Saturday, December 7, 2019

Cleaning Up My TBR With a Giveaway (US Only) - Down the TBR Hole #50

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 Hypothetical Girl by Elizabeth Cohen:
Love meets technology with a dash of quirk in this collection of highly original short stories
An aspiring actress meets an Icelandic Yak farmer on a matchmaking Web site. An online forum for cancer support turns into a love triangle for an English professor, a Canadian fisherman, and an elementary school teacher living in Japan. A deer and a polar bear flirt via Skype. In The Hypothetical Girl a menagerie of characters graze and jockey, play and hook up in the online dating world with mixed and sometimes dark results. Flirting and communicating in chat rooms, through texts, e-mails, and IMs, they grope their way through a virtual maze of potential mates, falling in and out of what they think and hope may be true love.

With levity and high style, Cohen takes her readers into a world where screen and keyboard meet the heart, with consequences that range from wonderful to weird. The Hypothetical Girl captures all the mystery, misery, and magic of the eternal search for human connection.

My thoughts:
This sounds like a bunch of short stories, and as I've mentioned, I don't do well with anthologies. 

Verdict:  Toss

2.  Man Made Boy by Jon Skovron:
His name, believe it or not, is Boy.

Boy is (among other things):

seventeen years old,

a genius computer hacker on the brink of creating an artificial intelligence,

and obsessed with a girl.

But there’s something even more that sets Boy apart.

For one, he’s never been out in public.

And here’s something else: he isn’t even human.

Now it’s time for him to run away from the home he’s known and step out into the real world. But it’s a hard world out there…

Especially if you’re a monster.

My thoughts
I feel like I still want to try this one at some point.

Verdict: Keep 

3.  Patrick by Kevin G. McGuire:

In 1968, at the age of seven, I was struck by an intoxicated driver while playing baseball. This accident left me paralyzed from the waist down and has since forced me to use a wheelchair. Every summer following the accident, I was required to check into a New York City hospital for one week of physical evaluations and tests.

At this hospital, I was treated by the same physical therapists, nurses, and doctors; I was also assigned the same room. This room was invariably occupied with individuals who were from different ethnic, social, and economic backgrounds. They were admitted to the hospital for various reasons.

I quickly realized that no matter how different my roommates were, the bonding that took place during these short visits was incredible. It was amazing both in celerity, as well as intensity. Our injuries, sicknesses, and the hospital room seemed to insulate us from the prejudices and hatred of the outside world.

I also discovered that as quickly as this bonding took hold in the hospital room, it left just as quickly as we returned to our natural environments. All the promises about visiting and keeping in touch vanished as soon as we were discharged. More importantly, the prejudices that dissipated within our hospital boundaries reappeared as we left our cocoon.

At the age of seventeen, I shared the most intense seven days of my life with three roommates at this New York City hospital. I will always love but will never see or talk with my roommates again.

I entered the hospital that week not yet an adult, but left no longer a child.

PATRICK is inspired by those seven days.

- Kevin G. McGuire

Note: This novel contains adult themes and strong language.
My thoughts:  
Not sure exactly why I added this one.

Verdict:  Toss

4. - 5.   The Shadow Cats and The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson:
Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. And it was not Alodia.

Alodia is the crown princess of the realm. The sister who knows how to rule, and the one who is constantly reminded that she has not been marked for a grand destiny. But Alodia has plans, and she will be the greatest queen her people have ever known. So she travels--with her hopeless, naïve, chosen sister--to a distant part of their land, to begin to secure her supporters. This region needs its princesses, for it is plagued with a curse. The crops don't grow, the spring doesn't arrive, and a fierce jaguar stalks the shadows, leaving only empty homes splashed with blood behind. If Alodia can save them, no one will be able to deny her strength and her sovereignty.

But what she discovers could change the fate of her kingdom, if not her world. And it will most certainly change her opinion of her younger sister.

"The Shadow Cats" is a prequel to the riveting Fire and Thorns trilogy: Book One, The Girl of Fire and Thorns; Book Two, The Crown of Embers; and Book Three, The Bitter Kingdom.

She does not know what awaits her at the enemy's gate.

Elisa is a hero.

She led her people to victory over a terrifying, sorcerous army. Her place as the country's ruler should be secure. But it isn't.

Her enemies come at her like ghosts in a dream, from foreign realms and even from within her own court. And her destiny as the chosen one has not yet been fulfilled.

To conquer the power she bears, once and for all, Elisa must follow a trial of long-forgotten—and forbidden—clues, from the deep, hidden catacombs of her own city to the treacherous seas. With her go a one-eyed spy, a traitor, and the man whom—despite everything—she is falling in love with.

If she's lucky, she will return from this journey. But there will be a cost.

My thoughts:  
I've read the first in the series, a nd I want to read on, so I'll keep the second one here, and then the first one is a novella, and I'll keep it so that I don't forget it.

Verdict:  Keep both

6.   Indelible by Dawn Metcalf:
Some things are permanent.


And they cannot be changed back.

Joy Malone learns this the night she sees a stranger with all-black eyes across a crowded room—right before the mystery boy tries to cut out her eye. Instead, the wound accidentally marks her as property of Indelible Ink, and this dangerous mistake thrusts Joy into an incomprehensible world—a world of monsters at the window, glowing girls on the doorstep, and a life that will never be the same.

Now, Joy must pretend to be Ink’s chosen one—his helper, his love, his something for the foreseeable future...and failure to be convincing means a painful death for them both. Swept into a world of monsters, illusion, immortal honor and revenge, Joy discovers that sometimes, there are no mistakes.

Somewhere between reality and myth lies…


My thoughts:
Cool cover, but not sure I'll get to it.

Verdict:  Toss

7.  A Midsummers Night's Scream by R.L. Stine:
Oh, what fools these actors be!

it was a horror movie that turned into real horror: Three young actors lost their lives while the cameras rolled. Production stopped, and people proclaimed the movie was cursed.

Now, sixty years later, new actors are venturing onto the haunted set. In a desperate attempt to revive their failing studio, Claire's dad has green-lit a remake of Mayhem Manor, and Claire and her friends are dying to be involved.

At first, Claire laughs at Jake's talk of ghosts and curses. He's been too busy crushing on her best friend, Delia, or making out with that slut, Annalee, to notice that she's practically been throwing herself at him. What does he know anyway? This is her big chance to be a star!

But then, Claire runs into a creepy little man named Benny Puckerman, and gets her hands on a real love potion! Unfortunately, the course of true love never did run smooth...

Get ready for laughter to turn into screams as the Grandmaster of Horror, R.L. Stine, takes on the Master of Theater in this modern reimagining of Shakespeare's classic romantic comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream.

My thoughts:
It's R.L. Stine, it'll be around, I don't need to keep it on my list.  Plus we have it at my school.

Verdict: Toss

8.  How Children Succeed:  Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough:
Why do some children succeed while others fail?

The story we usually tell about childhood and success is the one about intelligence: Success comes to those who score highest on tests, from preschool admissions to SATs.

But in "How Children Succeed," Paul Tough argues for a very different understanding of what makes a successful child. Drawing on groundbreaking research in neuroscience, economics, and psychology, Tough shows that the qualities that matter most have less to do with IQ and more to do with character: skills like grit, curiosity, conscientiousness, and optimism.

"How Children Succeed" introduces us to a new generation of scientists and educators who are radically changing our understanding of how children develop character, how they learn to think, and how they overcome adversity. It tells the personal stories of young people struggling to stay on the right side of the line between success and failure. And it argues for a new way of thinking about how best to steer an individual child – or a whole generation of children – toward a successful future.

This provocative and profoundly hopeful book will not only inspire and engage readers; it will also change our understanding of childhood itself.

My thoughts:  
If I was still in the classroom, I'd still probably be interested in this, but as it is, I doubt I'll have the desire to read and finish it.

Verdict:  Toss

 9.  Match Me by Liz Appel:
Bonnie Nichols wasn't the kind of girl to crash a wedding. Or throw things. But somehow, she ends up doing her ex-boyfriend's wedding.

Bonnie has been in love with Chase Somers since elementary school and seeing him at the altar with the absolute wrong girl causes her to do the unthinkable—toss a shoe in his direction in order to try and stop it. But she doesn’t count on the shoe knocking him out. Nor does she count on the entire church knowing it was her who did the throwing. The shoe doesn’t stop the wedding, but it does make her the laughingstock of her town.

As Bonnie copes with both the embarrassment of her actions and the loss of the boy she has always loved, her best friend Jill attempts to yank her out of her despair by pushing her to use Match Me, an online dating service. Despite her skepticism, Bonnie agrees to go on a few dates, dates that end up going comically bad.

Convinced that she will be single forever, an unanticipated complication causes Bonnie to take stock of her life and the people around her. Was she really ever in love with Chase Somers? Or was loving him simply the easy thing to do?

Crashing the wedding—and throwing that shoe—just may end up being the smartest thing she's ever done.

My thoughts:
Sounds funny, but it has low ratings, and I don't know when I'd get to it.

Verdict:  Toss

10.  Of Beast and Beauty by Stacy Jay:
In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret...

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.

My thoughts:
I know I like fairy tale retellings, but don't know if I'll get to this one.

Verdict: Toss

11.  Feminist Ryan Gosling by Danielle Henderson:
Based on the popular blog of the same name, Feminist Ryan Gosling pairs swoon-worthy photos of the sensitive, steamy actor with feminist theories to the delight of women (and more than a few of their mothers) everywhere.

What started as a silly way for blogger Danielle Henderson and her classmates to keep track of the feminist theorists they were studying in class quickly turned into an overnight sensation. Packed with 100+ photos and captions throughout -- including the best "Hey girl" lines from the blog and 80 percent brand-new material -- this book is a must-have for feminists and fans of the actor alike. What more could a girl want? You know, besides gender equality and all that.

My thoughts:
Sounds funny, but I'll stick to the "Hey girl" memes I see.

Verdict: Toss

12.  Four Houses by Victoria Scott:
A short story written in an unusual format, Four Houses tells the story of a teen girl who finds herself in a field surrounded by four Victorian houses. Over the course of the story, Maddie visits each home, and is ultimately faced with a ghastly decision. With a surprise ending, Four Houses demands readers answer the question: Which house would you choose?

My thoughts:
There was a time when my goal was to read any and everything by this author. The last book I read though, I was disappointed, so I may just skip this short story.

Verdict:  Toss

13.  Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor:
Two worlds are poised on the brink of a vicious war. By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera's rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her.

When the brutal angel emperor brings his army to the human world, Karou and Akiva are finally reunited - not in love, but in a tentative alliance against their common enemy. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves.

But with even bigger threats on the horizon, are Karou and Akiva strong enough to stand among the gods and monsters?

The New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy comes to a stunning conclusion as - from the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond - humans, chimaera, and seraphim strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

My thoughts:
I still need to read book 2, and I'm keeping it so I don't add the books if I haven't read the one in the series before, so for now it will go, but I know I probably do want to read it at some point.

Verdict:  Toss

14.  The Princess in the Opal Mask by Jenny Lundquist:
Every Fairy-Tale Ending Has a Price. . .

Orphaned as a child in the crumbling village of Tulan, Elara is determined to learn her true identity, even if it means wielding a dagger. Meanwhile, in Galandria's royal capital, Princess Wilha stands out as someone to either worship or fear. Though no one knows why the king has always made her conceal her face—including Wilha herself.

When an assassination attempt threatens the peace of neighboring kingdoms, Elara and Wilha are brought face to face . . . with a chance at claiming new identities. However, with dark revelations now surfacing, both girls will need to decide if brighter futures are worth the binding risks.

My thoughts:
I probably added this because of the cover and my love for all things opal, but now I'm not sure I'm interested in reading it.

Verdict: Toss 

15.  Antigoddess by Kendare Blake:
Old Gods never die…

Or so Athena thought. But then the feathers started sprouting beneath her skin, invading her lungs like a strange cancer, and Hermes showed up with a fever eating away his flesh. So much for living a quiet eternity in perpetual health.

Desperately seeking the cause of their slow, miserable deaths, Athena and Hermes travel the world, gathering allies and discovering enemies both new and old. Their search leads them to Cassandra—an ordinary girl who was once an extraordinary prophetess, protected and loved by a god.

These days, Cassandra doesn’t involve herself in the business of gods—in fact, she doesn’t even know they exist. But she could be the key in a war that is only just beginning.

Because Hera, the queen of the gods, has aligned herself with other of the ancient Olympians, who are killing off rivals in an attempt to prolong their own lives. But these anti-gods have become corrupted in their desperation to survive, horrific caricatures of their former glory. Athena will need every advantage she can get, because immortals don’t just flicker out.

Every one of them dies in their own way. Some choke on feathers. Others become monsters. All of them rage against their last breath.

The Goddess War is about to begin.

My thoughts:
I do like this author.  And this does sound good still, so I'll leave this on for now.

Verdict: Keep

16.  Shadowhunters and Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Reader:
Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, epic urban fantasy set in a richly imagined world of shadowhunters, vampires, werewolves, fairies, and more, has captured the imaginations and loyalty of hundreds of thousands of YA readers. Originally a trilogy (City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass), the series has extended to six titles, plus a prequel trilogy, the Infernal Devices, and a planned sequel series, the Dark Artifices. A feature film is planned for 2013.

Shadowhunters and Downworlders, edited by Clare (who provides an introduction to the book and to each piece), is a collection of YA authors writing about the series and its world.
Authors Who Contributed: Holly Black / Kendare Blake / Gwenda Bond / Sarah Rees Brennan / Rachel Caine / Sarah Cross / Kami Garcia / Michelle Hodkin / Kelly Link / Kate Milford / Diana Peterfreund / Sara Ryan / Scott Tracey / Robin Wasserman

My thoughts:
I will want to read all of these at some time!

Verdict: Keep

17.  Learn with Mind Maps by Michelle Mapman:
From a very early age, we have been taught WHAT we need to learn -- but never HOW to learn it.

And while we may have done OK with that, the truth is -- you can unlock your brain to do MUCH MORE than you probably think possible.

But to become a successful learner, you need some basic training.

And that's where this book comes in.

See, this book will show you how to rewire the way your brain works.

When you go through the following pages and implement it, you can - and will - drastically improve your thinking in school, work, and life.

You'll be able to use the secrets of Leonardo DaVinci and Albert Einstein (who used mind maps) to learn more meaningfully, efficiently, and effectively.

You'll be able to speed up your learning.

You'll be significantly more creative.

You'll know how to think out of the box.

You'll learn to visually organize and integrate information so that you can think more clearly and powerfully.

You'll know how to take better, faster, and more efficient notes.

You'll improve your writing, studying, brainstorming, and presenting skills.

You'll increase your memory stamina, being able to remember far more things than you thought you could before.

You'll be able to break down the "information overload" coming at you and start to break down complex information -- assimilating it, and then retaining it.

All of this will give you a cutting edge in school and in the workplace.

And it's exactly what you'll get from this book.

It doesn't matter if you're a student, teacher, professional, business owner, or an author -- ANYONE who wants change the way they plan and think for the better will get a lot of benefit from this book.

And, to make sure you fully understand everything, we have taken each concept and drilled it down into a step-by-step manner. Every step of the way comes with an illustrated diagram so that you fully understand how to do everything.

So go through… read this book, implement it, and watch things start to majorly change for you.

And don't forget to take advantage of our FREE BONUS at the end -- a full 1 year trial of ConceptDraw. Just sign up to our bonus page with your receipt # to get that.

To get started, just buy this book right now.

My thoughts:
I was big into the mind map thing as a teacher. But now, reading that last line especially, not interested in this one.

Verdict:  Toss

18.  Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities:  Overcoming Obstacles and Realizing Potential by Rich Weinfeld, Sue Jeweler, and Linda Barnes-Robinson:
The second edition of Smart Kids With Learning Difficulties is an updated and comprehensive must-read for parents, teachers, counselors, and other support professionals of bright kids who face learning challenges every day. This practical book discusses who these students are; how to identify them; what needs to be implemented; best practices, programs, and services; and specific actions to ensure student success. Along with tools and tips, each chapter includes Key Points, a new feature that will help focus and facilitate next steps, and desired outcomes and follow-up for parents and teachers. The new edition includes a look at current definitions of twice-exceptional students; updated research findings and identification methods; a detailed description of the laws and policies impacting this population; what works and what doesn't work; model schools; Response to Intervention; Understanding by Design; comprehensive assessments; social-emotional principles; and new assistive technology.

My thoughts:
Not in the classroom anymore, so not really of interest.

Verdict:  Toss

19.  Myths and Motifs of the Mortal Instruments by Valerie Estelle Frankel:
With vampires, fairies, angels, romance, steampunk, and modern New York all in one series, Cassandra Clare is exploding onto the scene. This book explores the deeper world of the Shadowhunters: . Parabatai, Nephilim, blessings, and runes

. Lucifer, Ithuriel, Lilith, Agramon, and other angels and demons

. Ancient legends of werewolves, vampires, and fairyfolk

. Clare's clever Easter eggs from pop culture and literature

. The classic heroine's journey

.Muslim angels, Hindu prayers, the Jewish Book of Raziel, and the Christian Grail

There's something for everyone, as this book reveals unseen lore within the bestselling series.

Valerie Estelle Frankel is the author of two books on the heroine's journey, along with books on the Harry Potter series and The Hunger Games. Valerie lives (and writes!) in Sunnyvale, California.

My thoughts:
I'm sure I've mentioned before that I just don't have time anymore for all these extra books that go with book and tv series.

Verdict:  Toss

20.  Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins:
Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.

Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, Étienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.

My thoughts:
Loved the first book in this series, couldn't get into the second one, but kind of still want to give this one a try.  We have it in my school library though, so I don't need to keep it on my Goodreads TBR.

Verdict:  Toss

Final Thoughts:
Only keeping 5 this week!  Yay!  Which is good since I've been adding all the new stuff coming out in 2020.

Now that I'm back to doing this basically weekly instead of a month ahead, I'll look at how many I had before and after.  When I last said how many were on the list last week, it was 3,088, but now I'm back up to 3,099, thanks to all the new books listed on Edelweiss this 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:

2016-2017 ARCs:

2015 ARCs:

2013-2014 ARCs (if you pick Zodiac, I kind of want to keep it with Wandering Star):

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