Keep or Toss (03.20)

Welcome to my next episode of ‘Keep or Toss’! In case you missed my very first post where I explained why I’m going through my TBR listing and the first batch of 15 titles, you can read it all right here: Keep or Toss Tuesday (01.20). If you just want to jump right in with me, here’s a short version of the process I’m using…

Each week I’m going to take a section of books on the list and see which ones I want to keep and which ones I’m going to delete. I first saw this idea on Confessions of YA Reader. According to her post, she saw it on Lost in a Story. Here’s how it works:

  1. Go to your goodreads to-read shelf. (As mentioned before, I combined my two shelves (Goodreads and Amazon))
  2. Order in ascending date added. (I’m working in alphabetical order)
  3. Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more!) if you’re feeling adventurous). If you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time. (I’ll be reviewing around 15 each week)
  4. Read the synopsis of each book.
  5. Decide: keep it or should it go.

I should also add this PSA again – I went through a bit of an erotica and steamy romance phase so some of these titles reflect that. #NoJudgementPlease 🙂 And finally, all cover photos were taken from Goodreads. So let’s gets started!

What the Wind Knows (Amy Harmon)

What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon

Anne Gallagher grew up enchanted by her grandfather’s stories of Ireland. Heartbroken at his death, she travels to his childhood home to spread his ashes. There, overcome with memories of the man she adored and consumed by a history she never knew, she is pulled into another time.

The Ireland of 1921, teetering on the edge of war, is a dangerous place in which to awaken. But there Anne finds herself, hurt, disoriented, and under the care of Dr. Thomas Smith, guardian to a young boy who is oddly familiar. Mistaken for the boy’s long-missing mother, Anne adopts her identity, convinced the woman’s disappearance is connected to her own.

As tensions rise, Thomas joins the struggle for Ireland’s independence and Anne is drawn into the conflict beside him. Caught between history and her heart, she must decide whether she’s willing to let go of the life she knew for a love she never thought she’d find. But in the end, is the choice actually hers to make?

So I’m a big fan of Outlander. Admittedly, I haven’t read all of them but I hope to eventually. This book sounds similar in that it’s about a woman that somehow falls back through time and gets entangled in the events of the past. Just from the description, I get the feeling that the little boy is her grandfather (which could get really interesting). Additionally, I also trace my roots to Ireland so this could be a fun read. I’m going to keep it.

In Your Dreams (Amy Martin)

In Your Dreams by Amy Martin

Sixteen-year-old Zara “Zip” McKee lives for three things: basketball, books, and bailing out of tiny Titusville, Illinois, where the junior high and high school are in the same building and everyone’s known everyone else since birth. But when Kieran Lanier moves to town and passes out on her desk on his first day at school, Zip’s life gets complicated in a way she never dreamed.

Kieran has narcolepsy, and although he sometimes struggles to stay awake, he has no trouble capturing Zip’s heart and trusting her with his most guarded secret—he sees bits and pieces of the future in his dreams. And while he didn’t know who she was at the time, Kieran had seen Zip in his dreams over five months before he moved to Titusville from North Carolina.

But just when Zip thinks that maybe she can handle having a boyfriend who sees things before they happen, her budding relationship with Kieran gets a jolt. She and Kieran learn that his sleeping disorder and the future flashes were likely caused by a drug invented by his birth father, Morgan Levert, a convicted felon who plays a starring role in Kieran’s nightmares. And when Zip begins to have unsettling dreams after chance encounters with Morgan’s former partner-in-crime, she must decide if she can live with the possibility of seeing the future when she doesn’t always like what she sees.

I feel like I’ve read this before; or at least started it. The cover seems really familiar and the description is tickling something in my brain. Because of that, I’m going to keep it and see if I really have read it already.

As You Wake (Amy Martin)

As You Wake (In Your Dreams #2) by Amy Martin

Zara “Zip” McKee and Kieran Lanier thought they had put the threats from Kieran’s past behind them in the first installment of the In Your Dreams series. But when danger comes for them once again, Zip, Kieran, and their families find themselves on separate summer road trips that none of them had anticipated. When all paths converge in North Carolina, the two families are forced to deal with each other and the secrets they’ve kept out of love and fear.

But Kieran is keeping the biggest secret of all from everyone but Zip. He hasn’t had a dream—about the future, about anything—for months. And while Zip and Kieran are grappling with what the new twist in Kieran’s sleeping disorder might mean, a mysterious stranger reveals information that could change Kieran’s life–or end it.

This is the follow-up to ‘In Your Dreams’. As I was translating all my titles onto one spreadsheet, I noticed that I did this a lot. I’d add a whole series before knowing whether or not I’d like the first book. With the goal of slimming down and streamlining my TBR pile, I want to get rid of all those extra titles. So this one is being tossed. At least until I can decide if I like(d) ‘In Your Dreams’.

Hidden Deep (Amy Patrick)

Hidden Deep (The Hidden Saga, Book 1) by Amy Patrick

Sixteen-year-old Ryann Carroll has just run into the guy who saved her life ten years ago. You might think she’d be happy to see him again. Not exactly. She’s a bit underdressed (as in skinny-dipping) and he’s not supposed to exist.

After her father’s affair, all Ryann wants is to escape the family implosion fallout and find a little peace. She also wouldn’t mind a first date that didn’t suck, but she’s determined not to end up like her mom: vulnerable, betrayed, destroyed. Ryann’s recently moved back to her childhood home in rural Mississippi, the same place where ten years earlier she became lost in the woods overnight and nearly died.

She’s still irresistibly drawn to those woods. There she encounters the boy who kept her from freezing to death that long ago winter night and was nowhere to be seen when rescuers arrived. He’s still mysterious, but now all grown-up and gorgeous, too. And the more she’s with him, the greater the threat he poses to Ryann’s strict policy– never want someone more than he wants you.

Seventeen-year-old Lad knows the law of his people all too well: Don’t get careless and Don’t get caught. It’s allowed his race to live undetected in this world for thousands of years, mentioned only in flawed and fading folklore…

Lad’s never been able to forget about Ryann since that night ten years ago. When he sees her again, his fascination re-ignites and becomes a growing desire that tempts him to break all the rules. He’s not even supposed to talk to a human, much less fall in love with one.

And the timing is atrocious. The Assemblage is coming, the rift between the Light and Dark is widening, and mysterious celebrity fan pods are becoming more and more widespread and influential. Lad may have to trade his own chance at happiness to keep the humans, especially Ryann, blissfully unaware and safe.

This is another one of those descriptions that seem oddly familiar! I have it on my Kindle and it’s not showing as read but I wonder if that is true. Guess I’m keeping it to see if this one is a “Read” versus “Unread” too.

The Joy Luck Club (Amy Tan)

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

Four mothers, four daughters, four families, whose histories shift with the four winds depending on who’s telling the stories. In 1949, four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, meet weekly to play mahjong and tell stories of what they left behind in China. United in loss and new hope for their daughters’ futures, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. Their daughters, who have never heard these stories, think their mothers’ advice is irrelevant to their modern American lives – until their own inner crises reveal how much they’ve unknowingly inherited of their mothers’ pasts.

With wit and sensitivity, Amy Tan examines the sometimes painful, often tender, and always deep connection between mothers and daughters. As each woman reveals her secrets, trying to unravel the truth about her life, the strings become more tangled, more entwined. Mothers boast or despair over daughters, and daughters roll their eyes even as they feel the inextricable tightening of their matriarchal ties. Tan is an astute storyteller, enticing readers to immerse themselves into these lives of complexity and mystery.

This has been on my TBR pile for a while. I think I added it after reading a story about a silk girl in China. I was and still am fascinated by eastern culture and their way of looking at life. So I’m keeping this one and even bumping it up to my 2020 TBR list.

Nightshade (Andrea Cremer)

Nightshade (Nightshade #1) by Andrea Cremer

Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she’ll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters’ laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known.

By following her heart, she might lose everything- including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

First, that cover! OMG!! Gorgeous!!! Second, shape-shifting wolves. *sigh* I love shape-shifting wolves. ❤ This is probably a very predictable trope – Girl fights against arranged marriage – but I don’t care. I really want to keep it!

The Longest Night (Andria Williams)

The Longest Night by Andria Williams

In 1959, Nat Collier moves with her husband, Paul, and their two young daughters to Idaho Falls, a remote military town. An Army Specialist, Paul is stationed there to help oversee one of the country’s first nuclear reactors—an assignment that seems full of opportunity.

Then, on his rounds, Paul discovers that the reactor is compromised, placing his family and the entire community in danger. Worse, his superiors set out to cover up the problem rather than fix it. Paul can’t bring himself to tell Nat the truth, but his lies only widen a growing gulf between them.

Lonely and restless, Nat is having trouble adjusting to their new life. She struggles to fit into her role as a housewife and longs for a real friend. When she meets a rancher, Esrom, she finds herself drawn to him, comforted by his kindness and company. But as rumors spread, the secrets between Nat and Paul build and threaten to reach a breaking point.

Based on a true story of the only fatal nuclear accident to occur in America, The Longest Night is a deeply moving novel that explores the intricate makeup of a marriage, the shifting nature of trust, and the ways we try to protect the ones we love.

I don’t know about this one. On the one hand, as a military wife, I typically jump at stories that involve that perspective. However, I cringe when infidelity is hinted at in them. Despite what popular opinion would have everyone believe, there are many military wives (I’d hazard to say most) that deal with the distance and loneliness without cheating. But I digress… Since I’m so torn on this title, I’m going to place it in the “Maybe” group. Give it the 50 page test to see if I connect with the characters before deciding.

The Hate U Give (Angie Thomas)

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

The hype around this book has been huge! I honestly can’t believe I haven’t read it yet. Usually titles this hot are at the top of my list. It was Goodreads Choice Award winner in 2017 and was made into a movie recently too. So this one is staying.

 

While You Were Mine (Ann Howard Creel)

While You Were Mine by Ann Howard Creel

The end of World War II should have brought joy to Gwen Mullen. But on V-J Day, her worst fear is realized. As celebrating crowds gather in Times Square, a soldier appears on her doorstep to claim Mary, the baby abandoned to Gwen one year earlier. Suddenly Gwen is on the verge of losing the child she has nurtured and loves dearly.

With no legal claim to Mary, Gwen begins to teach Lieutenant John McKee how to care for his child, knowing that he will ultimately take Mary away. What starts as a contentious relationship, however, turns into something more, and Gwen must open her heart to learn that love means taking chances.

Geez! This week’s 15 are shaping up to be tough. ‘While You Were Mine’ is a military story but only as the background for what sounds like a plot to rip your heart out. I can’t toss this one. It has to stay.

The Magician's Assistant (Ann Patchett)

The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett

Sabine– twenty years a magician’s assistant to her handsome, charming husband– is suddenly a widow. In the wake of his death, she finds he has left a final trick; a false identity and a family allegedly lost in a tragic accident but now revealed as very much alive and well. Named as heirs in his will, they enter Sabine’s life and set her on an adventure of unraveling his secrets, from sunny Los Angeles to the windswept plains of Nebraska, that will work its own sort of magic on her.

I know Ann Patchett is a popular author and I’m sure a very good one. I’m just not feeling this book anymore. Toss…

His Darling Bride (Anna DeStefano)

His Darling Bride by Anna DeStefano

Bethany Darling doesn’t kiss men at first sight…until she falls into the arms of a handsome cowboy bartender.

A mysterious stranger, Mike helps scare off Bethany’s obnoxious ex-boyfriend. Mike’s touch feels like coming home. But Bethany’s so not interested. Between stalled-out dreams of becoming a painter, troubles reconnecting with her sprawling foster family, and the happy chaos of her sister’s upcoming wedding, Bethany’s already in over her head. But each time she and Mike stumble across each other in small-town Chandlerville…sparks fly.

A famous photographer hiding under a Stetson, Mike Taylor recognizes Bethany as a kindred artistic spirit. Together they rekindle her passion for painting—and she inspires him in unexpected, undeniable ways. Then when Mike’s own past threatens to tear apart his present, Bethany becomes his safe place to turn.

Can these two wandering souls finally trust their hearts? Or will they run from the forever love they never expected to find?

Nah. I’m not in the cheesy cowboy romance mood anymore. Toss…

Almost (Anne Eliot)

Almost by Anne Eliot

At a freshman party she doesn’t remember, Jess Jordan was almost raped.

…Almost. Very nearly. Not quite. Three years later, Jess has managed to make everyone believe she’s better. Over it. Because she is.

…Almost. Very nearly. Not quite.

Unfortunately, until Jess proves she’s back to normal activities, her parents won’t discuss college. So, she lands a summer internship and strikes a deal with hockey jock, Gray Porter: He gets $8,000. She gets a fake boyfriend and a social life.

Jess has no idea Gray signed on for reasons other than money. She also never expects to fall in love. But Gray’s amazingly hot, holds her hand all the time, and makes her forget that he’s simply doing his job. It’s like having a real boyfriend.

…Almost. Very nearly. Not quite.

Gray Porter is hiding secrets of his own. About Jess Jordan. About why he’s driven to protect her, why he won’t cash her checks, or deny her anything she asks.

Maybe it’s the “Me Too” movement… Maybe it’s the temptation of a hidden agenda… Maybe it’s the instinctual knowledge that this will be train wreck… But I’m intrigued enough to keep it.

When All Is Said (Anne Griffin)

When All Is Said by Anne Griffin

If you had to pick five people to sum up your life, who would they be? If you were to raise a glass to each of them, what would you say? And what would you learn about yourself, when all is said and done?

This is the story of Maurice Hannigan, who, over the course of a Saturday night in June, orders five different drinks at the Rainford House Hotel. With each he toasts a person vital to him: his doomed older brother, his troubled sister-in-law, his daughter of fifteen minutes, his son far off in America, and his late, lamented wife. And through these people, the ones who left him behind, he tells the story of his own life, with all its regrets and feuds, loves and triumphs.

I feel like this could either be really amazing or really awful. Based on the reviews though, it’s worth the sure to be shed tears. I think I’ll keep it.

Burns So Bad (Anne Marsh)

Burns So Bad by Anne Marsh

ONE JUMP PUTS IT ALL ON THE LINE…

Summer is heating up in Strong, California. The jump team’s bad boy, Rio Donovan is one hundred percent pure, sensual trouble. He never backs down from a fire or a dare and he loves putting it all on the line when he parachutes into the heart of the fire. When the fire camp gets a much-needed new player, however, Rio lands in uncharted territory. The jump team’s newest member is sexy, strong—and female. She’s supposed to be just one of the boys, but Rio burns to claim her one heated kiss at a time. This jump, Rio Donovan’s putting it all on the line. Body and heart.

INTO THE FIRE… AND INTO LOVE

Kissing a fellow smoke jumper would be career suicide and Gia Jackson has worked too hard and too long to earn her spot on Strong’s jump team to jeopardize it all now for a man. The love-em-and-leave-em boys of summer aren’t her type and she’s hiding a few secrets of her own, but, when her chute tangles with Rio’s on a jump, he’s thrown into her arms. Literally. She’s held firm on the fireline for years—but can she hold the line now against Rio’s seductive charm?

Gah… I love firefighters. Especially firefighter romances. But I’ve begun to realize that the older I get, the more I lean towards men with shattered and sad backgrounds. Men with substance. The super-macho, “Me Tarzan, You Jane”, club her over the head and drag her back to your cave to ‘claim’ her, guy just isn’t doing it anymore. Tossing, Mr. Donovan.

The Way Back to Me (Anne Mercier)

The Way Back to Me by Anne Mercier

My life was charmed. I had the best friends ever. We were known as the Fab Five and our futures were planned out.

In a flash, everything was taken from me. I don’t know how to live without them. I don’t want to.

I’m broken.

When I get to college, I see him.

Cameron Stone. Mr. Football. Mr. Popular. He’s definitely hot, but on the inside he’s vile. He made my childhood a living nightmare. I don’t know why he hates me or why he’s suddenly being so nice to me. All the sweet talk in the world won’t work. I know better.

So, why am I listening?

Meh. That’s how I’m feeling while reading this description. Just meh. So I’m tossing this one too.

 

And there you go! 9 are staying, 5 are going, and 1 is being relegated to a “maybe” pile. These were super tough this week! Have you read any of these? What did you think of them?

Thanks for joining me for this episode of Keep or Toss!

TBR

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