Cleaning Up My TBR With a Giveaway (US Only) – Down the TBR Hole #54

January 4, 2020 CUTBR, giveaway 10

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 keep adding like I do!)
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

1.  Nightmare City by Andrew Klavan:

What should have been an ordinary morning is about to spiral into a day of unrelenting terror.

a reporter for his high school newspaper, Tom is always on the lookout
for an offbeat story. But from the moment he woke up this morning, his
own life has been more bizarre than any headline could ever tell.

streets of his town are suddenly empty and silent. A strange fog has
drifted in from the sea and hangs over everything. And something is
moving in that fog. Something evil. Something hungry. Closing in on Tom.

terrified girlfriend Marie says the answers lie at the Santa Maria
Monastery, a haunted ruin standing amidst a forest blackened by
wildfire. But can he trust her? A voice that seems to be coming from
beyond the grave is warning him that nothing is what it seems.

one thing is certain: with his world collapsing around him, Tom has
only a few hours to recover the life he knew–before he, too, is lost
forever in this nightmare city.

My thoughts:
I want to read something by this author, and this one sounds like a good enough place to start.

Verdict: Keep

2.  The Night After I Lost You by Sarah Rees Brennan:

A Lynburn Legacy present for you, my petal darlings.

the night after the end of Unspoken, before all the action of Untold.
You have to keep moving in a Gothic mystery. But sometimes you can take a
night to be sad.

My thoughts
Because I love this series and this author, I know that I need to read this short novella at some point, and I forgot about it till I saw it here, so I will keep it.  Maybe I need to make a special TBR list for novellas?  That’s a 2020 thing I guess.

Verdict: Keep

3.  Raw:  A Love Story by Mark Haskell Smith:

Reality TV hunk and
People magazine’s “sexiest man alive”, Sepp Gregory goes on a book tour
to promote his debut novel, a thinly veiled autobiography. Not that Sepp
has actually read the book, he doesn’t have to, he lived it! The book
becomes a sensation, a New York Times bestseller, and, surprisingly, it even gets rave reviews from serious critics. Aside from Harriet Post, that is.

of the blogosphere’s most respected critics, Harriet hears the host of
her favorite, high-brow, radio show gush about Sepp’s abdominal muscles
on-air and fears the end of civilization is upon us. She takes matters
into her own hands and sets off to reveal the truth behind the
bestseller and to show Sepp as the buff fraud he really is. But then
Harriet reads Totally Reality, Sepp’s novel, and it’s totally great. Now she needs to find Sepp’s ghostwriter and find out why he’s wasting his talent.

finds him, appropriately enough, at the Playboy Mansion, where he’s
supposed to be interviewing Sepp’s former television love Roxy Sandoval
for his next, highly lucrative, project. Reality and “reality” collide,
and a tragic accident sends Sepp and Harriet off on a sex-fueled
roadtrip through the southwest. The mind meets the body, and both will
be changed forever. Raw: A Love Story is Mark Haskell Smith at his best, dangerously sexy and wickedly funny.

My thoughts:  
This actually still sounds kind of good.

Verdict: Keep

4.  Precious Blood by Tonya Hurley:

From the author of the New York Times
bestselling ghostgirl series, the start to a dark and thrilling trilogy
about three girls who become entangled with an enigmatic boy.
Previously published as The Blessed.

What if martyrs and saints lived among us? And what if you were told you were one of them?

Meet Agnes, Cecilia, and Lucy. Three lost girls, each searching for something. But what they find is Beyond Belief.

My thoughts:  
Eh, not sure if it sounds that great.

Verdict: Toss

5.   Allure by Lea Nolan:

Worst. Summer. Ever.

Guthrie races to learn the hoodoo magic needed to break The Beaumont
Curse before her marked boyfriend Cooper’s sixteenth birthday. But deep
in the South Carolina Lowcountry, dark, mysterious forces encroach,
conspiring to separate Emma and Cooper forever. When Cooper starts to
change, turning cold and indifferent, Emma discovers that both his heart
and body are marked for possession by competing but equally powerful

Desperate to save him, Emma and her twin brother,
Jack, risk their lives to uncover the source of the black magic that has
allured Cooper and holds him in its grip. Faced with the horror of a
soul-eating boohag, Emma and Jack must fight to resist its fiendish
power to free Cooper long enough to join their strengths and face it
together, before it destroys them all.

My thoughts:
I haven’t read the first in the series, in fact, it’s not even on my TBR.

Verdict:  Toss

6.  Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore:

The year is 1911. And at The Manor, nothing is as it seems . . .

Charlotte Edmonds: Beautiful, wealthy, and sheltered, Charlotte feels
suffocated by the strictures of upper-crust society. She longs to see
the world beyond The Manor, to seek out high adventure. And most of all,

Janie Seward: Fiery, hardworking, and clever, Janie
knows she can be more than just a kitchen maid. But she isn’t sure she
possesses the courage — or the means — to break free and follow her

Both Charlotte and Janie are ready for change. As
their paths overlap in the gilded hallways and dark corridors of The
Manor, rules are broken and secrets are revealed. Secrets that will
alter the course of their lives. . . forever.

My thoughts:
Makes me think of Downton Abbey, but will I ever read it?  Probably not.

Verdict:  Toss

7. Neverwas by Kelly Moore:

“I was sixteen the second time I had my first kiss….”

At the end of AMBER HOUSE, Sarah made a choice that transformed everything–and now she must choose it all again.

are very different–better–for Sarah and her family: her Aunt Maggie
grew up; her parents are happily married; her grandmother died after a
long, productive and respected life. But other things are different too,
and not for the better.

After growing up in the free country of
the Pacific Northwest, Sarah Parsons has settled in at Amber House, the
stately Maryland home that’s been in her family for generations. But the
world surrounding the House feels deeply wrong to Sarah. It’s a place
where the colonists lost the 1776 Insurrection, where the American
Confederation of States still struggles with segregation, and where
Sarah is haunted by echoes of a better world that she knows never

Her friend Jackson shares these visions of a different
world–and together, they manage both to remember the way things ought
to be, and to plan a daring mission that will reset the universe once
again. Sarah must figure out what has changed, and why, and how she can
fix it–how she can find her way to another otherwhen.

My thoughts:  
I really liked the first book, and I might even have a copy of this one.  If I do, I need to switch this over to my TBR-owned list.

Verdict:  Keep

 8.  Submerged by Nicole Sobon:

After a mysterious
virus makes its way into the United States, the government demands that
states seal themselves off from one another and do their best to protect
their surviving residents. When the state of Florida is bordered off
from the surrounding states, Taylen Fincher, a seventeen-year-old girl
with a yearning for her former life finds herself wondering how much of
what they’ve been told is true.

When Troum took control of the
state, he told the residents that the other states had fallen to the
virus and that he wouldn’t allow the same thing to happen to them. But
Taylen doesn’t believe it. She insists that there is still life outside
of the state, and she is going to do whatever it takes to prove it… but
her actions will cost her more than she ever expected.

kidnaps Taylen’s sister, Penelope, in hopes of coaxing her into behaving
– into being a submissive resident, much like the others. But Taylen
isn’t one to give in that easily.

Eager to rescue her sister,
Taylen will set out on an adventure that’ll force her to open her heart
to the unexpected and to uncover secrets that will change everything.

My thoughts:
Doesn’t sound that original.

Verdict:  Toss

9.  The Day Zombies Ruined My Perfectly Boring Life by Jen Naumann:

Emma Ferdig has heard the term “life sucks, then you die”, but she never knew she was supposed to take it quite so literally.

senior year. Emma should be looking forward to escaping her mundane
small town, and going on to college—finally. Her biggest worries should
be the fact that she’s feeling something more for her life-long best
friend Finn, and how she’s going to make things happen between them. But
all her plans for a less-sucky future go out the window with the
discovery of a seriously creepy woman in her backyard.

As it turns out, zombies are real.

the first book of the Boring Life Series, Emma’s life is turned upside
down as she’s forced to leave everything behind, running off with Finn
and a group of extremely odd misfits that include Finn’s jackhole
brother Cash, and his unorthodox girlfriend Marley. In an instantaneous
journey across the Midwest, they’ll learn horrifying secrets, trust the
wrong people, and make deadly mistakes. As they do all then can to try
and survive the impending apocalypse, Emma will realize that maybe her
painfully boring life hadn’t been such a bad thing, after all.

My thoughts:
Not really interested anymore.

Verdict: Toss

10.  Cyber Dawn by M.L. Adams:

Ben survived cancer… that was the easy part.

losing his leg to cancer and spending six years as a prototype in a
top-secret cybernetic research program, seventeen-year-old Ben Raine is
ready for a normal life. Now a junior in high school, it seems as though
normal is just what he’s going to get. He’s met new friends, made the
varsity football team, and even scored a date with the school’s head
cheerleader. But just as life is starting to look up, Ben hears four
words that will change everything -– you never had cancer.

to find out why, Ben hires Sarah -– a classmate who moonlights as a
hacker -– to help him hunt down the truth. But when they get too close,
they soon find themselves on the run from the police, the FBI, and a
team of ruthless assassins. Caught in the middle of a murderous
conspiracy, Ben and Sarah tap into the one thing that may save them –-
Ben’s cybernetic brain. But will it give them the advantage they need?
Or cost them both their lives?

My thoughts:
Probably not

Verdict:  Toss

11.  The Collection by Shannon Stoker:

How far would you go to control your own destiny?

Morrissey has escaped: America, the Registry, and the role she was
raised for— a perfect bride auctioned to the highest bidder. She’s enemy
number one to the world’s largest power, and there’s no turning back

From the moment she and her friends Andrew, and Carter cross
the border into Mexico it becomes clear their troubles are only
beginning. The young men are immediately picked up by a violent and
omnipotent militia—The Collection—and it’s Mia’s turn to rescue them.

time running out, her ex-fiancé’s henchman on her trail, and a
dangerous tide shifting back in America, Mia will do whatever she has
to. Even if that means risking everything and putting herself back on an
auction block. The price of freedom is never too high…but what if the
cost is her life?

My thoughts:
I haven’t read the first book yet, so I’ll wait on this one.

Verdict:  Toss

12.  The Life Beyond by Susanne Winnacker:

Sherry’s dad is
infected with the rabies mutation and his only chance at survival lies
beyond the deadly fence separating the country: the antidote produced in
the labs on the other side. And Sherry isn’t the only one who hopes to
save a loved one; Joshua wants nothing more than to have his sister
back, but after years as a Weeper she might already be beyond saving.
Together with Tyler and Rachel, they set out on what might very well be a
suicide mission.

Soon they realize that life beyond the fence is nothing like they had hoped it would be.

they struggle to survive against brutal military forces, their strength
won’t be the only thing put to test. Can love survive in a hopeless

My thoughts:
Read the first one, and while I didn’t love it, I like the author enough that I would like at some point to go on and read this as well.

Verdict: Keep

13.  Forgotten Lyrics by Amanda Hocking:

Don’t miss this
imaginative new short story set in the magical world of Watersong—a
realm of enchanting beauty…and terrifying secrets.

Aggie is a
mythological creature on a secret mission.  Lydia is a young woman from
a magical family with no real powers of her own. And Daniel is a high
school boy who’s made it his duty to protect his deeply troubled older
brother.  Then one fateful night, their lives collide in a terrifying
accident that changes them all forever. And beneath the surface, the
ripple effects of the accident will have more impact than anyone could
ever guess…changing not only their future, but the fate of an entire

My thoughts:
I really liked this series, so someday I want to read this novella.

Verdict: Keep

14.  Teen Spirit by Francesca Lia Block:

Francesca Lia Block,
critically acclaimed author of Weetzie Bat, brings this eerie and
redemptive ghost story to life with her signature, poetic prose. It’s
perfect for fans of supernatural stories with a touch of romance like
the Beautiful Creatures series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

Julie’s grandmother passes away, she is forced to move across town to
the not-so-fancy end of Beverly Hills and start over at a new school.
The only silver lining to the perpetual dark cloud that seems to be
following her? Clark—a die-hard fan of Buffy and all things Joss Whedon,
who is just as awkward and damaged as she is. Her kindred spirit.

the two try to contact Julie’s grandmother with a Ouija board, they
make contact with a different spirit altogether. The real kind. And this
ghost will do whatever it takes to come back to the world of the

Francesca Lia Block’s latest young adult novel is a haunting work about family, loss, love, and redemption.

My thoughts:
As fun as the title is, I think maybe I’ve read similar books or seen similar movies.

Verdict:  Toss

15.  Poor Little Dead Girls by Lizzie Friend:

Perfect people aren’t just born. They’re made.

first time she is blindfolded and kidnapped, star-athlete and posh
boarding school newbie Sadie is terrified. She wakes up in a dark room
surrounded by hushed whispers, hooded strangers, and a mysterious voice
whispering not-so-sweet nothings in her ear.

But once the robes
come off, she realizes it’s just an elaborate prank designed to induct
her into the group that’s been pulling the strings at Keating Hall for
generations. The circle has it all–incredible connections; fabulous
parties; and, of course, an in with the brother society’s gorgeous

The instant popularity is enough to make Sadie forget
about the unexplained marks on her body, the creepy ceremonial rituals,
and the incident that befell one of her teammates the year before. So
the next time Sadie is kidnapped, she isn’t scared, but she should be.
The worst of Keating Hall is yet to come.

My thoughts:
Kind of sounds good, but has low ratings.

Verdict:  Toss

16.  Turn Down the Lights by Richard Chizmar:

It was December 1988:
George Bush had just defeated Michael Dukakis in the Presidential
Election. Pitcher Orel Hershiser and the Los Angeles Dodgers had beaten
the Oakland A’s in five games to win the World Series. People were
waiting in line at movie theaters to watch Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman
in Rain Man. Tom Clancy’s The Cardinal of the Kremlin and Anne Rice’s The Queen of the Damned were atop the bestseller lists. The most acclaimed genre books of the year were Thomas Harris’s The Silence of the Lambs and Peter Straub’s Koko.

And twenty-two year old college student Richard Chizmar had just published the premiere issue of a horror magazine named Cemetery Dance.

Twenty-five years later, there have been seventy issues of Cemetery Dance
magazine. There have been more than 275 signed Limited Edition
hardcovers in the Cemetery Dance book line. There have been awards
including the World Fantasy Award, the International Horror Critics
Guild Award, and the HWA Board of Trustees Excellence in Specialty Press
Publishing Award, as well as nominations for the British Fantasy Award,
the American Horror Award, and the Bram Stoker Award, just to name a

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of that premiere issue of Cemetery Dance, we’re proud to announce Turn Down the Lights,
an anthology of authors who helped make the magazine what it is today.
These original horror stories by Stephen King, Norman Partridge, Jack
Ketchum, Brian James Freeman, Bentley Little, Ed Gorman, Ronald Kelly,
Steve Rasnic Tem, Clive Barker, and Peter Straub capture the genuine
love of the genre that pushes Cemetery Dance Publications forward year
after year.

Now, turn down the lights, flip the page, take my hand, and start the dance… 

My thoughts:
As I keep saying, I don’t really read anthologies anymore.

Verdict: Toss

17.  City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte:

Cosmically fast-paced and wildly imaginative, this debut novel is a perfect potion of magic and suspense
Once a city of enormous wealth and culture, Prague was home to
emperors, alchemists, astronomers, and, as it’s whispered, hell portals.
When music student Sarah Weston lands a summer job at Prague Castle
cataloging Beethoven’s manuscripts, she has no idea how dangerous her
life is about to become. Prague is a threshold, Sarah is warned, and it is steeped in blood.
     Soon after Sarah arrives, strange things begin to happen. She
learns that her mentor, who was working at the castle, may not have
committed suicide after all. Could his cryptic notes be warnings? As
Sarah parses his clues about Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved,” she manages
to get arrested, to have tantric sex in a public fountain, and to
discover a time-warping drug. She also catches the attention of a
four-hundred-year-old dwarf, the handsome Prince Max, and a powerful
U.S. senator with secrets she will do anything to hide.
     City of Dark Magic could
be called a rom-com paranormal suspense novel—or it could simply be
called one of the most entertaining novels of the year.

My thoughts:
I don’t really read a lot of adult fantasy, and that’s what this is.

Verdict:  Toss

18.  Fracture Me by Tahereh Mafi:

In this electrifying sixty-page companion novella to the New York Times
bestselling Shatter Me series, discover the fate of the Omega Point
rebels as they go up against The Reestablishment. Set during and soon
after the final moments of Unravel Me, Fracture Me is told from Adam’s perspective.

Omega Point prepares to launch an all-out assault on The
Reestablishment soldiers stationed in Sector 45, Adam’s focus couldn’t
be further from the upcoming battle. He’s reeling from his breakup with
Juliette, scared for his best friend’s life, and as concerned as ever
for his brother James’s safety. And just as Adam begins to wonder if
this life is really for him, the alarms sound. It’s time for war.

the battlefield, it seems like the odds are in their favor—but taking
down Warner, Adam’s newly discovered half brother, won’t be that easy.
The Reestablishment can’t tolerate a rebellion, and they’ll do anything
to crush the resistance . . . including killing everyone Adam has ever
cared about.

Fracture Me sets the stage for Ignite Me,
the explosive finale in Tahereh Mafi’s epic dystopian series. It’s a
novella not to be missed by fans who crave action-packed stories with
tantalizing romance like Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Legend by Marie Lu.

My thoughts:
I’m so far behind on all the new stuff with this series, but I loved it, and I will read this some day!

Verdict: Keep

19.  Eat Move Sleep by Tom Rath:

The latest  New York Times  bestseller from
Tom Rath, featuring a new assessment, personalized Eat Move Sleep Plan,
and a host of online tools for individuals, groups, and organizations.
Named to Apple iTunes Best of 2013 in Nonfiction and Health.

written and scrupulously researched, this breezy guide lobbies for an
all-encompassing approach to improving one’s lifestyle…Rath’s ’30-Day
Guide’…is clear and actionable.” –Kirkus review

From the author of StrengthsFinder 2.0, How Full Is Your Bucket?, Strengths Based Leadership, and Wellbeing comes
a transformative book and online application that will improve your
health for years to come. While Tom’s bestsellers on strengths and
well-being have inspired more than 5 million people in the last decade, Eat Move Sleep reveals
his greatest passion and expertise. Quietly managing a serious illness
for more than 20 years, Tom has assembled a wide range of information on
the impact of eating, moving, and sleeping. Written in his classic
conversational style, Eat Move Sleep features the most proven and
practical ideas from his research. This remarkably quick read offers
advice that is comprehensive yet simple and often counterintuitive but
always credible. Eat Move Sleep will help you make good decisions
automatic — in all three of these interconnected areas. With every
bite you take, you will make better choices. You will move a lot more
than you do today. And you will sleep better than you have in years. More than a book, Eat Move Sleep is a new way to live.

My thoughts:
I read the StrengthsFinder book, and while I’m sure this is good too, I know I won’t get around to it.

Verdict:  Toss

20.  Platform 21 by T.R. Patrick:

Luke’s life is about to take a dangerous turn.
But first he has to die.

the year 2052, high school sophomore Luke Gibson considers himself an
average teenager in a world on the brink of monumental change. Joining
his parents and sister, Laura, at the first World Energy Initiative
Conference, he is among thousands gathered in a Denver arena to
celebrate free renewable energy when a massive earthquake strikes
killing everyone in the stadium. The last thing Luke sees before his
death is a girl reaching out to him–a stranger whose face he remembers
from his dreams.

The end, however, is not the end. Suddenly,
inexplicably, Luke is back home in Ohio and everything is different. His
sister is gone, the victim in an unsolved homicide years before.
Angela, his mysterious dream girl, is here also, and the only person
besides Luke who recalls the previous reality. And now their
determination to uncover the truth about Laura’s murder and their
transformed world is making them targets–forced to flee for their lives
from a nameless shadow organization and a government seeking vengeance
for an unthinkable act of terror–as they stand on the threshold of a
dark conspiracy that threatens all humankind.

**With Platform
21, a brilliantly inventive and unrelentingly exciting excursion to a
troubled near-future, author T.R. Patrick joins the ranks of Suzanne
Collins (The Hunger Games), Veronica Roth (Divergent), Pittacus Lore (I
Am Number Four) and other masters of YA speculative suspense fiction.
The first book in the “Beyond the Veil” series, Platform 21 follows
teenager Luke Gibson up to and beyond his death in a horrific terrorist
attack in Denver in the year 2052. Reawakening in a world strangely
transformed, Luke sets out to uncover the truth about his new
reality–joining forces with Angela, a girl he had seen previously in
his dreams, in a desperate race for survival that will propel them
across the threshold of an insidious global conspiracy that threatens
the future of all humanity.**

My thoughts:
Not sure why I added it.

Verdict:  Toss

Final Thoughts:
It looks like I’m only keeping 7 this week, so that’s less than half, which is good.

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 3,073,  with cutting 13, I’m down to 3,065, meaning I’ve added a few 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:

2013-2016 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

10 Responses to “Cleaning Up My TBR With a Giveaway (US Only) – Down the TBR Hole #54”

  1. Reese's Reviews

    Oh wow good job this week!! Only keeping 7 is really good. I'm glad you've gotten so many ARC's cleaned off. The Sarah Rees Brennan book was amazing so great job keeping that one. Keep up the good work.

    Sharrice @Reese's Reviews

  2. Samantha@WLABB

    I still have to read the last Lynburn book, and I must admit, though I loved that series and the Shatter Me series, I have not read any of the novellas. I have thing about novellas.

    • Lisa Mandina

      I'd read at least one novella that goes with Shatter Me. I sometimes like them, but don't always make it a point to get them all read. Thanks for stopping by!

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.