Tackling the TBR #25

The amount of books on my TBR (to be read) list has gotten nearly out of hand. To address this, I write a post featuring ten books from it approximately once a week. As I go through the list, I will evaluate each book and decide whether or not it still belongs. Perhaps as my list (hopefully) shrinks, you will find a few books to add to your own!filligree page divider

The last time I did a Tackling the TBR post was June 21st. At the end of that post my TBR list contained 850 books. Today it has 826 books (I purged several duplicates since that post). I have gone through 270 books.

Little House in the Highlands (Little House: The Martha Years, #1)#271.  Little House in the Highlands (Little House: the Martha Years) by Melissa Wiley

Synopsis: Meet Martha, the little girl who would grow up to be Laura Ingalls Wilder’s great-grandmother. It’s 1788, and six year old Martha lives in a little stone house in Glencraid, Scotland. Martha’s father is Laird Glencaraid, and the life of the Laird’s daughter is not always easy for a lively girl like Martha. She would rather be running barefoot through the fields of heather and listening to magical tales of fairies and other Wee Folk than learning to sew like a proper young lady. But between her dreaded sewing lessons, Martha still finds time to play on the rolling Scottish hills.

Comments: I’m sure I would have loved this series when I was younger, and I would probably still get some enjoyment from reading it, but it isn’t a priority. I do not feel like I will be missing much by passing this one by.

Decision: Remove

The 12 Cats of Christmas (The Kitten Files)#272.  The 12 Cats of Christmas by Perry Elisabeth Kirkpatrick

Synopsis: “What you need is a cat.”

When her beloved dog passes away just before Christmas, Gloria isn’t sure about her best friend’s advice. Holiday hilarity ensues when a new cat shows up on her doorstep each day. Who’s leaving the cats? And why? Will Gloria’s Christmas go up a poof of pet fur, or will it prove to be the most purrfect holiday ever?

Comments: This short story sounds like a sure hit! I’m going to keep it in mind for next Christmas.

Decision: Keep

The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective#273.  The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective by Robert Rohr

Synopsis: Richard Rohr and Andrea Ebert’s runaway best-seller shows both the basic logic of the Enneagram and its harmony with the core truths of Christian thought from the time of the early Church forward.

Comments: While this still sounds interesting, it isn’t something that I really want to sit down and read a nearly-300 page book about. I’m perfectly capable of coming up with my own perspective on the enneagram, although admittedly it may deserve more thought that I am willing to give these days.

Decision: Remove

Painting Blue Water#274.  Painting Blue Water by Leigh Fossan

Synopsis: Katherine Ross, a struggling artist-turned-successful-businesswoman, has a life many would envy. At only thirty-one years old, Katherine runs one of the top luxury real-estate firms in Manhattan, and she lives in a fabulous loft with her dreamy husband. That is, of course, until her marriage comes to a screeching halt, forcing Katherine to face the truths she’s been burying deep within her heart. She hasn’t been happy for a long time. And her life, while glamorous, is not the life she ever wanted.

Fighting through the fog of her confusion and pain, Katherine makes the daring, or possibly insane, choice to start over somewhere new. She leaves her business, her friends, and the city behind, while she ventures alone to the mountains in hopes of rediscovering her artistic roots in a place surrounded by beauty, peace, and quiet.

But life in Bluewater isn’t as simple as it may seem, and when her art career suddenly begins to take off in this unlikely setting, Katherine finds herself torn between two worlds. Does she pursue her lifelong dream and become the world-famous artist she always wanted to be? Or does she open her heart to the possibility of new dreams and a life she never imagined?

Comments: There are way too many commas in that synopsis and it doesn’t sound interesting to me at all. I’m not sure how this one got on my list in the first place.

Decision: Remove

Book Cover#275.  The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman by Louise Plummer

Synopsis: Hi, I’m Kate Bjorkman. If you’re reading this, I must have gotten published. If you’re turned off by romance novels, don’t be. I don’t like them myself. They’re full of three-paragraph kisses describing people’s tongues and spittle. But what do you do if you’ve lived a real romance with a great guy (Richard) and he loves you as much as you love him? Simple. I wrote a romance novel. I used The Romance Writer’s Phrase Book since I’m not a natural in the romance department. My English teacher said there must be conflict in a story. No problem. My life was one big conflict last Christmas. Nothing is made up. I want truth even in romance. I’m betting you’ll want the  same.

Comments: I don’t even know where to start with this book. Maybe I should just say it doesn’t sound like my cup of tea and move on.

Decision: Remove

Fawkes#276.  Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

Synopsis: Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.

Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared, but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death. But what if death finds him first?

Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot—claiming it will put an end to the plague—Thomas is in. The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.

No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back.

Comments: If you were blogging in 2018 when Fawkes was released, do you remember how big of a deal it was? This book was everywhere, to the point that at first I didn’t want to read it because it was just too popular. Now that some time has passed, I can see the appeal. Even though I’m skeptical of fantasy and science fiction books, I’m intrigued by the historical setting. Actually, I was thinking about this book just a few days ago, and considering putting it on my fall TBR list. I probably won’t get to it that soon, but someday I would like to read it.

Decision: Keep

My Heart Belongs in Fort Bliss, Texas: Priscilla’s Reveille#277.  My Heart Belongs in Fort Bliss Texas: Priscilla’s Reveille by Erica Vetsch

Synopsis: Fashion artist Priscilla Hutchens has a grudge against the army that has ruined her family and taken the people she holds most dear. When her twin niece and nephew are left orphaned at Fort Bliss, Texas, she swoops down on Fort Bliss to gain custody of them immediately.

There is just one thing standing in the way—Post surgeon Major Elliot Ryder, who is also the twins uncle, also claims the children and thinks he knows what is best for them.

Priscilla and Elliot will cross swords, but each will have to lay down arms if they are to find a lasting peace on which to form the family both are longing for. Who will win the battle? Or will a truce be called for the sake of love and family?

Comments: I think I added this book to my TBR list as a representation of the entire My Heart Belongs series after seeing several floating around the library. This specific book, however, sounds truly eye-roll worthy. Perhaps there is another in the series which I would enjoy more, or maybe the time when I would have enjoyed this series is past.

Decision: Remove

Everything, Everything#278.  Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Synopsis: My disease is as rare as it is famous. It’s a form of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, but basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in fifteen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives. New next door neighbors. I look out the window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black t-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. I want to learn everything about him, and I do. I learn that he is funny and fierce. I learn that his eyes are Atlantic Ocean-blue and that his vice is stealing silverware. I learn that when I talk to him, my whole world opens up, and I feel myself starting to change—starting to want things. To want out of my bubble. To want everything, everything the world has to offer.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Comments: This is another over-hyped book that I have been reluctant to read even though I’m somewhat interested in it. Honestly, it also sounds very eye-roll worthy, but in a different way. The protagonist’s perspective sounds interesting, even if it is obvious that they are both very naïve and at the same time highly knowledgeable. I may never get to this book, but I’m willing to keep its name on my TBR list.

Decision: Keep

Magonia (Magonia, #1)#279.  Magonia (Magonia #1) by Maria Dahvana Headley

Synopsis: Since she was a baby, Aza Ray Boyle has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live. So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—but as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war between Magonia and Earth is coming. In Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?

Comments: My loyalties do not lie with this genre.

Decision: Remove

This Quiet Sky#280.  This Quiet Sky by Joanne Bischof

Synopsis: There is nothing extraordinary about Tucker O’Shay’s dreams. Go to college. Become president. Fall in love. And pretend like he has enough time to get it all done.

Sixteen-year-old Sarah Miller doesn’t expect anything out of the ordinary when she begins her first day at the one-room school house in her new hometown of Rocky Knob. But when she meets seventeen-year-old Tucker O’Shay—the boy with the fatal illness who volunteers to tutor her in algebra—she finds herself swept up in a friendship that changes the way she sees the world and a love that changes her life.

Comments: First of all, how does one have a “new hometown”? Second, why are there so many severely ill protagonists in this section of my TBR list?? This one sounds too sad for me.

Decision: Remove

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Ending number of books on TBR list: 820

I finally feel like I’m moving in the right direction with shrinking my TBR list! With school and work keeping me busy I am not making quick progress on reading a lot of books, so I’m trying to keep a fairly tight rein on what I add to the list these days.

Do you agree with my choices this week? Do any of the books jump out to you as something you might like to read? Do you remember how the book world went crazy when Fawkes was released in 2018? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

Until the next chapter,

Jana

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