#R3COMM3ND3D is back! #R3COMM3ND3D2019 #BookBloggers #Authors #Publishedin2019 #MustReadBooks #booklove #bookrecommendations #damppebbles

Hello bookish friends and a very happy Thursday to you. I don’t have a review to share with you today but I do have some exciting news, which probably won’t come as a massive surprise if you’ve paid damppebbles a visit at all in the last couple of months!


Woohoo! Because I flipping love it and, from the feedback I’ve had, you rather like it too, #R3COMM3ND3D (in the form of #R3COMM3ND3D2019) will start on 1st November! If you’re new to damppebbles then allow me to explain what #R3COMM3ND3D is all about.

#R3COMM3ND3D is where I ask book bloggers and published authors to recommend three ‘must read’ books which the rest of us should really make a point of picking up. Three titles you love and want to shout about.  They don’t have to be your top three books of the year – just three books that have knocked your socks off and you think others will enjoy. Any author, any genre, traditionally, indie or self-published. Sounds easy, right? There is one catch – they must have been published in 2019 (and I will check!).  There are a few other teeny tiny rules (such as reissues and special editions don’t count but we’ll gloss over that for now…).

The feature will run from 1st November until 30th December, excluding 24th, 25th and 26th December. All other dates are up for grabs. And if there is a specific date you would like then you only have to say and I will do my best to accommodate it.  I’m more than happy to schedule your #R3COMM3ND3D for a date to coincide with a book release, a special promotion or an anniversary/blogiversary.  And if you’re a published author, I always include information about your latest book in the post too (here’s an example).

Tempted? Go on, you know you want to 😉. If you would like to take part then all you have to do is fill in the following form with as much information as possible about why you love each of the three books you’ve picked (or click this link: https://forms.gle/PE483qCyrKEgV5Uq6):

Please don’t delay. Out of the 57 places available, 21 of those have already been claimed. Eeeeek!

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 with #Author Jonathan Mark (@jonmark1956) #TheLastMessenger

I am delighted to welcome the author of The Barnabas Trilogy, Jonathan Mark, to damppebbles today.  The first book in the trilogy, The Last Messenger was published in 2017 and is an action-packed historical thriller.  Jonathan has kindly agreed to share his #R3COMM3ND3D2017 reads in the penultimate post of the series.

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 is an opportunity for book bloggers and authors to share and shout about three must-read books.  The only requirement, the books must have been published in 2017.

Here are Jonathan’s choices…

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Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak
A fascinating exploration into the nature of faith and friendship from the perspective of three young Muslim women. One is a devout Muslim and one breaks all the rules. Peri the central protagonist is stuck in the middle, confused about her faith. She falls in love with an Oxford professor who leads the three friends to question everything including God, Life and Islam.

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The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
The Booker prize winner has done it again with this charming love story about Anjum who is a member of the Old Delhi Hijara (transgendered) community. It is funny and heartbreaking in equal measure and gives a wonderful insight into the complexities of the Indian tradition and culture.

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Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore
The final novel of Helen Dunmore before she died is probably her best. Set in Bristol at the time of the French Revolution, she captures the style of writers of that period and tells the story of a wife who is caught under the spell of her husband who stands to lose everything he has worked for in Bristol’s housing boom in Clifton. It is a historical psychological thriller.


Great recommendations, Jonathan and thank you for joining me today.

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

Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak | The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy | The Birdcage by Helen Dunmore |

About Jonathan:
After nearly forty years working in finance in the City of London, he retired early to pursue his long-held ambition to write novels. He lives in Essex with his wife Lin. He also spends long periods in Cornwall where the restless seas and wild coastline provide inspiration for many stories, just as they did for Daphne du Maurier. To kick-start his writing career he completed an MA in Crime and Thriller writing at City University London. At the time, this course was the only creative writing MA in the country which focused on commercial crime fiction. The Last Messenger was the novel submitted to complete the MA. It is a story which evolved from a novel collecting dust in his desk drawer for over twenty years. Literary Agents advised that there was no longer a demand for conspiracy thrillers. Therefore, it is with a streak of bloody-minded and perhaps misguided optimism that he’s published this book.

About The Last Messenger:
the last messenger.jpgCRETE 1941 – A LOST SECRET IS DISCOVERED

During the German invasion of Crete, an air raid destroys a church revealing an ancient Christian scroll buried under its foundations. It is discovered by Callidora, a young Cretan shepherdess. She meets Hans, a German paratrooper who helps her understand the significance of the scroll. Callidora’s family accuse her of collaboration with the enemy and disown her. While Hans’ commanding officer, Captain Wolfgang Kohlenz, will stop at nothing to force Callidora to reveal the scroll’s secret.


Richard Helford, an MI6 analyst caught up in the London bombings, helps Masood, a Muslim dying from injuries sustained by the bomb on the Piccadilly line. Masood appears to recognise Richard, who wonders whether they’d met in Iraq when he’d worked there during the occupation by Allied forces. Richard had returned to London, traumatised after his SAS bodyguard was killed by a suicide attack. The London bomb begins to trigger his recollection of the incident in Iraq which had previously been lost in his memory. As Richard searches for answers he discovers a family secret which draws him into a conspiracy of global significance.

What is the connection?

If its secret is revealed, it will invoke the terrifying predictions of the Book of Revelations. The book that predicts the end of the world. Arab terrorists want the prophecy revealed but the CIA, Mossad and MI6 want it destroyed.

What is the conspiracy of The Last Messenger?

amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads |

Jonathan’s Social Media Links:
Website | Twitter |

My thanks to Jonathan for joining me today.  Make sure you stop by tomorrow when I will be welcoming one of my favourite bloggers, Gordon Mcghie of Grab This Book.  Plus it’s my blogiversary!

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 with #Author Karla Forbes (@KarlaForbes) #NickSullivanSeries @WillandWhiting

It is my pleasure to welcome the author of the Nick Sullivan series published by Williams and Whiting, Karla Forbes, to damppebbles today.  Karla has kindly agreed to share her #R3COMM3ND3D2017 reads with us.

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 is where I invite authors and book bloggers to shout about three favourite books published in 2017.  That’s the only rule, the books recommended must have been published last year.

Without further ado, here are Karla’s choices…

Cloning the Hate

Cloning the Hate by Jeff Dowson (Jack Shepherd Thriller #3)
A fast-paced detective thriller with a few twists and turns to the plot to keep you guessing.

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The Betrayal by Kate Furnivall
This is set in occupied France just before the outbreak of WW2 and tells the story of two twins connected by love but divided by their political loyalties.

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Need You Dead by Peter James (Roy Grace #13)
I chose this for several reasons. His books are set in Brighton which is just down the road from where I live in Haywards Heath and also, I am in talks with one of his police procedural advisers, Graham Bartlett an ex-detective with Sussex Police. We are hoping to enter into a working relationship to ensure that my books have the same authenticity as Peter James.


Thanks so much for joining me today, Karla and for your terrific recommendations.  I hate to admit that I have yet to read a Peter James novel (and I call myself a crime book blogger, ha!) and I’ve had my eye on ‘Cloning the Hate’ since it was recommended back in November when I first started this feature.

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

Cloning the Hate by Jeff Dowson | The Betrayal by Kate Furnivall | Need You Dead by Peter James |

About Karla:
Karla Forbes first began writing books when she was twelve years old. Heavily influenced by Ian Fleming, she wrote about guns, fast cars and spies. Naturally, she knew nothing of her chosen subject and was forced to use her imagination to make it up as she went along. These books, half a dozen in total, ended up being thrown out with the rubbish. Several years later, she dabbled in a futuristic sitcom and a full-length horror story. Although both of these efforts were also consigned to literary oblivion, at least no one could have accused her of being in a genre rut. She began writing properly more than ten years ago and her first book, The Preacher was published on Amazon in July 2011. Twelve books in total are available to download from the Amazon Kindle bookstore. Other books will follow at regular intervals. She writes about ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary situations and she aims for unusual but scarily believable plots with a surprising twist.

About The Nick Sullivan Series:
fallout.jpgFallout (Nick Sullivan series #1) The British Government is being blackmailed by criminals who have got their hands on a quantity of plutonium left over from the cold war. Only one man knows their identity and can prevent a catastrophe but he is on the run for a murder he didn’t commit and has no intention of being found.

As the authorities attempt to hunt him down, the clock is ticking and they are running out of time. They pin their hopes on the fact that a bunch of amateurs won’t have nuclear technology and the worst they’ll come up with is a dirty bomb. With luck, the carnage can be limited. A few people might die in the explosion but the majority will run away at the first sign of danger and the radiation will drift harmlessly into the atmosphere.

But what if the terrorists have found a way of keeping the radiation near to the ground, encouraging people to hang around breathing in death and when they invite them to their own slaughter they come willingly?
They would be dangerous then…wouldn’t they?

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The Third Wave (Nick Sullivan series #2) Charles Morgan is a small operator in the vast computer technology industry but he’s ambitious. He borrows heavily from the Mafia to finance his dreams of becoming a big player but when he fails to make the expected profit, they are quick to demand their money back. Desperate to save his own skin, he hatches a plan that will cripple the competition and propel his new product into the ranks of market leader.
Bryony Elliot is a brilliant but naive British student who has the skills he needs to bring his plans to fruition. But she is refusing to cooperate. With time running out and his creditors’ threats becoming increasingly vicious, Morgan gives up on persuasion and employs deceit instead. Unaware that she is being duped, Bryony launches a catastrophic virus attack on society. When she discovers the truth, she frantically attempts to stop the carnage she has unleashed but she is up against violent men who are intent on stopping her.
Bryony must dig deep into her mental reserves to stay alive and reverse the damage she has done but first she must conquer the fears and demons that rule her life.

For Bryony has dark secrets of her own…

sniper.jpgSniper (Nick Sullivan series #3) Flynn was one of the elite, a highly trained sniper in the British army who was proud of his skills and lived by a strict moral code. But even the best can crack when the stress becomes unbearable and now he’s on the rampage bearing a grudge and carrying an arsenal of stolen weapons.
He believes that good soldiers are being killed because governments go to war over oil. In his twisted mind, anyone who drives a gas guzzling 4X4 is the enemy and deserves to die.
As he carves a trail of terror and death across the country, the authorities are closing in. But for one man, it’s become personal.
Nick Sullivan is bearing a grudge of his own and is hard on the heels of the sniper. But when he finally hunts down his quarry, will his thirst for revenge blind him to the fact that he’s no match for a professionally trained killer?
For Flynn is the best there is. He’s a master of his craft.

the gift of death.jpgThe Gift of Death (Nick Sullivan series #4) When Nick Sullivan is sent to Uganda for a routine assignment, he doesn’t expect trouble but news of his arrival has preceded him and someone wants him dead. His enemies are powerful people and in a country where life is cheap, he is soon fighting to survive. He doggedly battles on, refusing to acknowledge the danger but when his stubbornness causes the death of an innocent woman he has no choice but to concede defeat and return to Britain.
Eaten up with guilt, he sets himself the task of finding out who betrayed him and bringing them to justice. When he finds himself thwarted by a government cover up, his thirst for revenge becomes an all consuming obsession that endangers everyone around him.

Nick Sullivan thrillers on amazon.co.uk | Karla Forbes on Goodreads |

Karla’s Social Media Links:
Twitter | Website |

My thanks to Karla for joining me today.  Make sure you pop by again tomorrow when I welcome the lovely Gemma Wiles of Gem’s Quiet Corner to damppebbles with her #R3COMM3ND3D2017 picks!


#R3COMM3ND3D2017 with #Author Ross Greenwood (@greenwoodross) #FiftyYearsofFear

I am delighted to welcome author Ross Greenwood to damppebbles today.  Ross has written three books; Lazy BloodThe Boy Inside and self-published Fifty Years of Fear.  Today Ross joins me with his three #R3COMM3ND3D2017 reads.

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 is where I ask book bloggers and authors to recommend three MUST read books.  The only stipulation is that the books must have been published in 2017.  Nice and easy!

Here are Ross’s choices….

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Friends to the End; The Journey of a Lifetime by Susan Tarr
This book is beautifully written about terminal sickness. The pace, and flow are rhythmic and would be a valuable read to someone going through it themselves.


Decimation: The Girl Who Survived by Richard T. Burke
A slightly futuristic thriller about the possible end of civilisation. I loved it. Fast paced, and possible…

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The Eleventh Floor by Shani Struthers (The Haunted World #2)
It’s been so long since I read a proper horror book that I have to include this. Cleverly written, and even though it was a bit spooky, great fun.


Thanks for joining me today, Ross and for three very different recommendations.  I am, of course, adding ‘The Eleventh Floor’ to the wishlist as I type!

If Ross has managed to tempt you, or if you would like to find out more about the books he has suggested, please click the following amazon.co.uk links:

Friends to the End by Susan Tarr | Decimation: The Girl Who Survived by Richard T. Burke | The Eleventh Floor by Shani Struthers |

About Ross:
I was born in 1973 in Peterborough and lived there until I was 20, attending The King’s School in the city. I then began a rather nomadic existence, living and working all over the country and various parts of the world.

I found myself returning to Peterborough many times over the years, usually when things had gone wrong. It was on one of these occasions that I met my partner about 100 metres from my back door whilst walking a dog. Two children swiftly followed. I’m still a little stunned by the pace of it now.

Lazy Blood book was started a long time ago but parenthood and then after working in sales management all my life, I randomly spent four years as a prison officer. Ironically it was the four a.m. feed which gave me the opportunity to finish the book as unable to get back to sleep I completed it in the early morning hours.

I’ve now written two further books. My second book, The Boy Inside, was picked up by Bloodhound Books, and now, Fifty Years of Fear is out. All my books are thought-provoking, and told with a sense of humour.

All three books are stand alone, however, some of the characters cross over, and you can see how at times, their lives overlap. I hope you enjoy reading them.

Please feel free to get in touch.

About Fifty Years of Fear:
fifty years of fear.jpgCould you forgive murder? What if it was something worse?

A childhood accident robs Vincent of his memories, causing him to become sensitive and anxious around others. His differences attract bullies, and he comes to rely heavily on the support of his family.

After the devastating loss of his parents, a remarkable woman teaches him to embrace life and, little by little, he realises the world is far more forgiving than he imagined. When fragments of his memory return, he begins to unravel his past.

Who was his mother? What kind of a man is his brother, Frank? And why does death surround them?

Fate is cruel. History is dark. Things are not as they seem.

Perhaps he should have stayed at home.

amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads |

Ross’s Social Media Links:
Website | Twitter | Facebook |


My thanks to Ross for joining me today.  Make sure you pop back tomorrow as I welcome another of my favourite bookish types, the lovely Eva M. of NovelDeelights.

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 with #Author Rachel Sargeant (@RachelSargeant3) #ThePerfectNeighbours @KillerReads

I am delighted to welcome author Rachel Sargeant to damppebbles today.  Rachel has kindly agreed to share her three #R3COMM3ND3D2017 reads with us but before we get to the nitty gritty, I would like to take this opportunity to wish Rachel and the team at Killer Reads a very happy publication day.  Rachel’s third book The Perfect Neighbours is released in eBook today with the paperback to follow in January, yay!

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 is where I invite authors and book bloggers to shout about three reads they have loved this year.  The only stipulation being that they must have been published during 2017.

Here are Rachel’s choices…

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The Child by Fiona Barton
I adore the author’s no-nonsense prose. No overwriting in sight. Barton draws on her experience as a journalist not only in her writing style but also in her plot. London-based journalist Kate, the protagonist in Barton’s first novel The Widow, is back and on the trail of a human interest story, when the skeleton of a new-born baby is unearthed on a building site. There are no car chases or damsels in distress and our heroine Kate is an ordinary fifty-year old married mum. Bravo. This author is becoming one of my favourites.

Sweet Little Lies

Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear
I like a good police procedural but I’ve read so many that they are starting to seem the same. This one was a breath of fresh air. Young detective, Cat Kinsella, finds herself investigating a murder with current links to her father and also harking back 18 years to a holiday she had as a child visiting her late mother’s family in Ireland. The murder mystery at the heart of the book was perfectly paced with an excellent ensemble cast of wise-cracking police investigators at the helm. This is sure to become the first in a classic series.

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Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo
The dark opening chapter describing two soldiers’ desertion from an army that made them torch villages and kill the inhabitants leaves the reader in no doubt that dark times are ahead in this novel. However, from the moment these two characters set off on their journey to Lagos and hook up with three other runaways – a middle-class housewife, a vulnerable girl and a rebel without a cause – the author presents a warm, humorous and characterful tale of resilience, adaptability and vibrancy that still manages to be a realistic depiction of despair, corruption and violence. More than any other book I read this year, this one showed the triumph of the human spirit over adversity.


Excellent choices, thank you Rachel.  I really enjoyed Caz Frear’s ‘Sweet Little Lies’ and am really looking forward to more Cat Kinsella in the future.

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

The Child by Fiona Barton | Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear | Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo |

About Rachel:
I’ve been writing as a hobby for a long time and have just had my third novel The Perfect Neighbours published. I’m a previous winner of Writing Magazine’s Crime Short Story competition and have been placed or shortlisted in various competitions, including the Bristol Short Story Prize. My stories have appeared in My Weekly and the Accent Press Saucy Shorts series. I spent several years living in Germany, teaching English and swimming, and I now live in Gloucestershire with my husband and children. When I’m not at work (as a school librarian) and not writing, you’ll find me swimming or reading, but rarely both at the same time.

About The Perfect Neighbours:

the perfect neighboursBuilds from a creeping sense of unease to a jaw-dropping climax and a denouement I defy anyone to see coming.’ Chris Curran, author of Her Deadly Secret

The perfect neighbours tell the perfect lies… When Helen moves to Germany with her loving husband Gary, she can’t wait to join the ex-pat community of teachers from the local International School. But her new start is about to become her worst nightmare. Behind the shutters lies a devastating secret… As soon as the charming family across the way welcome Helen into their home, she begins to suspect that all is not as it seems. Then Gary starts to behave strangely and a child goes missing, vanished without a trace. When violence and tragedy strike, cracks appear in the neighbourhood, and Helen realises her perfect neighbours are capable of almost anything.

amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Goodreads | HarperCollins |

Rachel’s Social Media Links:

Website | Twitter | Facebook |

My thanks to Rachel for joining me today.  Tomorrow I am thrilled to welcome book blogger Helen of Baatty About Books with her #R3COMM3ND3D2017 choices.


#R3COMM3ND3D2017 with #Author Chantelle Atkins (@Chanatkins) #TheTreeofRebels #YADystopian

I am delighted to welcome a new-to-me author to damppebbles today.  Chantelle Atkins is the author of the intriguing The Tree of Rebels, a YA dystopian adventure.  I’m not normally one to go for dystopian novels but The Tree of Rebels sounds wonderful and I’ve added it to the wishlist.  The cover is very striking as well (scroll down to the end of this post for a peek).

Chantelle has kindly joined me today to reveal her #R3COMM3ND3D2017 choices.  #R3COMM3ND3D2017 is a chance for authors and bloggers to share three 2017 must-read books.

Here are Chantelle’s recommendations…

Maria in the Moon cover

Maria in the Moon by Louise Beech
One of the best books I have read this year. It has everything I long for in fiction. Dark, gritty, contemporary themes. Gripping, page turner, but ultimately character driven, and what a character! All of the characters are believable but the protagonist Catherine is just brilliant. It’s the characters that make a book for me and I wanted to be her friend! Moving, unique, cleverly written. Just read it.

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Little Gold by Allie Rogers
Another book that ticked every box for me as a reader. Characters I totally believed in and wanted to know. Moments that made me cry, moments that made me laugh. A dark theme, a growing sense of unease and an uplifting ending.

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Blew me away. Gripping from the start. Believable. Tragic. Eye opening in more ways than one. A beautiful protagonist I wanted to wrap my arms around. Drama, love, hate, hope. A classic YA book in my opinion, and one I think that everybody ought to read.


Thanks ever so much for joining me today, Chantelle and for your cracking recommendations.  I have read and thoroughly enjoyed ‘Maria in the Moon’ and know exactly what you mean about Catherine.  Such a great book!

If Chantelle has managed to tempt you, or you would like to find out more about her choices, please click the following amazon.co.uk links:

Maria in the Moon by Louise Beech | Little Gold by Allie Rogers | The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas |

About Chantelle:
Chantelle Atkins was born and raised in Dorset, England and still resides there now with her husband, four children and multiple pets. She is addicted to both reading and music, and is on a mission to become as self-sufficient as possible. She writes for both the young adult and adult genres. Her fiction is described as gritty, edgy and compelling. Her debut Young Adult novel The Mess Of Me deals with eating disorders, self-harm, fractured families and first love. Her second novel, The Boy With The Thorn In His Side follows the musical journey of a young boy attempting to escape his brutal home life. She is also the author of This Is Nowhere, This Is The Day and a collection of short stories related to her novels, called Bird People and Other Stories. Her latest release is the YA dystopian The Tree Of Rebels.

About The Tree of Rebels:
the tree of rebels‘There will always be those who say no, Lissie. There will always be those who do not believe what they are told. There will always be those who rebel.’ It’s 2145. 13-year-old Lissie Turner lives in the peaceful community of Province 5. Everyone is provided for and everyone is grateful. Everyone obeys the rules. Lissie has never questioned her society until she falls into a daydream and wanders beyond the fence that keeps them safe. She finds an apple tree which changes her life and threatens to blow her world apart. Growing food has been forbidden since the last war ended 70 years ago. All food is raised under the Domes. With the discovery of the tree, Lissie finds herself breaking the rules. And if she believes what her dying Great-Grandmother has been trying to tell her, she must question everything she has ever been told. Who really started the Endless War? And it is really over? As she uncovers the shocking truth, Lissie must choose between conformity and rebellion, between living a lie and tearing her peaceful community apart… A YA dystopian adventure about a future disconnected from nature.

amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads |

Chantelle’s Blog and Social Media Links:
The Glorious Outsiders | Twitter | Facebook |

Join me again tomorrow.

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 with #Author Jackie Baldwin (@JackieMBaldwin1) @KillerReads #DeadMansPrayer

I am delighted to welcome author Jackie Baldwin to damppebbles today.  I read and reviewed Jackie’s debut crime novel, Dead Man’s Prayer, towards the end of last year and I absolutely flipping loved it.  Click HERE to read my review.  Jackie has kindly joined me on the blog today to share her three recommended reads published in 2017.

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 is where I ask book bloggers and authors to recommend three must-read titles.  I have only one stipulation and that is the books must have been published in 2017.  Easy, right?

Here are Jackie’s recommendations…

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Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
I loved this book principally because it was like nothing else I have ever read. The ending made me gasp and it really demands to be put away for a few weeks before the exquisite delight of reading it again. Right from the first page I was sucked in to the world of the characters. Louise was warm, funny and engaging and Adele, well she was something else! A character with more layers than an onion and incredibly complex. I don’t think I have ever been so intrigued by a character or so eager to get to the bottom of a mystery. The pace never flags, cranking up throughout until you are almost unbearably tense. Totally lived up to the hype!

eleanor oliphant.jpg

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
I have read so many books but this one I am confident will stay with me forever. I loved Eleanor to the extent that I felt a strong urge to be her friend and protect her. Super intelligent, friendless, spiky and scarred she determinedly navigates her way through a confusing world anchored by her unyielding routine and a vodka habit. Her world slowly starts to tilt when she helps an elderly man who has collapsed and as a result is drawn inexorably towards abandoning her life of careful solitude and confronting her painful past. For me, it was in turns, tragic, funny, touching and ultimately uplifting. A celebration of what it is to be human and how we all need to love and be loved.

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The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond
This had an intriguing premise. A loved up newly married couple are offered a strange wedding gift which is membership of a club that promises its couples will never divorce. They sign The Pact and are in awe of the glitzy parties and prestige that membership conveys. Things quickly turn dark, however, when one of them breaks the rules. The punishments for infringement become more and more severe until they are trapped in a living Hell rather than the marital bliss promised. They can either conform and stay safe or fight the club to live their marriage on their terms. Their very lives could be at stake. This was an intriguing premise and an exciting rollercoaster of a read. I read it really quickly as I couldn’t bear to put it down. In some ways it made me think about a film I’d enjoyed called The Box in that from the moment they signed on the dotted line, things quickly spiralled out of control and about how one decision can have devastating and unforeseen consequences.


Thank you so much, Jackie.  Brilliant recommendations.  I have ‘Behind Her Eyes’ on the TBR and I’ve added ‘The Marriage Pact’ to my wishlist!  EDIT: Having written this post a week or so ago, imagine my surprise when I received a NetGalley email offering me a copy of ‘The Marriage Pact’ (which I obviously accepted!).  Anyone else ever feel like you’re being watched….?!

If Jackie has managed to tempt you too, or if you would like to find out more about the books she has mentioned, please click the following amazon.co.uk links:

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough | Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman | The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond |

About Jackie:
Jackie Baldwin is a Scottish crime writer. Her debut crime novel, Dead Man’s Prayer, was published by Killer Reads, Harper Collins.The second in the series is due out in the Spring.

About Dead Man’s Prayer:
514ibchgoml-_sx325_bo1204203200_A dark and gripping crime debut, the first in an exciting new series. Eighteen years ago, DI Frank Farrell turned his back on the church. But when an ex-priest is murdered in his hometown, he has no choice but to delve into his past. Perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, James Oswald and Val McDermid.

Ex-priest DI Frank Farrell has returned to his roots in Dumfries, only to be landed with a disturbing murder case. Even worse, Farrell knows the victim: Father Boyd, the man who forced him out of the priesthood eighteen years earlier.

With no leads, Farrell must delve into the old priest’s past, one that is inexorably linked with his own. But his attention is diverted when a pair of twin boys go missing. The Dumfries police force recover one in an abandoned church, unharmed. But where is his brother?

As Farrell investigates the two cases, he can’t help but feel targeted. Is someone playing a sinister game, or is he seeing patterns that don’t exist? Either way, it’s a game Farrell needs to win before he loses his grip on his sanity, or someone else turns up dead.

amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

Jackie’s Social Media Links:
Website | Twitter | Facebook |

If you are a book blogger or an author and would like to take part in #R3COMM3ND3D2017, please complete the form below (last chance to join in!  Form closes Sunday evening GMT):

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 with #Author Jeff Dowson @Jeff_Dowson #JackShepherdThrillers @willandwhiting

It is my great pleasure to welcome author Jeff Dowson to damppebbles today with his three 2017 recommended reads.  Jeff is the author of the Jack Shepherd thriller series and his latest release, ‘Cloning the Hate’ is available to purchase now.

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 is where I invite authors and book bloggers to share three of their favourite reads.  Easy enough, right?  There is one catch though, the books must have been published in 2017.

Here are Jeff’s choices…

taking liberties.jpg

Taking Liberties by Helen Black
No punches pulled storyline, some diamond-hard dialogue and a truly ‘in your face’ style.


Siena by Phil Rowlands
A genuine, deeply engaging story of how grief drives a character to extraordinary lengths.

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The Pledge by Friedrich Durrenmatt
Actually written in 1986, but newly re-published by Pushkin Vertigo. Subtitled “Requiem for the Detective Novel” it’s a brilliantly re-working of the post-war European noir style.


Excellent recommendations, thank you Jeff.  I’m a huge fan of the Pushkin Vertigo books myself and always recommend ‘The Tokyo Zodiac Murders’ which is a must read but that was published in 2015 so I probably shouldn’t mention it here!

If Jeff has tempted you with his choices, or if you wish to find out more about the books he has recommended, then please click the following amazon.co.uk links:

Taking Liberties by Helen Black | Siena by Phil Rowlands | The Pledge by Friedrich Durrenmatt |

About Jeff:
Jeff Dowson began his career in the theatre as an actor and director. He moved into television as a writer/producer/director. Substantial screen credits include arts series, entertainment features, documentaries, drama series and TV films. Turning crime novelist in 2014, he introduced Bristol private eye Jack Shepherd in “CLOSING THE DISTANCE”. “CHANGING THE ODDS” followed, and the latest in the series “CLONING THE HATE” was published in August 2017. Jeff is a member of BAFTA and the Crime writers Association.

About Cloning the Hate (Jack Shepherd thriller #3):
Cloning the HateWhen you open a can and it has prunes in it, it’s a can of prunes. Confirms all your expectations. But open a can of worms and your expectations go viral.

Alfie Barnes, brother of Jack Shepherd’s close friend Linda, is beaten to death on the Downs.

Shepherd is warned to stay away from the active police case.

Then Danny Malone, a violent and dangerous ex-copper, knocks on his office door.

amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

Jeff’s Social Media Links:
Website | Twitter |

If you would like to be a part of #R3COMM3ND3D2017 then please complete the following form:

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 with #Author Joanne Nicholson (@jolnicholson) #Positive

I am delighted to welcome Joanne Nicolson, author of Positive: She Longed for a Positive Pregnancy Test, to damppebbles today.  I have seen Joanne’s latest release mentioned on a few blogs of late so I was thrilled when she wanted to take part in #R3COMM3ND3D2017.

#R3COMM3ND3D2017 is my new feature where I invite authors and book bloggers to recommend three of their favourite reads from 2017.  There is one rule; the books must have been published this year, in 2017.  #R3COMM3ND3D2017 is all about books approaching their first birthday!

Here are Joanne’s recommendations…

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The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney
This thriller is unlike any novel I’ve read. The story is set in a house that incorporates cutting-edge technology, minimalistic living and psychological testing for the resident living there. The strange dynamic of the home almost feels like it is controlling whoever lives within its walls. When Jane discovers the girl who lived there before her, Emma, met a suspicious death she tries to unravel the mystery of how she died. The chapters are broken into Jane and Emma’s points of view, and the story unfolds with twists and turns. I don’t want to give away any spoilers but I would highly recommend reading ‘The Girl Before’.

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Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
This story starts slowly as a typical love triangle when Louise kisses a man in a bar who she later finds out is her new boss, David. David’s beautiful wife Adele is aware of the affair and she befriends Louise, but asks her to keep their friendship secret from her controlling husband. The reader is left wondering if David is a narcissist or if Adele is a psychopath. The motivations for the characters actions are unclear until a twist at the end that you won’t see coming. Well thought out and cleverly written, I would put this novel on your TBR list now.

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Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan
This memoir depicts the life of Pino Lella as World War II hits Milan, Italy. He is a teenager who is sent to the alps for safety and he begins his life as part of the resistance guiding Jews over the border to safety in Switzerland. Before his 18th birthday, his parents make him enlist with the Nazi party to keep him away from the front line. He is injured when on duty and by chance is then put into the position of driver for the 2nd highest Nazi officer. He takes this opportunity to spy on the German war efforts. An amazing tale of courage, love and loss. This story is at times heart wrenching and at others heartwarming. The writing is beautiful and conjures up a clear portrayal of life in Italy in war times. Not my normal reading choice but I thoroughly enjoyed it.


Thank you so much for your recommendations, Joanne.  You’ve made me want to read ‘The Girl Before’and I’m pleased to say I already have ‘Behind Her Eyes’ on the TBR.

If Joanne has managed to tempt you, or if you would like to find out more information on the books she recommends, please see the following amazon.co.uk links:

The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney | Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough | Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan |

About Joanne:
Joanne Nicholson is an Australian author of contemporary women’s fiction. Outside her passions of reading and writing, Joanne is a busy mother of four who enjoys exercising, boating, skiing, travelling, listening to music and playing with her dog. Her new release ‘Positive’ is available on Amazon Kindle. Her other titles include ‘Intuition’ and ‘In Another Life’.

About Positive:
positive.jpgRuth’s dreams of getting married and having a family seem set to become a reality until she is stunned to find herself dumped. In her mid-thirties and with her biological clock ticking loudly, Ruth goes to extreme lengths to become a mother. She is in shock when she finally gets a positive test result back from the doctor. With the love and support of her friends and family, she adapts to her new condition and prepares for the challenges ahead of becoming a single mum. Set in Australia, this contemporary fiction novel explores the modern day conundrum of internet dating, IVF and raising a child as a single parent.

amazon.co.uk | amazon.com |

Joanne’s Social Media Links:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram |

If you’re a book blogger or an author and would like to join in the #R3COMM3ND3D2017 fun, please complete the following form.  I will use every single response I receive:

Brand New Feature! Calling all #BookBloggers and #Authors to take part in #R3COMM3ND3D2017

I think it’s fair to say that damppebbles.com focusses mainly on book reviews and blog tours.  I’m really rather pants at #tags and memes, have run very few features over the last two years and in all honesty, I wouldn’t know where to start with a discussion post!

That’s why I was almost floored when a brilliant idea (even if I do say so myself!) for a feature in the lead up to the New Year hit me.  I know how us bloggers both love and secretly fret over our Top Books of the Year lists.  I also know exactly how much I look forward to seeing and love reading what others have chosen.

And that’s what my feature idea is.  I don’t want to take away from anyone’s top list of the year – that’s really not the point – but I’m looking for authors and bloggers to recommend three books published in 2017.  Not necessarily their top three, just three standout reads.

The rules; the books must have been published between 1st January 2017 and, well, now (or until 31st December 2017 which is still several weeks away as I type this).  That’s it.  Pretty easy, huh?  Other rules may follow but I’ll add those as their need becomes apparent.

If you are an author or blogger (or you work in publishing) then please complete this Google form:

Any problems with the form then please shout!

I’m really excited about this feature and have been ohhing and ahhing over the replies I’ve had so far.  Yes, damppebbles is a crime fiction blog but you do not have to recommended crime fiction reads.  The genre of the books is entirely up to you.  The only stipulation is that the books you suggest were published this year.

I look forward to hearing from you.  Exciting times ahead!