Cleaning Up My TBR: Down the TBR Hole #6 with Giveaway

Posted January 26, 2019 by Lisa Mandina in giveaway / 6 Comments

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.

1.  Stiff:  The Curious Lives Of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach:

Stiff is an oddly compelling, often hilarious exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem. For two thousand years, cadavers—some willingly, some unwittingly—have been involved in science’s boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. In this fascinating account, Mary Roach visits the good deeds of cadavers over the centuries and tells the engrossing story of our bodies when we are no longer with them. 

My thoughts:
I really do want to read a book by this author at some point.  And this is one that I am definitely interested in.  I think I should keep at least one book by this author on my TBR to make sure I don’t forget her.

Verdict:  Keep

2.  Under a Green Sky: Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past, and What They Can Tell Us About Our Future by Peter D. Ward:

By looking backward at the course of great extinctions, a paleontologist sees what the future holds.

More than 200 million years ago, a cataclysmic event known as the Permian extinction destroyed more than 90 percent of all species and nearly 97 percent of all living things. Its origins have long been a puzzle for paleontologists. During the 1990s and the early part of this century, a great battle was fought between those who thought that death had come from above and those who thought something more complicated was at work.

Paleontologist Peter. D. Ward, fresh from helping prove that an asteroid had killed the dinosaurs, turned to the Permian problem, and he has come to a stunning conclusion. In his investigations of the fates of several groups of mollusks during that extinction and others, he discovered that the near-total devastation at the end of the Permian period was caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide leading to climate change. But it’s not the heat (nor the humidity) that’s directly responsible for the extinctions, and the story of the discovery of what is responsible makes for a fascinating, globe-spanning adventure.

In Under a Green Sky, Ward explains how the Permian extinction as well as four others happened, and describes the freakish oceans—belching poisonous gas—and sky—slightly green and always hazy—that would have attended them. Those ancient upheavals demonstrate that the threat of climate change cannot be ignored, lest the world’s life today—ourselves included—face the same dire fate that has overwhelmed our planet several times before.  

My thoughts:  So, in a way, you could call me a bit of a “climate change denier”.  Although honestly, what I think about it is based on the education I received to become a science teacher in college.  And this book is right up my alley.  I think that a lot of the change our climate goes through is natural, but I do feel that as humans we could be speeding things up. The fact that this book looks back at other extinctions in our past is one that interests me due to my background in earth science and paleontology.

Verdict:  Keep

3.  Beauty Sleep:  A Retelling of Sleeping Beauty by Cameron Dokey:


The Princess Aurore has had an unusual childhood. Cursed at birth, Aurore is fated to prick her finger at the age of sixteen and sleep for one hundred years — until a prince awakens her with a kiss. So, to protect her, Aurore’s loving parents forbid any task requiring a needle. 

Unable to sew or embroider like most little princesses, Aurore instead explores the castle grounds and beyond, where her warmth and generosity soon endear her to the townspeople. their devotion to the spirited princess grows as she does. 

On her sixteenth birthday, Aurore learns that the impending curse will harm not only her, but the entire kingdom as well. Unwilling to cause suffering, she will embark on a quest to end the evil magic. The princess’s bravery will be rewarded as she finds adventure, enchantment, a handsome prince, and ultimately her destiny.

My thoughts:  If you know me, you know I love a good fairy tell retelling.  And while this one definitely sounds good, I don’t know if it is one I will ever get to.  But again, I’m afraid to take it off my list, because the author, while prolific in this type of story, isn’t as popular these days.

Verdict:  Keep  

4.  Behind the Bedroom Wall by Laura E. Williams and A. Nancy Goldstein (illustrator):

It’s 1942. Thirteen-year-old Korinna Rehme is an active member of her local Jungmadel, a Nazi youth group, along with many of her friends. She believes that Hitler is helping Germany by instituting a program to deal with what he calls the “Jewish problem,” a program that she witnesses as her Jewish neighbors are attacked and taken from their homes. Korinna’s parents, however, are members of a secret underground group providing a means of escape to the Jews of their city. Korinna is shocked to discover that they are hiding a refugee family behind the wall of her bedroom. But as she comes to know the family, her sympathies begin to turn. When someone tips off the Gestapo, loyalties are put to the test and Korinna must decide what she really believes and whom she really trusts. Filled with adventure, Behind the Bedroom Wall helps readers understand the forces that drove so many to turn on their neighbors and the courage that allowed some to resist.  

My thoughts:  I am someone who seeks out books about the holocaust.  I think that I feel like if I can read about what happened, and feel their stories however it is possible, then I have done something to make the memories of the horrible injustices live on, and not let it ever happen again.   This is a less well known story, as far as I know, so I think I will probably still want to read it some day.

Verdict:  Keep

5.  Truancy by Isama Fukui:

In an alternate world, in a nameless totalitarian city, the autocratic Mayor rules the school system with an iron fist, with the help of his Educators. Fighting against the Mayor and his repressive Educators is a group of former students called the Truancy, whose goal is to take down the system by any means possible – at any cost.

Fifteen-year-old Tack is just trying to survive. His days are filled with sadistic teachers, unrelenting schoolwork, and indifferent parents. Things start to look up when he meets Umasi, a mysterious boy who becomes Tack’s mentor.

Then someone close to Tack gets killed in the cross fire between the Educators and the Truants, and he swears to avenge her. To achieve his purpose, he abandons his old life and joins the Truancy, looking for an opportunity to confront Zyid, its enigmatic leader. But Tack soon finds himself torn between his desire for revenge and his growing sympathy for the Truants.  

My thoughts:  I think this is one that I became interested in around the time I was reading The Hunger Games. While it sounds like maybe something I’d like, I don’t know that I will probably get to it.  I’ve had chances to read it, but haven’t taken any of them.  

Verdict: Toss 

6.  Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr:

Rule #3: Don’t stare at invisible faeries.
Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty – especially if they learn of her Sight – and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens.

Rule #2: Don’t speak to invisible faeries.
Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.

Rule #1: Don’t ever attract their attention.
But it’s too late. Keenan is the Summer King, who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost — regardless of her plans or desires.

Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything.

Faery intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr’s stunning twenty-first-century faery tale.  

My thoughts:  So, Melissa Marr is an author that I either love, or else can’t get into.  This is one that while it sounds good, I don’t know if I’ll ever get to it.  However, I feel that Marr is a well-enough known author that this is one I won’t have to worry about forgetting even if I don’t keep her on the list.  

Verdict:  Toss 

7.  Cut by Patricia McCormick:

Callie cuts herself. Never too deep, never enough to die. But enough to feel the pain. Enough to feel the scream inside.

Now she’s at Sea Pines, a “residential treatment facility” filled with girls struggling with problems of their own. Callie doesn’t want to have anything to do with them. She doesn’t want to have anything to do with anyone. She won’t even speak.

But Callie can only stay silent for so long…   

My thoughts:  I know that this is a well-known classic, and I think it has won awards.  And it is one I’d probably want to read.  But, I know that I’ve read other books about this topic, and so not sure if this is one I have to read or not.  It is short enough that it would be a quick read, but as I said, probably not one I have to save the name of so I don’t forget it.

Verdict:  Toss 

 8.  Going Home by Harriet Evans:

They say love feels like going home . . . 
but what if your home is no longer there?

Leaving her tiny flat in London — and a whole host of headaches behind — Lizzy Walter is making the familiar journey back home to spend Christmas with her chaotic but big-hearted family. In an ever-changing world, her parents’ country home, Keeper House, is the one constant. But behind the mistletoe and mince pies, family secrets and rivalries lurk. And when David, the Love of Her Life — or so she thought — makes an unexpected reappearance, this one ranks as a Christmas she would definitely rather forget.

As winter slowly turns to spring, all the things that Lizzy has taken for granted begin to shift. Keeper House is in jeopardy and might have to be sold for reasons Lizzy doesn’t understand. Her family seems fractured like never before. And, with a new man in her life, she may finally have to kiss her dream of a reunion with David good-bye. By the time the Walters gather at Keeper House for a summer wedding, the stakes have never been higher — for Lizzy, for her family, and for love.  

My thoughts:  I honestly have no idea why I saved this one.  If I’ve read other books by the author, her name doesn’t stand out to me. And the synopsis isn’t enough to make me sure I want to read it again.

Verdict: Toss 

9.  Evolution’s Darling by Scott Westerfeld:

Does a clone have a soul? Darling, an astronavigational control unit and personal companion, achieves sentience and wants to know. Now, 200 years and an artificial body later, he is off in search of a dead artist, a living artwork, and the forces behind a mystery that spans the universe. Accompanied by a female assassin, he’ll confront the Maker and get the answer.  

My thoughts:
So, I love Scott Westerfeld.  And this is an older book, but still sounds like one I would want to read.  You don’t see it around much, so even though Westerfeld is a well-known author, I’m afraid to take it off my list and not remember some day that I want to read it.

Verdict:  Keep 

10.  Harriet Tubman, Secret Agent:  How Daring Slaves and Free Blacks Spied for the Union During the Civil War by Thomas B. Allen and Carla Bauer (Illustrator):

It’s 1863. Harriet Tubman is facing one of the biggest—and most dangerous— challenges of her life. She has survived her master’s lash, escaped from slavery, and risked her life countless times to lead runaway slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad. Now she has a new role—that of Union spy! The outcome of a secret night raid deep into Confederate territory depends on the accuracy of the intelligence she and other black spies have gathered. Success will mean freedom for hundreds of slaves. Failure will mean death by hanging. 

You are about to enter the undercover world of African-American spies—enslaved and free—risking everything in the name of freedom. How were the Underground Railroad and slave songs used to pass secret messages? What were “contrabands” and “Black Dispatches?” What did Harriet have in common with the Secret Six and a maidservant in the home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis? You’ll discover these answers and more as the action unfolds. 

Thomas B. Allen, author of the award-winning George Washington, Spymaster, has sifted through military and intelligence archives, diaries, and little-known memoirs from ex-slaves to bring to light new facts about the role Harriet and other black spies played in helping the Union win the war. 

This detailed account combined with powerful archival images supplemented with woodcuts by Carla Bauer, maps, a time line, footnotes, and extensive quote sources make this incredibly detailed account an excellent resource for report writing as well as an exciting true-life adventure.

National Geographic supports K-12 educators with ELA Common Core Resources.
Visit for more information.  

My thoughts:  So, back in middle school, in the 80s, we still had a class called handwriting.   What we did was to choose a book to copy from and practice our handwriting, cursive, and then turn in what we’d copied.  That’s when I first really learned about Harriet Tubman and became very interested in her whole story and others of that time.  This is one that may be hard to find, but I feel like I’d still like to read it some day.

Verdict:  Keep 

Well, didn’t do quite as well this week with tossing books, well, kept more than I tossed. But that’s okay.  I’m going to rectify the physical stacks with the giveaway below!  Tell me, have you read any of the books above?  Would you agree with my decision to keep or toss them?

I’m going to continue doing this giveaway that I started last week.  Once again I can only do a US giveaway, unless you are INT and want to chip in on the shipping costs because you really want a book from my shelves.  Just as with last week, you get to pick any book from the pictures below, as long as they don’t get traded away, or picked by last week’s winner, and I will pick a surprise book from the piles to add to your choice.  Here are your choices:

The picture above is all of the 2018 ARCs I have for this giveaway

These are the 2017 ARCs I have to giveaway

These are the ARCs I have from 2013-2016.

There you have it!  Just enter in the rafflecopter below to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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6 responses to “Cleaning Up My TBR: Down the TBR Hole #6 with Giveaway

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