TBR Thursday 59…

Episode 59


A massive decrease in the TBR this week – to 140. I’m powering through the books but developing a backlog for review. This is due to a combination of summer, tennis and general procrastination – all of which have meant I haven’t been visiting your blogs this week either, for which my apologies! Wimbledon is underway so I may not be around much for the next week or so, but should be back properly after that, revitalised and ready to serve up some backhanded reviews and slice a few more off the reading list. Hope I don’t hit any ballboys…

Vamos Rafa!
Vamos Rafa!

Meantime, a few that are rising to the top of the heap. A mixed bag this time – the only one I feel really confident about is the Ken Kalfus…



coup de foudreThis book has been a long time in the publishing – I originally pre-ordered it in January 2014, and still no Kindle version available, and I’m not sure the hardback is out yet either over here, though it is in the US. However with Kalfus I’m sure it will have been worth the wait…

The Blurb says The third collection by the celebrated author of Thirst and PEN/Faulkner Award finalist Pu-239 and Other Russian Fantasies, Coup de Foudre is the groundbreaking work of literary invention Ken Kalfus’s fans have come to expect. The book is anchored by the biting title novella, a sometimes comic, ultimately tragic story about the president of an international lending institution accused of sexually assaulting a chambermaid in a New York hotel. With irony and compassion, Kalfus skewers international political gridlock and the hypocrisies of acceptable sexual conduct. The stories in Coup de Foudre vary boldly in theme, setting, and tone, yet they each share Kalfus’s distinctive humor and intellect, inextricably bound with high literary ambition.

 * * * * *


skinCourtesy of NetGalley. I have no idea why I requested this! I must have been having a funny spell…it just doesn’t sound like my kind of thing at all. But maybe it’ll be great…

The Blurb says “Imagine a world where everyone is born with a ‘skin’ name. Without skin you cannot learn, you are not permitted to marry, and you grow up an outsider amongst your own people.This is no future dystopia. This is Celtic Britain.

It is AD 43. For the Caer Cad, ‘skin’ name determines lineage and identity. Ailia does not have skin; despite this, she is a remarkable young woman, intelligent, curious and brave. As a dark threat grows on the horizon – the aggressive expansion of the Roman Empire – Ailia must embark on an unsanctioned journey to attain the knowledge that will protect her people, and their pagan way of life, from the most terrifying invaders they have ever faced… and it is this unskinned girl who will come to hold the fate of her people in her hands.

SKIN is a standout, full-blooded debut which invokes the mesmerizing, genre-transcending magic of novels such as Jean M. Auel’s Clan of the Cavebear; it combines epic storytelling with a strikingly unique plot set during a fascinating period of Britain’s history.

* * * * *



little black liesCourtesy of NetGalley. I love Sharon Bolton’s Lacey Flint series, but I’m not so sure how I’ll feel about this standalone. However I think she’s a great storyteller, so hopefully she’ll carry me with her… (I’ve started it since I drafted this – hmm! Still not sure…)

The Blurb says What’s the worst thing your best friend could do to you?

Admittedly, it wasn’t murder. A moment’s carelessness, a tragic accident – and two children are dead. Yours. Living in a small island community, you can’t escape the woman who destroyed your life. Each chance encounter is an agonizing reminder of what you’ve lost – your family, your future, your sanity. How long before revenge becomes irresistible? With no reason to go on living, why shouldn’t you turn your darkest thoughts into deeds?

So now, what’s the worst thing you can do to your best friend?

* * * * *

the case of the dotty dowagerCourtesy of NetGalley. Given my growing aversion to ‘gritty’ modern crime fiction (i.e., police brutality, drunkenness and swearing), I’m hoping this title suggests something a bit more mystery and a bit less graphic…

The Blurb saysMeet the Women of the WISE Enquiries Agency. The first in a new series.

Henry Twyst, eighteenth Duke of Chellingworth, is convinced his mother is losing her marbles. She claims to have seen a corpse on the dining-room floor, but all she has to prove it is a bloodied bobble hat. Worried enough to retain the women of the WISE Enquiries Agency one is Welsh, one Irish, one Scottish and one English Henry wants the strange matter explained away. But the truth of what happened at the Chellingworth Estate, set in the rolling Welsh countryside near the quaint village of Anwen by Wye, is more complex, dangerous, and deadly, than anyone could have foreseen . . . ”

* * * * *


NB All blurbs taken from NetGalley or Goodreads.

So…what do you think?

Do any of these tempt you?

(Apart from Rafa, obviously…’cos he’s mine!)

60 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 59…

  1. Hello there FF – I was just thinking that we had lost you to the tennis forever! Do enjoy the season, despite the monsterous TBR! Now, I quite like the look of the Dotty Dowager one (it’s the title that does it) but for some reason the Skin one reminds me of a dreadful book I was forced to read as a child at school (I think it was called The Wizard Of Earthsea? Or something) so I immediately put off, despite it possibly being quite interesting. Anyway – have a great couple of weeks if we do not see you before!

    • Hello! I didn’t really mean to suddenly disappear – it just… happened! It’s amazing how much reading you can get done in those change of ends, though the roof does cut down on those useful rain breaks. I love the Dotty Dowager title too! I hope the book lives up to it. I’ve heard of The Wizard of Earthsea, I think, but never read it. I think Skin looks pretty awful, to be honest, and can’t think why I requested it! Maybe I saw a good review of it or something. But hopefully it’ll surprise me….

      Thanks! And have a good couple of weeks yourself – enjoy the sunshine and stay away from the thunderstorms!

      • Fingers crossed for the Dotty Dowager, then! I shall give thunderstorms as wide a berth as I can but I think one is creeping up on me as we speak… eek! An excellent excuse to drink wine and eat lots of things. I hope Skin is dreadful, I love your reviews of books you don’t like. I shall look forward to them all!

  2. Delighted to see you, FictionFan! 🙂 – I hope you’ll enjoy the Ace; I think she’s really talented. And the Bolton looks good, too. Funny there’d be a tradition of ‘skin names’ in Celtic Britain; I believe (I’m absolutely no expert!) that there’s a similar tradition among Aboriginal Australians. Such different groups with different histories…but a similar way of looking at life…

    • Thanks, Margot! I didn’t mean to just vanish – it just… happened! I’m looking forward to the Ace – love the title. And the Bolton is very good, if not entirely my kind of thing. But she’s such a good writer she carries me along even when my eyebrow is raising quizically. I’ve never heard of a tradition of ‘skin names’ in Celtic culture – not that I’m in any way an expert! But I wonder if she’s maybe borrowed the tradition… hopefully I’ll know more once I read it…

  3. Whose that remarkably handsome man with the pearly white teeth flashing some gold funerary remains urn or other? I don’t think we’ve seen him on your blog before. Is he a crime writer? Does the funerary urn contain the Ashes, or something…….oh, I get it, he must be the All England cricket captain………Colin Cowdrey? Ian Botham? W.G. Grace??? Though if memory serves me well Mr Grace had a lot more facial hair. I give up!

    I fancy (you knew i would) the Kalfus. But that’s that really

    Mmm, on looking again at that nice young chap holding The Ashes – I’ve just noticed all the bandages on his fingers. I think I must have drawn the wrong conclusion…….he’s obviously the winner of this year’s Masterchef but his knife cutting skills were a bit hit and miss, hence the bandages – and, of course, the giveaway is that he is all in chef’s whites. But he’s mislaid his hat. Not very good, for a chef, his hair is a bit long and likely to fall in the soup……..

    • Haha! Yes, he wrote a series of cosies about women mysteriously being killed by the mere sight of his hero’s biceps! Get to your TV quick – he’s just walking on court! (And I must say at first sight his opponent is rather lovely too…) Ooh, he looks so lovely in his dinky white gear…

      I’m so annoyed about the Kalfus. The publication date keeps getting put back, and though it’s available now in hardback, from the US I think, it’s expensive. I shall hold off for the Kindle – if it ever appears! Yes, I’m not sure about the rest myself – and definitely none for you, I suspect…

      Like in HP! But if you drink the soup with Rafa’s hair in, you’d turn into him – and I’m pretty sure your biceps would bust the sleeves of your summer frock…

  4. The chambermaid one sounds too much like real news. The skin one sounds a bit over the top. And while I love the title, the dotty dowager sounds a little slapstick. So that leaves Little Black Lies. Interesting premise, but if you’ve started it and still aren’t sure….hmmm….throw in the towel this week and enjoy your respite from blogging. 😀

    • Yes it does, but knowing Kalfus he’ll have done something clever and amusing with it. A few of the stories in his previous collection were based firmly on real people and events too. Little Black Lies is very good – just not quite my thing. Skin… hmm, we’ll see. And I love the dotty dowager title, but suspect it will be very cosy. Still there’s another 136 on my list so I’m sure I’ll find something good…! 😀

  5. I should’ve known you’d be glued to the TV, FF!! And why not? The scenery is definitely appealing, right?! Not sure any of these are as enticing as Wimbledon, though!!

    • Yep! But I didn’t really mean to just disappear last week – it just sorta happened without planning! Rafa lost! I’m devastated! Though the guy who beat him is quite pretty… 😉

  6. Oh Dear – Rafa out. The Dotty Dowager sounds like a consolation prize though, and Skin sounds as though it is more likely to be my cup of tea than yours, so I might give it a go.

    • I know! I’m still sobbing! Oh well, c’mon Andy! There must be a reason I picked Skin – I must have seen a good review or something. So I’m hoping I’ll enjoy it more than I think. And I just love the title of the Dotty Dowager book…

  7. The Case of the Dotty Dowager has my vote. But Little Black Lies sounds very compelling. Skin might be intriguing though right now it sounds a little weird. So if you wind up reading Skin, I’ll be interested in your review.

    • I love that title! And sometimes a cosy is a bit of much needed light relief. Little Black Lies is very good – maybe not quite my kind of thing, but she’s a fabulous writer. And I’ll definitely be reading Skin so I’m keeping my fingers crossed… blurbs sometimes don’t do a book justice…

  8. I usually vanish during the Olympics, unless I manage to write and schedule reviews! I’m caught up with reviews but not with reading at the moment. I don’t fancy any of these but that’s what reading other people’s reviews is sometimes for – an insight into another world and some ideas for extending one’s reading!

    • I’m never that organised – usually wirting posts the night before they’re due…or later! And I have about seven reviews to write – I’ll have forgotten the books before I get them done at this rate…

      Yes, I like to try lots of different stuff even if it doesn’t immediately appeal – some of the best reads are the ones that surprise!

    • Wimbledon is killing me at the moment – Rafa out yesterday and Heather Watson out today. I’ll run out of tissues at this rate… 😉 But I’m still managing to fit in some reading time!

          • Yep it was edge of your seat stuff! And the James Ward game Sat evening was incredible. Yes, come on Andy (although it’s hard to see past Novak…!) I’ve got Little Black Lies, but the Dotty Dowager looks perfect for a read in the garden – I love to sit on the Esplanade and read, watching the huge cruise ships that stop by for the day. When it’s sunny, obviously…!

            • I didn’t see the James Ward game, but quite often the matches lowere down the rankings are more exciting. The top players are so much better than everyone else quite often the early games are walkovers. Yep, I’ll be amazed if Djokovic doesn’t win. Little Black Lies is very good, but triggered my pickiness again, I fear…

            • Absolutely – Djokovic is almost robotic, and psychologically, he’s streets ahead of Murray. He never appears to be affected by anything. Guess that’s what growing up and learning to play in between NATO air strikes does. Rather like the Williams’ sisters flinging themselves to the ground when gangs were shooting in South LA. Still, we can but keep our fingers crossed for Andy….

            • Of course, Andy had his own traumatic childhood too with Dunblane. Looks like it’ll be Djokovic and Williams though… but you never know!

            • Of course. Unbelievably, that slipped my mind. Or could it be a sign that, finally, Dunblane is now a town known for something to be proud of, rather than the byword for a horrendous tragedy? Of course, for those affected it only means one thing, and only ever will.

              Anyway, good result earlier, and next he’s meeting the guy James Ward took to 5 sets – and Ward was outside the Top 100 at the start of Wimbledon. Hopefully Andy’s opponent will be feeling that game. A win would take him into the last four, but I haven’t checked who he could conceivably meet – the draw’s been fairly kind so far! (Mr C has just informed me he thinks it could feasibly be Federer, depending on the results. I have no idea however if this is a guess or a fact….!)

            • I never really look too far ahead on the schedules – it seems like tempting fate somehow! Djokovic struggled a bit today, but hopefully will go through tomorrow…

    • Ooh, good! You can read it and write a review for me then! I’ve posted it to ‘The Professor, USA’ – I’m sure it’ll get there OK. Don’t you call my Rafa a noogin! (Noogin?! *laughs*) The vibration from the power of his left-handed backhand would shatter any watch…

      • Well, it might get here. You wouldn’t believe how many packages have come to my house with “Professor VJ Duke” on it. I win lots of books see. Because I’m vicious.

        Decidedly a noogin, madam! And you just must admit it. I think, then, he should maybe wear it around his neck.

        • *laughs* Yes, I get tons of books delivered to “FictionFan” too – I think some of the publishers think it’s my real name! I also get e-mails starting “Dear Fiction…” I don’t often win books though. I have a simple system – I don’t enter the competitions!

          Well, I do think he’s very like you, so maybe he is a noogin! And end up with a broken nose…

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