TBR Thursday 120…

Episode 120…

Aaarghhh! Up another 2 this week, to 197!! And review copies up too, to 35! It’s not my fault – I can’t help it if publishers keep publishing books I can’t resist! I’m sure it’s peaked though – it’ll start falling dramatically soon…


Here are a few that should rise to the top of the heap soon…


I don’t often get unsolicited books in the mail, but the publishers of this one, Hodder & Stoughton, have sent me this one – twice! (See? It’s not my fault!!) It doesn’t sound like my kind of thing, but you never know. Sometimes it’s good to step off the well-trodden path…

The Blurb says: Minnie has always lived with her sister Clara in her family’s beautiful, grand, yet increasingly dilapidated house Rosemount. Now in her seventies, she finds herself looking back to a life that has been shrouded with sorrow, and a painful secret that she has guarded since her teens.

Eleven-year-old Max, who lives opposite Minnie on the housing estate built in Rosemount’s grounds, has grown up happily with his single mother. But his mum has begun a new relationship and suddenly life is starting to change.

As each of them tell their stories, she via a resurrected childhood journal, him via a Dictaphone, they spot each other through their bedroom windows and slowly and hesitantly an unlikely friendship begins to form. A friendship that might just help Max come to terms with the present and enable Minnie, finally, to lay to rest the ghosts of her past…

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Sword and Sandals…

And talking of stepping off the path, it’s been a while since I read a rip-roaring sword and sandals adventure! Cornwell has a great reputation and I’ve been meaning to try one of his books for a long time. I’m doing a readalong of this one with a friend and have already started it…

 The Blurb says: This is the exciting—yet little known—story of the making of England in the 9th and 10th centuries, the years in which King Alfred the Great, his son and grandson defeated the Danish Vikings who had invaded and occupied three of England’s four kingdoms.

The story is seen through the eyes of Uhtred, a dispossessed nobleman, who is captured as a child by the Danes and then raised by them so that, by the time the Northmen begin their assault on Wessex (Alfred’s kingdom and the last territory in English hands) Uhtred almost thinks of himself as a Dane. He certainly has no love for Alfred, whom he considers a pious weakling and no match for Viking savagery, yet when Alfred unexpectedly defeats the Danes and the Danes themselves turn on Uhtred, he is finally forced to choose sides. By now he is a young man, in love, trained to fight and ready to take his place in the dreaded shield wall. Above all, though, he wishes to recover his father’s land, the enchanting fort of Bebbanburg by the wild northern sea.

This thrilling adventure—based on existing records of Bernard Cornwell’s ancestors—depicts a time when law and order were ripped violently apart by a pagan assault on Christian England, an assault that came very close to destroying England.

* * * * *

Fiction on Audio…

Darcy reading Graham Greene to me??? If I suddenly disappear, it will probably be because I have swooned entirely away…

The Blurb says: Graham Greene’s evocative analysis of the love of self, the love of another, and the love of God is an English classic that has been translated for the stage, the screen, and even the opera house.

Academy Award-winning actor Colin Firth (The King’s Speech, A Single Man) turns in an authentic and stirring performance for this distinguished audio release. The End of the Affair, set in London during and just after World War II, is the story of a flourishing love affair between Maurice Bendrix and Sarah Miles. After a violent episode at Maurice’s apartment, Sarah suddenly and without explanation breaks off the affair.

This very intimate story about what actually constitutes love is enhanced by Mr. Firth’s narration. “This book struck me very, very particularly at the time when I read it and I thought my familiarity with it would give the journey a personal slant. I’m grateful for this honour,” Firth said when this production was recognized by the Audie Awards as Audiobook of the Year for 2013, “and grateful for the opportunity to narrate one of my favorite stories. A great novel told in the first person makes for the best script an actor could imagine. None better than The End of the Affair…. Theater and film each offer their own challenges and rewards, but narration is a new practice for me and the audiobook performance provides exhilarating possibilities for both actors and listeners. I’m thrilled to be involved in bringing this remarkable work of fiction to a wider audience, and thankful to Audible for offering me the opportunity to perform it and to engage with so many who share my passion for storytelling.”

* * * * *

Vintage Crime

Courtesy of Poisoned Pen Press via NetGalley, another anthology of vintage short stories from the British Library Crime Classics series, edited by Martin Edwards….

The Blurb says: Impossible crime stories have been relished by puzzle-lovers ever since the invention of detective fiction. Fiendishly intricate cases were particularly well suited to the cerebral type of detective story that became so popular during the ‘golden age of murder’ between the two world wars. But the tradition goes back to the days of Edgar Allan Poe and Wilkie Collins, and impossible crime stories have been written by such luminaries as Arthur Conan Doyle, G.K. Chesterton, Dorothy L. Sayers and Margery Allingham.

This anthology celebrates their work, alongside long-hidden gems by less familiar writers. Together these stories demonstrate the range and high accomplishment of the classic British impossible crime story over more than half a century.

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NB All blurbs taken from Goodreads or Audible.

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

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55 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 120…

  1. Where would we be without the occasional sword-and-sandals, FictionFan? I’m drawn to those Miraculous Mysteries, myself, truth be told. They sound good, and Martin Edwards can always be depended on for an excellent editing job.


    • Haha – it’s pretty brutal, I must say! Those Vikings were a bad lot… 😉 I love these anthologies – they’re always variable, but there are always more good stories than bad. And this one has loads of well-known writers in it…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. All of those are tempting! No wonder you couldn’t resist. Good grief! Stop writing great books, people! Well, unless you plan to have Colin Firth perform them. Then write away! Waiting for Colin Firth to narrate a Jane Austen collection. Though, I always picture a woman’s voice as the narrator. . . But still. He can give it a go.


    • It’s hopeless, isn’t it? There ought to be a law against it! Ooh, yes! Imagine Darcy reading Darcy – my Kindle might melt! Or if it was a woman narrator he could just pop in and do Darcy’s speeches, like the one where he tells me he ardently admires and loves me… Oops, I mean Lizzie! 😉


  3. Ooh Darcy reading Graham Greene, I can see why that one made it onto your list! With your poor TBR getting closer to the magic 200 mark we’d better hope that it doesn’t send you into a deep swoon so that you can’t attempt to stop the tide 😉


  4. I would listen to Colin Firth read me a book… any book… or my to-do list… or the van’s driver’s manual… you get the idea. 🙂


  5. The Last Kingdom has been on my TBR for a while. I’m looking forward to it, but have just finished another book with a similar setting so don’t want to start it just yet. I also received Miraculous Mysteries from NetGalley – it will be my first of the anthologies from that series and it looks like a great selection. 🙂


    • I’m enjoying The Last Kingdom so far but I’m still only in the early stages. I love these anthologies – I think this will be my 4th and I’ve snaffled the next one too. Of course the stories vary in quality, but there are always plenty of good ones, and even the other ones are interesting for seeing how the genre developed over time. Enjoy! 😀


  6. I don’t think you can go past Darcy reading Graham Greene, FF, although I’m going to have to get hold of The Last Kingdom for my mum (a ‘Vikings’ fan) – pending your review, of course.


    • I love these vintage anthologies – great for dipping into. I’m thoroughly enjoying the Bernard Cornwell so far – it’s well written and, although he doesn’t in any way gloss over the brutality, he also doesn’t linger over it too much. If it continues in this way, I’ll be recommending it and looking for more of his stuff. But I’m only half way through…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Has it peaked, or is it merely gaining momentum? Its peaked, its peaked, I’m sure of it 😉

    The unsolicited sounds promising, I hope you like it. The BLCC always tempt me, which is unfortunate for the TBR…I saw the TV adaptation of The Last Kingdom, which I thought was rubbish but enjoyable – I hope the book is not rubbish and enjoyable!


    • I hope you’re right, but I fear in my bones… haha! I’ve got to the stage I dread hearing the postbox rattle…

      They sent me a little batch of books months ago and I’ve only read one so far – Radio Girls – which also isn’t my kind of thing, but I enjoyed it quite a lot. So I have my fingers crossed for this one. Yes, the BL books are part of the problem with my TBR – I can’t resist and automatically click request any time one turns up on NG. I didn’t see the TV thing, but so far the book is good – I’m about half way now so hopefully it will stay good…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. The End of the Affair is brilliant. I thought I was doing well with review copies then a publisher tempted me with a pre-release on NetGalley direct link to an approved book … oops.


    • I’m not totally sure whether I’ve read it before. I went through a massive Graham Greene phase during my teens and twenties but this one isn’t ringing bells. I’m looking forward to it! Haha! These direct links are lethal! They usually catch me just when I’m congratulating myself on my willpower… 😉


  9. “Sword and sandals”!! Is that an official Amazon category? On another note, what happens when you hit the 200 mark? Will you explode? Or perhaps implode under the sheer weight of it all?

    Gotta say that the End of the Affair narration sounds divine. Not surprised if you’re listening to it right now….


  10. Ooooh… Miraculous Mysteries is very tempting! I just downloaded Continental Crimes (same editor) from NetGalley. I’ve been reading the stories one a night and on the train; all good so far (though one did make it hard to sleep, ha).

    It’s still available too… hrm. Is it a bad idea to request a second book from a publisher before providing feedback on the first?


    • I love these anthologies – I think this is my fourth. And I have Continental Crimes too. 🙂 Ooh, no – go ahead and request! I often have several from the same publisher at one time. Sometimes they come out so far in advance of the publication date… and other times I’m just so far behind…

      Liked by 1 person

  11. The Colin Firth/Graham Greene is so tempting! But I have an audio book right now so I’m safe at the moment. But that was close.

    Just today I chopped some books off my Goodreads TBR (that I realized I no longer want to read) to a measly 399 books! I deserve a prize! An extra piece of chocolate?


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