TBR Thursday 276 – The People’s Choice…

Episode 276

(A reminder of the People’s Choice plan. Once a month, 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.)

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OK, time for the next batch of four! This is the very last batch from 2015 – a year when I was clearly buying far more books than it was possible to read. As usual, I’m planning three months ahead so the winner will be a June read. A particularly varied bunch this time, and they all still sound potentially great to me so you really can’t go wrong! Although I’ve been a Rebus fan for years I’ve always dipped in and out, so that there are still a few I haven’t read – A Good Hanging is one of them. I’ve read about a million glowing reviews of Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series, of which Still Life is the first. William Boyd is an excellent storyteller when he’s on form, but sometimes he isn’t, so Sweet Caress could go either way. And A Tangled Web made it onto my TBR when Rose reviewed it way back when the world was young!

I’m intrigued to see which one you pick…

Crime

A Good Hanging by Ian Rankin

Added 9th December 2015. 2,835 ratings on Goodreads, with a 3.86 average rating. 320 pages.

The Blurb says: Twelve remarkable, gritty stories starring Detective Inspector John Rebus in his home city of Edinburgh, as only Ian Rankin can portray it: not just the tearooms and cobbled streets of the tourist brochures, but a modern urban metropolis with a full range of criminals and their victims–blackmailers, peeping Toms, and more than one kind of murderer. It’s a city like any other, a city that gives birth to crimes of passion, accidents, and long-hidden jealousy, and a city in which criminal minds find it all too easy to fade into the shadows. As dedicated readers of the series well know, nobody is better equipped to delve into Edinburgh’s back alleys and smoky pubs than Rebus, and no one better able to illuminate his world than Ian Rankin.

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Crime

Still Life by Louise Penny

Added 22nd December 2015. 164,211 ratings on Goodreads, with a 3.88 average. 321 pages.

The Blurb says: As the early morning mist clears on Thanksgiving Sunday, the homes of Three Pines come to life – all except one…

To locals, the village is a safe haven. So they are bewildered when a well-loved member of the community is found lying dead in the maple woods. Surely it was an accident – a hunter’s arrow gone astray. Who could want Jane Neal dead?

In a long and distinguished career with the Sûreté du Quebec, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache has learned to look for snakes in Eden. Gamache knows something dark is lurking behind the white picket fences, and if he watches closely enough, Three Pines will begin to give up its secrets…

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Fiction

Sweet Caress by William Boyd

Added 23rd December 2015. 8,172 ratings on Goodreads, with a 3.93 average. 464 pages. 

The Blurb says: Born into Edwardian England, Amory Clay’s first memory is of her father standing on his head. She has memories of him returning on leave during the First World War. But his absences, both actual and emotional, are what she chiefly remembers. It is her photographer uncle Greville who supplies the emotional bond she needs, who, when he gives her a camera and some rudimentary lessons in photography, unleashes a passion that will irrevocably shape her future. A spell at boarding school ends abruptly and Amory begins an apprenticeship with Greville in London, photographing socialites for the magazine Beau Monde. But Amory is hungry for more and her search for life, love and artistic expression will take her to the demi monde of Berlin of the late ’20s, to New York of the ’30s, to the blackshirt riots in London, and to France in the Second World War, where she becomes one of the first women war photographers. Her desire for experience will lead Amory to further wars, to lovers, husbands and children as she continues to pursue her dreams and battle her demons.

In this enthralling story of a life fully lived, illustrated with “found” period photographs, William Boyd has created a sweeping panorama of some of the most defining moments of modern history, told through the camera lens of one unforgettable woman, Amory Clay. It is his greatest achievement to date.

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Fiction

A Tangled Web by LM Montgomery

Added 30th December 2015. 4,464 ratings on Goodreads, with a 3.88 average. 257 pages.

The Blurb says: Over the years sixty members of the Dark family and sixty Penhallows have married one another—but not without their share of fighting and feuding. Now Aunt Becky, the eccentric old matriarch of the clan, has bequeathed her prized possession: a legendary heirloom jug. But the name of the jug’s new owner will not be revealed for one year. In the next twelve months beautiful Gay Penhallow’s handsome fiancé Noel Gibson leaves her for sly and seductive Nan Penhallow; reckless Peter Penhallow and lovely Donna Dark, who have hated each other since childhood, are inexplicably brought together by the jug; Hugh and Joscelyn Dark, separated on their wedding night ten years ago for reasons never revealed, find a second chance—all watched over by the mysterious Moon Man, who has the gift of second sight. Then comes the night when Aunt Becky’s wishes will be revealed…and the family is in for the biggest surprise of all.

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VOTE NOW!

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

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

P.S. Note for The Silver Darlings review-alongers – due to Rose’s copy not having arrived yet, the review date will be postponed. I’ll post the new date once it turns up. Keep your notes!

54 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 276 – The People’s Choice…

  1. No surprise which book I voted for, although I think you might prefer one of the crime novels!
    In other news, I’m still waiting for my copy of The Silver Darlings to turn up. I suspect a freak wave hit the ship which rolled and the container my book was in slipped into the sea.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sweet Caress was my choice. Unsurprisingly, as I’ve read a lot of books on WWI recently (had an essay on it), this is the book I would like to read first from this selection. I hope it wins. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s nosing ahead at the moment! I’ve loved several of his books in the past – he’s one of the best storytellers out there when he’s at his best, so I’ll be quite happy if Sweet Caress wins. 😀

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    • Ha! The People *rarely* let me down! 😉 Good to hear about Sweet Caress – he’s one of my favourite writers but he’s had a few misfires over his career. Don’t know why I’ve left this one lingering for so long…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love your approach to the tbr. Perhaps when I finish my already read shelve clean up, I may borrow your voting format to get me through my own tbr.
    I hope you enjoy Sweet Caress whenever you get to it. I usually enjoy a Boyd, but haven’t got to this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The People’s Choice is great for encouraging me to finally read some of the older ones on the TBR instead of always sticking with the new additions! Boyd is one of my favourite writers usually, although he’s had a few misfires over the years. But Sweet Caress seems to be highly rated among his fans…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a dilemma. I vote that you should read all of them. Given my love of Penny’s series I ought to encourage you to try Still Life. But it’s not the strongest in the series and to be honest, I’m not convinced that this series will be to your taste. (There’s plenty of food but not a lot of chocolate for a start.) Can’t understand why I’ve not read Sweet Caress but that doesn’t help in the all-important process of which one YOU should read… 🤔 I’m going for A Tangled Web! All those Penhallows and Darks sound mightily tangled to me and I’d like to hear your thoughts on a Montgomery 😊 Frankly, this is a pretty good bunch!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know if the Gamache series will be to my taste either, but there’s only one way to find out! If it wins, I’ll bear your comment in mind that it’s not the strongest, and make due allowances. 😀 Yes, I can’t understand why I haven’t read Sweet Caress either – I usually read his books promptly! But all four of them sound good to me this month – the Montgomery would be my first venture beyond the Anne books, which I adore…

      Liked by 1 person

    • I love the Anne books – Anne was my role model growing up! But I’ve never read anything else Montgomery wrote, so I’m intrigued by A Tangled Web and will be quite happy if it wins… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m having some technology trouble at the moment, so I’ve not really been around over the last week, I hope this sends okay. This is the hardest People’s Choice yet, I could quite happily read any of these. I’ve gone for Sweet Caress in the end though, the photography angle sounds intriguing.
    Should we maybe leave our review of Silver Darlings for a bit since Rose’s copy hasn’t arrived, and I am waiting for a new machine to turn up?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad to hear you’re OK and it’s just your technology that’s playing up! Technology is a wonderful thing, except when it isn’t… Yes, I think all four of these sound good too, and wish I could find time to fit them all in. Boyd is one of my favourite authors and I can’t think why I’ve left Sweet Caress lingering so long, so I’ll be quite happy if it wins.

      Yes, I think we’ll need to put the date back for a good while. It took me a long time to read, so even when Rose’s copy finally arrives I don’t want her to feel she has to rush it. I’ll post another proposed date as soon as she lets me know she has it, and you can tell me if the new date works for you. Hope you get your new machine up and running soon!

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  6. I like a good Rebus story as much as the next person, FictionFan, so if that one won, I’d be happy for you. But that said, I think Louise Penny’s Armand Gamache series is fantastic. I’ll admit, some are better than others (isn’t that so often the case?), but she is really talented, and I love the setting. And I can say without spoiling it that it’s written in past tense, 3rd person. Just sayin’ 😀 Highly recommended, so I voted for Still Life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Past tense, 3rd person? Well, that’s good to know! I’d be quite happy if it comes up – it’s a series I’ve been meaning to try for a long time – since 2015, in fact! 😉 Most series are variable and I’ll make allowances for this being the first, since I often find the first is the weakest in any series.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m a fan of both Rebus and Gamache, so it may surprise you to find out that I didn’t vote for either of them – because I think neither of those two books are the strongest in the series. I thought the Boyd sounded intriguing (I’m not a huge fan of family sagas, so the last one just wasn’t for me…)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m a big fan of Boyd, so will be quite happy if it wins – it’s got a tiny lead at the moment! i don’t know why I’ve left it lingering on the TBR for so long, but then I could say the same about any of these four…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow! The premise of A Tangled Web seems so different from LM Montgomery’s other books. But I heard she struggled a lot in her life due to family issues, so maybe this book fits her life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I get the impression from Rose’s review that it’s a comfort read – I think the blurb maybe makes it sound a bit darker than it is. I’ve never read any of her stuff except the Anne books, which I love, so I’ll be quite happy if it wins… 😀

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  9. I voted for Still Life only because I’ve read the entire series. I’ve had my ups and downs with it, but have a sneaking suspicion that it (the series) ultimately won’t be to your taste. But then I would never have pegged you for the Southern Sisters mysteries!

    My second choice would have been A Tangled Web. It sounds rather odd. (60 marriages? And they weren’t marrying first cousins by some point??)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, yes, I think every time you’ve mentioned one I’ve commented that book 1 was on my TBR! I’m not sure if it’ll be to my taste either, but there’s only one way to find out. Sometimes I surprise even myself! 😀 A Tangled Web sounds good too – they all do, in fact, this month – and Rose’s review made it sound delightful despite all those marriages…

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m voting for the Rebus because I am a huge fan of the series (I’m behind you in how many I’ve read, I think.) But I’d be curious to see what you make of the Louise Penny. I tried it and I just didn’t like it. I’ve been told that it’s not the best one, but it’s the FIRST ONE, so I haven’t yet decided if I want to invest any more of my precious reading time with another one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Rebus series has been going on so long now I’m never sure which of the early ones I’ve read or not – I tended to read all the later ones more or less as they came out. But I’m certain I haven’t read this one, since it’s short stories and I’d have remembered that! Yes, a few fans of the Louise Penny series have been warning that this one isn’t as good as the later ones, so I’ll have to bear that in mind if it wins – but I find that’s quite often the case with series…

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I want you to read all of them. The Ian Rankin because it must be good, although I haven’t read it. Sweet Caress because I have not read William Boyd and I want to know what you think of it. A Tangled Web because I have not read LM Montgomery. However this is adult and the other books she has written are childrens book so…

    A Still Life is a different matter. I did not like that book particularly and did not read the 2nd book until 4 years later. It was 10 years later that I read the 4th book and got hooked on the series. So I don’t think A Still Life is the best entry to Louise Penny’s series, but I love the series now.

    I see that Sandra comment is a lot like mine.

    I voted for Sweet Caress.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, that’s the problem – I want to read them all too! The Rebus book intrigues me because it seems to be short stories rather than a novel, and A Tangled Web intrigues me because I love the Anne books but haven’t read anything else by her. A few people have warned that Still Life isn’t one of the best in the Gamache series, so I’ll bear that in mind if it wins, and make allowances! Boyd is one of my favourite authors and I can’t understand why I’ve left Sweet Caress unread for so long, so I’ll be quite happy if it wins – it’s currently just in the lead… 😀

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    • Hahaha, thank you for that kind gesture! I’ve noticed that The People have a tendency to always go for the long ones… 😉 I love the Anne books but have never read anything else by Montgomery, so I’ll be quite happy if A Tangled Web wins… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I voted for Sweet Caress because it’s on my TBR too and I’d be interested to hear what I can expect from it! I’m also intrigued by A Tangled Web as I’ve never read anything by Montgomery apart from the Anne books.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, I shall be happy to be the canary down the min if Sweet Caress wins, then! 😉 I usually love Boyd, though just occasionally he seems to lose his touch, but this one seems to be quite highly rated by fans. Like you, I’ve only read, and loved, the Anne books, so I’m intrigued by A Tangled Web…

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    • I still think all of these look good – A Tangled Web intrigues me because I loved the Anne books, but have never read anything else by Montgomery. I’ve read loads of Boyd, however, and usually love him, though just occasionally he seems to lose his touch. Sweet Caress has good ratings though, so I’ll be quite happy if it wins! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Difficult choice here! Love Ian Rankin and Louise Penny though as others have said this isn’t her strongest, but it’s a series that works best read in order. If you like Gamache and the way Penny handles her characters, you’ll probably like the series. ‘Sweet Caress’ isn’t my favorite Boyd so I’m going with ‘A Tangled Web’ just because it sounds intriguing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha, yes, I’m always glad I don’t have to vote – I still think they all sound good! Rebus is always worth reading – an old friend. I’ve noted the warnings about Still Life – I often think the first in a series tends to be the weakest, so I’ll remember to make allowances for that effect if it wins. Boyd is a favourite of mine, although sometimes he seems to lose his magic touch, so I will read Sweet Caress eventually. I’m intrigued too by A Tangled Web – I’ve only read the Anne books before, and loved them, so I’ll be quite happy if it wins… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Sweet Caress sounds meatier and has (marginally) the highest Goodreads rating. On the other hand, if I were looking for something less meaty (a vegan read?), I’d pick Still Life. I read L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of the Island not long ago, and was put off by the nearly exclusive focus on marriage as absolutely necessary for a woman’s happiness. Going by the blurb, A Tangled Web is more of the same. And there was a seriously weird scene in Anne of the Island in which some young ladies (unsuccessfully) try to chloroform an unwanted cat. WTF??

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, I like the concept of vegan reads! Yes, I’d forgotten the cat chloroforming scene – not one of Anne’s better moments! I read the books as a kid so might have felt differently about them if I’d been reading them for the first time as an adult. I enjoyed the later ones but not to the same extent as I loved Anne the child – to use that cliché word, she was very relatable, even though our lives had nothing in common!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I could read any of these and I have read Still Life (and I’m on a library wait list for the second in the series). I’d read Sweet Caress because of Boyd and A Tangled Web because it’s new territory for me. However, I think I’ll recommend A Good Hanging because reading some well written crime stories appeals at the moment and maybe you can check them out for me 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sadly it looks like A Good Hanging isn’t going to make it unless a late miracle happens! All four of these still appeal to me which isn’t always the case with these polls, so I’ll be OK with whatever wins – currently it’s neck-and-neck so it’s going to depend on whether there’s any last minute voting… 😀

      Liked by 2 people

    • It’s currently very close so if there are a couple of late votes she’s still in with a chance! But even if it doesn’t win, I do still want to try her – she gets so many mentions around the blogosphere that I feel I’m missing out… 😀

      Liked by 2 people

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