All is not lost when it comes to my To Be Read list on Goodreads. I told you in March I’d added another StoryBundle this year, with books I really really want to read. Since then I’ve had even more ‘must reads’. I really should stop reading blogs like SciFi & Scary and The Ninja Librarian, not to mention Sayling Away, all of whom review books and entice me to add them to my list. The only good thing is that I can return the favour every now and then!
So, still trying to prune my TBR List, I’m refusing to admit defeat by going Down the TBR Hole once more. I’m not lost when I keep reviewing things I’ve added in the past, working from my list in date added order, and deciding whether I really want to read them or not.
I’m not lost even when I add new ones. I decided the other day that my aim is to keep my list from going over 600. I just have to add and subtract more efficiently.
Last time I did this exercise my list ended up at 574. It’s now 585. Must get rid of at least ten today.
As usual it follows the format short blurb – argument – verdict.
Death by a Honeybee
by Abigail Keam
Josiah Reynolds, a former art history professor, was once a celebrity with wealth, social position and a famous husband. Now all of that is gone. The professor finds her circumstances drastically altered. Retired, Josiah is now a full time beekeeper trying to stay financially afloat by selling honey at the local Farmers’ Market.
She finds her world turned upside down when a man is found dead in her bee yard, only to discover that the victim is her competitor and nemesis. The police suspect the brutal death is murder and Josiah is their number one suspect.[more]
I suspect I got this free on Kindle when it first came out. I’ve considering reading it a couple of times. The trouble with cosy mysteries for me, is that there are so many of them, they have to be really good or somehow quirky enough for me to read them any more. So this one no longer rocks my boat. Even if it is on my Kindle (it is) I reckon it’s never going to get to the top of the ‘read next’ pile.
Deacon Leeds and the Pyramid of Symbols
by Grant Morris
Deacon Leeds is spending his summer vacation on a scientific expedition in frigid Antarctica. Unfortunately, the only other teen staying at the Terra Nova Station is a royal jerk named Broderick Norsworthy. But when a football-sized golden pyramid—covered in curious symbols—is discovered buried below the ice, Deacon quickly learns that Broderick is more than just a pimple-faced nuisance: He’s a thief on a dark mission.
This has been up as far as my ‘currently reading’ list in the past, only to be edged out by other things more interesting. The reviews (early on good, more recently iffy) suggest to me that readers of older MG/younger YA have got pickier and that any hint of the Percy Jackson bandwagon makes it difficult to excite certain readers… including me. I wonder if almost rejecting it a couple of times means it’s really past it’s read-by date for me? It’s on my Kindle. Am I ever going to read it?
by Michelle Madow
In Remembrance, Lizzie and Drew changed the course of fate so they could be together.
In Vengeance, Chelsea set fate back on its original, deadly path.
Now, strange things keep happening to Lizzie. Things that are omens of darkness to come. A curse has doomed her to die an early death, just as she did in her past life. To make matters worse, even if she can figure out who cast the curse, it’s irreversible. There’s only one option left for her to save herself. It’s crazier than anything she’s heard yet, and to do it, she’ll need Drew and Chelsea’s help.[more]
It’s entirely possible that I got this in a bundle of time travel books, but 2013 is early for me to have done that, and that is when I put this on my TBR. There is still no other explanation for having this on my list.
Liam O’Connor should have died at sea in 1912.
Maddy Carter should have died on a plane in 2010.
Sal Vikram should have died in a fire in 2026.
Yet moments before death, someone mysteriously appeared and said, ‘Take my hand …’
But Liam, Maddy and Sal aren’t rescued. They are recruited by an agency that no one knows exists, with only one purpose—to fix broken history. Because time travel is here, and there are those who would go back in time and change the past. That’s why the TimeRiders exist: to protect us. To stop time travel from destroying the world…
Yep, I still want to read this…. although by now the premise is becoming common in YA time travel stories.
Verdict: Keep. Maybe I should move it up the list a bit.
Galapagos Dreams: A Photo Journey
by Susanna Ivy
Susanna Ivy captures one of the most ecologically diverse locations on the planet with a fresh eye and stunning sense of perspective and color. Here, readers will be transported to the islands famed for their vast number of animal species—an island studied by Charles Darwin during the voyage of the Beagle.
Galapagos Dreams presents full-color photographs of a whirlwind tour of these diverse islands. Isolated from the mainland of Ecuador, here animal and plant species evolved at their own pace…and the results are breathtaking. All of which are captured in full color by nature photographer, Susanna Ivy. Sponsored by Sony and winner of the prestigious Galapagos Calendar Contest, Susanna will bring to you the Galapagos Islands as you’ve never seen them before. And for those new to this wondrous island chain, be prepared to fall in love with it.
This is a great photobook. Now that I can view things in colour on my iPad I could get a copy. But while the photos are undoubtedly brilliant, why? I can get great pictures from the Galapagos Conservation Trust (which I support) any time I like. You could join them too – or just get their calendar each year or sponsor habitat restoration or fund further research to save finch species or giant tortoises….
Skelebunnies: The Complete Collection
Join these living-dead abominations in a playful, episodic romp through the forest. You’ll meet their adorable servants, the Woobies, who come in three distinct varieties: Devil Woobies, Bat Woobies, and Mushroom Woobies. You’ll also meet the Skellies’ faithful flying zombie steed, the dainty Pretty-Pretty Pony Macabre. She has some seriously bad luck! And, of course, there’s the Skelebunnies’ most bipolar and boy-crazy frenemy, Satan. Along the way you’ll encounter the rather judgmental Baby Dwarf Bears, the savage Baba Yaga, the aptly-named Buttwing, and a host of other characters and stories. This 120-page collection includes all three original Skelebunnies one-shots, plus buttloads (40 pages!) of amazing and sometimes life-altering extra bonus materials.
You know, I think I’m getting old. And apart from any Princelings related stories, I don’t think I’m really ever going to be writing more MG books.
Sailing Down the Moonbeam
by Mary Gottschalk
With a destination loosely defined as the rest of the world, Mary and her husband Tom leave family, friends and successful careers for a multi-year sailing voyage.
As the voyage takes her farther and farther from her traditional support systems, her world becomes more and more defined by forces outside her control. Mary’s travels through often uncharted island communities, provides a compelling metaphor for a journey of self-discovery.
This sounds more like it. I think I’ll move it higher up the list, too.
Waiting for Natalie
by Dan Spanton
Natalie Bouchard, a high school student from Portland, Maine, becomes convinced that her younger brother didn’t drown in an accident years before, but was kidnapped and taken to Colombia. Without telling her parents, she flies to the Colombian capitol city of Bogota, accompanied by a nineteen year old friend, Caleb Ferguson. A search of city streets and orphanages ends in disappointment. Finally, as her grandfather arrives to take her home, she gets a lead. Her little brother may have been taken by illegal emerald miners to a highly dangerous area north of Bogota.
I wonder if this is sitting on my Kindle somewhere? I can’t find it. It’s a first novel, I may have ‘met’ the author online, it may have been a free copy…. it sound like it’s a well written book. It’s just that I don’t remember any reason for putting it on the list. Well, sorry Mr Spanton….
Leon Chameleon P I and the Case of the Kidnapped Mouse
When Mr Woodland Mouse mysteriously disappears, Constable Mole is quick to enlist the help of Leon Chameleon, Private Investigator, whose expertise enabled the Pigeon Valley Police to solve the case of the missing canary eggs. After organising a search, Leon realises that there is only one creature in the valley who can spring the captured mouse from his prison. But just when he thinks Mr Woodland Mouse is safely on his way home, the plan goes horribly wrong…
Oh, I think I can handle this! Especially if I do an animal reading challenge again next year!
by Kevin Hearne
Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old—when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.
Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power—plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish—to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.
I like the first para of the blurb. The second, nah, not so much. But I’m sufficiently intrigued… for now. Surprised it’s not on my Kindle, though. Maybe I should kick it off the TBR? In reality, am I ever going to get to it?
Verdict: Sorry, rejected.
The Fall of Onagros
by Marian Allen
Usurper. Lost Heir. Runaway bride. Land on the brink of civil war. All so familiar, until Tortoise — the Divine Creature who ignores the rules of right and wrong — challenges his fellow divinities to meddle.
Suddenly, children targeted for murder are adopted, swordsmen turn into blacksmiths, and none are reliably who or what they seem. The four Divine Animals are afoot: Tortoise, Dragon, Unicorn, and Phoenix. Hold on tight.
Book 1: The Fall of Onagros
In the first book of the SAGE trilogy, a legacy is lost, a woman vanishes into thin air, wisdom is found in unexpected places, and a man hopes to defeat a tyrant with tall tales and gossip.
I’m sure I’ve heard good things of this series. This first book has 17 Goodreads ratings and still makes it over 4* on average. That’s really good. Note to self: I have her book Turtle Feathers, which if I remember right, I loved.
High Road to Tibet
John Dwyer travels through Asia’s most interesting and wildest regions. Follow his adventures as he passes through the sunken gorges of the Yangtze river, drinks snake blood in Chengdu, gets smuggled into Tibet illegally, watches mysterious ceremonies in Buddhist temples, reaches Everest Base Camp, climbs amongst the awe-inspiring Himalayas, and watches the dead being burned by the banks of the Ganges.
This is a non-fiction travel book set in a part of the world I find fascinating. The book sounds good, the reviews are farily mized. I feel I could do better with a more established writer (this is first) yet…
Verdict: I was on the verge of deleting it then stepped back. Keep for now.
Horatio’s One Wish
by Joshua Kriesberg
Winner of the Mom’s Choice Award Gold Medal. This is a story that will tickle your funny-bone and touch your heart. “Gently inspiring prose in the style of Charlotte’s Web,” raves The Midwest Book Review. “A touching tale with kindness, empathy, and courage.” “Delightful.” “Unforgettable.”
“Amiable traveling companions” take you on “a journey with considerable suspense,” writes Publisher Weekly.
“All the right elements for an epic read-aloud adventure,” says Seattle Child’s Magazine. [more]
The blurb then settles down to talk about the book, in more sickly-sweet gushingness. Reviews compare it with Wind in the Willows very favourably, and the average Goodreads rating is over 4, so that’s lots of 4s and 5s. Maybe I wanted to see what sort of book gets a Mum’s Choice Award.
Verdict: Maybe I no longer want to write a book that gets a Mum’s Choice award, and especially this one! Reject.
Bounty Hunter: The Reputation
by Billi Tiner
Ben Sharp hunts outlaws for a living. He’s smart, tough, and only seventeen years old. In this action-packed sequel to Bounty Hunter: The Beginning, Ben goes after a gang of murderous thieves. As Ben tracks down and captures some of the meanest men in the west, his reputation for being fast with a gun grows. Ben’s grit and determination will be tested at every turn by ruthless men and the deadly forces of nature in this old west adventure.
I think once I start reading Billi Tiner’s books I’ll keep reading them all. I don’t remember seeing the first Bounty Hunter on the list, so this must be further down.
The Unexpected Mrs Pollifax
by Dorothy Gilman
Mrs. Virgil (Emily) Pollifax of New Brunswick, New Jersey, was a widow with grown children. She was tired of attending her Garden Club meetings. She wanted to do something good for her country. So, naturally, she became a CIA agent. This time, the assignment sounds as tasty as a taco. A quick trip to Mexico City is on her agenda. Unfortunately, something goes wrong, and our dear Mrs. Pollifax finds herself embroiled in quite a hot Cold War—and her country’s enemies find themselves entangled with one unbelievably feisty lady.
I seem to think this is an excellent book and my friends have recommended it. I love the blurb.
Hades and the Helm of Darkness (Heroes in Training #3)
by Joan Holub
The Heroes in Training are entering the Underworld—if Hades can conquer his canine fears, that is.
The Underworld usually isn’t really meant to be a fun place—but tell that to Hades! He loves the dark and the stinky smell of sulfur. However, there is one thing that Hades is not a fan of: dogs. And when Zeus and his fellow Olympians encounter Cerberus—a snarling, three-headed dog—Hades must conquer his fears and tame the hound so everyone can continue into the Underworld and deposit their Titan prisoner, Oceanus, back where he belongs!
But with magical water that causes forgetfulness, hot beds of lava, and another epic battle with two more Titans standing in their way, will Zeus and his heroes make it out of the Underworld with everyone intact?
There are thirteen books in this series to date. It looks like a very enjoyable younger MG book, with lots of great reviews.
Verdict: Even though it looks like fun, I’m not going to start this series. I’d better just check if any more of them are on my list since this is number 3 …. no. But the first one starts with Z, so it’s an Alphabet Soup opportunity. Reject.
The Infinity Bridge
by Ross M Kitson
An MG/YA science-fiction/ Steampunk adventure
Sam: likes loud music, wears black eye-liner… and sees monsters.
Nick: wears Che Guevera knit-wear, big specs, loves sci-fi… and designs computer viruses.
Annie: dresses like a Sunday evening period drama, lives with her granddad… and fights like a ninja.
When Sam helps out the mysterious Annie, he and his cousin, Nick, are drawn into a world of excitement and danger. Terrifying androids roam the streets of York seeking the awesome power of the Infinity Bridge, a device that could signal the end of our world as we know it. All who stand in their way are being eliminated.
The three teenagers are propelled into an action-packed race against time, involving alternate realities, airships, clockwork killers…. and Merlin.
Actually, the blurb got me at “MG/YA science-fiction/ Steampunk adventure”
Pheme the Gossip (Goddess Girls #10)
by Joan Holub
As the goddess girl of rumor and gossip, Pheme prides herself on being “in the know” and having the most up-to-date info on anyone and everyone at Mount Olympus Academy. To make sure that people really get her VIP messages, her words tend to linger in cloud letters above her head—just in case people don’t catch what she says!
But not everyone is thrilled with Pheme’s insider knowledge on everything MOA—including the Goddess Girls. Can Pheme ever be trusted? Or will this “gossip girl” find herself on the other end of the rumors?
Oh look – another series from Joan Holub. I really admire her, and I know Rene of MDBR recommended them. I think the Goddess Girls will suffer the same fate on my list as the Heroes in Training, though!
Yay! That’s it for today’s romp through my TBR. Did you notice I kept going until I’d rejected 10? I had to do 18 to get there. I think that could be a more successful strategy than just reviewing ten and seeing how many I cut. It also makes me harder on the books. Anything to get rid of ten and stop!!
So today I’m back to 575 books on my TBR.