Cleaning Up My TBR With a Giveaway (US Only) – Down the TBR Hole #49

Posted November 30, 2019 by Lisa Mandina in CUTBR, giveaway / 12 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 Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman:

KILLING DAY. Twelve people dead, in the space of a few hours. Five
murderers: neighbors, relatives, friends. All of them so normal. All of
them seemingly harmless. All of them now dead by their own hand . . .
except one. And that one has no answers to offer the shattered town. She
doesn’t even know why she killed—or whether she’ll do it again.

is waking in the sleepy town of Oleander, Kansas—something dark and
hungry that lives in the flat earth and the open sky, in the vengeful
hearts of upstanding citizens. As the town begins its descent into blood
and madness, five survivors of the killing day are the only ones who
can stop Oleander from destroying itself. Jule, the outsider at war with
the world. West, the golden boy at war with himself. Daniel, desperate
for a different life. Cass, who’s not sure she deserves a life at all.
Ellie, who believes in sacrifice, who believes in fate, who believes in
evil. Ellie, who always goes too far.

They have nothing in
common. They have nothing left to lose. And they have no way out. Which
means that they have no choice but to stand and fight, to face the
darkness in their town—and in themselves.


My thoughts:
Hmm, I could have sworn I read this one already? This is an author that I have devoured most of her books, and like I said, could have sworn I’d read this one.  So for now, I’d better keep it.

Verdict: Keep

2.  The Meme Plague by Angie Smibert:

It begins with the name
JONAS W. on the side of a cardboard coffin—right before the funeral
procession blows up. Then it’s the whisper in the back of Micah’s head:
Your father betrayed his country. You can’t always trust your own brain.
Not when you have one of the mayor’s mandatory chips in your skull.
Micah knows that the chip developed by TFC (the corporation that runs
the Therapeutic Forgetting Clinics) does more than just erase unpleasant
memories—it implants new ones. The MemeCast warns citizens to “fight
the hack.”

Micah and his friends have each lost something—a
parent, a relationship, a home, maybe even their own identities as they
remembered them to be. But together, they can make sure some things are
never forgotten.

Election Day is coming, and Mayor Mignon is set
to be elected to Congress. It’s time to build a new electronic frontier,
one that’s not controlled by the mayor and his cronies. It’s time to
get out the vote and shake up the system. It’s time to finally say

My thoughts
So I kept the second book in this series last week. Something I’ve decided to do to cut by TBR list down is not keep every single book in a series on the list.  Just the next one I need to read, so for now I’ll toss this, and if I ever get to book 2, I’ll add this back on to me TBR.

Verdict: Toss 

3.  The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle:

Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa,
the time in Amish life when teenagers can get a taste of the real
world. But the real world comes to her in this dystopian tale with a
philosophical bent. Rumors of massive unrest on the “Outside” abound.
Something murderous is out there. Amish elders make a rule: No one goes
outside, and no outsiders come in. But when Katie finds a gravely
injured young man, she can’t leave him to die. She smuggles him into her
family’s barn—at what cost to her community? The suspense of this
vividly told, truly horrific thriller will keep the pages turning.


My thoughts:  
I do like a good dystopian, and I like the little bit different bit with the Amish aspect.  So maybe I’ll want to read this one still.

Verdict:  Keep

4.  As Dead as it Gets by Katie Alender:

It’s been three months
since Alexis helplessly witnessed Lydia Small’s violent death, and all
she wants is for her life to return to normal.
But normal people
don’t see decaying bodies haunting photographs. Normal people don’t have
to deal with regular intrusions from Lydia’s angry ghost, sometimes
escalating to terrifying attacks.
At first, it seems that Lydia
wants revenge on Alexis alone. But a girl from school disappears one
night, and Alexis spots one of Lydia’s signature yellow roses lying on
the girl’s dresser the next day. Soon, it becomes clear that several of
Alexis’s friends are in danger, and that she’s the only person who can
save them. But as she tries to intervene, Alexis realizes that her enemy
is a much more powerful ghost than she’s ever faced before… and that
its fate is tied to hers in ways she couldn’t possibly imagine.
Not even in her worst nightmares.

My thoughts:  
I’ve read the first two, and I need to read on and finish the series.

Verdict:  Keep

5.   Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz:

From New York Times
bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston comes this
remarkable first book in a spellbinding new series about the dawn of a
new kind of magic.

Welcome to New Vegas, a city once covered in
bling, now blanketed in ice. Like much of the destroyed planet, the
place knows only one temperature—freezing. But some things never change.
The diamond in the ice desert is still a 24-hour hedonistic playground
and nothing keeps the crowds away from the casino floors, never mind the
rumors about sinister sorcery in its shadows.

At the heart of
this city is Natasha Kestal, a young blackjack dealer looking for a way
out. Like many, she’s heard of a mythical land simply called “the Blue.”
They say it’s a paradise, where the sun still shines and the waters are
turquoise. More importantly, it’s a place where Nat won’t be
persecuted, even if her darkest secret comes to light.

passage to the Blue is treacherous, if not impossible, and her only shot
is to bet on a ragtag crew of mercenaries led by a cocky runner named
Ryan Wesson to take her there. Danger and deceit await on every corner,
even as Nat and Wes find themselves inexorably drawn to each other. But
can true love survive the lies? Fiery hearts collide in this fantastic
tale of the evil men do and the awesome power within us all.

My thoughts:
There was a time I devoured books by this author, and I know she’s got a new one coming out next year I want to read, so I probably need to keep this on the list for now.

Verdict: Keep

6.  Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend by Louise Rozett:

Rose Zarelli has big
plans for sophomore year—everything is going to be different. This year,
she’s going to be the talented singer with the killer voice, the
fabulous girl with the fashionista best friend, the brainiac who refuses
to let Jamie Forta jerk her around…

…but if she’s not
careful, she’s also going to be the sister who misses the signals, the
daughter who can only think about her own pain, the “good girl” who
finds herself in mid-scandal again (because no good deed goes
unpunished) and possibly worst of all…the almost-girlfriend.

When all else fails, stop looking for love and go find yourself.

My thoughts:
Well, this is the second one in a series, and I’ve never read the first, and not sure that I really know why I added it.

Verdict: Toss

7.  Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender:

Colette Iselin is
excited to go to Paris on a class trip. She’ll get to soak up the beauty
and culture, and maybe even learn something about her family’s French

But a series of gruesome murders are taking place across
the city, putting everyone on edge. And as she tours museums and
palaces, Colette keeps seeing a strange vision: a pale woman in a ball
gown and powdered wig, who looks suspiciously like Marie Antoinette.

knows her popular, status-obsessed friends won’t believe her, so she
seeks out the help of a charming French boy. Together, they uncover a
shocking secret involving a dark, hidden history. When Colette realizes
she herself may hold the key to the mystery, her own life is suddenly in
danger . . .

Acclaimed author Katie Alender brings
heart-stopping suspense to this story of revenge, betrayal, intrigue —
and one killer queen.

My thoughts:  
I know why I added this one, the author, and the story sounds good.  I’ll leave it probably for now!

Verdict:  Keep

 8.  Break These Rules:  35 YA Authors on Speaking Up, Standing Out, and Being Yourself:

If you’re a girl, you should strive to look like the model on the cover of a magazine. If you’re a boy, you should play sports and
be good at them. If you’re smart, you should immediately go to college
after high school, and get a job that makes you rich. Above all, be


Wrong, say 35 leading middle grade
and young adult authors. Growing up is challenging enough; it doesn’t
have to be complicated by convoluted, outdated, or even cruel rules,
both spoken and unspoken. Parents, peers, teachers, the media, and the
rest of society sometimes have impossible expectations of teenagers.
These restrictions can limit creativity, break spirits, and demand that
teens sacrifice personality for popularity.

In these personal, funny, moving, and poignant essays, Kathryn Erskine (Mockingbird), Matthew Quick (The Silver Linings Playbook), Gary D. Schmidt (The Wednesday Wars), Sara Zarr (Story of a Girl),
and many others share anecdotes and lessons learned from their own
lives in order to show you that some rules just beg to be broken.

My thoughts:
Some great authors, but not really what I read these days.

Verdict:  Toss

9.  Redemption (MILA 2.0 #3) by Debra Driza:

Mila has been running
for her life for so long. But there might be nowhere left for her to go.
Especially now that she’s an incredible danger to herself and anyone
who dares get close to her.

That’s why Mila has gone into hiding
with friend and tech expert Lucas. She can’t take the risk of hurting
people worse than the way she hurt Hunter: the boy she’ll always love,
the boy who might never forgive her for what she’s done.

But then
Mila discovers that General Holland—her ultimate enemy—has plans that
are an even bigger threat to humanity than she is. His quest to reclaim
Mila is only part of a larger mysterious endgame that will put people’s
lives at stake. Mila must make a choice: either push aside her fears and
fight him with everything she’s got…or turn her back on the world


My thoughts:
I need to finish this series I started and loved!

Verdict: Keep

10.  Nano by Robin Cook:

After a tumultuous year
in which her mentor is murdered and her estranged father comes back into
her life, Pia Grazdani, the embattled medical student from Death Benefit,
decides to take a year off from her medical studies and escape New York
City. Intrigued by the promise of the burgeoning field of medical
technology and the chance to clear her head, Pia takes a job at Nano,
LLC, a lavishly funded, security-conscious nanotechnology insititute in
the picturesque foothills of the Rockies. Nano, LLC is ahead of the
curve in the competitive world of molecular manufacturing, including the
construction of microbivores, tiny nano-robots with the ability to
gobble up viruses and bacteria.

But the corporate campus is a
place of secrets. She’s warned by her boss not to investigate the other
work being done at the gigantic facility, nor to ask questions about the
source of the seemingly endless capital that funds the institute’s
research. And when Pia encounters a fellow employee on a corporate
jogging path, suffering the effects of a seizure, she soon realizes she
may have literally stumbled upon Nano LLC’s human guinea pigs. Is the
tech giant on the cusp of one of the biggest medical discoveries of the
twenty-first century—a treatment option for millions—or have they
already sold out to the highest bidder?

My thoughts:
Robin Cook was an autobuy author for me at one time.  And I loved his books.  And I still have a ton on my physical TBR shelf at home. But if I don’t already own this one, I may. not get to it.  Plus it seems like it is a sequel to one I haven’t read.

Verdict: Toss

11.  Half Lives by Sara Grant:

I’ve learned that surviving isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

NOW: Icie’s parents gave her $10,000 in cash, a map
of a top-secret bunker, and instructions to get there by any means
necessary. They have news of an imminent viral attack and know that the
bunker is Icie’s only hope for survival. She and three other teens live
locked away for months, not knowing what’s happening in the outside
world or who has survived. Then one day, Icie discovers a shocking
secret deep in the bunker. Are they really safe there after all?

Generations in the future, the world has changed, and a mysterious cult
worships the very mountain where Icie’s secret bunker was built. The
people never leave the mountain, they’re ruled by Beckett, a
teenager…and they have surprising ties to Icie.
Icie and Beckett must both fight to survive while protecting a secret that could destroy their civilizations.
This high-stakes, original, and thought-provoking adventure follows two unlikely heroes, hundreds of years apart.

My thoughts:
Hmm, sounds like it could still be a good one.  Maybe I’ll read it some day.

Verdict: Keep

12.  For Your Heart by A.L. Davroe:

Experience THE BALLAD OF TAM LIN like you’ve never read it before…

has been seven years since Jeanette Sauderheim followed her best friend
into Carver Hall Park…and came out alone. Jeanette has never gotten
over his mysterious disappearance nor has she gone back into the park.
While that traumatic night still haunts her, Jeanette distracts herself
by balancing her time between trying to pass Spanish, hanging out with
her friends, and reading the latest manga.

But, when a promise to
a friend drives her back into the park, she’s forced to re-live the
memories of that night. Lost and confused, Jeanette crosses paths with
Tamrin, whose violent reaction to her provides yet another reason to
avoid the park.

Tamrin, a knight of the Summer Court, has been
sent to Earth to guard a garden of roses that hold special meaning to
the queen of the Summer faeries. When his distraction at meeting
Jeanette leads to her picking one of the Summer Queen’s roses, Tamrin
vows to right his failure to do his duty.

However, the
equivalent of one of the queen’s roses is a human heart and Tamrin’s
reluctance to readily exact the sum from Jeanette sets in motion a
spiral of love, betrayal, and magic that could mean damnation for them

*This is an Upper YA paranormal romance novel with NA and contemporary fantasy appeal.

My thoughts:
I’ve read other books by this author and enjoyed them, but don’t know if I’ll ever get around to this one.

Verdict:  Toss

13.  Dinosaur Thunder by James F. David:

Eighteen years ago, the
prehistoric past collided with the present as time itself underwent a
tremendous disruption, transporting huge swaths of the Cretaceous period
into the twentieth century. Neighborhoods, towns, and cities were
replaced by dense primeval jungles and modern humanity suddenly found
itself sharing the world with fierce dinosaurs. In the end, desperate
measures were taken to halt the disruptions and the crisis appeared to
be over.
Until now.
New dinosaurs begin to appear, rampaging
through cities. A secret mission to the Moon discovers a living
Tyrannosaurus Rex trapped in an alternate timeline. As time begins to
unravel once more, Nick Paulson, director of the Office of Security
Science, finds a time passage to the Cretaceous period where humans,
ripped from the comforts of the twenty-first century, are barely
surviving in the past. Led by a cultlike religious leader, these
survivors are at war with another sentient species descended from
As the asteroid that ends the reign of dinosaurs rushes
toward Earth, Nick and his allies must survive a war between species and
save the future as we know it.
Dinosaur Thunder is a terrifying, futuristic thriller in the tradition of Michael Crichton and Douglas Preston.

My thoughts:
I really liked the first two in the series, and didn’t realize till I just noticed I had saved this that there is a third I need to find and read!

Verdict: Keep 

14.  The Korean Word for Butterfly by Jamie Zerndt:

Set against the
backdrop of the 2002 World Cup and rising anti-American sentiment due to
a deadly accident involving two young Korean girls and a U.S. tank, The
Korean Word For Butterfly is told from three alternating

Billie, the young wanna-be poet looking for
adventure with her boyfriend who soon finds herself questioning her
decision to travel so far from the comforts of American life;

the ex K-pop band manager who now works at the English school
struggling to maintain his sobriety in hopes of getting his family back;

Yun-ji , a secretary at the school whose new feelings of resentment
toward Americans may lead her to do something she never would have
imagined possible.

The Korean Word For Butterfly is a story about the choices we make and why we make them.
It is a story, ultimately, about the power of love and redemption.

author would like to note that this book deals, in part, with abortion.
It tries, as best it can, to explore the issue with compassion rather
than judgment. Contains some foul language.*

My thoughts:
Not sure why I added this one.

Verdict:  Toss

15.  End Dayz by Kellie Sherridan:

It’s month after the dead first began to walk. The miracle vaccine that was supposed to save us all has failed.

four teens fight to stay alive as a stronger, smarter breed of zombie
begins to appear, threatening to end humanity for good.

Four short stories, 11,000 words total.

Prequel to Mortality (March, 2013).

My thoughts:
Nothing that unique.

Verdict:  Toss

16.  Anomaly by Krista McGee:

Thalli has fifteen
minutes and twenty-three seconds left to live. The toxic gas that will
complete her annihilation is invading her bloodstream. But she is not

Thalli is different than others in The State. She feels
things. She asks questions. And in the State, this is not tolerated. The
Ten scientists who survived the nuclear war that destroyed the world
above believe that emotion was at the core of what went wrong—and they
have genetically removed it from the citizens they have since created.
Thalli has kept her malformation secret from those who have monitored
her for most of her life, but when she receives an ancient piece of
music to record as her community’s assigned musician, she can no longer
keep her emotions secreted away.

Seen as a threat to the harmony
of her Pod, Thalli is taken to the Scientists for immediate
annihilation. But before that can happen, Berk—her former Pod mate who
is being groomed as a Scientist—steps in and persuades the Scientists to
keep Thalli alive as a test subject.

The more time she spends in
the Scientist’s Pod, the clearer it becomes that things are not as
simple as she was programmed to believe. She hears stories of a
Designer—stories that fill her mind with more questions: Who can she
trust? What is this emotion called love? And what if she isn’t just an
anomaly, but part of a greater design?

My thoughts:
Again, not that unique sounding, also have the second one on my list, so I’ll toss it too.

Verdict:  Toss

17.  The Omega Project by Steve Alten:

On the brink of a
disaster that could end all human life on earth, tech genius Robert
Eisenbraun joins a team of scientists in Antarctica on a mission to
Jupiter’s moon Europa to mine a rare ore that would provide for Earth’s
long-term energy needs. But as he and the rest of the team train under
the ice shelf in preparation for the long journey, trouble erupts, and
before they embark Eisenbraun is the odd man out, put into cold sleep
against his will….

When Robert wakes, he finds the ship deserted
and not functional. He escapes to the surface of an Earth terribly
changed. The plan has gone horribly wrong, but as he adapts to a hostile
environment, he realizes that there is still a way to accomplish what
his mission had set out to achieve. But he also discovers that he faces a
new adversary of the most unlikely sort. For now, his own survival and
that of the woman whose love has sustained him in his darkest hours
depend on the defeat of a technological colossus partly of his own
making. Confronting a foe that knows him almost as well as he knows
himself, he faces the prospect of depending on resources that he has
reason to believe will be available on one particular night of a full
moon, a night foretold by a mysterious unseen ally to be a pivotal
moment for the fate of the earth. The game has changed, and Earth’s
future depends on him and him alone.

The Omega Project is yet another edge-of-your-seat thriller by bestselling author, Steve Alten, leaving readers looking for more.

My thoughts:
I do love the author, but since I do, I don’t need to keep his books on the actual TBR on Goodreads, because I won’t forget them.

Verdict:  Toss

18.  Swept Off Her Feet by Hester Browne:

The steps of a
charmingly complex dance—Scotland’s famous reel—are at the heart of
Hester Browne’s enchanting contemporary novel of two very different
sisters whose dreams may come true at a romantic Scottish ball.

Nicholson is in love . . . with the past. An antiques appraiser in a
London shop, Evie spins fanciful attachments to Victorian picture
frames, French champagne glasses, satin evening gloves, and tattered
teddy bears—regardless of their monetary value.

Alice Nicholson
is in love . . . with Fraser Graham, a dashing Scotsman whom Evie
secretly desires. As crisply neat and stylish as Evie is cheerfully
cluttered, Alice is a professional organizer determined to pull her
sister out of her comfort zone—and who presents her with an irresistible

As a favor to friends of Fraser’s family, Evie jumps at
the chance to appraise a Scottish castle full of artifacts and
heirlooms. What could be more thrilling than roaming the halls of
Kettlesheer and uncovering the McAndrews’ family treasures—and dusty

But crossing paths with moody heir Robert McAndrew has
Evie assessing what she wants the most . . . and at an upcoming
candlelight gala, a traditional dance will set her heart reeling.

My thoughts:
Hmm, not sure if this sounds like the best to me even with all the romances I read these days.

Verdict:  Toss

19.  The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine:

Wren Caswell is average.
Ranked in the middle of her class at Sacred Heart, she’s not popular,
but not a social misfit. Wren is the quiet, “good” girl who’s always
done what she’s supposed to—only now in her junior year, this passive
strategy is backfiring. She wants to change, but doesn’t know how.

Barrett was the king of St. Gabe’s. Star of the lacrosse team, top of
his class, on a fast track to a brilliant future—until he was expelled
for being a “term paper pimp.” Now Gray is in a downward spiral and
needs to change, but doesn’t know how.

One fateful night their
paths cross when Wren, working at her family’s Arthurian-themed catering
hall, performs the Heimlich on Gray as he chokes on a cocktail weenie,
saving his life literally and figuratively. What follows is the
complicated, awkward, hilarious, and tender tale of two teens shedding
their pasts, figuring out who they are—and falling in love.

My thoughts:
Nothing original sounding

Verdict:  Toss

20.  Elusion by Claudia Gabel:

Soon, Elusion® will change the world and life as we know it.

new technology called Elusion is sweeping the country. An app, visor
and wristband will virtually transport you to an exotic destination
where adventure can be pursued without the complications—or
consequences—of real life.

Regan is an Elusion insider. Or at
least she used to be. Her father invented the program, and her best
friend, Patrick, heir to the tech giant Orexis, is about to release it
nationwide. But ever since her father’s unexpected death, Regan can’t
bear to Escape, especially since waking up from the dream means crashing
back to her grim reality.

Still, when there are rumors of
trouble in Elusion—accusations that it’s addictive and dangerous— Regan
is determined to defend it. But the critics of Elusion come from
surprising sources, including Josh, the handsome skeptic with his own
personal stakes. As Regan investigates the claims, she discovers a
disturbing web of secrets. She will soon have to choose between love and
loyalty…a decision that will affect the lives of millions.

thrills, and romance fuel this near-future story about the seductive
nature of a perfect virtual world, and how far one girl will go to
uncover the truth behind the illusions.

My thoughts:
Well, again, doesn’t sound that different from other things I’ve read, and the Goodreads rating isn’t that high.

Verdict:  Toss

Final Thoughts:
Keeping eight again this week, still getting too close to almost half!

Now that I’m back to doing this basically weekly instead of a month ahead, I’ll look at how many I had before and after.  When I last said how many were on the list back at the beginning of October, it was 3,117, and now I’m down to 3,088, so that’s awesome!  I think, even with what I’ve added, I’m still getting rid of some!

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:

2016-2017 ARCs:

2015 ARCs:
2013-2014 ARCs (if you pick Zodiac, I kind of want to keep it with Wandering Star):

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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12 responses to “Cleaning Up My TBR With a Giveaway (US Only) – Down the TBR Hole #49

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