#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

josh malerman.jpg

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 |

#BookReview: Black Summer by M.W. Craven @TheCrimeVault @LittleBrownUK #damppebbles #BlackSummer

black summer.jpg“After The Puppet Show, a new storm is coming . . .

Jared Keaton, chef to the stars. Charming. Charismatic. Psychopath . . . He’s currently serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found and Keaton was convicted largely on the testimony of Detective Sergeant Washington Poe.

So when a young woman staggers into a remote police station with irrefutable evidence that she is Elizabeth Keaton, Poe finds himself on the wrong end of an investigation, one that could cost him much more than his career.

Helped by the only person he trusts, the brilliant but socially awkward Tilly Bradshaw, Poe races to answer the only question that matters: how can someone be both dead and alive at the same time?

And then Elizabeth goes missing again – and all paths of investigation lead back to Poe.”

So weirdly, I don’t actually want to write this review.  I don’t want to write this review because once I do, that’s it.  My time with Black Summer has come to an end and I have to live with the fact that it’s going to be another year (I mean, c’mon!  A year??) before I can get my mitts on book 3 in the series, The Curator.  A whole YEAR without Tilly and Poe.

Anyway, I digress.  Black Summer is the second book in M.W. Craven’s Washington Poe series and it’s published in hardcover and eBook today.  Wishing the author and Constable, the publisher, a very happy publication day!  I received a free eARC of Black Summer but this has in no way influenced my review.

Oh.My.Goodness.  I have been waiting some time (…a year, maybe?) for this second Washington Poe novel and it was absolutely outstanding!  I would even go as far as saying it’s better than the brilliant The Puppet Show, which is no mean feat!  I couldn’t put it down, nor did I want to.  Every spare moment, no matter how small, was dedicated to reading this utterly marvellous book.  I am addicted to Tilly and Poe.  You’d be crazy to not get yourself a copy of this book, which can be read as a standalone, but why would you buy just one when you can also immerse yourself in the superb The Puppet Show as well!

The first standout thing about Black Summer is that it’s set within the culinary world and features a notorious three-Michelin starred celebrity chef, Jared Keaton.  I could be completely wrong but this felt like a fresh, new approach to me.  Something a bit different from the norm, which I loved. Keaton was found guilty of murdering his 18-year-old daughter, Elizabeth after Poe took the original investigation in a different direction.  With no body, very little evidence and a hastily washed away puddle of blood which was deemed ‘incompatible with life’ in the Bullace & Sloe kitchens, it came down to Poe’s testimony to put Keaton away for the murder.  But now Keaton’s ‘dead’ daughter has walked into Cumbria’s Alston library and sought out the local police officer.  With the evidence confirming beyond a shadow of a doubt that the woman is Elizabeth and an irrefutable chain of evidence, it’s down to Poe to prove against all odds that his gut was right all those years ago. Jared Keaton is a psychopath.

I love, love, loved Black Summer!  Can’t fault it.  This is exactly the type of crime fiction I want to read; clever, addictive and completely memorable.  Something that sucks you in from start to finish and then leaves you in mourning because it’s over and you want more!  I savoured every single word of this book and I can’t recommend it highly enough.  So much so that it is destined to be part of my ‘top books of 2019’ list and certainly a strong contender for the top spot!

Tilly and Poe go from strength to strength and their relationship (in the platonic sense – thank goodness!) has moved on since The Puppet Show.  They’re getting comfortable in each others company and it shows.  Tilly is less socially awkward but still a bright shining star in these wonderful books.  Poe is still, well…Poe – which I’m very glad about!  There are lots of brilliantly funny moments in Black Summer which I relished.  Little unexpected comments here and there which really added to my enjoyment of the novel.  Personally, I couldn’t see how Tilly and Poe were going to dig themselves out of this one (and I’m not saying they do, by the way) but it helps to have an uber-intelligent geek at the helm, right?

Would I recommend this book? Ha! You have to ask? Absolutely.  This and The Puppet Show.  Both are absolutely brilliant pieces of crime fiction which readers of the genre cannot afford to miss!  Thrilling from start to finish, I am still suffering from a book hangover a couple of weeks after finishing this one.  Believe the hype, people.  It really is THAT good.  Impossible to put down, totally unmissable and head and shoulders above nearly everything else in the same genre.  Craven has created something incredibly special here and I cannot wait for more from Tilly and Poe.

I chose to read and review an eARC of Black Summer.  The above review is my own, very enthusiastic, unbiased opinion.

Black Summer by M.W. Craven was published in the UK by Constable (Little, Brown) on 20th June 2019 and is available in hardcover, eBook and audio 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 |

about-the-author3

16473225_743395339158440_999373164873613480_n (1)Although Mike Craven was born in Cumbria in 1968, he grew up in the North East, going to the same school as Newcastle and England centre-forward, Alan Shearer, before running away to join the army. He believes, but has no proof, that his little sister moved into his bedroom before the train had even left the station. He trained for two years as an armourer (that’s gunsmith to you and I) before spending the next ten being paid to travel the world and drink ridiculous amounts of alcohol.

In 1995, sick of writing postcards and having fun, he decided it might be time to do something a bit more sensible. And it doesn’t get more sensible than doing a law degree. So he did Social Work instead. Two years later, as pimply-faced, naive social worker he started working in Cumbria as a probation officer. Sixteen years, and a few promotions, later he is still there, although as a crime writer, he now has different motivations for trying to get inside the minds of criminals.

Mike’s first DI Avison Fluke novel, Born in a Burial Gown, was shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award and will be out on 11th June, published by Caffeine Nights. His collection of short stories featuring Fluke and his colleagues from the Cumbrian Force Major Incident Team, Assume Nothing, Believe Nobody, Challenge Everything, is out now.

In March 2017 Mike signed a two-book deal with Little, Brown for his new Washington Poe series. The first book, The Puppet Show, was released under his new name, M .W. Craven, in June 2018.

In between joining the army and securing a publishing deal, Mike found time to have a pet crocodile, survive cancer, get married, and buy a springer spaniel named Bracken. He wanted to call him Gimli but was told to grow up. He lives in Carlisle where he tries to leave the house as little as possible and gets annoyed by people who say “it’s too cold to snow” and “watch that swan, its wings can break your arm”.

Author Links: | Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter |

#BookReview: The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven (@MWCravenUK) @LittleBrownUK #ThePuppetShow #WashingtonPoe

the puppet show“A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District’s prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless. When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of . . .

Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant, but socially awkward, civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see. The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.

As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he’s ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive …”

Hello you! It’s me. I’m alive! I know you haven’t heard from me in a while but I’m back… Well, ‘sort of’ back. I ‘intend’ to be back providing I can find the right words as I have to confess that I have been struggling to write reviews of late.  I’m still reading, still enjoying books but putting my thoughts together into a coherent post has been…difficult.

Anyway, I digress.  The absolutely phenomenal The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven was released in paperback yesterday and I couldn’t let the moment pass without posting my review once more (the words came easily for this one, believe me!).  So, without further ado, here is my review of The Puppet Show from June last year.

A little over a year ago I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing a book called Body Breaker written by Mike Craven (that’s Mike Craven as in M.W. Craven, if you were wondering what odd tangent I was meandering off at!), and it was an absolute joy to read from start to finish. I pretty much fell in love with Craven’s protagonist, DI Avison Fluke. Then I heard Mike was about to release a new book called The Puppet Show, featuring a brand new detective with a brand new publisher. Now I openly admit, I was intrigued. After all, what crime fiction fan wouldn’t be? Particularly when I heard the main character of The Puppet Show is called Washington Poe (what a name! Where does this author get inspiration from for his character’s names? He appears to err on the unusual which is a rather splendid thing IMHO). Then, as if by magic (I pressed a button on NetGalley) a copy of The Puppet Show arrived on my Kindle and the deal was sealed. Washington Poe and I were destined to meet…

And truth be told, I flipping love him as much as I love DI Fluke. Craven certainly knows how to write and develop a character to the point where they jump off the page at the reader. I was smitten from early on; particularly as we meet Poe after he has shunned modern life and is living with his loyal pet dog, Edgar, in a semi-converted shepherd’s croft in the middle of nowhere (for ‘nowhere’ read Cumbria or the Lake District! Please don’t hurt me Cumbrians, it does sound pretty vast, lonely and desolate from Craven’s illustrative descriptions and I’ve never visited 😉). Suspended from work following his last (bodged) case and awaiting the result of an internal investigation and an IPCC inquiry, Poe has pretty much decided that his past is very much behind him and that his future lies in Herdwick Croft with Edgar, and the sheep. But that was before Cumbria’s latest serial killer, The Immolation Man made matters personal. Whether he wants to or not, Poe must return to the Serious Crime Analysis Section (SCAS) and to a case that could easily be the death of him.

I have a bit of a thing for serial killer novels. They’re my favourite, particularly if they are a smidge on the gory side as well (which this book is). I also thoroughly enjoy books which make you think the plot is heading one way and then totally flips things over and makes you gasp in surprise when you end up somewhere you didn’t expect (which again, this book did). Another thing I love is a cast of well-written, individual, stand out characters who all add something to the story (yup, that’s The Puppet Show). I loved this book.

As I’ve mentioned Washington Poe’s supporting cast it would be rude to ignore them. First and foremost, Tilly Bradshaw is a shining star and will appeal to nerds far and wide. Her intelligence and her awkwardness are a delight to read and I hope she makes future appearances with Poe as her sidekick! Beleaguered DI Stephanie Flynn is now her ex-bosses boss (!) which makes things somewhat tricky between her and Poe at times. He’s a little reckless and likes to follow the evidence anywhere, whereas Flynn likes to play by the book. I would LOVE to read a prequel to The Puppet Show and see the dynamic between the two of them before Poe was demoted from DI to DS and Flynn was promoted. Not dropping any hints here, Mike…

Would I recommend this book? I would, most definitely. If you’re a fan of crime fiction, if you can stomach a drop of blood or a pool of melted human fat (OK, it is a little grisly in places and you may need a slightly stronger stomach than I’ve alluded to in this paragraph, but for me I loved the gruesome touches to this book. Plus the author provides a wealth of information about burns and the effect of fire on a human body) then you will enjoy this well-written, engrossing crime thriller. I struggled to put it down and I’m left wanting more Washington Poe and more Tilly Bradshaw. I can’t wait for the next instalment.

Five out of five stars.

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

The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven was published in the UK by Constable on 24th January 2019 and is available in hardcover, paperback, eBook and audio formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Book Depository | Goodreads |

about-the-author3

16473225_743395339158440_999373164873613480_n (1)Although M.W. Craven was born in Cumbria in 1968, he grew up in the North East, going to the same school as Newcastle and England centre-forward, Alan Shearer, before running away to join the army. He believes, but has no proof, that his little sister moved into his bedroom before the train had even left the station. He trained for two years as an armourer (that’s gunsmith to you and I) before spending the next ten being paid to travel the world and drink ridiculous amounts of alcohol.

In 1995, sick of writing postcards and having fun, he decided it might be time to do something a bit more sensible. And it doesn’t get more sensible than doing a law degree. So he did Social Work instead. Two years later, as pimply-faced, naive social worker he started working in Cumbria as a probation officer. Sixteen years, and a few promotions, later he is still there, although as a crime writer, he now has different motivations for trying to get inside the minds of criminals.

Mike’s first DI Avison Fluke novel, Born in a Burial Gown, was shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award and will be out on 11th June, published by Caffeine Nights. His collection of short stories featuring Fluke and his colleagues from the Cumbrian Force Major Incident Team, Assume Nothing, Believe Nobody, Challenge Everything, is out now.

In March 2017 Mike signed a two-book deal with Little, Brown for his new Washington Poe series. The first book, The Puppet Show, will be released in hardback under his new name, M .W. Craven, in June 2018.

In between joining the army and securing a publishing deal, Mike found time to have a pet crocodile, survive cancer, get married, and buy a springer spaniel named Bracken. He wanted to call him Gimli but was told to grow up. He lives in Carlisle where he tries to leave the house as little as possible and gets annoyed by people who say “it’s too cold to snow” and “watch that swan, its wings can break your arm”.

Author Links: | Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter |

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #BookBlogger H.C. Newton (@HCNewton) #TheIrresponsibleReader

Happy Friday everyone. I hope those of you who were celebrating Thanksgiving yesterday had a wonderful day and you’re all keeping your eyes peeled for those Black Friday bargains today! Personally, I’m checking out the Kindle accessories……

I am delighted to welcome a blogger to damppebbles who I suggest you follow RIGHT NOW, HC Newton of The Irresponsible Reader. I discovered HC’s blog earlier this year and I absolutely love it. Honestly, give him a follow. You won’t regret it.

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 is a chance for bookish folk to share the book love and shout about three books they think the rest of us should read. Any three books, any three genres but there’s a catch! All three books must have been published in 2018.

Here are HC’s choices…

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Dear Mr Pop Star by Derek & Dave Philpott
It’s funny, great concept, erudite and silly in the same breath — completely unique.
https://wp.me/p3z9AH-3xP

everything is normal.jpg

Everything is Normal by Sergey Grechishkin
This memoir isn’t perfect — but it’s a surprisingly fun look at life in Soviet Russian in the 80s. Even in the dystopia it was — his childhood had fun and wonder, but Grechishkin is honest about the struggles and pain.
https://wp.me/p3z9AH-3hy

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Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne
It’s an entertaining spoof of fantasy tropes and cliches while telling a pretty solid fantasy story as well.
https://wp.me/p3z9AH-3pZ

Thanks for your choices, HC. I’ve only heard of one of them and that’s Dear Mr Pop Star which was all over the blogosphere for a time. I’m really intrigued by it and will be adding it to my wishlist.

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

| Dear Mr Pop Star by Derek & Dave Philpott | Everything Is Normal by Sergey Grechishkin | Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne |

About HC:
Just some guy who reads a lot.

HC’s Social Media Links:
| The Irresponsible Reader | Twitter @HCNewton | Facebook |

#R3COMM3ND3D is full for this year but make sure you check back tomorrow when I will be welcoming another awesome blogger to share their #R3COMM3ND3D2018!

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with#BookBlogger Cathy Ryan (@CathyRy) #BetweenTheLines

Happy Hump Day!  It’s Wednesday which means the weekend is only a squeak away now…phew!  I am delighted to welcome a wonderfully supportive blogger and another of my favourites to damppebbles today, the ever so lovely Cathy Ryan of BetweenTheLines ~ Books’N’Stuff.  You must, must, must check out Cathy’s blog if you don’t already.

If you haven’t seen any of my #R3COMM3ND3D2018 posts so far then where have you been for the last 20 or so days?! #R3COMM3ND3D2018 is a chance for book bloggers, authors and those who work in publishing to share three books they love with the rest of us.  The catch being, all three books must have been published in 2018.  Other than that, there are no rules.

Here are Cathy’s choices…

the tattooist of auschwitz

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a powerful and moving account of one man’s experience during the war, especially so because it’s a true story, and incredibly it’s also a love story. The author actually met Lale, the main character, and got the details first hand, so the perspective is quite personal. It really made an impression on me.
https://wp.me/p47cK4-5xs

the runaway wife.jpg

The Runaway Wife by Dee MacDonald
I enjoyed The Runaway Wife because it’s just a really fun read with an unexpected twist. It also has a more mature protagonist, which is a refreshing change, and one who isn’t content to make do with an unsatisfactory life. She loves her family but is tired of being taken for granted.
https://wp.me/p47cK4-5n9

bitter sun.jpg

Bitter Sun by Beth Lewis
Bitter Sun is a dark and disturbing tale with shocking twists, very evocative and something that’s not unrealistic. The author really brings the small town America of the period to life and it’s not a nice image. It’s quite tragic and very atmospheric.
https://wp.me/p47cK4-5zZ

Thanks so much for your choices, Cathy.  Good to see The Tattooist of Auschwitz making it’s second appearance.  It’s now one of only five books with two votes to it’s name.  I’ve added Bitter Sun to the wishlist as it sounds everything I want in a novel.

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

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris | The Runaway Wife by Dee MacDonald | Bitter Sun by Beth Lewis |

About Cathy:
I’ve always loved reading and books have been a constant throughout my life. Now I enjoy sharing, and finding new books through the wonderful blogging community. My ideal job would be in a book/coffee shop – the best of both worlds! Photography is a fairly new hobby which I’m having lots of fun with. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, walking by the sea with my dog, exploring new places, music and going to the theatre. And possibly the odd glass or two of wine! We’ve moved around quite a bit and are now based in (windy) North Wales.

Cathy’s Social Media Links:
BetweenTheLines ~ Books’N’Stuff | Twitter @CathyRy | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ |

Join me again tomorrow when I welcome another brilliant book blogger to share the book love and their three #R3COMM3ND3D2018 picks!

 

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #BookBlogger Zoé O’Farrell (@zooloo2008) #ZooloosBookDiary

A very good morning to you all.  I hope your Monday is looking to be a good one and the week ahead full of wonderful bookish delights.  A very warm welcome to today’s #R3COMM3ND3D2018 post.  I am delighted to welcome the fabulous Zoé O’Farrell of the brilliant Zooloo’s Book Diary to the blog today.  I haven’t been following Zoé’s blog all that long really but it has fast become one of my favourites.

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 is a chance for book bloggers, authors and those who work in publishing to share the book love.  Are there three books which immediately spring to mind?  Three books you think everyone else MUST READ?  That’s what #R3COMM3ND3D2018 is all about…providing the three books you choose were published this year in 2018!

Here are Zoé’s choices…

the lion tamer who lost.jpg

The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech
OMG why wouldn’t I recommend this book? Anyone who has read the review I wrote would see I was just in tears throughout.  In fact, I do not even know if my review makes sense, I just cried when I wrote it. It is such a beautiful love story, I am really protective over Ben and Andrew, they are my happy place for sure.
http://zooloosbookdiary.co.uk/bookreview-of-the-lion-tamer-who-lost-by-louise-beech-louisewriter-orendabooks-teamorenda-liontamerwholost

medium wave

Medium Wave by Rose Zolock (Becky Moran #1)
This is the first blog tour I ever took in so it will always have a special place in my heart. It was a supernaturally one and I was hooked by this book, I even got to chat the author a little on Twitter about it! This book gave me the biggest shivers and goosebumps…still just thinking about it! I can’t wait for the second book in this series!
http://zooloosbookdiary.co.uk/bookreview-of-medium-wave-by-rose-zolock-rosezolock-rararesources

do no harm.jpg

Do No Harm by L.V. Hay
This was a toss-up between two books that have given me book hangovers..and I highly recommend both can I name the other one?! [Sorry Zoé, only three!].  Anyway, this book gave me such a hangover it chilled me to the core! I actually wanted to cancel my weekend plans just to keep reading this (I didn’t but it was close!) This book is just unbelievable so many red herrings and when you get to the end….well jaw stayed on the floor for a few days! OMG left my mouth quite a lot.
http://zooloosbookdiary.co.uk/bookreview-of-do-no-harm-by-lv-hay

Great choices, thanks Zoé.  I loved seeing the reactions to The Lion Tamer Who Lost, there was so much love!  Do No Harm is on the TBR and I’m really looking forward to reading it as I thoroughly enjoyed The Other Twin by L.V. Hay.

If Zoé has managed to tempt you with her recommendations, or if you would like to find out more, then please see the following links:

The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech | Medium Wave by Rose Zolock | Do No Harm by L.V. Hay |

About Zoé:
Well, I am human and I go by the name of  Zoé (Zooloo being the nickname), a mother to a gorgeous little spitfire who is 4 years old and she definitely keeps me on my feet!

I am a wife to a soldier and have had to move around with him, but in his current posting we have found home surrounded by the White Cliffs of Dover and I have a cat which I am slightly obsessed with.

I could list the “normal” interests that everyone has like ‘listening to music’, ‘watching sports’, ‘watching TV and movies’ or ‘socialising with my friends’ but in truth, these are my interests outside of reading. I am OBSESSED with TV and movies, in another life, I would be a movie critic. I LOVE music, and I do love a good gig (I could bore you more!). I am an AVID sports watcher, football season ticket holder for Watford FC (promise they are real), and probably more boring watching the cricket. Finally, I do love socialising with my friends which is how my blog started…..I think they got bored with me talking about books…or generally talking!

Zoé’s Social Media Links:
Zooloo’s Book Diary | Twitter @zooloo2008 | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads |

#R3COMM3ND3D is full for this year so I’m sorry to say I’m not taking any more submissions.  Fret not though, #R3COMM3ND3D will return next year in the guise of #R3COMM3ND3D2019.  But until then we have lots more book recommendations to come.  If your TBR ends up touching the ceiling then don’t say I didn’t warn you…

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with #BookBlogger Yvonne Bastian (@yvonnembee) #MeandMyBooks

It’s Sunday, it’s the 18th November and it’s another fabulous #R3COMM3ND3D2018 post!  I hope your Sunday is going well so far.  For those in the UK it won’t really have had a chance to get going yet as this post is scheduled for 7.30am and we’ll all hopefully still be in the land of nod (unless you have young children of course, then you will have been up for hours!).

I am delighted to welcome a fabulous blogger (another favourite!) to damppebbles today to share their #R3COMM3ND3D2018 picks, Yvonne Bastian of Me and My Books.  If you haven’t checked out Yvonne’s blog then you must!  I always enjoy reading her reviews.

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 is a chance for book bloggers, authors and those who work in publishing to shout about three books they love.  There’s a catch though, the books must have been published this year in 2018.  That’s the only rule.  All three books must be 2018 titles.

Here are Yvonne’s choices…

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Sunset Over The Cherry Orchard by Jo Thomas
This book definitely transported me. It took me to the rural setting of Spain as I followed the main character through her journey. This book had a fantastic story line, an atmospheric and picturesque setting, some great local details and I just fell in love with the characters, the story, the setting and the …well everything.
https://vonnibee.com/2018/08/28/sunset-over-the-cherry-orchard-by-jo-thomas-jo_thomas01-bookreview/

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The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton
If there was a book that made me feel claustrophobic then this is it. Not only does it have a local history aspect that has been brilliantly woven into the story, it has the most wonderful descriptions that had me on the edge of my seat. The story is one that comes full circle as details are filled in about the characters. A spine tingler and skin crawling book that I loved.
https://vonnibee.com/2018/08/03/the-charftsman-by-sharon-bolton-bookreview/

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Dear Mrs Bird by A.J. Pearce
This was such a great book to read as I followed Emmy on her journey to become a Lady War Correspondent only to discover that the job was not quite what she expected. There were some great fun moments in this story set during World War II. I liked the way the author mixed the good and the bad to create a story that had me hooked as well as sniggering, crying and grinning as I turned the pages.
https://vonnibee.com/2018/04/01/bookreview-dear-mrs-bird-by-aj-pearce-ajpearcewrites-panmacmillan-netgalley/

Great choices, thanks Yvonne.  This is the second mention for the brilliant The Craftsman which is now joint first with Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon, The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven and Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh.  All four books have two votes each.  Will one of these titles be crowned the winner of #R3COMM3ND3D2018?  We’ll have to wait and see…

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

Sunset Over The Cherry Orchard by Jo Thomas | The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton | Dear Mrs Bird by A.J. Pearce |

About Yvonne:
I’m Yvonne and I have a mountain of a problem…its called my TBR but thankfully I know I’m not alone. I live in Cornwall and I am a avid book reader, reviewer and Book Blogger. I love reading a whole range of different genres that cover a multitude of different subjects. I like a book that will transport me, that will show me new and interesting things, that will scare the pants off me, that will have me laughing and or crying, that will have me on the edge of my seat and inspire me, that will challenge my thoughts, that will leave me wanting to read more by the author. Choosing just three books is a hard thing to do, actually choosing three out of most things in life is hard, but only three books!! Yes I am a book reader and I love being a book reader 🙂 [Sorry Yvonne, you’re not the first to say so, lol]

Yvonne’s Social Media Links:
Me and My Books | Twitter @yvonnembee | Facebook |

#R3COMM3ND3D for this year is full! There are still lots of wonderful book recommendations to come though, between now and the end of the year.  So make sure you pop back tomorrow for more bookish delights!

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

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

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

Here are Robyn’s choices…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 with Freelance Blogger, Reviewer and Commentator on Crime Fiction Ayo Onatade (@shotsblog) #ShotsmagConfidential

I am thrilled to welcome a widely respected freelance blogger, reviewer and commentator who has her finger on the pulse of all things crime fiction. The fabulous Ayo Onatade of Shotsmag Confidential joins me to share her #R3COMM3ND3D2018 reads. If you’re a crime fiction fan and you’re not already following the brilliant Shotsmag Confidential then I strongly suggest you do. It’s a treasure trove of bookish goodies.

#R3COMM3ND3D2018 is a chance for bookish folk to shout about three books they love. I’m not fussy about the author, the title or the publisher. It could be anything…providing it was published this year in 2018. Not as easy as it sounds (or so I have been told).

Here are Ayo’s choices…

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Hellbent by Gregg Hurwitz (Orphan X #3)
The third book in the brilliant OrphanX series. Raw, visceral action writing layered with rare depth and emotion, that will keep you turning the pages. A fun thriller that with each book getting better and better.

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Sunburn by Laura Lippman
Modern noir written by one of the best chronicles of American life. A suspenseful, page turner that has you wishing for more. A very twisty satisfying read.

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The Woman in the Woods by John Connolly (A Charlie Parker Thriller #16)
A beautifully written but disturbing story with a supernatural element that does not take away from the brutality of the crime. Totally enthralling and unsettling but a brilliant read.

Thanks Ayo, all three of your choices have gone straight onto the wish list! All three sound excellent reads and I can’t wait to get my mitts on them all.

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

| Hellbent by Gregg Hurwitz | Sunburn by Laura Lippman | The Woman in the Woods by John Connolly |

About Ayo:
Ayo Onatade is a freelance crime fiction critic and blogger. She has written a number of articles on different aspects of crime fiction and has also given papers on the subject as well. She has an eclectic taste in crime fiction, which runs the gamut from historical crime fiction to hardboiled and short stories. Her research interests include historical fiction especially crime fiction and crime fiction literary criticism. She is also a visiting lecturer at Kingston University.

Ayo’s Social Media Links:
| Shotsmag Confidential | Twitter @Shotsblog | Facebook |

Normally at this point I would be encouraging you to sign up for #R3COMM3ND3D2018 but it’s full for the year, YAY! Lots more posts to come before the end of the year though – we’ll have book recommendations coming out of our ears and I can’t wait!

#BlogTour | #BookReview: Good Samaritans by Will Carver (@will_carver) @OrendaBooks #GoodSamaritans

GOOD SAMARITANS AW PR1.indd

“One crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach.

Seth Beauman can’t sleep. He stays up late, calling strangers from his phonebook, hoping to make a connection, while his wife, Maeve, sleeps upstairs. A crossed wire finds a suicidal Hadley Serf on the phone to Seth, thinking she is talking to The Samaritans.

But a seemingly harmless, late-night hobby turns into something more for Seth and for Hadley, and soon their late-night talks are turning into day-time meet-ups. And then this dysfunctional love story turns into something altogether darker, when Seth brings Hadley home…

And someone is watching…

Dark, sexy, dangerous and wildly readable, Good Samaritans marks the scorching return of one of crime fiction’s most exceptional voices.”

I am delighted to welcome you to the blog today and to my stop on the Good Samaritans blog tour. Good Samaritans is written by Will Carver and was published by Orenda Books in paperback yesterday.

I’m pretty much a single genre reader. I don’t mind that, it’s my personal choice. I love crime fiction and I’m more than happy to spend my days immersing myself in some brilliant dark stories. But I find that, as time progresses, it takes a really unexpected twist or a different slant to grab my attention and keep it. I often find, whilst reading a book, that I can pretty much guess which direction the plot will go in. That’s why Good Samaritans was such a breath of fresh air. What a book! If the eye-catching cover doesn’t grab you (that gorgeous yellow and blue!), if the tagline doesn’t pique your interest; ‘One crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach’. C’mon, you’re intrigued, right? Then let me assure you, the author’s words will certainly demand your attention 100%. The story Carver shares with us is something else, something fresh, something exciting and I loved it!

Shortly after starting this book I realised I had already become heavily invested in the characters’ lives. They’re all a little peculiar but that just made them more appealing to me. They’re human, they’re flawed, they are perfect. I couldn’t stop myself from reading. This was one of those ‘just another chapter’ books and when I was carrying out mundane ‘life stuff’, I was thinking about Seth, Hadley and Maeve. So involved was I in their lives that I had almost forgotten I was reading a suspense novel. That’s when the first shock twist hit. I remember the sharp intake of breath I took, the dizzying realisation of what was happening and the heart-stopping ‘nooooooooooo’ which rang through my mind. From that point on I could predict which direction the story was headed but oh my gosh, I loved it! It really didn’t matter one jot.

The plot is seamless, I was so absorbed in the story I didn’t feel as though I was reading a book (hopefully I’m not the only person this happens to, where you’re so involved you forget what you’re actually doing!). This is a book which will stay with me for a long time to come and I expect it will get a mention on my top 10 of the year. It was so exquisitely different, so utterly refreshing and so dark – I flipping loved it!

I will say one more thing before I sign off. I’m not a lover of sexy scenes in the books I read. Often they seem unnecessary, like the author wants to add an extra *shock* factor by including a few saucy bits here and there. Good Samaritans is quite naughty (it’s doing quite well in the ‘erotica’ section on Amazon as I type). However, I didn’t feel the author was trying to pad the story out, the scenes felt a necessary part of the story and to be honest, I wasn’t the slightest bit offended by them. Saying that, if sexual content is not your thing you may want to give this book a swerve.

Would I recommend this book? Oh yes! I love this book and I want you to read it and love it too. It’s brilliantly done and something quite special. A book which will stay with me. I loved all of the characters and their devious, dark little ways. Will Carver has become an author to watch out for in the future because if this is the quality of work he is producing then oh boy, I want more! Memorable, dark, highly readable and something completely different! Loved it. Want more. Now please….

Five out of five stars.

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

Good Samaritans by Will Carver was published in the UK by Orenda Books on 15th November 2018 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | BookDepository | Goodreads |

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Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series (Arrow). He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age 11, when his sporting career took off.

He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company.

He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, while working on his next thriller. He lives in Reading with his two children.

Author Links: | Twitter | Facebook |