A Glimpse of my TBRs

This post was inspired by FictionFan’s Stroll Around her TBR:

The definition…

My TBR is made up of books I own, both paper and e-books, but haven’t yet read, no matter when I acquired them, whereas the books I record for Bev’s Mount TBR Reading Challenge are books that I have owned prior to January 1 2019.

The current total…

I don’t have an accurate figure of the total. I have 387 books currently listed on LibraryThing as TBRs, but that’s not counting the many e-books I have unread on my Kindle!

The target…

I like having books waiting to be read, having books to choose from, so I’m happy to have some TBRs, but just not as many as at present. The difficulty is that I’m adding books more quickly than I’m reading them – the numbers are going up rather than down.  Maybe I should go through them and decide whether to keep them – or not, always hard when I’ve bought them – but maybe those free e-books could go ….

The breakdown…

It’s a mix of mainly fiction with some non-fiction. I like to vary my reading so it’s a mix of genres too. My records aren’t detailed enough to break the numbers down into genres.

The oldest book…

There are two books listed on my LibraryThing catalogue that I’ve owned since 4 February 2007 – A Dead Language by Peter Rushforth and Thomas Hardy: The Time-torn Man by Claire Tomalin. I did start to read both of them years ago, but put them aside for a while – and that’s where they both are.

I bought the Rushforth book as I’d loved his first book, Pinkerton’s Sister, but A Dead Language doesn’t have the same appeal, although I can’t bring myself to the point of actually abandoning it. Whereas I really want to read the Hardy biography …

The newest book…

The Good Daughter by Karen Slaughter

Good Daughter

I haven’t read any of Karin Slaughter’s books, but have wondered if I would like them. After reading Jules’ review of her latest novel, The Last Widow on her blog onemoreword  I decided to try one of her standalone books and bought The Good Daughter. 

The review copies…

Currently standing at 18. The oldest review copy is Blood on the Tracks by Martin Edwards which I acquired from NetGalley on 10 April 2018. It’s a collection of short stories subtitled Railway Mysteries. I’ll be reading it soon as I have included it in my 20 Books of Summer list.

Blood on the tracks

The newest review copy, also from NetGalley, is The House by the Loch by Kristy Wark, due to be published 13 June. It’s a family drama set in Scotland on remote Loch Doon.

House by the loch

The 200th book on the list…

According to LibraryThing that is The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky, a book I thought I’d like to read after reading The Brothers Karamazov years ago. I don’t know when I’ll get round to reading it though as it’s nearly 600 pages of small font – an e-book might be more manageable.

The Idiot Wordsworth Classic

Blurb from the back cover:

Prince Myshkin returns to Russia from an asylum in Switzerland. As he becomes embroiled in the frantic amatory and financial intrigues which centre around a cast of brilliantly realised characters and which ultimately lead to tragedy, he emerges as a unique combination of the Christian ideal of perfection and Dostoevsky’s own views, afflictions and manners. His serene selflessness is contrasted with the worldly qualities of every other character in the novel. Dostoevsky supplies a harsh indictment of the Russian ruling class of his day who have created a world which cannot accommodate the goodness of this idiot.

A Selection of the books I most want to read and can’t understand why I don’t just do it…

In no particular order:

(not counting the books on my 20 Books of Summer list or my NetGalley review books)


I’d love to look around your TBRs if you fancy having a go too.


My Friday Post: Snowblind by Ragnar Jónasson

Book Beginnings Button

Every Friday Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Gillion at Rose City Reader where you can share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

The book I’m featuring this week is Snowblind by Ragnar Jónasson, one of my TBRs.


The red stain was like a scream in the silence.

Also every Friday there is The Friday 56, hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice.

30879-friday2b56These are the rules:

  1. Grab a book, any book.
  2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader. If you have to improvise, that is okay.
  3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
  4. Post it.
  5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda’s most recent Friday 56 post.

Page 56:

Ari Thor picked up the book he had bought, in spite of the promise he’d made to himself to save it until after dinner. He was eking out his small pleasures to keep the boredom at bay. Only a few pages into the book, he realised that he hadn’t taken anything in.


Siglufjörður: an idyllically quiet fishing village in Northern Iceland, where no one locks their doors – accessible only via a small mountain tunnel.

Ari Thór Arason: a rookie policeman on his first posting, far from his girlfriend in Reykjavik – with a past that he’s unable to leave behind. When a young woman is found lying half-naked in the snow, bleeding and unconscious, and a highly esteemed, elderly writer falls to his death in the local theatre, Ari is dragged straight into the heart of a community where he can trust no one, and secrets and lies are a way of life.

An avalanche and unremitting snowstorms close the mountain pass, and the 24-hour darkness threatens to push Ari over the edge, as curtains begin to twitch, and his investigation becomes increasingly complex, chilling and personal. Past plays tag with the present and the claustrophobic tension mounts, while Ari is thrust ever deeper into his own darkness – blinded by snow, and with a killer on the loose.


What do you think? Would you keep reading?


New Additions

May bks 2019

These are my latest additions to my TBR books from Barter Books in Alnwick. From top to bottom:

  • Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister – because I’ve loved other books by her. This is a psychological thriller that has two separate storylines following two paths that Joanna’s future might take.
  • Fire from Heaven: a novel of Alexander the Great by Mary Renault – because this book caught my eye in the historical fiction section and I remember enjoying some of her books years ago. This is the first in her Alexandrian Trilogy.
  • The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths, a Dr Ruth Galloway Mystery – because I like Ruth and enjoy these books, even though they are written in the present tense, which I can find irritating. This one is set in Italy.
  • The Sleeping and the Dead by Ann Cleeves – because I love her books. This is one of her earlier books, first published in 2001. It’s a standalone murder mystery featuring Detective Peter Porteous.
  • Christine Falls by Benjamin Black -because I’ve been on the lookout for this book ever since I read Vengeance, the 5th book in his Quirke Mysteries series. This is the 1st book in the series, a murder mystery set in the 1950s in Dublin where Quirke is a pathologist. Benjamin Black is the pen name of John Banville.

Six Degrees of Separation: from The Dry to The Song of Troy

I love doing Six Degrees of Separation, a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain. But for this chain the books are all connected in that they are all books on my TBR shelves.

The Dry

This month the chain begins with The Dry by Jane Harper, crime fiction set in a small country town in Australia, where the Hadler family were brutally murdered. I have had this book on my TBR shelves for quite some time now and I really want to read it as I loved Force of Nature and The Lost Man. I was thinking of linking to one of these books but decided to go for another book, one that I bought on the same day as The Dry. It’s Longbourn by Jo Baker, a story about the Bennet’s servants in a re-imagining of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Another book that is a re-imagining is Rebecca’s Tale by Sally Beauman, a companion novel to Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. It is set 20 years after the death of Rebecca and the burning of Manderley. I’m hoping I’ll  love it as much as I loved Rebecca and Hitchcock’s 1940 film of the book. Sally Beauman was a journalist before she became an author. She wrote Rebecca’s Tale after writing an article about the work of Daphne du Maurier in The New Yorker magazine.

My next link is through the author’s first name – Sally – to  another author called Sally,  Sally Gunning and her book, The Widow’s War. It’s historical fiction set in Cape Cod, Massachusetts during the years prior to the War of Independence. After Lyddie Berry’s husband of 20 years dies in a whaling accident she has to fight a ‘war’ for control of her own destiny. Under the laws of the colony widows had the use of only one third of their husbands’ real estate, and did not inherit the ownership.

A different type of war is the subject of Small Wars by Sadie Jones. This is historical fiction set in  Cyprus in the 1950s as the EOKA terrorists are fighting for independence from Britain and union with Greece.

Another book set on an island is The Island by Victoria Hislop.  Alexis Fielding discovers the story of her mother’s family on the island of Spinalonga, a tiny, deserted island off the coast of Crete – Greece’s former leper colony.  Victoria Hislop was also a journalist before she became an author.

As was Colleen McCullough, the author of numerous books including the Masters of Rome series. So, my final link is to one of her books – The Song of Troy in  which she recounts the tale of Helen and Paris, sparking the Trojan War. Colleen McCullough was also an Australian author so it links back to the first book, The Dry by Jane Harper, also an Australian author, who I’m delighted to see was also a journalist before becoming an author!

In addition to all the books being TBRs, four of the authors were journalists before becoming authors and two are Australian authors.

The chain moves through time from the present day back to late classical Antiquity, beginning in Australia and passing through England, America, Cyprus, Crete to Anatolia in modern Turkey.

Next month (June 1, 2019), the chain will begin with the winner of the 2019 Wellcome Prize, Murmur by Will Eaves.

My Friday Post: Iris and Ruby by Rosie Thomas

Book Beginnings Button

Every Friday Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Gillion at Rose City Reader where you can share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

This week I’ve been looking at some of my TBRs deciding which one to read next and came across Iris and Ruby by Rosie Thomas. It’s been on my shelves a long time – 12 years – it really is time I read it!

Iris and Ruby

I remember.

And even as I say the words aloud in the silent room and hear the whisper dying away in the shadows of the house, I realise it’s not true.

Also every Friday there is The Friday 56, hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice.

30879-friday2b56These are the rules:

  1. Grab a book, any book.
  2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader. If you have to improvise, that is okay.
  3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
  4. Post it.
  5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda’s most recent Friday 56 post.

Page 56:

‘I remember the Blitz. the beginning of it anyway. Then I came out here, to Cairo, to work.’

‘ Did you? How come?’

‘That’s the beginning of another long story.’


The unexpected arrival of her wilful teenage granddaughter, Ruby, brings life and disorder to 82-year-old Iris Black’s old house in Cairo. Ruby, driven away from England by her fraught relationship with her own mother, is seeking refuge with the grandmother she hasn’t seen for years.

An unlikely bond develops as Ruby helps Iris document her fading memories of the glittering, cosmopolitan Cairo of World War Two, and of her one true love – the enigmatic Captain Xan Molyneux – whom she lost to the ravages of war.

This lost love shaped Iris’s past – and will affect Ruby’s future in ways they could not have imagined…


What do you think? Would you keep reading?

The Island by Ragnar Jónasson

Nordic Noir – dark, chilling and utterly gripping

The Island (Hidden Iceland #2)

Penguin UK Michael Joseph|4 April 2019|313 pages|Review copy|5*

I was delighted to receive a review copy of  The Island by Ragnar Jónasson from the publishers.  

This is my first book by Ragnar Jónasson. I discovered after I’d read it that it’s the second in his Hidden Iceland series – but I had no difficulty reading it as a standalone novel. It begins with a Prologue that indicates that the main story has elements of horror as well as mystery. It’s unsettling and sinister.

Four friends visit the isolated island of Elliðaey off the coast of Iceland, ten years after the murder of a fifth friend, Katla, but only three of them return. One of them, Klara, fell to her death from a cliff – but did she jump or was she pushed? Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir is sent to investigate. She realises that there are similarities with the death of Katla. A suspect had been charged, but had committed suicide before the verdict was announced and the case had been closed. But are the two murders connected, even though they are ten years apart?

Hulda is an interesting character, with a back story that is only partly revealed in this book. Her name means ‘hidden woman‘. The first book in the series dealt with her later life, with this second book going back in time to her earlier life. In The Island she lives alone, her mother having recently died and there is a mystery about her father. She only knows that he was an American soldier and part of the novel records her search for him. It’s a police procedural, so Hulda’s somewhat fractious relationships with her colleagues also form part of the story.

The narrative also switches between the deaths of the two young women ten years apart, told from the various characters’ perspectives. They present an intricate mystery that Hulda gradually unravels, sifting through the lies that the suspects tell her. It’s not a fast-paced novel, but it is full of suspense and foreboding, set against the beautiful and dramatic Icelandic landscape. One by one I suspected each character, unsure who to believe. I loved it!

My thanks to the publishers, Penguin UK Michael Joseph for my review copy via NetGalley.

A Snapshot of Murder by Frances Brody

A Snapshot of Murder (Kate Shackleton #10)


Crooked Lane Books |19 April 2019|Print length 339 pages|e-book review copy|3*

Blurb (Amazon):

Yorkshire, 1928. Indomitable sleuth Kate Shackleton is taking a well-deserved break from her detective work and indulging in her other passion: photography. When her local Photographic Society proposes an outing, Kate jumps at the chance to visit Haworth and Stanbury, in the heart of Brontë country, the setting for Wuthering Heights.

But when an obnoxious member of their party is murdered, the group is thrown into disarray. Is the murderer amongst them, or did the loud-mouthed Tobias have more enemies than they might have imagined?

Armed with her wit and wiles, and of course her trusty camera, it’s up to Kate to crack the case, and get that perfect shot too . . .

A Snapshot of Murder by  Francis Brody is the 10th in her Kate Shackleton series. I’ve read three of her earlier books and I have to say that I didn’t enjoy this one as much. I think, though, that the setting is excellent, particularly in Haworth when the Bronte Parsonage Museum was opened in 1928. But I was disappointed to find that the murder could have taken place anywhere – it no connection to the Brontes, or to the opening of the Museum, apart from the fact that the murderer took advantage of being in a crowd of people and managed to slip away unnoticed. 

I like Kate Shackleton – she’s a competent private investigator, but the murder mystery was too easy to solve. It began well but it was obvious who was going to end up dead and although there are several suspects, it soon became obvious who the culprit was and my interest waned. And any sympathy I had for the murderer had just disappeared by the end of the book.

My thanks to the publishers, Crooked Lane Books for my review copy via NetGalley.