20 Books of Summer 2015!

A TBR challenge for me…and a challenge for you…



Cathy over at Cathy746 is hosting this challenge to read twenty books between 1st June and 4th September. (Did you know the name Cathy746 is because Cathy discovered she had 746!!! books on her TBR list? Makes me laugh every time…)

Normally I’d easily read 20 books in three months, but summer is always my slowest time for reading, mainly because of this chap…


…or sometimes this one…

andy murray

…and even occasionally this one…


So I thought that joining the challenge might give me the impetus to fit some reading in around my drooling watching.

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But rather than just listing the titles I plan to read, I thought we could play a little game instead… no, don’t groan! Really, it’ll be fun…

maniacal laughter

Today I’ll be giving you clues to the first ten books on my summer list, and the second ten will be revealed in two weeks time. No titles though! Instead here are ten author pics and ten short blurbs. How many can you match?

1 point if you can name the author in the pic, 1 point for guessing the book title from the blurb, and an extra point if you can match the author to the title.

Or, if you prefer, you can opt out of the game and get the full thirty points by sending me a massive box of chocolates. Can’t say fairer than that, can I? 😉

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And now the blurbs…

Blurb AClassic sci-fi set in a post-apocalyptic world where one man must survive in a world of vampires.

Blurb BBrand new collection of short stories from the author who took us to the USSR in his earlier prize-winning collection and made us dream of Mars and triangles in his last full length novel.

Blurb CThe latest entry in a crime series that starred David Morrissey in the TV adaptation. A girl is missing and a man has been arrested, but our police detective hero believes they’ve got the wrong man…

Blurb DClassic Scottish literature – The adventures of David Balfour, a young orphan, as he journeys through the dangerous Scottish Highlands in an attempt to regain his rightful inheritance.

Blurb EA crime story, loosely based on the Bulger case, that examines what happens to children who kill when they are eventually released. Our heroine is the probation officer of one of the boys.

Blurb FCrime in Amsterdam. An evening in a restaurant turns very dark as two sets of parents show the lengths to which they’re willing to go to protect their teenage sons from the consequences of their actions.

Blurb GBritish crime by an Irish author. A new book in the series which stars my favourite young female detective and her male chauvinist pig (but oddly attractive) sidekick. Together they must investigate a fire that resulted in the death of a politician.

Blurb HBilled as a ghost story, but with a literary flavour. Set in 1937, this is the story of a young man, trapped in the Arctic as the long night of winter approaches and the sea begins to freeze – and he’s not alone…

Blurb INew crime thriller that’s being positively reviewed all round the blogosphere. What would you do if you picked up a book and discovered it was about you – and that it was revealing a secret you thought only you and one other person knew – and that other person is dead?

Blurb JOne for the Great American Novel Quest from a Pulitzer winning novelist. As a Presidential election hangs in the balance, and a post-nuclear-family Thanksgiving looms before him along with crises both marital and medical, Frank Bascombe discovers that what he terms the Permanent Period is fraught with unforeseen perils.

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I must say I think this game is fiendishly difficult even for bookie people. I’m so glad you’re playing it and not me – enjoy!

(Because I think it’s too hard, you will find the answers listed at the bottom of the post – see? I’m quite kind really…)


1 – 10                            Out in the qualifying rounds!
10 – 20                          Made the quarter-finals! Pretty good!
20 – 29                          Ooh! A semi-finalist! Well done!
30                                 Congratulations! You’ve won the Championship!


rafa winner 2013 2

(What? None of you won Rafa? Oh dear, I’ll just have to keep him then…)

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Why not join in with Cathy’s challenge? Lots of good books will be read and lots of good reviews will be written… and no doubt we’ll all end up with even longer TBRs as a result.










Author 1 Blurb H – Dark Matter by Michelle Paver
Author 2 Blurb E – Humber Boy B by Ruth Dugdall
Author 3 Blurb J – Lay of the Land by Richard Ford
Author 4 Blurb C – Time of Death by Mark Billingham
Author 5 Blurb B – Coup de Foudre by Ken Kalfus
Author 6 Blurb A – I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
Author 7 Blurb D – Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
Author 8 Blurb G – After the Fire by Jane Casey
Author 9 Blurb F – The Dinner by Herman Koch
Author 10 Blurb I – Disclaimer by Renée Knight

Shock News!

Global Crisis!

Book Shortage Hits Blogosphere!


empty bookcase


Reports are coming in of the mysterious disappearance of book reviews from all around the Kirkintilloch area. One reviewer told our intrepid newshound:

“I don’t understand it! I just woke up this morning and realised I had no books to review. Three books are sitting there unfinished, and nearly 100 are unstarted…but not a single one has made it to the To Be Reviewed Shelf.”

At this point, the reviewer broke down and had to be given some medicinal chocolate.




Experts looking into the matter are split (that’s unusual, eh?). Some think it’s to do with the strange and unidentified yellow object that has appeared in the sky above Scotland…


sunshine map


…while others believe it’s to do with a vast conspiracy of multi-nationals to beam adverts directly into Scottish homes…


djokovic adverts


A top-level conference is to be held over the next two weeks in Wimbledon bringing together experts from all over the world…


rafa and andy 6th june 2014


It is hoped that they will find a solution, allowing normal service to be resumed sometime in July. Meantime…

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andy wimbledon


The French Connection

Factlets from the French Open…


The first French Championships took place in 1891 (long before it was ‘open’). Only 5 people took part in the tournament, and the winner was an Englishman, H. Briggs. No-one seems to know his first name, nor can I find a photo of him…so here’s a pic of Rafa instead…



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The winner in 1892 was Jean Schopfer…

Jean Schopfer
Jean Schopfer


…who later wrote a book,  Ariane, jeune fille russe, under the pen-name Claude Anet. In 1957, Billy Wilder produced and directed a film based on the book, called Love in the Afternoon, which starred Gary Cooper, Audrey Hepburn and Maurice Chevalier.


The cast of the film did not include Rafa…

Rafa in civvies

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Max Decugis won 8 times between 1903-1914…

Max Decugis
Max Decugis

…a record now equalled by Rafa…


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The Four Musketeers was the nickname given to the four Frenchmen who dominated world tennis in the late 1920s and early 1930s – Jean Borotra, Jacques Brugnon, René Lacoste and Henri Cochet. Between them they won 20 Grand Slam Singles titles and 23 Grand Slam Doubles.


France's Four Musketeers - Jacques Brugnon, Henri Cochet, René Lacoste and Jean Borotra
France’s Four Musketeers – Jacques Brugnon, Henri Cochet, René Lacoste and Jean Borotra


It’s in their honour that the current crop of top French players are called The New Musketeers – Gilles Simon, Richard Gasquet, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gael Monfils.


The New Musketeers - Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gilles Simon, Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet
The New Musketeers – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gilles Simon, Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet


However, despite featuring regularly in the Top 20, the four of them combined have won fewer Grand Slams than Rafa…


rafa 2010

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The current Mens Singles Champion is…

rafa winner 2013 2


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However, as a good Scotswoman, of course I’ll be supporting…

andy murray

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Enjoy the French Open!