suspenseful and immersive throughout but packs a surprising emotional punch and is sharply humorous too. The chapter headings are fabulous – ‘ARE THE NINJA TURTLES ON THEIR WAY?’, ‘THE WURST IS YET TO COME’ or ‘COLUMBOISHNESS’?! are among my favourites. It effortlessly exudes the essence of film noir and Rachel Ward’s superb translation deserves all the plaudits for capturing the supercharged emotions so perfectly. Starkly atmospheric and oozing style but achingly poignant and beautifully compelling, it’s possibly my favourite in the series so far.
Karen’s Review of Hotel Cartagena

The Rabbit Factor by Antti Tuomainen
Antti Tuomainen does Nordic Noir differently from anybody else because he makes it funny while still exploring many of the themes you’d expect in this genre. So while the memorable, loveable insurance actuary, Henri Koskinen might not be the usual protagonist in a crime novel nor an adventure park the usual setting, there is still a real sense of danger and plenty of violent deaths as Henri finds himself caught up in the underbelly of Finnish society. It’s also a novel packed with observant wit and affection for the idiosyncrasies of human nature and absurdities of life, and although it might seem strange to describe a thriller this way, I finished The Rabbit Factor feeling as if I’d been wrapped in a comforting blanket of love and hope.
Karen’s Review of The Rabbit Factor

Three fantastic recommendations, thanks so much Karen. I can see a couple of definite additions to my wish list here 😍

About Karen Cole:
I’m 49 years old and live in Shaftesbury, Dorset (famous for the Ridley Scott Hovis advert filmed on Gold Hill!) with my family and pets. I work as a teaching assistant and midday supervisor in a primary school, and have recently been asked to become the school’s reading for pleasure champion which is really exciting as it’s something I’m passionate about. I’ve started a weekly school library Book Club which has been really popular so far and I’ve also been interviewing small groups of children about the books they’ve been reading for our local community podcast. I started blogging back in 2012 after my brother died of suicide and what began as an outlet for my emotions became something I fell in love with when I started writing book reviews in June 2013. During the first lockdown I began recommending a book every Saturday on the award-winning community podcast radio show, This is Alfred. Next year it’s also going to become an FM radio channel and I’m thrilled to be involved with something which will allow me to spread the book love even more!

Karen’s Blog and Social Media Links:
Hair Past A FreckleTwitter @karlouFacebookInstagram @hairpastafreckle_bookreviews |

Sadly submissions for #R3COMM3D3D2021 are now closed (posts will be running until just before Christmas so we’re not quite done yet). Shortly after the last post I will be inviting you all to attend the virtual after-show party, which should be a giggle, where we can cast our eyes over the marvellous and majestic beauty of 2021’s books. We will also crown 2021’s winner (or joint winners, if that’s the case). So I expect it to be a jolly good ol’ knees up! Until then stay tuned as we have lots more bookish loveliness heading your way ❤

#R3COMM3ND3D2021 with #Podcast Audiobookish (@audiobookishpod) #Audiobookish #BookRecommendations #publishedin2021 #booktwt #whattoread #damppebbles

Hello and happy Sunday. I hope you have a relaxing day planned. I always think curling up with a book, a good strong cup of tea and a plate of biscuits is the best way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Heaven! It’s day 45 of #R3COMM3ND3D2021 and there are only 5 posts of this year’s #R3C left to share. The battle to be crowned the winner of 2021 is on and it’s anyone’s race at the moment. I wonder how today’s picks will affect the standing…

In a first for #R3COMM3ND3D, joining me today are the folk behind podcast Audiobookish. Audiobookish is the perfect podcast for those who love their audiobooks, and who doesn’t, right? I’m a huge podcast fan. And I’m a huge audiobook fan, so it’s a match made in bookish heaven. Make sure you check it out!

So, what is #R3COMM3ND3D2021? It’s about sharing the book love. It’s a chance for authors, book bloggers and bookstagrammers to shout about three (yes, *only* three) books they love. They can be written by any author, in any genre and published in any way (traditionally, indie press or self-published). But there is a catch. All three books must have been published in 2021. To make things interesting there are a couple of teeny, tiny rules; 1) the book must have FIRST been published in 2021 and 2) special editions and reissues do not count. I like to keep you lovely people on your toes 😉

Here are the three books Audiobookish recommends…

True Crime Story by Joseph Knox
The audiobook is brilliantly produced with excellent sound design. It has superb performances from a full cast. The plot is gripping and the characters are flawed but fascinating. A who done it that keeps you guessing and plays with reality.
Audiobookish’s Review of True Crime Story

Small: On Motherhoods by Claire Lynch
It is a beautiful book about being a parent and how the smallest things in our lives can have the most significance.

A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins
A really well written thriller.
Audiobookish’s Review of A Slow Fire Burning

Thanks so much, three terrific choices. This is the second time we’ve seen A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins which puts it into joint third place with The Wild Court by E.G. Radcliff, You Need Me by Sharon Bairden, The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain and The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper.

About Audiobookish:
An Audiobook Review Podcast

Audiobookish’s Social Media Links:
| Audiobookish | Twitter @audiobookishpod | Facebook | Instagram @audiobookishpod |

Sadly submissions for #R3COMM3D3D2021 are now closed (posts will be running until just before Christmas so we’re not quite done yet). Shortly after the last post I will be inviting you all to attend the virtual after-show party, which should be a giggle, where we can cast our eyes over the marvellous and majestic beauty of 2021’s books. We will also crown 2021’s winner (or joint winners, if that’s the case). So I expect it to be a jolly good ol’ knees up! Until then stay tuned as we have lots more bookish loveliness heading your way ❤

#R3COMM3ND3D2021 with #BookBlogger Julie Morris (@book_problem) #ALittleBookProblem #BookRecommendations #publishedin2021 #booktwt #whattoread #damppebbles

Hello book friends and welcome to Saturday on damppebbles. I hope you have some brilliant books lined up this weekend, and the opportunity to read them of course! It’s day 44 of #R3COMM3ND3D2021 and so far 115 individual 2021 publications have been selected by a whole host of brilliant authors, bookstagrammers and book bloggers. We currently have two books in joint first place, two books in joint second place and four books in joint third place. Will that change today…?

Let’s find out! Joining me to share the 2021 book love today is a fabulous, award-winning blogger – it’s Julie Morris of A Little Book Problem. I love Julie’s blog and I heartily recommend you get over there and subscribe, if you don’t already. Julie is sure to help you find a new favourite read or author with her beautifully written reviews and features.

So, what is #R3COMM3ND3D2021? It’s about sharing the book love. It’s a chance for authors, book bloggers and bookstagrammers to shout about three (yes, *only* three) books they love. They can be written by any author, in any genre and published in any way (traditionally, indie press or self-published). But there is a catch. All three books must have been published in 2021. To make things interesting there are a couple of teeny, tiny rules; 1) the book must have FIRST been published in 2021 and 2) special editions and reissues do not count. I like to keep you lovely people on your toes 😉

Here are the three books Julie recommends…

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin
It is probably surprising to describe a book dealing with terminal illness as uplifting, but that is a true description of The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot. The book describes the friendship between a teenage girl and an elderly woman who meet at an art class for long-term patients in a Scottish hospital and it is warm, uplifting, powerful, joyous and deeply affecting. I absolutely loved it and want everyone to read it.
Julie’s Review of The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot

The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper
This book is an extraordinary piece of writing. Set in the infamous brothels of Pompeii, Elodie Harper has written a book that is both a gripping thriller and a fascinating exploration of the tenacity of the human spirit, richly woven with historical detail. I found the book mesmerising and cannot wait for the second part of the projected trilogy to be published next year.
Julie’s Review of The Wolf Den

This Much Huxley Knows by Gail Aldwin
This is book that will have slipped under many people’s radar as it isn’t published by a mainstream publisher and I think that is a great shame because I don’t think I have ever read a book that so clearly describes life from the point of view of a child or captures so brilliantly the joy and pain of being a seven-year-old that doesn’t quite fit in. This is such an individual book, both saddening and uplifting to read and it deserves a really wide audience. I hop including it encourages more people to pick it up.
Julie’s Review of This Much Huxley Knows

Three gorgeous choices, thanks so much Julie. This is the second time we’ve seen The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper which puts it in joint third place along with The Wild Court by E.G. Radcliff, You Need Me by Sharon Bairden, The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain and When the World Was Ours by Liz Kessler!

About Julie Morris:
Book blogger of five years standing. Particularly loves reading and writing romance novels. Host of the popular Friday Night Drinks feature. RNA Media Star 2021.

Julie’s Blog and Social Media Links:
A Little Book ProblemTwitter @book_problemFacebookInstagram @alittlebookproblem |

Sadly submissions for #R3COMM3D3D2021 are now closed (posts will be running until just before Christmas so we’re not quite done yet). Shortly after the last post I will be inviting you all to attend the virtual after-show party, which should be a giggle, where we can cast our eyes over the marvellous and majestic beauty of 2021’s books. We will also crown 2021’s winner (or joint winners, if that’s the case). So I expect it to be a jolly good ol’ knees up! Until then stay tuned as we have lots more bookish loveliness heading your way ❤

#R3COMM3ND3D2021 with #BookBlogger Richard Fernandez (@r_m_fernandez) #Cafethinking #BookRecommendations #publishedin2021 #booktwt #whattoread #damppebbles

Hello and the warmest of welcomes to damppebbles. It’s Friday and day 43 of #R3COMM3ND3D2021. We’re approaching the end of this year’s series now but what an absolutely cracking year it’s been for books. I thought 2020 was good, couldn’t be beaten, but 2021 arrived and lifted the bar into the stratosphere. I wonder what 2022 holds for us bookworms…?

Joining me today is a fantastic blogger whose opinion, particularly on Nordic Noir, I really trust. It’s the brilliant Richard Fernandez from Cafethinking. If you don’t already subscribe to Richard’s blog then that must change. Head over there now and hit the subscribe button. But hurry back, you don’t want to miss Richard’s three #R3COMM3ND3D2021 picks!

So, what is #R3COMM3ND3D2021? It’s about sharing the book love. It’s a chance for authors, book bloggers and bookstagrammers to shout about three (yes, *only* three) books they love. They can be written by any author, in any genre and published in any way (traditionally, indie press or self-published). But there is a catch. All three books must have been published in 2021. To make things interesting there are a couple of teeny, tiny rules; 1) the book must have FIRST been published in 2021 and 2) special editions and reissues do not count. I like to keep you lovely people on your toes 😉

Here are the three books Richard recommends…

Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour
This is a book that is absolutely of its time. It’s an extremely clever satire that works even if (as I was) you are not always up with its references. It skewers white denials of racism and questions whether you can be both ambitious and authentic. It seems now that it is also a satire of the WeWork company which spectacularly came unstuck earlier this year. Full-on, funny and serious.
Richard’s Review of Black Buck

Silenced by Solveig Pálsdóttir
A thriller that rips apart the hollowness of social media – but really it’s an exploration of power, coercion and the secrecy that arises from them. Crime fiction should stand up for those with no voice, and this is angry, righteous fiction that speaks up for the powerless.
Richard’s Review of Silenced

Fall by West Camel
If the other titles are up to the minute, Fall, while published this year, has an analog feel to it. It tackles timeless themes of truth, power, family and justice and gives us something complex, unique and beautiful. It is unlike anything I have read in a long time: dreamy and mystic even, set in what these days many people would dismiss as a concrete eyesore. My book of the year.
Richard’s Review of Fall

Thanks so much, Richard. Three fantastic choices which I will be adding to my wish list!

About Richard Fernandez:
I fell into writing book reviews on the back of the Nordic Noir boom a few years ago. I love being part of the blogging community and have met some brilliant people and found books that I would never have come across – all three of my choices have that in common. What a fabulous hobby this has turned out to be!

Richard’s Blog and Social Media Links:
CafethinkingTwitter @r_m_fernandez |

Sadly submissions for #R3COMM3D3D2021 are now closed (posts will be running until just before Christmas so we’re not quite done yet). Shortly after the last post I will be inviting you all to attend the virtual after-show party, which should be a giggle, where we can cast our eyes over the marvellous and majestic beauty of 2021’s books. We will also crown 2021’s winner (or joint winners, if that’s the case). So I expect it to be a jolly good ol’ knees up! Until then stay tuned as we have lots more bookish loveliness heading your way ❤