Saturday, March 28, 2020

Cleaning Up My TBR Pile #43







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?

As of the last cleaning I had 1,843 books on my TBR pile. I now have 1,861 so I've gone up quite a bit since my last cleaning.

It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more -- though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was -- lovely and amazing and deeply flawed -- can she begin to discover her own path in this stunning debut from Ava Dellaira, Love Letters to the Dead.

Thoughts: This story sounds amazing, and while I think one day I may end up reading this one, I don't see it being likely anytime soon or in the near distant future.

Decision: Toss

Becca Langer was not a normal girl, she didn't have normal girl problems. For most of her life, she’s had to take care of herself, her younger brother Chad, and her drunk mother. She’s lived under the shadow of what her father did when she was ten years old. Forever branded by his actions.

College was her escape, she could get away and finally live. Her dream was to make it in the New York Ballet Company one day. That for her meant a long road full of hard work and dedication. She didn't have time for distractions, and Levi Klein was definitely a distraction.

Will Levi be able to crack through her tough exterior and really see the wounded soul underneath? Becca needs to be loved, but the question is, will she let Levi love her?

Thoughts: This is one that sounds super good as well, but it is no longer available.

Decision: Toss

When the one thing they want is the only thing they can't have, how far will Danny and Emily go to convince themselves that love is all that matters, even if it’s forbidden?

When Emily Winters returns home she thinks she knows what she's getting into. She's had three years to accept the fact that her former best friend/ love of her life/ boyfriend of exactly one day, Danny Donovan, is no longer any of those things to her.

In fact, there is a good chance he hates her. There is an even better chance that he is her half-brother.

She thinks she knows what she is coming home to, but what she finds is the utter devastation that Danny's life has become thanks to the chain of events that Emily's mother set in motion three years ago. Danny has lost everything and Emily doesn't recognize the cold-hearted bad boy that Danny has become.

She can only resist his temptation for so long before the line that separates right from wrong becomes blurry and negotiable as she and Danny try to navigate around it.

When life in the small town of River Bluff becomes too much to handle, Danny and Emily are finally forced to deal, not only with their present but also their past. When the truth of their sibling status is revealed will it tear them apart or allow them to finally be together in the only way they know how?

Thoughts: This one seems interesting and since it's on KindleUnlimited I think I'll give it a shot.

Decision: Keep

Back to her own self and kingdom,
Luella's winning back her name
Securing her reign and freedom
With Derek, her re-found flame.

When things are looking up like never
And happiness is at her door,
The Elders want her, however,
Engaged in the impending war.

Can she refuse without facing
The consequences it may bring?
Will she be capable of tracing
The missing links she needs to win?

And this is all on the background
Of nanobots beyond control
Destroying down to the ground
The human race condemned to fall.

Thoughts: This seems like an interesting book but I'm not really into vampires anymore.

Decision: Toss

In Present Perfect, Brad Johnson was sexy, cocky, rich and a complete Smurff**ker. He could afford anything he wanted and could charm any girl he set his eyes on. Everything was laid out in front of him, all for the taking except the one thing he craved and needed. A tragic event forces him to reevaluate his life. When he tries to change, will the people in his life let him move on from his past or will they constantly hold him to the life-altering mistakes he’s made?

Mabry Darnell is intelligent, ambitious, beautiful, and sassy. Secrets from her past haunt the present causing her to question her actions in order to shield her heart and protect her life.

From the moment Brad and Mabry met, their connection was strong, intense, and electrifying. Both knew they had found the one person who could satisfy what the other ached for. When their pasts collide with their present, will it prevent them from having a future together or will love be strong enough to conquer their demons?

Thoughts: This one seems fine but also like I've read it before.

Decision: Toss

I’ve been unsure about many things in my life except for one thing, that I have always loved him. Every single minute of every single day that I have been on this earth, my heart has belonged to him. It has never been a question, never a doubt. The love had taken on many different forms over the years, but it had always been a constant.

Everyone has their definition of love. There have been countless songs sung about it. A gazillion books, articles, and poems written about it. There are experts on love who will tell you how to get it, keep it, and get over it.

We’re led to believe love is complicated. It’s not the love that’s complicated. It’s all the crap that we attach to it and put in front of it that makes it difficult. If you’re smart, you’ll realize this before it’s too late and simplify.

Amanda Kelly spent her entire life trying to control every aspect of it, while striving for perfection. Her obsession with being perfect, along with her feelings of worthlessness, consumed her. The one thing she thought was perfect in her life was the bond she shared with her best friend, Noah.

Everything was going according to her life plan until she woke up one day and realized she had fallen in love with him. The one thing she couldn’t control was the affect he had on her. Noah had the power to give her one hundred lifetimes of happiness, which also gave him the power to completely devastate her. He was the one thing in her life that was perfect, but she couldn't allow herself to have him.

Her life begins to unravel. Events take over and force her to let go of her dreams and desires. She needs to realize that a person cannot control the events in their life, only their reaction to them...but will it be too late for her to save her relationship with her best friend?

Present Perfect is a story of how past events have present consequences and how perfect your present could be if you stopped fighting and just allowed it to happen.

Thoughts: As interesting as this one sounds, I have so many other books that I can't see myself finding time to read this one.

Decision: Toss

It wasn’t exactly like spunky, photography student, Abbie Nartey ran away from her life…except, that she left under the cover of darkness and put three thousand miles between her and her ex-boyfriend’s betrayal. She went to London searching for her dream. She never expected to find love, or herself.

Heir to his family’s tech fortune, sexy, Alexi Chase, is looking for freedom—from his family and from his past. What he’s not looking for is love. With secrets like his, he can’t afford to let anyone get too close. But a chance rescue has him wondering if the price of keeping secrets is too high.

Will Alexi risk losing love to keep his past hidden? Will Abbie trust herself enough to love again? Or will their pasts keep then from accepting true love?

Thoughts: This one seems interesting as well, but it's no longer available.

Decision: Toss

Can love save them?

After her father commits a crime that shatters her family, eighteen-year-old Delaney Cross is tired of pretending everything is alright. Packing up her car, she sets out to find the people her father hurt. Her search leads her to places she's never been--and into the arms of Adrian Westfall.

To the outside world, Adrian is a sexy, charming ladies man. But his playboy persona is just an act. Secretly his soul is tortured by a memory too painful to share. Only Delaney seems to see through his façade to the real man underneath. And for the first time in his life, Adrian feels he can begin to open up about his past.

Together, Adrian and Delaney share a passionate, carefree love they never expected to find. Yet both still harbor their own secrets. When the dark truth is finally revealed, will it bring them closer together, or tear them apart forever?

Thoughts: This is another one I feel like I've read before.

Decision: Toss

Evan Lennox is going nowhere fast. She's living with her grandparents after her parents bailed on her, she got kicked out of her posh private school, her ex-boyfriend proved to be the biggest sleaze imaginable, her former best friend is a back-stabber, and her current best friend is stuck in backwoods NJ. To top it all off, one teeny, tiny fire she lit to burn some memories of her ex goes a little out of control and winds up igniting a good piece of a very powerful family's pecan orchard.

Evan lands her pampered behind in court and gets sentenced to community service. Which she knows she deserves. But the hard labor and humiliation may be her undoing.

Until she meets Winchester Youngblood on the site.

Everything about him is tricky, confusing, not at all what it seems, and so sexy, Evan can't resist pulling closer. But every step she takes to get to know him gives her more of a reason to back up and put him as far out of life as she possibly can. Because Winch is one hundred percent complicated, and Evan isn't looking for that. At all. She needs to meet a nice, responsible guy, not share searing kisses with the charming hustler she met after they both got sentenced in court.

But Winch is so much more than what he seems, and Evan finds out that she's falling hard for the guy everyone underestimates and writes off. And Winch realizes that Evan is the one person who's ever challenged him to ask for more out of his life, and her courage inspires him to try to be the person she sees when she looks at him. With every single odd stacked against them, Evan and Winch need to find out whether they have what it takes to fall for each other.

Thoughts: This one doesn't interest me much. I think I'm okay.

Decision: Toss

"I dare you."

Those words would change adrenaline junkie, Alice Harrison's life forever. She's a party girl that doesn't believe in love until she meets a man that only writes about it.

Seth James escaped his overbearing father and moved into one of the James family's vacant condos, hoping to create the music he loves in peace. But the fragile calm he's envisioned shatters when a tiny woman with a world full of energy bounces out of the elevator and nearly takes him out.

With the patience of a saint, Seth seeks the dark that keeps Alice from enjoying life. He challenges her to exorcise the demons in her past in order to discover the true meaning of love. But when the walls fall down, the hidden deceptions will bare the ugly truth about a woman drowning in sorrow and a man who may not know how to be her hero.

Thoughts: This is another one that I'm going to be okay without reading it.

Decision: Toss


What if the perfect match is a perfect surprise?

Honor Holland has just been unceremoniously rejected by her lifelong crush. And now—a mere three weeks later—Mr. Perfect is engaged to her best friend. But resilient, reliable Honor is going to pick herself up, dust herself off and get back out there… or she would if dating in Manningsport, New York, population 715, wasn't easier said than done.

Charming, handsome British professor Tom Barlow just wants to do right by his unofficial stepson, Charlie, but his visa is about to expire. Now Tom must either get a green card or leave the States—and leave Charlie behind.

In a moment of impulsiveness, Honor agrees to help Tom with a marriage of convenience—and make her ex jealous in the process. But juggling a fiancé, hiding out from her former best friend and managing her job at the family vineyard isn't easy. And as sparks start to fly between Honor and Tom, they might discover that their pretend relationship is far too perfect to be anything but true love….

Thoughts: I like a marriage of convenience stories, but I don't love them as they're generally predictable.

Decision: Toss

In the United States, in the not-too-distant future, Americans are focused on one thing to the exclusion of all else: self-maximization. Every aspect of life which impedes the pursuit of Maximization is pushed aside, including the raising of children. Within one week of birth, all children are permanently turned over to professional child-rearing experts - Proxies - to be raised, educated and cultivated.

Chase Stern, a Proxy Review Officer tasked with the regulation of the Proxy Industry, is plagued by guilt - the consequence of his own dogged pursuit of Maximization. Seeking redemption, he has pledged his life to save the lost but dangerous youth of the Deep Suburbs - the poverty-stricken and crime-ridden majority of society located far from the wealthy, civilized Inner Cities. When Chase uncovers widespread child abuse, the Government is forced to admit failure and shut down the Proxy Industry. All children under the age of eighteen are sent to a remote facility to be indoctrinated and reprogrammed to populate a new, functional society. Three years later, the first group of "children" return very much changed....

Thoughts: This one isn't for me and I'm not sure how it ended up on my TBR pile.

Decision: Toss

From Mega Nerd to Super Hero.

When Justin Slade discovers he has demonic abilities, life gets a lot more interesting. But as he learns the ropes of his new supernatural life, he soon realizes he's not alone.

Vampires, felycans, sorcerers, Templars--they all exist, and what he doesn't know can most certainly kill him in more gruesome ways than he can count

Thoughts: This is another one I feel like I've read several other times before.

Decision: Thoughts

Haden Lord, the disgraced prince of the Underrealm, has been sent to the mortal world to entice a girl into returning with him to the land of the dead. Posing as a student at Olympus Hills High—a haven for children of the rich and famous—Haden must single out the one girl rumored to be able to restore immortality to his race.

Daphne Raines has dreams much bigger than her tiny southern Utah town, so when her rock star dad suddenly reappears, offering her full tuition to Olympus Hills High’s prestigious music program, she sees an opportunity to catch the break she needs to make it as a singer. But upon moving into her estranged father’s mansion in California, and attending her glamorous new school, Daphne soon realizes she isn’t the only student in Olympus who doesn’t quite belong.

Haden and Daphne—destined for each other—know nothing of the true stakes their fated courtship entails.  As war between the gods brews, the teenagers’ lives collide. But Daphne won’t be wooed easily and when it seems their prophesied link could happen, Haden realizes something he never intended—he’s fallen in love. Now to save themselves, Haden and Daphne must rewrite their destinies. But as their destinies change, so do the fates of both their worlds.

Thoughts: I enjoy stories about Hades and the underworld a lot.

Decision: Keep

When one touch isn’t enough, why resist?

Road trips are supposed to be fun. Or, at least, full of hot sex. For photographer Lilly Grayson, the fifteen-hour drive to her friend’s wedding with Nate Jennings will be neither. Not that Nate isn’t sexy—the man is six-foot-three-inches of mouth-watering Marine. But Lilly’s been there, done that…and he walked away. Now it’s time for a little payback. The kind that’ll make a man desperate for a taste of what he can’t have.

And Nate wants a taste—so badly that he can barely keep his hands on the wheel. But the scars and ghosts of his last tour still haunt him. He can’t give into temptation, not this time. Lilly deserves a whole man—one who can love her the way she deserves to be loved, even if she doesn’t believe it can happen. And that can’t be Nate. Not when he’s leaving again in two weeks, and this time, he’s not sure he’ll return…

Thoughts: I enjoyed the first book in this series and Nicolette's writing so I'm excited to see where the series takes us.

Decision: Keep

Demon possession has swept through Glace's neighboring kingdom, turning humans into hellhounds. These great, fanged wolves are wild, desperate, and hungry. Only the sworn Hunters have kept them back for five long, bloody years.

Since becoming a Hunter at a young age, Belle LeClair no longer remembers how many hounds she's killed or how many friends she's buried. Still, Belle leads the hunt until a tragedy forces her deep into the dark kingdom. Her heart will be turned, her loyalty tested— and fate will intervene.

Amid a backdrop of Steampunk inventions and a harsh winter landscape, THE BEAST is a re-imagining of the infamous love between a beauty and a beast.

Thoughts: I have a soft spot for Beauty and the Beast retellings.

Decision: Keep

Everyone mourns differently. When his older brother was killed, David got angry. As in, fist-meets-someone-else’s-face furious. But his parents? They got religious. David’s still figuring out his relationship with a higher power, but there’s one thing he does know for sure: The closer he gets to new-girl Bailey, the better, brighter, happier, more he feels.

Then his parents start cutting all their worldly ties to prepare for the Rush, the divine moment when the faithful will be whisked off to Heaven…and they want David to do the same. David’s torn. There’s a big difference between living in the moment and giving up his best friend, varsity baseball, and Bailey—especially Bailey—in hope of salvation.

But when he comes home late from prom, and late for the Rush, to find that his parents have vanished, David is in more trouble than he ever could have imagined...

Thoughts: I have several other Jeri Smith-Ready books I haven't read yet, so I think I'll wait to read those first before adding anything else.

Decision: Toss

He’s waited more than 900 years to love her…

Being the Gatekeeper to Hades is no small feat, and waiting almost a millennia to meet your mate is damn near impossible. But Theo Bradford’s mark has finally surfaced on his intended. Now all he has to do is find her and convince her to embrace her supernatural heritage.

Young genius, Sadie Nowland, has got life figured out. Graduating college at the age of eighteen and accepting a six-figure job is just what she needs to prove she’s made something of herself. But when a strange tattoo mysteriously appears on her shoulder and Theo starts talking about Mates, it catapults her neatly laid out life into chaos.

Somehow a vicious demon banished to Hades defies Theo’s vanquish and returns, setting his target on Sadie, and she is thrust into the volatile world of Shomrei warriors and a connection to Theo her brain can’t comprehend and her body can’t deny. That primal bond proves more imperative to their survival than either could have ever imagined—and just may be the key to the world’s survival.

Thoughts: This one I went back and forth on until I read some of the reviews. While I generally try and make my own decisions about books, this one generally seemed to not be reviewed positively.

Decision: Toss

She thought she stopped the evil.

She thought she was safe.

Everything she thought was wrong.

Almost four months have passed since Evie Starling learned she was a Tracker and helped defeat a Daevos Clan that was taking others like her—but that wasn’t the end of the abductions. As an unknown evil emerges, Evie vows to help solve the mystery of the missing Trackers, regardless of the risk.

With new powers she doesn’t understand and can’t control, she turns to Alex and Emil, her two soul mates, for help. But her feelings for them both are tearing her apart. She knows she has to decide between them; however, her memories are only making that choice more difficult.

As the world around her is thrown into chaos, Evie is confronted with what could be a destiny-altering truth. Will she accept her history, her memories, and her role in this life, or choose to ignore the echoes of her past?

Thoughts: I haven't read book one.

Decision: Toss

Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they're sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few "dates", it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.

What's a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you're meant to be with if you're still figuring out the person you're meant to be?

Thoughts: There's a story that comes before this one that I think I'll read first so I can get a feel for Paula Stokes' writing.

Decision: Toss for now.

Seventeen-year-old Micah Foster is looking forward to the return of his girlfriend, Amber, who's been away in Los Angeles recording an EP with her band. But when Amber returns home on the anniversary of Micah's dad's death, something feels different and Micah pushes her away.

Over the next week, as Micah tries to repair his relationship with Amber, he relives the events of the past few years and recognizes a pattern. His friends and family are right--he self-destructs every April, right around the time his dad died, hurting people he cares about in the process. Will Amber be this year's casualty? Or can Micah escape his past in time to fix his present?

Thoughts: I think this one sounds interesting and it'll help me get to know how Paula Stokes writes.

Decision: Keep

Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell forged permission slips and cover stories to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money and liven up a boring senior year. With the help of his friends Preston and Parvati, Max starts Liars, Inc. Suddenly everybody needs something and the cash starts pouring in. Who knew lying could be so lucrative?

When Preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, Max doesn’t think twice about hooking him up. Until Preston never comes home. Then the evidence starts to pile up—terrifying clues that lead the cops to Preston’s body. Terrifying clues that point to Max as the murderer.

Can Max find the real killer before he goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit? In a story that Kirkus Reviews called "Captivating to the very end," Paula Stokes starts with one single white lie and weaves a twisted tale that will have readers guessing until the explosive final chapters.

Thoughts: This one I think I only added because a lot of people were reading it.

Decision: Toss

A love so strong, even eternity can't separate them. Evie Starling has lived a relatively uneventful life hanging out with friends, gossiping about boys, and driving her 1966 Mustang.

All of that changes when she moves to Gunnison, Colorado, to start college and meets two mysterious men. For centuries, Alex Night and Emil Stone have yearned for Evie, but they each have their own reasons for wanting to be with her. When both men claim to be her soul mate and tell her about an unbelievable past, Evie learns that she's not the person she thought she was. Soon, Evie finds herself in the middle of an age-old battle between the Amaranthine Society the soul protectors, and the Daevos Resistance the soul destroyers. With a past she doesn't understand, and a future rife with danger, Evie has to decide who she can trust. But Alex and Emil aren't the only ones who want Evie, and her soul is about to become the rope in an eternal tug-of-war.

Thoughts: This seems interesting, but it doesn't feel like it's for me.

Decision: Toss

Overall: Out of 23 I kept 5 and tossed 18, leaving me with 1,842 books on my TBR. I think with the upcoming months being off I will have time to get through more of these. 

Thoughts on how I did this week? Did I toss too many or not enough?

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