TBR Thursday 81…

Episode 81…


OK, I’m obviously the victim of a conspiracy! The TBR has reached a ridiculous new high of 169! Given my iron willpower, I find this incomprehensible – it must be one of you. And if I ever find out which of you it is… well, it won’t be pretty, that’s all!

AND there’s been some shocking news that is going to increase the TBR even more dramatically in the near future…

Bloody Scotland 2016


A few weeks back the organisers of Bloody Scotland (the big Scottish crime fiction festival) asked for volunteers to read and rate the contenders for the Bloody Scotland Crime Book of the Year 2016. The idea is that they’ll have a pool of people who will each be given five books to read and rate on a scale of 1 to 10, then they’ll collate all the ratings to determine which books make the official longlist. I thought that sounded like a brilliant idea to get enthusiastic readers involved at the grassroots while still leaving it to a formal judging panel to make the final decision. So I applied… and have been accepted! The five books should arrive some time in late May, I think, though I don’t yet know whether we’ll be allowed to blog about them before the final decision is made. It should be fun! 

Meantime, here are a few of the existing TBR that should make it to the top of the heap soon…


Elizabeth The Forgotten YearsOne of my favourite historians writing about one of my favourite queens, and about the period of her reign that I know least about. And I’m lucky enough to have been sent a copy for review by the publishers, Viking Books!

The Blurb says: A groundbreaking reconsideration of our favourite Tudor queen, Elizabeth is an intimate and surprising biography that shows her at the height of her power by the bestselling, Whitbread Award-winning author of My Heart is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots.

Elizabeth was crowned at twenty-five after a tempestuous childhood as a bastard and an outcast, but it was only when she reached fifty and all hopes of a royal marriage were dashed that she began to wield real power in her own right. For twenty-five years she had struggled to assert her authority over advisers who pressed her to marry and settle the succession; now, she was determined not only to reign but also to rule. In this magisterial biography of England’s most ambitious Tudor queen, John Guy introduces us to a woman who is refreshingly unfamiliar: at once powerful and vulnerable, willful and afraid. In these essential and misunderstood forgotten years, Elizabeth confronts challenges at home and abroad: war against the Catholic powers of France and Spain, revolt in Ireland, an economic crisis that triggered riots in the streets of London, and a conspiracy to place her cousin Mary Queen of Scots on her throne.

* * * * *



the power of the dogCourtesy of NetGalley. Chosen purely because I think the blurb sounds great. Delighted to see it’s getting almost universally positive ratings…

The Blurb says: First published in 1967, Thomas Savage’s western novel about two brothers now includes an afterword by Annie Proulx. Phil and George are brothers, more than partners, joint owners of the biggest ranch in their Montana valley. Phil is the bright one, George the plodder. Phil is tall and angular; George is stocky and silent. Phil is a brilliant chess player, a voracious reader, an eloquent storyteller; George learns slowly, and devotes himself to the business. Phil is a vicious sadist, with a seething contempt for weakness to match his thirst for dominance; George has a gentle, loving soul. They sleep in the room they shared as boys, and so it has been for forty years. When George unexpectedly marries a young widow and brings her to live at the ranch, Phil begins a relentless campaign to destroy his brother’s new wife. But he reckons without an unlikely protector.

From its visceral first paragraph to its devastating twist of an ending, The Power of the Dog will hold you in its grip.

* * * * *



the murdered bankerCourtesy of NetGalley. Chosen because the publisher is Pushkin Vertigo, who seem to specialise in reissues of crime classics, a lot of them translations. I haven’t tried this author before, but have heard good things about him…

The Blurb says: A body is discovered in a Milan apartment, and Inspector De Vincenzi investigates. The apartment happens to belong to an old university friend of his, Aurigi. When the body turns out to be that of Aurigi’s banker, and a phial of prussic acid is discovered in the bathroom, suspicion falls on the apartment’s owner, and De Vincenzi is agonisingly torn between his sense of duty and his loyalty to an old comrade…

This intensely dramatic mystery from the father of the Italian crime novel, Augusto de Angelis, is the first to feature his most famous creation–Inspector De Vincenzi.

* * * * *



fear is the riderNetGalley again (I’m on a mission to clear up some of my NG backlog). I picked this one after reading Orange Pekoe’s review. She says…

“Oh my, what an adrenalin rush! I never would have imagined detail about gear changes and road surfaces would have me enthralled. The only reason I didn’t read this in one sitting is because I had to take little breaks whenever the tension briefly subsided in order to calm my heart!”

The Blurb says: A young man driving from Sydney to Adelaide for work decides to take a short detour into the desert. He turns his hatchback on to a notoriously dangerous track that bisects uninhabited stone-covered flats. Out there, under the baking sun, people can die within hours. He’s not far along the road when a distraught young woman stumbles from the scrub and flags him down. A journalist from Sydney, she has just escaped the clutches of an inexplicable, terrifying creature. Now this desert-dwelling creature has her jeep. Her axe. And her scent…

From the author of the classic novel Wake In Fright comes a terrifying short novel, a chase into the outback, towards the devil lurking at its center.

* * * * *

NB All blurbs taken from Goodreads.

* * * * *

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


68 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 81…

    • I love the look of the dog book! Though I hope nothing ahppens to the actual dog, assuming there is one…

      I don’t know Mary Lawson – must investigate! Doesn’t it sound like fun? I don’t know whether they only consider Scottish books or if it covers all of Britain – no doubt I shall find out…


  1. The Power of the Dog and Fear is the Rider sound awesome. I don’t think he should pick her up in the latter one. I bet it’s some sort of trap. I do hope he has some sort of rifle, too. That’d be a must have, I suppose. Something appealing about that sort of expedition tho, isn’t there?

    Just think, soon you’ll be over 200!


    • Don’t they? Oh, but it would be a dull book if he didn’t – though short, which could be good! Yes, I love the occasional thriller/adventure story – but I hope they have peashooters instead. In fact, I may have to write a book about the great Peashooter Battle sometime…

      *collapses in a heap* Oh… you mean the TBR, don’t you?? Thank goodness! I thought you were mistaking me for BUS for a moment!


      • The great Peashooter Battle? What’s that? Tell me more! We’d have to find a way to make peas deadly somehow. Maybe if one ate them. Peas are deadly that way, you know.

        *laughs* Yes, the TBR! But then again…


        • Well, see, all the men lined up with their Glocks and fun sticks, looking all macho and tough, with camouflage paint and sweet little khaki outfits. Then the women came along with their peashooters. It was all a bit tragic, really – the men decided they’d have time to laugh before shooting… just long enough for the women to fire first. Perfect aim, of course, being women. End result – all the barrels of the Glocks were stuffed with mushy peas – a contingency the manufacturers had never considered. It was a massacre – the only good thing being that the khaki didn’t show the pea-stains much…



  2. All I can say, FictionFan, is that I still suspect Wullie! That man cannot be trusted, I tell you! Congratulations on getting involved with Bloody Scotland – how wise of them to choose you! You’ll make an excellent judge, I know.

    As to your books here, I like the sound of the de Angelis. I like those more traditional mysteries, and this one sounds intriguing.


    • Hahaha! Yes, Wullie must still be up to his nefarious tricks!! It’s gone up another one since I posted… I shall have to burst his bagpipes!!

      The Bloody Scotland thing sounds like fun, doesn’t it? I like the idea of the public getting some say over what’s on the longlist – can’t wait to see what five books I get!

      I like the sound of that one too – I’ve got another of his too, so I’m hoping they live up to their blurbs…

      Liked by 1 person

    • I loved that film too! She’s such an interesting Queen, Elizabeth, and usually people tell the story of her younger years, so it’ll be good to read about the latter years of her reign for a change – and I do love the way John Guy writes! Really looking forward to this one… 🙂


  3. Big congratulations ‘re being bloody, in Scotland. They would have been very foolish not to pick you. I hope the bloodcurdling ( which I fortunately spotted the tablet’s weird predictive had inserted as bookselling) is mean, magnificent and moody and we all are now in a highly competitive race to get you over that now so tempting, well within reach, 200 TBR. There should be a prize, awarded to the writer of the book, the publishing company and of course the blogger who delivers the lethal push to the fiction fan one clicky downloading finger.

    Come on, fellow readers and bloggers, race you to that 200 finishing line for Fiction Fan’s TBR Mount Everest – she’s barely past base camp, we can get her so much higher, you know we can!


    • Noooooooooo!!!! I refuse to go over 200, and you can’t make me!!! Can you? *sobs* I don’t understand it – I barely even look at NetGalley these days, and yet they keep approving me for things! And publishers – why can’t they just say no to my begging e-mails?? It’s so unfair…

      The Bloody Scotland thing should be fun – especially if I get five books written in FPPT with miserable alcoholic protagonists! I have a new mantra ‘Leave your prejudices at the front cover – ommm!’ It might even encourage me to make the long trek to the event finally this year – all of 12 miles or so!


  4. Congrats on being accepted for the Bloody Scotland reading festival — sounds like something you’d enjoy (and be good at!)

    Your TBR is growing, you know. And much faster than mine, thank goodness! It would be so discouraging to have that many stacked up and begging for my attention. As for this week’s list, I think Fear is the Rider sounds intriguing (though I do hope this man thinks twice before picking up someone already in a “terrifying creature”s” scent-range!)

    I’d have picked The Power of the Dog, but I fear there might be a real dog involved and nothing good will happen to it.


    • It sounds like fun – I hope I get the one that goes on to be the winner!

      Haha! I don’t understand it, Debbie – I’ve really been trying not to add things this year, but it keeps happening! Spooky!!

      I think both Fear is the Rider and The Power of the Dog sound great, and a bit different from my usual stuff. But yes, I’m frightened for the dog too… I shall let you know in my review if it’s safe for animal lovers…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I can’t think of anyone better to ‘help’ them with Bloody Scotland selection – although, do you think it was an international conspiracy against your TBR pile? Sounds like fun and let us know (what you are allowed to let us know).
    I’ll be modest this week and only vote for the Pushkin Vertigo title, although the truth is that I like the sound of all of them…


    • Haha! I must admit when I got the e-mail saying five books were on the way, my first thought was ‘Oh no! What have I done?’ But it should be fun – I’m hoping we can blog as we go, but I’ll need to check the rules in case there’s some kind of embargo. But I’ll definitely blog about it after the event anyway… especially if one of ‘my’ books goes on to be the winner!

      I love Pushkin Vertigo – if I wasn’t so restrained(!) I’d go for all their titles.


  6. Of course you were chosen! There would be no Bloody Scotland 2016 without FF on the judging panel! I’m definitely not responsible for your growing TBR. *backs away slowly* It’s definitely the book reviewing community out there, so put down that knife! Hey….someone should write a book about that! A murderous book blogger carries out the plots of the books she reviews! *shrieks wildly*

    The Power of Dog tempts me. If Annie Proulx wrote an afterward, it has to be good. And it takes place in the west on a ranch… I’m game!


    • Haha! I’m surprised the authors didn’t get up a petition to keep me out! It’ll be fun if all 5 of my books are first person present tense misery fests, won’t it?? I shall have to be sure to leave my prejudices at the door…

      I don’t know – you were responsible for Mr McCann, after all, so I suspect you may be in the conspiracy *narrows eyes suspiciously* Yes!! You should write that one! Or book blogger attempts to murder authors of bad books, while aforesaid authors try to murder book bloggers – this could be a bloodbath!!

      Yes, I’ve decided I’ve had enough of US city life – I’m moving out west. I have a hankering for a stetson and some sheepskin chaps…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Excuse me, I had to stop for a moment and laugh when I got to the “iron willpower” part. Send some of it my way, will you?! I need it desperately. I am very much looking forward to what you have to say about Bloody Scotland and the book about Elizabeth. You can’t go wrong with her (and you can’t mix her up with any other royals either).


    • Haha! Sometimes I think you all think I’m weak-willed – I don’t undertsand it!! 😉 Bloody Scotland should be fun, and doing this might tempt me to actually go to the event this year – it’s only about 12 miles away and yet I’ve never made it! Elizabeth is such a fascinating Queen, and I love John Guy’s writing, so that one should be a great read – can’t wait to get started on it…


  8. Of course being in full possession of iron willpower I am not at all interested in the de Angelis 😏 Huge congratulations on being accepted to read books for Bloody Scotland – as you say an inspired way to start the process – I hope you get a good selection. I hope you’ve noted the lack of gleeful chuckling this week?


  9. At this rate, your TBR pile will break 200 by the end of the year. This new list is quite impressive. I’d say that Elizabeth and The Power of the Dog tempt me. Not interested in another dead body or in staying awake all night worrying about the creature running amok in a jeep in the outback.


    • Noooooooooooo!!!! If it does, I’m just going to parcel them up and send them all to you! (have you got your shelving built yet??) Elizabeth probably has more dead bodies hidden around her than most of the murderers that infest the blog… 😉 The Power of the Dog sounds great – hope it lives up to the blurb! Ha! The monster in the outback will either be wonderful or dreadful, I expect…

      Liked by 1 person

  10. You see FF, you see, it isn’t only a feeble and fanciful idea of mine that the 200 TBR milestone is on its way for you. Just to distress you, we hacked your Kindle address and hacked into Netgalley, and found a way to ‘request this title’ and get it sent to YOUR address. I have personally requested at least 5 FPPT misery fests on your behalf, and when you turn on your Kindle, clunk, clunk, clunk, clunk, clunk, they arrive in a WHOOOOOOOSH

    (No, no, it was only a joke, promise, please stop whimpering and gibbering in the corner, you KNOW I don’t have the requisite techy skills) Though SOMEONE ELSE might (No, no, come out of the whimpering corner, you know those with techy skills are FAR too nice and kind to do that)


    • Aaaaaaarghhhhhhhh!!! You’re trying to make me jump, aren’t you?!? Well, I shan’t do it!! I have a secret plan – read three times as fast. There! That’ll solve the problem! *nervously checks to make sure FIFTEEN misery fests haven’t just arrived…* Since we last spoke, all of an hour or so ago, another one’s just been approved – the Michelle Paver. 170… *sobs bitterly*

      See, now, I bet that probably wouldn’t be too hard to do! Thanks! You’ve given me a whole new thing to angst over – I was getting so bored with all the old ones too… *rushes over to change password to Nooooooooooo!!!!!*


  11. I read a couple of the Di Angelis years ago, and enjoyed them, despite the rather over-blown translation – hope the new one is more down to earth. The Power of the Dog sounds good – I don’t think there will be a dog in it; the reference is Biblical, Psalm 22 I think, but don’t quote me!


    • I’ve only read a couple of these new Pushkin Vertigo publications but the translations have been good on them, so here’s hoping! Ah, perhaps, then! Oh, dear! I do hope it’s not going to be full of religious symbolism – that would be most tiresome.


  12. Bloody Scotland sounds like such fun! I can’t wait to hear more about it.
    I’ve heard good things about both The Power of the Dog and Fear is the Rider, but they all sound good!
    Iron willpower?! We all wish for some of that, I think!


    • Haha! Your list must be even longer than mine, I think! 😉 Yes, Bloody Scotland sounds like a lot of fun – can’t wait to see what five books I’m allocated. I might even make the ultimate effort and drive all 12 miles to the event this year…


        • Haha! I know. It’s like when I go abroad and visit cathedrals, but never went to see Glasgow Cathedral till I was in my thirties, and even then only ‘cos I was showing a tourist around…

          87!!!! Paltry! We need to work on that… I’ll start preparing a list… 😉

          Liked by 1 person

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