Tackling the TBR 22.12

My TBR (to be read) list has gotten nearly out of hand. Therefore, I do a post featuring ten books from it approximately once per week. As I go through the list, I evaluate each book and decide whether or not it still belongs. 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 July 25. At the end of that post, my TBR list contained 848 books. Today it has 850. I have gone through 520 books.

A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac Island#521. A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac Island by Cara C. Putman

Synopsis: Join attorney Alanna Stone as she returns home despite her determination to never set foot on Mackinac Island again. Once again in close proximity to Jonathan Covington, her first love, she vows to protect her privacy and her heart from the man who still makes her pulse race. But when her worst fears are realized and history repeats itself, landing her in the midst of a murder investigation, Jonathan may be her only hope. Will they be able to lay aside the past and let God heal their hearts, or will reconciliation come too late?

Comments: I’m not overly familiar with Putman’s work, although I think I have read some of her stories in collections. I added this particular book to my TBR list because of the setting though.

Decision: Remove

A New Chapter (Secrets of Mary's Bookshop, #1)#522. A New Chapter by Kristin Eckhardt

Synopsis: Mary Fisher’s dream has come true. She’s about to open Mary’s Mystery Bookshop in her beloved hometown of Ivy Bay on beautiful Cape Cod. But weeks before the grand opening, her shop is broken into and torn apart. Mary is stunned to discover that the only thing missing was an old, dusty photograph of the storefront. Who would have taken it, and why? With the help of her sister, a childhood friend, and decades of reading mystery novels, Mary searches for answers. with cover image to the right.

Comments: Someday I may come back to books like this one, but mysteries (cozy or not) are not high on my ranking of preferences at the moment.

Decision: Remove

Vote First or Die: The New Hampshire Primary: America’s Discerning, Magnificent, and Absurd Road to the White House#523. Vote First or Die: The New Hampshire Primary: America’s Discerning, Magnificent, and Absurd Road to the White House by Scott Conroy

Synopsis: For a year and a half leading up to Primary Day, Scott Conroy followed the often absurd 2016 campaign up and down New Hampshire. Along the way, he got up close and personal with the candidates themselves, while absorbing local insights and entertaining anecdotes from the peppery state officials and wily operatives who have determined national political fates for generations. From far-flung towns like Dixville Notch and Berlin to “big cities” like Manchester and Portsmouth, in Vote First or Die, Conroy reveals the inner workings of American politics through the unforgettable characters who populate the exceedingly influential state of New Hampshire.

Comments: I came across this book during the heat of the last big election cycle, and at the time it sounded exciting. Without the surrounding hype and pressure, I’m afraid I would drag through it and hold onto little or nothing that might be learned.

Decision: Remove

A Single Thread#524. A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier

Synopsis: 1932. After the Great War took both her beloved brother and her fiancé, Violet Speedwell has become a “surplus woman,” one of a generation doomed to a life of spinsterhood after the war killed so many young men. Yet Violet cannot reconcile herself to a life spent caring for her grieving, embittered mother. After countless meals of boiled eggs and dry toast, she saves enough to move out of her mother’s place and into the town of Winchester, home to one of England’s grandest cathedrals. There, Violet is drawn into a society of broderers–women who embroider kneelers for the Cathedral, carrying on a centuries-long tradition of bringing comfort to worshippers.

Violet finds support and community in the group, fulfillment in the work they create, and even a growing friendship with the vivacious Gilda. But when forces threaten her new independence and another war appears on the horizon, Violet must fight to put down roots in a place where women aren’t expected to grow.

Comments: I’m not sure about this book, but intrigued enough to leave it on the list and maybe someday find out what it is like.

Decision: Keep

A Distance Too Grand (American Wonders, #1)#525. A Distance Too Grand by Regina Scott

Synopsis: Meg Pero has been assisting her photographer father since she was big enough to carry his equipment, so when he dies she is determined to take over his profession–starting with fulfilling the contract he signed to serve on an Army survey of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in 1871. What she doesn’t realize is that the leader of the expedition is none other than the man she once refused to marry.

Captain Ben Coleridge would like nothing more than to leave without the woman who broke his heart. He can’t afford to be distracted during this survey, which is a screen for another, more personal mission, one he cannot share with any member of his team.

As dangers arise from all sides–and even from within–Meg and Ben must work together to stay alive, fulfill their duties, and, just maybe, rekindle a love that neither had completely left behind. 

Comments: Have I really not talked about or read this book yet? It seems like it has been on my TBR list for ages, and I keep meaning to read it but so far have not.

Decision: Keep

A Boy Called Bat (A Boy Called Bat, #1)#526. A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold

Synopsis: For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life tends to be full of surprises — some of them good, some not so good. Today, though, is a good-surprise day. Bat’s mom, a veterinarian, has brought home a baby skunk, which she needs to take care of until she can hand him over to a wild-animal shelter.

But the minute Bat meets the kit, he knows they belong together. And he’s got one month to show his mom that a baby skunk might just make a pretty terrific pet.

Comments: This book was popular around the time I took my children’s lit class. The reviews praise it as a wonderful depiction of a child with Autism, and the thought of a skunk as a pet sounds entertaining, so I’ll hold onto it for now.

Decision: Keep

The Library Book#527. The Library Book by Susan Orlean

Synopsis: On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. As the moments passed, the patrons and staff who had been cleared out of the building realized this was not the usual fire alarm. As one fireman recounted, “Once that first stack got going, it was ‘Goodbye, Charlie.’” The fire was disastrous: it reached 2000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more. Investigators descended on the scene, but more than thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library—and if so, who?”

In The Library Book, Orlean chronicles the LAPL fire and its aftermath to showcase the larger, crucial role that libraries play in our lives; delves into the evolution of libraries across the country and around the world, from their humble beginnings as a metropolitan charitable initiative to their current status as a cornerstone of national identity; brings each department of the library to vivid life through on-the-ground reporting; studies arson and attempts to burn a copy of a book herself; reflects on her own experiences in libraries; and reexamines the case of Harry Peak, the blond-haired actor long suspected of setting fire to the LAPL more than thirty years ago.

Brimming with her signature wit, insight, compassion, and talent for deep research, The Library Book is Susan Orlean’s thrilling journey through the stacks that reveals how these beloved institutions provide much more than just books—and why they remain an essential part of the heart, mind, and soul of our country. It is also a master journalist’s reminder that, perhaps especially in the digital era, they are more necessary than ever.

Comments: Every librarian I know who has read this book (and there are several) loves it. It’s not a writing style that I usually go for, but given the topic, it can stay on the list.

Decision: Keep

Happy Trail (Park Ranger, #1)#528. Happy Trail by Daisy Prescott

Synopsis: A man of few words, Ranger Jay Daniels values the calm, quiet solitude of the Great Smoky Mountains. Never quite fitting in with either side of his family, he prefers the company of birds and trees to people.

Yeah, he’d most definitely prefer a bird—any bird, any bird at all, take a vulture for instance—to the human-tornado hybrid that just blew onto his peaceful stretch of the Appalachian Trail.

The path of true love never has run smooth for Olive Perry. After getting dumped and promptly abandoned in the middle of her multi-month hike, Olive swears off men. Determined to finish the long trek by herself, she doesn’t need a prince—or broody and taciturn ranger—to save her. Yet, when an early snowstorm threatens the mountains, and Ranger Daniels is charged with getting hikers to safety, that includes hot-tempered Olive Perry. Snowed in and forced to share an abandoned cabin, can Olive’s heated intensity melt Jay’s cool reserve?

Comments: I cannot stand the snowed-in trope.

Decision: Remove

Love in Three Quarter Time (Three Quarter Time, #1)#529. Love in Three-Quarter Time by Rachel McMillan

Synopsis: Evelyn Watt fell in love with Austrian marketing director Rudy Moser the moment he stepped into their Boston firm. With his ice blue eyes and chocolate-melting accent, he is as refined as she imagines his home country to be. When Evelyn finds herself unexpectedly unemployed right before Christmas, she is left with an unknown future until Rudy steps in with a job appraising, assessing and cataloging heirlooms, lending her American vernacular to the translated descriptions to give each item international appeal. Evelyn will live in Vienna for the months leading up to a grand auction at a party held in conjunction with the Opera Ball—on Valentine’s Day.

Vienna is a magical blend of waltzing, antiques, and bottomless cups of Einspanner coffee at the Café Mozart. When a secret from Rudy’s family’s past blows in with the winter chill, Evelyn is forced to confront how well she knows the object of her affection. Her café tablemate, the gruff and enigmatic Klaus Bauner might be the only person who holds the key to Rudy’s past. But could that key also unlock her future? In the days leading up to the Opera Ball, Evelyn finds herself in the middle of the greatest romance of her life…as long as she doesn’t trip over her two left feet.

Comments: This sounds like a beautiful Hallmark movie, but I’m not sure it would work as well as a book. Also, it looks like it has only been published digitally, and I don’t think my library carries it.

Decision: Remove

A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II#530. A Higher Call by Adam Makos

Synopsis: Four days before Christmas 1943, a badly damaged American bomber struggled to fly over wartime Germany. At its controls was a 21-year-old pilot. Half his crew lay wounded or dead. It was their first mission. Suddenly, a sleek, dark shape pulled up on the bomber’s tail—a German Messerschmitt fighter. Worse, the German pilot was an ace, a man able to destroy the American bomber in the squeeze of a trigger. What happened next would defy imagination and later be called the most incredible encounter between enemies in World War II.

This is the true story of the two pilots whose lives collided in the skies that day—the American—2nd Lieutenant Charlie Brown, a former farm boy from West Virginia who came to captain a B-17—and the German—2nd Lieutenant Franz Stigler, a former airline pilot from Bavaria who sought to avoid fighting in World War II.

A Higher Call follows both Charlie and Franz’s harrowing missions. Charlie would face takeoffs in English fog over the flaming wreckage of his buddies’ planes, flak bursts so close they would light his cockpit, and packs of enemy fighters that would circle his plane like sharks. Franz would face sandstorms in the desert, a crash alone at sea, and the spectacle of 1,000 bombers each with eleven guns, waiting for his attack. Ultimately, Charlie and Franz would stare across the frozen skies at one another. What happened between them, the American 8th Air Force would later classify as “top secret.” It was an act that Franz could never mention or else face a firing squad. It was the encounter that would haunt both Charlie and Franz for forty years until, as old men, they would search for one another, a last mission that could change their lives forever. 

Comments: I would definitely watch this as a documentary. As a book, I’m again uncertain…but I’ll keep it on the list this time.

Decision: Keep

reviews-from-the-stacks-headers

Ending number of books on TBR list: 845

What do you think of this batch? Have you read any of them?

Until the next chapter,

Jana

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