TBR Thursday 53 – The People’s Choice…

The People’s Choice 7…


The TBR has dipped to below 140!! OK, only to 139, but still!

So…time for another look at some of the great reviews around the blogosphere, and for you to help me choose which one of these books deserves to be added to my TBR. Steering clear of factual since I have about a million of them already waiting, but a good mix of fiction and crime, I think. And an extremely difficult choice.

So which one will you vote for? The winner will be announced next Thursday…

With my usual grateful thanks to all the reviewers who’ve intrigued and inspired me over the last few weeks, here are:

The Contenders…


the burning airThe BlurbThe MacBrides have always gone to Far Barn in Devon for Bonfire Night, but this year everything is different. Lydia, the matriarch, is dead; Sophie, the eldest daughter, is desperately trying to repair a crumbling marriage; and Felix, the youngest of the family, has brought a girlfriend with him for the first time. The girl, Kerry, seems odd in a way nobody can quite put their finger on – but when they leave her looking after Sophie’s baby daughter, and return to find both Kerry and the baby gone, they are forced to ask themselves if they have allowed a cuckoo into their nest…

Cleo says: “In many ways The Burning Air is a book about moral issues with degrees of guilt and innocence being far more important, certainly in the background to this story, than the absolutes of right and wrong. I prefer my reading matter not to be black and white and so I think this book will be interpreted in a variety of ways depending on how morally responsible the reader holds the perpetrator.

See the full review at Petrona Remembered where Cleo was guest reviewing


mister pipThe BlurbOn a copper-rich tropical island shattered by war, where the teachers have fled with most everyone else, only one white man chooses to stay behind: the eccentric Mr. Watts, object of much curiosity and scorn, who sweeps out the ruined schoolhouse and begins to read to the children each day from Charles Dickens’s classic Great Expectations.

So begins this rare, original story about the abiding strength that imagination, once ignited, can provide. As artillery echoes in the mountains, thirteen-year-old Matilda and her peers are riveted by the adventures of a young orphan named Pip in a city called London, a city whose contours soon become more real than their own blighted landscape. As Mr. Watts says, “A person entranced by a book simply forgets to breathe.” Soon come the rest of the villagers, initially threatened, finally inspired to share tales of their own that bring alive the rich mythology of their past. But in a ravaged place where even children are forced to live by their wits and daily survival is the only objective, imagination can be a dangerous thing.

katenich says: “This book left me with a lingering sense of loss and a burning desire to read Great Expectations. This is a book about the power of stories and the way great stories help us to understand the world.  It is also about what makes people part of a community, and how communities behave when they are under pressure. The final theme through the book is about how people can re-invent themselves, like young Pip, and the challenges of reconciling your new self with your old home – the migrant’s loss of belonging.”

See the full review at Blogging Around My Bookcase


turn of the tideThe Blurb – Set in 16th Century Scotland Munro owes allegiance to the Cunninghames and to the Earl of Glencairn. Trapped in the 150-year-old feud between the Cunninghames and the Montgomeries, he escapes the bloody aftermath of an ambush, but he cannot escape the disdain of the wife he sought to protect, or his own internal conflict. He battles with his conscience and with divided loyalties – to age-old obligations, to his wife and children, and, most dangerous of all, to a growing friendship with the rival Montgomerie clan. Intervening to diffuse a quarrel that flares between a Cunninghame cousin and Hugh Montgomerie, he succeeds only in antagonizing William, the arrogant and vicious Cunninghame heir. And antagonizing William is a dangerous game to play…

Margaret says: “I loved it. It’s historical fiction and it captivated me completely transporting me  back in time to 16th century Scotland. If you have ever wondered, as I have, what it must have been like to live in a Tower House in the Scottish Borders then this book spells it out so clearly. And it puts you firmly in the middle of the centuries old feud between the Cunninghames and the Montgomeries, with all the drama of their battles, ambushes and schemes to further their standing with the young King James VI. It’s a tale of love, loyalty, tragedy and betrayal.

See the full review at Books Please


notes on a scandalThe Blurb – Schoolteacher Barbara Covett has led a solitary life until Sheba Hart, the new art teacher at St. George’s, befriends her. But even as their relationship develops, so too does another: Sheba has begun an illicit affair with an underage male student. When the scandal turns into a media circus, Barbara decides to write an account in her friend’s defense–and ends up revealing not only Sheba’s secrets, but also her own.

Gemma says: Notes on a Scandal is very well written novel; Heller’s prose is insightful, perfectly depicting these two very different women. The lines and passages on loneliness are highlights for me. She depicts Barbara excellently, deftly describing loneliness in language which immediately captures what Barbara is feeling. The novel reminds me of Nabokov’s Lolita in the way that it’s written on a topic that’s uncomfortable to read about. Yet my overwhelming feeling after finishing the book and reflecting on it now is that it’s less about the affair between Sheba and the student, and more about the relationship between Barbara and Sheba.

See the full review at The Perfectionist Pen


the twelveThe BlurbFormer paramilitary killer Gerry Fegan is haunted by his victims, twelve souls who shadow his every waking day and scream through every drunken night. Just as he reaches the edge of sanity they reveal their desire: vengeance on those who engineered their deaths. From the greedy politicians to the corrupt security forces, the street thugs to the complacent bystanders who let it happen, all must pay the price. When Fegan’s vendetta threatens to derail Northern Ireland’s peace process and destabilise its fledgling government, old comrades and enemies alike want him gone. David Campbell, a double agent lost between the forces of law and terror, takes the job. But he has his own reasons for eliminating Fegan; the secrets of a dirty war should stay buried, even if its ghosts do not. Set against the backdrop of a post-conflict Northern Ireland struggling with its past, The Twelve takes the reader from the back streets of the city, where violence and politics go hand-in-hand, to the country’s darkest heart.

Cathy says: The Twelve may read initially like a standard revenge thriller, but it is also an exploration of the corrupt underbelly of Northern Ireland politics and the price we have had to pay for an uneasy peace. Neville uses this political reality to give depth and detail to what could have simply been a genre piece and has produced a tight, taut gem of a book.”

See the full review at 746 Books


NB All blurbs and covers are taken from Goodreads.

Yet again I love the sound of all of these so…over to you! Choose just one or as many as you like – the book with most votes will be this week’s winner…

Hope you pick a good one! 😉

68 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 53 – The People’s Choice…

    • I loved the film of Notes on a Scandal and from the review it sounds as if for once it stuck fairly closely to the book. But The Twelve does sound fantastic – enough time has passed now maybe for people to start examining the Troubes with the perspective that a bit of distance can give…

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This is a tough choice this week, I agree with you there. But for me, it has to be Mister Pip – just reading the blurb gave me tingles and little hairs stood on end in places I didn’t even know I had hairs! It sounds delightful. I have read Notes On A Scandal (I am drawn to things with ‘scandal’ in the title) and it is a very good book indeed. The Burning Air sounds pretty sinister indeed, so I would be equally happy if that won, too. I think you do very well well the keep the TBR under such control. You must weild a very big stick at it!


  2. Not an easy decision at all, FictionFan! I’ve voted, but if you’d allowed the option, I’d have voted for ‘all of the above…’


  3. I’ve picked 2 for you (and I guess for my TBR, this week!) Which have I picked?…if you get both of them right you get a prize (I haven’t worked out what that should be yet) Or maybe not – it’s a pretty easy choice really, once you eliminate subject matter I wouldn’t immediately be drawn to.


    • Easy-peasy! Mister Pip and Notes on a Scandal! I hope my prize is anything but MORE BOOKS!!!

      Why is no-one voting for the Scottish book – I may have to do some vote-rigging myself soon…


      • Well done! But I’m so sorry, I thought you might NOT get them, because you might distrust the fact that the solution seemed SO obvious and think it was a red herring, a double bluff, etc. So I’m afraid I’ve just eaten your prize.


  4. I feel obliged to vote for Mister Pip, but Turn of the Tide sounds really tempting to me too. I have a real weakness for historical fiction and it sounds like a great story. The 16th century is a really interesting period too. It would be interesting to hear your opinion of Mister Pip though. Decisions, decisions…


    • It’s a hard choice – the good thing is that if you all don’t vote for the right one I can just ignore you all! 😉 Mister Pip does sound good though, and is in a runaway lead at the moment. But Turn of the Tide sounds just my kind of thing too – Margaret’s always finding Scottish authors and books I’m ashamed to never have heard of. I suspect more than one might sneak on to the TBR this week…


  5. I voted for Notes on a Scandal, because it is a master class in self-delusion and unreliability. Just so, so cleverly done! I haven’t read Mister Pip but have to admit that’s the most intriguing unknown one.


    • I felt that way about the film too, aided of course by a marvellous performance from Judi Dench, so I’d be glad if that one won. Though Mister Pip sounds great too… and the others! I’m glad I don’t have to decide… 😉


  6. *laughs* Well…that’s a lot of books there! I think you just get interested in too muchly much.

    First off, Kerry is not a girl’s name! Or maybe it is. That would be really funny.

    Mister Pip looks mighty good. A bit crazy for the head, but good. And it’s winning! I’m always on the winning team, you know, you know.


    • I know! Maybe instead of me keeping your TBR, you should keep mine! Hmm… that might actually be quite an intriguing thought…

      Oh, it is! Do Americans call boys Kerry then? Why funny??

      See, I was sure you’d either go for The Twelve or Turn of the Tide – you constantly surprise me! I should point out that Notes on a Scandal is catching up on Mister Pip… you might still lose!


      • I’m game, if you are! First thing I’d do: clear it all off. Except Dune Messiah, of course. And then I’d add a Dumas book.

        I”m not sure…I think? Now that you ask, I really don’t know. That’s something you should know. Professors don’t bother with that sort of thing. I can’t tell you!

        Turn of the Tide looks like it would be good, too. The Twelve… *does little hand gesture* No! You can’t read that one. Remember? I’m in charge of your TBR the sudden.


        • Hmm…you’re ganging up against me with Nick! Well, I might consider a Dumas – but something shorter than 1300 pages please!! And you can’t clear off all the Austens and Dickens books…

          *laughs* I only asked!! No need to get in a pother! You just go back to doing what(ever it is) Professors’ do…

          *shivers* What have I done? What have I done?? I’ll have to start sneaking in extra books when you’re not looking…


          • Huff-Hum! Looks like the professor isn’t in charge after all. But I agree about the 1300 pages. That’s cruel to do to anyone–even a reader!

            Yes, I think we think on moons and that sort of thing.

            That’s cheating! And cheating, is outlawed!


            • Yes, Nick is very cruel! You should beat him! And video it…

              *nods* That does sound Professorial! And then of course you have to mull over Shnoddy’s proverbs.

              But… you’ve only put one and a half books on my list, and I’ve read part of one of them – I can’t survive! If you can’t get the list up to at least ten, then I’m afraid you’re fired…


            • *laughing* Well, you got me reading the whole Dune series! (The Black Tulip is my favorite.)

              I do that a bit as well, and I make you do it from time to time!

              Okay, you’ll have to read Robin Hood and Ben-Hur…and…that’s good for now. All I can think on.


            • Oh, I only talked you into the first one – you volunteered for the rest!

              I know! *puts head in hands and groans*

              Nope! You promised you’d never make me read Ben Hur, and anyway you didn’t make ten, so you’re fired!! *skips off, Ben Hur-less*


            • Ooh, it’s quite exciting now… *wide eyes*

              I’ve learned to be heartless from you. Anyway, your poor brain would melt if you had to think about my books all day…


            • Trying to protect Chani at the moment, but he’s doing a rotten job. He needs beat with something, I fear. (Alia’s relationship should just be ended!)

              Than guitar…and sand…and blueberries. And Tharks, of course.


            • He is! Totally rotten! I think he’s a rubbish Emperor – I reckon you should challenge him for the job. I feel Chani’s life might depend on it… (Isn’t it just ughhhhhh?!?)

              Awww! That’s a coincidence, ‘cos I’d prefer to think about you and your guitar than books! *waits for Friday*


            • I would, too! I fear the first thing I’d do is lock Irulan away. Or…Chani would go with Paul. So, maybe I’d marry her. If Chani dies, I’ll dig Mr. H. up and…you know! I can’t believe what a mess Paul is making of things. Idiot. Lady J should never have left. (It is! She’s insane, I suppose.)

              *eyes open widely* Really? That’s huge coming from you. *smiles really bigly*


            • Aha! You would marry Chani! I knew you’d fallen in love with her, o “heartless” one! But I still think you’re being very unfair to Irulan – it’s Paul who should be locked away, then Chani, Alia and Irulan could rule together. I bet they’d do a better job of it! *nods feministically*

              Really, truly!! Anyone can read, you know, you know, and it would seem from the blogosphere that I’m the only person in the world who’s not writing a book. But not many people are truly talented musicians… *smiles proudly at her C-W-W*


            • *mouth drops* How can you say that about Irulan! Look here, she’s trying to kill Paul…and you like him! Well, I don’t know…Alia has a major problem the sudden, wouldn’t you say? The person who should rule is Stil!

              Aww! *melts into little bits all over the floor and smiles bigly big* Thanks, FEF. That really means the world to me. *maybe gives FEF a hug*


            • She doesn’t want to kill him! She wants to have his baby!!! Good noodles! You’re so unfair to her!! Alia would most certainly have to reconsider her dating policy, that’s for sure, but I still think the girls would be better at the whole thing. Your Chani would look lovely in royal robes…

              Aww! See, now I’ve melted too…!!


            • You know, the more I think on it, I think they should take the importance in a royal heir all the way down! Who cares anyway? I mean, it’d be better to keep the throne circulating. She’s not my Chani, dadblameit!

              *runs and holds ears*


            • I agree! *thinks of Prince Charles and shudders* In fact the whole society set-up is curiously old-fashioned, isn’t it? I wonder why he went for that – it would have been old-fashioned even when he was writing. And I can’t really see people like the Fremen accepting anyone as their leader unless they proved themselves worthy. And…what if your Chani has a girl?!?


            • It is! I was wondering about that, too. But from his picture…I can tell he’s old fashioned, too. Oh well. Then they should make her queen–and quick! Anyone would be better than Paul…


  7. “The TBR has dipped to below 140!! ” Apparently, partying is not the only thing you’ve been doing recently. I voted for all of them. I don’t remember the last time when one of these lists all appeal to me. You might have to get some help with all of these.


  8. I voted for Notes on a Scandal because I’ve read it and loved the story and the writing and hasn’t read the others, but maybe that isn’t a fair reason to vote. Similar to choosing a chocolate brand that I know and love without giving any other type of chocolates a chance…


    • Ah, well, now, if it was five different boxes of chocolates, I wouldn’t need help choosing – I’d just eat them all! 😉

      But a vote based on having enjoyed a book is good, ‘cos it’s an extra endorsement for the book – it’s neck and neck between your choice and Mister Pip now…

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I am incredibly impressed with your TBR reduction 😉 What a fantastic selection you have for us to choose from! Once again thank you for my mention, I’m in a quandary because I highly rate The Burning Air but a long time favourite of mine is Notes On A Scandal!


    • Haha! Me too! As usual I love the sound of them all, but it’s looking like it’s either going to be Mister Pip or Notes on a Scandal, unless one of the others makes a dramatic late run…

      Liked by 1 person

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