#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #BookBlogger Martin Gore (@LaughingGravy71) #TheBeardyBookBlogger #damppebbles

Hello bookish friends.  Welcome to the blog today and a very happy Monday!  Today I am delighted to share another brilliant #R3COMM3ND3D2018 post with you and my guest today (always wanted to say that!) is the fabulous Martin Gore of The Beardy Book Blogger.  If you haven’t discovered Mart’s blog yet then I absolutely insist you do. I promise it will become a new favourite.

If you’ve never come across #R3COMM3ND3D2018 before then please let me explain.  #R3COMM3ND3D is a chance to share your love of three books published in a particular year.  At the moment, due to ill health at the end of last year, I am sharing recommendations from 2018.  However, #R3COMM3ND3D2019 will start on 1st November so if you already have three books in mind then pop your details, along with the books, on the form below.

Without further ado, here are Mart’s choices…

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The Darkness by Ragnar Jónasson
Ragnar is a writer already known for his superb ‘Dark Iceland’ series of books featuring his young police detective Ari Thor Arason, published by Orenda Books. This book is the start of a new series (from a new publisher, Penguin), collectively known as ‘Hidden Iceland’ and features a new protagonist, Hulda Hermannsdottir, a detective at the end of her career and still struggling to break through the glass ceiling that, it appears, is still firmly in place in the Icelandic police service. This is the first in a trilogy of books that are told in reverse chronological order (unlike the Dark Iceland series that were intentionally released out of sequence in the UK), and this book hits you like a brick wall coming at you at 70mph! Hulda is a great creation, with Ragnar only hinting at things and events from her past that will be revealed in the coming books and will undoubtedly be different to what we will be expecting. He is a great storyteller and The Darkness will definitely leave you wanting more. ‘Nuff said.
https://beardybookblogger.wordpress.com/2018/03/24/the-darkness-ragnar-jonasson/

the seven deaths of evelyn hardcastle

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
Astoundingly this is the *debut* novel from Stu, and, boy oh boy, what a debut it is. This book is a superb body hopping murder mystery wrapped up in a time-travelling Agatha Christie cardigan. This is one book that is probably best experienced blind. I don’t mean you should close your eyes when reading it…oh, you know what I meant! Some people may come out of it even blinder than when they went in, but I found it to be so skilfully plotted and executed that at no time did I feel that I had lost my way – unlike our protagonist, poor old, or young, Aiden. If you like your murder mysteries to be of the classic ‘whodunnit’ type, but with a very modern, sci-fi twist, then this is definitely the book for you. But even if you don’t, give this book a try and you – probably* – won’t regret it 😉 *totes won’t
https://beardybookblogger.wordpress.com/2018/02/18/the-seven-deaths-of-evelyn-hardcastle/

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Death Of A Diva (Limited Edition Hardback) by Derek Farrell
Ok, ok, I admit, I am cheating just a smidge with this one *cough*. [DP: very loud, very irritated SIGH]. DoaD was originally published in 2015, BUT, Fahrenheit Press published a shiny new hardback edition last year so, in my eyes, this qualifies it 😉 [DP: The same very loud, very irritated SIGH]. The reason why I’m so desperate to include this book here is simples: YOU HAVE TO READ THIS SERIES! Sorry to shout, but I LOVE THESE BOOKS! Sorry-not-sorry, again. This is the 1st in a series and it is truly brilliant. It follows the exploits of our hero Danny Bird, and his attempts to quietly get on with his life running the Marquess of Queensbury pub in South London whilst those around him, fate, local gangsters, ex-boyfriends, the police and pretty much everyone else, tries to do its best to spoil it for him. The books are peppered with truly memorable, eclectic and wonderful characters and Derek’s writing is wonderfully funny, sharp and moving. His characters remain believable even if the situations they often find themselves in most certainly are not. Go on, give them a go!
https://fahrenheit-press.myshopify.com/collections/limited-edition-hardbacks/products/derek-farrell-death-of-a-diva-limited-edition-hardback-1

Rules are rules, people! Anyway, I will remain calm and overlook this small infringement of the very clear, very easy to understand rules and commend you, Mart, on your excellent choices.

If Martin has managed to tempt you, or if you would like to find out more information about the books he recommends, please see the following links:

| The Darkness by Ragnar JónassonThe Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart TurtonDeath of a Diva by Derek Farrell (Limited Edition Hardback) |

About Martin:
A beardy bloke just enjoying his books and wants everyone else to know it 😉

Martin’s Social Media Links:
The Beardy Book BloggerTwitter @LaughingGravy71 |

If you’re a book blogger, author or you work in publishing and have three books published this year that you want to shout about then please complete the following form (or click this link: https://forms.gle/PE483qCyrKEgV5Uq6)

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#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #BookBlogger Paula Bardell-Hedley (@GaiaBird1) #BookJotter #damppebbles

Hello book fans! Welcome to the blog and to another brilliant #R3COMM3ND3D2018 to round off the working week.  Today I am delighted to welcome Paula Bardell-Hedley to damppebbles.  Paula blogs over at Book Jotter so head on over and check it out.

If you’re new to damppebbles and you’re wondering what #R3COMM3ND3D2018 is all about then let me explain.  #R3COMM3ND3D2018 is a chance for bookish types to share the book love.  Three titles you just have to shout about; any genre, any author, any publisher providing they were published in 2018.

So without further ado, here are Paula’s choices…

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Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean
A beautifully written YA novel with enormous crossover appeal!
https://bookjotter.com/2018/09/02/book-review-where-the-world-ends/

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Walking Wounded by Sheila Llewellyn
A brilliantly crafted, often harrowing, powerfully intense novel that deserves to be read.
https://bookjotter.com/2018/01/04/book-review-walking-wounded/

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The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
A truly magnificent piece of writing!
https://bookjotter.com/2018/08/10/book-review-the-silence-of-the-girls/

Thanks for your choices, Paula. These are all new authors to me but those covers are all very striking!

If Paula has managed to tempt you, or if you would like to find out more information about the books she recommends, please see the following links:

Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughreanWalking Wounded by Sheila LlewellynThe Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker |

About Paula:
Blogger, theatre goer, nature lover and an avid reader of books.

Paula’s Social Media Links:
Book JotterTwitter @GaiaBird1Facebook Group |

If you’re a book blogger, author or you work in publishing and have three books published this year that you want to shout about, then please complete the following form (or click this link: https://forms.gle/PE483qCyrKEgV5Uq6)

#BookReview: Murder in the Crooked House by Soji Shimada #MurderInTheCrookedHouse #damppebbles #15BooksofSummer (4/15)

murder in the crooked house“By the author of The Tokyo Zodiac Murders – a fiendish Japanese locked room mystery

The Crooked House sits on a snowbound cliff at the remote northern tip of Japan. A curious place to build a house, but even more curious is the house itself – a maze of sloping floors and strange staircases, full of bloodcurdling masks and uncanny dolls. When a guest is found murdered in seemingly impossible circumstances, the police are called. But they are unable to solve the puzzle, and more bizarre deaths follow.

Enter Kiyoshi Mitarai, the renowned sleuth. Surely if anyone can crack these cryptic murders it is him. But you have all the clues too – can you solve the mystery of the murders in The Crooked House first?”

Welcome to damppebbles and to my review of Murder in the Crooked House by Soji Shimada.  Murder in the Crooked House was written by Soji Shimada and published in Japanese in 1982.  It has since been updated and this translation by Louise Heal Kawai into English was published earlier this year by Pushkin Vertigo.  I received a free eARC of Murder in the Crooked House but this has in no way influenced my review.

I have a bit of a thing for Japanese crime fiction.  There are two standout novels which I always recommend to people.  One of these is The Tokyo Zodiac Murders which is also by Soji Shimada (and also published in English by Pushkin Vertigo).  I LOVED The Tokyo Zodiac Murders which was also Shimada’s debut.  So you can imagine my excitement when I saw Murder in the Crooked House, another locked room mystery, was available on NetGalley.  This was a must-read for me.  So much so, I added it to my #15BooksofSummer list to make sure I got it read sooner rather than later.

I wanted so desperately to love this novel as much as The Tokyo Zodiac Murders.  I certainly enjoyed parts of it and it bears a number of similarities to Shimada’s debut.  But it didn’t captivate me like the first book did.  Once again, you, the reader, are invited to solve the crime.  The clues are all there.  But can you solve the mystery and most importantly HOW the crimes were committed before the somewhat inefficient local detectives do.

I have to confess that towards the last half to a third, I started to lose interest a little and began skim reading sections.  These sections mostly seemed to be the local detectives discussing ANOTHER way the murders ‘could’ have been committed or ANOTHER possible MO they had dreamt up for the house-bound group of suspects.  The story then switches when a familiar detective is brought in to stop the dilly-dallying and make some arrests, Kiyoshi Mitarai from The Tokyo Zodiac Murders.  What I found surprisingly hard at this point was switching from third person to first person.  The entire book is told in third person up until this point.  I struggled to get my head around the change.

Would I recommend this book? If you’re a fan of a complex mystery and like to play the part of the detective and you have time on your hands then yes, absolutely, I recommend this book to you.  I’m putting a lot of how I feel about this book down to bad timing.  I should have put it to one side and come back to it at another time when there was less going on in my life.  My love for The Tokyo Zodiac Murders remains strong.  If you are looking for a Japanese mystery to read then I completely and utterly recommend you read The Tokyo Zodiac Murders.

I chose to read and review an eARC of Murder in the Crooked House.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Murder in the Crooked House by Soji Shimada (trans. Louise Heal Kawai) was published in the UK by Pushkin Vertigo on 31st January 2019 and is available in paperback and ebook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukamazon.comWaterstonesGoodreads |

15 books of summer

about-the-author3

soji shimadaBorn in 1948 in Hiroshima prefecture, Soji Shimada has been dubbed the ‘God of Mystery’ by international audiences. A novelist, essayist and short-story writer, he made his literary debut in 1981 with The Tokyo Zodiac Murders, which was shortlisted for the Edogawa Rampo Prize. Blending classical detective fiction with grisly violence and elements of the occult, he has gone on to publish several highly acclaimed series of mystery fiction. He is the author of 100+ works in total. In 2009 Shimada received the prestigious Japan Mystery Literature Award in recognition of his life’s work.

 

 

#BookReview: The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam #TheGoodDaughter #damppebbles

the good daughter.jpg“The Good Daughter will have you hooked from the first page to the last, and will stay with you long after you have finished reading!

One ran. One stayed. But who is…the good daughter?

Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s childhoods were destroyed by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father – a notorious defence attorney – devastated. And it left the family consumed by secrets from that shocking night.

Twenty-eight years later, Charlie has followed in her father’s footsteps to become a lawyer. But when violence comes to their home town again, the case triggers memories she’s desperately tried to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime which destroyed her family won’t stay buried for ever…”

Welcome bookish friends to damppebbles and to my review of The Good Daughter by hugely popular author, Karin Slaughter.  The Good Daughter was published on 3rd May 2018 and has been lingering on my NetGalley shelf for far too long.  I received a free eARC of this book but that has in no way influenced my review.

Yes, yes, yes, I’m absolutely kicking myself that it’s taken me so long to read this book.  I used to read everything by Karin Slaughter like my life depended on it but I have to confess I haven’t picked up one of her books for a little while now.  I still remember parts of her book Blindsighted, the first book in the Grant County series, so vividly.  I think I was expecting something similar when I made a start on The Good Daughter but how wrong could I have been?! This felt like it was written by a completely different author to the Grant County or Will Trent novels.  I’ve always enjoyed Slaughter’s work.  The Good Daughter I absolutely loved.

Charlotte and Samantha Quinn are used to trouble.  Their father, Rusty, is the local defence lawyer and his reputation proceeds him.  But not in a good way.  Rusty is the reason some of the worst lowlifes in Pikeville, Georgia walk free.  So the family are often on the receiving end of angry, bitter abuse.  One day their lives turn upside down when two masked gunmen enter their home.  Rusty is at the office so the girl’s mother, Harriet, tries to calm the situation down and protect her daughters.  But the unthinkable happens and Harriet is killed in cold blood.  Her young daughters bearing witness to the tragedy.  The gunmen are forced to rethink their plans.  After all, there can be no witnesses – and now the girls must die too.  But Charlotte manages to escape.  Samantha, unfortunately, isn’t so lucky.  Now, 28 years later, Charlotte is a lawyer just like her father with problems of her own.  She unwittingly becomes involved in a terrifying school shooting which leaves the head teacher and a young girl dead.  The incident brings horrific memories of her own flooding back because the truth can’t be buried forever…

This book really is something quite special.  I was completely emotionally involved with it from start to finish and savoured every single word of The Good Daughter.  I didn’t want it to end and could have happily read another 500 pages or so.  There are so many brilliant moments within the story; young Charlotte’s palpable fear and indecision when the moment to escape comes – leaving her older sister to certain death, the wonderful twist fairly early on in the book that you just don’t see coming, the relationship between Charlotte and her father, when Lenore, Rusty’s secretary’s, story is revealed to the reader.  So many fantastic little touches that when added together make something truly magnificent.  It’s also very dark with a number of terrifying and upsetting scenes.

Would I recommend this book? I most certainly would.  It does include some very harrowing and disturbing scenes which involve a young Charlotte and her attackers.  I don’t want to give any spoilers away but it’s important you know that these scenes are distressing.  I fell in love with so many of the characters in The Good Daughter and I still, after having read this book a few months ago now, remember them vividly.  A book which will stay with me for a long time to come and will most likely feature in my top ten books of the year list.  Highly recommended.

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

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter was published in the UK by Harper Collins and is available in hardcover, paperback, audio and eBook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukamazon.comWaterstonesBookDepositoryGoodreads |

about-the-author3

karin slaughter.jpgKarin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 37 languages, with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her eighteen novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated Cop Town and the instant New York Times bestselling novels Pretty Girls and The Good Daughter. A native of Georgia, Karin currently lives in Atlanta. Her novels Cop TownThe Good Daughterand Pieces of Her are all in development for film and television.

Author Links:FacebookInstagramTwitterWebsite |

Author photo and bio © https://www.karinslaughter.com/

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with The Puzzle Doctor (@puzzledoctor) #InSearchOfTheClassicMysteryNovel #damppebbles

It’s Monday! Which can mean only one thing. The weekend is over. That and it’s time for another #R3COMM3ND3D2018 post!

Today I am delighted to welcome the mysterious Puzzle Doctor, who blogs over at In Search Of The Classic Mystery Novel, to damppebbles. The Puzzle Doctor will be sharing his three #R3COMM3ND3D picks with us shortly but first, let me explain what #R3COMM3ND3D2018 is all about…

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 is a chance for bookish types to recommend three books you must read. Any genre, any author, any publisher (traditional, self or indie). There is a catch though. The books must have been published last year.

So without further ado, let’s see what the Puzzle Doctor has chosen…

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Gallows Court by Martin Edwards
After a long while producing essential reference works and anthologies, Martin returns to crime fiction with a stunning thriller set in the Golden Age of detective fiction.
https://classicmystery.blog/2018/08/24/gallows-court-by-martin-edwards/

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A Fatal Obsession by Faith Martin
The sort of book my blog was created to find – a newly written mystery with a proper whodunit plot (that fooled me). Endearing central characters and a convincing sixties Oxford setting helps as well. A real winner.
https://classicmystery.blog/2018/07/21/a-fatal-obsession-by-faith-martin/

the case of the dead shepherd.jpg

The Case of the Dead Shepherd (A Ludovic Travers Mystery) by Christopher Bush
Do re-releases count? [Erm. No. Bit late for that now though so I’ll allow this one] I hope so as Dean St Press has done sterling work reissuing lost classics such as the work of Francis Vivian and Christopher Bush, this being a highlight, a dark tale of the murder of a headmaster in, surprisingly for the Golden Age, a state school rather than a posh private institution. Bleak and moving, this is a stunning piece of work.
https://classicmystery.blog/2018/04/18/the-case-of-the-dead-shepherd-by-christopher-bush/

Great choices (despite the re-release) and I’ll be adding a couple of these to my wish list.

If the Puzzle Doctor has managed to tempt you, or if you would like to find out more about the books he recommends, please see the following links:

| Gallows Court by Martin Edwards | A Fatal Obsession by Faith Martin | The Case of the Dead Shepherd by Christopher Bush |

About The Puzzle Doctor:
1000 reviews and counting… Book blogger, teacher, cat-wrangler.

The Puzzle Doctor’s Social Media Links:
| In Search Of The Classic Mystery Novel | Twitter @puzzledoctor |

If you’re a book blogger, author or you work in publishing and have three books published this year that you want to shout about. then please complete the following form (or click this link: https://forms.gle/PE483qCyrKEgV5Uq6)

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #BookBlogger Yvonne (@yvo_about_books) #ItsAllAboutBooks #damppebbles

Happy Friday! I hope you have some exciting plans for the weekend. Welcome to the blog today and to another brilliant #R3COMM3ND3D2018 post.

Today I am delighted to welcome fellow blogger, Yvonne who blogs over at It’s All About Books, to damppebbles.  Yvonne will be sharing her three #R3COMM3ND3D2018 picks but first, let me explain what #R3COMM3ND3D is all about…

At the end of every year from the start of November to late December I invite bookish types to share their three #R3COMM3ND3D picks with the rest of us.  Three books published that year which readers just can’t miss, three must-read titles.  Unfortunately, I fell ill last year so wasn’t able to share all of the posts.  But book recommendations don’t age so I’m delighted to bring you those missing posts over the coming weeks on a Monday and a Friday!

Without further ado, here are Yvonne’s choices…

the seven deaths of evelyn hardcastle

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
This book is hands down one of the best debuts I’ve read to this date. Never has the phrase ‘had me guessing until the very last page’ been more true! I won’t be tiring of recommending this book to everyone I know. Brilliant. Mindblowing. Flabbergasting. Extremely well executed. And overall 200% worth your time.
https://melovebooks.wordpress.com/2018/08/17/arc-review-the-7-deaths-of-evelyn-hardcastle-by-stuart-turton-buddyread-sourcebooks/

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The Date by Louise Jensen
Bring out the superlatives and invite them to this review party, because I’ll need a lot of them to describe my feelings about The Date. I read a lot of thrillers, but this story was simply something else. The Date ticked all the right boxes for me and more, and I literally dropped everything to read this psychological thriller. Fascinating, highly addictive and utterly absorbing! If you are a fan of the genre, you simply MUST try this one. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
https://melovebooks.wordpress.com/2018/06/11/arc-review-the-date-by-louise-jensen-bookouture-fab_fiction/

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Barbed Wire Heart by Tess Sharpe
Boy, this book was GOOD. It’s not the easiest story to read and there are a lot of trigger warnings involved for those who are sensitive to violence, abuse etc, but if you can stomach them, you will find Barbed Wire Heart is one hell of a ride. It’s a trigger-happy crime story with a high dose of girl power, adrenaline, action, a splash of family drama and plot twists that you won’t see coming. From the writing style to the underlying feminist message, the originality of the plot and the excellent character development… This story simply blew me away.
https://melovebooks.wordpress.com/2018/03/06/arc-review-barbed-wire-heart-by-tess-sharpe-grandcentralpub/

Thanks so much, Yvonne.  Two utterly brilliant books and one brand new author to me!  I’m adding Barbed Wire Heart to the wish list.

If Yvonne has managed to tempt you, or if you would like to find out more information about the books she recommends, please see the following links:

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart TurtonThe Date by Louise JensenBarbed Wire Heart by Tess Sharpe |

About Yvonne:
Let me introduce myself: I’m Yvonne, or Yvo for short… I was born a Dutchie, but felt that that tiny, rainy country known for tulips, windmills, cheese and of course Amsterdam wasn’t my place to be. O no, the world was a lot bigger that and was calling me to start discovering it. Carpe Diem and all. So I learned Spanish (I actually have a degree in Spanish philology), went to study in Madrid, Spain when I was 20… And after that I decided to try and find my place in the world. I travelled around a lot during the last few years, and finally settled down in lovely Argentina after having found the love of my life while travelling in Colombia.

Yvonne’s Social Media Links:
It’s All About BooksTwitter @yvo_about_booksInstagram |

If you’re a book blogger, author or you work in publishing and have three books published this year that you want to shout about, then please complete the following form (or click this link: https://forms.gle/PE483qCyrKEgV5Uq6)

 

#BookReview: Stone Cold Heart by Caz Frear @ZaffreBooks #StoneColdHeart #damppebbles #15BooksofSummer (3/15)

stone cold heart.jpg“A fractured marriage. A silent family. A secret worth killing for.

When DC Cat Kinsella is approached by Joseph Madden for help with his wife, Rachel, there’s not much she can do. Joseph claims that Rachel has been threatening him, but can’t – or won’t – give Cat details as to why. Dismissing it as a marriage on the rocks, Cat forgets about it.

That is until Naomi Lockhart, a young PA, is found dead after a party attended by both Joseph and Rachel, and Joseph is arrested for the murder.

Joseph says his wife is setting him up.
His wife says he didn’t do it.
The trail of evidence leads to even more questions . . .

Adulterer. Murderer. Victim. Who would you believe?”

I am delighted to welcome you to the blog today and to my review of Stone Cold Heart by Caz Frear – my third #15BooksofSummer review.  Stone Cold Heart is the second book in the Detective Cat Kinsella series (the first being the brilliant Sweet Little Lies) and it’s published in paperback today! Wishing the author and Zaffre, the publisher, the happiest of publication days.  I received a free eARC of Stone Cold Heart but this has in no way influenced my review.

I loved Sweet Little Lies so I have been eagerly waiting for this follow up novel to appear on my bookshelf. And oh boy, it did not disappoint! Caz Frear’s characters are utterly brilliant.  I fell a little bit in love with Cat Kinsella after reading the first book in the series but now, after book two, I’m totally smitten.  The way Frear writes her characters is so charming and with shedloads of warmth and humour that you can’t help but fall in love.

The team are called in to investigate the murder of 22-year-old, Naomi Lockhart.  Naomi hasn’t been seen since attending a fireworks party held by her boss at her home on Saturday night.  The team struggle to come up with any concrete links.  That is until Cat recognises a familiar face.  Joseph Madden, coffee shop owner and all-round creep.  Madden had cornered Cat earlier in the Summer and after his failed attempts at flirting with her, he confided that his wife was out to get him.  Cat, feeling it was no more than a lover’s tiff, advised Madden to report the incident to his local police station before making her excuses and NEVER volunteering to do the coffee run again!  But now Madden is their only suspect in the murder of Naomi Lockhart despite his repeated claims of innocence.  Will Cat be able to tie together all of the loose ends and make sure a killer is brought to justice…?

I love Cat Kinsella, I think I’ve already made that clear.  But I also love her supporting cast – particularly her DS, Luigi Parnell and her DCI, Kate Steele.  They are a brilliant team and one I want to return to again and again.  Parnell and Steele have a lot of history between them and it shows.  The way they both keep an eye out for newcomer, Cat, is just wonderful to witness.  Frear’s books have so far had brilliant plots to keep the reader gripped but oh boy, her characters are a delight.  It’s not just these three though.  Joseph Madden and his sliminess ooze from the page.  Cat’s father and her ‘uncle’ Frank both play a pivotal role in the book and you’re never really sure how much to trust either of them (definitely don’t trust Frank!).  And Cat’s gorgeous yet exasperated boyfriend, Aiden Doyle, who shows us Cat’s softer, more vulnerable side.  What a superb cast of characters!

This book can be read as a standalone.  However, there are several mentions made of Maryanne Doyle and the focus of the first book in the series, Sweet Little Lies.  The reader isn’t really given any details about this case but those involved are highlighted.  It doesn’t interrupt the flow of the story and if anything it will make you want to read Sweet Little Lies if you haven’t already done so!

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. Stone Cold Heart and Sweet Little Lies are both strongly recommended by me.  Frear has a way of writing believable characters, people you would want to hang out with at the pub after work (well, some of them anyway!).  I had a great time playing amateur detective with this one and, in the end, got it completely wrong…sort of.  I thoroughly enjoyed this compelling, character-driven police procedural and, if you’re a fan of crime fiction, I suggest you get yourself a copy and meet the brilliant DC Cat Kinsella for yourself.

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

Stone Cold Heart by Caz Frear was published in the UK by Zaffre Books on 27th June 2019 and is available in paperback, audio and ebook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukamazon.comWaterstonesBookDepositoryGoodreads |

15 books of summer

about-the-author3

caz frear.jpgCaz Frear grew up in Coventry, England, and spent her teenage years dreaming of moving to London and writing a novel. After fulfilling her first dream, it wasn’t until she moved back to Coventry thirteen years later that the second finally came true. She has a degree in History & Politics, and when she’s not agonizing over snappy dialogue or incisive prose, she can be found shouting at Arsenal football matches or holding court in the pub on topics she knows nothing about.

Author Links: | Twitter |

 

 

#BookReview: Bird Box by Josh Malerman @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam #BirdBox #damppebbles #15BooksofSummer (2/15)

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IF YOU’VE SEEN WHAT’S OUT THERE…IT’S ALREADY TOO LATE

Malorie raises the children the only way she can: indoors, with the doors locked, the curtains closed, and mattresses nailed over the windows.

The children sleep in the bedroom across the hall, but soon she will have to wake them and blindfold them.

Today they will risk everything. Today they will leave the house.

Josh Malerman’s New York Times bestselling Bird Box is a terrifying psychological thriller that will haunt you long after reading.”

We’ve all heard of Bird Box, right? The book was made into a Netflix film and it was massive, everyone was talking about it. Now I haven’t watched the film (too much blood, guts and gore for me – I get all of that from my books and not film or television!) so I can’t comment on that but this book, this incredible book with such a stunning concept is exceptional.

I devoured this book in a few short hours. I very occasionally say it doesn’t take me long to read a book (more often than not it takes me AGES as I’m a slow reader for a book blogger) but this is by far my quickest read in a long time. I could not put this book down and I flew through the pages like my life depended on it. I was mesmerised by Malorie’s incredible story and wanted to see what was going to happen but also savour my time with this courageous woman struggling through an unimaginable scenario. The publishers say this book will haunt you long after reading and they are so right. I’m traumatised by Bird Box and I love it! If you haven’t watched the film but you have a vague idea of the concept then you must read this book. I don’t think you truly ‘get it’ until you’re living it with Malorie and the children. Oh my gosh, it’s buried deep down in my soul. Absolutely superb!

Malorie discovers she’s pregnant. It’s not what she planned, the father of the baby isn’t one for a committed relationship but she knows she’s going to have the baby and do the best she can for her child. But then life takes a completely unexpected swerve. The news starts to report normal, everyday people committing unprovoked acts of extreme violence and then killing themselves. The killings start in Russia but before long there have been a number of attacks closer to home in America. No one knows for sure what provokes these normal people to carry out such horrific acts but it is believed they all ‘saw’ something. Something beyond what the human brain can comprehend. Something so unimaginable that it drives people violently mad. The solution? Don’t look. Windows are covered. Doors are locked tight. Blindfolds become the norm. Whatever you do, no matter how tempting, don’t look…

Don’t look. It sounds so simple. How many times has someone said ‘don’t look behind you, but….’ which of course makes you want to look even more. Malerman’s terrifying world full of unknown ‘creatures’ puts you on edge from the start. The book is told in the past and the present. The past shows us Malorie’s journey to the safe house where we meet a cast of fascinating characters, all thrown together with the same threat hanging over them and having to cope as best they can. In the present we are with Malorie and the children as she courageously takes them blindly up the river. To where we don’t actually find out until much later in the book but this just adds to the books tension and ratches the drama up tenfold.

This is a truly wonderful piece of fiction. It’s the kind of book you want your friend to read just so you can talk to someone about it. Malorie is a stand-out character and you see her change and adapt to her situation as you move through the story. She becomes hardened and it was fascinating to watch. Cope or die. Malorie isn’t the only fascinating character in this novel though. The residents of the safe house all add something and the children broke my heart.

Would I recommend this book? Definitely. I loved this book and it will stay with me for some time to come. The only downside is the rather sudden and abrupt ending. I thought I had just under 100 pages left with Malorie which I planned to savour, only to find those pages were a short story. That, however, will not deter me from giving this atmospheric, creepy, mesmerising book five fabulous stars and a place on my top books of the year list, no siree! Bird Box is magnificent. Unsettling, terrifying, thought-provoking and impossible to put down. Highly recommended.

Bird Box by Josh Malerman was published in the UK by Harper Collins on 29th January 2015 and is available in hardcover, paperback, audio and eBook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | BookDepository | Goodreads |

15 books of summer

about-the-author3

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Josh Malerman is the acclaimed author of Bird Box, as well as the lead singer and songwriter for the rock band The High Strung. He lives in Michigan.

Author Links: | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram |

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #Author and #BookBlogger Rosemarie Cawkwell (@RosieCawkwell) #RosieWrites #damppebbles

Hello and a happy Monday to you.  Welcome to damppebbles and to another fantastic #R3COMM3ND3D2018 post. If you’re new to the blog or if you haven’t seen my regular #R3COMM3ND3D feature before, then allow me to explain what it’s all about.

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 is a chance for bookish types to share the book love.  A chance to shout about three books which other bookish types just can’t miss.  It doesn’t matter what genre they are, who wrote them or who publishes them.  The only catch is that they must have been published last year in 2018.  Today I am delighted to welcome author and book blogger Rosemarie Cawkwell to the blog.  Rosemarie blogs over at Rosie Writes so hop on over and check it out and make sure you scroll down to find out more about Rosemarie’s books.

Without further ado, here are Rosemarie’s choices…

In Bloom.jpg

In Bloom by C.J. Skuse
Rhiannon, the main character, is funny and a serial killer. I loved the first book in the series, and couldn’t wait to read this instalment. Its a different take on the crime novel, and written in first person so you see the thought processes and get an understanding of Rhiannon’s motives.
https://rosemariecawkwell.wordpress.com/2018/08/19/review-in-bloom-by-c-j-skuse/

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Turn A Blind Eye by Vicky Newham
New author, but with a background in psychology, Vicky Newham has drawn on her experiences working in inner London schools to write this tense crime novel following D.I. Maya Rahman as she investigates a series of deaths that seem to be connected to a local school. I loved the details of place and characterisation.
https://rosemariecawkwell.wordpress.com/2018/04/15/review-turn-a-blind-eye-by-vicky-newham/

we were salt of the sea.jpg

We Were Salt of the Sea by Roxanne Bouchard trans. by David Warriner
This book was so beautifully written and excellently translated, and the complex crime involved a cast of strange characters.
https://rosemariecawkwell.wordpress.com/2018/03/22/review-we-were-the-salt-of-the-sea-by-roxanne-bouchard-trans-by-david-warriner/

Great choices, thank you Rosemarie.  I have Sweetpea by C.J. Skuse on the terrifying TBR and can’t wait to read it. I’ve heard so many good things.

If Rosemarie has managed to tempt you, or if you would like to find out more information about the books she recommends, please see the following links:

| In Bloom by C.J. SkuseTurn a Blind Eye by Vicky NewhamWe Were Salt of the Sea by Roxanne Bouchard (trans. David Warriner) |

About Rosemarie:
I’m an autistic, mentally ill writer and book blogger from Lincolnshire. In 2017 I self-published the first two novels in my fantasy series, with plans to release two more in 2019. Possibly. I’ve been reviewing book on my blog for seven years, and charting my journey through mental illness and autism diagnosis. I’ve almost finished an MA in Creative Writing, and have started a crime novel set in Lincoln as part of my dissertation. I hope to get that one finished by 2020. I review a variety of books, but tend to focus on crime fiction at the minute.

Rosemarie’s Social Media Links:
Rosie WritesTwitter @RosieCawkwell |

Fire Betrayed (The FIRE Series Book 2) by Rosemarie Cawkwell fire betrayed.jpg
The war between Albon and Sumoast is over, and the Northern Isles are again at peace. Lizzy Albon looks forward to a future of little responsibility after years of co-ruling with her father. With the return of Queen Jocinta and a new lord in Tarjan, it looks like a lasting peace has been made between the warring nations. Lizzy’s personal life settles down too, and she hopes for a quiet life in her own home.

Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned. When elections turn violent and Jocinta supports the rise of a theocracy, Lizzy and her friends are forced once again to fight a war, this time on home soil.

| amazon.co.ukamazon.com |

 

If you’re a book blogger, author or you work in publishing then I would love for you to pick three of your favourite titles from this year for #R3COMM3ND3D2019. If you would like to take part please fill in the following form (or click this link: https://forms.gle/eB61BtchBCGKtJZM9):

 

 

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #BookBlogger Mary Picken (@bethsy) #LiveandDeadly #damppebbles

Welcome to damppebbles and to the resurrection of #R3COMM3ND3D2018!  If you’re new to the blog then let me explain what #R3COMM3ND3D is all about.  If you could pick three absolutely brilliant, must-read books to recommend to others, what would they be? Any genre, any author, traditionally, indie or self-published.  The only catch is they must have been published in 2018.

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 is where I invite bookish types to share three books they love published in 2018.  The series normally runs from 1st November to the end of December but I was unfortunately quite poorly last year so it kind of dwindled out (sorry guys).  But it’s back and in a slightly different format.  My plan (and don’t hold me to this because I am TERRIBLE at hosting regular features on the blog – you’re looking at the proof!) is to post a #R3COMM3ND3D2018 every Monday and Friday for the next 17 weeks which should take us to October.  Just in time to start #R3COMM3ND3D2019 on Friday 1st November – yay!  I’ll get the form ready over the next few days in case anyone is brave enough to pick their three now…

Today I am delighted to welcome the ever so lovely Mary Picken of Live and Deadly to share her three #R3COMM3ND3D2018 choices.  If you’ve not visited Mary’s blog yet then you must, it’s one of my favourites.

Without further ado, here are Mary’s choices…

putney

Putney by Sofka Zinovieff
A beautifully constructed, wholly engrossing, thought-provoking, uncomfortable read.
https://liveanddeadly.net/2018/07/13/putney-by-sofka-zinovieff-sofkazinovieff-philippacotton-bloomsburybooks-putney-bookreview/

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Us Against You by Fredrik Backman
Intense, propulsive, shocking and teetering throughout on the verge of violence, this is a book that stirred all my emotions as the suspense mounted and the story took on a life of its own.
https://liveanddeadly.net/2018/06/04/us-against-you-by-fredrik-backman-backmanland-michaeljbooks-gabyyoung-usagainstyou/

the lion tamer who lost

The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech
Moving, honest, heartbreakingly tender, a stand out read.
https://liveanddeadly.net/2018/09/01/the-lion-tamer-who-lost-by-louise-beech-louisewriter-orendabooks-giveaway-theliontamerwholost/

Excellent choices, Mary.  I need to check back through the #R3COMM3ND3D2018 files but I think this is the second or third time The Lion Tamer Who Lost has been selected.

If Mary has managed to tempt you, or if you would like to find out more information about the books she recommends, please see the following links:

Putney by Sofka ZinovieffUs Against You by Fredrik BackmanThe Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech |

About Mary:
Book blogger, comms professional and addicted Festival attendee.

Mary’s Social Media Links:
Live and DeadlyFacebookTwitter @bethsyInstagram |

Look out for the #R3COMM3ND3D2019 sign up sheet coming your way soon. If you’re a book blogger, author or you work in publishing then I would love to hear from you!