Sunday, November 25, 2018

Cleaning Up My TBR: Down the TBR Hole #2

Working on this again, here's the info:

This meme was started by Lost in a Story.  Here is how it works:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
Because I have so many to do, I'm going to try to do this weekly, and do 10 at a time.  So here we go!

1. A Child Called "It" and The Lost Boy by Dave Pelzer:
This book chronicles the unforgettable account of one of the most severe child abuse cases in California history. It is the story of Dave Pelzer, who was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother: a mother who played tortuous, unpredictable games—games that left him nearly dead. He had to learn how to play his mother's games in order to survive because she no longer considered him a son, but a slave; and no longer a boy, but an "it." Dave's bed was an old army cot in the basement, and his clothes were torn and raunchy. When his mother allowed him the luxury of food, it was nothing more than spoiled scraps that even the dogs refused to eat. The outside world knew nothing of his living nightmare. He had nothing or no one to turn to, but his dreams kept him alive—dreams of someone taking care of him, loving him and calling him their son.  

Dave Pelzer's sequel to million-copy bestseller A CHILD CALLED 'IT'
As a child, Dave Pelzer was brutally beaten and starved by his mother. The world knew nothing of his living nightmare and he had nothing and no one to turn to. But his dreams kept him alive - dreams of someone taking care of him, loving him and calling him their son. Finally, his horrific plight could no longer be hidden from the outside world and Dave's life radically changed.
THE LOST BOY is the harrowing, but ultimately uplifting true story of a boy's journey through the foster-care system in search of a family to love. 
The continuation of Dave Pelzer's story is a moving sequel and inspirational read for all.
 My thoughts:  
So, I really feel that at some point I need to read the first book.  I'm including these two books on my list together, because they do go together.  I hear people talk about these books all the time, and so it feels like I really do need to read it at some point.  
Verdict:  Keep book 1 on the TBR list, take the other off, and if I ever get around to reading the first one, I'll remember to read the 2nd one if I want to go on.
2. Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix:
Around her the workers were screaming out prayers and curses.... She herself was sobbing tearlessly....Her only prayer was still, "I don't want to die." 

Oh, please, God, don't let me die, she thought. I've never even had a chance to live.

Bella, newly arrived in New York from Italy, gets a job at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. There, along with hundreds of other immigrants, she works long hours at a grueling job under terrible conditions. Yetta, a coworker from Russia, has been crusading for a union, and when factory conditions worsen, she helps workers rise up in a strike. Wealthy Jane learns of the plight of the workers and becomes involved with their cause. 

Bella and Yetta are at work--and Jane is visiting the factory--on March 25, 1911, when a spark ignites some cloth and the building is engulfed in fire, leading to one of the worst workplace disasters ever. 

Margaret Peterson Haddix draws on extensive historical research to bring the tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire to tangible life through her thrilling story of Bella, Yetta, and Jane. 
My thoughts:
I love this author, I love historical fiction, and this is an event I've always been fascinated with.

Verdict:  Keep

3. Swapping Lives by Jane Green:
The New York Times bestselling author of Falling presents a charming transatlantic take on trading places...

Being director of Poise! magazine affords Vicky Townsley a glamorous London life. She has everything she wants--except marriage, children, and a house in the country.

Amber Winslow has a stone mansion in Connecticut, two kids, and a nanny. She loves her husband and her children, but that doesn't mean she can't fantasize about a taste of something a little more...exciting.

When a single Londoner and a Connecticut mother get the chance to walk in each other's shoes for a month things are bound to get interesting. But as they quickly learn, wanting something and actually getting it are two entirely different things... 

My thoughts:
Well, at the time I put this on my list I think I had just discovered Jane Green. Also the one character, the single one, sounds a lot like me.  However, it just doesn't sound like one that I'd really get into these days, although it might be something I need to do myself to get over the fact that I'll probably always be single and childless, and that I want the marriage and kids, but may not get.

Verdict:  Toss

4. Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk:
From the master of literary mayhem and provocation, a full-frontal Triple X novel that goes where no American work of fiction has gone before

Cassie Wright, porn priestess, intends to cap her legendary career by breaking the world record for serial fornication. On camera. With six hundred men. Snuff unfolds from the perspectives of Mr. 72, Mr. 137, and Mr. 600, who await their turn on camera in a very crowded green room. This wild, lethally funny, and thoroughly researched novel brings the huge yet underacknowledged presence of pornography in contemporary life into the realm of literary fiction at last. Who else but Chuck Palahniuk would dare do such a thing? Who else could do it so well, so unflinchingly, and with such an incendiary (you might say) climax?

My thoughts:  I've only read one other book by this author, but it was one that had me constantly turning pages to find out what would happen. This one sounds similar along the lines of the one I did read, so I may want to still give it a try.

Verdict:  Keep

5. Name and Address Withheld by Jane Sigaloff:
Lizzie Ford is an urban sexpert, and her hip London magazine column and radio show are bombarded with romantic casualties on a daily basis. What a relief that, after years in the dating jungle, Lizzie herself has finally leaped off the shelf into the arms of Matt Baker -- an advertising genius with enough charm to win over even Lizzie's man-cynical best friend.
Little does Lizzie know there's more to Matt Baker than witty one-liners and bedroom eyes. Or that this innocent, seemingly anonymous note from a reader is about to catapult her into a scorching scandal, forcing Lizzie to confront some compelling home truths about life, love -- and loyalty....
My thoughts:  I have read at least one other book by this author and enjoyed it, and I feel she is not a well-known author, so I probably would still enjoy this one, and forget about it, though, if I took it off the list.
Verdict:  Keep

6. Off the Record by Jennifer O'Connell:
Jane Marlow is a true-blue good girl: plain, predictable, and perfectly responsible. But when her brother catches an episode of Music One's "Off the Record," he discovers that former pop sensation Teddy Rock is actually their childhood neighbor Theodore Brockford, and that his one-hit wonder twelve years earlier wasn't just a catchy tune that took the charts by storm-it was a song about Jane Marlow! Now Jane has a chance to live life off the record, but is she ready for the changes it brings? And even if she's willing to take the risk, is she willing to face the music? 
 My thoughts:  Another chick lit book from back when I was constantly reading them.  Another book that I don't think is well known, and still sounds like one I'd enjoy reading.  These weren't usually as steamy as the romances I'm reading these days, but I might still like this story.
Verdict:  Keep
7. True Love (and Other Lies) by Whitney Gaskell:
Travel writer Claire Spencer doesn't believe in fate, much less any part of that fairy tale, happy ending, love at first sight stuff. Especially not for Amazon-sized women like her. So when Jack, the sexy man who sits next to her on a flight from New York to London, asks her out, Claire figures there has to be a catch. Is he blind? Sleazy? On the rebound? But she decides to accept, and finds herself smitten and a little frightened at how happy she is with how fast things are moving.

While in London (on assignment for Sassy Seniors! magazine), Claire is also looking forward to seeing her best friend, Maddy, one of those impossibly gorgeous, if-I-didn't-love-her-I'd-hate-her women who's got everything in the world going for her--except that, for the first time in her trouble-free life, Maddy has just been Jack. Claire's finally met what seems to be the perfect guy, and now the only way she can have him is by betraying her best friend. It's almost enough to make Claire believe in Fate, but if Fate does exist, it seems intent on screwing her over.  
My thoughts:  This is another from my chick-lit phase.  I did enjoy the books I've read by this author, but I think that the whole friend's ex thing messes the story up for me. 
Verdict:  Toss
8. Testing Kate by Whitney Gaskell:
No one is better than Kate Bennett at playing by the rules–because no one has quite her knack for running into bad luck. Orphaned while in college, Kate handled her loss by graduating with honors and acquiring a secure job and a dependable boyfriend. But now, with her thirtieth birthday around the corner, Kate decides it’s time to shake things up. She quits her job, breaks up with her long-term boyfriend, and U-Hauls it across the country for her first year at Tulane Law School. Too bad nothing in the Big Easy is quite so easy….

Before she knows it, Kate finds her life turned upside down by a notoriously sadistic professor, a larger-than-life new boss–and two interested men who are sure that she’s The One…. But can either of the men in her life really know Kate, when she’s just getting to know herself? In a year of self-discovery, the most important lesson Kate may learn is that to change your luck, sometimes you have to change your mind–including what you thought was your dream. 
My thoughts: I actually almost bought this one as a bargain book at my bookstore one time.  There's just something about having all those guys interested that is just too unrealistic for me I think.  Plus, a lot of the reviews say boring, and are low stars, so I probably will pass on this one as well.
Verdict:  Toss
9. Performance Anxiety by Betsy Burke:
Miranda Lyme, mezzo-soprano, is in love with the infamous -- and, okay, technically married -- conductor-composer Kurt Hancock. So what if he lives in London, and she...doesn't. Their secret rendezvous are more than enough -- for now.

Besides, Miranda's life is full and frenetic: four part-time jobs, plus singing in the opera chorus, voice lessons with Madame Klein and looking for her long-lost father. Who's got time for a full-time beau?

Miranda craves the good life and is certain that's what she'll have once Kurt officially ends his marriage and she rises to stardom. But there are glitches. Like the fact that Kurt is still technically faithful to his wife and he insists that Miranda keep their relationship a secret. He promises it won't be like this forever. Yeah, sure... The truth, when it finally arrives, is so shocking that it causes Miranda to lose her voice.

But the show must go on. Will it be a night to remember -- or one to utterly forget?  
My thoughts:  So, I am not really a fan of any kind of cheating romance.  And to me, that's what this is.  So, this is probably not one I'd be interested in anymore.
Verdict:  Toss
10. It's Not You, It's Me by Allison Rushby:
She's heard all the lines. Now it's time for the truth! Charlie has to keep pinching herself to believe she's leaving Australia for a trip to Europe - a generous gift from her family, who know how tough her life has been lately. 

But the last person Charlie expects to bump into on the plane is Jasper Ash, international celebrity, rock-star sex-god - and Charlie's former best friend, flatmate and... almost-lover!

It's been three years since Charlie impulsively jumped into bed with Jas, then a struggling student. But their nearly-one-night stand had just been warming up when Jas began the male "backing off" ritual, practically sprinting out the door with the classic excuse, "It's not you, it's me." Yeah, right. Everyone knows what that means - It is you! Not pretty enough, not successful enough - just not enough.

Charlie has dealt with it - and a whole lot more - but the unanswered questions still niggle. Acting on impulse once again, she invites Jas to join her own European tour! And as they share hotel rooms, play at being tourists and dodge Jas's determined groupies, it becomes clear they're both at a crossroads in life. Before they can move on, they finally have to deal with the unfinished business between them - starting with a serious conversation about that night.

Former journalist Allison Rushby lives in Brisbane, Australia, where she writes full-time, usually with her cat Violet on her lap. It's Not You It's Me is her debut novel for Red Dress Ink.  
My thoughts:  This one definitely sound like one I'd still enjoy.  Kind of a rock star romance in a way.  So....

Verdict:  Keep

Have you read any of these books?  Would you suggest I keep any of the ones I decided to toss?  Looks like I'm tossing half of the ones I featured this week.  So that's good!