Saturday, March 16, 2019

Cleaning Up My TBR With A Giveaway: Down the TBR Hole #13

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.  Jane by April Lindner:
Forced to drop out of an esteemed East Coast college after the sudden death of her parents, Jane Moore takes a nanny job at Thornfield Park, the estate of Nico Rathburn, a world-famous rock star on the brink of a huge comeback. Practical and independent, Jane reluctantly becomes entranced by her magnetic and brooding employer and finds herself in the midst of a forbidden romance.

But there's a mystery at Thornfield, and Jane's much-envied relationship with Nico is soon tested by an agonizing secret from his past. Torn between her feelings for Nico and his fateful secret, Jane must decide: Does being true to herself mean giving up on true love?

An irresistible romance interwoven with a darkly engrossing mystery, this contemporary retelling of the beloved classic Jane Eyre promises to enchant a new generation of readers.

My thoughts:  I always enjoy a good retelling of a classic.  I feel like this still seems like one I'd enjoy.

Verdict:  Keep

2.  Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel:
For thirteen years, Ben Tomlin was an only child. But all that changes when his mother brings home Zan — an eight-day-old chimpanzee. Ben’s father, a renowned behavioral scientist, has uprooted the family to pursue his latest research project: a high-profile experiment to determine whether chimpanzees can acquire advanced language skills. Ben’s parents tell him to treat Zan like a little brother. Ben reluctantly agrees. At least now he’s not the only one his father’s going to scrutinize.

It isn’t long before Ben is Zan’s favorite, and Ben starts to see Zan as more than just an experiment. His father disagrees. Soon Ben is forced to make a critical choice between what he is told to believe and what he knows to be true — between obeying his father or protecting his brother from an unimaginable fate.

Half Brother isn’t just a story about a boy and a chimp. It’s about the way families are made, the way humanity is judged, the way easy choices become hard ones, and how you can’t always do right by the people and animals you love. In the hands of master storyteller Kenneth Oppel, it’s a novel you won’t soon forget.

My thoughts:  It sounds like a good one, but I don't know that I'll get to it. I also feel like this is a well-enough known author that I might come across it again some time.

Verdict:   Toss

3.  Stolen:  A Letter to My Captor by Lucy Christopher:
It happened like this. I was stolen from an airport. Taken from everything I knew, everything I was used to. Taken to sand and heat, dirt and danger. And he expected me to love him.

This is my story.

A letter from nowhere.

Sixteen-year-old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back?

The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don't exist--almost.

My thoughts:  I see this one on the shelves at school all the time, but I always forget that it is more than just a kidnapping story.

Verdict:  Keep

4.  Scars by Cheryl Rainfield:
Kendra, fifteen, hasn't felt safe since she began to recall devastating memories of childhood sexual abuse, especially because she still can't remember the most important detail-- her abuser's identity. Frightened, Kendra believes someone is always watching and following her, leaving menacing messages only she understands. If she lets her guard down even for a minute, it could cost Kendra her life. To relieve the pressure, Kendra cuts; aside from her brilliantly expressive artwork, it's her only way of coping. Since her own mother is too self-absorbed to hear her cries for help, Kendra finds support in others instead: from her therapist and her art teacher, from Sandy, the close family friend who encourages her artwork, and from Meghan, the classmate who's becoming a friend and maybe more. But the truth about Kendra's abuse is just waiting to explode, with startling unforeseen consequences. Scars is the unforgettable story of one girl's frightening path to the truth.

Watch the book trailer here:

My thoughts:  This is one I'm still mad at myself for not having read yet. So it is staying!

Verdict:  Keep

5.  The Fallen and Leviathan (The Fallen #1) by Thomas Sniegoski:

On his eighteenth birthday, Aaron begins to hear strange voices and is convinced he is going insane. But having moved from foster home to foster home, Aaron doesn't know whom he can trust. He wants to confide in the cute girl from class, but fears she'll confirm he's crazy. 

Then a mysterious man begins following Aaron. He knows about Aaron's troubled past and his new powers. And he has a message for Aaron: As the son of a mortal and an angel, Aaron has been chosen to redeem the Fallen. 

Aaron tries to dismiss the news and resists his supernatural abilities. But he must accept his newfound heritage — and quickly. For the dark powers are gaining strength, and are hell-bent on destroying him....

My thoughts:  I've kind of forgotten about this one, and don't know that I need more angel stories?

Verdict:  Toss

6.  Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa M. Klein:
Lady Catherine is one of Queen Elizabeth's favorite court maidens until her forbidden romance with Sir Walter Ralegh is discovered. In a bitter twist of irony, the jealous queen banishes Cate to Ralegh's colony of Roanoke, in the New World. Ralegh pledges to come for Cate, but as the months stretch out, Cate begins to doubt his promise and his love. Instead it is Manteo, a Croatoan Indian, whom the colonists and Cate increasingly turn to. Yet just as Cate's longings for England and Ralegh fade and she discovers a new love in Manteo, Ralegh will finally set sail for the New World.

Seamlessly weaving together fact with fiction, Lisa Klein's newest historical drama is an engrossing tale of adventure and forbidden love kindled by one of the most famous mysteries in American history: the fate of the settlers at Roanoke, who disappeared without a trace forty years before the Pilgrims would set foot in Plymouth.

My thoughts:  I'm always interested in a story about the Roanoke Colony, and this doesn't seem to be a too well-known one.

Verdict:  Keep

7.  The Twelve by William Gladstone:
The Twelve is an extraordinary and unforgettable novel about a most unusual man. As a child, Max lives in a world of colors and numbers, not speaking until the age of six. As an adult, Max ventures on a journey of destiny to discover the secret behind the ancient Mayan prophecy about the “end of time,” foretold to occur on December 21, 2012.When he is fifteen years old, Max has a near death experience during which he has a vision that reveals to him the names of twelve unique individuals. While Max cannot discern the significance of these twelve names, he is unable to shake the sense that they have deep meaning. Eight years pass before Max meets the first of the twelve.

With this, Max’s voyage of discovery begins, as he strives to uncover the identities and implications of “the twelve”—individuals he will meet during his journey towards truth, all of whom seem connected, and all of whom may hold the answer to what will happen at the exact moment the world may end. The novel takes the reader on a series of global adventures, culminating in a revelation of why and how Max and the twelve are destined to unite to discover the magnitude of the meaning of December 21, 2012. Only the twelve can provide the answers, as the fate of all humanity rests in the balance.

My thoughts:  So, 2012 has come and gone.  And nothing happened.  So, not sure this really sounds like something I care about anymore.

Verdict:  Toss

8.  Grim Reaper:  End of Days by Steve Alten:
Patrick "Shep" Shepherd was a promising major league rookie baseball pitcher when September 11, 2001 hit. Shaken by the attacks, Shep leaves behind his soul mate and newborn daughter to enlist in the Armed Forces. Eleven years and four deployments later, Shep finds himself in Manhattans VA hospital. His left arm is gone, his wife and daughter are gone, and his tarnished soul is haunted by the nightmares of war.

December 21st: While world leaders meet at the UN, Mary Klipot, a bio-hazard level-4 scientist working at the CIA labs in Fort Dietrick, enters Manhattan with Scythe, a swift acting version of the Black Death developed to annihilate America's enemies abroad. Believing God has chosen her to bring forth the End of Days, Mary infects herself with Scythe, unleashing a pandemic. Officials rush to seal off the island, trapping three million people... the President among them, with the only vaccine now in Shep's possession.

Determined to use the vaccine to rescue his wife and child, Shep and his guide, Virgil Shechinah, trek through the plague-infested and nightmarish neighborhoods of Manhattan, which mirrors the "Nine Circles of Hell" portrayed in Dante's Inferno.

Plagued by greed, corruption, and two endless wars, it is man's ego that has brought about the End of days, unleashing the Grim Reaper upon the earth... and the Angel of Death is stalking Patrick Shepherd.

My thoughts:  This is a really hard choice!  I love Steve Alten books. But this one, not sure!  But, because I think I might still want to read some day.  I'll probably keep it.

Verdict:  Keep

9.  The Frugalista Files:  How One Woman Got Out of Debt Without Giving Up the Fabulous Life by Natalie McNeal:
Natalie McNeal opened her bills in January 2008 to find that she was a staggering five figures—$20,000!—in debt. Young, hip and gainfully (if Dilbert-ly) employed, Natalie loved her lifestyle of regular mani/pedis, daily takeout and nights on the town, but clearly something had to give.

And so The Frugalista Files was born. Through her blog, Natalie confessed her spending habits to the world—and it turns out she wasn't the only one having trouble balancing the budget! From the drastic "no-buy" month that kicked it all off to the career gamble that threatened to put her deeper in the hole, The Frugalista Files shares Natalie's personal and professional transformation from cubicle rat to take-charge career girl.

It is possible to get ahead without giving up on the fabulous life. This is personal finance in peep-toe pumps—the empowering true story of one woman's personal and professional transformation and your ultimate guide to living the Frugalista lifestyle, too.

My thoughts:  I believe I probably found this book around the same time as reading the book Save Karyn, which I loved.  But since I've decided part of working on  my budget means not buying more books that are supposed to help me do that, this is one I'll need to pass on.

Verdict:  Toss

10.  We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver:

The gripping international bestseller about motherhood gone awry.

Eva never really wanted to be a mother - and certainly not the mother of the unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his sixteenth birthday. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood, and Kevin's horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her estranged husband, Franklin. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails.
My thoughts:  
So, I probably added this one to my TBR because of all the talk about what a great book it was and how everyone should read it.  But now, as someone who is never going to get to be a mother, not sure I'll want to read something like this ever.

Verdict:  Toss

Final Thoughts:
Well, I kept half this week, but these are all on my virtual TBR on Goodreads, so they're not actually books sitting on a shelf, or floor space waiting for shelf space.  Something awesome I did this week though, was clean out a BUNCH of books from my shelves, physical ones.  And why would that be awesome for you?  Because I've added most of them to the giveaway below!  And hey, if I've inspired you to join in and do a post like this, come back and add a link to the Linky below, it is also one extra entry in the giveaway below!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter
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:


The two pictures above are my 2018 ARCs you can choose from.

These are my 2017 ARCs you can choose from.

These are the 2015-2016 ARCs you can choose from.

These are the 2014 ARCs you can choose from.

And one more!  Either 2013 or 2012, not sure. But it's available!

Just enter in the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I noticed that your photos had changed. I think you are doing an amazing job of reducing and organizing your TBR. I cleaned out my shelves and have books to donate to the little free libraries now. Love keeping books in my car so I can spread the love of reading around.

    1. Slowly but surely. If they're finished copies of the books, and I think my students might like to read them, they get donated there first. Other finished copies, I guess a free little library is a great idea! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I saw the movie of We Need to Talk About Kevin, and it was...disturbing. Well-done, but even though I feel like I should read the book, I'm not certain it's a world I want to spend more time in, you know?

    Once again, thanks for the cull-the-TBR pile inspiration! :)

    1. Interesting. Maybe I'll just watch the movie? :-) Thanks for visiting, and hope you're getting to participate in the culling of the TBR piles!

  3. "We Need To Talk About Kevin" does sound convincingly creepy!

    1. It sounds like it could be a good one. But I'll probably skip it still. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Good choice on The Fallen. I read books one, two, and three and they're pretty forgettable.

    1. Good to know. They sound good, but eh, nothing I am desperate to read right now. Thanks for visiting!

  5. I have been whittling down the pile of books in my TBR. It's always hard because you haven't read the book yet, and you don't know if you would end up liking it. A lot of the books in the piles would be ok choices as I haven't read and don't know much about them.

    1. It is so hard! What if someday I do wish I'd kept a title? But, I know there's no way I'll ever read everything on my list unfortunately, so I'll just have to hope I'm doing the right thing for now. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. "Ghost House" and "I hate everyone but you" sound interesting.

  7. I have two large boxes of books I know I want to find good homes for. The trick is not to second guess myself and leave the boxes closed! LOL

    1. I know! It is so hard to get rid of things! Even just deleting from my Goodreads, a virtual TBR, I second guess myself. Thanks for visiting!

  8. I would like Boneless Mercies or Twice Dead

    1. I think Twice Dead might have gone to last week's winner! But Boneless Mercies will probably still be available. Thanks for stopping by!

  9. I am interested in Before I Let Go or Ghost House.

  10. Jane and Stolen are two I would've kept as well so I am glad you did too! I have read Half Brother and I did enjoy it, but I wouldn't actually recommend it to you with your reading tastes so it's probably good it isn't on your list anymore.

    1. Half Brother was one I would have enjoyed a while back, but isn't really what I'm reading these days. So you are right about that! Thanks for visiting!


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