Sometimes You Gotta Bend the Rules…

I’ve had such good intentions for this TBR Double Dare challenge and have a whole pile of books lined up on my night-table, ready to be read (not to mention my tablet).

But something always comes up and sidetracks me. I blame mostly myself and my inability to turn down a book. But the following institutions or websites or people or publishers are also partly responsible. Yes, I’m naming and shaming them. And no, they do not pay me for the publicity, but I feel they deserve it when they go above and beyond the call of duty.

Dolan1) Eva Dolan: Tell No Tales

Eva Dolan was once a fellow reviewer at Crime Fiction Lover and I always enjoyed her book recommendations (or at least hotly debated them with her). She was going to send me her well-received first novel, but somehow publicists got mixed up, it ended up in the wrong place, others were keen to get their paws on it… so I bought it myself on Kindle. When the second one came out, she was adamant that this time I would get a review copy. As time passed and there were still no signs of it being sent to me, Eva took matters into her own capable hands and posted one to me herself, with a lovely note. And, bless her, I haven’t even got around to reading the first one yet! So of course I’m leaving everything else to one side and will be binge-reading her two books these upcoming holidays.

Will I be slightly biased? You bet! But her topics of immigration and grittiness sound just up my street…

Hardisty2) Paul Hardisty: The Abrupt Physics of Dying

Some publishers are just so tireless on behalf of their authors that they carry you along with them on the crest of their enthusiasm. Karen Sullivan is such a woman. Previously a managing editor at Arcadia, where she introduced me to Tore Renberg, Jaume Cabre, Dominique Manotti and Domingo Villar, she left the company in 2014 to set up her own publishing house Orenda, following a strategic review which led to a severely slashed 2015 list of books at Arcadia. With a particular fondness for crime thrillers and literature in translation, Karen is a warm, loud and personable defender of each and every one of her titles, and she is great at building a loyal following of book bloggers and reviewers. She sent me a copy of this book, even though I warned her that I would not be able to participate in a blog tour at this moment in time. I may keep this one to read in April, but it looks like an interesting eco-thriller meets big business meets international action (and frighteningly plausible).

3) Charlotte Otter: Balthasar’s Gift

This book was reviewed over at Smithereen’s blog . This is a blog I’ve enjoyed for a couple of years now and, since the author lives in France too, we’ve exchanged a few personal messages. So I mentioned that it looked interesting and, hey presto, she kindly sent a copy to me, saying that she had got two by accident. Such a lovely gesture – and just goes to show what good friendships we can build online. Another one that I will leave until April/May, though!

Camille4) Pierre Lemaitre: Camille

I’ve reviewed both of Lemaitre’s previous novels and interviewed the author for Crime Fiction Lover, so it’s not surprising that the publisher Quercus automatically sent me the final volume in the trilogy. I am really looking forward to this one. I have a weakness for this author: he always manages to surprise me: a consummate storyteller, despite his rather graphic content. I also really enjoyed his WW1 novel. So this one will be read and reviewed before the end of February.

5) Michel Bussi: After the Crash

Michel Bussi is a huge bestseller in France, but I’d never read any of his books. However, when I heard that he would be published for the first time in English by Orion Books in March, and would I like to take a look at this book and perhaps interview the author, how could I refuse? Strictly speaking, it doesn’t count for my TBR challenge, as it’s a review (i.e. ‘work’) book. And besides, I’m always a fan of translated fiction, especially French fiction, especially crime fiction. I’m currently reading this and will review it by the end of February on Crime Fiction Lover.

6) Netgalley and Book Bloggers:

Yes, I apportion the blame equally: on book bloggers such as Lonesome Reader and Crime Reader Blog for making these books sound so enticing, and on Netgalley for making it so easy to access these latest releases. So now I have added SJ Watson’s Second Life and Clare Mackintosh’s I Let You Go to my TBR pile…

One of my local libraries.
One of my local libraries.

7) Library:

How dare these village libraries stock so many tempting titles, both in French and in English? They have no business enticing me through their doorway under the pretext of returning the children’s books and then whacking me over the head with irresistible stuff such as Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian or Karim Miské’s Arab Jazz. Both books dispell the myth of successful racial and cultural integration (at least on a larger societal level, rather than the individual one) – and they do it with wit, verve and sadness.



22 thoughts on “Sometimes You Gotta Bend the Rules…”

    1. You and me both! I’ve been really blessed to get so many review copies sent. I moan about the pressure occasionally, and they do pile up in the house, but it’s bliss.

  1. Marina Sofia – Thank you for having the courage to ‘name and shame.’ I think we need to be aware of the insidious influence of publishers, blog friends and libraries on our TBR lists. So, in the interest of that…. should I mention how many books I’ve added to my TBR after visiting your blog? 😉 😉

  2. It’s so hard isn’t it? I am terrible at not adding books to my TBR and just want to read faster. I have The Abrupt Physics of Dying which sounds wonderful and I also have Second Life waiting for me on my kindle. And libraries! I only walked in to talk to the manager on Thursday and saw the next book I’m up to in the Elly Griffiths series I just had to walk out with it.

  3. My understanding of the TBR Double Dog Dare was that ARCs were exempt, so don’t beat yourself up…you’re right, it’s outrageous the temptation these people put in one’s way! 😉 I’m going to read The Abrupt Physics Of Dying shortly, and I’ve just started Tell No Tales – every review I’ve read of Eva Dolan’s books has been fantastic; good on her! Camille will, I imagine, be great, can’t wait to hear what you think of it. I was going to go to the library tomorrow but I think I’ll be evicted if I bring any more books into the house!

    1. Well, ARCs are exempt, but you don’t need to actively go out and seek some more books via Netgalley, do you? And the libraries around here are far too lenient with renewals and late returns as well, so that doesn’t help with my good resolutions.

  4. The Abrupt Physics of Dying… what a fascinating title… have to check them out though very little time to read at the moment… i can get so lost in a good book…

  5. Yes, it’s so hard to resist those review copies! NetGalley is the killer, and now I seem to be on the list for reviewing audiobooks for Audible too… *sighs happily*

    1. I used to enjoy audio books – particularly non-fiction (popular history, economics, that sort of thing) but I never seem to get time to listen to them now. If I’m out and about, I always seem to bump into someone and have to put it off while we chat (the perils of small town life!) I ended up cancelling my Audible membership as I’d a huge backlog of books to listen to (and still have!) But if I do want something to listen to, I usually listen to Radio 4 – Book At Bedtime, or Open Book, or similar. I’ll look forward to your audio book reviews though.

    2. I’ve been meaning to get into audiobooks, but I seldom have long driving ahead of me anymore and I’m always busy working on something during the day. Look forward to reading about it though.

  6. I’m a big fan of Pierre Lemaitre: ! WWI Au revoir là-haut was one of my 2013 favorites. Anxiously awaiting your thoughts on Camille!

    1. Just starting it tonight – although with the children still on holiday for another week, not sure how much I will be able to read. Although, knowing Lemaitre’s style, I may get up during the night to finish it…

  7. I do love this post and I don’t think there is a booklover here who can’t sympathise. You also have some great books here to tempt everyone else 😉 I do have a copy of The Abrupt Physics of Dying so that’s one out of your list I don’t need….

  8. It’s tough, this TBR challenge, isn’t it?

    I’m also on a book buying ban that I know I’ll break at Quai du Polar.
    Bon courage.

    I’ve read the Sherman Alexie and I enjoyed it.

    PS: I got my Quai du Polar package too!!

    1. Really look forward to meeting you there, Emma. Maybe we can help each other abstain from excessive book-buying (as if!). But I think an exception has to be made for the Quais du Polar.

  9. Well, you are no help at all here. 😉 I’m making a point to avoid both the library and the book store as much as I can until April 1, when I go on a brief, annual buying binge.

    Remember, the one over-arching ‘rule’ of the TBR Double Dare is to have fun. And you don’t have to do the whole three months if you don’t want to.

    That said, I wish there was a way to make it more of a competition. Sort of everybody in until you stray and the last person still sticking to their TBR stack gets a prize of some sort. I think that would be fun.

  10. I am now a huge fan of Eva Dolan having read both her novels. She’s the most exciting and contemporary crime fiction writer I’ve come across in a long time. I can also warmly recommend Charlotte Otter’s book – she’s a friend of mine, too, but regardless of that, her novel is excellent.

    1. I’ve come back from holiday now and have read the two Dolan novels and they are brilliant – just the kind of cutting-edge topic, multi-layered fiction that I love to read!

  11. I have the perfect get-out for the TBR double dare – if it’s one I’m reviewing for Shiny it’s OK to read a new book. So on my own blog, I’m doing really well apart from one tiny slip (so James, I’d be out!). Some great additions to my wishlist from those books mentioned above.

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