Saturday, February 2, 2019

Cleaning Up My TBR: Down the TBR Hole #7 with Giveaway

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.

1.  Many Bloody Returns by Charlaine Harris and others:
Never-before-published vampire stories by Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, Kelley Armstrong, and many others. 

Suspenseful, surprising, sometimes dark, sometimes humorous-these all-new stories will ensure that readers never think of vampires (or birthdays) in quite the same way again. 

In New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris's "Dracula Night," Sookie Stackhouse is the only human at the annual commemoration of Dracula's birth. But this year, the Prince of Darkness actually shows up-and finds Sookie to be a tasty-looking present. 

New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher's crime-solving wizard Harry Dresden, of the Dresden Files novels, heads to a role-playing party to give his vampire brother a birthday present in "It's My Birthday Too," only to discover there are some bloodthirsty party crashers who don't share their brotherly love. 

In "Twilight," Cassandra DuCharme, who appeared in New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong's Dime Store Magic, knows she has to kill to live as a vampire another year-but finds herself disturbingly disinterested in the hunt. 

Plus ten more bloody good birthday stories that take the cake.

My thoughts:  Now, really I only want to read the story by Charlaine Harris, to get the Sookie Stackhouse story.  So I probably don't need to have this book on my list.

Verdict: Toss

2.  Lily Dale:  The True Story of the Town that Talks to the Dead by Christine Wicker:
In Lily Dale, New York, the dead don't die. 
Instead, spirits flit among the elms and stroll along the streets, sometimes dressed in garb more common 120 years ago, when Lily Dale was founded and suffragette Susan B. Anthony was a frequent guest. 
According to Spiritualists who have ruled this Victorian hamlet for five generations, the dead don't go away and they stay anything but quiet. Every summer twenty thousand guests come to consult the town's mediums, who can hang out a shingle only after passing a test that confirms their connection to the spirit world. 
On the hot June day when reporter Christine Wicker comes to the world's oldest and largest Spiritualist community, she is determined to understand the secret forces -- human or otherwise -- that keep Lily Dale alive. She follows three visitors: a newly bereaved widow; a mother whose son killed himself; and a beautiful, happily married wife whose first visit to Lily Dale brings an ominous warning. 
Are the mediums cold-hearted charlatans, as Sinclair Lewis wrote of them? Or are they conduits for a hidden world that longs to bring peace and healing to the living, as psychologist William James and muckraker Upton Sinclair once hoped to prove? 
Investigating a movement that attracted millions of Americans in the 1800s and now barely survives, Wicker moves beyond the mediums' front parlors and into the lives that tourists never see. She follows the mediums to a place where what we know and how we know it is the greatest mystery of all.
My thoughts:  So, this is something that I've been interested, probably since I first saw this book at the bookstore where I work.  Not sure if I need to keep this specific book on my TBR list.  I mean, I can always just do some research online through databases, etc.

Verdict:  Toss

3.  Believing (Lily Dale #2) by Wendy Corsi Staub: 
After her tumultuous summer in Lily Dale, Calla has decided to stay, hoping to unearth more about her mother’s untimely death.  As she starts school at Lily Dale High and begins to explore her relationships with Jacy and Blue, her visions begin to occur with greater urgency. There may be a killer on the loose, and he may be after Calla for her role in solving his first victim’s disappearance.  Now that Calla believes in her ability, can she learn to use it properly before it leads her into more danger? 
In this thrilling sequel to Lily Dale: Awakening, readers will find an even larger dose of mystery, suspense, and romance that will keep them coming back to Lily Dale.
My thoughts:  Now, unlike the NF book listed above, this is a series that I've read the first book, and do want to read on.  I feel it isn't that well-known, so I'll probably forget if I don't keep it on the list.
Verdict: Keep
4.  Max (Maximum Ride #5) by James Patterson:
Maximum Ride and the rest of the Flock have barely recovered from their last arctic adventure when they are confronted by their most frightening challenge yet.
Someone-or something-is decimating ships and sea life off Hawaii's coast, and Max and her flock find themselves sucked into the Navy's top-secret investigation of the catastrophe. Their objective: Rescue Max's activist mom from a wicked subterranean enemy. The hitch: They must dive deep into dark waters, where gruesome evil dwells . . . and for high-flying Maximum Ride, could there be anything more terrifying than being trapped in the great abyss? 
With high-flying thrills, this soaring adventure takes Maximum Ride and the Flock into terrifying new territory-fans, hold your breath!

My thoughts:  Well, this is a well-known series, and while I feel like maybe some day I'll want to finish it, I don't think I need to keep this on my TBR list.  You know what, I feel like this would be a good tv show.  Someone tell someone who can get that going.

Verdict: Toss  

5.  The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory:
Three Women Who Share One Fate: The Boleyn Inheritance

Anne of Cleves 
She runs from her tiny country, her hateful mother, and her abusive brother to a throne whose last three occupants are dead. King Henry VIII, her new husband, instantly dislikes her. Without friends, family, or even an understanding of the language being spoken around her, she must literally save her neck in a court ruled by a deadly game of politics and the terror of an unpredictable and vengeful king. Her Boleyn Inheritance: accusations and false witnesses.

Katherine Howard
She catches the king's eye within moments of arriving at court, setting in motion the dreadful machine of politics, intrigue, and treason that she does not understand. She only knows that she is beautiful, that men desire her, that she is young and in love -- but not with the diseased old man who made her queen, beds her night after night, and killed her cousin Anne. Her Boleyn Inheritance: the threat of the axe.

Jane Rochford
She is the Boleyn girl whose testimony sent her husband and sister-in-law to their deaths. She is the trusted friend of two threatened queens, the perfectly loyal spy for her uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, and a canny survivor in the murderous court of a most dangerous king. Throughout Europe, her name is a byword for malice, jealousy, and twisted lust. Her Boleyn Inheritance: a fortune and a title, in exchange for her soul.

The Boleyn Inheritance is a novel drawn tight as a lute string about a court ruled by the gallows and three women whose positions brought them wealth, admiration, and power as well as deceit, betrayal, and terror. Once again, Philippa Gregory has brought a vanished world to life - the whisper of a silk skirt on a stone stair, the yellow glow of candlelight illuminating a hastily written note, the murmurs of the crowd gathering on Tower Green below the newly built scaffold. In The Boleyn Inheritance, Gregory is at her intelligent and page-turning best. 

My thoughts:  I became more interested in all of this story when the movie came out based on the book before this by this author, The Other Boleyn Girl.  I read that book and then saw the movie and loved them both.  This is another popular author.  So it is hard for me to decide if I should keep this on my list or not.  Hmmm.

Verdict:  Toss 

6.  Drink, Play, F@#k:  One Man's Search for Anything Across Ireland, Las Vegas, and Thailand by Andrew Gottlieb:
In Drink, Play, F@#k Bob Sullivan, a jilted husband, sets off to explore the world, experience a meaningful connection with the divine, and rediscover his passion. 
His travels lead him from his home in New York City to a drinking bender across Ireland, through the glitz and glamour that is Las Vegas, and to the hedonistic pleasure palaces of Thailand. 
After a lifetime of playing it safe, Mr. Sullivan finally follows his heart and lives out everyone's deepest fantasies. For who among us hasn't dreamed of standing stark naked, head upturned, and mouth agape beneath a cascading torrent of Guinness Stout? 
What could be more exhilarating than losing every penny you have because Charlie Weiss went for a meaningless last-second field goal? And what sensate creature could ever doubt that the greatest pleasure known to man can be found in a leaky bamboo shack filled with glassy-eyed, bruised Asian hookers? 
Bob Sullivan has a lot to teach us about life. Let's just pray we have the wisdom to put aside our preconceptions and listen. Because what Bob Sullivan finds isn't at all what he expected.  

My thoughts:  I'm sure I added this based on reading and enjoying the book this title is a play off of, Eat, Pray, Love.  However, I'm pretty sure now that I have no desire to read this.

Verdict:  Toss 

7-8.  The Judas Strain  and The Last Oracle (Sigma Force #4 and #5) by James Rollins:
New York Times bestselling author James Rollins returns with a terrifying story of an ancient menace reborn to plague the modern world . . . and of an impossible hope that lies hidden in the most shocking place imaginable: within the language of angels.
ju·das strain, n. A scientific term for an organism that drives an entire species to extinction.
From the depths of the Indian Ocean, a horrific plague has arisen to devastate humankind--a disease that's unknown, unstoppable . . . and deadly. But it is merely a harbinger of the doom that is to follow. Aboard a cruise liner transformed into a makeshift hospital, Dr. Lisa Cummings and Monk Kokkalis--operatives of SIGMA Force--search for answers to the bizarre affliction. But there are others with far less altruistic intentions. In a savage and sudden coup, terrorists hijack the vessel, turning a mercy ship into a floating bio-weapons lab.
A world away, SIGMA's Commander Gray Pierce thwarts the murderous schemes of a beautiful would-be killer who holds the first clue to the discovery of a possible cure. Pierce joins forces with the woman who wanted him dead, and together they embark upon an astonishing quest following the trail of the most fabled explorer in history: Marco Polo. But time is an enemy as a worldwide pandemic grows rapidly out of control. As a relentless madman dogs their every step, Gray and his unlikely ally are being pulled into an astonishing mystery buried deep in antiquity and in humanity's genetic code. And as the seconds tick closer to doomsday, Gray Pierce will realize he can truly trust no one, for any one of them could be . . . a Judas.

In Washington, D.C., a homeless man dies in Commander Gray Pierce's arms, shot by an assassin's bullet. But the death leaves behind a greater mystery: a bloody coin found clutched in the dead man's hand, an ancient relic that can be traced back to the Greek Oracle of Delphi. As ruthless hunters search for the stolen artifact, Gray Pierce discovers that the coin is the key to unlocking a plot that dates back to the Cold War and threatens the very foundation of humanity.
An international think tank of scientists known as the Jasons has discovered a way to bioengineer autistic children who show savant talents -- mathematical geniuses, statistical masterminds, brilliant conceptual artists -- into something far greater and far more "frightening," in hopes of creating a world prophet for the new millennium, one to be manipulated to create a new era of global peace... a peace on their own terms.
Halfway around the world, a man wakes up in a hospital bed with no memory of who he is, knowing only that he's a prisoner in a subterranean research facility. With the help of three unusual children, he makes his escape across a mountainous and radioactive countryside, pursued by savage hunters bred in the same laboratory. But his goal is not escape, nor even survival. In order to thwart a plot to wipe out a quarter of the world's population, he must sacrifice all, even the children who rescued him.
From ancient Greek temples to glittering mausoleums, from the slums of India to the toxic ruins of Russia, two men must race against time to solve a mystery that dates back to the first famous oracle of history -- the Greek Oracle of Delphi.
But one question remains: "Will the past be enough to save the future?"
 My thoughts:  So, James Rollins used to be an auto-buy author for me.  I devoured all of his books.  I did like the first three in this series.  However, I have since gotten to where I have trouble getting through this type of story.  Some day, I may be in the mood to try these again.  However, I don't think I need to keep them on my TBR list, I'll always know he's one of my favorite authors.

Verdict:  Toss both

9.  The Last Single Woman in America by Cindy Guidry:
The funniest, freshest essayist since David Sedaris, Cindy Guidry examines American culture and present-day gender relations in all their confusing, heartbreaking, and hilarious glory. 

After losing both her job and a potential husband, Cindy sets off to figure out why on earth she's so happy and soon must combat an onslaught of unsolicited advice from her mother, her 'have it all' friends, and a Yoda-like waxing lady, and the guy next door. Making pit stops along the way to ponder everything from the satanic origins of the Internet to her disturbing discovery that men are the new women, Cindy ultimately finds inspiration in her CD collection and renewed hope via a love letter from an Indian gas station attendant. 

Cindy Guidry is a self-aware woman with a razor-sharp wit, and in The Last Single Woman in America she takes us on an outrageously funny romp through her own unique mind, uncovering universal truths along the way.  

My thoughts:  Well, I don't remember this one, but as I feel like it's closer and closer to me being the last single woman, I feel that this may still be one I want to read.

Verdict:  Keep 

10.  Thanks for Coming:  One Young Woman's Quest for an Orgasm by Mara Altman:
By turns uproarious and touching, the memoir of a young woman's search for an orgasm—and for the elusive connections between sex and love
Twenty-six-year-old Mara Altman wanted to know what all the screaming was about. She'd lost her virginity at seventeen; grown up in southern California with sexually free parents; had lovers in India, Burma, and Peru; and spent a year in Bangkok observing all manner of depravity. And yet she was an attractive, successful, single woman in New York who'd never had an orgasm.

And so she embarked on a wildly funny, emotionally resonant odyssey—a journey both inside and outside herself—only to discover that, for Mara, orgasm was connected to a part of her that no vibrator could reach. Thanks for Coming is one woman's look at our obsession with and anxiety over the female orgasm. Her quest to get her own yields poignant results that will surprise even the sexually awakened among us. From sex shows to sex conventions, from a therapist's couch to her own couch, from the bedroom to the bar, Mara Altman proves to be a guide as hilarious as she is investigative.
My thoughts:  Okay, so the next few books you'll probably see on my lists will be a similar subject.  I think I was reading something like this and searched for similar titles.  This one still sounds like I might want to read it some day.  Might even be helpful with the romance novels I've been writing.

Verdict:  Keep 

I did pretty well this week, only keeping 3!  Have you read any of the books above?   

Now, to help with my physical TBR shelf, check out the giveaway below!

Once again this is a US only giveaway, unless you are International and see a book here you really want and would be willing to pay for the difference in the shipping through Paypal or some other way.  Just as with the past weeks, you get to pick any book from the pictures below, as long as they don't get traded away, or picked by last week's winner, and I will pick a surprise book from the piles to add to your choice.  Here are your choices:  

Above are the 2018 ARCs I have for trade.

These are my 2017 ARCs.

The books in the picture above are from 2013-2016.

There are your choices!  Just fill in the Rafflecopter below to enter!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway