TBR Thursday 56…

Episode 56


The TBR is down 4 this week to 135! Am I on target to meet my New Year’s Resolution to reduce it to 70 by the end of the year? Hmm…

Here are a few forthcoming attractions – no fiction this week since I’ve just started the 800+ pages of Death and Mr Pickwick, which I suspect may take some time…



the rival queens

Courtesy of Weidenfield & Nicolson, this is subtitled “Catherine de’ Medici, her daughter Marguerite de Valois, and the Betrayal that Ignited a Kingdom”. Sounds fun!

The Blurb says Set in magnificent Renaissance France, this is the story of two remarkable women, a mother and daughter driven into opposition by a terrible betrayal that threatened to destroy the realm. Catherine de’ Medici was a ruthless pragmatist and powerbroker who dominated the throne for thirty years. Her youngest daughter Marguerite, the glamorous “Queen Margot,” was a passionate free spirit, the only adversary whom her mother could neither intimidate nor control. When Catherine forces the Catholic Marguerite to marry her Protestant cousin Henry of Navarre against her will, and then uses her opulent Parisian wedding as a means of luring his followers to their deaths, she creates not only savage conflict within France but also a potent rival within her own family.

Rich in detail and vivid prose, Goldstone’s narrative unfolds as a thrilling historical epic. Treacherous court politics, poisonings, inter-national espionage, and adultery form the background to a story that includes such celebrated figures as Elizabeth I, Mary, Queen of Scots, and Nostradamus. The Rival Queens is a dangerous tale of love, betrayal, ambition, and the true nature of courage, the echoes of which still resonate.”

 * * * * *



children of duneWill the two horrid little kids be as weird as their Dad, Paul Muad’Dib? Will Alia still be in love with a walking corpse? Will Lady Jessica be worried about wrinkles now she’s a gran? All will be revealed as the great Dune readalong continues…

The Blurb says “The epic that began with the HUGO and NEBULA Award-winning classic DUNE continues …

The sand-blasted world of Arrakis has become green, watered and fertile. Old Paul Atreides, who led the desert Fremen to political and religious domination of the galaxy, is gone. But for the children of Dune, the very blossoming of their land contains the seeds of its own destruction. The altered climate is destroying the giant sandworms, and this in turn is disastrous for the planet’s economy.

Leto and Ghanima, Paul Atreides’s twin children and his heirs, can see possible solutions – but fanatics begin to challenge the rule of the all-powerful Atreides empire, and more than economic disaster threatens …”

* * * * *



amokCourtesy of Audible via MidasPR. I loved the half-narration/half dramatisation format of The Child, and this new production of another Sebastian Fitzek novel promises to be just as good… fabulous cast! (Adrian Lester! Yum-yum!) And Robert Glenister doing the narrating bit.

The Blurb says Based on Sebastian Fitzek’s best-selling novel Amok Spiel, Amok stars Rafe Spall (Prometheus and Life of Pi), Adrian Lester (Hustle and Merlin) and Natasha McElhone (Californication and The Truman Show). The thriller follows an intense hostage situation unfolding at a radio station where a crazed psychopath, Jan May (Adrian Lester), initiates a morbid mind-game. While the show is on air, he calls members of the public at random. If they pick up the phone with a certain phrase, a hostage is set free. If they don’t, a hostage is shot live on-air until the killer’s demands are met.

Struggling with her own personal demons, renowned criminal psychologist, Ira Samin (Natasha McElhone) is called upon by her former fling Olivier Götz (Rafe Spall) – leader of a Special Operations Command troop – to assist in the harrowing circumstances.A specialist in the field, Ira faces a seemingly futile negotiation, played out to millions of transfixed radio listeners.”

* * * * *



humber boy bCourtesy of NetGalley and highly recommended by Cleo at Cleopatra Loves Books and by Carol at Reading, Writing and Riesling. How could I resist?

The Blurb saysA child is killed after falling from the Humber Bridge. Despite fleeing the scene, two young brothers are found guilty and sent to prison. Upon their release they are granted one privilege only, their anonymity. Probation officer Cate Austin is responsible for Humber Boy B’s reintegration into society. But the general public’s anger is steadily growing, and those around her are wondering if the secret of his identity is one he actually deserves to keep. Cate’s loyalty is challenged when she begins to discover the truth of the crime. She must ask herself if a child is capable of premeditated murder. Or is there a greater evil at play?”

* * * * *


NB All blurbs taken from NetGalley, Goodreads, Amazon or publicity bumph.

So…what do you think? Do any of these tempt you?

39 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 56…

  1. *laughs about the Dune description* Do you suppose it’s so dreadfully impossible for Chani not to come back? I mean…if that other beast might. Rats.

    FEF! You shouldn’t make resolutions you can’t keep!


    • But she’d have to be a zombie, and even you might not find her quite so attractive then! Perhaps this is the book when you’ll finally fall in love with Irulan…

      *shamed* Well… but then I’d never be able to make any…


      • I don’t see how! She killed Chani and Paul! But she is very interesting. I don’t quite understand her.

        *laughs* I know, right? That’s how it always is. That’s why I don’t make any.


  2. My husband really liked Children of Dune, FictionFan, for what that’s worth. He’s much more knowledgeable about sci-fi than I am. I’m quite tempted by Humber Boy B. I keep hearing good things about it. And it highlights some wrenching issues we have to face as a society.


    • Oh good! I’ve just read the first few chapters (of “Children” that is) and I must say it’s shaping up well so far. “Humber Boy B” does look good and though it’s based on a real case the author seems to take it in a different direction, which I’m glad about.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Humber Boy B caught my attention. That is an interesting question that is posed about children and
    premeditated murder. I would say yes, they can. I don’t mean that they understand exactly what they are doing. But they are certainly capable.


    • Yes, I think it’s based on a real case over here – the Bulger case – don’t know if you’ve heard of it? Though I think the author takes it in a different directoon to the real one. Having worked with boys from about nine up, I’m pretty sure they’re well able, most of them, to know what murder is.


      • There are other stories, too, where boys killed. Lord of the Flies comes to mind. That may have been fiction, but it is creepy enough that I got rid of the book. I had to read it for a 20th Century British Authors class.


        • I haven’t read that one since I was a teenager for school. Really must read it again sometime and see what adult me thinks of it. The sign of a good book is that I still remember lots of the story quite clearly…

          Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I like the sound of that one too. I don’t know as much about Catherine de Medici as I’d like too, so I’m hoping it’ll be an entertaining way to learn more…


  4. Rival Queens piqued my interest too – but as I’m very slowly working through a 700 page fascinating whopper on popular music spanning some 120 years, with Vine clock tick tocking away, it might slip through the net for me (unless there is a chapter heading in my popular music book called Rival to Queen, in which case memory will be jogged.

    AND I’ve just embarked on the only unread by me Tana French which will be another 700 odd pages, I think, though because its on Kindle I’m protected from instantly knowing that!


    • I really try to avoid factual books from Vine now – not that they offer me many anyway. But I hate that tick-tock feeling. I’m totally swamped just now – massive Stalin bio, 500 pages in the crime novel You, 800 in Death and Mr Pickwick, and about 400 in Children of Dune. AND I’m listening to an audiobook too! It’s all gone horribly wrong again – my reading schedule system needs an overhaul, I think…


  5. I’m so pleased your resolution is going well 😉 I have some audible credits so the one that attracts me most is Amok. I’m glad there is someone to share the blame if you don’t for any reason like Humber Boy B which I hope you will – thanks for the mention 🙂


    • You’re just jealous of my iron willpower! Amok is good so far, but not quite as good as The Child I think – although it had a disappointing ending. But very much worth listening to for the acting and sound – both of them. My pleasure – and I promise to spread the blame equally if it all goes horribly wrong… 😉


  6. That last one sounds the best to me. I must say, FF, you’re terribly ambitious starting an 800+ page fiction work!! I hope the chapters are short and the storyline fascinating (otherwise, I’m afraid I’d have a tough time keeping awake to read it!!)


    • The theory is one long book and lots of short ones – but it’s all gone horribly wrong at the moment and I seem to be reading ridiculously long books all the time. Still, the first couple of chapters look promising. Yes, Humber Boy B looks good and I’m trusting Cleo and Carol… they’re in big trouble if I don’t like it! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. These all sound interesting – oh Dear! – but I refuse – REFUSE, do you hear – to add anything, especially since your Knox review sent me back to reread MacCulloch’s “Reformation” ( a mere 700+ pages). If I could stop rereading books I might have more time for new ones.


    • I’m the other way round – I’m so inundated with new stuff I hardly ever get a chance to read old favourites. We should swap for a bit! These audio ones are great late-night listening…


  8. Fantastic choice – I’d say you can’t go wrong with any of them. I read Children of Dune too many years ago to think about – loved the Dune books then. Of the rest I’d probably start with The Rival Queens.


    • I’ve just started Children of Dune, and so far it’s even better than the first two. The Rival Queens looks great, doesn’t it? I must say there’s been a lot of really brilliant history books recently – they really seem to have worked out how to make them work for a non-academic audience.


  9. The Rival Queens sounds really interesting..I know almost nothing of Italian history..and I’m in a (very rare) history mood at the moment.. 🙂
    Forgive me if this is dumb..but I’ve been meaning to ask you for a long time..TBR means To Be Read..right? 😛


    • I’m really enjoying the surge of readable history books at the moment – they’re so different from the dry academic stuff that used to make history so dull.

      Haha! Yes, sorry, I’ve been moaning about my TBR pile for so long I’d forgotten some people won’t know what it stands for – To Be Read is right. So… over a year’s worth on my current list… *sobs*

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m just about to start it – hope it’s as good as it sounds! The John Knox one by Jane Dawson that I recently read is an excellent biography/history – highly recommended… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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