Cleaning Up My TBR with a Giveaway: Down the TBR Hole #11

Posted March 2, 2019 by Lisa Mandina in giveaway / 10 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.  Stay by Allie Larkin:

Savannah “Van” Leone has
been in love with Peter Clarke ever since she literally fell head over
heels in front of him on the first day of college. Now, six years later,
instead of standing across from him at the altar, Van’s standing behind
her best friend Janie as maid of honor, trying to mask her heartache
and guilt as Janie marries the only man Van’s ever loved. Before, Van’s
mother died, she told Van never to let Peter go, but as the couple
exchanges vows, Van wonders if her fairy tale ending will ever come

After the wedding, Van drowns her sorrows in
Kool-Aid-vodka cocktails and reruns of Rin Tin Tin, and does what any
heartbroken woman in her situation would do: She impulsively buys a
German Shepherd over the Internet. The pocket-size puppy Van is
expecting turns out to be a clumsy, hundred-pound beast who only
responds to commands in Slovak, and Van is at the end of her rope…
until she realizes that this quirky giant may be the only living being
who will always be loyal to her, no matter what.

affectionately names her dog Joe, and together, they work to mend the
pieces of Van’s shattered heart. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that
Joe’s vet is a rugged sweetheart with floppy blond hair and a winning
smile. But when the newlyweds return from their honeymoon, Van is forced
to decide just how much she’s willing to sacrifice in order to have
everything she ever wanted, proving that sometimes life needs to get
more complicated before it can get better.

My thoughts:  
This still sounds like a pretty cute book to me.  

Verdict:  Keep

2.  4 Books about Henry VIII:

16th Century court politics and intrigue through the eyes of six of the most important women of their time.

of the most powerful monarchs in British history, Henry VIII ruled
England in unprecedented splendour. In this remarkable composite
biography, Alison Weir brings Henry’s six wives vividly to life,
revealing each as a distinct and compelling personality in her own
right. Drawing upon the rich fund of documentary material from the Tudor
period, The Six Wives of Henry VIII shows us a court where
personal needs frequently influenced public events and where a life of
gorgeously ritualized pleasure was shot through with ambition, treason
and violence.

My thoughts:
Even though this is always a fascinating topic, I’m pretty sure I won’t be reading a nonfiction book like this in the near future.  I think that these were added to my list either back when The Tudors was on HBO or else when the movie came out about him.

Verdict:  Toss

This is the story of England’s most famous, and notorious, king.

was a charismatic, ardent – and brash – young lover who married six
times; a scholar with a deep love of poetry and music; an energetic
hunter who loved the outdoors; a monarch whose lack of a male heir
haunted him incessantly; and a ruthless leader who would stop at nothing
to achieve his desires. His monumental decision to split from Rome and
the Catholic Church was one that would forever shape the religious and
political landscape of Britain.

Combining magnificent
storytelling with an extraordinary grasp of the pleasures and perils of
power, Margaret George delivers a vivid portrait of Henry VIII and Tudor
England and the powerhouse of players on its stage: Thomas Cromwell,
Cardinal Wolsey, Thomas More and Anne Boleyn. It is also a narrative
told from an original perspective: Margaret George writes from the
King’s point of view, injecting irreverent comments from Will Somers –
Henry’s jester and confidant.

My thoughts:  This one sounds like it might be even more interesting, but again, not sure that I’ll ever get around to reading something like this one

Verdict:  Toss

ALL PREVIOUS STUDIES OF HENRY. Beautifully written, exhaustive in its
research, it is a gem. . . . She succeeds masterfully in making Henry
and his six wives . . . come alive for the reader.”–Philadelphia
InquirerHenry VIII, renowned for his command of power and celebrated for
his intellect, presided over one of the most magnificent–and
dangerous–courts in Renaissance Europe. Never before has a detailed,
personal biography of this charismatic monarch been set against the
cultural, social, and political background of his glittering court. Now
Alison Weir, author of the finest royal chronicles of our time, brings
to vibrant life the turbulent, complex figure of the King. Packed with
colorful description, meticulous in historical detail, rich in
pageantry, intrigue, passion, and luxury, Weir brilliantly renders King
Henry VIII, his court, and the fascinating men and women who vied for
its pleasures and rewards. The result is an absolutely spellbinding

My thoughts:  I know this author is supposed to be one of the best for this type of history book, but I’m going to have to go with my same thoughts as on the books before this one.

Verdict:  Toss

The Letters of Henry
VIII to Anne Boleyn, perhaps the most remarkable documents of the kind
known to exist, were published at Oxford in 1720. They appear to have
been written after Anne Boleyn had been sent away from court, in
consequence of reports injurious to her reputation, which had begun to
be publicly circulated. Her removal indeed was so abrupt that she had
resolved never to return. The king soon repented his harshness, and
strove to persuade her to come back; but it was a long time, and not
without great
trouble, before he could induce her to comply.


Consider well, my mistress, that absence from you grieves me sorely,
hoping that it is not your will that it should be so; but if I knew for certain
that you voluntarily desired it, I could do no other than mourn my ill-fortune,
and by degrees abate my great folly. And so, for lack of time, I make an
end of this rude letter, beseeching you to give credence to this bearer
in all that he will tell you from me.

Written by the hand of your entire Servant,
H. R.  

My thoughts
Same issues as above.

Verdict: Toss

3.  Three books by Melissa Senate:

When did Abby Foote’s life become an episode of Law & Order?

a former boyfriend (who dumped Abby in the most humiliating way
imaginable) is found murdered the day his engagement is announced.

two other ex-boyfriends report attempts made on their lives right after
breaking up with her. Coincidence? Detective Benjamin Orr, of the
Portland Police Department (and Very Probing Questions and Incredibly
Delicious Face), doesn’t think so. Neither do Abby’s friends, family,
coworkers and other exes—who are suddenly shaking in their shoes. Soon
everyone is sucking up to her as though the Abby they know and
supposedly love to death is capable of poisoning their drinks….

Is someone trying to frame her?

Who? And why? She has to find out fast. Because by-the-book Ben is bound to break her heart.

Which makes him next on someone’s list…   

When twenty-something
New Yorker Rebecca Strand learns (her father’s deathbed confession) that
she has a twenty-six-year-old half-sister she never knew existed, she
can’t wait to meet her. With her lawyer boyfriend’s protests ringing in
her ears (“She’s just going to want her share of his million-dollar
estate!”), Rebecca drives to a small coastal town in Maine with the 26
letters her father wrote to Joy every year on her birthday. All alone in
the world, Rebecca knocks on Joy Jayhawk’s door, having no idea what to

Turns out Joy, the separated mother of a little boy
(Rebecca has a nephew!), isn’t very interested in the “father” who
turned his back on her existence from day one–or her “sister.” But
Rebecca is so determined to establish family bonds with Joy that she
doesn’t go home… and finds herself being welcomed into small life by
some very loveable, quirky characters, including a sexy carpenter named

A New York Times article lists fifteen questions couples should ask before marrying

Miller and her fiance, Tom Truby, have questions 1 to 14 almost
covered. It’s question 15 that has the Maine schoolteacher stumped: Is
their relationship strong enough to withstand challenges?

like…Ruby’s twin sister, Stella. The professional muse, flirt and
face reader thinks Ruby is playing it safe. And that the future Mrs.
Ruby Truby will die of boredom before her first anniversary or her
thirtieth birthday, whichever comes first.

Challenges like…sexy
maverick teacher Nick McDermott, Ruby’s secret longtime crush, who
confesses his feelings for her at her own engagement party.

before Ruby can plan the wedding that may never be, Stella announces
she’s pregnant by a one-night stand whose name might be Jake (or James?
Maybe Jason?) and who lives somewhere under the glittering lights of Las
Vegas. Ruby and Stella hit the road to find him—with a lot more than
fifteen questions.

And after three thousand miles, a stowaway
relative and hitchhiking teen lovebirds bound for an Elvis wedding
chapel, the Miller sisters might get some answers. 

My thoughts:  So, I’ve read one book by this author, and actually have two others on my physical TBR bookshelves.  If I get around to reading those and really enjoying them so much that I want more by the author, then I’ll do research into other titles.  For now, not sure I need to keep these on a list.

Verdict:  Toss all 3

4.  What Men Want by Deborah Blumenthal:

Q: How does a thirty-five-year-old newspaper reporter with a vanilla-sounding name like Jenny George know so much about men?
A: She doesn’t.


When her live-in boyfriend made a relationship trade-in (for the
lingerie model starring in the ad campaign Jenny created) she realized
she knew nothing about men. But Jenny is about to be clued in. Assigned
to the Caribbean to write an exposé on a womanizing Hollywood movie
tycoon, she’s pitted against the tough-talking journalist and bane of
her existence, Slaid Warren. Slaid takes issue with Jenny’s quest to be
the best and sets out to show her 1) There’s more to life than just
work; 2) They’re stronger when they work as a team and not at
cross-purposes and 3) He really does live up to all his hype.
Armed with these new insights—and a killer tan—Jenny suddenly couldn’t
care less about what men want. Instead, she’s launching her own plan
that’s guaranteed to give her exactly what she needs….

My thoughts:
I’ve read another one by this author, that I really enjoyed.  And this one sounds good as well.

Verdict:  Keep

5.  Love Lies by Adele Parks:

Fern is staring thirty
in the face and can’t ignore the love lies any longer. Life with Adam
was amazing once – although these days swinging from the chandeliers
means D.I.Y. not S.E.X. She believes a romantic wedding should be the
next step but Adam just won’t go down on one knee.

Then a chance
meeting with Scottie Taylor – the UK’s sexiest pop star – lights
fireworks in Fern that won’t stop exploding. It’s mind-expanding love at
first sight for them both so when he proposes in front of a sell-out
crowd at Wembley Stadium, there’s only one answer. Yes, yes, yes!

you know it, Fern is living the celebrity dream in LA and a wedding
planner is arranging designer shoe fittings. But isn’t it all happening a
little too fast? Why is this modern-day Cinderella homesick for a
rented two-bedroom flat in Clapham?

How do you know whether love is telling the truth? Fern must choose which version of this fairy tale is hers …
My thoughts:  I’ve read one other book by this author, but honestly I only gave it three stars. So I’m guessing I’ll probably not get around to this one.

Verdict:  Toss

6.  Twilight and History by Nancy R. Reagin:

The first look at the history behind Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling Twilight series, timed to release with the third movie, EclipseThe characters of the Twilight
Saga carry a rich history that shapes their identities and actions over
the course of the series. Edward, for instance, may look like a
seventeen-year-old teen heartthrob, but was actually born in 1901 and
died during the Spanish Influenza of 1918. His adopted sister, Alice,
was imprisoned in an insane asylum in 1920 and treated so badly there
that even becoming a vampire was a welcome escape. This book is the
first to explore the history behind the Twilight Saga’s
characters and their stories. You’ll learn about what life might have
been like for Jasper Whitlock Hale, the Confederate vampire who fought
during the Civil War, Carlisle Cullen, the Puritan witch
hunter-turned-vampire who participated in the witchcraft persecutions in
Early Modern England, and the history of the Quileute culture that
shaped Jacob and his people —and much more.

Gives you the historical backdrop for Twilight Saga characters and events
Adds a whole new dimension to the Twilight novels and movies
Offers fresh insights on vampires, romance, and history

Twilight and History is an essential companion for every Twilight fan, whether you’ve just gotten into the series or have followed it since the beginning.

My thoughts:   Well, I am a pretty big Twilight fan, no matter what the haters say.  And this sounds like a fun look at the “history” surrounding the characters.  I think I might want to read this some day.

Verdict:  Keep

7.  Kraken by China Mieville:

With this outrageous
new novel, China Miéville has written one of the strangest, funniest,
and flat-out scariest books you will read this—or any other—year. The
London that comes to life in Kraken is a weird metropolis awash
in secret currents of myth and magic, where criminals, police, cultists,
and wizards are locked in a war to bring about—or prevent—the End of
All Things.

In the Darwin Centre at London’s Natural History
Museum, Billy Harrow, a cephalopod specialist, is conducting a tour
whose climax is meant to be the Centre’s prize specimen of a rare Architeuthis dux—better
known as the Giant Squid. But Billy’s tour takes an unexpected turn
when the squid suddenly and impossibly vanishes into thin air.

Billy soon discovers, this is the precipitating act in a struggle to
the death between mysterious but powerful forces in a London whose
existence he has been blissfully ignorant of until now, a city whose
denizens—human and otherwise—are adept in magic and murder.

is the Congregation of God Kraken, a sect of squid worshippers whose
roots go back to the dawn of humanity—and beyond. There is the criminal
mastermind known as the Tattoo, a merciless maniac inked onto the flesh
of a hapless victim. There is the FSRC—the Fundamentalist and
Sect-Related Crime Unit—a branch of London’s finest that fights sorcery
with sorcery. There is Wati, a spirit from ancient Egypt who leads a
ragtag union of magical familiars. There are the Londonmancers, who read
the future in the city’s entrails. There is Grisamentum, London’s
greatest wizard, whose shadow lingers long after his death. And then
there is Goss and Subby, an ageless old man and a cretinous boy who,
together, constitute a terrifying—yet darkly charismatic—demonic duo.

of them—and others—are in pursuit of Billy, who inadvertently holds the
key to the missing squid, an embryonic god whose powers, properly
harnessed, can destroy all that is, was, and ever shall be.  

My thoughts:  Hmm, while it looks and starts out sounding like maybe it is about a giant squid, I don’t know if it really is?  So not sure on this one.

Verdict:  Toss

8.  Sweet Misfortune by Kevin Alan Milne:

Sophie owns a chocolate
shop where she sells Misfortune Cookies-dipped in bitter chocolate they
contain messages she handwrites each day such as “Your car seems fine now, but just wait…it will eventually be a source of frustration and unexpected delay.” What
starts as a gimmick, turns into a surprise hit with customers. But when
her ex-fiancée moves back to their small Washington town, he is
surprised at how bitter and unhappy Sophie has become. He proposes a
bet–she must place an ad in the paper that simply states “Wanted:
Happiness.” If at least 100 people respond, proving happiness isn’t a
myth, she agrees to a date with him. If not, he’ll leave her alone
forever. Sophie is convinced she’ll win, but fate has other ideas when a
reporter at the paper is intrigued by the ad as a story and posts it in
newspapers across the country.

My thoughts:  This is one I don’t remember, but it sounds like it could be a fun one!

Verdict:  Keep

9.  The Snark Handbook:  A Reference Guide to Verbal Sparring by Lawrence Dorfman:

It’s impossible to go a
full day without using snark, so why fight it? Snark is everywhere, from
television to movies to everyday life. This lively collection provides
hours of entertainment—better than an Etch A Sketch, and more fun than
Silly Putty! At the heart of it, being in a state of snark can be one of
the most useful tools at one’s disposal and hence (yes, I used
“hence”), a powerful way to get what you want. With snark, you can catch
people completely off-guard, and royally piss them off.

Included here is the Snark Hall of Fame, the Best Snarky Responses to
Everyday Dumbassness, and much more. It’s a book that will make you
laugh. It’s a book that will make someone else cry. It’s a book every
student of the American psyche (that’s all of us, Sparky) needs to have.
Let loose. Let your inner anger become a positive rather than a
negative, but most of all, have fun. (Yeah, like that’s something you
know how to do.)  

My thoughts:
As much fun as this sounds, not sure it is something I’ll ever have the time for, or make the time to read.

Verdict:  Toss

10.  You’ll Never Blue Ball in This Town Again by Heather McDonald:

“Can’t a girl dress like a hooker, dance like a stripper, and kiss like a porn star and still be a nineteen-year-old virgin?” 

You’ll Never Blue Ball in This Town Again is
the laugh-out-loud story of an attractive Los Angeles woman who found
herself in the predicament of being an unwilling virgin. As an actress,
writer, and stand-up comedienne, Heather McDonald passed up ample
opportunities to have her V-card revoked by handsome, rich, and
sometimes even fabulously famous men, but she could not bring herself to
do “it” until well after her friends had been deflowered.

Chelsea Handler so lovingly puts it, “Thank God, Heather waited
twenty-seven years to lose her virginity or she wouldn’t have any
material for this book.” Whether in a backseat, a community pool, or a
sports stadium, with a frat boy, a doctor, or an A-list celebrity,
Heather McDonald knew how to turn those boys blue. Unlike “putting out,”
blue balling might not have paid her rent or landed her free trips to
Hawaii, but it did provide her with hilarious stories and adventures in
her search for true love—and, ultimately, her very own happy ending.
Now, Heather McDonald will never blue ball in this town again.

My thoughts:  I remember seeing this one on the shelf at work. Sounds like a funny book.

Verdict:  Keep

Final Thoughts:
So, I’m tossing more than I’m keeping, so that is good!  Do you see any of the books up there that I’m tossing that you’ve read and think I should keep?  In two weeks I’ll be on spring break from school, and I’m hoping to get some cleaning up from my physical book stacks done!  I may be able to show a picture of that with this weekly post in a couple weeks.  No one signed up  last week, but I’m going to make it possible again this week in case you want to sign up and share your post with me, because I’d love to see it, and I’ll also add an entry in the giveaway below if you do link up a post like this.  

Inlinkz Link Party

again this is a US only giveaway, unless you are International and see a
book here you really want and would be willing to pay for the
difference in the shipping through Paypal or some other way.  Just
as with the past weeks, 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:    

Above are my 2018 ARCs you can choose from.

These are my 2017 ARCs.

These are my 2013-2016 ARCs you can choose from.

Just enter in the Rafflecopter below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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10 responses to “Cleaning Up My TBR with a Giveaway: Down the TBR Hole #11

    • I figure I don't need them on my Goodreads TBR. If I ever get the urge to read about Henry VIII or the Tudors, I'm sure I'll be able to find books no problem. Thanks for stopping by!

  1. I haven't read any of the books you listed, but I do remember seeing Stay before (I'm a sucker for dogs on book covers) and I thank you for reminding me of this fun-sounding book. Thanks for sharing your ARCs and spring break sounds so nice right now.

  2. Wow goof for you! You are doing so well with your TBR pile. Hope you have a great spring break. If you shoot me an email with your address I would be more than happy to send you my copy of Blackwood! I hope to post one of these again, but I've had like 12 blog tours with reviews due for the next two weeks back to back! When I do I'll share my link with you!

    Sharrice @Reese's Reviews

    • Trying hard to get it cleared down. Actually got some physical books out this past week. I'll share those next weekend. I'd love that! I'll send you an email! Thanks so much!

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