Tackling the TBR 22.8

My TBR (to be read) list has gotten nearly out of hand. Therefore, I started 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. Since my list is still not shrinking, I have upped the count to fifteen books almost every week. Perhaps you will find a few books to add to your own want-to-read list!reviews-from-the-stacks-headers

The last time I did this type of post was May 9, 2022. At the end of that post, my TBR list contained 868 books. Today it has 870. I have gone through 470 books.

The Weight of Feathers#471. The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

Synopsis: For twenty years, the Palomas and the Corbeaus have been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for over a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows—the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find.

Lace Paloma may be new to her family’s show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she’s been taught from birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it’s a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace’s life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees.

Comments: Sounds exciting, but this is so not my cup of tea.

Decision: Remove

The Spies That Bind (Gallagher Girls, #0.5)#472. The Spies That Bind (Gallagher Girls #.5) by Ally Carter

Synopsis:  The first day at a new school is tough for any kid, but it’s especially scary when you’re going to a school for spies. Cammie Morgan has spent her whole life dreaming of becoming a Gallagher Girl, but she has no idea what she’ll face when she arrives at The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women. Secret passages? Check. Lab experiments that might make you lose your eyebrows (and other body parts)? Check. Classmates who are the smartest, strongest, most intimidating girls in the world? Double check.

Cammie might be a Gallagher legacy, but she’s about to learn that the most intimidating part about the Gallagher Academy are the Gallagher Girls themselves. Soon Cammie and her clumsy-but-genius roommate Liz, and the glamorous Bex have to learn the most important lesson of the seventh grade: getting into spy school is hard. Surviving spy school is harder.

Comments: I enjoyed the Gallagher Girls series in middle school, but I didn’t love it enough to go back and fill in the gaps that I missed the first time around.

Decision: Remove

Only the Good Spy Young (Gallagher Girls, #4)#473. Only the Good Spy Young (Gallagher Girls #4) by Ally Carter

Synopsis: When Cammie Morgan enrolled at the Gallagher Academy, she knew she was preparing for the dangerous life of a spy. What she didn’t know was that the serious, real-life danger would start during her junior year of high school. But that’s exactly what happened two months ago when Cammie faced off against an ancient terrorist organization dead set on kidnapping her.

Now the danger follows her everywhere, and even Cammie “The Chameleon” can’t hide. When a terrifying encounter in London reveals that one of her most-trusted allies is actually a rogue double-agent, Cammie no longer knows if she can trust her classmates, her teachers—or even her own heart.

Comments: Ditto from my comments on the last book.

Decision: Remove

Heist Society (Heist Society, #1)#474. Heist Society by Ally Carter

Synopsis: When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.

Soon, Kat’s friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat’s father isn’t just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it’s a spectacularly impossible job? She’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family’s history–and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way

Comments: I’m not sure when I was last on an Ally Carter kick, but apparently it happened. One of my high school best friends loved this series, but I never got around to reading it. The time for it has passed now, I think.

Decision: Remove

#475. The Long Flight Home by Alan Hlad

The Long Flight HomeSynopsis: It is September 1940—a year into the war—and as German bombs fall on Britain, fears grow of an impending invasion. Enemy fighter planes blacken the sky around the Epping Forest home of Susan Shepherd and her grandfather, Bertie. After losing her parents to influenza as a child, Susan found comfort in raising homing pigeons with Bertie. All her birds are extraordinary to Susan—loyal, intelligent, beautiful—but none more so than Duchess. Hatched from an egg that Susan incubated in a bowl under her grandfather’s desk lamp, Duchess shares a special bond with Susan and an unusual curiosity about the human world.

Thousands of miles away in Buxton, Maine, a young crop-duster pilot named Ollie Evans has decided to travel to Britain to join the Royal Air Force. His quest brings him to Epping and to the National Pigeon Service, where Susan is involved in a new, covert assignment. Codenamed Source Columba, the mission aims to air-drop hundreds of homing pigeons in German-occupied France. Many will not survive. Those that do make the journey home to England can convey crucial information on German troop movements—and help reclaim the skies from the Luftwaffe.

The friendship between Ollie and Susan deepens as the mission date draws near. When Ollie’s plane is downed behind enemy lines, both know how remote the chances of reunion must be. Yet Duchess’s devotion and her singular sense of duty will become an unexpected lifeline, relaying messages between Susan and Ollie as war rages on—and proving, at last, that hope is never truly lost.

Comments: This book may end up being a little corny, but I think I would like it.

 Decision: Keep

#476. Tomorrow’s Bread by Anna Jean Mayhew

Tomorrow's BreadSynopsis: In 1961 Charlotte, North Carolina, the predominantly black neighborhood of Brooklyn is a bustling city within a city. Self-contained and vibrant, it has its own restaurants, schools, theaters, churches, and night clubs. There are shotgun shacks and poverty, along with well-maintained houses like the one Loraylee Hawkins shares with her young son, Hawk, her Uncle Ray, and her grandmother, Bibi. Loraylee’s love for Archibald Griffin, Hawk’s white father and manager of the cafeteria where she works, must be kept secret in the segregated South.

Loraylee has heard rumors that the city plans to bulldoze her neighborhood, claiming it’s dilapidated and dangerous. The government promises to provide new housing and relocate businesses. But locals like Pastor Ebenezer Polk, who’s facing the demolition of his church, know the value of Brooklyn does not lie in bricks and mortar. Generations have lived, loved, and died here, supporting and strengthening each other. Yet street by street, longtime residents are being forced out. And Loraylee, searching for a way to keep her family together, will form new alliances—and find an unexpected path that may yet lead her home.

Comments: I’m intrigued by the premise, but my library doesn’t carry this book and I don’t want to spend the time to track it down.

Decision: Remove

#477. A Change of Heart by Anika Walkes

A Change of HeartSynopsis: Nina is a college freshman just trying to get through her first year with social anxiety and no mishaps – until her roommates drag her out for a coffee break, not knowing that the simple trip will change her life forever.

A Change of Heart is a contemporary romance short story full of coffee shops, Christmas, and mistletoe.

Comments: Meh.

Decision: Remove

#478. Dreyer’s English by Benjamin Dreyer

Dreyer's English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and StyleSynopsis: As authoritative as it is amusing, this book distills everything Benjamin Dreyer has learned from the hundreds of books he has copyedited, including works by Elizabeth Strout, E. L. Doctorow, and Frank Rich, into a useful guide not just for writers but for everyone who wants to put their best foot forward in writing prose. Dreyer offers lessons on the ins and outs of punctuation and grammar, including how to navigate the words he calls “the confusables,” like tricky homophones; the myriad ways to use (and misuse) a comma; and how to recognize–though not necessarily do away with–the passive voice. (Hint: If you can plausibly add “by zombies” to the end of a sentence, it’s passive.) People are sharing their writing more than ever–on blogs, on Twitter–and this book lays out, clearly and comprehensibly, everything writers can do to keep readers focused on the real reason writers write: to communicate their ideas clearly and effectively. Chock-full of advice, insider wisdom, and fun facts on the rules (and nonrules) of the English language, this book will prove invaluable to everyone who wants to shore up their writing skills, mandatory for people who spend their time editing and shaping other people’s prose, and–perhaps best of all–an utter treat for anyone who simply revels in language.

Comments: Yes, it’s extremely nerdy, and yes, I still want to read this book!

Decision: Keep

#479. My Fate According to the Butterfly by Gail D. Villanueva

My Fate According to the ButterflySynopsis: When superstitious Sab sees a giant black butterfly, an omen of death, she knows that she’s doomed! According to legend, she has one week before her fate catches up with her — on her 11th birthday. With her time running out, all she wants is to celebrate her birthday with her entire family. But her sister, Ate Nadine, stopped speaking to their father one year ago, and Sab doesn’t even know why.If Sab’s going to get Ate Nadine and their father to reconcile, she’ll have to overcome her fears — of her sister’s anger, of leaving the bubble of her sheltered community, of her upcoming doom — and figure out the cause of their rift.So Sab and her best friend Pepper start spying on Nadine and digging into their family’s past to determine why, exactly, Nadine won’t speak to their father. But Sab’s adventures across Manila reveal truths about her family more difficult — and dangerous — than she ever anticipated. Was the Butterfly right? Perhaps Sab is doomed after all! 

Comments: I know this book has received a lot of positive reviews and hype, but I just don’t  want to read about superstitions.

Decision: Remove

#480. One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

One of Us Is Lying (One of Us is Lying, #1)Synopsis: On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

Comments: This book is not my usual reading fare, but I’m intrigued.

Decision: Keep

#481. The War That Saved My Life by Katherine Brubaker Bradley

The War That Saved My Life (The War That Saved My Life, #1)Synopsis: Ten-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada’s twisted foot to let her outside. So when her little brother Jamie is shipped out of London to escape the war, Ada doesn’t waste a minute—she sneaks out to join him.

So begins a new adventure of Ada, and for Susan Smith, the woman who is forced to take the two kids in. As Ada teaches herself to ride a pony, learns to read, and watches for German spies, she begins to trust Susan—and Susan begins to love Ada and Jamie. But in the end, will their bond be enough to hold them together through wartime? Or will Ada and her brother fall back into the cruel hands of their mother?

Comments: This middle-grade historical fiction book comes very highly recommended by my coworkers and others in the library community.

Decision: Keep

#482. In 27 Days by Alison Gervais

In 27 DaysSynopsis: Hadley Jamison is shocked when she hears that her classmate, Archer Morales, has committed suicide. She didn’t know the quiet, reserved guy very well, but that doesn’t stop her from feeling there was something she could have done to help him.

Hoping to find some sense of closure, Hadley attends Archer’s funeral. There, Hadley is approached by a man who calls himself Death and offers her a deal. If Hadley accepts, she will be sent back 27 days in time to prevent Archer from killing himself. But when Hadley agrees to Death’s terms and goes back to right the past, she quickly learns her mission is harder than she ever could have known.

Hadley soon discovers Archer’s reasons for being alone, and Archer realizes that having someone to confide in isn’t as bad as he’d always thought. But when a series of dangerous accidents starts pushing them apart, Hadley must decide whether she is ready to risk everything – including her life – to keep Archer safe. 

Comments: Not a topic I want to read about in this way.

Decision: Remove

#483. Freedom by Faith Potts

Freedom (Liberty's Battlegrounds, #1)Synopsis: Having just returned to American soil from the desert sands of the Middle East, James Greene is done with his life. ‘Double amputee’ doesn’t seem like a strong enough phrase to label the physical and emotional pain he bears. Add the lack of love and communication with his family members, the demons that haunt him day and night, and he can find nothing worth living for. Ending it all is the only way out.

Alexandria Lorance is a not-so-ordinary physical therapist, content with aiding in her patients’ recoveries. Her work gives her fulfillment, but alone in the silence, she still endures the hidden scars of a past, unhealthy relationship. Reminding herself that true healing is found in Christ alone, she seeks to show kindness and love to everyone she meets.


When these two broken ones’ paths intersect, the spark of friendship is ignited, bringing hope and joy to both. Can they step out of the darkness of suffering and into the freedom of grace?

Comments: I’ve enjoyed this author’s other books, but I don’t enjoy military stories.

Decision: Remove

#484. Permafrost by Alastair Reynolds

PermafrostSynopsis: 2080: at a remote site on the edge of the Arctic Circle, a group of scientists, engineers and physicians gather to gamble humanity’s future on one last-ditch experiment. Their goal: to make a tiny alteration to the past, averting a global catastrophe while at the same time leaving recorded history intact. To make the experiment work, they just need one last recruit: an ageing schoolteacher whose late mother was the foremost expert on the mathematics of paradox.

2028: a young woman goes into surgery for routine brain surgery. In the days following her operation, she begins to hear another voice in her head… an unwanted presence which seems to have a will, and a purpose, all of its own – one that will disrupt her life entirely. The only choice left to her is a simple one.

Does she resist… or become a collaborator?

Comments: Time-travel eco fiction sounds fascinating, but a voice in someone’s head does not.

Decision: Remove

Girl with a Pearl Earring#485. Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

Synopsis: History and fiction merge seamlessly in Tracy Chevalier’s luminous novel about artistic vision and sensual awakening. Through the eyes of sixteen-year-old Griet, the world of 1660s Holland comes dazzlingly alive in this richly imagined portrait of the young woman who inspired one of Vermeer’s most celebrated paintings.

Comments: Ha, no thanks

Decision: Remove

#486. The Road to Yesterday by L.M. Montgomery

The Road to Yesterday (Anne of Green Gables)Synopsis: For Anne and Gilbert Blythe, life in a small village is never dull because of all the entertaining gossip, and what strange and funny tales they hear: about the mischievous twins whose dearest wish comes true when they meet up with a bored and haunted millionaire; or clever Penelope Craig, who considers herself an expert on children — until she adopts a boy of her own; or Timothy Randebush, a man so eager to keep his brother out of the clutches of a dangerous woman that he spirits her away — only to fall prey to her charms himself. Filled with unexpected surprises, laughter, and tears, here are fourteen of the Blythes’ favorite tales.

Comments: How could I not want to read a collection of short stories about Anne and Gilbert?

Decision: Keep

The Alpine Path: The Story of My Career#487. The Alpine Path: The Story of My Career by L.M. Montgomery

Synopsis: I have not been able to track down a decent synopsis of this book, but it is an autobiography of L.M. Montgomery.

Comments: As the only autobiography I’m aware of for this author, it’s definitely one that I would like to eventually read. Looks like it might take some work to track a copy down though.

Decision: Keep

#488. The Rambunctious Garden by Emma Marris

The Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild WorldSynopsis: A paradigm shift is roiling the environmental world. For decades people have unquestioningly accepted the idea that our goal is to preserve nature in its pristine, pre-human state. But many scientists have come to see this as an outdated dream that thwarts bold new plans to save the environment and prevents us from having a fuller relationship with nature. Humans have changed the landscapes they inhabit since prehistory, and climate change means even the remotest places now bear the fingerprints of humanity. Emma Marris argues convincingly that it is time to look forward and create the “rambunctious garden,” a hybrid of wild nature and human management.

In this optimistic book, readers meet leading scientists and environmentalists and visit imaginary Edens, designer ecosystems, and Pleistocene parks. Marris describes innovative conservation approaches, including rewilding, assisted migration, and the embrace of so-called novel ecosystems.

Rambunctious Garden is short on gloom and long on interesting theories and fascinating narratives, all of which bring home the idea that we must give up our romantic notions of pristine wilderness and replace them with the concept of a global, half-wild rambunctious garden planet, tended by us.

Comments: This sounds interesting to the extent that if it were right in my path, I would read it, but I don’t plan to intentionally seek it out anytime soon.

Decision: Remove

#489. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

The Particular Sadness of Lemon CakeSynopsis: On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein, a girl at the periphery of schoolyard games and her distracted parents’ attention, bites into her mother’s homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother’s emotions in the cake. She discovers this gift to her horror, for her mother—her cheerful, good-with-crafts, can-do mother—tastes of despair and desperation. Suddenly, and for the rest of her life, food becomes a peril and a threat to Rose.

The curse her gift has bestowed is the secret knowledge all families keep hidden—her mother’s life outside the home, her father’s detachment, her brother’s clash with the world. Yet as Rose grows up she learns to harness her gift and becomes aware that there are secrets even her taste buds cannot discern.

Comments: Several people have recommended this book to me, mainly because of how I enjoy Sarah Addison Allen’s books (like The Sugar Queen and The Girl Who Chased the Moon), but this one sounds too much like gossip for me to enjoy.

Decision: Remove

#490. The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden

The Spice King (Hope and Glory, #1)Synopsis: Gray Delacroix has dedicated his life to building an acclaimed global spice empire, but it has come at a cost. Resolved to salvage his family before they spiral out of control, he returns to his ancestral home for good after years of traveling the world.

As a junior botanist for the Smithsonian, Annabelle Larkin has been charged with the impossible task of gaining access to the notoriously private Delacroix plant collection. If she fails, she will be out of a job and the family farm in Kansas will go under. She has no idea that in gaining entrance to the Delacroix world, she will unwittingly step into a web of dangerous political intrigue far beyond her experience.

Unable to deny her attraction to the reclusive business tycoon, Annabelle will be forced to choose between her heart and loyalty to her country. Can Gray and Annabelle find a way through the storm of scandal without destroying the family Gray is fighting to save?

Comments: This author comes highly recommended, but I’ll pass.

Decision: Remove

reviews-from-the-stacks-headers

Ending number of books on TBR list: 856

I would love to hear your thoughts on any of these books!

Until the next chapter,

Jana

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