TBR Thursday 232 – The People’s Choice…

Episode 232

(A reminder of the People’s Choice plan. Once a month or so, I shall list the four oldest books on the TBR, then the next four, and so on, and each time you will select the one you think I should read, either because you’ve read and enjoyed it, or because you think the blurb looks good. And I will read the one you pick within three months! If I begin to fall behind, I’ll have a gap till I catch up again. In the event of a tie, I’ll have the casting vote.)

OK, are we all ready for the next batch of four? Leaping ahead by a whole year, these are all books that I added to my TBR in 2013/4, so it’s about time I read one of them, eh? I will read and review this month’s winner by the end of June.

Are you ready? Then put on your flippers, adjust your snorkel and dive in…


The Invisible Ones by Stef Penney

Added 4th January 2013. 3,879 ratings on Goodreads, with a 3.66 average rating. 449 pages.

The Blurb says: Rose Janko is missing. It has been seven years since she disappeared, and nobody said a word. Now, following the death of his wife, her father Leon feels compelled to find her. Rumour had it she ran off when her baby boy was born with the family’s genetic disorder. Leon is not so sure. He wants to know the truth and he hires a private investigator to discover it – Ray Lovell. Ray starts to delve deeper, but his investigation is hampered by the very people who ought to be helping him – the Jankos. He cannot understand their reluctance to help. Why don’t they want to find Rose Janko?

* * * * *

Historical Fiction

The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng

Added 5th June 2013. 10,890 ratings on Goodreads, with a 4.23 average. 460 pages.

The Blurb says: Penang, 1939. Sixteen-year-old Philip Hutton is a loner. Half English, half Chinese and feeling neither, he discovers a sense of belonging in an unexpected friendship with Hayato Endo, a Japanese diplomat. Philip shows his new friend around his adored island of Penang, and in return Endo trains him in the art and discipline of aikido. But such knowledge comes at a terrible price. The enigmatic Endo is bound by disciplines of his own and when the Japanese invade Malaya, threatening to destroy Philip’s family and everything he loves, he realises that his trusted sensei – to whom he owes absolute loyalty – has been harbouring a devastating secret. Philip must risk everything in an attempt to save those he has placed in mortal danger and discover who and what he really is.

With masterful and gorgeous narrative, replete with exotic and captivating images, sounds and aromas – of rain swept beaches, magical mountain temples, pungent spice warehouses, opulent colonial ballrooms and fetid and forbidding rainforests – Tan Twan Eng weaves a haunting and unforgettable story of betrayal, barbaric cruelty, steadfast courage and enduring love. 

* * * * *

Fiction Short Stories

Between the Assassinations by Aravind Adiga

Added 20th December 2013. 5,277 ratings on Goodreads, with a 3.35 average. 353 pages.

The Blurb says: Welcome to Kittur, India. It’s on India’s southwestern coast, bounded by the Arabian Sea to the west and the Kaliamma River to the south and east. It’s blessed with rich soil and scenic beauty, and it’s been around for centuries. Of its 193,432 residents, only 89 declare themselves to be without religion or caste. And if the characters in Between the Assassinations are any indication, Kittur is an extraordinary crossroads of the brightest minds and the poorest morals, the up-and-coming and the downtrodden, and the poets and the prophets of an India that modern literature has rarely addressed.

A blinding, brilliant, and brave mosaic of Indian life as it is lived in a place called Kittur, Between the Assassinations, with all the humour, sympathy, and unflinching candour of The White Tiger, enlarges our understanding of the world we live in today.

* * * * *


Frozen Out by Quentin Bates

Added 1st January 2014. 1,943 ratings on Goodreads, with a 3.60 average. 337 pages. 

The Blurb says: The discovery of a corpse washed up on a beach in an Icelandic backwater sparks a series of events that propels the village of Hvalvik’s police sergeant Gunnhildur into deep waters.

Although under pressure to deal with the matter quickly, she is suspicious that the man’s death was no accident and once she has identified the body, sets about investigating his final hours.The case takes Gunnhildur away from her village and into a cosmopolitan world of shady deals, government corruption and violence. She finds herself alone and less than welcome in this hostile environment as she tries to find out who it was that made sure the young man drowned on a dark night one hundred kilometres from where he should have been – and why.

* * * * *


(Click on title and then remember to also click on Vote, or your vote won’t count!)


* * * * *

NB All blurbs and covers taken from Goodreads or Amazon UK.

43 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 232 – The People’s Choice…

    • Haha – I’ll be happy to be the lab rat! I haven’t read anything by him himself, but I’m pretty sure he translated at least some of the early Ragnar Jonasson books which I enjoyed, so at least I know he can write!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. You know, I had a tough time with this one, FictionFan, as I could easily have voted for any of them. I very much want to read the Bates, myself, and the The Gift of Rain does look really good. But in the end, I chose The Invisible Ones. I think you’d like it for a few reasons (the look at the lives of the Roma people, an interesting mystery, etc…). OK it’s in present tense. But still, a good story and I hope you do like it when you get there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s the problem with the old stuff on my TBR – it all looks good! I loved Penney’s The Tenderness of Wolves – can’t remember now if it was present tense, but I really only notice that if it’s not done very well or feels inappropriate. If it’s a good writer and a good story, then I cope! I shall be quite happy if The Invisible Ones wins!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I voted for The Invisible Ones. Yes, The Gift of Rain sounds intriguing, but something about “barbaric cruelty” just doesn’t sit too well with me right now. Maybe after I get past this grieving-business!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Invisible Ones does sound good – I’ll be quite happy if it wins! Yes, sometimes our minds can only cope with the lighter books – cosies and crime are always great when it’s too hard to deal with tougher subjects. Don’t rush yourself – these things take as long as they take. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I would vote for The Invisible Ones. From the blurb, it sounds like something I might read myself. I see from Margot’s comment above that it is in the present tense, but the story sounds intriguing, so maybe the tense wouldn’t matter too much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve added your vote! The Invisible Ones does sound good, and although I moan about present tense all the time, I only really notice it when it’s not well done or if the story’s not gripping me. A good writer and a good story, and I can cope!


    • Well, I love Aravind Adiga and can’t understand why I’ve let that one linger unread for so long, so I’d be very happy if it wins! It’s got a long way to go to catch up with the leader though…

      Liked by 1 person

    • I got The Gift of Rain because I loved his The Garden of Evening Mists, so I’d be very happy if it wins. I was surprised by its GR rating too – you don’t often see a book achieving an average as high as that when it’s also got a large number of reviews. Must be good! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I seem to recall you LOVING the last Aravind Adiga book, although I could be wrong about this. If I’m right, you should read that one! The first book, the psychological thriller looked good too, although I fear that unreliable narrator may be rear its head in that plot…lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • I loved his other book, The Garden of Evening Mists, so I’ll be very happy if The Gift of Rain wins! The good thing is that I want to read them all, so I really can’t lose… 😀


  5. This is a tricky one. The Gift of Rain is my TBR too but equally, I read The Tenderness of Wolves and am intrigued by The Invisible Ones. However, being in need to something light and bright my vote goes to Between the Assassinations, despite it’s less than cheery title! 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Excellent choice – I love Adiga! The problem with doing this is that it’s reminding me that I really want to read all of them though – The Gift of Rain really appeals too. I think we’re all in the mood for lighter stuff at the moment – anxiety levels around here are rocketing. Well, mine, anyway – the cats seem curiously unconcerned… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What does it mean when I find that I have all four of these books in my own TBR? I’ve decided to vote Between the Assassinations for you and Quentin Bates for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha! Well, it either means we’re twin souls or we’re both out of control bookaholics – maybe both! 😉 I’ll be very happy if Between the Assassinations wins since I love Adiga, and I hope you enjoy the Quentin Bates – I’ll get to them all one day… 😀


  7. You should read The Invisible Ones because it’s on my TBR as well and that way you can let me know if it’s worth keeping there! Also, I started and then abandoned The Gift of Rain last year (or maybe the year before). I really hated it but I have talked to many people who loved it so I’d be curious as to what you think.

    Liked by 1 person

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