Cleaing Up My TBR: Down the TBR Hole #3

Posted December 15, 2018 by Lisa Mandina in / 8 Comments

Guess I forgot to do one of these last week, it was a busy week! And this week isn’t much better, but I had an open day on Saturday, so decided to go ahead and get this done.  Here is the scoop:

This meme was started by Lost in a Story.  Here is how it works:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Because I have so many to do, I’m going to try to do this weekly, and do 10 at a time.  So here we go!

1.  Learning to Play Gin (Cheating at Solitaire #2) by Ally Carter:

Julia James was on a winning streak. The hot self-help author of the single-girl’s guide 101 Ways to Cheat at Solitaire had millions in the bank and a boyfriend on the Hollywood A-list. But when her books drop off the bestseller list and her famous boyfriend moves to L.A., Julia must discover how a woman who became famous for being single can win at a game made for two. 

My thoughts
So, I may be one of the only people who has never read any of Ally Carter’s YA books.  However, the first book in this series, Cheating at Solitaire, was one I read during my first chick lit phase back in the early 2000s, and a favorite of mine.  So a sequel to it, one that is almost impossible to find, is definitely one I hope to read some day.

Verdict:  Keep

2.  Here Comes the Bride (Cate Padgett #2) and First Comes Love (Cate Padgett #3) by Whitney Lyles:

Cate Padgett was the bridesmaid, four times over, in Always the Bridesmaid. Now she’s finally the blushing bride–for better, for worse…Cate couldn’t wait for her own wedding so she could do it right, after all she’d learned from the mistakes her friends made before her. And Ethan was the perfect husband-to-be. If only something, anything, else was perfect…

First her engagement ring disappears. Then Ethan’s ex-girlfriend shows up–and keeps showing up. Cate’s mother has a stranglehold on the planning, Cate’s on the verge of turning into bridezilla, and Ethan’s meddling cousin is making Cate regret inviting her to join the wedding party. She wants to marry her one true love. But her special day is making her want to run the other way…  

In the latest from the author of Always the Bridesmaid, Cate and Ethan are happily married at last-but it looks like the honeymoon is over. 

Cate Padgett is no longer a permanent bridesmaid. Having found a love of her own with Ethan, she’s enjoying newlywed bliss. Life is so much calmer now that the wedding mayhem has subsided. Just one problem: as the last of their friends to marry, Cate and Ethan are now the only ones who don’t have a kid, aren’t expecting a kid, and aren’t even trying. There’s not even a bump on the horizon. They were just cozying up to being a twosome, and now there’s pressure to make it three. Those carefree bridesmaid days are starting to look good. 

My thoughts:
So, Whitney Lyles is another author I discovered and enjoyed reading in my early 2000s chick-lit phase.   Since I marked the first book in the series a 5 star read, you know that I really would like to finish the series and see how it all goes.   The other book I’d read by the author also was a 5 star read, so I definitely want to read the rest of this series.

Verdict:  Keep both

3.  Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott:

“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. [It] was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said. ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'”

With this basic instruction always in mind, Anne Lamott returns to offer us a new gift: a step-by-step guide on how to write and on how to manage the writer’s life. From “Getting Started,’ with “Short Assignments,” through “Shitty First Drafts,” “Character,” “Plot,” “Dialogue.” all the way from “False Starts” to “How Do You Know When You’re Done?” Lamott encourages, instructs, and inspires. She discusses “Writers Block,” “Writing Groups,” and “Publication.” Bracingly honest, she is also one of the funniest people alive.
If you have ever wondered what it takes to be a writer, what it means to be a writer, what the contents of your school lunches said about what your parents were really like, this book is for you. From faith, love, and grace to pain, jealousy, and fear, Lamott insists that you keep your eyes open, and then shows you how to survive. And always, from the life of the artist she turns to the art of life.
My thoughts:
So, this is a book that everyone says you should read if you are going to write.  I do need to read it some day.  However I wonder if I need to keep it on a TBR list, as it will always be a well-known, well suggested book.  But, probably not one I should take off my list.
Verdict:  Keep

4.  Not Buying It:  My Year Without Shopping by Judith Levine:
Shocked by the commerce in everything from pet cloning to patriotism, frightened by the downward spiral of her finances and that of the trash-strewn earth, Judith Levine enlists her partner, Paul, in a radical experiment: to forgo all but the most necessary purchases for an entire year.

Without consumer goods and experiences, Judith and Paul pursue their careers, nurture relationships, and try to keep their sanity, their identities, and their sense of humor intact. Tracking their progress — and inevitable lapses — Levine contemplates need and desire, scarcity and security, consumerism and citizenship. She asks the Big Questions: Can the economy survive without shopping? Are Q-tips necessary?

Not Buying It is the confession of a woman any reader can identify with: someone who can’t live without French roast coffee or SmartWool socks but who has had it up to here with overconsumption and its effects on the earth and everyone who dwells there.

For the humor and intelligence of its insights, the refreshment of its skepticism, and the surprises of its conclusions, Not Buying It is sure to be on anyone’s list of Necessities.
My thoughts:
So, this one sounds like it might be a good read.  But, I just don’t know that I have the time, or that I will ever want to not shop for a year.  Shopping, even window shopping or just at a Dollar Store, is often my stress relief.  So I’m guessing these days I wouldn’t probably enjoy this as much.  
Verdict:  Toss
5.  Remind Me Again Why I Need a Man by Claudia Carroll:
Amelia Lockwood doesn’t mean to sound greedy. With a fabulous career in television, a posh apartment, and four fiercely loyal and wickedly funny friends, she knows she should be counting her lucky stars. But as her thirties tick by at an alarming pace, Amelia is getting anxious about the one thing missing in her otherwise successful life–a husband!

If it’s not too much to ask the universe, Amelia wants a husband not a boyfriend, not a lover, not even a mind-bending one-night fling but a wedding band and the Vera Wang gown of her dreams. When she sees an ad for a night course entitled How to Find a Husband over the Age of Thirty-five, she finally makes up her mind to have it all an old-fashioned ring on her finger by the end of the year. So after twenty years of going it on her own, Amelia swallows her pride, signs up for dating boot camp, and enlists the help of a professional.

Enter Ira Vandergelder a native New Yorker with a black belt in tongue-fu, a woman who’s snappier than a crocodile handbag and more acidic than a chili finger dipped in your eye who trains the hopelessly romantic Amelia to apply business marketing principles to the world of dating, to become goal-driven and to pursue her dream husband in exactly the same way she’d pursue her dream job. Even if this involves tracking down all the men she’s ever loved and lost before.

With the constant support and biting commentary of her tight foursome of friends, Amelia revisits her bumpy romantic past from the first love who dumped her during Live Aid to the most recent ex, officially dubbed he-who’s-name-shall-forever-remain-unspoken. As Amelia recognizes that her future happiness can’t wait for fate, she has to tackle lesson number one: If you can’t learn from your past, how can you expect to move forward? 

Sharp, witty, and irresistibly funny, Remind Me Again Why I Need a Man cuts to the heart of every single man and woman out there. Claudia Carroll examines the rules of attraction in a sophisticated and refreshing way. This beautifully written novel will have your heart pounding until the final page. 

My thoughts:
So, this is another from my early 2000s chick-lit phase.  And at that time in my life, I was probably more centered around finding a husband and getting married.  I mean, that was when I was late 20s, early 30s.  These days I still would like to find the right man and get married, but I prefer romances where the woman isn’t just out for that only and can enjoy the casual.  

Verdict:  Toss

6.  The Codex by Douglas Preston:

“Greetings from the dead,” declares Maxwell Broadbent on the videotape he left behind after his mysterious disappearance. A notorious treasure hunter and tomb robber, Broadbent accumulated over a half a billion dollars’ worth of priceless art, gems, and artifacts before vanishing—along with his entire collection—from his mansion in New Mexico.

At first, robbery is suspected, but the truth proves far stranger: As a final challenge to his three sons, Broadbent has buried himself and his treasure somewhere in the world, hidden away like an ancient Egyptian pharaoh. If the sons wish to claim their fabulous inheritance, they must find their father’s carefully concealed tomb.
The race is on, but the three brothers are not the only ones competing for the treasure. This secret is so astounding it cannot be kept quiet for long. With half a billion dollars at stake, as well as an ancient Mayan codex that may hold a cure for cancer and other deadly diseases, others soon join the hunt—and some of them will stop at nothing to claim the grave goods.
The bestselling coauthor of such page-turning thrillers as Relic and The Cabinet of Curiosities, Douglas Preston now spins an unforgettable tale of greed, adventure, and betrayal in The Codex.

My thoughts
So, I am a fan of Douglas Preston.  I love the Relic series, or at least the first few books in that series.  This one has some bits that sound interesting, the Mayan codex part, but other than that, it sounds too much like the type of thing I don’t really read anymore.

Verdict:  Toss

7.  Goliath by Steve Alten:

Commander Rochelle “Rocky” Jackson is aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan when the “unsinkable” naval vessel and its entire fleet are attacked from the depths and sunk. As Rocky struggles to stay alive, a monstrous mechanical steel stingray surfaces, plowing through the seas it now commands.

A U.S. Navy-designed futuristic nuclear stealth submarine the length of a football field in the shape of a giant stingray. Simon Covah, a brilliant scientist whose entire family were the victims of terrorism has hijacked the sub. Believing violence is a disease, Covah aims to use the Goliath and its cache of nuclear weapons to dictate policy to the world regarding the removal of oppressive regimes and nuclear weapons.

Could the threat of violence forge a lasting peace?

But there is another player in this life-and-death chess match. Unbeknownst to Covah and the Goliath crews, Sorceress, the Goliath’s biochemical computer brain has become self-aware.

And that computer brain is developing its own agenda.  

My thoughts:
So, I love Steve Alten.  He is one of my favorite authors, and I was thrilled this past year when they finally made a movie out of one of his books, one of my all-time favorite books, Meg.  So while I used to think I just wanted to read all of his books, I think this one is again more of the spy and adventure type as opposed to what I loved in the Meg series, the giant shark.  Even with the computer becoming self-aware, I think I’d skip reading, but would love to see the movie made from it!

Verdict:  Toss

8.  Resurrection (The Domain Trilogy #2) by Steve Alten:

What happens to us when we die? 
Is there really an afterlife? 
Do we possess a soul? 
Does God exist? 
For Michael Gabriel, the answers to these questions lie in another dimension, a realm of eternity where there is no concept of time, only pure life force . . . pure existence. 
And pure evil. 
Five hundred years ago, the Mayan “Popul Vuh” prophesized the birth of powerful twins–the sons of Michael Gabriel. White-haired, azure-eyed Jacob, blessed with inhuman physical prowess, intelligence, and insight into the cosmos, knows from birth that he is meant for more. His dark-haired brother, Immanuel, refuses his genetic calling, desiring a normal life. But only the combined powers of the Gabriel twins can resurrect their savior father and save the human race from an eternity of repeating its own self-destruction. 
There is a third great power upon the earth, born the same day as the twins. Exposed to the uglier side of existence, empowered by her post-human genetics, the beautiful, schizophrenic Lilith will travel down a darker path that leads to Xibalba—the Mayan version of hell. An epic battle of good versus evil will begin . . . and the final fate of the human race will be revealed.  

My thoughts:
Okay, this is by the same author as above.  This is a sequel to a book by that author that I did give 5 stars.  However, I don’t remember enough about it to make me for sure I need to read on. And since I read it before I was actually blogging and reviewing books, I don’t have any record to help me decide.  So, since it is a favorite author, I’m sure if I ever do decide I might want to read it, I’ll be reminded by the author himself as I read his newsletters and follow him on social media.

Verdict:  Toss

9.  Inappropriate Men by Stacey Ballis:

“Don’t get me wrong. There was – there is – much love between my husband and me. We aren’t miserable, we just aren’t happy. And we aren’t really together that much – it didn’t used to seem to matter. But it’s starting to matter. It’s starting to matter very much indeed.”

With her marriage spiraling toward divorce, sexually confident and unapologetically sized-24 Sidney Stein finds herself drawn into an illicit affair with Geoffrey Fahl – not only married and twenty years her senior, but also her father’s business partner. Perilously close to falling in love with this man who is so very wrong for her and knowing there’s no future in the relationship, Sidney decides it’s time to turn her life around.

Newly separated from her husband, Sidney dives into the dating pool. And after more than a dozen dates, a disastrous transitional guy and reconnecting with a high school crush, she can’t help but wonder if it might not just be easier to let herself drown. But just as she stops looking for the ideal man, someone else arrives…and he might just be everything she never knew she always wanted.

Experience the love, joy and heartbreak of Sidney Stein in Stacey Ballis’s debut novel. Neither pat nor predictable, Inappropriate Men is laugh-out-loud funny without compromising intelligence.   

My thoughts:
As I’ve mentioned before, as a 46 year old woman who has never been married, this book sounds horrible to me.  First off, I want to find someone to marry and so for someone to be cheating on their significant other, well that doesn’t work for me.  I can’t find anything in common with a woman like this one as she is described, so, yeah, and then the divorce, etc.  This is an author I enjoyed her books about single women, but this one is just not going to do it for me.

Verdict: Toss 

10.  Eon (The Way #1) by Greg Bear:

The 21st century was on the brink of nuclear confrontation when the 300 kilometer-long stone flashed out of nothingness and into Earth’s orbit. NASA, NATO, and the UN sent explorers to the asteroid’s surface…and discovered marvels and mysteries to drive researchers mad.

For the Stone was from space–but perhaps not our space; it came from the future–but perhaps not our future; and within the hollowed asteroid was Thistledown. The remains of a vanished civilization. A human–English, Russian, and Chinese-speaking–civilization. Seven vast chambers containing forests, lakes, rivers, hanging cities…

And museums describing the Death; the catastrophic war that was about to occur; the horror and the long winter that would follow. But while scientists and politicians bickered about how to use the information to stop the Death, the Stone yielded a secret that made even Earth’s survival pale into insignificance.  

My thoughts:
For some reason, I want to swear that I’ve already read this one.  But as of now, I have no record of that.  Maybe as I finish adding everything from the physical notebook I used to keep track of my reading in before I found Goodreads, maybe I’ll come across that record in there.  But for now, as much as it sounds like the type of sci-fi I used to enjoy reading, these days, I mostly stick to YA sci-fi, just for the amount of time and attention it takes to read and enjoy.  

Verdict:  Toss

Oooh, getting rid of 7 books from my list this week, great!  Especially since I didn’t do one of these last week and I know I’ve added more to my TBR.  So, have you read any of these?  Would you recommend I change my mind on any that you have read? 

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8 responses to “Cleaing Up My TBR: Down the TBR Hole #3

  1. I have only read the Matched books by Condi (because my daughter had them). I knew she wrote some MGs, but had no idea about the contemporaries. I just checked and my eLibrary doesn't have them, though they look totally my speed.

  2. I was going to say you kept a lot of these books, but you managed to toss a lot of them in the second half of the post so you did manage to do quite a lot of cleaning up! Good job 😀

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