Tackling the TBR 22.11

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 June 27. At the end of that post, my TBR list contained 855 books. Today it has 854. I have gone through 510 books.

#511. The Traitor’s Girl by Christine Wells

Synopsis: After receiving a mysterious summons from her long-lost grandmother, Australian teacher Annabel Logan agrees to visit her home in the Cotswolds. But when she arrives at the magnificent Beechwood Hall, it appears abandoned and the local villagers have no idea where the reclusive Caroline Banks might be. The one person who might know something is enigmatic journalist Simon Colepeper. He reveals that Carrie became a spy and agent provocateur for MI5 during the Second World War. But when British intelligence failed to investigate a dangerous traitor, she decided to take matters into her own hands.

Concerned that her grandmother’s secret past has caught up with her, Annabel stays on to investigate. But the more she uncovers, the more difficult it becomes to know who to trust. There are strange incidents occurring at Beechwood and Annabel must use all her ingenuity and daring to find Carrie before it’s too late.

Comments: This sounds like the plot to a fun movie, but I don’t think I could sit through it as a book.

Decision: Remove

#512. The Jade Lily by Kristy Manning

Synopsis: In 2016, fleeing London with a broken heart, Alexandra returns to Australia to be with her grandparents, Romy and Wilhelm, when her grandfather is dying. With only weeks left together, her grandparents begin to reveal the family mysteries they have kept secret for more than half a century.

In 1939, two young girls meet in Shanghai, the ‘Paris of the East’: beautiful local Li and Viennese refugee Romy form a fierce friendship. But the deepening shadows of World War Two fall over the women as Li and Romy slip between the city’s glamorous French Concession and the desperate Shanghai Ghetto. Eventually, they are forced separate ways as Romy doubts Li’s loyalties.

After Wilhelm dies, Alexandra flies to Shanghai, determined to trace her grandparents’ past. As she peels back the layers of their hidden lives, she begins to question everything she knows about her family – and herself.

Comments: I think I may have come across both this book and the last one while trying to put together a reading list with books for every continent. If I were still working on that challenge, I might use this one for Australia, but as it is I think I will pass.

Decision: Remove

#513. Midnight at the Blackbird Café by Heather Webber

Synopsis: Nestled in the mountain shadows of Alabama lies the little town of Wicklow. It is here that Anna Kate has returned to bury her beloved Granny Zee, owner of the Blackbird Café.

It was supposed to be a quick trip to close the café and settle her grandmother’s estate, but despite her best intentions to avoid forming ties or even getting to know her father’s side of the family, Anna Kate finds herself inexplicably drawn to the quirky Southern town her mother ran away from so many years ago, and the mysterious blackbird pie everybody can’t stop talking about. As the truth about her past slowly becomes clear, Anna Kate will need to decide if this lone blackbird will finally be able to take her broken wings and fly.

Comments: Just not for me.

Decision: Remove

#514. Truly, Madly by Heather Webber

Synopsis: Lucy Valentine is as smart as can be, as single as you can get, and so not qualified to run a matchmaking service. But when her parents temporarily step down from the family business, Valentine, Inc., it’s Lucy’s turn to step up and help out—in the name of love.

Plus, her rent is due.

Here’s the problem: Lucy doesn’t have the knack for matchmaking. According to family legend, every Valentine has been blessed by Cupid with the ability to read “auras” and pair up perfect couples. But not Lucy. Her skills were zapped away years ago in an electrical surge, and now all she can do is find lost objects. What good is that in the matchmaking world? You’d be surprised. In a city like Boston, everyone’s looking for something. So when Lucy locates a missing wedding ring—on a dead body—she asks the sexy private eye who lives upstairs to help her solve the perfect crime. And who knows? Maybe she’ll find the perfect love while she’s at it…

Comments: This isn’t at all my kind of book. Maybe someone recommended this author to me ages ago, and I’ve forgotten who? I *truly* do not know.

Decision: Remove

#515. Waltz Into the Waves by Sarah Holman

Synopsis: Amelia has always lived in a manor by the sea with her father, and looks forward every summer to a visit from Alex. However, her perfect life is dashed one summer when tragedy strikes. Will her life ever be happy again?

Comments: I think I actually own this as an audiobook. Not sure why I haven’t gotten around to reading/listening to it.

Decision: Keep

#516. Distorted Glass by Sarah Holman

Distorted Glass: A Snow Queen StorySynopsis: Sixteen-year-old Jared is sure that this Christmas season is going to be the worst ever for his family. His fifteen-year-old sister, Amber, is scaring their whole family with how little she is eating and her obsession with winning a beauty pageant.

When Jared seeks help from his pastor, he comes up with a plan to help his sister by Christmas. As the days pass and he sees no change in his sister, he wonders if he can reach his goal.

A Christmas short story about faith, family, and unconditional love

Comments: This is another that I think I own, but haven’t actually read/listened to. Making a note to come back to it when the weather is a bit colder.

Decision: Keep

#517. Mary Was Her Life: The Story of Mary Teresa Quevedo by R.S.M. Sr. Marie Pierre

Mary Was Her Life: The Story of Maria Teresa QuevedoSynopsis: Maria Teresa Quevedo was a lively modern girl-a talented dancer, an expert swimmer, an outstanding tennis player, who devoted herself to generous works of sacrifice. Her life can be summed up by her own motto, “May all who look at me see you, O Mary.” This book is the first full-length biography of Maria Teresa Quevedo that has been written in English. Teresita, as she was called by her friends and family, was a Spanish girl who was born in 1930 and who died in 1950 at the age of twenty. Throughout her life, Teresita was an inspiration and a delight to everyone around her as she calmly strove to exemplify Christian virtue in her everyday life. Teresita tried to do everything perfectly. As a girl living with her parents, she was an obedient child. With her friends, she was not only respected but popular. As a sodalist, she gave evidence as being a born leader for Mary. As a tennis player, she was an expert. As captain of her basketball team, she consistently led the group to victory. At any young people’s gathering which she attended, she was the life of the party. When Teresita entered the Congregation of the Carmelite Sisters of Charity, she did so because she desired to become a saint and to devote all her life to Jesus and Mary. But, in her own words, she wished to become a “little saint, for I cannot do big things.” Teresita’s cause for canonization is now under examination in the Sacred Congregation of Rites.

Comments: If I remember correctly, I came across this book while researching Mother Teresa of Avila and thought it would be interesting to come back to. That interest has passed.

Decision: Remove

#518. Voyage of the Sandpiper by Jessica Glasner

Voyage of the Sandpiper (The Seabirds)Synopsis: Summer, 1939: When fifteen-year-old Agatha’s mother falls gravely ill, she is shipped off to the coast of Maine to live with her aunt, Edith Philipa Gordan, an eccentric writer who hasn’t finished a novel in decades and paints birds obsessively. What begins as a dull summer immediately takes a turn towards adventure with the arrival of Edie’s old beau, Horatio Macleay, and his handsome nephew. With WWII looming on the horizon, Agatha and her new group of friends race against time and across continents to complete their mission before it is too late. Along the way, Agatha learns the importance of trusting in the perfect timing of God and discovers the power of hope.

Comments: 

Decision: Remove

#519. The War Outside by Monica Hesse

The War OutsideSynopsis: It’s 1944, and World War II is raging across Europe and the Pacific. The war seemed far away from Margot in Iowa and Haruko in Colorado–until they were uprooted to dusty Texas, all because of the places their parents once called home: Germany and Japan.

Haruko and Margot meet at the high school in Crystal City, a “family internment camp” for those accused of colluding with the enemy. The teens discover that they are polar opposites in so many ways, except for one that seems to override all the others: the camp is changing them, day by day, and piece by piece. Haruko finds herself consumed by fear for her soldier brother and distrust of her father, who she knows is keeping something from her. And Margot is doing everything she can to keep her family whole as her mother’s health deteriorates and her rational, patriotic father becomes a man who distrusts America and fraternizes with Nazis.

With everything around them falling apart, Margot and Haruko find solace in their growing, secret friendship. But in a prison the government has deemed full of spies, can they trust anyone–even each other?

Comments: This book sounds heavy, but good.

Decision: Keep

#520. The Silence Between Us by Alison Gervais

The Silence Between UsSynopsis: Deaf teen Maya moves across the country and must attend a hearing school for the first time. As if that wasn’t hard enough, she also has to adjust to the hearing culture, which she finds frustrating—and also surprising when some classmates, including Beau Watson, take time to learn ASL. As Maya looks past graduation and focuses on her future dreams, nothing, not even an unexpected romance, will derail her pursuits. But when people in her life—deaf and hearing alike—ask her to question parts of her deaf identity, Maya stands proudly, never giving in to the idea that her deafness is a disadvantage.

Comments: I’ve seen so many good reviews of this book, I have to read it eventually.

Decision: Keep

reviews-from-the-stacks-headers

Ending number of books on TBR list: 848

If you have any thoughts on these books, I would love to hear!

Until the next chapter,

Jana

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