Tackling the TBR 22.5

My TBR (to be read) list has gotten nearly out of hand. Therefore, I have decided to do a post featuring ten 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 April 11, 2022. At the end of that post, my TBR list contained 897 books. Today it has 882 (due to a spontaneous weeding spree a few days ago). I have gone through 429 books.

The Edge of Town (Jazz Age, #1)#430. The Edge of Town (Jazz Age #1) by Dorothy Garlock

Synopsis: Julie Jones is a plainspoken girl working on her father’s hardscrabble farm. She’s not prepared for the Jazz Age roaring through America, sweeping a flapper named Birdie Stuart and war veteran Evan Johnson into her Missouri town.

As the summer heats up, life turns explosive. A wave of terrifying crimes threatens Evan’s courtship of Julie, and Birdie’s schemes begin to tear her family apart. Soon everything Julie wants and believes is at stake–including Evan’s freedom–and Julie Jones must decide how far she will go to fight for herself and those she loves.

Comments: I’m sure there is someone who would love this story, but I don’t think that I am its ideal reader. I think the era and cover drew me in initially.

Decision: Remove

Mother Road#431. Mother Road (Route 55 #1) by Dorothy Garlock

Synopsis: On a hot summer day in 1932, Andy Connors, who owns a garage that serves Route 66, finds himself in major trouble: He’s been bitten by a rabid skunk.

Comments: I have to wonder if someone recommended this author to me. I just have no other idea why I would add this book to my list with only that one sentence to go off of 😂

Decision: Remove

The House of Mirth#432. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

Synopsis: Lilly Bart is twenty-nine, beautiful and charming. She has expensive tastes, loves to gamble and socializes with the immensely wealthy upper-class families of New York. But her meagre finances are dwindling.

Given the restrictions imposed by society, her only hope of financial security is to find a suitable husband. However, Lilly has an independence of spirit which stands in the way of her committing to the suitors available to her. As her options diminish, her friends become her enemies and her situation grows increasing perilous.

Through the prism of Lilly’s life, Edith Wharton has written a witty and piercingly insightful dark satire about the over privileged and morally dubious society of early twentieth-century New York.

Comments: I read Wharton’s classic Age of Innocence in college and both appreciated and enjoyed it. Ever since then I have intended to eventually read The House of Mirth.

Decision: Keep

Inside Out & Back Again#433. Inside Out & Back Again by Thanha Lai

Synopsis: For all the ten years of her life, Hà has only known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, and the warmth of her friends close by. But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. Hà and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope. In America, Hà discovers the foreign world of Alabama: the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food . . . and the strength of her very own family.

Comments: This is an award-winning middle grade book that is frequently highly recommended, so I should probably read it at some point.

Decision: Keep

Absolutely Truly (Pumpkin Falls, #1)#434. Absolutely Truly (Pumpkin Falls #1) by Heather Vogel Frederick

Synopsis: Now that Truly Lovejoy’s father has been injured by an IED in Afghanistan and is having trouble finding work back home, the family moves from Texas to tiny Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire, to take over Lovejoy’s Books, a struggling bookstore that’s been in the family for one hundred years.

With two older brothers and two younger sisters clamoring for attention, her mother back in school, and everyone up to their eyebrows trying to keep Lovejoy’s Books afloat, Truly feels more overlooked than usual. So she pours herself into uncovering the mystery of an undelivered letter she finds stuck in a valuable autographed first edition of Charlotte’s Web, which subsequently goes missing from the bookshop. What’s inside the envelope leads Truly and her new Pumpkin Falls friends on a madcap treasure hunt around town, chasing clues that could spell danger.

Comments: I checked this middle-grade book out several months ago while I was taking a Children’s Literature course, but I never got around to reading it. Maybe I’ll come back to it next fall. With a series name like Pumpkin Falls, what better time could there be to read it?

Decision: Keep

Until the Mountains Fall (Cities of Refuge, #3)#435. Until the Mountains Fall (Cities of Refuge #3) by Connilyn Cossette

Synopsis: Recently widowed, Rivkah refuses to submit to the Torah law compelling her to marry her husband’s brother and instead flees Kedesh, hoping to use her talents as a scribe to support herself. Without the protections of her father, Kedesh’s head priest, and the safety of the city of refuge, Rivkah soon discovers that the cost of recklessness is her own freedom.

Comments: Why did I add the third book in a series I have not started to my TBR list? I don’t remember, but my guess is that someone probably posted a positive review.

Decision: Remove

A Light on the Hill (Cities of Refuge, #1)#436. A Light on the Hill (Cities of Refuge #1) by Connilyn Cossette

Synopsis: Though Israel has found relative peace, Moriyah has yet to find her own. Attempting to avoid the scorn of her community, she’s spent the last seven years hiding behind the veil she wears. Underneath her covering, her face is branded with the mark of the Canaanite gods, a shameful reminder of her past captivity in Jericho and an assurance that no man will ever want to marry her.

When her father finds a widower who needs a mother for his two sons, her hopes rise. But when their introduction goes horribly wrong, Moriyah is forced to flee for her life. Seeking safety at one of the newly established Levitical cities of refuge, she is wildly unprepared for the dangers she will face and the enemies—and unexpected allies—she will encounter on her way. 

Comments: And here is book #1 of the same series as the last book. I’m cautiously intrigued by this synopsis. I’ll let it stay on the list for now.

Decision: Keep

True: A Faithful Companion#437. True by Susie Hubler

Synopsis: Life-threatening adventures, loyal companionship, and faith put to the test… Jeff longed for a collie dog of his own for years. Finally, along came True… While enduring a wild animal attack and other escapades in the rolling hills and woods of Scotland, True and Jeff’s bond grew strong. How would he handle the unforeseen obstacles that stood between him and his dog? Would bitterness and anger ruin one of the most important relationships of his life?

Comments: I have no idea how I came across this book or where I could get it if I did decide to read it. The dog on the cover is beautiful – but I don’t think that I could take it as seriously as it should be to enjoy it.

Decision: Remove

Until the Dawn (Until the Dawn, #1)#438. Until the Dawn (Until the Dawn #1) by Elizabeth Camden

Synopsis: A volunteer for the newly established Weather Bureau, Sophie van Riijn needs access to the highest spot in her village to report the most accurate readings. Fascinated by Dierenpark, an abandoned mansion high atop a windswept cliff in the Hudson River Valley, Sophie knows no better option despite a lack of permission from the absent owners.

The first Vandermark to return to the area in sixty years, Quentin intends to put an end to the shadowy rumors about the property that has brought nothing but trouble upon his family. Ready to tear down the mansion, he is furious to discover a local woman has been trespassing on his land.

Instantly at odds, Quentin and Sophie find common ground when she is the only one who can reach his troubled son. There’s a light within Sophie that Quentin has never known, and a small spark of the hope that left him years ago begins to grow. But when the secrets of Dierenpark and the Vandermark family history are no longer content to stay in the past, will tragedy triumph or can their tenuous hope prevail?

Comments: Sophie sounds too perfect for me to enjoy this story.

Decision: Remove

The Jazz of Physics: The Secret Link Between Music and the Structure of the Universe#439. The Jazz of Physics by Stephon Alexander

Synopsis: More than fifty years ago, John Coltrane drew the twelve musical notes in a circle and connected them by straight lines, forming a five-pointed star. Inspired by Einstein, Coltrane put physics and geometry at the core of his music.

Physicist and jazz musician Stephon Alexander follows suit, using jazz to answer physics’ most vexing questions about the past and future of the universe. Following the great minds that first drew the links between music and physics-a list including Pythagoras, Kepler, Newton, Einstein, and Rakim-The Jazz of Physics reveals that the ancient poetic idea of the “Music of the Spheres,” taken seriously, clarifies confounding issues in physics.

The Jazz of Physics will fascinate and inspire anyone interested in the mysteries of our universe, music, and life itself.

Comments: What could I have been thinking when I added a nonfiction book with “physics” in its title to this list?

Decision: Remove

The Summer Before the War#440. The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson

Synopsis: East Sussex, 1914. It is the end of England’s brief Edwardian summer, and everyone agrees that the weather has never been so beautiful. Hugh Grange, down from his medical studies, is visiting his Aunt Agatha, who lives with her husband in the small, idyllic coastal town of Rye. Agatha’s husband works in the Foreign Office, and she is certain he will ensure that the recent saber rattling over the Balkans won’t come to anything. And Agatha has more immediate concerns; she has just risked her carefully built reputation by pushing for the appointment of a woman to replace the Latin master.

When Beatrice Nash arrives with one trunk and several large crates of books, it is clear she is significantly more freethinking—and attractive—than anyone believes a Latin teacher should be. For her part, mourning the death of her beloved father, who has left her penniless, Beatrice simply wants to be left alone to pursue her teaching and writing.

But just as Beatrice comes alive to the beauty of the Sussex landscape and the colorful characters who populate Rye, the perfect summer is about to end. For despite Agatha’s reassurances, the unimaginable is coming. Soon the limits of progress, and the old ways, will be tested as this small Sussex town and its inhabitants go to war.

Comments: I’m not sure where this book came to my list from. It sounds enjoyable, but not outstanding so I think I will pass.

Decision: Remove

A Mighty Fortress (Hymns of the West #1)#441. A Mighty Fortress (Hymns of the West #1) by Faith Blum

Synopsis: Joshua and Ruth Brookings are traveling by stagecoach to finally join their parents in Montana. Attacked by murderous outlaws, the teens barely escape with their lives and must survive in the barren Wyoming and Montana territories and escape the man who’s hunting them.

Seven years ago, Jed Stuart ran away from home and joined Tom’s gang. Jed is tired of the lawlessness and wants out. The only problem? He is the boss’s right-hand man and will never be able to leave. And what’s one more stagecoach robbery, anyway?

Can Joshua lean on God’s strength to keep himself and his sister alive until they find a town? Will Jed be able to face his anger or will it consume him completely? All three are running–the hunter and hunted. What will happen when they meet?

Comments: Faith Blum is an author really enjoy, but Westerns just aren’t really my thing these days.

Decision: Remove

Inherit the Wind#442. Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence

Synopsis: A meaningful play based on the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925, in which a Tennessee teacher was tried for teaching evolution. The accused was a slight, frightened man who’d deliberately broken the law. His trial was a Roman circus, the chief gladiators being the two great legal giants of the century. Locked in mortal combat, they bellowed & roared imprecations & abuse. The spectators sat uneasily in the sweltering heat with murder in their hearts, barely restraining themselves. America’s freedom was at stake.

Comments: I know there is value in reading plays, but at this point in life I would rather watch than read this.

Decision: Remove

Playing by Heart#443. Playing by Heart by Anne Mateer

Synopsis: Lula Bowman has finally achieved her dream: a teaching position and a scholarship to continue her college education in mathematics. But then a shocking phone call from her sister, Jewel, changes everything. With a heavy heart, Lula returns to her Oklahoma hometown to do right by her sister, but the only teaching job available in Dunn is combination music instructor/basketball coach. Lula doesn’t even consider those real subjects! Determined to prove herself, Lula commits to covering the job for the rest of the school year. Reluctantly, she turns to the boys’ coach, Chet, to learn the newfangled game of basketball. Chet is handsome and single, but Lula has no plans to fall for a local boy. She’s returning to college and her scholarship as soon as she gets Jewel back on her feet.

However, the more time she spends around Jewel’s family, the girls’ basketball team, music classes, and Chet, the more Lula comes to realize what she’s given up in her single-minded pursuit of degree after degree. God is working on her heart, and her future is starting to look a lot different than she’d expected.

Comments: I’m torn about this one, but a quick catalog search show it is easily available at my library, so I’ll keep it on the list for now.

Decision: Keep 

Pride#444. Pride by Ibo Zoboi

Synopsis: Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.

But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

In a timely update of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, critically acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi skillfully balances cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved class.

Comments: This book was extremely popular a few years ago. Most of the people I know personally who have read it say that it’s decent, but not outstanding. Because of the Austen connection and the fact that so far it seems to be maintaining a strong level of popularity, I’ll keep it around.

Decision: Keep

The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables#445. The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables by Catherine Reid

Synopsis: Anne of Green Gables is a worldwide phenomenon that has sold over fifty million copies and inspired numerous films, plays, musicals, and television series. It has turned Prince Edward Island into a multimillion-dollar tourist destination visited by hundreds of thousands of people each year. In The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables, Catherine Reid reveals how Lucy Maud Montgomery’s deep connection to the landscape inspired her to write Anne of Green Gables. From the Lake of Shining Waters and the Haunted Wood to Lover’s Lane, readers will be immersed in the real places immortalized in the novel. Using Montgomery’s journals, archives, and scrapbooks, Reid explores the many similarities between Montgomery and her unforgettable heroine, Anne Shirley. The lush package includes Montgomery’s hand-colorized photographs, the illustrations originally used in Anne of Green Gables, and contemporary and historical photography. 

Comments: This sounds amazing. Definitely want to read it at some point!

Decision: Keep


Ending number of books on TBR list: 873

Until the next chapter,


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