Tackling the TBR 22.6

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 18. At the end of that post, my TBR list contained 873 books. Today it has 879. I have gone through 445 books.

The Last Book Party#446. The Last Book Party by Karen Dukess

Synopsis: In the summer of 1987, 25-year-old Eve Rosen is an aspiring writer languishing in a low-level assistant job, unable to shake the shadow of growing up with her brilliant brother. With her professional ambitions floundering, Eve jumps at the chance to attend an early summer gathering at the Cape Cod home of famed New Yorker writer Henry Grey and his poet wife, Tillie. Dazzled by the guests and her burgeoning crush on the hosts’ artistic son, Eve lands a new job as Henry Grey’s research assistant and an invitation to Henry and Tillie’s exclusive and famed “Book Party”— where attendees dress as literary characters. But by the night of the party, Eve discovers uncomfortable truths about her summer entanglements and understands that the literary world she so desperately wanted to be a part of is not at all what it seems.

Comments: Oh this book sounds interesting! I’m a little hesitant of anything that revolves heavily around partying, but the literary side has me intrigued. I’ll have to look at more reviews before I decide to read it for sure, but I’ll let it hang out on the list a while longer.

Decision: Keep

Tiger Lily#447. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Synopsis: Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn’t believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she’s ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland’s inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she’s always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it’s the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who’s everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

Comments: This might’ve been interesting to me at one point, but that time has passed.

Decision: Remove

Saving Red#448. Saving Red by Sonya Sones

Synopsis: Right before winter break, fourteen-year-old Molly Rosenberg reluctantly volunteers to participate in Santa Monica’s annual homeless count, just to get her school’s community service requirement out of the way. But when she ends up meeting Red, a spirited homeless girl only a few years older than she is, Molly makes it her mission to reunite her with her family in time for Christmas. This turns out to be extremely difficult—because Red refuses to talk about her past.

When Molly realizes that the friends who Red keeps mentioning are nothing more than voices inside Red’s head, she becomes even more concerned about her well-being. How will Molly keep her safe until she can figure out a way to get Red home? In Sonya Sones’ latest novel, two girls, with much more in common than they realize, give each other a new perspective on the meaning of family, friendship, and forgiveness.

Comments: This sounds well-intended, but I have a bad feeling about the portrayal of homelessness and mental health. I think it would be best to skip this one.

Decision: Remove

All the Forgivenesses#449. All the Forgivenesses by Elizabeth Hardinger

Synopsis: Growing up on their hardscrabble farm in rural Kentucky, fifteen-year-old Albertina “Bertie” Winslow has learned a lot from her mama, Polly. She knows how to lance a boil, make a pie crust, butcher a pig, and tend to every chore that needs doing. What she doesn’t know, but is forced to reckon with all too soon, is how to look after children as a mother should…

When Polly succumbs to a long illness, Bertie takes on responsibility for her four younger siblings and their dissolute, unreliable daddy. Yet no matter how hard she tries to hold the family together, the task is overwhelming. Nine-year-old Dacia, especially, is resentful and stubborn, hinting at secrets in their mama’s life. Finally, Bertie makes the only choice she can–breaking up the family for its own survival, keeping the girls with her, sending the boys off to their grown brothers, long gone from home.

Ever pragmatic, Bertie marries young, grateful to find a husband willing to take on the care of her sisters, and eventually moves to the oil fields of Kansas. But marriage alone cannot resolve the grief and guilt she carries over a long-ago tragedy, or prepare her for the heartaches still to come. Only by confronting wrenching truths can she open herself to joy–and learn how to not only give, but receive, unfettered love.

Comments: Everything about this sounds sad. I’ll pass.

Decision: Remove

Wildflower Heart (The Wildflower House #1)#450. Wildflower Heart (The Wildflower House #1) by Grace Greene

Synopsis: Kara Hart was scarred by loss—first the loss of her mother and now her husband. She feels broken, with no will to move forward, until her father does the unexpected: he moves to the Virginia countryside to restore an old Victorian mansion. Kara decides to go with him, telling herself that it will only be temporary.

The huge house is neglected and derelict, but Kara discovers its breathtaking field of wildflowers and is stunned by their beauty. The house, the grounds, and the quirky neighbors—including a handsome one—are almost as fascinating as her father’s sudden willingness to discuss her mother and his own secret past.

Kara is finding her new normal when tragedy strikes again, forcing her to make difficult choices. Will she go back to her old life and risk losing all she has gained? Or will she face her fears and give herself the opportunity to grow?

Comments: This setting sounds lovely; I love the thought of restoring a Victorian mansion.

Decision: Keep

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill#451. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

Synopsis: The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all–or mostly all–excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options.
1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)

It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.

Comments: I know this book is wildly popular in the library world, and Nina sounds like a fun character, but it just doesn’t sound like something I would enjoy.

Decision: Remove

Eagle & Crane#452. Eagle & Crane by Suzanne Rindell

Synopsis: Louis Thorn and Harry Yamada are boyhood friends divided by family differences. But their childhood camaraderie reignites when they are convinced to perform death-defying tricks as Eagle & Crane in Earl Shaw’s Flying Circus –until their mutual attraction to Shaw’s stepdaughter, smart and beautiful Ava Brooks, complicates things anew.

Then Pearl Harbor is bombed in December 1941 and Harry is imprisoned in a Japanese American internment camp. When a Shaw stunt plane crashes soon after Harry and his father leave the camp without permission, the two bodies discovered are assumed to be theirs. But the details don’t add up, and no one involved seems willing to tell the truth.

An absorbing mystery and story of love, Eagle & Crane explores race, family, and loyalty in a fraught era of American history.

Comments: I’m just not hooked by this premise.

Decision: Remove

Westering Women#453. Westering Women by Sandra Dallas

Synopsis: It’s February 1852, and all around Chicago Maggie sees the postings soliciting “eligible women” to travel to the gold mines of Goosetown. A young seamstress with a small daughter and several painful secrets, she has nothing to lose.

So she joins forty-three other women and two pious reverends on the dangerous 2,000-mile journey west. None of them are prepared for the hardships they face on the trek through the high plains, mountains, and deserts. Or for the triumphs of finding strengths they did not know they possessed. And not all will make it.

As Maggie gets to know the other women, she soon discovers that she’s not the only one looking to leave dark secrets behind. And when her past catches up with her, it becomes clear a band of sisters will do whatever it takes to protect one of their own.

Comments: I might watch this story as a movie, but I’m not going to invest the time that a book requires.

Decision: Remove

Flowers in Her Heart (Kees & Colliers #3)#454. Flowers in Her Heart (Kees & Colliers #3) by Kellyn Roth

Synopsis: When her husband goes off to war, Adele feels lost and confused. In a new, less-than-ideal place in a frightening, less-than-ideal time, she flees to the garden with her daughters, determined to make their new house a home, even if it is from the outside in.

Battered by her own inner turmoil and scoffed at by those close to her, Adele seeks to make something beautiful amidst chaos. But can even the most beautiful flowers cover the years of scars?

Comments: I actually do really want to read this, but I haven’t read the second book in the series yet and I try not to add books to my list that are later in the series than I am up to.

Decision: Remove (but not because I won’t eventually read it)

Lost Without You#455. Lost Without You by Annette Lyon

Synopsis: For months, Christopher Morris has been Brooke’s idea of the perfect man – attractive, charming, and fun to be around. But lately he’s begun acting strangely, becoming possessive, controlling, and moody. Brooke feels she has no choice but to break up with him, but Christopher doesn’t take it well. He drives her wildly back home and gets into a car accident. That’s when Brooke first meets police officer Greg Stevens. After she keeps meeting him–at the worst possible times–the begin dating. Greg confesses he’s a widower and that Brooke is the first woman he has so much as looked at in years. But as Brooke agonizes over whether Greg will ever be able to truly love her, Christopher makes a dangerous return into her life, deciding that if he can’t have her, no one can.

Comments: I respect this author, but I can’t imagine what I was thinking when I added this book to my list.

Decision: Remove

The Lord's Service: The Grace of Covenant Renewal Worship#456. The Lord’s Service: The Grace of Covenant Renewal Worship by Jeffrey J. Myers

Synopsis: Begun as a practical pastoral guide to worship, this book balances theory and praxis to create a compelling case for a biblical, aesthetic, and covenantal worship service as the place where the Triune God and His people renew the bonds of love and loyalty.

Jeffrey Meyers begins laying out a case for a covenant renewal service by means of Old Testament sacrificial liturgics, biblical typology, and covenant theology. He then guides us through the stages of a covenant renewal liturgy, explaining from Scripture the meanings of each step of the service. The final section addresses miscellaneous issues in worship, such as the use of creeds, the “regulative principle,” and ministerial clothing.

Jeffrey Meyers provides not only a compelling biblical, theological, and historical case for covenant renewal worship, but also shows that it is beautiful, profound, edifying, and liberating. 

Comments: This book has come up a couple different times while I’ve looked into various churches, but it’s not easily available anywhere that I can find. Because of how often it is referenced, I would eventually like to read it, but I’m not sure where I’ll ever get a copy.

Decision: Keep

What They Don't Teach You in Library School#457. What They Don’t Teach You in Library School by Elisabeth Doucett

Synopsis: MLS programs do a good job of teaching the basic skills of being a librarian–how to catalog books, how to clarify a reference request, how to run a story hour. But as any working librarian will tell you, that’s not the half of it. A long-time library administrator, Doucett gives new librarians a full dose of practical advice and wisdom that remains between the lines of most library curricula, while also teaching seasoned professionals a thing or two.

For MLS graduates just entering the job market, as well as individuals interested in switching gears through promotion or advancement, Doucett offers the inside scoop on what a librarian really wants to know.

Comments: This sounds like a really good resource, but it’s over ten years old and I have a feeling there are newer books that would be more helpful and relevant.

Decision: Remove

The Forbidden Library (The Forbidden Library, #1)#458. The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler

Synopsis: When Alice’s father goes down in a shipwreck, she is sent to live with her uncle Geryon–an uncle she’s never heard of and knows nothing about. He lives in an enormous manor with a massive library that is off-limits to Alice. But then she meets a talking cat. And even for a rule-follower, when a talking cat sneaks you into a forbidden library and introduces you to an arrogant boy who dares you to open a book, it’s hard to resist. Especially if you’re a reader to begin with. Soon Alice finds herself INSIDE the book, and the only way out is to defeat the creature imprisoned within.

It seems her uncle is more than he says he is. But then so is Alice. 

Comments: Again, I don’t know why I added this book. I don’t enjoy fantasy.

Decision: Remove

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck#459. The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner

Synopsis: Becoming a Christian is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Sarah Hollenbeck. Best because, well, that’s obvious. Worst because, up to this point, she’s made her very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing. Now Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she’s chosen. She’s still under contract with her publisher and on the hook with her enormous fan base for the kind of book she’s not sure she can write anymore. She’s beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a “scandalous” book. And the fact that she’s falling in love with her pastor doesn’t make things any easier.

With a powerful voice, penetrating insight, and plenty of wit, Bethany Turner explodes onto the scene with a debut that isn’t afraid to deal with the thorny realities of living the Christian life.

Comments: Okay, while it probably won’t be a favorite, this book has got my attention. High hopes when I get to it.

Decision: Keep

The Fire Blossom (The Fire Blossom Saga #1)#460. The Fire Blossom (Feuerblütensaga #1) by Sarah Lark

Synopsis: It’s 1837, and immigrating to a small New Zealand fishing village is an opportunity for Ida Lange’s family to build a better future. Yet for Ida, raised in a strict, religious, tight-knit German community, so much is still forbidden to a woman. Yearning for the poor day laborer she shared books with as a child, Ida is now trapped in a dire marriage to a man of her father’s choosing.

For Cat, who came of age in New Zealand under brutal conditions, life in the colonies hasn’t been easy. Through a strange turn of events, she is adopted by a native Maori tribe, and she begins to thrive. But when she challenges the traditions of her tribe, she’s banished, and left once again to rely on the only person she can trust with her future: herself.

When fate brings Ida and Cat together, they recognize in each other a kindred spirit. Out of common ground grows an enduring friendship that will not be broken by the hardships of the plains, threats from the past, or the trials of family and heartache. What they’ll discover is the depth of their own strength and resilience as they get nearer to the freedom they desire and demand. 

Comments: A piece of trivia: this book was originally published in German. I think I came across it on the Goodreads giveaways page a long time ago. While it has potential, I ultimately do not think it is one I would enjoy. I don’t really get excited about books that center on rebelling against tradition.

Decision: Remove

reviews-from-the-stacks-headers

Ending number of books on TBR list: 868

Decent progress this week! What do you think about these books? Have you read any of them, or do any stand out as ones that you would like to read?

Until the next chapter,

Jana

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