Cleaning Up My TBR With a Giveaway (US Only) – Down the TBR Hole #45

Posted November 2, 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
  • 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 Assembly Room by Bryony Allen:

The ghosts of The Assembly Room have been waiting for someone to unlock their secrets, and Merryn Stearne has arrived.
14 year old Merryn, the future should have been perfect – a new home in
the idyllic Suffolk countryside and romance with the gorgeous boy next
door, Jamie. If only the past would stop interfering with the present.
Dreams of medieval witchcraft trials become terrifyingly real and Merryn
realises there is a mystery to be solved. With Jamie’s help, she
uncovers the truth about her ancestor’s role in the Suffolk witch hunts
of 1645.
But can they stop the curse that threatens to ruin the Stearne family once again, or are the forces of the past too strong?


My thoughts:
As good as it might be, I just know I probably won’t get to it. 

Verdict:  Toss

2.  Dodo Destiny by Tom Parker:

Dodo Destiny examines
the sad tale of the dodo and the intriguing history of its native
Mauritius, a beautiful island nation home to one of today’s truly
multicultural societies.

The dodo is a universal symbol of
extinction, yet little is known about the true nature of this vanished
bird. Most people don’t know that the dodo lived only on Mauritius, a
small tropical island nation east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.

undisturbed by humans, Mauritius and the dodo thrived until Europeans
arrived in 1598. Less than 100 years later, the dodo and other island
species disappeared in the wake of man.

The dodo will never come
back yet Mauritius and nearby islands are forging a new path in
co-existence with not only man and the environment, but among religions
and different races.

The odd-looking dodo was just one of many
unusual extinct species endemic to Mauritius and other islands in the
Mascarene archipelago. Paradoxically, the site of history’s most famous
extinction is today home to some of the world’s most successful
conservation programs created to preserve surviving threatened species.

Parker’s fascination with Mauritius and neighboring islands began by
chance during a layover on a global trek. He returned multiple times to
extensively explore the islands, discovering dramatic tales about the
spice trade, marooned rebels, waves of immigrants from Europe and Asia,
and remarkable natural history.

Long familiar to European visitors, these islands remain relatively unknown to most North Americans.

Dodo Destiny provides an insightful introduction to Mauritius and its multicultural society for history-minded travelers.

Illustrated with historic maps, antique engravings, and photographs.

My thoughts
Again, there was a time when I read tons of scientific books, this just isn’t that time anymore.

Verdict: Toss 

3.  After the Virus by Meghan Ciana Doidge:

After the virus
decimates 99.9% of the world’s population, and all traces of humanity
along with it, Rhiannon and Will are forced to move beyond their past
fame, fortune, and personal demons to rescue a mute girl from the
clutches of two warring cults.

WARNING: this post-apocalyptic love story contains mature situations, violence, and language.


My thoughts:  
Doesn’t sound like anything new or original

Verdict: Toss

4.  Doomed by Tracy Deebs:

Beat the game. Save the world.

an average teen, glued to her cell phone and laptop, until the day her
long-lost father sends her a link to a mysterious site featuring photos
of her as a child. Curious, Pandora enters the site, unwittingly
unleashing a global computer virus that plunges the whole world into
panic: suddenly, there’s no Internet. No cell phones. No traffic lights,
hospitals or law enforcement. Only Pandora’s Box, a virtual-reality
game created by Pandora’s father, remains up and running. Together with
her neighbors, gorgeous stepbrothers Eli and Theo, Pandora must follow
the photographs from her childhood in an attempt to beat the game and
track down her father—and rescue the world. Part The Matrix, part
retelling of the Pandora myth, Doomed has something for gaming fans,
dystopian fans, and romance fans alike.

My thoughts:  
Another one I can see why I added, but don’t think I’ll ever get around to.

Verdict: Toss

5.   And All the Stars by Andrea K. Host:

Come for the
apocalypse. Stay for cupcakes. Die for love. Madeleine Cost is working
to become the youngest person ever to win the Archibald Prize for
portraiture. Her elusive cousin Tyler is the perfect subject:
androgynous, beautiful, and famous. All she needs to do is pin him down
for the sittings. None of her plans factored in the Spires: featureless,
impossible, spearing into the hearts of cities across the world – and
spraying clouds of sparkling dust into the wind. Is it an alien
invasion? Germ warfare? They are questions everyone on Earth would like
answered, but Madeleine has a more immediate problem. At Ground Zero of
the Sydney Spire, beneath the collapsed ruin of St James Station, she
must make it to the surface before she can hope to find out if the world
is ending.

My thoughts:
While the opening two sentences make me laugh, I just don’t see that I’ll get into this.

Verdict:  Toss

6.  The Dead and Buried by Kim Harrington:

home sweet home…

loves the house she’s just moved into with her family. She doesn’t even
mind being the new girl at the high school: It’s a fresh start, and
there’s that one guy with the dreamy blue eyes…

But then things
begin happening. Strange, otherworldly things. Jade’s little brother
claims to see a glimmering girl in his room. Jade’s jewelry gets moved
around, as if by an invisible hand. Kids at school whisper behind her
back like they know something she doesn’t.

Soon, Jade must face an impossible fact: that her perfect house… is haunted.

by a ghost who’s seeking not just vengeance, but the truth. The ghost
of a girl who ruled Jade’s school – until her untimely death last year.
It’s up to Jade to put the pieces together before her own life is at
stake. As Jade investigates the mystery, she discovers that her new
friends in town have more than a few deep, dark secrets.

But is one of them a murderer?

My thoughts:
Nothing new here either

Verdict: Toss

7.  Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum:

Twenty years ago, the robots designed to fight our wars abandoned the battlefields. Then they turned their weapons on us.

a few escaped the robot revolution of 2071. Kevin, Nick, and Cass are
lucky —they live with their parents in a secret human community in the
woods. Then their village is detected and wiped out. Hopeful that other
survivors have been captured by bots, the teens risk everything to save
the only people they have left in the world—by infiltrating a city
controlled by their greatest enemies.

Revolution 19 is a
cinematic thriller unlike anything else. With a dynamic cast of
characters, this surefire blockbuster has everything teen readers
want—action, drama, mystery, and romance. Written by debut novelist
Gregg Rosenblum, this gripping story shouldn’t be missed.

My thoughts:  
Could be good, who knows, just don’t think I’ll be in the mood for it.

Verdict:  Toss

 8.  If We Survive by Andrew Klavan:

What do you do when a mission trip suddenly leaves you caught in the middle of a revolution?

Peterson is part of a mission team that has traveled to Costa Verde to
rebuild the wall of a school. It’s been a great trip-until a revolution
breaks out just before they board their plane to go home.

then it becomes a desperate race to escape: from a firing squad, from
savage animals in the depths of the jungle, from prison cells and
revolutionaries with machine guns.

One of the girls is showing
Will amazing things about what it means to be truly fearless. And one of
the guys has the makings of a real hero. None of them will go home the
same. If they only survive.

My thoughts:
I don’t know if I’ll get to this one.  I know that I do want to read something by this author at some point though.

Verdict:  Toss

9.  If You Die Before I Wake by Michelle Frank:

Sabrina Ryan wants to be an ordinary teenager – family, high school, maybe get a boyfriend. Instead she has Devon.

is the blood thirsty monster that terrorizes her dreams – a demonic
little boy responsible for killing their parents. When she woke from the
coma, she tried to tell everyone what he’d done. Instead no one
believed her and she got a ticket to a mental hospital.

seventeen, this intelligent, artistic, borderline-paranoid-schizophrenic
is moving in with her grandfather and she’s determined to be normal,
even if she doesn’t know what it means. But ordinary things, like
ordering at a restaurant and trying to fit in, prove more difficult than
she expected.

With no family – no friends – no sense of reality
– and no cure for Devon, she decides she’s better off with no one,
until she meets Riley. A captivating young bibliophile working for her
grandfather, he knows more about her past than she’d like. Overwhelmed
when things heat up quickly, they cool down fast when Sabrina learns he
has a secret that threatens to tear them apart.

achievements, horrifying clowns and lucid dreaming propel IF YOU DIE
BEFORE I WAKE on a fantastic ride of Technicolor evil and do-or-die
determination. If Sabrina can figure it all out, she just might get the
normal life she’s always wanted.


My thoughts:
Could be good, but don’t know when I’d get to it.

Verdict: Toss

10.  Fever by Mary Beth Keane:

Mary Beth Keane,
named one of the 5 Under 35 by the National Book Foundation,
has written a spectacularly bold and intriguing novel about the woman
known as “Typhoid Mary,” the first person in America identified as a
healthy carrier of Typhoid Fever.

On the eve of the twentieth
century, Mary Mallon emigrated from Ireland at age fifteen to make her
way in New York City. Brave, headstrong, and dreaming of being a cook,
she fought to climb up from the lowest rung of the domestic-service
ladder. Canny and enterprising, she worked her way to the kitchen, and
discovered in herself the true talent of a chef. Sought after by New
York aristocracy, and with an independence rare for a woman of the time,
she seemed to have achieved the life she’d aimed for when she arrived
in Castle Garden. Then one determined medical engineer noticed that she
left a trail of disease wherever she cooked, and identified her as an
asymptomatic carrier of Typhoid Fever. With this seemingly preposterous
theory, he made Mallon a hunted woman.

The Department of Health
sent Mallon to North Brother Island, where she was kept in isolation
from 1907 to 1910, then released under the condition that she never work
as a cook again. Yet for Mary, proud of her former status and
passionate about cooking, the alternatives were abhorrent. She defied
the edict.

Bringing early-twentieth-century New York alive, the
neighborhoods, the bars, the park carved out of upper Manhattan, the
boat traffic, the mansions and sweatshops and emerging skyscrapers, Fever is
an ambitious retelling of a forgotten life. In the imagination of Mary
Beth Keane, Mary Mallon becomes a fiercely compelling, dramatic, vexing,
sympathetic, uncompromising, and unforgettable heroine.

My thoughts:
I’m always fascinated by the Typhoid Mary idea, so I might still want to read this one some day.

Verdict:  Keep

11.  Undeadly by Michelle Vail:

The day I turned 16, my boyfriend-to-be died. I brought him back to life. Then things got a little weird…

Bartolucci wants to blend in, date hottie Rick and keep her
zombie-raising abilities on the down-low. Then the god Anubis chooses
her to become a reaper—and she accidentally undoes the work of another
reaper, Rath. Within days, she’s shipped off to the Nekyia Academy, an
elite boarding school that trains the best necromancers in the world.
And her personal reaping tutor? Rath.

Life at Nekyia has its
plusses. Molly has her own personal ghoul, for one. Rick follows her
there out of the blue, for another…except, there’s something a little
off about him. When students at the academy start to die and Rath
disappears, Molly starts to wonder if anything is as it seems. Only one
thing is certain—-Molly’s got an undeadly knack for finding trouble….

My thoughts:
Doesn’t sound that different from a lot of other books like this.

Verdict:  Toss

12.  The Thin Diary by Cindy Guirino:

Need or want to lose a
few pounds? Just follow the delicious recipe for a richer, better life
found in this step-by-step guide. Cindy Guirino, registered dietician
and certified personal trainer, combines the simple elements of eating
well, exercising regularly, and maintaining a positive attitude with the
power of keeping a daily journal. It’s the tool you need to develop
healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Cindy will teach you how to –
Get the various nutrients your body needs and which food groups supply

– Create satisfying snacks and even treat yourself to a daily indulgence without breaking your program

– Exercise to raise your metabolism, improve your stamina, reduce your risks for disease, and improve your outlook on life

– Lose pounds every month simply by tackling daily activities inefficiently

– Use the secret weapon of a positive attitude by re-scripting your thoughts

– Write your way to a thinner you by filling out the daily worksheets provided

My thoughts:
I know why I added this, but I also know that it is something I now would not read.

Verdict:  Toss

13.  The Fellowship for Alien Detection by Kevin Emerson:

Two kids from opposite
sides of the country find themselves on a road trip to save the world
from an impending alien attack – and bolster their middle-school
transcripts in the process.

First came the missing people,
missing time events, and untraceable radio signals. Then came Juliette,
Arizona, a town that simply disappeared from existence. Suffice it to
say, something strange is going on. Enter Haley and Dodger, two kids
from opposite sides of the country who both think they can prove that
these unexplained phenomena have a very real cause: aliens, and they are
about to discover that their fledgling theories about extraterrestrial
life are one-hundred-percent accurate.

Having each been awarded a
Fellowship for Alien Detection (a grant from a mysterious foundation
dedicated to proving aliens have visited earth), Haley and Dodger and
their families each set off on a cross-country road trip over summer
vacation to figure out what is happening in towns across America. They
soon realize that the answers to many of their questions lie in the
vanished town of Juliette, AZ, but someone, or something, is doing
everything in its power to ensure they never reach it. If Haley and
Dodger don’t act quickly, more people may go missing, and the world as
we know it may change for the worse.

My thoughts:
Sounds like a good middle school book, but I don’t really read middle school now that I’m at a high school.

Verdict:  Toss

14.  Confessions of a Call Center Gal by Lisa Lim:

Bridget Jones’s Diary
meets The Office. Madison Lee is a fresh college grad, ready to take on
the world of print media. But she has zero luck landing a job.
Unemployment is at ten percent and on the rise. Desperate and left with
no other options, she accepts a position as a service rep at a call
center in Pocatello, Idaho. At the Lightning Speed call center in
Spudsville, Maddy plunges into the wild and dysfunctional world of
customer service where Sales is prided over Service and an eight hour
shift is equivalent to eight hours of callers bashing her over the
phone. Oh sure, the calls are bad. But Maddy manages to find humor on
the phone and off the phone. And with all the salacious drama behind the
calls, there is never a dull moment at the Lightning Speed call center.
Lately . . . Maddy has been pining for her smolderingly gorgeous
co-worker Mika Harket. Now things are heating up on the phone–and
elsewhere. Don’t hang up on this novel. Working at a call center has
never been this garish . . . or this delightful. ***DISCLAIMER: If you
find politically incorrect shows like The Office, South Park and Chelsea
detestable, juvenile and offensive, then this book is probably
NOT for you.

My thoughts:
Not my type of stories to read these days.

Verdict:  Toss

15.  Deck Z:  The Titianic:  Unsinkable.  Undead.  by Chris Pauls and Matt Solomon:

Imagine being trapped
aboard the doomed Titanic on an icy Atlantic. . . with the walking dead.
This fast-paced thriller reimagines the historical events of the
fateful Titanic voyage through the lens of zombie mayhem. Captain Edward
Smith and his inner circle desperately try to contain a weaponized
zombie virus smuggled on board with the 2,200 passengers sailing to New
York. Faced with an exploding population of lumbering, flesh-hungry
undead, Smith’s team is forced into bloody hand-to-hand combat down the
narrow halls of the huge steamer. In its few short days at sea, the
majestic Titanic turns into a Victorian bloodbath, steaming at top speed
toward a cold, blue iceberg. A creepy, tense page-turner, Deck Z will
thrill zombie fans and Titanic buffs alike.

My thoughts:
This is a tough decision.  I mean zombies AND the Titanic?  Hmm.  Maybe, no, I don’t think I’ll get to it.

Verdict:  Toss

16.  Mind Games by Kiersten White:

Fia and Annie are as
close as two sisters can be. They look out for each other. Protect each
other. And most importantly, they keep each other’s secrets, even the
most dangerous ones: Annie is blind, but can see visions of the future;
Fia was born with flawless intuition—her first impulse is always exactly

When the sisters are offered a place at an elite
boarding school, Fia realizes that something is wrong . . . but she
doesn’t grasp just how wrong. The Keane Institute is no ordinary school,
and Fia is soon used for everything from picking stocks to planting
bombs. If she tries to refuse, they threaten her with Annie’s life.

Fia’s falling in love with a boy who has dark secrets of his own. And
with his help, she’s ready to fight back. They stole her past. They
control her present. But she won’t let them take her future.

My thoughts:
So, I have LOVED everything I’ve read by this author in the past few years, so I feel like I need to go back and read this one. 

Verdict:   Keep

17.  When the Dead by Michelle Kilmer:

Have you ever wondered
what might happen if a group of survivors decided to stay put? To never
leave the safety of home to search for salvation? When the Dead . . .
provides one scenario to answer the question. In a world where neighbors
are strangers and we live behind locked doors, the living dead can
really bring issues to a head.

There is no way out for the
residents of Willow Brook Apartments. Outside a plague is spreading
while behind the walls, neighbors are forced to become friends . . . or
enemies. When the Dead . . . will introduce you to a doomed family, a
dying child, an egomaniac, a murderer, and other undesirables (including
the undead!!) in three floors of secured-access chaos.

My thoughts:
Doesn’t sound that great.

Verdict:  Toss

18.  Me, Myself and Food by Diana Hunter:

Me, Myself & Food:
Conquering The Struggle Against Overweight And Obesity Without Dieting

by award-winning author and nutrition researcher Diana Hunter provides a
frank and easy to read “outside the box” look at the causes of weight
gain and how to easily and effectively deal with them once and for all.
Hunter’s approach is simple, yet highly informative, providing
much-needed information on this escalating national issue with a
combination of wit, personal anecdotes, and solutions.

Topics covered include (per back cover copy):

• The real tools you need to lose and maintain weight—and how to use them effectively.
• A smarter way to use your willpower.
• Why diets fail—and how to avoid the diet trap.
• What you really need to know about nutrition to get and stay slim.
• Easy strategies for managing social and on-the-go eating.
• Ten proven tips for effective, beat-the-system food shopping.
• The inside scoop about food advertising.
• Why diet and exercise is such a winning team.
• How to be a lean machine for life.

My thoughts:
There was a time I read anything and everything on dieting and losing weight.  Not really anymore. And the time I spend reading this, I should be walking or cooking healthy food instead.

Verdict:  Toss

19.  Crow Memory by Tessa Gratton:

This is a short story that occurs between the events of Blood Magic and The Blood Keeper. Told from Reese’s POV.

My thoughts:
So I am keeping this, even though the picture there is the wrong cover, and the link on Goodreads doesn’t actually go to that story anymore, because I loved this series and know that at some point I’ll probably want to read this.

Verdict: Keep

20.  1776:  A Story in Tweets by Maureen Johnson:

A story in tweets, based on a series of recently uncovered exchanges.
Compiled and edited by Maureen Johnson.
A retelling of some events in American history in the medium of tweets.

My thoughts:
I do want to read this some time.  I mean, Maureen Johnson is the queen of hilarious tweeting, at least she was when I first got on Twitter many, many years ago.

Verdict: Keep

Final Thoughts:
Keeping four this week, one more than usual.  

I know that usually I will post how many are left this week compared to last week, but I honestly got this post done in October as part of my Blogging Ahead Challenge, so I don’t have the numbers ready from last week’s post, since it isn’t done yet. 

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:

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 #45

  1. Mind Games sounds fun to read. 1776 intrigues me and I haven't seen this book before. I see you added more books to your piles and thank you for sharing them with your readers!

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