Sunday, June 21, 2020

Cleaning Up My TBR Pile #53







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

Last week I finally completed going through my ebooks leaving me with 317 e-books on my TBR pile which from close to 1,000 makes me feel really accomplished. This week I'm going back to cleaning up my general TBR pile. From my last TBR pile cleaning, I had 1,842 books on the list. I now have 1,624 on my pile.

In Serjana Caelum’s world, gods exist. So do goddesses. Sera knows this because she is one of them. A secret long concealed by her parents, Sera is Lakshmi reborn, the human avatar of an immortal Indian goddess rumored to control all the planes of existence. Marked by the sigils of both heaven and hell, Sera’s avatar is meant to bring balance to the mortal world, but all she creates is chaos. A chaos that Azrath, the Asura Lord of Death, hopes to use to unleash hell on earth.

Torn between reconciling her past and present, Sera must figure out how to stop Azrath before the Mortal Realm is destroyed. But trust doesn’t come easy in a world fissured by lies and betrayal. Her best friend Kyle is hiding his own dark secrets, and her mysterious new neighbor, Devendra, seems to know a lot more than he’s telling. Struggling between her opposing halves and her attraction to the boys tied to each of them, Sera must become the goddess she was meant to be, or risk failing, which means sacrificing the world she was born to protect.

Decision: Toss, I have a couple books by Amalie Howard I think I should read before thinking about other books since I've had a hit or miss relationship with her books.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

Decision: Toss, I think I only added this one because it was popular.

Amber Vaughn is a good girl. She sings solos at church, babysits her nephew after school, and spends every Friday night hanging out at her best friend Devon’s house. It’s only when Amber goes exploring in the woods near her home, singing camp songs with the hikers she meets on the Appalachian Trail, that she feels free—and when the bigger world feels just a little bit more in reach.

When Amber learns about an audition at the North Carolina School of the Arts, she decides that her dream—to sing on bigger stages—could also be her ticket to a new life. Devon’s older (and unavailable) brother, Will, helps Amber prepare for her one chance to try out for the hypercompetitive arts school. But the more time Will and Amber spend together, the more complicated their relationship becomes . . . and Amber starts to wonder if she’s such a good girl, after all.

Then, in an afternoon, the bottom drops out of her family’s world—and Amber is faced with an impossible choice between her promise as an artist and the people she loves. Amber always thought she knew what a good girl would do. But between “right” and “wrong,” there’s a whole world of possibilities.

Decision: Toss, I think this is another one that I kept seeing and thought I should just add.

Kill Bill meets Buffy in this supernatural samurai tale.

Rileigh Martin would love to believe that adrenaline gave her the uncanny courage and strength to fend off three muggers. But it doesn’t explain her dreams of fifteenth-century Japan, the incredible fighting skills she suddenly possesses, or the strange voice giving her battle tips and danger warnings. While worrying that she’s going crazy (always a reputation ruiner), Rileigh gets a visit from Kim, a handsome martial arts instructor, who tells Rileigh she’s harboring the spirit of a five-hundred-year-old samurai warrior.

Relentlessly attacked by ninjas, Rileigh has no choice but to master the katana—a deadly Japanese sword that’s also the key to her past. As the spirit grows stronger and her feelings for Kim intensify, Rileigh is torn between continuing as the girl she’s always been and embracing the warrior inside her.

Decision: Toss, no longer available which sucks since this sounded awesome.

Every Fairy-Tale Ending Has a Price. . .

Orphaned 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.

Decision: Toss, after reading an excerpt and some reviews I don't think this one is for me since I'm not really into middle-grade books.

“You must choose, child. Choose now, and choose once, for once taken, the path becomes your fate.”

Magic is supposed to be easy; there’s Black, White, and Green Magic, and once a Witch picks a path, that’s really all she has to worry about. But for Darlena Agara, things just keep getting harder. She’s torn between her best friend’s choice of the Black path, and her on-again, off-again boyfriend’s choice of the White path, so she tries to stall, waiting for divine inspiration. Darlena isn’t expecting the form it takes, though. Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft, shows up in her living room and pressures her to choose her path, and Lena does something stupid; she declares that she’ll be a Red Witch, something that doesn’t exist…or does it?

Now Lena’s on the run, struggling to master the forces of chaos she now controls while at the same time staying out of the way of the crazy gods and goddesses who want her to use Red Magic to cause chaos. Turns out, Red Magic is real…and deadly. Will Lena learn enough about her power before it’s too late, or will she become a walking disaster?

Decision: Toss, while this sounds interesting I can't see myself reading it even if I owned it.

The girl knows she’s different. She doesn’t age. She has no family. She has visions of a past life, but no clear clues as to what she is, or where she comes from. But there is a face in her dreams – a light that breaks through the darkness. She knows his name is Gabriel.

On her way home from work, the girl encounters an injured stranger whose name is Jonah. Soon, she will understand that Jonah belongs to a generation of Vampires that serve even darker forces. Jonah and the few like him, are fighting with help from an unlikely ally – a rogue Angel, named Gabriel.

In the crossfire between good and evil, love and hate, and life and death, the girl learns her name: Lailah. But when the lines between black and white begin to blur, wherein the spectrum will she find her place? And with whom?

Gabriel and Jonah both want to protect her. But Lailah will have to fight her own battle to find out who she truly is.

Decision: Keep, while I don't usually enjoy angel and vampire stories, this one seems fun.

Rule One—Nothing is right, nothing is wrong.
Rule Two—Be careful.
Rule Three—Fight using your legs whenever possible, because they’re the strongest part of your body. Your arms are the weakest.
Rule Four—Hit to kill. The first blow should be the last, if at all possible.
Rule Five—The letters are the law.

Kit takes her role as London’s notorious “Perfect Killer” seriously. The letters and cash that come to her via a secret mailbox are not a game; choosing who to kill is not an impulse decision. Every letter she receives begins with “Dear Killer,” and every time Kit murders, she leaves a letter with the dead body. Her moral nihilism and thus her murders are a way of life—the only way of life she has ever known.

But when a letter appears in the mailbox that will have the power to topple Kit’s convictions as perfectly as she commits her murders, she must make a decision: follow the only rules she has ever known, or challenge Rule One, and go from there.

Decision: Toss, I think I'm okay.

Three knocks can change everything…

"She knew. That’s why Mom hadn’t opened the door. She knew he was dead."

Twenty years as an army brat and Ember Howard knew, too. The soldiers at the door meant her dad was never coming home. What she didn’t know was how she would find the strength to singlehandedly care for her crumbling family when her mom falls apart.

Then Josh Walker enters her life. Hockey star, her new next-door neighbor, and not to mention the most delicious hands that insist on saving her over and over again. He has a way of erasing the pain with a single look, a single touch. As much as she wants to turn off her feelings and endure the heartache on her own, she can’t deny their intense attraction.

Until Josh’s secret shatters their world. And Ember must decide if he’s worth the risk that comes with loving a man who could strip her bare. 

Decision: Toss, I have struggled time and time again with Rebecca Yarros' books. 

A dying wish. A family divided. A love that defies the law.

Sol Le Coeur is a Smudge--a night dweller in an America rigidly divided between people who wake, live, and work during the hours of darkness and those known as Rays, who live and work during daylight. Impulsive, passionate, and brave, Sol concocts a plan to kidnap her newborn niece--a Ray--in order to bring the baby to visit her dying grandfather. Sol's violation of the day/night curfew is already a serious crime, but when her kidnap attempt goes awry, she stumbles on a government conspiracy to manipulate the Smudge population. Sol escapes the authorities with an unexpected ally: a Ray who gets in her way, a boy she might have hated if fate hadn't forced them on the run together--a boy the world now tells her she can't love.

Set in a vivid alternate reality and peopled with complex, deeply human characters on both sides of the day/night divide, Elizabeth Fama's Plus One is a brilliantly imagined drama of individual liberty and civil rights, and a fast-paced romantic adventure story.

Decision: Toss, this one just confuses me.

In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king's long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner's motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword's point—he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage's rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner's sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

Decision: Keep, I am quite excited for this one.

It was just a work party, filled with kissing the well-dressed rear ends of clients and fake smiles. Until my boss accused me of something I didn’t do. Until I got pissed and then there was this guy who was hot and flirting with me, and then there were his hands and the backseat of my car and a night of everything but you know what.

I never expected to see him again. But suddenly Julian Dohring is everywhere. And I can’t get over the endless tattoos that cover his arms, how he’s apparently a recovering video game addict and dresses like he’s ready to walk down the red carpet at any moment.

Ten years ago I made a pledge to stay away from alcohol and sex and never get too personal with anyone. It’s gotten me this far. I’m twenty-seven, I have a career I’ve worked my heart and soul into, and more money than I could ever blow on shoes and the finer things in life. My attitude and pride have always been enough to keep any man from getting too interested. Until Julian…who claims I can’t dance and has the nerve to call me a “peach.”

I’m Sage McCain, and needless to say, Julian has my attention.

Decision: Toss, this one seems like one I've read numerous times before and I don't always love Keary Taylors writing style.

Kylie Reed vowed she’d never pick up a man in a bar.

It’s one of her personal rules, after all.

So falling into a gorgeous ginger’s lap, tossing a glass of wine on him, and then hoping he asks for her number while in a bar would be a trifecta of wrong, right?

Organized, rule-loving, and cautious to a fault, Kylie Reed is waiting for the perfect moment to live her dreams—when she has a house when she meets her husband when she has been at her visual display job at a chic boutique a little while longer. All of her dreams are saved for later—as that seems to be a safer place than taking a risk to actually live them.

Yet Kylie finds all her rules bending when she falls into the lap of gorgeous Harrison Flynn, captain of the Dallas Demons hockey team. Harrison harbors his own fears for the future, ones he keeps close to the vest. He’s intrigued with the brown-eyed beauty who proceeds with caution, while she’s drawn to the sexy man who pushes boundaries and functions in chaos. The phrase opposites attract has never been truer as the chemistry between them is anything but polar from the second they meet…

While the attraction is hot, is that enough to make a relationship work? Can they face their fears for a future they both want? Will this relationship end before puck drop? Or will they find home ice together?

Decision: Toss, this is another one that sounds interesting, but also like something I've read before.

My name is Willow Masters. I’m a senior in college, I’m smart and I keep to myself. I haven’t had an “incident” in years. What all of these facts have in common is that none of them made any difference when it came to Ebon Daniels.

He started out as my sister’s date. I was instantly infatuated but had no plans to do anything about it. I even managed to keep my feelings hidden when he took over my Modernist Literature class for the semester. The problems didn’t start until my sister took pages from my book—literal pages from a book I was writing—and gave them to the one person who never intended to see them. That’s when the lies started. That’s also when I saw an opportunity to make my only dream become a reality.

So I took it.

And nothing will ever be the same again.

How could one lie spark a wildfire that burned down everything in its path? How could it get me all I ever wanted and then cost me everything that ever mattered?

It doesn’t seem possible, but it is. It’s possible, it’s true and it’s tragic. In my book, there is a happy ending, but I don’t know if my life will have the same outcome.

My name is Willow Masters and this is the story of how falling in love with my teacher nearly destroyed both of our lives.

And how it still might.

Decision: Toss, this book is no longer available.

Being alive and living are not always the same.

Trudy Love is used to being on her own and has rarely been shown affection. Between growing up in foster care and her abusive boyfriend she has no idea what life can be. At 19 she goes through something no one should ever experience and is left alone once again. Six months later she moves to Mobile, Alabama where she meets someone whose eyes bring back memories of the one person she misses every day. Too late she finds herself caught in a storm of emotions that are unwanted, but she's determined to fight them off.

Jaxon Coleman has a good life, and for him to attend one of the finest Med schools in the country and follow in his dad's footsteps is a dream come true. However, dreams can change in life and when he meets Trudy he knows his will never be the same. Jax knows she has secrets she is unwilling to share, but he's never given up on something he wants and he wants Tru.

Can Trudy stop resisting her feelings and welcome the chance to live a different life than she pictured or will her defiance and haunted past eventually take her out of Jax's reach?

After tragedy, living is not easy, but with the right person, it can be learned.

Decision: Keep, emotionally scarred main characters? Yes, please!

Overall: Out of 15 books I kept 3 and tossed 12 books leaving me with 1,611 books on my TBR pile.

How'd I do this week?
Did I toss too many or too few?

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