Cleaning Up My TBR With a Giveaway (US Only) – Down the TBR Hole #44

Posted October 26, 2019 by Lisa Mandina in CUTBR, giveaway / 8 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 (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.  Idols by Margaret Stohl:

The Icons came from the
sky. They belong to an inhuman enemy. They ended our civilization, and
they can kill us. Most of us. Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas are the four Icon
Children, the only humans immune to the Icon’s power to stop a human
heart. Now that Los Angeles has been saved, things are more complicated –
and not just because Dol has to choose between Lucas and Ro, the two
great loves of her life. As she flees to a resistance outpost hidden
beneath a mountain, Dol makes contact with a fifth Icon Child, if only
through her visions. When Dol and the others escape to Southeast Asia in
search of this missing child, Dol’s dreams, feelings and fears collide
in an epic showdown that will change more than just four lives – and
stop one heart forever.


My thoughts:
I liked the first one, and I like this author, might even own this, but not sure.

Verdict: Keep 

2.  Rags and Bones:  New Twists on Timeless Tales by Melissa Marr:

The best writers of our
generation retell classic tales. From Sir Edmund Spenser’s “The Faerie
Queene” to E. M. Forster’s “The Machine Stops”, literature is filled
with sexy, deadly, and downright twisted tales. In this collection,
today’s most acclaimed award-winning and bestselling authors reimagine
their favorite classic stories and use their own unique styles to
rebuild these timeless stories, the ones that have inspired, awed, and
enraged them, the ones that have become ingrained in modern culture, and
the ones that have been too long overlooked. They take these twelve
stories and boil them down to their bones, and reassemble them for a new
generation of readers. Written from a twenty-first century perspective
and set within the realms of science fiction, dystopian fiction,
fantasy, and realistic fiction, these short stories are as moving and
thought provoking as their originators. They pay homage to
groundbreaking literary achievements of the past while celebrating each
author’s unique perception and innovative style.

Introduction: Rags & Bones: New Twists on Timeless Tales (2013) • essay by Tim Pratt and Melissa Marr
That the Machine May Progress Eternally (2013) / shortfiction by Carrie Ryan, inspired by E.M. Forster’s The Machine Stops
The King of Elfland’s Daughter (2013) • interior artwork by Charles Vess
Losing Her Divinity [Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz] (2013) / shortfiction by Garth Nix, inspired by The Man Who Would Be King
The Sleeper and the Spindle (2013) / novelette by Neil Gaiman, inspired by Sleeping Beauty
Kai Lung’s Golden Hours (2013) • interior artwork by Charles Vess
The Cold Corner (2013) / shortfiction by Tim Pratt, inspired by Henry James’ The Jolly Corner
Millcara (2013) / shortfiction by Holly Black, inspired by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla
Figures of Earth (2013) • interior artwork by Charles Vess
When First We Were Gods (2013) / shortfiction by Rick Yancey, inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Birthmark
Sirocco (2013) / shortfiction by Margaret Stohl, inspired by Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto
The Shaving of Shagpat (2013) • interior artwork by Charles Vess
Awakened (2013) / shortfiction by Melissa Marr, inspired by Kate Chopin’s The Awakening
New Chicago (2013) / shortfiction by Kelley Armstrong, inspired by W. W. Jacob’s The Monkey’s Paw
The Wood Beyond the World (2013) • interior artwork by Charles Vess
The Soul Collector (2013) / shortfiction by Kami Garcia, inspired by the Brothers Grimm’s Rumpelstiltskin
Without Faith, Without Law, Without Joy (2013) / shortfiction by Saladin Ahmed, inspired by Sir Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene
Goblin Market (2013) • interior artwork by Charles Vess
Uncaged (2013) / shortfiction by Gene Wolf, inspired by William Seabrook’s The Caged White Werewolf.

My thoughts
I have so much trouble getting through anthologies that at this point, I’ll probably never get to this.

Verdict: Toss 

3.  Imposter by Susanne Winnacker:

able to absorb the DNA of anyone she touches and mimic their
appearance. Shunned by her family, she’s spent the last two years
training with the Forces with Extraordinary Abilities, a secret branch
of the FBI.

When a serial killer rocks a small town in Oregon,
Tessa is given a mission: she must impersonate Madison, a local teen, to
find the killer before he strikes again.

Tessa hates everything
about being an impostor – the stress, the danger, the deceit – but
loves playing the role of a normal girl. Disguised as Madison, she finds
friends, romance, and the kind of loving family she’d do anything to

Amid action, suspense, and a ticking clock, this
super-human arrives at a very human conclusion: even a girl who can look
like anyone struggles the most with being herself.


My thoughts:  
I really like this author, so I’ll probably get to one of these days.

Verdict:  Keep

4.  Linked by Imogen Howson:

Elissa used to have it
all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three
years, she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and
mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere.

Finally, she’s
promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her
brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth
behind her hallucinations: she’s been seeing the world through another
girl’s eyes.

Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered,
broken girl on the run. A girl—Lin—who looks exactly like Elissa, down
to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed.

Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at
nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could
expose—secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world.

Riveting, thought-provoking and utterly compelling, Linked will make you question what it really means to be human.

My thoughts:  
Doesn’t sound like anything original.

Verdict: Toss

5.   Twinmaker by Sean Williams:

High-stakes action
combines with issues of friendship and body image in this timely and
thought-provoking exploration of the intersection of technology and

You can be Improved….

In a near-future
world in which technology can transport you anywhere instantly, can a
coded note enable you to change your body—to become taller, stronger,
more beautiful? Clair is pretty sure the offer is too good to be true.
But her best friend, Libby, is determined to give it a try, longing for a
new, improved version of herself.

What starts as Libby’s dream
turns into Clair’s nightmare when Libby falls foul of a deadly trap.
With the help of Jesse, the school freak, and a mysterious—but
powerful—stranger called Q, Clair’s attempt to protect Libby leads her
to an unimagined world of conspiracies and cover-ups. Soon her own life
is at risk, and Clair is chased across the world in a desperate race
against time.

Action and danger fuel Sean Williams’ tale of
technology, identity, and the lengths to which one girl will go to save
her best friend.

My thoughts:
I probably added this because it was the big deal at the time.  Not so sure I care anymore.  Plus we have it in my school library if I’m ever so inclined to read it.

Verdict:  Toss

6.  Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis:

Regret was for people with nothing to defend, people who had no water.

Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless
winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She
makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn’t
leave at all.

Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for
the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means
dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and
water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something
Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles
in hand.

But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing:
strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and
gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and
they won’t stop until they get it….

With evocative, spare
language and incredible drama, danger, and romance, debut author Mindy
McGinnis depicts one girl’s journey in a barren world not so different
than our own.

My thoughts:
I still want to read this one.

Verdict:  Keep

7.  Find Me by Romily Bernard:

“Find Me.”

are the words written on Tessa Waye’s diary. The diary that ends up
with Wick Tate. But Tessa’s just been found . . . dead.

Wick has
the right computer-hacking skills for the job, but little interest in
this perverse game of hide-and-seek. Until her sister Lily is the next

Then Griff, trailer-park boy next door and fellow hacker,
shows up, intent on helping Wick. Is a happy ending possible with the
threat of Wick’s deadbeat dad returning, the detective hunting him
sniffing around Wick instead, and a killer taunting her at every step?

Foster child. Daughter of a felon. Loner hacker girl. Wick has a bad attitude and sarcasm to spare.

But she’s going to find this killer no matter what.

Because it just got personal.

My thoughts:  
Eh, not sure I’ll get to it.

Verdict:  Toss

 8.  The Caged Graves  by Dianne K. Salemi:

17-year-old Verity Boone
expects a warm homecoming when she returns to Catawissa, Pennsylvania,
in 1867, pledged to marry a man she has never met. Instead, she finds a
father she barely knows and a future husband with whom she apparently
has nothing in common. One truly horrifying surprise awaits her: the
graves of her mother and aunt are enclosed in iron cages outside the
local cemetery. Nobody in town will explain why, but Verity hears rumors
of buried treasure and witchcraft. Perhaps the cages were built to keep
grave robbers out . . . or to keep the women in. Determined to
understand, Verity finds herself in a life-and-death struggle with
people she trusted.

Inspired by a pair of real caged graves in
present-day Catawissa, this historical YA novel weaves mystery, romance,
and action into a suspenseful drama with human greed and passion at its

My thoughts:
Okay, I like that this is based on something the author found and was inspired by.  But, don’t know if I’ll ever get to it.

Verdict:  Toss

9.  The Rules by Stacey Kade:

1. Never trust anyone.

2. Remember they are always searching.

3. Don’t get involved.

4. Keep your head down.

5. Don’t fall in love.

simple rules. Ariane Tucker has followed them since the night she
escaped from the genetics lab where she was created, the result of
combining human and extraterrestrial DNA. Ariane’s survival-and that of
her adoptive father-depends on her ability to blend in among the
full-blooded humans, to hide in plain sight from those who seek to
recover their lost (and expensive) “project.”

But when a cruel
prank at school goes awry, it puts Adriane in the path of Zane Bradshaw,
the police chief’s son and someone who sees too much. Someone who
really sees her. After years of trying to be invisible, Ariane
finds the attention frightening-and utterly intoxicating. Suddenly,
nothing is simple anymore, especially not the rules.

My thoughts:
Sounds similar to other things.

Verdict: Toss

10.  Long Black Veil by Jeanette Battista:

A girl, a boy, and a family curse…

can’t wait to put her podunk mountain town behind her once and for all
when she graduates high school. But even though she’s the class
valedictorian, the likelihood of her being able to afford college on her
own is slim. As she begins the research on scholarships that might help
with tuition, a new distraction arises in the form of the town’s golden
boy, the cute and popular Brock Cutler who works in the town Records
room. Devon knows that mountain and town folk don’t mix, but she’s drawn
to him anyway.

But as her friendship with Brock deepens, Devon
realizes that there are consequences when mountain folk and town folk
mingle: she’s humiliated at a party by the most popular girl in school,
almost assaulted by the school quarterback, and rumors about her begin
to spread throughout the school. The ghost of a woman wrapped in a black
veil starts haunting her steps. As these unpleasant incidents become
more frequent, Devon’s grandmother warns her to stay away from Brock so
she doesn’t end up like her mother.

As she digs deeper into her
family’s past, Devon uncovers secrets that may be better left buried.
Why is she suddenly seeing strange visions of a woman in a veil mourning
over a hundred year old grave? How is this veiled woman related to the
tragic events in Devon’s mother’s life? And why is Devon’s grandmother
warning her away from Brock? As Devon searches for answers and the
specter’s appearances become more frequent, everything Devon has ever
known in her life begins to change.

Can she unravel her family’s curse before it claims her too?

My thoughts:
Again, doesn’t sound that original.

Verdict:  Toss

11.  Conjure by Lea Nolan:

Be careful what you search for…

Guthrie expects this summer to be like any other in the South Carolina
Lowcountry–hot and steamy with plenty of beach time alongside her best
friend and secret crush, Cooper Beaumont, and Emma’s ever-present twin
brother, Jack. But then a mysterious eighteenth-century message in a
bottle surfaces, revealing a hidden pirate bounty. Lured by the
adventure, the trio discovers the treasure and unwittingly unleashes an
ancient Gullah curse that attacks Jack with the wicked flesh-eating
Creep and promises to steal Cooper’s soul on his approaching sixteenth

When a strange girl appears, bent on revenge; demon
dogs become a threat; and Jack turns into a walking skeleton; Emma has
no choice but to learn hoodoo magic to undo the hex, all before
summer—and her friends–are lost forever.

My thoughts:
Hmm, could be good.  But don’t know when I’d get to it.

Verdict:  Toss

12.  Men Like Gods by H.G. Wells:

Men Like Gods (1923) is a novel — referred to by the author as a “scientific fantasy” — by H. G. Wells.
novel is set in the summer of 1921. Its protagonist is Mr. Barnstaple
(his first name is either Alfred or William), a journalist working in
London and living in Sydenham. He has grown dispirited at a newspaper
called The Liberal and resolves to take a holiday. Quitting wife and
family, he finds his plans disrupted when his and two other automobiles
are accidentally transported with their passengers into “another world,”
which the “Earthlings” call Utopia.

My thoughts:
Not sure exactly why I put this on my TBR, but for classics, I probably have a reason, so I’ll keep it for now.

Verdict: Keep

13.  The Spring Before I Met You by Sarah Rees Brennan:

Introduction by Holly Black:

I had the privilege of reading this story many months ago and swooning over it almost as much as I swooned over Unspoken,
the first book of Sarah Rees Brennan’s gorgeously crafted modern gothic
trilogy. Sarah’s writing is incredible in that she is able to write
these witty, lush scenes that have you smiling along until suddenly, in a
single sentence, she reaches out to break your heart.

This story introduces us to one of the main characters of Unspoken,
Jared Lynburn. Seeing him as the broken, dangerous, closed-off teenager
that he appears to be from the outside allows us to anticipate all of
the insight we’ll have into his character when we get inside his
head–which we will, since he’s the heroine’s “imaginary friend.”

enjoy the contrast of Jared’s loneliness in the rough streets of
Hunters Point/Bayview in San Francisco and the small, strange English
town Jared is headed toward, and the girl he is about to meet. But most
of all, in this story, I enjoy Jared himself, a character who is a study
in contrasts–pushed to such extremes of despair and fury that he’s
truly capable of anything and yet capable of vast kindness, gentleness
and humor.

My thoughts:
One of my all time favorite series, so I definitely want to read this some time.

Verdict: Keep

14.  The Summer Before I Met You by Sarah Rees Brennan:

“Take care of your spirit, Kami,” said Megumi. “And don’t burn the place down.”

grabbed both the suitcases and headed for the cabin she was sharing
with Liz and Angela. Liz walked with her, and on their way Kami stopped.

“My Sobo was exaggerating,” she said earnestly. “There have been very few fires.”

My thoughts:
Same reasoning as the last one!

Verdict: Keep

15.  Grim by Christine Johnson:

Inspired by classic
fairy tales, but with a dark and sinister twist, Grim contains short
stories from some of the best voices in young adult literature today:

Ellen Hopkins
Amanda Hocking
Julie Kagawa
Claudia Gray
Rachel Hawkins
Kimberly Derting
Myra McEntire
Malinda Lo
Sarah Rees-Brennan
Jackson Pearce
Christine Johnson
Jeri Smith Ready
Shaun David Hutchinson
Saundra Mitchell
Sonia Gensler
Tessa Gratton
Jon Skrovon

My thoughts:
I think I tried getting into these stories at one time, but had issues, so like I said above for the other anthology, probably not for me.

Verdict:  Toss

16.  Reflection by Kim Cresswell:

Florida investigative
reporter, Whitney Steel, has lived in the shadow of her legendary father
long enough. To prove herself she needs to find the “Big” story.

She found it.

Now it may kill her.

Whitney receives a lead pointing to the world’s first cloned human, now
a small child, she vows to unravel the truth. However, sifting through
the facts proves to have dangerous results, including death threats and

When Whitney is nearly killed, but is saved by undercover
FBI Special Agent, Blake Neely, he refuses to let her get in the way of
his own objective—at least not right away.

Caught in a lethal
game between a billionaire obsessed with genetic perfection, his hit
man’s thirst for retribution, and a Colombian drug lord fresh out of
prison determined to make Blake pay for his twin brother’s death over a
decade ago…

Can they save an innocent child before it’s too late?

with tough choices, with deadly consequences for many—Whitney soon
realizes that sometimes a story becomes more than just a story.

My thoughts:
Not sure why I added this one.

Verdict: Toss

17.  Please Don’t Remove MarGreat’s Glasses! by Josh Baker:

“Please Don’t Remove MarGreat’s Glasses!”
is an inspirational coming of age story that follows the trials and
tribulations of privileged teenager, Timothy Clement, as he prepares for
his first year of law school.

Timothy and his two closest
friends embark on one last adventure before heading to college which
puts them in the middle of Miami’s seedy nightlife, complete with
partying, wild girls and various illegal activities.

Things go
horribly wrong when Timothy crosses the wrong people and his younger
brother Stephen pays for Timothy’s reckless behavior with his life.
Stripped of his status, abandoned by his friends and family, and
incarcerated, Timothy is forced to reevaluate his life, and in
particular, his atheist beliefs.

After being paroled, Timothy
reluctantly accepts the charity of a God fearing man named Jude who
takes him in and helps him assimilate back into society. Jude patiently
offers his support while Timothy endures prejudice, poverty, and
physical disfigurement after a freak accident. Jude remains steadfast in
his attempts to persuade Timothy to put his faith in God, but Timothy
will hear nothing of the sort.

Can Jude show this young atheist that it is never too late for salvation?

My thoughts:
Absolutely no idea why I added this one.

Verdict:  Toss

18.  Sierra by Taylor Dean:

Alyssa Fontaine’s life,
loved ones–everything familiar and dear–are brutally taken from her.
Taken captive by two men, she endures a horrific nightmare. A new life
is forced upon her and even a new name. Just when it appears that no
hope is in sight, she is saved by an unlikely twist of fate. Trapped in
the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains, life will open its arms to her
again and she will embrace it. She will find love such as she never knew
existed. Sierra is a heart-wrenching story of the power of the human
spirit to survive amidst impossible circumstances and severe losses. It
is a story of survival . . . and hope.

My thoughts:
Could be good, but probably not my type of read at the moment.

Verdict:  Toss

19.  Believe by Roxanne Crouse:

Lilly Perry dreams of
falling in love until she meets the mysterious Kalen who reveals she can
see faeries. She can’t say no to the gorgeous Kalen who invites her to a
beach party where the guests transform into monsters and Lilly wakes on
the beach abandoned and unable to remember what happened. Kalen must
return to the Otherworld to fight rebel fey threatening his kingdom, but
he promises to return.

No one believes Lilly’s story, not even
her family, who’s convinced she was abducted and raped by the man she
met, but Lilly knows something else happened, something magical. Lilly’s
new psychologist, Dr. Wasserman, has her committed to Harmony Creek.
The longer Lilly’s there, the more she realizes the girls in the ward
have similar stories to her and Dr. Wasserman is keeping them for other
reasons than their mental health.

Will Kalen return as he
promised? Will Lilly have the courage to discover the doctor’s secrets?
Find out in the first book of The Otherworld Trilogy.

My thoughts:
Doesn’t sound that unique

Verdict:  Toss

20.  Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee:

In the Labyrinth, we had a saying: keep silent, keep still, keep safe.

a city of walls and secrets, where only one man is supposed to possess
magic, seventeen-year-old Kai struggles to keep hidden her own
secret—she can manipulate the threads of time. When Kai was eight, she
was found by Reev on the riverbank, and her “brother” has taken care of
her ever since. Kai doesn’t know where her ability comes from—or where she
came from. All that matters is that she and Reev stay together, and
maybe one day move out of the freight container they call home, away
from the metal walls of the Labyrinth. Kai’s only friend is Avan, the
shopkeeper’s son with the scandalous reputation that both frightens and
intrigues her.

Then Reev disappears. When keeping silent and
safe means losing him forever, Kai vows to do whatever it takes to find
him. She will leave the only home she’s ever known and risk getting
caught up in a revolution centuries in the making. But to save Reev, Kai
must unravel the threads of her past and face shocking truths about her
brother, her friendship with Avan, and her unique power.

My thoughts:
Eh, not grabbing me anymore other than the beautiful cover.

Verdict:  Toss

Final Thoughts:
Only keeping 6 this week, yay!

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

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8 responses to “Cleaning Up My TBR With a Giveaway (US Only) – Down the TBR Hole #44

  1. Wow you did awesome this week. I do have to say The Rules by Stacey Kade was one of my most favorite books in the world. The rest of those I greatly agree with. I generally always toss anthologies too so good on that. Sarah Rees Brennan always writes amazing series. They're fabulous. I loved the Lynburn Legacy books a whole heck of a lot so good for you for keeping those.

    Sharrice @Reese's Reviews

    • I love the idea of them, and at one time I did read and love them, but these days I just can't seem to make myself get through them half the time. Thanks for stopping by!

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