Saturday, December 14, 2019

Cleaning Up My TBR With a Giveaway (US Only) - Down the TBR Hole #51

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 keep adding like I do!)
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?


1.  Provex City by Michael Pierce:
In Provex City, the wolves await.

Fifteen-year-old Oliver Grain begins his school year fighting off bullies, learning about the boy who committed suicide in his room, and trying to understand why his history teacher, Mr. Gordon, has taken such a personal interest in him.

Do you believe in ghosts?

Do you believe you can make bullies simply disappear?

Do you believe you can walk through walls?

Mr. Gordon tells Oliver: “When you truly believe anything is possible, you will be able to open doors where there were only walls.” And one of those doors leads Oliver to Provex City, which puts him in far greater danger than he can possibly fathom.

Welcome to Provex City.

 
My thoughts:
Not sure why I added it.

Verdict:  Toss


2.  The Freedom Writers Diary by Erin Gruwell:
Straight from the front line of urban America, the inspiring story of one fiercely determined teacher and her remarkable students.
As an idealistic twenty-three-year-old English teacher at Wilson High School in Long beach, California, Erin Gruwell confronted a room of “unteachable, at-risk” students. One day she intercepted a note with an ugly racial caricature, and angrily declared that this was precisely the sort of thing that led to the Holocaust—only to be met by uncomprehending looks. So she and her students, using the treasured books Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl and Zlata’s Diary: A Child’s Life in Sarajevo as their guides, undertook a life-changing, eye-opening, spirit-raising odyssey against intolerance and misunderstanding. They learned to see the parallels in these books to their own lives, recording their thoughts and feelings in diaries and dubbing themselves the “Freedom Writers” in homage to the civil rights activists “The Freedom Riders.”

With funds raised by a “Read-a-thon for Tolerance,” they arranged for Miep Gies, the courageous Dutch woman who sheltered the Frank family, to visit them in California, where she declared that Erin Gruwell’s students were “the real heroes.” Their efforts have paid off spectacularly, both in terms of recognition—appearances on “Prime Time Live” and “All Things Considered,” coverage in People magazine, a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley—and educationally. All 150 Freedom Writers have graduated from high school and are now attending college.

With powerful entries from the students’ own diaries and a narrative text by Erin Gruwell, The Freedom Writers Diary is an uplifting, unforgettable example of how hard work, courage, and the spirit of determination changed the lives of a teacher and her students.

The authors’ proceeds from this book will be donated to The Tolerance Education Foundation, an organization set up to pay for the Freedom Writers’ college tuition. Erin Gruwell is now a visiting professor at California State University, Long Beach, where some of her students are Freedom Writers.


My thoughts
I've seen the movie, and let's be honest, I'm probably never going to read the actual book.

Verdict: Toss 


3.  Teach with Your Heart - Lessons I Learned from the Freedom Writers by Erin Gruwell:
In this memoir and call to arms, Erin Gruwell, the dynamic young teacher who nurtured a remarkable group of high school students from Long Beach, California, who called themselves the Freedom Writers, picks up where The Freedom Writers Diary (and the movie The Freedom Writers) end and catches the reader up to where they are today. Teach with Your Heart will include the Freedom Writers’ unforgettable trip to Auschwitz, where they met with Holocaust survivors; toured the attic of their beloved Anne Frank (Gruwell had the kids read Anne’s Diary in The Freedom Writers Diary); visited Bosnia with their friend Zlata Filipovich, and more. The book also includes what happened with the Freedom Writers as they made their way through college and graduation. Along the way, Gruwell includes lessons for parents and teachers about what she learned from her remarkable band of students.

In this passionate, poignant, and deeply personal memoir, Gruwell tells the tale of her journey through the emotional peaks and valleys on the front lines of our nation’s educational system and her commitment to awaken personal power in students and people everyone else discounts. Teach with Your Heart is a mesmerizing story of one young woman’s personal odyssey and of her remarkable ability to encourage others to follow in her footsteps.

Teach with Your Heart is marked by the enviable radiance and irrepressible force of nature that is Erin Gruwell and her unbelievable determination to ensure that education in the United States truly meets the needs of every student.
 
 
My thoughts:  
Again, probably won't ever get around to reading.

Verdict:  Toss


4.  Teaching Hope - Stories from the Freedom Writers Teachers and Erin Gruwell:
“There are lives lost in this book, and there are lives saved, too, if salvation means a young man or woman begins to feel deserving of a place on the planet. . . . What could be more soul-satisfying? These are the most influential professionals most of us will ever meet. The effects of their work will last forever.”  –from the foreword by Anna Quindlen
Now depicted in a bestselling book and a feature film, the Freedom Writers phenomenon came about in 1994 when Erin Gruwell stepped into Room 203 and began her first teaching job out of college. Long Beach, California, was still reeling from the deadly violence that erupted during the Rodney King riots, and the kids in Erin’s classroom reflected the anger, resentment, and hopelessness of their community. Undaunted, Erin fostered an educational philosophy that valued and promoted diversity, tolerance, and communication, and in the process, she transformed her students’ lives, as well as her own. Erin Gruwell and the Freedom Writers went on to establish the Freedom Writers Foundation to replicate the success of Room 203 and provide all students with hope and opportunities to realize their academic potential. Since then, the foundation has trained more than 150 teachers in the United States and Canada. Teaching Hope unites the voices of these Freedom Writer teachers, who share uplifting, devastating, and poignant stories from their classrooms, stories that provide insight into the struggles and triumphs of education in all of its forms.

Mirroring an academic year, these dispatches from the front lines of education take us from the anticipation of the first day to the disillusionment, challenges, and triumphs of the school year. These are the voices of teachers who persevere in the face of intolerance, rigid administration, and countless other challenges, and continue to reach out and teach those who are deemed unteachable. Their stories inspire everyone to make a difference in the world around them.



My thoughts:  
Same as the last two books' thoughts.

Verdict: Toss


5.   Diary of a Freedom Writer - The Experience by Darrius Garrett:
Survivor... a word continuously thought of when reading this memoir. Upon the release of The Freedom Writers Diary and film adaptation starring Hilary Swank in 2007, New York Times bestselling author Darrius Garrett realized that both book and movie tell the Freedom Writer Story as a whole, but not on a personal level. During speaking engagements, the same questions always surface: 'Did Ms. Gruwell change you? How did you make it out of the gang life? What stopped you from killing yourself?' Darrius's answers are inside.

Diary of a Freedom Writer takes you on a journey beyond the classrooms to the treacherous streets of Long Beach, California. An innocent little boy born in poverty and raised in a violent environment, Darrius became a product of the streets, written off by the school and judicial systems alike, growing up in an environment full of gangs and drugs. He spent his life searching for a father figure until he became a Freedom Writer, motivational speaker, bestselling author, and finally a father himself. His story is that of a man realizing his experiences are what made him the man he has been seeking to be all his life. Upon beating the odds, Diary of a Freedom Writer serves as proof that Darrius's story of struggle, life, change, and hope will uplift, educate, encourage, and inspire.


My thoughts:
I know this is a student, and he actually reached out to me on social media about reading it, but I just don't know when I'll get to it. But for now I'll keep it.

Verdict: Keep


6.  Portal 24 by Meredith Stroud:
When teen con-artist Darius is approached by a mysterious government agent about joining a 'Project Oberon', he has no idea what to expect. Certainly not that Project Oberon is actually a top-secret experiment which sends teens back through time to prevent disasters before they happen! Before Darius has time to wonder why he's been chosen, his first mission arrives in the form of a huge electromagnetic weapon of mass destruction, which will kill millions of people in New York - unless Darius and the team can stop it. They're confident; it's all in a day's work for these teen wonders, but what they don't bet on is evil mastermind Ludd. And what they don't know is that Ludd knows the deadly secret behind Project Oberon. If Darius and the gang don't make it back to the portal within twenty-four hours, then they'll be lost in time forever...

My thoughts:
Doesn't sound that original, and it has a pretty low rating on Goodreads.

Verdict: Toss


7.  The Troop by Nick Cutter:
Once a year, scoutmaster Tim Riggs leads a troop of boys into the Canadian wilderness for a three-day camping trip—a tradition as comforting and reliable as a good ghost story and a roaring bonfire. But when an unexpected intruder—shockingly thin, disturbingly pale, and voraciously hungry—stumbles upon their campsite, Tim and the boys are exposed to something far more frightening than any tale of terror. The human carrier of a bioengineered nightmare. An inexplicable horror that spreads faster than fear. A harrowing struggle for survival that will pit the troop against the elements, the infected ... and one another.

My thoughts:  
So this was an author I'd been hearing a lot about, and I wanted to read his books. But as you can see by my giveaway piles below, I have another one of his up for grabs that I just was never able to get to.

Verdict:  Toss


 8.  Queen's Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle:
Widowed for the second time at age thirty-one Katherine Parr falls deeply for the dashing courtier Thomas Seymour and hopes at last to marry for love. However, obliged to return to court, she attracts the attentions of the ailing, egotistical, and dangerously powerful Henry VIII, who dispatches his love rival, Seymour, to the Continent. No one is in a position to refuse a royal proposal so, haunted by the fates of his previous wives - two executions, two annulments, one death in childbirth - Katherine must wed Henry and become his sixth queen.

Katherine has to employ all her instincts to navigate the treachery of the court, drawing a tight circle of women around her, including her stepdaughter, Meg, traumatized by events from their past that are shrouded in secrecy, and their loyal servant Dot, who knows and sees more than she understands. With the Catholic faction on the rise once more, reformers being burned for heresy, and those close to the king vying for position, Katherine's survival seems unlikely. Yet as she treads the razor's edge of court intrigue, she never quite gives up on love.


My thoughts:
I know why I added this at the time, but it's probably not something I'll get to anytime soon, or really want to.

Verdict:  Toss


9.  Dear Girls Above Me - Inspired by a True Story by Charlie McDowell:
Based on the wildly popular Twitter feed Dear Girls Above Me, a roman à clef about how thinking like a couple of girls turned one single guy into a better man.

When Charlie McDowell began sharing his open letters to his noisy upstairs neighbors—two impossibly ditzy female roommates in their mid-twenties—on Twitter, his feed quickly went viral. His followers multiplied and he got the attention of everyone from celebrities to production studios to major media outlets such as Time and Glamour.  Now Dear Girls breaks out of the 140-character limit as Charlie imagines what would happen if he put the wisdom of the girls to the test.

After being unceremoniously dumped by the girl he was certain was “the one,” Charlie realized his neighbors’ conversations were not only amusing, but also offered him access to a completely uncensored woman’s perspective on the world. From the importance of effectively Facebook-stalking potential girlfriends and effortlessly pulling off pastel, to learning when in the early stages of dating is too presumptuous to bring a condom and how to turn food poisoning into a dieting advantage, the girls get Charlie into trouble, but they also get him out of it—without ever having a clue of their impact on him.


My thoughts:
I remember when I saw this on a display at the bookstore where I work, and it still sounds like a fun read!

Verdict: Keep


10.  Unforgotten by Jessica Brody:
Some memories are better left forgotten...

After a daring escape from the scientists at Diotech who created her, Seraphina believes she is finally safe from the horrors of her past. But new threats await Sera and her boyfriend, Zen, at every turn as Zen falls prey to a mysterious illness and Sera’s extraordinary abilities make it more and more difficult to stay hidden. Meanwhile, Diotech has developed a dangerous new weapon designed to apprehend her. A weapon that even Sera will be powerless to stop. Her only hope of saving Zen’s life and defeating the company that made her is a secret buried deep within her mind. A secret that Diotech will kill to protect. And it won’t stay forgotten for long.

Packed with mystery, suspense, and romance, this riveting second installment of Jessica Brody’s Unremembered trilogy delivers more heart-pounding action as loyalties are tested, love becomes a weapon, and no one’s memories are safe.


My thoughts:
I read the first one, but only gave it three stars, so maybe I won't get to this one.

Verdict: Toss

 
11.  The Lost by Sarah Beth Durst:
Lost your way?

Your dreams?

Yourself?

Welcome to Lost.

It was supposed to be a small escape. A few hours driving before turning around and heading home. But once you arrive in Lost...well, it's a place you really can't leave. Not until you're Found. Only the Missing Man can send you home. And he took one look at Lauren Chase and disappeared.

So Lauren is now trapped in the town where all lost things go-luggage, keys, dreams, lives-where nothing is permanent, where the locals go feral and where the only people who don't want to kill her are a handsome wild man called the Finder and a knife-wielding six-year-old girl. The only road out of town is engulfed by an impassable dust storm, and escape is impossible....

Until Lauren decides nothing-and no one-is going to keep her here anymore. 


My thoughts:
This still sounds intriguing to me. So I'll keep it for now.

Verdict: Keep


12.  Left by Tamar Ossowski:
Therese Wolley is a mother who has made a promise. She works as a secretary, shops for groceries on Saturdays, and takes care of her two girls. She doesn’t dwell on the fact that her girls are fatherless, mostly because her own father abandoned her before she was born and she has done just fine without him.
Even though her older daughter regularly wakes with nightmares and her younger one whispers letters under her breath, she doesn’t shift from her resolve that everything will be fine. She promises . . . and they believe.

Until the morning an obituary in the newspaper changes everything. Therese immediately knows what she has to do. She cannot delay what she has planned, and she cannot find the words to explain her heartbreaking decision to her daughters. She considers her responsibilities, her girls, and her promise. Then she does the only thing that any real mother would do. She goes on the run with one daughter . . . and abandons the other.

Left is told from the perspectives of Franny, the autistic sister who is left behind; Matilda, the troubled older sister who vows to go back and save her; and Therese, a mother on the run.


My thoughts:
This doesn't sound like my kind of book.

Verdict:  Toss


13.  Inhuman by Kat Falls:
In a world ravaged by mutation, a teenage girl must travel into the forbidden Savage Zone to recover lost artifacts or her father’s life is forfeit.

America has been ravaged by a war that has left the eastern half of the country riddled with mutation. Many of the people there exhibit varying degrees of animal traits. Even the plantlife has gone feral.

Crossing from west to east is supposed to be forbidden, but sometimes it’s necessary. Some enter the Savage Zone to provide humanitarian relief. Sixteen-year-old Lane’s father goes there to retrieve lost artifacts—he is a Fetch. It’s a dangerous life, but rewarding—until he’s caught.

Desperate to save her father, Lane agrees to complete his latest job. That means leaving behind her life of comfort and risking life and limb—and her very DNA—in the Savage Zone. But she’s not alone. In order to complete her objective, Lane strikes a deal with handsome, roguish Rafe. In exchange for his help as a guide, Lane is supposed to sneak him back west. But though Rafe doesn’t exhibit any signs of “manimal” mutation, he’s hardly civilized . . . and he may not be trustworthy.


My thoughts:
I liked the other book I read by this author, so maybe I should still try this one.  I don't know!

Verdict: Keep - for now


14.  34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues:
A dark and moving novel—reminiscent of Thirteen Reasons Why—about the mystery surrounding a teenage girl’s fatal overdose.

There was something about Ellie…something dangerous. Charismatic. Broken. Jake looked out for her. Sarah followed her lead. And Jess kept her distance—and kept watch.

Now Ellie’s dead, and Jake, Sarah, and Jess are left to pick up the pieces. All they have are thirty-four clues she left behind. Thirty-four strips of paper hidden in a box beneath her bed. Thirty-four secrets of a brief and painful life.

Jake, Sarah, and Jess all feel responsible for what happened to Ellie, and all three have secrets of their own. As they confront the past, they will discover not only the darkest truths about themselves, but also what Ellie herself had been hiding all along…


My thoughts:
Doesn't sound like anything that different.

Verdict:  Toss


15.  When the World was Flat by Ingrid Jonach:
When I look back later, I’ll wonder if I had an inkling that my life was about to go from ordinary to extraordinary. I like to think of it as BT and AT—Before Tom and After Tom.

When sixteen-year-old Lillie Hart meets the gorgeous and mysterious Tom Windsor-Smith for the first time, it’s like fireworks—for her, anyway. Tom looks as if he'd be more interested in watching paint dry; as if he's bored by her and by her small Nebraskan town in general.

But as Lillie begins to break down the walls of his seemingly impenetrable exterior, she starts to suspect that he holds the answers to her reoccurring nightmares and to the impossible memories which keep bubbling to the surface of her mind—memories of the two of them, together and in love.

When she at last learns the truth about their connection, Lillie discovers that Tom's been hiding an earth-shattering secret; a secret that's bigger—and much more terrifying and beautiful—than the both of them. She also discovers that once you finally understand that the world is round, there's no way to make it flat again.

An epic and deeply original sci-fi romance, taking inspiration from Albert Einstein’s theories and the world-bending wonder of true love itself.


My thoughts:
As much as the last paragraph somewhat sparks my interest, not sure I'd get to this.

Verdict:  Toss


16.  These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman:
It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.


My thoughts:
I liked Illuminae, so I feel like I still want to read this too?

Verdict: Keep for now


17.  The Memory of After by Lenore Appelhans:
Ever since she was killed in a car accident just before her eighteenth birthday, Felicia Ward has been trapped in the afterlife. She spends the endless hours uploading and re-watching memories from her time on Earth, missing the people she left behind - especially her boyfriend, Neil.

That all changes when Julian, a dangerously charming acquaintance from Felicia's life, appears in her memory chamber. He offers her a chance to escape: If Felicia joins the rebellion to overthrow the Morati, the angels in charge of Level 2, she'll be free to move on. Wary of trusting Julian, Felicia only agrees when he promises her the chance to be with Neil again. But there's more to this battle than anyone, even Julian, knows, and Felicia finds herself at the center of an eternal struggle between good and evil.


My thoughts:
Not sure exactly why I added this, I think maybe it was big in the blogosphere at the time, but not so intrigued these days.

Verdict:  Toss


18.  The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa:
My name is Meghan Chase.

I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it.

This time, there will be no turning back.
 

My thoughts:
I've read the first two in the series, and loved them, and I actually think I might have started this at one time.  I will still want to read it!  Now, the next 9 on the list of my TBR are also in this series, small novellas or letters that go with the story, along with two others in the companion series.  Instead of posting them here, I am going to just keep them, and go on to the next book on my list.  I'll let my numbers reflect that when I wrap the whole post up.

Verdict: Keep


19.  The New Hunger by Isaac Marion:
The end of the world didn’t happen overnight.

After years of societal breakdown, wars and quakes and rising tides, humanity was already near the edge. Then came a final blow no one could have expected: all the world’s corpses rising up to make more.

Born into this bleak and bloody landscape, twelve-year-old Julie struggles to hold on to hope as she and her parents drive across the wastelands of America, a nightmarish road trip in search of a new home.

Hungry, lost, and scared, sixteen-year-old Nora finds herself her brother’s sole guardian after her parents abandon them in the not-quite-empty ruins of Seattle.

And in the darkness of a forest, a dead man opens his eyes. Who is he? What is he? With no clues beyond a red tie and the letter “R,” he must unravel the mystery of his existence–right after he learns how to think, how to walk, and how to satisfy the monster howling in his belly...


My thoughts:
Technically I haven't read Warm Bodies, I've only seen the movie, but I think I still might want to read this.  The next two books on my TBR list are also short stories for this series, so I'll keep them as well.

Verdict: Keep


20.  Battle Royale by Koushun Takami:
Koushun Takami's notorious high-octane thriller envisions a nightmare scenario: a class of junior high school students is taken to a deserted island where, as part of a ruthless authoritarian programme, they are provided arms and forced to kill until only one survivor is left standing. Criticized as violent exploitation when first published in Japan in 1999—where it became a runaway best seller and was adapted into a movie—Battle Royale is a Lord of the Flies for the 21st century, a potent allegory of what it means to be young and (barely) alive in a dog-eat-dog world.

My thoughts:
So I know I added this because everyone said that Hunger Games was a copy of it, although if you look at the summary, this is really kind of a copy of Lord of the Flies, so yeah.  I don't know that I'll probably ever get around to reading this.  But if I do decide I want to some day, it probably isn't one I need to keep on my Goodreads TBR.

Verdict:  Toss


Final Thoughts:
While it looks like I'm only keeping 7 this week, two of those include other stories with them, so that will change how my before and after below is.

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 3,099, and even with cutting 7, I'm only down to 3,097 thanks to more from Edelweiss last 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.      
 


Giveaway:
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:




2013-2015 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

6 comments:

  1. The Iron Fey and Starbound are two series I loved. Glad you kept them

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    Replies
    1. Same, can't wait to maybe have time to read them! Thanks for stopping by1

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  2. I still want to read this Julie Kagawa series as I loved her Talon series. Excellent choice to keep this series.

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    Replies
    1. I have only read the first in the Talon series, but need to read on! Thanks for visiting!

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  3. You did a good job with tossing books! Dead Girls Above Me is a new one to me and it sounds pretty interesting actually. I like the cover. I need to read a Kagawa book at some point! And I also want to read These Broken Stars still.

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    Replies
    1. LOL, it's dear girls above me. Dead Girls Above Me would be a whole different story! :-). You totally do need to read Kagawa! Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete

I love to get comments and I read them all! If you leave a link in your comment, I just might visit you back.