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…

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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 

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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

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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

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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?

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VERDICT: KEEP

 

4. The Life and Death Parade, Eliza Wass

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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 

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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VERDICT: LET GO

 

9. Scales of Empire, Kylie Chan

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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.

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VERDICT: LET GO

 

10. Lotus and Thorn, Sara Wilson Etienne

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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

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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!

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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!

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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

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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 

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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 

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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! 

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

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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!

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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…

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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…”

Image result for radiohead gif everything in its right place

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!

thank you for reading.jpg

Posted in Books, Down the TBR Hole

Down the TBR Hole 3-The Last Stand

Happy Friday, bibliophiles! I had a snow day today, so I’ve had some lovely time off to relax, and most importantly…read.

As always, my TBR is in need of some serious cleaning, so hereby begins my third TBR cleansing session…

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. On a Dark Wing, Jordan Dane 

Image result for on a dark wing

Blurb from Goodreads: 

The choices I had made led to the moment when fate took over. I would learn a lesson I wasn’t prepared for. And Death would be my willing teacher.

Five years ago, Abbey Chandler cheated Death. She survived a horrific car accident, but her “lucky” break came at the expense of her mother’s life and changed everything. After she crossed paths with Death – by taking the hand of an ethereal boy made of clouds and sky – she would never be normal again.

Now she’s the target of Death’s ravens and an innocent boy’s life is on the line. When Nate Holden – Abbey’s secret crush – starts to climb Alaska’s Denali, the Angel of Death stalks him because of her.

And Abbey finds out the hard way that Death never forgets.

 

Eh…I’d be on board, if not for the veeeery forced-looking romance. Also, buff dudes on book covers never fail to make me cringe, so this one’s a no from me.

VERDICT: LET GO

 

2. The Pledge (The Pledge, #1), Kimberly Derting

Image result for the pledge kimberly derting

Blurb from Goodreads: 

In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she’s spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It’s there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she’s never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can’t be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country’s only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.

Okay, yeah, this looks like the byproduct of the great Dystopian YA Craze of the 2010s, but at least the whole system with languages actually seems fairly original.

VERDICT: KEEP

 

3. The Truth Commission, Susan Juby 

Image result for the truth commission book

Blurb from Goodreads:

This was going to be the year Normandy Pale came into her own. The year she emerged from her older sister’s shadow—and Kiera, who became a best-selling graphic novelist before she even graduated from high school, casts a long one. But it hasn’t worked out that way, not quite. So Normandy turns to her art and writing, and the “truth commission” she and her friends have started to find out the secrets at their school. It’s a great idea, as far as it goes—until it leads straight back to Kiera, who has been hiding some pretty serious truths of her own.

 

Ooh, this sounds like some arty, contemporary fun! Still in!

VERDICT: KEEP

 

4. Lorali (Lorali, #1), Laura Dockrill

Image result for lorali laura dockrill

Blurb from Goodreads:

Colourful, raw, brave, rich and fantastical – this mermaid tale is not for the faint-hearted.

Looking after a naked girl he found washed up under Hastings pier isn’t exactly how Rory had imagined spending his sixteenth birthday. But more surprising than finding her in the first place is discovering where she has come from.

Lorali is running not just from the sea, not just from her position as princess, but her entire destiny. Lorali has rejected life as a mermaid, and become human.

But along with Lorali’s arrival, and the freak weather suddenly battering the coast, more strange visitors begin appearing in Rory’s bemused Sussex town. With beautifully coiffed hair, sharp-collared shirts and a pirate ship shaped like a Tudor house, the Abelgare boys are a mystery all of their own. What are they really up to? Can Rory protect Lorali? And who from? And where does she really belong, anyway?

Another hapless victim of my insatiable hunger for quality mermaid literature. But at second glance, this one seems mediocre, at best.

VERDICT: LET GO

 

5. Slayers (Slayers, #1), C.J. Hill

Image result for slayers c j hill

Blurb from Goodreads:

Dragons exist. They’re ferocious. And they’re smart: Before they were killed off by slayer-knights, they rendered a select group of eggs dormant, so their offspring would survive. Only a handful of people know about this, let alone believe it – these “Slayers” are descended from the original knights, and are now a diverse group of teens that includes Tori, a smart but spoiled senator’s daughter who didn’t sign up to save the world.

The dragon eggs have fallen into the wrong hands. The Slayers must work together to stop the eggs from hatching. They will fight; they will fall in love. But will they survive?

 

Oh boy…did somebody say formulaic?

VERDICT: LET GO

 

6. Fragile Bones: Harrison & Anna, Lorna Schultz Nicholson

Image result for fragile bones harrison and anna

Blurb from Goodreads:

Meet Harrison and Anna.

One is a fifteen-year-old boy with an uncanny ability to recite every bone in the skeletal system whenever he gets anxious ― and that happens a lot. The meaning of “appropriate behaviour” mystifies him: he doesn’t understand most people and they certainly don’t understand him.

The other is a graduating senior with the world at her feet. Joining the Best Buddies club at her school and pairing up with a boy with high-functioning autism is the perfect addition to her med school applications. Plus, the president of the club is a rather attractive, if mysterious, added attraction.

Told in the alternating voices of Harrison and Anna, Fragile Bones is the story of two teens whose lives intertwine in unexpected ways.

 

Hmm…I’m all for the autism spectrum representation, but the utilization of it feels like a plot device…no bueno.

VERDICT: LET GO

 

7. The Movie Version, Emma Wunsch 

Image result for the movie version emma wunsch

Blurb from Goodreads:

In the movie version of Amelia’s life, the roles have always been clear. Her older brother, Toby: definitely the Star. As popular with the stoners as he is with the cheerleaders, Toby is someone you’d pay ten bucks to watch sweep Battle of the Bands and build a “beach party” in the bathroom. As for Amelia? She’s Toby Anderson’s Younger Sister. She’s perfectly happy to watch Toby’s hijinks from the sidelines, when she’s not engrossed in one of her elaborately themed Netflix movie marathons.

But recently Toby’s been acting in a very non-movie-version way. He’s stopped hanging out with his horde of friends and started obsessively journaling and disappearing for days at a time. Amelia doesn’t know what’s happened to her awesome older brother, or who this strange actor is that’s taken his place. And there’s someone else pulling at her attention: a smart, cute new boyfriend who wants to know the real Amelia—not Toby’s Sidekick. Amelia feels adrift without her star, but to best help Toby—and herself—it might be time to cast a new role: Amelia Anderson, leading lady.

I sense one of those rare coming-of-age novels that doesn’t involve a girl meeting a boy in order to change herself…*rubs hands together*

VERDICT: KEEP

 

8. Being Henry David, Cal Armistead

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Blurb from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old “Hank” has found himself at Penn Station in New York City with no memory of anything –who he is, where he came from, why he’s running away. His only possession is a worn copy of Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. And so he becomes Henry David-or “Hank” and takes first to the streets, and then to the only destination he can think of–Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. Cal Armistead’s remarkable debut novel is about a teen in search of himself. Hank begins to piece together recollections from his past. The only way Hank can discover his present is to face up to the realities of his grievous memories. He must come to terms with the tragedy of his past, to stop running, and to find his way home.

Awww yeah…this sounds lovely. 

VERDICT: KEEP

 

9. Anthem for Jackson Dawes, Celia Bryce

Image result for anthem for jackson dawes

Blurb from Goodreads:

Megan Bright and Jackson Dawes are two teenagers who first meet each other on the hospital ward where they are both being treated for cancer. Megan is scared and worried about her illness, but Jackson seems to be an old hand, having been on the ward for ages. And everybody loves Jackson! He is a whirlwind of life and energy, warmth and sparkle. Megan will need to borrow some of Jackson’s extraordinary optimism to face her and Jackson’s future. A moving story of first love and a remarkably powerful debut novel.

 

Yikes…whoops, must’ve stepped in a puddle of The Fault in Our Stars ripoffs…

VERDICT: LET GO

 

10. Shooting Stars, Allison Rushby

Image result for shooting stars allison rushby

Blurb from Goodreads:

Everyone agrees that the paparazzi are the scourge of the earth. They’re low. They’re despicable. They’ll do anything for that perfect shot. And yet…how long could you go without your Us Weekly fix?

Meet Josephine Foster, or ‘Zo Jo as she’s called in the biz. The best pint-sized photographer of them all, Jo knows that the public-and the stars-have a symbiotic relationship with the paparazzi. She doesn’t mind doing what it takes to get that perfect shot, until she’s sent on a major undercover assignment to shoot Ned Hartnett-teen superstar and the only celebrity who’s ever been kind to her-at an exclusive rehabilitation retreat. The money will be enough to pay for Jo’s dream: fine portrait photography classes, and maybe even quitting her ‘zo gig for good.

Everyone at the retreat wants to know: what Ned’s in for? But Jo certainly doesn’t know what she’s in for: falling in love with Ned was never supposed to be part of her assignment . . .

Bad photography puns aside, this looks cute.

VERDICT: KEEP

 

RESULTS: 

KEPT: 5

LET GO: 5

Image result for everything is perfect gif

Another successful TBR cleaning! Hopefully I can let more go next time, but I’m glad I caught some of the awful stuff that had piled up in the dark recesses of my TBR…

Today’s song:

This is the cutest little video!!!

 

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

thank you for reading.jpg

 

 

 

 

Posted in Books, Down the TBR Hole

Down the TBR Hole 2: Electric Boogaloo

So many (thousands) of books, piled up for so many years, and so little time…

My TBR will need some routine cleaning for a long time to come, so expect these posts frequently. 😉

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 goes nothin’…

 

1. Since You’ve Been Gone, Morgan Matson

Image result for since you've been gone book

Blurb from Goodreads:

It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.

On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?

Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a stranger? Um…

Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane’s list. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go skinny-dipping? Wait…what?

 

Hmm. This sort of “disappearing and/or dead friend leaves behind a massive bucket list” trope is starting to become far more prevalent in YA, but this one looks cute enough. Fluffy, but I think I’d enjoy it.

VERDICT: KEEP

 

2. Departure Time, Truus Matti

Image result for departure time truus matti

Blurb from Goodreads:

A run-down hotel on a bare plain: the only hiding place for a girl in the rain. Once inside, a fox offers her a chair. A suspicious rat acts like he has met her before. But she can’t remember anything. Not even her own name…. At the hotel she finds more questions than answers. She hears piano music, but can’t find the piano. And what about the pieces of paper flying around the plain? While she tries to mend these pieces together, the pieces in her mind start to come together as well. And then she remembers the question she really wants to be answered. DEPARTURE TIME is an amazing journey of a girl in two stories. There is the girl in the hotel with the fox and the rat. And there is the girl with a father who travels a lot and who suggests to write a story together. A story about talking animals. But she doesn’t want to. She is angry with him, because he can’t make her birthday in time. Again. The two stories slowly start to intertwine and come together in a surprising ending.

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I’m all for whimsical stories, but just from the synopsis alone, this one…what? What? I…what’s supposed to be going on?

VERDICT: LET GO

 

3. Mortlock, Jon Mayhew

Image result for mortlock jon mayhew

Blurb from Goodreads:

The sister is a knife-thrower in a magician’s stage act, the brother an undertaker’s assistant. Neither orphan knows of the other’s existence. Until, that is, three terrible aunts descend on the girl’s house and imprison her guardian, the Great Cardamom. His dying act is to pass the girl a note with clues to the secret he carries to his grave.

Huh. That’s a rather short description. I think I’d need more information if I’d want to read it. I get it, synopses are supposed to hook you without giving the plot/big reveal away, but…I need more than four sentences, please…

VERDICT: LET GO

 

4. Bookhunter, Jason Shiga

Image result for bookhunter jason shiga

Blurb from Goodreads:

Ripped from today’s headlines, Bookhunter fires off and you can’t quit reading. The excitement is fulfilling. The year is 1973. A priceless book has been stolen from the Oakland Public Library. A crack team of Bookhunters (aka. library police) have less than three days to recover the stolen item. It’s a race against the clock as our heroes use every tool in their arsenal of library equipment to find the book and the mastermind who stole it.

 

Okay, as someone who has practically grown up in my local library (and now volunteers in it), this sounds like an absolute riot. 

VERDICT: KEEP

 

5. Black Bead (Black Bead Chronicles, #1), J.D. Lakey

Image result for black bead jd lakey

Blurb from Goodreads: 

On a savage, outlying planet an enclave of psionically-trained humans have built a utopian, matriarchal society that lives in harmony with all life. Leaving behind the polluted and corrupt world in which they lived, they colonized a new home far from the eyes of the galactic empire. Shielded from the rest of the galaxy by the dangerous beasts that inhabit their lush, forested world, the village lives a simple life under their Home Dome. But their goal was more than just to live in peace – they wanted to create the perfect human who could bring peace to the galaxy. Rather than merely cloning themselves, they began to manipulate genes in order to create a race of mutants with enhanced telepathic powers. Under the direction of the ruling coven, each child of the Windfall Dome is tested at a young age to asses their abilities – a test which is can plot the course for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, Cheobawn – the daughter of the ruling First Mother to the dome – is marked with the Black Bead on her Choosing Day, a symbol of bad luck and shame. It seems the child the village had placed so much hope in would not be the future ruler they had hoped for. Yet there is something powerful about her that the elders don’t understand. Finally of age, Cheobawn is chosen to join a pack to act as the psychic Ear on a foraging mission outside the dome. She knows this is her chance to prove herself. But something sinister stalks them and each member of the pack must draw on their unique strengths and a lifetime of training if they want to survive to see another day. In her visionary new series, The Black Bead Chronicles, author J.D. Lakey invites you to journey along with Cheobawn, Megan, Tam, Connor, and Alain as they use their wits and their Luck to unravel the mysteries of the deceptively bucolic life beneath the dome in this coming of age metaphysical science fiction adventure.

wHEW, I guess I’ve just witnessed both ends of a delicate spectrum. Mortlock’s synopsis was itty-bitty, but this was an overflowing bucket of info-dumping…

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And even after all that, I’m still not interested in reading it anymore…

VERDICT: LET GO

 

6. Saving Montgomery Sole, Mariko Tamaki

Image result for saving montgomery sole

Blurb from Goodreads:

In sight not see
black light not be

This is the curious instruction that comes with the Eye of Know, the possibly powerful crystal amulet that Montgomery Sole buys online for $5.99. It’s also the next topic of discussion at Mystery Club (members: Monty and her two best friends, Thomas and Naoki), dedicated to the exploration of the strange and unexplained.

When Monty wears the Eye of Know, strange things happen, all targeted at people she despises. Maybe it will help Monty take down her newest enemy, a preacher who has come to save her town from so-called sinners—sinners like Monty’s moms. Or will its mysterious powers mean the end of the friendships Monty cherishes most?

 

Ooh! Spooky crystals, misfit friend groups, and LGBT themes? Count me in!

VERDICT: KEEP

 

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

Image result for roar stormheart

Blurb from Goodreads:

In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

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

Related image

VERDICT: KEEP

 

8. Does My Head Look Big in This?, Randa Abdel-Fattah

Image result for does my head look big in this book

Blurb from Goodreads:

When sixteen-year-old Amal decides to wear the hijab full-time, her entire world changes, all because of a piece of cloth…

Sixteen-year-old Amal makes the decision to start wearing the hijab full-time and everyone has a reaction. Her parents, her teachers, her friends, people on the street. But she stands by her decision to embrace her faith and all that it is, even if it does make her a little different from everyone else.

Can she handle the taunts of “towel head,” the prejudice of her classmates, and still attract the cutest boy in school? Brilliantly funny and poignant, Randa Abdel-Fattah’s debut novel will strike a chord in all teenage readers, no matter what their beliefs.

In literature, especially YA, it’s great to have diverse fiction, but it doesn’t always have to be so serious. Having unique experiences shouldn’t always be looked upon an angsty light (though sometimes it needs to be); let’s have some cuter stuff in there, too! Does My Head Look Big in This? seems a bit on the light side, and I’m 100% for it.

VERDICT: KEEP

 

9. Lost (The Caelian Cycle, #1), Donnielle Tyner

Image result for lost the caelian cycle

Blurb from Goodreads: 

In the final days of WWI, a meteor crashed into Earth, releasing a mist that forever changed the DNA of all exposed.  One hundred years later, humanity is divided between Norms, and Caelians, whose mutated DNA awakened dormant Talents. Hated by many Norms who are jealous of their powerful Talents, Caelians strive to find safety in an often-hostile world.

This is Sadie’s world. Orphaned at birth, Sadie is the only Caelian at St. Vincent’s without a Talent.  Her already lonely life at the orphanage is shattered when her boyfriend is murdered- the victim of an anti-Caelian hate crime. Struggling to find her place in the world, Sadie meets Kian, a fellow Caelian whose very presence makes her feel strangely alive.

As Sadie begins to uncover the secrets of her past, her rare latent Talent is exposed and she finds herself on the run with Kian and her friends, hunted by a dangerous egomaniac determined to use her power to establish Caelian dominance. Sadie faces a choice: hide and stay lost, or accept her new reality and fight.

Seems like a somewhat intriguing metaphor for the prejudice against minorities, but beyond that, it seems like it’s gonna be riddled with cliches.

VERDICT: LET GO

 

10. Out of the Dark (Five, #1), Holli Anderson

Image result for out of the dark holli anderson

Blurb from Goodreads:

Five teenagers who’ve recently discovered they have magical powers and are living in the Seattle underground feel it’s their responsibility to protect unsuspecting humans from otherworldly foes. Things are going well until Johnathan, their unofficial leader and the boy sixteen year old Paige is in love with, is bitten by a changeling – the venomous saliva causing him to metamorphose into a ravening beast with each full moon. Paige vows that, no matter the cost, she will find a way to cure Johnathan of the evil that has embedded itself in his soul.

Johnathan’s monthly transformation and daily personality roller coaster isn’t the only problem they have to deal with. The Five are also gearing up to face their toughest and most dangerous enemy yet—a powerful and ruthless Warlock who will go to any means, including high school, to build his Dark Army.

Oof…

The more I look at the blurb, the angrier I get…starting with: WHO SPELLS JONATHAN LIKE THAT? Ah, yes, he is clearly Not Like the Others…

And I know I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but man…there is no…diversity…whatsoever…and there’s an alternate edition where there’s just two of them kissing in the middle of the wasteland while the other three just stand there awkwardly.

Nope.

VERDICT: LET GO

 

RESULTS: 

Books kept: 5

Books let go: 5

Now I have permission to use this gif…

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More successful than my first trip down the TBR hole, I’d say! Weeded out a few books, and discovered a few that I’d forgotten about entirely. [pats self on the back]

 

That just about wraps up this post! Since I already posted a song on this week’s Goodreads Monday, I won’t put another one here today. Have a nice day, and stay tuned for more content later in the week!

thank you for reading.jpg

 

 

 

Posted in Book Tags, Books, Down the TBR Hole

Down the TBR Hole #1

Let’s get straight to the facts: my TBR is in gargantuan need of a cleaning. I kid you not, the books on there number in the thousands.

You heard me right, thousands. 

So, when I found this tag on To Think About Words, I knew I had to participate. (Thank you, Yvonne!)

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

(I’ll bend the rules and choose a shelf I haven’t looked at much, but otherwise, I’ll adhere 😉)

 

1. Welfy Q. Deederhoth–Meat Purveyor, World Savior, Eric Laster

Image result for  Welfy Q. Deederhoth--Meat Purveyor, World Savior"

Blurb from Goodreads

Can a homeless teen from New York City, armed mostly with deli foods, save an alien race from extinction? The answer is not what you might think.

Orphan, product of the foster care system, Welfy is a homeless runaway struggling to survive, uncertainly navigating the streets of New York City with his only friend Harlan Mills. Soon after he finds work at Gramercy Deli, he stumbles into an alternate universe where he’s believed to be “The One in a dirty apron” prophesied to lead the Brundeedle race out of Woe Time. Understandably, Welfy has his doubts.

“Reach into your apron pocket!” urges Princess Nnnn of the Brundeedles, as Ceparids—a violent species bent on Brundeedle destruction—surround them. More than a little perplexed, Welfy swivels, rears, miraculously avoids getting killed by Ceparid missiles as he fumbles in his apron’s front pocket, and pulls out—a slice of baloney.

I mean, it sounds pretty fun, but I feel like I missed my chance; I might’ve enjoyed this one a lot more when I was younger.

VERDICT: LET GO

 

2. The Fires Beneath the Sea (The Dissenters, #1), Lydia Millet

Image result for the fires beneath the sea"

Blurb from Goodreads:

Cara’s mother has disappeared. Her father isn’t talking about it. Her big brother Max is hiding behind his iPod, and her genius little brother Jackson is busy studying the creatures he collects from the beach. But when a watery specter begins to haunt the family’s Cape Cod home, Cara and her brothers realize that their scientist mother may not be who they thought she was—and that the world has much stranger, much older inhabitants than they had imagined.

With help from Cara’s best friend Hayley, the three embark on a quest that will lead them from the Cape’s hidden, ancient places to a shipwreck at the bottom of the sea. They’re soon on the front lines of an ancient battle between good and evil, with the terrifying “pouring man” close on their heels.

Hmm…I’m not sure about this one. I’ve read a few books in this vein, and they’ve all been pretty mediocre, and this doesn’t seem much different.

VERDICT: LET GO

 

3. Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie, Jordan Sonnenblick

Image result for drums girls and dangerous pie"

Blurb from Goodreads:

Thirteen-year-old Steven has a totally normal life; he plays drums in the All-Star Jazz band, has a crush on the hottest girl in the school, and is constantly annoyed by his five-year-old brother, Jeffrey. But when Jeffrey is diagnosed with leukemia, Steven’s world is turned upside down. He is forced to deal with his brother’s illness and his parents’ attempts to keep the family in one piece. Salted with humor and peppered with devastating realities, Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie is a heartwarming journey through a year in the life of a family in crisis.

God, this one seems like a pretty rough ride, but I think I’d still like to read this one.

VERDICT: KEEP

 

4. Blackbringer (Faeries of Dreamdark, #1), Laini Taylor

Image result for blackbringer"

Blurb from Goodreads:

When the ancient evil of the Blackbringer rises to unmake the world, only one determined faerie stands in its way. However, Magpie Windwitch, granddaughter of the West Wind, is not like other faeries. While her kind live in seclusion deep in the forests of Dreamdark, she’s devoted her life to tracking down and recapturing devils escaped from their ancient bottles, just as her hero, the legendary Bellatrix, did 25,000 years ago. With her faithful gang of crows, she travels the world fighting where others would choose to flee. But when a devil escapes from a bottle sealed by the ancient Djinn King himself, the creator of the world, she may be in over her head. How can a single faerie, even with the help of her friends, hope to defeat the impenetrable darkness of the Blackbringer?

Now that I’ve read (and been disappointed by) Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I’m not sure if I’m willing to try out any more Laini Taylor. Eh…

VERDICT: LET GO

 

5. Anya’s Ghost, Vera Brosgol

Image result for anya's ghost"

Blurb from Goodreads:

Anya could really use a friend. But her new BFF isn’t kidding about the “Forever” part.

Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who’s been dead for a century.

Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya’s normal life might actually be worse. She’s embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she’s pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend—even a ghost—is just what she needs.

Or so she thinks. Spooky, sardonic, and secretly sincere, Anya’s Ghost is a wonderfully entertaining debut from author/artist Vera Brosgol.

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

VERDICT: KEEP

 

6. The Emerald Ring (Cleopatra’s Legacy, #1), Dorine White

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Blurb from Goodreads:

Ordinary tween life turns upside down when Ancient Egypt intrudes on modern middle school life. Twelve year old Sara Guadalupe Bogus reads about adventures, but unexpectedly is drawn into one when a mystical emerald ring that once belonged to Cleopatra becomes stuck on her finger.
A series of burglaries spook Sara’s small Ohio hometown. Concluding that the root of all the crimes is the emerald ring, Sara realizes it’s up to her and her friends, Heidi and African exchange student Kainu, to save the town and protect Cleopatra’s legacy. Filled with magic, the ring thrusts Sara into a world filled with nightmares, allows her to shape shift into an Egyptian cat and battle assassins.

As with Welfy Q. Deederhoth, I would’ve enjoyed this one tons when I was younger. But unlike the former, I’m still on board with it today. I could use a dose of some good ol’ Egyptian mythology right about now.

VERDICT: KEEP

 

7. Mistwood (Mistwood, #1), Leah Cypess 

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Blurb from Goodreads:

The Shifter is an immortal creature bound by an ancient spell to protect the kings of Samorna. When the realm is peaceful, she retreats to the Mistwood.

But when she is needed she always comes.

Isabel remembers nothing. Nothing before the prince rode into her forest to take her back to the castle. Nothing about who she is supposed to be, or the powers she is supposed to have.

Prince Rokan needs Isabel to be his Shifter. He needs her ability to shift to animal form, to wind, to mist. He needs her lethal speed and superhuman strength. And he needs her loyalty—because without it, she may be his greatest threat.

Isabel knows that her prince is lying to her, but she can’t help wanting to protect him from the dangers and intrigues of the court . . . until a deadly truth shatters the bond between them.

Now Isabel faces a choice that threatens her loyalty, her heart . . . and everything she thought she knew.

[strokes imaginary beard] fascinating…I could go with this…

VERDICT: KEEP

 

8. Dreamfall (Dreamfall, #1), Amy Plum

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Blurb from Goodreads:

Cata Cordova suffers from such debilitating insomnia that she agreed to take part in an experimental new procedure. She thought things couldn’t get any worse…but she was terribly wrong.

Soon after the experiment begins, there’s a malfunction with the lab equipment, and Cata and six other teen patients are plunged into a shared dreamworld with no memory of how they got there. Even worse, they come to the chilling realization that they are trapped in a place where their worst nightmares have come to life. Hunted by creatures from their darkest imaginations and tormented by secrets they’d rather keep buried, Cata and the others will be forced to band together to face their biggest fears. And if they can’t find a way to defeat their dreams, they will never wake up.

Oh, yeah, definitely still on board…

VERDICT: KEEP

 

9. Search for Senna (Everworld, #1), Katherine Applegate 

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Blurb from Goodreads:

There is a place that shouldn’t exist. But does. And there are creatures that shouldn’t exist. But do. Welcome to a land where all of your dreams and nightmares are very real—and often deadly. Welcome to Everworld.

David’s life was pretty normal. School. Friends. Girlfriend. Actually, Senna was probably the oddest aspect of his life. She was beautiful. Smart. But there was something very different about her. Something strange.

And on the day it began, everything happened so quickly. One moment, Senna was with him. The next, she was swallowed up by the earth, her screams echoing from far, far away. David couldn’t just let her go. Neither could the others. His friends—and hers. So, they followed. And found themselves in a world they could have never imagined.

Now they have to find Senna and get home without losing their lives. Or their minds. Or both…

Oof…”I’m not like other girls” characters AND a girl being used as nothing more than a plot device? (I mean, I could be wrong, but…) Count me out.

VERDICT: LET GO

 

10. True Colors (The Masks, #1), Melissa Pearl

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Blurb from Goodreads:

Caitlyn Davis always cruised through life, not being the type to ruffle feathers or involve herself in high school drama. That is, until a chance encounter with a strange, homeless man changes everything.

Suddenly, Caitlyn has the ability to see behind people’s masks. She discovers that her life isn’t as simple as she imagined and high school is filled with secrets…some very sinister ones.

Unable to ignore her new gift, Caitlyn embarks on a mission to learn why one of her friends suddenly appears terrified, but masks her fear with a bright, smiling veneer. Will Caitlyn’s new ability lead her into hot water? Or is her new found vision a blessing that will expose her friends’ true colors?

Her quest will lead Caitlyn to lose friends, stand up for those in need, and even find love.

At Palisades High School every face tells a story…

Hey, this could be pretty interesting. I’m still in, I think.

VERDICT: KEEP

 

 

RESULTS: 

BOOKS KEPT: 6

BOOKS LET GO: 4

 

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Weeeeell…not perfectly balanced, but nicely balanced all the same.

Thus ends my first successful TBR culling!

 

Today’s song, in honor of what would have been David Bowie’s 72nd birthday (January 7), and the 4 year anniversary of his death return to Mars:

[cries in the corner] [cries even more when I realize that they’re going to release a song per week for six weeks, all redone versions of earlier Bowie songs]

 

That just about wraps up this post! Have a lovely rest of your day!

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