Tackling the TBR 22.15

It has become apparent that 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 August 22, 2022. At the end of that post, my TBR list contained 842 books. Today it has 841. I have gone through 550 books.

Twist of Faith#551. Twist of Faith by Anne Beiler

Synopsis: It was a short distance from Anne Beiler’s little town in the heart of Mennonite country to her humble farmer’s stand that would become the first Auntie Anne’s Pretzel store. But it was a long life journey for Anne to get there. Twist of Faith is more than the inspiring story of building a successful business; it’s a personal journey of faith and forgiveness.

From the death of her young daughter to surviving the rigors of building a successful business to struggles with depression, Anne offers a deeply personal view of her life. She says, “If you knew my life and understood where I came from, you would agree that Auntie Anne’s, Inc. is a modern day business miracle.”

Comments: I’m intrigued!

Decision: Keep

Rescue Road: A Clean, Contemporary Pet Rescue Romance#552. Rescue Road by Gayle Irwin

Synopsis: Freelance writer Rhiann Kelly shelved romance for years. Her dream of starting an animal sanctuary takes deep roots after finding the perfect location in southwestern Montana and purchasing the property for back taxes. Emergency medical technician Levi Butler knows his elderly friend left the ranch to him in his will. Levi anxiously awaits the probate to be complete so he can plan his retirement and begin his dream of raising and selling horses. When Rhiann and Levi find each other at the ranch simultaneously, sparks fly – and not the romantic kind. Yet their mutual attraction deepens, especially after Levi finds Rhiann injured in an accident. Meantime, land developer Dallas Patterson sets his sights on charming Rhiann to obtain the land. Can Rhiann and Levi work together to detour Patterson and find a solution in which neither needs to give up their dream, or will the fence line of their hearts – and the property – separate them forever? Can their broken paths weave their hearts together as they travel the rescue road?

Comments: I spotlighted this book when it was a new release here. It sounds good for its genre, but just not the kind of book that I enjoy reading these days.

Decision: Remove

The Start of Me and You (The Start of Me and You, #1)#553. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

Synopsis: When Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in a swimming accident, she shut out almost everyone. Now Paige has decided it’s finally time to rejoin the world, and she has a plan. First on the list: go out with Ryan Chase, her longtime and newly single crush. And last on the list: swim. Terrifying, yet possible?

But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin Max moves to town and recruits Paige for the QuizBowl team (of all things!), her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Starting over isn’t easy, but Paige knows the scariest things are usually the most difficult. Can she face her fears and open herself up to life and love again

Comments: This book sounds both heavier and less serious than I would like, but in the right hands at the right time it could be really good. I’ll keep it on the list for now, mostly for reference.

Decision: Keep

Patron Saints of Nothing#554. Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

Synopsis: Jay Reguero plans to spend the last semester of his senior year playing video games before heading to the University of Michigan in the fall. But when he discovers that his Filipino cousin Jun was murdered as part of President Duterte’s war on drugs, and no one in the family wants to talk about what happened, Jay travels to the Philippines to find out the real story.

Hoping to uncover more about Jun and the events that led to his death, Jay is forced to reckon with the many sides of his cousin before he can face the whole horrible truth — and the part he played in it.

Comments: I’m sure this is a great book to the target audience, but it sounds too much like an action movie for me to thoroughly enjoy.

Decision: Remove

#555. Finding the Music by Jennifer Torres

Synopsis: When Reyna accidentally breaks Abuelito’s vihuela—a small guitar-like instrument—she ventures out into the neighborhood determined to find someone who can help her repair it. No one can fix the vihuela, but along the way Reyna gathers stories and mementos of Abuelito and his music. Still determined, Reyna visits the music store, where the owner gives her a recording of Abuelito’s music and promises that they can fix the vihuela together. Reyna realizes how much she’s learned about Abuelito, his influence in the community, and the power of his music. She returns to her family’s restaurant to share Abuelito’s gifts with Mama and is happier still finally to hear the sweet sounds of Abuelito’s music for herself. 

Comments: This sounds like a lovely children’s story! I think I added it to my TBR list while working on a project for my children’s literature class. It could be great for storytime, reader’s advisory, and other in-library uses, but it isn’t one that I’m going to seek out to read on my own time.

Decision: Remove

#556. The Fresh New Face of Griselda by Jennifer Torres

Synopsis: Griselda “Geez” Zaragoza has a love for beautiful things, like her collection of vintage teacups and the flower garden she and her dad planted in the front yard. But when his business fails, Griselda loses not just her home, but also her confidence and her trust in her unflappable parents.

Tagging along with big sister Maribel, who postponed college for a job selling Alma Cosmetics, Geez dreams up a way to reclaim the life she thinks she lost. If she can sell enough tubes of glistening, glittery Alma lip gloss, she’ll win a cash prize that could help jump start her dad’s business.

With ups and downs along the way, Geez will discover that beauty isn’t just lost or found, but made and re-made.

Comments: Oof, hopefully this goes the way I would expect and shows some good lessons for middle-grade readers, but this is not a story that would hold my attention.

Decision: Remove

#557. The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp

Synopsis: Thousands of readers have already fallen in love with Ann Voskamp’s “One Thousand Gifts,” and this Christmas, Ann will help readers celebrate the lineage and the majesty of God’s greatest gift–Jesus Christ. In what is sure to become an instant holiday classic, Voskamp reaches back into the pages of the Old Testament to explore the lineage of Jesus via the advent tradition of “The Jesse Tree.” Beginning with Jesse, the father of David, “The Greatest Gift” retraces the epic pageantry of mankind, from Adam to the Messiah, with each day’s reading pointing to the coming promise of Christ. Sure to become a holiday staple in every Christian home, “The Greatest Gift” is the perfect gift for the holidays and a timeless reminder of the true meaning of Christmas.

Comments: This book is almost ten years old now. Its popularity blows up around Christmas each year, but I can’t think of a single person I know who has actually read it? Also, as I have not read Voskamp’s earlier book One Thousand Gifts and I don’t have a very strong desire to do so, it would probably be a mistake to read this book.

Decision: Remove

#558. Braced by Alyson Gerber

Synopsis: Rachel Brooks is excited for the new school year. She’s finally earned a place as a forward on her soccer team. Her best friends make everything fun. And she really likes Tate, and she’s pretty sure he likes her back. After one last appointment with her scoliosis doctor, this will be her best year yet.

Then the doctor delivers some terrible news: The sideways curve in Rachel’s spine has gotten worse, and she needs to wear a back brace twenty-three hours a day. The brace wraps her in hard plastic from shoulder blades to hips. It changes how her clothes fit, how she kicks a ball, and how everyone sees her — even her friends and Tate. But as Rachel confronts all the challenges the brace presents, the biggest change of all may lie in how she sees herself.

Comments: I’ve been intrigued by this book since the first time I saw it on our library shelf a few years ago. I really need to get around to reading it someday.

Decision: Keep

#559. Tornado Brain by Cat Patrick

Synopsis: Things never seem to go as easily for thirteen-year-old Frankie as they do for her twin sister, Tess. Unlike Tess, Frankie is neurodivergent, with diagnoses of ADHD and autism spectrum and attention processing disorders. Frankie can’t stand to be touched, loud noises bother her, she’s easily distracted, she hates changes in her routine, and she has to go see a therapist while other kids get to hang out at the beach. It also means Frankie has trouble making friends. She did have one–Colette–but they’re not friends anymore. It’s complicated.

Then, just weeks before the end of seventh grade, Colette unexpectedly shows up at Frankie’s door. The next morning, Colette vanishes. Now, after losing Colette yet again, Frankie’s convinced that her former best friend left clues behind that only she can decipher, so she persuades her reluctant sister to help her unravel the mystery of Colette’s disappearance before it’s too late.

Comments: Cat Patrick used to be one of my favorite authors, but I think I’ve somewhat outgrown her books. Again, this is probably a fantastic read to the target audience, but middle-grade mystery stories are just not what I am really into reading these days.

Decision: Remove

#560. Unbroken by Rebekah A. Morris

Synopsis: Difficulties arise at Triple Creek Ranch when Orlena, Norman Mavrich’s spoiled, pampered younger sister comes to live with her brother and his wife. The move is much against Orlena’s wishes, and she doesn’t hesitate to let everyone know it. Time and again Mr. and Mrs. Mavrich are driven to their knees to find strength to face another day. Join the young ranch boss, Norman Mavrich, his sweet wife, Jenelle, and the rest of the members of Triple Creek Ranch as they strive to be examples of Christ to the unbroken newcomer.

Comments: I am a fan of this indie author, but this synopsis isn’t really doing anything for me.

Decision: Remove


Ending number of books on TBR list: 834

Happy Labor Day to those in the US! While I don’t have any real plans to celebrate, I am very thankful for an extra day off from work. There always seem to be so many things to get done just to keep the world spinning.

Have you read any of the books from my list this week?

Until the next chapter,


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