Cleaning Up My TBR With a Giveaway (US Only) – Down the TBR Hole #43

October 19, 2019 CUTBR, giveaway 16

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 (or 20 if you have as many as I do)
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

So, while I’m making a teensy bit of progress, I think I want to try to push that number each week up to 20 instead of just 10.  Let’s see how that goes!

1.  The Mist on Bronte Moor by Aviva Orr:

When Heather Jane Bell
is diagnosed with alopecia and her hair starts falling out in clumps,
she wants nothing more than to escape her home in London and disappear
off the face of the earth.

Heather gets her wish when her
concerned parents send her to stay with a great-aunt in West Yorkshire.
But shortly after she arrives, Heather becomes lost on the moors and is
swept through the mist back to the year 1833. There she encounters
fifteen-year-old Emily Brontë and is given refuge in the Brontë

Unaware of her host family’s genius and future fame,
Heather struggles to cope with alopecia amongst strangers in a world
foreign to her. While Heather finds comfort and strength in her growing
friendship with Emily and in the embrace of the close-knit Brontë
family, her emotions are stretched to the limit when she falls for
Emily’s brilliant but troubled brother, Branwell.

Will Heather
return to the comforts and conveniences of the twenty-first century? Or
will she choose love and remain in the harsh world of nineteenth-century


My thoughts:
I kind of like stories like this.  So I might want to try to read it some day.

Verdict: Keep for now

2.  First World Problems:  63 things that totally suck by Gemma Correl and Mariah Bear:

Who has time to read
anymore? We’re all tweeting, Facebooking, and texting…when we’re not
sexting, of course. On the other hand, who has time to find the funniest
tagged items out there…and make them even more awesome, LoLCat style?
This fast, funny, colorful book riffs off of one of the most popular
trending hashtags on Twitter…#firstworldproblems, those complaints
like, “My iPad cord doesn’t fit my iPhone!” “I can’t figure out my Ikea
furniture,” and “There’s no 3G in my bathroom.” The perfect insta-gift
for the inveterate twitterer in your life. Or anyone who appreciates an
edgy right-now sense of humor.

Funny photographic treatments of
one of the Web’s most popular and long-standing memes (unlike some
here-today-gone-tomorrow tags, #firstworldproblems shows up as a popular
tag year after year). Each spread illustrates a funny statement or
problem, in a way that’s familiar to addicts of the incredibly popular I
Can Has Cheeseburger, Failblog, and other funny-photo sites. These are
different in that they feature a captivating quirky design, and content
created especially for the format.

My thoughts
Could be fun. But I find that really I don’t need to buy a lot of these books.  Or read them. 

Verdict: Toss 

3.  The Menagerie by Tui T. Sutherland:

Logan Wilde is
accidentally drawn into the mysterious, dangerous world of the Menagerie
when he discovers a griffin hiding under his bed . . . and it leads him
straight to the weirdest girl in seventh grade, Zoe Kahn.

Zoe is
panicking. Her family has been guarding the Menagerie for centuries. If
they don’t get the cubs back fast, the whole place will be shut down.
To save the griffins’ lives, she’s willing to break all the rules, even
if it means letting an outsider like Logan help. But the real mystery
remains: Is someone trying to sabotage the Menagerie?

Who let the griffins out…and why?


My thoughts:  
Cool cover, but I think it is middle grade, and I don’t really read those anymore.

Verdict: Toss

4.  Unsouled by Neal Shusterman:

The story that began with Unwind continues.

and Lev are on the run after the destruction of the Graveyard, the last
safe haven for AWOL Unwinds. But for the first time, they’re not just
running away from something. This time, they’re running toward answers,
in the form of a woman Proactive Citizenry has tried to erase from
history itself. If they can find her, and learn why the shadowy figures
behind unwinding are so afraid of her, they may discover the key to
bringing down unwinding forever.

Cam, the rewound boy, is
plotting to take down the organization that created him. Because he
knows that if he can bring Proactive Citizenry to its knees, it will
show Risa how he truly feels about her. And without Risa, Cam is having
trouble remembering what it feels like to be human.

With the
Juvenile Authority and vindictive parts pirates hunting them, the paths
of Connor, Lev, Cam, and Risa will converge explosively—and everyone
will be changed.

My thoughts:  
I love this series, need to finish reading!

Verdict:  Keep

5.   Til Death by Kate Evangelista:

Sixteen-year old Selena
Fallon is a dreamer. Not a day-dreamer, but an I-see-the-future kind of
dreamer. Normally this is not a problem as she has gotten pretty good at
keeping her weird card hidden from everyone in her small town. Except
from her best friend Kyle and her grandparents, of course. But when
Selena dreams of her own rather bloody death, things get a little too
freaky even for her.

Enter Dillan Sloan. Selena has seen the new
guy in a different dream, and he is even more droolworthy in person.
Beyond the piercing blue eyes and tousled dark hair, there is something
else that draws her to him. Something…electric. Unfortunately, Dillan
makes it more than clear that he does not feel the same. They just met,
so why would he act like he hates her?

When Dillan and Selena are
forced together one weekend to work on a school project, Selena
prepares to be ignored as usual. But when she stumbles across a few
undead in the backyard, Dillan comes to her rescue and reveals a whole
lot more. Not only is he part of a society that hunts otherworldly
creatures…she is too. And she is being targeted by a force bigger and
darker than anything she ever imagined. Despite her death dream, Selena
is not going to give up easy, especially when she discovers that Dillan
might not actually hate her after all.

My thoughts:
Beautiful cover. But doesn’t sound that unique.

Verdict:  Toss

6.  In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters:

In 1918, the world
seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze
masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships
young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of
fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as
desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for
comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her
bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of
looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in
battle—returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?

haunting archival early-twentieth-century photographs, this is a tense,
romantic story set in a past that is eerily like our own time.

My thoughts:
The other book that I’ve read by this author I liked, and I’m interested in how this author will use the old photos as part of the story.

Verdict:  Keep

7.  Finished Being Fat by Betsy Schow:

Not everyone can win the
race, but everyone can finish it. In her quest to wish away an extra 75
pounds, Betsy changed her life for good. Using her Philosophy of
Finishing, she snowballed her efforts from weight loss into a bucket
list of seemingly impossible dreams. This inspiring account of one
woman’s journey will help you find the strength to conquer your most
daunting goals and unfinished projects.

My thoughts:  
This almost sounds like a good one, but I don’t know that I will ever get around to reading it.  Hmm.  I almost want to keep it though.

Verdict:  Keep – for now

 8.  Leap Write In! by Karen Benke:

Invite your jittery mind
into quiet slips of timed or untimed writing experiments that are
designed to encourage your timid heart to forge forgotten feelings and
entice your shy-self to make friends with emerging emotions. With a
bounty of prompts to select from, you’ll be inspired to explore all the
wacky, confusing, brave, soul-stirring wonderings and wanderings of your
emerging life’s inner treasure in a way that’s sure to unleash what you
most need to say. In this book you’ll find:

   •  On-the-Spot Drops that offer quick “free-fall” prompts on different themes, such as short-winded poems and seven-line stories. 
   •  Mini Memoirs to unlock personal narrative to share, or not.
   •  Suddenly a Story
suggestions to explore feelings and states of being like fear,
reluctance, compassion, kindness, anxiety, anger, jealousy, happiness,
and more.
   •  Surprise Yourself Surveys for those who think they know everything about themselves.
   •  Untie-Your-Mind Word Lists to jump-start stalled imaginations.
   •  Definition Decoders to introduce new ideas and styles of writing.

especially for tweens, teens, and other earthlings, this book provides
you with a chance to create imaginative poems, stories, fragments, and
real-life on-the-spot sketches. All that’s required is that you take a
breath, relax, reset, and leap write in!
My thoughts:
Well, for one thing, I’ve decided I need to actually just write, and not worry so much about reading books about writing until I’ve got my writing done and practice the actual writing.  Plus I think this is more for teens, so probably not for me.

Verdict:  Toss

9.  On the Island by Tracy Garvis-Graves:

When thirty-year-old
English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at
his family’s summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without
hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library
any day. T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone
asked him. He’s almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn’t bad enough,
now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family – and
a stack of overdue assignments – instead of his friends.

and T.J. are en route to join T.J.’s family in the Maldives when the
pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in
the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets
keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited

Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work
together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter. Their basic needs
might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the
castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent
tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the
possibility that T.J.’s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet
another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest
challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a

My thoughts:
Nah, not sure why I added it.

Verdict: Toss

10.  The Last Seven Months of Anne Frank by Willy Lindwer:

Six powerful,
harrowing, moving interviews with women who knew Anne Frank in the final
seven months of her life. Everyone knows the story of Anne Frank – the
extraordinary Diary that she wrote during her two years in hiding in the
Secret Annexe. But few know how that story ended. Here six women whose
lives touched Anne Frank’s in her final months tell their story – of the
terrible journey east to Auschwitz, of the daily privations and terror
of the death camps, and of the friendships and courage that transcended
even the most vile conditions. Anne Frank’s story did not end with the
last words in her Diary; it ended alone on a filthy floor at
Bergen-Belsen. These women were the lucky ones who lived.

My thoughts:
I am always fascinated to know all the details and how this could have happened.  I feel every bit we learn and remember is important for the memory of those we’ve lost, as well as to help prevent similar events in the future.

Verdict: Keep

11.  The Tangled Bank by Carl Zimmer:

The Tangled Bank is the
first textbook about evolution intended for the general reader. Zimmer,
an award-winning science writer, takes readers on a fascinating journey
into the latest discoveries about evolution. In the Canadian Arctic,
paleontologists unearth fossils documenting the move of our ancestors
from sea to land. In the outback of Australia, a zoologist tracks some
of the world’s deadliest snakes to decipher the 100-million-year
evolution of venom molecules. In Africa, geneticists are gathering DNA
to probe the origin of our species. In clear, non-technical language,
Zimmer explains the central concepts essential for understanding new
advances in evolution, including natural selection, genetic drift, and
sexual selection. He demonstrates how vital evolution is to all branches
of modern biology—from the fight against deadly antibiotic-resistant
bacteria to the analysis of the human genome. Richly illustrated with
285 illustrations and photographs, The Tangled Bank is essential reading
for anyone who wants to understand the history of life on Earth.

My thoughts:
I don’t really have the time to read a lot of the science books like I used to.

Verdict:  Toss

12.  Entanglement by Dan Rix:

“…the scientific
explanation is quantum entanglement, whereby the boy and girl—even when
separated by great distances—react instantaneously to changes in each
other’s states…” —Dr. Casler Selavio, on the entanglement of halves.

a world like ours, humans are born in pairs. When a newborn boy takes
his first breath in the coastal town of Tularosa, the exact time is
noted, recorded in the Registry, and later compared to the birth times
of other newborns around the globe. There will be one identical
match—his half. They will meet on their eighteenth birthday and they
will spend their lives together. Except this time, there is no match.

heartthrob Aaron Harper is scheduled to meet his half in twenty-nine
days, and he doesn’t buy a word of that entanglement crap. So what if he
and his half were born the same day and share a spooky psychic
connection? Big deal. After breaking one too many teenage girls’ hearts,
he’ll stick to brawling with the douchebag rugby players any day.

Until the day a new girl arrives at school and threatens everything he takes for granted.

and unapproachable, Amber Lilian hates the growing list of similarities
between her and the one boy she can’t read, Aaron: born the same day,
both stubborn, both terrified of meeting their halves. . . . All the
more reason not to trust him. That she would rather die than surrender
herself as her half’s property is none of his damn business. But once
lost in Aaron’s dangerous, jet black eyes, she’s already surrendered
more than she cares to admit.
Tangled in each other’s
self-destructive lives, Aaron and Amber learn the secret behind their
linked births and why they feel like halves—but unless they can prove it
before they turn eighteen, Aaron faces a lifetime alone in a world
where everyone else has a soul mate . . . and he’ll have to watch Amber
give herself to a boy who intends to possess not only her body but also a
chunk of her soul.

ENTANGLEMENT, a 75,000 word YA thriller, will appeal to readers of Michael Grant’s GONE and Ally Condie’s MATCHED.

My thoughts:
I’ve liked the other book I read by this author, and this does sound kind of good.

Verdict: Keep

13.  James Potter and the Hall of Elders’ Crossing by G. Norman Lippert:

James Potter thinks he
knows, but as he begins his own adventure at Hogwarts, he discovers just
how much of a challenge it really is to live up to the legend of the
great Harry Potter. As if it wasn’t enough dealing with the delegates
from the American wizarding school and figuring out the mysteriously
polite Slytherins, James and his new friends, Ralph and Zane, begin to
uncover a secret plot that could pit the Muggle and the Magical worlds
against each other in all-out war.

Now, with the help of Ted
Lupin and his band of merry mischief makers (The Gremlins), James must
race to stop a war that could change the world forever. His only hope is
to learn the difference between being a hero and being the son of a

My thoughts:
Honestly, I’m not the hugest fan of fan fiction.  I’ve tried, but just can’t seem to get into it.

Verdict:  Toss

14.  Penpal by Dathan Auerbach:

Penpal began as a
series of short and interconnected stories posted on an online horror
forum. Before long, it was adapted into illustrations, audio recordings,
and short films; and that was before it was revised and expanded into a

How much do you remember about your childhood?

In Penpal,
a man investigates the seemingly unrelated bizarre, tragic, and
horrific occurrences of his childhood in an attempt to finally
understand them. Beginning with only fragments of his earliest years,
you’ll follow the narrator as he discovers that these strange and
horrible events are actually part of a single terrifying story that has
shaped the entirety of his life and the lives of those around him. If
you’ve ever stayed in the woods just a little too long after dark, if
you’ve ever had the feeling that someone or something was trying to hurt
you, if you remember the first friend you ever made and how strong that
bond was, then Penpal is a story that you won’t soon forget, despite how you might try.

My thoughts:
I get why I added this, sounds pretty creative, but I don’t know that I’m as into it now.

Verdict:  Toss

15.  T-Rex Trying by Hugh Murphy:

Poor T-Rex. It’s hard to be the Lizard King when you can’t even change a light bulb.

Drawn from Hugh Murphy’s wildly popular Tumblr feed of the same name, T-Rex Trying
depicts the stubby-armed tyrant in a range of hilarious—yet
pathos-inducing—activities that we humans take for granted. Murphy’s 100
drawings include:

T-Rex Trying to Paint His House
T-Rex Trying to Use a Drive-Through ATM
T-Rex Trying to Apply Sunscreen
T-Rex Trying to Break Into a Vending Machine
T-Rex Trying to Ask for a New Roll of Toilet Paper from the Next Stall

Looks like the ancient beast isn’t so tough after all.

My thoughts:
Again, I love the humor books, but really I don’t have time or need them on my TBR.

Verdict:  Toss

16.  Hollywood Hypocrites by Jason Mattera:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Obama Zombies comes a sharp and humorous critique of the Hollywood left.


you sick of self-important celebrities preaching against “global
warming,” yet flying private planes to their countless homes? Fed up
with lectures about charity and philanthropy from miserly rockers who
will do anything for a tax break? Disgusted by leftist stars decrying
the evils of the Second Amendment as their personal bodyguards pack more
heat than a Chuck Norris kick to the face?

The same Hollywood
loons who got Barack Hussein Obama elected in 2008 will do so again in
2012. That is, unless we muzzle them. Four years ago, Republicans sat
back like wimps and let Obama’s celebrity-fueled cool machine steamroll
them into electoral smithereens. This time, we must do the steamrolling.

New York Times bestselling author of Obama Zombies and gonzo journalist Jason Mattera takes the first stand with Hollywood Hypocrites,
as he slays the Left’s sacred celebrity cows and teaches Obama’s
Tinseltown foot soldiers their most important lesson yet: No longer can
they attempt to deny Americans the very liberties they use to catapult
themselves to prosperity and stardom. In his trademark eye-opening,
no-holds-barred, and hilarious style, Mattera puts scores of A-list
celebrities, including Sting, Madonna, Bono, Al Gore, Alec Baldwin, Matt
Damon, Cameron Diaz, Bruce Springsteen, and many, many more under the
microscope to analyze whether they live by the same environmental,
health, anti-violence, civil rights, and other policy prescriptions they
seek to inflict on Americans. What he uncovers will shock you.

megaphone is powerful, and the mainstream media’s love affair with the
president will roar back with a vengeance when their guy is against the
wall. Anyone who thinks Barack Obama’s abysmal first term will be enough
to demoralize the Liberal Left Coast from flexing its mediated
political muscle is a fool.

It’s time to recognize the marketing
and fund-raising power the Hollywood Progressives wield. It’s time to
dig into the data and set the record straight. It’s time to turn the
media spotlight back on the image makers and prevent the Hollywood elite
from hoodwinking American voters once again.

My thoughts:
This is one that still kind of interests me. Don’t know when/if I’ll get to it though.

Verdict: Keep – for now

17.  Snakeroot by Andrea Cremer:

Fans asked for it, and now they’ve got it!

Cremer is continuing the story she began in in her internationally
bestselling trilogy: Nightshade, Wolfsbane and Bloodrose.

Mar haunts the dreams of both Adne and Logan, trying to escape for the
Nether, where Calla, Shay and the other Guardians trapped him in the
final battle in the War of All Against All…

Will he turn Adne to the dark side? Will Logan reclaim his birthright? And will darkness take over our world?

My thoughts:
At some point I may go back to this series, but I don’t know that I need to keep it on my TBR list on Goodreads.

Verdict:  Toss

18.  In the After by Demetria Lunetta:

In debut author
Demitria Lunetta’s heart-pounding thriller, one girl must fight for her
survival in a world overrun by violent, deadly creatures. Perfect for
fans of New York Times bestsellers like The 5th Wave and Across the Universe.

Harris’s life changed forever when They took over. Her
parents—vanished. The government—obsolete. Societal
structure—nonexistent. No one knows where They came from, but these
vicious creatures have been rapidly devouring mankind since They
appeared. With fierce survivor instincts, Amy manages to stay alive—and
even rescues “Baby,” a toddler who was left behind. After years of
hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope. On the
surface, it appears to be a safe haven for survivors. But there are dark
and twisted secrets lurking beneath that could have Amy and Baby paying
with not only their freedom . . . but also their lives.

My thoughts:
I feel like I still want to read this some time!

Verdict: Keep

19.  Yesterday by C.K. Kelly Martin:

THEN: The formation of
the UNA, the high threat of eco-terrorism, the mammoth rates of
unemployment and subsequent escape into a world of virtual reality are
things any student can read about in their 21st century textbooks and
part of the normal background noise to Freya Kallas’s life. Until that
world starts to crumble.

NOW: It’s 1985. Freya Kallas has just
moved across the world and into a new life. On the outside, she fits in
at her new high school, but Freya feels nothing but removed. Her mother
blames it on the grief over her father’s death, but how does that
explain the headaches and why do her memories feel so foggy? When Freya
lays eyes on Garren Lowe, she can’t get him out of her head. She’s sure
that she knows him, despite his insistence that they’ve never met. As
Freya follows her instincts and pushes towards hidden truths, the two of
them unveil a strange and dangerous world where their days may be
numbered. Unsure who to trust, Freya and Garren go on the run from
powerful forces determined to tear them apart and keep them from
discovering the truth about their shared pasts (and futures), her
visions, and the time and place they really came from. Yesterday will appeal to fans of James Dashner’s The Maze Runner, Veronica Roth’s Divergent, Amy Ryan’s Glow, Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and Ally Condie’s Matched.

My thoughts:
Doesn’t sound that different from other dystopia type of books, so I’ll skip.

Verdict:  Toss

20.  Me Before You by Jojo Moyes:

Recently fired and
almost broke, thirty-year old Ellie decides to push all distractions
aside and form a crash-or-burn plan to save herself and finally pursue
her dreams. She gives herself one month to make the near-impossible
happen, otherwise she has to leave New York City and move into her
niece’s toy room.

The plan seems simple but becomes complicated
by a nosey best friend, a difficult roommate, a dreamy stranger, and a
really bad ring. As the month progresses, Ellie must confront the
realization that by deciding to focus on herself, she may have become
completely self-centered.

Will she let her own ambitions,
insecurities, and assumptions ruin her friendships and get in the way of
a possible romance? Ruled by endless lists and fueled by several plates
of pie, Ellie’s comical thoughts and mishaps drive this story from the
office to the coffee shop during a month that will leave her with a
broken foot, a great pair of shoes, and a forever changed life.

My thoughts:
I feel like I can just watch the movie probably.

Verdict:  Toss

Final Thoughts:
Keeping a lot this week, 8!!!

I’m going to quit for a bit with telling how many books overall I’ve gotten rid of, because as I prepare for November with the Blog Ahead Challenge, the numbers won’t match up each week. 

you read any
of these?  Would you suggest I keep any I’m tossing?  And if you’re
inspired to do this on your blog, please feel free to join in and share a
link in the comments, since it will also get you an extra
entry into my giveaway at
the bottom of this post.    


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.  You get to pick any two books 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. 
As I mentioned above, unpacking is finding a lot of books to get rid of, so you have even more to pick from this week!  Here are your choices:

2018 ARCs:

I’ve condensed all my older ARCS into this one picture of 2011-2017 ARCs:

I’m continuing to add in my 2019 ARCs now.  You can pick one of your two choices from the picture below, the other book you pick needs to come from the pictures above.  

Once again I’m going to let you pick two, along with me throwing in a surprise third book!  Just enter the Rafflecopter below.   Disclaimer:  Unfortunately, while I’ve only had it happen once, I’m going to have to make a statement like other giveaways I’ve seen on blogs that I am not responsible for lost mail.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

16 Responses to “Cleaning Up My TBR With a Giveaway (US Only) – Down the TBR Hole #43”

  1. Reese's Reviews

    Wow look at you go! 8 is a good number. Good thought on Snakeroot. I didn't enjoy that one very much and only got about 6 chapters or so into the book before I stopped. Til Death was an amazing book. I've read it several times. I think it's okay to toss until the second one comes out, but it was very fun.

    Sharrice @Reese's Reviews

  2. Olivia's Catastrophe

    Me Before You tugged a little at my heartstrings because I really did love that book! I haven't seen the film, but you could be right with thinking the film will be more or less the same. You did a good job of tossing! I want to read that Cat Winters book too. I'm not that keen on the one by Kate Evangelista either but I did like her YA romance book.

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