Saturday, October 26, 2019

Cleaning Up My TBR With a Giveaway (US Only) - Down the TBR Hole #44

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 (or 20 if you have as many as I do)
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
So, while I'm making a teensy bit of progress, I think I want to try to push that number each week up to 20 instead of just 10.  Let's see how that goes!

1.  Idols by Margaret Stohl:
The Icons came from the sky. They belong to an inhuman enemy. They ended our civilization, and they can kill us. Most of us. Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas are the four Icon Children, the only humans immune to the Icon's power to stop a human heart. Now that Los Angeles has been saved, things are more complicated - and not just because Dol has to choose between Lucas and Ro, the two great loves of her life. As she flees to a resistance outpost hidden beneath a mountain, Dol makes contact with a fifth Icon Child, if only through her visions. When Dol and the others escape to Southeast Asia in search of this missing child, Dol's dreams, feelings and fears collide in an epic showdown that will change more than just four lives - and stop one heart forever.
My thoughts:
I liked the first one, and I like this author, might even own this, but not sure.

Verdict: Keep 

2.  Rags and Bones:  New Twists on Timeless Tales by Melissa Marr:
The best writers of our generation retell classic tales. From Sir Edmund Spenser's "The Faerie Queene" to E. M. Forster's "The Machine Stops", literature is filled with sexy, deadly, and downright twisted tales. In this collection, today's most acclaimed award-winning and bestselling authors reimagine their favorite classic stories and use their own unique styles to rebuild these timeless stories, the ones that have inspired, awed, and enraged them, the ones that have become ingrained in modern culture, and the ones that have been too long overlooked. They take these twelve stories and boil them down to their bones, and reassemble them for a new generation of readers. Written from a twenty-first century perspective and set within the realms of science fiction, dystopian fiction, fantasy, and realistic fiction, these short stories are as moving and thought provoking as their originators. They pay homage to groundbreaking literary achievements of the past while celebrating each author's unique perception and innovative style.

Introduction: Rags & Bones: New Twists on Timeless Tales (2013) • essay by Tim Pratt and Melissa Marr
That the Machine May Progress Eternally (2013) / shortfiction by Carrie Ryan, inspired by E.M. Forster's The Machine Stops
The King of Elfland's Daughter (2013) • interior artwork by Charles Vess
Losing Her Divinity [Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz] (2013) / shortfiction by Garth Nix, inspired by The Man Who Would Be King
The Sleeper and the Spindle (2013) / novelette by Neil Gaiman, inspired by Sleeping Beauty
Kai Lung's Golden Hours (2013) • interior artwork by Charles Vess
The Cold Corner (2013) / shortfiction by Tim Pratt, inspired by Henry James' The Jolly Corner
Millcara (2013) / shortfiction by Holly Black, inspired by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla
Figures of Earth (2013) • interior artwork by Charles Vess
When First We Were Gods (2013) / shortfiction by Rick Yancey, inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Birthmark
Sirocco (2013) / shortfiction by Margaret Stohl, inspired by Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto
The Shaving of Shagpat (2013) • interior artwork by Charles Vess
Awakened (2013) / shortfiction by Melissa Marr, inspired by Kate Chopin's The Awakening
New Chicago (2013) / shortfiction by Kelley Armstrong, inspired by W. W. Jacob's The Monkey's Paw
The Wood Beyond the World (2013) • interior artwork by Charles Vess
The Soul Collector (2013) / shortfiction by Kami Garcia, inspired by the Brothers Grimm's Rumpelstiltskin
Without Faith, Without Law, Without Joy (2013) / shortfiction by Saladin Ahmed, inspired by Sir Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queene
Goblin Market (2013) • interior artwork by Charles Vess
Uncaged (2013) / shortfiction by Gene Wolf, inspired by William Seabrook's The Caged White Werewolf.

My thoughts
I have so much trouble getting through anthologies that at this point, I'll probably never get to this.

Verdict: Toss 

3.  Imposter by Susanne Winnacker:
TESSA IS A VARIANT, able to absorb the DNA of anyone she touches and mimic their appearance. Shunned by her family, she’s spent the last two years training with the Forces with Extraordinary Abilities, a secret branch of the FBI.

When a serial killer rocks a small town in Oregon, Tessa is given a mission: she must impersonate Madison, a local teen, to find the killer before he strikes again.

Tessa hates everything about being an impostor - the stress, the danger, the deceit - but loves playing the role of a normal girl. Disguised as Madison, she finds friends, romance, and the kind of loving family she’d do anything to keep.

Amid action, suspense, and a ticking clock, this super-human arrives at a very human conclusion: even a girl who can look like anyone struggles the most with being herself.
My thoughts:  
I really like this author, so I'll probably get to one of these days.

Verdict:  Keep

4.  Linked by Imogen Howson:
Elissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three years, she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere.

Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: she’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes.

Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl—Lin—who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed.

Now, Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose—secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world.

Riveting, thought-provoking and utterly compelling, Linked will make you question what it really means to be human.

My thoughts:  
Doesn't sound like anything original.

Verdict: Toss

5.   Twinmaker by Sean Williams:
High-stakes action combines with issues of friendship and body image in this timely and thought-provoking exploration of the intersection of technology and identity.

You can be Improved....

In a near-future world in which technology can transport you anywhere instantly, can a coded note enable you to change your body—to become taller, stronger, more beautiful? Clair is pretty sure the offer is too good to be true. But her best friend, Libby, is determined to give it a try, longing for a new, improved version of herself.

What starts as Libby’s dream turns into Clair’s nightmare when Libby falls foul of a deadly trap. With the help of Jesse, the school freak, and a mysterious—but powerful—stranger called Q, Clair’s attempt to protect Libby leads her to an unimagined world of conspiracies and cover-ups. Soon her own life is at risk, and Clair is chased across the world in a desperate race against time.

Action and danger fuel Sean Williams’ tale of technology, identity, and the lengths to which one girl will go to save her best friend.

My thoughts:
I probably added this because it was the big deal at the time.  Not so sure I care anymore.  Plus we have it in my school library if I'm ever so inclined to read it.

Verdict:  Toss

6.  Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis:
Regret was for people with nothing to defend, people who had no water.

Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn't leave at all.

Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand.

But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it….

With evocative, spare language and incredible drama, danger, and romance, debut author Mindy McGinnis depicts one girl’s journey in a barren world not so different than our own.

My thoughts:
I still want to read this one.

Verdict:  Keep

7.  Find Me by Romily Bernard:
“Find Me.”

These are the words written on Tessa Waye’s diary. The diary that ends up with Wick Tate. But Tessa’s just been found . . . dead.

Wick has the right computer-hacking skills for the job, but little interest in this perverse game of hide-and-seek. Until her sister Lily is the next target.

Then Griff, trailer-park boy next door and fellow hacker, shows up, intent on helping Wick. Is a happy ending possible with the threat of Wick’s deadbeat dad returning, the detective hunting him sniffing around Wick instead, and a killer taunting her at every step?

Foster child. Daughter of a felon. Loner hacker girl. Wick has a bad attitude and sarcasm to spare.

But she’s going to find this killer no matter what.

Because it just got personal.

My thoughts:  
Eh, not sure I'll get to it.

Verdict:  Toss

 8.  The Caged Graves  by Dianne K. Salemi:
17-year-old Verity Boone expects a warm homecoming when she returns to Catawissa, Pennsylvania, in 1867, pledged to marry a man she has never met. Instead, she finds a father she barely knows and a future husband with whom she apparently has nothing in common. One truly horrifying surprise awaits her: the graves of her mother and aunt are enclosed in iron cages outside the local cemetery. Nobody in town will explain why, but Verity hears rumors of buried treasure and witchcraft. Perhaps the cages were built to keep grave robbers out . . . or to keep the women in. Determined to understand, Verity finds herself in a life-and-death struggle with people she trusted.

Inspired by a pair of real caged graves in present-day Catawissa, this historical YA novel weaves mystery, romance, and action into a suspenseful drama with human greed and passion at its core.

My thoughts:
Okay, I like that this is based on something the author found and was inspired by.  But, don't know if I'll ever get to it.

Verdict:  Toss

9.  The Rules by Stacey Kade:
1. Never trust anyone.

2. Remember they are always searching.

3. Don't get involved.

4. Keep your head down.

5. Don't fall in love.

Five simple rules. Ariane Tucker has followed them since the night she escaped from the genetics lab where she was created, the result of combining human and extraterrestrial DNA. Ariane's survival-and that of her adoptive father-depends on her ability to blend in among the full-blooded humans, to hide in plain sight from those who seek to recover their lost (and expensive) "project."

But when a cruel prank at school goes awry, it puts Adriane in the path of Zane Bradshaw, the police chief's son and someone who sees too much. Someone who really sees her. After years of trying to be invisible, Ariane finds the attention frightening-and utterly intoxicating. Suddenly, nothing is simple anymore, especially not the rules.

My thoughts:
Sounds similar to other things.

Verdict: Toss

10.  Long Black Veil by Jeanette Battista:
A girl, a boy, and a family curse...

Devon can’t wait to put her podunk mountain town behind her once and for all when she graduates high school. But even though she’s the class valedictorian, the likelihood of her being able to afford college on her own is slim. As she begins the research on scholarships that might help with tuition, a new distraction arises in the form of the town’s golden boy, the cute and popular Brock Cutler who works in the town Records room. Devon knows that mountain and town folk don’t mix, but she’s drawn to him anyway.

But as her friendship with Brock deepens, Devon realizes that there are consequences when mountain folk and town folk mingle: she’s humiliated at a party by the most popular girl in school, almost assaulted by the school quarterback, and rumors about her begin to spread throughout the school. The ghost of a woman wrapped in a black veil starts haunting her steps. As these unpleasant incidents become more frequent, Devon’s grandmother warns her to stay away from Brock so she doesn’t end up like her mother.

As she digs deeper into her family’s past, Devon uncovers secrets that may be better left buried. Why is she suddenly seeing strange visions of a woman in a veil mourning over a hundred year old grave? How is this veiled woman related to the tragic events in Devon’s mother’s life? And why is Devon’s grandmother warning her away from Brock? As Devon searches for answers and the specter’s appearances become more frequent, everything Devon has ever known in her life begins to change.

Can she unravel her family’s curse before it claims her too?

My thoughts:
Again, doesn't sound that original.

Verdict:  Toss

11.  Conjure by Lea Nolan:
Be careful what you search for...

Emma Guthrie expects this summer to be like any other in the South Carolina Lowcountry--hot and steamy with plenty of beach time alongside her best friend and secret crush, Cooper Beaumont, and Emma’s ever-present twin brother, Jack. But then a mysterious eighteenth-century message in a bottle surfaces, revealing a hidden pirate bounty. Lured by the adventure, the trio discovers the treasure and unwittingly unleashes an ancient Gullah curse that attacks Jack with the wicked flesh-eating Creep and promises to steal Cooper’s soul on his approaching sixteenth birthday.

When a strange girl appears, bent on revenge; demon dogs become a threat; and Jack turns into a walking skeleton; Emma has no choice but to learn hoodoo magic to undo the hex, all before summer—and her friends--are lost forever.

My thoughts:
Hmm, could be good.  But don't know when I'd get to it.

Verdict:  Toss

12.  Men Like Gods by H.G. Wells:
Men Like Gods (1923) is a novel — referred to by the author as a "scientific fantasy" — by H. G. Wells.
The novel is set in the summer of 1921. Its protagonist is Mr. Barnstaple (his first name is either Alfred or William), a journalist working in London and living in Sydenham. He has grown dispirited at a newspaper called The Liberal and resolves to take a holiday. Quitting wife and family, he finds his plans disrupted when his and two other automobiles are accidentally transported with their passengers into "another world," which the "Earthlings" call Utopia.

My thoughts:
Not sure exactly why I put this on my TBR, but for classics, I probably have a reason, so I'll keep it for now.

Verdict: Keep

13.  The Spring Before I Met You by Sarah Rees Brennan:
Introduction by Holly Black:

I had the privilege of reading this story many months ago and swooning over it almost as much as I swooned over Unspoken, the first book of Sarah Rees Brennan's gorgeously crafted modern gothic trilogy. Sarah's writing is incredible in that she is able to write these witty, lush scenes that have you smiling along until suddenly, in a single sentence, she reaches out to break your heart.

This story introduces us to one of the main characters of Unspoken, Jared Lynburn. Seeing him as the broken, dangerous, closed-off teenager that he appears to be from the outside allows us to anticipate all of the insight we'll have into his character when we get inside his head--which we will, since he's the heroine's "imaginary friend."

I enjoy the contrast of Jared's loneliness in the rough streets of Hunters Point/Bayview in San Francisco and the small, strange English town Jared is headed toward, and the girl he is about to meet. But most of all, in this story, I enjoy Jared himself, a character who is a study in contrasts--pushed to such extremes of despair and fury that he's truly capable of anything and yet capable of vast kindness, gentleness and humor.

My thoughts:
One of my all time favorite series, so I definitely want to read this some time.

Verdict: Keep

14.  The Summer Before I Met You by Sarah Rees Brennan:
“Take care of your spirit, Kami,” said Megumi. “And don’t burn the place down.”

Kami grabbed both the suitcases and headed for the cabin she was sharing with Liz and Angela. Liz walked with her, and on their way Kami stopped.

“My Sobo was exaggerating,” she said earnestly. “There have been very few fires.”

My thoughts:
Same reasoning as the last one!

Verdict: Keep

15.  Grim by Christine Johnson:
Inspired by classic fairy tales, but with a dark and sinister twist, Grim contains short stories from some of the best voices in young adult literature today:

Ellen Hopkins
Amanda Hocking
Julie Kagawa
Claudia Gray
Rachel Hawkins
Kimberly Derting
Myra McEntire
Malinda Lo
Sarah Rees-Brennan
Jackson Pearce
Christine Johnson
Jeri Smith Ready
Shaun David Hutchinson
Saundra Mitchell
Sonia Gensler
Tessa Gratton
Jon Skrovon

My thoughts:
I think I tried getting into these stories at one time, but had issues, so like I said above for the other anthology, probably not for me.

Verdict:  Toss

16.  Reflection by Kim Cresswell:
Florida investigative reporter, Whitney Steel, has lived in the shadow of her legendary father long enough. To prove herself she needs to find the “Big” story.

She found it.

Now it may kill her.

After Whitney receives a lead pointing to the world’s first cloned human, now a small child, she vows to unravel the truth. However, sifting through the facts proves to have dangerous results, including death threats and murder.

When Whitney is nearly killed, but is saved by undercover FBI Special Agent, Blake Neely, he refuses to let her get in the way of his own objective—at least not right away.

Caught in a lethal game between a billionaire obsessed with genetic perfection, his hit man’s thirst for retribution, and a Colombian drug lord fresh out of prison determined to make Blake pay for his twin brother’s death over a decade ago…

Can they save an innocent child before it’s too late?

Faced with tough choices, with deadly consequences for many—Whitney soon realizes that sometimes a story becomes more than just a story.

My thoughts:
Not sure why I added this one.

Verdict: Toss

17.  Please Don't Remove MarGreat's Glasses! by Josh Baker:
“Please Don't Remove MarGreat's Glasses!” is an inspirational coming of age story that follows the trials and tribulations of privileged teenager, Timothy Clement, as he prepares for his first year of law school.

Timothy and his two closest friends embark on one last adventure before heading to college which puts them in the middle of Miami’s seedy nightlife, complete with partying, wild girls and various illegal activities.

Things go horribly wrong when Timothy crosses the wrong people and his younger brother Stephen pays for Timothy's reckless behavior with his life. Stripped of his status, abandoned by his friends and family, and incarcerated, Timothy is forced to reevaluate his life, and in particular, his atheist beliefs.

After being paroled, Timothy reluctantly accepts the charity of a God fearing man named Jude who takes him in and helps him assimilate back into society. Jude patiently offers his support while Timothy endures prejudice, poverty, and physical disfigurement after a freak accident. Jude remains steadfast in his attempts to persuade Timothy to put his faith in God, but Timothy will hear nothing of the sort.

Can Jude show this young atheist that it is never too late for salvation?

My thoughts:
Absolutely no idea why I added this one.

Verdict:  Toss

18.  Sierra by Taylor Dean:
Alyssa Fontaine's life, loved ones--everything familiar and dear--are brutally taken from her. Taken captive by two men, she endures a horrific nightmare. A new life is forced upon her and even a new name. Just when it appears that no hope is in sight, she is saved by an unlikely twist of fate. Trapped in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains, life will open its arms to her again and she will embrace it. She will find love such as she never knew existed. Sierra is a heart-wrenching story of the power of the human spirit to survive amidst impossible circumstances and severe losses. It is a story of survival . . . and hope.

My thoughts:
Could be good, but probably not my type of read at the moment.

Verdict:  Toss

19.  Believe by Roxanne Crouse:
Lilly Perry dreams of falling in love until she meets the mysterious Kalen who reveals she can see faeries. She can’t say no to the gorgeous Kalen who invites her to a beach party where the guests transform into monsters and Lilly wakes on the beach abandoned and unable to remember what happened. Kalen must return to the Otherworld to fight rebel fey threatening his kingdom, but he promises to return.

No one believes Lilly’s story, not even her family, who’s convinced she was abducted and raped by the man she met, but Lilly knows something else happened, something magical. Lilly’s new psychologist, Dr. Wasserman, has her committed to Harmony Creek. The longer Lilly’s there, the more she realizes the girls in the ward have similar stories to her and Dr. Wasserman is keeping them for other reasons than their mental health.

Will Kalen return as he promised? Will Lilly have the courage to discover the doctor’s secrets? Find out in the first book of The Otherworld Trilogy.

My thoughts:
Doesn't sound that unique

Verdict:  Toss

20.  Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee:
In the Labyrinth, we had a saying: keep silent, keep still, keep safe.

In a city of walls and secrets, where only one man is supposed to possess magic, seventeen-year-old Kai struggles to keep hidden her own secret—she can manipulate the threads of time. When Kai was eight, she was found by Reev on the riverbank, and her “brother” has taken care of her ever since. Kai doesn’t know where her ability comes from—or where she came from. All that matters is that she and Reev stay together, and maybe one day move out of the freight container they call home, away from the metal walls of the Labyrinth. Kai’s only friend is Avan, the shopkeeper’s son with the scandalous reputation that both frightens and intrigues her.

Then Reev disappears. When keeping silent and safe means losing him forever, Kai vows to do whatever it takes to find him. She will leave the only home she’s ever known and risk getting caught up in a revolution centuries in the making. But to save Reev, Kai must unravel the threads of her past and face shocking truths about her brother, her friendship with Avan, and her unique power.

My thoughts:
Eh, not grabbing me anymore other than the beautiful cover.

Verdict:  Toss

Final Thoughts:
Only keeping 6 this week, yay!

I'm going to quit for a bit with telling how many books overall I've gotten rid of, because as I prepare for November with the Blog Ahead Challenge, the numbers won't match up each week. 

Have you read any of these?  Would you suggest I keep any I'm tossing?  And if you're inspired to do this on your blog, please feel free to join in and share a link in the comments, since it will also get you an extra entry into my giveaway at the bottom of this post.      

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.  You get to pick any two books 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.  As I mentioned above, unpacking is finding a lot of books to get rid of, so you have even more to pick from this week!  Here are your choices:   

2018 ARCs:

I've condensed all my older ARCS into this one picture of 2011-2017 ARCs:

I'm continuing to add in my 2019 ARCs now.  You can pick one of your two choices from the picture below, the other book you pick needs to come from the pictures above.  

Once again I'm going to let you pick two, along with me throwing in a surprise third book!  Just enter the Rafflecopter below.   Disclaimer:  Unfortunately, while I've only had it happen once, I'm going to have to make a statement like other giveaways I've seen on blogs that I am not responsible for lost mail.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway