Cleaning Up My TBR With a Giveaway (US Only) – Down the TBR Hole #50

Posted December 7, 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 Hypothetical Girl by Elizabeth Cohen:

Love meets technology with a dash of quirk in this collection of highly original short stories
An aspiring actress meets an Icelandic Yak farmer on a matchmaking Web
site. An online forum for cancer support turns into a love triangle for
an English professor, a Canadian fisherman, and an elementary school
teacher living in Japan. A deer and a polar bear flirt via Skype. In The Hypothetical Girl
a menagerie of characters graze and jockey, play and hook up in the
online dating world with mixed and sometimes dark results. Flirting and
communicating in chat rooms, through texts, e-mails, and IMs, they grope
their way through a virtual maze of potential mates, falling in and out
of what they think and hope may be true love.

With levity and
high style, Cohen takes her readers into a world where screen and
keyboard meet the heart, with consequences that range from wonderful to
weird. The Hypothetical Girl captures all the mystery, misery, and magic of the eternal search for human connection.


My thoughts:
This sounds like a bunch of short stories, and as I’ve mentioned, I don’t do well with anthologies. 

Verdict:  Toss

2.  Man Made Boy by Jon Skovron:

His name, believe it or not, is Boy.

Boy is (among other things):

seventeen years old,

a genius computer hacker on the brink of creating an artificial intelligence,

and obsessed with a girl.

But there’s something even more that sets Boy apart.

For one, he’s never been out in public.

And here’s something else: he isn’t even human.

Now it’s time for him to run away from the home he’s known and step out into the real world. But it’s a hard world out there…

Especially if you’re a monster.

My thoughts
I feel like I still want to try this one at some point.

Verdict: Keep 

3.  Patrick by Kevin G. McGuire:

In 1968, at the age of
seven, I was struck by an intoxicated driver while playing baseball.
This accident left me paralyzed from the waist down and has since forced
me to use a wheelchair. Every summer following the accident, I was
required to check into a New York City hospital for one week of physical
evaluations and tests.

At this hospital, I was treated by the
same physical therapists, nurses, and doctors; I was also assigned the
same room. This room was invariably occupied with individuals who were
from different ethnic, social, and economic backgrounds. They were
admitted to the hospital for various reasons.

I quickly realized
that no matter how different my roommates were, the bonding that took
place during these short visits was incredible. It was amazing both in
celerity, as well as intensity. Our injuries, sicknesses, and the
hospital room seemed to insulate us from the prejudices and hatred of
the outside world.

I also discovered that as quickly as this
bonding took hold in the hospital room, it left just as quickly as we
returned to our natural environments. All the promises about visiting
and keeping in touch vanished as soon as we were discharged. More
importantly, the prejudices that dissipated within our hospital
boundaries reappeared as we left our cocoon.

At the age of
seventeen, I shared the most intense seven days of my life with three
roommates at this New York City hospital. I will always love but will
never see or talk with my roommates again.

I entered the hospital that week not yet an adult, but left no longer a child.

PATRICK is inspired by those seven days.

– Kevin G. McGuire

Note: This novel contains adult themes and strong language.

My thoughts:  
Not sure exactly why I added this one.

Verdict:  Toss

4. – 5.   The Shadow Cats and The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson:

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. And it was not Alodia.

is the crown princess of the realm. The sister who knows how to rule,
and the one who is constantly reminded that she has not been marked for a
grand destiny. But Alodia has plans, and she will be the greatest queen
her people have ever known. So she travels–with her hopeless, naïve,
chosen sister–to a distant part of their land, to begin to secure her
supporters. This region needs its princesses, for it is plagued with a
curse. The crops don’t grow, the spring doesn’t arrive, and a fierce
jaguar stalks the shadows, leaving only empty homes splashed with blood
behind. If Alodia can save them, no one will be able to deny her
strength and her sovereignty.

But what she discovers could change
the fate of her kingdom, if not her world. And it will most certainly
change her opinion of her younger sister.

“The Shadow Cats” is a prequel to the riveting Fire and Thorns trilogy: Book One, The Girl of Fire and Thorns; Book Two, The Crown of Embers; and Book Three, The Bitter Kingdom.

She does not know what awaits her at the enemy’s gate.

Elisa is a hero.

led her people to victory over a terrifying, sorcerous army. Her place
as the country’s ruler should be secure. But it isn’t.

enemies come at her like ghosts in a dream, from foreign realms and even
from within her own court. And her destiny as the chosen one has not
yet been fulfilled.

To conquer the power she bears, once and for
all, Elisa must follow a trial of long-forgotten—and forbidden—clues,
from the deep, hidden catacombs of her own city to the treacherous seas.
With her go a one-eyed spy, a traitor, and the man whom—despite
everything—she is falling in love with.

If she’s lucky, she will return from this journey. But there will be a cost.

My thoughts:  
I’ve read the first in the series, a nd I want to read on, so I’ll keep the second one here, and then the first one is a novella, and I’ll keep it so that I don’t forget it.

Verdict:  Keep both

6.   Indelible by Dawn Metcalf:

Some things are permanent.


And they cannot be changed back.

Malone learns this the night she sees a stranger with all-black eyes
across a crowded room—right before the mystery boy tries to cut out her
eye. Instead, the wound accidentally marks her as property of Indelible
Ink, and this dangerous mistake thrusts Joy into an incomprehensible
world—a world of monsters at the window, glowing girls on the doorstep,
and a life that will never be the same.

Now, Joy must pretend to
be Ink’s chosen one—his helper, his love, his something for the
foreseeable future…and failure to be convincing means a painful death
for them both. Swept into a world of monsters, illusion, immortal honor
and revenge, Joy discovers that sometimes, there are no mistakes.

Somewhere between reality and myth lies…


My thoughts:
Cool cover, but not sure I’ll get to it.

Verdict:  Toss

7.  A Midsummers Night’s Scream by R.L. Stine:

Oh, what fools these actors be!

was a horror movie that turned into real horror: Three young actors
lost their lives while the cameras rolled. Production stopped, and
people proclaimed the movie was cursed.

Now, sixty years later,
new actors are venturing onto the haunted set. In a desperate attempt to
revive their failing studio, Claire’s dad has green-lit a remake of Mayhem Manor, and Claire and her friends are dying to be involved.

first, Claire laughs at Jake’s talk of ghosts and curses. He’s been too
busy crushing on her best friend, Delia, or making out with that slut,
Annalee, to notice that she’s practically been throwing herself at him.
What does he know anyway? This is her big chance to be a star!

But then, Claire runs into a creepy little man named Benny Puckerman, and gets her hands on a real love potion! Unfortunately, the course of true love never did run smooth…

ready for laughter to turn into screams as the Grandmaster of Horror,
R.L. Stine, takes on the Master of Theater in this modern reimagining of
Shakespeare’s classic romantic comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

My thoughts:
It’s R.L. Stine, it’ll be around, I don’t need to keep it on my list.  Plus we have it at my school.

Verdict: Toss

8.  How Children Succeed:  Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough:

Why do some children succeed while others fail?

story we usually tell about childhood and success is the one about
intelligence: Success comes to those who score highest on tests, from
preschool admissions to SATs.

But in “How Children Succeed,” Paul
Tough argues for a very different understanding of what makes a
successful child. Drawing on groundbreaking research in neuroscience,
economics, and psychology, Tough shows that the qualities that matter
most have less to do with IQ and more to do with character: skills like
grit, curiosity, conscientiousness, and optimism.

“How Children
Succeed” introduces us to a new generation of scientists and educators
who are radically changing our understanding of how children develop
character, how they learn to think, and how they overcome adversity. It
tells the personal stories of young people struggling to stay on the
right side of the line between success and failure. And it argues for a
new way of thinking about how best to steer an individual child – or a
whole generation of children – toward a successful future.

provocative and profoundly hopeful book will not only inspire and engage
readers; it will also change our understanding of childhood itself.

My thoughts:  
If I was still in the classroom, I’d still probably be interested in this, but as it is, I doubt I’ll have the desire to read and finish it.

Verdict:  Toss

 9.  Match Me by Liz Appel:

Bonnie Nichols wasn’t
the kind of girl to crash a wedding. Or throw things. But somehow, she
ends up doing both…at her ex-boyfriend’s wedding.

Bonnie has
been in love with Chase Somers since elementary school and seeing him at
the altar with the absolute wrong girl causes her to do the
unthinkable—toss a shoe in his direction in order to try and stop it.
But she doesn’t count on the shoe knocking him out. Nor does she count
on the entire church knowing it was her who did the throwing. The shoe
doesn’t stop the wedding, but it does make her the laughingstock of her

As Bonnie copes with both the embarrassment of her actions
and the loss of the boy she has always loved, her best friend Jill
attempts to yank her out of her despair by pushing her to use Match Me,
an online dating service. Despite her skepticism, Bonnie agrees to go on
a few dates, dates that end up going comically bad.

that she will be single forever, an unanticipated complication causes
Bonnie to take stock of her life and the people around her. Was she
really ever in love with Chase Somers? Or was loving him simply the easy
thing to do?

Crashing the wedding—and throwing that shoe—just may end up being the smartest thing she’s ever done.

My thoughts:
Sounds funny, but it has low ratings, and I don’t know when I’d get to it.

Verdict:  Toss

10.  Of Beast and Beauty by Stacy Jay:

In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret…

the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is
raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s
vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to
save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that
together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised
for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her
prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s
enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything
she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and
Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will
have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to

My thoughts:
I know I like fairy tale retellings, but don’t know if I’ll get to this one.

Verdict: Toss

11.  Feminist Ryan Gosling by Danielle Henderson:

Based on the popular blog of the same name, Feminist Ryan Gosling pairs
swoon-worthy photos of the sensitive, steamy actor with feminist
theories to the delight of women (and more than a few of their mothers)

What started as a silly way for blogger
Danielle Henderson and her classmates to keep track of the feminist
theorists they were studying in class quickly turned into an overnight
sensation. Packed with 100+ photos and captions throughout — including
the best “Hey girl” lines from the blog and 80 percent brand-new
material — this book is a must-have for feminists and fans of the actor
alike. What more could a girl want? You know, besides gender equality
and all that.

My thoughts:
Sounds funny, but I’ll stick to the “Hey girl” memes I see.

Verdict: Toss

12.  Four Houses by Victoria Scott:

A short story written in an unusual format, Four Houses
tells the story of a teen girl who finds herself in a field surrounded
by four Victorian houses. Over the course of the story, Maddie visits
each home, and is ultimately faced with a ghastly decision. With a
surprise ending, Four Houses demands readers answer the question: Which house would you choose?

My thoughts:
There was a time when my goal was to read any and everything by this author. The last book I read though, I was disappointed, so I may just skip this short story.

Verdict:  Toss

13.  Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor:

Two worlds are poised
on the brink of a vicious war. By way of a staggering deception, Karou
has taken control of the chimaera’s rebellion and is intent on steering
its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her.

the brutal angel emperor brings his army to the human world, Karou and
Akiva are finally reunited – not in love, but in a tentative alliance
against their common enemy. It is a twisted version of their long-ago
dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for
their people. And, perhaps, for themselves.

But with even bigger threats on the horizon, are Karou and Akiva strong enough to stand among the gods and monsters?

The New York Times
bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy comes to a stunning
conclusion as – from the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and
beyond – humans, chimaera, and seraphim strive, love, and die in an epic
theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and

My thoughts:
I still need to read book 2, and I’m keeping it so I don’t add the books if I haven’t read the one in the series before, so for now it will go, but I know I probably do want to read it at some point.

Verdict:  Toss

14.  The Princess in the Opal Mask by Jenny Lundquist:

Every Fairy-Tale Ending Has a Price. . .

as a child in the crumbling village of Tulan, Elara is determined to
learn her true identity, even if it means wielding a dagger. Meanwhile,
in Galandria’s royal capital, Princess Wilha stands out as someone to
either worship or fear. Though no one knows why the king has always made
her conceal her face—including Wilha herself.

When an
assassination attempt threatens the peace of neighboring kingdoms, Elara
and Wilha are brought face to face . . . with a chance at claiming new
identities. However, with dark revelations now surfacing, both girls
will need to decide if brighter futures are worth the binding risks.

My thoughts:
I probably added this because of the cover and my love for all things opal, but now I’m not sure I’m interested in reading it.

Verdict: Toss 

15.  Antigoddess by Kendare Blake:

Old Gods never die…

so Athena thought. But then the feathers started sprouting beneath her
skin, invading her lungs like a strange cancer, and Hermes showed up
with a fever eating away his flesh. So much for living a quiet eternity
in perpetual health.

Desperately seeking the cause of their slow,
miserable deaths, Athena and Hermes travel the world, gathering allies
and discovering enemies both new and old. Their search leads them to
Cassandra—an ordinary girl who was once an extraordinary prophetess,
protected and loved by a god.

These days, Cassandra doesn’t
involve herself in the business of gods—in fact, she doesn’t even know
they exist. But she could be the key in a war that is only just

Because Hera, the queen of the gods, has aligned
herself with other of the ancient Olympians, who are killing off rivals
in an attempt to prolong their own lives. But these anti-gods have
become corrupted in their desperation to survive, horrific caricatures
of their former glory. Athena will need every advantage she can get,
because immortals don’t just flicker out.

Every one of them dies
in their own way. Some choke on feathers. Others become monsters. All
of them rage against their last breath.

The Goddess War is about to begin.

My thoughts:
I do like this author.  And this does sound good still, so I’ll leave this on for now.

Verdict: Keep

16.  Shadowhunters and Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Reader:

Cassandra Clare’s Mortal
Instruments series, epic urban fantasy set in a richly imagined world
of shadowhunters, vampires, werewolves, fairies, and more, has captured
the imaginations and loyalty of hundreds of thousands of YA readers.
Originally a trilogy (City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass),
the series has extended to six titles, plus a prequel trilogy, the
Infernal Devices, and a planned sequel series, the Dark Artifices. A
feature film is planned for 2013.

Shadowhunters and Downworlders,
edited by Clare (who provides an introduction to the book and to each
piece), is a collection of YA authors writing about the series and its
Authors Who Contributed: Holly Black / Kendare Blake / Gwenda
Bond / Sarah Rees Brennan / Rachel Caine / Sarah Cross / Kami Garcia /
Michelle Hodkin / Kelly Link / Kate Milford / Diana Peterfreund / Sara
Ryan / Scott Tracey / Robin Wasserman

My thoughts:
I will want to read all of these at some time!

Verdict: Keep

17.  Learn with Mind Maps by Michelle Mapman:

From a very early age, we have been taught WHAT we need to learn — but never HOW to learn it.

while we may have done OK with that, the truth is — you can unlock
your brain to do MUCH MORE than you probably think possible.

But to become a successful learner, you need some basic training.

And that’s where this book comes in.

See, this book will show you how to rewire the way your brain works.

you go through the following pages and implement it, you can – and will
– drastically improve your thinking in school, work, and life.

be able to use the secrets of Leonardo DaVinci and Albert Einstein (who
used mind maps) to learn more meaningfully, efficiently, and

You’ll be able to speed up your learning.

You’ll be significantly more creative.

You’ll know how to think out of the box.

You’ll learn to visually organize and integrate information so that you can think more clearly and powerfully.

You’ll know how to take better, faster, and more efficient notes.

You’ll improve your writing, studying, brainstorming, and presenting skills.

You’ll increase your memory stamina, being able to remember far more things than you thought you could before.

be able to break down the “information overload” coming at you and
start to break down complex information — assimilating it, and then
retaining it.

All of this will give you a cutting edge in school and in the workplace.

And it’s exactly what you’ll get from this book.

doesn’t matter if you’re a student, teacher, professional, business
owner, or an author — ANYONE who wants change the way they plan and
think for the better will get a lot of benefit from this book.

to make sure you fully understand everything, we have taken each
concept and drilled it down into a step-by-step manner. Every step of
the way comes with an illustrated diagram so that you fully understand
how to do everything.

So go through… read this book, implement it, and watch things start to majorly change for you.

don’t forget to take advantage of our FREE BONUS at the end — a full 1
year trial of ConceptDraw. Just sign up to our bonus page with your
receipt # to get that.

To get started, just buy this book right now.

My thoughts:
I was big into the mind map thing as a teacher. But now, reading that last line especially, not interested in this one.

Verdict:  Toss

18.  Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities:  Overcoming Obstacles and Realizing Potential by Rich Weinfeld, Sue Jeweler, and Linda Barnes-Robinson:

The second edition of
Smart Kids With Learning Difficulties is an updated and comprehensive
must-read for parents, teachers, counselors, and other support
professionals of bright kids who face learning challenges every day.
This practical book discusses who these students are; how to identify
them; what needs to be implemented; best practices, programs, and
services; and specific actions to ensure student success. Along with
tools and tips, each chapter includes Key Points, a new feature that
will help focus and facilitate next steps, and desired outcomes and
follow-up for parents and teachers. The new edition includes a look at
current definitions of twice-exceptional students; updated research
findings and identification methods; a detailed description of the laws
and policies impacting this population; what works and what doesn’t
work; model schools; Response to Intervention; Understanding by Design;
comprehensive assessments; social-emotional principles; and new
assistive technology.

My thoughts:
Not in the classroom anymore, so not really of interest.

Verdict:  Toss

19.  Myths and Motifs of the Mortal Instruments by Valerie Estelle Frankel:

With vampires, fairies,
angels, romance, steampunk, and modern New York all in one series,
Cassandra Clare is exploding onto the scene. This book explores the
deeper world of the Shadowhunters: . Parabatai, Nephilim, blessings, and

. Lucifer, Ithuriel, Lilith, Agramon, and other angels and demons

. Ancient legends of werewolves, vampires, and fairyfolk

. Clare’s clever Easter eggs from pop culture and literature

. The classic heroine’s journey

.Muslim angels, Hindu prayers, the Jewish Book of Raziel, and the Christian Grail

There’s something for everyone, as this book reveals unseen lore within the bestselling series.

Estelle Frankel is the author of two books on the heroine’s journey,
along with books on the Harry Potter series and The Hunger Games.
Valerie lives (and writes!) in Sunnyvale, California.

My thoughts:
I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I just don’t have time anymore for all these extra books that go with book and tv series.

Verdict:  Toss

20.  Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins:

Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?

romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since
their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance
encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than
Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla
and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must
face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures,
and the very real possibility of being apart.

Featuring cameos
from fan-favorites Anna, Étienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy
story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City,
Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s
beloved series.

My thoughts:
Loved the first book in this series, couldn’t get into the second one, but kind of still want to give this one a try.  We have it in my school library though, so I don’t need to keep it on my Goodreads TBR.

Verdict:  Toss

Final Thoughts:
Only keeping 5 this week!  Yay!  Which is good since I’ve been adding all the new stuff coming out in 2020.

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 last week, it was 3,088, but now I’m back up to 3,099, thanks to all the new books listed on Edelweiss this 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:

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

Please follow and like us:
Tweet 0
Pin Share20

Tags: , , , , ,

12 responses to “Cleaning Up My TBR With a Giveaway (US Only) – Down the TBR Hole #50

  1. I too loved Anna and the French Kiss and so wanted to continue that infatuation with the second book, but like you it just wasn't quite enough. I finished it and liked it, but since I don't remember too much, it wasn't a favorite. I still see some books I haven't got my hands on yet, so thanks for sharing!

  2. My heart! Whenever anyone talks about the Anna books, they never talk about my favorite, which is Isla. There was just something about that pairing and their romance, that I got swept up in. I loved the ending too, because it brought all three couples together. I also struggled with the second book, because I felt like the boyfriend was too old for Lola, but once he was out of the picture, I enjoyed the story more.

  3. Antigoddess is one I have on my shelves! I remember when everyone was reading Of Beast and Beauty but I haven't read it still ;.; I don't think it is on my list anymore. I really liked Isla and the Happily Ever After actually 😛 I have added the RL Stine one to my tbr because you know how I am with anything Shakespeare themed 😀

Leave a Reply

(Enter your URL then click here to include a link to one of your blog posts.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.