Saturday, November 2, 2019

Cleaning Up My TBR With a Giveaway (US Only) - Down the TBR Hole #45

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?
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.  The Assembly Room by Bryony Allen:
The ghosts of The Assembly Room have been waiting for someone to unlock their secrets, and Merryn Stearne has arrived.
For 14 year old Merryn, the future should have been perfect – a new home in the idyllic Suffolk countryside and romance with the gorgeous boy next door, Jamie. If only the past would stop interfering with the present. Dreams of medieval witchcraft trials become terrifyingly real and Merryn realises there is a mystery to be solved. With Jamie's help, she uncovers the truth about her ancestor's role in the Suffolk witch hunts of 1645.
But can they stop the curse that threatens to ruin the Stearne family once again, or are the forces of the past too strong?

My thoughts:
As good as it might be, I just know I probably won't get to it. 

Verdict:  Toss

2.  Dodo Destiny by Tom Parker:
Dodo Destiny examines the sad tale of the dodo and the intriguing history of its native Mauritius, a beautiful island nation home to one of today’s truly multicultural societies.

The dodo is a universal symbol of extinction, yet little is known about the true nature of this vanished bird. Most people don’t know that the dodo lived only on Mauritius, a small tropical island nation east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.

Left undisturbed by humans, Mauritius and the dodo thrived until Europeans arrived in 1598. Less than 100 years later, the dodo and other island species disappeared in the wake of man.

The dodo will never come back yet Mauritius and nearby islands are forging a new path in co-existence with not only man and the environment, but among religions and different races.

The odd-looking dodo was just one of many unusual extinct species endemic to Mauritius and other islands in the Mascarene archipelago. Paradoxically, the site of history's most famous extinction is today home to some of the world's most successful conservation programs created to preserve surviving threatened species.

Tom Parker's fascination with Mauritius and neighboring islands began by chance during a layover on a global trek. He returned multiple times to extensively explore the islands, discovering dramatic tales about the spice trade, marooned rebels, waves of immigrants from Europe and Asia, and remarkable natural history.

Long familiar to European visitors, these islands remain relatively unknown to most North Americans.

Dodo Destiny provides an insightful introduction to Mauritius and its multicultural society for history-minded travelers.

Illustrated with historic maps, antique engravings, and photographs.

My thoughts
Again, there was a time when I read tons of scientific books, this just isn't that time anymore.

Verdict: Toss 

3.  After the Virus by Meghan Ciana Doidge:
After the virus decimates 99.9% of the world’s population, and all traces of humanity along with it, Rhiannon and Will are forced to move beyond their past fame, fortune, and personal demons to rescue a mute girl from the clutches of two warring cults.

WARNING: this post-apocalyptic love story contains mature situations, violence, and language.
My thoughts:  
Doesn't sound like anything new or original

Verdict: Toss

4.  Doomed by Tracy Deebs:
Beat the game. Save the world.

Pandora's an average teen, glued to her cell phone and laptop, until the day her long-lost father sends her a link to a mysterious site featuring photos of her as a child. Curious, Pandora enters the site, unwittingly unleashing a global computer virus that plunges the whole world into panic: suddenly, there's no Internet. No cell phones. No traffic lights, hospitals or law enforcement. Only Pandora's Box, a virtual-reality game created by Pandora's father, remains up and running. Together with her neighbors, gorgeous stepbrothers Eli and Theo, Pandora must follow the photographs from her childhood in an attempt to beat the game and track down her father—and rescue the world. Part The Matrix, part retelling of the Pandora myth, Doomed has something for gaming fans, dystopian fans, and romance fans alike.

My thoughts:  
Another one I can see why I added, but don't think I'll ever get around to.

Verdict: Toss

5.   And All the Stars by Andrea K. Host:
Come for the apocalypse. Stay for cupcakes. Die for love. Madeleine Cost is working to become the youngest person ever to win the Archibald Prize for portraiture. Her elusive cousin Tyler is the perfect subject: androgynous, beautiful, and famous. All she needs to do is pin him down for the sittings. None of her plans factored in the Spires: featureless, impossible, spearing into the hearts of cities across the world - and spraying clouds of sparkling dust into the wind. Is it an alien invasion? Germ warfare? They are questions everyone on Earth would like answered, but Madeleine has a more immediate problem. At Ground Zero of the Sydney Spire, beneath the collapsed ruin of St James Station, she must make it to the surface before she can hope to find out if the world is ending.

My thoughts:
While the opening two sentences make me laugh, I just don't see that I'll get into this.

Verdict:  Toss

6.  The Dead and Buried by Kim Harrington:
home sweet home...

Jade loves the house she's just moved into with her family. She doesn't even mind being the new girl at the high school: It's a fresh start, and there's that one guy with the dreamy blue eyes...

But then things begin happening. Strange, otherworldly things. Jade's little brother claims to see a glimmering girl in his room. Jade's jewelry gets moved around, as if by an invisible hand. Kids at school whisper behind her back like they know something she doesn't.

Soon, Jade must face an impossible fact: that her perfect house... is haunted.

Haunted by a ghost who's seeking not just vengeance, but the truth. The ghost of a girl who ruled Jade's school - until her untimely death last year. It's up to Jade to put the pieces together before her own life is at stake. As Jade investigates the mystery, she discovers that her new friends in town have more than a few deep, dark secrets.

But is one of them a murderer?

My thoughts:
Nothing new here either

Verdict: Toss

7.  Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum:
Twenty years ago, the robots designed to fight our wars abandoned the battlefields. Then they turned their weapons on us.

Only a few escaped the robot revolution of 2071. Kevin, Nick, and Cass are lucky —they live with their parents in a secret human community in the woods. Then their village is detected and wiped out. Hopeful that other survivors have been captured by bots, the teens risk everything to save the only people they have left in the world—by infiltrating a city controlled by their greatest enemies.

Revolution 19 is a cinematic thriller unlike anything else. With a dynamic cast of characters, this surefire blockbuster has everything teen readers want—action, drama, mystery, and romance. Written by debut novelist Gregg Rosenblum, this gripping story shouldn’t be missed.

My thoughts:  
Could be good, who knows, just don't think I'll be in the mood for it.

Verdict:  Toss

 8.  If We Survive by Andrew Klavan:
What do you do when a mission trip suddenly leaves you caught in the middle of a revolution?

Will Peterson is part of a mission team that has traveled to Costa Verde to rebuild the wall of a school. It's been a great trip-until a revolution breaks out just before they board their plane to go home.

But then it becomes a desperate race to escape: from a firing squad, from savage animals in the depths of the jungle, from prison cells and revolutionaries with machine guns.

One of the girls is showing Will amazing things about what it means to be truly fearless. And one of the guys has the makings of a real hero. None of them will go home the same. If they only survive.

My thoughts:
I don't know if I'll get to this one.  I know that I do want to read something by this author at some point though.

Verdict:  Toss

9.  If You Die Before I Wake by Michelle Frank:
Sabrina Ryan wants to be an ordinary teenager - family, high school, maybe get a boyfriend. Instead she has Devon.

Devon is the blood thirsty monster that terrorizes her dreams - a demonic little boy responsible for killing their parents. When she woke from the coma, she tried to tell everyone what he'd done. Instead no one believed her and she got a ticket to a mental hospital.

Now seventeen, this intelligent, artistic, borderline-paranoid-schizophrenic is moving in with her grandfather and she's determined to be normal, even if she doesn't know what it means. But ordinary things, like ordering at a restaurant and trying to fit in, prove more difficult than she expected.

With no family - no friends - no sense of reality - and no cure for Devon, she decides she's better off with no one, until she meets Riley. A captivating young bibliophile working for her grandfather, he knows more about her past than she'd like. Overwhelmed when things heat up quickly, they cool down fast when Sabrina learns he has a secret that threatens to tear them apart.

Artistic achievements, horrifying clowns and lucid dreaming propel IF YOU DIE BEFORE I WAKE on a fantastic ride of Technicolor evil and do-or-die determination. If Sabrina can figure it all out, she just might get the normal life she's always wanted.

My thoughts:
Could be good, but don't know when I'd get to it.

Verdict: Toss

10.  Fever by Mary Beth Keane:
Mary Beth Keane, named one of the 5 Under 35 by the National Book Foundation, has written a spectacularly bold and intriguing novel about the woman known as "Typhoid Mary," the first person in America identified as a healthy carrier of Typhoid Fever.

On the eve of the twentieth century, Mary Mallon emigrated from Ireland at age fifteen to make her way in New York City. Brave, headstrong, and dreaming of being a cook, she fought to climb up from the lowest rung of the domestic-service ladder. Canny and enterprising, she worked her way to the kitchen, and discovered in herself the true talent of a chef. Sought after by New York aristocracy, and with an independence rare for a woman of the time, she seemed to have achieved the life she'd aimed for when she arrived in Castle Garden. Then one determined medical engineer noticed that she left a trail of disease wherever she cooked, and identified her as an asymptomatic carrier of Typhoid Fever. With this seemingly preposterous theory, he made Mallon a hunted woman.

The Department of Health sent Mallon to North Brother Island, where she was kept in isolation from 1907 to 1910, then released under the condition that she never work as a cook again. Yet for Mary, proud of her former status and passionate about cooking, the alternatives were abhorrent. She defied the edict.

Bringing early-twentieth-century New York alive, the neighborhoods, the bars, the park carved out of upper Manhattan, the boat traffic, the mansions and sweatshops and emerging skyscrapers, Fever is an ambitious retelling of a forgotten life. In the imagination of Mary Beth Keane, Mary Mallon becomes a fiercely compelling, dramatic, vexing, sympathetic, uncompromising, and unforgettable heroine.

My thoughts:
I'm always fascinated by the Typhoid Mary idea, so I might still want to read this one some day.

Verdict:  Keep

11.  Undeadly by Michelle Vail:
The day I turned 16, my boyfriend-to-be died. I brought him back to life. Then things got a little weird...

Molly Bartolucci wants to blend in, date hottie Rick and keep her zombie-raising abilities on the down-low. Then the god Anubis chooses her to become a reaper—and she accidentally undoes the work of another reaper, Rath. Within days, she's shipped off to the Nekyia Academy, an elite boarding school that trains the best necromancers in the world. And her personal reaping tutor? Rath.

Life at Nekyia has its plusses. Molly has her own personal ghoul, for one. Rick follows her there out of the blue, for another...except, there's something a little off about him. When students at the academy start to die and Rath disappears, Molly starts to wonder if anything is as it seems. Only one thing is certain—-Molly's got an undeadly knack for finding trouble....

My thoughts:
Doesn't sound that different from a lot of other books like this.

Verdict:  Toss

12.  The Thin Diary by Cindy Guirino:
Need or want to lose a few pounds? Just follow the delicious recipe for a richer, better life found in this step-by-step guide. Cindy Guirino, registered dietician and certified personal trainer, combines the simple elements of eating well, exercising regularly, and maintaining a positive attitude with the power of keeping a daily journal. It's the tool you need to develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Cindy will teach you how to - Get the various nutrients your body needs and which food groups supply them

- Create satisfying snacks and even treat yourself to a daily indulgence without breaking your program

- Exercise to raise your metabolism, improve your stamina, reduce your risks for disease, and improve your outlook on life

- Lose pounds every month simply by tackling daily activities inefficiently

- Use the secret weapon of a positive attitude by re-scripting your thoughts

- Write your way to a thinner you by filling out the daily worksheets provided

My thoughts:
I know why I added this, but I also know that it is something I now would not read.

Verdict:  Toss

13.  The Fellowship for Alien Detection by Kevin Emerson:
Two kids from opposite sides of the country find themselves on a road trip to save the world from an impending alien attack - and bolster their middle-school transcripts in the process.

First came the missing people, missing time events, and untraceable radio signals. Then came Juliette, Arizona, a town that simply disappeared from existence. Suffice it to say, something strange is going on. Enter Haley and Dodger, two kids from opposite sides of the country who both think they can prove that these unexplained phenomena have a very real cause: aliens, and they are about to discover that their fledgling theories about extraterrestrial life are one-hundred-percent accurate.

Having each been awarded a Fellowship for Alien Detection (a grant from a mysterious foundation dedicated to proving aliens have visited earth), Haley and Dodger and their families each set off on a cross-country road trip over summer vacation to figure out what is happening in towns across America. They soon realize that the answers to many of their questions lie in the vanished town of Juliette, AZ, but someone, or something, is doing everything in its power to ensure they never reach it. If Haley and Dodger don't act quickly, more people may go missing, and the world as we know it may change for the worse.

My thoughts:
Sounds like a good middle school book, but I don't really read middle school now that I'm at a high school.

Verdict:  Toss

14.  Confessions of a Call Center Gal by Lisa Lim:
Bridget Jones's Diary meets The Office. Madison Lee is a fresh college grad, ready to take on the world of print media. But she has zero luck landing a job. Unemployment is at ten percent and on the rise. Desperate and left with no other options, she accepts a position as a service rep at a call center in Pocatello, Idaho. At the Lightning Speed call center in Spudsville, Maddy plunges into the wild and dysfunctional world of customer service where Sales is prided over Service and an eight hour shift is equivalent to eight hours of callers bashing her over the phone. Oh sure, the calls are bad. But Maddy manages to find humor on the phone and off the phone. And with all the salacious drama behind the calls, there is never a dull moment at the Lightning Speed call center. Lately . . . Maddy has been pining for her smolderingly gorgeous co-worker Mika Harket. Now things are heating up on the phone--and elsewhere. Don't hang up on this novel. Working at a call center has never been this garish . . . or this delightful. ***DISCLAIMER: If you find politically incorrect shows like The Office, South Park and Chelsea Lately detestable, juvenile and offensive, then this book is probably NOT for you.

My thoughts:
Not my type of stories to read these days.

Verdict:  Toss

15.  Deck Z:  The Titianic:  Unsinkable.  Undead.  by Chris Pauls and Matt Solomon:
Imagine being trapped aboard the doomed Titanic on an icy Atlantic. . . with the walking dead. This fast-paced thriller reimagines the historical events of the fateful Titanic voyage through the lens of zombie mayhem. Captain Edward Smith and his inner circle desperately try to contain a weaponized zombie virus smuggled on board with the 2,200 passengers sailing to New York. Faced with an exploding population of lumbering, flesh-hungry undead, Smith's team is forced into bloody hand-to-hand combat down the narrow halls of the huge steamer. In its few short days at sea, the majestic Titanic turns into a Victorian bloodbath, steaming at top speed toward a cold, blue iceberg. A creepy, tense page-turner, Deck Z will thrill zombie fans and Titanic buffs alike.

My thoughts:
This is a tough decision.  I mean zombies AND the Titanic?  Hmm.  Maybe, no, I don't think I'll get to it.

Verdict:  Toss

16.  Mind Games by Kiersten White:
Fia and Annie are as close as two sisters can be. They look out for each other. Protect each other. And most importantly, they keep each other's secrets, even the most dangerous ones: Annie is blind, but can see visions of the future; Fia was born with flawless intuition—her first impulse is always exactly right.

When the sisters are offered a place at an elite boarding school, Fia realizes that something is wrong . . . but she doesn't grasp just how wrong. The Keane Institute is no ordinary school, and Fia is soon used for everything from picking stocks to planting bombs. If she tries to refuse, they threaten her with Annie's life.

Now Fia's falling in love with a boy who has dark secrets of his own. And with his help, she's ready to fight back. They stole her past. They control her present. But she won't let them take her future.

My thoughts:
So, I have LOVED everything I've read by this author in the past few years, so I feel like I need to go back and read this one. 

Verdict:   Keep

17.  When the Dead by Michelle Kilmer:
Have you ever wondered what might happen if a group of survivors decided to stay put? To never leave the safety of home to search for salvation? When the Dead . . . provides one scenario to answer the question. In a world where neighbors are strangers and we live behind locked doors, the living dead can really bring issues to a head.

There is no way out for the residents of Willow Brook Apartments. Outside a plague is spreading while behind the walls, neighbors are forced to become friends . . . or enemies. When the Dead . . . will introduce you to a doomed family, a dying child, an egomaniac, a murderer, and other undesirables (including the undead!!) in three floors of secured-access chaos.

My thoughts:
Doesn't sound that great.

Verdict:  Toss

18.  Me, Myself and Food by Diana Hunter:
Me, Myself & Food: Conquering The Struggle Against Overweight And Obesity Without Dieting by award-winning author and nutrition researcher Diana Hunter provides a frank and easy to read "outside the box" look at the causes of weight gain and how to easily and effectively deal with them once and for all. Hunter's approach is simple, yet highly informative, providing much-needed information on this escalating national issue with a combination of wit, personal anecdotes, and solutions.

Topics covered include (per back cover copy):

• The real tools you need to lose and maintain weight—and how to use them effectively.
• A smarter way to use your willpower.
• Why diets fail—and how to avoid the diet trap.
• What you really need to know about nutrition to get and stay slim.
• Easy strategies for managing social and on-the-go eating.
• Ten proven tips for effective, beat-the-system food shopping.
• The inside scoop about food advertising.
• Why diet and exercise is such a winning team.
• How to be a lean machine for life.

My thoughts:
There was a time I read anything and everything on dieting and losing weight.  Not really anymore. And the time I spend reading this, I should be walking or cooking healthy food instead.

Verdict:  Toss

19.  Crow Memory by Tessa Gratton:
This is a short story that occurs between the events of Blood Magic and The Blood Keeper. Told from Reese's POV.

My thoughts:
So I am keeping this, even though the picture there is the wrong cover, and the link on Goodreads doesn't actually go to that story anymore, because I loved this series and know that at some point I'll probably want to read this.

Verdict: Keep

20.  1776:  A Story in Tweets by Maureen Johnson:
A story in tweets, based on a series of recently uncovered exchanges.
Compiled and edited by Maureen Johnson.
A retelling of some events in American history in the medium of tweets.

My thoughts:
I do want to read this some time.  I mean, Maureen Johnson is the queen of hilarious tweeting, at least she was when I first got on Twitter many, many years ago.

Verdict: Keep

Final Thoughts:
Keeping four this week, one more than usual.  

I know that usually I will post how many are left this week compared to last week, but I honestly got this post done in October as part of my Blogging Ahead Challenge, so I don't have the numbers ready from last week's post, since it isn't done yet. 

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:

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