TBR Thursday 329…

Episode 329

No change in the TBR this week – remaining steady on 173. This is mainly because I’ve had less time for reading since, despite my better judgement, I seem to have been obsessively watching the Depp/Heard trial. My verdict? Well, here’s a visual representation of how I see their relationship…

(The wonderful Andy Capp drawn by cartoonist Reg Smythe)

Here are a few more I should be battling with soon… 

Crime

The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan

Courtesy of HarperCollins. Dervla McTiernan is one of those authors I’ve been meaning to try for years but have never managed to fit in, so I was pleased when this one popped through my letterbox from the good people at HarperCollins. Happily too, it’s a standalone, so I’m not going to be jumping into the middle of an established series!

The Blurb says: For fans of the compulsive psychological suspense of Ruth Ware and Tana French, a mother daughter story—one running from a horrible truth, and the other fighting to reveal it—that twists and turns in shocking ways, from the internationally bestselling author of The Scholar and The Ruin.

First Rule: Make them like you.

Second Rule: Make them need you.

Third Rule: Make them pay.

They think I’m a young, idealistic law student, that I’m passionate about reforming a corrupt and brutal system.

They think I’m working hard to impress them.

They think I’m here to save an innocent man on death row.

They’re wrong. I’m going to bury him.

Fiction

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

One for my sadly neglected Spanish Civil War challenge. There’s every possibility I’ll hate this because of the fantasy elements, but there’s also every possibility I’ll love it if the zillions of glowing reviews can be depended on! We shall see!

The Blurb says: Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals from its war wounds, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julian Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets–an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.

* * * * *

Adventure

Biggles Defends the Desert by Capt. W.E. Johns

OK, you have no idea the trouble I’ve had trying to fill the annoying Desert box on my Wanderlust Bingo challenge! I have searched and acquired and abandoned and searched, and I’m at the point of despair. So then I remembered Biggles! I loved Biggles so much as a child, and that heroic pilot and his faithful team went everywhere making the world a better, safer place by beating mostly the Germans, but also anyone else who didn’t realise the British way of life is best, the British upper lip is the stiffest, and Britain rules supreme! Oops, sorry – anyway, I was sure he must have fought somebody in at least one desert in his time (and the book will be quick and short) and I wonder if I’ll still love him… I suspect I probably will!

The Blurb says: It’s the Second World War and Biggles is in the desert, defending the vital air-route from the West coast of Africa to the Middle East. Urgent stores, dispatches and important officials and officers are regularly flown over this route, but lately a number of planes have unaccountably failed to arrive at their destinations. They’ve disappeared on route and Biggles is there to find out why – and stop it happening again.

* * * * *

Rebus on Audio

Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin read by James Macpherson

The fact that I am about to listen to the very first Rebus book, a series second only to the Dalziel and Pascoe books in my affections, and all narrated by the wonderful James Macpherson, SHOULD NOT be taken to mean that I intend to listen to the entire series in order! I mean, there are 23 of them and still counting, so it would be silly – extremely silly – to embark on such a task….

The Blurb says: ‘And in Edinburgh of all places. I mean, you never think of that sort of thing happening in Edinburgh, do you…?’ ‘That sort of thing’ is the brutal abduction and murder of two young girls. And now a third is missing, presumably gone to the same sad end. Detective Sergeant John Rebus, smoking and drinking too much, his own young daughter spirited away south by his disenchanted wife, is one of many policemen hunting the killer. And then the messages begin to arrive: knotted string and matchstick crosses – taunting Rebus with pieces of a puzzle only he can solve. 

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

So…what do you think? Are you tempted?

66 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 329…

    • It’s really the Cormac Reilly books that I’ve wanted to read, but hopefully this standalone will be just as good, and might inspire me to finally read her other stuff!

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    • It’s really been reviews for the Cormac Reilly series that have made her appeal to me, but hopefully this standalone will be just as good and inspire me to finally read her series! Fingers crossed…

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  1. I read The Shadow of the Wind years ago and can’t remember a thing about it, but Goodreads tells me I’ve given it four stars, so I must have liked it! I’ll be interested to hear what you think.

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    • Good to hear you enjoyed it! It doesn’t sound like my kind of thing really, but I’m hoping the Spanish Civil War connection will make me able to tolerate the magical realism aspects. Fingers crossed!

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  2. I know what you mean about the Depp/Heard trial, FictionFan! I haven’t been closely following it, but still… I wonder why some of those cases just grab the public interest the way they do. At any rate, I’ve been wanting to read Dervla McTiernan’s work, too, and just haven’t yet. I like the bits of her writing that I have seen – just haven’t gotten there yet. So I’ll be interested in what you think of that one. And Rebus is always worth a (re)visit, I think.

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    • I didn’t follow the first week or so, but then foolishly tuned in one day and got hooked! I feel duly bad about it though… 😂 I’ve seen so many positive reviews for Dervla McTiernan’s Cormac Reilly series – I’m hoping this standalone will be just as good and might finally inspire me to get to her series. Ha, I feel a Rebus marathon coming on… 😉

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  3. I forgot all about the Depp/Heard trial. This is what comes from not having a TV or regularly watching the news. But I’m sure it’s fascinating.
    The Shadow of the Wind has an intriguing premise as does Knots and Crosses. Shadow sounds like a quiet novel. I hope it is rich in character.

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    • I try hard not to watch news coverage obsessively but whenever there’s a big story happening I seem unable to resist! I’m not sure if Shadow will work for me because of the magical realism, but I’m hoping the Spanish Civil War connection will carry me through. And it’ll be fun to revisit young Rebus. 😀

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  4. The first book that comes to mind for the desert is The Little Prince – but maybe that wouldn’t count. I’ve never read any Biggles. They sound very…British!

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    • Ha, I’ve never read The Little Prince and I’m wishing I’d known it featured a desert since it’s delightfully short! Oh, very definitely British, but the brave airmen of Canada, NZ and Aus appear too if memory serves me right! And he even made us all admire the heroic German airmen (just before Biggles shot them down… 😉 )

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      • It’s only the beginning that I remember being in the desert so maybe it wouldn’t really count. Our history obviously makes a big deal of the Canadian role in various battles and wars but I’m never sure if other countries learn much about us!

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        • The adventure books I read as a kid often included people from the Dominions, as they had been until quite recently at that time. And Churchill, you’ll be glad to hear, talks a lot and very highly about the contributions of Canada, NZ and Aus! He also clearly sees them still as part of “our” Empire rather than as separate entities. I’m not suggesting we resurrect the Empire(!) but I still feel closer to the old Dominions and colonies than to European countries or America. I don’t think young Brits feel that way though.

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          • That makes me happy to hear! Learning about a lot of that time at school, the emphasis is obviously on Canadian contributions so it can be hard to get a sense of how that’s all seen on a broader scale.

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            • Although I wasn’t pro-Brexit, I’ve felt for most of my life that being part of the EU was weakening Britain’s relationship with its oldest friends and partners. I’m hoping that one of the unintended consequences might be that we renew those friendships and that younger British people come to realise the importance of the links between Commonwealth countries. You may say I’m a dreamer… 😉

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            • Personally, I would love to see Canada strengthen our relationships with, well, basically anyone other than the US. We’re way too wrapped up in what’s going on down there. It would be nice to strengthen those Commonwealth ties. I feel like our country’s values are actually more in line with those nations and we shouldn’t be so reliant on America.

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            • Yes, I’d like that for Britain too. I really don’t like the way we have all allowed the US to become the leader of the democracies, especially since I am no longer convinced that their democracy is stable. I hope I’m wrong in that, but I really don’t feel that their system is one that I would want us all to emulate. Whereas I do feel that the rest of us share much more similarity in general outlook and in the way that we run our politics. Hurrah for the Commonwealth, I say! 😀

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            • I’m not even sure the US IS a democracy anymore. It certainly doesn’t seem stable from what I can see but either way, it isn’t a nation I think we should be looking to for guidance right now and it’s downright scary when Canadian politicians seem to want to draw closer to the American model.

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            • It’s the idea that laws should be made by appointed judges rather than by parliament that I find both odd and scary. Especially when they get lifetime appointments. There are people in Britain who want to go the same way and give the courts disproportionate power over the government, purely because they don’t like the current government. I think it’s a really dangerous slope, and if they get their way I think we’ll all live to regret it, just as America is today. Hurrah for the Queen, I say! 😉

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  5. I was in a secondhand bookshop last weekend and was tempted by a few Biggles titles but didn’t buy, you’ve persuaded me – I haven’t read one before but it all sounds stupidly good fun!

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    • It must be close on half a century – maybe more! – since I last read Biggles but I loved them back then. I suspect they’ll still be fun – it was all about heroism and adventure rather than any of the nastiness of war… I think!

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  6. None of these immediately appeal, which is good news for my TBR – I’m somewhat interested in Shadow of the Wind, but though I like some fantasy, magical realism specifically is not really my thing. I’ll be interested to see what you make of it!

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    • I’m not convinced The Shadow of the Wind will work for me at all – magical realism rarely does. But I thought I’d give it a try anyway, and who knows, maybe it’ll blow me away!

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  7. I’ve never heard of Biggles so I look forward to learning more in your review!

    Andy Capp is one of my favorite comics. I still read it every day!

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    • Ha, Biggles is so British I’m not surprised you’ve never heard of him, but I loved them as a child. Hope I still do!
      I didn’t realise Andy Capp was still going till I started looking for a cartoon for this. I loved them back in the day, but I bet they’ve had to change them a bit – wife-beating isn’t as politically correct as it once was… 😉

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  8. I’m glad I know nothing of the trial. I don’t really enjoy looking at other people’s dirty laundry. And I’m feeling a little pressed for time lately, so I’ll have to hold the books you’ve listed at arm’s length and resist. Some day’s I’m a rock. Other days a pushover.

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  9. The McTiernan sounds tempting, but not the Carlos Ruiz Zafon which disappointed me when it first came out. I’ve never been drawn to the Biggles series somehow, maybe because I was a postwar baby and this seemed like a glorification of war, albeit with humour. I may be wrong though…

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    • Oh, that’s disappointing since you’re generally much more open to magical realism and fantasy than I am. Still, I’ll try it and see how it goes. The McTiernan does sound good – fingers crossed! It must be half a century since I last read a Biggles book, so I don’t know how I’ll feel about them now, but I don’t really remember them glorifying war – it was more a glorification of heroism and adventure, I think. In fact, Biggles had lots of adventures that weren’t war related at all, when he and his mates were demobbed and set up a commercial flying firm – cargo planes, or something… my memory is vague on the details!

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      • Oh, I like magic realism on the whole, but only if there’s an underlying logic to it – the Ruiz Zafon (as I remember it, it’s been a few years) just seemed random, bewildering for its own sake, with an interminable morass of a plot. And the few of his other titles I’ve read since then have dealt me the same impression. Strangely unappetising, or rather leaving me unsated at the end.

        I’m prepared to give Biggles the benefit of the doubt and reconsider his adventures, though!

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  10. The Murder Rule sounds interesting, but no more WWII stories for me. Not for a LONG time. I just finished Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale (struggled through it, to be more exact), and I’ve had about all the war/torture/misery I can handle for a while!

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  11. Trial? What trial? Well, the two books I’d probably be interested in I’ve read so my TBR escapes this week! It will be interesting to see what you make of Shadow of the Wind and the audio versions of the Rebus books. I think I tried one but wasn’t paying close enough attention, I probably do better with the written versions of Rankin’s books!

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    • Hahaha, yes, the trial is very low-key but I’ve managed to search out little bits of coverage…. 😉 I’m not sure I’ll get on with The Shadow of the Wind, but I’m hoping it might surprise me. I’ve listened to a couple of the Rebus books before with this narrator so I know I like his reading of them. This first Rebus is odd though! He’s changed so much over the series and I’m having a hard time recognising him in this!

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    • Oh, I’m glad to hear you enjoyed them as an adult – I’m always wary about revisiting childhood loves in case they seem… too childish! But if memory serves me right they’re mostly just good old-fashioned adventure stories. 😀

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          • I know people who have the same struggles with her; I’m glad I’m able to enjoy her even now (even if I can see some issues in her books I wouldn’t have back as a child) and also that a friend I convinced to finally try her out did love her as well though she’d never read her as a child. I’m sure you’ll still be able to enjoy her nature writings, even if not her stories–they might be written for children–sometimes a direct address–but still, there’s tons in there which is wonderful.

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            • I really only read her mystery books as a child. I didn’t even really read many of her school stories, although I read lots of other school stories – I have no idea why I missed hers actually!

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  12. Didn’t enjoy Shadow of the Wind. The story was gripping but the end was a let-down. Read Biggles in school and liked it but I think I’ve out-grown the books. Have read two Rankins, liked the first one not so much the second. Will wait for your reviews.

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    • Hmm, lots of people seem to be saying that they weren’t that keen on The Shadow of the Wind. Oh well, I’ll see how it goes. Ha, I’m not sure how I’ll feel about Biggles as an adult either but I did love them when I was a child. And if it manages to fill that pesky desert box on my Wanderlust challenge I’ll be delighted. I think Rebus is another of these series that really got very good in the middle but was weaker both at the beginning and the end. However I never read them in order and I’m not even sure that I ever actually read this first one before so it’ll be interesting to see how the great man started out!

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  13. I really loved The Shadow of the Wind but it’s been a long time since I read it so I don’t know if I can be trusted, ha ha!

    Rebus! I just ordered the 15th in the series from another library so I’m happy to see you rereading these. I bet they’re great on audio!

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    • Oh good! I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed The Shadow of the Wind, since several people have remarked that they really didn’t and I was beginning to wonder if I had made a big mistake!

      The guy who narrates Rebus is a Scottish actor who starred in a crime series that you probably don’t know called Taggart which was huge over here. And I think he’s got the perfect voice for Rebus! 😀

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  14. Old Andy Capp is a bit of a blast from the past – checking the newspaper cartoons when I was a child! You don’t forget that look. I’ve tentatively added The Shadow of the Wind to my list, it could go either way but I think I’m willing to give it a try. I haven’t read the early Rebus, just some of the later ones. Does this mean I’m up for a first read of the series while you do a reread? 😉

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    • I had no idea that Andy Capp was an international star! I’m actually quite surprised that the humour travelled. Yes, I don’t know whether I’ll get on with The Shadow of the Wind either but there’s only one way to find out, and maybe the Spanish Civil War connection will be enough to carry me through. I’m having a really strange experience with this first Rebus – I don’t think I’ve read it before although I’ve certainly seen a television adaptation of it, but he’s so different from the Rebus of the middle and later books! I’m finding it hard to really feel as if it’s the real Rebus! If you do decide to read it, I’ll be interested to hear what you think of it.

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  15. I’ve always meant to read Carlos Ruiz Zafon – another author I really “should” read!

    Re: the trial, like you I’ve been caught up in it too – I think lots of people have, it’s hard to look away it’s such a train wreck. I have a similar opinion – I think they regularly hurt each other, most likely due to the large amounts of drugs and alcohol they both consumed! It’s actually a really interesting look at the dark side of celebrity that we don’t see – the addictions and trauma that so many of them are dealing with. It’s quite sad actually.

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    • Haha, there are so many authors out there that we really should read! Well, I’ll be the Guinea pig with Carlos Ruiz Zafon… 😉

      Yes, neither of them is coming out of this looking good, are they? The one thing that I would say is that the whole trial could be used as an advert to try to persuade children to just say no to drugs and alcohol! I find it almost impossible to believe everything that she says is true, but I suspect there is some truth in it somewhere. The problem for both of them is that people have taken sides, and I don’t think anyone is going to be willing to change their opinion now.

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  16. I will start reading on the SCW again, this time mainly in Spanish, and I’m very excited about that. The Shadow of the Wind sounds really interesting, I am looking forward to your review on that one.

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    • Oh, you’re lucky to be able to read in the original language – I’m jealous! So many books haven’t been translated at all, and if they have been, then the usual problem exists of occasional clunkiness, or not knowing how well the translator is expressing the original meaning.

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