Keep or Toss (04.20)

Welcome to the 4th episode of ‘Keep or Toss’! In case you missed why I’m going through my TBR listing and the first batch of titles, you can read it all right here: Keep or Toss Tuesday (01.20). You can also find my other TBR Cleanout posts under the TBR category page. 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 🙂 All book cover photos were taken from Goodreads and the “Featured Image” is from Happy Color (an app I like playing on sometimes). So let’s gets started!

Virgin Widow (Anne OBrien)

Virgin Widow by Anne O’Brien

This title is about England’s forgotten Queen. England, 1469. A daughter of Warwick the Kingmaker, Anne Neville cannot dictate her own future. Her marriage will be political, made purely to advance her family’s interests. But at the age of fourteen, her father’s treason forces her into exile, and into an uneasy betrothal with Edward of Lancaster. Edward is changeable and completely controlled by his powerful mother, Margaret of Anjou. In a hostile, impoverished court, Anne finds herself at the mercy of other’s whims. On her wedding night, the audience assembled to witness her bedding instead witnesses a royal humiliation. At the point of consummation, Queen Margaret forbids the act. Anne went to her husband’s bed a virgin, and she will remain so. The battle for the crown of England rages, and Anne’s husband must fight for his cause. But he is foully done to death by Richard, Duke of Gloucester – a man who twice before has been betrothed to Anne. Anne must decide where her loyalties lie. And during the reign of King Edward, the wrong decision could mean death.

I once was on an ancient England kick. History and fiction all swirled into one. No doubt that was when I added this book. Since I’m not currently in that mood and I’m not sure when I will be again, I’m removing this one from my TBR pile.

All the Light We Cannot See (Anthony Doerr)

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.

When I first read this synopsis (apparently in 2014!), I could sworn it was about 2 adults. Now that I re-read it, it’s about 2 kids. Old enough to notice things going on around them but not yet influenced by adult eyes. It could be a highly interesting way to look at WWII. I’m going to keep it.

The Red Notebook (Antoine Laurain)

The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain (Translated by Jane Aitken and Emily Boyce)

Heroic bookseller Laurent Letellier comes across an abandoned handbag on a Parisian street. There’s nothing in the bag to indicate who it belongs to, although there’s all sorts of other things in it. Laurent feels a strong impulse to find the owner and tries to puzzle together who she might be from the contents of the bag. Especially a red notebook with her jottings, which really makes him want to meet her. Without even a name to go on, and only a few of her possessions to help him, how is he to find one woman in a city of millions?

Oh, a French author! I always like reading non-American authors because their cadance and views are slightly different. But this looks like a really cute one. Keeping!

Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl’s virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction – at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful – and completely unforgettable.

This, I know, is one of those “must read” classics. I’m not sure about the movie, I haven’t seen it either, and this description doesn’t give much to go on. So despite it being ranked highly, I’m going to place it on the ‘Maybe’ pile until I do a little bit more research.

This is Our Story (Ashley Elston)

This Is Our Story by Ashley Elston

No one knows what happened that morning at River Point. Five boys went hunting. Four came back. The boys won’t say who fired the shot that killed their friend; the evidence shows it could have been any one of them.

Kate Marino’s senior year internship at the district attorney’s office isn’t exactly glamorous—more like an excuse to leave school early that looks good on college applications. Then the DA hands her boss, Mr. Stone, the biggest case her small town of Belle Terre has ever seen. The River Point Boys are all anyone can talk about. Despite their damning toxicology reports the morning of the accident, the DA wants the boys’ case swept under the rug. He owes his political office to their powerful families.

Kate won’t let that happen. Digging up secrets without revealing her own is a dangerous line to walk; Kate has her own reasons for seeking justice for Grant. As she investigates with Stone, the aging prosecutor relying on Kate to see and hear what he cannot, she realizes that nothing about the case—or the boys—is what it seems. Grant wasn’t who she thought he was, and neither is Stone’s prime suspect. As Kate gets dangerously close to the truth, it becomes clear that the early morning accident might not have been an accident at all—and if Kate doesn’t uncover the true killer, more than one life could be on the line…including her own.

First, isn’t that cover pretty! I loved ‘One of Us is Lying’ and this seems like it’s a similar mystery/suspense. Keeping!

Suffer Love (Ashley Herring Blake)

Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake

“Just let it go.”

That’s what everyone keeps telling Hadley St. Clair after she learns that her father cheated on her mother. But Hadley doesn’t want to let it go. She wants to be angry and she wants everyone in her life—her dad most of all—to leave her alone.

Sam Bennett and his family have had their share of drama too. Still reeling from a move to a new town and his parents’ recent divorce, Sam is hoping that he can coast through senior year and then move on to hassle-free, parent-free life in college. He isn’t looking for a relationship…that is, until he sees Hadley for the first time.

Hadley and Sam’s connection is undeniable, but Sam has a secret that could ruin everything. Should he follow his heart or tell the truth?

With the cover being so pretty, I’m not so inspired by the description. Feels a little like Insta-Love. I’ll pass.

Blood Ink Fire (Ashley Mansour)

Blood, Ink, & Fire by Ashley Mansour

Imagine a world without books…

In the future, books are a distant memory. The written word has been replaced by an ever-present stream of images known as Verity. In the controlling dominion of the United Vales of Fell, reading is obsolete and forbidden, and readers themselves do not—cannot—exist. But where others see images in the stream, teenager Noelle Hartley sees words. She’s obsessed with what they mean, where they came from, and why they found her.

Noelle’s been keeping her dangerous fixation with words a secret, but on the night before her seventeenth birthday, a rare interruption in the stream leads her to a mysterious volume linked to an underworld of rebel book lovers known as the Nine of the Rising. With the help of the Risers and the beguiling boy Ledger, Noelle discovers that the words within her are precious clues to the books of the earlier time—and as a child of their bookless age, she might be the world’s last hope of bringing them back.

A world without books??? That’s a nightmare!! This one is definitely staying.

Three Little Words (Ashley Rhodes-Courter)

Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter

“Sunshine, you’re my baby and I’m your only mother. You must mind the one taking care of you, but she’s not your mama.” Ashley Rhodes-Courter spent nine years of her life in fourteen different foster homes, living by those words. As her mother spirals out of control, Ashley is left clinging to an unpredictable, dissolving relationship, all the while getting pulled deeper and deeper into the foster care system.

Painful memories of being taken away from her home quickly become consumed by real-life horrors, where Ashley is juggled between caseworkers, shuffled from school to school, and forced to endure manipulative, humiliating treatment from a very abusive foster family. In this inspiring, unforgettable memoir, Ashley finds the courage to succeed – and in doing so, discovers the power of her own voice.

This is, no doubt I’m sure, a great book. But I can’t remember what inspired me to add it to my list. So I’m going to remove it.

"Steely-vented hummingbird (Amazilia saucerrottei), perched on verbena plant, Costa Rica, July"

The Rule of One by Ashley Saunders

In the near-future United States, a one-child policy is ruthlessly enforced. Everyone follows the Rule of One. But Ava Goodwin, daughter of the head of the Texas Family Planning Division, has a secret—one her mother died to keep and her father has helped to hide for her entire life.

She has an identical twin sister, Mira.

For eighteen years Ava and Mira have lived as one, trading places day after day, maintaining an interchangeable existence down to the most telling detail. But when their charade is exposed, their worst nightmare begins. Now they must leave behind the father they love and fight for their lives.

Branded as traitors, hunted as fugitives, and pushed to discover just how far they’ll go in order to stay alive, Ava and Mira rush headlong into a terrifying unknown.

Interesting. But is it interesting enough to keep? I don’t know. Part of me wants to say yes and part of me is just fine passing it up. Since I’m trying to only keep the ones that excite me, I’m going to take this one off the list.

In This Moment (Autumn Doughton)

In This Moment by Autumn Doughton

Every moment possesses its own kind of magic…

Aimee Spencer learned the hard way that for some moments, there are no take-backs, no rewinds, no do-overs. A year ago her world imploded and Aimee has been running ever since. She doesn’t want to feel. She doesn’t want to remember. To bury the ghosts that haunt her, she is living a life that has become unrecognizable.

Cole Everly is a golden boy with a cocky smile and an attitude to match. He’s grown accustomed to girls throwing themselves at his feet, but when Aimee trips and literally lands in his lap one afternoon, she’s not at all what he expects. Difficult, damaged, closed-off. If Cole needed to make a list of qualities to avoid in a girl, Aimee would probably match up with every single one of them. He knows that he should stay away but he’s drawn to her in a way that he can’t exactly explain.

In this honest and absorbing story, Aimee and Cole struggle to sort out the thin spaces between loss and love. Ultimately, they will need to learn how to navigate through the pieces of the past if they want to hold on to the future and each other.

This one isn’t catching my attention anymore either. I’m moving it off the TBR pile.

Last Train to Istanbul (Ayse Kulin)

Last Train to Istanbul by Ayse Kulin (Translated by John W. Baker)

As the daughter of one of Turkey’s last Ottoman pashas, Selva could win the heart of any man in Ankara. Yet the spirited young beauty only has eyes for Rafael Alfandari, the handsome Jewish son of an esteemed court physician. In defiance of their families, they marry, fleeing to Paris to build a new life.

But when the Nazis invade France, the exiled lovers will learn that nothing—not war, not politics, not even religion—can break the bonds of family. For after they learn that Selva is but one of their fellow citizens trapped in France, a handful of brave Turkish diplomats hatch a plan to spirit the Alfandaris and hundreds of innocents, many of whom are Jewish, to safety. Together, they must traverse a war-torn continent, crossing enemy lines and risking everything in a desperate bid for freedom. From Ankara to Paris, Cairo, and Berlin, Last Train to Istanbul is an uplifting tale of love and adventure from Turkey’s beloved bestselling novelist Ayşe Kulin.

Another foreign author?! Turkish this time. And a different view of WWII. Definitely keeping this one!

A Cowboy to Remember (Barbara Ankrum)

A Cowboy to Remember by Barbara Ankrum

Twelve years ago, equestrian Olympic hopeful Olivia Canaday and her best friend, Jake Lassen, made a pinky-swear promise to reunite at the Big Marietta Fair on her thirtieth birthday and marry each other if they were both still single. But that was before they grew up and went their separate ways.

Now, after a disastrous divorce and a career-changing accident, Olivia limps home, minus her mojo, her courage and her faith in love. She retreats to her parents’ ranch, determined to play it safe, but when ex-Army helicopter pilot Jake Lassen arrives to make good on their promise, he reignites passion and hope, two things Olivia had forgotten existed.

Olivia resolves to keep Jake at arm’s length, even though the memory of his kisses keeps her up at night. She knows better than to let her heart get involved, but Jake is planning for the future. Their future. Can Jake convince her to risk it all one more time and really make this a fair to remember?

Probably super cheesy and uber predictable but I have a soft spot for horses and military men. Going to keep for a fluff read. Haha!

Sentimental Journey (Barbara Bretton)

Sentimental Journey by Barbara Bretton

It’s June 1943. From New York to California, families gather to send their sons and husbands, friends and lovers off to war. The attack on Pearl Harbor seems a long time ago as America begins to understand that their boys won’t be home any time soon.

In Forest Hills, New York City, twenty-year-old Catherine Wilson knows all about waiting. She’s been in love with boy-next-door Doug Weaver since childhood, and if the war hadn’t started when it did, she would be married and maybe starting a family, not sitting at the window of her girlhood bedroom, waiting for her life to begin.

But then a telegram from the War Department arrives, shattering her dreams of a life like the one her mother treasures.

Weeks drift into months as she struggles to find her way. An exchange of letters with Johnny Danza, a young soldier in her father’s platoon, starts off as a patriotic gesture, but soon becomes a long-distance friendship that grows more important to her with every day that passes.

The last thing Catherine expects is to open her front door on Christmas Eve to find Johnny lying unconscious on the Wilsons’ welcome mat with a heart filled with new dreams that are hers for the taking.

Could be cute. I’m not quite jumping on it like the one above but still curious. Since I already have a copy, I think I’ll keep it for now.

The Bean Trees (Barbara Kingsolver)

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

Clear-eyed and spirited, Taylor Greer grew up poor in rural Kentucky with the goals of avoiding pregnancy and getting away. But when she heads west with high hopes and a barely functional car, she meets the human condition head-on. By the time Taylor arrives in Tucson, Arizona, she has acquired a completely unexpected child, a three-year-old American Indian girl named Turtle, and must somehow come to terms with both motherhood and the necessity for putting down roots. Hers is a story about love and friendship, abandonment and belonging, and the discovery of surprising resources in apparently empty places.

I’m not sure about this one. It sits on lists with a few of my favorite authors like Harper Lee and Alice Walker. For that, I don’t want to dismiss it so quickly. So it’s heading to the “Maybe” pile with a 50 page test run.

The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it — from garden seeds to Scripture — is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.

Now this one catches my interest a lot more than The Bean Trees. Although I feel like this one will be a bit heavier than what I normally read. With high ratings and the fact that I already have it on Audible, I suppose I’ll keep it.

 

And there we have it! That’s this week’s list of books to sort through. 8 were kept, 5 were removed, and 2 were added to the “Maybe” pile.

What did you think of my choices? Have your read any of them? Share your thoughts!

TBR

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