Posted in Books, Down the TBR Hole

Down the TBR Hole 11

Hi again, bibliophiles!

I haven’t done one of these since November, and my Goodreads TBR continues to be disturbingly long (1,261 books at present 😬), so I figured it would be fun to do another one. Shelf #14 was picked by the random number generator, so here goes nothing…

THE RULES

  • 1. Go to your Goodreads To-Read shelf
  •  2. Order on ascending date added.
  •  3. Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  •  4. Read the synopsis of the books.
  •  5. Time to Decide: keep it or should it go

Let’s begin, shall we?

  1. The King’s Questioner, Nikki Katz
Amazon.com: The King's Questioner (9781250195449): Katz, Nikki: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

From the author of ‘The Midnight Dance’ comes an epic YA fantasy featuring royal drama, dark magic, and a secret that could topple a kingdom.

Kalen has been cursed with a gift: he’s a mental picklock, able to access a person’s memories and secrets by touch. His skills make him the perfect questioner to the king, and he spends his days interrogating prisoners of the crown.

But when Kalen’s estranged childhood friend, Prince Cirrus, falls into a sudden coma, the king begs Kalen to intervene. By accessing Cirrus’ mind, Kalen saves his life—and uncovers a terrifying secret. The prince has a sister, banished long ago, and she is the key to the destruction or survival of the kingdom.

With the help of Cirrus and a silver-haired thief named Luna, Kalen must find the princess and bring her home. Or risk death at the hands of his king.

This one sounds interesting enough, but I read a lot of reviews saying that a) the worldbuilding was dismally underdeveloped and b) there’s insta-love…mmmm, nope. The 3.11 rating on Goodreads was definitely a bit of a red flag (though average ratings often lie), but I don’t think I’ll take my chances.

VERDICT: LET GO

2. Sea (The Huntress Trilogy, #1), Sarah Driver

Amazon.com: Sea (The Huntress Trilogy) (9781405284677): Driver, Sarah: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

In the sky, the fire spirits dance and ripple. Grandma says they showed our Tribe that I’d be a captain, before I was even born.

Ever since Ma died, Mouse has looked after her little brother, Sparrow, dreaming of her destiny as captain of the Huntress. But now Da’s missing, Sparrow is in danger, and a deathly cold is creeping across Trianukka . . .

Sea-churning, beast-chattering, dream-dancing, whale-riding, terrodyl-flying, world-saving adventure. The first book in a stunning new fantasy adventure trilogy, perfect for readers aged 9+ and fans of Philip Pullman, Piers Torday, Abi Elphinstone, Katherine Rundell and Frances Hardinge.

I should really read more middle grade, but I don’t think this one’s the one for me. The synopsis is a bit sparse, and I wasn’t a huge fan of Piers Torday, Frances Hardinge or Philip Pullman, so…nah.

VERDICT: LET GO

3. V for Violet, Alison Rattle

Amazon.com: V for Violet (9781471403811): Rattle, Alison: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Battersea, 1961. London is just beginning to enter the swinging sixties. The world is changing – but not for sixteen-year-old Violet. She was born at the exact moment Winston Churchill announced Victory in Europe – an auspicious start, but now she’s just stuck in her family’s fish and chip shop dreaming of greatness. And it doesn’t look like fame and fortune are going to come calling anytime soon. Then she meets Beau. Beau’s a rocker – a motorcycle boy who arrives in an explosion of passion and rebellion. He blows up Violet’s grey little life, and she can’t believe her luck. But things don’t go her way for long. Joseph, her long-lost brother, comes home. Then young girls start going missing, and turning up murdered. And then Violet’s best friend disappears too. Suddenly life is horrifyingly much more interesting. Violet can’t believe its coincidence that Joseph turns up just as girls start getting murdered. He’s weird, and she feels sure he’s hiding something. He’s got a secret, and Violet’s got a dreadful feeling it might be the worst kind of secret of all…

O O F I’m sorry but the closer I looked at the cover, the worse it got…it’s trying way too hard to be edgy…

Eh, but anyway, books with “and then she meets [insert name of broody boy here]” lines in the synopsis are always red flags for me, and either way, there’s not much else in this one that’s pulling me in.

VERDICT: LET GO

4. The Orphanage of Gods, Helena Coggan

Amazon.com: The Orphanage of Gods (9781444794731): Coggan, Helena: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Twenty years ago, the humans came for their gods.

In the bloody revolution, gods were all but wiped out. Ever since, the children they left behind have been imprisoned in an orphanage, watched day and night by the ruthless Guard. Any who show signs of divine power vanish from their beds in the night, all knowledge of their existence denied.

No one has ever escaped the orphanage.

Until now.

Seventeen-year-old Hero is finally free – but at a terrible price. Her sister has been captured by the Guard and is being held in a prison in the northern sea. Hero desperately wants to get her back, and to escape the murderous Guardsmen hunting her down. But not all the gods are dead, and the ones waiting for Hero in the north have their own plans for her – ones that will change the world forever . . .

As she advances further and further into the unknown, Hero will need to decide: how far is she willing to go to do what needs to be done?

WHEW, this one has an even lower rating than The King’s Questioner (2.88)…so I’m still a little hesitant, but there doesn’t seem to be anything blatantly offensive in the reviews. The premise sounds fascinating too, and it’s shelved as LGBT (though I’m not sure of the representation), so I think I’ll keep this one.

VERDICT: KEEP

5. Irradiated (The Tunnel Trilogy, #1), S. Elliot Brandis

Irradiated (The Tunnel Trilogy, #1) by S. Elliot Brandis

Blurb from Goodreads:

Jade, a headstrong young woman, lives in an irradiated wasteland. She struggles each day to protect her younger sister Pearl, a sweet girl who was born mutated. Their life is tough, but Jade is determined to survive. 

One day, Jade returns from a supply run and finds her sister missing. She knows one of two groups is to blame: the fascist society that lives underground, scorning the sun and all mutants, or a fellow scavenger on the surface, acting out of depravity or desperation. 

Jade is willing to risk everything to save Pearl, including her own life and morals. With her gas mask fixed tight, and a heavy chain in hand, she sets off on a mission of vengeance. If she fails, Pearl will die.

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There…really isn’t anything I’m finding in this synopsis that sets it apart from a lot of other dystopian books I’ve read/heard of? I’m a bit jaded with dystopia as a whole, but occasionally, there’s some that pull off an inventive twist. I can’t find anything compelling or terribly original here either…

VERDICT: LET GO

6. In the Dark Spaces, Cally Black

In the Dark Spaces by Cally Black

Blurb from Goodreads:

“What will happen when you don’t come back?”

A genre-smashing kidnapping drama about Tamara, who’s faced with an impossible choice when she falls for her captors.

Yet this is no ordinary kidnapping. Tamara has been living on a freighter in deep space, and her kidnappers are terrifying Crowpeople – the only aliens humanity has ever encountered. No-one has ever survived a Crowpeople attack, until now – and Tamara must use everything she has just to stay alive. 

But survival always comes at a price, and there’s no handbook for this hostage crisis. As Tamara comes to know the Crowpeople’s way of life, and the threats they face from humanity’s exploration into deep space, she realises she has an impossible choice to make. Should she stay as the only human among the Crows, knowing she’ll never see her family again … or inevitably betray her new community if she wants to escape?

This ground-breaking thriller is the latest YA novel to win the Ampersand Prize, a stand-out entry with a blindingly original voice: raw, strange and deeply sympathetic. With its vivid and immersive world-building, this electrifying debut is The Knife of Never Letting Go meets Homeland, for the next generation of sci-fi readers.

Uh…the fact that “Stockholm syndrome” was my first thought upon reading the synopsis over again instantly turned me off. Nope.

VERDICT: LET GO

7. Soft on Soft, Mina Waheed

Soft on Soft by Mina Waheed

Blurb from Goodreads:

June Bana might post nearly daily makeup looks that gain thousands of likes but Real Life June has built a wall behind which she exists with her two cats.

But with messy feelings getting in a way of early hermit life, June begins to realize that she wants more. She wants model/actress, Sunshine Reincarnated Selena Clarke. It doesn’t hurt that Selena is amazing with cats and quiets down June’s anxiety to bearable levels.

June is given the choice of facing her anxieties about relationships to gain not only a girlfriend but also a better understanding of how far she’d go for love. 

But would she take it? Would she leave her comfort zone for something softer?

I don’t usually gravitate towards contemporary novels, but this sounds like such a sweet sapphic romance! And cats!

VERDICT: KEEP

8. The World That We Knew, Alice Hoffman

The World That We Knew: Amazon.co.uk: Hoffman, Alice: 9781471185823: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

In Berlin, at the time when the world changed, Hanni Kohn knows she must send her twelve-year-old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime. She finds her way to a renowned rabbi, but it’s his daughter, Ettie, who offers hope of salvation when she creates a mystical Jewish creature, a rare and unusual golem, who is sworn to protect Lea. Once Ava is brought to life, she and Lea and Ettie become eternally entwined, their paths fated to cross, their fortunes linked.

Lea and Ava travel from Paris, where Lea meets her soulmate, to a convent in western France known for its silver roses; from a school in a mountaintop village where three thousand Jews were saved. Meanwhile, Ettie is in hiding, waiting to become the fighter she’s destined to be.

What does it mean to lose your mother? How much can one person sacrifice for love? In a world where evil can be found at every turn, we meet remarkable characters that take us on a stunning journey of loss and resistance, the fantastical and the mortal, in a place where all roads lead past the Angel of Death and love is never ending

I read another of Alice Hoffman’s books (Nightbird) ages ago and rated it 3 stars, and I remember nothing about it, so I don’t really have much to go off for this one. It sounds a bit depressing, too…I’m not opposed to heavy books, but this one doesn’t feel like the right fit for me.

VERDICT: LET GO

9. The Monsters of Music, Rebecca F. Kenney

The Monsters of Music by Rebecca F. Kenney

Blurb from Goodreads:

A darkly romantic gender-swapped modern retelling of The Phantom of the Opera, with a scarred Muse girl, a rock-star boy, and a singing competition. For fans of The Wicked Deep (Ernshaw), Wintersong (S. Jae-Jones), American Idol, or The Voice.

Mel must share her creative magic or be driven mad by it. But finding her first protégé isn’t as easy for her as it is for most Lianhan Sídhe (muses of Celtic myth). Though the women of her race are naturally beautiful, she carries horrifying scars across one side of her face, inflicted by her mother’s obsessive boyfriend. And Mel isn’t only interested in pouring her creative energy into a man; she wants to use her musical genius herself, too. But the laws of the Lianhan Sídhe, and her own savage appearance, stand in the way of her ever singing onstage.

To relieve the painful pressure of her magic, Mel latches onto Kiyoji, a boy with a beautiful voice, and coaches him through a televised singing competition. But neither of them are prepared for the power of their connection, or for the new kind of magic that happens when the two of them sing together.

Fans of Holly Black’s contemporary fantasy books (Tithe, Valiant) or Brigid Kemmerer’s A Curse So Dark and Lonely will enjoy this dark, offbeat retelling with a hint of cyberpunk and a dose of Celtic mythology. The novel celebrates a broad range of music from various decades.

I’m not super familiar with The Phantom of the Opera, and this retelling doesn’t sound all that compelling…I mean, there’s some interesting aspects, but it seems like the only thing that’s been done to it is a bit of modernizing.

VERDICT: LET GO

10. The Mimosa Tree, Antonella Preto

The Mimosa Tree: Preto, Antonella: 9781922089199: Amazon.com: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

It’s the summer of 1987 and Mira is beginning her first year at uni. She’s got a radical new haircut, and an all-black wardrobe — she should be having the time of her life. 

But it’s hard to get excited about anything when you’re being smothered by your crazy Italian family, enrolled in a course you’re not interested in, and expecting nuclear warfare at any moment. 

Even a new best friend and the magnetic boy from art class can’t wipe away the image of a looming mushroom cloud. And Mira’s right. Her world is about to explode, but it’s not the skies she should be checking.

I’m not opposed to long books, but with the sparsity of the synopsis, I’m not sure how this one will fill up 370 pages with just that…maybe there’s more than the blurb lets on, but I don’t think I want to stick around.

VERDICT: LET GO

RESULTS

KEPT: 2

LET GO: 8

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MY MOST SUCCESSFUL DOWN THE TBR HOLE TO DATE! I’ll be looking for the two that I kept, but I’m glad I was able to cull a few books from my endless TBR for once. And what I like about doing these posts, other than the obvious, is that maybe even though I cut a book from my TBR, somebody else might put it on theirs. Something for everybody, right?

Since I’ve already posted once today, check out today’s Goodreads Monday for today’s song.

That’s it for this Down the TBR Hole! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Books, Down the TBR Hole

Down the TBR Hole 10

Happy Friday, bibliophiles!

I haven’t done a TBR clean-out session since August, so now that I have some extra time on my hands, I figured that I’d clear off the cobwebs. I picked one of the older shelves on my TBR (somehow, it’s from early 2019, and it’s 16/72 shelves), so we’ll see how it all goes down…

The Rules

  • 1. Go to your Goodreads To-Read shelf
  •  2. Order on ascending date added.
  •  3. Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  •  4. Read the synopsis of the books.
  •  5. Time to Decide: keep it or should it go

Let’s begin, shall we?

  1. Over Raging Tides (Lady Pirates, #1), Jennifer Ellision
Over Raging Tides (Lady Pirates, #1) by Jennifer Ellision

Blurb from Goodreads:

The pirate crew of the Lady Luck lives by many rules, but chief among them is this: they do not allow men on board. 

That’s a rule that quartermaster Grace Porter is willing to break when a shipwrecked young nobleman offers her information of an omniscient map, stolen from his warship by an enemy vessel. Until now, the map was only the stuff of legend… but with its help, Grace may finally be able to hunt down the Mordgris, the sea monsters who stole her mother away from her.

Unfortunately, some members of her crew have other plans…

To find the map and face the Mordgris, Grace will have to confront her past, put the Luck between warring nations, and uncover treachery aboard the ship. And ultimately, her revenge and the destruction of the Mordgris will come at a hefty price: the betrayal of her crew.

Grace promised them they wouldn’t regret this.

She just isn’t sure that she won’t. 

Hmm…I like most of the premise (because who would say no to an all-girl crew of pirates?), but I’m smelling an unfortunate romantic subplot between Grace and this…[ahem] “shipwrecked young nobleman…” Not that I’m against romantic subplots, per se, but this one seems shoehorned in to appease the teen audience.

VERDICT: LET GO

2. The Red Labyrinth, Meredith Tate

Amazon.com: The Red Labyrinth (9781635830347): Meredith Tate: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

The massive labyrinth was built to protect Zadie Kalver’s isolated desert town. Unfortunately, living in the maze’s shadow makes her feel anything but safe. Even without its enchanted deathtraps and illusions, a mysterious killer named Dex lurks in its corridors, terrorizing anyone in his path. 

But when Zadie’s best friend vanishes into the labyrinth-and everyone mysteriously forgets he exists- completing the maze becomes her only hope of saving him. In desperation, Zadie bribes the only person who knows the safe path through-Dex-into forming a tenuous alliance. 

Navigating a deadly garden, a lethal blood-filled hourglass, and other traps-with an untrustworthy murderer for her guide-Zadie’s one wrong step from certain death. But with time running out before her friend (and secret crush) is lost forever, Zadie must reach the exit and find him. If Dex and the labyrinth don’t kill her first.

Well, I sort of like the labyrinth aspect, but other than that, there isn’t much about this one that seems different from a good 50% of the dystopian YA that’s emerged from the last decade…

VERDICT: LET GO

3. The Candle and the Flame, Nafiza Azad

Amazon.com: The Candle and the Flame (9781338306040): Azad, Nafiza: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Fatima lives in the city of Noor, a thriving stop along the Silk Road. There the music of myriad languages fills the air, and people of all faiths weave their lives together. However, the city bears scars of its recent past, when the chaotic tribe of Shayateen djinn slaughtered its entire population — except for Fatima and two other humans. Now ruled by a new maharajah, Noor is protected from the Shayateen by the Ifrit, djinn of order and reason, and by their commander, Zulfikar.

But when one of the most potent of the Ifrit dies, Fatima is changed in ways she cannot fathom, ways that scare even those who love her. Oud in hand, Fatima is drawn into the intrigues of the maharajah and his sister, the affairs of Zulfikar and the djinn, and the dangers of a magical battlefield.

Nafiza Azad weaves an immersive tale of magic and the importance of names; fiercely independent women; and, perhaps most importantly, the work for harmony within a city of a thousand cultures and cadences.

Wait…Silk Road? [VERY RECENT AP WORLD FLASHBACKS INTENSIFY]

Optimization Changed The Text Color Of Gif #4 And Now I Shal GIF | Gfycat

Most of the time, I don’t readily reach for historical fiction, but The Candle in the Flame sounds like a fascinating blend of that and fantasy! Plus, that cover is gorgeous…

VERDICT: KEEP

4. Out of Salem, Hal Schrieve

Out of Salem by Hal Schrieve: 9781609809010 | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

When genderqueer fourteen-year-old Z Chilworth wakes from death after a car crash that killed their parents and sisters, they have to adjust quickly to their new status as a zombie. Always a talented witch, Z can now barely perform magic and is rapidly decaying. Faced with rejection from their remaining family members and old friends, Z moves in with Mrs. Dunnigan, an elderly witch, and befriends Aysel, a loud would-be-goth classmate who is, like Z, a loner. As Z struggles to find a way to repair the broken magical seal holding their body together, Aysel fears that her classmates will discover her status as an unregistered werewolf. When a local psychiatrist is murdered in an apparent werewolf attack, the town of Salem, Oregon, becomes even more hostile to monsters, and Z and Aysel are driven together in an attempt to survive a place where most people wish that neither of them existed.

Winona Ryder Beetlejuice Lydia Deetz Tim Burton Bitelchus Gifmovie Moviegif  GIF | Gfycat

Ooh…zombies, witches, AND genderqueer representation? SIGN ME UP!

VERDICT: KEEP

5. Spellhacker, M.K. England

Spellhacker by M.K. England

Blurb from Goodreads:

In Kyrkarta, magic—known as maz—was once a freely available natural resource. Then an earthquake released a magical plague, killing thousands and opening the door for a greedy corporation to make maz a commodity that’s tightly controlled—and, of course, outrageously expensive.

Which is why Diz and her three best friends run a highly lucrative, highly illegal maz siphoning gig on the side. Their next job is supposed to be their last heist ever.

But when their plan turns up a powerful new strain of maz that (literally) blows up in their faces, they’re driven to unravel a conspiracy at the very center of the spellplague—and possibly save the world.

No pressure.

Okay, the main reason I put this one on my TBR was because of how good The Disasters was. But even with that aside, I LOVE the sound of this one–magical heists featuring a bunch of chaotic misfits? OF COURSE I want to read it! It has a lowish rating on Goodreads at the moment (3.55), but that’s not stopping me. Plus, that cover…

VERDICT: KEEP

6. Pitch Dark, Courtney Alameda

Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda

Blurb from Goodreads:

Lost to time, Tuck Morgan and his crew have slept in stasis aboard the USS John Muir for centuries. Their ship harbors a chunk of Earth, which unbeknownst to them, is the last hope for the failing human race.

Laura Cruz is a shipraider searching the galaxy for the history that was scattered to the stars. Once her family locates the John Muir and its precious cargo, they are certain human civilization is saved.

When Tuck’s and Laura’s worlds collide―literally―the two teens must outwit their enemies, evade brutal monsters that kill with sound, and work together to save the John Muir . . . and the whole human race.

Quiz: Ripley, Our Lady of Survival | Bookmans Entertainment Exchange

Aside from the fact that they basically stole the first part of the tagline from Alien, I’m totally on board with this kind of sci-fi thriller!

VERDICT: KEEP

7. Girls of July, Alex Flinn

Girls of July by Alex Flinn

Blurb from Goodreads:

Four girls. One unforgettable July.

Britta is the bubbly drama queen. She needs to get away—and a peaceful cabin in the woods sounds like the perfect escape.

Meredith is the overachiever. She’s spent her entire life preparing for college, but at what cost? Now she’s wondering if that’s all there is.

Kate is the reluctant socialite. She’s searching for a reason to begin again after fleeing her small Georgia town—and a shameful family secret.

Spider is the quiet intellectual. She’s struggling with pain that has isolated her from her peers for much of her life.

When these four very different young women stay together for a month in the mountains, they discover that sometimes getting away from it all can only bring you back to who you really are.

Eh…I feel like I’ve seen similar stories several times, and this one just isn’t grabbing me…

VERDICT: LET GO

8. The Bone Charmer, Breena Shields

The Bone Charmer (The Bone Charmer, #1) by Breeana Shields

Blurb from Goodreads:

In Saskia’s world, bones are the source of all power. They tell the future, reveal the past, and expose secrets in the present. Each village has a designated seer who performs readings for the townsfolk, and in Midwood, the Bone Charmer is Saskia’s mother.

On the day of her kenning—a special bone reading that determines the apprenticeships of all seventeen-year-olds—Saskia’s worst fears come true. She receives an assignment to train as a Bone Charmer, like her mother, and even worse, a match-making reading that pairs her with Bram—a boy who has suspicious tattoos that hint of violence.

Saskia knows her mother saw multiple paths for her, yet chose one she knew Saskia wouldn’t want. Their argument leads to a fracture in one of the bones. Broken bones are always bad luck, but this particular set of bones have been infused with extra magic, and so the break has devastating consequences—Saskia’s future has split as well. Now she will live her two potential paths simultaneously. Only one future can survive. And Saskia’s life is in danger in both. 

In the abstract, deriving magic from bones sounds like an inventive idea–and if well-executed, it’s a lot of fun. But it’s been done several times before, and I can’t seem to find where The Bone Charmer has its original twists on it…

VERDICT: LET GO

9. Switchback, Danika Stone

Amazon.com: Switchback (9781250221650): Stone, Danika: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Ashton Hamid knows everything about gaming. His D&D battles are epic; the video game tournaments he organizes, multi-day tests of endurance with players around the world. Real life, however, is a different matter. So when he and his best friend—outspoken “A” student (and social outcast) Vale Shumway—head out on a camping trip to Waterton Lakes National Park with their Phys. Ed. class, Ash figures it’ll be two days of bug bites, bad food, and inside jokes.

Instead, the two friends find themselves in a fight for survival.

An unexpected October snowstorm separates Ash and Vale from the rest of their class. By the time the teens realize they’ve missed the trail, they have wandered deep into the Canadian Rockies. Lost in the wilderness and hunted by deadly predators, their only hope is to work together. But with Vale’s limited supplies and Ash’s inexperience, can the best friends stay alive long enough to find their way back to civilization? 

I think the only reason I picked this one up was because of the aro-ace rep (Vale). I don’t read much survival fiction, but I feel like the characters would get on my nerves too. Meh.

VERDICT: LET GO

10. The Deepest Roots, Miranda Asebedo

Amazon.com: The Deepest Roots (9780062747075): Asebedo, Miranda: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Cottonwood Hollow, Kansas, is a strange place. For the past century, every girl has been born with a special talent, like the ability to Fix any object, Heal any wound, or Find what is missing.

Best friends Rome, Lux, and Mercy all have similar talents, but to them, their abilities often feel like a curse. Rome may be able to Fix anything she touches, but that won’t help her mom pay rent or make it any easier to confide in Lux and Mercy about what’s going on at home. And Rome isn’t the only one. Lux has been hiding bigger, more dangerous secrets.

As Rome struggles to keep her friendships close, she discovers the truth about life in Cottonwood Hollow—that friends are stronger than curses, that trust is worth the risk, and sometimes, what you’ve been looking for has been under your feet the whole time.

Well…I like the cover, but I don’t think the magical realism part of this is quite strong enough…it’s just not compelling to me anymore.

VERDICT: LET GO

RESULTS:

KEPT: 4

LET GO: 6

Success GIFs | Tenor

Cons? Same results as last time. Pros? Last time was my most successful TBR clean-out yet! I was able to weed out a lot of books, and I found some that I kept that I need to check out at the library soon. Good job, self!

Today’s song:

Why yes, I HAVE been thinking about the new episode of Fargo all week, why do you ask?

That’s it for this Down the TBR Hole! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Books, Down the TBR Hole

Down the TBR Hole 9

Hello again, bibliophiles!

I’ve been wanting to do another TBR cleaning session, because, as always, the number of books on my TBR is multiplying like rabbits. I’ve been picking the shelves to trim with a random number generator, and today, it landed right in the middle. Let’s see how this goes…

The Rules

  • 1. Go to your Goodreads To-Read shelf
  •  2. Order on ascending date added.
  •  3. Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  •  4. Read the synopsis of the books.
  •  5. Time to Decide: keep it or should it go

Here we go…

DOWN THE TBR HOLE 9

  1. Start Here, Trish Doller
Amazon.com: Start Here (9781481479912): Doller, Trish: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Two teens go on a life-changing sailing trip as they deal with the grief of losing their best friend in this heartwrenching, hopeful novel from the author of Something Like Normal and In a Perfect World.

Willa and Taylor were supposed to spend the summer after high school sailing from Ohio to Key West with their best friend, Finley. But Finley died before graduation, leaving them with a twenty-five-foot sailboat, a list of clues leading them to destinations along the way, and a friendship that’s hanging by a thread.

Now, Willa and Taylor have two months and two thousand miles to discover how life works without Finley—and to decide if their own friendship is worth saving.

Besides how much the cover annoys me, this one doesn’t sound terribly original.

VERDICT: LET GO

2. Beauty Sleep, Kathryn Evans

Beauty Sleep by Kathryn Evans

Blurb from Goodreads:

Who am I? What am I? When am I?

Laura can’t remember who she is. But the rest of the world knows. Because Laura is famous – a dying girl who was frozen until she could be cured. 
A real-life Sleeping Beauty.

But what happens when you wake up one day and the world has moved on forty years? 
Could you build a new life – while solving the mystery of what happened to the old one?

A darkly twisted thriller plunging a pre-tech girl into a futuristic world.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of the cryosleep trope in sci-fi, but other than that, it doesn’t look like there’s much else to hold the plot up.

VERDICT: LET GO

3. The Seventh Sun, Lani Forbes

The Seventh Sun (The Age of the Seventh Sun, #1) by Lani Forbes

Blurb from Goodreads:

Thrust into leadership upon the death of his emperor father, young Prince Ahkin feels completely unready for his new position. Though his royal blood controls the power of the sun, he’s now responsible for the lives of all the Chicome people. And despite all Ahkin’s efforts, the sun is fading–and the end of the world may be at hand.

For Mayana, the only daughter of the Chicome family whose blood controls the power of water, the old emperor’s death may mean that she is next. Prince Ahkin must be married before he can ascend the throne, and Mayana is one of six noble daughters presented to him as a possible wife. Those who are not chosen will be sacrificed to the gods.

Only one girl can become Ahkin’s bride. Mayana and Ahkin feel an immediate connection, but the gods themselves may be against them. Both recognize that the ancient rites of blood that keep the gods appeased may be harming the Chicome more than they help. As a bloodred comet and the fading sun bring a growing sense of dread, only two young people may hope to change their world.

Eh…I’m sensing lots of insta-love ahead…

VERDICT: LET GO

4. The Hummingbird Dagger, Cindy Anstey

Amazon.com: The Hummingbird Dagger (9781250174895): Anstey, Cindy ...

Blurb from Goodreads:

1833. After young Lord James Ellerby witnesses a near-fatal carriage accident on the outskirts of his estate, he doesn’t think twice about bringing the young woman injured in the wreck to his family’s manor to recuperate. But then she finally regains consciousness only to find that she has no memory of who she is or where she belongs.

Beth, as she takes to calling herself, is an enigma even to herself. She has the rough hands of a servant, but the bearing and apparent education of a lady. Her only clue to her identity is a gruesome recurring nightmare about a hummingbird dripping blood from its steel beak.

With the help of James and his sister, Caroline, Beth slowly begins to unravel the mystery behind her identity and the sinister circumstances that brought her to their door. But the dangerous secrets they discover in doing so could have deadly ramifications reaching the highest tiers of London society.

I don’t read much mystery–much less historical mystery–but I’m willing to go along for the ride on this one. Plus, I love the title and the cover.

VERDICT: KEEP

5. Unhooked, Lisa Maxwell

Amazon.com: Unhooked (9781481432054): Maxwell, Lisa: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home—all because her mother believes that monsters are hunting them. Now these delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. The only saving grace is her best friend, Olivia, who’s coming with them for the summer.

But when Gwen and Olivia are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and taken to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey, Gwen realizes her mom might have been sane all along.

The world Gwen finds herself in is called Neverland, yet it’s nothing like the stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through her fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the roguish young pirate who promises to keep her safe.

With time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But will she be able to save Neverland without losing herself?

Despite the punny title, this sounds like a wonderfully dark and twisty Peter Pan retelling!

VERDICT: KEEP

6. Meet Me in Outer Space, Melinda Grace

Amazon.com: Meet Me in Outer Space (9781250154330): Grace, Melinda ...

Blurb from Goodreads:

Smart and unflinching, this #OwnVoices debut contemporary novel stars an ambitious college student who refuses to be defined by her central auditory processing disorder.

Edie Kits has a learning disability. Well, not a learning disability exactly, but a disability that impacts her learning. It isn’t visible, it isn’t obvious, and it isn’t something she likes to advertise.

And for three semesters of college, her hard work and perseverance have carried her through. Edie thinks she has her disability under control until she meets her match with a French 102 course and a professor unwilling to help her out.

Edie finds herself caught between getting the help she needs and convincing her professor that she isn’t looking for an easy out. Luckily for Edie, she has an amazing best friend, Serena, who is willing to stitch together a plan to ensure Edie’s success. And then there’s Hudson, the badly dressed but undoubtedly adorable TA in her French class who finds himself pulled into her orbit…

I’m always eager to try and find more #OwnVoices novels, and this sounds like one I’d love!

VERDICT: KEEP

7. The Psychology of Time Travel, Kate Mascarenhas

Amazon.com: The Psychology of Time Travel: A Novel (9781683319443 ...

Blurb from Goodreads:

In 1967, four female scientists worked together to build the world’s first time machine. But just as they are about to debut their creation, one of them suffers a breakdown, putting the whole project—and future of time travel—in jeopardy. To protect their invention, one member is exiled from the team—erasing her contributions from history.

Fifty years later, time travel is a big business. Twenty-something Ruby Rebello knows her beloved grandmother, Granny Bee, was one of the pioneers, though no one will tell her more. But when Bee receives a mysterious newspaper clipping from the future reporting the murder of an unidentified woman, Ruby becomes obsessed: could it be Bee? Who would want her dead? And most importantly of all: can her murder be stopped?

Time travel is a trope that’s frighteningly easy to screw up, but this sounds absolutely fascinating. Definitely on board!

VERDICT: KEEP

8. The Wren Hunt, Mary Watson

The Wren Hunt (The Wren Hunt, #1) by Mary Watson

Blurb from Goodreads:

Every Christmas, Wren is chased through the woods near her isolated village by her family’s enemies—the Judges—and there’s nothing that she can do to stop it. Once her people, the Augurs, controlled a powerful magic. But now that power lies with the Judges, who are set on destroying her kind for good. 

In a desperate bid to save her family, Wren takes a dangerous undercover assignment—as an intern to an influential Judge named Cassa Harkness. Cassa has spent her life researching a transformative spell, which could bring the war between the factions to its absolute end. Caught in a web of deceit, Wren must decide whether or not to gamble on the spell and seal the Augurs’ fate.

Hmm…I think I’ve seen/read a few too many books that have this kind of plot, so I think I’ll try and find more original fantasy.

VERDICT: LET GO

9. The Art of Secrets, James Klise

Amazon.com: Art of Secrets (9781616204822): Klise, James: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

A Fire Destroys . . .
A Treasure Appears . . .
A Crime Unfolds . . .

When Saba Khan’s apartment burns in a mysterious fire, possibly a hate crime, her Chicago high school rallies around her. Her family moves rent-free into a luxury apartment, Saba’s Facebook page explodes, and she starts (secretly) dating a popular boy. Then a quirky piece of art donated to a school fund-raising effort for the Khans is revealed to be an unknown work by a famous artist, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and Saba’s life turns upside down again. Should Saba’s family have all that money? Or should it go to the students who found the art? Or to the school? And just what caused that fire? Greed, jealousy, and suspicion create an increasingly tangled web as students and teachers alike debate who should get the money and begin to point fingers and make accusations. The true story of the fire that sets events in motion and what happens afterward gradually comes together in an innovative narrative made up of journal entries, interviews, articles, letters, text messages, and other documents.

Sounds timely, but I’m not sure if I’m invested in the plot.

VERDICT: LET GO

10. The Line Tender, Kate Allen

The Line Tender: Allen, Kate: 9780735231603: Amazon.com: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

The Line Tender is the story of Lucy, the daughter of a marine biologist and a rescue diver, and the summer that changes her life. If she ever wants to lift the cloud of grief over her family and community, she must complete the research her late mother began. She must follow the sharks.

Wherever the sharks led, Lucy Everhart’s marine-biologist mother was sure to follow. In fact, she was on a boat far off the coast of Massachusetts, preparing to swim with a Great White, when she died suddenly. Lucy was eight. Since then Lucy and her father have done OK—thanks in large part to her best friend, Fred, and a few close friends and neighbors. But June of her twelfth summer brings more than the end of school and a heat wave to sleepy Rockport. On one steamy day, the tide brings a Great White—and then another tragedy, cutting short a friendship everyone insists was “meaningful” but no one can tell Lucy what it all meant. To survive the fresh wave of grief, Lucy must grab the line that connects her depressed father, a stubborn fisherman, and a curious old widower to her mother’s unfinished research. If Lucy can find a way to help this unlikely quartet follow the sharks her mother loved, she’ll finally be able to look beyond what she’s lost and toward what’s left to be discovered. 

[loud gasp] PRETTY WHALES ON THE COVER, I REPEAT, PRETTY WHALES ON THE CO–

…eh, I’m really not sure if I’m invested in this one, either. Reminds me a bit of “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” but I don’t think I’m interested (even though I loved that movie).

Bill murray orca the life aquatic with steve zissou GIF - Find on ...

VERDICT: LET GO

RESULTS:

KEPT: 4

LET GO: 6

Success GIF | Gfycat

Rejoice! My most successful Down the TBR Hole to date! This is the first time the number of books I’ve let go surpasses the ones I’ve kept, which I’ll take as a good sign. I’ve found several books that I no longer want to read, and I’ve found a few that I’d forgotten about and still want to read. Now, excuse me while I check if my library has copies of those books that I kept…

Since I’ve already posted once today, check out today’s Book Review Tuesday for today’s song.

That’s it for my ninth Down the TBR Hole! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Books, Down the TBR Hole

Down the TBR Hole 8

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles!

I haven’t done one of these in a little while, and I figured that I’d take another dip into the vast ocean that my TBR has become. I can’t quite call it spring cleaning anymore, but no matter the season, I need to clear out some of the dust. I’m honestly surprised that my Goodreads doesn’t lag whenever I go through it…

Anyway…

The Rules

  • 1. Go to your Goodreads To-Read shelf
  •  2. Order on ascending date added.
  •  3. Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  •  4. Read the synopsis of the books.
  •  5. Time to Decide: keep it or should it go

Let’s begin, shall we?

  1. Hot Dog Girl, Jennifer Dugan
Amazon.com: Hot Dog Girl (9780525516255): Dugan, Jennifer: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Elouise (Lou) Parker is determined to have the absolute best, most impossibly epic summer of her life. There are just a few things standing in her way:

* She’s landed a job at Magic Castle Playland . . . as a giant dancing hot dog.
* Her crush, the dreamy Diving Pirate Nick, already has a girlfriend, who is literally the Princess of the park. But Lou’s never liked anyone, guy or otherwise, this much before, and now she wants a chance at her own happily ever after.
* Her best friend, Seeley, the carousel operator, who’s always been up for anything, suddenly isn’t when it comes to Lou’s quest to set her up with the perfect girl or Lou’s scheme to get close to Nick.
* And it turns out that this will be their last summer at Magic Castle Playland–ever–unless she can find a way to stop it from closing.

Jennifer Dugan’s sparkling debut coming-of-age queer romance stars a princess, a pirate, a hot dog, and a carousel operator who find love–and themselves–in unexpected people and unforgettable places.

Though the Goodreads rating is on the lower side (3.49), I’ve seen plenty of good reviews for this one, and it sounds absolutely adorable.

VERDICT: KEEP

2. The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali, Sabina Khan

Amazon.com: The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali (9781338227017 ...

Blurb from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that harder and harder to do. She rolls her eyes instead of screaming when they blatantly favor her brother and she dresses conservatively at home, saving her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don’t know about. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life in Seattle and her new life at Caltech, where she can pursue her dream of becoming an engineer.

But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana’s plans fall apart. Her parents are devastated; being gay may as well be a death sentence in the Bengali community. They immediately whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition. Only through reading her grandmother’s old diary is Rukhsana able to gain some much needed perspective. 

Rukhsana realizes she must find the courage to fight for her love, but can she do so without losing everyone and everything in her life?

A year on my TBR, and this one DEFINITELY still holds up for me–sounds like an amazing, POC/LGBTQ+ novel!

VERDICT: KEEP

3. Everneath, Brodi Ashton

Everneath by Brodi Ashton · OverDrive (Rakuten OverDrive): eBooks ...

Blurb from Goodreads:

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath. Now she’s returned—to her old life, her family, her boyfriend—before she’s banished back to the underworld . . . this time forever. She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these precious months forgetting the Everneath and trying to reconnect with her boyfriend, Jack, the person most devastated by her disappearance—and the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s just one problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who enticed her to the Everneath in the first place, has followed Nikki home. Cole wants to take over the throne in the underworld and is convinced Nikki is the key to making it happen. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back, this time as his queen.

As Nikki’s time on the Surface draws to a close and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she is forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole’s queen.

As much as I love Greek mythology retellings, the love triangle came very close to making me want to throw up in my mouth…

Pop Tv Ew GIF by Schitt's Creek - Find & Share on GIPHY

VERDICT: LET GO

4. We Are the Ants, Shaun David Hutchinson

Amazon.com: We Are the Ants (9781481449649): Hutchinson, Shaun ...

Blurb from Goodreads:

Henry Denton has spent years being periodically abducted by aliens. Then the aliens give him an ultimatum: The world will end in 144 days, and all Henry has to do to stop it is push a big red button.

Only he isn’t sure he wants to.

After all, life hasn’t been great for Henry. His mom is a struggling waitress held together by a thin layer of cigarette smoke. His brother is a jobless dropout who just knocked someone up. His grandmother is slowly losing herself to Alzheimer’s. And Henry is still dealing with the grief of his boyfriend’s suicide last year.

Wiping the slate clean sounds like a pretty good choice to him.

But Henry is a scientist first, and facing the question thoroughly and logically, he begins to look for pros and cons: in the bully who is his perpetual one-night stand, in the best friend who betrayed him, in the brilliant and mysterious boy who walked into the wrong class. Weighing the pain and the joy that surrounds him, Henry is left with the ultimate choice: push the button and save the planet and everyone on it…or let the world—and his pain—be destroyed forever.

This one sounds rough, but deeply profound. Still in.

VERDICT: KEEP

5. This is Not a Love Story, Keren David

This Is Not a Love Story by Keren David

Blurb from Goodreads:

Kitty dreams of a beautiful life, but that’s impossible in suburban London where her family is haunted by her father’s unexpected death. So when her mum suggests moving to Amsterdam to try a new life, Kitty doesn’t take much persuading. Will this be her opportunity to make her life picture perfect? 

In Amsterdam she meets moody, unpredictable Ethan, and clever, troubled Theo. Two enigmatic boys, who each harbour their own secrets. In a beautiful city and far from home, Kitty finds herself falling in love for the first time. 

But will love be everything she expected? And will anyone’s heart survive?

Despite the title, this one really doesn’t sound awfully compelling–or original, for that matter. Aaaaaaand of course we’ve got another love triangle.

Facepalm GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

VERDICT: LET GO

6. I’m Not Missing, Carrie Fountain

Amazon.com: I'm Not Missing: A Novel (9781250132512): Fountain ...

Blurb from Goodreads:

When Miranda Black’s mother abandoned her, she took everything—the sun, moon, and stars—and Miranda found shelter in her friendship with Syd, who wore her own motherlessness like a badge of honor: Our mothers abandoned us. We won’t go begging for scraps.

When Syd runs away suddenly and inexplicably in the middle of their senior year, Miranda is abandoned once again, left to untangle the questions of why Syd left, where she is—and if she’s even a friend worth saving. Her only clue is Syd’s discarded pink leopard print cell phone and a single text contained there from the mysterious HIM. Along the way, forced to step out from Syd’s enormous shadow, Miranda finds herself stumbling into first love with Nick Allison of all people and learning what it means to be truly seen, to be finally not missing in her own life.

Hmm…I’d completely forgotten about this one. I was on the fence when I first re-read the synopsis, but I think this one could be interesting.

VERDICT: KEEP

7. The Last Girl, Michael Adams

The Last Girl (The Last Trilogy #1) by Michael Adams

Blurb from Goodreads:

The end of the world happens in the blink of an eye.

When The Snap sweeps the globe, everyone can instantly hear everything that everyone else is thinking. As secrets and lies are laid bare, suburbs and cities explode into insanity and violence. What might have been an evolutionary leap instead initiates the apocalypse.

Sixteen-year-old Danby Armstrong’s telepathy works very differently. She can tune into other people but they can’t tune into her. With only this slender defence, Danby must protect her little brother and reach the safety of her mother’s mountain retreat. But it’s 100 kilometres away and the highways are blocked by thousands of cars and surrounded by millions of people coming apart at the psychic seams.

Danby’s escape is made even more dangerous by another cataclysm that threatens humanity’s extinction. And her ability to survive this new world will be tested by a charismatic young man whose power to save lives may be worse than death itself.

The Snap, huh? Sounds familiar…

Thanos End Game GIF - Thanos EndGame Inevitable - Discover & Share ...

[ahem] Anyway, the concept of the end of mankind being caused by a deluge of telepathy actually sounds fairly original and compelling.

Jean Grey Dark Phoenix GIF - JeanGrey DarkPhoenix - Discover ...

VERDICT: KEEP

8. Monster, Michael Grant

Monster The GONE series may be over, but it's not the end of the ...

Blurb from Goodreads:

It’s been four years since a meteorite hit Perdido Beach and Everyone disappeared. Gone. Everyone, except the kids trapped in the FAYZ – an invisible dome that was created by an alien virus. Inside the FAYZ, animals began to mutate and teens developed dangerous powers. the terrifying new world was plagued with hunger, lies, and fear of the unknown.

Now, four years later, meteorites are hitting Earth with a virus that is even deadlier. Humans will mutate into creates with power…and the whole world will be exposed.

But power corrupts. As some teens begin to morph into heroes, they will find that others become dangerously out of control and that the world is on the brink of a monstrous battle between good and evil. 

And there is only one thing more terrifying than the fear of the unknown: when history repeats itself.

In this first of a trilogy, Michael Grant has created a stunning follow-up to the globally bestselling Gone series.

Wait…follow-up?

Oops, I’m an idiot, I need to read another trilogy before I can understand what’s going on in this one…

Radiohead Im Weird GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
I dON’t bELoNg hERe

VERDICT: LET GO

9. No One Here Is Lonely, Sarah Everett

Amazon.com: No One Here Is Lonely (9780553538687): Everett, Sarah ...

Blurb from Goodreads:

Eden has always had two loves: her best friend, Lacey, and her crush, Will. And then, almost simultaneously, she loses them both. Will to a car accident and Lacey to the inevitable growing up and growing apart.

Devastated by the holes they have left in her life, Eden finds solace in an unlikely place. Before he died, Will set up an account with In Good Company, a service that uploads voices and emails and creates a digital companion that can be called anytime, day or night. It couldn’t come at a better time because, after losing Lacey–the hardest thing Eden has had to deal with–who else can she confide all her secrets to? Who is Eden without Lacey?

As Eden falls deeper into her relationship with “Will,” she hardly notices as her real life blooms around her. There is a new job, new friends. Then there is Oliver. He’s Lacey’s twin, so has always been off-limits to her, until now. He may be real, but to have him, will Eden be able to say goodbye to Will?

Eh? Something about this doesn’t sit right with me. Sounds like an exploration of the role of the internet in our lives, but I’m not sure if I’m completely on board.

VERDICT: LET GO

10. A Time to Die, Nadine Brandes

Amazon.com: A Time to Die (Out of Time Book 1) (Out of Time Series ...

Blurb from Goodreads:

How would you live if you knew the day you’d die?

Parvin Blackwater has wasted her life. At only seventeen, she has one year left according to the Clock by her bedside. 

In a last-ditch effort to make a difference, she tries to rescue Radicals from the crooked justice system. But when the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall — her people’s death sentence. 

What she finds on the other side about the world, about eternity, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. But her Clock is running out.

I mean…the concept of how one would live one’s life if they knew when they were going to die is interesting, but at this point, it’s been done so many times that it’s gone stale. Nope.

VERDICT: LET GO

RESULTS:

KEPT: 5

LET GO: 5

Fifty Fifty Half GIF - FiftyFifty Half Divide - Discover & Share GIFs

Another 50-50 split for today’s Down the TBR Hole…

Though this one wasn’t quite as productive as some of my other ones, I certainly found a lot of books that I’d forgotten about that sound fascinating. Here’s hoping that I can find a few of these on the Kindle library…

Today’s song:

I’d almost forgotten about how good this song was…

That’s it for this week’s Down the TBR Hole! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Tags, Books, Down the TBR Hole, Goodreads Monday, Random

Everything That I’ve Managed to Cross Off of Goodreads Monday/Down the TBR Hole/Assorted Book Tags, Part II

Hello again, bibliophiles!

Since I’ve had a bit more time on my hands in quarantine, I’ve had time to read plenty of books–several of which that I’ve posted about wanting to read in previous posts. This is my second of these posts; if you want to see the first one, click here. 🙂

1. Sawkill Girls, Claire Legrand 

Sawkill Girls - Claire Legrand - Hardcover

INITIAL THOUGHTS (from Goodreads Monday (9/30/19)–Sawkill Girls):

I’ve been an on-and-off fan of Clare Legrand’s for a while; I loved Some Kind of Happiness (read my review here) and The Year of Shadows, though I wasn’t crazy about Foxheart. I figured that Clare Legrand’s creepy prose would be absolutely haunting in a YA format, so naturally, I’ve been wanting to read this for a while. It’s had the dreaded ‘All Copies in Use’ marker on my library’s website for months [single tear slides down cheek], so I haven’t been able to read it. Hopefully my luck will change soon.

I’ve also heard Sawkill Girlscompared to Stranger Things, which is one of my FAVORITE SHOWS, so I’m really hoping this one won’t disappoint.

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

THOUGHTS AFTER READING IT: 

An absolutely unforgettable YA thriller–lushly written, spooky, and fiercely feminist!

Click here for my full review! 

2. The Invisible Library, Genevieve Cogman

The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library Novel): Cogman ...

INITIAL THOUGHTS (from Goodreads Monday (4/13/20)–The Invisible Library):

Naturally, I’m drawn to stories about libraries.

Beyond that, I’m fascinated by the premise of fiction in alternate realities. There are infinite possibilities of what could be done and played within that vein, and I’m SO excited to see how it turns out! Adding onto that, the promise of rival organizations who want nothing more than one particular book…hmm, this could get interesting…

And what of alternate London? I’m glad the synopsis didn’t give much detail on what time period this London would be in, so I’m interested to see what Cogman’s vision of alternate realities–and fictions–end up looking like.

All in all, another reason why I want to enjoy The Invisible Library is that it’s SUCH A LONG SERIES. AND ALMOST ALL OF IT IS AVAILABLE ON THE KINDLE LIBRARY. Most of the books that I’ve checked out recently have been parts of a series, but their sequels haven’t been available, so I’m so glad that I might be able to have a lengthy series to binge! Of course, there’s the possibility of a story being perpetuated for an unnecessarily long time (there’s currently 7 books in the Invisible Library series), but I’m trying to push that from my mind. Fingers tightly crossed…

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

THOUGHTS AFTER READING IT:

This book took the concept of alternate realities and the fictions they contain and absolutely RAN with it. A wild ride through the may-have-been.

Full review to come soon…

Soon GIFs | Tenor

3. Kissing in America, Margo Rabb

Kissing in America by Margo Rabb

INITIAL THOUGHTS (from Down the TBR Hole 7):

I’m not thrilled about some of these tropes, but the friendship/road trip dynamic seems like a fun way of handling it. I think I’ll stick it out.

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

THOUGHTS AFTER READING IT: 

Though the title barely related back to the book, this one was an unexpectedly tender story of overcoming grief and the meaning of friendship.

4. The Black Witch, Laurie Forest

Amazon.com: The Black Witch: An Epic Fantasy Novel (The Black ...

INITIAL THOUGHTS (from The TBR Book Tag):

I’ve almost bought The Black Witch at least two or three times, at this point. Seems to be a pretty hyped-up book, but I’m excited to read it soon! It’s on the Kindle library, so hopefully I can read it soon! My friend was just recommending this to me last night…

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.25

THOUGHTS AFTER READING IT:

Though a good half of the main cast was difficult to like, and the romantic subplot felt *very* forced, the phenomenal worldbuilding and political intrigue made up for it 100%. Okay, maybe 99%, but I’m still itching to read the sequel. (And, of course, it isn’t available at the library…)

Full review to come in the next few weeks! (Probably…)

The Goldbergs Watch GIF by TV Land - Find & Share on GIPHY

5. Show Stopper, Hayley Barker

Show Stopper (Show Stopper #1) by Hayley Barker

INITIAL THOUGHTS (from Goodreads Monday (1/6/20)–Show Stopper):

You’ve all heard me rant about how jaded I am with YA dystopia. But the element of the traveling circus in Show Stopper seems absolutely fascinating: a tiny bit Hunger Games-y, in the sense that it’s for the entertainment of the upper class, but creative enough that I’m absolutely hooked. If anything, I’m hoping for a well-needed subversion of the genre. Plus, not gonna lie, but I love the style that the cover was drawn in.

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

THOUGHTS AFTER READING IT: 

I might have set my expectations a bit too high, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy this novel. I finished it up a few hours ago, actually. Though it wasn’t without its flaws, Show Stopper was an inventive take on the YA dystopian genre, and certainly a cautionary tale about falling prey to the evils of racism and xenophobia.

I might review this one, but we’ll see about that…

Perhaps. | Barnyard | Know Your Meme

Since I’ve already posted once today, check out today’s Goodreads Monday for today’s song.

Glad to say that this round of Goodreads Monday/DtTBRH/Book tag crossing-offs didn’t let me down! (I still don’t forgive Crown of Coral and Pearl) I’m glad to say that my predictions were right–though they varied in ratings, I enjoyed all five of these books. Here’s hoping that I can continue this string of luck for the next one of these posts…

That’s it for this post! Have a wonderful day, and take care of yourselves!

thank you for reading sw.jpg.png

Posted in Books, Down the TBR Hole

Down the TBR Hole 7

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope today finds you all safe and healthy. 💕

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Anyway, I figured today would be a good day to do another round of *spring* cleaning for my gargantuan TBR list. I’ve now decided to stick with choosing the shelf to clean by means of a random number generator, and it’s landed on one of my oldest shelves, so this should be an interesting installation…

Groovy Flirtation - X-Men Movies in (_____) Order - Wattpad

The Rules

  • 1. Go to your Goodreads To-Read shelf
  •  2. Order on ascending date added.
  •  3. Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  •  4. Read the synopsis of the books.
  •  5. Time to Decide: keep it or should it go

 

1. Destiny’s Fire, Trisha Wolfe 

Amazon.com: Destiny's Fire (9781936305988): Wolfe, Trisha: Books

Blurb from Goodreads: 

It’s the year 2040, and sixteen-year-old Dez Harkly is one of the last of her kind-part of a nearly extinct race of shape-shifters descended from guardians to the Egyptian pharaohs. Her home and her secret are threatened when the Council lowers the barrier, allowing the enemy race to enter the Shythe haven. As the Narcolym airships approach, Dez and her friends rebel against their Council and secretly train for battle. Not only is Dez wary of war and her growing affection for her best friend Jace, she fears the change her birthday will bring. When Dez’s newfound power rockets out of control, it’s a Narcolym who could change her fate…if she can trust him. Dez’s guarded world crumbles when she discovers why the Narcos have really come to Haven Falls, and she’s forced to choose between the race who raised her and the enemy she’s feared her whole life.

 

Oof…the cover made me nervous from the get-go, but this sounds painful…

VERDICT: LET GO

 

2. The Last Princess, Galaxy Craze

Amazon.com: The Last Princess (9780316185486): Galaxy Craze: Books

Blurb from Goodreads: 

A series of natural disasters has decimated the earth. Cut off from the rest of the world, England is a dark place. The sun rarely shines, food is scarce, and groups of criminals roam the woods, searching for prey. The people are growing restless. When a ruthless revolutionary sets out to overthrow the crown, he makes the royal family his first target. Blood is shed in Buckingham Palace, and only sixteen-year old Princess Eliza manages to escape. Determined to kill the man who destroyed her family, Eliza joins the enemy forces in disguise. She has nothing left to live for but revenge, until she meets someone who helps her remember how to hope-and love-once more. Now she must risk everything to ensure that she does not become… The Last Princess.

Eh…really not on board with this anymore.

VERDICT: LET GO

 

3. Struck, Jennifer Bosworth

Struck (Struck, #1) by Jennifer Bosworth

Blurb from Goodreads: 

Mia Price is a lightning addict. She’s survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.

Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.

Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn’t who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything.

The usual suspects of YA dystopia tropes are all here, but the concept of Mia as a “lightning” addict still intrigues me. I think I might stick it out for this one.

Halle Berry Storm GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

VERDICT: KEEP

 

4. Auracle, Gina Rosati 

K.T. Crowley: Day 8 Item #7: Author Gina Rosati

Blurb from Goodreads: 

16 year old Anna Rogan has a secret she’s only shared with her best friend, Rei; she can astrally project out of her body, allowing her spirit to explore the world and the far reaches of the universe.

When there’s a fatal accident and her classmate Taylor takes over Anna’s body, what was an exhilarating distraction from her repressive home life threatens to become a permanent state. Faced with a future trapped in another dimension, Anna turns to Rei for help. Now the two of them must find a way to get Anna back into her body and stop Taylor from accusing an innocent friend of murder. Together Anna and Rei form a plan but it doesn’t take into account the deeper feelings that are beginning to grow between them.

 

Ooh…this seems fascinating! I don’t see astral projection much in YA–or in most books I’ve read, period–so this could be really creative, if executed well enough.

VERDICT: KEEP 

 

5. Bright Lights, Dark Nights, Stephen Emond 

Amazon.com: Bright Lights, Dark Nights (9781250080066): STEPHEN ...

Blurb from Goodreads: 

“This is my spot,” Naomi said. “You can’t help but dream up here. I’m going to take my baby sis up here when she’s older so she can dream, too. You can see the whole world from up here.”

I could only see Naomi.

Walter Wilcox has never been in love. He just wants to finish high school under the radar with his 2.5 friends and zero drama. And then there’s Naomi Mills, an adorably awkward harpist with a habit of saying the wrong thing at the right time.

It’s inevitable that they’re going to get together…but they’re also on the unavoidable path to being torn apart.

First love meets first fights in this timely, honest, and heartbreaking story about race and relationships by acclaimed author Stephen Emond (Happyface).

From the get-go, I love the art style from the cover (this one’s a graphic novel), and beyond that, I’m interested to see how they blend this teenage love story with the topic of race.

VERDICT: KEEP

 

6. One of the Guys, Lisa Aldin

Amazon.com: One of the Guys (9781939392633): Aldin, Lisa: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Tomboy to the core, Toni Valentine understands guys. She’ll take horror movies, monster hunts and burping contests over manicures. So Toni is horrified when she’s sent to the Winston Academy for Girls, where she has to wear a skirt and learn to be a lady while the guys move on without her.

Then Toni meets Emma Elizabeth, a girl at school with boy troubles, and she volunteers one of her friends as a pretend date. Word spreads of Toni’s connections with boys, and she discovers that her new wealthy female classmates will pay big money for fake dates. Looking for a way to connect her old best friends with her new life at school, Toni and Emma start up Toni Valentine’s Rent-A-Gent Service.

But the business meets a scandal when Toni falls for one of her friends–the same guy who happens to be the most sought-after date. With everything she’s built on the line, Toni has to decide if she wants to save the business and her old life, or let go of being one of the guys for a chance at love.

Though I’m glad to see the “Then she meets [insert name of Attractive Male™️]” trope flipped on its head in the synopsis, this one isn’t keeping my attention anymore.

VERDICT: LET GO

 

7. That Time I Joined the Circus, J.J. Howard

That Time I Joined the Circus by J. J. Howard | Scholastic

Blurb from Goodreads: 

Lexi Ryan just ran away to join the circus, but not on purpose.

A music-obsessed, slightly snarky New York City girl, Lexi is on her own. After making a huge mistake–and facing a terrible tragedy–Lexi has no choice but to track down her long-absent mother. Rumor has it that Lexi’s mom is somewhere in Florida with a traveling circus.

When Lexi arrives at her new, three-ring reality, her mom isn’t there . . . but her destiny might be. Surrounded by tigers, elephants, and trapeze artists, Lexi finds some surprising friends and an even more surprising chance at true love. She even lucks into a spot as the circus’s fortune teller, reading tarot cards and making predictions.

But then Lexi’s ex-best friend from home shows up, and suddenly it’s Lexi’s own future that’s thrown into question.

With humor, wisdom, and a dazzlingly fresh voice, this debut reminds us of the magic of circus tents, city lights, first kisses, and the importance of an excellent playlist.

I mean…fairly original, but this one isn’t capturing my attention anymore, either. Also, the name “Lexi Ryan” just tweaks me for reasons I can’t put my finger on.

VERDICT: LET GO

 

8. Kissing in America, Margo Rabb

Kissing in America by Margo Rabb

Blurb from Goodreads: 

In the two years since her father died, sixteen-year-old Eva has found comfort in reading romance novels—118 of them, to be exact—to dull the pain of her loss that’s still so present. Her romantic fantasies become a reality when she meets Will, who seems to truly understand Eva’s grief. Unfortunately, after Eva falls head-over-heels for him, he picks up and moves to California without any warning. Not wanting to lose the only person who has been able to pull her out of sadness—and, perhaps, her shot at real love—Eva and her best friend, Annie, concoct a plan to travel to the west coast to see Will again. As they road trip across America, Eva and Annie confront the complex truth about love.

I’m not thrilled about some of these tropes, but the friendship/road trip dynamic seems like a fun way of handling it. I think I’ll stick it out.

VERDICT: KEEP

 

9. Impostor, Susanne Winnacker

Amazon.com: Impostor: A Variants Novel (9781595146540): Susanne ...

Blurb from Goodreads: 

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.

OH, YEAH. SO IN. SO. IN.

Animated gif about Jennifer Lawrence in Film/Series by effect

VERDICT: KEEP

 

10. Revolution 19, Gregg Rosenblum

Revolution 19 (Revolution 19, #1) by Gregg Rosenblum

Blurb from Goodreads: 

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.

Mmm…nah. Looks like the same, post-apocalyptic plot that’s been regurgitated over and over. Meh.

VERDICT: LET GO

 

Results: 

KEPT: 5

LET GO: 5 

Michael Corn Ball GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
“EVERY TIME!” 

 

Another 50/50 split. Can’t tell if that’s a good sign or not.

 

 

Today’s song:

ONE WEEK ‘TIL MAKING A DOOR LESS OPEN!

 

That’s it for this Down the TBR Hole! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

thank you for reading.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Books, Down the TBR Hole

Down the TBR Hole 5–The Empire Strikes Back

Happy Wednesday (my dudes), bibliophiles!

Thus continues my ongoing “spring” (it’s really just year-round, who am I kidding?)…

Now that I’m scouring the online library for books to read, I’ve been digging further into my TBR to find books to read, and with that, lots more books that I need to remove from the list or that I’ve forgotten about. Here we go again…

Image result for let's go gif

The Rules

  • 1. Go to your Goodreads To-Read shelf
  •  2. Order on ascending date added.
  •  3. Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  •  4. Read the synopsis of the books.
  •  5. Time to Decide: keep it or should it go

 

1. Blanca & Roja, Anna-Marie McLemore 

Image result for blanca and roja book

Blurb from Goodreads: 

The biggest lie of all is the story you think you already know.

The del Cisne girls have never just been sisters; they’re also rivals, Blanca as obedient and graceful as Roja is vicious and manipulative. They know that, because of a generations-old spell, their family is bound to a bevy of swans deep in the woods. They know that, one day, the swans will pull them into a dangerous game that will leave one of them a girl, and trap the other in the body of a swan.

But when two local boys become drawn into the game, the swans’ spell intertwines with the strange and unpredictable magic lacing the woods, and all four of their fates depend on facing truths that could either save or destroy them. Blanca & Roja is the captivating story of sisters, friendship, love, hatred, and the price we pay to protect our hearts.

 

It’s Anna-Marie McLemore. Of course I’m going to keep this one!

VERDICT: KEEP

 

2. Finding Yvonne, Brandy Colbert

Image result for finding yvonne book

Blurb from Goodreads: 

Since she was seven years old, Yvonne has had her trusted violin to keep her company, especially in those lonely days after her mother walked out on their family. But with graduation just around the corner, she is forced to face the hard truth that she just might not be good enough to attend a conservatory after high school.

Full of doubt about her future, and increasingly frustrated by her strained relationship with her successful but emotionally closed-off father, Yvonne meets a street musician and fellow violinist who understands her struggle. He’s mysterious, charming, and different from Warren, the familiar and reliable boy who has her heart. But when Yvonne becomes unexpectedly pregnant, she has to make the most difficult decision yet about her future.

This one sounds like it tackles a lot of important issues, as well as weaving a complex story. Still in 🙂

VERDICT: KEEP

 

3. The Mind’s Eye (SYNSK, #1), K.C. Finn

Image result for the mind's eye k c finn

Blurb from Goodreads:

A girl with a telepathic gift finds a boy clinging to his last hope during the war-torn climate of Europe, 1940.

At fifteen, Kit Cavendish is one the oldest evacuees to escape London at the start of the Second World War due to a long term illness that sees her stuck in a wheelchair most of the time. But Kit has an extraordinary psychic power: she can put herself into the minds of others, see through their eyes, feel their emotions, even talk to them – though she dares not speak out for fear of her secret ability being exposed.

As Kit settles into her new life in the North Wales village of Bryn Eira Bach, solitude and curiosity encourage her to gain better control of her gift. Until one day her search for information on the developing war leads her to the mind of Henri, a seventeen-year-old Norwegian boy witnessing the German occupation of his beloved city, Oslo. As Henri discovers more about the English girl occupying his mind, the psychic and emotional bonds between them strengthen and Kit guides him through an oppressive and dangerous time.

There are secrets to be uncovered, both at home and abroad, and it’s up to Kit and Henri to come together and fight their own battles in the depths of the world’s greatest war.

Oooh, this one looks fascinating! Jean Grey, anyone?

Image result for jean grey gif

VERDICT: KEEP

 

4. The Life and Death Parade, Eliza Wass

Image result for the life and death parade

Blurb from Goodreads:

One year ago, Kitty’s boyfriend Nikki Bramley visited a psychic who told him he had no future. Now, he’s dead.

With the Bramley family grieving in separate corners of their home, Kitty sets out to find the psychic who read Nikki his fate. Instead she finds Roan, an enigmatic boy posing as a medium who belongs to the Life and Death Parade–a group of supposed charlatans that explore, and exploit, the thin veil between this world and the next. A group whose members include the psychic… and Kitty’s late mother.

Desperate to learn more about the group and their connection to Nikki, Kitty convinces Roan to return to the Bramley house with her and secures a position for him within the household. Roan quickly ingratiates himself with the Bramleys, and soon enough it seems like everyone is ready to move on. Kitty, however, increasingly suspects Roan knows more about Nikki than he’s letting on. And when they finally locate the Life and Death Parade, and the psychic who made that fateful prophecy to Nikki, Kitty uncovers a secret about Roan that changes everything.

Eh…this one doesn’t look very original…

VERDICT: LET GO

 

5. Because of You, Pip Harry 

Image result for because of you pip harry

Blurb from Goodreads: 

Tiny is homeless. Nola has everything she could ask for. They meet when Nola is forced into volunteer work for the writers’ group at the homeless shelter where Tiny is staying, and at first it seems impossible that two people who are so different could ever be friends. But despite her initial prejudice, Nola quickly learns that there isn’t much separating her from the people who live on the streets. And Tiny begins to see that falling down doesn’t mean you never get back up. Because of You is a story about homelessness, prejudice and the power of words to provide a little hope.

This one looks rough, but it still sounds wonderful.

VERDICT: KEEP

 

6. Ingo, Helen Dunmore

Image result for ingo helen dunmore

Blurb from Goodreads: 

I wish I was away in Ingo, Far across the sea, Sailing over the deepest waters, Where love nor care can trouble me…

Sapphire’s father mysteriously vanishes into the waves off the Cornwall coast where her family has always lived. She misses him terribly, and she longs to hear his spellbinding tales about the Mer, who live in the underwater kingdom of Ingo. Perhaps that is why she imagines herself being pulled like a magnet toward the sea. But when her brother, Conor, starts disappearing for hours on end, Sapphy starts to believe she might not be the only one who hears the call of the ocean.

I’m all for mermaids, but there really doesn’t seem to be much plot here…at all…

VERDICT: LET GO

 

7. Drum Roll, Please, Lisa Jenn Bigelow

Image result for drum roll please lisa jenn bigelow

Blurb from Goodreads: 

Find the confidence to rock out to your own beat.

Melly only joined the school band because her best friend, Olivia, begged her to. But to her surprise, quiet Melly loves playing the drums. It’s the only time she doesn’t feel like a mouse.

Now, she and Olivia are about to spend the next two weeks at Camp Rockaway, jamming under the stars in the Michigan woods.

But this summer brings big changes for Melly: her parents split up, her best friend ditches her, and Melly finds herself falling for a girl at camp named Adeline. To top it off, Melly’s not sure she has what it takes to be a real rock ‘n’ roll drummer. Will she be able to make music from all the noise in her heart?

Aah, this sounds so cute! And it’s shelved as LGBTQ+…YES!

VERDICT: KEEP

 

8. The Rising Storm (Paradigm Trilogy, #1), Ceri A. Lowe

Image result for the rising storm ceri a lowe

Blurb from Goodreads: 

What if the end of the world was just the beginning?

15-year-old Alice Davenport was a loner and an outcast before the Storms swept away everything she knew. Saved from the ravaged remains of London by the mysterious and all-powerful Paradigm Industries, her fierce independence and unique skills soon gain her recognition from the highest levels of command. But their plans to rebuild civilisation from scratch mean destroying all remnants of the past – no matter what, or who, gets left behind.

Alice must decide if she will fight for the old world, or the new…

Decades later, 15-year-old Carter Warren is woken from the Catacombs after years of cryonic sleep. He’s determined to do whatever it takes to climb the ranks to Controller General – until he realises the Industry’s control methods have become harsher than ever. The Barricades make sure nothing from the Deadlands can get in to the Community – and no one can get out. And a shocking discovery about his own family causes Carter to question everything he’s ever known…

As Alice becomes entangled in the Industry’s plan for the future, and Carter delves into the secrets of his past, they must make sacrifices which threaten to tear them apart. And both of them are forced to confront an impossible question…

Would you dare to risk it all for the perfect world?

…aaaaaaaand it’s another cliche-ridden dystopia. Oops.

Image result for shaking head gif

VERDICT: LET GO

 

9. Scales of Empire, Kylie Chan

Screen Shot 2020-03-25 at 5.08.36 PM.png

Blurb from Goodreads: 

An exciting new adventure filled with diverse characters, strong heroes and heroines and wild creatures from the bestselling author of White Tiger.

Corporal Jian Choumaliis on the mission of a lifetime – security officer on one of Earth’s huge generation ships, fleeing Earth’s failing ecosystem to colonise a distant planet.

The ship encounters a technologically and culturally advanced alien empire, led by a royal family of dragons. The empire’s dragon emissary offers her aid to the people of Earth, bringing greater health, longer life, and faster-than-light travel to nearby stars.

But what price will the people of Earth have to pay for the generous alien assistance?

Okay, listen. I love space. I love dragons. But I’m not sure if I’m on board with dragons in space.

Image result for what did i just read gif

VERDICT: LET GO

 

10. Lotus and Thorn, Sara Wilson Etienne

Image result for lotus and thorn

Ravaged by a plague known as Red Death, the planet Gabriel, a former colony of Earth, is a barren wasteland. Since being abandoned by Earth 500 years ago, resources are scarce and life is cheap. To stay alive, the survivors, the Citizens, scavenge the remains of a now dead city, trading for food with the resource-rich Curadores, the only other survivors on Gabriel. Every old computer, every piece of wire, every scrap of metal counts. To steal is the ultimate sin. So when tough-as-nails seventeen-year-old Leica is caught doing just that, she’s exiled and left to the mercy of Gabriel’s unforgiving desert for the rest of her life.

While in exile, Leica discovers a mysterious shuttle, which may not only lead her home, but even more impossible—reestablish contact with Earth. Then Red Death rears its head again, killing her entire work crew, leaving Leica all alone until a handsome Curador offers her refuge in the Dome—the only place on Gabriel untouched by Red Death, where a decadent and sultry life awaits. But there’s a catch: Leica can only enter the Dome as his concubine—his Kisaeng. When a rogue group of Citizens see their chance for revolution in Leica’s good fortune, she finds herself unraveling a deadly mystery with chilling answers to the true origin of Red Death and the reason Earth really abandoned them so long ago.

THERE IS NO ESCAPE FROM THE DYSTOPIA RIPOFFS…

VERDICT: LET GO

 

RESULTS:

KEPT: 5

LET GO: 5

Image result for i did it gif

Another successful cleaning, and another 50-50 split! Glad I cleaned out some dystopian cliches from my TBR, and I discovered some that I’ll have to read soon!

Today’s song:

I discovered Oppenheimer Analysis via a Snail Mail interview, and I liked most of this album!

 

That just about wraps up this post! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

thank you for reading.jpg

Posted in Books, Down the TBR Hole, Goodreads Monday

Everything That I’ve Managed to Cross Off of Goodreads Monday or Down the TBR Hole (Part I of ?)

Happy Wednesday, bibliophiles!

Image result for it is wednesday my dudes

For the past few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’ve put on my Goodreads Monday and Down the TBR Hole posts. Now that I’ve been doing both for a fair amount of time, I’ve actually managed to read a few books that I’d posted from my TBR. It’s gonna be interesting to see how my initial thoughts measure up with how I actually feel/felt about the book. Some of them, I’ve already reviewed, but there’s some that I haven’t, so let’s see…

(These are posted in order of when I read them, not when I posted them.)

 

1. Breakfast Served Anytime, Sarah Combs

Image result for breakfast served anytime by sarah combs

INITIAL THOUGHTS (from Goodreads Monday, 11/18/19):

First off, I’m glad that Breakfast Served Anytime seems to be a novel about self-discovery, but without the romance aspect at the forefront. I’m not opposed to romance, but as I said in Goodreads Monday (9/9/19)-Loveless: WOMEN 👏 CAN 👏 DISCOVER 👏 THEMSELVES 👏 WITHOUT 👏 A 👏 MAN 👏

Other than that, most of the concepts and plot points in here seem to be pretty intriguing, what with Gloria trying to find her way amongst fellow outsiders, and navigating her own loss and heartache. Plus, you know I’m here for these X-Men references…

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

THOUGHTS AFTER READING IT: 

Though I’m disappointed (but not surprised) that the “Professor X” plotline wasn’t also an X-Men reference (they probably had to change it up for copyright reasons), this was a cute and fluffy novel, and very much a feel-good read. Forgettable at worst, but a nice reprieve from more intense literature and the state of the world. I’m also glad that somebody else appreciates The Magnetic Fields, at least.

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2. Anya’s Ghost, Vera Brosgol 

Image result for anya's ghost

INITIAL THOUGHTS (from Down the TBR Hole #1):

Oh, yeah. This one’s been on my TBR for three years, and I’m still on board with this sarcastic spookiness.

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

THOUGHTS AFTER READING IT: 

I’m so glad I was right about this one. An absolute joy to read, with relatable themes, adorably stylized artwork, and witty writing. Don’t regret reading this one, not one bit.

Read my full review here! 

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3. Roar (Stormheart, #1), Cora Carmack 

Image result for roar cora carmack

INITIAL THOUGHTS (from Down the TBR Hole 2: Electric Boogaloo):

A fantasy with a female lead who can control the weather? I’M IN. SIGN ME UP.

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

THOUGHTS AFTER READING IT: 

I put a GIF of Storm from X-Men after my blurb on that DtTBRH post, and though Aurora/Roar doesn’t *quite* measure up to her (I mean, it’d be incredibly hard to do that, anyway), Roar was a fantasy with incredible chemistry between its characters, though a bit lacking in the romance department.

Read my full review here! 

Image result for storm gif xmen

4. Crown of Coral and Pearl (Crown of Coral and Pearl, #1), Mara Rutherford 

Image result for crown of coral and pearl

INITIAL THOUGHTS (from Goodreads Monday, 9/23/19):

Okay, maybe it’s not exactly a mermaid book, but it seems like a good execution of the concept of undersea kingdoms. If all goes well, it sounds like Crown of Coral and Pearl has a lot of political intrigue and some interesting world building. I’m not expecting another Smoke Thieves, but here’s hoping that we’ll get *something* as good as that.

And let me elaborate on the whole “desperate to read a mermaid book” thing. I haven’t read a book in years that has executed the concept of mermen well. Case in point: Jennifer Donnelly’s Deep Blue. Avoid this one at all costs; the mermaids were uncreatively designed, as was the kingdom. And, there was the unrealistic dialogue and the onslaught of awful puns that the author seemed to think that we were going to take seriously. Just stoooopppp. Ally Condie’s Atlantia has a similar plot to Crown of Coral and Pearl, but it fell into a nearly identical trap: corny dialogue, cardboard characters, etc. So yeah, I really need a good mermaid book. Soon. Right now. 🅱LEASE?

RATING: ⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to 3

THOUGHTS AFTER READING IT: 

I was promised mermaids. Kind of.  The pictures I’ve seen from some of the giveaway boxes that came from it had mermaid drawings. But did we get mermaids? Nope. Just a shoreline kingdom with some pearl divers. That’s it.

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[both songs play simultaneously on a broken recorder as I smack myself in the forehead]

I just finished one up a few hours ago, so here are my firsthand thoughts. Though the worldbuilding, political systems, and writing were intriguing enough, it lacked in most other departments. The plot and romantic subplot were both riddled with cliches, and I only felt the slightest bit of sympathy for the characters. They were well-written, to be sure, but it felt like the same plot that’s been plaguing YA for years, vomited up yet again. And…it’s shelved as fantasy, but there’s almost nothing that would qualify it for fantasy–or even science fiction–save for a few semi-magical critters and oceanic lore. Disappointing, really. Meh.

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Today’s song:

Man, this one brings back some serious memories…

For now, that’s all the books that I’ve read that have come from my Goodreads Monday and Down the TBR Hole posts! I’ll post more of these once I start stacking up more finished books. Have a wonderful day, and take care of yourselves!

thank you for reading.jpg

 

 

Posted in Books, Down the TBR Hole

Down the TBR Hole 4–A New Hope

Happy Saturday, bibliophiles!

I’ve neglected my TBR-cleaning duties for the past few weeks, and since I have some time to blog today, I decided to be…somewhat productive. I’ll just keep telling myself this is a good use of my time. I suppose there’s a lot of dust bunnies that need to be swept out from under the metaphorical bed.

Without further ado, my fourth recorded TBR-culling…

Image result for pulling on gloves gif

The Rules

  • 1. Go to your Goodreads To-Read shelf
  •  2. Order on ascending date added.
  •  3. Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  •  4. Read the synopsis of the books.
  •  5. Time to Decide: keep it or should it go

 

1. Vanilla, Billy Merrell

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Blurb from Goodreads: 

A bold, groundbreaking novel about coming out, coming into your own, and coming apart.

Hunter and Van become boyfriends before they’re even teenagers, and stay a couple even when adolescence intervenes. But in high school, conflict arises — mostly because Hunter is much more comfortable with the sex part of sexual identity. As the two boys start to realize that loving someone doesn’t guarantee they will always be with you, they find out more about their own identities — with Hunter striking out on his own while Van begins to understand his own asexuality.

In poems that are romantic and poems that are heartbreaking, Vanilla explores all the flavors of the spectrum — and how romance and love aren’t always the same thing.

 

Oh, this one’s definitely a keeper.  Gay/Asexual representation? Count me in!

VERDICT: KEEP

 

2. The Lonely Hearts Club (The Lonely Hearts Club, #1), Elizabeth Eulberg

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Blurb from Goodreads: 

Love is all you need… or is it? Penny’s about to find out in this wonderful debut.

Penny is sick of boys and sick of dating. So she vows: no more. It’s a personal choice. . .and, of course, soon everyone wants to know about it. And a few other girls are inspired. A movement is born: The Lonely Hearts Club (named after the band from Sgt. Pepper). Penny is suddenly known for her nondating ways . . . which is too bad, because there’s this certain boy she can’t help but like. . . .

 

Huh…as much as I love the Beatles/all these Beatles references, I’m not sure if that’s enough to hold up the plot. Plus, I’m not one to trust Stephenie Meyer.

VERDICT: LET GO

 

3. How Not to Be Popular, Jennifer Ziegler

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Blurb from Goodreads:

Maggie Dempsey is tired of moving all over the country. Her parents are second-generation hippies who uproot her every year or so to move to a new city. When Maggie was younger, she thought it was fun and adventurous. Now that she’s a teenager, she hates it. When she moved after her freshman year, she left behind good friends, a great school, and a real feeling of belonging. When she moved her sophomore year, she left behind a boyfriend, too. Now that they’ve moved to Austin, she knows better. She’s not going to make friends. She’s not going to fit in. Anything to prevent her from liking this new place and them from liking her. Only . . . things don’t go exactly as planned.

 

Yeah, nope. I hate to say it, but…does anyone else smell a boatload of cliches?

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VERDICT: LET GO

 

4. Freya (Freya, #1), Matthew Laurence

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Blurb from Goodreads: 

Freya is myth. She is legend. And she’s about to make one hell of a comeback.

Sara Vanadi is more than she appears to be.

In her prime, she was Freya, the Norse goddess of love, beauty, war, and death. Now all that’s left of her legacy is herself. Her power comes from belief, and for an ancient goddess in the 21st century, true believers are hard to come by.

She’s been lying low for a few decades, when all of a sudden a shadowy corporation extends an offer: join them and receive unlimited strength and believers—or refuse and be destroyed. Sara chooses neither; she flees with the help of a new friend named Nathan.

With a modern power rising that wishes to bend the divine to its will, Sara decides to fight back—but first she needs some new clothes.

 

Lord…I added these books to my TBR about a year ago, but WHAT was I THINKING?

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VERDICT: LET GO

 

5. Bookshop Girl (Bookshop Girl, #1), Chloe Coles

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Blurb from Goodreads:

A hilarious tale of female friendship, bookshops and fighting for a cause – perfect for fans of Holly Bourne and Louise Rennison.

Bennett’s Bookshop has always been a haven for sixteen-year-old Paige Turner. It’s a place where she can escape from her sleepy hometown, hang out with her best friend, Holly, and also earn some money.

But, like so many bookshops, Bennett’s has become a ‘casualty of the high street’ – it’s strapped for cash and going to be torn down. Paige is determined to save it but mobilising a small town like Greysworth is no mean feat.

Time is ticking – but that’s not the only problem Paige has. How is she going to fend off the attractions of beautiful fellow artist, Blaine? And, more importantly, will his anarchist ways make or break her bookshop campaign?

Eh…as much as I (sort of?) relate initially to Paige, the synopsis all started to fall apart in the last few sentences. Can’t say I have faith in this one.

VERDICT: LET GO

 

6. The Tomb, S. A. Bodeen

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Blurb from Goodreads: 

Your world is as you see it to be. Until it isn’t.

These are the first words Kiva’s best friend, Seth, says, after years of silence.

Kiva thought she was growing up in ancient Alexandria. That’s what she and all her classmates had been led to believe by their parents. It turns out she was living in virtual reality, in a sleep chamber in deep space. She and Seth are among a handful of humans who continue to survive. Because Earth no longer exists.

Seth was the first to wake up. Now it’s Kiva’s turn.

Together, they must take an escape shuttle, nicknamed the Tomb, to search for the engine part their ship needs to keep running. But it’s been a long time since their ship has communicated with any of the other vessels harboring human civilization. And not all the survivors are friendly…

 

For some reason, I checked this out at the library a year or so ago, but never got around to reading it. Though the dangerously low Goodreads rating scares me a bit (2.88…yikes…), this one’s still intriguing.

VERDICT: KEEP

 

7. The Wise and the Wicked, Rebecca Podos

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Blurb from Goodreads: 

Ruby Chernyavsky has been told the stories since she was a child: The women in her family, once possessed of great magical abilities to remake lives and stave off death itself, were forced to flee their Russian home for America in order to escape the fearful men who sought to destroy them. Such has it always been, Ruby’s been told, for powerful women. Today, these stories seem no more real to Ruby than folktales, except for the smallest bit of power left in their blood: when each of them comes of age, she will have a vision of who she will be when she dies—a destiny as inescapable as it is inevitable. Ruby is no exception, and neither is her mother, although she ran from her fate years ago, abandoning Ruby and her sisters. It’s a fool’s errand, because they all know the truth: there is no escaping one’s Time.

Until Ruby’s great-aunt Polina passes away, and, for the first time, a Chernyavsky’s death does not match her vision. Suddenly, things Ruby never thought she’d be allowed to hope for—life, love, time—seem possible. But as she and her cousin Cece begin to dig into the family’s history to find out whether they, too, can change their fates, they learn that nothing comes without a cost. Especially not hope.

 

Witches? Magic? Feminism? Sisterhood? Shut up and take my library card…

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VERDICT: KEEP

 

8. Hello Girls, Brittany Cavallaro

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Blurb from Goodreads: 

Best friends are forged by fire. For Winona Olsen and Lucille Pryce, that fire happened the night they met outside the police station—both deciding whether to turn their families in.

Winona has been starving for life in the seemingly perfect home that she shares with her seemingly perfect father, celebrity weatherman Stormy Olsen. No one knows that he locks the pantry door to control her eating and leaves bruises where no one can see them.

Lucille has been suffocating beneath the needs of her mother and her drug-dealing brother, wondering if there’s more out there for her than disappearing waitress tips and generations of barely getting by.

One harrowing night, Winona and Lucille realize they can’t wait until graduation to start their new lives. They need out. Now. All they need is three grand, fast. And really, a stolen convertible to take them from Michigan to Las Vegas can’t hurt.

 

Yikes. This one sounds like a rough ride, but I still think I’m in.

VERDICT: KEEP

 

9. Kaleidoscope Song, Fox Benwell

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Blurb from Goodreads: 

South Africa is loud. Listen. Do you hear the song and dance of it? The chorus of Khayelitsha life? Every voice is different, its pitch and tone and intonation as distinct as the words we choose and how we wrap our mouths around them. But everybody has a voice, and everybody sings…

Fifteen year old Neo loves music, it punctuates her life and shapes the way she views the world. A life in radio is all she’s ever wanted.

When Umzi Radio broadcasts live in a nearby bar Neo can’t resist. She sneaks out to see them, and she falls in love, with music, and the night, but also with a girl: Tale has a voice like coffee poured into a bright steel mug, and she commands the stage.

It isn’t normal. Isn’t right. Neo knows that she’s supposed to go to school and get a real job and find a nice young boy to settle down with. It’s written everywhere – in childhood games, and playground questions, in the textbooks, in her parents’ faces. But Tale and music are underneath her skin, and try as she might, she can’t stop thinking about them.

Ohhhh yeah. I’m ALL in.

VERDICT: KEEP

 

10. Proud, Juno Dawson

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Blurb from Goodreads: 

A stirring, bold and moving anthology of stories and poetry by top LGBTQ+ YA authors and new talent, giving their unique responses to the broad theme of pride. Each story has an illustration by an artist identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community. Compiled by Juno Dawson, author of THIS BOOK IS GAY and CLEAN.

A celebration of LGBTQ+ talent, PROUD is a thought-provoking, funny, emotional read.

Contributors: Steve Antony, Dean Atta, Kate Alizadeh, Fox Benwell, Alex Bertie, Caroline Bird, Fatti Burke, Tanya Byrne, Moïra Fowley-Doyle, Frank Duffy, Simon James Green, Leo Greenfield, Saffa Khan, Karen Lawler, David Levithan, Priyanka Meenakshi, Alice Oseman, Michael Lee Richardson, David Roberts, Cynthia So, Kay Staples, Jessica Vallance, Kristen Van Dam and Kameron White.

 

I haven’t read anything by any of these authors, but I am SO excited for this one.

VERDICT: KEEP

 

RESULTS: 

KEPT: 5

LET GO: 5

[Thom Yorke voice] “Everythiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing…in its riiiiiiiiiiiiight plaaaaaaaaaaaace…”

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Anyway, I feel like that was a successful TBR-cleaning session. I got rid of some books that were in dire need of deletion from my list, and I found a few possible gems that I forgot about. Also, full disclosure: I skipped a book, but only because it was a volume of B.P.R.D. that I haven’t yet read, and that’s an automatic keeper for me.

 

Today’s song:

I’ve had (Sandy) Alex G on my lists of artists to check out for a while, and so I decided to make a commitment to listen to his music today. He’s kind of hit-or-miss for me (I’ve only listened to House of Sugar and part of Rocket, so maybe there’s something I’m missing), but I found a few that I liked, such as this one.

 

Thus concludes today’s post! Have a wonderful rest of your day, take care of yourselves, and in wake of all this COVID-19 weirdness, stay safe out there!

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