Saturday, March 9, 2019

Cleaning Up My TBR with a Giveaway: Down the TBR Hole #12

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.  Lucy by Laurence Gonzales:
Laurence Gonzales’s electrifying adventure opens in the jungles of the Congo. Jenny Lowe, a primatologist studying chimpanzees—the bonobos—is running for her life.

A civil war has exploded and Jenny is trapped in its crosshairs . . . She runs to the camp of a fellow primatologist.

The rebels have already been there.

Everyone is dead except a young girl, the daughter of Jenny’s brutally murdered fellow scientist—and competitor.

Jenny and the child flee, Jenny grabbing the notebooks of the primatologist who’s been killed. She brings the girl to Chicago to await the discovery of her relatives. The girl is fifteen and lovely—her name is Lucy.

Realizing that the child has no living relatives, Jenny begins to care for her as her own. When she reads the notebooks written by Lucy’s father, she discovers that the adorable, lovely, magical Lucy is the result of an experiment.

She is part human, part ape—a hybrid human being . . .

Laurence Gonzales’s novel grabs you from its opening pages and you stay with it, mesmerized by the shy but fierce, wonderfully winning Lucy.

My thoughts:  I feel like at one time I might have had a copy of this one?  But I don't know that I do anymore.  I really feel though, that I might enjoy this some time.

Verdict:  Keep

2.  Dear George Clooney, Please Marry My Mom by Susin Nielsen:
Violet's TV-director dad has traded a job in Vancouver for one in Los Angeles, their run-down house for a sleek ranch-style home complete with a pool, and, worst of all, Violet's mother for a trophy wife, a blonde actress named Jennica. Violet's younger sister reacts by bed-wetting, and her mother ping-pongs from one loser to another, searching for love. As for Violet, she gets angry in ways that are by turns infuriating, shocking, and hilarious.

When her mother takes up with the unfortunately named Dudley Wiener, Violet and her friend Phoebe decide that they need to take control. If Violet's mom can't pick a decent man herself, they will help her snag George Clooney.

In Dear George Clooney, Please Marry My Mom, Susin Nielsen has created a truly original protagonist in Violet and a brilliant new novel that will delight readers into rooting for her, even when she's at her worst.

My thoughts:  Still sounds like a fun middle grade story, but not sure I'll get to it.

Verdict:  Toss

3.  Library Mashups: Exploring New Ways to Deliver Library Data by Nicole C. Engard:

This unique book is geared to help any library keep its website dynamically and collaboratively up-to-date, increase user participation, and provide exemplary web-based service through the power of mashups.

Nicole C. Engard and 25 contributors from all over the world share definitions, tools, techniques, and real life applications. Examples range from ways to allow those without programming skills to make simple website updates, to modifying the library OPAC, to using popular sites like Flickr, Yahoo!, LibraryThing, Google Maps, and Delicious to share and combine digital content.

My thoughts:  I'm sure I chose this book back when I was looking for a library job, working on my Education Specialist degree in library science, which I haven't finished.  It might be a little outdated now, unless they've done a more recent version.

Verdict: Toss

4.  Annexed by Sharon Dogar:

I look out the window into the street...I'm meant to be at Mr. Frank's workplace in a few hours. We're arriving separately, all of is. We'll walk into the building just like it was any other visit - only this time we'll never walk out again.

What was it like hiding in the Annex with Anne Frank? To be with Anne every day while she wrote so passionately in her diary? To be in a secret world within a world at war - alive on the inside, everything dying on the outside?

Peter Van Pels and his family have lost their country, their home, and their freedom, and now they are fighting desperately to remain alive.

Look through Peter's eyes.

He has a story to tell, too.

Are you listening?

My thoughts:  I am always wanting to read these books, they call to me.  Not sure, but I will probably want to read this one day.  However, I wonder if I need to keep it on my list since it is one that is popular and might always be well known.

Verdict:  Keep for now

5.  Slights by Kaaron Warren:

But she brings her victims back to life to demand of them: "WHAT DO YOU SEE?P"

Now she's about to find out for herself...

After an accident in which her mother dies, Stevie has a near-death experience, and finds herself in a room full of people - everyone she's ever annoyed. They clutch at her, scratch and tear at her. But she finds herself drawn back to this place, again and again, determined to unlock its secrets. Which means she has to die, again and again. And Stevie starts to wonder whether other people see the same room... when they die.

The most disturbing novel of 2010... read it if you dare.

My thoughts:  Hmm, sounds creepy, but not sure if it is one I'd go back to read at some point.  I can probably get rid of this one.  I mean it says it is the most disturbing novel of 2010, so surely someone will be able to remember it if I want to.

Verdict: Toss

6.  51/50: The Magical Adventures of a Single Life by Kristen McGuiness:
After years of living the LA high life, Kristen McGuiness found herself single, sober, and seriously questioning whether she was destined to be alone. How hard could it be to find a guy whose hand she could hold at the movie theater, whose name she could put down as her emergency contact at the doctor's office, and who would know when to tell her she's beautiful? And more than that--where was that euphoric full-body tingle spurred only by being in love?
So she did what any single, newly sober thirty-year-old would do: made a pact to go on 51 dates in 50 weeks. Giving fate the middle finger, she decided that if the perfect guy wasn't going to walk into her life, she'd find him herself. Using "The Onion's" online personals, a sympathetic boss, weekly meetings for recovering addicts, a magical spiritual healer, and good old fashioned blind dates arranged by friends, she embarks on a whirlwind carousel of men she might not normally classify as potential mates.
Her initial plan of landing a man by simply increasing the odds quickly blossomed into more than just coffee with strangers. The experiences became truth-seeking missions, journeys into her problem-riddled past, and spiritual adventures in fear and faith. Of course, she meets a lot of men, but she also discovers unexpected moments of pain and joy within her own family: her divorced mother, incarcerated father, crazy Italian grandmother, and two middle-aged uncles (one conservative, the other gay). And in the end, her attempts to find love lead her to find herself.
At times heart-breaking and laugh-out-loud hilarious, Kristen McGuiness's witty, brutally honest writing gives a valuable true-life spin on "Bridget Jones" and "Sex and the City." 51/50 is a gripping read that will inspire others to follow her courageous search for love.

My thoughts: There was a time, in my 30s, when I was reading all of these types of books about being single and feeling like I'd be alone forever.  Now, in my 40s, I'm realizing that's just the way it's going to be, and maybe reading these types of books don't help me.  I'll stick to my fictional romance, which I know is fictional and too perfect to be true.

Verdict: Toss

7.  Reading in the Brain: The Science and Evolution of Human Invention by Stanislas Dehaene:
A renowned cognitive neuroscientist?s fascinating and highly informative account of how the brain acquires reading

How can a few black marks on a white page evoke an entire universe of sounds and meanings? In this riveting investigation, Stanislas Dehaene provides an accessible account of the brain circuitry of reading and explores what he calls the ?reading paradox?: Our cortex is the product of millions of years of evolution in a world without writing, so how did it adapt to recognize words? Reading in the Brain describes pioneering research on how we process language, revealing the hidden logic of spelling and the existence of powerful unconscious mechanisms for decoding words of any size, case, or font.

Dehaene?s research will fascinate not only readers interested in science and culture, but also educators concerned with debates on how we learn to read, and who wrestle with pathologies such as dyslexia. Like Steven Pinker, Dehaene argues that the mind is not a blank slate: Writing systems across all cultures rely on the same brain circuits, and reading is only possible insofar as it fits within the limits of a primate brain. Setting cutting-edge science in the context of cultural debate, Reading in the Brain is an unparalleled guide to a uniquely human ability.

My thoughts:  Um, kind of interesting, but probably not something I'm going to sit down and read.

Verdict: Toss

8.  Grave Secrets of Dinosaurs:  Soft Tissues and Hard Science by Phillip Manning:
Many of us have seen dinosaur bones and skeletons, maybe even dinosaur eggs...but what did those fearsome animals really look like in the flesh? Soft-tissue fossils give tantalizing clues about the appearance and physiology of the ancient animals. In this exciting book, paleontologist Phillip Manning presents the most astonishing dinosaur fossil excavations of the past 100 years—including the recent discovery of a remarkably intact dinosaur mummy in the Badlands of North Dakota.

Bone structure is just the beginning of our knowledge today, thanks to amazing digs like these. Drawing on new breakthroughs and cutting-edge techniques of analysis, Dr. Manning takes us on a thrilling, globe-spanning tour of dinosaur mummy finds—from the first such excavation in 1908 to a baby dinosaur unearthed in 1980, from a dino with a heart in South Dakota to titanosaur embryos in Argentina. And he discusses his own groundbreaking analysis of "Dakota," discovered by Tyler Lyson.

Using state-of-the-art technology to scan and analyse this remarkable discovery, National Geographic and Dr. Manning create an incredibly lifelike portrait of Dakota. The knowledge to be gained from this exceedingly rare find, and those that came before it, will intrigue dinosaur-loving readers of all ages.

My thoughts: There was a time when I had to read any book about dinosaurs I could get my hands on, and as a science teacher, it really fit in and kept my brain up to date on that science. These days, I just don't have the time.  Plus, I'm guessing there are new updated books with new updated research on this very topic.

Verdict: Toss

9.  Empty by Suzanne Weyn:
A dystopic look at what happens to one American town when all the fossil fuels run out...

It's the near future - the very near future - and the fossil fuels are running out. No gas. No oil. Which means no driving. No heat. Supermarkets are empty. Malls have shut down. Life has just become more local than we ever knew it could be.

Nobody expected the end to come this fast. And in the small town of Spring Valley, decisions that once seemed easy are quickly becoming matters of life and death. There is hope - there has to be hope - just there are also sacrifices that need to be made, and a whole society that needs to be rethought.

My thoughts: This is a favorite author of mine, and so I'm sure if I want to read this some time, I'll remember based on looking up other books by this author.

Verdict:  Toss

10.  I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend by Cora Harrison:
When shy Jenny Cooper goes to stay with her cousin Jane Austen, she knows nothing of the world of beautiful dresses, dances, secrets, gossip, and romance that Jane inhabits. At fifteen, Jane is already a sharp observer of the customs of courtship. So when Jenny falls utterly in love with Captain Thomas Williams, who better than Jane to help her win the heart of this dashing man?

But is that even possible? After all, Jenny’s been harboring a most desperate secret. Should it become known, it would bring scandal not only to her, but also to the wonderful Austen family. What’s a poor orphan girl to do?

In this delicious dance between truth and fiction, Cora Harrison has crafted Jenny’s secret diary by reading everything Jane Austen wrote as a child and an adult, and by researching biographies, critical studies, and family letters. Jenny’s diary makes the past spring vividly to life and provides insight into the entire Austen family—especially the beloved Jane.

My thoughts:  I love a good story that takes truth and weaves it into a fictional story.  And this is one that doesn't seem too well known. So if I take it off my list, I might not remember it later. 

Verdict:  Keep

Final Thoughts:
So, I only kept three out of ten, that's a good week!  And one is just for now, it maybe one I get rid of later.  Have you read any of these?  Would you recommend keeping any that I am getting rid of?  Are there any I'm keeping that you've read and don't think I should bother with?  Now, also, I did get rid of some physical books this past weekend, took them to Half Price Books, even though I didn't get much for them, I spent what little I did get on some new books for my school.  I cleared out 25 physical books!  I might get some more done this week while I'm on spring break. Although today, as this post is up, I'm on the road out of town for a writing retreat, by myself.  I was doing a link up for this giveaway for anyone who wanted to join in, no one else has joined in yet, but I'll go ahead and keep trying it for another couple weeks maybe and see if it ever catches on.  So if you want to do one of these posts any time in the next week, come back and add your link below so I can check your post out!  And don't forget the giveaway below!

   Inlinkz Link Party

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:   

These are my 2018 ARCs you can choose from.

Here are my 2017 ARCs you can choose from.

Here are my 2013-2016 ARCs you can choose from.

Just enter in the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I have to tell you, I have yet to not like a Susin Nielsen book. I have not read George Clooney, but I read several others, and all were winners for me.

    1. Good to hear! Maybe it'll come back up on my reading list at some point.

  2. I haven't read the George Clooney book, but this author has amazing talent. You might want to give it a try--I second Sam's comment.

    1. Okay, it maybe have to be added back to my list then!

  3. I added my link this week! I hadn't heard of any of the books so I can't give you any updated info on your choices for tossing, but good for you for being able to clear out so many books!! Good luck with your writing retreat!

    1. Yay! Glad you joined in with a link. So far my writing retreat is a bit of a bust because I'm still getting over a cold I had this past week. But with lots of rest, hoping it will be a better day for writing tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I wasn't actually familiar with a lot of these authors. I would like to read a few such as Dangerous Lies or The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett. I also have a few of these in my TBR pile.

    1. Well, if you get around to reading any, let me know what you think of them! Thanks for visiting!

  5. The Susin Nielsen book does sound funny!

    1. I decided to add it back to my TBR thanks to all the suggestions here! Thanks for stopping by!


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