TBR Thursday 122 – The 20 Books of Summer 2017 List and Poll

It’s that time again…!

Cathy at 746 Books is again hosting her 20 Books of Summer Challenge this year, and after much swithering I’ve decided I can’t resist the opportunity to make a list! The reason I was a bit reluctant is that, in the last two years, participating has left me with a huge backlog of review books and I feel as if I’ve been scrambling to catch up ever since. So I had a brainwave! (Which, I have to tell you, doesn’t happen often…)

I shall read twenty review copies!

I currently have 35 outstanding (tragically, it was only 34 when I started drafting this post…) – many new ones that will be being published over the next few months, and a smaller pile of old ones that have fallen by the wayside and frankly might never be read – my enthusiasm for some of them has waned. If I read twenty and restrict myself severely from adding more, I should in theory end the summer feeling more on top of the TBR and with the way clear to keep going with my various other challenges. Sounds like a plan, eh?

(Oh, shut up, Rabbie!)

Since some of the blurbs have already appeared on TBR posts and the rest will appear on future ones, I’m merely listing the titles and authors and linking them to Goodreads. I have nineteen scheduled so far and then need your help picking number 20…

The 19…

  1. The Comfort of Others by Kay Langdale
  2. Miraculous Mysteries ed. Martin Edwards
  3. The Bishop’s Girl by Rebecca Burns – abandoned
  4. Finding Fibonacci by Keith Devlin
  5. Based on a True Story by Delphine di Vigan – abandoned
  6. You Should Have Left by Daniel Kehlmann
  7. The Long Drop by Denise Mina
  8. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
  9. Russian Revolution: Hope, Tragedy, Myths ed. Ekaterina Rogatchevskaia
  10. The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen – abandoned
  11. Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore
  12. Continental Crimes ed. By Martin Edwards
  13. You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott
  14. The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books by Martin Edwards
  15. The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan
  16. Days Without End by Sebastian Barry
  17. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy – abandoned
  18. Visions of Empire by Krishan Kumar
  19. The Golden House by Salman Rushdie

The Poll

OK, the ones left on my list of unread review copies are mostly older ones that I’ve been ignoring for ages in favour of newer, shinier baubles. So I’m asking for your help in choosing one and telling me why you think I should reignite my enthusiasm for it! Here are the contenders:-

On a foggy summer night, eleven people–ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter–depart Martha’s Vineyard headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the passengers disappear into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs–the painter–and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of a wealthy and powerful media mogul’s family.

* * * * *

For five years Priest’s Island has guarded the mystery of Max Wheeler’s disappearance. In this isolated township on the edge of the Atlantic, there are no secrets — except what really happened to fourteen-year-old Max. Now Cal McGill has taken up the quest. A grieving father, a community riven by tragedy — and resentful of the suspicion — all make a powderkeg of secrets and vengeance ready to explode.

* * * * *

Melody Shee is alone and in trouble. Her husband doesn’t take her news too well. She doesn’t want to tell her father yet because he’s a good man and this could break him. She’s trying to stay in the moment, but the future is looming – larger by the day – while the past won’t let her go. What she did to Breedie Flynn all those years ago still haunts her. It’s a good thing that she meets Mary Crothery when she does. Mary is a young Traveller woman, and she knows more about Melody than she lets on. She might just save Melody’s life.

* * * * *

Ten years ago, fourteen-year-old Scarlett Rainsford vanished without a trace during a family holiday to Greece. Not being able to find Scarlett was one of the biggest regrets of DCI Louisa Smith’s career and when Scarlett is discovered back in her home town after all this time, Lou is determined to find out what happened to her and why she remained hidden for so long. Was she abducted or did she run away?

* * * * *

Les, a long-time sheriff nearing retirement, contends with the ravages of poverty and crystal meth in his small Appalachian town. Becky, a park ranger, arrives in this remote patch of North Carolina hoping to ease the anguish of a harrowing past. Searching for tranquility amid the verdant stillness, she finds solace in poetry and the splendor of the land. A vicious crime will plunge both sheriff and ranger into deep and murky waters…

* * * * *

Thanks in advance for voting! I shall announce the winner on my next TBR Thursday post.

And whatever your own reading plans are…


75 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 122 – The 20 Books of Summer 2017 List and Poll

  1. I voted for The Malice of Waves, simply based on the blurb. It’s what I would pick for myself. I don’t actually know any of the books in the poll.

    Good luck and have a fabulous and sunny reading summer!

    • I like the sound of The Malice of Waves too and have seen some positive reviews of it, so good choice! And thanks for voting – I always enjoy seeing what book other people pick. 😀

  2. Very clever way of handling the problem – I seem to recognise a few of those titles on my own review copy list… I’ve heard really good things about Before the Fall and I have yet to read Ron Rash, but was beguiled by what I saw and heard of him in Lyon, so those are the two I would recommend.

    • I am getting choosier about which review copies I request so I must say I like the look fo this reading list! I read one of Ron Rash’s, The Cove, a few years ago and liked his style very much, so I’ve been meaning to read more of his stuff – and I’ve read some positive reviews of Before the Fall too, so I’ll be quite happy if either of those wins. Neck and neck at the moment…

  3. I see our friend Hugh’s new book is out very soon… not tempted at all? 😉 Don’t worry – I’ll read it for you and give the general gist, but leaving out the drugs, swearing and sex.
    And have a fabulous summer too, FF!

    • Haha – it’s on NetGalley and I so nearly requested it, but what if I hated it, as I think I would? Can’t give a rubbish review to our dear mutual friend! I shall rely on you for the abridged synopsis… 😉

      • I honestly think that it wouldn’t be your thing – the sex and violence is a bit gratuitous and it almost verges on comedic at times, but probably unintentionally. If you read it with Hasting’s voice in your head, it’s even funnier! I quite liked the first two, but even I winced at some of the graphic parts. I’ll give you a run down once I’ve read the new version 😉

        • I think you’re right. I might find it funny, but I’d hate to use it for a joke review which there’s a possibility he might read since he now follows me on Twitter. I might sneak one onto my TBR for fun sometime, just to see – but not a review copy. Then if I do hate it, I can just quietly delete it from my Kindle… 😉

    • Haha – thank you! I’m glad I make you laugh! 😀 I do like the sound of Above the Waterfall and I read one of his books before and thoroughly enjoyed his style, so excellent choice! i’ll be quite happy if that one wins… it’s neck and neck at the moment…

  4. You’ve got some excellent reads ahead, FictionFan. All sorts of different themes and premises, too, which is always appealing. As to your poll, I voted for Malice of Waves. I have a soft spot for a strong small-town setting, and I like the premise. I hope you enjoy all your reads, whatever they are!

    • It’s a great looking list, I must say! I’m getting choosier about which books I request for review and most of these are ones I’m as sure as it’s possible to be that I’ll enjoy. I really like the sound of The Malice of Waves too – it got bumped when it came out because I was so behind and has never managed to sneak back in, but I’ll be very happy if it wins – excellent choice! 😀

    • I must admit I feel good about this list – both because I’ll feel good to have cut down the reviewing backlog and because I think there are some potentially cracking books on there! Now I just need to get Dr Zhivago out of the way first…

      • Can’t wait for your review of Doctor Zhivago! It’s one of those books I’ve always debated picking up. I saw parts of the movie when I was very young and thought it was the most boring movie ever made. It’s a bit like being put off a food after a bout of food poisoning or something, ha. I know there’s no way it’s as bad as it seemed then.

        • Haha – I have an awful fear I’ll hate it! I spent today comparing the two major translations and deciding which one to read – they both seem to have good and bad points. But I must stop mucking around and just plunge in. And the plan is, then I’ll watch the film…

  5. I was torn between Before the Fall and The Malice of Waves. I couldn’t pick both so I voted for Before the Fall. 😀
    Hope you have a great summer! I’ll probably reread some of my old books. 😀

    • They both look good, don’t they? Excellent choices – and they’re neck and neck at the moment… exciting! Enjoy your re-reads! One of the reasons I’d like to get on top of the reviewing backlog is to give myself time for some old favourites amongst the new shiny stuff… 😀

  6. I remember when Before the Fall was really popular and a lot of bloggers read it. Most of them seemed pretty apathetic to the book. I spoke with a woman in my book club, later, who said that the book is NOT a thriller, which is how many people are categorizing it. That, then, may be the problem: people go in with one book in mind and get something totally different.

    • Yes, I think it was one that fell quite heavily victim to misleading blurb syndrome. But my old blog buddy Lady Fancifull rates it highly and, though we don’t always agree on books, her review reinspired me a bit… 😀

    • I must admit this list looks great to me – my mouth is watering at the thought of some of them! Great choice – I really like the sound of The Malice of Waves. It got bumped when it was due because I had such a backlog of reviews at the time, so I’ll be happy if it gets another chance! Thanks for voting! 😀

  7. Can’t say any of these really rings my bell, but I chose “Above the Waterfall” as a marginal preference.
    My summer reading will be severely restricted by………. tennis!

    • I like the sound of Above the Waterfall and really liked the only other book of his I’ve read, so I’ll be happy if that one wins – it’s neck and neck at the moment! Yeah, the tennis is always a killer for me with this particular challenge too but at least the French and Wimbers happen in normal time…

  8. ‘Swithering’ – love it! I am a lone voice in the darkness voting for the Donal Ryan, to be expected I know, but it is brilliant. Delighted you are joining in, particularly with so much tennis coming up 😉

    • Haha – I seem to spend most of my life swithering about something these days! 😉 Poor Donal isn’t doing too well on the voting at the moment, but he’ll still be on my list for later even if he doesn’t win a place on the Summer list. Ha – yes, don’t expect to see too many reviews from my direction till Wimbledon’s over…!!

    • Ooh, good to hear another enthusiast for Donal! He’s falling behind in the voting but will still be on my list for later even if he doesn’t win a Summer slot. I’m looking forward to The Gentleman in Moscow – I loved his first book, though this one sound very different. Will fit in with the Russian Revolution challenge!

  9. I’ve included a lot of review copies on my list too, but not all twenty – although I certainly have enough outstanding ones to have been able to do so! I enjoyed A Gentleman in Moscow, so I’ll be interested to hear what you think of it. Days Without End is the only other book I’ve read from your list. As for your poll, I’ve voted for The Malice of Waves – I don’t know anything about it, but the blurb sounds the most appealing to me.

    • I really want to get on top of my reviewing backlog, so once the idea occurred to me it seemed like a fab way to plan it and stick to it, hopefully! Glad to hear you enjoyed The Gentleman in Moscow – I liked his first book, and this one will fit in with my Russian Revolution challenge. Hmm.. are you preserving a tactful silence over Days Without End, by any chance? 😉 The Malice of Waves appeals to me too, so excellent choice, thank you – it’s neck and neck at the moment…

      • Don’t worry, I love Sebastian Barry – all of his books are beautifully written, including Days Without End. It was just the American West setting that didn’t really work for me, as I prefer his books set in Ireland. Most people have loved it, though, so it’s probably just me!

        • That’s good to know – this will be my introduction to him. And you’ve reminded me that it was actually the American West setting that appealed to me way back when I requested it, so fingers crossed!

  10. Ah you’ve taken all the fun out of it 😏 I have voted for the one I have on my TBR! It’s not winning though 😞
    The Long Drop is superb so I suggest you start there… Good luck I can’t wait to see whether either of us has reduced the TBR by twenty books at the end of the challenge

    • Haha – but I need to get on top of the reviewing backlog before I break out in a nervous rash! 😉 Ooh, I wonder which one…
      Yes, it was your review that drew my attention to The Long Drop and I must say I’m really looking forward to it – should be very soon! Hahaha – yeah, I don’t know that I’d bet more than 5p on that… 😉

  11. Great to see you on board too and listing review copies sounds like a brilliant idea. Similarly, I always make up half of my list with reviews copies too. As for your poll, I voted for The Malice of Waves because I am a sucker for a atmospheric mystery in a isolated setting 🙂 Happy summer reading!

    • Delighted to be joining in, and doing all review copies means I should come out of it feeling good this time instead of a bit stressed as I did last year when I deliberately avoided them. I like the sound of The Malice of Waves too – it got bumped when it came out because I had such a huge backlog, but I’ll be very happy if it gets another chance this time – it’s neck and neck at the moment… exciting! 😀

  12. Before the Fall is terrific. Perhaps a little pushed to extremes (it examines a lot about contemporary obsessions with fame, and I wanted to say that some of the villains seem a little too villainous……..and then I look at Trump and his hench people, and I say ‘not at all’

    • Yes, I’d kinda gone off the idea but saw your review and that reignited my interest, so thank you! It’s neck and neck at the moment, but even if it doesn’t win a slot on the summer list, it’ll still be on my TBR, maybe for autumn… 😀

  13. Good idea to focus on review copies – it looks like a promising bunch! I haven’t read any of them, but I’ve heard good things about A Gentleman in Moscow and Days Without End. As for #20, I had trouble deciding between All We Shall Know and Above the Waterfall, but went with the latter.
    I hope they’re all good!

    • I must say I love the look of my list this year – some real mouthwatering ones on there! I’m looking forward to A Gentleman in Moscow as it will fit in with my Russian Revolution challenge, so I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it. And I can’t remember much about the blurb of Days Without End but I know I thought it sounded great when I requested it! I like the sound of Above the Waterfall and liked the only other book of his I’ve read, so excellent choice – I’ll be happy if that one wins and I think your vote may have pushed it into a lead at the moment… all very exciting! 😀

    • Hahahahahaha! It’s a lovely Scots/Irish word meaning swaying one way then another – can’t make my mind up, sort of thing. We tend to swither between two options, as in “I was swithering whether to have cake or chocolate” 😀

  14. I’ve read the Malice of Waves which I enjoyed – think it’s my favourite of Mark Douglas-Home’s The Sea Detective Mystery series, but I voted for Before the Fall, which I think sounds pretty good – but either would be a good choice. The others on your poll also look interesting – looks like you’ll enjoy whichever one comes out on top.

    • I would like to read either of these, so I’ll be happy whichever wins. I really fancy The Malice of Waves, but once I missed the publishing deadline, I’ve kept putting it off thinking I might read the first two in the series first, but truthfully the chances of that happening are so small. So whether it wins or not, I think I’ll shove it back up the priority list, maybe for an autumn read… 🙂

  15. You’ve got a few books I’ve read and really liked! The Long Drop is excellent, as is The Bishops Girl — this one starts a bit slow and the narrator can be a little annoying, but once the historical story gets going it’s really, really good. I really liked The Unquiet Dead as well, such a tough subject to write about. On your poll, I’ve only read Before the Fall but I loved it. I thought it was going to be just a thriller, but it raises really interesting issues.

    • Oh, I’m glad to hear you loved The Bishop’s Girl – I don’t think I’ve seen any reviews of it yet. I thoroughly enjoyed her previous book – a collection of short stories about the first immigrants to New Zealand – but this sounds so different in style. Yes, I’ve heard The Unquiet Dead can be a tough read, which is partly why I’ve kept putting it off – however, I’ve also heard it’s worth it, so glad to have you confirm that. It looks like Before the Fall might win, and all the positive cooments about it have worked – my enthusiasm for it is reignited! 😀

  16. Looks like once again, I’ve voted with the majority (Before the Fall). Sounds like an intriguing premise if the writing holds up. Are you going “dark” for the whole summer?? Yikes, I’ll miss you, FF (but maybe I’ll be able to shrink my TBR, ha!). Enjoy your summer, my friend.

    • Oh no! Just cutting back a bit while the tennis is on – I’ll be around and about though! 😀 Before the Fall is taking a commanding lead now, so I suspect it may win, which I’ll be quite happy about. It does sound good…

    • It’s a good looking list, I must admit – I can’t wait to get into them! Looks like Malice of Waves is falling behind a bit, but it’ll still stay on my TBR, maybe for an autumn read. I do like the sound of it… 🙂

      Thanks for popping in and commenting. 😀

  17. What a great idea! I got rid of a load of random books that had been hanging around far too long last year doing #20Books – this year I have three review copies myself that must be done in JUNE. Have fun!

    • I have to do something to get back on top of the review copies – I used to be organised enough to put out my reviews on publication day, but haven’t managed that for over a year now. So this seems like the ideal excuse… 🙂 Enjoy your summer reading!

  18. That’s a good looking list! I’ve read Before the Fall and mostly didn’t like it. I think Hawley does better as a screenwriter. I voted for Donal Ryan, who I’ve never heard of but the blurb is alluringly vague.

    • I must say I agree! I seem to have accumulated lots of really enticing review copies at the moment. I’ve seen such mixed reviews of Before the Fall, but it looks like I’m going to find out for myself since it’s leapt into the lead now! I’m surprised the Donal Ryan hasn’t had more votes, but he’ll still be on my list, maybe for an autumn read… 🙂

    • I like the sound of it too and it will stay on my TBR, probably for autumn… because Before the Fall seems to have taken a fairly unassailable lead now…

  19. Swithering – gorgeous! I’m going to start using that word on a daily basis, I’ll have plenty of opportunity as it describes my behaviour over just about everything. I voted for the most popular choice – I can only hope the same is true on Thursday!

    • Haha – swithering is my major area of expertise! I’m even still swithering over who to vote for – it’s alright for you English – you don’t have the SNP adding an extra layer of complication! *retreats to a darkened room with a cold compress*

  20. I did enjoy Before the Fall but I’m not voting since it’s the only one I read. You certainly do have a lot of good looking ARC’s but all-in-all I’m so glad I stopped accepting them. So many books to read. Yow. 😉

    • Haha! I know, but I can’t resist them! I’m choosier these days though – tend to stick with authors I know rather than picking purely on blurbs. But I still have several old ones hanging around…
      Looks like Before the Fall is going to win so good to have another recommendation for it. 🙂

  21. I voted for Before The Fall because it sounded familiar. I think that it was once very popular around blogosphere. The blurb does sound interesting. Enjoy all your books and good luck with the ARCs. I need to read 18 this month but that feels a bit too ambitious lol.

    • Yes, everybody seemed to be reading it when it came out but I had fallen behind on review copies and missed it. Looks like I’m going to get the chance to read it this summer though – thanks for voting! 🙂 Haha – 18!!! You’re worse than me… 😉

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