Tackling the TBR 22.2

My TBR (to be read) list has gotten nearly out of hand. Therefore, I have decided to do a post featuring some books from it approximately every other week. As I go through the list, I will evaluate each book and decide whether or not it still belongs. Who knows, perhaps as my list (hopefully) shrinks, you will find a few books to add to your own!reviews-from-the-stacks-headers

The last time I did this type of post was January 17, 2022. At the end of that post, my TBR list contained 896 books. Today it has 910. I have gone through 380 books. I really don’t want this list to reach 1,000 books, so I am going to start going through more than 10 books per post and will do a Tackling the TBR post once a week until it is below 750.

#381.  On a Summer Tide by Suzanne Woods Fisher (Three Sister’s Island #1)

On a Summer Tide (Three Sisters Island #1)Synopsis: Camden Grayson loves her challenging career, but the rest of her life could use some improvement. “Moving on” is Cam’s mantra. But there’s a difference, her two sisters insist, between one who moves on . . . and one who keeps moving.

Cam’s full-throttle life skids to a stop when her father buys a remote island off the coast of Maine. Paul Grayson has a dream to breathe new life into the island–a dream that includes reuniting his estranged daughters. Certain Dad has lost his mind, the three sisters rush to the island. To Cam’s surprise, the slow pace of island life appeals to her, along with the locals–and one in particular. Sam Walker, the scruffy island schoolteacher harbors more than a few surprises.

Comments: This looks like such a fun summery read. Definitely keeping it on the list.

Decision: Keep

#382. The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay (Winsome #1)

The Printed Letter BookshopSynopsis: One of Madeline Cullen’s happiest childhood memories is of working with her Aunt Maddie in the quaint and cozy Printed Letter Bookshop. But by the time Madeline inherits the shop nearly twenty years later, family troubles and her own bitter losses have hardened Madeline’s heart toward her once-treasured aunt—and the now struggling bookshop left in her care.

While Madeline intends to sell the shop as quickly as possible, the Printed Letter’s two employees have other ideas. Reeling from a recent divorce, Janet finds sanctuary within the books and within the decadent window displays she creates. Claire, though quieter than the acerbic Janet, feels equally drawn to the daily rhythms of the shop and its loyal clientele, finding a renewed purpose within its walls. When Madeline’s professional life takes an unexpected turn, and when a handsome gardener upends all her preconceived notions, she questions her plans and her heart. She begins to envision a new path for herself and for her aunt’s beloved shop—provided the women’s best combined efforts are not too little, too late.

Comments: Meh, this sounds pretty “take it or leave it” to me, and since my TBR list is so long…

Decision: Remove

#383. The Story of Charlotte’s Web: E.B. White’s Eccentric Life in Nature and the Birth of an American Classic by Michael Sims

The Story of Charlotte's Web: E.B. White's Eccentric Life in Nature and the Birth of an American ClassicSynopsis: As he was composing what was to become his most enduring and popular book, E. B. White was obeying that oft-repeated maxim: “Write what you know.” Helpless pigs, silly geese, clever spiders, greedy rats – White knew all of these characters in the barns and stables where he spent his favorite hours. Painfully shy his entire life, “this boy,” White once wrote of himself, “felt for animals a kinship he never felt for people.” It’s all the more impressive, therefore, how many people have felt a kinship with E. B. White. With Charlotte’s Web, which has gone on to sell more than 45 million copies, the man William Shawn called “the most companionable of writers” lodged his own character, the avuncular author, into the hearts of generations of readers.

In The Story of Charlotte’s Web, Michael Sims shows how White solved what critic Clifton Fadiman once called “the standing problem of the juvenile-fantasy writer: how to find, not another Alice, but another rabbit hole” by mining the raw ore of his childhood friendship with animals in Mount Vernon, New York. translating his own passions and contradictions, delights and fears, into an all-time classic. Blending White’s correspondence with the likes of Ursula Nordstrom, James Thurber, and Harold Ross, the E. B. White papers at Cornell, and the archives of Harper Collins and the New Yorker into his own elegant narrative, Sims brings to life the shy boy whose animal stories–real and imaginary–made him famous around the world.

Comments: If I happened across a copy of this book while in the right mood and not overrun with other things to read, I probably would enjoy it. It’s never going to be a priority though.

Decision: Remove

#384.  Glaciers by Alexis M. Smith

GlaciersSynopsis: Isabel is a single, twentysomething thrift-store shopper and collector of remnants, things cast off or left behind by others. Glaciers follows Isabel through a day in her life in which work with damaged books in the basement of a library, unrequited love for the former soldier who fixes her computer, and dreams of the perfect vintage dress move over a backdrop of deteriorating urban architecture and the imminent loss of the glaciers she knew as a young girl in Alaska.

Glaciers unfolds internally, the action shaped by Isabel’s sense of history, memory, and place, recalling the work of writers such as Jean Rhys, Marguerite Duras, and Virginia Woolf. For Isabel, the fleeting moments of one day can reveal an entire life. While she contemplates loss and the intricate fissures it creates in our lives, she accumulates the stories—the remnants—of those around her and she begins to tell her own story.

Comments: I’m drawn to the backdrop of Alaska, thrift stores, and vintage dresses, but overall this book just doesn’t sound exciting or fun.

Decision: Remove

#385.  Where Can I Flee by A.M. Heath (Ancient Words #1)

Where Can I Flee (Ancient Words #1)Synopsis: War is on the horizon during the spring of 1861. It will be an event that will change the lives of everyone in its path. The Harper family included.

Frank Harper is a young man full of dreams and ambitions. Even when the country is split and war breaks out, Frank will do whatever is necessary to see his dreams come true, even when that means putting on a uniform and leaving home.

For the first time, Claire Harper is forced to consider the reasons behind such a conflict. Should slavery be abolished? Which side should she be on, and what does God have to say about this? Claire is torn between her own opinions and those of her family. The struggle within her only increases when she repeatedly runs into a kind and handsome Union soldier. She longs to see her brother turn to Christ before it is too late. Desperate to reach her brother with the gospel, Claire pens a series of inspiring letters. Will she be able to handle all the obstacles of war and continue to be a witness to those around her?

How long can Claire last when her heart is torn in half and she is burdened for her brother’s soul? How long can Frank resist his sister’s urgent pleas or the gentle tugging from within? Can a man outrun a holy God?

Comments: I think I started reading this book a few years ago, and I thought that I finished it but now I can’t remember the ended. Maybe I had to stop partway through? Since I don’t have strong feelings or memories about it, I think it’s safe to let this one go.

Decision: Remove

#386. Wally Funk’s Race for Space: the Extraordinary Story of a Female Aviation Pioneer by Sue Nelson

Wally Funk’s Race for Space: The Extraordinary Story of a Female Aviation PioneerSynopsis: In 1961, Wally Funk was among the Mercury 13, the first group of American pilots to pass the Woman in Space programme. Wally sailed through a series of rigorous physical and mental tests, with one of her scores beating all the male Mercury 7 astronauts’, including John Glenn’s, the first American in orbit.

But just one week before the final phase of training, the programme was abruptly cancelled. A combination of politics and prejudice meant that none of the women ever flew into space. Undeterred, Wally went on to become America’s first female aviation safety inspector, though her dream of being an astronaut never dimmed.

In this offbeat odyssey, journalist and fellow space buff Sue Nelson joins Wally, now approaching her eightieth birthday, as she races to make her own giant leap, before it’s too late. Covering their travels across the United States and Europe – taking in NASA’s mission control in Houston, the European Space Agency’s HQ in Paris and Spaceport America in New Mexico, where Wally’s ride into space awaits – this is a uniquely intimate and entertaining portrait of a true aviation trailblazer.

Comments: I think I put this on my list because it sounds like something my sister would enjoy. It sounds interesting, sure, but not the kind of thing that would hold my attention for long enough to read it. I would watch this as a movie/documentary.

Decision: Remove

#387. Just for Clicks by Kara McDowell

Just for ClicksSynopsis: Mommy blogs are great…unless the blog happens to belong to your mom.

Twin sisters Claire & Poppy are accidental social media stars thanks to Mom going viral when they were babies. Now, as teens, they’re expected to contribute by building their own brand. Attending a NY fashion week and receiving fan mail is a blast. Fending off internet trolls and would-be kidnappers? Not so much. Poppy embraces it. Claire hates it. Will anybody accept her as “just Claire”? And what should Claire do about Mom’s old journals? The handwritten entries definitely don’t sound like Mom’s perfect blog persona. Worse, one of them divulges a secret that leaves Claire wondering what else in her life might be nothing but a sham…

Comments: I remember hearing about this book a lot when it first came out a little over two years ago, and then it disappeared. I think the story has potential, but I’m not hooked.

Decision: Remove

#388. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

I Capture the CastleSynopsis: I Capture the Castle tells the story of seventeen-year-old Cassandra Mortmain and her family, who live in not-so-genteel poverty in a ramshackle old English castle. Here she strives, over six turbulent months, to hone her writing skills. She fills three notebooks with sharply funny yet poignant entries. Her journals candidly chronicle the great changes that take place within the castle’s walls and her own first descent into love. By the time she pens her final entry, she has “captured the castle”– and the heart of the reader– in one of literature’s most enchanting entertainments.

Comments: A few of the reviewers I follow have rated this book as good or fair, but none of them seem to have anything really amazing to share (at least not on Goodreads). I just don’t think this would be for me.

Decision: Remove

#389. Out of the Ruins (Golden Gate Chronicles #1) by Karen Barnett

Out of the Ruins (Golden Gate Chronicles #1)Synopsis: While her sister lies on her deathbed, Abby Fischer prays for a miracle. What Abby doesn’t expect, however, is for God’s answer to come in the form of the handsome Dr. Robert King, whose experimental treatment is risky at best.

As they work together toward a cure, Abby’s feelings for Robert become hopelessly entangled. Separated by the tragedy of the mighty San Francisco earthquake, their relationship suddenly takes a back seat to survival. With fires raging throughout the city, Abby fears for her life as she flees alone through burning streets. Where is God now? Will Robert find Abby, even as the world burns around them? Or has their love fallen with the ruins of the city? 

Comments: This sounds like an emotional roller coaster, but it also sounds compelling.

Decision: Keep

#390. Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes

Whose Waves These Are (Whose Waves These Are, #1)Synopsis: In the wake of WWII, a grieving fisherman submits a poem to a local newspaper asking readers to send rocks in honor of loved ones to create something life-giving but the building halts when tragedy strikes. Decades later, Annie returns to the coastal Maine town where stone ruins spark her curiosity and her search for answers faces a battle against time.

Comments: This is a book that I know I really want to read some day! Hard to believe it has already been out for about 2.5 years and I haven’t read it yet.

Decision: Keep

#391. The Competition by Cecily Wolfe

The CompetitionSynopsis: For Mary Sofia, The Penultimate writing competition is more than a chance at a free college education; she wants to show her younger siblings that they can all rise above their violent family history. For Raiden, the pressure to succeed comes from within, although he knows that family traditions play a part in his determination. For Camara, writing fiction is almost compulsive, but her own dark secret may be the best story she can ever tell. For Michael, swimming and writing fit his introverted personality perfectly, but meeting a smart and beautiful girl at The Penultimate makes stepping outside of his comfort zone easy. All four will compete against each other along with 96 other high school juniors for the chance of a lifetime: a full scholarship to a prestigious private college.

Comments: Cecily Wolfe has written some of my favorite books, so I tend to automatically add her works to my TBR list when I come across them. This one may have been enjoyable when I was in high school, but I’m not drawn into this kind of drama now.

Decision: Remove

#392. The Library War by Cecily Wolfe

The Library WarSynopsis: Connor and Maya have volunteered at the neighborhood library together since middle school, but when a grant makes a paid summer position available, their relationship crumbles as they compete to prove which of them is more worthy of the job.

The third YA novel from award-winning, best-selling author Cecily Wolfe looks at friendship under pressure, with humor, drama, and the possibility of romance.

Comments: I’m so torn about this one! One of my favorite authors and a setting that I (unsurprisingly) adore, but the story itself just sounds…petty.

Decision: Remove

#393. Create: An Allegory for the Misfit Artists by Perry Elisabeth Kirkpatrick

Create: An allegory for the misfit artistsSynopsis: An allegory for artists…

A creative misfit is trapped in a bubble, separated by an invisible barrier from the rest of humanity. She believes nothing will ever break the barrier.

One day a musician begins to play a new song inspired by something she wrote…

A short story.

Comments: I’ll admit that this synopsis doesn’t really give us much to go off of, but I’m intrigued! And as a short story, it wouldn’t be much of a commitment either way. I think it’s going to stick around (and maybe help me meet my winter reading challenge goal in time).

Decision: Keep

#394. The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

The Lady and the LionheartSynopsis: Two worlds collide when the circus comes to Victorian-era Virginia.

Raised amid the fame and mystique of the Big Top, Charlie Lionheart holds the audience in the palm of his hand. But while his act captivates thousands, it’s away from the spotlight where his true heart lies. Here he humbly cares for his pride of lions as if they were his brothers, a skill of bravery and strength that has prepared him for his most challenging feat yet—freeing an orphaned infant from the dark bondage of a sideshow. A trade so costly, it requires his life in exchange for hers, leaving him tarnished by the price of that choice.

As the circus tents are raised on the outskirts of Roanoke, nurse Ella Beckley arrives to tend to this Gypsy girl. All under the watchful eye of a guardian who not only bears a striking resemblance to the child, but who protects the baby with a love that wraps around Ella’s own tragic past, awakening a hope that goodness may yet reign. When their forbidden friendship deepens, Charlie dares to ask for her heart, bringing her behind the curtain of his secret world to reveal the sacrifice that gave hope to one little girl—boldly showing Ella that while her tattered faith is deeply scarred, the only marks that need be permanent are his own.

Comments: Over and over I have heard about how good this book is, but I just don’t think I would enjoy the setting, and I think that would overshadow the story itself too much.

Decision: Remove

#395. The Number of Love (Codebreakers #1) by Roseanna M. White

The Number of Love (The Codebreakers, #1)Synopsis: Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network—field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack German telegrams for hints of the enemy’s plans. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, she discovers for the first time in her life that numbers aren’t enough.

Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy who just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the quick and brainy Margot, but soon the dangers of the war draw ever closer. Margot and Drake will have to team up to save themselves from the very secrets that brought them together.

Comments: Someday I will read this series, I just don’t know when.

Decision: Keep

#396. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night CircusSynopsis: The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Comments: How strange for there to be two books about circuses so close together on my list, when it is something that I so rarely read about. Again, I’ve heard a lot of wonderful things about this book, but it just doesn’t sing to me. I don’t like books about magic or fantasy in general (most of the time), and I don’t have much affinity for the circus setting. Despite the hype, I’ll let this one go.

Decision: Remove

#397. Ivy Introspective (The Chronicles of Alice & Ivy #2) by Kellyn Roth

Ivy Introspective  (The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy #2)Synopsis: Trapped in a world where she doesn’t belong, twelve-year-old Ivy struggles to keep her head above water as her simplicity is brought to light by her new position as a young lady growing up at Pearlbelle Park.

After much thought, Ivy’s parents decide to send her to McCale House, a boarding school in Scotland for girls and boys like her. However, scared and worried away from her beloved mother, sister, and nurse, Ivy can’t seem to focus.

Will Ivy ever learn what Dr. McCale is trying to teach her? Or will she remain lost in her own mind forever?

Comments: Why have I not read this series yet?! I hope to at least read the first book in the series before the end of this year.

Decision: Keep

#398. The Red Door Inn (Prince Edward Island Dreams #1) by Liz Johnson

The Red Door Inn (Prince Edward Island Dreams, #1)Synopsis: Marie Carrington is running from a host of bad memories. Broke and desperate, she’s hoping to find safety and sanctuary on Prince Edward Island, where she reluctantly agrees to help decorate a renovated bed-and-breakfast before it opens for prime tourist season.

Seth Sloane didn’t move three thousand miles to work on his uncle’s B&B so he could babysit a woman with a taste for expensive antiques and a bewildering habit of jumping every time he brushes past her. He came to help restore the old Victorian–and to forget about the fiancée who broke his heart.
The only thing Marie and Seth agree on is that getting the Red Door Inn ready to open in just three months will take everything they’ve got. Can these two wounded souls find hope, healing, and perhaps a bit of romance on this beautiful island?

Step into the Red Door Inn, a lovely home away from home tucked along the north shore of fabled Prince Edward Island. It’s a place where the wounded come to heal, the broken find forgiveness, and the lonely find a family. Won’t you stay for the season?

Comments: I think I mostly added this book to my list because it’s set on Prince Edward Island. Also, there is a Christmas novella later in the series that I at one point wanted to read. I don’t think this book and I would be a great fit though.

Decision: Remove

#399. The Lightest Object in the Universe by Kimi Eisele

The Lightest Object in the UniverseSynopsis: After a global economic collapse and failure of the electrical grid, amid escalating chaos, Carson, a high school teacher of history who sees history bearing out its lessons all around him, heads west on foot toward Beatrix, a woman he met and fell hard for during a chance visit to his school. Working his way along a cross-country railroad line, he encounters lost souls, clever opportunists, and those who believe they’ll be delivered from hardship if they can find their way to the evangelical preacher Jonathan Blue, who is broadcasting on all the airwaves countrywide. Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, Beatrix and her neighbors turn to one another for food, water, and solace, and begin to construct the kind of cooperative community that suggests the end could, in fact, be a promising beginning.

But between Beatrix and Carson lie 3,000 miles. With no internet or phone or postal service, can they find their way back to each other, and what will be left of their world when they do? The answers may lie with fifteen-year-old Rosie Santos, who travels reluctantly with her grandmother to Jonathan Blue, finding her voice and making choices that could ultimately decide the fate of the cross-country lovers.

Comments: If I’m not reading too much between the lines, I see hints of McCarthy’s The Road, Milton’s Paradise Lost, and Frank’s Alas, Babylon, which are all impressive (if somewhat dark) works. I’ve gone back and forth on it but decided to keep it on the list for now.

Decision: Keep

reviews-from-the-stacks-headers

Ending number of books on TBR list: 898

Any progress is good, right? Let me know in the comments if you have read any of these books; are there any you would make a different choice about?

Until the next chapter,

Jana

4 thoughts on “Tackling the TBR 22.2

Add yours

  1. My goodness you were quite ruthless. The only one I have read was the Night Circus, not my usual type of book, and since I can’t remember it I’m not going to suggest keeping it. I’ve not read I capture the castle but would if I came across it . I’d also be tempted by the book about Charlotte’s Web , purely because my son who was the least keen on reading loved this book.

    Liked by 1 person

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