Sunday, July 28, 2019

Cleaning Up My TBR Pile #21

I saw this on an amazing blog called Lisa Loves Literature and I immediately fell in love with the idea. It originally comes from a blog called Lost in a Story. It's all about cleaning up our generally overflowing TBR pile, and I for one need some real help with that.

Anyway, it works like this:

  • 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?

This week I'm going to be pulling 20 to go through off of my Maybe pile. My goal is to completely get rid of my Maybe pile by the end of the summer. This will be my final Maybe pile post as I'll have cleared off every book from this pile!

"We met in a nightmare. The in-between world where time had no power over reason. We fell in love. We fell hard. But then we woke up. And it was over . . ."

RUIN & RULE

She is a woman divided. Her past, present, and future are as twisted as the lies she's lived for the past eight years. Desperate to get the truth, she must turn to the one man who may also be her greatest enemy . . .

He is the president of Pure Corruption MC. A heartless biker and retribution-deliverer. He accepts no rules, obeys no one, and lives only to reap revenge on those who wronged him. And now he has stolen her, body and soul.

Can a woman plagued by mystery fall in love with the man who refuses to face the truth? And can a man drenched in darkness forgo his quest for vengeance-and finally find redemption?

Thoughts: This sounds like an interesting story, but I can't see myself reading it in any near future.

Decision: Toss

One Demon. One Angel. One Soul.

Josh lived a reckless, selfish life, so upon his death, escaping the eternal torments of Hell by assuming the role of a powerful, soul-corrupting demon is an easy choice. His first soul assignment doesn’t seem too hard: the mortal Camden is already obsessed with weapons, pain, and torture. If only Josh wasn’t distracted by Cam’s beautiful friend, Grace.

Grace never expected to die violently at age sixteen, but now she’s an Angel, responsible for saving a soul. She can already see past Camden’s earthly flaws, so the job should be easy. If only that handsome, playboy Josh would stop getting in the way.

It’s forbidden for an Angel to be with a Demon, so if Josh and Grace can't resist each other, the results will be disastrous.

And the only one can claim Cam’s soul.

Thoughts: No longer available

Decision: Toss

In a village without sound…

For as long as Fei can remember, no one in her village has been able to hear. Rocky terrain and frequent avalanches make it impossible to leave the village, so Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up to the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom. 

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink. Many go hungry. Fei and all the people she loves are plunged into crisis, with nothing to look forward to but darkness and starvation.

One girl hears a call to action…

Until one night, Fei is awoken by a searing noise. Sound becomes her weapon.

She sets out to uncover what’s happened to her and to fight the dangers threatening her village. A handsome miner with a revolutionary spirit accompanies Fei on her quest, bringing with him new risks and the possibility of romance. They embark on a majestic journey from the peak of their jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiguo, where a startling truth will change their lives forever…

And unlocks a power that will save her people.

Thoughts: I like Richelle Mead, but I think I need to read her other stuff before I feel okay enough to add this book to my TBR pile

Decision: Toss

After years in Wonderland, Alice has returned to England as an adult, desperate to reclaim sanity and control over her life. An enigmatic gentleman with an intriguing job offer too tempting to resist changes her plans for a calm existence, though. Soon, she’s whisked to New York and initiated into the Collectors’ Society, a secret organization whose members confirm that famous stories are anything but straightforward and that what she knows about the world is only a fraction of the truth.

It’s there she discovers villains are afoot—ones who want to shelve the lives of countless beings. Assigned to work with the mysterious and alluring Finn, Alice and the rest of the Collectors’ Society race against a doomsday clock in order to prevent further destruction . . . but will they make it before all their endings are erased?

Thoughts: I'm not into Alice in Wonderland retellings.

Decision: Toss

Perfect for fans of Nicholas Sparks, this breathtaking story of love and loss is guaranteed to break your heart and sweep you off your feet.

When high school senior Kelsey's identical twin sister, Michelle, dies in a car crash, Kelsey is left without her other half. The only person who doesn't know about the tragedy is Michelle's boyfriend, Peter, recently deployed to Afghanistan. But when Kelsey finally connects with Peter online, she can't bear to tell him the truth. Active duty has taken its toll, and Peter, thinking that Kelsey is Michelle, says that seeing her is the one thing keeping him alive. Caught up in the moment, Kelsey has no choice: She lets Peter believe that she is her sister.

As Kelsey keeps up the act, she crosses the line from pretend to real. Soon, Kelsey can't deny that she's falling, hard, for the one boy she shouldn't want.

Thoughts: I have a similar book on my TBR pile currently so if I like this one I'll pick it up. 

Decision: Toss

Dangerous. Ruthless. Savage. And she's the good guy.

Abby Sinclair had a desperate childhood until she was rescued and adopted by a retired army ranger who molded her into a master of self-defense. Now, she's a cunning and fearless assassin thrust into assignment after dangerous assignment, using everything she has-nerve, resilience, strength, sex-to come out on top. Her only rule: trust no one.

Abby's latest assignment is in Columbia: go undercover and snuff out a dangerous arms dealer active in the underground sex trade. But when Abby purposely blows her cover in a last-ditch attempt to free the helpless victims, deadly mercenary Kane Woodland is recruited as back-up. His mission: get Abby out of that hell hole.

The last thing Kane expects is to feel a primal attraction for Abby. But when she convinces him to join her on her perilous mission, their newfound passion could put the lives of their whole team at risk.

Thoughts: I feel like I've read several similar books.

Decision: Toss

Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men when the last of the hellions roam the plains and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.

Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to a newcomer…

Katerina must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But she doesn’t account for her first love…

Jacob will go to unthinkable lengths to win Katerina, even if it means having to compete for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince.

And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet betrothed, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.

Weaving fantasy with the shocking details of real history, New York Times bestselling author of Sex with Kings Eleanor Herman reimagines the greatest emperor the world has ever known, Alexander the Great, in the first book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series.

Thoughts: I think this is one I added only because a lot of other people have liked it.

Decision: Toss

After divorcing the woman he’d been with since he was seventeen, Nick Fuller is starting over. He owns the restaurant of his dreams and he’s determined to meet new people, find new passions, and experience life to its fullest. Easier said than done—that is until he meets his new neighbor, Bryce Tanner… 

Bryce is all about a good time. He plans to show Nick how it’s done, help him meet a few women, and enjoy the gift of the single life he’s been given. But things don’t go as planned, and soon they realize they’d rather be together than with anyone else. 

Neither man has ever wanted another guy, but there’s a connection between them from the start—a spark they can’t deny. They find themselves navigating an unfamiliar new world and dealing with unforeseen obstacles. Physical desire isn’t enough, and now Nick and Bryce are at a crossroads. They have to decide which way to go: the easy path they’ve always followed or the one that's determined to trip them up at every turn.

Thoughts: I have a soft spot for an M/M romance and this is no exception.

Decision: Keep and move to TBR pile

We are profoundly social creatures – more than we know.  

In Social, renowned psychologist Matthew Lieberman explores groundbreaking research in social neuroscience revealing that our need to connect with other people is even more fundamental, more basic, than our need for food or shelter.  Because of this, our brain uses its spare time to learn about the social world – other people and our relation to them. It is believed that we must commit 10,000 hours to master a skill.  According to Lieberman, each of us has spent 10,000 hours learning to make sense of people and groups by the time we are ten.
 
Social argues that our need to reach out to and connect with others is a primary driver behind our behavior.  We believe that pain and pleasure alone guide our actions.  Yet, new research using fMRI – including a great deal of original research conducted by Lieberman and his UCLA lab -- shows that our brains react to social pain and pleasure in much the same way as they do to physical pain and pleasure.  Fortunately, the brain has evolved sophisticated mechanisms for securing our place in the social world.  We have a unique ability to read other people’s minds, to figure out their hopes, fears, and motivations, allowing us to effectively coordinate our lives with one another.  And our most private sense of who we are is intimately linked to the important people and groups in our lives.  This wiring often leads us to restrain our selfish impulses for the greater good.  These mechanisms lead to behavior that might seem irrational but is really just the result of our deep social wiring and necessary for our success as a species.
 
Based on the latest cutting edge research, the findings in Social have important real-world implications.  Our schools and businesses, for example, attempt to minimalize social distractions.  But this is exactly the wrong thing to do to encourage engagement and learning, and literally shuts down the social brain, leaving powerful neuro-cognitive resources untapped.  The insights revealed in this pioneering book suggest ways to improve learning in schools, make the workplace more productive, and improve our overall well-being.

Thoughts: I liked to expand my knowledge in this area and I need to expand my library for work.

Decision: Keep and move to TBR pile

A new series of global proportions -- from a master of intrigue, NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Ally Carter.

Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things:

1. She is not crazy.
2. Her mother was murdered.
3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.

As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her -- so there's no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door, who is keeping his eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands.

Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can't control Grace -- no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn't stop it, Grace isn't the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.

Thoughts: This book sounds amazing fun and full of mystery. Plus, I've heard nothing but great things about Ally Carter's books.

Decision: Keep and move to TBR pile

As heir to a kingdom of floating continents, Kali has spent her life bound by limits—by her duties as a member of the royal family, by a forced betrothal to the son of a nobleman, and by the edge of the only world she’s ever known—a small island hovering above a monster-ridden earth, long since uninhabited by humans. She is the Eternal Flame of Hope for what’s left of mankind, the wick and the wax burning in service for her people, and for their revered Phoenix, whose magic keeps them aloft.

When Kali falls off the edge of her kingdom and miraculously survives, she is shocked to discover there are still humans on the earth. Determined to get home, Kali entrusts a rugged monster-hunter named Griffin to guide her across a world overrun by chimera, storm dragons, basilisks, and other terrifying beasts. But the more time she spends on earth, the more dark truths she begins to uncover about her home in the sky, and the more resolute she is to start burning for herself.

Thoughts: I don't know what to think about this story. I'm not sure how I feel about this story. It sounds very fun, but I don't know if I want to read it...

Decision: Toss

In a world of magical visions and pyrokinesis, Mara just wants to have a normal life. But is that possible?

Mara has become used to the extraordinary. Roaming from place to place with Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Carnival, she longs for an ordinary life where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future.

She gets her chance when the struggling sideshow sets up camp in the small town of Caudry and she meets a gorgeous local guy named Gabe. But before long, Mara realizes there’s a dark presence lurking in the town that’s threatening the lives of her friends. She has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she had in order to save everyone she cares about—and change the future forever.

Thoughts: I have a couple books by Amanda Hocking that I haven't read yet and I need to read those before I add another of hers to my shelves.

Decision: Toss

When the divide between the fae world and the human world is torn apart, Aleric Bayne is thrown into the ensuing chaos. Hurt and disoriented, the werewolf finds himself in a hospital emergency room. When other fae creatures begin to show up, Aleric sneaks them into the D wing of the hospital. With no one else able to treat their unusual conditions, Aleric steps into the role of Dr. Wolf. He has one goal in mind, to help the fae and close the Rift. But Dr. Wolf has walls around the memories of his own broken past that threaten to unravel the world he is holding together by a thread. 

Thoughts: I'm not sure if this is for me.

Decision: Toss

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision. 

With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever. 

Thoughts: I've had several opportunities to read this book for free and I haven't grabbed it.

Decision: Toss

He wants to dominate me…to discipline me. He wants me to call him Daddy… 

I’ve always taken care of myself—worked hard to become king of the courtroom and excel in the cutthroat business of winning cases. I’m fierce…brutal…confident. I’m a lie. Underneath my armor, I’m drowning, losing myself under the weight of life. At thirty-three years old, I should be able to handle the pressure. 

My neighbor Kieran sees past my spotless suits and manufactured control to the real Jared. The one who secretly craves being dominated, to serve, and to give up control—not just in the bedroom, but in every aspect of my personal life. 

I can’t want this…but I do… When I’m under Kieran’s command—spanked, rewarded and caged—I’m free. With Kieran’s care and guidance, my mind is unburdened as my body soars to new heights, and Kieran becomes what we both need him to be: Daddy. 

It’s a journey of dominance and submission—of rules, schedules, security and discipline. He opens my world, teaches me, changes me…but he doesn’t let me in. It’s temporary, Daddy tells me, and I’d be wise to remember that, so I don’t get hurt. 

Warning: Jared’s Evolution contains BDSM elements, domestic discipline, spanking, and daddy kink—without age play—between two consenting adults. If any of those things offend you, reading this book might not be a good idea. 

Jared’s Evolution is part of the Desires Unleashed collection. Some books in this collection will have darker themes. Please be aware Desires Unleashed are er*tic and not your typical Riley Hart romance. You can expect the mental and emotional journey to be led by the physical/s*xual moments—which will be intense, frequent and kinky. 

Thoughts: Another one where I have a weakness for M/M novels and it's on KindleUnlimited.

Decision: Keep and move to TBR pile


Princess Ivy has one goal—end the war against the Forces of Darkness.

Ivy’s magic is more powerful than any other Royal’s, but she needs a battle partner who can help her harness it. Prince Zach’s unparalleled skill with a sword should make them an unstoppable pair—if only they could agree on...well, just about anything.

But Ivy’s magic can only fully unlock with Zach’s help, and he’s not exactly cooperating.

Zach believes Ivy’s magic is dangerous. Ivy believes they’ll never win the war without it. Two warriors, one goal, and the fate of their world on the line. But the more they argue, the more they fall for each other. And only one of them can be right…

Thoughts: This one sounds interesting, but also like something I've read before.

Decision: Toss

Albert Einstein once said that all of his most important and productive thinking was done by playing with images in his imagination. Only in a secondary stage did he translate — with great effort, he says — these images into the language of words and mathematics that could be understood by others.
According to Thomas G. West, Einstein was a classic example of a strong visual thinker, a person who tends to think in images and visual patterns, and sometimes has difficulty with words and numbers. In his awarding-winning book, In the Mind’s Eye, West discussed the connections between highly talented, visually oriented persons like Einstein and certain learning disabilities such as dyslexia. Now, in Thinking Like Einstein, West investigates the new worlds of visual thinking, insight, and creativity made possible by computer graphics and information visualization technologies. He argues that, with the rapid spread of inexpensive and powerful computers, we are now at the beginning of a major transition, moving from an old-world based mainly on words and numbers to a new world where high-level work in all fields will eventually involve insights based on the display and manipulation of complex information using moving computer images.
West profiles several highly creative visual thinkers, such as James Clerk Maxwell, Nikola Tesla, and Richard Feynman, pointing out that there is a long history of using visualization rather than words or numbers to solve problems. Citing the longstanding historical conflicts between image lovers and image haters, West examines the relationship of art, scientific knowledge, and differences in brain capabilities - observing how modern visual thinkers with visualization technologies seem to have learned how to cut through the problems of overspecialization in academia and in the workplace.
West predicts that computer visualization technology will radically change the way we all work and think. For thousands of years, the technology of writing and reading has tended to promote the dominance of the left hemisphere of the brain, with its linear processing of words and numbers. Now the spread of graphical computer technologies is permitting a return to our visual roots with a new balance between hemispheres and ways of thinking - presenting new opportunities for problem solving and big-picture thinking. Thus, he argues that the newest technologies will help us to reaffirm some of our oldest capabilities, allowing us to see previously unseen patterns and to restore a balance in thought and action.

Thoughts: Based on the description of the book I think this one would be a bit wordy.

Decision: Toss

When a tragic accident takes the life of seventeen-year-old Raven Roth's foster mom--and Raven's memory--she moves to New Orleans to live with her foster mother's family and finish her senior year of high school.

Starting over isn't easy. Raven remembers how to solve math equations and make pasta, but she can't remember her favorite song or who she was before the accident. When strange things start happening--impossible things--Raven starts to think it might be better not to know who she was in her previous life. 

But as she grows closer to her foster sister, Max, her new friends, and Tommy Torres, a guy who accepts her for who she is now, Raven has to decide if she's ready to face what's buried in the past...and the darkness building inside her.

From the #1 New York Times bestselling co-author of Beautiful Creatures Kami Garcia, and artist Gabriel Picolo comes this first graphic novel in the Teen Titans series for DC Ink, Teen Titans: Raven.

Thoughts: I have a huge soft spot for all things Raven and I enjoy Kami Garcia's books a lot.

Decision: Keep and move to TBR pile

It began on New Year's Eve.

The sickness came on suddenly and spread quickly. The fear spread even faster. Within weeks, everything people counted on began to fail them. The electrical grid sputtered; law and government collapsed--and more than half of the world's population was decimated.

Where there had been order there was now chaos. And as the power of science and technology receded, magic rose up in its place. Some of it is good, like the witchcraft worked by Lana Bingham, practicing in the loft apartment she shares with her lover, Max. Some of it is unimaginably evil, and it can lurk anywhere, around a corner, in fetid tunnels beneath the river--or in the ones you know and love the most.

As word spreads that neither the immune nor the gifted are safe from the authorities who patrol the ravaged streets, and with nothing left to count on but each other, Lana and Max make their way out of a wrecked New York City. At the same time, other travelers are heading west too, into a new frontier. Chuck, a tech genius trying to hack his way through a world gone offline. Arlys, a journalist who has lost her audience but uses pen and paper to record the truth. Fred, her young colleague, possessed of burgeoning abilities and an optimism that seems out of place in this bleak landscape. And Rachel and Jonah, a resourceful doctor and a paramedic who fend off despair with their determination to keep a young mother and three infants in their care alive.

In a world of survivors where every stranger encountered could be either a savage or a savior, none of them knows exactly where they are heading, or why. But a purpose awaits them that will shape their lives and the lives of all those who remain.

The end has come. The beginning comes next.

Thoughts: This sounds interesting but not like something I would love

Decision: Toss

If you gulped through reading or streaming 13 Reasons Why, Tease is the book for you.

Provocative, unforgettable, and inspired by real-life incidents, Amanda Maciel's highly acclaimed debut novel Tease is the story of a teenage girl who faces criminal charges for bullying after a classmate commits suicide. With its powerful narrative, unconventional point of view, and strong anti-bullying theme, this coming-of-age story offers smart, insightful, and nuanced views on high school society, toxic friendships, and family relationships.

Emma Putnam is dead, and it's all Sara Wharton's fault. At least, that's what everyone seems to think. Sara, along with her best friend and three other classmates, has been criminally charged for the bullying and harassment that led to Emma's shocking suicide. Now Sara is the one who's ostracized, already guilty according to her peers, the community, and the media. In the summer before her senior year, in between meetings with lawyers and a court-recommended therapist, Sara is forced to reflect on the events that brought her to this moment—and ultimately consider her own role in an undeniable tragedy.

And she'll have to find a way to move forward, even when it feels like her own life is over.

Thoughts: This one might be too emotional for me to read and too close to home.

Decision: Toss

Overall: Tossed 15 and kept 5.

Well, everyone, I did it. I cleaned off my Maybe pile! I started with almost 200 books on there and now the shelf is completely gone!

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