TBR Thursday 316…

Episode 316

Woohoo! A small drop in the TBR this week, down two to 183! No idea how that happened, given that I’m still suffering from extreme exhaustion caused by the Australians’ unaccountable habit of scheduling tennis matches for the middle of the night! I’m still looking for an apprentice to train up as my hero for when Rafa ret… reti… no, can’t say it! Anyway, the shortlist is narrowing and this chap is the current frontrunner….

Félix Auger-Aliassime, for the uninitiated – Canadian, 21, being coached by Rafa’s Uncle Toni. Of course, he got beaten in the quarterfinals, but still, I have high hopes for him! He’s a pleasure to watch, and fights every point, just like Rafa. And he’s awfully pretty, though of course I’d never be shallow enough to notice such things… 😇

(I feel like one of these old rich men who pick their new young trophy wife before they divorce the old one…)

I’ll always love you best, Rafa!

Anyway, back to the books! Here are a few more I’ll be reading soon…


Kingfish: The Reign of Huey P. Long by Richard D. White, Jr.

Back when I read and loved All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren, I mentioned that I’d like to know more about Huey P. Long, the American politician whom some people think Warren used as his template for his anti-hero, Willie Stark. Kelly promptly headed me in the direction of this biography – thank you, Kelly!

The Blurb says: From the moment he took office as governor in 1928 to the day an assassin’s bullet cut him down in 1935, Huey Long wielded all but dictatorial control over the state of Louisiana. A man of shameless ambition and ruthless vindictiveness, Long orchestrated elections, hired and fired thousands at will, and deployed the state militia as his personal police force. And yet, paradoxically, as governor and later as senator, Long did more good for the state’s poor and uneducated than any politician before or since. Outrageous demagogue or charismatic visionary?

In this powerful new biography, Richard D. White, Jr., brings Huey Long to life in all his blazing, controversial glory. White taps invaluable new source material to present a fresh, vivid portrait of both the man and the Depression era that catapulted him to fame.

* * * * *

Scottish Classic

Children of the Dead End by Patrick MacGill

The very last book on my first Classics Club list comes from the Scottish section. I myself am of Scottish and Irish stock, with itinerant workers, extreme poverty and appalling living conditions a major part of my own not too distant family history. So this should be an interesting look at a subject I’m already well aware of on a personal and political level…

The Blurb says: Peopled with extraordinary characters, suffused with humour and yet unflinching in its portrayal of the near slavery of the poor in Scotland and Ireland, Children of the Dead End sold 50,000 copies a year in the 1920s. It was as influential in its own way as the work of social investigators such as Rowntree in bringing about change in British and Irish attitudes to poverty and destitution. Starting with an account of his childhood in Donegal, Ireland at the end of the 19th century, the story moves to Scotland where, living as a tramp, then working as a gang labourer, and for some years as a navvy at Kinlochleven near Fort William, Dermod Flynn (as he calls himself) begins to discover himself as a writer.

* * * * *


Soft Summer Blood by Peter Helton

Courtesy of Severn House via NetGalley. This is one of the last few ancient NetGalley approvals that I let slide after my trigger finger pressed that Request button too often in the early days, and has been lingering on my TBR since 2015! I’ve enjoyed previous books by Peter Helton so it’s annoying that I never got to this one. Time to put that right!

The Blurb says: It all seemed so simple: a murder; an obvious suspect; a shaky alibi: DI McLusky never had it so good. Until a second killing challenges all his earlier assumptions. With every new piece of evidence McLusky brings to light, the case becomes more complicated. Does it have its roots in a disappearance eighteen years earlier, or is it firmly based in the present?

Meanwhile, DI Kat Fairfield and DS Jack Sorbie are tasked with finding the daughter of a prominent Italian politician, who has disappeared while on a student exchange programme at Bristol University. Neither is overjoyed to be lumbered with a routine missing person’s case while McLusky heads a high-profile murder investigation. Until they find a dead body of their own…

* * * * *


Killing Rock by Robert Daws

I enjoyed the first two books in this Gibraltar-set series and again have let this third one linger too long…

The Blurb says: A wealthy household massacred in Spain.

Unidentified mummified remains found at the foot of The Rock. 

A US Congressman’s run for President hangs on events in Gibraltar.

What’s the connection?

Detectives Tamara Sullivan and Gus Broderick face the most dangerous and elusive murder investigation of their lives, and for Broderick, it’s about to become all too personal, with his career in real peril as his past comes back to haunt him.

Will Sullivan and Broderick’s partnership survive this latest case, as killers stalk the narrow streets of Gibraltar?

Killing Rock is the third thrilling novel in the bestselling Sullivan and Broderick crime series from Robert Daws.

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

So…what do you think? Are you tempted?

58 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 316…

  1. I’m sure Rafa knows and appreciates how dedicated you are to him, FictionFan! Anyone else is just…fluff. 😉

    At any rate, you’ve got some interesting-looking books there. The Helton in particular got my interest, and it reminded me of how many authors I’ve ‘met’ once, and wanted to get to know better….but haven’t. How do we let that happen? I think I may have to give up things like eating, sleeping, earning a living, and so on in order to catch up with my TBR…

    Liked by 1 person

    • No one will ever replace Rafa in my heart, but then that’s what I thought about John McEnroe back in the day! And Jimmy Connors… One day all heroes turn into pundits – that’s the cruelty of life… 😉

      Yes, the plethora of good authors means it’s really hard to keep up with any of them, but I always kick myself for not reading authors I’ve previously enjoyed. Helton seems to have stopped writing now too, for the last few years anyway, which is disappointing. Ha, I’ve already stopped earning a living but I still don’t have time for all the books! Cloning is the answer…

      Liked by 1 person

    • None of the young’uns are making my little heart go pit-a-pat the way Rafa does, but the day when he joins the great pundit gang in the sky is rapidly approaching and I need to have a hero ready to step in! Félix has potential… 🎾😍

      Liked by 1 person

    • Pat Rafter for me. I think it was the accent 🤔. Will definitely miss Rafa though. He’s so likeable. A decent human being showing great sportsmanship. Unlike the one they sent home before things even started 😉

      Liked by 2 people

      • Oh yes, Pat Rafter was very… talented, too, though for some reason he never made it completely onto my heroes’ list. Pat Cash nearly did, but he didn’t win often enough! Rafa has really been special though – as you say, not just a great player but a genuinely nice man. I’ve tried really hard to love and defend Novax for years, but I’ve had to give up now – he makes it impossible!


    • I loved Nastase too! Especially when he played doubles with Jimmy Connors, who was my first tennis love… *swoons*
      Glad to hear Killing Rock is good – I enjoyed the other books in the series too, so I’m looking forward to it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. These look interesting, especially Kingfish. I don’t know much about that time in history, so a book like this might prove helpful. Ah, Rafa. So talented (and cute!). I dread when he hangs up his racquet and becomes a commentator.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kingfish does sound good – it sounds as if it’ll almost read like a thriller rather than a biography! We’ve been privileged to live through a real golden age in tennis, with Rafa, Roger, Novak and, for us, Andy. It’s going to be hard for any of the young ones to fill their shoes…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I do enjoy haggis. Although it can vary quite a lot in quality/taste and so enjoyment. When sharing, years ago, in London a housemate would recite Burns’ poem, from memory, as we celebrated Burns nights – haggis, neeps and tatties – it was always a fun night. And, of course, you’re a true Scot enjoying Burns’ poetry. 😄

        Liked by 1 person

        • Haha, I think lots of us have a tendency to quote bits of Burns, but it’s quite impressive to be able to remember swathes of it! I’m quite keen on the neeps and tatties part of a Burns supper – it’s just the haggis that I can live without!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Kingfish sounds interesting. Killing Rock too – I’ve never read a book set in Gibraltar.

    Felix seems very talented! I’m sure Rafa is confident of his supremacy in your heart, though. 😉 When I was 12 or 13 I was totally in love with Andre Agassi, sigh. Always liked those “bad boys.” Did you ever read Agassi’s memoir? It was absolutely riveting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m looking forward to Kingfish – Huey P Long sounds like a fascinating character! The series that Killing Rock is part of are the only books set in Gibraltar I’ve read, too, and he really does the setting well. It’s an odd place – a colony of Britain that’s really part of Spain…

      Oh, yes, I loved Agassi too for a while – though I was *slightly* older than 12 or 13! I haven’t read his memoir – I’m always reluctant to learn too much about my heroes in case they stop being heroes! I did hear that Agassi admitted he’d been using drugs while he was playing and that has put me off him – like Maria Sharapova and Dan Evans, both players I liked and now don’t!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, yes, McEnroe was my number one too back in the day, and I still love listening to him as a pundit! I think the ones we loved when we were young always keep that special place in our hearts… 😀


    • The blurb makes it sound as if his life really is almost identical to Willie Stark in All the King’s Men, even though Penn apparently said he hadn’t consciously used his story. Ha, Blaze Starr sounds like the perfect name for a mistress – not unlike one Ms Stormy Daniels… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’d be willing to try any of these. I do look forward to hearing what you think of Kingfish. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s supposed to be the definitive biography of him. First, though, I want to read Long’s autobiography (which is on my CC list). He thought so highly of himself, it should be quite entertaining.

    On a side note, have you started Go Tell It on the Mountain yet? (is it a re-read for you?) I finished it yesterday and wrote my review last night, while it was still fresh on my mind. I’m very curious to know what others have to say about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kingfish sound great and Long sounds like such an interesting character! I’ll be interested to hear what you think of his autobiography – ha, most politicians aren’t exactly the modest type, are they? 😉
      I haven’t, though it’s next after I finish Rose Nicolson which is good but taking me forever! No, I’ve never read it before, or anything else by Baldwin so it’ll be completely new to me. I’m also intrigued to know how we all get on with it. I’ve seen mostly glowing reviews of it, but a few that were less enthusiastic…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m looking forward to your review of Children of the Dead End, can see a link to Australia in that so many of our ancestors ended up here as a result of poverty in those countries.
    Young Felix is lovely. Time will tell if he becomes your next favourite. Other readers comments have been interesting, the common theme has been players with stronger personalities have become favourites. So many sportspeople in all sports keep such low profiles it is hard to get a read on them, but then we criticise those who are more outspoken but who we don’t agree with. Luckily good manners on the court help us choose our faves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, there’s a reason Scots and Irish spread all over the Empire dominions, and that reason was poverty at home! Children of the Dead End sounds interesting, but I have no idea of what to expect in terms of the quality of the writing… I’m intrigued, though!
      This is the first tournament that the younger ones have really made an impression on me – my fault, I haven’t been paying as much attention as usual for the last couple of years, plus Covid! There are several in contention for hero status, but Félix kinda won my heart in the quarterfinal, even though he lost in the end! We’ll see how he matures… 😉 I do like them to be sporting. McEnroe used to have tantrums, but he was always gracious in either victory or defeat and that kinda made up for his behaviour. It’s the ones that come over as arrogant (like Novax and Kyrgios) that I can’t stand.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Agreed, non-sporting behaviour and arrogance will never win my heart either!
        I was happy to see Barty win last night. Went to the shops today and saw a woman wearing a Barty-vegemite logo style t shirt which made me smile 🙂
        I can’t believe the AO is coming to an end tonight. There will be loads of sleepy people at work tomorrow if the match goes late. I think school is back tomorrow, too.

        Liked by 1 person

        • It turned out to be a great tournament once all the Novak drama was over. I was glad to see Barty win, and I’m still quivering over Rafa’s match! Poor Tommy was getting quite twitchy as I groaned and cheered and screamed – I think he’s glad it’s over! 😀

          Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s as weird as people in Europe eating breakfast at about the time I’m off for a good night’s sleep! Kingfish is an interesting book about Huey Long, a precursor to populists like George Wallace and Dingy Frump.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, yes, it would really have worked better if the world had actually been flat! East coast American time works quite well for me since I tend to be a late riser and a late bedder – their breakfast shows tend to be on while I’m having brunch! 😉 Glad to hear Kingfish is interesting – it certainly sounds it! And Long’s life sounds very much like the character of Willie Stark in All the King’s Men, even though Penn apparently said he didn’t consciously base his character on him…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m going to put Children of the Dead End straight onto my TBR list. That time period of Scottish and Irish history really interests me as it’s at the time of, or a few decades after, my (mostly living in poverty) ancestors’ last experiences of their home countries.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It does sound interesting, though I have no idea what the writing style will be like. I think people sometimes forget that the main driver for the Scottish and Irish Diasporas was poverty – they weren’t really seeking adventures in the New World, they just wanted to be able to not die of starvation!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m hoping it has some positive aspects since he clearly survived and managed to become a writer. But that was certainly uncommon – most of the itinerant Irish workers were treated like dirt, I’m afraid,

      Liked by 1 person

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